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10.10.16

Links 10/10/2016: GNOME 3.24 With ownCloud Integration, Bodhi Linux 4.0.0 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 4:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links xx/10/2016: Links for the day

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • On the State of Open Source

    I was just a teenager when I got involved in the open source community. I remember talking with an old bearded guy once about how this new organization, GNU, is going to change everything. Over the years, I mucked around with a number of different OSS tools and operating systems, got excited when symmetric multiprocessing came to BSD, screwed around with Linux boot and root disks, and had become both engaged and enthralled with the new community that had developed around Unix over the years. That same spirit was simultaneously shared outside of the Unix world, too. Apple user groups met frequently to share new programs we were working on with our ][c’s, and later our ][gs’s and Macs, exchange new shareware (which we actually paid for, because the authors deserved it), and to buy stacks of floppies of the latest fonts or system disks. We often demoed our new inventions, shared and exchanged the source code to our BBS systems, games, or anything else we were working on, and made the agendas of our user groups community efforts to teach and understand the awful protocols, APIs, and compilers we had at the time. This was my first experience with open source. Maybe it was not yours, although I hope yours was just as positive.

  • OpenType 1.8 and style attributes

    In last week’s look at the new revision of the OpenType font format, we focused primarily on the new variations font feature, which makes it possible to encode multiple design “masters” into a single font binary. This enables the renderer to generate a new font instance at runtime based on interpolating the masters in a particular permutation of their features (weight, width, slant, etc). Such new functionality will, at least in some cases, mean that application software will have to be reworked in order to present the available font variations to the end user in a meaningful fashion.

    But there is another change inherent in the new feature that may not be as obvious at first glance. Variations fonts redefine the relationships between individual font files and font “families.” There is a mechanism defined in the new standard to bridge the gap between the old world and the new, called the Style Attributes (STAT) table. For it to work in a meaningful fashion, though, it must be implemented by traditional, non-variations fonts as well—which may not be an easy sell.

    There is no formal definition of a font family, but in general usage the term refers to a set of fonts that share core design principles and, in most cases, use a single name and come from the same designer or design team. The Ubuntu Font Family, for example, includes upright and italic fonts in four weights at the standard width, one weight of upright-only condensed width, and two weights (in upright and italic) of a monospaced variant.

  • An open source font system for everyone

    A big challenge in sharing digital information around the world is “tofu”—the blank boxes that appear when a computer or website isn’t able to display text: ⯐. Tofu can create confusion, a breakdown in communication, and a poor user experience.

    Five years ago we set out to address this problem via the Noto—aka “No more tofu”—font project. Today, Google’s open-source Noto font family provides a beautiful and consistent digital type for every symbol in the Unicode standard, covering more than 800 languages and 110,000 characters.

  • Students Hacked a Chip to Give Your Smartphone a Sense of Touch

    Project Soli, which debuted at Google I/O in 2015, is a tiny chip that uses radar to detect discreet hand and finger motions. It was designed as a unique way to interact with mobile devices, but students at the University of St. Andrews found a way to use the simple chip to give electronics an actual sense of touch.

    The chip, developed by Google’s Advanced Technologies And Projects group, or ATAP, uses the same kind of radar as airports use to track arriving and departing planes. As radio waves bounce back to the Project Soli chip from your hand, the unique signals detected can be used to decipher even the tiniest of motions.

  • Caged Heat: Using Open Source in a Windows Workplace

    I work primarily with Windows but let me say that I, like many of you, have no choice in the matter. We don’t live in a world where the company tells us, “Well, here’s Microsoft Office and everything we do is on a web app. Have fun!” My goodness, that would be a relative paradise for many people. You could potentially go hog wild and use the applications you want.

    Still, a lot of us work with very clunky tools sometimes set on a gray-haired version of Java and birthed from Windows installers. It’s a sad reality that a lot of highly-specialized practice software applications, many of which attach to MICROSOFT databases, will only run on Windows because the developer is selling these apps for profit and not for fun. They also happen to know that 95% of the market is drenched in……Windows.

  • European Open Source Jobs Surge

    According to a recent report, European open source jobs may be more sought after and more rewarded than anywhere else in the world. These findings were a key feature in the results of The 2016 Open Source Jobs Report which was released by Dice, a career site for technology and engineering professionals in association with The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit advancing professional open source management for mass collaboration.

  • Multivendor & MANO Will Dominate NFV Discussions

    NFV management and network orchestration (MANO) is sure to be a hot topic at next week’s SDN & OpenFlow World Congress at The Hague, Netherlands. For many, MANO has been considered to be a roadblock to not only deploying network functions virtualization (NFV), but also to making NFV agile and efficient.

  • ETSI open source MANO work launches Release One stack

    ETSI continues to move on its open source MANO work in support of telecom NFV plans, releasing the latest OSM stack focused on VNF, SDN controller support

    The European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s Open Source MANO initiative continued to feed software into the management and orchestration community with the launch of its OSM Release One stack.

  • Open Source Forking Demystified: Threats and Benefits

    Two researchers, Gregorio Robles and Jesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona, from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Spain, had embarked on a study of forks. Their paper titled “A Comprehensive Study of Software Forks: Dates, Reasons and Outcomes,” studied the sustainability of software projects in an open environment of sharing software. Key questions answered were—how many forks were in actual existence, was forking frequency increasing and understanding the root-causes for forking. Also, the researchers looked into the outcomes of forking—a point that may be of specific interest to CIOs. But first, let us understand what a fork truly means.

  • Rethink Robotics Leads in Research and Education with Open Source SDK

    Rethink Robotics today unveiled its high performance Sawyer robot for the global research and education markets. Built on the open source Robot Operating System (ROS) and equipped with a software development kit (SDK), Sawyer will help leading educators and researchers innovate in fields including machine learning, human-robot interaction, mechatronics and grasping, machine vision and manufacturing skills.

  • Open source in the enterprise: It’s about culture, not technology, says Github

    Collaboration platform provider gives its top tips on ‘inner source’, the idea of adopting open source software development principles within the enterprise

  • Transparency and Independence Drive Open-Source Adoption

    Open-source software is now not only acceptable; in many companies, it is required. In the past, enterprises looked at open source projects as if they were science experiments, lacking the support and “single throat to choke” in case of an escalation. But the tide has turned. It is now common to have one or more companies offering support on open source projects, enabling enterprises to not only get the same level of service formerly reserved for proprietary commercial software, but to also benefit from the vibrant communities surrounding open source projects.

    What are the benefits of community for the enterprise? Independence and transparency.

  • Tech Insider: Open source business models

    This week we’ll step back and revisit a few fundamentals of competition and cooperation and how this results in the open source ecosystem.

  • The power of open source is customer freedom

    The open source community is a diverse and fractious collection of individuals and organizations. In its infancy, in many ways it could be compared to the hippie movements of the ’60s: a lot of passion, a lot of fun, a lot of weirdness, and not a lot of organization. Over the last decade or so, it has evolved into a respected software development force that relies on the support of its members.

    As it’s grown and diversified over the last decade, it has gotten more mainstream in the sense that there are now many different players that are making quite a bit of money based on open source principles. It has more prestige and a lot more respectability. As they say, money changes everything.

    That’s what I was thinking as I read Max Schireson’s article, “The money in open source software,” on TechCrunch: how much things in the open source community have changed, and how much they have stayed the same. The article is a breakdown of how to plan for a profitable company based on open source software. It provides a lot of common-sense points: Have and stick to a business plan, pick a licensing model that makes sense, and maintain customer satisfaction. None of these are particularly earth-shattering ideas.

  • Events

    • Slides from Linuxcon Europe 2016
    • LinuxCon Europe 2016 – Veni, Vidi, Vici

      There we are. It feels like a dream. It happened too fast, and I did not get to absorb the full aroma of the conference. But never mind. There will always be another opportunity, and LinuxCon will be there next year, waiting, beckoning. Despite a somewhat less than perfect circumstances, I am quite happy. I enjoyed my session, if I’m allowed to say that, and I think I served my audience well, and their feedback was good and open. There is nothing that would have made it better except a little more time to network, talk to people, pilfer some more free shirts and electronics, and actually see the city.

      Anyhow, I hope you find these little field reports entertaining. And maybe we will meet somewhere next year, and you will come over and say, oh so you are that crazy guy, why are you not wearing a fedora huh? Indeed. 2017, so let the countdown begin. The Final Countdown. By a band called Europe. What can be more appropriate? OMG. See you next autumn.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Get Better Firefox Look on Linux With These Extensions

        Firefox is one of the most used web browsers on the Web. According to Clicky, it holds around 20% of the global market share. Firefox is also installed by default in almost all Linux distributions. So it’s very likely to see Linux users using it all the time, although many other alternatives are available like Chromium and Epiphany.

        Since the web browser’s window is all what many of us see the whole day, you may want to customize its appearance. We are not talking about “personas” or those simple backgrounds that you put to colorize a small part of the browser’s window. We are talking about changing the theme totally. Firefox does this using “Complete Themes“.

      • Firefox sandbox on Linux tightened

        As just announced on mozilla.dev.platform, we landed a set of changes in today’s Nightly that tightens our sandboxing on Linux. The content process, which is the part of Firefox that renders webpages and executes any JavaScript on them, had been previously restricted in the amount of system calls that it could access. As of today, it no longer has write access to the filesystem, barring an exception for shared memory and /tmp. We plan to also remove the latter, eventually.

      • Mozilla is working on Form Autofill for Firefox

        Mozilla is currently working on bringing form autofill functionality to its Firefox web browser.

        Firefox remembers form data by default that you enter on sites, but the browser does not ship with options to create profiles that you may use on any form you encounter while using the browser.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • RethinkDB database shuts down as its business falters
    • Company Behind RethinkDB Is Shutting Down, Database to Remain Open Source
    • BigchainDB Moves On From End Of RethinkDB
    • RethinkDB is shutting down

      I just installed RethinkDB 2.3.5 on a new laptop and took a few minutes to slow down and play with the product. I’m very proud of what we built alongside our community – RethinkDB’s technology more often feels like magic, and I hope it will continue to play an important role in advancing the state of the art in database technology.

      We’re working with members of our community to develop a continuity plan for RethinkDB and Horizon. Both projects will continue to be available, distributed under open source licenses. We hope to continue our open development process with a larger community of contributors.

      We’d like your help to ensure RethinkDB’s future as an open-source project! We don’t have all of the details figured out, but we wanted to be as open as possible during this process. If you’re interested in contributing, please join us in the #open-rethinkdb channel of our public Slack group. You can expect to see development slow down in the meantime, but everything will continue to be available on rethinkdb.com and horizon.io. We will post updates on our blog and Twitter as we continue working things out.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • An Emacs Update

      It’s been a while I have not written about Emacs and more particularly my personal use case for Emacs. I started using Emacs because I was looking for a text editor capable of handling formats such as HTML and CSS; then I found out Emacs had quite convenient IRC clients and I could even use a bit of Org mode for project management. That was in 2013 and early 2014. As I was impressed by the seemingly infinite power of Emacs, I started using Org-mode more and more on a daily basis (something I still do today); and I started learning (e)lisp both in order to understand Emacs a bit more in-depth and because I wanted to start to learn a programming language.

      Remember: I’m no software developer. When I’m not maintaining or creating websites for friends, I’m not doing much else in the way of “coding”. My Emacs usage remains however a daily experience that I would like to share here.

    • Report: Bash Skills Pay Off the Most (Wait, Bash?)

      It’s not surprising that a new skills survey rounds up the usual list of suspects for the most popular programming language, naming JavaScript, Python, Java, et al.

      What is surprising is the list of skills that pay off the most in terms of developer salaries: Bash, Perl and Scala. Bash topped the list at about $100,000.

      Bash?

      I read a lot of these surveys, and the Bash scripting language rarely makes a strong appearance. But it leads the list of respondents’ stated median salaries by programming language in a new report from Packt Ltd. titled “Skill Up 2016″ (free download upon providing registration info) which garnered more than 11,500 responses.

      “We’ve now seen what languages are the most popular,” the report says, “but what languages are the most lucrative in 2016? Our data shows that languages favored by more experienced developers command the highest salaries; it pays to be a Perl Monk or a Bash Scripter. Scala developers also manage to command high salaries, while the more ubiquitous JavaScript and Python hover around the middle, as they are likely favored by both highly-paid and more junior alike. If you’re still working with Visual Basic or PHP, you might want to consider an upgrade.”

  • Public Services/Government

    • Russia may require use of open source software

      The Russian government is reportedly drafting a Bill that would require government agencies to prefer the use of open source software, as part of efforts to reduce its reliance on US vendors Oracle, Microsoft and IBM.

      Russia’s Lower House of parliament is working on legislation that would further prohibit the use of foreign software, Bloomberg reported.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The anatomy of a Vulkan driver

      Jason Ekstrand gave a presentation at the 2016 X.Org Developers Conference (XDC) on a driver that he and others wrote for the new Vulkan 3D graphics API on Intel graphics hardware. Vulkan is significantly different from OpenGL, which led the developers to making some design decisions that departed from those made for OpenGL drivers.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • Smallest. Transistor. Ever.

      For more than a decade, engineers have been eyeing the finish line in the race to shrink the size of components in integrated circuits. They knew that the laws of physics had set a 5-nanometer threshold on the size of transistor gates among conventional semiconductors, about one-quarter the size of high-end 20-nanometer-gate transistors now on the market.

  • Security

    • Cybersecurity: Complexity is Our Biggest Vulnerability

      Confucius once said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” For those of us in cybersecurity professions, we can easily relate to this philosophy. Cybersecurity has become exceedingly complicated in recent years, and the complexity might now be our biggest vulnerability.

      IT is evolving rapidly, but IT security is often left playing catch up in order to adapt to the changes in how businesses approach and deploy computing, applications, networks, databases, and devices. Many organizations rely on best practices such as defense in depth, secure development lifecycle, penetration testing, separation of duties, etc. However, these tactics do not allow cybersecurity to move at business speed, and they contribute to the lag in IT security.

    • Open source software is best for IoT security

      Art Swift, president of the prpl Foundation, pointed to high profile IoT hacking attacks saying that “regardless of whether these hacks were malicious or simply done in the name of research, the fact is that it is possible today to hack into just about any connected device.”

      Swift says that hackers can reverse engineer, exploit a weak implementation, modify or re-flash the firmware, and then move laterally across the system.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Syria no-fly zone would mean ‘killing a lot of Syrians’ warned Clinton in leaked speech

      The US former Secretary of State made the admission in a Wall Street speech in 2013.

      In the latest dump of classified emails, Mrs Clinton noted the problems with imposing a no-fly zone over Syria.

      She said: “To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defenses, many of which are located in populated areas.

    • How WWIII Can Start In The Last Place You Expect (And Soon)

      Hey America! Just checking in with another update on how a recent presidential election is going to doom us all! I’m not talking about the election that’s happening in this country right now. I will at some point, but it’s an election that happened thousands of miles away which deserves the bulk of our attention today. I’m speaking, of course, about the this year’s presidential election in the Philippines, where a legitimately crazy person named Rodrigo Duterte took control of the highest office of in a country of more than 100 million people. He’s said and done a lot of insane things since then, but if you’re only keeping track of the highlights, you probably have no idea just how insane things might get.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Hillary Clinton Expresses Support For Fracking In Wikileaks Document

      During the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton cast herself as a skeptic of hydraulic fracturing — the controversial process to extract natural gas. But newly released documents purporting to show excerpts of her paid speeches show that Clinton proudly touted her support for fracking, which environmental groups say can pollute groundwater and undermine the fight against climate change. The excerpts also show Clinton saying that some environmental organizations trying to restrict her work to promote fracking were front groups for Russian oligarchs.

      The transparency group Wikileaks published the document as part of what it says is a tranche of emails from John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman. Podesta has refused to say whether the excerpts are authentic but has not denied their authenticity, either.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • EXCLUSIVE: New Email Leak Reveals Clinton Campaign’s Cozy Press Relationship

      Internal strategy documents and emails among Clinton staffers shed light on friendly and highly useful relationships between the campaign and various members of the U.S. media, as well as the campaign’s strategies for manipulating those relationships.

      The emails were provided to The Intercept by the source identifying himself as Guccifer 2.0, who was reportedly responsible for prior significant hacks, including one that targeted the Democratic National Committee and resulted in the resignations of its top four officials. On Friday, Obama administration officials claimed that Russia’s “senior-most officials” were responsible for that hack and others, although they provided no evidence for that assertion.

      As these internal documents demonstrate, a central component of the Clinton campaign strategy is ensuring that journalists they believe favorable to Clinton are tasked to report the stories which the campaign wants circulated.

      At times, Clinton’s campaign staff not only internally drafted the stories they wanted published but even specified what should be quoted “on background” and what should be described as “on the record.”

    • Two-Faced Hillary: Clinton Says She Has ‘Both a Public and a Private Position’ on Wall Street: WikiLeaks Release

      Hillary Clinton told top banking executives that she has “both a public and a private position” on Wall Street reform and is reliant on wealthy donors to fund her campaign, leaked excerpts of the former first lady’s speeches seem to show, fueling claims of hypocrisy on the part of Mrs. Clinton at a crucial moment in the presidential campaign.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Youtube took down MEP’s videos about torture debate

      Marietje Schaake (previously) is a Dutch Member of the European Parliament who has a fantastic track-record for getting it right on issues related to technology, free speech, human rights, and privacy; she is the author of a report on export controls for spying technology used to identify dissidents to torture.

      She uploaded the videos from the debate about these tools to Youtube, only to receive a notice from Youtube informing her that a video had been removed had been reviewed and found to be in violation of Youtube’s standards, resulting a takedown for the video and a “strike” against Schaake’s Youtube account — enough of these strikes and she’ll permanently lose access to the service.

      The video that Youtube removed “included footage of European Trade Commissioner Cecila Malmstrom, who gave her opinion about the new law.”

    • When YouTube took down my video

      YouTube is now one of the most used platforms for videos online. It has over a billion users, and reaches more 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S. It has become a portal for sharing information and ideas, which is vital for any democratic society.

    • Russia Mulls Downloading Fines if Site Blocking Fails

      Faced with the possibility that website blocking may not achieve its goals, Russia is now considering fresh opportunities for decreasing online file-sharing. Sources familiar with negotiations say that authorities are mulling a system of fines which would target individual downloaders.

    • Internet Bill: Censorship or internet regulation?

      The Films and Publications Amendment Bill that was deliberated by the Portfolio Committee on Communications in Parliament last week has caused an uproar as people debate whether it is strictly an internet regulation or the government’s attempt at stifling and censoring freedom of speech.

      Also known as the Internet Bill, the proposed law aims to regulate the online distribution of digital films and digital games, among others, but it has come under attack from media organisations such as Multichoice, organisations such as the Right2Know campaign, and opposition parties such as the DA.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The Fog of Cyber War

      A version of this post originally appeared in the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter.

      Last week produced a spate of cyber-security news, including revelations about Yahoo (again) and lousy counter intelligence at the NSA (again). But if there is a common thread, it’s that first reports often are false or incomplete and the story is not what it seems.

      Take the brouhaha over Yahoo using software to feed emails to the NSA. The news led to hyper-ventilating among privacy types and predictable high-horse behaviorf rom rival tech giants like Google and Microsoft. But as my colleague Robert Hackett explained, a lot of this fulminating took place before anyone really knew the facts — which are still emerging in dribs and drabs.

      Meanwhile, journalists (me included) breathlessly reported another security lapse at Edward Snowden’s old stomping groups, Booz Allen, which led the FBI to arrest a contractor for stealing secrets. But now it turns out the guy was probably just a kook and a hoarder. It’s still not a good situation but it sure doesn’t look like the stuff of a John LeCarre novel.

      Part of the trouble, from a media perspective, is that a lot of the incidents we learn about are delivered by anonymous sources and wrapped in national security laws. This makes it hard to verify information — easy to jump to conclusions.

      So call it the fog of cyber war. In an era where everyone is amped up about cyber attacks, a lot of first impressions are tinged with paranoia and misinformation or are just flat out wrong. I don’t know what to do about this except to say that, as with other dramatic events like mass shootings, it’s best to take first reports with a giant grain of salt.

    • Facebook Crowned Privacy Villain Of 2016 By European Privacy Rights Group

      A European civil society group defending rights and freedoms in the digital environment awarded Facebook the Belgian Big Brother Awards 2016 yesterday.

      The awards are based on a concept created by European Digital Rights initiative (EDRi) member Privacy International, and are negative prizes for “the worst privacy abuser.” The goal of those awards is to draw attention to violations of privacy, they said in a press release.

      The Belgian award was “unanimously granted to Facebook by the professional jury,” and the public confirmed Facebook’s title as the “ultimate privacy villain of the year.”

    • Yahoo May Have Exposed Rogers Customer Emails to US Spies

      On Friday, Motherboard reported that beleaguered US company Yahoo allowed someone—possibly a US intelligence agency such as the NSA or FBI—to install a backdoor on its servers, likely for scanning purposes, that afforded unfettered access to Yahoo’s systems, including users’ personal emails.

      “This backdoor was installed in a way that endangered all of Yahoo users,” a source familiar with the incident told Motherboard.

      This should concern Canadians, because Rogers, one of the largest telecom companies in the country, totally outsources its email systems to Yahoo. Emails sent from Rogers accounts are sent to Yahoo’s US servers for storage and processing, and Yahoo scans Rogers emails for spam, malware, and child pornography.

      This isn’t the first time that Rogers’ ties to Yahoo have compromised Canadians: The Toronto Star previously reported that Rogers customer data was included in the massive hack in September.

    • U.S. pressed to disclose secret court’s order on Yahoo email search
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Iranian judges sentence writer to jail for story about stoning to death

      Iranian judges have ordered a young female writer and activist to serve a six-year jail term for writing an unpublished fictional story about stoning to death in her country.

      Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee received a phone call on Tuesday from judicial officials ordering her to Evin prison in Tehran, where her husband, Arash Sadeghi, a prominent student activist, is serving a 19-year sentence.

      Ebrahimi Iraee told Voice of America’s Persian network this week that she had been sentenced to five years in prison for insulting Islamic sanctities and one extra year for spreading propaganda against the ruling system.

      “They haven’t issued a written summons [as required by the law],” she said in a Skype interview. “They called me using the telephone of one of my friends, Navid Kamran; they had gone to his shop to arrest him and they called me from there to summon me.”

    • Leaflet ‘handed out at east London mosque’ tells Muslims to kill all who insult the prophet

      Police today launched a hate crime probe after literature saying those who insult Islam “must be killed” was allegedly handed out at a London mosque.

      A Standard investigation has uncovered claims that the booklet, which says “any Muslim should kill” those who insult the Prophet Mohammed, was distributed at a gathering in Walthamstow.

      It points to a classical manual of Islamic law to justify killings without waiting for court judgments and says apostates “deserve to be assassinated”.

      The booklet discusses the case of Mumtaz Qadri, a fanatic who murdered a governor in Pakistan in 2011 because of his support for liberal reforms to the country’s strict Islamic laws.

    • Final hearing for Christian woman facing execution for blasphemy in Pakistan

      A Christian woman who has been facing execution in Pakistan for six years after being accused of blasphemy has been granted her final appeal.

      Pakistan’s supreme court will hear the case of Asia Bibi, a mother-of-five from the rural village of Ittan Wali in Punjab, eastern Pakistan, who was convicted of blasphemy in 2010 after allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhamed during a row with other women over water.

      All of Ms Bibi’s appeals in the lower courts failed before the supreme court temporarily suspended her execution in July 2015 ahead of a fresh hearing now scheduled to be heard on 13 October.

      If her final appeal fails, Ms Bibi will be the first woman to be executed under the country’s controversial blasphemy laws.

    • Mormon Rebel Went to WikiLeaks for Help

      When Kate Kelly, founder of the Mormon feminist group Ordain Women, was accused of apostasy, she couldn’t readily access the Church Handbook of Instructions, Volume 1, for the definition. So Kelly and Nadine Hansen, a lawyer representing her in her hearings, had to turn elsewhere.

      “The only way that women can access that volume is by accessing it online at WikiLeaks,” Kelly told The Daily Beast.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Gurry investigation dropped by WIPO member states; transparency and accountability are the losers

      The news that WIPO member states have endorsed a decision taken by the organisation’s Coordination Committee to drop any further investigation of the allegations of serious misconduct levelled against the organisation’s Director-General Francis Gurry is no surprise; a few days ago this blog predicted it would happen. However, for anyone who believes that the IP system is best served by transparency and accountability, the fact this outcome was so predictable does not make it any less depressing.

      Ever since the then WIPO deputy Director-General James Pooley first accused Gurry of being involved in taking WIPO staff members’ DNA and in interfering to alter the outcome of a procurement process in his April 2014 Report of Misconduct, IAM has taken no position on the claims. We don’t know if they were true; but we do know that they should have been investigated quickly, thoroughly, independently and with full protection for witnesses.

    • WIPO Workshop: African States Are Themselves To Blame, Should Compile, Publicize IP Statistics

      Each year, the World Intellectual Property Organization Economic and Statistics Division sends out questionnaires, which intellectual property offices worldwide are expected to complete and return.

      But because the survey is voluntary, many African countries, including some Africa Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) member states, do not respond to the questionnaires.

    • EU, US negotiators officially drop aim of concluding TTIP in 2016
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  7. 'Cloud', 'AI' and Other Buzzwords as Excuses for Granting Fake Patents on Software

    With resurgence of rather meaningless terms like so-called 'clouds' (servers/hosting) and 'AI' (typically anything in code which does something clever, including management of patents) the debate is being shifted away from 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101); but courts would still see past such façade



  8. Corporate Media's Failure to Cover Patents Properly and Our New Hosting Woes

    A status update about EPO affairs and our Web host's plan to shut down (as a whole) very soon, leaving us orphaned or having to pay heavy bills



  9. Links 15/10/2018: Testing Ubuntu 18.10 Release Candidates, KaOS 2018.10 Released

    Links for the day



  10. USPTO FEES Act/SUCCESS Act Gives More Powers to Director Iancu, Supplying Patents for Litigation 'Business' and Embargo (ITC)

    Corruption of the US patent system contributes to various issues which rely on the extrajudicial nature of some elements in this system; companies can literally have their products confiscated or imports blocked, based on wrongly-granted patents



  11. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Decides That USPTO Wrongly Granted Patents to Roche

    Patent quality issues at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) — motivated by money rather than common sense — continue to be highlighted by courts; the USPTO needs to raise the bar to improve the legal certainty associated with US patents



  12. Even Judge Gilstrap From Texas is Starting to Accept That Software Patents Are Invalid

    Amid new lawsuits from Texas (e.g. against Citrix) we’re pleased to see that even “reprehensible” Rodney Gilstrap (that’s what US politicians call him) is learning to accept SCOTUS on 35 U.S.C. § 101



  13. Federal Circuit Doubles Down on User Interface Patents, Helps Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls Curtail the Prime Competitor of Microsoft Office

    Patent trolls that are connected to Microsoft continue to sue Microsoft rivals using old patents; this time, for a change, even the Federal Circuit lets them get away with it



  14. Let's Hope Apple Defeats All the Abstract Patents That Are Leveraged Against It

    Apple can be viewed as a strategic 'ally' against patents that threaten Android/Linux if one ignores all the patent battles the company started (and has since then settled) against Android OEMs



  15. EPO Insider/Märpel Says President Campinos Already Acts Like Battistelli

    Unitary Patent (UPC) is a step towards making the EPO an EU institution like the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO); but it's not making any progress and constitutional judges must realise that Campinos, chosen by Battistelli to succeed him, is just an empty mask



  16. Quality of Patents Granted by the EPO is Still Low and Nobody Will Benefit Except Lawyers, Jubilant Over Growing Lenience on Software Patents

    Deterioration of patent quality at the EPO — a serious problem which examiners themselves are complaining about — is becoming rather evident as new guidelines are very lenient on software patenting



  17. 100 Days Into the Term of Campinos There is Already an EPO Suicide

    A seventh known suicide at the EPO since the so-called 'reforms' began; the EPO continues to pretend that everything is changing for the better, but in reality it's yet more nepotism and despotism



  18. Links 13/10/2018: Ubuntu Touch OTA-5, MidnightBSD 1.0 Ready

    Links for the day



  19. Links 11/10/2018: PostgreSQL 11 RC1 Released, Librem 5 Loves GNOME 3.32

    Links for the day



  20. Friend Brings a Friend, Boss Becomes Subordinate: the EPO Under António Campinos is Starting to Look a Lot Like Team Battistelli 2.0

    The new President of the EPO contributes to the perception that the Office is a rogue institution. Governance is all in reverse at the Office because it still seems like the Office President bosses the Council rather than be bossed by it (as intended, as per the EPC)



  21. UPC Cowardice: Team UPC Uses Cloaks of Anonymity to Discredit Authors of Scholarly UPC Paper They Don't Like

    Team UPC has sunk to the bottom of the barrel; now it uses anonymous letters in an effort to discredit work of Max Planck Institute staff, in the same way (more or less) that ad hominem attacks were attempted against the filer of the constitutional complaint in Germany



  22. New EPO Guidelines: Granting European Patents on Business Methods, Algorithms, Mental Acts and Other Abstract Stuff

    Keeping so-called 'production' high and meeting so-called 'targets' (allegedly set by Battistelli), Campinos relaxes the rules for "computer-implemented inventions" (one among many misleading terms that mean software patents in Europe)



  23. Open Invention Network is a Proponent of Software Patents -- Just Like Microsoft -- and Microsoft Keeps Patents It Uses to Blackmail Linux Vendors

    OIN loves Microsoft; OIN loves software patents as well. So Microsoft's membership in OIN is hardly a surprise and it's not solving the main issue either, as Microsoft can indirectly sue and "Microsoft has not included any patents they might hold on exfat into the patent non-aggression pact," according to Bradley M. Kuhn



  24. Links 10/10/2018: Unreal Engine 4.21 Preview, Red Hat Openshift Container Platform 3.11

    Links for the day



  25. Links 9/10/2018: Plasma 5.14, Flatpak 1.2 Plan

    Links for the day



  26. Greg Reilly Inadvertently Makes a Case for Replacing/Improving the Patent System With a Wiki, Editable by All as Society Moves Forward

    Editable patents make a lot more sense in the age of the Internet and the World Wide Web; companies that rode the wave of the Net are themselves changing their patents on the go, sometimes because they simply attempt to dodge an evolving patenting criterion which nowadays looks down on software patents



  27. The USPTO's Principal Issue is Abstract Patents (or Patent Scope), Not Prior Art Searches

    In spite of the fact that US courts prolifically reject patents for being abstract (citing 35 U.S.C. § 101) Cisco, Google, MIT, and the USPTO go chasing better search facilities, addressing the lesser if not the wrong problem



  28. António Campinos Makes Excuses for Granting European Patents on Software in Spite of the EPC

    Continuing the horrid tradition of Battistelli, António Campinos sends patent quality -- the one aspect which the EPO was once renowned for -- down the drain (or down the shredder, for lack of a better and more timely metaphor)



  29. Antibody Patents Should Not be Allowed (Nor Should CRISPR Patents)

    The patent extremists are still trying to patent life (and/or nature) and their arguments typically boil down to, "there's money in it, so why the heck not?"



  30. Links 8/10/2018: Linux 4.19 RC7, Mageia 6.1, Calculate Linux 18

    Links for the day


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