The Mass Litigation Lobby Craves for Patent Armageddon

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And it does not always want its critics to see what it’s doing/saying

IAM blocking

Summary: The propaganda arm of patent trolls and other patent aggressors (those who would rather sue than create) keeps promoting patent maximalism, the Unified Patent Court (UPC), and even draconian injunctions (embargo) which are almost synonymous with UPC-type visions

AS another month starts, following a short holiday, we return to covering USPTO matters only to receive nasty threats in the post (from those attempting to silence us). This time it comes from another continent (America), not from Europe. That really says a lot about the patent microcosm, doesn’t it? A bunch of bullies. And the bullying isn’t limited to patent trolls; even law firms and management of the EPO can do it.

“They are already drooling over litigation prospects because they, as lawyers, would profit from it (irrespective of the outcome).”Recently, IAM ‘broke’ the story about one troll buying part of another (in Europe). Today it published its magazine article about InterDigital’s acquisition of Technicolor, but don’t expect to find the “T” word (troll) anywhere in there. In fact, there’s a paywall too. They recently broadened their obstruction to access by 'outsiders'. Managing IP does the same thing. On they go with their misleading coverage and it’s mostly/only those who agree with them that can see what they say, hence little/no scrutiny. It’s that ‘echo chamber’ mentality we see at their events. They make it extremely expensive for anyone outside the patent microcosm to attend and don’t even think about a speaking/panel position (not even by becoming a corporate sponsor if the views are too ‘different’ and thus inconvenient to Managing IP, IAM, and their other sponsors).

“Ericsson and/or its patent trolls are already suing in Europe (targeting even foreign firms) and Team UPC habitually celebrates this.”Managing IP is actually being rather laughable this week. Lawyers without much of a clue about blockchains (they’re nontechnical for the most part) ride/suft the hype wave again. Managing IP endlessly mentions blockchains these days, this time in the form of a so-called ‘Special Report’? More like Special PR. And for the second time in a week Managing IP latches onto hype waves, this time CRISPR, in order to sell misleading numbers (“near 200% increase”) and advocate patents on life itself. “Patent filing trends for the gene editing technology indicate a near 200% increase globally between 2013 and 2015, and a continuing boom since. Patrick Wingrove investigates what is driving this and whether a litigation war is brewing,” says the summary. They are already drooling over litigation prospects because they, as lawyers, would profit from it (irrespective of the outcome).

These are the sorts of people who attend Unified Patent Court (UPC) lobbying events and try to impose the UPC on Europe, typically behind the scenes or behind closed doors in “exclusive” events. They just want lots and lots of litigation. Ericsson and/or its patent trolls are already suing in Europe (targeting even foreign firms) and Team UPC habitually celebrates this. Watch that trolls’ jingoism at IP Kat, typically but not always courtesy of Bristows. They just love it! Even when — or especially when — these patent trolls come to London, where they are based. Earlier today Benjamin Henrion wrote:

The Unitary [sic] Patent Court (UPC) is not a democratic structure. It suffers from the same problems as those ISDS investment courts: capture and not counter-balanced by an elected legislator #upc #isds

Henrion already knows what it’s like to be targeted by a patent troll in his home country. Such trolling would be vastly exacerbated by anything resembling the UPC (which is itself in its death throes but can be renamed and reattempted in the future). The UPCA (agreement) was crafted based almost solely on a single author’s paper from 2009 — a paper which was full of errors.

“Henrion already knows what it’s like to be targeted by a patent troll in his home country.”Managing IP and IAM still try to usher in this mess, sometimes emboldened or motivated by payments from the EPO or its PR agencies. It’s gross, but that’s just where we are.

And speaking of IAM, earlier today it wrote about “[h]ow and why Huawei got an injunction in its ground-breaking Chinese FRAND/SEP dispute with Samsung.”

Managing IP and IAM still try to usher in this mess, sometimes emboldened or motivated by payments from the EPO or its PR agencies.”The title of the corresponding blog post is “Full judgment in Huawei v Samsung details why Shenzhen court hit Korean company with SEP injunction” and it’s similar to what Ericsson’s patent trolls did to Chinese/Asian firms in Europe. China now uses patents to ban Koreans (it already drove LG away, but not yet Samsung). As for BlackBerry? Like Nokia and Ericsson it is becoming less of a practising entity over time. As a former IAM writer put it earlier today: “BlackBerry FY2018 results: Handheld devices revenue -83%; IP licensing revenue +56%.”

BlackBerry is being transformed/warped into “patent troll” mode. Sooner or later it will be just a “holding” company, i.e. an empty shell with nothing but patents. Sites like IAM would then hail it as an “NPE” and speak about how truly wonderful its “monetisation” strategy is.

Scam and Threat in the Mailbox Today, Courtesy of the Anti-PTAB Brigade

Posted in Patents at 5:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We are meanwhile exploring the possibility of reporting them to the relevant authorities to get them disbarred

On copyright SLAPP

Summary: As the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continues to reject software patents by the thousands the patent extremists are getting ever more desperate and are even sending me threats by post (to my home, whose address they somehow — somewhat miraculously — found out)

THE USPTO keeps making it tougher to get software patents; we’re reminded of that in light of this trio of “PTAB Reversed Examiner’s 101 Rejection” rants of the day [1, 2, 3] (there’s more). This is why Watchtroll keeps portraying PTAB as clueless and morally corrupt (as usual). Kluwer Patent Blog, which is another patent maximalists’ turf, writes about DSS Tech. v Apple (mentioned by Crouch at the start of this week even though it’s about 10 days old). Cheryl Beise summarised it as follows:

Two final decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board—each finding that certain apparatus claims of a wireless communication network owned by DSS Technology Management were invalid as obvious—have been reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, because the Board failed to provide a sufficient explanation for its findings, and a more reasoned explanation could not be gleaned from the record.

Like quote-mining or cherry-picking, they try really hard to find anything by which to stop PTAB. They are attempting to basically bypass the law.

The patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, worked very hard/overtime in March promoting the patent “scam” of Allergan and the Mohawk tribe, as today’s roundup from IAM reminded us. Watch how much they wrote about this “scam” and basically put a lipstick on this pig. And today, a week later, I received a physical (hard copy) threatening letter from the charlatan who is behind the patent “scam” of Allergan and the Mohawk tribe.

Earlier today (in fact just several hours ago) Watchtroll complained about patent attorney Michael I. Kroll getting disbarred and still working. Are these people above the law? They seem to believe so and they act accordingly.

“I’ve already received actual physical threats too (quite recently), citing an old address of mine.”I think it’s important to find out if what’s being done to me is legal. We are currently exploring legal advice, looking to clarify if it’s legal for patent lawyers to just keep intimidating critics like myself. I got some other unpleasant letters from patent trolls (electronically), some of them suggesting that I kill myself. I’ve already received actual physical threats too (quite recently), citing an old address of mine. This is why we prefer for the address not to be publicly known. Why should my wife too be worried?

The “scam” of Allergan and the Mohawk tribe was the first time I received something by post. How did they get my address? It’s not shown publicly anywhere, so my wife and I cannot help but wonder if they misused a department at their firm to access some database and, if so, does that not constitute an actionable violation of US/UK law? I would not mind taking action against them for reasons other than SLAPP. I’ve grown tired of these bullies and charlatans acting quite so recklessly without any consequences for their actions. Just look what the EPO got away with; it, unlike law firms, enjoys and abuses its immunity. The EPO did SLAPP against me as well (several times).

The patent ‘community’ or the patent world is an ugly place, intolerant of criticism and trigger-happy with threats. This is, after all, what most of them to for a living. It’s their principal ‘skill’ to just threaten people.

Benoît Battistelli’s Era Yields Not Only Invalid and Harmful Monopolies But Also Breeds Distrust and Layoffs

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The best way to keep one`s word is not to give it.”Napoleon Bonaparte

House destruction

Summary: The destruction left behind Battistelli cannot be undone; experienced staff has already left or is leaving, many invalid/bogus patents have been granted (muddying the water), and the worst is yet to come

MATTERS pertaining to Battistelli have been a lot quieter lately. There’s not much to report about Team Battistelli. The EPO’s worst ever President barely says anything. It’s almost as if he’s already packing up his things, preparing to go before the ship sinks. He sank it. He knows it. The Administrative Council knows it too, but it just doesn’t seem to care. There’s no UPC, there’s definitely brain drain, and the reputation of the Office suffered profoundly (in the eyes of everyone inside and outside Europe). Battistelli will receive a massive bonus for this ‘accomplishment’ — something which the Administrative Council certainly knew would anger staff even more and likely lead to resignations. Maybe it’s actually their intention to cause/induce an exodus (i.e. resignations) so as to lower staffing numbers and level of experience, longevity of contract etc. It produces more obedient workers that are new and not accustomed to high working standards, just so-called ‘productivity’.

“Notice how UPC propaganda sites such as IAM and Managing IP have said absolutely nothing about declines in quality (even when a thousand workers signed a petition to that effect).”Citing Liberaler Mittelstand in Bavaria, this recent report in German spoke about problems associated with patent quality at the EPO and today (in the afternoon) the article was translated or rather translations of it were published in English and French by SUEPO, which shares these concerns about patent quality and work running out (this will definitely necessitate layoffs quite soon). The comments sections here is better than the long article in the sense that it brings up important observations, including the sort of reality which will ‘strike’ Campinos when he joins the Office in less than 3 months. He might be the first EPO President ever to lay off a lot of staff. It’s not because this staff is not necessary but because of a terrible policy which made this staff redundant, lowering patent quality in order to fake so-called ‘production’.

The news article articulates what many already knew. “Application numbers are not increasing in anything like the same proportions,” it says (in spite of the discounts). Here’s SUEPO’s English version of the article:

Liberaler Mittelstand concerned about a flood of patents – and poor quality

Ursula Lex, Chair, Liberaler Mittelstand

Bavaria (23.03.2018) Regional Parliament candidate and Chair of the business association Liberaler Mittelstand in Bavaria, is concerned about the enormous rise in numbers of patents. Year after year the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich has been setting new records in the issues of patents, regularly with two-figure rates of increase over the year before. Application numbers are not increasing in anything like the same proportions.

This trend is not evident at the German Patent and Trademark Office, which is also in Munich.

The small and medium enterprises sector in Germany, and in Europe altogether, could find itself in financial difficulties as a result of a less restrictive patent issue practice on the part of the EPO, if this were to result in improperly issued patents being pursued to the detriment of SME’s on a large scale. A particular issue is the fact that the revoking of a patent takes longer than the decision about a possible infringement, and that regularly means that the proprietor of an improperly issued patent will nevertheless still be able to take advantage of it.

This means that it is essential for the survival of small and medium enterprises that the quality of patent issues should be as high as can possibly be achieved. The difficulty is the lack of definition of quality. Liberaler Mittelstand considers it essential that a broad public debate should be held with regard to the definition of the quality of patents. Such a definition must on no account be left exclusively to the Patent Office, which, after all, is supposed to be providing this quality.

We are still hoping that some large corporate/state media such as Spiegel or the BBC will cover the issue, but we expect such sites never to do this. We have already explained why. Notice how UPC propaganda sites such as IAM and Managing IP have said absolutely nothing about declines in quality (even when a thousand workers signed a petition to that effect). It’s not a coincidence and it’s not an oversight; it’s very much deliberate. They know their loyalties.

Links 3/4/2018: OpenSSH 7.7, Cutelyst 2.1 and Fedora 28 Beta Released

Posted in News Roundup at 3:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Now Available: April 2018 issue of Linux Journal
  • Linux 4.16 Released, SLES SP3 for Raspberry Pi, Cloudflare Launches the Privacy-First DNS Service and More
  • Desktop

    • Making Linux love my LG RD510 Nvidia-powered laptop

      Well, here we are. Validation is the key to everything. Input and output. I don’t think there’s any serious mechanism in Linux to actually verify that devices have gracefully and correctly resumed operation after being suspended. Such checks, including non-volatile traces, would offer more robustness, allowing distro teams to tackle hardware issues and produce better systems, with higher quality and user satisfaction. It’s definitely preferable to the blame evasion and shifting that exists today.

      I find it hard to accept the “use friendly hardware” or “blame X vendor” as a lazy excuse for developing state-of-the-art drivers and business logic to allow seamless operations. It does not matter who’s at fault if you have the technical knowhow and capacity to identify and maybe stop the problems from manifesting. In my case, the sad reality is the ancient problem will remain around until the RD510 machine is no more, and then it will no longer be a problem. But that mentality won’t make the Linux desktop into a perfect product. Lastly, for those of you who have come here for technical guidance and not philosophy, if you have an Nvidia card and resumes are botched, try IDE vs AHCI, just to see what gives. After that, there might be some tweaks and workaround to help mitigate the issue, but at least you will know where you stand. Hopefully, this was of use. See you around.

    • Why I love ARM and PowerPC

      Once upon a time, I studied environmental protection. While working on my PhD, I was looking for a new computer. As an environmentally aware person, I wanted a high-performing computer that was also efficient. That is how I first became interested in the PowerPC and discovered Pegasos, a PowerPC workstation created by Genesi.

      I had already used RS/6000 (PowerPC), SGI (MIPS), HP-UX (PA-RISC), and VMS (Alpha) both as a server and a workstation, and on my PC I used Linux, not Windows, so using a different CPU architecture was not a barrier. Pegasos, which was small and efficient enough for home use, was my first workstation.

    • Intel FSP reverse engineering: finding the real entry point!

      After attending 34C3 in Leipzig at the end of December, in which we (Zlatan and me) met with some of you, and had a lot of fun, I took some time off to travel Europe and fall victim to the horrible Influenza virus that so many people caught this year. After a couple more weeks of bed rest, I continued my saga in trying to find the real entry point of the Intel FSP-S module.

    • The End of Windows

      That wasn’t the only news that week: Microsoft also renamed its cloud service from Windows Azure to Microsoft Azure. The name change was an obvious one — by then customers could already run a whole host of non-Windows related software, including Linux — but the symbolism tied in perfectly with the Office on iPad announcement: Windows wouldn’t be forced onto Microsoft’s future.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • [Podcast] PodCTL Basics – Windows Containers & Kubernetes

      It’s been a while since we did a “PodCTL Basics” show (see: Kubernetes, Linux Containers, Containerizing an Application, Services Meshes), but we’ve heard a lot of questions about Windows Containers, so we thought it was time to review the basics. In this short show, we talk about the differences between Linux and Windows containers, the dependencies in Windows Server 02016, the requirements of older vs. newer .NET applications, and how this will all play together with the Kubernetes technology that will orchestrate both Linux and Windows containers. These “Basics” shows are intended for listeners that are new to this technology space. In future episodes, as the technology matures, we’ll have additional shows that provide more technical depth.

    • Linux Kernel 4.16, GIMP 2.10 RC, Firefox Facebook Container, Qubes OS & more | This Week in Linux 26

      Facebook is still under fire for privacy violations but Mozilla is trying to help users mitigate these issues with their new Facebook Container Extension for Firefox.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.16 Released with Improved Security, Virtualization Features

      April 1 is usually a day for April Fool’s jokes, but Linux creator Linus Torvalds’ Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) message that day was anything but a joke.

      In keeping with his established practise of announcing both release candidates and releases on Sundays, Torvalds released the Linux 4.16 kernel on April 1, after seven release candidates. The Linux 4.16 kernel is the second new major Linux kernel of 2018, following the 4.15 kernel that was released on Jan. 28.

      “So the take from final week of the 4.16 release looks a lot like rc7, in that about half of it is networking,” Torvalds wrote in his release announcement. “If it wasn’t for that, it would all be very small and calm.”

      The “calm” final release of Linux 4.16 is in stark contrast to the Linux 4.15 release, which was the longest development cycle for a Linux kernel in seven years. Among the multiple reasons why the Linux 4.15 development cycle was so long, were patches for the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. In Linux 4.16 there are further mitigations and update for Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities as well.

    • Old CPUs losing support in Linux, cutting size by 500,000 lines of code

      The Linux kernel maintainers have taken the decision to go ahead with dropping support for old CPU architectures in an upcoming release. As a result, Linux 4.17 kernel will ship with a whopping 500,000 fewer lines of code – currently it contains around 20.3 million lines of code, according to Linux Counter.

      The architectures which will become deprecated are Blackfin, CRIS, FRV, M32R, Metag, MN10300, Score and Tile. Although not being deprecated, the Unicore32 and Hexagon architectures are also at risk but their maintainers are working on improving the situation so their support can be continued.

    • Linux 4.16 Released. Kernel Release Was “Small and Calm”

      Yesterday Linus Torvalds officially released Linux 4.16. In an announcement to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, Linus announced that this release of the Linux kernel was “small and calm”, mostly related to networking, and that there was no need to continue testing it for another week.

    • Linux Kernel 4.16: Networking Patches and More

      The Linux kernel 4.16 cycle has been mercifully smooth; learn more from Paul Brown.
      Creative Commons Zero

      Linus Torvalds released version 4.16 of the Linux Kernel on Sunday, April 1st, nine weeks after the previous version. After the rather eventful 4.15 cycle, which included the loss of the Linux Kernel Mailing List for several days and the fallout from the Meltdown and Spectre bugs, 4.16 has been mercifully smooth.

      Not all smooth, though. There was a big bump in the amount of patches in RC7 that nearly derailed Sunday’s release. However, looking into it, Torvalds noted that the abnormal number of submissions may have been due to the fact that during the RC5 and 6 cycles there had been almost no patches regarding networking. This meant there was a backlog of “2.5 weeks worth of networking stuff, and that makes rc7 look artificially bigger. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.” Torvalds said.

    • In 2018, Linux Is Still Receiving Fixes For The Apple PowerBook 100 Series

      The PowerBook 100 sub-notebook launched in 1991 with a 16MHz Motorola 68000 processor and up to 8MB of memory. In 2018, the Linux kernel is still receiving fixes/improvements for the PowerBook 100 series.

      While Linux 4.17 is dropping support for eight obsolete CPU architectures, the kernel is still sticking around with obsolete hardware support. With the Motorola 68000 processors still being around, the Linux kernel “m68k” code continues to be maintained. But hitting the mailing list today were the m68k architecture updates and it included some updates for “Macintosh enhancements and fixes.”

    • Linux 4.17 Shredding 500,000 Lines Of Code, Killing Support For Older CPUs

      Whenever a new Linux kernel is released, it adds tons of new code to support some new hardware. Coupled with driver changes, fixes, and networking code, each release gets bulkier by thousands of lines of code.

    • Linux 4.16 is once again focused on Meltdown and Spectre

      LINUS TORVALDS has released the final version of the Linux 4.16 kernel. On April Fools’ Day. Ho Ho.

      Well, technically, it was after midday so we know it’s not a joke, so we can plough on.

      After another seven release candidate (RC) cycle month, the final version rolled out on time, with Torvalds explaining that without a bunch of networking code it would be “very small and calm”.

      “We had a number of fixes and cleanups elsewhere, but none of it made me go “uhhuh, better let this soak for another week”. And davem didn’t think the networking was a reason to delay the release, so I’m not.” he explains.

    • Linux 4.16 arrives, keeps melting Meltdown, preps to axe eight CPUs

      Linus Torvalds has pulled the trigger and released version 4.16 of the Linux kernel, thereby killing off his own suggestion this release might need an extra week to mature.

      And here’s some fair warning: version 4.17 is set to remove support for eight CPU architectures. That would mean Linux will no longer officially work on blackfin, cris, frv, m32r, metag, mn10300, score, nor tile, if developer Arnd Bergmann’s changes are accepted. There’s no shame in not knowing much about the eight: the reason they’re gone from Linux is that kernelistas couldn’t find anyone using them to run Linux any more. Drop them a farewell card.

    • Linux 4.16 arrives, bringing more Spectre and Meltdown fixes

      The latest version of the Linux kernel — 4.16 — has arrived, bringing with it more fixes for the Spectre and Meltdown flaws.

      Linux creator Linus Torvalds had been hoping for a “normal and entirely boring release cycle” for 4.16 after the excitement of the last Linux release, 4.15, being dominated by Spectre and Meltdown patches.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Software-defined networking is harmonizing for networking’s future

        Heather Kirksey held up her smartphone. “How often do you stare at your smartphone? How often do you use the Internet on your phone?” asked the vice president of network functions virtualization (NFV) and director at the Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), speaking at the Open Networking Summit. “That’s why you have to care about open source networking. We are transforming the global telecommunications infrastructure.”

        Perhaps you still think of networking in terms of hardware infrastructure: the Wi-Fi router in your office, the cables hiding in the plenum, or the Internet backbone cable that a backhoe just ruined. However, moving forward, tomorrow’s networks will be built from open source software-defined networks (SDNs) running on a wide range of hardware including the open source Open Compute Project (OCP).

      • Cloud Foundry for Developers: Part 1

        You’ve heard about Cloud Foundry, and you know it’s growing fast and might be something you’re interested in. But what exactly is Cloud Foundry? One possible short answer is Yet Another Cloudy Thingy, because there sure are a lot of cloud projects. A better short answer is Platform as a Service (Paas), for building, managing, and deploying cloud-native applications.

        In this series, you will learn about Cloud Foundry and how to get started using it to develop applications. In the first three blogs, we’ll cover basic concepts, terminology, a technical overview and architecture, and in the last two blogs we’ll learn how to write and push an app to a Cloud Foundry instance. The information in this series is based on the Cloud Foundry for Developers (LFD232) training course from Cloud Foundry and The Linux Foundation. You can download a sample chapter from the course here.

      • Linux Foundation moves towards “Harmonization 2.0” with its open source networking initiatives

        Around 1,600 developers, OEMs and operators attended the ONS open networking summit in Los Angeles last week, in what was the Linux Foundation’s most news-heavy event to date. The interconnection of the Linux Foundation (LF) and the huge number of open source projects is quite a complicated picture to understand. Basically, the LF Networking Fund (LFN) provides administration services and facilitates collaboration across networking projects like the telco-friendly ONAP and OPNFV.

      • Juniper OpenContrail evolves into the Linux Foundation’s Tungsten Fabric

        Juniper Networks’ open-source network virtualization platform OpenContrail has finished migrating to the Linux Foundation and rebranded itself as Tungsten Fabric.

        Juniper originally open sourced OpenContrail in 2013 and announced it was moving to the Linux Foundation last December. The company said the platform includes all the components needed to run a data center, including a software-defined networking (SDN) controller, virtual router, orchestration API, analytics and a management console.

      • Editor’s Corner—AI, open source, white boxes and vendor openness dominated ONS 2018’s headlines

        The Open Network Summit 2018 may have come and gone, but the trends that emerged during that show will continue to resonate with service providers and their vendor partners throughout 2018 and beyond.
        We thought it would be a good time to take a quick look back at the key trends FierceTelecom observed at this emerging technology event.

        With the movement to software and virtualization being top of mind for service providers, a core message was to create an environment that incites collaboration and clarity.

        Generally speaking, we identified five trends that surfaced during ONS 2018:

    • Graphics Stack

      • [ANNOUNCE] weston 3.0.93

        This is the RC1 for the weston 4.0 release.

      • Wayland 1.15 & Weston 4.0 Release Candidates Published

        Not only is there a new X.Org Server 1.20 release candidate today but the folks managing Wayland/Weston development have today announced the first release candidates of Wayland 1.15 and the Weston 4.0 reference compositor.

        As we have covered previously, the Wayland 1.15 release pulls in libwayland-egl from Mesa, offers various documentation clarifications, improves Wayland-Scanner, and has some minor API additions. Meanwhile for Weston 4.0 the ABI has been bumped, leading to the big version jump. Weston 4.0 has initial atomic mode-setting support, rolls out the new input-timestamps protocol support, drops support for older versions of XDG-Shell, OpenGL high priority context support, and has a variety of other code improvements.

      • X.Org Server 1.20 Release Candidate 3 Arrives

        The lengthy X.Org Server 1.20 development cycle continues with today Adam Jackson of Red Hat having put out a third release candidate.

      • X.Org Developers Conference 2018 This September In Spain Is Looking For Presenters

        As we have covered previously, the annual X.Org Developers Conference (XDC) for 2018 is being organized by the folks at consulting firm Igalia and will be hosted in A Coruña, Spain at the local university. This event is taking place from 26 to 28 September and they have now issued their call for papers.

        As has been the case the past number of years, talks at XDC aren’t just about the traditional X.Org Server but these days are largely focused on Mesa, Wayland, the Direct Rendering Manager kernel code, libinput, and other areas of the Linux graphics and input stacks.

      • RadeonSI Mega cleanup

        This mostly removes code from drivers/radeon and moves most of it into drivers/radeonsi. There are still a few things left in drivers/radeon.

      • RadeonSI Gets A “Mega Cleanup” To Kick Off Spring

        Marek Olšák of AMD has done some spring cleaning to the RadeonSI Gallium3D code in what he’s calling a mega cleanup with 55 patches.

      • RadeonSI Now Supports KHR_blend_equation_advanced, Needed For OpenGL ES 3.2

        RadeonSI Gallium3D has caught up to the fellow Intel i965 and Nouveau NVC0 drivers in supporting the OpenGL KHR_blend_equation_advanced extension.

        KHR_blend_equation_advanced provides extra color blending operations. Developers curious about the intricacies of KHR_blend_equation_advanced can find its documentation on Khronos.org.

      • AMD Vega 20 GPU in Linux patch reignites hope for an RX Vega refresh coming this year

        Rumblings of an AMD Vega 20 GPU have begun thanks to a Linux patch file update. The Vega 7nm die shrink seems a likely culprit for the additional code, but that hasn’t stopped excited rumours of a complete generational refresh sometime this year.

      • AMD’s refreshed Vega 20 spotted in Linux driver patches

        AMD won’t be releasing a follow up to their flagship Radeon RX Vega 64 this year, but a refreshed Vega 20 has been spotted in the new Linux driver patches.

    • Benchmarks

      • GCC 7.3 vs. GCC 8.0 vs. LLVM Clang 6.0 On The POWER9 Raptor Talos II

        As part of the remote testing of the Raptor Talos II Workstation that is comprised of fully free software down to the firmware and powered by high-end POWER9 processors, over Easter weekend I carried out some GCC vs. Clang benchmarks.

        I’m still working on the POWER9 vs. Xeon vs. EPYC benchmarks on Debian Testing for publishing in the next day or two, but for those curious, below are some POWER9 compiler benchmark comparisons.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Last week in Kube

        Kube by now is my daily driver, and we’ve managed to iron out a lot of the remaining kinks since the last update.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • ‘Dash to Dock’ Adds New Launcher Styles, Support for GNOME 3.28

        An updated version of Dash to Dock, the hugely popular GNOME Shell extension, is available to download.

        Dash to Dock v63 adds support for the recent GNOME 3.28 release. This means those of you on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Fedora 27 and other Linux distributions can rock out with your dock out — sans any compatibility issues.

        But naturally there’s more to this latest release than a version bump.

      • The LVFS CDN will change soon

        The current CDN (~$100/month) is kindly sponsored by Amazon, but that won’t last forever and the donations I get for the LVFS service don’t cover the cost of using S3. Long term we are switching to a ‘dumb’ provider (currently BunnyCDN) which works out 1/10th of the cost — which is covered by the existing kind donations. We’ve switched to use a new CNAME to make switching CDN providers easy in the future, which means this should be the only time this changes client side.

      • ED Update – Week 14

        Last weekend, I was at LibrePlanet 2018, the FSF’s annual conference where I gave a talk about Free Software desktops and their continued importance. The videos are currently being uploaded, and there were some really interesting talks on a wide range of subjects. One particular highlight for me was that Karen Sandler (Software Freedom Conservancy ED, and former GNOME ED) won the Award for the Advancement of Free Software, which was very highly deserved. Additionally, the Award for Projects of Social Benefit went to Public Lab, who had a very interesting talk on attracting newcomers and building communities. They advocated the use of first-timers-only as a way to help introduce people to the project. It was good to catch up with GNOMErs and various people in the wider community.

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo Family

      • py3status v3.8

        Another long awaited release has come true thanks to our community!

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Questions and Answers With Candidates for openSUSE Board Elections

        Elections for the openSUSE Board have been postponed until mid-April. Until then, the community can familiarize themselves with the candidates who are running for three available seats on the board.

        openSUSE Community Members can engage with the candidates directly or on the openSUSE-project mailing list if they have specific questions for a candidate(s).

    • Slackware Family

      • Fun and games in -current when ABIs break

        All of us who follow Slackware’s development know that “shared library version bump” means ABI breakage. I.e. a lot of 3rd-party binaries will suddenly not find required library versions anymore. In particular icu4c and poppler are nasty beasts. Slackware’s own packages had been carefully updated and recompiled where needed of course, so there was no breakage in the distro itself. But many people do not run a bare Slackware installation… a lot of software is usually installed on top. And that is the software which will be affected by an incompatible change like this one on April 1st.

        What’s this version bump all about? How is it possible that it affects your computer so deeply?

        Most programs depend on other programs. Software developers hate to re-invent the wheel if they can avoid it. Lots of lower-level or widely used functionality has been put into software libraries. Think of network access functionality, text rendering, encryption etc – smart people have created useful, efficient and robust software and stuffed that code into libraries. Your own program can link against these libraries at run-time and access the functionality they have to offer and your program needs.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Sysdig Container Intelligence Platform Certified for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform

        -Sysdig, Inc., the container intelligence company, today announced Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform certification for the Sysdig Container Intelligence Platform, the first unified approach to container security, monitoring, and forensics. Certification and publication of Sysdig in the Red Hat Container Catalog, Red Hat’s service for discovering, distributing, and consuming commercially-curated Linux container images, is a natural step in the relationship between Sysdig and Red Hat. With this certification, developers have the confidence of knowing the Sysdig Container Intelligence Platform is a member of the OpenShift ecosystem and has been tested with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise-grade Kubernetes container application platform.

      • Partner Spotlight: NetApp

        Hi! I’m Garrett Mueller, and I’m a Technical Director at NetApp. I keep an eye on technology forged in open communities, and that happens to be a lot of the most interesting stuff! I’ve been at the company going on 15 years, and I moved into this role after kicking off our container journey just over 3 years ago.

      • Quick Branding for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform With Your Company Logo

        Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform is usually used by developers within a company, but Red Hat customers who have Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform on-premise may in turn use it to provide PaaS services to their customers. In this case, I am occasionally asked by customers to change the OpenShift logo to their company logo.

      • Cloud should have killed Red Hat, but is saving it instead

        Red Hat’s secret formula for making billions of dollars selling free software is not-so-secret, as I’ve recently written. What still remains somewhat shrouded in mystery, however, is what’s driving Red Hat’s business.

        In a word: Cloud.

        A year ago, analysts pointed to the cloud as a harbinger of Red Hat’s doom. Today, those same analysts are slowly waking up to the opportunity that a multi-cloud world affords the open source giant.

      • Red Hat Rides Containers, Kubernetes, Hybrid Cloud Into the Future

        Red Hat exited its fiscal 2018 on a high note as the company continued to show strong growth from new platforms expected to drive long-term growth. And even better, investors this time appear to be on board.

        At a high level, Red Hat’s financial results were robust with strong growth for both the quarter and full year, which ended Feb. 28. Quarterly revenues surged nearly 23 percent year-over-year to $772 million, while full-year revenues were up more than 21 percent to$2.9 billion.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Announcing the release of Fedora 28 Beta

          The Fedora Project is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Fedora 28 Beta, the next big step on our journey to the exciting Fedora 28 release in May.
          Download the prerelease from our Get Fedora site.

        • Fedora 28 Beta Released
        • Fedora 28 Beta Linux distro is finally here

          Fedora is the best overall Linux-based desktop operating system — Linus Torvalds famously uses it regularly. Today, version 28 of the distribution finally achieves Beta status. After a short delay — it was scheduled to be available a week earlier — the distro is back on track, and looking better than ever.

          As is typical now, there are three versions of the operating system — Atomic Host, Server, and Workstation. While all three have their places, normal desktop computer users will want to focus on Workstation. There are plenty of new features (and bugs), but the most exciting aspect of Fedora 28 Workstation is the inclusion of the GNOME 3.28 desktop environment.

        • Fedora 28 Beta now available

          We’re pleased to announce that Fedora 28, the latest version of the Fedora operating system, is now available in beta. The Fedora Project is a global community that works together to help the advancement of free and open source software, culminating in the innovative Fedora operating system designed to answer end user needs across the computing spectrum. As part of the community’s mission, the project delivers separate editions (Fedora Server, Fedora Atomic Host, and Fedora Workstation), each one a free, Linux-based system tailored to meet specific use cases.

        • Fedora Infra PSA: I have been marked spamchecked! What do I do?
        • Flatpak builds in the CI

          This is a follow-up to Carlos Soriano’s blog post about the new GNOME workflow that has emerged following the transition to gitlab.gnome.org. The post is pretty damn good and if you haven’t read it already you should. In this post I will walk through setting up the Flatpak build and test job that runs on the nautilus CI. The majority of the work on this was done by Carlos Soriano and Ernestas Kulik.

          Let’s start by defining what we want to accomplish. First of all we want to ensure that every commit commit will be buildable in a clean environment and against a Flatpak runtime. Second to that, we want to ensure that the each project’s test suite will be run and pass. After these succeed we want to be able to export the resulting Flatpak to install and/or test it locally. Lastly we don’t want to waste precious time of the shared CI runners from other projects so we want to utilize Flatpak’s ostree artifacts for caching.

        • Top Badgers of 2017: Alessio Ciregia
        • HiFive Unleashed for Fedora
    • Debian Family

      • Looking back on starting Libravatar

        As noted on the official Libravatar blog, I will be shutting the service down on 2018-09-01.

        It has been an incredible journey but Libravatar has been more-or-less in maintenance mode for 5 years, so it’s somewhat outdated in its technological stack and I no longer have much interest in doing the work that’s required every two years when migrating to a new version of Debian/Django. The free software community prides itself on transparency and so while it is a difficult decision to make, it’s time to be upfront with the users who depend on the project and admit that the project is not sustainable in its current form.


        In addition, I wanted to validate that it is possible to run a FOSS service without having to pay for anything out-of-pocket, so that it would be financially sustainable. Hosting and domain registrations have been entirely funded by the community, thanks to the generosity of sponsors and donors. Most of the donations came through Gittip/Gratipay and Liberapay. While Gratipay has now shut down, I encourage you to support Liberapay.

        Finally, I made an effort to host Libravatar on FOSS infrastructure. That meant shying away from popular proprietary services in order to make a point that these convenient and well-known services aren’t actually needed to run a successful project.

      • My Debian Activities in March 2018
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Why not the best? Why not Linux Mint?

              I’ve been running Linux on the desktop for decades. When I was starting with it, Linux was, comparatively, harder to use than the GUI-based operating systems then available from Apple and Microsoft. That was then. This is now.

              Today, Linux, especially such distributions as openSUSE, Ubuntu and, my favorite, Linux Mint, are just as easy to use as macOS and Windows. And they don’t have the security bugs.

              What’s that? You don’t mind dealing with a few bugs? Well, on the latest Patch Tuesday, as Woody Leonhard put it, an “enormous number of patches spewed out of Microsoft this month, with two ponderous cumulative updates.” Every month, we see a new flood of critical Windows updates. Maybe updating Windows is your idea of a good time. It’s not mine.

            • Lubuntu Next Is Adopting the Calamares Installer, Continues to Be in Development

              Lubuntu, the most lightweight official Ubuntu flavor, had a hard time these past few months, during the development cycle of the upcoming Bionic Beaver operating system series, with all sorts of problems, but its small development team managed to get past them and continued to work on both Lubuntu and Lubuntu Next.

              While Lubuntu Next offers us the more modern LXQt desktop environment, built on the latest Qt 5 technologies, the upcoming Lubuntu 18.04 LTS release is still using the LXDE desktop environment by default. The switch from LXDE to LXQt for Lubuntu is in the testing phase since Lubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf), but progress is being made on this front.

            • This Week in Lubuntu Development #1

              At Lubuntu we decided it was a good idea to create a weekly newsletter detailing the work that has been happening. So, here we are.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 Open Source Libraries to Aid in Your Machine Learning Endeavors

    While many factors have contributed to this increase in machine learning, one reason is that it’s becoming easier for developers to apply it, thanks to open source frameworks.

    If you’re not familiar with this technology, and feel confused about some of the terms used, such as “framework” and “library,” here are the definitions.

  • Sonatype Contributes Nexus JavaScript Support to Open Source Community

    Sonatype, the leader in open source governance and DevSecOps automation, today announced the contribution of its JavaScript support for Nexus Repository to the open source community. This is yet another step in Sonatype’s plan to contribute source code to the community for all formats currently supported in Nexus Repository.

    “Sonatype was founded on the principles of open source – that collaboration and community can help developers innovate faster and create higher quality software,” said Brian Fox, CTO and co-founder of Sonatype. “Nexus Repository has become a defacto standard within DevOps toolchains worldwide and is simply the best way to continuously control binaries, build artifacts, and release candidates as they flow through the modern SDLC. By contributing repository formats to the community, we’re maximizing developer flexibility and further accelerating continuous innovation.”

  • Glitch leaves beta and goes open source

    The developer community website Glitch has announced it is leaving beta and The Glitch.com community is now open-source. It was initially announced last year as a way to facilitate collaboration between developers.

    Since it was first announced, the platform has continued to evolve based on feedback from the developer community. Some of the new editions to the site include real-time help, a new console, and the ability to thank creators. It also features an easy way to add licenses and a code of conduct.

  • NETL releases carbon capture simulation toolset as open source software
  • Events

    • foss-north approaching

      Organizing a conference means going through multiple stages. The first parts are the most difficult – signing up for a venue, looking for the initial speakers, finding the initial sponsors. Basically, building something out of nothing. This becomes easier over the years, and this, the third year, it has been quite fun. However, since the aim is to grow the event, we always need more sponsors, more speakers and a bigger venue.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Reality: Bringing the Immersive Web to Mixed Reality Headsets

        Today we are proud to announce Firefox Reality, a new web browser designed from the ground up for stand-alone virtual and augmented reality headsets. We took our existing Firefox web technology and enhanced it with Servo, our experimental web engine. From Firefox, we get decades of web compatibility as well as the performance benefits of Firefox Quantum. From the Servo team (who recently joined the Mixed Reality team) we will gain the ability to experiment with entirely new designs and technologies for seeing and interacting with the immersive web. This is the first step in our long-term plan to deliver a totally new experience on an exciting new platform.

      • Mozilla Brings Firefox to Augmented and Virtual Reality

        Today, we primarily access the Internet through our phones, tablets and computers. But how will the world access the web in five years, or in ten years, and how will the web itself grow and change?

        We believe that the future of the web will be heavily intertwined with virtual and augmented reality, and that future will live through browsers. That’s why we’re building Firefox Reality, a new kind of web browser that has been designed from the ground up to work on stand-alone virtual and augmented reality (or mixed reality) headsets.

      • Firefox Reality is the first open source cross-platform mixed reality browser

        THE MOZILLA FOUNDATION has announced that it is releasing a new version of Firefox specifically for mixed reality (MR).

        Firefox Reality is a “built from the ground up” version of Firefox Quantum specifically designed to meet the needs of those wanting to interact with the web with a stupid hat on their faces.

        “Here at Mozilla, it’s our mission to ensure that the Internet is an open and accessible resource that puts people first,” explains Sean White, Chief R&D Officer at Mozilla.

        “Currently, the world can browse the open web using our fast and privacy-focused Firefox browser, but continuing that mission in a rapidly changing world means constantly investing our time and resources into new and emerging technologies – and realities.”

      • Mozilla Announces Open Source AR/VR Web Browser ‘Firefox Reality’

        Mozilla, the non-profit company behind Firefox web browser, today announced a new cross-platform, open sourced web browser called Firefox Reality, something Mozilla says was built from the ground-up for standalone VR and AR headsets.

      • Mozilla Brings Virtual Reality to all Firefox Users

        We are delighted to announce that WebVR will ship on by default for all Windows users with an HTC VIVE or Oculus Rift headset in Firefox 55 (currently scheduled for August 8th). WebVR transforms Virtual Reality (VR) into a first-class experience on the web, giving it the infinite possibilities found in the openness and interoperability of the Web Platform. When coupled with WebGL to render 3D graphics, these APIs transform the browser into a platform that allows VR content to be published to the Web and instantaneously consumed from any capable VR device.

      • Open source Firefox Reality is a mixed reality browser that could bring VR mainstream

        Firefox Reality is also open source, which the post said will make it easier for manufacturers to add it to their platform while also adding transparency. This is perhaps the most poignant aspect of Reality, in that it could provide a common platform for OEMs to build their AR and VR hardware off of, similar to what Google did with Android. This makes it easier to develop web-based AR and VR content as well, as it can be developed for a single platform and reach a wide audience.

      • There’s a new version of Firefox for virtual reality

        Mozilla has announced a new version of its Firefox browser for standalone virtual and augmented reality headsets. It’s called Firefox Reality, and Mozilla describes it as a cross-platform, open source, and privacy-friendly browser whose interface will be specialized for headsets. You can see an early demo of it working on the HTC Vive Focus, but it’s not available publicly yet, and Mozilla hasn’t specified which headsets will support it.

      • This Week In Servo 110

        In the last week, we merged 66 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

  • CMS

    • DNN Updates DNN Platform, dotCMS Hires New CMO, More Open Source News

      DNN released version 9.2 of its DNN Platform, which includes updates such as “Prompt,” a command-line interface for managing a DNN site, as well as a storage connector for Azure. Prompt was created and led by Kelly Ford, President of DNNDev, with other members of the community contributing. DNN 9.2 can be downloaded at GitHub.

      Ford, who is also an Executive Committee Member of DNN-Connect, announced via the DNN Community blog that he is spearheading a community effort to organize and improve DNN documentation. DNN community member David Poindexter spent time organizing the release archives of DNN Platform. Users can now access every version of DNN Platform, from version 9 back to version 1, which dates back to 2003.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Announce: OpenSSH 7.7 released

      OpenSSH 7.7 has just been released. It will be available from the
      mirrors listed at http://www.openssh.com/ shortly.

    • OpenSSH 7.7 Release Notes

      This is primarily a bugfix release.

    • OpenBSD 6.3 released ( Download of the day )
    • OpenBSD 6.3 released
    • OpenBSD 6.3 Released – Apr 2, 2018

      The release was scheduled for April 15, but since all the components
      are ready ahead of schedule it is being released now

    • OpenBSD 6.3 Released

      April 2, 2018: The OpenBSD project has announced the availability of the newest release, OpenBSD 6.3

    • The Shoving Continues

      More KDE4 parts have been moved around on FreeBSD. Basically what we’re seeing is that all the existing KDE4 ports — that is, pretty much all KDE software except the KDE Frameworks 5, which are the kf5-* ports already available — are getting a -kde4 suffix. I resurrected the old filelight from KDE4 times, which we had updated to the modern KDE Applications version some time ago. That is so that KDE4 users can get the authentic (in the case of filelight-kde4, I think that also means “buggy”) experience. Users of x11/kde4 are encouraged to update and upgrade regularly these days, to catch all of the moves of packages. There are no actual updates in here, no new packages, since there aren’t any more upstream releases.

    • “Ed Mastery” follow-up

      Yesterday I released #mwlSecretBook: Ed Mastery. April first is the perfect day to release such a book. I wrote a nice release announcement and everything.


    • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 19 new GNU releases!


    • A radical proposal to keep your personal data safe – by Richard Stallman

      To restore privacy, we must stop surveillance before it even asks for consent.

      Finally, don’t forget the software in your own computer. If it is the non-free software of Apple, Google or Microsoft, it spies on you regularly. That’s because it is controlled by a company that won’t hesitate to spy on you. Companies tend to lose their scruples when that is profitable. By contrast, free (libre) software is controlled by its users. That user community keeps the software honest.

    • GnuCash 3.0 Released

      GnuCash 3.0 released

      The GnuCash development team proudly announces GnuCash 3.0, the first release in our new 3.x stable series.

    • Mozilla Announces Firefox Reality Browser for Mixed Reality, GnuCash 3.0 New Release and More

      Mozilla announced Firefox Reality today, “Bringing the Immersive Web to Mixed Reality Headsets”. Firefox Reality is the only open source browser for mixed reality and the first cross-platform browser for mixed reality. See The Mozilla Blog for more details.

      GnuCash 3.0 was released yesterday, marking the first stable release in the 3.x series. This version has several new features, but the main update is the use of the Gtk+-3.0 Toolkit and the WebKit2Gtk API. See the announcement for a list of all the new features for both users and developers.

  • Public Services/Government

    • How the EU’s Copyright Reform Threatens Open Source–and How to Fight It

      Translated into practical terms, this means that sites with major holdings of material uploaded by users will be required to filter everything before allowing it to be posted. The problems with this idea are evident. It represents constant surveillance of people’s online activities on these sites, with all that this implies for loss of privacy. False positives are inevitable, not least because the complexities of copyright law cannot be reduced to a few algorithmic rules that can be applied automatically. That, and the chilling effect it will have on people’s desire to upload material, will have a negative impact on freedom of expression and undermine the public domain.

      The high cost of implementing upload filters—Google’s ContentID system required 50,000 hours of coding and $60 million to build—means that a few big companies will end up controlling the market for censorship systems. Their oligopoly power potentially gives them the ability to charge high prices for their services, which will impose burdens on companies in the EU and lead to fewer online startups in the region. Other problems with the idea include the important fact that it seems to go against existing EU law.

      Article 13 has been drawn up mainly to satisfy the barely disguised desire of the European copyright industry to attack successful US companies like Google and Facebook. But the upload filter is a very crude weapon, and it will affect many others who—ironically—will be less able than internet giants to comply with the onerous requirement to censor. For example, it is likely that Wikipedia will be caught by the new rule. After all, it hosts huge amounts of “subject-matter” that is uploaded by users. As a post on the Wikimedia blog pointed out: “it would be absurd to require the Wikimedia Foundation to implement costly and technologically impractical automated systems for detecting copyright infringement.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • RISC-V leader gains $50 million in funding and Western Digital vows to build 1 billion chips

        SiFive has raised $50.6 million in Series C funding, and Western Digital pledged to produce 1 billion of SiFive’s RISC-V cores. Meanwhile, the new Linux 4.16 kernel boosted RISC-V support, and there are rumors of a RISC-V project led by Google, Qualcomm, and Samsung.

        The open source RISC-V computer architecture project has continued to generate buzz since SiFive opened pre-sales in early February for its Linux-friendly HiFive Unleashed SBC, which showcases SiFive’s RISC-V based Freedom U540. Today, SiFive announced it has received $50.6 million in Series C funding, and has signed a multi-year license to its Freedom Platform with storage giant Western Digital, which pledged to produce 1 billion of SiFive’s RISC-V cores (see farther below).

  • Programming/Development

    • Cutelyst 2.1 Released

      Cutelyst a Qt/C++ Web Framework got upped to 2.1. Yesterday I found a bug that although not critical it’s important enough to roll out a new release.

      As a new feature we have LangSelect plugin to help with auto detection of user language (Matthias).

    • New in Qt 5.11: quick text selection in QLineEdit

      There are many reasons why one would want to contribute to a free software project. This post belongs to the “scratch your own itch” category. Firefox is my main browser and I use reddit a lot. I switch between my favourite subreddits many times per day. Sometimes I also use Qupzilla (nowadays called Falkon) because it has a specific reddit account of mine already logged-in.

      Now, Firefox has a feature that Falkon used to lack: quick selection of the trailing part of the URL by slightly moving the mouse down, while selecting the text towards the right.

    • Programming the Raspberry Pi with Perl; eBook fundraiser

      Timm will be writing the bulk of the content using various distributions including my RPi::WiringPi along with all its related distributions, and I will be adding at least one chapter to cover my indoor grow room single-webpage environment controller, as well as performing editing duties and testing of the code.


  • Hardware

    • Apple Plans to Ditch Intel and Use Custom Mac Chips Starting in 2020

      A move away from Intel would have a major impact on Intel, with Apple providing approximately five percent of Intel’s annual revenue. Intel stock has already dropped following the news.

    • Apple is actively working on Macs that replace Intel CPUs

      According to Bloomberg’s sources, the project (which is internally called Kalamata) is in the very early planning stages, but it has been approved by executives at the company. The report says that Apple could ship computers based on its own processors as early as 2020, but the report also says this would be part of a “multi-step transition” in a larger effort to make iOS devices and Macs “work more similarly and seamlessly together.” Apple could still change or drop these plans in the future.

    • Apple Plans to Use Its Own Chips in Macs From 2020, Replacing Intel

      While the transition to Apple chips in hardware is planned to begin as early as 2020, the changes to the software side will begin even before that. Apple’s iPhones and iPads with custom chips use the iOS operating system, while Mac computers with Intel chips run on a different system called macOS. Apple has slowly been integrating user-facing features over the past several years, and more recently starting sharing lower-level features like a new file management system.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Addiction Drug’s Side Effect: More Overdoses?

      Researchers suggest people getting Vivitrol shots may be more susceptible to a fatal overdose if they halt the regimen early and resume using opiates.


      Now comes a new paper, in the journal Drug Safety, focusing on another aspect of Vivitrol: the risk of overdose among people who’ve stopped taking it. Precisely because Vivitrol deters opioid abuse while people are on it, it reduces their tolerance for opioids — unlike methadone and buprenorphine, which are themselves opioids. This means that those relapsing after a period of Vivitrol shots are at a particularly high risk of overdosing. The 2017 study comparing Vivitrol and Suboxone found similar rates of overdose among those who had stopped taking the medications, but several previous studies of Vivitrol have done a poor job of tracking those who stopped taking the shot prematurely.

      The three researchers who co-authored the Drug Safety paper sought to analyze the overdose risk after Vivitrol use through different means: the “adverse event” data that Alkermes is supposed to report to the FDA when it learns (typically from medical providers, criminal justice authorities, social workers or family members) of an overdose suffered by someone who had been taking Vivitrol. The researchers submitted a public records request to the FDA and received reports of 263 adverse events. Of those, some were duplicates, many were instances in which Alkermes had not been able to establish the cause of death, and 10 were suicides. This left 52 deaths that fit the definition of opioid overdoses following Vivitrol use.

    • Access to Abortion for Young Immigrants in Government Custody

      Jane came to this country September 2017 without her parents, who abused her in her home country, seeking a better life. When she found out she was pregnant after the U.S. government detained her, she immediately requested an abortion. But instead of providing her access to medical care – as required by law – the government attempted to coerce her to carry her pregnancy to term, at the explicit instruction of head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Scott Lloyd. Lloyd also forced her to endure medically unnecessary ultrasounds, and instructed that she tell her abusive parents in her home country about her pregnancy.

    • Grindr shared information about users’ HIV status with third parties

      Norwegian nonprofit research group Sintef uncovered Grindr’s data sharing with two companies – Apptimize and Localytics – and concern spread in the US after BuzzFeed reported the findings.

    • Grindr exposed its users’ HIV statuses to two other companies

      What’s more, the app has been sharing users’ info — like GPS location, sexuality, relationship status, and phone ID — with advertising companies, according to SINTEF. In some cases, this data was not protected by encryption.

    • Grindr shares users’ HIV status with third-party companies: report

      Apptimize and Localytics, both data-optimization firms, have received certain information that some Grindr users choose to include in their profiles, including their HIV status and “last tested date.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • How Many People Has the U.S. Killed in its Post-9/11 Wars? Part 2: Afghanistan and Pakistan

      In the first part of this series, I estimated that about 2.4 million Iraqis have been killed as a result of the illegal invasion of their country by the United States and the United Kingdom in 2003. I turn now to Afghan and Pakistani deaths in the ongoing 2001 U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. In part two, I will examine U.S.-caused war deaths in Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. According to Ret. U.S. General Tommy Franks, who led the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan in reaction to 9/11, the U.S. government does not keep track of civilian casualty that it causes. “You know, we don’t do body counts,” Franks once said. Whether that’s true or a count is covered up is difficult to know.

    • Breaking News: Porton Down to Make Public Statement

      The government is putting up the Chief Scientist at Porton Down to give a press interview on Sky News this afternoon on the Skripal affair.

      If the government were not confident he would implicate the Russian state, they would not be doing this. But nevertheless I would be surprised if the Chief Scientist were to lie outright*, and we need to study his language very carefully. Much of course will depend on the questioning, and undoubtedly Sky News (a Fox affiliate) has been selected as unlikely to be be forensic or difficult. I have however passed to the producers, who contacted me for potential comment, the three questions I would ask given the chance:

      Are you saying definitely this can ONLY be made in Russia?

      How long from contact would this agent take effect?

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange works for the people – now we need to save him

      Julian Assange has been silenced again, and the timing is most suspicious. With the Cambridge Analytica story dominating the news, it seems some powerful people have reasons to keep the brave WikiLeaks boss quiet right now.
      Ecuador is a small country, and one can only imagine the brutal behind-the-scenes pressure exerted on it by Western powers to increase the isolation of Julian Assange from the public space. Now, his internet access has been cut off and many of his visitors are refused access, thus rendering a slow social death to a person who’s spent almost six years confined to an apartment at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

      This happened before, for a short period around the time of the US elections, but back then it was a reaction to WikiLeaks publishing documents which could have affected the outcome of the Trump/Clinton race, while there is no such excuse now. Because, currently, Assange’s “meddling” in international relations consists only of publishing on the web his opinions about the Catalonia crisis and the Skripal poisoning scandal. So why such brutal action now, and why did it cause so little uproar in the public opinion?

    • ‘Assange is a war hero, he exposed American war crimes’ – Vivienne Westwood

      Fashion icon Vivienne Westwood sent a message of support on RT to her friend Julian Assange, whose Internet access was cut off by the Ecuadorian Embassy in the UK, calling him a “hero” and a “brilliant” man.
      Westwood hailed Julian Assange on RT after being asked why she decided to come to the Ecuadorian Embassy. Holding what appears to be a UK passport, Westwood said she wanted to make a statement on freedom of speech.

      READ MORE: Ecuador cut Assange’s internet over Catalonia crackdown tweet, source close to WikiLeaks tells RT

      “Julian Assange is one of the greatest heroes of the world, we are very concerned now that he can’t have visitors,” she said. “It’s really important that he’s got access to the world by all the exposures he has managed to do.”

      According to Westwood, Assange was “a war hero, he exposed American war crimes.” The founder of WikiLeaks “is my friend and he is brilliant,” she said.

    • Congress Will Finally Make Its Research Reports Public

      The recent omnibus bill passed by Congress contains a nugget of good news for those interested in access to publicly funded research.

      Open access activists have long been asking for reports by the Congressional Research Service, or CRS, to be made publicly and easily available. CRS creates a vast array of reports on topics that are of interest to members of Congress. In 2016 alone [.pdf], CRS produced reports for Congress on topics like climate change, agriculture and free trade, offshore oil and gas drilling, and U.S. patent policies. The research produced by CRS has been held in high regard for decades.

      But that research has also been hard to get. In theory, CRS reports have always been public documents. They’re paid for with tax dollars, and since they’re produced by the federal government, they aren’t copyrighted. But until recently, unless you could ask for one directly from a member of Congress, it wasn’t clear how to get a report—or even to find out if one existed.

      A former CRS lawyer who went on to found the group Demand Progress, Dan Schuman, published an essay in 2016 detailing the problems that led CRS to become so secretive. “Opposition to public access to CRS report is rooted in fears of the unknown,” Schuman wrote. “It is time to conquer that fear.” He created EveryCRSReport.com, which to date has made more than 14,000 CRS reports public.

    • Court Says PACER System Is Illegally Using Fees

      Nearly two years ago, we wrote about an important lawsuit concerning PACER — the electronic records system of the federal court system in the US. As we’ve pointed out many, many times over the years, the whole PACER system is a complete scam by the federal courts. Beyond the clunky and vintage 1998 interface, it is insanely expensive. It technically charges 10 cents per “page” but it determines “pages” liberally. Do a search? That’ll cost you 10 cents. View a docket in a long case? With no warning, that could add $3 to your bill (there is an upper limit of $3 per document). Want to read a filing that’s more than 30 pages? $3. For each one. The only thing that’s actually free are opinions — but even just getting to them could cost you some money as you do the search and load the docket, etc. And I won’t get into the convoluted system it takes to sign up for a PACER account (at least when I did it, you had to wait for them to mail you stuff through the physical mail — though they may have since updated it).

      This is ridiculous for a system that should be open to the public. Case law is a part of the law. The public should have free access to it to understand the law. But it’s been made incredibly difficult by this system. On top of that, as we pointed out almost a decade ago, it’s also against the law. Under the law that set up PACER, Title 28, the courts are only allowed to charge as much as is necessary to pay for the system (realistically, this should come out of filing fees, rather than user fees, but… that’s another issue for another day). And, by all accounts, the PACER system was generating a huge profit for the court system — from 2010 through 2016, PACER brought in $920 million for the courts. Yes, nearly a billion dollars. Admittedly, the US courts say that they’ve spent that money in other potentially useful ways — including upgrading computer systems in court rooms and such. But if Congress wants them to spend money that way, they should say so — rather than have the courts flat out ignore the law (irony!) and overcharge PACER users.

    • In the Struggle for Freedom of Expression, I stand with Julian Assange

      A terrible propaganda war of great proportions has been underway against Julian Assange over the course of this decade. A propaganda war with many grotesque and ridiculous tactics, focusing on such menial aspects as the hygiene and bodily odors of its victim. A propaganda war that has branded Julian as a rapist, although he was never even charged. A propaganda war that has constantly been prodding, experimenting with libel and defamation, patiently waiting to see which claims would stick, because any damage to his character is a victory: Russian agent, Mossad agent, covert CIA agent, anti-Semite, anti-American, rapist, megalomaniac, paranoid, pedophile, and the list goes on. Most of these spurious claims have been easily debunked, but the damage in the public perception has been done. The perpetrators continue to wait, hoping to weaken the public resolve to protect and speak out for this abused man.

    • Ecuador, Assange and the Empire: Anatomy of a Neoliberal Sellout

      LONDON — You can call the Ecuadorian government’s disconnection of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s internet connection and ban on contact with the outside world a lot of things: unfair, treacherous, a signal of surrender to the West.

      Such was the reaction of internet users and journalists throughout the world following an announcement by Ecuador that it had suspended Assange’s ability to accept visitors or communicate with the outside world.

    • Assange cut off from outside world

      Ecuador on Wednesday said it has stopped Julian Assange’s ability to communicate to the outside world from its London embassy, where the WikiLeaks founder has been holed up since 2012.

      The decision was taken because the Australian had broken a 2017 promise not to interfere in other countries’ affairs while in the mission, an Ecuadoran government statement said without elaborating.

      Under that deal, Assange had pledged “to not send messages that could be seen as interference in relations with other countries,” the statement said, adding that it could take other, unspecified measures if he persisted.

      The move to cut off Assange came after he used Twitter on Monday to challenge Britain’s accusation that Russia was responsible for the March 4 nerve agent poisoning of a Russian former double agent in the English city of Salisbury.

    • Where Is the Outrage About Julian Assange’s Silencing?

      On October 12, 1969, Daniel Ellsberg copied a secret dossier with the intention of disclosing the truth about the Vietnam War. The Pentagon Papers were a chronicle of events that recorded the scope of operations in Vietnam and beyond—details which were being withheld from the American public. The Vietnam War was built on the foundation of lies; we were rushed into the war using the Gulf of Tonkin as a false flag and defending freedom as a pretext to further the interests of the defense-financial complex. The truth eventually caught up to the lies of politicians and bureaucrats; Defense Secretary Robert McNamara later admitted the Gulf of Tonkin attack never took place.

      The Gulf of Tonkin set the stage for a decade of continuous half-truths and outright lies as the US government suppressed information from the citizenry and kept falsifying records. This coordinated campaign of governmental disinformation prolonged a war that led to the deaths of 58,200 Americans and snuffed the lives of over 2 million Vietnamese people. It was this pernicious operation of deceit—intent on keeping the public in the dark—that prodded Ellsberg to act. After presenting the findings of the Pentagon Papers to authorities in government only to be met with a wall of silence, he decided to inform the press. The firestorm of controversy that was created after The New York Times published the Pentagon Papers and the ensuing outcry from the public played a large part in bringing an end to the Vietnam War.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How America’s Largest Local TV Owner Turned Its News Anchors Into Soldiers In Trump’s War On The Media

      Earlier this month, CNN’s Brian Stelter broke the news that Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner or operator of nearly 200 television stations in the U.S., would be forcing its news anchors to record a promo about “the troubling trend of irresponsible, one sided news stories plaguing our country.” The script, which parrots Donald Trump’s oft-declarations of developments negative to his presidency as “fake news,” brought upheaval to newsrooms already dismayed with Sinclair’s consistent interference to bring right-wing propaganda to local television broadcasts.

      You might remember Sinclair from its having been featured on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight last year, or from its requiring in 2004 of affiliates to air anti-John Kerry propaganda, or perhaps because it’s your own local affiliate running inflammatory “Terrorism Alerts” or required editorials from former Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn, he of the famed Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that failed to mention Jewish people. (Sinclair also owns Ring of Honor wrestling, Tennis magazine, and the Tennis Channel.)

      The net result of the company’s current mandate is dozens upon dozens of local news anchors looking like hostages in proof-of-life videos, trying their hardest to spit out words attacking the industry they’d chosen as a life vocation.

    • The Real Problem With Sinclair

      For more than a year, Markey and a group of media-savvy senators—Maria Cantwell of Washington, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Cory Booker of New Jersey—have been raising concerns about Sinclair’s proposal, and about the FCC chair’s approach to it. “We are concerned about the level of media concentration this merger creates, and its impact on the public interest,” the senators wrote in a June 2017, letter asking for Senate hearings on the deal. “In light of these concerns, we believe that Senate hearings would provide critical transparency for the many American consumers who will be impacted by the deal and greater accountability from the companies who must demonstrate that the deal serves the public interest.”

    • Sinclair forced TV anchors to criticize “fake” news—and Trump loved it

      Sinclair owns or operates 193 TV stations in 89 US markets, and it has repeatedly required them to run segments that spread right-wing messages.

      Sinclair’s pending purchase of Tribune would allow it to reach 72 percent of TV-owning households in the US. Tribune says it owns or operates 42 local TV stations, including stations “in each of the nation’s top three markets and seven of the top 10.”

    • Sinclair defends itself over uproar after local news anchors read anti-’false news’ screed

      Sinclair Broadcast Group is defending itself against criticism for a recent on-air promotional message many of its local news anchors were asked to read that warned viewers about “false news” on competing media outlets.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Malaysia just made fake news illegal and punishable by up to six years in jail

      Malaysia passed a new law today that would punish citizens on social media or those working at a digital publication for spreading fake news with a 500,000 ringgit ($123,000) fine and a possible a prison sentence of up to six years. Led by Prime Minister Najib Razak, the Anti-Fake News bill passed in parliament today despite opponents who had criticized the bill for possibly impeding free speech and attempting to censor the prime minister’s involvement in a multibillion-dollar scandal.

    • Malaysia outlaws ‘fake news’; sets jail of up to six years

      Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government secured a simple majority in parliament to pass the Anti-Fake News 2018 bill, which sets out fines of up to 500,000 ringgit ($123,000) and a maximum six years in jail. The first draft of the bill had proposed jail of up to 10 years.


      Co-opted by U.S. President Donald Trump, the term “fake news” has quickly become part of the standard repertoire of leaders in authoritarian countries to describe media reports and organizations critical of them.

    • UN Human Rights Rapporteur Warns Against Canadian Pirate Site Blocking Plan

      The Canadian pirate site blocking plan may violate The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations Special Rapporteur David Kaye warns. He informs the CRTC that website blocking is an extreme measure which could restrict people’s freedom of expression, especially when there’s no judicial oversight.

    • Facebook may soon let users appeal if a post was wrongly removed

      In an interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, Mark Zuckerberg says he is exploring the option for Facebook users to independently appeal to the content moderation team if their content gets taken down for violating community policies. The CEO likens the appeal process to Facebook operating more like a government, with the goal of creating a network that “reflects more what people in the community want than what short-term-oriented shareholders might want.”

    • Judge Blocks Iowa Town From Shutting Down Or Suing Resident Over His Critical Website

      The government of a small town in Iowa has just received a slapdown from a US federal court. The public servants running Sibley, Iowa — pop. ~3,000 — decided it was going to eliminate one resident’s First Amendment rights because he wouldn’t stop telling people moving to Sibley might be a bad idea.

      It all began with a meat byproduct processing plant that moved to the small town, creating jobs and a powerful stench. Resident Jeremy Harms approached the town government about the nasty smell several times, but was blown off repeatedly. News of the “blood plant’s” unpleasant odor began making news around the state, but it was Harms’ personal website that finally pushed the town into violating First Amendment rights. The town’s lawyer sent Harms a legal threat, telling him to stop criticizing the town on his website and strongly suggesting he try to be more positive about the stinkhole he lived in.

    • China: Free Anti-Censorship Activist

      The Chinese government should immediately and unconditionally release human rights activist Zhen Jianghua, who has been held incommunicado since September 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. On March 30, 2018, Chinese police formally arrested Zhen on charges of inciting subversion, but continue to deny Zhen access to legal counsel and family members, citing “national security” concerns.

      Zhen, 32, is the executive director of the Human Rights Campaign in China, or Quanli Yundong (权利运动), an online platform that publishes information related to detentions of activists, police abuses, and other human rights violations. Zhen is also the founder of ATGFW.org, a website that provides information and services to help people scale China’s Great Firewall to access the uncensored global internet.


      Zhen is a former computer programmer who has been involved in human rights activism since the mid-2000s. As a social worker, he assisted women who suffered domestic violence in Zhuhai and people with autism in Macau. He helped victims of human rights abuses use the internet to promote their cases and taught university students about methods of circumventing internet censorship.

      After becoming executive director of Human Rights Campaign in China in 2015, Zhen focused on helping spread news about government crackdowns on human rights activists, and building a support network to advocate for their releases. During the “709 crackdown,” in which authorities rounded up hundreds of human rights lawyers and activists, Zhen mobilized support for the detained lawyers and activists and their families. Over the past decade, authorities have harassed, intimidated, forcibly evicted, and briefly detained Zhen.

    • Cody Library: We don’t censor

      When I starting working in technical services – the realm of the catalogers – I was impressed by the diversity of material contained in this library.

      One day, I saw a tract that had been donated by a special interest group. In my ignorance, I said, “Throw that away.”

      “We don’t censor,” chief cataloger Edie Phillips said.

      In fact we can’t. Policy dictates that the library system adheres to the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement listed below:

      A. Library Bill of Rights

      The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

    • Oppose Internet censorship! Defend freedom of speech!

      The supporters group of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) in India will hold a public meeting in Chennai on April 8 against Internet censorship.

      Google has modified its search algorithms to target the World Socialist Web Site and other socialist, anti-war and progressive web sites. Facebook has made changes to limit access to news, except what it terms authoritative news.

      Another indication of the dangerous advance of Internet censorship is the decision by the American payment-processing corporation PayPal to block online sales of the WSWS pamphlet, The Struggle Against Imperialism and for Workers’ Power in Iran.

      The attack on Internet access is global. Under the guise of opposing “hate speech” and defending “national security,” the right-wing Indian government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Internet technology companies to censor selected web sites and social media accounts.

    • India Tops List Of Countries With Maximum Censorship Of Films In 2017

      India is among the world’s most creative filmmaking countries but has topped the list of countries that have censored the most number of films in 2017, surpassing Turkey, China, Lebanon, France and its neighbor Pakistan, according to a study The State of Artistic Freedom by Freemuse, an independent international organisation advocating for free artistic expression.

      According to the study, in 2017, 20% of all film censorship cases came from India, followed by Turkey and Pakistan, with 9% of cases each and China accounted for 6% of the total cases. In cases of persecution and threats to filmmakers and actors, India accounted for one-third of all, followed by the United Arab Emirates, with 17% cases.

    • County Attorney Formally Asks ACLU To Stop Saying Factual Things About Pending Drug Legislation
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Panerabread.com Leaks Millions of Customer Records

      Panerabread.com, the Web site for the American chain of bakery-cafe fast casual restaurants by the same name, leaked millions of customer records — including names, email and physical addresses, birthdays and the last four digits of the customer’s credit card number — for at least eight months before it was yanked offline earlier today, KrebsOnSecurity has learned.


      Fast forward to early this afternoon — exactly eight months to the day after Houlihan first reported the problem — and data shared by Houlihan indicated the site was still leaking customer records in plain text. Worse still, the records could be indexed and crawled by automated tools with very little effort.

    • Why the crypto-backdoor side is morally corrupt

      This is nonsense. It’s like claiming we haven’t cured the common cold because researchers haven’t spent enough effort at it. When researchers claim they’ve tried 10,000 ways to make something work, it’s like insisting they haven’t done enough because they haven’t tried 10,001 times.

    • Billion-dollar Facebook investor tells Mark Zuckerberg to quit as chairman
    • The Next NSA Chief Is More Used to Cyberwar Than Spy Games

      After sailing through two friendly Senate hearings—one so uncontroversial that only six senators tops bothered to even show up at any given point in the hour—Lieutenant General Paul Nakasone seems set for confirmation as the next director of the National Security Agency. That means he’ll soon lead not just one agency, but two: the world’s most powerful spying operation, the NSA, and the world’s most powerful military hacker force, US Cyber Command. And for the first time since those two roles were combined in 2010, the man leading them may be more comfortable with the latter—leaving the NSA with the unfamiliar feeling of being the not-quite-favorite sibling.

    • Feds: There are hostile stingrays in DC, but we don’t know how to find them

      The federal government has formally acknowledged for the first time that it has located suspected and unauthorized cell-site simulators in various parts of Washington, DC.

      The revelation, which was reported for the first time on Tuesday by the Associated Press, was described in a letter recently released from the Department of Homeland Security to the offices of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon).

      “Overall, [DHS' National Protection and Programs Directorate] believes the malicious use of IMSI catchers is a real and growing risk,” wrote Christopher Krebs, DHS’ acting undersecretary, in a March 26, 2018 letter to Wyden.

    • ‘Being cash-free puts us at risk of attack’: Swedes turn against cashlessness

      It is hard to argue that you cannot trust the government when the government isn’t really all that bad. This is the problem facing the small but growing number of Swedes anxious about their country’s rush to embrace a cash-free society.

      Most consumers already say they manage without cash altogether, while shops and cafes increasingly refuse to accept notes and coins because of the costs and risk involved. Until recently, however, it has been hard for critics to find a hearing.

      “The Swedish government is a rather nice one, we have been lucky enough to have mostly nice ones for the past 100 years,” says Christian Engström, a former MEP for the Pirate Party and an early opponent of the cashless economy.

    • Emmanuel Macron compares ‘too big to be governed’ Google and Facebook to oil barons

      Emmanuel Macron has suggested that Facebook and Google are “too big to be governed” and compared their dominance to that of the oil barons in the early 20th century, saying they may have to be dismantled.

    • Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s hardest year, and what comes next

      Behind Facebook’s hard year is a collision between the company’s values, ambitions, business model, and mind-boggling scale. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has long held that the company’s mission is to make the world more open and connected — with the assumption being that a more open and connected world is a better world. That assumption has been sorely tested over the past year. As we’ve seen, a more open world can make it easier for governments to undermine each other’s elections from afar; a more connected world can make it easier to spread hatred and incite violence.

    • Alleged NSA leaker files to subpoena cybersecurity firms, national security agencies

      Reality Winner, the former National Security Agency contractor alleged of leaking classified information to online publication the Intercept, recently submitted a request to subpoena several U.S. government intelligence agencies, private-sector organizations and state governments.

      Winner is standing trial for allegedly retaining and transmitting top-secret documents related to state election systems penetrated by Russian-affiliated cyber actors during the 2016 presidential election.

    • Alleged NSA leaker files to subpoena cybersecurity firms, national security agencies
    • Alleged NSA leaker seeks to subpoena major cybersecurity companies, intel agencies
    • NSA Leaker’s Defense Seeks Records From 21 States Over Election Hacks
    • Accused leaker Reality Winner wants to subpoena Homeland Security, states
    • Accused NSA Leaker Wants to Subpoena Intel Agencies, Cybersecurity Firms

      Lawyers for an alleged NSA leaker are seeking the right to subpoena witnesses from US state and federal agencies, along with cybersecurity firms, as part of her legal defense. The subpoenas would include elections officials who were told by Homeland Security last September that their systems had been targeted by hackers.

      26-year old former NSA contractor Reality Leigh Winner is accused of leaking classified documents to The Intercept, and is now looking to subpoena some of America’s largest cybersecurity firms. Her lawyers are applying for the court’s permission to call representatives from the companies, along with officials from the CIA, Pentagon and other government agencies as witnesses for the defense. The justification for Winner’s lawyers seeking these subpoenas is still sealed and has to undergo a classification review before it can be released to the public.

    • It’s Really Hard To Grab Mark Zuckerberg’s Trash

      Facebook is a trade. You give up some privacy and in return you get access to a “free” social network where you can talk to your friends and family.

    • California Supreme Court Upholds the State’s Problematic Arrestee DNA Collection Law

      In a disappointing and deeply divided opinion released today, the California Supreme Court upheld a state law law mandating DNA collection from arrestees. A lower court had held this law violated the privacy and search and seizure protections guaranteed under the California constitution. Today’s decision lets this flawed law stand.

      The case, People v. Buza, involved a San Francisco man who challenged his conviction for refusing to provide a DNA sample after he was arrested. California law allows police to collect DNA from anyone arrested on suspicion of a felony—without a warrant or any finding by a judge that there was sufficient cause for the arrest. The state stores arrestees’ DNA samples indefinitely, and allows DNA profiles to be searched continuously by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

      EFF weighed in on the case in 2015, filing an amicus brief arguing the state’s constitution prohibits the collection of DNA from arrestees because of the severe impact DNA collection has on our right to privacy. Our DNA contains our entire genetic makeup—private and personal information that maps who we are, where we come from, and whom we are related to.

      In our brief, we noted California’s law sharply impacts tens of thousands of innocent Californians every year—nearly a third of the more than 400,000 people arrested for suspected felonies in California each year are never charged with or convicted of a crime. However, law enforcement can and has collected DNA from all of them. Their DNA remains in the state database, and state rules make it almost impossible to get it expunged or removed.

    • The FBI Could Have Gotten Into the San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone, But Leadership Didn’t Say That

      The Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) last week released a new report that supports what EFF has long suspected: that the FBI’s legal fight with Apple in 2016 to create backdoor access to a San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone was more focused on creating legal precedent than it was on accessing the one specific device.

      The report, called a “special inquiry,” details the FBI’s failure to be completely forthright with Congress, the courts, and the American public. While the OIG report concludes that neither former FBI Director James Comey, nor the FBI officials who submitted sworn statements in court had “testified inaccurately or made false statements” during the roughly month-long saga, it illustrates just how close they came to lying under oath.

      From the onset, we suspected that the FBI’s primary goal in its effort to access to an iPhone found in the wake of the December 2015 mass shootings in San Bernardino wasn’t simply to unlock the device at issue. Rather, we believed that the FBI’s intention with the litigation was to obtain legal precedent that it could compel Apple to sabotage its own security mechanisms. Among other disturbing revelations, the new OIG report confirms our suspicion: senior leaders within the FBI were “definitely not happy” when the agency realized that another solution to access the contents of the phone had been found through an outside vendor and the legal proceeding against Apple couldn’t continue.

    • Poll: One in five cutting down on social media

      85 percent use social media to maintain relationships [sic]

    • [Older] Decentralized identity and decentralized social networks

      Furthermore, nobody accuses Bob of being dishonest or duplicitous for acting this way. In fact, everything described above is such a fundamental, everyday part of the human experience that it’s downright boring.

      Now Bob goes online. Suddenly, every social network is telling him that he should have exactly one identity, speak in one voice, and abide by one set of rules.

    • Facebook Data Scandal Has Left Zuckerberg Isolated in Tech

      “This is about the entire web surveillance-based and advertising-powered business model,” she said. “Facebook is just the worst or best at it, depending on your view of surveillance.”

    • Mark Zuckerberg calls Tim Cook’s comments on Facebook ‘extremely glib’

      Cook said, “The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer — if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that.” Apple, instead, has monetized products to customers, and Cook argued that was a sounder business model and not vulnerable to the same problems Facebook is having.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • NPR Runs IDF Playbook, Spinning Killing of 17 Palestinians

      The “firebombs” claim is repeated later in the piece by Estrin himself: “Israel responded to Palestinians throwing rocks, firebombs, burning tires.” This isn’t qualified with “according to the IDF” or “the Israeli government”—even though as of now, there’s no independent evidence firebombs were used, much less used before any sniper fire from Israel.

      The issue isn’t trivial: The matter of first blood when it comes to the Palestinian/Israeli “conflict” is a crucial one (FAIR.org, 12/8/17); framing Israel as always responding to threats, rather than inflicting aggressive violence on an occupied people, is a critical difference. And subtle framing devices like “clashes,” distorting timelines of who did what, or morphing IDF claims of “firebombs” into fact are how media keep this myth alive, and further delegitimize Palestinian resistance. (It should be borne in mind that opposition to occupation, even armed opposition, is a right guaranteed by international law.)

      When FAIR pointed out to Estrin on Twitter that he had reported the “firebombs” as fact and not a claim by the IDF, he responded, “I reported the firebombs as an Israeli claim.” When FAIR showed evidence he and host Shapiro had done the opposite, Estrin deflected: “Be kind; it’s live radio.”

    • Attorney General Says Texas Cops Can View All The Camera Footage They Want Before Being Questioned
    • NY Appeals Court Gives NYPD Even More Opacity By Upholding It ‘Glomar’ Powers

      Three years after a lower court decided the NYPD could deliver Glomar responses to records requesters, the state’s appeals court has handed down its agreement. Apparently the NYPD can — without being a federal agency or one charged with pursuing terrorists in foreign countries — refuse to confirm or deny the existence of documents, something previously only granted to federal agencies.

      The case stems from federal intervention, however. The records sought pertain to the NYPD’s now-disbanded Demographics Unit. As its name suggests, the Demographics Unit focused on one demographic: New York City Muslims. They were being placed under surveillance while they engaged in First Amendment-protected activities. This unit was created by a former CIA officer and routinely shared information with federal agencies like the FBI… right up until federal agencies realized the NYPD’s routine rights violations made the shared info too toxic to touch, must less to use in prosecutions.

    • He Gave His Life in the Labor Struggle: MLK’s Forgotten Radical Message for Economic Justice

      Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 50 years ago this week while in Memphis, where he was supporting striking sanitation workers and building support for his Poor People’s Campaign. We look at King’s long history of fighting for economic justice, with the Rev. James Lawson and historian Michael Honey, author of the new book “To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Boss Under Fire For Facts-Optional Attack On Low-Income Broadband Programs

      For a while now, we’ve noted how FCC boss Ajit Pai professes to be some kind of a hero to the poor, despite the fact that his policies are quickly making broadband and TV services more expensive for Americans. His extremely unpopular net neutrality repeal, for example, will only wind up driving up costs for consumers as entrenched ISPs jack up costs for competitors and consumers alike. And when Pai wasn’t busy killing net neutrality, he was busy killing efforts to make cable boxes more competitive and affordable, or making it easier for prison phone monopolies to rip off inmate families via absurdly over-priced services.

      Pai has also been taking aim at a government program dubbed Lifeline, which makes expensive American telecom services slightly less expensive for poor families. The program, started under Reagan and expanded under Bush Jr., simply gives low-income homes a $9.25 credit they can use for home phone, broadband, or wireless service (they have to pick one). Traditionally, this program has had pretty broad, bipartisan support, and is uniformly seen as pretty much the least the government can do to help those struggling to make ends meet.

      But Pai’s attack on Lifeline has come via death by a thousand cuts, and is starting to alarm folks that actually try to help poor people for a living. Most recently, Pai tabled a proposal that would declare that smaller wireless MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators, like Boost or Virgin Mobile) could no longer participate in Lifeline. While Pai has claimed that these changes will somehow magically boost broadband deployment, he hasn’t been able to offer the slightest shred of data to support that contention.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Disbarred Patent Attorney Michael I. Kroll Still Practicing, No Comment from PTO

      In preparation for an ethics CLE later this week I was reviewing final disciplinary decisions against registered patent practitioners. Not surprisingly, Michael I. Kroll’s name appeared twice over the past year. Kroll has been frequently disciplined by the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) over the years.

      What is surprising, however, is that Kroll continues to practice despite being disbarred. When reached for comment a spokesperson for the United States Patent and Trademark Office declined to comment.

    • A new way of recording revenue comes into force: Will it hurt?

      Another area of change involves intellectual property (IP) licensing. Entities will need to determine whether the licence transfers to the customer ‘over time’ or ‘at a point in time’. A licence that is transferred over time allows a customer access to the entity’s IP as it exists throughout the licence period – such revenue is recognised over time. Licence provides right to access IP if all of the following criteria are met: 1) The licensor performs activities that significantly affect the IP; 2) The rights expose the customer to the effects of these activities; and 3) The activities are not a separate good or service.

      Examples of such arrangements include consumer franchise arrangements, popular consumer brands, tradenames, etc. On the other hand, licences transferred at a point in time allow the customer the right to use the entity’s IP as it exists when the license is granted. The customer must be able to direct the use and obtain substantially all of the remaining benefits from the licensed IP to recognise revenue when the license is granted. Such examples include licensing of product formula, IT software, patents, etc.

    • Intel Patents Bitcoin Mining Chip Accelerator to Reduce Energy Usage

      Intel has filed a patent for a Bitcoin (BTC) mining hardware accelerator that would dramatically reduce the amount of electricity used to mine the cryptocurrency. The patent was filed on September 23, 2016.

    • Intel Patents Hardware Accelerator

      On March 29, 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published an application in the name of Intel Corporation, which puts the famous microprocessor company back in the spotlight of crypto mining.

    • Trademarks

      • University Of Illinois Attempts To Trademark Bully An Alumnus After Failing To Stop His Trademark Registration

        It’s not a great look when our institutions of higher learning either can’t get their own collective shit together on matters of law or else attempt to bully former students with specious claims. And, yet, this appears to happen far too frequently. The most glaring example of this was Iowa State University’s attempt to violate the free speech rights of its students that resulted in a $400k bill of blowback. Now it seems that the University of Illinois is seeking to trademark bully an alumnus after failing to take action during that alumnus’ trademark registration for a t-shirt in orange and black that reads “Make Illinois Great Again.”

    • Copyrights

      • Spotify poised to be a $25bn company on eve of IPO

        Spotify, like fellow tech firms such as Tesla and Uber, is yet to make a profit, as its income struggles to keep pace with costs, including the royalties it pays to record labels and artists.

      • Federal Circuit Ruling in Oracle v. Google Could Affect Global Software Industry

        Google’s use of 37 of Oracle’s Java application programming interface (API) packages in its Android operating system infringed Oracle patents and copyright, the US District Court for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) said on 27 March. The latest decision in the long-running case was not unreasonable but could stifle software innovation, lawyers said.

Berkheimer Can be Overturned and Software Patents Are Still a Waste of Time/Money/Effort in the United States

Posted in America, Patents at 4:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pulling a Berkheimer

Summary: Contrary to the views (or marketing rather) of the patent ‘industry’, software patents remain weak if not outright worthless after Alice, no matter how much name-dropping (e.g. “Berkheimer”) the patent ‘industry’ resorts to

THE status/fate of software patents at the USPTO depends on PTAB, which compels examiners to reject some. It often affirms rejections, too. We stopped keeping track of these many affirmations about a month ago, instead noting (citing some statistical analysis of these affirmations) that patent applications pertaining to algorithms are likely to be a waste of time and money.

“The EFF and others stepped in with formal input on Berkheimer. They wrote to the court.”Some days ago we wrote about law firms 'pulling a Berkheimer', i.e. selectively citing a case or two in an effort to convince clients to still pursue software patents. The EFF and others stepped in with formal input on Berkheimer. They wrote to the court. So did HP, seeking to overturn/reverse Berkheimer. Michael Borella, who writes for a patent maximalists’ site, wrote about it at the start of the week (he covers Berkheimer’s side, not HP’s). HP is now in a position to further cement the de facto ban on software patents.

Sure, the court overturned PTAB in spite of dissenting judges (like those whom the patent microcosm insulted racially), but there’s still room for appeal. To quote Borella:

In early February, the Federal Circuit published an opinion in HP Inc. v. Berkheimer stating clearly –- for the first time — that patent-eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 should be determined as a matter of law, but with possible underlying factual issues. While supported in principle by Supreme Court and previous Federal Circuit decisions, neither body had unambiguously stated that facts matter in eligibility disputes. Thus, this ruling has the potential to fundamentally shift how the § 101 inquiry is carried out.

Berkheimer’s U.S. Patent No. 7,447,713 is directed to “digitally processing and archiving files in a digital asset management system.” This system “parses files into multiple objects and tags the objects to create relationships between them,” then compares these objects to “to archived objects to determine whether variations exist based on predetermined standards and rules.” Doing so “eliminates redundant storage of common text and graphical elements, which improves system operating efficiency and reduces storage costs.”

Do not fall for the Berkheimer hype. With very rare and few exceptions, software patents are being proven to be as worthless as they have been after Alice in the US Supreme Court.

It’s obvious that the patent maximalists won’t give up; last night Lisa Ouellette wrote about an “article [which] is mostly from the perspective of cutbacks in patent rights that retroactively invalidate patents. ”

These are not cutbacks. They merely get rid of bogus patents. And they’re not rights, they’re monopolies.

“They merely get rid of bogus patents. And they’re not rights, they’re monopolies.”Dennis Crouch meanwhile takes note of a decision/opinion more than a week old, stating: “In its March 23 opinion, the Federal Circuit reversed two USPTO IPR decisions favoring the patent challenger — holding that “the Board did not provide a sufficient explanation for its conclusions” of obviousness. [...] the Federal Circuit found that the PTAB had not shown its case — its conclusions lacked evidentiary support.”

This is basically the latest bubble or hype on which the patent maximalists rely. Another one that we saw yesterday came from the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM). Only a site like IAM, which fronts for patent trolls and serial litigators, would come up with a headline (yesterday) which says US patent “litigation remains depressed” (seriously, they said “depressed”).

That’s like saying “war remains depressed” and this is generally their message on an Easter Monday. That “litigation remains depressed”…

“The world is moving on and with Oil States in the pipeline we expect a lot of the Berkheimer hype (or PTAB bashing) to stop as well.”Maybe it’s just them who are depressed, knowing that their funding sources may soon run dry. In addition to Alice there’s also TC Heartland, which makes litigation a lot harder for serial bullies.

Yesterday, the Docket Navigator cited Whirlpool Corporation v TST Water, LLC, 2-15-cv-01528 (dated March 29th). It’s a decision from Rodney Gilstrap, whom politicians called “reprehensible”. He continues to signal that patent trolls and aggressors ought to come to the Eastern District of Texas for patent extortion, but few of them can come there for such favourable rulings. The latest:

Following a jury verdict of willful infringement, the court granted in part plaintiff’s motion for enhanced damages because defendant’s copying, lack of a good faith belief in noninfringement/invalidity, lack of closeness of the case, duration of misconduct, lack of remedial action, and motivation for harm favored an enhancement of $3.8 million on a $7.6 million award.

Typical Gilstrap. Thankfully, after TC Heartland there will be a lot less ‘business’ for him. The world is moving on and with Oil States in the pipeline we expect a lot of the Berkheimer hype (or PTAB bashing) to stop as well. As for that anti-PTAB bill (which they dubbed “STRONGER”)? We have not heard from it in over a week, so it’s likely dead or dying again, just like it did a year ago. After Easter recess we doubt it’ll even be brought up much (if at all).

‘Patent Imperialism’ in the United States and China

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 2:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They believe that by amassing millions of low-quality patents they will perpetually maintain dominance and glory

Classic Vienna

Summary: Patent maximalism, which is encouraged and always glorified by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), threatens to accomplish nothing but associating patents with self-destructive lawsuits that divert economic capacities from research and development to patents and litigation (passage of power and wealth from science and technology to law firms)

Thanks to Cablegate (2010), we already know about ambitions of a global patent system (we wrote quite a lot about this around 2011). But whose globalism? In Cablegate we see ambitions of a USPTO-like or US-leaning system worldwide (the EPO moved closer to that, more so than IP5 on average) and putting WIPO aside, why would anybody want that? What about the hundreds (about 200) nations that don’t dominate the world’s economy? What’s in it for them? What about high-density and large populations like Nigeria, Brazil, India, Indonesia and so on? Should billions of people become indebted to or beholden to some corporations halfway across the world? Does unification of systems or a sort of convergence benefit the public or does that benefit large multinational corporations and billionaires? In practice, due to political dynamics, it’s usually the latter. We already saw how a ‘cartel’ of patent law firms crafted and then attempted to force-feed (ratify) the UPC all across Europe, basically helping patent trolls from other continents blackmail many SMEs across Europe (profitable for patent law firms, representing both plaintiffs and defendants).

“We already saw how a ‘cartel’ of patent law firms crafted and then attempted to force-feed (ratify) the UPC all across Europe, basically helping patent trolls from other continents blackmail many SMEs across Europe (profitable for patent law firms, representing both plaintiffs and defendants).”Anyway, yesterday IAM wrote more of its Chinese jingoism over the patent system of China (because it had fully embraced patent maximalism some years ago). The vast majority of patent lawsuits in China may still be initiated by Chinese firms, some government-connected monopolies in fact, and the targets are often foreign companies they hope to drive out. That’s a very high cost for PRC/CPC/China/Xi to pay just to pretend that it has an innovation surge (measured wrongly by number of monopolies) and counter sanctions/fines in case of trade wars, which seem inevitable now.

IAM, echoing the headline (more or less) in Twitter, basically quotes only the patent microcosm (as usual):

Beijing has a reputation for deep patent expertise in its courts and is a favoured venue for overseas companies. But Lui has found that foreign parties enjoy a high success rate across the whole of the country. In cases that resulted in a verdict, foreign plaintiffs won 29 and lost just 8 – a conversion rate of about 78%.

But 24 other cases were withdrawn. It is hard to get a good read on what these presumed settlements mean. Chinese practitioners say that one reason for the high winning rate of all plaintiffs in China is that it often becomes clear during the course of a case if a plaintiff is unlikely to succeed – technical determinations made by judges’ assistants can be decisive. So we really cannot assume that the larger share of settlements will be on terms favourable to the plaintiff.

At the end, this patent policy of China benefits law firms but not practicing (real) companies. Chinese companies are complaining about this (to the extent they can given the oppressive levels of censorship). Law firms are staging a sort of ‘coup’ there.

Speaking of China, mind this morning’s nonsense from the patent microcosm (Managing IP with some self-promoting law firms). The headline says “Global blockchain patent filing increased three-fold in 2017,” but actually the use of that word tripled (it’s a fairly new term), that is all. That’s just how patent maximalists try to seem ‘cool’ or ‘up to date’, basically by adopting hype waves.

“But never let a good propaganda opportunity get in the way, with ‘sensational’ headlines such as “patent filing increased three-fold in 2017″ (misleading at best).”According to them, in 2016 there were 59 such patents counted in China (top of the table) and in 2017 226. But don’t expect them to be able to read these patents; not only is their quality dubious; they’re likely authored in a language nobody at Managing IP can even pronounce.

But never let a good propaganda opportunity get in the way, with ‘sensational’ headlines such as “patent filing increased three-fold in 2017″ (misleading at best).

We often wonder why WIPO is so eager to embrace low-quality patents from China just to fake so-called ‘growth’ (of monopolies). But we know the answer. WIPO is the mother of all patent maximalism and it derives its very relevance/clout from such astronomic increase in the number of patents (mostly Chinese). I too can create (in theory at least) a patent office, but WIPO would not recognise it. This whole thing is a back-rubbing exercise, just like national delegates at the EPO (typically heads of national patent offices) offering protection to the insane Battistelli. These people are staging a sort of coup, wherein law firms gain at everyone’s expense (companies, the public, governments).

As if things weren’t already mad enough, the US now asserts/claims to have patent authority over New Zealand, whose patent laws vary (there are exclusions regarding software patents for instance). Together with the R Street Institute (a recent trend), the EFF’s Daniel Nazer has just weighed in on WesternGeco LLC v ION Geophysical Corp. under the headline “EFF to Supreme Court: Don’t Turn US Patents Into Worldwide Patents”. To quote:

The general rule in patent law is that each country has its own patent system. If you want damages for sales in the United States, you need a U.S. patent. If you want damages for sales in New Zealand, you need to get a New Zealand patent, and so on. A case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court threatens to disrupt this system by allowing worldwide damages for infringement of U.S. patents. Together with the R Street Institute, EFF has filed an amicus brief [PDF] in the case explaining that extraterritorial damages are inconsistent with the Patent Act and would hurt U.S. innovation.

The case, called WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp., involves damages for overseas patent infringement. Literally. WesternGeco owns a patent that covers a method of conducting marine seismic surveys. ION exported components that, when combined, were used to infringe the patent. Under Section 271(f) of the Patent Act, exporting components of a patented invention for assembly abroad is considered infringement. Accordingly, WesternGeco received damages for the sales of the components. The question in the case is whether WesternGeco should also receive lost profits for the use of the invention overseas (even though that use is not itself infringement under U.S. law).

Remember that the notion that patent numbers should always rise is misguided if not grotesque. All it does is, eventually, might be surge in litigation activity. We know who gains/benefits from it and who loses (or at whose expense those gains are made).

Keep the patent systems rational or risk the concept of patents losing its legitimacy (public support) altogether.

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

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

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

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

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts