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05.18.17

Links 18/5/2017: Catching Up With the Past Three Days

Posted in News Roundup at 5:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • 5 Tips To Master Linux

      ​So here we are fans of Linux! But are we up to the bar? To get our hands a little dirty and maybe do what a surgeon do Tongue Well if that disgust you then I didn’t mean cutting up your favorite distro and operating on it. I meant a minor thing like stitches and tending to some easy commands.

    • The Alpha Litebook

      elementary OS Despite desktop Linux becoming more popular over the years and the GNU/Linux family of operating systems gaining more mainstream support from software and hardware creators, there still are not a lot of big name hardware companies selling Linux computers. Even those which do, such as Dell, tend to tuck their Linux options into a back corner, shinning the spotlight on their computers that ship with Windows pre-installed.

      This has left the Linux hardware market relatively open for smaller players. Many smaller shops have appeared over the years, specializing in selling computers with Linux pre-installed. One of the most recent arrivals in the Linux market is the Alpha Litebook. The Litebook, which was launched in early 2017, is a $249-$269 USD notebook computer which ships with elementary OS. elementary is based on Ubuntu and the distribution uses the Pantheon desktop environment by default.

      Happy with the price-to-specifications ratio featured by the Litebook and curious to see how the device would perform, I ordered one of the laptops at the start of March. This review of the Alpha Litebook will consist of four sections: acquiring the Litebook and dealing with Alpha’s customer support; the hardware of the Litebook; my thoughts on elementary OS as a default distribution; and the process of installing another Linux distribution on the Litebook.

  • Kernel Space

    • A pile of stable kernel updates
    • Linus Torvalds stops personally signing Linux rc tarballs

      Linus Torvalds might just be a big softie after all. The Linux Lord, infamous for his occasional foul-mouthed criticism of those who don’t meet his standards, has just popped out release candidate one for Linux 4.12 a day early so he could give his undivided attention to Mother’s Day.

      “So I’m doing this one day early, because I don’t like last-minute pull requests during the merge window anyway, and tomorrow is mother’s day, so I may end up being roped into various happenings,” Torvalds wrote on the Linux Kernel Mailing List on Saturday. Torvalds’ release announcements are usually made on Sundays.

    • Linux Kernels 4.10.16, 4.9.28 LTS and 4.4.68 LTS Are Out Now with Many Changes

      Immediately after announcing earlier today the availability of the first point release of the Linux 4.11 kernel series, Greg Kroah-Hartman is informing the community about the launch of new maintenance updates to the Linux 4.10, 4.9 and 4.4 kernels.

    • Linus Torvalds Kicks Off Development of Linux 4.12 with First Release Candidate

      Linus Torvalds kicked off the development of the Linux 4.12 kernel series by announcing the availability of the first Release Candidate (RC) a day early than expected due to the Mother’s Day celebration and last-minute pull requests.

      According to Linus Torvalds, Linux kernel 4.12 RC1 is a pretty large patch that contains numerous additions, including support for AMD’s next-generation Radeon RX Vega GPUs, along with a new driver for Intel Atom IPUs (Image Processing Units).

    • Graphics Stack

      • Dying Light & Dead Island Definitive Edition might soon work on Mesa

        There’s some activity on the Mesa-dev mailing list with patches that will enable both Dying Light & Dead Island Definitive Edition (and it seems Dead Island Riptide Definite Edition too) to work on Mesa.

      • Mesa 17.0.6 released with AMD Polaris 12 support in the ‘radv’ Vulkan driver

        Mesa 17.0.6 is the latest bug-fix release for the 17.0 series, but it also comes with AMD Polaris 12 support for the ‘radv’ Vulkan driver that has been back-ported.

      • Mesa 17.0.6 Released with AMD Polaris 12 GPU Support for Radeon Vulkan Driver

        As expected, the sixth point release to the Mesa 17.0 stable graphics stack was officially unveiled by Andres Gomez, and will soon be available from the software repositories of your favorite GNU/Linux distribution.

        Containing a total of 55 changes, which include both new functionality and fixes for recently discovered bugs, we can say that Mesa 17.0.6 is a hefty maintenance update that all users of the Mesa 17.0 3D Graphics Library series should install, that, of course, if they didn’t already upgrade to the newer Mesa 17.1 stable branch.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Linux Kernel 4.11 Coming Soon to openSUSE Tumbleweed, Users Get KDE Plasma 5.9.5

        Dominique Leuenberger reports this weekend on the latest updates that landed in the software repositories of the openSUSE Tumbleweed operating system, which were brought by a total of six snapshots released in the last two weeks.

        These new Tumbleweed snapshots contained a lot of the latest GNU/Linux technologies and software updates, including the KDE Plasma 5.9.5 and GNOME 3.24.1 desktop environment, KDE Applications 17.04.0 software suite, KDE Frameworks 5.33.0 collection of add-ons for Qt 5, and GRUB 2.02 bootloader.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.34.0 Released for KDE Plasma 5 Desktop Users with 83 Changes
      • It’s Now Possible to Access Your Google Drive Account on KDE Plasma 5 Desktops

        KDE developer Elvis Angelaccio is happy to report on the general availability of a new package that makes it possible for fans of the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment to access their Google Drive accounts without any weird tricks.

      • Introduction for GSoC 2017 with Krita

        I’m here again and I will talk about my accepted GSoC proposal, but how every history, I have to start from the start, so sit down, drink a coffee or a hot chocolate(I like) and have fun.

        I’m from Brazil, to be more specific from Salvador, Bahia. I’m an undergraduate student in Analysis and System Development. I’m not like so many other people that code since their 9 years old or something like that. I just wrote my first line of code with 20 years old and now I have 23, but like my mother says, “It’s never late to do something, no matter what” (Yeah, my mother is amazing. By the way, Happy Mother’s Day).

        In first years in the college, I had the opportunity to work in a software house, that works with proprietary software. I didn’t like that experience for so many reasons, but I was holding myself for money (I’m poor). Someday a teacher from my college invite to a course about Qt and C++ and told to us that we can choose what we want to do and presented KDE and Open Source. I quit my job and started to go to the college in my free time. In this time I studied python and read some books about that and I loved it.

      • Plasma 5.10 Beta, Slicker Desktop

        Monday, 15 May 2017. Today KDE has made a testing release of our desktop Plasma 5.10 with new features across the suite to give users an experience which lives up to our tagline: simple by default, powerful when needed.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • NixOS 17.03 “Gorilla”

        NixOS is a viable daily distro for average users who are willing to put a small amount of work into it. Since it is a little strange, knowledge about NixOS may not translate well to other distros. NixOS is very lightweight and usable. I think that it is probably a very good distro for a more advanced user. Like I said, I was able to do everything I wanted on NixOS (except get my NVIDIA drivers working, but I think that’s my fault). The Nix package manager is also available for most other distros, so if you want to use the Nix package manager and all the Nix glory associated with it (like isolation of packages) you can. I probably won’t keep NixOS on my machine, but I think I will start using the Nix package manager on whatever distro I settle on for this week.

    • New Releases

      • New Neptune Linux Plasma 5 ISO Snapshot Lands with KDE Applications 17.04, More

        Neptune Linux developer Leszek Lesner proudly announced this weekend the availability of a new ISO snapshot for the Neptune Plasma 5 edition of the Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution.

        The new Neptune Plasma 5 ISO is shipping with the latest KDE Applications 17.04 software suite, which includes numerous improvements and new features for the Dolphin file manager, Kdenlive video editor, Kate text editor, Ark archive manager, Konsole terminal emulator, Okular PDF viewer, and Gwenview image viewer.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • What I discovered in Tirana, Albania

          The past few months have brought many changes for me. I traveled throughout Europe to experience some of the open source conferences and communities across the continent. Along the way, I met incredible people with powerful stories about their own communities. However, there is one community that I knew about before I came to Europe. The Open Labs Hackerspace in Tirana, Albania is a special community that I was fortunate enough to discover and meet. Together, they have helped set in motion the open source way in their own city.

          [...]

          I am privileged and honored to be an official member of this community. However, I am mostly an observer in my role. The passion and interest are at the heart of the hackerspace. The members from Tirana have invested so much of themselves into this community, its mission, and its values. From reading, visiting, and talking with the people involved with Open Labs, you see many of their hearts dedicated to what they’re doing. And when you see someone else who invests their heart into something, it’s challenging to not lend some of your own too.

    • Debian Family

      • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (March and April 2017)

        The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months:

        Guilhem Moulin (guilhem)
        Lisa Baron (jeffity)
        Punit Agrawal (punit)

        The following contributors were added as Debian Maintainers in the last two months:

        Sebastien Jodogne
        Félix Lechner
        Uli Scholler
        Aurélien Couderc
        Ondřej Kobližek
        Patricio Paez

        Congratulations!

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Building Linux-powered devices, part 1: Making my Linux-only world a reality – Network World

      Sometimes, if you want something badly enough, you need to get off your lazy tuchus and make it happen yourself.

      For years now, I’ve been hoping and pining (and often complaining and whining) about how much I want Linux-powered… everything. Not Android. Not ChromeOS. Real Linux. The kind of Linux you have full control over—the sort you’d install on your desktop PC.

    • Artila Launches the Linux-Ready IoT Gateway Matrix-710 for M2M Applications

      Artila Electronics, which specializes in the development and manufacture of Linux-ready ARM embedded industrial computers, launches the highly integrated compact Box Computer , Matrix-710, based on ARM Cortex-A5, especially for industrial control, automation gateway, mobile gateway, smart energy application. Matrix-710 adapts the innovated technology of ARM processor coupled with the open Linux operating system, which provides the backbone for innovative smart IoT solutions. To achieve the need for M2M application, it equips the WiFi, cellular modems which allow Internet connectivity and GPS for location information transition, considering the practical needs, Matrix-710 also offers a miniPCIe slot for users to deploy these modules easily.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • Elastic twangs in snappy machine learning

    Elastic is of course the company behind the open source Elasticsearch and the Elastic Stack products.

    Into the Elastic 5.4 release then… (as a result of the recent acquisition of data anomaly detection business Prelert) Elastic’s machine learning features will work on any time series data set to automatically apply machine brain intelligence.

  • Open Source On IBM i: Let It Grow

    The evaluation of open source software is nowhere near conclusive when it comes to enterprise grade application development. Decisions remain in the exploratory phases. Roadmaps are incomplete. Most are without clear routes to a destination. Some are without destinations. However, it would be wrong to assume roads are not being built.

    There is no way that the future of application development – on IBM i or anywhere else – can handle everything that is coming down the pike without open source. That’s not a mandate to jump on a band wagon. It’s an awareness wake-up call. The IBM i community should not be napping.

  • Open Source an ‘Overrated Necessity,’ Says PCCW [Ed: No, insisting you don't need Free software is like insisting you can put back doors in software, like Microsoft, and be OK]

    If open source has swiftly become the latest religious practise in the telecom industry, it is still attracting its share of skeptics and unbelievers.

    Some were on display at this week’s annual TM Forum Live conference in Nice, where Shahar Steiff, an assistant vice president at Hong Kong’s PCCW, described open source as an “overrated necessity” in front of conference attendees.

  • Events

    • LFNW 2017!

      LinuxFest NorthWest was a fantastic time for me, our Ubuntu booth had Valorie (Kubuntu), Simon (Kubuntu/Lubuntu) and over at the Jupiter Broadcasting we had the awesome Martin Wimpress (Ubuntu Mate). One top question was “what about that Unity news” which we gave a clear answer about Unity development ending and the move to GNOME. Since we were also burning DVD’s and dding usb drives we would recommend that users try out GNOME Shell if GNOME was there preferred Desktop.

    • Bringing together the best minds in open source geospatial technology

      FOSS4G Boston 2017 is shaping up to be a very diverse conference. We have a diverse set of keynote speakers including Holly St. Clair, Chief Digital Officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation, and other open source and geospatial leaders. There are also a variety of workshops and presentations this year. Topics will include R, 3D, analytics, artificial intelligence, routing, big data, drones, GeoNode, GeoServer, image processing, QGIS, PostGIS, projections, and much more! To see the full lineup, visit the full list of accepted presentations and workshops.

    • LaKademy 2017

      I’ve aways been an introspective person and when I was approved to Analysis and Systems Development Course, I thought that I don’t would need to talk with people anymore (while working at least) and I was happy with this xD. Things were going well, until the day that I met the open source concepts and KDE, through my professor, Sandro Andrade (yes, it’s your fault :p). It was love at first sight, I liked the idea to share knowledge and help another people or I was just thinking that I could work with my shorts, I hate pants. I will never know the truth xD.

  • CMS

  • BSD

  • Licensing/Legal

Leftovers

  • IT {sic} pros are becoming desensitised to security alerts and it’s all our fault

    Code42 reckons that 58 per cent of decision makers "have become desensitised to potential cyber security threats due to over-exaggeration and exposure by the media." Furthermore, three-quarters of the ingrates said that they have heard more about cyber threats in the last 18 months than they have ever heard in their lives before.

  • Microsoft to pledge $5 mn to U.N. Human Rights Office

    [...] could prod other big private-sector donors to follow suit.

  • Microsoft commits $5 million to ‘landmark’ United Nations technology partnership
  • Science

    • Thieves in online games can be caught by watching how they play

      Thieves then tend to siphon off virtual items to a network of other accounts they control, often also stolen. The items are in effect shared out between an in-game criminal gang of characters, which usually makes them hard to trace.

    • New American study confirms: Physically separated bike lanes are crucial for safety

      A new study by John Pucher and Ralph Bueler (PDF here) confirms what every cyclist already knows: physically separated bike lanes are by far the best way to reduce injuries and deaths. The two researchers had already shown that more bike lanes mean more cyclists and that bikes keep you skinny, but now demonstrate that cycle tracks keep you alive.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Ransomware Attack Has Spread To Police Department, Institutions: Maharashtra Police

      Globally active ransomware virus has partially affected the computer systems in some institutions in Maharashtra, including that of its police department, a police official said here.

      The exact data about the systems hit by the ransomware, however, will be known once the offices open today, the official said.

      A cyber ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid through the online medium. As per reports, the ransomware has hit as many as 200,000 victims in over 150 countries.

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 47 – WannaCry: Everything is basically broken
    • People are trolling GCHQ after they boasted about keeping Britain safe

      While the effects were felt all over the world in almost 100 countries, the NHS was the most terrifyingly significant target for us in Britain – literally, the lifeline of the UK.

    • Out-of-Control CIA Continues to be Exposed in WikiLeaks’ Vault 7

      After installing a small file, the operators would then be able to instruct the computer to kill any use of a web browser on a set schedule. For instance, the software could be instructed to shut down Firefox every 25-35 seconds. Similarly, the example included a measure to “lock up” PowerPoint files 10 minutes after they were loaded. It would also allow operators to create a delay when PowerPoint files were attempting to load.

      While the examples they used are simple and relatively harmless, the software could perform virtually any assigned task. Because the data is encrypted with a key stored outside of the machine, the code would be extremely difficult to detect and/or decipher.

      After installing the software, the documentation instructs users to “kick back” and “Relax – After Midnight will take care of the rest.”

      The second piece of software detailed is similar to “AfterMidnight” and is called “Assassin.” That piece of software is a relatively simple way of collecting data remotely and then delivering results to a listening post on a schedule.

      Through screenshots in the documents, it can be seen that the author is named “Justin,” is working from a Dell computer, and desktop shortcuts to an encrypted chat program called ‘Pidgin,’ as well as a folder entitled “drone.”

    • Global ‘Wana’ Ransomware Outbreak Earned Perpetrators $26,000 So Far

      However, I find it depressing to think of the massive financial damage likely wrought by this ransom campaign in exchange for such a comparatively small reward. It’s particularly galling because this attack potentially endangered the lives of many.

    • Ransomware: Microsoft can no longer claim to be ‘proactive’

      Microsoft’s reaction to the Windows ransomware crisis that occurred on Friday and Saturday has shown one thing: no longer can the company continue to use the business buzzword “proactive” when it talks about itself. It was caught unawares and left looking very old and tired in the way it responded to the situation.

    • Cyber attack: Hackers {sic} in China try to seize control of WannaCry ransomware’s ‘kill switch’

      “What you can follow is the money,” Mr Raiu said. “You can follow the Bitcoins [although] following the Bitcoins is kind of an art in itself.”

    • [Old] The Software Industry IS the Problem

      The question is how to introduce product liability, because just imposing it would instantly shut down any and all software houses with just a hint of a risk management function on their organizational charts.

    • [Old] Why Not Use Port Knocking?

      The robots currently at work knocking around for your guessable password could easily be repurposed to guess your Unicode password currently known as your port knocking sequence, and quite likely have been already.

    • Ransom Attacks Should Make Xi WannaSmile

      The timing couldn’t be better. Just as President Xi Jinping steps on stage to outline his vision for a Chinese century, the world becomes hostage to malicious software.

      This weekend’s ransomware offensive hit hundreds of thousands of computers in at least 150 countries. The financial toll is still being calculated; the psychological toll could be infinite.

      Developed by the security agency of China’s biggest rival and exploiting a ubiquitous product developed by that country’s globally dominant software company, the attacks offer Xi the perfect opportunity to make the case for an alternative to Microsoft Corp. and its Windows operating system. That the techniques used in the attacks were stolen from the National Security Agency also makes this the perfect chance to argue that global technology can’t be trusted in the hands of a single nation.

    • While Microsoft griped about NSA exploit stockpiles, it stockpiled patches: Friday’s WinXP fix was built in February
    • WannaCry attacks are only the beginning, experts warn

      After all, security vendors are still seeing successful exploitation attempts today for MS08-067, the Windows vulnerability that allowed the Conficker computer worm to spread nine years ago.

    • Is Microsoft to blame for the largest ransomware attacks in internet history?
    • Ransomware attack hits 200,000 [Windows] computers across the globe

      Friday’s attack seems to have run its course but it may not take much to develop other strains of the virus {sic} that are not affected by the kill switch. For now, the best you can do is make sure your computers are running the latest software updates – and don’t click on any funny-looking emails.

    • Doxing the hero who stopped WannaCry was irresponsible and dumb

      At the very least, we should respect his privacy. MalwareTech doesn’t give out his name on his Twitter page or blog. There are no headshots. It’s obvious that he just wants to be left alone to get on with what he enjoys – hacking shit, and figuring out how stuff works.

    • Possible Protections To Take Against WannaCry Ransomware Attack
    • Ubuntu Login Screen Security Flaw Could Allow Anyone To Access Your Files [Ed: No, not true. But then again, Fossbytes is better at plagiarism than at grasping what it ‘writes’ about. Expect corporate media, funded by Bill Gates and Microsoft, to run “Linux not secure” stories amid WannaCry fiasco.)
    • NHS mulling Ubuntu switch after Windows XP fail?

      The NHS could be considering switching its software infrastructure from Windows to Ubuntu, after Windows XP vulnerabilities were exploited in the recent cyber attack that crippled the National Health Service. Or is it just an elaborate gag?

      The NHSbuntu platform came to our attention via Dr Dean Jenkins, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and editor-at-large of BMJ Case Reports, who writes about it on Differential Diagnosis, his blog.

    • How WannaCrypt attacks
  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Ecuador worried over Assange case progress

      It repeated Ecuador’s request for guarantees of non-extradition to any third country.

    • Ecuador concerned by ‘serious lack of progress’ in Assange case

      The letter by Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry voices concern over a "serious lack of progress" by Swedish prosecutors investigating the sexual misconduct case against Assange, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported.

    • Julian Assange: Ecuador ‘concerned’ over lack of progress

      Ecuador has voiced concern over the “serious lack of progress” by the Swedish government in dealing with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

      It said there had been a “serious failure” by Sweden’s prosecutor to complete an inquiry into sexual assault allegations dating back to 2010.

      Mr Assange has been confined to the Ecuadorean embassy, where he has asylum, for nearly five years.

      He fears he will be extradited to the US if he leaves the building.

      The Australian national is concerned the US may seek his arrest over Wikileaks’ release of 500,000 secret military files on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

    • Ecuador concerned by Sweden’s “lack of progress” in Assange case

      Ecuador has written to the Swedish government complaining of a “serious lack of progress” in the investigation involving a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      According to the BBC, the letter criticises Sweden’s prosecutor for a “serious failure” to complete an investigation into rape allegations dating back to 2010. Ecuadorian authorities accuse the prosecutor of a “lack of iniative”.

      Julian Assange has been confined at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has asylum, for nearly five years. British police say he will be arrested if he leaves the embassy.

    • Edward Snowden and others urge Trump to drop case against Assange

      Edward Snowden and Noam Chomsky are among those calling on Donald Trump to drop the US government’s investigation into Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

      The pair – along with more than 100 other activists, journalists and government workers – have signed an open letter to the president that calls prosecuting WikiLeaks “a threat to all free journalism”. The letter asks the Department of Justice to drop plans to charge Assange and other WikiLeaks staff members.

    • Wikileaks Attorneys Blast Citizenfour Maker Poitras

      We are lawyers for WikiLeaks. We are speaking out because we believe that Laura Poitras’s film Risk, released in U.S. theaters on May 5 this year, places our clients in legal jeopardy.

      The film serves to undermine WikiLeaks just as the Trump administration has announced that it intends to prosecute its journalists, editors and associates.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Cities hurting, not promoting economic growth in Finland [iophk: "duh. distributed populations are more productive for countries"]

      The regions have also witnessed lower-than-average gross domestic product growth in the 2010s, despite continuing to make up 61 per cent of the national output. Uusimaa alone accounts for a third of the national output but has failed to contribute to economic growth in 2010–2015, according to Hetemäki.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Donald Trump Impeachment Clock Is Ticking

      Citizens of the United States cannot address all the threats posed by all the errant leaders of all the countries on a planet that has plenty of problems. But they do have a duty to be on alert to threats posed by elected and appointed officials who fail to recognize their responsibilities, who act irrationally, or who disregard the rule of law.

    • [Older] Online Voting Won’t Save Democracy

      We have already declared out election system to be critical national infrastructure. This is largely symbolic, but it demonstrates a commitment to secure elections and makes funding and other resources available to states. We can do much more. We owe it to democracy to do it.

    • Trump ‘shared classified information with Russia’

      Then there is the question of whether US allies will be more reluctant to share sensitive intelligence information with the US, lest the president put sources at risk.

    • The ‘Chilling Effect’ of Trump’s Loose Talk With Russia

      This loose treatment of highly secretive "code word" intelligence raises broader questions, too, about how the cavalier disclosure of such secrets might impact the international relationships so essential to ensuring national security at home.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Privatized for-profit immigrant detention centers are a "living nightmare," investigation shows

      Moreover, to make money to afford extra food or phone calls, many detainees have no option but to work for $1 per day. They are ruthlessly exploited by corporations looking to make a profit.

    • Jeff Sessions Reboots the Drug War

      In a two-page memo to federal prosecutors across the country, Sessions overturned former attorney general Eric H. Holder’s sweeping criminal charging policy that instructed his prosecutors to avoid charging certain defendants with offenses that would trigger long mandatory minimum sentences. In its place, Sessions told his more than 5,000 assistant U.S. attorneys to charge defendants with the most serious crimes, carrying the toughest penalties.

    • Indonesian Islamist leader says ethnic Chinese wealth is next target

      His group organised protests by hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Jakarta late last year over a comment about the Koran made by the capital’s governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic-Chinese Christian.

    • Louisiana’s public defender’s office is largely nonexistent so poor people just plead guilty

      If you’re poor and arrested in Louisiana, you will rot in jail for months or even years waiting for a trial which will be indifferently argued by a grossly overworked public defender. As a result, the majority of poor arrestees plead guilty, and 85% of those accused of crimes are poor. Black people in Louisiana are jailed at four times the rate of white people.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Flooded with thoughtful net neutrality comments, FCC highlights "mean tweets"

      Facing extensive net neutrality support, FCC is ready to gut open Internet rules.

    • [Older] 4 Misleading Things ISPs And The FCC Need To Stop Claiming About Net Neutrality

      Net neutrality is a handy name for a pretty simple principle: the idea that the company providing your internet access should deliver you the online content of your choosing, when you choose it, without interfering. And since 2015, it’s been the law of the land. Now we stand to lose it once again — but the arguments that industry and some regulators are making against it are disingenuous at best, and a pack of lies at worst.

    • Big Cable push-polled America on Net Neutrality, still found the majority in favor of it

      As a way of hastening along the neutracidal moment, the Internet & Television Association (AKA National Cable Television Association) conducted a push-poll asking Americans if they wanted Net Neutrality killed right now, or straightaway (more or less).

      But even within the shitty, stilted choices the poll offered, Americans still spoke overwhelmingly in favor of Net Neutrality, leaving Big Cable to desperately spin the outcomes to claim that Americans really wanted to have their internet connections slowed down unless they were accessing their ISPs’ preferred services.

  • DRM

    • Anti-DRM artists march on the World Wide Web Consortium today

      The controversial project to standardize DRM for streaming video on the web started in 2013 and culminated last month with a poll by W3C members whose results are confidential (though the W3C has chosen to publish the outcomes of previous polls and may yet do so for this one).

    • New Netflix DRM Blocks Rooted Phone Owners From Downloading The Netflix App

      As this site has long documented, DRM more often than not provides a false sense of security to those terrified of piracy, yet just as frequently annoys paying customers — ironically driving those customers to the piracy alternatives the DRM was supposed to prevent in the first place.

      The latest example of this phenomenon: with the latest version 5.0 of the Netflix app, Netflix is now leaning entirely on Google’s Widevine digital rights management system. With Netflix recently introducing downloadable shows (assuming the license for that specific program allows it), Netflix’s programming partners likely wanted Netflix to utilize Widevine to ensure that Netflix’s app “only works with devices that are certified by Google and meet all Android requirements.”

    • Netflix Use of Google DRM Means Rooted Android Devices Are Banned

      Netflix customers who previously viewed the service using a ‘rooted’ Android device are no longer able to do so, at least officially. The development has been confirmed by Netflix, who say that the company’s reliance on Google’s Widevine DRM standards means that modified and/or non-certified devices will be excluded from the service.

    • Netflix confirms it is blocking rooted/unlocked devices, app itself is still working (for now)

      However, Netflix has now confirmed to us that blocking modified devices from downloading the app was intentional.

      This is the full statement:

      With our latest 5.0 release, we now fully rely on the Widevine DRM provided by Google; therefore, many devices that are not Google-certified or have been altered will no longer work with our latest app and those users will no longer see the Netflix app in the Play Store.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • "MP3 is dead" missed the real, much better story

      MP3 is no less alive now than it was last month or will be next year — the last known MP3 patents have simply expired.

    • Copyrights

      • Law Professor Shows How to Fight Copyright Trolls

        Copyright trolls are known for their dubious tactics, but how should they be fought in court? Motivated by false accusations against alleged BitTorrent pirates. Matthew Sag and Jake Haskell have written an in-depth overview that could help defense lawyers to make their case.

      • Streaming Site Operator Jailed For Three Years After Landmark Trial

        Following a landmark trial, the key player at streaming site Swefilmer has been jailed for an unprecedented three years, longer than any defendant in the earlier Pirate Bay case. An administrator of the site received a relatively lenient sentence of probation and community service.

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  1. Great News: While IBM et al Try to Undermine Patent Reform the Supreme Court Deepens the Reform in TC Heartland Case

    In a unanimous decision, with the court ruling 8-0 against TC Heartland, the monkey business in East Texas (beneficial to patent trolls and large businesses that leverage software patents) may have just come to an end



  2. Speculations About Battistelli's End of Term, Campinos at EUIPO, and Failed UPC Ambitions

    Rumours and speculations surrounding the fate of the EPO's leadership now that the UPC gravy train is stuck again and Battistelli's protector, Jesper Kongstad, is about to leave



  3. Martijn van Dam is Wrong to Believe That Battistelli's Abuses Are Somehow Acceptable or Tolerable Because His Term is Possibly Ending

    Coverage of Martijn van Dam’s stance (he is the Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs) reveals that economic gain trumps ethics and justice, irrespective of what the law says



  4. Media and Staff Association Elections at EPO and WIPO Are Compromised

    A campaign of abuse (legal bullying) and gifting to the media, combined with a wide-ranging assault on critics who represent the interests of staff, have led WIPO and EPO down the route to totality



  5. New Documents Help Demonstrate That ILO Delivers Institutional Injustice to EPO Employees and Cushions Team Battistelli

    The International Labour Organisation Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) delivers not justice but merely the illusion of justice, probably in defiance of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)



  6. Leaked: 2017 European Inventor Award Finalists, or Stooges Whom the Tyrant Battistelli Exploits for PR Purposes and Media Manipulation

    The stupidest ceremony in Europe (turning serious science into something sketchy such as Eurovision) is disliked among EPO staff and is exploited by the person who destroys the EPO (Benoît Battistelli) to pretend all is fine and dandy, at huge expense to the Office (as extraordinary as about 5 million Euros for a ~2-hour show)



  7. EPO: Can the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) Still Save It?

    Genuine concerns about the slow process at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the lack of progress at ILO, which coincide with weakening of the unions and threat to jobs of patent examiners (leaving ordinary Europeans more vulnerable to meritless patent lawsuits)



  8. Links 21/5/2017: Linux 3.18.53, Tizen 4.0

    Links for the day



  9. Cloudflare's Enemy is Software Patents, Not Just One Software Patent or One Patent Troll

    With a bounty of $50,000, which is likely less than the cost of legal defense, Cloudflare looks for help with its own case rather than the underlying issues that need tackling worldwide



  10. Patent Laws -- and Especially Eligibility of Software Patents -- Are Being Hijacked by Large Corporations and Their Front Groups

    Intervention by large multinational corporations and their lawyers, front groups, etc. (like the classic lobbying model) gives room for concern in multiple continents where most software development is done



  11. Links 18/5/2017: Catching Up With the Past Three Days

    Links for the day



  12. The US Supreme Court Consults USPTO Director Michelle Lee Regarding the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Which is Invalidating Software Patents With CAFC's Approval

    Software patents continue to get knocked out by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) whose introduction of PTAB gave a helping hand to companies that are susceptible to abusive litigation (with bogus patents)



  13. IBM and Its Revolving Doors Lobby Are Plotting to Undermine Supreme Court Rulings to Restore Patentability of Software

    IBM has become so evil that it is now trying to steal democracy, label programmers "thieves", and basically attack the rule of law by extra-judicially overturning a Supreme Court decision



  14. 3 Years After the Alice Case at the Supreme Court the Plague of Software Patents is Easier to Cope With

    Litigation figures are down, rejection rates of software patents remain high, and only spin (e.g. cherry-picking) or constant lobbying can save those who used to profit from software patents



  15. The Attacks of Patent Trolls as Outlined in the Media This Past Week

    An outline of some of the latest troll cases to be aware of and their consequences too (e.g. software patents being used to literally shut down entire programs)



  16. Links 14/5/2017: Linux 4.12 RC1 and KDE Frameworks 5.34.0

    Links for the day



  17. Industry Giants Challenge Qualcomm's Patent Practices While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Closely Examines Such Behavior

    Scrutiny of Qualcomm's patent aggression and coercion -- scrutiny that can profoundly change the way software patents, SEPs and FRAND are viewed -- as seen in various amicus briefs (amici) from industry giants that are affected



  18. Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette Questions Whether Patents Work When Patent Scope is Too Broad

    Citing MIT economist (and MacArthur “genius”) Heidi Williams, Professor Lisa Larrimore Ouellette from Stanford challenges old myths and quotes: “we still have essentially no credible empirical evidence on the seemingly simple question of whether stronger patent rights—either longer patent terms or broader patent rights—encourage research investments.”



  19. OIN is Still a Distraction Unless We Want GNU/Linux to Coexist With Software Patents (Rather Than Eliminate Those)

    Another wave of media coverage by/for the Open Invention Network (OIN) necessitates a reminder of what OIN stands for and why it is not tackling the biggest problems which Free/Open Source software (FOSS) faces



  20. Links 13/5/2017: Neptune Plasma 5 ISO, a Shift to Free (FOSS) Databases

    Links for the day



  21. Countries With a Dozen European Patents Are an Easy Photo-Op 'Sell' for Battistelli While the EPO's Demise is Largely Ignored by the Patent Microcosm

    Behind the façade of legitimacy, the EPO suffers from an incompetent, insecure and delusional boss, whose actions will almost certainly lead to the collapse of both the Office and the entire Organisation (whose founding document he routinely shreds to pieces)



  22. Our Assessment: Unitary Patent (UPC) Will Crumble Along With Battistelli's Regime at the EPO

    A reflection and an opinion on where the EPO stands and what it means for the UPC, which doesn't seem to be going anywhere (it's all talk and lobbying)



  23. The European Patent Office Has a Long History/Track Record of 'Screwing' Contractors

    The European Patent Office (EPO) appears to have quite an extensive track record/reputation for ‘screwing’ contractors and then misusing immunity to get away with it



  24. Links 12/5/2017: Wine 2.8, Kdenlive 17.04.1, NHS Windows Syndrome

    Links for the day



  25. Links 11/5/2017: New OpenShot, GIMP, and GNOME (3.24.2)

    Links for the day



  26. The Sickness of the EPO – Part IX: Using Confidential Medical Records as a Weapon Against Staff

    In defiance/violation of labour laws and medical oaths etc. the EPO is passing around medical information, either for dismissal pretexts or a sort of blackmail -- a serious abuse in its own right



  27. The EPO is in Disarray and Additional Complaints to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) May Be Imminent

    Team Battistelli reaps what it has sown, as complaints are being made to a court with “47 member states [that] are contracting parties to the Convention,” (European Convention on Human Rights) according to Wikipedia



  28. By Promoting the UPC, in Defiance of Public Will, the EPO Has Become Patent Trolls' Best Friend

    The patent–industrial complex, aided by the EPO under Battistelli's iron-fisted reign, is trying to convince us that the UPC is coming soon and that it is desirable (it's neither of those things)



  29. Links 10/5/2017: Mesa 17.1, Git 2.13, Qt Creator 4.3 RC1, MINIX 3.4 RC6

    Links for the day



  30. Team UPC Still Twists and Fabricates Statements to Make It Seem Like Unitary Patent is Happening Soon

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC), a terrible system which was envisioned and covertly constructed by those who stand to benefit/profit from injunctions and trolling, is not going anywhere, but media which is dominated by Team UPC would have us believe otherwise


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