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01.01.18

Raw: Separation of Powers Obliterated by EPO President and Vice-Presidents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

See also [1, 2, 3, 4]

Original/full: English [PDF] | German [PDF]

Separation of powers pbliterated

Summary: One more (very detailed) explanation of how President Battistelli and his deputies cleared the way to rubber-stamping virtually every proposal of Battistelli, irrespective of input from staff or the Rule of Law

Bonus (relevant to today’s date): The EPO also took the ‘liberty’ to deny proper holidays again (see below)

No vacation at EPO

Raw: Battistelli’s Stacking of the General Advisory Committee Not Legal, Asserted Staff Representatives

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

See also [1, 2, 3]

Original/full: English [PDF] | French [PDF] | German [PDF]

VP1 in GAC

Summary: The EPO’s General Advisory Committee (GAC), preceding the GCC, was almost entirely compromised nearly 6 years ago; this is how many controversial and at times illegal proposals have made it through, causing considerable angst and unrest

Raw: Battistelli Puts ‘Team Battistelli’ in Charge of ‘Scrutinising’ His Proposals

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stacking again, as noted repeatedly later [1, 2]

Original/full: English [PDF] | French [PDF]

MAC stacking

Summary: How Battistelli effectively took charge of/seized control of/presided over the very committee which was tasked with regulatory function

Raw: EPO Violates ILO Rulings by Denying the Consultation Process Access to Vital Information

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Original/full: English [PDF] | German [PDF]

ILO and GAC

Summary: Basic requirements from an informed and meaningful consultation are intentionally not being fulfilled, as Battistelli just wants every single one of his plans to be rammed through irrespective of merit and/or legality

Raw: Justice at the EPO Sometimes Comes Before Death

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sometimes. If you’re lucky…

Original/full: 113th Session of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation [PDF]

A deplorable epo

Summary: The Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation (ILOAT) came under fire again for not exactly helping to resolve EPO injustices in a timely manner (the backlog was still incredibly long)

Links 1/1/2018: Pessimism About Docker, Linux 4.15 RC6, Calculate Linux 17.12

Posted in News Roundup at 1:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 8 Not-so-Crazy Linux Predictions for 2018

    With a new year upon us we felt it was time to share some of our Linux predictions for 2018.

    Whether they are likely to happen, or just hopeful thinking, is up for debate.

    But 2017 showed us that nothing is truly predictable. During the previous 12 months we saw:

    Linux market share increase to suspiciously high levels
    Ubuntu drop Unity and return to the GNOME fold
    Big name games launched on Linux
    Wayland ship by default on more distributions
    Several new Linux kernel releases

    And a lot more!

  • Desktop

    • Chromebooks Will Soon Support Parallel Android Apps with the Chrome OS 64 Update

      Google is reportedly bringing support for running multiple Android apps simultaneously on supported Chromebook models via an upcoming update of their Chrome OS Linux-based operating system.

      According to the ChromeUnboxed website, it would appear that the upcoming Chrome OS 64 operating system carries a new feature called “Android Parallel Tasks,” which looks to let users run Android apps in the background on Chromebooks that support Google Play Store and Android apps.

      At the moment, Chrome OS pauses Android apps when the focus is no longer on them, which means that it’s not possible to run multiple Android apps at the same time. The latest stable release of Chrome OS is version 63 and was released on December 15, a day after Google promoted Chrome OS 64 to the Beta channel.

  • Server

    • Docker, Inc is Dead

      To say that Docker had a very rough 2017 is an understatement. Aside from Uber, I can’t think of a more utilized, hyped, and well funded Silicon Valley startup (still in operation) fumbling as bad as Docker did in 2017. People will look back on 2017 as the year Docker, a great piece of software, was completely ruined by bad business practices leading to its end in 2018. This is an outside facing retrospective on how and where Docker went wrong and how Docker’s efforts to fix it are far too little way too late.

      [...]

      Docker’s doom has been accelerated by the rise of Kubernetes. Docker did itself no favors in its handling of Kubernetes, the open source community’s darling container orchestrator. Docker’s competing product, Docker Swarm, was the only container orchestrator in Docker’s mind. This decision was made despite Kubernetes preferring Docker containers at first. Off the record, Docker Captains confirmed early in 2017 that Kubernetes discussions in articles, at meetups, and at conferences was frowned upon by Docker.

      Through dockercon17 in Austin this Kubernetes-less mantra held. Then, rather abruptly, at dockercon EU 17 Docker decided to go all in on Kubernetes. The sudden change was an obvious admission to Kubernetes’ rise and impending dominance. This is only exacerbated by the fact that Docker sponsored and had a booth at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2017.

      [...]

      The real problem with Docker is a lack of coherent leadership. There appears to have been a strategic focus around a singular person in the organization. This individual has been pushed further and further away from the core of the company but still remains. The company has reorganized and has shifted its focus to the enterprise. This shift makes sense for Docker’s investors (the company does have a fiduciary responsibility after all). But, this shift is going to reduce the brand’s cool factor that fueled its wild success. It is said that, “Great civilizations are not murdered. They commit suicide.” Docker has done just that.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • EzeeLinux Show 18 0 | Linux Grows In 2017

      The very first “EzeeLinux Show!” We look ahead to 2018, revisit dual boot concerns and talk about MS and their evil ways. Please be sure to give EzeeLinux a ‘Like’ on Facebook! Thanks!

  • Kernel Space

    • 48th Birthday Tribute To Linus Torvalds, The Brain Behind The Linux

      ​Placing an order through an e-commerce site, playing games on cell phone, watching movies on a smart TV, taking water out of a refrigerator, interacting with a satellite at NASA, getting quotes from a NY stock exchange, browsing in Chromebook, putting clothes in a washing machine. Did you find one common thing of all these activities? Yes. It is Linux.

    • Kernel page-table isolation merged

      Linus has merged the kernel page-table isolation patch set into the mainline just ahead of the 4.15-rc6 release. This is a fundamental change that was added quite late in the development cycle; it seems a fair guess that 4.15 will have to go to -rc8, at least, before it’s ready for release.

    • 2017 in Review: Five New Linux Kernels Debut

      Year after year, Linux development continues to move forward and 2017 was no exception. Over the course of 2017, five major Linux kernel milestones were released, providing new driver support and expanded functionality.

    • Linux 4.15-rc6

      One last rc at the end of the year – and a Happy New Year to everybody!

      This would have been a very quiet week, if it wasn’t for the final x86
      PTI stuff – and that shows in the diffstat too. About half the rc6
      work is x86 updates. The timing for this isn’t wonderful, but it all
      looks nice and clean.

      Outside of the x86 updates, it’s misc driver updates (usb, networking,
      rdma, sound), some perf tooling, and misc random stuff (core
      networking, some irq fixes).

    • Linus Torvalds Wishes Everyone a Happy New Year, Releases Linux Kernel 4.15 RC6
    • Linux 4.15-rc6 Released To Ring In 2018
    • Linux 4.14.10 and 4.9.73 LTS Kernels Are Available to Download, Update Now

      Renowned Linux kernel maintainer and developer Greg Kroah-Hartman announced a couple of days the release and immediate availability of the Linux 4.14.10 and 4.9.73 LTS kernels.

      While Linux kernel 4.9.73 LTS is a small patch that changes a total of 22 files with 191 insertions and 56 deletions, the Linux 4.14.10 kernel is a major one, changing no less than 116 files, with 4023 insertions and 3424 deletions. According to the appended shortlog, most of the changes included in Linux kernel 4.14.10 are related to merging of the x86 low-level prep for kernel page table isolation.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Mesa 17.2.2 vs. 17.3.1 vs. 17.4-dev RadeonSI Benchmarks

        Here are some other end-of-year benchmarks I had been working on in looking at the current performance of Mesa 17.2.2 versus 17.3.1 versus 17.4-devel Git with RadeonSI OpenGL on three different graphics cards.

        These latest benchmarks are with an RX 580, R9 Fury, and RX Vega 64 in looking at the three latest Mesa branches — Mesa 17.2.2 was from the Ubuntu 17.10 archive, then Pkppa providing the current Mesa 17.3.1 stable, and then Mesa 17.4-dev built against LLVM 6.0 SVN.

      • KVM Smokes VirtualBox On Initial AMD EPYC Linux Tests

        I’ve been working on some AMD EPYC virtualization tests on and off the past few weeks. For your viewing before ending out the year are some initial VirtualBox vs. Linux KVM benchmarks for seeing how the guest VM performance compares.

  • Applications

    • Making Vim Even More Awesome With These Cool Features

      ​Vim is quite an integral part of Every Linux Distribution and the most useful tool (of course after the terminal) for Linux Users. At least, this theory holds for me. People might argue that for programming, Vim might not be a good choice as there are different IDEs or other sophisticated text editors like Sublime Text 3, Atom etc. which make the programming job pretty easier.

    • GnuCash 3.0 Open-Source Accounting Software to Bring a CSV Price Importer, More

      The GnuCash development team just released today GnuCash 2.7.3, another unstable snapshot towards GnuCash 3.0, a major release of the money management application that will introduce use a new versioning scheme for point releases consisting of only two digits instead of three like it was until now.

      “Notice that we’ve decided that beginning with the upcoming major release we will use two-digit release numbers and that the next stable release will be 3.0. Maintenance releases will be 3.1, 3.2, etc. The next unstable release will be 3.900 and will lead to 4.0,” reads today’s announcement.

    • FFmpeg 3.4 “Cantor” Open-Source Multimedia Framework Gets First Point Release

      FFmpeg 3.4.1 is the first maintenance update to the major FFMpeg 3.4 “Cantor” series of one of the most used open-source multimedia backend, and it is currently making its way into the stable software repositories of various popular GNU/Linux distributions.

      As expected, this point release includes updated library versions. These are libavutil 55. 78.100, libavcodec 57.107.100, libavformat 57. 83.100, libavdevice 57. 10.100, libavfilter 6.107.100, libavresample 3.7.0, libswscale 4.8.100, libswresample 2.9.100, and libpostproc 54.7.100.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 3.0 Gets Fourth Release Candidate, Improves Call of Duty 4 and Zoo Tycoon 2

        It doesn’t look like Wine 3.0 will be released by the end of the year, as the development team decided to drop another RC (Release Candidate) milestone instead to fix more bugs.

        Wine 3.0 RC4 is hopefully the last before the final release, and it includes a total of 12 bug fixes for various Windows apps and games, among which we can mention the Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania demo (installer failed to work correctly), Call of Duty 4 (didn’t start), and The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System (error message).

        The BBC iPlayer Desktop client received a fix for an issue with the .desktop file, U-Center 8.11 GNSS evaluation software for automotive, mobile terminal and infrastructure applications no longer crashes when importing or exporting configuration files, and WinPolis 3.x game’s “Buy CDs” editbox now automatically selects all.

    • Games

      • Valve hands out VAC bans for having ‘catbot’ in your Linux username

        Happy New Year! Let’s start 2018 with a bit of a joke shall we: Knock Knock. Who’s there? Catbot. Banned.

        It seems one user came across an unfortunate issue playing Team Fortress 2 on Steam, as they were VAC banned for having their Linux desktop username contain “catbot”.

      • 3D action and adventure RPG ‘Little Devil Inside’ will come to Linux

        Here’s one from a while ago we missed completely! Little Devil Inside [Official Site] is a 3D action and adventure RPG and it’s coming to Linux. It was funded on Kickstarter back in 2015 and it seems development is taking a little longer than expected, but it sounds pretty positive right now.

      • ‘Indivisible’ an action-packed RPG from the Skullgirls creator will be on Linux at launch

        Indivisible [Official Site] is a new action-packed RPG from the Skullgirls creator and they’ve confirmed it will be on Linux at launch.

      • Small Talk looks incredibly trippy and it’s coming to Linux

        I have no idea how to describe the game Small Talk, mainly as there’s very little information on it. They released a trailer that makes it look like a rather trippy experience.

      • State of Anarchy: Master of Mayhem is a cartoon-styled shoot ‘em up that’s super cheap and fun

        Do you like blowing things up? How about blowing things up in a cartoon-like setting? Tons of weapons? Tons of enemies? State of Anarchy: Master of Mayhem [Steam] seems to have it all.

      • There Still Are Some Pain Points For Linux Gaming Moving Into 2018

        Five years ago today I wrote about The Problems Right Now For Gaming On Linux with regards to challenges for Linux gaming when it comes to the software and hardware. In the five years since and with seeing thousands of more games be made available for Linux, the situation still is not ideal but it’s much better than at the end of 2012.

      • Excellent Free Roguelike Games

        Roguelike is a sub-genre of role-playing games. It literally means “a game like Rogue”. Rogue is a dungeon crawling video game, first released in 1980 by developers Michel Toy, Glenn Wichman and Ken Arnold. The game stood out from the crowd by being fiendishly addictive. The game’s goal was to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor, hidden deep in the 26th level, and ascend back to the top, all set in a world based on Dungeons & Dragons.

        The game is rightly considered to be a classic, formidably difficult yet compelling addictive. While it was popular in college and university campuses, it wasn’t a big seller. At the time of its release, Rogue wasn’t published under an open source license, which led to many clones being developed.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Goal: Usability and Productivity

        It’s been an honor to have had the community select my KDE goal: focus on usability and productivity. This is a topic that’s quite dear to my heart, as I’ve always seen a computer for a vehicle for giving substance to your thoughts. Low-quality computer operating systems and software get in your way and knock you out of a state of flow, while high quality versions let you create at the speed of thought. KDE Plasma is already pretty good in this department, but I think we can make it even better–we can turn it into the obvious choice for people who need to get things done.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Glade 3.21.0 Released!

        Glade 3.21.0 is the first development release in the 3.21 series

        It has a new modern UI for an improved, more streamline GUI design
        workflow.

      • Glade 3.21 Released For Whipping Up GTK3 Interfaces

        Glade 3.21 was released today as the latest development release of this tool for quickly designing GTK3/GNOME user-interfaces.

      • GNOME.Asia and Engagmeent update

        GNOME.Asia was an amazing event and I wanted to reach out to the organizers and thank them for the wonderful reception that I received while I was there. The trip to Chongqing was mostly uneventful other than the fact every Chinese official was gunning for my battery brick when going through airport security. After a long layover in Beijing, I was landed in Chongqing and met up with Mathias Clasen and proceeded to head to the hotel.

  • Distributions

    • Backup and Clone Your Disk Drives with BakAndImgCD, Now Based on 4MLinux 24.0

      Based on 4MLinux 24.0, which is currently in development, BakAndImgCD 24.0 uses the latest 4MLinux Backup Scripts 24.0 to help anyone who needs a portable live system that eases the backup and cloning of disk drivers.

      On top of that, BakAndImgCD 24.0 comes bundled with up-to-date GNU/Linux technologies and open source software projects aimed at any kind of data backup or disk cloning operation on supported filesystems.

    • Ring in New Year 2018 with Manjaro Linux 17.1.0

      Today is the big day — New Year’s Eve! Tonight, many people will celebrate ringing in the new year at midnight. They will drink champagne, dance, and generally have a fun time.

      If you are a nerd like me, however, you won’t be leaving the house. Instead, you will probably be watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest while eating low-quality frozen hors d’oeuvres — there is no shame in that, though. This year, there is actually something very fun you can do while sitting on your couch — install a Linux distribution! You see, Manjaro Linux 17.1.0 is now ready for download. Hell, installing an Arch-based Linux distro is better than going to a party, right?

    • [Stable Update] 2017-12-31 – Kernels, Xorg-Server, Mesa, Compiz, Wine, Firefox

      this is our second try with Xorg-Server v1.19.6. This time we also updated our Mesa-Stack and changed the handling of dri/drm. Some reported Compiz not working with this. Therefore we had it updated to the latest source currently available.

      Friends of Gimp may try out the latest development edition of this fantastic graphical art app. Again we have the latest Firefox and Wine added. Also linux49 and linux414 got updated to their latest point-releases.

    • Reviews

      • LinuxAndUbuntu Review Of Peppermint Linux

        If somebody is looking for a Linux distro that is lightweight, stable and just works out of the box, then no doubt – Peppermint OS emerges as a better choice. Peppermint OS is a minimalistic masterpiece with the smallest footprint and frugal use of resources is ideal for machines with older hardware. Since its first release in 2010, each version of Peppermint seems to be a little better than the one before.
        The latest Peppermint release Peppermint OS 8 Respin was released on 8th Dec 2017 and is built on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS code base. That means it is possible to install applications which are Ubuntu compatible repositories. Being said that, in case of bugs that found in Ubuntu 16.04 would also affect Peppermint OS. The Peppermint armed with an unusual application called ICE that lets you create desktop versions of web apps with a standalone browser like Chrome, Vivaldi, Firefox.

        In this article, let us see what Peppermint OS offers as a Linux distro including focus on its latest release.

      • Review: MX Linux 17

        Having used MX for a week now, I think it is fair to say the developers have done a lot of things well and I believe a lot of their success stems from finding good compromises. MX is based on Debian’s Stable branch which gives a good, solid core and a huge collection of packages. While Debian’s packages tend to be older, MX updates some key components, such as the kernel and Firefox, to give users the benefit of newer technology. We can downgrade items, like the kernel, if we wish.

        MX also finds middle ground in the size and performance of the distribution. MX certainly is not the lightest distribution I have used lately, in terms of memory and hard drive space consumed, but it on the lighter end of the spectrum. MX is smaller and faster than many of the mainstream distributions, such as Ubuntu, openSUSE and Fedora while offering most of the same features.

        One of the few areas where I think MX loses out to the big, mainstream Linux distributions is in beginner friendliness. The installer, configuration tools and package management are all (in my opinion) geared toward people who have used Linux a time or two before. MX appears to be aimed at people who already know what packages, window managers and media codecs are. The graphical tools provided are powerful and flexible, but there isn’t much hand holding. The installer expects you to know what CUPS is and the desktop configuration tool expects users to be familiar with virtual desktops, APT and compositing. If you understand those concepts and like the idea of a distribution which offers good performance with a little eye candy, then MX Linux is probably a good match for you.

        Personally, I was very happy with MX, more so than I have been with most operating systems I have experimented with in the past six months. Not necessarily because MX is an objectively better distribution, but because I think the developers have similar tastes to my own. This shows up in little details. For example, I like my system to be quiet and not distracting. MX features very few notifications and sound effects are disabled. The theme is slightly dark, but not so dark as to make the contrast jarring. There is just one desktop panel, aligned vertically down the left side of the display, just the way I like it. The developers walk a middle road I like on performance, features and visuals. In short, there was very little I had to do to get MX looking and acting exactly the way I wanted and this meant I spent very little time adjusting settings or turning off features I didn’t want and more time getting things done.

    • New Releases

      • Calculate Linux 17.12 released

        On the New Year’s Eve, meet Calculate Linux 17.12! This latest release features installation on software RAID and offers still better load and memory balance.

        Eight flavors are now available for download: Calculate Linux Desktop supplied with the KDE (CLD), Cinnamon (CLDC), Mate (CLDM) or else Xfce (CLDX) environment, Calculate Directory Server (CDS), Calculate Linux Scratch (CLS), Calculate Scratch Server (CSS) an Calculate Container Scratch (CCS).

      • Gentoo-Based Calculate Linux 17.12 New Year’s Eve Release Adds SoftRaid Support

        Calculate Linux developer Alexander Tratsevskiy was pleased to announce today the general availability of the Calculate Linux 17.12 computer operating system based on Gentoo Linux.

        Coming six months after version 17.6, Calculate Linux 17.12 introduces some new features and improvements like SoftRaid support, better automatic partitioning of drives, support for third-party overlays, better application task scheduling with the MuQSS kernel patch, as well as less memory load with the UKSM kernel patch.

        Under the hood, Calculate Linux 17.12 is powered by the latest Linux 4.14 LTS (Long Term Support) kernel and X.Org Server 1.19.5 display server, uses a PAE binary kernel for 32-bit computes, updates GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) to version 6.4, optimizes all server kernel settings, and it launches Calculate Utilities server through D-Bus instead of running in the background, for better performance.

      • LinuxConsole 2018 Gaming Operating System Released with TORCS and SuperTuxKart

        LinuxConsole developer Yann Le Doaré just informed us on Twitter that he released today LinuxConsole 2018, an independently developed operating system for children and kids.

        Designed as a modern, gaming, and educational GNU/Linux distribution that can be easily installed on 32-bit or 64-bit computers and comes pre-installed with ready-to-use software and games, LinuxConsole 2018 brings up-to-date components like Linux kernel 4.9.66 LTS (64-bit) and Linux kernel 4.1.48 LTS (32-bit).

        MATE 1.18 is used as default desktop environment in LinuxConsole 2018, which makes it possible to manage Bluetooth devices and simplifies the configuration of wireless networks. It also comes with the latest Mozilla Firefox 57 Quantum web browser and supports Arabic locale.

      • ALT Linux 8.2 Distro Released with Workstation, Server, and Education Editions

        Available for both 32-bit and 64-bit installations, ALT Linux 8.2 is here with critical security fixes for various of its core components, including the Linux kernel, OpenSSL, Samba, and other, along with various bug fixes and improvements.

        “BaseALT Ltd announces the release of ALT Server, ALT Workstation and ALT Education distributions version 8.2, aimed for corporate servers and desktops, educational and personal use,” reads the release announcement.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia Blog (English) : Weekly roundup 2017, Week 52

        Warm good wishes for a happy, successful and peaceful New Year to all Mageians everywhere.

        This last week of 2017, there have been loads of updates – check out the usual links to see where we’re at: Mageia Advisories, the Mageia AppDB, PkgSubmit to see the last 48 hours, and Bugzilla.

        Although Mageia 5 is scheduled to reach the end of support on the last day of 2017, due to an unexpected surge in last minute updates being submitted for testing by the qa team, it may be several days into the new year before updates for Mageia 5 stop becoming available.

      • December Distro Upgrades and Headaches

        OpenMandriva is giving me headaches with some packages that have an invalid key signature or something… Because of that, LibreOffice is not working properly, I guess..

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Fixing the boot-delay
      • James McCoy: Monthly FLOSS activity – 2017/12 edition
      • A year ends, a new year begins
      • Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities December 2017
      • DocKnot 1.02
      • Chris Lamb: Free software activities in December 2017
      • RC bugs 2017/30-52

        for some reason I’m still keeping track of the release-critical bugs I touch, even though it’s a long time since I systematically try to fix them.

      • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (November and December 2017)

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

        Ben Armstrong (synrg)
        Frédéric Bonnard (frediz)
        Jerome Charaoui (lavamind)
        Michael Jeanson (mjeanson)
        Jim Meyering (meyering)
        Christopher Knadle (krait)

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

        Chris West
        Mark Lee Garrett
        Pierre-Elliott Bécue
        Sebastian Humenda
        Stefan Schörghofer
        Stephen Gelman
        Georg Faerber
        Nico Schlömer

        Congratulations!

      • Derivatives

        • Elive 2.9.20 and Happy New Year!

          Elive is a beautifully polished Debian + Enlightenment Linux distribution The version Topaz 2.0 (released in 2010) blew my mind with its beauty and modest resource requirement. Therefore, I have been waiting for this distro since I discovered it, back in 2010, when I began exploring Linux.

          However, it has been a long wait. Most distros have a rather predictable release cycle, but Elive 3.0 has been in the making for more than seven years.

          I installed the 2.3.9 beta back in October, 2014 to my ZaReason Strata. It worked nice despite the distro was far from finished. However, when I upgraded it to a newer version (2.7.6, I think), Elive gave me an Enlightenment error that prevented the distro from entering the desktop, a situation that repeated with the next beta release, so I had to say good-bye to this beauty.

        • Debian-Based siduction Linux Brings Easy SSH Handling to Its First 2018 Release

          The Debian-based siduction Linux operating system has been updated today to version 2018.1.0, the first ISO images for the new year, which bring quite a lot of new features and improvements.

          Synced with the Debian Sid (Unstable) software repositories from December 29, 2017, the siduction 2018.1.0 release rings in the new year with up-to-date components like the recently released Linux 4.14.10 kernel, systemd 236 init system, and X.Org Server 1.19.5 display server, and a bunch of enhancements.

          It comes with no less than eight flavors, including KDE, GNOME, Xfce, LXDE, LXQt, Cinnamon, MATE, Xorg, and noX. siduction 2018.1.0 ships with the latest KDE Plasma 5.10.5, GNOME 3.26, Xfce 4.12.4, LXQt 0.12.0, Cinnamon 3.4.6, and MATE 1.18.3 desktop environments for their respective editions.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Cloak’s Transaction System Enigma is Open Source – A Milestone for Privacy

    ENIGMA, the in-house payment system is open source as of 31st December 2017. Anyone can now take advantage of CloakCoin’s Transaction System.

    At the heart of CloakCoin is ENIGMA, protecting you from access by third parties, such as hackers, official bodies or any unwanted parties. The blockchain payment system encrypts the transactions of users and prevents transaction tracking while providing secure transactions with a maximum processing time of 60 seconds.

    Thus, CloakCoin’s ENIGMA ensures full privacy combined with speed.

    Many advantages that are hard to find at other cryptos and which are now easily accessible to you, the end user.

  • Source code for Apple’s 1983 Lisa computer to be made public next year

    The museum’s software curator, Al Kossow, announced to a public mailing list that the source code for the Lisa computer has been recovered and is with Apple for review. Once Apple clears the code, the museum plans to release it to the public with a blog post explaining the code’s historic significance.

  • Education

    • 27 open solutions to everything in education

      Openness (from open source software, to open hardware, to open principles) is changing the paradigm of education. So, to celebrate all that’s gone on this year, I collected 27 of the best articles published on Opensource.com in 2017 on the subject. I divided them into broad themes, rather than ordering them by popularity. And, if these 27 stories don’t satisfy your appetite for information about open source in education, check out our companion article on how education is leveraging Raspberry Pi and Linux.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GIMP 2.9.8 and end-of-2017 report

      Here it is, GIMP 2.9.8 has been released some days ago now, the latest development version of GIMP! As it is customary now, let’s list our involvement in this version so that our supporters on crowdfunding platforms know what they funded.

  • Programming/Development

    • LLVM Clang Gets Support For Configuration Files

      Ahead of next week’s LLVM 6.0 feature freeze / code branching, the Clang C/C++ compiler front-end has picked up support for the concept of configuration files.

      Clang configuration files basically come down to a file that can store multiple parameters to pass to Clang, just as you would otherwise do via the command-line but can now be stored into a text file. The purpose of these Clang configuration files is maninly for cross-compiler arguments or other use-cases where you may otherwise be passing a ton of repeated arguments to Clang.

    • pam-krb5 4.8

      This is the default Kerberos PAM module for Debian and Ubuntu systems, and supports both MIT Kerberos and Heimdal. I’m not sure how many people still use straight Kerberos PAM modules these days, with sssd taking off, but I’m still maintaining it.

      This release fixes a somewhat obscure bug: if you configure the module to do expired password changes properly, it checks to see that the expired credentials can still get kadmin/changepw credentials to do the password change. However, it was setting credential options improperly on that call, which could cause it to spuriously fail if, say, krb5.conf is configured to request proxiable credentials but kadmin/changepw doesn’t support proxiable credentials. Thanks to Florian Best for the excellent bug report.

    • Animated line drawings with OpenCV

      OpenCV is a pretty versatile C++ computer vision library. Because I use it every day it has also become my go-to tool for creating simple animations at pixel level, for fun, and saving them as video files. This is not one of its core functions but happens to be possible using its GUI drawing tools.

    • rra-c-util 7.0

      This is my collection of utility libraries and support code for (mostly) C software.

      The major version bump is due a backwards-incompatible change: dropping the SA_LEN macro from portable/macros.h, including all the Autoconf machinery to probe for it. This macro came from INN’s old portability code when porting to IPv6, but INN turned out to not really need it and it’s never caught on. It was causing some warnings with GCC 7 that would otherwise have been hard to fix, so it was time for it to go.

    • C TAP Harness 4.2

      The functional change in this release of my test framework for C programs is the addition of a new is_blob test function. This is equivalent to ok(memcmp(…)) but it reports where the two memory regions differ as a diagnostic.

Leftovers

  • Why mountain bikes must be kept off the Pacific Crest Trail
  • Airline safety: 2017 was safest year in history for passengers around world, research shows
  • Science

    • The IQ level drops among Norwegians and Danes

      However, the IQ results have begun to change direction since the mid-1990s, the results have fallen by about 0.23 points per year. Which would mean that the Scandinavian average IQ has fallen by seven points when we reach 2025.

      [...]

      Several other countries show signs of stagnation in IQ growth, such as Great Britain, the Netherlands, Estonia and Germany.

    • Kaffer: 8 years into tests of abandoned rape kits, Worthy works for justice

      In 2009, 11,341 untested sexual assault kits — the results of an hours-long process that collects evidence from the body of a rape victim — were found during a routine tour of a Detroit police storage warehouse, some dating back to 1984. Worthy and her team started the long and laborious process of testing those kits, investigating the crimes, and prosecuting the perpetrators — and launching Enough SAID, an effort to raise the money to complete the work. It’s a reversal of a decades-long miscarriage of justice. This month, Worthy spoke to the Free Press about the work done thus far — and the long road ahead.

    • Overpopulation must be slowed
    • U.S. life expectancy drops for a second year as drug deaths spike

      Health researchers have some grim news for Americans: We are dying younger, and life expectancy is now down for the second straight year — something not seen in more than half a century.

    • Nine ways Chinese scientists pushed the envelope in 2017

      Military breakthroughs, supercomputers, dark matter and more. Chinese scientists marked several firsts in 2017, such as testing spy drones in near space and detecting the world’s first trace of dark matter. They also embarked on some groundbreaking research projects, including building the world’s most powerful facial recognition system that can identify its 1.3 billion citizens within three seconds. Here are some of the most popular China science stories we covered this year.

    • North Korea Designed A Nuke. So Did This Truck Driver

      The weapon was powerful; at least 10 times more destructive than the bomb the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II. The North claimed it was an advanced, thermonuclear design. The test came just months after a report that some intelligence officials believed North Korea had successfully “miniaturized” some of its nukes in order to fit them on top of missiles.

      The apparently rapid progress alarmed politicians and pundits, and it worried average Americans, many of whom hadn’t thought much about nuclear weapons since the end of the Cold War.

      But a 71-year-old truck driver named John Coster-Mullen wasn’t surprised. Nuclear weapons are not particularly “hard” to design and build, he says. “Compared to what they do in manufacturing today for making a light bulb, these are simple. They really are,” he says.

      Coster-Mullen is an unlikely judge of North Korea’s nuclear progress. He works nights for a major trucking firm, delivering merchandise to big box stores. Before that, he worked as a photographer. He never graduated from college.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • One way to improve Veteran health care is to end ‘reefer madness’

      Patients with the VA are not only prohibited from using medical marijuana while on VA property in states where it’s otherwise legal, VA providers are prohibited from even suggesting its use for medical purposes. While veterans are encouraged to disclose any medical marijuana with their providers, the VA won’t facilitate participation in state-approved research into its potential benefits.

    • Drug industry spent millions to squelch talk about high drug prices
    • Lapland deal to outsource local health care for 15 years

      Just before their Christmas vacations, Parliament agreed on a bill that will restrict municipalities from outsourcing any more than 30 percent of their social and health services, capped at the reform’s planned full launch year, 2020.

    • Health Care Is Hemorrhaging Data. AI Is Here to Help
    • Overdose Deaths Soar, Cut Life Expectancy for 2nd Year

      The government figures released Thursday put drug deaths at 63,600, up from about 52,000 in 2015. For the first time, the powerful painkiller fentanyl and its close opioid cousins played a bigger role in the deaths than any other legal or illegal drug, surpassing prescription pain pills and heroin.

    • Mass starvation is humanity’s fate if we keep flogging the land to death

      The trouble begins where everything begins: With soil. The United Nation’s famous projection that, at current rates of soil loss, the world has 60 years of harvests left, appears to be supported by a new set of figures. Partly as a result of soil degradation, yields are already declining on 20 per cent of the world’s croplands.

    • A Pharma Company Raised the Price of a Daily Vitamin by 800 Percent

      Avondale Pharmaceuticals recently acquired Niacor, a prescription version of niacin, and increased the price of a bottle of 100 tablets from $32.46 to $295, FT reports. The company was formed in August and has no online presence, but state records show that it is based in Alabama. Acrogen Pharmaceuticals, which is the registered agent for Avondale, did not respond to a request by Gizmodo for comment.

      [...]

      Since price increases are not usually public, doctors who have been prescribing Niacor likely do not know about the steep price increase.

  • Security

    • Warning: Global cyber crime reaches new highs and worse to come

      There has been an unprecedented level of new cyber crime attacks worldwide in 2017 — both in number and intensity — and next year is expected to be even worse, according to global security firm MailGuard.

    • WannaCry, Petya, NotPetya: how ransomware hit the big time in 2017

      The WannaCry outbreak had shut down computers in more than 80 NHS organisations in England alone, resulting in almost 20,000 cancelled appointments, 600 GP surgeries having to return to pen and paper, and five hospitals simply diverting ambulances, unable to handle any more emergency cases.

    • How An Entire Nation Became Russia’s Test Lab for Cyberwar
    • PS4 Jailbreak possible with newly identified exploit

      We have always believed gaming consoles to be most well-protected devices but it is about time manufacturers like Sony take notice of security protections in their devices. Seems like troubles for Sony are about to resume with the New Year since PlayStation 4 (PS4) has become vulnerable to a range of exploits. Reportedly, developer SpecterDev has published online a fully-functional kernel exploit for PS4’s firmware version 4.05, hinting at the fact that the complete jailbreak of the console is now much closer than we have been expecting.

      [...]

      Previously, TeamFail0verflow got Linux running on the PS4 hardware and now the latest feat from Specter has come up with the even more powerful exploit. Although developers haven’t included the tools required to run homebrew software or to jailbreak the console so as to deflect the legal team of Sony modders can easily run arbitrary code on the device by simply listening for payload through port 9020.

    • Tipping the Scales on HTTPS: 2017 in Review

      The movement to encrypt the web reached milestone after milestone in 2017. The web is in the middle of a massive change from non-secure HTTP to the more secure, encrypted HTTPS protocol. All web servers use one of these two protocols to get web pages from the server to your browser. HTTP has serious problems that make it vulnerable to eavesdropping and content hijacking. By adding Transport Layer Security (or TLS, a prior version of which was known as Secure Sockets Layer or SSL) HTTPS fixes most of these problems. That’s why EFF, and many like-minded supporters, have been pushing for web sites to adopt HTTPS by default.

      In February, the scales tipped. For the first time, approximately half of Internet traffic was protected by HTTPS. Now, as 2017 comes to a close, an average of 66% of page loads on Firefox and are encrypted, and Chrome shows even higher numbers.

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Weiner Laptop Doc: Assange Warrant Issued 2 Weeks After Swedish Election Leaks Warning

      A confidential document found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop reveals that the United States Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden expressed concerns in 2010 that WikiLeaks would release classified US documents related to Sweden ahead of the September 19 Swedish election, tipping the vote towards the Pirate Party. The subject of the cable reads “Wikileaks: The Pirate Party’s White Horse Into Sweden’s Parliament?”

    • How the hacking furore has unfolded

      Mr Assange, whom Mrs Clinton has recently accused of colluding with Russian intelligence to disrupt the election, said he opposed the prospect of a Clinton presidency.

    • ‘More records than the KGB’: Cryptic Assange tweet ignites concern for his wellbeing

      A Julian Assange tweet featuring a 60 character code and a YouTube link to a popular rap song has sparked a frenzy of speculation about the meaning of the message and the wellbeing of the WikiLeaks founder.

      The 46-year-old published the tweet in the early hours of Monday morning. The peculiar post, which lacked any apparent context, triggered a flurry of speculation on Twitter and on message boards.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Weather Channel explains weather vs. climate after Trump tweet

      The account on Friday linked to an article accusing the Trump administration of ignoring science and said that 2017 was likely to be one of the three warmest years on record.

    • 5 things to know about Puerto Rico 100 days after Hurricane Maria

      The island is limping back to some semblance of normalcy as the New Year approaches. But hundreds of thousands have fled as the conditions fail to improve. More than a third of the island still has no power, and federal workers are still sending food and water supplies to some towns.

    • Bali declares ‘garbage emergency’ amid sea of waste

      Officials deployed 700 cleaners and 35 trucks to remove roughly 100 tons of debris each day to a nearby landfill.

    • ‘If we’re attacked, we’ll die together,’ a 16-year-old anti-mining activist told her family. But when the bullets came, they killed only her

      But Topacio convinced him that it wasn’t a choice to oppose the mine, that it was an obligation: His father had left him land that was uncontaminated; it was up to him to pass on clean land to his kids.

    • Damaged Scottish reef ‘biggest of its kind’
    • EPA consultant is investigating anti-Trump ‘resistance’ within the agency: report

      Definers, which specializes in opposition research, was hired by the EPA earlier this month on a $120,000 contract to help monitor media coverage at the agency. Mother Jones first reported the contract award.

    • Hurricane Maria Hit Puerto Rico

      A New York Times review found that 1,052 more people died in the 42 days following the storm than in the same time period in years passed. What they called the “unusually high death rate” may point to deaths as a result of Maria that went unrecorded. According to the Times, those who died in hospitals that were left without power after the storm may not have been recorded as having been killed by Maria, among other scenarios.

    • Puerto Rico Orders Review and Recount of Hurricane Deaths

      Officials will look again at all deaths attributed to natural causes after the hurricane, which made landfall Sept. 20 and knocked out power to 3.4 million Puerto Ricans — and to their hospitals and clinics. Parts of the island are still without power almost three months later, and the power grid is operating at only 70 percent of capacity.

    • France to ban all oil, gas production by 2040

      France’s parliament has approved a law banning all exploration and production of oil and natural gas by 2040 within the country and its overseas territories. Under that law that passed a final vote on Tuesday, existing drilling permits will not be renewed and no new exploration licenses will be granted.

    • The world is running out of a resource, and it’s not oil

      Kampot, in southern Cambodia, seemed an unlikely place for a development boom. Its quiet and idyllic streets and neighbourhoods nestled on along the Praek Tuek Chhu River made the rapid pace of so-called progress in other parts of South-east Asia feel worlds away.

      But that quiet was shattered seven years ago as a wave of infrastructure projects began to swell, including the restoration of a railway that linked to the capital, the refurbishment of colonial buildings and the construction of a resort in nearby by Bokor Hill. The rapid development that followed created a need for raw materials, especially one: sand to make cement and concrete. And in the quiet Kampot, the sight of dredging barges, that extracted sand from the estuary of the river, became frequent.

    • VW had corrupt culture, flawed leadership

      Only six months into his job, the US Justice Department-appointed monitor had some frank words for Volkswagen. “There was a corrupt corporate culture at Volkswagen,” Larry Thompson told Handelsblatt during his first interview since he started his work at VW’s headquarters in June. “It was not a culture marked by honesty and openness. The executives responsible for the affair obviously were not concerned that they would be putting their company in a precarious position.”

  • Finance

    • Poverty is a political problem, not just an economic one

      Citing “the lowest rate of social mobility among rich countries,” Philip Alston, an NYU law professor and United Nations special rapporteur, argues that inequality in the U.S. has become a human rights issue. Alston, whose U.N. role focuses on the relationship between extreme poverty and civil rights, laments, “Poor people have no chance of having their voices heard. No chance of influencing public policy.”

    • For the Few, By the Few

      Despite this, the United States is not a kleptocracy – literally, a rule by thieves – but rather, it has become a plutocracy, where wealth buys political power. That trend began before Trump, but the phenomenon is now on steroids. It threatens to erode U.S. democratic institutions and U.S. global influence.

      One percent of American citizens now control more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

    • All that stuff that was “killed by the net”? The real culprit was hedge funds

      The web blew up at the same time as the Reagan/Clinton/Bush financial bombs were detonating, leading to a huge private equity bubble in which super-wealthy Americans used debt financing and other forms of financial engineering to buy out successful companies, then hollowed them out, selling off their real-estate and plant, loading them up with debt, and raiding their reserve funds.

    • Labour councillors sign open letter urging party to change its Brexit position

      Seventy Labour councillors from south London have signed a letter to the shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer, urging a shift in the party’s Brexit position.

      Although the letter does not explicitly call for a second referendum, it says that Labour should “acknowledge that the electorate may wish to change its mind about Britain’s relationship with the EU”.

      The councillors, who have signed the letter in an individual capacity, are from the London boroughs of Southwark, Lambeth and Lewisham.

    • Adonis on Brexit: ‘No mandarin backs May. Government has broken down’

      Andrew Adonis was in church in the Austrian village of Alpbach on Christmas Day when he decided to step down as chair of the national infrastructure commission. The Alpine air had cleared his mind and led him to what he had suspected for some weeks might be his eventual decision.

      In a nutshell, he had realised his differences with Theresa May’s government were simply too profound. It was time to break free: “I decided in the middle of mass that I was going to resign. When I was skiing the following day I started writing the letter of resignation in my mind while looking out over the Austrian Alps. I was thinking to myself that there may just be a better future.”

    • Can China Contain Bitcoin?

      It was only a matter of time before Bobby Lee, CEO of China’s longest-running Bitcoin exchange, found himself in the crosshairs of Chinese regulators. His exchange, BTCC, had occupied a gray area of Chinese law, neither licensed nor explicitly illegal. Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that can be sent electronically around the world, and its growing popularity made Chinese authorities nervous. In 2016, most Bitcoin trades worldwide were in Chinese yuan.

      In January 2017, BTCC was investigated by China’s Central Bank. In September, China announced that it was banning initial coin offerings (ICOs), a popular fund-raising method for startups that use digital coins or tokens. Even then, Lee thought exchanges like his were safe. Later that month, Chinese regulators made it clear that BTCC and other domestic virtual-currency exchanges had to close, an attempt to make it harder for the general public to enter the market and buy bitcoins.

    • The cost of bitcoin payments is skyrocketing because the network is totally overloaded

      Bitcoin use in the real world may have started with the purchase of a pair of pizzas, but you’d be unlikely to see it used for such a minor exchange today.

      That’s because as bitcoin has soared in popularity it’s become too expensive to use in small transactions.

    • What Happened to the 40-Hour Workweek?

      As 2017 winds down, it’s important to remember that this year marks the 200th anniversary for the call for a 40-hr workweek for laboring people. The 8-hour day movement involves not only changes in the workweek, but the struggle over class power.

    • Goldman Sachs Trying to Kill Initiative Requiring More Lobbying Disclosure

      Amid intensifying shareholder pressure on companies to be more transparent about their political spending, Goldman Sachs has moved to prevent its shareholders from voting to force executives to disclose their efforts to influence politicians, according to corporate documents reviewed by International Business Times. The banking behemoth, which has been boosted by taxpayer-financed bailouts and has landed former executives in key government jobs, asked federal regulators to bless its attempt to block the initiative in a letter sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission — an agency now chaired by a former outside attorney for Goldman Sachs whose spouse also worked at the bank.

      Goldman’s request to the SEC comes in response to shareholders’ proposed resolution to require the bank to release an annual report documenting the policies governing the company’s lobbying, and disclosing all payments made by the company for direct and indirect lobbying of public officials.

    • The EU’s Urge to Curb Bitcoin

      The EU is trying to take steps to curb Bitcoin. Why?

    • Brexit backers in Britain tout their passport – which looks like a ticket to a fantasy world

      Proud patriotic Brexiteers heralded a major victory in their quest to rescue Britain’s sovereignty from the tyranny of Brussels and other malign foreign influences. Prime Minister Theresa May’s government announced that in 2019 the old bold British blue passport would replace Britain’s existing burgundy-coloured passports tainted with the heading “European Union”.

      Brandon Lewis, the immigration minister, boasted that the return of the “iconic blue and gold” British passport was part of “a unique opportunity to restore our national identity and forge a new path for ourselves in the world”.

      As in too many other episodes of the Brexit soap opera, these words are a farrago of lies, half-truths and delusions.

    • Brit killed in Sydney seaplane crash alongside his dad and brother was anti-Brexit campaigner

      A prominent anti-Brexit campaigner was killed in a seaplane crash in Sydney on New Year’s Eve.

      Will Cousins, 25 was one of six people who died in the tragic accident, along with his brother Edward and his father Richard.

      His father’s fiancee Emma Bowden, 48, her 11-year-old daughter Heather, and the 44-year-old Australian pilot Gareth Morgan also perished when the aircraft plunged into the Hawkesbury River shortly after 3pm.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Far Right Is Now in Power in Austria
    • Donald Trump made 25 false claims in his latest New York Times interview

      U.S. President Donald Trump sat down Thursday for a rare interview with a media outlet other than Fox News, holding an impromptu 30-minute session with New York Times reported Michael Schmidt at his golf club in West Palm Beach, Fla.

      He made nearly one false claim per minute — 25 false claims in all.

      The Star is keeping track of every false claim Trump makes as president. As of Dec. 22, Trump had already made 978 false claims; adding the Times interview, the tally will pass the 1,000 mark in the next update.

    • The GOP tax plan will pay millionaires to subsidize failing religious schools

      Until the GOP tax plan came along, rich people who donated to religious schools only get partial tax write-offs for their gifts, because the constitutional principle of separation of church and state obliged them to use special scholarship funds that were not under direct state control.

      The tax plan changes that, offering 100% federal tax relief on these “supervoucher” payments; however, in 10 states, millionaires who make these donations can also claim state tax relief of up to 37% on their donations — that means that for ever dollar a millionaire in (say) South Carolina gives to a religious academy, the government will give him $1.37 back.

      Private schools are in serious financial trouble, with sharp falls in their enrollments sparking closures across the nation.

    • NYT Trumpwashes 70 Years of US Crimes

      There’s lots of ideology to unpack here, but let’s start with the empirically false assertion that the “world” viewed the United States as a “reliable anchor of the liberal, rules-based international order.” Poll (Guardian, 6/15/06) after poll (Pew, 3/14/07) after poll (PRI, 1/3/14) throughout the years has shown that much of the world views the United States as threat to peace, often taking the top spot as the single greatest threat. What evidence Landler has for the world viewing the US as a sort of good-natured global babysitter is unclear, as he cites nothing to support this hugely important claim (since if Trump’s cynical disregard for “human rights” is nothing new, then there’s no real story here). It’s just thrown out with the assumption the Times readership is sufficiently nationalistic and/or amnesiac to either not notice or not care. It’s designed to flatter, not to elucidate.

    • Trump Justice Department Pushes for Citizenship Question on Census, Alarming Experts

      The Justice Department is pushing for a question on citizenship to be added to the 2020 census, a move that observers say could depress participation by immigrants who fear that the government could use the information against them. That, in turn, could have potentially large ripple effects for everything the once-a-decade census determines — from how congressional seats are distributed around the country to where hundreds of billions of federal dollars are spent.

      The DOJ made the request in a previously unreported letter, dated Dec. 12 and obtained by ProPublica, from DOJ official Arthur Gary to the top official at the Census Bureau, which is part of the Commerce Department. The letter argues that the DOJ needs better citizenship data to better enforce the Voting Rights Act “and its important protections against racial discrimination in voting.”

      A Census Bureau spokesperson confirmed the agency received the letter and said the “request will go through the well-established process that any potential question would go through.” The DOJ declined to comment and the White House did not respond to a request for comment.

    • Pressure builds to improve election cybersecurity
    • Election hacking [sic] help a nine month wait for some states: report
    • ‘Mullahs Must Get Lost’: Anti-Govt Protests In Iran Turns Into A Revolution Against Islamic Regime?

      The anti-government protests in Iran spilled into a third night even as reports of clashes and marches spread across the country despite government warnings against any further “illegal gatherings”.

    • A Scrooge Walks Among Us

      Charles Dickens would surely recognize the cruelty he disdained in modern Republicans like Paul Ryan.

    • VIPS Source: Congress Should Be Investigating CrowdStrike Firm

      Computer security expert Adam Carter of DisobedientMedia, who was a source for the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) in their memos debunking the DNC’s Russian-hacking claims, has published a call on Congressional intelligence committees to investigate CrowdStrike. CrowdStrike is a California-based computer security firm whose founder is Ukrainian Dmitri Alperovitch of the Atlantic Council. It alone examined the DNC’s computers—the FBI was denied access to them—and thus it was the ultimate source of the “Russian hacking” story.

      Carter has again succeeded in examining time sequences of computer events, as he did in connection with the demonstration that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mails were not hacked by Russians, but downloaded internally and leaked. He has now shown that CrowdStrike had installed its “Falcon” anti-malware, anti-hacking product on the DNC’s computer system, and been paid for it, on or before May 11, 2016; but that DNC emails were taken through at least May 25. And moreover, that Alperovitch told the Washington Post on June 14, that he and other CrowdStrike personnel had been working at the DNC, “removing hackers,” on the weekend of June 10-12. That is when Julian Assange first implied Wikileaks’ possession of e-mails concerning Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

    • Facebook will infiltrate elections and rule the world in 10 years

      Wouldn’t you wonder what was wrong with these people?

      You would. And yet that is the world you are about to inhabit, right now. Unless you do something about it.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Congo orders cuts to internet and SMS to stifle protests

      The Democratic Republic of Congo’s government has ordered telecoms to cut internet and SMS access ahead of planned mass protests against President Joseph Kabila, whose administration has continuously delayed elections to replace him.

    • NSS: promote free speech as “a positive value” on campus
    • Pulitzer Winner Exposes Facebook’s ‘Censorship Rampage’ at US & Israel’s Behest

      Award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald has outlined the alarming implications of the state censorship promoted by social networking giant Facebook when it deletes accounts of politicians and activists whose content the US and Israeli governments don’t happen to approve of.

    • Facebook Says It Is Deleting Accounts at the Direction of the U.S. and Israeli Governments

      In September of last year, we noted that Facebook representatives were meeting with the Israeli government to determine which Facebook accounts of Palestinians should be deleted on the ground that they constituted “incitement.” The meetings — called for and presided over by one of the most extremist and authoritarian Israeli officials, pro-settlement Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked — came after Israel threatened Facebook that its failure to voluntarily comply with Israeli deletion orders would result in the enactment of laws requiring Facebook to do so, upon pain of being severely fined or even blocked in the country.

    • Indonesian TV censorship: cartoons cut, athletes blurred as conservative Islam asserts itself and broadcasters fear sanctions

      It may not have been so unusual to hear earlier this year that the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) had issued a warning letter to a television station for airing a programme featuring a kissing scene.

      It was not, though, part of a sexually charged, passionate embrace. The offending scene appeared in an episode of Shaun the Sheep, the British animated children’s series and spin-off of the popular Wallace and Gromit franchise.

    • 2017: Behind the fake news battle lurks censorship

      It was quite amusing – and yet disquieting – to see some of the talking heads make a hash of it during the ‘fake news’ jamboree held recently in Nicosia.

      The November 27 workshop on fake news was organised among others by the European Parliament Information Office in Cyprus, the Cyprus News Agency and the Union of Cyprus Journalists.

      There, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides proceeded to wow his audience with the reveal that, after searching the internet, he traced the first modern instance of fake news back to 1938.

    • 2017, the year Supreme Court defined its no-interference policy with the Censor Board

      The year 2017 saw an increasing number of petitions regarding film censorship reach the Supreme Court. It began with actor Amol Palekar challenging pre-censorship laws, to the court upholding free speech in Indu Sarkar, to adopting a policy of non-interference in the functioning of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in ‘Padmavati’.

      The court prima facie agreed with the views of Mr. Palekar that pre-censorship of films is a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression of film makers and the public.

    • The fine art of manufactured censorship

      It has become increasingly difficult in Hong Kong to tell whether some people are being politically persecuted and censored, or if they just fake their own victimhood.

      Ventus Lau Wing-hong, of the radical localist alliance Community Network Union, used the student union of City University to book a campus venue at the weekend to announce his intention to enter the March by-election as a candidate for the New Territories East seat in the legislature. When school administrators discovered that the union – run by localist/separatist student leaders – wasn’t the one organising the venue but that an outsider was using it to launch a political campaign, they cancelled it.

      [...]

      Localist students at Hong Kong College of Technology and Our Lady’s College in Wong Tai Sin had made sure reporters were present at their protests, then claimed censorship when they were either kicked out from the event or told not to do it on school premises.

    • Seven Times Journalists Were Censored: 2017 in Review

      Social media platforms have developed into incredibly useful resources for professional and citizen journalists, and have allowed people to learn about and read stories that may never have been published in traditional media. Sharing on just one of a few large platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube may mean the difference between a story being read by a few hundred versus tens of thousands of people.

      Unfortunately, these same platforms have taken on the role of censor. They have created moderation policies to increase polite speech on their platforms, but simply put: they are not very good at it. These moderation policies are applied in imbalanced ways, often without an appeal process, sometimes relying on artificial intelligence to flag content, and usually without transparency into the decision-making process. This results in the censorship and blocking of content of all types.

      Globally, these content takedown processes often ignore the important evidentiary and journalistic roles content can play in countries where sharing certain information has consequences far beyond those in the U.S. We recommend any intermediary takedown practice include due process and be transparent, as recommended in our Manila Principles. And, as these examples demonstrate, social media platforms often make censorship decisions without due process, without transparency, and with end results that would make most people scratch their heads and wonder.

    • The year in video game censorship
    • Social Media Imperialism? Facebook Bans Palestinian Content at Behest of Israel, US
    • State Censorship? Silicon Valley Giants Playing Own Game With Trump, Israel
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Communities from Coast to Coast Fight for Control Over Police Surveillance: 2017 in Review

      Americans in 2017 lived under a threat of constant surveillance, both online and offline. While the battle to curtail unaccountable and unconstitutional NSA surveillance continued this year with only limited opportunities appearing in Congress, the struggle to secure community control over surveillance by local police has made dramatic and expanding strides across the country at the local level.

      In July, Seattle passed a law making it the nation’s second jurisdiction to require law enforcement agencies to seek community approval before acquiring surveillance technology. Santa Clara County in California, which encompasses most of Silicon Valley, pioneered this reform in spring 2016 before similar proposals later spread across the country.

    • Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights (8/21): Using Third-Party Services Should Not Void Expectation of Privacy

      Did you give up your privacy to a third party when using this manual telephone service? Yes, arguably, you did. Under the digital doctrine applied now, phonecalls would have no privacy at all, under any circumstance. But as we know, phonecalls are private. In fact, the phonecall operators were oathsworn to never utter the smallest part of what they learned on the job about people’s private dealings — so seriously was privacy considered, even by the companies running the switchboards.

    • That Game on Your Phone May Be Tracking What You’re Watching on TV

      At first glance, the gaming apps — with names like “Pool 3D,” “Beer Pong: Trickshot” and “Real Bowling Strike 10 Pin” — seem innocuous. One called “Honey Quest” features Jumbo, an animated bear.

      Yet these apps, once downloaded onto a smartphone, have the ability to keep tabs on the viewing habits of their users — some of whom may be children — even when the games aren’t being played.

      It is yet another example of how companies, using devices that many people feel they can’t do without, are documenting how audiences in a rapidly changing entertainment landscape are viewing television and commercials.

    • 250+ Mobiles Games Are Using Your Smartphone Mic To Track What You’re Watching

      he year 2017 witnessed the rise in the popularity of digital assistant-powered smart speakers. While some people found it useful, others called it creepy and labeled it as a privacy nightmare. But, what about your beloved smartphone? Can it be used to track you and your family’s activities?

      As a shocking report by NYTimes, more than 250 mobile games on Google Play Store have the ability to keep track of your TV viewing habits, even when the game is not being played. Compared to Android, such apps on iOS platform are lesser in number.

    • All 50 states agree to use AT&T first responder network
    • Warrantless Border Searches: The officer ‘searched through every email and intimate photos of my wife’

      Now we have the accounts of hundreds of travelers who were detained by border agents and whose electronic devices were searched or seized. Many travelers described border agents’ efforts to access, copy, and share travelers’ personal information, including personal correspondence, contacts, photographs, and diaries.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Goodbye iPod, and Thanks for All the Tunes

      The iPod died slowly, then all at once. After nearly 16 years on the market, more than 400 million units sold, and one Cupertino company launched into the stratosphere on its back, Apple quietly pulled the iPod Nano and Shuffle out of its virtual stores today.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Happy Public Domain day! Here are the works entering the public domain in Canada and the EU, but not the USA, where the public domain is stagnant

        Luckily, Canada and the EU were not so foolish, and so today, there is a raft of work entering the public domain elsewhere in the world that US creators and audiences will not be able to freely use.

      • Public Domain Day: January 1, 2018

        Public Domain Day is January 1st of every year. If you live in Canada or New Zealand, January 1st 2018 would be the day when the works of René Magritte, Langston Hughes, Dorothy Parker, Jean Toomer, Edward Hopper, and Alice B. Toklas enter the public domain.1 So would the musical compositions of John Coltrane, Billy Strayhorn, Paul Whiteman, Otis Redding, and Woody Guthrie. Canadians can now add a wealth of books, poems, paintings, and musical works by these authors to online archives, without asking permission or violating the law. And in Europe, the works of Hugh Lofting (the Doctor DoLittle books), William Moulton Marston (creator of Wonder Woman!), and Emma Orczy (the Scarlet Pimpernel series) will emerge into the public domain, where anyone can use them in their own books or movies. (You can find a great celebration of some of these authors here.)

      • Hosting Provider Steadfast Fights to Keep DMCA Safe Harbor

        Chicago-based hosting company Steadfast has asked a California District Court to dismiss the broad copyright complaint filed by adult publisher ALS Scan. The hosting provider denies responsibility for the actions of a client’s users, arguing that it is protected by the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions.

      • Time to Rethink Copyright Safe Harbors? 2017 in Review

        Platform safe harbors have been in the crosshairs of copyright industry lobbyists throughout 2017. All year EFF has observed them advancing their plans around the world to weaken or eliminate the legal protections that have enabled the operation of platforms as diverse as YouTube, the Internet Archive, Reddit, Medium, and many thousands more. Copyright safe harbor rules empower these platforms by ensuring that they are free to host user-uploaded content, without manually vetting it (or, worse, automatically filtering it) for possible copyright infringements. Without that legal protection, it would be impossible for such platforms to operate as they do today.

      • Top 10 Free Movie Download Websites That Are Completely Legal

        We love movies and we love them even more if they are for free. Right? If you open your web browser and type free movie download websites, you’ll be presented with a long list of illegal websites promising to grab your favorite blockbuster in a matter of seconds. But, apart from being illegal, these websites are also a gateway to a torrent of malware.

      • 2017’s “Piracy is Dangerous” Rhetoric Was Digital Reefer Madness

        For much of 2017, major companies and their proxies involved in movies, TV shows, and live sports have tried to convince Internet pirates that their hobby is dangerous to their computers at best, their lives at worst. The campaign is the Reefer Madness of the digital era and it will prove equally as successful.

EPO Insiders: EPO Has Become a Hoarder Rather Than a Patent Office

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

The money-grabbing EPO

Summary: The money-grabbing EPO, which has become debased and detached from its original purpose (high-quality patent examination), as explained by anonymous EPO insiders

FRAND is Unfair, Unreasonable and Discriminatory; Ericsson is Still a FRAND Troll

Posted in Deception, Patents, RAND at 10:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ericsson troll

Summary: In commenting on TCL v Ericsson, particular sites give away their biases (and support of Ericsson trolls such as Unwired Planet, formerly Openwave, software.com, phone.com, and Libris, Inc)

THE EPO seems to be pushing the FRAND and software patents envelop these days. This means that a software patents tax may be silently creeping into Europe and there’s no way for people to be exempted from it. It’s attached to or bundled together with products.

“We aren’t exactly surprised to see those sites aiding Ericsson’s agenda. They have long been in cohesion or harmony with patent trolls’ agenda. Some of their clients are literal patent trolls.”Bristows, a fan of Ericsson’s patent troll Unwired Planet (which operates in London and brings business to the likes of Bristows), has just written about this new case. It’s not about Ericsson's trolling operations in Europe but about China. Richard Vary (Bird & Bird), who has similar interests to Bristows’, including the UPC, has been given the platform. They push that old “FRAND” lie. They are basically promoting FRAND tax on the first day of the year; Patently-O has just done the same thing, courtesy of Jorge Contreras. It’s introduced as follows: “The case involves the sale of cellular handsets by TCL, a Chinese firm reported to be the seventh largest global manufacturer of mobile phones. Ericsson is one of the largest holders of patents essential to the implementation of the 2G, 3G and 4G wireless telecommunications standards published by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) (standards-essential patents or SEPs). Under ETSI’s policies, ETSI participants are required to grant licenses under their SEPs to implementers of ETSI standards on terms that are fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND).’

Ericsson — like Microsoft — is trying to tax every single phone and is even using trolls for this purpose. It publicly pretends to be reasonable, usually by detaching itself from the trolls and disguising the patent stacking ploy.

We aren’t exactly surprised to see those sites aiding Ericsson’s agenda. They have long been in cohesion or harmony with patent trolls’ agenda. Some of their clients are literal patent trolls.

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