Links 10/3/2018: Amarok 2.9.0, Debian 9.4, Sparky 5.3

Posted in News Roundup at 11:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Supercomputing under a new lens: A Sandia-developed benchmark re-ranks top computers

      A Sandia National Laboratories software program now installed as an additional test for the widely observed TOP500 supercomputer challenge has become increasingly prominent. The program’s full name — High Performance Conjugate Gradients, or HPCG — doesn’t come trippingly to the tongue, but word is seeping out that this relatively new benchmarking program is becoming as valuable as its venerable partner — the High Performance LINPACK program — which some say has become less than satisfactory in measuring many of today’s computational challenges.

    • Bright Computing adds support for OpenHPC

      Today Bright Computing announced it has joined the Linux Foundation and will participate in the OpenHPC Community project. The latest release of Bright Cluster Manager provides the ability for Bright customers to easily integrate OpenHPC libraries and packages for use within a Bright cluster.

    • Kubernetes Becomes The First Project To Graduate From The Cloud Native Computing Foundation
    • Usenet, Authentication, and Engineering (or: Early Design Decisions for Usenet)

      A Twitter thread on trolls brought up mention of trolls on Usenet. The reason they were so hard to deal with, even then, has some lessons for today; besides, the history is interesting. (Aside: this is, I think, the first longish thing I’ve ever written about any of the early design decisions for Usenet. I should note that this is entirely my writing, and memory can play many tricks across nearly 40 years.)

    • The true costs of hosting in the cloud

      Should we host in the cloud or on our own servers? This question was at the center of Dmytro Dyachuk’s talk, given during KubeCon + CloudNativeCon last November. While many services simply launch in the cloud without the organizations behind them considering other options, large content-hosting services have actually moved back to their own data centers: Dropbox migrated in 2016 and Instagram in 2014. Because such transitions can be expensive and risky, understanding the economics of hosting is a critical part of launching a new service. Actual hosting costs are often misunderstood, or secret, so it is sometimes difficult to get the numbers right. In this article, we’ll use Dyachuk’s talk to try to answer the “million dollar question”: “buy or rent?”

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.15.8
    • Linux 4.14.25
    • An Early Look At The Linux 4.16 Kernel Performance With AMD EPYC

      A few days back I provided some fresh Linux 4.16 kernel benchmarks compared to recent stable kernel releases while also toggling the KPTI and Retpoline security features on Linux 4.16 Git for seeing the impact of the Spectre and Meltdown mitigation techniques on this latest kernel while using Intel Xeon hardware. For this latest round of tests is a similar comparison while using an AMD EPYC system.

    • Some advanced BCC topics

      The BPF virtual machine is working its way into an increasing number of kernel subsystems. The previous article in this series introduced the BPF Compiler Collection (BCC), which provides a set of tools for working with BPF. But there is more to BCC than a set of administrative tools; it also provides a development environment for those wanting to create their own BPF-based utilities. Read on for an exploration of that environment and how it can be used to create programs and attach them to tracepoints.

    • Shedding old architectures and compilers in the kernel

      The kernel development process tends to be focused on addition: each new release supports more drivers, more features, and often new processor architectures. As a result, almost every kernel release has been larger than its predecessor. But occasionally even the kernel needs to slim down a bit. Upcoming kernel releases are likely to see the removal of support for a number of unloved architectures and, in an unrelated move, the removal of support for some older compilers.

    • Graphics Stack

      • RenderDoc 1.0 Graphics Debugger Released

        RenderDoc 1.0 has been released, the open-source standalone graphics debugger that supports frame capturing and introspection of Vulkan, D3D11, D3D12, OpenGL, and OpenGL ES APIs across all major platforms.

      • Intel Developers Prepare More Cannonlake/Icelake Graphics Code For Linux 4.17

        Intel open-source developers are preparing the last of their feature work for the i915 DRM driver with the upcoming Linux 4.17 kernel cycle.

        Work already staged in DRM-Next for this Intel Direct Rendering Manager driver in Linux 4.17 includes Cannonlake support being in good shape that it’s no longer hidden behind an alpha support flag, initial Intel Icelake graphics support for these “Gen 11″ graphics processors, and a lot of other internal code changes/improvements. A final batch of changes is now up for testing that will target DRM-Next for Linux 4.17.

      • New DRI3 v1.1 & v1.2 Bits Now Supported By Mesa

        Of the many features coming to X.Org Server 1.20 there is now Direct Rendering Infrastructure 3 (DRI3) versions 1.1 and 1.2. Mesa has now received its patches for making use of the new functionality.

        Landing in Mesa 18.1-devel Git yesterday was DRI3 v1.2 support within the Vulkan WSI (Windowing System Integration) code used by both RADV and ANV for supporting multiple planes and buffer modifiers.

      • Shared Virtual Memory Support For Nouveau With HMM

        It’s been a while since we last have seen any new Heterogeneous Memory Management patches even after its mainline introduction in Linux 4.14. But Jerome Glisse who masterminded HMM at Red Hat is now out with some Shared Virtual Memory (SVM) patches for Nouveau.

      • With Mesa Git You Can Now Run A Completely Open Graphics Stack On The Tegra X1

        With today’s Mesa 18.1-devel Git code, the last of the Tegra/Nouveau code has landed where it’s now rounded off for offering a completely open-source and accelerated graphics stack that works well on the Tegra210 (Tegra X1) SoC.

        Landing today in Mesa Git is the initial Tegra support for the K1 SoC and newer. There was the commit linked to and then several other related patches arriving in the tree a short time ago. This Tegra support in Mesa is needed for display support while the GPU is driven via the Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D driver as a render node. This code is for the Tegra K1 and newer while it seems the X1 SoC is in best shape right now and there are already users of this code on this SoC running a completely open-source 3D driver stack. On the kernel side, there has already been Tegra DRM support in the mainline kernel.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

    • VLC 3.0 Vetinari review – The bleeding edge of goodness

      Vetinari is a pretty decent VLC release. One, it’s the familiar product, and there are no surprises there, which is good from the user perspective. Two, unassumingly, you gain a whole load of new options and features, and they cover the bleeding edge of the media technology. Three, all of that for free, on any which device you want.

      My testing shows there are still some rough edges, and that the setup in Linux should be easier, and 360-deg playback in Windows more intuitive. But I also know things will quickly get better as these small bugs are ironed out. One thing that VLC has proven in the past fifteen years is that it’s stable, robust, rich, and that it inexorably marches forward, into the storm of technology. Speaking of technology, VLC 3.0 grabs it by the horns and the balls. Perhaps 4K or 8K videos have no intrinsic value except to bleed your bandwidth and battery, but when it comes to fads, VLC has all the corners covered and then some, years ahead. It’s a tech demonstrator and a clear, undisputed leader. Job well done. Time to watch some movies, then.

    • The 10 Best Media Editing Applications for Linux

      Are you a professional vlogger looking to improve the quality of your content? Or maybe you’re an aspiring director envisaging the next big picture with a photographer who wants to deliver photos that would make Annie Leibowitz (photographer) jealous.

      Our list today compiles media editing applications that are accessible to every Linux user who wants to excel at media editing. And although the regular user can take advantage of this list, most of the apps have a steep learning curve so be ready to get your hands dirty.

    • Creating an email archive with public-inbox

      Keeping up with the free-software development community requires following a lot of mailing lists. For many years, the Gmane email archive has helped your editor to do that without going any crazier than he already is, but Gmane is becoming an increasingly unreliable resource. A recent incident increased the priority of a longstanding goal to find (or create) an alternative to Gmane. That, in turn, led to the discovery of public-inbox.


      In mid-February, Gmane stopped receiving emails from every mailing list hosted at vger.kernel.org; those include most of the kernel-related lists, but also lists for other projects like Git. Your editor posted a query and learned that delivery problems had forced Gmane to be dropped from all lists hosted at vger. While this was happening, the main Gmane web page also ceased to work. Since then, a handful of vger lists have returned to Gmane, though the bulk of them remain unsubscribed.

      Those lists could certainly be fixed too, if somebody were to find the right person to poke. But the fact that so many high-profile lists could disappear for a week or more without anybody even seeming to notice makes it clear that Gmane is not getting a lot of attention these days. The wait for the web interface to come back is in vain; it’s not at all clear that even what’s there now is going to last for much longer.

      Gmane has served the community well for years; and we all owe the people who have worked to make that happen a huge round of thanks. But all things must end, and it may well be that Gmane’s time is coming soon. So what is a frantic LWN editor to do to ensure his ability to keep up with the community?

    • Say No to Slack, Say Yes to Matrix

      Of all proprietary chatting systems, Slack has always seemed one of the worst to me. Not only it’s a closed proprietary system with no sane clients, open source or not, but it not just one walled garden, as Facebook or WhatsApp are, but a constellation of walled gardens, isolated from each other. To be able to participate in multiple Slack communities, the user has to create multiple accounts and keep multiple chat windows open all the time. Federation? Self-hosting? Owning your data? All of those are not a thing in Slack. Until recently, it was possible to at least keep the logs of all conversations locally by connecting to the chat using IRC or XMPP if the gateway was enabled.

      Now, with Slack shutting down gateways not only you cannot keep the logs on your computer, you also cannot use a client of your choice to connect to Slack. They also began changing the bots API which was likely the reason the Matrix-to-Slack gateway didn’t work properly at times. The issue has since resolved itself, but Slack doesn’t give any guarantees the gateway will continue working, and obviously they aren’t really interested in keeping it working.

    • On the demise of Slack’s IRC / XMPP gateways

      I have grudgingly joined three Slack workspaces , due to me being part of proejects that use it as a communications center for their participants. Why grudgingly? Because there is very little that it adds to well-established communications standards that we have had for long years decades.

      On this topic, I must refer you to the talk and article presented by Megan Squire, one of the clear highlights of my participation last year at the 13th International Conference on Open Source Systems (OSS2017): «Considering the Use of Walled Gardens for FLOSS Project Communication». Please do have a good read of this article.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

    • Games

      • We Need To Go Deeper, a cooperative submarine exploration game adds Linux support

        Not to be confused with Abyss Crew that we recently covered, We Need To Go Deeper [Steam, Official Site] is a cooperative submarine exploration game currently in Early Access and it just added Linux support.

      • 2D RPG ‘By Any Means Necessary’ is now officially available on Linux

        In the mood to play a retro-inspired RPG with turn-based combat? By Any Means Necessary [Steam, Official Site] has officially added Linux support. They say it was not built with RPG maker, something they’re keen to note as it’s something that seems to get asked as soon as people see “2D” and “RPG” next to each other.

      • Dwarf Fortress inspired space station sim ‘Starmancer’ fully funded, demo updated with colonists

        Starmancer is a space station sim I’m pretty excited about, it’s currently on Kickstarter with six days left and they’re fully funded. They’ve managed to grab over $80K against their $40K goal, which is pretty good. Thanks to this, their first stretch goal to have expanded music has been reached—awesome! This is the same game I wrote about last month, where the developer gave us a fun little story about using Linux.

      • Habitica: a role-playing game for self improvement

        What if real-life chores could gain you fake internet points like in an online role-playing game? That’s the premise of Habitica, a productivity application disguised as a game. It’s a self-improvement application where players can list their daily tasks or to-do items in the game; every time one is checked-off, the game rewards the player with points or game items.

        The game dresses up the task-checking mechanics with the standard trappings of the genre; there are character classes, weapons, armor, and level progression. These are mapped onto real-life tasks in novel ways; it is designed to make daily chores fun. The game is hosted on the Habitica server and can be played from either a web interface or a mobile app (iOS and Android). Both the mobile apps and the server software are available under the GPLv3.

      • Action platformer ‘Bacon Man: An Adventure’ is being ported to Linux

        Bacon Man: An Adventure [Official Site], an action platformer from Skymap Games is currently being ported to Linux. It looks surprisingly good too!

        The latest post on Steam is from the end of last month, where a developer replied to a rather old forum topic that asked about Linux support back in 2016. Quite surprising really, to see a developer bring back such an old post to update people, but nice to see.

      • Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition release date announced for March 27th, day-1 Linux support

        Beamdog has announced that Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition [Steam, Official Site] will officially release on March 27th and it’s coming with day-1 Linux support.

        Announced on Twitter, where they also replied to our question to confirm Linux at day-1. We obviously knew it was already coming to Linux, but knowing it’s for sure at the same time as other platforms is indeed great news.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • i3 v4.15 Tiling Window Manager Released

      The i3 tiling window manager reached version 4.15 this weekend. The i3 v4.15 release contains a number of documentation improvements, additions to i3′s editor and terminal, new default capabilities, the swap command now works with fullscreen windows, non-integer Xfi DPI values are now rounded, and a wide range of bugs have been fixed.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Amarok 2.9 Released As The Last Step Before Qt5/KF5

        The KDE developers working on the Amarok music player released version 2.9.0 this week as their last expected release atop the aging KDE 4 libraries and Qt4.

      • Amarok 2.9.0 “Hibernaculum” released

        As it may be customary for the upcoming season the Amarok team did some spring cleaning and is proud to announce the immediate release of Amarok 2.9.0. While we realize that the clock has run out on KDELibs 4 and Qt 4, we wanted to bring 20+ bug fixes from 18 contributors to our users before the next major release will harness all the shiny new things provided by Qt 5 and KDE Frameworks 5. In fact, the port is already progressing nicely in the Git ‘kf5′ branch, which is soon to become the new ‘master’ branch. We welcome everybody willing to help out to check out the source code and improve the next major version of Amarok!

      • [Development] Qt for WebAssembly

        As you may have noticed work on Qt for WebAssembly is underway. W

      • Qt Developers Begin Brewing Their WebAssembly Plans

        The Qt Company developers are soliciting feedback from developers and the community about what they would like to see out of WebAssembly support for the tool-kit.

        WebAssembly is now supported by all major web browsers as a binary format for allowing sandboxed executable code in web pages that is nearly as fast as native machine code. Many different projects are figuring out how to make use of WASM or offer support for it moving forward, including the Qt tool-kit.

      • What’s New in KaOS 2018.01

        KaOS 2018.01 is the latest release of KDE-focused Linux distro, KaoS Linux. This release features latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, includes Frameworks 5.42.0, Plasma 5.11.5, KDE Applications 17.12.1. All built on Qt 5.10.0. Also ships ships with an alternative desktop enviornment to KDE Plasma, called Liquidshell, which is a lightweight environment that’s still in development at the moment of writing.

        Powered by the latest Linux 4.14.14 kernel built with Retpoline support, Intel and AMD microcode firmware updates are also present. KaOS 2018.01 also ships with LLVM/Clang 5.0.1, Boost 1.66.0, ICU 60.2, Protobuf 3.5.1, Glib2 2.54.3, Libcdio 2.0.0, OpenCV 3.4.0, Ruby 2.5.0, and the Calamares graphical installer framework 3.2, which features experimental LVM support.

      • This week in Discover, part 9

        We need your help! Consider becoming a KDE contributor, and help make Discover the best Linux app store in existence!

      • Skrooge 2.12.0 released

        The Skrooge Team announces the release 2.12.0 version of its popular Personal Finances Manager based on KDE Frameworks.

      • More comics management: making proper ACBF files.

        Krita 4.1’s comic project management tools now support 90% of all ACBF features.

      • KDE Plasma 5.13 Getting GTK Global Menu Support

        For those relying upon GTK applications like LibreOffice, GIMP, and GNOME programs from the KDE desktop, the integration is taking a step forward with Plasma 5.13.

      • GTK Global Menu

        For the past couple of weeks I have been working on a way to get GTK applications talk to Plasma’s Global Menu feature. I came up with a little helper application called gmenu-dbusmenu-proxy that talks both GMenu and DBusMenu protocols. This way no adjustment on Plasma’s side is needed, it just sees a regular global menu enabled application.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Void Linux Review – For The Record

        Void Linux Review. Today I finally get to a requested review of Void Linux. Using Void Linux reminds me a little bit of using Arch, since it only installs what you ask it to. Void Linux configuration is straight forward, although as I mention in the video, the documentation is hit and miss.

      • Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 Looks like a Brilliant Upgrade

        I have to say folks, Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 is shaping up to be a one heck of a release.

        It’s no secret that I think the nimble GNOME-based Budgie desktop is one of the best alternatives to GNOME Shell or Unity. It is lighter and leaner than either of those, but has a more cohesive and modern design than MATE or XFCE.

        Naturally I’m also a fan of Ubuntu Budgie, the official Ubuntu flavor that uses the Budgie desktop by default. It provides all the benefits of Ubuntu and its ecosystem, but feathered beneath a clean, modern looking desktop interface.

    • New Releases

      • New Zenwalk Current ISO for March 2018

        I’m pleased to announce un new Current ISO for March 2018.

        This rolling release introduces native Qt support, wxWidgets support, and focuses on migrating to Python3. The Lollypop music collection manager replaces Gmusicbrowser with Kid3 as tag mass editor. VLC replaces mpv as default media player. Office suite is Libreoffice version 6.0.2, Web browser is Firefox 58.0.2. For packagers the new SlackBuild tool is included. Many other changes can be found in the changelog.

      • OSMC’s February update is here

        OSMC’s February update is ready with a wide range of improvements and fixes to keep your OSMC device running in tip-top shape. Team Kodi have now announced that they have started the official alpha release cycle for Kodi v18 (Leia). Test builds for Raspberry Pi and Vero devices are available in our forums.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Updated Debian 9: 9.4 released

        The Debian project is pleased to announce the fourth update of its stable distribution Debian 9 (codename “stretch”). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available.

        Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old “stretch” media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror.

        Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won’t have to update many packages, and most such updates are included in the point release.

      • Debian 9.4 Stretch Released
      • Stepping down as DAM

        After quite some time (years actually) of inactivity as Debian Account Manager, I finally decided to give back that Debian hat. I’m stepping down as DAM. I will still be around for the occasional comment from the peanut gallery, or to provide input if anyone actually cares to ask me about the old times.

      • Corydalis 0.3.0 release

        Without aiming for, this release follows almost exactly a month after v0.2, so maybe a monthly release cycle while I still have lots of things to add (and some time to actually do it) would be an interesting goal.

      • Derivatives

        • Neptune 5 Release

          This version marks a new iteration within the Neptune universe. It switches its base to the current Debian Stable “Stretch” version and also changes slightly the way we will provide Updates for Neptune. We will no longer strive to bring in more recent versions of Plasma, Kernel or other software on our own. With Snaps, Flatpaks and AppImages being more and more popular and mature these days we strongly believe these are the ways to go if you want to try out bleeding edge software. We on the other hand strive to provide the most stable and best Desktop user experience out there.

        • Debian-Based Siduction Linux OS Now Patched Against Meltdown and Spectre Flaws

          The developers of the siduction GNU/Linux distribution announced today the release and general availability of the siduction 2018.2.0 monthly release for February 2018.

          siduction 2018.2.0 is out as the first release of the Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution to ship with the latest Linux 4.15 kernel by default, which includes mitigations against the critical Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities that were publicly disclosed in early January, and which put billions of devices at risk of attacks. This release is powered by Linux kernel 4.15.7.

          “Shortly after our last release 2018.1.0 the world made acquaintance with two vulnerabilities that will stay with us for a long time. In mitigating Meltdown & Spectre, siduction was as close to the kernel as possible to be able to get fixes in as soon as they roll out. Kernel 4.15.7 has most of the bases covered, even though there will be more coming with 4.16 expected in April,” said the devs.

        • Sparky 5.3

          There are new live/install iso images of SparkyLinux 5.3 “Nibiru” available to download.
          Sparky 5 follows rolling release model and is based on Debian testing “Buster”.

          Sparky 5.3 provides fully featured operating system with lightweight desktops: LXQt, MATE and Xfce.

          Sparky MinimalGUI (Openbox) and MinimalCLI (text mode) lets you install the base system with a desktop of your choice and a minimal set of applications, via the Sparky Advanced Installer.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) Beta Released for Opt-In Flavors, Download Now

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) had one of the busiest development cycles, especially due to the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, but also because of other causes, including the not very well planned release schedule.

            For example, the opt-in flavors were supposed to get two alpha releases, the first one within a week and a half after the New Year’s Eve and the second one on February 1st. None of these alpha milestones happened, so that’s why we’re now seeing the beta.

          • 18.04 Beta 1 Released For Opt-In Ubuntu Flavors
          • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Gets Compiler-Based Retpoline Kernel Mitigation for Spectre V2

            Canonical announced today the availability of a new kernel security update for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) operating systems running the Linux 3.13 kernel to fix the second variant of the Spectre vulnerability on both 32-bit and 64-bit installations.

            On January 23, 2018, Canonical updated the kernel packages of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) to version linux-image 3.13.0-141.190, patching the Spectre Variant 2 security vulnerability discovered by Jann Horn, for the 64-bit (amd64) hardware architecture.

            The Spectre flaw can be exploited by a local attacker to expose sensitive information from kernel memory on modern microprocessors with branch prediction and speculative execution capabilities. Canonical now added support for 32-bit hardware architectures as well for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS systems.

          • Give Your Linux Desktop a Fresh Look with the Canta Theme

            If your current Ubuntu desktop is looking a little dark and a little dated why not give it a refresh?

            And the perfect choice to help you do that is the Canta theme by serial theme maker Vince Liuice (of Vimix theme fame).

          • Kotlin Programming Language Now Available On Linux Distros As A Snap

            Over the past year, the adoption of Kotlin programming language has increased at a rapid pace. Apart from its long list of great features, Google’s announcement of making Kotlin an officially supported language for Android development was a major reason behind the same. Being a general-purpose language, Kotlin can also be used on various applications as well.

          • Mir Enables XDG Shell By Default, Dropping Mir EGL For Ubuntu 18.04

            There is just one month to go until the official debut of the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver” release and Canonical’s Mir team is busy as ever on the home stretch of final changes for this next release.

            Some of the Mir team’s recent progress with their focus the past few months on Wayland support includes:

            - XDG Shell v6 support is now enabled by default. XDG_Shell is the Wayland protocol addition for managing surfaces with window dragging/resizing/stacking and other actions mostly desktop focused.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver” Beta 1 Released For Opt-In Flavors: Download Now
          • Flavours and Variants

            • 18.04 Beta 1 Released For Opt-In Ubuntu Flavors

              Today marks the first beta release of opt-in flavors participating for the Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic Beaver” development cycle.

              Ubuntu itself continues to skip these development releases in favor of focusing on daily quality of their ISOs. The flavors participating this round for today’s beta release are Kubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu MATE, and Xubuntu.

            • Bionic Beaver 18.04 Beta 1 Released!

              “The beaver told the rabbit as they stared at the Hoover Dam: No, I didn’t
              build it myself, but it’s based on an idea of mine”.
              – Charles Hard Townes

              The first beta of the Bionic Beaver (to become 18.04) has now been
              released, and is available for download!

              This milestone features images for Kubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Kylin,
              Ubuntu MATE, and Xubuntu.

              Pre-releases of the Bionic Beaver are *not* encouraged for anyone needing a
              stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional,
              even frequent breakage. They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu flavour
              developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting, and fixing
              bugs as we work towards getting this release ready.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.04 Beta 1

              We’ve been refining Ubuntu MATE since the 17.10 release and making improvements to ensure that Ubuntu MATE offers what our users want today and what they’ll need over the life of this LTS release. This is what’s changed since 17.10.

            • Kubuntu Bionic Beaver (18.04) Beta 1 Released!

              The first beta of the Bionic Beaver (to become 18.04) has now been released, and is available for download!

            • A Short Preview to elementary OS Juno

              elementary OS 5.0 codenamed “Juno” has not been released. But the development is already active, and fortunately we are able to try the components on elementary OS 0.4 Loki right now. I have installed some latest programs of Juno from elementary-daily PPA and show you how they look like here. In other words, this article is a short preview of the new elementary Installer of Juno, as well as AppCenter and some more Juno’s new stuffs. Not only that, I mention here how to get them on Loki so you can also try them, as the original announcement doesn’t explain that. Read on and have a try!

            • Linux Mint Monthly News – February 2018

              Many thanks to all the donors and sponsors who help fund our project. We received close to 500 donations in January. Many thanks to you for your support.

            • Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.60 Released

              The Black Lab Linux development team is pleased to bring you the newest release of Black Lab Enterprise Desktop 11.60. This release contains many security updates and application updates. Along with these updates also we have made many fixes. Black Lab Enterprise Desktop is a high performance high availability desktop for software developers, system administrators and power users.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google open sources machine learning tech it used to find new planets

    Google will open source the machine learning technology that allowed it to discover new exoplanets, the tech giant announced in a Thursday blog post.

    In December, Google announced that it had found two exoplanets by training a neural network to analyze data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope and identify signals that could be coming from planets, our sister site ZDNet reported at the time.

  • China launches open-source platform as part of its quest to become AI world leader by 2030
  • China makes open-source platform to boost Artificial Intelligence

    China’s science and technology minister said on Saturday that the government had made an open-source platform to boost the development of artificial intelligence (AI), as part of a plan to make China a world-leader in this field by 2030. He said that offering AI on open-source platforms would help with its scientific development and help it rapidly expand, allowing the creation of a new generation of AI. “Open-source platforms are needed because AI can play a bigger role in development and make it easier for entrepreneurs to have access to resources,” Wan Gang said in a press conference to mark a session of the National People’s Assembly.

  • Ghostery Goes Open Source, Reveals Two Proposed Revenue Streams

    Ad-blocker Ghostery published its entire programming code on Thursday. By going open source, the company aims to clear the air on its old business model and invite others to contribute to its continuing development.

  • Events

    • Hands-On Learning at Open Networking Summit for Your SDN/NFV Deployments

      If you are attending ONS, you know the value of open source projects. You know they are going to play a critical role in your ongoing or upcoming SDN/NFV transformation. Open source projects have become very successful in the enterprise space and they are poised to do the same in the communications service provider (CSP) arena.

      That leads to a question—how can you learn more about these projects, determine their value for your specific environment and map out your organization’s next steps? Certainly, you can review online materials on your own. However, if you are like me and learn best when another human being is providing or explaining the material starting with the basics, at an unhurried pace, then the ONAP and OPNFV training sessions offered onsite at Open Networking Summit in Los Angeles are something to consider. These training courses will empower you to integrate open source into your NFV/SDN deployments.

    • Free Software Events in Europe in 2018

      If you know a Free Software and Open Source Software related event in Europe, happening in 2018, that is not yet listed here but that you think is in interest to the FSFE community, please leave it in this pad or contact me directly. All valid events will be imported from here into our wiki calendar.

      Valid events do not need to be a conference, they can be install fests or other activities. But to be in interest for our community, they have to be for the general public and happen in Europe.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • TIL: Feature Detection in Windows using GetProcAddress

        In JavaScript, if you want to use a function that was introduced only in certain versions of browsers, you use Feature Detection. For example, you can ask “Hey, browser, do you have a function called `includes` on Array?” If the browser has it, you use it; and if it doesn’t, you either get along without it or load your own implementation.

      • Fun with Themes in Firefox

        At the core of this experiment are new theme APIs for add-ons shipping with Firefox.

        These APIs take inspiration from static themes in Google Chrome, building from there to enable the creation of dynamic themes.

        For example, Quantum Lights changes based on the time of day.

      • Mozilla’s Servo team joining Mixed Reality

        Servo had amazing year in 2017. We saw the style system ship and deliver performance improvements as a flagship element of the highly regarded Firefox Quantum release. And we’ve continued to build out the engine platform and experiment with new embedding APIs, innovations in graphics and font rendering, and graduate subsystems to production readiness for inclusion in Firefox. Consistently throughout those efforts, we saw work in Servo demonstrate breakthrough advances in parallelism, graphics rendering, and robustness.

        Coming in to 2018, we see virtual and augmented reality devices transitioning from something just for hardcore gamers and enterprises into broad consumer adoption. These platforms will transform the way that users create and consume content on the internet. As part of the Emerging Technologies and Mozilla Research missions to enable the web platform on these new systems, we will be adopting the Mozilla Servo team as part of the Mixed Reality team and doubling down on our investigations in virtual and augmented reality. Servo is already the platform where we first implemented support for mobile VR, extensions, such as, WebGL MultiView, and even our sneak peak running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 developer kit and compatible AR glasses from last September. Servo’s lean, modern code base and leading-edge strengths in parallelism and graphics are ideal for prototyping new technology for the web and growing the results into production code usable both inside and outside of Servo.

      • Mozilla Servo Team To Begin Focusing On VR / Mixed Reality

        Mozilla’s Servo team is being absorbed by the company’s Mixed Reality Team.

        Mozilla will be investing more into mixed reality / VR / mobile with their Servo developers now focusing their low-level work in these fields. Servo developers will work on implementing the GeckoView API and begin testing with various AR/VR devices.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Updated Oracle Roadmap Points To Post-11.4 Solaris Release Around 2020

      Oracle published a SPARC and Solaris road-map updated for March 2018.

      By now you should know about Solaris 11.4 that is currently in public beta.

      But their March 2018 road-map update now indicates a “Solaris11.Next” for H2’2018 or H1’2020. Note that it’s a “11.Next” and no mention of Solaris 12. It’s still not clear if a Solaris 12 will happen given all the rumors following the mass layoffs at Oracle over the past number of months, but at least for now it’s looking like it might be a Solaris 11.5 release around the end of next year or in early 2020.

  • BSD

    • Mike Larkin at bhyvecon 2018: OpenBSD vmm(4) update
    • How we conduct ourselves

      Overall, this self-censorship is a Good Thing™. When interacting with individuals from vastly different cultures, backgrounds or convictions, there are bound to be disagreements or clashes.


      I sincerely hope that I do not need to waste many keystrokes to state how awful this piece of text is. It is actively discriminatory, denies the hardships that some people may face, and censors criticism. It is extremely opinionated in its tone.

      Fortunately, the FreeBSD people had the sense to remove this section.


      But then why don’t the above rules mention anything about making fun of someone’s speech patterns or language skills (or lack thereof)? Surely disallowing those things is extremely relevant in an international community with many non-native speakers of English. As a matter of fact, an even more glaring omission is that it makes no statement on culture, country of origin, or nationality at all.

      Why does “misgendering”—an issue which affects a tiny fraction of the contributors—get a spot on that list, but not prejudice based on one’s skill in English, which affects a vast portion of contributors? Surely this can be included as well? But if we are going there, why not include even more? The Holocaust was a pretty bad thing that happened. Surely Holocaust denial should be somewhere on that list, too. Speaking of murder, perhaps we could also make it extra clear that it is not okay to boast about eating meat and other animal products in order to spite a vegan.


      The answer is not very surprising. The code of conduct is biased. It wears its bias on its sleeve: Feminism. Now, whether you are a feminist or not matters little. What matters is that the code of conduct tells you to practise inhibition around others, but practises none of it itself. I have conservatively marked all feminism-related (and LGBT-related) items with an asterisk. I could have been greedy and marked more items, but this seemed sufficient to me. If you start counting, you will see that give-or-take half of the items have an obvious feminist slant.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source technologies to usher in better future

      The Open Source Summit (OSS) 2018 was organized by Bahria University in collaboration with Open Source Foundation of Pakistan (OSFP) to collaborate, share information, learn about the latest technologies and gain a competitive advantage by using innovative open solutions.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Avoiding license violations in a large organization

      Over the years, I have heard people from the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) say many times that most free-software license violations are not intentional. Indeed, the SFC’s principles of community-oriented enforcement say that “most GPL violations occur by mistake, without ill will”. I’ve always had some difficulty in believing that; after all, how hard can it be to create a GPL repository on GitHub and sync the code into it? But it is also said that managing programmers is like herding cats. It was therefore interesting to hear a large-scale cat herder talk at FOSDEM 2018 about the license violations that occurred in their organization and what he and his colleagues did about it.

      Andreas Schreiber works for DLR, Germany’s national aeronautics and space research center. DLR has some 8,000 employees across 40 institutions at 20 sites; of those, around 1,500 work on software development. Schreiber said its annual budget of some €150M for software development makes DLR one of the largest software developers in Germany. However, it is primarily an academic institution. Unlike many large commercial software developers, its software is largely written by people employed because of their expertise in such fields as aeronautics and space transportation, who have no formal computer science background, and often no formal training in software development.


      Schreiber also noted that both NASA and ESA have developed their own open-source licenses, whereas DLR has deliberately chosen not to do that. Given widespread concerns about license proliferation, and that NASA’s license is both non-free and GPL-incompatible, this seems a good decision. In addition, in response to a later question, Schreiber said his group has tried mandating licenses for DLR projects, but that just did not work in the DLR culture, where researchers are used to doing what they like, how they like. Imposing a single institutional license would have been difficult; instead, the group provides advice and support, it will even recommend if asked to, but it doesn’t mandate.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Making climate models open source makes them more useful

        Here’s an example. In a paper from last yearI looked at the temperature and wind changes in the upper atmosphere close to the Equator. I didn’t need to know what happened in the ocean, and I didn’t need any chemistry, polar ice, or even clouds in my model. So I wrote a much simpler model without these ingredients. It’s called “MiMA” ( Model of an idealised Moist Atmosphere), and is freely available on the web.

  • Programming/Development

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google claims it’s going to build its proprietary AMP using Web standards

      Google has said that it wants to bring the benefits of its AMP specification to sites that stick with Web standards, offering them the same prominent search positioning that it currently only gives to sites using its proprietary tech.

      The 2015 introduction of Google’s AMP, “Accelerated Mobile Pages,” has been deeply contentious within the Web community. AMP is based on HTML, JavaScript, and other related technologies, with a bunch of non-standard alterations and restrictions to, Google says, achieve a number of things that are useful, especially for mobile browsers.


  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How To Break Your Phone Addiction

      Smartphones often lure us into multitasking. Think of all the ways you can use them when you’re also doing something else. (I don’t know that I’ve ever had a text conversation without simultaneously doing something else.) This can be fatal in the case of distracted driving or walking. And it can hurt your performance on the primary task at hand. We cannot effectively focus on two things at once, and it takes time for your brain to switch between tasks. That means multitasking actually doesn’t improve productivity, said L. Mark Carrier, an experimental psychologist at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Research suggests that for college students, multitasking while studying and during lectures negatively affects overall learning and grades, he said. A study by Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, and colleagues shows that after only 20 minutes of interrupted work, “people reported significantly higher stress, frustration, workload, effort, and pressure.”

    • The screen time debate is pitting parents against each other

      Parenting now means having the “smartphone debate” — not just with your kids, constantly — but with other parents. And as Riddhi was about to find out, hell is other people’s screen time policies.

  • Security

    • Tamper-evident Boot Update: Making Heads More Usable

      We announced not too long ago that we have successfully integrated the tamper-evident boot software Heads into our Librem laptops. Heads secures the boot process so that you can trust that the BIOS and the rest of the boot process hasn’t been tampered with, but with keys that are fully under your control.

      Heads is cutting edge software and provides a level of security beyond what you would find in a regular computer. Up to this point though, its main user base are expert-level users who are willing to hardware flash their BIOS. The current user interface is also geared more toward those expert users with command-line scripts that make the assumption that you know a fair amount about how Heads works under the hood.

    • Keeper Security Reminds Everyone Why You Shouldn’t Use It; Doubles Down On Suing Journalist

      Back in December, we wrote about a blatant SLAPP suit filed by Keeper Security against Ars Technica and its reporter Dan Goodin. Keeper makes a password manager product, and Goodin wrote an article, based on a flaw discovered by Google’s Tavis Ormandy. The flaw impacted the browser extension that works with Keeper’s application. Keeper took offense to certain elements of the article, and in particular to the idea that Microsoft had forced people to install the flawed software (since the flaw was actually in the browser extension, which is optional). Keeper Security also felt that the article implied that users of its software were vulnerable to a broad attack that put their passwords at risk, when the details suggested it was a more narrow (but still pretty bad) flaw that would require a specific set of circumstances to expose passwords, and there was no evidence that such a set of circumstances existed.

    • New cryptojacking attack uses Redis and NSA exploits to infect machines

      After the script completed the Redis scan, it launches another scan process named “ebscan.sh”. This time the new process uses the masscan tool to discover and infect publicly available Windows servers with the vulnerable SMB version.

    • Cyberattack risks mounting for Aussie SMBs: report

      It’s only a matter of time before Australian small businesses are hit hard by a cybersecurity attack but there are things they can do to protect themselves, according to a newly published security report.

    • Memcached DDoS Attacks Slow Down as Patching Ramps Up

      Days after the largest distributed denial-of-service attack in internet history, the attack size of memcached DDoS attacks is now on the decline.

      On March 5, Netscout Arbor Networks reported a 1.7-Tbps DDoS attack that was driven by the amplification of misconfigured memcached servers. While there were some initial fears that the attacks would continue to grow in size, the opposite has happened.

      “We’re still seeing lots of them, but their average size is considerably smaller due to ongoing cleanup and mitigation efforts,” Steinthor Bjarnason, senior network security analyst at Netscout Arbor, told eWEEK.

    • Stack-register Checking

      Recently, Theo de Raadt (deraadt@) described a new type of mitigation he has been working on together with Stefan Kempf (stefan@)…

    • Master password in Firefox or Thunderbird? Do not bother!

      There is a weakness common to any software letting you protect a piece of data with a password: how does that password translate into an encryption key? If that conversion is a fast one, then you better don’t expect the encryption to hold. Somebody who gets hold of that encrypted data will try to guess the password you used to protect it. And modern hardware is very good at validating guesses.

      Case in question: Firefox and Thunderbird password manager. It is common knowledge that storing passwords there without defining a master password is equivalent to storing them in plain text. While they will still be encrypted in logins.json file, the encryption key is stored in key3.db file without any protection whatsoever. On the other hand, it is commonly believed that with a master password your data is safe. Quite remarkably, I haven’t seen any articles stating the opposite.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • US Department of Homeland Security has pretty crap, er, cybersecurity

      Now the big problem here is that the systems in question hold not only run-of-the-mill unclassified data but also top secret information. With a lack of security updates, Homeland Security’s data is exposed to an all manner of risks.

    • The Illusion of War Without Casualties

      Last Sunday’s Oscar Awards were interrupted by an incongruous propaganda exercise featuring a Native American actor and Vietnam vet, featuring a montage of clips from Hollywood war movies.

    • Trump’s Video Game Summit: Developers On One Side, Partisan Hack Puritan Cosplayers On The Other

      As we wrote about, the White House’s announcement of a summit with video game executives was initially a one-sided affair, with nobody in the video game industry having any idea what Sarah Sanders was talking about. The White House clarified afterwards that it would be sending out invites to industry representatives after the announcement — which is weird! — and it made good on that promise. We learned several days later that several invites had been accepted from within the industry, such as Robert Altman of Bethesda, Strauss Zelnick of Take-Two, and Michael Gallagher from the Entertainment Software Association. These are pretty much the names you would expect to be called to discuss video game violence, given the games produced by each organization, such as the Grand Theft Auto series.

      Less expected was the list of fierce video game critics that were also invited, including Brent Bozell and Representative Vicky Hartzler of Missouri. Hartzler has been an avid critic of violent video games, while remaining a staunch supporter of gun rights, while Bozell is the founder of the Parents Television Council. The PTC is exactly the type of organization you’re already imagining: a money-making machine built on the premise of the desire for a puritanical entertainment culture and one that is about as partisan as it gets. One other attendee at this summit of great minds was Retired Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, who trains police and advocates that they use more force rather than less, apparently at least in part due to his belief that officers that kill suspects will go on to have the best sex of their lives afterwards — but for some reason still insists that violent video games are horrible and anyone who disagrees is the equivalent of a Holocaust denier.

    • Gang of Four: Senators Call for Tillerson to Enter into Arms Control Talks with the Kremlin

      In a sad commentary on the parlous state of the U.S. media, a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from four United States Senators dated March 8 calling for opening arms control talks with the Kremlin ASAP is nowhere to be found in mainstream newspapers a day after its release on the Senate home page of one of the authors, Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). Nothing in the New York Times. Nothing in the Washington Post. And so, it is left to alternative media to bring to the attention of its readership a major development in domestic politics, a significant change in what its own senior politicians are saying should be done about Russia that was brought to our attention by …..the Russian mainstream media including the agency RIA Novosti, RBK, Tass within hours of initial posting.

      What we have is, first, a genuine man bites dog story. Two of the senators who penned the letter, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), have in recent months been among the most vociferous promoters of the unproven allegations of Trump collusion with the Russians. Now they are putting aside for the moment their attacks on Trump and members of his entourage who dared shake hands or share a joke with a Russian ambassador. They are openly calling upon the Secretary of State to send U.S. personnel to negotiate with Putin’s minions over our survival on this planet.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • ‘Entirely your fault!’ Assange says Obama AG forced WikiLeaks to counter-attack with truth

      WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has pinned the blame for the website’s releases ahead of the 2016 presidential election on the Obama administration, as it put him in such conditions where he had “nothing to do but work 24/7.”

      Assange made the quip on Twitter Friday, responding to a two-week-old anti-Russian post by the former Attorney General Eric Holder.

      Holder, who headed the Department of Justice from 2009 to 2015, put forth the usual set of allegations against Moscow, claiming Russia would interfere with the upcoming US midterm elections.

    • Obama administration to blame for WikiLeaks releases, Assange says

      Julian Assange on Friday credited the Obama administration for putting him in place to publish sensitive documents through his WikiLeaks website, including Democratic emails released during the 2016 U.S. presidential race.

      Mr. Assange made the remarks on Twitter in response to a tweet last month by Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general in office when the Justice Department initiated its investigation of WikiLeaks following its publication of classified U.S. diplomatic and military documents in 2010.

      “Russian threat to our upcoming elections: do something! Do anything. Impose sanctions overwhelmingly approved by even this dysfunctional congress. Are you simply unfit, without the necessary nerve or do they have something on you? We were attacked!” Mr. Holder tweeted Feb. 20.

    • Landis + Gyr Agrees to Leave Documents Up, Then Sends Notice to Take Them Down

      A Georgia energy company has made two separate attempts to take down public documents that let Seattle residents know how the “smart meters” on their homes work.

      Back in 2016, a local activist obtained two documents from the City of Seattle related to the smart meter technology. But some companies involved in making and maintaining that technology went to court and won a quick order that forcing the documents offline by arguing that information about the city’s meters constituted “trade secrets.”

      EFF fought back, defending Muckrock’s First Amendment right to publish public documents obtained from a public records request. After our intervention, a Washington state court reversed the takedown order. In mid-2016, a settlement was reached with Landis + Gyr and Sensus, two of the companies that had attempted to remove the documents. Lawyers for the two companies explicitly agreed that the documents could remain public and published at Muckrock’s website.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Trump Wants To Cut Clean Energy Research Funding In Half

      Climate change is expected to drive demand for clean energy in the decades ahead, giving an edge to countries that invest in the manufacture and export of low-carbon technologies.

      Despite this, President Trump is pushing to slash spending on clean energy research, even as America’s chief economic rivals aim to double public funding for the same. In doing so, experts say, the president is threatening to undermine US competitiveness.

      In recent years, technological advances have helped drive down the cost of wind, solar and other advanced energy technologies, boosting sales and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States. Much of that innovation has been fueled by federal funding. A 2013 study found the recent boom in wind and solar patents to be the result of “public investments in R&D and a fast rate of growth in markets for these technologies.”

  • Finance

    • Uber Calls Lenders for $1.25 Billion in Wall Street Shortcut

      [...] The company is seeking a $1.25 billion loan, according to people familiar with the matter. Its new Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi is expected to be there among senior management telling investors why this is a good deal.

      And given Uber’s cash burn and annual loss, investors will probably be asked to assess the company by other metrics. One might be its blended valuation of $54 billion by a SoftBank Group Corp.-led investor group. That made it the biggest venture-backed technology enterprise without a stock listing. Management may also tout the $4.5 billion of cash that company holds on its balance sheet as of December 2017, according to documents seen by Bloomberg.

    • The rules-based system is in grave danger

      Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminium would be just the start

    • West Virginia Strike Highlights Corporate Media’s Atrophied Labor Coverage

      On any given day, the American public can watch one of several Wall Street–focused cable news channels, read numerous high finance–oriented newspapers (as well as ubiquitous business sections in others), or click on a seemingly endless supply of online sites and news apps tracking the profits and losses of US businesses and corporations. It’s not a stretch to say that the business of modern American journalism is, to a stunning degree, about covering business.

      This is not a new phenomenon. In the late 19th century, the New York Times famously adopted a pose of “objectivity”—which soon became the profession’s national animating philosophy—in large part to appeal to a wider business audience and sell more ads. But for much of the 20th century, press attention paid to Wall Street and corporations was coupled with a similar focus on covering unions and labor movements.

    • Brain Prize Laureate Will Donate Some Winnings to Anti-Brexit Group

      Alzheimer’s researcher John Hardy calls the departure “an unmitigated disaster” for science and healthcare in Britain.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Russian [astroturfers] contacted Trump campaign officials through Facebook messages: report

      The Times obtained a copy of the Facebook interaction. However, the Russian account has since been deactivated, meaning only the messages from the Trump campaign page can be seen.

    • Fake news travels six times faster than the truth on Twitter

      An analysis of news stories tweeted by three million people between 2006 and 2017 shows that fake news spreads significantly more than the truth on social media.


      Truthful tweets took six times as long as fake ones to spread across Twitter to 1,500 people – in large part because falsehoods in the sample were 70 per cent more likely to be retweeted than the truth, even after accounting for account age, activity level and their number of followers. The most viral fake news was political in nature.

    • 5 Ways to Tell If a Bill Could Actually Become Law
    • Let’s Get Real About Russiagate

      Some on the left are still waving away the inconvenient facts that don’t fit with their politics.

    • Empire strikes back: why former colonies don’t need Britain after Brexit

      The countdown to leave the European Union began in the British summer of 2016, but nobody in the country seemed to know in which direction they were headed. Those who voted to leave don’t know what kind of future they would like; those who voted to stay don’t know what they can do to stop the process they are certain will create only misery. British politicians from the two major parties – Conservative and Labour – aren’t helping.

      The Conservatives are led by a prime minister who voted to stay and seems reluctant to leave the EU; Labour is led by a man who never wanted the UK to join the EU, and must somehow convince voters who wish to remain that he can strike a better bargain.

      A decisive vote would have made the politicians’ job easier. But just over half (52%) voted to leave, and nearly half voted to stay. Britain sees itself as a trading country – the EU began as the Common Market with free movement of goods, capital and people across national borders. Leaving would be easy, some politicians said; there would be new trade deals with the United States and China, as well as with the Commonwealth. Ministers spoke eloquently about re-establishing old ties with Commonwealth countries.

    • Netflix may sign the Obamas in exclusive content deal

      While the types of shows or number of episodes are currently unknown, people familiar with the matter claim the Obamas may produce shows about “inspirational stories.” Other possible show ideas include one in which the former President moderates discussions about topics including health care, climate change, and voting rights, and one in which Michelle Obama highlights topics such as nutrition, something that she emphasized during her time as First Lady.

    • Billionaire Facebook board member Peter Thiel has access to Trump ‘anytime’

      One of Facebook’s first major investors has revealed that he has a direct line to US President Donald Trump, a comment certain to stoke the controversy surrounding the social network and its political influence.

    • The CIA Democrats

      An extraordinary number of former intelligence and military operatives from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council and State Department are seeking nomination as Democratic candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The potential influx of military-intelligence personnel into the legislature has no precedent in US political history.

      If the Democrats capture a majority in the House of Representatives on November 6, as widely predicted, candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress. They will hold the balance of power in the lower chamber of Congress.

      Both push and pull are at work here. Democratic Party leaders are actively recruiting candidates with a military or intelligence background for competitive seats where there is the best chance of ousting an incumbent Republican or filling a vacancy, frequently clearing the field for a favored “star” recruit.

    • Mohammed Bin Salman: The Truth Behind The Reformist Facade

      There was a revealing coincidence of timing yesterday. Philip Hammond made a speech in which he pleaded with the EU to allow the UK continued free access to their financial services markets, on the basis of mutually recognised standards. At the same time, Theresa May met the Saudi Crown Prince in Downing Street and discussed specific legal reductions of those standards in the City of London, to allow for the stock exchange flotation of part of Saudi state oil giant Aramco.

      It is symbolic because the toxic addiction of the ruling classes to Saudi cash has been lowering British standards of basic decency for generations. The most blatant example was when Tony Blair as Prime Minister intervened directly in the justice system to prevent the pursuit of corruption charges against the stench-ridden arms dealers of BAE, on grounds of “national security”. The myths about the impartiality of British justice have seldom been so comprehensively exposed. Where there is really dirty money, Blair is seldom far away.

      The use of British supplied weapons by the Saudis to maim and kill children in Yemen on an industrial scale has penetrated public consciousness despite the best efforts of mainstream media to sideline it, and Jeremy Corbyn was absolutely right to highlight the involvement not just of arms manufacturers but of the British military. The government and royal fawning has been accompanied by an extraordinary deluge of pro-Saudi propaganda from the mainstream media this last two days for Saudi Arabia and its “reforming” Crown Prince.

      There is no doubt that Mohammed Bin Salman has shown a ruthless genius in internal power consolidation in Saudi Arabia, with rivals arrested, shaken down or dying by accident. That he is seeking to end corruption appears less probable than that he is seeking to monopolise its proceeds and thus concentrate power, but time will give a clearer picture. There is no evidence whatsoever that Saudi Arabia is stopping its funding of Wahabbist jihadism across the Middle East and South Asia; indeed it has been stepped up by him, as has the bombing of Yemen.

    • Who’s Afraid of Talking With Kim Jong Un?

      And liberal New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, while claiming that he is “all for negotiations,” focuses on his “fear” that Trump “has given North Korea what it has long craved: the respect and legitimacy that comes from the North Korean leader standing as an equal beside the American president.”

      Does Kristof really think peace will be easier to achieve by disrespecting Kim and insisting on his illegitimacy? Deep down, does Kristof care more about one-upmanship than preventing nuclear war?

    • Daniel’s attorney reveals 10 donors have offered to pay million dollar damage fines if adult star spills beans on Trump

      CNN anchor and talk radio host Michael Smerconish got Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti to reveal that at least ten individuals have come forward with offers to cover any financial repercussions resulting from the former porn star telling her full story about President Donald Trump in spite of a “hush money” settlement negotiated by Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

      Smerconish asked Avenatti about the “disgorgement clause in the contract.

      “What this essentially says that if she violates it, she owes $1 million for every episode that she goes out and speaks in violation of the confidentiality. It occurs to me that Michael Cohen may have made a wise business decision,” Smerconish noted. “Everybody is laughing about him giving her $130,00, if it came from him, but he will get a ten-fold return on that money if in fact she speaks and violates this agreement. That is not a bad return.”

    • Trump’s Travesty of Protectionism

      Trump’s series of threats this week was a one-two punch. First, he threatened to impose national security tariffs on steel and aluminum, primarily against Canada and Mexico (along with Korea and Japan). Then, he suggested an alternative: He would exempt these countries if they agree to certain U.S. demands.

      But these demands make so little economic sense that they should be viewed as an exercise in what academia used to call power politics. Or in Trump’s world, Us versus Them, a zero-sum game in which he has to show that America wins, they lose.

      It won’t work. Trump’s diplomatic ploy with Mexico is to say that he’ll be willing to exempt them from the steel and aluminum tariffs if they agree to (1) build the wall that he promised to make them build, and (2) give other special favors to the United States. He can then go to American voters and say, “See, we won; Mexico lost.”

    • The Irony: TEDx Presenter Censored During TEDx Censorship Conference

      In what was initially thought to be a touch of performance art at a March 5 TEDxBrussels talk concerning global censorship, a male event organizer forcibly dragged the female speaker off the stage. It was, however, not an act.

      TEDxBrussels presenter Deborah De Robertis was in the middle of a speech on censorship of her artwork, when she was forcibly grabbed by one of the organizers of the event, and dragged off the stage. The act was so audacious that audience members initially applauded, thinking that the assault was part of her speech.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Avid Bookshop claims discrimination and censorship, shuts down book fair

      Avid Bookshop shutdown their annual book fair at Athens Academy on March 7 in response to a parent complaining about a featured book that included a gay character.

      The book in question, titled “The Best Man,” is written by award-winning author Richard Peck and tells a “story of small-town life, gay marriage and everyday heroes,” according to Avid’s website. The book is classified as a children’s middle grade book by Penguin Random House.

    • Tech companies urge last-minute changes to sex trafficking bill

      Many platforms worry that carving out exceptions to Section 230 will hurt free speech online and burden smaller companies, while doing little to effectively combat online sex trafficking.

    • Indie Bookstore Cries Censorship After Gay Marriage Title Pulled from School Book Fair

      A book about gay marriage has sparked tensions in Athens, Ga., leading to a dispute between an indie bookstore and a private school. Avid Bookshop abruptly pulled out of a multi-day book fair at Athens Academy on Wednesday, after the school demanded that the bookstore remove copies of Newbery medalist Richard Peck’s The Best Man from its display.

    • School criticised for censorship of textbooks

      A state school has been criticised for removing references to homosexuality and women socialising with men from a GCSE textbook.

      An image of Fred Astaire dancing with Ginger Rogers was among the content blocked out by Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School – an Orthodox Jewish school in Stamford Hill, east London – in copies of the book seen by Humanists UK.

      A spokesman for the school said it was well known that it redacts textbooks, and this is done to “protect girls from sexualisation” in line with parents’ wishes and religious beliefs.

    • State-funded faith school bans internet and censors women’s knees

      A state-funded faith school has come under scrutiny regarding its policies that ban all internet use for pupils and censor photos in textbooks that show women’s legs above the knees.

      The Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School serves the Orthodox Jewish Charedi community in Stamford Hill, North London.

      Humanists UK accused the school of operating a “censorious, homophobic and misogynistic approach to education” – but the school said its policies were to “protect our girls from sexualisation”.

    • UK school criticised for censorship of textbooks

      A state school in England has been criticised for removing references to homosexuality and women socialising with men from a GCSE textbook.

      An image of Fred Astaire dancing with Ginger Rogers was among the content blocked out by Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School – an Orthodox Jewish school in Stamford Hill, east London – in copies of the book seen by Humanists UK.

    • Freedom to Speak panel talk censorship and accessibility

      TRU was host to a heated debate during the Freedom to Speak talk on Feb. 27 as part of the Freedom to Read week. A small panel of lawyers, journalists and library workers expressed their thoughts on matters such as censorship, book bans and the role of accessibility of media while Judy Moore moderated in place of Shelley Joyce.

      Panellists such as Mel Rothenburger were not afraid to speak to controversial issues, saying that we must embrace censorship and self-censorship within our society, as it is crucial to our democracy.

      “On the one hand, intellectual freedom, freedom of speech, is essential to the operation of our democracy, but in fact if we had absolute freedom of speech, democracy would collapse,” Rothenburger said, as he started the discussion.

    • How TRON (TRX) Is Going to Fight Online Censorship

      By now, most people are acquainted with the internet censorship efforts imposed by China, Russia and parts of the Middle East. However, there is a closer to home version of censorship taking place on social media platforms. YouTube has been accused by many, particularly those with a conservative (U.S. politics) viewpoint, of having their videos demonetized (i.e. not available for advertisement revenue) or removed altogether. Twitter has followed a similar tactic, banning accounts associated with the umbrella category of “hate speech,” despite no clearly defined guideline of what is and what is not acceptable for posting.

    • Google Is Back In Canadian Court to Fight Global Search Censorship

      Google made its case in court this week against Canadian courts having the ability to order the internet search giant to block search results worldwide.

      Google’s lawyer—who appeared in a British Columbia court earlier this week—was armed with a recent California ruling that said one country’s judges deciding what the rest of the world sees in their search results “threatens free speech on the global internet.”

      This week’s court appearances are the latest chapter in a legal drama that began in 2014. In that year, a lawsuit between two small companies (one had accused the other of selling knockoff goods online) resulted in an injunction ordering Google to de-list search results for the defendant’s company globally. That ruling was upheld by a BC appeals court in 2015, and again by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2017.

    • Senators Pressure Platforms for Private Censorship of Drug Information

      Last month Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Kennedy (R-La.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) separately wrote to Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Pinterest accusing them of facilitating trade in illegal narcotics and prescription drugs.

    • Censorship Stinks in Sibley, Iowa

      When the agricultural blood processing plant moved to Sibley, Iowa, five years ago, many people welcomed the prospect of new jobs to the community of just 2,800. But when the plant started making a smell that Josh Harms describes as being like “rancid dog food,” some people changed their mind.

      Harms, who grew up in Sibley, decided to use his skills as a web developer to help his community. He created a website called “Should you Move to Sibley?” that was critical of the city’s inaction in addressing the smell. But as an ACLU lawsuit filed this week on behalf of Harms details, the city of Sibley didn’t like his criticism and tried to intimidate him into silence.

    • Wikimedia’s Transparency Report: Guys, We’re A Wiki, Don’t Demand We Take Stuff Down
    • Free Speech Can Be Messy, but We Need It

      Two students found themselves embroiled in the biggest free speech controversies of recent years. Peter Cytanovic became the face of white nationalism when a picture of him snarling, holding a tiki torch at the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville went viral. On the opposite end of the political spectrum, graduate Colin Kaepernick went on to the NFL and used his position to highlight police brutality and racial injustice by taking a knee during the national anthem. Both men became incredibly controversial for their speech. There were calls and campaigns for them to be expelled for their opinions.

    • Video Game Developer Says He Won’t Send a Takedown of a Bad Review, Does So Anyway

      Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we get into a Twitter fight with someone who gave our video game a bad review on YouTube. And when we say that we would never send a DMCA takedown for it. And when one mysteriously turns up anyway.

      This is one of the most confusing series of events ever to surround a takedown. First, Richard La Ruina, a man who claims to be a top pickup artist, created a somewhat controversial dating game called Super Seducer. Then, YouTuber IAmPattyJack (also known as Chris Hodgkinson) covered the game in his “_____ Is the Worst Game Ever” series.

    • If You Think SESTA Will Help Victims Of Sex Trafficking, Read This Now

      Earlier this week, I asked for anyone to explain how SESTA would actually stop any sex trafficking. No one had an answer. In that post, I detailed how it would actually make it harder to stop sex trafficking on various platforms. That’s not because I’m knowledgeable about sex trafficking — but I have spent 20 years documenting what happens when you make platforms liable for the actions of their users. And the result is never what the people pushing for such liability expect. It’s almost always incredibly counterproductive and dangerous.

      But someone who does understand issues related to sex work and sex trafficking is Alana Massey, who has written a really fantastic piece detailing just how much harm SESTA will do to both sex workers and victims of sex trafficking. We’ve already discussed how FOSTA expands the scope of the law away from just “sex trafficking” to cover all sex work. And in bolting that together with SESTA, which punches a giant hole (surrounded by vague untested standards) into CDA 230, it also creates a ridiculous moderator’s dilemma for any website. Massey details what that will actually mean.

    • If You Care About Sex Trafficking, Trust People in the Sex Trades — Not Celebrities

      In practice, that means that when a belligerent troll defames me on Facebook, I can’t hold Mark Zuckerberg legally responsible. If an icy-veined psychopath posts a YouTube rant about how One Direction was better without Zayn, I can’t bill my anger management class fees to Susan Wojcicki. And if an incensed and increasingly organized coalition of current and former workers in the sex trade takes to Twitter to call Amy Schumer and Seth Meyers a pair of hypocrites who wouldn’t know a decent joke if it literally killed them as the punch line, Schumer and Meyers couldn’t force Jack Dorsey to kick us off. (Though hey, he still might try to.)

      Both those in the sex trade and those with any understanding of free online expression consider this so-called “stupid loophole” a “core pillar of Internet freedom” and the “most important law in Internet history.” The bills that would alter it have been roundly condemned by advocates for trafficking victims and survivors of trafficking, as well as by those willingly in the industry who would be at greater risk for exploitation in the absence of online platforms that allow them to share information. The nation’s largest network of anti-trafficking organizations, The Freedom Network, is all but begging legislators not to tamper with Section 230 of the CDA.

      This is because the new legislation would threaten to criminalize peer-to-peer resource sharing that makes people in sex work safer and more connected. The very websites that these bills enable law enforcement to criminalize are precisely where I found the generous communities and actionable advice I needed to get out of and avoid exploitative sex work situations going forward. Though the bill is meant to target sites hosting sex work advertisements, it covers online forums where sex workers can tip each other off about dangerous clients, find emergency housing, get recommendations for service providers who are sex worker-friendly, and even enjoy an occasional meme. These are often on the same websites where advertisements are hosted.

    • China silences critics of move to abolish term limits for Xi

      The day China’s ruling Communist Party unveiled a proposal to allow President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely as Mao Zedong did a generation ago, Ma Bo was so shaken he couldn’t sleep.

      So Ma, a renowned writer, wrote a social media post urging the party to remember the history of unchecked one-man rule that ended in catastrophe.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Senators Introduce New Bill to Protect Digital Privacy at the Border

      Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced a new bill (S. 2462) that would better protect the privacy of travelers whose electronic devices—like cell phones and laptops—are searched and seized by border agents. While the new bill doesn’t require a probable cause warrant across the board like the Protecting Data at the Border Act (S. 823, H.R. 1899), it does have many positive provisions and would be a significant improvement over the status quo.

      The Leahy-Daines bill, which currently has the long title of “A bill to place restrictions on searches and seizures of electronic devices at the border,” applies to U.S. persons, meaning U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. The bill places separate restrictions based on the type of search conducted: manual or forensic.

    • Facebook’s Onavo VPN for iOS sucks up more data than you’d expect

      Following the news that Onavo Protect for iOS effectively installed spyware on iPhones and iPads, security researcher Will Strafach dug deeper into the issue and found that it was using the Packet Tunnel Provider app extension to syphon data back to Facebook even when the VPN wasn’t being used.

    • Facebook’s data-collecting VPN company has found a way to collect even more data

      Once Bolt is used to lock a given app, Onavo will know how often the user is unlocking that app, a crucial source of user data that can be funneled back to Facebook. The app also reports back general device and network information.

    • Facebook starts trialling controversial facial tagging feature in Europe

      The new facial recognition features, which Facebook first announced back in December, will allow users to find photos they haven’t been tagged in and to get alerts when a stranger uses their photo as their profile picture, a la Catfish.

      The biometric functionality, which will also look to help those with visual impairments by describing photographs.

    • What’s the Geek Take on the GDPR?

      The amount of geekery and hackage required to bring companies into compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (aka GDPR) must be huge.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ICE Cruelty Knows No Bounds

      In an act of senseless cruelty, U.S. immigration authorities separated a Congolese mother and six-year-old daughter who had come to the United States last November seeking asylum. But this isn’t an isolated incident.

      The mother, Ms. L, has said that after four days in detention, authorities came and took her daughter away with no explanation and flew the child 2,000 miles away to a shelter for “unaccompanied” minors in Chicago. Ms. L could hear her screaming from the other room.

    • Court Moves Business Owner One Step Closer To Getting Paid Back For Vehicle DEA Destroyed In A Failed Drug Sting

      Almost seven years ago, DEA agents borrowed a truck (and an employee) from Craig Thomas Expeditors. Craig Patty, proprietor and employer of Lawrence Chapa, had no idea this was happening. The DEA never approached Patty and, for all he knew, Chapa was taking the truck down to Houston for some service. This was all a ruse. The DEA loaded Patty’s truck with marijuana (and his driver) and went down to Houston to engage in a drug sting.

      This wasn’t the first sting the DEA had deployed using Patty’s truck and his driver. But it was the last. Instead of a controlled purchase followed by several arrests, the DEA ran into an ambush instead. Patty’s truck was riddled with bullets, as was Patty’s driver. In the middle of it all, a plainclothes cop from one Texas agency was shot by a plainclothes cop employed by another.

      After this debacle, Patty was finally informed that his truck and employee had been part of a tragic DEA misfire. He was also informed that the federal government would not be shelling out a single cent to repair the $100,000 worth of damage to the truck. (It said even less about the cost of the life it had taken from Patty’s driver.) The DEA said it did not have to pay anything for the damage because it occurred during a law enforcement operation. Patty’s insurance company said the same thing.

    • A sheriff’s deputy had his ex-wife arrested because he didn’t like what she wrote about him on Facebook
    • In an audit of supply chain partners, Apple found increased labor violations in 2017

      The 12th annual report was released this week, and in it, Apple says it found more violations than it did last year, at least in part because of new suppliers and partners added to the supply chain.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Trump Promises Copyright Crackdown as DoJ Takes Aim at Streaming Pirates

        President Trump says the US is “acting swiftly on intellectual property [sic] theft”, noting that the country cannot “allow this to happen as it has for many years.” Coincidentally, or not, a panel in Capitol Hill yesterday discussed the streaming box threat, with the MPAA revealing that the Department of Justice is looking at “a variety of candidates” for criminal action.

      • ISP Wants EU Court Ruling on Identifying ‘Pirating’ Subscribers

        Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof has appealed a ruling that requires the company to hand over subscriber data of alleged pirates to the police. Bahnhof maintains that this goes against EU regulations since piracy is not a ‘serious crime’. The provider is therefore requesting an opinion from the EU Court of Justice on the matter.

      • “Large Scale” Music Pirate Settles With BREIN For 10,000 Euros

        A pirate who uploaded large volumes of music to the Internet without permission has agreed to pay Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN 10,000 euros ($12,374) to avoid a lawsuit. Although the individual uploaded the content to the newsgroups, which are sometimes considered to be more secure, BREIN forced his Usenet provider to hand over his details, making it easy to track him down.

      • Streaming Link Search Engine Alluc Shuts Down

        After 13 years, the popular streaming link search engine Alluc is shutting down. The people behind the site, which was regularly used by pirates, say they will focus on other projects instead. The team still see a future for “uncensored search” and hope someone else will fill the gap the site leaves behind.

      • Court Orders Copyright Troll To Post $10,000 Bond After He Lied About His Client’s Licensing Agreement

        Richard Liebowitz of Liebowitz Law Firm has had a bad couple of weeks in court. Unfortunately for him, as one of the most prolific copyright trolls, that’s kind of where he makes his home. According to two recent orders handed down by two different judges, Liebowitz has filed more than 500 copyright cases in the Southern District of New York alone over the last two years, most often representing photographers.

        Booth Sweet LLP — which has gone head-to-head with other copyright trolls — pointed out the most recent loss Liebowitz has suffered. His lawsuit is still ongoing, but the court has ordered him to post a $10,000 bond to cover the legal fees he’ll be responsible for if he loses. And if a judge is ordering a bond, it’s likely because the judge expects the lawsuit to end badly for the person ordered to front the cash.

      • News Publishers Ask For Monopoly Powers To Fight Back Against Google/Facebook Monopoly

        Cool. Cool. More two wrongs make a right legislation is being routed through the federal government. The first wrong? Facebook and Google have “too much” power, apparently, and they’re strangling the life out of news agencies. Allegedly. This would seem to raise antitrust issues, if they’re actually big enough to throttle newspapers and other publishers into submission. That’s a big if, but why wait until the facts are in to decide? How do you fight a supposed monopoly? By allowing more monopoly, apparently.

      • U.S. Border Seizures of DMCA Circumvention Devices Surges

        New data released by Homeland Security shows that U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized significantly more DMCA circumvention devices in 2017. The seizures, which includes mod chips for gaming consoles, increased 324% compared to the year before, although the actual number remains fairly low.


        What we did notice is that the International Intellectual Property [sic] Alliance (IIPA) recently framed streaming boxes as possible circumvention tools. The strong enforcement focus of rightsholders on these devices may have been communicated to border patrols as well.

Alice/§ 101 is Improving the Quality of Patents in the United States and Patent Law Firms Are Panicking

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 12:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If code, then invalid patent


Summary: Patent maximalists in the United States not only freak out over Alice but also distort the outcome of recent court cases (Federal Circuit) in order to make it seem as though Alice is going away

THE likelihood of receiving software patents from the USPTO is decreasing. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) nowadays gets involved in mere patent applications, not just patent grants or already-granted patents. We gave many examples of that last month and earlier this month. We suppose that PTAB is going to break another record, whereas reliable sources say that the number of patents granted by the USPTO will have decreased by year’s end. It’s not a bad thing but a sign of improved patent quality/scrutiny.

“We suppose that PTAB is going to break another record, whereas reliable sources say that the number of patents granted by the USPTO will have decreased by year’s end. It’s not a bad thing but a sign of improved patent quality/scrutiny.”Look at Taiwan. It has a very strong economy (a lot stronger than China’s). According to this post/rant from IAM, the number of patents in Taiwan is decreasing, not increasing, unlike China with SIPO. Lessons for EPO and USPTO? It’s OK to grant fewer patents, the important thing is quality, not quantity. It’s always about quality, not numbers. China amasses patents by the millions, but that doesn’t mean China is ahead. Litigation is China in soaring and it’s not necessarily a good thing (unless you work for a law firm). In Taiwan the number of granted patents has been decreasing for a number of years, so there’s a trend. Nobody seems to be upset about it except the patent trolls’ and maximalists’ lobby (IAM). Here is what it wrote:

New figures released by the Taiwan IP Office show that mainland Chinese firms are playing a greater role than ever in the local patent environment. Both resident and non-resident firms upped their filing rates in 2017 as the island managed to reverse several years of falling applications. Among the biggest corporate TIPO users, invention patent filings increased by nearly 25%.

The last year in which Taiwan patent applications increased year-over-year was 2012, when they reached a peak of 51,189. The headline figure from 2017 was well below that figure – coming in at 46,122 – but it did represent 5% growth over a 12-month period. Both resident and non-resident applicants were more active.

IAM keeps speaking about “growth”, but a growth of what? Monopolies? One can easily grant millions of monopolies overnight. Would that be a positive thing? Would that add value to the economy and improve people’s lifestyles? Of course not.

“One can easily grant millions of monopolies overnight. Would that be a positive thing? Would that add value to the economy and improve people’s lifestyles? Of course not. “We were watching with scepticism and restrained disdain this latest nonsense from Bilski Blog, best known for Alice spin and promotion of software patents. These Big Litigation lobbyists (Fenwick & West) are, as usual, using cases that aren’t about software patents to promote an illusion/lie. Christopher King even names Core Wireless (GUIs, not algorithms). But these lies are profitable to them. To quote the core basis for the flawed hypothesis (the headline says “Thawing in the 3600s? An Updated Look at Allowance Rates Post Alice”):

Although even with the increases in 2017 the allowance-to-abandonment ratios are still far below their pre-Alice levels, the statistics suggest that a sea change may have begun, with the PTO starting to loosen somewhat in the wake of a series of pro-eligibility cases such as Enfish, BASCOM, McRO, Thales, Trading Technologies and Visual Memory. More recent pro-eligibility cases such as Finjan, Core Wireless, Berkheimer and Aatrix will presumably further bolster this trend.

A lot of these cases aren’t about software!

But just as we expected, facts don’t matter to these people. Here’s Amol Parikh from McDermott Will & Emery mentioning Core Wireless in relation to software again (title says “Concrete Solution to Computer Problem Is Patent Eligible”).

“A lot of these cases aren’t about software!”Then there’s yesterday’s lie from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). These cases aren’t about software patents and hardly about Alice (wrong case for the subject at hand), but then again AEI is a very nefarious front group, so this kind of slant is expected.

It names Aatrix and Berkheimer — two cases which we recently emphasised (almost a dozen times in a dozen articles) were not about software. To quote AEI:

First, in Berkheimer v. Hewlett-Packard, the Federal Circuit upended a lower court’s entry of summary judgment — a pre-trial legal ruling — that the patent (for processing and archiving files in a digital asset management system) was ineligible under Alice.


Just a week later, in a similar case, Aatrix v. Green Shades Software, the Federal Circuit again vacated a lower court’s early rejection on eligibility grounds, this time of a patent on “designing, creating, and importing data into a viewable form on a computer so that a user can manipulate the form data and create viewable forms and reports.”

This is misleading, but their goal is to comfort applicants and cushion applications, urging for more of both. They just want lots and lots of software patents at a time when they’re simply a waste of time and money (but monetary gain to lawyers).

“They just want lots and lots of software patents at a time when they’re simply a waste of time and money (but monetary gain to lawyers).”Watch this new article from LeClairRyan’s Gunnar Leinberg and Bryan Smith. These patent extremists are really very nervous about Alice, as it dooms their hopes of profit from software patents. “Drafting Strategies to Avoid Subject Matter Eligibility Issues and to Minimize the Risks of Having a Section 101 Dismissal Based on Recent Federal Circuit Decisions” is the title of their article. They’re just trying to work around § 101 (rather than simply accept it, which would be the rational thing to do).

How about Patently-O with “What are the Rules for Assessing Patent Eligibility?”

In Front Row Tech. v. MLB Advanced Media, the patentee has filed a petition for writ of certiorari – asking the Supreme Court flip the lower court rulings on its sports-data-app patents.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly (for years) rejected such petitions for writ of certiorari. It’s not interested in revisiting a subject it already dealt with nearly 4 years ago.

Over at Watchtroll, the most extremist of patent advocacy sites, an event’s introduction started thusly: “Is there hope for Alice? What recent Federal Circuit decisions mean for drafting and litigating software patents in the U.S…”

“The Supreme Court has repeatedly (for years) rejected such petitions for writ of certiorari. It’s not interested in revisiting a subject it already dealt with nearly 4 years ago.”Maybe they meant “Is there hope for bypasing Alice?” rather than “Is there hope for Alice?”

Perhaps they live in a mythical planet where Alice no longer matters at all. Maybe that’s how they try to seduce people to attend another lobbying event. Watchtroll meanwhile (selectively) recalls Google losing at PTAB, under the headline “A Google Opponent Actually Wins an IPR Battle with the Tech Giant” (conveniently never covering any of the cases where Google’s IPRs were successful).

Let’s just face the facts; Google tackles low-quality patents with assistance from PTAB. Who other than patent attorneys (like Watchtroll) stands to lose from elimination of patents that oughtn’t have been granted?

“Their motivations are tainted by their sheer greed and their judgment is clouded by desire rather than reason.”Kluwer Patent Blog recalled Arendi’s case against Google some days ago. “The Patent Trial and Appeal Board correctly determined that all 79 claims of a patent related to a computerized method for identifying and substituting information in an electronic document were invalid for obviousness,” said the summary. Maybe Watchtroll should write a little more about such cases.

The bottom line is, Alice isn’t really challenged in any meaningful way, but people who make a living by ‘selling’ the illusion that software patents are worth pursuing always find excuses to claim otherwise. Don’t listen to them. Their motivations are tainted by their sheer greed and their judgment is clouded by desire rather than reason.

Watchtroll is Back to Attacking Judges of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Because It Can’t Tolerate Justice

Posted in America, Patents at 11:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gonzalo P. Curiel
Reference: Gonzalo P. Curiel

Summary: The attacks on judges at PTAB seem to be culminating again, perhaps mere weeks before the US Supreme Court delivers a decision regarding PTAB’s patent review process (IPRs)

THE EPO became rather notorious for attacking judges, ignoring judges, and putting a politician (Battistelli) in the position of judge, jury and executioner. This, among other reasons, is why the UPC is dead. Watchtroll of course lobbies a lot for the UPC, probably more than anyone else in the US. UPC is basically a guarantee of sham ‘justice’, like court proceedings in a language that the defendant does not even understand.

“UPC is basically a guarantee of sham ‘justice’, like court proceedings in a language that the defendant does not even understand.”The USPTO is now (after AIA) aided by judges, who assist examiners in the same way the appeal boards in the EPO help examiners. There’s internal scrutiny in the form of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB); it helps stop likely invalid patents before they reach a court, incurring huge costs to both plaintiff and defendant (lawyers obviously love such court battles, as they profit from these quite a lot for months if not years, hence they hate PTAB).

Watch this angry attorney blasting PTAB, saying that “PTAB shoots down IBM patent disingenuously under [Section] 101…”

Why disingenuously? This is what Section 101 is for (more on that in our next post). As he himself says and quotes, “algorithm not a technological improvement because “Appellants discovered a mathematical algorithm that uses computer memory in a conventional manner, but uses a relatively smaller amount of it.” https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2017008135-03-07-2018-1 …”

“There’s internal scrutiny in the form of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB); it helps stop likely invalid patents before they reach a court, incurring huge costs to both plaintiff and defendant…”Yes, “mathematical algorithm” is abstract and thus invalid under Section 101. What’s disingenuous about that? He fired off another ALL CAPS rant, quoting: “Further, claims involving data collection, analysis, and display are directed to an abstract idea.” https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016003283-02-28-2018-1 …”

That makes perfect sense, yet he’s furious that — according to him — “PTAB continues to distort caselaw” (hardly so! In fact, caselaw comes primarily from CAFC and SCOTUS, not PTAB).

Anyway, these sorts of rants have become so routinary and laughable. It’s like a ritual, it’s customary among patent maximalists, who keep reaffirming each others’ beliefs if not desire to believe that PTAB is some sort of rogue court or kangaroo court or whatever. I recently quit following these people because I worried about their mental state. The ALL CAPS are becoming ever more frequent. We recently saw Professor Crouch making ridiculous cartoons of judges (cartoons that are also racist, potentially pertaining to a judge’s Mexican heritage/ancestry). We’re appalled and also somewhat surprised that even Crouch could stoop this low. His anti-PTAB posts have been rather one-sided and sometimes rude over the past year. Remember that this is a teacher and a scholar, so to behave like some sort of lobbyist is inadequate and unprofessional. Who does he work for? A university or patent maximalists?

“I recently quit following these people because I worried about their mental state. The ALL CAPS are becoming ever more frequent. We recently saw Professor Crouch making ridiculous cartoons of judges (cartoons that are also racist, potentially pertaining to a judge’s Mexican heritage/ancestry).”PTAB is not a rogue court; it’s not a kangaroo court, either. It’s nothing like FISA/FISC for example. Look at the rejection/acceptance rates and bear in mind petitions target some of the worst of patents. Only a few days ago a press release was issued to say that “[t]he US Patent Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board recently ruled to uphold the validity of WaveForm Technologies Inc. patents in the emerging field of continuous glucose monitoring” (yes, PTAB sometimes defends patents too).

Here is another new example from Docket Navigator. PTAB may soon thwart another act of patent aggression, this time in Carlson Pet Products, Inc. v North States Industries, Inc.

There’s a unique twist in this one case (hence Docket Navigator singled it out):

The court granted defendant’s motion to stay pending its requests for ex parte reexamination and rejected plaintiff’s argument that defendant was engaging in gamesmanship by not seeking inter partes review.

PTAB generally has very competent, technical people, who aren’t only jurors but also jacks of many trades (like examiners). The same goes for judges at the EPO’s Boards of Appeals. The Chief Judge at PTAB is himself a technical person. He routinely responds to bogus allegations against PTAB and himself, even as recently as a month ago.

Watchtroll great againWell, adding to a new/recent batch of judge-bashing attacks on PTAB, Watchtroll resumes its judge-bashing tirades. He has just published “PTAB Judges Shockingly Inexperienced Compared to District Court Judges” (improper comparison/s for a plethora of reasons).

“We certainly hope that judges at the USPTO (and the USPTO in general, examiners included) understand what they’re dealing with here.”This is far from the first time Gene Quinn attacks the intelligence of judges. Perhaps realising it would be used against him and the site, he published this response from PTAB’s Chief Judge a couple of days later. “The USPTO has provided us with a comment from Chief Judge David Ruschke,” Watchtroll wrote after he had once again attacked judges. Remember that it was mostly Watchtroll who repeatedly attacked the USPTO’s Director, Michelle Lee. It even propped up truly ridiculous conspiracy theories about her.

We certainly hope that judges at the USPTO (and the USPTO in general, examiners included) understand what they’re dealing with here. It’s a little mind in an oversized body with an ego no smaller than that of Donald Trump. And if found to be wrong, smearing the judges is always an option on the menu.

IAM Only Ever Seems Happy When There’s Patent Aggression and Patent Trolls

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 10:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IAM on Intellectual Ventures

Summary: An analysis of IAM’s output from this past week; it’s yet more of that litigation lobbying, slanted in favour of aggressors and trolls, as usual

THE “troll-boosters”, as Professor James Bessen calls them (having done years of research into patent trolls in the US), aren’t exactly objective. They say virtually nothing about EPO scandals, they viciously attacked the USPTO‘s Director after she had reformed things (later to be replaced by a patent microcosm person, Mr. Iancu), and their joy is derived from patent lawsuits. Research does not interest them (they gleefully bash it instead) and they also focus on whitewashing trolls. They do reputation laundering even for massive trolls like Intellectual Ventures, which they treat like celebrities.

“Research does not interest them ([they gleefully bash it instead) and they also focus on whitewashing trolls.”This Saturday we prefer to focus on the US; as we noted in our previous post, the US Senate is cracking down on the scam perpetrated by Michael Shore, whom IAM crowned “IP personality of 2017″ back in January. Makes one wonder what kind of people IAM adores; many of the others in this list, as we noted back then, are patent trolls.

A couple of days ago IAM published this sponsored (ad) “international report” about the scam. To quote:

The panel determined that, regardless of whether tribal immunity applies to inter partes review proceedings, the proceedings “can continue even without the Tribe’s participation in view of Allergan’s retained ownership interests in the challenged patents” (page 4). Dispensing with executed documents such as assignment agreements recorded with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) while simultaneously stating that they are not commenting on whether the agreements constitute a “sham transaction”, the panel went so far as saying that “the proceedings can continue because Allergan is the true owner of the challenged patents” (page 19). It cited a Federal Circuit ruling where a “party that has been granted all substantial rights under the patent is considered the owner regardless of how the parties characterize the transaction that conveyed those rights” (Speedplay, Inc v Bebop, Inc (211 F3d 1245 (Fed Cir 2000))).

To IAM’s credit, it hasn’t gone to the extremes Watchtroll oftentimes does; as we’ll show later, Watchtroll is back to attacking judges at PTAB. It’s pretty ugly. There are even racist cartoons of judges. IAM has never, as far as we can remember, attacked judges. It attacks other things though.

“To IAM’s credit, it hasn’t gone to the extremes Watchtroll oftentimes does; as we’ll show later, Watchtroll is back to attacking judges at PTAB.”The patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, wrote this “exclusive” puff piece regarding the acquisition of many patents by InterDigital (at a rather low price point!), a publicly-traded patent troll. It then wrote a similar puff piece regarding Uber.

Last but not least, the patent trolls’ lobby was cheering for software patents-based aggression, as expected all along (IAM was a major booster of this strategy of BlackBerry for a number of years). They’re eager to see more of it:

Now Blackberry has embraced monetisation, the only question is who follows Facebook as a licensing target


The lawsuit that Blackberry filed against Facebook alleging that the social media giant and its subsidiaries WhatsApp and Instagram infringe seven of its patents shows one thing very clearly: the Canadian company is deadly serious about IP monetisation.

Ever since it realised that its best days as a device maker were behind it and turned its attention to the possible value in its patent portfolio, Blackberry has been busy knuckling down to make its patents sweat.

As if that’s what patents are for? Making them “sweat”?

“From what we’re able to gather in social (control) media, IAM is primarily boosted (links, likes, retweets) by patent trolls and their affiliates such as patent attorneys.”We wrote about this lawsuit some days ago and there’s still a lot of articles about it (must have been hundreds in English by now and moreover everyone I speak to seems to know about this lawsuits already). It still receives some new coverage, e.g. [1, 2].

To better understand IAM look at its funding sources (subscribers, event sponsors etc.) and remember that it’s not really a news site but lobbying disguised as “analysis”, “blog”, “international report”, “industry report” and so on. From what we’re able to gather in social (control) media, IAM is primarily boosted (links, likes, retweets) by patent trolls and their affiliates such as patent attorneys. They get their money’s worth.

US Senate is Cracking Down on Patent Scammers

Posted in America, Patents at 8:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What did the tribe think (or smoke) when it hired this man?

Michael Shore

Summary: Allergan and Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe see their sham deal (or “scam”) going down in flames and Michael Shore (above) accomplishes nothing but creating another attack vector against the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), perhaps serving himself well at the expense of the tribe’s status

THE Mohawk people may not be aware of this, but a lawyer who has nothing to do with their tribe (Michael Shore, who speaks at Koch events) has harmed their reputation greatly. This also makes the USPTO look bad, albeit the PTAB helps correct it at the moment.

Another Law Professor inadvertently defends a patent scam and gives ammunition to a bunch of patent extremists who hired a writer, Steve Brachmann, to do their bidding on NAFTA (yesterday) and also promote scams such as this (4 days ago). He wrote:

On Twitter, this decision was the focus of a 20-part post, which was published by Jacob S. Sherkow, an associate professor of law at New York Law School.

Watchtroll doesn’t care what’s legal. All it cares about is patent maximalism, i.e. the revenue of a bunch of litigious law firms. Thankfully, however, the Mohawk patent scam that Allergan paid the tribe to participate in is going down. It’s going down fast. Not only did PTAB shoot it down over a week ago; Senate too is now introducing a bill to stop the scam in its tracks. As Josh Landau (CCIA) said 2 days ago:

Yesterday Senators Cotton, McCaskill, Toomey, Ernst, and Perdue introduced the Preserving Access to Cost Effective Drugs (PACED) Act, a bill which would help prevent sovereign immunity from being abused to prevent invalid patents from being struck down by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

As Patent Progress has previously described, sovereign immunity has been abused in exactly this way, most notably by Allergan’s sale of their evergreened dry eye patents to a Native American tribe. The PACED Act would bar this practice, eliminating sovereign immunity as a defense in inter partes review to the fullest extent permitted by the Constitution. It would also prevent tribal sovereign immunity from being used in declaratory judgment actions, where a company that expects to be accused of infringing files a suit to invalidate a patent.

McCaskill played a key role in this (credit/kudos to her) and she seems to have built Senatorial support. Among patent extremists to whom ends justify the means Michael Shore will be hailed as a pioneer/hero, but for the rest of us — politicians included — Shore will be seen as the mastermind of a foiled scam.

Judge Koh, Famous for Her Apple/Samsung Rulings, Pours Cold Water on Haptic Technology Patents While China is Sought as Alternative Litigation Venue by Iancu-Connected Immersion

Posted in America, Apple, Asia, Patents, Samsung at 8:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Appointed by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Judge Lucy Koh

Summary: Judge Lucy Koh, an American judge with Korean heritage, throws out patent claims on haptic feedback approaches and Samsung, Korea’s largest technology firm, is being dragged to court in China over haptic feedback approaches

THE USPTO is getting tougher on patents. The courts even more so. Just because something had been granted as a patent and was later used in a lawsuit (even successfully) does not mean that PTAB or court judges will blindly accept the claims. They’ll investigate further. Burden of proof is on the applicant/assignee/claimant.

With all the mobile or “smart” hype, which includes haptic techniques, it’s not surprising that few firms look for a ‘jackpot’, knowing that there are billions of devices out there and thus possibly a lot in ‘damages’. If they get lucky…

Andrei IancuDays ago Patently-O wrote about Fitbit’s patent challenge, noting that Immersion’s patents are not that good. We wrote about this case before and noted that Immersion is connected to Microsoft as well as the USPTO’s new Director [1, 2]. Appointing this man who is connected to Trump professionally was a colossal mistake, but it’s too late to change that. Either way, “[o]n 12(b)(6) motion for dismiss, Judge Koh has thrown out some of Immersion’s asserted claims covering various haptic feedback approaches,” Patently-O wrote.

How does Apple feel about it now? Immersion does nothing but patent lawsuits these days; what does that make it?

So guess what Immersion is doing. It’s suing Samsung in China as well as at the Eastern District of Texas:

A US technology company has said Samsung’s touchscreen products including the Galaxy S8 infringe patents related to haptic (touch interaction) technology.

Immersion announced its lawsuits against the South Korean electronics company yesterday, March 8. They were filed at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Marshall Division and the Fuzhou Intermediate Court in China.

Considering the fate of Immersion’s patent aggression, one might think this new lawsuit in the US will go pretty much nowhere:

Leap Motion Hit with Patent Infringement Lawsuit from Same Company Suing Meta


Patent holder Genedics, LLC has filed a legal complaint alleging that hand-tracking startup Leap Motion is infringing on its intellectual property.

As its name suggests, it’s little more than a parasite looking for a buck. It does not even have a Web site, just a bunch of lawsuits with its name on them.

Unified Patents Puts $2,000 Bounties on Prior Art, Seeking to Defang Texan Patent Trolls That Are Active In Spite of TC Heartland

Posted in America, Patents at 7:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recently on Unified Patents:

Summary: There’s now money in invalidation of patents (not just for defendants’ lawyers in courts or petitioners at PTAB) rather than endless pursuits of more and more patents; Unified Patents offers the money, targeting patent trolls for the most part

THERE are two things that are dying out/ebbing away in the US: software patents and patent trolls. There’s a strong correlation between those two things, but for the most part they’re now being tackled by Alice and TC Heartland, respectively. Both are landmark decisions by the US Supreme Court and they impact the USPTO/PTAB and courts, respectively (the latter is also impacted by Alice).

There’s an upcoming conference that covers PTAB and includes Unified Patents. We are very supportive of Unified Patents, behind which there are reasonable people who care about patent quality; they’re not patent maximalists and some are in fact scholars/academics.

Based on this update from yesterday, there’s now a $2,000 bounty on patent prior art which can stop a patent troll that’s based in Texas. To quote:

On March 9, 2018, Unified issued a new contest in Patroll (a prior art crowdsourcing platform) with a $2,000 prize for winning prior art submissions that invalidate US Patent 7,526,477. The ’477 patent, directed to a method and apparatus for enhancing electronic reading by identifying relationships between sections of electronic text, has been asserted in multiple litigations by Red River Innovations, LLC, a Texas-based NPE.

Another similar (same cash award) bounty was announced yesterday:

On March 9, 2018, Unified issued a new Patroll (prior art crowdsourcing platform) contest with a $2,000 prize for a winning prior art submission that invalidates US Patent 7,177,838. The ’838 patent, directed to a method and apparatus for conducting electronic commerce transactions using electronic tokens, has been asserted in multiple litigations by GTX Corp., an NPE.

As a reminder of its accomplishments, Unified Patents also published this reminder yesterday — the latest reminder of how it successfully uses PTAB to thwart bad patents/software patents:

On March 9, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board issued a final written decision in Unified Patents Inc. v. Digital Stream IP, LLC, IPR2016-01749 invalidating claims 1, 4, 6-13, 20, and 22 of U.S. Patent 6,757,913, owned and asserted by Digital Stream IP, LLC. The ’913 Patent, which describes a wireless music and data transceiver system, has been asserted in multiple litigations against such companies as Best Buy, GM, Mercedes, Nissan, Honda, and Sirius XM. Only Sirius XM remains in active litigation as the majority of these cases settled after Unified filed its IPR.

Good riddance. A lot of these are exploiting a ridiculous court in Texas. They know that time is running out because after TC Heartland it’s a lot harder to keep court cases there. In Snyders Heart Valve LLC v St. Jude Medical SC, Inc. et al, based on this new Docker Report, the Eastern Texas District Court/Eastern District of Texas (TXED/EDTX) is losing its status yet again. Patent trolls and bullies are unable to wage legal war in there. To quote:

The magistrate judge recommended granting defendants’ motion for summary judgment of improper venue because there were no infringing acts in the district inasmuch as the accused activities fell under the safe harbor provision of 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(1).

The timing of TC Heartland does not seem to have deterred this troll which has chosen EDTX, as already noticed by some observers. Apple, which is not based in Texas but in California, has just been sued by A troll in EDTX and Apple Insider was the only/first site we saw covering it:

In its filing with the patent holder friendly Eastern Texas District Court, Portal leverages three related patents invented by Dave Bernard, CEO of technology solutions firm The Intellection Group. U.S. Patent Nos. 7,376,645, 7,873,654 and 8,150,872, all titled “Multimodal natural language query system and architecture for processing voice and proximity-based queries,” were transferred from The Intellection Group, Inc. to Portal Communications in January.

Each patent deals with methods of parsing user queries from natural language patterns into machine decipherable commands, whether they be voice or text. The IP details methods of further processing requests using GPS location data, or other proximity information, to provide a context and environment for narrowing down a response.

We certainly hope Apple will crush them because our disdain for trolls is far greater than disdain for a company that’s not entirely ‘fake’ (like a pile of patents and nothing else).

Glimmer of Hope for the EPO’s Boards of Appeal as Bavarian Parliament ‘Regroups’ on Tuesday

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This scheduled session was postponed due to illness of a key participant


Summary: The “Freie Wähler” motion was supposed to happen last month; but instead it will happen next week and we hope that press coverage will follow (although quite a few EPO watchers/observers have been gagged/co-opted)

THE Boards of Appeal of the EPO will be watching closely next week’s motion at the Bavarian Parliament. Among the subjects discussed: the attacks on the EPO’s Boards of Appeal, the UPC, the EPO, and the constitutional complaint now being dealt with by the FCC.

The schedule and the agenda were posted here before, albeit the time has changed. As SUEPO put it yesterday, first in its Munich section and later in the “Central” section: “In its next session on 13 March 2018, starting at 12.30h, the EU Committee of the Bavarian Parliament will discuss a //motion// from the “Freie Wähler” that calls upon the German government to use its influence at national and European level to ensure the independence of the EPO Boards of Appeal.”

“Bristows’ staff is by far the worst in that regard, so it’s only fair to single it out and shame it.”IP Kat won’t be covering this. People who used the name “Merpel” to author material about EPO scandals are no longer active. Once upon a time IP Kat did some fine coverage regarding the Boards of Appeal scenarios. Now, a few years later, any time it mentions the Boards of Appeal it’s about some new decision.

It’s worth noting that Team UPC (Bristows and Kather Augenstein) was dominating IP Kat on Friday morning and it was the same with Kluwer Patent Blog (Bristows’ Claire Wilson and Brian Cordery). Blogs that used to be useful have turned into trash, marketing, falsehoods, lobbying, agenda-setting, and endless UPC propaganda. It’s not even funny, it’s usually just disgusting. I’m personally disgusted by it. Remember that lawyers are being approached and paid for handsomely for honest advice; that’s the very opposite of what Bristows is offering. Bristows’ staff is by far the worst in that regard, so it’s only fair to single it out and shame it.

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