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09.07.18

Links 7/9/2018: Mesa 18.2, Akademy 2018 videos, OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 Alpha

Posted in News Roundup at 6:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • My Linux Desktop Manifesto

      It’s time.

      27 years after the creation of Linux, I firmly believe, we are finally at a point of quality usability for the Linux desktop. “The year of the Linux Desktop” has been a joke for a long time, as the fractured FLOSS community has struggled to gain a footing on the average desktop.

      There’s a reason.

      The community has always prided itself in its choice. Don’t like something? Replace it. Want to change something? Fork it. Choice is great, and a free individual certainly appreciates it. But, it hinders development. Let’s be honest, there aren’t a ton of us working on the desktop. What small community has been hard at work over all of these years, has always been split. Just in desktop environments we have GNOME, KDE, XFCE, LXDE, MATE, Cinnamon, Unity, Budgie, Pantheon, Deepin, etc. And that’s not listing off all of the dead projects over the years. Same goes for the applications, we have two or three or four relatively popular applications that fill the same needs, in every area. We rebase, refactor, rewrite, rebuild, replace, rework. We duplicate efforts endlessly.

      But, even with this fracturing and duplication of work, we finally have a solid base to use. I’ve been using Linux for 15+ years, all of them as a desktop. I’ve witnessed its evolution, its hardships, its victories. 2018 is the year I’ve finally witnessed the Linux Desktop “just work”. The installers are easy, the applications are mature, the desktop environments are capable and stable. Drivers auto-detect, configuration auto-define, graphics auto-adjust. Networked printers of all things, automatically detect and install. It’s all quite impressive.

      We need to consolidate and focus.

    • Dell Precision 5530 Developer Edition Laptop Launches with Ubuntu Pre-Installed

      Dell’s Barton George, founder and lead of the Project Sputnik line of developer oriented laptops, announced the worldwide availability of the latest model in the new Ubuntu-based Dell Precision Developer line-up unveiled earlier this summer.

      Following the developer editions of Dell Precision 3530 Mobile Workstation, Dell Precision 7530 Mobile Workstation, and Dell Precision 7730 Mobile Workstation, as well as Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS pre-installed, meet the Dell Precision 5530 Mobile Workstation Developer Edition, the smallest, thinnest, and lightest 15-inch mobile workstation that comes with the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system pre-installed.

    • Linux users: How long has it been since you last used Windows?

      Many of us hold day jobs where we’re not lucky enough to be able to choose our own operating system and are stuck with whatever IT has gifted us. Or, perhaps, you still keep an old Windows PC around for running that one application that just isn’t available on Linux.

      Whatever your reason, it’s still a mixed computing world, and is likely to be for some time to come. Whatever system you’re using, there’s probably a strong selection of open source software available for it that we hope you take the time to investigate.

  • Server

    • SkySilk Launches As Linux-Powered Cloud Provider, Offers AMD EPYC Instances

      There is a new public cloud provider that exited beta this past weekend and is exclusively offering Linux instances from Arch Linux to CentOS to Debian and Fedora. In addition to the usual assortment of Intel Xeon powered clouds/VPS instances, they also offer a range of AMD EPYC powered systems too.

      SkySilk has provided some credits for our testing and benchmarking of their new Linux cloud / virtual private servers. I’ve spent the past few days trying out some of their instances and running off a variety of benchmarks. While reviewing cloud providers isn’t one of our main focuses at Phoronix, I always take the opportune to benchmark public clouds for fun. So for now are some of my initial tests for reference purposes should you be shopping around for a new cloud provider.

    • Understanding the Difference Between CI and CD

      There is a lot of information out there regarding Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD). Multiple blog posts attempt to explain in technical terms what these methodologies do and how they can help your organization. Unfortunately, in several cases, both methodologies are usually associated with specific tools or even vendors.

    • How to survive an outage and live to tell about it!

      Kubernetes Federation‘s objective is to provide a control plane to manage multiple Kubernetes clusters. Unfortunately, Federation is still considered an alpha project with no timeline for General Availability release. As a stop gap for Federation services a couple of different solutions are available for dispersing cluster endpoints: a cluster stretched across multiple datacenters or multiple clusters deployed across datacenters.

      Kubernetes recommends that all VMs be isolated to a single datacenter: “when the Kubernetes developers are designing the system (e.g. making assumptions about latency, bandwidth, or correlated failures) they are assuming all the machines are in a single data center, or are otherwise closely connected.” Therefore, stretching an OpenShift Cluster Platform across multiple data centers is not recommended. However if you need to have a disaster recovery plan today this article will detail a potential solution.

    • Istio 101: “The future of the service mesh is one which operates in symbiosis with technologies like Knative and Apache Whisk”

      Istio is gaining a lot of attention especially now that 1.0 is here. But does it have what it takes to become the de facto service mesh for Kubernetes? If you ask Brian ‘Redbeard’ Harrington, Product Manager for Istio at Red Hat, the answer is yes. “With Istio, the deployment is straightforward and the integration with Kubernetes is top notch. It feels as if it should have been there all along.”

      Istio 1.0 arrived earlier this month; all the core features are now ready for production use.

      If you are already familiar with the features presented in 0.8, you should know that the list of new features presented in 1.0 is not that long; the team chose to focus on fixing bugs and improving performance. If you’d like to see all the changes introduced in Istio 1.0, I invite you to read the release notes.

  • Kernel Space

    • Maintainer’s Summit moved to Edinburgh

      The Maintainer’s Summit, which is an invite-only gathering of 30 or so kernel developers to discuss process issues with Linus Torvalds, has moved from November 12 in Vancouver, Canada to October 22 in Edinburgh, Scotland in conjunction with Open Source Summit Europe. The technical side of the discussions will still be held as the Kernel Summit track at the Linux Plumbers Conference November 13-15 in Vancouver. There was, it seems, some confusion about the Maintainer’s Summit, as Theodore Y.

    • make all relocate… Linux kernel dev summit shifts to Scotland – to fit Torvald’s holiday plans

      The Linux Kernel Maintainers’ Summit was planned for Vancouver, Canada, in October – but it’s been moved to Edinburgh, Scotland.

      [...]

      After a probably-frenzied weekend discussing the snafu with the invite-only conference committee, Ts’o wrote, “ultimately there were only two choices that were workable” – go ahead without Torvalds, or move the summit.

      And so it happens that everybody would rather ask the 30 or so attendees due to attend the summit to change their plans and head for Edinburgh instead of Vancouver, even though Torvalds suggested they go ahead without him.

      As Daniel Vetter, a kernel engineer from Intel, observed on Twitter: “Linus books the wrong flight and they decide to move the entire conference. It’s … a cult.”

    • FUSE Picking Up Copy-File-Range Support For Efficient Copy Operations

      In addition to the recently covered work on making FUSE file-systems faster with eBPF, another separate optimization is on the way for the Linux kernel’s FUSE bits that allow for file-systems to be implemented in user-space.

      Queued in fuse-for-next is adding support for the copy_file_range() function. This allows for FUSE file-systems to support server-side copy or efficient copy/duplication/clone support, based upon the Linux kernel’s copy_file_range syscall. This work is coming thanks to Red Hat.

    • Linux Foundation

      • From Mainframe to Open Frameworks, Linux Foundation Fuels Up with Rocket Software

        Last week, at the Open Source Summit, hosted by The Linux Foundation, the Open Mainframe Project gave birth to Zowe, introduced a new open source software framework “that bridges the divide between modern applications and the mainframe, providing easier interoperability and scalability among products and solutions from multiple vendors,” according to the announcement.

    • Graphics Stack

      • A Lot More Code Pushed Out For Intel’s New Iris Gallium3D Linux Graphics Driver

        Last month we were the first to point out that Intel is developing a new Gallium3D graphics driver for their recent generations of HD/UHD Graphics and presumably moving forward with their discrete GPU solutions coming out in 2020. This new Intel Gallium3D driver called “Iris” continues making progress though isn’t yet ready for end-users.

        The Intel Gallium3D driver code activity in the public repository seems to come in spurts with overnight being the last huge pile of commits. The 40+ commits overnight included more low-level infrastructure work, adding new capabilities, various NIR intermediate representation bits, AMD_pinned_memory support, and other driver fundamentals.

      • 10 Reasons To Consider The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 Series On Linux

        As promised, following my 10 Reasons Linux Gamers Might Want To Pass On The NVIDIA RTX 20 Series, here are ten reasons on the opposite side for considering these new Turing graphics cards for Linux.

        While the main selling point of the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 series hardware is ray-tracing with RTX, which Linux games probably won’t see for some time — natively with the pending Vulkan ray-tracing extensions or mapped to those extensions from any yet-to-be-written Wine portability code for emulated Windows games — there still are many reasons to consider the GeForce RTX 2070 / 2080 / 2080 Ti graphics cards if you are a dedicated Linux user.

      • mesa 18.1.8

        This mail announces the immediate availability of mesa 18.1.8. This release is a
        bugfix release, and thought it was previously planned to be the last 18.1
        release, it is not, there will be at least 18.1.9.

        This has been a busier cycle than last time, apart from all of the book keeping
        done for stable releases we’ve had fixes to:
        – i965
        – radv
        – meson
        – anv
        – nir
        – egl
        – dri2
        – st/dri
        – radeonis
        – glsl
        – glapi

      • Mesa 18.1.8 Released With More Stable Fixes

        In addition to Mesa 18.2 expected today, also out this Friday is Mesa 18.1.8 as the latest stable point release for this important piece of the open-source Linux graphics stack.

        Mesa 18.1.8 brings a number of RADV Vulkan driver fixes, Intel support improvements for Geminilake, Meson build system updates, a Tegra memory leak fix, various Intel fixes, a few Intel Vulkan updates, and other random fixes throughout.

      • Mesa 18.2 Released With Vega 20 Support, OpenGL 4.4 Compat Profile & A Lot More

        Following a few delays that pushed back its release date from August to ultimately today, Mesa 18.2 is out as this third-quarter 2018 update to the Mesa3D graphics driver stack most commonly associated with the Linux desktop’s open-source Vulkan/OpenGL drivers for Intel, Radeon, and Nouveau (as well as many smaller drivers).

        Mesa 18.2 brings a ton of new features with some of the most notable ones improving the RadeonSI OpenGL and RADV Vulkan driver support. On the Radeon front is support for the yet-to-be-released Vega 20 GPU, ASTC texture compression support for RadeonSI, various new RADV Vulkan driver extensions, OpenGL 4.4 compatibility profile support for RadeonSI that notably helps out many Wine/SteamPlay titles, OpenGL ES 3.2 support for RadeonSI too, faster LLVM shader compilation in RADV, Radeon EQAA anti-aliasing, and minor performance improvements.

      • Unofficial Vulkan Transform Feedback Is Being Worked On for DXVK / VKD3D

        It turns out some Vulkan stakeholders are working on a transform feedback extension that would help efforts like DXVK and VKD3D in mapping Direct3D to Vulkan.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Librem 5 general development report — September 6th, 2018

        Some of the Purism team members attended Akademy 2018 in Vienna. This conference facilitated further discussions with KDE developers and it was nice to meet everyone in person!

      • [FreeBSD] .. in with the New

        So except for the Qt version, we’re keeping up reasonably well with the modern stuff. And we’ve finally joined most of the Linux distributions in deprecating KDE4 software. For KDE4-using ports that are not “ours”, we’re encouraging other ports maintainers to update them (e.g. to KF5-enabled versions) or follow in deprecating the software.

      • Akademy 2018 – Vienna, Austria – 11-17 August

        The conference is expected to draw hundreds of attendees from the global KDE Community to discuss and plan the future of the Community and its technology. Many participants from the broad free and open source software community, local organizations and software companies will also attend.

        Akademy 2018 is being organized together with Fachschaft Informatik (FSINF). Apart from representing and counseling computer science students, they engage in diverse political topics e.g. FOSS, Privacy and social justice.

      • Akademy 2018 Videos Posted For KDE’s Annual Developer Conference

        Taking place last month in the beautiful city of Vienna was KDE’s annual developer conference, Akademy. Session recordings are now available if you are interested in the latest work happening in the KDE desktop space.

      • Akademy 2018 videos are now online

        If you missed any of the talks, or couldn’t make it to Vienna to attend this year’s Akademy, now you can watch the recordings from the comfort of your home. You can find and download the videos from our repository, or browse and share them from the YouTube playlist we have set up especially for all Akademy 2018 videos.

      • Last Month in Krita: August 2018

        We used to do a weekly development news post… Last Week in Krita. But then we got too busy doing development to maintain that, and that’s kind of a pity. Still, we’d like to share what we’re doing with you all — and not just through the git history! So, let’s try to revive the tradition…

        In August, we started preparing for our next big Fund Raiser. Mid-September to mid-October, we’ll be raising funds for the next round of Krita development. The last fund raisers were all about features: this will be all about stability and polish. Zero Bugs, while obviously unattainable, is to be the rallying cry! We’re moving to a new payment provider, to make it possible to donate to Krita with other options than paypal or a direct bank transfer. Credit cards, various national e-payment systems and even bitcoin will become possible. It’s up already on our donation page!

        We’ve already made a good start on stability and polish by fixing our unittests — small bits of code that test one or another function of Krita and that we run to see whether new code breaks something. We also fixed almost a hundred bugs. And, of course, the Google Summer of Code came to an end.

      • Konquering the World

        I had the pleasure of attending Akademy this year–my first time. Not only that, the organizers were actually crazy enough to let me give a talk! In it, I discuss my view of how we can systematically improve the competitiveness and reach of KDE Plasma and KDE apps, and what you can do to be a part of this effort. This master plan is what guides my KDE work. I talk about how the Usability & Productivity initiative fits into the plan, but the plan itself is much more ambitious. If you’ve ever wondered whether there’s a method to my madness… here it is!

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Purism’s Librem 5 Making Progress In GTK4 Toolkit Usage, Kernel Upbringing

        Purism announced earlier this week that the Librem 5 smartphone has been delayed to April 2019. In trying to make that date not slip further, which they attributed this three-month delay on NXP hardware errata, they continue working quickly on the software side of this privacy-minded GNU/Linux smartphone puzzle.

      • GNOME Releases Version 3.30, Life Is Strange: Before the Storm Coming Soon to Linux, Tails 3.9 Is Out, GIMP Receives $100,000 Donation and SoftMaker Office 2018 Now Free for Schools and Teachers

        GNOME announced the release of version 3.30, code-named Almería, yesterday. This version represents six months of work by the GNOME community and contains several improvements and new features, such as “new content reader mode in the Web application, search enhancements in the Files application, and improvements to screen recording and screen sharing. The Settings application now has a Thunderbolt panel to manage devices and dynamically shows hardware-related panels only when relevant hardware is detected”. See release notes for more details.

      • GNOME 3.32 Desktop Environment Slated for Release on March 13, 2019

        With GNOME 3.30 out the door, the GNOME Project is already looking forward to the next major release of the popular desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems, GNOME 3.32.

        The official release schedule was published earlier this week for the GNOME 3.32 desktop environment, suggesting that the six-month development cycle will kick off this fall and will be promoted under the GNOME 3.31.x umbrella, with the first development milestone, GNOME 3.31.1, expected to hit the streets on October 10, 2018.

        In the last two months of 2018, the GNOME 3.32 desktop environment will see two more development milestones, GNOME 3.31.2 and GNOME 3.31.3, due for release on November 14 and December 12 respectively. After that, the development cycle will continue in 2019 with the GNOME 3.31.4 milestone on January 9.

      • NetworkManager Picks Up Support For Dealing With LLMNR

        The latest merged feature work for NetworkManager is for supporting LLMNR (Link-Local Multicast Name Resolution) in conjunction with systemd-resolved.

        LLMNR is based on DNS and supports IPv4 and IPv6 to perform name resolution for hosts using the same local link. LLMNR is most practical for ad-hoc network scenarios but there is the potential for some network vulnerabilities around Link-Local Multicast Name Resolution.

      • Federico Mena-Quintero: My gdk-pixbuf braindump

        This where the calling program feeds chunks of bytes to the library, and at the end a fully-formed GdkPixbuf comes out, instead of having a single “read a whole file” operation.

        We conflated this with a way to get updates on how the image area gets modified as the data gets parsed. I think we wanted to support the case of a web browser, which downloads images slowly over the network, and gradually displays them as they are downloaded. In 1998, images downloading slowly over the network was a real concern!

        It took a lot of very careful work to convert the image loaders, which parsed a whole file at a time, into loaders that could maintain some state between each time that they got handed an extra bit of buffer.

        It also sounded easy to implement the progressive updating API by simply emitting a signal that said, “this rectangular area got updated from the last read”. It could handle the case of reading whole scanlines, or a few pixels, or even area-based updates for progressive JPEGs and PNGs.

        The internal API for the image format loaders still keeps a distinction between the “load a whole file” API and the “load an image in chunks”. Not all loaders got redone to simply just use the second one: io-jpeg.c still implements loading whole files by calling the corresponding libjpeg functions. I think it could remove that code and use the progressive loading functions instead.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Q4OS 2.6 Scorpion, stable

        An update to the Q4OS 2 Scorpion stable LTS is immediately available for download. The new 2.6 release is based on and upgrades to the latest stable versions of the Trinity R14.0.5 desktop and Debian 9.5 Stretch projects. Q4OS specific fixes and patches are revised and provided as well. All the updates are immediately available for existing Q4OS users from the regular Q4OS repositories. You can download installation media images from the Downloads section of the Q4OS website.

        Q4OS Scorpion LTS release supported for 5 years is based on Debian 9 Stretch featuring the Trinity 14.0.5 and KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS desktop environments, it’s available for 64bit/x64 and 32bit/i686pae computers as well as i386 systems without PAE extension. ARM 64bit/arm64 and 32bit/armhf ports are provided as well. Q4OS offers its own exclusive utilities and features, specifically the ‘Desktop profiler’ application for profiling your computer into different professional working tools, ‘Setup’ utility for smooth installation of third-party applications, a ‘Welcome Screen’ with several integrated shortcuts to make system configuration easier for novice users, LXQT, XFCE, Cinnamon and LXDE alternative environments installation options and many more.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 Alpha Surfaces

        We’ve been looking forward to the OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 release for a number of months now with Lx 3.0 having debuted two years ago. Fortunately, that release is inching closer to release as this week the alpha release is now available for testing.

        OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 is a big release and as such is taking a long time to get into shape for release. Some of the big ticket items include switching back from RPM5 to RPM4, utilizing Fedora’s DNF package manager, shipping with Linux 4.17~4.18 , LLVM Clang 7 as the default compiler while GCC 8 is also available , complete support for AArch64, and a variety of package updates.

      • The September 2018 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the September 2018 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved. All articles may be freely reproduced via any and all means following first publication by The PCLinuxOS Magazine, provided that attribution to both The PCLinuxOS Magazine and the original author are maintained, and a link is provided to the originally published article.

        In the September 2018 issue:

        * Gmail, Dropbox Team Up
        * GIMP Tutorial: Editing Your Vacation Photos
        * PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: duskull
        * Short Topix: Dropbox Scales Back Linux Support
        * ms_meme’s Nook: One Hundred Cheers
        * Tip Top Tips: British English On An American Keyboard And Other Tweaks
        * Repo Review: Bitwarden
        * PCLinuxOS Recipe Corner
        * Photopea: Replacement For Photoshop?
        * And much more inside!

        This month’s cover was designed by Meemaw.

        Download the PDF (8.5 MB)

        https://pclosmag.com/download.php?f=2018-09.pdf

        Download the EPUB Version (6.3 MB)

        https://pclosmag.com/download.php?f=201809epub.epub

        Download the MOBI Version (5.8 MB)

        https://pclosmag.com/download.php?f=201809mobi.mobi

        Visit the HTML Version

        https://pclosmag.com/html/enter.html

    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo congratulates our GSoC participants

        Gentoo would like to congratulate Gibix and JSteward for finishing and passing Google Summer of Code 2018 mentored through Gentoo’s participation: Gibix contributed to the project’s full Rust support, aiming at improving Rust support in Gentoo. JSteward contributed to making a full Gentoo GNU/Linux distribution, managed by Portage, run on devices which use the original Android-customized kernel.

    • Arch Family

      • First Arch Linux ISO Snapshot Powered by Linux Kernel 4.18 Is Here

        September 2018′s snapshot of the popular Arch Linux operating system is here and it’s the first to be powered by the latest Linux 4.18 kernel series.

        Arch Linux 2018.09.01 has arrived this week as the first snapshot to bump the kernel packages, the core of every Linux-based operating system, to the most recent and advanced Linux 4.18 kernel series.

        Last month’s ISO snapshot, Arch Linux 2018.08.01, still used the Linux 4.17.11 kernel because Linux kernel 4.18 hit the streets about two weeks later, on August 12, 2018.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Hexchat, Duplicity Among Packages Updated in Tumbleweed

        Three openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots were released this week that updated versions of dbus, hexchat and more.

        Snapshot 20180903 updated extended attributes extensions with the attr 2.4.48 package, which removed various deprecated sections like attr/attr.h and added a patch to have tests working with newer perls. The bash-completion 2.8 package fixed getting username in non-login shells. The dbus-1 1.12.10 and dbus-1-x11 1.12.10 both fixed builds with GNU Compiler Collection 8 -Werror=cast-function-type and a minor memory leak when a DBusServer listens on a new address. IRC Client hexchat 2.14.2 added appstream metainfo for plugins and removed shift+click binding to close tabs. The USB Wifi driver package rtl8812au 5.2.20.2 added new hardware support and the Schily Tool Box, schily version 2018.08.24, added support for SELinux. C library libHX updated to version 3.23 and python-kiwi to 9.16.12.

        The end of month snapshot, 20180831, had a version bump with GNOME’s goffice to 0.10.43.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Tails Anonymous OS Gets Its Biggest Update Yet with VeraCrypt Integration, More

          Tails, the Debian-based amnesic incognito live system known as the Anonymous OS used by ex-CIA Edward Snowden to stay hidden online, just got one of its biggest updates this year.

          In development for the past couple of months, the Tails 3.9 release has hit the streets this week with some long-anticipated features, including VeraCrypt/TrueCrypt integration, which lets users unlock VeraCrypt or TrueCrypt encrypted disk drives directly from the GNOME desktop environment.

          VeraCrypt integration landed with the recently released GNOME 3.30 desktop environment and was implemented in both the Nautilus (Files) and Disks utilities, and will be available outside of Tails 3.9 in the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” and Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) operating systems.

        • Cinnamon Mint for Debian Just as Tasty

          The official release of version 3 of Linux Mint Debian Edition hit the download servers at summer’s end, offering a subtle alternative to the distro’s Ubuntu-based counterpart.

          Codenamed “Cindy,” the new version of LMDE is based on Debian 9 Stretch and features the Cinnamon desktop environment. Its release creates an unusual situation in the world of Linux distro competition. Linux Mint developers seem to be in competition with themselves.

          LMDE is an experimental release. The Linux Mint community offers its flagship distro based on Ubuntu Linux in three desktop versions: Cinnamon, Mate and Xfce.

          The Debian version is different under the hood.

          For example, the software package base is provided by Debian repositories instead of from Ubuntu repositories. Another difference is the lack of point releases in LMDE. The only application updates between each annual major upgrade are bug and security fixes.

        • Linux Mint Debian Edition 3 “Cindy” Cinnamon Is Out, Here’s How to Upgrade Now

          Linux Mint’s Clement Lefebvre announced the release of the Linux Mint Debian Edition 3 “Cindy” Cinnamon Edition operating system based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux technologies.

          Continuing the dream of offering users an alternative to the standard, Ubuntu-based Linux Mint editions, Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 3 “Cindy” Cinnamon Edition is now available to download and ships with the latest Cinnamon 3.8 desktop environment and it uses the repositories of the latest stable Debian GNU/Linux operating system.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Mozilla Firefox 62 “Quantum” Is Now Available for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

            Firefox 62 introduces Canadian English (en-CA) locale, FreeBSD support for the WebAuthn (Web Authentication) API used for accessing Public Key Credentials Level 1, support for Firefox Home to display up to four rows of top sites, highlights, and Pocket stories, and a new “Reopen in Container” tab menu option that lets users reopen conternized tabs in a different container.

            Furthermore, Firefox 62 enables web developers to create richer web page layouts and beautiful typography for sites thanks to the addition of CSS Shapes support and CSS Variable Fonts (OpenType Font Variations) support, as well as a brand-new Shape Path Editor in the CSS Inspector. It also allows users to distrust certificates issued by Symantec by setting “security.pki.distrust_ca_policy” to 2.

          • OpenStack Rocky for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            The Ubuntu OpenStack team at Canonical is pleased to announce the general availability of OpenStack Rocky on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS via the Ubuntu Cloud Archive.

          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E26 – Twenty-Six Roses – Ubuntu Podcast
          • Get Android Feel On Your Ubuntu/Linux Mint Desktop With AndroNet Icons

            You may have tried different icons themes for your desktop and maybe you may have favorite one but it is good idea to always give a try to new things. If you are Android user then you may love these icons on your desktop. These icons are not extracted from Android OS or any Android rom but designed to give flavor of Android to Linux Desktop. These icons are based on Oranchelo icon theme which you may have seen and used it already. These icons fits with any kind of theme whether it’s light or dark, also it works with most desktop environments such as: Gnome Shell, Cinnamon, Xfce, Mate, Unity, Lxde and so on (except KDE).
            If you are using Ubuntu/Linux or any Ubuntu based distribution then we have icons ready to install via PPA and if you are using other Linux distribution then you can download icons and save in one of these location ~/.icons or /usr/share/icons. Current this icon pack is in active development which means you can contribute to the icons by any means either submitting bug or creating icons, for more details contact author.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 19.1 “Tessa” Announced, Will Arrive in November or December 2018

              Based on the recently released Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system, Linux Mint 19.1 will be dubbed “Tessa” and it is expected to arrive sometime later this year at the end of November or in early December, according to project leader Clement Lefebvre.

              “The second release in the Linux Mint 19.x series will be named “Tessa”. Linux Mint 19.1 is estimated to be released around November/December 2018 and will be supported until 2023,” wrote Clement Lefebvre in a short blog post published today.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 open source tools for writing a book

    I first used and contributed to free and open source software in 1993, and since then I’ve been an open source software developer and evangelist. I’ve written or contributed to dozens of open source software projects, although the one that I’ll be remembered for is the FreeDOS Project, an open source implementation of the DOS operating system.

    I recently wrote a book about FreeDOS. Using FreeDOS is my celebration of the 24th anniversary of FreeDOS. It is a collection of how-to’s about installing and using FreeDOS, essays about my favorite DOS applications, and quick-reference guides to the DOS command line and DOS batch programming. I’ve been working on this book for the last few months, with the help of a great professional editor.

  • What do open source and cooking have in common?

    What’s a fun way to promote the principles of free software without actually coding? Here’s an idea: open source cooking. For the past eight years, this is what we’ve been doing in Munich.

    The idea of open source cooking grew out of our regular open source meetups because we realized that cooking and free software have a lot in common.

  • Beta release nears for BeOS-inspired open source OS Haiku

    Just over 17 years since the project launched, and more than 18 years since the last release of the operating system that inspired it, the open source Haiku OS is nearing a beta release.

    It has been a long road for Haiku: The project launched in August 2001, initially named “OpenBeOS”.

    BeOS was one of the great ‘could have been’ desktop OSes: Launched in in 1995, the system almost became the operating system for Apple’s hardware. Instead, Apple decided to go with OpenStep — developed by NeXTSTEP, which was founded by Steve Jobs after he was ousted from Apple in 1985.

  • Top 10 Unix Based Operating Systems

    The UNIX operating system was created more than four decades ago at AT&T’s Bell Laboratories. With continuous development since its inception, UNIX has made its presence from tiny embedded devices to servers and supercomputers. This article provides a brief history, philosophy, specification of UNIX and discusses top ten operating systems of the UNIX systems.

  • Google & Unity Announce Open-Source Matchmaking Project

    Google’s latest foray into gaming is partnering with Unity Tech for launching an open-source matchmaking project for games.

    Google and Unity have formed Open Match as an open-source matchmaking project to allow game developers to re-use a common framework for sharing the logic and other characteristics in handling an advanced game match-making system.

    Open Match is intended to work with any game engine but its initial support is obviously with the Unity Game Engine. The components built of Open Match are Linux-based Docker containers… That’s where Google comes in with this being able to scale out on the Google Cloud Platform to hopefully recruit more game developers to hosting their services in Google’s cloud.

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

    Enterprise AI solution provider Indico has announced a new open-source project for machine learning and natural language processing. Finetune is a “scikit-learn style model finetuning for NLP,” according to its GitHub page.

    Finetuning refers to a transfer learning approach that is meant to take a model that is trained on one task and adapt it to be able to solve a different, but related, task.

    “Most organizations have natural language processing problems, but few have the labeled data they need to solve them with machine learning,” said Madison May, Indico machine learning architect and cofounder. “Finetune lets them do more with less labeled training data. And it only requires a base level of IT experience.”

  • Why your company needs an open source program office [Ed: Mac Asay and Microsoft again. Claiming they’re “open source” because they buy (to destroy) “open” things doesn’t make them “open”.]

    We seem to be very confused about what constitutes an “open source company.” Tobie Langel has asked if Mozilla and Microsoft are open source companies. The majority (78%) think Mozilla is, and an almost equivalent percentage (67%) think Microsoft is not. Yet, Microsoft contributes orders of magnitude more open source code than Mozilla. The reality is that both organizations qualify as “open source companies.” Hopefully yours does, too.

  • Future of OMEMO

    OMEMO is an XMPP extension protocol, which specifies end-to-end encryption for XMPP clients using the double ratchet algorithm of the Signal protocol. Introduced back in 2015 by GSoC student Andreas Straub in the Conversations client, OMEMO had a lot of press coverage and many privacy and security oriented websites praise XMPP clients that do support it. Its beyond debate, that OMEMO brought many new faces to XMPP. For many users, having end-to-end encryption built into their chat client is a must. Today OMEMO is implemented in a range of clients on different platforms. While Conversations, ChatSecure and Dino support it out of the box, there is a series of plugins that teach OMEMO to other clients such as Gajim, Pidgin and Miranda NG.

    However, there is quite a lot of controversy around OMEMO. Part of it are technical discussions, others are more or less of a political nature. Let me list some of them for you.

    Some users and client developers see no value in OMEMOs forward secrecy (the fact, that messages can only be decrypted once per device, so new devices do not have access to the chat history of the user). That is a fair point. Especially webclients have a hard time implementing OMEMO in a sensible way. Also the average user is probably having a hard time understanding what exactly forward secrecy is and what the consequences are. Communicating to the user, that not having access to past messages is actually a feature might be a hard task for a client developer.

  • Events

    • Open Source Summit: Innovation, Allies, and Open Development

      August was an exciting month for Linux and open source, with the release of Linux kernel 4.18, a new ebook offering practical advice for enterprise open source, and the formation of the Academy Software Foundation. And, to cap it off, we ended the month with a successful Open Source Summit event highlighting open source innovation at every level and featuring keynote presentations from Linus Torvalds, Van Jones, Jim Zemlin, Jennifer Cloer, and many others.

      In his welcoming address in Vancouver, The Linux Foundation’s Executive Director, Jim Zemlin, explained that The Foundation’s job is to create engines of innovation and enable the gears of those engines to spin faster.

    • LSS/OSS NA 2018 [Ed: Microsoft bought a keynote from the Linux Foundation. Yesterday the Foundation linked to 3 Microsoft promotional things. One was a month old, the other 3 months old. Makes one wonder if some Microsoft people now have editorial control at there too.]

      There was a talk on security in Zephyr and Fuchsia. While the focus of the conference is Linux, there’s a growing interest in running Linux in conjunction with processors running other operating systems. Zephyr is an open source RTOS targeted at processors with a smaller footprint than Linux. Most of the security improvements have been adding features to take advantage of the MMU/MPU. One of those features was userspace support, which is always a bit of a surprise to hear as a new feature. Fuchsia is Google’s new microkernel operating system. There’s some argument that microkernels offer more security than Linux since more parts can run in userspace. Much of the talk was about the resource and namespace model. There’s been a good deal of work put into this but it was noted much of this is still likely to be reworked.

      [...]

      Someone from Microsoft talked about Azure Sphere. Azure Sphere is Microsoft’s attempt at an IoT based microprocessor that runs Linux. The real challenge is that the device has 4MB. The talk focused on what kinds of optimizations they had to do to get it to run in that space. There’s been similar attempts before but 4MB is still incredibly impressive. I’ll be keeping an eye out when the patches go upstream (and maybe buy a device).

    • Devicetree Microconference Accepted into 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference

      We are pleased to announce the the Devicetree Microconference has been accepted into the 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference!

      [...]

      Additional possible issues to be discussed may include potential changes to the Flattened Device Tree (FDT) format, reducing the Devicetree memory and storage size in the Linux kernel, creating new architecture to provide solutions to current problems, updating the Devicetree Specification, and using devicetrees in constrained contexts.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • On leveling the playing field and online tracking

        Over the years, browsers have spent significant efforts to restrict the attempts that these third-parties that are present on the Web today can do. However, these basic foundational problems have remained unsolved in most browsers. As a result, third-parties have been engaged in activities like collecting the user’s browsing history, personal data, information about their device, and so on, which is a subversion of the built-in protections that browsers provide to prevent the “straightforward” ways of getting this data from the third-party’s own website (aka, their own users). Safari is the notable exception in at least the area of exposure of global data to third-parties. I think they got the right defaults from the beginning which was hugely advantageous for both Safari and the browser community at large — for the latter since it showed that the “holy grail” of exposing no global data to third-parties is achievable, not some far-into-the-future dream which will never happen.

      • Firefox 63 Beta 6 Testday, September 14th

        We are happy to let you know that Friday, September 14th, we are organizing Firefox 63 Beta 6 Testday. We’ll be focusing our testing on Devtools Doorhanger menu, Web Compatibility features and PDF actions. We will also have fixed bugs verification and unconfirmed bugs triage ongoing.

        Check out the detailed instructions via this etherpad.

      • Firefox 62 – Tools Cool for School!

        Hello there! It’s been six-odd weeks, and the march of progress continues to, uh… march… progressingly. That means we have a brand new Firefox to share, with an abundance of bug fixes, performance improvements, and (in particular) sweet developer tool treats! So tuck in your napkin and enjoy this tasting menu of some of what’s new in Firefox 62.

      • Firefox 62 Improves CSS Support for Developers, Fixes Bugs

        Mozilla released Firefox 62.0 on Sept. 5, providing users of the open-source web browser on Linux, macOS, Windows, Android and iOS with new features and security updates.

        Among the new features in the desktop version of Firefox is an update to the new tab display page, known as Firefox Home. Since 2012 and the Firefox 13 release, Mozilla has been updating and adjusting its approach to what it shows in the new tab page. With Firefox 62, users can now see up to four rows of site listings, which include top sites visited by the user, recommendations from Pocket and Highlights.

        On Windows, Mozilla has improved Firefox performance for graphics rendering for users who don’t have accelerated hardware. Firefox 62 on Windows makes use of a technique known as “Parallel-Off-The-Main-Painting,” which renders graphics in a more optimized manner than prior efforts.

      • Mozilla B-Team: Bugzilla on Mojolicious Talk @ Mojoconf
      • Developer Tools support for Web Components in Firefox 63

        Shadow DOM and Web Components are enabled by default in Firefox 63 and the Developer Tools are ready for them ! If you are using Web Components in your project, or want to experiment, download Nightly, and check out how we integrated these new technologies into the Inspector and Debugger

  • Healthcare

    • Open Source EHR Association to release international version of VA’s VistA EHR

      Open Source EHR Association launched an initiative to create an international version of VistA, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ homegrown EHR.

      Former VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, released the agency’s plan to scrap VistA for a systemwide Cerner EHR during a news briefing in mid-2017. However, providers outside the VA have also implemented the VA’s legacy system — VistA has periodically been released to the public, and developers in the Open Source EHR Association build on these updates to create an open-source product.

      The Open Source EHR Association, a nonprofit that hosts software repositories to help government agencies manage IT applications, aims to expand VistA’s capabilities under an international effort dubbed Plan VI. The project focuses on developing an EHR capable of displaying information in any language using Unicode, including Korean, German, Arabic and Chinese dialects.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • LLVM/Clang Gets Plumbed For Kernel Memory Sanitizer

      The latest “sanitizer” worked on by Google’s developers for the LLVM/Clang compiler infrastructure is a Kernel Memory Sanitizer (KMSAN).

      KMSAN is a special sanitizer compared to the conventional Memory Sanitizer pass that is just focused on kernel memory. Currently this new LLVM pass just supports the Linux x86_64 kernel. Those unfamiliar with the existing MemorySanitizer functionality that already lives within LLVM can see the documentation on this pass.

    • Fuzzing the OpenBSD Kernel

      Anton Lindqvist (anton@) gave a talk at BSD Users Stockholm Meetup #3 on the kernel coverage tracing kit he committed recently. Slides are now available via the OpenBSD Events and Papers page.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Recognize free software heroes in Cascadia at SeaGL

      Presented in November 2018, at the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference (SeaGL), the Cascadia Community Builder Award honors the free software work of people living in the Cascadia region of the United States and Canada. The award is designed to recognize work in software projects, non-profit organizations, outreach and education, hackerspaces, user groups, or any activity that promotes the adoption and appreciation of free software to new and larger groups of people. The awards committee is especially interested in individuals who have successfully reached out to traditionally under-represented groups, even if that isn’t their primary goal.

      [...]

      The award will be presented at SeaGL, which takes place November 9 and 10, 2018 at Seattle Central College in Seattle, Washington. Want to be part of the action? SeaGL is actively seeking volunteers! Just email participate@seagl.org and introduce yourself!

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Program an IoT pushbutton with a DIY Blynk Board

        In my previous article, I explained how to set up a DIY Blynk Board using an ESP8266 based microcontroller. Blynk is an easy way to start creating Internet of Things projects. It’s not tied to any specific board, so you can use the platform to control Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and other hardware of your choice over the internet.

        The DIY Blynk Board comes with more than 10 preconfigured projects. My earlier article showed how to set up the DIY Blynk Board and test the first project: using the button widget to receive a digital input and produce a digital output. Specifically, pressing a button on the Blynk app toggled a physical LED attached to the board.

      • SiFive Releases HiFive Unleashed RISC-V Open-Source Boot Loader With DDR Initialization

        Back in June we brought up how some of the SiFive HiFive Unleashed initialization code was closed-source for this developer board built around the RISC-V open-source processor ISA. One of the pain points was the DDR memory initialization code being closed-source but then SiFive announced they would allow for a fully open-source boot process. They’ve now made good on their word with their new open-source project.

        On Thursday the company announced the open-source release of the Freedom U540-C000′s Bootloader. This open-source bootloader allows for booting this first Linux-compatible RISC-V developer board without relying upon closed-source bits — including the DDR init code being open. They have also posted the contents of the mask ROM as well for reference.

  • Programming/Development

    • Best Coding Kits for Curious Kids

      Coding isn’t just for kids who want to become programmers. It’s great for growing brains because it encourages abstract thinking and problem solving. In this coding kit roundup, you’ll find something for all ages and abilities to help get your child started today.

      Whether your child shows interest in creating video games, solving puzzles, creating music, playing games, or thinking logically, any one of these kits will be sure to spark an interesting in coding and, more importantly, set them up to engage in deep and fun problem solving. These fantastic kits help you not only gift your child an interesting and educational toy but equip them with tools so that they can bring their innovations and ideas to life.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza Dies

      Population geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza died August 31 in Belluno, Italy, at age 96. While he originally began research as a bacteriologist, he is best known for his extensive statistical and genetic work on human evolution.

      “More than any other human geneticist, Cavalli-Sforza believed in the potential of genes and culture together to trace humanity’s origins,” writes anthropologist John Hawks of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in a memorial. “In the course of his work, he pioneered new ideas and models that brought together these two distinct areas of science.”

      Born in Genoa, Italy, on January 25, 1922, Cavalli-Sforza graduated with a medical degree from the University of Pavia in 1944. He then met statistician and geneticist Ronald Fisher at a conference in Italy and moved in 1948 to the University of Cambridge as an assistant professor to work with him on bacterial genetic variation and statistics.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Heart Surgery “Legend” a Factor in Transplant Deaths, a St. Luke’s Colleague Told Inspector

      For months, officials at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center have declined to specify the factors behind a rash of patient deaths in the hospital’s heart transplant program three years ago.

      But a newly released federal document describes program leaders as more blunt in their assessment when regulators questioned them privately in December.

      In an interview with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, one of the hospital’s top heart transplant physicians blamed the program’s struggles, at least in part, on “a retiring surgeon” — a “legend” — who “wouldn’t stop performing transplants,” according to typed notes prepared for CMS.

      The notes, obtained by ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle under the Freedom of Information Act, do not identify anyone by name, but the descriptions make clear that the physician being interviewed could only be Dr. Andrew Civitello, the program’s top cardiologist. And there was only one retirement-age transplant surgeon at St. Luke’s in 2015 who could be described as a legend in the field of heart surgery: Dr. O.H. “Bud” Frazier, who is one of the world’s most prolific heart transplant surgeons.

      Civitello acknowledged through a hospital spokeswoman that he spoke with CMS about changes in staffing at the transplant program but said the notes did not accurately reflect his remarks. Frazier did not respond to messages seeking comment for this story.

    • Not Just A Matter Of Matter: ‘The Way Forward’ For The UNCBD, NP And Half-Earth

      For corporate Users and compliant NGOs, non-monetary benefits are trumpeted, while public relations substitute for disclosure of monetary benefits. Users and their intermediaries bemoan: Will Providers just forget about the percentage royalty? They very well might but egghead economists will not. As Nobel Memorial Laureate Ronald Coase commented, economics is the most precise social science because it has a convenient measuring rod: money [19]. The rod is also a metric for equity. Any single-digit percentage for, say, a pharmaceutical would qualify as grossly inequitable—peanuts—-given the inelasticity of demand for drug therapies and the breathtaking profitability of the industry [20].

    • Heavy-Handed Industry Maneuver to Crush Soda and Grocery Taxes Is on Oregon Ballot

      As public health advocates across the country push for small tax boosts to sodas and other sugary drinks to battle obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, the soda industry and its allies are playing hardball.

      To put an end to successful soda tax campaigns in California, industry lobbyists threatened to put a measure on the California ballot banning all local taxes — not just soda taxes — a form of high-stakes hostage taking that forced legislators in Sacramento to ban local soda taxes until 2030 in exchange for taking the measure off the ballot.

      Now this heavy-handed industry overkill has come to Oregon, where an allied group — the grocers — has spent over $2.3 million on a wildly over-broad constitutional amendment that would not just impact soda taxes but can be read as prohibiting taxes at all stages in the chain of commerce, permanently preventing the state and its cities and counties from levying any taxes related to distribution or sale of all groceries.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • DoS Vulnerability found in the New Contact Name Field of Microsoft’s People Application

      Microsoft has its own centralized address book that combines all your social calls, communications, and connections into one place under the umbrella of its People app. A denial of service vulnerability has been found in the Microsoft people version 10.1807.2131.0 by LORD on the 4th of September, 2018. This vulnerability was detected and tested on Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system.

      The Microsoft People application on the Windows 8 and 10 desktop operating systems is essentially a contact management database platform dubbed address book. It unites several email accounts and other platforms’ contacts in one place for one click easy access. It incorporates your Apple accounts, Microsoft accounts, Xbox accounts, Google accounts, Skype, and much more all in one place so that you can connect to the people you want to instantly.

    • CSRF Vulnerability in phpMyAdmin 4.7.x Lets Attackers Delete Records through malicious URLs [Ed: This is not a serious vulnerability. 1) requires you're logged in as admin; 2) requires someone knows, e.g., your E-mail address; 3) requires they trick you into clicking; 4) attacker needs to know the target URL/backend]

      A Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability has been found in the phpMyAdmin version 4.7.x (before version 4.7.7) through which malicious attackers are able to perform fundamental database operations by tricking users into clicking on maliciously crafted URLs. This vulnerability has been combined under the CVE identification label CVE-2017-1000499 which was assigned to previous CSRF vulnerabilities in phpMyAdmin as well.

      There are four latest additions under the CVE-2017-1000499 CSRF vulnerability umbrella. These four include a current user password modification vulnerability, an arbitrary file writing vulnerability, a data retrieval over the DNS communication chains vulnerability, and an empty all rows from all tables vulnerability. As phpMyAdmin deals with the administration side of MySQL, these four vulnerabilities put the entire database at high risk, allowing a malicious user to change passwords, access data, delete data, and carry out other commands through code execution.

    • How to Set Up and Use the Google Titan Key Bundle

      Google recently released a set of two-factor authentication (2FA) security keys called the Titan Security Bundle. This set includes a traditional USB-based Universal Second Factor (U2F) key for use on a computer and a combination Bluetooth/USB key for mobile. Here’s how to get it all set up.

    • Local Privilege Escalation Vulnerability found in Go Pro Fusion Studio v1.2

      A local privilege escalation vulnerability exists in the Go Pro Fusion Studio version 1.2. Go Pro Fusion Studio is a specially designed editing software that incorporates all footage editing and modifying features specifically for media created using the Go Pro camera range. Both the Go Pro cameras and the Go Pro Fusion Studio are products of Go Pro, Inc. The editing platform can be downloaded from the vendor’s website and installed on Microsoft’s Windows operating system and Apple’s MacOSX.

    • Unpatched routers being used to build vast proxy army, spy on networks [Ed: And our governments MANDATE back doors. Mandate.]

      Researchers at China’s Netlab 360 have discovered that thousands of routers manufactured by the Latvian company MikroTik have been compromised by malware attacking a vulnerability revealed April. While MikroTik posted a software update for the vulnerability in April, researchers found that more than 370,000 MikroTik devices they identified on the Internet were still vulnerable. The attack comes after a previous wave based on a vulnerability made public by WikiLeaks’ publication of tools from the CIA’s “Vault7″ toolkit.

      According to a report by Netlab 360′s Genshen Ye, more than 7,500 of them are actively being spied on by attackers, who are actively forwarding full captures of their network traffic to a number of remote servers. Additionally, 239,000 of the devices have been turned into SOCKS 4 proxies accessible from a single, small Internet address block.

    • North Korean Hacker Charged Over WannaCry Attack And Sony Hacking [Ed: They should charge Microsoft and the NSA for colluding to make back doors that emasculated crackers]

      The U.S. has charged and sanctioned a North Korean hacker who is accused of being responsible for the infamous WannaCry Cyberattacks of 2017 and the 2014 cyberassault on Sony Corp.

      The man named Park Jin Kyok who is the part of the Lazarus Group, a team of hackers, has been sanctioned under the strategy devised by the U.S. government for naming and shaming the hackers.

    • North Korean ‘hacker’ charged over cyber-attacks against NHS

      The US justice department has charged an alleged North Korean spy for helping to perpetrate cyber-attacks against the National Health Service that saw operations cancelled, ambulances diverted and patient records made unavailable following a worldwide hack in 2017 which affected computers in more than 150 countries.

    • DoJ to charge North Korean ‘spy’ over Sony Pictures, WannaCry attacks

      Pak is also linked to the notorious Lazarus Group, writes The Post, which has been linked to 2017 WannaCry attack that infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide and as many as one-fifth of NHS hospital trusts in the UK.

    • Brit teen arrested for involvement in DDoS attack on ProtonMail

      “It turns out that despite claims by Apophis Squad that federal authorities would never be able to find them, they themselves did not practice very good operational security. In fact, some of their own servers were breached and exposed online.”

    • British Airways breach sees hackers take-off with customers’ payment details

      The airline fessed up to the mega-breach on Thursday, revealing that the payment cards of at least 380,000 customers have been “compromised” in a theft of data from the company’s online booking systems.

    • Personal, financial data of customers stolen from British Airways site

      The personal and financial details of 380,000 customers who made bookings with British Airways on its website ba.com between 21 August and 5 September have been stolen, the airline says.

    • Microsoft tells volume customers they can stay on Windows 7… for a bit longer… for a fee [Ed: Microsoft is charging Windows users for Windows even more... after they already paid for it]
    • Security updates for Friday
    • Homeland Security awards massive cyber contract to ManTech

      ManTech announced Wednesday that it had been awarded the $668 million contract, one day after the House passed a bill to codify the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program. The program aims to protect federal government networks from cyberattacks.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Shadowy U.S. Drone War in Africa Set to Expand

      The U.S. military will begin flying armed drones out of a remote base in Niger in the coming months, marking a significant escalation of the Defense Department’s little-noticed war against violent extremists in Africa.

      The MQ-9 Reapers will operate from new facilities the U.S. Air Force is building at an existing Nigerien base in Agadez for nearly $100 million. Until recently, the drones have been based in Niger’s capital and used solely to collect intelligence on militant groups operating in the region.

      But last November, following an attack that killed five Nigerien and four American troops near the village of Tongo Tongo, the government of Niger requested that the United States begin deploying armed drones against jihadi groups.

      The Tongo Tongo ambush spotlighted a policy issue that draws little public attention in the United States—the ongoing war in Africa’s Sahel region against militant groups emboldened by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

    • The McCain Goodbye: The American Baroque at Fever Pitch

      A few years back, I published a book called Livin’ the Vida Barroca: American Culture in a Time of Imperial Orthodoxies in which I sought, among other things, to highlight some of the parallels between today’s US and the decadent imperial Spain of the 17th and early 18th centuries.

      While most people I talked to after its publication got the nod in the title to the song by Ricky Martin, few, it seems, really understood where I was going with the B-Word in the title, or how it connected to the issue of empire.

      When confronted with their quizzical looks, I would usually mutter something about how in an era of strict implied controls on acceptable political thought, both the rulers and the ruled tend to seek refuge in gross hyperbole and ritualized ornamentation; the first group to obscure their true strategic aims and desires, and the second to take their minds of the state of political and social impotence in which they live.

      Well, for those that still don’t understand what I mean when I talk about the American Baroque, all they need to do is mentally review what transpired on the national stage last week following the death of John McCain, that is, how—as the media likes to say—“the nation came together” in a vulgar and grossly disproportionate celebration of an intellectual and moral mediocrity whose only truly salient quality was his dedication to an imperial ideology of terror whose name we dare not speak and whose senseless savagery we dare not admit.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange in very poor health, needs treatment, says WikiLeaks lawyer

      WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is in extremely poor health and unless he is released from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, his condition may deteriorate to the point where his life is threatened.

      Australian lawyer Greg Barns, a member of Assange’s legal team and an adviser to WikiLeaks, told iTWire in response to queries that Assange had not been able to access medical treatment for six years.

      This was because the UK Government had refused to allow to leave the embassy for medical appointments without being arrested.

      “This is a cruel and inhumane stance from a government professing to be a liberal democracy,” Barns said.

    • Who Wrote Anonymous NYT Op-ed About Trump? WikiLeaks Shares Likely Traits Based on Language Analysis

      Since Wednesday, when The New York Times published an anonymous op-ed written by a senior official in President Donald Trump’s administration, many people and organizations have put forth their own theories as to who the writer might be, including WikiLeaks.

      WikiLeaks tweeted that it had conducted a statistical analysis of the language the author used in the op-ed and determined that the writer was likely an older, conservative male, which, as some have pointed out, doesn’t narrow down the suspects all that much.

    • Guessing Game: WikiLeaks Tries to Figure Out White House Insider Amid Op-Ed Row

      The unnamed author of an opinion piece published by The New York Times has become the target of a mole hunt by the White House and the subject of a public guessing game being played out on television, online and in social media.

      A linguistic analysis of the text of an anonymous op-ed about members of President Trump’s inner circle conducted by WikiLeaks revealed that it was likely written by a middle-aged (58%) conservative (92%) male (66-87%).

    • A Security Expert Tied to WikiLeaks Vanishes, and the Internet Is Abuzz

      that has chased stray clues and false leads in Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Norwegian police have released statements saying that they have no idea whether he was a victim of foul play, but that they “are open to all possibilities.”

    • Wikileaks gets roasted for obvious prediction of who wrote that NYT Trump op-ed

      It’s the question everyone wants to know. Just who is the Trump staffer that wrote an anonymous New York Times op-ed ragging on their boss?

      Over the past 24 hours, people have tried to figure out which one of Trump’s chums described the president as amoral and impulsive, claiming staffers are doing what they can to stop him from messing things up.

      The Washington Post reported Trump aides were trying to analyze language patterns to rat out the insider.

    • Missing Dutch man’s phone turned on days after disappearance

      The cellphone of Arjen Kamphuis, whose been missing in Norway since August 20th, was turned on for a short time last week, the Dutch police reported based on investigation.

      The 46-year-old computer expert from Amsterdam went hiking in Norway last month. He was set to return to the Netherlands on August 22nd, but never made it back. His employer reported him missing on August 29th, according to the police. He was last seen in Bodø on August 20th.

      On August 30th, he’s phone was turned on in the vicinity of Vikeså, around 50 kilometers south of Stavanger. The phone was turned on for 20 minutes. After that, the SIM card was removed and a German SIM card was put into the phone. The Norwegian police is currently trying to track the history of that SIM card.

      On Monday a witness reported seeing Kamphuis in Denmark, according to the police. A search for him was therefore also launched there.

    • Julian Assange’s health ‘could deteriorate rapidly’ if he does not leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London

      Julian Assange’s health could deteriorate to the point his life is at risk if does not leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

      The stark claim has been made by a member of his legal team.

      Mr Assange, the founder and editor of Wikileaks, has resided there since 2012, after seeking asylum to prevent his potential extradition to Sweden.

      [...]

      Australian lawyer Greg Barns, a member of Mr Assange’s legal team who also advises WikiLeaks, told iTWire that the WikiLeaks leader had not been able to access medical treatment in that entire time.

      This, he claimed, was because the UK government refused to allow him to leave the embassy to attend appointments without him being arrested,

      “This is a cruel and inhumane stance from a government professing to be a liberal democracy,” Mr Barns said.

    • Julian Assange’s life is ‘at risk’ because UK government won’t let him leave the Ecuadorian Embassy to see a doctor, his lawyer claims

      Julian Assange is in ‘extremely poor health’ and his condition will become ‘life-threatening’ if he is not released from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Wikileaks’ lawyer has said.

      Greg Barns, an Australian lawyer in Assange’s team has called the UK government ‘cruel and inhumane’ for refusing to let the Wikileaks founder leave the embassy for medical treatment without being arrested.

      ‘What is remarkable is that Julian remains so mentally alert and is able to function physically given the inevitable impact of six years detention without natural light or access to fresh air on a constant basis.

    • Free Assange NZ solidarity actions for Chelsea Manning

      Free Assange NZ solidarity actions for Chelsea Manning at her NZ speaking events – Auckland 8 Sept. and Wellington 9 Sept.

      ‘Free Assange NZ’ will be showing solidarity for Chelsea Manning outside her NZ talk venues this weekend. “Outside Q Theatre” with Chelsea Manning in Auckland (Sunday 8 September 19.00) and “Outside The Embassy with Chelsea Manning” in Wellington (Saturday 9 September 17.00). There will be musicians, information pamphlets, signs and even the #Unity4J Lion mascot puppet!

  • Finance

    • Amazon’s Jeff Bezos donates $10 million to PAC; Sanders introduces the BEZOS Act

      Bezos and his wife MacKenzie have donated $10 million to the With Honor Fund, a super PAC that works to get military veterans elected to Congress. Also Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bill aimed at Amazon employees.

    • Whole Foods workers begin attempt to unionize

      The workers attacked a policy change that occurred when Amazon took over that took away access to stock options for full-time team members who logged over 6,000 service hours. Now only store management and those at Whole Foods home office have access to this, according to the letter.

      The employees’ demands include a $15 minimum wage, 401k matching, paid maternity leave, lower health insurance deductibles and equal profit sharing, among others.

    • The Truth About Amazon, Food Stamps, and Tax Breaks

      Since the early 2000s, Amazon has quietly received more than $1.5 billion in government subsidies, in exchange for bringing new jobs to cities and states across the country. At the same time, low-wage employees at Amazon’s grueling warehouses have sometimes had to rely on a different kind of government benefit, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, to make ends meet.

    • Plutocracy Now!

      The United States today qualifies as a plutocracy – on a number of grounds, and it is having a profound impact on the media, education and think tanks–indeed on the whole of society, says Michael Brenner.

    • Thomas Friedman’s Crazy Poor Economics

      As with many columns by Thomas Friedman, this one prompts the question: What is he talking about?

      Aside from the racism of the column’s headline—note that it’s different to say that some individuals in an ethnic group are “crazy rich” than it is to say that a group as a whole is poor because they’re crazy—it’s just empirically wrong to suggest that Middle Eastern countries are poorer as a whole than Asian countries.

      One has to assume that by “Asia” Friedman means “East Asia,” because the Middle East is wholly or partially (depending on how it’s defined) in Asia; the column references China and Japan as countries that have done well “without natural resources.” (This is not really true for China, at least, which is the world’s largest producer of coal, gold, mercury, tin and zinc, and the second-largest producer of copper and silver.) As the movie that set Friedman off is set in Singapore, we have to assume that he considers Southeast Asia to be part of “Asia” as well.

      The Middle East, rather famously, is home to some of the wealthiest countries in the world; using the IMF’s figures, three of the ten wealthiest countries in the world are Mideastern—including the wealthiest, Qatar, with a per capita GDP of $125,000, along with Kuwait ($70,000) and the United Arab Emirates ($68,000).* Two of what Friedman would call Asian countries—Singapore ($91,000) and Brunei ($77,000)—are in the top 10. (Note that Brunei is up there because of its oil wealth, like the Mideastern nations, if that’s thought to somehow disqualify a country as “rich.”)

      In the next ten, you find two more Mideastern countries, Saudi Arabia ($55,000) and Bahrain ($52,000), and another East Asian country, Taiwan ($50,000). Continuing down, you pass another country from the Middle East—Oman ($45,000)—before you find the first East Asian success story cited in the column, Japan ($43,000). China, Friedman’s other poster child for “Rich Asia,” with a per capita GDP of nearly $17,000, is still behind such Mideastern countries as Cyprus ($37,000), Turkey ($26,000), Lebanon ($19,000) and Iraq ($17,000)—not to mention Israel ($36,000), which is a Middle Eastern country discussed at some length in Friedman’s column, though it’s unclear whether he intends readers to include Israelis in the category of “crazy poor Middle Easterners.”

    • BITI FACES GRAFT PROBE

      Bruising legal and political wars could explode soon after it emerged yesterday that former Finance minister Tendai Biti and a number of well-known businesspeople are among a stellar list of individuals and companies which are being targeted for investigation by the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (Zacc).

      Addressing the media in Harare, Zacc investigations chairperson Goodson Nguni said the anti-graft body was set to probe, among other cases, multi-million dollar investments by the National Social Security Authority (Nssa).

      This included how the Ministry of Finance — under Biti at the time — had allegedly instructed Nssa to deposit nearly $20 million into a bank which had later collapsed.

    • Trump Was Already Screwing New York Taxpayers 36 Years Ago

      In 1982, the indomitable Wayne Barrett reported on ‘Mr. Gimme, the tax break whiz kid’

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Chris Hedges, “America: The Farewell Tour”
    • Reddit Ignored A Year’s Worth Of User Warnings About Iranian Propaganda

      Not to be outdone by their friends over at the Russian Internet Research Agency, Iran has also amped up its online disinformation efforts in a bid to fill the internet with an additional layer of hate and nonsense. Like Russia’s efforts, the goal appears to be focused on pouring some gasoline on the United States’ deep, existing partisan, racial, and ideological divisions. According to recent analysis by security firm FireEye, the Iranian effort included a rotating crop of fake social media identities and websites, all of which pushed policies of interest to the Iranian government.

      The effort included numerous bogus news websites and hundreds of fake accounts on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Earlier this month Facebook announced it had removed hundreds of accounts and pages tied to this effort, with one of the fake organizations (“Liberty Front Press,”) having 155,000 Facebook and 48,000 Instagram followers. Twitter also subsequently announced that it had purged 770 different Twitter accounts found to be engaging in “coordinated manipulation” originating in Iran. It’s a game of Whac-a-Mole that isn’t likely to end anytime soon.

      Of interesting note, Reddit users and a moderator had uncovered a number of these accounts more than a year ago. Some of these users were immensely-successful in getting Reddit love, with at least a quarter of the users considered Reddit “power users” with more than 10,000 karma (one of the suspended accounts, elikh13 had the top overall post on Reddit just last week). Iran’s effort most heavily targeted r/WorldNews, the site’s third-largest subreddit with more than 19 million subscribers.

    • Michael Moore Plays His Trump Card: A New Movie, Modern Fascism and a 2020 Prediction

      He’s America’s most successful documentarian and one of the few on the left who predicted the 2016 election upset. Now, as Moore readies his anticipated polemic ‘Fahrenheit 11/9′ for its Toronto film festival debut, he takes aim at Trump (and Nancy Pelosi … and Harvey Weinstein …) and those actually responsible for the president’s rapid rise to power (hint: Gwen Stefani).

    • Why Democrats Were Willing To Break The Rules On Kavanaugh Day 3

      Who wouldn’t want to spend the day watching a Supreme Court nomination hearing? FiveThirtyEight is tracking Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony in the Senate all week l…

    • Red Pill, Blue Pill… No, Take the Yellow Pill: I Watch Mainstream Media News

      TV says with great certainty the Trump presidency will end very soon; I really didn’t expect it to outlast my hospital stay and was briefly excited there’d be a cheaper health care system before I was discharged. Nearly every channel said we’d entered a new round of “it’s over,” or claimed “tick tock,” or the walls were closing in — Mueller time! There was actually mass-scale wishful thinking for a national tragedy of any sort to hasten this. There was even a race among channels to grow the death toll in Puerto Rico from a year ago, so much so they invented a new thing called “excess deaths.” Who knew?

      I learned apparently all Russians making more than minimum wage are oligarchs. And everyone in Russia over 18 is connected to Russian intelligence, and said to be close to Putin. Drug-addled, my brain tried to convince me Russia was a much smaller place than I remembered it as.

    • By Inviting and Disinviting Bannon, New Yorker Fell Into Its Own Trap

      Corporate media just can’t stop cluelessly digging their own grave.

      The New Yorker on September 3 announced it had invited white nationalist grifter Steve Bannon, the former Trump strategist and former head of the racist conspiracy theory website Breitbart, to a top spot at the annual New Yorker Festival, the magazine’s high-profile celebration of art, media and politics. It’s not surprising that sharing a platform with the likes of Bannon impelled many of the other speakers to threaten to cancel their slots at the festival in protest, along with hordes of attendees asking for their money back. By mid-afternoon, the New Yorker had pulled the plug on Bannon’s appearance.

      Bannon was to be interviewed by editor David Remnick, who said he was hoping to put “pressure on a set of arguments and prejudices that have influenced our politics.” Remnick maintained he was “hardly pulling Bannon out of obscurity,” owing to his former positions at Breitbart and in the Trump White House.

      But the key word here is “former.” Bannon resigned in disgrace from the White House last August after feuds with a number of staffers including Ivanka Trump and H.R. McMaster, and stepped down from Breitbart in January after negative comments about Trump’s connections to Russia, and recently moved to Europe to support right-wing nationalist movements. By all accounts, he has little power or influence in European politics currently, and is hardly a factor in the current far-right discourse in the US. Why bring him back from the dead? Anyone who follows politics or reads the New Yorker knows who Bannon is and what he believes. The world doesn’t need yet another interview with him to try and understand his views.

      Even if such interviews are delivered with stern questioning, “defeating” Bannon with some sort of grand argument or series of “gotcha” questions will hardly expose Bannon’s views as faulty, or entice his supporters to switch ideological teams. Just take a look at some of Errol Morris’s recent interview documentary with Bannon to see the futility of expecting Bannon to answer “tough” questions honestly. In it, he denies that he is in fact a “white nationalist” or that Breitbart cultivates white supremacist and neo-Nazi arguments, and also maintains that Donald Trump is not a member of the wealthy elite, and rather is “just a guy from Queens.” What purpose do these kinds of interviews serve, other than to keep Bannon in the news as some maniacal villain?

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Twitter permanently suspends Infowars and Alex Jones
    • Twitter’s latest (and final) punishment for Alex Jones: A permanent ban
    • Twitter permanently bans Alex Jones, InfoWars
    • Twitter Completely Bans Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones And InfoWars

      Following Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey promised to “clean up the toxic environment” from the micro-blogging site, the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his fake news website Infowars accounts have officially been banned.

      After the hard hitten action, the company explained their move in a bunch of tweets.

    • Judge Roy Moore Sues Sacha Baron Cohen For Ruining His Immaculate Reputation

      Judge Roy Moore — perhaps most famous for his (alleged) predilection for jailbait — is suing entertainer Sacha Baron Cohen for somehow ruining his spotless reputation with the ol’ libelslander. Moore is represented by stunt lawyer Larry Klayman, which assures this complaint will be greeted with a heavy sigh by the presiding judge, and that a not-insignificant amount of the billable hours will be eaten up by Klayman getting admonished by the court.

      As can probably be inferred without even reading the complaint [PDF], Moore got duped by Cohen to appear on his show, regrets being duped, and thinks Cohen (and Showtime/CBS) should pay him real money for tarnishing his otherwise squeaky-clean reputation.

      [...]

      On and on the complaint goes about “reckless” and “malice” and “defamation per se” and all of it doesn’t matter because the defense is right there in the accusations. This was commentary on Roy Moore’s pre-existing reputation, which was already in the gutter thanks to numerous accusations directly on point with a fake Mossad tool’s “sex offender” determination.

      The downside of this case is that if it survives the first motion to dismiss, it’s going to chew up some time and cash. It was filed in the DC federal court, which has already decided it doesn’t need to apply Washington, DC’s anti-SLAPP law at the federal level. This means the case might go on longer than it needs to, even though it’s crystal clear Moore’s just trying to exact litigious revenge for allowing himself to be suckered in by a little flattery.

    • Social Media Platforms Should be Accountable and Transparent About Content Removal, But DOJ’s Plan to Investigate Raises Concerns
    • Valve Says It Can’t Remove Those Annoying Steam Age Prompts

      You know how Steam constantly asks you to confirm your age, even though did that a few days ago? That’s not stopping any time soon.

      A Valve statement earlier today mentions this prompt, and states that Steam can’t get rid of these warnings because of “rating agencies.”

    • Bonkers Attorney’s Fees Ruling Results In SDCC Getting $4 Million Out Of SLCC AFter $20k Jury Award

      The last time we checked in on the trademark dispute between the San Diego Comic-Con and the Salt Lake Comic Con, we were in the wake of the jury’s decision that SLCC did in fact violate the trademark rights of the SDCC by daring to use the term “Comic Con.” We pointed out at the time that this is pretty plainly insane as a matter of trademark law, both because of the generic nature of festivals all over the country using some version of “comic con” in their names and the fact that the term itself is almost purely descriptive, being a shortened version of “comic convention”, which is what all of these shows are. While the verdict didn’t come down as predicted, the jury did manage to only award SDCC $20k in damages, finding that the infringement was not willful. The last checkpoint in the case was SDCC petitioning to get attorney’s fees out of SLCC and to prevent it from calling itself a “comic convention.”

      Well, Judge Anthony Battaglia has ruled on both requests and, holy shit, he both granted most of the injunction requests and somehow managed to award $4 million dollars in attorney’s fees to SDCC in a case that resulted in a $20k judgement.

    • Google Moderation Team Decides My Piece About The Impossible Nature Of Content Moderation Is ‘Dangerous Or Derogatory’

      Well, well. A few weeks back I had a big post all about the impossibility of moderating large content platforms at scale. It got a fair bit of attention, and has kicked off multiple discussions that are continuing to this day. However, earlier this week, it appears that Google’s ad content moderation team decided to help prove my point about the impossibility of moderating content at scale when… it decided that post was somehow “dangerous or derogatory.”

      [...]

      Huh. I’ve gone back and read the post again, and I don’t see how it can possibly fall into any of those categories. Now, if I were a conspiracy theory nutcase, I’d perhaps argue that this was somehow Google trying to “silence” me for calling out its awful moderation practices. Of course, the reality is almost certainly a lot more mundane. Just as the post describes, doing this kind of content moderation at scale is impossible to do well. That doesn’t mean they can’t do better — they can (and the post has some suggestions). But, at this kind of scale, tons of mistakes are going to be made. Even if it’s just as fraction of a percent of content that is wrongly “moderated,” at the scale of content, it’s still going to involve millions of pieces of legitimate content incorrectly flagged. It’s not a conspiracy to silence me (or anyone). It’s just the nature of how impossible this task is.

      This is also not the first or second time Google’s weird morality police have dinged us over posts that clearly do not violate any of their policies (at this point, we get these kinds of notices every few months, and we appeal, and the appeal always gets rejected without explanation). I’m just writing about this one because it’s so… fitting.

      The fact is these kinds of things happen all the time. Hell, there was a similar story a week ago as well, concerning Google refusing to put ads on a trailer for the documentary film The Cleaners… a film all about the impossibility of content moderation at scale. Coincidentally, I had just been invited to a screening of The Cleaners a week earlier, and it’s a truly fantastic documentary, that does a really amazing job not just highlighting the people who sit in cubicles in the Philippines deciding what content to leave up and what to take down, but also laying out the impossibility of that task, and helping people understand the very subjective nature of these decisions, and how there’s so much gray area that is left in the eye of the beholder (in this case, relatively low wage contract employees in the Philippines).

    • German Court Tells Facebook It Can’t Delete Comments, Even Though German Law Says It Must Delete Comments

      Earlier this year, we wrote about Germany’s free speech suppressing “hate speech” law, which required that social networks remove “hate speech” within 24 hours or face massive fines up to €50 million. Making it even more ridiculous, the law even provided for personal fines up to €5 million for EMPLOYEES at the social networks who were in charge of taking down ill-defined “hate speech.”

      This, of course, is a recipe for massive censorship. If you are facing fairly massive fines for failing to take down certain speech, you’re very likely going to default towards the “take it down, take it down NOW!” side of things. And, indeed, merely 3 days after the law was on the books, a satirical magazine had its Twitter account blocked (no satire for you!). Just a few days later, the ridiculousness of this law became even more obvious, when Twitter deleted a tweet of Heiko Maas, now Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs (and at the time its Federal Minister of Justice).

      Pretty ridiculous, right?

      Hold on. It just got more ridiculous. You see, the Higher Regional Court in Munich (the Munich Oberlandesgericht or OLG — sorta, kinda, not quite like a state appeals court in the US) has now ruled that Facebook cannot delete comments that harm freedom of expression. Facebook had chosen to delete “a controversial statement,” by a Bavarian politician (a member of the nationalist AfD party) Heike Themel, saying it violated community standards. But the court determined that Facebook deciding to delete such content was violation of Themel’s freedom of expression.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • EFF Urges Governor Brown to Sign Sensible California Law Imposing Stricter Requirements for DNA Collection From Minors

      When the San Diego police targeted black children for DNA collection without their parents’ knowledge in 2016, it highlighted a critical loophole in California law. The California State Legislature recently passed a new bill, A.B. 1584, to ensure that law enforcement cannot stop-and-swab youth without either judicial approval or the consent of a parent or attorney. The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, is now on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk. EFF has strongly supported this bill from the start and now urges the Governor to sign the bill into law.

      DNA can reveal an extraordinary amount of private information about a person, from familial relationships to medical history to predisposition for disease. Children should not be exposed to this kind of privacy invasion without strict guidelines and the advice and consent of a parent, legal guardian, or attorney. Kids need to have an adult present who represents their interests and can help them understand both their rights and the lifelong implications of handing one’s sensitive genetic material over to law enforcement.

      A.B. 1584 would require law enforcement to obtain a court order, a search warrant, or the written consent of both the minor and their parent, legal guardian, or attorney before collecting DNA. There are a few narrow exceptions, such as when DNA collection is already required under existing law. As the ACLU said in their statement of support for the bill, this is sensible, common sense legislation: “If police officers don’t have a warrant, they must not be allowed to ask a minor child to give consent to this invasion of privacy without also obtaining the consent of a parent. Common sense dictates that involving parents in these kinds of situations is a good police practice and is in the best interest of every child.”

      AB 1584 is a direct response to abuse of existing legal protections designed to protect California kids. The legislation is needed to create a higher standard for local law enforcement when collecting DNA samples from minors.

    • So We Got Tracked Anyway

      Did you install EFF’s brilliant Privacy Badger or any other smart HTTP Cookie management tool? Or did you simply pick the privacy preference in your browser that ignores all third-party cookies? Did many websites you visit annoy you with permission-to-use-cookies pop-ups because of European legislation?

      Guess what, it’s all been useless.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Chinese man deported from Kenya over racist remarks

      In the video, which circulated widely on social media, the man identified by officials as Liu Jiaqi was heard calling Kenyans “monkeys.”

      He also insulted Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in the three-minute video — among other derogatory comments that have caused furious reactions in the East African country.

    • Making Music To Promote Human Rights In Guatemala: Interview With Members Of The Band, CANCHES

      Guatemala is a country where human rights defenders face attacks and intimidation for their work against systemic corruption. Those involved in high-profile cases are often the target of harassment, smear campaigns, or even threats against their lives.

      Daniel Butler and Erika Martinez worked for the International Commission of Jurists and Peace Brigades International in Guatemala. In 2015, they left their jobs to form the band, CANCHES, with Francois Guindon, and make music that could draw from experiences promoting human rights and fighting against impunity and injustice in Guatemala.

      Martinez is from Spain and plays drums. Guindon is from Canada and plays bass. Butler is from England and sings and plays guitar and keyboard.

      The name of the band comes from Guatemalan slang that is used to describe someone with pale white skin. This is what the local community in Guatemala called the band before they had a name. They decided it was appropriate to have Guatemalans name the band because many of their songs dealt with their experiences in the country.

      Initially, the band performed cover songs from rock bands. They recently released their debut album, “To the Rescue.”

      Butler and Martinez were asked about the new album, the subject matter of a few of the songs, the band, and what inspired them to leave their jobs to make music that underscores their commitment to human rights.

    • Saudi Government Outlaws Satire; Violators To Face Five-Year Prison Sentences

      Lately, real life pretty much anywhere in the world has threatened to kill off satire. The surrealism of day-to-day politics, combined with the increasing embrace of extreme viewpoints by world leaders, has made satire all but impossible.

      [...]

      It’s one thing to see someone like bin Salman jailing his country’s own citizens for criticizing him or the government’s official religion and feel powerless to stop it. It’s quite another when leaders from the “free” world are willing to overlook bin Salman’s actions to avoid upsetting the “public order” of a 2020 summit playdate. These world leaders look no less cowardly for refusing to take this step.

    • John McCain’s Replacement Has a History of Undermining Civil Liberties

      The newly sworn-in senator from Arizona is hostile to civil liberties.

      On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence swore in Jon Kyl as the new senator from Arizona, replacing the late John McCain.

      Kyl previously served in the Senate from 1995 and 2013, where he built up a clear record of opposition to civil liberties, proposing to make the Patriot Act permanent and supporting amendments to the Constitution to undermine free expression, equal protection, and due process.

      He more recently developed close ties to the Trump administration, helping advance the nomination of Jeff Sessions for attorney general and the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

      Now that he has returned to the Senate, we expect that Kyl will once again push a platform that undermines civil liberties and civil rights.

    • I Fought for Our Country. Now NFL Players Are Kneeling for Me.

      A Black military veteran explains why he supports NFL players’ decision to kneel during the national anthem.

      I’m a veteran of the U.S. Army. So it may come as a surprise that the day I read about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, I could not have been prouder. I was proud because after serving my country for seven years, it felt like someone was finally looking out for me.

      As someone who served as a sergeant in Afghanistan, only to take a civilian job helping veterans upon returning home, I fully understand patriotism. I work hard to embody it every day. That’s precisely why I think it’s so important to stop mischaracterizing Colin Kaepernick’s movement as unpatriotic. Players are not kneeling to protest the national anthem, as they’ve explained time and time again. They are kneeling to say that the ways in which police officers and the criminal justice system treat African-Americans — people like me and my family — constitute a national crisis.

      I’m grateful for the players’ decision to take a knee. Because when many people set eyes on me, the first thing they see isn’t someone who may have missed his sister’s wedding, lost his father, and buried several friends during his tour of duty. They don’t see a former combat medic who’d risked his life for their country or a man whose seven years of honorable service didn’t include a moment to grieve. Instead of a veteran, they see a Black man first and foremost. And in 2014, police saw a potential criminal.

      The awakening came only a few years after leaving the Army and returning home to my beloved New York. I’d enrolled in college, one of the major steps for reintegrating back into society after service. My new dream was to work on local policy.

    • Did Three Immigrant Teens Run Away From a Chicago Shelter Last Month?

      The tip we received was unambiguous: Three children had run away from a shelter for immigrant children on Chicago’s North Side in late August.

      But in a system shrouded in secrecy, trying to confirm even straightforward tips is complicated. We know this from our ongoing reporting, including our most recent story this week, about the network of nine shelters in the Chicago area that house immigrant children and are run by Heartland Human Care Services.

      Although we didn’t want the children’s names or any personal information — just confirmation the incident had or hadn’t occurred — Heartland wouldn’t tell us anything, citing federal guidelines and the children’s privacy.

      There are legitimate reasons to keep certain information about these children confidential. Some of them have fled dangerous situations, like gang attacks and sex trafficking, that could follow them here; others have experienced trauma that should be dealt with privately. Those are among the reasons we don’t typically use their last names. But other aspects of this issue, one that has drawn intense national attention, ardent debate and raised questions about how tax dollars are being spent, merit public scrutiny.

    • Utah’s Top Court Says Cops Can’t Use Federal Loophole To Dodge Criminal Charge Requirement For Forfeitures

      A win for at least one resident — and victim of shady forfeiture practices — has been handed down by Utah’s top court. Kyle Savely had $500,000 taken from him by Utah law enforcement during a traffic stop. No charges were filed and Savely was never arrested, but a dog told the Utah Highway Patrol it could search the vehicle and seize the cash, even though the search failed to produce any drugs. (h/t The Newspaper)

      An early forfeiture reform initiative, voted into law by Utah residents in 2000, says the government must return forfeited property if no criminal charges are filed within 75 days. The Utah Highway Patrol apparently had no charges to file, but rather than return the money when Savely requested it back, it chose to hand it over to the DEA via equitable sharing. Equitable sharing with the feds allows state agencies to bypass more restrictive state laws and help themselves to 80% of whatever’s seized.

    • Shireen Al-Adeimi on Yemen Crisis, Alyssa Peterson on Campus Assault Rules

      Now in its third year, the war in Yemen, and the resulting casualties, starvation, illness and displacement, have been declared by the UN the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Images—like those from August of Yemeni schoolchildren on a field trip killed by bombs employed by the Saudi-led coalition, but made and sold by the US—have touched many Americans’ hearts; but what’s the bridge from concern to change? We talk about the crisis in Yemen and the US responsibility with Shireen Al-Adeimi, assistant professor of education at Michigan State University. Al-Adeimi’s recent article with Sarah Lazare, “Trump Quietly Overrides What Little Civilian Protections Remain in Yemen War,” appeared in In These Times.

    • Can the Wall Between Church and State Survive Brett Kavanaugh?

      The Supreme Court nominee’s testimony this week signals an intent to weaken the separation of church and state.

      Public schools are educational institutions, not temples of religious indoctrination. For over half a century, the Supreme Court has thus recognized that the Constitution prohibits public schools from imposing prayer on children and that religious education is the province of parents and religious communities, not government bureaucrats.

      On Wednesday, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, however, strongly suggested that he disagrees and that, if confirmed, he will vote to weaken the separation of church and state in public schools. Although the ACLU neither endorses nor opposes Supreme Court nominees, we do have an obligation to analyze Kavanaugh’s judicial record on areas that impact core civil liberties and civil rights.

      During the second day of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) questioned Kavanaugh about the Supreme Court’s 2000 decision in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, a case brought by the ACLU on behalf of Texas public-school students. In a 6-3 ruling, the court held in Santa Fe that the school could not cede its loudspeaker system to students, who would then deliver prayers at the start of football games.

      Cornyn and Kavanaugh have a special interest in the case. Then the attorney general of Texas, Cornyn argued the case before the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh helped him prepare for the oral argument and separately wrote a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of two congressmen, supporting the school district.

    • Repealing the Death Penalty in New Hampshire Is Personal

      The state’s legislature has an opportunity to override the governor’s veto and finally repeal the death penalty.

      New Hampshire is the only state in New England that still puts people to death. The Northeast region, and much of the nation, has recognized capital punishment for what it is: a practice of a bygone era that is inherently unjust, often racially charged, and has resulted in the torture of individuals put to death.

      This could change for New Hampshire on Sept. 13, when state legislators have an opportunity to override Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto of a death penalty repeal bill. This is the latest of a long line of legislative attempts at repeal in the past decade. The trend is strongly in favor of repeal, and it is one that crosses party lines.

      The question for New Hampshire is not if, but when.

      There are Republicans, Democrats, independents, and libertarians who support repealing the death penalty, just as there are people in all these groups who do not. You cannot assume an elected official’s position based on that person’s party.

      More than any other civil rights issue, the death penalty is personal for elected officials, seen through the prisms of morality, faith, or specific encounters with individual constituents. Many oppose it because it goes against their religious beliefs. Others oppose it because it costs the state far more money than life in prison. And some oppose it because an innocent person may be put to death.

    • ‘Voters Have to Remain Vigilant to Make Sure They Are on the List’

      So many reporters swarmed into the town of Cuthbert, Georgia, a county attorney told Rolling Stone’s Jamil Smith, “it filled up the Econo Lodge.” The subject of the media scrum—which, it should be noted, followed community outcry—was a political consultant’s plan to shut down seven of nine polling places, in an overwhelmingly black and low-income county, on the pretense that they were inaccessible to people with disabilities, a concern he appears only to have developed after Stacey Abrams, a black woman, was nominated for governor.

      The Board of Elections of Randolph County voted down the outrageous proposal. But for many, the hamfisted maneuver stands as a warning of how far—and how low—some will go when trying to suppress the votes of the black, brown and poor. With critical elections on the horizon, there’s never been greater need for scrutiny of the voting process in this country, and the efforts to disconnect it from anything like real democracy. John Powers is counsel in the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He joins us now by phone from Atlanta. Welcome to CounterSpin, John Powers.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • After Nabbing Billions In Tax Breaks, AT&T’s Promised Job Growth Magically Evaporates

      Telecom monopolies have a pretty good racket going. They’ll consistently demand all manner of tax cuts, subsidies, and other government perks in exchange for broadband networks they only half or partially deploy or jobs that never materialize. The nation’s telcos in particular have received countless billions in taxpayer subsidies to expand their broadband networks, yet time and time again we’ve shown how they’ve wiggled out of these obligations, leaving huge swaths of America left outside of the reach of fast, inexpensive, competitive broadband (that’s particularly true if you’re poor).

      It doesn’t matter how many times we go through this little stage play, it’s a cycle that just never ends. AT&T’s lobbying and policy folks are exceptionally good at routinely promising state and federal governments that a cornocopia of new jobs and amazing broadband investment is just around the corner, but only if AT&T gets what it wants: be that the death of net neutrality, a lower tax rate, more subsidies, or any number of protectionist or otherwise terrible laws designed largely to protect AT&T’s non-competitive geographical fiefdoms. It’s a cycle, and a level of institutional gullibility, that’s pretty staggering in scope and repetition.

    • Google AMP Can Go To Hell

      So AMP is being kept alive artificially. AMP survives not because of its merits as a project, but because Google forces websites to either adopt AMP or forego large amounts of potential traffic.

      And Google is not satisfied with that. No, Google wants more from AMP. A lot more.

  • DRM

    • IDAD 2018 modal window

      Looking to add the International Day Against DRM (IDAD) modal window to your Web site? Copy the following and paste it near the top of the contents of the “body” tag on your Web page.

    • Take action on September 18th for International Day Against DRM

      We’re less than two weeks away from International Day Against DRM (IDAD), an annual day of action and celebration against Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). It’s happening this September 18th, all over the world and the Web. IDAD is the day to stand together and loudly declare our stance against DRM. This is your chance to join a worldwide movement of people standing for digital freedom.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WIPO Program And Budget Committee Topics Next Week: New Projects, Reform, Rise In Expenses

      The World Intellectual Property Organization Program and Budget Committee, one of the main governing bodies of the organisation, will meet next week to finalize a range of issues on the functioning and work of the UN agency for the year. If WIPO has an insolently good financial status for a United Nations organisation, auditors still made a number of recommendations including on the trademark system managed by WIPO, the rental of space to third parties, the recording of works of art in the building, and late travel authorisations.

    • Apple, Foxconn et al. want to end Qualcomm’s double-dipping practice (chips and patents) once and for all

      The previous post was about a magistrate judge’s annoyance at Qualcomm’s gamesmanship. But what’s sure to cause Qualcomm and its lawyers a lot more headache is the pressure from two important summary judgment motions: the FTC’s motion in the Northern District of California seeking to clarify Qualcomm’s self-imposed obligation to license rival chipset makers and–which is what this present post is about–a motion by Apple and four contract manufacturers (Foxconn, Compal, Wistron, and Pegatron) in the Southern District of California, leveraging the Supreme Court’s 2017 Lexmark ruling against Qualcomm’s double-dipping practice…

      [...]

      The motion invites Judge Gonzalo Curiel to take a Lexmark attitude and focus on a simple commercial question: are we talking about authorized chipset sales or not? If authorized, there’s exhaustion; if Qualcomm wants to argue that exhaustion doesn’t kick in, it has to show that something was unauthorized about the sale.

      The most technical question here (“technical” in a literal sense, not legally technical) is whether, as the motion says, “Qualcomm’s chipsets and software indisputably are a matched pair by design, each intended to be used with, and only with, the other.” The moving parties describe this as an undisputed fact. It will be interesting to see whether (and if so, how) Qualcomm will seek to raise doubts about it, but absent a single reasonable use case for that software outside of Qualcomm’s chipsets and for Qualcomm’s chipsets without the related software license, I guess it just can’t deny what matters here.

      Exhaustion can only be determined on a patent-by-patent basis (even if certain key questions, particularly anything related to Lexmark, will overlap). It’s not a portfolio question.

      That’s because it must be shown for each patent that it is practiced by Qualcomm’s chipsets. It wouldn’t be practical to have one or more courts make this determination for thousands of patents. And a motion for partial summary judgment is subject to rather strict page limits–the whole idea of summary judgment is that you raise an issue that the court can easily decide. Apple and the likes of Foxconn therefore picked three exemplary patents (from the ones Apple and the contract manufacturers tackled before). Footnote 1 says that “[a] favorable ruling on this motion would inform the parties as to the exhaustion issues for the other patents.” In other words, the parties need some guidance, but then they should be able to figure out exhaustion for numerous other patents.

    • Copyrights

      • EU copyright reform: the facts

        On Wednesday 12 September, Members of the European Parliament will hold a crucial vote on new copyright rules that could fundamentally damage the internet in Europe. If adopted, the new rules will force online services to universally monitor and filter the content that users post online. Ahead of the vote, we wish to set the facts straight and explain exactly what these new rules will mean for openness and decentralisation in Europe.

        FACT: The proposed new copyright rules will harm Europe’s open source community.

        Mandatory upload filters and copyright licensing provisions in article 13 of the proposed law are unworkable for open source software firms like Mozilla and the open source ecosystem generally. The obligations cover all forms of copyright-protected content, including software. Indeed, the cost and legal risk associated with these new rules would push smaller open source software developers out of Europe and threaten the code-sharing platforms (e.g. GitHub) on which they depend to innovate. The fluid nature of technology and software development means that any carve-outs — say for software development platforms — would still risk creating a risk-laden environment.

      • Hollywood Studios, Big Fans Of Automated DMCAs, Also Very Busy DMCAing IMDB For Some Reason

        We’ve made the point repeatedly that when people think of the DMCA takedown process being utilized, they likely never consider how it’s actually used in practice. That is to say, the picture in the heads of many is some artist somewhere firing off an email to a service provider upon finding his or her work being pirated. How this typically works, however, is that the whole process is automated, with bots scraping internet content and issuing DMCAs automagically as part of its algorithm. And, considering how often the results include errors, this is a massive problem with speech on the internet.

        Hollywood is of course big fans of this automated DMCAing of the internet. After all, real enforcement of their copyrights is a hell of a lot of work and what’s a few innocent websites getting caught up as collateral damage compared with a movie studio’s ability to silence anything it thinks might be infringing? And, yet, often times the errors are so laughable so as to make our point about the dangers in all of this, such as when Hollywood studios go about accidentally sending DMCA notices for content on IMDB.

      • Fake Compromises, Real Threats in Next Week’s EU Copyright Vote

        In July, millions of Europeans called on the Members of European Parliament (MEPs) to vote down a proposal that would impose copyright filters on European social media, and create a new power for newspapers to charge or sue anyone linking to their news stories. The MEPs listened to that call, and in an historic rejection of the standard procedure, voted to revisit that language.

        Now they have a more complicated choice to make, and less than a week to learn how to make it.

        Next Wednesday at Noon CET, all 751 MEPS will be voting on 203 brand new amendments to the “Copyright in the Digital Single Market” directive, including genuine reforms as well as innocuous-looking language that would double-down on the copyright filters and link taxes from the previous, rejected, draft.

        If you’re someone who understands how the Internet works, and a voter in an EU memberstate – or you know someone who is – you may be those MEPs’ best and most honest guide to those amendments.

        Your voice will be up against a renewed lobbying campaign from the music and mainstream news industry, a conflicted and wavering set of Internet tech giants, plus a heavily-lobbied set of fake compromise proposals. But the odds are better than they were in July – and we won then. We just have to win again.

      • It’s now or never: EU copyright must protect access to knowledge and the commons

        MEPs should vote against Article 13 upload filters, which would scan all content uploaded to online platforms for any copyrighted works and prevent those works from going online if a match is discovered. It will limit freedom of expression, as the required upload filters won’t be able to tell the difference between copyright infringement and permitted uses of copyrighted works under limitations and exceptions. It puts into jeopardy the sharing of video remixes, memes, parody, and code, even works that incorporate openly licensed content.

        MEPs should vote against Article 11, the unnecessary and counterproductive press publishers right that would require anyone using snippets of journalistic content to first get a license or pay a fee to the publisher for its use online.

        MEPs should support amendments that expand Article 4, the copyright exception for education, and Article 3, the exception for text and data mining, which needs to be broadened so that the “right to read is the right to mine.” There’s also some last minute amendments that should be supported, such as the exception that would improve the ability to share remixes and other user-generated content, as well as an exception to enable the commonsense practice of being able to take and share photographs of works of art in public spaces, called “freedom of panorama.”

        Even though the Parliament’s Legal Affairs committee approved some of the most harmful measures on the docket back in June, the 5 July plenary vote opened up the debate on the directive to the full Parliament. Hundreds of thousands of people made their voices heard, urging for a better and more progressive copyright that will stop the backward proposals like the content filters suggested by Article 13.

      • uTorrent Web Stable Released: Supports In-Browser Audio & Video Playback

        BitTorrent has launched a stable version of the uTorrent web, a web-based torrent client that allows users to download and play torrent files in the browser itself.

        uTorrent web was available in the beta version previously, and now the stable version has been launched by BitTorrent, the company that owns BitTorrent and uTorrent. The specialty of uTorrent Web is the fact that users can play audio and video before the downloading finishes. The streaming happens inside the browser. The company has said that the web version will go by the name “uTorrent Classic.”

      • Court: Dutch Government is Liable For Controversial Piracy Claims

        Government officials which suggested that downloading movies and TV-shows from illegal sources was allowed. This is the result of a lawsuit filed by a Dutch filmmakers’ association, which hopes to receive compensation for the losses that were suffered.

      • YouTube Chief Says Article 13 “Undermines Creative Economy”

        YouTube’s Chief Business Officer has weighed in on the EU’s proposed Article 13 legislation, which critics say could force platforms like YouTube to implement filtering regimes in the face of increased liability for infringing content. Robert Kyncl says the proposal potentially undermines the creative economy by discouraging or even preventing platforms from hosting user-generated content.

        Next week, MEPs will again vote on the controversial copyright proposals of Article 13.

CIPA and EPO, Two UPC Boosters, Get Together to Promote Software Patents in Spite of the EPC

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shredding the rule of law

A paper trail

Summary: The private sector of patent litigation paints itself as the victim (never mind the many victims of their often-frivolous lawsuits) while lobbying for irrational patents that serve nobody in science and technology; this is troublesome for a plethora of important factors and reasons

THE MANAGEMENT of the EPO has long attempted to paint itself as the victim (of “defamation” or a “smear campaign” or whatever). These are patently absurd inversions of narratives because it’s the EPO that defames employees (sometimes calling them “Nazis”) and smearing the staff union, SUEPO. It’s all about perception and EPO managers spent an extraordinary amount of money (EPO budget of course!) on PR agencies, whose job was to lie to the public.

It wasn’t too long ago that Josh from Patent Progress refuted some nonsensical chart much like the EPO’s supposed ‘results’, where companies get ranked only by their patents (enumerated, aggregated).

“It’s all about perception and EPO managers spent an extraordinary amount of money (EPO budget of course!) on PR agencies, whose job was to lie to the public.”“The number of patents received by a company has little to do with its creativity,” Josh said, “and yet we get this kind of nonsense all the time.”

How many patent lawyers/attorneys seriously believe that patents and inventions are the same thing? This is not just pure nonsense but it is paid-for propaganda; there’s an agenda here and it’s often delivered/amplified by corporate media…

The “Cult of Patents” people (as we often refer to the likes who promote such charts) are writing entire articles about a Samsung patent as if a patent is a product [1, 2]. It’s not. And from war on (particular) drugs we’ve apparently moved to patenting them, based on this new press release. Incredible. Truly incredible. It’s all because of money; it’s all about commercial interests, not safety or ethics or health…

“How many patent lawyers/attorneys seriously believe that patents and inventions are the same thing?”Are these drugs any good for treating depression? Well, hopefully…

According to CIPA, the real victims aren’t those who get sued by patent holders, usually baselessly. The real victims are those who are responsible for these lawsuits. That’s a lot like those articles about “bored” and “depressed” drone operators, who basically slaughter a lot of people using a joystick halfway across the world. Many articles have been composed for over half a decade about the “stress” and “fatigue” of these operators. We recently started seeing similar articles about NSA analysts, as if those who illegally and unconstitutionally infringe the privacy of millions are actually the victims worthy of public sympathy. Isn’t that grotesque?

According to CIPA and the likes of it (see Ben Wodecki on Twitter), we need to be sorry for patent attorneys. Remember that CIPA is their front group in the UK. It’s a highly nefarious front group that liaised with Battistelli some months ago. It’s also the foremost lobbyist for UPC in the UK.

“According to CIPA, the real victims aren’t those who get sued by patent holders, usually baselessly. The real victims are those who are responsible for these lawsuits.”Are attorneys unhappy at their job? Then they need to change occupations. As patent maximalism may be coming to an end (at least in the US) the market will become more competitive and over-congested. It will be harder to attract ‘business’; we already see some mergers and acquisitions that are symptoms of it.

“You just need to read 2 or 3 patent claims,” Benjamin Henrion wrote, “and your brain start to hurt. No wonder if you have to write those claims the whole day [go] #mental…”

We remind readers that CIPA representatives basically ‘infiltrated’ IP Kat, whereupon EPO coverage virtually ground to a half. They’re UPC boosters who seem to have no qualm about doing photo ops with Battistelli and software patents in Europe is an agenda they totally and wholeheartedly support. CIPA can be blamed for erostion of patent quality at the EPO. EPO staff should be upset at CIPA; they’re not on the same side, they’re almost opposites.

Mind what the EPO wrote in Twitter some hours ago: “We’re holding a free-of-charge #ICT seminar in London on 28 Sep in co-operation with @TheCIPA. For more details, and to sign up, click here: http://bit.ly/ICTseminar18 pic.twitter.com/5ksdupirtC”

“EPO staff should be upset at CIPA; they’re not on the same side, they’re almost opposites.”ICT is one of those buzzwords (or terms) they use for software patents. CIPA and EPO are again liaising in order to ‘conspire’ for software patents. Well, see the description in the cited page (warning: epo.org link): “The event will focus on patentability issues and the major aspects of filing and prosecuting ICT-related patent applications at the EPO. Three break-out workshops will be offered related to the drafting of European applications in the respective areas of Business Methods, examination of cloud computing at the EPO: claims for the Cloud as well as Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Graphic User Interface (GUI). An EPO expert and a European patent attorney will chair each workshop which will cover information both on the legal framework and on the claim drafting aspects.”

This is CIPA’s agenda. Suffice to say, terms like “cloud” are just masks for software patents.

Then they come out with nonsense like this sob story, trying to garner some sympathy:

An IP Inclusive and Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) survey showed that 33 percent of patent professionals are uncomfortable, unhappy or very unhappy, with disturbing numbers confessing to thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

The ‘Report of IP Inclusive & CIPA survey for Mental Health Awareness Week 2018’ found that almost 70 percent of respondents admitted to having their mental health affected at work by high stress levels.

The report showed that 66.9 percent of the 180 respondents admitted to having been adversely affected at work by high stress levels, with over half suffering from anxiety.

CIPA (patent maximalists) should encourage them to seek employment with industries that create things, not doing patents and litigation. The latter isn’t as fulfilling.

“We caution EPO staff not to view CIPA is an ally with shared concerns. CIPA’s only concern seems to be that there aren’t “enough” patents; it wants a lot more!”The above has since then been mentioned by circles close to EPO too (and retweeted by anonymous EPO staff). Maybe they feel like they can relate, but actually the CIPA types are very much ‘enemies’ of examiners; they propped up Battistelli, they reduce patent quality, and they lie to the public about UPC. And of course, like almost every day, the EPO has just promoted software patents again, dubbing them "AI" for hype/buzz. This is the sort of thing CIPA wants the EPO to do and actively participates in.

We caution EPO staff not to view CIPA is an ally with shared concerns. CIPA’s only concern seems to be that there aren’t “enough” patents; it wants a lot more! It’s what makes examiners’ lives a lot more miserable and emboldens Team Battistelli.

ITC is Serving Patent Trolls Now

Posted in America, Patents at 4:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Going under the bridge

Under the bridge

Summary: The US International Trade Commission (ITC) was supposed to guard American firms from knockoffs and the likes of that; but now it’s being misused as a tool of extortion for firms that produce nothing at all

THE ITC is problematic; now the bullies, instead of saying “pay us ‘protection’ money or we’ll sue you and cost you in legal bills (so you lose either way),” are threatening to have your products literally embargoed. Earlier this year and again a few weeks ago we cited the new example of Hytera. It doesn’t seem like justice is the goal here; blackmail and financial strangulations are being encouraged (before the facts are even known and legal proceedings are concluded). It’s what we call a “shoot first, ask questions later” approach, which should be considered totally unacceptable in a society that values due process.

Here’s the latest on the Hytera case, as covered just before the weekend by WIPR:

Hytera received good news this week when the US International Trade Commission (ITC) agreed to review in-part a final initial determination that had gone in favour of Motorola Solutions, amid a global war between the two companies.

In July, the ITC upheld allegations of patent infringement against radio manufacturer Hytera in an initial determination.

Motorola had initially accused Hytera of infringing seven US patents which cover two-way radio equipment systems and related software. It later withdrew three of the patents asserted against Hytera.

[...]

Tom Wineland, vice president of Hytera Communications America (West), said: “We are particularly pleased at the forecast scope of the review, which includes the ITC’s reviewing why Motorola would have asserted patents as infringed that Hytera had previously licensed from Motorola on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms.”

In July, Motorola secured a victory over Hytera in Germany as the Regional Court of Mannheim granted an injunction against the radio company.

Hytera is being fought against using injunctions. It’s tempting for the ITC to take the side of the US giant (almost an order of magnitude greater than Hytera). To make matters worse, based on this new post from CCIA’s Patent Progress, the ITC is now serving patent trolls rather than actual firms in the US:

After the Supreme Court’s TC Heartland decision made it harder to file suit in the notoriously NPE-friendly Eastern District of Texas, Patent Progress predicted that NPEs might try to shift venues to the ITC. This appears to be an example of exactly that. While SIPCO claims not to be an NPE, their website focuses on their patent licensing business; the ‘products and consulting services’ they claim to offer are not described in detail (unlike their patent list and licensing structure.)

The ITC is a desirable venue both because it can grant an exclusion order (effectively an injunction against any products manufactured outside of the U.S.) and because the ITC has a highly compressed case schedule, making ITC trials expensive for defendants. The combination of these two factors means that an ITC case carries more expense and more risk for defendants—making them more likely to want to settle.

Patent Progress correctly notes that the ITC is now being emasculated for purposes of blackmail; no such thing should be allowed to happen before or until the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) through inter partes reviews (IPRs), in addition to the district courts and the Federal Circuit (potentially higher), get to have their say on the underlying patents and the claims (as applied — if applicable at all — in infringement allegations). We have already seen the ITC arrogantly ignoring the PTAB’s decisions to void underlying patents (a case of Cisco against a relatively small rival). As if PTAB does not exist…

IAM Media Engages in Trademark Violations While Trying to Misrepresent Free/Open Source Software in Relation to Software Patents

Posted in Free/Libre Software, IBM, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, OIN, Patents, Red Hat at 4:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The “I” in IAM stands for “Infringement” (apparently)

Summary: The site/group which is trying to lecture us all about “intellectual” “property” is itself failing to respect the relevant laws; to make matters worse, it’s liaising with groups of proprietary software vendors to mislead the public about the relationship between Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and patents, notably software patents

THIS post is about Battistelli’s friends at IAM, which habitually whitewashed EPO scandals and is generally promoting patent trolls’ interests. We’ll have a lot more to say about it this coming weekend.

This quick post is about something which happened earlier today.

The IAM account in Twitter said: “Can open source and patents coexist? That’s what experts from #OpenInventionNetwork, @Workday, @Uber and @RedHat will be discussing at Software IP on October 30 in San Francisco. Get your ticket here http://bit.ly/2QatL0l #SoftwareIP pic.twitter.com/OBUmBrBQqW”

Well, Red Hat is pursuing software patents but calls them "blockchains" amongst other thing; the rest of those in attendance are obviously misfits. Answering the question “Can open source and patents coexist,” of course they cannot, but OIN and the others want them to because they’re proprietary software companies and their front groups. They don’t care about Free software or freedom. They also perturb the meaning of Open Source to suit a primarily proprietary agenda.

IAM is a think tank of patent trolls, Microsoft’s patent trolls included. It also fronts for the patent microcosm, patent litigation ‘industry’ etc. They won’t allow people to use the “F word” (freedom). It didn’t take long for Simon Phipps (OSI President) to say: Interesting there’s no-one from OSI or FSF speaking.” He copies in the OSI and the FSF, the Free Software Foundation’s chief to be more specific or exact.

“By the way,” added an observer, “it got me thinking, isn’t this a case of trademark infringement of OSI’s Logo ? Doesn’t seem to fit those clear guidelines…”

That links to the OSI’s Web site.

Benjamin Henrion then joked that “the (R) has been removed at least.”

So now we know how IAM really feels about “intellectual” “property” (what it calls copyrights, trademarks and patents as though they’re all the same thing). Well, they have since then deleted this tweet, perhaps realising just how serious;y embarrassing this was; thankfully we made a copy and here is a copy of the image from their deleted tweet (the tweet’s text is quoted above):

IAM trademark

They make it seem as though “Open Source” is all giddy about patents. They did this before too. Why does the OSI even participate in anything with such a nefarious lobby group? That says a lot about OIN (nothing positive). We mentioned this before.

Election of New Vice-Presidents at EPO Seems Rigged, Say Insiders and Former Insiders

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Election of António Campinos himself was highly controversial, too

EPO replacing VPs

Summary: Christoph Ernst, Nelly Simon and more controversial associates are being put around António Campinos — a move that has the hallmark of Battistelli’s notorious 8-year regime

A COUPLE of months ago we learned that Vice-Presidents at the EPO were being replaced. But with the mask of António Campinos slipping this week (first week after the summer vacation) we’re not at all surprised to have just received the following message:

Honorable members of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Office,

The Battistelli presidency will undoubtedly be considered as the darkest times in EPO’s history. Hidden behind self-proclaimed success – justified and protected by fictitious results; manipulated numbers; and the illusion of incredible achievements solely attained at the cost of quality, organizational balance and public service orientation – manipulation, nepotism. favoritism, intimidation, harassment, corruption and management by fear have reigned, slowly destroying the soul and very purpose of the Organization. Rivalry and individualism have replaced cooperation and collective effort. Obsession for financial benefits has replaced sense of public service. Self-interest has replaced interest of Europe. Loyalty to “ambitious people with an agenda” has replaced loyalty to the Organization. The list of damages on both corporate culture and professional practices is endless. Specialized blogs and internet sites such as Techright, IAM media, IPkat or Kluwer already give an idea of the nature of the problem. But what you will find there is only the tip of the iceberg. The truth is far more disturbing. For eight years, secured by the convenient indifference of the member states and protected by its diplomatic status, the EPO has simply been a dictatorship in the heart of Europe, destroying all founding values that were the cornerstones of its success and corrupting the very principle of public service that was (and still is) its reason to exist. There is no doubt that the magnitude of the damaging effects on the organization itself and on the European innovation’s economy, will soon become obvious.

Since July 1st 2018 a new President is leading the organization. In a few weeks he has brought a new wind of hope. By simply listening and talking to people, he has awakened a sense of optimism that long had deserted the Office. And we are very pleased about it.

The Battistelli disaster should however not be forgotten. One of the main reason that made this madness possible was the simple fact that no counter-power was available within the organization. The dictator was free to manipulate numbers, processes, results and people as he wished. And this is where the responsibility of the Administrative Council is engaged. The five elective posts of Vice presidents should be a natural counter power. That’s precisely why these posts are elective and not simply positions to be fulfilled as regards to skills and technical achievements. VPs should, before all, be strong personalities with outstanding sense of ethics and international public service able to strongly react if things go wrong. Unfortunately this most important aspect of the role and values of the VPs has eroded in time. And nowadays they seem to be considered (and to consider themselves) as “common” executive managers (That’s probably why one of the VP positions has disappeared in the framework of a reorganization and that no plan seems to be made to have it back). We see great danger here. And the Battistelli’s nightmare should remind us the reality of this threat. If the VPs are chosen to fit in the plan of the President, even a decent President; if they are directly or indirectly chosen by him for operational comfort; if the selection done by the member states is a bargain around “nationality issues” and networking games rather than a pre-selection based on demonstrated dedication to public service and proven multilateral experience; the whole system is endangered. It is the responsibility of the Administrative Council to prevent this.

It seems that, while candidates can still apply until September 5th 2018, names of the people who are going to “win” are already known. Mr. Christoph Ernst, current President of the AC, would become VP5. Ms. Nelly Simon, a very close associate of Mr. Campinos at EU IPO – and chosen by him in the framework of this selection procedure – would become VP4. And the French candidate – whose name we don’t know yet but who is described as a “Bercy candidate” close to Battistelli (ENA?) – would become VP1. If this is the case, it means that the legal democratic rules have again not been respected; that the EPO rules – meant to guaranty them – have again been bypassed and/or fictitiously applied; and that the very same dysfunctions that made the Battistelli’s dictatorship possible are again striking. And this is not be acceptable.

Therefore, in the name of the European citizens who deserve to be properly represented in an organization at their service, in the name of the European economy and the European industry which deserve the highest level of public service, and in the name of our colleagues who deserve to serve a “well-balanced public service oriented international organization” we ask you to:

- Select vice Presidents primarily as regards to their potential to play their role of internal counter-power rather than for their proximity with the new or previous President, their network, their networking skills, or their professional experience exclusively.

- Reintroduce the 5th vice President – for example by separating IM and Human resources into two different areas that could be “Resource Management” and “Information” each one having a VP – in order to re-establish the original balance within the internal leadership.

- Make sure that rules and regulations related to VPs selection are indeed framed to guaranty this balance.

Hoping that you will give to this letter the attention it deserves,

Kind regards

The Georg Elser group.

PS: For the sake of democratic transparency multiple newspapers of the member states have been put in cc. and cci of this email.

The Greorg Elser Group is a group of retired and active staff members of the EPO who decided, after the dictatorial presidency of Battistelli, to play the role of early whistleblower in case of abuse. This is our first public paper.

We will have a lot more to say pretty soon. Some of the above names are familiar and their new positions confirm rumours we have been hearing for weeks.

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