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09.02.18

Eligibility Analysis Based on Section 101 Ought to Invalidate All Software Patents and Repel Further Applications

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 11:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Limits exist (and are being actively enforced) for a reason

A rejection

Summary: 35 U.S.C. § 101 does not seem to matter to examiners as much as it should; this means that courts and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) are typically left to clean up the mess or a clutter of wrongly-granted abstract patents

THE USPTO is still granting patents on software. It shouldn’t, but it does. All it accomplishes is lower legal certainty for US patents; how will that turn out at the end?

Alluding to computer games he once liked, patent maximalist Dennis Crouch wrote about prior art as a patent eligibility barrier:

A new petition for writ of certiorari focuses attention again on patent eligibility and the law-fact interplay. Real Estate Alliance Ltd. v. Move, Inc., SCT Docket No. 18-252.

The original focus of patent law is to “promote the Progress of . . . useful Arts.” In that vein, patents have long been awarded for inventions with concrete and practical uses — and barred to invention claims that are merely abstract ideas.

[...]

In this particular case, the courts have seen this issue as a question of law and have not really considered any hard evidence. The patent at issue is directed to a user interface that shows the geographic location of for-sale properties — using a zoomable interface. Although this idea might seem well understood today — the application claims priority back to 1986 — graphics were not so easy back then. (See Conan – my favorite game back then). U.S. Patent No. 5,032,989.

Prior art aside, there’s also Section 101 that essentially voids (or ought to void) pretty much all software patents.

A few days ago we learned about a patent on “game-like exercises to give a workout to the neuromodulatory systems in the brain that control mood.”

It was published as a promotional press release. Well, patents on computer games are just software patents (games are computer programs) so these are likely bunk patent pursuits. Did the USPTO really grant such patents? Maybe because they added big words like “neuromodulatory” and made the games sound like a science?

“Prior art aside, there’s also Section 101 that essentially voids (or ought to void) pretty much all software patents.”We are sad to see and regret to say that the USPTO still isn’t taking Section 101 seriously enough. See this other new press release [1, 2] from Numerify. Greed at the USPTO means that it keeps granting totally bogus software patents, in this case alluding to “AI and Machine learning capabilities” (still software). Seems like a game of buzzwords. This may spread elsewhere. See Thomas Prock’s new article about “medical app patents” — an article which was published with terms like “machine learning” and speaks of the UK. Never mind if British courts do not quite permit software patents so “medical app patents” would likely not be valid patents (even more so in the US after Alice/Section 101).

“Defining what constitutes technical innovation as far as apps go,” Prock wrote, “and what doesn’t, isn’t always easy, though based on well-established principles. Generally speaking however, the most patentable apps will be those that find technical solutions to the technical challenges of utilising healthcare data. It is expected that machine learning will play a significant role in this.”

“We worry that if the USPTO doesn’t get its act together and learns to reject software patents, then certainty, value and reputation of US patents will only decline further.”As is typical in Europe, the word “technical” is grossly overused and the term “app” is used instead of software. But what’s being described there has nothing to do with health (“healthcare data” is a case of trying to frame algorithms as “life-saving” because of data they can be applied to). There’s this other new report (cross-posted even [1, 2]) about an “Insulin Optimization System”; this one is at least not about software. We’ve already seen, e.g. at the EPO, attempts to associate software with “medical” just for the sake of tricking examiners. It’s the last case Patrick Corcoran dealt with before Battistelli crushed his career.

Speaking of “medical” patents, the notion that patents are inventions that improve lives (or are trophies) overlooks the fact that people invest in them with the intention to threaten, sue etc. The USPTO didn’t stay true to the goal of rewarding innovation; instead it’s about litigation and its new chief (the Director) is a litigation person, not a scientist. His appointment raises questions.

Patents are like an ‘insurance policy’ for corporations; when they have nothing left (but patents) they start to sue. ResMed must be failing pretty badly if it resorts to litigation like this, over facial masks patents. Among roundups of news we found this announcement [1, 2] late in the week:

ResMed (NYSE: RMD) (ASX: RMD), the world’s leading tech-driven medical device company and innovator in sleep apnea and respiratory care, today filed a petition with the United States International Trade Commission to stop the infringement of its patented technology by New Zealand-based medical device manufacturer Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.

So that’s what it boils down to: lawsuits. More money for lawyers.

The capital of patent trolls (east Texas) is meanwhile bragging about low-quality patents — software patents included — that are granted to potentially enable more patent blackmail. We worry that if the USPTO doesn’t get its act together and learns to reject software patents, then certainty, value and reputation of US patents will only decline further.

Cryptocurrency Patents Are Bogus (Abstract) Patents and Red Hat Ought to Quit Pursuing Blockchain (Software) Patents

Posted in America, Patents, Red Hat at 10:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘patent-printing’ machine just carries on printing

Cryptocurrency printing

Summary: With cryptocurrencies and with blockchains receiving a lot of buzz we’re also seeing patents being granted on them, never mind if such patents are clearly abstract and thus not patent-eligible

THE fact that when one says things like "blockchain" we're supposed to be astounded and impressed (and grant a patent) is deeply problematic. The USPTO certainly knows that these are abstract patents, but it grants these anyway. CryptoSlate (one among many sites that are cryptocurrencies-centric) reveals yet another cryptocurrencies patent; those are actually being granted, not just pursued (with an application). Bogus software patents are still being granted by the Office and there’s no sufficient public scrutiny.

There have been many articles like this one from Helen Partz about Bank of America’s “blockchain” patent applications and awards. Why don’t people point out that Section 101 would likely void these? Maybe they just don’t know about Section 101…

Here’s the more disturbing thing: Red Hat has become part of this problem. Cloud Pro and a few other publications mentioned that last week. Red Hat does not combat software patents (not anymore); Instead, Red Hat has become part of the problem and it is nowadays patenting “blockchain” stuff. It has been a long time since we saw Red Hat doing anything against software patents. Here’s one article among several on this subject:

Red Hat is reportedly considering using blockchain to track customer use of its cloud service in real time.

A patent filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office explains how the company would track transactions on its platforms to bill customers based on their usage. Because records in a blockchain can’t be changed, the data could be more accurate than using other methods.

“The examples record, in a blockchain, a billing rules transaction that identifies usage rules for one or more software instance types for a timeframe. Authorised transactions that identify software instances that have been authorised to execute during the timeframe are also recorded in the blockchain,” the filing explained.

How can Red Hat not see that it’s emboldening the USPTO to grant software patents?

Harish Pillay from Red Hat told me: “You are completely missing the point. It is a defensive patent needed to be done because the USPTO is broken.”

I responded with: “Who would that supposedly defend against and how?”

He never replied. So I assume he realised that this was going nowhere; not only do these Red Hat patents pose a considerable risk in case of a takeover (which is likely in the distant future); they also don’t counter-balance anything, certainly not when trolls confront Red Hat (which isn’t so unusual).

Monopolies Are Not Inventions

Posted in Deception, Patents at 9:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pieces

Summary: Pieces and articles that talk about patents frame the subject as “ownership” and “inventions” rather than monopolies and protectionism in exchange for a fee

TODAY’S ARTICLES will focus on the USPTO. Before we get to that, however, we wish to remark on a few misleading new pages and articles.

Among lots of things that call patents “Intellectual Property” (new example here) we found this new article about “patent mining” in Brasil. We’re supposed to think that research can be carried out by parsing patent texts. Nature Biotechnology published this:

Described in an article published in Nature Biotechnology, the method resulted from the postdoctoral research of biologist Cristiano Gonçalves Pereira at the University of São Paulo’s Ribeirão Preto School of Economics, Administration and Accounting (FEARP-USP), supported by a scholarship from the São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP.

Pereira was supervised by Geciane Silveira Porto, a professor at FEARP-USP and coordinator of the Center for Research on Innovation, Technology Management and Competitiveness (InGTeC). The study featured collaborations from Virgínia Picanço-Castro and Dimas Tadeu Covas), respectively researcher and coordinator at the Center for Cell-Based Therapy (CTC), a Research, Innovation and Dissemination Center (RIDC) funded by FAPESP.

This does not actually suggest what the title says. Quite a few firms data-mine patent data in order to assess/calculate things like median pendency, names of assignees, keywords etc. But to actually study from patents using a computer? No, not really…

The Straits Times, which is connected to the government of Singapore, has just published this piece about the famous National University Hospital (NUH). It’s about assignees, not “owners” (as the headlines put it; Monopolies are not “owned”) and the Court of Appeal has decided to split the assignment of the said patent:

A court fight between the National University Hospital (NUH) and a software engineering company, over who gets to patent a system to manage the collection of patient samples, has ended in a draw.

Both NUH and Cicada Cube had worked together to develop the system, which allows samples to be collected from hospital patients in an automated manner for laboratory testing.

But a dispute over the patent went all the way to the Court of Appeal, where each side argued that it should be the sole owner of the patent because only their respective employees were responsible for the heart of the invention.

Meanwhile, over at the Israeli media (The Jerusalem Post), they still obsess over the number of patents even though patents are a poor measure of anything other than litigation (or intention to sue). To quote: “Israel has been one of the leading countries in the past eighteen years in terms of number of international patents filed via the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in relation to population size. The peak came in 2000, when Israel was ranked third in the world for patents filed per capita according to the country of the inventor, after Finland and Sweden. Today, Israel is fifth, after Japan, Sweden, Switzerland and South Korea. Finland has dropped to sixth. The data are from a new report by the National Council for Research and Development in the Ministry of Science and Technology.”

As we said many times before, usually in relation to Switzerland, patents are expensive to pursue, so it’s no wonder countries with more wealth per capita can get more patents. It is, overall, a poor measure of anything other than protectionism.

Links 2/9/2018: Linux 4.19 RC2 and DXVK 0.71

Posted in News Roundup at 8:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Dell Precision 5530 mobile workstation now available with Ubuntu

      All of the Dell Precision mobile workstations launched earlier this year are now available with a choice of Windows or Ubuntu Linux. Dell has announced that the Precision 5530 mobile workstation is the latest of its mobile workstation-class computers to be available as a Linux-powered Developer Edition computer.

      It’s currently on sale for $1185 and up.

      The starting price gets you a 3.9 pound notebook with a 15.6 inch display, an Intel Core i3-8300H quad-core processor, 8GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, a 56 Whr battery, and a 1080p display.

      But the notebook can be configured with up to an Intel Core i9-8950HK hexa-core processor, up to NVIDIA Quadro P2000 graphics, up to 32GB of RAM, up to a 4K touchscreen display, up to a 97 Wh battery, and up to two hard drives or SSDs.

  • Kernel Space

    • Final weekly status update for Allwinner VPU support in mainline Linux (week 35)

      The end of August has arrived, bringing an end to Paul’s engineering internship at Bootlin, focused on bringing mainline Linux support for the VPU found on Allwinner platforms. Over the past six months, we have worked hard to reach the goals announced in the project’s crowdfunding campaign and we were able to deliver most of the main goals last month.

    • Bootlin Wraps Up Project For Improving Allwinner VPU Support On Linux

      The six-month internship at Bootlin that was crowd-funded for improving the Allwinner VPU support on Linux has drawn to a close with mostly achieving success.

      The €31,612 (~$36,737 USD) raised for improving the Allwinner VPU support has been exhausted now but they mostly accomplished what they set out to do. They were successful in getting the codec working for older Allwinner SoCs including the A10/A13/A20/A33/R8/R16, improving the existing MPEG2 decoding code, implementing H.264 video decoding, improving the driver’s presentation of presented frames, and working out H.265 video decoding support.

    • Linux File System/Structure Explained!

      Ever get confused where to find things in Linux and where programs get installed? I’ll explain what all the folders are for, and what’s in them!

    • ExtFUSE: Making FUSE File-Systems Faster With eBPF

      Georgia Tech tends to be home to a lot of interesting open-source projects and incubating long-term FLOSS/Linux developers. This university’s latest interesting open-source project is “ExtFUSE” for making user-space FUSE file-systems faster by making use of the in-kernel eBPF framework.

      Ashish Bijlani of Georgia Tech presented at this week’s Linux Foundation Open-Source Summit on the work they are pursuing for making user-space file-systems faster. The short explanation of what they are doing with this project called “ExtFUSE” is to provide an extension framework of a “thin” layer of handlers within the kernel that leverage the eBPF in-kernel virtual machine for speeding up some I/O operations.

    • Intel MPX Support Will Be Removed From Linux – Memory Protection Extensions Appear Dead

      Back in April was a discussion about dropping MPX support from the Linux kernel but no action taken. Now though an Intel developer is preparing to see this Memory Protection Extensions functionality removed from the mainline Linux kernel.

      Memory Protection Extensions (MPX) have been supported since Intel Skylake CPUs for allowing the checking of pointer references at run-time to avoid buffer overflows and other potential related vulnerabilities. While it’s able to increase security, it didn’t end up gaining much fanfare, requires support plumbed through the compiler and operating system, and some studies found software-based alternatives like AddressSanitizer to be superior. Intel also hasn’t invested too much into maintaining the Linux MPX support in recent years.

    • Amlogic Video Decode Driver Posted For The Linux Kernel

      In addition to the embedded Linux experts at Bootlin having worked on the Allwinner VPU open-source support this summer they have also been developing an Amlogic video decode driver for the Linux kernel.

      This open-source video decode driver is currently for the Amlogic GXBB/GXL/GXM chips and supports MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video decoding at this initial stage. They have support in future patches to bring support for MJPEG, MPEG-4, H.264, and HEVC video formats. Supported by the hardware but might come in the future to this driver is VC-1 and VP9 video decoding too.

    • Linux Kernel Vs. Mac Kernel

      Both the Linux kernel and the macOS kernel are UNIX-based. Some people say that macOS is “linux”, some say that both are compatible due to similarities between commands and file system hierarchy. Today I want to show a little of both, showing the differences and similarities between Linux Kernel & Mac kernel like I mentioned in previous Linux kernel articles.

    • A Batch Of x86 Speculation Fixes Headed To The Linux 4.19 Kernel

      Thomas Gleixner has submitted a batch of x86 fixes today to the Linux 4.19 kernel, which include several changes around the speculative execution vulnerability mitigations.

      The x86 speculation fixes for Linux 4.19 include making some checks more robust, a fix for the Foreshadow / L1 Terminal Fault (L1TF) mitigation so it doesn’t get disabled on systems utilizing the full physical address space, a fix for the new 32-bit PTI support for Meltdown, and also another fix.

    • Linux 4.19-rc2

      As usual, the rc2 release is pretty small. People are taking a
      breather after the merge window, and it takes a bit of time for bug
      reports to start coming in and get identified. Plus people were
      probably still on vacation (particularly Europe), and some people were
      at Open Source Summit NA last week too. Having a calm week was good.

      Regardless of the reason, it’s pretty quiet/ The bulk of it is drivers
      (network and gpu stand out), with the rest being a random collection
      all over (arch/x86 and generic networking stands out, but there’s misc
      stuff all over).

      Go out and test.

      Linus

    • Kernel prepatch 4.19-rc2

      The 4.19-rc2 kernel prepatch is out for testing.

    • Linux 4.19-rc2
    • Linux 4.19-rc2 Released As A Small & Calm Release

      One week past the merge window of Linux 4.19 and the 4.19-rc1 release to close that off, Linux 4.19-rc2 is now available for testing.

      Linus Torvalds considers Linux 4.19-rc2 to be a “small” and “calm” release, due to many developers taking a short break following the merge window, the Linux Foundation Open-Source Summit taking place the past few days, and some Europeans being on summer holidays.

    • ​Linus Torvalds talks frankly about Intel security bugs

      At The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit North America in Vancouver, Linus Torvalds, Linux’s creator, and Dirk Hohndel, VMware VP and chief open source officer, had a wide-ranging conversation about Linux security, open-source developer, and quantum computing.

      Torvalds would really like his work to get back to being boring. It hasn’t been lately because of Intel’s CPU Meltdown and Spectre security bugs. The root cause behind these security holes was speculative execution.

      In speculative execution, when a program does a calculation, which might go several ways, the processor assumes several results and works on them. If it’s wrong, it goes back to the beginning and restarts with the correct data. Because CPUs are so fast these days, it’s much quicker to do this than to have the hardware sit idle waiting for data.

      Torvalds “loves speculative execution. CPUs must do this.” But, Torvalds is annoyed that “people didn’t think about the problems of taking shortcuts with speculative execution. We knew speculative work that wasn’t used had to be thrown away.” It wasn’t. That problem is now baked in most modern processors. The long-term fix is a new generation of Intel CPUs.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Amber Lake Graphics Support Added To Mesa Drivers

        While there is already Cannonlake and Icelake support within Intel’s Mesa drivers, the Amberlake support has just been merged.

        Amber Lake is the interim platform and the latest “14nm++” past Kabylake Refresh. Amber Lake and Whiskey Lake were announced this week with Whiskey being for the new Intel U-Series CPUs and Amber for the Y-Series CPUs in new 2-in-1s/convertibles, ultrabooks, fanless PCs, and other low-power systems.

      • Mesa 18.2 Should Now Be Clear For Releasing With Its Many OpenGL/Vulkan Improvements

        Mesa 18.2 ended up having two unscheduled release candidates due to open blocker bugs, but those issues have been cleared up and so this official quarterly update should be launching soon.

        Mesa 18.2-RC5 was released on Wednesday due to two blocker bugs still persisting around an OpenGL Piglit regression as well as a performance regression, both affecting Intel hardware. But on Friday night it was confirmed that two new patches resolve those blockers and pass Intel’s extensive validation suite. Thus Mesa 18.2.0 is cleared for landing.

      • AMDVLK Linux Driver Updated For Vulkan 1.1.82, Conservative Rasterization

        The AMD developers responsible for maintaining the “AMDVLK” Vulkan driver that shares common code with their Windows driver have done another weekly code push of their newest bits.

        With the XGL code drop this week there is now updates for Vulkan 1.1.82 where as previously Vulkan 1.1.77 was the exposed API version. Vulkan 1.1.82 was released at the end of July with various updates.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KaOS 2018.08 Released As One Of The Great KDE Linux Distributions

        KaOS 2018.08 has been released as the newest stable ISO spin of this built-from-scratch, Arch-inspired Linux distribution that offers a first-rate KDE Plasma desktop experience.

      • KDE Itinerary – Data Extraction

        After the overview of KDE’s travel assistant components we are going to look at one part in particular here, the booking data extraction. The convenience and usefulness of the overall system depends on being fed with accurate and complete data of when and where you are going to travel, ideally fully automatically.

        The data we are interested in is essentially everything you’d want to see on a unified itinerary for a trip. Flight and hotel bookings probably come to mind first, but there’s also event tickets, restaurant reservations, rental cars bookings, bus tickets, etc.

        The primary source of that information is, like for the commercial alternatives, incoming email. However we want to run this locally, under the user’s control, so the entry point for us is the email client. My email client is KMail, so that’s what we have a plug-in for, but there is nothing in the KItinerary library that’s specific to that (or Akonadi), integration with other email clients is very much possible.

      • My first Akademy

        I am glad I got a chance to attend this year’s Akademy. I wanted to understand how open-source orgs like KDE work and Akademy did help me understand it to some extent.

        There was a lot of excitement when I started my trip but the long flight and the heat wave had sucked all the energy out of me. Anyway, a good night’s sleep and the pleasant weather during the pre-registration event got my excitement back again.

      • KDE Seeing Samba Integration Fixes & Improvements

        Those of you dealing with files stored on Samba shares while accessing them from the KDE desktop will soon see a variety of improvements to that experience.

        KDE Frameworks 5.50 is bringing a variety of improvements for dealing with Samba from now properly saving files to Samba shares that were originally mounted via GNOME GVFS, guess access for Samba shares created by the Dolphin file manager work again, KDE applications potentially crashing when using smb://, and various other improvements are also on the way. Also coming is a fix for a critical issue as well as a silent data loss bug.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 34

        Amazing how time flies. We’re already on week 34 for KDE’s Usability & Productivity reports!

      • Akademy 2018 experience

        This year’s Akademy, the annual world summit of KDE, was held in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria, from 11th to 17th August, 2018. The 7-day event was divided in two parts, with the first 2 days being mostly keynote addresses and different talks by KDE contributors, followed by 5 more days BoFs, and workshops. Just like every other KDE event, this one was also as awesome as it could get.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 2.30rc2 (2.29.92) RELEASED

        The second release candidate for 3.30 is here! Remember this is the
        end of this development cycle, enjoy it as fast as you can, the final
        release is scheduled next Wednesday!

      • GNOME 3.29.92 Released As The Final Step Before Next Week’s GNOME 3.30 Desktop

        Friday night marked the release of GNOME 3.29.92 that serves as the second and final release candidate ahead of next week’s GNOME 3.30 six-month desktop update.

        This release is the final chance to test out the new GNOME packages ahead of the official release next Wednesday. Given the feature freeze has been in effect, the work isn’t all that exciting for RC2 but mostly bug fixing. But on the infrastructure side they have added i386 and ARMv7 jobs to their GNOME-Build-Meta repo and also merged the branch to now begin building GNOME Flatpak runtimes directly with GNOME-Build-Meta.

      • GNOME Keysign 0.9.9

        We have a new Keysign release with support for exchanging keys via the Internet.

        I am very proud to announce this version of GNOME Keysign, because it marks an important step towards a famous “1.0”. In fact, it might be just that. But given the potentially complicated new dependencies, I thought it’d be nice to make sort of an rc release.

      • Developer Center Initiative – Meeting Summary 23rd August

        On Thursday the 23rd August we held another Developer Center meeting. Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances I was late to this meeting, but I will try my best to report on the events.

        We are on the verdict of making a technological decision and we have two proposals which currently is in debate, namely HotDoc and Vuepress (for now, Michael has expressed that he is currently unsure if he is able to commit the necessary time to work on the Django instance). This meeting we listed and agreed on a set of criteria, weighted after importance. These criteria has root in the list of challenges which was covered in a previous blog post. The purpose of having a list of criteria is to reach consensus on how to prioritize features in the proposed instances when we judge them.

        The next section will describe a few highlighted criteria that we weighted. You can find a full list of criteria here. Any input is welcome on the Gitlab thread.

      • GIR support in gnome-class

        Recently I’ve been working again in the rust port of libgepub, libgepub is C code, but in the rust-migration branch almost all the real functionality is done with rust and the GepubDoc class is a GObject wrapper around that code.

        For this reason I was thinking about to use gnome-class to implement GepubDoc.

        Gnome-class is a rust lib to write GObject code in rust that’s compatible with the C binary API so then you can call this new GObject code written with gnome-class from C. I’ve worked a little in gnome-class, implementing a basic properties support.

      • Taming Gnome 3 – theming and scheming

        As time goes by, the Gnome 3 desktop is becoming more and more restrictive in what it allows its users to do, fundamentally mistaking visual and functional minimalism, further complicating things by using a pseudo-touch interface that makes little sense on the desktop. Shame, because it doesn’t make much to have Gnome look and behave the part. I’ve written a whole bunch of guides explaining how you can regain some of the functionality (and sanity) back, and it’s time for another such article.

        First, please read the basics as I’ve outlined many months ago. Now, we will explore additional themes and options, additional extensions, and some other settings. Not all of this will bear fruit, but it’s an exercise that should ultimately give you the right pointers to using Gnome 3 effectively. Let’s roll.

      • GNOME Tweaks 3.30

        GNOME 3.30 will be released within a few days. That makes this a good time to showcase the improvements in GNOME Tweaks 3.30.

        One problem with moving power settings from Tweaks into Settings a year ago was that the Power panel only had one setting. GNOME Designer Allan Day suggested we use a new General panel to include the remaining power switch, the sound Over-Amplification switch, and the Animations switch.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Review: Redcore Linux 1806

        For the most part, my time with Redcore was disappointing and occasionally frustrating. Disappointing in that, apart from security enhancements, it does not seem as though Redcore has made any significant progress over the past year. Hardware support has not improved (if anything it has become worse for VirtualBox users) and I did not find any significant new features which would suggest the project is bringing new ideas to the community.

        Another thing which bothered me was the appearance of the distribution. While I liked the darker theme, the grey background without clear window borders meant that all application windows blended together. If I had three windows all open and overlapping on the desktop there wasn’t any way to tell where one ended and the next began. When combined with the smaller 9pt font that is used everywhere, it meant I had to tweak most visual aspects of the interface to make it suitable for my preferences and ageing eyes.

        There were some other minor problems. For example, sometimes the application menu would open at the bottom of the screen (next to its button) and other times the application menu would appear at the top of the display, far away from the mouse pointer. This unusual menu placement would continue until I logged out and signed back into LXQt.

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 26.0 STABLE released.

        The status of the 4MLinux 26.0 series has been changed to STABLE. Edit your documents with LibreOffice 6.1.0.1 and GNOME Office (AbiWord 3.0.2, GIMP 2.10.6, Gnumeric 1.12.43), share your files using DropBox 55.4.171, surf the Internet with Firefox 61.0.2 and Chromium 68.0.3440.75, stay in touch with your friends via Thunderbird 52.9.1 and Skype for Web, enjoy your music collection with Audacious 3.10, watch your favorite videos with VLC 3.0.3 and mpv 0.28.2, play games powered by Mesa 17.3.7 and Wine 3.14. You can also setup the 4MLinux LAMP Server (Linux 4.14.64, Apache 2.4.34, MariaDB 10.3.9, PHP 5.6.37 and PHP 7.2.9). Perl 5.26.1, Python 2.7.14, and Python 3.6.4 are also available.

      • ExTiX 18.9 – “The Ultimate Linux System” – with LXQt 0.12.0, Refracta Tools, Calamares Installer and kernel 4.18.5-exton – a non-efi Build 180901

        I have made a new extra version of ExTiX – The Ultimate Linux System. I call it ExTiX 18.9 LXQt Live DVD. It is for non-efi computers and VirtualBox/VMware. I.e. you can use the Calamares Installer also in for example VirtualBox and VMware. Which means that you can install ExTiX in any language.

      • LibreELEC 9.0 Alpha Linux distro gets Kodi 18 ‘Leia’ Beta 1 update — download now!

        Let’s be honest — in a world with easy legal streaming thanks to inexpensive services like Netflix and Hulu, Kodi media center is probably used mostly by pirates. It is not likely the average consumer is storing video and music files locally to play on their TV — it simply isn’t worth the hassle these days. With that said, not all Kodi users are thieves — I am sure some are legally buying media for playback on the media software… maybe…

        Regardless of why you use Kodi (I’m not judging), the best way to experience it is through a Linux distribution that focuses on it. LibreELEC, for instance, is a lightweight distro that exists only to run the Kodi media center. It is quite popular with Raspberry Pi owners, but it runs on other hardware too, including x86_64 and WeTek boxes. Kodi 18 “Leia” recently achieved Beta 1 status, and as a result, LibreELEC 9.0 Alpha has been updated with it. In other words, the most bleeding edge LibreELEC now runs the most bleeding edge Kodi.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Continues Working On Transactional Updates With Btrfs

        While Red Hat and several other Linux vendors have either deprecated Btrfs support or at least not embraced it like they originally talked up this “next-gen file-system” years ago, SUSE has continued supporting Btrfs both with openSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise.

        SUSE continues shipping openSUSE/SLE with Btrfs on the root file-system and through that have been offering up some nifty features, including support for transactional updates.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in August 2018
      • Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities August 2018
      • Derivatives

        • Spend Labor Day Weekend installing Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 3 ‘Cindy’

          Linux Mint Debian Edition isn’t a very popular operating system. As you can imagine, the normal Linux Mint variant — which is based on Ubuntu — is used by far more people. It’s not hard to see why this is — the Linux Mint developers don’t really consider LMDE to be anything more than an experiment. You see, it serves as a contingency plan just in case Ubuntu development ever ceases.

          With all of that said, there’s no reason why users shouldn’t give Linux Mint Debian Edition a try. Today, just in time for Labor Day Weekend, LMDE 3 “Cindy” finally sees release. With many people enjoying a long holiday weekend, it is the perfect opportunity to install the rolling release distro and play around with it!

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Give Your Ubuntu a New Look Using Paper Theme

            This is how Paper GTK theme and icon theme looks and how to install in Ubuntu.

            Paper theme is a very calm and cool looking flat theme with very little shadow in depth effects. This theme was developed for modern GTK3 environments, that means you can install this in Ubuntu and its derivatives. The theme, however, not is development at the moment. But you can still download and experience this theme.

            Primary color of Paper theme is light-dark based and it will look good with its own Paper icon and cursor theme.

          • Who’s Using Ubuntu

            A look at who’s using Ubuntu and their hardware.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Outreachy Had 41 Interns Complete Their Work This Summer

      In addition to Google’s Summer of Code recently having wrapped up, so have the Outreachy projects that also engaged in various open-source activities over the summer months.

      From May to August, Outreachy had 41 interns work on their projects. Outreachy still has plans to expand their reach to more under-represented groups in tech, but for this latest round it was available “internationally to women (cis and trans), trans men, and genderqueer people. Internships are also open to residents and nationals of the United States of any gender who are Black/African American, Hispanic/[email protected], Native American/American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.”

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Syncing Exchange Server with Thunderbird 60 (again)

        A couple weeks ago Mozilla Thunderbird released version 60 and a lot of extensions became incompatible. Amongst them Exchange Calendar, an extension that allows to sync calendars, tasks and contacts with a Microsoft Exchange Server. That extension has served me well over the last years in my job where we have to use the Exchange Server. Unfortunately it seems that the extension will not be continued anymore, and I had to search for something else.

      • Pale Moon browser removed from my repository

        I have removed my contributed build of the Pale Moon browser from my package repository.

        The reason? Primarily the attitude of its developers. The main developer is ridiculing Slackware. When working on my initial SlackBuild script and trying to obtain approval to use their ‘official branding’ I had a seriously grim argument with the lead minion of the developer group and the lead maintainer had to step in to appease. That set me off on the wrong foot from the beginning, but I thought an alternative to Firefox would be beneficial to Slackware users, so I added the package and build script despite my misgivings.
        However, the above is not how a respectful relationship between developer and distributor works. Also, Moonchild refuses to mention me as a “contributed build” on the “contributed builds” page.

      • TenFourFox FPR9 available, and introducing Talospace

        TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 9 final is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). There are no changes from beta 3 except for outstanding security patches. Assuming no changes, it will go live Tuesday evening Pacific due to the US Labor Day holiday.

        Allow me to also take the wraps off of Talospace, the new spin-off blog primarily oriented at the POWER9 Raptor Talos family of systems but will also be where I’ll post general Power ISA and PowerPC items, refocusing this blog back to Power Macs specifically. Talospace is a combination of news bits, conjecture and original content “first person” items. For a period of time until it accumulates its own audience, I’ll crosspost links here to seed original content (for the news pieces, you’ll just have to read it or subscribe to the RSS feed).

      • Mozilla changes Firefox policy from ‘do not track’ to ‘will not track’

        Mozilla says it will soon be modifying its Firefox browser to block all user tracking on websites by default.

        “In the near future, Firefox will, by default, protect users by blocking tracking while also offering a clear set of controls to give our users more choice over what information they share with sites,” said Mozilla VP of product strategy Nick Nguyen.

        The move will see an initial trial of the feature in September and, should that work out, the Firefox 63 rollout will include a component to immediately block slow-loading trackers. By the time Firefox 65 is released, Mozilla says that it hopes to have all cross-site tracking blocked by default.

        The move means a shift by Mozilla from the more passive ‘Do Not Track’ system that relies on sites to recognize the notice and disable their trackers, to an active feature that will instead block tracking by default and require the user themselves to opt in to a website’s trackers.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • IT Science Case Study: How Walmart Embraced Test Automation, Open Source

      Here is the latest article in the eWEEK feature series called IT Science, in which we look at what actually happens at the intersection of new-gen IT and legacy systems.

      Unless it’s brand new and right off various assembly lines, servers, storage and networking inside every IT system can be considered “legacy.” This is because the iteration of both hardware and software products is speeding up all the time. It’s not unusual for an app-maker, for example, to update and/or patch for security purposes an application a few times a month, or even a week. Some apps are updated daily! Hardware moves a little slower, but manufacturing cycles are also speeding up.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • A simple picture language for GNU Guile

      One thing that I really love about Racket is its picture language, which allows you to play with geometric shapes in an interactive session in Dr Racket. The shapes are displayed right there in the REPL, just like numbers or strings. Instead of writing a programme that prints “hello world” or that computes the Fibonacci numbers, one could write a programme that composes differently rotated, coloured shapes and prints those instead.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Redis Labs changes license, Valve releases new Steam Play beta version, and more news

      Database developer Redis Labs changed the license on its database modules to limit “the ability of cloud providers to offer these Redis Modules to customers.”

      The new license “combines Apache v2.0 with Commons Clause, which restricts the sale of covered software.” Redis CTO Yiftach Shoolman “justified the license shift by saying that cloud providers benefit from open-source software while giving nothing back.” However, Redis stresses that its core database code is still under a BSD license.

      Although Redis defended this move as protecting open source, condemnation from the open source world was swift. Simon Phipps of the Open Source Initiative called this “an abrogation of software freedom,” while developer Drew DeVault said that Common Clause “presents one of the greatest existential threats to open source.”

  • Programming/Development

    • Vladimir Butenko 1962-2018

      Unfortunately, Butenko was not in with the open source. He used to post to Usenet, lampooning and dismissing Linux. I suspect once you can code your own Linux any time you want, your perspective changes a bit. This was a part of the way we drifted apart later on. I was plugging on my little corner of Linux, while Butenko was somewhere out in the larger world, revolutionizing computer-intermediated communications.

      He died suddenly, from a heart failure. Way too early, I think.

    • Rust pattern: Iterating an over a Rc<Vec>

      This post examines a particular, seemingly simple problem: given ownership of a Rc<Vec<u32>>, can we write a function that returns an impl Iterator<Item = u32>? It turns out that this is a bit harder than it might at first appear – and, as we’ll see, for good reason. I’ll dig into what’s going on, how you can fix it, and how we might extend the language in the future to try and get past this challenge.

Leftovers

  • First Ever Crash Of Apple’s Self-driving Car Confirmed In Silicon Valley

    According to a report filed with the California DMV, it has been confirmed that one of Apple’s self-driving cars recently met with an accident in Silicon Valley.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • This is your brain on air pollution

      A study led by Beijing Normal University’s Xin Zhang and Yale’s Xi Chen took advantage of a powerful dataset to expand our knowledge on this question. Many previous studies have focused on students, comparing school testing results with regional air quality, for example. The new study used the results of a massive Chinese survey of more than 50,000 people who took standardized tests in 2010 and then again in 2014. Such “longitudinal” studies that follow individuals over time are excellent because you can compare a person to their own previous results. That’s better than using two groups of people whose differences you hope will average out.

    • Air pollution may harm cognitive intelligence, study says

      “Our findings about the damaging effect of air pollution on cognition,” the study concludes, “particularly on the aging brain, imply that the indirect effect on social welfare could be much larger than previously thought.”

    • Air Pollution Linked to Decline in Cognitive Performance

      The research team, led by Xiaobo Zhang of Peking University, found that exposure to increased levels of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulates smaller than 10 μm (PM10) were tied to lower verbal test scores (math scores to a lesser extent, and only when people were exposed for weeks or more). Exposure over longer periods of time correlated with larger drops in performance, and the effects were most pronounced for men and older people.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Syria reveals fate of people thrown into ‘slaughterhouse’ jails

      Visual artist and former prisoner Najah al-Bukai was tasked with transporting dead inmates to mass graves. He says the first body he lugged over to the pit was marked with a white card: corpse number 5,535.

    • Flying Drones To Be Legal From December 1, Use For Delivery And Transport Barred

      In good news for drone enthusiasts, individuals and companies can legally fly drones from December 1, 2018 in areas other than those barred for security reasons, regulations for use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) released by the Civil Aviation Ministry said on Monday.

    • As law-enforcement drones become more prevalent, Denver’s police and fire departments split on their use

      Growing fleet of public safety drones concerns some law enforcement critics who question how information is collected from the skies

    • CIA and Saudi Arabia Conspired To Keep 9/11 Details Secret, New Book Says

      t’s easier to bury uncomfortable facts than to confront them. So this September 11, the ceremonies marking the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., will simply honor the dead. In Manhattan, tourists and mourners will gather where the World Trade Center Towers once stood, lowering their heads in memory of the 2,606 who perished there. The services won’t reflect the view that the attacks might well have been prevented.

      But for hundreds of families and a growing number of former FBI agents, the grief of another 9/11 ceremony will be laced with barely muted rage: There remains a conspiracy of silence among high former U.S. and Saudi officials about the attacks.

      “It’s horrible. We still don’t know what happened,” said Ali Soufan, one of the lead FBI counterterrorism agents whom the CIA kept in the dark about the movements of the future Al-Qaeda hijackers. To Soufan and many other former national security officials, the unanswered questions about the events leading up to the September 11, 2001, attacks dwarf those about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, because “9/11 changed the whole world.” It not only led to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the fracturing of the Middle East and the global growth of Islamic militantism but also pushed the U.S. closer to being a virtual homeland-security police state.

    • Did CIA-Saudi keep 9/11 details secret? New book throws light on conspiracy theories

      As the world approaches September 11 this year, there still remains a conspiracy of silence among high former US and Saudi officials about the attacks. Though subsequent government investigations concluded there is no proof of official Saudi support for the attacks, unresolved American doubts about the US-Saudi alliance still persist.

      John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski’s book on 9/11, The Watchdogs Didn’t Bark, hopes to re-focus public attention on the cover-up of Saudi complicity in the affair. Thoroughly mixing the multiple official investigations into the event, Duffy, a left-leaning writer and environmental activist, and Ray, a documentary filmmaker, found huge holes and contradictions in the official story that 9/11 was merely “a failure to connect the dots.”

    • The recognition of the former agent of the CIA in the murder of Marley turned out to be fake

      Information about recognition bill Oxley was published in one of the infamous Fake News sites.

      Recognition of former CIA agent bill Oxley in the murder of Bob Marley turned out to be fake. It showed verification of information channel 4.com.

      It was found that the information first appeared on the resource YourNewsWire.com. He, according to experts, is a well-known web site Fake News.

      Not so long ago on this site was published information about what Hillary Clinton is connected with the paedophile ring. At other times the information appeared that the US government planned the murder of Donald trump.

    • The CIA’s plan under Reagan: more covert action, more excessive secrecy

      The Central Intelligence Agency’s declassified archives include several copies of one of its long-term plans, produced in 1980 and originally classified SECRET. The copies of the Summary Report reveal two things about the Agency: it was, in the immediate lead-up to the Reagan administration, determined to expand its scope of operations and collections, and seemingly to increase its covert activities, and it’s either negligent or incompetent when it comes to figuring out what’s actually classified and deciding what files can be released.

    • Portsmouth lecturer’s new book will shine a light on secretive RAF drone warfare

      The Reaper Force has been at war continuously since it was created in 2007 – but it remains one of the most guarded and secretive military communities in the world.

      However, a University of Portsmouth (UoP) academic is set to publish an eye-opening book on the division after enjoying several years of unprecedented levels of research access.

      An international authority on the deployment of military drones, Dr Peter Lee – a former RAF chaplain – will release Reaper Force: The Inside Story of Britain’s Drone Wars on October 4.

    • The National Security Law Podcast: A Deep Dive into the Anwar al-Awlaki Case(s)
    • Asia’s Shifting Alliances

      “Boxing the compass” is an old nautical term for locating the points on a magnetic compass in order to set a course. With the erratic winds blowing out of Washington these days, countries all over Asia and the Middle East are boxing the compass and re-evluating traditional foes and old alliances.

      India and Pakistan have fought three wars in the past half-century, and both have nuclear weapons on a hair trigger. But the two countries are now part of a security and trade organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), along with China, Russia and most of the countries of Central Asia. Following the recent elections in Pakistan, Islamabad’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, has called for an “uninterrupted continued dialogue” with New Delhi to resolve conflicts and establish “peace and stability” in Afghanistan.

      Pakistan’s new Prime Minister, Imran Khan, is a critic of the U.S. war in Afghanistan and particularly opposed to the use of U.S. drones to kill insurgents in Pakistan.

      Russia has reached out to the Taliban, which has accepted an invitation for peace talks in Moscow on Sept. 4 to end the 17-year old war. Three decades ago the Taliban were shooting down Russian helicopters with American-made Stinger missiles.

    • STOP. HUMANIZING. WAR CRIMINALS.

      That’s it. That’s all it took to win Twitter for the day. Those four seconds of footage have been circulated around TV news stations to ‘ooh’s and ‘ahh’s of fawning establishment pundits yammering incessantly about how the death of War Hero John McCain™ has let everyone Put Aside Our Political Differences™ and Come Together As Americans™ to celebrate the life of a man who dedicated his entire political career to sowing death, suffering and devastation at every opportunity. A war criminal giving a piece of candy to the wife of another war criminal at the funeral of a war criminal is all it took to get mainstream American brains gushing with dopamine and oxytocin.

      Because that’s how compartmentalized Americans are from the reality of what war is and what it means. The explosions, the screams, the charred and shredded human bodies, the chaos and displacement and all the suffering, terrorism, slavery and rape that necessarily always comes with it, the million Iraqis killed under Bush, the unfathomable humanitarian disasters created in Libya and Syria under Obama, all the devastation created in all the military interventions McCain helped push for, all of that is so peripheral and distant in American consciousness that it can be dismissed with a wave of the hand and a piece of fucking candy.

      And it isn’t really their fault. The more woke Americans who’ve grown to resent their brainwashed countrymen hate it when I say this, but it isn’t. It’s not a coincidence that the nation with the most powerful military in the history of civilization and the most billionaires in the history of civilization also happens to have the most sophisticated propaganda system in the history of civilization, and that propaganda system is pointed at them from a very early age to normalize the war machine that is used to protect the empire of the billionaires.

    • Letter to CIA ‘unforgivable’, says Umno leader

      The letter written by former intelligence chief Hasanah Ab Hamid to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) seeking support for the Barisan Nasional government is unforgivable, an Umno Supreme Council member said today.

      Lokman Noor Adam said it was an offence that could not be forgiven.

      “If she had done so, action must be taken. I have also received information from her office that someone in her office played her out by exposing the letter, so they could replace her.

      “Authorities must investigate. We cannot tolerate acts of treason,” he said at the 1Malaysia Merdeka picnic organised by opposition supporters at the Perdana Botanical Gardens here today.

    • ‘Spy’ chief’s letter to CIA unforgivable, Umno leader insists

      Soliciting a foreign power for political support is unacceptable, said Umno supreme council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam.

      Commenting on the controversy around a letter the former director-general of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) wrote to the US’ Central Intelligence Agency seeking support for Barisan Nasional, he said the move “is a mistake that cannot be forgiven”.

      While saying he was informed that the private letter was intentionally leaked to sabotage Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid, he stressed that she must be investigated if the document was authentic.

    • New Video Shows More Atrocities by Cameroon, a Key U.S. Ally in Drone Warfare

      Gunshots ring out as the troops advance down a dirt road. One of them, in full combat gear — helmet, camouflage uniform, automatic weapon — clowns for the camera and sticks out his tongue. A sergeant next to him says, in French, “This is a kamikaze mission!”

      It quickly becomes clear exactly what type of mission this actually is. It’s of the same type that soldiers carried out at El Mozote, El Salvador, in 1981, at My Lai, South Vietnam, in 1968, and at Oradour-sur-Glane, France, in 1944. It is a massacre. And it is filmed. This particular mass killing takes place in Cameroon, a key U.S. ally and staging ground for America’s drone operations in Africa. While the number of victims is likely smaller than other notorious mass killings, it’s the second atrocity video involving Cameroon’s armed forces to be made public this summer.

    • How the CIA started sniffing at the Guptas in 2009 already

      A report in the Sunday Times suggests that the US government was taking a keen interest in the influence of the Gupta family in South African affairs from as early as 2009.

      This US interest reportedly stemmed from the fact that the Guptas were intending to acquire interests in uranium mining. In later years, it became clear that the family was hoping to benefit from an expensive nuclear build programme being negotiated with Russia.

      The US government is notorious for keeping an eye on all things nuclear, particularly to contain the proliferation of such weapons globally.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Who Was Really Behind the Silencing of Julian Assange?

      Many have speculated on the reasons behind the silencing of Julian Assange and what country coerced Moreno or if the President of Ecuador did it on his own but the fact is that it really wasn’t over his tweets regarding Catalonia. Nor do I believe that Spain had anything to do with it. This article is to explain who I think was behind it and why. I may make some enemies over this but the truth needs to be told. It was the United States, but not who you may think. The Clintons had nothing to do with it. The CIA undoubtedly had their hands in it but the answer is surprising to some but not to those of us who have watched this story unfold.

    • Is the Mueller investigation preparing to indict WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange?

      The investigation by special counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller into alleged “Russian interference” in the 2016 US presidential election is close to issuing an indictment against WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange. That is the conclusion that can be drawn from a lengthy article authored by James Gordon Meek and Ali Dukakis and published on August 29 by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).
      James Gordon Meek is not just any journalist. He must be ranked as one of the prime conduits in the American media for the positions of the US intelligence, police and military apparatus. Throughout his now 25-year career, he has been repeatedly used by “unnamed sources” within the state to luridly report on a myriad of purported terrorism conspiracies that have been used to justify the military operations and anti-democratic outrages carried out under the pretext that the US is fighting a “war on terror.” From 2011 to 2013, he worked as the leading “counterterrorism advisor” to the congressional Committee on Homeland Security.

    • 4th online vigil for Julian Assange followed by Unity4J Day

      #Unity4J announces 4th online vigil followed by ‘Unity4J Day’ mass decentralised actions in support of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks

      This weekend marks a historic milestone for worldwide supporters of the arbitrarily detained publisher Julian Assange.

      A dynamic new format for the highly popular Unity4J monthly online vigils is to be launched this coming Saturday, September 1st 2018, starting at 10am Eastern, 7am Pacific (2pm UTC).

    • The Torture of Assange: A Blight on the US Justice System

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been forced to spend nearly 3,000 days in solitary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. His crime? He isn’t charged with anything. But the neocons and warmongers in the US government want to put him in a box – or worse – for publishing government secrets. Wait…isn’t that what all journalists do? Yes, that is what they are supposed to do. So isn’t the persecution of Assange actually an attack on the free press? Yes. What can we do to help Assange? Our ideas in today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

    • After retiring, CIA’s first director warned J. Edgar Hoover of Agency’s “corruption”

      A recently released copy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation file for Central Intelligence Agency Director Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter reveals that shortly after his retirement, Hillenkoetter admitted to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover that elements of the Agency were corrupt.

      The relationship between Hillenkoetter and Hoover appears to have long been cordial and forthright, with the CIA Director repeatedly praising the Bureau and Hoover returning the compliment. Following Hillenkoetter’s retirement from the CIA in order to return to the Navy, he kept in contact with the Bureau, acting as both an informant and liaison, and at times using his position to expedite matters for the Bureau. One of the most historically significant moments shared between the FBI and Hillenkoetter came from shortly after his retirement, when he described the “blunder and corruption of OSS and certain elements of CIA” in a private meeting with Hoover, according to memos obtained by MuckRock.

    • From Ministry to Muckraking: The Biblical Basis for Investigative Reporting

      More than a dozen years ago I was a finalist for a reporting job at a small newspaper. All I needed to do was survive an interview with the top editor. The other editors warned me, saying their boss took perverse pleasure from smashing the hopes of naive reporters. I braced myself as he studied my resume. His lips curled into a sneer.

      To be fair, my job history was a tad unusual. I had spent five years in full-time ministry, including three as an evangelical Christian missionary in Kenya. Then there was my master’s degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. There didn’t seem to be a lot of churchgoing, Bible-believing, born-again Christians like me working at daily papers.

      The editor scowled and said, “So what makes you think that a Christian can be a good journalist?”

      He emphasized “Christian” as if it were some kind of slur.

      I liked that he spoke his mind, but I was taken aback. I explained what I saw as a natural progression from the ministry to muckraking, pointing out that both are valid ways of serving a higher cause. The Bible endorses telling the truth, without bias. So does journalism. The Bible commands honesty and integrity. In journalism, your reputation is your main calling card with sources and readers.

      Obviously, many people have succeeded as reporters without strong religious beliefs. But I told him my faith had made me a better, more determined journalist. He replied with a noncommittal grunt. But I got the job.

    • NSA leaker asks Trump for pardon
    • NSA leaker says she’ll seek clemency; cites Trump calling sentence ‘so unfair’

      Reality Winner, a former National Security Agency contractor recently sentenced to over five years in prison for leaking classified material to the media, will seek a reprieve from the White House in light of President Trump calling her punishment “so unfair,” she said Friday.

      Speaking by telephone from Lincoln County jail near Augusta, Georgia, Winner told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she will ask Mr. Trump for clemency on the heels of him publicly criticizing the 63-month sentence she received last week for leaking a top-secret NSA report on Russian election meddling, the newspaper reported.

    • Encouraged by Trump’s tweet, NSA leaker asks president for pardon
    • An Online Vigil in Defense of Julian Assange With Daniel Ellsberg, Craig Murray, Bill Binney and Ray McGovern

      Joe Lauria, editor-in-chief of Consortium News, on Saturday helped moderate a daylong chain of interviews in defense of WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange, including a discussion with Daniel Ellsberg.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Governor’s desk last stop to California pledging 100% carbon-free energy by 2045

      On Wednesday evening, California’s Senate passed SB 100, a bill mandating that utilities serving the state move to 100-percent carbon-free energy by 2045. If the Governor signs the bill into law, it will become one of the most aggressive in the nation, matching only Hawaii’s carbon-free by 2045 commitment.

      California’s bill specifies that any energy obtained outside the state can not contribute to additional greenhouse gas emissions from that state. The stipulation preemptively closes a potential loophole in which California could acquire cheap energy from polluting plants in border states.

    • Striking animation by Finnish researcher shows history of climate change

      So far, Lipponen has created two animated data visualisations about climate change – first in 2017 and most recently last week – showing the rapidly-increasing median heat spikes in countries across the world. In hyperspeed, his new animation shows how earth’s climate has changed over the course of more than a century.

    • Three ways making a smartphone can harm the environment

      Mining these metals is a vital activity that underpins the modern global economy. But the environmental cost can be enormous and is probably far greater than you realise. Let’s walk through some of the key metals in smartphones, what they do, and the environmental cost of getting them out of the ground.

    • Aging cocoa trees provide opportunity for agricultural reform in Ghana

      Cocoa yields are declining as trees age across Ghana, the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer. But farmers who lease their land are reluctant to replant for fear of losing their right to farm. New written land agreements may be part of the solution.

    • Underwater drone could protect Great Barrier Reef by killing crown-of-thorns starfish

      The small submarine-like machines have been designed to eradicate crown-of-thorns starfish, listed as a major threat to the reef, using a lethal injection.

      Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology collaborating with Google and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation have designed the RangerBot.

  • Finance

    • Bank of America freezing accounts of customers suspected of not being US citizens

      His case isn’t unique. In recent months, Bank of America has been accused of freezing or threatening to freeze customers’ accounts after asking about their legal status in the U.S.. In July, the Washington Post reported that multiple customers had been locked out of their accounts after Bank of America questioned whether the account holders were U.S. citizens or dual citizens.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump administration withholds 100K Kavanaugh pages

      Schumer said the decision to withhold the documents “has all the makings of a cover-up. … What are they trying so desperately to hide?”

    • Suggestions for Trump Supporters

      Decent people have to oppose Nazis. The Nazi belief system is based on the mass murder of people based on race and the murder of people who disagree with them. In Germany in the 1930s there were some people who could claim not to know about the bad things that Nazis were doing and they could claim to only support Nazis for other reasons. Neo-Nazis are not about creating car companies like VolksWagen all they are about is hatred. The crimes of the original Nazis are well known and well documented, it’s not plausible that anyone could be unaware of them.

      Mitch McConnell has clearly stated “There are no good neo-Nazis” [12] in clear opposition to Trump. While I disagree with Mitch on many issues, this is one thing we can agree on. This is what decent people do, they work together with people they usually disagree with to oppose evil. Anyone who will support Nazis out of tribal loyalty has demonstrated the type of person they are.

      [...]

      I’ve had people refuse to disclaim racism when asked. If you can’t clearly say that you consider people of other races to be your equal then everyone will think that you are racist.

    • Why McCain Lost: a Flashback

      After a week of media fawning, flags racing up and down staffs, and memorials coast-to-coast, John McCain will finally be laid to rest this weekend in Annapolis amid eulogies from George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Give McCain some credit for using the occasion of his funeral to illustrate vividly that there’s less than a dime’s worth of difference between the politicians of our time. I’m only surprised that McCain’s final will and testament didn’t follow the Caesarian tradition and call for seven days of war games as part of his memorial. (The best protest Trump could make against this prolonged McCaingasm is not to drone anyone this week.) The image of McCain as some kind of free-wheeling political contrarian was, of course, almost entirely the creation of the press corps that is now weeping over his corpse. McCain was no Cicero. His jokes, barbs and long-winded floor speeches were largely for show. When it came time for voting (on matters ranging from war in Iraq to apartheid in South Africa), McCain was an unvarnished creature of the far right. Politically he wasn’t far removed from the political savages of our time: Jesse Helms, Trent Lott and Dick Armey. Those spitting cobras have been rightly consigned to a kind of historical detention for their racism and warmongering, but McCain has been almost universally venerated, largely because he knew that the easiest way to manipulate the press was to preen for the cameras and give them an occasional pat on the head. As a parting shot, here’s the last piece Cockburn and I wrote on McCain for the print edition of CounterPunch, shortly after he blew what should have been a sure thing against Barack Obama in 2008. — JSC

    • Elissa Slotkin: A CIA Democrat runs for Congress in Michigan

      The 30-second ad features footage of US troops on combat missions in Iraq, followed by images of the Pentagon and the World Trade Center towers in flames after the 9/11 attacks, as well as posed photographs of Slotkin with President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.

      As these images flash by, accompanied by somber music and American flags, Slotkin outlines her career, declaring that she joined the CIA and did three tours in Iraq, “working for two presidents, one from each party.” She ends the ad with the statement, “We need members of Congress to remember it’s about service to country, not themselves.”

      No one watching the ad would have any idea which of the two corporate-controlled parties Slotkin was affiliated with, or even that she was a candidate for political office. All that is communicated is that she worked for the CIA, that this constituted “service to country,” and that, by implication, it was more praiseworthy and valuable than the work of a representative in Congress.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Forget games – data will be Tencent’s biggest test

      Chinese social media, mobile payment and gaming giant Tencent has seen better days. The company has lost almost 30% of its market value, more than US$160 billion, since a peak in January.

      The investor retreat has centered largely around new regulations placed on online and mobile games, part of the Chinese government’s efforts to tackle game addiction among the nation’s youth. Tencent’s business model relies heavily on revenue from games.

      Now more than ever, Tencent’s strategy to remain competitive outside of that segment has far more important implications for the company’s future. As the company tries to leverage its mobile app ecosystem, which includes China’s most used social media and mobile payment platforms, to foster competition in the retail space, data will be key.

    • Japanese trust bank to launch personal data brokerage business

      I’m just wondering how the individuals will behave when they have obtained control over their personal data. Many of us have got to used to provide our personal data to a computer system or a company in exchange for convenience, even though we don’t provide such data to a person in front of us. I’m also wondering how the quality or user experience of services will change when the services have become created only based on data of persons who are willing to provide their personal data.

    • Five Eyes govts issue warning to firms on encryption

      The governments of the Five Eyes countries — the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — have warned tech companies that they must voluntarily enable access to products sold in these five countries, else they will be forced to do so in cases deemed necessary.

    • Matthew M. Aid, independent researcher who wrote a history of the NSA, dies at 60
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • A disturbing photo and a leaky can of pepper spray ruined this flight to Hawaii

      Passengers boarded the flight Friday morning from Oakland International Airport to Maui’s Kahului Airport. The plane was supposed to take off at 7 a.m., but it was brought back to the gate because a 15-year-old girl accidentally airdropped a picture of a fake crime scene to passengers, according to CNN affiliate KGO-TV. The picture showed a mannequin face-down on the ground surrounded by crime scene numerical markers.

      Sgt. Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office told KGO about 15 passengers viewed the photo and “believed that the picture was threatening.”

      It was found that the girl was just trying to airdrop the photo to her mom, Kelly said, but because she airdropped using bluetooth, people in range of her phone had the option of accepting and viewing the photo.

    • How Silicon Valley should celebrate Labor Day

      On September 5th, 1882, 10,000 workers gathered at a “monster labor festival” to protest the 12-hours per day, seven days a week harsh working conditions they faced in order to cobble together a survivable wage. Even children as “young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country.”

      This all erupted in a climax in 1894 when the American Railway Union went on a nationwide strike, crippling the nation’s transportation infrastructure, which included trains that delivered postal mail. President Grover Cleveland declared this a federal crime and sent in federal troops to break up the strike, which resulted in one of the bloodiest encounters in labor history, leaving 30 dead and countless injured.

    • California becomes first state to eliminate bail

      California will become the first state to eliminate bail for suspects awaiting trial and replace it with a still murky risk-assessment system under a bill signed Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown (D).

    • Serving Time Should Not Mean ‘Prison Slavery’

      Since Aug. 21, prisoners across the United States have been on one of the largest prison strikes the nation has seen in years. They have several demands, but at the top is the end of the forced labor the state coerces out of them. Up to 800,000 prisoners a day are put out for work without their choice, usually for extremely paltry compensation that in Louisiana is as low as 4 cents per hour.

      With often privatized prisons operating with maximum security and limited communication among prisoners, even discovering what is happening remains difficult, yet prisoners have organized themselves nonetheless in one of the most important labor actions in this country.

    • The Internet of Garbage
    • ‘Act like a lady,’ Denver police tell journalist as they handcuff and detain her for photographing them
    • Chicago police data reveals how dirty cops spread corruption like a disease
    • Chagos Islands: international dispute and human drama

      Fifty years ago Britain separated the Chagos Islands from its colony Mauritius, expelling the entire population to make way for the installation of a US military base that is today highly strategic.

      Britain’s 1965 acquisition of the Indian Ocean archipelago has been disputed ever since, with Mauritius demanding its return.

      As the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague holds hearings on the case from Monday, here is some background.

    • Australian film-maker James Ricketson sentenced to six years’ jail in Cambodia

      Australian film-maker James Ricketson has been found guilty of espionage in Cambodia and sentenced to six years in jail.

      His family say they are devastated at his conviction and sentence, and have called on the Australian government to pressure Cambodia to release him.

      Ricketson, 69, said he had worked as a journalist and video documenter in the south-east Asian country since 1995 and was arrested in June 2017 for flying a drone at a political rally. He has been incarcerated since then, with the guilty verdict given this morning by a three-judge panel in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.

    • Lithuania to appeal European ruling on secret CIA jail: PM

      Lithuania’s prime minister said on Wednesday that his Baltic EU nation would appeal a European court ruling that found it was complicit in a secret and illegal CIA programme to hold terror suspects on its soil.

      “Our own pretrial investigation does not confirm this conclusion, therefore we will turn to the Grand Chamber” of the European Court of Human Rights, Premier Saulius Skvernelis told reporters in Vilnius.

      His announcement reverses a justice ministry decision made just last week not to appeal the ruling on the grounds that it was unlikely to be changed.

    • Lithuania To Appeal European Court Ruling On Secret CIA Prison In Country – Prime Minister

      The Lithuanian government has switched its position and has decided to appeal the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling that Lithuania hosted a secret jail of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) where terrorism suspects were held and interrogated, the country’s Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Wednesday.

      On August 23, the press service of Lithuania’s representative in the ECHR said that the country would not appeal the ECHR ruling, made on May 31 and stipulating that Lithuania was responsible for violating the rights of Abu Zubaydah, suspected of ties to Al Qaeda (a terrorist organization banned in Russia), as he was mistreated in the CIA jail that the country hosted between February 2005 and March 2006.

    • Lithuania to appeal European ruling on secret CIA jail: PM

      Lithuania’s prime minister said on Wednesday that his Baltic EU nation would appeal a European court ruling that found it was complicit in a secret and illegal CIA programme to hold terror suspects on its soil.

      “Our own pretrial investigation does not confirm this conclusion, therefore we will turn to the Grand Chamber” of the European Court of Human Rights, Premier Saulius Skvernelis told reporters in Vilnius.

      His announcement reverses a justice ministry decision made just last week not to appeal the ruling on the grounds that it was unlikely to be changed.

    • Lithuanian government to appeal ECHR ruling over CIA prison

      The Lithuanian government has changed its position and decided to appeal against the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling that the country hosted a secret CIA detention facility, informs LETA/BNS.

    • Call for Pacific leaders to support West Papua resolution

      It said the denial of the right of self-determination for West Papua in the 1960s set the scene for decades of state-sanctioned violence against the indigenous population.

      The activist group said the so-called ‘Act of Free Choice’ in 1969 was a fraudulent exercise carried out under extreme duress.

      It said there is evidence West Papuans are experiencing slow genocide due to ongoing human rights abuses and the harmful conditions of life experienced by so many Papuans.

    • Riot squad to escort council workers to Islamic leader’s alleged illegal land clearing site: court

      In correspondence with the council, tendered to court, Dr Kara-Ali claimed his organisation was exempt from Australian law because it was classed as a basic religious charity.

      However, this claim is not supported by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

    • Yazidi slave girl meets Isis captor in German street
    • Yazidi Girl Seeks Justice After Meeting IS Captor in Germany

      German officials are investigating claims by a Yazidi girl that she was allegedly threatened by her former Islamic State captor in Germany, a spokesperson for that country’s Federal Court of Justice told VOA. The girl, Ashwaq Haji Hami, has since left Germany.

      Frauke Koehler, spokesperson for federal prosecutors at the Federal Court of Justice in Germany, told VOA that the matter is being investigated under international criminal code.

    • ISIS sex slave’s brother reveals his wife was also TAKEN – but he rescued her and had her captor killed

      During her 30-month incarceration, Jilan managed to steal a mobile phone and risked punishment by gang rape or even execution by contacting her husband in the vain hope he had survived.

      iThrough snatched, hushed conversations she was able to reveal her location, giving Huzni, now 37, the opportunity to plan an extraordinary rescue. Improbably, he hired a hitman to kill her captor before finally ­smuggling his wife out of Mosul, and back into his arms.

    • Three arrested in Faridabad after Hindu man was found murdered by Muslim ex-wife’s family

      In another case of ‘honour killing’, a Hindu man, Sanjay Kumar, was killed by the family of his Muslim ex-wife, a week ago in Faridabad. The decomposed body of the man was recovered on Tuesday afternoon, Swarajya said. Kumar had been missing since 16 August.

    • Swedish authorities monitor Islamic group’s campaign to stop Swedish Muslims voting

      Hizb ut-Tahrir has shared videos via social media in which it says voting in Western elections is forbidden in Islam, as well as sharing images of members of the group outside Stockholm’s mosque speaking to members of the public and handing out brochures.

    • CAIR in the Classroom: Islamist Group Partnering with Public Schools

      CAIR — an Islamist group and United Arab Emirates-designated terrorist organization that bills itself as a defender of civil rights — has achieved special concessions for Muslim students and launched the inappropriate insertion of religion into publicly-funded education. Meanwhile, pushback from parents and outside organizations is building.

    • Anti-Immigrant — Or Pro-”Melting Pot”?

      We are stronger as a country if we all assimilate into being Americans, speaking a common language — while also bringing our talents and traditions and languages from our countries of origin.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • California Lawmakers Pass Nation’s Toughest Net Neutrality Law

      California lawmakers on Friday passed a bill that would guarantee full and equal access to the internet — a principle known as net neutrality — in the biggest pushback yet to the federal government’s rollback of rules last year.

      The California bill is viewed as even stronger and more consumer-friendly than the original measures carried out by the Obama administration and abolished in December by the Trump-era Federal Communications Commission. It is sure to set up a fight between broadband providers, which say strict rules would increase their costs, and consumer groups, which seek to ensure that all traffic on the internet is treated equally.

      It is the latest effort in a growing fight against deregulation by the Trump administration. Federal agencies that have slashed regulations on telecommunications are being challenged in court by more than 20 states. Thirty states have introduced bills to ensure net neutrality.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • CJEU back in ‘Hot Water’ – when are infringing goods being ‘offered’?

      The test purchase made by Coty turned out to be a parallel import. Parallel imports are non-counterfeit products that are imported from another country, and in this case from outside the EU. Due to lack of exhaustion, the sale of such products is infringing since it lacks the rights owner’s consent.

      Coty asked Amazon to cease and desist from owning or shipping DAVIDOFF HOT WATER perfumes for the purpose of putting them on the market when said products have not been exhausted in the European market.

    • Fair Trade with China Enforcement Act

      Sen. Marco Rubio has proposed this bill whose primary patent-focused clause reads as follows: The Secretary of Commerce shall prohibit the export to the People’s Republic of China of any national security sensitive technology or intellectual property subject to the jurisdiction of the United States or exported by any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

    • Design Patents — Looking for More in 2018

      The chart below shows the number of design patents granted each calendar year (orange) going back to 1993. The figures for 2018 are current through the end of August 2018. 2018 figures have also been extrapolated to the end of the calendar year — predicting an all-time-high of 31,000+ design patents issued in 2018. In the shadow-grey background the chart also shows the number of design patent applications filed each year as reported by the PTO (These applications are ordinarily kept secret unless the application results in a patent).

    • Refund from Paper-Filing during USPTO Outages

      The USPTO has published a notice explaining the procedures for obtaining a refund for extra-fees paid by patent applicants and others during its recent “significant unplanned electronic business system outage.”

    • Patent Reform, Then and Now

      One of the most significant legislative reforms of the U.S. patent system occurred in 1952. Prior to 1952, the patent system found itself languishing, undermined by a confusing non-statutory patentability requirement called the “invention” requirement. In 1952, Congress and the President eliminated it. Today we find ourselves in a situation surprisingly similar to the one prior to 1952. The patent system again finds itself languishing, undermined by a new confusing non-statutory patentability requirement, this one called the “inventive concept” requirement. Today, just like in 1952, there are ongoing calls for Congress and the President to eliminate it. Given the striking parallels between these two eras — and the success of legislative reform efforts in 1952 — I have studied the forces behind the reform of 1952: the problems with the law of the day, the people and groups of people involved in reform efforts, and the circumstances and strategies they used to their advantage to create change. This study has led me to identify various factors that led to the success of those efforts in 1952. In parallel with the study of the history behind the Patent Act of 1952, I highlight the problems with the law today, the people and groups of people involved today in reform efforts, and the circumstances and strategies they might use to their advantage to create change. Moreover, drawing from the factors that led to the success of legislative reform efforts in 1952, I analyze how those same factors may contribute to the success of current legislative reform efforts — or hinder it.

    • Congress and Trump are out of step on intellectual property

      The Trump administration started its trade war this year with China under the auspices of countering Beijing’s theft of U.S. intellectual property. There is no doubt that China, with its Made in China 2025 plan, has been actively acquiring U.S. intellectual property for years. The U.S. intelligence community acknowledges that China is a leader in economic espionage. The Chinese government has required U.S. businesses to transfer technology to Chinese companies as a precondition of entering the Chinese market. Further, China and Chinese companies are investing heavily in U.S. companies to gain access to their underlying intellectual property.

    • The Story of the American Inventor Denied a Patent Because He Was a Slave

      The world of invention is famous for its patent disputes. But what happens when your dispute wasn’t with another inventor but whether the Patent Office saw you as a person at all? In 1864, a black man named Benjamin T. Montgomery tried to patent his new propeller for steamboats. The Patent Office said that he wasn’t allowed to patent his invention. All because he was enslaved.

      Benjamin T. Montgomery was born into slavery in Virginia in 1819. It’s believed that he learned to read and write from a young age, something not permitted of most slaves because white slaveowners believed that knowledge might lead to rebellions. Montgomery’s literacy gave him a leg up in his later pursuit of everything from surveying to architectural drafting. He even became the first black public official in the state of Mississippi after the Civil War as a Justice of the Peace. But it was his proficiency with machines that would make him notable for the history books—provided mainstream American history books covered such things.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Judge Denies Motions to Dismiss Fraud, Copyright Claims in ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ Lawsuit

        In October 2016, the creators of the classic mockumentary film This Is Spinal Tap filed suit against a group of defendants including the French mass media conglomerate Vivendi S.A. alleging that Vivendi engaged in anticompetitive business activities to defraud the Spinal Tap creators of profits earned from the movie. On August 28th of this year, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee of the Central District of California allowed the case to move forward by denying a motion filed by defendants to dismiss the case based on the economic loss rule, a rule that otherwise operates to require recovery of damages under contract rather than for an action for fraud. Judge Gee also determined that copyright reversion claims presented a sufficiently ripe controversy for consideration by the court.

      • Open Internet Saves Accused Copyright Infringer from Liability

        This copyright lawsuit involves cute Adam Sandler movie titled The Cobbler. In the movie, Sandler’s character free-rides off of the experiences of others by using a magical shoe-cobbling machine. The movie copyright holders did not reciprocate that freedom when American Pirates began downloading and distributing the movie through BitTorrent.

        Cobbler-Nevada was able to trace the Internet Protocol (IP) address associated with the infringing activity and then filed suit in a John Doe lawsuit. Comcast responded to a subpoena in the case with information that the IP address was assigned to its customer Thomas Gonzales. The Copyright holder then amended its complaint to name Gonzales — accusing him of copyright infringement as well as contributory copyright infringement (for failing to secure his internet connection). Note here that Gonzales operates an adult care home and that the internet service was open to residents and visitors.

EFF and TechDirt Continue to Challenge the USPTO (and the Courts) to Improve Patent Quality

Posted in America, EFF, Law, Patents at 10:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: Google Gets Told Off — Even by the Typically Supportive EFF and TechDirt — Over Patenting of Software

Indian eagle
Hitting back against patent hawks and eagles/vultures (those looking to prey on someone)

Summary: US-based sites/groups which are technology-leaning rather than lawyers- or litigation-leaning advise the world’s most powerful patent office and the corresponding courts to consider what’s truly unpatentable and decide accordingly

THE USPTO has been pressured to improve patent quality; one way to achieve this is to highlight obviously bad (and embarrassing) patent grants/awards. How about European Patents on literally fraudulent things (part of elaborate scams) and special awards for such people?

We recently wrote about a "Stupid European Patent" (EP) and we welcome pointers from readers (pointers to other ridiculous European Patents). In the meantime see “Stupid Patent Of The Month: A Newspaper On A Screen” by Alex Moss (EFF). This was published by TechDirt days after the original had been published in the EFF’s site to say:

One of the oldest challenges in journalism is deciding what goes on the front page. How big should the headline be? What articles merit front-page placement? When addressing these questions, publishers deal with a physical limit in the size of the page. Digital publishing faces a similar constraint: the storage capacity of the user’s device. You can only put as much content on the device as will fit. If that sounds like a fundamental to you, and unpatentable, idea, we agree. Unfortunately, the Patent Office does not. They recently decided to issue our latest Stupid Patent of the Month: U.S. No. 10,042,822, titled “Device, Method, and System for Displaying Pages of a Digital Edition by Efficient Download of Assets.”

The ’822 patent adds nothing remotely inventive or technological to the basic idea of providing a portion of a periodical—i.e., a newspaper—based on the amount of space available. The patent owner, Nuglif, makes an application for distributing news and media content.

Even a cursory glance at the patent reveals the limits of its technological reach. It explains: “The present invention is concerned with a processor-implemented method for displaying a digital edition readable by a dedicated software application running on a data processing device having a display screen, even though the digital edition is not completely downloaded on the data processing device.” The specification is typically elusive as to what that invention actually is, instead repeating the boilerplate phrase beloved by patent applicants, that “the description set forth herein is merely exemplary to the present invention and is not intended to limit the scope of protection.”

For the limits of the patent, we look to its claims, which define the applicant’s legal rights instead of describing the operation of the “invention” to which the claims supposedly correspond. The patent has only one independent claim, which includes steps of (a) receiving a pre-generated file linking to at least some content from current and upcoming digital editions, (b) requesting the linked-content for display, and (c) determining how much content from the upcoming edition to download based on publication date and device capacity.

Here is Mike Masnick’s take on the recently-mentioned EFF and R Street amicus brief (about SCOTUS and the Federal Circuit‘s decision). From TechDirt:

In order for something to be patentable subject matter, it has to meet a few criteria, listed out in the Patent Act. It needs to be a “useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter” and it needs to be “non-obvious” to someone “having ordinary skill in the art.” But, perhaps most importantly it needs to be a new invention. You can’t patent something someone else already invented. That’s why prior art is so important.

Already, the US Patent Office is notoriously bad at finding prior art, which has been a big complaint here at Techdirt for over a decade. Part of this is that they limit what they’ll even look at as prior art, unless information is put directly in front of their faces by those trying to invalidate bad patents. Generally, most of the prior art that patent examiners look at consisted of… earlier patents and scientific journals. And that’s not nearly enough for a whole variety of reasons. But, now the Federal Circuit has suggested that even earlier patent applications may not really count as prior art.

EFF and R Street teamed up to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court asking it to reverse the Federal Circuit (something the court has done over and over and over and over and over again in the last dozen or so years).

We’ve always appreciated the EFF’s campaigns regarding patents at the US Patent Office, sometimes more than on other occasions (there was a time when the EFF’s strategy was a lot poorer). Nowadays they openly speak about software patents; they speak out against these.

US Patent Office and Patent Courts Taking a Stand Against Submarine Patents or Patent Ambushes

Posted in Microsoft, Patents, RAND at 3:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Should tackle evergreening similarly

Gil Hyatt
Reference: Inventor battling U.S. over patents from ’70s

Summary: When patent trolls armed by Microsoft (in order to attack Microsoft’s rivals) find out that submarine patents are no longer worth the paper they’re printed on and even examiners refuse to grant such patents

A PATENT which practically or at least metaphorically acts as a form of “submarine” (a form of an ambush) was mentioned a lot about a decade ago [1, 2] in relation to a high-profile case of Rambus. Rambus Incorporated was founded 28 years ago and it is considered a “licensing company,” i.e. firm that only/mostly deals with patents. We mentioned submarine patents again last year in relation to OIN. It is a crude form of entrapment and courts can hear arguments to that effect; sometimes examiners too take such considerations into account when assessing whether or not to award a patent.

“It is a crude form of entrapment and courts can hear arguments to that effect; sometimes examiners too take such considerations into account when assessing whether or not to award a patent.”A couple of days ago Venture Beat, which focuses on technology, did an interview (i.e. puff piece) with Gil Hyatt, “a man who created a “submarine patent” by continually following up his patent application with new details.” Why the scare quotes there? A submarine patent is what it really is. Here’s the introduction:

Gil Hyatt’s patience has been tested. After a 22-year delay, the inventor received a patent in 1990 for what he called the first microprocessor, or a computer on a chip. After cutting a deal with Philips Electronics, he began collecting royalties on a lot of electronics products that used the fundamental technology.

In Silicon Valley and elsewhere, Hyatt was viewed as a carpetbagger, a man who created a “submarine patent” by continually following up his patent application with new details. He claims he was a diligent individual inventor who protected his rights. But after the controversial patent award, and after getting 75 patents, the patent office never approved one of his applications again.

More than 40 years later, Hyatt said his important applications are still in limbo. (The typical wait time is 18 months.) He has made at least $150 million from the Philips deal, but he said he is fighting for “justice.” The case took a twist in 2014, when news emerged that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had a special way of flagging potentially controversial patents.

Congratulations to whoever at the USPTO did that. The man became a multi-millionaire out of “submarine patents”, just as some other people became multi-millionaires out of patent trolling, i.e. blackmail. They basically take the money of many other people, including some small businesses. The summary of this article in Slashdot says, “80-Year-Old Inventor Gil Hyatt Says Patent Office is Waiting For Him To Die” (as if it’s him who is the victim deserving of sympathy!). Thankfully there are many comments there, over 100 of them.

Speaking of trolls and submarine patents, Core Wireless Licensing S.A.R.L. is part of Conversant (formerly known as MOSAID, a Microsoft-connected troll), and it has just found out that its submarine patent cannot be enforced (by virtue of it being part of an ambush). We wrote about it last month and Watchtroll caught up with it quite late (13 days after the decision). It wrote this:

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently issued a ruling on discussing the equitable doctrine of implied waiver; a decision that will be particularly important for those participating in the standard setting process and engaging with standard setting organizations, or SSOs as they are sometimes called. According to the Federal Circuit, failure to disclose patents and applications relevant to a standard may render a patent unenforceable based on an implied waiver. See Core Wireless Licensing S.A.R.L. v. Apple Inc., No. 17-2102, 2018 (Fed Cir. Aug. 16, 2018) (Before Reyna, Bryson, and Hughes, Circuit Judges) (Opinion for the court, Bryson, Circuit Judge).

This case began when Core Wireless Licensing S.a.r.l. (“Core Wireless”) sued Apple Inc. (“Apple”) for infringing U.S. Patent No.s 6,477,151 and 6,633,536, both of which were directed to an improvement in the way mobile devices communicate with base stations in a digital network. Apple, in turn, argued that the ‘151 patent was unenforceable because Nokia – the original assignee of the ‘151 patent – breached a duty of disclosure it owed to the European Standards Organization (“ETSI”) during ETSI’s development of technical standards addressing propagation delays in GPRS networks. Specifically, Apple argued that Nokia’s failure to disclose a Finnish patent application, to which the ‘151 patent claimed priority, while advancing a proposal to revise the ETSI GPRS standard rendered the ’151 patent unenforceable. While Nokia’s proposal was ultimately rejected and replaced by a competing proposal, Nokia did not disclose its Finnish patent application to ETSI until four years later.

What we have here is a bunch of patents passed at Microsoft’s own directions (it explicitly instructed this) to a troll which then attacked Apple and Android/Linux. It’s one among many nasty things Microsoft did inside Nokia.

In the Post-Alice Era, in Spite of the Berkheimer Hype, the Patent Microcosm Finally Admits There’s No Turnaround

Posted in America, Google, Law, Patents at 2:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who’s still ‘pulling a Berkheimer’ anyway? Except for marketing purposes at patent law firms?

Pulling a Berkheimer

Summary: 35 U.S.C. § 101 or its high invalidation rate persists; much to the chagrin of Iancu at al Berkheimer isn’t going to change that

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is led by patent maximalists now. It made it more apparent a few days ago, as we noted a few hours ago.

Decisions from the Federal Circuit are being cherry-picked and in spite of support from even the highest courts — SCOTUS included — for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and inter partes reviews (IPRs) Iancu at al attempt to undermine both. This underlines the extent of the trouble the Office now faces. Patent quality is certainly a priority at the courts; the Office is still pursing just numbers and then it wonders why people complain about low legal certainty associated with US patents.

“…the Office is still pursing just numbers and then it wonders why people complain about low legal certainty associated with US patents.”It was recently shown, using an exhaustive analysis (published in Fenwick & West Blogs), that Berkheimer had made no real difference; the messengers were inadvertently showing that at times Berkheimer being brought up was a recipe for failure.

Those who are accustomed to 'pulling a Berkheimer' will no doubt continue to deny the facts, instead citing their “alternative facts”. Days ago, in another rant among many about PTAB (all he does is ranting about PTAB), Mr. Gross wrote: “congrats to founder of this small start-up https://www.thesmartphr.com/ beating ridiculous Alice 101 patent rejection at PTAB: https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2018006468-08-08-2018-1 … panel specifically calls out failure to follow Berkheimer memo on WURC standard!”

That’s very rare!

As noted a few days ago, first in Lexology and then in JD Supra (press release), “Months after” (as in, more than half a year later) it is “Business as Usual” for 35 U.S.C. § 101 invalidations. They allude specifically to Berkheimer and Aatrix (days or weeks apart some time back in the winter). White & Case LLP’s Bijal Vakil, Daren M. Orzechowski, Cale Tolbert and Michael Anthony Jaoude basically accept that all that “Berkheimer” hype was a lawyers’ lie. Concluding as follows: “Although only a few months have passed, District Courts seem generally unfazed by the Federal Circuit’s decisions in Berkheimer and Aatrix, continuing to decide cases at the motion to dismiss and summary judgment stages. Further time will tell whether these cases cause the disruption that many experts predicted five months ago or whether challenging eligibility will continue as usual.”

“Those who are accustomed to ‘pulling a Berkheimer’ will no doubt continue to deny the facts, instead citing their “alternative facts”.”No, not much has happened. We’ve been following this closely, as did Janal Kalis who gives another new example [PDF] when he writes: “The N. Dist. of California Killed the 23andMe Patent with Alice” (the usual, even at a district court, without a CAFC appeal).

Very good! Let’s hope for many more invalidations such as these. This one, for a change, we suppose Gross and Kalis can actually celebrate a little because it impacts negatively a company indirectly connected to Google (which they loathe).

Qualcomm and AMD Want ‘Innovation’ by Embargo

Posted in Patents, RAND at 1:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pursuing patent deals (patents as a revenue source) by denying rivals even access to the market

Don't block

Summary: Campaigns of patent aggression at USITC (or ITC for short) look for embargoes — the most radical form of patent assertion

THE principal prospect of patents was simple: promotion of innovation. How? Publication. In exchange for what? A temporary monopoly. How would such a monopoly be enforced? Patent taxes? Threats? Lawsuits? Embargoes? It doesn’t say. But the practices evolved or devolved over time. For the objective of innovation to be served it’s not hard to see that complete monopolisation should be actively discouraged. It reduces choice and limits the number of people permitted to work in a certain discipline.

Florian Müller has long written about Qualcomm‘s patent aggression and before the weekend he wrote about its efforts to ban imports by Apple: [via]

A day before an originally-scheduled-then-canceled hearing on a motion by a group of class-action consumers to enjoin Qualcomm from enforcing a hypothetical ITC exclusion order (i.e., a U.S. import ban) against Intel-powered iPhones, Judge Koh has denied the motion without prejudice. One might also say: with an invitation to try again later.

More than a month ago, I analyzed Qualcomm’s opposition and plaintiffs’ reply brief, and wrote that “Qualcomm’s timing-related arguments appear[ed] potentially more interesting to me than the other points it [made].” And indeed, timing was outcome-determinative, for the time being: Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California based her decision on the Supreme Court’s 2013 holding in Clapper, a case in which Amnesty International and others expressed fears over the federal government, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), intercepting communications between U.S. citizens and foreigners in ways that would infringe on some people’s constitutional rights. In Clapper, the Supreme Court declined to see “certainly impending” injury in a “highly attenuated” chain of possibilities, given that multiple decisions that could go either way had to go one particular way (in each case) in order for the alleged injury to materialize. To the Supreme Court, this was just “too speculative,” and Judge Koh identified parallels with the consumer motion against Qualcomm, given that even if Qualcomm prevailed on the merits of one or more patents-in-suit, the ITC might not grant the exclusion order (broad except that it’s limited to Intel-powered iPhones, which does raise competition concerns) in the form Qualcomm is seeking, that the ITC decision would be appealable, and the President could veto it.

A day or so later Müller added this update about antitrust aspects:

Four months prior to the FTC v. Qualcomm antitrust bench trial in the Northern District of California, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has brought a motion for partial summary judgment that has the potential to make a far greater contribution to fair competition in the wireless baseband chipset market than the procedural context (a pretrial motion) suggests. The FTC is asking Judge Lucy Koh to hold that, under certain (F)RAND licensing obligations it entered into when it participated in wireless standard-setting, Qualcomm must licenses its CDMA, UMTS and 4G/LTE standard-essential patents (SEPs) to rival chipset makers (such as Intel).

This is an unusual situation in which a summary judgment motion is legally extremely simple, yet has the potential for truly transformative impact on the marketplace. In most situations where a party is seeking a game changer, reasonably tricky question of law and/or fact are involved. Here, the FTC is just seeking clarification that Qualcomm’s FRAND licensing commitments say what they say.

It has meanwhile emerged, as per Watchtroll, that ITC is leveraged for more embargo attempts and it’s succeeding. AMD has just had something to celebrate; it resorted to embargo tactics against VIZIO, SDI and MediaTek last year. Who’s behind it?

AMD was represented by attorneys Michael Renaud, Jim Wodarski, Michael McNamara, Bill Meunier, Adam Rizk, Marguerite McConihe, Matthew Karambelas, and Catherine Xu, and Aarti Shah, of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo PC.

The AMD complaint alleged violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1337), and was based upon the unlawful importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain graphics systems, components thereof, and consumer products containing the same. The importation in question was asserted to infringe certain claims of the U.S. Patent No. 7,633,506 (“the ’506 patent”); U.S. Patent No. 7,796,133 (“the ’133 patent”); U.S. Patent No. 8,760,454 (“the ’454 patent”); and U.S. Patent No. 9,582,846 (“the ’846 patent”).

Another article, this one by Anton Shilov (veteran writer on hardware matters), says this:

AMD has won a round in its legal battle against makers of TVs at the United States International Trade Commission (US ITC). The Commission found that Vizio and Sigma Designs have infringed one of AMD’s patents covering fundamental aspects of modern GPUs. The ITC ordered to cease imports of some of Vizio TVs to the U.S.

Back in early 2017, AMD filed a lawsuit with the US ITC against LG, MediaTek, Sigma Designs, and Vizio. The plaintiff accused the defendants of infringing three patents covering fundamental aspects of contemporary graphics processing, such unified shaders (‘133), parallel pipeline graphics system (‘506), as well as a graphics processing architecture employing unified shaders (‘454). Furthermore, the complaint referenced an in-progress patent application covering GPU architectures with unified shaders (‘967) and accused two of the said companies of infringing it as well. Meanwhile all the defendants license (or licensed) their GPU technologies from ARM and Imagination Technologies (though, as we reported back in early 2017, it looks like AMD only accuses SoCs based on ARM’s architecture of infringing its patents).

I have some professional background in computer graphics albeit not GPUs (or shaders); the above clearly aren’t software patents (so 35 U.S.C. § 101 does not apply) because processing commands in silicon (the ‘pipeline’) is about accelerating execution of code/signal generation. In the case of Qualcomm we’re looking at standard-essential patents (SEPs) — i.e. patents one cannot avoid stepping on — for the implementation of mobile communication, as per industry standards. There are some software patents in there, but most are not.

What we see here is monopolisation taken to the extreme; one must pay particular companies a lot of money to merely comply or conform to standards or else be barred from import/export. How is that good for innovation? The whole FRAND euphemism does not begin to describe just how unjust that is. There should be no patents in such widely-used standards (whose embrace isn’t merely a choice).

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