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06.23.18

Links 23/6/2018: Kodi 18 Alpha 2, Peppermint 9, Wine 3.11

Posted in News Roundup at 11:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • Linux: The new frontier of enterprise in the cloud

      Well obviously, like you mentioned, we’ve been a Linux company for a long time. We’ve really seen Linux expand along the lines of a lot of the things that are happening in the enterprise. We’re seeing more and more enterprise infrastructure become software centric or software defined. Red Hat’s expanded their portfolio in storage, in automation with the Ansible platform.

      And then the really big trend lately with Linux has been Linux containers and technologies like [Google] Cooper Netties. So, we’re seeing enterprises want to build new applications. We’re seeing the infrastructure be more software defined. Linux ends up becoming the foundation for a lot of the things going on in enterprise IT these days.

    • Linux Networking Efforts Advances with New DPDK and OpenSwitch Releases

      The OpenSwitch project joined the Linux Foundation two years ago in June 2016. The Open Switch effort originally got its start in October 2015 as a Hewlett Packard (HP) led effort.

      The new OPX 2.3 release provides feature enhancements for SNMP support and also adds support for Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) as well as Terminal Access Controller Access-Control System Plus (TACACS+) .

      “The ability to install and operationalize individual protocol stacks as applications or micro-features facilitates the design of cost-conscious, composable networks (based on a mixture of best-of-breed hardware and software) that reduce failure domains and improve performance” Alley Hasan, OpenSwitch Project Governing Board chair, wrote in a statement. “The OpenSwitch community is committed to continue developing viable, turn-key solutions for data center operators, as well as for service provider edge and core architectures.”

    • Bloomberg Eschews Vendors For Direct Kubernetes Involvement

      Rather than use a managed Kubernetes service or employ an outsourced provider, Bloomberg has chosen to invest in deep Kubernetes expertise and keep the skills in-house. Like many enterprise organizations, Bloomberg originally went looking for an off-the-shelf approach before settling on the decision to get involved more deeply with the open source project directly.

      “We started looking at Kubernetes a little over two years ago,” said Steven Bower, Data and Infrastructure Lead at Bloomberg. … “It’s a great execution environment for data science,” says Bower. “The real Aha! moment for us was when we realized that not only does it have all these great base primitives like pods and replica sets, but you can also define your own primitives and custom controllers that use them.”

    • Oracle is changing how it reports cloud revenues, what’s it hiding? [iophk: "probably Microsoft doing this too" (cloudwashing)]

      In short: Oracle no longer reports specific revenue for cloud PaaS, IaaS and SaaS, instead bundling them all into one reporting line which it calls ‘cloud services and licence support’. This line pulled in 60% of total revenue for the quarter at $6.8 billion, up 8% year-on-year, for what it’s worth.

  • Kernel Space

    • Escape from System D, episode V

      I think what really bothers me is just the scope of the thing. Systemd isn’t an init system; it’s a software ecosystem, a whole slew of separate programs which are designed to work together and to manage various different aspects of the system, not simply just manage services. The problem is, despite the claims of modularity, it’s somewhat difficult to separate out the pieces. Right from the start, building Systemd, you have a number of dependencies and a huge set of components that you may or may not be able to disable; if you do disable certain components, it’s not clear what the ramifications might be, whether you need to replace them, and what you might be able to replace them with. I’d be less bothered if I could download a source bundle just for “Systemd, the init daemon” and compile that separately, and pick and choose the other parts on an individual basis in a similar way, but that’s just not possible – and this is telling; sure, it’s “modular” but clearly the modules are all designed to be used together. In theory you may be able to take the core and a few select pieces but none of the distributions are doing that and therefore it’s not clear that it really is possible.

    • Systemd 239 Rolls Out With Portable Services, Merges Boot Loader Specification

      The big systemd 239 feature update is now officially released.

      Systemd lead developer Lennart Poettering has announced the systemd 239 release.

    • Initial AMDGPU Driver Changes Submitted For Linux 4.19

      Less than one week after the close of the Linux 4.18 kernel merge window, AMD developers working on the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager driver have already submitted their first batch of changes to DRM-Next to begin queuing for the Linux 4.19 kernel cycle. There are a few new features with this latest batch of code.

    • LKML archives on lore.kernel.org

      A new archive of linux-kernel mailing list (LKML) posts going back to 1998 is now available at lore.kernel.org. It is based on public-inbox (which we looked at back in February. Among other things, public-inbox allows retrieving the entire archive via Git: “Git clone URLs are provided at the bottom of each page. Note, that due to its volume, the LKML archive is sharded into multiple repositories, each roughly 1GB in size. In addition to cloning from lore.kernel.org, you may also access these repositories on git.kernel.org.” The full announcement, which includes information about a new Patchwork instance as well as ways to link into the new archive, can be found on kernel.org.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Why next-generation IaaS is likely to be open source

        This is partly down to Kubernetes, which has done much to popularise container technology, helped by its association with Docker and others, which has ushered in a period of explosive innovation in the ‘container platform’ space. This is where Kubernetes stands out, and today it could hold the key to the future of IaaS.

      • Jobs Report: Rapid Growth in Demand for Open-Source Tech Talent

        The need for open-source technology skills are on the rise and companies and organizations continue to increase their recruitment of open-source technology talent, while offering additional training and certification opportunities for existing staff in order to fill skills gaps, according to the 2018 Open Source Jobs Report, released today by The Linux Foundation and Dice. 87% of hiring managers report difficulty finding open-source talent, and nearly half (48%) report their organizations have begun to support open-source projects with code or other resources for the explicit reason of recruiting individuals with those software skills. After a hiatus, Linux skills are back on top as the most sought after skill with 80% of hiring managers looking for tech professionals with Linux expertise. 55% of employers are now also offering to pay for employee certifications, up from 47% in 2017 and only 34% in 2016.

      • Market value of open source skills on the up

        The demand for open source technology skills is soaring, however, 87% of hiring managers report difficulty finding open source talent, according to the 2018 Open Source Jobs Report which was released this week.

      • SD Times news digest: Linux Foundation releases open-source jobs report, Android Studio 3.2 beta and Rust 1.27

        The Linux Foundation in collaboration with Dice.com has revealed the 2018 Open Source Jobs Report. The report is designed to examine trends in open-source careers as well as find out which skills are the most in demand.

        Key findings included 83 percent of hiring managers believes hiring open source talent is a priority and Linux is the most in-demand open-source skill. In addition, 57 percent of hiring managers are looking for people with container skills and many organizations are starting to get more involved in open-source in order to attract developers.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Latest Batch Of XWayland / EGLStream Improvements Merged

        While the initial EGLStreams-based support for using the NVIDIA proprietary driver with XWayland was merged for the recent X.Org Server 1.20 release, the next xorg-server release will feature more improvements.

      • Making Use Of Chrome’s Ozone-GBM Intel Graphics Support On The Linux Desktop

        Intel open-source developer Joone Hur has provided a guide about using the Chrome OS graphics stack on Intel-based Linux desktop systems.

        In particular, using the Chrome OS graphics stack on the Linux desktop is primarily about using the Ozone-GBM back-end to Ozone that allows for direct interaction with Intel DRM/KMS support and evdev for input.

      • Freedreno Reaches OpenGL ES 3.1 Support, Not Far From OpenGL 3.3

        The Freedreno Gallium3D driver now supports all extensions required by OpenGL ES 3.1 and is also quite close to supporting desktop OpenGL 3.3.

      • X.Org Is Looking For A North American Host For XDC2019

        If software development isn’t your forte but are looking to help out a leading open-source project while logistics and hospitality are where you excel, the X.Org Foundation is soliciting bids for the XDC2019 conference.

        The X.Org Foundation is looking for proposals where in North America that the annual X.Org Developers’ Conference should be hosted in 2019. This year it’s being hosted in Spain and with the usual rotation it means that in 2019 they will jump back over the pond.

      • RadeonSI Compatibility Profile Is Close To OpenGL 4.4 Support

        It was just a few days ago that the OpenGL compatibility profile support in Mesa reached OpenGL 3.3 compliance for RadeonSI while now thanks to the latest batch of patches from one of the Valve Linux developers, it’s soon going to hit OpenGL 4.4.

        Legendary open-source graphics driver contributor Timothy Arceri at Valve has posted 11 more patches for advancing RadeonSI’s OpenGL compatibility profile support, the alternative context to the OpenGL core profile that allows mixing in deprecated OpenGL functionality. The GL compatibility profile mode is generally used by long-standing workstation software and also a small subset of Linux games.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Latte Dock, Beta 1 for v0.8 (v0.7.95)

        Hello everyone Latte Dock v0.7.95 which is the first beta of v0.8 is here. Latte v0.8 is a huge release and one of its main goals is to make the user feel with it very natural and comfortable.

        [...]

        Important for contributors: Beta1 will last 10 days, during these days translators will be able to report string improvements at bugs.kde.org. English isnt my native language, (proof reading / simpler expanations) might be necessary. When Beta2 is released around 3 to 5 July the string freeze will take place. Beta2 period will last 10 more days. So v0.8 is scheduled for 13 to 15 Jully. During all these days improvements and fixes can be landed through review process at kde phabricator.

      • Musing About Communities Size And Activity

        If you remember my previous installment I raised a couple more questions which I pointed out as tougher to address and I’d keep on the side for a while. Well, I decided to look at something simpler in the meantime… which unexpectedly took more time than expected.

        First I thought I’d try to reproduce the cohesion graph from Paul’s Akademy 2014 talk… but it looks like we have a reproducibility issue on that one. However hard I try I don’t manage to reproduce it. What I get is very different, so either there’s a bug in my tentative script or there was a bug in Paul’s script or somehow the input data is different. So one more mysteries to explore, I’m at a loss about what’s going on with that one so far.

      • Second Post and First Weekly

        Because of the last one, I have been refactoring related code in the last month. The refactoring is generally completed, with KisDlgInternalColorSelector being the last dependency that haven’t been moved to enable KisPaletteView to be used everywhere needed.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Ubuntu Developers Working On Improvements To GNOME Software Store

        Canonical/Ubuntu developers are working on improvements to the GNOME Software “app store” and recently held an in-person design sprint along with one upstream GNOME developer for coming up with improvements.

        The Ubuntu developers working on improvements to GNOME Software were joined by prolific GNOME contributor Richard Hughes for brainstorming improvements to better GNOME Software over the months to come.

      • App Launching From GNOME Shell Now More Robust Under Memory Pressure & Faster

        Right now on systems with low amounts of available system memory, GNOME Shell can sometimes fail to launch applications due to an error over not being able to allocate memory in the fork process. With the latest rounds of Glib optimizations, this should no longer be the case.

      • GNOME Web Browser is Adding a Reader Mode

        An experimental reader mode will ship in the next version of GNOME Web, aka Epiphany. The feature is already available to try in the latest development builds of the GTK Webkit-based web browser, released this week as part of the GNOME 3.29.3 milestone.

  • Distributions

    • Most secure Linux distros in 2018

      Think of a Linux distribution as a bundle of software delivered together, based on the Linux kernel – a kernel being the core of a system that connects software to hardware and vice versa – with a GNU operating system and a desktop environment, giving the user a visual way to operate the system via a graphical user interface.

      Linux has a reputation as being more secure than Windows and Mac OS due to a combination of factors – not all of them about the software.

      Firstly, although desktop Linux users are on the up, Linux environments are far less common in the grand scheme of things than Windows devices on personal computers. The Linux community also tends to be more technical. There are technical reasons too, including fundamental differences in the way the distribution architecture tends to be structured.

      Nevertheless over the last decade security-focused distributions started to appear, which will appeal to the privacy-conscious user who wants to avoid the worldwide state-sanctioned internet spying that the west has pioneered and where it continues to innovate. Of course, none of these will guarantee your privacy, but they’re a good start. Here we list some of them.

      It is worth noting that security best practices are often about process rather than the technology, avoiding careless mistakes like missing patches and updates, and using your common sense about which websites you visit, what you download, and what you plug into your computer.

    • Yaourt is Dead! Use These Alternatives for AUR in Arch Linux

      Yaourt had been the most popular AUR helper, but it is not being developed anymore. In this article, we list out some of the best alternatives to Yaourt for Arch based Linux distributions.

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 26.0 BETA released.

        4MLinux 26.0 BETA is ready for testing. Basically, at this stage of development, 4MLinux BETA has the same features as 4MLinux STABLE, but it provides a huge number of updated packages, including major changes in the core of the system, which now uses the GNU C Library 2.27 and the GNU Compiler Collection 7.3.0.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • OpenSUSE Leap 15 Plasma – Way too buggy, me sad

        OpenSUSE Leap 15 is a troubled distro. It’s pretty and it has some brilliant moments, but almost all of the issues and bugs I reported in Leap 42.3 are still here. As if nothing was learned. Or maybe no one cares. In its default guise, the distro simply isn’t ready for ordinary use. You need to work hard to get the basic rights: package management, network, media codecs, fonts. Even time & date posed a big issue, and customization was tricky. Top that with crashes, installation woes, GRUB suddenly losing its dual-boot stuff.

        The only redeeming factors are good looks, excellent performance (eventually) and smartphone support. But the rest feels beta. Hardly the SUSE that I once knew and loved so much. Back then, I used SUSE 9/10 like a champ, even had a box configured as a router, used a PPTP dialer to get the Web, ran VMware Server Beta on top of it, had Nvidia drivers all dandy. This was in 2005-7, and I was much less skilled than I am now. And yet, I had a rock-solid, pro desktop that never disappointed me. Today, what can I say? I can only hope SUSE gets its game together. There are some really amazing things here, but they are far and few in between. Unfortunately, Leap 15 is a no-go. Something like 1/10. Me very sad.

      • SUSE releases enhancements to CaaS platform

        Germany-based SUSE Linux has released SUSE CaaS Platform 3, the third iteration of its container as a service platform.

        A statement from the company said the platform included changes in Kubernetes to provide an enterprise-class container management solution that would allow application development and DevOps teams to deploy, manage and scale container-based applications and services.

        In March, Peter Lees, SUSE’s chief technologist for the Asia-Pacific region, told iTWire that containers would be the major focus for the company as it looked to consolidate its position in the region.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Is Used All over the World, Reveal Initial Ubuntu 18.04 Desktop Metrics

            During the development cycle of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Canonical announced that there would be an optional personal and system data collection tool implemented in the operating system to help them improve Ubuntu. Later, closer to the final release, it was revealed that the data collection tool was implemented in an all-new Welcome screen displayed only once after the first boot.

            The data collected by Canonical to improve the Ubuntu Linux operating system contained information about Ubuntu flavor used and version, users’ setups, installed software, network connectivity, OEM manufacturer, CPU family, RAM, disk size, screen resolution, GPU vendor and model, as well as users’ location based on the options they choose during the installation.

          • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Snapcraft

            Canonical, the company behind operating system and Linux distribution Ubuntu, is looking to help developers package, distribute and update apps for Linux and IoT with its open-source project Snapcraft.

            According to Evan Dandrea, engineering manager at Canonical, Snapcraft “is a platform for publishing applications to an audience of millions of Linux users.” The project was initially created in 2014, but recently underwent rebranding efforts.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Now Certified on Select Intel NUC Mini PCs and Boards for IoT Development, LibreOffice 6.0.5 Now Available, Git 2.8 Released and More

            Canonical yesterday announced that Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is certified on select Intel NUC Mini PCs and boards for IoT development. According to the Ubuntu blog post, this pairing “provides benefits to device manufacturers at every stage of their development journey and accelerates time to market.” You can download the certified image from here.

            In other Canonical news, yesterday the company released a microcode firmware update for Ubuntu users with AMD processors to address the Spectre vulnerability, Softpedia reports. The updated amd64-microcode packages for AMD CPUs are available for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), “all AMD users are urged to update their systems.”

          • Canonical issues Spectre v2 fix for all Ubuntu systems with AMD chips

            JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU’D HEARD THE END of Spectre, Canonical has released a microcode update for all Ubuntu users that have AMD processors in a bid to rid of the vulnerability.

            The Spectre microprocessor side-channel vulnerabilities were made public at the beginning of this year, affecting literally billions of devices that had been made in the past two decades.

          • A first look at desktop metrics

            We first announced our intention to ask users to provide basic, not-personally-identifiable system data back in February. Since then we have built the Ubuntu Report tool and integrated it in to the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS initial setup tool. You can see an example of the data being collected on the Ubuntu Report Github page.

          • Early Ubuntu Hardware/Software Survey Data

            With the Ubuntu Hardware/Software Survey that was introduced in Ubuntu 18.04 and presented to users upon new installations, it’s been collecting data since the Bionic Beaver launch in April but the data hasn’t been made public up to this point. Viewing the survey data is currently being worked on for the Ubuntu 18.10 cycle and today a first look at these numbers have been shared.

          • Ubuntu Reveals Desktop Telemetry for the First Time

            Canonical has kept a promise it made in February this year and has made public some of the telemetry it gathered from Ubuntu Desktop users in the past three months.

            The data was gathered using the Ubuntu Report tool, which the company said in February it would add to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) distributions.

            The Ubuntu Report tool would prompt users during the installation process and ask for permission to collect basic OS installation details.

          • Canonical shares analytics from Ubuntu Linux desktop user data collection

            Linux and user data collection. Some people will decry such a thing, but they would be wrong. As long as the collection is opt-in, it is totally acceptable and in line with Linux ideology. When is it questionable? When users don’t have a choice. With Windows 10 telemetry, for instance, users can opt out of sharing some data with Microsoft, but not all. And that’s a problem. Even if Microsoft’s intentions are pure, and designed solely with improving Windows 10, users should be able to refuse all data sharing at time of installation.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Take your computer on the go with Portable Apps

    Portable Apps lets you access all your go-to apps anywhere, anytime—regardless of whether you are using your own computer or not.

    With more than 400 apps, 980 million downloads, and available in 55 languages, Portable Apps allows you to access your favorites via a USB flash drive, a cloud folder, or just about any portable storage device. Portable Apps is like having your computer without having your computer.

    Portable Apps is released under the GPL and MIT licenses, and it is compatible with Windows XP through 10, or Linux and MacOS via Wine or CrossOver. Developed by John T. Haller, a computer science major at Binghamton University and the developer of Portable Firefox, Portable Apps launched in November 2006 and has been in development since 2004. The current version, 15.0.2, was released on May 17, 2018. Plus, Portable Apps is supported by 200 volunteers and 220,000 community members.

  • 7 tips for promoting your project and community on Twitter
  • Software Heritage Archive Goes Live

    The importance of preserving software, and in particular open source software, is something I’ve been writing about for nearly a decade.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • State of Mozilla Support: 2018 Mid-year Update – Part 1

        As you may have heard, Mozilla held one of its All Hands biannual meetings, this time in San Francisco. The support.mozilla.org Admin team was there as well, along with several members of the support community.

        The All Hands meetings are meant to be gatherings summarizing the work done and the challenges ahead. San Francisco was no different from that model. The four days of the All Hands were full of things to experience and participate in. Aside from all the plenary and “big stage” sessions – most of which you should be able to find at Air Mozilla soon – we also took part in many smaller (formal and informal) meetings, workshops, and chats.

      • This Week in Mixed Reality: Issue 10

        Last week, the team was in San Francisco for an all-Mozilla company meeting.

        This week the team is focusing on adding new features, making improvements and fixing bugs.

      • Parliament adopts dangerous copyright proposal – but the battle continues

        n 20 June the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee (JURI) approved its report on the copyright directive, sending the controversial and dangerous copyright reform into its final stages of lawmaking.

      • Data localization: bad for users, business, and security

        Mozilla is deeply concerned by news reports that India’s first data protection law may include data localization requirements. Recent leaks suggest that the Justice Srikrishna Committee, the group charged by the Government of India with developing the country’s first data protection law, is considering requiring companies subject to the law to store critical personal data within India’s borders. A data localization mandate would undermine user security, harm the growth and competitiveness of Indian industry, and potentially burden relations between India and other countries. We urge the Srikrishna Committee and the Government of India to exclude this in the forthcoming legislative proposal.

      • TenFourFox FPR8 available

        TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 8 final is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). There are no changes from the beta except for outstanding security patches. As usual, it will go live Monday night, assuming no changes.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Announcing the general availability of Oracle Linux 7 for ARM

      Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 7 for the ARM architecture.

    • Oracle Linux 7 Now Ready For ARM Servers

      While Red Hat officially launched RHEL7 for ARM servers last November, on Friday Oracle finally announced the general availability of their RHEL7-derived Oracle Linux 7 for ARM.

      Oracle Linux 7 Update 5 is available for ARM 64-bit (ARMv8 / AArch64), including with their new Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 5 based on Linux 4.14.

    • LibreOffice color selector as GTK widgets

      Here’s what the native GTK widget mode for the color picker looks like at the moment under Wayland. A GtkMenuButton displaying a color preview of the currently selected color and a GtkPopover containing the color selection widgetry.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD disables Hyper-Threading over security concerns

      OpenBSD, the security-focused, BSD-based, open-source operating system, has announced that it is to disable Intel’s Hyper-Threading (HT) technology in its latest release over concerns it could make exploitation of Spectre-style attacks easier.

      The discovery of side-channel attacks relating to speculative execution systems added to modern processors to boost performance, announced to the public earlier this year under the codenames Meltdown and Spectre, has caused the industry no small number of headaches. While current and next-generation silicon is known to still be vulnerable to at least some of the attack methods currently known, microcode and software patches have mitigated most of the threat – but now it looks like Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology may undo that mitigation.

    • httpd(8) Gains Simple Request Rewrites
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSFE Newsletter June 2018
    • About BLAG’s removal from our list of endorsed distributions

      We recently updated our list of free GNU/Linux distributions to add a “Historical” section. BLAG Linux and GNU, based on Fedora, joined the list many years ago. But the maintainers no longer believe they can keep things running at this time. As such, they requested that they be removed from our list. The list helps users to find operating systems that come with only free software and documentation, and that do not promote any nonfree software. Being added to the list means that a distribution has gone through a rigorous screening process, and is dedicated to diligently fixing any freedom issues that may arise.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • New releases from Facebook and Google, CPTPP’s potential open source impact, and more news
    • Open Data

    • Open Access/Content

      • Cheaper textbooks and better access for higher ed students

        Recently at the Texas Linux Fest, Ross Reedstrom introduced me to OpenStax. I’ve heard of a lot of open educational resources (OER) but not this particular one. It’s certainly a project I’m going to follow now.

        OpenStax was founded by Rice University engineering professor Richard Baraniuk in 1999 under the name Connexions. It started like most open source projects: To scratch an itch and address a problem. In this case, Rice University wanted to do something on the web related to education. A grad student suggested that they take the model used to develop Linux and apply it to create textbooks, and Connexions was born. They decided on a license that allowed for reuse with attribution—in essence, this was the first use of the Creative Commons license even before the license existed.

      • MIT to conduct an environmental scan of open source publishing

        The MIT Press has announced the award of a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to conduct a landscape analysis and code audit of all known open source (OS) authoring and publishing platforms. By conducting this environmental scan, the MIT Press will be providing a comprehensive and critical analysis of OS book production and hosting systems to the scholarly publishing community.

        As noted by Amy Brand, director of the MIT Press, “Open source book production and publishing platforms are a key strategic issue for not-for-profit scholarly publishers, and the wide-spread utilization of these systems would foster greater institutional and organizational self-determination. The MIT Press has long been a leader in digital publishing. We are very grateful for the generous support from The Mellon Foundation for this project.”

  • Programming/Development

    • Linux Fu: The Great Power of Make

      Over the years, Linux (well, the operating system that is commonly known as Linux which is the Linux kernel and the GNU tools) has become much more complicated than its Unix roots. That’s inevitable, of course. However, it means old-timers get to slowly grow into new features while new people have to learn all in one gulp. A good example of this is how software is typically built on a Linux system. Fundamentally, most projects use make — a program that tries to be smart about running compiles. This was especially important when your 100 MHz CPU connected to a very slow disk drive would take a day to build a significant piece of software. On the face of it, make is pretty simple. But today, looking at a typical makefile will give you a headache, and many projects use an abstraction over make that further obscures things.

Leftovers

  • Latest version of Preservica delivers new research and innovation in digital preservation

    The latest version also adds over 75 file format migration pathways based on extensive digital preservation research by the Innovation Team. The new pathways add to the hundreds already included with Preservica and increase preservation action choices for a wide range of image, Audio/Visual (AV) and Open Document formats.

  • Buzz Aldrin returns to Twitter, sues his son and former manager

    “I told him to finish well. He doesn’t listen at all.”

  • 10 Best Free Fonts Download Websites You Should Use In 2018
  • Science

  • Hardware

    • Ideas about moving the rack two floors down to the basement

      I am considering moving the rack from the bedroom to 7x12ft locked room in the basement. It would share space with my washer and dryer (which is vented to the outside).

    • Thomson 8-bit computers, a history

      The “Plan Informatique pour Tous” was in full swing, and Thomson were supplying schools with micro-computers. My dad, as a primary school teacher, needed to know how to operate those computers, and eventually teach them to kids.

      The first thing he showed us when he got the computer, on the living room TV, was a game called “Panic” or “Panique” where you controlled a missile, protecting a town from flying saucers that flew across the screen from either side, faster and faster as the game went on. I still haven’t been able to locate this game again.

    • How much did a personal computer cost the year you were born?

      Once wildly expensive and inaccessible but to the very rich, computers today are one of the most ubiquitous technologies worldwide. Though many personal computers in the early 1970s were much cheaper, the most basic model of an HP 3000 sold for $95,000 in 1972, the equivalent of slightly over half a million in today’s dollars.

      Today, a brand-new computer costs just a few hundred dollars and has capabilities that in 1972 were in the realm of science fiction.

    • U-M researchers create world’s smallest ‘computer’

      IBM’s announcement that they had produced the world’s smallest computer back in March raised a few eyebrows at the University of Michigan, home of the previous champion of tiny computing.

      Now, the Michigan team has gone even smaller, with a device that measures just 0.3 mm to a side—dwarfed by a grain of rice.

      The reason for the curiosity is that IBM’s claim calls for a re-examination of what constitutes a computer. Previous systems, including the 2x2x4mm Michigan Micro Mote, retain their programming and data even when they are not externally powered.

      Unplug a desktop computer, and its program and data are still there when it boots itself up once the power is back. These new microdevices, from IBM and now Michigan, lose all prior programming and data as soon as they lose power.

    • Intel Is Corporate America’s Biggest #MeToo Moment
    • Intel now faces a fight for its future
    • Intel chief Krzanich quits over affair with staffer
    • Intel CEO Brian Krzanich resigns after company learns of ‘employee relationship’ [iophk: "bailing before the big security storm hits?"]

      Intel has named chief financial officer Bob Swan as interim chief effective, and he will take over from Krzanich immediately.

    • Intel’s Brian Krzanich is forced out as CEO after ‘consensual relationship’ with employee

      Krzanich’s total compensation topped $21 million last year, and the company paid for his transportation and residential security, according to company filings.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Medicare to Terminate Funding for St. Luke’s Heart Transplant Program in Houston

      The federal Medicare program informed Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center on Friday that it would cut off funding to its heart transplant program in August, saying the Houston hospital has not done enough to fix shortcomings that endanger patients.

      The decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is a devastating blow to what was once one of the nation’s most renowned heart transplant programs. Losing Medicare’s seal of approval on Aug. 17 would threaten its viability, experts say, depriving it of an essential source of funding. The termination could trigger private insurance companies to follow suit and force all 88 patients on the program’s waiting list to either pay out of pocket or, more likely, transfer to another hospital.

      Losing Medicare funding is not unprecedented, but it is rare. St. Luke’s can appeal the termination, but that will not freeze the process, according to Medicare rules.

      CMS’s decision comes just weeks after an investigation by ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle found that the program performed an outsized number of transplants resulting in deaths and has lost several top physicians in recent years. Multiple St. Luke’s doctors raised concerns about errors during operations and serious surgical complications after Dr. Jeffrey Morgan took over as the program’s top surgeon in 2016, and a few cardiologists began referring some of their patients to other hospitals for transplants.

      Following the report, St. Luke’s temporarily suspended the heart transplant program in order to review the cases of two patients who died in May after receiving transplants earlier in the year. All told, three of the nine patients who received new hearts this year have died; nationally more than 90 percent of heart transplant recipients survive at least a year.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • North Korea Agreed to Denuclearize, But US Refuses Despite Treaty Obligation

      A powerful economic incentive continues to drive the nuclear arms race. After the Singapore Summit, the stock values of all major defense contractors — including Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and General Dynamics — declined.

      Given his allegiance to boosting corporate profits, it’s no surprise that Donald Trump is counterbalancing the effects of the Singapore Summit’s steps toward denuclearization with a Nuclear Posture Review that steers the US toward developing leaner and meaner nukes and lowers the threshold for using them.

      The United States has allocated $1.7 trillion to streamline our nuclear arsenal, despite having agreed in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968 to work toward nuclear disarmament.

      Meanwhile, the US maintains a stockpile of 7,000 nuclear weapons, some 900 of them on “hair trigger alert,” according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

      “If weapons are used they need to be replaced,” Brand McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network has argued. “That makes war a growth story for these stocks, and one of the big potential growth stories recently has been North Korea. What the agreement does, at least for a while, is take military conflict off the table.”

    • America’s Military Drops A Bomb Every 12 Minutes, And No One Is Talking About It

      “We are a rogue nation with a rogue military and a completely unaccountable ruling elite. The government and military you and I support by being a part of this society are murdering people every 12 minutes, and in response, there’s nothing but a ghostly silence.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Journalists and Digital Security: Some Thoughts on the NYT Leak Case

      The leak investigation involving a Senate staffer and a New York Times reporter raises significant issues about journalists, digital security, and the ability of journalists to protect confidential sources.

      The New York Times recently revealed that the FBI had been investigating a former aide to the Senate Intelligence Committee, James Wolfe, for possibly leaking classified information to reporters. So far Wolfe has only been indicted for making false statements to investigators about his contacts with reporters.

      The investigation appears to have been focused on how New York Times reporter Ali Watkins, when she worked for Buzzfeed News, learned that Russian spies had attempted to recruit a former advisor to President Trump, Carter Page.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • Tencent’s Creating an Online Trading Platform for Chinese Bonds

      China’s biggest social media and gaming company and its partner is launching the service Friday after almost two years of fine-tuning. As envisioned, the QTrade service will help traders meet online and negotiate prices. It verifies both parties’ identities and logs their conversations and transactions for at least five years, thus complying fully with securities regulations, said Zhou Jingyu, a co-founder of the Shenzhen-registered startup.

    • How to stop the decline of public transport in rich countries

      The competition is only likely to grow. More than one laboratory is churning out new transport technologies and applications (see article). Silicon Valley invented Uber and, more recently, apps that let people rent electric scooters and then abandon them on the pavement. China created dockless bicycles and battery-powered “e-bikes”, both of which are spreading. Some inventions will fail, or will be regulated out of existence (at one point, Segways were the future). But new ideas, including driverless taxis, are coming around the corner. Mass transport is much less nimble. As New York’s Second Avenue subway, London’s Crossrail and Amsterdam’s North-South metro line have shown, building new train lines is now incredibly complicated and expensive.

    • Tesla whistleblower claims company is ‘doing everything it can to silence me’

      “I’m a scapegoat because I provided information that is absolutely true,” Tripp told the Guardian on Wednesday evening. “This is obscene … It feels like I have no rights as a whistleblower.”

      On Thursday, after the local sheriff’s office had announced that there was no credible threat to the Gigafactory, Tripp commented further: “They’re trying to do everything they can to silence me and trying to set an example so that no one else will talk to the press.”

    • Supreme Court rules that states can collect internet sales tax on online retail purchases
    • New US Tariffs are Anti-Maker and Will Encourage Offshoring

      The new 25% tariffs announced by the USTR, set to go into effect on July 6th, are decidedly anti-Maker and ironically pro-offshoring. I’ve examined the tariff lists (List 1 and List 2), and it taxes the import of basic components, tools and sub-assemblies, while giving fully assembled goods a free pass. The USTR’s press release is careful to mention that the tariffs “do not include goods commonly purchased by American consumers such as cellular telephones or televisions.”

    • Donald Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to the Next Great Depression
    • EU tariffs on US goods come into force
    • Blockchain beyond the hype: What is the strategic business value?

      Speculation on the value of blockchain is rife, with Bitcoin—the first and most infamous application of blockchain—grabbing headlines for its rocketing price and volatility. That the focus of blockchain is wrapped up with Bitcoin is not surprising given that its market value surged from less than $20 billion to more than $200 billion over the course of 2017.1 Yet Bitcoin is only the first application of blockchain technology that has captured the attention of government and industry.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook needs to learn difference between journalism, ‘political advertising’ and garbage

      This is bad for journalism for a whole host of reasons, but the biggest problem is that it implies that the reporting and opinion of professional journalists is not a reflection of editorial judgment, but is instead designed solely to manipulate readers for money. This is a message that will be embraced by the dictators and authoritarian governments who love to denounce real reporters and actual journalism.

    • Fears mount over WhatsApp’s role in spreading fake news

      Indian police have linked dozens of murders and serious assaults to rumours spread on the messaging service in recent months.

    • Clicks Over Ethics: Careless Coverage of Suicide

      A study in the American Journal of Public Health (2/90) used state records from 1988 to 1996 to identify clustered suicides—three to 11 incidents that occurred in the same city or town in a three-month span—and analyzed news coverage of the events. The study found certain story characteristics, including front-page placement, headlines containing the word “suicide” and descriptions of the suicidal person and act, appeared more often in reports on the first suicide in a cluster.

      Guidelines for reporting have been drawn up. But in the wake of Spade and Bourdain’s highly publicized deaths, some corporate media have failed to follow them, apparently willing to put ethics to the side in their quest for clicks.

    • WaPo Can’t Believe White Supremacist Senate Candidate Really Means It

      Corey Stewart just won the Virginia GOP Senate primary. And the Washington Post‘s response (6/15/18) was an editorial headlined, “Corey Stewart’s Win in Virginia Means Further Degradation of Civic Discourse.” Yeah, that’s the problem—discourse.

      In an exemplar of elite media mealymouthing, the Post defines (and laments) Stewart’s embrace of white supremacist ideas, and the people who act on them, not as him being a white supremacist, but as “court[ing] white supremacists,” his racist comments not as him being a racist, but his “seeing…pandering to racism [as] a valuable tactic.”

      Nowhere do the Post editorialists explain whence they derive the requisite insight into Stewart’s soul to distinguish between mere calculation and true beliefs. Much less do they advise the black, brown, Muslim, Jewish and other people at the sharp end of such “courting” and “pandering” as to how they might best appreciate the distinction.

    • Microsoft And Nintendo Team Up To Troll Playstation In Ads For Not Giving Gamers What They Want

      Buckle up, because this seemingly mildly interesting story has a ton of intersections on topics we typically talk about here at Techdirt. As a preface, you should recall that we firmly believe that content is advertising and advertising is content. By this we mean that every bit of content a producer makes serves to advertise that producer’s wider content library and that advertisements, in order to be engaging, must be useful and/or entertaining every bit as much as more traditional content typically is. We’ve also talked a great deal about how content producers in the digital spaces must connect with their fanbases, treat them well, and provide them what they want, or risk backlash. Add to that, finally, that we think restrictive protectionism in the name of wider profits often achieves the opposite of that goal.

      Which brings us to Microsoft and Nintendo somewhat suprisingly teaming up to push out a bunch of ads centered on the ability for users of either to crossplay games across both systems.

    • Why Rank-And-File Evangelicals Aren’t Likely To Turn On Trump Over Family Separation

      Over the past few weeks, religious leaders have emerged as some of the strongest critics of President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that has resulted in the separation of children from their parents at the U.S.’s southern border.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • China will partly lift internet censorship for one of its provinces to promote tourism

      For Hainan, China will lift part of its censorship system, or what’s known as the Great Firewall, that blocks access to most foreign social media and news sites. Tourists will be able to enter designated zones in Hainan’s two major cities to access Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Other banned foreign social media platforms, like Google, Instagram, or WhatsApp, haven’t been mentioned.

    • Chinese holiday island to unlock Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for foreign visitors

      The provincial government said also that it expects to hire 50,000 English-speaking foreign workers – many from the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries – and buy 2,000 minutes of advertising time a year on international networks, including the BBC, CNN and CNBC, according to a lengthy three-year action plan published online and reported by state media.

      The proposals come two months after Chinese President Xi Jinping announced his plans to transform the island province, known for its palm-fringed beaches and dubbed by some as China’s Hawaii, into a free-trade port by 2020.

    • Trump admin tightens media access for federal scientists: report
    • Algeria is shutting down the internet to foil exam cheats

      So this year the country has gone several steps further. Mobile phone signal jammers (illegal in the UK) and CCTV cameras (definitely not illegal in the UK) have also been added in places where exam papers are printed.

    • Algeria shuts down internet to prevent cheating during high school exams

      The whole nation of Algeria went offline on Wednesday for the start of high school exams, the first in a series of internet blackouts to stop the possibility of students cheating.

      Mobile and fixed internet connections were cut across the country for a total of two hours, to coincide with the start of two school tests.

    • Supposed ‘Free Speech’ Warrior Jordan Peterson Sues University Because Silly Professor Said Some Mean Things About Him

      I have to admit that until earlier this year, I’d never heard of Jordan Peterson. I first heard about him when he was on Russ Robert’s Econtalk podcast, and it was sort of a weird discussion to go into blind, without any knowledge of Peterson. That’s because throughout the podcast I found him to be extremely defensive, as if he was constantly under attack and had to parry away an onslaught of criticism. Other than that, I thought he had a few interesting ideas, mixed in with some nutty ideas. Soon after, I suddenly seemed to be hearing about him everywhere. In the last two months, the NY Times did a giant profile on him (in which he does not come off very well). He then played a major role in another bizarre and silly profile of what has been dubbed the “Intellectual Dark Web” — a network of hilariously self-important people who seem to think they’re oppressed for having thoughts out of the mainstream… even though the NY Times article goes on to describe how they all (with Peterson leading the pack) have massive followings, pack stadiums, sell insane numbers of books, and make crazy amounts of money from crowdfunding.

      A core piece of that NY Times editor Bari Weiss article was the ill-supported claim that “free speech is under siege” and that these members of the “Intellectual Dark Web” were the renegades being shunned for speaking the truth that no one wanted to hear. To me, it seemed more like they were a bunch of self-important semi-hucksters who lots and lots of people were listening to, but who some people have criticized — and they take that to mean that free speech is under attack. The more I read and watched about Peterson in particular, the more frustrating everything around him became. He certainly spews a lot of pseudo-intellectual nonsense, but so do many of the people who are angry at him. Many of the critiques of Peterson are, at best, sloppy and inaccurate. And Peterson has perfected playing the obtuse victim.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The Supreme Court Scores a Win for Privacy

      Today, in a 5-to-4 vote, the Supreme Court held that the government must get a warrant to obtain records of where someone’s cell phone has been. This might seem obvious, but it wasn’t obvious to the four Supreme Court Justices who voted against today’s decision. And, it wasn’t obvious to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, whose opinion claimed that people cannot expect the general location of their cell phones to remain private because they must know cell phone companies have this data.

    • How AI and Deep Learning are Driving Mobile App Personalization

      With new technological advancements occurring almost constantly, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to many that artificial intelligence and deep learning have found their way into our mobile apps. So, what does this mean for our app experience?

    • Cell signal: What high court ruling may mean for future of digital privacy

      The US Supreme Court ended the week with a decision that updates privacy protections for the digital age. In a 5-to-4 decision the justices ruled in favor of Timothy Carpenter, the robber who argued that using location data from his cellphone providers to pinpoint his whereabouts and convict him violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The ruling, called “narrow” by the court, will afford more protections to citizens. But it may also create confusion in lower courts and in law enforcement, legal observers say. Officials now have to sort out what kinds of information individuals give to third parties merit constitutional protection, and what kinds don’t. Before today’s decision, that determination was clearer. “It’s a gigantic decision for Fourth Amendment jurisprudence,” says Christopher Slobogin, director of the Criminal Justice Program at Vanderbilt Law School. “It is in large part a result of the court’s realization that technology is changing the relationship between the government and its citizens.”

    • Bill Could Give Californians Unprecedented Control Over Data

      Introduced by State Assembly member Ed Chau and state senator Robert Hertzberg, the bill would allow California residents to find out what information businesses and data brokers collect about them, where that information comes from, and how it’s shared. It would give people the power to ask for their data to be deleted and to order businesses to stop selling their personal information. It places limits on selling data on users younger than 16 years of age, and prohibits businesses from denying service to users for exercising their rights under the bill.

    • Supreme Court cracks down on government snooping through cellphone location records

      The Supreme Court ruled Friday that the government cannot monitor people’s movements for weeks or months by tracking the location of their mobile phones without a warrant.

      In a ruling that could have broad implications for privacy rights in the digital age, justices on both sides of the ideological spectrum said rapid advances in technology make decades-old rules on data privacy inadequate.

    • Supreme Court Says Warrants Are Needed For Cell Site Location Info

      The Supreme Court — in a narrow decision (both in scope and votes) — has restored a little more of the Fourth Amendment. The long-awaited decision [PDF] in the Carpenter case has been released and the Supreme Court finds, in a 5-4 decision, that cell site location info (CSLI) is technically a third-party record but worthy of the Fourth Amendment’s protection.

      The defendant challenged the government’s warrantless acquisition of 127 days of CSLI, arguing that the constant location records generated (without proactive assistance from phone users) by cell providers raised enough of a privacy issue the Fourth Amendment was implicated. Somewhat surprisingly — given the long history of expansive readings of the Third Party Doctrine — the Supreme Court agrees.

    • Victory! Supreme Court Says Fourth Amendment Applies to Cell Phone Tracking

      The Supreme Court handed down a landmark opinion today in Carpenter v. United States, ruling 5-4 that the Fourth Amendment protects cell phone location information. In an opinion by Justice Roberts, the Court recognized that location information, collected by cell providers like Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon, creates a “detailed chronicle of a person’s physical presence compiled every day, every moment over years.” As a result, police must now get a warrant before obtaining this data.

      This is a major victory. Cell phones are essential to modern life, but the way that cell phones operate—by constantly connecting to cell towers to exchange data—makes it possible for cell providers to collect information on everywhere that each phone—and by extension, each phone’s owner—has been for years in the past. As the Court noted, not only does access to this kind of information allow the government to achieve “near perfect surveillance, as if it had attached an ankle monitor to the phone’s user,” but, because phone companies collect it for every device, the “police need not even know in advance whether they want to follow a particular individual, or when.”

      For years, the government has argued that the sensitive nature of this data doesn’t matter; the mere fact that it’s collected by phone companies makes it automatically devoid of constitutional protection.

      This argument is based on an outdated legal principle called the “Third Party Doctrine,” which was developed by the Supreme Court in two main cases from the 1970s involving records of phone calls and bank transactions. Courts around the country had long been deeply divided on whether the Third Party Doctrine should apply to cell phone location information or whether the invasiveness of the tracking it enables should require a more privacy-protective rule.

    • Illinois Declines to Adopt Proposed Arbitrary Drone Surveillance of Protests

      Observers often forget that surveillance offends not only privacy, but also the right to dissent. A recently defeated Illinois bill illustrates how First and Fourth Amendment rights intersect, by proposing to undermine the right to dissent not obliquely, but rather directly. That’s why EFF joined the successful fight to defeat this spying proposal.

      The proposal, promoted by the City of Chicago, was embodied in SB 2562 and its companion bill, HB 4405. Theywould have authorized police to use surveillance drones to monitor peaceful protests without first securing a judicial warrant. Had the measure been adopted, it would have permitted police to use facial recognition technology to identify individual demonstrators photographed by drones even absent any suspicion of wrongdoing.

      The defeated proposal would have rolled back a well-received state law passed in 2013 that led the country in protecting dissent from drone surveillance, and which enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support. Illinois’ 2013 law sharply limits law enforcement from using drones, generally requiring agencies to first obtain a judicial warrant based on probable cause to suspect that a crime has been committed.

    • Police officer caught making over 16,000 privacy violations in police registers; charged with electronic trespassing

      While infuriating just on its own, this is far more serious than a random government employee browsing a random privileged citizen database. This is a police officer whose job it is to be the last line of defense in society against these very types of civil rights violations taking place.

    • ACLU is petitioning Amazon to stop selling its surveillance tools to The Man

      A petition explains that “Amazon has entered the surveillance business, and they’re selling to the government” and has already garnered 60,000 signatures online with more coming from other civil liberties organisations.

      “Amazon’s product, Rekognition, has the power to identify people in real time, in photos of large groups of people, and in crowded events and public places,” it goes on.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Jogger who accidentally crossed U.S. border from B.C. detained for 2 weeks

      Cedella Roman, 19, didn’t know it at the time, but as she ran southeast along the beach on the evening of May 21, she crossed a municipal boundary — and, shortly after, an international border.

      As the tide started to come in, she veered up and onto a dirt path before stopping to take a photo of the picturesque setting.

      She turned around to head back — and that’s when she was apprehended by two U.S. Border Patrol officers.

    • Uber Operator Was Watching ‘The Voice’ Before Self-Driving Crash

      A 318-page report filed by the Tempe Police Department refutes driver Rafaela Vasquez’s previous statement to federal safety investigators that she wasn’t using her mobile devices when the car struck and killed a woman who was crossing the street at night.

      Police were able to obtain records of Vasquez’s account from the television streaming service Hulu LLC, which showed she’d streamed the talent show for 42 minutes on the night of the March 18 crash. Her stream ended at 9:59 p.m., around the same time Elaine Herzberg, 49, was hit by the Uber, which was in self-driving mode, the report said.

    • Uber safety driver was watching TV moments before fatal collision

      A police report says that the crash, which killed pedestrian Elaine Herzberg, was ‘entirely avoidable’ if driver 49-year-old Rafaela Vasquez had been paying attention.

      Vasquez was instead looking at her phone, glancing up 0.5 seconds before the collision.

    • Airport laptop ban backfired, says global aviation trade association
    • The Tried-And-True Alternatives to Detaining Immigrant Families

      Trump’s order presents American with a false choice: Either tear children away from their parents, or jail entire families.

      With his hastily issued executive order on family separation on Wednesday, President Trump presented America with a false choice: If you don’t want me to tear infants from their mother’s arms, I’ll just put entire families in jail.

      Specifically, Trump directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to keep families in custody “during the pendency of any criminal improper entry or immigration proceedings involving their members.” He also directed the Department of Defense and all other federal agencies to let DHS use their facilities so that family jail space can be expanded as quickly as possible.

      Trump’s plan is inhumane and wrong. The American Academy of Pediatrics and other child-welfare experts have found that jailing children and parents can severely damage their physical and mental health, even irreversibly. When President Obama expanded family detention in 2014, his actions were met with swift condemnation from immigrants rights, civil rights, and criminal reform organizations, including the ACLU. A federal court put the brakes on that expansion, applying a longstanding rule that prohibits the detention of children in substandard facilities and favors their release.

      Rather than jailing families who are in deportation proceedings, the government should release anyone who is not a flight risk, or whose flight risk can be mitigated by an alternative to detention. Such alternatives are designed to ensure court appearance and compliance with any final court orders, but they do even more — they allow families to live outside prison walls while their case moves through the system. That allows them to more easily find an attorney and prepare their defense — and non-detained immigrants with legal representation are far more likely to win legal relief. It also means that parents can raise their own children as normally as possible, limiting the long-term trauma to the family.

    • Border Spy Tech Shouldn’t Be a Requirement for a Path to Citizenship

      The Border Security and Immigration Reform Act (H.R. 6136), introduced before Congress last week, would offer immigrants a new path to citizenship in exchange for increased high tech government surveillance of citizens and immigrants alike. The bill calls for increased DNA and other biometric screening, updated automatic license plate readers, and expanded social media snooping. It also asks for 24 hours-a-day, five-days-a-week drone surveillance along the southern U.S. border.

      This bill would give the U.S. Department of Homeland Security broad authority to spy on millions of individuals who live and work as far as 100 miles away from a U.S. border. It would enforce invasive biometric scans on innocent travelers, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.

    • Jared Kushner’s Grandmother Bemoaned the “Closed Doors” That Faced Refugees to America

      Way before Jared Kushner became internationally famous by moving into the White House to work for his father-in-law Donald Trump, those of us who live in New Jersey knew the family was an amazing story of immigrant success.

      Jared Kushner’s paternal grandparents, Holocaust survivors Joseph and Rae Kushner, came to the United States in 1949 as impoverished Eastern European refugees and begat a family whose office buildings, apartment complexes and philanthropic efforts are important parts of the business and social landscapes in New Jersey and elsewhere.

      Yes, there are scandals and feuds besetting parts of the family, and Jared’s father Charles racked up some prison time. But the family’s rise from refugees to titans is an example of what can happen when people are admitted into this country, work hard and prosper.

      I got curious about the Kushner history after Jared invoked his immigrant forbears in his recent speech at the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. “I keep a photo of them on my desk” in the White House, he said.

      As a grandson of Jewish Eastern European immigrants myself — my late father and Kushner’s late grandmother even had the same birth name, Slonimsky, but spelled it differently — I was impressed that Kushner remembers his roots and discusses his origins publicly.

      But I wondered how — or if — Kushner could reconcile his father-in-law’s “keep ’em out” immigration philosophy with the story of his paternal grandparents, who spent 3 1/2 years in a displaced persons camp in Italy before being admitted to the U.S. In a 1982 interview given by the late Rae Kushner to a Holocaust research center, Jared’s grandmother talks about how wrong she felt it was for the U.S. to let people like her and her husband languish in displaced persons camps for years awaiting permission to enter the country.

    • Netflix PR chief fired for repeatedly using the n-word
    • Netflix Fires PR Chief After Use of N-Word in Meeting (Exclusive)

      Friedland, a former Disney executive, first joined Netflix in February 2011 as vp global corporate communications, and was promoted to the top comms role the following year. A replacement for Friedland has yet to be named.

    • U.S. Navy plans immigrant internment camps to detain tens of thousands in CA, AL, AZ

      An internal document shows the U.S. Navy has developed a plan to construct ‘austere’ tent cities capable of holding tens of thousands of immigration detainees on remote bases in California, Alabama and Arizona.

      The Navy planning doc obtained by TIME says two sites in California could house up to 47,000 immigrants each, two sites in Alabama could host 25,000.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Silos, Centralization And Censorship: Losing The Promise Of The Internet

      It’s a good question, and one that I’ve been thinking a lot about in the past few years. I think it’s an overreaction to blame the concept of “the cloud.” Indeed, the idea of moving information onto the internet, rather than buried on local machines has some massive benefits, including the ability to access the information and services from any device, as well as being able to (sometimes) connect various services together and accomplish much more.

      The real problem to me — and one I’ve spoken about going back many years — is that today’s “cloud” is not the “cloud” we should want. It’s become a series of silos. Silos owned by large companies. But there’s no reason it needs to remain that way. There is simply no reason that we can’t build a “cloud” in which end users retain full control over their data. They may allow third party services to access and interact with that data, but it’s bizarre how the vision of the “cloud” has turned into a world where it basically just means Google, Microsoft, IBM, Rackspace, whoever else, hosting all your data and retaining all of the control to it, including the control to take it down and make it disappear.

    • California net neutrality bill gutted as lawmakers cave to AT&T lobbyists

      A California net neutrality bill that could have been the strictest such law in the country was dramatically scaled back yesterday after state lawmakers caved to demands from AT&T and cable lobbyists.

  • DRM

    • Nintendo Switch Piracy is “Unstoppable” – Until People Go Online

      Earlier this year Team-Xecuter, a hacking group with a long history of defeating console security, announced a new defeat for Nintendo Switch. The “future-proof” route to both homebrew code and mass piracy excited the masses but the reality on the ground will be a little less colorful. According to hacker SciresM, Nintendo has deployed a system which can detect people playing pirate games online and ban their consoles forever.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • US Supreme Court allows award of foreign lost profits patent damages

      WesternGeco v Ion Geophysical opinion finds the focus of section 271(f) is domestic infringement, and the fact that the remedy – lost profits damages – may apply abroad is “incidental”, in a decision observers say creates the opportunity to seek much larger damages awards

    • Intellectual Property Protection and Financial Markets: Patenting vs. Secrecy

      We argue stronger patent protection encourages firms to rely less on secrecy to protect intellectual property, thereby enhancing transparency and reducing equity-financing frictions. We first show disclosure of patent information causally improves stock liquidity. A legislative change (AIPA), that accelerated disclosure of most patent applications (18-months after filing), enhances stock liquidity for firms with longer patent processing times. We then test our hypothesis by exploiting implementation of an international trade agreement (TRIPS) that strengthened patent protection. Firms, especially exporters to TRIPS-compliant countries, exhibit an increase in patenting, stock liquidity and equity financing, with less negative market response to equity-financing announcements.

    • Will US Trade Wars Create a Rocky Road for International Patent Rights

      The statement is interesting on many levels — including the ongoing role of intellectual property as an aspect of any trade dispute. In the same way that countries can raise tariffs on foreign goods, they can also shift the treatment of foreign patent applicants by raising costs or by setting quotas. While the US has long been a champion of lowering international barriers to patenting, it has also long been a champion of free trade. For a trade battle, these tools are likely all on the table and so we may see rocky times ahead for the international patent system.

    • Another kind of Italian beauty contest: Kiko v Wycon

      The Court of Appeal of Milan decided in April this year on a design case which is quite special in its own right in that this was a case where it had to be decided whether there was an infringement of a concept store design.

    • Qualcomm, France Brevets and IP Europe join forces to create a new funding initiative for European SMEs [Ed: The patent trolls’ lobby is helping a PR campaign/whitewashing of patent trolls (trying to paint themselves as pro-SMEs)]

      A new financing and advisory mechanism to help innovative European SMEs secure high-quality patents and build effective portfolios will be rolled out across Europe in 2019, it was revealed today. The creation of Patent Factory Europe (PFE) was announced at the IP Europe Annual SME Summit, taking place in Brussels. It will be run by IP Europe and French sovereign fund France Brevets, with additional funding being provided by Qualcomm.

    • YP Jou and Spangenberg unite in new strategic alliance aiming to shake-up IP services

      Two leaders in the IP monetisation world, YP Jou, the man responsible for monetising large part s of the Hon Hai-Foxconn patent portfolio and Erich Spangenberg, best known as the founder of IPNav, have announced a strategic alliance between two of their companies in a move which reflects the current dynamic nature of the IP services market and the extent to which that market is being transformed by new technology. The pair have announced an agreement between InQuartik, an analytics business which Jou founded, and IPwe, Spangenberg’s business designed to bring the power of the blockchain to the patent market.

    • Bizarre Amazon Patent Application Suggests Jellyfish-Like Drones for Warehouses

      Amazon is on a mission to mechanize as much of its supply chain as possible, and has—through publicly available documents—considered autonomous vehicles, drones that react to screaming, and flying warehouses. Among the strangest is a patent application which became public today, and it’s, uh, some sort of crane game jellyfish thing.

      First filed nearly three years ago, “Collaborative Unmanned Aerial Vehicle For an Inventory System” would be composed of a “buoyant airbag,” several propellors for lift and directional movement, and a “retention feature,” otherwise known as a big ol’ claw. Some illustrations even show these bubble bots joining together vertically to (one assumes) handle increased payload weight.

    • Marshall Gerstein Secures Victory for PopSockets at the International Trade Commission

      Marshall Gerstein secured a significant victory for its client PopSockets LLC at the United States International Trade Commission (ITC), which last Thursday issued a general exclusion order that empowers United States Customs and Border Protection to seize all imported products that infringe PopSockets’ U.S. Patent.

    • Take a look at what could be the future of Samsung’s Galaxy phones

      Could this patent from Samsung give us a glimpse of a future Galaxy phone? It’s certainly possible, and if so, then it doesn’t look like the company is about the embrace the screen notch, as the front of this mystery device is taken up by almost the entire display. The patent, which was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on June 19, shows an unnamed mobile device with a futuristic design; but not just because it has a big screen on the front — It looks like it has a second screen on the back too.

    • IP policy reform needs to start at Canada’s universities [Ed: Universities are funded by tuition fees and tax for research. They should not pursue patents at all.]

      Concerns about Canadian intellectual property moving offshore raise a broader and more important issue about made-in-Canada IP. Across the country, universities have no common or baseline intellectual-property policy; each institution has developed its own approach based on its own worldview. These variations in IP policy have resulted in a wide range of outcomes in industrial collaboration and the financial terms relating to patent use. In the worst cases, IP policies have turned potential industrial partners away from collaborating with universities.

    • Copyrights

      • Root-causing regulatory failure

        While the putative targets of much of this bad legislation are US new-wave corporations — especially Google and Facebook — the actual victims are repeatedly the Europeans who are our best hope of countering this US corporate power; citizen-innovators. Far from gutting Google’s guns and foiling Facebook’s finagling, the new rules — notably GDPR and now the new copyright rules — give them and their peers unintended power over European innovators.

      • Cloudflare Settles Dangerous Piracy Liability Lawsuit

        Cloudflare has settled its piracy liability lawsuit with adult publisher ALS Scan. The case in question was scheduled to go to trial with the CDN provider standing accused of contributory copyright infringement. Details of the settlement agreement have not been made public, but Cloudflare must be happy to move on.

      • EU Parliament Committee Adopts Piracy ‘Upload Filter’ Proposal

        The EU’s plans to modernize copyright law in Europe are moving ahead. The Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliament (JURI) just adopted several proposals, including the controversial “upload filters.” Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda is disappointed but notes that the fight is not over yet.

      • EU votes for copyright law that would make internet a ‘tool for control’

        The MEPs voted narrowly for the provision, despite warnings from some of the biggest names in the internet, and civil liberties campaigners, that the law would damage freedom of expression, while entrenching the power of the biggest companies and loading costs on to European startups.

        The plans still have to be agreed with representatives from the EU’s 28 governments before becoming law, but the vote reduces the chances of serious changes.

      • Proposed EU Copyright Law Could Cause Problems For Fan Content In Games

        “Not only would [companies] be jointly liable with the user, but they may be the only person you could find,” author and activist Cory Doctorow told Kotaku via phone. Doctorow is a special advisor to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization dedicated to “defending civil liberties in the digital world.” “Even if you can find the user, the odds are that a company would have much deeper pockets than the users so the majority of the damages would land with them and not with the person who created the copyrighted material.”

      • These MEPs voted to restrict the internet in Europe today – but we’re not giving up

        This is an unacceptable outcome that I will challenge in the next plenary session, asking all 750 MEPs to vote on whether to accept the Committee’s result or open it up for debate in that larger forum, which would then give us a final chance to make changes.

        This vote will likely happen on July 4. Let’s make this the independence day of the internet, the day we #SaveYourInternet from censorship machines and a link tax. Are you in?

      • Artist Files Completely Frivolous Copyright Lawsuit Against The NRA For Briefly Showing Public Sculpture In Stupid Video

        I apologize in advance, but this story is full of frivolous annoying things. Unfortunately, they are frivolous annoying things that hit at the very core intersection of stuff we talk about here on Techdirt: copyright and free expression. Last year, the NRA pushed out a truly ridiculous advertising video, referred to as “The Clenched Fist of Truth” or “The Violence of Lies.” It was a stupid video from a stupid organization which served no purpose other than to upset people who hate the NRA. Trolling as advertising. It generated some level of pointless outrage and people went on with their lives. I’m not linking to the video because I don’t need to give it any more attention and if you really want to see it, you know how to use the internet.

        Now, let’s move on to Anish Kapoor, a British sculptor who is also annoying. In the early 2000s, he made a silly sculpture for Chicago’s Millenium Park that people from Chicago (and elsewhere) tend to love to mock. It’s called The Bean. I mean, officially, it’s called “Cloud Gate,” but no one calls it that. Even Kapoor now now calls it the Bean.

        However, copyright disputes over the Bean go way back. Back in 2005 there was an article about security guards evicting photographers for taking pictures of the popular tourist selfie photo opp, because the city said it had to enforce the copyright of the artist. No, really. They said that. There’s been a long, and somewhat ridiculous, debate about the copyright on public sculptures. Many of us believe — with pretty damn good justification, I’d say — that if you agree to a commission from a public entity, in which you are creating a sculpture for the government, you should also give up your copyright with it. Barring that, any and all photography of that sculpture in a public place should simply be declared fair use. Unfortunately, courts have disagreed with this — which is unfortunate.

      • iISP: Piracy “Extortion Letters” Benefit ‘Greedy’ Companies, Not Poor Artists

        Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof is continuing its crusade against copyright holders that target alleged file-sharers. The company has published an article which shows that these copyright cases have little to do with the Government’s intention of protecting individual copyright holders with limited financial means.

      • TVAddons Founder “Resigns” to Ensure Kodi Addon Platform’s Longevity

        Under siege, third-party Kodi addon platform, has announced the resignation of its founder. Adam Lackman, who is being targeted by Canada’s leading telecoms companies in a copyright infringement battle, says he will give up admin rights and access to sensitive information, in order to preserve the longevity of the TVAddons platform. TF spoke with the Canadian to find out more.

      • YouTube now lets you pay $4.99 per month to support your favorite creators [Update]

        Channel Memberships is a rebrand of Subscriptions, a feature that had been tested out by select creators for a while. Channel Memberships allow viewers to pay $4.99 per month to support each of their favorite creators. In return, those members get special badges and emoji, members-only posts in the Community tab, and unique perks offered by creators themselves such as exclusive livestreams, extra videos, and more. Not all creators can make use of Channel Memberships—only those with over 100,000 subscribers can.

Somewhat Underwhelming Reception for US Patent Number 10,000,000 (Which Actually Isn’t)

Posted in America, Patents at 8:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Writing a check for one million bucks

Summary: While US patent number 10,000,000 did, in fact, get issued (several days ago) there are un-ignorable reminders that a lot more patents exist and the high number says more about neglected quality than actual, objective success

THERE has been plenty of discussion lately about patent quality at the EPO, but how about the USPTO? We are trying to be optimistic and assume positive intentions; it looks like whatever Iancu’s views are (to be revisited later this weekend), it’s down for US courts to determine patent scope.

“The USPTO actively participates in this hype.”As we noted some days ago, media of patent lawyers (or connected to them) glorifies the number of US patents irrespective of their relatively low quality. Days ago these reached 10 million in number. So what? As Tom Cowan put it on Twitter some time ago: “How symbolic would it be if patent 10M is cancelled in an IPR? I think that would make ⁦ @IP_Hulk⁩ mad!! https://10millionpatents.uspto.gov/”

Notice the (sub)domain name? The USPTO actively participates in this hype. As if it’s all about quantity rather than quality. A lot of patents not yet revoked in IPRs just hang in there pretty much worthless, as the patent assignees know they’d lose their patents if taken to court. In other words, not many people with patents actually believe in their patents’ validity anymore. They probably don’t want to find out that these are bunk and prefer for them to just reach the expiration day ‘safely’ (without challenge).

“Technically speaking, patent 10,000,000 isn’t the ten millionth patent, or even the ten millionth utility patent.”
      –Josh Landau (CCIA)
Media of the patent microcosm participated in the hype over “10 million”. Renae Reints did in in Fortune and CNN disseminated similar nonsense [1, 2], calling these patents “trophies”. CNN Wire was then conflating patents with innovation in a special feature. But we didn’t actually find much media coverage other than that, except in niche blogs.

Josh Landau (CCIA) said: “Technically speaking, patent 10,000,000 isn’t the ten millionth patent, or even the ten millionth utility patent. There are around 700,000 design patents…”

“There aren’t that many real inventions, it’s just a system gone awry.”Dennis Crouch was making a big deal over a number, having lobbied for patent maximalism for ages. And prior to that he wrote: “Some readers will notice that no patents issued yet today, Tuesday June 19, 2018. Do not worry though, the PTO has delayed the issuance until 9:00 am EST so that the release of U.S. Patent No. 10,000,000 can be done while the masses are awake.”

Did these people actually party or something? Curiously enough, even patent extremists such as Watchtroll did not post anything about it. We expected a lot more hype, as people started mentioning this so-called ‘milestone’ several months ago as though it was the approaching Second Coming.

Donald Zuhn wrote “USPTO Issues U.S. Patent No. 10,000,000,” but so what? There aren’t that many real inventions, it’s just a system gone awry. See what Professor Bessen wrote the other day. The patent ‘industry’ has abducted the patent system, which now needs to reform or otherwise reboot. For crying out loud, they’re patenting thoughts and life/nature nowadays. We shall cover that separately.

The United States’ Supreme Court Takes the Side of Patent Maximalists, for a Change

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 2:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Does not quite fit the bogus narrative, touted by the patent extremists, who accuse the court of being “anti-patent”

WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp.

Summary: WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp. reaches its conclusion; while it has zero effect on patent scope, it does serve to show that the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) isn’t inherently biased against patents in general

WHILE we’re generally not particularly interested in the outcome of the WesternGeco case (WesternGeco v Ion), it’s still useful to observe because it can shed light on the Justices’ views on patents. We’re mostly interested in cases that pertain to patent scope (this directly affects USPTO guidelines), not so-called ‘damages’.

“The only upside we see here is that it weakens or shatters any illusions about SCOTUS being biased or lacking credibility.”We first saw Jason Rantanen’s fast response to it. Watchtroll wrote a couple of ‘articles’ about this outcome, amplifying himself and the other patent extremists (i.e. the usual recipe).

The EFF’s Daniel Nazer called it a “disappointing opinion,” as the court ended up ruling for patent maximalism, for a change.

To quote:

The Supreme Court issued a disappointing opinion [PDF] today holding that a company could recover patent damages for lost profits overseas. The court’s reasoning could make overseas damages available in many patent cases. This will disadvantage companies that do research and development in the United States. When patent law discourages domestic innovation, it achieves the opposite of its intended purpose.

The case, called WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp., involved a patent on a method of conducting marine seismic surveys. ION exported components that, when combined, were used to infringe the patent overseas. Under Section 271(f) of the Patent Act, exporting components of a patented invention for assembly abroad is considered infringement. WesternGeco received damages for the U.S. sales of the components. The court considered whether WesternGeco could also receive damages for lost profits for the use of the invention overseas.

Andrew Chung at Reuters covered it as follows:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that companies can recover profits lost because of the unauthorized use of their patented technology abroad in a victory for Schlumberger NV, the world’s largest oilfield services provider.

[...]

Internet-based companies and others had expressed concern that extending patent damages beyond national borders would expose U.S. high-technology firms to greater patent-related risks abroad.

The only upside we see here is that it weakens or shatters any illusions about SCOTUS being biased or lacking credibility. Sites like Watchtroll will no doubt continue to smear Justices whenever they narrow patent scope. Later this weekend we’ll say a lot more about the number of US patents exceeding 10 million and Alice turning four.

Mainstream Media in Germany Covers Battistelli’s Corruption at the EPO Just as He Leaves

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Corruption” isn’t a word many people use anymore, simply for fear of SLAPP (not because evidence is insufficient)

Wirtschaftswoche

Summary: Mainstream German media writes about Battistelli’s scandals that nobody seems eager or wishes to discuss, let alone bring up; law-centric German media covers the now-famous open letter from German law firms (Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald, and Vossius & Partner)

IN ONLY about a week António Campinos becomes the new President of the EPO. He was quoted again in the media (in English for a change) just before the weekend in relation to his job as the EU-IPO’s chief.

“Belatedly, mainstream media in Germany covers not only Battistelli’s passage of EPO money to his other employer but also the financial scandals (potential corruption as well) — a subject that we dedicated about half a dozen long posts to.”Campinos will never hold Battistelli accountable for anything (he’s indebted to him), but will others hold Battistelli accountable? We certainly hope so.

If nobody associated with the Office (EPO) can do anything to Battistelli because of his immunity (we’re not legal professionals, but it’s possible that his immunity — at least for what he did as President — extends beyond his term), then someone in Paris can perhaps do something because Battistelli has been doing some profoundly dodgy things; he and his political allies may benefit from it (financially and more), but there are opposition parties still; we wrote about a dozen articles about this issue alone, only to see the corporate media totally ignoring it. Well… until now. Belatedly, mainstream media1 in Germany covers not only Battistelli’s passage of EPO money to his other employer but also the financial scandals (potential corruption as well) — a subject that we dedicated about half a dozen long posts to. As an insider put it yesterday:

There is an article in today’s edition of Wirtschaftswoche about the EPO, discussing the scandalous investment guidelines and that President Battistelli celebrated the inventor of the year in Saint Germain, in a theatre he manages privately.

Our Munich and Berlin readers may want to get their own copy.

The technical harm of what Battistelli has done, as Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald, and Vossius & Partner recently explained in an open letter, was covered by German media, quoting Dr. Thorsten Bausch, who wrote a great deal about Battistelli’s financial ‘instrumentation’. Yesterday SUEPO’s translation [PDF] was published and we’ve produced an analogous HTML version of it below:

Open letter: Patent attorneys see quality problems at the EPO

Four patent attorney firms are becoming concerned about the quality of the issue of patents by the European Patent Office (EPO), prompting them to send an open letter addressed to current President Benoît Battistelli and his designated successor António Campinos. The letter originates from attorneys at Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald, and Vossius & Partner. The accusation that the efficiency strategy adopted by the Office is leading to poorer quality patents has been voiced for a long time. Now the attorneys are demanding action.

Other recipients of the letter are the Chair of the EPO Administrative Council Dr. Christoph Ernst and EPO Quality Management Director Niclas Morey.

The four authors of the letter are among the largest patent attorney firms in Europe. By their own estimations, they are behind more than 9,500 of the 166,000 applications made annually to the EPO. Their clients include many of the big international names in the pharmaceutical and mobile communications industries, but overall the four firms cover a very broad technical spectrum indeed.

“For a number of years we have been viewing with growing concern the developments at the European Patent Office,” the attorneys write. In their view, the new incentive scheme for the examination of patent applications in particular, as well as the internal instructions issued, appear to reward a rapid conclusion to examination procedures, leading to higher productivity at the Office.

The number of patent applications rose over the past year by 3.9 percent to around 166,000. Hoffmann Eitle & Co. do indeed welcome the “increased average speed of the procedures”, but they also point out that the exaggerated drive towards higher productivity has led to problems with patent examinations, in particular to poorer quality with the procedures. They criticise the fact that the patent examiners have too little time for individual examinations, and that, set against this, the fees imposed by the Office are too high by international comparison.

They also express concern about the issue that this is leading to defective patents, and thereby to distortion of competition within the economic area of the 38 EPO states. As well as that, the proprietors could no longer enforce their patents in their full extent against competitors. And ultimately they fear dwindling attraction for the EPO among their clients, which in turn will have effects on the European patent system.

Indirectly, the four firms are calling for a reduction in the fees in the light of the surplus which the EPO achieves. Since the system is self-financing, there is no particular need for a further increase.

The attorneys recommend that the EPO management adopt a new incentive scheme for the patent examiners which will guarantee the quality of searches and examination, a reputation for which the EPO was well known before the most recent reforms.

So far, no reaction

The EPO has so far made no comment. At the 2017 annual balance sheet conference, Battistelli declared that the EPO had boosted productivity. As well as the internal reforms, the increased number of patent examiners, to just on 4,400, had contributed to this. A recently published assessment of his 10 years in office pointed out that production had risen by 36 percent in the last three years, with the number of patent decisions still outstanding down by 27 percent.

Sustained criticism

Over and over again in the past the criticism has been voiced from all quarters in the patent attorney sector, but also from industry in general, that the efficiency strategy of the Office has led to deterioration in quality. The Office and its representatives have always rejected this. “There have never been any demonstrable figures to support this”, the Chair of the EPO Administrative Council Dr. Christoph Ernst insisted in 2017 in an interview with JUVE.

In a non-representative survey by the JUVE editorial board at the beginning of the year, 59 percent of the patent experts from industry said they were satisfied with the quality of the issues of patents by the EP. 31 percent were not.

In the JUVE Patent Survey 2018, industry representatives also formulated specific demands for the new President Campinos. Around 21 percent want Campinos to ensure “more thorough searches instead of rapid issue procedures”. Conversely, only 6 percent favoured the fast application approach.

Although Battistelli is the first person addressed by the letter from the attorneys, the open letter is to be understood as aimed especially at Campinos and Administrative Council leader Ernst. Battistelli is going at the end of the month, after eight years at the Office. His period of power has led to some very mixed views by patent experts throughout Europe. On the one hand, the Frenchman has introduced a series of important reforms, which according to sources among EPO member states in particular have made the Office fit for the future. On the other, in the view of many patent experts from the patent attorney sector and industry in general, this has led to a decline in quality in the issue of patents, bitter disputes with some groups of staff members and with the main staff union, SUEPO, as well as serious encroachments on the independence of the EPO’s own courts. The Boards of Appeal have become largely detached from the Office over the past year, and now govern themselves, although their budget continues to be subject to the President of the Office.

Battistelli’s departure was not a determinant factor in the timing of the publication of the letter to the EPO management, according to one of the initiators, Dr. Thorsten Bausch of Hoffmann Eitle. The letter represents a broad consensus within the four firms. The signatories have been in contact with other firms, asking for their input. (Mathieu Klos)

Klos has been covering these matters for a very long time; to maintain ‘access’ to EPO officials (like Ernst or Battistelli) he was always quite gently worded, mincing his own words perhaps even when the blunt truth was right there. As for IP Kat? It covered none of these latest developments; that silence says all one needs to know about today’s IP Kat. It’s very different from the ‘old’ IP Kat — the one predating the departure of IP Kat‘s founder.

“Stakeholders now say openly what SUEPO has been saying and warning about for years.”What can possibly fix the EPO right now? “Save the EPO from destruction” had this idea yesterday, saying “it must be hoped that among the several priorities, President Campinos will want to redress the situation for ALL abusively sanctioned staff representatives (and among them many SUEPO Officials) since they were chased being opponents of Battistelli and sanctioned after extravagant procedures.

“How else do you want to send a positive signal to both EPO workforce (whose representative were attacked brutally) and the world (since the EPO reputation has a brutal employer is now spread around the globe).

“This would send a positive signal. Mr Campinos has to act – and be seen to act – to restore Social Dialogue AND the Rule of Law…”

Don’t expect this to happen but it would be nice (and just) if it did happen. Stakeholders now say openly what SUEPO has been saying and warning about for years.
_______
1 “In the period of 2001-2002 Wirtschaftswoche had a circulation of 187,000 copies,” Wikipedia says. “For the first quarter of 2005 the circulation of the magazine was 183,156 copies, making it the best-selling weekly business publication in Germany.”

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