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Links 2/9/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta 2, LLVM 3.9

Posted in News Roundup at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Why open source remains key for NFV and SDN deployments

    Lenovo Networking discusses the importance of open source platforms for continued NFV and SDN deployments

    Open source platforms have been central to the rapid development and deployment of virtualized networking technologies like network functions virtualization and software-defined networking by telecommunications operators.

    Much of these efforts have come under the guidance of various organizations tied to the Linux Foundation, like the Open Platform for NFV project and OpenDaylight, as well as companies working with OpenStack.

  • Chinese Search Giant Baidu Open Sources Its Deep Learning
  • What Are Open Source Products?

    A lot has been written recently about open source products and services, namely the former doesn’t really exist and the latter is the exclusive way forward. As a self-proclaimed open source product expert, I have opinions and would like to share them. Firstly, the blending of enterprise software and services long predated the emergence of open source. And secondly, open source is a development model, not a business model, and it has very little actual impact on the ultimate delivery of products and services.

  • TravelSpirit aims to deliver ‘Mobility as a Service’ for the community

    TravelSpirit is a new enterprise that is fusing together disparate open source community projects linked to New Mobility Services (NMS), Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), Personal Data Stores (PDS), and public transit into a global architecture and commons of OSI-approved licensed code. By deploying the code, TravelSpirit’s goal is to create a new cooperative platform that will provide the public a “lifestyle enabler” called Mobility as a Service. Any new code projects incubated through the TravelSpirit community will be licensed under the Mozilla Public License 2.0 (MPLv2).

  • Events

    • Burgers 2016

      Me and Ana travelled to Cambridge last weekend for the Debian UK BBQ. We travelled by train and it was a rather scenic journey. In the past, on long journeys, I’ve used APRS-IS to beacon my location and plot my route but I have recently obtained the GPS module for my Yaesu VX-8DE and I thought I’d give some real RF APRS a go this time.

    • Coherent Accelerators, FPGAs, and PLD Microconference Accepted into LPC 2016

      It has been more than a decade since CPU core clock frequencies stopped doubling every 18 months, which has shifted the search for performance from the “hardware free lunch” to concurrency and, more recently, hardware accelerators. Beyond accelerating computational offload, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and programmable logic devices (PLDs) have long been used in the embedded space to provide ways to offload I/O or to implement timing-sensitive algorithms as close as possible to the pin.

      Regardless of how they are used, however, there exists a common class of problems which accompany the use of FPGAs, accelerators, and PLDs on Linux. Perhaps most important are the probing, discovery, and enumeration of these devices, which can be a challenge given the wide variety of interconnects to which they may be attached.

    • Arrival at FSFE Summit and QtCon 2016, Berlin

      The FSFE Summit and QtCon 2016 are getting under way at bcc, Berlin. The event comprises a range of communities, including KDE and VideoLAN and there are also a wide range of people present who are active in other projects, including Debian, Mozilla, GSoC and many more.

    • QtCon Opens in Berlin with Keynote by Raul Krauthausen
    • Plasma at QtCon

      QtCon 2016 is a special event: it co-hosts KDE’s Akademy, the Qt Contributor summit, the FSFE summit, the VideoLan dev days and KDAB’s training day into one big conference. As such, the conference is buzzing with developers and Free software people (often both traits combined in one person).

    • David Beazley’s Keynote Talk at PyData Chicago 2016

      This post-lunch screencast presentation by David Beazley is so entertaining, you can enjoy it without knowing any Python programming whatsoever. The aside comments alone are worth the price of admission. I won’t tell you the topic of the presentation. Suffice it to say — plenty funny.

    • Kickstarting conversations with lightning talks.

      A lot of people are coming to the Nextcloud conference to discuss ideas they have with others and I’ve been telling them to submit a lightning talk. As that is the idea of the lightning track on Saturday and Sunday: present yourself and the project you (want to) work on, inspire, share ideas. That way, others can then find you and talk to you afterward!

    • IoT and multi-cloud take center stage at upcoming Cloud Foundry Summit
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • OpenOffice, after years of neglect, could shut down

      OpenOffice, once the premier open source alternative to Microsoft Office, could be shut down because there aren’t enough developers to update the office suite. Project leaders are particularly worried about their ability to fix security problems.

      An e-mail thread titled, “What would OpenOffice retirement involve?” was started yesterday by Dennis Hamilton, vice president of Apache OpenOffice, a volunteer position that reports to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) board.

      “It is my considered opinion that there is no ready supply of developers who have the capacity, capability, and will to supplement the roughly half-dozen volunteers holding the project together,” Hamilton wrote.

      No decisions have been made yet, but Hamilton noted that “retirement of the project is a serious possibility,” as the Apache board “wants to know what the project’s considerations are with respect to retirement.”

    • Apache OpenOffice Proposed For Retirement, Still Being Debated
  • Education

    • Open Source Computer Club: Out of the trash, into the classroom

      The FLOSS Desktop for Kids initiative refurbishes surplus and discarded school computers, allowing students to learn hands-on about computers and technology by diagnosing, breaking down, and repairing hardware components. Students acquire, install and configure open source software including Linux operating systems, LibreOffice, GIMP, Pidgin, etc., and not just run apps on a tablet. The program is designed to teach engineering and technology by doing, failing, fixing, frustration, and finally achieving—that’s how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math really happen, and that aligns perfectly with STEM’s goals: “Knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD 6.0 lands

      OpenBSD developers might be keen on the 1980s in their artwork, but not in their operating system: Version 6.0 has just landed, and the maintainers have killed off VAX support.

      Apart from a logo that pays homage to the cover art for the iconic album The Wall, there’s a fair amount of new stuff landing in OpenBSD 6.0.

    • LLVM 3.9 Officially Released

      As expected, LLVM 3.9 was released today as the newest version of this widely-used and innovative compiler stack.

    • LLVM 3.9 Release

      This release is the result of the LLVM community’s work over the past
      six months, including ThinLTO, new libstdc++ ABI compatibility, support for all OpenCL 2.0 and all non-offloading OpenMP 4.5 features, clang-include-fixer, many new clang-tidy checks, significantly improved ELF linking with lld, identical code folding and initial LTO support in lld, as well as improved optimization, many bug fixes and more.


  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Supporting Competing APIs in Scala — Can Better Package Factoring Help?

      On and off over the last year, I’ve been working on a library of tree and map classes in Scala that happen to make use of some algebraic structures (mostly monoids or related concepts). In my initial implementations, I made use of the popular algebird variations on monoid and friends. In their incarnation as an algebird PR this was uncontroversial to say the least, but lately I have been re-thinking them as a third-party Scala package.

      This immediately raised some interesting and thorny questions: in an ecosystem that contains not just algebird, but other popular alternatives such as cats and scalaz, what algebra API should I use in my code? How best to allow the library user to interoperate with the algebra libray of their choice? Can I accomplish these things while also avoiding any problematic package dependencies in my library code?

    • GNU libc and Linux

      Some time ago, I built a static program that I wanted to run on an Android tablet. What was my surprise when I saw a message saying “FATAL: kernel too old”.

      After some investigation, it turns out that GNU libc may assume some Linux features are present during build time. This means that given a minimum Linux version, that built libc might only work on that version or newer.

      Since 2014, GNU libc itself requires 2.6.32 as the minimum. Previously, it was 2.6.16, changed in 2012.


  • Hardware

    • It Doesn’t Look Like We’ll See AMD ARM Development Boards This Year

      Things don’t appear to be looking up for AMD’s ARM efforts. It’s looking like we probably won’t be seeing AMD ARM development boards publicly available this year, if not the end of 2016, and there won’t be many of them going around.

      Last month I wrote about There’s Still No Sign Of AMD’s Low-Cost ARM Development Boards. While I’ve been quite excited to get my hands on some AMD ARM hardware, I haven’t been able to yet. This is while the AMD-powered 96Boards HuskyBoard was supposed to ship at the end of 2015 and the LeMaker Cello AMD A1120 board announced earlier this year was supposed to ship by the end of Q2. The Cello is a quarter late and it’s looking like it will be at least another quarter before we possibly see any AMD ARM hardware.

  • Security

    • Thursday’s security updates
    • Friday’s security updates
    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Tox Is Your New Secure Chat Application

      In a previous article, I talked about the Ring communication app. The article proved quite popular and aside from drawing a bit of attention — or maybe because of it — that article also drew some criticism, including “What about Tox?” That’s a totally fair question, so here we are.

    • Florida Computer Programmer Arrested For Hacking

      A South Florida-based computer programmer made an appearance in the Southern District of Florida today after being arrested Sunday on charges of hacking into computers operated by the Linux Kernel Organization and the Linux Foundation, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.

      The Linux Kernel Organization operates the www.kernel.org website from which it distributes the Linux kernel software. The Linux Foundation is a separate nonprofit foundation that supports the www.kernel.org website.

    • ​Florida Man Arrested for Allegedly Hacking Key Linux Servers

      A computer programmer from South Florida was arrested last week for allegedly hacking into servers related to the Linux operating system, the Department of Justice announced on Thursday. The case acts as a reminder that even the websites that host and distribute the operating systems our devices run on can be targeted by hackers.

    • Feds pin brazen kernel.org intrusion on 27-year-old programmer
    • Bloke accused of Linux kernel.org hack nabbed during traffic stop
    • Suspect arrested in 5-year-old kernel.org breach
    • Florida man arrested for hacking into Bay Area computer servers
    • Suspect Arrested for 5-Year-Old Linux Kernel Organization Breach
    • The Psychology of Report/Issue Templates

      The goal of a report template is two-fold. Firstly, it helps security teams to think about what specific pieces of information they require in a vulnerability report. Secondly, it provides a useful way of ensuring a hacker provides all of these different pieces of information when they submit a report.

    • FairWare Hackers May Take Ransoms, Keep Stolen Files [Ed: Lots of hot air over misconfiguration of Redis instances]
    • iguaz.io
    • How IT Departments Can Manage The Security Skills Shortage

      A lack of skilled cybersecurity talent is putting organizations at risk. Which skills are in highest demand, and how can IT managers secure the right people to protect their information?

    • Internet Of Things By The Numbers: What New Surveys Found

      Things are looking up for the Internet of Things. 80% of organizations have a more positive view of IoT today compared to a year ago, according to a survey of 512 IT and business executives by CompTIA. “This reflects greater levels of attention from the C-suite and a better understanding of how the many different elements of the IoT ecosystem are starting to come together,” says CompTIA. Here are the highlights from this and other recent surveys:

    • SMS Two-Factor Authentication Is No Longer Enough

      With the near-constant occurrence of highly organized and complex cybercrime attacks, effective digital authentication has never been more challenging. Businesses must verify who they’re transacting with by implementing additional security measures, but at the same time they need to minimize friction and provide seamless user experiences to avoid losing users to competitors.

    • Security Startup MedSec Shorts St. Jude Medical Stock To Punish It For Flimsy Pacemaker Security

      The one-two punch of incompetent IT administrators and botched connected device security has resulted in an unsurprising spike in ransomeware attacks across the medical industry. And while the rise in easily hacked “smart” TVs, tea kettles, and kids toys is superficially funny in the consumer internet of things space, it’s less amusing when you’re a patient relying on poorly secured pace makers and essential medical equipment. But much like the internet of things space these devices are not only poorly secured, they’re supported by companies that aren’t very good at releasing timely security updates.

      Case in point: a team of hackers working for cybersecurity startup MedSec found a bevy of flaws in medical devices sold by St. Jude Medical Inc, ranging from a lack of overall encryption to vulnerabilities letting unauthorized devices communicate with the company’s pacemakers and defibrillators. And while we’ve talked about the threat of hackable pacemakers for more than a decade, hackers are increasingly worming their way into poorly secured radiology equipment, blood gas analyzers and other hospital and nursing home equipment to steal data for identity theft, giving the threat an added dimension.

    • Dropbox User? Change Your Password As Soon As Possible

      Account details of 68 million Dropbox accounts has been leaked online. Here’s how to check whether you’re affected, and how to change your password.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Green Party: Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley elected as co-leaders

      Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley have been elected co-leaders of the Green Party of England and Wales in a job-sharing arrangement.

      They saw off competition from five others to succeed Natalie Bennett, who is stepping down after four years.

      Ms Lucas, the Greens’ only MP, was leader of the party between 2008 and 2012 while Mr Bartley is the party’s work and pensions spokesman.

      The two said the joint election showed the party was “not bound by tradition”.

      Their joint ticket took 13,570 – 88% – of the 15,467 votes cast.

      The announcement was made at the party’s autumn conference in Birmingham, at which Amelia Womack was also elected deputy leader.

    • Some Important Things That Really Do Matter About Hillary Clinton

      Even if everyone does it, that does not make it right. That excuse did not work for you in 6th grade when you were caught smoking in the girl’s room and it should not be accepted from a presidential candidate or her supporters in the media.

      Many politicians do crappy things. That is not an excuse for you to also do them. See above.

      “Well, at least I wasn’t indicted” is not a very high standard for the presidency.

      “There is no proof of quid pro quo.” What do you mean by proof? A notarized statement “This guy gave us money, so let’s sell him weapons?” Reality doesn’t work that way so spare us the strawman argument. Phone calls are made. Conversations happen. Minions learn quickly what their boss wants. People at the Clintons’ level rarely leave paper trails behind and when they do, they delete them before the FBI arrives to pick up the server.

    • Clinton emails wiped clean after NYT story

      A number of Hillary Clinton’s private emails were erased weeks after The New York Times published a story reporting on her use of a private email server while secretary of State, according to notes from the FBI’s investigation released on Friday.

      The notes include an entry that says that someone mistakenly deleted Clinton’s archived mailbox from her server and exported files.

      The deletion took place between March 25 and March 31, the FBI learned in a May 3 interview. The name of the person who deleted the emails was redacted from the FBI’s notes.

      “In a follow-up FBI interview on May 3, 2016, —— Indicated he believed he had an ‘oh s–t’ moment and sometime between March 25-31, 2015 deleted the Clinton archive mailbox from PRN server and used BleachBit to delete the exported .PST files he had created on the server system containing Clinton;s e-mails,” the FBI notes released on Friday stated.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • In Kashmir, Conspiracies Fester Under Internet Censorship

      There is a video on YouTube that shakes and hiccups through 11-and-a-half minutes of the last rites for Burhan Muzaffar Wani. Thousands of men and women stand in a clearing surrounded by trees, straining for a final glimpse, a chance for a picture, a last opportunity to touch the face of Wani, a 21-year-old militant shot dead by Indian forces on July 8, 2016 in Anantnag District in the Kashmir valley.

      The people sob and shout as Wani’s corpse, laid out on a cot, covered in an emerald green sheet, is jostled about. A hand reaches over from outside the frame to shove back the bandage wrapped around Wani’s forehead to reveal a still bloody wound. The crowd chants, “Azadi! Azadi!” An estimated 200,000 Kashmiris performed funeral prayers for Wani that day — 40 services, back to back.

    • Censorship in Virginia

      Greetings, brothers, sisters and comrades: I am a cadre of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter, currently incarcerated at Red Onion Prison in the southwest corner of Virginia.


      Prison officials claim without evidence that certain publications constitute a “threat to security.” In the 10 years that I have been incarcerated, I’ve witnessed and heard of many violent altercations, but never have I heard or witnessed prisoners fight over a newspaper.

    • “We don’t need a censorship of the press…

      we have a censorship by the press.” – G.K. Chesterton

      Behold! Two papers, both alike in dignity, in fair Austin where we lay our scene. Same paper, same date but pitched to different markets. One geared to help sway the Austin Liberals and the other pitched to a clearly more conservative market.

    • VidMe Releases Pro-Freedom Ad Mocking YouTube Censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • DHS’s New Election Cybersecurity Committee Has No Cybersecurity Experts

      The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) [yes, there's an association for everything] has just announced its selections to head up a DHS “working group” tackling “election infrastructure cybersecurity.” Like any committee formed in response to a hot-button topic, the appointees are better known for their years of tenure in government positions than their technical acumen, as the ACLU’s Chris Soghoian points out.

    • Snowden documents show NSA leak is real
    • USA spy agency’s hacking tools revealed on Internet
    • Snowden docs link NSA to Equation Group hackers
    • NSA cyber weapons ‘hacked’ by mysterious Shadow Brokers
    • Snowden: Exposure of Alleged NSA Tools May Be Warning to US
    • The Shadow Brokers Publish NSA Spy Tools, Demonstrating Possible Flaws in the NSA’s Approach to Security Vulnerabilities

      A group calling itself the Shadow Brokers recently released powerful surveillance tools publicly on the Web and promises to publish more dangerous tools for the price of one million bitcoin – or to whomever makes the best offer, if they can’t get to a million.1

      The Intercept has confirmed that at least one of the surveillance tools released online is “covered with the NSA’s virtual fingerprints,” making it all but certain that this tool and the others released by the Shadow Brokers came from within the agency. The SECONDDATE program, which the Intercept analyzed and compared to information in an NSA manual provided to them by whistleblower Edward Snowden, is designed to redirect a target’s browser to an NSA controlled server which then infects the target computer with malware.

    • We want GCHQ-style spy powers to hack cybercrims, say police

      Traditional law enforcement techniques are incapable of tackling the rise of cybercrime, according to a panel of experts gathered to discuss the issue at the Chartered Institute of IT.

      Last night more than a hundred IT professionals and academics, including representatives of the National Crime Agency and Sir David Omand, the former director of GCHQ, discussed what they saw as the necessity of the police acting more like intelligence agencies and “disrupting” cybercriminals where other methods of law enforcement failed.

      The perpetrators of cybercrime are often not only overseas, but in hard-to-reach jurisdictions. Evgeniy Bogachev, the Russian national who created the GameOver Zeus trojan, for instance, currently has a $3m bounty on his capture – but Russia does not want to hand him over to the US.

      In such situations, when arrests are not possible, disrupting criminal activities “may be the only response” suggested Sir David Omand, adding that “the experts in disruption are in the intelligence community.”

      Technical disruption, as the NCA practices it, can involve sinkholing, getting hold of the domains used by malware to communicate and so breaking its command and control network. Paul Edmunds, the head of technology at the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, explained how Operation Bluebonnet took aim at the Dridex banking trojan, but said that sinkholing it and organising arrests required a concerted international effort – one that may need to be repeated with the “up-and-coming” exploit kit Rig.

    • Leaked Law Enforcement Supply Catalog Shows Souped-Up Cell Tower Spoofers, Tons Of Pervasive Surveillance Options

      The Intercept has obtained what appears to be another set of leaked documents — these ones originating from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The first document released (assuming that more are on the way) is a catalog of law enforcement-only tech products from UK firm Cobham, including Stingray-like devices capable of not only locating suspects, but also intercepting their phone calls and messages.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Women Say EPA Officials Sexually Harassed Them—and Their Bosses Did Nothing

      More than a year after troubling allegations of sexual harassment at an Environmental Protection Agency office were exposed in a congressional hearing, the agency’s watchdog says it will conduct an audit of how this office handles sexual-harassment complaints. The office under scrutiny? The same one embroiled in the Flint, Michigan, water crisis months ago.

      In a letter sent in August to the EPA’s Region 5 office in Chicago, the agency’s inspector general’s office said it plans to “determine whether Region 5 managers appropriately handled allegations of sexual harassment.” The audit was first reported by the Washington Examiner.

    • The Revenge of Roger’s Angels

      It took 15 days to end the mighty 20-year reign of Roger Ailes at Fox News, one of the most storied runs in media and political history. Ailes built not just a conservative cable news channel but something like a fourth branch of government; a propaganda arm for the GOP; an organization that determined Republican presidential candidates, sold wars, and decided the issues of the day for 2 million viewers. That the place turned out to be rife with grotesque abuses of power has left even its liberal critics stunned. More than two dozen women have come forward to accuse Ailes of sexual harassment, and what they have exposed is both a culture of misogyny and one of corruption and surveillance, smear campaigns and hush money, with implications reaching far wider than one disturbed man at the top.

      It began, of course, with a lawsuit. Of all the people who might have brought down Ailes, the former Fox & Friends anchor Gretchen Carlson was among the least likely. A 50-year-old former Miss America, she was the archetypal Fox anchor: blonde, right-wing, proudly anti-intellectual. A memorable Daily Show clip showed Carlson saying she needed to Google the words czar and ignoramus. But television is a deceptive medium. Off-camera, Carlson is a Stanford- and Oxford-educated feminist who chafed at the culture of Fox News. When Ailes made harassing comments to her about her legs and suggested she wear tight-fitting outfits after she joined the network in 2005, she tried to ignore him. But eventually he pushed her too far. When Carlson complained to her supervisor in 2009 about her co-host Steve Doocy, who she said condescended to her on and off the air, Ailes responded that she was “a man hater” and a “killer” who “needed to get along with the boys.” After this conversation, Carlson says, her role on the show diminished. In September 2013, Ailes demoted her from the morning show Fox & Friends to the lower-rated 2 p.m. time slot.

    • New York Times launches McCarthyite witch-hunt against Julian Assange

      The New York Times Thursday published an article entitled “How Russia Often Benefits When Julian Assange Reveals the West’s Secrets.” The 5,000-word piece, covering three columns of the top half of its front page, boasts three bylines. Presented as a major investigative news article, it is a piece of pro-government propaganda, whose style and outright character assassination against the WikiLeaks founder seems to have been cribbed from the vilest McCarthyite smear jobs of the 1950s.

      Stringing together half-truths, innuendos, totally unsubstantiated assertions presented as facts and vicious ad hominem attacks on a man who has been persecuted and is effectively imprisoned because of his exposures of the crimes of US imperialism, the article has essentially three related purposes.

    • Court Tosses Prestigious Pets’ $1 Million Defamation Suit Against Unhappy Customers

      Prestigious Pets, a Texas pet-sitting company, has done a severe amount of damage to the “prestigious” half of its name over the past several months. After front-loading its inevitable reputational ruin by adding a KlearGearian “non-disparagement clause” to its service contracts, the company doubled-down with a $1 million defamation lawsuit after losing out on its small claims court bid to extract $6,766 from an unhappy customer for “lost work opportunities” and “libelous and slandurous [sic] harm.”

      The unhappy customers, whose Yelp review only stated the pet sitter Prestigious Pets hired had overfed their fish, were forced to defend themselves against a clearly baseless lawsuit. Fortunately, Chris Dachniwsky of law firm Thompson & Knight stepped up to represent the couple on a contingency basis.

    • Texas Court Strikes Down Prestigious Pets’ Nondisparagement Clause Lawsuit

      A state District Court in Dallas (Judge Jim Jordan of the 160th District) has struck down a lawsuit over a non-disparagement clause in a form consumer agreement, holding that it could not be enforced against a consumer who expressed dissatisfaction about the service provided by a local business. Although we have won default judgments in Utah against Kleargear and in New York against Accessory Outlet, this case represents the first time a company defended its non-disparagement clause with a brief, and thus the first time we have had a judge’s ruling refusing to enforce such a clause.

    • School District Routinely Abused Access To Law Enforcement Database; Suspended Whistleblower Who Exposed It

      Give enough people access to sensitive information and abuse is inevitable. We’ve covered multiple incidents of law enforcement database misuse by police officers. Some have used their access to track former spouses. Others use it to harvest info on potential partners, supplementing the minimal personal data supplied by internet dating sites.

      But it’s not just law enforcement officers abusing this access. It’s also abused by public employees who have been granted access to these databases. Jose Gaspar of Bakersfield.com details the apparent routine misuse of database access by school administrators.

    • NYPD Suddenly Stops Making Disciplinary Documents Public; Cites ‘Saving Paper,’ 40-Year-Old Law

      The NYPD may not have time to update its Muslim surveillance policies or inform its officers of changes to its stop-and-frisk program, but it certainly has time to dig around for policies it can use to keep even more information out of the public’s hands.

      The New York Daily News reports the NYPD has been paging through old laws and has found something that will be useful in further reducing the department’s accountability.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Surprise! European Union Adopts Net Neutrality Guidelines That Don’t Suck

      As we noted last October, the European Union passed net neutrality rules that not only don’t really protect net neutrality, but actually give ISPs across the EU member countries the green light to violate net neutrality consistently — just as long as ISPs are relatively clever about it. Just like the original, overturned 2010 net neutrality rules in the States, Europe’s new rules (which took effect April 30) are packed with all manner of loopholes giving exemption for “specialized services” and “class-based discrimination,” as well as giving the green light for zero rating.

      Fortunately, the European Union’s Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) has been cooking up new guidelines to help European countries interpret and adopt the new rules. Under heavy pressure from net neutrality advocates overseas, the BEREC’s final guidelines have been published and they’re notably better than many people predicted. Much of the worst-offending loophole language has been trimmed back, despite earlier threats by European wireless providers that they’d withhold fifth-generation (5G) upgrades if the guidelines toughened up the rules (a common, empty bluff in telecom).

    • CBS Announces New Ad-Free More-Expensive Streaming Service…That Includes Ads

      Some terrestrial TV stations and cable stations are better at internet-ing than others. While Netflix has built an empire upon streaming ad-free shows, for instance, other services like Hulu have gone the route of a tiered structure, with a price point for streaming with ads and one for streaming without ads. One of the interesting things is seeing other traditional broadcast networks watch how these models play out and then go about offering their own. Take CBS, for instance. It’s very clear that CBS is enamored with the idea of streaming its content advertising free, but likes Hulu’s tiered structure better than that of Netflix.

      At CBS’ site, you can see that it is now offering two tiers of its “All Access” platform. The existing service is offered with “Limited Commercials”, while a service that costs $4 more is labeled “Commercial Free.” I’d like to focus on the commercial free offering for a moment, because it’s a bold step that includes giving viewers a way to stream CBS shows “commercial free”, except where there are both commercials and where CBS is choosing to call “commercials” by the term “promotional interruptions” instead.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • UT to doughnut shop: Yeast and desist

        Last month, Seng received a letter sent on behalf of the university citing a violation of trademark rights in relation to the Longhorn Donut and requesting that, when it comes to selling them, Seng yeast and desist.

        “It’s not fair. It’s not right,” Seng said. “This I created by myself, I’m not copying from them. I’m supporting them.”

        “It wasn’t very nice,” added her boyfriend, Fred Hart. “We felt kind of bullied.”

      • University Of Texas Bullies Pastry Shop Over Donuts Shaped Like ‘Hook ‘Em Horns’ Hands

        While the University of Texas is no stranger to being a trademark bully, and colleges in general have become overtly maximalist in intellectual property protectionism, it can still be stunning to see the lengths to which a school will go. The latest trademark dispute concerning UT involves donuts shaped in the ‘hook ‘em horns’ gesture, because apparently the school is now in the pastry business. Recently, the owner of Donut Taco Palace 1, Angel Seng, received a threat letter from the university insisting that she stop making donuts that look like horned-hands.

      • Business Promoting Children Reading Sues Schools Over Trademarks For Encouraging Reading

        We’ve occasionally seen instances in the past in which educational institutions are threatened with trademark lawsuits or actually go through them, though those suits usually feature the worst trademark bullies out there (hi, Olympics!). Rarer is seeing some small business owner pestering schools with trademark disputes. Still rarer are cases in which those businesses are actually involved in the business of trying to promote education.

        Yet that’s exactly what we have in the case of Springboards to Education, which has filed nine trademark suits against seven school districts, a non-profit, and a library.

      • Local business owner sues school districts for trademark violations

        The concept of incentivizing students to read across school districts in the Rio Grande Valley and around the state has recently taken an ambiguous turn as some districts are facing lawsuits claiming trademark infringement for using descriptions such as “Millionaire Reader” or “Millionaire Reading Club.”

    • Copyrights

      • Creative Commons Wants To Step Into Lawsuit Over Definition Of ‘Noncommercial’ In A CC License

        Two decades ago, there were a series of lawsuits against copy shops over whether or not it was fair use for them to be photocopying educational materials for college coursepacks. Unfortunately (and, some of us still think, incorrectly) the courts ruled that this was not fair use. The end result was that the price of coursepacks shot up to astronomical levels (this happened while I was in college, and I saw coursepacks increase in price from $20 – $30 to well over $100, and they’ve gone up more since then).

        Earlier this year, it appears that a new version of this kind of lawsuit was filed by Great Minds, an educational non-profit, against FedEx, the shipping giant who also took over what used to be known as Kinkos copy shops, now rebranded as FedEx or FedEx Office. At issue: these copy shops owned by FedEx were photocopying some of Great Minds’ works for educational entities. Great Minds says that FedEx is infringing on the copyright. If that was all there was to it, based on the cases back in the 90s, Great Minds would have a slam dunk of a case (unfortunately).

      • Hollywood Freaking Out That Europe Might Make It Marginally Easier For People To Legally Access Content

        Okay, we have some really serious concerns about the absolute mess of a draft copyright reform proposal that was leaked via EU regulators. The whole thing is basically a giant handout to legacy entertainment companies, pushing for things like taxing Google and other aggregators, and generally ignoring what’s best for the public.

        But apparently there’s one single part of the plan that the entertainment guys don’t like: the fact that a big part of the proposal is to knock out geoblocking, to create this “digital single market.” To hear Hollywood whine about this, you’d think it was the equivalent of forcibly making all their content available via BitTorrent.

Links 2/9/2016: Docker Fork Questions, Baidu’s Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 6:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Journal September 2016
  • September 2016 Video Preview
  • Desktop

  • Server

    • A Docker Fork: Talk of a Split Is Now on the Table

      Discussions about a split from Docker are now underway among several Docker ecosystem vendors and end users. Expressing frustration of Docker’s management of Docker Engine, the technologists with the companies are exploring ways to address various issues around supporting enterprise Docker deployments.

    • Forking Docker will lead to more fragmentation

      If you have been keeping up with Docker lately, you may have come across my blog post about the sad state of Docker. In this post, I go over how the 1.12 release appeared interesting from all the marketing announcements and the constant copying and pasting of the same Docker content into blogs over the world. However, many others and I expressed our opinions on Hacker News on how Docker failed to deliver a quality product and how they failed to create a quality release. The New Stack then summarized all of the weekend discussions going on in a new blog post and discussed that a fork of Docker may arise. Is a fork really the best answer? Let’s take a look.

      The nice thing about open source software is that anyone can take the software and modify it as needed or even create their own version of the software for redistribution. Software repositories like GitHub make it really easy for developers to fork a project and begin making their own changes and improvements. A recent example was the fork of OwnCloud into NextCloud. My problem with forking is that it leads to fragmentation. I personally like one or two ways of doing something well versus many different ways to partially achieve the same goal.

    • Why the container community is wrong to whine about Docker

      The Docker inmates want to run the asylum, as Red Hat’s Daniel Riek makes clear. So much so, in fact, that there are rumblings of a Docker fork. Companies like Red Hat see their future in containers and worry about being forced into second-class citizenship, while operations vendors like VMware worry about the entire fabric of their virtualization businesses being ripped to shreds.

    • Memory Issues with Linux Control Groups Might Affect Containerized Applications

      The paper authors suggest several workarounds for these problems, including pre-touching the memory, which involves ensuring that the memory is allocated when the process starts, rather than on demand. The exact methods of doing this vary across platforms. Another option is to better assess the memory footprint of an application so that allocation can be done more accurately. The page cache usage is not easy to estimate, but the anonymous memory can be estimated easily. The anonymous memory can be estimated from system metrics like the Resident Set Size (RSS).

    • Docker usage rises, but high portability pointless for most

      The adoption of Docker — and containers in general — within AWS environments continues to rapidly increase. However, reports show that abandonment rates align with adoption rates, which is interesting for those looking at Docker’s potential.

      Docker usage has quintupled in a single year — following the patter of most-hyped technologies, according to a recent study by Datadog, a monitoring and analytics platform. But this raises some questions: Can this growth be sustained? And, if so, what will be the likely patterns of adoption?

    • IBM links Blockchain with AI in new Industry Platforms business unit

      IBM has underscored how seriously its taking Blockchain technology with the creation of a new business unit centered around it. The new business, called Industry Platforms, will be led by Global Business Services chief, Bridget van Kralingen.

      IBM’s entire blockchain leadership team will transition to the new business, which was first announced last year.

      As well as working on Blockchain technology, the Industry Platforms business will also work to promote its Watson artificial intelligence platform in the financial services sector.

      “The Industry Platforms business will bring clients radically optimized processes and marketplaces that leverage Watson, IBM Cloud, IBM Systems, blockchain, deep domain expertise and ecosystems of partners and developers,” said IBM CEO Ginni Rometty.

    • Habitat: Automating Applications, Minus Platform and Infrastructure Hassles

      Remember the days when technology platforms sat in silos and our fierce allegiance to them did too? “We’re a Mac shop,” admins would announce. “We’re all in on Windows,” another might say.

      Those days are quickly fading, along with the barriers that used to separate platform and infrastructure technologies. Instead, we are moving toward a world of containers, multiple instances of virtual machines, and multiple operating systems working in tandem. This is especially true in data centers, and open source tools are helping to drive the trend.

      There is a pronounced need for ways to run applications on multiple types of infrastructure, ranging from bare metal to virtual machines to containers to the cloud. That’s where Habitat comes in. It’s an open source project focused on “automation that travels with the application.” It has pedigree, too. Habitat comes from the makers of the venerable configuration management and automation platform Chef, which, like Puppet, has helped to optimize many heterogeneous technology environments.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • 8 Best and Most Popular Linux Desktop Environments of All Time

      In this article, we shall list and walk through some of the best desktop environments for Linux, including a few of their illustrious features and components. However, we should note that this list is not organized in any particular order.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Connect links your Android phone with your Linux desktop

        Despite the name, KDE Connect isn’t just for KDE Plasma desktop users. You can install KDE Connect on any Linux desktop environment. After that, you’ll just need to install the KDE Connect app for Android from the Google Play Store.

        With KDE Connect on your Linux PC and Android phone, you’ll be able to link them together. Notifications you receive on your Android phone will appear on your Linux PC. If you receive an SMS message on your phone, you’ll see it on your Linux PC and you can respond to it from Linux. KDE Connect also offers other useful features, like the ability to trigger custom commands and use your phone as a media controller remote. The connection is made without any servers—your phone and PC connect directly to each other using TLS encryption over the local network.

        Read more

      • KDE Arrives in Berlin, Elects Thomas Pfeiffer to the e.V. Board

        Today KDE has been arriving in Berlin for Akademy, our annual meeting, which is year is part of the larger QtCon conference. This year we are teaming up with KDAB to gather together with the wider community of Qt developers for the first time, which is a major opportunity to share experiences between the open source and the commercial worlds. Also at the gathering are the VLC developers. VLC is one of the most successful open source projects successfully reaching out to users on all platforms and is a project we have long cooperated with. And the Free Software Foundation Europe will be brining the important political edge to our talks.

      • Kubuntu-16.04 and updates

        I installed kubuntu-16.04 in April. Although I don’t use it much, I occasionally boot into it to check a few things. Whenever I booted into Kubuntu, I looked to see if the update applet was notifying me of updates. I left the system running for an hour or more, to give it plenty of time to find out.s

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Finding Five Good Linux Distributions Isn’t That Easy

      This is a good alternative list of distribution suggestions. Android is an interesting shout but having tried it myself I think something needs to happen with regards to navigation to make it worthwhile.

      Xubuntu is always a worthy suggestion and it makes a good base for creating the distribution you really want.

      I tried Netrunner out recently. Whilst it is a reasonable distribution I am not personally a fan of the KDE desktop. Netrunner does come with a good set of applications pre-installed.

    • I Asked “What Are The Best Linux Distributions For The Average Person”, You Answered

      August was a light month for me blogging wise because I was in Florida for 2 weeks and unable to post anything.

      In September I will be ramping things back up and writing more reviews and more tutorials.

      What this process has shown me is that I have a lot of good readers and I thank everyone who submitted a list and everyone who reads the blog.

      I also have a very diverse reader base with people coming from all over the world to submit their lists.

      From a technical point of view there were 42 different distribution suggestions and this is maybe why it is hard to suggest a top 5.

      However if I sort the data based on the number of suggestions per distribution the top 5 are as follows:

      Linux Mint
      Linux Lite
      Ubuntu MATE / ZorinOS

      My original list included three of those distributions and the two that didn’t make the list above are Peppermint OS and PCLinuxOS.

      I can’t argue with Linux Lite and it is definitely up for a new review in September and Ubuntu MATE should probably have made the list of PCLinuxOS. As mentioned earlier I have concerns over Zorin and I will state my case in a new article next week.

      I stick with my suggestion of Peppermint however because it has been around a long time and it provides a good blend between being lightweight yet productive. I also personally still think PCLinuxOS is a good choice although often overlooked.

    • New Releases

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Throw a Beta Pizza Party
      • openSUSE 42.2 Pushed Back as Beta is Released
      • openSUSE Releases Leap Beta, Modifies Road Map

        Software testers and Linux enthusiasts can now get the Beta release of openSUSE Leap 42.2, which was released today.

        “Leap is for pragmatic and conservative technology adopters,” said Ludwig Nussel, the release manager for openSUSE Leap. “Testing the beta helps make Leap even more mature, so we encourage as many people as possible to test it.”

        openSUSE Leap focuses on well-established packages, like systemd 228 and Qt 5.6. The release day for the official version is scheduled for Nov. 16, which is one week after SUSECon.

      • Tumbleweed Enhances Encryption, has Massive Updates

        openSUSE users are at no loss for getting new software as this week the rolling distribution Tumbleweed had several snapshot releases and there was a beta release for openSUSE Leap 42.2.

        openSUSE’s rolling distribution Tumbleweed, which was originally created by Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman, had six snapshots two weeks ago and four last week. This week we will look at another six snapshots.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat’s Latest OpenStack Platform Boasts New Management Features

        Red Hat is known to some people as the only U.S.-based public company that is exclusively focused on open source, and known to many for its Linux-focused strategy complemented by rock solid support. But as I’ve noted before, the cloud beckons in a big way for Red Hat. The company has recently extended a broad partnership with Microsoft focused on Linux and cloud agreements.

        And now, Red Hat has announced the availability of Red Hat OpenStack Platform 9, its latest open Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform designed to deploy, scale and manage private cloud, public cloud, and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) environments. It’s based on the OpenStack community “Mitaka” release, and Red Hat says it offers customers a more secure, production-ready automated cloud platform integrated with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2, Red Hat Ceph Storage 2, and Red Hat CloudForms for hybrid cloud management and monitoring.

      • Red Hat Inc. ranks 25th as most innovative company under the Forbes list of ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’ list
      • Red Hat still plans on being The OpenStack company

        Other companies — Canonical, SUSE, and Mirantis — all plan on being OpenStack powers, but Red Hat shows it’s determined to be number one with its latest OpenStack cloud release.

      • Red Hat Takes Aim at VMware With RHV

        Although VMware and Red Hat might have seemed to be best buddies at last week’s LinuxCon, this week it’s become obvious that Red Hat is locked and loaded and has VMware in its sites. During a week when the suits at the virtualization company would doubtlessly like attention focused on Las Vegas and its VMWorld 2016 users’ conference, Red Hat has been stealing the headlines on just about every major tech site with news of its own virtualization products.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • SUSE Contributions, Fedora & Korora 24 Reviews, Security Distros
        • Fedora 25 Alpha Released with Wayland Default
        • Korora 24

          The Korora distribution is based on Fedora and provides users with several desktop editions. Each edition of Korora ships with multimedia support and with several third-party repositories enabled. This gives Korora access to a wider range of software with its default configuration.

          The latest release of Korora, version 24, is based on Fedora 24 and includes the same changes and technology as its parent. The Korora release is available in four flavours (Cinnamon, GNOME, MATE and Xfce). A fifth edition featuring KDE’s Plasma desktop is planned, but was not available when I began this review. The new release media is available for the 64-bit x86 architecture exclusively, however existing Korora 23 users who run 32-bit systems can perform live upgrades to Korora 24. The Pharlap driver manager has been removed from this release.

        • The next version of Fedora picks up Rust

          You know a language has arrived when its toolchain ships as a standard component with operating systems.

          Rust, Mozilla’s language for safe and speedy systems level programming, has landed a prime-time slot in the next edition of Fedora Linux, according to the change set for the first public alpha for Fedora 25.

        • Crash test dummy? Love the excitement of breaking an OS? Fedora 25 Alpha has landed

          If you’re a chronic complainer and nit-picker with a spare machine and a willingness to suffer multiple crashes, weird screen artefacts and possible data loss: Fedora 25′s alpha has landed ahead of its anticipated November 2016 release.

          If you want to help the developers by breaking stuff, don’t risk dual-boot on OS X if you’ve got live data, because this known bug is a treat:

          “The installer appears to support volume shrink for OS X volumes (Apple Core Storage) by offering a Shrink button and sizing slider in Automatic partitioning; and likewise allow numeric resizing in Manual partitioning. However, setting the installer to resize these volumes and proceeding with installation will result in complete data loss of the volume. Resize the volume in OS X’s Disk Utility to create free space before proceeding with the installation of Fedora.”

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-13 to Be Released on September 14, Add Numerous Improvements

            We’ve been asked by many of our readers what’s going on with the development of the next major OTA software update for Canonical’s Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system for Ubuntu Phone and Ubuntu Tablet devices, the OTA-13.

          • Should You Upgrade To Ubuntu 16.04 From Ubuntu 14.04

            Ubuntu 16.04 has been out for about 4 months now and it is the latest long term support release which gurarantees support for 5 more years.

            Do you need to upgrade to Ubuntu 16.04 right now or should you wait a while? In this guide I am going to list reasons for and against upgrading to Ubuntu 16.04 and help you to decide when it is right for you.

          • Ubuntu Working On Improved Low Graphics Mode For Unity 7

            While Ubuntu developers continue work on preparing the Unity 8 desktop for rolling out across all form-factors, Unity 7 is still seeing some new improvements as their interim desktop solution.

          • 5 Things We Secretly Miss About Ubuntu

            Sure, it’s super stable, far more compatible, and less buggy than it was a few years back. The polish and professionalism mirrors Canonical’s own transition from scrappy startup to server-ruling stalwart.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • ReSpeaker Is an Upcoming Open Source, Modular Voice Interface to Hack Things

      Softpedia was informed by SeeedStudio about an upcoming device that was fully funded in twelve hours on Kickstart, while still having 20 days to go on its crowdfunding campaign.

    • Linaro Announces First Development Board Compliant with 96Boards TV Platform Specification

      Linaro Ltd, the collaborative engineering organization developing open source software for the ARM® architecture, today announced support for the HiSilicon ‘Poplar’ board – the first development board compliant with the 96Boards Enterprise Edition TV Platform specification. The board is the latest addition to the 96Boards family, the open specification defining a platform for the delivery of low-cost 32-bit and 64-bit ARM ecosystem developer boards. It is available to purchase for under $100 from Tocoding Technologies.

    • HiSilicon’s Poplar Is The First Linaro 96Boards EE TV Platform

      Linaro has announced the first development board that supports their 96Boards’ Enterprise Edition TV Platform specification.

      The HiSilicon Poplar development board is their first TV Platform compliant product and targets set-top box developers and hobbyists. The Poplar dev board is powered by a Hi3798C V200 SoC that packs in a quad-core 64-bit Cortex-A53 processor and Mali T720 for graphics. The Poplar board costs $79 USD or closer to $100 when factoring in shipping.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • Have a strum on Lightning Uke, the first open-source 3D printed electric ukulele
  • 3D printed ukulele comes with open source software

    A team of designers from Taiwan recently have created an open-source 3D printed electronic ukelele. This could very well to be the first open-source one in the world. With a full-size fretboard, regular strings and tuners, and a custom-made amplifier, pick-up, and speaker, the exotically shaped ukelele was named Lightening Uke and was particularly designed for consumer 3D printers.

    No matter for masters or green-hands, an ukulele would always be a good choice to play because of its portability and user-friendliness. However, few of these players would claim to be able to play “Over the Rainbow” with a 3D printed instrument. Surely we have already seen several 3D printed instruments online, (like the 3D printed violin) but these Taiwanese designers noticed that there weren’t any open-source ukuleles and that’s why they decided to bring this unique instrument to all makers.

  • Why News Corp loves open source

    The struggles of publishing giant News Corp and its media brethren are no secret, but from an IT perspective scurrying to cut costs amidst falling revenues may have inadvertently put the business on the path to innovation.

    Speaking at the Future IT Infrastructure forum in Melbourne this week, News Corp’s top infrastructure architect Nicholas Tan urged his peers to join the publisher in embracing the open source community.

    Open source is not “hobby software” anymore, Tan said.

    “It’s definitely the real deal and it is powering a lot of the tech we consume today even if we don’t realise it.”

    News Corp has been gradually deploying open source technologies at strategic points in its stack – “where our major business value is, where we need to be highly differentiated – that is where our developer talent will go”, Tan said.

  • How small enterprises can leverage open-source to build for the enterprise

    Open-Source software allows small businesses to leverage millions of dollars worth of software to build customized solutions which are usually well supported by a global community of users. Many of Canada’s closest allies have already made huge strides to adopt it for their biggest and most challenging IT projects.

  • Survey: Infographic Shows Open Source Increasingly Embraced by Developers

    Open source platforms are no longer just for a small group of hardcore coders. A recent study by Black Duck and North Bridge of developers and security professionals shows that 65 percent of respondents have embraced open source as a critical element of their development strategy.

    Emerging technologies such as containers are also on the rise; 59 percent of respondents already utilize containers in a variety of deployments to speed up their go-to-market strategies, from development and testing to internal and external production environment.

  • Culture and lack of skills holding back Australia’s open source adoption: Coles

    When it comes to the adoption of open source technologies in Australia, Niall Keating, head of Big Data at supermarket giant Coles, has said that it is both the culture and talent shortage that is holding the country back.

    Having worked in the Hadoop space for the past four years, Keating said he has seen a shift in attitude towards open source, watching businesses deploy such technology in earnest to solve real business problems.

  • Web4Africa has launched a data mirror project to localise popular open-source content in Nigeria

    Pan-African web hosting company, Web4Africa, has launched the first West African mirror project aimed at providing a local mirror of popular open-source projects in Nigeria.

    The Nigerian Mirror Project, which is physically hosted in Nigeria, will reduce the high cost of bandwidth by bringing free and open-source content closer to end-users in Nigeria through data mirroring. Access to bandwidth in Nigeria is expensive compared to most parts of the world, and this is mostly due to the fact that most of the content consumed by Nigerian Internet users is generated outside the country. With this Mirror Project, free and open-source software will become more available, and user experience will be made better with faster downloads.

  • The Intersection of Alchemy and Open Source

    As open source continues to take over over the software development landscape, so too are the metaphors for how its success today has multiple historical precedents. For science-fiction author and activitist Cory Doctorow, open source is an idea that helped to raise humanity out of the dark ages.

    In a keynote at the LinuxCon North America conference in Toronto last week, Doctorow compared the age of open source to the enlightenment.

  • Baidu open sources its deep learning platform PaddlePaddle

    Taking a cue from some of its U.S. peers like Google, Chinese Internet search giant Baidu has decided to open source its deep learning platform.

    The company claims that the platform, code-named PaddlePaddle after PArallel Distributed Deep LEarning, will let developers focus on the high-level structure of their models without having to worry about the low-level details. A machine translation program written with PaddlePaddle, for example, requires significantly less code than on other popular deep learning platforms, said Baidu spokeswoman Calisa Cole.

  • Baidu open-sources Python-driven machine learning framework
  • Baidu Open Sources its Deep Learning AI Platform
  • Chinese Search Company Wants to Revolutionize Deep Learning
  • Baidu open sources its machine learning software
  • China’s homegrown AI sector takes off
  • Baidu Open-Sources PaddlePaddle Deep Learning Platform
  • Baidu peddles PaddlesPaddles, floats open source AI tech
  • China’s Baidu to open-source its deep learning AI platform
  • Baidu follows US tech giants and open sources its deep learning tools
  • Baidu Signs Partnership Deal With HARMAN; To Open Source Software Platform
  • Baidu to Open Source New Platform for Deep Learning Community
  • Baidu Delivers a Hardened Open Source Deep Learning Tool

    A few weeks ago, in an article for TechCrunch, Spark Capital’s John Melas-Kyriazi weighed in on how startups can leverage artificial intelligence and deep learning tools to advance their businesses or even give birth to brand new ones. In a subsequent post, I noted that quite a few of them have been tested and hardened at Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other companies, and some of them may represent business opportunities.Since then, there has been more action on the open source AI and deep learning front.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Build vs. buy equation changes, as open source big data tools surge

      Build vs. buy is a decision that has long been intrinsic to the mission of the IT leader. In the age of big data and open source software tooling, the familiar dilemma has taken a different tone, according to reporters speaking in the latest edition of the Talking Data podcast.

      Important elements in making build vs. buy decisions are the total cost of ownership of software over time, the competitive benefit to be gained by adding new features quickly and the skill sets available within the organization for any given new technology initiative.

    • On complexity in big data

      What’s the scale we’re using here? What makes big data and NoSQL more complex than cloud or mobile?

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Contemplating the retirement of Apache OpenOffice

      Outgoing Apache OpenOffice project management committee (PMC) chair Dennis Hamilton has begun the discussion of a possible (note possible at this point) shutdown of the project. “In the case of Apache OpenOffice, needing to disclose security vulnerabilities for which there is no mitigation in an update has become a serious issue. In responses to concerns raised in June, the PMC is currently tasked by the ASF Board to account for this inability and to provide a remedy. An indicator of the seriousness of the Board’s concern is the PMC been requested to report to the Board every month, starting in August, rather than quarterly, the normal case. One option for remedy that must be considered is retirement of the project. The request is for the PMC’s consideration among other possible options.” (Thanks to James Hogarth.)

  • CMS

    • Drupal 8.2, now with more outside-in

      Over the weekend, Drupal 8.2 beta was released. One of the reasons why I’m so excited about this release is that it ships with “more outside-in”. In an “outside-in experience”, you can click anything on the page, edit its configuration in place without having to navigate to the administration back end, and watch it take effect immediately. This kind of on-the-fly editorial experience could be a game changer for Drupal’s usability.

      When I last discussed turning Drupal outside-in, we were still in the conceptual stages, with mockups illustrating the concepts. Since then, those designs have gone through multiple rounds of feedback from Drupal’s usability team and a round of user testing led by Cheppers. This study identified some issues and provided some insights which were incorporated into subsequent designs.

      Two policy changes we introduced in Drupal 8 — semantic versioning and experimental modules — have fundamentally changed Drupal’s innovation model starting with Drupal 8. I should write a longer blog post about this, but the net result of those two changes is ongoing improvements with an easy upgrade path. In this case, it enabled us to add outside-in experiences to Drupal 8.2 instead of having to wait for Drupal 9. The authoring experience improvements we made in Drupal 8 are well-received, but that doesn’t mean we are done. It’s exciting that we can move much faster on making Drupal easier to use.

  • Education

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Which countries have open-source laws on the books?

      As the institutional use of open-source software continues to expand like an octopus, the public sector remains a key target market.

      Government users like Linux and other open-source software for several reasons, but the most important ones are probably that total cost of ownership is often lower than it is for proprietary products and that open-source projects don’t vanish if the company providing them goes under.

    • German free software proponents approach lawmakers

      German members of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) are once again contacting political candidates in next month’s state elections. The major, traditional parties fear the unknown, while left, green and pirate parties favour the use of such software in public administration.

      In the state of Berlin and the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern FSFE members are studying the party programmes. At the same time, the group is lobbying the candidates, advocating public administration’s use of free and open source software solutions.

    • Free Software in the Berlin election programs
    • Germany While Leading In Adoption Of FLOSS Still Has Luddites In High Places
    • Corbyn Promises Broadband For All And Open Source Government

      Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn vows to democratise the internet with funding, better public services, open source software and broadband access

      Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to deliver superfast broadband and mobile coverage to every home and business in the UK as part of a digital manifesto that also includes support for open source software.

      The Labour leader described a ‘universal service network’ that would provide the connectivity, alongside online resources for education, a digital bill of rights and a ‘digital passport’ that would be used as a secure online identity for public services.

      Public funding would be made available to make the cost of connecting citizens with services such as transport, accommodation, culture and catering and any Labour government would require all software and hardware paid for by public money to be made open source.

    • CNAS report recommends DOD ‘embrace open-source software’

      A new report from the Center for a New American Security is recommending the Pentagon take more aggressive steps to embrace open-source software.

    • Defense Department failing to capitalize on open-source benefits

      The Defense Department increasingly relies on software for everything from weapons systems to accounting, but it is failing to capitalize on the power of open-source software, according to a report from the Center for a New American Security.

    • Defense Department needs to embrace open source or military will lose tech superiority
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Nice: NASA Opens Up Its Research Online For Free

        Every once in a while, we get some good news out of a government agency. Based on a 2013 directive from the White House, NASA had finally announced early this year that it would be following the NIH model and making its publicly funded research available for free online. With the only caveat being a restriction on research that relates to national security, NASA has made good on plans to publish the rest of this research on Pubspace, its new publicly-facing portal for sharing this research.

  • Programming/Development

    • Converseen 0.9.5 porting to Qt5 is available for Linux

      During the last weeks I worked on the Qt5 porting of my open source project Converseen, a cross-platform batch conversion and image processor tool, thanks to the help of rezso, an user from GitHub who sent me some patches with a lot of useful changes that enabled the project to be compiled with Qt5.

      In addition to this, I spent a couple of hours making the project compatible (and compilable) with Visual Studio 2015 in order to make it available for Windows platforms, too. In particular, the Windows version comes with ImageMagick 6.9.5 HDRI bundled in the same package.

    • Preliminary Qt 5.8 Alpha Packages Now Available

      The Qt Project is readying the Qt 5.8.0 Alpha toolkit release.

      Qt 5.8 is now under a feature freeze and working to get its release schedule back on track with hopes of releasing Qt 5.8 before Christmas.

    • GitHub Showcases Most Popular Open Source Developer Tools

      With open source having “won” in becoming “today’s preeminent architecture,” developers may want to check up on the most popular development tools used in community projects.

      One place to do that is GitHub, the go-to choice for developers worldwide to host their open source projects. Sure, the company has published the occasional report based on data mining its stores of projects, such as one recent study of the most popular programming languages, but there’s another resource that devs can consult at any time to check up on the hottest trends in open source development.

    • 5 great Java performance optimization tricks

      Optimizing your Java code requires an understanding of how the different elements in Java interact, and how it interacts with the operating system that is it running on. Use these five tips and resources to start learning how to analyze and optimize your code.

      Before we get to the good stuff, you might be concerned about licensing. Java is owned by Oracle, and is under Oracle’s BCL license which is not a free/open source license. Even so, Oracle Java is part of many open source projects. OpenJDK is the free software implementation of the Java platform, licensed under GPL v2. (See Free Java implementations on Wikipedia for more information.)


  • Genode OS 16.08 Released With seL4 Kernel Improvements

    Genode OS 16.08 allows running more software off the seL4 micro-kernel, adds support for virtual networking and Tor, support for VirtualBox on top of the Muen separation kernel, support for VirtualBox 5 on their NOVA kernel, virtual AHCI controller support, statistical profiling support, and more.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WHO Debates Expansion Of Role In Virus-Sharing

      The global treatment of influenza is under reconsideration at the World Health Organization this week, as a review group of a WHO influenza pandemic framework looks at issues such as its relationship with an international treaty protecting countries’ ownership biological resources.

    • WHO Flu Pandemic Framework Working, Group Says; Some Concerned

      A World Health Organization framework to respond to influenza pandemics is working successfully, the confidential draft report of a review team has found. But some areas, such as virus genetic information, still need more work. Stakeholders, meanwhile, are challenging some findings and a concern was raised that lawyers may be influencing the science behind decisions on this issue.

  • Security

    • Linux Foundation Restructuring CII Security Effort for Scale

      Since creating the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) in 2014 in response to the Heartbleed vulnerability in the OpenSSL cryptographic library, the Linux Foundation has raised $5.8 million in funding to support the effort. It easily could raise much more, given its popularity.

      Nicko van Someren, CTO of the Linux Foundation, is leading an effort to restructure the governance model for the CII, to help accelerate security for the internet. In a video interview, he details his suggested changes, which are being reviewed by the CII’s existing membership.

    • BlackArch Linux Ethical Hacking OS Is Now Powered by Kernel 4.7.2, New ISOs Out

      On August 30, 2016, the development team behind the BlackArch Linux penetration testing distribution based on Arch Linux announced the release of new Live ISO images with updated components and various improvements.

    • Kali Linux 2016.2 Released as the Most Advanced Penetration Testing Distribution

      The Kali Linux (successor to BackTrack) developers are back from the DEF CON Vegas and Black Hat conferences for security professionals and ethical hackers, and as they promised earlier this year, they’re now announcing the availability of Kali Linux 2016.2.

    • Fairware ransomware for Linux Web servers
    • The Newcomer FairWare Ransomware Hits Linux Running Servers (Maybe)
    • New and Mysterious FairWare Ransomware Targets Linux Servers
    • FairWare Ransomware Strikes Linux Systems, Deletes Files, Demands Bitcoin Payment
    • New FairWare ransomware targets Linux web servers, holds web folder hostage
    • Fantom and FairWare ransomware discovered
    • FairWare ransomware infects servers through exposed Redis instances [Ed: Rerunning a story from last month to make Linux sounds scary, due to a Redis misconfiguration]
    • Insecure Redis Instances at Core of Attacks Against Linux Servers
    • Blackhat wannabes proffer probably bogus Linux scamsomware

      A new purported ransomware variant is hitting Linux servers, deleting files and demanding payment for the return of lost data.

      The scam is possibly a bluff, since it does not follow the regular format of encrypting files and leaving ransom notes for slick and automated payment.

      Information on the attacks is scarce. Bleeping Computer researcher Lawrence Abrams suspects it is likely a copy of the deleted files with the web folder uploaded to an attacker’s server, rather than complex encryption being applied.

    • School Creates Own Security Hole; Tries To Have Concerned Parent Arrested For Hacking

      We’ve seen it so often over the years, it’s probably now time to accept the fact that this will never change: when entities are presented evidence of security holes and breaches, far too often the initial reaction is to shoot the messenger.

      A school whose online student portal exposed a lot of sensitive data decided the best way to handle a concerned parent’s repeated questions about how it was handling the problem was to file a criminal complaint against the parent. (via the Office of Inadequate Security)

      The details of the breach (since closed) were reported by independent journalist Sherrie Peif.

    • [Tor] A New Bridge Authority

      After ten years of volunteer maintenance of Tonga, Tor’s bridge Authority—a piece of critical infrastructure within the Tor network—our colleague and friend, Lucky Green, a long time cypherpunk, and free speech and privacy advocate, has decided to step down from this role. Tonga’s cryptographic keys will be destroyed this week. We are incredibly thankful to Lucky for all his support and selfless labour in maintaining a key component of our censorship circumvention efforts, grateful for the years we have spent working with him, and very sorry to see him go.

    • More Than 40% Of Attacks Abuse SSL Encryption

      There’s an important caveat about encrypted traffic from new research released this week: Encryption works so well that hackers are using it as cover.

      A new study from A10 and the Ponemon Institute found that 80% of respondents say their organizations have been the victim of a cyberattack or malicious insiders in the past year — and 41% of the attacks have used encryption to evade detection. In addition, 75% say malware hidden within encrypted traffic is a risk to their organizations.

      At issue: The report found that SSL encryption not only hides data from would-be hackers but also from common security tools.

      “Hackers are using SSL encryption to slide by standard perimeter defenses,” says Chase Cunningham, director of cyber operations at A10 Networks.

    • The Cloud Security Alliance publishes its best practices for Big Data security

      Big Data is a boon for businesses worldwide, but the benefits come at a cost. The more data companies store, the more vulnerable they are to potential security breaches. And data breaches can be enormously expensive when they occur. IBM’s 2016 Cost of Data Breach report found that the average consolidated total cost of a data breach grew from $3.8 million to $4 million in the last year, which makes securing their data an important goal for any company that’s invested in it.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Clinton: Treat cyberattacks ‘like any other attack’

      Hillary Clinton on Wednesday called for the U.S. to begin treating cyberattacks like any other assault on the country.

      “As president, I will make it clear that the United States will treat cyberattacks just like any other attack,” the Democratic presidential nominee said. “We will be ready with serious political, economic and military responses.”

      Clinton called for the U.S. to “lead the world in setting the rules in cyberspace.”

      “If America doesn’t, others will,” she said.

      The remarks, given during a foreign policy speech at the American Legion Convention in Cincinnati, address one the central challenges the Obama administration has faced in responding to cyberattacks.

    • How Clinton And US Government Benefit When New York Times Attacks WikiLeaks

      Without any evidence whatsoever, the New York Times published a “special report” tying the operations of WikiLeaks to Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Times reporters strongly suggested, “whether by conviction, convenience, or coincidence,” WikiLeaks’ document releases, along with statements by its editor-in-chief Julian Assange, have “often benefited Russia at the expense of the West.”

      This kind of journalism has historically been labeled yellow journalism. It is a crude exaggeration and distorting of reality aimed at sensationalism. Times reporters fuel a manufactured idea that somehow WikiLeaks is a Russian pawn of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in the country’s new Cold War against the United States.

      In fact, decades ago, the CIA spread anti-communist propaganda and disinformation, which had a way of making it into American newspapers. Perhaps, during that era this type of story would have been planted by the CIA in the Times, however, nowadays the CIA does not need to plant news stories. Journalists willingly adopt their agenda and ideology and publish stories like this one, which have the same effect.

  • Finance

    • French minister calls for halt to TTIP talks

      There is ‘no more political support’ in France for EU-US trade pact, foreign trade secretary says.

      By Joshua Posaner for Politico Pro

      France wants to stop negotiations on a transatlantic trade pact between the EU and U.S., the country’s secretary of state for foreign trade said Tuesday.

      Matthias Fekl said “there is no more political support in France for these negotiations,” adding that “France calls for an end to these negotiations,” according to AFP.

    • The Secret Threat That Makes Corporations More Powerful Than Countries

      International corporations that want to intimidate countries have access to a private legal system designed just for them. And to unlock its power, sometimes all it takes is a threat. Part two of a BuzzFeed News investigation

    • Apple to shareholders: order to pay back $14.5bn in taxes ‘will be overturned’

      Tech giant Apple told shareholders it did not consider the European commission’s decision to collect $14.5bn in back taxes final on Tuesday and was “confident that it will be overturned”, but analysts warned the picture was more complex.

      In a note posted to the company’s investor relations page, the company said it did “not expect any near-term impact on our financial results” and that it was prepared to pursue the matter in court for years to come. “While we desire a resolution as soon as possible, the process is likely to take several years,” the company said.

      Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at Global Markets Advisory Group, said that it wasn’t clear which side would prevail, ultimately. “There’s no telling whether the verdict will stand on appeal, but we know that the landscape is changing for US corporations in the EU,” he told the Guardian.

    • Apple ordered to pay €13bn after EU rules Ireland broke state aid laws

      Apple has warned that future investment by multinationals in Europe could be hit after it was ordered to pay a record-breaking €13bn (£11bn) in back taxes to Ireland.

      The world’s largest company was presented with the huge bill after the European commission ruled that a sweetheart tax deal between Apple and the Irish tax authorities amounted to illegal state aid.

      The commission said the deal allowed Apple to pay a maximum tax rate of just 1%. In 2014, the tech firm paid tax at just 0.005%. The usual rate of corporation tax in Ireland is 12.5%.

      “Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies – this is illegal under EU state aid rules,” said the European competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, whose investigation of Apple’s complex tax dealings has taken three years.

    • Apple Inc. Could Lose $19 Billion In Ireland On Tax Probe

      Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was offered some reprieve on a European tax investigation in recent days after Margrethe Vestager, the Danish Commission in charge of the inquiry, decided to slow down its progress toward making conclusions. Despite that, Apple could still be very much in trouble in Europe, and a new report outlines some of the dangers that Tim Cook and his team may be facing.

    • European Commission Rules Apple Received Illegal State Aid From Ireland, Owes Billions in Back Taxes

      The European Commission on Tuesday will rule that Apple received illegal state aid from Ireland, according to a 130-page judgment known by Financial Times.

    • Apple’s Tax Game Is Hurting Economic Growth

      It’s a big number, though not nearly the tax bill Apple would owe the U.S. if it pulled the $92 billion in profits it is currently storing in Irish and other overseas accounts back to its home country.

      CEO Tim Cook says 40 percent of that would go in taxes to the U.S. and state governments, an amount he recently told the Washington Post Apple would not be willing to pay. “It’s not a matter of being patriotic or not patriotic,” Cook said. “It doesn’t go that the more you pay, the more patriotic you are.”

    • Industry’s Proposed Changes To Draft TPP Were Not Protected Under National Security Exemption, US Judge Says

      Changes to the draft text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) suggested during negotiation of the treaty are not protected under the national security clause of the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a judge ruled yesterday in a rare rejection. But he also defended USTR’s protection of information on the basis that other countries in TPP might accuse the US of “steamrolling” them if US textual proposals from the negotiations were revealed.

    • Theresa May will lead us into a bleak future – outside the single market

      In a famous eulogy published following his death in 1881, the Times wrote of the 19th-century Tory prime minister Benjamin Disraeli that he “discerned the Conservative working man in the inarticulate mass of the English populace, as the sculptor perceives the angel imprisoned in a block of marble”.

      Can Disraeli’s admirer Theresa May already discern the shape of her Brexit deal imprisoned in the block of marble too? This week’s cabinet meeting at Chequers gave us some clues about the Britain the prime minister sees in her mind’s eye. A briefing stressed that curbing migration is a red line, and that Britain is not interested in an off-the-shelf deal with Europe but a bespoke one. Nevertheless it is still far from clear, perhaps even to May herself, what will emerge once she has finished with her hammer and chisel.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • New DNC Chair Donna Brazile Calls WikiLeaks’ Assange A ‘Criminal’ Over DNC Leak

      In an interview on Sunday, the interim chair of the Democratic National Committee criticized Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who she called a “criminal,” and the media for what she perceived to be positive treatment of the government transparency website’s work.

      Donna Brazile took over as interim DNC chair in July after Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned in the wake of WikiLeaks’ “DNC Leak,” an archive of almost 20,000 emails and over 8,000 files that also forced out other key party leaders.

      Appearing on ABC News’ “This Week”, Brazile praised Americans for supporting the victims of the Louisiana flood then criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his failure to distance himself from the racist statements and attitudes of some of his supporters, including the so-called “alt-right” movement.

    • Bernie Sanders is a no-show for Tim Canova

      Bernie Sanders, the politician who elevated first-time candidate Tim Canova to national attention and a rich campaign warchest, doesn’t appear to be coming to South Florida to help out his protégé in his battle against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

      At a press conference Wednesday — less than a week before the Aug. 30 primary — at his Hollywood campaign office, Canova pushed back against reporters’ questions about why Sanders hasn’t appeared in the Broward/Miami-Dade district.

      “You tell me why he isn’t coming,” said Canova. “I don’t have an answer to that. I am very proud to have his support. Quite frankly we don’t need him here to win this election. Our field operation is growing by the day. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the one who needs to run out and get folks to come in from out of town to help protect her — to shield her from the voters. I am out there talking to voters every day.”

    • The Green Party’s Jill Stein Wants a Green New Deal
  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • EU: Europe needs to invest $800bn in digital infrastructure to catch up with US

      Europe needs to invest close to $800bn in its digital infrastructure to catch up with the United States and China, the European Union commissioner responsible for the issue said on Thursday.

      Commissioner Guenther Oettinger also urged fellow Austrians to reject populist views that could deter technology experts from migrating to Europe to help drive development.

      If Europe can’t develop fibre-optic networks and next-generation high-speed 5G wireless applications and networks fast enough “we will lose, because important technological applications will not be possible any longer in our industry”, Oettinger said.

    • ESPN Can’t Get Out of NFL Player’s Privacy Lawsuit Over Reporter’s Tweet

      ESPN is no Gawker, but the sports giant is now facing the prospect of a trial in Florida that has shades of the litigation brought by Hulk Hogan over an invasion of privacy.

    • Court: Okay For Trial To Move Forward Against ESPN For Tweeting JPP’s Medical Chart

      ESPN’s lawyers also pointed out that Pierre-Paul is not suggesting that Schefter was prohibited from reporting on the exact details within the chart, which was the actual harming information if any harm actually was done, but that tweeting out the medical chart image itself suddenly was actionable. Why Pierre-Paul chose this attack on ESPN and a journalist rather than whatever source shared the chart with Schefter in the first place is largely left unaddressed, although the depth of the parties’ respective pockets likely has something to do with it.

      Regardless, this is a disappointing ruling on many levels. Those seeking medical attention certainly do have an expectation of privacy from those providing the healthcare work and one would think HIPAA violations may be in play here as well, but Pierre-Paul has no such expectation of privacy from a journalist covering him. The proper defendant in this case is obviously whomever provided the chart to Schefter and likely over HIPAA violations. Whatever the implications upon privacy at issue here, it seems quite clear that chilling the reporting of journalists who receive information from sources is not hte proper vector for addressing those issues. Between this and the Gawker case, along with the public comments by one well-known would-be politician, we seem to entering a different era in terms of how the press is viewed and treated in America.

    • FBI’s stingray quickly found suspect after local cops’ device couldn’t

      According to new government affidavits filed earlier this week, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) used its stingray without a warrant in 2013 for several hours overnight as a way to locate a man accused of being involved in shooting a local police officer. The OPD called in the FBI when that effort was unsuccessful. The FBI was somehow able to locate the suspect in under an hour, and he surrendered to OPD officers.

      That suspect, Purvis Ellis, is the lead defendant in the case of United States v. Ellis et al. The case involves four men who are charged with the January 21, 2013 attempted murder of local police officer Eric Karsseboom in the parking area in front of a Seminary Avenue apartment complex in East Oakland. The men are also charged with running an alleged local gang, centered around Seminary Avenue (known as “SemCity”).

    • Court Documents Show FBI Had To Bail Out Oakland Police With Its Bigger, Better Stingray

      The only reason these affidavits even exist is because the judge presiding over the prosecution of Purvis Ellis ordered the government to submit declarations detailing how the devices were used to locate him. Two declarations — one from the FBI [PDF] and one from the Oakland PD [PDF] — shed some additional light on the now-ubiquitous cell phone-tracking technology.

      Neither law enforcement agency sought a warrant for their Stingray deployments. Both declarations claim none was needed because of “exigent circumstances.” Given that this occurred before the DOJ instituted a warrant requirement for the FBI’s Stingray use, it’s unlikely any evidence is in danger of being tossed.

      The Oakland PD’s declaration states the same thing: no warrant was sought because of “exigent circumstances.” Similarly, there appears to have been no warrant requirement in place for the Oakland Police Department at that time. That doesn’t mean the court won’t find that the use of a Stingray device (or, in this case, two of them) requires the use of a warrant, but even if it does, the good faith exception is likely to apply — especially in the FBI’s case, as its warrant requirement was still thee years away. In both deployments, pen register orders were used to obtain subscriber info. Because exigent circumstances dictated the requests, no judicial approval of the orders was needed.

      Ellis’ lawyers are hoping the judge will find the circumstances surrounding the Stingray deployments to be not nearly as “exigent” as the government claims.

    • Lawsuit: Warriors App Secretly Allowed For Creepy, NSA-Style Tracking Of Users

      The Golden State Warriors are the team of the megalomaniacs and bloodsuckers of Silicon Valley, and they are run by a trophy-fucker who thinks he invented smallball. From their continued obfuscation of their own ridiculous luck with a teleological argument about how their success was predetermined by their organizational character to their second-best player humping the “Actually, Failure Is Good” line, they embody the worst tendencies of their region. I would have thought that secret data mining was beyond the capabilities of a basketball team, but according to a class-action lawsuit, the Warriors official team app may have violated users’ privacy. The lawsuit alleges that the team’s official smartphone app has recorded private conversations and other audio from users’ phones without their knowledge or permission, and without giving them the ability to opt out.

    • Flagrant foul? Mobile app user accuses NBA’s Warriors of spying on conversations
    • Lawsuit claims Warriors app used to secretly listen in on fans
    • Golden State Warriors Android app constantly listens to nearby audio, fan says
    • Lawsuit alleges that Warriors’ app illegally listens in on users
    • Lawsuit calls foul on Golden State Warriors’ app
    • Warriors’ app secretly records users’ conversations, according to lawsuit
    • Lawsuit filed against Warriors’ app for violating consumers’ privacy
    • Lawsuit claims popular Warriors app accesses phone’s microphone to eavesdrop on you
    • Class action lawsuit claims Warriors’ official app covertly listened to users
    • Golden State Warriors, Signal360 And App Developer Sued Over ‘Eavesdropping’ Allegations
    • Warriors Wrap Up: Warriors Face Lawsuit Regarding App
    • Lawsuit Claims Warriors App Monitors User Conversations
    • Lawsuit accuses Golden State Warriors of spying on fans through team app
    • Golden State Warriors’ app at the center of a lawsuit
    • Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Golden State Warriors to Notch Another NBA Championship?
    • Lawsuit Claims Warriors Team App Secretly Recorded Users’ Conversations
    • Warriors general manager says team will take time to evolve during new season
    • Golden State Warriors app alleged to record users’ conversations without consent
    • Lawsuit Claims Warriors Mobile App Eavesdrops On Fans Even When Not In Use
    • NBA Team Smartphone App Secretly Records Private Phone Conversations, Claims Lawsuit
    • Lawsuit claims Warriors app secretly records users’ conversations
    • NBA’s ‘Golden State Warriors’ app allegedly listens in on users’ conversations constantly
    • DOD data center closures could affect DC area
    • Inspector General Finds NYPD’s Surveillance Of Muslims Routinely Violated Consent Decree Guidelines

      Following two lawsuits against the NYPD for its pervasive, rights-violating surveillance of the city’s Muslims, the department’s Inspector General took a look at a sampling of cases from 2010-2015 to see if the Handschu Agreement — crafted in 1985 and heavily modified in 2002 — was being followed. The short answer is “No.” So is the long answer [PDF].

      The guideline was part of a consent decree created in response to pervasive NYPD surveillance of activities protected by the First Amendment, even when no unlawful activity was suspected. The guideline worked for awhile, but the 9/11 attacks changed that. The NYPD brought in two former CIA employees who decided to turn a domestic law enforcement agency into Langley on the Hudson. Former CIA officer David Cohen used terrorism fears to compel a judge to significantly modify the Handschu Agreement.

      >From that point on, the NYPD steadily abused the revamped agreement. Its “Demographics Unit” designated entire mosques as terrorist entities, placed the city’s Muslims under surveillance, and — best of all — generated zero leads.

      The Inspector General’s report points out that the NYPD couldn’t even comply with the relaxed, post-9/11 Handschu Agreement. Instead, the Demographics Unit copy-pasted justifications for pervasive surveillance and passed them up the ladder to the rubber stamps handling the approval process.

    • U.K. and Double Game of Terrorist Ratlines and GCHQ Spying: Control of Smartphones

      Edward Snowden warns about the role of big government in the United Kingdom (UK) and how the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) can literally control smartphones at the drop of a hat. Of course, this isn’t a shock to anyone because the British government is obsessed with monitoring various different social media networks and all forms of telecommunications. However, despite this, it is still alarming to know that GCHQ can even spy on individuals when smartphones are turned off and take images.

      Before focusing on the advice of Snowden and looking into GCHQ in relation to smartphones, it is important to mention the terrorist intrigues of the British government. After all, various governments in the UK, irrespective if the Conservative Party or Labour Party, have supported various terrorist groups since the late 1970s onward in relation to Sunni Takfiri Islamist groups. Indeed, if you go further back into history then obviously several British governments also helped America in various areas in relation to supporting right-wing authoritarian regimes throughout South America.

    • EU General Data Protection Regulation

      The GDPR seeks to afford technologically neutral protection, by addressing legal aspects of the processing and free movement of personal data in light of the technological developments of the past 20 years. The review of the personal data protection system that led to the GDPR derived from the central role that the Internet plays in personal and business life and the concerns of individuals about unlawful intrusions by both companies and public authorities into their personal data (e.g., see the CJEU’s judgement in case C-362/14, Maximillian Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner, invalidating of the EU-US Safe Harbor).

    • Leaked Catalogue Reveals a Vast Array of Military Spy Gear Offered to U.S. Police

      A confidential, 120-page catalogue of spy equipment, originating from British defense firm Cobham and circulated to U.S. law enforcement, touts gear that can intercept wireless calls and text messages, locate people via their mobile phones, and jam cellular communications in a particular area.

      The catalogue was obtained by The Intercept as part of a large trove of documents originating within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, where spokesperson Molly Best confirmed Cobham wares have been purchased but did not provide further information. The document provides a rare look at the wide range of electronic surveillance tactics used by police and militaries in the U.S. and abroad, offering equipment ranging from black boxes that can monitor an entire town’s cellular signals to microphones hidden in lighters and cameras hidden in trashcans. Markings date it to 2014.

      Cobham, recently cited among several major British firms exporting surveillance technology to oppressive regimes, has counted police in the United States among its clients, Cobham spokesperson Greg Caires confirmed. The company spun off its “Tactical Communications and Surveillance” business into “Domo Tactical Communications” earlier this year, presumably shifting many of those clients to the new subsidiary. Caires declined to comment further on the catalogue obtained by The Intercept or confirm its authenticity, but said it “looked authentic” to him.

    • Privacy Groups File FTC Complaint Over Whatsapp Facebook Privacy ‘Bait And Switch’
    • Meet USBee, the malware that uses USB drives to covertly jump airgaps
    • USBee, the new malware that covertly jumps airgaps using USB drives
    • How to Leak Data From Air-Gapped Computers With a USB Device
    • Creating a buzz: USBee software causes air-gapped computers to leak data via USB connections
    • USBee stings air-gapped PCs: Wirelessly leak secrets with a file write
    • Researchers have replicated one of the NSA’s scariest hacking tools

      Called USBee, and developed by security researchers at the Ben-Gurion University’s Cyber Security Center, the technology lets attackers move data from a protected computer over the air. Certain conditions have to be met. First, an insider must infect the computer with the malware. Then, any USB stick must be plugged into that computer. Finally, the attacker needs to be near the compromised device.Called USBee, and developed by security researchers at the Ben-Gurion University’s Cyber Security Center, the technology lets attackers move data from a protected computer over the air. Certain conditions have to be met. First, an insider must infect the computer with the malware. Then, any USB stick must be plugged into that computer. Finally, the attacker needs to be near the compromised device.

    • FBI director: ‘There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America’

      Welcome back, hope you had a great summer, let’s get right back to our regularly scheduled cyber programming: A global war over encryption.

      FBI Director James Comey, who has spent the last six months itching to get back into a public debate over the spread of encryption and mandated special backdoor government access to data, took to a spotlighted stage on Tuesday to pointedly criticize tech companies who offer default strong encryption on devices, saying he was preparing for the argument to extend into 2017 and beyond.

    • The NSA Research Director Wants Hackers to Know Who She Is [Ed: Another NSA puff piece comes out now…]
    • Mysterious Group Hacks The NSA

      The latest hack revealed over the weekend has nothing to do with the Democratic Party or George Soros, and instead a mysterious hacker group by the name “The Shadow Brokers” claims to have hacked the Equation Group – a government cyberattack hacking group associated with the NSA, and released a bunch of the organization’s hacking tools. The hackers are also asking for 1 million bitcoin (around $568 million) in an auction to release more files.

      “Attention government sponsors of cyber warfare and those who profit from it!!!!” the hackers wrote in a manifesto posted on Pastebin, on GitHub, and on a dedicated Tumblr.

    • Cisco, Huawei and Juniper play down NSA attack reports

      Cisco, Huawei and Juniper have played down reports that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has developed tools to spy on traffic running through their equipment.

      Juniper and Cisco admitted that there were vulnerabilities, that have now been addressed. Huawei did not go so far, but said the company was making “significant investments” in security.

      The reports emerged after a group called Shadow Brokers released files that seemed to show the NSA was targeting not only US companies such as Cisco and Juniper but also Chinese vendor Huawei.

    • CIA director misled FBI about how agency spied on Pentagon Papers leaker

      CIA Director Richard Helms misled the FBI in June 1972 to cover up his agency’s role in helping to smear the reputation of Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked a secret history of the Vietnam War to the press, a newly released CIA document shows.

      In a June 28, 1972, memo to his deputy, Vernon Walters, Helms wrote that he asked the FBI to “desist from expanding this investigation into other areas which may well, eventually, run afoul of our operations.” Those details are included in the 155-page CIA inspector general’s report that was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the conservative legal watchdog Judicial Watch and released Tuesday. Other elements of the document were first reported Tuesday by Fox News.

      Helms’ misdirection enabled the CIA’s role in the Pentagon Papers case to go undiscovered for 11 months amid a growing political scandal that would eventually force President Richard Nixon from office and lead to an extensive investigation into abuses by the CIA and other parts of the U.S. Intelligence community.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Strong evidence suggests a Peruvian police ‘death squad’ set up and killed criminal suspects

      Nine members of Peru’s national police are being investigated on suspicion of participating in a “death squad” responsible for as many as 27 killings carried out to secure promotions and impress superiors, government officials said.

      One police general, a commander and seven officers are suspected of having organized at least six bogus police operations from 2011 to 2015 that resulted in the deaths. While most of the victims had criminal pasts, at least 11 people killed during the operations had no police records, investigators say.

      A source within a special investigative committee formed by recently inaugurated President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski told the Los Angeles Times late Tuesday that investigators believe corrupt police using intermediaries persuaded delinquents to carry out robberies and then killed them during the heists to gain performance points.

    • EFF, ACLU Asks Ninth Circuit Court To Rehear Two Recent CFAA Cases

      The EFF and ACLU are pushing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to hold full en banc rehearings (with all 11 judges, rather than just three) of two recent CFAA-related cases. The first case, US v. Nosal, is the more (in)famous of the two. In this decision, the court read the language of the CFAA broadly enough to criminalize a mostly-harmless everyday activity participated in by thousands of Americans: password sharing.

      The court tried to couple this with some “authorization” wording to make it appear as though the court wouldn’t entertain frivolous prosecutions using interpretation of the CFAA, but that gives the court (and the DOJ) far more credit than they have earned.

      The other case — Facebook v. Power Ventures — is dangerous in its own way, even if it involves two private companies, rather than the US government’s prosecutorial arm. The same appeals court didn’t go quite as far as it did in the Nosal decision in terms of criminalizing password sharing, but instead made the district’s stance even more confusing by arriving at a seemingly-contradictory conclusion.

    • ACLU Challenges Gag Orders Issued To Tech Companies By The DOJ

      The ACLU is hoping to intervene in Microsoft’s legal battle against the government, challenging gag orders attached to warrants and subpoenas issued under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Microsoft sued the DOJ back in April, arguing for the right to notify customers that their communications and data have been handed over to the government.

      Microsoft didn’t have a problem with the government’s gag orders in every case. It’s just that the demand for secrecy accompanied more than half of the ~300 orders per month Microsoft receives. And nearly 70% of those gag orders arrived with no fixed end date.

      The ACLU petitioned the court to intervene in the case on its own behalf, citing its position as a Microsoft customer. The DOJ filed a motion to dismiss Microsoft’s lawsuit, hoping the court will find Microsoft has no standing to challenge gag orders on its customers’ behalf. The ACLU is trying to prevent this from happening until the DOJ addresses the issues raised by the ACLU’s (attempted) intervention. In its opposition [PDF] to the DOJ’s motion, the ACLU points out that the government’s “no standing” argument pretty much nullifies any sort of due process for Microsoft customers (including the ACLU) who’ve been targeted by the DOJ’s super-secret warrants, relegating them to a Kafka-esque legal purgatory.

    • Australian Government Using Data Retention Law To Seek Out Journalists’ Sources, Hunt Down Whistleblowers

      If there ever were decent protections for whistleblowers in Australia, they’re gone now. Australia’s Attorney General was pushing for harsher whistleblower punishments two years ago, while simultaneously claiming data retention laws — and expanded permissions for intelligence agencies to pore through retained data — were simply the way governments were doing business these days.

      And what a business it is. The Australian government wants to punish whistleblowers but finds they’re often difficult to track down. It’s just so much easier to find those they leak documents to, like journalists, and work towards getting them to divulge their sources. The “best” part about the new data retention laws is that those seeking whistleblowers to punish won’t have to confront journalists directly. In fact, they may never need to speak to them at all.

    • Turkey removes more than 10,000 security personnel, academics in purge

      Turkish authorities have suspended about 8,000 security personnel and more than 2,000 academics, adding to a purge of people suspected of having links to perpetrators of a failed coup, the Official Gazette said on Friday.

      Since the coup attempt in mid-July, in which rogue soldiers tried to topple President Tayyip Erdogan’s government, Turkey has removed 80,000 people from public duty and arrested many of them, accusing them of sympathising with the plotters.

      Of the security personnel removed in the latest purge, 323 were members of the gendarmerie and the rest police, according to the Official Gazette, in which the government publishes new laws and orders.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Gives Up On Municipal Broadband Fight

      Easier said than done. Telecom incumbents, like so many large players, have an absolute chokehold over state legislatures. So much so that ISPs like AT&T continue to have success passing new laws of this type despite growing, significant bipartisan public opposition to them. For years ISPs quickly passed these laws by framing this as a partisan issue of government “competing with the free market.” But as Comcast and AT&T consumers get an ongoing master class in how broken and not free the telecom market is, members of both parties have grown increasingly hostile toward protectionism of this type.

    • AT&T, Poster Child For Government Favoritism, Mocks Google Fiber For Government Favoritism

      First, let’s just get out of the way that the idea of AT&T, now bone-grafted to our intelligence agencies’ domestic surveillance efforts, giving anybody a lecture on government favoritism deserves a major hypocrisy award.

      What’s AT&T actually upset about? Google Fiber has been pushing to reform utility pole attachment rules, one of several layers of regional bureaucracy telecom monopolies used to slow broadband competitors from coming to market. Google Fiber’s been pushing cities like Louisville and Nashville for “one touch make ready” laws that let a single, insured contractor move any ISPs’ hardware — often reducing installation from half a year to just a month. AT&T’s response? To sue cities like Louisville for overstepping their authority. Such decisions, AT&T argues, should be left up to the state regulatory bodies that AT&T all but owns.

      AT&T’s taking the opportunity to kick Google Fiber while it’s down, the company plagued by recent rumors that it’s pausing a handful of unannounced cities to consider supplementing fiber service with wireless broadband. Sources with knowledge of Google Fiber’s plan tell me many of the reports about Google Fiber hitting deployment “snags” have been either overstated or in error, but the fact that Google Fiber hasn’t publicly clarified its dedication to expansion suggests there likely is some possible restructuring going on as the company takes stock of its recent Webpass acquisition and eyes wireless as a way to supplement fiber.

    • AT&T Dodges FTC Throttling Lawsuit Using Title II Classification It Vehemently Opposed

      Back in 2011, AT&T stopped selling unlimited wireless data plans, and began heavily pushing more expensive capped and metered plans. Existing unlimited users at the time were grandfathered, but the company engaged in all manner of sneaky behavior to try and make life as unpleasant as possible for these users, ranging from blocking them from using Facetime unless they migrated to metered plans, to heavily throttling these “unlimited” users after only consuming a few gigabytes of data. Ultimately AT&T faced a $100 million fine by the FCC (currently being contested by AT&T), and a 2014 lawsuit by the FTC for misleading consumers and dramatically changing the terms of service while users were under contract.

    • T-Mobile Declares It’s On ‘The Right Side Of History’ As It Laughs At Net Neutrality

      While T-Mobile has certainly done some good things for the wireless industry, the company’s ongoing tone deafness on net neutrality isn’t doing the carrier any favors. T-Mobile fought against real net neutrality rules, then, once passed anyway, got right to work trying to find creative ways around the rules using zero rating (exempting only some content from usage caps). When net neutrality advocates and scholars repeatedly pointed out T-Mobile was violating net neutrality and being a bit hypocritical (“we’re edgy and love consumers but not real net neutrality!”), the company dug a deeper hole by attacking groups like the EFF.

      Last week T-Mobile upped the ante with new plans that promise “unlimited” data, but are not only more expensive, they throttle tethering, throttle overall consumption at 26 GB, and throttle all video to 1.5 Mbps or 480p. Users who want HD video to actually work correctly can apparently pony up $25 more per month. Emboldended by T-Mobile and a (so far) apathetic FCC, Sprint revealed similar “unlimited” data plans of its own, which throttle all video, games and music to 1.5 Mbps, 2 Mbps, and 500 kbps respectively, unless you pony up another $25 per month.

      Groups like the EFF were quick to point out that installing ISPs as middlemen who get to determine how well your services work based on how much you pay in a marginally-competitive broadband market sets a horrible precedent. If regulators allow T-Mobile to charge more money for HD video to work, what stops Comcast from charging you more if you want 4K Netflix streams to work? Or AT&T deciding it can charge you more if you want your Steam games to download at full bitrate? This is a door that, once opened, won’t be easily closed. And once this practice is a standard, it will be abused.

  • DRM

    • DRM: Still Hurting Paying Customers The Most

      So, we have two issues, neither of them useful to end users. On Adobe’s end, we have a protection scheme that requires an internet connection. That’s classic DRM — phone home, get permission… all well and good (NOT REALLY) until someone needs access to documents but can’t because they’re not connected to the internet.

      Then we have an update that breaks the connection Adobe’s DRM relies on, forcing the same problem on users who do have internet access. The problem with DRM schemes like these is that they rely on a bunch of parts that aren’t interconnected (Adobe, Windows) but both have to be working properly to get the job done… rather than just, say, open Adobe Reader and be done with it. Subtract an internet connection and Adobe’s documents are useless, even to authorized users. Throw a suprisingly volatile Windows update into the mix and end users doing everything right are still screwed. Combine the two and sensitive documents are suddenly so “protected” that a majority of users can’t even view them. And, remember, this is a “privilege” corporate customers pay for.

      DRM: still mostly useless and still mainly a pain in the ass for paying customers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • A triple dose of defeat – three antibiotic patents of Cubist revoked in one trial

      This case concerns three patents owned by the defendant Cubist Pharmaceuticals LLC relating to the antibiotic daptomycin, originally discovered by Eli Lilly in the 1980s. Patent EP1115417 (“the 417 patent”) claims a range of doses of the drug to be administered once a day. The other two patents, EP1252179 and EP2264047 (“the 179 patent” and “the 047 patent” respectively), claim different methods of purifying daptomycin. The claimant, Hospira UK Limited, sought the revocation of all three patents, which were all considered in a single trial. Mr Justice Carr found all three patents to be invalid.

    • Trademarks

      • Louis Vuitton’s Inability To Take A Joke Opens Up A Chance To Fix Our Broken Trademark Laws

        As you may recall, earlier this year we wrote about a good ruling in a ridiculous lawsuit by the notoriously overaggressive trademark enforcers at luxury goods giant Louis Vuitton. You can look back at some of their earlier lawsuits, but the one we wrote about this year was particularly ridiculous. It sued a small bag maker called “My Other Bag” who made a simple tote bag that played on the famous joke bumper sticker “My Other Car is A….” with some sort of luxury car brand listed as the final point. People would put those on not-nearly-as-nice cars. In fact, when I was a kid, my dad had a Ford Pinto (yes, the exploding kind) and it had “My Other Car is a Porsche” as a bumper sticker. It’s not a very funny joke (and I totally didn’t get it as a kid), but it’s a joke.

      • Moosehead Lager Makers At It Again: Suing Moose Whiz Root Beer For Trademark Infringement

        Earlier this year, Moosehead Brewery made the wonderful decision to get into a trademark dispute with the makers of a different beer, called Müs Knuckle, I imagine because trademark lawyers now know both that I’m paying attention to these cases and that I have the sense of humor of a high school sophomore. Moosehead essentially asserted that it owned the trademark rights to anything remotely close to “moose”, including made up words that are homonyms but which have delightfully vulgar connotations. Other than the issue of the word “moose”, none of the trade dress in question had anything remotely to do with one another.

        Which is slightly different in another trademark suit that Moosehead Brewery has initiated. In the case of Moosehead Brewery v. Moose Wizz Root Beer, the labels are somewhat similar in color and logo, though there is certainly differentiation within them as well. The real issue here, instead, is that one of these is an alcoholic drink while the other is just a soda.

    • Copyrights

      • SUPER KAT-EXCLUSIVE: Here’s draft Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market
      • Our ‘Copying Is Not Theft’ T-Shirt Seems To REALLY Upset Some People

        That doesn’t necessarily mean that copying is always legal or morally correct. But it pretty clearly is not theft.

        The shirt is selling fine (get yours soon, because it’s only available for a few more days!), but what’s been surprising is how much it has resulted in pure rage from some people who seem really, really pissed off that we’d dare suggest the simple fact that copying is not theft.

        Earlier this week, we wrote about the head of the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group promising to make counterfeit copies of our t-shirt (which seems a bit… odd, no?), but today I wanted to highlight some of the other responses we’ve received. The fact is, many people do understand the message and seem to appreciate it, but I’m somewhat surprised at those who disagree with it who feel the need to not just disagree, but to act as if merely stating a four word factual sentence is somehow offensive. It started in our comments where someone insisted that saying copying is not theft wasn’t just wrong, but was “ignorant and irresponsible.” Huh.

      • Announcing The Techdirt Greenhouse Salon: The Battle For Copyright Reform

        Several years ago, we hosted a series of really fun events called the Techdirt Greenhouse, which involved getting a lot of smart people together and actively brainstorming on a variety of topics. We’ve been wanting to bring back the Greenhouse events for a while now, and we’re finally going to do so with a new series of evening “Greenhouse Salons” hosted by our Copia Institute. Today we’re announcing the very first of these new Greenhouse Salons, The Battle For Copyright Reform. As you know, there are ongoing efforts to reform copyright around the globe, with a proposal leaked for the EU and one expected shortly in the US.

      • PETA Has Lost Its Monkey’s ‘Next Friend’ In Its Crazy Copyright Case

        The ongoing saga that is the monkey selfie lawsuit has continued to move forward, with the lawyers for photographer David Slater filing their brief in response to PETA’s. As you probably recall, PETA had teamed up with a primatologist named Antje Engelhardt claiming to be “next friends” for the Indonesian macaque monkey named Naruto, who is alleged to have taken the following selfie with David Slater’s camera.

      • 3 copyright tips for students and educators

        Copyright is a really complicated topic, and when it comes to online use of creative works, accidentally crossing the line between fair use and a copyright violation is easy. How do you know what is copyrighted? Recently Frederico Morando (Creative Commons, Italy) and I presented a training session on understanding copyright policies at Wikimania 2016, which was originally proposed by Wikipedian User:Jim Carter. We covered topics such as fundamentals of copyright, exclusive rights, Berne convention, copyleft, Creative Commons licenses, Public Domain, fair use, and copyfraud.

      • The last thing the API economy needs is copyright friction

        The Oracle versus Google verdict set a positive precedent for the future of the API economy, but will it last? What is at stake if the decision is reversed?

        While on the surface Oracle versus Google might seem like a battle for profit between two tech giants, the implications are much more significant. This is a battle for interoperability and the merit-based making of entire markets.

UPC Threatens to Send the European Patent Office Circling Down the Drain

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“When asked by Ars, the EPO’s spokesperson mentioned the imminent arrival of the unitary patent system as an important reason for revising the EPO’s internal rules…”

Dr. Glyn Moody

Expect a possibly new (or reused) name for the same bad scheme that favours trolls and large corporations

EPO as family business
The EPO is being run like a cliquish family business these days… and it shows [1, 2, 3, 4]

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) may never see the UPC becoming a reality (almost definitely not under Battistelli) and staff of the EPO should antagonise any attempt to replicate and make it a reality

THE UNITARY patent, or UPC (Unified Patent Court)*, threatens the EPO‘s staff, especially or in particular parts of the Organisation which are currently foreseen/expected to be made redundant by unitary courts, with rumours suggesting that their jobs would go somewhere like Paris (Battistelli’s gift to France perhaps).

Not much is known about the UPC right now because Brexit undermined it so badly that it may never happen at all (in no shape or form). SUEPO noticed that this German programme covered the subject, presumably “(from 14’35’’ onwards, Das Erste, 17 August 2016): on the Unitary Patent.”

“German State TV “Das Erste” Plusminus,” told me one person (who informed many others as well), has a “very critical report about UPC-from 14’35’’ onwards, Das Erste, 17 August 2016″ (a translation of it would be very much appreciated as we already have a translation of a similar TV report from Italy).

Suffice to say, there are voices in the media that do try to advance the UPC. The boosters of the UPC (like Team UPC) act as though everything is alright (it’s not!) and MIP has just published another Unitary Patent and UPC “progress report”, even though there has been no concrete progress. To quote the summary: “UK IPO speaks out on UK’s involvement in the UPC and Unitary Patent system; UK patent attorney body CIPA prefers UK in the system; experts to discuss the latest on the UPC and post-Brexit patent strategies at MIP European Patent Forums in September.”

That’s all talk and lobbying, no action. Meanwhile, as one new comment put it:

Instead of running after something which has gone, it would be wiser to put energy in saving what is left from the UP/UPC once UK has gone, but then to look at the matter with fresh eyes. The matter should be simplified and the influence of common law should be thrown overboard. After all, UK has left and the continent is not an area relying on common law.

Going back to MIP, there’s this new bit of coverage from Shanghai which says: “Post-coffee break, Gordon Harris, a partner of Gowling WLG, shared his observation on the impact of Brexit on IP rights. He stressed that EU registered IP rights remain protected in UK for the time being, and there will be no change to European patents.”

As usual, it’s patent (or IP) lawyers that dominate all those debates and it’s hardly surprising that they want more litigation and more problems. They profit from it. The more, the merrier.

EPO patents are already suffering a steep decline in quality (we covered this many times before); imagine the effect of combining that with some EU-wide courts, which would effectively empower all sorts of parasitic elements like patent trolls. Regarding the “Unitary patent and related developments,” said a not-so-recent (pre-Brexit) oral report from EPO staff, “Ten Contracting States have ratified the treaty so far, most recently Bulgaria. The ratification in the Netherlands is currently pending. The consequences of the Brexit votum are unforeseeable. The Italian delegation as well as the observers from Business Europe and epi called for “business as usual” and encouraged further engagement of the EU states to conclude the Unitary Patent. SR [Staff Representation/Representatives] confirmed that staff would in principle be ready and willing to make the Unitary Patent a success, i.e. a legal title with high legal certainty. But the SR also reminded the Council that solid search and thorough examination requires time. Political guidelines are to be given by a conference of ministers of the Contracting States according to Article 4a EPC. The SR repeated again that this conference is long overdue.”

Generally speaking, the EPO under Battistelli arrogantly disregards the EPC in all sorts of way. Not only that in fact; Battistelli also ignores national and sometimes international laws. These people want us to believe that there is some “greater good” in all this and all the abuses are somehow to be justified in the long term because of “reforms” like the UPC.

Now that it looks increasingly unlikely that the UPC will ever become a reality, where does that leave Battistelli? Why did the SR (as above) play along with only very cautious criticism? Are they already this afraid of the lunatic in chief and his goons? Has it become unacceptable to merely question the merits of the UPC? There are no merits.

The UPC is on the retreat these days; as we noted last month, it’s hardly even mentioned these days (internally and externally). Our guess is, the whole bundle of legislative laundering will be changed to overcome Brexit and maybe renamed yet again. Will staff be prepared to antagonise it? Already, boards of appeal (patent quality assurance) have essentially been ejected from the EPO’s building (exodus or diaspora imminent, probably as early as next year), so time is running out for those wishing to save the EPO rather than letting it become another USPTO (with virtually no quality control, lots of patents trolls, and leanings towards large corporations that effectively run it**). It now attempts to garner support by asking for feedback, at a time when press releases are issued aplenty to celebrate newly-granted software patents [1, 2].

Judging by some of the latest comments in IP Kat, people generally understand that the boards’ move to Haar has nothing to do with independence. To quote one such comment:

In spite of all the nice words, the message of Mr Battistelli to his staff drafting the proposal and arranging the move to Haar (and to the Administrative Council) was clear: here is what I want to do to the Boards of Appeal; now you arrange for it to happen somehow, and if necessary find an explanation why it is legal.

By the way, as an (unintended?) side-effect, the president is for the moment de facto himself in control of the Boards of Appeal; see http://amba-epo.org/; so far for independence…

Here is a comment about the legal opinion just formally unleashed by SUEPO:

The London-based lawyers, Bretton Woods Law, has produced a legal opinion concerning the actions of the President of the EPO, and the responsibility of the Administrative Council as well as the Member States of the EPO with respect to staff:



I quote:

“It is not hard to see that many of the circumstances that have arisen at the EPO
amount to violations of the rights contained in the ECHR. To list but a few: fair
trial provisions are fundamentally absent at the EPO, since the President sits as a judge in his own cause; there is a lack of equality of arms, delays, an absence of due process and a tribunal that is itself beholden for its funding to the very institutions it is being invited to find against. The provisions in respect of sick leave (and the effective ‘house arrest’ of staff members) appear to contravene the right to a private and family life. The arbitrary treatment and abuses of the system in respect of staff representatives appear to be an attack on all of the rights listed above.”

It is probably worth the paper it is written on for President Battistelli and his Administrative Council.

Still, I am looking forward to the decision of the High Court in the Netherlands about the EPO breaching fundamental human rights …

Here’s more on that:

Me too.

Alas, the “Hoge Raad” seems to have pushed their decision date a bit further down the road… :(

From their site:
“15/02186 Europese Octrooi Organisatie en de Staat / Vakbondsunie Europees Octrooibureau (VEOB) en Staff Union European Patent Office (SUEPO)

Is de Nederlandse rechter bevoegd in deze zaak? En zo ja, moet deze vakbond door het octrooibureau worden toegelaten?

Conclusie 30 september 2016.”
Case number is there, and expected decision date.
A month to go, which puts it just beyond the next Board28 (22 September) and before the next AC meeting (12/13. 10.2016)

In December, we might see more party than decisions, as it’ll be meeting 150 of the AC. And that’s the AC which should discuss the results of the meeting regarding the social conference.
Well timed…

As the following comments note, Battistelli, who postponed any discussions about the social situation at the EPO until October, has produced propaganda to be used, for a payment, to lie to the Council (again):

And the Social Conference is arranged for 11th October – the day before the AC. Staff – but only the registered Union – can apply to participate but, with the ‘conference’ due to start and end less than 24 hours before the AC begins, it would be hard not to be cynical as to whether the conclusions may already have been decided or not.

The significance of the timing isn’t being overlooked:

What is the stated purpose of the “Social Conference”? If it is any way connected with the decision-making of the AC, then you would appear to have every reason to be cynical.

Also, do we know the proposed agenda for the next AC meeting? I would be very interested to learn what (if anything) the AC intends to do about the President’s interventions in case Art. 23 1/16, as well as whether they intend to make redress to the individual who was the subject of that case.

Remember the time Battistelli used his silly lobbying event and IAM propaganda to pretend (to the Council) that on the technical front everything was great? Again, well timed. The EPO is basically being run by villainous liars and since it’s like a family business there’s enough loyalty at the top to prevent dissent.
* The name of the UPC just keeps getting changed, making criticism of it harder to maintain and easier to dodge.
** USPTO Directors typically come from mega-corporations, a de facto policy which inevitably introduces a conflict of interests (one of them, David Kappos, became a lobbyist thereafter, serving his former employer and intervening in USPTO policies). The latest such Director is at least a female (Lee) — something which Brimelow might have something to say about after she got muscled out by “alpha-males”. From the figures that are publicly accessible, say some EPO insiders, “we can deduce that female staff are not fairly and equally treated since in particular very few senior managers are female. This is an inadequate situation for an international organisation in the 21st century.” The few females at the top are not only French but in some cases connected (friendliness and kinship) to Battistelli himself. One must be careful of appointment of women where these appointments are made by man who virtually control and use them for “femmewashing”. Not too shockingly, the Wall Street-funded political campaign of Clinton is supported by patent maximalists (mostly males), white male executives, and extremely chauvinistic regimes from Gulf states. The patent maximalists reportedly support Clinton because her patent policy, as we noted here before, echoes their wishlist and desires.

The Corrupting Influence of Money in the Linux Foundation (Bias for Sale)

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, VMware at 2:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When enemies of the GPL (GNU) like Microsoft and VMware — not just GNU/Linux-friendly companies such as Red Hat — pay the Linux Foundation to get their way

Red Hat glasses

Summary: The growing danger of a Linux Foundation which is funded not just by proprietary software giants but also direct opposition of Linux and serial violators of the licence of GNU (GPL)

THE level of entryism at the Linux Foundation has become way beyond acceptable and now that only corporations are involved in decision-making (see reminder below) we expect to see the verge of the farcical. How long before the Linux Foundation is not even pro-Linux but is instead pro-industry (for the industry giants that fund and thus dominate it)? Or, put another way, will it endorse things irrespective of the very spirit of both Linux and GNU? Whether something is or is not Free/Open Source software and whether it promotes (GNU) Linux? You know something is very wrong when the (paid-for) keynote speech at the biggest Linux conference is given by the company that called Linux “cancer” and continues to attack Linux to this date. That’s like having Donald Trump at the Democrat’s conventions and campaigns.

We have been trying to write more about patents, especially about the EPO, so not many articles mention Linux or talk about Microsoft these days. Microsoft’s latest patent attacks on Free software are revealing; Microsoft says it “loves Linux”, but its attacks on Linux definitely carry on (as recently as a couple of weeks ago or less).

“Microsoft’s latest patent attacks on Free software are revealing; Microsoft says it “loves Linux”, but its attacks on Linux definitely carry on (as recently as a couple of weeks ago or less).”The following points were mentioned a lot over the past 2 weeks, but we finally decided to write an article about it because sponsored articles (for Linux Foundation funders) continue to come out from the Linux Foundation’s Web site (this disclosure says IBM, but previously it was Microsoft). Why is the Linux Foundation simply morphing into a mouthpiece? Why, for example, is it willing to publish Microsoft lies? Just because Microsoft pays for it doesn’t mean it’s ethical or worthwhile. It reminds us of the years when Microsoft used (exploited) Novell for Microsoft marketing. I’ve exchanged nearly a dozen E-mails about this with Stallman this past week and he too is concerned about it.

The main subject of this article is actually VMware, a company that has been notorious for GPL violations for quite a few years (almost a decade). Some people wrote articles noting that Torvalds had publicly acknowledged the important role of the GPL at LinuxCon. Shortly thereafter, however, Torvalds blasted GPL enforcement. A week ago we saw at least two articles about exactly that [1, 2] (related but less relevant is this article).

“VMware recently poached Dirk Hohndel from Intel (head of Open Source [sic] or whatever they call it) and it was him who interviewed Torvalds as his trusted colleague less than a fortnight ago at LinuxCon, just shortly before the above attack on Kuhn et al.”Journalists then saw a rant in the mailing lists and decided to inform readers regarding Torvalds’ public rant against the Conservancy [1, 2] (these link to the original from the mailing list). A few more articles about the subject have been published since (these are in our daily links) and they serve to reinforce suspicions that Sandler (not just Kuhn) from the Conservancy got pushed out of the Linux Foundation, causing a lot of backlash about a year ago. The backlash was about abandonment of funds (material support) to the Conservancy; it happened after VMware had joined the Linux Foundation and the Conservancy got involved in a GPL enforcement lawsuit against VMware.

But here comes the interesting thing — an observation which I mentioned last week (in passing) over at Tux Machines. VMware recently poached Dirk Hohndel from Intel (head of Open Source [sic] or whatever they call it) and it was him who interviewed Torvalds as his trusted colleague less than a fortnight ago at LinuxCon, just shortly before the above attack on Kuhn et al. It reinforces the suspicion that the Conservancy’s decision to uphold the GPL on behalf of a client made Hohndel an enemy and then, by inference, made Torvalds somewhat of an enemy. Remember that a lot of ‘ex’ Microsoft executives now run VMware (look who has been running the company since 2008) and the company famously violates the GPL (this has been known for many years), just as Microsoft did when it created a shim for its proprietary, back door-compatible Hyper-V (that too was a GPL violation, but Microsoft moved quickly to comply once caught [1, 2, 3])?

“How long before the Linux Foundation is truly/entirely incapable of defending Linux from patent lawsuits and upholding the GPL because Linux foes and GPL foes develop financial strings, making them harder (or riskier) to publicly criticise?”The above observations came out late (I did not wish to write about the subject), but when Microsoft attacked Linux with patents it became too much to skip (I only say “Linux” because it’s Android in this case). How long before the Linux Foundation is truly/entirely incapable of defending Linux from patent lawsuits and upholding the GPL because Linux foes and GPL foes develop financial strings, making them harder (or riskier) to publicly criticise?

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