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10.16.18

Links 1610/2018: Linux 4.19 RC8, Xfce Screensaver 0.1.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 11:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Chrome OS Stable Channel Gets Linux Apps

      After months of user testing in developer and beta channels, the Crostini project at Google finally delivered the goods, Linux apps for most users of Chromebooks in the stable channel—definitely worth the wait. While this still is aimed primarily at developers using Chromebooks, I think there’s a good chance these Linux apps will be used and enjoyed by the general public using Chromebooks as well. There’s still a bit of a learning curve to overcome before that possibility is realized, but if you already are a user of any Linux distro, it will feel very familiar. Here’s an overview of how to install it and what to expect afterward.

      After getting the update to version 69, go to Settings and scroll down a bit, and you’ll see the option to turn on Linux apps. Figure 1 shows this first step. Note that this isn’t available on all Chromebooks; if you’re using an older one, you’ll have to wait a while before this function is available. If you don’t see the option to turn on Linux apps, your Chromebook currently lacks that functionality. But, if you have a Chromebook produced in the past two years, you probably will see the option.

    • Update KB4468550 Fixes Audio Issues Caused In Windows 10 October Patch [Ed: Alternative (better) headline is, Microsoft admits breaking your machine]

      If your Windows is updated to the latest Windows 10 October 2018 update then there are chances that you might be facing audio problems , something along the lines of “No Audio Output Device is installed”.

      The October 2018 patch caused this issue on many machines running Windows 10 version 1803 or above. Many users tweeted about this problem almost instantly as it was happening on such a wide scale when they realized that they Windows has stopped giving them audio when they start playing games, or launch a video player all while the sounds on their browser as well as the system sounds were working perfectly fine.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.19-rc8

      As mentioned last week, here’s a -rc8 release as it seems needed.

      There were a lot of “little” pull requests this week, semi-normal for
      this late in the cycle, but a lot of them were “fix up the previous fix
      I just sent” which implies that people are having a few issues still.

      I also know of at least one “bad” bug that finally has a proposed fix,
      so that should hopefully get merged this week. And there are some
      outstanding USB fixes I know of that have not yet landed in the tree (I
      blame me for that…)

      Anyway, the full shortlog is below, lots of tiny things all over the
      tree. Please go and test and ensure that all works well for you.
      Hopefully this should be the last -rc release.

    • Linux 4.19-rc8 Released With A Lot Of “Tiny Things”
    • Linux’s Qualcomm Ath10k Driver Getting WoWLAN, WCN3990 Support

      The Qualcomm/Atheros “Ath10k” Linux driver coming up in the Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel merge window is picking up two prominent features.

      First up, the Ath10k driver is finally having WoWLAN support — Wake on Wireless LAN. WoWLAN has been supported by the kernel for years and more recently is getting picked up by Linux networking user-space configuration utilities. Ath10k is becoming the latest Linux wireless driver supporting WoWLAN (WIPHY_WOWLAN_NET_DETECT) for automatically waking up the system when within range of an a known SSID.

    • FUSE File-Systems Pick Up Another Performance Boost With Symlink Caching

      FUSE file-systems in user-space are set to be running faster with the upcoming Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel thanks to several performance optimizations.

      The FUSE kernel code for this next Linux kernel cycle already has a hash table optimization and separately is copy file range support for efficient file copy operations. Staged today into the FUSE tree for the next cycle was yet another performance-boosting patch.

    • Another Change Proposed For Linux’s Code of Conduct

      With the Linux 4.19-rc8 kernel release overnight, one change not to be found in this latest Linux 4.19 release candidate are any alterations to the new Code of Conduct. The latest proposal forbids discussing off-topic matters while protecting any sentient being in the universe.

      While some immediate changes to the Linux kernel Code of Conduct have been talked about by upstream kernel developers, for 4.19-rc8 there are no changes yet. We’ll presumably see some basic changes land this week ahead of Linux 4.19.0 expected next Sunday as not to have an unenforceable or flawed CoC found in a released kernel version.

    • Linux v4.18: Performance Goodies

      Linux v4.18 has been out a two months now; making this post a bit late, but still in time before the next release. Also so much drama in the CoC to care about performance topics :P As always comes with a series of performance enhancements and optimizations across subsystems.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Automotive Grade Linux Enables Telematics and Instrument Cluster Applications with Latest UCB 6.0 Release

        Developed through a joint effort by dozens of member companies, the AGL Unified Code Base (UCB) is an open source software platform that can serve as the de facto industry standard for infotainment, telematics and instrument cluster applications. Sharing a single software platform across the industry reduces fragmentation and accelerates time-to-market by encouraging the growth of a global ecosystem of developers and application providers that can build a product once and have it work for multiple automakers.

        [...]

        The AGL UCB 6.0 includes an operating system, middleware and application framework. Key features include: [...]

    • Graphics Stack

      • CodeXL 2.6 is released!

        For current users of CodeXL, this new release may look and feel a little different. The AMD Developer Tools team has been busy working on many new tools, some of which replicate functionality found in older versions of CodeXL. Thus, to limit confusion for our users, we have removed several major components from CodeXL.

      • AMD CodeXL 2.6 Advances GPU Profiling, Static Analysis & GPU Debugging

        But what is found within CodeXL 2.6 for GPU developers are the GPU profiling features, static analysis features, and GPU debugging features.

      • [ANNOUNCE] xorg-server 1.20.2

        Lots of bugfixes all over the map. Thanks to all for testing and patches!

      • X.Org Server 1.20.2 Released With A Bunch Of Bug Fixes

        It’s almost been a half-year already since the release of the long delayed X.Org Server 1.20, but with no signs of X.Org Server 1.21 releasing soon, xorg-server 1.20.2 was announced today as the latest stable point release.

      • FreeDesktop.org Might Formally Join Forces With The X.Org Foundation

        FreeDesktop.org is already effectively part of X.Org given the loose structure of FreeDesktop.org, the key members/administrators being part of both projects, and FreeDesktop.org long being the de facto hosting platform from the X.Org Server to Mesa and much more. But now they may be officially joining forces.

        As a formality, the X.Org Foundation is seeking to change their foundation’s by-laws to reflect that the X.Org Foundation shall also “Support free and open source projects through the freedesktop.org infrastructure. For projects outside the scope [of the X.Org Foundation] support extends to project hosting only.”

      • Experimental Patches For Using SIMD32 Fragment Shaders With Intel’s Linux Driver

        Existing Intel graphics hardware already supports SIMD32 fragment shaders and the Intel open-source Linux graphics driver has supported this mode for months, but it hasn’t been enabled. That though is in the process of changing.

        Since June the Intel Mesa driver’s fragment shader code has supported the SIMD32 mode supported by the past number of generations of Intel graphics hardware, but it hasn’t actually been turned on. That enabling wasn’t done over not having the heuristics in place for determining when to enable it over the other code paths.

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows 10 October 2018 Update Performance Against Ubuntu 18.10, Fedora 29

        As the latest of our benchmarks using the newly re-released Microsoft Windows 10 October 2018 Update, here are benchmarks of this latest Windows 10 build against seven different Linux distributions on the same hardware for checking out the current performance of these operating systems.

        For this latest Linux OS benchmarking comparison against Windows, the following platforms were tested:

        - The Windows 10 April 2018 release as the previous major milestone of Windows 10.

        - The newest Windows 10 October 2018 build as the latest Windows 10 build from Microsoft.

        - OpenSUSE Tumbleweed as the openSUSE rolling-release distribution that as of testing was on the Linux 4.18.12 kernel, KDE Plasma 5.14, Mesa 18.1.7, and GCC 8.2.1 atop an XFS home file-system with Btrfs root file-system (the default partitioning scheme).

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Xfce Screensaver 0.1.0 Released

      I am pleased to announce the release of Xfce Screensaver (xfce4-screensaver) 0.1.0! This is an early release targeted to testers and translators. Bugs and patches welcome!

    • Xfce4-Screensaver Has Its First Release – Fork Of MATE Screensaver, Forked From GNOME

      As a new alternative over XScreenSaver or using other desktop environments’ screensaver functionality, xfce4-screensaver has out its first release albeit of alpha quality.

      The xfce4-screensaver project made its preliminary (v0.1.0) release today that is described of alpha quality intended for testers and translators. This new screensaver option for Xfce users is forked from the MATE Screensaver code, which in turn was forked from the GNOME Screensaver.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.14 – Phasers on stun

        Linux is much like the stock market. Moments of happiness broken by crises. Or is the other way around? Never mind. Today shall hopefully be a day of joy, for I am about to test Plasma 5.14, the latest version of this neat desktop environment. Recently, I’ve had a nice streak of good energy with Linux, mostly thanks to my experience with Slimbook Pro2, which I configured with Kubuntu Beaver. Let’s see if we can keep the momentum.

        Now, before we begin, there are more good news woven into this announcement. As you can imagine, you do need some kind of demonstrator to test the new desktop. Usually, it’s KDE neon, which offers a clean, lean, mean KDE-focused testing environment. You can boot into the live session, try the desktop, and if you like it, you can even install it. Indeed, neon is an integral part of my eight-boot setup on the Lenovo G50 machine. But what makes things really interesting is that neon has also switched to the latest Ubuntu LTS base. It now comes aligned to the 18.04 family, adorned with this brand new Plasma. Proceed.

      • Release of KDE Frameworks 5.51.0

        KDE Frameworks are 70 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the Frameworks 5.0 release announcement.

        This release is part of a series of planned monthly releases making improvements available to developers in a quick and predictable manner.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.51 Released
      • KDE e.V. receives a sizeable donation from Handshake Foundation

        Of the total donation amount, 100,000 USD will be specifically allocated to pursue the development of the Calligra office suite.

        “Handshake is pleased to be able to support KDE’s international community of dedicated volunteers and their continued commitment to a free desktop environment with the current release of KDE Plasma 5 and the Calligra office suite”, says Rob Myers from the Handshake Foundation.

        The fruits of this contribution will soon become visible and available to everyone. Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to join the KDE Community and be part of our mission to help everyone protect their privacy and control their digital lives with Free Software.

      • KDE e.V Receives Generous Handshake Donation, Ubuntu Touch OTA-5 Is Out, Geoclue 2.5 Now Available and Asking for Help, New Code of Conduct Proposal and Internet Freedom Festival

        KDE e.V. announces it received a $300,000 USD donation from the Handshake Foundation. According to the KDE blog post, it plans to use $100,000 USD of the donation specifically toward development of the Calligra office suite. Also, KDE celebrated its 22nd anniversary yesterday—Happy Birthday KDE!

      • digiKam Recipes 18.10.15 Released

        It’s time for another digiKam Recipes update. The most visible change in this update is the new book cover. All screenshots were also updated to reflect changes in the current version of digiKam.

      • [Krita] Interview with Sira Argia

        2014 is the year that I first started to try Linux on my laptop, and then I knew that Windows programs don’t run perfectly on Linux even using “wine”. My curiosity about Linux and the alternative programs led me to Krita. The more time I spent with Linux, the more I fell in love with it. And finally I thought that “I’ll choose Linux as a single OS on my laptop and Krita as a digital painting program for work someday after I get my first graphic tablet.”

      • And so the [Krita] Fundraiser Ends

        Yesterday was the last day of the developers sprint^Wmarathon, and the last day of the fundraiser. We’re all good and knackered here, but the fundraiser ended at a very respectable 26,426 euros! That’s really awesome, thanks everybody!

      • Sizeable donation from Handshake Foundation

        We’re glad to announce that we received donation of 100,000 USD, which is part of 300,000 USD offered to our KDE organization. Quite appropriate for a birthday present, as the KDE project just turned 22 this last weekend! It’s true recognition for KDE as one of the world’s largest open source project.

      • Qt 5.12 beta2 released

        We have published Qt 5.12 beta2 today. As earlier you can get it via online installer. Delta to beta1 attached.

      • Qt 5.12 Beta 2 Brings Many Fixes

        Just two weeks after the Qt 5.12 beta release, a second beta is now available for testing of this forthcoming tool-kit update.

        The Qt 5.12 Beta 2 update is made up of bug fixes with changes ranging from build fixes for different platforms to disabling mouse tracking by default within the QtWebGLPlugin to fixed Ozone platform detection. There are more than 200 changes to Qt 5.12 that have been queued over the past two weeks.

        The complete list of the 200+ changes that are mostly fixes in Qt 5.12 Beta 2 can be found via today’s release announcement with the attached change-log.

      • Krita at the University of La Plata

        Sebastian Labi ha sido invitado para presentar Krita en el Laboratorio de herramientas de software libre de la Universidad de La Plata. Hablará sobre ilustración digital y usará Krita para dar una demostración de cómo usar Krita para el campo de la Ilustración Digital.

        El SLAD- FBA (Software libre para Arte y diseño) es una nueva unidad de de investigación y formación en la Facultad de Bellas Artes que promueve el conocimiento y uso del software libre en la capacitación académica de la Universidad de La Plata.

      • LaKademy 2018 – Third and Fourth Days (October 13th and 14th)

        The third day of LaKademy 2018 was my last day participating on the event.

        During October 13th, we started the day with a promo reunion. This reunion was done to discuss about some plans and actions for the Latin American KDE community over the next year. Some decisions were made and topics were discussed involving KDE participation in some events, promotion of our own events in Latin America, including LaKademy 2019 and Kafé com Qt, and some details in general about our community.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Restyling apps at scale

        Over the past few months we’ve had a lively debate about “theming” in GNOME, and how it affects our ecosystem. In this discussion I’ve found that there is a divide between people who design and/or develop apps, and people who don’t. I have yet to see an app developer who thinks the current approach to “theming” can work, while many people who aren’t app developers are arguing that it can.

        After a few long discussions I started to realize that part of the reason why there’s so little agreement and so much drama around this issue is that we don’t agree what the problem is. Those who don’t work on apps often can’t see the issues with theming and think we want to remove things for no reason, while those who do are very frustrated that the other side doesn’t want to acknowledge how broken everything is.

      • Geoclue 2.5 & repeating call for help

        Also, while I’m at it, I wanted to highlight the “call for help” at the end of that post by repeating it here again. I apologize of repeating to those who already read it but a friend pointed out that it’s likely going to be missed by many folks:
        The future of Mozilla Location Service
        When Mozilla announced their location service in late 2013, Geoclue became one of its first users as it was our only hope for a reliable WiFi-geolocation source. We couldn’t use Google’s service as their ToC don’t allow it to be used in an open source project (I recall some clause that it can only be used with Google Maps and not any other Map software). Mozilla Location Service (MLS) was a huge success in terms of people contributing WiFi data to it. I’ve been to quite a few places around Europe and North America in the last few years and I haven’t been to any location, that is not already covered by MLS.

      • Making a first contribution in Outreachy usability testing

        If you want to join us in GNOME usability testing as part of the upcoming cycle in Outreachy, you’ll need to make a first contribution as part of your application process. Every project in Outreachy asks for a first contribution; this is a requirement in Outreachy.

        Don’t make too big of a deal about your first contribution in usability testing. We don’t expect interns to know much about usability testing as they enter the internship. Throughout the internship, you’ll learn about usability testing. So for this first contribution, we set a low bar.

  • Distributions

    • Kali Linux: What You Must Know Before Using it

      Kali Linux is the industry’s leading Linux distribution in penetration testing and ethical hacking. It is a distribution that comes shipped with tons and tons of hacking and penetration tools and software by default, and is widely recognized in all parts of the world, even among Windows users who may not even know what Linux is.

      Because of the latter, many people are trying to get alone with Kali Linux although they don’t even understand the basics of a Linux system. The reasons may vary from having fun, faking being a hacker to impress a girlfriend or simply trying to hack the neighbors’ WiFi network to get a free Internet, all of which is a bad thing to do if you are planning to use Kali Linux.

    • Install, install, install! The dance of panic!

      3. PicarOS Diego. My daughter’s desktop dual-boots Mageia and PicarOS Diego, a great MiniNo GalpON respin for children. Since the game she likes is neither running with WINE on Mageia 6.1 nor with Windows Vista, I tried to run it on WINE in PicarOS. The packages were old, so I updated the system. Big mistake! In the end, I was left with an up-to-date MiniNo that removed all the special tweaks for children and, to add insult to injury, the game would not run at all!

    • Reviews

      • Kali Linux for Vagrant: Hands-on

        I recently saw the announcement for Kali Linux on Vagrant. I have been a huge fan of Kali Linux for a very long time, and I am interested in virtualization (and currently using VirtualBox in an educational environment), so this was a very interesting combination to me. I have now installed it on a few of my systems, and so far I am quite impressed with it.

        The logical place to start is with a brief overview of Vagrant itself. What is Vagrant? According to their web page:

        Vagrant is a tool for building and managing virtual machine environments in a single workflow

        What Vagrant actually does is provide a way of automating the building of virtualized development environments using a variety of the most popular providers, such as VirtualBox, VMware, AWS and others. It not only handles the initial setup of the virtual machine, it can also provision the virtual machine based on your specifications, so it provides a consistent environment which can be shared and distributed to others.

    • New Releases

      • IPFire 2.21 – Core Update 124 released

        …this is the official release announcement for IPFire 2.21 – Core Update 124. It brings new features and immensely improves security and performance of the whole system.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical collaborates with Eurotech on edge computing solutions

            Coinciding with IoT World Solutions Congress in Barcelona this week, Canonical is pleased to announce a dual-pronged technological partnership with Eurotech to help organisations advance their internet of things enablement. Eurotech is a long time leader in embedded computing hardware as well as providing software solutions to aid enterprises to deliver their IoT projects either end to end or by providing intervening building blocks.

            As part of the partnership, Canonical has published a Snap for the Eclipse Kura project – the popular, open-source Java-based IoT edge framework. Having Kura available as a Snap – the universal Linux application packaging format – will enable a wider availability of Linux users across multiple distributions to take advantage of the framework and ensure it is supported on more hardware. Snap support will also extend on Eurotech’s commercially supported version; the Everywhere Software Framework (ESF). By installing Kura as a Snap on a device, users will benefit with automatic updates to ensure they are always working from the latest version while with the reassurance of a secure, confined environment.

          • Self-containing dependencies LogMeIn to publish their first Snap
          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 549

            Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 549 for the week of October 7 – 13, 2018.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • New FIDO2 Security Key Will Be Open Source

    A new security key solution is poised to further extend the reach of the FIDO Alliance’s new FIDO2 authentication standard.

    Called “Solo”, the security key is currently in the works from San Francisco-based SoloKeys, which currently has a Kickstarter campaign underway to support the product. Like other prominent security key solutions, Solo is designed to plug into a computer or laptop’s USB port, allowing the user to confirm with an authenticating service that they are physically present at the device by pressing a button on the key.

  • IOTA (MIOTA) – Biilabs launches GDPR compliant open-source implementation of TangleID

    The rise of IOTA as a top DLT continues. Earlier this year, the city of Taipei announced that they were using the IOTA tangle in implementing their smart city project. The project has largely been a success in implementing a decentralized digital identity system that runs on the IOTA tangle. That’s a major plus towards the growth of the IOTA ecosystem, and gives a huge intrinsic value to the IOTA coin. However, the best news is that this system is now open source. This means that it can be applied to any other city all across the world.

  • Open Source Healthcare Journal Preview at the Connected Health Conference in Boston

    The debut issue of the Open Source Healthcare Journal, a magazine advocating innovative open-source solutions in health, will be available for preview by over 2,000 technology innovators and healthcare providers at the Connected Health Conference at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, October 17-19. The Open Source Healthcare Journal’s forward-looking point of view is the perfect match for the industry-leading conference, known for provocative discussions on the future of tech-enabled health. The first issue of the journal — published by GoInvo, a healthcare design studio located in Arlington, Massachusetts — features a Q&A with digital health leader and best-selling author Eric Topol, MD as well as articles by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn of HealthcareDIY and Juhan Sonin of MIT and GoInvo.

  • Hedera Hashgraph releases open source SDK

    Hedera Hashgraph, the public distributed ledger that enables globally decentralized applications recently announced the public release of the Hedera SDK in Java.

    The SDK is open source under an Apache 2 license. With the SDK, developers can now begin to develop Hedera-based applications for use on the Hedera platform.

  • 4 [free] open-source network monitoring tools

    Just as with commercial, for-pay monitoring software, there are open-source options that have varying features, and the goal of an enterprise is to find the best fit for its environment.

    That’s where this downloadable PDF package of reviews can help. It evaluates four popular free, open-source network-monitoring platforms – Icinga, Nagios, Observium and Zabbix – highlighting pros and cons and giving enough context that this bundle can serve as a guide for IT pros seeking advice.

  • Open Source MANO Needs a Reality Check

    So what’s next? Another ONAP update is due soon (in November, dubbed Dublin) but that will only cover up some of the cracks.

    But you know what — that’s OK! No one actually expects an open source development comprising millions of lines of code to be made useful in a blink of an eye, or even a few months. Iterative progress and a very clear indication of the state of documentation, exactly which modules might be ready to be either used by an operator’s team or considered for “industrialization” by a vendor and even highlighting areas where more community activity would all be useful and not at all damaging: Promoting ONAP as “ready to deploy” currently invites suspicion, because that suggests 100% readiness and that’s very far from reality.

  • Is Open Source the Right Approach for NFV Orchestration?

    Once upon a time there was a maharaja who decided to raise a baby elephant as a pet (stick with me…). As the elephant grew, it became more and more expensive to feed and created such a mess that eventually the maharaja told his courtiers that he was gifting them the elephant out of the generosity of his heart. In return they would have to look after the elephant and bring it back to him when it was a bit more mature and stable enough for him to ride.

    Some might say that, in the context of NFV MANO (management and orchestration), the elephant is Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) and the maharaja is AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). But that would be unfair. In reality there are two maharajas — AT&T and China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) — and two elephants that have been merged into a six-legged Loxodonta with two tails and three tusks. (See MANO Marriage: ECOMP, OPEN-O Converge as ONAP.)

  • Nuclear Reactor Startup Transatomic Power going Open Source after Closure

    It seldom happens that certain circumstances do not allow one idea to prosper as planned. But Open Source can solve that issue, once the idea is shared with the world. Others can take on that work, build upon and keep improving it.

    This recently happened with Transatomic Power (founded by Mark Massie and Dr. Leslie Dewan in April 2011), a Nuclear Startup that introduced a brand new design of its own Nuclear Reactor that is a lot more efficient than conventional ones.

    As they haven’t been able to build it within their targeted timeframe, they announced suspending operations on September 25, 2018. But declaring their designs Open Source is certainly going to help change things for the better.

  • Events

    • Hacktoberfest 2018 – Celebrate Open Source!

      Hacktoberfest is an annual event sponsored by DigitalOcean in partnership with GitHub and Twilio and while “Hacktoberfest” might sound or give the impression of something doable only by very experienced hacker programmers, in essence, it’s just a wrapper around having to submit 5 Pull Requests to any Github hosted repository and earn some swag in return.

    • Mangaluru: Sahyadri Open Source Community holds Hacktoberfest HackNight

      Sahyadri Open Source Community (SOSC) at Sahyadri hosted Hacktoberfest HackNight in association with K-Tech Innovation Hub on October 13 and 14 at Sahyadri to celebrate the month of open source with Hacktoberfest.

      The event was inaugurated by Shashank Krishna, Padma Shri 2019 (nominee) and director of Katmai Infotechnology Pvt Ltd, Bengaluru, followed by interaction with students regarding Smart India Hackathon. Dr R Srinivasa Rao Kunte, principal of Sahyadri College of Engineering and management, Prakhyath Rai, faculty coordinator, asst professor of Information Science, and Arjun Suvarna, chairperson of Sahyadri Open Source Community, addressed the crowd.

    • Announcing Linux Autumn 2018

      Linux Autumn is an annual meeting of Free Software and Linux enthusiast from Poland organized since 2003 which means this year it will be its 16th time. This year it will be organized in Ustroń in the southern Poland from 9 to 11 November. The town is the same as the last year but in a different hotel.

      As the place is located near the Czech and Slovak border we would like to invite more people, both speakers and attendees, from other countries. We are aware of strong presence of Fedora contributors in Brno and other nearby cities just across the border.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Play Your Favorite Old Web Games Now, Chrome 71 May Break Them

        hen Google rolled out Chrome 66 earlier this May, it offered a tweak that pleased almost everyone by muting sites that would play sound automatically. Unfortunately, it also ended up breaking several projects’ audio.

        This meant that a variety of different media, from popular web games to some of Google’s own projects effectively had their audio broken beyond repair. Users were understandably upset, and in response to an overwhelming amount of backlash, Google retained the browser alteration that blocked autoplaying video and audio, but decided to push back the feature’s application for games and web apps to Chrome 71, which is set to debut in December.

    • Mozilla

      • Apply to Join the Featured Extensions Advisory Board

        Do you love extensions? Do you have a keen sense of what makes a great extension? Want to help users discover extensions that will improve how they experience the web? If so, please consider applying to join our Featured Extensions Community Board!

        Board members nominate and select new featured extensions each month to help millions of users find top-quality extensions to customize their Firefox browsers. Click here to learn more about the duties of the Featured Extension Advisory Board. The current board is currently wrapping up their six-month tour of duty and we are now assembling a new board of talented contributors for the months January – June, 2019.

        Extension developers, designers, advocates, and fans are all invited to apply to join the board. Priority will be given to applicants who have not served on the board before, followed by those from previous boards, and finally from the outgoing board.

      • Mozilla VR Blog: How XR Environments Shape User Behavior

        In previous research, The Extended Mind has documented how a 3D space automatically signals to people the rules of behavior. One of the key findings of that research is that when there is synchrony in the design of a space, it helps communicate behavioral norms to visitors. That means that when there is complementarity among content, affordances, and avatars, it helps people learn how to act. One example would be creating a gym environment (content), with weights (affordances), but only letting avatars dress in tuxedos and evening gowns. The contraction of people’s appearances could demotivate weight-lifting (the desired behavior).

        This article shares learnings from the Hubs by Mozilla user research on how the different locations that they visited impacted participant’s behavior. Briefly, the researchers observed five pairs of participants in multiple 3D environments and watched as they navigated new ways of interacting with one another. In this particular study, participants visited a medieval fantasy world, a meeting room, an atrium, and a rooftop bunker.

      • Removing Old Versions of TLS

        In March of 2020, Firefox will disable support for TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1.

        On the Internet, 20 years is an eternity. TLS 1.0 will be 20 years old in January 2019. In that time, TLS has protected billions – and probably trillions – of connections from eavesdropping and attack.

        In that time, we have collectively learned a lot about what it takes to design and build a security protocol.

        Though we are not aware of specific problems with TLS 1.0 that require immediate action, several aspects of the design are neither as strong or as robust as we would like given the nature of the Internet today. Most importantly, TLS 1.0 does not support modern cryptographic algorithms.

      • Wladimir Palant: So Google is now claiming: “no one (including Google) can access your data”

        A few days ago Google announced ensuring privacy for your Android data backups. The essence is that your lockscreen PIN/pattern/passcode is used to encrypt your data and nobody should be able to decrypt it without knowing that passcode. Hey, that’s including Google themselves! Sounds good? Past experience indicates that such claims should not always be taken at face value. And in fact, this story raises some red flags for me.

        The trouble is, whatever you use on your phone’s lockscreen is likely not very secure. It doesn’t have to be, because the phone will lock up after a bunch of failed attempts. So everybody goes with a passcode that is easy to type but probably not too hard to guess. Can you derive an encryption key from that passcode? Sure! Will this encryption be unbreakable? Most definitely not. With passwords being that simple, anybody getting their hands on encrypted data will be able to guess the password and decrypt the data within a very short time. That will even be the case for a well-chosen key derivation algorithm (and we don’t know yet which algorithm Google chose to use here).

      • Rabimba: Voting impartially for fun and profit a.k.a Mozilla Reps Council Voting

        I am part of a program called Mozilla Reps. Though I am involved as a volunteer contributor with Mozilla for quite some time now, I am relatively new to the Mozilla Reps program and hardly know anything about the program apart from my scope of work in it.
        Apparently, this is the Election time for voting the nominated candidates for the Council who will spearhead the program for the next session. Since I am new to the program reading about everyone’s election campaign and hearing about what they will do for the program was not giving me any clear motivation to vote for anyone specific. Though this wasn’t anything super important, I still thought since I have a bit of time in my hand why not do something interesting about it.

      • FirefoxOS, A keyboard and prediction: Story of my first contribution

        This was at IBM, New York where I was interning and working on the TJ Watson project. I returned back to my desk, turned on my dual monitors, started reading some blogs and engaging on Mozilla IRC (a new found and pretty short lived hobby). Just a few days before that, FirefoxOS was launched in India in the form of an Intex phone with a $35 price tag. It was making waves all around, because of its hefty price and poor performance . The OS struggle was showing up in the super low cost hardware. I was personally furious about some of the shortcomings, primarily the keyboard which at that time didn’t support prediction in any language other than English and also did not learn new words. Coincidentally, I came upon Dietrich Ayala in the FirefoxOS IRC channel, who at that time was a Platform Engineer at Mozilla. To my surprise he agreed with many of my complaints and asked me if I want to contribute my ideas. I very much wanted to, but then again, I had no idea how. The idea of contributing to the codebase of something like FirefoxOS terrified me. He suggested I first send a proposal and then proceed from there. With my busy work schedule at IBM, this discussion slipped my mind and did not fully boil in my head until I returned home from my internship.

      • Quality Speakings

        Unfortunately my suite of annoying verbal tics – um right um right um, which I continue to treat like Victor Borge’s phonetic punctuation – are on full display here, but I guess we’ll have to live with that. Here’s a talk I gave at the GTA Linux User Group on “The State Of Mozilla”, split into the main talk and the Q&A sections. I could probably have cut a quarter of that talk out by just managing those twitches better, but I guess that’s a project for 2019.

      • Encryption bill will cause ‘significant risk’ to Internet: Mozilla

        Any measure that permits a government to lay down specifications for the design of Internet systems would cause significant risk to the security, stability and trust of such systems, the Mozilla Foundation has said in a submission about Australia’s proposed encryption bill.

      • Mozilla warns decryption laws will break open source

        Mozilla is worried that Australia’s proposed decryption laws will break the principles and licensing terms of open source software.

        The foundation said in a submission [pdf] to the government that being forced to secretly create vulnerabilities in an open source product would be extremely difficult.

        “For an open source organisation, which would need to close portions of its source code and/or release builds that are not made from its publicly released code bases, this is at odds with the core principles of open source, user expectations, and potentially contractual license obligations,” Mozilla said.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Nginx Updates Web Server Application Platform

      Nginx Inc. held its annual customer conference on Oct. 9-10, announcing a series of updates to its namesake Application Platform.

      While Nginx was originally best known for the open source nginx web server, Nginx Inc. has expanded in recent years to enable a larger set of web application capabilities, with a series of different products.

      Nginx first announced its Application Platform in September 2017, which includes the Nginx Plus Application service combined with the Nginx Controller management and Nginx Unit application server.

    • Container-native, it’s now ‘a thing’

      San Francisco headquartered software analytics company New Relic has acquired Belgian container and microservices monitoring firm CoScale.

      Neither firm is essentially open source in its core approach, but the technologies being interplayed here essentially are.

      CoScale’s expertise is in monitoring container and microservices environments, with a special focus on Kubernetes — the open source container orchestration system for automating deployment, scaling and management of containerized applications originally designed by Google.

    • Open source tool simplifies Kubernetes on AWS

      AWS Service Operator relies on the Kubernetes controller pattern, which packages various basic tasks, integrates disparate components and keeps an application in a desired state. This information is stored on a single API server for the Kubernetes and AWS assets, with AWS services defined as custom resources, and a user can potentially deploy the entire lifecycle process through a single YAML manifest.

      [...]

      Etc.io, a Dallas-based consulting firm, doesn’t use any AWS container services at scale, and relies primarily on Google Container Engine. AWS Service Operator could make it more convenient to use Kubernetes on AWS, but it doesn’t help organizations that want to move to a microservices architecture that doesn’t rely on a single vendor, said E.T. Cook, managing partner at Etc.io.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD Lands Another NUMA Optimization Helping AMD Threadripper 2 CPUs

      DragonFlyBSD lead developer Matthew Dillon has been quite impressed with AMD’s Threadripper 2 processors particularly the Threadripper 2990WX with 32-cores / 64-threads. Dillon has made various optimizations to DragonFly for helping out this processor in past months and overnight he made another significant improvement.

    • Fosdem 2019: BSD devroom CfP

      The Fosdem is a free event for software hackers to meet, share ideas and collaborate. Every year 8000+ open source developers from all the world gather at the event in Brussels, Belgium. During the Fosdem, developer rooms (devrooms) are assigned to self organized open source groups and projects to meet together and showcase their projects.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Guile 2.9.1 beta released JIT native code generation to speed up all Guile programs

      GNU released Guile 2.9.1 beta of the extension language for the GNU project. It is the first pre-release leading up to the 3.0 release series.

      In comparison to the current stable series, 2.2.x, Guile 2.9.1 brings support for just-in-time native code generation to speed up all Guile programs.

    • [FSF] Introducing our new associate member forum!

      I’m excited to share that we’ve launched a new forum for our associate members. We hope that you find this forum to be a great place to share your experiences and perspectives surrounding free software and to forge new bonds with the free software community. If you’re a member of the FSF, head on over to https://forum.members.fsf.org to get started. You’ll be able to log in using the Central Authentication Service (CAS) account that you used to create your membership. (Until we get WebLabels working for the site, you’ll have to whitelist its JavaScript in order to log in and use it, but rest assured that all of the JavaScript is free software, and a link to all source code can be found in the footer of the site.) Participation in this forum is just one of many benefits of being an FSF member – if you’re not a member yet, we encourage you to join today, for as little as $10 per month, or $5 per month for students.

      The purpose of this member forum is to provide a space where members can meet, communicate, and collaborate with each other about free software, using free software. While there are other places on the Internet to talk about free software, this forum is unique in that it is focused on the common interests of FSF members, who care very much about using, promoting, and creating free software.

      The forum software we chose to use is Discourse.

    • GCC Is Preparing To End Support For Solaris 10

      Solaris 10, what may will argue as the last “good” Solaris operating system release before Sun Microsystems fell under control of Oracle, may soon see its support deprecated by the GCC compiler stack.

      With upstream Solaris 10 soon reaching its end of life and an increasing number of failures/issues coming up when testing the GNU Compiler Collection on Solaris 10, the GNU toolchain developers are looking at obsoleting that support.

  • Programming/Development

    • uTidylib 0.4

      Two years ago, I’ve taken over uTidylib maintainership. Two years has passed without any bigger contribution, but today there is a new version with support for recent html-tidy and Python 3.

    • Rewrote summain from Python to Rust

      I’ve been learning Rust lately. As part of that, I rewrote my summain program from Python to Rust (see summainrs). It’s not quite a 1:1 rewrite: the Python version outputs RFC822-style records, the Rust one uses YAML. The Rust version is my first attempt at using multithreading, something I never added to the Python version.

    • Which programming language for work? For the weekend?

      Our writer community grows each month as new, interesting folks write for us and join in on the fun of sharing their expertise and experiences in open source technology. So, it’s no surprise that they are brimming with fascinating information. It’s just asking the right question to release it.

      Recently, I asked: What programming languages do you use at work, and which ones do you use on the weekend?

    • Go command and packages cheat sheet

      Of the many things the go executable can do, most people know only go run and go build. And, of the many packages in the standard Go library, most people know only the fmt package. This cheat sheet will list many uses of the go executable and the most important packages in the Go standard library.

    • piwheels: Speedy Python package installation for the Raspberry Pi

      One of the great things about the Python programming language is PyPI, the Python Package Index, where third-party libraries are hosted, available for anyone to install and gain access to pre-existing functionality without starting from scratch. These libraries are handy utilities, written by members of the community, that aren’t found within the Python standard library. But they work in much the same way—you import them into your code and have access to functions and classes you didn’t write yourself.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • “Fixed mindsets” might be why we don’t understand statistics

      Roughly 96 percent of the general population struggles with solving problems relating to statistics and probability. Yet being a well-informed citizen in the 21st century requires us to be able to engage competently with these kinds of tasks, even if we don’t encounter them in a professional setting. “As soon as you pick up a newspaper, you’re confronted with so many numbers and statistics that you need to interpret correctly,” says co-author Patrick Weber, a graduate student in math education at the University of Regensburg in Germany. Most of us fall far short of the mark.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Elon Musk cuts almost $500K check to bring clean water to Flint, Michigan schools
    • “The People’s Prescription”: New Report Calls For Value Creation Instead Of Value Extraction In Pharmaceutical R&D

      “This report maps the fault lines of this system and sets out principles for a new model,” it states. “While it suggests quick fixes that policymakers can implement in the short term, it crucially proposes concrete policy actions that can be taken in the long term to actively shape and co-create a health system that delivers real public value.”

      The report is structured into two sections. The first is “DIAGNOSIS,” with chapters on “Problems with the current health innovation system,” and “Principles for a health innovation model that delivers public value.” The second section, “REMEDIES,” includes chapters on “Immediate policy actions: Getting better prices today,” and “Transformative proposals: Re-imagining our health innovation system to deliver public value.”

      [...]

      “A pharmaceutical industry that makes billions in profits without providing the affordable medicines that people need is one of the scandals of our time,” Heidi Chow, senior campaigns manager at Global Justice Now, said in the report press release.

      “Until governments follow the recommendations in this report and set about creating a pharmaceutical system that puts patients and public health at its core, our health and our health systems will continue to suffer as pharmaceutical profits continue to soar,” Diarmaid McDonald, lead organiser from Just Treatment, also said in the release.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Tech companies need to work with US military, says Amazon boss Jeff Bezos

      Speaking at the Wired25 conference in San Francisco, Mr Bezos said he would continue to work with defence agencies even if it was unpopular among his own staff, because the US “needs to be defended”.

    • Jamal Khashoggi’s ‘Disappearance’ Highlights Growing Threat to Journalists

      Forty-eight journalists have been killed so far this year, according to a VOA tally, adding to the thousand killed in the past decade-and-half.

    • Intimidation, detention, even murder: World is full of many potential Jamal Khashoggis

      Badawi was arrested in Jeddah in 2012 for “insulting Islam through electronic channels.” He was a blogger and, according to his wife, a humanitarian and free thinker. In 2013, he was convicted of several charges, including apostasy, and sentenced to 7 years and 600 lashes, a form of punishment with a whip or stick the United Nations says is cruel and inhumane. A year later, the prison term was increased to 10 years and 1,000 lashes. Badawi suffers from hypertension and Haidar, who was granted asylum in Canada with her three children, said her husband’s health is deteriorating. “I hope President Trump can help release my husband,” she said when asked whether Khashoggi’s case would bring new scrutiny of Badawi’s plight. One of Badawi’s alleged crimes was to mock Saudi Arabia’s prohibition against celebrating Valentine’s Day.

    • Deaths of high-profile Iraqi women spark fear of conservative backlash

      Yet it was also shockingly distinctive; the body slumped in the car seat was not a politician, official, insurgent or warlord. She was a former beauty queen; a young woman with both profile and attitude, one of four high-profile Iraqi women to have been killed across the country in quick succession.

      The four were unknown to each other, but their lives – recently at least – had shared common themes. All had a public presence and a voice that had unsettled elements of Iraqi society, which has retained rigid views on how women should behave, even as relative freedoms have crept into a still conservative culture.

    • Woman says she was tased by police while bleeding out from gunshots

      According to the Wayne Circuit Court lawsuit, Rebecca Sevilla of Britton was driven to a Motel 6 in Southgate by her husband on June 17, 2017. In the parking lot, her husband shot her three times — in the stomach, chest and head — and then killed himself.

      Police responding to the scene determined that the husband committed suicide and saw Sevilla “sitting upright, bleeding from gunshot wounds to her body and head,” according to the lawsuit.

      It goes on to assert that officers “began yelling verbal commands to” Sevilla, who “was unable to (respond]) as a result of her injuries.”

    • Kashmir rebels hiding in mosque shot

      “Pertinently, the terrorists fired on a search party from a nearby mosque and subsequently the area was cordoned off. The local Auqaf committee was engaged to convince the terrorists to come out. Security forces also appealed to the terrorists to come out,” the police spokesperson said.

    • Silicon Valley’s Saudi Arabia Problem

      Long before the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished, the kingdom has sought influence in the West — perhaps intended, in part, to make us forget what it is. A medieval theocracy that still beheads by sword, doubling as a modern nation with malls (including a planned mall offering indoor skiing), Saudi Arabia has been called “an ISIS that made it.” Remarkably, the country has avoided pariah status in the United States thanks to our thirst for oil, Riyadh’s carefully cultivated ties with Washington, its big arms purchases, and the two countries’ shared interest in counterterrorism. But lately the Saudis have been growing their circle of American enablers, pouring billions into Silicon Valley technology companies.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin must die

      If Bitcoin were to cease trading tomorrow, 0.5% of the world’s electricity demand would simply disappear. This is roughly equivalent to the output of ten coal-fired power plants, emitting 50 million tonnes of CO2 per year – which would cover one year’s worth of the carbon emission cuts required to limit temperature rises this century to 2C. It is not a solution by itself, but it would be a good year’s work.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook to show who buys British political ads in a bid to tackle election meddling

      Facebook will also include new features on its website to show who has paid for adverts and begin an archive of all political ads that are purchased on the site in an effort to clamp down on election fraud.

    • Judge dismisses Stormy Daniels’ defamation case against Trump

      She filed the case after the president tweeted that she had invented a story about being threatened for speaking out about the alleged affair.

      But the judge ruled that the tweet was protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech.

      Stormy Daniels was also ordered to pay Mr Trump’s legal fees, although the amount is yet to be determined. Her lawyer said she would appeal against the decision.

    • High rate of absentee ballots thrown out in Gwinnett

      Nearly one in 10 vote-by-mail ballots have been rejected by Gwinnett County election officials, alarming voting rights groups.

      Gwinnett is throwing out far more absentee ballots than any other county in Georgia, according to records from the Secretary of State’s Office. Ballots were discarded because of allegedly mismatched signatures, incomplete forms or missing residential addresses.

      The county rejected 390 absentee ballots through Sunday, which represents 8.5 percent of all mailed ballots received in Gwinnett so far, according to state figures. Across Georgia, less than 2 percent of absentee ballots have been rejected. Gwinnett accounts for about 37 percent of all rejected ballots in Georgia.

      “They’re putting an extra burden on someone to come back in to get another absentee ballot. That’s unheard of,” said Helen Butler, executive director for the Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, a civil rights group.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Aasia Bibi’s family fears for safety if court sets her free

      But in any case they feared for their future living in Pakistan under the blasphemy laws, they told AFP.

    • Family Of Pak Christian First To Face Death For Blasphemy Holds Out Hope

      Her family said that if Bibi is released, it would be difficult to stay in her homeland.

    • ‘Missing, Sex Trafficked’ Children Neither Missing, Nor Victims Of Sex Trafficking

      For quite some time we’ve highlighted the horrible laws being pushed by aggressively misrepresenting the size of the problem of sex trafficking — and especially sex trafficking of children. This is not to say that it never happens. Nor is it to suggest that the crime of sex trafficking, especially of minors, is not horrific and hugely problematic. But we shouldn’t overreact to false information. A year ago, we looked at some of the numbers being presented in favor of passing FOSTA, and found they were almost entirely bullshit. This included Rep. Ann Wagner’s (who is the leading pusher of bad laws around “sex trafficking”) claim child sex trafficking alone was a $9.5 billion industry. As we noted, this number came from a bizarre nonsensical extrapolation of a very misleading and confused report by ICE that covered issues of smuggling (not just sex trafficking). Other stats — such as the supposed number of kids “lured” into sex trafficking — showed even more extrapolation, while police were finding very, very few actual cases of this happening.

      [...]

      So, remember, the headline screamed that 123 missing children were found in a sex trafficking “operation.” Now it seems that most of them were “found” at home with their parents, and only three of them might have been victims of sex trafficking. These seem like important details, especially when you have election officials like Rep. Ann Wagner pushing a vast surveillance bill on the basis of the problem of sex trafficking. Pushing bogus information like over a hundred missing kids being engaged in sex trafficking only helps build that narrative — one that appears to actually be much, much more limited than the media or lying politicians will let you know about.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Vizio Customers Get A Pittance In Settlement Over Snooping Televisions

      As we frequently note, most of the “smart” products you buy are anything but intelligent when it comes to your privacy and security. Whether it’s your refrigerator leaking your gmail credentials or your new webcam being hacked in mere minutes for use in massive new DDoS attacks, the so-called “smart” home is actually often dumb as nails and potentially hazardous. So-called smart-televisions have been particularly problematic, whether that has involved companies failing to encrypt sensitive data, or removing features if you refuse to have your daily viewing habits measured and monetized.

      Last year Vizio joined this not-so-distinguished club when it was discovered that the company’s TVs had been spying on users for the last several years, starting back in 2014. Vizio’s $2.2 million settlement with the FTC indicates that the company at no time thought it might be a good idea to inform customers this was happening. The snooping was part of a supposed “Smart Interactivity” feature deployed in 2014 that claimed to provide users with programming recommendations, but never actually did so. Its sole purpose was to hoover up your data and help Vizio sell it, without your express consent.

    • On Election Day, the Voters of New Hampshire Can Protect Their Privacy in the Digital Age

      Ballot question 2 seeks to guarantee that residents’ right to privacy in their “private or personal information is natural, essential, and inherent.”

      “Live free or die.”

      As reflected in its official state motto, no state has unequivocally embraced the principles of liberty and privacy more than the state of New Hampshire. These ideals make up the core of the state’s philosophical DNA. It is therefore surprising that New Hampshire is conspicuously missing from the list of the 10 diverse states that have explicitly enshrined the right to privacy in their constitutions. But on Election Day, Granite State voters will have a chance to remedy that oversight.

      Earlier this year, the New Hampshire Legislature passed by a necessary two-thirds vote a proposed amendment to the state constitution guaranteeing the right to privacy in the digital age. Now it’s up to voters to enshrine that natural right. New Hampshire’s ballot Question 2 (Q2) would do just that by adding simple but mighty language to the constitution: “An individual’s right to live free from governmental intrusion in private or personal information is natural, essential, and inherent.”

    • Already facing an uphill misinformation fight, Facebook loses to scammers, too

      The scam pages share a variety of common characteristics, and in many cases they use the same profile pictures. This type of scam should be easy for a site as sophisticated and well-resourced as Facebook to uproot. But four days after Abrams began reporting it, the campaign remained active, with the exception of 11 profiles Ars reported to PR representatives.

      The Facebook representatives have yet to explain why the security department is having such a hard time dismantling the campaign. People who use the site should remain alert.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Pakistan’s Ahmadis fearful as leaders bow to extremists

      Pakistan’s embattled Ahmadiyya minority enjoyed a brief moment of hope earlier this month when one of its own, a U.S.-based Princeton economist, was appointed to an economic advisory council.

      But the backlash from Islamic hard-liners, which led newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan to quickly rescind the appointment under political pressure, has only underscored the Ahmadis’ fraught position in the conservative, Muslim-majority country.

    • What Will It Take To Wake Up America?
    • Christian Man Beaten Nearly to Death, Body Burned on His Muslim Mother’s Orders for Choosing Jesus

      His mother left, warning that he will “pay the price” for his decision. Abdel was kidnapped by a Muslim gang two months later and beaten nearly to the point of death, with cigarettes burned to his body.

    • NYC Prosecutors Accidentally Admit They Use Bail To Deprive Presumably-Innocent People Of Their Freedom

      New York City’s prosecutors just admitted they use the bail system to punish people for being accused of criminal acts. It’s not there to serve its intended purpose: to ensure the return of charged individuals to court, where they’re presumed innocent until proven guilty.

      The bail system isn’t supposed to keep people locked up. But that’s the way it’s been used for years. Prosecutors often ask for excessive bail amounts. Judges often grant them. The argument made for high bail amounts — which ensure only the most well-to-do can remain free while awaiting trial — is that arrested people are flight risks and/or more inherently dangerous than all the people the police haven’t gotten around to arresting yet.

      The stats don’t back up the parade of horribles offered by prosecutors at bail hearings. People have done the math. And this excellent article by the Boston Review compiles the damning numbers.

    • In the Name of Public Safety

      New York City’s district attorneys are on edge. Beginning this week and extending through the month of October, as many as 500 women and teenagers currently imprisoned on Rikers Island and juvenile jail facilities will walk free when volunteers pay their bail. This Mass Bail Out Action, which is sponsored by RFK Human Rights and a network of grassroots groups, is hoping to post bail for every woman, sixteen- and seventeen- year-old currently sitting in jail in New York City because she or he cannot afford bail. The effort is similar to the powerful work of community bail funds and the recent National Bail Out projects, in which grassroots groups throughout the country have engaged in mass bailouts of black people incarcerated pretrial because of their poverty. The Mass Bail Out volunteers hope to bring urgency both to the effort to close Rikers Island (which the City has said it plans to close within ten years) and the push to eliminate the use of money bail nationwide. They are engaging in a profound act of resistance even as officials such as the DAs insist that freeing these incarcerated people will threaten the “public safety.” New York’s officials have strongly resisted the Mass Bail Out and are “scrambling to prepare,” according to the New York Times. If released from jail, their story goes, these women and teenagers will engage in violence, re-offend, or as Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark warned, “end up being a victim of violence themselves,” especially if they are mentally ill or homeless.

      [...]

      Much like the famed “Willie Horton effect,” when we focus on sporadic acts of violent crime we overreact with excessive punishment and obscure the everyday mass violence that pre-trial incarceration does to millions of ordinary people—and their families. In the case of bail, this punitiveness is especially pernicious because it pretends to be a neutral financial calculation: if only this person had enough money, they could be free and would not be a threat to the public.

      The Mass Bail Out forces us to confront the ways in which pretrial incarceration is itself a public safety threat. Placing women and minors (or anyone, for that matter) in jail exposes them to violence and misery. It exposes their families and neighborhoods to loss of income, stability, and the everyday companionship of a parent, spouse, sister, brother, neighbor, or coworker. When volunteers post bail for women and minors detained at Rikers Island, they will demonstrate that they, as members of the local community, actually feel safer knowing that a woman or teen has left the violence of jail and returned home to go to school, earn money at their job, raise their children, and participate in their own defense, while waiting for trial or other resolution of their case. Individual freedom is a part of public safety, too.

    • More Than Me CEO Katie Meyler Temporarily Steps Down

      Katie Meyler, the founder of More Than Me, temporarily stepped down from her position as the American charity’s chief executive officer pending the results of a Liberian panel’s review of an investigation published by ProPublica and Time magazine last Thursday. The focus of the article was the rapes of girls by a senior employee of the charity Meyler created to protect them from sexual exploitation.

      “In reviewing the allegations as published by ProPublica and TIME, we uncovered several statements that were either inconsistent with the information provided to us by More Than Me leadership or that were new information,” the charity’s Liberian advisory board said in a statement.

    • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘American Dream’ By J.S. Ondara

      As Ondara told NPR Music, “The video follows a man, as he sets upon a journey to purchase a weapon. While on his way, we get a glimpse of the world around him through his eyes, which gives us some insight into his state of mind.”

      “Ultimately, the video explores the turbulent times in the country, socially and politically, thereby throwing a shade of irony to the popular notion of ‘The American Dream.’”

      The video also references Dylan’s classic protest anthem “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” with the lyric, “Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command,” inscribed on a sheet of paper.

      During the 1960s, Dylan wrote several timeless socially conscious tunes. With “American Dream,” Ondara offers his Dylanesque reflection on America.

    • A Decade’s Worth Of Meth Convictions Overturned Due To Drug Lab Employee’s Misconduct

      Massachusetts prosecutors are seeing a bunch more Drug War wins turned into losses by drug lab misconduct. Annie Dookhan, a drug lab technician, falsified countless tests, ultimately resulting in the overturning of more than 20,000 convictions. Dookhan was valued for her productivity, but no one above her bothered to wonder why she was able to process samples so quickly. Turns out tests go much faster when you don’t actually perform the tests.

      If that were it, it would have been more than enough indication the nation’s crime labs need more oversight and auditing. But it isn’t. Another tech at another Massachusetts drug lab is erasing thousands of convictions. Chemist Sonja Farak, an 11-year veteran of the Amherst drug lab, apparently spent much of that time using the substances she was supposed to be testing, turning in falsified test results that landed people behind bars.

      The Farak investigation uncovered the drug lab’s lack of standards, which included more than allowing an employee to use drugs while on the clock for at least eight of the eleven years she was employed. There’s no way of telling how many drug tests might be tainted, not just by employee malfeasance, but by a lack of best practices, like running blanks through testing equipment to ensure new tests weren’t tainted by residue left behind by previous tests.

      The total number of convictions expected to be thrown out due to Farak’s abuse is currently sitting at 7,690 cases. But this won’t be the final total. Zach Huffman of Courthouse News Service reports an entire decade’s-worth of convictions is being examined.

    • DOJ, Trump Decide The Federal Government Needs To Give Chicago The Police Department It Doesn’t Want

      In a move that’s tone deaf if nothing else, the DOJ is going to court to block a consent decree put in place to overhaul Chicago’s unconstitutional policing. This announcement comes days after a jury convicted Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. He was also convicted of 16 counts of aggravated battery — one count for each bullet he fired at the teen as the teen walked away from him.

      This also follows more tone-deafness from the “law and order” presidency. Trump’s speech to a law enforcement convention contained several comments about Chicago and its perceived police problem. But the problem Trump sees is police not policing hard enough. Trump wants stop-and-frisk brought back — one of the key modifications contained in the consent decree.

    • Charlottesville’s Other Jim Crow Legacy: Separate and Unequal Education

      High school seniors Zyahna Bryant and Trinity Hughes have been friends since they were 6 years old, raised by blue-collar families in this affluent college town. They played on the same T-ball and softball teams and were in the same church group.

      But like many African-American children in Charlottesville, Trinity lived on the south side of town and went to a predominantly black neighborhood elementary school. Zyahna lived across the train tracks on the north side and was zoned to a mostly white school, near the University of Virginia campus, that boasts the city’s highest reading scores.

      [...]

      “I know what I’m capable of and what I can do,” Trinity said, “but the counselors and teachers, they don’t really care about that.”

      For every student like Zyahna in Charlottesville’s schools, there are scores like Trinity, caught in one of the widest educational disparities in the United States. Charlottesville’s racial inequities mirror college towns across the country, from Berkeley, California, to Evanston, Illinois. But they also match the wider world of education, which is grappling with racial gaps — in areas from gifted programs to school discipline — that can undercut the effort to equitably prepare students for college in a competitive economy.

    • Is There Racial Inequality at Your School?

      Based on civil rights data released by the U.S. Department of Education, ProPublica has built an interactive database to examine racial disparities in educational opportunities and school discipline. Look up more than 96,000 individual public and charter schools and 17,000 districts to see how they compare with their counterparts.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • 5G Got me Fired

      More importantly today’s readers need to be a little more than cautious when believing anything. Native advertising is a most insidious concept and should be rejected by every publisher. Instead it is welcomed by the broadcasting networks and most of the major newspapers including the New York Times. Are the writers saying nice things or are they paid to say nice things?

    • Wall Street Quietly Warns That 5G Wireless Is Being Aggressively Over-hyped

      As hardware vendors and cellular carriers prepare deployment of fifth-generation wireless networks, you may have noticed that the hype has gotten a little out of control. Claims that 5G will magically revolutionize the broadband sector sound nice and all, but as we’ve noted repeatedly, 5G is really more of a modest evolution in existing networks, not some kind of revolutionary panacea that’s going to change everything. Still, claims that 5G will somehow usher in amazing smart cities or somehow result in a four day work week for everyone (what?) get far more traction than they probably deserve.

      Alongside the generalized hype, carriers are pushing another narrative: that 5G wireless is so incredible, it’s going to fix all of the telecom sector’s biggest problems by delivering a massive new wave of competition. This competition will be so amazing that net neutrality will apparently be made irrelevant. It’s largely bunk originating with telecom industry marketing departments, dutifully swallowed and regurgitated by an unskeptical press.

  • DRM

    • Epson ‘Security Update’ Bricks Third-Party Ink Refills, Opens Up Possibility Of A Competitive Trades Investigation

      It’s no secret the printer business relies on hefty ink refill markups. The printers are disposable, often cheaper than the ink they come packaged with. But customers aren’t usually willing to toss out a printer when it runs out of ink, even if refilling it costs more than replacing it.

      And good for them! I mean, at least in an environmental sense. Let’s not toss a bunch more non-decomposables into the nearest landfill the moment they refuse do anything until their inkwells are filled. But this does nothing for consumers, forcing them to become unwilling adherents to the sunk cost fallacy, especially after they’ve paid for a couple of ink refills.

      Printer companies know their system is ripoff. They know their customers know it’s a ripoff. That’s why they engage in shady tactics to ensure this steady stream of revenue doesn’t dry up. For years, third parties have offered compatible ink refills. And for years, printer companies have been lying to customers to lock these competitors out of the market.

      A couple of years back, HP pushed out a firmware update that made it impossible to use third-party refills. It didn’t tell customers the update would do this. It just sent out the DRMbomb and triggered it remotely, saying things about “security” and “protecting customers,” even as it eliminated their refill options.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Damages may be considered proven when the facts speak for themselves

      A recurring topic of discussion in patent infringement proceedings in Spain is the degree of evidence required to prove the damage caused by acts of patent infringement. According to a line of case law handed down by the Supreme Court, the existence of the damage may be proved by demonstrating the existence of the unlawful act in cases where such damage is the logical consequence of the unlawful act considered. In such circumstances, the facts speak for themselves (“res ipsa loquitur“).

      The Barcelona Court of Appeal (Section 15), in a judgment handed down on 26 July 2018, used the following arguments to justify the applicability of this principle:

      “60. Case law has specified that the existence of losses or profits not obtained as a result of the infringing act must, in all cases, be proven, albeit “not with greater rigour or restrictive criteria than any which constitutes the basis of a claim” (Supreme Court judgments of 2 March 2001 and 7 July 2005). However, demanding this proof is compatible with the possibility of establishing their “ex re ipsa” existence, with it being sufficient to prove the unlawful act in those cases where its connection to the alleged damage allows it to be considered that, according to the rules of logic, the latter is a necessary, logical and inevitable consequence of the illicit action.

      Consequently, it is stated that there are times when the facts speak

    • FTC and Qualcomm trying to settle antitrust matter by November 14, but Judge Koh may rule on chipset licensing anytime

      Judge Koh gave this administrative motion short shrift: she denied it quickly, without any further explanation.

      Since my first commentary on the motion, I’ve always felt that nothing would make a settlement more likely at this stage than an order granting the motion and reminding Qualcomm of obligations it entered into when it made FRAND licensing declarations to two U.S. standard-development organizations, TIA and ATIS. Yesterday’s administrative motion validates that assessment: while the FTC and Qualcomm have presumably talked about settlement on numerous occasions (even if just calling someone to find out whether the other party’s position has changed), the current situation is unique. The importance of SEP licenses to competitors couldn’t be made clearer than by a motion that says the parties don’t have a problem with decisions on any other pending motion but this one. This motion unsurprisingly appears to scare the living daylights out of Qualcomm.

    • Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. TWi Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2018)

      Last month, in Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. TWi Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey finding that U.S. Patent Nos. 7,722,898; 7,910,131; and 8,821,930 were not invalid and would be infringed by Defendants-Appellants TWi Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and TWi International LLC, DBA TWi Pharmaceuticals. The ’898, ’131, and ’930 patents are owned by Plaintiff-Appellee Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

      Seeking approval to market generic versions of Oxtellar XR®, an oxcarbazepine extended-release tablet for treatment of partial epilepsy seizures in adults and children over the age of six, TWi filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) with the FDA. In response to that filing, Supernus brought an action for infringement of the ’898, ’131, and ’930 patents, and TWi counterclaimed for invalidity.

    • United Kingdom: Saab Seaeye Limited v Atlas Elektronik GmbH & anr, Court of Appeal of England and Wales, Civil Division, [2017] EWCA Civ 2175, 19 December 2017

      In a case concerning two patents in the field of underwater mine clearance, the Court of Appeal upheld the Patents Court’s decision that claims 1 and 2 of the 576 Patent were invalid for obviousness, but allowed the appeal in relation to the validity of the 861 Patent, finding that the claims in question were invalid for obviousness.

    • Trademarks

      • Museum of Modern Art Wins Injunction Against MOMACHA On Merits of Trademark Infringement, Dilution Claims

        U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton recently issued an opinion granting an injunction requested by New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The injunction prevents the operator of an art gallery and café located in close proximity to a MoMA Design Store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood from using a pair of marks that infringe upon MoMA’s own marks. The marks in question in this case are ‘MOMA’ and ‘MOMACHA,’ both of which were filed by MOMACHA, the SoHo café that began operating in April of this year.

        The marks were filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for use in commerce with beverages and restaurant and café services. Although MOMACHA has changed the font used in its original logo, that logo uses a font that “greatly resembles ITC Franklin Gothic Heavy,” a font which served as the basis for a MoMA logo first designed in 2003. MOMACHA continued its use of its old logo on its coffee cups and on its social media accounts.

      • Argos goes to the Court of Appeal but leaves empty handed

        Can a US corporation selling construction software only in the Americas under the name ARGOS be sued for infringement of a registered trade mark by a UK based consumer goods retailer who trades mainly in the UK and Ireland under the same name?

        This question is posed by Floyd LJ in the introduction to the Court of Appeal decision on the Argos Ltd v Argos Systems Inc [2018] EWCA Civ 2211. The formulation of the question may make it easy to guess the Court of Appeal’s ultimate decision.

    • Copyrights

      • NCC sues COSON for operating without approval

        The Nigerian Copyright Commission has filed a criminal charge against the Copyright Society of Nigeria, its Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, and principal officers for carrying out the duties of a collecting society without the approval of the Nigerian Copyright Commission.

        The NCC, in a statement signed by its Director-General, Afam Ezekude, and made available to our correspondent on Tuesday, said, “In Charge No FHC/L/338C/18, filed on October 8, 2018 at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, the accused persons were alleged to have performed the duties of a collecting Society by demanding and collecting royalties from Noah’s Ark of 9 Sowemimo Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.”

      • African Nations Rife With Illegitimate Collection Societies: Nigeria Files Criminal Complaint Against COSON

        You may recall that we have discussed the complete chaos that is copyright collection societies in Kenya over the past few years. At issue in Kenya is that the country has multiple collection societies, which are overseen by a government sanctioned body that can request to look at their books to make sure artists are being paid appropriately, and officially licenses the collection societies themselves. Some of those collection groups have apparently not felt the need to respond to requests for oversight, leading the government to pull or not renew their licenses. Instead of being the end of the story, a number of those collection societies continue to threaten people and collect royalties anyway, acting essentially as an illegal extortion outfit.

        Kenya is not the only African nation going through this, it seems. Across the continent on the opposite coast, the Nigerian Copyright Commission has been going through similar issues, specifically with a collection group called COSON.

      • Stairway To Heaven Is Not Blurred Lines

        A few weeks ago, we wrote about the 9th Circuit overturning the district court’s ruling in a copyright case questioning whether the song “Stairway to Heaven” had infringed on the song “Taurus” by Spirit. We were less than pleased with this result, as we felt the original ruling was correct. Copyright lawyer Rick Sanders disagreed with part of our analysis and made some really great points in a two part blog post series, which he’s graciously allowed us to repost in slightly edited form here. Part II will be published tomorrow.

        Yes, the new 9th Circuit surprising reversal of the jury verdict looks like “Blurred Lines” all over again — only in reverse. Whereas in “Blurred Lines,” the jury reached the “wrong” conclusion, and the Ninth Circuit refused to fix the jury’s mistake, here it looks like the jury reached the “right” conclusion,” and the Ninth Circuit is screwing up the jury’s work. Techdirt all but said so, in an article 9th Cir Never Misses a Chance to Mess Up Copyright Law: Reopens Led Zeppelin ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Case.

        I’m pleased to report that, far from taking this opportunity to further screw up copyright law, as Techdirt fears, the panel of judges is attempting to improve copyright law by replacing the Ninth Circuit’s (very bad) framework for copyright infringement with a much better one. Indeed, the “Stairway to Heaven” opinion may be seen as a rebuke to the “Blurred Lines” opinion. The pity is that Led Zeppelin must bear this burden by having to do the trial all over again.

        The reason the “Stairway to Heaven” has to do with our old, misunderstood frenemy, the “Inverse-Ratio rule,” which is only tangentially related to why the case is being sent back for a second trial. I blogged extensively about the “inverse-ratio” rule in connection with the “Blurred Lines” case, and how the Ninth Circuit (correctly) amended its opinion to excise (its terrible) discussion of the rule. But here’s the deal: the inverse-ratio rule provides that the more similarity there is between the two works, the less proof of access you need, and vice-versa. It is highly beneficial when applied to the right legal framework for copyright. It is a perverse disaster when applied to the wrong legal framework.

      • Legal Search Engine with Pirate Keywords Confuses ‘Web Sheriff’

        Last year the film industry launched a legal search engine that targets ‘pirates’ specifically. The site is set up in such a way, that it draws people who search for pirate related terms. However, this also appears to have confused the “Web Sheriff,” who targeted the site’s URLs with takedown notices.

      • You’re About to Drown in Streaming Subscriptions

        But while tailored, a la carte services have long been the promise of streaming TV, it’s starting to look more like a series of pricey buffets. Competing megacorporations are all pumping billions into original content, much of it designed for mass appeal. (Apple has reportedly mandated no “gratuitous sex, profanity or violence” on its incoming streaming service.) And even if each also produces more experimental or idiosyncratic options, you’ll be hard pressed to access all or even most of them. The show that scratches your itch won’t necessarily be on a platform you can afford to pay for.

      • GTA ‘Cheat’ Developers Have Homes Searched and Assets Frozen

        Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive Software are taking a clear stand against cheat developers. An Australian Federal court has granted search and seizure orders against several people who are believed to be connected to the cheating software “Infamous.”

      • Japan Plans to Criminalize Pirate Link Sites, Up to Five Years in Jail for Operators

        Sites that link to copyright-infringing content aren’t currently illegal under Japanese law but efforts are underway to close the loophole. The government is considering prison terms of up to five years for site operators who knowingly link to pirated content and refuse to respond to takedowns requests.

Judge-Bashing Tactics, Undermining PTAB, and Iancu’s Warpath for the Litigation and Insurance ‘Industries’

Posted in America, Courtroom, Law, Patents at 6:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The existing USPTO’s management feels like it doesn’t care about justice (facts), technology and science, only about legal bills

Trump and Iancu

Summary: Many inter partes reviews (IPRs) at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) leverage 35 U.S.C. § 101 against software patents; instead of putting an end to such patents Director Iancu decides to just serve the ‘industry’ he came from (a meta-industry where his firm had worked for Donald Trump)

THE USPTO under the new leadership (Director) deviates further and further away from Federal Circuit (CAFC) rulings and SCOTUS caselaw. The Office does so at its own peril, however, as the certainty associated with US patents will be further reduced. More and more granted patents will be presumed invalid. Is the leadership/Director OK with that?

This post binds together last week’s stories about court cases and Office policies. What we hope to show is a divergence from the law; the Office just cares about granting patents, not defending their value by limiting their scope.

We begin with this affirmation by CAFC — one in which a U.S. District Court was supported by CAFC. The divergence between the courts is being lowered over time. CAFC learned to obey SCOTUS and U.S. District Courts have, in turn, become more like CAFC. This is a good thing as it’s indicative of correct or at least consistent judgment. The same cannot be said about the Office because far too many patents these days are later discovered/unmasked as fake patents.

Yesterday Kluwer Patent Blog wrote about a British court “finding that the claims in question were invalid for obviousness.” It’s not just a US issue.

A couple of days ago Steve Brachmann and Gene Quinn (Watchtroll) wrote about Swildens and his successful challenge to a patent. They recalled a month-old report:

On September 12th, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a final office action in an ex parte reexamination of a patent owned by Google self-driving car development subsidiary Waymo. As a result of the reexamination, Waymo stands to lose 53 of 56 claims, including all 20 of the patent claims originally issued. The patent in question had been asserted as part of the company’s well-known infringement suit filed against Uber.

The patent at the center of this reexamination is U.S. Patent No. 9368936, titled Laser Diode Firing System. Issued to Google in June 2016, it claims an apparatus including a voltage source, an inductor coupled to the voltage source and configured to store energy in a magnetic field, a diode coupled to the voltage source via the conductor, a transistor that can be turned on or off by a control signal, a light emitting element coupled to the transistor and a capacitor coupled to charging and discharge paths where the charging path includes the inductor and the diode and the discharge path includes the transistor and the light emitting element. The invention provides a laser diode firing circuit for a light detection and ranging (LIDAR) device where the emission and charging operations of the firing circuit can be controlled by operation of a single transistor.

The reexamination of the ‘936 patent was requested in August 2017 by an engineer named Eric Swildens who, according to news reports, has no connection to either Uber or Waymo but became interested in the potential invalidity of the patent after it was asserted in Waymo’s case against Uber. The reexam requested by Swildens has to date been able to knock out all 20 claims of the claims originally issued in the patent, with only three amended claims that were added to the patent during the reexam proceeding being found to be patentable by the reexamination examiner.

Long story short, this patent should never have been granted. Watchtroll can (and will) whine all it wants, but a lot of US patents get granted in a rush/haste, only to be thrown out as soon as they reach courts (or PTAB).

Jeffrey Killian recently complained about “Patent Uncertainty”. He wrote about it on October 9th at Watchtroll. The problem is that the USPTO granted far too many bogus patents. The problem isn’t the courts and it’s certainly not PTAB, which actually restores some much-needed sanity. Of course these patent maximalists blame courts rather than greed, but one must bear in mind how they make a living.

On the “blocking patent” doctrine, Watchtroll is smearing the courts again. Complaining about CAFC twice in two days [1, 2]. This is unwise a thing to do as it threatens their interests. It undermines the courts’ support or trust in law firms. Hans Sauer and Melissa Brand, then just Melissa Brand, basically insinuate that courts lack logic and even use a “Gremlin” caricature. Stay classy, folks…

It should be noted that a patent troll CEO, William Merritt (President and CEO of InterDigital), was writing for Watchtroll last week. This is why it deserves to be called Watchtroll. It’s like a megaphone of the trolling ‘industry’…

Moving on a bit, PTAB is doing so well that patent maximalists are screaming on the phone with lawyers willing to waste their money. “Today’s new patent complaints,” wrote one PTAB proponent, are “usual glut of NPE [troll] suits, sprinkle of operating companies… and a corp suing Iancu/the PTO for a DJ that IPR is unconstitutional (incl under 7A.) Interesting tactic, given that they already lost on appeal to CAFC and SCOTUS disagreed on the 7A q.”

PTAB generally helps techies or geeks. It doesn’t help parasitic lawyers. Whose side should we be on? Decisions, decisions…

HTIA, which represents technology firms, wrote some days ago: “Let’s debunk myths: #Patent reform has not harmed #innovation. The 300 U.S. companies who have invested the most in R&D have increased R&D spending by 44% since 2012.”

This links to an older article, but it’s still very much relevant. PTAB guides the hands of examiners, moving the hands away from software patents. PTAB often overturns examiners’ decision to the detriment of software patent applicants, but patent maximalists latch onto the rare exception rather than the norm. Here is one such exception:

The examiner originally rejected the claims as improperly directed toward an abstract idea. On appeal, however, the PTAB has reversed finding that “dwell time” is a uniquely “internet-centric challenge” and the claimed solution is “is necessarily rooted in computer technology in order to overcome a problem specifically arising in the realm of computer networks.” quoting DDR Holdings. The PTAB particularly noted that “dwell time” is not merely “some business practice known from the pre-Internet world” that was claimed by simply saying “perform it on the Internet.”

The classic “on the Internet” trick; don’t they just say “on the cloud” these days?

Linda Panszczyk wrote about CAFC asking PTAB to have another go assessing a patent (reversals are rare, they don’t overturn invalidations much). This is from last week’s short post:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has vacated and remanded a Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision that a reference guide qualified as a printed publication, in a case involving reexamination of medical device patents relating to access ports, asking for the Board to clarify its findings on this matter.

They’re doing the work examiners should have done in the first place.

“The classic “on the Internet” trick; don’t they just say “on the cloud” these days?”Director Iancu cannot gut PTAB, especially not after Oil States; but the head of PTAB (a judge) was recently removed (or departed) and the latest act of sabotage from Iancu seems like a gross case of bypassing courts. As Josh Rich put it:

Under a new PTO administrative rule published today, the PTAB will apply the same claim construction standards in IPRs, PGRs, and CBMs filed on November 13, 2018 or later as would apply in litigation. 83 Fed. Reg. 51340 (Oct. 11, 2018). The PTAB will also consider claim construction decisions from litigation (whether from courts or the U.S. International Trade Commission) in construing claims in AIA proceedings. The new rule abandons the PTO’s former approach of using the broadest reasonable interpretation (“BRI”) in claim construction, and thereby reflects a continuing move from considering AIA proceedings analogous to prosecution to considering them analogous — or part of — the litigation process.

Currently, the PTAB uses the BRI to construe claims in the vast majority of AIA proceedings, the only exceptions being in cases where the patent has expired or is expiring imminently.[1] In doing so, it has treated the AIA proceedings as analogous to a continuation of prosecution (in which claims are given their broadest reasonable interpretation throughout the process). That approach makes sense in the historical context of AIA proceedings, given that it allows the PTO to use the same approach across almost all cases before it, AIA proceedings are to supplement — not reargue — issues that were presented during pre-issuance prosecution, and AIA proceedings share many similarities with prosecution (including limited ability to address the counterparty’s claim construction arguments). Furthermore, the ability to amend claims during such proceedings provides a “safety valve” for an inopportune, overbroad claim construction.

Dennis Crouch wrote about the Phillips standard:

The USPTO’s Final Rule Package on Inter Partes Review Claim Construction is set to publish in the Federal Register on October 11, 2018. Up to now, the PTAB has been using the USPTO “broadest reasonable interpretation” standard to interpret challenged patent claims. Under the new rule, the PTAB will now rely upon the PHOSITA standard more traditionally used for issued patents as articulated by in Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc) and further developed in later cases. This new rule will apply in IPR, PGR, and CBM proceedings. The new rule also indicates that prior claim constructions by a court or USITC “will be considered.” This final rule is essentially unchanged from the proposed rule found in the May 2018 NPRM. Timing: The new claim construction applies to cases involving “petitions filed on or after the effective date of the final rule, which is November 13, 2018.”

Watchtroll’s founder said about this Phillips standard that Iancu’s office “has published a final rule in the Federal Register changing the claim construction standard applied during inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR), and covered business method (CBM) review proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).”

Here is what another patent maximalist said:

The final rule changes the claim construction standard used by the PTAB to the Phillips standard used in district courts. Practitioners predict a surge in filing before it becomes effective in November

The USPTO has published a final rule changing the claim construction standard applied during inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR), and covered business method patents (CBM) proceedings before the PTAB.

So the filings are expected to temporarily go up again, just like they did before fee hikes. Office Director seem to be missing the point that keeping PTAB affordable and accessible is actually a priority; all they care about is masking the decline in quality — same thing which the EPO has been doing.

Over at Lexology, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP’s Bill T. Storey took note of the Office becoming more of a patent maximalists’ office under Iancu when he said:

On July 1, 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) began a 3-year pilot program known as The PCT Collaborative Search and Examination Pilot (CS&E) Program, to streamline examination and search procedures for patent examiners in multiple countries. The program is a coordinated effort with patent offices from around the world, together known as the IP5 offices. Specifically, participating International Search Authority (ISA) members include the USPTO, European Patent Office (EPO), Japan Patent Office (JPO), Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), and State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO). This program is a continuation of two previous programs launched in 2010 and 2011, respectively, involving the USPTO, EPO and KIPO that laid the groundwork for this expanded program aimed at testing user interest, operational and quality standards, and the electronic platform.

Currently, upon filing a PCT application, applicants designate one of the IP5 offices to provide an international search report (ISR) and written opinion. However, upon reaching the national stage as applicants pursue applications in individual countries, applicants can be presented with country-specific search reports involving entirely new art depending on varying search criteria. This can place a burden on applicants and hinder cohesive world-wide prosecution strategies. The CS&E program addresses this issue by coordinating searches from each office, thereby providing a higher quality work product which is more likely to comprehensively identify and consider world-wide art. The CS&E program provides the advantages of having the searching performed by multiple examiners with different language capabilities and an increased predictability of outcome. Importantly, at this time the CS&E program requires no extra cost.

It’s worth noting that nobody but a vocal group of trolls' attorneys actually complained about PTAB. One of them wrote: “Amazingly Ebay wins rare 101 #patent appeal because “dwell time, which is an Internet-centric challenge” is not just directed to an abstract idea https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2017003747-09-26-2018-1 … Once again, proves how handy it is to have the right panel of judges!”

More of that judge-bashing, as usual…

They spent years pushing the fiction that PTAB is “stacked” or corrupt or whatever. Iancu now uses these smears of theirs to frame PTAB as “controversial” with perception issues. Whose? Iancu seems to believe that the USPTO exists for patent law firms rather than for science and technology. Having come from the law firm that worked for Trump, this is hardly surprising.

Not only do firms sell “lawsuits as a service”; nowadays they also sell insurance policies. Watch what Pillsbury (Policyholder Pulse blog) wrote last week; the insurance ‘industry’ now exploits the demise of low-quality patents that are being invalidated:

To help fill this patent coverage gap, some insurers have recently begun offering more comprehensive and cost-effective intellectual property policies specifically tailored to address the risk of patent (and other intellectual property) claims.

[...]

The patent landscape continues to evolve in the wake of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act and the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, which established a more exacting patentability standard for software patents and has opened the door to more motions to dismiss for lawsuits asserting those patents. Nonetheless, patent lawsuits remain prevalent and costly. A well-negotiated patent policy can help close a critical coverage gap, and may even prove critical to your company’s continued viability in the face of such suits.

So when there are lots of patent lawsuits they sell insurance to defendants and when many patent lawsuits fall through they sell insurance to the plaintiffs. Some ‘industry’, eh?

‘Cloud’, ‘AI’ and Other Buzzwords as Excuses for Granting Fake Patents on Software

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 5:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cloud on beach

Summary: With resurgence of rather meaningless terms like so-called ‘clouds’ (servers/hosting) and ‘AI’ (typically anything in code which does something clever, including management of patents) the debate is being shifted away from 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101); but courts would still see past such façade

THE EPO and USPTO both have a bad new habit that they spread to other patent offices, such as KIPO in Korea. They use or misuse buzzwords. They try to make things outside patent scope seem so innovative that somehow this supposed innovation defies the rules (scope). Sometimes that manages to impress or at least confuse examiners and judges.

“So let’s start with this assumption that patent maximalists have come to accept Section 101/Alice renders software patents worthless and even overzealous, very large law firms (Finnegan is one of the biggest) insist that patenting has gone too far for practical purposes. Where do they go from here? Buzzwords.”It’s hard to patent software. So it’s not hard to see why patent maximalists would pursue such tricks. As recently as Sunday Watchtroll published this rant about Section 101/Alice — the basis (or legal framework) upon which most software patents become void. “This has prompted many to cast a grim prospect for the software patent industry,” Babak Nouri (at Watchtroll) wrote less than a couple of days ago, as if the patents themselves are the industry…

“A Realistic Perspective on post-Alice Software Patent Eligibility” is the headline and here’s a snide remark directed at the law itself: “Much of the havoc wrought in the software patent system by the landmark decision Alice v. CLS Bank International, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014) stems from the unworkable two-part patent eligibility test based on vaguely defined and nebulous Abstract idea and significantly more constructs. The High court’s reluctance or perhaps inability to precisely define these standards and the perceived lack of discernible consistency by the patent community in the way these standards have been applied in the compendious jumble of case law, has perpetuated a sense of uncertainty. This has prompted many to cast a grim prospect for the software patent industry.”

Who said this so-called ‘industry’ (it’s not even an industry) deserved to exist in the first place? Let coders write code. Most of them never dealt with lawyers and aren’t interested in lawsuits. It’s the lawsuits ‘industry’ looking to cause trouble.

A few days ago Elliot C. Cook and Jeffrey A Berkowitz (Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP) published “Successful Companies Don’t Just Patent Everything—They Make And Follow A Strategy”.

You can’t patent everything anyway. Sooner or later, as in the US with its courts, you realise that the lion’s share of your patents are fake, worthless, toothless. Or in their words: “In both of the above illustrations, the companies failed to develop and implement a patent strategy. Emerging companies should concentrate on building a patent monopoly covering the most commercially important aspects of their new technologies while making efficient use of their patent dollars and the precious time of their key inventors. In short, when companies formulate their business strategy, patents should play an integral role. Patenting too sparingly or recklessly is not strategic and is not a way to generate company value.”

So even a law firm that promotes software patents quite actively admits these downsides. In some cases, as in this new example of Swisscom and ASSIA, companies just cross-license and move on (wireless for the most part in this particular case/agreement, not algorithms).

So let’s start with this assumption that patent maximalists have come to accept Section 101/Alice renders software patents worthless and even overzealous, very large law firms (Finnegan is one of the biggest) insist that patenting has gone too far for practical purposes. Where do they go from here? Buzzwords. We already wrote dozens of articles to that effect and over the past week we saw several new examples.

Japanese blogger Satoshi Watanabe wrote about patent trolls or feeding a patent troll in Japan for blackmail purposes. “Patent utilization” is what he (or they) use as the newest euphemism (rather than enforcement, monetisation, assertion and so on). He also alludes to “artificial intelligence (AI)-based” at the end:

“Patent utilization” has been a buzz word in Japanese IP industry. There seems to be an increasing number of companies thinking that they should make effective use of patents that haven’t been used by themselves; i.e. monetize such patents by selling or licensing them to others. Actually, a client of ours has asked me what salable or licensable patents are like.

First of all, you may need to know when a patent transaction occurs.

[...]

It’s hoped that artificial intelligence (AI)-based solution will be developed.

That last part refers to how patents are managed, but it’s part of a recent (past year) trend. They keep bringing up “AI”. Some so-called ‘IP’ lawyers admitted to me that they don’t even really understand what it means, yet they keep using the term. It’s like a fashion.

How about this new article (4 days old) that speaks of “machine learning-base [sic] anomaly detection” in relation to new Anodot patents? George Leopold wrote about these bogus software patents being granted in the US. It’s incredibly hard to believe/imagine patent courts tolerating such abstract/mathematical methods being patented as a monopoly.

To quote from the article:

Anodot, which focuses on using machine learning techniques to spot anomalies in time-series data, announced a pair of U.S. patent awards this week covering its autonomous analytics framework.

The analytics vendor said Thursday (Oct. 11) it has been granted two U.S. patents for algorithms that allow users to apply machine learning-base anomaly detection. The algorithms are designed specifically to quickly identify the source of anomalies in large data sets, then perform root-cause analysis. The approach is promoted as faster than traditional business intelligence tools or dashboards.

[...]

Anodot was launched in 2014 when its co-founders realized there was an unmet need for fast and accurate time-series analysis.

Those are software patents. It’s algorithms, but they dress it all up in innovation- and novelty-sounding terms. Why did the USPTO grant such software patents? How about this new application from Apple? A lot of press about it this past week (dozens of articles), as is typical for Apple. But Apple will never sue with this patent/s, so we won’t see the courts lecturing Apple on why it’s patent-ineligible. If it ever gets granted in the first place…

Well, the patent office got its money anyway… and Apple got puff pieces about how it’s presumably combating spam.

In other ‘news’, this time from JD Supra (a press release), patent law firms (Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C. in this case) still try to figure out how to get bogus patents on software and nature, even if courts will reject these. From The Current State of Patent-Eligible Subject Matter:

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Mayo and Alice decisions, uncertainty has surrounded what inventions are patent eligible in the United States. In Mayo and Alice, the Supreme Court developed a two-step test to determine patent eligibility. Step one determines if the invention is directed to a law of nature, natural phenomenon, or abstract idea. If so, the second step determines if there is an inventive concept sufficient to ensure the patent amounts to significantly more than the ineligible concept itself.[i] While this test has led to uncertainty in what inventions remain patent eligible, post-Mayo/Alice case law has begun to shed light on what is patent eligible in the United States. The current state of patent eligibility in the technology areas most impacted by the Mayo/Alice two-step are outlined below.

[...]

Software and Business Method Claims

Software and business method patents have faced significant challenges since the Mayo/Alice decisions. Software claims, are not per se ineligible, however software claims that merely gather, analyze, and output data are patent ineligible.[xii] Software claims can be patent eligible when they are directed to an improvement in the way computers operate.[xiii] Additionally, claims which recite specific limitations to overcome deficits or problems in the prior art have been found patent eligible.[xiv] Based on these holdings, to be patent eligible software claims must recite specific steps to obtain a desired result rather than recite merely the result itself.[xv]

After Alice and In Re Bilski we can pretty much assume things have changed profoundly. Sure, the patent office might still grant such patents. But what matters a lot more is whether those will be enforceable in court at any point before their expiry. The culture of patent embargoes and patent maximalism needs to end at the patent office too in order to preserve any presumption of patent validity. The USPTO continues to assess its performance using the wrong yardstick, e.g. number of patents granted. Patent maximalists are meanwhile pushing the lunacy which is computer-generated patents (we put the following articles in our daily links last week). Here’s what Law 360 and IAM are suggesting:

  • 4 Ways Advances In AI Could Challenge Patent Law

    Advances in artificial intelligence raise intriguing patent law questions, including whether AI breakthroughs are patent-eligible and whether AI that creates something can be an “inventor” entitled to a patent.

  • Artificial intelligence: a game changer for the patent system

    With the advent of powerful computers and the availability of unlimited storage capabilities, artificial intelligence (AI) has made its way into mainstream applications – heralding the fourth industrial revolution. While the notion of what ‘artificial intelligence’ means has undergone significant change since its introduction in 1956, today’s typical AI is broadly conceived to “perceive its environment and take actions that maximise its chance of successfully achieving its goals”. This may involve reinforcement learning, where goals can be set explicitly or implicitly by rewarding some types of behaviour and punishing others, or by a fitness function allowing for mutation and preferential replication of high-scoring AI systems in an evolutionary system. AI may be implemented in self-optimising software or hardware that regularly requires vast data amounts (known as ‘big data’) for training response behaviour.

So what they’re basically saying is, let a bunch of machines manage the patent system; as if that’s going to make matters any better…

Published a few days ago in the The National Law Review and another publication was this article of Christina Sperry (Mintz) and the litigation industry; under “Subject Matter Eligibility Under 35 U.S.C. § 101″ they admit that “AI” patents are just bogus software patents but promote these fake patents anyway. To quote the relevant part:

Subject matter eligibility for patent under 35 U.S.C. § 101 has been a particularly hot topic since the 2014 Supreme Court decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l. Section 101 patent eligibility has particular relevance to AI and digital health since they often involve computers and/or data processing whose mere presence, reference, or implication in claims frequently give rise to subject matter eligibility questions during patent prosecution as well as during litigation after patent issuance.

The breadth and gravity of current § 101 issues has been explored elsewhere and is beyond the scope of this article. In general, Alice and subsequent lower court decisions have made it more difficult to get patents issued with claims involving computers and/or data processing. It is therefore important to consider potential patent eligibility concerns under § 101 during the patent application drafting process in order to preemptively address these concerns as much as possible before the application faces any challenges during prosecution or during litigation as an issued patent.

To be quite frank, the abundance and overuse of the term “AI” by patent lawyers is a cause for concern. The only more worrying thing is seeing administrators at the EPO and USPTO adopting the term as well; they use that as a sort of synonym for software patents and we’re asked to believe that they grant such patents for the betterment of society or manage patents using “AI” (they just mean things like search and inferences) to expand human understanding rather than make staff redundant, only to be replaced by vastly inferior performance.

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