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08.31.19

The Judges of the Boards of Appeal Are Still Controlled by the European Patent Office and European Patent Quality is Therefore in a Freefall

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 1:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

All the Boards are swinging off the Office, which they were supposed to govern by enforcing the EPC (instead of appeasing the debased President of the Office)

Canada's Wonderland

Summary: The lack of justice at the EPO is very much profound and “Munich is officially the new Eastern District of Texas—but on steroids,” according to Florian Müller

THE European Patent Office (EPO) is running out of time. António Campinos kept Team Battistelli in tact and he maintains all the same policies. This end-of-week tweet said they “modernise our [EPO's] IT systems,” but actually they’re wasting a quarter billion euros on a system that does not work, then canning it silently. Leaked details on CQI have revealed that today’s EPO is all about patent maximalism, nothing else! Grant, grant, grant! If in doubt, grant! It’s a credibility crisis. The EPO became like a ‘diploma mill’, with officials who are alleged to have faked their degrees.

“It’s a credibility crisis.”The EPO’s overzealous approach towards patenting (or patent policy/scope) has attracted growing levels — as well as severity — of scrutiny. German blogger Florian Müller wrote some blog posts about it this past week and also a bunch of "tweets" (not formal), including unprecedented rants (there are more, but less noteworthy, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]).

“Munich court will decide tomorrow at noon,” he said. “If this hearing ends the way the first hour went, Munich is officially the new Eastern District of Texas—but on steroids,” he added.

We’ve warned about it for years. And now it’s undeniably happening!

“The EPO’s overzealous approach towards patenting (or patent policy/scope) has attracted growing levels — as well as severity — of scrutiny.”“Pro-patentee extremism on full display at Munich I Regional Court,” he later heralded. “The Munich court appears extraordinarily eager to order a patent injunction against Daimler. They don’t want anything to get in the way. Gotta grant them one thing though: protectionists they are not,” he added. In another tweet he said: “The Munich court won’t adjudicate Nokia‘s anti-antisuit motion against Continental AG from the bench. They‘re going to decide after further deliberation.”

He later summarised everything in the blog posts [1,2,3] below. They’e more detailed than “tweets” and there are official documents there as well. These “tweets” were tucked into some of the articles, which is fine (it takes longer to write long-form articles than mere “tweets”). Müller generally shares our views on the EPO. The EPO isn’t good for Germany or for the German economy; it’s only good for some German or Germany-based (or with branches in Germany) law firms.

As long as the EPO keeps granting software patents in Europe we’ll continue to see the likes of Müller complaining. After all, actual software developers do not want and do not need such patents.

Before the weekend the EPO tweeted: “Germany is the established leader in self-driving vehicle innovation in Europe. But would you have predicted the second- and third-placed countries?”

“The EPO isn’t good for Germany or for the German economy; it’s only good for some German or Germany-based (or with branches in Germany) law firms.”These are mostly software patents on stuff like computer vision and geometry, i.e. maths. Fake patents and easily-debunked/easy-to-invalidate patents oughtn’t be granted in the first place, but the EPO keeps promoting a bunch of buzzwords like “SDV”. In Singapore they like to speak of “FinTech” and even accelerate patent applications that adopt this buzzword.

Days ago a bunch of Asian sites (AsiaOne, Viet Nam News and Business Insider in Malaysia) said that “[t]he European Patent Office (EPO) has seen a growing number of patent applications from Singapore” (all in all, patent applications are decreasing in number, so Christoph Ernst et al would rather cherry-pick nations for the appearance of ‘growth’).

All these sites have the same article, which is a puff piece in which Christoph Ernst reveals himself as ‘tool’ of patent maximalists. To quote a couple of portions:

Dr Christoph Ernst, Vice President of the EPO, Directorate General Legal and International Affairs, said: “Asia is a major centre of innovation worldwide and there is a rapidly growing number of patents from this region. It has become evident that the EOP has been receiving a rapidly growing number of patent applications from this (Asian) region.”

[...]

Dr Ernst said the collaboration between IPOS and EPO has strengthened over the years. About 53% of the 170,000 patent applications received in recent years originated from outside the EU member state system — mainly from the United States, Japan, China and Korea. “Particularly noteworthy is that patent applications originating from Singapore increased by 20% last year to now 523 applications,” he added.

Why would IPOS want to associate with corrupt EPO officials? How did this article come about? It’s pure marketing. It’s also somewhat misleading. But this is what we’ve come to expect from mainstream media; it ignores EPO corruption and only ever says good things about the EPO. So do most law firms.

One booster of the UPC has just promoted through Lexology its article about appeal procedures changing:

On 1 January 2020, the rules governing procedure in ‘Appeals of Decisions’ made by the European Patent Office (EPO) will be changed. The new rules will bring in a host of changes relating to the procedure for appeals. One of the most significant changes will see a restriction on arguments, requests, amendments and evidence that appellants can submit. Appellants involved in existing appeals proceedings (and indeed anyone involved in ongoing examination or opposition proceedings) may want to consider taking action before the new rules come into force to ensure they have the best chance of success in a current or future appeal.

Most appeals at the EPO are from decisions of the Examining Division or the Opposition Division. The Examining Division has primary responsibility for determining whether an invention covered by a patent application is new, inventive, and meets the other criteria of the European Patent Convention (EPC) required for grant of a patent. If the Examining Division refuses to grant an application with an acceptable scope an appeal can be filed by the applicant.

David Lewin, James Ward, David Brown, Robert Margue and David O’Connell (Haseltine Lake Kempner LLP) also wrote about it a few days ago and they’re missing the point — perhaps intentionally — that these Boards of Appeal have zero independence. From Mondaq:

The “convergent approach” has the potential to require patentees to formulate their best sets of claims as the Main and Auxiliary Requests during the first-instance procedure, possibly allowing only necessary adjustments (a) in reaction to the first-instance decision (first level), (b) following developments during the early part of the appeal procedure (second level), and (c) in final preparation for, and at, the appeal hearing (third level).

[...]

The general applicability of the second level of the “convergent approach” from 1 January 2020 urges all parties to EPO appeal proceedings to check that all necessary documents, particularly a patentee’s best claim requests and an opponent’s best attacks, have been provided, and to remedy any deficiencies before 31 December 2019.

Also in Mondaq their colleague (co-author of the above) published “Is A Prima Facie Inadmissible Appeal An Appeal? And If It Is, Where Is It?”

Robert Margue (Haseltine Lake Kempner LLP) belatedly weighed in on the notorious case that showed the Boards’ lack of independence and coverup that ensued.

The Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO recently had to decide (G 2/19) an intriguing question arising from the relocation of the Boards of Appeal to the municipality of Haar in the Munich district, which lies outside the boundaries of the city of Munich. The question arose on the back of an Appeal filed by a third party against the grant of a European patent, which had the aim of correcting the allegedly unjustified grant of unclear patent claims.

European Patent EP 2 378 735 B1 was granted on 8th February 2017. During examination proceedings prior to grant of the patent, 3rd party observations had been filed on several occasions by European Patent Attorney P in accordance with Art. 115 EPC. According to the second sentence of this Article, any person who files 3rd party observations does not become party to the proceedings. The only party in the examination proceedings is the sole applicant.

We wrote a whole bunch of posts about the composition of the Board. It refused to even deal with the key question!

“…inverting narratives means that a defender/defendant is framed as an “attacker”.”Going back to Lexology, the other day it promoted this misleading post that frames challenges to weak/bogus patents as “attacks”. It’s that same old propagandistic spin; challenging likely fake patents is not an “attack”; the attacks are these patents being used for lawsuits; inverting narratives means that a defender/defendant is framed as an “attacker”. Here they go again:

On 30 July, the Court of Appeal of The Hague ruled on the formal entitlement to priority following from a US provisional patent application (judgment in Dutch here). The attack on priority in this case is part of a recent trend by parties in patent litigation which aims to challenge entitlement to invoke priority under the Paris Convention and the European Patent Convention.

We’ve meanwhile noticed the same inversion of roles in Bloomberg’s patent maximalists’ section. It wrote about the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that it’s a “Patent Attack” (actually, PTAB helps prevent frivolous attacks). To quote:

New Patent and Trademark Office guidance discouraging simultaneous attacks on the same patent has left practitioners uncertain about using that strategy to seek administrative reviews.

The agency in July said parties filing more than one validity challenge against a patent “at or about the same time” for a Patent Trial and Appeal Board review should explain the differences between and rank them in order of importance. Filing a single petition “should be sufficient” in most situations, the agency said.

Some practitioners are worried that the PTAB may start dismissing some legitimate challenges just because parties file several petitions.

“The European Patent Office (EPO) is not supposed to control any Boards of Appeal, but right now it controls all of them. It even ‘made an example’ of Patrick Corcoran.”Müller bragged that he had been mentioned in this article. “Quotes me as saying there’s no hard evidence of widespread #PTAB abuse,” he tweeted, “new rules to reward those who manage to weak patent claims granted by #USPTO, doesn’t incentivize innovation…”

Going back to the EPO, its PTAB equivalent (BoA) is not functioning. The EPO is certainly granting far too many fake patents and it’s being noticed, albeit not by the Boards. The European Patent Office (EPO) is not supposed to control any Boards of Appeal, but right now it controls all of them. It even ‘made an example’ of Patrick Corcoran. So there’s an actual bite, not just barking.

Three days ago Inventiva bragged about a new European Patent [1, 2]. But does Inventiva know that many European Patents are fake and not legal? Does it realise that many of these patents aren’t usable in court?

On the same day Bart van Wezenbeek wrote in Kluwer Patent Blog about Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH vs Advanced Neuromodulation Systems, Inc.

Here’s what happened:

The European patent was opposed by the appellant on the basis of lack of novelty and inventive step. Although the opposition division raised of its own volition an objection under Art. 53(c) EPC they decided to reject the opposition. The opponent appealed and argued that the invention would not be patentable on the basis of the aforementioned grounds. In the summons to the oral proceedings the Board of Appeal mentioned a possible new ground based on lack of industrial applicability. On the basis of the preliminary opinion the patentee filed 4 auxiliary requests. During oral proceedings the Board mentioned that it might change its opinion on the basis of the case law (T 775/97), whereupon a new auxiliary request was filed.

Had examiners been given more time to assess such patents, there wouldn’t be a backlog of about 10,000 (no kidding!) appeals. This just isn’t sustainable.

Physician’s Weekly has just reposted Reuters. Likely fake (bogus) patents are being assessed: “Alexion also awaits an impending European Patent Office (EPO) decision on its patent applications for Soliris, to extend the drug’s PNH market exclusivity in the European Union to 2027.”

“If Europe fails to maintain the high patent quality it was once renowned for, it won’t serve science and innovation. Instead it’ll serve law firms and litigation.”What we’re seeing right now in Europe is a bunch of errors being repeated. They replicate the US patent system and American chaos as it were a decade back when patent trolls were thriving and patent justice was too expensive and thus a rarity (no IPRs, no PTAB). The inter partes reviews (IPRs) help eliminate bad patents more trivially and quickly, on the cheap…

Patent maximalists are losing everything in the US. Watch them at an extremist site, Watchtroll. Greedy law firms that hate science write there (latest headlines are “Alice: Benevolent Despot or Tyrant? Analyzing Five Years of Case Law Since Alice v. CLS Bank”, “Latest Federal Circuit Ruling on 101 Strikes Down Mallinckrodt Method of Treatment Claims; Newman Dissents” and “Have Federal Circuit Judges Summarily Affirmed Your Patent Appeal Without Explaining Why? Tell SCOTUS”). Robert Sachs has let the mask slip; his hatred of Alice/Section 101 he now unleashes openly at Watchtroll, Nathan Lewin is using Watchtroll to attack the Federal Circuit and that third one is familiar. Agenda such as this was brought back by Dennis Crouch the other day (he had been doing it for years). They try to reduce patent quality again.

If Europe fails to maintain the high patent quality it was once renowned for, it won’t serve science and innovation. Instead it’ll serve law firms and litigation.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Munich court hell-bent on pre-emptive strike against Judge Koh’s jurisdiction over Continental antisuit injunction motion against Nokia

    While I doubt rather strongly that the Avanci patent pool firm’s U.S. venue transfer motion (from San Jose to Dallas) will succeed, Avanci contributor Nokia may help that entire group of patent holders (including, inter alia, Qualcomm) avoid the October 2021 FRAND/antitrust trial in the Northern District of California altogether. Nokia currently has the upper hand in Germany over both Daimler and one of its key suppliers of telematics control units, Continental, and may get decisive leverage from patent injunctions–probably in Munich before it does anywhere else–long before the end of the two long years, plus two months, that the build-up to the trial in the Northern District of California is still going to take.

    [...]

    The panel of three judges will announce a decision at noon (Central European Summer Time) tomorrow. As I’ll explain further below, the court hasn’t changed its mind about the appropriateness of the existing anti-antisuit-injunction injunction (“AAII”) against CAS, but the fate of Nokia’ severed pursuit of the same kind of AAII against Continental AG now turns on the question of whether the group parent, though it would undoubtedly be considered a real party in interest by U.S. standards, can actually be enjoined with respect to a motion brought by an indirect (like six degrees removed) subsidiary.

  2. Continental seeks to keep Avanci case in San Jose, says it “will have immediate and lasting effects on the whole IoT industry [...] around the world”

    In a few hours the Munich I Regional Court will finally hear oral argument regarding Nokia’s motion for an anti-antisuit-injunction injunction (“AAII”) against automotive industry supplier Continental. In the post I just linked to, I stated the correct weekday (Thursday) but missed the correct date by one day (meanwhile fixed).

    In the antisuit context, I’ve previously expressed some disappointment that Continental didn’t make it structurally easier for Judge Koh (such as by choosing the ideal plaintiffs and movants from that large corporate group) to grant the U.S. antisuit motion. The motion and the related reply brief made some valid points, but also contained nonsensical parts. And, quite frankly, I don’t understand why they didn’t counter Nokia’s denial of functional identity of the parties by pointing to Nokia’s own argument in the German AAII case, where Nokia essentially tells the court that Continental AG, the Germany-based group parent, controls all Continental entities at any rate–in which case functional identity (between the parties in Continental v. Avanci et al. in San Jose and the German Nokia v. Daimler–as well as recently-filed Sharp v. Daimler–cases) becomes a matter of merely applying the logic of the U.S. customer suit exception here.

    But I must give Continental’s U.S. lawyers credit for now having filed the strongest and most thoroughly researched opposition brief to a venue transfer motion that I’ve seen in almost a decade of watching these kinds of cases. It’s roughly three times as fact-rich as the average opposition brief of this kind that I’ve seen in high-profile cases. While Continental’s filings in the antisuit context contain passages that attempt to substitute words for facts, the opposition brief to Avanci’s motion to transfer the case out of Judge Lucy H. Koh’s court in San Jose (Northern District of California) and to the Northern District of Texas excels with a record density of relevant facts…

  3. Nokia wins again: Munich court issues additional anti-antisuit injunction against Continental’s German parent company to stop pursuit of U.S. antisuit injunction

    Yesterday I attended and reported in detail on the Munich I Regional Court’s preliminary-injunction hearing in Nokia v. Continental AG. Last month Nokia had already obtained an against Continental Automotive Systems, Inc. (“CAS”; not to be confused for the international sports tribunal) of Auburn Hills, MI, the plaintiff in the Northern District of California FRAND/antitrust lawsuit against the Avanci patent pool firm, whose contributors include Nokia, Continental, and various other patent holders. Today the court doubled down on Continental by additionally granting Nokia an AAII against Continental AG, the Hanover, Germany-based parent company of the entire Continental group.

    This is a very significant victory for Nokia’s litigation team, particularly its European head of litigation, Dr. Clemens-August Heusch, and the Finnish mobile company’s outside counsel from the Arnold & Ruess firm: lead counsel Dr. Cordula Schumacher; Dr. Arno Risse (“Riße” in German), the mastermind behind the AAII initiative; and Tim Smentkowski.

    Today’s AAII, which Judge Dr. Hubertus Schacht announced in his chambers (with only one other person than me listening), requires the German parent company to use its influence over its indirect U.S. subsidiary in order to cause it to comply with the AAII already in place against CAS. This means Continental AG must tell a direct subsidiary to tell an indirect subsidiary to tell another indirect subsidiary–and so forth–until at the end of that enforcement chain CAS is directed to withdraw the fully-briefed U.S. motion for an antisuit injunction.

The Admission Phase/Stage: Even Team UPC is Coming to Grips With the UPC’s Demise

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Months ago (acceptance): Even Joff Wild and the Patent Trolls’ Lobby Finally Admit Unitary Patent (UPC) is Dead

Admission

Summary: With a growing number of barriers to ratification and loss of enthusiasm alike, pro-UPC AstroTurfing has been diminished to almost nothing but deliberate lies, or at least silence

TEAM UPC had long faked ‘momentum’; it even admitted so last month.

The European Patent Office (EPO) quit talking about the UPC, Battistelli went ‘undercover’ at CEIPI (some believe he ‘stationed’ himself there for a UPC role), and António Campinos barely mentioned the ‘unitary’ anything this year (he did mention it a few times last year). The EPO has basically quit promoting the UPC. Is Team UPC close to giving up as well?

“The UK has said that the UPC cannot come into operation before Brexit in October, as industry experts warn that the long-held plan risks losing momentum altogether,” Max Walters tweeted. That UKIPO is unmasked as a moderate UPC booster is a disgrace, but more interesting in the Walters article is the improvement over his colleague's one-sided puff pieces, which are loudspeakers for Team UPC. This article is better because at least it quotes a couple of moderate UPC sceptics this time around, unlike the last time.

“Is Team UPC close to giving up as well?”The main issue we have is that it makes the UPC sound like a “matter of time”, but it’s dead. Managing IP won’t say it because of its business model. Managing IP has just bragged about being the “official Congress News publisher” at a lobbying platform of patent extremists and it did the same with UPC events. Same issue in IP Kat.

“Alex Robinson, partner at patent attorney firm Mathys & Squire in London” is quoted towards the end (that’s Team UPC itself!) and he too admits what other Team UPC fanatics continue to deny; the UPC complaint isn’t the sole barrier anymore because the German government too has lost interest, irrespective of the FCC. Here are some portions from the article:

The UK has said that the UPC cannot come into operation before Brexit in October, as industry experts warn that the long-held plan risks losing momentum altogether

Sources say a UPC featuring the UK is now unlikely given the UK’s pursuit of a ‘hard Brexit’.

Luke McDonagh, senior lecturer at City University in London – and who has been following UPC matters closely – says if there is a ‘no deal’ then there is “very little chance the UK will remain in the UPC”.

Thorsten Bausch, partner at Hoffman Eitle in Munich, agrees and says that the UK’s participation will be “extremely difficult – if not impossible – for political and legal reasons”.

[...]

McDonagh adds: “Meanwhile, the German Constitutional challenge to the UPC has yet to be resolved. There is a danger that the UPC project has lost crucial momentum.”

Alex Robinson, partner at patent attorney firm Mathys & Squire in London, points out that even if the October 31 date is extended and the Constitutional complaint resolved, the German government has confirmed that it won’t ratify the UPC Agreement until the effects of Brexit are known.

When even Team UPC admits the issue (impasse) it is becoming ever more apparent that the UPC is basically doomed. Even its loudest cheerleaders are belatedly digesting this thing called… facts.

Linux is Not Free/Libre If DRM is Adopted and Open Source is Meaningless in the Age of Openwashing

Posted in Deception, DRM, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Kernel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Vista, Windows at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Welcome to ‘Linux Vista’ and Open-for-business Source (for some parts, for the openwashing factor)

HDCP

Summary: Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and (GNU/)Linux don’t quite change the world as much as they’re being changed by monopolies (software, hardware and entertainment) to suit their agenda and eliminate any remnants of freedom

WHEN we say that Software Freedom is under attack we mean exactly that. We’re under attack; our rights and our dignity are under a heavy assault. We’re gradually losing control of everything digital. We become enslaved by technology, which rather than emancipate people devolves into a tool of oppression and imprisonment. Surveillance is one among many aspects of this.

“We become enslaved by technology, which rather than emancipate people devolves into a tool of oppression and imprisonment.”The harms of DRM are well documented, as are the effects of the DMCA. In the distant past (Windows Vista era) Microsoft colluded with hardware companies to put DRM in Windows and nowadays Google does the same to Linux (having already done the same to the WWW along with Microsoft and Neflix for the most part). It’s the evil DRM, not Direct Rendering (same acronym), which is mostly benign. According to this new post from Phoronix, AMD is doing the 'Intel thing' (which has done that with Vista/Microsoft and ChromeOS/Google). First the back doors (ME), now this…

To quote:

AMD developers have sent out their latest open-source Linux patches doing their kernel driver share for enabling High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) support for version 1.4 and newer.

While seeing HDCP support patches for open-source graphics drivers does irritate many in the community, similar to other open-source drivers supporting HDCP, this is only one part of the content protection puzzle. These patches alone do not impose any restrictions on users or other impairments, but mainly comes down to such proprietary software wanting to make use of HDCP capabilities on Linux. Open-source video players and the like can continue to enjoy GPU-based video acceleration uninterrupted.

[...]

Intel’s open-source Linux graphics driver only began seeing HDCP work relatively recently when Google engineers were interested with the Intel support in the context of Chromebook support.

All the news sites are still busy writing puff pieces about exFAT (at this stage we just skip these repetitive articles); no attention has been paid (or will be paid) to the issue above — an issue we investigated by analysing the kernel some months ago.

“The harms of DRM are well documented, as are the effects of the DMCA.”Make no mistake about it; Google surely spreads Linux, but at the same time it changes it in troubling ways. Yesterday/earlier today opensource.com promoted Google’s openwashing of its surveillance code — a subject that we covered in our previous Openwashing Report or two. To quote:

Developers at search engine giant Google have been busy on the open source front lately. In the last two weeks, they’ve released two very different systems as open source.

The first of those is the speech engine for Live Transcribe, a speech recognition and transcription tool for Android, which “uses machine learning algorithms to turn audio into real-time captions” on mobile devices. Google’s announcement states it is making Live Transcribe open source to “let any developer deliver captions for long-form conversations.”

Google is using this for surveillance, but we’re supposed to be all cheerful and gleeful because “open!”

“Red Hat’s opensource.com (above) actively participates in openwashing and Red Hat as a whole seem to have hired too many people from Microsoft, including managers.”We’ll do another Openwashing Report later this weekend. It’s a growing problem. It’s telling us that “open source” has “won”; what they mean by “won”, however, is co-opted by proprietary frameworks such as AWS, Azure, various spying devices that are dubbed “smart” and even totally meaningless mumbo-jumbo like "serverless". Some of our readers keep insisting that it’s time for the FSF to fight back.

Red Hat’s opensource.com (above) actively participates in openwashing and Red Hat as a whole seem to have hired too many people from Microsoft, including managers. It nearly sold itself to Microsoft and it promoted an Azure thing just before the weekend (we mentioned this in our daily links and it's not the first time).

What is going on? Have we lost sight of the fact that some companies strive to destroy Software Freedom?

“How long before we can call it “exterminate” or “extinguish”?”opensource.com has just published this article from Karl Fogel and James Vasile (we assume one of them is from Microsoft, but the bio was left empty). Microsoft executives — i.e. those who attack Open Source more than anyone — now try to hijack the narrative around its competition (speaking ‘for’ what it’s attacking). See paragraph 4: “Now we have a chance to have this discussion in a more regular and complete way: Microsoft has asked us to do a series of blog posts about open source, and the request was essentially “help organizations get better at open source” (not a direct quote, but a reasonable summary). They were very clear about the series being independent; they did not want editorial control and specifically did not want to be involved in any pre-approval before we publish a post. It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway, just so there’s no doubt, that the views we express in the series may or may not be shared by Microsoft.”

So a site called opensource.com is now being composed by/for Microsoft. How long before we can call it “exterminate” or “extinguish”? When will Microsoft ‘own’ Linux as much as it ‘owns’ the Linux Foundation? The Foundation has just outsourced some more projects to GitHub, i.e. to Microsoft. We put links about that in our daily roundup.

We’re being told that FOSS “won”; actually, software monopolies have “won” (read: dominate) FOSS. Who’s in control?

Links 31/8/2019: etcd 3.4, ACRN 1.2, Wine 4.15

Posted in News Roundup at 5:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Best Linux Distributions For Everyone in 2019

        There are a lot of Linux distributions. I can’t even think of coming up with an exact number because you would find loads of Linux distros that differ from one another in one way or the other.

        Some of them just turn out to be a clone of one another while some of them tend to be unique. So, it’s kind of a mess – but that is the beauty of Linux.

        Fret not, even though there are thousands of distributions around, in this article, I have compiled a list of the best Linux distros available right now. Of course, the list can be subjective. But, here, we try to categorize the distros – so there’s something for everyone.

    • Server

      • Announcing etcd 3.4

        etcd v3.4 includes a number of performance improvements for large scale Kubernetes workloads.

        In particular, etcd experienced performance issues with a large number of concurrent read transactions even when there is no write (e.g. “read-only range request … took too long to execute”). Previously, the storage backend commit operation on pending writes blocks incoming read transactions, even when there was no pending write. Now, the commit does not block reads which improve long-running read transaction performance.

        We further made backend read transactions fully concurrent. Previously, ongoing long-running read transactions block writes and upcoming reads. With this change, write throughput is increased by 70% and P99 write latency is reduced by 90% in the presence of long-running reads. We also ran Kubernetes 5000-node scalability test on GCE with this change and observed similar improvements. For example, in the very beginning of the test where there are a lot of long-running “LIST pods”, the P99 latency of “POST clusterrolebindings” is reduced by 97.4%. This non-blocking read transaction is now used for compaction, which, combined with the reduced compaction batch size, reduces the P99 server request latency during compaction.

        More improvements have been made to lease storage. We enhanced lease expire/revoke performance by storing lease objects more efficiently, and made lease look-up operation non-blocking with current lease grant/revoke operation. And etcd v3.4 introduces lease checkpoint as an experimental feature to persist remaining time-to-live values through consensus. This ensures short-lived lease objects are not auto-renewed after leadership election. This also prevents lease object pile-up when the time-to-live value is relatively large (e.g. 1-hour TTL never expired in Kubernetes use case).

      • 5 questions everyone should ask about microservices

        The basis of the question is uncertainty in what’s going to happen once they start decomposing existing monolithic applications in favor of microservices where possible. What we need to understand is that the goal of splitting out these services is to favor deployment speed over API invocation speed.

        The main reason to split off microservices out of an existing monolith should be to isolate the development of the service within a team, completely separate from the application development team. The service engineering team can now operate at their own intervals, deploying changes weekly, daily, or even hourly if a noteworthy Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) is applicable.

        The penalty for unknown network invocations is the trade-off to your monolith’s highly regimented deployment requirements that cause it to move at two- to three-month deployment intervals. Now, with microservice teams, you can react quicker to the business, competition, and security demands with faster delivery intervals. Equally critical for network invocations is to look closely at how course-grained your network calls become in this new distributed architecture.

      • Stackrox Launches Kubernetes Security Platform Version 2.0

        StackRox, the security for holders and Kubernetes company, declared the general accessibility of form 2.5 of the StackRox Kubernetes Security Platform. The new form incorporates upgraded arrangement and runtime controls that empower organizations to flawlessly authorize security controls to improve use cases, including threat detection, network segmentation, configuration management, and vulnerability management.

      • Pete Zaitcev: Docker Block Storage… say what again?

        Okay. Since they talk about consistency and replication together, this thing probably provides actual service, in addition to the necessary orchestration. Kind of the ill-fated Sheepdog. They may under-estimate the amount of work necesary, sure. Look no further than Ceph RBD. Remember how much work it took for a genius like Sage? But a certain arrogance is essential in a start-up, and Rancher only employs 150 people.

        Also, nobody is dumb enough to write orchestration in Go, right? So this probably is not just a layer on top of Ceph or whatever.

        Well, it’s still possible that it’s merely an in-house equivalent of OpenStack Cinder, and they want it in Go because they are a Go house and if you have a hammer everything looks like a nail.

        Either way, here’s the main question: what does block storage have to do with Docker?

      • Changing the face of computing: UNIX turns 50

        In the late 1960s, a small team of programmers was aspiring to write a multi-tasking, multi-user operating system. Then in August 1969 Ken Thompson, a programmer at AT&T Bell Laboratories, started development of the first-ever version of the UNIX operating system (OS).

        Over the next few years, he and his colleagues Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, and others developed both this and the C-programming language. As the UNIX OS celebrates its 50th birthday, let’s take a moment to reflect on its impact on the world we live in today.

      • The Legendary OS once kicked by many big companies turns 50. The Story.

        Maybe its pervasiveness has long obscured its roots. But Unix, the OS which proves to be legendary and, in one derivative or another, powers nearly all smartphones sold worldwide, came 50 years ago from the failure of an ambitious project involving titans like GE, Bell Labs, and MIT.

        [...]

        Still, it was something to work on, and as long as Bell Labs was working on Multics, they would also have a $7 million mainframe computer to play around with in their spare time. Dennis Ritchie, one of the programmers working on Multics, later said they all felt some stake in the victory of the project, even though they knew the odds of that success were exceedingly remote.

        Cancellation of Multics meant the end of the only project that the programmers in the Computer science department had to work on—and it also meant the loss of the only computer in the Computer science department. After the GE 645 mainframe was taken apart and hauled off, the computer science department’s resources were reduced to little more than office supplies and a few terminals.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Petty gripes about kernel versioning and tarballs

        Today in gripes that about 5 people including me will have: it’s really difficult to find a unified way to get a tarball from something on kernel.org to the Fedora dist-git in a way that meets the Fedora packaging guidelines.

        Let’s start with my pettiest gripe: the lack of a trailing 0 on official releases. Official kernel releases are usually versioned like 5.1, 5.2. Note the lack of a trailing 0 there. Stable updates are 5.2.3, 5.2.3 etc. This would be okay except for if you look at the Makefile for stable releases, there’s still a 0 in the SUBLEVEL filed where stable updates come from. “But Laura, there’s macros to take care of that” yes, in the kernel itself. I’m working on going from the kernel to dist-git so this means I’m writing scripts which have to re-do this work and think about this when generating a version string. If I wanted to be really petty, I’d start a conversation about changing the kernel versioning completely. The 5.0 numbering means nothing. The bump from 4.x to 5.x was because the second number was getting to high. The numbers mean nothing at this point except they keep getting larger. I’d love to see the numbers correspond to a date since the kernel is basically on a time base release at this point anyway.

        Fedora has packaging guidelines describing how packages should work. It’s to the benefit of everyone to follow these guidelines. The guidelines for Source recommend using tarballs and give a few other suggestions for how to set Source0 appropriately.

        The Fedora kernel generates 3 types of kernel releases: official releases (v5.2, v5.2.1), rc releases (v5.3-rc6), and snapshots that don’t correspond to an official tag. Currently, the way we generate all these is starting with the base (e.g. 5.2) and then applying a patch on top of it (patch-5.3-rc6, patch-5.2.10). We do this by grabbing the individual tarballs and patches from kernel.org.

      • Microsoft Will Publish exFAT Spec, but Linux Devs Aren’t Happy

        Greg Kroah-Hartman, who maintains the Linux -stable branch, defended the decision to take the code into staging, despite its current condition, writing: “I know the code is horrible, but I will gladly take horrible code into staging. If it bothers you, just please ignore it.”

        Stephen J. Vaughan-Nichols writes that the move could be read as a partial answer to a request made by Bradley Kuhn when Microsoft joined the Open Invention Network (OIN)’s patent non-aggression pact last year. After noting that Microsoft had specifically shaken down Linux product vendors for licensing fees related to exFAT in the past, he called on Microsoft to “submit to upstream the exfat code themselves under GPLv2-or-later.” Microsoft has not taken this step. Instead, it is publishing the specification and supports the work to create a Linux driver that will add exFAT support to the kernel at a future time. While Microsoft is supporting this effort, it expects the actual code submission to be performed by others.

      • The Initial exFAT Driver Queued For Introduction With The Linux 5.4 Kernel
      • VirtIO-FS File-System Driver Being Added For Linux 5.4

        In addition to the initial exFAT driver landing for Linux 5.4, also slated to land for this next kernel cycle is the VirtIO-FS file-system driver.

        The VirtIO-FS driver is a FUSE-based file-system implementation designed for guest to/from host file-system sharing for VIRTIO para-virtualized devices. VirtIO-FS aims to provide easier host to/from guest file sharing without requiring a network file-system and other configuration steps.

      • Linux Foundation

        • ACRN Project Releases Version 1.2

          We are pleased to announce the release of ACRN™ Hypervisor version 1.2 which introduces a number of new features.

        • ACRN 1.2 Hypervisor Released With Kata Containers Support, Secure Boot Capability

          The ACRN hypervisor that was open-sourced by Intel last year as a small footprint virtualization hypervisor focused on real-time computing and safety-critical applications for IoT and related embedded use-cases is up to version 1.2.

          ACRN, which continues to function as a Linux Foundation project, reached version 1.2 yesterday with new capabilities. Perhaps most notably, UEFI Secure Boot is now supported by ACRN 1.2 as part of its new OVMF support for serving as a virtual boot-loader to launch Clear Linux / VxWorks / Windows. There is also support for Kata Containers, another innovation originally out of Intel’s open-source group.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Waypipe Is Successfully Working For This Network-Transparent Wayland Apps/Games Proxy

          Waypipe is off to the races as the newest network transparency effort in the Wayland space. Waypipe provides a network transparent Wayland proxy for running native Wayland programs/games over a network similar to X11′s capabilities and forwarding X over an SSH connection.

          Waypipe development was successful this summer by student developer Manuel Stoeckl who was working on the effort as part of this year’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC). Waypipe is successfully working now for running Wayland games/applications over the network using this proxy mechanism and supports features like compression, multi-threading optimizations, and hardware-accelerated VA-API for video encode/decode across the network.

    • Benchmarks/Hardware

      • SSD vs. HDD

        The chart is interesting but I think Rakers estimate of 5x as the tipping point is too optimistic, for several reasons: [...]

      • How long before SSDs replace nearline disk drives?

        So when will the wholesale switch from nearline HDD to SSDs begin? We don’t have a clear picture yet but a chart of $/TB costs for enterprise SSDs and nearline disk drives shows how much closer the two storage mediums have come in the past 18 months.

        It is unwise to extrapolate too much but it is clear the general trend direction is that Enterprise SSD cost per terabyte is falling faster than nearline disk drive cost/TB. Our chart below shows the price premium for enterprise SSDs has dropped from 18x in the fourth 2017 quarter to 9x in the second 2019 quarter.

      • AMD Ryzen 9 3900X Power Usage Is Running Measurably Higher On Linux Than Windows

        Frequently brought up following our various Ryzen 3000 “Zen 2″ benchmarks like the Ryzen 9 3900X vs. Core i9 9900K gaming benchmarks is how the Ryzen 9 3900X is pulling considerably more power than the similarly equipped Intel Core i9 system and those numbers are higher than what is often cited by Windows reviewers as the difference. I’ve begun investigating that power difference and indeed quite quickly could see Linux power usage being higher than Windows 10.

    • Applications

      • Bitcoin wallets for Linux

        For veteran Linux users, trading or using bitcoin really isn’t a big deal, but if you haven’t been around Linux for very long, you might like to know about the various Linux based bitcoin wallets available to get you buying or trading in bitcoin. Note that some of these clients also support other blockchain currencies such as Etherium or Ripple.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 4.15 is now available.
        
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Initial implementation of the HTTP service.
          - Stack unwinding support on ARM64.
          - Better multi-monitor support on macOS.
          - RichEdit control optimizations.
          - Various bug fixes.
        
        
      • Wine 4.15 Brings Initial HTTP Service Implementation (HTTP.sys)

        Wine 4.15 is out for testing this US holiday weekend. With Wine 4.15 it brings an initial implementation of Windows’ HTTP.sys as the HTTP protocol stack that is a kernel-mode driver that lists for HTTP requests and passes it onto Microsoft’s IIS.

        An initial implementation of this HTTP.sys service is now in place as one of the major features to Wine 4.15. HTTP.sys has been the replacement to the Winsock API by IIS and is geared to provide better performance than the Windows Sockets API and other features. This big round of HTTP.sys work was led by Wine developer Zebediah Figura.

      • The Wine 4.15 development release is out now

        What’s a Friday without a little Wine? Thankfully today we don’t have to find out as the Wine 4.15 development release is now out.

    • Games

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma session weirdness in FreeBSD

          We – the KDE-FreeBSD team – have been puzzling over sessions management for a bit when running a Plasma desktop (plain X11) on FreeBSD.

        • A short report on Krita Sprint 2019

          This Krita Sprint was bigger than ever, or so I’ve heard, as this is only my second one, and because of the amount of things that happend deciding on what to write about was not easy. The Sprint did a lot to create stronger bonds between the different Krita actors: developers and artists. Dicussions between the groups allowed us to set effective development goals for the upcoming Krita version as well as showing there were some processes in need of polishing in order to be truly effective –quality control and testing timeframes come to mind–.

          I focused mainly in knowing how other artists used Krita, which varies significantly between them. Most artists seem to work on a fixed way, but they do it in controlled environment so results are always consistent. This makes it very important to make all features discoverable in not only one way, sine once an artists find a confortable workflow they will rarely get out of it and will never get to know some tools they need but they never stumble upon. This might be the case for artists coming from other applications as tools could be placed were they do not expect them to be. For example, one artist suggested we should have a liquify tool, unknowinly that the “tool” was already there, but contrary to what they expected the tool was not a filter but rather a suboption in the transformation tool.

        • GSoC’19 Project : Milestone 3

          The third milestone or my Google Summer of Code 2019’s project porting KDE Connect to Windows involves porting the remaining plugins of the linux build so they work similarly on the Windows build. Cool stuff!

          There are a lot of plugins in KDE Connect that tend to improve the user experience by providing various features. The project team keeps working hard (in their free time only as a volunteer service) to maintain and create new plugins that comprise the usability of KDE Connect.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora Community Blog: Stories from the amazing world of release-monitoring.org #7

          The view from the top of the tower was amazing. With few exceptions most of the things worked as they should. I had one hand on my wizard hat to protect it from wind. It’s too windy in this height. As I was looking from the tower, door behind me opened and traveler came in.

          “I’m glad to see you. It was a while till we met. There was plenty of things that happened in the meantime and needed my attention. I even spent some time in the world of Bodhi and I must say it is complicated and noisy world. Too different from this one. But this is the story for another time.” I stepped back from the railing and moved to part of the balcony that was shielded from the wind. There was table and two chairs. I sat on one and traveler followed me. “You probably want to hear some news. So relax and listen, this will take some time.”

        • Fedora Community Blog: FPgM report: 2019-35

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora Program Management this week. The Beta freeze is underway.

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

      • Debian Family

        • Chris Lamb: Free software activities in August 2019

          I was extremely proud to be announce I will be joining the folks at Software in the Public Interest to assist its many umbrella projects and free software in General. You can read the official announcement here.

          [...]

          I attended this year’s Debian Party in Cambridge, UK. Better known as the “OMGWTFBBQ”, I had a great time despite the remarkable heat. A special thanks to Steve for hosting the event and all others who helpedand organise this, as well as Mythic Beasts, Collabora and Codethink for sponsoring the event. For my part I made some souvenir beer mats commemorating the event, offering them gratis with a nudge towards becoming a supporter of the Software Freedom Conservancy:

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Coreboot

        This week’s open source project of the week is coreboot (previously LinuxBIOS), an extended firmware platform that is aimed at replacing proprietary firmware (BIOS or UEFI) found in many computers.

      • AMD Is Hiring For Coreboot Development, Sponsoring Open-Source Firmware Conference

        That’s exciting itself and certainly noteworthy, but also notable is AMD is now sponsoring next week’s Open-Source Firmware Conference. AMD has joined the likes of Amazon AWS, Arm, System76, TrustedFirmware.org, and other companies in sponsoring this conference about Coreboot, LinuxBoot, and related open-source firmware projects.

      • Events

        • What To Expect At The Cloud Foundry Summit In The Hague?

          At the Open Source Summit, 2019, we sat down with Chip Childers, CTO of the Cloud Foundry Foundation to talk about these topics:

          00:20:09 What To Expect At The Cloud Foundry Summit In Hague?
          00:02:28 Chip?s comments on Service Mesh
          00:06:15 How Cloud Foundry evaded the hype cycle
          00:13:40 What are the new technologies you Chip is excited about

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 69 new contributors

            With the release of Firefox 69, we are pleased to welcome the 50 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 39 of whom were brand new volunteers!

          • Hacks.Mozilla.Org: The Baseline Interpreter: a faster JS interpreter in Firefox 70

            Modern web applications load and execute a lot more JavaScript code than they did just a few years ago. While JIT (just-in-time) compilers have been very successful in making JavaScript performant, we needed a better solution to deal with these new workloads.

            To address this, we’ve added a new, generated JavaScript bytecode interpreter to the JavaScript engine in Firefox 70. The interpreter is available now in the Firefox Nightly channel, and will go to general release in October. Instead of writing or generating a new interpreter from scratch, we found a way to do this by sharing most code with our existing Baseline JIT.

          • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 63

            The about:addons shortcut management view is now notifying users when there extensions are using the same shortcuts. Thanks to Trishul for contributing this enhancement.

      • Databases

        • Open source databases: Today’s viable alternative for enterprise computing

          There was a time when proprietary solutions from well-capitalized software companies could be expected to provide superior solutions to those produced by a community of dedicated and talented developers. Just as Linux destroyed the market for expensive UNIX versions, open source database management systems like EDB Postgres are forcing Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, and other premium database management products to justify their pricing. With so many large, critical applications running reliably on open source products, it’s a hard case to make.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • TDF Annual Report 2018

          The Annual Report of The Document Foundation for the year 2018 is now available in PDF format from TDF Nextcloud in two different versions: low resolution (6.4MB) and high resolution (53.2MB). The annual report is based on the German version presented to the authorities in April.

          The 52 page document has been entirely created with free open source software: written contents have obviously been developed with LibreOffice Writer (desktop) and collaboratively modified with LibreOffice Writer (online), charts have been created with LibreOffice Calc and prepared for publishing with LibreOffice Draw, drawings and tables have been developed or modified (from legacy PDF originals) with LibreOffice Draw, images have been prepared for publishing with GIMP, and the layout has been created with Scribus based on the existing templates.

      • Public Services/Government

      • Licensing/Legal

        • CUPS 2.3 Printing System Finally Released With Licensing Change & Other Additions

          CUPS 2.3 is an important update due to a licensing change and important for Linux users now that there is an issue being resolved from earlier in the development cycle. Apple, which has been under the control of CUPS for the past decade, decided to relicense this printing server to the Apache 2.0 license. But due to various non-Apple Linux CUPS utilities like cups-filters being GPLv2, that presents a problem. Apple lawyers ended up adding an exception to their Apache 2.0 license to allow linking the software with GPLv2 software, which takes care of the issue while still satisfying them with their re-license. This seems to be part of the reason why the CUPS 2.3 release took so long to materialize.

      • Programming/Development

  • Leftovers

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • A very deep dive into iOS Exploit chains found in the wild

        Project Zero’s mission is to make 0-day hard. We often work with other companies to find and report security vulnerabilities, with the ultimate goal of advocating for structural security improvements in popular systems to help protect people everywhere.

        Earlier this year Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) discovered a small collection of hacked websites. The hacked sites were being used in indiscriminate watering hole attacks against their visitors, using iPhone 0-day.

        There was no target discrimination; simply visiting the hacked site was enough for the exploit server to attack your device, and if it was successful, install a monitoring implant. We estimate that these sites receive thousands of visitors per week.

        TAG was able to collect five separate, complete and unique iPhone exploit chains, covering almost every version from iOS 10 through to the latest version of iOS 12. This indicated a group making a sustained effort to hack the users of iPhones in certain communities over a period of at least two years.

      • Coin-mining malware jumps from Arm IoT gear to Intel servers

        A coin-mining malware infection previously only seen on Arm-powered IoT devices has made the jump to Intel systems.

        Akamai senior security researcher Larry Cashdollar says one of his honeypot systems recently turned up what appears to be an IoT malware that targets Intel machines running Linux.

        “I suspect it’s probably a derivate of other IoT crypto mining botnets,” Cashdollar told The Register. “This one seems to target enterprise systems.”

        In addition to being fine-tuned for Intel x86 and 686 processors, the malware looks to establish an SSH Port 22 connection and deliver itself as a gzip archive. From there, the malware checks to see if the machine has already been infected (at which point the installation stops) or if an earlier version is running and needs to be terminated. From there, three different directories are created with different versions of the same files.

        “Each directory contains a variation of the XMrig v2.14.1 cryptocurrency miner in either x86 32bit or 64bit format,” the Akamai security ace explained. “Some of the binaries are named after common Unix utilities, like ps, in an attempt to blend into a normal process list.”

    • Environment

      • Florida preps for an ‘absolute monster’: Hurricane Dorian
      • Energy

        • Pipeline Permit Scandal Highlights Confusion Amid Push to Build Plastics Plants

          For the past 42 years, the Beaver County Conservation District in western Pennsylvania has hosted their Maple Syrup Festival, an annual all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast featuring syrup made from maple trees in a park in Beaver Falls.

          It’s a huge event in this county, population 164,742; organizers expected up to 40,000 attendees at last year’s festival, which included a Civil War re-enactment, pony rides, and craft demonstrations like bobbin lace making.

          But with the arrival of Shell and its $6 billion plastics manufacturing plant, currently under construction in Beaver County, the conservation district assumed more serious responsibilities than throwing a maple syrup festival — including permitting the fossil fuel pipelines feeding the massive plastics complex.

        • Bernie Sanders’ Plan to Phase out Nuclear Power Draws Attacks — Here’s Why They’re Wrong

          Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has released an ambitious climate proposal, one which champions of the status quo were quick to criticize. One line of attack, coming from many different sources, focuses on Sanders’ plan to phase out nuclear power, but the arguments, and who is behind them, deserve a closer look.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Hey, it’s 2019. Quit making battery-draining webpages – say makers of webpage-displaying battery-powered kit

        Apple WebKit engineers Benjamin Poulain and Simon Fraser have offered advice to web developers about how to design power-efficient web pages, to preserve the life of mobile device batteries and give users more time interacting with web content.

        “Web developers rarely think about power usage, but they really should,” said Fraser, via Twitter.

        WebKit is the browser rendering engine at the heart of Apple’s mobile and desktop Safari browsers, but the tips presented by its programmers apply to web pages presented in any browser, for the most part.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • AMD Prepping Their HDCP 1.4 Content Protection Support For Raven Ridge & Newer

        AMD developers have sent out their latest open-source Linux patches doing their kernel driver share for enabling High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) support for version 1.4 and newer.

        While seeing HDCP support patches for open-source graphics drivers does irritate many in the community, similar to other open-source drivers supporting HDCP, this is only one part of the content protection puzzle. These patches alone do not impose any restrictions on users or other impairments, but mainly comes down to such proprietary software wanting to make use of HDCP capabilities on Linux. Open-source video players and the like can continue to enjoy GPU-based video acceleration uninterrupted.

        [...]

        Intel’s open-source Linux graphics driver only began seeing HDCP work relatively recently when Google engineers were interested with the Intel support in the context of Chromebook support.

    • Monopolies

      • On economic analysis of IP law: an interview with professor Tom Cotter

        This Kat just returned from vacationing in beautiful Minnesota where he enjoyed open water swimming, fried cheese curds and … a conversation on the law & economics of IP with Professor Tom Cotter. Cotter’s recent books include Comparative Patent Remedies (2013) and Patent Wars: How Patents Impact our Daily Lives (2018). He runs the Comparative Patent Remedies blog and has authored dozens of articles on, particularly, the economic analysis of patent remedies.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Patent court to review Alexion’s Soliris patents on Amgen challenge

          The U.S. patent office will review patents on Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc’s blood disorder treatment Soliris, after Amgen Inc challenged them, court filings showed on Friday.

          The move deals a blow to Alexion’s efforts to ward off competition for its top-selling drug, which accounted for nearly 82% of the drugmaker’s total revenue in the latest quarter.

          Alexion’s shares fell 10.4% to $100.51, while Amgen’s were marginally higher at $208.21.

          Amgen is contesting the U.S. patents to Soliris that extend the drug’s market exclusivity to 2027 from 2022.

          The Patent Trial and Appeal Board, an administrative court run by the U.S. patent office, said on Friday it was instituting an inter partes review (IPR) on the patents.

          [...]

          Alexion also awaits an impending European Patent Office (EPO) decision on its patent applications for Soliris, to extend the drug’s PNH market exclusivity in the European Union to 2027.

        • Nokia wins again: Munich court issues additional anti-antisuit injunction against Continental’s German parent company to stop pursuit of U.S. antisuit injunction

          Yesterday I attended and reported in detail on the Munich I Regional Court’s preliminary-injunction hearing in Nokia v. Continental AG. Last month Nokia had already obtained an against Continental Automotive Systems, Inc. (“CAS”; not to be confused for the international sports tribunal) of Auburn Hills, MI, the plaintiff in the Northern District of California FRAND/antitrust lawsuit against the Avanci patent pool firm, whose contributors include Nokia, Continental, and various other patent holders. Today the court doubled down on Continental by additionally granting Nokia an AAII against Continental AG, the Hanover, Germany-based parent company of the entire Continental group.

          This is a very significant victory for Nokia’s litigation team, particularly its European head of litigation, Dr. Clemens-August Heusch, and the Finnish mobile company’s outside counsel from the Arnold & Ruess firm: lead counsel Dr. Cordula Schumacher; Dr. Arno Risse (“Riße” in German), the mastermind behind the AAII initiative; and Tim Smentkowski.

          Today’s AAII, which Judge Dr. Hubertus Schacht announced in his chambers (with only one other person than me listening), requires the German parent company to use its influence over its indirect U.S. subsidiary in order to cause it to comply with the AAII already in place against CAS. This means Continental AG must tell a direct subsidiary to tell an indirect subsidiary to tell another indirect subsidiary–and so forth–until at the end of that enforcement chain CAS is directed to withdraw the fully-briefed U.S. motion for an antisuit injunction.

        • Nartron IPRs a Touchstone For Understanding PTAB Discretion

          Nartron claims that it “is credited with inventing the electronic touch screen in 1995.” (The electronic touch screen is generally recognized as having been first invented by E.A. Johnson in 1965, with various refinements such as multitouch and capacitive multitouch displays made over the intervening three decades by many other innovators. Nartron is not part of any of those histories.) The ‘183 patent was filed in 1996 and expired in 2016. For much of its life it sat there, apparently ignored.1 by lawsuit and thousands of dollars in attorney fees”.] But in 2012, Nartron began to prepare for assertion.2

          First, Nartron filed a pair of requests for its own patent to be reexamined. This allowed Nartron to put relevant prior art on record and amend its claims—claims that they had had, unchanged, for 15 years—to avoid being invalidated by that prior art when asserted. These reexaminations also resulted in the addition of more than 80 claims to the original patent, resulting in a patent with 114 total claims.

          And then Nartron began filing lawsuits.

        • Final and Nonappealable: Means “may be reconsidered” and not reviewable in “at least some circumstances.”

          In 2014, BioDelivery filed three separate IPR petitions against Aquestive’s U.S. Patent 8,765,167. The USPTO partially-instituted the proceedings (on some, but not all grounds) but then sided with the patentee — finding that the claims had not been proven unpatentable. BioDelivery then appealed to the Federal Circuit who vacated the final written decision on SAS grounds — holding that the USPTO cannot partially institute an IPR.

          Back on remand, the PTAB essentially restarted the whole case at institution and eventually decided not to institute the case at all (terminating all three IPR petitions). BioDelivery then appealed again — arguing that the appeal should have remained instituted and that the PTAB should not have reconsidered that decision.

          Back on appeal, the Federal Circuit reconstituted the same panel of Judges Newman, Reyna and Lourie.

          Not Final Final: In its decision, the Federal Circuit first held that the “final” aspect of an institution decision does not mean that it cannot be reconsidered. Rather, “administrative agencies possess inherent authority to reconsider their decisions, subject to certain limitations, regardless of whether they possess explicit statutory authority to do so.” Medtronic, Inc. v. Barry, 891 F.3d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 2018). Without interpreting the statutory meaning of “final,” the Board simply concluded that it does not clearly deprive the Board of its “inherent default authority.” (Note a minor problem with the decision in how it conflates statutory authority given to the Board with statutory authority given to the Director who then administrative delegated that authority to the Board).

      • Copyrights

        • Planet Art v Photobox passing off: no compunction when refusing injunction

          Planet Art and Photobox are commercial rivals. Both offer online printing, particularly of photographs. Planet Art launched in the UK in 2014 and operates exclusively through mobile applications; its main app is called “FREEPRINTS”. For many years Photobox has offered a certain number of free prints to attract potential customers. In late 2017 or early 2018 Photobox concluded that this offer was undermining its paid-for business model. Photobox therefore decided to launch a standalone app (with a limited allowance of free prints) to combat the surprising trend of customers finding ways to use the same free “introductory” offer multiple times, which was – of course – impossible to foresee.

08.30.19

Links 30/8/2019: Nvidia Linux Graphics Driver and DXVK 1.3.3

Posted in News Roundup at 4:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • 11 surprising ways you use Linux every day

      Linux runs almost everything these days, but many people are not aware of that. Some might be aware of Linux and might have heard that this operating system runs supercomputers. According to Top500, Linux now powers the five-hundred fastest computers in the world. Go to their site and search for “Linux” to see the results for yourself.

      You might not be aware that Linux powers NASA. NASA’s Pleiades supercomputer runs Linux. The International Space Station switched from Windows to Linux six years ago due to the operating system’s reliability. NASA even recently deployed three “Astrobee” robots—which run Linux—to the International Space Station.

    • Desktop

      • 2019 System76 Gazelle Laptop Review
      • System76: It’s Time for an August News Update!

        When Back to School season threatened to overpower outdated hardware, it was up to us to help students and teachers succeed in the classroom. As a result, we began the month of August with our Back to School Sale! Until September 10th, those looking to upgrade their hardware can save on computers and increase their discounts as they upgrade?up to $1510 on desktops and up to $370 on laptops.

        In other news, we?ve recently announced some new hardware and features! Read on for more about the Adder WS, Pop!_OS, and the new Firmware Manager, as well as information about our attendance at Open Source Firmware Conference.

    • Server

      • Best Practices in Deploying SUSE CaaS Platform

        SUSE CaaS Platform is an enterprise class container management solution that enables IT and DevOps professionals to more easily deploy, manage, and scale container-based applications and services. It includes Kubernetes to automate lifecycle management of modern applications, and surrounding technologies that enrich Kubernetes and make the platform itself easy to operate.

      • Storj Opens Its Decentralized Storage Service Project to Beta

        Storj Labs has released the beta of its open source namesake decentralized cloud object storage software alongside opening up beta access to its own implementation of that software with its decentralized cloud storage service Tardigrade. In an interview with The New Stack, Storj Labs Executive Chairman and Interim CEO Ben Golub explained that Storj follows in the footsteps of other household name tech companies that allow its members to profit by “sharing” their resources — in this case, their spare storage space.

      • Storj Labs advances decentralized cloud storage platform

        Open source cloud storage startup Storj Labs is set to bring its vision of decentralized cloud storage to enterprise users.

        The Storj Labs Tardigrade service uses blockchain technology and a distributed network of storage nodes, provided by people or organizations that are paid for providing storage capacity. The initial versions of the Storj Labs decentralized cloud storage platform were not focused on providing the controls and guarantees needed for commercial use, but that is changing with version 3 of the Storj Labs platform and the Tardigrade platform, which became available in beta on Aug. 22.

      • Open-source serverless framework wants to pave the way towards serverless 2.0

        According to Jonas Bonér, CTO at Lightbend, today’s current serverless movement focuses a lot on automation and infrastructure, but neglects requirements at the application layer. This is because data, streaming and event-driven stateful architectures can be challenging, he explained.

        “The next generation serverless platform and programming model will take a more holistic grip on the whole system, end-to-end, and allow general-purpose application development—e.g. microservices, fast data, streaming pipelines, AI/ML, etc. It will let us implement common use-cases such as: shopping carts, user sessions, transactions, ML model training serving, low-latency prediction and recommendation serving, anomaly detection, job scheduling, and much more,” Bonér told SD Times. “What we are missing is support for long-lived virtual stateful functions, a way to manage distributed—durable and ephemeral—state in a scalable and available fashion, ways to co-locate processing and data, and options for choosing the right consistency model for the job.”

      • IBM

        • Call for papers now open for Red Hat Summit 2020

          We’re excited to announce that the call for papers is now open for the 16th annual Red Hat Summit, to be held April 27-29, 2020 in San Francisco. We’re inviting our partners, customers, collaborators and community members to participate in the industry’s premier enterprise open source technology conference.

          Red Hat Summit has become a must-attend technology event to experience the latest and greatest in open source innovations that are the future of enterprise technology—from hybrid cloud infrastructure, containers and cloud-native app platforms to management, automation, emerging tech and more. Over the years, we’ve seen incredible value in bringing together leaders across the IT industry to collaborate, innovate and help grow our industry.

        • Red Hat CEO Says Acquisition by IBM Will Help Spur More Open-Source Innovation

          International Business Machines Corp.’s recent acquisition of Red Hat Inc. is aimed squarely at building up its cloud business—in part by making it easier for IBM customers to use competing cloud services.

          Red Hat’s open-source software enables chief information officers and other enterprise IT managers to run applications both within their own data centers and across a range of third-party providers, from IBM’s own cloud to Amazon.com Inc. ’s AWS, Microsoft Corp ’s Azure, or any other tech company that rents computer software and systems to businesses online.

        • Welcoming Alibaba Cloud to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 ecosystem

          With the launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8, the intelligent operating system for the hybrid cloud, at Red Hat Summit 2019, we brought the next-generation of enterprise Linux to our extensive partner ecosystem. Beyond traditional hardware and software providers, this partner network encompasses Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Providers (CCSPs) which includes the majority of major public cloud infrastructure providers.

          The CCSP designation is awarded to Red Hat partners following validation by Red Hat that each provider meets testing and certification requirements to demonstrate the delivery of a safe, scalable, supported and consistent environment for enterprise cloud deployments. The globally-unified program provides Red Hat customers, ISVs and partners with the confidence that Red Hat product experts have validated a given solution so that implementations can begin with a solid foundation.

        • Register Red Hat Enterprise Linux and attach a subscription with Ansible

          An early step in our deployment process for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) systems involves registering the system and attaching an appropriate subscription. To automate these two steps, I’m using an Ansible role, which I’d like to share with you.

        • The clean break of Open Virtual Network from Open vSwitch

          After loads of email and IRC discussions, the Open Virtual Network (OVN) source code has been separated from the Open vSwitch (OVS) source code, and the two projects now operate independently. In this article, we’ll explain the reasons for separating OVN from OVS, the technical aspects of the split, and the upcoming challenges for the OVN project.

          [...]

          Since the initial creation of OVN in 2015, the project has matured, and cloud management services (CMSes) have begun adopting it. At Red Hat, OpenStack and Openshift both make use of OVN for defining their virtual networks. From their point of view, they interact directly with OVN, while OVS performs more “under the hood” work. OVN is constantly getting vital new features, while OVS gets changes they don’t care nearly as much about. Also, from a CMS point of view, OVS is seen as “stable.” There’s not as much incentive to want to upgrade the version of OVS they run on. OVS operates on a six-month release cycle, but CMSes are interested in getting the new OVN features more quickly. CMSes are satisfied with the current feature set of OVS and would prefer not to have to update OVS if they do not have to. Instead, they have to wait six months for the OVN features to be available, and then they’re forced to update OVS beyond what they want to be using.

        • Talking Digital Transformation With The New And Prior CEO

          Here is a situation that each and every IT manager and chief information officer has experienced and will continue to experience: Having a very long conversation with the president or chief executive officer of their company about how to engage in or continue with digital transformation and the application and database modernization that this entails. And sometimes, that conversation will happen as a new person takes the helm of the company.

          That’s precisely what we did this week, but with a twist or two. We are not an IT manager or CIO, but rather an observer in the boardrooms of IBM i shops around the world, and the current and prior CEOs that we were talking to not only had to do some digital transformation and modernization projects of their own, but more importantly they run a company that for more than three decades has been involved in helping other organizations make this transformation. Specifically, we talked to Daniel Crépeau, who has just been appointed president and CEO at Fresche Solutions, one of the largest IBM i business partners in the world, and Andy Kulakowski, one of the co-founders of the company and the leader of the management buyout of what was then called Fresche Legacy and what was also a much smaller company with a much narrower market.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Foundation

        • Ethereum Poised to Be First Public Blockchain in Hyperledger Consortium

          Ethereum could become the first public blockchain on Hyperledger – if the open-source consortium’s technical steering committee approves a proposal to adopt the ConsenSys-backed Pantheon project.

          Pantheon is a suite of ethereum-based services built by PegaSys, a 50-strong engineering team at ConsenSys. The Pantheon ethereum client, built on Java, is used to develop enterprise applications with features like privacy and permissioning.

          The proposal was sent out in a Hyperledger mailing list email on Aug. 8, and if it is accepted, Pantheon will be renamed Hyperledger Besu (a Japanese term for base or foundation).

        • Ethereum Client Becomes First Public Blockchain on Hyperledger

          “We’ve always wanted to be a gateway for enterprises to public chains while also meeting the needs of private and permissioned networks,” Hartley told CoinDesk. “I think this is a good step in that process.”

          Now the Hyperledger staff will work with ConsenSys to transfer Pantheon’s GitHub repository to the consortium and set up email lists and chat channels connected to the project. In recent months, ConsenSys has also donated ConsenSys CAVA to the Apache Software Foundation, which is now being incubated as Apache Tuweni.

        • Linux Foundation Defines Edge Computing with New Glossary

          Edge Computing today is a somewhat nebulous concept with an associated set of equally hazy related technologies. The Linux Foundation’s LF Edge project is all about Edge Computing and is seeking to help define Edge Computing and its’ associated concepts with the second version of the Open Glossary of Edge Computing released on August 29.
          “As the diversity of LF Edge increases, we want frameworks in place that make it easy to talk about edge computing in consistent and less-biased ways,” stated Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge, and IoT, at the Linux Foundation. “It’s imperative the community comes together to converge on a shared vocabulary, as it will play a substantial role in how our industry discusses and defines the next-generation internet.”

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA 435.21 & 435.19.02 Linux Drivers Released

          NVIDIA has promoted their 435.17 Linux driver as their newest short-lived driver release while also issuing a new Vulkan beta driver.

          Earlier this month they released the NVIDIA 435.17 Linux driver while today’s update to the 435.17 release just makes it their official short-lived branch release. The only mentioned change is fixing a bug that caused the X.Org Server to crash when using HardDPMS functionality.

        • NVIDIA Vulkan beta driver 435.19.02, plus 435.21 stable driver released

          NVIDIA have release two new drivers over the last day! An update to their Vulkan beta driver as well as a new stable driver update for everyone.

          Firstly their Vulkan beta driver, the special branch they use for testing new Vulkan API bits and more, has been rebased onto 435.17. They also mentioned that 8-bit integer support has been added to the VK_NV_cooperative_matrix extension and performance improvements have been taken from the 435.17 series.

        • Nvidia Releases New Linux Graphics Driver with Many Improvements and Bug Fixes

          Nvidia has released a new short-lived graphics driver for Linux, BSD, and Solaris operating system with many improvements, new features, and lots of bug fixes.

          The Nvidia 435.21 proprietary graphics driver brings experimental, initial support for runtime D3 (RTD3) power management on Turing notebook GPUs, along with all the neccessary implementation to the nvidia-bug-report.sh script to collect required runtime D3 (RTD3) power management information and ACPI tables (if acpidump tool is available) for debugging.

          Also new in the Nvidia 435.21 graphics driver is support for changing the Digital Vibrance function in the display controls section of nvidia-settings on Turing hardware, support for Vulkan and OpenGL/GLX graphics technologies for the PRIME Render Offload feature, and an updated nvidia-installer to make it compatible with precompiled kernel interfaces.

        • Intel Begins Setting Up Driver Mappings For Classic vs. Gallium3D OpenGL Linux Drivers

          Intel has previously indicated they plan for their new “Iris” Gallium3D driver to become their default OpenGL driver for Linux by EOY 2019 as far as Broadwell graphics and newer are concerned. Working in that direction and acknowledging their “Gen 12″ Tiger Lake graphics will only be supported under Gallium3D OpenGL, they have begun establishing the driver mappings to handle the change-over.

        • DXVK 1.3.3 Improves Clang/libc++ Compatibility, Other New Bits

          Philip Rebohle just tagged DXVK 1.3.3. With this update there is better compatibility with the LLVM toolchain in the form of the Clang compiler and libc++ as the C++ standard library. But on the gaming front there is now proper hazard tracking for resource views to fix issues like the game Shining Resonance: Refrain with AMD hardware. DXVK 1.3.3 also fixes a “weird” issue with Far Cry Primal’s graphics turning red and also fixes a rendering issue with the SteamVR Performance Test.

        • DXVK 1.3.3 is out, a small and tidy release for the D3D11 and D3D10 to Vulkan layer

          Developer Philip Rebohle pushed out a fresh update to DXVK yesterday with a couple little fixes and improvements.

    • Benchmarks

      • Clear Linux Offering Performance Advantages Even With Low-Power IoT/Edge Hardware

        While we are often testing Intel’s Clear Linux on high-end desktop and server hardware, it turns out even on the opposite end of the spectrum that their performance-optimized distribution can offer meaningful performance advantages on low-end SoCs for IoT-type devices. When testing Clear Linux with an Apollolake platform, it came out to being about 20% faster than the likes of Fedora and Ubuntu Linux.

        Following the recent UP Squared testing as the ~$150 Intel Celeron single board computer designed for makers, IoT, edge computing and similar deployments, I was curious to give Clear Linux a whirl on it for seeing how the performance compares to the likes of Fedora and Ubuntu.

    • Applications

      • Converseen – A Simple Graphical Batch Image Converter And Resizer

        Converseen is a free, cross-platform and opensource batch image processor written in C++ with Qt5 libraries. It allows us to convert, compress, resize, rotate and flip one or multiple images with a few mouse clicks! Converseen relies on ImageMagick for image processing. It supports 100s of image formats including popular formats such as DPX, EXR, GIF, JPEG, JPEG-2000, PDF, PhotoCD, PNG, Postscript, SVG, TIFF and more. Conversion is not just an image converter, it can also convert an entire PDF file into bunch of images.

      • Essential System Tools: hyperfine – command-line benchmarking tool

        This is the latest in our series of articles highlighting essential system tools. These are small, indispensable utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users of Linux based systems. The series examines both graphical and text based open source utilities. For details of all tools in this series, please visit Excellent Ways to Manage Your System – Essential System Tools.

        For this article, we look at hyperfine, a command-line benchmarking tool. It’s designed to measure the full execution time of a program. This open source tool is written in the Rust programming language.

        If you’re interesting in learning Rust, check out our recommended free Rust books.

      • 6 Best Open-Source NetFlow Software (FREE)

        There are several types of network monitoring available. One of them, possibly the most common, is SNMP monitoring. It can be used to give administrators a rather clear picture of how much data is carried over the networks they manage. But when they want a more detailed picture—such as learning WHAT the traffic is rather than just HOW MUCH there is—they have to turn to a different technology.

        NetFlow, a monitoring technology developed by Cisco and introduced a while back on the manufacturer’s devices has become the de facto standard when it comes to qualitative network monitoring. NetFlow monitoring tools can be expensive and out of the reach of many smaller businesses. Fortunately, several open-source NetFlow software packages are available and we’re about to review them.

      • Pastel Is A New Tool To Work With Colors From The Terminal

        Pastel is a new free and open source command line tool to work with colors / perform various color operations. It’s written in Rust, and it can convert colors from one format to another, show and analyze colors on the terminal, generate a set of visually distinct colors, and there’s even a color picker, along with much more.
        The tool has support for many different color formats and color spaces, including RGB, HSL, CIELAB, CIELCh as well as ANSI 8-bit and 24-bit representations.

      • Qmmp Music Player 1.3.4 Released with Stability Improvements

        Qmmp, Qt based music player with winamp or xmms like user interface, released version 1.3.4 (and Qt4 version 0.12.4) a few days ago with stability improvements.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Post-apocalyptic road-trip strategy game Overland is releasing September 19th

        A day I’ve been waiting for after playing hours of the early builds, Overland from developer Finji is finally going to release on September 19th.

        What is Overland exactly? It’s a strategy game about making difficult decisions on a long journey across post-apocalyptic America. You take care of a small group, with each new stop along the road taking place in a small and stylish location you need to quietly loot. Incredible atmosphere to it and it’s difficult, even as someone who has played a huge amount of strategy games it’s tested me plenty.

      • One of our favourite games Slay the Spire is getting even better on Linux with a new beta up

        Slay the Spire, a roguelike deck-builder from Mega Crit Games that released earlier this year is one of our absolutely favourite games. It’s also getting even better and a beta is now up.

        While the gameplay in Slay the Spire is ridiculously engrossing, the release did come with one issue on Linux. Not a major problem but Fullscreen Mode just didn’t work for me, plenty of others had the issue too and a quick Steam forum search shows a number of posts on it. You would just get a big game window, instead of glorious Fullscreen gaming. For some it was worse, with a mouse cursor locked to the window even when ALT+TAB and more.

        That’s about to change, with a new opt-in Beta available on Steam. Mega Crit Games have updated the build of LibGDX they use from 1.9.2 to 1.9.9 which brings with it “multi-monitor support, DPI scaling fixes, improved performance, updated controller support, and allows screenshake to perform correctly in 16:10 aspect ratios”.

      • DRM-free store GOG are doing a back to school sale with lots of discounts

        Absolutely any excuse for a sale and since the Summer holidays are coming to a close, GOG have decided to do a back to school sale. Yes, nothing says school like buying more games.

        I’m not complaining of course, sales are good for our wallets. At least this time around, what GOG have discounted does include some good Linux games!

      • Give the Linux demo of the action RPG Space Robinson a try and let the developer know your thoughts

        Developer Luxorix Games and publisher Alawar Premium are currently working on Space Robinson, an action RPG with a fun graphical style that’s supposed to really test you.

        Back in July, a user on Steam asked if they were planning Linux support to which the developer replied recently to mention they planned it. Now, they’ve actually gone ahead and put out a demo for Linux which you can download and try on Steam.

      • The surprisingly good and challenging rogue-lite Gerty is now “Content Complete”

        Gerty from developer Spawn Point OSK was a huge surprise when I initially tried it out in December last year. An absolutely action packed rogue-lite with ruthless aliens and destructible terrain.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Endless Grants $500,000 Fund To GNOME Foundation’s Coding Education Challenge

          The GNOME foundation recently announced the “Coding Education Challenge“, which is a three-stage competition to offer educators and students the opportunity to share their innovative ideas (projects) to teach coding with free and open-source software.

          For the funding (that covers the reward), Endless has issued a $5,00,000 (half a million) grant to support the competition and attract more educators/students from across the world. Yes, that is a whole lot of money to be awarded to the team (or individual) that wins the competition.

          In case you didn’t know about Endless, here’s a background for you – they work on increasing digital access to children and help them to make the most out of it while also educating them about it. Among other projects, they have Endless OS Linux distribution. They also have inexpensive mini PCs running Linux to help their educational projects.

        • Bastian Ilsø Hougaard: GNOME Developer Documentation – The Bottom-Up Approach

          This year’s GUADEC took place in Greece – six days vacation with plenty of time to dive into GNOME again (I missed you!).

          When I last posted in January, I talked about my new full-time employment at Aalborg University as Research Assistant. Unfortunately it has left me little time to continue release videos or developer documentation. So at GUADEC 2019, I decided to re-visit the developer documentation issue, with a different approach to contributing to a better experience and that’s what this blog post is about.

          The “ideal” GNOME developer portal has been the conception of a top-down approach: Creating a coherent structured platform, which collects documentation in one place. The challenge is that providing platforms require a lot of legwork and coordination – something which we in the past months have not had. So until we have it, I have been wanting to focus the time I had at GUADEC on a bottom-up approach: Providing GNOME developer documentation, where new developers look for them: on “Google” (and other web search engines). Arguably, people employ several strategies to find answers to questions, my own experience is that searching the web, remains consistently one of the most prominent strategies to get answers to any programming and app development.

        • Fabiano Fidencio: GUADEC 2019

          I’ve just came back from GUADEC 2019, which happened in Thessaloniki (Greece), and it’s time to a small report of what has been accomplished there.

          As most of you probably know although I’m not exactly a GNOME developer, I do a bunch of work which is either specifically to be consumed by GNOME Boxes (and other management applications will take advantage of the work) or GNOME Boxes can, at least, take advantage of.

          With that in mind, I’ve headed to GUADEC 2019 with basically two major things in mind:
          - Meet my Google Summer of Code student and plan what’s going on for the future;
          - Join the GNOME Boxes’ BoF and check whether we could have an agreement on how to default to UEFI whenever it’s possible;

          What I didn’t have in mind, though, was that I’d be able to meet people like Will Thompson (from Endless OS), Carl Richell (from System76), and Cassidy James (from Elementary OS). Talking to them in person was something amazing which allowed me to have conversations on how to have the work they do better present in GNOME Boxes (with regard to displaying updated entries, in case of Endless OS and Pop!_OS, or with regard to having their entries added, in case of Elementary OS).

    • Distributions

      • Run Chromium OS on Your Desktop or Laptop Computer with ChromX and Flatpak

        Coming nine months after the previous version, ChromX Build 190824 is now available based on the latest Chromium OS build and featuring support for Flatpak applications. This means that you can now fully expend you ChromX installation with all the apps you want if they’re available as Flatpaks.

        Flatpak is a universal binary format sponsored by Red Hat, which lets application developers easily distribute and maintain their apps in a single, universal package for all Linux-based operating systems, and offers users an easier way to install apps on their GNU/Linux distributions without any dependencies.

      • Highlights of YaST Development Sprint 83

        The summer is almost gone but, looking back, it has been pretty productive from the YaST perspective. We have fixed a lot of bugs, introduced quite interesting features to the storage layer and the network module refactoring continues to progress (more or less) as planned.

        So it is time for another sprint report. During the last two weeks, we have been basically busy squashing bugs and trying to get the network module as feature-complete as possible. But, after all, we have had also some time to improve our infrastructure and organize for the future.

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the weeks 2019/34 & 35

        The last two weeks have been average weeks when it comes to the number of snapshots and updates. We have released a total of 6 snapshots. From a user point of view, I think this is actually a pretty good pace. The 6 snapshots were 0815, 0820, 0822, 0823, 0824 and 0828.

      • Reviews

        • A Linux Noob Reviews The MX Linux 18.3 Installer

          Overall, installing MX Linux is a piece of cake whether you’re doing it on a virtual machine or bare metal. And it’s one of the fastest installers I’ve used.

          If I have one complaint, it’s simply that the installer itself looks dated. Dull grey color schemes feel like they’re from a different era. On the bright side, the contextual help text ensures that even new users won’t be left in the dark.

          Also, MX Linux has made some refreshing tweaks to the default Xfce desktop environment, making it look more modern out of the gate.

          This is actually my first brush with Debian in general, and I’m liking the out-of-box Xfce appearance. Beyond that, MX Linux looks to have a wonderful, centrally-located set of tools and tweaks that I find valuable. I also have no doubt it will feel snappy thanks to Xfce. So, I think my next step will be jumping aboard the MX Linux 19 Beta train and taking it for a proper test drive. Who’s with me?

      • Fedora Family

        • PHP version 7.1.32, 7.2.22 and 7.3.9

          RPM of PHP version 7.3.9 are available in remi repository for Fedora 30-31 and in remi-php73 repository for Fedora 29 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPM of PHP version 7.2.22 are available in remi repository for Fedora 29 and in remi-php72 repository for Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPM of PHP version 7.1.32 are available in remi-php71 repository for Enterprise Linux (RHEL, CentOS).

        • Eclipse Module on F30 Addendum

          It appears that if you have previously explicitly disabled a module on which Eclipse depends, then this user action takes precedence over any implicit enablement of module dependencies. I assume this is an intentional behaviour of DNF (hopefully any DNF people reading can correct this assumption if it is not true) but IMO it should probably ask the user if they want to enable the previously disabled module since that is clearly the only way forward.

        • Fedora 30 : DNF history.

          This option of the tool DNF can help you to see and rollback by transaction history. NOTE: This option not work if you use the system-upgrade to another version of the distro.

        • Flock 2019 event report

          I had the opportunity to attend Flock to Fedora in Budapest this year. Because I live in a city with a small international airport, I almost always have more than one flight when I fly abroad and this time it was no exception. I flew Managua – San Salvador – Madrid – Berlin and then rode a bus to Prague and from there to Budapest for almost two days of travel.

          It was great to meet old friends and new people who share interests within the Fedora Project. This year I did not give a talk but took part in a number of sessions.

        • Trip report: Flock to Fedora 2019 + Fedora Flatpaks

          This was my first time at Flock to Fedora, and it was a blast! The conference took place from August 8th to August 11th in the astonishing city of Budapest.

          It is very convenient to host the conference at the same place where people are accommodated. The whole infrastructure and conference organization was top-notch. Nice social events and great comfort during the talks/workshops.

          At the very beginning, it was pleasant to watch Matthew Miller’s “The State of Fedora”, especially the emphasis on Silverblue being “the future of Fedora Workstation”, and the overview of all the other teams building fantastic things on top of Fedora. The “Facebook Loves Fedora” talk was definitely the one we talked the most about during the breaks. Long story short, Facebook’s IT is supporting Fedora Workstations for its employees and they have a quite appealing story of their adoption. All recorded Flock talks are planned to be published in the Fedora Project YouTube channel, so I encourage you to watch specifically this quick one (25 minutes) once it is out.

          Debarshi Ray’s “Toolbox” talk was well received by the audience, and the post-talk corridor convo was productive. People seemed curious and optimistic about the solutions we have for “making their workflow-breakage less painful”. :-) Unfortunately Rishi’s talk was scheduled at the same time slot as Christian Schaller’s “Fedora Workstation update and roadmap”. It is great having talks recorded for this very reason.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • ExTiX 19.8 “The Ultimate Linux System” Ditches Ubuntu & Debian for Deepin Linux

          As its name suggests, ExTiX Deepin 19.8 is based on the Deepin Linux operating system, which in turn is built upon the Debian Unstable repositories. More specifically, ExTiX Deepin 19.8 is based on the latest Deepin 15.11 release, which adds numerous enhancements and new features, and it uses the 6th Release Candidate (RC) build of the upcoming Linux 5.3 kernel series.

          “I’ve released a new version of ExTiX Deepin today with Refracta Snapshot and kernel 5.3.0-rc6-exton,” said Arne Exton. “Deepin is devoted to providing a beautiful, easy to use, safe and reliable system for global users. Previous versions of ExTiX Deepin were based on Debian and Ubuntu. ExTiX 19.8 is a live build of Deepin 15.11, which is based on Debian unstable.”

        • Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” Enters Feature Freeze, Beta Available September 26th

          Dubbed “Eoan Ermine,” the Ubuntu 19.10 operating system series has been in development since end of April 2019, shortly after the release of the Ubuntu 19.04 “Disco Dingo” operating system, which is currently the latest and most advanced version of Canonical’s widely-used Ubuntu Linux OS on desktop, server, and cloud.

          As of August 22nd, the Ubuntu 19.10 operating system series has entered the so-called “Feature Freeze” stage of development, which means that no new features will be implemented in the upcoming release before it hits the streets later this fall on October 17th.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • What Would it Take to Challenge DJI’s Dominance in the Drone Market?

        Monday, CNN reported that Ellen Lord, the U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, told reporters that the department was seeking investors to develop U.S. manufactured drones so that the military would not be reliant upon Chinese-manufactured DJI products. That may be somewhat misleading – DJI certainly has never claimed to go after the military market, and accusations about “sending data back to China” remain vague and unproven. It is true, however, that drone manufacturers globally have struggled to compete with DJI’s rapid development cycles and manufacturing efficiencies: and there may be an argument that more competition in the commercial market could help to expand use cases and broaden the scope of drone innovation.

        [...]

        Understanding the Concept of an Open Source Platform for Drones

        While adoption of the open source platform is growing rapidly, it’s still a confusing concept to many consumers or commercial drone pilots. The common comparison is between Apple and Android, with DJI as the iOS of the drone world. Auterion co-founder Kevin Sartori clarifies that the comparison isn’t entirely accurate: the drone industry is still in the very early stages of development towards its real potential.

        “Our high level assumption is that drones are still feature phones,” says Sartori. “We might not be at smart phone stage, we’re still talking about Nokia,” he explains. “Drones aren’t connected yet. There is no easy way to distribute apps. With Auterion, we are building the infrastructure that will allow the industry to get there.”

        How Open Source is Being Used Now – and Auterion’s Place in the Market

        PX4 and open source tools are now being used to make new and innovative hardware products fly: from offerings from Chinese manufacturer Yuneec to new U.S. drone manufacturer Impossible Aerospace, developing a long endurance battery powered aircraft. Open source is allowing new drone companies and customers to focus on specific problems, says Sartori, without having to reinvent a way to make the drone fly: “Companies don’t actually build the whole solution, they focus on their added value,” he says. “It’s a natural evolution of the industry, and it helps the industry accelerate.”

      • The 13 Best Open Source Network Monitoring Tools

        We at Solutions Review compiled a list of the best open source network performance monitoring tools currently on the market!

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Thunderbird 68 Released with Dark Theme

            Thunderbird – the widely popular free and open-source desktop email client for Linux, Windows – releases latest version 68. This release, as the official announcement says – sets the ground for future release. Which means, the foundation have been laid now for upcoming Thunderbird software.

          • Mozilla shaves down Beard to a luxuriant mustache, looks for new CEO by end of year

            Chris Beard announced today he will be stepping down as CEO of Mozilla at the end of this year.

            After five and a half years of leading Moz, and 15 years in total with the Firefox maker, Beard says he will give up the hot seat, though he won’t be leaving the organization completely: he will stick around albeit no longer in charge of everything.

            “Earlier this morning I shared the news internally that – while I’ve been a Mozillian for 15 years so far, and plan to be for many more years – this will be my last year as CEO,” Beard said in a statement.

          • Firefox & Event ID 58 error

            My general conclusion so far was thus: a Firefox-only problem. The error message indicates there could be a problem with thread management, and it’s possible that some library got corrupt in some odd way, but not something that the user can perceive right away. Well, the Event log had one thing right, and that’s the recommendation to try to repair the component.

            So I did something rather simple – I reinstalled the browser. I grabbed the Firefox 68.0.1 installer from the Mozilla download page and ran it again. Technically, this didn’t do anything, I still had my browser in place just like before. But practically, it DID make a difference. The error was indeed gone.

      • Funding

        • Platform9 Raises $25 Mn to Leverage Open-source Modern Technologies and Enhance Cloud-native Infrastructure

          Platform9, the in SaaS-managed hybrid cloud company, announced that raised $25 million in Series D funding, bringing the total amount raised by the company to $61.5 million. This round was led by NGP Capital, with participation from Mubadala Ventures and all existing investors (Redpoint Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Canvas Ventures, and HPE Pathfinder). Rohini Chakravarthy, Partner at NGP Capital, joins Platform9’s board of directors with this round of financing.

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • Continuing Legal Education Seminar on GPL Enforcement and Legal Ethics

          The FSF Licensing and Compliance Lab will work with experienced lawyers and professionals to provide a full day continuing legal education (CLE) seminar on GPL Enforcement and Legal Ethics for legal professionals, law students, free software developers, and anyone interested in licensing issues.

        • Early registration open for FSF’s licensing seminar on Oct 16 in Raleigh, NC

          The CLE seminar is a regular program from the FSF, where a select a group of experts and experienced instructors in the free software community provide a comprehensive overview of current affairs in GPL Enforcement and Legal Ethics. We invite legal professionals, law students, free software developers, and anyone interested in licensing and compliance topics to join. While registration is open to the public, this seminar is a special opportunity for legal professionals and law students who can potentially earn continuing legal education (CLE) credits for participating (approval pending). The program will be available shortly on the event page.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Zambia should reduce cost of software ownership

          Many Zambians may not know that there are software/programmes that we can use on our computing devices without paying license fees; such software exists and is called free and open source software (FOSS).

          It is free, as in freedoms; it guarantees freedoms to organisations and persons using it. FOSS is released under the General Public License (GPL) and the concept of developing FOSS was started in 1983 by Richard Stallman, who was a researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Computer Laboratory. This implies that FOSS has come of age.

        • Do Citizens Have A Right To See The Algorithms Used By Publicly-Funded Software?

          In 2009, the Spanish government brought in a law requiring electricity bill subsidies for some five million poor households in the country. The so-called Bono Social de Electricidad, or BOSCO, was not popular with energy companies, which fought against it in the courts. Following a 2016 ruling, the Spanish authorities introduced new, more restrictive regulations for BOSCO, and potential beneficiaries had to re-register by 31 December 2018. In the end, around 1.5 million households were approved, almost a million fewer than the 2.4 million who had benefited from the previous scheme, and a long way from the estimated 4.5 million who fulfilled the criteria to receive the bonus.

          The process of applying for the subsidy was complicated, so a non-profit organization monitoring public authorities, Civio, worked with the National Commission on Markets and Competition to produce an easy-to-use Web page that allowed people to check their eligibility for BOSCO. Because of discrepancies between what the Civio service predicted, and what the Spanish government actually decided, Civio asked to see the source code for the algorithm that was being used to determine eligibility. The idea was to find out how the official algorithm worked so that the Web site could be tweaked to give the same results.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • ULX3S Education Board is Powered by Lattice Semi ECP5 FPGA & ESP32 WiFi/BLE Module

            A few days ago, we covered the KiCAD designed OrangeCrab open-source hardware board powered by a Lattice Semi ECP5 FPGA, and compliant with Adafruit Feather form factor.

            It’s turned out there’s another Lattice Semi ECP5 FPGA board that’s also designed with KiCAD and open source hardware. Radiona ULX3S differs are it’s larger and exposes more I/Os since it was specifically designed to meet the meets of the digital logic course at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) of the University of Zagreb in Croatia.

      • Programming/Development

        • Python 3.8.0b4 is now available for testing

          This release is the last of four planned beta release previews. Beta release previews are intended to give the wider community the opportunity to test new features and bug fixes and to prepare their projects to support the new feature release. The next pre-release of Python 3.8 will be 3.8.0c1, the first release candidate, currently scheduled for 2019-09-30.

        • Clutching at its Perl, developer community ponders language name with less baggage

          Earlier this month, Elizabeth Mattijsen, a Dutch software developer and contributor to the open-source Perl programming language, opened an issue in the GitHub Perl 6 repository seeking to rename the project because having “Perl” in the name is “confusing and irritating.”

          To understand why that’s so, it’s necessary to know a bit about Perl’s history. The first version of Perl was created by Larry Wall, who released it in late 1987 as a Unix scripting language. Over the years, subsequent versions have been released, with Perl 5 appealing in 1994. Perl 6 planning began in 2000 and its first release came toward the end of 2015.

          Perl 5 is still in use today but it exists alongside Perl 6, which isn’t a successor so much as a splinter group. As Perl.org puts it, Perl 6 is “not intended as a replacement for Perl 5, but as its own thing.”

        • 7 years of Django in 7-ish days

          Spring was quite an “interesting time” for my personal project: WaterOnMars.

          Indeed I started to work on adding a new feature (a first in a while but maybe the topic of another post) but each time I was pushing or deploying code I was suddenly getting back warnings unrelated to my changes but pointing at core components like, err… Python or Django versions being deprecated.

        • How to Install PyCharm on Debian 10

          PyCharm is an intelligent and fully featured IDE for Python developed by JetBrains. It also provides support for Javascript, Typescript, and CSS etc. You can also extend PyCharm features by using plugins. By using PyCharm plugins you can also get support for frameworks like Django, Flask. We can also use PyCharm for other programming languages like HTML, SQL, Javascript, CSS and more. In this tutorial, you are going to learn how to install PyCharm on Debian 10.

        • New Python on CheckiO

          There are some cool changes that I’m excited to share with you. We’ve updated the Python version that has been used on CheckiO to the latest Python 3.8 and, while it’s in alpha testing, all CheckiO users are able to try it out right now.

          Here I wanted to highlight some of the newly available features.

        • Canaries Can Tweet: Preview New Features with Conda Canary

          Conda-canary is the pre-defaults-release channel for conda — it has the most recent version of conda. On occasion it will also have the latest pre-defaults-release of conda-build and other conda dependencies such as ruamel.yaml. Normally, a patch release of conda or conda-build will live in the conda-canary channel for one to two days before being promoted to the default channel. A larger minor or major release may live in conda-canary for several weeks.

          The purpose of this release step is to give the latest version of conda a chance to be tested “in the wild” before being pushed to the public. As maintainers, we rely on feedback from conda-canary users to determine the impact a new conda release will have on users. It is crucial for understanding what issues people may have, and gives us time to fix them before releasing conda to the default channel.

  • Leftovers

    • 7 rules for remote-work sanity

      I work remotely and have done so on and off for a good percentage of the past 10 to 15 years. I’m lucky that I’m in a role where this suits my responsibilities, and in a company that is set up for it. Not all roles—those with many customer onsite meetings or those with a major service component—are suited to remote working, of course. But it’s clear that an increasing number of organisations are considering having at least some of their workers doing so remotely.

      I’ve carefully avoided using the phrase either “working from home” or “working at home” above. I’ve seen discussions that the latter gives a better “vibe” for some reason, but it’s not accurate for many remote workers. In fact, it doesn’t describe my role perfectly, either. My role is remote, in that I have no company-provided “base”—with a chair, desk, meeting rooms, phone, internet access, etc.—but I don’t spend all of my time at home. I spend maybe one-and-a-half weeks a month, on average, travelling—to attend or speak at conferences, to have face-to-face (“F2F”) meetings, etc. During these times, I’m generally expected to be contactable and to keep at least vaguely up-to-date on email—although the exact nature of the activities in which I’m engaged, and the urgency of the contacts and email, may increase or reduce my engagement.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Google finds ‘indiscriminate iPhone attack lasting years’

        The attack was said to be carried out using websites which would discreetly implant malicious software to gather contacts, images and other data.

        Google’s analysis suggested the booby-trapped websites were said to have been visited thousands of times per week.

        Apple told the BBC it did not wish to comment.

      • McAfee warns of global malware resurgence, massive ransomware growth

        Security firm McAfee has uncovered what it says is a global malware resurgence, with new ransomware growing 118% as cybercriminals adopt new tactics and code innovations.

      • Company Sues Blackhat Because People Mocked Their Sponsored Presentation And Called It Snake Oil

        Sean Gallagher, over at Ars Technica, has a story about yet another bizarre lawsuit. A company called Crown Sterling, which claims it’s disrupting the entire encryption business, is suing the Black Hat conference organizers after it paid $115,000 to be a “gold sponsor,” only to find their presentation widely mocked. You can read the complaint here. It’s quite something.

      • U.S. Export Controls and “Published” Encryption Source Code Explained

        Throughout our long history of defending encryption, EFF has taken a special interest in ensuring that researchers and programmers who help build and strengthen digital security are not prevented from sharing their knowledge. Because of this history, we periodically get requests about the status of U.S. export controls and how they affect open source software that uses encryption. It can be a daunting topic to research, and our friends at the Internet Systems Consortium (with help from the terrific export regulation attorney Roz Thomsen) just helped us to refresh our understanding. We thought it might be also useful for the community to have a refresher as well.

        First, a disclaimer: as part of our Coders’ Rights Project, EFF frequently provides pro bono (free!) assistance to coders, hackers, and security researchers who face legal challenges as a result of their work. But this post isn’t intended as legal advice, so if you find yourself facing a legal threat, we encourage you to consider reaching out so that we can try to help.

        [...]

        It should also be noted that updates to encryption source code may trigger a requirement to provide additional copies to both BIS and NSA. If you have provided a copy of the published source code, then you must notify the government again when the cryptographic functionality of the source code is updated or modified. If you have posted the source code on the Internet, then you don’t have to provide notice of changes to the encryption functionality, but you do have to notify BIS and the ENC Encryption Request Coordinator each time the Internet location is changed. For all of these notices, exporters should use the same email addresses: crypt@bis.doc.gov and to enc@nsa.gov.

        After satisfaction of the notification requirements of the EAR, software falls out of EAR coverage and publishers may export or publish open-source encryption software.

        If these requirements seem like empty bureaucratic formalism to you, we agree. There is even a good argument that the regulations are still unconstitutional. But we’re happy that the government has not tried to impose heavy export burdens to re-regulate encryption. We’d also point to a now nearly-two-decade-long track record of open source encryption publishers being free of harassment under the EAR.

      • Millions Of Biometric Records Collected By Companies And Governments Left Exposed On The Web

        One of the many problems with collecting biometric data is you need to have someplace safe to store it. Sure, you could lock it away in something disconnected from the net, but then it’s not much use to the dozens of private companies and government agencies that want access to the data they’ve collected. So, back on the web it goes, where it can be prodded for weaknesses by security researchers and malicious hackers alike.

        [...]

        Names and passwords are certainly being changed in the wake of this discovery. But this breach was full of biometric info linked to other personally identifiable information held by BioStar 2′s customers. Fingerprints and other biometric markers can’t be changed. These are inextricably tied to whatever other sensitive information was collected by multiple entities — much of which was stored in unencrypted form.

        Suprema and BioStar 2 will probably take security more seriously in the future, but the damage is done. The fact that the marketing team is issuing statements on the breach rather than someone with direct knowledge of the situation isn’t exactly reassuring. Neither is the issued statement, which suggests the company would have rather kept the breach buried, rather than be honest and direct with its users.

      • Security updates for Friday

        Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (dovecot, gettext, go, go-pie, libnghttp2, and pigeonhole), Debian (djvulibre, dovecot, and subversion), Fedora (sleuthkit and wireshark), openSUSE (containerd, docker, docker-runc, and qbittorrent), Oracle (pango), SUSE (kernel, nodejs10, and python-SQLAlchemy), and Ubuntu (apache2).

      • This Week In Security: VPN Gateways, Attacks In The Wild, VLC, And An IP Address Caper

        We’ll start with more Black Hat/DEFCON news.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Under the U.S. Eye: When is the Time for Honduran Democracy?

        A U.S. Federal court released documents in which a known narcotrafficker, Don H, implicated Honduran elites and politicians in the drug business. Most untenable is the revelation that the sitting president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, took drug money as bribes for himself and the Nationalist party.

      • The Death of Arms Control

        A deadly accident in northern Russia earlier this month caused the U.S. arms control community to stand up and take notice. The Russians claim they were testing “isotopic sources of fuel on a liquid propulsion unit,” and that only after the test was completed did the engine explode. There was a spike in radiation levels detected in the city of Severodvinsk, roughly 18 miles away, shortly after the accident. Seven people were killed as a result of the explosion, including at least two who died of acute radiation poisoning. Scores of others were exposed to radioactive materials, and subsequently decontaminated and placed under observation. Within days, the Russians declared that all radiation readings in and around the accident site were at normal levels.

      • Trump Declares New Space Command Key to American Defense

        Declaring space crucial to the nation’s defense, President Donald Trump said Thursday the Pentagon has established U.S. Space Command to preserve American dominance on “the ultimate high ground.”

      • Leading Hong Kong democracy activist arrested ahead of planned rally

        Leading Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong was arrested Friday, his party said, a day ahead of a planned rally in the city that has been banned by police.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Google is helping to power a US immigration cloud project, new documents show

        The contract was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the activist group Mijente, which has pushed back on tech companies working with US immigration agencies. The document does not directly mention Google, but the contract provides a two-year license for Apigee Edge Private Cloud, part of a Google service for managing APIs. The contract was signed in September 2017, suggesting the service is still in use.

      • Watchdog: Comey violated FBI policies in handling of memos
      • Comey Said to Violate FBI Policies in Handling of Memos

        Former FBI Director James Comey violated FBI policies in his handling of memos documenting private conversations with President Donald Trump, the Justice Department’s inspector general said Thursday.

      • Former FBI Director James Comey Saved By America’s Two-Tiered Justice System Of Prosecuting Leaks

        When former FBI director James Comey retained, mishandled, and disseminated certain memos from his meetings with President Donald Trump, he violated FBI and Justice Department policies, as well as the FBI employment agreement he signed, according to the department’s inspector general.

        However, the inspector general did not recommend prosecution for Comey. That fits into the two-tiered justice system that exists for federal government employees in the United States.

        High-ranking officials, like Comey, David Petraeus, Hillary Clinton, and Leon Panetta, each mishandled classified information. They served no jail time.

        Meanwhile, low-level government employees like Reality Winner, Terry Albury, Jeffrey Sterling, John Kiriakou, and Stephen Kim have endured prison sentences for their actions.

        As detailed in the inspector general’s report [PDF], “Between January 6, 2017, and April 11, 2017, while Comey was director of the FBI, he memorialized seven one-on-one interactions that he had” with Trump.

      • Missouri Attorney General Claims The First Amendment Allows Him To Withhold Public Records

        Missouri’s government is flexing the weirdest right now. The state’s Attorney General is currently in court trying to keep public records out of the public’s hands. This doesn’t actually stem from a public records lawsuit, but from a discovery request in a defamation lawsuit filed by a former mayor against a state representative.

        [...]

        I don’t think that’s how this works. For one, most people realize that communicating with government entities turns those communications (in most cases) into public records. For another, citizens cannot create chilling effects. Some people may be wary of communicating with the government for many reasons, but if there’s any chill, it comes from the government’s obligations to the public, not from public records requests.

    • Environment

      • Why most recyclable construction waste is being dumped illegally in Spain

        For every citizen in the European Union, around a ton of construction waste is generated every year. But in Spain the figure is even higher. According to public documents from the Spanish government, trash from building and demolition work accounts for 40% of all waste, which is between 10 and 15 percentage points above the EU average.

        But while Spaniards are slowly assuming the responsibility of reducing waste and recycling household garbage, the giant construction sector has made no effort to join the circular economy. Rubble, bricks, door frames, pipes, beams and cables continue to end up in dumps across the country – many of them illegal.

      • Paris climate accord awaits Russian backing

        Reports from Moscow suggest that Russia will announce its support for the Paris climate accord before the end of 2019.

      • Global Climate Movement: Darkest Before the Dawn

        Wild fires burning in the Amazon and Siberia, unrelenting heat waves,100 year floods happening yearly are signs of our times, the worst of times.

      • “The Amazon is not empty land”: Indigenous people’s fight for life in Brazil
      • Neocolonialism Will Spell the Amazon’s Demise

        The 2019 G7 summit in Biarritz unnecessarily handed Brazil’s Neofascist Bolsonaro a propaganda coup with which to rally his dwindling support. With his approval falling to record lows and facing international attacks of unprecedented intensity, their colonial-sounding rhetoric allowed him to appear heroically nationalistic, a defender of Brazilian sovereignty over the Amazon, when in reality he and his government are fully geared to serve the interests of foreign capital in true comprador tradition.

      • Florida Braces for Hurricane Dorian

        Florida residents picked the shelves clean of bottled water and lined up at gas stations Thursday as an increasingly menacing-looking Hurricane Dorian threatened to broadside the state over Labor Day weekend.

      • Trump Guts Methane Restrictions in Latest Assault on Climate

        Amid dire scientific warnings that the international community must act immediately to slash greenhouse gas emissions, President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency is reportedly set to take another step in the opposite direction Thursday by unveiling a rule that would gut restrictions on the fossil fuel industry’s methane pollution.

      • Environmental Collaborators, Hang Your Heads in Shame

        The so-called “collaborative” movement in Montana was launched as the Consensus Council about 25 years ago during the administration of Republican Gov. Marc Racicot. Its task, supposedly, was to find solutions to thorny natural resource issues. Its members were hand-picked by Racicot to represent industry and other “stakeholders,” and of course the outcomes were predictably that industry always got most of what it wanted at the cost of Montana’s natural environment.

      • Brazil, the Amazon, and Global Warming

        Brazil has gotten a huge amount of bad press with the fires in the Amazon with the emphasis on the harm its development policies are doing to efforts to limit global warming. While the policies of Brazil’s right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, are disastrous, there is an important part of the story that is being left out of most discussions.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • A Plea From the Animal Kingdom

          Let me start by stating that I am an osprey. Many of you on Long Island know of me as a fish-hawk.

        • Asian Otters: Out of the Water and Into…a Café?

          In recent years Asia’s otters have been subject to intense poaching, primarily for their pelts. Markets in East Asia greatly value their smooth, dense, water-adapted fur. At same time the poaching of live otters for sale in the pet trade has become an emerging crisis. Even in Japan’s famous cat cafés, otters have proven to be attractive alternatives to felines. The small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus), with its charming reputation, is especially vulnerable to such trade.

          [...]

          This week’s decision by CITES parties to list both small-clawed and smooth-coated otters on Appendix I means that all international commercial trade in both species is now illegal. It gives governments in countries where the otters naturally live, as well as those in countries where they are trafficked and sold, additional legal tools to stop this devastating trade.

          Much work still needs to be done. These and other otter species require additional protections at the national level to prevent domestic trade and further habitat loss. Existing otter cafés should switch back to domestic species such as cats to reduce consumer demand for more captive otters, and authorities should ensure that this happens. Enforcement of the new international trade rules will be critical to the species’ survival.

          That’s why this week’s action at CITES is important: It sends a message to the global community that these entirely wonderful animals are in trouble and need our help — and that does not mean cuddling them in our homes and cafés. It means leaving them, undisturbed, in their wild tropical habitats, with their own extended families — to dive for fish, play and thrive in their natural homes for decades to come.

    • Finance

      • Billionaires are a Sign of Economic Failure

        The New York Times published an editorial comment on its front page in January 2019, provocatively entitled “abolish billionaires.” The editorial raised a serious question: what if instead of being a sign of economic success, billionaires are a sign of economic failure?  In what ways can the boom in billionaires, and the dramatic increase in extreme wealth generally, be harmful?

      • Trump has Blocked Wage Gains for American Workers

        On June 19, 2019, President Donald Trump bragged at his re-election kickoff rally in Orlando that, thanks to his leadership, the wages of American workers “are rising at the fastest rate in many decades.”

      • Trump’s Other Wall

        Trump brags about the ‘wall of money’ now flowing into the US from abroad–from Europe, Asia, emerging market economies–as the global economy slides into recession there faster than in the US. He thinks that is great news for the US economy. But it’s quite the opposite.

      • Boris Johnson Is Pushing Britain Into the Abyss

        What follows is a conversation between The Nation’s Don Guttenplan and Marc Steiner of The Real News Network. Read a transcript of their conversation below or watch the video at the bottom of the post.

      • Trump Decides The State Should Run US Businesses, Orders Them To Stop Doing Business With China

        President Trump is back at it, misusing his emergency powers to declare difficult situations “national emergencies” so he can get what he wants. When Congress rejected his border wall funding, Trump simply declared an influx of immigrants a “national emergency.” How an uptick in families seeking citizenship and/or asylum suddenly became a threat to the nation as a whole went unexplained.

        What did go explained were the President’s reasons for declaring a national emergency. During his press conference, he made it clear there was actually no emergency. This was done solely to secure the funding Congress said he couldn’t have. If our representatives possessed any collective backbone, this would have been rolled back by Congress with a veto-proof rejection of this non-emergency emergency declaration.

        [...]

        Hi, Tim Cushing, Fake News: We’ve all spent quite a bit of time reading the IEEPA (the “I” stands for “International”) of 1977 for years now, since every president since George W. Bush has misused it — along with the National Emergency Act — to expand the government’s power. In fact, we were just re-reading its domestic counterpart a few months ago when Trump conjured an “emergency” out of thin air to grab money Congress refused to appropriate for his pet project.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Officials deny another critical vulnerability in Moscow’s online voting system, as they secretly patch the issue

        On August 28, Moscow officials conducted the fourth and final test of a new online voting system that will debut in City Duma elections on September 8. The new voting option will be available to roughly 5,000 Muscovites in three okrugi (districts), where the voters make up less than one percent of the electorate in their respective okrugi. Ahead of the final test, the Moscow Mayor’s Office patched a critical vulnerability that would have allowed hacked to track voting results in real time. The election’s organizers never acknowledged this flaw, and they’ve decided to wait until the last minute to release the system’s source code to independent experts. 

      • NYT Steers Dems Away From the Obvious Formula for Defeating Trump

        Thomas Edsall’s demographic analysis is almost always misleading (FAIR.org, 2/10/15, 10/9/15, 6/5/16, 3/30/18, 7/24/19)—and his latest column for the New York Times (8/28/19) is no exception.

      • Loophole in Facebook’s new ID rules on political ads leaves door wide open for astroturf groups

        Today Facebook has announced higher identity verification standards for US political adverts ahead of the 2020 presidential election. However, loopholes still exist that could enable astroturf (fake grassroots) campaigns if the rules were rolled out for a UK election.

      • UK security budgets rise in face of human and cloud concerns [iophk: security is not an after-market add on]

        With security incidents now making regular headlines and the threat landscape becoming ever-more complex and difficult to manage, cybersecurity is only growing in importance within the boardroom. As a result, spending is up, with 66 percent of organisations surveyed saying their budgets had risen in the last year, with a quarter of organisations reporting a ‘significant’ increase over the previous 12 months. Around a third (28 percent) saw no change in budget, while just five percent reported a decrease.

      • Greta Thunberg Has Already Changed the United States for the Better for Teen Climate Activists Like Us

        To put it simply, Greta rebooted our American climate movement and has totally changed the operating system. This also honors the work of so many unknown students, especially young women who have been speaking out for climate action on the front lines for years.

        It’s not like the adults in the room didn’t know what to do or why. As we held our weekly strikes from March to June, historic floods hit western and eastern Iowa, setting farmers back in their planting schedules. In our college town there have been enough conferences on renewable energy, soil carbon sequestration, regenerative agriculture, and green economy ideas to wallpaper the entire town with event flyers. Even our junior high school held an assembly this past spring where one of our great teachers had students present their vision for a “regenerative city” of the future, one based on carbon-neutral and socially inclusive policies.

        The adults simply lacked the nerve, resolve, or leadership to take the necessary initiative in this time of crisis. We met their apathy with Greta’s motto: No more excuses.

      • Confessions of an Islamic State fighter

        Today, IS does not exist as a geographical entity. But in Kosovo, the country that Lladrovci openly derides, he still proclaims his fidelity to the caliphate. He is just one among tens of thousands of people who left their homes to join Islamic State. These individuals represent a particularly intractable and rapidly growing problem for governments across the world. What should be done with the fighters [sic] who return?

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • SLAPP Threats Don’t Even Need To Become Lawsuits To Be Effective: Cop Gets Columnist Fired For Pointing To Picture Of Him With Racists

        A few weeks ago, we wrote about a troubling SLAPP lawsuit in Charlottesville, Virginia against a local independent paper, C-Ville, and a UVA history professor. That post mostly focused on the lawsuit against the history professor, Jalane Schmidt, and the ACLU’s decision to defend her in the lawsuit. We didn’t have much information for how C-Ville itself is dealing with the SLAPP suit. However, given its response to another SLAPP threat, it appears that C-Ville is mostly caving.

        Back in May, Molly Conger, an opinion columnist for C-Ville, who built up her reputation by reporting on local racists and what they’re up to, wrote an opinion piece merely highlighting the fact that a Charlottesville police officer, Logan Woodzell, who had just been promoted, had also been seen in a photo passed around on social media “posing with James Napier of the neo-Confederate group the Hiwaymen and Tammy Lee of American Freedom Keepers (one of the militia groups sued by the city for its involvement in Unite the Right).”

        Nothing in the column calls Woodzell a racist. She just raises questions about the process by which Woodzell was given a promotion, as well as gives her opinion that the promotion shows “poor judgment” and “a disregard for the concerns of a community.” Nothing in any of that is remotely defamatory. It’s either a clearly factual statement (the photo exists and had been shared on social media) or opinion about what it showed concerning the Chartolttesville police force and its police chief, RaShall Brackney. Indeed, Woodzell is barely mentioned beyond the opening of the piece.

      • Judge Wants To Know Who’s Behind Devin Nunes’ Cow’s And Mom’s Twitter Account

        The issue, right now, is whether or not the cases should be thrown out for improper venue / jurisdiction shopping. Political consultant Liz Mair (who was also sued) and Twitter have both told the court that the case belongs in California — and suggested (reasonably) that Nunes only filed in Virginia to avoid California’s anti-SLAPP law (which would make him liable for their legal expenses).

        So you can kind of understand why the judge wants to know where the still anonymous account holders live, as that could play into the venue question. However, it still seems like Judge Marshall’s request is overly broad. He could have just asked for information, should Twitter even have it, of where the account holders reside (I’m not even sure if Twitter has such info). But there’s no reason at all for the judge to need to know the names of the account holders, even if he promises not to reveal them, if the goal is to figure out what is the proper venue.

        For what it’s worth, both of the account holders deny being Virginia residents.

      • Gutting Section 230 Will Harm The Most Marginalized

        Of course, in the minds of too many, Section 230 has come to represent “big internet.” This is both misguided and misleading. Section 230 is what enables the rest of the internet to work, so that anyone can speak out. Without it, we move from an open internet for communications, to a closed broadcast internet, in which the marginalized and the oppressed have no safe space to speak.

      • Don’t Let The Bret Stephens Bite: NY Times’ Hypocritical ‘Free Speech’ Columnist Flips Out After Being Called A Bedbug

        I will admit being only marginally aware of Bret Stephens in the past — as someone the NY Times seems to employ to write really dumb opinion pieces that get people angry with how dumb they are. This latest bit of Bret Stephensisms isn’t going to improve that impression. One of Stephens’ big things, apparently, is whining about “the left” not believing in free speech any more, and complaining about things like “safe spaces on campus.”

        [...]

        On Monday morning, an assistant editor of the NY Times opinion section, Stuart Thompson, tweeted: “Breaking — There are bedbugs in the NYT newsroom.” Lots of people made jokes about this. My favorite, from Lindsey Barrett, mocked the NY Times’ unwillingness to call racism racism by rewriting it as: “I think you mean there’s an insect-tinged problem in the NYT newsroom.” She made some more jokes about bedbugs, including a fake headline by Bret Stephens: “”There Are No Bedbugs and If There Were, The Caustic Twitter Socialists Put Them There and Bed Bugs Are Good, Actually” –half a column by bret stephens, who was itching too vigorously to finish it” That one got lots of likes and retweets. But it’s not the tweet that exposed Bret Stephens as the free speech hypocrite many people seemed to always assume he was.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • The Conflict Between Social Media Transparency And Bad Privacy Laws Is Going To Get Worse

        For years I’ve been arguing that we’re bad at regulating privacy because too many people think that privacy is a “thing” that needs to be “protected,” rather than recognizing that privacy is always a series of tradeoffs. As I’ve pointed out a few times now, part of the problem that many people reasonably have about how internet companies are dealing with our “privacy” is the lack of transparency from those companies, making it difficult (or impossible) to accurately weigh the costs and benefits of the tradeoff choices.

      • The Stupidity of Smart Devices and Smart Cities

        Insentience cannot have intelligence, but the modern public relations revolution would have you think otherwise. Smart phones, smart bombs, and, it follows, Smart Cities (capitalising such terms implies false authority), do not exist in that sense, whatever their cheer squad emissaries in High Tech land claim. They are merely a masterfully daft celebration of tactically deployed cults: there is a fad, a trend, and therefore, it must be smart, a model option to pursue.

      • EFF Sues CBP, ICE Over Refusal To Hand Over Its GPS Tracking Device Policies

        Roughly a year ago, the government attempted to argue the border search exception applied to GPS tracking devices it surreptitiously attached to a truck crossing the border from Canada and tracked for the next 48 hours, following it from its arrival point in Michigan to its destination in California.

      • Ring Doorbell Camera Partners with Police, Giving Access to Your Camera Footage

        If you hang out on social media regularly, you’ve seen the Ring Doorbell security camera footage that gets passed around and goes viral of thieves stealing packages off someone’s porch or even strange things that are picked up, such as snakes spiraling around in front of the camera. In the first instance, they can be invaluable. Police feel the same way. That has led more than 400 police forces in the United States to partner with Ring Doorbell.

      • On Instagram, ‘Unlink Account’ Won’t Unlink You From Facebook

        Common sense suggests that if you unlink a Facebook account from your Instagram profile, you’ve unlinked that Facebook account from your Instagram profile. But like many things Facebook, common sense does not exactly apply here. Clicking Unlink Account does not actually unlink a Facebook account from Instagram, a Facebook spokesperson told WIRED, because it isn’t possible to separate the two. Even if a user never explicitly linked their Facebook and Instagram profiles, they are intrinsically connected—Finstagrams be damned—and will continue to be, regardless of how many times you mash “Unlink Account.”

      • EFF and Mozilla scold Venmo over shocking privacy breaches

        The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and The Mozilla Foundation have penned a joint open letter to Venmo, pointing out that its privacy settings are not what it considers acceptable.

        The two foundations have been pushing Venmo for change since it launched in 2018. The app, a subsidiary of PayPal, makes transactions public by default, meaning it is very easy to build up a profile of who your friends are, where you go with them and how much you’re spending.

        Venmo has an option to switch this off, but it doesn’t stretch to your friend list, which means anyone with a mind to can see who you know and who you’ve paid.

      • A school in Sweden has been fined over $20,000 for using facial recognition software to control student attendance

        But the Swedish Data Protection Authority (DPA) claims that the school violated several articles under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), claiming the student’s attendance could have been collected in a way that did not involve camera surveillance.

        This is the very first time the country has been issued a GDPR fine.

      • Ring Says It’s Partnered With 405 Police Departments, Here’s What We Still Don’t Know

        These partnerships give police access to a Law Enforcement Neighborhood portal, an interactive map that shows the approximate location of all Ring cameras in a given town. The portal allows police to request camera footage directly from Ring camera owners. Police do not need a warrant in order to request the footage, but owners must give the police consent before they obtain the footage.

        Motherboard has extensively reported about the nature of these partnerships, however, Ring has repeatedly declined to provide Motherboard with the exact number of partnerships it has with police. Ring has similarly declined to provide CNET and Gizmodo with the same information.

      • Your online identity is owned by your email provider

        Many of the leading tech companies — including but not limited to Apple, Baidu, Google, Microsoft, and Yandex — offer free email services to their customers. Email was never designed to be your ubiquitous online identity. Nevertheless, it’s what most businesses and services use to fill that role today. Email service providers rep the benefits of a captive customer base.

        Most people use the default email address suffix, e.g. @example.com, that their email provider offers. You choose your email address, and thus your email service provider, for life. Few give much thought to which email service provider to use and even fewer read their ever-changing terms of service and privacy policies.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Reporter Battles White House to Regain Suspended Press Pass

        White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham suspended Playboy Magazine correspondent and CNN analyst Brian Karem’s pass for 30 days earlier this month after Karem got into a shouting match with conservative radio host and former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka in the Rose Garden following a social media summit last month.

        This is the second time the White House has pulled an accredited reporter’s press pass and comes as Trump continues to denigrate critical media outlets as “Fake News” and “enemy of the people,” encouraging public distrust of the media.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Ukrainian filmmaker convicted of terrorism in Crimea is transferred to Moscow ahead of anticipated prisoner swap

        Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Senstov has been transferred from his prison cell in Labytnangi (a town in Russia’s Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug) to one of Moscow’s detention centers, sources tell the news agencies Interfax and TASS.

      • In a Disputed Custody Case, the Children of a Spanish-Speaking Father Will Remain With Their Slovak-Speaking Foster Parents

        A Cook County Juvenile Court judge on Thursday took a step toward awarding guardianship of two young children to their foster parents in a case that has raised concerns about how Illinois child welfare officials serve Spanish-speaking, Latino families.

        Judge Peter Vilkelis determined that the foster parents should become the permanent guardians of the two older children of Jorge Matias, who was deported last fall to his native Guatemala. 

      • ‘It can’t be that every instance of the word ‘gay’ is propaganda’ After SERB nationalist activists interrupted a play about being gay in Russia, police arrested the play’s director. We asked her what happened.

        On the evening of August 28, 12 activists from the SERB movement forced their way into Moscow’s Teatr.doc documentary theater and interrupted a play called Coming Out of the Closet. SERB is a radical nationalist group whose members have a history of similar attacks: In addition to targeting opposition figures, SERB has stormed or damaged multiple art exhibitions. When the group disrupted Coming Out of the Closet, multiple theater employees and audience members called the police. Officers responded by arresting the play’s director, Anastasia Patlai, as well as two audience members. One viewer was cited for disorderly conduct, and the other turned out to be under 18 years old even though he had shown theater employees a 19-year-old’s passport upon entry. We spoke with Patlai about the incident and about the suspiciously close relationship between SERB and the police.

      • Indonesia’s Journalists Grapple With Islamism

        In early January 2016, journalists in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta chatted about a doctor who had left her husband, moving to Kalimantan Island and joining a back-to-the-land movement called Gafatar.

      • What is Center E? A former agent for Russia’s secretive Anti-Extremism Center explains how ‘eshniki’ crack down on protesters and prosecute online activity

        At any mass protest in Russia, a careful eye can spot officers in civilian dress pointing video cameras at the crowd. From time to time, the same officers quietly guide police toward individual protesters, who are immediately arrested. Behind the scenes, the very same people are also responsible for bringing criminal cases against Russian citizens who share supposedly extremist posts on social media. These officials work for Center E. The internal structure of the center remains poorly understood, so we talked it through with former Center E employee Vladimir Vorontsov. Since leaving the center, Vorontsov has become known for creating a popular online support organization for police officers.

      • Oleg Sentsov is free Russia and Ukraine are finally exchanging dozens of high-profile political prisoners

        Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov has been freed as part of a large-scale prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine, according to a Facebook post by Ukrainian lawmaker Anna Islamova that was later reshared by Ruslan Riaboshapka, Ukraine’s new prosecutor general. “The exchange is complete: the sailors, Sentsov, [Mykola] Karpyuk, [Volodymyr] Balukh, and [Pavlo] Hryb are flying home,” wrote Islamova. According to unverified reports by the newspaper Ukrainskaya Pravda and Ekho Moskvy editor-in-chief Alexey Venediktov, the plane carrying these former prisoners was scheduled to land at Kyiv’s Zhuliany Airport around 5 a.m. on August 30, where they were expected to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The news outlet Hromadske reported, however, that no planes from Moscow were due at the passenger terminal of Kyiv’s airport.

      • Six takeaways from Meduza’s interview with political scientist Andrey Kortunov

        The Russian and Ukrainian governments are preparing for a prisoner exchange that is set to free more than 60 people. Recent reports have indicated that Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film director whose imprisonment on terrorism charges galvanized advocacy for political prisoners in Russia, may be among those included in the exchange. We asked Andrey Kortunov, the director general of the Russian International Affairs Council, whether the exchange could signal a shift toward the normalization of Russia’s relationships with Ukraine and the West. Six takeaways from that exchange are summarized below.

      • Trump’s Asylum Policies Could Get People Killed

        In an April roundtable on U.S.-Mexico border security, President Trump called asylum seekers and their stories a “scam.” “They’re not afraid of anything … and they say ‘I fear for my life,’ ” he said, according to The Daily Beast. “It’s a scam, it’s a hoax.” Trump also claimed, according to CNN, that “the system is full,” and there is no more room for immigrants.

      • London-Based Musician Sarathy Korwar Celebrates South Asian Voices, Turns Racial Stereotypes On Their Head

        The United Kingdom is going through a renaissance in socially conscious music. Some of that is owed to Brexit. However, London-based percussionist Sarathy Korwar says it is primarily due to young working class musicians, who are driving the scene.

        Korwar was born in the United States. He lived in India for 22 years and has lived in the United Kingdom for the past decade. His work fuses styles of jazz, electronica, hip hop, and Indian classical music.

      • Taxpayers Have Been Ordered to Pay Over $2 Million For Discriminating Against LGBTQ People

        Last week, a federal appeals court ruled that the Commonwealth of Kentucky was liable for $224,000 for the actions of Kim Davis, who refused to do her job and issue marriage licenses (to same-sex or different-sex couples) as county clerk.

      • TMLC Uncovers Tax-Payer Funded Islamic Propaganda Forced On Teachers

        Concerned about a two-day mandatory teacher-training seminar on Islam conducted by a Muslim consultant hired by Michigan’s Novi Community Schools District, TMLC filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to the workshop.

        Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Law Center, commented on the results of their investigation, “We found that the teachers were subjected to two days of Islamic propaganda, where Islam was glorified, Christianity disparaged, and America bashed—all funded by Novi taxpayers.”

        Moreover, during the past five years the school district has presented no teacher-training seminars focusing on Christianity, Judaism or any other religion – only Islam.

      • The lonely atheist: why renouncing your religion in Saudi Arabia can be deadly

        Rana didn’t become an atheist overnight – it was a long, hard process that lasted around a year. Being an atheist in Saudi Arabia is a lonely and dangerous experience. Any promotion of atheism is classed as “terrorism” (according to a 2012 Gallup poll, 5 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s population identify as atheist). In addition to this, apostasy – the renunciation of one’s religion – is punishable by death.

        According to Rana, those who leave Islam are given three days to recommit themselves before they are executed. In 2017, Ahmad Al Shamri was sentenced to death after uploading a video of himself renouncing Islam. The previous year, a man was sentenced to ten years in prison and 2,000 lashes for expressing his atheistic views on Twitter.

      • Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Convicted of Perjury, Obstruction of Justice and Falsification of Government Records

        According to the evidence presented during the seven-day trial, Scott, while a DEA special agent in New Orleans, committed these crimes in and around the New Orleans, Louisiana, and Houston, Texas, areas. Specifically, the evidence showed that Scott directed a Houston-based drug trafficker to buy a Ford F-150 truck worth approximately $43,000 and forfeit the truck to Scott as part of the drug trafficker’s cooperation. Scott then falsified the seizure paperwork for the truck in various aspects, including falsely claiming that he had seized the truck in New Orleans instead of Houston, in order to facilitate the vehicle being forfeited and given to Scott as his official government vehicle.

      • Those ‘thermal detonator’ Coke bottles at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge won’t fly with TSA [iophk: security theatre]

        In the “Star Wars” films, “thermal detonators are grenade-like weapons that pack tremendous explosive power into a small sphere, and are used by bounty hunters and military forces such as the Empire’s stormtroopers,” according to the franchise’s website.

        USA TODAY has reached out to representatives for Disney for comment.

      • Girl, 16 texts friends video of herself engaging in sex act. She’s a child pornographer, Maryland high court rules

        In Maryland, a 16-year-old girl texted a video of herself engaging in a consensual sex act to her best friends. The highest court in Maryland has decided the girl is a child pornographer.

      • Woman Complains About Trooper’s Behavior, Ends Up Getting A Whole Bunch Of Cops Fired For Timecard Fraud

        It’s not often a citizen’s complaint results in a fired officer. Even more rarely does it result in a criminal investigation and prosecution. But a woman known only as “Debbie” hit the accountability jackpot, as Matt Rocheleau reports for the Boston Globe. And it all started with nothing more than a state trooper being an asshole.

        [...]

        This wasn’t the only investigator Debbie spoke to. Another investigator seemed completely uninterested in her story about a bigoted cop. This investigator was far more interested in when the incident had taken place. Debbie’s ticket had been tossed when she challenged it. The clerk magistrate saw the date and time were incorrect and dismissed it. That’s when things started to get really interesting.

        First, the State Police actually opened an internal affairs investigation into Debbie’s claim of verbal abuse. This was upheld and the trooper who yelled at her during the traffic stop retired shortly thereafter. The other trooper at the scene — the one who wrote the ticket with the wrong date and time — was also under investigation.

        As it turned out, the trooper whose name was on Debbie’s ticket played it fast and loose with important details like time and date. It wasn’t because the trooper, Eric Chin, wasn’t detail-oriented. It was because Trooper Chin was frequently trying to do tomorrow’s work today — the sort of thing that might have been considered inspiring if it wasn’t tied to criminal activity.

      • Ninth Circuit Says Warrantless Device Searches At The Border Must Be Limited To Searches For Contraband

        The Ninth Circuit has given back a bit more of the Fourth Amendment to American citizens. Again.

        Supposedly, we’re so very much in need of national security, hardly anyone is allowed to avail themselves of their surely misnamed “rights” within 100 miles of our borders. This includes things like international airports as well, so the “Constitution-free zone” swallows up a large portion of our nation’s population

        In 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Fourth Amendment still applies at the border, despite the US government’s protestations. The government can still get away with suspicionless searches at the border, but they have to be cursory, not exploratory. That case — US v. Cotterman — resulted in a finding that deeper searches of electronic device, like Cotterman’s laptop, needed reasonable suspicion. (The court also helpfully noted that the existence of password-protected files is not enough to meet that bar.)

        Given the vast amount of information travelers carry on them at all times in their multiple electronic devices, it seems like this reasonable suspicion standard should be the minimum expected. We’re not quite up to a warrant requirement, but we’re getting closer. This recent decision [PDF] by the Appeals Court relies on its Cotterman precedent to find the same standard applies to cellphones — and clarifies what exactly that standard is.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • DOJ ‘Solution’ For Sprint T-Mobile Merger Will Result In Less Overall Wireless Coverage

        As we recently noted, the DOJ is absolutely tripping over itself to approve a $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint that most objective experts say will inevitably erode competition, raise rates, and reduce not only the total number of sector jobs–but the amount everybody in the telecom industry is paid. Forty years of telecom history is very clear on this point: when you reduce the total number of competitors in a telecom market, the results generally aren’t pretty (unless you’re an investor or executive).

      • Protocols, Not Platforms: A Technological Approach to Free Speech

        This article proposes an entirely different approach—one that might seem counterintuitive but might actually provide for a workable plan that enables more free speech, while minimizing the impact of trolling, hateful speech, and large-scale disinformation efforts. As a bonus, it also might help the users of these platforms regain control of their privacy. And to top it all off, it could even provide an entirely new revenue stream for these platforms.

        That approach: build protocols, not platforms.

        To be clear, this is an approach that would bring us back to the way the internet used to be. The early internet involved many different protocols—instructions and standards that anyone could then use to build a compatible interface. Email used SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). Chat was done over IRC (Internet Relay Chat). Usenet served as a distributed discussion system using NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol). The World Wide Web itself was its own protocol: HyperText Transfer Protocol, or HTTP.

      • ISPs Block BitTorrent Traffic Despite EU Net Neutrality Regulation

        A new study shows that some large ISPs in Europe are actively blocking BitTorrent traffic on mobile networks. One ISPs even terminates BitTorrent traffic completely. According to the researchers, the targeted practices violate EU’s net neutrality regulation, adopted a few years ago.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Another Bad PR Sign: Indie Developer Shuns Epic Store, Saying ‘My Word Means Something’

        We were just discussing how there are some cracks starting to show in the PR war that Epic decided to kick off when it initiated the PC gaming platform war against Steam. Part of the problem Epic has is that, despite its attempt to frame its exclusivity deals as some attempt to heal a broken PC gaming industry, the public very clearly isn’t buying it. It’s gotten bad enough that publishers that buy into Epic’s exclusive deals are proactively messaging publicly to the gaming masses that they would prefer not to be the target of widespread harassment.

        That, honestly, is bad enough to warrant concern by the industry as a whole. But when indie developers begin coming out publicly to refuse an Epic Store agreement, and frame that decision as a moral choice, the problem has only deepened. Wlad Marhulets is the solo developer behind Darq, a horror game released recently. He got an email from Epic seeking to sell the game on the Epic Store. Marhulets read the email and its request for an exclusivity deal, then he took a look at all the backlash other publishers have faced for entering into that agreement, and decided that he would be breaking his word to the public by entering into such a deal.

    • Monopolies

      • Former Hotel Exec Gets Elected To Congress, Decides First Order Of Business Is To Destroy Airbnb

        Ed Case represents Hawaii’s 1st district in Congress. He was just elected in 2018, though he actually was in Congress once before, when he represented Hawaii’s 2nd district from 2002 to 2007. He left Congress last time to run for the Senate, but that flopped. And he lost another attempt at rejoining Congress in 2010. In 2013 he announced that he was joining a Hawaii-based hotel operator, Outrigger Enterprises Group, as Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. At the time, he said that doing so “likely ends any further political career.” In 2016, he joined the board of directors of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, a large hotel trade group. AHLA has been among the leading hotel industry groups pushing to kill Airbnb. The hotel industry, as a whole, seems to have spent much of the last decade looking for any possible way to attack and kill Airbnb rather than improve its own products.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Munich court hell-bent on pre-emptive strike against Judge Koh’s jurisdiction over Continental antisuit injunction motion against Nokia

          While I doubt rather strongly that the Avanci patent pool firm’s U.S. venue transfer motion (from San Jose to Dallas) will succeed, Avanci contributor Nokia may help that entire group of patent holders (including, inter alia, Qualcomm) avoid the October 2021 FRAND/antitrust trial in the Northern District of California altogether. Nokia currently has the upper hand in Germany over both Daimler and one of its key suppliers of telematics control units, Continental, and may get decisive leverage from patent injunctions–probably in Munich before it does anywhere else–long before the end of the two long years, plus two months, that the build-up to the trial in the Northern District of California is still going to take.

          [...]

          The panel of three judges will announce a decision at noon (Central European Summer Time) tomorrow. As I’ll explain further below, the court hasn’t changed its mind about the appropriateness of the existing anti-antisuit-injunction injunction (“AAII”) against CAS, but the fate of Nokia’ severed pursuit of the same kind of AAII against Continental AG now turns on the question of whether the group parent, though it would undoubtedly be considered a real party in interest by U.S. standards, can actually be enjoined with respect to a motion brought by an indirect (like six degrees removed) subsidiary.

        • Continental seeks to keep Avanci case in San Jose, says it “will have immediate and lasting effects on the whole IoT industry [...] around the world”

          In a few hours the Munich I Regional Court will finally hear oral argument regarding Nokia’s motion for an anti-antisuit-injunction injunction (“AAII”) against automotive industry supplier Continental. In the post I just linked to, I stated the correct weekday (Thursday) but missed the correct date by one day (meanwhile fixed).

          In the antisuit context, I’ve previously expressed some disappointment that Continental didn’t make it structurally easier for Judge Koh (such as by choosing the ideal plaintiffs and movants from that large corporate group) to grant the U.S. antisuit motion. The motion and the related reply brief made some valid points, but also contained nonsensical parts. And, quite frankly, I don’t understand why they didn’t counter Nokia’s denial of functional identity of the parties by pointing to Nokia’s own argument in the German AAII case, where Nokia essentially tells the court that Continental AG, the Germany-based group parent, controls all Continental entities at any rate–in which case functional identity (between the parties in Continental v. Avanci et al. in San Jose and the German Nokia v. Daimler–as well as recently-filed Sharp v. Daimler–cases) becomes a matter of merely applying the logic of the U.S. customer suit exception here.

          But I must give Continental’s U.S. lawyers credit for now having filed the strongest and most thoroughly researched opposition brief to a venue transfer motion that I’ve seen in almost a decade of watching these kinds of cases. It’s roughly three times as fact-rich as the average opposition brief of this kind that I’ve seen in high-profile cases. While Continental’s filings in the antisuit context contain passages that attempt to substitute words for facts, the opposition brief to Avanci’s motion to transfer the case out of Judge Lucy H. Koh’s court in San Jose (Northern District of California) and to the Northern District of Texas excels with a record density of relevant facts…

        • When the Congress wrote “Nonappealable” . . .

          In Power Integrations, Inc. v. Semiconductor Components Industries, LLC, 926 F.3d 1306 (Fed. Cir. 2019), the Federal Circuit held that the one-year 315(b) time-bar for filing an IPR petition can be impacted by post-petition activity. In the case, the petitioner (Semiconductor Components) merged with Fairchild after filing the petition but before the institution decision. Fairchild had been previously sued by the patentee more than 1-year prior and so was barred from filing its on IPR petition. In its decision, the Federal Circuit held that that privy relationships developed post-petition but pre-institution should be considered for the 1-year time bar purposes.

          [...]

          The Federal Circuit has now denied the petition for rehearing — setting-up the case for Supreme Court review. Michael Hawes (Baker Botts) handled the original appeal for petitioner; and Kathleen Sullivan (Quinn Emanuel) was added to the team for this rehearing. Frank Scherkenbach (Fish & Richardson) represents Power Integrations.

        • Refusing to Seal: Should Patent Ownership and Licenses be Public Information?

          As in most patent cases, the parties to this litigation stipulated to a fairly tight protective order that was entered by Judge Alsup. Many of the documents filed in the case were filed under seal, including elements of the motion to dismiss for lack of standing (arguing that the plaintiff doesn’t actually own the patent).

      • Trademarks

        • Uber Takes On Beautician/Barber Over Her BeauBer Mobile App

          There’s a perception among some that the forward-looking tech companies throughout the country are more permissive in intellectual property concerns than other industries or marketplaces. And perhaps there is some truth to that. But certainly this is not without exception. For instance, you can bear witness to Uber going after a beautician over her stylist-booking app, called BeauBer.

        • Enterprise name vs. trade mark: throwing a straw against the wind?

          In China, enterprise names must be composed in a specific format. The basic structure is shown below*:

          Enterprise name = Administrative division + trade name + industry + organisational form

          e.g. Hunan Valin Steel Co., Ltd.

          Compared to other countries, it would seem that China places extra significance on administrative divisions. This is understandable since it provides geographic information that helps consumers distinguish between different market players across the vast Chinese territory.

          Sometimes, when certain conditions are satisfied, a business entity might be able to use an enterprise name that does not contain an administrative division, e.g. Tencent Holdings Ltd. and New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. These specific conditions include being approved by the State Council, or that the registered capital/fund value is at least CNY 50 million. In such cases, authorisation can be granted by the State Administration for Market Regulation (known, prior to the 2018 government administration overhaul, as the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, i.e. SAIC).

      • Copyrights

        • Finnish photographer warns of online retailers “copying” private photos

          Ollanketo said that she intends to contact the website and merchant of the household items in a bid to receive compensation for the use of her cat’s likeness on the products. She said that she had previously been involved in a battle with internet giant Amazon and knows that the she may end up empty handed.

          [...]

          Some social media platforms in particular ask users to hand over copyright of their content to the service provider. In practice this means that the platform can use images and information for purposes such as data analysis.

        • YouTube Sued For $720K Over Alleged Copyright Strike “Retaliation”

          DJ Short-E, a popular YouTuber who claims to have earned $310,000 from the platform, is now suing the company. The case is extremely unusual and centered around claims that YouTube not only failed to promote his videos, but also “retaliated” to the threat of a lawsuit by not processing copyright claims properly, resulting in his channels getting shut down for repeat infringement.

        • AI and copyright come together in ‘absurd’ US complaint

          Lawyers say legal action by the Association of American Publishers against an Amazon-owned e-book producer shows that copyright law lags behind machine-generated technology

          Machine-generated content and copyright law will be under the microscope in a US dispute after a publishers’ association filed a complaint against an Amazon-owned audiobook producer, though some lawyers have criticised the “absurd” nature of the case.

        • You Loved the 2019 CC Global Summit Logo, So We Put it on a T-Shirt

          When we asked Portuguese artist and filmmaker, João Pombeiro to design a logo for the 2019 CC Global Summit, we were confident he would create something that would capture the global movement for the commons. He didn’t disappoint.

        • ‘Baby Shark’, Derived From A Public Domain Folk Song, Now The Subject Of A Copyright Dispute

          If you have had a toddler in your house sometime over the past few years, you likely already know all about the “Baby Shark” song. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you are among the luckiest people on the planet. Except now I’m going to embed the video below to ensure you are aware of it.

The Collapse of the UPC Would Further Decrease the Perceived Value of European Patents, Which European Courts Rightly Reject

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Team UPC also harms the credibility of the EU and is therefore a threat to the community, or to unison and Europe as a bloc

Europe EU flag
These overzealous patent maximalists don’t want a united/unified Europe; they just want a lot more money for themselves (at Europe’s expense)

Summary: The patent maximalists are crashing Europe’s patent system; they don’t seem to care as long as they might eventually get some sort of a twisted court system that’s in the pockets of patent maximalists and plays by their rules

“Where is the Unitary Patent?”

This is one of the bulletpoints in this new press release about a propaganda/indoctrination event that used to mention the UPC all over the place and now mentions it only once. The European Patent Office (EPO) never speaks about the UPC anymore. The Battistelli/Campinos regime knows that it’s likely dead, as is the credibility of the Office and patents it grants. It has been noted that the number of applications for European Patents is declining. They’re running out of work. Is anyone shocked? All sorts of software patents and patents on life are not likely to withstand scrutiny in European courts — a subject we shall deal with separately. European Patents are becoming worthless; a dime a dozen (or a dozen thousand euros).

“It has been noted that the number of applications for European Patents is declining. They’re running out of work.”Team UPC hoped that somehow it would turn the tables on the legal system and get a bizarre court system which rewards patent maximalists. Thankfully their scheme turned out to be an utter failure. Now it’s down to intentional, blatant lies.

We’ve noticed a blog post by Bristows LLP‘s Alan Johnson, amplified by Lexology (possibly for some kind of payments, relaying it to a wider audience). The liars from Bristows LLP are diverting away from or distorting the news again; the German government expressed concerns about UPC (it would not ratify irrespective of the FCC because of Brexit), yet Bristows lackeys spin that as the very opposite!

As put in Lexology via another law firm, Brexit dooms UPC/A irrespective of the complaint. Team UPC makes it sound like a delay (they use the word “stall”, but it’s a demise or death). In their own words:

The German Justice Ministry expressed earlier this month that the government will not ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) until the implications of Brexit are clear.

As a side note, conspicuously enough the EPO rejects talent. It actively rejects it. What else can be expected when you offer a salary of 800 euros a month [1, 2]? In central Netherlands!

“I live in that metro,” one of our readers said, “but that’s just peanuts and I wonder how they can even find anyone to do that job; you might as well be looking for interns or homeless people in the streets. I mean, that’s not even a living wage in Western Europe…”

“It probably won’t be long before SUEPO calls for a strike again.”The EPO is a symptom of bigger issues and seeing how EPO abuses aren’t being addressed, one has to wonder…

In another post we’ll write about the injustice and the gross attack on justice at the EPO. Nothing at all has been done by Campinos to address the issue; he arguably made things even worse. It probably won’t be long before SUEPO calls for a strike again.

A Closer Look at the ‘Trojan Horse’ That is exFAT Inside Linux

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 6:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Snakes like to deceive

Snakes like to deceive

Summary: Microsoft and its boosters (media insiders) spread the illusion that Microsoft is “opening up”; the reality, however, is that it’s looking to tighten control over Linux while at the same time profiting from exFAT patents owing to back room deals

TECHRIGHTS has come to the saddening realisation that entryism inside Linux is in an advanced phase if not a “terminal” stage.

The “4 Freedoms” of Richard Stallman (RMS) are probably not enough for Software Freedom. There are glaring loopholes or workarounds. We’re not talking about stuff like systemd here. We talk about changes/passage of ownership/control. If you allow moles, entryism and other forms of infiltration into key projects — and those projects are too complicated (or vast) to fork because that doesn’t scale well — these projects are screwed. Again, we’re not talking about Devuan/Debian here but mostly about Linux, the kernel.

“We’re losing the battle… we’re ceding control.”It’s extremely sad for me to say it, but access to source code (and permission to modify, run, redistribute) is not enough for Software Freedom anymore. We see a lot of evidence of this in Linux. That’s aside from the fact that openwashing — a term I believe I coined more than a decade ago — is a massive threat to Software Freedom (yes, right now more than ever before). We’re losing the battle… we’re ceding control. It’s all about control.

Microsoft doesn’t come to Linux “in peace”. It’s hostile. It did the same thing to Yahoo, to Nokia, and to Novell. My wife’s view on Microsoft ‘helping’ Linux is the same as mine. Microsoft needs to belately adopt EXT4 if it cares about Linux; but it’s only entering Linux to advance Microsoft’s ‘standards’, APIs and proprietary software inside Linux… through Linux. It’s exploitative, pure and simple.

“Microsoft doesn’t come to Linux “in peace”. It’s hostile. It did the same thing to Yahoo, to Nokia, and to Novell.”Microsoft loves Linux like Donald Trump loves the women whom he groped, illegally, by his very own admission. We’re only glad to see that a lot of Linux sites reject Microsoft’s dishonest ‘storytelling’ about how it ‘fell in love’ with Linux — the most laughable story since Temer and Bolsonaro claiming to serve people of Brazil. But let’s leave politics out of it, at least for a second (they’re used only for analogies here).

Steve R. at Linux Questions wrote: “Can’t argue against better interoperability, but I’m skeptical. Why should the Linux community adopt Microsoft technology while Microsoft is apparently reluctant to incorporate Linux technology.

“For example, Microsoft could adopt the “EXT4″ file system instead of pushing exFAT. Obviously Microsoft won’t do that to preserve its proprietary nature, even though they are opening up exFAT.”

fido_dogstoyevsky responds as follows: “They could, but as you say they won’t. It’s just the scorpion promising to not sting.

“If only we had the wherewithall to embrace what they’re offering and then extend it…”

Many of the comments we see are more or less the same. Unless one asks proprietary software front groups such as OIN for their views…

I should know; Many years ago on the phone (he phoned me) OIN’s CEO told me that many of Microsoft’s shakedown actions over Linux involved exFAT patents — some software patents that Alice/Section 101 likely would invalidate (if it went to court).

“Many of the comments we see are more or less the same. Unless one asks proprietary software front groups such as OIN for their views…”OIN, being a pro-software patents group, won’t bother actually invalidating these patents. It never even tried, e.g. at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). And suffice to say, my image of OIN ‘darkened’ over the years because it turned out it was more interested in fronting for proprietary software giants than in Linux or anything “community”. It’s like the Linux Foundation.

What does the Linux community (i.e. users and developers) actually think of all this? See the comments here; Microsoft spinners won’t be able to catch up with honest, frank, unpaid-for opinions.

Microsoft made a fortune from exFAT blackmail and it is likely still being paid ‘royalties’ for it, owing to large and high-profile OEM patent deals it signed years ago (even under Nadella).

“Microsoft made a fortune from exFAT blackmail and it is likely still being paid ‘royalties’ for it, owing to large and high-profile OEM patent deals it signed years ago (even under Nadella).”Obviously, and perhaps inevitably, Microsoft helpers like Greg K-H are happy to help, willing to oblige. Greg’s 'professionalism' notwithstanding, we’re supposed to think that this ‘mature’ (read: industry-friendly) man has no choice but to do what Microsoft says, never mind the community’s views.

Michael Larabel of Phoronix wrote about the Microsoft-friendly (Novell past) Greg carrying water for Microsoft, yet again, with its “horrible” code (like he did Hyper-V). To quote “The Existing Linux exFAT Code Is ‘Horrible’ But Could Soon Be In Staging”:

Following Microsoft’s approval of seeing exFAT support on Linux and at long last releasing public specifications to the file-system, the existing out-of-tree Linux driver code was quickly volleyed on the mailing list for review and hopeful inclusion into the kernel.

The existing out-of-tree exFAT Linux driver is the several year old one that was accidentally leaked by Samsung though later cleared up back in 2013. Due to uncertainty over Microsoft’s exFAT patents and the company previously not publicly giving their blessing to this file-system Linux support, it’s never been mainlined.

Tom’s Hardware did a relatively good job reporting on this, having researched it further than press releases and blog posts from Microsoft. Nathaniel Mott actually went on to dig some actual responses from actual Linux developers to Microsoft’s EEE-like move against Linux file system components/parts. “Phoronix reported today that Linux developers weren’t particularly enthused about what Microsoft released, with one kernel developer calling it a “pile of crap,” which is exactly the kind of frankness we’ve come to expect from Linux developers,” he said. Sometimes the truth needs to be said. Free as in speech, right?

“Tom’s Hardware did a relatively good job reporting on this, having researched it further than press releases and blog posts from Microsoft.”In our previous post about it, a month after we wrote about this plan and the associated patent issues, we mentioned that this agenda of Microsoft is mostly being promoted by Microsoft boosters who pretend to care about Linux (after bashing it for years if not decades). Bogdan Popa, Microsoft News Editor [sic] (propagandist for over a decade), has just proven our point again (“Microsoft loves Linux” lie as an image). Microsoft Tim did so too. Notice how all the Linux haters suddenly pretend to care about Linux; They try to UNDERMINE it and they know what Microsoft has in mind.

We have meanwhile noticed some more shallow puff pieces. This one says that Microsoft “Opens Up exFAT”; It did not open it up, there are still patents on it and it’s controlled by a company that attacks Linux. Making a statement about patents isn’t the same as “opening up”. “Microsoft opens up the exFAT filesystem” was this headline in bit-tech.net. So much for “open”. Like a hunter opens a bear trap, waiting for the bear to come. It’s only about cementing monopoly or monoculture.

“Microsoft publishes exFAT spec” was a more accurate headline, but it continues/proceeds to saying that “it attempts to woo Linux…”

“So much for “open”. Like a hunter opens a bear trap, waiting for the bear to come.”Errr… nope, to control Linux. Not the same thing. How about this article? This is really bad code, according to Phoronix, so why is it being added? Shouldn’t Torvalds make a public rant? Is he afraid to speak out now in light of recent events? As far as we’re aware, he has said not a word about it.

Puff pieces still dominate the news; there are quite a few more like the above-cited ones. There are also spammy press releases from Paragon Software (we saw them several times so far this week). Paragon has long profited from perpetuation of Microsoft’s patent blackmail against Linux and now it wants more money. We’ve found lots of puff pieces later in the day yesterday. Microsoft totally controls the narrative here (few people would bother reading comments). Reactions from actual users and developers of GNU/Linux don’t seem to matter.

Ryan Farmer, a former Microsoft MVP who over a decade ago turned against Microsoft and became a regular in our IRC channels, had a lot to say about it.

Last night he asked me: “What did you think of Microsoft saying it will “donate” exFAT patents to get a kernel module into Linux? They published the specification of exFAT and announced that they would be giving a patent license to all OIN members with the goal of getting a kernel module merged. They said it won’t be them that writes the kernel module though.”

MinceR responded in IRC with a joke: “good, at least it can be good then…”

“Microsoft totally controls the narrative here (few people would bother reading comments).”“Well,” Ryan pointed out, “there’s already at least one GPL licensed kernel module out there. That one that initially leaked out of Samsung. It just hasn’t been merged because Microsoft has sued people over file system patents so many times. Microsoft was quick to point out that they are not “currently engaged in any ongoing litigation related to exFAT patents”. Of course they aren’t. Litigation is what happens when threats don’t work.”

I showed him the latest reports about Microsoft moving to second “E” [1, 2]. “More gifts,” Ryan joked.

So yes, it’s really happening!

“Lawsuits work the same way plea bargaining does,” Ryan said. “Microsoft doesn’t want to sue people over patents that may be found invalid. It wants money.”

“Quite a few OEMs already pay Microsoft for exFAT patents. Now that there aren’t any large ones left to ‘milk’ Microsoft is ‘opening up’…”The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) should never have granted these patents in the first place.

“The way to get money isn’t to nuke everyone,” Ryan concluded. “It’s to threaten them if they don’t pay up. Usually like part of what the cost of going to court and losing would be. As long as you never go to court, you don’t risk anything.”

Quite a few OEMs already pay Microsoft for exFAT patents. Now that there aren’t any large ones left to ‘milk’ Microsoft is ‘opening up’…

Quite the publicity stunt!

The Linux Foundation Has Become More About Microsoft Than About Linux

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GitHub Foundation

Summary: The Linux Foundation (LF) still outsources everything to Microsoft; if it cannot see what’s wrong with it, then it ought to at least drop “Linux” from its name because it’s utterly misleading

THIS is getting almost depressing. Today’s Linux, the kernel, has a steward that hardly has anything to do with Linux (except in name). Yesterday the publication of a press release (original) by the Linux Foundation reaffirmed our observations (from recent months).

The Foundation has paid to spread it widely (e.g. Yahoo Finance and PRNewswire) and it shows that this ‘Linux’ [sic] Foundation has just outsourced yet another thing to Microsoft. Today’s ‘Linux’ [sic] Foundation is openwashing and outsourcing just about everything to Microsoft. Almost nobody talks about it!

GitHub, Linux Foundation, and Microsoft
It’s as gross as it sounds. The Foundation pockets Microsoft money for doing so. What on Earth is going on? Why the silence? The openwashing here is the term “Open Glossary” and here’s the part about choice of host (Microsoft): “The Open Glossary 2.0 is available in a publicly-accessible GitHub repo, and the new versions will be included in the State of the Edge 2019 report, to be released later this fall.”

A site close to the Foundation has just issued this article to say: “Open Glossary 2.0 is available in a publicly-accessible GitHub repo.”

Great. So Microsoft controls yet another branch of the Foundation. It can censor projects, words, people, and groups (as it habitually does).

We’ve meanwhile noticed Swapnil, a close affiliate of the Foundation, with “(Kait Thornhill contributed to this story),” writing about the Open Mobility Foundation, which also outsourced its operations to Microsoft:

Reynolds and the LA DOT created the Mobility Data Specification (MDS) as a set of data specifications and data sharing requirements for dockless e-scooters and bicycles, which it shared on GitHub. Today, about 80 cities worldwide are using the MDS.

By giving it to Microsoft’s GitHub they let this one company control something that should have been in the Commons. Is the Foundation really a collaboration platform or a Microsoft feeding frenzy (The above isn’t LF but similar)? As we explained last week, it’s more of the latter. Jim Turley’s new article about it is a symptom of the problem because outsourcing to Microsoft and openwashing has been cast as “IBM Gives Away PowerPC; Goes Open Source” (this headline is wrong for several reasons, with at least two errors in it).

We’ve sadly come to the point where the Foundation is the “Ministry of Truth” of proprietary software cabals looking for open-themed marketing opportunities. The Linux Foundation (LF) should rename if it carries on along this trajectory. If the LF still outsources everything to Microsoft, what exactly is “Linux” about it? Just because it pays about 3 salaries to core kernel staff? It’s about 1% of the Foundation’s budget. A lot of the money goes into inappropriate spendings on media* and this includes PR services for Microsoft.
_____
* DevClass, the Web (or “news”) site would have us believe that the whole of “Open Source” now revolves around Microsoft with its proprietary software, GitHub, which facilitates censorship.

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