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08.25.18

Links 25/8/2018: Go 1.11, LLVM 7.0 RC2

Posted in News Roundup at 11:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Google Chrome OS

      Chrome OS is Google’s cloud-connected desktop operating system. This web-apps focused OS powers mostly inexpensive chromebooks, offering a low-cost desktop option for those of modest means or basic needs. That affordability, along with tie-ins to Google’s online productivity apps, has made the OS popular in the education market. The recent addition of the ability to run Android apps has given the OS new life and millions of new software choices, though the support for those apps is inconsistent. With that major integration still ongoing, Chrome OS feels like something of a work in progress, one that’s not suited to high-power computing needs. Still, for the right users, Chrome OS is a strong choice.

    • New Chrome OS v69 beta hits the Pixelbook with Linux support, night light, and more

      Google announced Linux app support on Chrome OS back at I/O, but it’s been slow to move it out of the dev channel. Finally, the Pixelbook just got a new build of Chrome v69 update that adds the beta Linux support. That’s not all—this was a rather major update.

      Make sure you have plenty of battery before installing this update. In addition to tweaking Chrome OS, the latest update brings changes to the BIOS and touchpad firmware. The installation process will take a few minutes longer than usual as a result. Once you get up and running, you can enable Linux support in the system settings. We have a handy tutorial to get you started installing Linux-y things.

    • How Google’s rumored ‘Campfire’ dual-boot Chromebooks may burn Microsoft

      even years ago, Google began an assault on Windows PCs with its cloud-centric Chromebook PC alternative. Google’s leveraging of a more secure, easier to manage, and more affordable “PC” positioned Chromebooks for market success. Despite this success, however, Chromebooks’ global market share still pales in comparison to Windows PC’s seemingly indomitable presence.

      Google remains committed to an unrelenting multifaceted assault on Windows PCs, in an attempt to position Chromebooks as the “PC” for the modern personal computing age. Android apps on Chrome, aggressive Chromebook ads, a strategic push in schools, Progressive Web App (PWAs), and low Chromebook prices are all tools Google has and will use to make Chromebooks appealing to the masses.

      Campfire, Google’s rumored Windows and Chrome dual-boot solution, is just the latest, and possibly most important, tool in Google’s arsenal to unseat Windows PCs as the PCs for the masses.

    • Some of Google’s Chromebook laptops won’t be getting support for Linux apps

      When Chromebooks first came out, you were limited to a small selection of apps, all made by Google. Over time, the company has opened up Chrome OS to accommodate third-party Android apps, and it’s recently added support for regular Linux apps as well. However, it turns out that a number of Chromebooks have a version of the operating system that’s simply too old to be compatible with this new batch of software.

  • Server

    • Is Kubernetes free as an open source software?

      So, is Kubernetes free?

      Yes, but also no.

      Pure open source Kubernetes is free and can be downloaded from its repository on GitHub. Administrators must build and deploy the Kubernetes release to a local system or cluster or to a system or cluster in a public cloud, such as AWS, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) or Microsoft Azure.

      While the pure Kubernetes distribution is free to download, there are always costs involved with open source software. Without professional support, Kubernetes adopters need to pay in-house staff for help or contract someone knowledgeable. The Kubernetes admin needs a detailed working knowledge of Kubernetes software build creation and deployment within a Linux environment.

      In effect, users need to know what they’re getting into before they adopt open source software in the enterprise.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.18.5
    • Linux 4.17.19
    • Linux 4.14.67
    • Linux 4.9.124
    • Linux 4.4.152
    • What Stable Kernel Should I Use?

      I get a lot of questions about people asking me about what stable kernel should they be using for their product/device/laptop/server/etc. all the time. Especially given the now-extended length of time that some kernels are being supported by me and others, this isn’t always a very obvious thing to determine. So this post is an attempt to write down my opinions on the matter. Of course, you are free to use what ever kernel version you want, but here’s what I recommend.

      As always, the opinions written here are my own, I speak for no one but myself.

    • Happy birthday, Linux: 27 years

      Linux celebrates another birthday today—27 years! And we couldn’t be more pleased to share in the excitement. Many of our readers are Linux users, fans, nerds… the list of adjectives describing them goes on. What would you call yourself?

      I’d say I’m a Linux newbie with mad respect. On the technical side, I installed Linux for the first time in 2014. On the community side, I’ve been working with Linux folks for six years as an editor for Opensource.com. Because we gather and publish articles from the great, wide community of users out there, I meet and get to know hundreds of Linux users from all walks of life, of all ages and stages on their Linux journey. It’s a fascinating world, because Linux is eating the world with its millions of users, but also because Linux users are a passionate bunch. They feel that they’re on to something special. And they are.

    • Linus Torvalds announced the first version of what became Linux in 1991

      Linux, a free and open-source software operating system, was built around Linux Kernel, the central part of Linux operating systems, Android and Chrome OS. It all begun, when Linus Torvalds started working on his own operating system kernel in 1991. Linus Benedict Torvalds, a Finnish-American software engineer, was studying computer science at University of Helsinki. Linus wrote the program specifically for the hardware he was using and developed it on MINIX using the GNU C Compiler. Torvalds ended up writing an operating system kernel and announced it by posting to the newsgroup “comp.os.minix.” on 25 August 1991. Linux gained importance in 1992 after the X Window System was ported to Linux by Orest Zborowski.

    • Happy Birthday, Linux!

      Happy Birthday, Linux! It’s 27 years since Linus Torvalds’ famous Linux announcement of his (now hugely influential) open source operating system.

    • 27 Interesting Facts about Linux

      In honour of Linux’s birthday here’s a list 27 interesting facts about Linux, its creator Linus Torvalds, and the impact his “hobby” OS has had on the world.

      Since its creation back in 1991, the open source Unix-like operating system has gone on to revolutionise the world, empower startups, birth new industries, and help in the creation of new types of gadgets and technologies.

    • What was the most important moment in the history of Linux?

      Today Linux powers so much of the world’s infrastructure that it’s honestly hard to think of an industry that hasn’t been significantly shaped by its progress. From banks to healthcare giants to airlines, to almost all of the most popular websites in use today, and perhaps even the phone in your pocket, the world runs on Linux.

    • Intel Has Also Relicensed Their FSP Binaries: A Big Win To Coreboot, LinuxBoot

      There’s some good news beyond Intel’s CPU microcode re-licensing to clear up the confusion among users and developers this week: Intel is also re-licensing their FSP binaries to this same shorter and much more concise license.

      The FSP “Firmware Support Package” binaries used by the likes of Coreboot, LinuxBoot, and Facebook’s Open Compute Project is under this same license now as the CPU microcode files. The FSP bits have been closed-source for several generations but are used by Coreboot and friends for allowing their “BIOS” to be as open as possible otherwise. The Intel Firmware Support Package is basically the firmware that initializes the processor, memory controller, chipset, and other certain bits that unfortunately don’t have open-source initialization code available.

    • Linux Kernel Getting Better Support For The Apple Magic Keyboards

      The Magic Keyboard that was introduced by Apple in 2015 is seeing improved Linux support with a new kernel patch that’s pending.

      The Apple Magic Keyboard has worked with Linux already when using the USB-based connection, but not Bluetooth (though some have managed workarounds). Additionally, the Apple Magic Keyboard having the numeric keypad hasn’t worked with either USB or Bluetooth.

    • Linux Kernel And Its Functions

      People use Linux every day. Today almost all electronic products are built on Linux and the most popular ones are Android devices. Every day almost 850,000 Android devices are activated which is the largest compared to any other mobile devices manufacturer such as Windows phone, iPhone etc. It’s not just smartphones that Linux runs but every other gadget from your TV to a refrigerator is running on Linux. So how is this all possible and what is Linux all about? Let’s talk about this.
      Before identifying the main functions that the famous Linux Kernel has, it is vital to define what is the Linux Kernel.

    • A Global Switch To Kill Linux’s CPU Spectre/Meltdown Workarounds?

      Something I have seen asked in our forums and elsewhere — most recently on the kernel mailing list — is whether there is a single kernel option that can be used for disabling all of the Spectre/Meltdown workarounds and any other performance-hurting CPU vulnerability workarounds.

      With many of the mitigation patches for these speculative execution vulnerabilities hitting many processors these days, there’s often a measurable “performance tax” associated with them. Fortunately, for most of the mitigations they can be disabled at run-time via various options.

    • WireGuard Takes Another Step Towards The Mainline Linux Kernel

      Jason Donenfeld who has now spent years working on WireGuard as an in-kernel, secure network tunnel sent out a second version of his kernel patches on Friday.

      At the end of July he sent out the initial kernel patches for review and following that month worth of feedback he now has V2. The revised work includes splitting up some of the Zinc crypto code, code clean-ups, and other low-level improvements to this code.

    • IBM Posts Initial Patches For Linux Secure Virtual Machine On POWER

      IBM developers on Friday posted their initial Linux kernel patches for enabling Secure Virtual Machine (SVM) support with POWER hardware.

      These “request for comments” patches are their preliminary work on supporting Secure Virtual Machines on POWER.. The goal is on making the guest’s memory inaccessible to the hypervisor, similar to the work done by AMD for EPYC CPUs with Secure Encrypted Virtualization and as well some work by Intel for their CPUs.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Performance and Scalability Systems Microconference Accepted into 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference

        Core counts keep rising, and that means that the Linux kernel continues to encounter interesting performance and scalability issues. Which is not a bad thing, since it has been fifteen years since the “free lunch” of exponential CPU-clock frequency increases came to an abrupt end. During that time, the number of hardware threads per socket has risen sharply, approaching 100 for some high-end implementations. In addition, there is much more to scaling than simply larger numbers of CPUs.

    • Graphics Stack

      • RadeonSI Gets Patches For OpenGL 4.5 Compat, Workaround For No Man’s Sky On Steam Play

        Valve open-source Linux GPU driver developer Timothy Arceri has spent a lot of time in recent months improving the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver’s OpenGL compatibility profile support. Now there are patches taking it up to par with the core profile context support.

        With the imminent Mesa 18.2 release the RadeonSI OpenGL compatibility profile support has gone from OpenGL 3.2 to OpenGL 4.4 thanks to Arceri, Marek at AMD, and other contributors. This Friday morning Timothy has now posted patches bumping it to OpenGL 4.5.

      • RadeonSI Gets Another Handful Of OpenGL Extensions, Mirroring The PRO Driver’s Behavior

        Prolific Mesa contributor Marek Olšák has landed support for more OpenGL / OpenGL ES extensions into the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver.

      • AMD Posts Open-Source Vulkan Driver Code For Vega 12 GPU

        AMD developers have done their weekly code drop to their official open-source Linux Vulkan driver code. This week there are fixes while most interesting is initial support for the yet-to-launch Vega 12 graphics processor.

      • Looks like AMD just open sourced their V-EZ Vulkan wrapper

        When they initially announced V-EZ, they said it would be closed source and they would be working with “professional ISVs who would benefit from acquiring the source code”.

        I’ve seen a lot of developers mention how Vulkan really is a much more complex beast, which makes sense since it’s supposed to be closer to the hardware than OpenGL with a smaller, leaner driver giving developers more power and control. That’s not great for everyone though, so projects like this are still going to be useful. Previously, their GitHub page said “V-EZ is not aimed at game developers.”, however they seem to have removed that now too.

      • weston 5.0.0

        This is the official release of weston 5.0.0.

      • Wayland 1.16 Released, Likely The Last Time-Based Release, Plus Weston 5.0

        Current Wayland/Weston release manager Derek Foreman of Samsung OSG today announced the release of Wayland 1.16 as well as the Weston 5.0 reference compositor.

        Wayland 1.16 brings build system updates, drops the wl_buffer definition, the protocol now supports a zero physical size output, and other small work… Really nothing too major in Wayland 1.16.

      • mesa 18.1.7

        Mesa 18.1.7 is now available for general consumption. This release has been rather small compared to the last few release, There’s just a handful of fixes in total. Meson, radv, anv, gallium winsys, intel, i965, and r600 were the only recipients of fixs this go around.

      • Mesa 18.1.7 Released With Few Bug Fixes

        Mesa 18.1.7 ships with the last two weeks worth of fixes in the Mesa stable space. But overall this isn’t nearly as big as past Mesa 18.1 point releases. Mesa 18.1.7 has some minor fixes to R600 Gallium3D, Intel i965, RADV Vulkan driver fixes, the Doom workaround has been back-ported to RADV, and a variety of other fixes.’

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Akademy, Akadeyou
      • Akademy Group Photo Automator

        Every year we take a group photo at Akademy and then me or one of the Kennies manually marks up the faces so people can tag them and we can know who we all are and build community. This is quite old school effort so this year I followed a mangazine tutorial and made Akademy Group Photo Automator to do it. This uses an AI library called face_recognition to do the hard work and Docker to manage the hard work and spits out the necessary HTML. It was a quick attempt and I’m not sure it did much good in the end alas. The group photos tend to be quite disorganised and whoever takes it upon themselves to direct it each year makes basic mistakes like putting everyone on a flat stage or making everyone wave their hands about which means many of the faces are half covered and not recognised. And it seems like the library is not a fan of glasses. It also outputs rect coordinates rather than circle ones which ment Kenny had to do many adjustments. Still it’s an interesting quick dive into a new area for me and maybe next year I’ll get it smoother.

      • A GNOME dev enters an Akademy and…

        And so three days later we traveled to Wien to meet with the KDE community. On arrival, we were pleased by a friendly and joyful ambient on the pre-registration party, which had no registration at all! We were happy to know these issues don’t happen only at GUADEC.

      • postmarketOS at Akademy 2018

        Two weeks ago was Akademy 2018, KDE’s yearly gathering to talk about and develop all things KDE. Since Plasma Mobile (which we have packaged) was of course also represented, a few members of the postmarketOS team decided to attend and meet each other for the first time! @ollieparanoid even took it upon himself to hold a talk about our project, telling everyone what it’s about and what progress has been made since the start. You can view the slides here and this blog post will be updated to include a link to the video of the talk once Akademy’s recordings are put online.

        Besides our own talk, our friend @bshah from Plasma Mobile also had a talk about the progress on running the mainline kernel rather than libhybris or Halium to achieve fully working hardware (slides are available as well). We used this oppertunity to talk with the Plasma Mobile team directly and discuss the future and exchange ideas.

        Also present was TL Lim from PINE64 who kindly offered several of us dev-kits for the Pine A64 including a touch screen, so we can develop postmarketOS on it. Watch out for a port coming to that device!

      • KDE Itinerary – Overview

        As introduced in the previous post there has been some work going on to explore a privacy-by-design alternative to digital travel assitant services like provided by Google or TripIt.

        While probably not noticed by many users, the first building blocks for this have been added in the 17.12 and 18.04 application releases already, and a lot more is coming with 18.08. The following provides an overview of the components that have been extended or created as part of this effort.

      • KDE PIM Junior Jobs are opened!

        Do you want to help us improve your favorite PIM suite but you were always scared by its size and complexity? Well, fear no more! We have collected a bunch of simple and isolated tasks in various parts of the PIM suite that require none or just very basic understanding of how the entire Kontact and Akonadi machinery works. We have documented them and we are prepared to guide you and help you to accomplish the tasks. Those are small simple tasks, but they will make many users (and PIM developers) very very happy.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GUADEC 2018

        I was a bit anxious about the travel, It was my first time flying and not only that but I had to spent the night in the Airport due to departure being at 6am. The flights went smoothly and I arrived at Málaga in the evening. Afterwards I took a bus to get to Almeria, it was a pleasant surprise to find out that other gnomies were also on board.

        [...]

        By far the thing I enjoyed the most from GUADEC was the social events. Talking with people about all sorts of thing and seeing perspectives of others from all around the world was a magical experience and though-provoking. I don’t really like going to the beach, but I loved both the beach party and the Sandcastle BoFs. The visit to the Alcazaba Castle and the Flamenco show afterwards was absolutely delightful too.

  • Distributions

    • DuZeru OS: As Easy as It Gets

      DuZeru isn’t going to blow your mind — it’s not that kind of distribution. What it does do is prove that simplicity on the desktop can go a long, long way to winning over new users. So if you’re looking for a solid and simple Linux distribution, that’s perfectly suited for new users, you should certainly consider this flavor of Linux.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Maxta Introduces A Hyperconverged Red Hat Virtualization Offering

        On August 22nd, Maxta Inc announced a pre-configured system of Red Hat Virtualization software and Maxta Hyperconvergence software bundled together on Intel Data Center Blocks hardware. Maxta specializes in hyperconverged software like this and will be demoing it next week at VMworld, booth #1518.

      • Red Hat infrastructure migration solution for proprietary and siloed infrastructure

        Red Hat recently introduced its infrastructure migration solution to help provide an open pathway to digital transformation. Red Hat infrastructure migration solution provides an enterprise-ready pathway to cloud-native application development via Linux containers, Kubernetes, automation, and other open source technologies. It helps organizations to accelerate transformation by more safely migrating and managing workload to an open source infrastructure platform, thus reducing cost and speeding innovation.

      • OVS-DPDK: Migrating to vhostuser socket mode in Red Hat OpenStack

        In the Newton release, the default vhostuser mode in Open vSwitch (OvS) is dpdkvhostuser. In Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10 GA, and subsequent updates till 29th June, the default vhostuser mode is dpdkvhostuser. With the latest update to OSP10 (post 29th June 2018), the default mode has been changed to dpdkvhostuserclient. This post provides the information on vhostuser migration and verifying the vhostuser modes of the VMs created with dpdkvhostuser mode.

        In order to understand the difference between the two modes and the advantage of moving to dpdkvhostuserclient mode, read the OvS documentation onvhostuser modes. In short, vhostuser allows Qemu to fetch/put network data to OvS-DPDK without overloading Qemu with the translation. And the vhostuser socket is a UNIX domain socket, created to establish the communication between Qemu and OvS-DPDK. This communication follows a specific messaging format detailed in theQemu’s vhost user document.

      • 2018 C-Suite Award Winners (AH)
      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Flock 2018 Reflections

          Flock 2018 is going down in my books as another successful and wonderful Fedora conference! This year Flock to Fedora was held in Dresden, Germany, August 8-11th. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of this community for another year, and to have the chance to see the impact my contributions make. This year, I attended with the determination to interact more with different parts of the community outside of Fedora design. I made it my goal to liaise with people from other teams to hear their experiences, stories, and to learn how Fedora Badges could help improve each initiative and the project as a whole. Overall, I think I was successful in this venture and would like to share some of the experiences I had.

        • FPgM report: 2018-34
        • 1000 downloads of Scribus unstable in COPR Fedora 28

          What a surprise to see 1000 download of Fedora 28 repository for Scribus Unstable! Thanks a million.

        • Meet Fedora at FrOSCon 2018!
    • Debian Family

      • Debian/TeX Live updates 20180724

        Exactly one month has passed since the last TeX Live for Debian update, so here we are with the usual bunch. Besides the usual updates to macros and font packages, this time I also uploaded a new set of binaries for TeX Live which incorporates several bug fixes to programs.

      • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, July 2018

        Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

      • Debian LTS work, July 2018
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Cosmic Cuttlefish (to be 18.10) feature freeze

            As per the release schedule, Cosmic is now in Feature Freeze.

          • Feature Development Is Over On Ubuntu 18.10

            Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” is now under a feature freeze to focus on bug-fixing ahead of the October debut of this next Ubuntu Linux installment.

            Developers should be now working on just fixing bugs/regressions and not new features, but feature freeze exceptions are possible in certain circumstances.

            Ubuntu developer Steve Langasek announced the start today of the feature freeze. Ubuntu 18.10 is aiming for an 18 October release and for that to be the UI freeze is coming up next on 13 September, the beta release on 27 September, and the kernel freeze on 4 October.

          • Canonical Outs Major Linux Kernel Updates for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

            Canonical released today a bunch of major Linux kernel updates for all supported Ubuntu releases to address more than 50 security vulnerabilities affecting various kernel components.

            The new kernel security updates are now available for users of the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) operating system series on 32-bit, 64-bit, Raspberry Pi 2, Amazon Web Services (AWS) systems, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) systems, and cloud environments.

          • Ubuntu Membership Board call for nominations

            As you may know, Ubuntu Membership is a recognition of significant and sustained contribution to Ubuntu and the Ubuntu community. To this end, the Community Council recruits from our current member community for the valuable role of reviewing and evaluating the contributions of potential members to bring them on board or assist with having them achieve this goal.

            We have five members of our boards expiring from their terms, which means we need to do some restaffing of this Membership Board.

            [...]

            To nominate yourself or somebody else (please confirm they wish to accept the nomination and state you have done so), please send a mail to the membership boards mailing list (ubuntu-membership-boards at lists.ubuntu.com). You will want to include some information about the nominee, a Launchpad profile link, and which time slot (20:00 or 22:00) the nominee will be able to participate in.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • How NFV deployments are driven by open source projects

    There is growing demand for efficient networks with low latency and high bandwidth to support innovations such as autonomous cars, connected devices, machine learning, augmented and virtual reality, and real-time analytics.

    To satisfy this demand, communication service providers and telecom operators are adopting new telecom architectures enabled with software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV). These systems provide faster networks, centralized control, and faster deployment of new services as network function devices turn into software packages called virtual network functions (VNFs) to reduce capital and operating expenditures. With NFV and SDN, many service providers are shifting toward multi-featured 5G networks, which are ideal for the latest technology demands.

  • Nova is an open-source video player for phones, tablets, and Android TV

    inding the perfect media player on the platform you like to enjoy watching or listening to content on can be a pain in the butt. I remember this being such a hassle on the desktop PC until VLC came around, and now most of the people in the know either use it or MPC-HC. Then people began watching more content on their smartphones, and again, it led to a huge search for the go-to application to use. For a long time, this ended up being an application called MX Player, which has been downloaded by over 500,000 million users. As people have begun to move away from MX Player, a new open-source video player has emerged and it is being called Nova.

    So you may wonder if MX Player had such a strong following then why are so many people looking for alternatives? We see this from time to time though. An application gets so big that some feel it becomes bloated with features, and some feel the updates aren’t pushed out fast enough, or a recent user update has tarnished the experience. However, in the case of Android’s most popular media player, it was actually when MX Player was all of a sudden acquired by a media giant in India. This started to worry people because once a popular application gets acquired, the parent company almost always ruins what made it so great.

  • 8 Best Kodi Live TV Addons For Streaming Live Channels | Working Addons 2018

    Kodi is one of the most popular media players mainly because of its versatility. With the help of Kodi addons, you can use the XBMC owned media player for streaming movies, music and even games. It is an open source software that is free to use, and with new Kodi repositories coming by the day, the versatility of Kodi is increasing.

  • Software freedom for the modern era

    True software freedom for this age: you can get the source code of a service you use, and can set it up on your own server. You can also get all your data from the service, and migrate it to another service (hosted by you or someone else). Futher, all of this needs to be easy, fast, and cheap enough to be feasible, and there can’t be “network effects” that lock you into a specific service instance.

  • Startup Taps into Open-Source Operating System Shift
  • Events

    • It’s The Season For A Lot Of Interesting Linux / Open-Source Conferences

      There’s been a number of recent Linux/open-source conferences but more are right on the horizon, including some with video streams for those interested.

      Earlier this month in Boston was Red Hat’s DevConf.us. If you are interested in that free Linux conference, the video sessions from there are now uploaded on YouTube.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Support Localization – Top 20 Sprint and More

        It’s time to update you about the current status of the localization clean up initiative proposed a while ago. After an initial outreach to hundreds of previously registered contributors around Mozilla, small groups of still active localizers were asked to try and reach the goal of localizing the Top 20 articles into their language.

      • This Week in Mixed Reality: Issue 17, Hubs Edition

        As I do every week, I was going to say it’s mostly be bug fixing. However this week the big news is our update to Hubs, Mozilla’s VR chat system. You can now share any kind of media within Hubs: PDFs, images, music, and even Youtube videos.

      • Bias and Hiring: How We Hire UX Researchers

        This year, the Firefox User Research team is planning to add two new researchers to our group. The job posting went live last month, and after just a few weeks of accepting applications, we had over 900 people apply.

        Current members of the Firefox User Research Team fielded dozens of messages from prospective applicants during this time, most asking for informational meetings to discuss the open role. We decided as a team to decline these requests across the board because we did not have the bandwidth for the number of meetings requested, and more importantly we have spent a significant amount of time this year working on minimizing bias in our hiring process.

        We felt that meeting with candidates outside of the formal hiring process would give unfair advantage to some candidates and undermine our de-biasing work. At the same time, in alignment with Mozilla’s values and to build on Mozilla’s diversity and inclusion disclosures from earlier this year, we realized there was an opportunity to be more transparent about our hiring process for the benefit of future job applicants and teams inside and outside Mozilla thinking about how they can minimize bias in their own hiring.

      • Skill Tree Balancing with a Job Move

        I’m moving from Research to Cloud Ops within Mozilla. The following wall of text and silly picture are a brain dump of new ideas about skills and career growth that I’ve built through the process.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • The Commons Clause – Helpful New Tool or the End of the Open Source as We Know it?

      Almost nothing inspires a spirited discussion among the open source faithful as much as introducing a new open source license, or a major change in an existing license’s terms. In the case of version 3 of the GPL, the update process took years and involved dozens of lawyers in addition to community members. So, it’s no surprise that the pot is already boiling over something called the “Commons Clause.” How energetically? Well, one blog entry posted yesterday was titled The Commons Clause Will Destroy Open Source. The spark that turned up the heat was the announcement the same day by RedisLabs that it was adopting the license language.

      The clause itself is short (you can find it here, together with an explanatory FAQ). It was drafted by Heather Meeker, an attorney with long open source involvement, in conjunction with “a group of developers behind many of the world’s most popular open source projects.”

      It’s also simple in concept: basically, it gives a developer the right to make sure no one can make money out of her code – whether by selling, hosting, or supporting it – unless the Commons Clause code is a minor part of a larger software product. In one way, that’s in the spirit of a copyleft license (i.e., a prohibition on commercial interests taking advantage of a programmer’s willingness to make her code available for free), but it also violates the “Four Freedoms” of Free and Open Source software as well as the Open Source Definition by placing restrictions on reuse, among other issues.

    • Complicating Licensing

      I’ve recently seen a couple of attempts to present non-open source licensing as almost open source. What I’m talking about is Commons Clause and fair source. This sounds a lot like the failed shared source model promoted by companies such as Microsoft in the early 2000. Yes, I’m looking at you redis and neo4j.

      What I find particularly disturbing is the way that both, but especially Commons Clause, attempts to piggyback on the good name of open source. The naming is very close to Creative Commons, and the way that the clause is intended to be introduced is very confusing for the user as the user would see a familiar open source license, and then just a “small” exception.

      I would argue that the way to go about this is to combine a strong copyleft license such as GPLv3, LGPLv3 or AGPLv3, with a CLA. That way a dual licensing model could be used to create a business model. If that is not possible, the [A/L]GPLv3 needs to be improved – not complicated by additional clauses added by a third party.

  • BSD

    • OpenSSH 7.8 released

      OpenSSH 7.8 is out. It includes a fix for the username enumeration vulnerability; additionally, the default format for the private key file has changed, support for running ssh setuid root has been removed, a couple of new signature algorithms have been added, and more.

    • OpenBSD Foundation gets first 2018 Iridium donation!

      This year the first $100K+ donation came from Handshake (https://www.handshake.org).

    • Remote Access Console using Raspberry Pi 3b+ and FreeBSD

      I have a small homelab and I was looking into some sort of KVM console to be able to access them both locally and remotely instead of moving around VGA cables/serial cables.

      Those are rather expensive so I opted to build my own remote access system. Since all my servers and switch(es) have a serial console that should not be to hard.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Deutsche Bahn Intercity software under EUPL

      This software, distributed under the EUPL, is the open European Train Control System (OpenETCS), the signalling and control component of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). It is kind of positive train control, replacing the many incompatible safety systems previously used by European railways. It is becoming a standard that was also adopted outside Europe and is an option for worldwide application. It is managed by the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) and it is a legal requirement that all new, upgraded or renewed tracks and rolling stock in the European railway system should adopt it, possibly keeping legacy systems for backward compatibility

  • Programming/Development

    • Go 1.11 is released

      Who says releasing on Friday is a bad idea?

      Today the Go team is happy to announce the release of Go 1.11. You can get it from the download page.

      There are many changes and improvements to the toolchain, runtime, and libraries, but two features stand out as being especially exciting: modules and WebAssembly support.

      This release adds preliminary support for a new concept called “modules,” an alternative to GOPATH with integrated support for versioning and package distribution. Module support is considered experimental, and there are still a few rough edges to smooth out, so please make liberal use of the issue tracker.

    • Go 1.11 Released With WebAssembly Port, Assembler Accepting AVX-512 Instructions

      Version 1.11 of the Go programming language is out this Friday as the newest feature update.

    • Project Template for Bison and Flex
    • littler 0.3.4: More updated examples

      The fifth release of littler as a CRAN package is now available, following in the now more than ten-year history as a package started by Jeff in 2006, and joined by me a few weeks later.

      littler is the first command-line interface for R and predates Rscript. And it is (in my very biased eyes) better as it allows for piping as well shebang scripting via #!, uses command-line arguments more consistently and still starts faster. It also always loaded the methods package which Rscript converted to rather recently.

      littler lives on Linux and Unix, has its difficulties on macOS due to yet-another-braindeadedness there (who ever thought case-insensitive filesystems as a default where a good idea?) and simply does not exist on Windows (yet — the build system could be extended — see RInside for an existence proof, and volunteers are welcome!).

    • LLVM 7.0 RC2 Along With The Updated Clang Can Be Tested This Weekend

      LLVM release manager Hans Wennborg tagged the second release candidate this week of LLVM and its associated sub-projects like Clang.

      LLVM 7.0-RC2 has seen “a bunch of merges” for fixing the initial fall-out from the past six months worth of development on this compiler stack. Several bugs were fixed in the process. At least from some recent tests I did on the branched LLVM/Clang 7.0 code, it’s been working out great on several Linux x86_64 boxes.

Leftovers

  • Triumph Of Greed Over Arithmetic

    It gets worse. S3 is by no means the low-cost provider in the storage market. If we assume that the competition is Backblaze’s B2 service at $0.06/GB/yr and that their Kryder rate is zero, FileCoin would need to store 428PB for 10 years before breaking even. Nearly half an Exabyte for a decade!

  • Science

    • Kids are glued to their screens – but parents are in no position to criticize

      And more than half of teens said they often or sometimes find their parents or caregivers to be distracted by their electronic devices when the youngsters are trying to have a conversation with them. The study calls teens’ relationship with their phones at times “hyperconnected” and notes that nearly three-quarters check messages or notifications as soon as they wake up. Parents do the same, but at a lower, if still substantial, rate of 57%.

  • Hardware

    • [Old] Intel settlement: The power of email

      Intel’s rebate payments to Dell maxed out that fiscal quarter, February to April 2006, at $805 million, according to the Cuomo complaint. That figure represented 104% of Dell’s net income for the quarter. (Do these sound like traditional, volume discounts to you, reader?) Nevertheless, Dell capitulated in May and announced plans to introduce one line of AMD-powered servers. Intel’s payments to Dell that quarter dropped to $554 million (which, nevertheless, constituted 116% of Dell’s quarterly net). In August 2006, Dell actually started shipping AMD-powered servers, and in September it unveiled plans to introduce other AMD-powered lines of PCs. The next quarter, its rebate dropped to $200 million.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Dominican Republic Appeals WTO Plain Packaging Decision

      The Dominican Republic has followed Honduras in appealing a decision by a World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel that found Australia’s tobacco plain packaging law to be allowable under WTO rules. Cuba and Indonesia also had cases against Australia but so far have not appealed.

      The details of the Dominican Republic’s appeal are not yet available from the WTO, and are expected in the coming days. The appeal, WT/DS441/23, will be found here when available.

      The tobacco-producing Caribbean nation had filed a WTO case against Australia in July 2012, and focused on alleged trademark and geographical indications violations. The original filing, WT/DS441/1, is available here.

  • Security

    • Intel ditches Linux patch benchmark ‘gag’, offers ‘innocuous’ new license

      Intel has ditched a controversial licensing agreement that appeared aimed at legally preventing developers from publishing benchmark results that could reveal performance slowdowns caused by its recent security patches.

      As ZDNet reported yesterday, the chip maker was criticized by open-source champion Bruce Perens for slipping new restrictions into the software agreement for maintainers of Linux distributions such as Debian and Ubuntu.

      The changes in license terms came with microcode updates to mitigate Spectre and Foreshadow, or L1 Terminal Fault (L1TF), speculative attacks.

    • No, a Teen Did Not Hack a State Election

      Headlines from Def Con, a hacking conference held this month in Las Vegas, might have left some thinking that infiltrating state election websites and affecting the 2018 midterm results would be child’s play.

      Articles reported that teenage hackers at the event were able to “crash the upcoming midterm elections” and that it had taken “an 11-year-old hacker just 10 minutes to change election results.” A first-person account by a 17-year-old in Politico Magazine described how he shut down a website that would tally votes in November, “bringing the election to a screeching halt.”

      But now, elections experts are raising concerns that misunderstandings about the event — many of them stoked by its organizers — have left people with a distorted sense of its implications.

      In a website published before r00tz Asylum, the youth section of Def Con, organizers indicated that students would attempt to hack exact duplicates of state election websites, referring to them as “replicas” or “exact clones.” (The language was scaled back after the conference to simply say “clones.”)

    • If It Doesn’t Have Paper Backups and Automatic Audits, It’s Not an Election Security Bill

      Right now, the U.S. Senate is debating an issue that’s critical to our democratic future: secure elections. Hacking attacks were used to try to undermine the 2016 U.S. election, and in recent years, elections in Latin America and Ukraine were also subject to cyber attacks.

      It only makes sense to harden the security of U.S. voting machines, which are perhaps the most direct route to impacting an election’s results. But the current bill that’s advancing in the Senate, the Secure Elections Act, is no solution at all. If it isn’t strengthened dramatically, senators should vote against this deeply flawed bill.

      The best solution to stop a possible hack of voting machines is clear: all machines must use a paper trail that’s regularly audited. Many states with voting machines already use paper, but more than a dozen are using at least some machines that provide no paper trail. In five states—New Jersey, Delaware, South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana—not a single jurisdiction has a paper trail.

    • OpenBSD Co-Founder Drops Hyper-Threading Support to Mitigate Foreshadow Attacks

      Theo de Raadt, an OpenBSD co-founder has officially announced that the open-source operating system will not utilize Hyper-threading for Intel processors. He complains that Intel isn’t telling them about upcoming discovered threats and the steps that an OS developer needs to take to mitigate against TLBleed and T1TF; otherwise known as “Foreshadow.” He has dropped support for older versions of OpenBSD and asks users to upgrade to version 6.4 as he doesn’t have the manpower to backport the changes.

    • Intel Hyper-Threading Accused of Being a Security Threat

      Following the reveal of the Foreshadow (L1TF) Intel CPU flaw, as well as the previous TLBleed flaw, Theo de Raadt, founder of OpenBSD, which makes a free, multi-platform, UNIX-like operating system, recommended everyone completely disable Intel’s Hyper-Threading in BIOS before hackers start taking advantage of it.

      [...]

      We’ve seen over the past few months that the Meltdown and Spectre flaws were not a one-time vulnerability that we could patch once and then forget about. Multiple Spectre-like speculative execution flaws have been found since Meltdown and Spectre was revealed earlier this year, and chances are we’ll continue to see more of them until the entire class of speculative execution bugs are fixed at the CPU architecture level.

      de Raadt also believes that Hyper-Threading itself will exacerbate most of the speculative execution bugs in the future, which is why now is the best time to disable it. He also recommended updating your BIOS firmware if you can.

      The OpenBSD founder criticized Intel over not being very transparent about how it intends to fix these speculative execution flaws once and for all and also about not properly documenting which operating systems are supposed to do to mitigate these bugs. The OpenBSD team had to learn how to research and develop their own mitigations based on what other operating systems were doing without much help from Intel.

    • Intel Reworks Microcode Security Fix License after Backlash, Intel’s FSP Binaries Also Re-licensed, Valve Releases Beta of Steam Play for Linux, Chromebooks Running Linux 3.4 or Older Won’t Get Linux App Support and Windows 95 Now an App
    • T-Mobile Hacked Again: Over 2 Millions Account Numbers and Addresses Potentially Leaked

      Attackers may have compromised three percent of T-Mobile’s 77 million customers on Monday, revealing personal information like addresses, phone numbers, and account numbers.

      Credit cards, passwords, and social security numbers were not accessed, according to T-Mobile. The company will notify affected customers via text message.

    • T-Mobile hack may have exposed data of 2 million customers

      T-Mobile has revealed that hackers may have stolen the personal information of some of its customers.

      The intrusion took place on Monday, and some customer data “may have been exposed” before the carrier’s cybersecurity team shut off access and reported the breach to law enforcement, it said in a statement.

    • Securing google-authenticator-libpam against reading secrets

      I have recently worked on enabling 2-step authentication via SSH on the Gentoo developer machine. I have selected google-authenticator-libpam amongst different available implementations as it seemed the best maintained and having all the necessary features, including a friendly tool for users to configure it. However, its design has a weakness: it stores the secret unprotected in user’s home directory.

      This means that if an attacker manages to gain at least temporary access to the filesystem with user’s privileges — through a malicious process, vulnerability or simply because someone left the computer unattended for a minute — he can trivially read the secret and therefore clone the token source without leaving a trace. It would completely defeat the purpose of the second step, and the user may not even notice until the attacker makes real use of the stolen secret.

    • A Rant on Single Function Security Tools
    • Mirai Variant Cross-Compiles Attack Code with Aboriginal Linux [Ed: This malware relies on systems being compromised in the first place, e.g. due to default password that's uniform]
    • Mirai IoT Malware Variant Abuses Linux Cross-Compilation Framework
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Zimbabwe ambassador to Senegal found dead in Dakar

      Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Senegal and The Gambia, Trudy Stevenson, has been found dead in Dakar on Friday.

      The 73-year-old diplomat was reportedly discovered at her residence by her chauffeur when he reported for duty.

      The Zimbabwean foreign affairs and international trade ministry confirmed the death of the diplomat, but could not shed more light, saying government was yet to talk to the family.

      “It is true Ms Stevenson has passed, but we are yet to get in contact with all the relatives,” an official in the ministry said.

    • Zim ambassador to Senegal found dead in Dakar
    • US Military Admits It Killed Dozens More Civilians Than Previously Acknowledged. Now What?

      In June and July, the US-led Coalition of countries fighting the armed group calling itself the Islamic State admitted that reports of civilian casualties it had previously dismissed as “not credible” were, in fact, correct: in its assault on Raqqa, Syria, last year, Coalition forces had killed at least 77 civilians, as documented earlier this year by Amnesty International. The Coalition also acknowledged that an attack on a school near Raqqa had likewise killed dozens of civilians, as documented by Human Rights Watch – a claim also previously dismissed as “not credible.”

      This grim news represents a step forward of sorts for the Coalition. Previous reports of civilian deaths at the hands of U.S. or Coalition forces by Amnesty, the United Nations and other human rights organizations had been dismissed out of hand. When Amnesty, where I work, reported on civilians killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, for example, we received no response at all. That may have been because the government would not even acknowledge it had engaged in drone strikes in the country—regardless, it left deaths publicly uncounted.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Reality Winner Will Spend Five Years In Jail For Leaking Info Government Officials Released Publicly

      This is the longest sentence ever imposed under the Espionage Act. And it’s being imposed for a leaked document confirming much of what had been been discussed publicly by intelligence officials: that Russia interfered with the 2016 election. Winner will spend five years in jail for leaking information other government officials have published in full.

      Espionage charges are easy to prosecute. The defendant’s options are limited. They’re unable to raise defenses about serving the public interest or acting as whistleblowers. This was document turned over to a media agency. This was not a document detailing crucial national security matters being handed to agents of an unfriendly government.

      Winner isn’t a martyr, but neither is she the despicable villain portrayed in the DOJ’s official statement on its easy win. Twice the statement reminds us her act was not a “victimless crime.” In case we’re unable to get the point, it’s delivered in all caps once. Bold print highlights various incidentals the US Attorney thinks are particularly nefarious — like Winner KNOWINGLY disseminating a document with TOP SECRET printed across the top of it even though it EXPOSED SOURCES AND METHODS and it will apparently take the US intelligence community years to recover.

    • Former MI6 spy v WikiLeaks editor: Who really deserves 1st Amendment protection?

      If ‘Dirty Dossier’ author Christopher Steele deserves protection under the 1st Amendment but WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange doesn’t, then the concept of a free press is merely a distant memory.
      While it is all too easy to become frustrated and annoyed by what passes for news in the legacy media these days, this article in the Daily Mail did arouse my particular ire earlier this week – and in this instance no particular blame attaches to the newspaper, it is simply reporting some unpalatable facts.

      The gist of it is that former British MI6 intelligence officer and current mercenary spy-for-hire, Christopher Steele, author of the discredited ‘Dirty Dossier’ about Donald Trump, has been accorded First Amendment rights in a court case in the USA.

      You might wonder why this article caused me so much spluttering annoyance over my breakfast? Steele’s treatment is in marked contrast to that accorded to WikiLeaks Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Julian Assange, and the hypocrisy is breathtaking. Allow me to expound.

    • Julian Assange and the Fate of Journalism

      Julian Assange is the Australian founder of Wikileaks—a website dedicated to the public’s right to know what governments and other powerful organizations are doing. Wikileaks pursues this goal by posting revelatory documents, often acquired unofficially, that bring to light the criminal behavior that results in wars and other man-made disasters. Because Wikileaks’ very existence encourages “leaks,” government officials fear the website, and particularly dislike Julian Assange.

      Essentially, Wikileaks functions as a wholesale supplier of evidence. Having identified alleged official misconduct, Wikileaks seeks to acquire and make public overwhelming amounts of evidence—sometimes hundreds of thousands of documents at a time—which journalists and other interested parties can draw upon. And since the individuals and organizations being investigated are ones ultimately responsible to the public, such a role as wholesale supplier of evidence can be seen as a public service.

    • Ecuador leaves Venezuelan-run regional alliance

      Ecuador has withdrawn from a regional bloc led by Venezuela in a bid to further distance itself from that country’s socialist government.

      Foreign minister Jose Valencia said on Thursday that Ecuador has decided to abandon the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, or ALBA, immediately because Ecuador wants to be “independent” of organizations that are trying to impose “specific views” on Latin America’s social and political issues.

      ALBA was created in 2004 by the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in a bid to counter U.S. influence in the region. It currently has 12 members that include Nicaragua, Bolivia, Cuba and several small Caribbean islands.

    • Let a hundred WikiLeaks blossom

      When WikiLeaks exploded onto the scene a decade ago, it briefly seemed like the internet could create a truly open society. Since then, Big Brother has fought back.

      Every day now, we hear complaints about the growing control of digital media, often from people who apparently believe the concept was originally an unregulated free-for-all.

      However, let’s remember the origin of internet. Back in the 1960s, the US Army was thinking about how to maintain communications among surviving units in the event that a global nuclear war destroyed central command. Eventually, the idea emerged of laterally connecting these dispersed units, bypassing the (destroyed) center.

      Thus, from the very beginning, the internet contained a democratic potential since it allowed multiple direct exchanges between individual units, bypassing central control and coordination – and this inherent feature presented a threat for those in power. As a result, their principle reaction was to control the digital “clouds” that mediate communication between individuals.

      “Clouds” in all their forms are, of course, presented to us as facilitators of our freedom. After all, they make it possible for me to sit in front of my PC and freely surf with everything out there at our disposal – or so it seems on the surface. Nevertheless, those who control the clouds also control the limits of our freedom.

      [...]

      But my point here is that I was repeatedly attacked for my report on this case: the reproach was that by describing the case I reproduced it and thus repeated it symbolically. Although, I shared it with strong disapproval, I allegedly secretly enabled my listeners to find perverse pleasure in it.

      And these attacks on me exemplify nicely the “politically correct” need to protect people from traumatic or disturbing news and images. My counterpoint to it is that, in order to fight such crimes, one has to present them in all their horror, and one has to be shocked by them.

    • Reality Winner could get record-setting sentence in NSA leak case

      Reality Winner, who pleaded guilty in June to leaking a top-secret government report about Russian meddling in the 2016 election, could receive a record-setting prison term when she is sentenced in a federal court in Augusta Thursday, court records show.

      The former National Security Agency contractor faces up to 10 years in prison. But her plea deal with prosecutors calls for her to serve five years and three months behind bars. That is longer than anyone else has been sentenced for an “unauthorized disclosure to the media,” federal prosecutors said in a court filing this month.

      The prosecutors are urging Chief U.S. District Court Judge J. Randal Hall to agree to the sentence spelled out in her plea deal. If the judge instead moves to give her a longer sentence, Winner, 26, could withdraw her guilty plea and go to trial.

  • Finance

    • Farmer shows ubuntu, gives land to his workers

      Colin Forbes also provided mentorship and resources, including supplying them with the initial seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and diesel to operate machinery.

      In the small town of Amsterdam in Mpumalanga, a community of farm workers are finally building brick houses for themselves after farm owner Colin Forbes gave a portion of his land to his employees.

      Forbes’ family has owned Athole Farm in the small town near the Swaziland border since 1860.

      Seven years ago, he followed his father’s idea of showing humanity to their workers by giving away 10% of the farm to them.

    • Bad News for Donald Trump, China is Already Bigger Than the United States

      Actually, China’s economy is already considerably bigger than the US economy. Using the purchasing power parity measure, which is recommended by most economists and the CIA World Factbook, China’s economy is already more than 25 percent larger than the US economy. It is also worth noting that there are no growth projections from any remotely reputable source that show the US economy growing more rapidly than China’s economy.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why Manafort and Cohen Thought They’d Get Away With It

      Oh, the audacity of dopes. The crimes of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen are notable not just for how blatant they were but also for their lack of sophistication. The two men did little to hide their lying to banks and the Internal Revenue Service. One can almost sympathize with them: If it wasn’t for their decision to attach themselves to the most unlikely president in modern history, there’s every reason to think they might be still working their frauds today.

      But how anomalous are Mssrs. Manafort and Cohen? Are there legions of K Street big shots working for foreign despots and parking their riches in Cypriot bank accounts to avoid the IRS? Are many political campaigns walking felonies waiting to be exposed? What about the world of luxury residential building in which Cohen plied his trade with the Trump Organization?

      The answer is more disturbing than the questions: We don’t know. We don’t know because the cops aren’t on the beat. Resources have been stripped from white-collar enforcement. The FBI shifted agents to work on international terror in the wake of 9/11. White-collar cases made up about one-tenth of the Justice Department’s cases in recent years, compared with one-fifth in the early 1990s. The IRS’ criminal enforcement capabilities have been decimated by years of budget cuts and attrition. The Federal Election Commission is a toothless organization that is widely flouted.

      No wonder Cohen and Manafort were so brazen. They must have felt they had impunity.

    • Do NOT Let Them Make A Saint Of This Asshole

      John McCain’s family has announced that the Arizona Senator has opted to end treatment for brain cancer and live out his final few days in peace, presumably under the best hospice care money can buy. And I sincerely hope that it is peaceful. My statements about my desire for John McCain to shuffle off this mortal coil sooner rather than later have been highly publicized, and I stand by all of them, but I don’t wish him a painful or agitated end.

      And, also, I am going to keep hammering on how very important it is that we refuse to bow to the aggressive demands from establishment loyalists that we be respectful of this warmongering psychopath and his blood-soaked legacy.

      [...]

      One of the most aggressively protected narratives in corporate liberal circles is that John McCain is a hero whose very name should be uttered with the greatest reverence. It gets traction with rank-and-file Democrats because supporting McCain for his opposition to Trump allows them to feel as though they are non-partisan free thinkers, in exactly the same way Trump supporters believe their hatred of McCain makes them non-partisan free thinkers. In reality, McCain is just one of the many bloodthirsty neocons like Bill Kristol and Max Boot who have aligned themselves with the Democratic party in recent years in order to better advance their warmongering agendas.

      It is those agendas that are being promoted with the hero worship of John McCain. By committing the outrageous heresy of mocking, ridiculing and scorning that sacred cow, we are fighting the attempts of the empire loyalists and war propagandists to normalize and sanctify the act of inflicting neoconservative military bloodbaths upon innocent people around the world.

    • Mystery group blankets Michigan seeking ballots from 2016 election

      Clerks around the state are getting blanketed with requests to turn over every ballot cast in the 2016 election, as they try to recover from record turnouts in the August primary and prepare for November.

      The new challenge comes compliments of a woman named “Emily” with no last name.

      Nearly every clerk in Michigan has received Freedom of Information Act requests signed by Emily asking for copies of every ballot cast in the 2016 presidential election — whether at the polls or by absentee ballot. Voter signature cards have even been sought.

      “It’s unnerved a lot of the clerks, rightfully so,” Michigan Director of Elections Sally Williams said Friday.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • New York State Can’t Be Allowed to Stifle the NRA’s Political Speech

      The First Amendment bars state officials from using their regulatory power to penalize groups merely because they promote disapproved ideas.

      It’s no secret that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is no fan of the National Rifle Association. A mailer his campaign sent to New York voters this week proclaims, in bold letters: “If the NRA goes bankrupt, I will remember them in my thoughts and prayers.”

      There’s nothing wrong with the governor singling out a political adversary for criticism, or even mockery. That’s just politics, and the NRA itself is no stranger to hardball tactics.

      But in a lawsuit the NRA filed against Cuomo this spring, the organization contends that he did more than criticize it. The NRA alleges that Cuomo and top members of his administration abused their regulatory authority over financial institutions to threaten New York banks and insurers that associate with the NRA or other “gun promotion” groups, and that those threats have jeopardized the NRA’s access to basic insurance and banking services in New York.

      In the ACLU’s view, targeting a nonprofit advocacy group and seeking to deny it financial services because it promotes a lawful activity (the use of guns) violates the First Amendment. Because we believe the governor’s actions, as alleged, threaten the First Amendment rights of all advocacy organizations, the ACLU on Friday filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the NRA’s right to have its day in court.

    • Post Valve’s ‘Hands Off’ Games Curation Announcement, Everything Is A Mess

      Back in June we discussed Valve’s somewhat odd announcement that it was getting out of the games curation business, and opening its platform to what it said would be far more games. The restrictions on what type of content would now be allowed on the gaming platform was said to mostly be limited only to games that are “trolling” or “illegal.” As with all things Valve, this apparent announcement aimed at transparency and making sure developers knew what expectations Valve had for games on Steam mostly achieved the exact opposite, with everyone wondering immediately what qualified as “trolling.” Nobody could really agree on where exactly Valve would be drawing the lines on the types of content it would allow. That said, most people, including most of the participants of the podcast we conducted on the topic, essentially agreed that this would chiefly allow more games with sexual content onto the platform.

      And, yet, it seems that even that hasn’t been true thus far. Kotaku has a post up discussing the many, many sexuality related games that had been disallowed from Steam, but which were gearing up to be included based on the new policy. It seems the policy hasn’t opened up the platform to many of them after all.

    • Trump’s Anti-press Rhetoric Is Dangerous, But His Actions Are Worse

      In a coordinated response to Trump’s incessant attacks on the press, more than 300 news organizations joined together last week and published editorials about the important role of a free press.

      The effort is led by the Boston Globe, who called for editorial boards of publications across the country to publish their own editorials defending—in their own words—the importance of press freedom. Participating publications include outlets big and small, from the New York Times to small, local, and independent papers.

      Trump has called the press “enemy of the American people,” and said that journalists “don’t like our country.” He responded to the editorials in a predictably petty manner. He has also vowed to revoke broadcast licenses over coverage he didn’t like, and has threatened to sue critical news organizations and journalists. And, of course, he engages in constant Twitter diatribes about “fake news.”

      The president’s verbal attacks on the press are certainly appalling, but his rhetoric gets an outsized amount of attention, when his administration’s actions against press are much worse. They deserve just as much condemnation as his tweets.

    • Dubious Studies And Easy Headlines: No, A New Report Does Not Clearly Show Facebook Leads To Hate Crimes

      Those are some fairly bold claims, and certainly worth exploring. However, it’s not exactly clear that the paper actually can support such claims. You can download a copy of the 75 page paper yourself, entitled Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime by two PhD students, Karsten Müller and Carlo Schwarz, both from the University of Warwick. For what it’s worth, people have pointed out that this paper has not yet been peer reviewed, and an earlier version of this paper got some less breathless press coverage a few months ago. But, the NY Times is the NY Times.

      The paper definitely presents some interesting data, and it should be applauded that researchers are exploring these issues — though separating out the actual causal variables seems like a difficult task. The researchers do appear to have fairly thorough data on anti-refugee attacks throughout Germany. The Facebook data, however, seems a lot less solid. A few people have been breaking down the problems with the study online, including Jonas Kaiser, Dean Eckles and Hal Hodson, who all convincingly argue that the NY Times is overplaying what the study actually shows.

      Before I dig in a bit, I should note that part of the problem here is that the necessary Facebook data to do this kind of study is hard to come by. Earlier this year, Facebook announced that it would be giving some academics access to data in order to do just this kind of research (though more focused on election impact, but this should be similar). And, it would be damn helpful if Facebook were willing to give out the kind of data needed in order to actually do the kind of study that was presented in this paper.

    • Today In Useless Surveys: Some People Want Internet Companies To Stop Filtering News And Some Don’t.

      Sometimes public sentiment is useful. And sometimes it’s only useful in demonstrating how little the general public understands some issues. It would appear that a new survey done by the Knight Foundation about how the internet giants should handle “news” content is one of the latter ones. While there’s lots of discussion about what the poll results “say,” the only thing they really say is that the public has no clue about how the internet and news works — and that should be the focus. We need much greater tech and media literacy. Unfortunately, the poll seems more likely to do the opposite.

      [...]

      There’s a little bit more of a discussion about the breakdown based on age, but there is no discussion of what the fuck this even means — because it means literally nothing. What “regulations” do newspapers and broadcast news face? Well, not much? But, it really kind of depends. Broadcast news may face some FCC regulations because they use the public airwaves. But newspapers don’t. And internet sites don’t. Because they don’t use the public airwaves. Other than that, they already face the same basic “rules and regulations.” So it’s not at all clear how — as a bunch of people have claimed — this study supports the idea for “increased” regulation of internet sites.

      Honestly, this feels like a kind of push poll and it’s kind of shameful that the Knight Foundation and Gallup — both of which should know better — would do such a thing. After asking all these random amorphous meaningless questions about internet platforms, they then jump in with a question about regulating the platforms without defining or clarifying what regulations they’re even talking about, in an area where the vast majority of the public will have literally no idea what those limited regulations are? What good is that other than to just get people to say “sure, they should all be on an equal footing.”

    • More Student Press Censorship Alleged at Liberty

      Officials at Liberty University fired two student editors with a history of mixed coverage from the institution’s newspaper, the second occasion in which the religious university has come under fire for press censorship.

      [...]

      Liberty is led by President Jerry Falwell Jr., who was criticized in 2016 after he stopped The Champion from publishing a column that slammed then candidate Donald Trump for remarks on the notorious leaked Access Hollywood recording. Falwell, a vocal Trump supporter, said the column was “redundant,” as the newspaper had just run a piece about Trump.

      Suppression of student press at religious institutions is well documented. A group of student journalists at Taylor University in Indiana surveyed student reporters at religious colleges and universities and found widespread reports of censorship.

    • Free Speech in Peril as #Resistance Hero John Brennan Loses Security Clearance

      After President Donald Trump revoked his security clearance last week, John Brennan arose as a Hero of Free Speech. On Twitter he announced in terms designed to stir the corpses of the Founding Fathers “This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.” Twelve former senior intelligence officials agree, calling Trump’s revocation “an attempt to stifle free speech.”

      No less than Ben Wizner, a director at the ACLU, stated “The First Amendment does not permit the president to revoke security clearances to punish his critics.” Even Republicans like Bob Corker, the retiring Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair said “It just feels like sort of a… banana republic kind of thing.” For emphasis, Corker also said the revocation was the kind of thing that might happen in Venezuela. Referring to a list of other former Obama officials whose clearances Trump may revoke, Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said “It was almost… a Nixonian enemies list.” Admiral William McRaven, former SEAL and bin Laden killing superhero said of Trump’s revocation “Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children.” A letter to the New York Times demanded a military coup to end Trump’s reign.

      [...]

      Is it all political? Sure. What was the point of Brennan, or other Obama-era officials unlikely to be consulted by the Trump administration, of having clearances that outlived their government tenure anyway? Brennan in particular was using his security clearance to monetize his experience, and to bolster his opinions with the tang of inside knowledge. There is no government interest in any of that, and the government has no place allowing Brennan to hold a clearance for his own profit. Shutting him down preserves the whole point of issuing anyone a clearance, granting them access to America’s secrets so that they can do Uncle Sam’s work. A clearance isn’t a gift, it’s a tool issued by the government to allow employees to get some work done. Brennan is working now only for himself, and deserved to lose his clearance.

    • Arrow season 7 is so violent that it’s testing The CW’s censorship limits

      We already know that Stephen Amell has had, in his words, “the shit kicked out” of him thanks to Arrow’s gritty seventh season. But we didn’t realise just how violent the show is set to be.

      Revealing just how far Arrow is pushing the boundaries ahead of its return, the series’ long-time stunt coordinator James Bamford recently admitted they’re trying their best to reach the limit.

      Talking about an unprecedented phone call Bamford and showrunner Beth Schwartz had with the show’s censors, the stuntman told Newsarama: “We are really trying to push the limits on the show in the gritty factor.

    • Music censorship in Northern Nigeria

      In Northern Nigeria, music has long been used as a tool for social criticism: a powerful means of speaking out against tyranny, corruption and oppression. However, artists who attempt to use their music to convey socio-political messages often find themselves the victims of censorship and other forms of official reprimand. This article provides an overview of censorship in Northern Nigerian music.

      [...]

      The most radical form of censorship in the region has stemmed from the introduction, in 1999, of Islamic sharia law in states with dominant Muslim populations, such as Zamfara, Kano, Sokoto, Katsina, Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kebbi and Yobe. In these states, sharia is used to outlaw sensual and vulgar musical content. The Kano State Censorship Board (KSCB), arguably the most visible censorship body in Northern Nigeria, was established in 2001. Since its founding, it has faced allegations of intimidation and arrests within Kano, prompting an exodus of artists to neighbouring states perceived to be more liberal and friendlier to their craft.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Android Collects 10x Data Than Apple iOS When Idle: Report

      A new study has surfaced that says Google collects way more data from Android than Apple does through iOS. Most of the data taken into account is collected through passive means, i.e., when the Android device is idle or stationary. But Google captures a lot of data while the device is being used as well.

    • Google Tracks Users In Incognito Mode Too, Study Suggests

      If you think that using incognito mode in Chrome would really hide your footprints, you are in for a shock. A new report says that user-anonymous identifiers are collected while browsing in private mode and Google has the ability to connect this information to your Google Account.

      Let’s say you open up a private browser session in Chrome. Websites that run Google ads automatically send anonymized cookies to the browser associated with the user.

    • Sydney airport seizure of phone and laptop ‘alarming’, say privacy groups

      A British-Australian citizen travelling through Sydney airport has had his devices seized, and believes his laptop password cracked and his digital files inspected by Border Force officers, in what privacy groups say is a worrying development.

      Nathan Hague, a 46-year-old software developer, was detained apparently at random for 90 minutes while the officers took his phone and password-protected laptop into a back room.

      Hague said the officers refused to tell him what would be done with his devices, why they were being inspected or whether his digital data was being copied and stored.

    • Appeals Court: City-Owned Utility Pulling Electric Use Info Every 15 Minutes Is A Search

      An oddball, but interesting, decision [PDF] flowing from the Supreme Court’s Carpenter ruling has been issued by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. While the Carpenter decision centered on the long term collection of historic cell site location information, the ruling could be applied to a number of situations where records created by citizens are stored and housed by other parties and accessible without a warrant.

      This case deals with smart meters, issued by the government (via the public electric utility) to track electric use in citizens’ homes. With the old meters, readings were performed by utility employees every few weeks. The new smart meters send back info on electric use every fifteen minutes. This frequency was chosen by the City of Naperville government. It could have gone with something less intrusive, but it chose this method instead.

      The city was sued by citizens opposed to being snooped on by the new smart meters. The plaintiffs argued the frequent readings allowed to government to make a great deal of inferences about activities inside citizens’ homes, based on the rolling delivery of energy use amounts. The district court tossed the case. So does the Appeals Court, but only after making some interesting findings. (via Orin Kerr/Volokh Conspiracy)

      First, the court rules that the government’s use of smart meters to retrieve information about electric usage is actually a search under the Fourth Amendment. To do that, it looks to the Supreme Court’s Kyllo decision, which dealt with the warrantless deployment of thermal imaging scanners by law enforcement. That decision found deployment to be a search, even if officers never physically entered the residences being scanned. Enough could be inferred about inside activity from the thermal images to be considered a search under the Fourth Amendment. The Appeals Court says the same rationale applies here.

    • Facebook’s ‘Privacy Protecting’ VPN Booted From Apple Store For Snooping Too Much

      Back in February we noted how Facebook had launched a new security tool the company promised would “help keep you and your data safe when you browse and share information on the web.” The product was effectively just reconstituted version of the Onavo VPN the company acquired back in 2013. We also noted how some reports were quick to point out that instead of making Facebook users’ data more private and secure, Facebook used the VPN to track users around the internet — specifically what users were doing when they visited other platforms and services.

      [...]

      Admittedly, Apple’s app store approval process is certainly its own type of terrible. But the report notes that Apple demanded that Facebook “voluntarily” remove the app, and Facebook complied. As such, iOS users can no longer download the app, and users that have already installed it will no longer receive updates for it. It is, however, still available over at the Google Play store, if giving Facebook even greater insight into your online activity is a prospect that excites you.

      The whole kerfuffle only punctuated our repeated point that VPN’s aren’t some kind of mystical privacy panacea. In the wake of the GOP killing broadband privacy rules and the myriad other privacy and hacking scandals, countless people have been flocking to VPNs under the mistaken belief that a VPN is some kind of silver bullet. But a VPN is only as good as the people running it on the other end. And if the people on the other end are running scams or lying about what data is collected and stored (which is incredibly common in the VPN realm) you’re not a whole lot better off.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘My Son is Traumatized’: One Separated Family’s Reunion

      The reunion offers a window into what medical experts warned: For children, the trauma of separation can linger far past reunion.

      Inside a Texas detention center, 3-year-old Sammy* was asleep next to his father, Ever Reyes-Mejia, on the ground with a tin foil emergency blanket when an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official told Ever that he needed to go see an immigration judge and fill out some paperwork. Ever asked whether he should leave his son asleep and was told that he would return shortly and there was no need to wake him.

      That was the last time Ever saw his son before ICE took Sammy across the country to Bethany Christian Services, a foster care agency in Michigan.

      Fleeing violence in Honduras, Ever and Sammy came to the United States in April 2018 seeking asylum, presenting themselves to immigration authorities at the McAllen Bridge in Texas. They were two of the thousands of parents and children who were forcibly separated under the Trump administration’s family separation policy. Ever and Sammy were separated for almost three and half months. During that time, Sammy was so upset that he refused to speak to his father on the phone.

      On June 26, a federal judge, ruling in the ACLU’s class-action lawsuit, ordered the U.S. government to stop the separation of families and to reunite those who had already been torn apart. Ever was among the first group of parents prioritized for reunification because Sammy was under the age of 5.

    • Celebrate Women’s Suffrage, but Don’t Whitewash the Movement’s Racism

      Sojourner Truth and Mary Church Terrell are among the activists who endured deeply entrenched racism while fighting for Black women’s right to vote.

      My 94-year-old great-aunt, Paralee Wilmer — we call her Aunty Lee — voted for the first time after moving to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1944. Born to no-nonsense, small farmers in Millers Ferry, Alabama, and the youngest daughter of 12 children, Aunty Lee was one among many African Americans who moved from the South to the North in search of better job opportunities and greater freedoms during the The Great Migration. These freedoms included the right to vote without intimidation or any other hindrance.

      Aunty Lee’s memory is a bit cloudy regarding whether the first time she cast her ballot was in an election for local politicians or a presidential race, but one thing she knows for sure is her pastor at the time inspired her to exercise her constitutional rights and fulfill her civic duties. He said, “When it’s time to vote, make sure you vote. When it’s time to do grand jury, make sure you go.”

      At age 20, Aunty Lee understood the magnitude of her pastor’s advice, given the disenfranchisement of Black folks that she witnessed growing up in Millers Ferry — including poll taxes, literacy tests, and outright violence and intimidation that prevented Black people from voting. To be a Black citizen in America but denied full citizenship rights epitomizes the hypocrisy of American democracy. This is a sad truth that I repeat like a blues refrain to my students.

      This summer — as the nation celebrates the 170th anniversary of the first major convention for women’s rights at Seneca Falls and the 98th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which granted women the right to vote — how do we reconcile widespread narratives of a triumphant, steady march towards women’s enfranchisement with the more complicated and painful reality of my great-aunt’s lived experience as a young, Black woman in Jim Crow America?

      One word: intersectionality.

    • Joe Bryan’s Attorneys Ask For New Trial, Say Murder Conviction Built On Faulty Forensics

      In the tiny central Texas town of Comanche, in the same courtroom where he was convicted nearly three decades ago of murdering his wife, Joe Bryan and his attorneys finally got the opportunity this week to make their case that the 77-year-old former high school principal deserves a new trial.

      Over three days, they presented a succession of witnesses who testified that the forensic evidence used to convict Bryan of his wife’s 1985 murder was faulty, and that new evidence pointed to a possible alternative suspect in the killing.

      The hearing — which held out the tantalizing promise of winning Bryan a fresh chance to prove his innocence — drew dozens of spectators who packed the hard-wooden benches inside the Comanche County courthouse. Lining the two front rows were Bryan’s family members, who wore matching red t-shirts emblazoned with the words “Justice For Joe.”

      Behind them, Clifton residents who had not seen Bryan since the 1980s crowded in beside law students, reporters, and top attorneys with the Innocence Project of Texas, who were on hand to assist with Bryan’s case. Penny Blue, the sister of Joe’s late wife, Mickey, sat by herself in the back of the courtroom.

    • Another Prison Phone Service Caught Recording Privileged Conversations And Passing Them On To Law Enforcement

      The law was broken and no one on the law enforcement side did anything to fix it. That split-second decision made during an rapidly-evolving situation (or whatever) may come back to haunt Boston and his Sheriff’s department cohorts. In this mess of 1,000 calls hang 58 serious criminal cases, running the gamut from gang-related charges to the attempted murder prosecution of the offspring of a reality TV star.

      The “technical error” was exposed during the trial of Joshua Waring, the son of a star of “Real Housewives of Orange County.” Inmate services director Greg Boston testified during this case, exposing Global Tel Link’s screwup and the apparent partaking of ill-gotten goods by local law enforcement.

      The Orange Court Sheriff’s Department claims it instructed the service provider to fix the problem when it discovered it had access to privileged recordings. But that hardly explains how Global Tel Link managed to record 1,000 calls it never should have recorded before someone on either end actually noticed the issue. According to Waring’s attorney, the “technical error” went unaddressed for three years, suggesting the OCSD didn’t mind having access to privileged conversations, even when it knew the recordings were illegal under state law.

    • Sanitation Salvage Ordered to Halt Trash Collections

      The agency that oversees New York’s private trash industry ordered Sanitation Salvage, one of the city’s largest haulers, to halt operations, saying the company poses “an imminent danger to life and property.”

      “This company has demonstrated time and time again that they value profit over the lives of New Yorkers and the well-being of their workers,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “We are immediately suspending this company’s license following a pattern of unsafe practices.”

      The action comes after Sanitation Salvage trucks killed two men between November 2017 and April 2018. Those deaths prompted local politicians and community groups to demand closer oversight of a dangerous industry that sends trucks racing through the streets of New York every night.

      The Business Integrity Commission, or BIC, released a five-page order that said the company cannot collect trash in New York City until the commission completes an audit and determines that Sanitation Salvage is no longer a danger to the public.

    • Research Paper Shows Militarized SWAT Teams Don’t Make Cops — Or The Public — Any Safer

      A study has been released confirming what many have suspected: militarization of law enforcement doesn’t make communities safer, has zero effect on officer safety, and is rarely deployed as advertised when agencies make pitches for the acquisition of military gear.

      The most frequent recipient of military tools and training are SWAT teams. Professor Jonathan Mummolo’s research — published by the National Academy of Sciences — gained unprecedented access to SWAT deployment numbers, thanks to a public records request and a Maryland state law requiring documentation of every SWAT raid performed. (That law was allowed to expire by legislators who apparently felt it provided too much transparency and accountability.)

    • CIA Whistleblower: John Brennan Is Out For Himself, Not the Resistance

      Donald Trump’s revoking of ex-CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance has re-ignited a bitter public feud. Ex-CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou argues that given Brennan’s record and personal ambitions, he is not a trustworthy Resister.

    • Lithuania says will not appeal European court ruling over CIA jail

      Lithuania on Wednesday said it would not appeal a European court ruling that the Baltic state had been complicit in a clandestine CIA programme by holding terror suspects at a secret detention site on its territory.

      “We decided it would make no sense to appeal to the Great Chamber because there are no legal criteria for that,” government official Karolina Bubnyte Sirmene told AFP.

      The European Court of Human Rights ruled in May that Lithuania hosted a secret prison from February 2005 to March 2006, when CIA operatives held Abu Zubaydah, considered a top Palestinian operative for Al-Qaeda.

      The EU and NATO state was ordered to pay 100,000 euros ($116,000) in damages to Zubaydah for enabling US authorities to subject him to “inhuman treatment”.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • T-Mobile Begs Small Wireless Carriers To Support Its Awful Merger. The Problem: They Hate It Too

      We’ve repeatedly explained how T-Mobile and Sprint’s latest attempt to merge will be terrible for both jobs and competition. Despite what T-Mobile and Sprint executives have claimed, history suggests the reduction of total wireless carriers from four to three will likely result in less incentive than ever to seriously compete on price. Similarly, while T-Mobile and Sprint have told regulators that the deal will somehow create an explosion in new jobs, Wall Street analysts have predicted that the deal could kill off anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 jobs as the new company inevitably eliminates redundant positions.

      While some diehard T-Mobile and Sprint fans have bought into these claims, most objective observers with a firm grasp on history realize that the promised “synergies” of telecom mergers like this one almost never materialize. And the obvious impact on competition and jobs is a major reason this merger and others like it (including AT&T’s attempt to acquire T-Mobile) have been scuttled by regulators. There’s simply too many examples of this kind of consolidation resulting in massive monopolies with little incentive to give a damn (hi Comcast and AT&T, didn’t see you standing there).

      T-Mobile’s looming merger is so unpopular, the company was forced to quietly hire Trump ally Corey Lewandowski in an effort to seal the deal (the whole mocking a kid with Down Syndrome thing be damned). Reuters notes that the company has also started reaching out to smaller wireless carriers, urging them to not only express support to the FCC, but submit favorable editorials to major papers supporting the merger.

    • Verizon tries to douse criticism, touts “priority access” for first responders

      Verizon officials were contrite and apologetic during a California State Assembly committee hearing that was convened Friday to examine mobile Internet throttling experienced by firefighters during recent blazes.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Chinese patent quality and innovation should not be underestimated, new study claims [Ed: The patent maximalists like to deny that China's SIPO does grant lots of utterly trash patents. Why? Because it puts at risk their maximalist agenda. Here we have the patent trolls' lobby, IAM.]

      Self-reported patent quality in China generally matches up with quantitative measures of patent quality, according to the findings of a recently published study. In the face of some claims that the power of Chinese technological progress is overstated, this is another piece of evidence which indicates that, at least from an IP perspective, the country is very much on the march.

    • USA: Yellowfin Yachts, Inc. v. Barker Boatworks, LLC, United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, No. 17-11176, 07 August 2018

      The federal district court in Tampa did not err in deciding on summary judgment that fishing boat manufacturer Yellowfin Yachts failed to establish that a former executive and his company were liable for trade dress infringement, unfair competition, or trade secret misappropriation, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta has held, affirming summary judgment in favor of the defendants.

    • Birss J excuses Chugai from tocilizumab royalties in UCB “validity tie breaker”
    • SPC export waiver: a long road ahead

      The European Commission’s proposed export waiver for supplementary protection certificates is likely to face opposition and may be delayed by EU parliamentary changes, says Trevor Cook of WilmerHale.

      On hearing that the European Commission had on 28 May 2018 adopted a proposal for a Regulation to amend Regulation (EC) 469/2009 concerning the supplementary protection certificate (SPC) for medicinal products, many practitioners might have been forgiven for imagining that such proposal sought to deal with what are to them are the most pressing issues with the SPC Regulation—perhaps by seeking to introduce a unitary SPC to accompany the proposed unitary patent, or perhaps by addressing some of the confusion surrounding certain aspects of the SPC Regulation that has led to so many references to the Court of Justice but has resulted in so little clear guidance from that body.

    • Trademarks

      • Honey Badger Don’t Care: Protecting Creativity with Trademarks

        The Honey Badger video is probably NSFW — but it is also funny and informative. In the viral video, C.Gordon (aka Randall) who created the video, repeatedly states that “Honey Badger Don’t Care” and “Honey Badger Don’t Give a Shit.” This became a meme. (See google photo search results below.) Gordon registered the “Honey Badger Don’t Care” mark, but at the time couldn’t register the potentially offensive “Don’t Give a Shit” mark.

      • Auckland girl fights global media company over ‘Slime Princess’ trademark

        A 12-year-old Auckland girl is taking on a global media giant after her attempt to trademark “Slime Princess” hit opposition.

        Katharina Weischede, from Henderson in West Auckland, first began making slime as part of a school science fair. What started off as a hobby had by late 2017 become a home-based business called “Slime Princess”.

        Now known by her friends, family and even strangers as the “Slime Princess”, she eventually decided to trademark her business’s name.

      • Nickelodeon Is Opposing A 12 Year Old New Zealand Girl’s ‘Slime’ Trademark For Some Reason

        Viacom has decided to take its trademark bullying game international and possibly against the most sympathetic target it could find. Nickelodeon, owned by Viacom, has decided to oppose the trademark registration of a 12 year old girl in New Zealand, claiming its trademark on the word “slime” is too important. Katharina Weischede has managed to build up an online brand in New Zealand for producing and playing with “slime.” She made a business out of it and attempted to trademark “slime princess”, only to find Nickelodeon opposing it.

    • Copyrights

      • ‘The Locks They Put on DVDs Now Are in Tractors’

        Copyright and farmers don’t often appear in the same story. They did last spring, when agricultural machine maker John Deere argued that farmers should not be able to independently access the operating software in their tractors, for example—because they don’t own that part, they just license it. Or, as our guest put it, “Old McDonald has a tractor, but he owns a massive barn ornament, because the manufacturer holds the rights to the programming that makes it run.”

        Kyle Wiens is co-founder and CEO of iFixit, the online repair community and parts retailer. We asked him to explain the right to repair, and the argument that John Deere and others are trying to make.

      • Recognizing It Had No Chance, Cox Settles BMG Copyright Trolling Case

        The long saga of the BMG v. Cox case is now over. If you don’t recall, BMG had hired the copyright trolling outfit Rightscorp to bombard ISPs with shakedown letters, based on accusations of copyright infringement. Rightscorp really wanted ISPs to pass those letters on to ISP subscribers, including the part where they demand money to leave you alone. As was revealed during the case, Rightscorp would blatantly lie to those subscribers, telling them that if they were innocent they needed to first hand their computers over the police for a forensic search. Cox, after being bombarded with these shakedown letters, started ignoring the Rightscorp letters, leading BMG to sue.

        Cox pointed to the DMCA safe harbors to protect itself, but the judge, Liam O’Grady, made it pretty clear that he didn’t care much for the internet at all, and didn’t seem to mind Righscorp and BMG shaking down people for money with the threat of losing their entire internet access. Of course, it did not help at all that Cox itself had some damning emails about how they treated subscribers accused of infringement. While plenty of attention has been placed on Cox’s apparent “thirteen strikes” policy for those accused (not convicted) of copyright infringement, the real problem came down to the fact that Cox didn’t follow its own repeat infringer policy. So, in the end, Cox lost to BMG in the lower court and it was mostly upheld on appeal.

      • Katy Perry sued for copyright infringement, is Marcus Grey the Dark Horse?

        Following this Kat’s post on the Ed Sheeran copyright infringement case relating to the song “Shape of You” (here), she came across another similar dispute going on over the pond!

        This case, brought in the US District Court of California, is between Plaintiffs Marcus Gray, Chike Ojukwu, and Emanuel Lambert who are Christian rap/hip-hop artists and Defendants Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson (Katy Perry), Jordan Houston (Juicy J), Lukasz Gottwald (Dr Luke) as well as a number of other individuals and music publishers.

        The allegation was first filed on the 1st July 2014, which claimed that the song “Dark Horse” infringed upon the Plaintiffs’ copyright in the song “Joyful Noise.” On 25th June 2018 the defendants filed a motion for a summary judgement and the Court hearing took place on 13th August.

      • Milan court issues dynamic blocking injunction against Italian ISPs

        Does a blocking injunction against an intermediary only concern the domain names indicated in the relevant order or can it be also considered as encompassing future infringements committed through other domain names?

        This is the question that the Milan Court of First Instance (Tribunale di Milano) had to address in the context of interim proceedings between publisher Mondadori and a number of major Italian internet access providers (ISPs).

      • Copyright Trolls Killed Off in Denmark After Supreme Court Hearing Denied

        Two ISPs in Denmark have emerged victorious from a battle to keep the personal details of their customers private. Telenor and Telia were previously ordered to hand over information to copyright trolls but when the demands kept coming, the ISPs kicked back. Following a big win for the providers at the High Court in May, the Supreme Court will not hear the case, meaning the trolls will lose access to their cash cows.

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    When so-called ‘open source’ programs strictly require Vista 10 (or similar) to run, how open are they really and does that not redefine the nature of Open Source while betraying everything Free/libre software stands for?



  30. All About Control: Microsoft is Not Open Source But an Open Source Censor/Spy and GitHub/LinkedIn/Skype Are Its Proprietary Censorship/Surveillance Tools

    All the big companies which Microsoft bought in recent years are proprietary software and all of the company’s big products remain proprietary software; all that “Open Source” is to Microsoft is “something to control and censor“


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