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09.05.16

Links 5/9/2016: Linux 4.8 RC5, Mageia Picks DNF

Posted in News Roundup at 3:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • How to install Linux on a Chromebook

      Chromebooks have a lot going for them – they’re cheap, they’re lightweight, and they don’t slow down over time. They’re also based on a stripped-down version of Linux, and upgrading your laptop to a fully fledged desktop operating system isn’t all that difficult.

    • Is Linux a Threat to Windows? Not According to These Stats [Ed: A longtime Microsoft booster, Bogdan Popa, uses Microsoft-connected firm to make case against GNU/Linux]

      [Microsoft-connected] Net Applications claims Windows is currently at 90.52 percent, up from 89.79 percent the month before. Windows’ worst month was April this year, when it dropped to 88.77 percent, but the OS has been recovering ever since.

    • ‘I’m sorry, your lift has had a problem and had to shut down’

      “Eight years ago I was visiting a friend in hospital when I was confronted with a disturbing image upon entering one of the elevators (yeah, OK, one of the lifts).”

      Phil arguably beats Charles, though, because this Sydney lift wanted a login and was running Windows98 well after it was deprecated:

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.8-rc5
    • Linux 4.8-rc5

      So rc5 is noticeably bigger than rc4 was, and my hope last week that we were starting to calm down and shrink the releases seems to have been premature.

      That said, most of the diffstat looks fairly flat (which tends to imply lots of small trivial changes rather than big invasive ones). There’s some stuff going on in the mellanox mlx5 network driver, and there is some nfs and overlayfs noise, but on the whole it just looks like a lot of small fixes. It may be _more_ of those small fixes than I’d prefer at this stage, but I suspect what happened was that rc4 looked so nice and small simply because some of the fixes ended up being delayed until rc5.

    • Linus Torvalds Announces a Noticeably Bigger Linux 4.8 RC5 Kernel Release

      Today, September 4, 2016, Linus Torvalds announced the immediate availability of the fifth RC (Release Candidate) development milestone of the forthcoming Linux 4.8 kernel branch.

      Yes, that’s right, it’s Sunday and tomorrow is Labor Day in the U.S., so it’s time to get your computer ready for some long testing sessions of the next major Linux kernel release, namely Linux 4.8, which just received a new Release Candidate version that looks quite big compared with the previous RC.

      According to Linus Torvalds, who has hoped to see thing starting calming down in the development cycle of Linux kernel 4.8, the fifth RC introduces some improvements to the Mellanox MLX5 network driver, various changes to the OverlayFS and NFS filesystems, and some other minor improvements here and there.

    • Linux 4.8-rc5 Kernel Brings A Fair Number Of Changes
    • Torvalds at LinuxCon Part II: Fragmentation and the GPL

      This is the second of a three part series that began last Tuesday on Linux Torvalds’ keynote interview at this year’s LinuxCon. In today’s segment, Torvalds talks about how the GPL has helped prevent fragmentation.

      “Don’t get me wrong,” Linus Torvalds said, “we still argue. We’re not all happy people, we don’t love each other.”

    • Linus Torvalds credits GPL with preventing Linux fragmentation

      Linus Torvalds has never been one to mince words when it comes to Linux, or anything else for that matter. At a keynote conversation at LinuxCon he expressed his appreciation for the GPL and how it helped Linux avoid fragmentation.

    • Graphics Stack

      • SMAF Still Hasn’t Landed In Linux Kernel, Would Allow Better Protecting Video Playback [Ed: Using euphemisms like EME, secure etc. we’re now having another DRM (not Direct Rendering) entered into Linux]

        Last year we covered SMAF as the project aiming to allow for secure DMA-BUF usage. While that was written about nearly a year ago and had already gone through multiple patch revisions, unfortunately that code has yet to be mainlined.

        A Phoronix reader wrote in this weekend to explain how he wish it would land and that it would help address an important use-case: better handling of protected video content.

      • SMOL-V Is A Compression Effort On Vulkan’s SPIR-V
      • X.Org Server 1.19 Proposed For Release Next Month

        It’s been since last November that X.Org Server 1.18 was released and while the project previously stuck to a six month release cadence, that didn’t happen for xorg-server 1.19. Now, however, out of the blue Keith Packard has put together a proposal for quickly shipping it next month.

        Adam Jackson of Red Hat had been managing X.Org Server releases while this weekend Keith Packard seems to have stepped back into that position and is looking to quickly get X.Org Server 1.19 released.

      • [ANNOUNCE] mesa 12.0.2

        The current release fixes crashes in GLX, EGL and Wayland-EGL, resolves a number of memory leaks in the video decoding drivers, makes the Intel Vulkan driver more robust by exporting only the required symbols (previously we would get symbol collisions leading to strange behaviour or even crashes).

      • Mesa 12.0.2 Released, Fixes For Intel Vulkan Driver, Wayland-EGL Crashes

        The long-awaited Mesa point release update to Mesa 12 is now available with a variety of fixes for these open-source graphics drivers.

      • AMDGPU Southern Islands Support Added To Mesa’s DRM Library
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • LXQt Still Working Towards Its Next Release, Not Yet Ready For Release Schedule

      XQt 0.10 was released last November and is currently the desktop environment’s current latest release of this Qt-written desktop forked from LXDE. There’s talk though of a new release possibly coming soon, but the project doesn’t appear ready yet to commit to any release schedule or routine cadence for new versions.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Akademy Awards 2016

        QtCon talks closed with our annual awards ceremony, the Akademy Awards. Given each year to the most valued and hardest working KDE contributors, they are awarded by the jury from the previous year. This year’s winners are:

      • KDE neon Talk at QtCon Akademy 2016

        Me and Harald gave a talk at QtCon Akademy about KDE neon and how it is modernising and smoothing the KDE development process.

      • Wiki, what’s going on? (Part 11-QtCon Day3)
      • QtCon Closing Keynote with Julia Reda MEP

        The talks are over after the three days of QtCon Akademy 2016 which means the BoF sessions and hacking days are about to begin. To close the talks at the conference we had a finishing keynote by Julia Reda, Member of the European Parliament and member of the Pirate Party.

        She began by saying that on a fundamental level government is all of us, and it provides the infrastructure for our culture. Software used by the government is also a public service and the only philosophy that takes responsibility for that is free and open source software. Getting governments to use free and open source software is more important then ever because of the importance of technology in society. Computers are no longer limited to some parts of our lives, they are integral to everything we do. She gave the example of the VW Dieselgate scandal which is linked to cars being computers on wheels. There are no check that the software that is tested by regulators is the same that is run by the car hardware. Another interesting aspect is limitations on diesel control can be turned off to save the engine which means in practice they do this a lot and don’t even need to tell the regulators. VW had a function programmed into the car which turned off the fuel saving if it deviated from the testing procedures.

      • KDE Software Store to Soon Offer Downloads in Snap, Flatpak and AppImage Formats

        Ex-Kubuntu maintainer Jonathan Riddell is proud to report on the public availability of a new online service designed as a replacement for the services provided by openDesktop.org.

        Dubbed The KDE Store, the new software store is exactly that, a store where application developers can publish their open-source projects and share them with the world. Also known as KDE Software Store, the app sharing platform contains many of the code from the openDesktop.org website, which appears to no longer be functional.

      • Interviews with QtCon Stall Holders

        KDE Dot News sent its roving reporter Devaja round the stalls at QtCon to ask them what they were promoting and of their experience of the conference.

      • Qt 5.8 Alpha released

        I’m happy to let you know that we have now reached our first milestone towards the release of Qt 5.8. The Alpha version of Qt 5.8 is now ready, and can be downloaded from download.qt.io or your Qt Account. As a new minor release, Qt 5.8 comes with a lot of new features as well as many bug fixes and improvements. We’ll go through all the new features in more detail as we get closer to the release. For now, let me just mention some of the biggest changes.

      • Qt 5.8 Alpha Released With New Graphics Architecture, Qt Lite

        Last week’s Qt 5.8 Alpha preliminary packages have now been promoted to being the official alpha packages for this next major version of the Qt5 tool-kit.

      • Akademy: the social bits

        So far at Akademy and QtCon, I’ve been quiet on the blogging front. That’s mostly because it’s been really really busy from morning to night with technical and social things.

      • QtCon: Plasma 5 running smooth on ARMv7!

        Today at QtCon, I was introduced to a Plasma 5 session running on a Odroid-C1+ (using ARMv7, running Debian).

        I was very amazed to see that it runs very smooth, and is very responsive. Moving windows, placing plasmoids on the desktop works with almost no glitch. As email management and file indexing is not really needed in this context, Akonadi and Baloo were disabled. Of course, it’s not very usable for intensive graphic use (watching videos, image editing, etc), but it’s alright for other use-cases.

      • KDE Talk Videos from QtCon
      • QtCon Akademy 2016
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • What’s coming in Tracker 1.10

        Tracker 1.9.1 was released last month, and it comes with some work we did to improve the various extract modules (the code which looks at files on disk and extracts what we think is useful information). The extract modules are no longer hardcoded to generate SPARQL commands, instead they now use the new TrackerResource API which is a simple way of describing resources programmatically.

      • 2016 GNOME Summit @ Montréal

        Hi everyone, we’re planning to host the GNOME Summit in Montréal this year, on October 8-9-10 (US Colombus Day week-end, Canadian Thanksgiving). It is an unconference-style event aimed for those who want to get involved at the deeply technical level of GNOME, but everyone is welcome and we’re hoping to have a newcomers-oriented session as well as the “deep end of the pool”. Please pre-register here by Friday, indicate any topics of interest you would like to propose for collective tackling during the summit, and indicate your travel and accommodation needs. I will try to secure the venue and figure out all the details surrounding the event soon. Oh, and if you’re in any position to ask one of the GNOME-friendly companies for sponsorship, please do so and drop me an email at nekohayo at gmail. Thanks!

      • GNOME 3.22 “Karlsruhe” Desktop Environment Gets Closer, Second Beta Out Now

        GNOME developer Matthias Clasen was happy to inform us via an email announcement about the availability of the second and last Beta release of the upcoming GNOME 3.22 “Karlsruhe” desktop environment.

      • Experience at GUADEC 2016

        This has been my first GUADEC. It was held in Karlsruhe, Germany (Indeed a very beautiful and peaceful city). The week was truly amazing , got to meet the fellow GNOMies in person. As I did Outreachy internship with GNOME-Maps, I was so happy to meet the team-maps in person. Though my mentor could not come to GUADEC. I met many people there and it was an awesome experience having talks with them.

      • Rewriting code review documentation, on paper.

        I’m not a person carrying around a laptop and don’t use mobile phones much. The more text/comments to tackle (or seperate pages covering related topics), the more I prefer working on paper. (That’s also how I started high-level planning the GNOME Evolution user docs rewrite.)

  • Distributions

    • Several Linux Distros Cater To Deep Web Users

      For those people who have ever considered exploring the deep web, there are specific Linux distributions at your disposal. Using Tor itself is far from sufficient to provide optimal privacy these days. VPN usage is an alternative option, but one never knows if the provider logs traffic. So several Linux developers created custom distributions for all one’s deep web needs.

    • Reviews

      • Peppermint OS 7

        The latest release of Peppermint OS was launched back in June and I meant to take it for a test drive then. However, one exciting release after another distracted me until now. Peppermint is a project I pay attention to because it is one of the distributions I have had the most success with when it comes to transitioning people from Windows to Linux. Peppermint’s lightweight nature, speed, relatively uncluttered interface and solid hardware support (thanks to its underlying Ubuntu base) have made it an attractive option. Peppermint OS 7 is based on packages available through the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS repositories with a few Linux Mint utilities added for flavour. Peppermint runs the LXDE desktop by default and version 7 offers users GPT, UEFI and Secure Boot support. The distribution is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture.

        The ISO for the 64-bit build of Peppermint is approximately 1GB in size. Booting from this media displays a menu where we can choose to try the live desktop environment, launch the system installer or check the disc for defects. I took the live desktop option which loads LXDE. The desktop environment is presented with a panel along the bottom of the display. This panel contains our application menu, task switcher and the system tray. The application menu uses unusually large and bold fonts, making the text easy to read. On the desktop we find a single icon we can use to launch the distribution’s system installer. The desktop uses a dark theme with brightly coloured icons. Personally, I like the bright icons on a dark background coupled with the large font. I found the combination made it easy to browse the application menu and find launchers I wanted to use.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The September 2016 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the September 2016 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006.

      • Dandifying Mageia – Adding the DNF stack to Mageia

        There’s a lot of good things coming to Mageia 6: KDE Plasma 5 desktop, updates to other desktop environments, many new games, and a fresh coat of paint with a new visual style. However, there’s quite a lot of under-the-hood improvements in Mageia, too!

        Among the many less-than-visible improvements across the board is a brand new dependency resolver: DNF. DNF (Dandified Yum) is a next generation dependency resolver and high-level package management tool with an interesting history. DNF traces its ancestry to two projects: Fedora’s Yum (Yellowdog Updater, Modified) and openSUSE’s SAT Solver (libsolv). DNF was forked from Yum several years ago in order to rewrite it to use the SAT Solver library from openSUSE (which is used in their own tool, Zypper). Another goal of the fork was to massively restructure the codebase so that a sane API would be available for both extending DNF (via plugins and hooks) and building applications on top of it (such as graphical frontends and system lifecycle automation frameworks).

      • Mageia To Offer DNF, But Will Keep Using URPMI By Default

        The RPM-based Mageia Linux distribution has decided to offer Fedora’s DNF forked version of Yum in their next major release.

        While Mageia 6 will be offering dnf, it’s not going to be the default but will just be present on the system for those wanting to use it. The urpmi command and Mageia’s existing software management tools will remain the defaults for the “foreseeable future.”

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE : Distro Review Of The Week

        openSUSE is one of the best Linux distributions in the world. Apart from Ubuntu, openSUSE is probably one of the best multi-purpose distribution around.The distro is geared towards desktop users and developers working on desktop or server. openSUSE is based on SUSE Linux Enterprise.

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed Now Based on Linux Kernel 4.7.2, VirtualBox 5.1.4 Lands Too

        The openSUSE Project, through Douglas DeMaio, is glad to inform the openSUSE Tumbleweed community about the new package updates and improvements incorporated in the snapshots released during the week that passed.

        Now that some of you are probably attempting to install the first Beta ISOs of the upcoming openSUSE Leap 42.2 operating system, which promises to offer a strong, secure, and very stable GNU/Linux distributions to pragmatic and conservative users, those who use the openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling release are enjoying the latest software releases and technologies.

      • Akonadi/KMail issues on Tumbleweed?
    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • DebConf17 organization started

        DebConf17 will take place in Montreal, Canada from August 6 to August 12, 2017. It will be preceded by DebCamp, July 31 to August 4, and Debian Day, August 5.

        We invite everyone to join us in organizing DebConf17. There are different areas where your help could be very valuable, and we are always looking forward to your ideas.

      • My Free Software Activities in August 2016
      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Look Ma, no hardware! Coding the Raspberry Pi in a web emulator

      You may be familiar with the Sense HAT, an add-on board for the Raspberry Pi which was made especially for a space mission with British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake for Astro Pi. It’s a great piece of hardware, very handy for data logging, science experiments, environmental analysis, games and more. It comes with a Python library making it work out-of-the-box. (See Exploring the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT and Experimenting with the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT).

    • Skylake-H Mini-ITX SBC has 4 GbE, 4 USB 3.0, and 3 HD video ports

      Kontron’s Linux-friendly “mITX-SKL-H” is based on Intel Skylake-H processors, and offers generous helpings of GbE, HD graphics, SATA 3.0, USB 3.0, and PCIe.

    • Phones

      • Mobile apps are now bigger than the web — a trend that threatens to eat Google’s core business

        It’s a stat that will be discomfiting to advocates of the open web, as well as companies whose core business is built around it — notably Google.

      • Tizen

        • Game: Sniper Ops for Samsung Z1 and Z3 now available in Tizen Store

          If your a gaming fan that loves a good shoot ’em up then possibly Snipe Ops 3D might ‘hit the spot’. The game is developed by Modern Alchemists and is possibly one of the best examples of a 3D shooting game that I’ve seen on the Z3.

        • Samsung Gear S3 is the latest Tizen Smartwatch

          It seems forever since we have been waiting for the next Samsung Tizen based smartwatch to be released, and the good news is that it was launched at a special event that was held last week at the Tempodrom arena in Germany. As expected the Gear S3 retains many of the same characteristics of its predecessor, the Gear S2, as we have the same round face and rotating bezel which seems a winning combination for Samsung.

      • Android

        • BlackBerry’s 2016 Android Phone Lineup REVEALED: The BlackBerry DTEK50 Is Just The Beginning

          The BlackBerry PRIV was just the beginning. BlackBerry is working on two Android handsets for 2016

          The first BlackBerry Android phone is out of the blocks for 2016 and, once again, BlackBerry has kind of made a dog’s dinner of the handset’s name. It’s called the BlackBerry DTEK50. I know, I know — it sounds like something you’d grill a steak on and not at all like a handset you’d lust after in a phone shop. I don’t get why they don’t just stick with the codenames? They’re always good — Rome, Milan, etc,…

        • OnePlus merging Oxygen OS and Hydrogen OS to improve updates

          OnePlus has been shaking the industry from the very start. They offer great hardware at unbelievable prices, but they have been divided in the software department. Literally; they created Oxygen OS for the general market, while their Chinese customers get to use Hydrogen OS. The former offers a much more clean interface that looks very much like vanilla Android, while Hydrogen OS is a tweaked in a heavier manner.

        • 6-Inch Meizu M3 Max Is Now Official With A 4,100mAh Battery

          The Meizu PRO 5 was the last phablet this China-based company had released. This device was introduced back in September last year, and was actually Meizu’s flagship at the time. Well, the Meizu PRO 5 might still be the flagship phablet of this company, though the Meizu PRO 6 is now considered to be the company’s most powerful smartphone. In any case, the company has been teasing the arrival of a new phablet, the Meizu M3 Max, for quite some time now. We knew that the M3 Max will sport mid-range specifications, and that it will be announced today, and that’s exactly what just happened, read on.

        • Galaxy Note 7 recall could cost Samsung $1 billion

          It’s inevitable that Samsung’s mass Galaxy Note 7 recall is going to cost the company a notable sum, but industry analysts are now expecting that the total bill could reach around $1 billion in order to fix the mess.

          Despite the relatively low number of affected devices, Samsung has issued a total recall on the estimated 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 handset that has shipped out to consumers in the last two weeks. Estimates from Credit Suisse Group AG, Daishin Securities Co. and Pelham Smithers Associates, all suggests that such a mass recall could cost the company up to $1 billion. The estimated cost to return each handset has been calculated at around $900 plus the profit that Samsung would have made. Koh Dong Jin, the head of Samsung’s smartphone business, said at a press conference in Seoul on Friday that this was a “heartbreaking amount.’’

        • Android lockscreen bypass: Google patches flaw on Nexus 5X phones [Ed: article says “allowed an attacker to obtain a full memory dump via Android Debug Bridge (ADB),” but it's not an attacker but a thief with physical access]
        • What is Android fragmentation, and can Google fix it? [Ed: no different than Windows versions]
        • How to use multitasking in Android Nougat
        • What the iPhone 7 needs to stay ahead of Android
        • EA quietly launches FIFA 17 official mobile game on Android, iOS version coming soon
        • Sony shows Android-based, touch-enabled projector concept at IFA 2016, and we got to try it

          There’s this thing about the future – it is uncertain. 50 years ago, people envisioned us having robot butlers, flying cars, and colonies on other planets by the turn of the 21st century. Instead, we got automated vacuum cleaners that can’t tell when there’s kitty poop in their way. Following that trail of thoughts, we can’t be sure whether Sony’s touch-enabled projector would ever see the light of day, but the concept we saw at IFA 2016 was surely drawing attention.

        • Android Central’s Top Picks from IFA 2016!

          There’s a lot of tech here at IFA in Berlin, as is often the case. OK, that’s one hell of an understatement. There’s a LOT of tech here at IFA. Some from the usual players. A whole lot from folks we’ve, frankly, never heard of.

          And that’s maybe the hardest part of these jaunts. Not the jet lag. Not the time away from home. No, it’s sorting through all the awesomeness that gets crammed into the Messe Berlin and put on display for the world to see.

          But we’ve managed to narrow it down a bit. Here, now, are Android Central’s Top Picks from IFA 2016.

        • AndEX Project Brings Android 7.0 Nougat with GAPPS & Linux Kernel 4.4 to Your PC

          Today, September 4, 2016, Arne Exton is happy to inform us about the release of the first build of his AndEX project based on Google’s recently released Android 7.0 Nougat mobile operating system.

          For those of you who never heard of AndEX, it is an Android-x86 operating system for personal computers, and until today it was based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. We have to admit that we were wondering when Arne Exton will start rebasing AndEX on Android 7.0 Nougat, and it looks like that just happened.

        • Android-x86 releases early build of Nougat for desktop PCs

          Google and Intel may not be doing much work to make sure that Android can run on devices with Intel processors anymore… but the Android-x86 project continues to release new builds of Android for computers with Intel and AMD chips.

        • How to…back up your photos on your Android phone

Free Software/Open Source

  • [Older] Meet Ali Abdulghani, a Blind Programmer Working in the field of Open Source

    It’s rare actually to hear about people with such well and desire to continue their lives even though they suffer such tragic disabilities, for this, meet “Ali Abdulghani”, an Iraqi young man working in the field of free and open-source software although he is completely blind! Who said that you should be useless when you can’t see things?

  • Do Crypto-Token Sales Make Sense for Open-Source Projects?

    Spurred by Union Square Ventures partner Albert Wenger’s recent blog post, there’s been lots of discussion about crypto-tokens in recent week.

    This has led to excitement and skepticism about their ability to incentivize open-source developers to create and maintain protocols.

    However, as Runa Capital has funded a number of developers who have created and maintained thriving open-source protocols, I wanted to shine some light on this approach in the context of how open-source developers have been incentivized historically.

    This article focuses on both why a crypto-token issuance may make sense for some, and why it might not make sense for others who are served well by existing business models.

  • Three Open Source Business Models

    Any developer considering releasing open source software needs to have a plan to monetize it. Likewise, any organization thinking about deploying open source software needs to know how the vendor is monetizing it. The reason for the first is obvious, bills and expenses being what they are. As for the later, knowing exactly how developers of code you’re thinking of using are funding their efforts will not only help you determine whether the project will remain supported for years to come, but will help keep you from walking into traps such as vendor lock-in.

    There are three primary business models being used by open source vendors. However, before making a decision on what model is right for you, seek legal counsel. Not only is the law complex, IT easily crosses jurisdictions that the law does not.

  • Students take part in MIT workshop on open source software

    MIT Group of Academic and Research Institutes celebrated their 25th global Linux day and conducted various exciting programmes.

    One day hands-on workshop on Linux was organized under the guidance of Professor Suresh Bhawar.

    Vatsal Thakur, an IT expert from Mumbai conducted a seminar on career opportunities in open source software. He said, “Linux is used by big corporate houses as it drives fastest supercomputers and android mobiles. Hence, market requirement for skilled Linux people is huge.”

    Third year students Sanket Kolnurkar, Nihal Renu, Manpreet Singh, Gauri Bhalerao, Prathamesh Videkar assisted the workshop participants. Santosh Bhosle, Ex principal at MIT briefed students about the evolution of open source software. The members of teaching staff including Nilesh Patil, Hanumant Dharmadhikari Deepak Nehte, Kavita Bhosle and Bhakti Ahirwadkar were also present.

  • AquaCrop-OS Provides Open-Source Tool for Ag Water Management

    “We created AquaCrop-OS to provide a free, open-source software tool that makes it easier for scientists and policymakers to devise creative solutions to real-world water and food security challenges,” said Foster.

  • Events

    • Kids on Computers and Unleash Kids at LinuxCon North America!

      Kids on Computers is a non-profit organization made up of volunteers — adults and kids. Founded in 2009, KOC sets up computer labs in locations worldwide, providing access to educational content which they otherwise would not be able to access. The computers have FOSS installed on them. Unleash Kids helps volunteer groups who work with kids by providing Internet in a Box (IIAB) community kits. This brings much of the online-educational content (such as offline Wikipedia, Khan academy, e-books and world-wide maps) to children in areas where there is no access to the internet.

    • 7 tips for learning how to give a technical talk

      Hack-A-Week is an event my team at Red Hat runs every year to encourage innovation. During that week engineers can work on any project they choose. After the week is over, each engineer gives a short presentation on what they worked on.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Richard Stallman: Publishers should let readers buy articles anonymously

      Richard Stallman, known for creating the GNU Project and initiating work on the popular Emacs text editor, has proposed that online publishers should allow users to buy individual stories, anonymously. Stallman took the opportunity to mention that the GNU Project is working on a new piece of software that will allow his suggested anonymous payments.

    • Publishers must let online readers pay for news anonymously

      Online newspapers and magazines have come to depend, for their income, on a system of advertising and surveillance, which is both annoying and unjust.

      Readers are rebelling by installing ad blockers, which cut into the publisher’s surveillance-based income. And in response, some sites are cutting off access to readers unless they accept being surveilled. What they ought to do instead is give us a truly anonymous way to pay.
      Some people use ad blockers because they find the sight of an advertisement offensive. That’s purely subjective, and publishers could argue that readers are overreacting. Yet ads on the internet do inconvenience readers too. Adverts increase the amount of data needed to view a page, making it slow to load and expensive on a mobile connection.

      At a deeper level, tailored ads also imply snooping, because the most lucrative, targeted advertising on the internet nowadays is based on tracking people’s interests and behaviour.

    • GCC Might Finally Drop The GNU Compiler For Java (GCJ)

      The GNU Compiler for Java (GCJ) while made a lot of progress in its early years as a free software Java compiler, in recent years it’s basically been in maintenance mode and might now be removed entirely from GCC.

      GCC developers have been talking about the pity state of GCJ Java support for some time while now action might finally be taken to strip it from the GNU Compiler Collection codebase.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • California Makes GovOps Portal Open Source

        California’s Government Operations Agency has moved its open data portal to an open source platform.

        California piloted the first statewide open data portal, GreenGov.data.ca.gov, with data sets and results from the GreenGov Challenge, a code-a-thon built around sustainability data sets hosted on the pilot site. GovOps is now moving the open data portal to an open source platform (DKAN) to ensure the longevity of continuous efforts to make government

        To effectively manage the improved statewide portal it will be moved to the Department of Technology’s (CDT’s) Office of Digital Innovation, alongside the state’s Innovation Lab. The new location within the CDT will allow customers, civil coders and government entities to create innovative solutions to their government business challenges

        In the coming months, GovOps and the CDT will work with departments and agencies across the executive branch to continuously add more data sets to the portal.

      • This Week in Civic Tech: California Launches First True Open Data Portal, KC Takes Another Step Toward Innovation

        The Golden State’s first agencywide open data portal is now live. Officials from the California Government Operations Agency (CalGovOps) announced the launch after a successful pilot that began earlier this summer. The intent, technology leaders say, is to make the state’s vast collection of data easier to access and more intuitive to use.

      • How to Uncover Corruption Using Open Source Research

        When most people think about open source research, they think about uncovering social media materials of soldiers on the front-lines of the wars in Ukraine and Syria, or geolocating video footage of significant events with Google Earth. While open source materials have led a mini-revolution in how conflicts are reported online, there is another area where there has been just as much impact: corruption investigations. This guide will provide instructions on how to start doing your own research into corruption using open source materials, and also include advice from experts who have uncovered corruption in eastern Europe, the Balkans, Caucasus, and elsewhere.

  • Programming/Development

    • The new CIS-194

      The Haskell minicourse at the University of Pennsylvania, also known as CIS-194, has always had a reach beyond the students of Penn. At least since Brent Yorgey gave the course in 2013, who wrote extensive lecture notes and eventually put the material on Github.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • EPA: Flint’s new water will need 3 months or more of testing

      Federal officials say it will take at least three months of testing before Flint can distribute water from a new pipeline in the in the wake of its crisis with lead-tainted water.

      The Flint Journal reports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told city and state officials that Flint must demonstrate its ability to treat water from the Karegnondi Water Authority.

      Flint switched from Detroit’s system to the Flint River in 2014 to save money, but the corrosive river water caused lead to leach from aging pipes into homes. Flint has switched back to Detroit water.

    • Modern life is killing our children: Cancer rate in young people up 40 per cent in 16 years

      Modern life is killing children with the number of youngsters diagnosed with cancer rising 40 per cent in the past 16 years because of air pollution, pesticides, poor diets and radiation, scientists have warned.

      New analysis of government statistics by researchers at the charity Children with Cancer UK found that there are now 1,300 more cancer cases a year compared with 1998, the first time all data sets were published.

      The rise is most apparent in teenagers and young adults aged between 15 and 24, where the incident rate has risen from around 10 cases in 100,000 to nearly 16.

      Researchers say that although some of the rise can be explained by improvements in cancer diagnoses and more screening, the majority is probably caused by environmental factors.

      Dr Denis Henshaw, Professor of Human Radiation Effects at Bristol University, the scientific adviser for Children with Cancer UK, said air pollution was by far the biggest culprit, accounting for around 40 per cent of the rise, but other elements of modern lifestyles are also to blame.

  • Security

    • Linux project mum after man indicted for 2011 breach

      The Linux Kernel Organisation, the non-profit that manages development of the kernel, is still reluctant to make any statement about a breach of its servers that took place more than five years ago, despite the fact that a man from South Florida has been charged with being responsible for the intrusion.

      The same man, named as Donald Ryan Austin by the US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California, was also charged with gaining unauthorised access to the servers of the Linux Foundation, an organisation that employs Linux creator Linus Torvalds.

      Asked for a response to the development, senior kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman told iTWire: “The process is not complete yet, so sorry, I do not have any comment at this point in time.”

    • Hacker behind Linux Kernel’s Mass Trojan Infection Arrested in Florida

      Cert-Bund, a German cyber security group estimated that a third of Linux computers in the U.S., and a tenth of those in the world that were checked, were in fact infected with the Trojan Austin had uploaded into the servers.

      After obtaining the credentials, he used them to make unauthorized changes to those servers by adding messages that automatically appeared when the servers rebooted. He also broke into a private email server of Linux Kernel Founder Peter Anvin, along with the Odin1, Zues1, and Pub3 servers.

    • Suspect arrested in 5-year-old kernel.org breach
    • Florida IT Guy Arrested for 2011 Linux Hack
    • Mirai DDoS Trojan Is the Next Big Threat to IoT Devices and Linux Servers

      A new trojan named Mirai has surfaced, and it’s targeting Linux servers and IoT devices, mainly DVRs, running Linux-based firmware, for the purpose of enslaving these systems as part of a large botnet used to launch DDoS attacks.

    • Pokemon-Themed Umbreon Rootkit Targets Linux x86 and ARM Platforms [Ed: Hyping up a Linux 'threat' which requires cracker has physical access to the device and INSTALLS crap on it]

      Security researchers at Trend Micro have discovered a new rootkit trojan that targets only Linux-based systems running on x86 and ARM (Raspberry Pi) platforms.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Earthquake Rattles Oklahoma Amid Warnings of ‘Inherent’ Fracking Risks

      Oklahoma was hit with a 5.6-magnitude earthquake on Saturday, with reports of tremors felt in six neighboring states—making it one of the strongest quakes in Oklahoma’s history and fueling a growing consensus that the cause lies with wastewater disposal from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

      CNN reported that the event also rattled Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Nebraska, and Iowa, citing geophysicists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), who said it “occurred as the result of shallow strike-slip faulting.”

      The quake struck just after 7:00am local time near Pawnee, followed by four separate incidents of aftershock. No major injuries were reported.

      The USGS continued: “Scientific studies have linked the majority of this increased activity to wastewater injection in deep disposal wells in several locations. However, other mechanisms such as fluid withdrawal, enhanced oil recovery, or hydraulic fracturing processes can also result in induced earthquakes.”

      In Oklahoma, where earthquakes increased by 50 percent last year as about 1.5 billion barrels of wastewater from oil and gas sites were disposed of underground, the link between fracking and seismic events is well-established.

    • Giant pandas rebound off endangered list

      The giant panda is no longer an endangered species, following decades of work by conservationists to save it.

      The official status of the much-loved animal has been changed from “endangered” to “vulnerable” because of a population rebound in China.

      The change was announced as part of an update to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

      But the update also brought bad news. The eastern gorilla, the world’s largest primate, is now endangered.

      Efforts by China, which claims the giant panda as its national animal, have brought its numbers back from the brink. The latest estimates show a population of 1,864 adults.

    • Giant pandas no longer endangered species, experts say

      The giant panda is no longer endangered, according to experts, thanks to aggressive conservation efforts.

      The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said the panda should no longer be classified as “endangered”, but “vulnerable” instead.

      In a report published on Monday, they cited the growing number of pandas in the wild in southern China – which jumped from 1,596 in 2004 to 1,864 in 2014.

      The IUCN hailed the work of Chinese agencies who helped wild panda populations grow by enforcing poaching bans and expanding forest reserves.

    • Bizarre ant colony discovered in an abandoned Polish nuclear weapons bunker

      For the past several years, a group of researchers has been observing a seemingly impossible wood ant colony living in an abandoned nuclear weapons bunker in Templewo, Poland, near the German border. Completely isolated from the outside world, these members of the species Formica polyctena have created an ant society unlike anything we’ve seen before.

      The Soviets built the bunker during the Cold War to store nuclear weapons, sinking it below ground and planting trees on top as camouflage. Eventually a massive colony of wood ants took up residence in the soil over the bunker. There was just one problem: the ants built their nest directly over a vertical ventilation pipe. When the metal covering on the pipe finally rusted away, it left a dangerous, open hole. Every year when the nest expands, thousands of worker ants fall down the pipe and cannot climb back out. The survivors have nevertheless carried on for years underground, building a nest from soil and maintaining it in typical wood ant fashion. Except, of course, that this situation is far from normal.

    • Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun

      Huge vertical rulers are sprouting beside low spots in the streets here, so people can judge if the tidal floods that increasingly inundate their roads are too deep to drive through.

      Five hundred miles down the Atlantic Coast, the only road to Tybee Island, Ga., is disappearing beneath the sea several times a year, cutting the town off from the mainland.

      And another 500 miles on, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., increased tidal flooding is forcing the city to spend millions fixing battered roads and drains — and, at times, to send out giant vacuum trucks to suck saltwater off the streets.

      For decades, as the global warming created by human emissions caused land ice to melt and ocean water to expand, scientists warned that the accelerating rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline.

      Now, those warnings are no longer theoretical: The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes.

  • Finance

    • Apple mired in a mess entirely of its own making

      It is said that there are two things that are certain in this world: death and taxes. One has to rethink that line now, in view of the EU-Apple news this week; only death seems to be a certainty.

      After the EU ordered Apple to pay billions in back taxes to Ireland this week Apple chief executive Tim Cook chose to indulge in populist rhetoric — “it’s political crap” — and did not try to refute the detailed allegations levelled against the company by the European Commission.

      Doubtless, Cook did what he thought was right; the media, at large, is on Apple’s side and is not particularly inclined to meticulously examine things. More so in the US, where the American government is painting this as some kind of victimisation of US companies.

      But Apple’s corporate structure does merit some attention.

      The late Steve Jobs was the one who set up Apple’s operations in Cork, Ireland, back in 1980. Apple has provided employment to thousands and the attractive corporate tax rate that Ireland offers — 12.5% — has resulted in a host of international companies setting up office there.

    • Why Apple’s low-tax deal is no blueprint for Brexit Britain

      One of the islands that makes up Papua New Guinea is called New Ireland. But it seems that a much colder island far to the north might also wish to be called New Ireland – the island formerly known as Great Britain.

      In the wake of the European commission’s ruling that Ireland must reclaim €13bn plus interest in taxes from Apple, there is a good deal of excitement at the prospect of a post-Brexit Britain replacing its smaller neighbour in the affections of tax-shy global corporations. As the Daily Telegraph put it in an editorial: “If Ireland and the EU do not want a huge, wealth-creating firm doing business in their territory, Apple will be very welcome in the UK.” Welcome, that is, to use the UK as it has previously used Ireland – as a compliant state that will look the other way while vast profits pass through, untaxed.

    • Brexit is truly daunting: this is the biggest crisis I have known

      The leader of the Lib Dems, Tim Farron, struck a chord last week when he said that as a result of the Brexit vote, Britain had become a laughing stock abroad.

      He is quite right. I myself have been receiving baffled inquiries from friends overseas. And on two recent trips to get away from it all – to Crete and Provence, since you ask – we could not escape. Everyone we encountered – yes, everyone – asked why this country had taken leave of its senses.

      It is no good people saying we Remainers, or “Brits-in” as an acquaintance terms us, should shut up, accept that “the people have spoken” and get on with it. This is the biggest crisis to erupt in my working life, and the implications are far too daunting to be taken lying down.

      Meanwhile, it is evident from its behaviour so far that the government is all over the place. But one thing is crystal clear: by making immigration the priority over membership of the single market, Theresa May is almost guaranteeing that, in order to offer sops to the Cerberus of burgeoning racism in this country, the economy will suffer.

    • Iran signs off on a radical investment treaty: barring arbitrators from wearing two hats, narrowing protections, and limiting damages awards

      Iran signs off on a radical investment treaty: barring arbitrators from wearing two hats, narrowing protections, and limiting damages awards

      The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Slovak Republic have signed off on a deeply iconoclastic investment treaty – one that bars arbitrators from moonlighting as counsel, protects as “investments” the activities of non-profit development and research organizations, and modifies in myriad ways the boilerplate protections seen in prior treaties.

      The two countries signed the BIT on January 19th of this year [click to view]. Given that Iran has contemporaneously concluded far more conventional BITs, such as the recent Japan-Iran BIT, we suspect that the reform ambitions of the Iran-Slovakia BIT may stem more from the Slovak side of the negotiating table.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Angela Merkel’s CDU ‘suffers Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania poll blow’

      Angela Merkel’s ruling CDU party has been beaten into third place by an anti-immigrant and anti-Islam party in elections in a north-eastern German state, partial results have shown.

      The Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) party took about 21% of the vote behind the centre-left SPD’s 30%.

    • Sanders: Debate threshold ‘probably too high’

      The requirement that presidential candidates average at least 15 percent support in national polls in order to earn a spot on the general election debate stage is “probably too high,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday morning.

      The Commission on Presidential Debates announced its 15 percent threshold last year, and last month it announced the set of five national polls it would use to measure each candidate’s support. The barrier is no problem for Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, but it presents a potentially insurmountable hurdle for alternative candidates like Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

    • Stein: ‘We are living with a couple of nightmare campaigns’
    • Jill Stein: The Only Candidate Serious On Climate Change

      Inspired by a recent article in Time magazine about global warming, I had written a Ted Kaczynski-esque withering assault on modern civilization and advocated a reversal (yes, LOL indeed) of industrialization. It was a thoroughly godawful paper and I have little doubt that George Stewart was the only thing that got me a passing grade on it.

      It was straight from the heart though, and not since then has my interest and passion in what we have done to this planet waned. As someone who tries to keep track of the impact of human-induced climate change, I have always found baffling the lack of importance the issue has received as an electoral issue. There is no greater threat to our safety and well being-no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We are a species that like any other, requires a habitat that can sustain our biological functions and allow the vegetation and animal life necessary to sustain our food supply. The manifest reality of today is that our habitat is under attack from our own creations. We have polluted our air and our oceans. We have doomed to extinction countless species of plants and animals many of whom we may have annihilated before they could be discovered. The earth is warming quicker and sea levels are rising faster than any prediction model foresaw. Literally hundreds of small island communities ― as well as major nations like Bangladesh and Indonesia ― are already losing shorelines and even arable land. In America, with our over 10,000 miles of shoreline, climate scientists predict a rise in sea levels and markedly increased flooding in coastal cities like New York within the next five decades.

      This is not a problem of the future, it is a problem of the here and now and a catastrophe beyond biblical proportions in the making.

    • Ralph Nader: I was not a ‘spoiler’ in 2000. Jill Stein doesn’t deserve that insulting label, either.

      In his Aug. 24 op-ed, “2016’s Ralph Nader?,” Dana Milbank accused Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein of making “more likely the singular threat of a President Trump.” He echoed legions of Democratic Party partisans who never think it is time for a progressive third-party presidential candidate to run because the Republican candidates are always worse. They use politically bigoted words such as “spoiler,” reserved for treating third-party candidates like second-class citizens. Many otherwise-tolerant reporters, columnists and editorial writers are quite okay with smaller candidates being obstructed in many ways, from ballot access to the debates.

      Such discrimination counters a candidate’s civil liberties. Everyone has an equal right to run for public office. What kind of twisted logic insists that smaller-party competitors should forfeit their First Amendment rights to speak, petition and assemble freely? Dissent and resistance that attract voters historically have improved politics and achieved justice in our country.

      Aren’t liberals pleased that earlier third parties — ballot access was easier in the past — and their voters rejected Mr. Milbank’s kind of advice? In 1840, the Liberty Party first opposed slavery. Later, new parties fought the exclusion of women from voting, asserted the rights of farmers and industrial labor and initiated calls for Social Security, unemployment compensation, minimum wages, health care for all and electoral reforms. They first put on the table most of the positive improvements from government.

      Shamefully, the decaying Democratic Party works to block millions of voters from having a choice of progressive third-party candidates. No country in the Western world places more obstacles to third-party and independent candidates getting on the ballot than the United States. Democrats and Republicans built this exclusionary duopoly. As a result, major redirections and reforms, often supported by a popular majority, are excluded from electoral arenas. Without a competitive democracy, our political system cannot attract better candidates. A political monoculture with safe, gerrymandered incumbents serving myopic commercial interests is systematically undemocratic. It helps explain why the Democratic Party has been unable to defend this country from the worst Republican Party in history at the congressional and state levels.

    • FBI Says a Laptop That Held Clinton’s E-Mails Has Gone Missing

      A personal laptop computer used to archive Hillary Clinton’s e-mails when she was secretary of state went missing after being put in the mail, according to the FBI’s report on its investigation into her use of a private e-mail system.

      E-mails that Clinton sent and received through her private server during her tenure were archived on the laptop in 2013 by a person who was an assistant to former President Bill Clinton, the FBI said in its heavily redacted investigative report released Friday.

      Someone whose name was redacted in the FBI report told the agency that he later deleted the e-mails from the laptop but didn’t wipe its hard drive. A computer technician can often recover such e-mails that have been deleted but not permanently erased from a laptop’s memory.

    • Paleologos on the poll: Voters want third-party candidates on debate stage

      Libertarian Gary Johnson did not reach the 15% threshold for inclusion in presidential debates in the latest Suffolk University/USA TODAY national poll. This is a disappointment to voters, 76% of whom believe that third-party candidates like Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein should be able to share the stage with Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump this fall.

    • The Green Party Aligns Itself With the African-American Community

      Green Party presidential nominee Dr. Jill Stein spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. last Tuesday, Aug. 23, to address her recent visit to Louisiana, racism in America and her New Green Deal to tackle climate control.

      “We had the honor of being escorted through some of the most — most tragically struck areas of Baton Rouge, where essentially there has been no recovery and almost nothing in the way of services,” Stein said.

    • Democrats used a cheat sheet to deal with Black Lives Matter, leak reveals

      Democrat lawmakers were given their very own “do’s and don’ts” cheat sheet on what to do when approached by a Black Lives Matter activists, according to an internal memo that was leaked from Minority House leader Nancy Pelosi’s server.

      The document, which was obtained and posted online by the mysterious hacker Guccifer 2.0, was sent by Troy Perry, a former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staffer, to the rest of the committee staff in November 2015.

    • Leaked 2015 Memo Told Dems: ‘Don’t Offer Support’ For Black Lives Matter Policy Positions

      “Don’t offer support” for the “concrete policy positions” of Black Lives Matter protesters, the chief organization charged with electing Democrats to the House of Representatives warned its candidates in an internal memo leaked online on Wednesday.

      The document was posted online by Guccifer 2.0, a hacker who has claimed to be responsible for the Democratic National Committee email leak. Guccifer claims the document is from the personal computer of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). A number of cybersecurity firms and Democrats have attributed the leaks to Russian hackers (though Guccifer 2.0 has denied working for the Kremlin).

    • At the Clinton Foundation, you can smell the meat a-cookin’

      With so many journalists spending so much time shaming Donald Trump’s voters so as to protect Hillary Clinton in November, I’m getting mighty worried.

      I’m not worried about Trump. He’s a megalomaniac, and his kind of narcissism will help him blend in quite nicely in Washington if he’s elected president. And I’m not worried about Clinton either. She’s a pathological liar and well-suited to the Washington way, where liars are praised.

      What worries me is that many — but not all — in my business are spending so much time shaming Trump voters, that they seem to have forgotten some important features of political corruption: what it is, what it looks like, what it sounds like and what it smells like.

    • Letter to the Editor: Support Jill Stein

      University of Georgia at Athens charged $4,488 in tuition and fees in the 2000-2001 school year but charged $10,836 in the 2014-2015 school year. This is an increase of 141 percent. In the same time, the median income in Georgia fell by 14 percent.

      According to Phan Fei at ProPublica, the median income in the U.S. is falling but public college tuition is climbing. In the US as a whole, median income has fallen 7 percent since 2000, while tuition has risen 80 percent during the same time period.

    • Poll: Clinton Unpopularity at New High, on Par With Trump

      Hillary Clinton’s unpopularity reached a new high in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, putting her on par with Donald Trump among registered voters.

      The latest findings solidify their positions as the two most unpopular presidential candidates in polling dating back more than 30 years.

      Among all adults, 56 percent now view Clinton unfavorably, up 6 percentage points in three weeks, compared with 63 percent who say the same about Trump.

      Among registered voters, the two candidates have nearly identical unfavorable ratings: 59 percent for Clinton versus 60 percent for Trump.

    • What the Green Party’s Jill Stein believes in 2 minutes
    • Matt Funiciello and the Giant Sucking Sound Coming Off Lake Champlain

      There is a giant sucking sound coming off Lake Champlain.

      It’s the sound of Bernie Sanders operatives sucking Bernie supporters back into the corporate Democratic Party.

      Take the case of Matt Funiciello.

      Funiciello is the Green Party candidate for Congress in New York’s 21st Congressional district, fifty miles across Lake Champlain from Sanders’ new $600,000 summer home in North Hero, Vermont.

    • [Older] How Presidential ‘Non-Opinion’ Polls Drive Down Third Party Numbers And Facilitate Debate Exclusion

      This week, the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced what polls it will utilize in excluding candidates from its debates.

      The CPD says candidates like the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein must get 15 percent in polls conducted by “five national public opinion polling organizations” — ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News, and NBC/Wall Street Journal.

      Not only — as several have correctly argued — is the 15 percent threshold arbitrary and exclusionary, but these polls don’t actually ask voter preferences at all.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Arab cinema fights censorship at home and hate crime in the West

      In June, Oscar-winning screenwriter David Franzoni announced his upcoming biography of the 13-century Persian poet Rumi, a production he believes will counter the negative portrayal of Muslims put forward in Western films. Yet despite the premise for the film, it was LA-born Leonardo DiCaprio who was tipped to play the lead role, with Robert Downey Jr as Shams of Tabriz, the spiritual guide who led Rumi to enlightenment.

      Following Franzoni’s announcement, almost 7,000 people signed a petition, promoted under the hashtag #RumiWasntWhite, calling for a Middle Eastern actor to be cast as Rumi. Hollywood has drawn on a wealth of Middle Eastern actors to play terrorists, they pointed out, so why should a white man play one of the greatest poets of all time, who was born in present day Afghanistan?

      If this casting goes ahead, DiCaprio and Downey Jr are set to join other white actors who have played people from a range of ethnic backgrounds in Hollywood movies, among them Rooney Mara, who played American Indian Tiger Lily in Peter Pan; Angelina Jolie was cast as the Afro-Cuban Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart; Joseph Fiennes played Michael Jackson; and Ben Affleck was the Mexican-American Antonio J. Mendez in Argo.

    • Kabali and censorship

      Such censorship of films shown in Malaysia is not new. Before this, many scenes were cut from movies because they contained scenes that were too violent or sexual, and sometimes as in the case of Kabali, scenes were cut because of their political, religious or racial nature. Some movies are banned altogether from Malaysia.

    • Silence of the fans: China’s G20 censorship blocks social media praise of first lady Peng Liyuan’s stunning banquet dress

      China’s first lady Peng Liyuan took the limelight at the G20 summit’s welcoming banquet in Hangzhou on Sunday with a stunning qipao-style dress.

      However, her fans were not able to flood social media with their admiring comments as they had been able to do in the past because of the heavy online censorship in force during the summit.

      Sunday was also the most censored day on the mainland since August 2015, when two explosions took place in the port city of Tianjin, according to Weiboscope, a censorship index run by the University of Hong Kong.

      About 18 posts were censored on Weibo per ten thousand posts published on Sunday, according to the index. Top censored words included “country”, “summit”, “airport” and “Hangzhou”.

    • YouTube’s “ad-friendly” content policy may push one of its biggest stars off the website

      Prominent YouTube star Philip DeFranco has seen the site undergo enormous changes — from major shifts in its position on copyright to the introduction of its subscription service, YouTube Red — in the 10 years he’s been posting videos to the platform. In that time, the audience for his three channels has ballooned to over 4.5 million subscribers (6 million if you count all his channels) and a staggering 2 billion views.

      DeFranco is known for his candid, often satirical delivery and his willingness to cover everything from celebrity gossip to memes. As his audience has grown, he’s won awards for his informal news series and formed partnerships with major platforms like TMZ and SourceFed.

      [...]

      The demonetization means DeFranco will not be able to run ads (read: make money from ads) on any of those videos, and also means his channel is considered to be in violation of YouTube’s community guidelines.

      Though YouTube says the demonetization is the result of changes to its notification system, and not a reflection of changes in its policies, it’s unclear why DeFranco and other vloggers are just getting flagged on content now even though many of them have been posting similar videos to YouTube for years. DeFranco and his supporters worry the move could have implications for all YouTube creators.

      [...]

      “It seems by covering the real, raw news story and not, like, watering it down, I got in trouble,” he said, adding, “How are you supposed to cover news?” A clearly baffled DeFranco worried that YouTube might be setting a dangerous precedent: “This is a much bigger situation than me.”

    • Censorship, corruption and a commitment to Communism: Inside China’s media landscape

      China is rated near the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index, and Wu has a strong word of warning for Australian media outlets wanting to partner with Chinese counterparts.

    • YouTubers are accusing the site of rampant ‘censorship’
    • YouTube ‘demonetization,’ explained for normals
    • Youtube will never be the same after these policy changes
    • YouTube’s ‘demonetization’ controversy
    • YouTube’s de-monetisation isn’t censorship, but it could transform the site
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • German spies repeatedly broke law, must delete XKeyscore database—watchdog

      Germany’s spies seriously violated the country’s laws multiple times, according to a secret report from its federal data protection commissioner Andrea Voßhoff.

      The legal analysis, leaked to Netzpolitik, was made in July 2015 following a visit by data protection officials to Bad Aibling in southern Germany, in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about surveillance activities there. Bad Aibling is jointly run by Germany’s intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), and the NSA.

    • Parliament’s back for Snoopers’ Charter. Former head of GCHQ talks to El Reg

      Parliament has returned from recess (only for a fortnight before conference season begins) and the House of Lord’s committee stage examination of the Investigatory Powers Bill will resume this afternoon.

      The upper chamber had been waiting for the publication of a review of the bill’s bulk powers, which had been led by the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson QC.

      Anderson’s report was published while the politicians were on their holidays, and although it found that there was no proven case GCHQ needs to engage in bulk hacking missions, it was otherwise overwhelmingly supportive of the bulk powers provided for in the Snoopers’ Charter.

      Anderson made what he called a “single, major, recommendation” — the creation of a Technical Advisory Panel to monitor how developments in technology affect the investigatory powers.

    • Tor’s Branding Pivot is Going to Get Someone Killed

      Collectively, these two policy documents pivot The Tor Project, Inc. from an organization that was foremost about privacy technology to an organization that is foremost about human rights (HR) where privacy technology is the chosen means to the end.

      Naïve observers may see little difference, but this pivot has deep ramifications. In western liberal democracies (where Tor is overwhelmingly based, and by raw numbers, largely serves) human-rights advocacy has better optics than privacy. But the opposite is true in the regions that Tor aims to serve. Privacy empowers the individual. Empowering the individual naturally dovetails with human rights, so its plausible that greater human rights is a natural byproduct of privacy advocacy. However, Tor’s pivot from “Privacy Enthusiasts” to “Human Rights Watch for Nerds” substantially increases the risk of imprisonment to those operating a Tor relay or using the Tor Browser Bundle from less HR-friendly regions.

      For example, in Singapore (where I live), the government absolutely does not care for what they term “Western human rights” and views them, at best, as a handicap in maximizing GDP, and at worst, as cultural imperialism. But despite their dim view of human rights, Singaporean authorities top-to-bottom are fanatical about reducing corruption. Most importantly, Singapore’s love of anti-corruption exceeds its apprehension about human-rights-laden privacy enhancing technologies. Singapore’s attitude here is representative of the cultural terrain from China to Indonesia, which constitutes >30% of the world population.

    • How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone

      Want to invisibly spy on 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge? Gather their every keystroke, sound, message and location? That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group. You can spy on more people if you would like — just check out the company’s price list.

      The NSO Group is one of a number of companies that sell surveillance tools that can capture all the activity on a smartphone, like a user’s location and personal contacts. These tools can even turn the phone into a secret recording device.

      Since its founding six years ago, the NSO Group has kept a low profile. But last month, security researchers caught its spyware trying to gain access to the iPhone of a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates. They also discovered a second target, a Mexican journalist who wrote about corruption in the Mexican government.

      Now, internal NSO Group emails, contracts and commercial proposals obtained by The New York Times offer insight into how companies in this secretive digital surveillance industry operate. The emails and documents were provided by two people who have had dealings with the NSO Group but would not be named for fear of reprisals.

      The company is one of dozens of digital spying outfits that track everything a target does on a smartphone. They aggressively market their services to governments and law enforcement agencies around the world. The industry argues that this spying is necessary to track terrorists, kidnappers and drug lords. The NSO Group’s corporate mission statement is “Make the world a safe place.”

    • What is your phone telling your rental car?

      When I rent a car, it’s fun to get all the bells and whistles – like navigation, hands-free calls and texts, streaming music and even web browsing. But did you know that cars with these features might keep your personal information, long after you’ve returned your rental car? Here are some things to keep in mind when renting a connected car.

      What happens when you rent a connected car? When you use the car’s infotainment system, it may store personal information. It may keep locations you entered in GPS or visited when travelling in the rental car – like where you work or live.

      If you connect a mobile device, the car may also keep your mobile phone number, call and message logs, or even contacts and text messages. Unless you delete that data before you return the car, other people may view it, including future renters and rental car employees or even hackers.

    • FTC warns consumers of rental car data theft risk

      The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers to beware of new ‘connected car’ features that allow rental car customers to connect their mobile phone or other devices to in-vehicle infotainment systems.

      “If you connect a mobile device, the car may also keep your mobile phone number, call and message logs, or even contacts and text messages,” the FTC said in an advisory released on Tuesday. “Unless you delete that data before you return the car, other people may view it, including future renters and rental car employees or even hackers.”

    • Extra Bacon? Yes please, even though this Cisco bug’ bug of this name is bad for you

      Tens of thousands of Cisco ASA firewalls are vulnerable to an authentication bypass exploit thought to have been cooked up by the United States National Security Agency (NSA).

      The “Extra Bacon” exploit was one of many found as part of an Equation Group cache leaked by a hacking outfit calling itself the Shadow Brokers.

      Equation Group is thought to be an offensive NSA Tailored Access Operations unit. The leaked exploits and the tools stolen by Shadow Brokers are thought to have come from a compromised command and control staging server.

      Cisco has rushed out patches against the Extra Bacon exploit, while researchers extended the attack to compromise more modern ASA units.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Security Forces Attack Dakota Pipeline Protesters with Dogs

      The day before, activists at Red Warrior Camp stopped construction by tying themselves to heavy machinery.

      Private security forces attacked anti-Dakota pipeline activists on Saturday with dogs and pepper spray during a nonviolent action, according to activists there, who said six people were bitten and 12 maced.

    • Protests Erupt in San Juan as Obama Forms Unelected Control Board to Run Puerto Rico

      President Obama has appointed seven members to a federal control board that will run the finances of Puerto Rico’s nearly bankrupt government for at least the next five years and restructure nearly $70 billion in debt. The board is made up of three Democrats and four Republicans who will not only approve any budgets created by the island’s politicians, but also attempt to negotiate with the island’s nearly 20 creditors. On Wednesday, hundreds of protesters in Puerto Rico blocked a street in front of a hotel where bankers and business executives were gathering for a conference hosted by the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce. Meanwhile, a new report from the ReFund America Project has revealed firms like UBS, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital have collected $1.6 billion in underwriting fees from Puerto Rico since 2000 just for refinancing bonds to pay interest and fees on older bonds.

    • Brazil: Police use tear gas at anti-Temer protest

      Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Brazil to demonstrate against the government.

      Organisers said 50,000 people – a record number – turned out in Sao Paulo alone for a seventh day of protests against the new President Michel Temer.

      Mr Temer took office after Dilma Rousseff was removed from the presidency in an impeachment trial.

      The rally began peacefully but police used tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon as clashes broke out at the end.

      They said they had been forced to take the measures to avoid vandalism.

      Several people were reportedly injured including a BBC journalist.

      Some protesters responded by throwing bottles and stones at riot police, and building and setting fire to barricades.

    • Soccer Star Rapinoe Kneels During National Anthem

      U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe knelt during the national anthem Sunday night before the Seattle Reign’s game against the Chicago Red Stars “in a little nod” to NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

      Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem to protest racial injustice and minority oppression came to public notice when he remained seated on the bench before a preseason game against Green Bay. On Thursday night in San Diego, he and safety Eric Reid knelt during the anthem before a game against the Chargers.

      “It was very intentional,” Rapinoe told American Soccer Now after Seattle’s 2-2 tie in the National Women’s Soccer League game. “It was a little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he’s standing for right now. I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t. We need to have a more thoughtful, two-sided conversation about racial issues in this country.

      “Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it. It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don’t need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that’s really powerful.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Warner Brothers reports own site as illegal

        Film studio Warner Brothers has asked Google to remove its own website from search results, saying it violates copyright laws.

        It also asked the search giant to remove links to legitimate movie streaming websites run by Amazon and Sky, as well as the film database IMDB.

        The request was submitted on behalf of Warner Brothers by Vobile, a company that files hundreds of thousands of takedown requests every month.

        Warner Brothers has yet to comment.

      • Copyright extortion letters

        The unpleasant practice of sending extortion letters to file sharers / downloaders seems to be spreading. The latest example is Sweden. And it all seems to be loosely built on the German model.

      • Copyright trolls come to Sweden: A deeper analysis

        This week, copyright trolls in Sweden announced they’ll start sending extortion letters later this year to people who have been sharing music and movies. It follows an all too familiar pattern from other countries, where these fraudsters have eventually had to give up their scheme as plain unprofitable. But beyond the press releases and posturing from the copyright industry, what does the legal and practical situation look like?

        Assuming the holder of an exclusive right can show that somebody else has performed the action they have a monopoly on – in cleartext, shared music and movies in violation of the copyright monopoly – then that holder of the exclusive right has, under the current legal framework, right to damages. The morality of this is highly questionable and dates back to suppression of freedom of speech in the 1550s, but let’s leave that part aside for now.

        So there are two things needed in this equation for damages to come into play: the holder of the exclusive distribution right must be able to identify the person sharing, and they must show that this person actually did share. Usually, what the holders have are IP addresses and nothing more.

        Let’s see how this plays out in the legal landscape of Sweden, now that the copyright industry has announced their intention to start sending speculative invoices.

      • Copyright reform: Could EU Commission do worse?

        A few days ago, an impact assessment and a draft EU directive leaked, exposing the plans of the EU commission on copyright reform. After years of prevarications, the Commission remains stuck in a vision of copyright revolving on defending of cultural industries. Its proposals are still very much out of touch with the need to adapt to digital practices, and even table a couple of dangerous proposals.

East Asia and Southeast Asia Become a Patent Trolls’ Powerhouse

Posted in Asia, Patents at 6:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bad policies and inability to learn lessons from the failed experiment in the US

Singapore haze

Hazy forecast for an increasingly greedy Asian industry (photograph/source: “Smoke from Indonesian fires hits ‘unhealthy’ levels in Singapore as authorities push to hunt offenders”)

Summary: Patent maximalism and patent hoards which include software patents cause a climate of fear and confrontation, not innovation or collective prosperity

THE ONLY region other than the US where software patents exist is east Asia, although there too there are limitations (there are no software patents in India, Europe and arguably not in Australia either, definitely not in New Zealand and South Africa).

Looking at a new article by the Intepat Team from India, they mostly explore how to get patents in other countries, notably Europe and the US. They’re trying to make money by doing in other countries what they cannot do in India because activists (not just Indians) guard against corporate lobbyists and patent lawyers. In Singapore, by contrast, software patents exist (there is also a large Indian population there) and MIP has this new article regarding Singapore, titled “Inventors, investors and software patents” (as if these three things are connected, as per the myth).

“InnovFest unBound,” MIP said, “showcased Asia’s most innovative media and healthcare technologies. Presentations from fintech companies, multi-national media and software companies and global product giants emphasised the need to protect the IP underpinning new technologies and new products.”

That’s nonsense. It’s basically software patents lobbying in thin disguise. Consider Creative of Singapore becoming a de facto patent troll because it can no longer sell actual products (or can hardly sell anything before patents expire). It’s truly embarrassing not just for Creative but also for Singapore; the company reaffirms its new status as “patent troll” in Texas with yet another lawsuit, this time targeting the British (soon Japanese) ARM and the Singaporean regime’s mouthpiece (notorious media company) wrote:

Creative Technology yesterday said its wholly owned subsidiary ZiiLabs Inc has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the United States against tech firm ARM.

ZiiLabs owns over 80 US patents in the graphics, processor and 3D spaces.

Four of these patents were asserted in the lawsuit, in which ZiiLabs is claiming damages for patent infringement, and an injunction against ARM.

The lawsuit was filed on Sept 2 in the Eastern District of Texas.

Creative was a decent company in the 1990s (I used their hardware and their software). They ran out of business plans, they might soon go out of business, and thus they are becoming patent parasites. Is this the kind of ‘entrepreneurship’ Singapore wants to be known for? Patent trolling? And with software patents, too?

Elsewhere in the patent microcosm, IAM has a series of new articles about patents in Asia and Jack admits that “patent filings and patent ownership alone cannot give anything like a full account of an organisation’s innovative capacity.”

So why are they so often peddling this myth at IAM? Here is another new IAM article, implicitly or tacitly acknowledging that South Korea has a patent bubble which is already imploding. Similar things seem to be happening in Japan and China is sweeping up the dust. To quote IAM: “In the wake of Foxconn’s historic $3.5 billion purchase of a majority stake in Sharp, streamlining and rationalisation of the Japanese company’s extensive IP portfolio are high on the agenda for its new Taiwanese owners.”

Despite having a pile of patents, Sharp is worth only about a tenth of ARM (which is British, at least until the acquisition is complete). In China, says MIP, “Computer software accounts for about 40% of cases in the Shanghai court” (so they’re becoming more like the USPTO with low quality control and software patents). An article about China from IAM says “Zhigu and Ruichuan are now controlled by a single operating company [and it] would seem to cement the idea that they’re in a separate category from IP Bridge and Intellectual Discovery. In the absence of some kind of public deal that shows the fund licensing patents or intervening in litigation on behalf of a Chinese company that isn’t Xiaomi, it may be time to stop characterising it as a sovereign fund.”

This again emulates the kind of trolls-infested patent landscape we see in the United States. Why would Asian nations wish to shoot themselves in the foot like this? Regarding China, IAM has another article about patents as instruments of tax evasion, using the kind of loopholes we already see in Europe (e.g. patent boxes, which are tax evasion scams). IAM should know this in light of its coverage about Apple in Europe (see “Europe’s multi-billion dollar tax ruling against Apple throws treatment of IP assets into spotlight”).

The bottom line is, the way things are going in Asia are not encouraging. They fail to heed the warning of US patent chaos and troll infestation. Asia is, in a sense, becoming a powerhouse for potential patent trolls (we recently covered notable new examples of Chinese companies going to the US to sue US companies using patents, typically in plaintiff-friendly courts like those down in Texas).

Patent System in the US Must Revert Back to Original Goals or Lose Credibility

Posted in America, Patents at 6:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), run mostly by scientists, is a step towards the right balance

PTAB

Summary: A look at recent patent news, including the expected attacks on PTAB (from the patent maximalists/microcosm) and billing fraud at the USPTO (as well as attendance abuse)

“Another big plus is letting interns apply for patents under their own name,” a puff piece about Adobe says, as if it’s a dream come true to be granted a patent.

This, to us, demonstrates a profound issue. Patents as trophies.

Take another example, this one a new article from IP Watch. To quote: “A recent patent granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to a Colombian company stated where the genetic resource of the invention was taken from and described the access and benefit-sharing agreement made with indigenous communities. This might be the first time that such a statement appears in a US patent, according to a source.”

“Thankfully, a solution is coming slowly, albeit not without resistance from the meta-industry which is patent law firms…”“Access And Benefit Sharing” are right there in the headline. Remember the days when the patent system (well, so we’re told!) was there to help inventors preserve/disseminate knowledge rather than sue or shake down others? Those days are long gone as a predatory meta-industry now steers public policies and wants everything patented. They’re producing virtually nothing (patent law firms), just like patent trolls. Legal papers, litigation, billing etc. are not production but burdensome bureaucracy and lawyer elitism.

How did we get here and how do we get out of this trap? How do we return to a world where it’s possible to code in peace, without fearing litigation over lines of code which were never copied/plagiarised but merely accomplish something similar to some words on hundreds of thousands of US patents on software?

Thankfully, a solution is coming slowly, albeit not without resistance from the meta-industry which is patent law firms and their large clients (companies like IBM and Microsoft; to a much lesser degree Google which actually suffers from the status quo, as we last noted last week). The patent microcosm keeps attacking PTAB and one element of this patent microcosm, IAM ‘magazine’, has just published a law firm’s sponsored “REPORT” [sic] ranting that the “Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) introduced rule changes that went into effect in May this year.” MIP, in the mean time, looks at PTAB upon its fourth anniversary. To quote its latest writing: “These included allowing patent owners to include relevant testimonial evidence with preliminary responses, clarifying that the district court claim construction standard will be used for patents that expire during a proceeding, adding a Rule-11-type certification for papers filed, and replacing page limits with word counts for briefings.”

“According to this new article from Patently-O, the USPTO has plenty to hide, including “Billing Fraud at the USPTO” (the EPO too, allegedly, has similar fraud]) and “Examiner Time and Attendance Abuses”.”MIP is now producing loaded questions that get positioned as headlines, for example “Is the Board too hard on motions to amend?”

As a reminder to readers, PTAB is the board which is responsible for getting rid of software patents faster than even courts do (as for the USPTO, it’s busy trying to maximise income by granting almost everything).

“A USPTO report,” says the above, “released in May revealed only 5% of motions to amend reviewed by the Board had been granted or granted in part – six of 118. A total of 192 motions to amend had been filed up to that point. A seventh motion to amend has since been granted, to ContentGuard in July.

“The USPTO said it released its report to “provide greater transparencies into our practices” and “aid the ongoing dialogue”.”

Well, the USPTO sure seems to be more transparent than the EPO under Battistelli, but there’s still a long way to go (see the USPTO documents we showed here last night).

According to this new article from Patently-O, the USPTO has plenty to hide, including “Billing Fraud at the USPTO” (the EPO too, allegedly, has similar fraud) and “Examiner Time and Attendance Abuses”. To quote Patently-O, a “substantial number of patent examiners are involved in “time and attendance abuse” — working unsubstantiated hours” (so much for integrity of staff).

We sure hope that more people recognise the importance of PTAB’s function. It has made enemies inside the patent microcosm because those suffering from PTAB are some of the biggest parasites out there. Unlike staff at the USPTO, PTAB staff isn’t compelled to grant if in doubt. Staff isn’t assessed by misguided Battistellite criteria.

Speaking of parasites, see this week-old article from Patently-O about the U.S. Government’s “immunity against allegations of patent infringement.” The patent system apparently isn’t applicable to everyone. Some actors are less ‘equal’ than others. In the words of Patently-O:

The U.S. Government has waived its sovereign immunity against allegations of patent infringement. However, the infringement charges are not brought via Civil Action under the infringement definition of 35 U.S.C. 271. Rather, 28 U.S.C. § 1498 spells out that the infringement claim against the U.S. must be brought in the Court of Federal Claims (CFC) and that the remedy is limited to the “reasonable and entire compensation for [the Govt’s] use and manufacture.” The CFC does not allow for a jury nor will it award injunctive relief against the U.S.

Liberty sued the U.S. alleging that the ammunition rounds manufactured for and used by the Army are covered by Liberty’s U.S. Patent No. 7,748,325. In the 1990s and 2000s, the U.S. military became concerned that lead-based ammunition might be a form of harmful pollution – the patented ammunition here follows that lead by eliminating lead from the round while remaining lethal to soft-tissue targets (such as humans). According to the patent, the projectile (shown in the image above) separates into three portions upon striking a target. The projectile also includes a reduced-size jacket that limits barrel heat build-up.

If patents are a government-enforced monopoly which the government itself is exempted from (no liability), then no wonder the perception of justice is so elusive. Unless the patent system can revert back to sanity, where promotion of science and technology (or “innovation” as today’s buzzword of choice) is paramount, people won’t be happy and they will perpetually demand change.

In a sense, by ceasing to issue software patents the USPTO would appease some of its most vocal/loudest opponents (the proponents of software patents were parasitic all along) and also paralyse most patent trolls, enabling the USPTO to repair its reputation and welcome better applications.

The EPO’s Assistant/Secretary for Bergot (Nepotism Supreme) Demonstrates a Race to the Bottom With Temporary Appointments, Operation ‘Clean House’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s not just about Bergot but about an Office-wide trend

Bergot's secretary post

Summary: The above job ad (less than a week old) serves to reinforce suspicions that the EPO under Battistelli is a house of cards where people are treated like dirt

THE EXODUS of EPO staff may or may not be the cause of the above job ad. Regardless of the cause (Battistelli too looked for an assistant/secretary not too long ago), worth noting from the above (see original URL) is that it’s contract work (as usual), filed under “Temporary appointments”.

This relates to an aspect we shall cover another day, namely that the career system is being abolished, gradually, in favour of short-term contracts with little or no benefits. This is a very significant change, not only to insiders, as we shall explain (with supporting facts) some day in the future. Work experience and seniority don’t seem to be concepts that Battistelli is able to grasp. ENA is, perhaps, not a valuable institution for education after all…

“Work experience and seniority don’t seem to be concepts that Battistelli is able to grasp.”“Vacant position at the EPO,” told us one reader about the above, “Assistant/secretary for PD 4.3 (secretary of Ms. Bergot).”

For those who are not familiar with Bergot, recall this long series [1, 2, 3, 4] about her, her husband, and Battistelli. It’s one of the best (or most obvious) examples of nepotism and favouritism under Battistelli.

“I think that this deserves some attention,” told us the reader. “Would be funny if it wasn’t so sad! A premiere in EPO history: according to my information NO ONE in intern to candidate for the vacant position of secretary of Mrs Bergot …..aouch! So much for the “social conference” and well-being at workplace…”

“It’s one of the best (or most obvious) examples of nepotism and favouritism under Battistelli.”Apparently Battistelli isn’t quite so interested in the current staff. Maybe he can just find/fish some people out in the streets to undertake the complex task of examining patents in specialised fields? What a disaster!

“And please do not laugh,” our reader added, “also for an external candidate they demand realistic things: ‘Une bonne connaissance des processus et des procédures de l’OEB serait un avantage.’” (a good knowledge of the EPO procedure would be considered an advantage)

Our reader joked: “Do you think that I should apply? I’m more than confident that I would be the perfect candidate for this vacant position.”

Well, people who know enough about the EPO (and have some wit) won’t bother applying, judging by how staff gets treated even if/when not working directly for Bergot.

“With her own bodyguards (reportedly two of them), she has proven that Battistelli’s paranoia is infectious, not just hugely expensive (with no tender).”From the page of the ad: “Experience with Babylon, Common Log and MS SharePoint would be an asset” and “Very good knowledge of the MS Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and Lotus Notes (repositories)” (again the Microsoft-EPO connection).

Maybe they should just hire directly from Microsoft then. Recall the following older articles of ours:

As an aside, Bergot is totally incompetent for her own job (she didn’t have to endure gruesome interviews to get offered her high position). We occasionally hear all sorts of private stories about her and these are sometimes hilarious if not embarrassing. With her own bodyguards (reportedly two of them), she has proven that Battistelli's paranoia is infectious, not just hugely expensive (with no tender).

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