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12.19.17

Links 19/12/2017: Mesa 17.3.1 RC, Mozilla Apologises, Builder 3.27 Progress

Posted in News Roundup at 5:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Open Source Funding Conundrum in 2018

    Over the years, I’ve watched first hand as enterprise-centric companies took open source technologies and found ways to make millions (and sometimes many millions) by providing trustworthy support. But what about those open source applications that lack enterprise level financial backing, how are the developers of these applications supposed to pay their bills?

    In this article, I’m going to address one of the biggest issues facing those who want to see non-enterprise open source software – funding.

  • Open Source Software Is a 2017 Success Story

    As 2017 draws to a close, we look at some of the reasons why the use of open source software is growing and will continue to grow in the year ahead.

  • Best open source ecommerce software

    A solid ecommerce platform can help smooth out the whole shopping experience for your customers, from click, to cart to payment.

    From massive corporations to sole traders, ecommerce platforms can meet the needs of most businesses, and those that don’t are constantly improving operations to keep up with the fierce competition.

    So, why go open source? If you want total control and absolute customisation, open source software lets you inspect, copy and alter that software to make the perfect package for you.

  • Mastodon makes the internet feel like home again

    So, why Mastodon? The new social media service is a non-profit, open-source project that has attracted many Twitter refugees over the last year, including myself. Founder Eugen Rochko (gargron@mastodon.social) wrote in March that Mastodon was aiming to learn from the “mistakes” of Twitter and be an inclusive, decentralized microblogging platform. The result is a social media service where users actually feel comfortable being themselves, as opposed to a performative, more sarcastic version of who they actually are.

  • 4 notable open source projects at local maker faire

    The Rochester Mini Maker Faire is an annual event that takes place at the Joseph A. Floreano Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, NY. Each year, makers, creators, artists, and others from upstate New York and beyond show their crafts and creations to the community. Open source tools are popular at the Rochester Mini Maker Faire, where you’ll find countless Raspberry Pis, Arduino boards, and open source-powered projects and creations.

  • PowerfulSeal: A testing tool for Kubernetes clusters

    Bloomberg has adopted Kubernetes, the open source system for deploying and managing containerized applications which has gained a great deal of industry momentum, in its infrastructure. As a result, systems are becoming more distributed than ever before, running on machines scattered around the globe and across the cloud. This means there are more moving parts, any of which could fail for a long list of reasons.

    Systems engineers want to feel confident that the complex systems they’ve built will withstand problems and keep running. To do that, they run batteries of elaborate tests designed to simulate all sorts of problems. But it’s impossible to imagine every potential problem, let alone plan for all of them.

  • Events

    • Pittsburgh Technology Council co-hosts xTuple Open Source ERP Roadshow

      xTuple open source ERP ended their 2017 series of on-the-road events at the Pittsburgh Technology Council (PTC), the largest regional tech trade association in the nation. The open-forum discussion focused on digital marketing strategies for manufacturers using next generation business management software, including xTupleCommerce, the online Customer Web Portal.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox users are ticked after Mozilla secretly installed Mr. Robot add-on

        If you use Firefox instead of Chrome, do you do so because you prefer Mozilla’s stance on privacy? Some loyal Firefox users and even employees were up in arms after Mozilla surreptitiously installed the add-on Looking Glass last week. It didn’t happen to all Firefox users, but the ones affected did not give the browser permission to install it.

      • Update: Looking Glass Add-on

        Over the course of the year Firefox has enjoyed a growing relationship with the Mr. Robot television show and, as part of this relationship, we developed an unpaid collaboration to engage our users and viewers of the show in a new way: Fans could use Firefox to solve a puzzle as part of the alternate reality game (ARG) associated with the show.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.0 Release Candidate Will Arrive Just in Time for Christmas Testing

      LibreOffice 6.0 just exited beta testing and the development cycle will continue this week with the first Release Candidate, which should be available to download by the end of the week as The Document Foundation plans a third bug hunting session just before the Christmas holidays, on December 22, 2017.

      “On December 22 we will have an international Bug Hunting Session (BHS), testing the RC1 (first release candidate) of LibreOffice 6.0,” writes Mike Saunders. “You can download, try out and test this RC1 version – and if you spot any bugs, let our QA (Quality Assurance) community know.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Switching Distro’s

      Obviously I still use FreeBSD on the desktop; with the packages from area51 I have a full and modern KDE Plasma environment. We (as in, the KDE-FreeBSD team) are still wrestling with getting the full Plasma 5 into the official ports tree (stalled, as so often it has been, on concerns of backwards compatibility), but things like CMake 3.10.1 and Qt 5.9 are sliding into place. Slowly, like brontosauruses driving a ’57 Cadillac.

      In the meantime, I do most of my Calamares development work — it is a Linux installer, after all — in VMs with some Linux distro installed. Invariably — and especially when working on tools that do the most terrible things to the disks attached to a system — I totally break the system, the VM no longer starts at all, and my development environment is interrupted for a bit.

  • Programming/Development

    • Pipenv – The Officially Recommended Python Packaging Tool

      Yesterday, we published a beginners guide to manage Python packages using PIP. In that guide, we discussed how to install pip, and how to install, update, uninstall Python packages using pip. We also discussed the importance of virtual environments and how to create a virtual environment using venv and virtualvnv tools. However managing multiple environments using venv and virtualenv tools is tedious task. No worries! There is an another python package manager named pipenv, which is the new recommended Python Packaging tool by Python.org. It can be used to easily install and manage python dependencies without having to create virtual environments. Pipenv automatically creates and manages a virtualenv for your projects. It also adds/removes packages from your Pipfile as you install/uninstall packages.

    • An odd test failure
    • Builder 3.27 Progress (Again)

      As normal, I’ve been busy since our last update. Here are a few highlights of features in addition to all those bug fixes.

    • Builder IDE Becoming More Capable In GNOME 3.28

      The GNOME Builder development environment has already been working on many new features for next year’s GNOME 3.28 desktop environment while even more features are now on track.

      Work already being addressed is improved Flatpak support, pseudo-terminal support in the build pipeline, improved search, better CMake and Meson build system integration, support for unit tests, and more.

      Lead GNOME Builder IDE developer Christian Hergert has written another status update on his latest improvements for the project.

    • Compiler to convert Go language to JavaScript

      Developers wanting to use the Google Go language, aka Golang, for web programming can try the beta open source Joy compiler, which promises—when it reaches production release—to turn Go code into JavaScript code.

      With Joy, idiomatic Go code will be translated into JavaScript that will work in every browser (as ECMAScript 3 code, with ECMAScript 5 code on the roadmap as well), the open source project claims. It also means JavaScript developers will be able to use Go’s type system and tools. Joy project creator Matthew Mueller says the Go-to-JavaScript translation work is about 90 percent complete.

Leftovers

  • Two Brothers Shipwreck Added to National Register of Historic Places

    A diver examines an anchor at the Two Brothers shipwreck site, located on a reef off French Frigate Shoals, hundreds of miles northwest of Honolulu. Two Brothers was captained by George Pollard Jr., whose previous Nantucket whaling vessel, Essex, was rammed and sunk by a whale in the South Pacific, inspiring Herman Melville’s famous book, Moby-Dick.

  • Security

    • Hackers use NSA exploits to mine Monero

      Zealot campaign used Eternalblue and Eternalsynergy to mine cryptocurrency on networks.

      Security researchers have found a new hacking campaign that used NSA exploits to install cryptocurrency miners on victim’s systems and networks.

      They said that the campaign was a sophisticated multi-staged attack targeting internal networks with the NSA-attributed EternalBlue and EternalSynergy exploits.

    • NSA Cyberweapons Help Hackers Mine Cryptocurrency

      Hackers are using leaked NSA cyberweapons to mine cryptocurrency over vulnerable servers.

      The weapons can be used to take over Windows and Linux systems, and download malware that can mine the digital currency Monero, according to security provider F5 Networks.

    • Linux And Windows Machines Being Attacked By “Zealot” Campaign To Mine Cryptocurrency
    • How the Zealot Attack Uses Apache Struts Flaw to Mine Crypto-Currency

      Network security vendor F5 has discovered a new attack that makes use of known vulnerabilities including the same Apache Struts vulnerability linked to the Equifax breach to mine the Monero cryptocurrency.

      F5′s threat researchers have dubbed the campaign “Zealot”, which is also the name of a file that is part of multi-stage attack. The Zealot files include python scripts that trigger the EternalBlue and Eternal Synergy exploits that were first publicly disclosed by the Shadow Brokers hacking group and were allegedly first created by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) linked Equation Group.

    • HP’s Keylogger Not a Keylogger, Says Synaptics

      HP has recently come under fire for allegedly bundling a keylogger into its drivers, allowing the company or cybercriminals who could hijack it to record every keystroke of the user.

      But Synaptics, the company that builds and provides TouchPads for HP and other OEMs on the market, says the keylogger in question isn’t actually a keylogger, as it was implemented solely with the purpose of serving as a debug tool.

      In a security brief published recently, Synaptics says HP isn’t the only company that offers drivers with this debug tool included by default, but all OEMs featuring its hardware.

      “Each notebook OEM implements custom TouchPad features to deliver differentiation. We have been working with these OEMs to improve the quality of these drivers. To support these requirements and to improve the quality of the experience, Synaptics provides a custom debug tool in the driver to assist in the diagnostic, debug and tuning of the TouchPad. This debug feature is a standard tool in all Synaptics drivers across PC OEMs and is currently present in production versions,” the firm says.

    • Google: 25 per cent of black market passwords can access accounts

      The researchers used Google’s proprietary data to see whether or not stolen passwords could be used to gain access to user accounts, and found that an estimated 25 per cent of the stolen credentials can successfully be used by cyber crooks to gain access to functioning Google accounts.

    • Data breaches, phishing, or malware? Understanding the risks of stolen credentials

      Drawing upon Google as a case study, we find 7–25\% of exposed passwords match a victim’s Google account.

    • NSA Mark Sedwill calls for increased cyber security investment to thwart Russian hackers
    • New Monero Mining Campaign Uses NSA Exploits

      Security researchers have spotted a new multi-stage attack campaign using NSA exploits to infect victim machines with Monero mining malware.

      The attack begins by scanning for vulnerable servers: specifically ones that are still open to the Apache Struts flaw (CVE-2017-5638) which led to the infamous Equifax breach, and CVE-2017-9822, a DotNetNuke (DNN) content management system vulnerability.

      If a Windows machine is detected, the attackers deploy two NSA-linked exploits leaked by alleged Russian state hackers the Shadow Brokers earlier this year.

    • Remember WannaCry Ransomware Attack? This Country Has Been Publicly Blamed By The U.S.
    • Liberating SSH from Logjam leftovers

      A recent Request for Comment at the Internet Engineering Task Force calls for SSH developers to deprecate 1,024-bit moduli.

      RFC 8270 was authored by Mark Baushke (at Juniper Networks but working as an individual) and Loganaden Velvindron (of Mauritian group Hackers.mu) in response to demand for a response to the 2015 Logjam bug.

      Logjam, discovered by Johns Hopkins cryptoboffin Matthew Green, would let a state-level actor attack Diffie-Hellman cryptosystems using 1,024-bit primes.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘Whether or Not the Presidents Change, the Generals Remain Connected’

      What just happened and what will happen in Honduras are painfully unclear right now. There’s still no resolution to the November 26 presidential election, in which opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla was leading when the electoral commission—controlled by allies of incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez—suspended the count for a day and a half, citing technical problems, only to resume it and declare that Hernandez had, in the meanwhile, overtaken his opponent and won. Hardly surprisingly, this was met with public protest, in turn met by a state crackdown. We hear at least 11 people have been killed by security forces, and there’s a public curfew, which at least some police are reportedly refusing to enforce.

    • Trump’s Muslim Ban Repeats the Constitutional Travesty Committed Against Japanese-Americans in World War II

      On Dec. 8, 2017, a lawyer for the U.S. government stood before a federal appeals court to defend President Donald Trump’s third attempt to ban immigrants and visitors from predominantly Muslim countries. He argued that while there may be legal limits on presidential power to ban noncitizens from the United States, the courts should still defer to the executive branch, taking Donald Trump’s word for it that he is no longer intent on banning Muslims from the United States.

      The judges might have asked, “What is the historical precedent that supports President Trump’s position on the travel ban?” None of them asked that precise question, but the President himself gave a chilling answer when he proposed the ban: Korematsu v. United States, the 1944 Supreme Court decision upholding Executive Order 9066, which banished Japanese Americans from their homes and forced them into prison camps. The Korematsu ruling came down 73 years ago today and the lessons from it could not be more relevant.

    • U.S. blames North Korea for ‘WannaCry’ cyber attack

      The Trump administration has publicly blamed North Korea for unleashing the so-called WannaCry cyber attack that crippled hospitals, banks and other companies across the globe earlier this year.

    • US declares North Korea the culprit behind devastating WannaCry ransomware attack

      The US has declared North Korea the perpetrator of the widespread and financially devastating WannaCry ransomware cyberattack that rapidly spread across the globe in May, hitting hospitals, companies, and other critical institutions in countries around the world. The announcement came in the form of an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal authored by President Donald Trump’s Homeland Security Advisor, Thomas Bossert.

    • US destabilising South Asia: NSA Janjua

      He said the world community needs to recognise Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terrorism as the country suffered the most as compared to other nations. “Pakistan has suffered a lot in the war on terror both in terms of lives lost and damage to economy, but international community has not looked upon our sacrifices in this war with a positive attitude,” Nasser complained.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Trump and WikiLeaks: Five things to know

      The revelation this week that Donald Trump Jr. corresponded with WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign has added a new wrinkle to the competing probes into Russian interference.

      Legal experts say the development is likely to intensify scrutiny of Trump’s eldest son, who is already under the microscope for a controversial June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer.

      Separately, a pair of senators revealed Thursday that Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had received correspondence about WikiLeaks prior to the election. They said Kushner has not yet turned over those documents to congressional investigators.

      Here are five things you need to know about Russia, WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The World’s Top Banana Is Doomed and Nobody Can Find a Replacement

      In June, a team of European researchers traveled to Papua New Guinea on a mission of global significance. They came to search for the Giant Banana plant.

      The scientists traveled through the jungles of the South Pacific nation, by car and on foot, accompanied by two armed guards. They were tantalized by images circulating online, purportedly taken by locals, that depict a towering banana corm, several stories high, with leaves about 5 yards long.

    • Local councils go plastic free

      Mendip District Council has voted to go NSUP (No Single Use Plastics) last night 19th December by passing the following motion:

      ‘That this council will become a ‘single-use plastic free’ council by phasing out the use of ‘single use plastic’ (SUP) products such as bottles, cups, cutlery and drinking straws in a council activities, where it is reasonable to do so, by April 2018 and to encourage our facilities’ users, local businesses and other local public agencies to do the same, by championing alternatives, such as reusable water bottles.’

  • Finance

    • Brexit is an economic catastrophe – the sooner it is dumped the better

      Eighteen months on from the Brexit referendum, the story that the ‘people have spoken’ is only one version of the truth. There was only a very small majority for leaving the EU: more than 16 million people were on the electoral register but did not vote, and a further 2 million were not even registered. It is now evident that many of those who voted to leave had no idea what this entailed, or the likely costs. Surveys confirm that enough people have now changed their position that, if there was a second referendum, a majority would now vote to remain in the EU.

      But both the Government and the Labour opposition seem determined not to have a second referendum, despite the mounting evidence of the massive destruction Brexit will cause to the British economy. There is a daily record of companies preparing to leave the UK and establish themselves elsewhere in the EU. Cumulatively, the impact on GDP, employment and the public finances are going to be extremely large and yet these costs are simply shrugged off as if they were obviously worth enduring.

    • The GOP Tax Plan Will Complete the Destruction of America’s Middle Class Wealth

      The wealth of America’s middle class, under siege for four decades, is now hanging on life support. That life will end if the basic Republican tax plan, as now envisioned by House and Senate majorities, ever becomes law.

      By “middle class,” we mean America’s “Middle 40,” that stratum of American households that has more wealth than the nation’s poorest 40 percent and less wealth than the nation’s most affluent 20 percent.

      In 2001, according to the Federal Reserve’s recently released Survey of Consumer Finances, the most systematic official survey of who owns what in the United States, the nation’s Middle 40 held 15.2 percent of the country’s wealth.

      The new century has not been kind. By 2016, that share had dropped to 10.6 percent, a figure that leaves the entire Middle 40 — about 128 million Americans in all — sharing slightly less wealth than the 32,000 exorbitantly wealthy individuals who make up the nation’s richest .01 percent. In other words, each American in that top .01 percent holds as much wealth as 4,000 of the Americans in the Middle 40.

      Those provisions in the GOP tax plan that reduce the tax benefits that come with mortgage interest and property tax payments and increase the effective tax homeowners pay when they sell their homes will depress the wealth of the middle class much more than the wealth of the wealthy.

    • House Set to Pass Tax Bill Benefiting Wealthiest Americans, Despite Protests

      The House of Representatives is poised to pass a massive rewrite of the U.S. tax code today that will overwhelmingly benefit corporations and the wealthiest Americans. The bill would also end the federal health insurance mandate, endangering the Affordable Care Act, while opening up drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. On Capitol Hill, hundreds of protesters flooded the offices of lawmakers Monday in civil disobedience protests. Among those arrested was Cincinnati resident Megan Anderson, who uses a wheelchair and has a degenerative neuromuscular disease. Anderson says the tax bill will lead to Medicaid cuts that could shorten her lifespan.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The House Just Voted to Bankrupt Graduate Students

      Republicans in the House of Representatives have just passed a tax bill that would devastate graduate research in the United States. Hidden in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a repeal of Section 117(d)(5) of the current tax code, a provision that is vital to all students who pursue master’s degrees or doctorates and are not independently wealthy.

    • Pushing Russia’s Buttons

      Assume for a moment that the popular allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election are all true. How should the US government retaliate?

      Short answer: it shouldn’t (any more than it already has). If the Kremlin sneakily helped Donald Trump to victory, then it is likely that our government’s longstanding and provocative “punishment” of Russia largely motivated the interference. To reduce the chances of something so appalling from happening in future elections, we should therefore move to relieve the dangerously high tensions that have been mounting between the US and Russia for decades.

      For détente to succeed, leaders in the US must try to understand and allay Russia’s legitimate security concerns. That begins with acknowledging the deep Russian trauma caused by World War II, a tragedy to which the Soviet Union lost hundreds of towns and more than 20 million people in less than a decade. Given the depth of that horror, the US should appreciate why Russians today get squeamish when foreign powers start flexing their muscles on Russia’s western border.

    • The President Plays with Matches

      Once again the country watches in horror as firefighters struggle to contain blazes of historic voracity — as we watched only a couple of months ago when at least 250 wildfires spread across the counties north of San Francisco. Even after long-awaited rains brought by an El Niño winter earlier in 2017, years of drought have left my state ready to explode in flames on an increasingly warming planet. All it takes is a spark.

      [...]

      The crazy comes so fast and furious these days, it’s easy to forget some of the smaller brushfires — like the one President Trump lit at the end of November when he retweeted three false and “inflammatory” videos about Muslims that he found on the Twitter feed of the leader of a British ultra-nationalist group.

      The president’s next move in the international arena — his “recognition” of Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel — hasn’t yet slipped from memory, in part because of the outrage it evoked around the world. As Moustafa Bayoumi, acclaimed author of How Does It Feel to be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America, wrote in the Guardian, “The entire Middle East, from Palestine to Yemen, appears set to burst into flames after this week.” Not surprisingly, his prediction has already begun to come true with demonstrations in the West Bank, Gaza, and Lebanon, where U.S. flags and posters of President Trump were set alight. We’ve also seen the first rockets fired from Gaza into Israel and the predictable reprisal Israeli air attacks.

    • Special Counsel Robert Mueller Obtains Trump Transition Emails

      Special counsel Robert Mueller has obtained tens of thousands of emails from members of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team, adding to speculation about whether more indictments could follow in the wake of the arrests of Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and two other former Trump officials. Axios reports the emails include documents from seven different accounts, including one operated by Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. At the White House Sunday, President Trump blasted Mueller’s move, saying the situation was “not looking good.” But Trump said he has no plans to fire Mueller.

    • Who are we as a country? Time to decide: Sally Yates

      Over the course of our nation’s history, we have faced inflection points — times when we had to decide who we are as a country and what we stand for. Now is such a time. Beyond policy disagreements and partisan gamesmanship, there is something much more fundamental hanging in the balance. Will we remain faithful to our country’s core values?

      Our founding documents set forth the values that make us who we are, or at least who we aspire to be. I say aspire to be because we haven’t always lived up to our founding ideals — even at the time of our founding. When the Declaration of Independence proclaimed that all men are created equal, hundreds of thousands of African Americans were being enslaved by their fellow Americans.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How algorithms are pushing the tech giants into the danger zone
    • Watchdog Group Calls for Reform to Cook County Assessor’s Office

      A nonpartisan government watchdog group Monday announced it will push for reforms to the Cook County assessor’s office, citing Chicago Tribune/ProPublica Illinois findings that call into question the accuracy and fairness of the county’s property tax assessment system.

      The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, a nonprofit advocacy group, called for oversight of the assessor’s office, an explanation from Assessor Joseph Berrios of the methods his office used to value property and a plan to address inequities.

      If the assessor’s office fails to take those steps, the group said the county should create an independent board to increase transparency and improve fairness and accuracy.

      “We think these are some pretty basic measures that are absolutely necessary for the assessor’s office to engage in,” ICPR Executive Director Sarah Brune said in an interview.

      In urging change, the group cited reporting from “The Tax Divide” series, which launched in the Tribune in June and has continued this month in partnership with ProPublica Illinois.

    • MYANMAR GOVERNMENT SAYS IT AUTHORIZED JOURNALISTS’ ARREST

      Myanmar’s presidential spokesman said Monday that the president authorized the arrest last week of two Reuters reporters for allegedly violating the state secrets act.

      Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested Dec. 12 after police accused them of violating the Official Secret Act, which is punishable by up to 14 years in prison, for acquiring “important secret papers” from two policemen. The police officers had worked in Rakhine state, where abuses widely blamed on the military have driven more than 630,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee into neighboring Bangladesh.

    • Accused NSA leaker’s lawyers to appear in court again

      Tuesday, the lawyers for an accused NSA leaker are back in a Richmond County federal courtroom.

      Two hearings are being held for Reality Winner.

      Her attorneys are seeking more classified documents from the government to help them in building their case.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Open Garden wants to give you tokens for sharing your internet connection

      Open Garden launched its mesh networking platform at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2012. Since then, the company has gone through a few iterations and found unexpected success in its Firechat offline messaging service. Now, it’s ready for the next step in its evolution. The company now wants to make it easier for anybody with an Android phone to share their Wi-Fi connections with anyone who is nearby. And to incentivize people to do so, the company plans to launch its own Ethereum token (called OG…) in early 2018.

    • Open Garden Launches Decentralized ISP For Internet Sharing

      Open Garden Inc. announced today the launch of a new Internet service. Unlike traditional, centralized ISPs, where one large retailer delivers service, Open Garden is a peer-to-peer network that will grow to millions of crowdsourced providers. Participants download the Open Garden app from Google Play to get started – no additional hardware is required to build the network. The Open Garden app enables all users to turn their Android phones into Open Garden hotspots and securely share their WiFi connections with anyone nearby. In early 2018, Open Garden will launch its own cryptocurrency, an Ethereum token called OG, that enables each user to earn tokens in exchange for sharing their bandwidth.

    • Internal FCC Report Shows Republican Net Neutrality Narrative Is False

      A core Republican talking point during the net neutrality battle was that, in 2015, President Obama led a government takeover of the internet, and Obama illegally bullied the independent Federal Communications Commission into adopting the rules. In this version of the story, Ajit Pai’s rollback of those rules Thursday is a return to the good old days, before the FCC was forced to adopt rules it never wanted in the first place.

      “On express orders from the previous White House, the FCC scrapped the tried-and-true, light touch regulation of the Internet and replaced it with heavy-handed micromanagement,” Pai said Thursday prior to voting to repeal the regulations.

      But internal FCC documents obtained by Motherboard using a Freedom of Information Act request show that the independent, nonpartisan FCC Office of Inspector General—acting on orders from Congressional Republicans—investigated the claim that Obama interfered with the FCC’s net neutrality process and found it was nonsense. This Republican narrative of net neutrality as an Obama-led takeover of the internet, then, was wholly refuted by an independent investigation and its findings were not made public prior to Thursday’s vote.

    • Governments Must Provide More Transparency In Trade Negotiations, Coalition Says At IGF

      The Internet Governance Forum Dynamic Coalition on Trade and the Internet, a group formed in 2016, held its formal inaugural meeting today and adopted a resolution on transparency in trade negotiations, in particular on trade rules that affect the online and digital environment.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Hypothesis alone Does not Make the Results Obvious

      For obviousness analysis, the first consideration is typically the scope-and-content of the prior art. Any reference used must qualify as prior art under Section 102 and must also be considered analogous or pertinent. The key prior art reference – Hendrix discussed the pharmacokinetics and use of plerixafor – but was focused on use of the drug in HIV treatment. The district court excluded Hendrix – finding that it was not analogous art since one of skill in the art would not have been looking for this type of drug in researching stem cell mobilization. On appeal, the Federal Circuit did not review that particular holding – instead finding that even if considered pertinent to an obviousness analysis, it still would not be sufficient to render the claim invalid.

    • Trademarks

      • Starbucks Trademark Dispute Brewing Over Bull Pulu Tapioca Logo

        Opposed mark (see below) designating goods of tapioca beverages, tapioca fruit juice beverages in class 32 and retail or wholesale services for tapioca beverages, tapioca fruit juice beverages in class 35 was applied for registration on May 10, 2016 by a Japanese individual. As a result of substantive examination, JPO granted a registration on October 28, 2016.

    • Copyrights

      • “The Commercial Usenet Stinks on All Sides,” Anti-Piracy Boss Says

        Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has responded to last week’s Usenet related raids. The Hollywood-backed group describes Usenet as a refuge for pirates of all ilks, with uploaders, site owners and resellers working in tandem to facilitate copyright infringement. “It’s stinking on all sides,” Kuik says.

      • The Truth Behind the “Kodi Boxes Can Kill Their Owners” Headlines

        This week, tabloid headlines screamed that so-called “Kodi Boxes” are a threat not only to the entertainment industries, but also to life itself. Claiming that devices could kill their owners due to electrical safety standards failures, we took a look at the actual report. Forget just throwing set-top boxes in the trash, it looks like anything electrical without a brand name needs to be discarded immediately.

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    Corruption of the US patent system contributes to various issues which rely on the extrajudicial nature of some elements in this system; companies can literally have their products confiscated or imports blocked, based on wrongly-granted patents



  7. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Decides That USPTO Wrongly Granted Patents to Roche

    Patent quality issues at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) — motivated by money rather than common sense — continue to be highlighted by courts; the USPTO needs to raise the bar to improve the legal certainty associated with US patents



  8. Even Judge Gilstrap From Texas is Starting to Accept That Software Patents Are Invalid

    Amid new lawsuits from Texas (e.g. against Citrix) we’re pleased to see that even “reprehensible” Rodney Gilstrap (that’s what US politicians call him) is learning to accept SCOTUS on 35 U.S.C. § 101



  9. Federal Circuit Doubles Down on User Interface Patents, Helps Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls Curtail the Prime Competitor of Microsoft Office

    Patent trolls that are connected to Microsoft continue to sue Microsoft rivals using old patents; this time, for a change, even the Federal Circuit lets them get away with it



  10. Let's Hope Apple Defeats All the Abstract Patents That Are Leveraged Against It

    Apple can be viewed as a strategic 'ally' against patents that threaten Android/Linux if one ignores all the patent battles the company started (and has since then settled) against Android OEMs



  11. EPO Insider/Märpel Says President Campinos Already Acts Like Battistelli

    Unitary Patent (UPC) is a step towards making the EPO an EU institution like the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO); but it's not making any progress and constitutional judges must realise that Campinos, chosen by Battistelli to succeed him, is just an empty mask



  12. Quality of Patents Granted by the EPO is Still Low and Nobody Will Benefit Except Lawyers, Jubilant Over Growing Lenience on Software Patents

    Deterioration of patent quality at the EPO — a serious problem which examiners themselves are complaining about — is becoming rather evident as new guidelines are very lenient on software patenting



  13. 100 Days Into the Term of Campinos There is Already an EPO Suicide

    A seventh known suicide at the EPO since the so-called 'reforms' began; the EPO continues to pretend that everything is changing for the better, but in reality it's yet more nepotism and despotism



  14. Links 13/10/2018: Ubuntu Touch OTA-5, MidnightBSD 1.0 Ready

    Links for the day



  15. Links 11/10/2018: PostgreSQL 11 RC1 Released, Librem 5 Loves GNOME 3.32

    Links for the day



  16. Friend Brings a Friend, Boss Becomes Subordinate: the EPO Under António Campinos is Starting to Look a Lot Like Team Battistelli 2.0

    The new President of the EPO contributes to the perception that the Office is a rogue institution. Governance is all in reverse at the Office because it still seems like the Office President bosses the Council rather than be bossed by it (as intended, as per the EPC)



  17. UPC Cowardice: Team UPC Uses Cloaks of Anonymity to Discredit Authors of Scholarly UPC Paper They Don't Like

    Team UPC has sunk to the bottom of the barrel; now it uses anonymous letters in an effort to discredit work of Max Planck Institute staff, in the same way (more or less) that ad hominem attacks were attempted against the filer of the constitutional complaint in Germany



  18. New EPO Guidelines: Granting European Patents on Business Methods, Algorithms, Mental Acts and Other Abstract Stuff

    Keeping so-called 'production' high and meeting so-called 'targets' (allegedly set by Battistelli), Campinos relaxes the rules for "computer-implemented inventions" (one among many misleading terms that mean software patents in Europe)



  19. Open Invention Network is a Proponent of Software Patents -- Just Like Microsoft -- and Microsoft Keeps Patents It Uses to Blackmail Linux Vendors

    OIN loves Microsoft; OIN loves software patents as well. So Microsoft's membership in OIN is hardly a surprise and it's not solving the main issue either, as Microsoft can indirectly sue and "Microsoft has not included any patents they might hold on exfat into the patent non-aggression pact," according to Bradley M. Kuhn



  20. Links 10/10/2018: Unreal Engine 4.21 Preview, Red Hat Openshift Container Platform 3.11

    Links for the day



  21. Links 9/10/2018: Plasma 5.14, Flatpak 1.2 Plan

    Links for the day



  22. Greg Reilly Inadvertently Makes a Case for Replacing/Improving the Patent System With a Wiki, Editable by All as Society Moves Forward

    Editable patents make a lot more sense in the age of the Internet and the World Wide Web; companies that rode the wave of the Net are themselves changing their patents on the go, sometimes because they simply attempt to dodge an evolving patenting criterion which nowadays looks down on software patents



  23. The USPTO's Principal Issue is Abstract Patents (or Patent Scope), Not Prior Art Searches

    In spite of the fact that US courts prolifically reject patents for being abstract (citing 35 U.S.C. § 101) Cisco, Google, MIT, and the USPTO go chasing better search facilities, addressing the lesser if not the wrong problem



  24. António Campinos Makes Excuses for Granting European Patents on Software in Spite of the EPC

    Continuing the horrid tradition of Battistelli, António Campinos sends patent quality -- the one aspect which the EPO was once renowned for -- down the drain (or down the shredder, for lack of a better and more timely metaphor)



  25. Antibody Patents Should Not be Allowed (Nor Should CRISPR Patents)

    The patent extremists are still trying to patent life (and/or nature) and their arguments typically boil down to, "there's money in it, so why the heck not?"



  26. Links 8/10/2018: Linux 4.19 RC7, Mageia 6.1, Calculate Linux 18

    Links for the day



  27. The Federal Circuit Continues to 'Lecture' the Patent Office on Patent Scope and Limits, But Iancu Isn't Listening

    Sadly, the district court have not fully caught up (at least not yet) with SCOTUS; they're more USPTO-friendly.



  28. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Under Andrei Iancu Subjected to an Assault on Patent Quality

    Donald Trump has let the litigation industry 'govern' itself at the USPTO; all it has accomplished so far is even greater divergence between USPTO determinations and those of actual courts (which means that the USPTO does not follow the law, there’s a state of lawlessness)



  29. When It Comes to Patent Quality António Campinos Might be Even Worse Than Benoît Battistelli

    The lack of genuine interest in the quality of European Patents is perhaps a greater threat to the whole of Europe — if not the whole world — than well-documented human rights abuses and corruption inside the Office; António Campinos has shown no interest in improving patent quality as he denies such a problem even exists and he reduces transparency



  30. In Spite of Campaigns Against It, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Squashes Software Patents by the Hundreds Per Month, Patent Maximalists Still Try to Stop It

    Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) achieve exactly what they were set out to do; those who view patent quality as a foe, however, aren't happy and they still try to undermine PTAB IPRs by any means possible (or at least slow them down considerably)


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