EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

12.16.17

EPO Busy Distracting From Miscarriage/Abuse of Justice at the EPO (Both Office and Organisation)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The European Patent Organisation continues to be a vassal of the Office (Christoph Ernst is defending Battistelli) and justice is not being honoured; it’s being discarded in the darkness (in secret meetings)

A LOT happened while I was away. The EPO was trying pretty hard to distract from an eventful scandal, having issued 3-4 ‘news’ items in just a couple of days (it typically posts only 1 or 2 per week, sometimes 0 for a whole month).

On Thursday and Friday it kept ‘banging’ on with lots about the latest nonsensical ‘study’ (passing money to the German media), as well as #IPforSMEs. Nothing was said about the meeting in Munich (Wednesday until Thursday), except the obvious distractions/face-saving tweets we’ll come to in a moment. On Thursday Battistelli’s latest photo op was released (warning: epo.org link). It can be found via this tweet too. ISO is corrupt enough that it can afford a handshake with Battistelli (one can bribe for or ‘buy’ standards at ISO, as we showed a decade ago).

Battistelli also shared a new photo op of him (warning: epo.org link) signing papers with a country that facilitates his abuses, more specifically INPI which looks as though it engaged in entryism against the EPO (just look at members of staff at the top-level management).

To quote: “The EPO and the French National Industrial Property Office (INPI) have signed a three-year bilateral co-operation plan. The agreement, which provides a framework for collaboration in areas such as IT projects and training, was signed by EPO President Benoît Battistelli and INPI Director General Romain Soubeyran in Munich yesterday.”

Does that say where Battistelli came from and brought much of his management team from? That in itself is a scandal and they put this photo op in INPI’s Twitter account too, only to then (very soon) get retweeted by the EPO. It’s like an “evidence of the crime” photo op, but Battistelli got too accustomed to being above the law. He just doesn’t care.

Then came another “news” item, this one with Christoph Ernst, who is complicit by inaction. This latest one (warning: epo.org link) is quite revealing. (promoted with the photo op in Twitter). He’s taking photo ops with Lutz just to metaphorically spit on the graves of victims at the Boards of Appeal. Perhaps he fails to realise just how bad that makes him look. The EPO had said nothing about the Boards of Appeal other than this tweet which states: “The application deadline for the 2018 judicial internships at the Boards of Appeal session is 9 January” (internships are not jobs and the Boards are massively understaffed).

Obviously nothing about ILO, the protest, the scandal associated with the judge etc. Just anything to shift attention away from that…

SUEPO, in the meantime, is accusing Ernst of embracing Battistelli’s lies and it politely slams the Council Ernst chairs for backing violations of the law. Here is the page from SUEPO Munich and an HTML version of the PDF:

DEMONSTRATION
Wednesday 13 December

On 13 and 14 December the Administrative Council of the EPO meets in Munich. The agenda can be found in micado as CA/105/17. SUEPO Munich called for a demonstration in front of the Isar building on the first day of the meeting of the Administrative Council. The aim of the demonstration was to signal to the Council that their governance is needed.

While Mr Battistelli still pretends that “all is well” and tells the Council that he is making good progress with the social dialog, some 700 colleagues provided living proof of the contrary – see below.

Isar protest

Mr Ernst, the new chairman of the Administrative Council had been invited to meet the staff in front of the building to see (and hear) for himself what the real situation is. Mr Ernst did not accept the invitation. He apparently preferred to rely on Mr Battistelli’s “alternative facts”.

The same seems to apply to the majority of the delegations in the Council. The disciplinary procedure against the Member of the Boards of Appeal who was kept suspended for 3 years is on the agenda of the meeting as point 1.7. It is “C” point meaning that it will again be discussed behind closed doors. At the time of writing the Board Member has still not been invited. He has also not been informed of what is in the confidential documents that are on the agenda. This means that whatever decision will be taken is again based solely on information provided by Mr Battistelli. This is in gross violation of the principles of due process, as pointed out by the ILO Tribunal in its recent Judgments No. 3958 and 3960

In those Judgments the Tribunal the EPO was ordered to reinstate the Member of the Boards of Appeal, lift the house ban imposed upon him, return any EPO property seized before and unblock his UserID with immediate effect. Mr Josefsson, President of the Boards, has given him access to the Haar building, but he is still denied access to the other Office buildings. Moreover: contrary to the Tribunal’s orders he has not been provided with a computer or a telephone. Under the circumstances he is still de facto suspended.

With this Mr Battistelli and the Administrative Council once again show a total and utter lack of respect not only for his staff and their rights (“due process”) but also for the Tribunal and the Rule of Law.

SUEPO will continue to denounce such behaviour and organise actions as long as necessary to bring respect for the Rule of Law back to the Office.

SUEPO Munich

As we expected all along, Ernst is akin to his predecessor, “his master’s voice.” The Council has a serious stain; there are many career climbers like Ernst, speaking nonsense (e.g. about patent quality) and knowingly spreading lies about the situation. They probably even lie to themselves about it.

JUVE’s Mathieu Klos‏ wrote that the “AC finished its Meeting. As JUVE understands AC made a decision on the disciplinary case of EPO judge Corcoran. According to sources he has been reinstated but not reappointed. Neither the AC nor @EPOorg have confirmed this so far. More details soon on http://www.juve.de”

Another person (a UPC booster) remarked: “I would say I’m surprised, but… So, they’ve adhered to the letter but not the spirit of the ILO rulings? And soon he’ll be back in DG1. How long until some sort of spurious disciplinary investigation starts, do you think?”

That’s what everybody says.

Regarding the underlying process in that meeting, it was highly cryptic, but the most detailed accounts were made available in this report from Thursday:

One answer of sorts has come with the leak of the Administrative Council’s agenda for its meeting this Wednesday and Thursday. Discussion of Corcoran’s tribunals have been given a confidential status, meaning that only government and EPO management representatives can be present, with no staff or observers allowed.

In addition, a last-minute revised version of the agenda demonstrates that three documents produced for discussion and decision on the Corcoran case have been changed or replaced just hours before the meeting was due to start.

Initially, the issue was due to be discussed with references to three documents numbered 16, 17 and 19. On Tuesday, those documents had vanished and were replaced in a revised agenda with documents 21, 22 and 24. We do not know what is contained in either set of documents, nor have they been provided to Corcoran: their subject.

EPO insiders say that such a last-minute change is almost certainly the result of revisions from EPO management, and that if that’s the case, the changes would have been approved personally by Battistelli.

Or, in other words, having been publicly criticized for personally involving himself in a dispute in which he had a clear conflict of interests, the EPO president’s response was to personally direct the proposal put in front of the Administrative Council for approval, despite the EPO officially claiming to have left the issue entirely up to the council.

Such behind-the-scenes manipulation of the EPO’s processes and procedures is commonplace at the organization, staff complains, and stems from a culture of secrecy and lack of accountability that goes unchallenged (and is sometimes fed) by the representatives of European government on the Administrative Council.

Indeed, it was the council’s willingness to accept EPO management’s proposals without question that led to it being criticized by the ILO for failing to consider the obvious conflict of interest in Battistelli involving himself in the Corcoran case.

[...]

Corcoran’s case is not the only one. Battistelli and his management team have targeted a number of EPO staff, particularly union leaders, to the extent that they have repeatedly broken German and Dutch law (and then claimed immunity), distorted the organizational appeals process (and had two years’ of appeals thrown out), and even undermined the EPO’s Boards of Appeal to the extent that it forms a key part of an argument in front of the German constitutional court for stopping the introduction of a European Unitary Patent Court.

This article has attracted plenty of comments about Battistelli. For example:

Someone comes along and just does exactly what they want and no-one stops them.

Blair, Campbell, Putin, Blatter, etc, etc.

Its strange how this chap seems to have immunity from real criticism and heads up a fairly important organisation.

Are these the sorts of people the EPO wishes to be associated with?

Here’s the latest in Kluwer Patent Blog:

Just heard that Mr Corcoran is back in DG1 from 01.01.2018.

So much for independence of DG3

And then:

In DG1, i.e. under the direct authority of Battistelli.

The bets are open: how long before Battistelli will find an excuse – any excuse, to fire him?

I don’t give him more than 6 months.

Poor guy.

Yes, we don’t expect that to last long. This, perhaps, was part of the plan (even if contingency).

The following comment said, “let us not forget what Mr. Corcoran wrote about Mr. BB: that he is abusing his power at the EPO.”

Battistelli does a fine job demonstrating that Corcoran was correct. Here is the full comment:

that may wll be, but then the internal decision if the accusations are right have not been finalised yet, therefore this was not a decision he could appeal at ATILO yet. Therefore ATILO could not decide on substance.
Furthermore, ATILO only very rarely checks these kind of matters. They are an administrative tribunal, and therefore preferably only check whether the rules have been followed. This time they even avoided deciding whether the rules are legal or have benn legally correctly createf…. They found this decision sufficient to get the case off their table, without looking at the remaining elements of the appeal.

And let us not forget what Mr. Corcoran wrote about Mr. BB: that he is abusing his power at the EPO.
This decision by ATILO actually confirms this.
(source: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/12/06/euro_patent_office_commanded_to_reinstate_nazi_judge_it_attacked/ fourth paragraph from the end of the article)

Someone wrote the following reply:

He hasn’t been found innocent by the ILO because they weren’t asked to do that. They are only an administrative tribunal anyway.

I note that his lawyer has claimed that the facts have been presented to German courts without success for the plaintiffs.

I agree there may be a breakdown in any working relationship but that is almost always the case of a whistle-blower which may be what was effectively the case is here. I haven’t seen the evidence but understand that court documents were presented which had relevance in some way. Perhaps the procedure you suggest may also involve assessing their value? Would a CEO or other c-level position be able to avoid that? Perhaps the innocent man was right??

There are disagreements in there regarding guilt. Among them (not all):

Yes, of course Mr Corcoran is innocent.

I thought that the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” was a universal one – it appears not. If Mr Corcoran had not been proven guilty after due process of law, then we MUST presume he is innocent. Some comments seem to assume that he is guilty until proven innocent.

The ILO-AT found that due process was lacking in this case. Therefore we must presume he is innocent.

In my opinion, the many violations of due process in this case (and the President’s partiality is just one of them) are indicative of attempts to secure a conviction by dubious means. Why not do things by the book if your case is sound?

Whilst many comments may focus upon specifics, a common thread can be found, namely disbelief about the EPO’s apparent disregard for the rule of law.

Unless you think that it is OK for a patent office to disregard the laws that are supposed to bind it, I suggest that in future you keep your snide comments to yourself.

Therein lies the problem. It’s particularly bad for the EPO to become a lawless place because it’s all about patent law and if it cannot obey simple law (or even court orders), what does that say about this institution’s potential or capacity for justice?

On why EPO problems could/should signal the end of the Unitary Patent:

Juducial independence, or lack of it, is quite a meaty topic, I would have thought. And perhaps the Bundesverfassungsgericht (German Constitutional court) thinks so too as it has blocked German ratification of the UPC in order to consider objections on this and other grounds.

Someone then said this:

So, just to inform everyone here,

Judge C is now AGAIN. suspended , this time by the AC without battistelli !,,,!!

We’re not sure if this is true; did he really get suspended again? No source is mentioned and the punctuation looks bad enough to damage the poster’s credibility/intent.

Going back to the underlying case, one person then said:

I thought that the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” was a universal one.

At the EPO the presumption of innocence only applies to officials appointed under Article 11(1) and (2) of the EPC.

For all others the presumption of guilt applies.

There’s also the reference number, just in case someone wishes the chase the text:

The file number for the case at the Landgericht München was 24 Qs 18/17.

Anybody who is interested can apply for a redacted copy of the decision of 6 November 2017 at the court.

Landgericht München I
80316 München

https://www.justiz.bayern.de/gerichte-und-behoerden/landgericht/muenchen-1/kontakt.php

The document will of course be in German.
There may be some administrative charge for photocopying etc.

SUEPO has just published this translation of the recent report in German. According to Mathieu Klos, who wrote it before the secretive meeting, Senya Okyay is Corcoran’s lawyer and he insists that “[t]he Administrative Council now no longer has no reason to draw the proceedings out any further” (translated from English to German and back to English, so there might be discrepancies).

Here is the full article:

Slap in the face for Battistelli: Suspended EPO judge wins court victory right down the line

The judge of the Board of Appeals at the European Patent Office (EPO) suspended three years ago is to be reinstated, under a decision yesterday by the Administrative Tribunal at the International Labour Organisation in Geneva (ILOAT) (File Refs. 3958 and 3960). The supreme labour court for employees of international organisations also awarded the EPO judge, in two separate rulings, a total of some 40,000 Euro in compensatory payment for moral damages and compensation for loss of earnings.

The decisions are likely to increase the pressure enormously on the Administrative Council of the Patent Office to bring the disciplinary proceedings to a close and to reinstate the judge. The judge had made recourse to the ILOAT due to his suspension and its extension imposed by the Council.

“The ILOAT has ruled”, said the judge’s lawyer, Senya Okyay, “that Mr. Battistelli was biased in these proceedings, and has a conflict of interests. The tribunal accordingly decided in my client’s favour.” The ILOAT criticised the fact that EPO President Benoît Battistelli had featured in the internal Office disciplinary proceedings both as a party as well as an advisor to the disciplinary structure relating to EPO judges. There were accordingly doubts as to the impartiality of the President. The judgment also indirectly implied the accusation that the President and Administrative Council had not respected an adequate distribution of power with regard to the disciplinary proceedings.

This accusation has been lurking in the background ever since the case first began in December 2014. At that time, Office supremo Battistelli imposed a ban on the judge entering the EPO, and pushed through his suspension by way of the Administrative Council. According to the EPO statutes, the Administrative Council is exclusively responsible for disciplinary matters relating to members of the Boards of Appeal.

The reason for the suspension was the accusation of dissemination of unpublished information and critical expressions of opinion about the activity of the Boards of Appeal, as well as the beleaguered EPO Director Željko Topić. The judge was also accused of having uttered accusations and threats against the EPO and its staff. By way of evidence a USB stick belonging to the judge was confiscated. According to information provided to JUVE, this was found to contained, among other things, critical articles about Topić. These did not derive from the judge himself, however. Whether this is a contravention of EPO regulations has been a matter of dispute right to the bitter end.

Explosive material

The case became incendiary because of the issue of the independence of the Boards of Appeal from the Office itself. Last year the Administrative Council undertook a further separation from the EPO Court. As well as that, the disputes surrounding the manner in which disciplinary matters are dealt with at the Office became more heated. Specifically, in formal terms an EPO judge can only be suspended by the Administrative Council if the Enlarged Board of Appeal recommends such a measure. Last year, however, the Court rejected this, after Battistelli intervened in writing in the ongoing proceedings. The Enlarged Board of Appeal regarded this as a massive exertion of influence, and ended the proceedings without a recommendation.

Experts then regarded the Administrative Council as being under an obligation to reinstate the judge. This did not happen. Added to that, Topić and EPO President Battistelli took out private prosecutions against him before courts in Munich and Croatia. According to the EPO Statutes, these prevented a decision in the disciplinary matter if it had not yet been resolved. According to information provided to JUVE, however, these actions have in the interim been terminated, either because they were withdrawn or because the courts rejected them as unfounded.

“The Administrative Council now no longer has no reason to draw the proceedings out any further”, said Senay Okyay. “They must now reinstate my client as a member of the Boards of Appeal. By way of the two ILOAT judgments and various decisions by the Munich Regional Court and the Munich State Attorney’s Office, it has now been confirmed by a third party beyond any doubt that the accusations made by Mr. Battistelli against my client are unfounded.”

Showdown coming up

The Administrative Council will in all probability make a decision in the matter next week, when the representatives of the 38 EPO Member States will gather for their last meeting in Munich. The issue is already on the agenda. Some observers are of the view, however, that this may not necessarily be a decision based on facts of law, because the Administrative Council is, above all, a political body. During the weeks leading up to the ILOAT decision, there were rumours circulating at the EPO that the Administrative Council could reject a reinstatement, and instead put the judge back to work in his former position as a patent examiner. This would once again make Office boss Battistelli his direct superior.

That would add fuel to the fire. The situation at the EPO is already very tense. Parts of the EPO staff, among them the main staff union SUEPO and a number of EPO judges are locked in a bitter dispute with Battistelli. This is why the new leader of the Administrative Council, Dr. Christoph Ernst, made it clear in a JUVE interview in November that the restoration of social peace in the Office is one of the primary goals of the supervisory body for the future. The Administrative Council is setting a great deal of hope in this situation on the EPO chief executive designate, Antónios Campinos, who will be taking over from Battistelli in July 2018.

“The Administrative Council will be examining the decision thoroughly, and drawing the necessary conclusions such as the situation calls for”, was how Ernst responded to an enquiry from JUVE. (Mathieu Klos)

We eagerly await more input as it typically comes a week after such end-of-year meetings. The EPO will no doubt continue to distract from it until Christmas, hoping that by the time people get back to work it will have escaped people’s memory/attention span. Also, by next year (or end of this year), Corcoran’s contract will have ended. They want him to just disappear as though he never existed.

Bristows LLP/IP Kat Carrying on With Dead UPC Jingoism

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bristows EPO

Summary: The same old tune from Bristows not only gets played in Bristows’ ‘alternate reality’ blog but also in other blogs where Bristows staff is ‘contributing’ (to confusion and misconceptions)

EARLIER this year we pointed out — quite a few times in fact — that Bristows had sort of taken over IP Kat is the sense that many posts regarding patents were posted by Bristows staff to promote Bristows’ agenda. That coincided with cessation of criticism of the EPO.

“Don’t fall for or get sucked into the illusion that the UPC still has any feet in the UK or elsewhere.”Earlier this month we wrote about the misleading posts of Bristows staff in their blog, in Kluwer Patent Blog and in IP Kat. They just can’t help themselves and it happened again just before the weekend. The ‘Kat’ seems to be stuck in ‘Bristows’ mode, not informing readers about the many barriers to UPC but instead pushing Bristows talking points. Thankfully, the sole comment there states the obvious already:

Even if the UK ratifies before Brexit, where is the legal certainty that it can stay in the UPC after?

All those saying yes have vested interests in the matter, so any news helping to foster this hope is good enough to be trodden out.

It is high time to come down to Earth and not live in Dreamland.

This new is not worth a lot!

Don’t fall for or get sucked into into the illusion that the UPC still has any feet in the UK or elsewhere. Team UPC has been using these tactics for many years. It’s how they manipulate politicians and bamboozle clients for revenue. Only a deeply misled company or person in the UK would currently pursue ‘unitary’ anything.

Links 16/12/2017: Mesa 17.2.7, Wine 3.0 RC2, Kdenlive 17.12.0, Mir 0.29

Posted in News Roundup at 9:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • CoreOS’s Open Cloud Services Could Bring Cloud Portability to Container-Native Apps

    With the release of Tectonic 1.8, CoreOS provides a way to easily deploy container-native applications as services, even across multiple service providers and in-house resources.

    “We take open source APIs, make them super easy to consume, and create a catalog of these things to run on top of Kubernetes so they are portable no matter where you go,” said Brandon Philips, CoreOS chief technology officer.

  • Kubernetes 1.9 release brings greater stability and storage features

    The Kubernetes developer community is capping off a successful year with the release of Kubernetes 1.9, adding important new features that should help to further encourage enterprise adoption.

    Kubernetes is the most popular container orchestrator management software. It’s used to simplify the deployment and management of software containers, which are a popular tool among developers that allows them to run their applications across multiple computing environments without making any changes to the underlying code.

  • What’s new in Kubernetes containers

    Promoted to beta in Kubernetes 1.8 and now in production release in Kubernetes 1.9, the Apps Workloads API provides ways to define workloads based on their behaviors, such as long-running apps that need persistent state.

  • Linux Vs. Unix

    ​In computer time, a substantial part of the population has a misconception that the Unix and Linux operating systems are one and the same. However, the opposite is true. Let’s look at it from a closer look.

  • Open Source OS Still supporting 32-bit Architecture and Why it’s Important

    One after the other, Linux distributions are dropping 32-bit support. Or, to be accurate, they drop support for the Intel x86 32-bit architecture (IA-32). Indeed, computers based on x86_64 hardware (x86-64) are superior in every way to their 32-bits counterpart: they are more powerful, run faster, are more compact, and more energy efficient. Not mentioning their price has considerably decreased in just a few years.

  • Desktop

    • Chromebooks and Office 365 together will challenge Windows laptops

      It’s no secret that I’m not a Windows fan. I’m beginning to wonder if Microsoft isn’t either.

      Hear me out. On Nov. 27, Chromebook users discovered that Office 365 would run on some of their laptops. To be exact, we now know you can download and run Office 365 on Samsung Chromebook Pro, Pixelbook, Acer Chromebook 15, and the Acer C771.

    • Looking Glass Released For KVM Frame Relay, High Performance Windows VM Gaming

      Geoffrey McRae has published the code to the “Looking Glass” project he’s been working on as a “extremely low-latency” KVM frame relay implementation for guests with VGA PCI pass-through.

      Long story short this allows for a graphics card PCI pass-through setup with a KVM guest whereby no separate monitor is needed but rather Looking Glass is like a virtual display for that GPU dedicated to the VM and displays the VM’s rendered contents on your main monitor/GPU. Up to now those wanting to use a secondary graphics card pass-through setup with a virtual machine had to use a separate monitor, but with Looking Glass you can get by with a single monitor for the system.

  • Server

    • 5 Kubernetes must-reads: Tips and trends

      Kubernetes is having a moment – but don’t look for its popularity to wane anytime soon. As enterprises move beyond experimenting and start working in earnest with containers, the number of containers multiply: So do the manual chores. Orchestration tools like Kubernetes add automated help.

      “Running a few standalone containers for development purposes won’t rob your IT team of time or patience: A standards-based container runtime by itself will do the job,” Red Hat technology evangelist Gordon Haff recently noted. “But once you scale to a production environment and multiple applications spanning many containers, it’s clear that you need a way to coordinate those containers to deliver the individual services. As containers accumulate, complexity grows. Eventually, you need to take a step back and group containers along with the coordinated services they need, such as networking, security, and telemetry.” (See Haff’s full article, How enterprise IT uses Kubernetes to tame container complexity.)

    • Amazon Linux 2

      Amazon Linux 2 is the next generation Amazon Linux operating system. It provides a high performance, stable, and secure execution environment for cloud and enterprise applications. Amazon Linux 2 will offer extended availability of software updates for the core operating system through 5 years of long-term support and provides access to the latest software packages through the Amazon Linux Extras repository.

    • Amazon Linux 2 Rolls Out For EC2, On-Site Virtual Machine Images

      Amazon AWS has announced their “next generation” version of their Amazon Linux operating system intended for running on their EC2 compute cloud as well as on-site via VMware/VirtualBox/Hyper-V images that are free to all.

    • Amazon Linux 2 Benchmarks, 6-Way Linux OS EC2 Compute Cloud Comparison

      With Amazon AWS this week having released Amazon Linux 2 LTS I was excited to put this updated cloud-focused operating system through some performance tests to see how it stacks up with the more well known Linux distributions.

    • AWS Releases Prelim Amazon Linux 2 Server

      Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) this week announced the release of its next Linux server OS, Amazon Linux 2.

      Dubbed build 2017.12, the preliminary version of Amazon Linux 2 is now generally available to all public AWS regions. Described as a “candidate” release in the AWS announcement, the final build is yet to come.

    • Modernizing application delivery with container platforms

      Demands for faster production times, higher quality and more predictable cost management are posing significant challenges for development teams. In-house software development is essential in achieving these and other agency objectives. Exacerbating the demands on development teams is often the need to successfully release new applications, while also updating existing ones.

      From a technical aspect, at the center of the challenges for developers, is the need to reliably get software to run as it moves between computing environments. Containerization represents the best way for developers to accomplish this task, with containers driving operational efficiency and competitive advantages.

    • Building Open Source IoT Ecosystems
    • Invaluable tips and tricks for troubleshooting Linux
  • Kernel Space

    • Stable kernels 4.14.6 and 4.9.69

      Two new stable kernels have been released by Greg Kroah-Hartman: 4.14.6 and 4.9.69. As usual, they contain fixes all over the kernel tree; users of those series should upgrade.

    • Linux 4.14.6
    • Linux 4.9.69
    • Systemd 236 Brings Support For LUKS2 Encrypted Partitions, New Options

      Lennart Poettering has announced the release of systemd 236 as the init system’s final release of 2017.

      Systemd 236 is another significant feature release and includes support for the LUKS2 on-disk format for encrypted partitions, bootctl list can now list all available boot menu options, improved cgroup option, various systemd-networkd networking improvements, support for setting the initial keyboard mapping systemd-firstboot, several new systemd-resolve command line arguments, and other minor improvements throughout the systemd landscape.

    • VirtIO DRM Window Server Support: Letting Guest VMs Interface With Host’s Compositor

      -
      Collabora’s Tomeu Vizoso is working on a interesting VirtIO DRM patch that lets clients running within a virtual machine communicate with a display compositor of the host system.

      Based off work done by Google on their ChromeOS kernel with a “virtio_wl” driver, Tomeu is adding support to the VirtIO DRM driver so that clients running within a virtual machine can communicate with the host system’s compositor. Communication is done over the protocol supported by the compositor, e.g. Wayland. Similarly, the ChromeOS VirtIO Wayland work is about offering a virtual device used by a guest VM use a Wayland server on the host system transparently and just focused on Wayland support given the ChromeOS focus.

    • Linux Should Now Work For Some Knockoff PlayStation 3 Controllers

      While the Linux kernel has supported the official Sony PlayStation 3 controller as an input device, some of the off-brand/knockoff models haven’t quite behaved correctly on Linux but that’s now being rectified.

      Red Hat’s Bastien Nocera has made a necessary change to the Sony HID code in the Linux 4.15 kernel to address these knockoff PlayStation 3 controllers as well as a change in BlueZ Git, for the upcoming BlueZ 5.48 release.

    • ZFS On Linux 0.7.4 Brings Linux 4.14 Support, Fixes

      ZFS On Linux 0.7.4 was released this week as the newest stable release for this ZFS file-system implementation for the Linux kernel.

    • 6WIND Announces TCP Boost to Resolve Linux Bottlenecks in TCP-Based Applications

      6WIND, a high-performance networking software company, today announced TCP Boost, a high performance Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) stack for proxy and server deployments. TCP is a client/server protocol used to communicate between applications over an IP network. However, the performance of TCP-based applications is limited by common bottlenecks in the Linux kernel. To overcome these limitations, 6WIND offers TCP Boost as a solution, based on its 6WINDGate™ packet processing software, which is widely deployed as the industry’s highest performance TCP userland stack since 2010.

    • Linux Kernel Developer: Thomas Gleixner

      The report states that, since the 2.6.11 release, the top 10 developers together have contributed 45,338 changes — almost 7.1 percent of the total. The top 30 developers contributed just under 16 percent of the total, as seen in the table below.

      One of these top 30 developers is Thomas Gleixner, CTO at Linutronix GmbH, who serves in various kernel maintainer roles. In this article, Gleixner answers a few questions about his contributions to the Linux kernel.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Juniper Flips OpenContrail To The Linux Foundation

        It’s a familiar story arc for open source efforts started by vendors or vendor-led industry consortiums. The initiatives are launched and expanded, but eventually they find their way into independent open source organizations such as the Linux Foundation, where vendor control is lessened, communities are able to grow, and similar projects can cross-pollinate in hopes of driving greater standardization in the industry and adoption within enterprises.

      • Juniper Hands OpenContrail SDN to Linux Found. Before It’s Too Late

        After failing to develop a community around the project and receiving pushback from a major backer, Juniper may be saving Contrail from becoming irrelevant

      • CableLabs Announces Two Open Source Projects for NFV

        SNAPS is an overarching program at CableLabs to facilitate the adoption of software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) within the CableLabs’ community. The organization says it spearheaded SNAPS to fill in gaps within open source to ease the adoption of SDN and NFV for its cable members.

      • Bell becomes first operator to launch ONAP in production

        Canadian telecommunications company Bell announced it has become the first company to launch an open source version of the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) in production.

        The announcement was noted by Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking and orchestration at the Linux Foundation, in a company blog post. According to Joshipura, the news marks a first step toward using ONAP as a common platform across Bell’s network as the company re-aligns itself to follow a multi-partner DevOps model.

    • Graphics Stack

      • DXVK Is Making Some Steadfast Progress In Running Direct3D 11 Over Vulkan

        Last month on Phoronix I featured the DXVK project that’s working to implement Direct3D 11 over Vulkan (not to be confused with VK9 as the separate effort to get D3D9 over Vulkan). This project is making a surprising amount of progress in its early stages.

      • Latest Steam Client Update Rolls Out Shader Pre-Caching For OpenGL/Vulkan

        The latest Steam client release on Wednesday rolls out OpenGL and Vulkan shader pre-caching by default.

      • VKD3D Is Beginning Flight As Wine’s Direct3D 12 To Vulkan Library

        Back at WineConf 2017 VKD3D was announced for bringing Direct3D 12 to Wine by implementing Microsoft’s latest graphics API atop the Vulkan graphics API. The initial code for this new library is beginning to take shape.

        VKD3D is a long-term play for getting viable Direct3D 12 support working within Wine. As noted back at WineConf, this library is being developed independently of the Wine Git repository. This will potentially allow in the future others to make use of this D3D12-to-Vulkan code without pulling in Wine entirely, should porters look to this project for easing their process of getting Windows games running on Linux, etc.

      • Wayland’s Weston Sees Patches For FreeBSD, Fractional HiDPI, Rust Bindings

        A new contributor to the Wayland/Weston camp has been working on several improvements to the Weston reference compositor.

        Improvements made to Weston via unmerged patches include adding FreeBSD support to Weston, static linking for backends and gl-renderer, Rust bindings for libweston, and fractional HiDPI scaling support.

      • LunarG Adds New Size Option To Further Reduce Size Of SPIR-V
      • Disjoint Timer Query Added To Mesa For Reporting Accurate OpenGL Timing Data

        The latest OpenGL extension added to Mesa by Intel developers is the rather new EXT_disjoint_timer_query.

      • mesa 17.2.7

        The current queue consists of a variety of fixes, with a sizeable hunk in the shared GLSL codebase.

        Whereas for individual drivers – i965 has a crash fix for when playing various Valve games, r600 and nouveau have tweaks in their compiler backends. Fast clears on radeonsi and RADV are better now, while the VAAPI encoding is playing nicely with GStreamer.

      • Mesa 17.2.7 Released For Those Not Yet On Mesa 17.3

        Emil Velikov of Collabora has announced the release today of Mesa 17.2.7 as the latest point release for this older stable branch of Mesa.

        If you are a devoted Linux gamer or at all care about the best features and performance, it’s best you migrate to Mesa 17.3 if you are not habitually riding Mesa Git. But for those still using the Mesa 17.2 series from last quarter, the seventh point release is available.

      • AMD to open-source Vulkan Linux driver ahead of Xmas
      • AMD open sources its Vulkan

        AMD’s Vulkan Linux driver which was initially going to be closed-source and open-sourced when it was finished, is now totally open sourced.

        AMD has released the source code to its official Vulkan Linux driver, just in time to make the Christmas best sellers’ list.

      • AMD To Deliver On Its Promise Of An Open Sourced Vulkan Linux Driver Very Soon

        If I had to guess, I’d say AMD really didn’t want to begin yet another year with its open source Vulkan driver still in hiding, so here we are: it’s finally happening. As Phoronix notes, AMD promised the world over two years ago that it would open source its Vulkan driver for Linux, but few probably realized it’d actually take quite this long to see the day. We can be thankful that this driver didn’t just wind up like some Half-Life episode.

    • Benchmarks

      • 13-Way Radeon AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 vs. NVIDIA Linux OpenCL Compute Comparison

        Given this week’s release of the big AMDGPU-PRO 17.50 Linux driver update, here are some fresh OpenCL GPU benchmarks comparing the performance of AMD’s latest Radeon graphics cards on this newest Linux driver to that of the latest NVIDIA GeForce GPUs on their respective newest driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Applications 17.12 Lands with Dolphin Enhancements, HiDPI Support for Okular

        KDE Applications 17.12 has been in development for the past several months and it’s now available as a drop-in replacement for the previous series of the software suite, KDE Applications 17.08, which reached end of life in early November. As expected, several of the included apps received various enhancements and new features in this release.

        Among these, we can mention that the Dolphin file manager is now capable of saving searches, can limit the search only to folders, makes renaming of files easier by allowing the user to simply double-click on the file name, displays extra information about files like origin URL of downloaded file or modification date, and introduces new Bitrate, Genre, and Release Year columns.

      • KDE Applications 17.12 Brings HiDPI Improvements, Rest Of KDE Games Ported To KF5
      • KDE Ships KDE Applications 17.12.0
      • Kdenlive 17.12.0 released

        We are happy to announce the latest Kdenlive version, part of the KDE Applications 17.12 release, making it the last major release using the current code base. This is a maintenance release focused on stability, while feature development is going in next year’s 18.04 version. Proxy clips were given some attention and should give you better seeking experience as well as reduced memory usage for images. Other fixes include fixes in timeline preview, a crash when using a Library clip and smoother seeking on rewind playback.

      • KDE Partition Manager 3.3 and future work

        KDE Partition Manager 3.3 is now ready. It includes some improvements for Btrfs, F2FS, NTFS file systems. I even landed the first bits of new LUKS2 on-disk format support, now KDE Partition Manager can display LUKS2 labels. More LUKS2 work will follow in KPM 3.4. There were changes in how LVM devices are detected. So now Calamares installer should be able to see LVM logical volumes. Once my pull request lands, Calamares should also support partitioning operations on LVM logical volumes (although Calamares would need more work before installation and booting from root file system on LVM works). KPMcore library now only depends on Tier 1 Frameworks instead of Tier 3 (although, we will later require Tier 2).

        Most of the work is now done in sfdisk branch. Currently, the only functional KDE Partition Manager backend uses libparted but sfdisk backend is now fully working (I would say RC quality). I would have merged in already but it requires util-linux 2.32 which is not yet released.

      • KDE Ships KDE Applications 17.12.0
      • KDE Applications 17.12 Brings HiDPI Improvements, Rest Of KDE Games Ported To KF5

        KDE Applications 17.12 is now available as the newest six-month update to this collection of KDE programs making use of KDE Frameworks 5.

        KDE Applications 17.12 was the cut-off point by which only KF5-programs are permitted while those still making use of KDE4 libraries were forced to be dropped. That cleansing took place and Juk, KImageMapEditor, KMix, KGet, Kolf, Sweeper, and others were among those that saw KF5 ports while some older programs were dropped from the collection — at least until seeing any KF5 port in the future.

      • Kdenlive Video Editor Issues Final Major Update on Old Codebase

        A new version of open-source video editor Kdenlive is available to download.

        Kdenlive 17.12.0 is something of a bittersweet release as it’s likely to be the final major release using the current Kdenlive codebase.

        Again, like the last few releases, this update is primarily focused on bug fixes and stability. In particular this update solves some niggling issues with proxy clips, with the team highlight ‘smoother seeking‘ and ‘reduced memory usage‘ as a result.

        Those of us you impatient for new features and major improvements will be pleased to hear that work on the next-generation Kdenlive is continuing apace. Kdenlive 18.04 is (as you might guess) tentatively scheduled for formal release in April of 2018.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Librsvg moves to Gitlab

        Librsvg now lives in GNOME’s Gitlab instance. You can access it here.

        Gitlab allows workflows similar to Github: you can create an account there, fork the librsvg repository, file bug reports, create merge requests… Hopefully this will make it nicer for contributors.

  • Distributions

    • The Best Linux Apps & Distros of 2017

      So join us (ideally with from a warm glass of something non-offensive and sweet) as we take a tart look backwards through some key releases from the past 12 months.

      This list is not presented in any sort of order, and all of the entries were sourced from YOUR feedback to the survey we shared earlier in the week. If your favourite release didn’t make the list, it’s because not enough people voted for it!

    • New Releases

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Etisalat Digital to add SUSE open source solutions

        Etisalat Digital is to add Linux and open source solutions to its managed services mix after signing a partnership to on-board SUSE solutions.

      • OrionVM Broadens Cloud Offering with Open Source Enterprise Support Partner SUSE

        OrionVM, an award-winning next-gen Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider, today announced continued growth of the OrionVM Wholesale Cloud Platform with the addition of technology partner SUSE, the world’s first provider of an Enterprise Linux Distribution. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server represents the first open source enterprise supported Linux operating system on the OrionVM platform.

      • SUSE Rolls Out New Version Of Their In-Kernel Boot Splash Screen

        Back in October I wrote about SUSE working on a new, in-kernel bootsplash project. That work has yet to be mainlined but it looks like it’s still on track for going upstream in the future with the latest version now being released that addresses issues uncovered during review.

        SUSE is developing this in-kernel bootsplash program as an alternative to the user-space Plymouth and other programs. SUSE’s implementation runs off the FBCON frame-buffer console rather than DRM/KMS and they hope with it being in the kernel will prove to be more reliable. This in-kernel bootsplash can also allow hiding all kernel output and other differences compared to user-space implementations.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 9 Complete Screenshot Tour

        The world’s most stable upstream Linux distro has just announced a point upgrade on its latest Debian 9 Stretch release. The latest version is 9.3, it comes with many corrections and improvements on the security front as well as some adjustments to cater for some other serious issues. The point release is not a new version of Debian 9 but only updates are added, so users do not need to throw away the old installation media as users can easily upgrade to an up-to-date system using an updated mirror.

      • Debsources now in sources.debian.org

        Debsources is a web application for publishing, browsing and searching an unpacked Debian source mirror on the Web. With Debsources, all the source code of every Debian release is available in https://sources.debian.org, both via an HTML user interface and a JSON API.

        This service was first offered in 2013 with the sources.debian.net instance, which was kindly hosted by IRILL, and is now becoming official under sources.debian.org, hosted on the Debian infrastructure.

      • Derivatives

        • Debian-Based Q4OS Linux Distro to Get a New Look with Debonaire Desktop Theme

          Q4OS is a small GNU/Linux distribution based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux operating system and built around the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE). It’s explicitly designed to make the Microsoft Windows to Linux transition accessible and more straightforward as possible for anyone.

          Dubbed Debonaire, the new desktop theme uses dark-ish elements for the window titlebar and panel. Somehow it resembles the look and feels of the acclaimed Arc GTK+ theme, and it makes the Q4OS operating system more modern than the standard look offered by the Trinity Desktop Environment.

        • Slax 9.3.0 beta ready for download

          I am almost ready to release the next Slax version. But before I do so, I would like to get some feedback on the current progress.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Mir 0.29.0 release

            We are pleased to announce that Mir 0.29.0 has been released and is available in Mir release PPA. There are builds for the supported Ubuntu releases (16.04 LTS “Xenial”, 17.04 “Zesty” and 17.10 “Artful”) .

            Mir 0.29.0 is in the process of uploading into Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic” (it should move out of “proposed” and into the main archive in about a week). If you need it sooner then a “Bionic” build is also available in the Mir release PPA.

          • Mir 0.29 Released To Improve Their Wayland Implementation

            The past few days Canonical’s Mir developers have been preparing their next milestone with pushing this display server along with Wayland protocol support and now that new “v0.29″ release is available.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” KDE released!

              Linux Mint 18.3 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

            • Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” Xfce released!

              Linux Mint 18.3 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

            • Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon Review: Best ‘Linux’ Distro for Beginners!

              Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon boots fast (even on a slow rotational disk), very stable (I haven’t seen any application crash in the past 3 days that I’ve been using it) and the level of responsiveness it has shown is top-notch, probably matched only by another Linux Mint! As far as the end user-experience is concerned, I’d say it’s the best ‘Linux’ distro for beginners, it certainly knows how to please the end-user… welcome to the HecticGeek‘s review of Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon edition.

              Few years ago Linux Mint changed their release strategy. They now rely on the core of Ubuntu LTS releases as the foundation for their operating system. As far as I can see, this is working great for them. Because Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) provides security & maintenance updates up to 5 years & it is already based on a solid foundation set by Ubuntu. This in tern gives Linux Mint developers enough space to ‘breath’ a little and fully concentrate on what they do best: development of their awesome desktop shell & other native Linux Mint user-applications.

            • Linux Mint 18.3 ‘Sylvia’ Boasts Updated Software Manager, Backup Tools
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 open source home automation tools

    The Internet of Things isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a reality that’s expanded rapidly since we last published a review article on home automation tools in 2016. In 2017, 26.5% of U.S. households already had some type of smart home technology in use; within five years that percentage is expected to double.

    With an ever-expanding number of devices available to help you automate, protect, and monitor your home, it has never been easier nor more tempting to try your hand at home automation. Whether you’re looking to control your HVAC system remotely, integrate a home theater, protect your home from theft, fire, or other threats, reduce your energy usage, or just control a few lights, there are countless devices available at your disposal.

  • New Open Source Tools Test for VPN Leaks

    ExpressVPN on Tuesday launched a suite of open source tools that let users test for vulnerabilities that can compromise privacy and security in virtual private networks.

    Released under an open source MIT License, they are the first-ever public tools to allow automated testing for leaks on VPNs, the company said. The tools are written primarily in Python, and available for download on Github.

  • Open Source OS Still supporting 32-bit Architecture and Why it’s Important

    One after the other, Linux distributions are dropping 32-bit support. Or, to be accurate, they drop support for the Intel x86 32-bit architecture (IA-32). Indeed, computers based on x86_64 hardware (IA-64) are superior in every way to their 32-bits counterpart: they are more powerful, run faster, are more compact, and more energy efficient. Not mentioning their price has considerably decreased in just a few years.

    If you have the opportunity to switch to 64 bits, do it. But, to quote a mail I received recently from Peter Tribble, author of Tribblix: “[… ] in the developed world we assume that we can replace things; in some parts of the developing world older IA-32 systems are still the norm, with 64-bit being rare.”

  • An introduction to Joplin, an open source Evernote alternative

    Joplin is an open source cross-platform note-taking and to-do application. It can handle a large number of notes, organized into notebooks, and can synchronize them across multiple devices. The notes can be edited in Markdown, either from within the app or with your own text editor, and each application has an option to render Markdown with formatting, images, URLs, and more. Any number of files, such as images and PDFs, can be attached to a note, and notes can also be tagged.

    I started developing Joplin when Evernote changed its pricing model and because I wanted my 4,000+ notes to be stored in a more open format, free of any proprietary solution. To that end, I have developed three Joplin applications, all under the MIT License: for desktop (Windows, MacOS, and Linux), for mobile (Android and iOS), and for the terminal (Windows, MacOS, and Linux). All the applications have similar user interfaces and can synchronize with each other. They are based on open standards and technologies including SQLite and JavaScript for the backend, and Terminal Kit (Node.js), Electron, and React Native for the three front ends.

  • Startup Aims to Build Open-Source Telecom Ecosystem on Blockchain

    There are 2,000+ mobile network operations in charge of providing communication services at global scale. However, the traditional infrastructure is centralized, inflexible and inaccurate. Common services like 3G/4G, Wi-Fi, BOSS mobile communications solutions and companies that use cloud-based communications solutions are often unable to render accurate content billing and distribution.

    Conventional mobile packages overcharge customers, not to mention that they pose concerns around data transmissions. An alternative solution to average mobile network providers could be Blockchain technology.

  • Merry Xmas, fellow code nerds: Avast open-sources decompiler

    Malware hunting biz and nautical jargon Avast has released its machine-code decompiler RetDec as open source, in the hope of arming like-minded haters of bad bytes and other technically inclined sorts with better analytical tools.

    As discussed as the recent Botconf 2017 in France earlier this month, RetDec provides a way to turn machine code – binary executables – back into an approximation of the original source code.

  • 10 open source predictions for 2018

    With 2017 just about done and dusted, dozens of open source experts have polished their crystal balls and made predictions about what can be expected in the open source space in 2018.

    Now it’s our turn. (With fingers firmly crossed) here are 10 open source trends that you may – or may not – see coming to the fore next year. Some are obvious, some are frivolous, and some could just change your life.

  • Stop Calling Everything “Open Source”: What “Open Source” Really Means

    “Open source” is an exciting concept in the world of software and beyond. But it shouldn’t be applied to contexts where it makes no sense.

  • GreenKey to join Symphony; open source voice software

    GreenKey, creator of patented voice software with integrated speech recognition designed for the financial markets, today announced the firm has joined the Symphony Software Foundation, a nonprofit organization fostering innovation in financial services through open source software (OSS).

  • GreenKey Joins the Symphony Software Foundation; Will Open Source Voice Software

    GreenKey, creator of patented voice software with integrated speech recognition designed for the financial markets, today announced the firm has joined the Symphony Software Foundation, a nonprofit organization fostering innovation in financial services through open source software (OSS). GreenKey will release a Community Edition of its voice software development kit (SDK) that will enable banks and other financial market firms to “voice enable” any web application.

  • Events

    • Ubucon Europe 2018 Ubuntu Conference Announced for 27-29 April in Xixón, Spain

      The organizers of the Ubucon Europe conference for Ubuntu Linux users, contributors and developers announced the official dates next year’s Ubucon Europe 2018 event.

      Don’t pack your bags just yet for the next Ubuntu conference, but at least you should mark your calendars for April 27, 28, and 29 of 2018, when the Ubucon Europe 2018 conference will take place. Where? The event will be held in Spain this time, in the city of Xixón, at the municipal facilities of Centro de Cultura Antiguo Instituto.

      “Ubucon Europe 2018 will be held this year in Xixón, Spain on 27, 28 and 29 April 2018 in the Spanish city of Xixón at the municipal facilities of the Antiguo Instituto. For further information please write to ubuconeurope2018 AT gmail.com,” wrote the organizers in a tweet earlier this morning.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Focus Adds Quick Access Without Sacrificing Users’ Privacy

        It’s been a little over a year since we launched Firefox Focus. We’ve had tremendous success since then, we launched in 27+ languages, launched on Android, and hit over 1 million downloads on Android within the first month of launch.

        Today, we’re introducing a new feature: quicker access to your most visited sites, as well as the ability to add any search engine to your Focus app. They were the most requested items from our users and are aligned with our goals on what makes Focus so great.

        We know our users want choice and miss the convenience of having their favorite websites and search engines at their fingertips, but they don’t want to sacrifice their privacy. Since the moment we’ve built Focus, our goal has been to get our users quickly to the information and sites all while keeping their data safe from unwanted targeting.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Elementary LibreOffice

      Two months ago I start to finalize the existing Elementary icon theme for LibreOffice. It’s about 2.000 icons and now they are available in LibreOffice 6.0 beta. In addition all icons are available as svg file so it can be used and edit in an easy way.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeNAS 11.1 Provides Greater Performance and Cloud Integration

      The FreeNAS Development Team is excited and proud to present FreeNAS 11.1! FreeNAS 11.1 adds cloud integration, OpenZFS performance improvements, including the ability to prioritize resilvering operations, and preliminary Docker support to the world’s most popular software-defined storage operating system. This release includes an updated preview of the beta version of the new administrator graphical user interface, including the ability to select display themes. This post provides a brief overview of the new features.

      The base operating system has been updated to the STABLE version of FreeBSD 11.1, which adds new features, updated drivers, and the latest security fixes. Support for Intel® Xeon® Scalable Family processors, AMD Ryzen processors, and HBA 9400-91 has been added.

    • FreeNAS 11.1 Rolls Out With Better OpenZFS Performance, Docker Support
    • FreeBSD-Based TrueOS 17.12 Released

      The FreeBSD-based operating system TrueOS that’s formerly known as PC-BSD has put out their last stable update of 2017.

      TrueOS 17.12 is now available as the latest six-month stable update for this desktop-focused FreeBSD distribution that also offers a server flavor. TrueOS continues using OpenRC as its init system and this cycle they have continued improving their Qt5-based Lumina desktop environment, the Bhyve hypervisor is now supported in the TrueOS server install, improved removable device support, and more.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open source science: Scientists researching rice plant genetics agree to not file for patents

      The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a nonprofit established in the 2014 Farm Bill with bipartisan congressional support, awarded a $1 million Seeding Solutions grant to University of California, Davis (UC Davis) to study the genetics of rice plants. Together with researchers at the University of North Carolina and collaborators, the team will develop and implement a chemistry-driven gene discovery approach to identify genes that modulate root traits.

    • Lytro could open source their light-field photo sharing platform
    • Lytro considering open source light field photo sharing platform

      Lytro is reportedly considering an open source solution after announcing it would no longer support its sharing platform for Lytro cameras’ ‘living images.’

    • Open Data

      • When Waze Won’t Help, Palestinians Make Their Own Maps

        If you want to drive the 15 or so miles from Jerusalem to the city of Jericho, in the Palestinian Territories, Google Maps will tell you: “Can’t find a way there.” Waze will issue a warning: “Caution: This destination is in a high risk area or is prohibited to Israelis by law.” If you press “Confirm Drive” nonetheless, the app will direct you, just not all the way.

        When you pass from Israel into the West Bank, part of the occupied Palestinian Territories, Waze’s directions simply end. To keep going, you need to change your setting to allow access to “high risk” areas. Even then, GPS coverage tends to be limited.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Using Gmail with OAUTH2 in Linux and on an ESP8266

        One of the tasks I dread is configuring a web server to send email correctly via Gmail. The simplest way of sending emails is SMTP, and there are a number of scripts out there that provide a simple method to send mail that way with a minimum of configuration. There’s even PHP mail(), although it’s less than reliable.

  • Programming/Development

    • Diagnose and understand your app’s GPU behavior with GAPID
    • GAPID 1.0 Released As Google’s Cross-Platform Vulkan Debugger

      Back in March we wrote about GAPID as a new Google-developed Vulkan debugger in its early stages. Fast forward to today, GAPID 1.0 has been released for debugging Vulkan apps/games on Linux/Windows/Android as well as OpenGL ES on Android.

      GAPID is short for the Graphics API Debugger and allows for analyzing rendering and performance issues with ease using its GUI interface. GAPID also allows for easily experimenting with code changes to see their rendering impact and allows for offline debugging. GAPID has its own format and capturetrace utility for capturing traces of Vulkan (or GLES on Android too) programs for replaying later on with GAPID.

    • Hackable Text Editor Atom 1.23 Adds Better Compatibility for External Git Tools

      GitHub released Atom 1.23, the monthly update of the open-source and cross-platform hackable text editor application loved by numerous developers all over the world.

      Including a month’s worth of enhancements, Atom 1.23 comes with the ability for packages to register URI handler functions, which can be invoked whenever the user visits a URI that starts with “atom://package-name/,” and a new option to hide certain commands in the command palette when registering them via “atom.commands.add.”

      Atom 1.23 also improves the compatibility with external Git tools, as well as the performance of the editor by modifying the behavior of several APIs to no longer make callbacks more than once in a text buffer transaction. Along with Atom 1.23, GitHub also released Teletype 0.4.0, a tool that allows developers to collaborate simultaneously on multiple files.

    • #13: (Much) Faster Package (Re-)Installation via Binaries
    • RVowpalWabbit 0.0.10
    • Simplicity Before Generality, Use Before Reuse

      A common problem in component frameworks, class libraries, foundation services, and other infrastructure code is that many are designed to be general purpose without reference to concrete applications. This leads to a dizzying array of options and possibilities that are often unused or misused — or just not useful.

      Generally, developers work on specific systems; specifically, the quest for unbounded generality rarely serves them well (if at all). The best route to generality is through understanding known, specific examples, focusing on their essence to find an essential common solution. Simplicity through experience rather than generality through guesswork.

    • What Ruby Needs

      Of all of the questions we receive at RedMonk, one of the most common concerns programming languages. Whether from members of a given community or a commercial entity, the desire is to better understand a given language’s trajectory and the context around it. Is it going up or down, and what are the reasons for that direction? And, of course: can that direction be meaningfully changed?

      Recently, we’ve received several such inquiries around Ruby. For those with an interest in the language, then, the following is a quick public summary of the answers we’ve been providing privately.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML 5.2 is done, HTML 5.3 is coming

      Today W3C releases HTML 5.2. This is the second revision of HTML5, following last year’s HTML 5.1 Recommendation. In 2014 we expressed a goal to produce a revision roughly every year; HTML 5.2 is a continuation of that commitment.

      This Recommendation like its predecessor provides an updated stable guide to what is HTML. In the past year there has been a significant cleanup of the specification. We have introduced some new features, and removed things that are no longer part of the modern Web Platform, or that never achieved broad interoperability. As always we have also fixed bugs in the specification, making sure it adapts to the changing reality of the Web.

      Many of the features added integrate other work done in W3C. The Payment Request API promises to make commerce on the Web far easier, reducing the risks of making a mistake or being caught by an unscrupulous operator. New security features such as Content Security Policy protect users more effectively, while new work incorporated from ARIA helps developers offer people with disabilities a good user experience of their applications.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • European Commission Kicks Off Open-Source Bug Bounty

      The European Commission has announced its first-ever bug bounty program, and is calling on hackers to find vulnerabilities in VLC, a popular open-source multimedia player loaded on every workstation at the Commission.

      The program has kicked off with a three-week, invitation-only session, after which it will be open to the public. Rewards include a minimum of $2,000 for critical severity bugs, especially remote code execution.

      High severity bugs such as code execution without user intervention, will start at $750. Medium severity bugs will start at a minimum of $300; these include code execution with user intervention, high-impact crashes and infinite loops. Low-severity bugs, like information leaks, crashes and the like, will pay out starting at $100.

    • Avast launches open-source decompiler for machine code

      Keeping up with the latest malware and virus threats is a daunting task, even for industry professionals. Any device connected to the Internet is a target for being infected and abused. In order to stop attacks from happening, there needs to be an understanding of how they work so that a prevention method can be developed.

      To help with the reverse engineering of malware, Avast has released an open-source version of its machine-code decompiler, RetDec, that has been under development for over seven years. RetDec supports a variety of architectures aside from those used on traditional desktops including ARM, PIC32, PowerPC and MIPS.

    • Avast makes ‘RetDec’ machine-code decompiler open source on GitHub

      Today, popular anti-virus and security company, Avast, announces that it too is contributing to the open source community. You see, it is releasing the code for its machine-code decompiler on GitHub. Called “RetDec,” the decompiler had been under development since 2011, originally by AVG — a company Avast bought in 2016.

    • The Intel ME vulnerabilities are a big deal for some people, harmless for most

      (Note: all discussion here is based on publicly disclosed information, and I am not speaking on behalf of my employers)

      I wrote about the potential impact of the most recent Intel ME vulnerabilities a couple of weeks ago. The details of the vulnerability were released last week, and it’s not absolutely the worst case scenario but it’s still pretty bad. The short version is that one of the (signed) pieces of early bringup code for the ME reads an unsigned file from flash and parses it. Providing a malformed file could result in a buffer overflow, and a moderately complicated exploit chain could be built that allowed the ME’s exploit mitigation features to be bypassed, resulting in arbitrary code execution on the ME.

      Getting this file into flash in the first place is the difficult bit. The ME region shouldn’t be writable at OS runtime, so the most practical way for an attacker to achieve this is to physically disassemble the machine and directly reprogram it. The AMT management interface may provide a vector for a remote attacker to achieve this – for this to be possible, AMT must be enabled and provisioned and the attacker must have valid credentials[1]. Most systems don’t have provisioned AMT, so most users don’t have to worry about this.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • NIST Releases New Cybersecurity Framework Draft
    • Researchers Create Chips That Are Unhackable and Virtually Indestructible

      Keeping critical information like your online banking login or credit card number out of the wrong hands is a crucial but difficult part of living in the age of the Internet. Installing antivirus software or using password lockboxes are probably security precautions that you’ve taken to keep yourself from becoming a cybercrime statistic. But organizations like the military have access to such sensitive information that these standard precautions just aren’t enough.

    • Starbucks Free WiFi ‘Caught Sucking Cryptocoins’ Off The Laptops Of Coffee Addicts

      Dunkin noticed a strange 10-second delay his laptop took while connecting to the WiFi. He later found a cryptocurrency mining code on his laptop.

      He was quick to bring the issue to the coffee brand’s attention via Twitter where Dunking also included a screenshot of the code he found.

    • Introducing bolt: Thunderbolt 3 security levels for GNU/Linux

      Today I released the first version 0.1 (aka “Accidentally Working”) of bolt, a system daemon that manages Thunderbolt 3 devices. It provides a D-Bus API to list devices, enroll them (authorize and store them in the local database) and forget them again (remove previously enrolled devices). It also emits signals if new devices are connected (or removed). During enrollment devices can be set to be automatically authorized as soon as they are connected. A command line tool, called boltctl, can be used to control the daemon and perform all the above mentioned tasks (see the man page of boltctl(1) for details).

    • Red Hat’s Latest Project: “Bolt” To Deal With Linux Thunderbolt Security

      “Bolt” is a new project by Red Hat / GNOME developers in dealing with Thunderbolt 3 security levels on Linux.

      With Thunderbolt allowing unfettered access to PCI Express, it’s super fast but opens up the plug-and-play port to DMA attacks and more. Thus with Thunderbolt 3 they introduced the concept of security levels, which Bolt is part of the equation for supporting this security feature on Linux.

    • Bolt Will Tackle Thunderbolt 3 Security on Linux

      Ah, you gotta love Red Hat — they’re never not busy working on something that might make our lives a little easier.

      Latest case in point: Thunderbolt 3.

      This alternative to USB and other peripheral port technologies (including the older Thunderbolt 2) is fast gaining traction in the tech industry (especially since Intel made it royalty free).

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Lavishing Money on the Pentagon

      It seems like it’s always Christmastime at the Pentagon where the stockings are full and budget-cutting is for those domestic social-program guys, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

      [...]

      President Trump this week signed into law a $700 billion blueprint for military spending in the current fiscal year. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act includes funding for more troops, more weapons, more interventions abroad, and more active wars, with Trump’s enthusiastic blessing. “We need our military,” he declared at a White House signing ceremony.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • WikiLeaks recognised as a ‘media organisation’ by UK tribunal

      A British tribunal has recognised Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks as a “media organisation”, a point of contention with the United States, which is seeking to prosecute him and disputes his journalistic credentials.

      The issue of whether Assange is a journalist and publisher would almost certainly be one of the main battlegrounds in the event of the US seeking his extradition from the UK.

      The definition of WikiLeaks by the information tribunal, which is roughly equivalent to a court, could help Assange’s defence against extradition on press freedom grounds.

  • Finance

    • Theresa May suffers fresh humiliation as she loses key Brexit vote in Commons

      Theresa May was dealt her humiliating first Commons defeat over Brexit tonight.

      MPs whooped and applauded as she lost a crunch vote by 309 to 305, a majority of just four, to give MPs a “meaningful vote” on her final deal with Brussels.

      It is a blow to the Prime Minister as she jets to Brussels tomorrow to meet 27 EU leaders.

      They are set to sign off the first-round deal she struck with the EU Commission on citizens’ rights, Northern Ireland and the divorce bill on Friday.

    • Russia or Corporate Tax Cuts: Which Would Comcast Rather MSNBC Cover?

      At the beginning of December, liberal TV hosts Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow—the anchors of MSNBC‘s primetime schedule—were confronted with ever-escalating breaking news. In the span of a week, from December 1 through December 7, President Donald Trump shrank two national monuments, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saw his travel ban upheld by the Supreme Court and possibly began to create his own spy network. Meanwhile, the Senate passed a tax “reform” bill that would radically restructure the US economy at the expense of poor and middle-class Americans, and climate change-fueled wildfires devastated Southern California.

      Yet on the days their shows aired during those seven days—the weekdays, December 1 and 4–7—both Hayes and Maddow bypassed all these stories to lead with minutiae from the ongoing Russia investigation that has consumed MSNBC‘s coverage like no other news event since the beginning of the Trump presidency. Topical news of the day, whether on legislation or natural disasters, took a backseat. The Comcast-owned network’s two most popular personalities used their position to focus endlessly on speculative coverage of Russia’s role in the 2016 election—devoting the bulk of each show’s 15-minutes opening segment to the story, at a minimum.

    • As Brexit dominates, its causes are being forgotten

      The Prime Minister seemed to recognise the need for urgent action last year when she announced from the steps of Downing Street her intention to tackle “burning injustice”. But look a bit closer at her language on that day, and you may spot the seeds of failure. “We will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you,” she said. The emphasis was on “your talents” – implying that those who do not have whatever the passing whims of the modern economy deems ‘talent’ can “go whistle”, to adopt a phrase.

      [...]

      In a country which still has significant wealth, where people’s living standards are declining, and where our record on tackling poverty is at risk of unravelling, not making the most of the resources we already have looks increasingly perverse.

    • A Border Wall’s Uncompensated Victims

      One day several years ago, a crew of federal contractors turned up behind Melissa Solis’ family home, a modest house with white siding surrounded by fruit trees and farmland a few hundred yards from the Rio Grande. The workers cleared brush. They dug a deep trench. A pile driver sank steel deep into the ground.

      The work was disruptive, the noise a constant distraction for Solis and her parents. Snakes and cockroaches streamed inside to flee the construction. The foundation shifted, knocking doors askew. When it was over, the Department of Homeland Security had erected an 18-foot-high metal fence behind the house — a border barrier to stop people from illegally crossing the river from Mexico into the United States.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • NYT Prints Government-Funded Propaganda About Government-Funded Propaganda
    • What’s at Stake in Honduran Election

      For seven months in 1969, I hitch-hiked around the U.S., Mexico and Central America with my best friend from high school. Some class-mates from our school in Vancouver Canada saved their money then travelled to Europe or Australia but Ollie and I headed south. It was an eye-opening experience for two middle-class Canadians.

    • Alabama’s Effort to Suppress Black Vote Couldn’t Prevent Huge Turnout

      Some 1.3 million Alabamians – more than twice as many who voted in the primary – turned out to vote in Tuesday’s special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The turnout was extraordinary because it took place in a state that has a well-documented history of trying to suppress the vote of the very group that helped propel Doug Jones to victory.

      Alabama has a long record of suppressing the African-American vote. In the Jim Crow era, state authorities made it impossible for many Blacks to vote by requiring a literacy test. Courts long ago deemed literacy tests discriminatory and illegal, but today we still see barriers in Alabama that make it harder for people of color to cast a ballot.

    • Lobbying Registration Database Reporting Recipe

      It can seem like lobbyists run Washington from behind the scenes. But their work isn’t completely opaque: They’re required to register with the House and the Senate when they lobby for a new client.

      Our new lobbying database will help you cover Congress and the organizations that may try to influence lawmakers. We hope this new database will be helpful to a wide variety of people, from informed citizens and civic activists to journalists.

    • Lobbying Registration Database
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • LETTER: This definitely was not censorship

      Several news articles, letters, and an editorial in this paper have mischaracterized recent events as “…infringing on freedom of speech….” The focus of the sample letter by Cathy Cloutier was not suppression, as alleged, but a show of strong disapproval of the book’s promotion. This is not a subtle distinction.

      Indigo/Coles is the only game in town for new publications and their promotion of anything implies integrity. A well-researched book would have been a boon not only to the immediate debate about the effluent plant but to the future of all industry in Nova Scotia. I wish there was one.

    • Conviviality vs Censorship: On Media Freedom in Sri Lanka

      Under the Presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa between 2005 and 2015, government brutality and censorship towards the media in Sri Lanka reached new levels. This was to the extent that in the Reporters Without Borders’ Index of Press Freedom it was ranked 165 out of 170 countries in 2015 (up from 115 in 2005) of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist. Furthermore, in 2014 the island was declared the fourth most dangerous country in the Committee to Protect Journalists’ global index of journalists murdered with impunity.

      However, it would be wrong to see this as an exclusive period of censorship; to a certain extent this breakdown in conviviality began in the 1980s when the government suppressed the JVP insurgency through media censorship, threats of criminal defamation, coupled with disappearances and deaths. It continued with the beginning of the civil war in 1983 and was also brutal under Rajapaksa’s predecessor, President Kumaratunge. Although this authoritarian mode of governance was established earlier, it became increasingly violent during the decade of Rajapaksa’s presidency.

    • Censorship Still Alive and Well in Uzbekistan

      Since Shavkat Mirziyoyev assumed the presidency of Uzbekistan 15 months ago, some important, if modest, signs of hope have emerged following decades of human rights abuses. But it’s a mixed picture.

      Look at freedom of expression and media. On one hand, registered media outlets in Uzbekistan have begun to cover politically sensitive topics: the popular Uzbek-language daily Kun.uz, for example, has written about officials forcing public sector workers and students to pick cotton, despite an official ban on such mobilization. Reporting on this would have been unthinkable under the late president, Islam Karimov.

    • Open Rights Group respond to news BBFC proposed as Age Verification regulator

      Responding to the news that the BBFC are in line to be appointed Age Verification regulator, Jim Killock Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

      “The BBFC will struggle to ensure that Age Verification is safe, secure and anonymous. They are powerless to ensure people’s privacy.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Senator Calls on Courts to Increase Transparency of Surveillance Orders

      Federal courts must end the excessive secrecy surrounding law enforcement surveillance orders, a U.S. Senator urged in a letter on Friday. This secrecy block’s the public’s ability to fully understand how police conduct this surveillance, the lawmaker wrote.

      The letter, sent by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Or), asks federal courts to enact several important reforms, including establishing uniform procedures for publicizing basic information about when and how often law enforcement seeks information about our communications and other data held by services such as cell phone companies, Internet service providers, and online platforms.

    • Don’t Reauthorize NSA Spying in a Must-Pass Funding Bill

      The next two weeks will be a flurry of activity in Congress. Before they can leave for the holidays, our government must—at minimum—pass at least one bill to keep the government running and also decide what to do about a controversial NSA spying authority called Section 702. Some legislators want to reauthorize Section 702, without meaningful reform, by attaching it to must-pass spending legislation. This is a terrible idea. The legislative process surrounding Section 702 already lacks necessary transparency and deliberation.

      The new legislative stratagem gets complicated very quickly. Here’s what you need to know.

    • NSA Agent Used His Government Computer–And Public Funds–On Adult Dating Sites

      Documents from the National Security Agency (“NSA”) show an unnamed NSA employee using his government provided computer–and therefore public funds–for a series of personal issues while on the job.

      Those issues include a love affair apparently carried out over the messaging system of an adult dating website.

    • Facebook admits that spending time on social media can make you feel worse

      They detailed research from University of Michigan, which found that students randomly assigned to read Facebook for 10 minutes were in a worse mood at the end of the day than those who talked to friends or posted on the website.

      They also revealed how a study from UC San Diego and Yale found that people who clicked on about four times as many links as the average person, or who liked twice as many posts, reported worse mental health than average.

    • Facebook admits it poses mental health risk – but says using site more can help

      On Thursday, Chamath Palihapitiya, the former executive who criticized the company, walked back his comments, saying: “I genuinely believe that Facebook is a force for good in the world.”

    • Facebook says ‘passively consuming’ the News Feed will make you feel worse about yourself
    • Apple’s Face ID tech can’t tell two Chinese women apart

      However, a woman in China, known only is Yan, told the Jiangsu Broadcasting Corp this week that her co-worker was able to unlock her iPhone X using the face-scanning tech despite having reconfigured the facial recognition settings multiple times

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Why does the U.S. government have to confiscate prisoner artwork from Guantanamo Bay?

      During the 14 years I spent cut off from the world in the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, I often found myself wondering whether people cared about the conditions under which I was being held. Since my release a little more than one year ago, I’ve been impressed by how many people do care — something that has been driven home to me again by the public reaction to reports of a change in policy toward artwork created by inmates in the prison. For several years, the U.S. government had a screening process that permitted artwork created by prisoners to be shared with family members and others outside the prison, but in November it announced it is no longer allowing prisoner art to be publicly released. As a result, these works can no longer be seen by anyone outside of Guantanamo. What’s more, the government has been saying that it owns the works of art and can destroy them if it wishes. I have been heartened by the individuals and organizations that have protested this cruel policy, as well as by the critical coverage in the U.S. and international press.

      But I can’t say that I was surprised by the news itself.

    • New Mexico Sheriff’s Office Pulls Over the Same Black Federal Agent — Three Times in a Month

      The ACLU of New Mexico sues the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office for the racial profiling of an ICE agent.

      By the third time Sherese Crawford got pulled over, she knew it was no matter of coincidence.

      Crawford is a 38-year-old African-American Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent recently on temporary assignment in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As part of her work, she was regularly required to rent a car and drive a lonely stretch of I-40 to travel between the ICE field office in Albuquerque and Milan, New Mexico. Over the course of less than a month, she was pulled over three times by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office — twice by the same deputy.

      In none of these stops was she given a warning or citation. Her only crime: driving while black.

    • The federal government’s boldest land grab in a generation produced the first border wall — and a trail of abuse, mistakes and unfairness.

      The land agents started working the border between Texas and Mexico in the spring of 2007. Sometimes they were representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers. Other times they were officers from the U.S. Border Patrol, uniformed in green, guns tucked into side holsters. They visited tumbledown mobile homes and suburban houses with golf course views. They surveyed farms fecund with sugar cane, cotton and sorghum growing by the mud-brown Rio Grande. They delivered their blunt news to ranchers and farmers, sheet metal workers and university professors, auto mechanics and wealthy developers.

    • In Florida, the Racist War on Drugs Rages on

      A new report from The Sarasota-Herald Tribune has found that drug enforcement in Florida treats Black people much more severely than white people. This follows a Tribune report in 2015 exposing prejudice in Florida’s sentencing practices, showing that Blacks are punished with significantly longer prison sentences than whites convicted of the same crimes with similar facts.

      Disturbing? Absolutely. Unjust? Completely. Surprising? Not at all.

      The results of the Tribune’s investigation are sadly expected in America because the drug war has been a war against people of color since its inception decades ago. Data, studies, reports, and court decisions on stops, arrests, charges, pleas, and sentencing reach the same shameful conclusion: Blacks are treated far more harshly than whites.

      The report found that in drug cases, Black people spend two-thirds more time behind bars than white people. Blacks were almost three times more likely to be charged with committing crimes in “drug free” zones than whites , which enhances the severity of a sentence. Again unsurprisingly, Black people account for two-thirds of such enhanced convictions statewide. This is partly because in many urban areas, schools, churches, and public housing are closely spaced, such that entire Black communities – and not by coincidence – are deemed “drug free” zones in which drug offenses are subject to more draconian punishments.

    • A Backroom Deal Threatens to Weaken Real Police Reform in New York City

      On Tuesday, the New York City Council will vote on two police accountability bills. One represents real reform that will protect New Yorkers’ privacy rights when police ask to search them without probable cause. The other is faux reform that is the result of a backroom deal between powerful politicians and the New York Police Department.

      For more than five years, the two bills were collectively known as the Right to Know Act. Intro 541-C and Intro 182-D deal with improving communication and transparency during police stops and searches. 541-C, sponsored by Council Member Antonio Reynoso, will require the NYPD to develop a policy that instructs officers to let people know when they have the right to refuse to be searched. And when they conduct a “consensual” search, officers will also have to get video or written proof that an individual consented.

    • Watchdog Agency Issues Report on ICE Abuse as Agency Seeks to Acquire New Detention Centers

      These findings are hardly a surprise. Many of the findings have been documented for years by advocates and those who are forced to endure the abusive conditions inside of ICE’s sprawling detention system. In the last month alone, there have been reports of sexual abuse at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Texas, the death of an Iranian man at the detention facility in Aurora, Colorado, and reports of atrocious conditions, including forcing female detainees to urinate or defecate in plastic bags inside their cells, at an immigration jail in Richmond, California. Sadly, these cases are only a few examples of the dangerous, sometimes deadly conditions that persist in ICE detention facilities.

    • Chicago Police Win Big When Appealing Discipline

      A secretive appeals system has been knocking down the punishments of Chicago police officers no matter how serious their misconduct, undercutting the results of lengthy investigations and layers of review long after the public believes the cases were concluded.

      In the first examination of its kind, the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois found that 85 percent of disciplinary cases handled through the Chicago Police Department’s grievance process since 2010 led to officers receiving shorter suspensions or, in many cases, having their punishments overturned entirely.

      A suspension for punching a handcuffed arrestee, all caught on camera? Negotiable.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Farewell, AIM: AOL Instant Messenger has signed off permanently
    • Net neutrality is now officially on life support. Here’s what happens next.

      The Federal Communications Commission has voted to repeal net neutrality, despite overwhelming public support for the regulation, which requires internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast to distribute internet access fairly and equally to everyone, regardless of how much they pay or where they’re located.

    • Net neutrality result: How did the FCC vote on the freedom of the internet?
    • What the Net Neutrality Repeal Means for Us

      The decision is likely to have major ramifications for consumers, online businesses and Internet service providers (ISPs). The existing regulations, put into place by Pai’s predecessor Tom Wheeler in 2015, codified longstanding Internet practice by explicitly requiring ISPs to treat all Internet traffic equally. In contrast to a cable provider, which can decide exactly what networks or services customers get for their monthly fee, ISPs are forbidden from discriminating among their customers. When you pay your fee to get online, you get everything. But under the new regime, a handful of the most powerful telecommunication companies in the U.S. – Comcast, Verizon, AT&T – will have unlimited freedom to slice and dice the Internet ecology as they please.

    • FCC’s Republican majority kills net neutrality

      Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Independent Sen. Angus King, both of Maine, joined Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., in calling on the federal agency to “hold hearings on the net neutrality issue” that has “significant implications for our entire economy, and therefore merits the most thorough, deliberate, and thoughtful process that can be provided.”

    • Net neutrality rules are dead. Will my Internet bills go up?
    • The end of net neutrality: What it all means

      As part of this shift, oversight of internet protections will shift from the FCC to the Federal Trade Commission.

    • The FCC has created an ‘internet for the elite’

      While some on the FCC argue that the decision will boost economic growth, the only thing we know for certain is that eliminating net neutrality will make internet service look a lot more like cable TV. That’s good for a handful of corporations, but bad for just about everyone else.

    • Private Internet Access Statement On End of Net Neutrality
    • Motherboard & VICE Are Building a Community Internet Network

      To protect net neutrality, we need internet infrastructure that isn’t owned by big telecom.

    • US brings an end to net neutrality regulations

      And, as iTWire reported last month the repeal of the regulations could see ISPs given the power to charge websites large sums in order to be granted fast Internet access, whilst websites that do not pay the fees will have access to users slowed considerably.

    • The FCC Just Killed Net Neutrality. Now What?

      Most immediately, the activity will move to the courts, where the advocacy group Free Press, and probably others, will challenge the FCC’s decision. The most likely argument: that the commission’s decision violates federal laws barring agencies from crafting “arbitrary and capricious” regulations. After all, the FCC’s net neutrality rules were just passed in 2015. Activists and many members of Congress, including at least six Republicans, pushed for a delay in the vote, but apart from a brief delay due to a security issue, the vote occurred as planned.

    • The FCC’s Two Dissenting Voices Defend Net Neutrality To the End

      The agencies’s two Democratic commissioners, Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel, lashed out against the order during the FCC’s open meeting today.

    • FCC votes to kill net neutrality in an unsurprising move. What happens now?

      The impact on you at home: This is big. Net neutrality has prevented ISPs such as Comcast and Verizon from nickel-and-diming customers based on their Internet usage, or gouging Google to make sure YouTube isn’t throttled. But even more important than Netflix and Hulu HD streams is the access to information. Millions of people depend on the internet for basic services, and the repeal of net neutrality protection may threaten their access to it.

    • Ajit Pai is so cocky over net neutrality he’s dressing as Santa to take the p*ss
    • Net neutrality: How will US overhaul of internet laws affect the web?

      Net neutrality is the premise that customers are guaranteed an equal version of the internet. The repeal permits several tiers – allowing ISPs to charge more for quicker speeds and block websites belonging to customers who have not paid a premium.

    • FCC Repeals U.S. Net Neutrality Rules

      The FCC has repealed U.S. net neutrality rules. As a result of today’s vote, Internet providers have the freedom to restrict, or charge for, access to certain sites and services if they please. This also means that BitTorrent throttling and blocking could become commonplace once again, as it was a decade ago.

    • Net neutrality rules weakened by US regulator

      Restrictions on US broadband providers’ ability to prioritise one service’s data over another are to be reduced after a vote by a regulator.

    • FCC Repeals Net Neutrality Rules Amid Protests, Lawsuit Threats

      At the FCC meeting, Clyburn said that “the public can plainly see, that a soon-to-be-toothless FCC, is handing the keys to the Internet. The Internet, one of the most remarkable, empowering, enabling inventions of our lifetime, over to a handful of multi-billion dollar corporations.

    • Gutting Net Neutrality Is the Trump Administration’s Most Brutal Blow to Democracy Yet

      This cannot be the end of a free and open Internet. Activists must fight on in the courts, in Congress, and in the streets.

    • The FCC Voted to Repeal Net Neutrality

      “They’d be given the legal authority and power to be able to block your websites. The’d be able to shuffle your traffic and manipulate it so it could goes toward services with whom they have a commercial relationship and close you off from services from those with whom you do not. It would allow them to set up tolls online for you, the consumer, to reach the content you want,” she told Teen Vogue. They will have the power to do this. Our laws will no longer prevent them from doing this because our laws will no longer require internet openness. They would have the power to carve the internet into fast and slow lanes and charge you to access sites who haven’t engaged in a pay-for-play relationship. [Internet bills] could very well go up.”

    • FCC Scraps Net Neutrality Rules in US

      Individual states will also be barred from enacting their own rules governing the internet.

    • What could happen to net neutrality

      In the immediate future, consumers will start to see more deals on their internet plans, including “zero-rating”

    • Trump’s FCC Nukes Network Neutrality: What Happens Now?

      Network neutrality is the principle that the companies that sell access to the internet (Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, etc.) don’t get the power to influence how people use the internet — for example, by discriminating in favor or against certain data based on who is sending or receiving it, its purpose, or its content. Essentially, that means treating the internet like the utility it is: We don’t allow the phone company to decide whether to connect us to a relative based on their view of that relative’s politics. And our free access to all internet sites should be just the same.

    • Net Neutrality Repeal Is Only Part of Trump’s Surrender to Corporate Media

      The FCC is under attack—and so too is the First Amendment. As the primary regulator of how media and information gets to our nation’s citizens, the Federal Communications Commission has a critical role to play in protecting the open Internet, free speech, and free press in our democracy. Though the agency has always enjoyed a cozy relationship with the industries it regulates, ever since the Trump administration arrived in Washington, the FCC’s mission to preserve the public commons has been threatened, assaulted and torn asunder. And like a bad horror movie cliché, these calls to eviscerate the FCC have been coming from inside the agency.

      Repealing net neutrality has drawn a huge amount of public visibility—and rightly so—but that decision is just the latest in a string of ominous, industry-friendly giveaways by the Trump administration’s FCC. It has also rolled back local TV station ownership limits on media giants like Sinclair Broadcasting Group and rescinded the longtime “main studio” rule that required local stations to maintain community newsrooms and fostered more local journalism. And the agency’s leadership has begun a campaign to actively abdicate its enforcement mission and pass it over to the smaller, less well-funded Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which lacks the FCC’s deep industry knowledge and proactive regulatory power.

    • Comcast has been planning to ditch Net Neutrality principles for months
    • Documenting the laughable lies the FCC told at the hearing where it killed Net Neutrality

      The FCC is only allowed to change existing policies if they can show evidence of some change in facts, so at yesterday’s bomb-threat haunted hearing to destroy Net Neutrality, Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and his Republican colleagues made a pro-forma recitation of the reasons justifying his extreme actions.

      These reasons were lies.

    • Donald Trump Jr. botches a basic net neutrality fact, and the internet lets him have it

      By getting a basic fact wrong while trying to blame Obama, Trump opened up the internet to ridicule him mercilessly — and that’s exactly what happened.

    • FCC faces legal battle after widely-condemned vote to repeal net neutrality
    • Net neutrality is dead — what happens next?

      Pro-neutrality groups are already preparing a legal challenge, arguing the order itself should be invalidated as illegal. With the draft text of Pai’s order already public, pro-neutrality lawyers like Public Knowledge’s Harold Feld have had plenty of time to plan. “The advantage of having seen a draft of the order first,” Feld says, “is that, as someone planning a judicial challenge, I’m pretty confident we will be successful.”

    • FCC chair: Net neutrality supporters ‘proven wrong’ day after repeal

      Pai went on to say that Kimmel and others were “proven wrong” by the fact that internet service providers (ISP) had not rolled out immediate changes Friday morning.

    • On eve of internet censorship vote, powerful AG uncovers explosive corruption scandal

      Raising grave new concerns about the process by which Donald Trump’s FCC is moving ahead to overturn net neutrality rules that protect consumer choice on the internet, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Wednesday that millions of fake comments had been filed with the FCC in an effort to mimic grassroots support for internet censorship.

      The FCC’s vote on net neutrality is scheduled for Thursday, but Schneiderman is calling on the commission to delay it’s final decision until it can be determined who’s responsible for the massive scheme.

    • What is net neutrality? It protects us from corporate power

      This Thursday, Ajit Pai, Donald Trump’s choice to chair the Federal Communications Commission, will force a vote to repeal net neutrality protections for broadband providers. This is an important step backwards for our democracy. It will affect what consumers pay for broadband and what we can buy. More importantly, it will affect what we as citizens can say and to whom we can say it.

      In the age of Trump, a move to concentrate the power of speech in the hands of telecommunications giants whose financial fate depends on Republican political control is terrifying.

    • Majority of Tea Partiers Back Net Neutrality Principles, Polling Shows

      The Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission on Thursday is widely expected to vote for a repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules. But the long-running drama surrounding the issue has revealed surprising pockets of support for the existing regulations — including majority support from tea party supporters and conservative voters.

    • Net Neutrality Repeal Would Hurt #MeToo Movement And Minority Women

      A federal government plan to roll-back an Obama-era internet rule designed to level the online playing field would result in censorship on the web that would disproportionately affect women and minorities, experts said.

      The Federal Communications Commission will vote Thursday to end so-called net neutrality, which ensures internet service providers give consumers equal access to all content and do not favor or discriminate against certain sources or users.

    • Team Internet Is Far From Done: What’s Next For Net Neutrality and How You Can Help

      Defying the facts, the law, and the will of millions of Americans, the Federal Communications Commission has voted to repeal net neutrality protections. It’s difficult to understate how radical the FCC’s decision was.

      The Internet has operated under formal and informal net neutrality principles for years. For the first time, the FCC has not only abdicated its role in enforcing those principles, it has rejected them altogether.

      Here’s the good news: the fight is far from over, and Team Internet has plenty of paths forward.

    • Today’s net neutrality vote – an unsurprising, unfortunate disappointment

      We are incredibly disappointed that the FCC voted this morning – along partisan lines – to remove protections for the open internet. This is the result of broken processes, broken politics, and broken policies. As we have said over and over, we’ll keep fighting for the open internet, and hope that politicians decide to protect their constituents rather than increase the power of ISPs.

    • ‘Don’t break the 21st century nervous system’

      In the USA, millions of people have risen up against the FCC, making an obscure realm of telecoms regulation into a central question of public debate. We are well past peak indifference, and now people are turning up on our doorsteps of their own accord, convinced that the net is worth fighting for and asking what they can do to help.

      This isn’t a fight you win. The internet is too great a prize to any entity that can seize control over it for it to ever be free from danger. This is a fight you commit yourself to, with eternal vigilance.

    • Can A VPN Bypass Net Neutrality Rollback And Throttling? — Here Are 3 Top Services To Help You
    • RIP Open Web: FCC Officially Votes To Kill Net Neutrality

      The past one year’s effort made by American citizens has been rejected by the Federal Communications Committee, headed by Ajit Pai, which has just voted to repeal the net neutrality rules established under the Obama administration. It looks like Christmas came pretty early for ISP giants.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Korea FTC defends global scope of its Qualcomm penalties as US judge warns of an antitrust “race to the bottom”

      Of the recent competition rulings against Qualcomm, Korea’s seem to have gone the furthest in imposing global remedies on the chipmaker’s licensing practices. At a recent forum on antitrust extraterritoriality, Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia criticised this approach, saying it sets a precedent that the most restrictive antitrust regime should apply globally. But in a written statement, the Korean Free Trade Commission (KFTC) has defended its Qualcomm decision at length, signaling it will not back down from imposing global correctives.

      The exchange, if it can be called that, took place at a roundtable hosted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The event was off-the-record and closed to the public, but the slides presented by Ginsburg and the written submission prepared by the Korean government can both be accessed online.

    • New ABA Opinion of Particular Interest

      A lawyer may be adverse to a former client, but not in the same matter in which she represented the client, or in one which is “substantially related” to the representation of the former client. Generally, this requires determining whether it is reasonably likely that in the representation, the lawyer likely learned confidential information that likely can be used against the former client now.

    • Intellectual Property Rights In Trade – To Be Rethought?

      After two decades of intellectual property regimes in trade agreements, one could have some second thoughts, according to a number of panellists at the Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium, organised by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and held alongside the 11th World Trade Organization Ministerial in Buenos Aires, Argentina this week.

    • Trademarks

      • We are all FUCT

        The Federal Circuit has ruled that trademark law’s bar against registering immoral or scandalous marks is an unconstitutional restriction of free speech. Thus, on appeal the court has reversed the TTAB’s holding that Bruneti’s mark FUCT is unregistrable.

      • Federal Circuit’s Brunetti ruling: barring immoral or scandalous marks unconstitutional

        The Federal Circuit has overturned the TTAB’s rejection of a trademark application for the “FUCT”, ruling that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act’s bar on registering immoral or scandalous marks is an unconstitutional restriction of free speech.

    • Copyrights

      • Cable Reveals Extent Of Lapdoggery From Swedish Govt On Copyright Monopoly

        Among the treasure troves of recently released WikiLeaks cables, we find one whose significance has bypassed Swedish media. In short: every law proposal, every ordinance, and every governmental report hostile to the net, youth, and civil liberties here in Sweden in recent years have been commissioned by the US government and industry interests.

        I can understand that the significance has been missed, because it takes a whole lot of knowledge in this domain to recognize the topics discussed. When you do, however, you realize that the cable lists orders for the Swedish Government to implement a series of measures that significantly weakens Sweden’s competitive advantage in the IT field against the US. We had concluded this was the case, but had believed things had come from a large number of different sources. That was wrong. It was all coordinated, and the Swedish Government had received a checklist to tick off. The Government is described in the cables as “fully on board”.

      • Kim Dotcom’s Extradition Battle Suffers High Court Setback

        As Kim Dotcom continues his fight to avoid extradition to the United States, the entrepreneur suffered a setback this morning. Siding with the US government in a ruling published this morning, Justice Brewer at the New Zealand High Court rejected seven out of eight arguments put forward by the entrepreneur for judicial review.

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts