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04.22.15

Links 22/4/2015: Fedora 22 Beta, Atlassian Acquires BlueJimp

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Can Microsoft Really Rival Linux?

    Why the high numbers for Linux? Linux is more stable. Linux servers have been known to run without failure for several years. That’s because Linux handles multitasking and process management better than Windows. That is debatable on the mobile area since many cheap Android (a Linux descendant) devices often freeze. Linux is also more secure since it’s built as a multiuser operating system from the ground up. It is better at sandboxing or containing applications and processes from the root system than Windows does. Linux servers are also minimal targets of hackers and malware, though not exactly a guarantee but it’s something to take advantage of. As for hardware requirements, Linux can be run on most computers. Depending on the distribution, Linux can run very smoothly on ten-year old computers. Lastly, all Linux distributions are free though some versions for the enterprise, like Red Hat, offer technical support for a fee.

  • Report Shows Linux Developers Are Increasingly in Demand

    A recent report show that IT departments are increasing efforts to hire Linux developers. The 2015 Linux Jobs Report, which forecasts the Linux job market based on a survey of hiring managers and Linux professionals, was commissioned by the Linux Foundation.

  • Desktop

    • 8 Linux file managers to try

      One of the most common administrative tasks that end users and administrators alike need to perform is file management. Managing files can consume a major portion of your time. Locating files, determining which files and folders (directories) are taking the most disk space, deleting files, moving files, and simply opening files for use in an application are some of the most basic—yet frequent—tasks we do as computer users. File management programs are tools that are intended to streamline and simplify those necessary chores.

    • 76 Everyday Linux User Guides For Beginners

      This article provides links to beginners guides to Linux, dual boot guides, guides for creating Linux USB drives, running Linux in a virtual machine, Linux installation guides, Linux customisation and application guides, Linux gaming guides, Raspberry PI guides, Chromebook guides and more.

  • Server

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Evolving KDE

        Paul and Lydia have blogged about how KDE should and could evolve. KDE as a whole is big, diverse, sprawling thing. It’s a house of many rooms, built on the idea that free software is important. By many, KDE is still seen as being in competition with Gnome, but Gnome still focuses on creating a desktop environment with supporting applications.

      • XPQ4 Theme Pack Provides Uncanny Resemblance with Windows OS

        XPQ4 is a funky open source theme that aims to provide Linux users with the look and feel of a Windows desktop. It might seem weird at first, but this is probably one of the most advanced solutions available right now.

      • LaKademy 2015 in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

        The KDE Community in Brazil will host LaKademy 2015 June 3rd through 6th. The conference is an opportunity for KDE users and contributors to meet in person to make plans, work on software and other aspects of KDE technology. There will also be outreach to potential new contributors. The group is raising money for conference expenses and to offset travel costs for attendees.

      • Chakra: KDE Applications 15.04 , Frameworks 5.9 and linux 3.19.4 available

        KDE’s first release of its 15.04 series of Applications and Frameworks 5.9.0 are now available to all Chakra users. With this release kde-workspace has also been updated to version 4.11.18 and kdelibs to 4.14.7. Have in mind that the applications that have been ported to Frameworks 5 will not be updated but remain at their previous versions, as they are being prepared to be included in the upcoming Plasma5 switch.

      • Kubuntu 15.04 Users Can Install the Gorgeous Plasma 5.3 Beta Desktop

        Kubuntu 15.04 will be made available tomorrow as a stable release, along with all the flavors from the Ubuntu family, and it will be powered by KDE Plasma 5.2. To make things even better, developers have decided to make the latest Plasma 5.3 Beta available to willing users, as well.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Fedora 22 Beta Arrives with Plasma 5 & GNOME 3.16

        Red Hat and The Fedora Project Team today announced the release of Fedora 22 Beta, the last developmental release before Final. The default Workstation ships with GNOME 3.16 but spins are available with KDE Plasma 5, Xfce, LXDE, MATE, and Sugar in 32-bit and 64-bit. There are even spins for gaming, robotics, security, media creation, ARM, Docker, and more not counting the Server and Cloud images. If you can’t find a Fedora to fit, then you don’t need Linux.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-friendly TI SoC takes on FPGAs in DAQ apps

      TI’s Linux-ready 66AK2L06 SoC for high-speed data acquisition apps features dual Cortex-A15 cores, four DSPs, a digital front end, and a JESD204B interface.

      The 66AK2L06 system-on-chip is the latest salvo by Texas Instruments in a long-running campaign to demonstrate that DSP-based SoCs can more efficiently and easily perform tasks typically done with FPGAs and ASICs. The Linux-supported 66AK2L06 aims to replace FPGAs with what it claims is an easier, cheaper, faster, and more power efficient way to directly connect to ADCs, DACs, and AFEs for high-speed data generation and acquisition. Applications are said to include avionics, defense, medical, and test and measurement equipment.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Here are the top 20 most popular Tizen apps in March, 2015.

          Samsung have released a list of their Top 20 most popular Tizen apps in March 2015′. The company previously did a similar thing for February 2015 (I can see a tend starting now).

        • History of Samsung Smart TV to Tizen TV 2015

          There is nothing better than an Infographic to get your point across, and here we have one that shows the TV / Smart TV revolution. Samsung Introduced their Smart TV back in 2008 (seems like yesterday) with the PAVV Bordeaux TV 750, which gave consumers the option of connecting to the Internet, YouTube, access USB devices and explore the world of DLNA.

      • Android

        • Google takes aim at Apple Watch with Android Wear updates

          The company on Monday announced an upgrade to its Android Wear operating system for smart watches. Some features seem to take direct aim at the Apple Watch, including Wi-Fi support, a watch face that always shows the time, and doodles for messaging.

        • Sony’s REAL flagship could land next month

          Poor old Sony – after unveiling the Xperia Z4 earlier today, the company has faced a backlash across social media – and from myself – about how the Xperia Z4 isn’t really an upgrade, it’s just the same device with a couple of tweaks to the specifications. Except, all might not be as it seems with a new report suggesting that we’ll see Sony announce a real global flagship towards the end of next month.

        • Motorola begins testing Android 5.1 Lollipop for first-gen Moto X

          The original Motorola Moto X, released in 2013, has been in disadvantage since the official Lollipop release. Due to the dated Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset the Android updates need further tweaking before their rollout and first-gen Moto X was always the last of the Moto lineup on the update queue.

        • 10 Things to Do Before the Nexus Android 5.1.1 Update

          A Nexus Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update is confirmed and an Android 5.1.1 release could take place at any time. With that in mind, we want to take a look at some things we think Nexus users should do ahead of Google’s latest Android 5.1.1 release. These tips are geared towards non-power users and those that are thinking about installing the Android 5.0 Lollipop update for the first time.

        • The LG G Watch doesn’t have WiFi, all other Android Wear smartwaches will get WiFi support

          Yesterday, Google announced that Android Wear smartwatches would be getting WiFi support in the next coming weeks, bringing most Android Wear devices in line with the upcoming Apple Watch. Having a WiFi connected Android wearable is definitely a highly sought after feature, even if you still need to have your phone powered on and connected to the Internet in one way or another for full watch functionality. The question remains, does every Android Wear smartwatch support WiFi? Sadly, no.

        • Clean Up Your Messy Android and iPhone Contacts Without Going Mad
        • Adobe updates Lightroom with facial recognition, GPU enhancements, & new Android features
        • Good Technology expands Android security options

          Mobile security provider Good Technology on Tuesday released a set of security options that puts hardware-backed security capabilities into all Good-secured Android apps.

        • Google engineers on Android ecosystem facts and myths

          Ludwig decried a number of myths surrounding the definitions of malware and spyware in general. Among these, some of the assumptions floating around include the spread of malware is always increasing, most devices aren’t protected, and all malware can compromise them.

        • Pioneer brings Android Auto to aftermarket car audio systems

          With the introduction of Pioneer’s latest aftermarket car audio systems, Android users with Apple CarPlay envy now have access to the same kind of in-car phone integration that iOS fans enjoy—as long as they’re willing to spring for an aftermarket radio to get it.

          That’s because for now, at least—like Apple CarPlay—Android Auto has yet to make an appearance in a system from a mainstream automaker. The Android Auto website does list 28 carmakers set to roll the system out soon. (Android Auto is compatible only with Andoroid OS 5.0—aka Lollipop—or later.)

        • 5 Best Android Phones [April, 2015]

          With several new Android flagships now on shelves, those in the hunt for a new Android smartphone have some more options to choose from. With that in mind, we want to help narrow things down for those that need things narrowed down as we take a look at the device’s we think represent the best Android phones for April, 2015.

Free Software/Open Source

  • VMware introduces new open source projects to accelerate enterprise adoption of cloud-native applications

    VMware has announced two new open source projects built to enable enterprise adoption of cloud-native applications – Project Lightwave, an identity and access management project that will extend enterprise-scale and security to cloud-native applications; and Project Photon, a lightweight Linux operating system optimized for cloud-native applications.

  • The Fighting Unicorns charge into robotics competition with open source edge

    Open source has a strong tie to the FIRST value of gracious professionalism. What it boils down to is sharing what you know with others. There are countless other ways that open source is used in FIRST. Teams embrace a culture of sharing and learning for the good of all—an open source culture. And, at all levels of the program, from grade school to high school, kids are being taught numerous skills—including the value of open source. The world of FIRST is full of students, mentors, and volunteers who make it all happen and worthwhile. I cannot say enough how much the mentors and volunteers do, and how important they are. I want to take a moment to thank them for their time and dedication!

  • How I use Android: Open source superstar Jean-Baptiste Quéru (JBQ)

    Few people are as known and loved among Android enthusiasts as Jean-Baptiste Quéru — or JBQ, as he’s more often called online. JBQ spent years as the maintainer and public face of Google’s Android Open Source Project (AOSP), the publicly accessible source code that makes up Android and is used by manufacturers and developers to get the software onto devices.

  • Linux in the Air: Drone systems go open-source

    Not only is spring in the air, so is Linux. But this wasn’t always the case. Early drones relied on either proprietary OSes or simple Arduino-based controllers such as the ArduPilot. While both of these approaches to drone control have been successful, they implicitly limit innovation — the former because they are closed systems, and the latter because of limited computing power. The recent introduction of Linux-based drones will stimulate the UAV (Unpiloted Aerial Vehicle) market by creating more flexible, open platforms. Here’s how Linux takes off … literally.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome 42 Disables NPAPI Plugins by Default

        Google has finally disabled the NPAPI plug architecture for the Chrome browser, but the means to use that architecture will still be there for a few more months.

        The NPAPI plugin architecture has been around for quite some time, and it helped people use some services like Silverlight or Flash, but that is coming to end. Developers have been trying to move their services to alternative technologies that don’t rely on NPAPI, and they’ve done this for the most part, but it’s possible that some users will feel the loss.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Atlassian Acquires Open Source Video Conferencing Company BlueJimp To Power HipChat’s Video Chat

        Atlassian, the company behind developer and collaboration tools like JIRA, Confluence and HipChat, today announced that it has acquired the video conferencing service BlueJimp.

        BlueJimp, which is headquartered in Strasbourg, France, is the company behind Jitsi, a popular open-source chat and video conferencing tool. BlueJimp’s technology will replace the current video chat technology that powers Atlassian’s HipChat video features, both in Atlassian’s hosted and on-premise versions.

      • [jitsi-users] Big News!

        BlueJimp has just become part of the Atlassian family, and we’re really excited.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews Matt Lee from The List powered by Creative Commons

      This is the latest installment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab’s series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their works.

    • The Curious History of Komongistan (Busting the term “intellectual property”)

      The purpose of this parable is to illustrate just how misguided the term “intellectual property” is. When I say that the term “intellectual property” is an incoherent overgeneralization, that it lumps together laws that have very little in common, and that its use is an obstacle to clear thinking about any of those laws, many can’t believe I really mean what I say. So sure are they that these laws are related and similar, species of the same genus as it were, that they suppose I am making a big fuss about small differences. Here I aim to show how fundamental the differences are.

      Fifty years ago everyone used to recognize the nations of Korea, Mongolia and Pakistan as separate and distinct. In truth, they have no more in common than any three randomly chosen parts of the world, since they have different geographies, different cultures, different languages, different religions, and separate histories. Today, however, their differentness is mostly buried under their joint label of “Komongistan”.

      Few today recall the marketing campaign that coined that name: companies trading with South Korea, Mongolia and Pakistan called those three countries “Komongistan” as a simple-sounding description of their “field” of activity. (They didn’t trouble themselves about the division of Korea or whether “Pakistan” should include what is now Bangladesh.) This label gave potential investors the feeling that they had a clearer picture of what these companies did, as well as tending to stick in their minds. When the public saw the ads, they took for granted that these countries formed a natural unit, that they had something important in common. First scholarly works, then popular literature, began to talk about Komongistan.

    • GCC 5.1 released

      …major release containing substantial new functionality not available in GCC 4.9.x

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source saves costs at Portugal road authority

      Open source has helped Estradas de Portugal, Portugal’s road authority, to reduce IT costs while increasing flexibility. EP is using Odoo, an open source solution for management assets. Odoo is combined with a proprietary financial reporting system, and is used for managing the government-owned company’s tangible and non-tangible assets.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Internet Security Marketing: Buyer Beware

      As security breaches increasingly make headlines, thousands of Internet security companies are chasing tens of billions of dollars in potential revenue. While we, the authors, are employees of Internet security companies and are happy for the opportunity to sell more products and services, we are alarmed at the kind of subversive untruths that vendor “spin doctors” are using to draw well-intentioned customers to their doors. Constructive criticism is sometimes necessarily harsh, and some might find the following just that, harsh. But we think it’s important that organizations take a “buyers beware” approach to securing their business.

    • Tuesday’s security updates
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • A Horror We Made

      We are directly responsible for the disasters in the Mediterranean. The bombing of Libya into failed state status is now coming back to haunt us. The ludicrous idea, propounded by Blair, Robert Cooper and the Henry Jackson Society, that you could improve dictatorial states by massive bombing campaigns that targeted their basic infrastructure, is now a total bust. Sadly so are Iraq and Libya, to the permanent detriment of many millions of people. We caused both the Islamic State and the Mediterranean boat disasters, and we caused them with bombs.

      [...]

      There will be no security anywhere if the world does not address the terrible scourge of African poverty and under-development. That is a huge subject on which I have written extensively and worked much of my life, and I do not wish to open it here. But what it does show is the utter stupidity – inhumanity yes, but also stupidity – of UKIP in thinking that cutting development aid will increase the economic security of the UK.

    • WH won’t call Armenian killings ‘genocide’

      The White House again will not use the term “genocide” to describe the Ottoman Turks’ massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915.

      Senior administration officials met with leaders from the Armenian-American community Tuesday to discuss the 100th anniversary commemoration of the killings, but a statement summarizing the meeting did not contain the word “genocide.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • “A bathtub ring of oil the size of Rhode Island”: The endless horrors of the BP oil spill

      A blowout at the Macondo oil well five years ago today touched off what has since become known as the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. Oil washed ashore on long stretches of the Gulf of Mexico coast, killing animals and crippling communities. Last week we asked our readers to send us photos, video and written accounts of how the spill continues to affect their lives and livelihoods—including successes and failures in restoring the environment.

      Overall, the responses indicate a few bright spots, but in many cases damage to ecosystems and fishing grounds has simply not been addressed. In large part this is because communities are still waiting for money from the government; 80 percent of the $13 billion BP paid in fines is supposed to go to states and communities most affected by the spill, but the money is still held up, waiting for a federal court to make final rulings on dispersement.

    • New Google Doodle Celebrates Earth Day 2015

      In 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets to spread the message of environmental awareness, and in the process created the first ever Earth Day. To honor what has become a global observance, a new Google Doodle has been created for Earth Day 2015.

    • Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris

      There is a one-in-ten chance of the world being 6C warmer than it is today by 2100 which would lead to cataclysmic changes in the global climate with unimaginable consequences for human civilisation, leading climate researchers have warned in an “Earth Statement”.

      The risk of hitting the highest upper estimate for global warming based on current levels of carbon dioxide emissions is now so high that it is equivalent to tolerating the risk of 10,000 fatal aircraft crashes a day, according to the 17 “Earth League” scientists and economists who have signed the joint statement.

    • TV Reporters Shoot Down BP’s Misleading PR Campaign

      On the five-year anniversary of the worst oil spill in U.S. history, television reporters detailed the devastating environmental and economic impacts still facing the Gulf Coast region today, and directly rebutted BP’s misleading spin. But they should not lose sight of another equally-important part of the story: how increasingly risky and expansive offshore drilling practices, along with insufficient oversight, could lead to another major spill.

  • Finance

    • MtGox insolvent long before collapse – FT.com

      MtGox, a bitcoin trading platform that collapsed early last year, was insolvent long before it went bankrupt because thieves practically cleaned it out, the Financial Times reported Sunday, citing a report by independent investigators.

      Findings by WizSec, an independent consulting firm, showed that bitcoins were periodically being stolen from the Tokyo-based exchange two years before its collapse, the newspaper reported online.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • General Election 2015: If Rupert Murdoch can’t swing it for the Tories, he will lose his grip over Britain

      This newspaper is independent, as its name subtly hints, but its columnists are not. And so, knowing that this can be of no interest to anyone, I declare that I will be voting Labour for the first time since reluctantly overcoming my feelings about Tony Blair and his “project” to do so in 1997.

    • Hillary Clinton–Bolshevik?

      s
      So the basis for referring to Clinton as a “Bolshevik” is her healthcare reform plan–a plan that was specifically designed (not unlike Obamacare) to maintain the role of private insurance companies in the healthcare system (Extra!, 1-2/94).

  • Censorship

    • MPAA Strategized On How To ‘Tell The Positive Side’ Of Internet Censorship

      Back in December, when the Sony emails first leaked, we wrote a detailed post about the bizarre views of the MPAA on site blocking, in that it was absolutely obsessed with putting site blocking in place while admitting it didn’t understand the technical issues. That was based on the reporting done by some reporters who had seen a few of the emails. Now that Wikileaks has released the entire trove, we can discover some more details, like the fact that part of the MPAA’s plan was to figure out how to create pro-censorship propaganda.

    • Twitter announces crackdown on abuse with new filter and tighter rules

      Social network moves to ban indirect threats of violence and introduces temporary suspensions for accounts that fall foul of its policies

  • Privacy

    • French Intelligence Bill: French President Hollande to shut down public debate

      French President François Hollande announced yesterday that he would bring the Intelligence Bill before the Constitutional Council. At the same time there is growing criticism from all sides, previous support in favour of the bill crumbles. In this light, French president’s announcement look nothing more than an evasive action to avoid public debate on crucial provisions. La Quadrature du Net calls on parliamentarians to decide for themselves whether the bill complies or not with fundamental rights and citizens must then hold them accountable.

    • How Tor is building a new Dark Net with help from the U.S. military

      The Dark Net is under attack.

      Actually, it’s always under attack. That’s the smart attitude to take as the spotlight has been turned up on technology like the Tor-anonymizing network. Threats from governments and hackers around the world have pushed Tor’s decade-old hidden service technology to its limits.

      To stay ahead in the security race, Tor is building the next-generation Dark Net in part with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the U.S. military agency charged with inventing the cutting edge of new technology.

    • The FBI’s Stance on Encrypted Communications [written by FBI]
  • Civil Rights

    • Baltimore judge allows police use of Stingray phone tracking in murder case

      A city judge turned back a challenge Monday to the Baltimore Police Department’s use of a controversial cellphone surveillance tool in a murder case, ruling that a suspect can’t complain about police deploying the device to find a stolen phone.

    • Is Merely Explaining The Streisand Effect To Someone A ‘Threat’?

      Ken White, over at Popehat, has a story on the ridiculous situation concerning how lawyer/psychotherapist Jose Arcaya is going after lawyer Scott Greenfield (whose work we often mention around these parts). The history of how it got this far is a bit convoluted, and you can read the full Popehat post for the details, but here’s my shortened version: An apparently unsatisfied former client of Arcaya left a negative review of Arcaya on Yelp. Arcaya sued for defamation, arguing that being called “absolute scum” is not merely an opinion because of the use of the word “total” (which as far as I can tell is not actually used in the review — though perhaps he means “absolute” or perhaps something was edited.

    • ‘Aaron’s Law’ focuses penalties on malicious hackers

      Named for Aaron Swartz — the programmer and digital activist who took his life while facing data theft charges — the bill would ease punishments stemming from the law under which Swartz was charged, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

      Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) is backing the House version; Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Ron Paul (R-Ky.) are supporting the Senate’s companion bill.

      “At its very core, CFAA is an anti-hacking law,” said Lofgren in a statement. “Unfortunately, over time we have seen prosecutors broadening the intent of the act, handing out inordinately severe criminal penalties for less-than-serious violations.”

    • If It Speeds, It Leads: Daredevil’s Media Criticism Is Tough to Swallow

      Take the character Ben Urich, played by Vondie Curtis-Hall. On the show as well as in the comic, Urich is an old-school city reporter whose dogged reporting puts him on the trail of Daredevil’s secret identity. Naturally, you can’t have a journalistic hero without obstacles to overcome, so Urich has an editor who doesn’t want him to pursue the story.

      And here’s where the story gets improbable : The New York City tabloid editor’s objection is that people don’t read crime stories.

      “Another organized crime thing?” says the editor (as transcribed by Romenesko). “It’s not sexy.”

      When Urich explains that the Daredevil story may tie in to an earlier scoop of his, the editor has a memorable dismissal: “And you remember what that expose did for circulation? Dick—with a side of who-gives-a-shit.”

      The editor’s bottom line on crime: “It doesn’t sell papers, Ben! Not anymore.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Facebook’s Zuckerberg Thinks Aggressively Violating Net Neutrality Is Fine…If You Just Mean Well

      As we noted last week, India is in the midst of a heated conversation about net neutrality, as the government puts out feelers to determine how best to define an “open internet.” As part of this conversation, Facebook’s Internet.org initiative has come under particular scrutiny; the platform offering users in some countries walled gardens to a limited crop of zero rated apps and content. While Facebook consistently emphasizes the philanthropic nature of this effort, content companies have been dropping out of the project in droves, arguing that they don’t like the idea of Facebook (or an ISP) determining who does and doesn’t get cap-exempt treatment (and therefore a leg up in the market).

    • La Quadrature du Net upgrades to version 2.1

      A significant choice looms ahead of us: will we let establish societies of surveillance and mass suspicion will we build societies of freedom, collaboration and sharing? To face these historical challenges and thanks to the +6 000 supporters who donated in late 2014, La Quadrature du Net is renewing its team and getting stronger.

  • DRM

    • 4 Crappy Side Effects Of Streaming TV Nobody Saw Coming

      Streaming services are undoubtedly the future of entertainment. Never before has it been so easy and convenient to watch SeaQuest DSV, or whatever show you’re wasting your time on instead. But there’s also a dark side to this breakthrough in boob-tubery — because streaming’s ability to trump the old television system has also irrevocably damaged television in ways we didn’t see coming.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Dotcom Appeals Extradition Delay Ruling, Colleague Lawyerless

        As the battle over Kim Dotcom’s fate continues, the entrepreneur was back in court today appealing the decision not to delay a June extradition hearing. But while Dotcom enjoyed support from a reported 10-strong legal team, former Megaupload colleague Finn Batato appeared lawyerless amid an application for legal aid.

      • Court: Google Can See Emails About MPAA’s Secret ‘SOPA Revival’

        In backroom meetings the MPAA and Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood discussed a plan to bring website blocking and search engine filtering back to the table after the controversial SOPA law failed to pass.

        The plan, dubbed “Project Goliath,” became public through various emails that were released during the Sony Pictures leaks. In a response Google said that it was “deeply concerned” about the developments.

The Dying Debate Over Patent Scope (Including Software Patents) Replaced by ‘Trolls’ (But Not the Biggest Ones)

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents, Samsung at 5:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“In a world where there are $500 million dollar patent infringement lawsuits imposed on OS companies (although this is not completely settled yet), how would somebody like Red Hat compete when 6 months ago they only had $80-$90 million in cash? At that point they could not even afford to settle a fraction of a single judgment without devastating their shareholders. I suspect Microsoft may have 50 or more of these lawsuits in the queue. All of them are not asking for hundreds of millions, but most would be large enough to ruin anything but the largest companies. Red Hat did recently raise several hundred million which certainly gives them more staying power. Ultimately, I do not think any company except a few of the largest companies can offer any reasonable insulation to their customers from these types of judgments. You would need a market cap of more than a couple billion to just survive in the OS space.”

SCO’s Strategic Consultant Mike Anderer

Summary: The corporate media and Web sites or people who are funded by large corporations have essentially suppressed any debate about issues in the patent granting process, thereby guarding software patents and preventing criticism of large corporations’ power grab

WE are deeply disturbed to see the already-elusive debate about patent scope getting lost in the noise, essentially drifting further away. This long post will put forth observations spanning almost 2 months in the English-speaking media.

Apple, which is patenting a lot software, even image editing software (according to Apple propaganda sites), “ramps up patent portfolio to take on Samsung,” to quote the ToryGraph (UK). Samsung is a backer of Android (albeit one that leans towards Microsoft) and it sells the most mobile phones, which run Linux at their core. So, Apple’s anti-Android (using software patents) agenda is very much relevant to the Free/Open Source software community. We have covered this for 5 years (Apple’s attacks on Android using software patents go back to 2010).

“Why does the corporate media not dedicate much space to cover the inherent issues which cause billions in damages to the technology sector?”Is Apple a patent troll? Well, it often behaves like one, but the media reserves the term “trolls” to small entities/actors. We are supposed to believe that Apple is some kind of heroic titan full of innovation, magic, sparkles and wonder, even though manufacturing for Apple is often done by other companies, including the underlying innovations (Samsung, other Korean/Japanese giants, and many Chinese companies make the components of ‘i’ devices).

Why does the corporate media not dedicate much space to cover the inherent issues which cause billions in damages to the technology sector? Why are corporate shakedowns by large corporations not newsworthy (or hardly worth covering)? These should be legitimate questions. Lies by omission are, by all means, lies.

The recent “John Oliver [segment] on patents [is] mostly just a critique of trivial patents and patent trolls but entertaining,” wrote one person among many who saw the HBO coverage. “I didn’t think it was all that funny anyway or maybe I don’t agree with the focus on trolls instead of patent scope,” wrote another person in response to my post. Even TechDirt said that John Oliver chose to focus on “Patent Trolls”. Since when is the patent issue simply reducible to “trolls”? What happened to the fierce debates over patent scope, as those which were of daily recurrence less than a decade ago? The problem of scope has not been addressed. It’s definitely not resolved.

One article that we found some time ago (a week back) portrayed the issue as “poorly written software patents”. To quote in full: “Congress is expected to take up legislation this year that would make it tougher to claim patent infringement.

“The bill has become a top lobbying priority this year for the tech industry, which says it repeatedly fends off frivolous lawsuits because of poorly written software patents and laws that favor patent holders.”

“There oughtn’t be patents on software in the first place.”The problem is software patents, not “poorly written software patents”. There oughtn’t be patents on software in the first place. They cost a lot of money and their toll on society would probably weigh at hundreds of billions of dollars (aggregated over the years worldwide).

Referring to the US-centric ITC, the British media recently shifted focus to patent trolls yet again. “US trade watchdog ITC needs reform to end $bn blackmail,” it said. What about software patents? Are they off topic now?

Consider press releases such as this one about how the USPTO “will grant RES Software two patents for its technological innovations Dynamic Rule Management and Taskbar Affinity.”

This is a couple of software patents. The USPTO is still granting those, despite changes following a SCOTUS ruling.

What was probably most frustrating this month would have to be Associated Press. It unleashed a lot of biased or narrow articles which lay virtually all blame on “trolls”. Consider this article [1, 2, 3]. The Associated Press (AP) set the tone for some widely-spreading AP reports [1, 2, 3] put only “Patent trolls” in the headlines. See for example the article “This year’s fight for the tech industry: Patent trolls”.

The Associated Press helped spread this kind of assumption under different headlines around the world [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and so did PBS/NPR (Bill Gates-funded), among other large news networks.

“What are politicians going to think? It’s like they are being lobbied by large corporations through the corporate media (often owned directly by those corporations).”Where is the focus on patent scope? What are politicians going to think? It’s like they are being lobbied by large corporations through the corporate media (often owned directly by those corporations).

The political debate has already been perturbed. Watch what Chuck Grassley says. We can see politicians only ever speaking about “trolls” (or “Abusive Patent Litigation” to use Grassley’s term). Consider this report titled “Dem senator looking to slow ‘patent troll’ debate”. To quote: “Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) is trying to end the rush to get a bill through Congress to rein in “patent trolls.”

“Judging by the speedy approval of the Innovation Act in the House last Congress, Coons said many members might not be in tune with the debate.”

They call it “Innovation Act”, but all it does is target trolls. It does nothing to or about innovation. It just helps large corporations push aside patent trolls, except themselves.

“Regarding the Innovation Act”, another article about this misleadingly-named bill, says: “As a student at the University of Minnesota, one of the top research universities in the nation, I am greatly concerned with the proposed legislation dealing with patent reform. I agree there is a need to cut down on abusive patent practices under the current law by so-called “patent trolls.” However, current legislation in Congress is too broad in addressing this problem. The unintended consequences of the Innovation Act are too great to ignore.”

Well, that is not the issue. The analysis above, courtesy of a student, is too shallow and does little to actually show what’s wrong with the so-called ‘Innovation Act’. the “Innovation Act” as they call it is just a wishlist of large corporations. That’s not to say that patent trolls are not a problem at all; they’re mostly a symptom of a much larger problem. What the “Innovation Act” would do is tackle only some actors while leaving large corporations exempt from reform. Rather than call it “Innovation Act” we should call it “The Large Corporations’ Act”.

“532,900,000 Reasons Why We Need Patent Reform Now” is the headline from TechDirt in which a ruling about software patents (or relating to software patents) gets mentioned. TechDirt writes: “Over the last year, there’s been plenty of good news in the fight against the abuse of patents to stifle innovation. A bunch of court rulings have gone the right way, with the biggest being the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Alice v. CLS Bank case, that has resulted in many courts invalidating patents, the US Patent Office suddenly rejecting more patents and a rapid decline in patent lawsuits.”

“A real reform would tackle the patents, not the actors who use them.”A real reform would tackle the patents, not the actors who use them. Many of these actors are parasites, but one can generalise the means, not the ends.

“Conservatives and Patent Reform,” an article by Gary Shapiro, alludes to the above and says: “A serious case can be made that they should reconsider their opposition.”

With or without a bogus bill that does little or nothing to tackle the core issue we will all remain between a rock and a hard place. The problem of “trolls” is being overly exaggerated (not dealing with the patents they so often use) in stories like ““Shopping cart” patent troll shamelessly keeps litigating, and losing”. Corporate media pundits like Bill Snyder also play a role in the misdirection, with articles like “Patent trolls are on the run, but not vanquished yet” or “Why Congress must ensure ‘game over’ for patent trolls” (from The Hill).

It sure looks like the corporations hijacked the debate, it’s all about “trolls” now. Debate over patents must focus on patent scope, yet all the large corporations want us to obsess over trolls (smaller trolls than them). “The FTC should release an interim report to help patent reform,” said this other headline from The Hill and on the third of April we learned from this site that “Conservatives wrong to oppose patent reform” (the bogus reform, not the reform that is actually needed).

In the Web sites of patent lawyers we learn of “Two signs that patent reform momentum may be slowing” and get told the typical myth of “Startups and Patents”. Patents are protectionism for large corporations and only a waste of time and money for startups, which can usually not sue large corporations because it would get them sued back, using a much larger heap of patents from these large corporations.

A recent article by Glyn Moody was titled “Does Patent Licensing by Patent Trolls – Or Anyone – Serve A Useful Purpose?”

Moody alludes to a “paper [which] also provides yet more evidence that the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act, designed to encourage the commercialization of research results through licensing, actually turns universities into patent trolls — something that Techdirt has discussed before. Although the authors suggest that further research is needed to confirm their results, it already seems pretty clear that both patent trolls and Bayh-Dole need to go.”

“When some nonsense like “Innovation Act” says it targets “trolls” what it actually means to say is that it targets small entities with no real products. These are a nuisance to large corporations because the corporations cannot sue back (there are no products to sue over).”Yes, universities too can act like patent trolls, not just large corporations do. When some nonsense like “Innovation Act” says it targets “trolls” what it actually means to say is that it targets small entities with no real products. These are a nuisance to large corporations because the corporations cannot sue back (there are no products to sue over).

There was recently some discussion about the case of Life360, including the ‘Dear Piece of Shit’ letter. “Fresh off his patent win against a company called AGIS,” said one trolls expert, “Life360 CEO Chris Hulls has published an op-ed advising other companies on how to respond to similar patent threats.” Here is more from the same expert: “In May 2014, Life360 CEO Chris Hulls received an aggressive patent demand letter. The letter, from lawyers representing a company called Advanced Ground Information Systems (AGIS), told him he needed to pay for a “royalty-bearing license” to its four patents, or Life360 and its customers would have to “cease and desist” from infringement.

“In other words: pay up, or shut down your company.”

In the case of large corporations it would be “pay up, or we’ll block imports.” It can also be “pay up, reduce your revenue/increase running costs, pass costs to your customers”.

How is that different from what Apple is doing? How is that different from Microsoft’s patent extortion? It’s only semantics and labels (“trolls”), revolving around either scale or branding. The debate has been littered with propaganda, so a lot of people have been systematically incited against “trolls” while ignoring the broader picture.

Over a month ago there was a large online argument over trolls because “Patent trolls serve valuable role in innovation, Stanford expert says”. Defending patent trolls is not unthinkable, especially from universities where trolling has become a common practice (we have covered some examples over the years). Stanford staff, some allege, was probably paid to say that or has some conflict of interest. But we suspect the cause of this stance is different. This whole “Stanford” story (it was framed as a Stanford thing, despite involving just one person) led to some strong responses from ‘anti-trolls’ (and trolls only) sites [1, 2, 3], with one arguing that proof is required. To give some background to this (quoting the above): “So-called patent trolls may actually benefit inventors and the innovation economy, according to a Stanford intellectual property expert.

“Stephen Haber, a Stanford political science professor, suggests in new research that concerns about too much litigation involving patents is misguided.”

“There’s almost a refusal to return to talking about patent scope.”The obsession over patent trolls is what bothers us the most, not the stance — however dumb — of Stephen Haber. There’s almost a refusal to return to talking about patent scope. One site that focuses on trolls (“Patent Progress”) lobbies hard for the “Innovation Act”, stating in one of its headlines: “If the Innovation Act Is Bad For Patents, Why Do Large Patent Owners Support It?”

Those “Large Patent Owners” are large corporations, such as those which are funding “Patent Progress” (through CCIA). Watch the tone of recent posts. It’s like lobbying on behalf of large corporations. Another post says “Professor Stephen Haber of Stanford recently came out with a paper that, according to him, “suggests in new research that concerns about too much litigation involving patents is misguided.”

Well, the real issue is too much patent granting, not too much litigation, which usually is simply the result of too much patent granting. Tackle patent scope, not scale of plaintiffs.

Here is a recent “I.P. Scholars’ Letter to Congress re Patent Reform”. “This open letter to Congress,” says the abstract, “signed by 51 economics and legal scholars, responds to claims that there is little empirical evidence available to assess the performance of the American patent system. The letter explains that a large and increasing body of evidence indicates that the net effect of patent litigation is to raise the cost of innovation and inhibit technological progress. The letter also includes a bibliography of relevant empirical studies of patent litigation.”

Why focus on patent litigation and not the scope of patents foolishly being granted by the USPTO?

Covering patents have become frustrating in the sense that mega-corporations keep distracting from the real debate(s), lobbying for laws that instead protect only themselves. A lot of blogs that proclaim to be speaking for patent reform are actually tools of large corporations that fund them. Pseudo activism (lobbying) is when you’d be led to believe that you’re reading from real activists while in reality they’re tools of corporate power. The academics (non-’IP’ academics, i.e. not boosters of the parasitic elements) want software patents and other software patents to end, but corporations want to demolish only their own competition and rivals, thus they focus on ‘trolls’ and the corporate media helps them achieve this.

“Well, the real issue is too much patent granting, not too much litigation, which usually is simply the result of too much patent granting.”The EFF, a relatively independent (from corporations) activism group, now says it is “Fighting for Patent Reform in Washington, D.C.”. Having just tackled the infamous podcasting patent as part of a broader new action to take on software patents, the EFF receives a lot of positive publicity [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18]. Can real change come about this way? Is the EFF influential enough?

There is currently another piece of useless ‘reform’, but nothing is as bad as the America Invents Act, which we wrote about before. “Using the new Post Grant Review and Inter Partes Review procedures in the America Invents Act,” Steph writes, “hedge funds are extorting money from pharmaceutical companies by either filing or threatening to file for re-exam.”

When it comes to pharmaceutical patents, there is no lack of articles about “trolls”, including pro-trolls articles. There are anti-reform lawyers writing about it because to patent lawyers the trolling can be good business; their main concern is that it harms the legitimacy of the system through which they prey on real (producing) workers, acting more like parasites than scientists or even lawyers.

The Patents Gold Rush Continues

Posted in Patents at 3:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gold rush
Gold rush memories

Summary: The morbid obsession with monopolising mere ideas still dominates the media, even increasingly in China

LAST month we came across a lot of pro-patents propaganda. One lawyers’ site gave us what it called “WIPO facts and figures” and several sites framed US universities as some kind of champions of patents (see for example [1, 2, 3, 4]). Local news networks tried to turn this into a local issue, e.g. in Tennessee [1, 2] and in Washington, D.C. Even China jumped into this bandwagon and conflated patents with “innovation”. Large corporations in China have increasingly grown patents-greedy and now lead the charts in terms of the number of patents. This is protectionism. To call it “innovation” is simply misleading.

“The most disturbing fact is perhaps the deemphasis of real patent debates.”This is all somewhat disturbing because the obsession with patents, which was typically a north American thing (and to a lesser degree Japanese-Korean), is now spreading to China, which was historically associated with knockoffs and cloning.

This whole cult-like mentality of proponents of patents is occasionally being challenged; while patent lawyers continue to cheer for a future full of patents (more then ever before) there are those willing to ask, “Do patents still work in today’s fast-moving tech landscape?”

The National Post (Canada) published exactly one month ago a piece titled “Getting patents right”. It’s a rebuttal to lobbyists who want yet more patents, even when it’s clearly against the public interests. Richard Gold said that “Canadians would be saddled with an extraordinary number of patents that would have deterred other researchers from investigating the use of known drugs for novel uses.” The same applies to software, among other fields.

The most disturbing fact is perhaps the deemphasis of real patent debates. It has all been reduced to “trolls” now. We shall cover this in the next post.

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