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Links 24/3/2017: Microsoft Aggression, Eudyptula Challenge Status Report

Posted in News Roundup at 7:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Free Software/Open Source

  • San Francisco Open Source Voting System Project Continues On

    At the February 15 Elections Commission meeting, the Elections Commission voted unanimously to ask the Mayor’s Office to allocate $4 million towards initial development of the open source voting project for the 2018-19 fiscal year (from Aug. 2018 – July 2019). This would go towards initial development once the planning phase is complete.

  • Hyperledger Bond Trading Platform Goes Open Source

    A bond trading platform built on top of Hyperledger’s Sawtooth Lake distributed ledger was made open source this week, alongside a release of a demo of the technology.

    The project, first announced in September 2016, was designed to demonstrate how bond trading and settlement can be streamlined using distributed ledgers. Created in partnership with the R3 consortium and eight participating banks, the working proof-of-concept has now also been displayed as a public demo on Sawtooth’s website.

  • Coreboot Picks Up A New Kabylake Chromebook “Fizz”

    It may not be as exciting as hearing Dell looking at Coreboot, but another Intel-powered Chromebook is now supported by mainline Coreboot.

  • Cognitive Wi-Fi and disrupting the AP market with Open Source – with Mojo Networks – Wi FiNOW ep 59
  • Open source job opportunities grow at crisis groups

    Learn how you can use your open source skills to make a difference in the world.

  • Why LÖVE?

    This month, IndustrialRobot asked my opinion of FOSS game engines — or, more specifically, why I chose LÖVE.

    The short version is that it sort of landed in my lap, I tried it, I liked it, and I don’t know of anything I might like better. The long version is…

  • CoreOS Tectonic Now Installs Kubernetes on OpenStack

    CoreOS and OpenStack have a somewhat intertwined history, which is why it’s somewhat surprising it took until today for CoreOS’s Tectonic Kubernetes distribution to provide an installer that targets OpenStack cloud deployments.

  • Docker and Core OS plan to donate their container technologies to CNCF

    Containers have become a critical component of modern cloud, and Docker Inc. controls the heart of containers, the container runtime.

    There has been a growing demand that this critical piece of technology should be under control of a neutral, third party so that the community can invest in it freely.

  • How Blockchain Is Helping China Go Greener

    Blockchain has near-universal applicability as a distributed transaction platform for securely authenticating exchanges of data, goods, and services. IBM and the Beijing-based Energy-Blockchain Labs are even using it to help reduce carbon emissions in air-polluted China.

  • An efficient approach to continuous documentation
  • The peril in counting source lines on an OSS project

    There seems to be a phase that OSS projects go through where as they mature and gain traction. As they do it becomes increasingly important for vendors to point to their contributions to credibly say they are the ‘xyz’ company. Heptio is one such vendor operating in the OSS space, and this isn’t lost on us. :)

    It helps during a sales cycle to be able to say “we are the a big contributor to this project, look at the percentage of code and PRs we submitted”. While transparency is important as is recognizing the contributions that key vendors, focus on a single metric in isolation (and LoC in particular) creates a perverse incentive structure. Taken to its extreme it becomes detrimental to project health.

  • An Open Source Unicycle Motor

    And something to ponder. The company that sells this electric unicycle could choose to use a motor with open firmware or one with closed firmware. To many consumers, that difference might not be so significant. To this consumer, though, that’s a vital difference. To me, I fully own the product I bought when the firmware is open. I explain to others that they ought to choose that level of full ownership whenever they get a chance. And if they join a local makerspace, they will likely meet others with similar values. If you don’t yet have a makerspace in your community, inquire around to see if anyone is in the process of forming one. Then find ways to offer them support. That’s how we do things in the FOSS community.

  • Events

    • The A/V guy’s take on PyCon Pune

      “This is crazy!”, that was my reaction at some point in PyCon Pune. This is one of my first conference where I participated in a lot of things starting from the website to audio/video and of course being the speaker. I saw a lot of aspects of how a conference works and where what can go wrong. I met some amazing people, people who impacted my life , people who I will never forget. I received so much of love and affection that I can never express in words. So before writing anything else I want to thank each and everyone of you , “Thank you!”.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • Public Services/Government

    • Defense department announces the launch of “Code.mil,” an experiment in open source

      The Department of Defense (DoD) announced the launch of Code.mil, an open source initiative that allows software developers around the world to collaborate on unclassified code written by federal employees in support of DoD projects.

      DoD is working with GitHub, an open source platform, to experiment with fostering more collaboration between private sector software developers and federal employees on software projects built within the DoD. The Code.mil URL redirects users to an online repository that will house code written for a range of projects across DoD for individuals to review and make suggested changes.


      DoD faces unique challenges in open sourcing its code. Code written by federal government employees typically does not have copyright protections under U.S. and some international laws, which creates difficulties in attaching open source licenses.

    • PrismTech to Demonstrate Open Source FACE 2.1 Transport Services Segment (TSS) Reference Implementation at Air Force FACE Technical Interchange Meeting

      PrismTech’s TSS reference implementation is being made available under GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) v3 open source license terms.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • RApiDatetime 0.0.1

      Very happy to announce a new package of mine is now up on the CRAN repository network: RApiDatetime.

    • FYI anyone who codes outside work: GitHub has a contract to stop bosses snatching it all

      In contrast to the restrictions many companies place on their workers, GitHub believes it can loosen the reins through the release of its Balanced Employee Intellectual Property Agreement (BEIPA).

      Technology companies often require that employees, as a condition of their employment, sign away the intellectual property rights to any work created while employed, even on personal time. Such contracts may even give companies ownership rights to work created during a limited period after employees leave the company.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Medicines Patent Pool Sublicenses New Antibiotic Candidate To TB Alliance For Development

      TB Alliance is a not-for-profit organisation which works to find affordable medicines to fight tuberculosis. The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) is a United Nations-backed organisation which works to increase access to HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis treatments in low and middle income countries. Medicines Patent Pool was awarded an exclusive licence on the drug candidate from John Hopkins University (US), which holds the patent on the compound. MPP has sublicensed the patent to TB Alliance so that the groups can collaborate in clinical development of the drug.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • U.S. reclassifies information in response to FOIA for Iran-Contra files

      Years after information on Iran-Contra had been labeled UNCLASSIFIED and released to the public, the government began reclassifying some of that information in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Unlike the more well-known reclassification program, this cannot be said to be in response to correcting mistakes from the 1995 declassification order as the information had been declassified and published in 1987. One notable example from the Iran-Contra files, a formerly TOP SECRET chronology on US-Iranian Contacts and the American Hostages, shows that key pieces of information about the extent of CIA and Israel’s involvement have been reclassified. This seems to have taken place sometime between the publication of the Report of the congressional committees investigating the Iran-Contra Affair (November 1987), which included versions of the chronology, and the time the document was reviewed as part of a FOIA request (June 2005).

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How Much Of The Trump-Russia Story Is Smoke And How Much Is Fire?
    • Media can’t ignore financial scandal in Ecuador’s presidential election

      As Ecuador heads toward the second round of its presidential election on April 2, a scandal has broken out over the opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso’s financial dealings.

      The accusations are serious and largely based on public records, with most of it verifiable on websites such as the Panamanian Public Registry and Superintendency of Banks and the Ecuadorean Superintendency of Companies. The newspaper that broke the story was Página/12 of Argentina, with two articles there in the last week by journalist Cynthia Garcia, as well as on her website.

      Yet, as of this writing, the major international media covering the election, as well as the big privately owned Ecuadorian media, have pretended for a week that the story does not exist.

      This is despite the fact that President Rafael Correa has publicly denounced Lasso for his dealings and called on him to resign from his campaign. And Lasso publicly responded without denying the accusations. It is difficult to explain this gap in reporting on the basis of what most people would consider journalistic norms.

    • Hardball political operative Roger Stone finds himself on the receiving end

      Roger Stone, the legendarily hardball Republican operative who for years has lustily embraced such media epithets as the dapper don of dirty deeds and the undisputed master of the black arts of electioneering, now finds himself on the receiving end of what he calls a political dirty trick –– allegations that he helped mastermind Russian leaks of hacked Democratic Party emails –– and he’s not liking it much.

      “You just wake up one day and a bunch of congressmen are kicking your balls across the field,” Stone said reflectively. “Based on nothing more than a Hillary Clinton campaign meme…. I understand. It’s politics. It’s the democratic process. All I want is the same open forum to respond.”

      A steady drumbeat of accusations against Stone that had been building for months –– since a Jan. 19 story in The New York Times identified him as one of three associates of President Donald Trump under FBI investigation for links between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia –– reached a crescendo this week, when Stone’s name was mentioned 19 times during a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee.

    • The House Intelligence Committee’s Civil War

      The top Republican and Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee escalated their feud on Friday, with GOP Chairman Devin Nunes announcing that he wished to cancel a public hearing next week and Ranking Member Adam Schiff charging Nunes with bad faith and attempting to choke off an independent hearing.

      In a press conference at the Capitol Friday morning, Nunes announced that Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, had offered through his attorney to testify before the committee as it investigates Russian interference in the presidential election. But Nunes also announced he wanted to cancel an open hearing scheduled for next week, with former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, until the committee had a chance to have a closed hearing with FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers. He said his decision did not have anything to do with new documents he received this week.

    • House Intelligence Committee chairman abruptly cancels open hearing on Russia

      Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has abruptly canceled a public hearing scheduled for next Tuesday with former DNI director James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. The hearing is part of the committee’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, including whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian operatives.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Amos Yee faults Singaporean activists for not pressuring the USA judge to release him from jail sooner
    • Saudi Arabia says 43 Indian workers not held captive, addressing their concerns

      The more than 3 million-strong Indian community in Saudi Arabia is the largest expatriate community in the kingdom.

    • [Older] What’s driving Malaysian support for Islamic penal code?

      As Malaysia considers the introduction of a strict sharia punishment code known as hudud, minorities have been left to consider their place in a country once lauded for diversity and moderation – and to ponder the wisdom of experts who warn creeping Islamisation could breed extremism.

    • Lawsuit: Police Destroyed Farm House To Capture Homeless Man Armed With An Ice Cream Bar

      Is it possible to arrest an unarmed homeless person without destroying the residence he’s hiding in? To the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department and Clovis PD (and far too many other law enforcement agencies), the question remains rhetorical.

      David Jessen’s farmhouse felt the full, combined force of two law enforcement agencies and all their toys last June. According to his lawsuit [PDF], a homeless man was rousted from a nearby vacant house after he was discovered sleeping in the closet. He left peacefully but was soon spotted by the construction crew breaking into Jessen’s house. The construction worker, god bless him, called the police because he thought they could help.

      Jessen was notified shortly thereafter. He returned home to find four sheriff’s office cars parked at his residence (one of them “on the lawn,” because of course it was) and a deputy yelling at his house through a bullhorn. According to the deputies, the homeless man refused to come out and threatened to shoot anyone who came in. Jessen was asked if he had any guns in the house. He replied he did, but two were unloaded and had no ammo and the third was hidden so well “only he could find it.”

    • A Last Chance for Turkish Democracy

      The first time I met Selahattin Demirtaş, the leader of Turkey’s largest Kurdish political party, known as the H.D.P., he arrived at a restaurant in Istanbul with a single assistant accompanying him. Demirtaş is warm and funny. Among other things, he is an accomplished player of the saz, a string instrument that resembles the oud. At the time—it was 2011—Demirtaş was trying to lead his party and people away from a history of confrontation with the country’s central government. It wasn’t easy. Like other Kurdish leaders in Turkey, Demirtaş had spent time in prison and seen many of his comrades killed. I remember him telling me how, in the nineteen-nineties, when civil unrest in the country’s Kurdish areas was hitting its bloody peak, a particular make of car—a white Renault—had been notorious in Kurdish towns. The cars were used by Turkish intelligence officers, who had developed a terrifying reputation for torturing and executing Kurds. “I’ve been inside the Renaults,’’ Demirtaş told me. “A lot of people I know never made it out of them.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • How iTunes built, and then broke, my meticulous music-listening system

      There is an entire field of Apple criticism reserved for iTunes, a cross-platform monolith that serves a bewildering variety of functions. It outgrew its origins as a place to manage your MP3s to become the place where you activate new iPhones and iPads, buy TV shows and movies, and access Apple’s subscription music service. It’s an app that does way too much, and yet each function is so important to Apple that the company seemingly cannot imagine it doing less. And so each year it does more.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • “What is this thing called love, this funny thing called love”? And while you’re at it, what is a covenant not to sue?

      Focusing on patents, consider that the statutory treatment of licenses and licensing varies greatly. In the U.S., the subject is largely absent from the patent statute, with no real treatment of the differences between an exclusive and a non-exclusive license. By contrast, take a country like Israel, whose patent statute provides (at least a partial) definition of exclusive and non-exclusive licenses, with special attention to the right to sue. Here, as well, however, there is no statutory reference made to a covenant not to sue. Varieties of these two approaches can be found in most other jurisdictions; what seems common to all is that none provides a real definition of what is entailed in a covenant not to sue.

    • Copyrights

      • Mining Is The New Reading

        Representatives of the research and academic community applauded amendments by the rapporteur to the draft new European Union Copyright Directive in yet another hearing on the megaproject yesterday in Brussels. Especially welcomed was the rapporteur’s proposal to extend the scope of an exemption for text and data mining. Representatives of publishers, on the other hand, said there is no evidence of the need for additional mandatory exemptions.

      • Australia Shelves Copyright Safe Harbor For Google, Facebook, et al

        Due to what some have described as a drafting error in Australia’s implementation of the Australia – US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA), so-called safe harbor provisions currently only apply to commercial Internet service providers Down Under.

      • US Ambassador Asks Vietnam to Target 123movies, Putlocker and Kisscartoon

        While copyright industry groups frequently call on governments to take action against pirate sites, it’s not often that we see such requests on the highest diplomatic level.

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  3. 35 U.S.C. § 101 is Still Effectively Tackling Software Patents in the US, But Patent Law Firms Lie/Distort to 'Sell' These Anyway

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  5. The US International Trade Commission (USITC) Against Comcast, Courtesy of the Intellectual Ventures-Connected Rovi

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  6. Tinder/Match Group Uses Software Patents to Sue a Rival, Obviously Choosing to Sue in Texas

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  7. Links 19/3/2018: Linux 4.16 RC6, Atom 1.25, antiX 17.1, GNU Mcron 1.1

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  8. From PTAB Bashing to Federal Circuit (CAFC) Bashing: How the Patent 'Industry' Sells Software Patents

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  10. News About Patents is Often Just Advertisements Composed Directly or Indirectly by Companies That Sell Patents and Patent Services

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  11. Blocks and Paywalls Won't Protect the Patent Trolls' Lobby From Scrutiny/Fact-Checking

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  12. China Has Become Very Aggressive With Patents

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  13. UPC/Battistelli Booster IAM Blames Brexit Rather Than EPO Abuses

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  14. European Commission Again Urged to Tackle Abuses at the European Patent Office (EPO)

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