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07.24.19

Understanding Users and the Three Kinds of Computers: New, Slow and Broken

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft at 11:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Article by figosdev

Man recycling

Summary: “Fighting E-waste is good for the environment as well as people in conflict-mineral-related regions like the Congo– so if they seem like the kind of person who cares about that, be sure to mention that this is likely to keep more toxins out of landfills for longer”

There’s no accurate generalisation for every computer user. Some are savvy, many others aren’t. Most are conditioned by marketing.

Getting past that conditioning is not usually possible with mere debate or logic. Conditioning is emotional and experiential, and if you disagree you’re just missing the point. At least, that’s how it goes trying to explain things.

Understanding the user is the first step towards a practical response to peculiar misconceptions. Many of us know that the difference between a “New” and “Broken” machine, is that something needs to be fixed (and that thing is often just the software installation or configuration.) The difference between a New machine and a slow one, is often also a matter of software installation or configuration.

The user has plenty of reasons to be paranoid– instead of being granted access to their computer, they have companies like Microsoft and Apple as intermediaries. The big name tech brands are like the Church in the dark ages, obscuring their teachings in Latin and offering a proprietary (priest-driven) service to make things accessible to the congregation.

When people begin to learn how to do things for themselves, everything familiar is moved around and the cycle begins again. When you’re being led, but you don’t know how or why, a paranoid feeling is bound to result.

Proprietary software is a system of collective punishment– people are taught not to mess with anything, because then it will “break” and have to be “repaired.” Messing with things is generally fine– it’s your computer– but since you are conditioned not to worry about any of that as long as it’s “working” (“You don’t need to ask so many questions, just have faith, the Cloud will provide…”) tampering with the sacred relics will bring down wrath and harsh consequence.

Don’t install anything, or else– don’t remove anything, or else– It’s not your computer, it belongs to the software vendors.

If it were yours, advice would centre around means of practical management, not “leaving it alone or it will break.”

There are two reasons that it matters not to break anything– one is time. You shouldn’t fiddle with production machines, that’s true for any platform. But the other reason, is that proprietary software (and software that takes too many pages from proprietary design books) limits what can be fixed. And the constant dragging of people from one set of features to the next limits the effectiveness of education and familiarity. Users are the hostages of developers, and they panic like hostages and experience signs of Stockholm Syndrome like hostages:

“Don’t touch that! You don’t know what it’ll do!”

“But it just…”

“NO! Please! Last time someone did that it never worked right again.”

“Okay, okay. I’m closing the Run window, it’s alright.”

“It’s probably too late, just don’t touch it, okay?”

If schools were actually teaching technology instead of having corporations spoon-feed it to them, users would not be this hysterical over the use of standard features. There is a serious lack of computer literacy, even among college graduates of working age and accomplished careers.

But until we solve the computer literacy problem (and I recommend we try) it is still a good thing to get people to use free software. That’s the only way they will become familiar with it.

Lots of people have their own ideas about what friendly is. I’ve never required anything fancier or simpler than LXDE– I mean required for other people. This is not an endorsement of LXDE, so much as a reality check for people that think you must have something that is more or less elaborate for the “average user.” LXDE isn’t the nicest desktop you can possibly find, nor is it the lightest or the simplest. What it is, is just fine. It’s average. I’ve found it to be pretty reliable– but it’s just an example.

In homeless shelters, homes of people who are retired or on disability, on computers given to nieces and used in education, Debian Wheezy worked very well indeed. The secret to getting people to use it (in my experience) isn’t about what you do after the computer is given to someone– though I did offer free support– it’s about the psychological conditions under which the computer is donated.

Your experience may differ, and I’d like to hear from you about that. But I spent years looking for ideal ways to share free software, and this is my experience:

There are three kinds of computers– New, Slow and Broken.

With notable exceptions, if someone has a Slow computer and you put GNU/Linux on it, it’s now Broken. It doesn’t matter if you changed a single option– Breaking a computer is like dropping a teacup. You can glue it back together, but it will never be the same.

Yes, we know better. Yes, we can explain. It doesn’t matter– once you break it, the user themselves know for certain the computer will never be the same again. It’s not bad enough to replace it with a New computer, but even if it’s just an option you put right back afterwards– now it’s irreparably changed in some annoying way. Thank you, and get out.

Most people don’t want an operating system installed on their computer. And to some of us this is obvious. But even if you take a Slow computer someone doesn’t use anymore and doesn’t care about, “Sure kid, have fun– but if you break it, don’t bother me with it. I’ve got no use for a broken computer. Just leave it there, thank you, and get out… Darned kids, no respect for the work that goes into buying these things, they just want to break things and get new stuff.”

Of course there are exceptions. I found an office machine that seemed to be on its last legs, showed them what it would be like after “fixing it” with a live CD, and walked them through the things it wouldn’t be able to do after being “fixed.” It had a wired network connection, it was mostly used for online tasks, It wasn’t used for writing documents or printing. All they cared about was that it “worked” again. I installed Debian Wheezy and after using it they ran out and hugged me– “it’s SO MUCH FASTER!” So that won’t usually happen, though it does sometimes.

Things aren’t just Broken when you mess with them. The rule applies to machines that were already broken when you found them. If you mess with a computer that is already broken, “you’ll only make it worse.” Messing with a computer is how it breaks, broken computers and broken teacups are never the same again, if you mess with it further then you’ll only make it worse– why bother? Just “leave it alone” and buy a new one when you can.

The summary of this mindset is that doing almost anything with a computer will break it– and fixing it will break it more. This is the mindset of a hostage, not an owner, and it is the result of years of conditioning that is unmitigated by a proper computer education. Teachers have problems like these, so it should be no surprise that their students also feel helpless. They are prime candidates for service contracts, insurance plans and extended warranties, and that’s basically the idea.

Reality aside, in the psychology of the average computer user, even if they are really a lot smarter than this– this mindset is as much about emotional manipulation as the intelligence of the average user (quite a few average users are really a lot smarter than this, and they deserve credit where credit is due) a reasonable conclusion is that you can’t do much of anything to get past the mentality of the user. Not with their computers, that is.

The way I found to make “Slow” and “Broken” computers into New ones, simply involves a machine that is “New” (or like New) to the person receiving it.

Go to the person with a “Slow” or “Broken” computer, and find out if they have already replaced it with a New one. If they have, they are still trying to figure out what to do with it. After all, it will never be the same, so let it sit there. But it’s too expensive to throw away!

You won’t change their mind about whether it’s fixable, but just for the sake of honesty, tell them that you fix Slow and Broken computers, and that you give them away to people who need one.

Fighting E-waste is good for the environment as well as people in conflict-mineral-related regions like the Congo– so if they seem like the kind of person who cares about that, be sure to mention that this is likely to keep more toxins out of landfills for longer. Either way, you’re helping people.

Some will have concerns about data– you should learn how to securely wipe a drive so that you can tell them not to worry. In other situations, be ready to remove the drive on-site so that you can offer to leave that part with them “just to be sure.” You will find other drives, and the computer you get without one might have nicer specs than the other one you take a drive from.

Tell them “There’s a good chance I can fix this– if I do, do you want it back?” If they say yes, and you make it clear what you’re going to do– you can give it back to them with GNU/Linux installed. More often, they prefer to get rid of it and never get it back. It’s always going to be broken, they have a new one, etc.

Now with your New computer (by no means is anyone suggesting you say it’s newer than it is– it is now refurbished and offered as a “like new”, but used machine) wait until you meet a person who has a Slow or Broken computer.

Offer to LOAN them your Like New machine.

“I have a perfectly good laptop/desktop, would you like to borrow or own it free of charge?”

“What?”

“I can loan it to you, and if you like it you can keep it.”

“Why?”

“That’s something I do– I refurbish computers that I get for free, and give them away to people who need one. But you can just borrow it, if you want to try it. You can keep it if you like it.”

Some of them will get a free, Like New computer. If they don’t like it, you get it back and can refurbish it again.

Having tried the other ways, this is what I’ve found to be the most reliable way to spread GNU/Linux to everyday people. I’m not the first person to do it, but I tried sharing CDs and DVDs and USBs and offered to install, run Live, Dual boot, all of those.

The best media for distributing GNU/Linux is the computer itself. That’s how people expect to get computers– and anything else is “broken” and will never be the same– too often, anyway.

Be sure that if you do this, you are able to provide a reasonable (for them, for you) level of support to the people you give machines to. If they take that thing into an office store, they’re probably just going to tell them “it needs Windows installed. It’s old, you probably want to buy a New one.”

One option is to tell them that if they have serious problems with it, you’ll let them know when a new one is available.

Happy Refurbishing!

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

Links 24/7/2019: New RHEL Beta and BT Turns to Ubuntu

Posted in News Roundup at 3:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • How to make an old computer useful again

        Linux’s big benefit is that it offers many distros specifically designed for older hardware. Plus, its design decouples DEs from the OS, so you can mix and match the two. This is important because DEs heavily impact low-end system performance. (With Windows and MacOS, the OS version you run dictates the DE.)

        Other Linux advantages: Its thousands of apps are free and open source, so you don’t have to worry about activation and licensing. And Linux is portable. You can copy, move, or clone the OS and applications across partitions, disks, devices, or computers. (Windows binds itself to the computer it’s installed on via its Registry.)

    • Server

      • Quick Change in CEOs at SUSE Linux

        The company behind SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and related software suddenly announced a new CEO, just months after becoming independent.

      • SUSE Linux Essentials – Where are the compilers? Understanding the Development Tools Module

        If you are new to SUSE Linux, you might have wondered why the C compiler on the system is so old. For example, on a SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 12 Service Pack (SP) 3 system running on X86-64, the default gcc is version 4.8-6.189! Why isn’t the C compiler a newer version, like gcc version 8? How do I install new compilers?
        A SUSE Linux system can have multiple versions of the gcc compiler. The first type of compiler, the one used to compile the version of SUSE Linux that you are running, is known as the “System Compiler”. The “System Compiler” usually does not change throughout the life of the SLES version because changing it would greatly complicate creating patches to maintain the operating system. For example, gcc 4.8 is the SLES 12 “System Compiler” used to compile all SLES 12 releases including all Service Packs. gcc 7-3.3.22 is the “System Compiler” for SLES 15.
        The other type of compilers available on SLES are known as a “Toolchain Compilers”. These are the primary compilers for application development and are periodically updated with patches and new stable compiler versions as they become available. Usually there is more than one version available at any point in time. Most developers want to use newer compilers for application development because they provide additional optimization and functionality.

      • Why I Ended up Using Non-LTS on some Production Machines
      • 3 metrics dashboards for DevOps teams

        Metrics dashboards enable DevOps teams to monitor the entire DevOps platform so they can respond to issues in real-time, which is critical in the event of downtime or disruption in the production environment or application services.

        DevOps dashboards aggregate metrics from multiple observation tools to create monitoring reports for dev and ops teams. They also allow teams to track multiple metrics, such as service deployment times, bugs, errors, work items, backlogs, and more.

        The three categories of metrics dashboards described below help DevOps teams observe and monitor systems and thereby improve performance.

      • Symbiosis Update: The Latest on How SUSE is Bringing Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes Together

        At the recent Cloud Foundry Summit in Philadephia, Ignacio Gomez of SUSE gave a brief lightning talk to update attendees on SUSE’s progress in merging the developer experience of Cloud Foundry and the operator experience of Kubernetes.

      • SUSE OpenStack Cloud 9 – Now Included in SUSE YES Certification

        More and more, businesses are seeking cloud solutions that provide an easy to deploy and manage, heterogeneous cloud infrastructure for provisioning development, test and production workloads in a way that is supportable, compliant and secure. In addition, they want a solution that has gone through an official certification program to give them confidence that their solution has been vetted and will be supported.

      • SUSE Welcomes Cimitra for it’s “Just Enough Administration” Solution

        The Cimitra server is distributed as a Docker container that can easily drop right into a Docker implementation on SLES12 or SLES15. Cimitra ships as a free solution limited to 3 users and 3 agents. No license is needed. And the free version never expires. Select the “Try” option at Cimitra’s website to get the free version.

        The Cimitra web client is designed to present actions that are simply connections to pre-generated scripts and commands. Cimitra end-users can perform actions without having to be granted OS administrator logins or sudo access. One of the problems that IT support organizations are experiencing is that many rudimentary management functions require system administration rights thus requiring the cost of having sysadmin-trained IT staff available to perform simple duties, or putting the organization at risk by either generating too many privileged accounts or having to manage dozens of different roles.
        For example, a script or command to restart an Apache webserver (rcapache2 restart) is presented to Mike from the Help Desk. Mike doesn’t need any rights on the Linux server to Trun the scripts that have been provided to him, thus granting Mike the ability to perform just the actions given to him. A catalog of such scripts would free highly-trained system administration staff to perform more serious work and Level 1 support could perform the tasks in the catalog without needed administrative/root authority and console access.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 Beta – Now Available

          In May, we announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8, the intelligent operating system designed to span the breadth of deployments across enterprise IT. A modern, open source operating system built for the hybrid cloud, RHEL 8 supports workloads and operations for private enterprise datacenters and multiple public cloud infrastructures. RHEL 8 helps organizations meet not only the demands of modern datacenter operations but also the needs of growing workloads such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet-of-Things (IoT).

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 Beta brings new development tools

          In May, we announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8, the intelligent operating system which we believe is the best RHEL ever for developers.

          The work on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 continues, and we are pleased to announce the beta availability of RHEL 8.1., which enables greater developer productivity, improves manageability, and adds new security enhancements. This release also includes updated drivers that deliver new features and bug fixes for supported hardware platforms.

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 Enters Beta

          Over Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 that shipped in early May, RHEL 8.1 Beta brings better control over firewall rules and system services via the RHEL web console, container-centric SELinux profiles, new application streams for developer tools/languages/run-times, a new configuration for image builder for Google Cloud Platform and Alibaba Cloud, and full support for the extended version of eBPF.

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 Beta Enhances Container Security

          Red Hat has released a minor beta update to RHEL 8 to improve manageability and add new security enhancements and new drivers to the operating system. RHEL 8 was announced in May this year as a successor to RHEL 7, which is still being used by most customers.

          One of the highlights of RHEL 8 was an image builder, which helps users to create custom system images in a variety of formats. With RHEL 8.1 Beta, Image Builder is extended to support more configuration options for adding users and SSH keys.

          New image formats have also been added to support cloud platforms such as Google Cloud Platform and Alibaba Cloud. With these additions, RHEL 8.1 Beta now supports every major cloud infrastructure platform including AWS, Microsoft Azure, OpenStack and VMWare.

        • The business value of a Red Hat Technical Account Manager

          As organizations pursue technologies to help them digitally transform their operations, it becomes increasingly clear how important the human side of this process is. With virtualization, cloud computing, containers and many other tools available to speed innovation, there is pressure to change while maintaining a stable and secure environment–which takes a special kind of expertise. It highlights for us the importance of Red Hat’s variety of support and service offerings.

        • Knative’s first year: Where it’s at and what’s next in serverless

          Today we celebrate the one year anniversary since the Knative project came to the world of Kubernetes. Red Hat is one of the top vendor contributors focused on bringing the project to enterprises looking to enable portability of serverless applications in hybrid environments.

          Knative helps developers build and run serverless applications anywhere Kubernetes runs—on-premise or on any cloud. It was originally started by Google, but is maintained by the community, which includes companies like Red Hat, Google, IBM and SAP and a great ecosystem of startups. The project aims to extend Kubernetes to provide a set of components for deploying, running and managing modern applications running serverless. Serverless computing means building and running applications that do not require server management and that scale up and down (even to zero) based on demand, which usually happens through incoming events. Knative was announced last year with a number of goals to help make it easier for developers to focus on the applications, versus the underlying infrastructure, and our work together has coalesced and consolidated into this initiative as a community versus attempting to handle it alone.

        • Red Hat Certificate System achieves Common Criteria certification

          With cybersecurity front and center for CIOs across the public and private sectors, providing infrastructure technologies that meet the stringent security needs for sensitive production applications is critical. Today, we’re pleased to expand Red Hat’s offerings of open technologies to power the world’s most critical workloads with the Common Criteria certification of Red Hat Certificate System.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Extending the Kernel with Built-in Kernel Headers

        Note: this article is a followup to Zack Brown’s “Android Low Memory Killer—In or Out?”

        Linux kernel headers are the unstable, constantly-changing, internal API of the kernel. This includes internal kernel structures (for example, task_struct) as well as helper macros and functions. Unlike the UAPI headers used to build userspace programs that are stable and backward-compatible, the internal kernel headers can change at any time and any release. While this allows the kernel unlimited flexibility to evolve and change, it presents some difficulties for code that needs to be loaded into the kernel at runtime and executed in kernel context.

        Kernel modules are a prime example of such code code. They execute in kernel context and depend on this same unstable API that can change at any time. A module has to be built for the kernel it is running on and may not load on another because of an internal API change could break it. Another example is eBPF tracing programs. These programs are dynamically compiled from C to eBPF, loaded into the kernel and execute in kernel space in an in-kernel BPF virtual machine. Since these programs trace the kernel, they need to use the in kernel API at times, and they have the same challenges as kernel modules as far as internal API changes go. They may need to understand what data structures in the kernel look like or call kernel helper functions.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mir support for Wayland

          Shells for graphical interfaces come in many forms, from digital signage and kiosks that just show a single full screen application; to desktop environments that manage multiple applications, multiple screens and multiple workspaces. Traditionally, shells are built from a number of closely coupled components: display servers, compositors, window managers and panels.

          Mir is a library for developing shells that makes it easier to share common functionality between them while preserving the freedom to be different where it matters. Mir provides window management defaults, but does not impose a particular window management style. It provides some default graphics hardware/driver stacks, but others can be (and are) used. It is possible to customize the compositing, etc.

          Wayland is a protocol for communication between applications and shells and there are de-facto APIs, libraries and other tools for working with this protocol. There is a very narrow core to this protocol (basically just IPC and a mechanism for adding extensions) and to do anything “real” needs Wayland extension protocols. Mir provides the core and the standard extensions by default, and provides ways to enable and/or implement additional Wayland extension protocols.

          If you create a shell with Mir you do not need to develop anything it has in common with other shells: window management, support for various hardware, compositing, Wayland. You can concentrate on the features that make it unique.

        • RADV’s Navi Support Gets Patches For Vulkan Transform Feedback

          The excitement over the open-source AMD Radeon Navi graphics driver support for Linux gamers/users continues. On Tuesday the RADV driver saw support land for binning to boost performance but while Bas was doing that, Samuel Pitoiset of Valve posted patches allowing GFX10/Navi to support Vulkan transform feedback.

          Samuel’s patch series gets VK_EXT_transform_feedback in order for these newest AMD graphics processors. Like the AMDVLK driver, the RADV driver is using the legacy code-path for handling transform feedback due to the enablement around NGG (Next Gen Geometry) for Stream-Out will require a lot of work. Hopefully with time the NGG Transform Feedback support will come to RADV.

    • Benchmarks

      • Initial Benchmarks Of Endeavour OS – The New Linux Distro Based On Arch

        Following the Antergos Linux distribution being discontinued one of the new projects stemming from that decision is Endeavour OS as a new convenient to use Arch Linux distribution. Here are some early benchmarks of Endeavour OS compared to Ubuntu, Clear Linux, and other distributions on an Intel Core i9 system.

        After being announced in mid-June, last week marked the first official ISO release of Endeavour OS. Endeavour aims to be “as close to Arch” as possible while still providing a friendly desktop experience.

        Endeavour OS is based on Arch rolling and with last week’s ISO had the Linux 5.2 kernel, defaulted to the Xfce desktop environment, uses X.Org Server 1.20.5, Mesa 19.1.2, and GCC 9.1 as the default compiler. EXT4 is the default file-system for Endeavour OS with its Calamares-powered installer.

    • Applications

      • 7 Best Free Linux Robotics Software

        Robotics is the branch of artificial intelligence concerned with the study of robots, automatically guided machines which are able to carry out tasks and functions on their own. Robotics covers a wide spectrum of areas including the design, construction, operation and manufacture of robots.

        Linux plays an important role in powering robots. There are many notable examples of Linux in action in the robotics world. For example Nasa’s space exploration robot K10, which can be remotely operated on planetary surfaces, runs on custom, embedded software on a dual-core Linux laptop. Another impressive robot is the humanoid robot, HOAP-1, in which RTLinux has been deployed by Fujitsu. Also worthy of a mention is the Katana Robotic arm, which comes with an embedded controlboard running Linux 2.4.25 with Xenomai Hard Real Time extensions.

        Building a robot can require considerable expertise and creativity given that it involves skills from many disciplines such as hardware design, control systems design, mechanical design, as well as embedded firmware and sensor selection. Moreover, building robots can be expensive as there are many different parts to purchase including electronics, sensors, and microcontroller parts. One important way to keep the development costs to a minimum is by using simulation environments. These provide an inexpensive way to test and measure the robotics algorithms, and at the same time encourage experimentation.

        Linux has a good range of open source toolkits for building robotic control systems. To provide an insight into the open source software that is available, we have compiled a list of 7 of our favorite robotics software. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to conduct research in robot systems.

      • Cloud Files Encryption App Cryptomator 1.4.12 Adds Password Saving On Linux, Custom Mount Flags

        Cryptomator, a free and open source client-side encryption tool for cloud files, got an update today and with it, some new features like password saving on Linux, and custom mount flags.

        Cryptomator is a Java tool to encrypt cloud storage files for services that don’t support client-side encryption, which runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android. It works with cloud storage services that synchronize with a local directory, like Dropbox or Google Drive (including using it with Insync).

      • Save Your Bandwith on GNU/Linux Desktop

        Don’t you realize your GNU/Linux operating system takes up your internet bandwidth without your consent? Do you want to browse the web more effectively to save up your net quota? I compile my own tips and tricks here in helping myself save my network bandwidth everyday as I’m using GNU/Linux desktop like KDE Neon and Trisquel. I hope these simple stuffs can help you too to avoid spending bandwidth unnecessarily. Enjoy!

      • Proprietary

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Action adventure platformer “The Forbidden Arts” is planning to support Linux

        The Forbidden Arts, an action adventure platformer with a focus on both discovery and exploration is going to be coming to Linux.

        It’s currently in Early Access on Steam, with a full release planned next month for Windows. However, on the Steam forum the developer mentioned last year, that a Linux version was planned. Since that’s a little old, I spoke to the developer this week, where they told me very clearly that “Linux is still on the roadmap” and that they’re working on sorting out a Linux machine for testing with an estimated release date for Linux in “Q4, 2019″.

      • Elsinore, an adventure game with a time-looping mechanic has released with Linux support

        Set in the world of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Elsinore is a time-looping adventure game that just released with Linux support. Good to see another game that gathered funding from Kickstarter get released, especially since there was no delay in the Linux version.

        In four days, everyone in Elsinore Castle will be dead. You’re thrown into a time loop, forced to relive the same four days over and over. Can you change the future? I like the sound of this a lot.

      • A look over Steam’s top releases for June 2019, plus a look at the top games by player count

        Just like I did for May’s releases, here’s a look over the Valve blog post highlighting some of their top games released in June. After which, I shall give some thoughts but let’s get some of the facts and info done first shall we?

      • Defiant Development, makers of Hand of Fate are closing up and moving on

        Some sad news to share today as Defiant Development, makers of Hand of Fate have announced they are “ceasing Development” and the team are “looking for new roles”.

        Shared on Facebook and Twitter, the Australian studio is going into what they call “caretaker mode” just to support their existing games with nothing new to come now. In the post, they mentioned how the games market has changed in many ways in the 9 years they’ve been around, sadly though they’ve not been able to keep up with all the changes.

      • Monolith, the top-down shoot ‘em up with random levels is now available on GOG, it’s a bit good

        Okay, I might be pushing the “New Release” tag a bit far but Monolith is newly released on GOG today and it’s a good one.

      • Psyonix have put up a roadmap of what’s coming next for Rocket League

        Yes, more Rocket League news! While they’ve only just put up a new DLC for the K.I.T.T car from Knight Rider and the limited-time Beach Ball game mode, they’ve also now shown off their roadmap for what’s coming to the game next.

        Based on feedback, the Rocket Pass 3 (their Battle Pass system) is going to be extended until August 27th right up until just before Rocket Pass 4 will drop on August 28th. Why? Well, apparently the wait between Pass 2 and 3 was too long and people got impatient.

      • The Between Dimensions DLC for Moonlighter is out now, over 1 million players

        Moonlighter, the curious mix of gameplay that has you be both a shopkeeper and a dungeon crawling adventurer has a new DLC out named Between Dimensions.

      • The Linux-powered Atari VCS sounds like it’s coming along

        The team behind the retro-inspired and Linux-powered gaming box, the Atari VCS, have put out an “Early Summer Update” of what’s going on with the project.

        It goes over a bunch of details they’ve already talked about, including how it was shown off a little at E3 this year. They said it felt like “mission accomplished” after other members of the press and partners got to see a little more of it.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • The best Kde package manager that can replace Synaptic

          In Debian based distributions (Debian-Ubuntu-Linuxmint …), i installed Synaptic which is a GTK based app that do the job, but it’s look ugly on Kde, so i searched for a Qt based alternative and finally i find a great tool.
          The alternative tool is The Muon Package Manager which is a powerful package manager aimed towards the intermediate – power-user range. It offers complete control over your packages with an interface that still keeps usability in mind.

        • Improved rendering of mathematical expressions in Cantor

          In the previous post I mentioned that the render of mathematical expressions in Cantor has bad performance. This heavily and negatively influences user experience. With my recent code changes I addressed this problem and it should be solved now. In this blog post I wand to provide some details on what was done.

          First, I want to show some numbers proving the performance improvements. For example, loading of the notebook “Rigid-body transformations in a plane (2D)” – one of the notebooks I’m using for testing – took 15.9 seconds (this number and all other numbers mentioned in the following are average values of 5 consequent measurements). With the new implementation it takes only 4.06 seconds. And this acceleration comes without loosing render quality.

          This is a example, how modern render looks like compared with Jupyter renderer (as you can see, Cantor doesn’t show images from web in Markdown entries, but I will fix it soon).

        • DBus connection on macOS

          DBus is a concept of software bus, an inter-process communication (IPC), and a remote procedure call (RPC) mechanism that allows communication between multiple computer programs (that is, processes) concurrently running on the same machine. DBus was developed as part of the freedesktop.org project, initiated by Havoc Pennington from Red Hat to standardize services provided by Linux desktop environments such as GNOME and KDE.

          In this post, we only talk about how does DBus daemon run and how KDE Applications/Frameworks connect to it. For more details of DBus itself, please move to DBus Wiki.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.33.4 RELEASED

          The fourth snapshot of GNOME 3.33 is now (finally) available!

          Sorry for the delay on this; Problems with some module dependencies and
          traveling got in the middle; thanks to Michael Catanzaro to help me
          with this release!

        • GNOME 3.33.4 Released As The Last Step Before The GNOME 3.34 Beta

          It’s arriving one week late, but GNOME 3.33.4 is now available as the latest snapshot in the trek towards GNOME 3.34 this September.

          GNOME 3.33.4 is the last unstable release prior to the GNOME 3.34 Beta due out in early August. At that point it also marks the UI, feature, and API/ABI freezes for this six-month update to the GNOME desktop environment. So the race is on for those wanting to get the remaining features into GNOME 3.34.0 that is expected to debut on 11 September.

    • Distributions

      • Fedora/deepin Family

        • Deepin 15.11 GNU/Linux OS Released with Could Sync and Many Other Improvements

          The Deepin 15.11 GNU/Linux operating system has been released and it brings lots of improvements and some exciting new features for fans of this Chinese-based distro.

          Highlights of the Deepin 15.11 release include a much-improved window manager that’s now more lightweight and beautiful, as well as Cloud Sync functionality in the Control Center to let you sync system settings in the cloud so you can easily restore them when you reinstall your Deepin system.

          “After Signing in Deepin ID in Control Center, you can sync system settings to the cloud automatically, including network settings, sound settings, mouse settings, update settings, power settings, corner settings, theme, wallpaper, launcher, and dock,” reads the release announcement.

        • Deepin 15.11 overview | Better Never Stops

          In this video, I am going to show an overview of Deepin 15.11 and some of the applications pre-installed.

        • deepin 15.11 GNU/Linux Released with Download Links, Mirrors, and Torrents

          deepin 15.11 released this July with the slogan “Better Never Stops” just three months after the previous 15.10 last April. Here’s official direct download links from official server, SourceForge, OSDN, and also several mirrors, and of course torrents provided by community. Just like usual, I strongly recommend you to use BitTorrent way instead and then verify your ISO to be identical with the official one. Finally, so you can safely burn that ISO to DVD or USB and run deepin GNU/Linux. Happy downloading!

        • Deepin 15.11 Desktop Could Be On The Way To Fedora 31

          Released last week was Deepin 15.11 with various desktop improvements for this popular third-party desktop option. This desktop option could be on its way to Fedora 31′s package repository to replace the existing Deepin 5.9 packaging.

          Deepin 15.11 has many bug fixes to its KWin integration code, disc burning functionality has been added to its file manager, a more useful battery icon on the desktop, improved screen preview from the dock, Cloud Sync functionality, and a wide variety of fixes.

        • First preview of container platform Fedora CoreOS released

          Following Red Hat’s acquisition of CoreOS last February, that project—otherwise known as CoreOS Container Linux—is being merged with Red Hat’s Project Atomic to create Fedora CoreOS, for securely running containerized workloads at scale. Don’t let the name deceive you—this is not a return to the Fedora Core days, nor is this a shift in direction for Fedora at large;the project operates in parallel to Fedora Desktop (and related spins) and Fedora Server.

          According to the release announcement, “Fedora CoreOS combines the provisioning tools, automatic update model, and philosophy of Container Linux with the packaging technology, OCI support, and SELinux security of Atomic Host.” Likewise, Fedora CoreOS “provisions itself with Ignition, runs containers with Podman and Moby, and updates itself atomically and automatically with rpm-ostree.”

        • FTC Announces $5 Billion Settlement with Facebook, First Preview Release of Fedora CoreOS Now Available, Red Hat Certificate System Achieves Common Criteria Certification, GNOME 3.33.4 Released and Summer Update on /e/

          The Fedora CoreOS team announces the first preview release of Fedora CoreOS, “a new Fedora edition built specifically for running containerized workloads securely and at scale”. From the announcement: “It’s designed specifically for running containerized workloads without regular maintenance, automatically updating itself with the latest OS improvements, bug fixes, and security updates. It provisions itself with Ignition, runs containers with Podman and Moby, and updates itself atomically and automatically with rpm-ostree.” Note that only the testing stream is available at this time. You can download the Fedora CoreOS preview release here.

        • Introducing Fedora CoreOS

          Containers allow workloads to be reproducibly deployed to production and automatically scaled to meet demand. The isolation provided by a container means that the host OS can be small. It only needs a Linux kernel, systemd, a container runtime, and a few additional services such as an SSH server.

          While containers can be run on a full-sized server OS, an operating system built specifically for containers can provide functionality that a general purpose OS cannot. Since the required software is minimal and uniform, the entire OS can be deployed as a unit with little customization. And, since containers are deployed across multiple nodes for redundancy, the OS can update itself automatically and then reboot without interrupting workloads.

          Fedora CoreOS is built to be the secure and reliable host for your compute clusters. It’s designed specifically for running containerized workloads without regular maintenance, automatically updating itself with the latest OS improvements, bug fixes, and security updates. It provisions itself with Ignition, runs containers with Podman and Moby, and updates itself atomically and automatically with rpm-ostree.

      • Fedora CoreOS Sees Its First Preview Release

        It was a year and a half ago that Red Hat acquired CoreOS while today they are announcing their first preview release of Fedora CoreOS.

        Fedora CoreOS is the successor to Fedora Atomic Host and CoreOS Container Linux as a new distribution flavor for running containerized workloads with an emphasis on security and scalability.

      • Fedora 31 Looking At Making It Easy To Use LLVM’s LLD Linker

        Another late change proposal coming in for Fedora 31 is to allow update-alternatives to optionally point /usr/bin/ld as the default linker to /usr/bin/lld for the LLVM linker.

        This change would make it much easier for Fedora users wanting to switch from the GNU BFD linker over to LLVM’s LLD via the update-alternatives tool. This tool already supports using the GNU Gold linker while this late proposal by Red Hat’s Tom Stellard is to handle LLVM’s increasingly used LLD linker.

      • Rawhide package gating — phase I begins

        On July 25th we will turn on the first phase of Rawhide package gating: single build updates. In a later phase, Rawhide updates that contain multiple builds will also be enabled for gating. Our goal is to improve our ability to continuously turn out a useful Fedora OS. So we hope and expect to get opt-in from as many Fedora package maintainers as possible, including maintainers of the base OS. But this phase of gating remains opt-in, and should not affect packagers who choose for now not to opt in.

        Last April FESCo approved a change proposal allowing to gate Rawhide packages based on test results. The proposal included gating updates with only a single build as well as updates with multiple builds. It was designed to cause minimal to no interference with the current workflow of packagers who do not opt-in.

        The team has been working hard on this proposal, and decided to do a phased roll-out of this change, so that we can gather feedback as early as possible from the packagers interested in testing this workflow without impacting everyone.

        On July 25th, we plan to turn on the first phase of this change.

    • Debian Family

      • Yet another buildinfo database.

        I previously posted about my extremely quick-and-dirty buildinfo database using buildinfo-sqlite. This year at DebConf, I re-implimented this using PostgreSQL backend, added into some new features.

        There is already buildinfo and buildinfos. I was informed I need to think up a name that clearly distinguishes from those two. Thus I give you builtin-pho.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

      • BT turns to Canonical Ubuntu to enable next generation 5G Cloud Core
      • BT Names Canonical Ubuntu for Next-Generation 5G Cloud Core
      • BT turns to Canonical Ubuntu to enable next generation 5G Cloud Core

        Today, Canonical announces it’s Charmed OpenStack on Ubuntu has been selected by BT as a key component of its next generation 5G Core. Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, will provide the open source virtual infrastructure manager (VIM) as part of BT’s Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) program, and the transition to a cloud-based Core network.

        This open source cloud-based approach will ensure that BT can quickly deploy new services, and increase capacity to stay ahead of customer demand driven by 5G and FTTP. Canonical’s OpenStack architecture will also facilitate the delivery of BT’s full 5G Core network.

        Openstack cloud software will enable the separation of network hardware and software, turning Core network components into software applications, meaning they can be updated faster with continuous integration and development. This separation allows different network applications to share the same hardware across data centres, making the network more resilient and scalable when additional capacity is needed. The speed at which software can be updated compared to replacing core network equipment will lead to a new way of working for the development of 5G services where BT can build new services in weeks and deploy in days.

      • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Reached End of Life, Upgrade to Ubuntu 19.04

        As reported earlier this month, when we gave users a two-week advance notice, the Ubuntu 18.10 operating system reached end of life on July 18th, 2019, which means that it will no longer receive security and software updates. Canonical terminated support for Ubuntu 18.10, urging users to upgrade to Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo).

        Dubbed Cosmic Cuttlefish by Canonical’s CEO Mark Shuttleworth, the Ubuntu 18.10 operating system was released last year on October 18th featuring the GNOME 3.30 desktop environment by default with a fresh new look and feel based on the in-house developed Yaru theme, formerly Communitheme. The system was using the Linux 4.18 kernel series.

      • Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” Enters Beta, Based on Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS and Linux 4.15

        The Linux Mint project released the beta version of the upcoming Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” operating system, the second major update to the Linux Mint 19 series, based on the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS operating system.

        Available in Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce editions, the Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” beta release is now available for public testing to give the community an early taste of what to expect from the final release early this fall. As expected, Linux Mint 19.2 will be based on the Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system and the Linux 4.15 kernel.

      • Ubucon Europe 2019: 2nd Batch of Calls Approved

        Another 2 weeks have past and you guys have submitted great content. We are very excited about what’s being prepared, but we got even more curious after reading your proposals.

  • Devices/Embedded

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Events

      • Christopher Allan Webber: Mark S. Miller keynoting at ActivityPub Conf 2019

        I am extremely pleased to announce that Mark S. Miller is keynoting at ActivityPub Conf 2019!

        It’s hard for me to understate how huge this is. Mark S. Miller works at Agoric which is leading the way on modern application of object capabilities, which is convenient, since exploration of how to apply object capabilities to federated social networks is a major topic of interest on the fediverse.

        But just leaving it at that would be leaving out too much. We can trace Mark’s relevance back to the world’s first large online social network, which it turns out was a graphical multiplayer game which ran on the Commodore 64 (!!!) called Lucasfilm’s Habitat. (You can see the entertaining trailer for this game… keep in mind, this was released in 1986!) Mark then went on to write the Agoric papers in 1988 (more complete archive here) which laid out the vision for a massive society and economy of computing agents. (And yes, that’s where the Agoric company got its name from.)

    • CMS

      • 10 Best Useful Gutenberg Blocks Plugins for WordPress

        As we all know that WordPress Gutenberg is a revolutionary fully block-based editor that provides a better way to create and publish content. With Gutenberg editor, each part of the content is treated as a block and you can easily add or remove these blocks from your content, based on your requirement.

        This is not all, with the introduction of this editor, developers have also introduced different types of plugins to enhance the functionality of Gutenberg. These plugins can help you add custom blocks for your content and gives you the best of the Gutenberg editor!

        This article will introduce you to the best Gutenberg Blocks Plugins which have been tried and tested by our experts.

    • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

      • GNUnet 0.11.6 released

        This is a bugfix release for 0.11.5, fixing a lot of minor bugs, improving stability and code quality. Further, our videos are back on the homepage. In this release, we again improved the webpage in general and updated our documentation. As always: In terms of usability, users should be aware that there are still a large number of known open issues in particular with respect to ease of use, but also some critical privacy issues especially for mobile users. Also, the nascent network is tiny (about 200 peers) and thus unlikely to provide good anonymity or extensive amounts of interesting information. As a result, the 0.11.6 release is still only suitable for early adopters with some reasonable pain tolerance.

    • Programming/Development

      • PyCharm 2019.2 Released with Initial Python 3.8 Support

        PyCharm 2019.2 was released today with exciting new features, initial Python 3.8 support, improved Jupyter Notebook experience, and many more other changes.

      • Load the data from a file with python
      • npm Updates Enterprise JavaScript Developer Platform

        The latest version of npm Enterprise adds new package filtering capabilities and enhances single sign-on, in an effort to improve developer workflow.

      • Bash Shebang

        If you are learning Bash scripting by reading other people’s code you might have noticed that the first line in the scripts starts with the #! characters and the path to the Bash interpreter. This sequence of characters (#!) is called shebang and is used to tell the operating system which interpreter to use to parse the rest of the file.

      • Bash function that saves bash functions to file from shell session
      • GCC 10 Likely To See “-flto=auto” Option

        With OpenSUSE now LTO’ing their Tumbleweed packages by default, SUSE’s compiler team is looking at improving the compilation experience and one of those steps is via a proposed “-flto=auto” option.

        While “-flto” is commonly called as is, it does support specifying a number to reflect a thread/core count for doing the optimizations and code generation at link-time in parallel. (Or there is also the “jobserver” value option for trying to calculate the number of parallel jobs via GNU Make’s job server.) But to date short of using the “jobserver”, there hasn’t been an “auto” option for determining the optimal number of parallel jobs to use for a given system.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • UK Government Digital Service joins The Document Foundation Advisory Board

        The Government Digital Service (GDS) is part of the UK Cabinet Office [1]. It leads the digital transformation of Government in the UK, helping people interact with government more easily and supporting government to operate more effectively and efficiently.

        In July 2014, the UK Cabinet Office announced the selection of the Open Document Format (ODF) for sharing and viewing government documents.

        The Open Standards Team within GDS support and encourage the use of open standards in government. Their aim is to help identify and contribute to open standards for software interoperability and to promote data formats that will help to meet user needs across the UK government and support the delivery of common components.

        “GDS has been a long-term supporter of the adoption of Open Document Format, and their participation in the TDF Advisory Board represents a strong endorsement of the project’s commitment to the advancement of open standards and ODF”, says Simon Phipps, TDF Director.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • French town’s glyphosate ban for farmers ‘illegal’

        A mayoral ban on glyphosate herbicide and neonicotinoid pesticides in a small French town has been deemed illegal by a regional préfecture.

        Residents complained to the mayor of Perray-en-Yvelines, a commune of 7,000 inhabitants about an hour from Paris in the the west of Île-de-France, after a farmer used glyphosate on a field bordering their properties.

        Residents said they were worried for their health after plants in the field turned red following treatment.

        And Mayor Paulette Deschamps, speaking on French radio, vowed to keep the municipal order in place, despite being told it was illegal by the prefect. “I will not withdraw it, it is my duty,” she said.

        She said urine tests on 47 volunteers from the village showed they had levels of glyphosate 35 times higher than those authorised in drinking water and so the measure was taken to protect public health.

        The director of Île-de-France branch of the FDSEA farmers’ union, the largest in France, Bernard Lérisson told Connexion the municipal bans were illegal and farmers had been told to ignore them.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • EvilGnome: A New Backdoor Implant Spies On Linux Desktop Users

        EvilGnome malware masquerades itself as a legit GNOME extension, a program that lets Linux users extend the functionality of their desktops.

      • Security updates for Wednesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (kernel, linux-4.9, and neovim), Fedora (slurm), openSUSE (ImageMagick, libgcrypt, libsass, live555, mumble, neovim, and teeworlds), Oracle (java-1.7.0-openjdk, java-1.8.0-openjdk, and java-11-openjdk), Red Hat (java-1.7.0-openjdk), Scientific Linux (java-1.7.0-openjdk), SUSE (glibc and openexr), and Ubuntu (mysql-5.7 and patch).

      • why trust and honesty pays off – in the long run

        The „for the NSA“ placed in products backdoords are just one example – now exploited not only by the NSA – but by many other parties as well – putting modern life 2.0 at risk of blackouts and collapses.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Facebook will pay an unprecedented $5 billion penalty over privacy breaches

        The Federal Trade Commission announced a $5 billion settlement with Facebook (FB) on Wednesday, resolving a sweeping investigation by regulators into how the company lost control over massive troves of personal data and mishandled its communications with users. It is the largest fine in FTC history — and yet still only about a month’s worth of revenue for Facebook.

        The deal comes amid growing calls in Washington for greater transparency and accountability for technology companies, whose power over social movements as well as personal information has increasingly come to be seen as dangerous by politicians, users, and even one of Facebook’s co-founders.

      • UPS forms a new subsidiary for drone delivery and seeks FAA approval to fly

        UPS has big plans for drone delivery, and it’s taking two key steps to put them into action. First, it’s building its own dedicated subsidiary focused entirely on drone delivery, called UPS Flight Forward, and it’s seeking FAA approval to operate its drones over populated areas, during nighttime hours and when not within view of a human operator, all of which are currently required for general commercial drone operation.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Sir Henry Carr QC (1958 – 2019)

          Always with a sense of adventure, it didn’t take much convincing over drinks in New York at Fordham last year to encourage him and Jan to come to Cancun, where AIPPI was holding that year’s World Congress. Richard Vary “enjoyed chauffeuring him around the Yucatan peninsula after AIPPI and then losing horribly to him at pool!”

          Henry died last week at the age of 61.

          The news of his untimely death has hit the IP profession hard. I struggle to put into words what Henry meant to me as an IP lawyer. He watched me grow from a tiny trainee tentatively directing him to documents in bundles, to a senior lawyer leaping across desks in his courtroom to slap post-it notes on barristers. Like so many, I have never known my IP career without Henry. As such, I can only think I am struggling because I cannot believe or accept that he is gone. There won’t be any more jubilant mini-catch-ups on the latest IP intrigue at the next London IP event. There won’t be any more court appearances where we get to enjoy Henry gently raising eyebrows at a party’s submissions (good or bad), while shooting a glance at the other party to gauge their reaction. There won’t be the sound of the distinctive laughter emanating from a circle of engrossed, dark-suited IP lawyers. Lord Kitchin put it simply: “We have lost a wonderful and remarkable man”.

          But although we have lost much in his passing, we were gifted with so much more by his presence. His fierce intelligence and fiercer kindness, his passion for law and litigation and his humor and humanity. Henry inspired generations of lawyers to pursue IP with the same sense of passion, fun and purpose that he brought to every aspect of his career and life. His legacy and our memories will continue for generations.

          “I will miss him dreadfully.” We, like Mr Justice Birss, will and already do.

          On behalf of the IPKat team and members of the IP community across the world, our heartfelt condolences go to his wife Jan, his children, friends and colleagues.

        • Manufacturers Locking-In Consumers with Design Patents

          Car manufacturers regularly use design patents to control the repair marketplace. In this case, Ford accused members of the ABPA of infringing its U.S. Patent No. D489,299 (F150 truck hood) and U.S. Patent No. D501,685 (F150 headlamp) andn APBA responded with a declaratory judgment lawsuit — arguing that the patented designs are functional rather than ornamental and therefore invalid.

        • Will there be a RAND determination after all?

          The Court of Appeal accordingly disagreed that it is properly arguable that there is a real commercial dispute involving the ZyXEL defendants in the UK. It also held that the declarations sought by TQ Delta as to the unwillingness of ZyXEL as a licensee had no real prospect of success, dismissing, amongst others, arguments as to the utility of such declarations in other jurisdictions. In the circumstances, the Court of Appeal did not consider there was justification for continuation of proceedings.

          The Court of Appeal, however, made clear it considered that the scenario in this case is unlikely to be commonplace, explaining that “companies participating in international telecommunications are unlikely, routinely, to be in the same position as ZyXEL was in this case”. The impact of this decision on future SEP litigation therefore remains to be seen.

        • Patent Claims for Digital Camera Are Not Patent Eligible

          In two related actions in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California brought by Yanbin Yu and Zhongxuan Zhang (patentee), Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. were sued for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,611,289, entitled “Digital Cameras Using Multiple Sensors with Multiple Lenses”. The dispute is over use of dual-lens cameras in cell phones. Yu alleged that the dual-lens cameras in Apple and Samsung cell phones infringe the ’289 patent.

          Apple moved to dismiss for patent ineligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101, and Samsung joined the motion. In Defendants’ view, the asserted claims cannot be patented because they “are directed to the abstract idea of creating an image by using one image to enhance another image,” without any saving inventive concept. The Court agreed and dismissed the complaints.

          [...]

          For the merits of the Section 101 issue, the scope of patentable subject matter includes “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” 35 U.S.C. § 101. But, of course, abstract ideas are specific exceptions to § 101′s broad patent-eligibility principles. According to Alice, Courts must distinguish between patents that claim the building blocks’ of human ingenuity and those that integrate the building blocks into something more, because overbroad patent protection would risk disproportionately tying up the use of the underlying ideas.

          Applying the two-step analysis of Alice, the District Court first determined whether the claims at issue are directed to a patent-ineligible concept such as an abstract idea.

        • Mayne Pharma Int’l v. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          The Federal Circuit also affirmed this portion of the Board’s decision, applying the substantial evidence standard to the factual portions of the decision and reviewing claim construction de novo. The panel agreed that the claims were not limited to non-toxic azole antifungal formulations, despite the modifier in the claims that these were “pharmaceutical” compositions based on (in hindsight, ill-advised) language in the specification. In view of this language, and the panel’s understanding that “few pharmaceuticals are free of toxic effects in some circumstances and dosages,” the Federal Circuit found no basis to import a limitation of non-toxicity into the claim. The opinion also credits the Board’s understanding that extrinsic evidence supports the Board’s construction. Similarly, the panel affirmed the Board’s construction not to be limited to administration to humans, in the face of a rather creative argument by Mayne Pharma that “in vivo” applies to plants as well as animals, and the pharmacokinetic properties recited in the claims are “irrelevant” to plants. The Board’s construction was consistent with the broadest reasonable interpretation of these claims, according to the opinion, based again on the express language in the specification. The correctness of the Board’s claim construction being the only bases for error asserted by Mayne Pharma, the Federal Circuit affirmed the Board’s invalidation of the claims of the ’745 patent.

      • Copyrights

        • Copyright Infringement Confirmed, but No Damages for “Cordoba” Photographer

          Last year, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) ruled upon referral by the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) that the unauthorized reposting of a copyright work that is already available online constitutes an act of communication to the public within the meaning of Art. 3(1) of the InfoSoc Directive (C-161/17 – Renckhoff, Katpost here). The case revolved around a picture of the city of Cordoba, Spain, originally published (with the photographer’s consent) in an online travel magazine. The picture was eventually copied by a pupil into a paper and uploaded to the website of a German state school. The photographer sued the German Land of North Rhine-Westphalia (the local government that runs the school) for copyright infringement.

          [...]

          Third, while the photographer is awarded a permanent injunction against the Respondent, the Court rejects the photographer’s damages claim. To understand why, one must have a closer look at the distinction the Court makes between acts committed by the direct infringer (i.e., the pupil) and those committed by the teacher.

EPO is Fast Becoming the Office of Invalid Patents (IPs)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

AI hype at EPO

Summary: The rush to grant lots and lots of patents irrespective of the underlying laws (which govern the Office and the courts) is guaranteed to lead to a collapse or an avalanche of invalid patents (IPs)

WHAT if Europe became one of the world’s worst venues for patents? What if European standards for patenting were so low while at the same time courts insisted on much higher standards (whereupon these patents got rejected, albeit only after lengthy legal battles)?

Gene Quinn (Watchtroll) uses the European Patent Office (EPO) as a propaganda model for software patents right now, having just published some nonsense titled “Software May be Abstract, But a Computer-Implement Invention Produces a Technical Effect” (we don’t link to Watchtroll anymore, but eager readers can find the nonsense shall they wish). It says that it covers “computer implemented inventions, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), and how the EPO system compares with the U.S. patent examination system.”

“What if European standards for patenting were so low while at the same time courts insisted on much higher standards (whereupon these patents got rejected, albeit only after lengthy legal battles)?”Notice the buzzwords, including "hey hi" (AI). We’re meanwhile seeing the most vocal lobbyists for software patents in Europe tweeting this link, adding: “There’s a new entry in the EUROPEAN SOFTWARE PATENTS knowledge base” (more like marketing).

They too use terms like “Technical Effect” or “Technical”. They don’t speak in terms such as “eligibility” or “validity” or (legal) “certainty”, knowing perhaps that a lot of European courts would reject such patents, citing the EPC, which António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli blatantly and consciously violate. The violation of the EPC is one of the main reasons the UPC will never materialise. But Team UPC is of course in denial about it; linking to a tweet from an erratic person (as if Twitter contains actual information), Team UPC is still desperate to make UPC seem like a “matter of time” (denying its demise/death/stagnation). Yesterday it tweeted: “It is fair to assume that the German Constitutional Court will take note and that Prof. Huber will hardly be incentivised by these news to decide the #UPC complaint prior to 31st October 2019.”

They allude to Brexit, but Brexit is one among at least four considerations for denial of ratification. Never mind or let aside the fact that not only Germany is a barrier (there are several more countries which reject UPC-like schemes, even on purely constitutional grounds).

“…from this gross violation of constitutions and laws several people will emerge as millionaires (Battistelli, Campinos and their close associates, who are also their mates). They’re like vampires sucking the EPO’s blood and they don’t care about the consequences.”Over at Kluwer Patent Blog, a site of Team UPC, there’s this new post published for Alex Calver by Bristows LLP (the same person also published FRAND agenda on the same day). It’s about the demise of European Patents (EPs) in the British courts and the latest example of it: “Among the flurry of pre-summer vacation judgments coming from the Patents Court is one from Mr Justice Birss (17 July 2019), concerning the validity of Hoffman-La Roche’s patent EP (UK) 2 007 809. EP’809 is a formulation patent for the monoclonal antibody vedolizumab, marketed as Entyvio® and used to treat ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The judgment tackles some complex areas of law. In short, Birss J found the Takeda’s product would infringe EP’809, but for the damning validity assessment that found it lacking novelty, obvious by virtue of a lack of technical contribution and insufficient.”

We’ve sadly come to the point where the collapse in quality of EPs is too visible to ignore and therefore the number of applications for EPs is declining. The EPO is rendering itself moot, endangering the careers of its workers. But from this gross violation of constitutions and laws several people will emerge as millionaires (Battistelli, Campinos and their close associates, who are also their mates). They’re like vampires sucking the EPO’s blood and they don’t care about the consequences. There’s no collective responsibility, neither care nor loyalty to the Office they profess to serve.

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