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04.28.18

Links 28/4/2018: Wine 3.7 Released, FigOS 2.8, GIMP 2.10

Posted in News Roundup at 7:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Penguins in a sandbox: Google nudges Linux apps toward Chrome OS

      This indicates it’s a feature aimed squarely at developers and system administrators – a world away from the education market where locked-down Chromebooks rule.

      “Signs point to other devices, even ones with ARM system-on-chips, receiving support in the future,” wrote Miyamoto. “But perhaps not quite yet for 32-bit machines. There are also hints that some parts of VM functionality required to run Crostini won’t be available for devices with older kernel versions.”

      More may be revealed at Google’s annual developer conference, I/O, starting 8 May.

    • Crostini Linux Container Apps Getting Full Native Treatment on Chromebooks

      Another day, another Crostini feature comes to light. So far, we have the Linux Terminal installer, Files app integration, and Material Design cues already rounding out the Linux app experience. As we continue to uncover clues by the day, it seems development of the Crostini Project is full steam ahead today is no different. Each clue we uncover continues to push the entire experience closer to something I believe will be delivered to developers and general users alike.

    • Linux Apps On Chromebooks

      Don’t you sometimes wish that you could throw the entire development stack out and start again. Yes we all do, but we all also know that if we did no-one would follow us. The reasons we use the technology we do has very little to do with good engineering and nothing at all to do with good design. We sort of struggle on from where we are to get a little further down the road. It isn’t even that we know what our end point is, it is more that we inch along to a slightly better place. Viewed from 1000 feet our progress must look a lot like a random walk.

    • Chrome OS will support Linux apps — with a dash of Material Design

      A commit to Chromium’s code has revealed more about Google’s plan to support Linux apps in Chrome OS with a dash of Material Design.

      Google’s annual I/O developer conference is just around the corner, and we’re starting to see the usual early hints at what to expect. We’ve known about Project Crostini, the codename for the project to bring Linux apps to Chrome, for some time — but the UI elements have remained a mystery, until now.

      The developers behind Crostini appear to have settled on the Material Design-inspired ‘Adapta’ theme for Linux. Google may choose to create its own bespoke theme which is even closer to Chrome OS, but for now, it seems this is what’s being used.

    • “Terminal” App Brings Crostini And Linux Apps One Step Closer To Chrome OS

      Developers continue to bring together bits and pieces of the still mysterious Project Crostini and this week we see more detail of what the end-user could see whenever the new feature is made available. Yesterday, Robby shared a sneak-peek as some new UI elements that will bring a Material Design feel to the container tech as well as evidence that Crostini will have access to the Files App on Chromebooks.

    • Crostini Seemingly Gaining Direct File Access In Chrome OS

      Google Chromebook owners who frequently have to work with Linux applications can attest that one of the biggest limitations of the Crostini Linux container is that it does not have direct access to the device’s file system, but it seems that this may be changing soon. The way things work now forces files generated in the Crostini container to stay there, and keeps users from using local files inside the container’s application. A workaround is available via SSH, but it can be cumbersome. A recent code commit in the Chromium repository points to Google using Crostini’s built-in SSH and a pre-built action library to create an easier solution, essentially giving Crostini file access privileges to and from the Chromebook.

    • How Microsoft Convinced Clueless Judges To Send A Man To Jail For Copying Software It Gives Out For Free

      This story should make you very, very angry. Last month we had the basic story of how Microsoft had helped to get a computer recycler sentenced to 15 months in jail for “counterfeiting” software that it gives away for free, and which is useless unless you have an official paid-for license from Microsoft. Let me repeat that: Microsoft helped put someone in jail for criminal infringement over software that anyone can get for free (here, go get it), and which won’t function unless you’ve paid Microsoft their due.

      At issue are Windows recovery discs. Way back when, these were the discs that usually shipped with new computers in case you needed to reinstall Windows. You still needed your license to make them work, of course. Then people realized it was wasteful to ship all that — combined with enough broadband to make it easy enough to download and burn the files, and Microsoft then just made it easy to do that. But, that’s still complex enough, and Eric Lundgren had a solution. Lundgren is not some fly-by-night pirate. He’s spent years doing amazing things, recycling computers and helping them last longer. And he had an idea. It might be helpful to manufacture a bunch of these recovery discs and offer them to repair shops to help people who were unable to download the recovery discs themselves. He was being helpful.

      But Microsoft insisted that he was not just infringing on their copyrights civilly, but criminally. When we left things last month, we were waiting for the 11th Circuit Appeals Court to consider Lundgren’s appeal — and astoundingly this week the judges, demonstrating near total ignorance of technology and the actual legal issues — rejected his appeal which means Lundgren is going to jail for over a year for trying to do some good in the world, helping people get the exact same thing that Microsoft is offering for free, and which no one could use unless they’d already paid Microsoft its tax.

      [...]

      Look, that statement is pure hogwash. The software is not counterfeit. It’s legit. It’s the same thing that anyone can download from Microsoft for free. It didn’t expose anyone to malware or cybercrime, and Microsoft knows that.

      So much of this comes down to a fundamental misunderstanding, driven by copyright maximalists of all stripes, including Microsoft. And it’s the idea that all of the following are equivalent: a copyright, a piece of software, a license, and “intellectual property.” Many people like to use all of those things indistinguishably. But they are different. The issue here is the difference between the software and the license. And Microsoft, prosecutors and the judges either do not understand this or just don’t care.

    • E-waste recycler Eric Lundgren loses appeal on computer restore disks, must serve 15-month prison term

      A California man who built a sizable business out of recycling electronic waste is headed to federal prison for 15 months after a federal appeals court in Miami rejected his claim that the “restore disks” he made to extend the lives of computers had no financial value, instead ruling that he had infringed Microsoft’s products to the tune of $700,000.

      The appeals court upheld a federal district judge’s ruling that the disks made by Eric Lundgren to restore Microsoft operating systems had a value of $25 apiece, even though they could be downloaded free and could be used only on computers with a valid Microsoft license. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit initially granted Lundgren an emergency stay of his prison sentence, shortly before he was to surrender, but then affirmed his original 15-month sentence and $50,000 fine without hearing oral argument in a ruling issued April 11.

    • Microsoft sends recycler to jail for reinstalling obsolete, licensed copies of Windows on refurbished PCs

      After doing everything in its power to put this amazing, brilliant, principled man in jail, Microsoft issued a statement smearing him and calling him a “counterfeiter.”

      As JWZ puts it: “In case you’ve forgotten: Microsoft is still a vile garbage fire of a company.”

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation

      • How the blockchain could secure our identities

        We’re bringing information and devices online at an unprecedented rate, raising one of the fundamental questions of our time: how do we represent ourselves in this digital world that we are creating? And, more importantly, how do we secure our identity in a digital world? We’ve heard about blockchain for currencies and smart contracts; a compelling and crucial application is in securing online identity.

      • The future of Node.js: Q&A with Mark Hinkle

        onceived in 2015, the Node.js Foundation is focused on supporting Node.js and its related modules through an open governance model. Node.js as a technology has gone through a lot of changes in the last few years, and is becoming a staple in the enterprise. It is used across industries to build applications at any scale.

        Executive Director of the Node.js Foundation, Mark Hinkle provides commentary on the growth of Node.js in general, how the Node.js Foundation works with the community and what he is most excited about this year with Node.js.

    • Graphics Stack

      • New BC7/BPTC GPU Texture Encoder Open-Sourced

        Former Valve developer and texture compression wizard Rich Geldreich has open-sourced the “bc7enc16″ BC7/BPTC texture encoder.

        This latest BC7/BPTC texture format encoder Rich believes to offer to be one of the strongest CPU-based encoders available for opaque textures. This encoder served as a prototype for work at his consulting firm Binomial with their Basis compression portfolio.

      • Intel ANV Vulkan Driver Adds Initial Support For Icelake

        While we are still waiting for Intel Cannonlake CPUs with “Gen 10″ graphics to formally launch (which looks like may not happen now until very late 2018 or early 2019, with the recent Intel earnings call indicating no 10nm volume production until 2019), open-source Intel developers continue their work on the Linux bring-up of Icelake “Gen 11″ graphics.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Atelier/AtCore First Brainstorm

        I’m here today to invite you to participate in Atelier/AtCore first Brainstorm. But why are we going to do a brainstorm in the first place?

        Since July/2016 we’ve been working on AtCore, adding features and tools to help us on development. On 20th of January of 2018, we did our first tagging of the project and launched AtCore 1.0. Since then, more than 100 commits were already added to AtCore, including new features.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Google Just Forked a Popular GTK Theme

        Rumour is that desktop Linux apps are coming to Chromebooks, and when they do they may look rather familiar.

        Like, Adapta GTK theme familiar.

        Reports earlier in the year revealed plans Google has to add Linux virtual machine support in Chrome OS via LXD containers.

        We speculated at the time that the move could allow end-users to run desktop Linux apps on Chromebooks without resorting to existing Crouton-based hybrid-OS solutions.

      • Dropping support for non-square pixels in Pitivi

        GStreamer Editing Services (GES), the library used by Pitivi for video processing, is very flexible and allows using videos of any video format in the same project. However, normally, in a “pro” setup, most video editing applications are very strict about the formats they accept as input, so Pitivi and GES were a bit unconventional with the “anything goes” approach.

      • Make Gnome Shell More Like Unity With Unite Extension

        Users coming to Ubuntu 18.04 from 16.04 with Unity might find it easier to switch (or at least feel more “at home”) to Gnome Shell with the use of an extension called Unite.

      • GNOME at FOSS North

        FOSS North is a nordic free software conference happening annually in Gothenburg, Sweden. I have attended most of them since it started. It is no more than a ferry ride away from me and I also enjoy the conference size. Bastien and Kat coordinated that the event box was sent to my address in good time. Additionally, Nuritzi and Carlos sent additional GNOME stickers which I packed down along with some 20 pairs of GNOME Socks in various sizes.

  • Distributions

    • FigOS 2.8? An interview with the creator of Fig & FigOS
    • New Releases

      • Linux Lite 4.0 OS Enters Beta with New Look and Feel, Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

        Dubbed “Diamond,” based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, and powered by the Linux 4.15 kernel, the Linux Lite 4.0 operating system enters beta stages of development today to give us a first glimpse of the upcoming release, which was slated for worldwide release on June 1, 2018.

        According to the developer, Linux Lite 4.0′s biggest changes are both internal and visual as the operating system comes with a brand new icon and system theme, namely Papirus and Adapta, Timeshift app by default for system backups, and new, in-house built Lite applications.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Inside a Red Hat Open Innovation Labs Residency (Part 3)

        This article is the final in a series taking readers on a journey to peek inside life in a Red Hat Open Innovation Labs residency.

        This is the top-tier experience for any customer*, exposing them to open collaboration, open technologies, and fast agile application delivery methods.

      • BPM, mobile, IoT driving investment in field ops, Red Hat and Vanson Bourne

        To better understand how these technologies are being applied and the impact they are having in the enterprise, Red Hat commissioned research firm Vanson Bourne to survey 300 IT decision makers from organisations in the US, Europe and Asia that employ a significant field workforce. The survey examined investment trends, current and future adoption patterns, use cases and implementation challenges.

      • Executive interview: Werner Knoblich, Red Hat

        Red Hat is 25 years old. We speak to its European chief about how open source, containers and hybrid cloud computing represent the foundation for IT

      • Highlights from the OpenStack Rocky Project Teams Gathering (PTG) in Dublin

        Last month in Dublin, OpenStack engineers gathered from dozens of countries and companies to discuss the next release of OpenStack. This is always my favorite OpenStack event, because I get to do interviews with the various teams, to talk about what they did in the just-released version (Queens, in this case) and what they have planned for the next one (Rocky).

      • Red Hat Summit Spotlight: Getting Started with Cloud-Native Apps Lab

        Cloud-native application development is the new paradigm for building applications and although is it often mistaken for microservices, it is much more than that and encompasses not only the application architecture but also the process through which applications are built, deployed, and managed.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • The Raspberry Pi 3 B+ in Fedora

          So I’m sure none of you are surprised to hear that I’ve been asked a bunch about support for the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ in Fedora. Well the good news is that it’ll be supported in Fedora 28. Most of the bits were there for the official Fedora 28 beta, it just needed a minor work around, but nightly images since Beta have had all the bits integrated so the upcoming Fedora 28 GA release will support the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ to the same levels as the original 3 B on both ARMv7 and aarch64. The Fedora Raspberry Pi FAQ has now been updated with all the details of both the RPi3+ and Fedora 28.

        • Commitment to community: Fedora CommOps FAD 2018

          The Fedora Community Operations (CommOps) team held a team sprint, or Fedora Activity Day, from January 29-31, 2018. CommOps provides tools, resources, and utilities for different sub-projects of Fedora to improve effective communication. The FAD was an opportunity for us to further our mission by focusing on two primary goals and two secondary goals for 2018.

        • PHP version 5.6.36, 7.0.30, 7.1.17 and 7.2.5
        • Flatpak inception

          One interesting usecase of flatpak is as a compliment to the ideas of Fedora Atomic Workstation and similar projects. In other words, a read-only core image for the base operating system, and then using various types of containers and sandboxes for the applications on top of that.

          One problem in such a setup is doing development, in that the basic core rarely contains development tools. This is helped a bit by flatpak using runtimes and SDKs, because the compiler used during the build is not from the host. However, flatpaks are typically build using flatpak-builder, which still has some dependencies on the host, such as git/bzr/svn and strip. These pull in a lot of packages that you don’t want on a minimal core OS image.

        • Fedora Atomic Workstation: Developer Tools, continued

          Last time, I wrote about using flatpak-builder to do commandline development in a container (namely, in a flatpak sandbox). Flatpak-builder is a pretty versatile and well-documented tool.

        • New third-party repositories — easily install Chrome & Steam on Fedora
        • Mozilla’s New Mixed Reality Hubs, NanoPi K1 Plus, Wireshark Update and More

          Fedora announced that it now has a “curated set of third-party repositories” containing software that’s not normally available in Fedora, such as Google Chrome, PyCharm and Steam. Fedora usually includes only free and open-source software, but with this new third-party repository, users can “opt-in” to these select extras.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Here’s Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) Running on the Nintendo Switch

            Yes, you’re reading it right, someone on GBAtemp gaming community posted a photo (attached below) of what it would appear to be Canonical’s latest Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system running on a Nintendo Switch. You can see the new layout powered by the GNOME desktop and the brand new welcome screen.

            Moreover, there’s no hardware acceleration by default, which means that things are moving very slow when opening windows and switching between opened apps. However, after building the latest Mesa/LibDRM from a specific PPA the performance of the GNOME desktop was significantly improved.

          • The New Ubuntu 18.04 Server Installer Is Working Out Nicely
          • 11 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            Our savvy selection of tips, tricks and ‘things to do’ help make Ubuntu 18.04 easier and more pleasant to use. The aim? To give you the best possible experience.

            From common-sense suggestions and nifty tweaks to helpful advice and pertinent pointers, our list doesn’t care if you’re a bash-hardened stalwart or a fresh-faced newbie. There’s something for everyone.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Flavours Released, Available to Download

            Strutting their stuff alongside the main Ubuntu 18.04 release are new stable versions of Ubuntu’s community flavours.

            Long-term support (LTS) releases of Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie and the (always magnificent) Ubuntu MATE are available to download.

            In this post we’ll take a look at the key new features in each of these flavours, how long they’re supported for, and who might want to try them.

          • The controversial Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is now available to download

            Canonical has released its latest Long Term Support (LTS) version of its popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, and it continues Canoncial’s habit of giving releases an alliterative animal-based name, with the distro also known as Bionic Beaver.

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS comes with plenty of new features, while building upon the changes that we brought in last year’s Ubuntu 17.10, and this means that Canonical’s own Unity desktop environment is no longer used, in favour of GNOME.

          • Ubuntu Releases Security, Multi-cloud, Container and AI OS

            According to a recent release, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, the newest version of the Linux distribution for workstations, cloud and IoT, is now available.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is now available for download

            Canonical today released the latest Long Term Support (LTS) version of Ubuntu, its widely used Linux distro. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, also known as Bionic Beaver, arrives to solidify some major changes made with the release of Ubuntu 17.10, including the use of the GNOME desktop environment instead of the defunct Unity desktop used until the previous LTS version of the OS, Ubuntu 16.04.

          • This is Ubuntu 18.04 Running on the Nintendo Switch

            Dream of using Linux on the Nintendo Switch? Dream no more as hardware hackers ‘fail0verflow’ have disclosed a Nintendo Switch exploit that lets you boot distros like Ubuntu.

          • Ubuntu Release Focused on Multi-Cloud Environments, Artificial Intelligence

            Canonical Ltd., creator of the Ubuntu version of the open-source Linux operating system, said its latest release is geared toward multi-cloud environments and provides greater support for enterprise machine learning initiatives.

            Calling multi-cloud operations “the new normal,” Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth said the update, scheduled for release Thursday, has been optimized for performance across major public cloud providers.

            “There has been a tremendous surge in interest in artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Mr. Shuttleworth said. The Ubuntu upgrades allow developers to work with multiple machine learning frameworks both on-premise and in the cloud, as well as on devices at the edge of networks, he said.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) now available

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver” is here and brings quite a few changes to the OS. Users upgrading from 16.04 LTS will notice quite a few aesthetic changes; 18.04 LTS brings the switch back to the GNOME desktop to the long-term support version of the most popular Linux distro. Some other tweaks under the hood bring support for modern hardware features as well.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 focuses on security and AI improvements

            Canonical has announced the release of its open-source Linux operating system, Ubuntu 18.04, which features security, multi-cloud, containers, and AI improvements.

          • Ubuntu Linux 18.04 Bionic Beaver is here — download it now!

            Ubuntu is one of the most popular desktop Linux distributions — if not the most popular. While it may not be everyone’s favorite operating system, it is largely responsible for making Linux accessible for average consumers. It is fairly easy to install, simple to use, and has a convenient application center. Ultimately, it is a pleasure to use for both beginners and experts alike.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver Available To Download

            Ubuntu 18.04, the latest LTS release of Ubuntu has finally been released. After massive changes and moments of waiting it is clear that canonical had something exciting for Ubuntu users. Codenamed Bionic beaver, the ubuntu 18.04 is a hit with its new features optimized for artificial intelligence and machine learning cloud support, desktop features and server support. In this article, we are going to inform you everything you need to know about 18.04. Installation procedures, its advantages over previous versions as well as the surprises it brings to Unity users of Ubuntu 16.04.

          • What’s new in Ubuntu 18.04 and OpenStack Queens
          • Breeze through Ubuntu Desktop 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver

            The Bionic Beaver, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is here! It’s been a busy six months for the desktop team, and indeed for everyone working on Ubuntu. We’ve been working on making sure that your upgrade from previous releases is smooth and trouble free, tracking down bugs to make 18.04 LTS stable and reliable, and adding some new features which I’d like to introduce you to and quickly run through how they work.

          • S11E08 – The 8th Circle

            This week we play with Windows 98 on a crusty Thinkpad from the past, interview David Britton from the Ubuntu Server team, bring you some command line love and go over all your feedback.

          • [Full Circle Magazine] issue 132

            This month:
            * Command & Conquer
            * How-To : Python, Freeplane, and Ubuntu Touch
            * Graphics : Inkscape
            * Everyday Linux
            * Researching With Linux
            * My Opinion
            * My Story
            * Book Review: Cracking Codes With Python
            * Ubuntu Games: Dwarf Fortress
            plus: News, Q&A, and much more.

          • How Do Ubuntu-Based Distros Differ from Ubuntu

            If you are a seasoned Linux user, you most likely know what a “Ubuntu-based distro” means, but for new users, it is often very confusing. So is “Linux Mint” another version of Ubuntu, or is it another version of Linux? This article will explain the significance of Ubuntu-based distros compared to Ubuntu itself and what “Ubuntu-based” means.

          • In Beaver We Trust: A Lengthy, Pedantic Review of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            It’s obvious that a lot of work and polish went into this release. Although no Linux-based desktop OS has yet been able to wrest much market share from Windows and Mac OS, I’d say within the last ten years it’s at least moderately popular among software developers and other technology-centric folk. I applaud Canonical for being part of the reason this is true. They also get a lot of credit for supporting tons of ancilary open source projects along the way, including actively encouraging spin-offs of their OS.

            The Bionic Beaver release of Ubuntu is actually pretty solid, truth be told. Although it turns out that the basic design of the window and desktop management completely prevent me from switching away from Xubuntu, I think it’s a fine choice for a lot of users. To get all cliche about it: sorry Ubuntu, it’s not you, it’s me.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS – My First Experience and Customization

            Are you looking for an excellent Linux distro to switch from Windows or macOS? get Ubuntu 18.04. Don’t even bother with its previous versions because the Bionic Beaver is the best of its kind.

            It is a lot more beautiful to behold. It has a wider set of options, and the GNOME Shell makes it easier to manage and further personalize using a seemingly unending list of extensions.

            If you ever get stuck on how to perform certain tasks Canonical has a well put together tutorial site that you can always consult so by all means, go ahead and install Ubuntu 18.04.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Review: An Interesting LTS Release

            Ubuntu continues to offer a stable and solid experience. The latest LTS, although seems rushed a little bit (because of fixing 2 critical bugs just hours before the release is not something usually done), is fine and working just as expected. No special bugs or issues encountered us during our periods of usage. An ordinary user will definitely enjoy using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

            If you are using an older version of Ubuntu on your desktop PC or your server, then you may would like to wait few days or weeks just in case of any new issue comes out. Then, upgrading to the new LTS should be just fine. Ubuntu 18.04 will be supported until 2023, which is really a long time of support.

          • Download Links and Mirrors for Trisquel 8.0 GNU/Linux

            Trisquel 8.0 GNU/Linux operating system finally released at Thursday, 18 April 2018 by Ruben Rodriguez. It is available in three versions of Regular, Mini, and Kids editions, each in 32 and 64 bit. This is a list of download links and also mirrors for it all you can instantly click and download. Happy downloading!

          • Download Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) CD/DVD

            Ubuntu Linux version 18.04 LTS (codenamed “Bionic Beaver”) has been released and available for download. Ubuntu Linux is a community-based Linux distribution, and you can download Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS version today. The latest release of Ubuntu brings the best open source technologies together on one platform, with the benefit of free updates for five years. This newest release of Ubuntu Server and desktop heavily focused on supporting cloud computing, IoT, AI, machine learning, 64-bit ARM-based server, and more.

          • Canonical Taunts VMware, Launches Major Ubuntu Update

            Canonical released the first major update to its Ubuntu platform in two years, touting performance and cost superiority compared with VMware.

            Ubuntu is Canonical’s distribution system for Linux designed to run on computing devices, network servers, and in the cloud. It includes an OpenStack version and a newly launched Kubernetes option. It also is the basis for most public cloud instances, including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Oracle Cloud.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS Released with New Desktop Layouts, Better HiDPI Support

              Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS has been released as part of yesterday’s Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system series as the official flavor for fans of the lightweight MATE desktop environment.

              Powered by the Linux 4.15 kernel series, which contains mitigations for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, and using the latest MATE 1.20.1 desktop environment by default, Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) introduces numerous improvements and new features, including better support for HiDPI (High Dots Per Inch) displays, new desktop layouts, as well as support for indicators in all layouts by default.

            • Ubuntu Studio 18.04 Released

              We are happy to announce the release of our latest version, Ubuntu Studio 18.04 Bionic Beaver! Unlike the other Ubuntu flavors, this release of Ubuntu Studio is not a Long-Term Suppport (LTS) release. As a regular release, it will be supported for 9 months. Although it is not a Long-Term Support release, it is still based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS which means the components will be supported as usual for a LTS release.

            • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS flavors including Ubuntu Mate, Ubuntu Budgie, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, and Xubuntu

              This week Canonical released Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, and while the company is emphasizing cloud features and performance, there are plenty of updates for desktop users too.

              Ubuntu 18.04 LTS has a new Linux kernel, new power management features, an updated user interface (that’s now based on GNOME), and more.

            • Ubuntu’s 18.04 LTS ‘Bionic Beaver’ And All Of Its Flavors Have Been Released

              Right on schedule, the latest iteration of Ubuntu, 18.04 ‘Bionic Beaver’, released yesterday, and to say that it’s worth an upgrade is probably an understatement. 18.04 becomes Ubuntu’s newest LTS release, meaning that it will be fully supported until 2023. If you’re currently running the previous LTS, 16.04, you’ll be treated to a considerable update, but before you update anything, always make sure you have your important data backed up!

            • Alternative Ubuntu Versions Are Also Out This Week

              Linux users love choice, and one thing they love choosing between is desktop environments. And while it’s easy to switch to another desktop interface, it’s even easier to install a version of Ubuntu running the desktop environment that you want.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Best open source Microsoft Office alternatives

    Microsoft Office remains the go-to productivity package for many businesses, with the obvious exception to that being Google G Suite users. But high costs and a growing number of irrelevant features means that increasingly, professionals are looking for more options.

    Luckily, there are a number of options out there which are completely free.

    Here, we take a look at the best open source software packages that provide a successful replacement to Microsoft Office.

    And don’t worry, most are also compatible with Microsoft Office documents, meaning the transition to new software needn’t be messy.

  • Solo.io aims to fill the gaps of enterprise microservices with open source

    The trend toward microservices and serverless systems is quickly proving to be the next wave of digital transformation in the enterprise. As an increasing number of businesses identify the need for a greater focus on serverless systems, new organizations with a foundation in the virtual world are emerging, ready to take advantage of the potential for significant shifts in cloud computing.

    “Sometimes you slow down because of a big organization, and I feel that we can do things much faster outside. That’s why we started Solo,” said Idit Levine (pictured), founder and chief executive officer of Solo.io Inc. Levine spoke with Stu Miniman (@stu), host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, at the Cloud Foundry Summit in Boston, Massachusetts. (* Disclosure below.)

    An innovative technologist with a history at companies like Dell EMC, Levine is leveraging her experience and vision to work toward streamlining the stack and simplifying cloud technology in the enterprise with Solo.io.

  • Telefónica’s New Open Source Edge Project Cuts 5G Network Slices Into Strings

    Telefónica’s latest open source project, called OnLife Networks, tackles multi-access edge (MEC) computing and other 5G use cases not with network slicing, but with network “strings.”

    During a keynote at this week’s NFV and Zero Touch World Congress, Patrick Lopez, VP of networks innovation at Telefónica, discussed what the service provider is doing with open source. It’s heavily involved in several projects including Open Source MANO (OSM), the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), KVM, DPDK, and the Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center (CORD). One of its newer efforts is OnLife.

  • Open source software reading list

    A colleague recently asked what books I’d recommend about open source software. I go back a ways with open source software. I first contributed to Free software and open source software in 1993, before the term “open source software” was widely adopted.

    So my list of book recommendations has some older titles on there. And that’s good, because this list also provides a solid grounding for contributing to open source software.

  • Monero Fork XMV Changes Tact, Promises ‘Open Source’ and Key Reuse Safeguards

    The airdropped fork of Monero, MoneroV (XMV), recently delivered an announcement promising they would open source their code, and take the necessary safeguards to minimize their impact on one aspect of Monero’s fungibility, ring signatures, if users decide to claim XMV.

    BTCManager first reported on MoneroV in February 2018, with the fork looking like it could deal some minor damage to the privacy of the Monero (XMR) blockchain. Some Monero enthusiasts were banned from the MoneroV Reddit channel for raising awareness of the privacy implications for, chiefly, their own chain, as well as Monero’s. Following a second planned fork date anticipated May 2, 2018, at block 1,564,965 (the first date penned was March 15, 2018), the MoneroV team have changed tact.

  • Bounties Offered For Universal Open-Source Cryptocurrency Wallet By Blockstack and ShapeShift

    Anticipating the growth of both the number of available digital coins as well as users’ uptake, the exchange ShapeShift and VC fund Blockstack are jointly funding a project designed to create the pinnacle open source, universal wallet for cryptocurrencies, announced on April 25, 2018.

    The companies are offering $50,000 to the developer who produces the best solution, which is to have users enabled and secured facility that provides the best possible UX for digital coin enthusiasts within a single-source wallet facility regardless of which virtual currency they employ.

  • Nokia AirFrame edge computing meets open source

    Nokia revealed its building block for edge deployments and small data centers at the NFV World Congress yesterday. The Airframe Open Edge server is compact and uses open-source software to manage network functions.

    The server is designed to cut latency by bringing computing closer to the customer in an edge cloud.

    Henri Tervonen, Nokia CTO and head of its R&D foundation for mobile networks, spoke about winning on the edge at a conference devoted more to software when he slyly whipped out the new sleek server blade. The blade — either by itself or in multi-rack configuration — can be inside the datacenter or anywhere from a light pole to the factory floor, on the edge of the network.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Unboxing the Talos II: it’s here!

        This post is being written in TenFourFox FPR7 beta 3. More about that in a day or two, because today a big container arrived at my P.O. box. I had to put the rear seats down to get it into my 2018 Honda Civic Si Sedan.

      • Vote for the Winners of the Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge

        Thank you to everyone who submitted extensions to the Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge!

        Our judges reviewed more than 100 submissions and have selected the finalists for each prize category. Now, it’s time for the add-on community to vote for the winners. Use Firefox Beta or Firefox Developer Edition and take these extensions for a test drive (many of the APIs used are not yet available on Firefox 59, the current release), then vote for your favorites here. (And hey, if you really love an extension, maybe consider writing a review?)

      • An alias-based formulation of the borrow checker

        Ever since the Rust All Hands, I’ve been experimenting with an alternative formulation of the Rust borrow checker. The goal is to find a formulation that overcomes some shortcomings of the current proposal while hopefully also being faster to compute. I have implemented a prototype for this analysis. It passes the full NLL test suite and also handles a few cases – such as #47680 – that the current NLL analysis cannot handle. However, the performance has a long way to go (it is currently slower than existing analysis). That said, I haven’t even begun to optimize yet, and I know I am doing some naive and inefficient things that can definitely be done better; so I am still optimistic we’ll be able to make big strides there.

      • This week in Mixed Reality: Issue 04

        This week has been super exciting on the Mixed Reality team. We announced a preview of Hubs by Mozilla and shipped out a new version of the Unity WebVR exporter tool.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Arcan Display Server Porting To OpenBSD For “Secure System Graphics”

      The Arcan Display Server that is the display stack built off (in part) a game engine and also developing the Durden desktop and most recently developing a “Safespaces” VR Linux desktop has also been working on porting the code from Linux to OpenBSD.

      With Arcan and OpenBSD, they are striving for “secure system graphics” given the security focus of the OpenBSD project. In a new post on the project’s blog, they outlined some of the challenges in porting this large code-base to this security-minded BSD.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GIMP 2.10 Officially Released as the Biggest Release Ever, Here’s What’s New

      The latest release, GIMP 2.10, is the biggest yet, bringing so many changes that it would be impossible for us to list them all here. Instead, we’ll have a look at the most prominent ones, which include multi-threaded, high bit depth, and hardware accelerated pixel processing.

      This is possible thanks to the GEGL porting of the image processing engine inside GIMP, which can now do a lot more than that. Also ported to GEGL (Generic Graphics Library) is the on-canvas preview for all filters that ship by default with GIMP 2.10.

    • GIMP 2.10 Released With A Ton Of Improvements
    • Free Software Directory meeting recap, April 2018

      Every week, free software activists from around the world come together in #fsf on irc.freenode.org to help improve the Free Software Directory. We had an exciting month working on the Directory with our wonderful stable of volunteers. These folks show up week in and week out to improve the Directory. It’s also important to note the valiant efforts of those volunteers who can’t make an appearance at the meeting proper, but still plug away at Directory entries during the week.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Germany, Israel, and the UK turn to open source, new driverless car tech, and more news

      It’s no secret that governments around the globe are moving to open source, both to cut costs and to better protect their data. Recently, three national governments have made significant strides into the open world.

      First up, the German government announced it’s shifting 300,000 employees to Nextcloud, the popular open source file storage and collaboration platform. The government chose Nextcloud because it was the best option to build a private cloud it can control, one that “would not allow access to data by any third party” and would comply with the GDPR.

      Next, Israel is starting down the path to making the code crafted by government departments open source. The code for the government’s web portal gov.il will be the first to be released to the public, with other services being encouraged to follow suit. The Israeli government states, “the code was developed at public expense and should therefore be accessible to members of the public.”

      Finally, the UK’s Ministry of Justice has just released an open source data analysis platform. The platform, built on Amazon Web Services and Kubernetes, supports “secure environments running analytical software such as R Studio and Jupyter Lab.” The tools built on the platform include a machine learning suite to analyze text and a statistical package.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • An Open Source Sip-and-Puff Mouse for Affordable Accessibility

        At the core of any assistive technology is finding a way to do something with whatever abilities the user has available. This can be especially difficult in the case of quadriplegia sufferers, the loss of control of upper and lower limbs caused by spinal cord damage in the cervical region. Quadriplegics can gain some control of their world with a “Sip-and-puff” device, which give the user control via blowing or sucking on a mouthpiece.

        A sip-and-puff can make a world of difference to a quadriplegic, but they’re not exactly cheap. So to help out a friend, [Jfieldcap] designed and built an open source sip-and-puff mouse on the cheap. As is best for such devices, the design is simple and robust. The hollow 3D-printed mouthpiece acts as handle for a joystick module , and a length of tubing connects the mouthpiece to a pressure sensor. An Arduino lets the user move his head to position the cursor; hard sips and puffs are interpreted as left and right clicks, while soft mouth pressure is used for scrolling. In conjunction with some of the accessibility tools in modern OSes and personal assistant software like Siri or Cortana, the sip-and-puff opens up the online world, and for all of $50 in material.

  • Programming/Development

    • How I designed a game with Scratch

      I decided to create a game using the Scratch programming language. Targeted at kids who want to learn programming, Scratch is designed to be easy and visual.

      I am a good programmer, and I also do game development with other platforms, but what fascinates me about Scratch is that it is easy to get started with and I didn’t need to remember too much to use the platform. This was a plus because I had limited time to spend getting up to speed on other platforms.

      A project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, the coding system and player for Scratch is available as open source on GitHub, although Scratch is most often used via its browser-based online version. The latter also comes with cloud storage and a website to host, play, comment, and favorite projects. All published projects are automatically released under a CC-BY-SA 3.0 license, so as a Scratcher, you experience the open source concept first-hand. I even used code from another Scratch project for the text display in my game.

    • HardCloud: OpenMP Offloading To FPGAs For The Cloud

      While OpenMP 4 supports accelerators like GPUs and DSPs, HardCloud is a new initiative focused on OpenMP offloading for FPGAs and with an emphasis on speeding up cloud computing.

    • GCC 9 Looks Set To Remove Intel MPX Support

      Last year we reported on GCC deprecating Intel Memory Protection Extensions (MPX) and now it looks like with GCC 9 they will be dropping the support entirely.

      Intel Memory Protection Extensions is a security feature present since Skylake for checking pointer references at run-time to avoid buffer overflows. Intel MPX support was plumbed through the Linux stack in recent years, but the GCC support has fallen a bit apart. Developers from the likes of Red Hat and SUSE are more interested now in dropping the code to reduce the maintenance burden although Intel developers have contributed patches from time-to-time.

    • 3 Python template libraries compared

      In my day job, I spend a lot of time wrangling data from various sources into human-readable information. While a lot of the time this just takes the form of a spreadsheet or some type of chart or other data visualization, there are other times when it makes sense to present the data instead in a written format.

    • Best Free Python Microframeworks – Build Fast App Backends and Microservices

      One of the types of software that’s important for a web developer is the web framework. A framework “is a code library that makes a developer’s life easier when building reliable, scalable, and maintainable web applications” by providing reusable code or extensions for common operations. By saving development time, developers can concentrate on application logic rather than mundane elements.

      A web framework offers the developer a choice about how to solve a specific problem. By using a framework, a developer lets the framework control portions of their application. While it’s perfectly possible to code a web application without using a framework, it’s more practical to use one.

      We covered the finest Python web frameworks in our previous article. Some of those applications are possibly best described as mega-frameworks. They can make decisions for you that you may not agree with. The alternative to a mega-framework is the microframework.

Leftovers

  • Apple discontinues its AirPort WiFi routers
  • Science

    • We Robot Comments on Ryan Abbot’s Everything is Obvious

      I’ve been busy with lots of interesting conferences and workshops in the past few weeks, and since I wrote out detailed notes for two of them, I thought I would post them for people who weren’t able to attend. First, my comments from the We Robot conference two weeks ago at Stanford:

      Ryan Abbott’s Everything is Obvious is part of an interesting series of articles Ryan has been working on related to how developments in AI and computing affect legal areas such as patent law. In an earlier article, I Think, Therefore I Invent, he provocatively argued that creative computers should be considered inventors for patent and copyright purposes. Here, he focuses on how these creative computers should affect one of the most important legal standards in patent law: the requirement that an invention not be obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art.

      Ryan’s definition of “creative computers” is purposefully broad. The existing creative computers he discusses are all narrow or specific AI systems that are programmed to solve particular problems, like systems from the 1980s that were programmed to design new microchips based on certain rules and IBM’s Watson, which is currently identifying novel drug targets for pharmaceutical research. And Ryan thinks patent law already needs to change in response to these developments. But I think his primary concern is the coming of artificial general intelligence that surpasses human inventors.

  • Hardware

    • My iPhone 8 Just Failed a Durability Test and All I Think Of Is Bendgate 2

      Apple gave up on aluminum for the new iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X in favor of glass, a more exquisite material which not only makes the device look more premium, but also allows for other features like wireless charging.
      A side-effect of having a phone with a body made of glass is that it is incredibly slippery, so it’s extremely easy to drop it to the ground, which in the case of glass is obviously something you should avoid.

      Apple has paid particular attention to this thing and tried to make the glass as durable as possible, while also improving the metal frame that’s still being used on all three models to be as tough as possible.

      At first glance, all these efforts paid off. Torture tests performed by so many people after the launch of these models proved that all three iPhones are extremely durable and they can withstand shocks and hits that they wouldn’t normally be exposed to. Furthermore, what these tests have shown was that new-generation iPhones are no longer prone to bending, a problem that affected the iPhone 6 Plus and which Apple first addressed with the release of the 6s upgrade.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • USTR Annual Special 301 Report Intensifies Action On China, Colombia, Canada
    • USTR IP Report Sparks Outcry Among Health Advocates

      The annual Special 301 report of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued today sparked a quick outcry among health advocates over its seemingly more restrictive approach they say bullies other countries into unfairly promoting US pharmaceutical industry rights to an extent that would raise drug prices and limit accessibility.

      The Special 301 report (see IP-Watch story today) unilaterally assesses the adequacy of US trading partners’ protection of US intellectual property rights. In a call with reporters today, a USTR official said it conducted a wide-ranging process in coming to its conclusions, including hearing from more than three dozen nongovernmental organisations and nearly two dozen foreign governments.

      [...]

      “This year, the Trump administration has chosen to be even worse,” Public Citizen said. “The watch list published today includes new and aggressive passages attacking policies used in many parts of the world to make medicines affordable. This marks a shameful departure in U.S. health and trade policy that places people’s lives at risk.”

      For example, it points out, the report includes a new passage (p. 14) challenging countries that “unfairly issue, threaten to issue or encourage others to issue” compulsory licenses. “But patent licensing saves lives by authorizing affordable generic competition with expensive drugs. Licensing is a standard and essential part of any patent system; intended to protect the public interest and defend against abuse. It is necessary to respond to HIV/AIDS, cancer, hepatitis and other serious diseases,” the group argues.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • What is tar and why does OpenShift Container Application Platform use it?
    • What OpenShift Online/Dedicated customers should know about the recent Source-to-Image Exposure

      Red Hat recently announced information about CVE-2018-1102, a bug in the S2I (Source to Image) functionality of OpenShift Online and OpenShift Container Platform (OCP).

      This bug affects OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) versions 3.0 through 3.9, and the OpenShift Online service including our Starter, Pro, and Dedicated tiers. In response to this, the OpenShift Online Security SRE team took steps to minimize exposure across all the clusters managed by Red Hat.

      For the OpenShift Container Platform on-premises product, fixes have been released, and a workaround in the form of turning off the source to image feature is also available, please see the vulnerability article linked below for more information on these.

    • SC Video: CA Veracode’s Chris Eng talks on the cyber risks of using open-source software [Ed: Veracode just badmouths FOSS to sell its non-FOSS products. Why does the media entertain them if not paid PR?]
    • Sonatype Named IDC Innovator [Ed: Yet another one of these firms that attempt to profit from badmouthing FOSS security whilst ignoring back doors in proprietary software]
    • PyRo Mine Malware Uses NSA Tool to Collect Monero [Ed: No, it uses Windows and Microsoft back doors for the NSA.]

      Attackers are known to leverage any means available to go after cryptocurrencies, and Fortinet researchers reported this week that hackers are using a new crypto-mining malware they are calling PyRo Mine to quietly collect Monero.

      The Python-based malware uses an NSA exploit to spread to Windows machines while also disabling security software and allowing the exfiltration of unencrypted data. By also configuring the Windows Remote Management Service, the machine becomes vulnerable to future attacks.

      “Researchers have discovered malware authors using the ETERNALBLUE exploit in cryptocurrency mining malware, such as Adylkuzz, Smominru, and WannaMine. PyRo Mine uses the ETERNALROMANCE exploit,” wrote Fortinet security researcher Jasper Manuel in his blog.

      The malicious URL with a downloadable zip file compiled with PyInstaller is dangerous because it packages Python programs into stand-alone executable so that the attacker does not need to install Python on the machine to execute the program.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Full text of Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula

      Below is the full joint statement by North and South Korea released by the South Korean presidential office on Friday (April 27) after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae In pledged to work for the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”. It punctuated a day of smiles and handshakes at the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade.

      “During this momentous period of historical transformation on the Korean Peninsula, reflecting the enduring aspiration of the Korean people for peace, prosperity and unification, President Moon Jae In of the Republic of Korea and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea held an Inter-Korean Summit Meeting at the ‘Peace House’ at Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.

      [...]

      Between South and North, the two sides will encourage the atmosphere of amity and cooperation by actively staging various joint events on the dates that hold special meaning for both South and North Korea, such as June 15, in which participants from all levels, including central and local governments, parliaments, political parties, and civil organisations, will be involved.

      On the international front, the two sides agreed to demonstrate their collective wisdom, talents, and solidarity by jointly participating in international sports events such as the 2018 Asian Games.

    • Korean Peninsula in Historic Peace Talks – Thanks to Activists, Not Trump

      South and North Korea are considering a peace treaty after six decades of war. Simone Chun says this is the result of years of grassroots organizing and protests

    • Koreas agree to call for formal end to war this year

      South and North Korea will seek to hold tripartite talks with the United States, or talks including China, with the goal of declaring an end to the Korean War (1950-53) this year and establishing permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula, President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced Friday.

      [...]

      “South and North Korea will actively cooperate to establish a permanent and solid peace regime on the Korean Peninsula,” the declaration read.

      The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to non-aggression and agreed on gradual arms reduction if military tensions are reduced and military confidence is built between the two Koreas.

    • Israeli forces kill three Gaza border protesters, wound 600: medics

      Israeli troops shot dead three protesters along the Gaza border on Friday, Gaza medics said, hours after the United Nations human rights chief criticized Israel for using “excessive force” against demonstrators.

      Israeli troops have killed 41 Palestinians and wounded more than 5,000 others since Gaza residents began staging protests along the border fence on March 30 to demand the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

    • Amid Missiles and Bombs in Damascus

      A loud and persistent booming woke everyone up here in the early hours of the morning on Saturday, April 14. To a visitor from Boston it sounded like Fourth of July fireworks over the Charles River. But this was Damascus and the thunder was from exploding missiles in the long-awaited attack by Donald Trump and his British and French allies.

      The bombardments started precisely at 4am local time and continued for the better part of an hour. Only the timing was a surprise here, as Trump had been threatening a reprisal attack for the alleged use by the Syrian government of chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus the previous week.

      [...]

      Bab Touma is a traditionally Christian part of town, but there are also many mosques here, in some cases directly neighboring churches of the 12 Christian denominations said to exist in Syria. Orthodox (Greek, Syrian and Catholic Melchite) are the majority, but there are also Roman Catholic, Maronite, Armenian and even evangelical churches. The restaurants in Bab Touma are frequented by mixed crowds of Muslims and Christians, drinking beer or Arak and smoking shisha (water pipes). Liquor stores and bars are commonplace here.

    • Weapons Inspector Refutes U.S. Syria Chemical Claims

      In the 1980’s, Scott Ritter was a commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps, specializing in intelligence. In 1987, Ritter was assigned to the On-Site Inspection Agency, which was put together to go into the Soviet Union and oversee the implementation of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty. This was the first time that on-site inspection had been used as part of a disarmament verification process.

      Ritter was one of the groundbreakers in developing on-site inspection techniques and methodologies. With this unique experience behind him, Ritter was asked in 1991, at the end of the Gulf War, to join the United Nations Special Commission, which was tasked by the Security Council to oversee the disarmament of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. From 1991 to 1998, Ritter served as a chief weapons inspector and led a number of teams into Iraq.

      According to Ritter, in the following Flashpoints Radio interview with Dennis Bernstein conducted on April 23rd, US, British and French claims that the Syrian Government used chemical weapons against civilians last month appear to be totally bogus.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Who is Jennifer Robinson? Australian human rights lawyer who defended WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

      AUSTRALIAN human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson has defended Julian Assange since 2010 and remains a member of his current legal team.

    • DNC’s hacking suit is a missed opportunity

      The case could have provided the opportunity to resolve a vexing legal problem about liability for hacking. Instead, the DNC preferred a publicity stunt.

    • Why Democrats have filed a lawsuit against Russia – and what Australian politicians should learn from it

      Last week, the Democratic Party in the United States brought an unprecedented lawsuit against a foreign country, Russia, and persons connected to the Kremlin. Predictably, this has received condemnation from Republicans and the Trump campaign. The Russian government – the primary target of the case – has not responded publicly.

      Democratic party faithful have been supportive, invoking memories of their successful legal action against the Nixon campaign. That action yielded a settlement worth US$750,000 in 1974.

      The recent filings provide important insights for Australian politicians.

    • Summary: Democratic National Committee v. Russian Federation et. al.

      The plaintiffs argue that the longstanding relationships between the Trump family and Russia, dating back as early as the 1980s, provided “fertile ground for a conspiracy.” The complaint includes a detailed history of President Trump’s business negotiations with and regarding Russia. The complaint also highlights Manafort and Gates’ indirect ties to Russia through work they conducted for the Ukrainian government, which at the time was headed by Kremlin-allied President Viktor Yanukovych. Additionally, it notes Manafort’s ties to Konstantin Kilimnik, who has been reported to likely be a GRU agent.

    • Unprecedented: DNC’s Lawsuit Against WikiLeaks Threatens to Suppress Free Speech

      he Democratic National Committee’s lawsuit against WikiLeaks, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Russian Federation, and a slew of other individuals and organizations must show that WikiLeaks aided and abetted an illegal seizure of DNC and John Podesta emails to warrant monetary damages or the removal of the information, Kirtley said in a Thursday interview with Fault Lines on Radio Sputnik. Kirtley is the Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

      But if the DNC cannot demonstrate its case then the lawsuit might amount to a violation of the US Constitution’s First Amendment, she said.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • HUD May Soon Evict Residents in Two Public Housing Complexes in Southern Illinois

      The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday that about 40 families remaining in two dilapidated public housing complexes in southern Illinois have until June 30 to move — or they may face eviction proceedings.

      HUD spokesman Jereon Brown said that housing officials will work with families facing “extenuating circumstances,” such as difficulties securing another apartment. But otherwise, eviction proceedings will begin July 2, according to a flier that HUD provided to affected residents Thursday evening at a meeting in Cairo, the most southern city in Illinois.

      “Please note an eviction on your rental record could affect your ability to rent other housing in the future,” the flier stated.

      “Landlords typically use rental and eviction history to select who they will rent to.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why Theresa May is to blame for the Windrush scandal

      To see the cruelty of bureaucracy, the injustice that can spring from reducing public life to mere process and human beings to paperwork, look no further than the Windrush scandal.

      Scandal is an overused word these days. Everything from a politician’s ill-advised tweet to a celeb’s extramarital affair gets chalked up as scandal. But if we abide by the true definition of the word — to mean something that is morally wrong and which stirs outrage among the public — then the British state’s sudden, hostile turning against the Caribbean people and others who have made their home in Britain over the past 70 years genuinely fits the bill. This is truly scandalous. The Home Office harassment of the Windrush generation is a black mark, perhaps the blackest mark yet, against Theresa May’s government, and she urgently needs to end this wickedness.

      It was on 22nd June 1948 that the Empire Windrush sailed up the Thames, carrying on it 492 migrants from the Caribbean. It marked the start of a wave of migration from Commonwealth countries. These migrants and their children and grandchildren became an integral part of British life. Many, many people born in Britain from the 1950s onwards will have been cared for, educated by or simply become workmates or good neighbours with the Windrush people and their offspring. It is hard to imagine Britain without them.

    • Consenting to be Insulted, Abused, Degraded and Ignored

      Scottish politics has been dominated these last few months by the attempt by Westminster to seize wide ranging powers in major policy areas shortly formerly held by Brussels, which under the Scotland Act would come to Holyrood as they are not “reserved matters”. The Tory plan is to use the EU exit legislation to override the Scotland Act and seize these powers initially for a period of seven years, after which rather arbitrary period the matter will be looked at again.

    • Student Loan Lenders Created A Fake Person Whose Points Were Uncritically Repeated By Numerous News Outlets
    • Controversial GOP report: Trump campaign’s WikiLeaks praise was “highly objectionable”

      Democrats on the committee immediately dismissed the Republican investigation as “superficial” and “political,” and said it overlooked key evidence of collusion that’s hiding in plain sight.

    • Trump campaign rebuked over Wikileaks

      A congressional investigation criticised the Trump presidential campaign for “poor judgment and ill-conceived actions” in its dealings with Russians but said there was no evidence that it had colluded with the Kremlin.

      A report by the Republican-controlled House intelligence committee also rebuked President Trump for praising Wikileaks during the 2016 election, saying his support for “a hostile foreign organisation” had been “highly objectionable and inconsistent with US national security interests”.

    • House Dems Say Christopher Wylie Provided New Info About Cambridge Analytica’s Links To WikiLeaks

      Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie revealed new and potentially significant ties between his former company and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to House Democrats who interviewed Wylie this week.

      “It’s a significant connection,” Rep. Eric Swalwell told BuzzFeed News, adding that Wylie plans to give Democrats additional documents. “We’re trying to verify it right now.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Alleged NSA leaker seizes on Comey memos

      Lawyers for a National Security Agency contractor charged with leaking a highly classified document say newly released memos show the “extraordinary pressure” the FBI was under from President Donald Trump and then-FBI Director James Comey to prevent her from leaving her Augusta, Georgia, home during her interrogation there last June.

    • Why It’s Worth Reading Comey’s ‘A Higher Loyalty’

      Midway through former FBI head James Comey’s new book, A Higher Loyalty, the author broaches one of the darkest episodes in the bureau’s history: its attempt in the 1960s under Director J. Edgar Hoover to blackmail Martin Luther King Jr. into committing suicide. This shameful act, one of many by the FBI under Hoover, came after the bureau, fearing communist infiltration, wiretapped King’s associates and then King himself following the March on Washington in 1963. Comey reveals that it was Robert Kennedy, the Attorney General at the time, who signed off on the King surveillance request. Comey tells us he kept a copy of the signed request on his desk, to warn himself against FBI overreach.

      [...]

      By denigrating the FBI and firing Comey as its director, Trump has indeed undermined confidence in an institution that checks his power. This is the same strategy Trump uses when attacking the press, judiciary, and our other intelligence agencies. But as correct as Comey is on this point, America still needs a public reckoning of the travesties that our intelligence agencies have inflicted on countless people here and around the globe.

    • Police Are Downloading Data From People’s Phones Without Warrants and Privacy Advocates Are Outraged
    • NSA: Our Crypto Is Good. ISO: No Thanks Though

      The NSA (US National Security Agency) has responded with disappointment to widespread reports that the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) has rejected its ciphers “Simon and Speck” as international cryptographic standards.

      NSA Capabilities Technical Director, Neal Ziring said in a statement emailed to Computer Business Review: “Both Simon and Speck were subjected to several years of detailed cryptanalytic analysis within NSA, and have been subject to academic analysis by researchers worldwide since 2014. They are good block ciphers with solid security and excellent power and space characteristics.”

      He added: “NSA devotes our decades of cryptologic experience towards breaking codes for foreign intelligence and making codes to secure US National Security Systems (NSS) — offering strong algorithms for consideration as international standards is often the best way to ensure that such algorithms are implemented in products on which national security depends. That was the basis for submitting Simon and Speck to ISO.”

    • “Fake Zuckerbergs” Are Tricking Facebook Users Into Sending Money

      In a difficult phase where Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to clean up Facebook, several fake Facebook and Instagram accounts are masquerading as Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, deceiving users into sending money to collect bogus lottery prizes.

      According to a report by the New York Times, multiple cases have occurred where Facebook users were contacted by scammers claiming to be the top executives of the company to swindle money from unsuspecting users.

    • How Fake Mark Zuckerbergs Scam Facebook Users Out of Their Cash

      A Facebook notification on Gary Bernhardt’s phone woke him up one night last November with incredible news: a message from Mark Zuckerberg himself, saying that he had won $750,000 in the Facebook lottery.

      “I got all excited. Wouldn’t you?” said Mr. Bernhardt, 67, a retired forklift driver and Army veteran in Ham Lake, Minn. He stayed up until dawn trading messages with the person on the other end. To obtain his winnings, he was told, he first needed to send $200 in iTunes gift cards.

      Hours later, Mr. Bernhardt bought the gift cards at a gas station and sent the redemption codes to the account that said it was Mr. Zuckerberg. But the requests for money didn’t stop. By January, Mr. Bernhardt had wired an additional $1,310 in cash, or about a third of his Social Security checks over three months.

    • Europe fires back at ICANN’s delusional efforts to fix Whois for GDPR by next, er, year

      On March 26 – two months before new privacy protections come into effect in Europe – Goran Marby, CEO of DNS overlord ICANN, sent a letter [PDF] to each of Europe’s 28 data protection authorities (DPAs) asking them to hold off punishing it over Whois.

      Whois is a set of databases of domain-name owners, overseen by ICANN, and it contains people’s personal information such as their names and contact addresses. As it stands, it is not compatible with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which kicks in on May 25. Flouting the rules may result in fines. Something therefore has to be done. ICANN isn’t quite sure what to do yet, hence its request for a stay of enforcement.

      In a blog post on ICANN’s website on March 29, Marby said he was “hopeful that we will be provided with a moratorium on enforcement.” He mentioned the moratorium again in another update on April 10.

    • The predictable dystopian trajectory of China’s Citizen Scores

      Liu Hu is a Chinese journalist who is critical of the state — he was recently ordered to apologize for critical social media posts and then sanctioned for being “insincere” — and it has earned him a low Citizen Score. Now he can’t buy airplane tickets or property, or send his kid to private school.

    • China Assigns Every Citizen A ‘Social Credit Score’ To Identify Who Is And Isn’t Trustworthy

      China is rolling out a high-tech plan to give all of its 1.4 billion citizens a personal score, based on how they behave.

    • The Snoopers’ Charter: Everything you need to know about the Investigatory Powers Act

      The UK government’s Investigatory Powers Bill has sparked debate over the balance between privacy concerns and national security in the post-Snowden era, with controversy around encryption, bulk data and hacking being aimed at the former home secretary Theresa May.

    • Thinking through the “What should we do about Facebook?” question
    • Gaius Publius: What To Do About Facebook — First Thoughts

      The questions surrounding Facebook are many and serious. Facebook is first a monopoly; next, a mass manipulator capable of swinging elections and other social decisions in an order-of-magnitude-greater way than simple common advertising, no matter how targeted; third, a source of enormous wealth to a powerful few; and finally, it performs an almost utility-like, ubiquitous social function in today’s Internet age. (Consider the telephone network as a utility that connects masses of people and enables communication. Now consider Facebook as a kind of modern-day telephone network. The communication is what we’re interested in. The monetizable data and metadata of our communication is what its owners are interested in. The data collection is not necessary to the communication function.)

    • Facebook Is Letting Parents Turn Off Their Kids’ Messenger Apps With a New ‘Sleep’ Feature

      Facebook launched the messaging app aimed at kids under 13 in December. It comes with a bevy of parental controls and no ads. But some child development experts have called for Facebook to pull it, saying it should not be making apps for kids.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • CBP Using Fake Math To Greatly Inflate Number Of Assaults On Border Patrol Officers

      Customs and Border Protection is inflating numbers to push a narrative about dangerous undocumented immigrants. And it’s not just a little bit of fudging. It’s a whole new way of counting — one that fuels anti-immigrant rhetoric and keeps the agency well-funded.

    • Were Henry’s Civil Rights Violated?

      A Department of Homeland Security watchdog is looking into the case of a Long Island high school student who informed on the gang MS-13 and was marked for deportation.

    • Joe Emersberger on Venezuelan Elections, Dahr Jamail on Antarctic Ice

      If the “liberal” US media are to be believed, one country interfering in the elections of another country is flat-out unacceptable, worth backburnering numerous other problems in the effort to trace its impact and root it out. If the liberal US media are to be believed, one country secretly pressuring an opposition candidate in another country not to run, so that the election can be discredited as having no viable opposition candidate, and imposing sanctions to create hardship to “encourage” the public to overthrow their elected officials—is not merely sound policy, but humanitarian as well. It just depends which countries you’re talking about. Joe Emersberger has been tracking media coverage of Venezuela—target of bipartisan calls to force regime change in the name of democracy—for FAIR.org and other outlets. He joins us to talk about that.

    • Social media has a censorship problem of its own making
    • The Golden State Killer Suspect Was a Cop When Some of the Killings Happened
    • The CIA Gives a Highly Sanitized View of Gina Haspel While Keeping Her Torture Record Secret

      While the CIA has been trying to salvage Gina Haspel’s rocky nomination to lead the agency with a series of gushing tweets and by making public only flattering bits of her record, the American people have to reckon with a nominee whose role in torture and the destruction of torture evidence is still shrouded in secrecy.

      The CIA wants us to know positive stories about Haspel, hailing her as a trailblazer, consummate professional, dedicated agent, and Johnny Cash fan. At the same time, the agency won’t release full information about the most important and contentious parts of Haspel’s record.

    • Funnily Enough, Mark Wadsworth Was Guilty of Bringing the Labour Party Into Disrepute – But Not of Anti-Semitism

      Mark Wadsworth has not been found to be anti-semitic, but to have brought the Labour Party into disrepute. He was in fact guilty of that. At a sensitive press launch, showcasing a very important report the Party was introducing, Wadsworth thought it appropriate to take the microphone in front of a massive media presence and launch a verbal attack on a Labour MP. Nothing Wadsworth said was anti-semitic, and I quite accept his assurance he had no idea that Smeeth was Jewish. Here was my analysis of the incident written on the day, which I believe has held up well. But Wadsworth’s notion that he was at an appropriate place and time to attack a Labour MP was, at the very least, extremely misguided.

      [...]

      Watching that hatchet-faced Friends of Israel mob bear down on the Wadsworth hearing reminded me of the secretly taped meeting between Shai Masot of the Israeli Embassy and Joan Ryan MP of Labour Friends of Israel, where he told her he had over £1 million to give her to influence the Labour Party in Israel’s favour.

      So Mark Wadsworth did bring the Labour Party into disrepute, but not nearly as much as Joan Ryan MP, and in about the same measure as every member of the lynch mob whose equally unnecessary intrusion on a party disciplinary hearing gave the media plenty of occasion for knocking copy. But do not expect natural justice to prevail in the UK’s distorted, propaganda-led politics of 2018.

    • Prosecutors Hid Evidence of Corey Williams’ Innocence in Pursuit of a Death Sentence

      Prosecutorial misconduct led to Corey Williams’ conviction in Louisiana. The Supreme Court can undo that injustice.

      In 2000, Corey Williams, a Black teenager with an intellectual disability, was tried and convicted in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, for the murder of a pizza delivery man at his friend’s house.

      Williams was just 16 years old at the time and due to his disability, still wet himself, sucked his thumb, and ate odd things like dirt and paper. Despite these factors, Caddo Parish prosecutors still sought and obtained the death penalty for Williams, though his guilt was not supported by much of the evidence, which they never turned over to the teenager’s trial lawyers. Williams’ plight is a horrifying example of the awesome power of prosecutors, who can not only take someone’s freedom — but life itself.

      Williams wasn’t even a suspect at the outset of the investigation. Rather police officers first focused their attention on two older men, who were present during the crime. Police recorded witness statements on the night of the homicide that were never given to Williams’ defense. On these recordings, one witness told police that he saw a man nicknamed “Rapist” with the murder weapon prior to the homicide. Another witness, the brother of one of the likely culprits, insisted that it would make no sense for Williams to have killed the pizza delivery man, implicating his own brother and “Rapist” instead.

    • Appeals Court: Driving Attentively While Black Isn’t Probable Cause For A Traffic Stop

      The courts have allowed police officers to engage in pretextual traffic stops. Minor moving violations — including some that aren’t actually moving violations — have been used to engage in fishing expeditions for drugs, cash, or evidence of some other criminal activity. The Supreme Court dialed this back a bit with its Rodriguez decision, allowing pretextual stops but forcing them to end once the stop’s objective is complete. When an officer hands out a citation or warning, the person is free to go, no matter how much the officer may want to ask more questions or run a drug dog around the vehicle.

      This hasn’t deterred fishing expeditions as much as one might hope. If a drug dog can be summoned while the officer slow-walks paperwork, it will probably be found Constitutional by the courts. And the hopes of netting bigger fish with stops for improper signal use or whatever will never completely die. The risk/reward factor still favors law enforcement, so pretextual stops will continue.

      But, as the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court points out, even pretexts need to have some statutory basis. A recent decision [PDF] comes as close as the courts ever have to decrying law enforcement’s tendency to pull people over for “driving while black.” The lower court’s awful decision finding all of this Constitutional is reversed

    • Decoding Trump’s Latest Anti-Immigrant Attacks

      ACLU attorney Madhuri Grewal discusses the Trump administration’s never-ending assault on immigrants.

      Over the last few weeks, the Trump administration has continued its relentless crusade against immigrants by moving to dismantle important protections for immigrants with little input or oversight from Congress or the public. Though the changes made in the last few weeks have largely flown under the radar, they are a threat to our constitutional rights and will devastate people’s lives.

      Just this week, the heads of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) wrote to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen asking her to arrest, detain, and criminally prosecute all parents arriving at our border with their children — a move that will likely prosecute asylum seekers and separate thousands of families. This follows a move by Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this month calling on federal prosecutors to implement a “zero tolerance” approach to criminal prosecution of migrants the government apprehends at the border. While Secretary Nielsen and other high-ranking officials claim that cases of family separation are rare, The New York Times documented over 700 cases of children taken from their parents, including more than 100 children under the age of 4.

      The White House’s cruelty doesn’t end with family separation.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality Has No Future Without a Strong And Independent Supervision

      In particular, we are alarmed that the European Parliament delegation appears not to be strongly defending the Parliament’s mandate. The Parliament’s position is quite clear that NRAs should be responsible for “ensuring compliance with rules related to open internet access in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2015/2120″ and for “ensuring consumer protection and end-user rights in the electronic communications sector within the remit of their competences under the sectorial regulation, and cooperating with relevant competent authorities wherever applicable”. Any change to this approach can only serve to create legal uncertainty and the weakened enforcement of the Regulation previously approved by the Parliament.

    • Small ISPs Like Sonic Join The Legal Battle To Preserve Net Neutrality

      The coalition attempting to reverse the Trump FCC’s attack on net neutrality continues to grow. INCOMPAS, a trade group representing a number of smaller ISPs like Sonic and RCN, says it has filed a Petition (pdf) in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia challenging the FCC’s misleadingly-titled “Restoring Internet Freedom” Order. INCOMPAS joins Mozilla, Vimeo, numerous consumer groups and 23 state attorneys general in claiming that the FCC violated agency policy when it ignored the public, ignored the experts, and decided to give a sloppy wet kiss to the nation’s entrenched broadband monopolies.

      While FCC boss Ajit Pai frequently tries to claim that the FCC’s modest net neutrality protections were a terrible burden on small ISPs, his claims pretty routinely aren’t supported by actual facts and hard data (remember those?).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • 15 Patents That Changed the World [Ed: Back in the days patents were granted for physical inventions, not thoughts. The system has gone out of control for lawyers' profits.]
    • How to Patent an Idea: A Step-by-Step Guide [Ed: This article, for a change, was not composed by a lawyer.]
    • With Apple and Huawei disputes rumbling on Qualcomm licensing revenue drops $1 billion

      Qualcomm announced its latest quarterly earnings yesterday. These included a sharp year-on-year drop in revenues from its licensing business as the impact of the chipmaker’s ongoing dispute with Apple continued to have a major impact.

    • Huawei’s portfolio is best in China, but international expansion now the focus, exclusive research reveals

      Telecommunications giant Huawei has seen an explosive rise in its patent filing numbers since 2013, which has helped to make its portfolio the strongest in China, research commissioned from a team of leading IP analytics and intelligence companies exclusively for IAM has uncovered.

    • How To Discover Valuable Patents

      That’s what Tesla did in 2014. Elon Musk wrote: “Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.” Many read this as a call to innovate in the electric vehicle space. What’s more, Elon Musk sent a very clear message about Tesla’s technology leadership to the market: “Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers.” Communicating your innovativeness can become even more powerful when you continue to count on innovation and patents but also invite input from the outside.

    • Qualcomm’s first ITC complaint against Apple down to three patents (from the original six)

      Qualcomm has further narrowed its first USITC complaint (request for import ban) against Apple. It originally brought the complaint in early July 2017 and published a full-page infographic with the following headline: “Six inventions iPhones use everyday [sic]”

      [...]

      The next Munich hearing will take place next Thursday (May 3). First hearings in Munich serve the purpose of discussing the key issues the court has identified based on the complaint and the answer to the complaint. At that stage, validity usually isn’t discussed yet. Next week’s hearing will be about the German parts of four European patents from the same family, each covering a “method and device for communication channel selection”: EP1956806, EP1955529, EP3054658, and EP3094067.

    • Availability Of WIPO Digital Access Service Under The WIPO‐India Cooperation Agreement

      Recently, a WIPO – INDIA Cooperation agreement was established between World Intellectual Property Organization (hereinafter referred to as the ‘WIPO’) and Indian Patent Office (hereinafter referred to as the ‘IPO’) on January 31, 2018, stating that the IPO has started the WIPO Digital Access Service (DAS) for priority documents submitted by the applicants from the participating Patent offices.

    • Qualcomm chip sales indicate some smartphone strength

      U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc’s (QCOM.O) quarterly profit and revenue topped Wall Street forecasts, suggesting that a slowdown in the global smartphone business might be less severe than feared after a string of weak forecasts from suppliers.

    • Qualcomm proposes new licensing terms to lure in customers

      Qualcomm in an earnings conference call on Wednesday showed rare willingness to modify its patent licensing policies, a core segment of its business that sparked a court battle with Apple and government investigations into potentially anticompetitive practices.

    • South Korea and China set the global standard for gender equality in patent filing [Ed: This has been a theme among patent maximalists lately, using feminism as a pretext to urge patent offices to grant more patents]

      It has to be said that Greater China is perhaps somewhat ahead of the curve in this regard. Executives like Laura Quatela of Lenovo and Billie Chen of TSMC are running very large leading IP functions. Alibaba’s Amy Xu, Alice Wang of drone-maker DJI and Kate Shang at Acer all head stellar corporate patent teams as well. Dong Mingzhu, CEO of appliance maker Gree, is so outspoken about IP issues that she has been named among China’s top ten IP personalities. And in a country where the highest echelons of political power are almost exclusively male-dominated, Supreme People’s Court Justice Madame Tao Kaiyuan is China’s most respected policy voice when it comes to judicial IP matters.

    • Copyrights

      • Berkeley Remarks on a Patent Small-Claims Tribunal

        As noted in my earlier post today with my remarks from We Robot, I’ve been busy with lots of interesting conferences and workshops in the past few weeks. Because I wrote out detailed notes for two of them, I thought I would post them for people who weren’t able to attend. Here are my comments from the fantastic BCLT/BTLJ symposium on the administrative law of IP, where I was on a panel discussing IP small-claims tribunals:

        You have already heard some insightful comments from Ben Depoorter and Pam Samuelson on copyright small-claims courts, including their analysis of problems with the proposed Copyright Alternatives in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2017, as well as their thoughts on how a more narrowly tailored small-claims system might be beneficial. The main justification for introducing such a tribunal is that high litigation costs prevent claimants from pursuing valid small claims.

        I’m here to provide some perspective from the patent law side, and the short version of my comments is that the idea of a patent small-claims court seems mostly dead in the United States, and I don’t see a reason to revive it.

        The idea of a patent small-claims court got a bit of traction over 30 years ago at a 1989 conference at the Franklin Pierce Law Center (now the University of New Hampshire), and then the ABA IP Section and the AIPLA endorsed establishment of a low-cost procedure for patent claims under $100,000. This suggestion didn’t go anywhere until the end of 2012, when the PTO requested comments on whether the US should introduce a small-claims proceeding for patents. They received 22 public comments in April 2013.

        [...]

        How are patents different? For one, patent law has an even stronger utilitarian foundation than copyright law, so we really only want to be enforcing claims where the social value in terms of incentivizing innovation outweighs all the costs. One of those costs is the higher effort to properly assess validity in patent than in copyright. A high percentage of granted patents turn out to be legally invalid when scrutinized for more than the roughly twenty hours the PTO uses during its initial examination—it seems plausible to only want to enforce patents where there is enough at stake to merit the costs of reevaluating whether the patent should have been granted. It’s pretty clear from a utilitarian perspective that the socially optimal amount of patent enforcement is not 100%. Unlike in copyright, patent liability doesn’t require copying and has no independent invention defense, and for low-value uses, sometimes the costs of searching for and negotiating over all the relevant patents aren’t worth it.

      • The Fate of Text and Data Mining in the European Copyright Overhaul

        The current European Digital Single Market copyright negotiations involve more than just the terrible upload filter and link tax proposals that have caused so much concern—and not all of the other provisions under negotiation are harmful. We haven’t said much about the text and data mining provisions that form part of this ambitious legislative agenda, but as the finalization of the deal is fast approaching, the form of these provisions is now taking shape. The next few weeks will provide Europeans with their last opportunity to guide the text and data mining provisions to support coders rights, open access, and innovation.

        Text and data mining, which is the automated processing and analysis of large amounts of published data to create useful new outputs, necessarily involves copying at least some of the original data. Often, that data isn’t subject to copyright in the first place, but even when it is, copies made in the course of processing generally fall within the scope of the fair use right in the United States.

        But European countries have no such fair use right in their copyright law. Instead, they have a patchwork of narrower user rights, which vary from one country to another. Although some states have introduced rights to conduct text and data mining, there is little consistency between them. As such, the legality of text and data mining conducted in Europe is questionable, even though it doesn’t result in the creation of anything that resembles the original input data set. Worse still, Europe also has a separate copyright-like regime of protection for databases, which has no equivalent in the United States. Text and data mining activities could also run afoul of these database rights.

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