Patent Trolls Roundup: Microsoft’s Intellectual Ventures, Blue Spike, and KAIST

Posted in Patents at 6:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hublink, LLC, a Dominion Harbor subsidiary
Hublink, LLC, a Dominion Harbor subsidiary, is based in Texas and is part of a cryptic network of shells (Dominion Harbor receives its patents from Microsoft’s patent troll, Intellectual Ventures)

Summary: Another quick look at actions of patent trolls, especially in the Eastern District of Texas where courts are notoriously trolls- and/or plaintiffs-friendly

EARLIER today (this morning) we wrote about Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures, which Microsoft uses to pursue patent litigation ‘by proxy’ (Intellectual Ventures has thousands of obscure satellite firms/shells).

Here goes — yet again — Microsoft’s patent troll, filing patent lawsuits against companies that use Android (Linux) or at least attempting to shake these down using patents (threats of lawsuits). That’s why the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) got involved. Remember that Intellectual Ventures is feeding patent trolls near and around the Eastern District of Texas, but sometimes (in more recent years in particular) it files lawsuits directly. In a case dated May 29th, according to today’s short post, an inter partes review (IPR) dealt with a patent of “Intellectual Ventures I LLC” (there are many variants of “Intellectual Ventures”). To quote:

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s conclusion following inter partes review that a cellular communications patent directed to frequency hopping owned by Intellectual Ventures I LLC was invalid and anticipated was not supported by substantial evidence, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had held. Among other things, the Board erred in invalidating independent claim 1 based on irrelevant disclosures in the specification.

This actually reached the Federal Circuit, which can be expensive. The large patent troll Dominion Harbor (connected to Microsoft through Intellectual Ventures) barely even gets this far.

What we see here is ongoing abuse from Intellectual Ventures, which is losing a lot of money (that money comes — in the form of big investments — from Microsoft itself).

Speaking of Texas, Blue Spike is a patent troll or “lawsuits factory” [1, 2, 3] based in Tyler, Texas (yes, think Eastern District of Texas) and it is suing once again, this time demanding $210,000,000 from Frontier. So far a couple of news reports about it [1, 2] could be in this niche’s media/sites. To quote:

US operator Frontier Communication is being sued by data patent holder Blue Spike in Texas for over USD 210 million, Law360 reported. Blue Spike claims the operator’s FiOS TV service infringes 11 patents related to watermark embedding technologies. Blue Spike also alleges violation of a 12th patent, related to Frontier’s business Wi-Fi service.

Blue Spike, based in Tyler, Texas, holds more than 100 patents for forensic watermarking, signal abstracts, data security, software watermarks, product license keys, ASLR and deep packet inspection, FierceCable reported.

Blue Spike does absolutely nothing but lawsuits. It’a an anvil or a yoke to the economy.

Staying down there in Texas, a Korean university known as KAIST (acronym) has a trolling entity in the US and it’s still acting like a classic patent troll in the Eastern District of Texas (where else?), as Kaist IP US LLC v Samsung Electronics Co. serves to show. The latest twist in this case was covered yesterday as follows:

The court denied plaintiff’s motion to strike portions of the rebuttal report of defendants’ damages expert because his theory capping the value of a patent-in-suit based on prior licensing negotiations was not unreliable.

KAIST is one of those very few Korean entities which are litigious. It does a lot of that in the US, not in Korea, where software patents for example are difficult to pursue (compared to Texas).

Earlier today we saw Velocity bragging about a new patent in Japan and Canada. The patent alludes to “software providing aggregated application metadata that reveals emerging patterns, performance issues, human productivity insights…”

Courts in Japan and Canada, however, would likely not permit such software (and thus seemingly abstract) patents. It sounds totally bunk, abstract, at least based on the press release. Those countries — unlike China — don’t quite tolerate such patents. China’s SIPO is ranked very low for patent quality and this new Chinese patent boasted about by BioMarker might actually endure scrutiny (but only in China, which is like the 'new' Eastern District of Texas). It’s very rare to see English press releases in which companies brag about Chinese patents. Seeing the fast-changing litigation climate in the US, perhaps they have plans in the far east.

Nationality and Sovereignty in AIA Era: Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Under Siege From Patent ‘Activists’

Posted in America, Courtroom, Law, Patents at 5:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Activists’ as in greedy and mischievous law firms, whose reckless actions damage the image of the US patent system

Wanted poster

Summary: The gunslingers that shoot from the hip at tribunals which assess patent quality don’t quite seem to understand what the outside world thinks of them; aggressiveness against the government itself merely reinforces the belief that they — the law firms — are the outlaws or the people’s (not just the state’s) enemy

THE USPTO must obey or at least respect rulings from the Supreme Court (SCOTUS). Otherwise it might grant patents in error, only to be ‘reprimanded’ (or at least embarrassed) by judges years down the line. The America Invents Act (AIA), introducing the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), helps assure that the USPTO more or less complies with SCOTUS, e.g. on § 101. It intervenes before and after patent grants, often thwarting application grants or voiding them after the grant.

AIA has been good, but it’s no good for law firms that are accustomed to lengthy (hence expensive) legal battles.

‘Activist’ law firms have decided to do something about it, even if they’re opposed by Federal courts and politicians, who generally accuse these firms of “shams”, “scams” and so on. Even the Federal Circuit got involved. The patent “scam” of Allergan and Mohawk Tribe is one such example; it is a threat to the very core of the patent system. The lawyers behind this “scam” are threatening me because they don’t like the negative publicity. Yesterday Bloomberg had this article by Susan Decker, who wrote the following:

Technology companies, banks and insurers say that allowing drugmaker Allergan Plc to use an American Indian tribe’s sovereign immunity to avoid competition from generics could undercut a system to weed out bad patents.

Industry groups filed arguments with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington ahead of oral arguments Monday. The court is considering whether patents for the company’s blockbuster dry-eye drug Restasis can still be challenged despite being transferred to a tribe that claims sovereign immunity.

“If Allergan’s ‘rent-a-tribe’ strategy is ultimately successful, it could doom the entire” review process, said Brad Wright, a patent lawyer with Banner & Witcoff in Washington. “Patent owners of all types — not just pharmaceutical companies — would be able to circumvent the process by asserting sovereign immunity.”


The Mohawk tribe has since reached a similar agreement with another company, SRC LLC, and together they sued Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft over patents for high-speed computing. Apple Inc. was sued over a patent owned by three North Dakota tribes, though the case was settled.

The goal is to avoid a review of issued patents before the patent board, which has an easier legal standard to cancel issued patents and is a favorite among tech and financial companies. The U.S. Supreme Court in April rejected claims the administrative reviews were unconstitutional.

Don’t expect these “scams” to last. Thus far (and it has been going on for about a year) they lose at every turn. On their side they mostly have dishonest law firms and patent maximalists such as Watchtroll. The concept of covered business method review (CBM) — a part of the America Invents Act (AIA) — was recalled/mentioned by Dennis Crouch the other day in relation to patent maximalists who want to sue even their own government for patent infringement. In one instance they want the government to stay out of their business and here they suddenly care so much about the government? To quote:

The America Invents Act (AIA) allows for a “person” to file a covered business method review (CBM) to challenge an issued patent. See AIA Section 18 (because they it is a temporary program, the CBM provisions have not been codified in the United States Code).


The setup here is fairly limited because it is only focused on governmental use, but it is the type of questions likely to receive interest from the Supreme Court. In its decision in the case, the Federal Circuit ruled (over a dissent) that a Section 1498 action counts as an infringement lawsuit for the purposes of the AIA and that the U.S. Government counts as a “person” under the statute — writing that “The AIA does not appear to use the term ‘person’ to exclude the government in other provisions.”

As usual, Crouch hopes to solicit patent maximalists’ input for SCOTUS (and lawyers make money from any litigation, so why cares about laws anyway?). What these people don’t care to realise is that the reckless behaviour (as above) merely serves to discredit the patent system as a whole. They don’t want to play by the rules and in the process they just smash the underlying system (as happened at the EPO).

IP Kat as an Extension of Team UPC After Departure of the Blog’s Founder

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 4:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Entryism completed?

CIPA meeting with Stephen Jones

Summary: One year they’re exposing Battistelli’s abuses and the next year they not only stop it but actually join Battistelli for photo ops whilst also promoting his agenda and deleting comments he might not like

THE EPO scandals won’t be covered by IP Kat anymore. To make matters worse, they’re mass-nuking comments that are critical of EPO management (as they did for António Campinos a few months back).

“How can this be?”

“Well, look no further than leadership and editorial changes at IP Kat (including Stephen Jones, who celebrated with Battistelli as they lobbied together for UPC ratification in the UK).”Many EPO insiders wonder that.

Well, look no further than leadership and editorial changes at IP Kat (including Stephen Jones, who celebrated with Battistelli as they lobbied together for UPC ratification in the UK). The picture at the top was taken and boasted about (by the EPO’s management) shortly after Jones had left IP Kat, leaving in charge more of the Bristows stuff (same agenda, Team UPC’s).

This isn’t a new observation by the way. We took note of it before, e.g. in:

There are more articles with more examples; we took note of it many times before, even as recently as 2 weeks ago.

A few hours ago IP Kat announced its upcoming anniversary party and guess where it’s at…

“This whole ‘party’ sort of confirms that IP Kat has been ‘hijacked’ by the Battistelli-friendly Team UPC.”Here we go: “join us on Monday, 2 July at Bristows London offices for an afternoon of celebrations and discussions about the recent past, present and future of this great area of the law!”

This whole ‘party’ sort of confirms that IP Kat has been ‘hijacked’ by the Battistelli-friendly Team UPC. The blog has been dominated by it since the blog’s founder left. Just notice who’s talking there and what about; there are even talks about SPCs, Bristows’ ‘favourite’ alongside UPC (they’re connected); IAM wrote about unitary SPCs earlier today (only hours ago), reinforcing or cementing the UPC agenda all these sites have. They and their sponsors/clients profit from patent trolls. Some of them receive money from Battistelli, e.g. through PR firms.

“They’re a serious threat not only to British democracy but German democracy too.”Perhaps such is the nature of entryism, but what’s concerning is how extreme an element it is; the same Team UPC which dominated Kluwer Patent Blog (and deleted UPC-hostile comments in there) is now doing the same at IP Kat. They ‘sanitise’ information and occasionally spread misinformation. Bristows’ party line has just been repeated by tweets from Managing IP (no link, but it’s pretty revealing whose posts they are inspired by or copy, more so than IAM). Gemma Barrett from Bristows has meanwhile posted this tweet/post about UPC; Team UPC lacks anything to say regarding UPC ‘progress’, so now it looks at Romania, a country with barely any European Patents (EPs). It says that the “PPA will come into force when Germany (whose ratification of the PPA is also on hold)…”

Wait. It’s an understatement to say “on hold” considering the extremely serious nature of the constitutional complaint. But never let a good propaganda opportunity go to waste or facts get in the way of IP Kat Bristows. Remember how after this must-read scandal in Germany they wrote a lot of posts to cover that up (as we noted several times at the time). They’re a serious threat not only to British democracy but German democracy too. They and Battistelli have that in common. All they care about is litigation (for them to profit from).

Links 5/6/2018: Jailhouse 0.9, Libinput 1.11, Qt Creator 4.7 Beta, Oracle Lays Off Java Mission Control Team

Posted in News Roundup at 3:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Samsung’s Chromebook Plus now supports Linux apps

      Google began bringing Linux app support to Chrome OS almost exactly one month ago, but it only started with a single device, the very expensive Pixelbook. Now, that’s changing: Linux support is becoming available for Samsung’s Chromebook Plus as well, as spotted by users on Reddit.

    • Samsung Chromebook Plus is second device to support Linux apps

      The idea of Chromebooks (and Chrome OS in general) supporting Linux apps changes the game for the Chrome OS ecosystem. If Chromebooks support Linux apps there suddenly are so many more applications available to run, which makes Chromebooks a more robust competitor to Windows and Mac laptops.

      However, the only Chromebook that supported Linux apps when Google announced the feature was the Pixelbook – probably the most expensive Chromebook on the market.

      But some savvy Redditors just found that the much-more-reasonably-priced Samsung Chromebook Plus now supports Linux apps as well. It’s a little tricky to get them installed, but the support is there nonetheless.

  • Kernel Space

    • [ANNOUNCE] Jailhouse 0.9 released

      We are happy to have completed a new version of the partitioning
      hypervisor Jailhouse. The release got delayed a couple of times,
      primarily due to the introduction of MMU support to ARM demo inmates.
      But now it’s done and working.

      Code changes are fewer than for the previous release, but the number of
      commits is almost this same: 171 commits, 240 files changed, 4458
      insertions, 1925 deletions.

    • Jailhouse 0.9 Hypervisor Released With NVIDIA TX2 Support

      A new version of the Jailhouse partitioning hypervisor for Linux systems is now available.

      Hardware now supported by the Jailhouse 0.9 release include the NVIDIA Jetson TX2, NXP MCIMX8M-EVK, and Emtrion emCON-RZ/G1H.

    • Linux 4.18 Lands Chromebook Tablet Switch Driver

      Another one of the hardware support additions for the now in-development Linux 4.18 kernel is finally the mainlining of the Chromebook Tablet Switch Driver.

      This Chromebook Tablet Switch Driver has been in development for more than one year in patch form outside of the mainline kernel and already used by Chrome OS. This driver is responsible for handling the tablet switch event on Intel-powered convertible/2-in-1 Chromebooks when switching between the conventional Chromebook/laptop mode and tablet mode.

      These x86 Chromebooks rely upon ACPI for the tablet switch event and the driver makes use of the kernel’s SW_TABLET_MODE switch event.

    • Linux 4.16.14
    • Linux 4.14.48
    • Linux 4.9.106
    • GNU Linux-Libre 4.17 Kernel Arrives for Those Seeking 100% Freedom for Their PCs

      Based on the recently released Linux kernel 4.17, the GNU Linux-libre 4.17-gnu kernel borrows all the new features incorporated upstream but without including any proprietary drivers or firmware. Apart from the usual deblobbing, this release includes a free, open-source version of the Dreamcast Yamaha AICA sound driver.

      “The greatest news is that the driver for Dreamcast Yamaha AICA sound hardware is no longer cleaned up: the firmware for it is Free Software, and Jason Self’s upcoming linux-libre-firmware release will have it,” said Alexandre Oliva. “No other significant changes were made, just the usual assortment of adjustments.”

    • [ANNOUNCE] libinput 1.11.0

      libinput 1.11 is now available.

      The automatic parsing of the trackpoint sensitivity sysfs file has been
      reverted, this caused the trackpoint to send NaN deltas on some devices,
      notiably the Lenovo CompactKeyboard with Trackpoint. Other devices affected
      would’ve been any device with a low sensitivity. A full fix to this will
      have to be addressed after the release.

    • Libinput 1.11 Released With Record & Replay Capabilities, New Acceleration Code

      Libinput 1.11 is out today as a significant update to this generic input handling library for Linux systems that is used by both X.Org (in the form of xf86-input-libinput) as well as Wayland systems for their unified input needs. The Libinput 1.11 release offers several new features.

      One of the big features to libinput 1.11 is integrated record and replay capabilities. This allows for Libinput to record input events and to then replay them back at a later point, which can be practical for debugging and similar use-cases.

    • No Kernel 5.0! Linus Torvalds Prefers Releasing it as Kernel 4.17

      Linus Torvalds has announced the release of Linux Kernel 4.17. Take a look at main new features in the latest kernel release.

      A new Linux Kernel has been released today and unlike the expectations, it is not called Kernel 5.0.

    • Linus Torvalds Releases Linux Kernel 4.17, Plans To Ship v5.0 After v4.20

      Ever since Linus Torvalds announced the release of Linux kernel 4.16, the open source enthusiasts found themselves making predictions regarding the Linux 5.0. Even though Torvalds had already wished 5.0 release to be “meaningless,” it was being expected that kernel 4.17 could actually end up being kernel 5.0.

      But that didn’t happen. The Linux boss chose to go ahead with Linux 4.17 even though the 6 million Git object milestone for 5.0 release has already been passed.

    • Linux 4.17 Arrives with New Kernel Memory Consistency Module

      Linus Torvalds officially released the Linux 4.17 kernel on June 3, after seven release candidates. Linux 4.17 is the third major Linux kernel release of 2018 and follows the Linux 4.16 release, which was announced on April 1.

      Among the major new features that have landed in Linux 4.17 is the new Linux Kernel Memory Consistency Module (LKMM).

    • Linux Foundation

      • Community-Created Apps Help Ease Kubernetes Administration

        It didn’t take long at all for Kubernetes to become a star in the open source arena, emerging as the standard way to containerize applications at scale. Kubernetes is ushering in “operations transformation” and helping organizations make the transition to cloud-native computing, said Craig McLuckie, co-founder and CEO of Heptio and a co-founder of Kubernetes at Google, in a recent free webinar.

    • Graphics Stack

      • What’s New in macOS

        Apps built using OpenGL and OpenCL will continue to run in macOS 10.14, but these legacy technologies are deprecated in macOS 10.14. Games and graphics-intensive apps that use OpenGL should now adopt Metal. Similarly, apps that use OpenCL for computational tasks should now adopt Metal and Metal Performance Shaders.

    • Benchmarks

      • A Look At The RadeonSI/RADV Performance From Mesa 17.2 To Mesa 18.2

        Testing was done from the past year as going back to Mesa 17.1 and prior would yield a corrupted desktop on those older releases. With Mesa 17.2 and newer, everything was working fine on both the RADV Vulkan and RadeonSI OpenGL drivers in the games tested. For the older Mesa releases, older versions of LLVM had to be paired with it for API compatibility. The combinations of Mesa tested included Mesa 17.2.8 with LLVM 5.0.1, Mesa 17.3.9 with LLVM 6.0.0, Mesa 18.0.5 with LLVM 6.0.0, Mesa 18.1.1 with LLVM 7.0.0, and Mesa 18.2-devel Git as of this week with LLVM 7.0.0 SVN.

      • Dota 2 Vulkan Performance Across MacOS, Windows 10 & Linux

        Last week Valve released their long-awaited Vulkan renderer for Dota 2 on macOS by making use of the MoltenVK driver they facilitated its open-sourcing of earlier in the year for bringing Vulkan to macOS/iOS via this wrapper layer to map Vulkan calls to Apple Metal drivers. The initial benchmarks of Vulkan’ized Dota 2 on Mac were quite compelling while for your viewing pleasure today are some additional data points.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 8.0 Debuts With Official Windows Support, Easier Benchmark Creation

        Phoronix Test Suite 8.0 has premiered today as the latest quarterly update to our open-source, cross-platform automated benchmarking software. This also happens to be our largest release ever and also commemorates ten years since the release of Phoronix Test Suite 1.0 and fourteen-years since the start of Phoronix. Here is a look at some of the many enhancements to find in this open-source benchmarking software.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • This Week in KDE, Part 3 : Touchpad KCM, Mouse KCM, Libinput

        The previous days were full with discussions since the changes I’m working on will affect the user experience directly. At last, we decided to ship the changes as it is and apply the other changes part by part. I did a Touchpad KCM UI redesign in Kirigami and I would do it for Mouse KCM too but Mouse KCM had some name changes last time so small problem occurred in my system. (KCM’s are part of the KDE Plasma Desktop so changes may be affected by other things.) The code is ready. After solving the problem, new Mouse KCM will be shipped My first coding phase plan of GSoC is kind of finished, too. My next task will be about Libinput so currently, I’m working on a bug to get used to Libinput hacking and to introduce myself to the Libinput community (actually better to say Wayland community).

      • Qt Creator 4.7 Enters Beta, Uses Clang Code Model By Default

        The Qt Company has issued its first public beta today of the Qt Creator 4.7 Qt/C++ integrated development environment.

        One of the biggest changes for the Qt Creator 4.7 cycle is the Clang Code Model is now enabled by default. This Clang-based C/C++ integration in Qt Creator succeeds the homegrown C/C++ Code Model previously employed by the IDE. Clang is being leveraged due to the C++ standards advancing much quicker in recent years, more flexibility, and greater performance.

      • Qt Creator’s Clang Code Model

        Starting with the upcoming Qt Creator 4.7, the Clang Code Model is enabled by default. That’s a great time to look at the differences between our old code model and the new Clang Code Model. But first things first.

      • Qt Creator 4.7 Beta released

        The greatest improvements were again done for our Clang based C++ support. First of all we made the Clang code model the default for Qt Creator 4.7. That is quite a milestone after years of experimenting and developing, so Nikolai has wrapped up the history and current state in a separate blog post. I’ll just summarize some of the most important changes in 4.7 here.

      • Krita Sprint: long fight with jaggy lines on OSX
      • [GCompris] GSoC 2018: Week 2 & 3
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Security vulnerability in Epiphany Technology Preview

        If you use Epiphany Technology Preview, please update immediately and ensure you have revision 3.29.2-26 or newer. We discovered and resolved a vulnerability that allowed websites to access internal Epiphany features and thereby exfiltrate passwords from the password manager. We apologize for this oversight.

        The unstable Epiphany 3.29.2 release is the only affected release. Epiphany 3.29.1 is not affected. Stable releases, including Epiphany 3.28, are also not affected.

      • Nautilus File Operations

        While unit tests are meant to be fairly short and simple, tackling individual instances of a functionality or component, Nautilus would not really allow us to do that. Due to Nautilus’ nature and its tight relation to I/O operations, unit testing for us meant cherry-picking the simpler functions which we use and testing these. However, for the larger, more important components, we’d rely on integration tests, which represented one of the following items on our list.

      • 23rd of April

        Lo and behold (not as surprising as it was for me considering I am writing this) my project had been accepted and I was about to start my bonding period as an official member and contributor under the GNOME community!

        I doubt I’ll soon (if ever) forget the feelings I went through as I saw my name listed there. At first, I could not find myself. The GNOME projects list kept going and going, I even went past my fellow Nautilus GSOC’er project and would not see my name. Eventually, I saw it, “Tests, profiling and debug framework for Nautilus” with my name on top of it. It just felt both rewarding (as I had been contributing to Nautilus for a while up to that point) and relaxing, knowing I would get to contribute to something I use on my day-to-day work and alongside the people I got to learn so much from, all whilst being a part a of a huge project, whose name is familiar to millions of users.

  • Distributions

    • Arch Family

      • Arch Linux 2018.06.01 Is Now Available for Download, Uses Linux Kernel 4.16.12

        Arch Linux 2018.06.01 has been released as a refreshed install media for the popular and lightweight GNU/Linux distribution, including the Linux 4.16.12 kernel and all the security patches and software updates that were made available through the project’s repositories during May 2018.

        The install media is slightly bigger than last month’s ISO image and weights about 571.0 MB in size and supports only 64-bit (amd64/x86_64) architectures. The included Linux 4.16.12 kernel is not the latest version available as Linux kernel 4.16.13 is already in the stable repositories, and Linux kernel 4.17 is in the Staging one.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Centralize and Simplify Secrets Management for Red Hat OpenShift Container Environments with the CyberArk Conjur Enterprise Integration
      • Red Hat Launches Fuse 7, Fuse Online for Better Cloud Integration

        Red Hat on Monday launched its Fuse 7 cloud-native integration solution and introduced Fuse Online, an alternative integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS).

        Red Hat Fuse is a lightweight modular and flexible integration platform with a new-style enterprise service bus (ESB) to unlock information. It provides a single, unified platform across hybrid cloud environments for collaboration between integration experts, application developers and business users.

        The Fuse 7 upgrade expands the platform’s integration capabilities natively to Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. OpenShift is a comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform.

      • Red Hat unveils Fuse 7 integrated with OpenShift and Fuse Online

        Red Hat has introduced the latest version of its cloud-native integration solution: Red Hat Fuse 7, which was formerly called Red Hat JBoss Fuse.

        Fuse 7 is a cloud-native distribution solution for developers to develop, deploy and scale integration capabilities. It has now been integrated with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform for better collaboration among diverse users.

        Developers will get a unified solution to create, extend, and deploy containerized integration services across hybrid cloud environments. Fuse 7 integrated with OCP will enable greater productivity and manageability in private, public and hybrid clouds.

      • Rethinking how we work

        Everyone’s talking about it—because no one can avoid it—and it’s causing even the longest-running and most venerable businesses to radically rethink how they operate. Economic, cultural, and technological conditions are changing so rapidly that entire industries are getting upended at an unprecedented rate. Faced with that kind of change, organizations typically find themselves in one of two positions: They’re either disrupting their industries—changing the rules of the game, solving new problems, realizing new sources of value—or they’re being disrupted by nimbler, more innovative, digitally native competitors.

      • How to install Python Flask on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7
      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 28 – Improvements drowned in slowness

          Fedora 28 is buggy, riddled with problems and that awful performance issue, some good and brilliant points, and it takes a lot of hard work to tame and put into order. In other words, it’s a perfect toy for the typical developer, I guess. For ordinary folks, the good points of being able to play music, connect phones and find nice software are definitely appreciated. But they are more than offset by Gnome 3 being useless and hard to make less useless, inadequate default font settings, tons of visual inconsistencies, occasional app and kernel crashes, and dreadful performance and resource utilization.

          This distro makes sense as a test bed for software, nothing more. It is not suitable for day-to-day use, and there are too many problems. I find this sad, because RHEL and CentOS are the exact opposites of this equation, and that means a person interested in a Red Hat distro for their home use will probably have to compromise in some way. All in all, worth checking, but it’s a tinkerer’s trinket, not a system for serious use. None of the spring crop seem to be. Anyway, feel like testing, go ahead. But I still find the older 24/25 releases to have been much better. 4/10. Take care, freedom fighters.

        • New GLPI dedicated repositories

          Until now, GLPI 9.1 was available in the “remi” repository and GLPI 9.2 in the “remi-test” repository, which doesn’t make sense anymore, as version 9.2 is stable and most plugins are compatible.

        • [Week 3] GSoC Status Report for Fedora App: Amitosh
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • A tennis ball retriever powered by Ubuntu

            A couple years back, Haitham Eletrabi, CEO of startup Tennibot, was practicing his backhand against a ball machine when he came to a frustrating realization: He was spending far more time cleaning up balls than hitting them.

            His solution, Tennibot, is a Roomba-inspired robot that scours the court targeting balls for autonomous pickup.

            It’s a quirky application of autonomous mobility, but what caught my eye was the speed of development. In just a couple years the Tennibot team has gone through multiple prototypes and software builds to arrive at a product they plan to ship in January 2019.

          • Top Snaps in May 2018

            Spring has sprung a bounty of applications in the snap store! We’ve hand picked a small selection from those we highlighted during May 2018.

          • EzeeLinux Show 18.22 | Ubuntu 18.04 Follow Up and 10 Years on YouTube

            Some observations on Ubuntu 18.04 including what has changed under the hood and getting Unity to work.

          • How to Make Ubuntu Look More Like Windows
          • Ubuntu’s New Server Installer Will Soon Support RAID & LAN Bonding

            With Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS there is a new server installer that is completely redone compared to the Debian Installer it’s been relying upon to this point. But it is missing some basic features for traditional server administrators like RAID, encryption, and LVM partitioning.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 – Download Links, Release Date, Features & More

            Ubuntu 18.10 will be released this October, and we already have information about the new Ubuntu’s features, changes, release date, and more.

            Some of you requested an article for 18.10 like we did one for Ubuntu 18.04, so here it is. Though it’s still relatively early, there is some information available about the new features, what will be changed, the name, and more.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 19 Beta Is Now available to Download

              Linux Mint 19 Beta is now available to download with 3 desktop flavors “Cinnamon, Mate and Xfce”. Let’s check the main features you would expect in the final release Linux Mint 19.

              Linux Mint 19 with a code name “Tara” is based on the long term support release Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) which will be supported until April, 2023. So, you would expect receive security updates from Ubuntu repositories along with enhancements from Linux Mint team as well.

            • Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Xfce – BETA Release

              Linux Mint 19 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2023. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

            • Linux Mint 19 “Tara” MATE – BETA Release

              Linux Mint 19 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2023. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Sound themes in Linux: What every user should know

    Like all modern operating systems, Linux has a set of specifications for sound themes. Sound themes are sets of similar sounds coordinated into themes that sound good together. They signal events such as switching to a different workspace, opening a new application, plugging and unplugging hardware, and alerting you when your battery is low or fully charged. The sounds that play is determined by which themes you have installed and which ones you’re currently using. If your desktop tries to play a sound your theme doesn’t have, it will play a sound from another sound theme if it can find one.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Get All the Color, New Firefox Extension Announced

        Remember when you were a kid and wanted to paint your room your favorite color? Or the first time you dyed your hair a different color and couldn’t wait to show all your friends (or at least, wanted to)? We feel that, too, and that’s why we put the new Color Extension in the mix of add-ons available for Firefox browser.

      • It’s A New Firefox Multi-tasking Extension: Side View

        Introducing Side View! Side View is a Firefox extension that allows you to view two different browser tabs simultaneously in the same tab, within the same browser window.


        With Side View, you can compare news stories and informational material against one another. You can also read an article on one side, and compare quoted source material to the original on the other side.

        And this is a really great use of Side View: Comparing revisions of documents and images to note changes and see if the new version looks and reads better than the old version. Version control—all in the same window!

      • Latest Firefox Test Pilot Experiments: Custom Color and Side View

        Before we bring new features to Firefox, we give them a test run to make sure they’re right for our users. To help determine which features we add and how exactly they should work, we created the Test Pilot program.

        Since the launch of Test Pilot, we have experimented with 16 different features, and three have graduated to live in Firefox full time: Activity Stream, Containers and Screenshots. Recently, Screenshots surpassed more than 100M+ screenshots since it launched. Thanks to active Firefox users who opt to take part in Test Pilot experiments.

        This week, the Test Pilot team is continuing to evolve Firefox features with two new extensions that will offer users a more customizable and productive browsing experience.

      • Introducing Firefox Color and Side View

        We’re excited to launch two new Test Pilot experiments that add power and style to Firefox.

      • Overscripted! Digging into JavaScript execution at scale

        As champions of a healthy Internet, we at Mozilla have been increasingly concerned about the current advertisement-centric web content ecosystem. Web-based ad technologies continue to evolve increasingly sophisticated programmatic models for targeting individuals based on their demographic characteristics and interests. The financial underpinnings of the current system incentivise optimizing on engagement above all else. This, in turn, has evolved an insatiable appetite for data among advertisers aggressively iterating on models to drive human clicks.

      • Overscripted Web: a Mozilla Data Analysis Challenge

        What happens while you are browsing the Web? Mozilla wants to invite data and computer scientists, students and interested communities to join the “Overscripted Web: a Data Analysis Challenge”, and help explore JavaScript running in browsers and what this means for users. We gathered a rich dataset and we are looking for exciting new observations, patterns and research findings that help to better understand the Web. We want to bring the winners to speak at MozFest, our annual festival for the open Internet held in London.


        Cryptojacking: websites using user’s computers to mine cryptocurrencies are mainly video streaming sites

      • Management books in review

        I became a manager of a fantastic team in February. My standard response to a new role is to read many books and talk to a lot of people who are have experience is this area so I have the background to be successful.

  • Databases

    • MySQL without the MySQL: An introduction to the MySQL Document Store

      MySQL can act as a NoSQL JSON Document Store so programmers can save data without having to normalize data, set up schemas, or even have a clue what their data looks like before starting to code. Since MySQL version 5.7 and in MySQL 8.0, developers can store JSON documents in a column of a table. By adding the new X DevAPI, you can stop embedding nasty strings of structured query language in your code and replace them with API calls that support modern programming design.

      Very few developers have any formal training in structured query language (SQL), relational theory, sets, or other foundations of relational databases. But they need a secure, reliable data store. Add in a dearth of available database administrators, and things can get very messy quickly.

      The MySQL Document Store allows programmers to store data without having to create an underlying schema, normalize data, or any of the other tasks normally required to use a database. A JSON document collection is created and can then be used.

    • Quest Doubles Down on Open Source Relational Database Management with Postgres Support in Toad Edge™ 2.0
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD


    • GNU Health patchset 3.2.10 released

      Starting GNU Health 3.x series, you can do automatic updates on the GNU Health and Tryton kernel and modules using the GNU Health control center program.

  • Programming/Development

    • Ericsson proud of its open source history as Erlang turns 20

      There’s an incorrect presumption that the telecoms vendor and OEM community is divided between the legacy equipment companies and the open source community, with clear separation between the two. Not so; although there are obviously significant differences and business models in play. The so-called legacy vendors are keen to maintain their sizeable gross margins on networking products, whereas the open source-based newer entrants are competing on both innovation and lower costs.

    • Microsoft Buys GitHub

      If you’re an open-source developer using GitHub, it’s time to start looking for new place to store your code.

    • Microsoft Has Acquired GitHub And Developers Are Not Happy

      On Monday, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Github, the world’s largest repository of open-source code for $7.5 billion.

      However, this announcement has provoked a backlash from several developers as they see the death of a community-driven platform that is crucial to open source software development.

    • So Pigs Do Fly: Microsoft Acquires GitHub

      Disclosure: Microsoft is a RedMonk customer…

    • Microsoft’s GitHub deal triggers software coders’ trust issues
    • Microsoft is buying GitHub, but will the open source world follow?
    • Oracle Lays Off Java Mission Control Team After Open Sourcing Product

      The Java Mission Control suite of tools, also known as JMC, was open sourced by Oracle on May 3rd with much applause and excitement from the Java development community. The excitement was replaced with unease as sources reported that the entire JMC development team had been laid off.

      JMC is a well-known profiling and diagnostics tools suite for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) primarily targeting systems running in production. It is used by developers to gather detailed low-level information about how the JVM and the Java application are behaving. The official open source announcement came on May 5th from Marcus Hirt, a member of the Java Platform Group at Oracle.


  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • 10 Open Source Security Tools You Should Know

      The people, products, technologies, and processes that keep businesses secure all come with a cost — sometimes quite hefty. That is just one of the reasons why so many security professionals spend at least some of their time working with open source security software.

      Indeed, whether for learning, experimenting, dealing with new or unique situations, or deploying on a production basis, security professionals have long looked at open source software as a valuable part of their toolkits.

      However, as we all are aware, open source software does not map directly to free software; globally, open source software is a huge business. With companies of various sizes and types offering open source packages and bundles with support and customization, the argument for or against open source software often comes down to its capabilities and quality.

      For the tools in this slide show, software quality has been demonstrated by thousands of users who have downloaded and deployed them. The list is broken down, broadly, into categories of visibility, testing, forensics, and compliance. If you don’t see your most valuable tool on the list, please add them in the comments.

    • Open Source Tools for Active Defense Security

      So, what can we do when this happens? One option is to employ free or open source tools in limited deployment. This choice can help demonstrate value and work as a proof point for future budget conversations — and can even work for a strategy like active defense.

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #162
    • Security updates for Tuesday
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Call For Britain To ‘Come Clean’ Over Civilian Deaths In Raqqa

      The US-led coalition campaign to liberate the Syrian city of Raqqa from the so-called Islamic State killed hundreds of civilians and injured thousands, a charity has claimed.

    • UK ‘must come clean’ over airstrikes in Syria, says Amnesty International

      The coalition air campaign to liberate Raqqa from Islamic State has been described as a “war of annihilation”, which killed hundreds of civilians and injured thousands more.

      The claims have been made by the charity Amnesty International, which singles out the involvement of the RAF in the battle, saying that “the UK needs to come clean over its role in this carnage”.

    • Syria war: Amnesty says UK ‘should come clean’ on Raqqa attacks

      The UK should “come clean” about its role in attacks on the Syrian city of Raqqa which allegedly killed hundreds of civilians, a charity has said.

      Amnesty International said it has found evidence air strikes by a US-led coalition were “potential war crimes”.

      The charity spent two weeks in Raqqa, which had been targeted in the war against the so-called Islamic State (IS), interviewing 112 witnesses.

    • Pro-Trump Author Says CIA Has Plan to Kill the President

      It is not difficult to conclude that we now have a conspiracy theorist as president of the United States. During Barack Obama’s presidency Donald Trump promised to find proof that he was not born in the United States and claimed that he had sent people to Hawaii to find the evidence. If he really sent anyone, they never came back with the proof Trump expected. Then in March 2017, as president, he tweeted that Obama had ordered a wiretap on his phone at Trump Tower. That too was false.

      Of late, Trump has engaged in several “tweet storms” claiming that a conspiracy by the “Deep State” exists and is doing all it can to delegitimize his presidency and get him removed from office. Trump believes the Deep State was instituted by John Brennan, Obama’s CIA director, and includes all of the intelligence agencies. His latest claim is that before leaving office the Obama team planted an FBI spy in his campaign, tweeting a phrase his supporters would soon repeat: “SPYGATE could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!”

    • Big Tech firms march to the beat of Pentagon, CIA despite dissension

      funny thing has happened to Google and Amazon on their path toward high-tech success: They have become crucial cogs in the U.S. national security establishment.

    • Another Defense Agency to Tap CIA’s Commercial Cloud
    • Ex-CIA Officer Says US Supports Terror Groups – Ideological al-Qaeda Descendants

      Larry Johnson: Because the United States was supporting terrorist groups in Syria. That’s the real irony in all of this. In 2001 when the United States was attacked by al-Qaeda and we find ourselves now supporting groups that are the ideological descendants of al-Qaeda in Syria. It’s just absolute insanity.

    • Africa: U.S. Military Killed Almost 500 Civilians in 2017 – Pentagon Report [Ed: Well, they count it based on bogus criteria/definitions of “civilian” (usually female under 12 or so)]

      The Pentagon has told Congress that the US military killed almost 500 civilians and injured a further 169 in 2017.

      The civilians were killed in operations around the world, from Somalia to Yemen to Syria.

      “[The Department of Defense] assesses that there are credible reports of approximately 499 civilians killed and approximately 169 civilians injured during 2017,” reads the Pentagon’s report to Congress, as per CNN.

    • US Marines move tanks from secret caves in Norway to Finland

      US Marines withdrew tanks and weapons from storage caves in secret locations in Norway and brought them to southern Finland last month. Once there, they fired tank guns and other weaponry alongside the Finnish army as part of an annual training exercise called Arrow 18.

    • Aid Groups Issue Grave Warnings as Trump Considers Major Escalation of US Military Role in Yemen

      In a “horrifying” development that international aid groups and independent critics warn could worsen what is already the world’s most devastating humanitarian crisis, the Trump administration is reportedly considering a plan to greatly expand the US military’s role in Yemen in an effort to help Saudi-backed forces seize the country’s main humanitarian aid port.

      According to the Wall Street Journal—which first reported the details of the plan on Sunday—the Trump White House “is weighing an appeal from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for direct US support” for Saudi-forces that are closing in on the port city of Hodeidah, where nearly 80 percent of all humanitarian aid and food arrives. Hodeidah is currently controlled by Houthi rebels.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Lift the ban on communications! Free Julian Assange!

      June 6 will mark 10 weeks since the Ecuadorian government blocked all communication by WikiLeaks’ editor Julian Assange with the outside world, including personal visitors. Assange has been trapped inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, when Quito granted him asylum in the face of a legal witch-hunt by the governments of the United States, Britain and Sweden.

      Britain was moving to extradite Assange to Sweden on trumped-up allegations of sexual abuse as the first step in transferring him to the US to face charges of espionage, which carry a possible death sentence. Washington had vowed to punish Assange for having exposed before the world war crimes committed by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as US intrigues against other countries.

      In remarks last Wednesday, Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno attempted to defend the silencing of Assange. He sought to deny—unconvincingly—that this action was the outcome of his government’s capitulation to pressure and threats by the United States.

    • Lawyer Julian Burnside endorses June 17 Sydney demonstration for Assange’s freedom

      I join with John Pilger and endorse the demonstration that will take place in Sydney on Sunday, June 17, at 1:00 pm, to demand that the Australian government act immediately to secure the freedom of WikiLeaks’ editor Julian Assange.

      I urge all people to take part, especially my colleagues in the legal profession. We cannot remain silent or passive as the democratic principles we uphold are shredded. Assange has not committed any crime. He is being persecuted because he published leaks that exposed government acts that are criminal under the law.

      The Turnbull government must help Julian Assange now. He must be helped to leave the Ecuadorean Embassy without being arrested by Britain (our allies) and be allowed to return to Australia, to his children, mother and supporters, with guaranteed protection from arrest by the British and any American extradition request.

    • Singer-songwriter Roger Waters calls for defence of Assange

      The above message was displayed above the stage of musician Roger Waters’ “Us + Them 2018” concert in Berlin, Germany on June 2.

      Roger Waters was part of the iconic rock band Pink Floyd from 1965 to 1985. For the past 33 years, he has continued a solo career, which has included staging the largest live concert event in history.

      Throughout his long career, singer-songwriter Waters has spoken out publicly against war, oppression and injustice.

    • Ecuador: No set date for Assange to regain internet access

      No date has been set for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to regain access to the internet at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he has been in asylum since 2012, Ecuador’s foreign minister said.

      Maria Fernanda Espinosa said Mr Assange has not complied with his agreement to avoid intervening in the politics of other countries.

      “On several occasions he has agreed on not intervening in internal politics of third-party countries and unfortunately he has not complied with his commitment, so for the time being he is not allowed to have access to the internet,” she told The Associated Press. “It is not a matter of censorship.”

    • Ecuador: No set date for Assange to have access to internet

      Ecuador’s foreign minister, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, said on Monday that there is no set date for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to regain access to the internet in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he has taken shelter since 2012.

      Ecuador’s government cut off Assange’s internet connection in March after he made social media posts decrying the arrest of a Catalan separatist politician.

    • Assange still to wait for internet access [Ed: AP again]
    • John Pilger: Justice and freedom for Julian Assange mean free speech for us all

      This month, it will be six years since Julian was forced to take refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He had been warned; the US Department of Justice was likely to file an application with Britain’s Home Office for his extradition to the United States. The allegations against Julian and WikiLeaks in the US were subsequently declared secret by a US District Court judge, but it has since been confirmed that a grand jury in Virginia has concocted a number of possible ‘charges’ against the WikiLeaks founder.

      The most likely of these is ‘espionage’, which harks back to a long -defunct First World War law designed to punish conscientious objectors.

      Julian is not an American; neither has he ‘betrayed’ any state. His ‘crime’ has been free journalism and publishing, which are protected under the US Constitution, a document whose sanctity has apparently been jettisoned.

    • Julian Assange in jeopardy

      Julian Assange’s status in the Ecuadorian embassy has been in jeopardy over the past months, particularly since Ecuador’s Lenin Moreno came to power, with Ecuador and the UK believed to be engaged in negotiations to bring his stay to an end. In a recent interview, Moreno said, “Let’s not forget the conditions of his asylum prevent him from speaking about politics or intervening in the politics of other countries. That’s why we cut his communication.”

      Isolated without internet access since March, Julian Assange will have been arbitrarily detained by the UK in the Ecuadorian Embassy for six years on 19 June 2018. The UN has condemned his detention; leading intellectuals, academics, and artists around the world have called for an end to his isolation; and the UK refuses to guarantee safety from extradition should he step outside the embassy.

    • John Pilger and Courage Foundation announce “urgent campaign” to free Assange
    • Ecuadorian foreign minister asserts treatment of Assange is “not censorship”

      Speaking from New York yesterday, Ecuador’s foreign minister María Fernanda Espinosa defended her government’s vindictive decision to cut WikiLeaks’ editor Julian Assange off from all communication and even personal visitors. For 10 weeks, Assange has been deprived of contact with the outside world, under conditions in which his health has been seriously compromised by being confined inside the small Ecuadorian embassy in London for nearly six years.

      Espinosa again hinted that Ecuador is working to force Assange out of the embassy into the clutches of waiting police and a prison cell, and the prospect of extradition to the United States on charges of espionage. She stated she was in discussion with both British authorities and Assange’s lawyers. “I think all parties are interested in finding an outlet, a solution, to this complex situation,” she declared.

    • Terry Hicks, father of former Guantánamo Bay prisoner David Hicks, supports Julian Assange

      Assange has not committed any crime but has been virtually jailed in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for six years. No one should be treated this way. There was all this hullaballoo in Sweden, but there were never any charges, and then, all of a sudden, it was just dropped. He’s been accused of treason, called a spy, a terrorist and all sorts of other things by American politicians and the media. These are just lies and part of an orchestrated script.

      If Julian Assange walks out of the embassy he will be taken to the US and put on trial for crimes that have been cooked-up by the US government. People say extradition, but I prefer to use the word kidnapping. We cannot allow this to happen.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Trump Fiddles As Fossil Fuels Burn

      I have to admit that as sad as the spectacle in Washington is, I feel for Donald Trump. Surely, I think, somewhere within him there must be a frightened child, desperate for praise he never got. I am not sure what else could explain his folly.

      Coal and nuclear power are both dying, falling victim to natural gas and renewable energy. Trump used to blame the Democrats, and especially “Obama’s war on coal.” He used to take the position that removing subsidies for renewable power would be sufficient to bring a renaissance to the coal industry. But despite his efforts, coal plants have just kept closing.


      In 2014, both FERC and NASA have warned us about the possibility of long-term national outages. The FERC warning related to terrorists potentially attacking grid transmission facilities and bringing the grid down for over a year. And NASA warned us about a coronal discharge that could shut the grid down for over three years. In neither case would the presence of coal-burning plants be helpful. In both cases, nuclear plants could make things far, far worse.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • As China censors ‘Tank Man’ anniversary, protestors re-enact iconic demonstration near Tiananmen Square

      A lone man stood defiantly before a row of tanks near China’s Tiananmen Square 29 years ago Tuesday. And while images of the anonymous “Tank Man” remain iconic in the West, China tightly censors all such reminders of its deadly crackdown on protestors in 1989.

      But that hasn’t stopped one Chinese artist from urging Tank Man’s remembrance: In days leading to the demonstration’s anniversary, images appeared on social media under the hashtags “#tankman” and “#tankman2018″: People stood firm and held shopping bags — just as the Tank Man did nearly three decades ago.

      The Chinese cartoonist known as Badiucao launched a campaign calling for performances honoring Tank Man around the world, donning his black-and-white outfit and standing on a raised platform to connect the moment’s legacy to current events.

    • Alleged censorship of high school paper fuels hope for legislative action

      This year’s alleged censoring of the school newspaper at Prosper High School in North Texas was the latest in a series of episodes that has First Amendment advocates hopeful for legislative change.

      In May, Prosper High School Principal John Burdett terminated the contract of school newspaper advisor Lori Oglesbee-Petter, who has advised student papers for over three decades, after several incidents in which Burdett forced the Eagle Nation Online to remove content.

      Burdett, who came to the district in March 2017, began to review the news content in February, vetting it for material that was controversial or ran counter to “community norms.” He sought content that was “uplifting.”

    • ‘Any company could die overnight’: China’s online services struggle with rising censorship demands

      The rapid tightening of Chinese censorship demands has plunged local internet companies into a high-stakes game of survival, with executives knowing they face closure if they allow the distribution of banned content.

      “It’s no exaggeration to say that any company could die overnight,” said Chen Taifeng, a vice-president at Yixia Technology, the developer of MiaoPai, a hugely popular service for live-streaming and video-sharing in the country.

      It has become an industry joke that “almost all of the people in charge of content-audit departments have white hair.”

      Those departments are charged with enforcing government censorship edicts, which have grown increasingly strict as China seeks to ensure internet video abides by standards more similar to those that have long governed broadcast television.

    • Facebook expands censorship of news organizations with restrictions on political ads

      Facebook’s new measures restricting use of its advertising platform have begun to impact news and media organizations, according to a report published Friday by the Verge. The moves are the latest step in the company’s campaign to censor its platform under the bogus pretext of combating “Russian interference” and “fake news.”

      Starting May 24, Facebook began requiring that anyone wishing to purchase a “political ad” must undergo an onerous authorization process, submitting images of a government-issued ID and verifying their address and Social Security number, among other requirements.

      In addition to ads relating to elections, referenda, political parties or candidates for office, the social media company has designated 20 “issues of national importance” which fall under its new restrictions. The issues—abortion, budget, civil rights, crime, economy, education, energy, environment, foreign policy, government reform, guns, health, immigration, infrastructure, military, poverty, social security, taxes, terrorism, values—are so broadly defined as to include virtually all news or information of any significance.

    • The Cost of Extreme Media Censorship – a View From Pakistan

      There is a price to pay for professional broadcast journalism in Pakistan. That was the sobering message for the media from the blatant, but unofficial, blackout in large swathes of the country in April 2018 of Geo News, the market leader among 37 current affairs 24/7 channels. The blackout seemed arbitrary but not without method — transmission was disrupted intermittently, thereby delaying public awareness about the odd phenomenon.

      Puzzlingly, for the public at least, there did not seem to be any explanation. The reason: neither did Jang Media Group, which owns Geo, publicise the matter at first or protest nor did the remainder of the media industry report it even when it understood what was happening. Social media leaks were the primary source of information about the blackout.

    • Republican Congressman Devin Nunes Claims Drudge Report Is Being Censored by Twitter
    • Google up to its old tricks again and Devin Nunes has a bead on them
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Data Privacy: Why It Matters and How to Protect Yourself

      When it comes to privacy on the internet, the safest approach is to cut your Ethernet cable or power down your device. But, because you can’t really do that and remain somewhat productive, you need other options. This article provides a general overview of the situation, steps you can take to mitigate risks and finishes with a tutorial on setting up a virtual private network.

      Sometimes when you’re not too careful, you increase your risk of exposing more information than you should, and often to the wrong recipients—Facebook is a prime example. The company providing the social-media product of the same name has been under scrutiny recently and for good reason. The point wasn’t that Facebook directly committed the atrocity, but more that a company linked to the previous US presidential election was able to access and inappropriately store a large trove of user data from the social-media site. This data then was used to target specific individuals. How did it happen though? And what does that mean for Facebook (and other social-media) users?

    • It’s Time for Payment Processors Like Stripe and Paypal to Start Publishing Transparency Reports

      Modern payment processors are making hard choices every day about how and when they’ll stand up for users. Whether they comply with or reject a government request for user data and whether they shut down an account or leave it up can have enormous ramifications for what types of speech can thrive online. These choices shouldn’t be made in a bubble, shielded from public oversight.

      Payment processors like Stripe, Paypal, Bitpay, and Coinbase are the intermediaries that allow you to support your favorite websites, send donations, and make purchases online. They’re often privy to details of your financial life, which can be deeply revealing. Your finances can say a lot about your daily habits, your political orientation, your physical location at different moments in time, your associates, and your health concerns. Given how sensitive this information is, you might assume that law enforcement agents must show probable cause to a judge and receive a search warrant before accessing financial records. But you’d be wrong. Financial data is frequently obtained through a less stringent process, such as a subpoena, a 314 (a) request, or a National Security Letter, none of which require review from a judge before being sent to the financial service provider. Furthermore, the financial industry is already heavily regulated and laws currently mandate that various financial institutions, from banks to money transmitters, must keep extensive customer records and proactively report information about large or suspicious transactions to the government. Over the last two decades, the volume of these reports has grown rapidly, now surpassing millions per year. In effect, thousands of companies have been deputized to bulk collect and report reams of private financial information to the government.

    • ‘Tesco probably knows more about me than GCHQ’: Infosec boffins on surveillance capitalism

      Privacy of medical data and the machinations of surveillance capitalism were under the spotlight at a Cambridge University symposium last week.

      Much of the day-long event, marking the 20th anniversary of think tank the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR), was spent debating state-backed surveillance in its many forms from bulk data interception to equipment interference. But the discussions also touched upon how privacy was affected by large internet giants.

      The systematic data collection by intel agencies has been facilitated by the business models of companies like Facebook and Google. The internet habits of hundreds of millions are collected by these firms in the interests of targeting ads and this data also provides a high source of intelligence for governments as well as presenting a privacy risk in its own right.

    • Edward Snowden: ‘The people are still powerless, but now they’re aware’

      What has happened in the five years since? He is one of the most famous fugitives in the world, the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary, a Hollywood movie, and at least a dozen books. The US and UK governments, on the basis of his revelations, have faced court challenges to surveillance laws. New legislation has been passed in both countries. The internet companies, responding to a public backlash over privacy, have made encryption commonplace.

      Snowden, weighing up the changes, said some privacy campaigners had expressed disappointment with how things have developed, but he did not share it. “People say nothing has changed: that there is still mass surveillance. That is not how you measure change. Look back before 2013 and look at what has happened since. Everything changed.”

    • The surreal moment the Guardian destroyed the Snowden files

      GCHQ insisted on purely symbolic act despite knowing the information was already elsewhere

    • How NSA Motivated Employees to Keep Secrets in the 50s and 60s

      The National Security Agency is well-known for its surveillance programs, counterintelligence and role in the post-Edward Snowden discourse. Lesser known, perhaps, are the motivational posters the agency has developed to discourage employees from leaking secrets.

      Transparency group Government Attic in 2016 sent a Freedom of Information Act request to NSA that was fulfilled Monday for “security/motivational posters from the 1950s and 1960s.” And what a haul it uncovered.

    • Vintage internal security posters, pried loose from the NSA’s archives
    • There’s a vintage NSA security poster for everyone
    • Security Alert: NSA security education posters from the Cold War
    • The NSA Just Released 136 Historical Propaganda Posters
    • These vintage NSA posters are weird as hell
    • Edward Snowden Fast Facts
    • The Fifth Anniversary of the Snowden Disclosures
    • ‘I have no regrets’: Edward Snowden praises himself for ‘changing everything’ as he speaks from Russia five years after leaking the biggest cache of top secret documents in history
    • Supporters hold vigil for Reality Winner, accused NSA leaker
    • 1 year later: Channel 2 revisits the NSA leaker case

      Reality Winner’s Augusta home is no longer a minimalist, yoga haven.

      There’s a TV in the living room, baby pictures framed around an open space, and other signs that the house is now a home to a family.

      It’s a rental property for a new family friend, and a place for the alleged NSA leaker’s mother to stay whenever she makes her frequent trek from Texas to Georgia.

      On Monday, it’s also the set of a German-American documentary team, following Winner’s mother.

    • More data and surveillance are transforming justice systems

      Now the relationship between information and crime has changed in two ways, one absolute, one relative. In absolute terms, people generate more searchable information than they used to. Smartphones passively track and record where people go, who they talk to and for how long; their apps reveal subtler personal information, such as their political views, what they like to read and watch and how they spend their money. As more appliances and accoutrements become networked, so the amount of information people inadvertently create will continue to grow.

    • Senators press Facebook amid new questions on data-sharing practices

      Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) on Monday said that his committee plans to send Facebook a letter seeking more information on the matter.

    • Top Dem wants answers on Facebook sharing data with phone makers

      “It’s deeply concerning that Facebook continues to withhold critical details about the information it has and shares with others,” said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) in a statement.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • British MI6 Spies Still Shares Intelligence Obtained Under Torture

      Britain’s spies are still sharing intelligence obtained under torture in breach of their official guidance, the UK Labour Party has reveled in a letter to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.


      “Even worse, in eight of those cases, it was found that the intelligence was shared despite the fact that the Guidance should have prohibited further action – presumably as a result of what were serious risks of torture or other ill-treatment,” the letter read.

      The revelation is specifically damaging for London as it follows the government’s last unreserved apology to Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar, who were detained in Malaysia by the CIA with help from MI6 spies.

    • How the CIA funded smears against Shostakovich

      Joe Horowitz has been reading old Encounter articles by Nicolas Nabokov, a Russian emigré composer and CIA-funded propagandist who made it his business to attack the music of Soviet composers.

    • University Of Michigan Now Has Almost 100 Full-Time Staff Dedicated To “Diversity”
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Google Fiber Broadband Hype Replaced By Delays And Frustration

      When Google Fiber first arrived back in 2010, it was lauded as a game changer for the broadband industry. Google Fiber would, we were told, revolutionize the industry by taking Silicon Valley money and using it to disrupt the viciously uncompetitive and anti-competitive telecom sector. Initially things worked out well; cities tripped over themselves offering all manner of perks to the company in the hopes of breaking free from the broadband duopoly logjam. And in some areas where Google Fiber was deployed, prices certainly dropped thanks to Google Fiber market pressure.

      But that was then, and this is now.

      In late 2016 Alphabet made it clear that the company had grown bored with the high costs and slow pace of deploying fiber. The project has burned through several CEOs in just a year, laid off numerous employees, and the company ultimately announced it was considering a pivot to cheaper wireless technology. The problem: Google’s still conducting numerous tests in various spectrum bands (including millimeter wave), but doesn’t actually know what this replacement tech looks like yet. Meanwhile, the cities once promised a broadband revolution are seeing that hope replaced with annoyance and frustration.

    • Google AMP and the website obesity problem

      Now I want to ask any frontend web developer: “Have you forgotten the KISS principles? Or rather, do you even know what it means ?”.

      I didn’t, but I’m fairly confident on the fact that most answers I’ll get will be in the negative.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • United States: Business Method Patents: Non-Patentable Only In Books?

      The legal situation of granting business method patent depends from place to place. The reason being that Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) did not expressly address the said patent issue. Thus, countries grant (or do not grant) looking upon its local conditions and national policies. That said, India is one of the country that does not believe in granting business method patent and has declared so statutorily in Section 3(k) of the Patent Act, 1970 and Entry of the Patent Manual.


      In India, Patent Office considers a particular method to be a business method if it involves a monetary transaction or mere marketing or sale purchase methodology. Section 3(k) expressly bars business method patents as innovations. The landmark case of Yahoo v. Controller and Rediff was a prominent case where J. Prabha Sridevan discussed Business Method Patents.

    • The Patented Solution for Paying Off the National Debt

      With the jump in projected deficits due to the Republican tax cuts, the deficit hawks are preparing for a battle the next time Democrats gain control of the White House. We can count on their thoughtful insistence that, however desirable, we can’t possibly spend more money on child care, health care, or other neglected areas.

      This is why we should get out front and preemptively pay off the national debt even while Republicans still control the government. The path to debt repayment is simple: we sell off patents.

      To remind folks, patents are government-granted monopolies. We give them to people and companies, ostensibly to promote innovation. They are tremendously valuable because these monopolies allow companies to charge prices that are far above the free market price.

    • Coolpad hints at India suit against Xiaomi, but it may not have much ammunition there

      Shenzhen-based Coolpad is seeking to keep up the pressure on Xiaomi as the start-up heads toward its initial public offering in Hong Kong. This time, chief IP officer Nancy Zhang has stated that Coolpad is open to expanding the pair’s litigation battle to India. A look at the Indian Patent Office database, however, suggests that this threat is likely to have a bigger impact on the front pages than in the courtroom. In comments to India’s Economic Times, Zhang stopped short of saying that a suit in Delhi or elsewhere is in the offing.

    • ZTE may need to pay billions to overturn US ban

      The US government could collect a $1.7 billion fine from beleaguered Chinese firm ZTE, as well as assurances about its future conduct, to allow it to continue trading with American firms.

      Washington has prohibited US suppliers of products and services from dealing with ZTE after it breached an agreement reached for illegally shipping products to North Korea and Iran.

      Although four senior officials were dismissed as a result of the scandal, 35 other employees were not disciplined.

    • Copyrights

      • Study Shows That Wartime Program To Abolish Copyright On German Science Books Brought Significant Benefits To US

        As Techdirt readers know, there is a ratchet effect that means copyright always gets longer and stronger. As well as being inherently unfair — why must the public always lose out when copyright law is changed? — there’s another unfortunate consequence. If the term or breadth of copyright were reduced from time to time, we would be able to test the effects of doing so on things like creativity. For example, if it turned out that shortening copyright increased the number of works being produced, then there would be a strong argument for reducing it further in the hope that the effect would be strengthened. The fact that we have been unable test this hypothesis is rather convenient for copyright maximalists. It means they can continue to call for the term of copyright to be increased without having to address the argument that this will cause less creativity, or reduce access to older works.

        Even though it is not possible to test the effects of reduced copyright directly, two US academics, Barbara Biasi and Petra Moser, have spotted a clever way of investigating the idea indirectly, in the field of science publishing. As they write in a post on CEPR’s policy portal, in 1942 the US Book Republication Program (BRP) allowed US publishers to reprint exact copies of German-owned science books, effectively abolishing copyright for that class of works. They have looked at what impact this dramatic change had on the use of those reprinted works by scientists.

      • Judgment Day Nears for EU’s ‘Piracy Filters’

        The EU’s plans to modernize [sic] copyright law in Europe are moving ahead. With a crucial vote coming up later this month, protests from various opponents are on the rise as well. They warn that the proposed plans will result in “Internet filters” which threaten people’s ability to freely share content online. According to Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda, these filters will hurt regular Internet users, but also creators and businesses.

Microsoft’s Patent Trolls Continue to Attack Microsoft’s Rivals, Including These Companies’ Use of Free/Open Source Software

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 4:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

While Microsoft sells ‘protection’ (euphemistically named “Azure IP Advantage”) from itself and its patent trolls [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18]

Microsoft and trolls

Summary: While the media keeps obsessing over delusions like a ‘new’ Microsoft or “Microsoft loves Linux” the company carries on propping up patent trolls (which it then provides ‘protection’ from, but only if one chooses Azure) and threatening GNU/Linux OEMs, opting for the use the patents for bundling their ‘apps’ (an exchange along the lines of, “put our apps in Android or we’ll sue you”)

DO NOT for a single moment be misled by Microsoft’s latest charm offensive, which seems to have been timed so as to distract from Apple’s big announcements in an annual event. It would be spurious to tell our readers that Microsoft is not a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS). We spent about a decade writing about that; it’s a subject which we covered in literally thousands of posts. It’s worth noting that the new chief of GitHub will be the same person who infiltrated GNU/Linux through Novell with Mono, so these are entryism experts (he had moved between Microsoft and FOSS — jobs-wise — several times, along the lines of’a revolving doors’ model). Microsoft used Xamarin (which he was the chief of) to literally obliterate ‘dangerous’ (to Microsoft) FOSS projects like RoboVM before Microsoft ‘compensated’ them for the trouble (in the form of a takeover, i.e. money and cushy jobs/salaries). But this post isn’t about GitHub. Instead, let’s focus on patent news that’s connected to Microsoft. The TomTom lawsuit backfired in the media (even Jim Zemlin berated them for it) and ever since then Microsoft chose indirection. It’s hiding behind proxies such as SCO (but for patents, not copyrights).

“A lot of the money has been put into this patent troll by Microsoft and Bill Gates (at a personal capacity, too). They were willing to lose hundreds of millions of dollars just to prop up this troll.”A few days ago professor James Bessen (a patent trolls expert), via Brian J. Love (another scholar who is sceptical of the current patent law), highlighted this new article from the exceptionally Bill Gates-friendly Forbes. It’s about Intellectual Ventures (IV), Microsoft’s biggest patent troll which we’ve been tracking and reporting on for over a decade. “Self-proclaimed a new way of invention, patent troll IV has been a loser for its investors (& targets too),” Bessen remarked. A lot of the money has been put into this patent troll by Microsoft and Bill Gates (at a personal capacity, too). They were willing to lose hundreds of millions of dollars just to prop up this troll. It’s no ordinary troll but a massive network thereof. “After 10 Years,” notes Forbes, “Nathan Myhrvold’s $3 Billion Of Private Equity Funds Show Big Losses” (that’s the headline). Here are some excerpts:

Some 10 years ago, Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer of Microsoft, raised nearly $3 billion for two private equity funds from financial investors and tech companies. These were not your typical funds. They were designed to invest in patents and innovations, not companies or their securities, over a lifespan of 20 years, as opposed to the usual 10 to 13 years. Halfway through their run, the funds are deep in the red.

Invention Investment Fund II was the bigger fund that Myhrvold’s firm, Intellectual Ventures, raised in 2008. It has generated a -15.44% internal rate of return, according to data provided by the University of Texas Investment Management Co., one of Intellectual Ventures’ investors.


Nevertheless, Myhrvold has washed his hands of Invention Development Fund. It is now being managed by a new firm, Allied Inventors Management, which was set up solely to run Invention Development Fund outside of Intellectual Ventures. The fund has been renamed Allied Investors Fund. “The terms of the arrangement are subject to confidentiality agreement,” said DG Kim, Allied’s chief financial officer. “As far as internal fund matters, I am bound and can’t say anything really.”

We recently wrote about it because Microsoft had unintentionally revealed something. Filings showed that it was by far the biggest investor in this troll. It even lost a lot of money just trying to prop it up again (with another round of major investment). Richard Lloyd, who mentioned it at the time (Irish media actually broke the story), now has this new article stating that IV is “among the leading sellers of patents in first quarter” (IV sells patents to ‘satellite’ trolls that take many legal actions; the Wall Street Journal estimated about 9 years ago that IV had already created thousands of such ‘satellites’).

So what we have here is Microsoft’s patent troll (still led by Microsoft’s former CTO and heavily funded by Microsoft) distributing patents to patent trolls that are suing Microsoft’s rivals (including Linux companies, as we noted over the years). To quote:

IAM has teamed up with Allied Security Trust (AST) to provide quarterly updates on the secondary market for patents to determine who’s buying, who’s selling and what sort of assets are changing hands. As well as the data, AST has provided some additional information on the principal deals and the defensive aggregator’s CEO Russell Binns has added some commentary on the main trends. This analysis covers the first three months of 2018 and shows how Intellectual Ventures continues to dominate the market on the sell-side, while the NPEs Dominion Harbor and Uniloc are the leading buyers.

It’s also worth noting that IAM now works with the Allied Security Trust (AST), which is — as we last noted some weeks ago — like a patent ‘cartel’. IAM took note of another such ‘cartel’, IP Bridge, on the same day, writing:

Mobile network operator NTT Docomo has become the latest Japanese firm to partner with IP Bridge, the patent fund run by CEO Shigeharu Yoshii. A wireless-focused subsidiary of NTT, the world’s fourth largest telco by revenue, Docomo has previously made only limited patent transactions with third parties.

We wrote about IP Bridge. It’s almost like the ‘IV of Japan’, albeit much gentler. All these entities are basically participating in a large-scale ‘cartel’ whose de facto function is keeping small companies out of the market. They’re monopoly enablers.

“Microsoft did the same thing 3 years later at Nokia (Nokia’s patents will only ever bother Apple and Android OEMs, but never Microsoft).”That brings us back to Microsoft. And this time it’s about Yahoo’s trove of software patents. Well, just as many people worried at the time (10 years ago, the time of Microsoft’s hijack of Yahoo), USPTO-granted patents of Yahoo show up in lawsuits/dockets. Critics like ourselves predicted that these patents would get scattered to trolls that target Microsoft’s main competitors on the Internet while Microsoft gets to shield itself by wielding leverage over Yahoo. Microsoft did the same thing 3 years later at Nokia (Nokia’s patents will only ever bother Apple and Android OEMs, but never Microsoft).

According to the EFF’s Daniel Nazer: “Old @Yahoo patents now in the hands of trolls. Prolific patent troll IP Edge has sued @Twitter claiming it infringes this software patent: https://patents.google.com/patent/US8352854 …”

We wrote about IP Edge several times earlier this year, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4; like IV, it typically operates through ‘satellites’ which file the lawsuits. This makes it incredibly hard to keep track of these things; it’s hard to know who’s behind which lawsuit/s.

Daniel Nazer has just published this new article titled “EFF Fights for Public Access To Patent Disputes” because even the EFF struggles to gain access to such crucial information. To quote:

The public can’t judge if courts are fair if the public is locked out. The parties generally don’t care if the proceedings are hidden (indeed, they may want them hidden). This means that, at times, groups like EFF and press organizations have had to stand up for public access. Unfortunately, while the First Amendment protects the right of access, courts sometimes fail to protect this right.

In patent litigation, we’ve seen routine over-sealing by busy district courts. EFF has twice moved to unseal records in patent cases in the Eastern District of Texas, and both times the court unsealed material that should have been public.

Now EFF is taking action to push for transparency in two critical venues for hearing patent disputes. We’re protesting against the Federal Circuit’s practice of delaying the public from reading filed briefs, and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s use of secret docket entries.


The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) overseas a variety of important procedures within the Patent Office, including inter partes review (IPR) and administrative appeals. The IPR proceedings, in particular, are now one of the most important methods for challenging bad patents.

Recently, we filed an amicus brief at the PTAB in a case considering whether a patent owner can avoid review by claiming sovereign immunity. As part of our work in that case, we discovered that when documents are filed under seal at the PTAB there is no public docket entry. So, not only does the public not get to see the sealed document, it doesn’t even know that one has been filed.

We sent a FOIA request to the Patent Office that, in effect, asked for all non-public docket entries in post-grant proceedings at the PTAB. We did not request the filings themselves but only the docket entries. After some back-and-forth, the Patent Office produced a list [PDF] of 16,773 docket entries (we thank the FOIA Officer who helped with this process). In other words, there have thousands of filings before the PTAB that the public had no record of.

Meanwhile, as Nazer noted in Twitter yesterday:

U.S. Patent No. 10,000,000 will likely issue some time this month. To make sure the publicity is good, the USPTO will hand-pick this patent (it won’t be the patent that randomly would have gotten that number).

Far too many ‘inventions’ so you just know that the vast majority simply aren’t inventions and are basically bogus patents waiting to be exploited en masse by patent trolls. Many such trolls are connected to Microsoft, either directly or through IV (which has literally thousands of them). How large a scale does this network of trolling have? It’s hard to tell unless the EFF can compel/press for better public access to information. Many patent disputes happen secretly, with conditional settlements that include “no disclosure” agreements (NDAs). Secrecy shelters serial bullies from regulators/scrutiny/challenge (such as IPRs at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board).

The Demise of the EPO and Collapse of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) May Mean That António Campinos Will Soon Fire ~15% of the Workforce

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The management team distracts from that, usually with help from media that the managers are paying (at the EPO’s expense)

A small EPO

Summary: As work is running out (patents granted far too hastily with far too little scrutiny) expectation remains that Campinos will soon implement staff cuts which are being discussed by the top-level management

THE next king of Eponia, António Campinos, will start his reign in a few weeks. Battistelli, according to lingering rumours, still hopes to make a ‘comeback’ as head of UPC (there are similar rumours about upcoming firings of somewhere between 700 to 1000 employees, probably not too long after Campinos takes over).

The EPO could be seen last night retweeting the IAM lies that it’s paying it to spread. One scratches one’s back and they swap positions interchangeably. IAM is setting up UPC advocacy events with help from the EPO’s PR agencies and direct support from Battistelli. Earlier this week, under “European Union, Spain, United Kingdom” in a patent lawyers’ site IAM was reposting its UPC propaganda. It’s being (re)published in other Web sites. The EPO must be very proud, having paid IAM for such patent lies.

“Well, the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) isn’t being signed by Germany and it is definitely not compatible with a ‘Brexit Britain’…”Patrick Wingrove, writing on behalf of Managing IP (which was also setting up UPC advocacy events that were EPO-connected), wrote this UPC puff piece yesterday, summarising it as follows: “The UK government ratifying the international agreement that will establish a Unified Patent Court (UPC) for Europe is the biggest recent news related to the UPC and Unitary Patent. But May saw some interesting developments.”

Well, the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) isn’t being signed by Germany and it is definitely not compatible with a ‘Brexit Britain’ (I’m not a proponent of Brexit, but I at least understand the reality of this referendum). When will they ‘get’ it and decide to abandon this whole lobbying campaign? Having invested so much time and money in this lobbying, they simply refuse to give up. Arguably, an overzealous (For UPC) Battistelli was the death knell of the EPO.

Links 5/6/2018: GNU/Linux on Samsung Chromebook Plus, GNU Linux-Libre 4.17, Github ‘Knocked Itself Out For Open Source Community’

Posted in News Roundup at 2:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Chromebooks

    • ​The Killer Chromebook: Google’s i7 Pixelbook

      Now, I’ve liked Chromebooks since the experimental Cr-48 rolled out in late 2010. And, when Google released its first high-end Chromebook, 2013′s Pixel, I was sold. I slowly but surely put away my Linux-powered Lenovo ThinkPads and started replacing them with Google’s high-end Chromebooks. Why? Because they’re better than any other laptop out there.

      What’s that? You can’t do as much with a Chromebook that you can do with, say, a MacBook Pro 13 or a Lenovo Yoga 920. Oh please!

    • Samsung Chromebook Plus is second Chromebook to support Linux apps (Project Crostini)

      Google announced last month that it was bringing the ability to run Linux apps to Chromebooks, confirming the existence of Project Crostini, which was first spotted in the Chromium code earlier this year, and which adventurous users have been testing for months.

      Up until now you’ve needed a Google Pixelbook to try Crostini. Now it looks like Google has added support for a second Chromebook.

      Several users have noted in recent days that Crostini now works on the Samsung Chromebook Plus, allowing you to run desktop Linux apps alongside Chrome apps.

    • Samsung Chromebook Plus now supports Linux apps in Dev channel

      There has been a lot of exciting stuff happening in the world of Chrome OS, but the most exciting development might be Linux apps. Chrome OS started as a simple web-based “OS,” but the addition of the Play Store, and now Linux apps, has made it a respectable operation system (no air quotes required). The Samsung Chromebook Plus now supports Linux apps on the Dev channel.

    • Linux app support arrives on the Samsung Chromebook Plus

      Google officially announced Linux app support on Chrome OS at I/O 2018, but until now, the only supported model has been the Pixelbook. The Linux VM requires a kernel version that many Chromebooks don’t have, but with Google backporting the required functionality to earlier kernels, we can only speculate which models will actually be supported.

      There was mounting evidence that the Samsung Chromebook Plus would eventually have Linux apps, and now Google has confirmed that. Users on the Chrome OS Dev channel can now enable Linux app support on the Chromebook Plus, just as they would on the Pixelbook (full instructions here).

    • Google’s Pixelbook, the world’s best Chromebook, just dropped to its lowest price ever

      When it comes to Chromebooks, there’s the Google Pixelbook and then there’s everything else. People often think of dirt-cheap laptops when they think of Google’s Chrome OS and of Chromebooks. Entry-level models are fantastic for anyone looking for a low-cost computer for basic work and streaming, and that’s why they’re so popular in the education market. But what happens when you get older and you want a Chromebook with some kick? That’s where the Pixelbook comes in, and it has more than enough kick for anything you might want to throw at it.

    • What to look for in a used Chromebook

      One of the best Chromebook features often gets overlooked: over six years of operating system support direct from Google. That means you get all the new features that come to Chrome OS (provided your hardware allows) as well as security fixes and those tiny updates that make things just work better. That means a Chromebook you buy today will still be supported in 2024, and a Chromebook that sold new in 2016 still has four years of updates ahead of it.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • [Podcast] PodCTL #38 – A Beginner’s Guide to Kubernetes

      Kubernetes community now has 10 releases (2.5yrs) of software and experience. We just finished KubeCon Copenhagen, OpenShift Commons Gathering and Red Hat Summit and we heard lots of companies talk about their deployments and journeys. But many of them took a while (12-18) months to get to where they are today. This feels like the “early adopters” and we’re beginning to get to the “crossing the chasm” part of the market. So thought we’d discuss some of the basics, lessons learned and other things people could use to “fast-track” what they need to be successful with Kubernetes.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel 4.17 released

      Headline features in this release include improved load estimation in the CPU scheduler, raw BPF tracepoints, lazytime support in the XFS filesystem, full in-kernel TLS protocol support, histogram triggers for tracing, mitigations for the latest Spectre variants, and, of course, the removal of support for eight unloved processor architectures.

    • Linus Torvalds decides world isn’t ready for Linux 5.0

      Linus Torvalds has decided the world’s not ready for version 5.0 of the Linux Kernel, so he’s given us version 4.17 instead.

      Torvalds toyed with the idea of calling this release 5.0, because it passed the six million git objects mark. But he also said version numbers are meaningless and he might not call it 5.0.

      The latter has now come to pass: in his regular Sunday afternoon (Pacific Time) state-of-the-kernel update, Torvalds announced that “I really didn’t get the feeling that another week would help the release in any way, so here we are, with 4.17 released.”

    • Linux Kernel 4.17 Release Brings Better Power Management

      Linus Torvalds has announced the release of Linux Kernel 4.17. Take a look at main new features in the latest kernel release.

    • Linux 3.2 & 4.1 Reach End of Life, Users Urged to Upgrade to Newer LTS Branches

      Packed with a total of 151 changed files, with 1139 insertions and 583 deletions, the Linux 3.2.102 kernel has been released at the beginning of June 2018 as the last scheduled maintenance update of the Linux 3.2 series, which means that if you’re still using this kernel, you should upgrade to a newer LTS branch soon.

      “I’m announcing the release of the 3.2.102 kernel. All users of the 3.2 kernel series should upgrade. However, this is likely to be the final stable update for 3.2. Users should plan to switch to a newer longterm stable branch such as 4.14, 4.9 or 4.4 in the near future,” said Ben Hutchings in a mailing list announcement.

    • GNU Linux-libre 4.17-gnu Kernel Released

      Based on yesterday’s upstream Linux 4.17 kernel release, the FSF-approved GNU Linux-libre 4.17-gnu kernel is now available for a fully free software kernel on capable hardware configurations.

      The GNU Linux-libre kernel continues focusing upon de-blobbing drivers or stripping out drivers where it depends upon closed-source firmware/microcode images as well as disabling support for loading closed-source kernel modules.

    • GNU Linux-libre 4.17-gnu: -ENOTEMPTY

      The greatest news is that the driver for Dreamcast Yamaha AICA sound
      hardware is no longer cleaned up: the firmware for it is Free Software,
      and Jason Self’s upcoming linux-libre-firmware release will have it.

      No other significant changes were made, just the usual assortment of

    • Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Cinnamon Beta Released, GNU Linux-libre 4.17-gnu Kernel Now Available, NVIDIA Isaac Launches and More

      GNU Linux-libre 4.17-gnu kernel, which removes all non-free components from Linux, is now available. See the announcement for all the details.

    • Linus Torvalds Releases Linux Kernel 4.17 as Linux 5.0 Is Coming Later This Year

      Linus Torvalds announced over the weekend the availability of the final release of the Linux 4.17 kernel series, opening the merge window for the next kernel branch, Linux 4.18.

      Even though Linus Torvalds promised us to release the Linux 5.0 kernel series once the Linux kernel code reaches 6 million Git objects, an achievement reached when the development cycle of the Linux 4.17 kernel kicked off last month, it looks like we have to wait a little longer for the big version change as the Linux creator announced the release of Linux 4.17 as the most advanced kernel series.

    • Version 4.17 of the Linux kernel is here… and version 5.0 isn’t far away

      In his weekly message to the Linux community on Sunday, Linus Torvalds announced the release of Linux 4.17. The release comes a couple of months after the first release candidate, and in his message Torvalds also talks about version 5.0 of the Linux kernel.

      Having previously said that Linux kernel v5.0 “should be meaningless”, he said that this next major numerical milestone will come around “in the not too distance future”. For now, though, it’s version 4.17 — or Merciless Moray, if you prefer — that’s of interest.

    • Loading Arbitrary Executables as Kernel Modules

      On the flip side, however, Kees acknowledged that Alexei’s patch was an “interesting idea. I think it can work, it just needs much much more careful security boundaries and to solve our autoloading exposures too.”

      However, Alexei characterized Kees’ response as “security paranoia without single concrete example of a security issue.”

      And Andy also disagreed with Kees’ assessment. He pointed out that Kees’ issue depended on an attacker finding and exploiting an additional vulnerability that would allow containers to redirect a module outside of itself—something that was not a kernel feature and that would be treated as a bug if it were ever discovered.

      Kees agreed with Andy that the problem was not with Alexei’s code but instead with potential vulnerabilities elsewhere in the kernel. He said, “I just don’t want to extend that problem further.” And he added that he wasn’t opposed to Alexei’s patch, but that his concerns were not paranoia, and “there are very real security boundary violations in this model.”

    • Linus Torvalds doesn’t release Linux kernel 5.0 (yet)

      LINUX IS set to reach a major milestone soon, or if you prefer an arbitrary change of number. Point being, it’s about to reach version 5.0.

      Linux Torvalds has long maintained that version number changes shouldn’t be viewed with any special significance or fanfare, but the human mind is constantly determined to make order out of chaos, so acknowledge it, we will.

      Meanwhile, version 4.17 has arrived. As Torvalds explains: “No, I didn’t call it 5.0, even though all the git object count
      numerology was in place for that.

    • Linux 4.18′s Latest Improvements For Power Management, CPUFreq

      Rafael Wysocki has submitted the ACPI and power management updates already for the newly-opened Linux 4.18 merge window.

    • Linux 4.18 To Report CPU Temps Finally On Stoney & Bristol Ridge

      The hardware monitoring “hwmon” updates have been sent in for the just-opened Linux 4.18 kernel merge window while what’s interesting this time around are the k10temp driver updates for AMD CPU temperature reporting.

      With Linux 4.18, the k10temp kernel driver is now able to report temperatures on Stoney Ridge and Bristol Ridge processors. Stoney Ridge are the 2016 ultra-mobile APUs with Excavator v2 cores and GCN 1.2 graphics. Bristol Ridge as a refresher is the 2016 desktop/mobile APUs like the Athlon X4 970, A12-9800, A10-9700, etc. Only now with the Linux 4.18 kernel is there CPU temperature reporting under Linux for these two year old processors.

    • Linux 4.18 Scheduler Updates Benefit Schedutil, NUMA, vCPUs

      The scheduler updates submitted today for the Linux 4.18 kernel merge window include a few notable changes.

      This pull does contain the previously-covered scheduler optimization for virtual CPUs. That change is about not scheduling threads on pre-empted vCPUs and in some synthetic scheduler benchmarks yielded a change by as much as 8~25%.

    • Linux 4.17 Kernel Patch Brings -march=native Support

      A Gentoo user has revised his kernel patch allowing the mainline Linux kernel to be built with the GCC “-march=native” compiler optimizations for targeting the kernel build against your particular CPU.

      While -march=native of modern compilers is popular with developers/enthusiasts for building optimized packages targeting your specific CPU micro-architecture, the mainline Linux kernel still does not support this functionality. But Gentoo user Alexey Dobriyan.

    • Linux 4.18 Continues Onboarding Centaur x86 CPUs

      As reported a few months ago, the new Chinese x86 CPU venture formed between the government of Shanghai and VIA has been working on Linux support for these new x86 CPUs and that onboarding has continued with Linux 4.18.

      Zhaoxin has been working on a new wave of x86-compatible processors based upon the VIA Centaur x86_64 Isiah design. This year is when they plan to release their quad-core CPUs manufactured on a 16nm process and supporting DDR4, PCI Express 3.0, and other modern features while in 2019 is their aggressive plans for moving to a 7nm CPU with DDR4, PCI Express 4.0, and more competitive performance.

    • Btrfs Can Now Remove Directories Much Faster In Send Mode: From 33 Hours To 2 Minutes

      For those making use of Btrfs’ incremental send/receive functionality for efficient backups or other reasons for moving data between Btrfs volumes, the directory deletion performance for Btrfs send is now much faster.

      In particular, the Btrfs send code is much faster now when dealing with large directories removed. On a directory with two million entries, the improvement yields a drop from about 2000 minutes (33 hours) to about one minute and a half. It’s quite a difference but will only be noticeable if you have a great deal of files in a directory and are using Btrfs send.

    • Linux Kernel 4.17, “Merciless Moray,” Offers Improved Performance and Security

      Linus Torvalds released version 4.17 of the Linux Kernel on Sunday, nine weeks after the prior version. Although Linus says he is running out “of fingers and toes to keep track of minor releases,” he has decided not to call this release “5.0″ because he is saving that for 4.20.

      As with the 4.16 cycle, 4.17 has been a relatively smooth, save a few hiccups due to those pesky chip issues. It turns out the shadow of the Spectre vulnerability is still long, and the last two weeks before the release were a busy ones, with patches designed to counteract the effects of Spectre v4 making up a significant portion of all the code submitted. That said, and even though Linus does not like large amounts of changes so late in the release cycle, he skipped an rc8 and released the final version of 4.17 anyway.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Stepping down as maintainer

        After long consideration I decided that I am no longer in a position to
        be a maintainer. I currently do not follow up on reviews and hardly
        contribute any code. Given that I think it’s time to pass on the torch.
        KWin is currently in a good position we have new developers working on
        various areas of KWin and my suggestion would be to split the task of
        maintainership on many shoulders, specialized for various areas.

        My lack of work lately was not just the lack of time, but to a larger
        degree a lack of motivation. I searched a lot for the reasons for the
        lack of motivation and I think I identified two core areas where KDE is
        currently heading to and where I just disagree with these directions.
        Please don’t take my explanation personal, you are doing awesome work,
        it’s just that I don’t approve these directions. Lately I had a feeling
        of doing fundamental opposition to changes the community wants to do.
        Granted I think these changes are wrong, but I don’t want to stand in
        the way, if that’s what the people doing the work want.

        What I identified as the core issues is the way the VDG currently acts
        and the usability project.

      • Martin Flöser Steps Down As Maintainer Of KDE’s KWin

        Martin Flöser (nee Gräßlin) who has been the maintainer of KDE’s KWin since 2010 is leaving his post.

        Martin Flöser has announced he is stepping down as the maintainer of KWin. He wrote he has not been following up on code reviews and hardly contributes any code recently and so is now passing on the torch. No successor has yet been named but he suggests that it be split amongst several individuals.

      • KDE Developer On Martin Flöser’s Departure: VDG Does Not Exist

        KDE developer Alessandro Longo has penned a response about the KDE “Visual Design Group” with Martin Flöser announcing earlier today he is stepping away as KWin maintainer in part due to his frustrations with the VDG.

      • VDG does not exist

        VDG (originally Visual Design Group, now just V Design Group) was created by Jens Reuterberg during the KDE4-Plasma5 transition, it included experts from different areas and they did a great work, with a solid and coherent vision about UI/UX. Since KDE4 times, developers did an awesome work both implementing visual and usability changes and improving Plasma’s performance and stability.

      • Third week of coding phase, GSoC’18

        API consumed a humongous time of both me and my mentor David. This exposes the Falkon c++ methods of TabWidget class as singleton Falkon.Tabs and methods of WebTab class as uncreatable type Falkon.Tab.

        This time I am not including the WebExtension compatibility table as the APIs developed are not similar to the WebExtension APIs. Also, I am very thankful to my mentor David Rosca for always helping me.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The June 2018 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the June 2018 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community.

      • Mageia Weekly Roundup 2018 – Week 22

        It’s been a busy week, as usual! 378 packages came into Cauldron, 15 into Mga6 testing. Work is still going on to get the Mga5 -> Mga6 upgrade happening and then the Mga6.1 ISOs ready. There are some bugs, and here (already fixed), and here connected with the tray update in the pipeline, if you’re interested…

        Heaps of updates are coming in to the wiki, and there will soon be a look-and-feel update. Keep your eyes on the wiki, it will be worth it!

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Review: openSUSE 15

        openSUSE is, in my opinion, one of the more interesting distributions to watch and use. The YaST administration tools are, in my opinion, second to none. I also like that openSUSE tends to offer modern software, but often with a slightly conservative style. Plasma 5.12 is a cutting edge desktop, but its application menu and settings panel reflect an older style. Personally, this combination of new technology with a conservative look is an approach I like a lot. This week it was nice to use an interface on my desktop computer that looks like it was designed to be run on a desktop and not on a tablet or smart phone.

        The move to line openSUSE up with SUSE Linux Enterprise is an interesting one. I assume this was mostly done to make maintaining the two distributions easier. It also has a nice effect of making it possible migrate from openSUSE to the commercially supported SLE. This makes openSUSE’s relationship to SLE an even closer parallel to CentOS’s relationship to Red Hat Enterprise Linux. I suspect businesses will like this as it gives them a chance to test drive openSUSE before investing in SLE support.

        I like the work that has gone into the system installer. It is getting better and more streamlined. openSUSE’s installer has always been powerful, but now it is also simplified for less experienced users. I think this version is more accessible to new users than past releases have been.

        I think it is worth mentioning openSUSE has a rolling release edition, called Tumbleweed. I was using openSUSE’s main edition (Leap) this week, but for people who want to stay on the bleeding edge, there is a rolling release option.

        I had two main complaints with openSUSE 15. The first was the lack of media support. This is not a new issue, openSUSE has always shied away from providing media codecs that may be restricted by patents or licensing. What I found frustrating was the default media player does not tell the user why it cannot play a file, it simply does nothing. Also, once I had found and enabled the community repository with media support, I still had to manually track down codec packages. Now, to be fair, there are guides and options out there which will simplify adding codecs to openSUSE. Which is great, if the user knows about them. My complaint is not that codecs cannot be easily added to openSUSE, but that the user needs to know why their media player is not working before they can find the available solutions. Right now, the reason for media files failing to play is not clear unless the user is already familiar with openSUSE’s policies.

        My second issue was with performance. The Plasma desktop was usually responsive, but every once in a while (a couple of times per day), something would go wrong (snapperd would take up too much CPU, files would be indexed, or Kwin would get bogged down) and it would have a big impact on the desktop experience. openSUSE was also oddly slow to boot and shutdown compared to most other distributions.

        Something I noticed when reading the project’s release announcement is openSUSE claims to be one of the world’s most tested distributions: “openSUSE Leap has become the best and most tested Linux distribution.” To the project’s credit, most of openSUSE does come across as being well tested and stable. I say “most” because there seems to be a divide in quality between the core openSUSE technology and third-party items. For example, the YaST package manager was fast, flexible and stable. The Discover software manager was slower, failed to find an available package and crashed a couple of times. The YaST printer manager worked with no problems while the printer tool in KDE System Settings refused to give me access to add a printer. There are other minor examples, but my point is openSUSE’s in-house development seems to be producing excellent software. But, stepping outside that bubble, things are not always as rock solid.

        What I think makes openSUSE stand out, and makes it more appealing than most distributions, is the excellent Btrfs support which makes use of snapshots. Being able to snapshot the file system and recover the system (or a specific configuration file) with a few clicks is a fantastic feature. Snapshots make openSUSE nearly bullet proof and, if Btrfs is used properly, they can also make it possible for users to recover files. These features alone make me inclined to recommend openSUSE to most users. There are plenty of other reasons I would recommend openSUSE: three years of support, great administration tools and a friendly installer. As a whole, I think openSUSE 15 is turning out to be one of my favourite releases of 2018.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Markus Koschany: My Free Software Activities in May 2018

        Welcome to gambaru.de. Here is my monthly report that covers what I have been doing for Debian. If you’re interested in Java, Games and LTS topics, this might be interesting for you.

      • My Free Software Activities in May 2018

        My monthly report covers a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world. I write it for my donors (thanks to them!) but also for the wider Debian community because it can give ideas to newcomers and it’s one of the best ways to find volunteers to work with me on projects that matter to me.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 530

            Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 530 for the week of May 27 – June 2, 2018. The full version of this issue is available here.

          • Design and web team summary – 4 June 2018

            Welcome to the latest work and updates from the design and web team.

            We manage all web projects across Canonical – from www.ubuntu.com to the Juju GUI we help to bring beauty and consistency to all the web projects.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Cinnamon – BETA Release

              This is the BETA release for Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Cinnamon Edition.

              Linux Mint 19 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2023. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

            • Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Beta Released with Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce Editions
            • Linux Mint 19 Beta Released
            • Ubuntu 18.04-based Linux Mint 19 ‘Tara’ Beta is here with Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce
            • A look at Linux Mint 19 Beta

              Beta versions of Linux Mint 19 “Tara” are out; the Linux Mint development team released Cinnamon, MATE and XFCE beta versions of the upcoming new version of Linux Mint today.

              Note: Beta versions are not necessarily ready for use in production environments. They are designed for testing and if you run Linux Mint in production environments, you may want to install Linux Mint 19 Beta in a virtual machine or a spare-machine to test new functionality and see what has changed.

              It will be possible to update from Linux Mint 19 Beta to Stable once the stable version is released; systems with Linux Mint 18.3 can also be upgrade to the new version directly.

              The release notes linked at the bottom of the article link to downloads. Just follow the links and download the desired edition of Linux Mint 19 Beta to your system.

            • Linux Mint 19 betas arrive promising upgrade path from Mint 18.3

              Last week, the Linux Mint team announced that the betas for the Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce editions of Linux Mint 19 would be made available today. Sticking to that promise, all three versions are available today and also come with a full log of the new features as well as an interesting tidbit regarding the upgrade path from Mint 18.3.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • The open-source, private cloud alternatives to Dropbox and Slack

    This was highlighted recently in Germany when government officials said they are moving away from third-party platforms for its 300,000 workers who collaborate over multiple devices. Instead, the federal IT agency will be using Nextcloud, an open-source, internally hosted tool produced by a German company of the same name.

  • Meet the Dapp Market: A Twist On Open Source Is Winning Developers

    “[For the] entirety of the history of technology, open-source software developers have had to live like paupers.”

    While this is a bit of an exaggeration, Kevin Owocki has a point: making a living can be rough for developers of open-source software, that is, software for which the code is made freely available to use, modify and redistribute under licenses that mostly preclude hallmarks of ownership such as patent rights.

    As the founder of Gitcoin, a decentralized bug bounty marketplace, Owocki is trying to fix that.

  • Solving one of the biggest problems facing digital music production

    Bela’s architecture is open source under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license and the schematics and board designs are available on GitHub.

    Giulio says, “Bela runs a 4.4 Linux kernel with the Xenomai real-time extensions to provide ultra-low-latency performance. Xenomai Cobalt is a co-kernel for Linux that allows [running] selected threads at hard real-time priority, bypassing the Linux kernel to achieve performance comparable to running bare metal without an operating system. We are using an onboard 200MHz microcontroller (Programmable Realtime Unit) available on the Texas Instrument AM3358 system-on-chip (SoC) to act as a sophisticated DMA [direct memory access] controller, performing the low-level input/output operations for the audio channels (over I2S), analog channels (over SPI), and digital channels (the SoC’s GPIOs).”

  • Is the lack of IIoT standards holding back industrial progress?

    Every new or emerging technology has to be able to communicate and work with the world in which it is to function, and this is especially true for a technology that is intended to be a component of an existing ecosystem and not a separate entity in itself. A new home sound system component, such as a CD player, for example, must be plug-and-play-compatible with existing amplifiers, tuners and speaker systems.


    And that is the crux of the matter. Some companies are making a choice, running the risk of implementing systems and devices that will eventually end up in a technical dead end, but others are delaying their move to more widespread use of IIoT until there is more clarity on the future direction of standards and market share.

  • Events

    • Free software, GSoC and ham radio in Kosovo

      After the excitement of OSCAL in Tirana, I travelled up to Prishtina, Kosovo, with some of Debian’s new GSoC students. We don’t always have so many students participating in the same location. Being able to meet with all of them for a coffee each morning gave some interesting insights into the challenges people face in these projects and things that communities can do to help new contributors.

      On the evening of 23 May, I attended a meeting at the Prishtina hackerspace where a wide range of topics, including future events, were discussed. There are many people who would like to repeat the successful Mini DebConf and Fedora Women’s Day events from 2017. A wiki page has been created for planning but no date has been confirmed yet.

      On the following evening, 24 May, we had a joint meeting with SHRAK, the ham radio society of Kosovo, at the hackerspace. Acting director Vjollca Caka gave an introduction to the state of ham radio in the country and then we set up a joint demonstration using the equipment I brought for OSCAL.

    • Xen Project Developer and Design Summit

      The Xen Developer and Design Summit brings together the Xen Project’s community of developers and power users for their annual conference. The conference is about sharing ideas and the latest developments, sharing experience, planning, collaboration and above all to have fun and to meet the community that defines the Xen Project.

    • Hyperledger Hackfest

      Hyperledger ​Hackfests ​are ​regular ​gatherings ​for ​developers ​working ​on ​the ​different ​projects ​hosted ​at ​Hyperledger. ​ ​The ​primary ​goal ​for ​a ​Hackfest ​is ​to ​facilitate ​software ​development ​collaboration ​and ​knowledge ​sharing ​between ​participants, ​with ​an ​eye ​towards ​reflecting ​all ​ideas ​and ​conclusions ​back ​outward ​to ​the ​public ​open ​source ​community ​afterwards.


      Meet the CHAOSS community and the tools used by several open source projects, communities, and engineering teams to track and analyze their development activities, communities health, diversity, risk, and value.

    • deconstruct conf 2018

      I was at Deconstruct, a little conference. It has no sponsors, a single track, no lunch, no public schedule, and no particular focus except computering. It was quite nice. Some notes from the talks.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • 4 Firefox extensions worth checking out

        I’ve been a Firefox user since v2.0 came out about 12 years ago. There were times when it wasn’t the best web browser out there, but still, I kept going back to it for one reason: My favorite extensions wouldn’t work with anything else.

        Today, I like the current state of Firefox itself for being fast, customizable, and open source, but I also appreciate extensions for manifesting ideas the original developers never thought of: What if you want to browse without a mouse? What if you don’t like staring at bright light coming out of the monitor at night? What about using a dedicated media player for YouTube and other video hosting websites for better performance and extended playback controls? And what if you need a more sophisticated way to disable trackers and speed up loading pages?

      • Some webdev knowledge gained

        Easlier this year I had to split a Koa/SPA app into two separate apps. As part of that I switched from webpack to Neutrino.

        Through this work I learned a lot about full stack development (frontend, backend and deployments for both). I could write a blog post per item, however, listing it all in here is better than never getting to write a post for any of them.

        Note, I’m pointing to commits that I believe have enough information to understand what I learned.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • An Inside Look at OpenStack Security Efforts

      The open source OpenStack cloud platform is used by major corporations such as Walmart, the world’s largest carriers, such as AT&T, and even the world’s largest science experiment at CERN. While there are security elements that are directly integrated into OpenStack, security is not necessarily always the default configuration.

    • Kubernetes and OpenStack solving AI complexities at scale

      Stu Miniman and John Boyer of theCUBE interviewed Stephan Fabel, Director of Ubuntu Product and Development at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver. Read on for the full interview, and to hear more on Kubernetes, Kubeflow and MicroK8s.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Mozilla Announces $225,000 for Art and Advocacy Exploring Artificial Intelligence

      At Mozilla, one way we support a healthy internet is by fueling the people and projects on the front lines — from grants for community technologists in Detroit, to fellowships for online privacy activists in Rio.

      Today, we are opening applications for a new round of Mozilla awards. We’re awarding $225,000 to technologists and media makers who help the public understand how threats to a healthy internet affect their everyday lives.

    • Two sides to open source software funding

      However, open source has also made its mark outside the business environment, in locations as diverse as under the bonnets of our cars to devices used by conservation scientists to monitor animals such as birds and bats in their environment.

      Because of its low/no cost attributes, open source has long been regarded as a boon to academics and research institutes. Now, however, the free, open source model may be under pressure in the non-profit research sector.

  • BSD

    • TrueOS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD & DragonFlyBSD Against Linux + Windows 10 Benchmarks

      Last week I posted benchmarks of a big Linux distribution and Windows 10 / WSL benchmark comparison while in this article for kicking off the Phoronix birthday benchmarking week are results when seeing how the various BSDs are comparing against the Linux distributions and Windows 10 Pro itself. The BSDs for this comparison were TrueOS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and DragonFlyBSD.

      The BSDs that were benchmarked for this comparison included FreeBSD 11.1, FreeBSD 11.2 Beta 3, FreeBSD 12.0-CURRENT, DragonFlyBSD 5.2.1, DragonFlyBSD 5.3 development (given their recent performance optimizations), and OpenBSD 5.3. Notably left out was NetBSD as it was yielding a segmentation fault when booting on the system used for testing.

    • OpenBSD on APU4

      Today I got an APU.4B4

      This is how I got OpenBSD installed on it.

    • libcsi – Crypto Simplified Interface

    • Gnuastro 0.6 released

      I am happy to announce the sixth release of GNU Astronomy Utilities
      (Gnuastro 0.6).

      Gnuastro is an official GNU package consisting of various command-line
      programs and library functions for the manipulation and analysis of
      (astronomical) data. All the programs share the same basic
      command-line user interface (modeled on GNU Coreutils). For the full
      list of Gnuastro’s library, programs, and a comprehensive general
      tutorial (recommended place to start using Gnuastro), respectively,
      please see the links below:



    • LibreDWG: Enabled r2018 support

      DXF support is coming. Writing DXF is done, but AutoCAD cannot import it yet, as I write all known fields, handles and references, unlike libdxfrw which only writes a limited set. You cannot map parametric constraints or advanced classes with that.

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup time: June 8th starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC
  • Public Services/Government

    • Uncle Sam wants you to join the United States Digital Service

      Over chips and salsa at a hotel bar, the Google alumnus (“Xoogler”) explains in a friendly, hopeful manner that, with the vast majority of the work that he and his team are doing, they are making non-partisan, non-controversial attempts to improve government online services. Their innovations include crazy-modern improvements like cloud backups, multi-factor authentication, and single logins across multiple government websites.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • It’s UNIX. On A Microcontroller.

        It’s difficult to convey in an era when a UNIX-like operating system sits in your pocket, how there was once a time when the mere word was enough to convey an aura of immense computing power. If you ran UNIX, your computer probably filled a room, and you used it for Serious Stuff rather than just checking your Twitter feed. UNIX machines may still perform high-end tasks, but Moore’s Law has in the intervening years delivered upon its promise, and your phone with its UNIX-like OS is far more powerful than that room-sized minicomputer of the 1970s. A single chip for a few cents can do that job, which begs the question: just how little do we need to run UNIX today? It’s something [Joerg Wolfram] could advise you upon, because he’s got a functional UNIX running on a microcontroller.

  • Programming/Development

    • Almost 80 pct of open source codes contain at least one vulnerability, report says [Ed: Microsoft’s anti-FOSS proxy (founded by Microsoft man, still tactically connected to Microsoft) Black Duck has managed to interject itself into the media again, attacking FOSS as usual (Microsoft must be happy!). OSI recently kicked out Black Duck, rejecting its membership and its payments too.]
    • OSS security requires DIY scrutiny, not trusting ‘many eyes’ [Ed: Microsoft ‘proxy’ Black Buck continues attacking FOSS in the media.]
    • The open secret in open source: Security isn’t built in [Ed: Microsoft ‘proxy’ Black Buck would have us believe that with secret, proprietary code the security is 'automatic' and we should ignore all the intentional back doors, bugs etc.]
    • GitHub users are already fuming about the company’s sale to Microsoft

      “GitHub doesn’t compete with most companies, but Microsoft is a potential competitor or acquirer for a huge percentage of smaller companies in the tech industry,” says Salibra. “Giving your competitor access to your company’s most valuable secrets understandably makes people uneasy.”

    • Louis-Philippe Véronneau: Let’s migrate away from GitHub

      Some people might be fine with Microsoft’s takeover, but to me it’s the straw that brakes the camel’s back. For a few years now, MS has been running a large marketing campaign on how they love Linux and suddenly decided to embrace Free Software in all of its forms. More like MS BS to me.

    • Top GitHub Alternatives to Host Your Open Source Project

      If you are looking to migrate from GitHub, here are some of the best alternatives to GitHub for hosting the source code of your open source project.

    • Has Github Knocked Itself Out For Open Source Community?

      Microsoft buying Github has been the talk of the town. I have never written any article on the story because I was not sure about it. Today when Microsft has confirmed that they’re buying Github for $7.5 Billion, I think we should face it. Yes, people have started talking about Github alternatives and we’ll soon cover that as well. Don’t worry! There are plenty.

    • ​What Microsoft buying GitHub means to open-source software development

      Roy Schestowitz, editor of the anti-Microsoft and software patent site, TechRights tweeted, “Microsoft is a saboteur whose sabotage relies on lies about ‘love.’” He also claims “Git hosts other than #github getting 10 times the usual load (surge) as people migrate away from GitHub.”

      Indeed, Gitlab, a leading GitHub competitor, reports: “We’re seeing 10x the normal daily amount of repositories.” This is being driven not just because of old grudges against Microsoft, but because, as one Reddit writer put it, under Microsoft GitHub’s “real future is a buggy and monetized site.”

      Nadella may say, “We recognize the responsibility we take on with this agreement. We are committed to being stewards of the GitHub community, which will retain its developer-first ethos, operate independently, and remain an open platform.”

      But, some very vocal developers don’t buy that for a New York minute. They are certain that Microsoft will “Embrace, extend, and extinguish” the programs of potential rivals. As one put it on a Google+ thread, “What does M$ have to gain from this, other than by either shutting it down in the long term, monetizing it further or by data mining folks? In just a matter of hours, they made GitHub a completely toxic entity.”

    • Colour me untrusting

      … but a leopard doesn’t change its spots. My GitHub account – opened eight years ago and not used now deleted. amacater@github.com should not be associated with me in any way shape or form from here on in.

    • Why Open Source Software is Moving to GitLab After Microsoft-GitHub Deal
    • Microsoft’s GitHub Acquisition Provides a Stable Home for Developers

      Based on the open-source Git tool that Linux creator Linus Torvalds originally created to help developers be free from proprietary tools lock-in, some fear that GitHub is now doing the opposite of what Git was originally intended to do.

    • How to speed up the Rust compiler some more in 2018

      Since my last post, rustc-perf — the benchmark suite, harness and visualizer — has seen some improvements. First, some new benchmarks were added: cargo, ripgrep, sentry-cli, and webrender. Also, the parser benchmark has been removed because it was a toy program and thus not a good benchmark.

      Second, I added support for several new profilers: Callgrind, Massif, rustc’s own -Ztime-passes, and the use of ad hoc eprintln! statements added to rustc. (This latter case is more useful than it might sound; in combination with post-processing it can be very helpful, as we will see below.)

      Finally, the graphs shown on the website now have better y-axis scaling, which makes many of them easier to read. Also, there is a new dashboard view that shows performance across rustc releases.

    • This Week in Numbers: The Node.js User’s Tech Stack

      The Node.js Foundation published its third annual user survey based on 1,626 members of the Node community. In the future, we will look at the package managers and languages these developers are using. For now, readers will be interested to see the types of infrastructure that are most often used by with Node.js.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Young Immigrant Women Have the Right to Access Abortion. Monday’s Supreme Court Decision Doesn’t Change That.

      There has been a lot of confusion about Monday’s Supreme Court decision in the Jane Doe case, Azar v. Garza, but here are two big takeaways to clear things up.

      First, the ruling was limited to the case of one young woman, who already had her abortion. There is still a court order in place that prohibits the government from obstructing or interfering with unaccompanied minors’ access to abortion, and today’s decision does not change that. Second, the Supreme Court rejected the government’s baseless request to find that my colleagues and I acted unethically.

      As to the first point, it is critically important to understand what the order does and does not do. It does vacate Jane Doe’s individual victory in the court of appeals that paved the way for her to obtain an abortion. But Jane Doe has already obtained her abortion. The court, therefore, ruled that Jane Doe’s individual claim related to abortion access is now moot.

      The court’s ruling does not affect the ongoing case in any way. It doesn’t diminish the district court’s order that initially blocked the government’s cruel policy for a class of pregnant minors in the government’s custody. It also does not say anything about the constitutional question presented in the underlying case, namely whether the government can violate decades of Supreme Court precedent by banning abortion for unaccompanied minors.

    • An entire generation at risk of going deaf from listening to loud music on phones

      The number of people under 30 having permanent hearing damage has been increasing for the past decade in the UK. Hearing loss is irreversible and many of those facing these problems are suffering due to noise exposure.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Targeted Killing, Donald Trump Style

      The administration is bombing people all over the planet, under looser rules and in the shadows.


      In short, there’s a lot of kinetic action going on that the American public doesn’t know about. And they probably won’t know about it—at least until something awful happens or officials are forced to show their cards. And even then, the government will still be holding most of the deck under the table.

    • Saudi Arabia warns of military action if Qatar gets Russian missiles

      Riyadh asks Macron to intervene to prevent deal going ahead to “preserve regional stability”: French daily

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Appeals Court Rolls Its Eyes At Goverment’s Attempt To Dodge FOIA Litigation By Pretending It Didn’t Know Who Was Seeking Documents

      Government agencies, for the most part, treat public records requesters as weeds in the garden of governance: a pest that can never be fully eradicated, but rather tolerated with as much annoyance as possible. Whatever can’t be made to disappear with hefty fee demands or months of stonewalling will be given as little attention and compliance as possible. This attitude has turned FOIA requesters into frequent litigators seeking to hold one branch of the government accountable by using another.

      When Cheryl Brantley, a member of activist group A Better Way for BPA, requested records from the Bonneville Power Administration (run by the Department of Energy), she filled out the agency’s online FOIA form and waited. And waited. And waited some more before finally suing.

      BPA responded by declaring A Better Way had no standing to file a lawsuit. It decided to get hypertechnical about Brantley’s FOIA submission, claiming no one but Brantley herself should be allowed to sue.

  • Finance

    • IT Ministry asks NPCI to check compliance of WhatsApp payments, data safety: Sources

      The Reserve Bank of India on April 5, 2018 had said that all payment system operators will have to ensure that data related to payments is stored only in India and firms would have six months to comply with it.

    • IT Ministry asks NPCI to check if WhatsApp payments secure for Indian users before next week’s roll out

      WhatsApp is all set to roll out its payments feature to 200 million Indians next week. Before the official rollout, the ministry of electronics and information technology, MeitY has asked the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) to check whether WhatsApp’s Payments service meets the Reserve Bank of India’s rules and regulations. [...]

    • Why Basic Income Is a Mental Health Issue

      Across the Western world, there is a rising epidemic of depression and anxiety—one that disfigured my life for over a decade. For years now, the United Nations has been trying to warn us that these problems are continuing to spike up in part because we have, as a culture, been responding in the wrong way. In its official statement for World Health Day last year, the UN explained that we need move from “focusing on ‘chemical imbalances’ to focusing on ‘power imbalances.’” At first glance, this sounds puzzling. What could they mean?

    • Private equity bosses took $200m out of Toys R Us and crashed the company, lifetime employees got $0 in severance

      Private equity’s favorite shell game is to take over profitable businesses, sell off their assets, con banks into loaning them hundreds of millions of dollars, cash out in the form of bonuses and dividends, then let the businesses fail and default on their debts.

      The result is the retail apocalypse, where predatory giants like Walmart and Amazon are able to topple their vulture-capitalist-weakened prey, creating a feedback loop that enriches the shareholder class and destroys American businesses, leaving workers high and dry.

    • America is the world’s first poor rich country

      Americans’ median income is $60,000 — but the average American couldn’t stump up $500 to bail themselves out of an emergency, and a third of Americans can’t afford food, shelter and healthcare.

      It’s a paradox: Americans have a relatively high level of income, and consumer goods are cheaper in the USA than they are almost anywhere else in the world, but Americans are poorer and more indebted than people in any other wealthy country.

      It’s because the US has deregulated the basics for human survival: housing, education, transport, finance, and health-care, and turned them over to unfettered rent-seeking and profit-taking by the private sector, allowing them to grow to consume all the money Americans take home and more, leaving them indebted and precarious.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Federal employees sue Trump over executive order restricting union activity

      The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) alleges in the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday, that Trump’s order violates the First Amendment and is an overreach of Trump’s authority laid out in the Constitution.

    • The bogus expert and social media chicanery of DC’s top cyber think tank
    • How Venezuela Re-elected Maduro, Defying the U.S.

      The Venezuelan people reelected Nicolás Maduro for a second presidential term on May 20, bucking a U.S.-backed political tide of reaction that had swept away previously left-leaning Latin American governments – often by extra-parliamentary means – in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Honduras, and even Ecuador.

      The United States and the right-wing opposition in Venezuela had demanded an election boycott and Maduro’s resignation. Instead, a majority of Venezuelans defiantly voted for Maduro, affirming the legacy of Hugo Chávez.

      Chávez was first elected in 1998 and died in office on March 5, 2013. He had spearheaded a movement that turned Venezuela from an epigone of Washington into an independent force opposing U.S. hegemony. The Bolivarian Revolution reclaimed Venezuela’s history and forged a new national identity that no longer looked to Miami for affirmation. Even some of the most anti-chavismo now take pride in being Venezuelan. Such has been the depth of the sea change in national consciousness.

    • Distorting the Life of Bobby Kennedy

      TV commentator Chris Matthews’ book, Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit, has been a best seller since it was released last October, but there’s much important material that he left out about Kennedy, whose assassination on June 5, 1968 is being remembered on Tuesday,

      In recapping his early life, Matthews tells the story of Kennedy graduating from Harvard and going on to pursue a law degree at the University of Virginia, where he was chair of the Student Legal Forum. In that role, he invited some high profile guests to speak in Charlottesville.

      One guest, Nobel Prize winner Ralph Bunche, would augur Kennedy’s later support for civil rights. Bunche, both a diplomat and professor at Howard University, was African American, and the invitation was to a state where most of everyday life was still segregated. When Bunche told Kennedy he would not speak before a segregated audience, RFK appealed the issue through four levels of the college administration—saying he would not back down for moral reasons—and won. Bunche ultimately addressed an overflowing, integrated audience that was about one third African-American. As Matthews correctly notes, Bunche stayed at Bobby’s house that night, which was pelted with stones.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Unpublished Chinese censorship document reveals sweeping effort to eradicate online political content

      Chinese authorities have tightened their grip on the country’s online broadcasting platforms, banning a long list of content – everything from tattoos to religious proselytizing, violations of “mainstream values,” flirtatious dancing, images of leaders and Western political critiques – as the government seeks to stamp out any venue that could be used for dissent or behaviour it considers obscene, according to an unpublished censorship directive obtained by The Globe and Mail.

      The meteoric growth of online video services in China has offered a vibrant venue for creativity and, occasionally, obscenity and political protest – unleashing a daily riptide of user-made cat videos, pranks and glimpses of everyday life. Hundreds of millions of people in China watch short video clips and live-stream video every month.

      Chinese authorities have responded with strict new rules, ordering online broadcasters to eradicate a wide range of content, according to the document obtained by The Globe, which is entitled “Management requirements for live service information and content.“

    • Censorship in Vietnam As Mai Khoi Is Cut Off TV Is Echoed In UN’s Eviction of Critics In Favor of State Media

      In Vietnam, activist Do Nguyen Mai Khoi was being shown on television receiving a Creative Dissent award when the government abruptly cut it off. Video here. “This confirms that it is official government policy to ban me from appearing in media. The aim of this policy is to erase me from public consciousness and isolate me,” Mai Khoi told HRF. This ham-handed censorship is echoed at the UN, where for example the UN Department of Public Information had critical Inner City Press evicted for pursuing the story of the UN bribery by Chinese businessman Ng Lap Seng and has ever since confined it to minders. Meanwhile Viet Nam News Agency which rarely if ever asks the UN any questions continues in its office, with full access to the building it doesn’t use, like the Egyptian state media Akbhar al Yom to which the UN has purported to assign Inner City Press’ work space. Following the “election” of Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as Egypt’s president with 97% of the vote amid fining of media like Al-Masry Al-Youm and the expulsion of journalists, the spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on April 2 said, “We were not involved in the holding of the election, whether in observing or offering technical assistance as far as I know. So, I will leave it at that.” This is the same UN – and spokesman – which evicted independent Inner City Press and put in its work place Sissi’s state media Akhbar al-Youm, in the form of Sanaa Youssef a former (1984) president of the UN Correspondents Association who hasn’t asked a single question of the UN in more than ten years. Now the government behind that media has grabbed up Hazem Abdel-Azim, a critic since the government since he left Sissi’s campaign in the 2014 elections. Hazem Abdel-Azim was taken from his home in a Cairo suburb late Saturday on charges of disseminating fake news (!) and belonging to an outlawed group. This follows the detention of noted blogger Wael Abbas. Abbas was seized on accusations including disseminating false news and joining an outlawed group. He was taken blindfolded from his home to an unknown location and not allowed to contact his lawyer.

    • How Feng Xiaogang’s “Youth” Navigated Censorship and Delays to Find a Global Audience

      Feng Xiaogang’s film Youth 《芳华》 was one of China’s top 10 highest grossing films of 2017. Yet just days before its planned release, the film was pulled from cinema schedules. Some commentators cried censorship, others suspected a hype-inducing PR move. But what really happened? Following the film’s release on DVD and Blu-Ray last month, this is the story of Youth’s perplexing removal and its eventual release, which led to unexpected box office success internationally.

      Youth is a coming-of-age story of new recruits in Cultural Troupes of the People’s Liberation Army set against the backdrop of the Cultural Revolution. When the Sino-Vietnamese War hits, adolescent in-fighting is replaced with bloody violence and the traumatic effects of emotional and physical warfare haunt the film’s young protagonists.

    • Nearly 40% of court order blocks are in error, ORG finds

      A new tool added to its blocked.org.uk project examines over 1,000 domains blocked under the UK’s 30 injunctions against over 150 services,

      ORG found 37% of those domains are blocked in error, or without any legal basis. The majority of the domains blocked are parked domains, or no longer used by infringing services. One Sci-Hub domain is blocked without an injunction, and a likely trademark infringing site, is also blocked without an injunction.

      However, the list of blocked domains is believed to be around 2,500 domains, and is not made public, so ORG are unable to check for all possible mistakes.


      “We want ISPs to immediately release lists of previously blocked domains, so we can check blocks are being removed by everyone.

      “Rights holders must make public exactly what is being blocked, so we can be ascertain how else these extremely wide legal powers are being applied.”

    • Niall Ferguson wanted opposition research on a student

      As The Stanford Daily reported on Thursday, newly public emails show that Ferguson’s eagerness to fight off what he saw as encroaching political correctness led the historian to some bizarre extracurricular activity. Ferguson teamed up with a group of student Republicans, led by John Rice-Cameron, to wage a covert political battle against Michael Ocon, a student they viewed as excessively left-wing. In the e-mails they refer to Ocon as “Mr. O” and talk about ways to discredit him. “Some opposition research on Mr. O might also be worthwhile,” Ferguson wrote. Ferguson’s research assistant Max Minshull was tasked with the job of collecting the dirt on Ocon.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Federal Appeals Court Errs a Second Time on Device Privacy at the Border

      The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit got it wrong—again—ruling last week in U.S. v. Touset that border agents may forensically search, without any suspicion of wrongdoing, travelers’ electronic devices.

      The Eleventh Circuit ruled in March in U.S. v. Vergara that neither a warrant nor probable cause is ever required for a border search, including of an electronic device. Because the defendant in that case did not press the issue of whether a lesser standard—reasonable suspicion—should at least be required for a forensic device search, that court didn’t address the issue.

      The rulings in the two cases came from two different three-judge panels. The silver lining is that one judge in Vergara took the position that a probable cause warrant should be required for forensic device searches at the border.


      The one redeeming aspect of the Touset decision is that the court called on Congress to act, reminding legislators and the public at large that “nothing prevents Congress from enacting laws that provide greater protection than the Fourth Amendment requires.” While we argue that the Fourth Amendment requires the highest level of constitutional protection available—a probable cause warrant—for device searches at the border, we agree that as long as the courts fail to uniformly protect traveler privacy, Congress has an opportunity to do so. That’s why we’ve endorsed the Protecting Data at the Border Act (S. 823 and H.R. 1899).

    • Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends

      But the partnerships, whose scope has not previously been reported, raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders. Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found.

    • Facebook Gave Deep Data Access To Apple And Other Device Makers: Report
    • Facebook gave firms broad access to data on users, friends: report

      “It’s like having door locks installed, only to find out that the locksmith also gave keys to all of his friends so they can come in and rifle through your stuff without having to ask you for permission,” said Ashkan Soltani, a former FTC chief technologist, according to the Times.

    • Facebook made deals with device makers that gave them access to user’s information: NYT
    • It’s OK to leave Facebook

      The slow-motion privacy train wreck that is Facebook has many users, perhaps you, thinking about leaving or at least changing the way you use the social network. Fortunately for everyone but Mark Zuckerberg, it’s not nearly has hard to leave as it once was. The main thing to remember is that social media is for you to use, and not vice versa.

    • Teens prefer watching videos on YouTube than chatting with friends on Facebook: Survey

      A Pew Research Center survey shows that 85 per cent of U.S. teens, ages 13 to 17, use YouTube, compared with 72 per cent for the Facebook-owned Instagram and 69 per cent for Snapchat. Use of the main Facebook service is at 51 per cent among teens, down from 71 per cent in a 2014-2015 Pew survey. Pew didnt speculate on a reason for the drop, though historically, teens often shun services once they become mainstream and used by their parents.

    • ‘Can’t share information on social media,’ Madhya Pradesh DEO to teachers

      Teachers and other employees of the department have been found sharing information regarding the department, officials, meetings, etc. on social media. This is a violation under the Information Technology Act, 2000 as well as of service rules.

    • Leak suspect Winner reaches year in custody
    • Accused NSA leaker speaks one year later

      Exactly one year ago, accused NSA leaker, Reality Winner was arrested. Friends and family held a candlelight vigil to show their support.

      Reality was arrested for allegedly leaking classified documents to an online news outlet. She still sits behind bars in Lincolnton. This is a story that has gained international attention. Some people are calling reality winner a hero, others say she’s a traitor. Her mom tell News 12, Reality may be losing her battles in court, but outside those walls of her cell she has all the support.

      “It broke my heart to see her in the uniform in the orange and and behind a glass pane,” said Billie Winner-Davis, Reality’s mother.

    • Reality Winner Has Been in Jail for a Year. Her Prosecution Is Unfair and Unprecedented.

      Christmas was coming, and Paul Manafort wanted to spend the holiday with his extended family in the Hamptons, where he owns a four-acre estate that has 10 bedrooms, a pool, a tennis court, a basketball court, a putting green, and a guest cottage. But Manafort was under house arrest in northern Virginia. Suspected of colluding with the Russian government, the former campaign manager for Donald Trump had been indicted on a dozen charges involving conspiracy, money laundering, bank fraud, and lying to federal investigators.

    • Zuckerberg blows off Facebook shareholders’ demand for transparency, says he’s committed to transparency
    • ‘Corporate dictatorship’? Facebook shareholders get their turn to grill Mark Zuckerberg

      Minutes earlier, the company announced that shareholder proposals for more transparency and oversight had failed, surprising no one. Zuckerberg controls the company through special stock that gives him more votes than other shareholders. Facebook said that just because the proposals were blocked, that didn’t mean the company doesn’t care about these issues. Zuckerberg and the board may just have different ideas about how to solve them.

    • UK homes vulnerable to ‘staggering’ level of corporate surveillance

      Researchers found that a range of connected appliances – increasingly popular features of the so-called smart home – send data to their manufacturers and third-party companies, in some cases failing to keep the information secure. One Samsung smart TV connected to more than 700 distinct [I]nternet addresses in 15 minutes.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Morocco: Another Crackdown on Protests
    • Ethiopia begins issuing online visas for all tourists and international visitors starting June 1

      Ethiopia has started issuing visas online for all tourists and other visitors across the world effective today (June 1). The Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, Fitsum Arega revealed the development on Twitter and said “A relaxed visa regime will enhance both #Ethiopia’s openness and will allow the country to harness the significant stopover transit traffic of @flyethiopian”.

    • Hell on Wheels

      Fatal accidents, off-the-books workers, a union once run by a mobster. The rogue world of one of New York’s major trash haulers.


      The headquarters of Sanitation Salvage, one of the largest private trash haulers in New York City, is a squat brick building that sits unremarkably amid the garbage dumps and razor wire of the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx.

      The Squitieri brothers, owners for decades, can be found on the top floor of the house-like structure on Manida Street. The three brothers are men of considerable wealth and fixtures in Bronx politics, and one of them, Steven, has been seen riding to special events in a white chauffeured Rolls Royce. They are also, according to employees, unforgiving bosses, profane taskmasters who push a small army of drivers and off-the-books workers through grueling shifts of 18 hours or longer.

    • Sheriffs Are Raking In Millions In Prison Phone Fees And Some Really Don’t Want To Talk About It

      MuckRock is currently conducting a public records survey of prison telephone contracts. What it has secured so far will shock you, but only if you haven’t been paying attention. There’s nothing like a captive audience, and prisoners are the most captive of all. There’s one way out via telephone and its routed through mercenary companies and the law enforcement agencies that love them.


      And it’s not 77% of some small amount. In this agreement, phones calls are $0.16/minute and billing for calls involves fees of $3-6 for payment processing. The contract is so profitable for both ICS and the sheriff’s department that ICS installs the system for free and provides the county with $225,000 in grants in exchange for an auto-renewing contract that helps lock out competitors. In addition, the county collects 50% of video visitation and “inmate tablet usage” fees.

    • Georgia county receives 77% commission from inmate phone usage

      The materials were released as part of MuckRock’s nationwide survey of county corrections and communications commissions. Most local jails and detention facilities in the United States receive some cut of costs that inmates pay for phone usage; these agreements also contain provisions for advances on that commission and generally require the phone company to cover maintenance and other costs.

    • School Can’t Take A Joke; Turns Student Over To Cops For Listing The School For Sale On Craigslist

      Recent school shootings have led to heightened reactions from school officials and law enforcement. An over-correction of sorts — thanks to the shooter in Florida having been brought to law enforcement’s attention several times prior to the shooting — has resulted in the arrest of hundreds of students across the nation.

      The problem isn’t so much treating potential threats as credible until proven otherwise. The problem is there’s so very little subtlety applied. Things that should not be perceived as threats are, and even when they’re determined to be either unfounded or not actually a threat, some schools decide their misperceptions are more important than the reality of the situation. (h/t Reason)

      The graduating class of Truman High School in Independence, Missouri brainstormed senior pranks. Kylan Scheele came up with a pretty decent idea. He posted his school for sale on Craigslist.

    • Court Says Gov’t Can’t Claim Testimony That Undermines Its Criminal Case Is ‘Privileged’ When It’s Used It In Other Cases

      The government rarely likes to play fair in court. This is why we have the (repeatedly-violated) Brady rule (which forces the production of exonerative evidence) and other precedential decisions to guide the government towards treating defendants the way the Constitution wants them to be treated, rather than the way the government would prefer to treat them.

      In a case involving drug charges predicated on the distribution of synthetic marijuana, the government tried to keep testimony of a DEA chemist out of the hands of two charged defendants. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals says this isn’t OK in a decision [PDF] that gets very weedy (why yes, pun intended) pretty quickly. That’s the nature of synthetics — and the nature of DEA determinations on controlled substances analogues.

      The two proprietors of Zencense — Charles Ritchie and Benjamin Galecki — decided to manufacture and distribute their own blend of spice, using XLR-11 and UR-144 as active ingredients. The DEA raided Zencense’s Las Vegas production facility, charging the pair with conspiracy to distribute controlled substance analogues.

    • Highlights From Former Rep. Chris Cox’s Amicus Brief Explaining The History And Policy Behind Section 230

      The Copia Institute was not the only party to file an amicus brief in support of Airbnb and Homeaway’s Ninth Circuit appeal of a district court decision denying them Section 230 protection. For instance, a number of Internet platforms, including those like Glassdoor, which hosts specialized user expression, and those like eBay, which hosts transactional user expression, filed one pointing out how a ruling denying Airbnb and Homeaway would effectively deny it to far more platforms hosting far more kinds of user speech than just those platforms behind the instant appeal.

      And then there was this brief, submitted on behalf of former Congressman Chris Cox, who, with then-Representative Ron Wyden, had been instrumental in getting Section 230 on the books in the first place. With this brief the Court does not need to guess whether Congress intended for Section 230 to apply to platforms like Airbnb and Homeaway; the statute’s author confirms that it did, and why.

      In giving insight into the statutory history of Section 230 the brief addresses the two main issues raised by the Airbnb appeal – issues that are continuing to come up over and over again in Section 230-related litigation in state and federal courts all over the country: does Section 230 apply to platforms intermediating transactional user expression, and does Section 230′s pre-emption language preclude efforts by state and local authorities to hold these platforms liable for intermediating the consummation of the transactional speech. Cox’s brief describes how Congress intended both these questions to be answered in the affirmative and thus may be relevant to these other cases. With that in mind, we are archiving – and summarizing – the brief here.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Thanks To No Competition, Broadband Satisfaction Scores Plummet

      For years now we’ve documented the shitshow that is broadband industry customer satisfaction. That shitshow is generally thanks to a continued lack of real competition in the space, which lets these companies not only mindlessly raise rates like it’s going out of style, but it gives companies like Comcast the leeway to experiment with terrible, anti-competitive practices like arbitrary and punitive usage caps and overage fees. And that’s of course before you get to the clown car that passes for customer service at many of these companies, which routinely makes headlines for all the wrong reasons.

      Year after year we witness a rotating crop of bizarre stories highlighting how terribly these entrenched monopolies treat their subscribers. And each year industry executives insist that they’ve learned the error of their ways and have dedicated themselves and their budgets to fixing the “consumer experience.”

    • California’s Tough New Net Neutrality Law Takes Another Step Forward

      In the wake of the Trump FCC’s attack on net neutrality last December (which formally takes effect on June 11), more than half the states in the country are now exploring their own net neutrality rules. Some states (like Oregon and Washington) have passed state laws, while others (like New York and Montana) have embraced new executive orders that limit ISP ability to strike state contracts if they violate net neutrality. All told, it’s not exactly the outcome AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast lobbyists were hoping for, and it’s a pretty solid indication they really didn’t think this entire thing through particularly well.

      But at the moment, most eyes rest on California, where one of the tougher new state-level replacement laws just took a major step forward.

      Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 822 would prevent ISPs in California from engaging in blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization. The EFF has called the bill the “gold standard” for state-level net neutrality law. The proposal actually goes a bit further than the FCC rules it’s intended to replace, in part because it more tightly polices things like zero rating and usage caps, which have long been used anti-competitively by incumbent ISPs as a way to make life more difficult for companies trying to elbow in on traditional TV revenues.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Comparing the doctrine of equivalents across Asia

      Singapore rejected the doctrine of equivalents in a recent patent case. Karry Lai analyses the decision and asks how other Asian jurisdictions view the doctrine

      Singapore’s Court of Appeal in its Lee Tat Cheng v Maka GPS Technologies decision on April 6 rejected the doctrine of equivalents (DoE).

    • Corporate Duty to Disclose?

      Query: Now that patent applications are being filed by “applicants” rather than the inventors themselves, will those applicants (i.e., corporate owners) now be bound by the duty of disclosure?

    • Despite explosive growth, the Ericsson patent portfolio has maintained a high-quality edge

      Ericsson consistently scores well above the average in patent quality, despite the rapid expansion of its patent portfolio, new research commissioned by IAM has found. Using data and insights provided by leading IP intelligence services PatentSight, TechInsights and ktMINE, we examined the performance and current patent position of the Swedish telecom giant in an analysis published exclusively for subscribers last week. A breakdown of the top patent classifications in Ericsson’s portfolio reveals that the company has been a dominant leader in classifications H04W and H04L – wireless communication networks and transmission of digital information respectively – over the last 20 years.

    • Trademarks

      • San Diego Comic-Con: ‘Comic Convention’ Is Ours

        San Diego Comic-Con asked a federal judge Thursday to bar the use of its trademark by the FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention, which has already changed its name since losing a years-long trademark spat in court last year.

        A six-person jury this past December found San Diego Comic-Con’s trademarks are valid and enforceable and that the owners and operators of the convention formerly known as Salt Lake Comic Con caused confusion by using the trademark in the event’s moniker.

      • San Diego Comic-Con Petitions Judge To Have Salt Lake Comic Con Pay Its Attorney’s Fees, Bar It From Calling Itself A ‘Comic Convention’

        Perhaps you thought that the legal drama between the famous San Diego Comic-Con and the Salt Lake Comic Con was over. Our ongoing coverage of this trademark dispute stemming from SDCC somehow having a valid trademark on “comic-con”, a shortened descriptor phrase for a comic convention, largely concluded when SDCC “won” in court, being awarded $20,000 after initially asking for $12 million in damages. With the focus now turning to the roughly gazillion other comic conventions that exist using the “comic-con” phrase in their names and marketing materials, this particular dispute seemed to have come to a close.

        But not so much, actually. In post-trial motions, SDCC petitioned Judge Battaglia to consider the case “exceptional” so that SDCC can recover attorney’s fees from SLCC. The arguement for SDCC appears to mostly be that they spent a shit-ton of money on attorneys for the case.

    • Copyrights

      • When Joe Public Becomes a Commercial Pirate, a Little Knowledge is Dangerous

        In a piracy landscape that’s becoming increasingly monetized, some piracy-focused business schemes claim to exist in a “gray area”, treading the fine line of legality. But mainly they are potential disasters waiting to happen, something which is recognized by everyone except those actually involved in them.

      • UK Pirate Site Blocks are “Opaque and Poorly Administered”

        The Open Rights Group has published a thorough overview of which sites are blocked by court orders in the UK. The group aims to provide more insight into the scope of the blockades and has discovered that they are poorly administered. ORG calls upon ISPs to clean up their lists and hopes the courts will enable more transparency.

      • In Defense Of Fair Use

        Copyright law, to be sustainable, calls for a balance. Under copyright law, creators receive exclusive rights to allow or prevent others from making copies of their works for a limited time as an incentive to create. Users receive benefits from the results of the creator’s labor, perhaps through watching, reading or listening to those results. Users may also benefit pursuant to a license to use the works in other ways. Eventually the works fall into the public domain, allowing further reuse by everyone.

      • Dutch court rules that for-profit provision of links to unlicensed content is an infringement

        Can the making available – following payment of an IPTV subscription fee – of streams to unlicensed content amount to an infringement of copyright/related rights?

        This is the issue that the District Court of Limburg (in Maastricht, The Netherlands) had to address in a recent case that anti-piracy foundation Brein brought against Leaper (also acting as ‘Flickstore’, ‘Dump Die Deal’ and ‘Live TV Store’).

        Unsurprisingly, the court answered in the affirmative. The judgment (in Dutch) is available here.

        What is interesting is the reasoning of the court, which also reviewed the interpretation of Article 3 of the InfoSoc Directive as provided by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in its fairly rich case law.

      • 20 Best Free Image Download Sites | Get Stock Photos For Blogs In 2018

        It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so pairing up your articles, blogs, newsletter, ad-campaigns or presentations with the right image is crucial to make them stand out on or off the internet. But many people struggle to find the perfect image for their blog post or design projects that would express the essence of the content in it.

        While there are many sites to download photos for free but not all of them bring out the emotions of your words or design. Sometimes they lack the required quality, sharpness or even originality. Many of them are even illegal. I have personally come across many photographs that are iterations of the same concept. Even if you find a good picture, chances are that they are probably paid and at times, expensive.

      • WIPO Edges Toward High-Level Meeting To Finish Treaty On IP Rights For Broadcasters

        The World Intellectual Property Organization copyright committee last week stepped back from a lunge toward a long-debated treaty to protect intellectual property rights of broadcasters, but still concluded with a recommendation for the full WIPO membership to consider taking the negotiation to the final political level later this year.

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