Links 28/7/2019: SAP’s Grip on SUSE, Alibaba and RISC-V, DebConf19 Ends

Posted in News Roundup at 11:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • The Coming End of an Era at NASA

        In the past few rounds of astronaut applications, prospective candidates cited the space-shuttle missions, not the moon landings, as motivation, according to those who reviewed them. This year, Millennials will surpass Baby Boomers as the largest adult population in the United States, according to an analysis of government data by the Pew Research Center. The Apollo program was not the defining moment of space exploration for members of this generation, born from 1981 to 1996. They remember their teachers wheeling bulky televisions into classrooms to watch a space-shuttle launch or tuning into livestreams on their laptops to watch a SpaceX rocket fly. They summon images of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos more readily than of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

      • Watch a Japanese spacecraft grab another sample from an asteroid

        The sample-collecting spacecraft, Hayabusa2, has been in orbit around the asteroid Ryugu since July 2018, and it has already delivered robots and rovers to the asteroid. In the new video, you can see the shadow of the spacecraft grow steadily as it nears the surface of the asteroid. As the outstretched sample-collecting limb makes contact, a flurry of dust and rocks explodes from the surface while the spacecraft quickly ascends back into space.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Baby food has too much sugar, says WHO

        It was found that half the products attributed 30 per cent of their calories to sugar, while only one-third of them listed sugar, concentrated fruit juice and other sweetening agents as an ingredient.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • GNU Binutils Invalid e_shoff Header Denial of Service Vulnerability [CVE-2019-1010204]

        A vulnerability in GNU Binutils could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to cause a denial of service (DoS) condition on a targeted system.

      • Bellingcat journalists targeted by failed phishing attempt

        Investigative news site Bellingcat has confirmed several of its staff were targeted by an attempted phishing attack on their ProtonMail accounts, which the journalists and the email provider say failed.

        “Yet again, Bellingcat finds itself targeted by cyber attacks, almost certainly linked to our work on Russia,” wrote Eliot Higgins, founder of the investigative news site in a tweet. “I guess one way to measure our impact is how frequently agents of the Russian Federation try to attack it, be it their hackers, trolls, or media.”

      • As Authoritarian Governments Surveil the Internet, Open Source Projects Decide How to Respond

        Kazakhstan is telling citizens to download a cryptographic certificate, letting authorities monitor their traffic. Mozilla and Wikimedia are discussing how to respond from afar.

      • ‘Flawed’ open-source ledger aims to highlight blockchain weaknesses

        Researchers from Kudelski Security, a Swiss cyber security solutions provider, is set to launch a “purposefully vulnerable” blockchain to highlight vulnerabilities in blockchain ecosystems. According to a report by IT news site Computerworld, the company will demo the blockchain during the Black Hat conference in August.

      • Goodbye Docker: Purging is Such Sweet Sorrow

        After 6 years, I removed Docker from all my home servers.

      • Equifax Might Owe You $125. Here’s How to Get It

        If you’re one of the 147 million people in the United States affected by the egregious Equifax credit bureau hack in 2017, you were probably resigned to getting some free credit monitoring out of it and moving on. But nearly two years later, attorneys general from 50 US states and territories, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finally have your back. Sort of. They’ve negotiated a settlement with Equifax that entitles all victims to 10 years of free credit monitoring, or $125. Here’s how to make sure you get yours.

      • Why you probably won’t actually get $125 from the Equifax settlement

        See, while Equifax has agreed to a $700 million settlement — compare to its revenue of $880 million last quarter alone — it’s technically only a $425 million settlement as far as affected consumers are concerned, with the rest of the money going to pay penalties.

        And of that $425 million, it turns out only a paltry $31 million is actually set aside for those individual $125 cash payments — the rest is all for free credit monitoring, reimbursements, or if you could somehow miraculously prove you actually suffered identity theft as a result of the breach.

      • MBs ‘severely underestimate’ cybersecurity vulnerabilities: report [iophk: Windows TCO]

        And, according to cyber security provider Keeper Security, which commissioned a study of more than 500 senior-level decision makers at companies with 500 employees or less, cyber security efforts are not at the top of the list of SMBs when it comes to where leaders are putting their focus and efforts – with US businesses “ripe for the picking”.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The U.S.-Iran Standoff Can Only End When the U.S. Accepts Iran’s Right to Have a Nuclear Energy Program

        At a Non-Aligned Movement meeting in Caracas, Venezuela, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the United States of America of “economic terrorism.” Unilateral U.S. sanctions have clobbered Iran, which—like most countries on earth—is reliant on the financial system that remains dominated by the United States.

        The United States has had a sanctions regime in place against Iran for decades, almost since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The U.S., France, and Germany later reneged on their nuclear energy contracts with Iran and kept billions of dollars of Iranian money. Matters sharpened in 1996, when the U.S. administration of Bill Clinton signed the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act. Since then, the U.S. pressure on Iran has increased, then decreased, and increased again—but it has not been withdrawn.

      • Calling Trump Claim ‘Delusional,’ Iran Says US May Have Shot Down Its Own Drone by Mistake

        Iran released drone footage on Friday that it said refutes President Donald Trump’s claim that the U.S. Navy downed an Iranian aircraft in the Strait of Hormuz.

        As Reuters reported, Iranian state TV said “the drone had captured the footage and timing notations showed the drone was still filming after Washington said it had been downed.”

      • As US Modernizes Its Nuclear Arsenal, Costs and Risks Soar

        On July 16, 1945, the U.S. detonated the first-ever nuclear device in the New Mexico desert. Less than a month later, it dropped two more atomic bombs, destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing and injuring more than 200,000 civilians.

        Today, 74 years later, President Donald Trump has elbowed his way to the precipice of war threatening fire, fury and obliteration against one state that has nuclear weapons (North Korea) and one that doesn’t (Iran). In June, shortly after Trump reportedly called off a military strike against Iran with just 10 minutes to spare, he lashed out on Twitter: “Iran cannot have Nuclear Weapons!”

        Meanwhile, the United States is pushing forward with plans to modernize, upgrade and rebuild its own aging nuclear stockpile. Over the next 30 years, the U.S. will spend at least $1.2 trillion on maintaining and modernizing nuclear weapons. With inflation, cost overruns and common under-estimation of weapon systems, the final cost of the U.S. nuclear enterprise could be as high as $2 trillion.

        Trump’s 2020 budget alone calls for $16.5 billion (an increase of 8.3 percent over 2019) for the Department of Energy (DOE)/National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) which maintains the U.S. nuclear stockpile.

      • The Great Reckoning

        From our present vantage point, it seems clear that, by 2019, the United States had passed a point of no return. In retrospect, this was the moment when indications of things gone fundamentally awry should have become unmistakable. Although at the time much remained hidden in shadows, the historic pivot now commonly referred to as the Great Reckoning had commenced.

        Even today, it remains difficult to understand why, given mounting evidence of a grave crisis, passivity persisted for so long across most sectors of society. An epidemic of anomie affected a large swath of the population. Faced with a blizzard of troubling developments, large and small, Americans found it difficult to put things into anything approximating useful perspective. Few even bothered to try. Fewer succeeded. As with predictions of cataclysmic earthquakes or volcanic eruptions, a not-in-my-lifetime mood generally prevailed.

        During what was then misleadingly known as the Age of Trump, the political classes dithered. While the antics of President Donald Trump provoked intense interest — the word “intense” hardly covers the attention paid to him — they also provided a convenient excuse for letting partisan bickering take precedence over actual governance or problem solving of any sort. Meanwhile, “thought leaders” (a term then commonly used to describe pontificating windbags) indulged themselves with various pet projects.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Data Shows Toxins Poison Drinking Water Near Fort Jackson

        The contaminant was found in groundwater at Fort Jackson six years ago as part of an Army initiative to check military bases for pollution from explosives. At first, the Army reported that it had not found unsafe levels in groundwater wells off the base. But further testing in 2014 found elevated levels of RDX in wells that served five homes across from Fort Jackson.

        Since 2013, the Army has conducted more than 800 tests involving 186 wells off the military base, finding 31 wells polluted by RDX. That’s 16.6 percent. Of those 31 wells, 16 exceeded federal standards for safe drinking water or were over a risk limit established by the federal government, according to data released this week by Fort Jackson and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

      • Brazil’s Bolsonaro Blamed As Illegal Deforestation Pushes Amazon Rainforest to ‘Tipping Point,’ Expert Warns

        The Brazilian Amazon rainforest is being cleared away at such a fast rate that it is approaching a “tipping point” beyond which it may not be able to recover, an expert has warned.

        As trees are lost, researchers say there is a risk that large swathes of the forest could transition to savannah as they lose the ability to make their own rainfall via evaporation and transpiration from plants. This could have significant implications for global warming, given that the rainforest absorbs vast amounts of carbon from the atmosphere.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Moscow Police Arrest Nearly 700 at Election Protest

        The authorities often begin making arrests before a crowd can gather, as happened on Saturday as lines of riot police officers in body armor and helmets — an outfit protesters called “the cosmonaut” — blocked streets and chased demonstrators down alleys far from City Hall.

      • More than 1,000 arrested at opposition election protest in Moscow

        More than 1,000 people were arrested Saturday at an election protest in Moscow, according to Russian police. Leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny, who called for the demonstration, has been jailed for 30 days.

      • The Real Reason For Impeachment

        The core purpose of the Constitution is to prevent tyranny. That’s why its Framers distributed power between the president, Congress and the judiciary. That’s why each of the three branches was designed to limit the powers of the other two.

        In other words, the Framers anticipated the possibility of a Donald Trump.

        Fortunately, they also put in a mechanism to enforce the Constitution against a president who tries to place himself above the law and to usurp the powers of the other branches of government.

        Article I, Section 2 gives the House of Representatives the “sole Power of Impeachment.” Article I, Section 3 gives the Senate the “sole Power to try all Impeachments.”

      • Amazon Requires Police to Shill Surveillance Cameras in Secret Agreement

        Amazon’s home security company Ring has enlisted local police departments around the country to advertise its surveillance cameras in exchange for free Ring products and a “portal” that allows police to request footage from these cameras, a secret agreement obtained by Motherboard shows. The agreement also requires police to “keep the terms of this program confidential.”

      • South Carolina Speaks for Whom?

        Because the African American vote is crucial, the conventional wisdom nowadays is that for Democrats to end up with a nominee who can defeat Donald Trump, Democratic candidates must win over African Americans’ hearts and minds. This is a rare case in which the conventional wisdom is spot on.

        Because South Carolina will be the first state to hold a primary or caucus in which a majority of likely Democratic voters are African American, its primary is bound to draw more national attention next year than it usually does. South Carolina is where candidates will do their best to figure out which way the wind is blowing. It is where they will put the most effort into tailoring their messages and marketing schemes to appeal to African American voters.

        But because demography is destiny, and because generals are always fighting the last battle, the thinking behind the conventional wisdom is, by now, somewhat superseded.

      • ‘The Bolton Gambit Succeeded’: Critics Warn Top Trump Adviser Has Put UK on Path to War With Iran

        With the United Kingdom and Iran in the midst of a tense and dangerous standoff after the tit-for-tat seizure of oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, international observers are warning that the British government has fallen into a trap set by hawkish U.S. national security adviser John Bolton that could lead to a devastating military conflict.

        After British commandos earlier this month swarmed and detained Iran’s Grace 1 oil supertanker in waters east of Gibraltar, Bolton applauded the move as “excellent news” and said “America and our allies will continue to prevent regimes in Tehran and Damascus from profiting off this illicit trade.”

      • Brexit, Britain and the Permanent Crisis in the Gulf

        What on Earth were the British politicians and officials thinking who gave the go-ahead for the seizure of the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 off Gibraltar on 4 July? Did they truly believe that the Iranians would not retaliate for what they see as a serious escalation in America’s economic war against them?

        The British cover story that the sending of 30 Royal Marines by helicopter to take over the tanker was all to do with enforcing EU sanctions on Syria, and nothing to do with US sanctions on Iran, was always pretty thin.

        The Spanish foreign minister, Josep Borrell, has said categorically that Britain took over the tanker “following a request from the United States to the United Kingdom”.

        One fact about Iranian foreign policy should have been hardwired into the brain of every politician and diplomat in Britain, as it already is in the Middle East, which is that what you do to the Iranians they will do to youat a time and place of their own choosing.

        The US and UK backed Saddam Hussein in his invasion of Iran in 1980, but this was not unconnected – though it was impossible to prove – with the suicide bombing that killed 241 US service personnel in the marine barracks in Beirut in 1983.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Hawaiians are Taking to the Streets and Exercising their First Amendment Rights

        Driving up Daniel K. Inouye Highway on the Big Island of Hawai‘i at 4:30 in the morning is a sight few will forget: a silent, pitch-black road, with black lava and sparse trees. The dark air is a chilly 50 degrees. In our backpacks are packaged tuna, crackers, water, walkie talkies, and a voice recorder. However, the most important items are without a doubt our blue ACLU of Hawai‘i legal observer vests and first aid kit, which is stocked with goods like antacid (to rinse our eyes of pepper spray) and earbuds. Sitting in the car, we Sharpie the names of a friendly board member who promised to help bail us out on our arms. We take a deep breath. We are steps away from the largest, most controversial protest to hit Hawai‘i this century. We are heading to the tallest mountain in the world: Maunakea.

        This marks the second week that hundreds of people — who call themselves “protectors” — are camping out at the base of the access road leading up to the summit of Maunakea to peacefully protest the planned construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, known as TMT. While the ACLU of Hawai‘i takes no position on the TMT itself, our concern for the free speech rights of everyone and the cultural access rights of Native Hawaiians — strongly guaranteed in the Hawai‘i State Constitution — drive us to get involved.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • How You Move Your Phone Can Reveal Insights Into Your Personality, Creepy Study Finds

        After crunching the numbers, the researchers found that some of the phone features really did predict some of the personality traits for the 52 participants. While they worked with a small sample size, it’s interesting to see that phone data best predicted neuroticism, conscientiousness, and extraversion.

        The logs weren’t as useful at predicting the other two traits, especially openness. And this makes sense, since some personality traits are linked to activity, and some are more internal.

      • Apple Siri contractors often hear up to 30 seconds of accidental recordings

        The snippets have allegedly included “countless instances” of discussions between doctors and patients, sexual encounters, business deals, and criminal activities such as drug deals, accompanied by the user’s location, contact details, and app data. While contractors aren’t specifically listening for private activities in the recordings, the whistleblower claims that Apple doesn’t do “much vetting of who works there, and the amount of data that we’re free to look through seems quite broad … If there were someone with nefarious intentions, it wouldn’t be hard to identify [people on the recordings].”

      • Should we worry if WhatsApp shared payments data with Facebook?

        Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government thinks there is genuine cause for concern that Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook will get around the server location norms by sharing user data among its associate entities. The social media platform Facebook-owned chat platform WhatsApp and photo-sharing app Instagram are prime suspects for this kind of manipulation, according to government sources. Sharing of data between the entities could constitute a breach of security, privacy and commercial information guidelines, media reports say.

        The government has asked the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to examine the matter and ensure that user data collected through payment services such are not shared. In this matter, the authorities have specifically flagged WhatsApp and Google Pay, the payment service that Google owners Alphabet Inc acquired by taking over Tez, a report on the Economic Times website said citing unnamed top officials. NPCI operates the country’s retail payment and settlement systems.

      • Bluetooth privacy and the FreeStyle Libre 2 glucose monitoring system

        Unfortunately, patient privacy wasn’t a guiding product development principle over at Abbott when making the Libre 2. Depending on your choice of clothing, no one can tell that you’re wearing the sensor just by looking at you.

        However, the sensor itself broadcasts every three-minutes to anyone within Bluetooth range that you’re wearing a glucose monitoring device. Thereby revealing personal information about a chronic medical condition to anyone nearby.

      • The ‘Ghost User’ Ploy to Break Encryption Won’t Work

        Security expert Jon Callas breaks down the fatal flaws of a recent proposal to add a secret user — the government — to our encrypted conversations.
        Note: This is part one of a four-part series where security expert Jon Callas breaks down the fatal flaws of a recent proposal to add a secret user — the government — to our encrypted conversations.

        Twenty-five years ago, the FBI decided it needed a surveillance system built into the nation’s telephone network to enable it to listen to any conversation with the flip of a switch. Congress obliged by passing the Communication Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), forcing telephone companies to rebuild their networks to be “wiretap ready.” In the more than two decades since then, the FBI has been seeking both legislative and judicial approval to expand this authority to internet communications, insisting that its investigations have “gone dark” because of increasingly widespread use of encryption. Technologists and civil libertarians have so far been successful in opposing those efforts, warning that requiring technology companies to build a backdoor into our encrypted communications would compromise security for everyone and would empower not just the FBI, but repressive governments like China and Iran, to demand or gain access to private communications. But law enforcement and intelligence agencies have not given up.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Neo-Nazi SWATters Target Dozens of Journalists [iophk: SWAT == attempted murder]

        Nearly three dozen journalists at a broad range of major publications have been targeted by a far-right group that maintains a Deep Web database listing the personal information of people who threaten their views. This group specializes in encouraging others to harass those targeted by their ire, and has claimed responsibility for dozens of bomb threats and “swatting” incidents, where police are tricked into visiting potentially deadly force on the target’s address.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Red Summer In Chicago: 100 Years After The Race Riots

        And Chicago wasn’t the only place this happened. What would come to be referred to as the country’s Red Summer was a series of race riots that occurred for several months in different places around the country. In Chicago, Eugene Williams’ death was what sparked the city’s riots, but kindling for that fire had been building for at least a few years.

      • The YouTubers Union Is Not Messing Around

        In recent years, YouTube creators have consistently spoken out about changes to the massive platform that they say they are rarely consulted on that affect their ability to make money. For example, YouTube has repeatedly changed how it handles copyright takedown requests (allowing copyright holders to assert copyright on and monetize videos that they didn’t upload, for example.) YouTube has also controversially “demonetized” or issued content warnings to some innocuous channels. One of the creators leading the unionization charge, Jörg Sprave, has had his popular slingshot videos removed by YouTube.

      • US citizen says he lost 26 pounds under ‘inhumane’ conditions at border facility in Texas

        An 18-year-old U.S. citizen from Dallas who was held for more than three weeks by U.S. and Customs and Border Protection despite carrying U.S. birth certificate documents says he lost 26 pounds during his detention and was not allowed to shower or brush his teeth while in custody.

      • No shower for 23 days: U.S. citizen says conditions were so bad that he almost self-deported

        Galicia spoke to The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday, one day after he was released by federal officials who had earlier refused to acknowledge his citizenship when presented with his birth certificate.

      • Why Indigenous Lives Should Matter

        In the United States, we live in a “post-genocide” society, whether or not we are cognizant of this fact or not. What do I mean by that? In order for the United States to have fulfilled its so-called “Manifest Destiny”—the divine right to conquer the lands west of the Mississippi River—we needed to wipe out the remaining Native Americans living on western lands. The idea was coined by the journalist John O. Sullivan in 1845when he stated: “…In the spirit of hostile interference against us, for the avowed object of thwarting our policy and hampering our power, limiting our greatness and checking the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.”
        Today, unfortunately, many indigenous peoples are still broken because of this past genocidal history. Native Americans were put on reservations, their lands were stolen, and their cultural heritage was dismissed and eradicated through the boarding school system.

        Those Natives currently living on reservations do so forty to sixty-percent below the poverty line. While Native Americans are also 82% more likely to die from suicide than Caucasians and 177% more susceptible to diabetes and alcoholic problems endemic. Statistically, more than a quarter of American Indian and Alaska Natives are more likely to live in poverty, more than double the general population, and more likely to experience violence and traumatic events than other populations.

      • Trump’s Brand of Fascism Is Distinct But No Less Dangerous Than Last Century’s Fascism

        If anyone needed further proof that fascism is still alive and well in Italy, the footage of Carola Rackete, the 31-year-old captain of the migrant-rescue ship Sea-Watch 3, getting arrested in Lampedusa for trying to save 42 asylum seekers, provides a graphic illustration.

        The late Italian fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, would have been proud of Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini for creating a country in which a young woman may face up to 10 years in prison for the unforgivable crime of saving human lives.

        Salvini currently heads Italy’s largest political force and also recently launched the new Identity and Democracy populist group in the European Parliament, which includes other far-right parties such as France’s National Front (FN) and Alternative for Germany (AfD).

      • Trump’s Racist Tweets Fan Hatred, Defining the Coming Election

        Earlier today, Senator Lindsay Graham discussed Donald Trump’s outrageous and racist tweets from Sunday which told representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna S. Pressley to “go back” to the countries they “originally” came from. And then he bolstered them. Live on Fox News, Graham escalated Trump’s attacks calling the four congressional representatives—all women of color—“communists.”

        “We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists. They hate Israel. They hate our own country. They’re calling the guards along our border, the Border Patrol agents, ‘concentration camp guards.’ They accuse people who support Israel of doing it for the Benjamins. They’re anti-Semitic. They’re anti-American,” Graham said. “Don’t get down. Aim higher. We don’t need to know anything about them personally. Talk about their policy.”

        The Real News Network’s Marc Steiner spoke to Dr. Kimberly Moffitt, an Associate Professor of the Language, Literacy and Culture PhD program and the American Studies department at the University Of Maryland Baltimore County, and Dr. Gerald Horne, John J. And Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African-American Studies at the University of Houston about ongoing and escalating racist rhetoric by the president and the GOP.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • [Old] Eben Moglen Illuminates Freedom of Thought in Keynote at re:publica 2019

        On Tuesday, May 7th, 2019, SFLC President and Columbia Professor of Law Eben Moglen delivered a keynote address titled Why Freedom of Thought Requires Attention at the re:publica 2019 conference in Berlin, Germany. Professor Moglen’s keynote directly engages with the consequences of humanity’s technological prowess on the abilities to self-govern, communicate, and even think.

        His thesis relates digital technology to freedom and self-government: [...]

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Big CAFC decision gives operating companies that transfer patents to NPEs plenty to consider

          A recent Federal Circuit ruling could leave many IP owners rethinking their patent transfer agreements and arrangements with transferees, write Paul Poirot and Jason Hoffman of Baker Hostetler

          Your company’s patents are reaching expiration. There could be some untapped value in them. But you are not interested in suing your competitors. You decide to transfer the rights to a non-practising entity in order to monetise them. But you need some assurances. You want to be sure that certain customers and business partners will be shielded from any infringement suits. You want to make sure that the new owners do not transfer the patents to your competitors. You also want to be certain that your company will not be required to join in any enforcement litigation.

          What has been a common practice for monetising patents may now result in your company being forcibly dragged into litigation. In a recent Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision – Lone Star Silicon Innovations LLC v. Nanya Technology Corp – the court relied on the combination of numerous rights retained by the transferer to hold that the transferee did not obtain “all substantial rights” and could not bring suit in its own name. The Federal Circuit then went on to clarify the ease with which the transferee can invoke Rule 19 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to forcibly join the transferee in the litigation if it is found that the transferee does not have sufficient rights to bring suit in its own name. This decision could leave many IP owners rethinking their patent transfer agreements and arrangements with transferees.

        • Qualcomm’s motion to stay enforcement of FTC’s remedies fully briefed: outcome-determinative questions

          This month’s Ninth Circuit motions panel (consisting of Judge Mary M. Schroeder, Judge William C. Canby, and Judge Morgan B. Christen) now has all the briefing in front of it to decide on Qualcomm’s motion for a partial stay of the FTC’s antitrust remedies, filed earlier this month after Judge Lucy H. Koh in the Northern District of California denied a motion for a stay. Former Qualcomm attorney and now-DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim’s division, with support from Department of Defense and Department of Energy officials, unsurprisingly spoke out in favor of Qualcomm’s motion by filing a statement of interest. Amicus curiae briefs were submitted by Ericsson and former Federal Circuit Chief Judge Paul Michel.

      • Copyrights

        • Tensions Rise as Copyright “Small Claims” Bill Moves Forward

          Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the CASE Act, a new bill that proposes to institute a small claims court for copyright disputes. As the bill moves to the Senate, tensions are rising between supporters and opponents, with familiar names, trying to rally support for their positions. Some see it as the ideal tool for rightsholders to protect their works, while others see it as a copyright-trolling threat.

        • ‘Dear Fucking God:’ The ‘Alexandria Library’ of Hentai Has Suddenly Vanished

          “Unfortunately, recent legislative changes in the Netherlands, confirmed by our host, has made it impossible to keep the status quo going,” Tenboro wrote in a post to the e-hentai forums on Friday. “While it may have been possible to move the necessary servers to some other country with more lenient laws, at this point in time it’s probably a game of whack-a-mole, so even if I wanted to attempt it, the aforementioned tendon injury makes it impossible for me to play that game.”

          While it’s not clear what law they’re referring to, specifically, it’s possibly the European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, which the European Parliament voted into law in April 2019.

          This law is designed limit how copyrighted content is shared online, but critics say the directive—specifically, Articles 11 and 13—are a disaster for internet freedoms. The Electronic Frontier Foundation calls it a “controversial proposal to make virtually every online community, service, and platform legally liable for any infringing material posted by their users, even very briefly, even if there was no conceivable way for the online service provider to know that a copyright infringement had taken place.”

People From Half a Dozen Countries May be Banned From Participating in the Linux Foundation Because It’s Outsourcing Many Projects to Microsoft/GitHub

Posted in GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft at 10:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nonprofit (which profits but refuses to pay tax) that inherits Microsoft’s dogma and institutional racism, motivated by sheer greed

Linux/Microsoft Foundation

Summary: The Linux/Microsoft Foundation is increasingly inheriting Microsoft policies, which are themselves in gross violation of the Four Freedoms enshrined/guaranteed by Free software licences

In light of the latest GitHub kerfuffle, which people are up in arms about (we’re seeing Microsoft in severe ‘damage control’ mode over the weekend, knowing how much damage this has caused), one has to wonder whether the Linux Foundation will issue a statement (of course it won’t!). Outsourcing by the Foundation to Microsoft has been well documented here; we wrote many articles about it, including very recently, and gave examples of the Foundation passing code (and beyond) to Microsoft. Yesterday I noticed that Zemlin et al had also given to Microsoft Hyperledger Fabric. I told them, “maybe you just outsource the whole ‘Linux’ Foundation to Microsoft as you see no need to delete GitHub” (they just keep adding more and more projects to it). Hyperledger Fabric is just the latest that I noticed, but there are many more, which one can find in our wiki. Mr. Zemlin and his friends have systematically passed control to Microsoft (over more and more components of the Foundation, even recruitment and Web sites).

“At which point will the Foundation realise that it’s quickly becoming little more than an extension of Microsoft rather than challenger to it?”At which point will the Foundation realise that it’s passing political enforcement to a company that sucks up to the Pentagon amid “JEDI” biddings (a $10,000,000,000 contract)? At which point will the Foundation realise that it’s quickly becoming little more than an extension of Microsoft rather than challenger to it?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson Has Turned Into a Complete Joke the Cabinet Entrusted to Deal With UPC Limbo

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gave a job to his brother, in a very Donald Trump-like fashion

UPC busSummary: The carnival of incompetent ministers has come to town and the UPC will quite likely be its first casualty

“New UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed his brother Jo as a minister in his government,” IAM wrote. “Among Johnson Jr’s responsibilities will be intellectual property policy.”

He already did that and then resigned/stepped down, but not before he personally met Battistelli and did a photo op with him.

“Putting the nepotism aside (namely Johnson giving jobs to close relatives), what does his view on the EU mean to the improper move by his brother’s successor, who ratified the UPC after the FCC had suspended the process?”Given the UKIPO‘s growing ties with the European Patent Office (EPO) under António Campinos (whose deputy came from UKIPO) one might wonder what the heck can happen next. It’s very unpredictable. Johnson insists on leaving the EU, which means UPC is not possible (there are many other reasons UPC is impossible).

“That’s awkward in the context of the UPC,” Benjamin Henrion responded to IAM. “Awkward” might be an understatement. Putting the nepotism aside (namely Johnson giving jobs to close relatives), what does his view on the EU mean to the improper move by his brother’s successor, who ratified the UPC after the FCC had suspended the process? He resigned not too long afterwards.

Henrion also highlighted this tweet which said “patents are pretty absurd most of the time, which is part of the point of this. the same thing was independently discovered many times, and there are several independent patents from multiple decades.”

Even more so when it comes to software patents where innovation is very rapid (far faster than patent examination and lifetimes of patents).

The Johnsons are in positions of power because of connections rather than skills. Just like at the EPO. Policy won’t be based on facts but on reflexes. That’s Trumpism.

SUSE Said It Was Becoming Independent But Instead It Became Like an ‘Asset’ of SAP (‘German Microsoft’), Which is Hostile Towards Free Software

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Servers, SLES/SLED at 8:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: It certainly ‘feels’ like SAP ‘took over’ SUSE and it has been ‘long time coming’

A week ago the CEO of SUSE stepped down and there was a lot of media coverage about his successor, who had come from SAP, which is a Microsoft ally that was almost acquired by Microsoft at one point. The media, however, wasn’t paying any attention to what happened to SUSE’s official blog. Over the past couple of months it was almost ‘hijacked’ by SAP, as I pointed out repeatedly in social control media sites. I’d hate to use "tweets" as 'sources', but these mostly link to the originals from SUSE’s own site. Here we go, in chronological order:

Either Microsoft Left the Open Source Initiative’s Board or Microsoft Was Kicked Out (Like Black Duck Was)

Posted in Microsoft, OSI at 7:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz









Summary: No more Microsoft in the Open Source Initiative‘s Board. Based on the Wayback Machine, the change happened some time around May.

Update: We have just been told by another Board member that “She resigned. Her work situation had changed and she no longer had the time to devote to OSI.”

The Linux Foundation is Totally Not Aware of Efforts to Undermine GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This is how today’s Linux Foundation views Microsoft

The Linux Foundation on Microsoft

“Microsoft is unique among proprietary software companies: they are the only ones who have actively tried to kill Open Source and Free Software. It’s not often someone wants to be your friend after trying to kill you for ten years, but such change is cause for suspicion.”

Bradley M. Kuhn

Patent Trolls Are Not a Solved Problem and They Are Definitely a Growing Problem in Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Parasitic patent lawsuits are only beneficial to law firms

Toxic bugs

Summary: As patent trolls spread and proliferate around Europe we cannot simply assume that the problem associated with their very existence (they’re fundamentally a gross injustice) will go away

“6 of the 8 patent suits filed today were filed by patent trolls,” said this Twitter account last week, “according to RPX Corp. That’s 75%.” That’s not so unusual, either. That’s in the US, where one is supposed to believe that the problem of trolls is ebbing away, notably because trolls rely on software patents, which themselves have little or no legitimacy in courts (35 U.S.C. § 101). Sometimes USPTO examiners reject these as well. If not them, then the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

“Seeing the lack of blog posts and even “tweets” from Team UPC, it’s not hard to see that they too know it. UPC is dead.”Here in Europe there’s the lobby for UPC, led by companies whose biggest clients include patent trolls — a growing problem in Europe, Germany in particular. Thankfully, a combination of factors including the German FCC (Constitutional Court) doom the UPC. “Same story as for the rules of procedure of the Unitary Patent Court,” Benjamin Henrion wrote in relation to other legislation, “you cannot create 130 pages of rules of procedure without the green light of parliaments.”

It’s even more than that for the UPC (people who approve it never ever read it!) and we’ve seen several new barriers to the UPC since the complaint to the FCC was filed two years ago, thwarting an imminent (at the time) ratification. There are at least three new ones and three additional ones named in the complaint, making a total of about 7 barriers to the UPC. We’re keeping track and keeping a count/tally. Seeing the lack of blog posts and even “tweets” from Team UPC, it’s not hard to see that they too know it. UPC is dead. In a recent Financial Times piece they openly admitted that they merely try to manufacture the illusion of progress.

“To them, the embrace of patent maximalism is very much desirable. Notice that sites like IAM never write anything negative about Campinos; they only need to pretend to be objective, for example when media provides compelling evidence of misconduct.”We’re disappointed to see nobody in the European media covering this (let alone international media); when it’s mentioned it’s typically composed with or by law firms. In other words, it’s marketing and lobbying rather than actual reporting. They’re lying. The above-mentioned Financial Times piece is one recent example of it.

When Groklaw covered the SCO case it did what almost nobody else did (or was able to do); equipped with inside knowledge and contacts near the action, it was able to debunk deliberate misinformation — the sort of thing the staff of the European Patent Office (EPO) nowadays deserves. Team UPC, or the litigation/trolls’ lobby (sites like IAM), does not view Battistelli and Campinos as problematic (except for the image of the EPO, which is being stained). To them, the embrace of patent maximalism is very much desirable. Notice that sites like IAM never write anything negative about Campinos; they only need to pretend to be objective, for example when media provides compelling evidence of misconduct. Whereupon they try to burn sources (and work to undermine the messengers). They’re almost literally in bed with the trolls and the most corrupt officials. Just before the weekend IAM once again fronted for American patent trolls after a key decision from the Federal Circuit.

We remind EPO workers (examiners in particular) that today’s media — and the state of journalism in general — is corrupt. Publishers are tools of corporate occupation and they receive bribes (e.g. advertising or partnership money) to mislead the public. On the upside, it looks like several writers left IAM recently (only the core 3 remain). They’ve apparently changed hands as well (Globe Business Media Group, a front group for law firms).

Five Techrights Prototypes

Posted in Site News at 4:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Thoughts on how to improve the reading experience on this site, whose layout has been the same for almost thirteen years

THIS Web site turns 13 in a few months (November) and it will, at that stage, have published about 26,000 blog posts (that’s an average of about 2,000 a year). The daily links have been around for more than a decade and the same goes for our IRC channels. Thankfully I still have a daytime/nighttime job to help pay my bills, including this site’s bills. I’m personally losing money — not just time — on the site. But it’s worth it. The site’s goal/work is important, as almost nobody else does it (Groklaw did it for almost a decade), and it’s rewarding in the fulfillment sense. I sort of live for it.

“I’m personally losing money — not just time — on the site. But it’s worth it.”Recently some readers suggested changes to the site’s layout. We’ve had lengthy discussions about these (those are actual, working Web pages, but we’re showing just screenshots of these because they’re crude prototypes, nothing beyond that). In the interest of transparency and spirit of collaboration we’ve decided to do a quick (but possibly lengthy) blog post about it. Just to keep readers ‘in the loop’ and invite feedback. There’s more in IRC logs when they become available (soon, some time next month).

To us — and to me personally — what’s most important is the substance, not presentation, but poor presentation can harm a site. I don’t judge sites by their appearance but their contents; if you’re promoting all sorts of “alternative medicine” and “survival kits” and “gold bars” in the side bar, that’s an instant credibility loss. If you use words like “fuck” and “asshole” in an article, that too can be a problem (depending on the context). If there are no links in the article, that alone might not detract from the message, but it helps to have ways to verify and trace individual claims back to sources. It inspires confidence. When dealing with companies that spent billions of dollars on PR it is inevitable that “shoot the messenger” tactics and nit-picking will be leveraged to dismiss the message. People have been defaming me, even using imposter accounts (with my name), for nearly 15 years.

Due to the size of Techrights (total number of pages) it has been exceptionally challenging keeping everything up to date, up to standard, consistent etc. But we try our best given our limited capacity. We recently got more volunteers. We’re very thankful. They’re part of us. They’re the family. We're growing.

“In the interest of transparency and spirit of collaboration we’ve decided to do a quick (but possibly lengthy) blog post about it.”Anyway, about layout…

“I’ve taken a few hours to make small modifications on Techrights stories web page,” one reader told us, “as we chatted in another dialog. These examples are very ugly, and of course are not intended as anything but a proof of concept. In fact, I’m not sure if I fully like them even in concept. So please feel free of [sic] not liking any of it either. But I wanted to give it a try anyways, in my little spare time. Who knows… maybe they end up triggering some actual good idea eventually. [...Y]ou’ll find 4 html files.”

It is based on the saved “/?stories” page from that date.

“Then there are three other versions of it,” the reader explained. “They use the same assets (as they’re all just an edited copy of the html file), and every one has a different modification…”

- “v1″ reacts to posts given its height. When height > 1000px, there’s a script that limits the post height to 1000px, adds a little gradient at the bottom, and a clickable div for expanding the full content.


- “v2″ does the same, but instead of expanding the contents, the div just opens the post url (given in the post’s title) in a different tab.


- “v3″ shrinks the posts to 100px, without checking its height, and adds a div on the post’s top-right corner for expanding it or folding it.


“Of course this is all client-side,” the reader noted, “even when there’s no need for it (as in “v2″, or the css classes assignation). The point is just to toy with the idea of scrolling and being able to focus in what I want to read, without trying to go to a “fully personalized” privacy nightmare and/or a 20MB webpage full of unwanted assets, invasive behaviour, and obfuscated javascript. Just tiny tools that should not break anything and could make it better for someone. By trying this stuff, I guess using desktop I liked more something in the lines of “v1″ or “v2″, but liked more “v3″ on a cellphone. There’s something about the tiny screen and not having too much data in it that feels adequate, but not on the monitor. It would be nice to not have this dialog in private, as I believe a lot of readers may have cool ideas.”

“To us — and to me personally — what’s most important is the substance, not presentation, but poor presentation can harm a site.”We’ve passed that around internally last week. “I haven’t looked in detail,” one person remarked, “but in regards to layout it is 100% possible to avoid any and all javascript and use only pure CSS. If it is a matter of ‘bling’ quite a bit can be done with CSS3: There are accordion menus, pull down menus, and many other things possible with just CSS. However, my main concern is the reflow of the columns on smaller, more narrow screens. The [...] v3 at least does not address that, at least not once it has been sanitized and the scripts removed.”

The person then named/suggested a better mode: “Here’s an example of one site that does 1, 2, or 3 columns depending on the browser’s width: https://www.deccanchronicle.com/

“Techrights needs to be able to reflow like that. HTML 5, which should also be used, has “summary” and “details” elements for hiding or revealing additional material. There are work-arounds in CSS for HTML4, but HTML5 ought to be the standard used. Working with WordPress to make those kinds of changes will be the hardest part.”

This is still work in progress and IRC logs, which we publish once in 4 months (for efficiency’s sake), have more on that.

“When worked on those files,” the reader added, “my stronger doubt was: “What are the most important issues to tackle here?”. And that’s very subjective, so I needed your feedback to know it: it’s your site, and there are lots of readers. I didn’t want to be many hours tunning/designing/refactor not-my-web with only my criteria. And that was specially uncomfortable on the “styling” front. Also, didn’t wanted to let the whole thing die without doing anything. So, some dirty sketches sounded like a good start, without needing to tackle all possible ideas at once, and without needing to touch a single given style. If that kind of work were well received, I was about to work next on the styles, which includes the flow, but also things like the font size given the screen size, the distribution of the posts, things like “night mode friendly”, and so on.”

“This is still work in progress and IRC logs, which we publish once in 4 months (for efficiency’s sake), have more on that.”Longtime readers are probably aware that the site’s looks have been virtually the same since 2006. This is intentional and it assures consistency (e.g. the looks and layout of old posts, of which there are many)

We recently ranted about JavaScript. We don’t want to ‘pollute’ the site with it. It would not help the substance.

“There’s also new stuff like CSS grids, flexboxes, and other stuff I never tried,” the reader said. “But in my experience, working on a CSS+HTML ONLY solution (which I always try to do) ends up in LOTS of quirks convulting the code, or in sacrificing something for the sake of purity. Things like the box model, pixels and margins that renders differently in different browsers, and so on, end up generating weird scrolls, broken lines, overlapped items, and stuff like that. On my blog I refused to program a reflow, because I couldn’t care less about mobile browsers, and it just adapt to screen size; I just zoom with the fingers if I happen to read it on mobile, or just flip the screen. It’s not a big nor a news site. So it barely uses any javascript, it has my own personal bling that pleases just me, and works well enough. WordPress didn’t make it hard for me to program it. [...] Techrights deserves a professional work. That means no trash code, no CSS whack-a-more against heavy HTML, no gratuitous javascript, and yet good SEO and good compatibility with other tools. That means lots of work. And neither you or the readers shouldn’t do that without a clearer idea of what should be done.”

“We’re open to the idea of making changes site-wide provided they’re sufficiently beneficial and the benefits outweigh harms associated with backward compatibility.”If anyone has ideas, please share them with us in the comments, in IRC, or bytesmedia at bytesmedia.co.uk (shared inbox). We’re open to the idea of making changes site-wide provided they’re sufficiently beneficial and the benefits outweigh harms associated with backward compatibility.

Another person has meanwhile created a prototype without JavaScript and explained: “I agree with most of that except regarding the importance of CSS. In my experience it remains the only way to keep the pages light weight. However, to do that, it does have to be written by hand and not use any off-the-shelf libraries. As for the flow and for stripping extraneous material, see the [following]. Don’t mind the background colors or the borders, they are there to show the blocks used.” Prototypes are shown below (as screenshots only, as the underlying code isn’t polished).



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