Links 18/12/2017: Linux 4.15 RC4, ScummVM 2.0, TheSSS 23.2

Posted in News Roundup at 5:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • What Are Containers and Why Should You Care?

      What are containers? Do you need them? Why? In this article, we aim to answer some of these basic questions.

      But, to answer these questions, we need more questions. When you start considering how containers might fit into your world, you need to ask: Where do you develop your application? Where do you test it and where is it deployed?

    • Containers lecture

      Whilst trying to introduce containers, the approach I’ve taken is to work up the history of Web site/server/app hosting from physical hosting and via Virtual Machines. This gives you the context for their popularity, but I find VMs are not the best way to explain container technology. I prefer to go the other way and look at a process on a multi-user system, the problems due to lack of isolation and steadily build up the isolation available with tools like chroot, etc.

    • As Kubernetes surged in popularity in 2017, it created a vibrant ecosystem

      Kubernetes is actually an open source project, originally developed at Google, which is managed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Over the last year, we’ve seen some of the biggest names in tech flocking to the CNCF including AWS, Oracle, Microsoft and others, in large part because they want to have some influence over the development of Kubernetes.

    • Ops Checklist for Monitoring Kubernetes at Scale

      By design, the Kubernetes open source container orchestration engine is not self-monitoring, and a bare installation will typically only have a subset of the monitoring tooling that you will need. In a previous post, we covered the five tools for monitoring Kubernetes in production, at scale, as per recommendations from Kenzan.

    • Kubernetes 1.9 brings beta support for Windows apps

      Kubernetes, the cloud container orchestration program, expands even further and has grown more stable.

    • Kubernetes Linux Container Orchestration System Now Supports Windows Too

      Kubernetes, the open-source, production-grade container orchestration system for automating scaling, deployment, and management of containerized apps, has been updated to version 1.9.

      Coming two and a half months after version 1.8, Kubernetes 1.9 is here with a bunch of new features like the general availability of the Apps Workloads API (Application Programming Interface), which is enabled by default to provide long-running stateful and stateless workloads, as well as initial, beta support for Windows systems.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.14.7
    • Linux 4.9.70
    • Linux 4.4.106
    • Linux 3.18.88
    • Four stable kernels
    • Linux 4.15-rc4

      So it looks like 4.15 is finally calming down, with rc4 being about
      average size-wise for this time in the release process.

      Of course, we not only have the holiday season coming up, we *also*
      have some x86 entry and page table handling fixes pending. But that’s
      not for today, and not for rc4. Let’s enjoy the short normal phase of
      4.15 today.

      The most noticeable thing to most normal users in rc4 is that we
      should finally have cleaned up and fixed the suspend/resume handling.
      That got first broken for some (unusual) kernel configurations due to
      excessive debugging at a very inopportune time in early resume, and
      when _that_ got fixed, we broke the 32-bit case. Not many developers
      run 32-bit builds in real life any more, so that took a bit to even

    • Linux 4.15-rc4 Kernel Released
    • Linux Kernel 4.15 Development Is Finally Calming Down, Says Linus Torvalds

      The development cycle of the Linux 4.15 kernel continues as usual, and Linus Torvalds announced the fourth Release Candidate (RC) over the weekend noting that things are finally calming down.

      While last week’s RC3 release of Linux kernel 4.15 was bigger than expected, it would appear that the RC4 build is “about average size,” according to Linus Torvalds. This is a good thing, of course, signaling that the final Linux 4.15 kernel release could land in time, but the winter holidays could stand in its way after all.

    • Linux Foundation

      • The Linux Foundation Announces 21 New Silver Members

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced the addition of 21 Silver members. Linux Foundation members help support development of the greatest shared technology resources in history, while accelerating their own innovation through open source leadership and participation.

      • Juniper transfers OpenContrail project to the Linux Foundation

        Juniper Networks is handing over the governance of the OpenContrail project to the Linux Foundation.

        OpenContrail is an open source network virtualization platform aimed at cloud environments and dealing mainly with the control plane – responsible for traffic routing. Juniper will continue developing and selling a commercial, fully supported version of the software, called simply Contrail.

      • The Linux Foundation Simplifies Xen Hypervisor Usage

        Cloud service providers tend to favor various implementations of the open source Xen hypervisor because it’s simply not cost effective for them to pay to license a commercial hypervisor at scale. It’s not clear to what degree enterprise IT organizations will want to follow suit. But The Linux Foundation that oversees development of Xen aims to increase the appeal of Xen by making available a more streamlined version that is simpler to use.

        George Dunlap, a Xen Project Contributor and a senior engineer at Citrix, says version 4.10 of the Xen Hypervisor Project includes a new user interface in addition to a trusted computing base (TCB) that has been made smaller and, by extension, more secure. The expectation is that a more compact implementation of Xen will not only consume fewer system resources, but also reduce the overall attack surface exposed, says Dunlap. Those attributes should make Xen a more attractive option, for example, in Internet of Things (IoT) projects where licensing a commercial hypervisor is likely to prove cost prohibitive, adds Dunlap.

      • The Xen Project Welcomes Bitdefender to its Advisory Board

        The Xen Project, a project hosted at The Linux Foundation, today announced Bitdefender, a leading global cybersecurity technology company protecting 500 million users worldwide, is a new Advisory Board member. The Xen Project Advisory Board consists of major cloud companies, virtualization providers, enterprises, and silicon vendors, among others, that advise and support the development of Xen Project software for cloud computing, embedded, IoT use-cases, automotive and security applications.

      • Xen Project Member Spotlight: Bitdefender

        The Xen Project is comprised of a diverse set of member companies and contributors that are committed to the growth and success of the Xen Project Hypervisor. The Xen Project Hypervisor is a staple technology for server and cloud vendors, and is gaining traction in the embedded, security and automotive space. This blog series highlights the companies contributing to the changes and growth being made to the Xen Project, and how the Xen Project technology bolsters their business.

      • OpenStack SDN – OpenDaylight With BGP VPN

        For the last 5 years OpenStack has been the training ground for a lot of emerging DC SDN solutions. OpenStack integration use case was one of the most compelling and easiest to implement thanks to the limited and suboptimal implementation of the native networking stack. Today, in 2017, features like L2 population, local ARP responder, L2 gateway integration, distributed routing and service function chaining have all become available in vanilla OpenStack and don’t require a proprietary SDN controller anymore. Admittedly, some of the features are still not (and may never be) implemented in the most optimal way (e.g. DVR). This is where new opensource SDN controllers, the likes of OVN and Dragonflow, step in to provide scalable, elegant and efficient implementation of these advanced networking features. However one major feature still remains outside of the scope of a lot of these new opensource SDN projects, and that is data centre gateway (DC-GW) integration. Let me start by explain why you would need this feature in the first place.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Navi spotted in Linux drivers

        The architecture name is hidden under SUPER_SECRET codename. Normally we would be seeing the real name of the GPU, but AMD is likely trying to avoid generating hype for architecture which is still months away (I heard something about late 2018), hence the secret.

      • AMD’s next-gen GPU has been spotted in Linux drivers

        With AMD’s RX Vega now out and about, it is time to start looking towards the future. We’ve known for some time that Vega will be followed up by ‘Navi’ at some point between 2018 and 2020. Now, we know that progress is being made as AMD’s next-gen GPU has appeared in a new driver.

      • AMD’s Next Gen Navi GPU Architecture Found Referenced In Linux Drivers

        This has been a big year for AMD, there is no doubt about that. Having launched a new CPU and GPU architectures (Zen and Vega, respectively), the company thrust itself back into relevancy in the high-end market, whereas previously the top shelf was the exclusive domain of rival Intel. So, what’s next? On the GPU side, AMD is expected to roll out its Navi architecture sometime next year, with references to its next generation GPU already showing up in driver code.

      • AMD 7nm “Super Secret” Navi GPU Spotted In Driver, 2H 2018 Launch Expected

        AMD’s upcoming next generation 7nm based graphics architecture code named “Navi” has been spotted in Linux driver code. The all new GPU architecture is officially slated to debut next year, with all whispers indicating a debut in the latter half of the year.

      • GNOME’s Mutter Now Supports XWayland Keyboard Grabbing, XDG-Output

        More (X)Wayland improvements are en route for GNOME 3.28.

        The latest addition to the Mutter Wayland compositor is now handling XWayland keyboard grab support so an XWayland/X11 client can exclusively grab the keyboard input. And as part of that a new setting for controlling if XWayland clients can do keyboard grabs.

      • The Architecture Of XWayland To Let X11 Apps Run On Wayland

        ekka Paalanen of Collabora has begun the overdue task of providing documentation on XWayland.

        While XWayland has been around for a few years in allowing X11 applications/games run atop on an X.Org Server, up to now it’s not been officially documented. Pekka has taken up the task of starting to document XWayland within the Wayland Git repository’s documentation.

      • OpenGL 4.3 Support Lands In R600 Gallium3D Driver

        In between hacking on the RADV Vulkan driver, David Airlie has found the time to land his patches enabling OpenGL 4.3 and GLSL 430 support within Mesa 17.4-dev Git for the R600g driver.

        The R600g driver is now able to officially expose OpenGL 4.3 support. But the big caveat is that’s only for the R600g-using hardware exposing FP64 support right now… That means just the Radeon HD 5800 series and HD 6900 Cayman series… All the rest of the HD 5000/6000 series and other R600g-supported hardware is still limited to OpenGL 3.3 support.

      • RADV Vulkan Driver Lands Support For External Fences

        Even with AMD open-sourcing their official Vulkan driver any day now, David Airlie, Bas Nieuwenhuizen, and others independently continue to advance the dissenting RADV Vulkan driver.

        The latest to report on RADV is that it now supports external fences and the associated VK_KHR_external_fence_fd extension. External fences for Vulkan is about allowing synchronized access to external memory using fences. Vulkan external memory in turn is about memory outside of the scope of the logical device and can be used for multi-process/device handling and among the current use-cases for Vulkan external memory is SteamVR on Linux.

      • Libdrm 2.4.89 Released With Leasing & Synchronization Object APIs

        The libdrm Mesa DRM library that principally sits as the interface between Mesa and the kernel Direct Rendering Manager drivers is out with a big update.

        David Airlie released libdrm 2.4.89 as the latest version of this important library. New in this libdrm update is the new DRM mode lease ioctl wrappers, part of Keith Packard’s work on DRM leasing added to the Linux 4.15 kernel as part of improving VR HMD support on Linux.

    • Benchmarks

      • 4 x SSD Btrfs/EXT4 RAID Tests On Linux 4.15

        Using the Linux 4.15 development kernel atop Ubuntu 17.04, I’ve been running some fresh Btrfs vs. EXT4 file-system benchmarks up through four SATA 3.0 SSDs. The tests were happening on the box comprised of an Intel Xeon Silver 4108 with Tyan Tempest HX S7100 motherboard, 6 x 4GB DDR4-2400MHz memory, a Corsair Force MP500 120GB NVMe SSD as the main OS drive and then the four ADATA SU700 consumer SATA 3.0 SSDs housed within the SilverStone TS421S enclosure.

  • Applications

    • New Version of Linux Radio Player ‘Gradio’ Released

      Talking of finding stations, the ‘add station’ and ‘search’ pages are now combined, while the Library no longer contains a separate tab for collections. The collection feature is still included, but is now surfaced when selecting multiple stations in the library.

      Various parts of the UI have been tweaked, including the selection toolbar, application menu and the collections popover.

      And, for peace of mind, your connection to the community-powered radio-browser.info database is now encrypted.

    • Best Free PDF Editors For PC, Mac, Linux, Android & iOS

      LibreOffice is one of the best free Office alternatives to Microsoft Office suite. You also get the ability to open and edit the PDF files. If your PDF file contains just pictures/graphics, LibreOffice will automatically suggest the drawing tools to let you modify it. In case of text-oriented documents, you will get the necessary word formatting tools to help you edit it.The user interface may not be the best around but LibreOffice is a free-to-use open-source software with no purchases required.

    • Linux Release Roundup: Cozy, MuPDF, Atom + More

      It’s a Sunday, which means it’s time for me to round-up a rabble of recent Linux releases that did get a mention during the week.

      With a lot of people busy getting ready for Christmas (and other festivals that happen this time of year) there aren’t too many major releases to mention from the past week, but there is a modest set of minor updates issued you may want to know about.

      This might be the final Linux Release Roundup before Xmas. If, like some sort of weekly Santa, you only pop by to read these posts I’ll use this moment to say thank you, and wish you a merry denomatively-appropriate holiday.

    • darktable 2.4 to Support Sony a7R III 35mm Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera

      The developers of the open-source, free, and cross-platform darktable RAW image editor announced the availability of the second Release Candidate for the upcoming and highly anticipated 2.4 release.

      darktable 2.4 RC2 comes only one week after the first Release Candidate, and it promises to bring support for Sony’s newest Alpha a7R III mirrorless digital camera (Sony ILCE-7RM3). Besides that, there are a few improvements to increase the overall stability, reliability, and compatibility of the application.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Bluetooth Linux Stack Gets Improvements for Bluetooth LE Joypads, Other Devices

        First off, for the ShanWan PS3 joypad (a PlayStation 3 controller clone), they managed to disable the rumble motor that currently starts immediately after you plug the controller into the USB port of your Linux computer, as well as to hard-code the HID service that the joypad was supposed to offer but it didn’t because it’s not Bluetooth compliant.

        “The SHANWAN PS3 clone joypad will start its rumble motors as soon as it is plugged in via USB. As the additional USB interrupt does nothing on the original PS3 Sixaxis joypads, and makes a number of other clone joypads actually start sending data, disable that call for the SHANWAN so the rumble motors aren’t started on plug,” reads the kernel patch.

      • Some early thoughts on the open-world sandbox game ‘Project 5: Sightseer’

        Project 5: Sightseer [Steam] is a hard game to describe properly, but it certainly has managed to capture my attention.

      • Development of roguelike ‘Jupiter Hell’ sounds like it’s going well

        It’s now been a whole year since the game was funded on the Kickstarter, so to celebrate the developer has given a big status update on the progress of developing the game. They’ve grown as a studio, with 10 people now working on the game, they’ve put multiple types of enemies into the game and the base gameplay mechanics are actually in and the ASCII mode is also in.

      • Split-screen shoot ‘em up ‘Dimension Drive’ has officially released with Linux support

        Need more shoot ‘em ups? Dimension Drive [Steam, Official Site] released recently and it came with Linux support. It looks absolutely nuts too!

        It wasn’t smooth sailing for this one, as their original Kickstarter was trolled with a large fraudelent pledge that resulted in their original campaign failing to hit the goal. They later put up a new Kickstarter, which actually was successful and a lot more so than the first one in terms of funding raised.

      • Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes adds a Linux Beta, not officially supported

        I have to say, this looks incredibly fun! The developers of Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes [Steam, Official Site] have put up a Beta build for Linux gamers.

      • Speculation: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive might be getting a PUBG-like mode

        I should state, for the record, that this is entirely speculative of course. However, it’s interesting to note especially for Linux gamers since we do not have anything really like PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS and the developer has no plans for a Linux version. I would certainly appreciate something resembling it on Linux, as I do love those types of games.

      • ScummVM 2.0 Released To Relive Some Gaming Classics

        ScummVM 2.0 has been released as a major update to this open-source game engine recreation project.

        ScummVM has advanced well past just supporting the original LucasArts adventure games and with today’s v2.0 rollout supports “23 brand new old games”, including many older Sierra adventure titles. Among the games that can now be played atop ScummVM 2.0 are Police Quest 4, Lighthouse, Leisure Suit Larry 6/7, King’s Quest VII, Full Pipe, and many other titles.

      • ScummVM 2.0.

        Just in time for the holidays, the final release of ScummVM 2.0 is here! This version adds support for 23 brand new old games, including almost all of the 32-bit Sierra adventures…

      • ScummVM 2.0 released adding support for more classic games

        For those who enjoy the classics, you might want to check out the latest release of ScummVM which adds support for more classic titles.

        When it comes to the games, they’ve added support for 23 more titles like King’s Quest VII, King’s Questions, Leisure Suit Larry 6 (hi-res), Leisure Suit Larry 7, Riven: The Sequel to Myst and more. It’s a rather impressive list, but of course the 2.0 release doesn’t stop at adding support for more titles.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Epiphany Stable Flatpak Releases

        The latest stable version of Epiphany is now available on Flathub. Download it here. You should be able to double click the flatpakref to install it in GNOME Software, if you use any modern GNOME operating system not named Ubuntu. But, in my experience, GNOME Software is extremely buggy, and it often as not does not work for me. If you have trouble, you can use the command line:

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Review: Daphile 17.09

        Daphile is a minimal Linux distribution which is designed to be run on a computer dedicated to playing music. Daphile can be run on headless machines and its media controls are managed through a web-based interface. Basically, Daphile is intended to be run on a computer we can stick in the corner of a room and use it as a media centre without worrying about managing software, tweaking settings or navigating desktop environments. Daphile can be run from a CD or USB thumb drive for maximum portability and does not need to be installed directly on a hard drive to work.

        Daphile reportedly has the ability to rip audio CDs, play audio files from a local drive or stream music across network shares (Samba, NFS, FTP and OpenSSH services are supported). This gives us a pretty good range of media sources for our music collection.

        Under the hood, Daphile has its roots in Gentoo, though the operating system is somewhat stripped down and we cannot use Gentoo’s package management utilities. Daphile runs the Busybox userland tools and a light web server, and very little else. In fact, Daphile does not provide a login interface to allow us to tinker with the operating system. The operating system is dedicated entirely to the task of playing music and our sole access to the media controls are through its web interface.

        The distribution is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds and the ISO file we download for Daphile is 195MB in size. While Daphile is capable of running entirely without a screen, when we do boot from Daphile’s media the distribution displays the distribution’s IP address, which it obtains over DHCP. We can connect to the IP address using any modern web browser which automatically gives us access to Daphile’s media controls, there is no user authentication built into the web interface.

      • Kali Linux 2017.3 hands-on: The best alternative to Raspbian for your Raspberry Pi

        Linux distributions designed for security analysis, penetration testing, and forensic analysis are all the rage these days. It seems like you can hardly swing a dead cat (or a dead computer) without hitting one.

        As a dedicated Linux user I consider that to be a good thing, simply because choice is always good, and it is always good to have several groups of talented and dedicated people working on something. But as a long-time user of Kali Linux (and BackTrack before that) I honestly believe that Kali is still the best in the field, so I am always pleased when I hear there is a new Kali release.

    • New Releases

      • TheSSS 23.2 released.

        This is a minor (point) release based on the 4MLinux Server 23.2, meaning that the components of the LAMP server are now: Linux 4.9.69, Apache 2.4.29, MariaDB 10.2.11, and PHP (both 5.6.32 and 7.0.26). The following server software has also been updated: OpenSSL (1.0.2n) and Stunnel (5.44).

      • Manjaro Preview Releases: Manjaro KDE Edition (17.1-rc1)

        KDE is a feature-rich and versatile desktop environment that provides several different styles of menu to access applications. An excellent built-in interface to easily access and install new themes, widgets, etc, from the internet is also worth mentioning. While very user-friendly and certainly flashy, KDE is also quite resource heavy and noticably slower to start and use than a desktop environment such as XFCE. A 64 bit installation of Manjaro running KDE uses about 550MB of memory.

      • Manjaro 17.1 Release Candidate 1 Arrives, GNOME Session Switches To Wayland

        The official release is near for the Arch-based Manjaro 17.1 Linux distribution.

        Manjaro 17.1 “Hakoila” is the version that’s been in development since the Manjaro 17.0 release in March. Besides many updated packages from Arch in this time, the GNOME edition of Manjaro 17.1 has switched to using Wayland by default over X11.

      • “Ethical Hacking” Linux Distro Parrot 3.10 Released With New Features — Get It Here

        About 1.5 months after the release of Parrot 3.9 “Intruder,” The Parrot Project has announced the release of Parrot 3.10. Parrot is often seen as the best alternative to Kali Linux, and it continues to improve its reputation by shelling out regular updates.

      • The Smallest Server Suite 23.3 Released

        The Smallest Server Suite — also known as TheSSS — remains a live CD/DVD capable Linux operating system making it trivial to deploy a range of services.

      • The Smallest Server Suite Now Ships with Linux 4.9.69 LTS and OpenSSL 1.0.2n

        A minor update to the 23.0 stable series, TheSSS 23.2 is here about three weeks after version 23.1 to update a few core components of its built-in LAMP (Linux, Apache, MariaDB, and PHP) server. Therefore, the live system now runs Linux kernel 4.9.69 LTS, Apache 2.4.29, MariaDB 10.2.11, and PHP 7.0.26.

        PHP 5.6.32 is installed as well to provide users with extra compatibility for older PHP5 scripts, and TheSSS 23.2 also ships with the latest OpenSSL 1.0.2n commercial-grade Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) toolkit and Stunnel 5.44 proxy tool.

    • Slackware Family

      • Hello Chromium 63 – goodbye NaCl

        December usually is a busy month, with the focus at work to wrap up as much of the ongoing projects as possible and prepare for the christmas holidays. And when there’s a lot of (paid) work to do, the voluntary work gets second place. That’s why there was not really a lot of time to churn out a Chromium 63 SlackBuild script. Two weeks ago the first sources for release 63 appeared online and fixed a lot of (security) bugs. Last week saw an update and this is what I grabbed and packaged, because you can’t wait too long with addressing security issues.

        Those of you who had examined my chromium-dev.SlackBuild a while ago will already know that the SlackBuild for versions beyond 63 needed a bit of re-work to cope with changes at the source level. I am glad I did that in November, as it made the transition for the stable browser much easier.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint Releases Last KDE Edition “Sylvia”

              ​Mint fans rejoice as the latest version of Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia with the KDE desktop is available to download on Linux Mint’s official website. The sad part is that this will be the last offering from Linux Mint that will feature the KDE desktop environment.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 4 successful open source business models to consider

    When I first discovered open source, the idea of building a business around it seemed counterintuitive. However, as I grew more familiar with the movement, I realized that open source software companies were not an anomaly, rather a result of the freedoms open source offers. As GNU project founder Richard Stallman said of free software, it’s “a matter of liberty, not price.” Open source is, above all, about the unhindered liberty to create. In this sense, the innovation and creativity demonstrated in open source business models is a testimony to the ideals of open source.

  • How to Market an Open Source Project

    The widely experienced and indefatigable Deirdré Straughan presented a talk at Open Source Summit NA on how to market an open source project. Deirdré currently works with open source at Amazon Web Services (AWS), although she was not representing the company at the time of her talk. Her experience also includes stints at Ericsson, Joyent, and Oracle, where she worked with cloud and open source over several years.

    Through it all, Deirdré said, the main mission in her career has been to “help technologies grow and thrive through a variety of marketing and community activities.” This article provides highlights of Deirdré’s talk, in which she explained common marketing approaches and why they’re important for open source projects.

  • How Open Source could Create 10x Better Circular Businesses

    Some people think it’s extremely complex and expensive to transition to a circular economy, especially at the scale and speed we need to solve the current problems related to food, energy, pollution, toxic chemicals, transportation, and climate change.

    Companies hold an important role, in moving from contributing to many of these environmental problems to solving them. But to devote resources to the circular economy, businesses need to justify to their boards that it will be financially beneficial over the long term to do so. And creating circular solutions sometimes feels like a barrier to profitability and convenience. If businesses can find new ways to work smarter, not harder, they can dramatically increase the chances of spreading a circular and profitable innovation. The key is sharing circular innovations in open source.


    But simply putting an open source label isn’t a magic bullet. Creating and opening innovation documentation is an important start, but it’s only half the battle. An organisation can’t just hope others will follow.

  • State and local government look for path to innovation with open source, cloud
  • Learn Guitar With This Clip-On Device and Open-Source App
  • Climate conditions affect solar cell performance more than expected
  • MIT’s Open Source Tool Predicts Solar Cell Performance per Location

    Ian Marius Peters, a co-author of the study and a research associate at the MIT Photovoltaics Research Laboratory, highlights the advantages of their tool – it’s free and accurate. “Tools used by developers to predict energy yields of solar panels and plan solar systems are often expensive and inaccurate. They’re inaccurate because they were developed for temperate climates like the United States, Europe, and Japan.”

  • Avast open sources reverse engineering decompiler RetDec

    Barely even featuring as an item on its press room pages, news has filtered out this week of Czech virus deerstalking firm Avast releasing its machine code decompiler RetDec to open source.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Angers Firefox Users After Force-Installing Mr. Robot Promo Add-On

        Mozilla took a bit of heat this week after the organization force-installed a Mr. Robot promotional add-on in some Firefox browsers.

        The add-on, called Looking Glass, was intended to promote the season 3 finale of Mr. Robot that aired on Wednesday, December 13, but the whole media stunt failed miserably.

      • Firefox is on a slippery slope

        This extension was sideloaded into browsers via the “experiments” feature. Not only are these experiments enabled by default, but updates have been known to re-enable it if you turn it off. The advertisement addon shows up like this on your addon page, and was added to Firefox stable. If I saw this before I knew what was going on, I would think my browser was compromised! Apparently it was a mistake that this showed up on the addon page, though – it was supposed to be silently sideloaded into your browser!

        There’s a ticket on Bugzilla (Firefox’s bug tracker) for discussing this experiment, but it’s locked down and no one outside of Mozilla can see it. There’s another ticket, filed by concerned users, which has since been disabled and had many comments removed, particularly the angry (but respectful) ones.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • GnuCash 2.6.19

      GnuCash is a personal and small business finance application, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. It’s designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible. GnuCash allows you to track your income and expenses, reconcile bank accounts, monitor stock portfolios and manage your small business finances. It is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.

      GnuCash can keep track of your personal finances in as much detail as you prefer. If you are just starting out, use GnuCash to keep track of your checkbook. You may then decide to track cash as well as credit card purchases to better determine where your money is being spent. When you start investing, you can use GnuCash to help monitor your portfolio. Buying a vehicle or a home? GnuCash will help you plan the investment and track loan payments. If your financial records span the globe, GnuCash provides all the multiple-currency support you need.

    • GCC 7.3 Status report

      GCC 7 is in regression and documentation fixes mode and it is time
      to think about backports you want/need to do for GCC 7.3. The plan
      is to do a release candidate for GCC 7.3 in the second week of January
      following by a release a week after that.

    • GCC 7.3 Is Being Released Next Month

      Richard Biener of SUSE is preparing to release GCC 7.3 next month.

      GCC 7 has been in only a regression/bug-fix mode for many months now and GCC 7.3 will be the latest installment of that with all of the latest fixes. But right now there are twenty-two more P2 regressions (161 in total) since the last update and overall that puts them at 174 P1-P3 regressions.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Sri Lanka advised to go for open source software in schools

      The Asian Development Bank has advised Sri Lanka to go for open source software as opposed to branded software in using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education.

      “Software is a prime concern in learning. Therefore, open source is recommended for a developing country like Sri Lanka to achieve international quality standards of ICT education,” the ADB said in a recent study.

      “Free and open source software provides a greatly flexible environment – economically, operationally, and technically – to implement ICT applications in education.”

      Administrative authorities of the school education system should be motivated and provided with guidelines for the use of free and open source software in the school environment, said the study on opportunities of ICT for education equity, quality, and efficiency in South Asia.

  • Programming/Development

    • Top 7 Most In-Demand Programming Languages Of 2018: Coding Dojo

      Most of the fields in the tech industry demand a regular learning from you as they are dynamic in nature. You need to be up-to-date with the latest trends and make sure that your skillset matches the needs of your target industry.

      For developers, this change becomes even more necessary. For example, today’s mobile app developers need to eventually make a shift from Java and Objective-C to Kotlin and Swift, respectively. This growing adoption and demand is reflected clearly in different lists of the popular programming languages.


      Coding Dojo analyzed the data from job listing website Indeed.com. This job posting data revolved around twenty-five programming languages, frameworks, and stacks. It’s worthing noting that some most loved programming languages like Ruby and Swift didn’t make the cut as their demand was lower as compared to other biggies. The other growing languages that didn’t make the cut were R and Rust.

    • The proof is in the pudding

      I wrote these when I woke up one night and had trouble getting back to sleep, and spent a while in a very philosophical mood thinking about life, success, and productivity as a programmer.

    • littler 0.3.3

      The fourth release of littler as a CRAN package is now available, following in the now more than ten-year history as a package started by Jeff in 2006, and joined by me a few weeks later.

      littler is the first command-line interface for R and predates Rscript. In my very biased eyes better as it allows for piping as well shebang scripting via #!, uses command-line arguments more consistently and still starts faster. Last but not least it is also less silly than Rscript and always loads the methods package avoiding those bizarro bugs between code running in R itself and a scripting front-end.


  • Ursula K. Le Guin Explains How to Build a New Kind of Utopia
  • Are Women Really Victims? Four Women Weigh In
  • Please Read This Sign If You Intend to Enjoy the Birds
  • Science

    • Math Says You’re Driving Wrong and It’s Slowing Us All Down

      iThe question is, why? People tailgating and bunching up, maybe. But a new study in IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems mathematically models the implications of the larger problem: You’re not keeping the right distance from the car behind you.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Report: Republican Tax Bill Hands 15 Corporations $236 Billion Tax Break

      The Republican tax bill, which will be voted upon this week, will provide 15 of the largest and most profitable American corporations a $236 billion tax cut, according to a report prepared for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by the Senate Budget Committee Democratic staff.

      In the final legislation released Friday night, Republicans are offering corporations a nearly 20 percent tax cut to repatriate trillions of dollars stashed in offshore tax havens. The proposed 15.5 percent rate would be a boondoggle for profitable, multinational corporations.

      After making $59 billion in profits last year, Apple would be the biggest winner with a tax break as large as $47.97 billion on the $246 billion it has stashed in offshore tax havens.

    • UK cannot have a special deal for the City, says EU’s Brexit negotiator

      Britain cannot have a special deal for the City of London, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator has told the Guardian, dealing a blow to Theresa May’s hopes of securing a bespoke trade agreement with the bloc.

      Michel Barnier said it was unavoidable that British banks and financial firms would lose the passports that allow them to trade freely in the EU, as a result of any decision to quit the single market.

      “There is no place [for financial services]. There is not a single trade agreement that is open to financial services. It doesn’t exist.” He said the outcome was a consequence of “the red lines that the British have chosen themselves. In leaving the single market, they lose the financial services passport.”

    • Why is Theresa May protecting the DUP’s dirty little (Brexit) secret?

      Tomorrow, Theresa May’s Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire is going to try to sneak a big favour to the DUP, the small party now propping up May’s government in parliament – and in effect holding the future of Britain, Ireland and Europe hostage.

      Hoping that journalists and MPs will be too hung-over after yet another Christmas party to pay much attention to a new legislative detail, Brokenshire has chosen the quiet moment before the break to smuggle through a measure which will deny the people of Northern Ireland the right to know who funds their political parties. And in particular, it will block all of us from knowing who gave the DUP a highly controversial £435,000 donation to campaign for Brexit last year.

      Of course, that’s not what Brokenshire says he’s doing. Listen to his speeches, and you’d believe that his parliamentary order – which comes before a specially convened committee of 15 MPs on Tuesday – is designed to deliver long-awaited transparency in Northern Ireland.

      In a sense, it will. Unlike in the rest of the UK, donors can give any amount of money to political parties in Northern Ireland and still keep their names secret. Brokenshire’s move will change this.

    • North Korea Hackers Trying To ‘Steal Bitcoins’ From Workers Of Crypto Companies

      According to a report by US-based cyber security firm SecureWorks, a hacker collective called Lazarus Group is believed to be conducting spearphishing attacks against the people who work in the cryptocurrency industry as an attempt to steal Bitcoin.

    • “Bitcoin Will Hit $300,000 To $400,000” — According To Analyst Who Predicted Its Recent Rise
    • Analyst who predicted bitcoin’s rise now sees it hitting $300,000-$400,000
    • If our nurses are homeless, we’ve crossed the line

      When is the official end of days? Perhaps when there are homeless nurses. In a report on English homelessness, the local government and social care ombudsman said that even people with stable jobs were now struggling to find somewhere affordable to live. This included people from many different walks of life – council workers, taxi drivers, hospitality workers and nurses, who were among the people who’d been placed in emergency accommodation, sometimes for unlawful amounts of time, and who’d ended up seeking advice about their unsafe, insanitary and otherwise unacceptable conditions.

      As the ombudsman pointed out, this further undermines the notion that homelessness is only suffered by people with chaotic lives, drunk/drug habits, and no steady jobs. This is the whispered subtext of certain attitudes and rationalisations about homelessness – that it only happens to Other People. This distancing may have contributed to the Home Office feeling justified in rounding up, detaining, and even deporting east European rough sleepers. (The high court has just ruled that this is illegal and discriminatory.) On a human level, an emotional detachment regarding the homeless may explain how it becomes possible to walk past people, young and old, huddled in shop doorways; to buy into the narrative that, in every case, they have not only unfortunate, but also incomprehensible and messy lives, or have simply brought it upon themselves.

    • The real price of Brexit begins to emerge

      A big red bus emblazoned with the words “we send the EU £350m a week, let’s fund our NHS instead” is credited as being decisive in Britain’s vote to leave the EU last year.

      It promised — in absolute terms — financial gains for the British public if they voted to leave, a stark counterweight to a majority of economists who warned that a departure would hurt Britain. The pre-referendum estimates of the long-term pain ranged from a hit to the economy of 1 per cent to 9 per cent of national income — an annual loss of gross domestic product of between £20bn and £180bn compared with remaining in the EU.

      The Leave campaign won the battle of the slogans, and the referendum. But who is winning the economic argument? Almost 18 months on from the Brexit vote and with 15 months of detailed UK data, it is now possible to begin to answer that important question.

      Economists for Brexit, a forecasting group, predicted that after a leave vote growth in GDP would expand 2.7 per cent in 2017. The Treasury expected a mild recession. Neither proved correct. The 2017 growth rate appears likely to slow to 1.5 per cent at a time when the global economy is strengthening.

    • Indyref2 in early 2019 would mean easy EU entry for Scotland, says top expert

      NICOLA Sturgeon needs to hold a second referendum by early 2019 if an independent Scotland wants to move smoothy to European Union membership, according to a leading expert.

      Dr Kirsty Hughes, Director of the Scottish Centre on European Relations, explained if a new plebiscite within this timescale resulted in a Yes vote it would give the country two years to become independent before UK left the single market.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Honduran Government Is Trying to Steal an Election
    • Should Partisan Gerrymandering Be Illegal?
    • Facts Have a Well-Known Liberal Bias

      Notice the implicit assumption here – namely, that impartial fact-checking would find an equal number of false claims from each party. But what if – bear with me a minute – Republicans actually make more false claims than Democrats?

    • Refusing to act on CHIP, Congress make boldest move yet to ignore the will of the people
    • Meet Jessica Leeds, Who Recalls Being Groped by Trump & Is Calling for Congress to Investigate

      JILL HARTH: He groped me. He absolutely groped me. And he just slipped his hand there, touching my private parts.
      TEMPLE TAGGART: He turned to me and embraced me and gave me a kiss on the lips. And I remember being shocked and—because I would have just thought to shake somebody’s hand. But that was his first response with me.
      JESSICA LEEDS: It was a real shock when all of the sudden his hands were all over me. But it’s when he started putting his hand up my skirt, and that was it. That was it.
      KRISTIN ANDERSON: The person on my right, who, unbeknownst to me at that time, was Donald Trump, put their hand up my skirt. He did touch my vagina through my underwear.
      LISA BOYNE: As the women walked across the table, Donald Trump would look up under their skirt and, you know, comment on whether they had underwear or didn’t have underwear. I didn’t want to have to walk across the table. I wanted to get out of there.
      KARENA VIRGINIA: Then his hand touched the right inside of my breast. I felt intimidated, and I felt powerless.
      MINDY McGILLIVRAY: Melania was standing right next to him when he touched my butt.
      JESSICA DRAKE: When we entered the room, he grabbed each of us tightly in a hug and kissed each one of us without asking permission. After that, I received another call from either Donald or a male calling on his behalf, offering me $10,000. His actions are a huge testament to his character, that of uncontrollable misogyny, entitlement and being a sexual assault apologist.
      SAMANTHA HOLVEY: I’m, you know, sitting there in my robe and having, you know, my makeup and hair done and everything, and he comes walking in. And I was just like, “Oh, my goodness!” Like what is he doing back here? I saw him walk into the dressing room.
      TASHA DIXON: He just came strolling right in. There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing or anything. Some girls were topless. Other girls were naked. Waltzing in, when we’re naked or half-naked, in a very physically vulnerable position.
      SUMMER ZERVOS: And he came to me and started kissing me open-mouthed as he was pulling me towards him. He then grabbed my shoulder, and he began kissing me again very aggressively and placed his hand on my breast. And I said, “Come on, man. Get real.” He repeated my words back to me—”Get reeeeeal”—as he began thrusting his genitals.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • UK Should Hold Google & Facebook “Liable for Illegal Content” After Brexit

      A report published by the Committee on Standards in Public Life advises the UK government to bring forward legislation “to shift the liability of illegal content online towards social media companies” upon Brexit. While the report’s focus is on the problem of online intimidation, the advice envisages the UK moving away from the safe harbors offered by the EU’s E-Commerce Directive.

    • Censorship, muddled thinking undermine Shenzhen-Hong Kong expo on urban design and architecture

      The clumsily named Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture is a cross-border exhibition whose premise is to bring Shenzhen and Hong Kong together; in fact, in an echo of China’s “one country, two systems” formula for ruling Hong Kong, the show operates on the principle of “one biennale, two systems”.

      The event’s seventh edition, which opened last week, continues to see the two sections run as separate entities with their own curators – and the result is two very different shows, each with its own problems.

      It remains a rare and important platform for architects, artists and urban planners to consider the future of urban living while being informed by the unique geography of the biennale’s host cities, smack in the heart of the world’s most populated city cluster around the shores of the Pearl River Delta. But the time has surely come to review whether it should continue in its current form.

    • Theatres to receive training on staging controversial work

      Theatres creating potentially controversial work can now receive training on how to handle sensitive subjects, as part of a new scheme from the Index on Censorship.

      Funded by Arts Council England and created in partnership with arts advocacy group What Next? and social enterprise Cause4, the support scheme is aimed at chief executives and chairs of arts organisations to ensure they can appropriately handle difficult subjects.

      The Index on Censorship said the prospect of controversy, protest, police intervention or possible cancellation if work is provocative can be “powerful disincentives” for theatres and arts organisations from staging certain stories.

    • Assange doubles down on cryptocurrencies to thwart US ‘financial censorship’

      Julian Assange has exposed an apparent attempt by the US intelligence apparatus to undermine funding to WikiLeaks, using institutions he established for the express purpose of protecting potential donors from the authorities.

      In a Twitter thread, posted Sunday, Assange alleges “politically induced financial censorship” that violates not only US donors’ First Amendment rights but also their right to freedom of association. “US donors are the majority of our donor base,” Assange wrote, as he nears the conclusion of what will be his eighth year of exile in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

    • Free Press Group Ready to Cut Off WikiLeaks

      In the heat of the presidential election campaign last year, Xeni Jardin, a journalist and free speech advocate, developed a sickening feeling about WikiLeaks.

      Jardin had been a supporter of the radical transparency group since at least 2010, when it published hundreds of thousands of U.S. military and State Department documents leaked by Chelsea Manning. In 2012, Jardin was a founding member of the board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a nonprofit established as a censorship-proof conduit for donations to WikiLeaks after PayPal and U.S. credit card companies imposed a financial blockade on the site.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • New York City Moves to Create Accountability for Algorithms

      The algorithms that play increasingly central roles in our lives often emanate from Silicon Valley, but the effort to hold them accountable may have another epicenter: New York City. Last week, the New York City Council unanimously passed a bill to tackle algorithmic discrimination — the first measure of its kind in the country.

      The algorithmic accountability bill, waiting to be signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio, establishes a task force that will study how city agencies use algorithms to make decisions that affect New Yorkers’ lives, and whether any of the systems appear to discriminate against people based on age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or citizenship status. The task force’s report will also explore how to make these decision-making processes understandable to the public.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Asian ecumenical group describes “grave human rights violations” in West Papua

      The CCA say that a three-member pastoral solidarity team spent four days in West Papua with an “intensive” programme of visits and meetings. “Indigenous West Papuans shared with the CCA delegation about the on-going repression and systematic human rights violations in West Papua, including the passing of laws that suppress freedom of speech and freedom of association,” the CCA said.”

    • No pathway for West Papua to be put on decolonisation list

      West Papua had been on the list in the early 1960s before being removed when Indonesia controversially took control of the territory.

      Ms Wall said West Papua was a “growing and emerging issue in the Pacific”

    • Indonesia court rejects bid to outlaw extramarital sex
    • How best to help women caught between different kinds of family law

      Start with England, which presents an extreme case of the pathologies facing Muslim minorities in the West. In no other country have so many “sharia councils” sprung up to adjudicate the affairs of Muslim people, especially women who are trapped in unhappy marriages and want a religious divorce. (Some say these councils should be regulated, others want them abolished.) And in no other country is it so common for young Muslim couples to have religious-only marriages or nikahs which are never registered with the state, so that in the event of a breakdown the financially vulnerable partner, usually female, has few entitlements.

    • New hope for blogger Badawi as his name appears on pardon list in Saudi Arabia

      The wife of Raïf Badawi has been living with hope for years, but after learning that her husband’s name is on a royal pardon list in Saudi Arabia, “for the first time,” that hope has become more tangible.

    • Jailed Saudi blogger could get pardon, wife told

      “These are prisoners of conscience, political prisoners,” said Cotler. “I’ve learned it’s a combination of effective public advocacy and effective private diplomacy that secures their release.”

    • Child marriage has become less common in America. But it still exists
    • Slavery Ensnares Thousands in U.K. Here’s One Teenage Girl’s Story.

      A majority of child-trafficking victims were also found to be British.

    • Nobody Wanted to Help Swedish Woman Raped by 20 Migrants: “Eeew, You’ve got Sperm on Your Face…!”

      A neighbor who witnessed the brutal attack chose to ignore the it. He later stated to the police that he has “learned not to see or hear too much.” The man has lived for 15 years in Fittja, a Muslim dominated area.

    • Pakistani-origin ‘sex gangs’ target white girls in UK: Report

      “We began thinking we would debunk the media narrative that Asians are over-represented in this specific crime. But, when the final numbers came in we were alarmed and dismayed. For both of us being of Pakistani heritage, this issue is deeply personal and deeply disturbing,”

    • Footage of a Police Shooting That Jurors Chose Not to Punish

      Daniel Shaver was unarmed and begging for his life. This week, a jury found the police officer who killed him not guilty of murder or manslaughter.

    • Daniel Shaver: Police officer not guilty of murder
    • A Police Killing Without a Hint of Racism

      The case hasn’t attracted the higher degree of attention from the press, the public, or policing reform activists, partly because body-cam footage of the killing has been withheld from the media and partly because the cop and the dead man were both white, rendering the killing less controversial than one possibly animated by racism. But it warrants more attention than it has received.

    • Wife of man killed in Arizona police shooting speaks out

      “I just don’t understand how anybody could watch that video and then say, ‘not guilty,’ that this is justified that Daniel deserved this, and that Philip Brailsford doesn’t deserve to be held accountable for his actions,” Sweet said.

    • I Was Tortured By The Chicago PD: This Is What I Saw

      “The actual torture … occurred at a remote hiding place where they’d sometimes take certain suspects. I found that out later on after my arrest. They had a hidden place on the southeast side of Chicago where they would perform all kinds of despicable acts on people that they had arrested.” We should note that this isn’t based solely on Darrell’s word. Chicago has admitted that this torture program existed. It’s part of the school curriculum now.

    • Auschwitz inmate’s notes from hell finally revealed

      He used red, green and blue filters – red being the most effective – to achieve 90% legibility. That was done with commercial software, but multispectral analysis – technology used by police and secret services – is even more effective.

    • Egyptian lawyer jailed for saying women in ripped jeans should be raped

      An Egyptian lawyer has been sentenced to three years in prison for saying that women who wear ripped jeans should be raped in punishment.

    • Turkey’s Erdogan: There Is No Moderate Islam

      Turkey’s strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, may have exhibited all possible features of political Islam since he came to power fifteen years ago, but at least he has been bold and honest about his understanding of Islamism: There is no moderate Islam, he recently said again.

      This comment does not mark any U-turn, or a radical deviation from his earlier freshman-self back in the 2000s. The problem is that his Western “allies” have stubbornly preferred to turn a blind eye to his poster-child Islamism. Worse, they still do.

    • “Eurosion”: Muslim Majority in Thirty Years?

      Under the “medium” and “high” projections in Pew’s scenarios, how can Europe preserve all its most precious gifts: freedom of expression, separation of church and state, freedom of conscience, rule of law and equality between men and women?

    • When the ‘Arab Street’ Comes to Sweden

      What’s going on in Sweden reflects a changed demographic and psychic reality. The “Arab street,” if that abstraction ever existed, is no longer restricted to Arabic-speaking countries. Arab and other Muslim immigrants now living in Europe increasingly play just as active a role in enacting collective political opinion as their counterparts who did not leave their home countries.


      And what’s happening today in Sweden can happen tomorrow throughout the rest of Europe.

    • Germany: Surge in Migrant Attacks on Police

      Preliminary data, recently leaked to German public radio, indicate that in terms of violence against German law enforcement officers, 2017 will be a record-breaking year. In Berlin alone, attacks against police this year are up 70% in Görlitzer Park, 35% at the Warsaw Bridge and 15% at Kottbusser Tor, according to the Berliner Morgenpost.

    • Rogue faith schools spread ‘non-British’ values, says Ofsted

      The report said: “Tensions between belief systems and British values create a motivation for some communities to try avoiding the educational and safeguarding standards expected of schools. This matters because the British values of democracy, tolerance, individual liberty, mutual respect and the rule of law are the principles that keep society free from the radical and extreme views that can often lead to violence.”

    • Mohammed bin Salman: a kinder, gentler despot

      Bin Salman is a man who makes President Assad look like a wet liberal. Since seizing power, he has set about crushing dissent at home and embarking on a series of disastrous foreign-policy misadventures abroad. And yet the British and American media have been all over him.

      Take Thomas Friedman’s love letter to ‘MBS’ in the New York Times, entitled ‘Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, at last’. In the manner of a swooning teenager, Friedman holds up bin Salman as a man bringing liberty to the people (he recently lifted the ban on women driving and has allowed some cinemas to be reopened).

      The Guardian has been a cheerleader for every catastrophic military intervention since the Cold War. And now its diplomatic editor, Patrick Wintour, has discovered in bin Salman a kinder, gentler kind of despot he can get along with. He’s called him a ‘risk-taker with a zeal for reform’, and praised him for rooting out corruption. (Quite what that means in a state that is literally the private property of a ruling family is hard to work out.)

    • Proselytizing Public School Official: ‘I’ll Stop When Someone Makes Me Stop’

      We’re suing the Webster Parish School District in Louisiana to put an end to its constitutional violations.

      It’s been over half a century since the Supreme Court first ruled that public schools cannot impose prayer on students. But in the Webster Parish School District in Louisiana, it might as well be the 1950s because school officials at Lakeside Junior/Senior High School and other district schools start every morning with a prayer delivered over the school’s public-address system. Student “volunteers” may read Bible verses, or they may read the Lord’s Prayer, the text of which is conveniently taped near the microphone.

      But the school district’s backward time travel doesn’t end there. School officials are imposing religion at every turn, even though the law has been clear for decades that promotion of religion by public schools is illegal and violates students’ rights under the First Amendment. Nearly every Lakeside school event features an official prayer. Graduation services are held in churches and often resemble religious services.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Linking for profit, technical means and burden of proof – German BGH applies CJEU case law to Google’s Image Search

        A few months ago this blog reportedon the very interesting decision of the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH), that refused the idea of having to apply the GS Media [Katposts here]presumption of knowledge for for-profit link providers to search engines.

        The German court did so on consideration of the particular importance of search services for the functioning of the internet. According to the BGH, the provider of a search function cannot be expected to check the lawfulness of the images automatically retrieved from publicly accessible websites.

      • US Government Teaches Anti-Piracy Skills Around The Globe

        The US Department of Justice is known to target and prosecute pirate site operators within its own borders. However, the authorities also help other countries to do the same by providing training, forensic tools, and legal expertise to law enforcement around the globe.

      • New Zealand Prepares Consultation to Modernize Copyright Laws

        The New Zealand government has announced an overhaul of the country’s copyright laws. A review of the Copyright Act 1994 was announced by the previous government and will now go ahead next year. Speaking with TF, Kim Dotcom says that current legislation is mostly good, since it protects both consumers and ISPs. However, he does have some advice for the judiciary.

      • Hollywood Is Setting Up a Legal ‘Machine’ to Sue Pirates In Canada

        A groundbreaking lawsuit is underway in Canada that will test key elements of the country’s copyright regime. If successful, it would set up what one prominent intellectual property lawyer called a legal “machine” for cheaply and easily getting cash settlements from scores of people who illegally download movies online.

“As an EPO Employee, I Am Actually Embarrassed by the Behaviour of the President and the Administrative Council”

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 2:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO hiding evidence

Summary: Voices of condemnation and disgust are still reverberating within and outside the European Patent Office — an institution that now proudly and flagrantly operates outside the Rule of Law

THE EPO debate slowed down a bit over the weekend. SUEPO is saying nothing new and we haven’t received information that wasn’t published already.

It sometimes helps when we turn our attention to blog comments, especially in legal blogs, as some come from anonymous EPO insiders. We try to keep record of such comments because some tend to simply vanish (i.e. disappear after a moderator decides to censor).

IP Kat has a history or a track record of nuking entire comment threads about the EPO (in bulk, even 40 comments all at once) and about the UPC (Bristows typically does this censorship, even in other blogs).

We’ve been skipping some of the less relevant comments, e.g. gossip. Looking at the latest and very rare blog post from IP Kat (which touches EPO scandals) we see something familiar. Based on this comment, the ‘Kat’ continues to delete comments about the EPO which it deems who-knows-what:

I have to wonder why my reply has not been posted. The reply was not offensive -verily, it recognizes that the author of the piece here made a special effort to include a reminder of the comment moderation policy.

Sorry folks, but the exchange of dialogue won’t be happening here.

We have therefore decided to take what does show up (gets past moderation, which has become super-strict and leads to self-censorship; names, including “Battistelli”, do not show up at all).

This, in our view, can impact many things including the UPC:

Judicial independence, or lack of it, is quite a meaty topic

Indeed. And if US Anon was familiar with Article 32 of the TRIPS Agreement he might even realise that the EPO shenanigans could have repercussions beyond Europe.


It was previously noted by some eagle-eyed observers that an emissary of the “heavenly sovereign” (Tenno)was present at the famous EBA hearing on 14 June 2016.
Was this a mere coincidence … ?

Then, responding to what we are pretty certain was an incorrect claim:

Has Mr. C been heard on the charges? If not, which I assume, then they again commit to the same fault as in the previous procedure and objected by ATILO.

This was said in response to claims that Judge Corcoran got suspended again. We have seen no evidence to support that. Having said that, there’s strategic legal bullying against Corcoran in Croatia and Germany (probably intended to slow him down and encumber him with legal bills/costs).

“The current legal system allows to keep him in legal limbo for the rest of his career,” the following comment said. “This is definitely not acceptable.”

Here is the full comment:

A good question, whether a Board of Appeal member, after not being re-appointed, may be subject to disciplinary action by the Office President, for alleged acts while being a Board Member.

Well, the Council did initiate disciplinary proceedings, meaning there are proceedings pending. Starting new proceedings over the same allegations would be forbidden by most jurisdictions “Non bis de eadem re sit actio”.

Could the Council turn over these proceedings to the Office President? Hm, considering the judgments, that would appear to be excluded. The next most senior management representative, as suggested by the judgments, may not have sufficient rank. I venture to say that all Vice Presidents suffer from the same bias as the President. So, in this concrete case, I do not see how such a transfer could be done, assuming it is legal in the first place.

What is much more striking is the total lack of remedies for the concerned board member. Having to wait for years without getting a decision on the merits is not acceptable in terms of labour law. There should be a fast track procedure.

I did not see a message terminating the disciplinary proceedings, hence, it seems that these proceedings are still pending. The Board member has no means to speed up the issue, or to ask a court to order a stop of these proceedings. He has to wait until a decision is taken. The current legal system allows to keep him in legal limbo for the rest of his career. This is definitely not acceptable.

The next comment came from EPO staff. “As an EPO employee,” it said, “I am actually embarassed by the behaviour of the President and the AC, as they have been publicly shown to be malicious, incompetent, and incapable of either understanding or following the rule of law.”

The full comment:

To be honest, the guilt or not of Mr. Corcoran is one issue that has largely been overlooked during this sorry saga. If he did post (offensive) comments about the President or one of his friends from a PC located on EPO premises, even if in a public area, then he was clearly taking a big risk – why he did not do this from home or from an Internet cafe is something only he can know.

The simple fact is that the President and the AC came up with ZERO evidence of any “crime”(for wont of a better word), but continued to harass Corcoran nevertheless, so sure were they that he had done something wrong. The first case presented to the BoA was a joke – “here’s a pen-drive with 1000 documents on it, we’re sure you can find something incriminating in them”. I mean, come on, if that was the best “evidence” that they had, then the whole case was pretty thin from the get-go.

It is clearly quite possible that Corcoran did do something that he possibly shouldn’t have, but we will never no, so badly has the case been handled. As an EPO employee, I am actually embarassed by the behaviour of the President and the AC, as they have been publicly shown to be malicious, incompetent, and incapable of either understanding or following the rule of law.

“I know that the EPO works according to its own laws,” the next comment said, “but does that include ditching the maxim that a person is presumed innocent until he is proved guilty?”

The EPO is “unaware of issues like independence of the judiciary, presumption of innocence, right to be heard, due process, etc.”

So said the following:

I have followed this story for years, and there is one thing that really puzzles me. If all this is true, then what we see is not less than the slow and thorough demolition of an individual in the public eye, including his own colleagues. These, however, are sais to be judges, so they are not unaware of issues like independence of the judiciary, presumption of innocence, right to be heard, due process, etc. But all we have heard so far in support of their peers is … deafening silence.
One can only hope for them that the whole story is made of shameless lies.

Then someone spoke about the underlying nature of the alleged comments:

I am interested in your comment that “making adverse public comments on the internet about a colleague would be a disciplinary offence in most workplaces, even if they are not defamatory”.

Whilst I agree that this is likely true for a “normal” workplace, I question whether it is appropriate to apply such a general rule to the facts of this particular case.

The first reason for this is that, as I understand it, the “public comments” were made pseudonymously. Hence, the public was not in a position to confirm whether the comments really were made by an employee of the EPO. (Indeed, the manner in which the true identity of the commenter was “revealed” is, in my view, much more problematic than the content of the comments… but that is another story.)

The second is that it could be argued that there was a public interest in the information revealed by the comments, with the consequence that the commenter could be afforded the status of a “whistleblower”. This could either wholly or partly undermine any disciplinary case against Mr Corcoran, depending upon whether he revealed any “confidential” information that was not connected to the “wrongdoing” that he was seeking to expose.

With these factors in mind, I would be inclined to dismiss all disciplinary charges against Mr Corcoran. However, I am not in possession of all of the relevant facts… though I strongly suspect that the same could be said of the delegates to the AC.

Not even delegates to the AC know what this ‘case’ is all about. This is why we want to publish something related to the court papers. Almost 3 years ago we learned that Corcoran was merely ‘collateral damage’ caught in the net at a time many EPO employees spoke about abuses and passed material around. The fishing expedition, which involved illegal surveillance, chose the poor judge as somewhat of a scapegoat to be demonised (portrayed as a violent Nazi) and made an example of. It’s like a long-lost twin brother of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan now runs the Office; the modus operandi is a reign of terror, totally unfitting within the context of Bavarian culture (Battistelli is an Italian name and he comes from Corsica).

Battistelli Feels as Though He’s Above the Law, So No Wonder He Pursues Software Patents in Europe (Against the Rules)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Days ago: The EPO Has Found ‘Creative’ New Ways to Bribe the Media and Promote Software Patents

Software patents under the European Patent Convention
Reference: Software patents under the European Patent Convention

Summary: Using the fairly new buzzword, “4IR”, the EPO continues to promote software patents, conjoined with other three-letter buzzwords (“ICT”, “CII” and so on) and nothing is being said about the latest scandals, which the EPO is eager to prevent anyone knowing about

THE EPO has not yet said anything about last week’s epic meeting.

Having published numerous 4IR “tweets” and “retweets” (almost most of Monday’s, in different languages, e.g. this one) to distract from the latest EPO scandals, now comes the chief tyrant, Battistelli, with this ‘blog’ post. (warning: epo.org link)

“They seem unable to talk about anything other than 4IR (not just today but last week too).”This has already been promoted by the EPO’s Twitter account. They seem unable to talk about anything other than 4IR (not just today but last week too).

It isn’t about a ‘study’ but about the EPO passing money for German media to hype up “4IR” everywhere. It won’t be long before terms like “evidence-based” are banned at the EPO (under Battistelli or Campinos) as they’re not interested in facts. They want the press to report only what the EPO pays for.

“They want the press to report only what the EPO pays for.”What did Battistelli say today anyway (if he wrote that ‘blog’ post at all)? He refers to software patents specifically now (those are banned), he just calls them “CII”. A few days ago we explained how “4IR” relates to that. “For the EPO as a whole,” Battistelli posted, “we will also finish implementing a significant reorganisation on 1 January so that our core structure reflects the evolutionary changes that are inherent in ICT, CII and more widely the 4IR.”

Well, on 1 January there are much bigger things happening (further attacks on staff), but Battistelli must be lacking the time to write ‘blog’ posts about that.

Against the rules and against the rights of workers, the EPO continues to stride forward (while its reputation sinks and the number of patent applications declines).

“Against the rules and against the rights of workers, the EPO continues to stride forward (while its reputation sinks and the number of patent applications declines).”The EPO retweeted someone as saying: “It’s really fantastic to hear @EPOorg President Battistelli talk about the impact their #patent landscape report on industry 4.0 is having within the patenting community…”

You just know someone is gullible when a sentence starts with “It’s really fantastic to hear EPO President Battistelli…”

Battistelli is a chronic liar. He is just trying to distract from his abuses, which were confirmed by ILO about 12 days ago. The “4IR” nonsense was, in our assessment, coordinated and also timed to help distract from ILO. Some sources claimed that the EPO had been told about the ruling of the Tribunal before it was delivered. There was another kind of distraction, posted at almost the exact same time as the live stream from ILO. We covered that too.

But all taken into account, at the end of the day life goes on at the EPO. It’s like no scandal — no matter how big — will get Battistelli punished, reprimanded, or even sacked. Europe has its very own Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“It’s like no scandal — no matter how big — will get Battistelli punished, reprimanded, or even sacked.”A few hours ago the EPO wrote: “Experienced epi tutors from around Europe will help you prepare for the #EQE pre-examination paper 2018.”

This is the same EPI (or epi) which enjoys an ‘incestuous’ relationship with EPO management and helped snitch on those who warned about EPO abuses.

Can someone in Germany or Croatia (who speaks German or Croatian, respectively, depending on the court) fetch a file on the Patrick Corcoran case for us to publish/explain? We have the case reference number. We strive to accumulate and expose as much information as possible about this case, which is classic legal bullying (the EPO tried the same thing against yours truly).

Alice v CLS Bank (SCOTUS, 2014) Has Had a Profound Effect on 2017 as Nearly No Software Patents Upheld at a High Level

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 3:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), which birthed software patents, no longer wants them

The year 2014

Summary: As 2017 nears its end (less than two weeks left), a look back reveals a terrible year for proponents of software patents and a milestone for opponents of software patents

THE latest battle is won, but not yet the war. Following Alice the USPTO rejects many software patents and CAFC, the highest court below the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS), is no longer interested in software patents. It rejects these virtually all the time. Lawyers are still shaken by this de facto end/ban of software patents (in the US at least) because it harms their income. They only care about their cash register. 6 days ago a leading publication of patent lawyers wrote about it as follows:

I’m gonna weasel out and say they’re both good points. Some software patent owners do continue to press claims that might arguably have been eligible five or 10 years ago, but clearly are not any more. As of August, the Federal Circuit had summarily affirmed more than 50 ineligibility opinions, according to research by Boston University’s Paul Gugliuzza and Stanford’s Mark Lemley. By the time those cases reached appeal (and probably far sooner), those patent owners were forging ahead with slim to no chance.

On the other hand, U.S. District Judge Gregory Sleet of Delaware socked Inventor Holdings with fees for all of the litigation dating back to when the Supreme Court decided Alice v. CLS Bank in 2014.

To affirm, the Federal Circuit indulged a fictional world where the law of patent eligibility became crystal clear the day Alice was decided, at least for patent claims involving “implementations of economic arrangements using generic technology,” such as the Inventor Holdings patent.

Alice v CLS Bank was one among several relatively recent (in SCOTUS terms) decisions in which SCOTUS overturned a CAFC decision. Where CAFC had promoted/emboldened patent maximalists the Justices at SCOTUS put an end to that. Faruki Ireland Cox Rhinehart & Dusing PLL wrote about Impression v Lexmark a few days ago. It’s one among the very latest SCOTUS decisions to overturn CAFC decisions. SCOTUS is pretty clear about patents; these monopolies have gone way too far in terms of scope, venue-shifting and so on. Justices at SCOTUS recognise this. They are gradually putting an end to that.

So what has the patent microcosm got left to do? Usually finding loopholes. They try to patent software in spite of the restrictions. Here’s a new example that says: “Securing intellectual property (IP) can be a major hurdle for startups at the best of times. But software – and in particular AI — brings its own unique challenges.”

“AI” is just another buzzword and law firms try to exploit it to patent software even though software patents are pretty much banned (not officially).

How about blockchain patents? We wrote quite a lot about these earlier this year and it seems pretty clear that it’s a bubble. Well, here’s a new press release that shows the ongoing gold rush [1, 2]. Never mind if such patents are most likely void. Maybe these sneak past examiners. Maybe past PTAB, too. Maybe district courts. But CAFC is not likely to tolerate these anymore.

The times are changing. Tough time for patent maximalists, no doubt…

See what happened in Amgen v Sandoz (CAFC) some days ago:

The Federal Circuit has ruled that Sandoz did not forfeit its preemption defence and the BPCIA preempts state law remedies in its biosimilars dispute with Amgen. The decision makes clear that brand biologic companies have no remedies available against a biosimilar applicant who is refusing to engage in the patent dance

Here’s another patent maximalist weighing in:

On remand, the Supreme Court directed the Federal Circuit to determine whether the failure to provide the information and data [under § 262(l)(2)(A)] is a violation of California law of unfair competition and conversion.

In its decision here, the Federal Circuit holds that the BPCIA preempts any state laws that would create liability for failure to comply with the requirement for providing information and data.

This isn’t about § 101, but it’s still interesting as it shows a change in views. CAFC is no longer what it used to be. Not even close… Rader is out and the tune has changed.

Alice at SCOTUS (the software patents eliminator) causes trouble not only for classic patent trolls but for a variety of entities which exist solely for litigation purposes. Even Kluwer Patent Blog, which typically focuses on Europe, wrote about it four days ago:

Affirming the district court’s decision, the Federal Circuit agreed with the district court’s reasoning that, once the Supreme Court issued its decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International in June 2014. 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014), the patent infringement claims were objectively without merit and should have been voluntarily withdrawn.

This is the effect of Alice. The patent microcosm tries to ‘scandalise’ Alice, but it was a rational and long-overdue decision. The CCIA’s Josh Landau, writing in Patent Progress 3 days ago, tackled the use of the term “Alice Storm” — a term which is being spread by proponents of software patent (who still try to ‘scandalise’ SCOTUS).

Landau said this:

You might be familiar with Bob Sachs’ term “Alice Storm.” Sachs and his co-authors over at Bilski Blog argue that “Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank has had a dramatic impact on the allowability of computer implemented inventions.”

I disagree, and some newly released data from the Patent Office seems to back me up. Alice has had a limited impact overall, and much of that impact is centered on patent applications that were drafted before Alice (and her Federal Circuit children, like DDR Holdings and McRO) was decided. For the “Alice Storm”, you don’t even need an umbrella.

And on it goes…

Alice was a case of justice, not politics. It was not a “storm” but a ruling at the highest level. Don’t let the patent extremists distract from that…

CAFC was also mentioned in relation to Arendi and § 103 a few days ago. IP Watch explained that “[s]ince the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its opinion in Arendi S.A.R.L. v. Apple Inc. last August,[1] many patent commentators have asserted that the decision marked a significant change in the analysis of obviousness under 35 U.S.C. § 103, especially as a weakening of single-reference obviousness grounds. Notwithstanding this decision, petitioners and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board have continued to rely on single-reference obviousness to assert and find that claims are obvious.”

Well, the the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which we covered in the previous post, has become an Alice-enforcing mechanism and more generally a SCOTUS-enforcing mechanism. SCOTUS will likely cement PTAB’s role in the new year. That’s the consensus even among PTAB foes.

And speaking of PTAB foes, the most anti-PTAB site, Watchtroll, has just promoted this long new article from Gene Quinn, who is speaking to the choir (comments are pro-software patents). “Software Patent Eligibility at the Federal Circuit 2017″ is his headline and it’s a long list of software patents rejections, including for example RecogniCorp, LLC v Nintendo Co. Quinn fails to reveal his bias; he starts by whining about SCOTUS and only then lists the cases:

The judicial exception at play when computer implemented inventions are claimed is the abstract idea exception. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has never defined the phrase abstract idea, and neither has the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Similarly, there is no definition for significantly more. Therefore, in practice, deciding whether a claimed invention is directed to an abstract idea and/or adds significantly more than the abstract idea has proved to be rather subjective. Notwithstanding, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has created a Quick Reference Guide based on current case law.


[On RecogniCorp, LLC v Nintendo Co.:] The patent in question, U.S. Patent No. 8,005,303, sought to encode images in a way that required less memory and bandwidth.

There’s no conclusion in this article, maybe as the conclusion would have to be that software patents are very dead at CAFC and Watchtroll does not wish to spell it out.

RecogniCorp, LLC v Nintendo Co. (Supreme Court) was also recalled by Patently-O a few days ago. There are no patents on algorithms anymore, so no ‘joy’ for RecogniCorp. That’s just the new reality. Whether patent extremists accept it or not should not matter; they’re not, after all, arbiters of law.

PTAB Helps Defend and Encourage Work by Actual Technology Companies in the US, the Patent Trolls’ Lobby is Upset

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 1:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Parasitic firms find it harder to troll

High Tech Inventors Alliance members

Summary: The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which continues to invalidate software patents by the thousands, comes under attack from the expected sites, namely those that are fronting for patent trolls and parasites

THE appeal board/judges at the USPTO are very popular. Everyone loves them. Except parasites with low-quality patents.

The High Tech Investors Alliance, a pro-PTAB group which was created not too long ago, explains that having no potent software patents (and other low-quality patents) is a good thing. Here is what the media said some days ago:

The High Tech Investors Alliance has responded to contentions that recent legislation and US Supreme Court decisions, including the Alice Corp v CLS Bank case, have weakened the US patent system.

In an open letter, the association, whose members include Adobe, Amazon, Google and Intel, said that the facts “tell a completely different story”.

“Innovation has thrived—indeed exploded—as measured by ever significant metric. Research and development spending, venture capital investment, startup activity, and patent applications each have increased dramatically, while the US GDP has grown by a healthy 9 percent to the highest level in history,” it explained.

As usual, it’s worth checking the response from the patent extremists. Have they got any valid arguments against PTAB? Not really.

IAM continues with its anti-PTAB rhetorics, also in India, typically by speaking to maximalists. Here is what it wrote some days ago about India’s Intellectual Property Appellate Board:

In the meantime, the upshot for rights holders is that a key part of the patent system simply does not work. Essenese Obhan of Obhan & Associates calls the situation “disastrous” for patent owners, explaining: “All appeals from controller orders remain pending, as a result of which patent owners whose patents were wrongly refused by the patent office are stuck while their patent term slowly expires”. While clients can approach the court on a writ regarding opposition and revocation cases, doing so adds to their cost burden.

As a reminder, IAM keeps lobbying India for software patents. We covered examples earlier this year, for example in:

  1. China Adopts Software Patents and IAM ‘Magazine’ (Lobbyists) Continues to Shame India Into It
  2. IAM Just Can’t Stop Pushing for Software Patents in India
  3. IAM ‘Magazine’ as Megaphone for Chamber of Corporates (CoC), Which Tries Shaming India Into Software Patenting
  4. IAM Helps Enemies of India’s Interests Lobby for Software Patents in the Country
  5. IAM ‘Magazine’ in a Campaign to Destroy India’s IT Industry and Help Patent Trolls There
  6. IAM is a Think Tank for Patent Trolls, Software Patents, the EPO, Microsoft, and Whoever Else is Willing to Pay
  7. The Patent Microcosm’s Failed Push for Software Patents Resurgence in the US and Similar Attempts in India and China

Over at Managing IP, another site of patent maximalists, Fitzpatrick was entertained with a so-called ‘study’ (likely biased because of the firm behind it). To quote:

For the first time, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board has upheld the majority of claims in IPR proceedings for four consecutive quarters, a Fitzpatrick 2016 study reveals

They are trying to promote the illusion that PTAB is getting weaker, probably in an effort to attract more business.

Patently-O, another site of patent maximalists, said this a few days ago: “Post-AIA patent applications are now trickling up to the PTAB in ex parte appeals from examiner rejections. In the recent decision Ex Parte Kirk, APPEAL 2017-003486, (Patent Tr. & App. Bd. Oct. 26, 2017), the Board affirmed an examiner’s obviousness rejection based upon the combination of a 102(a)(1) reference (an application published prior to Kirk’s effective filing date) and a 102(a)(2) reference (an application published subsequent to Kirk´s effective filing date, but filed prior to that date). In the appeal, the Board did not expressly consider the propriety of applying 102(a)(2) references to the obviousness analysis. See also, Ex Parte Linkedin Corp., APPEAL 2017-005043 (Patent Tr. & App. Bd. Sept. 25, 2017).”

PTAB is certainly working as hard as ever and is doing the right thing. It also eliminates many software patents. To quote the latest examples, courtesy of the pro-software patents Patent Buddy:

  • PTAB Affirms Examiner’s Rejection under 101 in another patent directed to Tracking Technology: https://storage.googleapis.com/pbf-prod/pdfs/2017-12-07_14699105_175209.pdf … [link]
  • PTAB Affirms Examiner’s Rejection of Correlation Software Patent Application under 101/Alice: https://storage.googleapis.com/pbf-prod/pdfs/2017-12-07_10119995_175211.pdf … [link]
  • PTAB Affirms Examiner’s Rejection of Peer-to-Peer Claims in an Apple Patent Application under 101/Alice: https://storage.googleapis.com/pbf-prod/pdfs/2017-12-07_12286488_175213.pdf … [link]

The next post, which is about Alice, will show that software patents are weaker than ever. They’re basically being revoked even if they were granted before Alice. Thanks to PTAB for the most part…

Patent Misconceptions Promoted in Media Dominated by the Patent Microcosm, Not Actual Innovators

Posted in Deception, Patents at 12:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wong way

Summary: Examples from the media where popular myths have been promoted over the past few days, taking advantage of passivity and silence among those who actually create and invent

THE POPULAR media does not always inform readers/watchers. There’s agenda to pass along and it dominates broadcast/papers. As we have been saying for years, it’s rare to see actual technologists writing about patents; instead, it’s typically law firms that do so.

Some days ago we saw this press release [1, 2] about new videos. To quote the opening paragraph:

Prof. John Rizvi, Esq, renowned AV-rated and one of the first board certified patent lawyers in the United States, and creator of the inventor platform, The Patent Professor®, has released a groundbreaking educational animation video library designed to simplify arcane and complex aspects of patent law for entrepreneurs seeking to accelerate and win patent approval with the United States Patent Office (USPTO) for their ideas.

So what we have here is once again patent lawyers. They try to get the message across.

Over at Watchtroll, Shai Jalfin published an article on Friday and it was about cross-licensing — a practice by which 2 or more very large companies cooperate to exclude smaller rivals, in essence bringing together patent portfolios to erect a bigger fence and ensure no litigation among them. Jalfin himself admits that “the duopoly profit attained by cross-licensing can be greater than the profit from a monopoly scenario.” So yes, it’s about exclusion and domination. To quote:

According to a study conducted by the Boston University School of Law, in 2011 patent litigation by so-called patent trolls cost US software and hardware companies a staggering $29 billion. Although that staggering figure has been discredited, few seriously doubt the reality that patent enforcement through litigation campaigns create risk for technology users and imposes a financial burden on industry. Even more modest assessments suggest a figure that is still over $7 billion.

One of the most common motivations, therefore, for cross-licensing agreements is to avoid spending valuable resources on suing and counter-suing for alleged patent infringement. Cross-licensing allows companies to reach an out-of-court settlement in which they barter their respective IP value and rights. The infringer/competitor now becomes an ally.

But cross-licensing is not just a barter to fend off intellectual property lawyers or reduce licensing fees – it can and should be the basis of forward-looking alliances that encourage knowledge flow and spur post-licensing innovations. Studies have shown that the duopoly profit attained by cross-licensing can be greater than the profit from a monopoly scenario.

“A patent gives a right of ownership on the invention,” said another new blog post from the patent microcosm, but a patent is a monopoly, it is not an ownership. The blog post is titled “All you need to know about patents and how to protect your idea,” but it’s full of misconceptions too. From the introduction:

A patent gives a right of ownership on the invention. As an inventor, a patent gives you the exclusive right to control uses of your invention. You can either stop others from making, using or selling your invention without your permission, or you can choose to commercialise your right by letting them use your invention for a fee.

We saw some other examples in recent days, including “Meet the Patents: Where Signiant Leads, Others Follow” and “Patent Power 2017″ from IEEE, which merely helps the large monopolies with patent glorification such as this. To quote:

Two household names—Amazon and eBay—are new additions to this year’s Patent Power Scorecards. It’s not that they hadn’t had valuable patent portfolios previously, but they had been omitted because their primary industry was retailing, which fell outside the tech-sector scope of the scorecards. However, as Amazon has branched out into Web services, its patent portfolio has become increasingly dominated by patents related to technologies such as networking infrastructure, Web transactions, and server hardware. The same is true for eBay, making both companies a natural fit for the Communication/Internet Services scorecard. Indeed, Amazon enters the scorecard straight into first place, knocking Google off the top spot. This makes Amazon the first company ever to rank ahead of Google in the Communication/Internet Services scorecard.

IEEE (Spectrum in this case) has long been problematic when it comes to patents. We wrote a great deal about that. It also promoted software patents.

The lack of objective coverage regarding patents (not attempting to sell services etc.) is a serious problem as it serves to reinforce profound misunderstandings.

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