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The ‘Offenses’ of EPO Staff Representatives Boil Down to Truth-Telling

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NOSSummary: Dutch television examined the documents of the mock ‘trials’ against SUEPO leaders and concluded that whistle-blowing (i.e. exposing abuses by EPO management), not misconduct, is the reason for overzealous dismissals

Benoît Battistelli’s harassment of staff representatives may some day culminate in his own dismissal (just a rumour for now). He has caused tremendous damage to the EPO and he is personally connected to a lot of people in management — people who are also among the biggest culprits.

Battistelli, who has a long habit (or addiction, or paranoia) of walking around with private bodyguards, compares his critics to something like 'snipers' or 'Mafia' (the ‘sniper’ remarks are clearly taken out of context). Battistelli deluded himself into thinking he's fighting some kind of war on terror, but the only threat he has faced so far is embarrassing information coming out to the media. The crushing of the unions and the pretexts for it are all about confidentiality, as if secrecy — as judged by management (to protect it from criticism/scrutiny) — is the most important thing. Truth itself is now an enemy of Team Battistelli, which is basically a self-guarding clique.

The following recent article (from the Dutch Broadcast Foundation), which SUEPO provided a translation of with images included [PDF], remarks on the nature of the allegations, which we highlight in yellow below:

Protest against ‘intimidation’ at European Patent Office

The European Patent Office in Rijswijk Marc Hamer / NOS


Hugo van der Parre
Research Editor

Bas de Vries
NOS Net Editor

Employees of the European Patent Office (EPO) in Rijswijk are taking to the streets today. The employees are protesting the dismissal of two colleagues and the demotion of a third. Among the employees is the Dutch chair of the union, Elizabeth Hardon.

Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld representing the union speaks of “outright intimidation”. The location in Rijswijk is the largest international organisation in the Netherlands, with 2,700 employees.

The punished employees all work for the European Patent Office union from its headquarters in Munich. According to the protestors, they are facing the consequences of the fact that they dared to criticise the “tyrannical” head of EPO, Frenchman Benoît Battistelli.

Head of the organisation Battistelli has an entirely different interpretation. According to him, he was forced to strike hard as the three employees did not follow internal rules in various ways and discredited their own organisation.

Lawyer Zegveld: ‘They are protesting against a culture of intimidation’

Tensions within the European Patent Office have been there for quite some time, but the issue now appears to be escalating. “It seems that constitutional rights just don’t apply here,” one of the employees said, who wishes to remain anonymous out of fear for reprisals. “We even have a kind of secret service that monitors the employees.”

The only supervisory entity at the top is the so-called Management Board, which consists almost entirely of the directors of the national patent offices of the 38 EPO countries. But they have yet to take a stand, according to the Suepo union. When Hardon appealed to the Management Board for help leading up to her dismissal, they just referred her back to Battistelli. He then not only kicked her out, but also cut her accumulated pension rights as an extra sanction.

We even have a kind of secret service that monitors the employees.

European Patent Office employee

A representative of the French parliament for French citizens abroad, Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, called the sanctions imposed on the employees “a disgrace and highly unjust”. Member of the Dutch House of Representatives John Kerstens (of the Labour Party) wants “the Dutch cabinet to do everything in its power to ensure normal work relationships”. Kerstens: “Employee rights that are seen as completely normal cannot be infringed upon to such a degree that employees feel threatened and intimidated.”

Today’s protest march in The Hague will go from the French to the German embassy. The disgruntled employees hope to get the governments of both countries to intervene, and hope the Dutch government will do the same.


The Dutch cabinet has yet to make a clear statement on the issue. In response to questions from the House of Representatives, Minister Asscher previously underlined that part of the problem is that the board of management of the European Patent Office has legal immunity. That means, among other things, that the Dutch Inspectorate (I-SZW) cannot be granted access to the offices in Rijswijk as long as Battistelli does not allow it.

The European Patent Office is currently building a new office near the current building in Rijswijk, costing €205 million. Prime Minister Rutte helped Battistelli lay the first stone in the summer of 2014. On its website, the city of Rijswijk states that the EPO “makes an important contribution to the Dutch economy by providing jobs to tens of thousands of people in The Hague area”.

Yesterday, the NOS asked the European Patent Office for a response to the criticism surrounding head of the organisation Battistelli. But as of last night, they had yet to respond.

The ‘charge’: slander campaign or constructed?

According to Benoît Battistelli, he is the victim of a targeted action led by his own staff. “We can now openly say that over the past two or three years, we have been the victim of an orchestrated campaign of which the goal was to destabilise and discredit the organisation,” the EPO president said last October in an interview with Financieele Dagblad.

The dismissed Dutch chair of the office’s own union in Munich is suspected of things including helping another colleague in that campaign. She is also said to have threatened colleagues and expressed that an internal procedure was being carried out against her. The latter is prohibited at the EPO as well.

According to union lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, this is clearly a constructed charge against union chair Hardon. For example, documents examined by the NOS show that the ‘threat’ entailed no more than warning a colleague that they would be criticised if they accepted a certain position.

Nevertheless, Battistelli is cracking down hard on Elizabeth Hardon. She is not only being fired; she is also losing 20% of her accumulated pension rights. The latter is stricter than the advice the president received from an internal ‘disciplinary committee’ that examined her case.

That applies even more strongly to the case against the ex-chair of the Suepo union. His disciplinary committee recommended leaving most charges against him alone, but in his case Battistelli also opted for dismissal. The union treasurer’s salary went down by eight pay scales.

This is clearly not justice. It’s very gross injustice. We decided to make more of the information publicly available because only by accessing the claims can one see how truly ridiculous they are. The above says that “documents examined by the NOS show that the ‘threat’ entailed no more than warning a colleague that they would be criticised if they accepted a certain position.”

The EPO does not have a President; it has a ruthless emperor. It doesn’t matter what the law says and what people below him may say, he and only he will have the last word. Appointments at the EPO’s management follow the standards of third world countries and so does the behaviour of this management. Where is the German media, which is suspiciously reluctant to shed light on any of this?

Rumours About Dismissal of Benoît Battistelli and New Letter From Union Syndicale Federale Blasting Battistelli’s Behaviour

Posted in Europe, Patents, Rumour at 1:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

USF letter to Kongstad

Summary: Things have been heating up since the dismissal of staff representatives at the European Patent Office (EPO) and some even spread rumours about withdrawal/dismissal of the EPO’s President

HAVING already covered the EPO‘s propaganda event a couple of days ago in Rijswijk, we can now move on to some rather interesting news.

Rumours about the withdrawal/dismissal of Battistelli are apparently not correct. He is said to have threatened to resign about a year ago, but he is still inside the EPO. “THE FARCE GOES ON,” told us a source earlier today. “A report on Battistelli´s speech in The Hague on February 4,” the source added, alluding to a longer report that we kindly ask readers to send to us. It´s a report on Battistelli´s speech at The Hague. In part it says: “On February 3 the EPO was abuzz with rumors about the withdrawal/dismissal of B. Battistelli, the president who has been trying hard, and managed more and more successfully, to bring this European institution into disrepute. It would have been too beautiful.”

We are still hoping to get the rest of it. In the mean time, thanks to SUEPO, we now have the following letter, which Union Syndicale Federale (USF) published for everyone to see. It is a self-explanatory letter. SUEPO called it “Letter to J. Kongstad – President of the EPO Council” and added: “In a communiqué, Union Syndicale Federale (USF) reported it is deeply shocked to hear about the latest, disproportionate measures against trade union officials taken at the European Patent Office (EPO) in January 2016. The letter is accessible here.

We did some OCR, made a local copy of the original letter (just in case), and got the following in HTML form because it merits wider attention (some bits are highlighted, too):

Brussels, 25 January 2016


President of the EPO Council

Dear Mr Kongstad,

Union Syndicale Federale (USF) is deeply shocked to hear about the latest, disproportionate measures against trade union officials taken at the European Patent Office (EPO) in January 2016.

USF, together with numerous external observers and the media, has been following the deteriorating social situation at the EPO, especially since a Dutch Court of Appeal identified breaches of the European Convention of Human Rights at the EPO in its judgement of 17th February 2015.
The EPO has not yet met the requests of the judgement, nor has explained why fundamental rights decided and recognised by all thirty-eight Member States of the European Patent Organisation are inferior to the EPO’s need for autonomy.
The EPO has also not yet explained why it refuses to allow competent national authorities to investigate staff members’ suicides and their causes. In the meantime, the list of incidents of maladministration has grown beyond anyone’s imagination and has seriously stained the reputation of the EPO and the international public service as a whole.

Now, in January 2016, measures unheard of in modern society are being imposed on trade union representatives: one case of serious downgrading and two sackings. It has been reported that internal disciplinary boards recommended far milder sanctions. These recommendations were ignored and arbitrarily replaced by harsher, disproportionate measures.
From information publicly available, it is an obvious conclusion for USF that the charges in the above cases were based on formal confidentiality issues rather than on substance. To misuse a seriously deteriorated social situation so as to orchestrate provocations and construe charges against union representatives is fundamentally conflicting with the duty of care of an international organisation.

Union Syndicate Service Public Europeen — Bruxelles (BE) • Union Syndicale Recherche — Ispra (IT) • Union Syndicale Recherche —Karlsruhe (DE) Union Syndicale Recherche — Petten (NL) ■ European Public Service Union Fusion — Bruxelles (BE) ■ Union Syndicale Office Europeen des Brevets — Berlin (DE) et Den Haag (NL) • Syndicat des Agents du Conseil de (‘Europe — Strasbourg (FR) ■ Union Syndicale Eurocontrol France – Bretigny (FR) • Union Syndicale Ecole Europeenne — Bergen (NL) ■ Union Syndicate Centre Europeen pour le Developpement de la Formation Professionnelle — Thessaloniki (EL) ■ Union Syndicale European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions— Dublin (1E) • Union Syndicale European Training Foundation — Turin (IT) ■ Union Syndicate de l’Institut Universitaire de Firenze (IT) • Union Syndicale Centre de Developpement de I’Entreprise — Bruxelles (BE) ■ Union Syndicale European Agency for Safety & Health at Work — Bilbao (ES) • International and Public Services Organisation — Frankfurt (DE) — Union Syndicate Federale – section Luxembourg (LU) — European Public Service Union — Cour de Justice — Luxembourg (LU) Gewerkschaft des Deutsch-Franzosischen Jugendwerks — Paris (FR) et Berlin (DE).

USF urgently calls upon all EPO organs to annul the decisions taken against trade union representatives.

UDF calls upon all EPO organs to return to the rule of law and sound practice as commonly understood in the 21st century and to take all necessary corrective steps at their next internal meetings in order to avoid further irreparable damage to the Office’s reputation, as well as to the social climate at the EPO.

Yours sincerely,



EPO Administrative Council
Cc: EPO President, Mr. B. Battistelli
Cc: SUEPO Munich, Ms E. Hardon, Mr I. Brumme, Ms M. Weaver

SUEPO added a link to the USF letter to Guy Ryder, Director General of ILO, where many complaints about the EPO have been piling up for years. The letter does not refer directly to the EPO, but SUEPO chose to highlight it by writing: “In a communiqué, Union Syndicale Federale (USF) submits a claim to the Director General of ILO aiming at a specific aspect of the functioning of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation. The corresponding letter is accessible here.

We kindly ask readers to consider sending us the aforementioned report. We have never (in a decade) compromised the identity of a source and we want this report for future record/reference.

VirnetX Case Against Apple Shows Not the Problem With Patent Trolls But With Software Patents

Posted in Apple, Patents, Samsung at 12:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Horse apple

Summary: What the media really ought to be talking about after the high-profile VirnetX case, rather than obsess about the status of Apple or patent trolls in the Eastern District of Texas

EARLIER this week Apple made headlines because VirnetX had ‘lectured’ Apple on patents. Apple got hit by a troll and it will have to pay a lot of money unless a miracle happens. Apple will not blame software patents (which are inherently the issue almost everywhere) but just “trolls” (the small ones). Joe Mullin, a trolls expert, called VirnetX a “Patent-based company”. When a troll’s value depends just on patents (or a patent) the share price can double because of a court’s ruling. The jury bumped the stock by 88% (the members of this jury may as well have just invested in this troll before the ruling), so there we have an example of non-practicing entities doing little more than just litigation.

A patent lawyers’ site said that a “jury in the Eastern District of Texas has awarded VirnetX $626m after finding Apple had infringed four patents. The PTAB instituted inter partes reviews on the patents last October, however, the results of which could affect the district court case” (that’s from MIP).

Notice the role of the Eastern District of Texas again. It’s not a coincidence. Trolls love the Eastern District of Texas. There’s no lack of coverage of this ruling. Within a few hours we saw more than 100 headlines (too much for exhaustive listing here), some of them included [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28] for the record. “Apple now owes VirnetX more than what Samsung owes it”; that’s one way to put it.

Samsung is the leading Android (Linux) OEM, so this is very relevant to us. Even EPO-funded sites mentioned this and then took note of a lesser known patent lawsuit against Apple in China. The author wrote: “Court records from the Chinese manufacturing hub of Shenzhen show that BYD has dropped two patent infringement lawsuits that it filed against client Apple back in May 2015. But since the two cases were closed in late December, the legal back-and-forth has continued in a California federal court, as Apple argues that its supplier breached an IP non-assert clause in their contract and should be compelled to participate in arbitration.”

“This clearly serves to discredit the way this patent system works.”According to software patents fans, some of the patents Apple uses against Samsung are now being challenged at PTAB, and Florian Müller, who spent years promoting/bolstering Apple’s side before defecting, has just published the decision’s PDF and said: “Apple has just responded to Samsung’s mid-December petition for writ of certiorari (request for Supreme Court review) regarding two legal questions concerning design patents and, in the same document, to amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs from major industry players, many IP law professors and various public interest advocates, all of whom agree with Samsung that the top U.S. court should take a look at this matter.”

One can find the PDF of the troll’s case here in Patently-O, which also debated other interesting patent-related matters this week.

“In this case,” wrote Patently-O in one of the above, “the district court found that Lotan had assigned his rights to AngioScore and that his later purported assignment to TriReme actually transferred no rights. These two conclusions led to the final dismissal with a holding that TriReme had no standing to bring its claim.”

This clearly serves to discredit the way this patent system works. The latter analysis, also about the district court, involves Google and says:

In Cioffi v. Google, the Federal Circuit sided with the patentee, Cioffi — holding that the district court erred in its construction of the asserted patent claims and thus vacated the holdings non-infringement and invalidity via indefiniteness. (Non-precedential opinion). Now, Google has petitioned the court for an en banc rehearing asking the court to “strictly construe” claim amendments against the patentee.

This again is about software patents. In fact, pretty much all the above is about software patents, which is what we ought to focus on if these severe issues are ever to be resolved.

Diápositivas de Nueva Charla Explican la Connección Entre la Corte De Patentes Unitarias (UPC) y Patentes de Software

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Publicado en Europe, Patents at 12:26 pm por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Credit de Imagen Benjamin Henrion at FOSDEM

Sumario: Benjamín Henrion habló el pasado Domingo acerca de las patentes de software europeas -una presentación que habla de la Corte Unitaria de Patentes, por la que la OEP aboga sin cesar y que es lo que significa para las patentes de software.

TECHRIGHTS ha estado escribiendo acerca de la relación entre la UPC y las patentes de software por más de cinco años. ¿Cómo es esto posible? Bueno, antes que sea llamada UPC (o Patente Unitaria) era conocida como toda suerte de cosas y promóvida por otros políticos com Charlie McCreevy y Michel Barnier.

El pasado fin de semana Richard Stallman dijo que las patentes de software regresan con la Corte Unitaria de Patentes (UPC). La FFII ha escrito en la materia anteriormente cuando era más activa. Su presente líder Benjamin Henrion, habló recientemente acerca de ello en el FOSDEM (cerca de donde vive). Estamos esperando que todo material relacionado sea publicado (especialmente en formato no embarrado con patentes de software) andtes de publicar las diapósitivas que estan aquí [PDF].

“Alguna gente se estan enriqueciéndo extremadamente a costa de los demás y la innovación es orthogonal al sistema de patentes, si no obstruido por este.”¨Mis diapósitivas acerca de la Corte Unitaria de Patentes estan aquí,¨ escribió el pasado Lunex (24 horas despues de la charla) y cuando se le preguntó: ¨Puedan esperar mucho, no son muy rápidos aquí estas personas de FOSDEM.¨ Bueno talvez publiquemos el video más adelante separadamente, junto con los videos de la charla OIN (y tal vez otros). Henrion también dijo que habia intentado escribir a FOSDEM acerca del formato de los videos, ya que esto ha devenido en un desastre (no importa los ampliamente difundidos problemas de projección que los observadores del extranjero tuvieron el fin de semana).

Henrion (conocido online como ¨zoobab¨) notó como la cabeza dela USPTO mostró su verdadera identidad. Michelle Lee aparentemente estaba dispuesta a reunirse con promotores de patentes de software y fánfarrones (a quienes llamamos ¨watchtrolls¨). Dice mucho acerca de la integridad, impropiedad (a veces incestuosa) relaciones entre los oficiales de la USPTO, examinadores de ella, y abogados de patentes. Uno de ellos, administrador del sitio Patent Progress (no activo últimamente), es un clásico ejemplo de esto por la ocupación de su esposa.

El mundo de patentes no es completamente la fantasía que quiere que le mundo vea…

Alguna gente se estan enriqueciéndo extremadamente a costa de los demás y la innovación es orthogonal al sistema de patentes, si no obstruido por este.

Las Políticas de Microsoft Alienan Incluso a los Hinchas Más Acérrimos de Microsoft, Incluyendo Pro-Microsoft Web Sites

Posted in GNU/Linux, Patents, Vista 10 at 11:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Publicado en GNU/Linux, Patents, Vista 10 at 12:44 pm por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sumario: El agresivo comportamiento de Microsoft y su BAJA CALIDAD DE PRODUCTOS dejan algunos de sus últimos restos de ´hinchas´ descorazonados y molestos.

TECHRIGHTS ha pasado casi una década escribiendo como Microsoft ha estado abusando y EXTORSIONANDO compañías que fomentan Linux. Microsoft usa PATENTES PARA EXTORSIONAR. Temprano hoy mostramos como Microsoft habiendo secuestrado Nokia de Linux (por entriismo), ahora usa Linux para extorsiónar a líderes de Android en el mercado. No sólo esta abusando competidores (demandando ´dinero por protección) pero tambien esta molestando a sus propios customers al forzarlos a usar Vista 10, incluso cuando ellos lo rechazan tercamente por toda clase de razones legítimas. Como mostramos al principio de año (principios de Enero, vean artículos en la wiki), incluso los ayayeros de Microsoft estan comenzando a molestarse grandemente. Ahora ven los verdaderos colores de Microsoft. Es una compañía de matones y maleantes con un largo record en su haber.

“Si esto es lo que los promotores de Microsoft están diciendo, entonces no estarán abogando por Microsoft por mucho tiempo.”De acuerdo a esta nueve queja de un sitio promotor de Microsoft (Win Beta), ¨Microsoft esta jodiéndo a sus más leales clientes y eso es una idea muy mala¨ (este es el títular). También hay arrogancia. Para citar ¨ Los problemas de acuerda a muchos usuarios de Surface, son extensivos y propagados ampliamente, con muchos dueños – de ambos Surface Book y Surface Pro – reportando problemas como screens que parpadean, batería que pronto se agota, y en general no confianza para tareas diarias.

¨En una declaración un vocero de Microsoft dijo que arreglar los problemas con el Surface es una ¨prioridad principal para nosotros.¨ Un mensaje que estaba escondido en un anuncio de un forum de soporte.¨

Para citar las partes finales: ¨La unidad revisadora de Busines Insider, por ejemplo tuvo que ser retornada dos veces por testing. Anecdóticamente, probé el Surface Pro 4 y tuve que retornarlo – dos veces – porque fallo ambas veces. Estoy seguro que hay suficiente de otras historias parecidas acerca de Surface tabletas y laptops, principalmente debidamente a problemas de estabilidad.¨

Si esto es lo que los promotores de Microsoft están diciendo, entonces no estarán abogando por Microsoft por mucho tiempo. Ellos encontrarán otras compañías que ayayar y talvez incluso descubran el software libre y comienzen a promover GNU/Linux.

Links 6/2/2016: CoreOS Rocket 1.0, Scientific Linux 7.2

Posted in News Roundup at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Create Your Own Free Software Project

    Free software is tremendously democratic. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can get involved – there are no barriers of wealth or social status. Being educated
    in computer science helps, but there are plenty of people working on free software at Red Hat, Canonical and Intel who’ve never been to university, and who acquired their positions simply by writing great code.

    So anyone can contribute to free software, and anyone can start a new project as well. But how do you turn that great idea in your head into a real-life success? The likes of SourceForge and GitHub are littered with now-abandoned projects with barely 50 lines of code, which initially started as grand ideas to create the next killer music player, email client or game. Yes, free software is awesome, but 95% of projects never get off the ground or are abandoned after a few weeks.

  • Because You Don’t Need Eyes To Have A Vision

    Continuing the MyStory series on It’s FOSS, today I am sharing with you the story of a blind computer programmer from Iraq who goes on the internet by the name of Ali Miracle. By the time you finish reading this article about Ali and his works, I am sure you would agree with his nickname ‘miracle’.

    I came to know about Ali when he contacted me to contribute to It’s FOSS. This was also the time when I come to know about his inability to see. I was amazed to know that despite being blind, Ali contributed to a number of open source projects.

  • What success really looks like in open source

    Linux, and the related open source projects making up the LAMP stack, were the underdogs. Essays like Raymond’s helped legitimize Linux and galvanize support for open source in a world where closed source was still the norm.

  • Events

    • FOSDEM video recordings
    • foss-gbg goes foss-north

      As some of you might know, I run a group that meet and learn new stuff about foss month – foss-gbg. Today it’s official that this summer foss-gbg goes foss-north and it is going to be awesome. So I welcome you all to the wonderful city of Gothenburg to a day filled with talks on a wide variety of topics around free and open source technology. It is going to be awesome!

    • FOSDEM 2016 and ownCloud, Kolab, KDE and more

      After rocking SCALE, FOSDEM was next and a great event. Killing, too – two days with about 8000 people, it was insane. Lots of positive people again, loads of stuff we handed out so we ran out on Sunday morning – and cool devices at the ownCloud booth.

    • Look over the fence – StartUp Weekend Phnom Penh

      Linux and Free Software plays in South East Asia not that role as in Europe or North America. To change that at least a bit, I came here. The asian culture plays definitely a role and this was often discussed. But it plays lesser the vital role as we think and as the linked article shows, we will not find an easy an solution for the cultural differences. From my perspective it is lesser necessary that we adopt, the most asians I met are willing to accept the differences and can live with them.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • The Surprising Truth about Big Data

      Big Data gets a lot of headlines. If any technology can be called heavily hyped, Big Data earns the prize for most breathless predictions of enterprise influence.

      Typical of the rosy predictions is this from IDC: spending on Big Data-related infrastructure, software and services will grow at a torrid compound annual rate of 23.1 percent between 2014 and 2019, reaching a hefty $48.6 billion in 2019.

    • 80 percent of UK IT professionals plan to move to OpenStack cloud

      The report also suggested that the biggest concerns facing those advocates centre around security and the challenge of installing the cloud in their business.

      “There is no question that private clouds are seen as the future for many enterprise workloads, including many that are considered to be business-critical,” said Mark Smith, senior product marketing manager of cloud solutions at Suse, in a not at all brazen plug for his business.

    • Hadoop vs. Spark: The New Age of Big Data

      A direct comparison of Hadoop and Spark is difficult because they do many of the same things, but are also non-overlapping in some areas.

      For example, Spark has no file management and therefor must rely on Hadoop’s Distributed File System (HDFS) or some other solution. It is wiser to compare Hadoop MapReduce to Spark, because they’re more comparable as data processing engines.

    • OpsClarity Promises Easier Big Data Management for DevOps

      What will it take to make open source big data tools truly useful for the enterprise? OpsClarity thinks the answer is a one-stop solution for monitoring everything from Spark to Elasticsearch to MongoDB. That’s what it rolled out this week in a new platform targeted at DevOps teams.

  • Databases

    • Bug squashing in Gammu

      I’ve not really spent much time on Gammu in past months and it was about time to do some basic housekeeping.

      It’s not that there would be too much of new development, I rather wanted to go through the issue tracker, properly tag issues, close questions without response and resolve the ones which are simple to fix. This lead to few code and documentation improvements.

    • Deep Introduces deepSQL and Combines SQL with Cloud

      Called deepSQL, the solution aims to help companies meet real-time customer demands while providing the automated scalability to capitalize on unforeseen business surges.

      “We took control of our destiny by making this our own distribution. It is fully 100% MySQL compliant, there are now application changes but it’s the best of Maria, Percona, MySQL, our own stuff and the machine learning open source worlds together,” said Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • OpsClarity Provides Monitoring for Open-Source Data-First Apps

      OpsClarity Intelligent Monitoring provides automated discovery, configuration and rapid troubleshooting for Apache Kafka, Apache Spark and Apache Storm.

      OpsClarity, which provides Web-scale application monitoring solutions, has announced that its Intelligent Monitoring offering now provides monitoring for a growing suite of open-source data processing frameworks.

    • Walmart has made its application development cloud platform to open source

      Customers that think of Walmart as the place to get toiletries, groceries and more can now add cloud to the list.

      Perhaps taking a page out of Amazon’s success with AWS, the retail giant has announced it is releasing its internally-developed cloud and application lifecycle management platform, called OneOps, open source to the public.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • EC accepts XBRL as standard for procurement

      The freely-available standard, developed by the not-for-profit XBRL Consortium, was accepted by the Commission after consulting the European multi-stakeholder platform (MSP) on ICT standardisation and other experts.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Reclaiming the Computing Commons

      Software freedom — the core commitment of the free software movement — does represent at least the rudiments of a better system. Resisting and reversing enclosure will not come about through “sustainable growth” or the “sharing economy,” which preserve the logics and structures of the status quo. “Openness,” or the conviction that norms of transparency and publicity will clarify (and thereby equalize) power relations, is also no solution at all.

    • New web office suite, UNICEF’s innovation fund, and more news
    • Open Data

      • City of Riga to renew its ICT strategy

        The city of Riga (Latvia) will soon begin an overhaul of its approach to IT, focussing on making its data open by default, and giving companies and software developers access to some of the city’s eGovernment services through APIs. The city’s current IT architecture was designed about a decade ago, when “no one foresaw the growth of data”, says city council member Agris Ameriks.

    • Open Hardware

      • Adding Position Control To An Open Source Brushless Motor Driver

        Brushless motors are everywhere now. From RC planes to CNC machines, if you need a lot of power to spin something really fast, you’re probably going to use a brushless motor. A brushless motor requires a motor controller, and for most of us, this means cheap Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC) from a warehouse in China. [Ben] had a better idea: build his own ESC. He’s been working on this project for a while, and he’s polishing the design to implement a very cool feature – position control.

  • Programming


  • ‘Error 53′ will kill your iPhone 6 but it’s for the best, says Apple

    Apple’s iOS 9 update has a little-known feature that disables iPhone 6 and 6 plus handsets that have been repaired by non-Apple technicians.

    Users have found their iPhones rendered obsolete after they had their screen or home buttons repaired and then tried upgrading the software. The software issue has been called the “Error 53″ problem, and it doesn’t have a quick fix.

  • Microsoft Kidnaps Windows, Malware Everywhere & More…

    If you’re a Windows user, which most of you reading FOSS Force aren’t, then Microsoft wants to hijack your machine. It seems that the company that’s been spending millions — and has been buying into every free and open source conference it can find and a few it can’t — to get the word out that “Microsoft has changed,” hasn’t. If you happen to be unlucky enough to be using Windows 7, 8 or 8.1, you’re probably beginning to realize this right about now.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Rootkit Security: The Next Big Challenge

      Combining this with the Juniper issue, where VPN communication could have been hacked, got me thinking about how firmware can be verified and how to ensure that it’s doing what we think it should be doing and not what someone else wants it to do.

    • What Are Your Container Security Options?

      When virtual machine technology emerged, many organizations’ initial approach to security was to apply the same security measures to virtual machines as they did to physical machines. Only later did more specialized software emerge that was specifically designed to meet the security requirements of virtual machines.

      That process is now beginning to repeat itself, with software specifically designed to meet the security requirements of containers now starting to emerge. Some examples of specialized container security software include Clair and Twistlock.

    • In the shadows of the cyber colossus

      It might come as a surprise that South Africa is not always rated near the bottom in international surveys. According to various reports, the country comes out either third or sixth in the world of top cyber crime hotspots.

    • Mysterious spike in WordPress hacks silently delivers ransomware to visitors

      It’s still not clear how, but a disproportionately large number of websites that run on the WordPress content management system are being hacked to deliver crypto ransomware and other malicious software to unwitting end users.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Remember Kosovo?

      In Pristina, the capital of the make-believe country of Kosovo, there is a street named after Bill Clinton, and a statue of Bill – done in the Socialist Realist style – towers over the main square. They also named a boulevard after George W. Bush, perhaps to hedge their bets after the Republicans took the White House. You couldn’t ask for a more “pro-American” country than this one: but that’s just on the surface. Undercurrents of rabid nationalism – and real resentment of the Americans and Europeans who have been baby-sitting the Kosovars all these years – is now breaking out that threatens whatever modicum of stability Kosovo has ever known.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Who is Chelsea Manning?

      She has informed the public of United States military activities across the globe and continues to speak out against government secrecy and in defense of transgender rights. Her words and actions have powerfully transformed national conversations, but since her arrest in 2010 on charges related to her release of information to WikiLeaks, few have had a chance to actually see and hear from Chelsea herself.

    • Julian Assange Remains “Deprived of Liberty” After U.K. Rejects U.N. Ruling

      A United Nations panel ruled on Friday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being “arbitrarily detained,” but British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond rejected what he called “a ridiculous finding.”

      Although he claimed “sweet” vindication, Assange nevertheless remains confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has lived since 2012.

    • Julian Assange: British government to fight UN ruling that it ‘arbitrarily detained’ WikiLeaks founder

      The British Government is fighting a United Nations ruling that accused it of “arbitrarily detaining” Julian Assange in violation of his fundamental human rights.

      The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called on the UK and Sweden to immediately end the WikiLeaks founder’s “deprivation of liberty” and compensate him.

      But a spokesperson for the British Government said it would “formally contest” the findings and denied that Mr Assange’s stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London constituted arbitrary detention.

    • UK wants authority to serve warrants in U.S.

      British and U.S. officials have been negotiating a plan that could allow British authorities to directly serve wiretap orders on U.S. communications companies in criminal and national security inquiries, U.S. officials confirmed Thursday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Former USTR Comes Out Against TPP — Though Not Necessarily For The Best Reasons

      People who have worked for the USTR tend to pretty religiously support any and all new trade agreements, so it seems somewhat noteworthy that the former USTR, and now Senator, Rob Portman, has come out against the TPP agreement, saying that he doesn’t think that it’s a good deal.

    • PayPal Continues To Drive People To Bitcoin And Other Solutions As It Starts Cutting Off VPNs & Open Internet Solutions

      There’s a fairly long history of Paypal being completely obnoxious in shutting down the accounts of basically anyone challenging the status quo in any way.

    • The Story Behind Clinton’s Jab At Sanders’ One Wall Street Vote

      In the latest Democratic primary debate Thursday night, Hillary Clinton went after the core of Bernie Sanders’ appeal to the progressive base. The Wall Street-hating Senator’s hands aren’t as clean on financial policy as he claims, Clinton said, citing his support 16 years ago for a key favor to the banking business.

      “While we’re talking about votes, you’re the one who voted to deregulate swaps and derivatives in 2000, which contributed to the overleveraging of Lehman Brothers, which was one of the culprits that brought down the economy,” Clinton said. “I’m not impugning your motive because you voted to deregulate swaps and derivatives. People make mistakes.”

      Unlike stocks and business debts, derivatives are a category of investments that provide no tangible value to the real economy where workers sell their time to bosses so they can feed their families. They are contracts between investors that function almost exactly like betting tickets at a race track: People who have contributed nothing to the business of raising and training horses get a chance to win or lose money based on how those horses perform in the near future.


      But the story of Sanders’ votes for the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA) isn’t quite as straightforward as Clinton depicted Thursday. And it implicates Bill Clinton’s trusted financial policy advisors far more deeply than it does Sanders.

    • Azerbaijan’s 2016: sink or swim?

      Protests have broken out in Azerbaijan against rising prices and falling living standards.

    • Exposé: Undocumented Newspaper Delivery Drivers Treated as Slave Labor

      The issue of long hours, little pay and no vacation for delivery drivers is finally out of the shadows.

  • Censorship

    • Tollywood demands `equal’ censorship rules

      Hyderabad: The Centre’s move last month to constitute a committee led by acclaimed filmmaker Shyam Benegal to refurbish the controversy-stricken Censor Board has led to Tollywood rooting for equal censorship rules on par with those applicable to Bollywood and Hollywood. Incidentally, while the Union ministry of information and broadcasting has called for opinions from Ttown on ways to overhaul the Board, observers rue how there’s no representa tion of the local industry on the newly set up committee. This, despite the Telugu filmdom producing the most number of movies in the country annually .

    • The quaint Hyderabad I grew up in is destroyed due to mindless development

      As the head of the government appointed expert panel entrusted with the task of proposing recommendations for restructuring the Censor Board, filmmaker Shyam Benegal has his hands full. From studying suggestions/demands from the film industry, to analysing concerns raised by NGOs working on children’s welfare and women’s rights organisations, and brainstorming on the changes needed to modernise the Cinematograph Act, the panel has its task cut out. “It’s not an easy job,” says Benegal, with a smile, adding, “We are still in the process of taking stock of the feedback we have received from all stakeholders. I’m in no position to talk about what changes we intend to propose.”

    • Cologne rape censorship: Here’s why Breitbart London was able to scoop the German press

      He confirms the cover-up by Germany’s state broadcaster and how his organization is able to get and disseminate politically incorrect news stories in Europe due to both self-censorship and state ordered censorship of the main-stream media.

    • Sexist censorship on social media

      Immediate outrage followed, and rightfully so. Her situation, which supporters of Kincaid have called “Boobgate,” demonstrates how sexist social media censorship can be. Women can post photos of their entire breast without violating Facebook’s anti-nudity policy, so long as the nipple is covered. Men can freely post photos of themselves shirtless and no one bats an eye.

    • Facebook Censorship and the War on Free Speech

      Writing at the Gatestone Institute, British journalist Douglas Murray looked at Facebook as a battleground in the war on free speech Friday, recalling a recent case in which the social media giant was “forced to back down when caught permitting anti-Israel postings, but censoring equivalent anti-Palestinian postings.”

      To this, Murray adds the disturbing September incident in which German chancellor Angela Merkel was caught on an open mike, asking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg if he would help suppress “anti-immigration” postings… and he replied that he was already working on it.

    • Twitter deletes 125,000 Isis accounts and expands anti-terror teams [Ed: they start with terror, and then…]

      Building confidence in its anti-terror policies, the social media company is expanding its specialist teams in the US and Ireland to monitor extremist content

  • Privacy

    • Prosecutors Argue Cell Site Location Data Is Something Every User Shares With ‘The Rest Of The World’

      The state of Maryland’s defense of the Baltimore PD’s warrantless use of Stingray devices continues, taking the form of a series of motions unofficially titled Things People Should Know About Their Cell Phones.

      The last brief it filed in this criminal prosecution claimed “everyone knows” phones generate location data, therefore there’s no expectation of privacy in this information. As commenters pointed out, people may know lots of stuff about records they’re generating, but that doesn’t mean law enforcement should have warrantless access to those records.

    • NSA Gives Itself High Marks for Handling of U.S. Internet Records

      The American Civil Liberties Union is representing the Wikimedia Foundation – which operates the online encyclopedia Wikipedia – and several other plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the upstream collection program, claiming the collection is unconstitutional.

      “The PCLOB’s status report offers little comfort, and only underscores that the NSA continues to copy and search Americans’ international Internet communications en masse,” says ACLU staff attorney Ashley Gorski.

    • NSA Plans To ‘Act Now’ To Ensure Quantum Computers Can’t Break Encryption [Ed: When the world's biggest quantum computers utiliser (to crack encryption) warns about "those Chinese"]
    • When the NSA Merges Its Offense and Defense, Encryption Loses

      How do you create strong encryption standards when the organization tasked to build them finds itself absorbed into an organization that dedicates huge quantities of resources to break them? The recently announced reorganization of the National Security Agency this week brings this question to the forefront. As part of the reorganization, the defensive arm of the NSA (the Information Assurance Directorate, or IAD) will be subsumed by the intelligence-gathering program (which collects signals intelligence, or SIGINT). The IAD will effectively cease to exist, which raises questions about both the privacy and security of the nation’s data. We need to make sure that we have something that replaces it.

  • Civil Rights

    • Gitmo Prosecutor Defends Censorship of Public Hearing in 9/11 Case

      The war court prosecutor is arguing that public disclosure of a transcript of a public hearing held at Guantanamo last year could endanger national security in response to a legal motion brought by 17 news organizations protesting pick-and-choose secrecy in the Sept. 11 pretrial hearings.

      Army Brig. Gen Mark Martins makes the argument in a filing obtained by the Miami Herald that was still being reviewed for sensitive information on Thursday and not publicly released. At issue is the Pentagon’s decision to black out large portions of a 379-page transcript of an Oct. 30 hearing that included testimony from two soldiers who work at Guantanamo’s most clandestine prison, called Camp 7.

    • TV Station Educates Public On Dangers Of Teen Sexting By Exposing 14-Year-Old’s Name… And Penis

      Since law enforcement largely seems to feel sexting = child porn, the station should have found itself under investigation for distributing child porn. Instead, the only negative result of its allegedly terrible editorial practices so far is Holden’s lawsuit.

      Holden is seeking damages related to the outing of his name and sexual organs, with damages sought clearing the $1 million mark.

    • Pentagon Releases 198 Abuse Photos in Long-Running Lawsuit. What They Don’t Show Is a Bigger Story.

      Six months before media organizations published the notorious Abu Ghraib photos, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request for records, including photos, relating to the abuse and torture of prisoners in U.S. detention centers overseas. Since we sued to enforce our request in 2004, the legal battle has focused in part on a set of some 2,000 pictures relating to detainee maltreatment. The photos released today are part of that set, and they are the first photos the government has released to us in all these years of litigation. (The court hearing our lawsuit ordered the government to release the Abu Ghraib photos in 2004, but the photos were leaked, and posted online by Salon, while the government was appealing the decision.)

    • Pentagon Publishes 200 Bush-Era Torture Pictures After ACLU Lawsuit

      The ACLU filed the lawsuit in 2004 following the leak of photos from Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. Lawyers for the US government argued in court to keep the photos hidden, claiming that a release could cause “grievous harm to national security,” as terrorists could use the images as propaganda for recruiting.

      The majority of the released photographs are close-ups of bruising, cuts, and scrapes, and have the faces of the detainees blacked out. Some of the images are graphic and highly disturbing. All have been posted on the ACLU website.

    • Chicago cops avoid punishment by retiring with generous pensions

      After coming under internal investigation over involvement in a scandal that resulted in a man’s death at hands of police, three Chicago police officers are retiring. Some of them will receive pensions in excess of $100,000 annually.

      Six officers of the Chicago Police Department were accused of covering up a 2004 manslaughter incident, in which one of their own punched David Koschman in face. The 21-year-old fell into a coma and died 11 days later.

    • The Privatization of Terrorism Blacklists Will Damage Innocent Lives

      A private service that banks, employers, and government agencies use to screen customers and clients is blacklisting thousands of people as terrorists, sometimes based on nothing more than inaccurate and bigoted materials online, according to a VICE News article.

      Thomson-Reuters’ “World-Check” database slaps a “terrorism” designation — and a picture of a red balaclava — on the profiles of individuals, charities, and religious institutions. Many of them are Muslims who have never been charged or even accused of terrorism-related offenses. The results are far-reaching and can include closure of the blacklisted individuals’ bank accounts, inability to get a job, or denial of government benefits. (And World-Check isn’t the only company chasing billions of dollars in the risk mitigation industry.)

    • Giving up democracy to get it back

      Most recently, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has announced plans to found a movement (not a political party) that claims to “democratise” the EU by 2025. Ironically, one of his first steps has been to create a web site directing supporters to Facebook and Twitter. A groundbreaking effort to put citizens back in charge? Or further entangling activism in the false hope of platforms that are run for profit by their Silicon Valley overlords? A Greek tragedy indeed, in the classical sense.

      Varoufakis rails against authoritarian establishment figures who don’t put the citizens’ interests first. Ironically, big data and the cloud are a far bigger threat than Brussels. The privacy and independence of each citizen is fundamental to a healthy democracy. Companies like Facebook are obliged – by law and by contract – to service the needs of their shareholders and advertisers paying to study and influence the poor user. If “Facebook privacy” settings were actually credible, who would want to buy their shares any more?

    • UN Group Calls for Slavery Reparations, but Few in Media Are Listening

      But when, right on the heels of that, a UN human rights group released a report saying African-Americans face “systemic racial discrimination” and deserve “reparatory justice,” that was not so newsworthy. The UN’s Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent cited “the persistent gap in almost all the human development indicators, such as life expectancy, income and wealth, level of education, housing, employment and labor, and even food security, among African-Americans and the rest of the US population,” and pointed to police killings, zero tolerance policies in schools, the criminalization of poverty, environmental racism, discriminatory voter ID laws and schools’ insufficient teaching about the history of slavery as constituting a human rights crisis that must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Verizon’s mobile video won’t count against data caps—but Netflix does

      Verizon Wireless is testing the limits of the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules after announcing that it will exempt its own video service from mobile data caps—while counting data from competitors such as YouTube and Netflix against customers’ caps.

      The only way for companies to deliver data to Verizon customers without counting against their data caps is to pay the carrier, something no major rival video service has chosen to do. While data cap exemptions are not specifically outlawed by the FCC’s net neutrality rules, the FCC is examining these arrangements to determine whether they should be stopped under the commission’s so-called “general conduct standard.” The FCC is already looking into data cap exemptions—also known as zero-rating—implemented by Comcast, AT&T, and T-Mobile USA.

  • DRM

    • Cory Doctorow on the game plan to crush DRM

      Author and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) activist Cory Doctorow presented the opening keynote at SCALE 14x in Pasadena on January 22, using the opportunity to highlight the project that brought him back to the EFF after a decade. That project is Apollo 1201, an effort to challenge the ever-expanding problem of “digital rights management” (DRM)—now built into all manner of mass-produced products, not just entertainment media—that threatens the rights of individuals. The dangers of DRM are even greater than those posed by traditional proprietary software, Doctorow said, precisely because the rise of “smart” devices is putting DRM-locked software everywhere around us.

    • The Trouble With Intel’s Management Engine

      Something is rotten in the state of Intel. Over the last decade or so, Intel has dedicated enormous efforts to the security of their microcontrollers. For Intel, this is the only logical thing to do; you really, really want to know if the firmware running on a device is the firmware you want to run on a device. Anything else, and the device is wide open to balaclava-wearing hackers.

      Intel’s first efforts toward cryptographically signed firmware began in the early 2000s with embedded security subsystems using Trusted Platform Modules (TPM). These small crypto chips, along with the BIOS, form the root of trust for modern computers. If the TPM is secure, the rest of the computer can be secure, or so the theory goes.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Pfizer’s Vision of R&D

      Remember that Read is magnificently compensated for running this business, but what does he bring to the table? It has nothing to do with drug creation and manufacture. His contribution is measured by how little Pfizer pays in taxes, and how well he engineers earnings, and certainly not by any contribution to the well-being of humans.

      We don’t have to allow this business model to flourish with tax cuts and benefits. It’s corrupt to the bone.

    • Trademarks

      • NFL Edging Towards Claiming A Trademark On ‘The Big Game’ Again

        We all know that the NFL doesn’t want anyone to use the term “Super Bowl” without having paid the NFL first (and paid lots and lots of money). As we’ve pointed out in the past, most of this is pure bullshit. In most cases, people and companies totally can use the term “Super Bowl” but few people want to deal with any sort of legal fight, so they just don’t.

      • Moosehead Vs. Mus Knuckle: The Most Canadian Trademark Spat Ever

        We’ve been talking about the insanity occurring in the beer industry regarding trademark for quite some time now. If you haven’t been following along, the short version of this is that as the craft beer revolution has exploded the number of breweries taking part in the industry, so too has it exploded the number of trademark spats within it. In some senses, we should have seen this coming. Given the number of new players in the market with the limited linguistic resources available with which those players could name their companies and products, perhaps it was somewhat inevitable that some of the companies involved would try to lean on trademark law to fend off what they saw as impeding competition with too-close brand names. That said, many of these conflicts fail to live up to the purpose of trademark law, many of them giving barely even a nod towards an actual concern over customer confusion. Instead, protectionism reigns.

    • Copyrights

      • Movie Industry Demands €1.2 Billion Piracy Damages from Dutch Govt

        The Dutch movie industry is holding the local government responsible for the country’s high piracy rates, claiming it tolerated and even encouraged unauthorized downloading for years. In response, a coalition of movie companies is demanding damages for the losses that they’ve suffered over the past decade, totaling more than a billion euros.

      • EU’s Highest Court to Weigh Whether Hyperlinking Will Remain Legal in Europe

        Tomorrow, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in Luxembourg will hear arguments in a case about one of the most fundamental online activities: hyperlinking. The case may decide the fate of the World Wide Web in Europe. This isn’t hyperbole. Let us explain.

        As any Internet user knows, linking is the lifeblood of the web. By connecting webpages together, links are what enable the interconnected nature of the web; they’re why we call it a “web” in the first place. It turns out that under current EU copyright law, hyperlinking may have (far-reaching) legal consequences, as the CJEU has been asked yet again how to apply copyright law to hyperlinking on the web.

      • It’s 2016 And The EU Is Just Now Getting Ready To Decide If Hyperlinking Is Legal

        Earlier this week, we wrote about a legislative attempt in France to outlaw hyperlinking without a license (really), but would you believe that whether or not you can link without a license is still an unsettled matter of law in the EU? As is described in great detail over at the Disruptive Competition Project blog, just this week the Court of Justice of the EU heard a case concerning whether or not linking is legal. We wrote about this case last year, but the court has finally heard the case, with an Advocate General recommendation in early April, and a final ruling in the summer. There was a similar earlier case, the Svensson case, which the EU Court of Justice got right, but there’s some concern about this new case.

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