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03.31.17

Benoît Battistelli Makes His New Penthouse Financially Self-Sustaining

Posted in Europe, Humour, Patents at 6:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Photos captured this morning (a fine April day) at EPO premises (top floor)

The chinchilla cages
Breeding while boarding

The chinchilla shower
Nothing to see here, move along…

Both production and quality are improving!

Kongstad chinchilla
The stakeholders will be so pleased with their ‘products’…

Yes, it’s April 1st today… and having prepared a project and a presentation about chinchillas for my school a very long time ago, the subject matters on a personal level too.

EPO Central Staff Committee Points Out to Benoît Battistelli That He is in Gross Violation and Contempt of the Founding Document/Treaty of the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The European Patent Convention (EPC) is routinely being trampled on by Team Battistelli, so what do they care amidst an organisational coup?

Battistelli and Kongstad

Summary: The staff representatives of the EPO, i.e. those doing all the hard work, “advise against giving any impression that the EPC may be disregarded without consequence.”

THE following open letter was circulated earlier this week and we wish to reproduce it below. This is not the first time Battistelli breaks the rules (including his own rules) and gets away with it, just like a classic tyrant in a rogue institution/state.

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY
Mr Benoît Battistelli
President of the EPO

ISAR – R.1081

Date: 29.03.2017

OPEN LETTER

Subject: Replacement of one Vice-President by three Chief Operating Officers

Dear Mr Battistelli,

You are planning to merge DG1 with DG2-Patent Administration whereby for as yet undisclosed operational reasons you intend to appoint yourself three “Chief Operating Officers” (COOs, the so-called “Super-PDs”) to lead this enlarged DG1.

In the vacancy notice, it is stated that “[e]ach of the COOs will report directly to the President” and that the contract period will be for five years (renewable). We infer from this that firstly the COOs will not be under the authority of a Vice-President, and that secondly these arrangements are for the medium to long term (not transitory).

Consequently, you have now requested the CSC to nominate members to the Selection Boards for these three new Chief Operating Officer positions.

In the March Council meeting some delegations have already expressed their reservations about this new institutional set-up. For our part, we have reasons to believe that, at least for the moment, your plans are not in compliance with the European Patent Convention (and its Implementing Regulations):

1. The functions of the enlarged DG1 (and in particular the Receiving Section, the Search Divisions, the Examining Divisions and the Opposition Divisions) fall squarely within the ambit of Article 15 EPC.

2. According to Rule 9(1) EPC, the departments specified in Article 15 shall be assigned to a Directorate-General.

3. According to Rule 9(2) EPC, each Directorate-General shall be directed by a Vice-President.

4. According to Article 11(2) EPC, the Vice-President is appointed by the Council after consultation of the President of the Office.

Ergo, in accordance with the EPC, the functions of the future enlarged DG1 must remain in a Directorate-General under the leadership of a Vice-President appointed by the Council. The EPC does not allow the creation of COO posts to replace VP1.

In addition, we note that to date the procedure laid down in Article 1(1) of the Implementing Rules of Article 7 ServRegs has not been followed, and its deadlines have not been respected. If the Office wishes to follow a different procedure than that laid down, then the Codex must be changed first.

We respectfully submit that the Council ought to be alerted promptly, so that they can look for a new VP1 capable of taking up the considerable challenge of leading such an enlarged DG1 comprising more than 5000 staff members. In addition, we respectfully suggest that you coordinate your plans with the Council as soon as possible, to obtain a “green light” for your amended procedures.

Please let us know at your earliest convenience when this is done, so that we can then proceed with any necessary nomination. For abundant precaution, we must advise against giving any impression that the EPC may be disregarded without consequence. Such a sign could legitimately be used to question the validity of the EPO’s work.

Yours sincerely,

The Central Staff Committee

cc.: Council Secretariat
cc.: Council delegations

We confirm that this letter was legitimately decided and produced by the Central Staff Committee1.
__________
1 Pursuant to Article 35(3) ServRegs, the Central Staff Committee shall consist of ten full and ten
alternate members.

_________
The CSC presently consists of 8 full and 7 alternate members, because two have resigned in December 2014, one has been dismissed in January 2016 (against the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee), one resigned as of October 2016, one has been further dismissed in November 2016 and one refused replacement of a full member since November 2016 and a further one since December 2014 against Article 7(3) of Circular 355.

Furthermore, one member of a LSC has been dismissed and a further full member of the CSC has been downgraded in January 2016 (against the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee). In fact, the Office has launched investigations and disciplinary procedures against several other Staff representatives as well, affecting negatively their health.

None of the above surprises us. As someone put it some hours ago, “Battistelli is impervious to scandal, has full immunity and controls both the council and national politicians.” As we put it days ago, “Benoît Battistelli ‘Pulls an Erdoğan’ Faster Than Erdoğan.”

Microsoft’s Patent Blackmail Against Samsung Part of a Strategy of Divide and Conquer Against Android

Posted in America, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung, SLES/SLED at 8:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Samsung was the largest Android OEM when it all started

Microsoft's embrace and extend strategy with patents
Microsoft’s embrace and extend strategy with patents (for coercion under legal threats)

Summary: The ‘new’ Microsoft turns out to be the same old Microsoft, where software patents are used not just for extortion and extraction of ‘protection’ money but also to compel OEMs to use Microsoft’s own ‘version’ (or distribution) of Android

THE EPO scandals are certainly outrageous, but another outrageous thing which we have spent more than a decade covering is Microsoft’s patent blackmail against GNU/Linux. Recently, we took note of another wave of Microsoft patent attacks (albeit shrewdly marketed as “IP Advantage“) on GNU/Linux and Free software. For those who missed it, there is a listing of our articles about it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11], which will soon be shelved in some Wiki page.

“Recently, we took note of another wave of Microsoft patent attacks (albeit shrewdly marketed as “IP Advantage“) on GNU/Linux and Free software.”In short, Microsoft is trying to divide the market into “safe” and “unsafe”, or “protected” (from Microsoft and its trolls) and “unprotected”. The former requires annual or monthly payments to Microsoft (subscription plus patent royalties, similar to Novell with SLES/SLED in 2006 onwards). In the mobile space, as one might expect, Microsoft is using a similar strategy. Microsoft will be Microsoft. It will continue to embrace and extend, then attempt to become an Android OEM while siccing patent trolls on all others. 3 years ago Microsoft sued Samsung, the biggest Android OEM at the time, using patents and then they settled, with the condition/provision of Samsung being Microsoft’s slave, preinstalling Microsoft malware (sends user data to Microsoft) on Samsung’s Android devices. We never forgot about that, but Mary Jo Foley seems to have conveniently left that out of her new article. She ought to know this because she covered the subject of the lawsuit pretty well 2 years ago (she was one of our primary sources at the time, hence we reproduce her article at the top). What is shown now is that “Microsoft touts Microsoft-customized edition of Samsung Galaxy S8″.

So Samsung’s ‘flagship’ product is becoming just a vessel or a carrier of Microsoft malware. Does Microsoft pay Samsung for this? No. That’s just part of the patent settlement we presume. And Microsoft is now selling these phones, i.e. making a profit as an Android OEM, where Android is not really Android but some ‘bastardised’ version of it which is dominated by Microsoft and designed to give Microsoft total control of everything (collecting input from the file system, cameras, microphone and so on).

“And Microsoft is now selling these phones, i.e. making a profit as an Android OEM, where Android is not really Android but some ‘bastardised’ version of it which is dominated by Microsoft and designed to give Microsoft total control of everything (collecting input from the file system, cameras, microphone and so on).”Is this justice? Is Samsung happy about this?

In the meantime, Florian Müller writes about another patent bully that victimised Samsung, namely Qualcomm with its software patents [1, 2]. To quote some relevant parts:

When routinely checking for Twitter news about Qualcomm’s antitrust issues, I found a job ad for an antitrust counsel at Qualcomm. Seriously, if you’re an antitrust lawyer looking for a job, this might be one of the most interesting places to be in the months and years ahead. While some secondary issues such as a case brought over oversight duties go away from time to time, various regulators on multiple continents are currently doing everything to provide job security for San Diego-based antitrust attorneys…

[...]

At first sight, that denial appears to be complete and clear, but at a closer look it doesn’t convince me. Apart from the fact that Qualcomm obviously could never admit to totally anticompetitive behavior (restriction of competition), in this case going back to an agreement signed in 1993 and failed negotiations a few years ago, the denial merely says that Samsung could somehow have sold chips to third parties, but not that Samsung could have sold, for example, CDMA-capable chips to third parties.

As AndroidAuthority notes, Qualcomm sued a Chinese Samsung customer (Meizu), which built some devices incorporating Samsung’s Exynos chipset, and I agree with AndroidAuthority that “we have to wonder why the Korean giant only sells its mobile SoCs to one small company in China” (in light of Samsung’s large customer base for other types of chipsets).

This is why phones have become so incredibly expensive (manufacturing of the underlying components is not expensive). It boils down to patent tax everywhere. That money one pays for an Android device ends up not entirely in the coffers of the OEM but all sorts of patent parasites, including Microsoft.

“That money one pays for an Android device ends up not entirely in the coffers of the OEM but all sorts of patent parasites, including Microsoft.”Microsoft does not want the patents challenged in a court, and it makes it so by strategically picking victims and throwing a huge number of dubious patents at them. In that regard, Microsoft operates much like a patent troll. Consider Erich Spangenberg. This is the crook who used a bogus (now invalidated!) patent to blackmail thousands of companies, eventually becoming a multi-millionaire from ‘protection’ money. It ended when he picked on a victim not sufficiently frail and vulnerable, namely Newegg, which chose to fight back again and again (and won repeatedly, in spite of all the expensive appeals). Now armless, Spangenberg seems to be walking away with his loot, based on this new article from trolls’ media. It says: “The current status of IPNav – the company founded by Spangenberg back in 2003 as one of his first major forays into patent monetisation – is unclear. Spangenberg stepped down as IPNav’s CEO in 2014 to dedicate time to other projects, handing over the reins to company president Deirdre Leane. Leane’s LinkedIn profile indicates she became vice president of licensing at Technicolor in December, while IPNav’s website is currently offline awaiting relaunch.”

Technicolor has itself become a patent troll, as we noted several times this year (in January and again in February). We certainly hope that the USPTO, together with the US courts, will help curb patent trolling. More action is also required when it comes to serial patent aggressors; antitrust action may be needed against Microsoft’s crooked modus operandi.

“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game.”

Mark Shuttleworth

“Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won’t say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay,” that’s illegal. It’s racketeering.”

Mark Shuttleworth

In Spite of Confirmation, Uncertainty and Doubt Still Being Cast on Michelle Lee’s USPTO Leadership (by Her Opponents)

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 7:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There she is, still there today (1PM GMT)

Michelle Lee in US site

Summary: Attempts to shape or change the composition of public servants, courtesy of the self-serving patent microcosm, in light of a new presidency that’s perceived as an opportunity to Make Litigation Great Again (at the expense of scientific progress)

THE attempts to ‘scandalise’ (political tactic) or outright oust Michelle K. Lee have apparently not ended. The patent microcosm has floated many theories about it and tried to cast doubt on Lee’s leadership for several months, even while she publicly appears in Battistelli photo ops (EPO propaganda from yesterday).

Yesterday, Dennis Crouch (who had already received a letter of confirmation about Lee’s position) chose to write about who’s running the USPTO. At the EPO it’s just Battistelli, Battistelli’s lapdog Kongstad and Battistelli’s cronies, but in the US there is actually diversity of views/interests. Here is what Crouch wrote:

Michelle Lee remains at the top as Director of the USPTO and Undersecretary of Commerce. As one of the few political-appointee holdovers from the Obama administration, Lee’s position remains somewhat tenuous, but I expect that it will be solid for at least several months. One noticeable gap is that the Commerce Dep’t website still fails to indicate Dir. Lee’s position.

He links to the page of “Leadership”, where she does not even exist, but see the screenshot above. What compels Crouch to think that she will be ousted in “several months”? Gut feeling alone? Maybe that lobbying tactic of trying to motivate particular actions/outcomes using particular baseless predictions (Team UPC does this a lot)? Either way, why is this even still a subject? Those who attempt to ‘scandalise’ her role are always part of the patent microcosm, including Crouch himself. IAM actually tried to promote a corrupt person to replace her and right now it writes about “IP lobbyist and founder of the Farrington Group” (a lobbyist like IAM itself and other people whom IAM hopes will shake up the patent system under Trump. To quote a portion:

But, if confirmed, Delrahim would arguably have the most IP experience of anyone who has ever led the DOJ’s antitrust unit. Over a career that has seen him make the typical switch between public service and private practice, Belrahim has worked on IP issues at the domestic and international trade levels, building a track record that earns him broad bipartisan respect. During the George W. Bush administration, he was a member of the Antitrust Modernization Commission which made a number of recommendations around the overlap of patents and antitrust; while before joining the Trump transition team, Delrahim worked as a lobbyist in private practice at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck where his clients included Qualcomm. Early in his career, he also worked at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where he was detailed to work as the deputy director for IP rights at the Office of the US Trade Representative.

They are trying to influence promote ‘their’ people, i.e. patent maximalists. Never forget the agenda (and funding sources) of sites like IAM. They don’t want what’s good for science and technology but what’s good for patent profiteers.

Lee is a technologist, unlike Battistelli, and the only alleged ‘scandal’ is that she wants to curtail patent trolls and other abusers.

EPO Likes to Pretend to be Tolerated in Spite of Patenting Life, Seeds, Plants and More

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 6:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Photo op time!

CPVO

Summary: The EPO is exploiting CPVO again, in yet another shallow effort to make the practice of patenting seeds, plants etc. seem acceptable

SOME of the loudest EPO critics are farmers who bemoan patents on living things (pigs, seeds, etc.) — possibly an issue to receive more media attention now that a German company owns Monsanto (Carlsberg of Denmark, for example, now wants patents on crops and actually receives these). So the EPO is scrambling to construct a misleading, inverted narrative. The above is not the first of its kind; we covered such examples before.

“So the EPO is scrambling to construct a misleading, inverted narrative.”The EPO has been granting patents on human life (it’s still in the news right now, with new press releases coming out from opportunists [1, 2]), not just on seeds and plants, even in defiance of directives. Today (a few hours ago) this ‘damage control’ came out (warning: epo.org link). To quote part of the puff piece:

Technical and legal experts from the EPO and the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) gathered for a second joint workshop to exchange information on plant-related patents and plant variety rights. The event, which took place at the EPO’s headquarters in Munich on 30 March, was organised within the framework of the Administrative Arrangement signed between the two organisations in February 2016. The agreement aims to strengthen bilateral co-operation between the EPO and CPVO and to increase transparency through the exchange of information.

We don’t know to what degree (if any) the Community Plant Variety Office represents the interests of farmers, gardeners etc. We have not yet researched the subject thoroughly, but the EPO certainly uses CPVO quite a lot for PR purposes. We don’t even know if CPVO represents the interests of Europeans, including more agricultural economies than Germany’s. CPVO is French and it seems to be associated with monopolies. Wikipedia says “[i]ts task is to administer a system of plant variety rights, also known as plant breeders’ rights, a form of intellectual property right relating to plants.” Patents are not properly and ascribing to them terms like “intellectual property” says quite a lot about the agenda. Plants have existed far longer than humanity. To quote further from Wikipedia: “The CPVO’s budget is principally derived from PVR application fees paid by breeders who wish to protect their creations.” As if humans “created” nature and are “protecting” it by taxing everyone for this supposed “creation”. Sounds like something out of Monsanto’s playbook.

“We don’t know to what degree (if any) the Community Plant Variety Office represents the interests of farmers, gardeners etc.”We ought to remind readers that Germany is becoming a hub for patent trolls, hence law firms. It is a host to the EPO and it makes a whole lot of money out of it. Merkel’s government seems to be pursuing the UPC as another cash cow for Germany (litigation) and this is why we suspect the German media remains silent on many of the scandals, including the above. Even if the corporate media understands that something is ethically wrong, it’s still perceived as beneficial to Germany. Perks for some local firms, notably law firms and those servicing them, are of no use to other countries. It’s like in parts of Texas (which ‘eats’ the US economy in patent courts that are infested with patent trolls). This morning we saw this new press release from “Munich, Germany” and it serves to reinforce this idea that it’s mostly Germany benefiting from the EPO, in the same way Germany benefits a lot from the EU. We don’t wish to deviate away and veer into subjects like the EU (EPO is not an EU-affiliated institution, unlike EU-IPO) but simply to highlight possible explanations for that “conspiracy of silence” among German publishers.

“We ought to remind readers that Germany is becoming a hub for patent trolls, hence law firms.”The EPO has attracted less patent applications than last year (even fewer than what is claimed by the EPO), yet the EPO is trying to spin these numbers (tweet from yesterday, similar to this from today). Is that because stakeholders recognise that EPO-granted patents (EPs) aren’t worth the price (fees) now that the EPO is over-granting and delivering poorer service? See what the EPO wrote about Spain yesterday. Unlike the large majority of European nations, which the EPO conveniently removed from the map, in Spain it is claimed that ‘demand’ for EPs was marginally up (these numbers can be disputed). What about over a dozen nations which are less interested in EPs and are apparently divesting? Maybe they too realise that the EPO does not serve their interests? That it’s being reduced to a cash cow of Battistelli and his clique?

Culpability for EPO Injustice in the Administrative Council Chaired by Battistelli’s Protector, Jesper Kongstad

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli and Kongstad

Summary: The EPO, whose innate nature or goal was to serve (patent) justice, quickly became a world-renowned example of gross injustice, not only on patents but also towards its own employees and even judges who are in principle independent

YESTERDAY evening we published this leak which showed the poetic injustice against a judge (we never missed the irony of this scenario). The EPO‘s management is abusive enough to have “miscarriage of justice” even against judges. Anywhere else it’s unheard of, except perhaps in Turkey and in the US after Trump’s inauguration. Saying the truth about justice is some kind of a (thought) crime now; upholding the law is an offense. What has the EPO sunk to? There is not even separation of powers anymore.

Not too long after we had leaked the document someone wrote: “To those of your wondering what happens with the for TWO years shamefully suspended judge…”

“Torture by suspension seems legal at the EPO,” another person alleged. To quote:

After almost two and a half years of disciplinary proceedings and three decisions by the Enlarged Board of Appeal against its requests, the AC allegedly is still not in a position to take a final decision on the suspension of the suspected judge, failing “the establishment of all relevant facts”:

http://techrights.org/2017/03/30/guilty-until-proven-innocent/

Torture by suspension seems legal at the EPO.

Today (this morning) two more comments showed up and at least one of them is buried deep inside a very old thread, so we reproduce it below.

“AC has now effectively “rewarded” the President for his interference,” the following comment says:

So the AC has decided that the fate of the suspended judge “would depend upon the establishment of all relevant facts”. But how are those facts going to be established if the President keeps preventing the Enlarged Board of Appeal from establishing them?

In essence, the sole effect achieved by the President’s interference in the “judicial” proceedings is the advancement of his agenda: to prevent independent scrutiny of the “facts” upon which the allegations against the suspended judge are allegedly based (and the manner in which those “facts” were obtained); and to prolong the suspension without (fair) trial.

All this means is that, in addition to failing to sanction the President for his unwarranted interference in the judicial proceedings, the AC has now effectively “rewarded” the President for his interference.

It looks like the AC, following in the President’s footsteps, is effectively saying farewell to the rule of law. It is also confirming that the Enlarged Board of Appeal was right to fear that the AC would side with the President… meaning that the President’s thinly-veiled threats to the Enlarged Board really were an unforgivable attempt to interfere with the independence of the judiciary.

Presumably a majority of representatives to the AC agreed with the decision not to terminate the disciplinary proceedings against the suspended judge (or not to at least reinstate him until the facts can be independently established). And if a majority was required for the AC to reach such a heinous decision, what does this say about the current state of that supervisory authority? Not only should every last one of the representatives that supported this decision be thoroughly ashamed of themselves, but we need to know who they are… so that we can start asking them some questions.

Another comment correctly points out that the EPO “slandered his name publicly as Nazi (despite not having delivered any proof, as noted by the eBoA).”

The accused judge ought to sue the EPO for slander, but the EPO enjoys immunity. See what the EPO can get away with? Here is the full comment:

And since the DG3 member has no influence on the timing of the steps of the procedure, he has no chance to get the eBoA to actually speak him free.

He can go nowhere, as national judges “have no jurisdiction”, the internal procedure is “still running” (ILOAT will decline any judgement), the AC and the president are not willing to proceed the procedure, and the eBoA cannot do anything out of its own volition, as there is no case before the eBoA currently.

Another perfect example of “the internal remedies available to staff are sufficient, therefore national judges need to uphold the immunity and have no jurisdiction”.

But then, there’s “only one” “human” affected, who is overpaid anyway.

Really wondering why the leftish anti-Europe papers are not picking up on cases like this, but then the DG3 member is not allowed to defend himself publicly, while the office slandered his name publicly as Nazi (despite not having delivered any proof, as noted by the eBoA).

I wonder how anyone can think the EPO and its employees do follow the EPC if its management and supervising organ are so obviously violating the EPC again and again.
Despite all the words in favour of a strong Europe, someone is set on destroying it from within. The fallour in the public opinion will strengthen the anti-Europe sentiments, which should not be in the interest of the EPO.

Yesterday we received the following comment which suggests time alone is unlikely to heal the wounds. Battistelli is not intending to step down (probably more true now that the UPC is stuck again). Here is what the comment said:

This is really interesting. It is quite possible, even probable, that Battistelli is planning to stay a lot longer than 2018. The Council thinks he will go, but they have been fooled before and Battistelli knows he can fool them again.

That would also explain that “strange” structure that is planned to replace Minnoye. Here again, the council thinks it is a temporary measure but that is a classical trick which is taught at the ENA: “temporary arrangements are easier to negotiate and often last longer”.

This has implications for SUEPO (and techrights…) as well.

What happens at the EPO is a total catastrophe; the only greater catastrophe is German media being so reluctant or unwilling to cover it. In the next post we’ll hypothesise why that might be (clue: think Texas).

Links 31/3/2017: Qt Creator 4.3 Beta, Linux Lite 3.2

Posted in News Roundup at 4:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Quad-core Atom thin client offers hardened ThinLinux

    Dell revealed a tiny “Wyse 3040” thin client that runs ThinOS or a hardened new ThinLinux on a quad-core Intel SoC, and supports Citrix, MS, and VMware.

    Dell has launched its “lightest, smallest and most power-efficient thin client” yet, with a 101.6 x 101.6 x 27.9mm Wyse 3040 system that weighs 0.24kg and runs on under 5 Watts. The device is powered by a quad-core, 1.44GHz Intel Atom x5-Z8350 “Cherry Trail” SoC, giving it 30 percent better performance than “previous generations,” says Dell, presumably referring to the single-core Wyse 3010 and the dual-core 3020 and 3030. The power-efficient (2W SDP) SoC also runs on the UP board and UP Core SBCs.

  • Desktop

    • Are Linux users weird?

      Let’s face it, Linux users have often been portrayed in the media as being a little…er…different than macOS or Windows users. But now a writer at Network World is convinced that the days of Linux users being viewed as eccentric are finally coming to an end.

  • Server

    • Kubernetes 1.6 Brings New Scalability and Stability

      Every release of the open-source Kubernetes container management and orchestration system has been led by a Google employee, until the release of the latest version, Kubernetes 1.6, which was led by CoreOS software engineer, Dan Gillespie.

      Kubernetes 1.6 officially became available on March 28, providing users of the open-source container system with a new release focused on stability and scaleability. Gillespie joined CoreOS as part of the October acquisition of Redspread, which is a company he co-founded.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt Creator 4.3 Beta released

        Qt Quick Designer now integrates a QML code editor. This allows you to use views like the Properties editor and the Navigator also for text based editing. When you use the split view, you directly see the effects of what you are doing. The graphical editor got support for adding items and tab bar to stacked containers like StackedLayout and SwipeView, a tool bar with common actions, and support for HiDPI displays.

      • Qt Creator 4.3 Beta Rolls Out QML Code Editor & CMake Server-Mode
      • Qt Creator 4.3 Enters Beta, Integrates a QML Code Editor into Qt Quick Designer

        The Qt Company, through Eike Ziller, announced today the availability of the Beta release of the upcoming Qt Creator 4.3 open-source and cross-platform IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for Qt application developers.

        Qt Creator 4.3 promises to be a major release adding some very exciting changes, starting with the integration of a QML code editor into the Qt Quick Designer component to allow developers to use the Properties editor or the Navigator views, among many others, also for text-based editing.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.26 Release Date Set

        The GNOME 3.26 release date is set for September 13, 2017.

        That’s the date listed in the full GNOME 3.26 release schedule, though is still subject to change (bugs don’t adhere to deadlines, after all).

        Over the coming 6 months GNOME developers will work on honing, improving and revising the hugely popular open-source desktop environment.

      • Install Fest 2017 in Lima, Perú

        Thanks to the support of Fedora LATAM and the GNOME Foundation, we did share step by step the installation of Fedora 25 and GNOME 3.22; and thanks to Butterfly, we are going to be able to organize all our Linux events through the LinuXatUNI Website. I did also announced the GNOME 3.24 and shared more about the Free Software philosophy.

      • Just Colors And Colors Icon Sets Are Ready To Spice Up Ubuntu/Linux Mint

        Now a days it is bit hard to find perfect icon theme for your Linux desktop but there are some which can be considered as complete icon sets, I am not going to list all of them here instead we leave on you to find other icons from our ‘Theme & Icons’ page, if you are interested. Here comes two new themes called ‘Just Colors’ and ‘Colors’, uses various icons from other icon themes as well including: Vibrancy-Colors, Faenza and Numix icons themes. As its name shows off to you, there are many color variations in this theme (Blue, Green, Orange, Purple, Yellow and Default Version), you can choose which fits your GTK theme and desktop.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Zephyr Linux: Zippy Performance, Zero Decor

        Zephyr Linux is a newcomer to the Linux scene, and it is still morphing from developmental releases. However, it takes an interesting approach to removing desktop clutter and default software bloat.

        Zephyr is a collaboration between Leonard Ashley and other developers. Ashley built this infant distro on Devuan 1.0 beta 2 stable (Jessie) Linux. Devuan is a fork of Debian Linux.

        Note: Do not confuse Zephyr Linux with the Linux Foundation’s Zephyr Project — a lightweight Linux OS for the Internet of Things.

        Ashley gives the concept of minimalist design a fresh twist in Zephyr Linux, which is stripped down so you can remake it your way.

        Zephyr Linux version 1.0 beta 2 stable, released late last year, is available in a separate ISO file for each of three non-intimidating desktops — Fluxbox, JWN and Openbox — which are fully customizable window managers that are light on resources, fast and stable. Each one gives you a similar full-featured desktop experience.

    • New Releases

      • Linux Lite 3.2 Final Released

        Linux Lite 3.2 Final is now available for download. The overall theme of this release is a focus on Security. Linux Lite will now download and install the latest Linux kernel security updates when they become available via Install Updates. In this release we introduce for the first time the Lite Desktop Widget. This features basic system information as well as Updates status to emphasize the importance of keeping your computer up to date. Also in this release we’ve included several theme enhancements, lots of updates to our Lite packages, as well as the usual fixes from the 3.2 Beta.

      • Elive 2.8.8 beta released

        The Elive Team is proud to announce the release of the beta version 2.8.8

    • Red Hat Family

      • Why OpenStack is the wrong cloud for Red Hat to be building its future on

        Just because one can make money from OpenStack doesn’t mean one should. Red Hat, on its recent earnings call, gladly assumed the title of “Red Hat of OpenStack,” meaning the “vendor that does certification and confidently allow[s] both hardware and software vendors to participate in the ecosystem.” In a similar vein, I’ve called OpenStack Red Hat’s “Linux moment,” a chance to productize the growing cloud movement.

      • 2 tools for transforming senior management into open leaders

        This is the third article in our “Open Leadership Development” series. In part 1, I shared how we got started with building a leadership development system for our open organization. In part 2, I walked through four stages of leadership development in an open organization. Now, I’d like to share some leadership tools we’ve created for our open organization and published on GitHub under a Creative Commons license.

      • Red Hat’s secrets of success

        That’s $2.4 billion dollars, from pure open source projects. There is not a single strand of proprietary code in Red Hat’s products. So while some say open source is hard to monetize, here we have a company that continues to set the example for others to follow.

        However, I recall an earlier interview with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst where he said, “If open source was a proprietary technology and we had been the large share player of Linux as we are with RHEL, we would be generating 20 billion dollars of revenue instead of two billion in total for the company.”

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 17.04: A mouse-sized step forward

            It’s almost the fourth month of the year. You know what that means. A new Ubuntu release is upon us. This time around, the release number is 17.04 and the name is Zesty Zapus. For those that don’t know, a zapus is a genus of North American jumping mice and the only extant mammal with a total of 18 teeth.

            Which means the zapus is quite unique. Does that translate over to the upcoming release of one of the most popular Linux distributions on the planet (currently listed as fourth on Distrowatch)? Let’s find out.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint May Switch to LightDM Login Screen

              Linux Mint 18.2 may ship with LightDM and Unity Greeter by default, replacing the current MDM login screen.

              Developers behind the popular Ubuntu-derivative say they’ve ‘been testing [LightDM] as an alternative to Mint Display Manager [MDM] and adding support where it was missing and the results are promising.’

            • Linux Mint 18.2 Could Replace MDM with LightDM as Default Login Manager

              Clement Lefebvre published today the March 2017 edition of the Linux Mint monthly newsletter to inform users of the Ubuntu-based operating system about the latest and upcoming developments.

              In the newsletter, the developer reveals the fact that the Xreader PDF and document viewer is undergoing a revamp to its user interface that should improve both the toolbar and the sidebar, add support for dark themes and symbolic icons, implement new buttons in the toolbar for fast switching between multiple view modes, as well as to make it work on touch screens.

            • Linux Mint Monthly News – March 2017

              Many thanks to all the people who donate to us and support our project. We received almost $8,000 in February from 412 people. Many thanks to my fellow developers also and to our partners, it’s a real pleasure to be working with you all.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • OpenGL accelerated x86 games come to Raspberry Pi

      Eltechs released v2.0 of its ExaGear Desktop VM for running x86 apps on ARM/Linux devices. It adds OpenGL hardware graphics acceleration for the Pi 2 and 3.

      Recently, Raspbian developers led by Eric Anholt ported the OpenGL driver to Raspbian, thereby making the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 the first hacker SBCs to do so. Russia-based Eltechs, which offers the ExaGear Desktop virtual machine application for running x86 apps on ARM-based Linux computers, quickly adapted the new OpenGL driver and baked it into version 2.0 of ExaGear Desktop.

      The new driver implemented in ExaGear Desktop 2.0 fully supports 3D graphics acceleration of Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 applications. As a result, you can now run modern, 3D graphics games such as OpenArena (Quake 3) and Minecraft, some of the few such games that have been ported to the Pi. Most 3D accelerated x86 games simply won’t run or run very slowly, says Eltechs.

    • Open spec IoT hacker SBC has a GSM radio

      The $10 “Orange Pi 2G-IOT” SBC runs Ubuntu or Android on an RDA Cortex-A5 SoC, and features RPi 40-pin I/O compatibility, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GSM.

      Shenzhen Xunlong quickly followed up on its recent launch of the quad-core Orange Pi Zero Plus 2 and Zero Plus 2 H5 SBCs with its first Orange Pi to stray from the Allwinner SoC family. The 2G-enabled, $9.90 Orange Pi 2G-IOT targets low-power IoT applications with a single-core Cortex-A5 based RDA8810PL SoC from RDA Microelectronics.

    • Open-source-based platform links old controls to the IoT

      Wind River, the Intel-owned specialist in IoT (Internet of Things) software, has announced a platform that will allow ageing control systems, not originally designed to support the IoT, to link into IoT networks.

    • Thin 3.5-inch SBC features Apollo Lake chips, dual GbE, dual mini-PCIe

      Axiomtek’s CAPA318 adds to the growing dog-pile of 3.5-inch SBCs that tap Intel’s latest Apollo Lake Atom, Celeron, and Pentium processors (see farther below). Axiomtek, which previously released a Bay Trail-based CAPA840 SBC in the same form factor, is here focusing on the dual-core Celeron N3350 and quad-core Pentium N4200. No OS support was listed for the board, which should easily run Linux or Windows.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google bigs up its open source credentials with dedicated project showcase website
  • Google Opens Up on Open Source
  • Google builds new home for everything open source
  • Google Launches New Website for Its Open Source Projects

    Google has launched a new site that centralizes information on all of the company’s various open source projects and gives developers details on how it uses, releases and supports open source software.

  • Google Earth Enterprise Now Available on GitHub as Open Source
  • Google Earth Enterprise Now Available On GitHub As Open Source

    The world’s most popular offline enterprise globe software is now available to all as management of the code transitions to the Open Source Community with Thermopylae Sciences & Technology leading the charge as the firm celebrates its 10th anniversary.

  • Open Source Blockchain Project MultiChain Adds Fourteen New Partners and Enters Beta

    Coin Sciences Ltd has added a whopping fourteen companies to the MultiChain Platform Partner Program, a new collaboration with Seal Software, and the first beta release of MultiChain 1.0.

    New members of the Platform Partner Program include three multinational consulting companies: Boston Consulting Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Worldline. Eleven other smaller companies have also joined: Auxesis Group, Crossword Cybersecurity, Cryptologic, Enuke Software, Enuma Technologies, InfoCorp Technologies, Kunstmaan, Minddeft Technologies, Primechain Technologies, RecordsKeeper and Satoshi Citadel Industries. This brings the total number of program members to 27, which includes founding partners Accenture, D+H and Mphasis. A full list is now available here.

  • Blockchain Platform MultiChain Enters Beta with 15 New Partners
  • Events

    • Linux Foundation offers Hadoop training

      The popular big data program Apache’s Hadoop is difficult to use. Indeed, Datanami, an important big data publication, recently found that “the Hadoop dream of unifying data and compute in a distributed manner has all but failed in a smoking heap of cost and complexity”. One reason? “It’s just a very complicated stack to build on.”

    • Phoronix Moscow Meetup – April 2017

      It’s been a while since last having any Phoronix meet-ups due to not really traveling in the past few years due to various constraints, but next month on business will be available for a Russian Phoronix reader meet-up.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • U.S. Broadband Privacy Rules: We will Fight to Protect User Privacy

        In the U.S., Congress voted to overturn rules that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created to protect the privacy of broadband customers. Mozilla supported the creation and enactment of these rules because strong rules are necessary to promote transparency, respect user privacy and support user control.

        The Federal Trade Commission has authority over the online industry in general, but these rules were crafted to create a clear policy framework for broadband services where the FTC’s policies don’t apply. They require internet service providers (ISPs) to notify us and get permission from us before any of our information would be collected or shared. ISPs know a lot about us, and this information (which includes your web browsing history) can potentially be shared with third-parties.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • What keeps an enterprise from embracing OpenStack adoption?

      Have you ever bought a piece of furniture at IKEA? The price is right, though it comes with a hefty instruction manual, and you have to assemble it yourself.

      The idea is, of course, that you don’t need to be a handyman to have that cabinet full of books by Sunday evening. Anyone with a screwdriver and hammer can build it. Isn’t that right?

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • WhiteSource Bolt detects vulnerable open source components [Ed: WhiteSource is connected to Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4]]
    • Kitware and Collaborators Make 1.0 Release of Materials Tomography Platform
    • Samizdat no more: Old Unix source code opened for study

      After years of lobbying by computer science luminaries, Bell Labs and Alcatel-Lucent (both owned by Nokia) have relented and will allow non-commercial study of the source code for Unix Research Editions 8, 9, and 10.

      It might sound like merely a historical artifact, but it’s more than that. Unix source is an important computer science teaching tool, and has been ever since its earliest days.

      The joint statement by Alcatel-Lucent USA and Nokia Bell Laboratories makes it clear this isn’t “open-sourcing the source code.” Rather, it’s a promise not to assert “copyright rights with respect to any non-commercial copying, distribution, performance, display or creation of derivative works of Research Unix Editions 8, 9, and 10.”

  • BSD

    • A Penguin tries out TrueOS, formerly PC-BSD, part I

      TrueOS is a rolling-release, desktop-oriented operating system built upon the FreeBSD-CURRENT branch. Its aim is to add desktop-usability, speed and grace to an elephant. It is more a FreeBSD tuning than a fork of it, anyway.

      TrueOS is formerly known as PC-BSD; project changed its name, became rolling and mostly dropped pbi’s in late 2016.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Niryo One is an open-source 6-axis arm robot for your home, school, or business

        Industrial arm robots have been around for years, but similar technology is only just starting to trickle down to the consumer market.

      • Open Source 3D Printing: LulzBot and IC3D Team Up for First-Ever Open Source 3D Printer Filament

        Open source is an ideology important to much of the 3D printing community; the ethos is at the foundation of many companies involved in the scene from the beginning, and it can be a polarizing topic. For some, like Aleph Objects with its open source LulzBot 3D printers and the community built up around the technology, and the RepRap community, sharing is caring. Other entities jealously guard their intellectual property; what’s theirs is theirs, and start to finish the system is proprietary. MakerBot drew some serious flack a few years ago when they changed direction from open source roots and became part of the closed source Stratasys family. For its part, HP’s entry to the 3D printing industry blew some minds when the company, infamous for requiring use of proprietary ink in their gargantuan 2D printing operations, chose an open platform approach to their materials in additive manufacturing.

  • Programming/Development

    • Yes C is unsafe, but…

      These “you should switch language” remarks are strangely enough from the backseat drivers of the Internet. Those who can tell us with confidence how to run our project but who don’t actually show us any code.

    • We can teach women to code, but that just creates another problem

      Get-girls-to-code initiatives aim to fix tech’s gender imbalance – but they may help reinforce it

      Technology has a gender problem, as everyone knows.

      The underrepresentation of women in technical fields has spawned legions of TED talks, panels, and women-friendly coding boot camps. I’ve participated in some of these get-women-to-code workshops myself, and I sometimes encourage my students to get involved. Recently, though, I’ve noticed something strange: the women who are so assiduously learning to code seem to be devaluing certain tech roles simply by occupying them.

      Conventional wisdom says that the key to reducing gendered inequality in tech is giving women the skills they need to enter particular roles. But in practice, when more women enter a role, its value seems to go down more.

Leftovers

  • Usernames no longer count against the 140-character limit on Twitter

    There was some consternation last year as rumors swirled that Twitter was set to drop its long-standing 140-character limit. The company ended up keeping the limit, but it’s been working to make sure you can actually use all 140-characters. For example, Twitter decreed a while back that photos and videos no longer count against the limit. Now, it’s doing the same for usernames. Finally.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Funding Injection For New Antibiotics: The CARB-X Transatlantic Partnership

      A partnership of government agencies and organisations in the United States and United Kingdom have announced an investment of up to US$48 million into the development of new antibiotics and products to fight antibiotic resistant bacteria, with the aim of having two new antibiotics in human trials in the next five years.

      CARB-X, the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, is a partnership between public and private organisations in the US and UK.

    • 17 Civil Society Groups Urge EU To Support WHO Resolution On Cancer

      A range of civil society organisations today issued a letter to European Union leadership urging support for a World Health Organization resolution that mandates a feasibility study on a fund for cancer research and development that delinks R&D costs from the price of health technologies.

      The letter from 17 organisations to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini is available here [pdf].

      The groups said the resolution “would provide the Organization a mandate to conduct a feasibility study of creating a multi-country push and pull fund for cancer R&D predicated upon the principle of the delinkage of the costs of R&D from the price of health technologies.”

    • Dow Chemical Wants Farmers to Keep Using a Pesticide Linked to Autism and ADHD

      On Mondays, Magda and Amilcar Galindo take their daughter Eva to self-defense class. Eva is 12 but her trusting smile and arching pigtails make her look younger. Diagnosed with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, Eva doesn’t learn or behave like the typical 12-year-old. She struggles to make change, and she needs help with reading and social situations. Eva’s classmates are sometimes unkind to her, and Magda worries for her daughter’s feelings and her safety. So once a week, after they drive her from her middle school in Modesto, California, to her tutor in nearby Riverbank, the Galindos rush off to the gym where they cheer Eva on as she wrestles with a heavy bag and punches the air with her skinny arms.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Security Tips for Installing Linux on Your SysAdmin Workstation

      Once you’ve chosen a Linux distro that meets all the security guidelines set out in our last article, you’ll need to install the distro on your workstation.

    • Fedora 26 crypto policy Test Day today (2017-03-30)!
    • A scramble at Cisco exposes uncomfortable truths about U.S. cyber defense

      When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange disclosed earlier this month that his anti-secrecy group had obtained CIA tools for hacking into technology products made by U.S. companies, security engineers at Cisco Systems (CSCO.O) swung into action.

      The Wikileaks documents described how the Central Intelligence Agency had learned more than a year ago how to exploit flaws in Cisco’s widely used Internet switches, which direct electronic traffic, to enable eavesdropping.

      Senior Cisco managers immediately reassigned staff from other projects to figure out how the CIA hacking tricks worked, so they could help customers patch their systems and prevent criminal hackers or spies from using the same methods, three employees told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

    • NTPsec: a Secure, Hardened NTP Implementation

      Network time synchronization—aligning your computer’s clock to the same Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) that everyone else is using—is both necessary and a hard problem. Many internet protocols rely on being able to exchange UTC timestamps accurate to small tolerances, but the clock crystal in your computer drifts (its frequency varies by temperature), so it needs occasional adjustments.

      That’s where life gets complicated. Sure, you can get another computer to tell you what time it thinks it is, but if you don’t know how long that packet took to get to you, the report isn’t very useful. On top of that, its clock might be broken—or lying.

      To get anywhere, you need to exchange packets with several computers that allow you to compare your notion of UTC with theirs, estimate network delays, apply statistical cluster analysis to the resulting inputs to get a plausible approximation of real UTC, and then adjust your local clock to it. Generally speaking, you can get sustained accuracy to on the close order of 10 milliseconds this way, although asymmetrical routing delays can make it much worse if you’re in a bad neighborhood of the internet.

    • Zelda Coatings

      I assume that every permutation of scams will eventually be tried; it is interesting that the initial ones preyed on people’s avarice and dishonesty: “I will transfer millions to your bank account, then you share with me” – with subsequent scams appealing to another demographic: “I want to donate a large sum to your religious charity” – to perhaps capture a more virtuous but still credulous lot. Where will it end ?

    • Open-source developers targeted in sophisticated malware attack

      For the past few months, developers who publish their code on GitHub have been targeted in an attack campaign that uses a little-known but potent cyberespionage malware.

      The attacks started in January and consisted of malicious emails specifically crafted to attract the attention of developers, such as requests for help with development projects and offers of payment for custom programming jobs.

      The emails had .gz attachments that contained Word documents with malicious macro code attached. If allowed to execute, the macro code executed a PowerShell script that reached out to a remote server and downloaded a malware program known as Dimnie.

    • Github Repository Owners Targeted by Data-Stealing Malware
    • Recruiters considered really harmful: Devs on GitHub hit with booby-trapped fake job emails
    • Hackers targeting GitHub developers with stealthy and self-destructing Dimnie Trojan
    • Malware campaign targets open source developers on GitHub
    • GitHub developers receive fake job offer malwares in electronic mails
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Civilian deaths from US-led airstrikes hit record high under Donald Trump

      A non-profit organisation that tracks civilian casualties caused by airstrikes in the Middle East said it has shifted nearly all of its resources to track a surge of claims regarding US-led strikes in Syria and Iraq.

      The group, called Airwars.org, had been tracking deaths caused by both Russian and US airstrikes but said in a statement Friday that it was suspending its work on “alleged Russian actions in Syria — so as best to focus our limited resources on continuing to properly monitor and assess reported casualties from the US and its allies.

    • Media Spin Headlines to Downplay US Responsibility for Mosul Massacre

      If you read the headlines of major corporate media outlets, you’d think hundreds of Iraqi civilians coincidentally died in the same location that just so happened to be hit by a US airstrike.

      A March 17 US attack in the city of Mosul resulted in a massacre of civilians. The monitoring group Airwars estimated that between 130 and 230 Iraqis were killed in the incident. Iraqi media reported similar figures.

      Civilian victims of the US-led bombing campaign to oust ISIS from the major northern Iraqi city, which has been terrorized by the extremist group for three years, have received little media coverage.

    • Trump Succumbs to Bush/Obama Perpetual War

      President Trump is becoming the third post-9/11 president to prosecute bloody conflicts in the Mideast and impose mass surveillance at home, with no end in sight, observes retired Col. Ann Wright.

    • Trump-Obama Continuity for Nukes

      At the United Nations headquarters in New York City, negotiations began this week on a treaty banning the possession, development and use of nuclear weapons. The agreement to negotiate such a ban was passed late last year by a wide margin in the most significant development in nuclear disarmament since the end of the Cold War.

    • French efforts to stop Muslim youths turning to extremism {sic} failing

      The ad hoc attempts focused on the prison system, a key incubator for many would-be jihadis, and programs that tried to target those already on the path to extremism. {sic}

      They did not go as hoped.

    • The myth of the ‘lone wolf’ terrorist [iophk: "and those who did got away..."]

      Before he planted his bullets in the heads of his victims, somebody planted ideas more dangerous than the bullets in his head.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • EU Calls Trump’s Coal Move a ‘Global Disaster’ as Nations Renew Climate Vows

      European officials issued rebukes and officials around Asia said they would continue their drive toward cleaner fuels after President Donald Trump laid the groundwork to reverse his predecessor’s climate-change policies.

      Mr. Trump, citing the need to revive the U.S. coal industry and ease the regulatory burden, began on Tuesday​to repeal the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan of stricter carbon-dioxide limits on utilities.

      The change leaves an opening for China and other countries to seize leadership in the global effort to curb the rise in temperatures, as set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement, which went into force in November.

      The U.S. move raised questions about what steps, if any, the Trump administration would take to comply with the Paris commitments.

    • Energy Department’s Climate Office Banned From Using Phrase “Climate Change”

      In case you needed reminding, it’s a bad time to be a scientist in the US. If you work for a federal research group, you’ve been muzzled, had your funding cut to historically low levels, and been told by a committee of anti-intellectual parrots that you’re constantly lying.

      Earlier this month, the word “science” was removed from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) mission statement under the auspices of a man who doesn’t think carbon dioxide warms the planet. Now, it seems that the Department of Energy’s (DoE) climate change research office has banned the use of the phrase “climate change”.

    • Public Records Sought to Expose Trump’s Climate-change Censorship

      The Center for Biological Diversity filed four Freedom of Information Act requests today with the Trump administration’s Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration demanding records of communication censoring agency staff from using words or phrases related to climate change.

  • Finance

    • Amazon Wants Cheerios, Oreos and Other Brands to Bypass Wal-Mart

      The online giant has invited Mondelez, General Mills and others to its headquarters to persuade them it’s time to sell directly to online shoppers.

    • If Theresa May wants to avoid a schools crisis she’s going to have to start listening

      If you talk to anyone involved in education, particularly those working in schools, the conversation will rapidly turn to budgets, which for many are approaching crisis point.

      It comes to something when parents are being asked for voluntary contributions to help keep their children’s schools running. This is as well as reports of subjects being cut and the length of the day being shortened.

    • All That On-Off Excitement About CETA Last Year? It’s Happening Again

      Yet again, the problem is mainly the corporate sovereignty chapter, which is emerging as a real trade deal killer (hint to governments: why not drop it?). But it’s not just Wallonia that might stymie CETA. According to a post from the Council of Canadians, the final ratification of CETA also faces challenges in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy and Bulgaria.

    • Good Morning America!

      The place to focus our attention is on the working class. This is not for abstract, doctrinaire reasons, but because that is where the power lies. It is there that numbers and proximity to production combine to yield a force capable of challenging the 1% for control.

      Control of what exactly? The whole works, including which class should be running the country.

      When working people finally decide to stop hating their friends and loving their enemies (Malcolm X), the pent up rage and fire from centuries of deceit and exploitation at the hands of corporate elites will be turned toward forging a new normal. People will insist on painting outside the lines, refusing to be bound by convention as they search for effective answers.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump NAFTA Renegotiation Draft Notice Exposes an All-Talk No-Action Plan

      “For all his grandstanding and bluster, Trump failed to put forth a plan to renegotiate NAFTA in the American people’s interest. As a candidate and now in office, Trump promised a serious renegotiation that would put American workers first and end corporate giveaways, but this plan fails to keep that promise and instead looks an awful lot like the TPP deal defeated by a movement of millions and decried by Trump himself. The American people deserve a real renegotiated NAFTA that will protect our workers, our communities, and our environment, not the same broken deal with Trump’s logo printed on it.”

    • Brazilian politician who orchestrated ousting of Rousseff sentenced to prison

      Cunha’s conviction led to one of the stiffest penalties handed down to such a senior politician since the end of the dictatorship era in 1985, but public satisfaction with the judgment will be mixed with concern that he could yet win an appeal and that many other powerful figures accused of similar crimes remain unpunished.

      Sergio Moro, a Curitiba lower court judge, found Cunha – a rightwing evangelical Christian – guilty of corruption, money laundering and currency law evasion in connection with a $1.6m bribe he received from a deal by the state-run oil firm Petrobras to buy exploration rights in Benin. The judgment also noted a pending case in Switzerland related to $2.3m stashed in a secret bank account in the European country.

    • Ivanka Trump gets formal White House role, with ethics obligations but no pay

      Ivanka Trump is taking on a more formal White House role — with a title but not a paycheck — a move intended to quell ethics concerns raised about her status in her father’s administration.

      In a statement, the White House noted that the president’s elder daughter already had an “unprecedented role” in the administration different from that of previous presidential children.

      She now will take the title of special advisor to the president, and therefore assume the same responsibility to abide by ethics standards that other federal employees have, the statement said. The decision demonstrates the administration’s “commitment to ethics, transparency and compliance,” the administration said.

    • Fox News Should Finally Dump Bill O’Reilly

      During an appearance on Fox & Friends, Host Bill O’Reilly claimed he had difficulty focusing on a speech being given by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) because of her “James Brown wig.”

      The overtly sexist and racist comment wasn’t an anomaly, but a continued trend in Bill O’Reilly’s ideology and personal politics making an off-script appearance. He apologized for the comment, but only in response to the backlash and criticism to the comment, as Fox News Host Ainsely Earnhardt defended Waters and told O’Reilly he shouldn’t attack a woman based on her appearance.

      [...]

      Perhaps at first, O’Reilly was merely defending his friend and boss and truly believed there was no merit to the case. But by denying he ever challenged Carlson’s accusations — and thereby supported an alleged sexual predator — he’s sending a message to the public that what Ailes was accused of doing is just fine.”

    • Watch: Bernie Sanders Talks ‘Dark Money’ with Journalist Who Literally Wrote the Book On It

      Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday sat down with investigative journalist Jane Mayer to discuss the threat that secretive and undisclosed campaign financing—exemplified by the outsized influence of powerful billionaires like Charles and David Koch—continues to have on U.S. democracy and what should be done to push back.

      Mayer—author of the 2016 best-seller Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right—recently wrote a feature for The New Yorker in which she detailed the significant role the deep pockets, and bizarre far-right politics, of billionaire Robert Mercer played in President Donald Trump’s campaign run.

    • Bannon May Have Violated Ethics Pledge by Talking to Breitbart: CREW

      Top presidential adviser Steve Bannon may have violated a White House ethics pledge by communicating about official matters with employees of his former media company, the rightwing site Breitbart News, according to a Washington, D.C., watchdog group.

      Since joining the White House, Bannon, who serves as President Donald Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor, has spoken to two of the top editors at the outlet he used to chair, the group Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) said in a complaint filed Thursday.

      The White House confirmed this week that it had not waived portions of the ethics pledge for Bannon.

    • With Dutch-Islamist ‘Denk’ Party, Immigrants Rebel Against Assimilation

      What would you say about the appearance of a political party that opposed assimilation and advocated what, in essence, is the creation of a nation within a nation?

    • UW professor: The information war is real, and we’re losing it

      A University of Washington professor started studying social networks to help people respond to disasters. But she got dragged down a rabbit hole of twitter-boosted conspiracy theories, and ended up mapping our political moment.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Libraries have become a broadband lifeline to the cloud for students

      As cloud computing has become an integral part of the lives of students at public schools, it has increased the importance of a place generations of students have turned to for much more analog learning needs—the library.

    • FCC Boss Takes Aim At Efforts To Bring Broadband To The Poor

      So we’ve noted how new FCC boss Ajit Pai has breathlessly claimed that closing the digital divide will be the top priority for his commission. But we’ve also noted how his actions as FCC boss have run in stark, dramatic contrast to that stated goal. Whether it’s making it easier for prison phone monopolies to rip off inmate families, his decision to kill a plan to bring much-needed competition to the cable box, or his attacks on net neutrality, so far Pai has made it painfully clear that protecting AT&T, Comcast and Verizon is actually where his priorities lie.

      In the last week Pai took his “love for the poor” to soaring new heights by falsely taking credit for year-old job plans at Charter Communications, and cheering as Congress dismantled consumer privacy protections at large ISP behest. But Pai also took what most analysts believe will be the opening salvo in a war against subsidized broadband service for the poor.

    • Miami Officials Promise To Crack Down On Airbnb Homeowners Who Spoke Up About Bad Regulations

      For a few years now, we’ve written about various local governments and their pointless wars against Airbnb, which are often driven by lobbying from the big hotels. Different governments take different approaches, but Miami apparently has an incredibly restrictive regulation that effectively bars short term rentals entirely. Even worse, the mayor has been pushing to make things even worse. Since the current law only is enforced in response to complaints, mayor Tomas Regalado is pushing a plan to more proactively hunt down homeowners who offer short term rentals on Airbnb.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Government funding’s impact three times larger than we thought

      Overall, this analysis shows that about a third of all publicly funded grants administered by the NIH generate research that is cited by commercial patent applications. This number is three times larger than the one produced by the traditional metric we’ve been using. This finding strongly suggests that the overall impact of public funding on the advancement of commercial science is widely underappreciated.

    • Trademarks

      • Monster Energy Attempts To Run From Laughable Trademark Spat It Started With Thunder Beast Root Beer

        Readers here will hear the name “Monster Energy Corporation”, makers of the Monster Energy beverage, and likely immediately roll their collective eyes. Monster Energy has truly been a monster when it comes to trademark bullying over some of the most frivolous claims imaginable. From threats against breweries over location-based puns, to threats against beverage review sites it doesn’t like, and even threats against an actor that featured in a monster movie over a photo he tweeted holding a Monster Energy drink, the company is something of a joke in trademark circles.

      • A Tiny DC Soda Company Is Taking on Monster Energy

        Thunder Beast, a small DC root beer company, is fighting trademark violation allegations from California-based Monster Energy Corporation. About a year ago, Thunder Beast, which operates out of the TasteLab food incubator in Northeast, received a cease-and-desist letter from Monster over the use of the word “beast” in the company name.

        In its letter, Monster argued customers might accidentally buy one of Thunder Beast’s bison-emblazoned beverages when they intended to buy an energy drink. Monster claims Thunder Beast infringes on its brand, which includes trademarked slogans such as “PUMP UP THE BEAST” and “UNLEASH THE ULTRA BEAST,” its petition for cancellation reads.

    • Copyrights

      • Court: Megaupload’s Failing Drives Can Be Fixed, But Not Accessed

        The sixteen failing hard drives containing Megaupload data at hosting provider Cogent can be restored and preserved. The court has granted the MPAA and RIAA’s version of the preservation order, meaning that no person will be able to access the data without permission. Megaupload is disappointed that it’s still unable to freely access the evidence and fears that it won’t get a fair trial.

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