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05.03.19

Links 3/5/2019: Sparky 4.10, FuguIta 6.5, GCC 9.1

Posted in News Roundup at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Dell Unveils New Ubuntu Linux-Powered Precision Mobile Workstations

      Give Dell credit, the bulk system builder has not shied away from Linux, and for several years has offered certain PCs with Ubuntu installed instead of Windows. That includes its Precision 7000 tower and rack workstations, and of course the XPS 13 Developer Edition.. Now you can order a more affordable Precision 3540 or 3541 mobile workstation with Ubuntu installed, if that is your desire.

      Dell is not making a huge deal about this, though it is a notable option. As far as Dell is concerned, the new Precision 3540 workstations are notable because they put in the hands of creators a “budget-friendly” solution capable of 2D and 3D CAD design, heavy Excel workbook crunching, and so forth.

    • Dell’s New WD19 Thunderbolt/USB-C Docks Should Be Playing Nicely On Linux

      In addition to Dell releasing “budget-friendly” laptops with Ubuntu Linux on Wednesday, the company released new Thunderbolt and USB-C docks that should be working fine out-of-the-box on Linux.

      This shouldn’t come as a big surprise with Dell’s existing TB16 Thunderbolt Dock working well under Linux (I personally use the Dell TB16 with Dell XPS 9380 as my main production workstation to which it drives fine dual 4K displays, wired Gigabit Ethernet, and USB peripherals) but the new WD19 line-up is also ready to take on Linux mobile systems for docking.

    • Updating the firmware on new Dell Docks

      Yesterday Dell unveiled their new range of docking stations. I’ve had a WD19TB for a few months, and it seems to work fine; you can plug one thunderbolt cable into my XPS 13 and it turns it into a workstation, driving two screens, connecting me to wired Ethernet and connecting all my USB stuff. When I want to run away, I just unplug one thing and my workstation turns back into a portable laptop. The dock also randomly has a headphone out socket, although I like to drive my sound through a USB sound card and S/PDIF anyway.

    • Dell Precision 3540 and 3541 ‘Developer Edition’ mobile workstations come with Ubuntu Linux

      Dell has been manufacturing excellent value-focused computers for years. Back in the day I was a computer salesman at a now-defunct brick and mortar CompUSA. People would often walk into the store, look at what we charge, ask if we could match Dell’s price for a similarly configured machine, we would say no, and they would leave. It was virtually impossible to compete with Dell’s high-volume online business model from a cost perspective.

      Back in those days, Dell was in a monogamous relationship with Microsoft, but in modern times, the computer-maker is no longer exclusive with Windows. Actually, with its “Developer Edition” computers (also known as “Project Sputnik”), Dell also offers Ubuntu — a Linux-based operating system. That may not seem like a big deal today, but years ago, when it first happened, it was huge news.

  • Server

    • Red Hat Upgrades the Business Developer’s Toolbox for a Cloud-Native World with Latest Release of Red Hat Process Automation

      ed Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the latest release of Red Hat Process Automation, introducing new capabilities designed to address functional and knowledge gaps between IT developers and business analysts, enabling them to apply domain-specific expertise to the development of applications that automate processes and decisions to more rapidly adapt to a changing business environment.

    • Check out the new logo swag in the Cool Stuff Store

      Fanny packs, sunglasses, t-shirts, and scrunchies…oh my!
      Yesterday we unveiled the evolution of our logo and we know the most burning question you have is, when can you get your hands on swag with the new logo on it. The answer is, right now!

    • Announcing the next evolution of our red fedora mark

      Here’s the scene: It was early 2017, I’d just stepped into the chief marketing officer role at Red Hat, and I was reviewing some survey data about our brand—specifically, our logo. We faced a simple problem and were seeking an equally simple solution: Red Hat’s logo was rendering poorly in digital formats, especially small form factors (like smartphones), and needed to be refreshed. So we’d begun to survey associates, customers and prospects—many who’d never even heard of Red Hat—what feelings, thoughts or impressions our logo evoked in them.

      And some of the responses were alarming, to say the least.

      Sinister. Secretive. Evil. Sneaky. These respondents might not have known anything about Red Hat, but they did believe that man lurking in the shadows didn’t immediately inspire their trust. In their survey responses, they wondered who he was and what he was doing in the logo.

      The Brand team and I were heartbroken. These words couldn’t have been further from my deeply held impressions of Red Hat, which I’d formed well before joining the company. I’ve worked in open source for nearly 40 years, and since the 1990’s Red Hat has been an inspiration to me.

    • Red Hat Drives Operational Simplicity and Modern System Support with Latest Version of Red Hat Virtualization
    • Red Hat Integration: Q2 release highlights and roadmap preview

      Today, we are announcing the Q2 release of Red Hat Integration, which builds off the work we announced in Q1 by adding new capabilities. With the Q2 release, we are continuing to expand access to integration capabilities to serve the needs of those personas that can require integration to do their job, from integration developers, application developers and citizen integrators to lines of business and ad hoc integrators.

      Red Hat Integration provides a unified set of integration and messaging technologies that help organizations connect applications across hybrid cloud architectures and enable API-centric business services. It delivers a curated set of features, components and capabilities from multiple offerings in our integration portfolio.

    • Microsoft Azure services go missing once again

      Microsoft’s Azure cloud services have been hit by a major outage on Friday morning AEDT, with DNS resolution issues apparently responsible for the services being unavailable.

      The outage comes ahead of the company’s Build conference for developers which is scheduled for next week and at which it normally announces new features in its products.

      Microsoft used its Azure Support Twitter account to send this message a short time ago: “Engineers have identified the underlying root cause as DNS resolution issues affecting network connectivity with impact to Compute, Storage, AAD, and Database services.

    • Enterprise Open Source Backed By SUSE Support

      Open source is not only the way of the future, it is ingrained in enterprises today. And its usage is only growing. In fact, you might say it’s the fuel that feeds innovation. Is the support of the open source community enough for you to be confident? The answer is “maybe.” But first let’s look at the growth of open source.

    • 5G depends on Kubernetes in the cloud

      At Open Infrastructure Summit in Denver, it became clear that, as 5G rolls out, it’s going to be running on Kubernetes. Telecoms have been fiddling with Kubernetes, the leading container-orchestration system, for some time now. AT&T recently stopped tinkering with Kubernetes and invested eight figures in a multi-year deal with Mirantis to use Kubernetes and OpenStack as the foundation for its 5G rollout.

      That’s serious bucks — even for AT&T. So, why do it?

      At the time, Ryan Van Wyk, AT&T associate VP of network cloud software engineering, said: “There really isn’t much of an alternative. Your alternative is VMware. We’ve done the assessments, and VMware doesn’t check boxes we need.”

      What are these boxes? According to Mirantis’ co-founder Boris Renski, for AT&T, it is Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) — such as vEPC (Virtualized Evolved Packet Core), RAN (Radio Access Network) backhaul, traffic shaping services, customer usage tracking, smart voicemail, video streaming, and consumer facing services. In short, everything and the kitchen sink.

      Behind the jargon, Renski says AT&T is changing its game from using big boxes from incumbent hardware providers into building its own infrastructure based on open-source software and standards.

    • Docker Foundation Created to Support Diversity in Tech[Ed: Docker is becoming proprietary software and it needs to quit serving the agenda from Microsoft; so it could certainly use anything to distract from that.]

      Diversity in tech was front and center at DockerCon’s second day, as CEO Steve Singh announced the Docker Foundation to promote workplace diversity.

    • IBM continues the hybrid cloud conversation at Red Hat Summit 2019

      As everyone prepares for this year’s Red Hat Summit in Boston, let’s briefly go over what you can expect to learn from strategic partner and platinum sponsor, IBM.

      IBM has been a long-time champion of open source. In the late 1990s, the IBM software team began its move to adopt the Linux operating system, recognizing its potential to offer an entirely new way of creating mission-critical enterprise software. Sharing this vision and drive to progress open source technology, Red Hat and IBM then began a working relationship that has evolved over the course of two decades to yield its current solution architecture around advances in cloud and infrastructure.

    • Announcing odo: Developer-focused CLI for Red Hat OpenShift

      Following the first announcement of odo earlier in the year, we are pleased to announce the beta release of odo, an official project hosted on the OpenShift GitHub repository. After months of hard work, the beta release indicates that the API is stable and that functionality going forward will not change.

      OpenShift Do (odo, for short) is a fast and straightforward CLI for developers who write, build, and iterate constantly on their source code. Instead of using more-refined tools such as oc, odo focuses on the iterative inner-loop cycle of coding (iterating on code changes prior to committing to Git) rather than the management of each application deployed to OpenShift. This article provides an overview of odo’s functionality.

    • Cockpit Project: Cockpit 193

      Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 193.

    • 5 top Linux server distros: How to choose the right one

      Choosing the right Linux server product can be a daunting task, and with all the different versions of the Linux OS out there, you have a long list to choose from. Are you looking for a supported product, or can you go with a free version? Do you need cloud support or virtualization? We aim to provide some answers and some clarity.

      What are Linux servers and why does your business need one?

      While the Linux OS was originally conceived as a desktop operating system that would rival windows, it really found its footing in the server space. A Linux server runs the most efficient and powerful variants of the OS, and Linux servers are designed to handle the most demanding business application requirements. Linux servers are used for network and system administration, database management, web services and much more.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S12E04 – Ant Attack

      This week we’ve been trying a new distro for retro gaming. We discuss if we should be advocating for people to switch to desktop Linux, bring you some command line love and go over your feedback.

      It’s Season 12 Episode 04 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.0.11

      I’m announcing the release of the 5.0.11 kernel.

      All users of the 5.0 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 5.0.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.0.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

      http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-st…

    • Linux 4.19.38
    • Linux 4.14.115
    • Linux 4.9.172
    • Old Linux drivers are better maintained

      For example when trying to use pre-GCN (HD 7000 series) graphics cards with Blender 2.80, “No Terascale OpenGL drivers have been released for Windows in the last three years. On Linux, drivers do continue to be updated and Blender tends to work better. But for good performance GCN is still required.”

      Similarly with Intel graphics on Linux: “On Windows, earlier GPU generations have issues with Eevee due to bugs in the driver. No significant driver updates have been released in the last three years for these GPUs. On Linux, the situation is better as the drivers continue to be updated, but for good performance newer GPUs are recommended.”

    • Linux 5.2 Picking Up A GPIO Vibrator Driver For Supporting Setups Like The Fairphone 2

      Should you be looking to control a vibrator over GPIO (general-purpose input/output), that capability is coming to the Linux 5.2 kernel thanks to a new driver.

      The “gpio-vibra” driver is queued as part of the Linux input subsystem’s “-next” tree ahead of Linux 5.2. The gpio-vibra is a simple 200+ lines of code driver for being able to control vibrators via GPIO. This GPIO vibrator driver for the Linux kernel is based on the existing PWM-controlled vibrator driver introduced back in 2017 but with being re-tooled for being able to turn the vibrator on/off via GPIO.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDGPU Has FreeSync Improvements Ready For Linux 5.2 Plus Vega 20 Power Fixes

        With the Linux 5.1 kernel release expected this weekend, it’s too late to see any real features added to the prominent drivers in DRM-Next for the now imminent 5.2 merge window, but some fixes and FreeSync improvements are deemed ready for this next kernel cycle.

        AMD had sent in several rounds of feature updates in recent weeks to DRM-Next slated for the Linux 5.2 merge window. Sent out this afternoon meanwhile by AMDGPU maintainer Alex Deucher were some fixes — plus the recently covered FreeSync improvements. The FreeSync improvements should help particularly in low frame-rate scenarios and have gone through several rounds of code review and is more of fixes-ish as opposed to new features per se.

      • Arm Mali D71 Display Support Coming To Linux 5.2 Kernel

        Adding to the many changes for Linux 5.2 is Arm’s new Komeda DRM/KMS driver being extended to support the Mali D71.

        Since last year Arm has been working on the Komeda DRM driver as their next-gen display driver to suit their new display IP. That initial Komeda code was merged in Linux 5.1 now for Linux 5.2 the Mali D71 display support is ready.

      • The Vulkan Overlay Can Display Some Extra Information With Mesa 19.1

        One of the early features merged back in February for Mesa 19.1 was the new Vulkan Overlay layer to expose various performance metrics akin to the Gallium3D “HUD” also living within Mesa. Ahead of the Mesa 19.1 feature freeze, some more capabilities are now added to this Vulkan overlay/HUD.

        Merged on Thursday and contributed by Intel developers are pipeline statistics and time-stamps, a no-display for when wanting to just archive the data to a result file and not the display, some minor UI refinements, a frame counter option, and the overlay size itself is also now configurable.

      • More AMD Radeon “Navi” Code Continues Landing In LLVM For Its Compiler Backend

        While we haven’t yet spotted any of the other AMD Radeon “Navi” next-generation GPU support in the other software components making up AMD’s open-source Linux graphics driver stack, there continues to be a lot of work happening on the AMDGPU LLVM shader compiler back-end within the mainline LLVM code-base. In fact, there’s been over eleven thousand lines of new code so far pertaining to Navi/GFX10.

        As I wrote last week, AMD has begun landing Navi/GFX1010 support code into LLVM with this compiler code being the crucial piece needed for OpenGL shader compilation as well as Vulkan and connected into other areas of the stack. They haven’t yet begun posting the patches for the AMDGPU kernel driver or Mesa software components nor the likes of their AMDVLK Vulkan driver, but the LLVM support is obviously a crucial first step.

      • AMD Mesa Stack Getting Runtime Linker For Better LLVM Integration

        Longtime Mesa developer Nicolai Hähnle of AMD has sent out a big patch series today introducing a real runtime linker for the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver and hopefully to be used by the RADV Vulkan driver as well.

        This runtime linker changes the way shaders are loaded and sent off to LLVM to the AMDGPU back-end. Rather than a bunch of hard-coding, there’s an actual linker in place.

    • Benchmarks

      • NVIDIA/AMD Linux Gaming Performance For Hitman 2 On Steam Play

        While Hitman was ported to Linux by Feral Interactive, Hitman 2 that was released back in November of 2018 hasn’t seen a native Linux port. However, in recent months Hitman 2 has been running under DXVK+Proton with Steam Play for allowing this stealth video game to run nicely under Linux. More recently the latest Proton updates have worked around an issue that previously prevented our benchmarking of this game, so in this article is a look at the Hitman 2 Linux gaming performance with different AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards.

        The Windows version of Hitman 2 has been running great under Linux via Valve’s Steam Play for months sans an issue with the benchmarking mode. But thankfully the latest Proton is working even better and thus when checking recently the game now ticks off all our requirements for being able to use it for automated and reliable benchmarking. Hitman 2 will thus be part of the additional Steam Play games featured in our forthcoming Linux GPU benchmark articles and driver comparisons while for this article is just a current look at the performance of the game on Linux with different AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce GPUs.

      • Clear Linux Achieved Even More Performance Improvements During April

        While Clear Linux has been outperforming other Linux distributions the past several years, it’s a never ending job for them of continuing to lead the way in squeezing more performance out of x86_64 hardware on Linux. During the month of April, some more performance improvements were achieved though also a few regressions appeared to have slipped into their builds.

        Looking at several of the Clear Linux systems benchmarking the OS daily in our benchmark lab for keeping track of their performance optimizations, April was another exciting month in the Clear space. April didn’t bring as many exciting updates as March when they quickly rolled out the Linux 5.0 kernel and GNOME Shell 3.32.0. But April did see continued Linux 5.0 point releases and kernel tweaking, GNOME 3.32.1, and one big upgrade was switching already from GCC 8.3.1 to GCC 9.0.1. Similar to Fedora 30, Clear Linux has already switched to GCC9 using a near-final snapshot of what should be christened as GCC 9.1.0 as soon as Friday.

  • Applications

    • VidCutter – Linux Video Cutting Or Trimming App

      ​Vidcutter is a Linux video trimmer app that lets you split any video into pieces easily. Let’s say you’re a Meme maker, it can help save you a ton of time getting your favorite clips out of a movie.

    • Top Linux Software for Professional Translators

      Translation market is becoming more competitive everyday both for companies and language service providers. While working at Smartlation Translation Services I found many freelance translators invest part of their profit in software with good free alternatives they could use instead.

    • SuiteCRM: An Open Source CRM Takes Aim At Salesforce

      SuiteCRM is one of the most popular open source CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software available. With its unique-priced managed CRM hosting service, SuiteCRM is aiming to challenge enterprise CRMs like Salesforce.

    • Halo – Weather software written in Python

      Farmers need forecasts to help them coordinate planting and harvesting their crops. Airlines need to know about local weather conditions in order to schedule flights. And where would sailors around the British Isles be without the Met Office’s Shipping Forecast broadcast by BBC Radio 4. I was often found listening to the Shipping Forecast not to learn the weather outlook for Forties, Dogger, Humber, German Bight or Rockall. Instead, the slightly hypnotic Sailing By light music caught my fascination. But I digress!

      Halo is a weather app written in the Python programming language and uses Pycairo, a Python module providing bindings for the Cairo graphics library. Halo also uses matplotlib, an excellent plotting library, which came top in our 10 Best Free Plotting Tools Group Test.

      The software lets you view the weather in your town/city and check out the forecast and historic temperature trends. Halo identifies your location based on your IP address. But you can also add other locations.

    • Tutanota Launches New Encrypted Tool to Support Press Freedom

      Tutanota is a German-based company that provides “world’s most secure email service, easy to use and private by design.” They offer end-to-end encryption for their secure email service. Recently Tutanota announced a desktop app for their email service.

      They also make use of two-factor authentication and open source the code that they use.

      While you can get an account for free, you don’t have to worry about your information being sold or seeing ads. Tutanota makes money by charging for extra features and storage. They also offer solutions for non-profit organizations.

      Tutanota has launched a new service to further help journalists, social activists and whistleblowers in communicating securely.

    • Kiwi TCMS: Kiwi TCMS 6.8

      We’re happy to announce Kiwi TCMS version 6.8! This is a small improvement and bug-fix update. You can explore everything at https://public.tenant.kiwitcms.org!

    • Open Websites In A Floating, Borderless Window With Pennywise

      Pennywise is a cross-platform application to open websites or local media in a floating window that stays on top of other windows, somewhat similar to the Picture-in-Picture feature available in some web browsers like Google Chrome, Vivaldi or Firefox Nightly, but with extra features.

      The application, which uses Electron, allows you to load a website, be it a video or text tutorial, a music video on YouTube, watching your favorite streamer on Twitch, and so on, in an always on top window on which you can keep an eye on while doing other stuff, for easy multitasking.

      Pennywise can be made borderless, and it can be set to Detached mode, which lets any interactions fall through to the window below it. The application has an option that allows changing its opacity too, but it only works on macOS and Windows; while not supported by Pennywise directly, this is also possible on Linux using the features available on some desktop environments (explained below).

    • Proprietary

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Darling Still Has A Goal Of Running macOS Apps On Linux

        Darling is the open-source project we first covered back in 2012 that aimed to be able to run macOS software (binaries) on Linux. It’s what Wine is to running Windows programs on Linux but rather to be able to handle Apple/Mac software. While we haven’t heard much from the project recently, they still are pursuing their goal.

        Over the years Darling has made some project on handling Mac binaries on Linux albeit times that the project seemed on hiatus without any development work. The last time we covered Darling on Phoronix was in November of 2017 when they were still aiming for macOS apps on Linux.

      • Darling Progress Report Q1 2019
    • Games

      • Gaming via Linux: Looking To The Future – What’s The Outlook For Gamers?

        For a long time, of the operating systems out there, Linux was a distinct “also-ran” when it came to gaming. However, this all changed with the explosion of mobile gaming. It’s fair to say that over the years since its introduction in the early 1990s, Linux has gradually moved away from the domain of the IT-savvy developer and broken into the mainstream thanks to distributions like Ubuntu and Linux Mint – with around 1.3 billion Android devices using a Linux operating system.

      • Black Mesa looks pretty incredible in the latest teasers, new roadmap shown

        Black Mesa, the fan-made Early Access recreation of the original Half-Life is still progressing towards finishing the final content and it’s looking damn good.

        In the latest update posted on Steam the team showed off some short clips of what to expect and honestly, it’s looking gorgeous.

      • After a recent big update, Rise to Ruins breaks its own single-day sales record

        Seems the indie gaming scene in some circles on Steam is alive and well, as Rise to Ruins has broken its own single day sales record and it had a huge update recently.

        I’ve seen a lot of developers recently talk about how they’re struggling on Steam, getting little to no sales and not getting noticed. Many have claimed there’s problems with Valve’s algorithms, for some it seems it’s very much the opposite! Rise to Ruins developer, Raymond Doerr, posted on Twitter about the previous single-day record being 4,703 copies sold which had been smashed to 4,843. Later, Doerr sent another Twitter post to say it had hit 6,250 copies!

      • Fearmonium looks like a very intriguing action-platformer that will release for Linux

        Fearmonium from developer Redblack Spade looks like an action-platformer that could be on the different side, with slightly freaky yet intriguing visuals.

        They’re saying it’s a “psychedelic action-platformer” that will be mixing in elements of humour so it’s not an overly serious game and I do appreciate good humour.

      • Story driven, psychological horror game IMMURE will be coming to Linux this month

        Releasing in an episodic format after failing to get funding on Kickstarter, the story driven psychological horror game IMMURE will be available on Linux.

      • Forager has been a bit of a hit, selling 150K copies on PC and they’ve released an exciting roadmap

        Forager, the game that has you grind your way through buying lots of tiny islands that’s insanely addictive seems to have done really well. Seems like Humble Bundle once again picked a good game to help publish!

        Firstly, they’ve announced that it has now officially passed 150K (one hundred and fifty thousand) copies sold across all PC platforms (Linux and Windows). An impressive number, one that seems to have blown away the developer a little. I’m not surprised though, sweet graphics combined with gameplay that just keeps you going on and on.

      • Despite the high price, the initial batch of Valve Index headsets have sold out on pre-orders

        I have to admit, I am a little surprised. The Valve Index limited pre-orders that went live on May 1st have already completely sold out.

        Looking at the store page in the UK for the full kit, it’s now only showing that you can reserve it with a new expected shipping date of August 31st. However, the Controllers and Base Stations are still showing up as in stock. Oddly the full bundle has a different expected shipping date to the Headset/Controller bundle and Headset by itself with those now expected by July 31st.

      • Planet Nomads has left Early Access and feels like a big missed opportunity

        Planet Nomads had my interest for a long time, as I sat hoping it would blossom into something special. Sadly, it released today and it has not. Disclosure: Key provided by the developer.

        For starters, they went back on doing multiplayer so now it’s a (rather lonely) single-player only experience. I could handle that, if they truly made Planet Nomads interesting enough with the story but it’s just not. On top of that, they originally promised space-flight to go to other planets, that also didn’t make it into the game. Basically, the game never actually got any of the really interesting ideas that were used to fund it in the first place on Kickstarter.

      • Facepunch Studios have given an update on the future of Rust for Linux, issues with “third parties”

        For those hanging on hoping Facepunch will go back to officially supporting Linux with Rust, you might want to sit down. They’ve made a comment on it on their latest blog post.

        As a little reminder, back in July last year I reported on how Facepunch removed Linux support and any mention of the Linux version of Rust from Steam. Since then though, they have continued to update the Linux version so people could still play it, it just wasn’t advertised any more (you could also still buy it new and play it on Linux).

      • Downhill freeriding game ‘Descenders’ leaves Early Access next week with multiplayer

        Descenders, the fantastic extreme sports game from RageSquid and No More Robots will leave Early Access on May 7th with a huge update.

        Currently a single-player experience, this huge update is going to change the way the game works completely by the sounds of it. Adding in 8-player online play, when you start the game you will now be placed into a much bigger starting hub area where other players will also fill your screen. They say it will feature “a bunch of really cool areas to explore” and allow you to ride around with others.

      • Switch life mode to FUN with some cool Linux games

        If you think of the Internet as a big flat disk balancing precariously on the shoulders of titans, one of those titans happens to be gaming. People use their computing devices for a range of tasks, but playing games, solo or online, with friends or against friends, is a universal activity that crosses countries, cultures, and age groups.

        This put Linux in a somewhat delicate position, because the availability of cool, high-quality games used to be a clincher, keeping people on the other side of the Great Arcade Divide. But recently, there have been more and more fun, engaging titles available to Linux folks, from brand new games to all-time classics. How about we review some of them?

      • Game Review: Guard Duty

        It’s a thousand years ago in the kingdom of Wrinklewood and you are Tondbert, a dwarf/huma-halfling palace guard. After a night of heavy drinking, most of which you’re happy not to remember, not only do you wake up to discover you may have been responsible for getting the princess kidnapped by an evil wizard, but also your clothes and armor are missing, and after you fall from the tower where your tiny bedroom sits, you get stung by a swarm of angry wasps, your face is all swelled up, and nobody can understand the mumbles coming out of your mouth, so you get no respect from anyone—not that you ever did.

        Welcome to Guard Duty and oddly enough, that’s not where the game starts—a thousand years ago, I mean. It actually starts out in our future, in 2074 to be precise, a mostly unremarkable day except for that whole part about the destruction of the Earth and all.

        I’ve spent several hours now, enjoying the sometimes frustrating new game, Guard Duty, from Sick Chicken Studios. Did I say “frustrating”? Because I meant it, but in a good way. The Sick Chicken people have spent way too many hours watching Monty Python and reading Terry Pratchett novels, and it shows. They also have a thing for golden-age point-and-click games, classic 320×240 resolution pixel art, all combined with comedic and sometimes touching storytelling.

      • Comedy point & click adventure Guard Duty is out with Linux support and it’s good fun

        Guard Duty from Sick Chicken Studios and Digital Tribe is a comedy adventure game, with very retro-inspired visuals. It’s out today, with official Linux support. Yet another Kickstarter crowdfunding success for Linux fans, as Guard Duty was funded back in 2017 with a small sum of just over £4K.

      • Rise of Industry launches on Windows PC, Mac & Linux

        Kasedo Games and Dapper Penguin Studios have announced that the massively addictive tycoon game, Rise of Industry has released for Windows PC, Mac and Linux priced at £22.99.

      • Pandemic Express – Zombie Escape is out and works with Steam Play, it’s also very weird

        Pandemic Express – Zombie Escape, from TALLBOYS and tinyBuild puts you and up to 30 people in a large open-world as you try to escape on a Train and it just went into Early Access today. Note: Key provided by tinyBuild.

        To be clear, this is not a native Linux game but thanks to Steam Play it does work on Ubuntu 19.04 and there’s no problems joining online games with others. I did speak to tinyBuild and sadly they confirmed no current plan for a Linux version but that doesn’t stop us now. I love my first-person shooters and Battle Royale games, mix in the very quirky style and it had me interested right away. Plus, it’s fun to try out a same-day release with Steam Play which isn’t something I often get a chance to do.

      • Precipice could be a really good strategy game when they get the AI right

        After a very short delay, the cold-war strategy game Precipice from Little Red Dog Games (Deep Sixed) is out with Linux support.

      • The twin-stick shooter ‘Moss Destruction’ continues to improve but it’s still ridiculously hard

        With a strange and unique visual style, Moss Destruction released back in March and while fun it was overly difficult at times. Recent updates are a dramatic improvement to the flow of it but it remains incredibly difficult.

      • mod.io, the cross-platform mod API for games has launched a Unity plugin

        mod.io, the cross-platform Steam Workshop-like service that’s independent of any store just today officially launched a very useful sounding plugin for the Unity game engine. Some news that will hopefully be interesting for any game developers following our news.

        “Just as cross-platform play is gaining momentum, and developers have more stores, streaming and subscription services to reach new players, games that are better at uniting their community will stand out and find success,” said CEO and co-creator Scott Reismanis.

        I spoke directly to Scott Reismanis, the Founder of mod.io (also Mod DB and Indie DB) who confirmed to me that this plugin does support Linux. In fact, Meeple Station is already using it. Aground and 0 A.D. also use mod.io but they wrote their own mod.io wrapper.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KBibTeX 0.9-beta2

        I am glad to announce the availability of KBibTeX 0.9 Beta 2 (0.8.91) for download. Whereas Beta 1 had some issues and was never formally announced, Beta 2 is quite stable and ready to use for everyone able to compile and install from a tar-ball and willing to test code.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.34′s Mutter Integrates A New Clipboard Manager

        GNOME’s Mutter compositor has seen a new, integrated clipboard manager for the in-development GNOME 3.34 cycle.

        The clipboard manager, which is responsible for serving the copy/paste functionality to the desktop, has been going through a rework / new implementation within Mutter itself and works on both X11 and Wayland. This new clipboard manager implementation has been under review for the past half-year while yesterday the code was merged into Mutter for the current 3.33 development series.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Freespire 4.8 Released

        Today is another great day for the freespire development team, as we announce the release of Freespire 4.8. It is our FOSS solution, with no binary-only drivers, multimedia codecs and strictly libre applications, nothing proprietary included. Freespire is released bi-annually and showcases the best of the FOSS and KDE communities. Freespire is the best, most usable FOSS only based distribution in the world today. While Freespire 4.8 is an incremental release, it has a ton of new features and enhancements that we normally reserve for a major release Freespire has some great features and functionality that places it at the top of its class.

    • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Mike Gabriel: My Work on Debian LTS/ELTS (April 2019)

        In April 2019, I have worked on the Debian LTS project for 11.5 hours (of 17.25 hours planned, pulling over 5.75 hours to the next month) and on the Debian ELTS project for another 10 hours (of 10 hours planned) as a paid contributor.

      • Joachim Breitner: Drawing foldl and foldr

        This is taken from the recently published and very nice “foldilocks” tutorial by Ayman Nadeem, but I have seen similar pictures before.

        I always thought that something is not quite right about them, in particular the foldr. I mean, they are correct, and while the foldl one clearly conveys the right intuition, the foldr doesn’t quite: it looks as if the computer would fast forward to the end of the list, and then start processing it. But that does not capture the essence of foldr, which also starts at the beginning of the list, by applying its argument lazily.

      • Romain Perier: My work on Debian (April 2019)
      • Sergio Durigan Junior: Debian Bug Squashing Party, Toronto version

        This past Saturday, April 27th, 2019, Samuel Vale, Alex Volkov and I organized the Toronto Bug Squashing Party here in the city. I was very happy with the outcome, especially the fact that we had more than 10 people attending, including a bunch of folks that came from Montréal!

      • Derivatives

        • Sparky 4.10

          New live/install images of SparkyLinux 4.10 “Tyche” are available to download.
          Sparky 4 is based on Debian stable line of “Stretch”.

          Sparky 4.10 offers a fully featured operating system with a lightweight LXDE desktop environment; and minimal images of MinimalGUI (Openbox) and MinimalCLI (text mode) which lets you install the base system with a desktop of your choice with a minimal set of applications, via the Sparky Advanced Installer.

          Sparky 4.10 armhf offers a fully featured operating system for single board mini computers RaspberryPi; with the Openbox window manager as default; and a minimal, text mode CLI image to customize it as you like.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint Monthly News – April 2019

              Last month we talked about what it was like to develop free software and I shared some thoughts about the team, our work and our relationship with the community. I want to thank you all for your amazing response and the support you gave us. I don’t think we’ve ever received that many emails, comments and messages and that many encouragements. I didn’t expect it to be that big but here it is, it’s huge, right in front of us and we’ll always be able to look back at it whenever, if ever, we’re in doubt, you’re here for us, and you love our work. I’ve seen many people come here and post their very first comment after years of just reading the blog just to say they enjoyed what we were doing. That means a lot to me, I’m sure it means a lot to other users and developers too and all the people who contribute to Linux Mint. I wasn’t exactly looking for TLC when making this post last month, and we’re not “depressed” (as we could read in some blogs on the Internet), I wanted to address some points and spread the word a little more on what it was like for us as well… but I’m glad it was interpreted as it was, I’m glad the news was covered outside of our community and I’m really touched by your response to it. Thank you so much for this.

              Last month I think I also talked a tiny bit too much about what was going on within the team. On the one hand it is part of my role to report on the progress being done, on the other hand we’re dealing with individuals, there are people involved, efforts being made, feelings which can be hurt and it’s part of my role also to protect that. If something won’t work out, we part ways, if something can’t make it in, we postpone it or reject it but when that happens I’m not sure we should necessarily talk publicly about it. There isn’t anyone involved who doesn’t want the best for Linux Mint and we all share the same goal, we all want more features, less bugs and an amazing new release. How we get to that isn’t always smooth and we can’t always agree on everything, but we’re a team and so I might mention individual names when things are great, but I hope you’ll understand I don’t when things don’t work out. We’ll face these issues together as a team and I don’t want anyone to feel bad or get the feeling that it’s their fault. Trying to help, no matter what the outcome is, is a great thing. You can’t be blamed for trying, especially not in public and I don’t want anyone to feel like they need to justify themselves one way or another.

              Looking ahead I feel very comfortable again. Some issues are still on the horizon, there is uncertainty about some of the large things we’ve been working on (for me personally this includes the website and logo redesign), but we’ve reaffirmed what was important to us. We will get a great 19.2 release, no matter what, and we’ll enjoy working on it.

            • Best Free Linux Mint Games

              Thanks to the continuous work of developers, you can now play a myriad of games on your Linux system right now! Linux Mint, as it’s based on Ubuntu, is one of the most suitable distros for playing games. It’s stable and comes with support from one of the largest Linux communities.
              How about checking out some of the best games to play on Linux Mint? There are plenty to choose from, so feel free to try out every one of them!

            • Linux Mint How to Update System
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 factors for using open source code in proprietary software [Ed: As usual, treating copyleft as a nuisnace rather than a moral feature]

    Developers can easily obtain, modify and integrate countless open source code packages into diverse software projects. Using open source code to enable basic features and processes in a proprietary software project can shave time off of development cycles and free code creators to focus on core and business-enabling functionality.

    While open source elements confer tangible benefits for software development projects, they can impose challenges and limitations on a proprietary application, especially if the project is intended for commercial use. Organizations should evaluate the management and integration of software components from other creators, their project priorities, liabilities, licensing and security before selecting open source code for a project.

    [...]

    While open source software is free to obtain, change and otherwise work with, it is not in the public domain. Open source software is released under a license, such as Apache License 2.0; BSD license; GNU General Public License (GPL), GNU Library, or Lesser GPL; MIT License; or Mozilla Public License 2.0. Each license outlines the terms of use and distribution.

    Generally, open source software licenses do not significantly restrict a business’s ability to acquire and use them. So, a proprietary and commercial software product can rely on open source components.

    However, businesses must know if and how a license can cause problems. The GNU GPL requires users to release any derivative works under the same GNU GPL license. If a business obtains and modifies open source code under GNU GPL, it must copyleft the modified code — meaning release it to open source, as well.

  • Intel’s SVT-AV1 Video Encoder Saw Yet Another Performance Boost In April

    Intel’s Clear Linux operating system wasn’t their only open-source project seeing various performance improvements over the course of April but it turns out their Scalable Video Technology AV1 (SVT-AV1) video encoder also saw a nice performance improvement at the end of April.

    When looking at my daily benchmark data, it was interesting to see the SVT-AV1 performance quietly improved last week and has remained that way. I have a handful of systems running benchmarks of the SVT video encoders on a daily basis with the same encode options and sample content. Intel’s performance optimizations have been fascinating to watch and indeed since 28 April the performance is even better for their AV1 encoder. (Their HEVC/H.265 and VP9 encoder performance is flat for April.)

  • Events

    • Open Infrastructure Summit 2019 Bits

      Our News Bits is a roundup that typically covers news pieces that are just small in content, not in impact. This gives content room to breathe even if it comes in less than what we normally cover. This week the OpenStack Open Infrastructure Summit took place in Denver, Colorado. While we covered the major announcements from the OpenStack Foundationand Red Hat, there were several other smaller announcements. These announcements come from vendors such as Trilio, SoftIron, Canonical, and Rook.

    • Red Hat Summit 2019 Know Before You Go podcast

      Red Hat Summit is just a few days away, and we know you won’t want to miss out on any of the activities, sessions, or events at the Summit. To help you prepare, we’ve put together a short podcast with some of the highlights you’ll want to know about.

    • Douglas Schilling Landgraf: Red Hat Summit 2019

      See you all in Red Hat Summit! I will be speaking about oVirt 4.3 highlights at-Large Theater.

    • Video: LFNW 2019 – 50 Years of Unix

      Jon “maddog” Hall talked about something he has personal experience in, 50 years of UNIX. Enjoy!

    • Join us for the 2019 KubeCon Diversity Lunch & Hack [Ed: Selling (for profit) the illusion these companies are “ethical”. See prospectus here. “Diversity Lunch” is a product.]]

      Join us for the 2019 KubeCon Diversity Lunch & Hack: Building Tech Skills & An Inclusive Community – Sponsored by Google Cloud and VMware

      Registration for the Diversity Lunch opens today, May 2nd, 2019. To register, go to the main KubeCon + CloudNativeCon EU schedule, then log in to your Sched account, and confirm your attendance to the Diversity Lunch. Please sign up ASAP once the link is live, as spaces will fill quickly. We filled the event in just a few days last year, and anticipate doing so again this year.

    • Anaconda’s Response to DataCamp’s CEO and Board of Directors

      DataCamp has been a business partner of our company for almost two years. So we were shocked and saddened by the recent allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior and retaliatory firings made against DataCamp’s CEO and Board Chairperson, Jonathan Cornelissen. After learning the news, our company contacted DataCamp’s leadership and expressed our concerns about DataCamp’s late and inadequate response to these allegations. Since we’ve engaged with DataCamp, DataCamp has taken additional steps that we believe are appropriate and, at this time, satisfy our company’s standards as to what should be done.

      The events of October 2017 and the following months are murky to most of us, so we welcome the investigation and the removal of CEO and Board Chairperson, Jonathan Cornelissen, from both of those positions during that process. We will also monitor the investigation’s outcome to ensure that our company believes appropriate actions are taken by DataCamp’s senior leadership team and board of directors against those deemed to have behaved illegally or inappropriately.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 75 Beta: low latency canvas contexts, sharing files, and numeric separators

        Unless otherwise noted, changes described below apply to the newest Chrome Beta channel release for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, and Windows. Find more information about the features listed here through the provided links or from the list on ChromeStatus.com. Chrome 75 is beta as of May 2, 2019.

      • Beta Channel Update for Desktop

        The Chrome team is excited to announce the promotion of Chrome 75 to the beta channel for Windows, Mac and Linux. Chrome 75.0.3770.18 contains our usual under-the-hood performance and stability tweaks, but there are also some cool new features to explore – please head to the Chromium blog to learn more!

      • Chrome 75 Beta Released With Low-Latency Canvas Contexts, RTC Improvements

        Following the recent Chrome 74 web browser update, Google has now promoted Chrome 75 to its beta channel.

        Chrome 75 introduces an Animation constructor for more control over creating animations with the Web Animations API, low-latency canvas contexts, various RTC improvements, FIDO CTAP2 PIN support was added to the Web Authentication API, Web Share API Level 2 support, and various other developer editions.

      • 5 Best Free VPN Chrome Extension For Privacy In 2019

        Whenever you are online on Google Chrome, it collects information on your browsing patterns and habits — right from your location, to operating system, to hardware. Therefore, securing your browsing sessions through Virtual Private Networks (VPN) is a good idea. VPNs are useful services which help you overcome geo-location restrictions and avoid getting tracked on the internet.

        While there are many Chrome VPN extensions available in the Chrome store, picking out the best ones can still be a confusing task. This is why I have put together a list of the best VPN Chrome extensions that you can use to encrypt your browser traffic and browse anonymously.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla announces ban on Firefox extensions containing obfuscated code

        Mozilla announced plans today to ban Firefox extensions from its Add-ons portal if the extension contains obfuscated code.

      • Mozilla Addons Blog: Add-on Policy and Process Updates

        As part of our ongoing work to make add-ons safer for Firefox users, we are updating our Add-on Policy to help us respond faster to reports of malicious extensions. The following is a summary of the changes, which will go into effect on June 10, 2019.

      • Will Kahn-Greene: Socorro: April 2019 happenings

        Socorro is the crash ingestion pipeline for Mozilla’s products like Firefox. When Firefox crashes, the crash reporter collects data about the crash, generates a crash report, and submits that report to Socorro. Socorro saves the crash report, processes it, and provides an interface for aggregating, searching, and looking at crash reports.

      • How to research smarter, not harder with 10 tools on Firefox.

        Whether you’re in school or working on a project, knowing how to research is an essential skill. However, understanding how to do something and doing it smarter are two different things. This is one of the reasons why productivity books are a multi-million dollar industry.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FuguIta 6.5

      The release notes of OpenBSD 6.5 says “Xorg(1), the X window server, is no longer installed setuid. xenodm(1) should be used to start X.”.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Guix 1.0.0 Released, Season of Docs Announces 50 Participating Open-Source Organizations, Docker Enterprise 3.0 Beta Now Available, Nvidia and Red Hat Join the Academy Software Foundation and Red Hat Announces New Version of Red Hat Process Automation

      GNU Guix 1.0.0 was released today. This big 1.0 release is the result of seven years of development and contributions by more than 260 people. If you’re not familiar with GNU Guix, “GNU Guix is a transactional package manager and an advanced distribution of the GNU system that respects user freedom. Guix can be used on top of any system running the kernel Linux, or it can be used as a standalone operating system distribution for i686, x86_64, ARMv7, and AArch64 machines.” This version brings many new features, including a new VM image, a new “first-class, uniform mechanism to configure keyboard layout” and more than 1,100 packages added. From the announcement: “The release comes with ISO-9660 installation images, a virtual machine image, and with tarballs to install the package manager on top of your GNU/Linux distro, either from source or from binaries. Guix users can update by running guix pull.”

    • GCC 9 Release Series

      The GNU project and the GCC developers are pleased to announce the release of GCC 9.1.

      This release is a major release, containing new features (as well as many other improvements) relative to GCC 8.x.

    • GCC 9.1 Released

      We are proud to announce the next, major release of the
      GNU Compiler Collection.

      If you want to boost your software with a fresh new compiler,
      with new language features, various new optimizations,
      improvements to old optimizations, GCC 9.1 is here for you!

      GCC 9.1 is a major release containing substantial new
      functionality not available in GCC 9.x or previous GCC releases.

      In this release C++17 support is no longer marked experimental. The
      C++ front-end implements the full C++17 language (already previous GCC
      major version implemented that) and the C++ standard library support is
      almost complete. The C++ front-end and library also have numerous further
      C++2a draft features [1]. GCC has a new front-end for the D language.
      GCC 9.1 has newly partial OpenMP 5.0 support and almost
      complete OpenACC 2.5 support.

    • GCC 9.1 Released As Huge Compiler Update With D Language, Zen 2, OpenMP 5, C++2A, C2X

      GNU Compiler Collection 9.1 was released today with a D language front-end joining the family while on the back-end is now the long-awaited Radeon GCN GPU target (although not too useful in its current form), Intel Cascadelake support, initial AMD Zen 2, C-SKY CPU support, OpenRISC CPU support, and many other features throughout this massive open-source compiler.

      GCC 9.1 was released this morning as the first stable release in the GCC 9 series. GCC 9 is easily one of the most exciting GCC compiler updates in years and comes with many new features and improvements. After closely following its development the past year, it’s great to see GCC 9.1 now out there. GCC 9 is already found in the likes of Fedora 30, Clear Linux, and other Linux distributions should begin making use of this big compiler update in their next release cycles (or hopefully soon for the rolling-release platforms).

  • Open Hardware/Modding

    • Snek on the Arduino Mega 2560 Rev3

      The Arduino Mega 2560 Rev3 is larger in almost all ways than the ATmega328P based Arduino boards. Based on the ATMega 2560 SoC, the Mega has 256K of flash, 8K of RAM and 4K of EEPROM. The processor and peripherals are compatible with the ATMega 328P making supporting this in Snek pretty easy.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Science

    • NASA Determines Cause of Taurus XL Launch Failures

      NASA Launch Services Program (LSP) investigators have determined the technical root cause for the Taurus XL launch failures of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) and Glory missions in 2009 and 2011, respectively: faulty materials provided by aluminum manufacturer, Sapa Profiles (SPI). LSP’s technical investigation led to the involvement of NASA’s Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). DOJ’s efforts, recently made public, resulted in the resolution of criminal charges and alleged civil claims against SPI, and its agreement to pay $46 million to the U.S. government and other commercial customers. This relates to a 19-year scheme that included falsifying thousands of certifications for aluminum extrusions to hundreds of customers.

      [...]

      “NASA relies on the integrity of our industry throughout the supply chain. While we do perform our own testing, NASA is not able to retest every single component. That is why we require and pay for certain components to be tested and certified by the supplier,” said Jim Norman, NASA’s director for Launch Services at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “When testing results are altered and certifications are provided falsely, missions fail. In our case, the Taurus XLs that failed for the OCO and Glory missions resulted in the loss of more than $700 million, and years of people’s scientific work. It is critical that we are able to trust our industry to produce, test and certify materials in accordance with the standards we require. In this case, our trust was severely violated.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Measles Case on Scientology Cruise Ship Leads to Quarantine

      A cruise ship reportedly owned by the Church of Scientology has been quarantined in the port of St. Lucia after a case of measles was confirmed on board, health officials said Wednesday. There are almost 300 passengers and crew on the ship, which has the same name as a ship owned by the church, NBC News reported.

      [...]

      “Because of the risk of potential infection, not just from the confirmed measles case but from other persons who may be on the boat at the time, we thought it prudent to make a decision not to allow anyone to disembark,” St. Lucia Chief Medical Officer Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James said in a statement reported by The New York Times. St. Lucia cannot stop the boat from departing, which it is scheduled to do on Thursday, NBC reported.

      Health officials did not give the name of the vessel, but St. Lucia Coast Guard Sargent Victor Theodore said it was called “Freewinds.” The Church of Scientology owns and operates a 440-foot cruise ship by that name, and Theodore identified the quarantined ship as the one pictured on the church’s website. The Church of Scientology did not respond to requests for comment from NBC, CNN or The New York Times.

    • Cruise ship in St. Lucia quarantined over confirmed measles case

      A cruise ship with nearly 300 passengers and crew was ordered quarantined in the Caribbean port of St. Lucia after a case of measles was confirmed on board, island health officials said Wednesday.

      One female crew member has a confirmed case and St. Lucian authorities said they’ve been working in close consultation with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

    • Glyphosate Spin Check: Tracking Claims About the Most Widely Used Herbicide

      Amid global debate over the safety of glyphosate-based herbicides such as Monsanto’s Roundup, numerous claims have been made to defend the product’s safety. In the wake of two recent landmark jury rulings that found Roundup to be a substantial factor in causing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, we examined some of these claims and fact-checked them for accuracy.

    • Unfair Competition at the USITC

      A number of supplement companies started importing synthetic omega-3 fatty acids and Amarin looked for a way to shut them down. Although Amarin’s formulation is patented, the importers are apparently not close-enough to infringe the patents. Amarin thus turned to unfair competition law with the following logic: The imported “supplements” are actually drugs that have not been FDA approved and are not properly labelled. The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) requirements served as the foundational basis for the lawsuit. Here, however, the FDA intervened to argue that the FDCA prohibits private enforcement actions “including unfair trade practice claims that seek to enforce the FDCA.” (quoting opinion).

      [...]

      The majority opinion was authored by Chief Judge Prost and joined by Judge Hughes. Judge Wallach wrote in dissent — arguing that the court did not have appellate jurisdiction because the ITC’s refusal to institute an investigation does not count as a “final judgment” as required by the Federal Circuit’s jurisdictional statute. (The court has jurisdiction “to review the final determinations of the [ITC] relating to unfair practices in import trade, made under [§ 1337].” 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(6).)

    • ‘Tired of Getting Ripped Off,’ Key Swing District Voters Want Candidates Willing to Take on Big Pharma: Poll

      “The American people need and want action on prescription drugs. When our tax dollars pay for research, we should be able to access life-saving drugs at prices we can afford,” Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said in a statement.

      Conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP), the survey (pdf) found that in crucial swing districts in New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina, 76 percent of voters support allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

      The poll also found that 73 percent of voters in these key congressional districts support breaking the pharmaceutical industry’s monopoly on life-saving drugs by allowing generic competition.

      Over 76 percent of Democratic voters—and 53 percent overall—said they would be more likely to “support a candidate who stands up to Pharma,” according to the new survey.

      “The American people all across the country are sick and tired of getting ripped off by Big Pharma,” said Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, which is planning to release a “congressional scorecard” to hold members of Congress accountable for siding with the pharmaceutical industry over the needs of patients.

  • Security

    • SIEM: What is Security Information and Event Management?

      On Linux and other UNIX and UNIX-like systems, we’ve had syslog-ng and rsyslog for a while. This does the trick, we get everything in one place for analysis, but it’s plain-text. We can do much better on both the sending and receiving ends.

    • This Hacker Is Selling Dangerous Windows 0-Day Hacks For Past 3 Years [Ed: Microsoft Windows and every Microsoft service confirmed to contain NSA back doors. So this is hardly surprising; in fact, it is very much expected.]

      A report by ZDNet has revealed that a mysterious hacker is selling Windows zero-day exploits to the world’s most notorious cybercrime groups for the past three years. At least three cyber-espionage groups also known as Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are regular customers of this hacker.

      According to experts from Kaspersky Lab, the hacker going by the pseudonym “Volodya” is a recognized name in the hacking world as he previously sold a zero-day vulnerability to a cyber-crime group on the disreputable Exploit.in cyber-crime forum.

    • Mysterious hacker has been selling Windows 0-days to APT groups for three years
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • 5 Best Linux Offensive Security Distributions

      Kali Linux is the most popular Linux distribution for pen testing or hacking. Based on Debian it comes as continuation of BackTrack Linux, the revolutionary hacking distribution which allows non expert users to carry out complex security tasks. It’s biggest advantage is being the most propagated hacking distribution which means the most supported one.

      Kali includes hundreds of tools becoming a perfect distribution to test security tools in contrast with distributions with limited tools for the same task, Kali Linux offers multiple alternatives to carry out the same task just as multiple vulnerability scanners, a variety of brute force tools, social engineering tools and more. Kali can be used as live cd/usb or installed.

    • Definition of computer forensics

      Computer forensics are not exclusively related to cyber crime, in fact it is mostly applied in cases not involving cyber crime but in which the implicated actors used technological devices to store or share information: almost any citizen involved in legal troubles.

      In 2015 an Israeli corruption network integrated by police men and top prosecutors like Ruti David was uncovered while dropping and plating fake charges against citizens who paid or refused to pay bribery. When a key policeman, Ronal Fisher, was detained his cell phone was confiscated for further research, Fisher’s phone was encrypted and the Israeli police was unable, for a long time, to unencrypt the content harming the investigation and resulting in the soon release of corrupt officers. Here is where computer forensics come into the game in order to analyze and recover any information compatible with the evidence.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Get notified of new upstream releases

      There is a really useful service Anitya that resides on release-monitoring.org. It watches almost 20 thousand projects for new releases and notify about them.

      I maintain several packages in Fedora and the Fedora Project already makes it really convenient for me. It uses Anitya and opens a new bug against your package every time there is a new upstream release which I close once I update the package. But not every project gives you this service.

      I also maintain several apps on Flathub which doesn’t provide such a service (yet). And it’s even more important to know about new upstream releases because besides the apps themselves I also have to maintain their dependencies which are not available in runtimes. Especially Evolution has quite a few of them.

    • Remote Code Execution on most Dell computers

      What computer do you use? Who made it? Have you ever thought about what came with your computer? When we think of Remote Code Execution (RCE) vulnerabilities in mass, we might think of vulnerabilities in the operating system, but another attack vector to consider is “What third-party software came with my PC?”. In this article, I’ll be looking at a Remote Code Execution vulnerability I found in Dell SupportAssist, software meant to “proactively check the health of your system’s hardware and software” and which is “preinstalled on most of all new Dell devices”.

    • 17-Yr-Old Finds Dell Laptops And PCs Are Vulnerable To Remote Attack

      ell laptop and computer owners beware! Your machine is vulnerable to an attack that can be executed remotely to hijack your system — just by making you visit a malicious website.

      As reported by ZDNet, a 17-year-old security researcher, Bill Demirkapi, discovered a vulnerability in the Dell SupportAssist utility that allows attackers to execute malicious codes remotely.

    • Dell laptops and computers vulnerable to remote hijacks
    • Password Manager Roundup

      I used to teach people how to create “good” passwords. Those passwords needed to be lengthy, hard to guess and easy to remember. There were lots of tricks to make your passwords better, and for years, that was enough.

      That’s not enough anymore.

      It seems that another data breach happens almost daily, exposing sensitive information for millions of users, which means you need to have separate, secure passwords for each site and service you use. If you use the same password for any two sites, you’re making yourself vulnerable if any single database gets compromised.

      There’s a much bigger conversation to be had regarding the best way to protect data. Is the “password” outdated? Should we have something better by now? Granted, there is two-factor authentication, which is a great way to help increase the security on accounts. But although passwords remain the main method for protecting accounts and data, there needs to be a better way to handle them—that’s where password managers come into play.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Why the Air Force Is Embedding Airmen at Carnegie Mellon

      Earlier this week, WIRED spoke with Heather Wilson, the secretary of the Air Force. She was just finishing a visit to Carnegie Mellon University, which has developed a special relationship with the service. We spoke about the Air Force’s new Science and Technology Strategy, which was announced earlier this month, as well as their new initiatives in artificial intelligence, surveillance, and space. We unfortunately did not have the opportunity to discuss whether the allied forces of the living had misused their tactical air power advantage in the battle with the Night King.

    • Redline

      Inside the cockpit of PK-LQP, a brand-new Boeing 737 Max belonging to Lion Air, the stick shaker on the captain’s side began to vibrate. Stick shakers are designed to warn pilots of an impending stall, which can cause a dangerous loss of control. They’re unmistakably loud for that reason.

      But the airplane was flying normally, nowhere near a stall. The captain ignored it.

      About 30 seconds later, he noticed an alert on his flight display — IAS DISAGREE — which meant that the flight computer had detected a sensor malfunction. This required a bit more attention.

      A modern-day passenger airplane is less like a racecar and more like a temperamental printer: you spend more time monitoring and checking systems than you do actually driving the thing. So the captain passed control of the aircraft to the first officer and began the troubleshooting process from memory.

    • Qualcomm effectively granted Apple a late-payment discount worth billions of dollars: earnings forecast mentions one-time payment

      After Apple, its contract manufacturers and Qualcomm settled their antitrust and contradict dispute at the beginning of a trial in San Diego (Southern District of California) two weeks ago, both parties declined to disclose any financial terms. Apparently Apple obtained a direct patent license from Qualcomm, and will use 5G modem chips from Qualcomm in some future iPhone models, and it became known that Apple would make a one-time payment to Qualcomm under the new agreement. On a conference call, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf only said this (see a transcript published by CNBC) when asked about the financials of the deal: “Well, a deal like this, there’s a lot of value back and forth, and it’s just best to keep it confidential.”

      [...]

      In my opinion, the FTC is doing the right thing by giving Judge Koh the time she needs to rule on the case. They can still settle with Qualcomm after that decision, which will provide important guidance on a number of questions.

      The Apple-Qualcomm dispute, too, involved some interesting legal questions. Fortunately, the Munich Higher Regional Court still seized its chance before the settlement to overturn (by ordering a stay, but based on the prediction that Apple’s appeal would have been highly likely to succeed) a Germany-wide patent injunction that had come down without actually establishing an infringement. And now I hope there will be a chance for Judge Koh to adjudicate some key antitrust questions before the FTC settles with Qualcomm–and it appears we are still going to see that opinion.

    • Palestine and News Bias

      Can someone explain why Palestinian deaths at the hands of illegal Israeli settlers and IDF terrorists is not news? If a Palestinian dares to attack an Israeli, despite the fact that Palestinians, like all occupied people, have an international right to resist the occupation in whatever way possible, it is screamed across the world as an act of unprovoked terrorism. A quick online search sees reports of Palestinian deaths at the hands of Israelis reported by Aljazeera, the Guardian, the Middle East Monitor and the Electronic Intifada, but precious little from CNN, FOX or MSNBC. Yet those three ‘news’ outlets are quick to point out any act of aggression by Palestinians.

    • A Farewell to Arms Control?

      My first trip to Washington, DC to do something other than protest on the streets was to interview for a Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship, which brings young people to the nation’s capital to work on arms control and disarmament.

      It was 1987, around the time that Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Agreement. The INF treaty committed the United States and the Soviet Union to eliminate nuclear weapons for the first time on a large scale (over 2,500 of them by 1991). It was a high point for the arms control movement.

      To get to the interview stage, however, I wrote an application essay about the flaws of arms control agreements—that they provided a false sense of accomplishment, that they capped the number of nuclear weapons but rarely reduced them, that they accepted the “logic” of mutually assured destruction, that they reinforced the privileges of the nuclear club, and so on.

      Arms control was conventionally thought of as the path toward disarmament. I made the case instead that arms control was a detour around disarmament.

      When I walked into the room for my interview, I found myself facing a dozen of the leading arms control advocates in the country. I’d anticipated a one-on-one discussion, not a full court of inquisition. They understandably grilled me about my arguments and looked universally dissatisfied with my answers. Yet, in the end, they gave me a fellowship, perhaps for the same reason that Antonin Scalia liked to employ one liberal Supreme Court clerk — to have a dissenter close at hand to sharpen arguments. I did my fellowship at Nuclear Times magazine, a periodical devoted to scrapping nuclear weapons rather than merely controlling their production.

    • A Debate on Maduro: Two Venezuelans Oppose U.S. Intervention But Differ on Steps Ahead
    • ‘Microcosm of Everything Wrong With US Foreign Policy’: Senate Fails to Override Trump Veto on Yemen

      rump vetoed the resolution last month. The Senate needed 67 votes to override the president’s veto, but the final margin of Thursday’s vote was 53-45.

      Every “no” vote was cast by a Republican. Seven Republicans joined Democrats in voting in favor of the veto override.

      In a statement after the veto override failed, Sanders vowed to continue working to end U.S. involvement in Yemen.

      “The bad news today: we were unable today to override Trump’s veto regarding U.S. intervention in this horrific war in Yemen,” said Sanders. “The good news: for the first time in 45 years, Congress used the War Powers Act to reassert its constitutional responsibility over the use of armed forces.”

      “This is the beginning of a bipartisan process to take back our responsibility over these most important matters,” Sanders added. “My likeminded colleagues and I, in a bipartisan fashion, will utilize all of the legislative tools at our disposal—including further use of the War Powers Act.”

      Paul Kawika Martin—senior director for policy and political affairs at Peace Action—said that while Thursday’s vote “marks the end of the road for the Yemen war powers resolution, it does not relieve Congress of its responsibility to act.”

      “Successful or not, every congressional effort to end our involvement in Yemen puts more pressure on Saudi Arabia to end the war,” Martin said in a statement. “At the same time, grassroots efforts to end U.S. involvement in Yemen are foregrounding a critical debate on our nation’s foreign policy in Yemen and beyond in the lead up to the 2020 election.”

    • Spring Stirrings and Misgivings

      “Al-Shebab,” said my student Jerry early in the fall 2010 semester. “We’re calling our small group al-Shebab. It means ‘The Youth.’” From his name alone, I wouldn’t have guessed his background, but he was proud of his family’s Egyptian roots and had convinced his classmates to give their group an Arabic name.

      As usually happens when the semester ends and my dozens of students scatter, Jerry and I lost touch. The following April, however, we ran into each other at a rally organized by students at my university to support the Arab Spring. Like many others around the world, I’d watched transfixed as brave unarmed civilians faced down riot police on the bridges leading to Cairo’s Tahrir Square. I’d celebrated on February 11, 2011, when the corrupt and authoritarian Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak resigned as the military took control of that country.

      Jerry’s eyes sparkled when he saw me. “Isn’t it amazing?” he shouted. Yes, it was amazing… until it wasn’t.

      This spring, eight years later, there has been a new set of popular uprisings in northern Africa, from Algeria to Morocco, to Sudan. Let’s hope they have more lasting success than Egypt’s Arab Spring.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange gets 50 weeks’ porridge for breaching bail

      Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching the Bail Act at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday. Judge Deborah Taylor that Assange merited the near maximum sentence of one year because of the seriousness of his offence.

    • Julian Assange gets almost a year in UK prison for skipping bail [Ed: CNN doesn't get its facts right. Assange is not a whistleblower, he is a publisher for whistleblowers.]

      Reacting to the ruling, Jennifer Robinson, one of the lawyers for the whistleblower [sic], told reporters her client’s case “has always been about the risk of extradition to the United States.”

    • Assange says he will fight US extradition request

      Assange appeared through a video link and told the court: “I do not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many, many awards and protected many people,” according to NPR.

      The WikiLeaks founder was arrested by British police on 11 April after Ecuador withdrew its asylum and appeared in court shortly thereafter. He was found guilty of skipping bail and remanded to custody.

      He had been wanted in Sweden for questioning on allegations of sexual assault which he has denied. But he has always maintained that he took refuge in the Ecuador embassy in London because he feared the US would try to extradite him to face charges over the release of thousands of documents relating to the US invasion of Iraq and the Afghanistan operation.

    • Julian Assange won’t surrender to the US for doing journalism

      On the eve of World Press Freedom Day, Julian Assange appeared in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court briefly by video link from Belmarsh prison. There, he stated “I do not wish to surrender myself for extradition for doing journalism that has won many, many awards and protected many people”.

      After the 15-minute hearing, he was likely taken straight back to his cell, where according to Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Assange has been confined for 23 hours a day since entering the maximum security prison known as Britain’s Guantanamo Bay.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Facebook’s newest ‘fact checkers’ are Koch-funded climate deniers

      In its latest disastrous move to fight the online epidemic of fake news, Facebook’s fact-checking effort announced last week that it was teaming up with CheckYourFact.com — an arm of the conservative, anti-science media site The Daily Caller.

      The Daily Caller, which has published misinformation about climate science for years, was co-founded by the science-denying Fox News host Tucker Carlson and is backed by major conservative donors, including Charles and David Koch, the billionaire fossil fuel barons who are the single biggest funders of climate science misinformation.

    • 500,000 Bees Killed by Texas Arsonist

      Police are looking for an arsonist who burned several beehives in Alvin, Texas, leading to the deaths of more than half a million bees, CNN reported Wednesday.

      The hives belonged to the Brazoria County Beekeepers Association, which had 24 colonies at the site in total. The hives were discovered burning early Saturday morning by a sheriff’s deputy, who extinguished the flames. Some of the bee boxes had also been tossed into a pond on the site.

    • Someone burned beehives in Texas and killed more than half a million bees

      Police want to know who burned dozens of beehives in a town just south of Houston.

      One of the beekeepers said the losses are truly staggering.
      “We’re looking at 500,000 to 600,000 (bees) that have been destroyed out of that environment,” Steve Brackmann, who sells beekeeping supplies and queen bees, told CNN affiliate KTRK.

    • UK Parliament First in World to Declare Climate Emergency

      The UK parliament became the first national legislative body in the world to declare a climate change “emergency” Wednesday. The historic move closely follows Extinction Rebellion protests that blocked traffic in key parts of central London for a week in April.

      The protest had three demands: that the UK government “tell the truth” about climate change, that it achieve carbon neutrality by 2025 and that it create a citizens’ assembly to help with that process. The protesters embraced parliament’s decision Wednesday as a step towards meeting their first demand.

    • 4 Reasons Why We Need a Climate Debate

      Despite years of record-breaking extreme weather, the climate crisis usually gets minor mentions when mainstream news comments on climate-linked disasters or Trump’s pro-fossil fuel rhetoric. Climate change shouldn’t be a footnote — it should be center stage.

      Holding a climate-focused debate will ensure that the climate crisis is treated as a serious issue to address, not an opinion to be questioned.

      It would push the candidates to specifically address how they will tackle one of the biggest challenges of our lifetime, and give us all the ability to make an informed choice on who will lead us into an era of bold climate action that’s accountable to communities.

    • ‘Nice But Extremely Insufficient’: Critics Warn Bill to Keep US in Paris Agreement No Solution to Climate Emergency

      “This action from the House is better than no action at all, but not much better,” Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter said in a statement Wednesday. “Given all that’s known about the severity of the climate crisis we face, and the urgent, aggressive action required to stem it, this legislation is merely symbolic.”

      The legislation in question, the Climate Action Now Act (H.R. 9), was introduced in late March by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.).

      In June of 2017, Trump vowed to withdraw from the Paris agreement—but he can’t officially take action until November of next year.

      H.R. 9 would prevent the president from bailing on the accord—which is backed by every other country on the planet—and require his administration to develop a public plan detailing how the United States “will achieve an economy-wide target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below its 2005 level by 2025.”

      Although a primary priority of the bill is keeping the country signed on to the agreement that coordinates global efforts to combat the climate crisis, E&E News reported Wednesday that “during a closed-door caucus meeting yesterday ahead of floor action today on H.R. 9, leaders told the rank and file to focus on the economic benefits of climate action and not ‘some international standards.’”

      “It’s all about unleashing the clean economy here in America,” said Castor, who chairs the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. “That agreement would allow countries to create their own goals—America did and it has already created a wave of green jobs.”

    • Trump Admin Maps the Ocean for Industry Exploitation

      As part of its Blue Economy initiative, the Trump administration has developed a map to provide ocean industries information on areas ripe for oil rigs and floating factory farms.

      The map brands these areas as “ocean neighborhoods.” Though that sounds pretty cozy, it is nothing close to reality. What’s in store for these “neighborhoods?” Massive rigs and other infrastructure, increased vessel traffic and noise, the inherent risk of dirty oil spills and blowouts and unavoidable toxic discharge.

    • Belarus receives ‘clean’ petroleum from Russia after almost two weeks of contamination

      The Belarusian energy conglomerate Belneftekhim has reported that the country’s petroleum imports from Russia now meet industry standards, Interfax wrote. Petroleum contaminated with organic chloride compounds was removed from the Druzhba oil pipeline to enable renewed imports.

  • Finance

    • The Woman Who Saved John McAfee from an Epically Bad Deal

      Jeff Chambers wasted no time in scheduling a meeting with McAfee and working through the due diligence. He pulled in another firm, Summit Partners, and the two jointly offered first-round funding of $10 million ($5 million each) to buy half of McAfee Associates, which had seven employees. McAfee went public a year later, raising $42 million. It grew from there, licensing its antivirus software to more than 15,000 corporations and boasting an astounding after-tax profit margin of about 45 percent, far higher than the industry average.

    • Silicon Valley is awash in Chinese and Saudi cash — and no one is paying attention (except Trump)

      It may look to the outside eye that Silicon Valley just prints money, funneled through startups to give you things like cheap Uber rides. But if you trace the money that comes into startups through their venture capital firms — and trace the money that comes into those venture capital firms from their so-called limited partners — one can see the makings of a great gold rush, financed by overseas investors eager to overstuff money into hungry young companies.

    • Why do some airports hide their buses?

      Instead, people arriving at Terminal 5 must ignore the signage and go upstairs to the departures level before waiting at an unmarked stop. (The actual signpost has been placed so far away from the doors of the terminal that bus drivers pay no attention to it and hardly stop there.) Alternatively, local buses also stop at a nearby office complex—another option that requires passengers to ignore all the airport’s signage to find the buses there.

      Gulliver appreciates that the public-private partnership which built the Arlanda Express in the 1990s–at a mind-blowing cost of 6bn SEK–wants to recover at least part of its investment. That is why passengers are also hit with a 120 SEK “station access fee” if they attempt to take slower commuter trains to Stockholm. But free competition between different modes of transport is good for travellers as it spurs efficiency and helps keep a lid on fare levels. Both Arlanda and the City of Stockholm risk losing footfall to other cities if their visitors feel ripped off every time they arrive at the airport.

    • Top Court Rules CETA’s Lipstick-On-A-Pig Version Of Corporate Sovereignty Is Compatible With EU Law

      Techdirt readers with good memories may recall the long saga of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). One important moment was when Canada agreed to use the EU’s proposed replacement for corporate sovereignty, the Investor Court System (ICS). Both are versions of so-called “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS), which allows companies to sue countries for alleged losses caused by government decisions. Although ICS was devised in order to blunt the growing criticism of traditional ISDS, it amounts to little more than lipstick on a pig. It still gives foreign investors unique legal privileges not possessed by local companies. However, as part of the deal to persuade the Belgian region of Wallonia not to veto CETA, the EU agreed to allow Belgium to ask the region’s top court to rule on whether the new ICS was compatible with EU law.

      As is usual in such referrals, one of the top legal advisers of the Court of the Justice of the European Union (CJEU) offered a preliminary opinion. In this case, Advocate General Yves Bot found that the ICS was compatible with EU law. The main CJEU has now issued its own judgment (pdf), essentially agreeing with Bot on every point.

    • Baltimore Mayor Resigns Amid Scandal

      Baltimore’s mayor resigned under pressure Thursday amid a flurry of investigations into whether she arranged bulk sales of her self-published children’s books to disguise hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks.

      Mayor Catherine Pugh’s resignation came exactly a week after her City Hall offices, homes and multiple other locations were raided by FBI and IRS agents. She is the second mayor in less than a decade to step down because of scandal. She came to office contrasting her clean image with her main opponent, ex-mayor Sheila Dixon, who was forced to depart office in 2010 as part of a plea deal for misappropriating about $500 in gift cards meant for needy families.

      “I am sorry for the harm that I have caused to the image of the city of Baltimore and the credibility of the office of the mayor,” Pugh said in a written statement read by her lawyer, Steven Silverman.

    • Bank of America Continues to Prop Up the Fossil Fuel Industry

      The top U.S. banks are major financiers of the fossil fuel industry, and Bank of America might be the most recognizable, consumer-facing of all these banks. It is the second largest U.S. bank, with tens of millions of customers and branch locations all across the country.

      In response to growing pressure around our climate crisis, Bank of America and other banks have made gestures around the need to act. Bank of America was even a corporate sponsor of last year’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

      But in reality, Bank of America shows little sign of scaling back its financing of the fossil fuel industry, the driving force of our climate crisis. A recent report shows that Bank of America provided $106.69 billion in fossil fuel industry financing in the last three years alone — the fourth most of any bank.

      Bank of America is now closely involved in advising Occidental Petroleum’s attempted bid to takeover Anadarko Petroleum — a move that, if successful, would significantly increase Occidental’s market share over fossil fuel extraction in the Texas Permian Basin, now the world’s most productive oil field. Moreover, production in the Permian Basin could explode even more — from 4.7 million barrels per day to about 12 million barrels per day by 2030.

      If Bank of America helps close the deal, it is set to rake in tens of millions of dollars in advisory and service fees. And now, in a major boost to Occidental’s bid, Warren Buffett — whose Berkshire Hathaway is the biggest shareholder in Bank of America, owning 9.3% of the bank’s stock — has endorsed Occidental by pledging to invest $10 billion in the company if it takes over Anadarko.

      In aiming to profit through facilitating a massive corporate merger that will consolidate fossil fuel extraction operations in the world’s busiest oil basin, Bank of America is continuing its role in deepening our global climate crisis, despite its public relations efforts to appear concerned with environmental sustainability.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Corporate Joe: Biden Enters the Presidential Race

      Values, values and more values. Another dreary dish added to the smorgasbord of Democratic hopefuls for the White House. This one is a bit cured and worn, smoked by history. Biden, having performed the role of Vice President for Barack Obama and senator for Delaware, is making his third attempt to not so much gallop as crawl into the US executive.

      That said, there was initial promise, a teaser sent out to media outlets that the venue of his launch on Wednesday would be Charlottesville, Virginia. Memories of August 2017, with the death of protestor Heather Heyer at the white-supremacist riot, hung heavy. “That’s daring,” thought Joan Walsh at first blush, writing in The Nation. “Maybe he’s going to run a campaign that’s in step with the new, multiracial, progressive Democratic Party.” Not so, as Walsh and the rest of the campaign watchers found out. First came the video launch on Thursday. Then it was Pittsburgh. Unions; blue-collar focused.

      His video was far from impressive. For one, it did the inexplicable by actually giving a platform for the very individuals he wished to condemn: far right, torch-bearing yahoos which he associated with the vile history of 1930s Europe. Then he did what many a US politician has done: thrown in good lashings of Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence. Taking such a moral high ground suggests that he has little intention of winning Trump supporters so much as seducing them; they remain, in Democratic-speak, that thatched “basket of deplorables”. (Biden’s own words referred to President Donald Trump’s “very fine people”.)

      Another term of Trump, he warns, “will forever and fundamentally alter the character of the nation.” This is undue flattery, given that the inexorable decline of the US Republic was well and truly fast-tracked by Biden’s own legislative record across a range of social policies, one that left the ground rich for Trump’s debut.

    • An American Reporter in Belfast: How a New Yorker Writer Got So Much Wrong in His Bestselling Book On The Troubles

      About two-thirds of the way through Say Nothing: A True Story Of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, Patrick Radden Keefe’s much reviewed, much lauded account of the IRA’s disappearance of Belfast housewife, widowed mother-of-ten and alleged British Army spy, Jean McConville, the author describes the day in 2011 that I learned that the US Department of Justice had served a subpoena on Boston College purportedly in a bid to find her killer.

      The subpoena had been delivered on behalf of the British government and the police in Northern Ireland, and it sought access to an oral history archive that I had helped to create. Conceived in the wake of the Good Friday Agreement, the archive was devoted to collecting the memories of republican and loyalist paramilitary activists involved in the Troubles and it had been funded by, and was lodged at Boston College.

    • Bernie Sanders Is Everything Joe Biden Is Not

      They don’t get it.

      Mainstream journalists routinely ignore the essential core of the Bernie 2020 campaign. As far as they’re concerned, when Bernie Sanders talks about the crucial importance of grassroots organizing, he might as well be speaking in tongues.

      Frequently using the word “unprecedented” — in phrases like “our unprecedented grassroots effort to take on the powerful special interests and billionaire class” — Sanders emphasizes the vast extent of organizing necessary for him to win the Democratic nomination and the presidency next year. For an extraordinary campaign, that could be attainable. For mainline media, it’s virtually inconceivable.

      The conformist political reporters are akin to inept topside oceanographers who stay away from the depths while scrutinizing the surface and speculating on future waves. Time and again, the sea changes that come from below take them by surprise.

      Four years ago, the media wisdom was that the 2016 Sanders campaign would scarcely get out of single digits. Media savants dismissed him — and the political program that he championed — as fringe. In timeworn fashion, when reporters and pundits made reference to any policy issues, the context was usually horseracing, which is what most campaign coverage boils down to.

      Yet policy issues — and the passions they tap into — are central to what propels the Sanders 2020 campaign, along with the powerful fuel of wide recognition that Bernie Sanders has not bent to the winds of expediency. That goes a long way toward explaining the strength of his current campaign.

      Sanders has retained the enthusiastic support of a big majority of his delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Last winter, when more than 400 of those delegates participated in a vote on whether to revive the independent Bernie Delegates Network, 95 percent said yes. (I’m a coordinator of the relaunched network.)

      Unlike his “evolving” rivals who have blown hither and yon with political gusts, Sanders is not a wind sock. During 38 years as an elected official, he has remained part of progressive social movements to change the direction of prevailing winds. That orientation continues to inform his approach to elections.

    • Green Party already celebrating ‘biggest election night in our history’

      The Green Party is this morning celebrating the biggest election night in its history, and looking forward to a day of further big advances across the country.

      The Greens are represented on 16 new councils, and representation has grown significantly in many areas where we were already represented.

      As of 9.30am, Greens had won 42 new seats, a fivefold increase in the final gains in the comparable elections four years ago with the majority of results still to come in.

      Jonathan Bartley, Green Party co-leader, said: “This is the biggest election night in our history. Greens are winning right across the country, and taking seats from a wide range of other parties.

      “The Green message is clearly taking hold and can win anywhere.

      “This is the product of a huge amount of hard work by many brilliant members and supporters around the country, but also many voters are converting themselves to be Greens.

      “Voters see that we need a new kind of politics, one that recognises the huge imperative of acting on climate change, but also the social emergency that is creating misery and suffering in communities across the country.

    • UK climate emergency is official policy

      The United Kingdom has taken a potentially momentous policy decision: it says there is a UK climate emergency.

      On 1 May British members of Parliament (MPs) became the world’s first national legislature to declare a formal climate and environment emergency, saying they hoped they could work with like-minded countries across the world to take action to avoid more than 1.5°C of global warming.

      No-one yet knows what will be the practical result of the resolution proposed by Jeremy Corbyn, the Opposition Labour leader, but UK politicians were under pressure to act following a series of high-profile strikes by school students in recent months and demonstrations by a new climate protest organisation, Extinction Rebellion (XR), whose supporters closed roads in the centre of London for a week.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Canadian Billionaire Sues Twitter For Nasty Things Twitter Users Said About Him

      From this, it’s clear Giustra is trying to hold Twitter directly responsible for users’ tweets. This is being done despite Twitter taking action to remove some of the tweets Giustra reported to Twitter. This legal attack gets everything backwards, but presumably it won’t matter because it’s been filed in Canada, rather than in the United States.

      Thanks to the Equustek decision — one that said Canadian court injunctions against American tech companies should be enforced worldwide — social media companies are much more inviting targets for aggrieved Canadians. Giustra can claim Twitter published these statements because Canadian courts are more than willing to erase the line between third parties and the platforms hosting user-generated content. If a Canadian ruling applies everywhere, Section 230 immunity is simply ignored.

      Giustra and his legal representation have admitted Twitter isn’t the right target for this lawsuit — just the most convenient one.

    • West Van billionaire sues Twitter for defamatio

      West Vancouver billionaire and philanthropist Frank Giustra is suing Twitter, claiming the social media giant published defamatory statements about him.

      Giustra, the CEO of Fiore Group and founder of Lionsgate Entertainment, has filed a civil claim in Vancouver Supreme Court this week, saying he has been targeted since 2015 by a group who “vilified” him for political purposes in relation to the 2016 United States election.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Latest ODNI Transparency Report Shows Steep Spike In Unmasking Requests For US Person Caught In NSA Collections

      The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has released the 2018 Transparency Report [PDF]. In it, the ODNI covers the government’s multiple surveillance programs, detailing (but with a minimum of detail) how much intelligence we’re collecting under which authorities.

      It’s far from perfect but it’s also far more than we had prior to the Snowden leaks. Transparency was forced on the Intelligence Community following Snowden’s whistleblowing. It’s still an uncomfortable fit for No Such Agency and the agencies benefiting from its data and communication collections.

      Even though the NSA’s Section 215 program appears to be on the ropes, plenty of other info, data, and communications were gathered under other authorities. Some of the data provided in the report suggests intelligence collection efforts are becoming more efficient.

      National Security Letters (NSLs), the self-issued demands for info favored by the FBI, are experiencing a downturn in use. Some of this may be due to the government now having to justify the indefinite gag orders attached to every NSL. It’s definitely made it a lot less fun to use, seeing as most major tech companies are routinely challenging the secrecy demands attached to this paperwork.

    • CBP, ICE Have No Idea If Their Thousands Of Warrantless Device Searches Are Actually Making The Country Safer

      An ongoing lawsuit by the EFF and ACLU challenging warrantless device searches at the border has uncovered some disturbing news. The CBP and ICE have guidelines that govern these searches but they’re so expansive they allow these agencies to search any device for almost any reason. We know this because it came straight from the agencies in their testimony during this case.

      The government has long argued — mostly successfully — that the our rights as Americans (and those we extend to those entering our country) simply don’t apply at the border. Why? The best the government can offer is that national security trumps the Constitution within 100 miles of any border, port, or international airport. Securing the nation apparently can’t be done without violating rights, so rights will just have to be violated.

      The CBP has been searching devices with increasing frequency over the past couple of years, providing plenty of ammo for court challenges. Unfortunately, none have been successful. But maybe this damning testimony showing the government granting itself all sorts of leeway might finally result in some restoration of our rights at our borders. The many details of border search policies are detailed in the EFF/ACLU’s motion for summary judgment [PDF], asking the court to side with Americans and their rights, rather than exaggerated claims about the insecurity of our nation.

    • Slavery 2.0 and how to avoid it: a practical guide for cyborgs

      You are most likely a cyborg and you don’t even know it.

      Do you have a smartphone?

      You’re a cyborg.

      Do you use a computer? Or the web?

      Cyborg!

      More generally, if you use digital and networked technology today, you are a cyborg. You don’t have to implant yourself with microchips. You don’t have to resemble Robocop. You are a cyborg because you extend your biological abilities using technology.

      Reading that definition, you might take pause: “But wait, human beings have been doing that for far longer than digital technology has existed”. And you’d be right.

      We were cyborgs long before the first bug crawled into the first vacuum tube of the first mainframe computer.

      The caveman brandishing a spear and lighting a fire was the original cyborg. Galileo gazing into the heavens with his telescope was both a Renaissance man and a cyborg. When you pop in your contact lenses in the morning, you’re a cyborg.

    • Media Alert: Court Hearing Monday for Redditor Fighting to Stay Anonymous

      Religious Organization Tries to Use Abusive Copyright Claim to Unmask Online Speaker
      San Francisco – On Monday, May 6 at 11am, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will argue that a San Francisco court should quash a subpoena from the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society aimed at getting the identity of an anonymous Reddit commenter.

      Watch Tower is the supervising body and publisher of all religious doctrines for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. EFF’s client is a lifelong member of the Jehovah’s Witness community, and has used the handle “darkspilver” to share comments and spark discussion about the religious organization in one of Reddit’s online discussion groups. Watch Tower subpoenaed Reddit for information on darkspilver earlier this year, claiming it was part of a potential copyright lawsuit over material shared in the Reddit group.

    • Facebook’s Zuckerberg Preaches Privacy, But Evidence Is Elusive [iophk: "end-to-end would mean that #FB would not have the keys or the software; they do; that is not end-to-end;"]
    • Gmail’s automated spam-filtering is making it much harder to run an independent mail-server

      Email is one of the last federated systems in widespread use on the internet. That fact is why newsletters are on the rise: using email to convey your message means “you don’t have to fight an algorithm to reach your audience.” But now you do.

    • DuckDuckGo wrote a bill to stop advertisers from tracking you online

      Now, an old answer to that problem is making a surprise comeback, drawing on years of nearly discarded work. Today, DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg is mounting a new campaign to revive the Do Not Track standard, a privacy system first introduced 10 years ago and largely abandoned by the industry in the years since. Weinberg has developed a draft bill titled The Do-Not-Track Act of 2019, which is aimed at giving the Do Not Track standard a legal force it’s never had before. As he sees it, it’s the easiest single step to undo the tangle of online advertising.

    • Hundreds of Facebook employees partied at a luxury hotel after announcing a big new redesign of the social network
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • A Louisiana Court Is Trying to Silence Black Lives Matter’s DeRay Mckesson

      The issue of whether organizers can be charged with incitement of violence is a hot-button issue these days, because the president of the United States regularly incites violence and faces zero legal consequences for his actions. Donald Trump encourages violence against sitting members of Congress, and the law doesn’t come for him. Twitter won’t even come for him. Twitter, which is under no obligation to protect a person’s First Amendment rights, says it won’t stop white nationalists from using its platform, because it would have to ban too many Republicans.

    • Tommy Robinson has milkshake thrown over him for second time in two days

      Police are investigating an incident where Tommy Robinson had a milkshake thrown over him for the second time in two days.

      The English Defence League (EDL) founder was in Warrington as part of his campaign to become an independent MEP for north-west England.

      Footage showed him talking to a man holding a McDonald’s milkshake before the man upended the drink on his head.

      Robinson appeared to throw several punches at the man, who was held in place by supporters who have been helping his European elections campaign.

      The person who filmed the incident can be heard saying: “That’s what you get for being a fascist, you f***ing massive prick.”

    • Man City keeper Ederson distances himself from Tommy Robinson after photo with anti-Islam activist

      Manchester City’s Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson Moraes has been forced to distance himself from the far-right political leader Tommy Robinson, after the pair were seen arm-in-arm in a photograph.

      Ederson, who signed for champions Manchester City two years ago for a then-world record fee for a goalkeeper, says he “had no idea who he [Robinson] was” when he posed for the picture.

      The two were seen together on a residential street in a photograph shared on Twitter by Danny Tommo, an aide to Robinson. Tommo wrote that it showed “Tommy Robinson meeting city’s golden boy @edersonmoraes93 last night, has his full support while in Manchester”. The post has received around two thousand interactions.

    • Washington State Supreme Court Tries, Fails To Protect The Rights Of The State’s Residents

      The issue before the court should have been a foregone conclusion, but the court’s headcount helped prevent that from happening.

      Here’s the question: is a citizen obligated to grant the government access to their residence in the absence of warrant? The answer should obviously be, “No.” It certainly shouldn’t be obstruction charges. It’s not that there aren’t exceptions to the warrant requirement. It’s whether or not citizens have a legal duty to assist officers with their warrantless entry.

      The officers definitely had a legitimate exception at their disposal. A report of possible domestic violence gives officers all the permission they need for a warrantless entry under the community caretaking function. Entering the apartment to ensure any possible victims weren’t in need of medical care or other assistance is justifiable. McLemore, however, refused to allow the officers to enter without a warrant.

    • Man Wins Legal Battle Over Traffic Ticket By Convincing Court A Hash Brown Is Not A Phone

      Readers here will know that we rather enjoy when an ordinary person takes extraordinary steps to clap back against government intrusions over speech and technology. A recent example of this was a Canadian man routing around a years-long battle with his government over a vanity license plate for his last name, which happens to be Assman. One thing to note on the technology side of the equation is that as legislation seeks more and more to demonize anything to do with technology, even in some cases rightly, it causes those enforcing the laws to engage in ridiculous behavior.

      For example, one man in Connecticut has only just won a legal battle that lasted over a year, and cost him far more than the $300 traffic ticket he’d been given, by convincing a court that a McDonald’s hash brown is not in fact a smart phone. This, I acknowledge, may require some explanation.

    • A Russian high schooler sold T-shirts to start a conversation about the Columbine shooting. He came home to a conversation with the police.

      Nikita Dmitriev already stood out from his high school classmates in Novosibirsk. The young man, whose name was changed for an April 26 story published in Mediazona, has strong ties to Russia’s contemporary art scene and founded his own fashion brand, “Provokatsia” (“Provokation”), a year ago. The brand’s latest collection, however, has not produced the kind of attention the young artist hoped for.

    • Barr Made Trump Proud. The Rest of Us Got Screwed, Again.

      “Mr. Barr,” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) said to the attorney general during Wednesday’s breathtaking Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, “now the American people know that you are no different from Rudy Giuliani or Kellyanne Conway or any of other people who sacrifice their once-decent reputation for the grifter and liar who sits in the Oval Office.”

      One may properly wince at Senator Hirono’s use of the words “decent reputation” while referencing Giuliani or Conway, but her overarching point landed with a meaty thump.

      Comprehensive reputational defenestration is hardly a new phenomenon in the Trump White House. Tom Price, Michael Flynn, Ryan Zinke, Kelly Sadler, Sean Spicer, Kirstjen Nielsen, Andrew McCabe, Rex Tillerson, Anthony Scaramucci, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, David Shulkin, David Sorensen and many others know all about it. Some are gone, some remain, most didn’t have sterling reputations before they walked in the door, but all of them will live out their years stained to the quick by their association with this administration.

      Attorney General William Barr received a luxurious massage from the mainstream press when he replaced Jefferson Beauregard Chickamauga Miscegenation Shiloh Forrest Sessions III. “Institutionalist,” they named him. Barr will follow the rules, they declared.

      Not, as it turns out, so much. In retrospect (and if you read Truthout), there is little to be surprised about here.

      During his first stint as attorney general, Barr helped George H.W. Bush, Oliver North and the other Iran/Contra scoundrels elude justice. He wrote a report summary for Congress about the legalities of the Panama invasion that was many degrees south of the truth (sound familiar?). Toward the end of his tenure, he oversaw a detention program that sent around 12,000 Haitian asylum seekers to Guantánamo Bay. The program was shut down after 18 months by a federal judge who labeled the place an unconstitutional “HIV prison camp.”

    • Barr Skips House Hearing; Pelosi Accuses Him of Lying

      Attorney General William Barr skipped a House hearing Thursday on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia report, escalating an already acrimonious battle between Democrats and President Donald Trump’s Justice Department. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Barr had already lied to Congress in other testimony and called that a “crime.”

      Barr’s decision to avoid the hearing, made after a disagreement with the House Judiciary Committee over questioning, came the day after the department also missed the committee’s deadline to provide it with a full, unredacted version of Mueller’s report and its underlying evidence. In all, it’s likely to prompt a vote on holding Barr in contempt and possibly the issuance of subpoenas, bringing House Democrats and the Trump administration closer to a prolonged battle in court.

      Democrats convened a short hearing that included an empty chair with a place card set for Barr. Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York said that if the attorney general doesn’t provide the committee “with the information it demands and the respect that it deserves, Mr. Barr’s moment of accountability will come soon enough.”

    • Attorney General Barr Says ICE Has Power to Lock Up Asylum Seekers Without Hearings.

      The Constitution does not allow the government to lock people up without due process of law.
      Today the ACLU, the ACLU of Washington, the American Immigration Council, and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project launched a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s latest assault on people who have come to the United States to seek refuge from persecution: jailing asylum seekers without even allowing a judge to decide if there’s any reason to lock them up. Attorney General William Barr’s recent decision in Matter of M-S- seeks to eliminate this basic form of due process and puts thousands of asylum seekers at risk of being wrongfully imprisoned.

      M-S- specifically applies to individuals who enter the United States without documents and are apprehended by the authorities soon after they cross the border. Under the immigration laws, those individuals can be deported immediately—unless an asylum officer finds, after an interview, that they have a “credible fear” of persecution or torture, meaning there is a “significant possibility” that they legally qualify for asylum. Asylum seekers who pass this screening will then move on to a hearing on their asylum claims in immigration court.

    • ‘The Statue of Liberty Is Not a Toll Booth’: Outrage as Trump Moves to Impose Fees on Asylum Seekers

      In a move immigrant rights groups decried as the White House’s latest inhumane attack on those fleeing violence and persecution, President Donald Trump late Monday ordered sweeping changes to the U.S. asylum system, including restriction of work permits and a fee for asylum applications.

      “Once again, he’s hell bent on persecuting the most vulnerable and gives access to lifesaving refuge only to those who can afford it,” tweeted advocacy group Voto Latino.

      [...]

      Michelle Brané, director of migrant rights and justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission, told the New York Times that the president’s new directive would turn “asylum on its head.”

      “The entire idea of asylum is that it’s something that you need because you are fleeing some sort of violence or persecution, and to then say that it’s only accessible to people who can pay a fee doesn’t make sense,” said Brané.

  • DRM

    • Apple Is Telling Lawmakers People Will Hurt Themselves if They Try to Fix iPhones

      In recent weeks, an Apple representative and a lobbyist for CompTIA, a trade organization that represents big tech companies, have been privately meeting with legislators in California to encourage them to kill legislation that would make it easier for consumers to repair their electronics, Motherboard has learned.

      According to two sources in the California State Assembly, the lobbyists have met with members of the Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee, which is set to hold a hearing on the bill Tuesday afternoon. The lobbyists brought an iPhone to the meetings and showed lawmakers and their legislative aides the internal components of the phone. The lobbyists said that if improperly disassembled, consumers who are trying to fix their own iPhone could hurt themselves by puncturing the lithium-ion battery, the sources, who Motherboard is not naming because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. v. 10X Genomics, Inc. (D. Del. 2019)

      Applying the Mayo/Alice framework to the asserted patents, Judge Andrews agreed with Bio-Rad, finding that “[t]he Asserted Patents claim methods and an assembly designed to reduce contamination when handling samples,” and that 10X Genomics’ argument that the claims are directed to the natural phenomenon of allowing two different liquids of different densities to separate from each other “improperly oversimplifies the claims by reducing them to a single claim element.” Judge Andrews explained that “[w]hile the claims certainly utilize the separation of liquids with different densities to effect the desired outcome, this is insufficient to determine that the claims are wholly directed to a patent ineligible concept,” adding that “here, ‘[t]he end result of the [] claims is not simply an observation or detection of the ability’ of liquids to separate by density” (quoting Rapid Lit. Mgmt. Ltd. v. CellzDirect, Inc., 827 F.3d 1042, 1048 (Fed. Cir. 2016)). Judge Andrews noted that “[t]he Federal Circuit has continued to endorse this distinction in recent cases” citing as examples the Federal Circuit’s decisions in Athena Diagnostics, Inc. v. Mayo Collaborative Servs., LLC and Endo Pharms., Inc. v. Teva Pharms. USA, Inc. Finding that the recited steps and assembly of the asserted claims achieve an improved way of handling samples that reduces the sample contamination that would otherwise occur, Judge Andrews determined that the asserted patents are not directed to patent-ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

      Judge Andrews also denied 10X Genomics’ motion to dismiss and/or strike portions of Bio-Rad’s prayer for relief, finding that “Plaintiff’s complaint merely preserves a broad range of potential remedies by requesting relief that could be granted, depending on the facts as ultimately proven.” Judge Andrews therefore denied 10X Genomics’ motion to dismiss and/or strike.

    • DOJ urges Judge Koh to order additional briefing and hold hearing on remedies in FTC v. Qualcomm if liability is established

      Yesterday evening the United States Department of Justice filed a statement in Federal Trade Commission v. Qualcomm that is reflective of some internal division within the federal government with respect to standard-essential patent (SEP) enforcement and of a certain network of Qualcomm-aligned government officials (in this case, a former partner of a law firm that represented Qualcomm in connection with the two most important potential transactions in its history). It’s a bit strange when government officials take their disagreements to court, even if only in the form of filing a statement of interest that I’ll talk about in a moment.

      While I guess I’m the most staunchly pro-Trump IP and tech policy blogger and frequently defend, especially on social media, the President’s and his Administration’s unorthodox approach to problems that multiple Democratic and Republican predecessors failed to address effectively by conventional means, there are some undeniable problems concerning the federal government’s approach to IP and antitrust issues. I particularly disagree with efforts by USPTO Director Andrei Iancu to weaken the highly important Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and to draw the wrong conclusions from the Supreme Court’s Alice opinion, and with pretty much everything that Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim says about SEP enforcement, especially a completely absurd threat against standard-setting organizations that merely seek to promote patent peace and to give FRAND meaning.

    • Fromer: Machines as Keepers of Trade Secrets

      I really enjoyed Jeanne Fromer’s new article, Machines as the New Oompa-Loompas: Trade Secrecy, the Cloud, Machine Learning, and Automation, forthcoming in the N.Y.U. Law Review and available on SSRN. I think Professor Fromer has an important insight that more use of machines in businesses, including but not limited to increasing automation (i.e. using machines as the source of labor rather than humans), has made it easier for companies to preserve the trade secrecy of their information. Secrecy is not only more technologically possible, Fromer argues, but the chances that information will spill out of the firm are reduced, since human employees are less likely to leave and transfer the information to competitors, either illegally in the form of trade secret misappropriation or legally in the form of unprotectable “general knowledge, skill, and experience.”

      Professor Fromer’s main take-home is that we should be a little worried about this situation, especially when seen in light of Fromer’s prior work on the crucial disclosure function of patents. Whereas patents (in theory at least) put useful information into the public domain through the disclosures collected in patent specifications, trade secret law does the opposite, providing potentially indefinite protection for information kept in secret. Fromer’s insight about growing use of machines as alternatives to humans provides a new reason to worry about the impact of trade secrecy, which does not require disclosure and potentially lasts forever, for follow-on innovation and competition.

    • Trademarks

      • “AGING BACKWARDS” for fitness-related goods and services? Insufficiently distinctive, says EUIPO Fourth Board of Appeal

        Can the phrase “AGING BACKWARDS” be regarded as sufficiently distinctive, when used for fitness-related goods and services? The EUIPO Fourth Board of Appeal recently answered this in the negative in a decision handed down a few days ago.

        [...]

        The examiner rejected the application on grounds that the sign would be devoid of distinctive character as per Article 7(1)(b) of Regulation 2017/1001 (EU Trade Mark Regulation (EUTMR)). In particular, by taking the sign as a whole, it would simply be perceived as a laudatory slogan indicating that the relevant goods and services would help customers obtain rejuvenating effects (i.e. to age backwards). The examiner also observed that the wording in question is commonly used in the EU in relation to fitness, health, diet and well-being.

      • Everything is awesome: Lego blocks “Lepin” trade mark registration

        In February 2019, LEGO successfully invalidated an application for a UK trade mark featuring the word “LEPIN”. The mark was filed by Shantou Chenghai District Longjun Toys Factory Co., Ltd. The Toy Factory Co had filed a trade mark application for a square figurative mark that incorporated two Chinese characters and the word “LEPIN”. In the proceedings, LEGO demonstrated the practical steps it takes to ensure its brand value is not damaged or diluted by pretenders.

        The application for the mark included a specification for: Toys; Building blocks [toys]; Doll’s houses; Dolls’ rooms; Toy vehicles; Radio controlled toy vehicles; Toy models; Jigsaw puzzles; Controllers for toys and Toy robots in class 28. The mark was registered on 1 September 2017.

        On 6 February, LEGO Juris A/S (“Lego”) applied to have the mark declared invalid under section 47(2) of the Trade Marks Act 1994 (the “Act”)on the basis that it was registered contrary to sections 5(2)(b), 5(3) and 5(4)(a). The grounds under sections 5(2)(b) and 5(3) were based on the well-known EUTM. Under section 5(4)(a), Lego claimed that its reputation and goodwill entitled it to prevent the use of the LEPIN mark under the law of passing off.

        [...]

        LEGO displayed its comprehensive approach to brand protection in these proceedings. It submitted evidence from three individuals and provided significant financial information, a variety of visual evidence and records from its customer service department.

        This serves as a good lesson for any brand looking for practical steps to take to protect its brand. A thorough record keeping protocol can become a valuable tool for IP infringement, opposition or invalidity proceedings. LEGO was able to display goodwill, confusion and dilution all through evidence and test purchases were even made of Lepin products from a UK seller. It is notable that one of the comments from customers, which was used as a reference point for confusion, was from 2016. This shows a diligent level of record keeping by LEGO, retaining evidence for years before use.

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA and RIAA’s Megaupload Lawsuits Remain ‘Frozen’

        Once again, a federal court in Virginia has granted Megaupload’s request to place the cases filed by the RIAA and MPAA on hold for another six months. The lawsuits have been frozen for several years now, and it may take many more, as progress in the criminal case against the defunct file-sharing service is slow.

      • YouTube “Very Concerned” About Article 13, Mulls Copyright Claim Tweaks

        Following the historic passing of the new EU Copyright Directive, YouTube is now looking to the future. While expressing concern surrounding unintended consequences, the company is urging supporters not to give up the fight. Meanwhile, YouTube says it’s also looking into the small and incidental use of copyrighted content that can trigger annoying manual claims from copyright holders.

      • AG Szpunar advises CJEU to rule that copyright protection in designs simply arises when they are original

        At what conditions can a design be protected by copyright? Is it compatible with EU law that a certain national law requires a design to be a ‘work of art’, an ‘artistic creation’ for copyright to vest in it?

        As IPKat readers may know, this is a question that – prima facie – might seem easy to answer (see Article 17 of the Design Directive) but that – substantially and because of earlier decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), notably the one in Flos – is not so straightforward.

        In Flos, in fact, the CJEU held that EU law prohibits Member States from denying copyright protection to designs that meet the requirements for copyright protection – including designs other than registered ones (subject to Article 17) – and suggested (although rather ambiguously) that Member States cannot set any particular requirements as to how protection is achieved.

        In this sense, the implication may be that – if a design is eligible for protection under the InfoSoc Directive and is, as such, original in the sense clarified by the CJEU – then Member States cannot deny such protection.

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