Demand for European Patents Will Continue to Decrease If a Lot of European Patents Turn Out to be Invalid, Worthless

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“No man is justified in doing evil on the ground of expediency.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

Summary: The EPO’s abandonment of patent justice and quality (in pursuit of so-called ‘production’ targets) is likely to doom the Office as the whole or render it vastly less relevant to the rest of the world

Patent quality has been severely compromised by the EPO — to the point of being totally detached from the EPC and several other things. The Battistelli-appointed (de facto) António Campinos actively promotes software patents in Europe (using some buzzwords) and there’s now this pilot (CQI) to further lower patent quality while the EPO publicly lies about its concerns on the matter.

“We know whose side the law is on, but the EPO quit obeying the law several years ago.”The EPO cannot eternally rely on terrorising its judges and then covering it up. Sooner or later more and more European Patents will come under scrutiny outside EPOnia (or Haar, which is obviously outside EPOnia and thus unsuitable a venue, according to the EPC). What happens then? Can the EPO continue until eternity (or its end of life) to disregard judges’ precedents (except internal judgments which are constitutionally invalid) and carry on granting fake patents? Applications will decrease in number as soon as applicants spot these trends. This is already happening.

Earlier on this week, or yesterday, Bart van Wezenbeek wrote about a District Court of The Hague case (this case’s date is exactly one month ago, June 19th) in which dubious patents were assessed in European courts. To quote:

In the present case, it appeared from the prosecution file that the limitation had been introduced with a purpose, and the patentee had accepted the limiting examiner’s amendments. Taken together with the fact that the patentee could be considered a professional party with sufficient knowledge in the field of patents, this means that the scope of the claim was determined more by the literal interpretation of the claim than by the concept of the invention behind it.

In this particular case it’s an American ‘pharma vulture’ doing the litigation against a Dutch company. Annsley Merelle Ward from a firm that boosts patent predators (Bristows LLP) wrote about it last month, whereupon we also wrote about it, noting that “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.”

It’s not a sole example. According to this new report, “European Patent Office Revokes Second Pacific Biosciences Patent” (from GenomeWeb), the EPO has once again admitted that it granted a fake patent and it’s only being ‘actioned’ because someone invested in correcting it:

NEW YORK – The European Patent Office this week revoked another patent held by Pacific Biosciences, according to Oxford Nanopore, the firm’s main competitor.

Not even the first time!

Awful patent quality is the direct result of unprecedented pressure being put on examiners, who probably do the best they can under the unreasonable conditions/circumstances. But if this carries on, why would companies still apply for European Patents? Fewer of them would. Juve very recently took note of the decline in demand for European Patents. It’s not hypothetical; it’s already happening.

We’ve just spotted this new comment in IP Kat, published about a day ago after some IP Kat puff piece about EQEs (separate thread). To quote:

No-body serious considers the EQEs to be a gold-standard of practice. Since they are time-limited exams they will necessarily not award points in Paper C for novelty/inventive step arguments against claims that are already dealt with as added matter, but this is not real life.

In real life, added matter is included as an objection in probably the majority of oppositions, but the sensible attorney will also make arguments on novelty/inventive step and other grounds if these are viable. In real life only deciding that there is added matter, and not even considering novelty/inventive step in case your decision on added matter is incorrect, will simply waste time in the long run in the majority of cases.

One of the criticisms regularly levelled at both the PEB exams and the EQEs is that they ignore commercial realities. Typcially this is because they require you to do things that the client doesn’t normally want. P6/FD4 is criticised for requiring integer-by-integer claim construction analysis that no sane client wants you to do, whilst Paper B requires you to cover-off points that no-one writing a response in real life would think worth the cost of responding to.

However, here we have an example of the exams requiring that you do not do something that the client actually typically wants – to make novelty/inventive step argument just in case your cleverly-drafted added matter arguments fail. Attorneys know that commercial reality demands this – it is only good when courts also realise this in making their decisions.

Courts should disregard this “commercial reality” and instead focus on what underlying laws (e.g. EPC, caselaw) say. The EPO likes to pretend that it is business-friendly, but the only business it’s friendly to is the litigation ‘industry’. To ordinary European SMEs the EPO became nothing but a liability and a menace. We know whose side the law is on, but the EPO quit obeying the law several years ago.

35 U.S.C. § 101 Still in Tact in the United States and Software Patents Rot Away

Posted in America, Patents at 2:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It is meanwhile being reported that in Japan’s JPO — like in the EPO — patent applications decrease in number

35 U.S.C. 101 mirror

Summary: The United States, where the number of granted patents decreased last year, becomes more productive; there are more signs that patent maximalism (patent litigation, patent scope etc.) has receded

OUR LATEST daily links sum up some new patent cases/outcomes, including some that involve 35 U.S.C. § 101. USPTO-granted patents on software and life still aren’t likely to be tolerated by actual courts and in recent days we’ve seen many attacks on courts coming from Watchtroll. Do these ‘geniuses’ at Watchtroll really think that constantly attacking Federal Circuit judges (not just the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) anymore) will lead to more favourable outcomes?

“Nowadays we focus on other topics that are deemed more relevant and strategic.”After summer recess expect nobody to mention the latest nonsense from Coons (this is his third time and third year trying). Expect courts to change nothing in their handling of 35 U.S.C. § 101. We feel somewhat vindicated for we predicted these things all along, just like the UPC’s demise.

We’re glad to know we no longer closely cover US patent cases and matters; seeing the way things are going there (and relegating articles on these matters to news clippings and picks), it doesn’t look like we’re missing much ‘action’. Nowadays we focus on other topics that are deemed more relevant and strategic.

Links 19/7/2019: Deepin 15.11 and GNU/Linux Back on GPD MicroPC

Posted in News Roundup at 1:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Indian politicians are missing a huge edutech leap by ignoring Raspberry Pi and Linux

      Around a decade ago, an India-based company called Datawind got a nod from the Central government to make and market a low-cost tablet PC called Aakash for students in the country. About half a decade before that — 2004, to be exact — the country launched GSAT-3 aka EDUSAT, its first satellite to be used entirely for the education sector.

      Cut to the present, and it is more than two months since Datawind shut down permanently. Meanwhile, EDUSAT was deactivated in 2010, and has since been moved to a part of space that the world refers to as “graveyard orbit.”

      They were both examples of a political class thinking a little too ahead of time when it came to the technology needed for education. Something similar is now happening at the other end of the spectrum: While the world is agog about the latest iteration of the Raspberry Pi and an increasing number of people is adopting one or the other distro of Linux, most of India seems to be oblivious to both.

    • Desktop

      • Installing five flavours of Linux on my new laptop

        I let the Windows setup procedure run on first boot, until I got to the point where it became clear to me that it is now impossible to install Windows without a Microsoft account. Absolutely impossible. Windows 10 has always asked for a Microsoft account during setup, but there was a tiny (nearly invisible) option to use only a local account, which I always did. Well, now that option is gone, and if you dig around long enough you can eventually find an explanation that says if you don’t want to use a Microsoft account, well, you have to anyway, but after the installation is complete you can go back into the configuration and change it to use a local account.

        So, that was the end of Windows on this new system. I have never had a Microsoft account, and I never will. I booted a Linux Live USB stick, deleted the Windows partition, and set about the task of installing a few of my favorite Linux distributions.

        The first thing I had to do was get into the BIOS Setup Utility to disable UEFI Secure Boot. That turns out to be a bit more tricky than you might think, because there is a “POST hotkey delay (sec)” parameter in the BIOS which is initially set to 0, so there is very little time after power-on to press F10 before it starts to boot Windows (or at least tries to). Once into the BIOS Setup, I went to System Configuration / Boot Options / Secure Boot, and changed that to Disabled. While I was in there, I also changed the POST hotkey delay to 5 seconds. Save that (F10) and exit.


        Installation was easy and uneventful; I noticed that Mint has improved their installer on UEFI systems so that it now allows you to choose the EFI Boot Partition, that’s nice. Unfortunately it still installed the bootloader to a directory called “ubuntu”, which can be inconvenient if you also have Ubuntu installed on the system.

        Booting after the installation completed still brought up openSUSE by default, which is actually what I wanted – but if you wanted to boot Mint by default, it would simply require a trip through the BIOS Configuration again. In my case, I just generated a new grub configuration file on openSUSE (grub2-mkconfig), and it added Mint to the Grub boot menu.

      • Buying a Linux-ready laptop

        Recently, I bought and started using a Tuxedo Book BC1507, a Linux laptop computer. Ten years ago, if someone had told me that, by the end of the decade, I could buy top-quality, “penguin-ready” laptops from companies such as System76, Slimbook, and Tuxedo, I probably would have laughed. Well, now I’m laughing, but with joy!

        Going beyond designing computers for free/libre open source software (FLOSS), all three companies recently announced they are trying to eliminate proprietary BIOS software by switching to Coreboot.

      • Linux Foundation ? where do thou go? ? Stay out of the Desktop and you shalt be paid
    • Server

      • IBM

        • Oracle Linux hits 8.0, with a hint of deja vu…

          Big Red has unleashed Oracle Linux version 8, which could the OS of choice for those using the database giant’s cloud or appliances – or who just can’t bear to see the words Red Hat (or IBM).

          The database giant took the wraps of its Linux flavour yesterday, with director of product management Simon Coter flagging up a raft of new features, including the introduction of the concept of Application Streams which allow “multiple versions of user space components [to] be delivered and updated more frequently than the core operating system packages.”

          He also flagged up improved systems management with the inclusion of the Dandified Yum package manager, which “installs, updates, and removes packages on RPM-based Linux distributions” and Cockpit, “an interactive server administration interface that offers a live Linux session via a web browser.”

        • Oracle Linux 8 Released, Microsoft Offering Free Open-Source Software to Help Secure Voting Machines, Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” Cinnamon Beta Is Out, First Beta of Latte Dock for v0.9 Now Available and Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish Reaches End of Life

          Oracle yesterday announced the release of Oracle Linux 8. New features include Application Streams, a “Dandified Yum”, RPM improvements and much more. From the announcement: “With Oracle Linux 8, the core operating environment and associated packages for a typical Oracle Linux 8 server are distributed through a combination of BaseOS and Applications Streams. BaseOS gives you a running user space for the operating environment. Application Streams provides a range of applications that were previously distributed in Software Collections, as well as other products and programs, that can run within the user space.”

        • Big Blue’s Red Hat Brings A Big Change Of Heart

          Perhaps, many years hence, we will call the company that, more than any other, created the enterprise computing environment Big Purple now that it has acquired the company that made open source software in the enterprise safe, sane, and affordable.

          Twenty years ago next month, Red Hat went public and everything about enterprise software changed. A company with some tens of millions of dollars in revenues, providing subscription support for a commercial Linux distribution for systems within a few months had a ridiculous market capitalization in excess of $20 billion and the mad dash for open source projects to be commercialized was on.

          Fast forward two decades, and Red Hat is the touchstone for how to work with upstream open source software projects related to datacenter infrastructure and to bring them downstream to harden them to be enterprise grade, package them up, and then sell support for them. Red Hat is by far and away the most successful provider of commercial support for open source code, and has moved well beyond its foundational Enterprise Linux distribution, mostly through key acquisitions including the companies behind the GNU compilers, JBoss application server, the KVM hypervisor, the Gluster parallel file system, the Ceph object storage, the innovative CoreOS Linux distribution, and the Ansible software provisioning tools as well as the OpenShift container controller (a mix of in-house and Kubernetes code these days), the OpenStack cloud controller, and the CloudForms hybrid cloud management system (also largely done in-house). Red Hat, we think, still needs to have a heavy duty open source database management system distribution – perhaps several different ones with different architectural tenets – but it was also perhaps prescient in that it stayed out of the Hadoop storage and data analytics racket, which has not panned out as planned.

        • Splunk Connect for OpenShift: All About Objects

          This is the second post of our blog series on Red Hat OpenShift and Splunk Integration. In the first post, we showed how to send application and system logs to Splunk. The second part is focused on how to use Splunk Kubernetes Objects.

        • Command Line Heroes season 3 episode 2: Learning the BASICs

          Command Line Heroes explores how beginner languages bring people into the world of programming. BASIC lowered the barrier to entry. Now, the next generation is getting their start modifying games, like Minecraft. Listen to the episode.

        • Introducing Red Hat Smart Management for Red Hat Enterprise Linux

          How do you want to manage your systems? That probably depends a lot on the type of environment you have — whether your systems are primarily on-prem, or if they reside in the cloud. Or a mixture of both. Either way, Red Hat is looking to meet you where you’re at and provide management tools to suit your needs with Red Hat Smart Management.

          We introduced Red Hat Smart Management at Red Hat Summit earlier this year in Boston as a layered add on for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), as well as including Red Hat Insights with RHEL subscriptions.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Ubuntu Podcast: S12E15 – Diablo

        This week we’ve been buying a new phone and playing with QEMU. We discuss the release fo Debian 10, Ubuntu users saying “Thank you”, Nvidia drivers, WSL and Ubuntu MATE for the GPD MicroPC. We also round up some events and tech news.

        It’s Season 12 Episode 15 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Mark Johnson, Martin Wimpress and Stuart Langridge are connected and speaking to your brain.

      • Episode #139: f”Yes!” for the f-strings
      • Episode #221: Empowering developers by embedding Python

        How do we get kids excited about programming? Make programming tangible with embedded devices. Did you know that after kids learned to code with the BBC micro:bit, 90% of kids “thought coding was for everyone” and 86% said it made CS topics more interesting?

      • Old and Insecure | User Error 70

        Whether Linux is inherently secure, the next phase of online interaction, and wasting our free time.

        Plus where to focus your contributions, and a tricky hypothetical question.

    • Kernel Space

      • F2FS Is The Latest Linux File-System With Patches For Case-Insensitive Support

        Following EXT4 getting initial (and opt-in) support for case-insensitive directories/files, the Flash-Friendly File-System has a set of patches pending that extend the case-folding support to this F2FS file-system that is becoming increasingly used by Android smartphones and other devices.

        Sent out today were a revised set of two patches and just 300+ lines of code that implement case-folding support inside the F2FS file-system. This case-folding support for case-insensitive file-name look-ups is based upon the support found within EXT4 on the latest kernels.

      • AMDGPU/AMDKFD Queue Up Early Linux 5.3 Fixes For Navi & More

        While the Linux 5.3 kernel merge window isn’t even over until this weekend when it will kick off with 5.3-rc1 and headlining new features like Radeon RX 5700 series support, AMD has already sent in a batch of AMDGPU/AMDKFD fixes. Making these fixes notable are some early fixes around the new open-source Radeon RX “Navi” support.

      • RISC-V’s Kernel Support Continues Maturing With Linux 5.3

        With the RISC-V support in Linux 5.3 there is now support for huge-pages, image header support (based on the ARM64 kernel image header), initial page table setup is split into two stages, CONFIG_SOC support has been started with initially catering to the SiFive SoCs, high resolution timers and dynamic ticks have now made it into the default RISC-V 64-bit default configuration, and other low-level work.

      • Graphics Stack

        • The Open-Source NVIDIA “Nouveau” Driver Gets A Batch Of Fixes For Linux 5.3

          Originally on Thursday was finally the Nouveau-next 5.3 pull request that offered improvements to the display color management, fixes to Secure Boot on newer hardware, and Turing TU116 mode-setting support. But that was rejected by the DRM maintainers for being way too late as usually the cut-off for new feature material is when hitting RC6 on the previous cycle, just not days before the end of the current merge window. Not that those changes were all too exciting or notable, but this pushes back the color management and other work to Linux 5.4.

          Nouveau DRM maintainer Ben Skeggs of Red Hat as a result today sent in Nouveau-fixes 5.3. This pull request has support still for the TU116 GPU since that shouldn’t regress any existing support as well as having fixes around KMS, a memory leak, and a few other basic fixes.

        • Wayland’s Weston Lands A Pipewire Plug-In As New Remote Desktop Streaming Option

          Wayland’s Weston compositor for the past year has provided a remoting plug-in for virtual output streaming that was built atop RTP/GStreamer. Now though a new plug-in has landed in the Weston code-base making use of Red Hat’s promising PipeWire project.

          The PipeWire plug-in was merged into Weston today and is similar to the GStreamer-powered remoting plug-in but instead leverages PipeWire. The compositor’s frames are exported to PipeWire and the same virtual output API is shared between these plug-ins. The virtual outputs can be configured using the weston.ini configuration file. Any PipeWire client in turn can read these frames.

        • Network transparency with Wayland

          Three large changes have been completed this week. The first is a change to the wire format used for waypipe. The previous protocol, dating back almost to the start of this project, sent a single large message containing a series of subblocks, each of which either contained Wayland protocol data, indicated that a new file descriptor was sent by the connected Wayland program, or provided all the information needed to update a given file descriptor. These file descriptor update messages used a 16-byte header containing the object id, size, type, and a very overloaded metadata field. Furthermore, the content following the header was sometimes context-dependent. For example, the first data transfer to replicate a shared memory buffer sent its initial data, while all successive messages sent a diff relative to the previous state. Because so much in the update messages was implicit, the code acquired a few unusual workarounds; for example, size extensions to a shared memory buffer were only supported by assuming the newly extended region to have contained all zeros and then sending a diff relative to that state.

          The replacement wire format protocol operates with much smaller transfer units, with distinct types for the various file operations that used to be combined into a single generic header. To keep individual message sizes small, file data update operations can be split into distinct messages corresponding to different shards of a buffer. While having distinct messages for each operation does very slightly increase the bandwidth needed for a connection, it ensures that operations can be performed as soon as the corresponding message block arrives; a remote pipe or video-type DMABUF can be created before the data for its contents has fully arrived.

        • Libinput 1.14 RC Arrives With Better Thumb Detection & Dell Canvas Totem Support

          Linux input expert Peter Hutterer of Red Hat shipped the much anticipated release candidate today for libinput 1.14, the open-source input handling library used by both X.Org and Wayland systems.

        • libinput 1.13.901
          The first RC for libinput 1.14 is now available.
          We have new and improved thumb detection for touchpads, thanks to Matt
          Mayfield. On Clickpad devices this should make interactions where a thumb is
          resting on the touchpad or dropped during an interaction more reliable. A
          summary of the changes can be found here:
          The Dell Canvas Totem is now supported by libinput. It is exposed as a new
          tool type through the tablet interface along with two new axes. Note that
          this is only low-level support, the actual integration of the totem needs
          Wayland protocol changes and significant changes in all applications that
          want to make use of it. A summary of the changes can be found here:
          Touch-capable tablets now tie both devices together for rotation. If you set
          the tablet to left-handed, the touchpad will be rotated along with the
          tablet. Note that this does not affect the left-handed-ness of the touchpad,
          merely the rotation. 
          Tablet proximity out handling for tablets that are unreliably sending
          proximity out events is now always timeout-based. It is no longer necessary
          to add per-device quirks to enable this feature and it is completely
          transparent on devices that work correctly anyway. A summar of the
          changes can be found here:
          Tablets that send duplicate tools (BTN_TOOL_PEN and BTN_TOOL_ERASER) now
          ignore the latter. This is an intermediate fix only but at least makes those
          tablets more usable than they are now. Issue #259 is the tracker for this
          particular behaviour if you are affected by it.
          The handling of kernel fuzz has been slightly improved. Where our udev rule
          fails to reset the fuzz on the kernel device, we disable the hysteresis and
          rely on the kernel now to handle it. Previously our hysteresis would take
          effect on top of the kernel's, causing nonresponsive behaviour.
          Note to distribitors: the python-evdev dependency has been dropped, the
          tools that used it are now using python-libevdev instead.
          And of course a random assortment of fixes, improvements, etc. Many thanks
          to all contributors and testers.
          As usual, the git shortlog is below.
    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The dark strategy RPG “Vagrus – The Riven Realms” is doing well, quite an experience to play

        Currently in “Open Access” on Fig, a hybrid Early Access/Crowdfunding model, Vagrus – The Riven Realms seems to be doing well.

        It’s only been going for a couple of months but they’ve already managed to raise $23,071. It’s an interesting system, where you back the campaign with your pledge and get immediate access. At various funding points, it unlocks the next part of their development roadmap with the very next milestone very close to being hit.

      • The strange real time strategy adventure “Hive Quest” is now on Kickstarter

        Love insects and other creepy crawlies? Hive Quest might be a game you will enjoy, one that’s coming to Linux and it’s now crowdfunding on Kickstarter.

        Inspired partially by the classic Black & White from Lionhead Studios, it’s not meant to be graphically impressive. In fact, the developer opted to go for a more retro 3D look with it. Gameplay involves you managing a tribe, along with gathering resources like food to keep them going. It’s a bit of an odd one, due to the mix of gameplay involved. It blends a strategy game with puzzles, exploration and a little mystery wrapped in an ancient magical theme with insects and spirits.

      • Strategy game “ATRIUM” released recently, it’s pretty much the game Carcassonne

        Carcassonne is that you? Well if you want to play something almost the same, ATRIUM just recently released from Black Potion.

        ATRIUM is a tile-based digital board game, where the board gets built as you go. On each turn, a player can place down a tile which you’re given two at random each time and a person, with different tiles giving different benefits. Some might turn your people into a powerful character, some might give you extra points and so on. You basically play each turn, until you run out of tiles and the person who has the most territory wins.

      • GameMode – A Tool To Improve Gaming Performance On Linux

        Ask some Linux users why they still sticks with Windows dual boot, probably the answer would be – “Games!”. It was true! Luckily, open source gaming platforms like Steam and Lutris have brought many games to Linux platforms and improved the Linux gaming experience significantly over the years. Today, I stumbled upon yet another Linux gaming-related, open source tool named GameMode, which allows the users to improve gaming performance on Linux.

        GameMode is basically a daemon/lib combo that lets the games optimise Linux system performance on demand. I thought GameMode is a kind of tool that would kill some resource-hungry tools running in the background. But it is different. What it does actually is just instruct the CPU to automatically run in Performance mode when playing games and helps the Linux users to get best possible performance out of their games.

        GameMode improves the gaming performance significantly by requesting a set of optimisations be temporarily applied to the host OS while playing the games.

      • Tower Defense game “Elemental War” leaves Early Access today

        Leaving Early Access today after nine months with a fresh update is Elemental War, a Tower Defense game from Clockwork Origins.

        This one is a little unusual, in the way that unlike a lot of Tower Defense games there’s no story campaign to play through. Instead it offers multiple game modes for single-player including a standard 60 wave defence mode, a survival mode to go as long as you can and a hero mode where your enemies are given random abilities. On top of that, there’s also a level editor and a versus online mode to send waves against other players.

      • Open-world sandbox adventure game “TerraTech” now has a co-op campaign for up to 4 players

        This is awesome. TerraTech is actually a really fun game for those who like to build vehicles and then go exploring and it just got a big update.

        Version 1.3 was released yesterday, building on the work they did in a previous update to give a co-op creative mode it now has a fully online co-op campaign mode. You will be sharing everything from the blocks available to the mission log, so it will require working together.

      • Chapter 7 of Higurashi When They Cry Hou is now out with Linux support

        After waiting a whole year, the seventh chapter of the Higurashi When They Cry Hou is now available with Higurashi When They Cry Hou – Ch.7 Minagoroshi.

        Continuing to support Linux just like all the other chapters, this highly rated series is worth a look for anyone who enjoys a good mystery. This is a kinetic/sound novel, not one if you like to pick lots of options and change the story. It’s a linear experience but still worth going through if you like your novels.

      • Looks like Valve are developing another new game, something to do with “Citadel”

        Warm up that cup of speculation, as it appears Valve are working on another game that seems to be going by the name of Citadel.

        Linking into Half-Life, since the Citadel is the HQ from where the Combine govern Earth. Apparently though, this is entirely separate to the unannounced Half-Life VR game with Citadel being a completely different Source 2 project. As always though, do not take this as any form of confirmation.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Powered by Plasma: ALBA Synchrotron in Barcelona, Spain

          As you go about your daily tasks, you’re probably unaware that Plasma runs on the computers in one of Europe’s largest research facilities. We were also oblivious – until we met Sergi Blanch-Torné at FOSDEM 2019.

          We’re always looking for interesting stories from people who use KDE software at their workplace, in school, or in government institutions. You can imagine our delight, then, when we met Sergi Blanch-Torné at this year’s FOSDEM.

          Sergi is a Controls Software Engineer at ALBA, a KDE user, and a Free software advocate and contributor. Not only was he willing to tell us about his favorite KDE apps, but he also works at one of the most amazing places on Earth! In this interview, he tells us what it’s like to work at ALBA, and answers the burning question: “what even is a synchrotron?”.

          ALBA is a third-generation synchrotron radiation facility in the Barcelona Synchrotron Park, in Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain. Managed by the Consortium for the Construction, Equipping and Exploitation of the Synchrotron Light Source (CELLS), it is jointly funded by the Spanish and the Catalonian Administration.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Feren OS Next 19.07 Beta

          Today we are looking at Feren OS Next 19.07 Beta. Feren OS Next is Feren’s distro in development, a work in progress, but it is improving a lot and this is a major release for this distro, as it is now called Beta.

          It is based on Ubuntu 18.04.2, uses Linux Kernel 4.18 and KDE Plasma 5.16.3. It uses about 700MB of ram when idling.

          Since the last point release, its highly customized features have been stabilized, not perfect yet as expected, and new features and graphical art has been added. It is truly becoming a beautiful and unique KDE Plasma distro.

        • Feren OS Next 19.07 Beta Run Through

          In this video, we look at Feren OS Next 19.07 Beta.

      • Debian Family

        • Daniel Pocock: Codes of Conduct and Hypocrisy

          In 2016, when serious accusations of sexual misconduct were made against a volunteer who participates in multiple online communities, the Debian Account Managers sent him a threat of expulsion and gave him two days to respond.

          Yet in 2018, when Chris Lamb decided to indulge in removing members from the Debian keyring, he simply did it spontaneously, using the Debian Account Managers as puppets to do his bidding. Members targetted by these politically-motivated assassinations weren’t given the same two day notice period as the person facing allegations of sexual assault.

          Two days hardly seems like sufficient time to respond to such allegations, especially for the member who was ambushed the week before Christmas. What if such a message was sent when he was already on vacation and didn’t even receive the message until January? Nonetheless, however crude, a two day response period is a process. Chris Lamb threw that process out the window. There is something incredibly arrogant about that, a leader who doesn’t need to listen to people before making such a serious decision, it is as if he thinks being Debian Project Leader is equivalent to being God.

          The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 10 tells us that Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations. They were probably thinking about more than a two day response period when they wrote that.

          Any organization seeking to have a credible code of conduct seeks to have a clause equivalent to article 10. Yet the recent scandals in Debian and Wikimedia demonstrate what happens in the absence of such clauses. As Lord Denning put it, without any process or hearing, members are faced with the arbitrary authority of the despot.

        • deepin 15.11 – Better Never Stops

          deepin is a Linux distribution devoted to providing a beautiful, easy to use, safe and reliable system for global users.
          deepin is an open source GNU/Linux operating system, based on Linux kernel and mainly on desktop applications, supporting laptops, desktops, and all-in-ones. It preinstalls Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE) and nearly 30 deepin native applications, as well as several applications from the open source community to meet users’ daily learning and work needs. In addition, about a thousand applications are offered in Deepin Store to meet users’ various requirements.
          Welcome to deepin 15.11 release. Compared with deepin 15.10, deepin 15.11 comes with new features – Cloud Sync in Control Center and disc burning function in Deepin File Manager. Besides, kwin window manager was fixed and optimized for better stability and compatibility, and a number of bugs were fixed. In deepin 15.11, you will enjoy smooth and better user experiences!

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Kubuntu 18.10 reaches end of life

          Kubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish was released on October 18th 2018 with 9 months support. As of 18th July 2019, 18.10 reaches ?end of life?. No more package updates will be accepted to 18.10, and it will be archived to old-releases.ubuntu.com in the coming weeks.

          The official end of life announcement for Ubuntu as a whole can be found here [1].

          Kubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo continues to be supported, receiving security and high-impact bugfix updates until January 2020.

        • Ubuntu 18.10 Reaches End of Life! Existing Users Must Upgrade Now

          End of life is the term used for the date after which an operating system release won’t get updates. Ubuntu provides security and maintenance upgrades in order to keep your systems safe from cyber attacks.

          After Ubuntu 18.10 reaches end of life, you won’t get the security updates, you won’t get maintenance updates on your installed software and soon you won’t even be able to install programs from Ubuntu repositories.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Server Planning A New Means For Automated Installations

          Canonical’s server team is working on a new means of carrying out automated installations of Ubuntu Server in time for their 20.04 LTS release.

          Traditionally Ubuntu Server has supported automated installations in the same manner of Debian as they had been relying upon the text-based Debian Installer and thus allowed using pre-seeds. But since Ubuntu 18.04 LTS when they rolled out their new text-based installer for Ubuntu Server that isn’t based on the long-standing Debian Installer, they lost the pre-seed support.

          Rather than trying to support pre-seeds as in the same format as the Debian Installer, they are working on a new approach they hope to have ready by Ubuntu Server 20.04 LTS. Their proposed approach is using YAML as the format for specifying the server installation data and makes different assumptions about what to do in the case of missing data and other behavior.

        • Robot lifecycle management with Ubuntu

          Lifecycle management entails fulfilling changing requirements over time. However, there is a gap that the existing robot development frameworks do not address, making it challenging to tackle system-level requirements (fault tolerance, system safety, maintainability, interoperability or reusability etc…). Ubuntu Core aims at closing this gap by complementing existing frameworks with a set of tools that enable the long term viability of robotic projects. Referring to system life cycle standard ISO/IEC 15288, we will describe how Ubuntu Core enables success in each specified stage.

        • Ubuntu MATE 19.10 Alpha Arrives, But Only for the GPD MicroPC

          Did you know that Ubuntu MATE is besties with the GPD Pocket & Pocket 2?

          Well it is; the pair of pocket-sized PCs, which were made possible through various crowdfunding efforts, got their own, customised, and 100% official Ubuntu MATE 18.10 install image last year, and a follow-up with the 19.04 release this year.

          I guess making a custom-spun ISO is the distro equivalent of weaving a friendship bracelet!

          Accordingly, it’s no major surprise to learn Ubuntu MATE 19.10 will also come tailored for use on China-based GPD’s latest mini-marvel, the GPD MicroPC.

          Interestingly, the device is sold with Ubuntu MATE 18.10 pre-loaded.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Kubernetes: The retro-style, Wild West video game

        The Kubernetes API is amazing, and not only are we going to break it down and show you how to wield this mighty weapon, but we will do it while building a video game, live, on stage. As a matter of fact, you get to play along.

      • Celebrating Kubernetes and 5 Years of Open Source

        5 years ago, Kubernetes was born and quickly became one of the most important open-source platform innovations. Today, its Github repository boasts 55,384 stars and 2,205 contributors! We?re not just celebrating Kubernetes and how much easier it makes our lives, but we?re also celebrating the open-source community that added to the container management tool; making it what it is today. When you have an entire community working together to innovate and improve, the possibilities are endless.

      • Public Statement on Neutrality of Free Software

        F-Droid won’t tolerate oppression or harassment against marginalized groups. Because of this, it won’t package nor distribute apps that promote any of these things. This includes that it won’t distribute an app that promotes the usage of previously mentioned website, by either its branding, its pre-filled instance domain or any other direct promotion. This also means F-Droid won’t allow oppression or harassment to happen at its communication channels, including its forum. In the past week, we failed to fulfill this goal on the forum, and we want to apologize for that.

      • What open-source culture can teach tech titans and their critics

        Yet Mozilla turns out to be much more consequential than its mixed record and middling numbers would have you believe. There are three reasons for this.

      • Events

        • Request Travel Support for the openSUSE.Asia Summit

          The Travel Support Program (TSP) provides travel sponsorships to openSUSE community who want to attend the openSUSE.Asia Summit and need financial assistance. openSUSE.Asia Summit 2019 will be in Bali, Indonesia, at Information Technology Department, Faculty of Engineering, Udayana University on October 5 and 6.

          The goal of the TSP is to help everybody in and around openSUSE to be able to attend the openSUSE.Asia Summit!

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • An Indian research university has assembled 73 million journal articles (without permission) and is offering the archive for unfettered scientific text-mining

            The JNU Data Depot is a joint project between rogue archivist Carl Malamud (previously), bioinformatician Andrew Lynn, and a research team from New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University: together, they have assembled 73 million journal articles from 1847 to the present day and put them into an airgapped respository that they’re offering to noncommercial third parties who want to perform textual analysis on them to “pull out insights without actually reading the text.”

            This text-mining process is already well-developed and has produced startling scientific insights, including “databases of genes and chemicals, map[s of] associations between proteins and diseases, and [automatically] generate[d] useful scientific hypotheses.” But the hard limit of this kind of text mining is the paywalls that academic and scholarly publishers put around their archives, which both limit who can access the collections and what kinds of queries they can run against them.

          • The plan to mine the world’s research papers [iophk: this is the kind of collection that Aaron Swartz died over, effectively killed]
      • Programming/Development

        • Use HackMD to collaborate on open source projects

          HackMD.io is an open source, collaborative Markdown editor. It allows people to share, comment, and collaborate on documents. As open source software, users can choose between using the online platform or installing it as a local service using the upstream project CodiMD.

          HackMD’s primary feature is obviously the text editor; it leverages the Markdown language, provides handy tools like inserting checkboxes and horizontal separator lines, and allows users to visualize the Markdown rendering while they’re working on a document. But HackMD’s real power is in enabling collaboration. Let’s have a closer look at those features.

        • Python List Sorting with sorted() and sort()

          In this article, we’ll examine multiple ways to sort lists in Python.

          Python ships with two built-in methods for sorting lists and other iterable objects. The method chosen for a particular use-case often depends on whether we want to sort a list in-place or return a new version of the sorted list.

        • ExpressPython: Lightweight, portable Python editor for small scripts

          There are many IDEs for Python, and it’s time for one more. ExpressPython is a lightweight, small code editor for Python 3. Originally built to help teach students how to code, it can be used in programming competitions, or just when you need a fast, small, clean code editor.
          There are a wide variety of Python IDEs and code editors available for programmers. Between PyCharm, VS Code, IDLE, Spyder, just to name a few, programmers have many to choose from depending on their needs and preferences. Add one more editor to the fray.

          ExpressPython is a small, lightweight Python 3 editor that can help with learning and competitive programming, such as coding challenges. Its creator started work on it in 2014 in order to fulfill a few needs, such as the ability to work offline.

          It is not made with the intent of becoming a fully-featured IDE, and does not include debugging features. However, it does have a few noteworthy features, so let’s take a look.

        • Google’s Go team decides not to give it a try

          The Go language will not be adding a “try” keyword in the next major version, despite this being a major part of what was proposed for version 1.14.

          Go, an open source language developed by Google, features static typing and native code compilation. It is around the 15th most popular language according to the Redmonk rankings.

          Error handling in Go is currently based on using if statements to compare a returned error value to nil. If it is nil, no error occurred. This requires developers to write a lot of if statements.

          “In general Go programs have too much code-checking errors and not enough code handling them,” wrote Google principal engineer Russ Cox in an overview of the error-handling problem in Go.

        • LLVM 9.0 Feature Work Is Over While LLVM 10.0 Enters Development

          Feature work is over on LLVM 9.0 as the next release for this widely-used compiler stack ranging from the AMDGPU shader compiler back-end to the many CPU targets and other innovative use-cases for this open-source compiler infrastructure.

          Ongoing LLVM release manager Hans Wennborg branched the LLVM 9.0 code-base this morning while in turn opening LLVM 10.0 development on trunk/master. This also marks the 9.0 branching for all LLVM sub-projects.

        • Mu at EuroPython

          Mu made a number of appearances at last week’s wonderful EuroPython 2019 conference in Basel, Switzerland.

        • PyCharm 2019.2 Release Candidate

          PyCharm 2019.2 is almost ready to be released, and we’re happy to announce that a release candidate is available for download now.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • NASA’s daunting to-do list for sending people back to the Moon

        NASA’s plan to return to the Moon is called Artemis, and like Apollo, the program requires a giant rocket as well as landers to take people to the lunar surface. Perhaps the biggest thing that sets Artemis apart from the Apollo program is that this time, the emphasis is on sustainability. Rather than just send people to walk around the Moon for a few hours, NASA wants to build some kind of sustainable outpost near the lunar surface for the foreseeable future. That’s why Artemis includes a separate component dubbed the Gateway — a space station meant to be built in orbit around the Moon. Instead of people traveling directly to the lunar surface from Earth, they’d travel to the Gateway first and then travel in landers to the Moon.

      • A new age of space exploration is beginning

        The development of space thus far has been focused on facilitating activity down below—mainly satellite communications for broadcasting and navigation. Now two things are changing. First, geopolitics is stoking a new push to send humans beyond the shallows of low-Earth orbit. China plans to land people on the Moon by 2035. President Donald Trump’s administration wants Americans to be back there by 2024. Falling costs make this showing off more affordable than before. Apollo cost hundreds of billions of dollars (in today’s money). Now tens of billions are the ticket price.

      • Anti-vaxxer escalates from wishing children dead to threatening to kill adult lawmakers

        The feds charged Darryl Varnum in late June after he told the Congresswoman he was ‘gonna kill your ass if you do that bill,’ report The Beast’s Jackie Kucinich and Lachlan Markay.

      • Pentagon Contractor Allegedly Threatened to Kill Congresswoman Over Vaccine Bill

        “I’m gonna kill your ass if you do that bill. I swear,” Varnum’s voicemail began. “I will fucking come down and kill your fucking ass. And you’re a Congressperson, that’s fine. I hope the fucking FBI, CIA and everybody else hears this shit.”

    • Hardware

      • Acer Chromebook R 11 C738T
      • Samsung Chromebook 3 – XE500C13-K02US
      • Acer Chromebook 14
      • HP Chromebook 11 G5 – X9U02UT
      • Acer Chromebook Spin 15
      • HP Chromebook x2
      • ASUS Chromebook Flip C213SA
      • Samsung Chromebook Plus – XE513C24-K01US
      • Samsung Chromebook Pro – XE510C25-K01US
      • ASUS Chromebit CS10
      • ASUS Chromebook Flip C434 – C434TA-DSM4T
      • Lenovo Chromebook S330 – 81JW0001US
      • Data in a Flash, Part IV: the Future of Memory Technologies

        As it relates to memory technologies, the future looks very promising and very exciting. Will the SSD completely replace the traditional spinning HDD? I doubt it. Look at tape technology. It’s still around and continues to find a place in the archival storage space. The HDD most likely will have a similar fate. Although until then, the HDD will continue to compete with the SSD in both price and capacity.

      • Jonathan McDowell: Upgrading my home server

        At the end of last year I decided it was time to upgrade my home server. I built it back in 2013 as an all-in-one device to be my only always-on machine, with some attempt towards low power consumption. It was starting to creak a bit – the motherboard is limited to 16G RAM and the i3-3220T is somewhat ancient (though has served me well). So it was time to think about something more up to date. Additionally since then my needs have changed; my internet connection is VDSL2 (BT Fibre-to-the-Cabinet) so I have an BT HomeHub 5 running OpenWRT to drive that and provide core routing/firewalling. My wifi is provided by a pair of UniFi APs at opposite ends of the house. I also decided I could use something low power to run Kodi and access my ripped DVD collection, rather than having the main machine in the living room. That meant what I wanted was much closer to just a standard server rather than having any special needs.

        The first thing to consider was a case. My ADSL terminates in what I call the “comms room” – it has the electricity meter / distribution board and gas boiler, as well as being where one of the UniFi’s lives and where the downstairs ethernet terminates. In short it’s the right room for a server to live in. I don’t want a full rack, however, and ideally wanted something that could sit alongside the meter cabinet without protruding from the wall any further. A tower case would have worked, but only if turned sideways, which would have made it a bit awkward to access. I tried in vain to find a wall mount case with side access that was shallow enough, but failed. However in the process I discovered a 4U vertical wall mount. This was about the same depth as the meter cabinet, so an ideal choice. I paired it with a basic 2U case from X-Case, giving me a couple of spare U should I decide I want another rack-mount machine or two.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • WHO declares Congo’s Ebola outbreak an international emergency

        WHO defines a global emergency as an “extraordinary event” that requires a co-ordinated international response.

        “This is still a regional emergency and by no means a global threat,” Robert Steffen, head of the emergency committee on Ebola in Congo, told reporters.

      • Qui Tam Action Filed under False Claims Act over Certain Prescription Drug Prices

        According to the complaint, the two “fraudulent” acts alleged to have been performed by defendants were 1) failing to disclose that “one of its competitors had not obtained FDA approval [for its competing drug] during the time period for which Defendants were making critical market share comparisons between Zytiga and its biggest competitor, Xtandi®” and “withheld material information from the Patent Office that the claimed commercial success of Zytiga lacked any nexus” to the invention claimed in the ’438 patent. Their allegation is “but for” — by engaging in inequitable conduct, Defendants were able to exclude generic competition and thus their reimbursement by the Federal government amounted to filing false claims with the government. The complaint lays out the course of patent prosecution for the ’438 patent, whose claims were repeatedly rejected on obviousness grounds under 35 U.S.C. § 103. Defendant patent owner Janssen asserted so-called “secondary considerations” or objective indicia of non-obviousness in response to these rejections, specifically that the commercial success of Zytiga rebutted the prima facie obviousness case established by the Office. The course of prosecution of the application (U.S. Application No. 13/034,340) was not excessively lengthy, the application having been filed in February 2011 and granted on September 2, 2014. The defect in applicants’ assertion of commercial success is purportedly due to a failure to properly establish commercial sales with the benefits of the putatively obvious invention to be patented, which the complaint further states must show “increasing market share and the maintenance of such shares in the face of competitors and other adverse market forces,” citing Gaderma Labs L.P. v. Tolmar Inc. and Ashland Oil v. Delta Resins & Refractories. (The complaint includes the further caveat that the success cannot be due to blocking patents or other “reasons other than the merits of the claimed invention.”)

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Web server security – Part 0: How to start

        Many server hardening or server security guides directly start with installing software packages and changing some configuration files. This is fine for experienced server administrators. However, people who try to set up their first server hit on problems and most importantly they very likely forget things that aren’t covered by such guides.

        So, please do not start to set up your first server by blindly following any guide on the internet (including our guides!).

      • “Sudo Mastery, 2nd Edition” open for tech review

        I need all reviews back by 5 August. This gives me time (if everything goes well) to have the book in print for vBSDCon. Assuming they accept my proposal, that is.

      • Re: [DNG] EvilGnome

        Basically, this doesn’t strike me as even a tiny bit interesting. The template of ‘$EVILCODE does $STUFF to your system if you run it’ raises the obvious question of ‘What about _not_ running it?’ By and large, code doesn’t run itself, so failure to answer that ‘one interesting question’ means the interesting bit got omitted.

      • EvilGnome Is A Linux Spyware That Records Audio And Steals Your Files [Ed: FOSSBytes has moved on from pushing non-FOSS misinformation to actually doing anti-FOSS FUD. Painting malware one needs to actually install as a real threat.]
      • CPU vulnerability mitigations keeping Linux devs busy: SUSE’s Pavlík [Ed: Intel defects now waste software developers' time. They should just replace/recall those billions of defective chips]

        A veteran Linux kernel developer at Germany-based SUSE says the one thing that keeps him and his team busy these days is CPU vulnerability mitigations…

      • Security updates for Friday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (bzip2), Fedora (freetds, kernel, kernel-headers, and knot-resolver), openSUSE (bubblewrap, fence-agents, kernel, libqb, libu2f-host, pam_u2f, and tomcat), Oracle (vim), SUSE (kernel, LibreOffice, libxml2, and tomcat), and Ubuntu (libmspack and squid, squid3).

      • The Desktop Security Nightmare

        Many of us have extremely sensitive data on our systems. Emails to family, medical or bank records, Bitcoin wallets, browsing history, the list goes on. Although we have isolation between our user account and root, we have no isolation between applications that run as our user account. We still, in effect, have to be careful about what attachments we open in email.

        Only now it’s worse. You might “npm install hello-world”, and audit hello-world itself, but get some totally malicious code as well. How many times do we see instructions to gem install this, pip install that, go get the other, and even curl | sh? Nowadays our risky click isn’t an email attachment. It’s hosted on Github with a README.md.

        Not only that, but my /usr/bin has over 4000 binaries. Have every one been carefully audited? Certainly not, and this is from a distro with some of the highest quality control around. What about the PPAs that people add? The debs or rpms that are installed from the Internet? Are you sure that the postinst scripts — which run as root — aren’t doing anything malicious when you install Oracle Virtualbox?


        One thing a person could do would be to keep the sensitive data on a separate, ideally encrypted, filesystem. (Maybe even a fuse one such as gocryptfs.) Then, at least, it could be unavailable for most of the time the system is on.

        Of course, the downside here is that it’s still going to be available to everything when it is mounted, and there’s the hassle of mounting, remembering to unmount, password typing, etc. Not exactly transparent.

        I wondered if mount namespaces might be an answer here. A filesystem could be mounted but left pretty much unavailable to processes unless a proper mount namespace is joined. Indeed that might be a solution. It is somewhat complicated, though, since nsenter requires root to work. Enter sudo, and dropping privileges back to a particular user — a not particularly ideal situation, and complex as well.

        Still, it might well have some promise for some of these things.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • National strike against Ecuadorian government demands Assange’s freedom

        Workers, peasants and youth in Ecuador began a five-day strike Monday against the draconian policies of the Lenín Moreno administration, which is seeking to strengthen its ties to Washington and its military-intelligence apparatus.

        The strike constitutes the first major industrial action in the world demanding the freedom of Julian Assange. The demand is presented in the framework of growing opposition to the attacks against social and democratic rights associated with the Moreno administration’s totally servile policy toward US imperialism.


        The organizers of the strike include the Peasants National Movement (FECAOL), the main Workers Union Federation (FUT), dozens of activist organizations grouped in the National Citizens’ Assembly (ANC), and Social Compromise, the new party of ex-president Rafael Correa. They claim this is the broadest strike in 14 years.

        On Tuesday, the main day of planned demonstrations, protesters set up dozens of roadblocks—from the coastal highways of Manabí, Guayas and El Oro, surrounding the port city of Guayaquil, to the capital of Quito, east on the PanAmerican Highway to Colombia and south to the Morona Santiago province and Perú along the Andean range—that brought the country to a virtual standstill.

        Most of the signs of protesters were hand-made and focused on firings, social cuts and the role of the “International Misery Fund,” as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is labelled, in the cities, and on land, water rights and mining concessions in the rural areas. Ecuadorian migrants in Bolivia, Spain, the United States and other countries carried out rallies in support of the strike.

        About 11,800 public employees, mostly in the health care sector, were fired during Moreno’s first year in office as part of the austerity conditions of a $4.2 billion loan approved by the IMF in March.

        Another issue raised in the strike call is “the rejection of the handing over of the Galapagos for the interests of North American imperialism,” referring to a recent agreement with the Pentagon to use the Ecuadorian archipelago, designated by the UN as a biosphere reserve and World Heritage Site, as an air base.

    • Environment

      • Think it’s hot now? Michigan’s 90° days could quadruple in 20 years

        All 83 counties in Michigan are getting hotter, and a report released Tuesday predicts it will only get worse, as the number of days with heat indexes over 90 degrees will quadruple in the next 20 years.

        The report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit science advocacy group, predicts extreme temperatures will soar nationwide if nothing is done to curb climate change.

      • 6 Ways Selfie-Addicted Tourists Are Destroying The World

        Van Tilburg says all those vacationers are causing damage to the island’s delicate ecosystem, on top of “disrespecting the statues by climbing on them, sitting on graves, and trampling preserved spaces.” There are signs reminding people to act like adults and stay the heck off the statues, but noses that large are just begging someone to step right up and pick a winner.

        And though the Moai may be huge and heavy, the volcanic rock from which they were carved is actually quite porous and easily damaged … as rock goes, anyway. Now, in addition to being slowly destroyed by wind, rain, and lichen, their demise is being accelerated by a bunch of outsiders climbing all over them and shoving fingers up their snot boxes. Such is the price of progress, and by “progress” we mean “a Facebook profile picture you’ll change in two weeks.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Who Eats Lemurs — and Why?

          For years now conservationists have warned that many of Madagascar’s iconic lemur species face the risk of extinction due to rampant deforestation, the illegal pet trade and the emerging market for the primates’ meat.

          Yes, people eat lemurs, and the reasons they do aren’t exactly what we might expect.

          One 2016 study found — perhaps not surprisingly — that Madagascar’s extreme poverty drives the poorest families to hunt and eat lemurs and other wildlife. The study was conducted in Masoala National Park, home to ten of Madagascar’s 110-plus lemur species, including several critically endangered species.

          Local hunters know that killing lemurs is against the law, but there’s a reason that doesn’t stop them. The study, published in Biological Conservation, found that “almost all children in lemur-hunting households were malnourished.” Wild-caught meat, tragically, is the only readily available solution for hungry families. The authors concluded that “unless lemur conservation efforts on the Masoala [peninsula] prioritize child health, they are unlikely to reduce lemur hunting or improve lemur conservation.”

          Although poverty is endemic in Madagascar, it’s not the only factor driving lemur consumption. Two additional studies published that year in PLOS One and in Environmental Conservation revealed that Madagascar’s wealthier and middle-class citizens are equal participants. The studies uncovered a massive supply chain that transports meat from lemurs and other endangered species into urban and semi-urban areas, where it is sold in restaurants, open-air markets and even supermarkets.

    • Finance

      • A debate is under way about the cost of higher education

        Ironically, such values-based arguments, however one feels about them, are undercut by rising inequality. As the rich pull away from the rest, their increased political power may stymie tax rises needed to fund universal public services. Meanwhile for progressive politicians the need to target available funds at the worst-off in society grows more urgent; in America, the argument that the children of billionaires should not receive a government-funded education takes on greater moral as well as practical weight. It is probably no coincidence that tuition fees are lowest in places with the most equal income distributions (see chart). Strong safety-nets compress the income distribution. But inequality may also make the sorts of comprehensive public services that underpin egalitarian societies ever harder to sustain.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • joining social media at DebConf19

        To quote a friend: “If you upload your address book to ‘the cloud’, I don’t want to be in it.” (And while I think so, I’m not angry for past actions. But if would like you to be considerate in the future.)

        As an SMS user from 1997 until today it’s very interesting to taste some of the same survailance as the rest of the the whole planet. And I have to admit, it’s tasty, but consciously I know it’s tasty in a bitter-sweet way. What also puzzled me that Telegram chats are unecrypted by default. In 2019.

        And now let’s do something about it. Or sing this karaoke version of the yellow submarine: we all live in global world surveillance, global world surveillance. Cheers!

      • EC opens anti-trust probe into Amazon’s use of retailers’ data

        The European Commission has announced a formal anti-trust investigation into Amazon to find out whether the firm’s use of sensitive data from independent retailers, who use its marketplace, breaches competition rules within the political bloc.

      • The NHS Is Sitting on a $12 Billion Data Goldmine

        Artificial intelligence, machine learning and other technologies are enabling detailed studies of patient information that weren’t dreamed of until a few years ago. Now, researchers, drugmakers and tech companies are clamoring for access to data to help streamline patient care, develop better products — and even prevent serious disease.

      • FaceApp gets federal attention as Sen. Schumer raises alarm on data use

        In order to operate the application, users must provide the company full and irrevocable access to their personal photos and data. According to its privacy policy, users grant FaceApp license to use or publish content shared with the application, including their username or even their real name, without notifying them or providing compensation.

        Furthermore, it is unclear how long FaceApp retains a user’s data or how a user may ensure their data is deleted after usage. These forms of “dark patterns,” which manifest in opaque disclosures and broader user authorizations, can be misleading to consumers and may even constitute a deceptive trade practices. Thus, I have serious concerns regarding both the protection of the data that is being aggregated as well as whether users are aware of who may have access to it.

      • Facebook’s regulation dodge: Let us, or China will

        Indeed, China does not share the United States’ values on individual freedoms and privacy. And yes, breaking up Facebook could weaken its products like WhatsApp, providing more opportunities for apps like Chinese tech giant Tencent’s WeChat to proliferate.

        But letting Facebook off the hook won’t solve the problems China’s influence poses to an open and just internet. Framing the issue as “strong regulation lets China win” creates a false dichotomy. There are more constructive approaches if Zuckerberg seriously wants to work with the government on exporting freedom via the web. And the distrust Facebook has accrued through the mistakes it’s made in the absence of proper regulation arguably do plenty to hurt the perception of how American ideals are spread through its tech companies.

      • Ugandan commentator arrested over Facebook post critical of president

        The Ugandan police statement cited a July 8 Facebook post by Kabuleta criticizing Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni as the reason for his arrest, and said police will “continue using the acquired capabilities to monitor comments on social media.”

        The police statement alleged that the post was a criminal violation of Section 25 of Uganda’s 2011 Computer Misuse Act, which pertains to “[a]ny person who willfully and repeatedly uses electronic communication to disturb or attempts to disturb the peace, quiet or right of privacy of any person with no purpose of legitimate communication.”

      • The Florida DMV sells your personal information and there’s no way to opt out

        To reiterate the madness at hand: Your name, exact age, address, vehicle make, vehicle model, vehicle year, vehicle registration status, weight, height, eye color, hair color, and more is all for sale at the right price and used to target you in direct mailer advertisements – and there is nothing you can do about it because it is essentially compulsive to get an identification card to be a productive member of society. When the government can’t be trusted, it’s necessary to take privacy into your own hands.

      • I-Team: Florida DMV sells your personal information to private companies, marketing firms

        I-Team Investigator Adam Walser obtained records showing the state sold information on Florida drivers and ID cardholders to more than 30 private companies, including marketing firms, bill collectors, insurance companies and data brokers in the business of reselling information.

      • DWeb Camp Q & A with the EFF’s Danny O’Brien

        DWeb Camp is going on from July 18-21 in Pescadero, CA.

        Q: What excites you most about the decentralized web?

        A: The Internet for me has always been a vision of autonomy among equals — being able to create, share and communicate with your peers as quickly and easily as possible.

        Somehow, so much of that communication now goes through a handful of chokepoints: silos where the data of our lives goes in, but never escapes.

        Decentralizing — or re-decentralizing — the Web, is about continuing the project, after a brief diversion into the Google/Amazon/Facebook world.

      • Tencent to Team Up with BMW on Self-Driving Cars in China

        The pair began collaborating on what they called BMW Group China High Performance D3 Platform, which is scheduled to begin operations by the end of the year, according to a statement on Friday. Tencent operates one of the largest cloud platforms in China, providing services from data storage to online computing.

      • Victory: Oakland City Council Votes to Ban Government Use of Face Surveillance
      • Court report: Privacy row as Ordnance Survey case kicks off

        Managing IP reports from the England & Wales High Court as discussions on database rights and copyright, plus a debate over the inadvertent revealing of trade secrets, formed the opening of a dispute pitting mapping agency Ordnance Survey against an SME

        A court case pitting Ordnance Survey (OS) against a geospatial data specialist may have to be heard largely in private after a disagreement between counsel and the judge over whether a public hearing could reveal trade secrets inadvertently.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Morocco court sentences three to death for killing Scandinavian hikers

        A Moroccan court on Thursday sentenced three suspected jihadists to death for the murders of two Scandinavian women beheaded while on a hiking trip in Morocco.

      • Islamic State Militants Sentenced to Death for Morocco Tourist Killings

        Another defendant received a life sentence, while 20 others were sentenced to terms ranging from five to 30 years on charges of being accessories to the crime, abetting or propagating material that condoned the attack, the Medias24 news website reported. The verdicts can be appealed.

      • Extremists who murdered Scandinavian hikers sentenced to death by firing squad

        Morocco has had a freeze on executions since 1993.

      • Jailed for recording her boss’s alleged sexual harassment, this mother wants to inspire women to say no to abuse

        It got so bad that Nuril recorded one of the explicit phone calls as evidence of the sexual harassment she said she endured on more than 50 occasions, starting in 2012.

        The recording, she says, was forwarded by a colleague to the local Department of Education. Shortly after, Nuril was fired from her job and her boss sued her for defamation.

        Nuril — who says she put up with the sexual harassment for more than a year — spent two months in jail during the initial investigation in 2017.

      • London Metropolitan Police’s Facial Recognition System Is Now Only Misidentifying People 81% Of The Time

        Needless to say, this has raised “significant concerns” by the sort of people most likely to be concerned about false positives. Needless to say, this does not include the London Metropolitan Police, which continues to deploy this tech despite its only marginally-improved failure rate.

        In 2018, it was reported the Metropolitan Police’s tech was misidentifying people at an astounding 100% rate. False positives were apparently the only thing the system was capable of. Things had improved by May 2019, bringing the Met’s false positive rate down to 96%. The sample size was still pretty small, meaning this had a negligible effect on the possibility of the Metropolitan Police rounding up the unusual suspects the system claimed were the usual suspects.

        Perhaps this should be viewed as a positive development, but when a system has only managed to work its way up to being wrong 81% of the time, we should probably hold our applause until the end of the presentation.

        As it stands now, the tech is better at being wrong than identifying criminals. But what’s just as concerning is the Met’s unshaken faith in its failing tech. It defends its facial recognition software with stats that are literally unbelievable.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Netflix Sees First Subscriber Losses Ever

        Netflix has certainly enjoyed its flight to the top of the heap of the streaming space, now streaming video to 60.1 million US subscribers. That’s more than pay TV giants like AT&T or even Comcast, who’ve done their best (via usage caps and lobbying shenanigans) to unsuccessfully hamper Netflix’s meteoric rise.

        But there’s some indication that the company may have started to reach its high water mark. Netflix this week revealed it lost 130,000 subscribers last quarter, the company’s first quarterly subscriber loss in history. The losses come despite Netflix having spent $3 billion on programming last quarter, and another $600 million to market its its wares.

    • Monopolies

      • EC hits Qualcomm with $385m fine for abusing market dominance

        The European Commission has hit American processor maker Qualcomm with a €242 million ($385.6 million) fine for abusing its market dominance in 3G baseband chipsets.

      • This Bill Could Destroy Uber’s Unsustainable Business Model

        Uber has never made a profit and has actually lost over $14 billion in the last four years alone. In the prospectus, Uber insists that these five major metropolitan markets are essential to its path to profitability. In reality, what Uber actually relies on is the $20 billion in funding raised over the past decade and the $8 billion in new investments after going public in May. This investor welfare covers the cost of low prices that render each rideshare trip unprofitable, of driver incentives to combat the high turnover rate of drivers, and of promotions used to drive up demand.

        The investors have continued piling that money onto Uber because they believe Khosrowshahi when he talks about becoming the “Amazon of transportation” or the platform on which all transportation happens. In other words, a monopoly. After achieving a monopoly, some commentators warn that Uber will then charge whatever price it wants and use its dominant position to both pay back investors and kill potential competitors. As an added bonus, Uber promises it will turn its labor costs to zero by deploying a fleet to autonomous vehicles (which may prove to be difficult to widely adopt). That is Uber’s path to profitability.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Athena Diagnostics v. Mayo Collaborative Services — The Dissents

          On July 3, the Federal Circuit issued a per curiam Order in Athena Diagnostics, Inc. v. Mayo Collaborative Services, LLC, denying a petition for rehearing en banc filed by Plaintiffs-Appellants Athena Diagnostics, Inc., Oxford University Innovation Ltd., and the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Wissenschaften E.V. The Court also denied Plaintiffs-Appellants a panel rehearing.

          The four page per curiam Order was accompanied by eight opinions, four concurring in the denial of the petition and four dissenting in the denial of the petition, adding an additional 82 pages to the Order. The four concurring opinions were authored by Circuit Judges Lourie, Hughes, Dyk, and Chen, with Chief Judge Prost and Circuit Judges Reyna, Taranto, and Hughes joining in one of the concurrences and Circuit Judge Chen joining in one concurrence and several parts of another. The four dissenting opinions were authored by Circuit Judges Moore, Newman, Stoll, and O’Malley, with Circuit Judges O’Malley and Stoll joining in one of the dissents and Circuit Judge Wallach joining in three of the dissents. Thus, a total of seven members of the Court (Chief Judge Prost and Circuit Judges Lourie, Dyk, Reyna, Taranto, Chen, and Hughes) authored or joined opinions concurring in the denial, and a total of five members (Circuit Judges Newman, Moore, O’Malley, Wallach, and Stoll) authored or joined opinions dissenting in the denial.

          Judge O’Malley begins her opinion by providing some “historical perspective” on “the ‘invention requirement’—itself ‘invented’ by the Supreme Court rather than Congress or the Constitution,” noting that “[i]f the invention requirement and its criticisms sound familiar, that is because they are.” And Judge O’Malley suggests that even though, in 1952, “Congress attempted to address these criticisms by amending the Patent Act to replace the ill-defined and judicially-created invention requirement with the more workable anticipation and obviousness tests codified in Sections 102 and 103,” “the search for an inventive concept—now enshrined in the § 101 inquiry via Mayo—calls back to the invention requirement that Congress quite deliberately abrogated through the Patent Act of 1952.”

        • Inventorship Challenges vs Invalidity Challenge — and Certifying Questions for Appeal

          Back in 2018, Heat Tech sued Koehler Paper in N.D. Georgia federal court requesting correction of inventorship under 35 U.S.C. § 256 as well as damages for unjust enrichment and conversion under Georgia state law. U.S. Patent No. 9,851,146. The basic background of the lawsuit was that Heat Tech’s president (Plavnik) invented the paper-drying mechanism that was then disclosed to Koehler as part of a collaboration evaluation. In addition, Heat Tech argued that almost all of the information disclosed in Koehler’s patent was included in a prior Heat Tech patent application.

          At the district court, Koehler filed a motion to dismiss the case — arguing that Heat Tech’s actual claim is for invalidity and that an inventorship-correction lawsuit is not appropriate when the same alleged facts would invalidate the patent for lack of novelty or obviousness. The district court denied the motion to dismiss, but agreed to certify the question for appeal to the Federal Circuit — noting some disagreement among the courts on the state of the law.


          On appeal now, the Federal Circuit HeatTechDecisionhas denied the 1292(b) petition and effectively indicated that the district court’s decision was correct. In particular, the appellate panel found no “substantial ground for disagreement” because Section 256 jurisdiction “does not depend on whether the patent may be shown to be invalid.” Slip op. The appellate panel noted its lack of prior precedent directly and expressly on-point, but concluded that prior cases compel the answer. For example, in Frank’s Casing Crew & Rental Tools, Inc. v. PMR Techs., Ltd., 292 F.3d 1363, 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2002), the court wrote that an inventorship action could be maintained for an unenforceable patent.

        • UCB, Inc. v. Watson Laboratories Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          The doctrine of equivalents, a Supreme Court-created patent doctrine of vintage similar to inequitable conduct, arose in Graver Tank & Mfg. Co. v. Linde Air Products Co., 339 U.S. 605 (1950) (an uncharacteristically pro-patent decision by the Court, the doctrine recognized that an “unscrupulous copyist” could practice a claimed invention without literal infringement in some circumstances, and as a consequence the patent right could be turned into a “hollow and useless thing”)…


          The District Court arrived at this conclusion despite evidence of differences in polarity, the presence of different functional groups, and the capacity to interact with crosslinking groups between polyisobutylene and acrylate-based and silicone-based adhesives, which the Court held were not substantial based on comparisons between Neupro and Defendants’ generic alternatives.

          Regarding Defendants’ invalidity arguments, the panel affirmed the District Court’s decision that failed prior art efforts to develop rotigotine transdermal patches neither anticipated nor rendered obvious the claims of the ’434 patent. That art did not disclose a water-free patch having rotigotine in free base rather than salt form and thus comprised significant amounts of water (10-15% w/w) to solubilize the salt form of the drug. And none of the other art asserted by Defendants “fill[ed] the gap” in this disclosure, because they did not disclose rotigotine or other anti-Parkinson’s disease drugs, and in particular did not disclose the free base form of the drug in the absence of water in the formulation. The Federal Circuit also affirmed the District Court’s finding that other art, disclosing transdermal rotigotine administration by direct application to skin and transdermal patches not comprising water, did not render the claims of the ’434 patent obvious because there was no “adequate rationale for combining the references’ teachings” nor reasonable expectation of success at treating Parkinson’s disease using a transdermal patch. The opinion finds the cited art as being “a list of thousands of possibilities out of which a skilled artisan would have to select the claimed combination as one to try” and thus would not have provided the skilled worker with a reasonable expectation of successfully achieving the claimed patch.

          Turning to the ’414 patent, the Federal Circuit affirmed the District Court’s determination that the claimed rotigotine polymorph was used in the art prior to the earliest claimed priority date based on the presence of the polymorph in patches produced prior to that date, which constituted prior public use of the polymorph. Because (as with all factual determinations) appellate review of questions of fact before the district court is reviewed for clear error, the Federal Circuit found no clear error that Defendants had shown anticipation by clear and convincing error, and thus affirmed.

        • Court of Appeal cancels RAND trial in ZyXEL v TQ Delta

          The English Court of Appeal yesterday handed down judgment in ZyXEL v TQ Delta [2019] EWCA Civ 1277. Guest blogger, Tristan Sherliker, reports:

          This appeal judgment tells a tale of tactics and legal agility. After completely waiving any right to rely on RAND undertakings, ZyXEL have tested the bounds of the developing English law.

          When a defendant has lost a patent trial, when would they decide that submitting to an injunction is better than taking a licence?

          This claim was about enforcement of a number of TQ Delta’s patents relating to the ITU-T’s DSL telecoms standards.

          Since the patents in suit had been declared essential to the ITU-T standards, they were encumbered by a RAND undertaking — that is, an undertaking made by TQ Delta that it would grant a licence to the patents on Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory terms.


          Potentially of wider significance is the question of how this ruling might interplay with the pending cases of Unwired Planet v Huawei and Conversant v Huawei and ZTE. At the time of writing, the Court of Appeal’s decisions are under appeal and to be heard before the Supreme Court in October 2019. The defendants (appellants) in both cases have criticised the currently-developing law before the High Court and Court of Appeal as being a case of jurisdictional expansionism, which they ask the Supreme Court to overturn.

          It seems likely that the Supreme Court in those cases will be assisted by Floyd LJ’s judgment and analysis here. Specifically, his statement of the principles extracted from Unwired Planet makes clear what the limits of the prevailing law are, and that the effect of the test will always depend on the facts of the case. What is more, he makes clear the Court of Appeal’s view that FRAND does not only operate on a global scale, but that a national licence can be FRAND in the appropriate circumstances. He made this emphatic and disagreed with the judge at first instance in that regard. Equally however, he emphasised that in some cases, a global licence is an appropriate solution to the FRAND question.

          But perhaps most profoundly, the decision in ZyXEL v TQ Delta illustrates by example the bounds of the developing case law under Unwired Planet. It may be taken to indicate that this is not an out-of-control expansionism, but that the tests operate within limits. Here, the Court of Appeal has applied the same law that previously benefited the patent holders in their cases — and it has shown that the right facts may well turn the tide in favour of the implementer.

        • Recent IP activities of Japanese companies

          Japan Patent Office (JPO) published an annual report on July 12 2019. According to the report, 313,567 patent applications were filed in Japan in 2018. And, 253,000 patent applications among them were filed by domestic applicants. It slightly decreased than last year.


          This report also shows the utilization of Japanese patents. The utilization ratio in 2017 is 48.4%. This includes licensing to other parties. So, more than half of Japanese patents are not utilized. Also, it states that 37.0% of patents are maintained only for defensive purpose, and they are not used by themselves or other parties. As a result, the remaining 14.5% of patents are maintained for nothing. IP department must be asked for an explanation on that by their higher management sooner or later. Then, such patents may be withdrawn or put in the market.

        • Vestager serves Qualcomm a double whammy for dessert: second EU antitrust fine in as many years

          The term of the Juncker Commission is nearing its end, and while I’m far from enthusiastic about his successor, I’m relieved that neither that conservative-in-name-only Weber nor “Poor Man’s Bernie” (Timmermans, who’s less reasonable than the real Senator Sanders) got the top job. However, my preference among reasonably likely candidates would have been Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, as I made clear on social media, despite disagreeing with some parts of her regulatory activism, such as the “state aid” case against Ireland and certain aspects of the Android case.

          Last year I wrote that Qualcomm “won” the “Antitrust Grand Slam” when the European Commission joined the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and a couple of Asian regulators in fining Qualcomm. The Commission imposed a fine of €997 million ($1.2 billion) over exclusionary conduct in the years 2011-2016 when Apple was precluded from sourcing baseband chipsets from Qualcomm’s competitors such as Intel. That exclusive dealing is one of the four counts on which the U.S. FTC defeated Qualcomm in court this year (my previous post discussed some support Qualcomm got for its motion for an enforcement stay).

          Yesterday’s fine, based on a supplemental Statement of Objections that came down in July 2018, amounts to “only” 242 million euros (272 million U.S. dollars), so it now got a “double whammy” from the EU. The latest one is about predatory pricing. At first sight, that’s counterintuitive. We all know that the allegations usually brought against Qualcomm, besides exclusive dealing, are all about maximizing revenues even in the very short term, not just for the long haul. However, we have to keep in mind that Qualcomm is not just “a monopoly” (in the sense of U.S. antitrust law; over in the EU, this is called “market dominance”), but a dual monopoly: its SEP portfolio bestows monopolistic rights (not only on Qualcomm but also on any other patent holder, provided at least one patent in a portfolio is truly standard-essential), as does its position in certain segments of the chip market, and those monopolies are mutually-reinforcing as a result of Qualcomm’s practices.

        • “Simply irreplaceable”: tributes pour in for Judge Carr

          In a statement today, the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary announced his death with “great sadness.”

          “On behalf of the entire judiciary, the Lord Chief Justice wishes to record his admiration for Sir Henry’s outstanding contribution to the administration of justice, which has been so tragically cut short.”

          After studying jurisprudence at Hertford College, Oxford and obtaining an LLM from the University of British Columbia in Canada, Mr Carr begun his career as a barrister in 1982. He took silk 16 years later, in 1998, specialising in all areas of IP law.


          Just over three weeks ago, on June 27, Managing IP interviewed Mr Carr at the Rolls Building in London. We found him to be warm, accommodating and eloquent. It goes without saying that as a judge at the England & Wales High Court who had previously been a successful IP barrister, he was one of the finest IP minds in the country.

          During conversations before the interview, every lawyer we spoke to made it clear how highly regarded Mr Carr was. They said they enjoyed appearing in front of the judge and that he was a very nice man. This was obvious from our interview, in which Mr Carr spoke passionately and thoughtfully on a range of topics.

        • In-house: decision makers not convinced of IP worth

          In-house counsel consider whether a new IP right for software inventions could help the UK compete after Brexit and discuss whether IP is enough of a priority for decision makers

          In-house lawyers in the insurance and sustainable transport arenas say that developing new areas of business focus – including through full scale rebrands – prompts them to consider their approach to IP enforcement and administration.

      • Trademarks

        • Red Bull sues rival F1 sponsor Rich Energy for trade mark infringement

          Avid followers of Formula 1 racing are likely to be familiar with the energy drink brand “Rich Energy”, and its colourful co-founder William Storey. In March 2018 it was reported that the company was in talks to buy the Force India team out of administration (the purchase did not ultimately proceed). Then, in October 2018, Rich Energy became the title sponsor of the Haas team, and quickly grabbed attention through its bold claims and marketing style.

          But there seem to have been a few bumps in the road [sorry]. In recent weeks, relations between Haas and Rich Energy have broken down, and the sponsorship has been terminated. In parallel, a boardroom battle between Storey and his investors has resulted in Storey being forced out as a director of Rich Energy Limited (REL). It also seems that Rich Energy will now instead be “Lighting Volt” (despite the fact that a UK trade mark for RICH ENERGY was filed but two weeks ago). Goodbye, Rich Energy – we hardly knew ye.

          Unfortunately, REL still faces a ghost of social media posts past. Along with Mr Storey, it is a defendant in a claim [IP-2019-000064] recently issued in the English High Court by Red Bull GmbH (RBG), owner of Haas’ rival F1 team Red Bull Racing. RBG accuses REL and Mr Storey of trade mark infringement.

      • Copyrights

        • The CASE Act: The Road To Copyright Trolling Is Paved With Good Intentions

          Sometimes ideas based in good intentions are so poorly thought out that they would actually make things worse. This seems to be especially prevalent in the copyright world of late (I’m looking at you, Articles 15 and 17 of the EU Copyright Directive), but the most recent example is the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019 (CASE Act). This bill intends to give photographers and small businesses a more streamlined way to enforce their rights with respect to online infringements by reducing the costs and formalities associated with bringing infringement claims in federal court. Pursuing infringement claims can be expensive and time-consuming, so this may sound like a good thing, especially for rightsholders with limited resources. It is not.

          The CASE Act would establish a quasi-judicial body within the Copyright Office (part of the legislative branch) empowered to hear a limited set of claims, make “determinations” about whether those claims are valid, and assign “limited” damages. The bill structures the process so that it is “voluntary” and lowers the barriers to filing claims so that plaintiffs can more easily defend their rights. Without the “quotes”, this description might sound like a reasonable approach, but that’s because we haven’t talked about the details. Let’s start at the top.

          The bill would establish a Copyright Claims Board (CCB) in the Copyright Office. This would not be a court and would be entirely separated from the court system. The only option to appeal any of the CCB’s determinations, based on the CCB’s legal interpretation, would be to ask the Register of Copyrights to review the decision. It would be theoretically possible to ask a federal court to review the determination, but only on the grounds that the CCB’s determination was “issued as a result of fraud, corruption, misrepresentation, or other misconduct” or if the CCB exceeded its authority. So if you disagree with the CCB’s legal interpretation, or even its competence to make a decision, you are out of luck. This raises red flags about potential due process and separation of powers problems under the Constitution.

        • Has the Cat Got Your Copyright? The dilemma of animal-created works

          Creative works made by animals and discussions on their copyright ownership have frequently featured on the IPKat, be it Ella, the extensively covered selfie-taking black macaque [here, here] or the animal orchestra and its related questions of copyright ownership [here]. Noting the increasing attention paid to animal-created works, we consider whether such creations can and should be folded within the copyright system. We argue that, in some circumstances, animal-created works can be protected by a form of sui generis protection, which does not involve the strict standards of the conventional copyright regime.

          We suggest that animal-created works have a spectrum of their own, on which independent creativity of the animal lies on one end while a degree of human agency interaction lies on the other. For the purposes of further discussion, we divide animal-created works into two categories: works created by animals acting independently, and works created by an animal under some form of human intervention. We propose a different framework of protection for each type of animal-made works. The welfare of the animal is a concern at the centre of each framework.

        • Why The Appearance Of A One Terabyte microSD Card Means The War On Unauthorized Music Downloads Is (Almost) Over

          Perhaps the most interesting one there is the music. Spotify says it has over 50 million tracks on its service. That means a 256 terabyte microSD could probably hold every track on Spotify, and thus most of the recorded music that is generally available in a digital form. Even with today’s one terabyte card, you can probably store the complete catalog of songs in a particular style or genre, which is what many people will be most interested in.

          In any case, assuming Moore’s Law continues to hold, it will soon be possible to buy a 256 terabyte microSD card. Yes, it will be pricey to begin with, but progressively cheaper. At that point, moves to stop unauthorized sharing of music online will be even more pointless than they are now. People won’t need to download lots of stuff from dodgy sites any more; they’ll just find a friend who has a 256 terabyte microSD card loaded up with all recorded music, and make a copy. After that, they just need to update the parts that interest them — or find someone with a more recent complete collection.

        • The EFF vs. DMCA Section 1201

          As the EFF’s Parker Higgins wrote:

          Simply put, Section 1201 means that you can be sued or even jailed if you bypass digital locks on copyrighted works—from DVDs to software in your car—even if you are doing so for an otherwise lawful reason, like security testing.;

          Section 1201 is obviously a big problem for software preservation, especially when it comes to games.

Violence is Not Free Speech and Laws Exist Against Violence

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I think the idea of art kills creativity.”

Douglas Adams

“I’m going to kill you” isn’t creative expression (and some intentionally misinterpret obvious jokes as ‘threats’)

Gab ban 1

Gab ban 2

Summary: Free speech is certainly under attack and the debate is being framed within the context of Nazism; but this overlooks the fact that there are actual death threats (unlike the above) and calls for genocide in the mix

“F-Droid abandons neutrality to censor Gab oriented apps,” LXer said this morning (there’s more to that effect in recent LXer comments). It pointed to this week’s statement from F-Droid, which said: “F-Droid won’t tolerate oppression or harassment against marginalized groups. Because of this, it won’t package nor distribute apps that promote any of these things. This includes that it won’t distribute an app that promotes the usage of previously mentioned website, by either its branding, its pre-filled instance domain or any other direct promotion. This also means F-Droid won’t allow oppression or harassment to happen at its communication channels, including its forum. In the past week, we failed to fulfill this goal on the forum, and we want to apologize for that.”

One person said things along the lines of [1, 2], “if you are at war against free software, f-droid has just handed you a new weapon” and “then there were three freedoms– no more freedom 0.”

“Death threats aren’t to be respected or tolerated.”I spent nearly a year cross-posting in Gab before realising that the site had truly become toxic. Some time last year or the year before that there was little left in the site other than extremists, who issued even death threats to me. Then they started banning people who opposed the extremists as though the “trolls” were in fact decent people. I wrote about it last year in my personal blog and similar conversations could be found online. Here in Techrights we’ve long been free speech absolutists who don’t regard physical threats and/or violence to be “speech”; that’s crossing a line, based on underlying laws that forbid it explicitly. There’s also a news story to that effect right now [1,2]. Death threats aren’t to be respected or tolerated. Only sick people would defend such public discourse.

“The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure.”

Dale Carnegie

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Anti-vaxxer escalates from wishing children dead to threatening to kill adult lawmakers

    The feds charged Darryl Varnum in late June after he told the Congresswoman he was ‘gonna kill your ass if you do that bill,’ report The Beast’s Jackie Kucinich and Lachlan Markay.

  2. Pentagon Contractor Allegedly Threatened to Kill Congresswoman Over Vaccine Bill

    “I’m gonna kill your ass if you do that bill. I swear,” Varnum’s voicemail began. “I will fucking come down and kill your fucking ass. And you’re a Congressperson, that’s fine. I hope the fucking FBI, CIA and everybody else hears this shit.”

Links 19/7/2019: Oracle Linux 8.0, Latte Dock 0.9 Beta and PCLinuxOS KDE Darkstar 2019.07

Posted in News Roundup at 1:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • How the Open Source Operating System Has Silently Won Over the World

      The current and future potential for Linux based systems is limitless. The system’s flexibility allows for the hardware that uses it to be endlessly updated. Functionality can, therefore, be maintained even as the technology around the devices change. This flexibility also means that the function of the hardware can be modified to suit an ever-changing workplace.

      For example, because the INSYS icom OS has been specifically designed for use in routers, this has allowed it to be optimised to be lightweight and hardened to increase its security.

      Multipurpose OS have large libraries of applications for a diverse range of purposes. Great for designing new uses, but these libraries can also be exploited by actors with malicious intent. Stripping down these libraries to just what is necessary through a hardening process can drastically improve security by reducing the attackable surfaces.

      Overall, Windows may have won the desktop OS battle with only a minority of them using Linux OS. However, desktops are only a minute part of the computing world. Servers, mobile systems and embedded technology that make up the majority are predominately running Linux. Linux has gained this position by being more adaptable, lightweight and portable than its competitors.

    • Desktop

      • Acer Chromebook R 13

        It has Android Apps (Google Play) and Linux Apps (crostini) support and it will receive auto-updates until September 2021.

      • HP Chromebook x360 14

        It has Android Apps (Google Play) and Linux Apps (crostini) support and it will receive auto-updates until June 2024.

      • Linux disk resizing on Chromebooks pushed back to Chrome OS 78

        Back in March, I reported on an effort that would enable resizing of the Linux partition for Crostini-supported Chromebooks. At that time, I expected the feature to land in Chrome OS 75. I’ve checked for the feature now that Chrome OS 75 is available (again) and it’s nowhere to be seen. That’s because it was recently pushed back to Chrome OS 78.


        However, other aspects need to be considered: Storage of large media files, for example, or enabling Google Drive synchronization with the Chrome OS Files app for offline file access. And then there are Android apps, so of which – particularly games – can require one or two gigabytes of space.

        So far, I haven’t run into any storage issues on my Pixel Slate with 128 GB of data capacity. But it’s easy to see that the Linux container is using up the bulk of my tablet’s storage: As I understand it, /dev/vdb is the Crostini container with Linux, which is 88 GB in size with 58 GB free.

    • Server

      • Linux Based Operating Systems Beat Their Windows Counterparts On Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Platform

        In what sounds surprising, a Linux Kernel Developer who has been working with Microsoft has revealed that Microsoft’s Azure Cloud platform has more number of Linux-based operating systems than the Windows-based operating systems. The details came up on an Openwall Open-source Security List which had an application urging Microsoft developers to join the list. The Security list left open an argument that Microsoft plays a key role in Linux development.

      • skuba Dives into Open Source Waters

        SUSE CaaS Platform 4, our next major release is now in beta. It has major architectural improvements for our customers. In the process of planning and developing it, we took a close look at bootstrapping clusters and managing node membership, and we listened to our customers. One of the things we heard from many of them was that they wanted a way to deploy multiple clusters efficiently, by scripting the bootstrap process or by integrating it into other management tools they use.
        To address this, we committed even more strongly to our upstream participation in Kubernetes development. Instead of building SUSE-specific tools as we had in earlier versions, we contributed the efforts of SUSE engineers to the upstream kubeadm component, helping it bridge the gap between its current state and the abilities we had previously implemented in the Velum web interface. Our bootstrap and node management strategy in version 4 is built on kubeadm.

      • Deprecated APIs Removed In 1.16: Here’s What You Need To Know

        As the Kubernetes API evolves, APIs are periodically reorganized or upgraded. When APIs evolve, the old API is deprecated and eventually removed.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat Learning Community fosters open source tech education and reaches 10k members

          We are pleased to announce that the Red Hat Learning Community has reached more than 10,000 members! Since its launch in September 2018, the community has shown itself to be a valuable hub for those seeking to share knowledge and build their open source skill set.

          When we first started out, this was just an idea. We set out to support, enable, and motivate new and experienced open source learners as they learn how to work with Red Hat technologies, validate their technical skill sets, build careers and pursue Red Hat Certifications. We soft launched the community in July 2018 and invited 400 Red Hat Training instructors, students, curriculum developers and certifications team members to jump-start community discussion boards and earn a founding member badge.

        • Announcing the Release of Oracle Linux 8
        • Oracle Linux 8.0 Released

          In early May right before the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 we saw the public beta of Oracle Linux 8 while today Oracle Linux 8.0 has been promoted to stable and production ready.

          Oracle Linux 8.0 is available today as Oracle’s re-build of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 and the features it brings while adding in some extras like the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel option along with D-Trace integration and other bits.

          The default kernel shipped by Oracle Linux 8.0 is a Linux 4.18 derived kernel that remains compatible with Red Hat’s official RHEL8 kernel package.

        • An introduction to cloud-native CI/CD with Red Hat OpenShift Pipelines

          Red Hat OpenShift 4.1 offers a developer preview of OpenShift Pipelines, which enable the creation of cloud-native, Kubernetes-style continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines based on the Tekton project. In a recent article on the Red Hat OpenShift blog, I provided an introduction to Tekton and pipeline concepts and described the benefits and features of OpenShift Pipelines.
          OpenShift Pipelines builds upon the Tekton project to enable teams to build Kubernetes-style delivery pipelines that they can fully control and own the complete lifecycle of their microservices without having to rely on central teams to maintain and manage a CI server, plugins, and its configurations.

        • IBM’s New Open Source Kabanero Promises to Simplify Kubernetes for DevOps

          At OSCON, IBM unveiled a new open source platform that promises to make Kubernetes easier to manage for DevOps teams.

        • MySQL for developers in Red Hat OpenShift

          As a software developer, it’s often necessary to access a relational database—or any type of database, for that matter. If you’ve been held back by that situation where you need to have someone in operations provision a database for you, then this article will set you free. I’ll show you how to spin up (and wipe out) a MySQL database in seconds using Red Hat OpenShift.

          Truth be told, there are several databases that can be hosted in OpenShift, including Microsoft SQL Server, Couchbase, MongoDB, and more. For this article, we’ll use MySQL. The concepts, however, will be the same for other databases. So, let’s get some knowledge and leverage it.

        • What you need to know to be a sysadmin

          The system administrator of yesteryear jockeyed users and wrangled servers all day, in between mornings and evenings spent running hundreds of meters of hundreds of cables. This is still true today, with the added complexity of cloud computing, containers, and virtual machines.

          Looking in from the outside, it can be difficult to pinpoint what exactly a sysadmin does, because they play at least a small role in so many places. Nobody goes into a career already knowing everything they need for a job, but everyone needs a strong foundation. If you’re looking to start down the path of system administration, here’s what you should be concentrating on in your personal or formal training.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Shrinking Linux Attack Surfaces

        Often, a kernel developer will try to reduce the size of an attack surface against Linux, even if it can’t be closed entirely. It’s generally a toss-up whether such a patch makes it into the kernel. Linus Torvalds always prefers security patches that really close a hole, rather than just give attackers a slightly harder time of it.

        Matthew Garrett recognized that userspace applications might have secret data that might be sitting in RAM at any given time, and that those applications might want to wipe that data clean so no one could look at it.

        There were various ways to do this already in the kernel, as Matthew pointed out. An application could use mlock() to prevent its memory contents from being pushed into swap, where it might be read more easily by attackers. An application also could use atexit() to cause its memory to be thoroughly overwritten when the application exited, thus leaving no secret data in the general pool of available RAM.

        The problem, Matthew pointed out, came if an attacker was able to reboot the system at a critical moment—say, before the user’s data could be safely overwritten. If attackers then booted into a different OS, they might be able to examine the data still stored in RAM, left over from the previously running Linux system.

        As Matthew also noted, the existing way to prevent even that was to tell the UEFI firmware to wipe system memory before booting to another OS, but this would dramatically increase the amount of time it took to reboot. And if the good guys had won out over the attackers, forcing them to wait a long time for a reboot could be considered a denial of service attack—or at least downright annoying.

      • Ceph updates for 5.3-rc1
        Hi Linus,
        The following changes since commit 0ecfebd2b52404ae0c54a878c872bb93363ada36:
        Linux 5.2 (2019-07-07 15:41:56 -0700)
        are available in the Git repository at:
        https://github.com/ceph/ceph-client.git tags/ceph-for-5.3-rc1
        for you to fetch changes up to d31d07b97a5e76f41e00eb81dcca740e84aa7782:
        ceph: fix end offset in truncate_inode_pages_range call (2019-07-08 14:01:45 +0200)
        There is a trivial conflict caused by commit 9ffbe8ac05db
        ("locking/lockdep: Rename lockdep_assert_held_exclusive() ->
        lockdep_assert_held_write()"). I included the resolution in
      • Ceph Sees “Lots Of Exciting Things” For Linux 5.3 Kernel

        Ceph for Linux 5.3 is bringing an addition to speed-up reads/discards/snap-diffs on sparse images, snapshot creation time is now exposed to support features like “restore previous versions”, support for security xattrs (currently limited to SELinux), addressing a missing feature bit so the kernel client’s Ceph features are now “luminous”, better consistency with Ceph FUSE, and changing the time granularity from 1us to 1ns. There are also bug fixes and other work as part of the Ceph code for Linux 5.3. As maintainer Ilya Dryomov put it, “Lots of exciting things this time!”

      • The NVMe Patches To Support Linux On Newer Apple Macs Are Under Review

        At the start of the month we reported on out-of-tree kernel work to support Linux on the newer Macs. Those patches were focused on supporting Apple’s NVMe drive behavior by the Linux kernel driver. That work has been evolving nicely and is now under review on the kernel mailing list.

        Volleyed on Tuesday were a set of three patches to the Linux kernel’s NVMe code for dealing with the Apple hardware of the past few years in order for Linux to deal with these drives.

        On Apple 2018 systems and newer, their I/O queue sizing/handling is odd and in other areas not properly following NVMe specifications. These patches take care of that while hopefully not regressing existing NVMe controller support.

      • Destaging ION

        The Android system has shipped a couple of allocators for DMA buffers over the years; first came PMEM, then its replacement ION. The ION allocator has been in use since around 2012, but it remains stuck in the kernel’s staging tree. The work to add ION to the mainline started in 2013; at that time, the allocator had multiple issues that made inclusion impossible. Recently, John Stultz posted a patch set introducing DMA-BUF heaps, an evolution of ION, that is designed to do exactly that — get the Android DMA-buffer allocator to the mainline Linux kernel.

        Applications interacting with devices often require a memory buffer that is shared with the device driver. Ideally, it would be memory mapped and physically contiguous, allowing direct DMA access and minimal overhead when accessing the data from both sides at the same time. ION’s main goal is to support that use case; it implements a unified way of defining and sharing such memory buffers, while taking into account the constraints imposed by the devices and the platform.

      • clone3(), fchmodat4(), and fsinfo()

        The kernel development community continues to propose new system calls at a high rate. Three ideas that are currently in circulation on the mailing lists are clone3(), fchmodat4(), and fsinfo(). In some cases, developers are just trying to make more flag bits available, but there is also some significant new functionality being discussed.

        The clone() system call creates a new process or thread; it is the actual machinery behind fork(). Unlike fork(), clone() accepts a flags argument to modify how it operates. Over time, quite a few flags have been added; most of these control what resources and namespaces are to be shared with the new child process. In fact, so many flags have been added that, when CLONE_PIDFD was merged for 5.2, the last available flag bit was taken. That puts an end to the extensibility of clone().

      • Soft CPU affinity

        On NUMA systems with a lot of CPUs, it is common to assign parts of the workload to different subsets of the available processors. This partitioning can improve performance while reducing the ability of jobs to interfere with each other. The partitioning mechanisms available on current kernels might just do too good a job in some situations, though, leaving some CPUs idle while others are overutilized. The soft affinity patch set from Subhra Mazumdar is an attempt to improve performance by making that partitioning more porous.
        In current kernels, a process can be restricted to a specific set of CPUs with either the sched_setaffinity() system call or the cpuset mechanism. Either way, any process so restricted will only be able to run on the specified CPUs regardless of the state of the system as a whole. Even if the other CPUs in the system are idle, they will be unavailable to any process that has been restricted not to run on them. That is normally the behavior that is wanted; a system administrator who has partitioned a system in this way probably has some other use in mind for those CPUs.

        But what if the administrator would rather relax the partitioning in cases where the fenced-off CPUs are idle and going to waste? The only alternative currently is to not partition the system at all and let processes roam across all CPUs. One problem with that approach, beyond losing the isolation between jobs, is that NUMA locality can be lost, resulting in reduced performance even with more CPUs available. In theory the AutoNUMA balancing code in the kernel should address that problem by migrating processes and their memory to the same node, but Mazumdar notes that it doesn’t seem to work properly when memory is spread out across the system. Its reaction time is also said to be too slow, and the cost of the page scanning required is high.

      • NVMe Patches to Allow macOS-Linux Dual Boot Under Review

        NVMe is a protocol used by Apple for PCIe solid state drives. It replaces the older Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI). On Tuesday, three NVMe patches were submitted to the Linux kernel to deal with Mac SSDs that use this protocol.

      • VirtIO-PMEM Driver Added To Linux 5.3 For Paravirtualized Persistent Memory

        In addition to Linux 5.3 bringing a VirtIO-IOMMU driver, this next kernel version is bringing another new VirtIO virtual device implementation: PMEM for para-virtualized persistent memory support for the likes of Intel Optane DC persistent memory.

    • Benchmarks

      • Corsair Force MP600 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD Benchmarks On Linux

        One of the first PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSDs to market has been the Corsair Force MP600. AMD included the Corsair MP600 2TB NVMe PCIe4 SSD with their Ryzen 3000 reviewer’s kit and for those interested in this speedy solid-state storage here are some benchmarks compared to various other storage devices on Ubuntu Linux.

        The 2TB Force Series Gen 4 MP600 SSD is rated for sequential reads up to 4950MB/s and sequential writes up to 4250MB/s and 600k IOPS random writes and 680k IOPS random reads. The MP600 relies upon 3D TLC NAND and relies upon a Phison PS5016-E16 controller. This 2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD will set you back $450 USD while a 1TB version is a modest $250 USD.

    • Applications

      • Linux File Manager: Top 20 Reviewed for Linux Users

        A file manager is the most used software in any digital platform. With the help of this software, you can access, manage, and decorate the files on your device. For the Linux system, this is also an important factor to have an effective and simple file manager. In this curated article, we are going to discuss a set of best Linux file manager tools which definitely help you to operate the system effectively.

      • Maestral Is A New Open Source Dropbox Client For Linux And macOS

        Maestral is a new open source Dropbox client for macOS and Linux, that’s currently in beta. It can be used both with and without a GUI, and it was created with the purpose of having a Dropbox client that supports folder syncing to drives which use filesystems like Btrfs, Ext3, ZFS, XFS or encrypted filesystems, which are no longer supported by Dropbox.

      • GLava – OpenGL audio spectrum visualizer for desktop windows or backgrounds

        Over the past few months, I’ve written lots of reviews of open source audio software, focusing mainly on music players. Linux has a mouthwatering array of open source multimedia tools, so I’m going to turn my attention wider afield from music players. Let’s start with some multimedia candy.

        GLava is an OpenGL audio spectrum visualizer for Linux. An audio visualizer works by extracting waveform and/or frequency information from the audio and feeds this information through some display rules, which produces what you see on the screen. The imagery is usually generated and rendered in real time and in a way synchronized with the music as it is played.

        GLava makes a real-time audio visualizer appear as if it’s embedded in your desktop background, or in a window. When displayed as the background, it’ll display on top of your wallpaper, giving the appearance of a live, animated wallpaper.

        GLava is a simple C program that sets up the necessary OpenGL and Xlib code for sets of 2D fragment shaders. The software uses PulseAudio to sync the desktop visualizer with any music source.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Latte Dock, first beta for v0.9 (v0.8.97)

          I know you waited for this so long but believe me there were really good reasons. Check out the past articles concerning Latte git version and you can get a picture what major new features are introduced for v0.9. Of course this is an article for a beta release and as such I will not provide any fancy videos or screenshots; this is a goal for official stable release article.

        • Latte Dock 0.9 Beta Brings Wayland Improvements, Smoother Experience

          It’s been over one year since the release of Latte Dock 0.8 as this KDE-aligned desktop dock while now the v0.9 release isn’t too far away.

          Latte Dock 0.9 continues maturing its Wayland support though is still deemed a technology preview for the v0.9 series but should be in much better standing all-around.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Millan Castro: GSoC: First month working in Pitivi

          Pitivi is a video editor, free and open source. Targeted at newcomers and professional users, it is minimalist and powerful. This summer I am fortunate to collaborate in Pitivi development through Google Summer of Code.

          My goal is to implement an interval time system, with the support of Mathieu Duponchell, my menthor, and other members of the Pitivi community.

          An interval time system is a common tool in many video editors. It will introduce new features in Pitivi. The user will be able to set up a range of time in the timeline editor, playback specific parts of the timeline, export the selected parts of the timeline, cut or copy clips inside the interval and zoom in/out the interval.

          Mi proposal also includes the design of a marker system to store information at a certain time position.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Endeavour OS 2019.07.15

          Today we are looking at the first stable release of Endeavour OS. It is a project that started to continue the spirit of the recently discontinued Antergos. The developing team exists out of Antergos developers and community members.

          As you can see in this first stable release, it is far from just a continuing of Antergos as we know it. The stable release is an offline Calamres installer and it just came with a customized XFCE desktop environment. They are planning to have an online installer again in the future, which will give a person an option to choose between 10 desktop environments, similar to Antergos.

          It is based on Arch, Linux Kernel 5.2, XFCE 4.14 pre2 and it uses about 500mb of ram.

        • Endeavour OS 2019.07.15 Run Through

          In this video, we look at Endeavour OS 2019.07.15.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Fedora Family

        • Building blocks of syslog-ng

          Recently I gave a syslog-ng introductory workshop at Pass the SALT conference in Lille, France. I got a lot of positive feedback, so I decided to turn all that feedback into a blog post. Naturally, I shortened and simplified it, but still managed to get enough material for multiple blog posts.

        • PHP version 7.2.21RC1 and 7.3.8RC1

          Release Candidate versions are available in testing repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests (for x86_64 only), and also as base packages.

          RPM of PHP version 7.387RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 30 or remi-php73-test repository for Fedora 28-29 and Enterprise Linux.

          RPM of PHP version 7.2.20RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 28-29 or remi-php72-test repository for Enterprise Linux.

        • QElectroTech version 0.70

          RPM of QElectroTech version 0.70, an application to design electric diagrams, are available in remi for Fedora and Enterprise Linux 7.

          A bit more than 1 year after the version 0.60 release, the project have just released a new major version of their electric diagrams editor.

        • Contribute at the Fedora Test Week for kernel 5.2

          The kernel team is working on final integration for kernel 5.2. This version was just recently released, and will arrive soon in Fedora. This version has many security fixes included. As a result, the Fedora kernel and QA teams have organized a test week from Monday, July 22, 2019 through Monday, July 29, 2019. Refer to the wiki page for links to the test images you’ll need to participate. Read below for details.

      • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 19.2 beta releases with Update Manager, improved menu and much more!

          This week the team behind Linux Mint announced the release of Linux Mint 19.2 beta, a desktop Linux distribution used for producing a modern operating system. This release is codenamed as Tina.

          This release comes with updated software and refinements and new features for making the desktop more comfortable to use.

        • Comparison of Memory Usages of Ubuntu 19.04 and Flavors in 2019

          Continuing my previous Mem. Comparison 2018, here’s my 2019 comparison with all editions of Ubuntu 19.04 “Disco Dingo”. The operating system editions I use here are the eight: Ubuntu Desktop, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Studio, Ubuntu Kylin, and Ubuntu Budgie. I installed every one of them on my laptop and (immediately at first login) took screenshot of the System Monitor (or Task Manager) without doing anything else. I present here the screenshots along with each variant’s list of processes at the time I took them. And, you can download the ODS file I used to create the chart below. Finally, I hope this comparison helps all of you and next time somebody can make better comparisons.

        • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) End of Life reached on July 18 2019
          This is a follow-up to the End of Life warning sent earlier this month
          to confirm that as of today (July 18, 2019), Ubuntu 18.10 is no longer
          supported.  No more package updates will be accepted to 18.10, and
          it will be archived to old-releases.ubuntu.com in the coming weeks.
          The original End of Life warning follows, with upgrade instructions:
          Ubuntu announced its 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) release almost 9 months
          ago, on October 18, 2018.  As a non-LTS release, 18.10 has a 9-month
          support cycle and, as such, the support period is now nearing its
          end and Ubuntu 18.10 will reach end of life on Thursday, July 18th.
          At that time, Ubuntu Security Notices will no longer include
          information or updated packages for Ubuntu 18.10.
          The supported upgrade path from Ubuntu 18.10 is via Ubuntu 19.04.
          Instructions and caveats for the upgrade may be found at:
          Ubuntu 19.04 continues to be actively supported with security updates
          and select high-impact bug fixes.  Announcements of security updates
          for Ubuntu releases are sent to the ubuntu-security-announce mailing
          list, information about which may be found at:
          Since its launch in October 2004 Ubuntu has become one of the most
          highly regarded Linux distributions with millions of users in homes,
          schools, businesses and governments around the world. Ubuntu is Open
          Source software, costs nothing to download, and users are free to
          customise or alter their software in order to meet their needs.
          On behalf of the Ubuntu Release Team,
          Adam Conrad
        • CMake leverages the Snapcraft Summit with Travis CI to build snaps

          CMake is an open-source, cross-platform family of tools designed to build, test and package software. It is used to control the software compilation process and generate native makefiles and workspaces that can be used in any compiler environment.

          While some users of CMake want to stay up to date with the latest release, others want to be able to stay with a known version and choose when to move forward to newer releases, picking up just the minor bug fixes for the feature release they are tracking. Users may also occasionally need to roll back to an earlier feature release, such as when a bug or a change introduced in a newer CMake version exposes problems within their project.

          Craig Scott, one of the co-maintainers of CMake, sees snaps as an excellent solution to these needs. Snaps’ ability to support separate tracks for each feature release in addition to giving users the choice of following official releases, release candidates or bleeding edge builds are an ideal fit. When he received an invitation to the 2019 Snapcraft Summit, he was keen to work directly with those at the pointy end of developing and supporting the snap system.

        • Ubuntu’s Zsys Client/Daemon For ZFS On Linux Continues Maturing For Eoan

          Looking ahead to Ubuntu 19.10 as the cycle before Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, one of the areas exciting us with the work being done by Canonical is (besides the great upstream GNOME performance work) easily comes down to the work they are pursuing on better ZFS On Linux integration with even aiming to offer ZFS as a file-system option from their desktop installer. A big role in their ZoL play is also the new “Zsys” component they have been developing.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • The third Operating-System-Directed Power-Management summit

          he third edition of the Operating-System-Directed Power-Management (OSPM) summit was held May 20-22 at the ReTiS Lab of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, Italy. The summit is organized to collaborate on ways to reduce the energy consumption of Linux systems, while still meeting performance and other goals. It is attended by scheduler, power-management, and other kernel developers, as well as academics, industry representatives, and others interested in the topics.

        • The future of SCHED_DEADLINE and SCHED_RT for capacity-constrained and asymmetric-capacity systems

          The kernel’s deadline scheduling class (SCHED_DEADLINE) enables realtime scheduling where every task is guaranteed to meet its deadlines. Unfortunately SCHED_DEADLINE’s current view on CPU capacity is far too simple. It doesn’t take dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS), simultaneous multithreading (SMT), asymmetric CPU capacity, or any kind of performance capping (e.g. due to thermal constraints) into consideration.

          In particular, if we consider running deadline tasks in a system with performance capping, the question is “what level of guarantee should SCHED_DEADLINE provide?”. An interesting discussion about the pro and cons of different approaches (weak, hard, or mixed guarantees) developed during this presentation. There were many different views but the discussion didn’t really conclude and will have to be continued at the Linux Plumbers Conference later this year.

          The topic of guaranteed performance will become more important for mobile systems in the future as performance capping is likely to become more common. Defining hard guarantees is almost impossible on real systems since silicon behavior very much depends on environmental conditions. The main pushback on the existing scheme is that the guaranteed bandwidth budget might be too conservative. Hence SCHED_DEADLINE might not allow enough bandwidth to be reserved for use cases with higher bandwidth requirements that can tolerate bandwidth reservations not being honored.

        • Scheduler behavioral testing

          Validating scheduler behavior is a tricky affair, as multiple subsystems both compete and cooperate with each other to produce the task placement we observe. Valentin Schneider from Arm described the approach taken by his team (the folks behind energy-aware scheduling — EAS) to tackle this problem.

        • CFS wakeup path and Arm big.LITTLE/DynamIQ

          “One task per CPU” workloads, as emulated by multi-core Geekbench, can suffer on traditional two-cluster big.LITTLE systems due to the fact that tasks finish earlier on the big CPUs. Arm has introduced a more flexible DynamIQ architecture that can combine big and LITTLE CPUs into a single cluster; in this case, early products apply what’s known as phantom scheduler domains (PDs). The concept of PDs is needed for DynamIQ so that the task scheduler can use the existing big.LITTLE extensions in the Completely Fair Scheduler (CFS) scheduler class.

          Multi-core Geekbench consists of several tests during which N CFS tasks perform an equal amount of work. The synchronization mechanism pthread_barrier_wait() (i.e. a futex) is used to wait for all tasks to finish their work in test T before starting the tasks again for test T+1.

          The problem for Geekbench on big.LITTLE is related to the grouping of big and LITTLE CPUs in separate scheduler (or CPU) groups of the so-called die-level scheduler domain. The two groups exists because the big CPUs share a last-level cache (LLC) and so do the LITTLE CPUs. This isn’t true any more for DynamIQ, hence the use of the “phantom” notion here.

          The tasks of test T finish earlier on big CPUs and go to sleep at the barrier B. Load balancing then makes sure that the tasks on the LITTLE CPUs migrate to the big CPUs where they continue to run the rest of their work in T before they also go to sleep at B. At this moment, all the tasks in the wake queue have a big CPU as their previous CPU (p->prev_cpu). After the last task has entered pthread_barrier_wait() on a big CPU, all tasks on the wake queue are woken up.

        • I-MECH: realtime virtualization for industrial automation

          The typical systems used in industrial automation (e.g. for axis control) consist of a “black box” executing a commercial realtime operating system (RTOS) plus a set of control design tools meant to be run on a different desktop machine. This approach, besides imposing expensive royalties on the system integrator, often does not offer the desired degree of flexibility for testing/implementing novel solutions (e.g., running both control code and design tools on the same platform).

        • Virtual-machine scheduling and scheduling in virtual machines

          As is probably well known, a scheduler is the component of an operating system that decides which CPU the various tasks should run on and for how long they are allowed to do so. This happens when an OS runs on the bare hardware of a physical host and it is also the case when the OS runs inside a virtual machine. The only difference being that, in the latter case, the OS scheduler marshals tasks among virtual CPUs.

          And what are virtual CPUs? Well, in most platforms they are also a kind of special task and they want to run on some CPUs … therefore we need a scheduler for that! This is usually called the “double-scheduling” property of systems employing virtualization because, well, there literally are two schedulers: one — let us call it the host scheduler, or the hypervisor scheduler — that schedules the virtual CPUs on the host physical CPUs; and another one — let us call it the guest scheduler — that schedules the guest OS’s tasks on the guest’s virtual CPUs.

          Now what are these two schedulers? That depends on the virtualization platform. They are always different, in the sense that it will never happen that, at runtime, a scheduler has to deal with scheduling virtual CPUs and also scheduling tasks that want to run on those same virtual CPUs (well, it can happen, but then you are not doing virtualization). They can be the same, in terms of code, or they can be completely different from that respect as well.

        • Rock and a hard place: How hard it is to be a CPU idle-time governor

          In the opening session of OSPM 2019, Rafael Wysocki from Intel gave a talk about potential problems faced by the designers of CPU idle-time-management governors, which was inspired by his own experience from the timer-events oriented (TEO) governor work done last year.

          In the first place, he said, it should be noted that “CPU idleness” is defined at the level of logical CPUs, which may be CPU cores or simultaneous multithreading (SMT) threads, depending on the hardware configuration of the processor. In Linux, a logical CPU is idle when there are no runnable tasks in its queue, so it falls back to executing the idle task associated with it (there is one idle task for each logical CPU in the system, but they all share the same code, which is the idle loop). Therefore “CPU idleness” is an OS (not hardware) concept and if the idle loop is entered by a CPU, there is an opportunity to save some energy with a relatively small impact on performance (or even without any impact on performance at all) — if the hardware supports that.

          The idle loop runs on each idle CPU and it only takes this particular CPU into consideration. As a rule, two code modules are invoked in every iteration of it. The first one, referred to as the CPU idle-time-management governor, is responsible for deciding whether or not to stop the scheduler tick and what to tell the hardware to do; the second one, called the CPU idle-time-management driver, passes the governor’s decisions down to the hardware, usually in an architecture- or platform-specific way. Then, presumably, the processor enters a special state in which the CPU in question stops fetching instructions (that is, it does literally nothing at all); that may allow the processor’s power draw to be reduced and some energy to be saved as a result. If that happens, the processor needs to be woken up from that state by a hardware event after spending some time, referred to as the idle duration, in it. At that point, the governor is called again so it can save the idle-duration value for future use.

        • ApacheCon Europe 2019 Schedule Revealed by The Apache Software Foundation

          If you’ve been following Apache Software Foundation (ASF) announcements for ApacheCon 2019, you must be aware of the conference in Las Vegas (ApacheCon North America) from September 9 to September 12.

          And, recently, they announced their plans for ApacheCon Europe 2019 to be held on 22-24 October 2019 at the iconic Kulturbrauerei in Berlin, Germany. It is going to be one of the major events by ASF this year. In this article, we shall take a look at the details revealed as of yet.

        • GStreamer in Oslo

          Aaron discussed various ways to record RTSP streams when used with playbin and brought up some of his pending merge requests around the closed captioning renderer and Active Format Description (AFD) support, with a discussion about redoing the renderer properly, and in Rust.

          George discussed a major re-work of the gst-omx bufferpool code that he has been doing and then moved his focus on Qt/Android support. He mostly focused on the missing bits, discussing builds and infrastructure issues with Nirbheek and myself, and going through his old patches.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • BSD

        • DragonFlyBSD Pulls In The Radeon Driver Code From Linux 4.4

          While the Linux 4.4 kernel is quite old (January 2016), DragonFlyBSD has now re-based its AMD Radeon kernel graphics driver against that release. It is at least a big improvement compared to its Radeon code having been derived previously from Linux 3.19.

          DragonFlyBSD developer François Tigeot continues doing a good job herding the open-source Linux graphics driver support to this BSD. With the code that landed on Monday, DragonFlyBSD’s Radeon DRM is based upon the state found in the Linux 4.4.180 LTS tree.

      • Programming/Development

        • Start a new Cryptocurrency project with Python
        • [Mozilla] Celery without a Results Backend
        • Mucking about with microframeworks

          Python does not lack for web frameworks, from all-encompassing frameworks like Django to “nanoframeworks” such as WebCore. A recent “spare time” project caused me to look into options in the middle of this range of choices, which is where the Python “microframeworks” live. In particular, I tried out the Bottle and Flask microframeworks—and learned a lot in the process.

          I have some experience working with Python for the web, starting with the Quixote framework that we use here at LWN. I have also done some playing with Django along the way. Neither of those seemed quite right for this latest toy web application. Plus I had heard some good things about Bottle and Flask at various PyCons over the last few years, so it seemed worth an investigation.

          Web applications have lots of different parts: form handling, HTML template processing, session management, database access, authentication, internationalization, and so on. Frameworks provide solutions for some or all of those parts. The nano-to-micro-to-full-blown spectrum is defined (loosely, at least) based on how much of this functionality a given framework provides or has opinions about. Most frameworks at any level will allow plugging in different parts, based on the needs of the application and its developers, but nanoframeworks provide little beyond request and response handling, while full-blown frameworks provide an entire stack by default. That stack handles most or all of what a web application requires.

          The list of web frameworks on the Python wiki is rather eye-opening. It gives a good idea of the diversity of frameworks, what they provide, what other packages they connect to or use, as well as some idea of how full-blown (or “full-stack” on the wiki page) they are. It seems clear that there is something for everyone out there—and that’s just for Python. Other languages undoubtedly have their own sets of frameworks (e.g. Ruby on Rails).

      • Standards/Consortia

        • SAMBA versus SMB: Adversarial Interoperability is Judo for Network Effects

          Before there was Big Tech, there was “adversarial interoperability”: when someone decides to compete with a dominant company by creating a product or service that “interoperates” (works with) its offerings.

          In tech, “network effects” can be a powerful force to maintain market dominance: if everyone is using Facebook, then your Facebook replacement doesn’t just have to be better than Facebook, it has to be so much better than Facebook that it’s worth using, even though all the people you want to talk to are still on Facebook. That’s a tall order.

          Adversarial interoperability is judo for network effects, using incumbents’ dominance against them. To see how that works, let’s look at a historical example of adversarial interoperability role in helping to unseat a monopolist’s dominance.

          The first skirmishes of the PC wars were fought with incompatible file formats and even data-storage formats: Apple users couldn’t open files made by Microsoft users, and vice-versa. Even when file formats were (more or less) harmonized, there was still the problems of storage media: the SCSI drive you plugged into your Mac needed a special add-on and flaky driver software to work on your Windows machine; the ZIP cartridge you formatted for your PC wouldn’t play nice with Macs.

          But as office networking spread, the battle moved to a new front: networking compatibility. AppleTalk, Apple’s proprietary protocol for connecting up Macs and networked devices like printers, pretty much Just Worked, providing you were using a Mac. If you were using a Windows PC, you had to install special, buggy, unreliable software.

          And for Apple users hoping to fit in at Windows shops, the problems were even worse: Windows machines used the SMB protocol for file-sharing and printers, and Microsoft’s support for MacOS was patchy at best, nonexistent at worst, and costly besides. Businesses sorted themselves into Mac-only and PC-only silos, and if a Mac shop needed a PC (for the accounting software, say), it was often cheaper and easier just to get the accountant their own printer and backup tape-drive, rather than try to get that PC to talk to the network. Likewise, all PC-shops with a single graphic designer on a Mac—that person would often live offline, disconnected from the office network, tethered to their own printer, with their own stack of Mac-formatted ZIP cartridges or CD-ROMs.


          Someone attempting to replicate the SAMBA creation feat in 2019 would likely come up against an access control that needed to be bypassed in order to peer inside the protocol’s encrypted outer layer in order to create a feature-compatible tool to use in competing products.

          Another thing that’s changed (for the worse) since 1993 is the proliferation of software patents. Software patenting went into high gear around 1994 and consistently gained speed until 2014, when Alice v. CLS Bank put the brakes on (today, Alice is under threat). After decades of low-quality patents issuing from the US Patent and Trademark Office, there are so many trivial, obvious and overlapping software patents in play that anyone trying to make a SAMBA-like product would run a real risk of being threatened with expensive litigation for patent infringement.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Drug Prices Are So Insane That The NY Times Is Recommending The US Gov’t Just ‘Seize The Patents’

        Drug prices are sky high. This is not news. A bunch of incredibly dumb policy decisions have been stacked up for decades and brought us to this place where drug prices — especially for life-saving drugs — would bankrupt most people. A huge part of the problem is our patent system and how we literally grant monopolies to companies over these drugs. Combine “life saving” with “monopoly” and, uh, you don’t have to have a PhD in economics to know what happens to the price. Add into that our fucked up and convoluted hospital and insurance healthcare system, in which prices are hidden from patients, and you have a recipe for the most insanely exploitative “marketplace” ever.


        Furthermore, while the Times is correct that this could be “done now,” it seems like yet another way of treating the symptoms not the disease. Fix the fucking patent system. Fix our broken healthcare system. Do those two things and you don’t have insane drug pricing any more. And, to be fair, at least the NY Times piece does acknowledge the idea that maybe we need to “blow up the patent system and start over” when it comes to pharmaceuticals. But it labels this idea as “fantastical.” It may be “fantastical” to those with limited imaginations and focused on living under today’s crappy, broken system. But if we want to deal with the real problems, that’s one area to start.

      • Sound, Fury and Prescription Drugs

        As the 2020 election draws near, presidential candidates are putting forth numerous other solutions to the drug cost crisis. Those solutions range from the practical (tax drug companies on their price hikes) to the ambitious (let the federal government make its own drugs) to the fantastical (blow up the patent system and start over). If the plans get serious consideration, they would advance a long overdue dialogue about how the country wants to evaluate medications and what it is and isn’t willing to spend on them — a question that sits at the heart of America’s deeply flawed prescription drug system.

      • Claims Of 5G Health Risks Are Frequently Based On A Single, 20 Year Old Flawed Graph

        Having reported on this subject a few times, I will say that this is a seedier, deeper rabbit hole than you might think. While Russian news outlets do seem to be enjoying amplifying fear on this subject, there’s plenty of home grown folks pushing 5G health risk claims as well. I’ve found a long line of academics happy to go on the record claiming 5G could pose a health risk. I’ve also found plenty of others proclaiming any health concerns are fluff and nonsense. But pretty uniformly you’ll find one consensus buried under the mess: far, far more study is necessary before anybody engages in absolutism one way or the other.

    • Security

      • Security updates for Thursday

        Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium, firefox, and squid), CentOS (thunderbird and vim), Debian (libonig), SUSE (firefox, glibc, kernel, libxslt, and tomcat), and Ubuntu (libreoffice and thunderbird).

      • EvilGnomes Linux malware record activities & spy on users [Ed: This is something the user actually installs, harming his/her machine. Original post here.]]

        Dubbed EvilGnomes by researchers; the malware was found masquerading as a Gnome shell extension targeting Linux’s desktop users.

      • Mike Driscoll: New Malicious Python Libraries Found Targeting Linux

        They were written by a user named ruri12. These packages were removed by the PyPI team on July 9, 2019. However they were available since November 2017 and had been downloaded fairly regularly.

        See the original article for more details.

        As always, when using a package that you aren’t familiar with, be sure to do your own thorough vetting to be sure you are not installing malware accidentally.

      • Latest Huawei ‘Smoking Gun’ Still Doesn’t Prove Global Blackball Effort’s Primary Justification

        We’ve noted a few times now how the protectionist assault against Huawei hasn’t been supported by much in the way of public evidence. As in, despite widespread allegations that Huawei helps China spy on Americans wholesale, nobody has actually been able to provide any hard public evidence proving that claim. That’s a bit of a problem when you’re talking about a global blackballing effort. Especially when previous investigations as long as 18 months couldn’t find evidence of said spying, and many US companies have a history of ginning up security fears simply because they don’t want to compete with cheaper Chinese kit.

        That said, a new report (you can find the full thing here) dug through the CVs of many Huawei executives and employees, and found that a small number of “key mid-level technical personnel employed by Huawei have strong backgrounds in work closely associated with intelligence gathering and military activities.”

      • No love lost between security specialists and developers

        Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve noticed hardly a day goes by without another serious security foul-up. While there’s plenty of blame to go around for these endless security problems, some of it goes to developers who write bad code.

        That makes sense. But when GitLab, a DevOps company, surveyed over 4,000 developers and operators, they found 68% of the security professionals surveyed believe it’s a programmer’s job to write secure code, but they also think less than half of developers can spot security holes.

      • GitLab Survey Surfaces Major DevSecOps Challenges Ahead

        A report based on a survey of 4,071 software professionals published this week by GitLab, a provider of a continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) platform, found that while appreciation of the potential value of DevSecOps best practices is high, the ability to implement those practices is uneven at best.

      • GitLab Survey Reveals Disconnect Between Developer And Security Teams

        In a survey conducted by GitLab, software professionals recognize the need for security to be baked into the development lifecycle, but the survey showed long-standing friction between security and development teams remain. While 69% of developers say they’re expected to write secure code, nearly half of security pros surveyed (49%) said they struggle to get developers to make remediation of vulnerabilities a priority. And 68% of security professionals feel fewer than half of developers are able to spot security vulnerabilities later in the lifecycle.

      • Cook: security things in Linux v5.2

        Over on his blog, Kees Cook runs through the security changes that came in Linux 5.2.

    • Environment

      • Latest Gulf Storm Brings Tough Choices for Residents of Disappearing Isle de Jean Charles

        While most of Louisiana was spared Barry’s wrath last week, Isle de Jean Charles, a quickly eroding strip of land among coastal wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico, was not. A storm surge swept over the island, about 80 miles southwest of New Orleans, early in the morning on July 13 before Barry was upgraded from a tropical storm to a category 1 hurricane.

        On July 15, I met with Albert Naquin, Chief of the Isle de Jean Charles Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribe (IDJC) and Wenceslaus Billiot Jr., the Tribe’s deputy chief, to travel to the island and assess the damages. That afternoon, we made our way through the receding waters that still covered Island Road, the only route connecting the island to the mainland. Days after the storm, some parts of the road on the island were still submerged in three feet of water.

      • The Heat is On: Local residents bracing for stifling heat

        Chester County officials Wednesday afternoon issued a Code Red health alert for extreme heat that is expected to continue into Monday.

      • Energy

        • New Library of Fossil Fuel Industry Documents Provide Key Ingredient Against Climate Denial and Inaction

          On every front, academics, journalists and policymakers compare the fossil fuel industry to the tobacco industry. The two industries share the same playbook: strategies of delay, exculpating blame by making the consumer responsible, denying scientific consensus, publishing industry-funded science and fostering public confusion over the real impacts of their products.

          A major difference between the two industries, however, is the timescale and scope of the harms caused. While public health professionals are executing coordinated efforts for a “tobacco endgame” to reduce smoking and tobacco prevalence to five percent of the population or less, with the possibility of ending the tobacco epidemic in certain areas within a couple decades — we’re far from making similar progress when it comes to climate change.

          Even if all fossil fuel production and consumption ended today, the fallout from 50 years of delay caused by industry obfuscation will have ramifications for humans and other species for centuries or even millennia. If disruptive climate change continues unabated, the impacts on the planet may be essentially irreversible, at least as far as any humanly relevant scale.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • WIPO Now Gets Into The Extrajudicial, Zero Due Process, Censorship Act Over Sites It Declares ‘Infringing’

        Every few years this kind of thing pops up. Some ignorant organization or policymaker thinks “oh, hey, the easy way to ‘solve’ piracy is just to create a giant blacklist.” This sounds like a simple solution… if you have no idea how any of this works. Remember, advertising giant GroupM tried just such an approach a decade ago, working with Universal Music to put together a list of “pirate sites” for which it would block all advertising. Of course, who ended up on that list? A bunch of hip hop news sites and blogs. And even the personal site of one of Universal Music’s own stars was suddenly deemed an “infringing site.”

        These kinds of mistakes highlight just how fraught such a process is — especially when it’s done behind the scenes by organizations that face no penalty for overblocking. In such cases you always get widespread overblocking based on innuendo, speculation, and rumor, rather than any legitimate due process or court adjudication concerning infringement. Even worse, if there was actual infringement going on, one possible legal remedy would involve getting a site to take down that content. Under a “list” approach, it’s just basically a death penalty for the entire site.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • FBI, ICE Are Running Facial Recognition Searches Against State Drivers’ Databases

        Biometric databases have a hunger for data. And they’re getting fed. Government agencies are shoving every face they can find into facial recognition databases. Expanding the dataset means adding people who’ve never committed a crime and, importantly, who’ve never given their explicit consent to have their personal details handed over to federal agencies.

        Thanks to unprecedented levels of cooperation across all levels of government, FBI and ICE are matching faces using data collected from millions of non-criminals. The agencies are apparently hoping this will all work out OK, rather than create a new national nightmare of shattered privacy and violated rights. Or maybe they just don’t care.

      • New Linux Malware Called EvilGnome Discovered; First Preview of Fedora CoreOS Now Available; Germany Bans Schools from Using Microsoft, Google and Apple; VirtualBox 6.0.10 Released; and Sparky 5.8 Has New Live/Install Media for Download

        Germany has banned its schools from using cloud-based productivity suites from Microsoft, Google, and Apple, because the companies weren’t meeting the country’s privacy requirements. Naked Security reports, that the statement from the Hessische Beauftragte für Datenschutz und Informationsfreiheit (Hesse Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, or HBDI) said, “The digital sovereignty of state data processing must be guaranteed. With the use of the Windows 10 operating system, a wealth of telemetry data is transmitted to Microsoft, whose content has not been finally clarified despite repeated inquiries to Microsoft. Such data is also transmitted when using Office 365.” The HBDI also stressed that “What is true for Microsoft is also true for the Google and Apple cloud solutions. The cloud solutions of these providers have so far not been transparent and comprehensible set out. Therefore, it is also true that for schools, privacy-compliant use is currently not possible.”

      • Microsoft, Google and Apple clouds banned in Germany’s schools

        Germany just banned its schools from using cloud-based productivity suites from Microsoft, Google, and Apple. The tech giants aren’t satisfying its privacy requirements with their cloud offerings, it warned.

        The Hessische Beauftragte für Datenschutz und Informationsfreiheit (Hesse Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, or HBDI) made the statement following a review of Microsoft Office 365’s suitability for schools.

      • Microsoft, Google and Apple clouds banned in Germanys schools

        Did you know that Germany just banned its schools from using cloud-based productivity suites from Microsoft, Google, and Apple? The tech giants aren’t satisfying its privacy requirements with their cloud offerings, it warned. What are your thoughts?

        The Hessische Beauftragte für Datenschutz und Informationsfreiheit (Hesse Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, or HBDI) made the statement following a review of Microsoft Office 365’s suitability for schools.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • CBP, DHS Using Quasi-Scientific Guesswork To Turn Adult Immigrants Into Minors

        Our nation’s immigration agencies wield a considerable amount of power. So much power, in fact, that they’re free to dump incoming immigrants off the space-time continuum at will. If a CBP officer decides a person isn’t the age they say they are, they can alter the person’s age so it matches the officer’s beliefs.

        How does the CBP accomplish this neat little trick? Well, oddly, it involves X-rays. A recent episode of This American Life details the surreal nature of this CBP-induced time warp — one it inflicted (repeatedly!) on a 19-year-old Hmong woman coming to the United States to reunite with her fiance.

        Yong Xiong was questioned by Customs officers at the Chicago airport. The CBP officer thought she was being trafficked and didn’t believe the birth date on her passport. After a round of questioning meant to determine whether or not Yong was being trafficked, the CBP officer arrived at the conclusion she was, despite the officer marking “No” on ten of the eleven trafficking indicators.

        So, how does the CBP try to determine someone’s age when officers don’t believe the person or the documents in front of them? They call in a dentist. Yong’s teeth were x-rayed to determine her age. This may involve science on the front end, but the back end is mainly educated guesswork.

      • Appeals Court Shoots Down The Unconstitutional ‘Non-Disparagement’ Clauses Baltimore Attaches To Lawsuit Settlements

        When the City of Baltimore agreed to settle with a victim of police brutality, it inserted the usual clauses that come with every settlement. There was the standard non-admission of wrongdoing, along with a “non-disparagement” clause the city’s attorney told courts was used “in 95% of settlements” to prevent those being settled with from badmouthing the entity they sued.

        Ashley Overbey received a $63,000 settlement from the city for allegations she was beaten, tased, verbally abused, and arrested after calling officers to her home to report a burglary. When a local newspaper published a story about the settlement, the City Solicitor chose to disparage Overbey by saying she was “hostile” when the police arrived at her home. As the comments filled up with invective against Overbey, she showed up in person to fire back at her detractors, claiming the police had been in the wrong and detailing some of the injuries she suffered.

        The City — which had chosen to skew public perception against Overbey by commenting on the settlement — decided Overbey’s defense of herself violated the non-disparagement clause. So, it clawed back half of her settlement — $31,500 — for violating its STFU clause.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • The Failure Of Courts/Regulators To Understand The Difference Between Infrastructure Providers And Edge Providers Is Going To Be A Problem

        To some extent we’ve had this discussion before, as parts of other discussions about the regulation of content online, but it’s worth calling it out explicitly: regulating internet infrastructure services the same as internet edge service providers is a really bad idea. And yet, here we are. So few people seem to even care enough to make a distinction. So, let’s start with the basics: “edge providers” are the companies who provide internet services that you, as a end user, interact with. Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, Reddit, Wikipedia, Amazon’s e-commerce site. These are all edge providers as currently built. Infrastructure providers, however, sit a layer (or more) down from those edge providers. They’re the services that make the edge services possible. This can include domain registrars and registers, CDNs, internet security companies and more. So, companies like Cloudflare, GoDaddy, Amazon’s AWS, among others are examples there.

        While tons of people interact with infrastructure players all the time, your average person will never even realize they’re doing so — as the interactions tend to be mediated entirely by the edge providers. For a few years now we’ve been seeing attempts to move the liability questions up (or, depending on your viewpoint, down) the stack from edge providers to infrastructure players. This raises a lot of significant concerns.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Doctorow’s novella “Unauthorized Bread” explains why we have to fight DRM today to avoid a grim future

        Salima has a problem: her Boulangism toaster is locked down with software that ensures that it will only toast bread sold to her by the Boulangism company… and as Boulangism has gone out of business, there’s no way to buy authorized bread. Thus, Salima can no longer have toast.

        This sneakily familiar scenario sends our resourceful heroine down a rabbit hole into the world of hacking appliances, but it also puts her in danger of losing her home — and prosecution under the draconian terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Her story, told in the novella “Unauthorized Bread,” which opens Cory Doctorow’s recent book Radicalized, guides readers through a process of discovering what Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) is, and how the future can look mightily grim if we don’t join forces to stop DRM now.

        “Unauthorized Bread” takes place in the near future, maybe five or ten years at most, and the steady creep of technology that takes away more than it gives has simply advanced a few degrees. Salima and her friends and neighbors are refugees, and they live precariously in low-income housing equipped with high-tech, networked appliances. These gizmos and gadgets may seem nifty on the surface, but immediately begin to exact an unacceptable price, since they require residents to purchase the expensive approved bread for the toaster, the expensive approved dishes for the dishwasher, and so on. And just as Microsoft can whisk away ebooks that people “own” by closing down its ebook service, the vagaries of the business world cause Boulangism to whisk away Salima’s ability to use her own toaster.

    • Monopolies

      • Tacit Knowledge and University-Industry Technology Transfer

        Traditional conceptions of university-industry technology transfer typically focus on patenting and licensing of academic inventions. However, effective technology transfer often requires significant knowledge exchange between academic and commercial entities in parallel to patent licensing. Although patents on university technologies nominally disclose those inventions, a significant amount of knowledge related to practicing and commercializing them remains tacit or uncodified, residing in the mind of the faculty inventor. This chapter explores the nature of tacit knowledge and mechanisms for transferring it. It notes that the “tacit dimension” of university inventions can be quite high given the embryonic nature of such technologies. It further reveals that human and institutional connections play a critical role in transferring tacit knowledge between universities and commercial firms. In particular, networks, consulting engagements, sponsored research, proof of concept centers and incubators, and university spinoffs facilitate direct interactions between academic and commercial entities, thus promoting tacit knowledge exchange.

      • Industrializing Nigeria and Sudan as Developing Economies through Patent Protection: Reverse Engineering to the Rescue

        Industrializing emerging economies like Nigeria and Sudan through the protection of patent right holders is not an easy process; as it is possible with a strong political will on the part of government discharge its responsibilities. In this regard, one modern type of technology which can catalyze massive industrialization in these countries is reverse engineering. Success stories of most advanced nations in the world today are partly attributed to this modern type of technology. This paper explores the state of industrialization in countries like Nigeria and Sudan to assess their current status with a dire need for change in both nations. It also briefly highlights extant patent regimes in both countries, the importance of such regimes and challenges faced in their everyday implementation process. Emphasis is also on the correlation existing between industrialization and protection of patents in both countries with a view acknowledging the fact that one can hardly exist without the other. The tripartite relationship existing among reverse engineering, patent protection, and trade secrets is cursorily discussed. Further, the paper discusses the importance of employing reverse engineering as a contemporary technology for national development and industrialization. Its advantages to National Development are also discussed in the paper. It is concluded that it is necessary for Nigeria and Sudan to reconsider their policies on patent protection so as to foster economic development.

      • Vestas and GE Renewable Energy settle multi-patent dispute [Ed: GE being aggressive with patents -- to the point of attacking companies that do "green" energy -- makes perfect sense considering that the company, GE, came from a famous patent troll; patents and patent lawsuits that deny access to technology that can fight back against global warming...]

        Vestas Wind Systems A/S (Vestas) and General Electric Company (GE), acting through its Renewable Energy Business, have reached an amicable settlement of all disputes related to multiple patent infringement claims in the U.S., resulting in the discontinuation of the case pending in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California as well as all other pending proceedings related to the patents-in-suit.


        Today’s announcement resolves the initial lawsuit GE filed against Vestas and Vestas-American Wind Technology Inc. on 31 July 2017, claiming infringement of its U.S. Patents No. 7,629,705 and No. 6,921,985; Vestas’ two counterclaims against GE claiming infringement of its U.S. Patents No. 7,102,247 and No. 7,859,125 on 15 December 2017; and all pending inter-partes review proceedings with respect to the patents-in-suit.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Pushback on Decreasing Patent Quality Narrative [Ed: It is not a "narrative," Michael Risch, it is a HARD reality. Abstract patents and number of US patents doubling in a decade DOES mean decrease in quality.]

          It’s been a while since I’ve posted, as I’ve taken on Vice Dean duties at my law school that have kept me busy. I hope to blog more regularly as I get my legs under me. But I did see a paper worth posting mid-summer.

          Wasserman & Frakes have published several papers showing that as examiners gain more seniority, their time spent examining patents decreases and their allowances come more quickly. They (and many others) have taken this to mean a decrease in patent quality.

        • DOJ, DOE, Pentagon, Ericsson support Qualcomm’s Ninth Circuit motion for stay of FTC’s antitrust remedies

          As the longest-standing and staunchest Donald Trump supporter among IP bloggers, I must admit I’m more than a little bit disappointed at three very recent events, two of which are related to the mobile industry.


          Antitrust Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim’s subordinates made a bizarre filing in early May when they asked Judge Lucy H. Koh of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to hold a special remedies hearing. I said “bizarre” because of the substance of the brief, the timing (more than three months after the San Jose bench trial), and the way the DOJ antagonized the FTC. That was the first time they were in the tank for Qualcomm (not counting public comments by Mr. Delrahim, a former Qualcomm outside counsel). The second time, in connection with Qualcomm’s appeal of Judge Koh’s certification of a consumer class, their intervention was infinitely more reasonable. But yesterday’s Statement of Interest (of the United States, as the DOJ is authorized to speak on behalf of the federal government regardless of whether an independent government agency like the FTC agrees) is closer in (un)reasonableness to the DOJ’s first pro-Qualcomm filing than to the second.

          The district court’s well-reasoned ruling is the FTC’s biggest success in a long time. The DOJ should have more respect for the independent Federal Trade Commission and for the independent judiciary. Instead, the brief, filed yesterday with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, arrogantly asserts that the FTC and Judge Koh failed to figure out the law.

          The DOJ attacks Judge Koh’s decision from three angles: merits (liability), remedies, and the public interest. As for the public-interest part, the DOJ mostly relies on the aforementioned declarations by two other departments, and Reuters’ Stephen Nellis accurately described the gist of those statements as follows…

      • Trademarks

        • Dean Guitar Counter-Sues Against Gibson Guitars, Attempts To Invalidate Several Trademarks

          Earlier this month, we discussed how Gibson Guitar CEO James Curleigh had recently announced a shift in its IP enforcement strategy to try to be more permissive. That has since calcified into an actual formal plan, but we’ll get into that more in a separate post because there is enough good and bad in it to be worth discussing. What kicked Curleigh’s reveal, however, was backlash from a recent lawsuit filed by Gibson against Armadillo Distribution Enterprises, the parent owner of Dean Guitars. Dean sells several guitars that Gibson claims are trademark violations of its famed “flying v” and “explorer” body shapes. There are differences in the designs, to be clear, but there are also similarities. Even as Curleigh’s plans for a more permissive IP attitude for Gibson go into effect, this lawsuit continues.

          But not without Armadillo punching back, it seems. In response to the suit, Armadillo has decided to counter-sue with claims that Gibson’s designs are not only too generic to be worthy of trademark protection, but also that Gibson’s actions constitute interference with its legitimate business. We’ll start with the trademarks.

      • Copyrights

        • A Bad Copyright Bill Moves Forward With No Serious Understanding of Its Dangers

          The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act, aka the CASE Act. This was without any hearings for experts to explain the huge flaws in the bill as it’s currently written. And flaws there are.

          We’ve seen some version of the CASE Act pop up for years now, and the problems with the bill have never been addressed satisfactorily. This is still a bill that puts people in danger of huge, unappealable money judgments from a quasi-judicial system—not an actual court—for the kind of Internet behavior that most people engage in without thinking.

          During the vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, it was once again stressed that the CASE Act—which would turn the Copyright Office into a copyright traffic court—created a “voluntary” system.

          “Voluntary” does not accurately describe the regime of the CASE Act. The CASE Act does allow people who receive notices from the Copyright Office to “opt-out” of the system. The average person is not really going to understand what is going on, other than that they’ve received what looks like a legal summons.

        • Ubisoft Once Again Crowdsourcing Content For Video Game, Once Again Gets Unwarranted Backlash

          Between crowdsourcing and the explosion of indie video game developers, many of which are far more permissive in IP realms and far better at actually connecting with their fans, we are perhaps entering a golden age for fan involvement in the video games they love. And it’s not just the indie developers getting into this game either; the AAA publishers are, too. One example of this came up last year, when Ubisoft worked with HitRECord to allow fans of the Beyond Good and Evil franchise to submit potential in-game music creations. On HitRECord, other fans would be able to vote and even remix those works. At the end of it all, any music Ubisoft used for Beyond Good and Evil 2 would be paid for out of a pool of money the company had set aside. Cool, right?

          Not for some in the gaming industry itself. Many who work in the industry decried Ubisoft’s program as denying those who make music professionally income for the creation of the game music. Others called Ubisoft’s potential payment to fans for their creations “on-spec” solicitations, in which companies only pay for work that actually makes it into the game, a practice that is seen as generally unethical in the industry. Except neither of those criticisms were accurate. Ubisoft specifically carved out a few places for fans to put music into the game, not the entire game. And the “on-spec” accusation would only make sense if these fans were in the gaming music industry, which they weren’t. Instead, Ubisoft was actually just trying to connect with its own fans and create a cool program in which those fans could contribute artistically to the game they love, and even make a little money doing so.

Why Does Jim Zemlin Publicly Congratulate Microsoft?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft at 12:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A “spectacular move” by Microsoft and former Microsoft manager promoted to deputy at the Linux Foundation

Zemlin congratulates Microsoft

Summary: The signs aren’t particularly encouraging when one considers that the leadership of the Linux Foundation is a fan of Microsoft and sometimes connected to Microsoft

LINUX.COM has just stopped hiding its sole author’s name (previously it was only visible through the username in the RSS feeds). Story selection is still rather awful. It boils down to openwashing of proprietary software from SAP (Salesforce did a very similar publicity stunt some weeks back), some links to the Linux Foundation’s press releases and other fluff. Nothing about desktop obviously. Never! Very few people in this Foundation actually use GNU/Linux (we’re guessing maybe a handful among 2-3 dozen).

“The “Linux” Foundation works a lot more for Microsoft’s interests than it does for GNU/Linux, especially as a desktop platform.”Linux.com also links to this new example of openwashing by the Foundation in a sector that usually relies on greenwashing to ‘seem’ or ‘feel’ “ethical”. Jim Zemlin is very much a part of it; watch this other tweet of his about openwashing surveillance capitalism at the Foundation.

The “Linux” Foundation works a lot more for Microsoft's interests than it does for GNU/Linux, especially as a desktop platform. That’s a verifiable fact. There are those who might tell Torvalds inane things like, “trust the plan!” (whose?)

We’re really unhappy about what we’ve seen so far this year. Not looking good. Worse than ever before! And it seems like Microsoft is already in third E (as in “extinguish”). The Foundation is now cheering for Microsoft’s GitHub, which is the first and second E (“embrace” and “extend”). See the tweets at the top.

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