The Campaign to Oust Linus Torvalds and Other Microsoft Critics at the ‘Linux’ Foundation

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Novell at 2:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft would rather have its longtime friend, Greg (from Novell), in charge of Linux

From LinuxCon & CloudOpen North America in New Orleans, LA. A roundtable discussion on the Linux Kernel from maintainers Tejun Heo, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Sarah Sharp and Linus Torvalds. The session is moderated by Ric Wheeler.
Source with context (video)

Summary: Things aren’t too rosy at the ‘Linux’ Foundation where Linus Torvalds is increasingly being marginalised (thanks in part to Microsoft-friendly media) and propped up to replace him are those who worked on Hyper-V (proprietary software for Windows) and similar Microsoft-centric projects at the Microsoft-occupied Novell

FAMILIAR tactics necessitate familiar reactions and responses. The corporate media keeps shaming Torvalds for exercising free speech while ignoring much worse words from Microsoft executives including Bill Gates (who bribes the media to paint himself as a Saint). Is there a well-planned strategy here? Just earlier today we wrote about Microsoft ousting critics by embarrassing them in front of their employers (or blackmailing the employers into firing them).

“This is Greg K-H (Kroah-Hartman) almost inviting Microsoft. He has been attacking various GNU/Linux vendors but not Microsoft.”Over the past decade or more Slashdot hasn’t been a friend of Linux (it was partly composed by Microsoft boosters) and we’re noticing a pattern there. Yesterday it said something about a Microsoft move “which if approved would allow Microsoft to tap into private behind-the-scenes chatter about vulnerabilities, patches, and ongoing security issues with the open-source kernel and related code…”

This is Greg K-H (Kroah-Hartman) almost inviting Microsoft. He has been attacking various GNU/Linux vendors but not Microsoft. We’ve mentioned this in our daily links after several articles about the matter, notably The Register’s and Slashdot’s (which links to it). In the Fediverse someone told me: “A glance at the changelog for the 5.0.15 Linux kernel is peppered with his sign-offs, often along with Greg Kroah-Hartman, a fellow at the Linux Foundation. It was therefore not surprising to see Kroah-Hartman vouch for Levin. Kroah-Hartman pointed out that Levin has full write permissions to the stable kernel trees, and applauded Microsoft’s application to sign up.”

“So GKH has ‘non-existent tolerance for #ZFS’ (licensed under a free licence!) but he’ll clap for Microsoft?”

He worked for Novell on Microsoft stuff, such as Hyper-V (proprietary software for Windows). He’s potentially trouble for reasons that we last covered some days ago. As one comment put it [1, 2]: “You’re assuming Microsoft has good intentions. Instead, they’ve decided it’s easier to suck the marrow from the bones if they can sneak inside the host under a flag of truce, like many other common parasites.”

A quick Google search shows that coverage has been mostly limited to the above sites and some readers wrote to us about it (after we had filed it under openwashing and chose to move on rather than dwell on character assassinations).

This was discussed yesterday in our IRC channels, as well. To quote a portion:

<__martin__> greetings, do you dr. roy think it’s meant to be a warm-hearted effort or eee smear tactic?
<MinceR> why do people still expect anything microsoft ever does to be benign?
<MinceR> i guess words speak louder than actions after all
<XRevan86> MinceR: It’s big. Inate trust in the authority.
<MinceR> who made those criminals an authority?
<XRevan86> * innate
<schestowitz> anyway, see the comments in The Register
<__martin__> cite: Just more infiltration, entryism. They try to sell Windows and Azure. See comments on this article, e.g.: “You’re assuming #Microsoft has good intentions. Instead, they’ve decided it’s easier to suck the marrow from the bones if they can sneak inside the host under a flag of truce, like many other common parasites.”
<schestowitz> I saw some yesterday
<__martin__> thx I see now (=
<XRevan86> MinceR: Money, money, money; always sunny, in the rich man’s world.
<schestowitz> people aren’t stupid
<schestowitz> but companies like Red Hat and Canonical are controlled by Microsoft cash now
<schestowitz> Zemlin PAC also
<schestowitz> Azure money and all

Curiously enough Slashdot decided to cover ‘news’ from one week ago. Hours ago it published “Tech Press Rushes To Cover New Linus Torvalds Mailing List Outburst” (that’s exactly what Slashdot does here as well, it’s “by EditorDavid”). Torvalds publicly complained that his interviews are being nitpicked by the likes of Slashdot for something insulting or ‘scandalous’ that he said (because such headlines ‘sell’).

Is this part of the effort to remove Torvalds? Look who wrote the two cited articles (the only ones we saw); they’re Microsoft boosters. Are they trying to sanitise the Linux Foundation for corporations like Microsoft, getting rid of charismatic people who simply, after provocation, say that unwanted code (for technical reasons) is like cow’s feces?

If that’s the intention, this isn’t a new strategy; but now with the CoC there’s more ammo with which to shame and even scare Torvalds. They try to lower his impact.

From Slashdot (this afternoon):

“The thing is,” reports the Register, “crucially, Chinner was talking in the context of specific IO requests that just don’t cache well, and noted that these inefficiencies could become more obvious as the deployment of PCIe 4.0-connected non-volatile storage memory spreads.”

Here’s how Chinner responded to Torvalds on the mailing list. “You’ve taken one single statement I made from a huge email about complexities in dealing with IO concurrency, the page cache and architectural flaws in the existing code, quoted it out of context, fabricated a completely new context and started ranting about how I know nothing about how caches or the page cache work.”

The Register notes their conversation also illustrates a crucial difference from closed-source software development. “[D]ue to the open nature of the Linux kernel, Linus’s rows and spats play out in public for everyone to see, and vultures like us to write up about.”

It’s very much slanted against Torvalds and so are the comments. The cited articles are from Linux bashers (with history to that effect). So Torvalds is bad because he mentioned poo, unlike Microsoft putting “boobs” inside the kernel (yes, Linux) — not even a sackable offense by Microsoft's exceptionally sexist standards.

“The LF case is very important,” one person told us. “I think it has driven home the problem of entryism. However, while all that was/is happening, the various FOSS projects are tied up with CoC fiascos.”

We recently mentioned Richard Stallman being silenced similarly [1, 2].

EPO Staff, Lawyers and Courts Are Growing Tired of the Debased Patent Office and Administrative Council

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They all know they’re being lied to in so-called ‘reports’ and ‘studies’

Skeleton Study/Pile of 'reports' and 'studies'

Summary: The realisation that the EPO isn’t performing well keeps spreading further and the EPO hasn’t evaded scrutiny even from past allies; something has got to change, but diplomatic immunity and lack of oversight from the Administrative Council (paid to turn a blind eye) may mean that in a lot of senses the EPO is already defunct or dead

THE latest daily links contain news about the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and outcomes from American courts such as the Federal Circuit, sometimes appeals of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs). We’ve left out all the rants from Watchtroll because they show borderline lunacy; those are attacks on the government, on judges, and on courts. 35 U.S.C. § 101 opponents are completely losing it. Nothing goes their way anymore. Almost nothing. Even their relatively recent (in Senate about a month ago) stacked ‘hearings’ aren’t having any effect, just as we expected all along, so sites like Watchtroll now lean on the far right, hoping that relatively radical elements can somehow dismantle the courts. We promised to no longer focus on the USPTO and instead focus on the European Patent Office (EPO), where things are a lot worse because António Campinos promotes software patents in Europe, just like Battistelli. As expected, the Administrative Council is absolutely fine with it. Campinos gives away EPO money to keep it that way. We shall get to that in a moment.

“The patent office that used to be about science (rather than piggybacking the reputation of actual scientists in some annual ‘festival’) is turning to marketing and buzzwords.”Longtime readers are aware that half a decade ago EPO management blocked access to Techrights (in all branches) and a year later sent me several threatening letters, realising that blocking staff from reading truthful information wasn’t enough and that it was worth trying to frighten me, too. They later did the same thing to IP Kat and it worked, as we shall note later on in this long article. The sociopaths who run the Office evidently forgot that in a sense they represent Europe as a whole, so these tactics of theirs, which might be expected in a country like China or Russia, damage the EU’s reputation. As a hardcore supporter of the EU myself, these experiences weakened but did not obliterate my support for the EU. I still support the EU (and I oppose Brexit), so the way I look at it, correcting the EPO is part of the effort of repairing the EU and appeasing its worst critics.

I am not an opponent of patents. I am certainly not an opponent of patent examination and I could probably be an examiner myself. I am a strong proponent of good patent examination and strict limits on patent scope. Last weekend we mentioned patents on air and water as examples of bad patents. Such patents would serve almost nobody; they’re outright tyranny or a form societal feudalism (charging people to just breathe or drink water, the element of life).

It has been saddening to see that 5 years down the line and nearly 4,000 articles later the EPO isn’t quite repairing itself. Sure, some people have left and high-profile people like Kongstad have reportedly been fired. But those who replace them aren’t much better. Moreover, the policies remain more or less the same. Patent scope isn’t improving but only getting worse. The patent office that used to be about science (rather than piggybacking the reputation of actual scientists in some annual ‘festival’) is turning to marketing and buzzwords. It’s run by utterly clueless people whose career track record has more connections (nepotism, past employers) than technical substance. “Tribalism” best describes the culture of today’s high-level EPO management. It’s a clique.

A few days ago Isobel Finnie and Joanna Rowley (Haseltine Lake Kempner LLP) wrote about "hey hi", citing the UK-IPO and WIPO alongside the EPO (WIPR amplified them a lot throughout this conference, as did Bristows at IP Kat [1, 2]). To quote what Finnie and Rowley wrote in/through Mondaq:

On 1 February 2019 the UK IPO issued a notice that brings welcome news for biotech innovators wanting to use the services of the UK IPO. Searches on all UK initial patent filings in the biotech sector should be sped up, and for some applicants significant cost savings should be available in connection with subsequent European or PCT applications claiming priority from that UK patent filing.


Unfortunately, due to backlogs at the UK IPO, applicants in the field of biotech2023nology have had to wait longer than 6 months to receive the UK IPO’s search results. To tackle this backlog and to ensure that the UK IPO can continue to issue search reports quickly, the UK IPO announced on 1 February 2019 that they have signed a co operative searching agreement with the European Patent Office (EPO). Under this agreement, the EPO will perform 200-300 searches per year for UK applications relating to biotech inventions. The agreement will last for at least two years and is based on similar co-operation agreements which already exist between the EPO and other EPC contracting states including Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco and San Marino.

The EPO does not do the job it’s supposed to do (examination) properly, based on its own examiners, who are denied the time (or required capacity) because of corrupt management that’s cheating and faking ‘production’. Why would the UK-IPO want anything to do with this?

“The EPO does not do the job it’s supposed to do (examination) properly, based on its own examiners, who are denied the time (or required capacity) because of corrupt management that’s cheating and faking ‘production’.”A Haseltine Lake Kempner LLP colleague, Kirwin Lee, then wrote about “Blockchain Patentability In Europe And China” (spicing up patent applications with hype waves in order to get illegal software patents). To quote:

As blockchain is increasingly being recognised as a disruptive technology that could revolutionise a wide range of industries including finance, logistics, and data services, it continues to be one of the hottest topics in IP in 2019. Blockchain patenting is rapidly taking off in global economies such as China and the US, and the number of patent filings in this area is expected to grow at an exponential rate in the coming years.

To explore the implications of blockchain for patent applicants and stakeholders, the European Patent Office (EPO) held a blockchain patenting conference on 4 December 2018 at The Hague to discuss topics related to the challenges of searching blockchain and legal issues associated with blockchain, as well as how the EPO and other jurisdictions examine blockchain patent applications.

Having carefully read the above, as well as the IP Kat pieces (two parts from patent maximalists who took over the blog), we regret to say that things only get worse because 1) there’s an attempt to automate examination using inferior and unproven methods (marketed as “hey hi”); 2) qualified and experienced examiners aren’t being valued anymore and 3) abstract software patents are being disguised as “hey hi” or “blockchain” or whatever (many other hype waves and buzzwords). Yesterday in our daily links we showed a large law firm discussing how to twist software patents as “autonomous vehicles”. There are about a dozen such sound bites that the EPO nowadays uses to justify patents on algorithms; it just never uses the term “software patents” and the closest it gets to it is “computer-implemented”. They consciously avoid particular terms. As such…

Meanwhile we keep observing the pushback from European courts (nothing like the UPC because they’re national courts). Here’s Potter Clarkson LLP’s Sheena Linehan on the UK Supreme Court, which is rather strict about patents and has thrown out many European Patents lately. Does the EPO even pay attention to these decisions? Patent value or legal certainty will collapse if this goes on. It happened years ago in the US and as a result of that the number of lawsuits collapsed. Last year the number of granted US patents also decreased.

“Meanwhile we keep observing the pushback from European courts (nothing like the UPC because they’re national courts).”Sadly, the EPO isn’t interested in law, justice, and facts. Months ago the EPO only asked for feedback from patent maximalists (the form lacked an option for members of the public) and then, just before the weekend, it spreads this nonsense in relation to another survey: “Thank you to all who contributed! The European #Patent Register survey reveals a 93% satisfaction rate…”

That’s like a survey among wolves (regarding the rights of sheep). This was from Patent Information News (Issue 2 | 2019) (warning: epo.org link), which was first published about a week ago.

“That’s like a survey among wolves (regarding the rights of sheep).”Then came the so-called “four-year strategic plan”, which we mentioned the other day. The EPO’s plan was promoted by INPI and then retweeted by the EPO (“Le nouveau plan stratégique 2023 de l’ @EPOorg, récemment adopté, comprend 5 objectifs majeurs. Une présentation complète ici”). INPI and the EPO have many overlaps, including in their Twitter accounts. The same is true for EUIPO (for similar reasons).

Max Walters, a person who understands many of these matters, did a good piece about it and it was entitled “Lawyers urge EPO for quality as new plan branded “propaganda”” (even they aren’t buying it). To quote:

Lawyers who have regular dealings with the EPO are sceptical about the office’s four-year strategic plan – given its alleged focus on speed over quality – and call for more clarity over staff relations

The EPO says that granting patents in a timely manner and placing an increased focus on staff engagement will be its major policies for the next four years, though regular users of the system are unconvinced …

“Reportedly,” Kluwer Patent Blog said yesterday, “part of the AC meeting 26 and 27 June 2019 in Munich was dedicated to a discussion of the Staff Engagement Survey carried out by Willis Towers Watson, which was very negative for the EPO management. The communiqué of the AC meeting hasn’t yet been published. That will probably happen soon here.”

A commenter in Kluwer Patent Blog has meanwhile looked at the so-called ‘strategy’ and shared his/her findings:

The EPO’s Strategic Plan makes for grim reading. (https://www.epo.org/about-us/office/strategy.html)

Despite the attempts to obscure the true meaning of objectives with excessive use of “management speak”, certain points stand out even at a glance, as illustrated below.

STATEMENT: “Development plans will gradually increase the capabilities of staff under the new employment framework, by defining a policy to also enhance staff competencies and performance over the first ten years of their employment (five year contract + five year contract), with tailored training and development. Both contract renewal and a permanent employment offer will be subject to the application of transparent and objective criteria, such as individual performance, operational needs and long-term financial sustainability”.
TRANSLATION: In the future, the EPO will offer few, if any permanent contracts to examiners. It will also reduce overheads by minimising the number of experienced (for which read “expensive”) examiners.

STATEMENT: Staff members are represented at the EPO by staff representatives directly elected at local and central levels. In order to facilitate collective bargaining and build consensus, the framework in which the EPO management and these staff representatives interact will be reviewed to ensure efficiency and avoid the duplication of efforts.
TRANSLATION: We will pick a structure for interacting with staff representatives that makes it even harder for collective bargaining to have any perceivable impact upon our policies.

STATEMENT: The topics subject to discussion will be identified before the start of each calendar year to allow for sufficient preparation and increase the likelihood of achieving constructive outcomes that are acceptable to all stakeholders.
TRANSLATION: We want to be able to delay discussion of new policies until those policies have already become firmly established.

STATEMENT: The unions enjoy a significant level of recognition at the Office, which covers freedom of association, the right to call strikes, the right to call for a general assembly that can also be organised on Office premises, and access to communication channels such as in the intranet, noticeboards and leaflet distribution. To formalise the framework of relations between the Office and the unions, a memorandum of understanding will be discussed based on national and international best practices. Among other things, the right to strike will be revisited as part of the discussion.
TRANSLATION: We don’t like strikes and will try to further limit the circumstances under which they can be called.

STATEMENT: Finally, the Office aims to ensure that internal means of redress are a last resort, to avoid a proliferation of proceedings on the same topic, to encourage the withdrawal of appeals which have become irrelevant and to promote respect for the scope of the internal appeals system. The effectiveness of internal mechanisms of redress is an important condition for the Office’s immunity from jurisdiction and its operational independence.
TRANSLATION: We cannot believe that we actually lost some important cases at the ILO. To stop this happening again, we intend to pressure complainants into giving up before the ILO hears their cases.

STATEMENT: As the Office brings its backlog under control, the EPO will be more exposed to variations in demand. This calls for a more dynamic business model to ensure increased productivity and more effective management of incoming work.
Greater adaptability and flexibility among examiners and formalities officers will constitute a major element of this dynamic business model. It will therefore be crucial to identify emerging trends early, so that if a staff member needs to change technical field, proper training can be offered well in advance.
TRANSLATION: Short term contracts will become essential to making our workforce more flexible. Oh, and that old-fashioned idea of ensuring that applicants get their cases examined by someone who might understand the technology involved? Yeah, we’re not really too bothered about that any more. Allocation of examiners will be based more upon who happens to have spare capacity at the time.

I could go on … at great length. But the general message seems to be reduce overheads, pay lip service to quality, continue to turn a deaf ear to both internal and external complaints, and ensure that there are plenty of opportunities for jollies for management (and for tame regulators). Grim reading indeed!

Some of the latest comments here are revealing, yet European media refuses to debunk these lies of the EPO (refuted by the EPO’s own staff). Here’s another: “A step forward after forcing examiners to sit together in open space offices would be to have a lector of novels, like in Cuban cigar factories. Even better, in order to save money by removing the human reader, one could introduce modified radios which can only tune in on approved frequencies (like in North Korea): channel 1: Battistelli speeches, channel 2: Campinos speeches. Oh, we have such great times before us!”

“Some of the latest comments here are revealing, yet European media refuses to debunk these lies of the EPO (refuted by the EPO’s own staff).”Based on coverage from World Intellectual Property Review, it looks like the Battistelli methods are still in place. Will the EPO keep bribing nations and their NPOs (or NPO heads) to play along/participate in the illegal agenda of EPO management? Seems so.

Notice this “catalogue of cooperation projects”:

The European Patent Office (EPO) is to seek closer alignment with its member states, as well as other European and international institutions.

Yesterday, June 27, the EPO set out its Strategic Plan 2023 in which it identified strengthened cooperation with other patent bodies as a key objective.

The report said the EPO would put forward a new “catalogue of cooperation projects” with member states, aimed at simplifying IT infrastructure and promoting the convergence of practices between patent offices.

In the report, the EPO said it would propose a new funding structure for co-operation initiatives with member patent offices, whereby the EPO would provide 80% of the funding for such schemes. The remaining 20%, to be borne by the member states, could take the form of a “contribution in kind”.


EPO president António Campinos said the plan was a “clear vision of how we want our office to look in the future, and how we plan to achieve it”.

“We intend to be a more adaptable and agile organisation that can support inventors everywhere with improved and more responsive services,” he added.

The vision of the EPO (that its management has) is an illegal one; it involves lots of unqualified examiners, illegal and fake patents, as well as bonuses to those responsible for the corruption (cuts for the rest). To make matters worse, the EPO hopes to bypass courts and judges, in effect making a leapfrogging pipeline for litigation, not innovation.

“Small Software companies cannot afford to go to court or pay damages. Who is this software patent system for?”

“It makes the EPO come across as an enemy of science. Such an impression would not be incorrect.”This is Marco Schulze (Nightlabs Gmbh) quoted by Benjamin Henrion before the weekend because it was World SME Day. The EPO just doesn’t seem to care about SMEs; instead it exists to serve small- and medium-sized trolls. As we noted some months ago, the EPO made arrangements to collaborate with LESI. No kidding! The EPO is working with front groups of patent trolls and retweeted by EPO before the weekend were these three tweets [1, 2, 3] which congratulate trolls’ agenda. This was retweeted by EPO: “EBTC team attending a training session organised by the EPO @EPOorg and LES @LESIntl on “Succeeding at Technology Commercialisation and Negotiation” on 27th June 2019 in Basel, Switzerland…”

Also retweeted by EPO: “It is often a good idea to shift perspectives to get the full image. @EPOorg and @LESIntl workshop for tech commercialization for #SME .”

Not SMEs but trolls. Why does the EPO make it so obvious that it’s attacking Europe’s interests and liaising with patent trolls of the whole world? Does the EU need an EPO like this? No. It makes the EPO come across as an enemy of science. Such an impression would not be incorrect.

Microsoft Making Critics Unemployed (or Trying to)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft bullying

Summary: These cult-like tactics of Microsoft are some of the many reasons geeks don’t trust the company; this has not changed (they recently did this to me)

OVER the years we covered some examples and documented scenarios wherein employment was at risk because of criticism of Microsoft. The last example we gave was as recent as 9 days ago although the story was told 9 years late. The modus operandi is familiar; the employer receives threats from Microsoft and in turn threatens staff critical of Microsoft (or their spouses). Microsoft tried something similar on me. Here’s another new example (albeit told too late): “in about 2000, I wrote an open letter to NZ’s parliament about their ill-advised consumption of proprietary software… here’s the letter (thanks to archive.org): https://web.archive.org/web/20101027202539/http://openz.org/open_letter.php and here’s the list of 435 NZers who’d signed it at the time: https://web.archive.org/web/20101028012632/http://openz.org/co-signers.php?umsSession=81fbb5c109354d0d4e7adc47be1cd54b – one of them worked for local gov’t and told me that Microsoft NZ had contacted his boss and informed them that they would lose their right to use the “all-of-gov’t”… [] Microsoft agreement… if he didn’t get his name taken of the list (It’s possible others similarly manipulated. but as I didn’t know many of these co-signers personally, I didn’t hear of any more). The guy I knew was livid – there were actually insinuations from his boss at the council that he’d lose his job if he didn’t get his name scrubbed from the list… [] but it’s still on there… and he no longer works for gov’t.”

This is the corporate equivalent of doxing and it shows that Microsoft actively spies on critics with the intention of undermining them, destroying their lives.

Links 29/6/2019: EU Approves IBM-Red Hat, RC3 of FreeBSD 11.3

Posted in Site News at 9:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


  • Delphi RAD tool (remember that?) gets support for Linux desktop apps – again

    Hands On Texas software house Embarcadero Technologies has said it will license FmxLinux for Delphi, allowing developers to compile desktop applications for 64-bit Linux. FmxLinux is a toolchain for compiling Linux desktop applications using Embarcadero’s Linux compiler for Delphi, which is also part of the RAD Studio bundle. FmxLinux was developed by a third party, Eugene Kryukov. It has been licensed under “a long term distribution agreement,” says Embarcadero’s Marco Cantu in the announcement this week. Embarcadero is a division of Idera Software. RAD Studio is already a cross-platform development tool, with support for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. RAD Studio 10.2, released in 2017, included an LLVM-based Linux compiler for server applications, but not desktop. The new agreement completes the picture by adding desktop GUI (Graphical User Interface) applications.

  • EU approves IBM’s $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat

    The European Commission has unconditionally approved IBM’s $34 billion takeover of open-source software maker Red Hat. In a statement, the European Commission said that following an investigation, it concluded that the proposed deal “would raise no competition concerns”. Since IBM doesn’t stand among the top two companies in the cloud computing market, and isn’t dominant in any sector in which Red Hat is also present, there was no reason for regulators to believe that the merger would raise competition concerns. “During its investigation, the Commission assessed the impact of the proposed transaction on the markets for middleware and system infrastructure software, where the activities of IBM and Red Hat overlap,” the Commission said in its statement.

  • Long-term Device Use

    It seems to me that Android phones have recently passed the stage where hardware advances are well ahead of software bloat. This is the point that desktop PCs passed about 15 years ago and laptops passed about 8 years ago. For just over 15 years I’ve been avoiding buying desktop PCs, the hardware that organisations I work for throw out is good enough that I don’t need to. For the last 8 years I’ve been avoiding buying new laptops, instead buying refurbished or second hand ones which are more than adequate for my needs. Now it seems that Android phones have reached the same stage of development. 3 years ago I purchased my last phone, a Nexus 6P [1]. Then 18 months ago I got a Huawei Mate 9 as a warranty replacement [2] (I had swapped phones with my wife so the phone I was using which broke was less than a year old). The Nexus 6P had been working quite well for me until it stopped booting, but I was happy to have something a little newer and faster to replace it at no extra cost. Prior to the Nexus 6P I had a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for 1 year 9 months which was a personal record for owning a phone and not wanting to replace it. I was quite happy with the Note 3 until the day I fell on top of it and cracked the screen (it would have been ok if I had just dropped it). While the Note 3 still has my personal record for continuous phone use, the Nexus 6P/Huawei Mate 9 have the record for going without paying for a new phone. A few days ago when browsing the Kogan web site I saw a refurbished Mate 10 Pro on sale for about $380. That’s not much money (I usually have spent $500+ on each phone) and while the Mate 9 is still going strong the Mate 10 is a little faster and has more RAM. The extra RAM is important to me as I have problems with Android killing apps when I don’t want it to. Also the IP67 protection will be a handy feature. So that phone should be delivered to me soon. Some phones are getting ridiculously expensive nowadays (who wants to walk around with a $1000+ Pixel?) but it seems that the slightly lower end models are more than adequate and the older versions are still good.

  • Full Circle Magazine #146
  • Desktop

    • Linux computer seller System76 is having a massive summer sale

      Do you need a new laptop or desktop, but don’t know what to buy? Don’t worry; this is a pretty common dilemma. While you can, of course, look into a Mac or Windows 10 computer, you should consider Linux too. A computer running, say, Ubuntu, can be great for productivity, education, creation, and more. Best of all, many top-tier Linux programs, such as GIMP and LibreOffice are totally free. And yes, your favorite web browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome will run on Linux too. If you are open to the idea of buying a computer running a Linux-based operating system, you should definitely check out System76. Not only are its laptops and desktops of high quality, but its customer service is unrivaled. If you ever need help, you can contact an actual human being that is based in the USA. The support representatives aren’t just reading off a script either — these people are truly knowledgeable.

  • Server

    • How to explain service mesh in plain English

      In short, service mesh tools like Istio can reduce the operational burden of managing microservices-based applications, and in particular traffic between services, which could otherwise involve significant and often unsustainable manual work. As Red Hat CTO Chris Wright wrote earlier this year, “Alongside serverless, we see the service mesh concept taking off. A service mesh is essentially platform-level automation for creating the network connectivity required by microservices-based software architectures.” That’s a good, concise definition. We asked a variety of other IT leaders and practitioners to share their own clear-cut definitions to help boost your service mesh IQ, in part because it’s likely to come up in more discussions around containers, microservices, hybrid cloud, and other topics. Let’s start with some quick definitions:

    • How to write a sysadmin job description
  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • A Look At What’s On The Table For Linux 5.3 Features

      With the Linux 5.2 kernel due to be released in a few weeks and that marking the opening of the Linux 5.3 merge window, here is a look at some of the likely features coming to this next version of the Linux kernel. Based upon our close monitoring of the different “-next” Git branches of the Linux kernel and mailing lists, here is a look at what you’re likely to see merged with Linux 5.3 in July. Linux 5.3 will then debut as stable in September.

    • Systemd Now Allows Custom BPF Programs To Be Loaded On Cgroups

      Systemd now allows loading of custom BPF programs for network traffic filtering that are applied to all sockets created by processes of a given systemd unit. The motivation for this stems from a feature plan drawn up last year for having systemd install BPF (Berkeley Packet Filter) programs into cgroups. The benefit of this is associating a BPF program for IP filtering with a unit file so systemd can install them once a cgroup is setup.

    • Linux 5.3 To Support The $1,500 Wacom MobileStudio Pro Tablet

      In addition to the latest Wacom Intuos Pro Small drawing tablet to be supported by the Linux 5.3 kernel, the high-end (circa $1,500 USD) Wacom MobileStudio Pro tablet is also set to now be supported by this next kernel cycle. MobileStudio Pro support on Linux with the existing Wacom driver ended up being incredibly quite simple and just adding the new device IDs. That support is now queued into the “-next” branch ahead of the Linux 5.3 merge window opening in July. At $1,500, the Wacom MobileStudio Pro ends up being an actual premium tablet computer as opposed to just a drawing tablet device as is most Wacom products.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Waypipe Offers A Transparent Wayland Proxy For Running Programs Over The Network

        Waypipe is a transparent Wayland proxy and the latest of several different projects aiming to make it easy running Wayland clients over a network similar to X11′s capabilities. Waypipe runs both on the client system and the “server” system and takes up the job of emulating shared files on each end of the connection, parsing and forwarding of protocol messages, etc. Waypipe supports shared memory and DMA-BUF.

      • It’s Becoming Easier To Develop New Wayland Extensions For Mir

        The Mir 1.2 release was aiming to make it easier to develop Mir servers with custom Wayland extensions easier, but in dog feeding the work, Canonical’s long-time Mir developer Alan Griffiths realized some shortcomings in the experience.

  • Applications

    • Cook: package hardening asymptote

      On his blog, Kees Cook looks at some graphs of package hardening efforts in Ubuntu and Debian, noting that they have nearly completely flattened out over the last few years. He wonders what might be the next hardening feature on the horizon and speculates some on that: “What new compiler feature adoption could be measured? I think there are still a few good candidates… How about enabling -fstack-clash-protection (only in GCC, Clang still hasn’t implemented it). Or how about getting serious and using forward-edge Control Flow Integrity? (Clang has -fsanitize=cfi for general purpose function prototype based enforcement, and GCC has the more limited -fvtable-verify for C++ objects.) Where is backward-edge CFI? (Is everyone waiting for CET?)”

    • <16 Best Free Linux Chemistry Tools/a>

      Chemistry is the study of matter and the changes it undergoes. It is an extremely vivacious science which deals with a molecular scale and atomic interpretation of the world we live in, helping us to understand that world. Chemistry is regarded as the central science, given its close links with physics and engineering, with biology and medicine, and with geology and earth science. There are a number of different branches of chemistry. These include organic chemistry which studies the structure, properties, reactions, and composition of carbon-based compounds, and inorganic chemistry which deals with non-carbon compounds. Another important subdiscipline is physical chemistry which deals with the relations between the physical properties of substances and their chemical formations studying, in particular, atomic, subatomic, macroscopic, and particulate phenomena in chemical systems. Chemistry is found in many different areas including all spheres of industry, research, teaching, forensic science, public health and much more. Moreover, at a fundamental level we are all chemists. Each time we breathe, boil a kettle, or strike a match, a chemical reaction takes place. We develop and function as a consequence of chemical processes taking place in our body. Chemistry therefore plays a significant role in everyone’s lives. Science really prospers and advances when individuals share the results of their experiments with others in the scientific community. There is a certain logic that scientific software should therefore be released under an open source license. This article focuses on selecting the best open source software for chemistry. Hopefully there will be something for interest here for all budding chemists.

    • Proprietary

      • History Will Not Be Kind to Jony Ive

        But history will not be kind to Ive, to Apple, or to their design choices. While the company popularized the smartphone and minimalistic, sleek, gadget design, it also did things like create brand new screws designed to keep consumers from repairing their iPhones.

        Under Ive, Apple began gluing down batteries inside laptops and smartphones (rather than screwing them down) to shave off a fraction of a millimeter at the expense of repairability and sustainability.

      • Apple has a generational succession problem, and Jony Ive’s departure is the tip of the iceberg

        Jony Ive’s coming departure from Apple underscores the firm’s attempts to shift from hardware to software. [...]


    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Slimbook & Kubuntu – Combat Report 9

        My overall impression of the Slimbook and its Kubuntu Beaver operating system remains unchanged. I’m rather happy with my choice. That said, there are some glaring bugs and rather annoying niggles that should be fixed. It’s the kind of things that can really ruin the experience and harm the user’s loyalty long-term. Not being able to print (which usually happens when you DO need to), or having your phone connectivity not work are exactly the problems that block the adoption of Linux among ordinary folks. No one wants to put up with system errors, especially when other operating systems out there offer a more streamlined experience. I’m not saying Windows is flawless, but in general, I have fewer problems with my production Windows machines than with my Linux ones. Small things. But important things. Plasma is constantly getting better, but some of the improvements do need to trickle back into the LTS release, because having good features for five years is awesome, but having long-term bugs is dreadful. That would be all from yours humbly this time. Stay tuned for future chapters in this neverending adventure.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Zorin OS Review

        Zorin OS is an Ubuntu based Linux distribution. Zorin OS has one ultimate goal in mind of providing a Linux alternative to Windows users. Zorin OS is also a very good Linux distribution for people who are new to Linux. Zorin OS is fast, powerful, secure. Zorin OS also does not track your activities. Zorin OS respects your privacy.

    • New Releases

      • Project Trident 19.06 Available

        This is a significant package update for the repository, not just for applications, but also for some of the base system packages. There are a lot of changes from upstream FreeBSD and TrueOS in this release, from additional “-bootstrap” base packages to the renaming of the “zol” flavor of base packages to “nozfs”, as the “zol” version of the ZFS packages was also renamed to “openzfs”. In addition to this, a ton of the default settings from upstream TrueOS were changed. We have tried to track down and re-enable every setting which Project Trident needed from TrueOS, but if you find some functional regression (particularly when it comes to which kernel modules are loaded by default), please let us know so that we can track that down and re-enable any additional settings as needed.

    • Fedora

      • Update on EPEL-8 Status

        EPEL packages are built inside of the Fedora Projects’ build infrastructure. This is done by downloading the packages from Red Hat’s public Content Delivery Network (CDN), and then having the Fedora artifact build system (koji) use the release as an external build channel. Koji looks at packages in a different way than other build commands like ‘mock’ do. Where mock is meant to just build packages, koji is designed about auditing the entire lifecycle of a package. In other words, if you want to know how a package in Fedora 12 was built and all its children interacted over time in the buildroots… you can do that with enough work and the koji databases. With mock you have a couple of log files which tell you what was pulled into a buildroot but how those were built would require you finding their log files, etc etc. A developer can also download those packages and look at them to see what was in them and how they were built. The strength of koji is that you can have a credible chain of builds to know where things came from. However this doesn’t work too well with building packages for EPEL where koji doesn’t know where the RHEL kernel came from. Koji uses mergerepo to look at the external packages provided, determines the src.rpm they would come from and determines what the latest version it would use from each. From this it creates a ‘buildroot’ which it will use to build packages from. This has worked pretty well for building packages from RHEL-5,6, and 7. The major downside has been where someone built a package with the same src.rpm name which koji then decides is the master no matter if a newer version shows up in RHEL.

      • Fedora Community Blog: FPgM report: 2019-26
    • Debian Family

      • Diversity and inclusion in Debian: small actions and large impacts

        The Debian Project always has and always will welcome contributions from people who are willing to work on a constructive level with each other, without discrimination. The Diversity Statement and the Code of Conduct are genuinely important parts of our community, and over recent years some other things have been done to make it clear that they aren’t just words. One of those things is the creation of the Debian Diversity Team: it was announced in April 2019, although it had already been working for several months before as a welcoming space for, and a way of increasing visibility of, underrepresented groups within the Debian project.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

    • Devices/Embedded

    Free Software/Open Source

    • Killing four myths about open source in financial service

      Although historically competitive, financial firms have only just begun to adopt “open innovation” strategies akin to what other industries have done over the last two or three decades. But what exactly are they? To clear up the confusion, this approach really means to leverage open source technology and standards to lower costs and reduce time-to-market for products and services. It also leads to the attraction and retention of top talent. As a recent example, Goldman Sachs recently stated its plans to release proprietary code on GitHub, a web-based hosting service for software developers using this technology. However, many financial services decision-makers have yet to fully grasp the power of open source collaboration for their businesses. Financial institutions on both the buy- and sell-side still suffer from ingrained misconceptions about legal issues or compete-at-all-costs mindsets across their technology stacks. This can stifle a move to a more collaborative strategy that can lead to tangible, improved long-term results. Open source is a collaborative software development model whereby code is made publicly available and maintained by a decentralised community of developers. While its origins are rooted in individual passion, this technology has risen to a mainstream commercial business model. For example, today the size of open source database market is $2.6 billion, or 7.6% of the entire market according to Gartner. And trends continue to point to an unstoppable growth with the global open source services market estimated to be at $32.95 billion by 2022, according to MarketsAndMarkets.

    • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • Darren Hart | Sr Director / Open Source Technology Center At VMware

        In this interview, Darren Hart, Sr Director / Open Source Technology Center at VMware talks about how Open Source has democratized the development of new platforms.

      • Microsoft Seeks To Join the Official Linux-Distros Mailing List [Ed: See the comments here. People are not as foolish as Microsoft hoped, in spite of the expensive lying campaign of Microsoft.]
      • Microsoft is seeking to join Linux private security board [Ed: EEE. Classic EEE. Who welcomes it? The Novell facilitator of Microsoft, Greg K-H. Now in the "Linux" Foundation.]

        The application was made by Sasha Levin, and if approved would allow the Redmond giant to be part of private discussions on vulnerabilities and ongoing security issues. One of the criteria for membership is to have a Unix-like distro that makes use of open source components, and Levin mentioned Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 and Azure Sphere, which are still in public preview and slated for general availability in 2020.

    • BSD

      • FreeBSD 11.3-RC3 Now Available
        The third RC build of the 11.3-RELEASE release cycle is now available.
        Installation images are available for:
        o 11.3-RC3 amd64 GENERIC
        o 11.3-RC3 i386 GENERIC
        o 11.3-RC3 powerpc GENERIC
        o 11.3-RC3 powerpc64 GENERIC64
        o 11.3-RC3 sparc64 GENERIC
        o 11.3-RC3 armv6 BANANAPI
        o 11.3-RC3 armv6 BEAGLEBONE
        o 11.3-RC3 armv6 CUBIEBOARD
        o 11.3-RC3 armv6 CUBIEBOARD2
        o 11.3-RC3 armv6 CUBOX-HUMMINGBOARD
        o 11.3-RC3 armv6 RPI-B
        o 11.3-RC3 armv6 RPI2
        o 11.3-RC3 armv6 PANDABOARD
        o 11.3-RC3 armv6 WANDBOARD
        o 11.3-RC3 aarch64 GENERIC
        Note regarding arm SD card images: For convenience for those without
        console access to the system, a freebsd user with a password of
        freebsd is available by default for ssh(1) access.  Additionally,
        the root user password is set to root.  It is strongly recommended
        to change the password for both users after gaining access to the
        Installer images and memory stick images are available here:
        The image checksums follow at the end of this e-mail.
        If you notice problems you can report them through the Bugzilla PR
        system or on the -stable mailing list.
        If you would like to use SVN to do a source based update of an existing
        system, use the "releng/11.3" branch.
        A summary of changes since 11.3-RC2 includes:
        o Regression fix in mountd(8) (PR 238725)
        o Regression fix in NAT64LSN.
        A list of changes since 11.2-RELEASE is available in the releng/11.3
        release notes:
        Please note, the release notes page is not yet complete, and will be
        updated on an ongoing basis as the 11.3-RELEASE cycle progresses.
        === Virtual Machine Disk Images ===
        VM disk images are available for the amd64, i386, and aarch64
        architectures.  Disk images may be downloaded from the following URL
        (or any of the FreeBSD download mirrors):
        The partition layout is:
            ~ 16 kB - freebsd-boot GPT partition type (bootfs GPT label)
            ~ 1 GB  - freebsd-swap GPT partition type (swapfs GPT label)
            ~ 20 GB - freebsd-ufs GPT partition type (rootfs GPT label)
        The disk images are available in QCOW2, VHD, VMDK, and raw disk image
        formats.  The image download size is approximately 135 MB and 165 MB
        respectively (amd64/i386), decompressing to a 21 GB sparse image.
        Note regarding arm64/aarch64 virtual machine images: a modified QEMU EFI
        loader file is needed for qemu-system-aarch64 to be able to boot the
        virtual machine images.  See this page for more information:
        To boot the VM image, run:
            % qemu-system-aarch64 -m 4096M -cpu cortex-a57 -M virt  \
        	-bios QEMU_EFI.fd -serial telnet::4444,server -nographic \
        	-drive if=none,file=VMDISK,id=hd0 \
        	-device virtio-blk-device,drive=hd0 \
        	-device virtio-net-device,netdev=net0 \
        	-netdev user,id=net0
        Be sure to replace "VMDISK" with the path to the virtual machine image.
        === Amazon EC2 AMI Images ===
        FreeBSD/amd64 EC2 AMIs are available in the following regions:
          eu-north-1 region: ami-07d990eaeb497323d
          ap-south-1 region: ami-001b7b067fd8e781d
          eu-west-3 region: ami-01052697e06e3a45e
          eu-west-2 region: ami-0cfee448feeb2a851
          eu-west-1 region: ami-0ce7400d6a08a9862
          ap-northeast-2 region: ami-0b16c2014116bd358
          ap-northeast-1 region: ami-0818328d0efcec703
          sa-east-1 region: ami-077fc22d100770c52
          ca-central-1 region: ami-0c414f2c140fd13cb
          ap-southeast-1 region: ami-0f5fe631ff1d2578a
          ap-southeast-2 region: ami-06bf072735d282208
          eu-central-1 region: ami-0a1cbb609ac331456
          us-east-1 region: ami-05a73406ad7ece248
          us-east-2 region: ami-0a21294420f709f19
          us-west-1 region: ami-0bb877ce5c712ad4f
          us-west-2 region: ami-0a231251af9d35604
        === Vagrant Images ===
        FreeBSD/amd64 images are available on the Hashicorp Atlas site, and can
        be installed by running:
            % vagrant init freebsd/FreeBSD-11.3-RC3
            % vagrant up
        === Upgrading ===
        The freebsd-update(8) utility supports binary upgrades of amd64 and i386
        systems running earlier FreeBSD releases.  Systems running earlier
        FreeBSD releases can upgrade as follows:
        	# freebsd-update upgrade -r 11.3-RC3
        During this process, freebsd-update(8) may ask the user to help by
        merging some configuration files or by confirming that the automatically
        performed merging was done correctly.
        	# freebsd-update install
        The system must be rebooted with the newly installed kernel before
        	# shutdown -r now
        After rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to install the new
        userland components:
        	# freebsd-update install
        It is recommended to rebuild and install all applications if possible,
        especially if upgrading from an earlier FreeBSD release, for example,
        FreeBSD 11.x.  Alternatively, the user can install misc/compat11x and
        other compatibility libraries, afterwards the system must be rebooted
        into the new userland:
        	# shutdown -r now
        Finally, after rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to remove
        stale files:
        	# freebsd-update install
      • FreeBSD 11.3-RC3 Available

        The third RC build for the FreeBSD 11.3 release cycle is now available. ISO images for the amd64, armv6, arm64, i386, powerpc, powerpc64, and sparc64 architectures are available on most of our FreeBSD mirror sites.

      • Cameron Kaiser: And now for something completely different: NetBSD on the last G4 Mac mini (and making the kernel power failure proof)

        I’m a big fan of NetBSD. I’ve run it since 2000 on a Mac IIci (of course it’s still running it) and I ran it for several years on a Power Mac 7300 with a G3 card which was the second incarnation of the Floodgap gopher server. Today I also still run it on a MIPS-based Cobalt RaQ 2 and an HP Jornada 690. I think NetBSD is a better match for smaller or underpowered systems than current-day Linux, and is fairly easy to harden and keep secure even though none of these systems are exposed to the outside world.


      • GNU Web Translation Coordination – News: Malayalam team re-established

        After more than 8 years of being orphaned, Malayalam team is active again. The new team leader, Aiswarya Kaitheri Kandoth, made a new translation of the Free Software Definition, so now we have 41 translations of that page! Currently, Malayalam the only active translation team of official languages of India. It is a Dravidian language spoken by about 40 million people worldwide, with the most speakers living in the Indian state of Kerala. Like many Indian languages, it uses a syllabic script derived from Brahmi.

    • Programming/Development

      • Bash Error Handling

        There are no try … catch blocks in bash for exception and error handling to say. So, how do you even start to handle errors in a way that none will escape and wreak havoc in the background hidden by silent a foreground that only appears okay. Finally, there is a definitive guide for bash error handling. I have outlined the foundation needed to handle any error in bash.

      • PyCharm Debugger Tutorial

        If you are a new python user and are looking for an environment specifically for Python development, integration, and debugging, PyCharm IDE can be best suited. It is available for all major operating systems, with a commercial and freemium license along with free community edition to start with.

      • Data science computation hara-kiri

        Beautiful algorithm, great results, all looks fine and seems to work, but… problem. It takes forever. We all have been through this. You may think: “it is only a proof-of-concept”. Or you may think, efficiency-wise, “python should not be used in the first place”. Well. Actually, it isn’t that bad if you know what methods you should use or rather which ones you shouldn’t.

      • ListenData: Importing Data into Python

        This tutorial explains various methods to read data into Python. Data can be in any of the popular formats – CSV, TXT, XLS/XLSX (Excel), sas7bdat (SAS), Stata, Rdata (R) etc. Loading data in python environment is the most initial step of analyzing data.

      • How to read CSV file with pandas

        This tutorial explains how to read a CSV file in python using read_csv function of pandas package. Without use of read_csv function, it is not straightforward to import CSV file with python object-oriented programming. Pandas is an awesome powerful python package for data manipulation and supports various functions to load and import data from various formats. Here we are covering how to deal with common issues in importing CSV file.

      • Return the highest volume of traffic during peak hour

        In this article, we are going to create a function which will return a list of tuples that consist of a particular hour and the highest traffic volume for that particular hour. The stat has been taken every 10 minutes in each hour. For example, at 4.00pm the total numbers of traffics that pass through a junction for every 10 minutes are as follows: [23, 22, 45, 66, 54, 33]. The traffic volume measurement in this example will begin at 4.00pm and end at 8.00pm. Below is the solution to this problem.

      • In Rust we trust: Brave smashes speed limit after rewriting ad-block engine in super-lang

        Software engineers working on the Brave browser have rewritten the browser’s ad blocking engine in Rust and seen massive speed increases as a result. In a blog post on Wednesday, Brave Software performance researcher Andrius Aucinas and chief scientist Ben Livshits said that rewriting Brave’s built-in ad blocker in Mozilla-spawned Rust resulted in an average 69x improvement in the amount of time required to process web requests. The previous iteration of its ad blocking engine was already optimized C++. The speed up was mainly due to algorithmic changes with the added bonus of Rust’s low overhead and memory safety. Rust, a next-gen C/C++-like systems language designed to be fast, safe, and secure, recently celebrated four years in official release and, for each of those years, it has been the most loved programming language in Stack Overflow’s annual developer survey.


    • Health/Nutrition

      • Angela Merkel: Glyphosate Use Will Eventually End

        “The resulting trial focused not on ascertaining the truth regarding the state of the science, causation, and compliance with legal duties, but instead on vilifying Monsanto in the abstract,” Bayer said in motions filed with the court, according to Reuters. Bayer’s next glyphosate trial will start this summer in St. Louis, the former headquarters of Monsanto. The company will likely be embroiled in lengthy-litigation for years to come. Major shareholders criticized Bayer’s position. They accused Bayer of mismanaging the glyphosate issue and disapproved of management, according to Reuters. Even though Bayer maintains that scientific-evidence proves glyphosate’s safety and efficacy, governments around the world have started to ban its use. Therefore, Bayer has responded to the demands of the market and said it would invest more than $5.5 billion in researching alternative herbicides. “While glyphosate will continue to play an important role in agriculture and in Bayer’s portfolio, the company is committed to offering more choices for growers,” Bayer said, as Reuters reported.

      • Glyphosate use will eventually end, Merkel says

        Use of Bayer’s contested weedkiller glyphosate, the subject of more than 10,000 lawsuits in the U.S. over claims it causes cancer, will eventually die out, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the country’s lower house on Wednesday. Merkel’s view is seemingly at odds with that of Bayer, which acquired the pesticide along with its takeover of U.S. seed maker Monsanto, which earlier this month said it saw a future for the product.

      • Bayer Roundup Legal Adviser Known for Fighting, Not Settling

        After getting pummeled with more than $2.2 billion in damages in the first three trials over its Roundup weed killer, Bayer AG needs to step it up on defense. Enter John Beisner. The veteran lawyer who has guided companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co. in their fights against multibillion-dollar product-liability lawsuits was tapped to advise Bayer executives how to up the company’s game against allegations that Roundup causes cancer.

    • Security

      • Community Impact of OpenPGP Certificate Flooding

        I wrote yesterday about a recent OpenPGP certificate flooding attack, what I think it means for the ecosystem, and how it impacted me. This is a brief followup, trying to zoom out a bit and think about why it affected me emotionally the way that it did. One of the reasons this situation makes me sad is not just that it’s more breakage that needs cleaning up, or even that my personal identity certificate was on the receiving end. It’s that it has impacted (and will continue impacting at least in the short term) many different people — friends and colleagues — who I know and care about. It’s not just that they may be the next targets of such a flooding attack if we don’t fix things, although that’s certainly possible. What gets me is that they were affected because they know me and communicate with me. They had my certificate in their keyring, or in some mutually-maintained system, and as a result of what we know to be good practice — regular keyring refresh — they got burned. Of course, they didn’t get actually, physically burned. But from several conversations i’ve had over the last 24 hours, i know personally at least a half-dozen different people who i personally know have lost hours of work, being stymied by the failing tools, some of that time spent confused and anxious and frustrated. Some of them thought they might have lost access to their encrypted e-mail messages entirely. Others were struggling to wrestle a suddenly non-responsive machine back into order. These are all good people doing other interesting work that I want to succeed, and I can’t give them those hours back, or relieve them of that stress retroactively.

      • Nokia disowns CTO’s comments about Huawei’s ‘sloppy’ 5G kit

        The firm’s chief technology officer Marcus Weldon warned: “That means being wary of adding Chinese vendors into network infrastructure, as long as these security vulnerabilities are either provably there or likely to be there based on past practices.”

        Wheldon, referring to recent research from Finite State which saw it uncover back doors in more than 55 per cent of Huawei devices, added: “We read those reports and we think okay, we’re doing a much better job than they are.

      • Nokia distances itself from boss’s warning over Huawei 5G kit

        In the UK, Huawei equipment has been subject to close scrutiny by a unit staffed by GCHQ. It has produced reports severely critical of the security of some software, although it has not found backdoors in the firm’s products.

      • An IoT worm Silex, developed by a 14 year old resulted in malware attack and taking down 2000 devices

        Larry Cashdollar, an Akamai researcher, the first one to spot the malware, told ZDNet in a statement, “It’s using known default credentials for IoT devices to log in and kill the system.”

      • 14-year-old creates dangerous malware, starts bricking thousands of IoT devices
      • Huawei Gets ‘Green Signal’ From Trump To Resume Trade In US

        The possibly lifiting of the ban doesn’t come as a surprise. Last month, President Trump gave an unsatisfactory explanation of the Huawei ban and hinted that it could end soon. Huawei is currently on 90-day temporary license in the US which was issued immediately after the ban was announced.

      • Trump Says He’ll Allow China’s Huawei to Buy From U.S. Suppliers

        President Donald Trump said he’ll allow Huawei Technologies Co. to buy products from U.S. suppliers, in a concession to China after talks with the country’s President Xi Jinping on Saturday. “U.S. companies can sell their equipment to Huawei,” Trump said at a news conference following the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan. “We’re talking about equipment where there’s no great national security problem with it.” The Commerce Department last month moved to blacklist Huawei, cutting it off from U.S. suppliers, though many companies have managed to skirt the restrictions. Trump met with Xi on Saturday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, and agreed to pause the trade war between their countries.

      • The Infrastructure Mess Causing Countless Internet Outages

        The patchwork problem was on full display with the Cloudflare incident this week. Pennsylvania steel company Allegheny Technologies uses two internet providers for connectivity. It received accidental, inaccurate routing information from one provider, a small Midwest ISP, and unintentionally passed it on to its other provider, Verizon. The smaller ISP started the routing error, but Verizon—an internet backbone behemoth with massive resources—also had not implemented the BGP filters and authentication checks that would have caught the mistake. Without these protections in place, Verizon’s other customers worldwide, including Cloudflare, experienced outages and failures. Verizon did not return a request for comment about the incident.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Patently-O Software Law Bits & Bytes: Do Not Track Act of 2019 by Grant Harrison

        : Do Not Track Act of 2019 is, in its simplest form, a way to regulate data collected by big tech companies. The bill would require the FTC to create a program that, upon request by the user, sends a “Do Not Track Signal” to websites and online applications. The Do Not Track Act of 2019 is an adaptation of its formers, with the new add on of regulating this for all of the internet activity, not just web browsers. The bill would require the FTC to create a program that, upon request by the user, sends a “Do Not Track Signal” to websites and online applications

      • Apple Pay Launches in 13 More European Countries, Sparkassen and Volksbanken in Germany Later This Year

        Apple Pay now also appears to support a number of popular bank cards across Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Romania, and Slovenia.

      • The Global Data War Heats Up

        At issue is how countries view data. Do companies own the information? Does an individual own it? Does a government have access to it? The problem is that governments across China, India, the European Union, Japan, and the United States have philosophical differences on how they view these issues. These are not merely technical problems, but deep divides that may not be possible to bridge. Add to this the fact that this conversation is taking place as the United States and China are locked in a rivalry focused on technology—and, by extension, data. Taken together, this means that the rules for who controls data—and therefore harnesses their value—are part of a bigger geopolitical competition that will shape the 21st century.

      • Govt considers switch to a homegrown chat app

        India is considering developing and using a chat application similar to WhatsApp and other homegrown secure communication networks, at least for government agencies, to insulate the country from future vulnerabilities stemming from geopolitical developments, two officials said.

      • India reportedly wants to build its own WhatsApp for government communications

        The move to step away from foreign communication apps, if it comes to fruition, won’t be the first time a nation has attempted to cautiously restrict usage of popular messaging apps run by foreign players in government offices.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • U.S. Meteorologists ‘Deeply Concerned’ Over 5G Roll-Out

        U.S. weather forecasters are the latest group to sound the alarm that the race to introduce 5G technologies may have adverse consequences. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), U.S. meteorologists called the potential for 5G mobile technologies to disrupt communication between weather satellites “deeply concerning,” according to the BBC.

      • US meteorologists worried over 5G roll-out

        Signals from weather satellites could be disrupted by 5G mobile data networks in the US, meteorologists have warned. US forecasters have expressed concerns about 5G radio interference before, but now a group of scientific bodies has written to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the issue. The joint letter, spotted by news site The Register, says the situation is “deeply concerning”. It asks for an auction of radio spectrum for 5G uses to be delayed. Interference caused by increased communications activity could delay the reporting of important weather information to the public – for example during hurricanes – according to the American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association. They argued that the weather networks they rely on are “crucially important for public safety and scientific research”.

      • “Deeply concerning”: 5G mobile networks may jam weather satellite signals, meteorologists say

        A Federal Communications Commission proposal to share a radio spectrum band relied on by weather forecasting services with mobile companies has been opposed by meteorological experts.

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • Supreme Court Refusal to Hear Investpic Signals Death for Most Software Patent Applications [Ed: Watchtroll’s latest terrible rant from Burman York (Bud) Mathis III shows that even the most radical people admit software patents are kaput in the US. They attack the courts and judges now.

        The Investpic v. SAP America case (Supreme Court Dkt. No. 18-1199), which is the 44th patent eligibility case to be considered for certiorari since the notorious Alice Corp. decision, was announced earlier this week. Cert. denied. Unlike almost any other case, the Investpic decision represents a hostility to the patent rights of software developers based on capricious foundations.

      • Earlier Start of International Preliminary Examination

        As of 1 July 2019, Rule 69.1(a) PCT will be amended to provide for the International Preliminary Examining Authority to start the international preliminary examination upon receipt of the demand, instead of waiting until the expiration of the applicable time limit for filing a demand. This means that applicants will no longer need to expressly request that the international preliminary examination should start before the expiration of the applicable time limit under Rule 54bis.1(a) PCT in Box No. IV, item 4 of the PCT Chapter II Demand Form (version valid until 30 June 2019; version as of 1 July 2019), but rather only in the opposite case, i.e. in cases where to the applicant wishes to postpone the start of international preliminary examination until the expiration of the time limit for filing a demand (3 months from the date of transmittal to the applicant of the ISR or 22 months from the priority date). In other words, if the demand is filed early, applicants can assume that the EPO acting as IPEA will be able to start with examination of the application immediately upon receipt of the demand. This can be of importance when an applicant is interested in timely receiving a Written Opinion under PCT Chapter II, e.g. in view of parallel pending application(s); or when an applicant would like to have a positive Written Opinion as soon as possible, e.g., in view of licensing negotiations. As such, this amendment will surely be welcomed by applicants.

      • Copyrights

        • 10 Best Sites To Watch Hindi Movies Online For Free In 2019 [Legal Streaming]

          Bollywood releases the highest number of movies per year among all the entertainment industries across the world. So it isn’t a surprise that the majority of Indians are movie buffs. While many of us prefer watching movies in theaters and television, others watch Hindi movies online. However, not all of them are legal as they offer pirated content or torrents that stream Bollywood movies illegally. I know that downloading pirated movies seem like a convenient option for many, but such activities can attract a penalty. Besides, you always risk malware attacks while attempting to stream or download Hindi movies from such websites. This is why I have compiled a list of the best sites to watch Bollywood movies online for free and legally in 2019. Before moving ahead, do take a look at our other lists where you can watch some more awesome movies, TV series, and songs for free to get your daily dose of entertainment!


    Links 28/6/2019: Kodi “Leia” 18.3 Release and Krita 4.2.2 Release

    Posted in News Roundup at 4:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


    • 11 Reasons You Should Learn to Use Linux

      The degree of “telemetry” – a euphemism for financially-motivated spying on your user base – in modern operating systems can be disquieting. Linux contains none of that unless you install it. And considering the size of the Linux user base, very few profit-motivated entities bother to build tracking applications for Linux. Outside of your standardized browser environment, there are no system-level tracking tools installed by default. You can’t say the same about Windows or macOS.

    • Desktop

      • Xfway Aims To Provide A Wayland Compositor Inspired By Xfce’s Xfwm4

        While it doesn’t appear to be an official part of Xfce at least at this time, Xfway is a Wayland compositor inspired by Xfce’s Xfwm4 window manager.

        Xfway was pointed out on the Wayland mailing list for this Xfce window manager inspired compositor.

        The code appears to have started out from the Weston code-base but adding support for Sway’s WLROOTS among other changes inspired from Xfwm4.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Your Questions, My Answers: Viewer Feedback #3
      • LHS Episode #291: The Weekender XXX

        It’s time once again for The Weekender. This is our bi-weekly departure into the world of amateur radio contests, open source conventions, special events, listener challenges, hedonism and just plain fun. Thanks for listening and, if you happen to get a chance, feel free to call us or e-mail and send us some feedback. Tell us how we’re doing. We’d love to hear from you.

    • Kernel Space

      • Huawei Adding New LZ4 Inplace Decompression To EROFS File-System

        Huawei’s EROFS Linux read-only file-system continues to be improved upon and with the upcoming Linux 5.3 kernel cycle will see yet more improvements.

        EROFS has already supported native file-system compression for help conserving space with this read-only file-system Huawei has been working on for use particularly by mobile devices but other use-cases as well. Queued up into staging-next ahead of the Linux 5.3 merge window is a new decompression framework.

      • EXT4 Getting Faster Case-Insensitive Performance

        The Linux 5.2 kernel brings optional per-directory case-insensitive filenames/folders while with the Linux 5.3 kernel that new EXT4 feature will see better performance.

        The EXT4 case-insensitive support relies upon Unicode case handling and preserves the actual case of the directory/files on-disk. It’s the look-up process for checking for case-insensitive matches that is being made faster in the latest EXT4 code ahead of Linux 5.3.

      • Linux Foundation

        • GSMA and Linux Foundation join forces on aligning NFVi

          The Linux Foundation’s LF Networking and GSMA announced on Thursday that they are creating a common industry framework for network functions virtualization infrastructure (NFVi).

          While LF Networking and GSMA made the creation of the Common NFVi Telco Taskforce (CNTT) official today, it was initially discussed in April during a panel session at the Open Networking Summit (ONS) in San Jose, California. Prior to today’s announcement, GSMA worked with Orange and Vodafone on writing standards around common definitions for NFVi.

        • Linux Foundation Announces A New 5G Professional Certification

          The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced enrollment is now open for a new Business Implications and Strategy for 5G Professional Certificate program. Offered through the edX, the trusted platform for learning, this program will teach business managers what 5G is, what are the tools driving its evolution and how to implement a network architecture modernization strategy that enables business-wide digital transformation.

          The transition to 5G will require a massive modernization of business networks that includes open source software and standards. This program will put business professionals ahead of the curve on emerging technology and business trends, enabling them to anticipate the needs of their employers.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel Sends Out Initial Open-Source Linux Graphics Driver Support For Tiger Lake

          Intel’s tradition of delivering punctual open-source graphics driver support for their hardware continues. While Icelake hardware isn’t even hitting the masses yet, Intel developers this week began sending out their initial driver patches for bringing up the graphics on Tiger Lake.

          In recent weeks we have seen Intel Linux developers beginning to volley their initial Tiger Lake enablement code across different kernel subsystems and compiler support. This week though are the bits that excite us the most: the Intel graphics support.

        • RadeonSI Getting Fixed Up To Expose 10-bit VP9 Decode

          Newer AMD GPUs are capable of offering hardware accelerated decoding for 10-bit VP9 content, but that wasn’t the case with the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver. Fortunately, a simple patch is pending to expose this support.

        • Red Hat Expecting X.Org To “Go Into Hard Maintenance Mode Fairly Quickly”

          With the Fedora Workstation 31 feature outlook covered earlier this week, there was an interesting comment in that article by Red Hat’s Christian Schaller that deserves special coverage.

    • Applications

      • Kodi “Leia” 18.3 Release

        Two months have passed since our last bugfix release and already we have a new one ready…

      • Kodi 18.3 Adds DTS-HD Audio Track Support To Its Music Player, Various Fixes

        For fans of the Kodi project for providing the flagship open-source HTPC experience, Kodi 18.3 is out today as the newest maintenance update.

      • abcde – CD ripping software for the command line

        CD audio grabbers are designed to extract (“rip”) the raw digital audio (in a format commonly called CDDA) from a compact disc to a file or other output. This type of software enables a user to encode the digital audio into a variety of formats, and download and upload disc info from freedb, an internet compact disc database.

        Is copying CDs legal? Under US copyright law, converting an original CD to digital files for personal use has been cited as qualifying as ‘fair use’. However, US copyright law does not explicitly allow or forbid making copies of a personally-owned audio CD, and case law has not yet established what specific scenarios are permitted as fair use. The copyright position is much clearer in the UK, as it’s illegal to make a private copy of a copyrighted CD. Whereas it’s legal for an owner to make a copy of a legally purchased CD in Australia and New Zealand. Life is never simple!

      • Undo releases Live Recorder 5.0 for Linux debugging

        Linux debugging has taken a giant step forward with the release of Live Recorder 5.0 from Undo. Just released on Wednesday, this product makes debugging on multi-process systems significantly easier. Based on flight recorder technology, it delves more deeply into processes to provide insight into what’s going on within each process. This includes memory, threads, program flow, service calls and more.

      • Latte bug fix release v0.8.9

        Welcome Latte Dock v0.8.9 the LAST stable release for v0.8 branch!

      • HPLIP 3.19.6 Released with More HP Printers/Scanners Support

        HPLIP, HP developed printer and scanner drivers for Linux, released version 3.19.6 with a lot of new devices support.

      • Proprietary

        • Daimler ordered to recall thousands of Mercedes in Germany over emissions cheating — report

          Germany’s auto industry regulator, KBA, has ordered carmaker Daimler to expand its recall program to retrofit vehicles illegally fitted with emissions-cheating software, Germany’s Bild newspaper reported on Saturday.

        • Daimler to recall 60,000 Mercedes diesels in Germany over emissions

          Daimler must recall 60,000 Mercedes diesel cars in Germany after regulators found that they were fitted with software aimed at distorting emissions tests, the Transportation Ministry said on Saturday.

          The model affected is the Mercedes-Benz GLK 220 produced between 2012 and 2015.

        • Daimler Must Recall 60,000 Mercedes Cars for Emissions Breach

          Daimler has already recalled 3 million vehicles that are producing excess emissions from their diesel engines. The German news outlet, Bild am Sonntag, first reported the recall on Saturday and noted that the German regulatory authorities were expanding their investigation.

          Suspicions were raised when Mercedes-Benz GLK 220 CDI cars produced between 2012 and 2015, only met emission limits when certain functions within the car’s software were activated. The emissions scandal has tarnished many major automakers.

        • Jony Ive Is Leaving Apple

          Ive has been an indispensable leader at Apple and the chief guide of the company’s aesthetic vision. His role took on even greater importance after Apple cofounder Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in 2011. Apple will not immediately appoint a new chief design officer. Instead, Alan Dye, who leads Apple’s user interface team, and Evans Hankey, head of industrial design, will report directly to Apple’s chief operating officer, Jeff Williams, according to the Financial Times.

        • Jony Ive is leaving Apple — here are his most iconic creations, which helped lead Apple from almost certain doom to total dominance

          It can’t be overstated just how influential Ive was, and is, at Apple: “He has more operational power than anyone else at Apple except me,” Steve Jobs once said of Ive.

        • Jony Ive is leaving Apple after 27 years

          Ive won’t be cutting ties with Apple altogether, mind, and the company even headed its press release with the news that it’d be a client of LoveFrom. Which basically means Ive can charge what he likes, now they’ve committed: ker-ching.

        • Jony Ive leaving Apple after nearly 30 years to start new design firm

          Apple’s chief design officer Jonathan Ive will depart the company later this year, bringing an end to a tenure spent crafting some of technology’s most influential products, including the iPhone. Ive, who has led Apple’s design team since 1996, is leaving “to form an independent design company which will count Apple among its primary clients.” The company is called LoveFrom, and Ive will be joined by famed designer Marc Newson on the new venture. Despite stepping down from his executive position, Ive and Apple both claim he will still work “on a range of projects with Apple.”

      • Instructionals/Technical

      • Games

        • Ada: Tainted Soil, a story-driven single-player 2D action-RPG coming to Linux looks really good

          Here’s a crowdfunding campaign that’s ending really soon: Ada: Tainted Soil, a story-driver single-player action-RPG and it looks really good.

          The Kickstarter campaign, which ends in around 27 hours has just managed to scrape past the goal of £10K. So unless there’s a sudden campaign-end upset, it’s another game funded and on the way to Linux. They’re very clear on Linux support too “Ada will get initially released on PC, Mac and Linux. Both steam and DRM-free.” which is great.

        • Steam’s top releases of May show why Steam Play is needed for Linux

          Valve have put out a news post to highlight some of the top games put onto Steam in May and it’s another reminder of why Steam Play is needed.

          In this blog post they start by listing 20 games that had the top revenue earned in the first two weeks following their release. Without looking, take a guess at the number of games in that list that actually support Linux.

          Did you take a guess? The answer is a rather sobering two: Rise of Industry and Total War: THREE KINGDOMS. What happens to that number if we include those that can be run with Steam Play, with a “Platinum” rating from user reports on ProtonDB? That brings it right up to nine, which is far more impressive. It would be even higher, if Easy Anti-Cheat and BattlEye worked with Steam Play and since both said they’re working on it (Sources: EAC – BattlEye), things can only get better.

          They also went over the top five free games, measured by peak player count within the first two weeks following release: Conqueror’s Blade, Splitgate: Arena Warfare, Minion Masters, Eden Rising and Never Split the Party. Of those, only one supports Linux which is Never Split the Party. If we take “Platinum” Steam Play games again, that only rises to two.

        • The pretty good action-platformer ‘Super Rad Raygun’ is leaving Steam with a big sale

          TRU FUN Entertainment are closing their doors, so their action-platformer Super Rad Raygun is having a big sale on Steam. However, it will still be up on itch.io when it leaves Steam.

          After being released back in 2016, TRU FUN Entertainment parted ways with their publisher Rooster Teeth Games to become properly indie. When I took a look at the game in 2016, I recommended it as it was quite good overall so it’s sad to see another developer fade away. According to the press release, it’s leaving Steam due to “prior publishing agreements”.

        • Monster Prom gains a new ending, mod tools and more in the latest update

          In the latest free update for the comedy dating sim Monster Prom, the “Startkicker Update”, developer Beautiful Glitch has given it a new ending. See Also: Some previous thoughts on Monster Prom, it’s actually really funny.

          This new ending is secret though and they’re not wanting to spoil it but they did mention the “joys of entrepreneurship alongside Spooky High’s more money-savvy students” which might give you a clue. There’s also a bunch of summer outfits included to match the season.

        • Programming puzzle game ‘Robo Instructus’ to release July 16th

          Fancy a bit of programming to solve some puzzles? Robo Instructus is exactly what you want then and it’s releasing next month on July 16th with Linux support.

          The idea of the game is quite simple, with you manoeuvring a robot by issues instructions through the reasonably simple programming language. As you progress, you unlock the ability to use more functions, with multiple ways to solve each puzzle opening up depending on your skill and understanding.

        • With the Valve Index about to launch and be delivered, Valve held a little private launch party with speeches

          Valve’s first in-house virtual reality hardware should be dropping at your door soon, if you were one of the lucky ones to order it quickly in the first batch. Additionally, Gabe Newell and others held speeches at a little launch party.

        • You might be hearing voices in the latest Dota Underlords update and it continues to capture my interest

          With the latest update to Dota Underlords now out, Valve continue moving quickly to make it a highly polished gameplay experience.

          Firstly, some characters actually got their voices back including: Doom, Drow, Enchantress, Lina, Luna, Mirana, Shadow Fiend, Phantom Assassin, Queen of Pain, Templar Assassin and Windranger. That actually makes it feel a little more polished and less lonely in a way, just one of those nice touches.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Krita 4.2.2 Released! How to Install it in Ubuntu 18.04

          Free open-source painting software Krita released its second monthly bug-fix release for the 4.2 series a day ago.

        • Week 4, Titler Tool and MLT – GSoC ’19

          It’s already been a month now, and this week – it hasn’t been the most exciting one. Mostly meddling with MLT, going through pages of documentation, compiling MLT and getting used to the MLT codebase.

          With the last week, I concluded with the rendering library part and now this week, I began writing a new producer in MLT for QML which will be rendered using the renderering library. So I went through a lot of MLT documentation, and it being a relatively new field for me, here is what I’ve gathered so far:

          At its core, MLT employs the basic producer-consumer concept. A producer produces data (here, frame objects) and a consumer consumes frames – as simple as that.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GSoC with GNOME – Weeks 1 & 2

          The meson port for libgdata has been long due, and it was direly needed this time since Autotools 1.16.1 breaks an older API in such a way that at configure time, you get this issue. Moreover, even though you configure with –disable-dependency-tracking, at compile time you’re gifted with yet another error – Makefile:4517: *** missing separator. Stop.

          The issue stems from the fact that AX_CODE_COVERAGE recently changed the way it embeds code coverage rules in its outputted Makefile, i.e. the older @CODE_COVERAGE_RULES has been removed completely in support of including aminclude_static.am in Makefile.am. This all finally paved the way for libgdata’s meson port.

          Now, libgdata uses the namespace GData instead of Gdata and this raises quite a lot of issues when trying to create the enum header and source files using gnome.mkenums in meson. In autotools, we were using sed passes to edit out the generated enum files at compile time, and those files were being placed in their respective source directories. These files are further being included by other sources, and we can’t generate anything in the source directory because that’s the whole philosophy of meson, i.e. never clutter source directory for anything pertaining to build.

        • GNOME’s Wonderful Year

          The GNOME Project was started in 1997 by Miguel de Icaza and Federico Mena Quintero who were university students at the time and has become one of the largest open source projects. It is best known for its desktop, which is a key part of the most popular GNU/Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Debian, SuSE and Fedora and also has a long history of producing critical pieces of software infrastructure. In addition GNOME has is a key player in the social evolution of the free software community and founded the Outreach Program for Women (OPW) to help make its community more gender diverse.

        • [Older] The Journey Begins | Google Summer of Code

          Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global program focused on bringing more student developers into open source software development. Students work with an open source organization on a 3 month programming project during their break from school.

        • Making the ‘httpsrc’ plugin asynchronous | GSoC 2019

          GStreamer plugins are the building units of any GStreamer application. The plugins can be linked and arranged in a pipeline. This pipeline defines the flow of the data. ‘souphttpsrc’, aka HTTP source is a plugin which reads data from a remote location specified by a URI and the supported protocols are ‘http’, ‘https’. This plugin is written in C. ‘rshttpsrc’ is the Rust version of the above said plugin.

        • Michael Catanzaro: On Version Numbers

          I’m afraid 3.33.4 will arrive long before we make it to 3.33.3-333, so this is probably the last cool version number Epiphany will ever have.

          I might be guilty of using an empty commit to claim the -33 commit.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Escuelas Linux Is Much More Than an Enlightened Linux Retread

          Escuelas Linux is a surprisingly good all-purpose distro despite its emphasis on education-specific software. However, its universal appeal is critically hampered by its Spanish- and English-only editions. You can always uninstall educational packages not to your liking or need.

          Expect to take some time getting familiar with the Moksha desktop. That is my primary concern for younger students and others not familiar with any computer system.

          I spent many years as an educator pushing computer technology in the classroom. Students’ computing skills (with the exception of gaming) were often greatly lacking.

          Moksha is not difficult to master. Yet I cringe at the thought of students and other users getting up to speed on the Moksha UI for hands-on productivity in the classroom and at home. Many of the specialty features built into Escuelas Linux will help teachers and system admins reduce the UI distractions.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • OpenSUSE/SUSE

        • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP1 for WSL Now Available for Download [Ed: To longtime Microsoft booster like Bogdan Popa GNU/Linux only counts or exists when Microsoft totally controls it]x

          The number of Linux distributions available on Windows 10 as part of the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) keeps growing, and the latest addition is none other than SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP1.
          WSL is a built-in Windows 10 feature that allows users to run Linux distributions on top of Microsoft’s operating system, basically bringing the two together for more consistency and easier development work.

          The list of Linux distros that Windows 10 users can install in WSL already includes several top names, including Ubuntu, Kali Linux, and Arch, and beginning today, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP1 available as well.

        • SUSE Manager 4 – Manage Thousands Of Linux Machines

          SUSE has some of the best-of-the-breed gems for DevOps teams. SUSE Manager is one of them.

          SUSE, a provider of open source infrastructure solutions, has released SUSE Manager 4, a comprehensive environment for lifecycle management of hundreds and thousands of Linux systems.

          It can manage hypervisors, containers, bare metal systems, IoT devices, and third-party cloud platforms. It also provides automated software management, asset management, and system provisioning to keep these systems up to date.

        • openSUSE.Asia Summit 2020: Call for Host

          The openSUSE.Asia Summit is the largest annual openSUSE conference in Asia, attended by contributors and enthusiasts from all over Asia. The event focuses primarily on the openSUSE distribution, its applications for personal and enterprise use, and open source culture. It brings together the openSUSE community in Asia, providing a forum for users, developers, foundation leaders, governments and businesses to discuss the present technology and future developments.

          The Summit’s preference is to find new locations each year as we spread openSUSE throughout Asia, and we are looking for local organizers to rise to the challenge of organizing an excellent openSUSE event in 2020. We need individuals and communities to get together and organize a successful openSUSE.Asia Summit. The openSUSE.Asia organization committee assists throughout the process.

      • Fedora

        • Upcoming features in Fedora 31 Workstation

          The Fedora Workstation edition is a fabulous operating system that includes everything a developer needs. But it’s also a perfect solution for anyone who wants to be productive online with their desktop or laptop computer. It features a sleek interface and an enormous catalog of ready-to-install software. Recently, Christian Schaller shared information about what’s coming in the Workstation for Fedora 31.

          Fedora 31 is currently scheduled for release in late October 2019. With it, as usual, will come an assortment of new and refreshed free and open source software. This includes the GNOME desktop which is planned to be updated to the latest 3.34.

          Under the hood of the desktop, many intrepid open source developers have been toiling away.

        • Fedora 31 to drop 32-bit kernel, retain support for 32-bit programs

          Proposed changes to a future version of the popular Linux distribution will decrease maintenance overhead while retaining support for 32-bit programs.

      • Debian Family

        • Derivatives

          • Canonical/Ubuntu

            • Canonical Backtracks On Pulling Of 32-bit Packages in Ubuntu Linux

              Last weekend, there was a huge uproar in the Linux community aimed towards Canonical and its decision to pull support for 32-bit libraries, after Ubuntu announced it would end support for 32-bit applications, starting with its next release.

              The decision was not well-received, especially by the gaming community, and Valve announced plans to drop support for Ubuntu in Steam.

              However, Canonical confirmed on Monday that following feedback from the community, it was clear that there is still a demand, and indeed a need for 32-bit binaries, and as such, it will provide “selected” builds for both Ubuntu 19.10 and the forthcoming Ubuntu 20.04.

    • Devices/Embedded

    Free Software/Open Source

    • FreeDOS turns 25 years old: An origin story

      June 29 marks the 25th anniversary of FreeDOS. That’s a major milestone for any open source software project, and I’m proud of the work that we’ve done on it over the past quarter century. I’m also proud of how we built FreeDOS because it is a great example of how the open source software model works.

      For its time, MS-DOS was a powerful operating system. I’d used DOS for years, ever since my parents replaced our aging Apple II computer with a newer IBM machine. MS-DOS provided a flexible command line, which I quite liked and that came in handy to manipulate my files. Over the years, I learned how to write my own utilities in C to expand its command-line capabilities even further.

    • LibreOffice

      • LibOCon Almeria Call for Papers New Deadline

        Call for Papers deadline for LibOCon Almeria, in Spain, has been extended to July 15, 2019. The event is scheduled for early September, from Wednesday 11 to Friday 13.

        Whether you are a seasoned presenter or have never spoken in public before, we want to hear from you! So, if you have not yet submitted your talk proposal and have something interesting to share about LibreOffice or the Document Liberation Project, you still have time to act!

    • Programming/Development

      • Qt Creator 4.10 Beta2 released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.10 Beta2 !

        Most notably we fixed a regression in the signing options for iOS devices, and that the “Build Android APK” step from existing Android projects was not restored.
        As always you find more details in our change log.

      • Shenandoah GC in JDK 13, Part 2: Eliminating the forward pointer word

        To give you an idea of the throughput improvements, note that all the GC sensitive benchmarks that I have tried showed gains between 10% and 15%. Others benefited less or not at all, but that is not surprising for benchmarks that don’t do any GC at all.

        It is, however, important to note that the extra decoding cost does not actually show up anywhere; it is basically negligible. It probably would show up on heavily evacuating workloads, but most applications don’t evacuate that much, and most of the work is done by GC threads anyway, making mid-path decoding cheap enough.

        The implementation of this has recently been pushed to the Shenandoah/JDK repository. We are currently shaking out one last known bug, and then it will be ready to go upstream into JDK 13 repository. The plan is to eventually backport it to Shenandoah’s JDK 11 and JDK 8 backports repositories, and from there into RPMs. If you don’t want to wait, you can already have it: check out the Shenandoah GC Wiki.

      • Count the pair of duplicate number with Python

        In this example, we will create a function in Python which will return the total number of duplicate pair of numbers within a list. For example, if we enter [0,0,0,0] into that function it will return 2 because there are two pairs of duplicate number within that list.

      • Kiwi TCMS: Mid-year roadmap status report

        Hello everyone, in this article I will outline the progress that the Kiwi TCMS team has made towards achieving the goals on our 2019 mission and roadmap. TL,DR: Kiwi TCMS has made progress since January, it’s been tough and may not have been very visible. I feel like we’ve been behind schedule till now! The greatest positive thing has been community and team development!

      • Python Matplotlib Tutorial – Learn Plotting in 3 hours

        This tutorial outlines how to perform plotting and data visualization in python using Matplotlib library. The objective of this post is to get you familiar with the basics and advanced plotting functions of the library. It contains several examples which will give you hands-on experience in generating plots in python.

      • Webinar Recording: “Build-a-GitHub-Bot” with Mariatta Wijaya
      • Extending Wing with Python (Part Three)

        In this issue of Wing Tips we continue to look at how to extend Wing’s functionality, by taking a look at extension scripts that collect arguments from the user.

        This article assumes you already know how to add and try out extension scripts in Wing. If you haven’t read the previous installments of this series, you may want to take a look at Part One where we introduced Wing’s scripting framework and set up auto-completion for the scripting API, and Part Two where we used Wing to debug itself for easier extension script development.

      • EuroPython 2019: Keynotes

        Most of us work too much and play too little. When was the last time you smiled at something you made? Playing with fun datasets, especially big data sets, opens up weird new forms of technical recreation. Why not train an amusing model in a browser tab while you’re waiting for that day-job Spark query to finish? I’ll show you some data toys I’ve built using AI and interesting data sets: Most of them involve both backend data science and front-end visualization tricks. They range from poetry-composition helpers to game log analysis to image deconstruction and reconstruction. All of them taught me something, often about myself and what I like artistically, and sometimes about what “big data” actually means.

      • EuroPython 2019: Introducing MongoDB

        We are very pleased to have MongoDB as Keystone Sponsor for EuroPython 2019. You can visit them at the most central booth in our exhibit area on the second floor in the Congress Center Basel (CCB), and take the opportunity to chat with their staff and learn more about the MongoDB eco-system.

      • EuroPython: EuroPython 2019: Call for On-site Volunteers

        Ever wanted to help out during Europython ? Do you want to *really* take part in EuroPython, meet new people and help them at the same time ?

        We have just the right thing for you: apply as EuroPython Volunteer and be part of the great team that is making EuroPython 2019 a reality this year.

      • Stack Abuse: Python for NLP: Creating a Rule-Based Chatbot

        This is the 12th article in my series of articles on Python for NLP. In the previous article, I briefly explained the different functionalities of the Python’s Gensim library. Until now, in this series, we have covered almost all of the most commonly used NLP libraries such as NLTK, SpaCy, Gensim, StanfordCoreNLP, Pattern, TextBlob, etc.

        In this article, we are not going to explore any NLP library. Rather, we will develop a very simple rule-based chatbot capable of answering user queries regarding the sport of Tennis. But before we begin actual coding, let’s first briefly discuss what chatbots are and how they are used.

      • Leading and trailing whitespace

        Googling the phrase “trailing whitespace” is like googling “coffee stains”: you mainly get “how to remove” recipes.

        There are procedures for deleting trailing whitespace in C, Python, Vim, PHP, Java, Visual Studio, R, C++, JavaScript, etc etc. Nobody wants trailing whitespace in their code, and in a Coding Horror blog post ten years ago, Jeff Atwood called it — a bit melodramatically — “The Silent Killer”.

      • ListenData: Python Matplotlib Tutorial – Learn Plotting in 3 hours

        This tutorial outlines how to perform plotting in python using Matplotlib library. The objective of this post is to get you familiar with the basics and advanced plotting functions of the library. It contains several examples which will give you hands-on experience in generating plots in python.


    • Science

      • [Old] Beware Engineering Media

        The most common mistake you’ll make is to see these sources as a mirror of what’s going on in our industry. Instead, it’s more akin to a bazaar.

      • ‘Deeply Concerning’: 5G Mobile Networks May Jam Weather Satellite Signals, Meteorologists Say

        A Federal Communications Commission proposal to share a radio spectrum band relied on by weather forecasting services with mobile companies has been firmly opposed by a slew of forecasters. They argue doing so may result in a delay of life-saving data.

        Experts warned sharing the 1675-1680 MHz band could impact their ability to warn the public of severe weather warnings via alerts to smartphones and mobile-connected devices.

        A letter recently sent to the FCC by the American Meteorological Society, National Weather Association and the American Geophysical Union called the proposal “deeply concerning.”

      • NASA plans drone mission to Titan, Saturn’s largest moon

        US space agency NASA said Thursday its new mission would explore Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, using a drone lander called Dragonfly.
        The crewless craft with four propellers is slated to launch in 2026 and reach its destination in 2034.

        “What really excites me about this mission is that Titan has all the ingredients needed for life,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s planetary science division.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Glenmark Pharma gains after USFDA approval for generic

        Glenmark Pharmaceuticals rose 1.29% to Rs 454.15 at 9:25 IST on BSE after the company said it received ANDA approval for ezetimibe and simvastatin tablets.

        The announcement was made during the market hours today, 28 June 2019.

        Meanwhile, S&P BSE Sensex was up 54.30 points or 0.14% at 39,640.71.

        On BSE, 9,521 shares were traded in Glenmark Pharmaceuticals counter, compared to a 2-week average of 87,000 shares. The share price hit an intraday high of Rs 455 and an intraday low of Rs 451. It hit a 52-week high of Rs 711.55 on 10 September 2018 and a 52-week low of Rs 446.80 on 27 June 2019.

        Shares of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals fell 13.4% in the past five trading sessions to settle at Rs 448.35 yesterday, 27 June 2019, from its close of Rs 517.70 on 20 June 2019.

      • San Francisco Becomes First Major U.S. City to Ban E-Cigarette Sales

        This week, following a preliminary vote, the supervisors approved an ordinance barring the sale of e-cigarettes that have not been subject to a review by the Food and Drug Administration, NBC News reported. To date, the FDA has not ruled on any currently available e-cigarettes before they went to market, according to the The Washington Post.

        The measure is expected to go into effect 30 days after being signed by San Francisco Mayor London Breed — who has publicly expressed support for the ban — and full implementation of the ordinance will take place six months after, CBS Sacramento reported. Retailers who violate the ordinance could face fines and jail time.

      • San Francisco set to become first major U.S. city to ban e-cigarettes

        San Francisco is set to become the first major U.S. city to ban e-cigarettes after city supervisors voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance on Tuesday. A final vote to pass the measure is expected next week.

        San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance amending the health code to prohibit the sale, manufacture, and distribution of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, on city property. The measure specifically singled out the use of electronic cigarettes, blaming the devices for a “growing health epidemic of youth vaping.”

      • San Francisco becomes first U.S. city to ban sales of e-cigs

        The city of San Francisco on Tuesday voted to impose a blanket ban on e-cigarettes — making it the first American city to outlaw the sale, distribution and manufacturing of vaping products.
        The sweeping restriction also puts San Francisco at odds with one of its most prominent hometown startups, Juul Labs, which last Tuesday said it bought an office building in San Francisco — the same day the city board unanimously backed the e-cigarette ordinance in a preliminary vote. The city’s board of supervisors ratified the e-cig sales ban Tuesday.
        Juul claims the ordinance will “drive former adult smokers who successfully switched to vapor products back to deadly cigarettes.” It will also “deny the opportunity to switch for current adult smokers, and create a thriving black market instead of addressing the actual causes of underage access and use,” the company said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch.

      • San Francisco, home of e-cig giant Juul, just banned e-cigs

        The days of e-cigarettes are limited for San Franciscans. In a first for the U.S., the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted on Tuesday in favor of an ordinance that states that “no person shall sell or distribute an electronic cigarette to a person in San Francisco.”

        The only exception, according to the ordinance, is if a product has undergone premarket review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The catch is that none have to date. Ironically, Juul Labs, the country’s biggest producer of e-cigarettes (and whose products have greatly helped teenage nicotine addiction rise again after years of decline), is based in San Francisco.

    • Security

      • To defeat ransomware, we must first diagnose it correctly: Today’s Talker [iophk: "Windows TCO. Ransomware is a symptom of the cancer of Windows deployment."]

        Before the attack on Stuart, there were rapid-fire attacks through eight weeks. The enemy targeted the city of Baltimore, Maryland; Howard County, Indiana; Imperial County, California; Potter County, Texas; city of Albany, New York; the city of Greenville, North Carolina; Genesee County, Michigan; Orange County, North Carolina; Jackson County, Georgia; and the Cleveland airport.

      • Artificial Intelligence and Counterterrorism: Possibilities and Limitations

        Prepared Written Testimony and Statement for the Record of Alexander Stamos, Director, Stanford Internet Observatory before The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism on June 25, 2019.

      • Premature Cyber Escalation

        This framing of the attack as a calculated atttack to cause damage to Iranian missile C&C assets that’ll be time consuming and costly to repair, is very literally crazy talk. An analogy: a threat actor hacks a company, and on Friday, bust before the end of the work day, they delete MS Office from every computer. The cost to the company is minimal as no one would be working over the weekend. No one except the poor IT staff who have to clean up the mess anyway. For the company the cost they pay is “unpleasant weekend for IT staff, and overtime money.” On the other hand, the company learns a great deal about their vulnerabilities, their risk exposure, and how to deal with a similar attack in future.

        At the cost of some inconvenience for some people, and a bit of money, the company learned a lot of valuable information about their weaknesses. They can now take remedial action to prevent it from happening again, and create processes and procedures to reduce the burden of recovering from such an attack. From any perspective, it’s a great bargain.

        The US used a cyber attack that gained them nothing, and the Iranians pay a small price to learn how to mitigate and respond to such a cyber attack. The US taught Iran a lesson alright, but I very much doubt it was: “if you like your military toys, then leave the US alone.”

      • NASA, Homeland Security receive D- grades on IT issues [iophk: "Windows TCO"]

        The House Oversight government operations subcommittee released version 8.0 of the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard in a hearing on Wednesday.

        The scorecard gave IT scores to two dozen agencies, as well as individual scores for each agency in areas such as cybersecurity, the modernization of technology and transparency and risk management.

      • Silexbot Bricks Nearly 4,000 IoT Devices [Ed: The problem is the password, not the system]

        Cashdollar explained: “Silexbot is using known default credentials for IoT devices to login and kill the system. The bot does this by writing random data from /dev/random to any mounted storage it finds. Examining binary samples collected from my honeypot, I see Silexbot calling fdisk -l which will list all disk partitions. Using that list, Silexbot then writes random data from /dev/random to any of the partitions it discovers.”

      • package hardening asymptote

        In the long-term view the measurements have a distinctly asymptotic appearance and the graphs are maybe only good for their historical curves now. But then I wonder, what’s next? What new compiler feature adoption could be measured? I think there are still a few good candidates…

      • New Exploit for Microsoft Excel Power Query

        Proof-of-concept, which allows remote code execution, is latest to exploit Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) and is another reminder why organizations must ensure Office settings are secure.

      • OpenPGP Certificate Flooding

        My public cryptographic identity has been spammed to the point where it is unusable in standard workflows. This blogpost talks about what happened, what I’m doing about it, and what it means for the broader ecosystem.

      • Security updates for Friday
      • New Silex malware is bricking IoT devices across the globe [Ed: Those are devices with default passwords set; the OS is irrelevant to it, but proprietar ysoftware vendors connected would have us believe otherwise]
      • Silex bricks 2,000 plus IoT devices, 14-year-old author has bigger plans for botnet [Ed: It all boils down to bad passwords]

        A new malware dubbed Silex has bricked at least 2,000 IoT devices in an ongoing campaign that is expected to intensify in the coming days.

      • The History of Cellular Network Security Doesn’t Bode Well for 5G

        There’s been quite a bit of media hype about the improvements 5G is set to supposedly bring to users, many of which are no more than telecom talking points. One aspect of the conversation that’s especially important to get right is whether or not 5G will bring much-needed security fixes to cell networks. Unfortunately, we will still need to be concerned about these issues—and more—in 5G.

        Past security flaws in the design of cell network infrastructure are being used for everything from large scale SMS spamming to enabling dragnet surveillance by law enforcement and spying in DC via cell site simulators (a.k.a. Stingrays, IMSI-catchers). Longtime cell network security researcher Roger Piqueras Jover has recently published a short but comprehensive reflection on the history of the cell security research that uncovered much of those flaws, and with it, his view of the security outlook for 5G.

        Jover draws attention to how rapidly the field of cell network security research has been accelerating. It took researchers over 10 years after GSM was first standardized and deployed to find the first security flaws in the GSM (2G) protocol. For LTE (4G), it took approximately 7 years. Fast forward to the 5G standard, which was finalized in March 2018. While there are currently no commercial implementations of 5G widely in use yet, researchers have already discovered over 6 critical security flaws in this new protocol.

      • Are Wi-Fi Cameras Secure in 2019?

        It seemed to happen without anyone noticing, but Wi-Fi cameras are popping up everywhere. In many cases, this includes our homes. Outdoor security cameras are common, but in some homes you’ll find them inside as well. They can be handy, but how secure are they?

        It’s handy being able to see inside your home when you’re not there, but what if someone else can see what’s going on inside your home? It may not be pleasant to think about, but it’s something worth considering if you’re shopping for wireless cameras.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Huawei staff accused of working with Chinese military on AI research

        The studies, which were uncovered through a trawling of Chinese academic paper database CNKI.net, include a joint effort with the investigative branch of the Central Military Commission to extract and classify emotions in online video comments, and an initiative with the elite National University of Defence Technology to explore ways of collecting and analysing satellite images and geographical coordinates.

      • Huawei Personnel Worked With China’s Military on Research Projects

        Several Huawei Technologies Co. employees have collaborated on research projects with Chinese armed forces personnel, indicating closer ties to the country’s military than previously acknowledged by the smartphone and networking powerhouse.

      • China hopes to beat America’s armed forces by copying them

        Mr Xi’s principal aim is to increase “jointness”. This term, borrowed from Western military jargon, refers to the ability of different services—army, navy and air force—to co-operate on the battlefield quickly and seamlessly. Jointness is especially important for fighting wars that break out abroad. It can be difficult for commanders at national headquarters to choreograph soldiers, sailors and pilots from a great distance. The different services must be able to work together without instruction from on high.

    • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

      • Thursday’s papers: Finland’s EU presidency climate goal, increase in shoplifting, and white-tailed deer sighting

        Finland wants the EU to take concrete steps towards a sustainable future, with the EU taking the role of a global climate change leader. One of Finland’s main objectives is the EU’s carbon neutrality by 2050, a target which is supported by the majority of EU members.

      • Finland’s EU presidency to place emphasis on climate action, says Rinne

        “You often hear people say when it comes to controversial issues that such and such decision was made by the European Union. In difficult times, the people say the EU must act quickly. We want to remind everyone who talks like this is that you’re talking about yourself. The EU isn’t out there somewhere. The EU is here. The EU isn’t the people there. The EU is us,” he declared.

        Finland will assume the presidency of the Council of the European Union on Monday, 1 July.

      • Air pollution in Malaysia forces 400 school closures, sickens more than 100 children

        More than 400 schools in Malaysia have closed this week after air pollution caused vomiting in dozens of students, authorities said.

        Since Monday, 104 children have fallen ill in the southern state of Johor because of the pollution, according to local officials. Most cases were in the state’s Pasir Gudang district.

      • Dumping Oil Stocks Proving Hard to Explain for Crude-Rich Norway

        The Finance Ministry, which oversees the fund, has even been challenged from within the Conservative-led and mostly pro-oil government. Climate Minister Ola Elvestuen, who represents the more environment-friendly Liberal Party, called the divestment the “most important climate decision” the coalition has agreed on.

      • After Republican Protest, Oregon’s Climate Plan Dies [iophk: “apparent act of sedition from R”

        The announcement, made before Democrats had even met for a caucus meeting Tuesday, appears to mark an end to the state’s plan to institute a cap-and-trade bill. Whether it will succeed in getting the Republicans back to the building is unclear.

      • Blazing Heatwave Forces Germany to Lower Autobahn Speed Limit

        State authorities took action because of fears that the unusually high temperatures could create potentially deadly cracks on the surface of the autobahn network, a highways agency spokesman said. Temperatures in Germany on Wednesday could surpass a June high of 38.2 degrees Celsius (101 Fahrenheit), according to the country’s DWD weather service. The all-time record of 40.3 degrees, set in July 2015, could also fall.

      • For First Time Ever, Renewables Surpass Coal in U.S. Power Mix

        Hydropower dams, solar panels and wind turbines generated almost 68.5 million megawatt-hours of power in April, eclipsing the 60 million that coal produced that month, Energy Information Administration data released late Tuesday show. That’s the most clean power the U.S. has ever made — and the least coal it has burned for power in years.

    • Why I’m Climate Striking Against Fox News on Friday

      But is even The New York Times truly conveying the climate emergency now facing humanity? And what about the many other news outlets that don’t do a fraction of the climate reporting the Times does? The media as a whole lets us down every day by either treating the climate crisis as a non-story or, worse, by propagating misinformation designed to confuse people and thwart action. Recently I learned ABC’s World News Tonight devoted more broadcast time to the new royal baby in a week than it spent on climate change during the entire year of 2018, according to data analyzed by the watchdog group Media Matters. ABC, CBS, and NBC did not mention the words “climate change” or “global warming” once during the combined 28 news stories they ran about catastrophic flooding in the Midwestern United States in March.

      Which is why I and countless other young people around the world will be climate-striking against the news media this coming Friday—protesting outside of TV, radio, and newspaper and other news outlets to demand that they start covering climate change like the emergency that it is.

    • A Leader of America’s Fracking Boom Has Second Thoughts

      Over the past 10 years, 40 of the largest independent oil and gas producers collectively spent roughly $200 billion more than they took in from operations, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from financial-information firm FactSet. During that time, a broad index of U.S. oil-and-gas companies fell roughly 10%, while the S&P 500 index nearly tripled.

    • No Drips, No Drops: A City Of 10 Million Is Running Out Of Water

      A 2018 government think tank report projected that 21 major Indian cities, including the capital, New Delhi, and India’s IT hub, Bengaluru, will “run out of groundwater as soon as 2020.” Approximately 100 million people would be affected, the report predicts.

    • U.S. Military Produces More Greenhouse Gas Emissions Than up to 140 Countries

      Our study is based on data retrieved from multiple Freedom of Information Act requests to the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, the massive bureaucratic agency tasked with managing the U.S. military’s supply chains, including its hydrocarbon fuel purchases and distribution.

      The U.S. military has long understood that it isn’t immune from the potential consequences of climate change—recognising it as a “threat multiplier” that can exacerbate other risks. Many, though not all, military bases have been preparing for climate change impacts like sea level rise. Nor has the military ignored its own contribution to the problem. As we have previously shown, the military has invested in developing alternative energy sources like biofuels, but these comprise only a tiny fraction of spending on fuels.

    • A Research Review of Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs

      Coral reef declines have been recorded for all major tropical ocean basins since the 1980s, averaging approximately 30-50% reductions in reef cover globally. These losses are a result of numerous problems, including habitat destruction, pollution, overfishing, disease, and climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions and the associated increases in ocean temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have been implicated in increased reports of coral bleaching, disease outbreaks, and ocean acidification (OA). For the hundreds of millions of people who depend on reefs for food or livelihoods, the thousands of communities that depend on reefs for wave protection, the people whose cultural practices are tied to reef resources, and the many economies that depend on reefs for fisheries or tourism, the health and maintenance of this major global ecosystem is crucial.

      A growing body of research on coral physiology, ecology, molecular biology, and responses to stress has revealed potential tools to increase coral resilience. Some of this knowledge is poised to provide practical interventions in the short-term, whereas other discoveries are poised to facilitate research that may later open the doors to additional interventions. A Research Review of Interventions to Increase the Persistence and Resilience of Coral Reefs reviews the state of science on genetic, ecological, and environmental interventions meant to enhance the persistence and resilience of coral reefs. The complex nature of corals and their associated microbiome lends itself to a wide range of possible approaches. This first report provides a summary of currently available information on the range of interventions present in the scientific literature and provides a basis for the forthcoming final report.

    • Biodiversity helps coral reefs thrive – and could be part of strategies to save them

      Coral reefs are home to so many species that they often are called “the rainforests of the seas.” Today they face a daunting range of threats, including ocean warming and acidification, overfishing and pollution. Worldwide, more than one-third of all coral species are at risk of extinction.

      I am one of many scientists who are studying corals to find ways of helping them survive and recover. As a recent report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine shows, researchers are exploring many different strategies. Some, such as managed breeding to make corals more tolerant of stresses, are already being developed at small scales. Others, such as moving corals to colonize new areas, have not been tested yet.

      My own work examines whether greater diversity of coral species on reefs can help corals survive and thrive. In a study published earlier this year, my colleague Mark Hay and I found evidence that the answer is yes. This finding could help to inform broader strategies for making coral reefs more resilient in altered oceans.

    • Microbes hold the balance in climate crisis

      Thirty scientists from nine nations have issued a challenge to the rest of climate science: don’t forget the microbes.

      They argue that research is ignoring the silent, unseen majority that makes up the microbial world. Lifeforms that add up to a huge proportion of living matter on the planet are being largely left out of climate calculations.

      Microbes have been around for 3.8 billion years, manipulating sunlight and turning carbon dioxide into carbon-based living tissue, and the mass of all the microbes on the planet probably contains 70 billion tonnes of carbon alone.

      They are biodiversity’s bottom line. They are the arbiters of the planet’s resources. They were the first living things on the planet, and will almost certainly be the last survivors.

    • Climate Crisis Only Gets 7 Minutes of Airtime at First Dem Debate

      The small amount of time spent on climate change, and the fact that the first climate-centered questions came an hour and 22 minutes into the debate itself, as the Huffington Post reported, emphasized the need for a debate exclusively dedicated to the issue, something the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has so far refused.

      “It’s absurd to host a debate in Miami — a city where millions of people could lose their homes due to sea level rise that’s also only 20 miles from the Everglades where massive fires are out of control — and spend only a few minutes on the climate crisis,” Sunrise Movement Executive Director Varshini Prakash said in a post-debate statement. “Only four candidates had the opportunity to discuss it at all. This is downright irresponsible and shameful.”

    • Democrats Spent Less Than 10 Minutes Talking About Climate Change At First 2020 Debate

      Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now is at higher levels than at any other point in human existence. The United States is ramping up oil and gas production. Historic wildfires, floods and storms killed thousands of Americans in just the last two years, and it’s forecast to get much, much worse.

      Yet Democrats spent less than 10 minutes on Wednesday talking about climate change at the first presidential primary debate.

      At an event in Miami ― a city already facing disastrous sea level rise and where a wildfire is raging just 30 miles northwest ― a handful of candidates raised the issue unsolicited. But NBC’s moderators waited an hour and 22 minutes to ask any questions about climate change. Only five of the 10 candidates onstage had a chance to respond to four questions on the issue directed at individual contenders, making it impossible to compare everyone’s stances. Discussion of a topic that only first came up 10:22 p.m. local time ended abruptly at 10:29 p.m.

      “Spending only seven minutes on climate questions was absurd,” Kassie Siegel, climate director of the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund, said in a statement.

    • Climate got more time in the Democrats’ first 2020 debate than in all 2016 debates combined

      Climate change barely received seven minutes of airtime during the first Democratic presidential debate Wednesday. That’s more than it received in all of the 2016 presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

      But that’s still surprisingly little for an issue that is near or at the top of the list for Democratic primary voters, that has such massive implications for the United States, and that provides an easy opening for the candidates to sell their climate plans.

    • A Gray Whale Washed Ashore in Alaska May Hold Clues to This Year’s Deadly Migration

      Most years the annual gray whale migration along North America’s West Coast is a sure sign of spring. But this year something has gone wrong. Since January at least 167 dead whales have washed ashore from Mexico to Alaska. Scientists expect more in the weeks ahead.

      One of the dead whales came to rest at the mouth of a river near my home. This was in May, in south-central Alaska. On a sunny evening my wife and I and our four-year-old daughter went out to see it.

    • Household tissue is a climate issue

      The household tissue you use to blow your nose could be adding to the problems of climate change.

      A substantial portion of the tissue products we buy – toilet paper, paper towels and facial tissues – comes from boreal forests, the dense ring of trees which encircles much of the globe just below the Arctic Circle.

      These forests – and the soils they stand in – contain vast amounts of carbon; when trees are felled and the land they are growing in is disturbed, carbon is released into the atmosphere, adding to the already dangerously high levels of climate-changing greenhouse gases.

      A new report looking at tissue use in the US says Americans are voracious consumers of tissue products; they make up only 4% of the world’s population yet account for more than 20% of global tissue consumption.

    • Investors With Over $34 Trillion Demand Climate Crisis Action

      In an open letter to the leaders of the G20 countries, groups representing 477 investors stressed urgent action to reach the Paris climate agreement targets of limiting global average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Yet, current policies put the world on track for at least a 3 degrees Celsius rise by the end of the century.

      To limit global temperature rises, the group of investors demanded that nations accelerate their carbon reduction targets, gradually eliminate coal as an energy source, stop subsidizing fossil fuels, and set a global price on carbon by the end of 2020, according to Reuters.

    • Exclusive: Investors with $34 trillion demand urgent climate change action

      Investors managing more than $34 trillion in assets, nearly half the world’s invested capital, are demanding urgent action from governments on climate change, piling pressure on leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies meeting this week.

      In an open letter to the “governments of the world” seen by Reuters, groups representing 477 investors stressed “the urgency of decisive action” on climate change to achieve the Paris Agreement target.

    • Solar’s Past, and Future

      Thomas Edison once said, “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power!”

      Over the last ten years, solar power has become ubiquitous in conversations about renewable energy. As the cost to produce solar photovoltaic cells has plummeted in recent years, more and more homes, businesses and communities have invested in solar.

      Solar has become a foundational renewable energy source, with major investments driving new project development all over the country. As the technology continues to develop, the future of solar is an even more exciting place to look.

    • Solar future shines ever more brightly

      The world’s solar future continues to brighten, further and faster than seemed possible only a few years ago.

      As the price of all types of solar technology goes on falling, it is becoming possible for large parts of the world to replace fossil fuels with cleaner and cheaper solar alternatives. A UN-backed report says much of Asia could meet all its electricity needs and ditch coal completely, by adopting solar power on a large scale.

      After an initial drop of 2% in installations of solar equipment in the United States when President Donald Trump put a 30% tariff on overseas-manufactured solar panels, the market has picked up again and there are forecasts of a rapid growth rate this year.

    • Oil Leak Update: 1000x Worse Than Rig Owner Claimed, Still Going After 14 Years

      The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico received little public attention when it happened in September 2004, but it has been steadily leaking as much as 4,500 gallons a day, not three or four gallons per day as Taylor Energy Company, the rig owner, claimed, according to a new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). And that’s a conservative estimate, the report said.

      Oil and gas have been seeping out of the leak that started 12 miles off the Louisiana coast when an underwater mudslide caused pipes to rupture and a production platform to sink during Hurricane Ivan. Taylor successfully capped nine wells, but said it couldn’t cap 16.

    • New Estimate for an Oil Leak: A Thousand Times Worse Than Rig Owner Says

      A new federal study has found that an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico that began 14 years ago has been releasing as much as 4,500 gallons a day, not three or four gallons a day as the rig owner has claimed.

      The leak, about 12 miles off the Louisiana coast, began in 2004 when a Taylor Energy Company oil platform sank during Hurricane Ivan and a bundle of undersea pipes ruptured. Oil and gas have been seeping from the site ever since.

      Taylor Energy, which sold its assets in 2008, is fighting a federal order to stop the leak. The company asserts that the leaking has been slight — between 2.4 and four gallons per day. Oil plumes from the seafloor, Taylor executives have said, are from oil-soaked sediment that has formed around the platform, and any gas rising from the bottom is the natural product of living organisms.

      “The results of this study contradict these conclusions,” the report, issued on Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Florida State University, concluded.
      Using sonar technology and a newly developed method of analyzing oil and gas bubbles rising through the water, scientists determined that the plumes are the result of oil and gas released from multiple wells. They also found that as many as 108 barrels of oil, or just over 4,500 gallons, have spilled into the Gulf each day as a result of the episode.

    • Climate Bill Oregon Republicans Fled to Avoid Is Dead, Senate President Says

      “What I’m about to say I say of my own free will. No one has told me to say this,” Senate President Peter Courtney said Tuesday, as NPR reported. “HB 2020 does not have the votes on the Senate floor. That will not change.”

      His announcement earned instant condemnation from supporters of the cap-and-trade bill, which would have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent of 1990 levels by 2035 and 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050. Those inside the gallery stood up and turned their backs on Courtney as he spoke, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

    • Intense heat wave hits northern Europe

      Climate researcher Andreas Marx has said that the lack of rain in much of the country, particularly in the north and east, the site of much of Germany’s agriculture, could have disastrous consequences.
      Forest fires are of particular concern for authorities in Germany, especially in the northeast. Local residents were asked to keep windows and doors closed in Lieberoser Heide — southeast of Berlin — while emergency services deal with a fire that broke out on Monday and spread to an area of about 10 hectares (25 acres), the size of 140 soccer pitches. It is expected to take a few days to put out.

    • UN Expert Warns of ‘Climate Apartheid’

      A UN expert painted a bleak picture Tuesday of how the climate crisis could impact global inequality and human rights, leading to a “climate apartheid” in which the rich pay to flee the consequences while the rest are left behind.

      The warning came in the form of a report by UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston, which found that climate change could push a further 120 million people into poverty within the next 10 years, CNN reported.

    • ‘Climate apartheid’ to push 120 million into poverty by 2030, UN says

      The world is facing a “climate apartheid” between the rich who can protect themselves and the poor who are left behind, the UN has warned.

      A new report published on Tuesday estimated that more than 120 million people could slip into poverty within the next decade because of climate change.

    • EPA Air Quality Chief Resigns Over Ethics Investigation

      So little time, so much damage done. That’s the legacy left by Bill Wehrum who spent only one and a half years as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) top air quality official before announcing that he will step down this weekend under the cloud of a federal ethics investigation over possible conflicts of interest. His resignation follows conflicting statement he made to Congress about his industry connections, according to Politico.

    • EPA’s air pollution chief steps down after ethics probe raises new questions

      … Wehrum has “accomplished a majority of his goals” but simply had enough of the flak.

    • Bill Wehrum, an Author of Trump Administration’s Pro-Coal Rules, to Leave E.P.A.

      William L. Wehrum, who played a central role in Trump administration efforts to weaken climate change protections and roll back regulations on the fossil fuel industry, will resign as head of the Environmental Protection Agency air quality office at the end of this month, the agency announced Wednesday.

      Last week the E.P.A. moved to replace an Obama-era regulation that aimed to shutter coal-fired power plants with a new regulation that could help more coal plants open. Mr. Wehrum was the main architect of the new measure, the Affordable Clean Energy rule.

      He was also a player in efforts to relax tailpipe pollution standards to change the way the agency measures the health consequences of air pollution.

      “Mr. Wehrum oversaw the most relentless rollback of clean air, climate and health safeguards in E.P.A.’s history,” said John Walke, clean air director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “E.P.A. strengthened not a single meaningful air quality or climate safeguard during his tenure.”
      Mr. Wehrum — who worked as a lobbyist and lawyer for the oil, gas and coal industries before joining the Trump administration — was also accused of ethics violations at the agency.

    • Millions of Songbirds Do Not Need to Suffer Gruesome Deaths So the Olive Industry Can Save a Buck

      Imagine you’re a redwing, a small, speckled bird in the thrush family. You weigh as little as two light bulbs, and yet each year you make a 2,300-mile journey from your summering grounds in Iceland to a winter refuge in Morocco. One night, you decide to stop off in an olive grove in Portugal to rest your weary wings.

      Little do you know, night is when the machines come.

      Mechanical harvesters taller than the trees themselves rumble through the olive groves, each equipped with floodlights and rows of vibrating teeth. Like a slow-moving beast, the harvesters straddle the trees and throttle them, shaking loose their olives and directing the fruits to powerful vacuums for collection.

    • Killing as a Government Service

      Every year a little-known program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, known as Wildlife Services, kills an astonishing number of animals. Last year it slaughtered 1.5 million native wild creatures and 1.1 million invasive animals — everything from armadillos to hawks to wolves. This follows 2.3 million animals killed in 2017, 2.7 million in 2016, and tens of millions more in the years prior.

    • Climate Crisis Gets 15 Minutes Total in First Two Nights of Dem Debates

      While 14 candidates have thrown their support behind the idea, according to 350 Action’s 2020 Climate Test, California Senator Kamala Harris was the first to endorse it on the debate stage, The Atlantic reported.

      When asked about her climate change plans, Harris corrected moderator Chuck Todd, saying the proper term was “climate crisis” because “it’s an existential threat to us as a species.”

      “That’s why I support a Green New Deal,” she said. “It’s why on day one as president, I will reenter us into the Paris agreement.”

    • The Green New Deal Finally Makes a Debate Appearance

      A number of Democratic primary candidates have proclaimed their support for the Green New Deal or something like it. But the first person to actually endorse it on the debate stage either Wednesday or Thursday night was Senator Kamala Harris of California. (Former Governor John Hickenlooper was the first to mention the idea, saying that he “admired the sense of urgency” but that “we can’t promise every American a government job.”) Asked by Chuck Todd to describe her climate-change plan, Harris replied briskly and corrected his terms: The rapid warming of the planet should be called the “climate crisis” because “it’s an existential threat to us as a species.” She mentioned visiting the site of last year’s wildfires in California “while the embers were smoldering.”

      “That’s why I support a Green New Deal,” she said. “It’s why on day one as president, I will reenter us into the Paris Agreement.”

    • Spain Battles Largest Wildfire in 20 Years as Europe Sizzles in Deadly Heat Wave

      More than 500 firefighters and soldiers are battling Spain’s largest wildfire in two decades as Europe continues to wither under an extreme heat wave, The Guardian reported Thursday.

      The fire has burned 12,355 acres in the Catalan province of Tarragona, killed hundreds of sheep and forced 53 people to evacuate their homes.

    • European heatwave sets new June temperature records

      A heatwave affecting much of Europe is expected to intensify further with countries – including France, Spain and Switzerland – expecting temperatures above 40C (104F) later on Thursday.

      On Wednesday, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic recorded their highest temperatures for June.
      Meteorologists say hot air drawn in from northern Africa is responsible.


      Temperatures are expected to top 40C in Italy too, particularly in central and northern regions. Several cities, including Rome, have issued the highest heat warnings.
      On Thursday morning the body of a 72-year-old homeless Romanian man was found near Milan’s central train station. Officials say the heat may have been a factor in his death.
      Philip Trackfield, a British tourist in Rome, told the BBC: “Last night at the Spanish steps it was 41C. It’s exhausting when you’re trying to do all the sights.”
      Meanwhile the whole of France – where a heatwave in 2003 was blamed for 15,000 deaths – is now on orange alert, the second-highest warning level.

    • Manure pile spontaneously combusts to spark 13,000-acre wildfire, Spanish authorities say

      Spontaneous combustion of a manure pile on a farm likely sparked a 13,000-acre wildfire now burning out of control in northeastern Spain, authorities say.

      Television reports showed horses incinerated in the blaze that rolled across the rural terrain, forcing the evacuation of at least 53 residents in Spain’s Catalonia region. Hundreds of sheep also died in the fire and smoke that drew more than 500 firefighters and soldiers to battle the flames, The Guardian reported.

      The flames threatened nearly 50,000 acres in the area, said Miquel Buch, the regional interior minister, calling it the area’s worst wildfire in 20 years.

      “Let us be very aware that any irresponsibility can end up being a catastrophe,” Buch said in a tweet. “Maximum precaution.”

    • It’s so hot in Europe, the temperature map is screaming

      Wednesday marked the start of a major heat wave across Western Europe, with hot air moving north from the Sahara prompting record-setting high temperatures in France, Germany, and Poland.

    • Finance

      • Dark Patterns at Scale: Findings from a Crawl of 11K Shopping Websites

        Dark patterns are user interface design choices that benefit an online service by coercing, steering, or deceiving users into making unintended and potentially harmful decisions. We conducted a large-scale study, analyzing ~53K product pages from ~11K shopping websites to characterize and quantify the prevalence of dark patterns.

      • How E-Commerce Sites Manipulate You Into Buying Things You May Not Want

        The report coincides with discussions among lawmakers about regulating technology companies, including through a bill proposed in April by Senators Deb Fischer, Republican of Nebraska, and Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, that is meant to limit the use of dark patterns by making some of the techniques illegal and giving the Federal Trade Commission more authority to police the practice.

      • How 9 People Built an Illegal $5M Airbnb Empire in New York

        The host is part of a sprawling network that city officials say illegally converted residential units in 36 buildings—many of which were low-cost or rent-stabilized—in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan into full-time short-term rentals, available primarily through Airbnb. From 2015 to 2019, the alleged scheme earned more than $5 million in revenue through Airbnb for booking 24,330 rooms and housing 63,873 guests in what the city describes as dangerous and unsanitary conditions.

      • Winklevoss Twins’ Fortune Doubles as Bitcoin Rallies

        Bitcoin surpassed $13,000 Wednesday for the first time since January of last year after Facebook Inc. announced last week it planned to issue its own cryptocurrency in conjunction with partners including Uber Technologies Inc. and Visa Inc. Bitcoin has more than tripled since December, prompting many investors to ignore the 74% drop last year that followed the 1,400% surge in 2017.

      • Bitcoin’s Blowout Surge Keeps Boosting Crypto-Linked Stocks

        Some have suggested Bitcoin is benefiting from fresh optimism as Facebook Inc. has decided to push into cryptocurrencies with its new coin, Libra. Geopolitical tension, and dropping bond yields, may also be drawing investors into alternative assets, like gold.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Partisan Gerrymandering Upheld by Supreme Court

        By a 5 to 4 vote, in a decision by Justice Roberts, the Supreme Court today said it cannot decide the question of partisan gerrymandering in federal courts.

        SCOTUS will not strike down the gerrymandering in North Carolina and Maryland.

      • Trump just went on an epic, unintelligible rant about Twitter censorship
      • Twitter Will Start Flagging Tweets From Political Figures Like Donald Trump That Violate Its Rules

        Now, Twitter said, it is going to display a new notice in front of tweets it keeps on the service under the “public interest” standard that will require users to click through to view the post. Twitter also will not show such tweets in certain areas, including in the Timeline when switched to Top Tweets, in the Notifications tab or Explore section.

      • Twitter will now hide — but not remove — harmful tweets from public figures

        This notice will only apply to tweets from accounts belonging to political figures, verified users, and accounts with more than 100,000 followers. If a tweet is flagged as violating platform rules, a team of people from across the company will decide whether it is a “matter of public interest.” If so, a light gray box will appear before the tweet notifying users that it’s in violation, but it will remain available to users who click through the box. In theory, this could preserve the tweet as part of the public record without allowing it to be promoted to new audiences through the Twitter platform.

      • Pompeo Meets Saudi King, Crown Prince on Iran

        Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, tells VOA that the Saudi reception for Pompeo appeared to be a sign of displeasure that President Trump had backed off on retaliating for Iran’s downing of a U.S. drone in the Gulf of Hormuz, last week.

      • FedEx refuses to deliver a Huawei phone to the US

        In any case, there is no law against shipping Huawei phones to the United States – as long as they’re not directly to the company. The question is why anybody would want to: Huawei phones have already been blacklisted by US carriers. Even if they weren’t, shipping a batch of handsets one at a time is the kind of wasteful packaging that even Amazon might raise an eyebrow at.

      • Friends: Trump accuser told us of attack in the ’90s

        Two women have confirmed that the writer E. Jean Carroll told them in the 1990s that she’d been sexually assaulted by Donald Trump….

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Assange legal advisor: Pentagon spearheaded pursuit of WikiLeaks founder

        Geoffrey Robertson, a senior legal advisor to Assange, revealed in a radio interview that he was told by senior figures in the previous US administration of Barack Obama that the Pentagon was spearheading the campaign to secure the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to the US.

        Robertson made the comments in an interview last Thursday with Phillip Adams on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Late Night Live” program.

      • Exclusive: In a world first, Facebook to give data on hate speech suspects to French courts

        The decision by the world’s biggest social media network comes after successive meetings between Zuckerberg and Macron, who wants to take a leading role globally on the regulation of hate speech and the spread of false information online.

        So far, Facebook has cooperated with French justice on matters related to terrorist attacks and violent acts by transferring the IP addresses and other identification data of suspected individuals to French judges who formally demanded it.

        Following a meeting between Nick Clegg, Facebook’s head of global affairs, and O last week, the social media company has extended this cooperation to hate speech.

      • How Free Speech Dies Online [iophk: "how does that change when these platforms are misused for official government communications?"]

        However, since then, while free speech has remained a controversial topic, the focus of the debate has moved away from restrictions on speech by state actors, and toward the question of how corporate entities that privately control the platforms which host a great deal of our speech and debate should regulate and moderate their users.

        These platforms are not bound by the US Constitution or by other legal regimes that protect private speech from state coercion, but their rule-making processes should be guided by the same principles that led all Western democracies to implement strong protections for speech—even speech that others may find offensive.

      • Pamela Anderson opens up about Julian Assange, veganism and #MeToo

        You have been working to get WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange out of jail. What will that take?

        A lot of public support. We really have to get him out of jail. He can’t be extradited to America. They are doing everything they can to destroy his reputation, so people don’t support him. If you see people throughout history, that’s what they do.

        Keeping him in the public eye is really important, so he doesn’t get killed. But being alive and in prison — Belmarsh prison is not an easy life — he’s never committed a violent act in his life. He’s very calm, very centered. I really encourage people to look at some of his speeches and the things he talks about. He’s very, very smart and very passionate about justice.

        And he’s going to keep doing what he’s doing. He knew he was going to be in danger. Julian told me everything that happened and what was going to happen. It was just a matter of time. So now he needs public outcry — and especially from journalists. It’s crazy the brainwashing that’s gone on and the egos involved. We have to get him out of there for sure.

      • Ravelry, a Popular Knitting Site, Bans Pro-Trump Content [iophk: "will they ban other supremacist movements?"]

        “We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy,” the site said in a statement explaining the decision. “Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.”

        The policy applies to content on the site, including knitting patterns and forum posts, but not to people, according to Ravelry, which said it still welcomed Republicans and those with conservative political views. “You can still participate if you do in fact support the administration, you just can’t talk about it here,” the statement said, adding that “hate groups and intolerance are different from other types of political positions.”

      • Prosecutors and federal judges collaborate with corporations to seal evidence of public safety risks, sentencing hundreds of thousands of Americans to death

        Reuters has published a must-read report on the widespread practice of sealing court documents relevant to public safety and health in product liability cases, finding that about half of the largest cases heard in the past 20 years had their evidence sealed, in cases involving “drugs, cars, medical devices and other products.” This is just the tip of the iceberg, only tracking federal cases — the problem is likely even worse at the state level.

      • YouTube Is Giving You More Control Over Video Recommendations

        Starting Wednesday, you can block specific channels from appearing in your YouTube recommendations, the company announced in a blog post. The feature is available in both the Android and iOS YouTube apps, and will come to desktop soon. A similar option already exists on Spotify, where users can block artists they don’t want appearing in algorithmically generated playlists or elsewhere. YouTube will also start disclosing to iOS users the reason a video was recommended to them, like how Facebook tells you why you saw a specific advertisement or post in your News Feed. The feature will come to both Android and desktop in the future.

      • Reddit quarantines Trump subreddit r/The_Donald for violent comments

        Reddit has placed the controversial Donald Trump-focused subreddit r/The_Donald behind a quarantine screen after “repeated” misbehavior that includes inciting violence. A moderator posted an explanatory message from Reddit, which has asked moderators to make it clear that “violent content is unacceptable” on the forum. The move comes two days after Media Matters for America noted that r/The_Donald members were supporting violent attacks on Oregon police and other public officials.

      • Something Awful’s founder thinks YouTube sucks at moderation

        Large internet platforms are only just starting to confront user-generated content at scale, because it’s only recently that advertisers have made it unprofitable for platforms to let their worst actors flaunt widely accepted social codes of conduct. But moderation is complex: for every Alex Jones YouTube bans, there are hundreds of others toeing the line of acceptable content according to the platform’s own rules. There’s just so much that’s borderline or open to interpretation because moderation, as a practice and art, is fundamentally subjective. Even posts that are within the letter of the rules can be grounds for a ban, for example, because of a user’s previous behavior.

      • Facebook CEO: Company Was Too Slow to Respond to Pelosi Deepfake

        Zuckerberg said Facebook is considering a new policy on deepfake videos, and suggested the content might be held to a different standard than other types of fake news.

      • Facebook To Start Handing User Info To French Government So It Can Start Punishing People For Being Stupid

        France has criminalized hate speech, building on legislation that worked out oh so well in Germany. Facebook has already allowed French government censors to embed with the company’s moderation teams. Facebook.gov is no one’s idea of a better world, but there was always a chance French regulators might actually learn something from the experience: namely, that moderating content at scale isn’t easy and tends to cause collateral damage if performed the way multiple governments would prefer.

        It appears little has been learned. Mark Zuckerberg’s recent meeting with France’s president may have little to with this, but Facebook has been historically cooperative with other demands from the French government. However, previous cooperation generally concerned terrorism investigations, not people engaging in criminalized ignorance.

        The French government naturally seems pleased with Facebook’s decision to deliver hateful users into the hands of authorities.


        What the actual fuck. Ignorant people saying ignorant things is not even close to equivalent of violent acts that kill and maim people just because they don’t agree with the terrorists or, worse, just because they’re there. While I understand that France’s protections for speech are not on par with the First Amendment, equating hate speech with terrorism is stupid and will end up costing stupid people their freedom, even if they’ve done nothing more than let everyone else know how stupid they are.

      • Trump Thinks That The Government Can And Should Sue Internet Companies Because He Doesn’t Like The People Who Work There

        The “rig the election” is one that’s been making the rounds this week after a group of people deliberately misrepresented Google’s ongoing (and very public) efforts to prevent foreign intervention in the US election. If you think that blocking foreign intervention is “rigging the election,” well, then you’ve got much bigger issues.

        As for the claim that Twitter has made it “very hard” for users to find and follow him, he currently has 61.4 million followers — which appears to make him the twelfth most followed account on the platform. He has more followers than Kim Kardashian. I don’t think anyone is making it hard to find or follow him. Or, if Twitter is doing that, please, Twitter, make it just as hard for people to find and follow me on the platform.

        Look, I get that Trump and his fans don’t like the fact that tech company employees overwhelmingly didn’t vote for him. But, that’s not any basis for making up lies about them and sending the DOJ after them. There may well be legal and regulatory issues that deserve scrutiny regarding these legal companies, but making up fantasy stories only makes it that much harder to sort out what’s legitimate from what’s utter nonsense.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Alexa called man a ‘S**THEAD’ after he cancelled his Amazon Prime subscription

        VIRTUAL ASSISTANT Alexa told a customer he was a “s**thead” after he asked it to play some music. Michael Slade, 29 was shocking to hear his Amazon Echo Dot call him the rude name…

      • Alexa Calls Guy “Shithead” After He Cancelled Prime Subscription

        Upon such an encounter, Slade simply could not believe it and talked to the technical team about the indecent incident. Following this, all Michael got was a £5 worth gift voucher as compensation.

        To clear things out, Amazon devices come with the ability to customize many settings, even the playlist names. While Michael swears he did nothing to his Echo Dot settings, there is a possibility someone else must have altered it, maybe, for fun.

      • California: Stop Face Surveillance on Police Body-Worn Cameras

        Communities called for police officers to wear cameras with the hope that doing so would improve police accountability, not further mass surveillance. But today, we stand at a crossroads. Face recognition technology is now capable of being interfaced with body-worn cameras in real-time—a development that has grave implications for privacy, free speech, and racial justice.

      • Another Report Shows The GDPR Benefited Google And Facebook, And Hurt Everyone Else

        We warned folks that these big attempts to “regulate” the internet as a way to “punish” Google and Facebook would only help those companies. Last fall, about six months into the GDPR, we noted that there appeared to be one big winner from the law: Google. And now, the Wall Street Journal notes that it’s increasingly looking like Facebook and Google have grown thanks to the GDPR, while the competition has been wiped out.

      • Victory: California Orders State Audit of Automated License Plate Readers

        A California legislative committee today voted to direct the State Auditor to launch a probe into the use of automated license plate readers (ALPRs) by law enforcement agencies. The audit will include the first comprehensive statewide survey of which agencies use this surveillance technology and what vendors they use. It will also include a deeper audit into four specific jurisdictions across the state.

        ALPRs are camera systems that scan the license plates of vehicles in order to track people in real-time and create search databases of drivers’ historical travel patterns. As a mass surveillance technology, ALPR captures information on every driver, regardless of whether their vehicle is under suspicion.

        In 2015, EFF supported legislation—S.B. 34—to require agencies to implement policies that protect civil liberties and privacy, and to maintain a detailed log of every time someone accesses ALPR data. In the years since, EFF has filed hundreds of public records requests and analyzed scores of policies only to discover that many agencies are either ignoring the law altogether or failing to follow some of its provisions. Often EFF’s research faces hurdles because agencies signed non-disclosure agreements with the primary vendor of the technology, Vigilant Solutions.

      • Global Average of 40% of Homes Have at Least One IoT Device
      • Creating my own web analytics system from scratch

        I mentioned in passing a few weeks back that I’ve removed Google Analytics from Ctrl blog, and that I’d built a replacement web analytics collection and analysis system from scratch. Here are some more details on that endeavor.

        I’ve never been comfortable handing information about my visitors over to Google, or been happy about the performance impact, and unsatisfied with how it doesn’t properly track how much time visitors spend on pages. (A key metric in my book.)

      • WhatsApp tests feature that shares your status to Facebook and other apps

        Although there’s a direct link to share your status to Facebook, WhatsApp tells me that it’s not doing anything to link your accounts on the two services. Instead, it’s making use of the same iOS and Android data-sharing APIs as every other app, meaning data is transferred between the apps on-device. Even if you share data to another Facebook-owned service like Instagram, WhatsApp says the two posts will be separate events in Facebook’s systems, and they will not be linked. There is also no option to have your WhatsApp status automatically shared to another service; WhatsApp tells me it wants the feature to be an active decision on the part of the user.

      • Libra, explained

        It’s shady as hell, though. You remember Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss? The twins from whom Mark Zuckerberg ripped the initial idea for Facebook? Yeah, so they have a cryptocurrency exchange called Gemini. As any astrology buff will tell you, both Libra and Gemini are air signs, and Geminis are stereotypically scarier than Libras. Gemini is the sign of twins and is associated with two-faced-ness. Plus, it’s a mutable air sign, which makes it somewhat unstable. Libra, as a cardinal sign, is somewhat more stable. Libra sees both sides; Gemini tries to be both sides.

      • Amazon is watching, listening and tracking you. Here’s how to stop it

        Meanwhile, Amazon monitors your music, book and TV/movie selections via the Music, Kindle, Audible and Prime Video apps to make better recommendations, says the company.

      • Operation Soft Cell: A Worldwide Campaign Against Telecommunications Providers

        In 2018, the Cybereason Nocturnus team identified an advanced, persistent attack targeting global telecommunications providers carried out by a threat actor using tools and techniques commonly associated with the Chinese-affiliated threat actor APT10. This multi-wave attacks focused on obtaining data of specific, high-value targets and resulted in a complete takeover of the network.


        Based on the data available to us, Operation Soft Cell has been active since at least 2012, though some evidence suggests even earlier activity by the threat actor against telecommunications providers.

      • Report: [Attackers] using telecoms like ‘global spy system’

        An ambitious group of suspected state-backed [attackers] has been burrowing into telecommunications companies in order to spy on high-profile targets across the world, a U.S. cybersecurity firm said in a report published Tuesday.

        Boston-based Cybereason said the tactic gave [attackers] sweeping access to VIPs’ call records, location data and device information — effectively turning the targets’ cellular providers against them.

        Cybereason Chief Executive Lior Div said because customers weren’t directly targeted, they might never discover that their every movement was being monitored by a hostile power.

      • Thailand orders phone users in Muslim-majority south to submit photos

        The tit-for-tat violence has claimed around 7,000 lives, mostly civilians of both faiths, and security forces have detained individuals suspected of being separatist rebels without warrants in the past.

        Now telecoms companies are requiring all users of the region’s 1.5 million mobile numbers to submit a photo of themselves for facial recognition purposes following orders from the army – a move that is drawing anger from rights groups as the deadline to register photos nears.

      • Politicians Don’t Trust Facebook—Unless They’re Campaigning

        Brown and Hawley are hardly alone in sharing their website visitors’ data with Facebook in this manner. Over the past two months, I surveyed the official campaign websites of 535 US politicians. As of June 14, 81 sitting US senators, including Brown and Hawley, have Facebook tracking pixels embedded somewhere on their campaign websites; 31 of them send exact donation amounts. As of last Friday, at least 176 members of the House of Representatives also have the Facebook pixel on their campaign homepages. And almost every 2020 presidential candidate uses this kind of tracker, too, including President Donald Trump.

        And this should be underlined: Facebook’s pixel technology, which is meant to help target Facebook ads to visitors, must be approved by websites on which it operates. These politicians—or at least their campaigns—have actively signed up to allow Facebook to track their visitors.

      • Lord Of The Flies: An Open-Source Investigation Into Saud Al-Qahtani

        Before tuning in via Skype to oversee the murder and dismemberment of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saud al-Qahtani, a high-level adviser to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), was best known for running social media operations for the royal court and serving as MBS’s chief propagandist and enforcer. His portfolio also included hacking and monitoring critics of the Kingdom and MBS.

        What follows below is a summary of this investigation’s findings into al-Qahtani’s activities. [...]

      • I Shouldn’t Have to Publish This in The New York Times

        Our first mistake was giving the platforms the right to decide who could speak and what they could say. Our second mistake was giving them the duty to make that call, a billion times a day.

      • House panel to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency project

        The Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on Facebook’s Project Libra on July 17, Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) announced Monday afternoon. The Senate Banking Committee will hold its own hearing on the social media giant’s crypto project the previous day.

      • Alphabet’s Plan for Toronto Depends on Huge Amounts of Data

        The letter motions toward a difficult reality for the Alphabet company: Underpinning its fantastic vision for the 12-acre slice of Toronto is a similarly fantastic one for partnership between a big, global city and a big multinational corporation. It will need land to be transferred at a reasonable price; it will need public infrastructure commitments, including a light rail extension; it asks for “performance payments” when the company reaches agreed-upon benchmarks and milestones.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Liberals add far-right extremist groups to list of outlawed terror networks

        According to the government’s website, Blood & Honour is an international neo-Nazi network whose ideology is derived from the National Socialist doctrine of Nazi Germany; it was founded in the U.K. in 1987. The organization and its armed wing, Combat 18, have spread across Europe and North America.


        Other groups on the list include al Qaida, ISIS and Boko Haram.

      • Trump admin’s ‘tent cities’ cost more than keeping migrant kids with parents

        The cost of holding migrant children who have been separated from their parents in newly created “tent cities” is $775 per person per night, according to an official at the Department of Health and Human Services — far higher than the cost of keeping children with their parents in detention centers or holding them in more permanent buildings.

      • Protesters in Hong Kong may have almost won this battle — but the fight for freedom and identity is far from over

        While it would seem activists should hail this small victory, many have been left frustrated and unimpressed, which is only fueling further efforts. On Friday, thousands of protesters swarmed the police headquarters and nearby buildings. And more demonstrations have already been planned in the lead up to the G20 summit in Osaka next weekend. “Before this important event on the international stage, we should rally again to deal another blow to Carrie Lam!” organizers wrote in a call to action on Facebook.

        Though protesters may have won a small victory in the battle over this legislation, the fight against China’s creeping influence on the fragmented city is far from over.

      • Bank of America says it will stop lending to private-prison companies

        Before making the decision, the bank conducted a review through its environmental, social and governance (ESG) committee, which included meeting and consulting with clients, criminal justice experts and civil rights leaders, as well as internal black and Hispanic leaders, according to Bloomberg.

      • Bank of America Will Stop Lending to Private-Prison Firms

        Bank of America Corp., the second-biggest U.S. bank, will stop lending to companies that run private prisons and detention centers.

        “We have decided to exit the relationship’’ with companies that provide prison and immigration-detention services, Vice Chairman Anne Finucane said Wednesday in an interview. “We’ve done our due diligence that we said we would do at the annual meeting, and this is the decision we’ve made.’’

      • Protest on July 14: Free Julian Assange!

        The Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand) will hold a rally in Wellington, as part of the global campaign of the International Committee of the Fourth International and the World Socialist Web Site to demand freedom for Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder has been relentlessly persecuted for publishing evidence of war crimes by US imperialism in Iraq and Afghanistan and revealing the anti-democratic machinations of Washington and its allies throughout the world.

      • Confirmed: Supremacy Kodi Repo Was Indeed Targeted By Police

        Following the surprise shutdown of the Supremacy kodi add-on repository on June 13, TorrentFreak can today confirm that its operator was indeed targeted by UK police. The decision to report the case to law enforcement was taken by the Federation Against Copyright Theft in association with the Premier League, Sky, BT Sport, and Virgin Media.

      • Data From Court Documents Shows Texas Law Enforcement Playing Small-Ball Forfeiture, Not Doing Much To Stop Drug Trafficking

        Journalists digging into the numbers behind vague forfeiture reports have uncovered more unsurprising details about the practice. Since the state of Texas doesn’t require reporting of anything more than overall profits from forfeitures, reporters at the Texas Tribune did it the hard way. Reading through thousands of pages of court filings, the paper was able to tease out the granular detail law enforcement agencies don’t like the public seeing.

        What the Texas Tribune uncovered is exactly the reasons asset forfeiture is both problematic and incredibly popular with law enforcement agencies. Cop shop PR officers may hold press conferences to announce things like the $1.2 million in cash seized from a traffic stop, they’re very quiet about the day-to-day work of forfeiture. The reality is the $50 million a year taken through forfeiture in the state of Texas is composed of hundreds of very small cash seizures.

    • DRM

      • ‘The Books Will Stop Working’: How The Microsoft Store Is Retiring Its Books Category

        The process of deleting swathes of ebooks from Microsoft Edges everywhere comes with another hidden cost, the deletion of any highlighting or annotations made by the ebooks’ readers over the years. Microsoft addresses this, offering an additional credit for each annotated book deleted. “Mark-ups and annotations made in books acquired from Microsoft Store will be available until early July 2019 when your books are removed from Microsoft Edge,” their site FAQ explains. “If you have made mark-ups or annotations in any of your acquired books prior to April 2, 2019, you’ll receive an additional $25 credit to your Microsoft account at the same time refunds are processed.”

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • Game Over: Multiplayer Gaming Patent Found to be an Abstract Idea

        Judge Maryellen Noreika (D. Delaware) has been very active since receiving her judicial commission less than a year ago, including already issuing a handful of Section 101 opinions. In Sandbox Software v. 18Birdies, she holds that Sandbox’s patent claims are directed to the abstract idea of playing a multiplayer game and keeping track of its progress.

        Sandbox attempts to save the claims, arguing that the claims are directed to “a tailored and narrowly focused method or device that requires a multistep verification process for moves relating to a game” and combines gaming with geolocation to “solve the problem of social isolationism.”

        The court did not buy it. Judge Noreika, citing to the patent, stated that the “only technology recited in the claims are generic mobile devices, a mobile device game application, verification and a central server,” all of which are generic computer components functioning in conventional ways in their logical order. Similarly, the geolocation elements only refer to generic GPS, which is not an improvement in technology.

      • The Challenges of Patenting Autonomous Vehicle AI and Software [Ed: These jokers who bully companies in court (a large litigation firm, Foley & Lardner LLP) use AI/"hey hi" hype to push fake patents on software]

        Can patents still be obtained for new functionality or improvements that are provided by AI and software?


        Since these changes to the patent law make it challenging to obtain patent protection for certain software implemented inventions related to artificial intelligence (“AI”) or internet of vehicles (“IoV”) technologies, companies may be discouraged from pursuing patent protection for such inventions. For example, since the 2014 Alice case, the number of patent applications filed annually for AI inventions in Digital Marketing, FinTech, Education, and Entertainment actually declined significantly (Industry-Focused Patenting Trends, page 16.)

      • Still No Shortage of Viewpoints as Eligibility Debate Moves to the Hill [Ed: A blog that promotes software patents propping up staged, stacked, bogus ‘debates’ set up by bribed (by law firms) politicians]

        Back in March, I reported on the breadth of comments the USPTO received in response to its new Guidance on patent subject matter eligibility. Now, Congress has taken up the issue with a proposed draft of a new bipartisan, bicameral bill, and the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property (under the Senate’s Committee on the Judiciary) recently completed three days of hearings. Sen. Thom Tillis has already stated that based on the testimony, he realizes revisions will need to be crafted to address issues with the new definition of “utility,” to reconsider the proposed amendment to § 112(f), to consider an appropriate enhancement of exemptions for experimental use and research, and to clarify that the legislation is not intended to promote patenting of human genes.

      • “Patent Remedies and Complex Products” Is Now Available [Ed: Events about patents always full of patent maximalists who profit from litigation and almost nobody else]

        As I have mentioned before on this blog (see, e.g., here), the book is the work of the International Patent Remedies for Complex Products project, of which I was fortunate to be a part. (INPRECOMP began as a joint venture between the Center for Law, Science and Innovation (CLSI) at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College London, and is primarily funded by a gift to CLSI from Intel.) It was a terrific experience working with the editors and other scholars involved in this project, and I hope that the book will achieve a wide readership not only among academics but also among lawyers, judges, and other professionals involved in the global patent system. Reviews would be most welcome!

      • Roche shields itself from a UK Arrow: Pfizer v Roche

        The UK courts have discretion to grant a declaration that any future patent granted covering a product, would necessarily, be invalid (an “Arrow declaration”, Arrow v Merck). In a High Court decision published last week, Mr Justice Birss considered whether an Arrow declaration may be granted even where there was no possibility of a UK patent right ever coming into existence: Pfizer v Roche [2019] EWHC 1520 (Pat).

        The case concerned two giants of the bio-pharmaceuticals world, Roche and Pfizer, and Roche’s blockbuster biologic, Avastin. Roche markets the monoclonal antibody drug bevacizumab for the treatment of cancer, under the brand name Avastin. Roche’s European sales for Avastin in 2018 were over £1 billion.

      • If you’re going to appeal your application to the Board twice, res judicata should make you think twice [Ed: Anticipat is ranting about PTAB again; the whole existence of it is to bash judges and examiners, shaming them into patent maximalism]

        Thus, the rejection was also affirmed based on res judicata.
        A good law student should be able to tell you about the doctrine of res judicata. This is a doctrine of judicial efficiency and fairness, which is that an issue that has been decided once need not be decided again. What that good law student may not know is how res judicata applies to administrative bodies, such as the USPTO. At least from the patent prosecution perspective, the PTAB seems open to using this doctrine if the claims are not patentably distinct from claims that were previously affirmed as rejected.
        How often does res judicata get applied by the board? In short, extremely rarely. For one, it is rare that an application gets appealed twice. It’s even more rare for res judicata. Of over 100,000 decisions, the Anticipat database showed 45 such decisions with the key word match.

        Interestingly, both decisions were penned by Gregg I. Anderson. Given the small cohort of PTAB judges for tech centers, having the same PTAB judge write the opinion for two decisions is not out of the ordinary. Here, Judge Anderson may have recognized familiar argumentation and was not convinced the second time. As a former litigator, he was also familiar with res judicata. The two panels had two overlapping judges: the second panel consisted of administrative patent judges Carolyn D. Thomas, Jeremy J. Curcuri, and Gregg I. Anderson while the first panel included Jeremy J. Curcuri, Gregg I. Anderson and Eric B. Chen.

        Keep in mind res judicata when pursuing a second appeal. It might save you a lot of effort and time.

      • SPCs based on a second marketing authorisation – the fight continues (Novartis C-354/19)

        The purpose of the SPC Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 469/2009) is to compensate a patentee for the lengthy process of achieving marketing authorisation. SPCs are national rights that provide an additional period of patent protection (max 5 years) for an active pharmaceutical ingredient. The active ingredient must be subject to a valid marketing authorisation and be protected by a patent (Regulation (EC) No 469/2009, Article 3(a)). In Europe, patent protection may be obtained for a second medical use of a known product (Article 54(5) EPC). These further medical uses of a known product also require a further marketing authorisation. Previous referrals to the CJEU have sought clarity over whether SPCs may be granted for the same active ingredient based on such a second marketing authorisation.

        In Neurim (C-130/11) the CJEU found that an earlier marketing authorisation obtained for a veterinary medicinal product did not prevent the grant of an SPC for a different application of the same product for which a different marketing authorisation had been granted. In Abraxis (C-443/17) Mr Justice Arnold asked whether, following Neurim (C-130/11), Article 3(d) of the SPC Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 469/2009) permitted grant of an SPC if the active ingredient has previously received marketing authorisation, but the new marketing authorisation is for a product in the form of a new formulation of the active ingredient. The CJEU answered to the negative (IPKat posts here and here).

      • Trademarks

        • Supreme Court Strikes Down Ban on “Immoral and Scandalous” Trademarks

          On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in Iancu v. Brunetti, No. 18-302, finding that the Lanham Act prohibition against registration of scandalous or immoral trademarks violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Brunetti decision follows closely behind the Court’s 2017 opinion in Matal v. Tam, which struck down the Lanham Act’s prohibition of disparaging marks under similar First Amendment grounds.

        • Charity lawyers face descriptive trademarks headache

          In-house counsel at charities including Cancer Research UK tell Managing IP that getting trademark protection can be hard because of restrictions on what is registrable and warn of the difficulties around introducing a ‘charitable exemption’

          In-house counsel at charities have spoken of the difficulties of protecting their brands, telling Managing IP that they are sometimes forced into thinking creatively about other ways of being granted protection because of restrictions on purely descriptive marks.

      • Copyrights

        • ‘Copyright Troll’ Lawyer Appeals 14 Year Prison Sentence

          Paul Hansmeier, one of the lead attorneys behind the controversial Prenda law firm, is appealing his conviction as well as the 14-year prison sentence. The former attorney will await the result of his appeal in prison. The court further ruled that a $75,000 settlement Hansmeier recently received, will be reserved for the victims of the copyright-trolling scheme.

    UPC Was the EPO’s (and Patent Maximalists’) Attempt to Abolish Patent Justice

    Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    With people like these in charge…

    UIMP event 2014

    Summary: If the EPO is an examination office for patents, then it’s failing quite badly; the sole priority at the moment is prosecution, even if unsuccessful, resulting in extraordinary legal costs and not any innovation whatsoever (i.e. what the US patent system suffered from until AIA)

    PATENT scope is being narrowed by the courts, but it’s being broadened by patent offices, which knowingly reduce legal certainty. They know that many patents will never be tested in courts, only outside courts (pre-settlements and cross-licensing). There’s lots more about US cases and laws in our latest daily links and it’s more of the same, i.e. courts throwing out lawsuits that involve US patents. Sometimes these patents don’t even reach the courts because they’re invalidated before a lawsuit can even be filed. Sometimes the plaintiff is forced to compensate the defendant. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) are still being targeted by patent extremists, who habitually try to impede patent justice, i.e. invalidation of bogus ones. “On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a petition for writ of certiorari to take up Dex Media Inc. v. Click-to-Call Technologies,” Steve Brachmann (Watchtroll) wrote, “on appeal from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The case will ask the nation’s highest court to determine whether 35 U.S.C. § 314(d), which states that decisions to institute inter partes review (IPR) proceedings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) are final and non-appealable…” (e.g. to the Federal Circuit or even SCOTUS)

    “Germany’s constitutional considerations are being assessed by the FCC, which is heckled and manipulated, as usual, by Team UPC.”Europe is a different story although similarities exist, e.g. appeals coming under attack by sending judges to Haar and limiting their authority. Can they put an end to European Patents being granted in defiance of the EPC? The EPO has already tried to replace them all with the UPC, but it isn’t happening. Germany’s constitutional considerations are being assessed by the FCC, which is heckled and manipulated, as usual, by Team UPC. Lies are being told about it every month. It has become rather sick.

    The EPO is meanwhile proceeding with its suicide plan. Decline in patent quality (and more fake patents granted based on algorithms) is covered up while veteran examiners leave or get pushed out. The EPO has tweeted a link to this (warning: epo.org link) “vision of sustainability,” adding: “The EPO Strategic Plan 2023 has been unanimously adopted! Have a look at what we, together with the EPO’s stakeholders, envisage for the coming years…”

    It’s “unanimously adopted” by patent maximalists; as we noted before, the EPO disregarded input in most European languages and from most stakeholders that include the public. The EPO only listens to the patenting and litigation ‘industry’, including the foreign one.

    Microsoft and IBM, as expected, have decided to basically reclassify a lot of things to bypass 35 U.S.C. § 101 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Team Campinos/Battistelli at the European Patent Office (EPO) actively encourages violating the EPC and their media ally, the patent trolls’ front group IAM, helps promote software patents in Europe using the “HEY HI” magic wand as recently as this week. To quote:

    The UK’s IPO recently released a report on worldwide AI patenting activity, which it combined with a deep dive into the local landscape and how it compares to other countries. The study complements WIPO’s Technology Trends paper which we analysed to produce a top 10 takeaways piece earlier in the year.

    The data analysed for the UKIPO report was pulled from the EPO’s PATSTAT product. The dataset consists of over 160,000 patent applications and 85,000 patent families.


    IBM has the largest AI portfolio, trailed by Microsoft

    Globally, IBM has the largest AI portfolio (by patent families). Although American companies take the top two spots, Asian businesses are highly represented in this list.

    Those are just software patents. They’re still stockpiling these utterly invalid patents (would not withstand a court’s scrutiny) and patent offices profit from it.

    Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP’s Alex Nagorniy [1, 2] recalled Supernus again — a subject revisited quite a few times recently. To quote the relevant part: “Supernus, the owner and assignee of the patent-at-issue, filed a Request for Continued Examination (“RCE”) on February 22, 2011 to remove the finality of a rejection during prosecution of U.S. Patent Application No 11/412,100 (“the ‘100 application”) and for consideration of additional information. On August 21, 2012, the EPO notified Supernus’ European Counsel that a Notice of Opposition was filed by Sandoz in an international application that claimed priority to the ‘100 application, and Supernus’ European Counsel informed Supernus of the EPO notification on September 11, 2012. On November 29, 2012—seventy-nine days after being informed or 100 days after the EPO notification of the Sandoz Opposition—Supernus submitted a supplemental IDS to the USPTO to inform them of the opposition and the documents submitted therein. After another round of prosecution, the USPTO issued a Notice of Allowance on February 4, 2014, and the ‘100 application issued as U.S. Patent No. 8,747,897 (“the ‘897 patent”) with a Patent Term Adjustment of 1,260 days.”

    So they start the prosecution before the patents are even available.

    Kristina Cornish and James Beal make money from litigation (at Kilburn & Strode LLP), so they won’t mind if EPO grants lots of fake patents, leading to frivolous lawsuits against innocent poor people. In the midst of this push for patents on buzzwords (from IAM’s party) there’s also advocacy of PACE (“accelerated prosecution of European patent applications” as they put it). Their opening presumption:

    Accelerating the prosecution of a patent application can be useful.

    To who?

    Do we actually care about justice? It cannot be rushed.

    James Ward and David Lewin (Haseltine Lake Kempner LLP) are meanwhile amplifying the EPO’s bundle of lies, which overlooks the fact that the Office grants lots of fake patents in order to fake ‘production’ figures. “According to the EPO Annual Report & Statistics for 2018, and earlier reports,” they wrote, “the median duration of first instance opposition procedures (months from expiry of the nine-month opposition term to the issue of the first instance decision) has fallen, particularly from 2016 to 2018.”

    The EPO has been trying hard to discourage and suppress oppositions, as we’ve been showing for years. We’ve heard stories wherein Apple received European Patents despite examiners finding prior art. The EPO is in trouble because it won’t even listen to its own examiners. Here’s World Intellectual Property Review reporting on an obviously bogus Apple patent getting thrown out, for a change:

    The European Patent Office (EPO) has dismissed an appeal from Apple, ruling that one of its applied-for patents is unpatentable…

    Shades of that infamous patent on progress bars. We wrote about it several times (albeit many years ago).

    It’s saddening to see the demise of science at the EPO. It’s like a bunch of clueless, nonscientific politicians and under-qualified career-climbing sociopaths have taken over. All they strive to do is to silence their critics; they’ve blocked Techrights since 2014. They later tried to do the same to IP Kat (until it stopped writing about the EPO’s abuses). The gag was a success.

    All those CNIPA and SIPO (same thing, low patent quality) pieces in today’s IP Kat reveal the low levels and standards this kitten sank to. They/the blog used to actually care about quality and justice, but nowadays it’s run by extremists foaming at the mouth for lawsuits (their business model). The likes of Bristows (Annsley Merelle Ward) have been dominating the ‘Kat’, IP Kat , in this case reposting Alexander de Leeuw (Brinkhof). Well, as noted the other day European Patents are already being leveraged by foreign (US) giants, which claim to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars based on exploitative monopolies, to bully generics out of the market. Courts decide the lawsuits are baseless, frivolous. To quote:

    “On 19 June 2019 the Dutch District Court of The Hague – the Court with exclusive jurisdiction over patent matters in the Netherlands – issued a decision in merits proceedings between Eli Lilly & Company and Fresenius Kabi regarding Fresenius’ pemetrexed product (a machine translation as published by Mattie de Koning of Simmons is found here).

    The product ‘Pemetrexed Fresenius Kabi’ is practically identical to Lilly’s pemetrexed product Alimta, apart from the fact that it contains the tromethamine salt instead of the disodium salt of pemetrexed. The question in many of the pemetrexed proceedings has been whether a pemetrexed product with a different salt falls within the scope of Lilly’s patent, which specifically claims disodium as the salt to be used in a combination therapy with vitamin B12 or a derivative thereof.

    Other than in almost all preceding decisions, the Dutch Court ruled that there is no infringement of Lilly’s patent because tromethamine cannot be considered equivalent to disodium. A copy of the Dutch decision can be found here.

    Patents that are granted in Europe based on guesswork just to meet “targets” (or “production”) are doing great harm. Judges are not amused (another new case). It’s hardly surprising that Bristows tries hard to just replace the courts with kangaroo ones. Alan Johnson has just said [1, 2] that:

    The BVerfG has today announced here that its Second Senate will hold an oral hearing in that first case (“ECB bond purchase program”) on 30 and 31 July 2019.

    Nothing to do with the UPC; the title remains misleading, but it’s intended to make it seem as though a decision is imminent — a lie they have been telling for years.

    Rose Hughes keeps writing about the EPO but never about scandals, corruption and crimes. IP Kat will never say anything negative about the EPO (as writers who did so have left; the pseudonym “Merpel” is hardly even used anymore). Never do they mention that this Board of Appeal lacks autonomy:

    What do European patent attorneys have nightmares about? Trying to achieve re-establishment of rights at the EPO must be among the list. A decision of the Legal Board of Appeal (J 05/18), published this week, is a reminder that even with the best systems in place, an isolated error by any representative involved in the case may be catastrophic.

    In some jurisdictions, the test for reinstating an application following refusal due to a missed deadline can be relatively low. At the UK IPO, for example, it is merely necessary to demonstrate that the failure to meet the deadline was “unintentional” (UKPA Section 20A). At the EPO, the test is considerably higher. The applicant must show that the deadline was missed despite “all due care” having been taken.


    The board of appeal (BA) identified the misreading of the email regarding the applicants “interest in further processing” as the critical mistake leading to the missed deadline. The BA was of the view that the presence of a “well-functioning system” was therefore not decisive in this case. In the BA’s view, the letter checked by the US representative, did not give “the slightest indication that the EP representative had already been instructed to request further processing. Quite the contrary, this document clearly demonstrated that no action had been taken at that stage” (r.1.2.3). Furthermore, whilst such an obvious mistake by an assistant may have been excusable, the BA could not excuse a representative for making such a mistake (r.1.2.5).

    Therefore, the isolated mistake on behalf of the US attorney in misreading the letter was considered to demonstrate lack of all due care, regardless of any systems that may have been in place. The appeal was dismissed.

    Those who wonder why the above blog is full of UPC promotion and void of criticism (of union-busting, attacks on the Boards of Appeal etc.) are urged to see who left the blog and who joined it. This isn’t the same blog that it used to be.


    Links 28/6/2019: bzip2 1.0.7, Opera 62, Krita 4.2.2, Cutelyst 2.8.0, Kodachi 6.1, Slax 9.9.1

    Posted in News Roundup at 10:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


    • Desktop

      • Google Releases Chrome OS 75 to Let Linux Apps Access Android Devices over USB

        Chrome OS 75 has been promoted to the stable channel as version 75.0.3770.102 (Platform version: 12105.75.0) for most Chromebook devices. This release introduces a new parental control feature that lets parents limit the time to their kids spend on Chrome OS devices, and it also enables kid-friendly Assistant for child accounts.

        While still in beta, the support for Linux apps is improving with every release, and Chrome OS 75 introduces support for Linux apps to access Android devices over USB connections. Moreover, the Files app has been enhanced with support for third-party file provider apps, implementing the Android DocumentsProvider APIs.

      • Slimbook’s Latest Linux Laptop is Faster (and Cheaper) than a MacBook Air

        The Slimbook Pro X bills itself as the ‘best Linux Laptop in the world’ — a bold claim, but does it hold up?

        Well, on paper at least, it looks like it might.

        The latest Linux portable from Spanish computer company Slimbook certainly sports enough muscle to give many well-known laptop a run for their money.

        In fact, overall, the Slimbook Pro X looks better spec’d and costs less than the latest MacBook Air, seen by many as the ultimate on-the-go laptop.

        So what makes the Pro X seemingly exceptional? Let’s take a look…

    • Server

      • CentOS 8 To Arrive At The End Of June: All You Need To Know

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (RHEL 8) made its way into the market last month, which may have prompted a lot of people to expect the release of CentOS 8. according to recent reports, a major redesign is needed in the bundles; installer manufactures frameworks to make it ready to work with the more up to date working frameworks all the more proficiently. Here’s all the info we’ve managed to scraped about the upcoming CentOS.

        As indicated by the most recent reports, the fundamental form framework for the task has been finished, and at present, the group is focusing on the work of art. Additionally, the fabricate circles likewise need work to have the option to help the majority of the bundles of CentOS.

      • Hitler Refresh

        As shown with Gab and hate speech, violating Microsoft service agreements can have damning operational consequences for offending parties. But when it comes to providing the same services and more to government agencies that are actively separating refugee and immigrant families from their children at US borders while further holding them indefinitely concentration camps fit for no human (re: an act of genocide), Microsoft appears to have forgotten about their own service agreement. Despite such actions blatantly violating the same service agreement as Gab and virtually every acceptable code of ethics to boot, Microsoft is mum on the matter and continues to offer services to ICE, CBP, and their contractors to this day.

        Although Microsoft has already taken some flack on an ethical basis for empowering these agencies with services such as server hosting and email while they simultaneously treat families and their children inhumanely, it seemingly went overlooked that these agencies are violating Microsoft’s own service terms. Sure, partaking in genocide isn’t directly outlawed in Microsoft’s service agreement, but exploiting, harming, or threatening harm to children is expressly prohibited and is something that Microsoft can help fix in short order by simply holding some our own government agencies to the same standard as a disgraced social nutwork.

      • Bringing Linux containers to small-footprint industrial-edge applications [Ed: Wind River trying to sell its proprietary stuff]

        Standards-compliant, cloud-native implementations based on open-source projects are possible thanks to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which serves as the vendor-neutral home for many of the fastest-growing container-related projects. The foundation fosters collaboration between the industry’s top developers, end users and vendors.

        While initially deployed in enterprise IT environments, cloud-native architectures and containers provide benefits that are equally desirable for industrial, energy and medical embedded systems located at a factory, hospital or remote site. Code reusability, efficient maintenance, platform independence and optimized resource utilization are just as important for devices and applications developed by small teams working to meet aggressive schedules, deployed across multiple hardware architectures based on a variety of processor architectures.

      • Kubernetes Ecosystem Grows With Apple Support, New Release

        Organizations of all sizes are increasingly running their enterprise applications on top of cloud native infrastructure and more often than not, that infrastructure is Kubernetes.

        Kubernetes is an open source effort originally started by Google five years ago and now operated as a multi-stakeholder effort under the direction of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF).

        The CNCF gained a major new supporter in June, with the addition of Apple as a Platinum End User Member. The platinum tier come swith a $370,000 annual fee that Apple will now fork over to the CNCF.

        Apple isn’t just a consumer and user of CNCF projects including Kubernetes, it’s also an active contributor. Apple has made code contribution to the Kubernetes container orchestration project, Envoy proxy, Helm and the gRPC project as well. Apple joining the CNCF and being an active participant is a big deal not just for the brand recognition that they bring, but also because Apple was previously a very visible user of the rival Mesos orchestration system.

      • IBM: What Red Hat Brings To The Table

        I have been bearish on IBM (NYSE:IBM) for several years. As more information is being disseminated and stored over the Internet, cloud computing has become all the rage. The company has been transitioning from mainframe computing to cloud computing. That transformation has been a long, arduous process. The company has stagnant to declining revenue growth, making it difficult to recommend the stock. Its acquisition of Red Hat (RHT) for $34 billion was expensive, but it could pay dividends down the line.

      • Red Hat Reports First Quarter Results for Fiscal Year 2020
      • How Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 can help agencies accelerate innovation in the hybrid cloud

        Almost 10 years after the Office of Management and Budget first directed agencies to begin moving to the cloud, those agencies no longer need to be told. They’ve seen the benefits, and cloud-first policies and the need to reduce datacenters are no longer the primary drivers. Experts say flexibility in application development and deployment, a better place to innovate in digital services, and enhanced security rank among the most common reasons.

        But it can be a slow process, partly due to strict government requirements. Agencies need to meet requirements for security, uptime, disaster recovery, and workload portability with their hybrid cloud infrastructures..

      • Awards roll call: Red Hat awards, March 2019 – June 2019

        As we kick off summer, we wanted to share some of the latest awards and recognition that Red Hat has received over the last few months. Since our last award roundup, Red Hat has been honored with more than 17 new accolades across our organization.

        Since our founding 26 years ago, Red Hat has grown from a single product company to the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions and the first public open source company to generate more than $3 billion in revenue. Open source has revolutionized the software industry and it continues to be the driving force behind much of the technology innovation happening today. We see the following awards as a recognition of that journey.

      • An Introduction to Docker and Why It’s Useful in IoT

        But that is not the complete story. Netflix did not just seek the help of AWS because they have unlimited servers and data centers to provide. In fact, the huge costs of renting actual data centers can make it rather expensive to keep their monthly plans affordable for 150 million end users worldwide.

      • What +1′s taught us about organizational pain at Red Hat Summit

        Open tools work best in the hands of open people. At Red Hat, we understand that tackling bold challenges—like digital transformation or application modernization—requires more than technology alone. It requires new ways of thinking, working, and problem-solving. That’s why we’re committed to helping organizations understand how they can embrace open principles to reshape their organizational cultures in productive and innovative ways.

        So for Red Hat Summit in Boston, MA this year, members of the Open Organization community wanted to craft a unique experience that would help attendees understand the power of working openly. We wanted to create opportunities for visitors to share their culture- and process-focused challenges with us—not only so we could learn more about what’s keeping people from being as innovative, agile and engaged as they’d like to be, but also so we could connect them with resources they could use to begin tackling those challenges.

        This is the story of what we did, how we did it, and what we learned.

      • Cloudflare blames widespread internet borkage on Verizon and Noction

        Noction provides a service which it claims can increase BGP efficiency by 30-50 per cent by splitting IP addresses into smaller chunks (overly simplified, but that’ll get you through the explanation).

        When that went wrong, it started misdirecting traffic. A lot of it was caught by failsafes from carriers, but Verizon, it appears, didn’t have the necessary safeguards (a system called RPKI) and let the erroneous traffic go all over the internet.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Test and Code: 79: Fixing misinformation about software testing

        Some information about software testing is just wrong.
        I’m not talking about opinions. I have lots of opinions and they differ from other peoples opinions. I’m talking about misinformation and old information that is no longer applicable.

        I’ve ran across a few lateley that I want to address.

      • 2×54: Well Baffled

        [00:27:50] This past weekend has seen a bit of dancing about whether Ubuntu will drop 32-bit libraries from the archive, ending up with a statement from Canonical about it saying they aren’t going to (and Valve have responded saying that they’ll continue to support Steam on Ubuntu, although that was after we recorded the show)

      • Bad Voltage Season 2 Episode 54 Has Been Released:
      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S12E12 – Nemesis

        This week we’ve been at the Snapcraft Summit in Montreal, we bring you some command line love and go over all your feedback.

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

      • Regolith, Rosa, and Antsy Alien Attack | Choose Linux 12

        Two new hosts join Joe to talk about a nice i3 implementation and an amazing arcade game written in Bash.

        Plus a new segment called Distrohoppers, and a useful hidden feature of GNOME.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 4.14.131

        I’m announcing the release of the 4.14.131 kernel.

        All users of the 4.14 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 4.14.y git tree can be found at:

        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.14.y

        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:


      • Linux 4.9.184
      • Linux 4.4.184
      • FreeDOS’s Linux Roots

        discovered Linux in 1993 and instantly recognized it as a Big Deal. Linux had a command line that was much more powerful than MS-DOS, and you could view the source code to study the Linux commands, fix bugs and add new features. I installed Linux on my computer, in a dual-boot configuration with MS-DOS. Since Linux didn’t have the applications I needed as a working college student (a word processor to write class papers or a spreadsheet program to do physics lab analysis), I booted into MS-DOS to do much of my classwork and into Linux to do other things. I was moving to Linux, but I still relied on MS-DOS.

        In 1994, I read articles in technology magazines saying that Microsoft planned to do away with MS-DOS soon. The next version of Windows would not use DOS. MS-DOS was on the way out. I’d already tried Windows 3, and I wasn’t impressed. Windows was not great. And, running Windows would mean replacing the DOS applications that I used every day. I wanted to keep using DOS. I decided that the only way to keep DOS was to write my own. On June 29, 1994, I announced my plans on the Usenet discussion group comp.os.msdos.apps, and things took off from there…

      • Linux Foundation

        • Linux Foundation and the GSMA Announce Partnership to Further Align NFVi Efforts

          LF Networking (LFN) and the GSMA today announced a partnership to create a common industry framework for Network Functions Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVi). Hosted by the GSMA and created with input from the Linux Foundation, the Common NFVi Telco Taskforce (CNTT) will operate as an open committee responsible for creating and documenting a Common NFVi Framework. An industry-aligned NFVi framework helps accelerate deployment across the entire telecommunications stack, from infrastructure to Virtual Network Functions (VNFs).

          “Operators are undergoing a period of significant digital transformation by migrating their networks from a physical to a virtualized or cloud environment. However, this is a challenging and time-consuming process involving integrating multiple different vendors into a common infrastructure,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. “By following a common approach and framework, operators will vastly reduce the time and costs associated with integration and accelerate adoption and deployment.”

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMD Navi Support Makes It Into DRM-Next For Linux 5.3, AMDGPU Hits Two Million Lines

          With the Linux kernel driver support for the upcoming “Navi” graphics cards only having been sent out last week for AMDGPU/AMDKFD, given it was more than 450 patches and more than 400 thousand lines of code (granted much of that automated header files), there was some risk it could be postponed given the imminent cut-off of new material to DRM-Next for Linux 5.3 given the rigid release cycle. Fortunately, that pull request has been honored.

          So assuming Linus Torvalds has no objections to the code, this AMDGPU Navi support will be present in Linux 5.3. The Navi addition did regress earlier support, but fortunately that bug was quickly spotted and resolved. DRM co-maintainer David Airlie was content enough with pulling in the big AMDGPU code update overnight to DRM-Next.

        • Wayland’s Weston Now Supports EGL Partial Updates For Better Performance

          Thanks to longtime open-source Linux graphics developer Daniel Stone, Wayland’s Weston reference compositor now has support for the EGL_KHR_partial_update extension to provide for potentially better performance.

          The EGL_KHR_partial_update extension was led by Arm years ago to allow for efficient partial updates of surfaces ready to be displayed and for ignoring surfaces that are unchanged between frames.

      • Benchmarks

        • Intel Xeon Cascade Lake Compiler Performance – GCC 9/10 vs. LLVM Clang 8/9

          At least for the newest Intel Xeon “Cascade Lake” processors, the LLVM Clang compiler is running incredibly well compared to the long-standing GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). Overall, LLVM clang is now nearly at performance parity to GCC 9 and the in-development GCC 10 compilers. Here are some Linux compiler benchmarks using the dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 server built around the Gigabyte S3461-3R0.

    • Applications

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Krita 4.2.2 Released

          Within a month of Krita 4.2.1, we’re releasing Krita 4.2.2.

        • Konsole and Splits

          Some terminals like Tilix and Terminator offers the possibility to split the screen recursively, and I started to add the same thing to konsole. Konsole is usually said to be the swiss army knife of the terminal emulators, and if you didn’t try it yet, please do. We offer quite a lot of things that no other terminal emulator offer.

        • Cutelyst 2.8.0 released

          Cutelyst a Qt/C++ Web framework got a new release!

          This release took a while to be out because I wanted to fix some important stuff, but time is short, I’ve been working on polishing my UPnpQt library and on a yet to be released FirebaseQt and FirebaseQtAdmin (that’s been used on a mobile app and REST/WebApp used with Cutelyst), the latter is working quite well although it depends ATM on a Python script to get the Google token, luckly it’s a temporary waste of 25MB of RAM each 45 minutes.

        • GSoC Update

          Last post I said that I was having some problems pushing my modifications to the git repo. I discovered that the official ROCS repository was recently moved to the KDE Gitlab repo, called KDE Invent, where I am working on a fork of the original ROCS repo.

          It is a model that I have some knowledge, as I already worked with gitlab in a past internship and did some merge requests because of the Hacktoberfest (I like to win t-shirts). So I had to update my remote of the local repo and I sent my update to my remote fork branch, called improved-graph-ide-classes.

          When I was modifying the code, I noticed some problems with the creation of random trees, but I am thinking what is the better way to fix this part. This problem lies in the relation of the algorithm and the edge types available to generate the tree. When using directed edges, the code is sometimes generating directed loops of size 2 in the graph.

        • KDE Applications 19.08 Schedule finalized

          Dependency freeze is two weeks (July 11) and Feature Freeze a week after that, make sure you start finishing your stuff!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Annual Report 2018

          We are very excited to share with you some of our best moments, achievements, and great conferences/events which happened throughout the year in our annual report.

        • GNOME Foundation reports a huge increase in funding for 2018

          The non-profit, which oversees development of the GNOME desktop and related projects, saw a major increase in its income thanks to a set of substantial donations — including $400,000 from handshake.org.

          In total, the GNOME Foundation says it raised more than $1 million in income for the 2018 financial year. That’s a notable increase on the roughly $270k reported the year previous.

          The uptick in funding enabled the foundation to “increase the] budget for events, hackfests, doubling of the funding for the Outreachy program, and hiring of new people in staff.“

          Even with additional staff the foundations’ expenses were only up marginally on 2017, clocking in at just over $365,000.

          As is the case for many projects in an open-source orbit the GNOME Foundation still relies on small contributions and donations from users.

        • GNOME Foundation Issues 2018 Annual Report – Massive Increase In Funding

          The GNOME Foundation has issued their 2018 annual report that is particularly notable due to a massive rise in their income following two large donations.

          The GNOME Foundation saw more than $1,073,797 in income for their 2018 fiscal year compared to $274k the year prior. This record-breaking revenue came via two large donations and should help out GNOME for years to come with their expenses only ticking up slightly to $365k.

        • Gallium3D Panfrost Driver Can Now Handle Running The GNOME Shell Desktop

          Considering how resource intensive modern Linux desktops are particularly on OpenGL for compositing, it’s quite an achievement that the Panfrost open-source Gallium3D driver for Arm Mali Bifrost/Midgard hardware can now run the GNOME Shell.

          Alyssa Rosenzweig interning for Collabora had a summer goal, among others, of getting Panfrost working with GNOME. Well, not even to July, that goal has been realized in the latest Git development code.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Kodachi 6.1 The Secure OS

          Linux Kodachi operating system is based on Xubuntu 18.04 it will provide you with a secure, anti-forensic, and anonymous operating system considering all features that a person who is concerned about privacy would need to have in order to be secure.
          Kodachi is very easy to use all you have to do is boot it up on your PC via USB drive then you should have a fully running operating system with established VPN connection + Connection established + service running. No setup or knowledge is required from your side we do it all for you. The entire OS is functional from your temporary memory RAM so once you shut it down no trace is left behind all your activities are wiped out.

        • Slax 9.9.1 released

          I am happy to let you know that new Slax version has been released.

      • Arch Family

        • mariadb 10.4.x update requires manual intervention

          The update to mariadb 10.4.6-1 and later changes configuration layout as recommended by upstream.

        • Jelle Van der Waa: Reproducing Arch [core] repository packages

          As Arch Linux we are working on reproducible builds for a while and have a continuous test framework rebuilding package updated in our repositories. This test does an asp checkout of a package and builds it twice in a schroot, we do not try to reproduce actual repository packages yet. In the end this is however what we want to achieve, giving users the ability to verify a repository package by rebuilding it on their own hardware.

      • OpenSUSE/SUSE

        • SUSE provides platform for cloud-native containerised applications

          As businesses are transforming their IT landscapes to support present and future demands, SUSE is providing the foundation for both their traditional and growing containerised workloads with the release of SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 1.
          Enterprises need the capability to design, deploy and run cloud-native, microservices-based applications as part of a DevOps approach. They must be able to deliver modern containerised applications with orchestration tools such as Kubernetes that enable secure and agile development and deployment from the edge to on-premise to hybrid to multi-cloud environments.

      • Fedora

        • Outcome of the CPE’s team’s face-to-face

          You may remember that we recently spoke about the Community Platform Engineering (CPE) team and the problem it is facing — our workload is growing faster than the team can scale to meet it. From June 10th to June 14th most of the CPE team members met face to face in the Red Hat office in Waterford (Ireland)

        • RPM packages explained

          Perhaps the best known way the Fedora community pursues its mission of promoting free and open source software and content is by developing the Fedora software distribution. So it’s not a surprise at all that a very large proportion of our community resources are spent on this task. This post summarizes how this software is “packaged” and the underlying tools such as rpm that make it all possible.


          From a quick look, dnfdragora appears to provide all of dnf‘s main functions.

          There are other tools in Fedora that also manage packages. GNOME Software, and Discover are two examples. GNOME Software is focused on graphical applications only. You can’t use the graphical front end to install command line or terminal tools such as htop or weechat. However, GNOME Software does support the installation of Flatpaks and Snap applications which dnf does not. So, they are different tools with different target audiences, and so provide different functions.

          This post only touches the tip of the iceberg that is the life cycle of software in Fedora. This article explained what RPM packages are, and the main differences between using rpm and using dnf.

      • Debian Family

        • Buster – the new version of Raspbian

          Amid all the furore about the release of a certain new piece of hardware, some people may have missed that we have also released a new version of Raspbian. While this is required for Raspberry Pi 4, we’ve always tried to maintain software backwards-compatibility with older hardware, and so the standard Raspbian image for all models of Raspberry Pi is now based on Buster, the latest version of Debian Linux.

        • Raspberry Pi 4: Raspbian ‘Buster’ interview

          The launch of Raspberry Pi 4 brings not only new hardware but new software too: Raspbian ‘Buster’, a brand-new release – compatible, as always, with every Raspberry Pi model going right back to the pre-launch Alpha design – with a revamped, flatter user interface based on the upstream Debian ‘Buster’ Linux distribution.

          Simon Long explains: “Due to the lack of obvious differences between Buster and Stretch, I wanted to do something to make it a bit more obvious that people actually had something new,” of his new interface design. When we moved from Jessie to Stretch, there was a similar lack of major differences, and people wondered whether or not they actually had the new version – I wanted to avoid that this time. Also, the overall UI design in terms of the appearance of buttons, controls, and the like really hasn’t changed significantly in the time I’ve been here – there have been some small tweaks, but it felt time for a change.”

        • Upgrade Your Raspberry Pi to Raspbian Buster, Without Losing Data

          While it was the launch of the Raspberry Pi 4 that snagged all the headlines this week, it wasn’t the only new product to come out of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The not-for-profit also released a new version of its Raspbian Linux distribution, dubbed ‘Buster.’ You need Buster to run Raspberry Pi 4, but it also works on and improves the experience for any older Raspberry Pi.

        • Derivatives

          • Canonical/Ubuntu

            • Development tips and tricks – snap try and snapcraft pack

              Over the past several months, we have shared with you several articles and tutorials showing how to accelerate application development so that a typically demanding, time-consuming process becomes an easier, faster and more fun one. Today, we’d like to introduce some additional tips and tricks. Namely, we want to talk about elegant ways you can streamline the final steps of a snap build.


              Side by side with snap try, you can use the snapcraft pack command. It lets you create a snap from a directory holding a valid snap (the layout of the target directory must contain a meta/snap.yaml file). Going back to our previous example, you would alter the contents of your project directory, add assets (like libraries), and then pack those into a squashfs file.

            • Valve to continue Steam gaming on Ubuntu Linux

              When Canonical announced that, beginning with October’s Ubuntu 19.10 release, 32-bit -computer support would be dropped, it didn’t expect there would be much blowback. It was wrong. Developers and users, especially of Steam games, threw fits. So, Canonical, makers of Ubuntu Linux, reversed course and asserted it wouldn’t drop 32-bit software support in Ubuntu 19.10 and 20.04 LTS after all.

              So, everything’s back to normal, yes? No.

              True, Valve will continue to support Ubuntu. But Ubuntu will no longer be called out as “as the best-supported path for desktop users.” Instead, Valve is re-thinking how it wants to approach distribution support going forward. There are several distributions on the market today that offer a great gaming desktop experience such as Arch Linux, Manjaro, Pop!_OS, Fedora, and many others.

            • Flavours and Variants

              • Announcing our Summer Flock Party Event, and more news from June!

                Summer is here, so we’re having a Flock Party! Now until July 9th, join us on our website for discounts on laptops and desktops, and even more discounts with upgrades!
                To make our Flock Party even more colorful, we’ve enlisted the help of 17 parrots to hide out around our site. If you’re one of the first 10 to find them all and unscramble the code, we’ll have something special for you!
                Along with our parrot mania, we have info for you on hardware, Pop!_OS, firmware, and Thelio manufacturing. Read on to see what’s new in June!

              • System76 Continues Advancing Coreboot Support, Adding UI For Firmware Updates

                We’ve known that Linux PC vendor System76 has been investing engineering resources into Coreboot support and while not yet ready for end-users, they are making progress. For once it’s ready for their customers, they have also begun crafting a graphical user-interface for these firmware upgrades to Coreboot.

                In System76′s monthly news letter, they commented that their “open firmware” has entered testing on their Gazelle notebooks but remains in the early stages. As well, a UI element for managing firmware updates is being worked on and will be available through GNOME Settings. No word yet if System76 has decided to make use of Fwupd+LVFS, but in the past they’ve expressed various reasons for not doing so.

              • System76 / Pop! OS team should learn to work with their upstreams

                System76 / Pop! OS team, while you should be proud of the work you do for you users I think you are going the wrong way there. Working on fixes and including them early in your product is one thing, not upstreaming those fixes and using that for marketing you as better than your upstreams is a risky game. You might be overlooking that now, but divergence has a cost, as does not having good relationship with your upstreams.

              • Donate to Lubuntu!

                Lubuntu is a community-developed project that relies on support from the community to continue development. There are specific costs we would like to address to take the burden off of specific contributors, their employers, and the Ubuntu project as a whole. Specifically, Altispeed Technologies has graciously provided hosting support for our Phabricator instance, forum, and other pieces of critical Lubuntu infrastructure. We would like to eventually move off of Altispeed’s infrastructure, or be able to pay for the infrastructure ourselves.

                Additionally, Lubuntu Developers attend several major Linux conferences each year, specifically LinuxFest NorthWest, the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference, SouthEast LinuxFest, and others. Lubuntu would like to be able to support some of these conferences and trips to these conferences without relying so much on e.g. the Ubuntu Community Donations Funding.

    • Devices/Embedded

    Free Software/Open Source

    • Web Browsers

      • Mozilla

        • Firefox UX: The 11 Secrets of Iterative and Incremental Product Development – A lightining talk

          Something I really like about the Firefox UX team is how we are all open to learning from each other.
          So, when one of my colleagues shared this specific image in our Slack channel, I knew it was OK to raise the question of why this picture is incorrect.

        • GeckoView in 2019

          Last September we wrote about using GeckoView to bring Firefox’s rendering engine to Android as a reusable library. By decoupling the Gecko engine from the Firefox application, we’ve created a newer, faster, and more maintainable way to create Android applications. This approach leverages Gecko’s excellent performance, privacy, and support for cutting-edge web standards.

          With today’s release of our GeckoView-powered Firefox Preview, we’d like to share an update on what we’ve accomplished and where GeckoView is going in 2019.

        • Mozilla Future Releases Blog: Reinventing Firefox for Android: a Preview

          At Firefox, we’re passionate about providing solutions for people who care about safety, privacy and independence. For several months, we’ve been working on a new strategy for our Android products to serve you even better. Today we’re very happy to announce a pilot of our new browser for Android devices that is available to early adopters for testing as of now. We’ll have a feature-rich, polished version of this flagship application available for this fall.


          With Firefox Preview, we’re combining the best of what our lightweight Focus application and our current mobile browsers have to offer to create a best in class mobile experience. The new application is powered by Firefox’s own mobile browser engine — GeckoView — the same high-performance, feature enabling motor that fuels our Focus app.

          You might remember how we revamped the engine behind the Firefox desktop browser in 2017 enabling us to significantly improve the desktop user experience. As a result, today’s Firefox Quantum is much faster, more efficient, equipped with a modern user interface and clearly the next-gen Firefox. Quite similarly, implementing GeckoView paves the way for a complete makeover of the mobile Firefox experience. While all other major Android browsers today are based on Blink and therefore reflective of Google’s decisions about mobile, Firefox’s GeckoView engine ensures us and our users independence. Building Firefox for Android on GeckoView also results in greater flexibility in terms of the types of privacy and security features we can offer our mobile users. With GeckoView we have the ability to develop faster, more secure and more user friendly browsers that deliver unprecedented performance.

        • Firefox Will Help You ‘Fool’ Ad Trackers By Opening Up 100 Useless Tabs

          The moment you go online, there are uncountable ad trackers that follow your trail on the internet and later use that data to bombard you with personalized ads — which can be annoying after one point.

          So Mozilla has come up with a way to throw off the advertisers through a new feature called “Track This.” It basically opens up 100 tabs to show a fake browsing history to trackers and fool them by offering the wrong data.

    • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • 2001: Linux is cancer, says Microsoft. 2019: Hey friends, ah, can we join the official linux-distros mailing list, plz? [Ed: Just more infiltration, entryism. They try to sell Windows and Azure. See comments on this article, e.g.: "You're assuming #Microsoft has good intentions. Instead, they've decided it's easier to suck the marrow from the bones if they can sneak inside the host under a flag of truce, like many other common parasites."]

        Sasha Levin, who describes himself as a “Linux kernel hacker” at the beast of Redmond, made the application for his employer to join the list, which if approved would allow Microsoft to tap into private behind-the-scenes chatter about vulnerabilities, patches, and ongoing security issues with the open-source kernel and related code. These discussions are crucial for getting an early heads up, and coordinating the handling and deployment of fixes before they are made public.

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP1 is now available on the Microsoft Store [Ed: To Microsoft it seems like GNU/Linux is just something you run under Windows, with Microsoft's permission]
      • Microsoft launches Windows Terminal app in Preview and it’s ruddy open source

        The change is certainly overdue. The most recent attempt to update from the original version was in 2006 with the launch of Powershell. Since then, Microsoft has attempted to patch up both, with CMD getting copy/paste support a couple of years ago (about 20 years late, in our humble opinion) and an aborted attempt to make Powershell the default for Windows 10, which nobody asked for and few wanted.

      • MongoDB’s CEO on Open Source, Taking on Oracle, and Scaling Up

        “MongoDB was built by MongoDB. There was no prior art. We didn’t open source it for help; we open sourced it as a freemium strategy”

    • BSD

      • FreeBSD on a Thinkpad 230

        From the first-ever conference I attended, I started picking up many tools and habits from other participants, speakers, and friends. It is still the same with many new conferences I go to, by meeting new people and learning about new technologies, or sometimes about technologies which are not so new.

        I use Linux as my primary operating system at home over 15 years now, getting a good Internet connection helped to make it happen. It was the same for my servers too. I do run different distributions, depending on the kind of work that needs to be done. When I go to many language-specific or general technical conferences, I do always find some discussions related to which distribution is good for what. However, whenever I met Trouble aka Philip Paeps, his lines are always amusing, but, also making questions about how FreeBSD differs from Linux in every possible way. I had FreeBSD running in few VMs at home, which is okay to have an understanding of the basics. To know more in details, I decided to move my primary site https://kushaldas.in over FreeBSD around a year ago. Till now it is running fine, and as a simple static website, there is not much to do anyway.

      • Prospering with Vulkan | BSD Now 304

        DragonflyBSD 5.6 is out, OpenBSD Vulkan Support, bad utmp implementations in glibc and FreeBSD, OpenSSH protects itself against Side Channel attacks, ZFS vs OpenZFS, and more.


      • How do Spritely’s actor and storage layers tie together?

        I’ve been hacking away at Spritely (see previously). Recently I’ve been making progress on both the actor model (goblins and its rewrite goblinoid) as well as the storage layers (currently called Magenc and Crystal, but we are talking about probably renaming the both of them into a suite called “datashards”… yeah, everything is moving and changing fast right now.)

        In the #spritely channel on freenode a friend asked, what is the big picture idea here? Both the actor model layer and the storage layer describe themselves as using “capabilities” (or more precisely “object capabilities” or “ocaps”) but they seem to be implemented differently. How does it all tie together?

        A great question! I think the first point of confusion is that while both follow the ocap paradigm (which is to say, reference/possession-based authority… possessing the capability gives you access, and it does not matter what your identity is for the most part for access control), they are implemented very differently because they are solving different problems. The storage system is based on encrypted, persistent data, with its ideas drawn from Tahoe-LAFS and Freenet, and the way that capabilities work is based on possession of cryptographic keys (which are themselves embedded/referenced in the URIs). The actor model, on the other hand, is based on holding onto a reference to a unique, unguessable URL (well, that’s a bit of an intentional oversimplification for the sake of this explaination but we’ll run with it) where the actor at that URL is “live” and communicated with via message passing. (Most of the ideas from this come from E and Waterken.) Actors are connected to each other over secure channels to prevent eavesdropping or leakage of the capabilities.

      • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 17 new GNU releases in June!


    • Public Services/Government

      • Apache communities hack together with EU-FOSSA 2

        Experts from all over Europe attended this hackathon, from Croatia to Ireland, Poland, and Romania for example, but also from Russia and the US. Usually it is a great challenge to organise physical meetings since many projects are created and managed by disperse small teams of developers. Therefore, this hackathon was a valuable opportunity for community members that are normally restricted to communication via email or online chats, to meet face-to-face and produce impressive work in a short amount of time. The benefits of a physical meeting were visible even before the event, with over 90 pre-registrations applying to participate in the event or in the related trainings.

    • Programming/Development

      • Qt 3D Studio 2.4 Released

        We are happy to announce the Qt 3D Studio 2.4 release is now available via the online and offline installers. Here’s a quick summary of the new features and functions in 2.4. For detailed information about the Qt 3D Studio, visit the online documentation page or see the older blog posts.

      • Qt 3D Studio 2.4 Released With Massive Performance Boost – By Switching Away From Qt 3D
      • Top 7 Reasons Why Python Should Be Your Next Programming Language
      • OpenAssessIt Toolkit helps improve website accessibility

        Unfortunately, because of poor website design decisions, a lot of content on the web (such as PDFs) is not accessible to people with hearing, sight, mobility, neurological, and other disabilities, and as the population rapidly ages, accessibility-related problems will increase.

        Fortunately, many businesses, governments, and other organizations are taking strides to remedy inaccessible websites. There are two paths to achieving accessibility: fixing existing websites and doing the right things when sites are created. Fixing a website that has been in use for many years—with hundreds of pages, posts, images, and PDFs—can be a daunting task. Every element must be scrutinized for problems, and sometimes the fix is not obvious nor easy to accomplish.

        There are many tools available to check and fix website accessibility issues, including OpenAssessIt Toolkit, a new open source tool developed by Joel Crawford-Smith, a self-described “relentless web accessibility fanatic” and “cat aficionado.”

        OpenAssessIt converts Chrome Lighthouse files into visual, human-readable web accessibility assessments. Lighthouse audits websites for accessibility issues and reports its findings as text that can be viewed in the browser or exported as a JSON file with valuable hidden data.

        OpenAssessIt consumes Lighthouse’s data-rich JSON files and outputs them in Markdown, which is easy for people to read and edit. It also takes screenshots of each failing element and provides suggestions on how to fix each issue. Automated tools help detect accessibility issues, but a human must evaluate the validity and seriousness of each problem. “Seeing the issues visually [is] a good tool for training and development,” Joel says.

      • PyCharm 2019.2 EAP 5

        Despite the very sunny weather in Europe tempting us to go outside, we’ve succeeded in getting a build out for you this week. We’d appreciate it if you were to download it from our website.

      • Have you tried out Thonny?

        Today I have just installed a new Python IDE on my computer, it really looks simple but there are a lot of goodies. First of all, if you have not yet installed Thonny, you can download it from this link.

        As you can see from above, this IDE is super easy to use, you write the code on the editor, then after you have run the program, you can view the value and the address of the variable as well as a function under the heap panel. You can also step through each line of code of the program while debugging your program. If this is your first time learning Python then this IDE will get you started.

      • Little Trouble in Big Data – Part 2

        In the first blog in this series, I showed how we solved the original problem of how to use mmap() to load a large set of data into RAM all at once, in response to a request for help from a bioinformatics group dealing with massive data sets on a regular basis. The catch in our solution, however, was that the process still took too long. In this blog, I describe how we solve this, starting with Step 3 of the Process I introduced in Blog 1:

      • Building Standalone Python Applications with PyOxidizer

        Python application distribution is generally considered an unsolved problem. At their PyCon 2019 keynote talk, Russel Keith-Magee identified code distribution as a potential black swan – an existential threat for longevity – for Python. In their words, Python hasn’t ever had a consistent story for how I give my code to someone else, especially if that someone else isn’t a developer and just wants to use my application. I completely agree. And I want to add my opinion that unless your target user is a Python developer, they shouldn’t need to know anything about Python packaging, Python itself, or even the existence of Python in order to use your application. (And you can replace Python in the previous sentence with any programming language or software technology: most end-users don’t care about the technical implementation, they just want to get stuff done.)

        Today, I’m excited to announce the first release of PyOxidizer (project, documentation), an open source utility that aims to solve the Python application distribution problem! (The installation instructions are in the docs.)

      • PyOxidizer Can Turn Python Code Into .Exe File For Windows, MacOS, Linux

        Szorc says that an average computer user will be able to run the application without having to download the correct software libraries. This is because PyOxidizer produces binaries that embed Python. Hence users don’t need to install or know the language.

      • Stack Abuse: Text Generation with Python and TensorFlow/Keras

        Are you interested in using a neural network to generate text? TensorFlow and Keras can be used for some amazing applications of natural language processing techniques, including the generation of text.

        In this tutorial, we’ll cover the theory behind text generation using a Recurrent Neural Networks, specifically a Long Short-Term Memory Network, implement this network in Python, and use it to generate some text.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • USB inventor explains why it would have been too expensive to make it reversible

        Ajay Bhatt, who worked on Intel’s implementation of the USB standard recently spoke to US public radio (NPR) about the invention of USB, and why the flip it wasn’t reversible in the first place.

      • HTML is the Web

        It’s all about what gets consumed by the consumer. It’s the UI and UX. It’s the whole package. In descending order of importance it’s the HTML, the CSS, and the behaviour (which might be provided by the Javascript – might not be).

        My big concern is at the bottom of that technology pyramid. The lowest common denominator of the Web. The foundation. The rhythm section. The ladyfingers in the Web trifle. It’s the HTML. And it is becoming increasingly clear to me that there’s a whole swathe of Frontend Engineers who don’t know or understand the frontend-est of frontend technologies.

      • The cost of JavaScript in 2019

        On mobile, you’ll want to ship a lot less script because of network, memory consumption and execution time for slower CPUs. Balance latency with cacheability to maximize the amount of parsing and compilation work that can happen off the main thread.


    • 7 tips for avoiding burnout

      I have this saying: “Community doesn’t stop at 5:00pm on Friday.” It reminds me of several things, but most importantly, this saying reminds me to keep my work balanced, reserve time to take care of myself, and review for potential signs of burnout.

      I had the unpleasant experience of approaching burnout in early 2017. This case was the perfect storm of personal, home, and work stress culminating in what was medically diagnosed as severe anxiety—close enough to burnout to scare the daylights out of me. Based on my experience, I’d like to share what I learned so that you can avoid that path.

    • Science

      • 100 years of the library: The service we should value like the NHS – but don’t

        The 1919 Public Libraries Act effectively created libraries as we know them today. It removed the rates cap preventing local authorities from establishing new libraries and paved the way for a service available to all for free.

        It’s understandable that the government doesn’t want to talk about libraries, which have been one of the worst-hit casualties of austerity. Last year, there were 127 closures, one of the many consequences of central funding for local services being halved over the past decade.

      • Mobile phones to be banned in Victorian state schools from ‘first to last bell’

        Phones must be kept in school lockers from first bell to last bell unless a child needs to keep a phone for medical reasons or if there is a specific instruction from the teacher that the phones are needed for a classroom activity.

        The policy may not be universally popular, Mr Merlino said, but it was the “right thing to do”.

        Mr Merlino said teachers wanted children talking to each other in the schoolyard, not checking their phones.

      • Victoria to ban mobiles in state schools from 2020

        The Victorian Government will ban the use of mobile phones during school hours in state schools from the beginning of the school year in 2020, with the state’s Education Minister James Merlino saying the ban is aimed at stopping cyber-bullying.

    • Hardware

      • DisplayPort 2.0 launches, promising 8K video support by late 2020

        In late 2020, the first products incorporating the new DP 2.0 standard are expected to be made available, according to the Video Electronics Standards Association, or VESA. DP 2.0 can use the existing DP connector that appears on many high-end desktop PCs, or be carried over cabling that uses the standard USB-C connector—though you’ll still need a PC with DP 2.0 silicon to support it.

      • Apple reportedly owes Samsung ‘millions’ due to slow iPhone X sales

        However, “sluggish” sales of the firm’s debut OLED iPhone, the iPhone X, meant Apple wasn’t buying these displays at the agreed level – ET News estimates that the plant is currently working at less than 50 per cent capacity.

        This, in turn, caused Samsung Display to suffer a major slump in operating profits; the firm posted 2.62tn won in profits in 2018, a major tumble from 5.7tn posted the previous year.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Security

      • Chinese hackers accused of ‘mass-scale attack’ on mobile operators

        The cyberespionage campaign, dubbed Operation Soft Cell, was first noticed a year ago. Since then, hackers been attacking various mobile operators to gain access to their networks and obtain call detail records (CDRs) of their targets from the database.

      • OSX/Linker: New Mac malware attempts zero-day Gatekeeper bypass

        The more technical explanation: Cavallarin noted that macOS treats apps loaded from a network share differently than apps downloaded from the Internet. By creating a symbolic link (or “symlink”—similar to an alias) to an app hosted on an attacker-controlled Network File System (NFS) server, and then creating a .zip archive containing that symlink and getting a victim to download it, the app would not be checked by Apple’s rudimentary XProtect bad-download blocker.

      • Apple macOS Gatekeeper security flaw exploited out in the wild

        Cavallarin noted that he alerted Apple to the problem in February, and Cupertino’s code wranglers were meant to have fixed it with macOS 10.14.5. But that doesn’t appear to have happened, as security company Intego has discovered an example of it being used.

      • An 14-year-old’s Internet-of-Things worm is bricking shitty devices by the thousands

        A hacker calling themself Light Leafon who claims to be a 14-year-old is responsible for a new IoT worm called Silex that targets any Unix-like system by attempting a login with default credentials; upon gaining access, the malware enumerates all mounted disks and writes to them from /dev/random until they are filled, then it deletes the devices’ firewall rules and removes its network config and triggers a restart — this effectively bricks the device, rendering it useless until someone performs the complex dance needed to download and reinstall the device’s firmware.

      • scripting sudo’s digest functions

        At my last job I wrote a couple perl scripts to build platform-specific digest-checking sudoers files for all programs in system directories. I’ve cleaned them up some and added Linux support. They’re not on github because once I do that other folks might find them, and I’m not convinced this is a good thing. But I’d like some feedback, so I’m posting here.

      • VideoLAN Patches Critical Vulnerability in VLC Media Player

        Discovered by Symeon Paraschoudis from Pen Test Partners, the issue allows a remote attacker to create a specially crafted file to trigger a double free in zlib_decompress_extra() (demux/mkv/utils.cpp).

        This could then be leveraged to execute arbitrary code on the vulnerable system, the researcher says.

      • Double-Free RCE in VLC

        I spent three months working on VLC using Honggfuzz, tweaking it to suit the target. In the process, I found five vulnerabilities, one of which was a high-risk double-free issue and merited CVE-2019-12874.

        Here’s the VLC advisory https://www.videolan.org/security/sa1901.html.

        Here’s how I found it. I hope you find the how-to useful and it inspires you to get fuzzing.

      • PoC Released for Outlook Flaw that Microsoft Patched 6 Month After Discovery

        As we reported two days ago, Microsoft this week released an updated version of its Outlook app for Android that patches a severe remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2019-1105) that impacted over 100 million users.

        However, at that time, very few details of the flaw were available in the advisory, which just revealed that the earlier versions of the email app contained a cross-site scripting (XSS) flaw that could allow attackers to run scripts in the context of the current user just by sending a specially crafted email to the victims.

        Now, Bryan Appleby from F5 Networks, one of the security researchers who reported this issue independently to Microsoft, released more details and proof-of-concept for the Outlook vulnerability that he reported to the tech giant almost six months ago.

      • How I [Cracked] the Microsoft Outlook Android App and Found CVE-2019-1105

        In a web browser, it’s possible to run JavaScript code by using a URL that starts javascript:. But in a web browser, JavaScript in an iframe on a separate domain shouldn’t have access to the data in the rest of the page. In Outlook on the Android, there is no such restriction. My iframe JavaScript had full access to cookies, tokens and even some emails. Not only that, I could send them back out to a remote attacker.

        This kind of vulnerability could be exploited by an attacker sending an email with JavaScript in it. The server escapes that JavaScript and does not see it because it’s within an iframe. When delivered, the mail client automatically undoes the escaping and the JavaScript runs on the client device. Bingo – a stored XSS. This code can do whatever the attacker desires, up to and including stealing information and/or sending data back out. An attacker can send you an email and just by you reading it, they could steal the contents of your inbox. Weaponized, this can turn into a very nasty piece of malware.

      • More than 400 737 Max pilots are suing Boeing over an ‘unprecedented cover-up’ of flaws in the plane’s design

        More than 400 Boeing 737 Max pilots are suing the company over what they allege was an “unprecedented cover-up” of “known design flaws” in the plane, and over the financial losses they face as the plane remains grounded after two fatal crashes.

        A class-action lawsuit was filed against Boeing on Friday “for financial and other losses arising from the circumstances and grounding of the MAX fleet,” according to the two law firms representing the pilots, based in Chicago and Australia.

      • US Public Might Not Be Told About Foreign Efforts to Alter Next Election

        With the 2020 presidential campaign getting under way, intelligence agencies, along with the Department of Homeland Security and FBI, have set about briefing the candidates and making them aware of the resources available should their campaign come under attack.

      • US election security: still a dumpster fire

        There’s some progress on eliminating the voting-machine business altogether, with a free/open source system emerging from Los Angeles County’s election authorities — LA County is a national leader in election security and inclusiveness, with an 11-day voting window, available paper ballots for all, and a slate of accessibility features in its machines.

        But LA County is an exception, and between the poor-quality systems in place nationwide, intransigence from Senate Republicans on allocating funds for election security, and the diplomatic chaos that has failed to produce any international norms on election meddling, 2020 is looking like a potential shitshow to put 2016 to shame.

      • [Older] Securing Our Cyber Future

        This study seeks to provide a partial substitute for such a commission report. Building on the abovementioned research and investigations, our report begins by summarizing in Chapter One what the Kremlin did in 2016 and why. Chapters Two through Eight then offer concrete prescriptions for protecting the integrity and independence of U.S. elections, focusing in particular on strengthening resiliency before the 2020 presidential election. Our recommendations are practical, concrete, and achievable before 2020— but they demand action now.

      • A Likely Chinese [Attacker] Crew Targeted 10 Phone Carriers to Steal Metadata

        On Monday night, researchers at Boston-based cybersecurity firm Cybereason revealed the results of tracking a years-long cyberespionage campaign they’ve called Operation Soft Cell, which they say targeted the networks of at least 10 cellular providers around the world. And while researchers’ visibility into that [attack] campaign is incomplete, they say it appears to be a prolific but highly targeted espionage campaign likely based in China. In one of the 10 breaches that affected a Cybereason customer, the researchers say they found that the [attackers] had gained deep access to the victim’s network and stolen gigabytes of metadata related to 20 specific individuals’ phone usage and location.

      • The Bug That Crashed New York’s Wireless Network

        The simple remedy involved some necessary upgrades.

        Yet somehow, New York City’s technology managers were caught completely off guard, and did nothing to prepare for the calendar reset of the centralized Global Positioning System.

        As a result, a wireless network used by city agencies crashed in April, crippling many services that relied on it, including some Police Department license plate readers and a system to remotely control traffic lights. It took 10 days to get the network running again.`

      • Sheryl Crow: Universal Studios fire destroyed all my master tapes

        “And secondly, I can’t understand how you could make safeties [back-up copies] and have them in the same vault. I mean, what’s the point?

        “And thirdly, I can’t understand how it’s been 11 years,” she added. “I mean, I don’t understand the cover-up.”

        Crow, who had seven US top 10 albums between 1995 and 2008, is the first artist to confirm the loss of their recordings since the New York Times’ investigation was published two weeks ago.

      • Windows 10 USB-C glitch is causing sluggish shutdowns

        While a minute might not seem like a long time, despite the protestations of some, when one is working on the move and needs to quickly pack up a laptop to so they can hop off a train, for example, 60 whole full-fat seconds can seem like a drag.

        It’s also disconcerting when a computer takes a long time to shut down as well, given you don’t know if it’s suddenly going to throw up a blue screen of death.

      • Security updates for Thursday
      • Made in USA Librem Key

        We would never use the words “Made in USA” lightly. We had to meet very strict requirements before being allowed to use that label. It’s well-known that other firms have been fined for mislabeling their Made in China products as Made in USA, for instance because “screwdriver assembly” only (getting electronics made elsewhere and doing final case-assembly in the USA) is not enough to qualify for “Made in USA”. A company can source specific, individual electronics components from around the world (we source chips like the OpenPGP smart card from a European supplier, for example) but must actually make–as in fabricate–the product here, in the US, to be able to label it as “Made in USA.”

      • Purism’s Librem Key is Now the First and Only USB Security Token to be Made in the USA

        Purism, the social purpose corporation which designs and produces popular hardware and software that protects users’ digital lives, today announced its Librem Key product will be the first device of its category to be made in the USA.

        Librem Key, the first and only OpenPGP smart card closely integrated with the Heads-firmware offering a tamper-evident boot process, launched in September 2018. Initially manufactured in-part by partner Nitrokey, Purism is now manufacturing Librem Keys entirely from Purism’s Carlsbad, California headquarters – the same U.S. facility used to manufacture its Librem 5 smartphone devkits in 2018. Version 2 also stores up to 4096-bit RSA keys and up to 512-bit ECC keys and securely generates keys directly on the device.

        Supply chain security is a rising concern due to the lack of control hardware companies have over manufacturing links. Threats include security hacks, malware concerns, cyber-espionage, and even copyright theft. Purism sees protection of its supply chain as an existentially important issue, and has invested in supply chain improvements including the launch of Librem Key V2.

      • The Curious Case of Silexbot

        A new piece of malware that is using default credentials to log into IoT devices and then erase their file systems and shut them down is on the move, but it may not end up having the reach that it’s alleged creator intended.

      • Thousands of IoT Devices Bricked By Silex Malware
    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange

        I know, you may think I am deluded. How could life in an Embassy with a cat and a skateboard ever amount to torture? That’s exactly what I thought, too, when Assange first appealed to my office for protection. Like most of the public, I had been subconsciously poisoned by the relentless smear campaign, which had been disseminated over the years. So it took a second knock on my door to get my reluctant attention. But once I looked into the facts of this case, what I found filled me with repulsion and disbelief.
        Surely, I thought, Assange must be a rapist! But what I found is that he has never been charged with a sexual offence. True, soon after the US had encouraged allies to find reasons to prosecute Assange, two women made the headlines in Sweden. One of them claimed he had ripped a condom, and the other that he had failed to wear one, in both cases during consensual intercourse — not exactly scenarios that have the ring of ‘rape’ in any language other than Swedish. Mind you, each woman even submitted a condom as evidence. The first one, supposedly worn and torn by Assange, revealed no DNA whatsoever — neither his, nor hers, nor anybody else’s. Go figure. The second one, used but intact, supposedly proved ‘unprotected’ intercourse. Go figure, again. The women even texted that they never intended to report a crime but were ‘railroaded’ into doing so by zealous Swedish police. Go figure, once more. Ever since, both Sweden and Britain have done everything to prevent Assange from confronting these allegations without simultaneously having to expose himself to US extradition and, thus, to a show-trial followed by life in jail. His last refuge had been the Ecuadorian Embassy.

        Alright, I thought, but surely Assange must be a hacker! But what I found is that all his disclosures had been freely leaked to him, and that no one accuses him of having hacked a single computer. In fact, the only arguable hacking-charge against him relates to his alleged unsuccessful attempt to help breaking a password which, had it been successful, might have helped his source to cover her tracks. In short: a rather isolated, speculative, and inconsequential chain of events; a bit like trying to prosecute a driver who unsuccessfully attempted to exceed the speed-limit, but failed because their car was too weak.


        But surely, I found myself pleading, Assange must be a selfish narcissist, skateboarding through the Ecuadorian Embassy and smearing feces on the walls? Well, all I heard from Embassy staff is that the inevitable inconveniences of his accommodation at their offices were handled with mutual respect and consideration. This changed only after the election of President Moreno, when they were suddenly instructed to find smears against Assange and, when they didn’t, they were soon replaced. The President even took it upon himself to bless the world with his gossip, and to personally strip Assange of his asylum and citizenship without any due process of law.

        In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide. And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, the New York Times and ABC News.

        Very well, you may say, but what does slander have to do with torture? Well, this is a slippery slope. What may look like mere «mudslinging» in public debate, quickly becomes “mobbing” when used against the defenseless, and even “persecution” once the State is involved. Now just add purposefulness and severe suffering, and what you get is full-fledged psychological torture.

    • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

      • Arnold Schwarzenegger Stars in a New Ad Plugging Electric Cars

        The “Kicking Gas” ad, which debuts Tuesday, is the work of Veloz, a consortium of more than 40 automakers, utility companies, government agencies, and advocacy groups dedicated to accelerating the adoption of electric cars in California. Veloz will share the four-minute video online, pay to promote it on Facebook and Instagram, and rent 34 digital billboards across California for four weeks to point people to the video on Veloz’s website.

      • Severe water shortage afflicts Chennai, India’s fourth-largest metro area

        The routine daily activities of Chennai residents have been severely impacted by the water crisis. With the Chennai City Corporation having virtually stopped supplying water, families are forced to stand in long queues, which start forming at midnight, to fill up containers with the water they need for drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing. Those worst impacted are the working class and poor, as better off residents either have private wells or can purchase bottled water.

        The four local lakes that supply water to Chennai—Red Hills Lake, Sholavaram Lake, Chembarambakkam Lake and Poondi reservoir—have become virtual drylands.

      • ‘Fly less’ movement: Can forgoing flights help save the planet?

        Flying is responsible for at least 2% of man-made global greenhouse gas emissions, and among personal transport options, it is the least efficient. The airline industry has tried to green itself, but with sustainable options often expensive to maintain or in nascent stages of development, it still relies mostly on carbon offsets. But critics say offsets support the fossil fuel status quo.

      • New York Makes Progress Fighting Giant Weed With Toxic Sap

        Giant hogweed can grow up to 15 feet tall and has 2-foot-wide umbrella-shaped canopies of flowers. Brushing against it can release sap that causes painful, burning blisters.

      • Almost 6,000 greyhounds killed in Ireland per year, RTÉ documentary reveals

        Almost 6,000 greyhounds are killed in Ireland per year, a new RTÉ investigation has revealed

      • Those who knowingly harm greyhounds bring ‘shame’ on industry, says IGB

        The Irish Greyhound Board has accused those engaged in practices exposed by the RTÉ Investigates programme of bringing shame on the industry.

        In a special report broadcast on Wednesday night, the programme exposed that the industry is overbreeding by a factor of 10 and many greyhounds, who do not perform, are being shot illegally.
        The programme highlighted an unpublished report commissioned by the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB)and carried out by Preferred Results which revealed that of 16,000 greyhounds are born in Ireland every year.

        About 6,000 are killed because they failed to make qualification times or their performances declined.

    • Finance

      • Big Tech’s problem is its lack of competition

        According to Recode editor-at-large Kara Swisher, one of Silicon Valley’s biggest problems right now is its lack of competition. That big tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have become too dominant and have thus stifled competition and creativity.

        Here is a lightly edited excerpt of Kara Swisher and Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel discussing the importance of competition and the possibilities of breaking up the tech giants that rule the land.

      • I paid off all my student loans. I still support student loan forgiveness.

        I paid off my student loans in full without assistance. Yet when editorialists decry Bernie Sanders’ student debt forgiveness plan as “unfair” to those of us who already paid off our loans (as they did with Elizabeth Warren’s), they’re certainly not speaking for me.

        It’s the kind of argument designed to tug at our most selfish impulses while ignoring the economic and political transformations that have left a generation of college graduates struggling under an unprecedented mountain of student debt.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Instagram’s head insists the app isn’t listening in on your conversations

        Instagram head Adam Mosseri promises the platform does not listen in on its users. In his first U.S. TV interview since taking the helm in October, “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King presses Mosseri on the question that’s been on her mind and many others: Why do I see ads for products I haven’t searched for?

        “Can you help me understand how I can be having a private conversation with someone about something I’m interested in seeing or buying… and an advertisement for that will pop up on my Instagram feed,” King asked. “I haven’t searched for it, I haven’t talked to anybody about it. I swear I think you guys are listening. I know you’re gonna say you’re not.”

      • Seeing Ads About Things You Talk About Is ‘Dumb Luck’: Instagram CEO

        We have for sure experienced the various social media apps showing us ads about things we were looking for at least once. What’s creepier is when we are just talking about that thing one moment and the other minute an ad about it pops up. However, Instagram claims that it doesn’t follow the drill as other apps.

        In an interview with CBS News‘ Gayle King, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri has ‘promised’ that the photo-sharing app doesn’t listen to users’ conversations to show ads accordingly.

      • Jonathan Riddell: New Facebook Account

        Facebook is a business selling very targeted advertising channels. This is not new, Royal Mail Advertising Mail service offers ‘precision targeting’. But Facebook does it with many more precision options, with emotive impact because it uses video and feels like it comes from your friends and the option of anonymity. This turns out to be most effective in political advertising. There are laws banning political advertising on television because politics should be about reasoned arguments not emotive simplistic soundbites but the law has yet to be changed to include this ban on video on the internet. The result has undermined the democracy of the UK during the EU referendum and elsewhere.

        To do this Facebook collects data and information on you. Normally this isn’t a problem but you never know when journalists will come sniffing around for gossip in your past life, or an ex-partner will want to take something out of context to prove a point in diverse proceedings. The commonly used example of data collection going wrong was the Dutch government keeping a list of who was Jewish, with terrible consequences when the Nazis invaded. We do not have a fascist government here but you can never assume it will never happen. Facebook has been shown to care little for data protection and allowed companies such as Cambridge Analytica to steal data illegally and without oversight. Again this was used to undermine democracy using the 2016 EU referendum.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Photos of migrant father and daughter spark global anguish

        From the Vatican to the U.S. Congress and campaign trail, expressions of anguish, empathy and outrage poured out Wednesday over the photos of a migrant father and young daughter who drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande from Mexico to enter the United States without legal permission.

        The photos show the bodies of the man and his 23-month-old daughter lying face down near the river bank. Her arm was draped around his neck, suggesting she clung to her father in their final moments. The photos published by the Mexican newspaper La Jornada were distributed worldwide by The Associated Press.

        Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and daughter Valeria were fleeing from El Salvador, which is wracked by violent crime. The mother, Tania Vanessa Avalos, was still on the Mexican side of the river and survived.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Schools and Phone Companies Face Off Over Wireless Spectrum

        Carriers complain that the parts of the spectrum reserved for smartphone use are increasingly crowded, at least in urban areas. To keep up with the growing demand for mobile video and other smartphone applications, and deliver the faster speeds promised by 5G, carriers want access to more of the spectrum.

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • Apple decision forces Intel to auction its smartphone modem patents

        Intel confirmed plans to exit the smartphone business a few months ago, but news about the auction of its smartphone modem assets emerged only today. The announcement follows Apple’s decision to buy 5G smartphone modems from Qualcomm rather than Intel.

        Although the US company said it will continue to produce 4G smartphone modems and honor all orders, it will no longer invest in 5G modem product line following the announcement. Instead, Intel will shift focus on its 5G network business, which is expected to grow in the coming years.

        According to a new report from IAM, Intel has decided to auction all its IP relating to cellular wireless connectivity. There are no less than 8,500 patents that Intel is now looking to sell in order to recover some of the resources it invested. The report also mentions that Intel is launching this auction separate to its efforts to sell the smartphone modem division, hoping that a potential buyer for both will appear.

      • Cars, sarapes and green beans, all southern style

        Argentina-The National Congress has passed the “Regime for the Promotion of the Knowledge Economy” Law 27.506 (here), replacing the “Regime for the Promotion of the Software Industry” Law 25.922. The new regime, like the previous one, seeks to stimulate national production in certain industries by granting fiscal benefits through the use of tax credit bonds as well as providing tax stability, so that the beneficiaries of the regime shall not increase their total tax burden, as determined at the time of their application and throughout the duration of the regime as defined in the article 7 of the law.

        This means that once they are registered as beneficiaries, their taxes (including direct taxes as well as duties on imports and exports) will not be increased. However, the new law seeks to broaden the scope of covered goods and services so as to include software as a service (Saas), audiovisual productions, biotechnology, nanotechnology, the aerospace industry, and various types of industry 4.0- related technologies. The new law will enter into force on January 1, 2020, and remain in effect until December 31, 2029.

      • Patent case: Accord Healthcare Ltd. vs. Shire-NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc., Netherlands

        The Court held that a selection invention is inventive if the compound of the selection offers surprisingly advantageous or improved properties over the prior art compounds. These properties should already be plausible from the patent application as filed. Further, a selection invention would be obvious to the skilled person if they would assume a neutral ‘try and see’ approach on the basis of the prior art information, and no explicit chance of success needs to be present.

      • April shows fewer (but still high) abstract idea (Alice-based) reversals [Ed: Anticipat quit tracking IPRs, latching instead onto mere applications (Iancu ignoring the law and caselaw) and even then the numbers are moving in the opposite direction (of what lawyers and trolls hope)]

        April showed a continued high number (204) of abstract idea decisions decided at the Board. Of the 204 total decisions deciding abstract idea rejections for this month, the Board completely reversed the rejection 54 times. This shows a reversal rate of 26.5%, which is lower than the last several months, but higher than many previous months.


        Despite chatter on Capital Hill about amending Section 101 for greater predictability, many believe that passage of such a bill will be difficult in this year with competing priorities. And even with such amendments, it appears unlikely that the problem of patent-eligibility will go away—it will simply change. Thus, abstract idea rejections do not appear to be going away any time soon. Expect the reversal rate to continue to be higher than historical reversal rates, but not necessarily record-breaking unless new more favorable case law is made.

      • Senators Tillis and Coons Release Statement on Recent Patent Reform Hearings [Ed: Michael Borella perpetuates lies of bribed politicians and their stacked, staged, biased, imbalanced ‘panels’]

        The Senators introduced a draft bill that eliminates the current two-part Supreme Court § 101 test, removes judicial exceptions to eligibility, draws a strict line between the inquiries of §§ 101, 102, 103, and 112, and would result in virtually any invention that “provides specific and practical utility in any field of technology through human intervention” being eligible. The draft bill also changes § 112(f) in a fashion that narrows the interpretation of functional claim language.

      • Biotech Prospects for Patent Reform [Ed: Michael Borella's colleague Kevin E. Noonan also pretends that bribed politicians and their stacked, staged, biased, imbalanced ‘panels’ are supported by the public. He wants patents on life itself (he does litigation)]

        Their missive begins with the almost requisite encomiums to innovation and entrepreneurship, and the contributions of the patent system to U.S. success in these endeavors.

      • Forum US, Inc. v. Flow Valve, LLC (Fed. Cir. 2019)

        Here, there was really no question that the broader reissue claims were not clearly and unequivocally disclosed in the original patent. The original patent did not disclose an embodiment of the invention without an arbor. Similarly, the abstract and summary of the invention described the invention as having a plurality of arbors. For that reason, Flow Valve had relied on an expert declaration regarding what “a worker of ordinary skill would understand.” But while such a declaration might be sufficient to satisfy the written description requirement, it does not help illuminate the text of the original patent. Simply put, the specification did not “clearly and unequivocally disclose the newly claimed invention as a separate invention,” and the reissue claims failed the original patent requirement.

        The Forum US case is yet another reminder of the value of expert patent prosecution counsel. Flow Valve might have been able to pursue its claims in a continuation application, if it had one pending (which experienced counsel would likely have suggested). In doing so, it would not have had to meet the additional requirements of a broadening reissue. But not knowing the quirky rules of reissue, including the original patent requirement, can prove fatal to the same claims if they do not appear clearly to be part of the invention in the original patent.

      • Eligibility: Pleadings are Enough, but they must Tie the Claims to an Inventive Concept

        The district court dismissed Cellspin’s infringement lawsuit on the pleadings — finding the asserted claims unenforceable as a matter of law under 35 U.S.C. § 101 (ineligible abstract idea). On appeal, the Federal Circuit has vacated — holding instead that the early-stage dismissal was inappropriate because the patentee’s amended complaint included “specific factual allegations” that, when accepted as true, showed a plausible inventive concept sufficient to satisfy Alice Step 2.

        The court explains here that under Aatrix, “plausible and specific factual allegations that aspects of the claims are inventive” are sufficient to overcome a pleadings-stage motion to dismiss. “[T]he specification need not expressly list all the reasons why this claimed structure is unconventional” so long as the arguably inventive elements are “recited by the claims.”

      • NPEs at the ITC Illustrate Flaws in U.S. Trade Court

        This week, an Irish non-practicing entity (NPE)’s lawsuit against multiple U.S. companies got the go-ahead from a U.S. trade court designed to protect U.S. companies from unfair foreign competition. No, that sentence isn’t backwards. That’s exactly what the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has done in the Neodrón investigation.

        Should the NPE win, the ITC could ban importation of 80% of Android tablets, 86% of Windows tablets, more than 50% of Android smartphones, and 97% of premium Android smartphones. All for the benefit of an Irish NPE.


        In its own words, Neodrón admits that it didn’t invent anything. According to its filing, the “patented improvements at issue in this action were made by highly regarded engineers from two U.S. companies: Atmel Corporation (‘Atmel’) and Microchip.”

        The patents are all focused on touchscreen technology. One appears to cover sensing movement of a finger along a linear or circular touch-sensitive strip—in fact, it looks a lot like the iPod Mini capacitive click-wheel which predates Neodrón’s patent by several years. Another describes a capacitive sensing technique in a keypad with separate capacitive areas. And a third covers a system for distinguishing between multiple keys, where a key might be a surface such as a touchscreen.


        So we have an Irish company that makes nothing and admits it never invented a thing, run by a patent lawyer and backed by money from a hedge fund, suing U.S. companies. All in a trade court that’s designed to protect U.S. companies from unfair foreign competition, but is being used to help a foreign company take all the profit away on a product it contributed nothing to.

        That’s not what the ITC was designed for, and it’s not good for the U.S. economy. It’s time to fix the ITC.

      • Trademarks

        • Scandalous trademarks: why SCOTUS ruling may lack bite

          Despite the US Supreme Court’s finding that scandalous or immoral trademarks cannot be banned, lawyers say that the judgment’s impact may be limited in practice

        • Guest Post by Prof. Farley: SCOTUS’s Second Take on Trademark Registration as Speech

          The Supreme Court has now struck down as unconstitutional a second trademark registration bar. The court ruled yesterday in Iancu v. Brunetti that the government may no longer deny trademark registration to marks that are “scandalous” or “immoral.” In 2017, the court struck down a provision that denied trademark registration to marks that are “disparaging” in Matal v. Tam. Both registration bars appear in Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act.

          Many commentators had seen the cases as so similar that they wondered why the court had even granted certiorari. Perhaps as a result, the case provoked less interest from amicus brief authors. The conventional wisdom was that the court’s opinion in Tam left no room to uphold this provision.

          In Tam, the court ruled that denying trademark registration to marks that disparage constitutes viewpoint discrimination because the government was sorting out “ideas that offend.” The court reconfirmed that viewpoint discrimination is presumptively unconstitutional. In his concurrence, Justice Kennedy described viewpoint discrimination as “a form of speech suppression so potent that it must be subject to rigorous constitutional scrutiny.”

          For the Brunetti majority, this was a simple case. Indeed, Justice Kagan, who wrote the majority opinion joined by Thomas, Ginsburg, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh, dispensed with the case in ten and a half tight pages even as she devoted a full page to examples of marks that were refused registration (comparing them to similar marks that were approved for registration). The opinion is short and sweet: this is the same case as Tam.

        • First the Slants, Now FUCT – Supremes Say Potty-Mouth Okay

          The Lanham Act, which deals with patent and trademark issues, bans the registration of “immoral or scandalous” trademarks. Well, it did until Monday. Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the majority and was joined by Justices Alito, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh in striking it down.

          The majority discussed the benefits of PTO registration. Registration is not required to enforce a trade or service mark, but it does grant the registrant several rights and privileges that aid in enforcing the mark, which is why people go through the trouble.


          That’s the end of the analysis for the majority, as viewpoint-based restrictions on speech are the classic hallmark of laws that violate the First Amendment. Kagan quoted Justice Anthony Kennedy’s explanation about The Slants, where the PTO “allowed a trademark owner to register a mark if it was ‘positive’ about a person, but not if it was ‘derogatory.’” The case is the same here with respect to messages the office favors or disfavors, therein enforcing impermissible discrimination.

        • EU Intellectual Property Office Produces Dumbest Propaganda Film Ever, Pretending Without IP There Is No Creativity

          The tweet actually just shows a 16 second clip from what appears to be a nearly 10 minute “film” that the EU IPO actually released back in April. You can view the whole thing here, though I warn you that it is 10 minutes of your life that you will not get back, and it is so dumb that you’ll really wish you could get them back (I, at least, watched it on double speed). The film, called “IPIDENTICAL: Imagine a world without creativity” is supposed to be an example of what the world would look like without intellectual property. In this world, everything is the same. There is one song in the world, called “The Song” and that’s it. There is one movie, “The Movie.” There is one car in one color. Everyone wears the same clothes. All products on store shelves are identical. See? How dystopian.


          First off, anyone with even the slightest familiarity with history knows it’s bullshit. I mean, there was pretty widespread creativity prior to there being intellectual property laws. William Shakespeare wrote everything he wrote without copyright. He didn’t just write “The Play” and be done with it. Indeed, evidence suggests that the lack of copyright was partly responsible for him writing so much since he had to keep producing new works to satiate his audience. And you don’t even need to look at history. There have been lots of studies of creative arenas today that don’t rely on intellectual property, from fashion to comedy to magic to cooking — and they’ve pretty much all found that categories without intellectual property protections actually generate more output and more creativity because you have to keep creating, rather than rest on your laurels. We’ve written about some of that in the past, but if you’re looking for sources, The Knockoff Economy book by Kal Raustiala and Chris Sprigman is a good start, as is Creativity Without Law, which is a collection of case studies about creativity outside of intellectual property.

          And, look, I get it: it’s the EU Intellectual Property Office. Of course, they’re going to think the world revolves around copyright, patents and trademarks. But is it really that big a deal to expect that government bureaucrats should at least be partially reality based? And is it too much to expect that a government agency shouldn’t be spending taxpayer dollars on blatantly false propaganda that is so laughable as to only serve to lead more people to lose respect for intellectual property?

          But, perhaps the most damning of all: copyright wasn’t necessary to make this bit of insane propaganda. Notice that the EU IPO posted the film for free to YouTube, and they’re tweeting out clips of it. The reason they made this film is for propaganda (which some might refer to as “educational”) purposes, and they want as many people as possible to see it. There is no need for copyright on the film. They’re not selling it or licensing it to anyone. The incentive to create it was wholly separate from copyright — as is true of nearly all content created today. It was created not because they had an exclusive right, but because they wanted people to see it.

        • BEAUTY & THE BAY not an infringement of BEAUTY BAY, says High Court

          Beauty Bay (the claimant, acting together with its licensor) is the registered owner of a number of UK and EU marks. In particular, it is the proprietor of the word marks BEAUTY BAY and BEAUTYBAY for goods and services in Classes 3 and 35 of the Nice Classification. The claimant also acts as an online retailer of cosmetics, beauty products and accessories, trading under the said marks.

          The defendant, Benefit, is a global manufacturer and retailer of cosmetics owned by luxury conglomerate LVMH and based in San Francisco, USA (the action was targeted against its UK subsidiary).

          The dispute arose when the defendant sold a Christmas set that consisted of items contained in a globe-shaped gift box. This product formed part of a larger set, intended to celebrate its San Francisco heritage and mark the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. In this regard, the products in the globe-shaped box were a collection of the defendant’s best-selling beauty products:

      • Copyrights

        • Retired Police Officer and ‘Copyright Troll’ Square Off in Court

          Copyright-trolling outfit Strike 3 has its hands full with a retired police officer. The man, who denies pirating anything, is pursuing a counterclaim for abuse of process and wants to see the tracking software’s source code. Strike 3, meanwhile, suspects that the man’s son is the infringer and says it may have a “smoking gun.”

        • Operators of ‘Linking’ Sites Walk Free in Criminal Piracy Case

          A Spanish Criminal court has acquitted four men who were accused of facilitating copyright infringement through the defunct linking sites SeriesYonkis, PeliculasYonkis and VideosYonkis. The judge notes that, at the time, sites that linked to pirated content stored elsewhere were not criminally liable. The verdict is good news for the defendants but will be appealed.

        • UFC: Online Platforms Should Proactively Prevent Streaming Piracy

          Mixed Martial Arts fights, including the popular UFC events, are among the most pirated live-streams on the Internet. Responding to questions from US senators, the UFC’s General Counsel says that the company is working hard to address this issue, adding that Congress should help to incentivize online platforms to become more proactive.

        • The Pirate Bay Faces Massive ISP Blocks in Spain

          Back in 2015, Vodafone admitted that following an order from the Spanish government, it had begun blocking The Pirate Bay, the world’s most famous torrent site. Fast forward four years and the Ministry of Culture and Sports is attempting to finish the job, with an order for ISPs to block more than 60 TPB-related domains.

    The EPO’s “Collaborative Quality Improvements” (CQI), Formerly Known as “Team Collaboration Project,” Shows the EPO Grossly Violating the Law, Granting Patents in Clear Violation of the EPC

    Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    In April: The Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) Warns About the Granting of Tens of Thousands of Invalid European Patents Every Year

    A horse race

    Summary: “The European Patent Office helps your company to invent,” joke EPO insiders in relation to the dubious CQI programme; “We informed some of the major European patent applicants about a new project,” they said, “which is a diversionary tactic of the EPO management and now possibly a hobby horse of President António Campinos.”

    Seeing how Battistelli ‘normalised’ Brimelow’s software patents “as such” (the predecessor’s mistake, which we criticised the most), and seeing how his successor calls everything "hey hi" (AI) or similar buzzwords, we were curious to see how such patent applications would be handled by examiners. Some told us that they loathed granting such patents but were under enormous pressure to allow them. We published several articles to that effect. What would happen if the applicants participated in examination? Or contrariwise, if examiners took the applicants’ side and helped them ‘trick’ the system (or violate the EPC)? One begins to wonder if the EPO is even a patent office any longer…

    “Did you know? The European Patent Office helps companies to invent,” said examiners at the EPO, who circulated the following text among EPO stakeholders. We reproduce the text below.

    The European Patent Office helps your company to invent


    Dear Sirs,

    Is your company’s business model based on innovation but your employees (unfortunately) don’t have any inventive skills? Don’t worry. The European Patent Office (EPO) will help you out.

    The latest creative “business idea” of the EPO’s top management can indeed turn (almost) any company into a high tech forge: EPO examiners are currently being trained to invent – for you!

    You possibly belong to the large group of (old-fashioned) patent applicants who think that a patent examiner’s job is to assess whether somebody has made an invention or not. If so, you may expect a patent examiner to do an in-depth prior art search for a patent application, and then, after thorough examination of the technical matter, to either deliver a patent for an invention or refuse the application for the lack of it. But these days nothing could be further from the truth.

    The EPO President and top managers enjoy immunity from jurisdiction and execution. These people are above the law, including national law and … patent law. Being one of these people – and knowing that you are above the law – you are free to do a lot of illegal and unethical things without taking any risk.

    A current EPO pilot project is called “Collaborative Quality Improvements” (CQI). While users of the European patent system have become used to well sounding buzzwords whose true meaning is almost the exact opposite of what they appear to mean, they nevertheless seem to be buying the EPO’s we continue improving patent quality story. The CQI pilot was originally called “Team Collaboration Project” but later renamed. Its original aim was to boost productivity by at least 20%.

    Several groups of examiners are currently working under the CQI umbrella, many against their will. The alleged objective of CQI is the improvement of patent quality by teamwork and knowledge sharing. This shall be achieved by more discussions within the three member examining divisions and regular CQI team meetings. But the unspoken objective of CQI is to increase the patent grant output. Examiners shall stop investing precious time in doing in-depth prior art searches. Instead, their managers expect them to base examination on the first potentially relevant document they come across. It is sufficient if that document, mainly its figures and some keywords, resembles a bit (just a little bit will be good enough these days) the patent application on the examiner’s desk. Ideally the examiner simply picks a document from a list generated by the EPO’s fully automated prior art search algorithm. That takes only a few minutes. The chosen document is then called the “closest prior art”.

    In particular the COOs are pushing this new way of working. The first results of the CQI pilot were so promising that the EPO President mentioned them in an announcement to the staff earlier this year. VP1 presented the pilot to the Administrative Council in March 2019. The project is also mentioned in the (Draft) Strategic Plan 2023 (goal 3, key initiative 4) and shall be expanded to all EPO patent grant units.

    Depending on the complexity of the technical field, a highly qualified, trained and specialized examiner needs in average 1 ½ to 2 ½ days to study a patent application and draft a search report and a detailed first reasoned assessment of the invention. But much of this effort shall in future be avoided. Prior art searching skills will no longer be required. Future EPO search reports may only contain some automatically retrieved documents. While the EPO’s automatic search algorithms are surely better than random number generators, the results they produce come rarely close to the truly relevant subject-matter, the genuine “closest prior art”.

    Search reports will continue being published as usual, without any hint that the search process has been “streamlined”. The EPO’s obligation towards the other stakeholders, including your competitors and the public, are then formally met. The EPO will nevertheless charge you the full search fee.

    But you will get something in return: instead of examining the patent application in the light of the prior art indicated in the search report (which can be rather irrelevant prior art, as explained above), the examiner will, during the examination phase, quickly read through the patent application and create your invention. This is sometimes achieved through collaborative brainstorming in pairs consisting of the examiner and the chairman of the examining division (that’s where the term “Team Collaboration Project” comes from). The aim of the exercise is to reach a horse deal for an “EPO invention”. When agreement is reached, you will receive a phone call from the examiner with a text proposal for a patent. The examiner will try to talk you into his proposal. All you need to do is to accept it. The proposal will then turn into your horse deal. But you won’t be aware of it since the examiner is not supposed to tell you that your patent application is being treated under the new work scheme. Of course, your competitors won’t know either.

    When an automatically retrieved and rather irrelevant document is used as the “closest prior art”, the result of the consecutive patent examination will of course be arbitrary. The patents granted on such insecure basis will not provide legal certainty. But the EPO’s new business model is based on output (and bonuses for top managers) instead of honest work for the public. And why should you bother about carefully examining patent applications if you run a patent office being free to ignore the patent law?

    We wish you a fruitful future cooperation with your business partner, the European Patent Office.

    Yours faithfully,

    Patent Examiners at the European Patent Office

    Contact: https://www.epo.org/service-support/contact-us.html

    So there you have it. The EPO is in gross violation of the EPC. Who’s going to hold anyone accountable here?

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