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10.24.17

Links 24/10/2017: GTK+ 3.92, ArchLabs 2017.10

Posted in News Roundup at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • PC-MOS/386 is the latest obsolete operating system to open source on Github

    PC-MOS/386 was first announced by The Software Link in 1986 and was released in early 1987. It was capable of working on any x86 computer (though the Intel 80386 was its target market). However, some later chips became incompatible because they didn’t have the necessary memory management unit.

    It had a dedicated following but also contained a couple of design flaws that made it slow and/or expensive to run. Add to that the fact it had a Y2K bug that manifested on 31 July 2012, after which any files created wouldn’t work, and it’s not surprising that it didn’t become the gold standard. The last copyright date listed is 1992, although some users have claimed to be using it far longer.

  • PC-MOS operating system goes open source (30 years after release)

    These days if you’re using a desktop computer you’re probably running Windows, although there’s also a good chance you’re using OS X or maybe Chrome OS or one of a number of GNU/Linux distributions. But back in the 80s, it’s wasn’t really clear who the dominant players of the future would be.

  • MS-DOS variant PC-MOS/386 reborn as open source

    Do you still long to run WordPerfect 5.1, Lotus 1-2-3 4, or Doom on DOS? Well, if you do, there’s a new way to revisit the PC world of the 1980s: The newly open-sourced PC-MOS/386 v501.

    PC-MOS, for those who weren’t around in 1987, was a multi-user MS-DOS clone by Norcross, GA’s The Software Link. It ran most standard DOS and 386′s protected mode applications. I reviewed it back in the day — although I can’t find my article from Computer Digest, a Washington DC regional general interest computer newspaper, I recall it worked well.

  • Open Source Initiative, and Open Source Software Movement Celebrate Twenty Years

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), the global non-profit dedicated to raising awareness and adoption of open source software, announced today plans for the “Open Source 20th Anniversary World Tour” to run through 2018.

    Open source software is now ubiquitous, recognized across industries as a fundamental component to infrastructure, as well as a critical factor for driving innovation. Over the past twenty years, the OSI has worked to promote and protect open source software, development, and communities, championing software freedom in society through education, collaboration, and infrastructure, stewarding the Open Source Definition (OSD), and preventing abuse of the ideals and ethos inherent to the open source movement.

  • ErosCoin – An open source solution for blockchain payment industries

    Possibly the largest single factor currently holding cryptocurrencies back from mass adoption is their difficulty of use for the average person. While Bitcoin and Ethereum both provide the ability to transfer value quickly and securely without borders, they both suffer from a steep learning curve, which limits interest from merchants, consumers and payment providers, and restricts growth of their platforms. EROSCOIN is setting out to create a new blockchain that is very significantly differentiated from other existing cryptocurrencies, giving the industry a payment solution that can help to expand the ecosystem and expand user adoption.

  • 7 years of open source: Cloud Foundry, DiffBlue & Quest
  • Rackspace kills discount cloud hosting for open source projects

    Rackspace has announced it will no longer be offering discounts on hosting for open source projects, although it will only apply to new customers rather than those with projects already up and running on the platform.

  • Google Debuts Software to Open Up Quantum Computers for Chemists

    The software, which is open-source and free to use, could be used by chemists and material scientists to adapt algorithms and equations to run on quantum computers.

  • How Open Source boosts the Big Data-Driven Business

    Open Source offers fertile ground for digital transformation. Though Open Source revolutionised software, it now has an impact in larger business fields and this phenomenon is way older than the Big Data revolution we are currently living through.

    Open Source refers to software licenses that can be freely redistributed, accessed and utilised to create derivative works. The source code is made available for the public and often results from collaboration between programmers.

  • Polhemspriset 2017

    I accept this prize, not as a single inventor or brilliant mind of anything, but like the captain of a boat with a large and varying crew without whom I would never have reached this far. I’m excited that the nominee board found me and our merry project and that they were open-minded enough to see and realize the value and position of an open source project that is used literally everywhere. I feel deeply honored.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla and Tactical Technology bring The Glass Room to London

        The Glass Room’s sleek, minimalist storefront located in London’s busy West End is no accident. Shoppers may enter with an expectation to browse and buy the latest technology, yet they leave with a greater understanding that for many companies, we have become the product and our personal data has become a commodity.

  • Databases

    • Neo4j Donates Cypher for Apache Spark to openCypher project: Open Source Contribution Makes ‘SQL for Graphs’ Available on Apache Spark

      Neo4j, the market leader in connected data, today announced that it has donated an early version of Cypher for Apache™ Spark® (CAPS) language toolkit to the openCypher project. This contribution will allow big data analysts to incorporate graph querying in their workflows, making it easier to bring graph algorithms to bear, dramatically broadening how they reveal connections in their data. Developers of Spark applications now join the users of Neo4j, SAP HANA, Redis Graph and AgensGraph, among others, in gaining access to Cypher, the leading declarative property graph query language. This also expands the tooling available to any developer, under Apache 2.0 licenses from the openCypher project.

    • VoltDB Extends Open Source Capabilities for Development of Real-Time Applications

      VoltDB, the enterprise-class translytical database that powers business-critical applications, today announced it is expanding its open source licensing to enable developers to rapidly build, test and deploy real-time applications with the VoltDB data platform. Developers can now access the power of the VoltDB platform with no additional fees, reducing the cost of application development and accelerating the testing and deployment of more advanced database capabilities in production environments.

  • Healthcare

    • Open Source Helps Healthcare Orgs Adapt to IT Advancements

      Open source software is gaining popularity in healthcare as organizations use it to quickly adopt new technology that further advances IT solutions. This continued adoption encourages vendors to offer open source software to help meet the IT demand.

      PrismTech recently announced that it’s expanding its Vortex data distribution service (DDS) to include an open source option, Eclipse Cyclone. Users have access to the full source code supported by the Eclipse Foundation.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Richard Stallman – One Of My Favorites (GNU/Linux)

      Renowned programmer and promoter of free software *, Richard Stallman developed many flagship software, notably those underlying the GNU project and the general public license known by the acronym GPL, which he wrote with the lawyer Eben Moglen and the collaboration of Roland McGrath.

      This program was at the origin of the flowering of the Wiki, initiated by Ward Cunningham in 1995, modifiable websites constructed by the community of the Internet users, such as Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Stallman was also the author of the term copyleft in ironical reference to the notion of copyright that he was fighting.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • How open government is helping with hurricane relief

      Just weeks after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, two more “unprecedented” hurricanes made their way to the southeastern United States. Although changes in Hurricane Irma’s path spared Florida from the bulk of the damage, both Irma and Maria directly hit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Hurricane Maria was particularly devastating for the more than 3.5 million American citizens living in these U.S. Caribbean territories. The CEO of Puerto Rico’s sole electric company indicated that the grid had been “basically destroyed.” Without electricity, communications were severely limited.

      In the aftermath of a natural disaster, embracing open government principles—such as open data, collaboration between citizens and government, and transparency—can save lives.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development

    • Center stage: Best practices for staging environments

      We’re talking about staging because no one talks about it. It’s mentioned in passing as the annoying sidekick to production. It’s the expected and completely necessary part of the deployment cycle barely touched by schools or internships. It’s considered such an obvious part of architecture that no one mentions it, no one details it, many people do it wrong—and some don’t do it at all.

    • Testing javascript in a dockerized rails application with rspec-rails
    • Learning Data Science

      In my last few articles, I’ve written about data science and machine learning. In case my enthusiasm wasn’t obvious from my writing, let me say it plainly: it has been a long time since I last encountered a technology that was so poised to revolutionize the world in which we live.

      Think about it: you can download, install and use open-source data science libraries, for free. You can download rich data sets on nearly every possible topic you can imagine, for free. You can analyze that data, publish it on a blog, and get reactions from governments and companies.

      I remember learning in high school that the difference between freedom of speech and freedom of the press is that not everyone has a printing press. Not only has the internet provided everyone with the equivalent of a printing press, but it has given us the power to perform the sort of analysis that until recently was exclusively available to governments and wealthy corporations.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Suicide Attacks in Afghanistan Cap Bloody Week in Which 250 Killed

      In Afghanistan, a suicide bomber ambushed Afghan army cadets as they left their base in Kabul Saturday, killing 15 of them. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing, as well as a rocket attack earlier in the day on a military base used by the U.S.-led coalition. On Friday, a suicide bomber attacked a Shia mosque in Kabul, killing 56 people and wounding 55 others during prayers. ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack. Separately, an attack on a Sunni mosque in central Afghanistan’s Ghor province killed 20 people. The attacks capped a week of violence that saw more than 250 people killed across Afghanistan.

    • Somalia: Roadside Bomb Attack Kills 11 Civilians

      In Somalia, a roadside bomb exploded Sunday south of the capital Mogadishu, tearing through a minibus and killing at least 11 people. A witness said he saw a Somali military vehicle pass near the time of the explosion and that the civilians were probably killed in error. There’s been no claim of responsibility for the attack, which came a week after a bombing in Mogadishu killed at least 358 people and wounded hundreds of others.

    • NYT Laments ‘Forever Wars’ Its Editorials Helped Create

      Corporate media have a long history of lamenting wars they themselves helped sell the American public, but it’s rare so many wars and so much hypocrisy are distilled into one editorial. On Monday, the New York Times (10/22/17) lamented the expansion of America’s “forever wars” overseas, without once noting that every war mentioned is one the editorial board has itself endorsed, while failing to oppose any of the “engagements” touched on in the editorial.

      [...]

      When confronted with this fact on Twitter, New York Times foreign and defense policy editorial writer Carol Giacomo responded, “In last decade, NYT editorial board has raised many questions about US military engagements.” Raised many questions? Well, then, never mind; let’s leave the Times’ role in the creation of said global empire unexamined.

    • Report: Middle East the primary destination for record Finnish arms exports in 2016

      Finnish materiel exports reached a record 133.4 million euros in 2016, according to the SaferGlobe peace and security think tank. The organisation said Monday that the bulk of exports – some 84 million euros — were sold to countries in the Middle East.

      Last year’s record sales includes a major deal including 40 8×8 Armored Modular Vehicles, sold by Finnish defence contractor Patria to the United Arab Emirates.

      “Finland has long had ambitions to stimulate exports to the Middle East. They have been realised,” said SaferGlobe researcher Kari Paasonen.

    • Villagers Suspected of Luring US Soldiers into Niger Ambush

      A local official and an analyst say residents of the Niger village where four U.S. soldiers were killed this month may have delayed the soldiers while an ambush was set up and helped to lead the victims into a deadly trap.

      “The attackers, the bandits, the terrorists have never lacked accomplices among local populations,” said Almou Hassane, mayor of Tongo-Tongo where the attack took place, in what is believed to be his first interview with a Western news organization.

      The village chief in Tongo-Tongo, Mounkaila Alassane, has been arrested since the attack, Hassane said, lending credibility to the suspicion of local involvement. He is in government custody, according to several officials.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Pirate Party Wins Big in Czech Parliament Elections

      The Czech Pirate Party has booked a significant win in local parliamentary elections. With more than ten percent of the total vote, the Pirates became the third largest party in the country, entering parliament with 22 seats. With its newly gained power, the party hopes to overhaul copyright legislation, fight corruption, and abolish Internet censorship, among other things.

    • Democrats Plan to Name Lobbyists, Operatives Superdelegates

      The new members-at-large of the Democratic National Committee will vote on party rules and in 2020 will be convention delegates free to vote for a primary candidate of their choice. They include lobbyists for Venezuela’s national petroleum company and for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., according to a list obtained by Bloomberg News. At least three of the people worked for either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in 2016 while also casting ballots as superdelegates.

    • The DNC picked a bunch of sleazy lobbyists as superdelegates, can’t figure out why no one is donating

      The 2018 “superdelegates” to the Democratic National Convention will include lobbyists for Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp, CITGO petroleum, Citigroup, and other large corporations.

    • DNC enters 2018 in cash panic
    • Now we know: the right is as PC as the left
    • CNN takes aim at President Donald Trump and his TV surrogates’ lies in a stunning ad

      “This is an apple,” the ad begins with a red apple on a white screen. “Some people might try to tell you it’s a banana. They might scream, ‘Banana, banana, banana,’ over and over again. They might put banana in all caps. You might even start to believe this is a banana. But it’s not. This is an apple.”

      The words “facts first,” then flash on the screen before the CNN logo.

    • Congress: Trump Won’t Implement Russia Sanctions—and He Won’t Tell Us Why

      When Congress sent President Donald Trump a bill in July that slapped new sanctions on Russia, the president signed the legislation reluctantly while lambasting it as an example of congressional overreach.

      The administration has since blown past an October 1 deadline to implement the sanctions. Lawmakers are now searching for answers as to whether the president is even planning to follow the law that they passed and he signed.

      “If they don’t cooperate, then further actions need to be taken,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told The Daily Beast on Monday. The Arizona senator, who chairs the powerful Armed Services Committee and has spoken out against the White House on its attitude toward Moscow, said the administration has left him in the dark.

    • “Useful Idiots”

      Yet another trans-Atlantic think tank has cranked out a report attacking Russia, and yet again the focus of their ire is RT.com.

      Of course, all media outlets get attacked for “propaganda” (you should see the Daily Mail BTL comments about the BBC!), but this particular play book is getting old.

    • Russian Trolling of US Social Media May Have Been Much Greater Than We Thought
    • FCC Likely To Use Thanksgiving Holiday To Hide Its Unpopular Plan To Kill Net Neutrality

      Consumer groups believe that the FCC is planning to formally unveil its unpopular plan to gut net neutrality the day before Thanksgiving, apparently in the hopes of burying media backlash in the hustle and bustle of holiday preparation. At that time, the FCC is expected to not only unveil the core text of their Orwell-inspired “Restore Internet Freedom” proposal, but schedule a formal date for the inevitable, final vote to kill the rules.

      While announcing bad news right before a holiday works in some instances, net neutrality has been such a hot-button topic for so long, the ploy isn’t likely to soften criticism of Trump or the FCC in the slightest. These fairly modest consumer protections have broad, bipartisan support, since our collective disdain for uncompetitive giants like Comcast tends to bridge even the starkest partisan divide. Eliminating these rules is, by any measure, little more than a brazen gift to one of the least competitive and least popular industries in America, and anybody telling you otherwise is either financially conflicted or misinformed.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • FBI director: Unbreakable encryption is a “huge, huge problem”

      FBI Director Christopher Wray told a conference of law enforcement officials on Sunday that he and his colleagues have been unable to open nearly 7,000 digital devices in the first 11 months of the 2017 fiscal year.

      “To put it mildly, this is a huge, huge problem,” Wray said at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia, according to the Associated Press. “It impacts investigations across the board—narcotics, human trafficking, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, gangs, organized crime, child exploitation.”

      Wray’s remarks come less than two weeks after another top law enforcement official, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, called for “responsible encryption”—a seemingly magical method by which only law enforcement would be able to defeat the encryption on a digitally locked device.

    • How Silicon Valley’s Dirty Tricks Helped Stall Broadband Privacy in California

      Across the country, state lawmakers are fighting to restore the Internet privacy rights of their constituents that Congress and the President misguidedly repealed earlier this year. The facts and public opinion are on their side, but the recent battle to pass California’s broadband privacy bill, A.B. 375, suggests that they will face a massive misinformation campaign launched by the telecom lobby and, sadly, joined by major tech companies.

      The tech industry lent their support to a host of misleading scare tactics.

    • FBI Director Wray is Wrong About Section 702 Surveillance

      Newly-minted FBI Director Christopher Wray threw out several justifications for the continued, warrantless government search of American communications. He’s wrong on all accounts.

      In a presentation hosted by The Heritage Foundation, Wray warned of a metaphorical policy “wall” that, more than 15 years ago, stood between the U.S. government’s multiple intelligence-gathering agencies. That wall prevented quick data sharing, he said. It prevented quick “dot-connecting” to match threats to actors, he said. And, he said, it partly prevented the U.S. from stopping the September 11 attacks.

      “When people, now, sit back and say, ‘Three thousand people died on 9/11, how could the U.S. government let this happen?’” Wray said. “And one of the answers is, well, they had this wall.”

    • Senators want to reform a surveillance law before Trump renews it
    • Closing Section 702’s Front-Door Search Loophole: A Critical Protection for Americans
    • Latest FISA Amendments Act 702 surveillance legislation: SSCI, HJC

      Lots of legislative action on FISA Amendments Act Section 702 warrantless surveillance is happening with drafts that are not public even though they are not classifed. Here are some.

      The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on October 24, 2017, will mark up – behind closed doors – a bill being pushed by its chairman, Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina. Burr isn’t showing his draft to the public, and not clear what it will look like when the hearing is done, but here is a copy of the draft legislation, with annotations, heading into that hearing.

    • Apple Pay now in 20 markets, nabs 90% of all mobile contactless transactions where active

      Bailey also announced that the service is launching in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the UAE in the next few days, bringing the total number of countries where it is used up to 20. And she said that 4,000 issuers worldwide now work with the wallet (that is, there are now 4,000 credit and debit card issuers whose cards can now be uploaded to and used via Apple Pay).

    • No subsidised food without Aadhaar for Jharkahnd’s poor: Reality check reveals ugly details

      Jharkhand’s poor are being denied subsidised supplies under the public distribution system for not linking Aadhaar to their ration cards.

    • Linking your bank account with Aadhaar is mandatory, here’s what happens if you don’t

      Turns out you have to link your bank account with Aadhaar after all. The Reserve Bank of India on Saturday stepped in to strike down news reports that claimed, quoting an RTI reply, it was not necessary to link the 12-digit biometric identification number with bank accounts, saying the directive remained in force under anti-money laundering rules.

      So, the December 31 deadline stays put for now.

    • U.S. Will Curb ‘Sneak-and-Peek’ Searches Microsoft Sued Over
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Stand Up Against Bullying, or We All Lose

      I have never liked bullies. I still don’t.

      A few weeks ago, while coaching my daughter’s under-10 soccer team, we encountered a referee who was a bully. During the championship game of a tournament, this referee did not exhibit professionalism or mutual respect toward our team and sideline. Over the course of the game, he showed bias against our players and the parents of the players. He made multiple incorrect calls and affected the flow of the game. His actions may have influenced the outcome of the game, which we lost by one goal, 5-4, in overtime.

      Our team—nine girls under the age of 10—was heartbroken. They had played their hearts out to reach the championship game, winning four games over the course of a blazing hot Sunday. Tears started to flow.

      The head coach of our team and I attempted to console the girls. We did not make excuses or blame the referee. We used the loss as a teachable moment. “Sometimes in sports, as in life, we face obstacles outside of our control,” we explained. “We have to overcome these challenges to succeed. We have to find a way to win. We don’t always get the result we want. But in failure, we have to remember that the journey is the reward and learn from the experience to become better.”

    • L.A. Times: 38 Women Accuse Director James Toback of Sexual Misconduct

      Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports that 38 women are accusing Hollywood screenwriter and director James Toback of sexual assault and harassment. In separate interviews, the women describe how Toback would lure them to a hotel room or movie trailer with the promise of making them a Hollywood star, before masturbating in front of them or making unwanted sexual contact. Toback denied the charges, telling the L.A. Times he had never met any of the 38 women, or if he had, he didn’t remember them.

    • [Older] We Snuck into Seattle’s Super Secret White Nationalist Convention

      Virtually every time I use the word “Nazi” I’m using it as an insult. In the world of millennial white nationalism, there aren’t a ton of people who actually self-identify as Nazis. Despite usually agreeing with everything the Nazis did and believing the Holocaust is just “anti-white propaganda,” they always claim a technical reason for why they aren’t “National Socialists.” None of these reasons would ever make sense to anybody outside the community and “I’m not a Nazi, but” is one of the most common white nationalist recruitment tricks to have people hear them out.

    • Here’s How Prison and Jail Systems Brutalize Women, Especially Mothers

      Nearly 220,000 women are incarcerated in the United States, leaving too many children without their mom.

    • Police body cams had no “statistically significant effect” in DC

      To conduct the study, researchers identified officers across the seven metro police districts that fit a specific criteria: the officer had to have active, full duty administrative status without a scheduled leave of absence during the study; the officer had to hold a rank of sergeant or below; and the officer had to be assigned to patrol duties in a patrol district or to a non-administrative role at a police station. From there, officers were split into control (no body cams) and treatment groups. “Our sample consisted of 2,224 MPD members, with 1,035 members assigned to the control group, and 1,189 members assigned to the treatment group,” the study notes.

      The study (PDF) then measured four outcome factors: reported uses of force, civilian complaints, policing activities (which includes tickets, warnings, arrests, etc.), and judicial outcomes, specifically whether MPD arrest charges led to prosecutions.

      DC Police Chief Peter Newsham told NPR that everybody was expecting a different conclusion about the agency’s $5.1 million program. “I think we’re surprised by the result. I think a lot of people were suggesting that the body-worn cameras would change behavior. There was no indication that the cameras changed behavior at all.”

    • 11 arrested, water cannon deployed as Orthodox Jews protest military draft in Jerusalem (VIDEO)

      The tensions escalated after some 45 students of yeshiva – an institution where Jewish religious texts are taught – were arrested and still remain in military prison for failing to show up for the draft or obtain the military service exemptions.

      The Jerusalem Faction leader, Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, has told the youths to refrain from getting exemptions and cooperating with the military in any other way. The move made hundreds of young men in the area eligible for arrest on charges of dodging conscription.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Cisco Buys Software Maker BroadSoft for About $1.9 Billion
    • An Over-The-Top Approach to Internet Regulation in Developing Countries

      Increased smartphone usage and availability of wireless broadband has propelled the use of Internet based platforms and services that often compete with similar services based on older technologies. For example services like Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp that offer voice or video calls over the Internet compete with traditional SMS and voice calls over telecom networks. Such platforms have gained in popularity particularly in developing countries because calling over the Internet is far cheaper than making calls on telecom networks. Online video streaming and TV services like Netflix and online similarly compete with traditional broadcasters and network providers.

      These online applications and services are transforming traditional sectors and changing the economic landscape of the markets. The increasing popularity of such apps and services, often referred to by telecommunications regulators as “Over-the-top” or OTT services, brings new regulatory challenges for governments. Historically, most of these services have not required a licence or been required to pay any licensing fee. As the use of such services picks up in developing countries, governments are rushing to create rules that would subject OTT providers to local taxation, security, and content regulation obligations—often under pressure from telco incumbents who are seeking protection from change and competition.

    • Govt looks to hike minimum net speed nearly four-fold

      Asked whether 2 mbps – which is also being pushed forward by regulator Trai – will be sufficient for digital transformation, she said, “2 mbps is the basic minimum. We should definitely mandate this. If at all, it should be higher than that. It cannot be lower than that.”

    • Michigan Lawmaker Flees Twitter After Reports Highlight She Helped AT&T Push Anti-Competition Broadband Law

      Last week we noted how Freshman Michigan Representative Michele Hoitenga has been pushing a broadband competition-killing bill she clearly neither wrote nor understands. The industry-backed bill, HB 5009 (pdf), would ban Michigan towns and cities from using taxpayer funds to build or operate community broadband networks, and would hamstring these communities’ abilities to strike public/private partnerships. The bill is just the latest example of broadband industry protectionist laws ISPs ghost write, then shovel unobstructed through the corrupt state legislative process.

      ISPs want their cake and to eat it too; they don’t want to upgrade or deploy broadband into low ROI areas, but they don’t want others to either. And they certainly don’t want outside added pressure disrupting the good thing (read: duopoly regulatory capture resulting in no competition and higher rates) they’ve enjoyed for fifteen years. While companies like AT&T could deter towns and cities from looking for creative alternatives by offering better, cheaper service, it’s much less expensive to throw money at lawmakers who, with the help of groups like ALEC, craft and pass laws protecting the duopoly status quo.

  • DRM

    • Portugal Bans Use of DRM to Limit Access to Public Domain Works

      At EFF, we’ve become all too accustomed to bad news on copyright come out of Europe, so it’s refreshing to hear that Portugal has recently passed a law on copyright that helps to strike a fairer balance between users and copyright holders on DRM. The law doesn’t abolish legal protection for DRM altogether—unfortunately, that wouldn’t be possible for Portugal to do unilaterally, because it would be inconsistent with European Union law and with the WIPO Copyright Treaty to which the EU is a signatory. However, Law No. 36/2017 of June 2, 2017, which entered into force on June 3, 2017, does grant some important new exceptions to the law’s anti-circumvention provisions, which make it easier for users to exercise their rights to access content without being treated as criminals.

      The amendments to Articles 217 and 221 of Portugal’s Code of Copyright and Related Rights do three things. First, they provide that the anti-circumvention ban doesn’t apply to circumvention of DRM in order to enjoy the normal exercise of copyright limitations and exceptions that are provided by Portuguese law. Although Portugal doesn’t have a generalized fair use exception, the more specific copyright exceptions in Articles 75(2), 81, 152(4) and 189(1) of its law do include some key fair uses; including reproduction for private use, for news reporting, by libraries and archives, in teaching and education, in quotation, for persons with disabilities, and for digitizing orphan works. The circumvention of DRM in order to exercise these user rights is now legally protected.

    • Portugal passes the world’s first reasonable DRM law

      Last June, Portugal enacted Law No. 36/2017 which bans putting DRM on public domain media or government works, and allows the public to break DRM that interferes with their rights in copyright, including private copying, accessibility adaptation, archiving, reporting and commentary and more.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Protecting intellectual property is a necessary evil but nations must work together
    • Trademarks

      • Long Trail Brewing Sues East Coast Apparel Company Over ‘Take A Hike’ T-Shirt

        The last time we checked in with Long Trail Brewing, the Vermont brewery was busy fighting a Minnesota brewer that had dared to put a stick figure of a hiker on its beer can. It seems that rather than basing its trademark legal expeditions on any real or potential customer confusion, Long Trail views trademark law as a vehicle for monopoly and lawsuit-driven income. Long Trail is certainly not alone in this view, unfortunately, but it does have a penchant for taking this sort of thing to ridiculous lengths.

        Such as going after an apparel company for a simple t-shirt using an incredibly generic phrase, for instance. Long Trail has initiated a trademark lawsuit with a company called Chowdaheadz because the latter dared to make a shirt with the phrase “Take a hike” on it. As the filing explains, Long Trail has trademarked the phrase for its use and has sold apparel with the phrase on it.

    • Copyrights

      • The Pirate Bay’s Iconic .SE Domain Name Is Back From The Dead

        The Pirate Bay’s iconic .SE domain name is the primary method by which pirates access their favorite torrent website. However, in a surprise development, last week, the domain name was deactivated.

        It seemed as the historic domain name was expired and the people were no longer able to visit the notorious website. However, as per a new report by TorrentFreak, thepiratebay.se is now operating normally and sending the visitors to thepiratebay.org.

      • TV formats potentially eligible for copyright protection as dramatic works under UK law

        This decision sheds light on an area of UK copyright that has remained uncertain for a long time, also due to the rigid and closed system of categories envisaged by the CDPA.

        However, as the outcome of the case confirms, wannabe holders of copyright in TV formats must pay substantial attention when drafting relevant documents, and provide as many details and information as possible. Another crucial aspect when it comes to potentially commercially valuable works like TV formats is to draft and rely on robust non-disclosure agreements, also to offset the fact that relevant documents should be sufficiently detailed.

      • MPAA and RIAA’s Megaupload Lawsuits Remain on Hold

        A federal court in Virginia has granted Megaupload’s request to keep the cases filed by the music and movie companies on hold until April next year. Since all crucial data on Megaupload’s servers was preserved earlier this year, the MPAA and RIAA have no objections against the stay, which was triggered by slow progress in the criminal case.

      • Copyright Trolls Hit Thousands of Swedish ‘Pirates’ With $550 ‘Fines’

        Many thousands of alleged movie pirates in Sweden have been hit with demands for cash settlements in recent weeks. The ‘fines’, which amount to around $550 each, are being sent by Njord Law, a law firm acting on behalf of international copyright trolls active in several different countries, including the United States.

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  1. Links 19/4/2018: Mesa 17.3.9 and 18.0.1, Trisquel 8.0 LTS Flidas, Elections for openSUSE Board

    Links for the day



  2. The Patent Microcosm, Patent Trolls and Their Pressure Groups Incite a USPTO Director Against the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Section 101/Alice

    As one might expect, the patent extremists continue their witch-hunt and constant manipulation of USPTO officials, whom they hope to compel to become patent extremists themselves (otherwise those officials are defamed, typically until they're fired or decide to resign)



  3. Microsoft's Lobbying for FRAND Pays Off as Microsoft-Connected Patent Troll Conversant (Formerly MOSAID) Goes After Android OEMs in Europe

    The FRAND (or SEP) lobby seems to have caused a lot of monopolistic patent lawsuits; this mostly affects Linux-powered platforms such as Android, Tizen and webOS and there are new legal actions from Microsoft-connected patent trolls



  4. To Understand Why People Say That Lawyers are Liars Look No Further Than Misleading Promotion of Software Patents

    Some of the latest misleading claims from the patent microcosm, which is only interested in lots and lots of patents (its bread and butter is monopolies after all) irrespective of their merit, quality, and desirability



  5. When News About the EPO is Dominated by Sponsored 'Reports' and Press Releases Because Publishers Are Afraid of (or Bribed by) the EPO

    The lack of curiosity and genuine journalism in Europe may mean that serious abuses (if not corruption) will go unreported



  6. The Boards of Appeal at the European Patent Organisation (EPO) Complain That They Are Understaffed, Not Just Lacking the Independence They Depend on

    The Boards of Appeal have released a report and once again they openly complain that they're unable to do their job properly, i.e. patent quality cannot be assured



  7. Links 18/4/2018: New Fedora 27 ISOs, Nextcloud Wins German Government Contract

    Links for the day



  8. Guest Post: Responding to Your Recent Posting “The European Patent Office Will Never Hold Its Destroyers Accountable”

    In France, where Battistelli does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, he can be held accountable like his "padrone" recently was



  9. The EPO in 2018: Partnering With Saudi Arabia and Cambodia (With Zero European Patents)

    The EPO's status in the world has declined to the point where former French colonies and countries with zero European Patents are hailed as "success stories" for Battistelli



  10. For Samsung and Apple the Biggest Threat Has Become Patent Trolls and Aggressors in China and the Eastern District of Texas, Not Each Other

    The latest stories about two of the world's largest phone OEMs, both of which find themselves subjected to a heavy barrage of patent lawsuits and even embargoes; Samsung has meanwhile obtained an antisuit injunction against Huawei



  11. The EPO Continues to Lie About Patent Quality Whilst Openly Promoting Software Patents, Even Outside Europe

    EPO patent quality continues to sink while EPO management lies about it and software patents are openly being promoted/advocatedEPO patent quality continues to sink while EPO management lies about it (the article above is new) and software patents are openly being promoted/advocated



  12. SCOTUS on WesternGeco v Ion Geophysical Almost Done; Will Oil States Decision Affirm the PTAB's Quality Assurance (IPRs) Soon?

    Ahead of WesternGeco and Oil States, following oral proceedings, it's expected that the highest court in the United States will deliver more blows to patent maximalism



  13. Links 17/4/2018: Linux 5.x Plans and Microsoft's 'Embrace'

    Links for the day



  14. The European Patent Office (EPO) Grants Patents in Error, Insiders Are Complaining That It's the Management's Fault

    The EPO has languished to the point where patents are granted in error, examiners aren't happy, and the resultant chaos benefits no-one but lawyers and patent trolls



  15. The European Patent Office Will Never Hold Its Destroyers Accountable

    With only one in seven EPO stakeholders believing that Battistelli's pick (António Campinos) will turn things around for the better, it certainly does not seem like people are happy and there's no real hope that Battistelli will ever be held accountable for his abuses after his immunity expires



  16. With Liars Like These...

    The European Patent Office continues to lie about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) amongst other things, still revealing its reluctance to say anything which is truthful or work to repair the damage caused by Benoît Battistelli



  17. Links 16/4/2018: Linux 4.17 RC 1, Mesa 18.0.1 RC, GNOME 3.28.1

    Links for the day



  18. IAM, Patently-O and Watchtroll (the Patent Trolls' Lobby) Try to Stop Patent Oppositions/Petitions (PTAB)

    In spite of fee hikes, introduced by Iancu's interim predecessor, petitions (IPRs) at the PTAB continue to grow in number and the patent maximalists are losing their minds over it



  19. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Ending Software Patents One Patent at a Time

    At an accelerating pace and with growing determination, PTAB (part of AIA) crushes patent trolls and software patents; the statistics and latest stories speak for themselves



  20. Academics and Think Tanks for Patent Maximalism

    Right-wing think tanks and impressionable academics continue to lobby for patent maximalism, rarely revealing the funding sources and motivations; in reality, however, such maximalism mainly helps large (already-wealthy) corporations, monopolists, and law firms



  21. Killing Patent Quality and Encouraging 'Covert' Software Patents Using the Buzzwords Du Jour

    The epidemic of buzzwords and/or hype waves that are being exploited to dodge or bypass patent scope/limitations, as seen in Europe and the US these days



  22. Crisis of Quality at the EPO Extends to Staff (Notably Examiners) and Management as Institutional Integrity is Severely Compromised

    A rather pessimistic but likely realistic outlook for the European Patent Office (EPO), which seems unable to attract the sort of staff it attracted for a number of decades



  23. The 'Blockchaining' of Software Patents (to Dodge the Rules/Guidelines) Now Coming to Europe

    A lot of software patents are being declared invalid (or not granted in the first place); having said that, using all sorts of hype waves (like calling databases “blockchains”) firms and individuals manage to still be granted software patents and sometimes patent trolls hoard these



  24. Links 14/4/2018: Wine 3.6, KDE Elisa 0.1

    Links for the day



  25. East Asia Should Have Adopted the Patent Strategy of South Asia, Notably India

    China seems to be so interested in patent maximalism that it has lost sight of the effect on foreign investment, e.g. US/European/Taiwanese/Japanese/Korean firms operating/manufacturing in mainland China



  26. Samsung is the 'New IBM', Sans the Trolling With Patents

    The 'relic' company, IBM, loses its patent leadership (as measured using some yardstick) to Samsung, a company which is relatively calm when it comes to patent activity (unless/only when sued, as happens a lot nowadays)



  27. David Barcelou May or May Not be a Patent Troll, But He is Certainly a SLAPPing Bully and Watchtroll is Fine With It

    Like a thin-skinned person/entity (which many in the patent microcosm are), David Barcelou and Automated Transactions (“ATL”) SLAPP their critics and surprisingly enough it's Watchtroll, who has been threatened by WIPO, coming to the bully's rescue (double standards)



  28. Links 12/4/2018: Stable New Kernels, Neptune 5.1

    Links for the day



  29. The USPTO Has a Nepotism and Lobbying Problem That Jeopardises the Rationality of US Patent Law

    The influence games of Washington are spilling over to the US patent office and poisoning/harming its ability to conduct professional operations without corporate influence (from either side, both corporations and law firms)



  30. Patent Trolls in the United States Show the Importance of Stopping Software Patents (Trolls' Favourite) Worldwide

    The abundance of entities that exist for no purpose other than to initiate lawsuits is a contagious threat to real innovation (or science and technology being practiced); a new jury verdict (record-breaking $500,000,000) is a reminder of this


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