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08.20.18

Links 20/8/2018: Flatpak’s 1.0 Milestone, New GIMP, New Chinese Distro Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 5:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • First time with Linux: 30 installation tales

      The Linux kernel turns another year older on Saturday, August 25. Twenty-six years ago it may have felt to the creator and BDFL Linus Torvalds that Linux would only amount to satisfying the needs of one. But today we know it has changed the lives of many.

      To celebrate, thirty of our readers share what their first Linux distro and installation was like. Some of their stories are magical, some maniacal. And, it’s no surprise that the tension and passion of these Linux lovers is palpable.

  • Kernel Space

    • RISC-V’s Linux Kernel Support Is Getting Into Good Shape, Userspace Starting To Work

      The RISC-V open-source processor ISA support within the mainline kernel is getting into good shape, just a few releases after this new architecture port was originally added to the Linux Git tree.

      The RISC-V code for Linux 4.19 includes the ISA-mandated timers and first-level interrupt controllers, which are needed to actually get user-space up and running. Besides the RISC-V first-level interrupt controller, Linux 4.19 also adds support for SiFive’s platform-level interrupt controller that interfaces with the actual devices.

    • A Hearty Batch Of KVM Updates Land In Linux 4.19

      There is a lot of new feature work for the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) within the Linux 4.19 kernel.

    • Icelake LPSS, ChromeOS EC CEC Driver On Way To Linux 4.19 Kernel

      The Linux “multi-function device” code updates were sent in overnight for the 4.19 kernel merge window with a few interesting additions.

      Worth pointing out in the MFD subsystem for the Linux 4.19 kernel includes:

      - The ChromeOS EC CEC driver being added. Google’s embedded controller for ChromeOS devices is able to expose an HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) bus for interacting with HDMI-connected devices for controlling them via supported commands. The Linux kernel’s HDMI CEC support has got into shape the past few kernel cycles and now the ChromeOS EC support can expose its HDMI CEC abilities with this new driver.

    • Testing and Fuzzing Microconference Accepted into 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Testing, fuzzing, and other diagnostics have greatly increased the robustness of the Linux ecosystem, but embarrassing bugs still escape to end users. Furthermore, a million-year bug would happen several tens of times per day across Linux’s installed base (said to number more than 20 billion), so the best we can possibly do is hardly good enough.

    • Latest Linux 4.19 Code Merge Introduces ChromeOS EC CEC Drivers and Cirrus Logic Detection

      Some interesting code updates were just recently put into the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window regarding “multi-function device” capabilities – mostly, this includes several new drivers and driver support, but perhaps most interesting is the ChromeOS EC CEC driver being added.

      Google’s embedded controller for ChromeOS has been able to expose an HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) bus for interacting with HDMI-connected devices, which in turn is able to control them via supported commands. So now Linux kernel’s HDMI CEC support has been improved over the past few kernel cycles until now, which means that the ChromeOS EC support will be able to expose the HDMI CEC abilities utilizing the new driver added in this merge window.

    • Linux 4.19 Had A Very Exciting First Week Of New Features

      The Linux 4.19 kernel merge window opened one week ago and there’s been a lot of new features and improvements to be merged during this front-half of the merge period. If you are behind on your Phoronix reading, here’s a look at the highlights for week one.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Hyperledger could open source your business using blockchain

        Hyperledger is the umbrella body for ten open source blockchain projects, all of which are cross-industry. So far, that is. Ledger Insights spoke to Hyperledger Executive Director, Brian Behlendorf, and explored the likelihood of industry-specific open source blockchains. Open source could significantly impact the governance of industry consortia and increase the pace of innovation.

        For the health sector, there’s potential for an open source Electronic Health Record project. For supply chain it could be a provenance ledger for diamonds or luxury goods. Or a blockchain for bills of lading. In the case of insurance perhaps a policy ledger.

    • Benchmarks

      • A Look At The Windows vs. Linux Scaling Performance Up To 64 Threads With The AMD 2990WX

        This past week we looked at the Windows 10 vs. Linux performance for AMD’s just-launched Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX and given the interest from that then ran some Windows Server benchmarks to see if the performance of this 64-thread CPU would be more competitive to Linux. From those Windows vs. Linux tests there has been much speculation that the performance disparity is due to Windows scheduler being less optimized for high core/thread count processors and its NUMA awareness being less vetted than the Linux kernel. For getting a better idea, here are benchmarks of Windows Server 2019 preview versus Ubuntu Linux when testing varying thread/core counts for the AMD Threadripper 2990WX.

        Toggled via the BIOS was SMT as well as various CCX configurations and each step of the way comparing the Windows Server 2019 Build 17733 performance to that of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with the Linux 4.18 kernel in various multi-threaded benchmarks supported under both operating systems.

      • The Performance Hit For A Xeon-Backed Ubuntu Linux VM With L1TF / Foreshadow Patches

        Last week L1 Terminal Fault (a.k.a. L1TF and Foreshadow) was made public as the latest set of speculative execution vulnerabilities affecting Intel processors. This Meltdown-like issue was met by same-day Linux kernel patches for mitigating the problem and does introduce another performance penalty but in this case is at least only limited to virtual machines. Last week I posted some initial L1TF-mitigated KVM-based VM benchmark results using a Core i7 CPU but the results for sharing today are using a much more powerful dual Xeon server.

        For getting a better idea of the performance impact of mitigating L1TF/Foreshadow vulnerabilities I tested the Ubuntu patched kernel in a variety of configurations. First was the unmitigated Ubuntu 18.04 kernel, then Ubuntu 18.04 with the default out-of-the-box mitigation on the host and guest kernels, then having the host booted with the kernel parameter to force an L1D cache flush on every VMENTER rather than the default behavior of the conditional flushing, and then again when booting with l1tf=full for the full mitigation, which in the process also disables SMT/HT support.

      • A Fresh Look At The NVIDIA vs. Radeon Linux Performance & Perf-Per-Watt For August 2018

        With NVIDIA expected to announce the Turing-based GeForce RTX 2080 series today as part of their Gamescom press conference, here is a fresh look at the current NVIDIA Linux OpenGL/Vulkan performance with several Pascal graphics cards compared to AMD Polaris and Vega offerings. Additionally, with these latest Linux drivers, the current look at the performance-per-Watt.

        It will be interesting to learn more about the GeForce RTX 2080 series in a short time, which will surely deliver significantly better performance and power efficiency improvements over the GeForce GTX 1000 “Pascal” hardware. But for a current look at how those cards are running under Linux, this morning are benchmarks for the GeForce GTX 1060, GTX 1070 Ti, GTX 1080, and GTX 1080 Ti while using the latest NVIDIA 396.51 graphics driver. For the competition on the AMD side was the Radeon RX Vega 64 and RX 580 (the GTX 1060 / RX 580 included in this article for a more mature look at the Linux driver support, namely for the AMDGPU+RADV/RadeonSI side). The Radeon tests were done with the latest Linux 4.18 AMDGPU DRM state and using Mesa 18.3-dev from the Oibaf PPA as of 19 August.

      • Linux vs. Windows Benchmark: Threadripper 2990WX vs. Core i9-7980XE Tested

        The last chess benchmark we’re going to look at is Crafty and again we’re measuring performance in nodes per second. Interestingly, the Core i9-7980XE wins out here and saw the biggest performance uplift when moving to Linux, a 5% performance increase was seen opposed to just 3% for the 2990WX and this made the Intel CPU 12% faster overall.

      • Which is faster, rsync or rdiff-backup?

        As our data grows (and some filesystems balloon to over 800GBs, with many small files) we have started seeing our night time backups continue through the morning, causing serious disk i/o problems as our users wake up and regular usage rises.

        For years we have implemented a conservative backup policy – each server runs the backup twice: once via rdiff-backup to the onsite server with 10 days of increments kept. A second is an rsync to our offsite backup servers for disaster recovery.

        Simple, I thought. I will change the rdiff-backup to the onsite server to use the ultra fast and simple rsync. Then, I’ll use borgbackup to create an incremental backup from the onsite backup server to our off site backup servers. Piece of cake. And with each server only running one backup instead of two, they should complete in record time.

        Except, some how the rsync backup to the onsite backup server was taking almost as long as the original rdiff-backup to the onsite server and rsync backup to the offsite server combined. What? I thought nothing was faster than the awesome simplicity of rsync, especially compared to the ancient python-based rdiff-backup, which hasn’t had an upstream release since 2009.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KStars v2.9.8 released

        KStars 2.9.8 is released for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. It is a hotfix release that contains bug fixes and stability improvements over the last release.

      • KDE Itinerary – How did we get here?

        At Akademy I’ve presented the current state of KDE Itinerary. Due to popular demand and since 25 minutes aren’t a whole lot of time I’ll try to write a few posts on this subject here too, beginning with how this all started.

        When travelling regularly you probably have come across or are using the digital travel assistant features found on Android or iOS, or dedicated services for this like TripIt. Getting a unified itinerary rather than digging through ad-infested HTML emails for your departure gate, having a single place to look for your boarding pass rather than two dozen vendor apps and getting up to date information about changes to your trip are all very useful and convenient.

        Most of this is available “for free”, that is you pay with your data rather than your money. In the extreme case (Google), you have those providers reading your entire email in order to extract your travel information.

      • Plasma 5.13.4, Applications 18.08.0 and Frameworks 5.49 by KDE now available to all Chakra users

        On your next system upgrade you will receive all the latest versions of KDE’s Plasma, Applications and Frameworks, in addition to the usual package updates. There is a new series 18.08 out for for Applications, with improvements aimed at making your usability and productivity better, in addition to adding new features.

        For more details and the full changelogs on KDE’s software releases, you can read the official announcements:

        Plasma 5.13.4
        Applications 18.08.0
        Frameworks 5.49.0

      • Chakra GNU/Linux Users Can Now Install KDE Plasma 5.13.4, KDE Applications 18.08

        Users of the Chakra GNU/Linux operating system can now install the latest KDE software, including KDE Plasma 5.13.4, KDE Applications 18.08, and KDE Frameworks 5.49 from the main repositories.

        In early July 2018, Chakra GNU/Linux users have got their taste of the latest KDE Plasma 5.13 desktop environment, but now they can update their installations to the recently released KDE Plasma 5.13.4 point release, which brings more than 45 bug fixes and improvements.

      • Kate/KTextEditor Picks Up Many Improvements To Enhance KDE Text Editing

        Even with KDE’s annual Akademy conference happening this past week in Vienna, KDE development has been going strong especially on the usability front. The Kate text editor and the KTextEditor component within KDE Frameworks 5 have been the largest benefactors of recent improvements.

        This KDE text editing code now has support for disabling syntax highlighting entirely if preferred. When using syntax highlighting, there have been many KTextEditor enhancements to improve the experience as well as improvements to the highlighting for a variety of languages from JavaScript to YAML to AppArmor files.

      • Kate projects and out-of-source builds

        During Akademy I once more was a bit disappointed how bad the project plugin of Kate can cope with out-of-source builds.

        At work, we use in-source-builds, as we normally only build in one configuration and have no issues with left-overs in the source directories locally. For this use-case, the project plugin works really well. You have your project local terminal view and that allows you all normal things you need during work, e.g. building + using the git command line client for the version control work.

        On the other side, with out-of-source builds, that no longer is that nice to use. Either you use the .kateproject generated by the “Kate – Ninja” or “Kate – Unix Makefiles” CMake generators, then your terminal defaults to the build directory, which allows building just fine, but no version control stuff, or you use the .kateproject (or auto-project creation) in the source directory, which doesn’t allow you to build nicely inside the terminal prompt of Kate. There are workaround for that, like having shell magic to switch between source and build directory with ease, but that all feels a bit unnatural.

        Therefore, I added today a very simple “fix” for the issue: If you have a .kateproject that has a different base directory (the toplevel “directory” entry) than the directory the .kateproject file is located in, you will get two terminal tabs in the project view.

      • Post Akademy

        So, it has been a busy week of Qt and KDE hacking in the beautiful city of Vienna.
        Besides getting quite some of the Viennese staple food, schnitzel, it was an interesting adventure of getting smarter.

      • My First Akademy!

        That day I also attended Plasma Mycroft BoF, in which Aditya told us about various new development and gave us High-Level Overview about working of Mycroft and also How can we make it easier for developers to make Mycroft skills!

      • Akademy retrospective

        I had an amazing time with the KDE community in Vienna this past week at Akademy. In fact it was my first Akademy despite contributing to KDE for so long, but Vienna was a great reason to make my first trip to Europe.

        [...]

        I led a BoF on this topic for kdesrc-build and participated in a few others as well. There’s a lot out there that we can do to improve our story here, in kdesrc-build and elsewhere, and I’m hopeful we can accomplish real improvement here over the next year. But it was also nice to see and hear a lot of the positive feedback our developers had about kdesrc-build.

      • Akademy 2018

        The time for Akademy came this year as well, this year it was in the gorgeous Vienna, Austria.
        This year marks my 10th Akademy in a row, starting from my first one in Belgium in 2008.
        Talks have been awesome as usual, but what’s always awesome for me year by year is all the face to face conversation with so much diverse and smart people in out awesome KDE community.

      • Notes on the Akademy 2018

        This year I attended to my fourth Akademy, the annual KDE summit. The conference is always a good place to meet old and new KDE people. This year we had a lot of new faces showing up there, which is very good because new people might mean new ideas coming, more hands to work on KDE projects, and more mouths to spread our message From Brazil we had three new contributors attending for the first time, Lays, Caio and Eliakin, from a total of eight Brazilians who participated this year. I think we can count with Tomaz and Helio although they are living in Germany

      • Interview with Margarita Gadrat

        Nothing that really annoys me. Krita is awesome and complete software! Maybe a couple of little things, but I don’t really use them. Like text tool, which is now getting better and better. And I’d like to be able to move the selection form not while selecting, but after it is selected.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Customing time and date formats in the GNOME top bar

        Do you want another time and date format in the GNOME top bar than what is set in your default locale? The Clock Override extension for GNOME gives you full control of what and how time and data information is display in the top bar.

        The GNOME Shell for Linux doesn’t provide a lot of customization options out of the box. GNOME really don’t believe that anyone would ever want to customize their beautiful desktop shell. They’ve taken their design-by-omitting-customization paradigm so far that they’ve even left out the ability to customize the date and time format. Fortunately, the GNOME Shell is quite extensible and users always do find a way to change things the way that they want them.

      • Face detection and recognition in shotwell

        After dabbling a bit with OpenFace, I wanted to add similar face detection and recognition abilities to a typical Linux desktop photo app. So I discovered Shotwell, which is a photo manager for Gnome. Shotwell had a partial implementation of face detection (no recognition) which was under a build define and not enabled in the releases. With that code as the starting point, I started integrating the ideas from OpenFace into Shotwell.

      • Shobha Tyagi: GNOME.Asia Summit 2018

        GNOME.Asia Summit 2018 was co-hosted with COSCUP 2018 and openSUSE.Asia Summit in Taipei, Taiwan 11-12 August 2018.

      • Umang Jain: GNOME Asia 2018, Taipei

        I am very pleased to attend to GNOME Asia(again!) that took place at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei this year. Its always great to see GNOME folks around, hanging out and have a social side of things. GNOME Asia was co-hosted with OpenSUSE Asia summit and COSCUP.

        [...]

        We had a GNOME BoF to address couple of issues around conferences: Mostly around standardization of conference organization, budget, effect of local team presence at potential conference venues etc.

      • GNOME Shell & Mutter Get Tidied Up Ahead Of Next Month’s GNOME 3.30

        They didn’t make it out in time for last week’s GNOME 3.29.91 release but updates to Mutter and GNOME Shell are now available in their near-final state ahead of the upcoming GNOME 3.30 desktop update.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • YunoHost 3.0.0.1

        At this point I have only set up YunoHost, created a few user accounts and installed a handful of applications. While I may play with it further, my main focus going into this trial was how well the framework of the distribution functions. That is: is it easy to install, how hard is it for new users to add services and accounts, and is it straight forward to keep the system up to date? Basically, I wanted to know whether I could give this distribution to someone who wanted to set up home-based network services for the first time and expect them to be able to use it. Based on my experiences so far with YunoHost, my answer is: probably.

        The distribution does make it pretty easy to create user accounts and install web-based services. In fact, YunoHost does this quite well. The admin panel is very streamlined, uncluttered and easy to navigate and getting something like a game of Hextris or a media streaming service installed is about as easy as a few mouse clicks. Managing the firewall, monitoring the system and creating backups are nearly as easy. The administrator still needs to figure out how to get backup archives off the disk to another location for safe keeping, but the bulk of the work in backing up and restoring the operating system is done for us.

        Where I feel the distribution runs into trouble is mostly little details, and a few general concepts. For example, asking the user to create an “admin” password but leaving the root password as the default is both likely to confuse people and leave a permanent security hole on the servers of most inexperienced hobbyist administrators. On the topic of accounts, it makes sense, from a security standpoint, to separate web accounts from system accounts. But, this means there may be some confusion as to why, once an account has been created, it cannot log into the system. Little concepts like this may throw new users and I don’t feel these issues are well addressed by the documentation.

        The first time through, the system installer failed during the partitioning section. It worked the second time though with the same settings, so I’m not sure if this is a semi-persistent bug or a one-time error with my system.

        On the whole, YunoHost performs well. It’s light on resources, it offers a lot of common network services home administrators will probably want and it is pretty easy to run and maintain. There are a few little wrinkles in the experience, but in general I found the distribution to be straight forward to use. For people looking to set up a home server, this is probably a good platform on which to build.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Kubernetes on Metal with OpenShift

        My first concert was in the mid-80s, when AC/DC came to the Providence Civic Center in Rhode Island, and it was glorious. Music fans who grew up in the 80s will fondly remember the birth of MTV, the emergence of the King of Pop and the heyday of rock-n-roll’s heavy metal gone mainstream era, when long hair and guitar riffs both flowed freely. So recently when Def Leppard joined Journey at Fenway Park in Boston for their 2018 joint tour, I knew I had to be there.

        Metal also dominated the datacenter in the 80s and 90s, as mainframes and minicomputers made way for bare-metal servers running enterprise applications on UNIX and, soon after, open source Linux operating systems powered by Red Hat. Just like heavy metal eventually made way for the angst-filled grunge rock era of the 90s, so too did application provisioning on bare metal make way for the era of virtualization driven by VMWare – with subsequent VM sprawl and costly ELAs creating much angst to this day for many IT organizations.

      • Security Technologies: Stack Smashing Protection (StackGuard)

        In our previous blog, we saw how arbitrary code execution resulting from stack-buffer overflows can be partly mitigated by marking segments of memory as non-executable, a technology known as Execshield. However stack-buffer overflow exploits can still effectively overwrite the function return address, which leads to several interesting exploitation techniques like ret2libc, ret2gets, and ret2plt. With all of these methods, the function return address is overwritten and attacker controlled code is executed when the program control transfers to overwritten address on the stack.

      • Keeping both of your OpenShift Container Platforms Highly Available with Keepalived and HAproxy

        Until Kubernetes Federation hits the prime time, a number of solutions have sprung up as stop gaps to address geographically dispersing multiple cluster endpoints: stretch clusters and multiple clusters across multiple datacenters. The following article discusses how to configure Keepalived for maximum uptime of HAproxy with multiple cluster endpoints. In the following documentation an HAproxy and Keepalived configuration will be discussed in detail to load balance to the cluster(s) endpoints.

        In a production environment a Global server load balancing (GSLB) or Global Traffic Manager (GTM) would be used to give a differing IP address based on the originating location of the request. This would help to ensure traffic from Virginia or New York would get the closest location to the originating request.

      • How to integrate A-MQ 6.3 on Red Hat JBoss EAP 7
      • The Open Brand Project | The helpful guy in the red hat.

        A big part of the Red Hat Open Brand Project has been looking back at our past and examining our roots. It is important that we imbue the new symbol with as much shared meaning from our history and culture as possible. To represent ourselves, we have to understand our origins.

        Before there was Shadowman, before there was a red fedora, before we were an enterprise technology company, and before we helped make open source a driving force of technology innovation, we had our name.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Release 1.0.0

          Flatpak 1.0 is the first version in a new stable release series. This
          new 1.x series is the successor to the 0.10.x series, which was first
          introduced in October 2017. 1.0 is the new standard Flatpak version,
          and distributions are recommended to update to it as soon as possible.

          The following release notes describe the major changes since
          0.10.0. For a complete overview of Flatpak, please see
          docs.flatpak.org.

        • Linux Application Sandboxing And Distribution Framework Flatpak Reaches Version 1.0 Stable

          Flatpak, the Linux application sandboxing and distribution framework, has reached version 1.0 stable. Compared to the previous stable series (0.10.x), the new version should have faster installation and updates, it allows marking applications as end-of-life, and it asks the user to confirm app permissions at install time, among other improvements.

          Flatpak is a software utility for software deployment, package management, and application virtualization for Linux. Applications built with Flatpak can run on almost any Linux distribution. Flatpak applications run in a sandbox environment in which the applications are isolated from the rest of the system, and require permission from the user to access the user’s files or access hardware devices.

        • Flatpak Linux App Sandboxing Hits 1.0 Milestone After Three Years in Development

          The Flatpak Linux application sandboxing and distribution framework, formerly XDG-App, used for building and distributing conternized apps on Linux desktops, has hit today the 1.0 milestone.

          After being in development for more than three years, the widely-used Flatpak Linux application sandboxing and distribution framework has finally reached the 1.0 version, which means that it’s mature enough to be deployed and used in production environments for distributing and running Linux apps.

          “Flatpak 1.0 is the first version in a new stable release series. This new 1.x series is the successor to the 0.10.x series, which was first introduced in October 2017. 1.0 is the new standard Flatpak version, and distributions are recommended to update to it as soon as possible,” said developer Alexander Larsson.

        • Flatpak 1.0 Released For Delivering The Best Linux App Sandboxing
        • Flatpak 1.0 released

          The 1.0 release of the Flatpak application distribution system is out. There are a number of performance improvements, the ability to mark applications as being at end-of-life, up-front confirmation of requested permissions, and more. “Apps can now request access the host SSH agent to securely access remote servers or Git repositories.”

        • Flatpak 1.0 Released with ‘Significant Improvements’
        • Decentralize common Fedora apps with Cjdns

          Are you worried about a few huge corporations controlling the web? Don’t like censorship on centralized social media sites like facebook and twitter? You need to decentralize! The internet was designed to be decentralized. Many common activities, from social media to email to voice calls, don’t actually require a centralized service.

          The basic requirement for any peer to peer application is that the peers be able to reach each other. This is impossible today for most people using IP4 behind NAT (as with most household routers). The IP4 address space was exhausted over a decade ago. Most people are in “IP4 NAT Jail.”

          Your device is assigned a private IP, and translated to the public IP by the router. Without port forwarding to a specific private IP, incoming TCP connections or UDP sessions can’t tell where to forward to, and are dropped. As a result, nothing can connect to your device. You must connect to various public servers to do anything. IP4 NAT Jail forces centralization.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Latest Deepin Linux Release Promises to Consume Less Memory Than Ubuntu, Windows

          Coming just two months after the Deepin 15.6 release that introduced new Light and Dark themes, Deepin 15.7 is now available with a focus on performance. It smaller ISO size by removing unnecessary components and optimizing the core system structure, better power optimization for laptops for up to 20 percent battery life, and improved memory usage.

          “Deepin 15.7 has made a series of adjustments and optimizations in memory usage. In the standard configuration, the boot memory has decreased from 1.1G to 830M, and reduced to less than 800M on a discrete graphics card,” wrote the devs in today’s announcement, where they compared the memory consumptions of Deepin 15.7, Deepin 15.6 and other operating systems on the same computer.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Daily Lives Now Ship with Yaru Theme by Default

            We’ve been waiting for this moment for a couple of weeks now and we’re proud to be the first to report that the Yaru theme developed by various members of the Ubuntu Linux community has now finally been enabled by default in the daily builds of the Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) operating system.

            Of course, we immediately took a screenshot tour of the Yaru theme on today’s Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) daily build so we can show you how great it looks. We think it’s a professional theme that matures Ubuntu to the next level, and it is definitely a step in the right direction for the look and feel of the Ubuntu Desktop.

          • Canonical Apologizes for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Linux Kernel Regression, Releases Fix

            The kernel security update addressed both the L1 Terminal Fault vulnerabilities, as well as two other security flaws (CVE-2018-5390 and CVE-2018-5391) discovered by Juha-Matti Tilli in Linux kernel’s TCP and IP implementations, which could allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service.

            Unfortunately, on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) systems, users reported that the mitigations also introduced a regression in the Linux kernel packages, which could cause kernel panics for some users that booted the OS in certain desktop environments.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Daily Builds Ship with New Default Theme

            Ubuntu has a striking new look in the latest daily builds of Ubuntu 18.10 ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’. The community created Yaru GTK theme and the Suru icon theme are now part of the default image and set as the default GTK and GNOME Shell theme. Unexpected? In shock?

          • Flavours and Variants

            • What’s New in Ubuntu Kylin 18.04 LTS

              Ubuntu Kylin 18.04 LTS is the latest version of Ubuntu Kylin. As part of Ubuntu 18.04 Flavor, this release ships with UKUI desktop environment 1.0 series. Linux kernel has been updated to 4.15. Besides, all the special software and the jointly developed software are updated to the new version, including Kylin Assistant, Ubuntu Kylin Software Center, Kylin Video, Youker Weather, Sougou Pinyin and WPS Office. Especially, Electronic Wechat and Burner have been added to the default normal install for better user experience in work and entertainment.

              WPS Office is a suite of software which is made up of three primary components: WPS Writer, WPS Presentation, and WPS Spreadsheet. Ubuntu Kylin team is working with Kingsoft Corp to continue providing WPS for Ubuntu Kylin users for free. Foxit reader is based on the Foxit for Linux and designed for Chinese user to be simple during installation. It provides a way to view, create and sign PDF files, and add annotations to them.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Keeping patient data safe with open source tools

    Healthcare is experiencing a revolution. In a tightly regulated and ancient industry, the use of free and open source software make it uniquely positioned to see a great deal of progress.

    I work at a scrappy healthcare startup where cost savings are a top priority. Our primary challenge is how to safely and efficiently manage personally identifying information (PII), like names, addresses, insurance information, etc., and personal health information (PHI), like the reason for a recent clinical visit, under the regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, HIPAA, which became mandatory in the United States in 2003.

  • Why Salesforce is open sourcing the AI technology behind Einstein

    Branded TransmogrifAI, the AutoML library is less than 10 lines of Scala code written on top of Apache Spark, and can be used by developers looking to train machine learning models to predict customer behaviour without having to use a large data set for training.

  • What Does “Ethical” AI Mean for Open Source?

    It would be an understatement to say that artificial intelligence (AI) is much in the news these days. It’s widely viewed as likely to usher in the next big step-change in computing, but a recent interesting development in the field has particular implications for open source. It concerns the rise of “ethical” AI.

    In October 2016, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs and, in the UK, the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee, all released reports on how to prepare for the future of AI, with ethical issues being an important component of those reports. At the beginning of last year, the Asilomar AI Principles were published, followed by the Montreal Declaration for a Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence, announced in November 2017.

    Abstract discussions of what ethical AI might or should mean became very real in March 2018. It was revealed then that Google had won a share of the contract for the Pentagon’s Project Maven, which uses artificial intelligence to interpret huge quantities of video images collected by aerial drones in order to improve the targeting of subsequent drone strikes. When this became known, it caused a firestorm at Google. Thousands of people there signed an internal petition addressed to the company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, asking him to cancel the project. Hundreds of researchers and academics sent an open letter supporting them, and some Google employees resigned in protest.

  • Haiku: R1/beta1 release plans – at last

    At last, R1/beta1 is nearly upon us. As I’ve already explained on the mailing list, only two non-“task” issues remain in the beta1 milestone, and I have prototype solutions for both. The buildbot and other major services have been rehabilitated and will need only minor tweaking to handle the new branch, and mmlr has been massaging the HaikuPorter buildmaster so that it, too, can handle the new branch, though that work is not quite finished yet.

  • Haiku OS R1 Beta Is Finally Happening In September

    It’s been five years since the last Haiku OS alpha release for their inaugural “R1″ release but next month it looks like this first beta will be released, sixteen years after this BeOS-inspired open-source operating system started development.

  • IBM Scores More POWER Open-Source Performance Optimizations

    Following our POWER9 Linux benchmarks earlier this year, IBM POWER engineers have continued exploring various areas for optimization within the interesting open-source workloads tested. Another batch of optimizations are pending for various projects.

  • Events

    • DevConf.in 2018

      Earlier this month, I attended DevConf.in 2018 conference in Bengaluru, KA, India. It was sort of culmination of a cohesive team play that began for me at DevConf.cz 2018 in Brno, CZ. I say sort of because the team is already gearing up for DevConf.in 2019.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla files arguments against the FCC – latest step in fight to save net neutrality

        Today, Mozilla is filing our brief in Mozilla v. FCC – alongside other companies, trade groups, states, and organizations – to defend net neutrality rules against the FCC’s rollback that went into effect early this year. For the first time in the history of the public internet, the FCC has disavowed interest and authority to protect users from ISPs, who have both the incentives and means to interfere with how we access online content.

        We are proud to be a leader in the fight for net neutrality both through our legal challenge in Mozilla v. FCC and through our deep work in education and advocacy for an open, equal, accessible internet. Users need to know that their access to the internet is not being blocked, throttled, or discriminated against. That means that the FCC needs to accept statutory responsibility in protecting those user rights — a responsibility that every previous FCC has supported until now. That’s why we’re suing to stop them from abdicating their regulatory role in protecting the qualities that have made the internet the most important communications platform in history.

        This case is about your rights to access content and services online without your ISP blocking, throttling, or discriminating against your favorite services. Unfortunately, the FCC made this a political issue and followed party-lines rather than protecting your right to an open internet in the US. Our brief highlights how this decision is just completely flawed…

      • Using Brotli compression to reduce CDN costs

        The Snippets Service allows Mozilla to communicate with Firefox users directly by placing a snippet of text and an image on their new tab page. Snippets share exciting news from the Mozilla World, useful tips and tricks based on user activity and sometimes jokes.

        To achieve personalized, activity based messaging in a privacy respecting and efficient manner, the service creates a Bundle of Snippets per locale. Bundles are HTML documents that contain all Snippets targeted to a group of users, including their Style-Sheets, images, metadata and the JS decision engine.

        The Bundle is transferred to the client where the locally executed decision engine selects a snippet to display. A carefully designed system with multiple levels of caching takes care of the delivery. One layer of caching is a CloudFront CDN.

      • Working around the extension popout-tab refusing to close on Firefox for Android

        How do you close an web extension popout-winndow (the small window that appears when you click on on extension’s toolbar button)? On the desktop, all you need is a simple window.close(). Because of the limited available screen space Firefox on Android have popout-tabs instead of popout-windows. Users can dismiss these tabs by pressing the back button, closing them manually, or switching to another tab. However, they’re deceptively difficult to close pragmatically.

        This article was last verified for Firefox 61, and applies to Firefox for Android versions 57 and newer.

        It’s common for web extension popout-windows to close themselves after the user has completed an action in them. While many web extensions work on Firefox for Android, users often have to manually close the popout-tabs on their own.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • The Unitary Fund: a no-strings attached grant program for Open Source quantum computing

      Quantum computing has the potential to be a revolutionary technology. From the first applications in cryptography and database search to more modern quantum applications across simulation, optimization, and machine learning. This promise has led industrial, government, and academic efforts in quantum computing to grow globally. Posted jobs in the field have grown 6 fold in the last two years. Quantum computing hardware and platforms, designed by startups and tech giants alike, continue to improve. Now there are new opportunities to discover how to best program and use these new machines. As I wrote last year: the first quantum computers will need smart software.

      Quantum computing also remains a place where small teams and open research projects can make a big difference. The open nature is important as Open Source software has the lowest barriers for others to understand, share and build upon existing projects. In a new field that needs to grow, this rapid sharing and development is especially important. I’ve experienced this myself through leading the Open Source Forest project at Rigetti Computing and also by watching the growing ecosystem of open projects like QISKit, OpenFermion, ProjectQ, Strawberry Fields, XaCC, Cirq, and many others. The hackathons and community efforts from around the world are inspiring.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • rfoaas 2.0.0: Updated and extended

      FOAAS upstream recently went to release 2.0.0, so here we are catching up bringing you all the new accessors from FOAAS 2.0.0: bag(), equity(), fts(), ing(), particular(), ridiculous(), and shit(). We also added off_with() which was missing previously. Documentation and tests were updated. The screenshot shows an example of the new functions.

    • Introduction to writing pipelines-as-code and implementing DevOps with Jenkins 2

      One of the key ideas of DevOps is infrastructure-as-code—having the infrastructure for your delivery/deployment pipeline expressed in code—just as the products that flow it.

    • Intel’s Beignet OpenCL Driver Updated To Work With LLVM 6/7

      Intel stopped developing their Beignet open-source Linux OpenCL driver in February to concentrate all efforts now around their new Intel OpenCL NEO platform. But commits landed today with a few improvements for those still using Beignet.

      Independent contributor to the Beignet OpenCL stack Rebecca Palmer submitted a number of patches recently that were added to mainline Beignet, the first commits to this OpenCL library since early February.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • Apple iPad’s Battery ‘Almost’ Explodes, Injures 3 Employees At Apple Store

      As reported by iCulture, an iPad battery almost exploded at Apple’s Amsterdam Store and injured three employees due to harmful fumes released into the air. This is one of a kind incident as we haven’t heard any news of an explosion in iPad’s battery in the past. However, there have been several similar incidents involving iPhones.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Sweden: Dozens of cars set on fire in one night

      Around 80 cars were set on fire and a further 40 vandalized in the city of Gothenburg in western Sweden on Monday night, according to Hans Lippens, police spokesman for the country’s western region.

      It is not unusual for such attacks to take place in Sweden in the week before schools reopen after the summer holiday [...]

    • More Than 80 Cars Burned by Youths in Southern Sweden Overnight

      More than 80 cars were set ablaze in cities across southwestern Sweden overnight as groups of masked youths threw stones and started fires in what may have been a coordinated action.

    • Up to 80 cars set on fire by ‘youths’ in Sweden in night of mayhem

      A police spokesperson also told TT : “We know from experience that these kinds of fires more often happen the week before schools start than other weeks.”

    • US-based embassy officers to be quizzed over CIA letter leak

      Several officers based at the Malaysian Embassy in Washington will be called up in the investigation into the leaked letter to the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency, says the Inspector-General of Police.

      Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said so far, police had recorded the statements of several persons of interest, including Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid, the former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) chief.

      “We will wait for the officers based in Washington to return and we will record their statements.

      “The investigation involves the leaked letter and other relevant police reports on the matter,” he told reporters after attending the Bukit Aman monthly assembly yesterday.

      It was reported that on July 31, the veracity of the letter was confirmed by Hasanah’s lawyer Datuk Shahar­udin Ali, who said that this fell under the Official Secrets Act.

    • Russia says downed 45 drones aimed at Syria base
    • Russia: Drone attacks on Syria base increasing

      Russian air defense assets in Syria have downed 45 drones targeting their main base in the country, its military said Thursday, after an attack by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militant group on a Syrian Army base a day earlier killed seven troops.

      The Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said that five of them were shot down in the last three days near the Hemeimeem Air Base. The base in the province of Latakia serves as the main hub for Russian operations in Syria.

    • Russia says drone attacks on its bases in Syria are increasing
    • US Benghazi Operator Accuses Brennan of ‘Putting His Politics Before’ CIA Team

      Although the former CIA director enjoyed a lot of support from his former colleagues in the intelligence community after US President Donald Trump stripped him of his security clearance, the news also caused a stir among a number of widely known special operations stars, who suggested Brennan deserved it and even got off cheap.

      “He is lucky the security clearance is all he is getting away with,” Kris “Tanto” Paronto, a former Army Ranger and private security staffer who fought back during the 2012 Benghazi terror attack as part of the CIA team, told Fox News in an interview on Friday.

    • Brennan, CIA ‘Kool-Aid drinkers’ blasted by Benghazi terror survivor

      Benghazi terror attack survivor Kris Paronto made it clear this week that he won’t be defending former CIA director John Brennan anytime soon.

      The former Army Ranger and CIA contractor who lived to tell the tale of the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, said Mr. Brennan essentially got off easy when President Trump revoked his security clearance.

      Mr. Paronto lost his security clearance years ago for telling his account of the attack.

      Amb. Christopher Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty were killed during the siege on a CIA compound.

    • China’s Dismantling Of CIA Spy Ring Highlights Growing Dystopian-Like Surveillance State

      A new report has described how a catastrophic failure on the part of the Central Intelligence Agency, combined with the Chinese government’s steadily more sophisticated internet monitoring capabilities, led to the dramatic collapse of an American intelligence network in China and the executions of dozens of spies and their associates. The incident is just one example of how authorities in Beijing are overseeing the creation of an ever more effective police state, complete with technology and tactics straight out of a certain genre of near-future science fiction movie.

      Earlier in August 2018, Foreign Policy revealed how Chinese state security officials were able to completely dismantle a CIA-run intelligence operation over the course of two years, beginning in 2010. The New York Times first broke the news of the debacle in 2017, but its sources either did not disclose or did not know exactly what had happened or the true scale of China’s response. In May 2018, U.S. officials charged former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee with conspiracy to commit espionage over the affair, nearly five months after indicting him for retaining classified information.

    • Security News This Week: A Devastating Report on the CIA’s Deadly Mistakes in China

      There’s no such thing as summer vacation in security, and researchers started off this week by disclosing a problematic flaw in Intel processors that undermines the company’s so-called secure enclave offering, and potentially other capabilities like virtual machines. A different group of analysts realized that they could potentially take a power grid down by conscripting air conditioners, water heaters, and other devices into a botnet and coordinating a massive power draw. And yet another research team exposed risks in how developers manage app storage on Android. Plus, an analysis of five body camera models found that the devices are deeply insecure and vulnerable to an array of attacks, including the troubling potential for footage manipulation.

      Activists in Syria are establishing a sensor network to give civilians advanced warning about airstrikes, invisible mouse clicks (called “synthetic clicks”) could let malware onto macOS devices, and vulnerabilities in fax machines are putting lots of corporate networks at risk—even in 2018. Meanwhile, WIRED analyzed seven Fortnite imposter apps and found all the malware and general sketchy junk you’d expect, and researchers are developing methods for tracking and identifying hackers through behavioral patterns.

    • How the CIA’s China Miscalculation Cost 30 Lives

      They thought they were invincible. Starting in 2010 and lasting for two years, Chinese authorities dismantled the CIA’s network of assets in their country. Some sources fled, while others were given large sums of cash and left behind. But no one detained by Chinese intelligence survived. Now it’s thought that China was able to crack into the CIA’s online communication system. Agents in China have reportedly reverted to older methods of spycraft like meeting in person, with some intelligence experts wondering if internet-based systems can ever be counted on again.

    • A CIA double agent and bad software led to China executing as many as 30 American intelligence assets

      However, that significant breach of security does not account for everyone killed by the Chinese during the two-year span of time. Instead, it seems likely that Chinese intelligence officers used the network identified through the communications platform to identify working assets and agents, then followed them to identify others that were not a part of the system breach. It remains unclear how Chinese authorities gained access to the system, though it could potentially have happened in a number of ways.

      There’s a high likelihood a former CIA officer named Jerry Chun Shing Lee aided the Chinese in gaining access. He was indicted on espionage charges earlier this year after it was revealed that he had accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of payments from the Chinese government, however, the CIA’s use of a communications platform originally designed for operations in the Middle East shares some of the blame. As compared to China, the Middle East is not a heavily contested digital environment. China’s strict control over its own population, particularly in the digital sphere, makes the use of such a system a questionable decision at best.

    • A secure communications flub cost the CIA its Chinese network
    • REPORT: A Breach In The CIA’s Communications System Led To The Destruction Of Its Entire China Spy Network
    • CIA screwup may have allowed China to identify and execute dozens of US spies
    • The CIA falsely believed it was ‘invincible’ in China — here’s how its spies were reportedly discovered in one of the biggest blows to the agency
    • How CIA mistakes led to dozens of spies dead

      “It migrated to countries with sophisticated counterintelligence operations, like China,” an official said.

      “The attitude was that we’ve got this, we’re untouchable.”

      Intelligence officers and their sources were able to communicate with each other using ordinary laptops or desktop computers connected to the internet, marking a stark departure from some of the more traditional methods of covert communication.

      This “throwaway” encrypted program, which was assumed to be untraceable and separate from the CIA’s main communication line, was reportedly used for new spies as a safety measure in case they double-crossed the agency.

    • PKK chief hit in drone-backed operation

      A senior figure of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was killed in a joint operation by the Turkish military and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) backed by unmanned aerial vehicles in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar on Aug. 15.

      İsmail Özden—codenamed Mam “Uncle” Zaki Shingali—was reportedly responsible for the group’s activities in the Sinjar town and was also a member of the group’s so-called “executive council.” Özden was reported to have been in charge of the PKK’s illegal drug and arms trafficking in the region.

    • Religious Divisions Threaten to Further Inflame Ukrainian Civil War

      During the American Civil War, in which 620,000 people were slaughtered on the battlefields alone and hundreds of thousands more injured, the organization of the Roman Catholic Church in the American north and south remained united throughout the war and after.

      The same cannot be said for the four-year-old civil war in Ukraine, which has deepened existing divisions among Orthodox Christians in the country.

      Tensions are rising to the point that the Ukrainian government has been accused of suppressing the celebration of the 1030th anniversary of the coming of Christianity to ancient Rus, the proto-state of Eastern Slavs, which included the territories of modern Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. The government is being blamed for involvement in an effort to eliminate the original historic church of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), because of its affiliation with Russia and the word “Moscow” in its name.

      The UOC-MP currently includes more than 12,000 of about 18,000 parishes in Ukraine, and is headed by Ukrainian Metropolitan Onuphrius, under the higher spiritual authority of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus, seated in Moscow.

      On July 27, a solemn march celebrating the 1030th anniversary of the baptism of Rus by Prince Vladimir the Great of Kiev in 988 AD drew 250,000 faithful of the UOC-MP in Kiev despite the attempt to sabotage it by the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government of President Petro Poroshenko. According to numerous testimonies by UOC-MP’s priests, published in the Ukrainian press, transportation was cut off from outlying parishes and believers were intimidated.

    • MSM Finally Concedes Defeat On Yemen, Ceases Blackout Of Coverage

      Last month, an article by Fair.org went viral in republications by popular alternative media outlets ranging from Salon to Zero Hedge to Alternet to Truthdig, among many others. The article was initially titled “ACTION ALERT: It’s Been Over a Year Since MSNBC Has Mentioned US War in Yemen”, but many subsequent republications went with variations on the more attention-grabbing headline, “MSNBC has done 455 Stormy Daniels segments in the last year — but none on U.S. war in Yemen”.

      [...]

      Ever since the Saudi-led assault on Yemen began in March of 2015, alternative media outlets everywhere have been repeatedly and aggressively decrying the mainstream media in the US and UK for their spectacular failure to adequately and accurately cover the violence and humanitarian disaster with appropriate reporting on who is responsible for it. After the 2016 US election, journalist Michael Tracey wrote an essay documenting how throughout the entire year and a half that Americans were pummeled with updates from the mass media about candidates and their campaigns, not one single question about Yemen was ever asked by any mainstream outlet of any candidate.

      This is of course outrageous, but because of how media coverage works, mainstream attention was never drawn to the problem. It hasn’t been a total media blackout, but because it only turns up in mainstream media reports every once in a while with little if any emphasis being placed on who is behind the devastation, it occupies a very peripheral place in western consciousness. The average American would probably be able to tell you that some parts of their government appear to be concerned about Russia, Syria, Iran and North Korea, because those rival nations have been the subject of intense mass media coverage, but if you asked them about Yemen you’d likely be told something like “I think there’s some kind of humanitarian crisis there?”, if anything.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange pardon push going nowhere one year later

      A congressman who doubts that Russia hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 election has been unable to speak with President Trump despite a full year attempting to broker a pardon for WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange in exchange for information disproving Russian culpability.

      It’s unclear why exactly the White House has kept Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., at an arm’s length, and whether the decision is an example of uncharacteristic restraint by Trump or a result of interference by deputies fearing reputational or legal hazards.

      Rohrabacher told the Washington Examiner he believes that fear of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation has prevented the conversation from happening.

      “Assange assured me the Russian government was not responsible for the hacking and distribution of the DNC emails during the 2016 election. Assange told me he had hard evidence to prove that case, and there are highly qualified retired intelligence officers who back up his claim,” Rohrabacher said.

    • Over 4000 New MKUltra Documents Requested from CIA after Crowdfunding Campaign

      housands of new documents from Project MKUltra, the Central Intelligence Agency’s mid-century mind control program, will soon be released. The new records include 4,358 undisclosed pages regarding MKUltra’s “behavior modification” efforts.

      John Greenewald, founder of The Black Vault, a site specializing in declassified government records obtained via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, first uploaded MKUltra documents in 2004—tens of thousands of pages, spread over four CD-ROMs. The document index alone is 85 pages.

    • Internet Users Crowdfund Release of 4358 CIA MKUltra Documents

      John Greenewald of Black Vault, a website that publishes government documents, appealed to the internet for help after the agency refused to waive the $425 fee it was demanding to release the documents. Greenewald, who has been filing FOIA requests for two decades, had previously published files on MKUltra, a program best known for dosing individuals with drugs like LSD to research mind control. The program was shut down, and the documents were reportedly destroyed in 1973 at the order of then-director Richard Helms, but some were eventually released.

    • CIA releases President Truman’s first daily intelligence briefings
    • The Lies at the Heart of the Mueller Indictments: Framing Assange

      In the prologue of this series, we saw the breathtaking scope of Mueller’s dishonesty regarding the behavior and motives of one of them: the mysterious “Guccifer 2.0” (G2), who emerged online to take credit for the now-infamous Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee’s servers just one day after the Washington Post broke the story with the headline: “Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Forest fires threaten Asian Games as hotspots flare up in Sumatra

      Authorities in South Sumatra province detected 198 fire hotspots across the province in July, most of them in districts with a long history forest fires. These include the districts of Ogan Komering Ilir and Ogan Ilir, both close to the provincial capital, Palembang, which is co-hosting this year’s Asian Games. Tens of thousands of athletes, officials and visitors from 45 countries are expected to attend the Games, which Jakarta is also co-hosting.

    • Florida Is Having a 10-Month Streak of Toxic Red Tide

      Red tides occur across the globe and are caused by a variety of algal species. The microorganism behind Florida’s outbreak is Karenia brevis, a marine dinoflagellate that releases brevetoxins, neurotoxic compounds that can be lethal to wildlife and cause neurological, respiratory, and gastrointestinal problems in humans. This year’s blooms have left hundreds of animals, including fish, turtles, and manatees, dead on the state’s shores.

      The outbreak shows no signs of abating anytime soon. “We’re entering into what’s typically the bloom season,” says Marc Suddleson, the program manager for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA) Harmful Algal Blooms Program. “[So] it’s possible that conditions will favor [its] persistence throughout the end of the summer into early fall.”

    • DNC reverses ban on fossil fuel donations

      The Democratic National Committee (DNC) overwhelmingly passed a resolution on Friday evening saying it welcomes donations from fossil fuel industry workers and “employers’ political action committees.”

      Critics of the newly passed resolution are calling it a reversal of the DNC’s recently adopted ban on accepting donations from fossil fuel companies’ political organizations.

    • Native Tribes Are Taking Fire Control Into Their Own Hands

      Usually, if a prescribed burn gets out of control, it’s due to inexperience. But among the Karuk, Yurok, and Hupa, fire knowledge is deep—and now that laws are changing, that knowledge can finally be applied. Preston attends a yearly managed-fire training program, TREX, in her small hometown of Orleans. The two-week program attracts about 80 to 100 participants, who learn to spray water, create fire buffers, and determine safe temperature and wind conditions for managed fires. At the end, the teams conduct a prescribed burn on a few hundred acres of forest. Trained youth teach their new skills to their parents, filling in generational gaps where traditions were lost (federal policies separated Karuk children from their families for “re-education” in the early 1900s).

    • Standing Rock: Tribes await court ruling due August 10

      This baneful jurist will be deciding whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers adequately considered the detrimental effects on the Standing Rock Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes of the approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

    • Out of spotlight, tribes keep fighting Dakota pipeline

      Native American tribes that tried to block the Dakota Access oil pipeline during a months-long standoff with authorities in North Dakota more than a year ago are carrying on their fight in federal court, in what they contend is a symbol of their ongoing struggle for tribal sovereignty.

    • Examined: Indigenous Resistance To Major Oil Pipelines

      Last month, TransCanada told the Cheyenne River Sioux and several other First Nations in a letter that the company is preparing to place machinery along the pipeline’s route for a 2019 construction start date.

    • The Latest Pipeline Battle Is Ramping Up in New York

      It’s understandable, then, that New Yorkers are not looking kindly upon a new fracked-gas pipeline that’s proposed to snake its way mere miles from the same areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy. Banding together in a coalition of environmental groups and local communities, they are now organizing to prevent the construction of the Northeast Supply Enhancement pipeline.

    • Abandoned baby orangutan rescued after it was found crying alone in bushes

      A baby orangutan – whose mother is presumed dead – has been rescued by heroic locals after being found weeping alone in the jungle.

      A plantation worker called Rahman found the adorable ape crying in the bushes and reported the discovery to his manager.

      Thinking the baby’s mother would return to retrieve him, they left him where he was but when they went back the next day they were upset to discover he was still in the same place, all alone.

      A team from International Animal Rescue (IAR) and members of the Natural Resources Conservation Centre (BKSDA) in West Borneo travelled to the oil palm plantation in Tanjung Pasar Village in Ketapang District where Rahman and his co-workers were waiting to hand the baby over.

    • Watchdog closes probe into alleged censorship of Park Service climate report

      The Interior Department’s internal watchdog said it closed its investigation into alleged censorship of a National Park Service (NPS) report because it was released without edits.

      Reveal reported in April that Trump administration officials had removed mentions of climate change from a draft report examining the impact to NPS sites from sea-level rise and storm surges.

      That prompted Interior’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to investigate, after five House Democrats, led by House Natural Resources Committee ranking member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), asked for the probe.

    • IG halts climate censorship investigation

      The Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General has dropped its investigation into allegations that the National Park Service censored a climate change report.

  • Finance

    • Amazon’s India Chief Takes Stand Against Work Email After 6 p.m.

      Psychologists, sleep laboratories and fertility clinics have raised concerns about the mental and physical toll wrought by the frenetic work schedule. Insomnia, depression and suicidal tendencies are rampant symptoms, said Dr. S. Kalyanasundaram, a well-known psychiatrist who sees many technology workers in his thriving south Bangalore practice. “These days I see many 25- and 28-year-olds suffering heart attacks, something I haven’t seen in my four decades in this field,” he said.

      The doctor said all of his Saturday appointments are reserved for tech workers and often booked months in advance.

    • Turkey shaken by financial fears, Trump rattles it further

      On Thursday, Erdogan said “If they have their dollar, we have the people, we have Allah.”

    • What a campaign to revive Russia’s urban spaces means for civil society
    • Who Profits From Our Prison System?

      The prison economy rests on an opaque, often unaccountable economic infrastructure, with its own private-equity financiers, holding companies, and multinational executives. Since the financial transactions driving incarceration are typically private and unregulated, according to CAP director Bianca Tylek, their analysis aims “to help people understand just how big this space is,” particularly because, often, “companies spend their money in a way to further entrench or expand the use of our criminal-legal system, and who it ends up touching.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Twitter Explains #BreakingMyTwitter

      On August 16, Twitter shuttered two legacy APIs that it had announced would be removed earlier this year. Developers of a number of popular third-party Twitter clients warned that the shutdown of the User Streams and Site Streams APIs would negatively affect users of their apps and, as a #BreakingMyTwitter backlash evidences, it turns out they were right.

      One app, Tweetbot for iOS, for instance, no longer supports automatic timeline refreshing, and push notifications for events such as likes and follows, have been removed. Tweetbot’s maker, Tapbots, removed its Twitter client app for Apple Watch entirely.

    • Twitter CEO: ‘We are not’ discriminating against any political viewpoint
    • Jack Dorsey Finally Realized Twitter Has A Toxic Environment

      Twitter’s efforts to clean up its platform often feels like a drop in the ocean, and now its CEO finally seems to be acknowledging this fact.

      In an interview with CNN, Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said that the company is working to clean up the toxic atmosphere created by individuals on the platform.

    • Tired of Twitter? Join Me on Mastodon

      Here’s what Mastodon is: an open-source, community-run microblogging website. It lets you post “toots,” and you can “boost” other users’ posts. It’s mostly like Twitter, but instead of living in one place, the social network lives in different chunks, called “instances,” each with its own rules and administrators. That’s what makes up a “federation,” and it protects the integrity of the service—there is no single, central server. So, if one instance stops paying for their [I]nternet or forgets to re-up their URL, the rest are unharmed in their semi-permeable silos.

    • Twitter was supposed to spread democracy, not Trump’s ravings

      Here’s the $64,000 question for our time: how did digital technologies go from being instruments for spreading democracy to tools for undermining it? Or, to put it a different way, how did social media go from empowering free speech to becoming a cornerstone of authoritarian power?

    • Twitter CEO commits to fixing the platform’s ‘toxic’ content problem, but gives no timetable

      Later, he added, “We have to understand first the problem we’re trying to solve, like what incentives we actually want to drive; not just what we want to remove, but what we want to drive.” But he said he knows he wants incentives “that encourage people to talk and to have healthy conversation.”

    • British Ambassador Asks Chiwenga About GNU Possibility

      British Ambassador Catriona Laing reportedly asked VP Chiwenga if Zanu-PF would agree to coalition government.

      Laing apparently asked the question this past week at a meeting to discuss the Electoral outcome and post-election violence which was also attended by EU Ambassador Philippe Van Damme.

    • ‘Chamisa cannot be trusted in the GNU much less to govern,’ says ED apologist – true but neither can ED

      Those who defend the indefensible are fools and Zanu PF apologists are some of the biggest fools there is. Give a fool a long rope and he will hang himself, so goes the adage. Bishop Lazarus, a seasoned Zanu PF apologist and Zimpaper columnist, has used all the space granted him in Sunday Mail to hang himself.

    • USAid funds abusers push for Zimbabwe GNU

      A GROUP of NGOs is contriving reports of State-sanctioned post-election human rights abuses in an effort to get Western countries to pressure President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa into forming a “Government of National Unity” with opposition parties.

      Under the ambit of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum, the NGOs last week generated a “2018 Post-Election Violence Monitoring Report”, which claims to document violence against opposition supporters by State agents, Zanu-PF supporters and traditional chiefs. The allegations were not supported by any specifics, and many of them are based on social media rumours.

    • GNU is not good for both Zanu-PF and MDC-Alliance

      Chamisa has shown that he is a bad loser and so how can this bad loser become a useful partner? Albert Einstein would say: “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.”

      “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music,” Friedrich Nietzsche would say as the urbanites and the rural folk in Zimbabwe continue mocking each other after the July 30 elections. Soon we will know kuti mapenzi ndivanani.
      They tell me Tendai “Mr Fake Bravado” Biti ran like a rat as he tried to evade arrest by Zimbabwean police at Chirundu Border Post. Kwanzi Biti wakazhamba sepwere achitiza. This man is a sickening coward. Ko wotizeiko futi nhai Biti?

    • Pakistan’s Imran Khan sworn in as prime minister

      Pakistan’s cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan was sworn in as prime minister on Saturday despite protests by opposition parties, which accuse the security services of intervening on his behalf in last month’s elections.

      Khan’ s Tehreek-e-Insaf party won the most seats in the July 25 national elections but fell short of an outright majority. It allied with independents to form a coalition, and Khan was elected by the National Assembly on Friday. Khan had campaigned on promises to combat Pakistan’s endemic corruption and break powerful landowners’ monopoly on political power.

    • QAnon: Why we have the CIA partly to thank for the craziest conspiracy theory yet

      As the editor of the JFK Facts blog, I try not to spend a lot of time on stupid conspiracy theories, but given widespread ignorance and confusion on the subject, unpleasant journalist duty often calls.

      Who killed JFK? The Federal Reserve? Nah. The Secret Service man? A hoax. Ted Cruz’s father? Pure B.S. George H.W. Bush? Heavy breathing is not the same as credible evidence. On a recent Black Vault podcast, the most common JFK question I heard was, “Was Kennedy assassinated because of his interest in UFOs?” Um, no, he was not.

      Which brings me to QAnon, the imaginative conspiracy theorist now dominating the internet, attracting followersof President Trump, and obsessing the Washington Post, which has published a dozen articles about QAnon in the span of four days. Like many conspiracy theories, the QAnon fever dream can be traced back to the assassination of JFK.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • EFF & Privacy Coalition Oppose Efforts to Undo New California Data Privacy Law

      California enacted a data privacy law less than two months ago, and business groups already are urging the legislature to gut some of its most important protections. EFF and our privacy allies are fighting back.

      On June 28, California enacted the Consumer Privacy Act (S.B. 375). It seeks to protect the data privacy of technology users and others by imposing new rules on companies that gather, use, and share personal data. As we have explained, while this law is a step forward, it also has important flaws that must be fixed. The law does not go into effect until January 2020, which means privacy advocates like EFF have 18 months to fix those flaws and strengthen it.

      However, some are attempting to use this window of time to undermine the privacy protections in the law. Already, dozens of business groups, led by the California Chamber of Commerce, have asked legislators for immediate and far-reaching changes that would terminate many of the law’s critical safeguards.

      The privacy and social justice communities quickly pushed back, urging legislators to reject the Chamber’s ill-considered proposals.

      Most importantly, many of the Chamber’s proposals would harm the data privacy of 40 million Californians. For example, the Act creates a “right to know,” meaning a right for users to learn the “specific pieces” of personal information that a company has collected about them. The Chamber would delete this term, leaving users with a far weaker right to learn what general “categories” of information a company collected about them. This is not enough. For example, users should be able to learn exactly what information about their browsing history was harvested by a company—not just that the company monitored their browsing history.

    • DOJ Asking Court To Force Facebook To Break Encryption On Messenger Voice Calls

      Calls via Messenger are still in a gray area. Facebook claims calls are end-to-end encrypted so it cannot — without completely altering the underlying software — assist with an interception. Regular messages via Facebook’s services can still be decrypted by the company but voice calls appear to be out of its reach.

      Obviously, the government would very much like a favorable ruling from a federal judge. An order to alter this service to allow interception or collection could then be used against a number of other services offering end-to-end encryption.

      It’s unknown what legal options Facebook has pursued, but it does have a First Amendment argument to deploy, if nothing else. If code is speech — an idea that does have legal precedent — the burden falls on the government to explain why it so badly needs to violate a Constitutional right with its interception request.

      This is a case worth watching. However, unlike the DOJ’s very public battle with Apple in the San Bernardino case, there’s nothing to see. I’m sure Facebook has filed motions to have court documents unsealed — if only to draw more attention to this case — but the Reuters article says there are currently no visible documents on the docket. (The docket may be sealed as well.) There is clearly public interest in this case, so the presumption of openness should apply. So far, that hasn’t worked out too well for the public. And if the DOJ gets what it wants, that’s not going to work out too well for the public either.

    • NSA Cracked Open Encrypted Networks of Russian Airlines, Al Jazeera, and Other “High Potential” Targets

      The National Security Agency successfully broke the encryption on a number of “high potential” virtual private networks, including those of media organization Al Jazeera, the Iraqi military and internet service organizations, and a number of airline reservation systems, according to a March 2006 NSA document.

      A virtual private network, or VPN, uses an encrypted connection to enable users to go over the internet and connect to a private network, such as a corporate intranet. This allows an organization’s staff to access internal services like file-sharing servers or private wikis without having to physically be in the office.

    • NSA broke into secure network of Al Jazeera and others: report

      The National Security Agency (NSA), a US intelligence agency tasked with collecting data for foreign and counter intelligence operations, broke into the encrypted network of the Al Jazeera Media Network and several others in 2006, according to a report by US media.

      A document provided to The Intercept by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden shows that the NSA cracked Al Jazeera’s Virtual Private Network (VPN), an encrypted tunnel used to secure internet traffic.

      “Recently, NSA has decrypted a number of interesting targets … deemed by product lines to have high potential as sources of intelligence,” the document states, which is then followed by a list of targets.

      That list includes Al Jazeera, the Iraqi Ministry of Defence and Interior, the Iraqi state internet provider and four airlines from Russia, Paraguay and Iran.

    • The NSA’s Role in a Climate-Changed World: Spying on Nonprofits, Fishing Boats, and the North Pole

      In the northernmost place in the United States, Point Barrow, Alaska, a National Security Agency collection site has allowed analysts to observe Russia’s military buildup 24/7, as melting Arctic ice opens a new conflict zone. The NSA has also monitored a dispute between India and Pakistan over access to the Indus River system, which is fed by glaciers high in the Himalayas, now shrinking. And as fisheries are facing increasing pressure from seas whose currents and temperatures have already been altered significantly by climate change, the NSA has listened in on phone conversations and monitored the movement of fishing boats engaged in potentially illegal practices that threaten dwindling stocks.

      Previously unreleased documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show how the agency has gathered intelligence meant to support U.S. interests related to environmental disasters, conflicts, and resources. In the coming years, greenhouse gas pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels will increase the frequency of ecological crises and conflicts over natural resources. The documents provide a window into the role the United States’s most sprawling international surveillance agency will play in an altered world.

      The documents show that although the NSA’s interest in environmental issues is limited, it’s wide-reaching and has grown over the years. Unsurprisingly, the agency is driven not by an imperative to avoid climate-induced ecological crises, but by a need to respond to such crises as they threaten U.S. political and economic interests or explode into violent clashes.

    • Before Snowden, an NSA Spy Tried to Incite Change From the Inside. He Called Himself the “Curmudgeon” of Signals Intelligence.

      You know the type.

      Middle-aged, male, tired of his job. He’s been around for ages and moans about how things were done 10 times better back in the day. Every so often, he snaps pointlessly at a co-worker. He’s the office curmudgeon. It’s time for him to go, and he probably realizes it.

      Workplace grouches are usually ignored or fired, but the National Security Agency gave a unique platform to one of its own. In the mid-aughts, in an internal newsletter, the NSA published a series of articles by Rahe Clancy, an eavesdropper disillusioned with what the agency had become and what he was doing there. It’s not that Clancy disliked spying on people or governments — he supported the collection of signals intelligence, or SIGINT — but he felt that the NSA had lost its way.

      After 30 years on the job, he wrote, “I found myself turning into a SIGINT Curmudgeon.” In 2005, he published his coming-out article for the newsletter, SIDtoday, which was targeted at the agency’s core Signals Intelligence Directorate. Clancy wrote that he was particularly worried about the future of his area of expertise, known as “collection,” through which the NSA intercepts and downloads a variety of transmissions, both earthbound and from satellites. “I was convinced,” he continued, “that collection was a dying career field and that NSA management was hastening its demise through neglect.” Clancy was writing for a distinctive audience — the thousands of eavesdroppers, hackers, and analysts who worked for the NSA. His articles for SIDtoday, posted on a secure computer network, were provided to The Intercept by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • 328 NSA Documents Reveal “Vast Network” of Iranian Agents, Details of a Key Intelligence Coup, and a Fervor for Voice-Matching Technology

      It began not by tapping enemy insurgents’ phones or capturing their emails, but by following the money.

      When the National Security Agency discovered that Iran may have been buying computer chips from the United States, routing them through a U.S. ally, and potentially supplying them to detonate bombs against U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, it credited so-called economic intelligence with the find.

      And the solution was not a death blow delivered by the military, but rather a new regulation on the export of certain technologies via the Commerce Department, which the spy agency said would end up “saving American and coalition lives.”

    • Aadhaar, the mass surveillance system

      If you are following me on Twitter, you have already seen a lot of (re)tweets related to Aadhaar. For the people first time hearing this term, it is a 12 digit unique identification number provided by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). It is also the world’s largest bio-metric ID system. It is supposed to be a voluntary service.

      From the very beginning, this project tried to hide the details from the Indian citizens. Let it be privacy advocates or security researchers or human rights activists, everyone predicted that this will become a monster, a mass surveillance system, a tool of choice of the power hungry dictators.

    • Amazon’s secretive Cambridge Alexa start-up doubles revenue and headcount
    • Behavioral biometrics: Websites and apps are learning from how you type, hold your phone, and use your mouse

      While behavioral biometrics are nothing new, the availability of affordable computing power and the vast array of sensors available on modern smartphones have led to a wide increase in its usage, according to an excellent article by Stacy Cowley published by the New York Times this week. In addition to providing an overview of the technology and how it’s being used, the author highlights three main areas of concern for the privacy-conscious user:

    • Banks and Retailers Are Tracking How You Type, Swipe and Tap

      In most countries, there are no laws governing the collection and use of biometric behavioral data.

      Even Europe’s new privacy rules have exemptions for security and fraud prevention. A new digital privacy law in California includes behavioral biometrics on the list of tracking technologies companies must disclose if they collect, but it does not take effect until 2020.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Police Unions Know Exactly Why NFL Players Keep Protesting

      This struggle will continue as long as police unions refuse to accept any accountability for the actions of their members. Perhaps, however, if the police unions are that upset, there are actions that they could take that would be more effective than having their members call for refunds and renounce the Dolphins organization. As one person tweeted to me, a gentleman by the name of Bones McKenzie, if police truly wanted to show their dissent, they should actually show up to the games… and take a knee.

    • This Is Not a Time for Civility

      White-nationalist rallies are calls for genocide, and must be treated as such.

    • Danish Imam Defends Himself Against Hate Speech Charges by Calling for Jihad Against Israel

      “I made it clear that the solution to our problems as Muslims, and the problem of Palestine, is the establishment of the Islamic State, the Caliphate,” he said. “The Caliphate will fight our enemy and will liberate Palestine, Allah willing, and will eliminate that colonialist state of Israel.”

    • Sweden’s Government Funds Anti-Semitism

      In Sweden, imported Middle Eastern anti-Semitism is funded by taxpayer money, so when scandals occur, they are often addressed by the same people who have participated in spreading its message.

      No effective actions are currently being taken against the spread of anti-Semitism in Sweden.

    • British woman arrested in Dubai after ordering wine on Emirates flight

      “I told him I had a glass of wine on the flight. It was given to me free by Emirates Airlines staff,” she told the Mail Oline.

      The officer said possession of alcohol — even if consumed — was a crime in the United Arab Emirates and after Dr Holman began filming him for evidence she was swarmed by armed police.

    • Cables document CIA Director Haspel’s direct role in torture at black site in Thailand

      Declassified cables released last Friday provide irrefutable evidence that the current CIA director, Gina Haspel, played a direct role in the torture of detainees at a CIA black site in Thailand in 2002. The National Security Archive obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Haspel was chief of base at “Detention Site Green” (also known as “Cat’s Eye”) and either wrote or authorized the cables.

      The publication of the damning cables was given short shrift by the corporate media. The New York Times and the Washington Post each published only one article on the story in their August 10 editions. Both newspapers placed the story on their inside pages and buried it thereafter.

      Haspel, tapped by Trump earlier this year to succeed Mike Pompeo, who was promoted to secretary of state, served as acting director beginning last April 26 and became director on May 26. The Democrats supplied the necessary votes to assure her confirmation by the Senate following hearings in May. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearings on Haspel’s nomination provided a revealing exposure of the criminality of the US intelligence apparatus as well as the disintegration of bourgeois democratic processes in the United States.

      The hearing was characterized by gushing tributes by both Democrats and Republicans for the work of an agency long ago dubbed “Murder, Inc.” for its crimes around the world, including the organization of political assassinations, the creation of terrorist armies and the orchestration of fascist-military coups.

    • “Yo, Take the Rap for Me”: More Trouble for a Garbage Hauler

      It was shortly after 9 p.m. on Aug. 8 when a private sanitation truck headed up East 169th Street in the Bronx and drove into oncoming traffic. The truck smashed head-on into a sedan, sending it 25 feet down the block and into another parked car, triggering the sedan’s airbags, according to the police report. The garbage truck wound up crashing into a second parked car before coming to a stop.

      Bystanders began to gather. Someone called 911. A New York City Fire Department ambulance was dispatched, police records show.

      Soon, a man emerged from the cab of the garbage truck. The vehicle belonged to Sanitation Salvage, one of the largest private trash haulers in the city, whose safety record and wider operations are being investigated. The man, it turns out, never should have been driving the truck.

    • Munira Mirza: Critiquing Islamist fundamentalist practice is not an ‘attack on Muslim women’

      There are some people now trying to argue that you should be critical of the burka but without using critical language. And that mocking people’s religious choices – no matter how extreme – is tantamount to racism. Did gay rights campaigners tread on eggshells about Christian beliefs when they argued for legalising gay marriage? Were feminist politicians in the UK supersensitive about Catholic beliefs during the abortion debate in Ireland? No, they disagreed powerfully, sometimes offensively, in a bid to persuade the public of their views. Mockery of religious practices is not everyone’s choice of tactic, but to act like it is beyond the pale is disingenuous and hypocritical.

    • Delhi: Man tries to sell wife, but the ‘buyer’ is a policeman

      On August 1, Saddam again quarrelled with a man while shopping with Samira. He decided he couldn’t take it any more and bought a knife to kill her. The night passed and he had another idea.

      Why kill her when he could sell her to a brothel in Delhi, he thought.

    • Yazidi Slavery, Child Trafficking, Death Threats to Journalist: Should Turkey Remain in NATO?

      Reuniting the kidnapped Yazidis with their families and bringing the perpetrators to justice should be a priority of civilized governments worldwide, not only to help stop the persecution and enslavement of Yazidis, but also to defeat jihad.

      The question is: Should Turkey, with the path it is on, even remain a member of NATO?

    • Judge Threatens Censorship After Newspaper Reveals Bureaucratic Errors in Parkland Lead-Up

      The South Florida Sun Sentinel’s reporting on sensitive information about Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz was “shameful,” a circuit court judge said yesterday.

      Earlier this month, the Sun Sentinel obtained a confidential Broward County School Board report on Cruz, who murdered 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which he used to attend, on February 14. As Reason’s Robby Soave noted, the report showed that Cruz was entitled to special needs assistance while attending Stoneman Douglas, but the school never provided him with the help he needed.

      The Sun Sentinel was not supposed to have access to much of Cruz’s confidential information. In compliance with a court order, the school board redacted two-thirds of the report on his background. But the newspaper figured out that by copying and pasting the report into a separate file, it could read the blacked-out portions. The Sun Sentinel then published the report in full.

      In response, the school board asked Judge Elizabeth Scherer of the 17th Judicial Circuit Court in Broward County to hold the newspaper in contempt. Yesterday, in addition to saying she would consider the request, Scherer blasted the Sun Sentinel’s reporting as “shameful.”

    • NSA Leaker Makes Espionage Distinction in Sentencing Memo

      Jailed for a over year since her leak of a classified intelligence report, Reality Winner faces sentencing next week for a crime that has led some to hail her bravery and others to brand her a traitor.

      “At the time of the offense, Reality was an impetuous twenty-five year old, in her first full-time ‘real’ job since being honorably discharged from the military,” Winner’s Aug. 15 sentencing memorandum states. “She acknowledges responsibility for her singular and serious act, recognizes the severity of it, and is prepared to accept her punishment. But, Reality is not a terrorist. Despite the rhetoric that has flowed freely throughout this case, she is not a hater of her country or its people — she is quite the opposite.”

    • Former NSA contractor Reality Winner facing ‘longest sentence’ for leak to media
    • Georgia woman facing ‘longest sentence’ for leaking to media

      A Georgia woman who mailed a secret U.S. report to a news organization faces the “longest sentence” ever behind bars for a federal crime involving leaks to the news media, prosecutors said in a court filing.

      Former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner, 26, is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 23 by a U.S. District Court judge in Augusta. She pleaded guilty in June to a single count of transmitting national security information when she worked as a translator at an NSA facility in Augusta.

    • Former NSA contractor faces ‘longest sentence’ of five years and three months in prison for leaking secret government report to media
  • DRM

    • One month until IDAD 2018!

      International Day Against DRM (IDAD) is coming up! In just under a month, on September 18th, we’ll be celebrating what the world could look like without DRM. We need your help to make sure the messages gets all the attention it needs.

      We’ve been working hard preparing for IDAD 2018, and hope you will join us for this year’s action.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Endo Pharmaceuticals Solutions, Inc. v. Custopharm Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2018)

      Last month, in Endo Pharmaceuticals Solutions, Inc. v. Custopharm Inc., the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware finding that Defendant-Appellant Custopharm Inc. had not proven that claim 2 of U.S. Patent No. 7,718,640 or claim 18 of U.S. Patent No. 8,338,395 were invalid as obvious under 35 U.S.C. § 103. The ’640 and ’395 patents are owned by Plaintiffs-Appellees Bayer Intellectual Property GmbH and Bayer Pharma AG.

      Seeking approval to market a generic version of Aveed®, a long-acting injectable testosterone replacement therapy for men suffering from physiologically low levels of testosterone, for which Plaintiff-Appellee Endo Pharmaceuticals Solutions, Inc. holds the approved New Drug Application, Paddock Laboratories, LLC (Custopharm’s predecessor-in-interest) filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) with the FDA. In response to that filing, Endo and Bayer brought an action for infringement of the ’640 and ’395 patents. During the proceedings, Custopharm stipulated to infringement, and Endo and Bayer limited their asserted claims to claim 2 of the ’640 patent and claim 18 of the ’395 patent.

    • Architectural Patents Beyond Bucky Fuller’s Quadrant

      This draft of a chapter in a compilation addressing architectural appropriation examines patents on architectural designs issued over the last century and a half to flesh out the surprisingly expansive legal standard for what constitutes a patentable design at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Architectural patents are not limited to innovative construction technologies. Innovative dispositions of space – that is, novel arrangements of the programmatic spaces as represented in floor plans, sections, or their three-dimensional equivalents – can also be patented. They are functional technologies that “do” something, not simply copyrightable artistic works, because they have programmatic affordances: they allow some human behaviors and patterns of human activity to occur more easily than others.

    • Patent Classification Systems and Technological Categorization: An Overview and Update

      Patent classification systems and upper-level grouping have been widely used but are insufficiently documented. This article provides an overview of the major patent classification systems and the basic ideas behind technological categorization of patent classes. I then point out a few recent institutional changes that disproportionately affect patents in specific categories and alternative categorization used in the patent examination process. Finally, I include a user-written update of NBER patent technological categorization based on the last edition of U.S. patent classification, following the logic in Hall, Jaffe, and Trajtenberg (2001).

    • Antitrust Law and Patent Settlement Design

      For competing firms, a patent settlement provides a rare opportunity to write an agreement that forestalls competition without transparently violating the antitrust laws. Problematically, such agreements are highly profitable for reasons that have nothing to do with resolving a patent dispute. Thus, even if the firms think the patent is very likely invalid or noninfringed, they prefer to restrain competition to monopoly and share in the proceeds. In response, antitrust has recently come to focus on how the settlement’s competitive effects compare to the expected result of foregone patent litigation, which seemingly requires some assessment of the likelihood that the patentee would have prevailed. But this “case-within-a-case” approach leads to major complications in practice. Indeed, outside of one well-known settlement format—so-called “pay-for-delay” agreements—how to administer this burgeoning antitrust standard remains an open question.

    • 10 million US patents since 1790… and counting (Part 1)

      How has US patenting changed over the past 230 years? Inspired by the announcement that the USPTO has just issued its 10 millionth patent, litigation supremo Andrew Waugh QC has delved into the inventions behind the statistics. The Constitution of The United States of America (then 13 states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina) was negotiated in Pennsylvania between May to September 1787. It was engrossed on parchment and sent to Congress on 18th September 1787 and Section 8 of Article 1 of the Constitution provided that “The Congress shall have Power…..To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries”.

      Andrew has looked at the first US patent ever (both of them, read more and you’ll understand) and number 1 million, 2 million and so forth to see what technology was around, and how fast patenting has accelerated during its existence.

      From a process for making pot ash through vehicle tyres, ethanol production and, inevitably, data processing, the documents are remarkably representative of how technology has developed. Interestingly, the fastest million patents were granted between 2011 and 2013 (this is between patent number 8 million and patent number 9 million) – the next million took 5 years – two and half times longer. There has been talk of a slowdown in patenting, but this is a pretty clear statistic that either filing or granting has slowed down. Andrew’s review is not really about the numerical variation, more a celebration of two centuries of patenting, but it provides food for thought in many ways – and some light-hearted summer reading if you want a break from your beach novel. Over to Andrew.

    • Syneo receives patent in China

      Syneo recently received a patent in China for its Servo Electric Press Two-Stage Force technology. The patent gives the company the rights to use its two-stage force measuring system in manual electric press and automatic electric press (press-fit) machine applications.

      The patent protects the company’s technology that is featured in the two-stage force measuring system that enhances press force resolution and sensitivity in force curves of pin pressing applications in electronic manufacturing and printed circuit board assembly.

    • Ferrari Patents Novel Method for Making Turbocharged Engines Sound Better
    • USPTO Announces 2018 Patents for Humanity Winners
    • Prevailing Party’s Previously-Sanctioned Misconduct Weighs Heavily Against Award of Attorney Fees

      Following remand, the court denied plaintiff’s motion to reinstate its award of attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 because of plaintiff’s own misconduct in seeking a TRO.

    • Civil Society And TRIPS Flexibilities Series – Translations Now Available

      Patients around the world, in developing and developed countries, are encountering barriers to access to affordable medical products, in part due to patents and resulting high prices. This is occurring despite longstanding protections built into international trade rules to allow smaller economies to act on behalf of their people and make such medical products available regardless of patents. These protections are often referred to as flexibilities in the 1994 World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The prevailing view is that knowledge, understanding and use of them remains limited among policymakers and many potential beneficiaries, even as patent-strong nations and their industries work to narrow the reach and ability to use these flexibilities.

    • Size of drug patent thickets highlighted by report, amidst intense pharma IP scrutiny

      A recent report sheds new light on the patent estates protecting the US’s best-selling drugs. Revealing that over 100 applications are made on average for patents relating to blockbuster drugs, with dozens of assets being granted, the study makes plain the scale of the legal challenge facing many biosimilar producers seeking to launch their products. Released at a time of intense political controversy surrounding the high medical costs faced by patients in the US, it is also bound to fuel further discussion about the future of legal monopolies in the country.

    • Chinese battery maker picks up 100+ patents from Google amid IP fight with LG Chem

      Recent USPTO assignments data shows the first known third-party IP acquisition by Amperex Technology Limited (ATL), a Hong Kong-based maker of lithium-ion batteries. According to the filing, Alphabet unit Google dealt 139 former Motorola assets to the company after first advertising them for sale back in 2015. IAM readers may remember ATL from a story we published last year on the increasing patent enforcement activity in the fiercely competitive lithium ion battery industry, which supplies everything from electric cars to handheld electronics. ATL has a somewhat murky relationship to Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL), the world’s largest producer of electric vehicle batteries.

    • Copyrights

      • Can copyright be trumped by a penal law against obscenity?

        In the case of Sex Style v. Abutbul, the plaintiff, a producer of pornographic movies, sued the defendant, an individual who operates an adult website, for copyright infringement. It was alleged that the defendant’s website provided links without authorization to 15 pornographic movies. While the court ruled that the movies are entitled to copyright protection, it declined awarding statutory damages for infringement on the ground of such content, being obscene, was therefore illegal.

        At the beginning of its analysis, the court determined that the movies are pornographic (rather than being merely erotic), based simply on the plaintiff‘s statement of claim and without further discussion. After a (very) brief discussion on the copyrightability of the movies, which the court concluded in the positive, the court then turned to the question of whether the copyright in the movies is enforceable in light of the nature of their contents. To address this question, the court relies on the Israel Penal Law, 1977, which prohibits the publication of “obscene” content.

      • Prenda Scam Boss, Paul Hansmeier, Pleads Guilty

        After fighting for years, it appears that Paul Hansmeier realized he was cooked. On Friday, he pleaded guilty to various fraud and money laundering charges related to his copyright trolling under the Prenda name. Hansmeier, of course, was one of the two “masterminds” (and I use that term loosely) behind Prenda along with John Steele, who pleaded guilty last year, and was set to be a witness against Hansmeier, who came up with some colorfully ludicrous theories to try to talk his way out of these charges.

        If you don’t recall, Hansmeier and Steele started out as garden variety copyright trolls, suing tons of people and shaking them down for money, but they kept expanding the scam, to the point that they were setting up bogus honeypots with content they themselves uploaded to get IP addresses to shake down (with hilariously dumb attempts to cover up that it was them). They also set up fake shell companies as their own “clients” which didn’t go over well in court. That’s not even getting to the way that Steele and Hansmeier were clearly the beneficiaries of these shakedowns, or the fact that they tried to hide the money. And do we even mention the outright lying in court?

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    35 U.S.C. § 101, which is based on cases like Alice and Mayo, offers the 'perfect storm' against software patents; it doesn't look like any of that will change any time soon (if ever)



  7. Ignoring and Bashing Courts: Is This the Future of Patent Offices in the West?

    Andrei Iancu, who is trying to water down 35 U.S.C. § 101 while Trump ‘waters down’ SCOTUS (which delivered Alice), isn’t alone; António Campinos, the new President of the EPO, is constantly promoting software patents (which European courts reject, citing the EPC) and even Australia’s litigation ‘industry’ is dissenting against Australian courts that stubbornly reject software patents



  8. Patent Maximalists Are Still Trying to Figure Out How to Stop PTAB or Prevent US Patent Quality From Ever Improving

    Improvements are being made to US patents because of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which amends/culls/pro-actively rejects (at application phases) bad patents; but the likes of Andrei Iancu cannot stand that because they're patent maximalists, who personally gain from an over-saturation of patents



  9. Links 15/11/2018: Zentyal 6.0, Deepin 15.8, Thunderbird Project Hiring

    Links for the day



  10. A Question of Debt: António Campinos, Lexology, Law Gazette, and Sam Gyimah

    Ineptitude in the media which dominates if not monopolises UPC coverage means that laws detrimental to everyone but patent lawyers are nowadays being pushed even by ministers (not just those whose clandestine vote is used/bought to steal democracy overnight)



  11. Science Minister Sam Gyimah and the EPO Are Eager to Attack Science by Bringing Patent Trolls to Europe/European Union and the United Kingdom

    Team UPC has managed to indoctrinate or hijack key positions, causing those whose job is to promote science to actually promote patent trolls and litigation (suppressing science rather than advancing it)



  12. USF Revisits EPO Abuses, Highlighting an Urgent Need for Action

    “Staff Representation Disciplinary Cases” — a message circulated at the end of last week — reveals the persistence of union-busting agenda and injustice at the EPO



  13. Links 14/11/2018: KDevelop 5.3, Omarine 5.3, Canonical Not for Sale

    Links for the day



  14. Second Day of EPOPIC: Yet More Promotion of Software Patents in Europe in Defiance of Courts, EPC, Parliament and Common Sense

    Using bogus interpretations of the EPC — ones that courts have repeatedly rejected — the EPO continues to grant bogus/fake/bunk patents on abstract ideas, then justifies that practice (when the audience comes from the litigation ‘industry’)



  15. Allegations That António Campinos 'Bought' His Presidency and is Still Paying for it

    Rumours persist that after Battistelli had rigged the election in favour of his compatriot nefarious things related to that were still visible



  16. WIPO Corruption and Coverup Mirror EPO Tactics

    Suppression of staff representatives and whistleblowers carries on at WIPO and the EPO; people who speak out about abuses are themselves being treated like abusers



  17. Links 13/11/2018: HPC Domination (Top 500 All GNU/Linux) and OpenStack News

    Links for the day



  18. The USPTO and EPO Pretend to Care About Patent Quality by Mingling With the Terms “Patent” and “Quality”

    The whole "patent quality" propaganda from EPO and USPTO management continues unabated; they strive to maintain the fiction that quality rather than money is their prime motivator



  19. Yannis Skulikaris Promotes Software Patents at EPOPIC, Defending the Questionable Practice Under António Campinos

    The reckless advocacy for abstract patents on mere algorithms from a new and less familiar face; the EPO is definitely eager to grant software patents and it explains to stakeholders how to do it



  20. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is Working for Patent Trolls and Patent Maximalists

    The patent trolls' propagandists are joining forces and pushing for a patent system that is hostile to science, technology, and innovation in general (so as to enable a bunch of aggressive law firms to tax everybody)



  21. Team UPC, Fronting for Patent Trolls From the US, is Calling Facts “Resistance”

    The tactics of Team UPC have gotten so tastelessly bad and its motivation so shallow (extortion in Europe) that one begins to wonder why these people are willing to tarnish everything that's left of their reputation



  22. The Federal Circuit Bar Association (FCBA) Will Spread the Berkheimer Lie While Legal Certainty Associated With Patents Remains Low and Few Lawsuits Filed

    New figures regarding patent litigation in the United States (number of lawsuits) show a decrease by about a tenth in just one year; there's still no sign of software patents making any kind of return/rebound in the United States, contrary to lies told by the litigation 'industry' (those who profit from frivolous lawsuits/threats)



  23. Links 12/11/2018: Linux 4.20 RC2, Denuvo DRM Defeated Again

    Links for the day



  24. Automation of Searches Will Not Solve the Legitimacy Problem Caused by Patents Lust

    The false belief that better searches and so-called 'AI' can miraculously assess patents will simply drive/motivate bad decisions and already steers bad management towards patent maximalism (presumption of examination/validation where none actually exists)



  25. The Federal Circuit and PTAB Are Not Slowing Down; Patent Maximalists Claim It's 'Harassment' to Question a Patent's Validity

    There’s no sign of stopping when it comes to harassment of judges and courts; those who make a living from patent threats and litigation do anything conceivable to stop the ‘bloodbath’ of US patents which were never supposed to have been granted in the first place



  26. Patent Maximalists Will Latch Onto Return Mail v US Postal Service in an Effort to Weaken or Limit Post-Grant Reviews of US Patents

    An upcoming case, dealing with what governments can and cannot do with/to patents (specifically the US government and US patents), interests the litigation 'industry' because it loathes reviews of low-quality and/or controversial patents (these reviews discourage litigation or stop lawsuits early on in the cycle)



  27. Guest Post: EPO Spins Censorship of Staff Representation

    Another concrete example of Campinos' cynical story-telling



  28. Andrei Iancu and Laura Peter Are Two Proponents of Patent Trolls at the Top of the USPTO

    Patent offices do not seem to care about the law, about the courts, about judges and so on; all they care about is money (and litigation costs) and that’s a very major problem



  29. The Patent 'Industry' Wants Incitations and Feuds, Not Innovation and Collaboration

    The litigation giants and their drones keep insisting that they're interested in helping scientists; but sooner or later the real (productive) industry learns to kick them to the curb and work together instead of suing



  30. EPO 'Outsourcing' Rumours

    The EPO advertises jobs in Prague and Lisbon; this leads to speculations less than a year after António Campinos sent EU-IPO jobs to India (for cost reduction)


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