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04.08.17

Links 8/4/2017: Qt 5.9 Beta, Neptune 4.5.4, Open Build Service 2.8, Deepin 15.4 RC2

Posted in News Roundup at 10:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • A beginner’s guide to Mastodon, the hot new open-source Twitter clone [iophk: "what about censorship?"]

    Mastodon is a fast-growing Twitter-like social network that seeks to re-create the service’s best parts while eliminating its whale-sized problems. The distributed, open-source platform offers better tools for privacy and fighting harassment than Twitter does, but it also comes with a learning curve. Mastodon’s federated nature means there’s no single website to use, and learning how to wade through its timeline of tweets (which it calls toots) takes some time to adjust to.

    But for anyone who misses “the old Twitter” — the days of purely chronological timelines, no ads, and an inescapable flood of harassment — Mastodon can feel like a haven. So before you evacuate the blue bird hellmouth, here’s everything you need to know.

  • Google Cloud to host open source Elasticsearch

    The Elastic stack—Elasticsearch, Kibana, and Logstash—has become a powerful open source alternative for doing real-time searches on generated data like logs. Now Google is turning one of them into a cloud commodity.

    Google has partnered with Elasticsearch BV, the group that commercially supports the Elasticsearch stack’s cloud—called Elastic Cloud, appropriately enough—and is preparing to offer managed editions of Elastic Cloud on Google Cloud Platform.

  • Open source Elastic analytics snaps into Google’s Cloud Platform

    Open-source search analytics are coming to Google’s Cloud Platform courtesty of Elastic.

    GCP will host Elastic’s open-source search and analytics platform under a partnership deal, as managed Elastic Cloud. The managed service is due later this year.

    The Elastic stack – including Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats and Logstash – offers search, log analysis and visualisation tools for search, logging, security, metrics and analytics, all of which will now be available on GCP.

  • Google Cloud and Elastic Form Partnership
  • Elastic Brings Search And Analytics To Google Cloud Platform
  • Google Cloud partners with Elastic for advanced search and analytics
  • Google will launch an Elasticsearch cloud service in second half of 2017
  • DeepMind Open Sources Sonnet Library To Make It Easier To Create Complex Neural Networks

    Sonnet is a new open source library announced by Alphabet’s DeepMind. It is built on top of their existing machine learning library TensorFlow along with extra features that fit DeepMind’s research requirements. Sonnet is designed to make it easier to create complex neural networks using TensorFlow.

  • Google DeepMind open sources Sonnet so you can build neural networks in TensorFlow even quicker

    Google’s DeepMind announced today that it was open sourcing Sonnet, its object-oriented neural network library. Sonnet doesn’t replace TensorFlow, it’s simply a higher-level library that meshes well with DeepMind’s internal best-practices for research.

    Specifically, DeepMind says in its blog post that the library is optimized to make it easier to switch between different models when conducting experiments so that engineers don’t have to upend their entire projects. To this avail, the team made changes to TensorFlow to make it easier to consider models as hierarchies. DeepMind also added transparency to variable sharing.

  • Blogging challenge: Share your knowledge about how community works

    Help us collect community knowledge by blogging about the weekly community management theme. This week’s theme is Encouraging New Contributors.

    Communities are what make open source software work. No two pieces of open source software are the same and so no two communities are the same but they can often learn from each other. Some have shared their best practices for bringing communities together, growing them, and fostering them. We have several books about communities and several conferences dedicated to them.

  • What is Chef? A primer for DevOps newbies

    Mastering the cloud is a lot easier with the DevOps program Chef in your kitchen.

    Chef is an open source cloud configuration management and deployment application. It’s meant to help anyone orchestrate servers in a cloud or just in a departmental data center. Instead of system administrators sweating over management programs that were designed for single, stand-alone servers, Chef allows DevOps to spin off dozens or hundreds of server instances in less time than it takes you to read this article.

  • Meson Build System Prepares For Growth

    Jussi Pakkanen of the Meson Build System has issued a project status report following more projects like X.Org and Mesa exploring Meson.

    Many of the projects exploring Meson are doing so as a possible replacement to their CMake or Autotools build systems. A number of them are commonly turned onto Meson by its superior Windows support, the possibility of condensing two or three build systems down into a single unified build system, and certainly the much faster performance of Meson thanks in part to its Ninja back-end.

  • Tracking the explosive growth of open-source software

    That’s why we decided to create a new, detailed index to track popular open-source software projects, and gain some insights into the new companies powered by these technologies.

  • Fuchsia: a new operating system

    It’s always fun to see a new operating system pop up out in the wild and be far along enough in its development to actually be useful. Fuchsia is not there yet, but it appears headed in the right direction. With Google’s resources behind the project, the development of Magenta and other Fuchsia components is happening at a brisk pace; all commits are visible to the public. However, there is no public mailing list, and it’s a bit of puzzle to figure out where this project is going.

    This is a new take on open-source development where it is out in the open, yet secret. It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on Fuchsia’s development to see what it eventually grows into.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Quantum work

        Last week we had a work week at Mozilla’s Toronto office for a bunch of different projects including Quantum DOM, Quantum Flow (performance), etc. It was great to have people from a variety of teams participate in discussions and solidify (and change!) plans for upcoming Firefox releases. There were lots of sessions going on in parallel and I wasn’t able to attend them all but some of the results were written up by the inimitable Ehsan in his fourth Quantum Flow newsletter.

      • Mozilla Thunderbird 52 Released with Various Improvements
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Document Foundation releases LibreOffice 5.3.2

      The Document Foundation (TDF) releases LibreOffice 5.3.2, the 2nd minor release of the LibreOffice 5.3 family, focused on bleeding edge features, and as such targeted at technology enthusiasts, early adopters, and power users. LibreOffice 5.3.2 integrates over 50 patches, with a large number of fixes related to RTF and DOCX documents.

  • Education

    • Tech Universities: Adopt a Free Software as your own children

      Some things will never change on Programming classes in universities: There will always be students crying to understand pointers, there will always be people going to stackoverflow hoping that somebody would do their homework, Every semester the students would start thousands of lines for their conclusion project and those lines ould probably go to the trash bin as soon as the semester ends. This shouldn’t be like that, this really shouldn’t be like that.

  • Mastodon

  • Public Services/Government

    • French CIOs share recipe for success of big IT projects

      Government IT systems can be unusually complex, SGMAP writes in its announcement, published on 3 April. Combined with government’s multi-faceted decision making process, this creates all sorts of risks for new IT projects. So DINSIC, which drives government modernisation and simplification, is sharing the common principles as a way to control these risks.

      [...]

      Share and reuse; and

      Exploit open data.

    • Portugal pilots new use for healthcare data exchange

      The PNB is based on reusable, publicly available software components. The system handles over 300,000 messages per day.

    • Army Research Laboratory releases Open Source policy to share software

      Army Research Laboratory officials developed an Open Source policy for the sharing ARL-developed software. The goal is to increase collaboration and incentivize innovative ideas among federal and nonfederal research organizations.

      The Federal Source Code Policy ensures new custom-developed federal source code be made broadly available for reuse across the federal government. ARL’s policy is a concrete implementation of the goals of the Federal Source Code Policy, officials say.

      ARL’s Open Source policy allows external researchers to analyze and verify software generated by the lab.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Difference Between Different Types Of Open Sources Licenses

      While open sourcing a project, one needs a license so that the terms distribution, linking, modification, private use, etc., can be automatically taken care of. There are many open source licenses to choose from, some of them being MIT, GNU GPL, Apache 2.0, Creative Commons, BSD licenses. Each has its own terms of the above characteristics that even decide the ownership and credibility of the project.

    • dmd Backend converted to Boost License
    • Review of BeansBooks, Released Under ‘Open Code’ License

      Before using BeansBooks, be sure to take a look at its “open code” license, which is a free software license but incompatible with the GPL and all GPL compatible licenses, whether “copyleft” or “permissive.”

      Open software often reduces the barrier to entry for small businesses. FOSS fans might well have heard of personal and small-business accounting software GnuCash, which is taught in the Penn Manor School District in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and described in Charlie Reisinger’s book The Open Schoolhouse. Less well known is BeanBooks, an “open code” SaaS accounting program created by the well-known folks at System76, which came onto my radar just recently. This screencast review of the software does a good job showing you its features.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Happy birthday, Git

      In the world of version control, Git has clearly claimed the mantle of the preferred version control tool of most developers. In a recent developer survey on Stack Overflow, Git was the preferred version control of 69.2% of participants, over seven times as many votes as the next runner up, Subversion.

      And today, we celebrate a dozen years passing since the initial release of Git on April 7, 2005. Created by Linus Torvalds to manage the expansive source code of the Linux kernel, Git now manages the source code of countless open source projects you know and love. We’ve rounded up a collection of articles from Opensource.com community moderator Seth Kenlon highlighting the many great uses of Git, and how you can use it to version nearly everything in your day-to-day workflow.

    • #3: Follow R-devel

      A few years ago, I mentioned to Duncan Murdoch how straightforward the setup of my CRANberries feed (and site) was. After all, static blog compilers converting textual input to html, rss feed and whatnot have been around for fifteen years (though they keep getting reinvented). He took this to heart and built the (not too pretty) R-devel daily site (which also uses a fancy diff tool as it shows changes in NEWS) as well as a more general description of all available sub-feeds.

    • The review gap

      The free-software community is quite good at creating code. We are not always as good at reviewing code, despite the widely held belief that all code should be reviewed before being committed. Any project that actually cares about code review has long found that actually getting that review done is a constant challenge. This is a problem that is unlikely to ever go completely away, but perhaps it is time to think a bit about how we as a community approach code review.

      If a development project has any sort of outreach effort at all, it almost certainly has a page somewhere telling potential developers how to contribute to the project. The process for submitting patches will be described, the coding style rules laid down, design documents may actually exist, and so on; there is also often a list of relatively easy tasks for developers who are just getting started. More advanced projects also encourage contributions in other areas, such as artwork, bug triage, documentation, testing, or beer shipped directly to developers. But it is a rare project indeed that encourages patch review.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Researcher: 90% Of ‘Smart’ TVs Can Be Compromised Remotely

      So we’ve noted for some time how “smart” TVs, like most internet of things devices, have exposed countless users’ privacy courtesy of some decidedly stupid privacy and security practices. Several times now smart TV manufacturers have been caught storing and transmitting personal user data unencrypted over the internet (including in some instances living room conversations). And in some instances, consumers are forced to eliminate useful features unless they agree to have their viewing and other data collected, stored and monetized via these incredible “advancements” in television technology.

    • Pandavirtualization: Exploiting the Xen hypervisor

      On 2017-03-14, I reported a bug to Xen’s security team that permits an attacker with control over the kernel of a paravirtualized x86-64 Xen guest to break out of the hypervisor and gain full control over the machine’s physical memory. The Xen Project publicly released an advisory and a patch for this issue 2017-04-04.

      To demonstrate the impact of the issue, I created an exploit that, when executed in one 64-bit PV guest with root privileges, will execute a shell command as root in all other 64-bit PV guests (including dom0) on the same physical machine.

    • Be careful, Cisco Mobility Express is shipped with some Cisco Aironet devices has a hard-coded password. Fix it!

      The Mobility Express Software shipped with Cisco Aironet 1830 Series and 1850 Series access points has a hard-coded admin-level SSH password.

    • Grasshopper

      Today, April 7th 2017, WikiLeaks releases Vault 7 “Grasshopper” — 27 documents from the CIA’s Grasshopper framework, a platform used to build customized malware payloads for Microsoft Windows operating systems.

      Grasshopper is provided with a variety of modules that can be used by a CIA operator as blocks to construct a customized implant that will behave differently, for example maintaining persistence on the computer differently, depending on what particular features or capabilities are selected in the process of building the bundle. Additionally, Grasshopper provides a very flexible language to define rules that are used to “perform a pre-installation survey of the target device, assuring that the payload will only [be] installed if the target has the right configuration”. Through this grammar CIA operators are able to build from very simple to very complex logic used to determine, for example, if the target device is running a specific version of Microsoft Windows, or if a particular Antivirus product is running or not.

    • Preparing enterprise systems for the scriptless Linux exploit
    • Kaspersky warns of spike in ‘cheap’ ransomware targeting large firms

      The method goes as follows: the criminals would search for an organisation that has an unprotected server with Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) access, they would guess the password or buy access to it on the black market, and then they would encrypt a node or server manually.

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • No: Assange is a political prisoner who’s exposed crimes and atrocities

      Julian Assange is a political prisoner who has never been charged with a crime.

      That few people know this and that large media outlets have conveniently ignored this fact is an indictment of all Western political leaders and journalists who claim to care about human rights and civil liberties but remain silent – or worse – about one of the world’s most famous prisoners of conscience.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Eager crowds are flattening Southern California’s vibrant ‘super bloom’
    • Is Britain selling its soul to Saudi Arabia amid EU divorce?

      If the name alone does not make you recoil, allow me to summarize the nature of that Middle Eastern regime with a few chosen adjectives: violent, reactionary, self-righteously vindictive, oppressive and above all inherently intolerant. Weaved around the concept of Takfirism – an ideology that professes the murder of all religious minorities and denominations other than that it professes – Saudi Arabia has held a genocidal blade over the Islamic world, forever calling for religious cleansing to assuage its thirst for control.

    • Lyft exec may join Trump’s DOT

      Lyft general manager Derek Kan may soon be nominated to join the Department of Transportation as under secretary of transportation for policy, according to Reuters report Thursday.

    • Uber contract ‘gibberish’, says MP investigating gig economy

      Publishing full details of Uber’s contract terms, along with those for the takeaway courier firm Deliveroo and Amazon, Field said all three used some kind of “egregious clause” which attempted to prevent people challenging their “self-employed” designation, [...]

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • When hosting SNL, Donald Trump ‘struggled to read,’ says former cast member. Can the President read?

      “He struggled to read at the table read, which did not give many of us great confidence. Didn’t get the jokes, really. He’s just a man who seems to be powered by bluster.”

    • Kushner Omitted Meeting With Russians on Security Clearance Forms

      When Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, sought the top-secret security clearance that would give him access to some of the nation’s most closely guarded secrets, he was required to disclose all encounters with foreign government officials over the last seven years.

      But Mr. Kushner did not mention dozens of contacts with foreign leaders or officials in recent months. They include a December meeting with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, and one with the head of a Russian state-owned bank, Vnesheconombank, arranged at Mr. Kislyak’s behest.

    • Justice Neil Gorsuch

      Neil Gorsuch has now been confirmed by the Senate and will swear-in next week as one of the nine justices of the United States Supreme Court. I expect Justice Gorsuch to support strong patent rights, but primarily focus on statutory language and historic precedent. I.e., do not expect Gorsuch to see patents as a fundamental right, but rather a policy tool that can be fully regulated by Congress.

    • Senate confirms Gorsuch to Supreme Court, giving Trump big win
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • After Moving Servers to Russia, LiveJournal Bans ‘Political Solicitation’

      Last December, the blogging platform LiveJournal — purchased in 2007 by the Russian company SUP Media — finally relocated its data servers from California to Russia.

      Calling attention to the shift, Anton Nossik (a former advisor to SUP Media) declared, “LJ’s servers have moved ‘closer’ not to its authors and readers, but to those who want to monitor them.”

      This Tuesday, April 4, LiveJournal released an updated user agreement, revealing what steps it’s taking to adjust to its new existence as a blogging platform in full compliance with Russia’s stifling Internet laws. In particular, users like Nossik have expressed concerns that the website’s data will now be fully accessible to Russian police snooping, in accordance with recently enacted “anti-terrorist” legislation.

    • Revenge Pornster Craig Brittain Issues DMCA Notices Demanding Google Delist Entire Websites, Including Wikipedia

      Former revenge porn site operator/lawyer impersonator Craig Brittain is once again engaged in some DMCA abuse. A couple of years ago, Brittain issued bogus DMCA notices in hopes of whitewashing his past. Along with posts at Popehat, Vice, Huffington Post, Ars Technica, and Reddit, Brittain asked Google to delist the FTC’s press release about its settlement with Brittain over his revenge porn misdeeds.

      It didn’t work, obviously. A new set of stories highlighting Brittain’s sordid past swiftly filled up any gaps in the revenge porn purveyor’s vanity Google searches.

    • Choose Wisely: Political Correctness Or A Retreat To Conservative Censorship?

      Beginning with the very inception of the country, conservative censorship has dominated the United States of America as a way to moderate public opinion. Beginning in the twenty-first century, however, a new kind of censorship dominated the headlines, schoolrooms, and workplaces of America: liberal political correctness. With the rise of right-wing ideals and isolationism, will we witness

    • Censorship & certification – Outlining the CBFC’s role under law

      The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) functions as the primary body certifying films for public exhibition in India. It is guided by the Cinematograph Act, 1952, and various rules and guidelines in determining the nature of certification to be granted to a film. However, over the past few months, reports about the Central CBFC’s alleged overreach – moving from certification of films to moral policing, for instance, by denying certification to films which address LGBTQ issues – have made the news. This post outlines the legal framework within which the CBFC operates and discuss the prospects for change within this framework.

    • Bias Response Teams: campus censorship at its most sinister

      This is just a ploy, of course – an attempt to shift the spotlight and avoid having to justify the not only censorious but patently unhinged behaviour of campus officials of late. But it’s also a crap one. Because with every year that passes, university administrations cook up more and more GDR-lite ways to cleanse campuses of disagreeable speech.

      [...]

      Reason’s Robby Soave waded through the University of Oregon BRT annual report last year. What he found was equal parts hilarious and terrifying. One student reported that a sign encouraging students to clean up after themselves was sexist. The sign was promptly removed. Another anonymous student complained that the student newspaper was giving insufficient coverage to trans and ethnic minority people. So the BRT went and had a word with the editor.

    • German Proposal Threatens Censorship on Wide Array of Online Services

      Anticipating federal elections in September, Germany’s Minister of Justice has proposed a new law aimed at limiting the spread of hate speech and “fake news” on social media sites. But the proposal, called the “Social Network Enforcement Bill” or “NetzDG,” goes far beyond a mere encouragement for social media platforms to respond quickly to hoaxes and disinformation campaigns and would create massive incentives for companies to censor a broad range of speech.

      [...]

      Under the proposal, providers would be required to promptly remove “illegal” speech from their services or face fines of up to 50 million euros. NetzDG would require providers to respond to complaints about “Violating Content,” defined as material that violates one of 24 provisions of the German Criminal Code. These provisions cover a wide range of topics and reveal prohibitions against speech in German law that may come as a surprise to the international community, including prohibitions against defamation of the President (Sec. 90), the state, and its symbols (Sec. 90a); defamation of religions (Sec. 166); distribution of pornographic performances (Sec. 184d); and dissemination of depictions of violence (Sec. 131).

    • Trigger Warning: A High School Censors A Speech About Censorship

      Wallkill Senior High School just censored my lecture about censorship.

      Several months ago, the school in an upstate New York community known for its prisons and apple orchards invited me to participate in its annual “Author’s Day” event on April 4 and 5. Published writers gab to administrators, librarians and educators over a buffet dinner and then lecture to several classes of students the following day. It’s a schlep from Manhattan, but writers receive a modest honorarium and I enjoy talking to kids about my passion.

    • Peace, Trump, censorship and fake news up for discussion
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Privacy Experts Say CIA Left Americans Open to Cyber Attacks

      WikiLeaks release of the latest cache of confidential C.I.A. documents as part of an ongoing “Vault 7″ operation exposed some of the U.S. government’s hacking and digital espionage capabilities—this time having to do with iPhones and other smart devices used by hundreds of millions of people across the globe. But cyber security experts and computers scientists are raising concerns over the C.I.A.’s disregard of safety measures put in place for discovering these dangerous flaws in smart gadgets.

    • The Justice Department refused to prosecute CIA for illegal surveillance

      In 1976 and again in 1977, the Justice Department decided not to prosecute anyone for the CIA’s illegal surveillance and mail openings. The report issued in 1977 reveals the Justice Department’s highly flawed reasons, including claims that prosecution would not serve to prevent such questionable or outright illegal surveillance from happening again – ironically setting the stage for modern surveillance programs.

    • US lawmakers demand to know how many residents are under surveillance
    • US lawmakers want to know how many Americans under surveillance
    • Congress Asks White House for an Estimate of How Many Americans Under Surveillance
    • Lawmakers seek intel on surveillance of Americans
    • Congress Judiciary Panel Seeks Number of Americans Under Surveillance by Intel
    • U.S. Lawmakers Want To Know Number Of Americans Under Surveillance
    • Oh, Sure, Now Congress Is Serious About Asking NSA About Surveillance On Americans

      For many, many years, Senator Ron Wyden has been directly asking the US intelligence community a fairly straightforward question (in his role as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee): just how many Americans are having their communications swept up in surveillance activities supposedly being conducted on foreigners under the FISA Amendments Act (FISA being Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). Wyden started asking way back in 2011 and got no answers. His continued questioning in 2013 resulted in Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lying to Congress in a public hearing, which Ed Snowden later claimed was a big part of the inspiration to make him leak documents to the press.

      Just last month, we noted that Wyden had renewed his request for an accurate depiction of how many Americans have had their communications swept up, this time asked to new Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats. Unfortunately, for all these years, it’s basically felt like Senator Wyden tilting at a seeming windmill, with many others in Congress basically rolling their eyes every time the issue is raised. I’ve never understood why people in Congress think that these kinds of things can be ignored. There have been a few attempts by others — notably on the House Judiciary Committee — to ask similar questions. Almost exactly a year ago, there was a letter from many members of the HJC, and there was a followup in December. But, notably, while there were a number of members from both parties on that letter, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte, did not sign the letter, meaning that it was unlikely to be taken as seriously.

    • Well, That Was Quick: Twitter Dismisses Lawsuit After Feds Drop Attempt To Unmask Rogue Tweeter

      Yesterday we wrote about Twitter suing the US government after officials at the Department of Homeland Security sought to use a law designed to gather information for figuring out import duties, to unmask the operator of @ALT_uscis, alleging to comment on immigration issues from within the US Citizenship and Immigration Service. Twitter broke out the big guns for that case, as the lead attorney representing it was Seth Waxman, a former Solicitor General in the Clinton administration.

    • New York Supreme Court Says Facebook Can’t Challenge The 381 Broad Warrants Handed To It By New York Prosecutors

      Almost four years ago, Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance’s office issued 381 warrants seeking information on Facebook subscribers. The warrants arrived almost immediately after the first Snowden leaks, which quite possibly pushed Facebook towards challenging the multitude of overbroad warrants.

      Once the gag order was lifted, Facebook was able to reveal the astonishing breadth of the DA’s demands. Hoping to dig up info on participants in a disability fraud scheme — one that had already resulted in the arrests of more than 100 former police officers and firemen — the 381 warrants demanded everything Facebook had on the named accounts, including private messages, Friends lists, and a variety of non-public content.

      Facebook spent the next three years fighting the warrants in New York courts. It hasn’t gone particularly well. There’s the issue of standing, which few courts are willing to grant to third parties seeking to protect the privacy of their subscribers and users.

    • Judge Says FBI’s NIT Warrant Invalid, Points Out FBI Agent Knew It Was Invalid When He Requested It

      A Minnesota judge has granted a motion for suppression in an FBI Playpen case, using an agent’s nineteen years of service and expertise against the government’s good faith arguments. The court here found the warrant to be invalid from the moment it was signed, meaning everything obtained past that point to be fruit of the poisonous tree. (via FourthAmendment.com)

    • Twitter sues government over attempt to unmask anti-Trump account
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Koran Reciters to Get Leg Up in IPB Entrance Selection

      According to the new rule, students who can recite 30 chapters of the Koran will be rewarded with additional entrance points equal to those awarded to winners of international-level science competition.

    • European Parliament’s biggest political group calls for EU-wide ban on Islamic face veils
    • Women smearing Ayaan Hirsi Ali are ‘carrying water’ for Islamists

      I want to hear what Hirsi Ali has to say, in order to agree with her if she is right, to disagree with her if she is wrong, to reason with her if her approach in criticising Islam is harming Muslims, and more importantly, to collaborate with her in what could be the best way to uphold the human rights of even those who wish death for her. Because All Lives Matter, even the ones who are out to silence dissenters with knives stabbed to dead director’s chests with the next target named in a bloody note.

    • PEN America and Human Rights Watch asks for the immediate release of blogger Amos Yee

      PEN America* and Human Rights Watch has released a statement on 5 April to ask for the immediate release of Singaporean blogger Amos Yee, who is still detained in the US despite being granted asylum by US immigration judge Samuel Cole.

      It is being reported that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is still detaining Yee while deciding if the government will appeal Judge Samuel Cole’s decision. The Department of Homeland Security has 30 days to file an appeal.

    • Madrasa super arrested for attempted rape of a minor girl

      Police have arrested a madrasa superintendent from Charbaria of Barisal for attempting to rape his daughter’s classmate, a 10-year-old girl.

      The detainee is Maulana Md Masum Billah, superintendent of Sapania Dakhil Madrasa. He hails from Kalapara of Patuakhali district, but used to live on the madrasa premises with his family.

      He was arrested from his house Friday morning soon after the girl’s father filed a complaint with Kaunia police.

    • Attorney General’s Memo Indicates Trump’s DOJ Is Only Interested In The Blue Side Of The Justice Equation

      Here comes the rollback. As President Trump made clear with his pick for Attorney General, the days of police reform are over. The administration is only willing to put its weight behind efforts that give cops more power, weapons, and funding. Everything else — including several years-worth of consent agreements with dysfunctional police departments — is unimportant.

      The first wave of Trump’s planned United Police State was a series of divisive directives seeking to bolster support for law enforcement by informing them the president had their back and anyone who didn’t was simply wrong.

    • Former Director of NSA and CIA Speaks on the Importance of Espionage for Democracy

      American espionage is not only compatible with but essential to democracy, former director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency Michael Hayden told an audience of more than 200 people in Robertson Hall April 6.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Ajit Pai’s net neutrality plan is nonsense

      And these are just the simple questions. If Ajit Pai wants to get rid of net neutrality, he should maybe answer some of them before walking back a law that millions of Americans vocally supported.

    • European roaming charges will be binned in June

      The fees, which were agreed by representatives from the European Council, European Parliament and the EC back in February, were given the thumbs up on Thursday. The wholesale charges have been capped at €0.032 per minute for voice calls, €0.01 per SMS and €7.70 per GB of data used, a figure that will eventually fall to €2.50 per GB in 2022.

    • G20 IT Ministers Want Access For All, Commit To Conflicting Objectives

      The Group of 20 (G20) ministers responsible for the digital economy today called for further efforts to advance access to the internet for everyone and close the digital gaps that still exist. Gathered in Dusseldorf, Germany, for the two-day IT related preparatory conference for the G20 Summit in Hamburg in July, the ministers signed a declaration on “Shaping the Digitalisation for an Interconnected World.” It was the first time that ministers for digital economy met in the G20 format.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Can a public domain artwork be registered as a trade mark or would that be contrary to public policy and morality?

      When can an artwork be registered as a trade mark? The question is not an easy one, and may be complicated further by consideration that the artwork at hand may be no longer eligible for copyright protection due to the expiry of the term of protection. This means that the question may turn out to be not just one relating to the requirements for trade mark registration, but also involve broader, public interest considerations that relate to the opportunity to continue protecting by means of other IP regimes items (works) in relation to which the primary IP right (in this case, copyright) is no longer available.

    • Copyrights

      • Germany Approves Draft Law to Protect WiFi Operators From Piracy Liability

        Germany has approved a draft law that will enable businesses to run open WiFi hotspots without being held liable for the copyright infringements of their customers.

      • Sketchy Copyright Takedown Kills Bad Lip Reading’s Force Awakens Remix

        If you haven’t ever seen a Bad Lip Reading video, you’ve been missing out. For many years, they’ve posted a ton of videos taking footage from basically anywhere, and overlaying new audio, matching what people are saying/singing with, well, something else, that is plausible (but usually very, very funny). Here’s one of the inauguration, a music video and one on the NFL. That gives you the basic idea. The last time we wrote about them was back in 2011, but it was (of course) about a silly DMCA takedown involving one of BLR’s videos done by Universal Music.

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  1. Links 25/4/2017: Kali Linux 2017.1 Released, NSA Back Doors in Windows Cause Chaos

    Links for the day



  2. Astoundingly, IP Kat Has Become a Leading Source of UPC and Battistelli Propaganda

    The pro-UPC outlets, which enjoy EPO budget (i.e. stakeholders' money), are becoming mere amplifiers of Benoît Battistelli and his right-hand UPC woman Margot Fröhlinger, irrespective of actual facts



  3. EPO Fiasco to be Discussed in German Local Authority (Bavarian Parliament) Some Time Today as the Institution Continues Its Avoidable Collapse

    Conflict between management and staff -- a result of truly destructive strategies and violations of the law by Benoît Battistelli -- continues to escalate and threatens to altogether dismantle the European Patent Office (EPO)



  4. In the US and Elsewhere, Qualcomm's Software Patents Are a Significant Tax Everyone Must Pay

    The state of the mobile market when companies such as Qualcomm, which don't really produce anything, take a large piece of the revenue pie



  5. In South Asia, Old Myths to Promote Patent Maximalism, Courtesy of the Patent Microcosm

    The latest example of software patents advocacy and patent 'parades' in India, as well as something from IPOS in Singapore



  6. Links 24/4/2017: Linux 4.11 RC8, MPV 0.25

    Links for the day



  7. Why Authorities in the Netherlands Need to Strip the EPO of Immunity and Investigate Fire Safety Violations

    How intimidation and crackdown on the staff representatives at the EPO may have led to lack of awareness (and action) about lack of compliance with fire safety standards



  8. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part IX: Testament to the Fear of an Autocratic Regime

    A return to the crucial observation and a reminder of the fact that at the EPO it takes great courage to say the truth nowadays



  9. For the Fordham Echo Chamber (Patent Maximalism), Judges From the EPO Boards of Appeal Are Not Worth Entertaining

    In an event steered if not stuffed by patent radicals such as Bristows and Microsoft (abusive, serial litigators) there are no balanced panels or even reasonable discussions



  10. EPO Staff Representatives Fired Using “Disciplinary Committee That Was Improperly Composed” as Per ILO's Decision

    The Board of the Administrative Council at European Patent Organisation is being informed of the union-busting activities of Battistelli -- activities that are both illegal (as per national and international standards) and are detrimental to the Organisation



  11. Links 23/4/2017: End of arkOS, Collabora Office 5.3 Released

    Links for the day



  12. Intellectual Discovery and Microsoft Feed Patent Trolls Like Intellectual Ventures Which Then Strategically Attack Rivals

    Like a swarm of blood-sucking bats, patent trolls prey on affluent companies that derive their wealth from GNU/Linux and freedom-respecting software (Free/libre software)



  13. The European Patent Office Has Just Killed a Cat (or Skinned a 'Kat')

    The EPO’s attack on the media, including us, resulted in a stream of misinformation and puff pieces about the EPO and UPC, putting at risk not just European democracy but also corrupting the European press



  14. Yann Ménière Resorts to Buzzwords to Recklessly Promote Floods of Patents, Dooming the EPO Amid Decline in Patent Applications

    Battistelli's French Chief Economist is not much of an economist but a patent maximalist toeing the party line of Monsieur Battistelli (lots of easy grants and litigation galore, for UPC hopefuls)



  15. Even Patent Bullies Like Microsoft and Facebook Find the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Useful

    Not just companies accused of patent infringement need the PTAB but also frequent accusers with deep pockets need the PTAB, based on some new figures and new developments



  16. Links 21/4/2017: Qt Creator 4.2.2, ROSA Desktop Fresh R9

    Links for the day



  17. At the EPO, Seeding of Puff Piece in the Press/Academia Sometimes Transparent Enough to View

    The EPO‘s PR team likes to 'spam' journalists and others (for PR) and sometimes does this publicly, as the tweets below show — a desperate recruitment and reputation laundering drive



  18. Affordable and Sophisticated Mobile Devices Are Kept Away by Patent Trolls and Aggressors That Tax Everything

    The war against commoditisation of mobile computing has turned a potentially thriving market with fast innovation rates into a war zone full of patent trolls (sometimes suing at the behest of large companies that hand them patents for this purpose)



  19. In Spite of Lobbying and Endless Attempts by the Patent Microcosm, US Supreme Court Won't Consider Any Software Patent Cases Anymore (in the Foreseeable Future)

    Lobbyists of software patents, i.e. proponents of endless litigation and patent trolls, are attempting to convince the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to have another look at abstract patents and reconsider its position on cases like Alice Corp. v CLS Bank International



  20. Expect Team UPC to Remain in Deep Denial About the Unitary Patent/Unified Court (UPC) Having No Prospects

    The prevailing denial that the UPC is effectively dead, courtesy of sites and blogs whose writers stood to profit from the UPC



  21. EPO in 2017: Erroneously Grant a Lot of Patents in Bulk or Get Sacked

    Quality of patent examination is being abandoned at the EPO and those who disobey or refuse to play along are being fired (or asked to resign to avoid forced resignations which would stain their record)



  22. Links 21/4/2017: System76 Entering Phase Three, KDE Applications 17.04, Elive 2.9.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  23. Bristows-Run IP Kat Continues to Spread Lies to Promote the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Advance the EPO Management's Agenda

    An eclectic response to some of the misleading if not villainous responses to the UPC's death knell in the UK, as well as other noteworthy observations about think tanks and misinformation whose purpose is to warp the patent system so that it serves law firms, for the most part at the expense of science and technology



  24. Links 20/4/2017: Tor Browser 6.5.2, PacketFence 7.0, New Firefox and Chrome

    Links for the day



  25. Patents on Business Methods and Software Are Collapsing, But the Patent Microcosm is Working Hard to Change That

    The never-ending battle over patent law, where those who are in the business of patents push for endless patenting, is still ongoing and resistance/opposition is needed from those who actually produce things (other than litigation) or else they will be perpetually taxed by parasites



  26. IAM, the Patent Trolls' Voice, is Trying to Deny There is a Growing Trolling Problem in Europe

    IAM Media (the EPO's and trolls' mouthpiece) continues a rather disturbing pattern of propaganda dressed up as "news", promoting the agenda of parasites who drain the economy by extortion of legitimate (producing) companies



  27. The Patent Microcosm Keeps Attacking Every Patent Office/System That is Doing the Right Thing

    Patent 'radicals' and 'extremists' -- those to whom patents are needed solely for the purpose of profit from bureaucracy -- fight hard against patent quality and in the process they harm everyone, including individual customers



  28. Another Final Nail in the UPC Coffin: UK General Election

    Ratification of the UPC in the UK can drag on for several more years and never be done thereafter, throwing into uncertainty the whole UPC (EU-wide) as we know it



  29. Links 19/4/2017: DockerCon Coverage, Ubuntu Switching to Wayland

    Links for the day



  30. Links 18/4/2017: Mesa 17.0.4, FFmpeg 3.3

    Links for the day


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