05.18.15

Links 18/5/2015: Russia Chooses Jolla, Many New Distro Releases, Meizu Devices

Posted in News Roundup at 1:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Goodbye and Thanks

    After over seven years of publishing, this is the last column on the Open Enterprise blog. You can access all 1400 posts from the complete listing in reverse chronological order; if you want to start at the beginning you can use this page.) For my last post, I thought it might be interesting to pick out some of the key events that have taken place in open source and its related fields during that time. It’s pretty astonishing how much has happened, and how much has been achieved. As I said in one of my recent posts, free software has definitely won, but it’s certainly not finished. Thanks for sharing that amazing journey.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Expands Moat Around Extensions for the Chrome Browser

        A couple of years ago, Google declared war on extensions for the Chrome browser not hosted on the Chrome Web Store. As the Chromium blog made clear: “Many services bundle useful companion extensions, which causes Chrome to ask whether you want to install them (or not). However, bad actors have abused this mechanism, bypassing the prompt to silently install malicious extensions that override browser settings and alter the user experience in undesired ways, such as replacing the New Tab Page without approval.”

    • Mozilla

      • Developer Catchup: Rust 1.0 and Node reunification

        First up, Rust has reached version 1.0, though this is an announcement that was hardly unexpected. It has a lot to live up to given the Rust web site goes for such unloaded language as “blazingly fast, prevents nearly all segfaults, and guarantees thread safety”. The real test for Rust, at least for me, is how well Servo, Mozilla’s browser written in Rust and the application Rust was created with in mind. It seems this is the best possible test case, so…

      • Firefox 38.0.5 Beta 1 Brings Hello Improvements And Pocket Integration

        Recently, Firefox 38.0.5 Beta has been released, bringing a bunch of new features. While the first Beta version of Firefox 39 was expected, Mozilla has released a new Beta version for Firefox 38, which is unexpected and does not happen too often.

  • Funding

    • First Step

      On 27th April, 2015 with the announcement of selected students for GSoC 2015, my upcoming adventurous summer was set to begin.

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD Now Supports Encrypted SWAP

      For DragonFlyBSD users out there, the swap device with the latest Git kernel can now be encrypted.

      It’s trivial with the newest DragonFlyBSD code as of this weekend to support an encrypted swap. The commit by DragonFlyBSD founder Matthew Dillon explains, “Implement crypting of the swap device. When enabled in this manner /dev/urandom is used to generate a 256-bit random key and the base device is automatically cryptsetup and mapped, making crypted swap trivial. Implement the ‘crypt’ fstab option, so swapon -a and swapoff -a work as expected for crypted swap. Again, the base device (e.g. /dev/da0s1b) should be specified. The option will automatically map it with cryptsetup and swap on the mapping.”

    • bsdtalk253 – George Neville-Neil

      An interview with George Neville-Neil about the recently published 2nd edition of The Design and Implementation of the FreeBSD Operating System.

    • PC-BSD 10.1.2 Brings New PersonaCrypt Utility

      PC-BSD 10.1.2 was released today as the latest quarterly update to the FreeBSD-derived operating system.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • School: open source reduces PC troubleshooting

      Using open source in school greatly reduces the time needed to troubleshoot PCs, shows the case of the Colegio Agustinos de León (Augustinian College of León, Spain). In 2013, the school switched to using Ubuntu Linux for its desktop PCs in class rooms and offices. For teachers and staff, the amount of technical issues decreased by 63 per cent and in the school’s computer labs by 90 per cent, says Fernando Lanero, computer science teacher and head of the school’s IT department.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Azul joins Eclipse Foundation and brings open source, multiplatform Java SE to developers and the IoT

      As a Solution-level member of the Eclipse Foundation, Azul will be actively participating in the Eclipse Foundation’s IoT working group. Azul’s latest open source offering, Zulu Embedded, provides developers and manufacturers in the embedded, mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) markets with a robust, flexible open source alternative to traditional embedded Java implementations. Zulu Embedded is particularly relevant to organisations that require customisable, multiplatform, reduced-footprint, and standards compliant Java SE runtimes and development solutions. Launched in March 2015, Zulu Embedded is already installed in over 2 million devices worldwide.

Leftovers

  • Dartmouth Park residents demand night-sky darkness be protected in the neighbourhood

    House-hunters scouting north London’s most rarefied streets once had a simple wish list for their perfect home: a south-facing garden, parking space for a 4×4, room to expand into the loft. Throw in a good school and a walk to Hampstead Heath.

    But residents in Dartmouth Park now have an extra demand: pitch blackness outside their bedroom walls when the sun goes down. In fact, conservation groups have become so worried about the “quality of darkness” in their area at night that they have asked for town planners to consider how it can be protected when new home improvement applications are sent to Camden Council.

    The Dartmouth Park Conservation Area Advisory Committee, a group of local residents and conservationists who examine all homeowner planning applications for work, insists that its neighbourhood is “semi-rural”, regardless of its inner London postcode, and that the night-sky darkness must be protected.

  • Science

    • Schools that ban mobile phones see better academic results

      It is a question that keeps some parents awake at night. Should children be allowed to take mobile phones to school? Now economists claim to have an answer. For parents who want to boost their children’s academic prospects, it is no.

      The effect of banning mobile phones from school premises adds up to the equivalent of an extra week’s schooling over a pupil’s academic year, according to research by Louis-Philippe Beland and Richard Murphy, published by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics.

  • Security

    • Chris Roberts Denies He Hacked Planes, Made Them Climb From His Seat

      Did Chris Roberts hack a plane? Possibly. Did he hack a plane such that he could gain access to critical flight systems from the comfort of his seat, and possibly even alter the plane’s movement during the flight itself? Possibly.

      The entire affair came into the public eye when Roberts sent a now-famous tweet from a United Airlines flight on April 15: “Find myself on a 737/800, lets see Box-IFE-ICE-SATCOM, ? Shall we start playing with EICAS messages? “PASS OXYGEN ON” Anyone ? :)”

      The first response to that tweet—”…aaaaaand you’re in jail. :)”—didn’t quite happen, as Roberts has yet to be charged with a crime for his alleged security probing. According to Roberts, he never connected his laptop to any Seat Electronic Box (SEB) on that specific flight, the means by which he could probe the plane’s networks and, possibly, its control systems. FBI agents, noticing that the SEBs under the seats where Roberts had been sitting showed signs of tampering, didn’t seem to believe him.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Navy whistleblower on the run after exposing alleged Trident safety failings

      The police and Royal Navy are hunting for a whistleblower who is on the run after publishing a dossier of alleged security failings on board Trident nuclear submarines.

      Able Seaman William McNeilly, 25, a newly qualified engineer, claimed that Britain’s nuclear deterrent was a “disaster waiting to happen” in a report detailing 30 alleged safety and security breaches.

      He wrote that a chronic manpower shortage meant that “it’s just a matter of time before we’re infiltrated by a psychopath or a terrorist; with this amount of people getting pushed through”.

      The Ministry of Defence has launched an investigation into the claims, published in a 19-page report titled The Secret Nuclear Threat, which it said contained a “number of subjective and unsubstantiated personal views … with which the Naval Service completely disagrees”.

    • US drone strike kills six ‘militants’ in Pakistan

      A security official said that the drone fired two missiles at a ‘hideout’.

      “Six militants were killed and two injured in the attack,” he said.

      The death toll is feared to rise as those injured in drone attacks seldom survive.

    • US Drone Strike Kills Five in North Waziristan

      Three of the five were reported to be ethnic Uzbeks, and Pakistani officials dubbed the house destroyed in the strike a “suspected Taliban compound.”

      [...]

      The US claims to have a secret “understanding” with Pakistan on such drone strikes, something that was reached back during the Musharraf junta, but the Sharif government has denied any such deals.

    • Family of Hostage Killed in Drone Strike Want Hostage Czar
    • Family of U.S. captive killed by drone backs hostage czar idea
    • Family of US Captive Killed by Drone Backs Hostage Czar

      The family of an American captive killed in a drone strike said Wednesday it would welcome the creation of a hostage czar to coordinate government efforts to free those held.

      Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., introduced legislation last week to set up a “czar,” soon after President Barack Obama apologized for a drone strike in January that accidentally killed Warren Weinstein of Maryland and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian citizen. The strike targeted an al-Qaida compound along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

    • Lawmaker introduces hostage legislation after Maryland man is killed in drone strike

      Rep John Delaney has introduced legislation that he hopes would enable the government to better coordinate its efforts to rescue Americans captured overseas.

    • ACLU calls on Obama for probes, disclosure of drone strikes which kill civilians

      The American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and several other human rights groups are asking President Obama to begin investigating all civilian deaths and injuries resulting from U.S. counterterrorism drone strikes and to make the results of those investigations public.

    • Human rights groups urge Obama to acknowledge civilian drone strike deaths

      Following President Obama’s acknowledgement that a US drone strike killed an Italian and US citizen held in Pakistan, and his announcement of an independent investigation into the strike, a group of human rights organisations have urged the President to do the same for other US drone strikes in which civilians were killed.

    • Human Rights Groups to Obama: Investigate All Civilian Victims of Drone Strikes

      In January, a barrage of American missiles struck a suspected Al Qaeda hideout in Pakistan. Unbeknownst to intelligence officials, however, American Warren Weinstein and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto, both kidnapped aid workers, were held hostage inside and died in the attack. Then three weeks ago, after a preliminary investigation, President Obama did something wholly unprecedented in his global war of “targeted killings”: he stepped up to a podium in the White House and apologized to Weinstein and Lo Porto’s families.

    • Yemen officials say some ground fighting after cease-fire

      There were reports of continued ground fighting in some areas, with security officials and witnesses saying fierce combat broke out about a half hour after the cease-fire began when rebels tried to storm the southern city of Dhale, firing tank shells, rockets and mortars. But no airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition battling the rebels were reported.

    • 17 Afghan Taliban militants killed in US drone strike

      At least 17 suspected Taliban members died in a US drone strike in eastern Afghanistan, sources from the police and NATO told Efe news agency on Tuesday.

    • Unknown Surveillance Drone crashes in Somalia, militants take wreckage

      Unknown drone has crashed in a remote area in South-Western Somalia as cause of the crash is still unclear, Horseed Media reports.

    • Suspected US drone crashes in Shabaab-held Somali town

      Locals in Somalia’s Burhakaba city told Anadolu Agency that the drone crashed in the nearby Bashir town earlier on Sunday.

    • Al-Shabaab claims control of US drone in Somalia

      The Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab on Sunday said it has captured a drone which fell down in the Bay region of Somalia.

      The militants said they were in possession of the drone which they claimed belonged to the United States after it came down near El Bashir village.

    • Drone warfare

      But does his death put an end to terrorism? No. In fact, ever since America’s drone campaign reached Yemen, al-Qaeda’s presence in the Arabian Peninsula has intensified, which has sparked debate concerning the counter productivity of drone warfare. The Washington Post reported a doubling of AQAP core insurgents in Yemen since the first strike in 2009. Theorists argue the reason for the amplification of terrorism in drone-affected regions stems from exacerbated anti-Americanism, which each drone strike ultimately spurs on.

    • Don’t let armed drones ease the path to conflict, US bishops warn

      In a May 11 letter to U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice, the bishops said leaders should consider the “full cost” of drone warfare.

      “Drones provoke anxiety among populations where there are targets, inflicting psychological damage on innocent civilians who live in constant fear they may be hurt or killed and listed as ‘collateral damage.’ This fear and civilian casualties feed into increasing hostility towards the United States so that many say the use of armed drones in these targeted killings is counterproductive to establishing and sustaining longer-term security relationships with countries where drones are used,” they said.

      Armed drone technology has the potential for “much harm,” the bishops continued. More countries are acquiring drones and government spending on the technology is rapidly increasing.

      Armed drones may be used excessively due to their low initial costs, the bishops warned. This risks expanding conflict zones and increasing the likelihood for war. The use of surveillance drones by China, Japan and the Philippines have worsened tensions over disputed territories.

    • India is the world’s top importer of drones

      The decision by India’s National Disaster Response Force to use drones to help Nepal map the scale of devastation caused by last month’s earthquake indicates how India has enthusiastically taken to these pilot-less aircraft — the so-called eyes in the sky.

      With 22.5 per cent the world’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imports, between 1985 and 2014, India ranks first among drone-importing nations, followed by United Kingdom and France. UAVs, or drones as they are commonly known, are pilotless aerial vehicles used for reconnaissance, surveillance, intelligence gathering and aerial combat missions.

    • India tops list of drone-importing nations

      With 22.5 percent the world’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imports, between 1985 and 2014, India ranks first among drone-importing nations, followed by United Kingdom and France. UAVs, or drones as they are commonly known, are pilotless aerial vehicles used for reconnaissance, surveillance, intelligence gathering and aerial combat missions.

    • The Drone Apologists

      Rather than make vague and contradictory statements about the success of drone strikes in eliminating the jihadi threat, journalists should concentrate on the concrete damage drones are doing to both US security and rule of law. It is necessary and natural that a nation that opposes tyranny and advocates for the rule of law would examine the danger inherent in giving the president the power to determine life and death based on questionable intelligence. But the Post confirms without a hint of indignation that signature strikes “do not require a finding that the targets pose an imminent threat to the United States, though they must still involve a judgment of ‘near certainty’ that no civilians will be killed.” In the least US citizens should demand what “near certainty” means and to whom the term “civilian” applies. The slope becomes very slippery when the president labels those targeted and all military age males collaterally killed as terrorists. A 2014 analysis conducted by The Guardian found that 41 targeted drone assassinations had led to 1,147 deaths. Contrary to limiting the terrorist problem, these numbers would indicate that terrorist ranks might be filled with those seeking revenge against arbitrary US assault.

    • Your Call: What’s driving the Obama administration’s drone policy?
    • Warren Weinstein and the law are casualties of U.S. drone war (Commentary)

      Though U.S. media didn’t make much of it, Malala made a point of emphasizing that drone strikes fuel terrorism.

    • McCain: SASC Discussing Drone-Shift Language

      Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain says the panel will include language that would shift America’s armed drone program to the Pentagon, rather than leave the matter to the full chamber.

      [...]

      “I think it should be conducted [with] oversight and administered by the Depart­ment of Defense. I don’t believe the drone program ought to be run out by the CIA,” McCain said, adding it “should be operated exclusively out of the Pentagon.”

    • Push on to transfer drone lead to Pentagon
    • Revealed: Britain has flown 301 Reaper drone missions against ISIS in Iraq, firing at least 102 missiles

      Britain’s Royal Air Force carried out 301 Reaper drone missions over Iraq between the start of UK operations against Isis last September and the end of March, firing a total of 102 Hellfire missiles on 87 separate occasions, according to new Ministry of Defence figures.

      The numbers were obtained by the Drone Wars UK organisation, which also reveals today that RAF Tornados carried out 115 strikes in Iraq during the same period.

    • Andrew Cockburn: How our drone policy backfires

      How could this be? How could the loss of capable and charismatic leaders not degrade their group? The answer may lie in a little-known study carried out in Iraq in 2007 by a small semisecret unit, the Combat Operations Intelligence Center. Targeting “high value individuals” was the principal U.S. strategy in Iraq, and the COIC analysts were interested to see whether it worked. They took the list of 200 “IED cell leaders” eliminated between June and October 2007 and looked at the results.

    • Fighting rages on in Yemen, killing 10, as humanitarian ceasefire draws to an end

      At least 10 people were killed in overnight battles between Houthis and militiamen in the Yemeni city of Taiz, residents and medical sources said on Sunday.

    • UN envoy urges extension of Yemen humanitarian truce
    • UN Yemen envoy calls for truce to be extended for 5 days

      The United Nations envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, called on a Saudi-led military coalition and the country’s warring parties to extend by five more days a ceasefire set to expire on Sunday evening.

    • 1 dead, 21 hurt as plane carrying Marines crashes in Hawaii

      HONOLULU (AP) – Smoke and fire rushed from a crash site in Hawaii after a U.S. Marine Osprey went down in a “hard landing,” killing one Marine and injuring 21 other people, some critically.

    • Deadly gun battle deepens Macedonian crisis; 22 killed

      Macedonia said on Sunday its police had wiped out a group of ethnic Albanian veterans of insurgencies in ex-Yugoslavia in a day-long gun battle that left at least 22 dead and deepened fears of instability following months of political crisis.

    • ISIS buys arms, ammo from US-supported rebels – investigative journalist

      The Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) is an enigma: most of what we know about it comes from the brutal media apparatus of the IS itself. It lets everyone see executions and war the terrorists are waging – but still, how does life go under jihadist rule? One man decided to find out for himself, spending 10 days in the ‘capital city’ of the IS and coming back alive. Today, investigative journalist Jürgen Todenhöfer tells his story to Sophie Shevardnadze.

    • Sudan unsure where downed drone came from

      Army says it shot down a reconnaissance aircraft after residents report hearing explosions near military site

    • Israel has ‘no knowledge’ of drone shot down in Sudan

      Arab media has cited the Sudanese army as saying it shot down an Israeli drone in the Valley of the Prophet whilst Israel claimed it had no knowledge of such an incident.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Recharge pools could help quench future California droughts

      THE worst recorded drought in California’s history has forced state regulators to restrict people’s water use by a quarter. In the long-run, though, climate change and limited supply mean the state must radically change the way it manages water, particularly below ground.

  • Finance

    • McConnell: Senate to pass fast-track soon

      Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday that the Senate would pass legislation aimed at facilitating pending trade agreements being sought by the Obama administration.

    • Paul Ryan: Fast-track ‘gaining steam’

      Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Sunday that an effort to give President Obama the ability to fast-track trade deals his administration is currently negotiating is moving along.

      “We will have the votes. We’re doing very well. We’re gaining a lot of steam and momentum,” Ryan said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    • Senate Reverses Course and Advances TPP Fast Track Bill

      The U.S. Senate advanced the Fast Track bill today in a rushed vote following a slew of concessions made to swing Democrats who had voted to block it earlier this week. The setback on Tuesday could have forced proponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and other secretive, anti-user trade agreements to go back to the drawing board to come up with a new bill. Unfortunately, Senate leaders were able to get around this impasse within 48 hours by agreeing to let Democrats vote on some other trade-enforcement measures first before holding the vote on Fast Track.

    • OBAMA’S DRONE ASSASSINATIONS AND TPP = TOUGH PATOOTIES, PEOPLE

      CEO Obama rules Plutocracy through fear, intimidation and secrecy.

  • Privacy

    • The Democratization of Cyberattack

      When I was working with the Guardian on the Snowden documents, the one top-secret program the NSA desperately did not want us to expose was QUANTUM. This is the NSA’s program for what is called packet injection–basically, a technology that allows the agency to hack into computers.

    • How we sold our souls – and more – to the internet giants

      From TVs that listen in on us to a doll that records your child’s questions, data collection has become both dangerously intrusive and highly profitable. Is it time for governments to act to curb online surveillance?

    • Use privacy software if you want to be safe from Facebook, warns watchdog

      A Belgian watchdog has urged all Internet users to download privacy software specifically to shield themselves from Facebook’s grasp.

      The social network has been under fire for the ways in which it tracks user and non-user behaviour online, without consent, most recently becoming the target of a Europe-wide lawsuit headed up by activist Max Schrems.

    • UK government quietly rewrites hacking laws to give GCHQ immunity

      The UK government has quietly passed new legislation that exempts GCHQ, police, and other intelligence officers from prosecution for hacking into computers and mobile phones.

      While major or controversial legislative changes usually go through normal parliamentary process (i.e. democratic debate) before being passed into law, in this case an amendment to the Computer Misuse Act was snuck in under the radar as secondary legislation. According to Privacy International, “It appears no regulators, commissioners responsible for overseeing the intelligence agencies, the Information Commissioner’s Office, industry, NGOs or the public were notified or consulted about the proposed legislative changes… There was no public debate.”

      Privacy International also suggests that the change to the law was in direct response to a complaint that it filed last year. In May 2014, Privacy International and seven communications providers filed a complaint with the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), asserting that GCHQ’s hacking activities were unlawful under the Computer Misuse Act.

  • Civil Rights

    • Pop-Tart gun bill set for Nevada Senate vote next week

      Students could bring a small toy gun to school, point their finger like a gun or — yes — even brandish “a partially consumed pastry or other food item to simulate a firearm” under a bill that has two steps to go before becoming law in Nevada.

    • Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi sentenced to death

      An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced former President Mohammed Morsi and 120 others to death for a mass prison break in 2011 that saw Hosni Mubarak, who was president at that time, being ousted from power. Most of the others accused in the case were tried in absentia. The next hearing of the case was set for June 2, with Judge Shaaban el-Shami’s decision being referred to the country’s Grand Mufti for a non-binding opinion. Morsi, the first democratically elected President of the country, was removed from power by General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in July 2013.

    • Jerusalem Day March to Pass Through Muslim Quarter

      The Israeli Supreme Court ruled that an annual march to celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem, scheduled for May 17, can proceed as planned despite fears of anti-Arab violence. At the same time, the justices said the police must arrest and indict anyone who shouts racist slogans. Two dovish Israeli organizations had petitioned the court, asking them to change the route of the march, which celebrates Israel’s “reunification” and annexation of east Jerusalem in 1967. In past years there has been nationalistic violence and most Palestinians are forced to close their shops and stay inside their homes. Last year, clashes broke out when masked Palestinian youths attacked police officers with stones and then barricaded themselves inside the al-Aqsa mosque. Israel says that east Jerusalem is part of its united capital, while Palestinians say that east Jerusalem must be the future capital of a Palestinian state.

    • Will Israel Charge Soldiers In Gaza Civilian Deaths?

      By the end of July during last summer’s war in the Gaza Strip, more than 3,000 Palestinians crowded into a United Nations-run elementary school in Jabaliya, a northern Gaza town. They had moved there for temporary shelter after the Israeli military warned them to leave their homes.

      An hour before dawn on July 30, explosions shook the classrooms and the courtyard, all packed with people.

      Mahmoud Jaser was camped outside with his sons.

      “We were sleeping when the attack started. As we woke up, it got worse,” he said.

      Shrapnel hit Jaser in the back. Three of his sons were also hurt. About 100 people were injured overall. Almost 20 were killed.

    • US admits must ‘do better’ on police practices

      The United States acknowledged before the UN Monday that it has not done enough to uphold civil rights laws, following a string of recent killings of unarmed black men by police.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • China, Russia Seek New Internet World Order

      China and Russia have made little attempt to hide their geopolitical ambitions. Militarily, each has asserted a right to terrain not recognized as theirs. Economically, the two have designs on gaining a greater foothold in the world marketplace, Western roadblocks be damned.

      And while an unprecedented pact not to deploy network hackers against each other may prove largely symbolic, it’s yet another glaring sign of the two countries’ shared desire to shake up a world order largely dominated by the U.S. since the end of World War II.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Complained So We Seized Your Funds, PayPal Says

        Developers considering adding a torrent search engine to their portfolio should proceed with caution, especially if they value their income streams. Following a complaint from the MPAA one developer is now facing a six month wait for PayPal to unfreeze thousands in funds, the vast majority related to other projects.

      • RIAA Cuts More Jobs, Awards Bonuses to Execs

        The RIAA continues to reduce its workforce, which has been slashed in half in just five years. According to the organization’s latest tax return the RIAA now employs 55 people. The group’s top three executives account for a quarter of all salaries paid, including several sizable bonuses.

Even Converting an Image to Greyscale is Now a Patent

Posted in Patents at 8:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Simple mathematics becoming patented as Fujifilm claims ‘ownership’ of photographic conversion to greyscale

IN my field of expertise (research profession), which is computer graphics/vision (fundamentally a lot of matrix maths), there has been a big growth in the number of patents. These are all software patents and they are typically filed in the US because the USPTO is far too permissive. This makes it virtually impossible or at least very risky to bring software to the US; almost everything in a computer program these days can be considered patent infringement and if not, then you may be forced to prove this at a court of law, at your own expense. It harms the ability to distribute software (at zero cost), not just develop software. It is a huge impediment to research and development. This only protects monopolies and giant multinationals. It makes them untouchable.

An article published the other day by a Microsoft-friendly programming-oriented site showed that even converting an image to greyscale is now a patent trap. “There are so many instances where software patents are clearly stupid,” said the author, “but this one has to be seen to be believed. As long as you see it in color there should be no patent problems.”

The author correctly pointed out that: “Those skilled in the art almost certainly knew how to convert an RGB image into greyscale long before the patent.”

This means that such a patent should never have been granted in the first place. This system is just corrupt, defunct, or striving to maximise profit rather than serve the public.

It is worth also seeing the new article titled “The strange things you need to do to file patents in the US”. The sad thing is that the EPO seems to be assimilating (attaching itself) to the USPTO over time, so computer scientists everywhere must fight back. If everything can be deemed illegal, everyone is a criminal. If every creation is “infringing”, then those in power have the ability to remove anything on a whim. Patents have become a gross extension of protectionism instrumentation.

Grooming of the World’s Biggest Patent Troll, Nathan Myhrvold of Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Patents at 7:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

“Intellectual property is the next software.”

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft patent troll

Summary: UCLA and Microsoft-linked media are framing big thugs as heroes, doing a great disservice to both academia and journalism

THREE weeks ago we wrote about a very tasteless move from UCLA, which had resorted to whitewashing thugs. Intellectual Ventures is a Microsoft proxy that attacks many companies and blackmails others (even universities are among Intellectual Ventures’ targets). How can this proxy be considered suitable for a commencement ceremony at a university? Are they paying Myhrvold for this or is he bribing UCLA for the ‘privilege’? It’s hard to say.

Either way, Steph from IP Troll Tracker wrote: “I only wish I had taken myself up on my dreams of attending UCLA so I could write a scathing letter to the Alumni Association, letting them know how I felt about this bad apple choice of a speaker.”

Microsoft’s booster Todd Bishop, an occasional grooming actor for Intellectual Ventures (a tool of Microsoft) and for Bill Gates (friend of Myhrvold and early financier of Intellectual Ventures), uses Intellectual Ventures to smear Google, a leading Microsoft rival. He says that “Google was an early investor in Intellectual Ventures’ patent fund but has since distanced itself from the Bellevue, Wash.-based company, and the companies have faced off over patents in the courtroom.”

Yes, Intellectual Ventures is now suing Android, as we showed several times last month (we highlighted this several times). Intellectual Ventures did not have Google as an “investor”, Google just wanted peace with this parasitic aggressor. Bishop is reversing roles to make Google look like the troll. Isn’t it funny how Microsoft-friendly (and at times Microsoft-funded) media keeps trying to groom Myhrvold and Intellectual Ventures?

The EPO’s Fight to Bring Software Patents Into Europe is One Step Closer to a ‘Victory’ (for Multinationals)

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 7:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Roman empire giving up

Old cathedral

Summary: Opposition to the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is being crushed and Italy is one of the latest actors to have fallen in the battle

SO IT TURNS out that “Italy [is going] to join the UPC after decision of 5th May,” based on Benjamin Henrion’s rant. “Does Italy has a constitution?”

IP Kat backs that up in this article, showing us that Europe going the way of the dodo when it comes to patents. Four years ago we commended Italy for standing up against the this polymorphic and nym-shifting charade (Unified Patent Court is the latest name), but the EPO fought against them for years; it fought for software patents in Europe.

IP Kat‘s criticism of the EPO carries on in other ways, but the news from Italy is covered as follows: “Now it seems that the legal challenges to the new system are coming to an end but, as Merpel suggests, the biggest challenge of all remains — the challenge of making this unknown, untried, hybrid system work in practice. The patent-granting and administration work is the easy bit: all depends on the functionality of the Unified Patent Court.”

Large multinational companies will soon be suing European companies using patents Europe-wide, imposing embargoes and raising costs considerably. Patent trolls can join these multinationals in the heist. Who does the Unified Patent Court serve if not wealthy globalists?

Microsoft’s ‘Former’ Staff Continues With His Anti-Google Rhetoric at CBS

Posted in Deception, Google, Microsoft, Security at 7:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Zack Whittaker
From Twitpic

Summary: A Microsoft intern, who has moved on to journalism, is still showing his affinity for Microsoft with apologetics and spin

Zack Whittaker, formerly Microsoft staff in the UK who is now writing for ZDNet (a CBS-owned technology tabloid), keeps attacking Microsoft's rivals. It’s an habitual thing.

The other day he tossed some FUD at Android (yet again) and repeated Microsoft’s classic talking points (which its boosters had all uniformly spread several months ago). “This year alone,” he wrote, “Google disclosed two security flaws in Microsoft’s software, leaving the software giant fuming. The security team gave Microsoft three months to fix the flaw, or face public shaming.” The article is titled “Google has an Android security problem” and it’s trying to portray Google — not Microsoft — as the problem.

Microsoft was trying to blame Google, so here again we have Whittaker defending Microsoft (his former employer) and shaming Google for revealing how Microsoft exposed users. It’s not hard to find Microsoft bias in sites like ZDNet. All one has to check is where CBS is hiring from. This is a widespread problem as many people from Microsoft (some still working for Microsoft) are writers at ZDNet.

More of Microsoft’s False Claims About Cost of Vista 10 and More Layoffs

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 7:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Vista 10 is still being marketed using lies and Microsoft may be going down the same route as Nokia

Microsoft’s Vista 10 is a PR/branding sham (even the number “10″ is a dead give-away) that will fail just like its predecessors, warn several investment sites these days. Microsoft said to its investors that claims about Vista 10 being 'free' were just "marketing" after it had repeatedly lied about it. The ‘free’ Windows lie is making a comeback in recent days. “More hype” is what a reader of ours called it, perhaps aiming to push the perception of Windows being free (feeling rather than fact). “Windows 10 could drag the company right back into the dark ages,” wrote one investment site, adding: “If Citigroup’s Walter Pritchard and Steven Rogers are right, in order to grow Microsoft needs to be careful with Windows 10, and investors need to observe closely to ensure that the company isn’t going to fire another Nokia-fueled volley at consumers.”

Microsoft killed Nokia by saddling its products with Windows and there are more job cuts reported at Nokia right now. To quote some Microsoft-friendly Finnish press, with former Microsoft staff (often overlooking the role of Microsoft in Nokia’s demise): “Nokia is launching redundancy talks in its Nokia Technologies business group. The Espoo-based company has not specified how many jobs may be lost. Some 650 people work at Nokia’s research and development unit, most of them in Finland.”

Any company still considering a Windows strategy rather than an Android or GNU/Linux strategy should take a good look at Nokia.

Microsoft Remotely Bricks — Intentionally — Xbox One

Posted in DRM, Microsoft at 6:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft is showing off its kill switches, kills consoles of people whom it doesn’t like

SEVERAL days ago interesting reports surfaced about Microsoft remotely bricking people’s consoles, not just Microsoft having the capability to do so. “It turns out,” says one article, “that Microsoft not only has the power to ban you from Xbox Live permanently, but it can also turn your Xbox One console in to a useless brick, as the beta testers behind the Gears of War Remastered leak have found out.”

The lesson is clear; Microsoft claims ownership of what people buy (consoles), sabotages their consoles. Xbox One is not only an Orwellian surveillance device as we have explained before; it also has the capability to self-destruct at Microsoft’s orders. This isn’t going to be good for business. Microsoft has already lost a lot in this business.

IRC Proceedings: May 3rd – May 16th, 2015

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: May 3rd – May 9th, 2015

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IRC Proceedings: May 10th – May 16th, 2015

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