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08.13.19

2019 Tech Glossary

Posted in Deception at 11:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A de facto fallacy.

A dictionary

Summary: This clavis refers to what the de facto definition may be, based on how (and when) media uses the words nowadays

Cloud: server you don’t control or own
Serverless: server you cannot even access
Smart: surveillance
Big Data: surveillance using “cloud” (see above)
Assistant: surveillance using a small device
Speaker: microphone, sometimes “smart” (see above) because it sends audio streams to a “cloud”
Open Source: may contain freely-accessible source code for some portions of the product
Free: temporarily accessible free of charge (also known as bait)
API: access point for surveillance
AI: algorithm that collects data
4IR: something new or needing to sound novel
App: proprietary, contained software that limits what users can do
DevOp: overworked software developer you can wake up at any time of the day (and night) or sysadmin you can ask to code
Security: national security, i.e. back doors, but not too many (or not too obvious)
Standards: means for passing surveillance data (or “big data”) around
Community Edition: see “Free” above
Enterprise Edition/Enterprise Software: proprietary software
Foundation: a corporate front group for PR/lobbying purposes (e.g. Mozilla Foundation, Linux Foundation)
Privacy: GUI controls to give people a perception of control over data
Inclusiveness: corporate posturing for the appearance of tolerance or disregard for technical merit/quality in pursuit thereof
Openness: friendliness towards business, profit
Values: personification of corporations, ascribing feelings and ideologies to a collective of shareholders
Agile: more managers and bureaucrats, less of the rest
Self-driving: driven by corporations instead of people
Innovation: patent monopolies that give market exclusivity
IoT: devices with security holes in them (see security above)
Engagement: puff piece or AstroTurfing
Review: shipping of a product to someone with a site (or access to one) in exchange for an advertisement that looks like an article
Sponsorship: bribe
Keynote: exchanged for sponsorship (see above)
Manager: non-technical person who can leverage ignorance to overrule technical people who voice concerns about ethics

And now it’s readers’ turn to come up with more.

The Silence of the Media Lamb

Posted in Deception at 11:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Truth-tellers ‘slaughtered’, PR fills the gap

Lamb

Summary: There are reasons that are perfectly legitimate to criticise media which is unable and more so unwilling to cover particular scandals for fear that coverage can be detrimental to the media’s owners and sponsors

THIS may sound like a broken record, but it isn’t. It ought to be said again and again because it is a growing problem if not epidemic. Honest publishers perish, leaving room for lies and revisionism.

“It’s not ideal when you have media writing about the media (or bashing the media), but sometimes there’s no other choice.”The corporate media is failing to do its job. Assuming of course its job was ever to do journalism or reporting. We often complain about it in relation to coverage about the European Patent Office (EPO) — or lack of coverage thereof. Later they wonder why they go out of business? They refuse to cover issues that everybody talks about. Not to mention the treatment of the Linux Foundation and all the openwashing. The issues which exist and very much prevail aren’t necessarily lied about, just ignored. It’s a deliberate silence. We’ve noticed the same thing in Wikipedia, where editors either ‘steer clear’ of controversy or censor those who don’t, unless those editors are actual PR agents of the articles/entries covered.

What can be done about it? Quite frankly, two things: 1) point out the silence or the intentional failure to report and 2) fill the vacuum by speaking about all those issues the media is unwilling to touch. It’s not ideal when you have media writing about the media (or bashing the media), but sometimes there’s no other choice. “FAIR”, for example, being a credible media watchdog for many years, does just that (typically in politics).

We’re meanwhile preparing some code to help us tackle shallow/misleading ‘reporting’; we recently started the "Openwashing Report" and we have more stuff on the way.

LINUX.COM Managed by Apple’s MacOS Users, Open Source Managed and Covered by People Who Reject Open Source

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 9:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Swapnil Zemlin

Summary: The narratives are being hijacked; people who we’re supposed to assume speak for Linux and for Open Source support neither of these things; they’re only in it for the money

IT wouldn’t be the first time we note this; openwashing is a fast-moving, rapidly-growing problem. Nobody seems to want to tackle it. The media seems to even cheer for it, to egg on the culprits. GitHub, for example, is proprietary software that takes Torvalds’ Free/libre project and ‘entraps’/’booby traps’ it, adding lock-in to it (proprietary extensions). Does the media ever mention that? No, not really. Does the Linux Foundation realise that this is proprietary software that has nothing to do with Linux? Nope. Even though Microsoft owns and controls it the Foundation is happy and very much eager to promote it. Never mind the fact that Microsoft pays the Foundation through GitHub (don’t call it a bribe! That’s impolite!)…

“Never mind the fact that Microsoft pays the Foundation through GitHub (don’t call it a bribe! That’s impolite!)…”Yesterday we saw the Foundation linking to this article about proprietary software that has nothing to do with Linux. Sadly it has become quite ‘normal’… the sole editor of LINUX.COM continues pushing proprietary software in a site called after “Linux”. In his personal site he’s pushing Apple stuff (proprietary software for a proprietary platform). Here’s an example from less than a day ago. These jokesters who work for the Foundation don’t care about Linux. All they care about is money.

Incidentally, there’s this new article, “The Software is Now Open Source or It Is Not” (what a strange title; “you are tall or you are not tall”). This article starts by saying “[p]roprietary software providers” lose grip, then mentions GitHub as if it’s a substitute to these even though Microsoft hijacked and corrupted it. And it’s part of the problem, not the solution. GitHub also encourages proprietary software; it is itself proprietary. Those “[p]roprietary software providers” are not embracing FOSS but hijacking it to push their proprietary software under the guise of “open”; this gross openwashing is basically the abduction of their resistance or competition to diffuse and confuse. Does it work? Certainly. Look what disruption Microsoft’s takeover of GitHub has already caused. From the article:

Proprietary software providers like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Blackboard have dominated the technology scene for years. Not anymore.

Publicly accessible open-source has transformed how software is developed and delivered in the last two decades. It is getting increasingly popular, with 30 million developers exchanging code and ideas and collaborating at GitHub.

[...]

Another one of Google’s most successful open-source projects in recent years is machine learning (ML) library TensorFlow. Its widespread use has created a large, engaged community, resulting in contributions from many independent developers.

With thousands of developers contributing, Google and other tech giants such as Microsoft, IBM, Intel and Facebook — none of which are open-source companies — benefit from the free developer input and direct user feedback. This allows organizations to build better software faster.

Notice how they’re openwashing some of the most hostile companies — those that put back doors in everything and keep their ‘crown jewels’ proprietary. What weakens FOSS isn’t a bunch of people who criticise phony companies that claim they’re “Open Source” but those who play along with the lie, allowing if not actively facilitating the watering down of the term. Unless we start calling out companies that are openwashing and reject those who do openwashing for these companies (for a profit) “Open Source” will become so meaningless that it’s almost synonymous with proprietary software plus a little code on GitHub (the marketing or bait). This is anattack on FOSS that is basically misuse of the term by those looking to portray non-FOSS as “open enough” or “kind of open” or “look! We put some code on Microsoft GitHub, so we’re ethical!”

The bottom line is, the Linux Foundation now actively participates in this agenda. Perhaps more so than anyone else. This means that the Foundation too is a big part of the problem. It’s a threat to Software Freedom.

The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit is a Proprietary Software Marketing Venue

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft at 8:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not just the Open Source Summit, either

Summary: The distortion of the term Open Source and promotion of proprietary software such as GitHub shows that the foundation called after “Linux” is actually more of a front group of hostile corporations — large brands and rich people to whom Open Source represents a threat that needs to be controlled

THE events that are called “open” something aren’t necessarily what they’re called. This isn’t unusual and it isn’t limited to technology. There are various other domains where events get called the opposite of what they are. That serves a purpose, especially for sponsors, e.g. events on patents being called “innovation” something and dogs of war calling their events “defense” something.

“Consider the event called (or so-called) ‘open source’ summit; it’s mostly used for openwashing of proprietary software firms, or OaaS (openwashing as a service).”Staying focused on the subject of Open Source, and using the Open Source Summit as an example, look at the speeches and sponsors (more or less the same as keynote slots are nowadays blatantly sold to sponsors). Also look at VMworld, which is not about “VM” but about VMware. It is “hosted by VMware,” as Wikipedia clarifies, so it is about proprietary software, which the Linux Foundation is happy to openwash for a fee. How about GitHub? Or the above “open” cloud event (“summit”), which Zemlin did with Microsoft in Tel Aviv less than a year ago? Sadly, this is what we’ve come to expect from his foundation and based on their own brochures, this is very much deliberate. Consider the event called (or so-called) ‘open source’ summit; it’s mostly used for openwashing of proprietary software firms, or OaaS (openwashing as a service). Look who steers this event. Here’s an example press release published earlier this week. The company called itself — right there in the press release — “SaaS” (“SaaS-managed hybrid cloud”), spicing that up with the "Serverless" lunacy/lie. Here they go:

Platform9 (https://platform9.com/), the leader in SaaS-managed hybrid cloud, today announced it will present three sessions at Open Source Summit North America. The company is also sponsoring VMworld 2019 US, and will present at a live webinar from VMworld about Kubernetes and cloud native for Enterprise IT.

Read VMworld as VMware.

They have a classic proprietary services-leaning Web site, but it would be unfair to single it out. Many others in Open Source Summit North America are equally bad if not much worse. Platform9 is ‘special’ in the sense that corporate media keeps openwashing it (lots of examples so far this month) or associating it with “Linux” for “good measure”. Such media is perhaps not checking or not even caring about facts. Just like Zemlin’s Linux Foundation doesn’t seem to care who joins as long as they offer money. As someone said in a comment last night, “Reminder: Microsoft already acquired The Linux Foundation, in 2016, as a Platinum member.”

“…the term “Open Source” no longer seems to mean anything. And yes, that’s a very big problem.”That may help explain Jim Zemlin's "Open Source loves Microsoft" moment (captured above by a manager from Microsoft and then uploaded by him to the Web). That’s how they could appease regulators — a push into approving the GitHub takeover at the time.

As someone put it hours ago in a response to something I had said: “Microsoft makes a ‘open source’ code editor under the MIT license. But when you download it, it’s under a proprietary license from Microsoft. The app is Visual Studio Code and you can install the MIT version, so compiled from the actual public available code, from Flathub, called Code OSS. Typical open washing here. Nobody knows if they add any more code.”

But does that matter? As we’ll explain in the next post, the term “Open Source” no longer seems to mean anything. And yes, that’s a very big problem.

Links 13/8/2019: Mir 1.4 Released, Qt PDF Discussed

Posted in News Roundup at 12:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Leaving Windows 7? Here are some non-Windows options.

        Then there’s my own favorite: the Linux desktop. But while I love it, I’m well aware of the Linux desktop’s many problems.

        But recently the Linux community looks to be finally getting its act together. So now might be a good time to kick Linux’s tires.

        Personally, when it comes to the many distros, I favor Linux Mint. It’s good, secure and fast. It also has the advantage, from your perspective, of looking a good deal like Windows 7. That makes switching over to it easier than you might expect.

        But if you need corporate support, you’ll be better off with Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation or Canonical’s Ubuntu for desktop. You can, by the by, use Linux desktops with your existing Active Directory domains if that’s what’s stopping you from considering Linux.

        Which is best for you? Only you can answer that question. What I can say, though, is that these days you don’t have to just grit your teeth and shift over to the next version of Windows. Thanks in large part to the move to a SaaS model for nearly all applications, you have real desktop OS choices.

    • Server

      • Taashee Linux Services Joins Bright Computing Partner Program
      • IBM

        • Fedora Developers Discuss Ways To Improve Linux Interactivity In Low-Memory Situations

          While hopefully the upstream Linux kernel code can be improved to benefit all distributions for low-memory Linux desktops, Fedora developers at least are discussing their options for in the near-term improving the experience. With various easy “tests”, it’s possible to easily illustrate just how poorly the Linux desktop responds when under memory pressure. Besides the desktop interactivity becoming awful under memory pressure, some argue that an unprivileged task shouldn’t be able to cause such behavior to the system in the first place.

        • Stephen Gallagher: Flock 2019 Trip Report

          As usual, the conference began with Matthew Miller’s traditional “State of Fedora” address wherein he uses pretty graphs to confound and amaze us. Oh, and reminds us that we’ve come a long way in Fedora and we have much further to go together, still.

          Next was a keynote by Cate Huston of Automattic (now the proud owners of both WordPress and Tumblr, apparently!). She talked to us about the importance of understanding when a team has become dysfunctional and some techniques for getting back on track.

          After lunch, Adam Samalik gave his talk, “Modularity: to modularize or not to modularize?”, describing for the audience some of the cases where Fedora Modularity makes sense… and some cases where other packaging techniques are a better choice. This was one of the more useful sessions for me. Once Adam gave his prepared talk, the two of us took a series of great questions from the audience. I hope that we did a good job of disambiguating some things, but time will tell how that works out. We also got some suggestions for improvements we could make, which were translated into Modularity Team tickets: here and here.

        • IBM Cloud: No shift, Sherlock

          IBM’s cloud strategy has gone through a number of iterations as it attempts to offer a compelling hybrid cloud to shift its customers from traditional IT architectures to modern cloud computing.

          IBM is gambling those customers who have yet to embrace the public cloud fully, remain committed to private and hybrid cloud-based infrastructure, and, if they do use public clouds, they want a cloud-agnostic approach to move workloads. In July, IBM closed the $34bn purchase of Red Hat, an acquisition it hopes will finally enable it to deliver cloud-agnostic products and services.

          To tie in with the completion of the acquisition of Red Hat, IBM commissioned Forrester to look at the benefits to those organisations that are both Red Hat and IBM customers.

        • Red Hat Shares ― Not just open source, *enterprise* open source

          Open source software (OSS), by definition, has source code that’s available for anyone to see, learn from, use, modify, and distribute. It’s also the foundation for a model of collaborative invention that empowers communities of individuals and companies to innovate in a way that proprietary software doesn’t allow.

          Enterprise open source software is OSS that’s supported and made more secure―by a company like Red Hat―for enterprise use. It plays a strategic role in many organizations and continues to gain popularity.

        • How open source can help banks combat fraud and money laundering

          Jump ahead a few years to the Fourth EU AML Directive – a regulation which required compliance by June 2017 – demanding enhanced Customer Due Diligence procedures must be adhered to when cash transactions reach an aggregated amount of more than $11,000 U.S. dollars (USD). (The Fifth EU AML Directive is on the way, with a June 2020 deadline.) In New Zealand’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Amendment Act of 2017 it is stated that banks and other financial entities must provide authorities with information about clients making cash transactions over $6,500 USD and international monetary wire transfers from New Zealand exceeding $650 USD. In 2018, the updated open banking European Directive on Payment Services (PSD2) that requires fraud monitoring also went into effect. And the Monetary Authority of Singapore is developing regulations regarding the use of cryptocurrencies for terrorist funding and money laundering, too.

        • Automate security in increasingly complex hybrid environments

          As new technologies and infrastructure such as virtualization, cloud, and containers are introduced into enterprise networks to make them more efficient, these hybrid environments are becoming more complex—potentially adding risks and security vulnerabilities.

          According to the Information Security Forum’s Global Security Threat Outlook for 2019, one of the biggest IT trends to watch this year is the increasing sophistication of cybercrime and ransomware. And even as the volume of ransomware attacks is dropping, cybercriminals are finding new, more potent ways to be disruptive. An article in TechRepublic points to cryptojacking malware, which enables someone to hijack another’s hardware without permission to mine cryptocurrency, as a growing threat for enterprise networks.

          To more effectively mitigate these risks, organizations could invest in automation as a component of their security plans. That’s because it takes time to investigate and resolve issues, in addition to applying controlled remediations across bare metal, virtualized systems, and cloud environments — both private and public — all while documenting changes.

    • Kernel Space

      • Oracle’s Kernel Test Framework Might Be Added To The Linux Kernel Tree

        Knut Omang of Oracle is working on integrating the Kernel Test Framework into the Linux kernel source tree/repository.

        The Kernel Test Framework is used for unit testing of the Linux kernel as well as different component testing of the code. Up to this point the Kernel Test Framework has been developed separate of the Linux kernel tree in order to allow for testing against arbitrary versions of the Linux kernel. Now, however, Oracle is wanting to get this kernel testing framework as part of the Linux kernel source tree.

      • Linux Foundation

        • Essential Developer Guide for Building Blockchain Applications Using Hyperledger Sawtooth

          Hyperledger Sawtooth is an enterprise blockchain platform for building distributed ledger applications and networks. The design philosophy targets keeping ledgers distributed and making smart contracts safe, particularly for enterprise use.

          Sawtooth simplifies blockchain application development by separating the core system from the application domain. Application developers can specify the business rules appropriate for their application, using the language of their choice, without needing to know the underlying design of the core system.

          Sawtooth is also highly modular. This modularity enables enterprises and consortia to make policy decisions that they are best equipped to make. Sawtooth’s core design allows applications to choose the transaction rules, permissioning, and consensus algorithms that support their unique business needs.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mir 1.4 Released With Fix For GTK3, Support For Exclusive Zones

          The Canonical team led by Alan Griffiths for maintaining the Mir display server with Wayland support today rolled out Mir version 1.4.

          Mir 1.4 brings support for the concept of exclusive zones to the MirAL layer, various Wayland layer shell improvements, making the MirClient socket optional, a fix for GTK3 handling, and various other Wayland handling improvements.

        • NVIDIA Continues To Be Involved With Making Vulkan More Appropriate For Machine Learning

          NVIDIA engineers continue to be among those in the Vulkan technical sub-group working to advance machine learning for this API.

          Vulkan machine learning is being worked on for functionality like NVIDIA’s DLSS, bots, character animations, and other functionality that can be tailored to machine learning in high frame-rate applications. There’s also the benefit of Vulkan being an industry standard unlike CUDA and friends.

        • NVIDIA 435.17 Linux Beta Driver Adds Vulkan + OpenGL PRIME Render Offload

          NVIDIA this morning introduced their 435 Linux driver series currently in beta form with the release of the 435.17 Linux build. With this new driver comes finally the best PRIME/multi-GPU support they have presented to date.

          The NVIDIA 435.17 driver has a new PRIME render offload implementation supported for Vulkan and OpenGL (with GLX). This PRIME offloading is about using one GPU for display but having the actual rendering be done on a secondary GPU, as is common with many of today’s high-end notebooks that have Intel integrated graphics paired with a discrete NVIDIA GPU.

        • Vulkan Video Decoding Coming In H1’2020, Ray-Tracing Progressing

          The Khronos Group has posted their material from the SIGGRAPH 2019 graphics conference and includes some interesting updates on Vulkan and their ongoing efforts.

          In addition to making Vulkan better for machine learning, ray-tracing and video decode are two other topics of interest to us.

    • Applications

      • Cast To TV v10 GNOME Extension Adds Support For Casting To Other Linux Devices

        Cast to TV GNOME Shell extension v10 brings Playercast app support, allowing users to cast media files to other Linux devices on the same network remotely, from GNOME Shell.

        Cast to TV is a GNOME Shell extension to cast videos, music and pictures to Chromecast or other devices over a local network. It supports video transcoding on the fly (for videos that can’t directly play on the device), customizable subtitles, it can show a music visualizer while casting music, and much more. For controlling the device, the Gnome Shell extensions adds a new button on the top panel with playback controls.

        The latest v10 release of Cast to TV extension doesn’t come with any exciting features for Chromecasts, but it brings support for Playercast app.

      • Easy rTorrent + ruTorrent Installation And Configuration Script For Debian Or Ubuntu

        Installing and setting up rTorrent and ruTorrent on an Ubuntu or Debian server can be a complicated, tedious task, specially for inexperienced users. rtinst is a script that makes this easier, by automatically installing and configuring rTorrent, ruTorrent (stable or master), and everything else needed for an Ubuntu or Debian (including on Raspberry Pi) seedbox.

        The script was updated recently with some important improvements, like support for the latest Debian 10 (buster) stable release, and automatic Let’s Encrypt certificates generation if possible (in case it fails, it falls back to self-signed certificates).

        rTorrent is a text-based ncurses BitTorrent client based on libTorrent, great for usage on servers, while ruTorrent is a web front-end for rTorrent.

      • Listen to Online Radio on Ubuntu through Cantata

        There are many ways through which you can listen to online radio through Ubuntu. However, if you are looking for a stable application that gives you dedicated access to a large number of radio stations, we recommend using Cantata. It is a free graphical MPD client for Linux, macOS, Windows, and Haiku.

        In this article, we will explain how you can install Cantata to your Ubuntu through the official Ubuntu repositories, and also through the PPA(for latest version). We will also explain how you can set up and use Cantata to listen to online radio stations.

      • Proprietary

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Abbey Games have released the Will Of The People update for Godhood

        After entering Early Access in July, Godhood from Abbey Games has received a bit of a mixed impression from users but they’re moving quickly to improve it.

        I can understand where some of the negative reviews have currently come from, while a nice looking game and one I’ve enjoyed playing, it’s currently pretty simple. To be expected from Early Access though, it’s going to evolve over time. They’ve recently adjusted the way they describe it too, originally saying it was a “strategy god game” but they’re now saying it’s a “roster-management auto-battling god game”—okay then. Hoping to hook in some auto-battler fans I see!

      • Duck in Town – A Rising Knight, a comedy adventure coming to Linux later this year

        Here’s another game being created with the FOSS tool Godot Engine: Duck in Town – A Rising Knight, a comedy 3D graphic adventure.

      • The ambitious Anodyne 2: Return to Dust is out with Linux support, some thoughts

        Combining elements from both 3D and 2D games, Anodyne 2: Return to Dust has officially released with Linux support.

        A very ambitious game, using a 3D art style inspired by the PS1, PS2, and N64 era of gaming and 2D sections much like you would have seen on the GBA and SNES. Developed by Analgesic Productions (Even the Ocean, All Our Asias, Anodyne), it’s incredibly impressive when you realise this was made by two people.

      • PS3 emulator RPCS3 can now play Demon’s Souls at 60FPS thanks to a patch

        RPCS3 for emulating the PlayStation 3 continues advancing quickly! A new blog post is up showing off a patch that enables you to play Demon’s Souls at 60FPS and 4K.

      • The Goldberg Steam Emulator has a new release, marking one year

        The Goldberg Steam Emulator is an interesting project and one that could be important if Steam ever goes fully offline.

        It’s a replacement for the Steam API file, allowing you to play a Steam game that uses Steam’s multiplayer APIs on a LAN without Steam or an internet connection. Sounds like it’s a pretty handy project.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Temperatures continue warming in Riverside County, extreme heat on the way

        The mercury could climb into the triple digits today in the Inland Empire, with even hotter temperatures expected in the next few days.

        A high-pressure system moving in from Texas will bring a rise in temperatures through Wednesday in the Riverside metropolitan area and through Thursday in the Coachella Valley and the San Gorgonio Pass near Banning, according to the National Weather Service.

        The NWS issued an excessive heat warning that will last from 11 a.m. Wednesday to 9 p.m. Thursday for those two desert areas.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE.org Applications Site

          I’ve updated the kde.org/applications site so KDE now has web pages and lists the applications we produce.

          In the update this week it’s gained Console apps and Addons.

          Some exciting console apps we have include Clazy, kdesrc-build, KDebug Settings (a GUI app but has no menu entry) and KDialog (another GUI app but called from the command line).

        • Instant Workstation

          Some considerable time ago I wrote up instructions on how to set up a FreeBSD machine with the latest KDE Plasma Desktop. Those instructions, while fairly short (set up X, install the KDE meta-port, .. and that’s it) are a bit fiddly.

          So – prompted slightly by a Twitter exchange recently – I’ve started a mini-sub-project to script the installation of a desktop environment and the bits needed to support it. To give it at least a modicum of UI, dialog(1) is used to ask for an environment to install and a display manager.

          The tricky bits – pointed out to me after I started – are hardware support, although a best-effort is better than having nothing, I think.

          In any case, in a VBox host it’s now down to running a single script and picking Plasma and SDDM to get a usable system for me. Other combinations have not been tested, nor has system-hardware-setup. I’ll probably maintain it for a while and if I have time and energy it’ll be tried with nVidia (those work quite well on FreeBSD) and AMD (not so much, in my experience) graphics cards when I shuffle some machines around.

        • Krita 2019 Sprint: Animation and Workflow BoF

          Last week we had a huge Krita Sprint in Deventer. A detailed report is written by Boudewijn here, and I will concentrate on the Animation and Workflow discussion we had on Tuesday, when Boudewijn was away, meeting and managing people arriving. The discussion was centered around Steven and his workflow, but other people joined during the discussion: Noemie, Scott, Raghavendra and Jouni.

          (Eternal) Eraser problem

          Steven brought up a point that current brush options “Eraser Switch Size” and “Eraser switch Opacity” are buggy, so it winded up an old topic again. These options were always considered as a workaround for people who need a distinct eraser tool/brush tip, and they were always difficult to maintain.

    • Distributions

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Compact, TX2-based embedded computer has four PoE ports

        Aaeon’s rugged, low-height “Boxer-8170AI” AI edge computer runs Linux on a Jetson TX2 and supplies 4x USB 3.0 and 4x PoE-enabled LAN ports for powering cameras. You also get 2x HDMI, 2x serial, GbE, and optional SATA and CANBus.

        Aaeon has launched a fanless Boxer-8170AI computer for $1,200. The latest in a line of Boxer-branded, Nvidia Jetson TX2 based compact embedded computers is focused on Power-over-Ethernet for AI edge camera control.

        [...]

        The wallmount-enabled, 2.15 kg system supports -20 to 50°C temperatures with 0.5 m/s airflow per IEC68-2-14 and resists vibration at 3 Grms/5~500Hz. The system runs Aaeon ACLinux 4.4, which is based on Ubuntu 16.04.

      • Orange Pi Zero2 is a Tiny Allwinner H6 SBC with HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0, Ethernet & WiFi

        Slightly larger than its predecessor, Orange Pi Zero2 is also more powerful with an Allwinner H6 quad core Cortex-A53 processor, USB 3.0 port, HDMI 2.0.

      • Linux-driven i.MX6 gateway offers 4G plus isolated serial and CANBus

        Forlinx announced a compact “FCU1201” IoT gateway that runs Linux on an i.MX6 DualLite and offers 4G, WiFi/BT, LAN, CAN, HDMI, USB, serial, DIDO, and CANBus.

        Chinese embedded vendor Forlinx has unveiled a power-efficient FCU1201 IoT gateway equipped with NXP’s 1GHz, dual-core Cortex-A9 i.MX6 DualLite. Like the company’s i.MX6 UL-equipped FCU1101, the system combines extensive serial interfaces with wireless connectivity.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • HarmonyOS – Huawei’s New Open Source Mobile OS

        HarmonyOS is a lightweight, compact operating system with powerful functionality, and it will first be used for smart devices like smart watches, smart screens, in-vehicle systems, and smart speakers. Through this implementation Huawei aims to establish an integrated and shared ecosystem across devices, create a secure and reliable runtime environment, and deliver a holistic intelligent experience across every interaction with every device.

        Huawei also announced the evolution roadmap for HarmonyOS and its kernel. HarmonyOS 1.0 will be first adopted in its smart screen products, which are due to launch later this year. Over the next three years, HarmonyOS will be optimized and gradually adopted across a broader range of smart devices.

        Moving forward, Huawei will lay the foundations for HarmonyOS in the Chinese market, and then expand it further to the global ecosystem.

      • Huawei Could Rid Itself Of Spying Accusations If It Open-Sourced Its Software

        Huawei is seen as a threat to American national security because of the software loopholes in its telecom equipment, but TechRepublic’s James Sanders says that Huawei could rid itself of spying accusations if it would open-source its telecom software.

        Open-sourcing its telecom software would allow third parties to see it, examine vulnerabilities, and investigate the software apart from Huawei. To open up the software would allow other companies to gain trust in Huawei and roll back the concerns of Chinese espionage that everyone has on their minds nowadays following the spying accusations.

      • Huawei’s Open Source Operating System HarmonyOS Is The Answer To Google’s Android

        According to the reports, Yu said that the platform supports various sizes of RAM ranging from kilobytes to gigabytes and this operating system will have no support for any root access. The platform also supports a number of applications where applications from other operating systems like Linux, Android, etc will be compatible. HarmonyOS will use ARK compiler for app development and it will also support several other languages such as Java, Kotlin, JavaScript, C, and C++.

        HarmonyOS 1.0 will be launched this year within the smart screen products. Then the next three pears are planned to optimise this operating system and make it adopt across a wider number of smart devices and other wearables, etc.

      • Huawei to help build China’s first open-source software foundation

        The foundation plan came after GitHub, the world’s largest host of source code, in July prevented users in Iran and other sanctioned nations from accessing portions of its service. The incident highlights increasing geopolitical interference with global open-source tech communities, which are supposed to be fair and open to all, analysts said.

      • Huawei to help create nation’s first open-source foundation
      • Huawei to help create nation’s first open-source foundation

        Huawei Technologies Co said it plans to partner with other companies to set up China’s first open-source software foundation, which is expected to begin to operate in a month or two to expand the nation’s software community.

        The plan for the software foundation came after GitHub, the world’s largest host of source code, prevented in July users in Iran and other nations sanctioned by the United States government from accessing portions of its service. The incident highlights increasing geopolitical interference with global open-source tech communities, which are supposed to be fair and open to all, analysts said.

        Wang Chenglu, president of the software department at Huawei’s consumer business group, said software development relies on open-source codes and communities.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • A look at LibreOffice’s new 6.3.0 “fresh” release

          The open source office suite LibreOffice released its version 6.3.0 last week. This was a major release that added many new features, as well as interoperability enhancements (read: better import and export of Microsoft Office documents) and performance increases. LibreOffice 6.3.0 is a “fresh” (not long-term support) release that may be downloaded directly—or, if you’re a Linux user, you might choose to install it from the Snap Store instead. Ubuntu (and probably most Linux users) will get a separate installation of LibreOffice 6.3.0 regardless of whether users install natively from download or install from snaps; Windows users who download the new version will have their existing LibreOffice version (if any) completely replaced upon installation.

          The release notes for 6.3.0 boast of several performance improvements related to loading and saving documents in Writer and Calc. We were able to confirm these performance improvements—but only when installing LibreOffice natively. When we tested LibreOffice 6.3.0 installed from the Snap Store, performance was fine when actually inside the app and working on a document. But application launch times were significantly slower.

      • Education

        • SUSE Academic Program News: Working With Students Around The Globe

          The end of summer for many marks the start of a new semester or calendar school year. At SUSE, we have been working harder than ever to engage with more academic partners and customers, bringing the latest in Linux and Open Source training and education. To only name a few, here are some highlights of recent success within the academic community;

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • University Research Teams Open-Source Natural Adversarial Image DataSet for Computer-Vision AI

            In a paper published in July, researchers from UC Berkeley, the University of Washington, and the University of Chicago described their process for creating the dataset of 7,500 images, which were deliberately chosen to “fool” a pre-trained image recognition system. While there has been previous research on adversarial attacks on such systems, most of the work studies how to modify images in a way that causes the model to output the wrong answer. By contrast, the team used real-world, or “natural” images collected un-modified from the internet. The team used their images as a test-set on a pre-trained DenseNet-121 model, which has a top-1 error rate of 25% when tested on the popular ImageNet dataset. This same model, when tested with ImageNet-A, has a top-1 error rate of 98%. The team also used their dataset to measure the effectiveness of “defensive” training measures developed by the research community; they found that “these techniques hardly help.”

      • Programming/Development

        • Qt PDF as a new TP module for Qt 5.14

          I suggest to promote Qt PDF to a Qt module. For Qt 5.14, it will be in Tech Preview state, and Shawn Rutledge is volunteering to be the maintainer. Although still staying an independent library from the user’s perspective, it will be hosted and built in the qtwebengine.git repository. Initially only the desktop platforms (Windows, Linux, macOS) would be supported.

          Qt PDF is so far a Qt labs module [1]. It allows Qt applications to render/view PDF’s in QWidget based applications [2], and is built on top of PDFium. However, development has been stagnant, also because it is built on top of a rather old version of PDFium.

          Why wasn’t PDFium updated? PDFium got merged into Chromium a while ago, and is nowadays built as part of Chromium, using their build system (gn). Updating qtpdf.git to ship with latest PDFium would require quite some work, and keeping it up to date would require continuous work, too – work that nobody was willing to invest into so far.

          But it turns out that, since Qt 5.11, we have PDFium already in our sources, and we’re actually also building it! It’s part of the Qt WebEngine libs that use it for PDF rendering in HTML. So technically, you can already render PDF’s by loading them into a Qt WebEngine page. Anyhow, not everybody wants to ship a web browser for ‘just’ rendering PDF’s [3] …

          So the idea is that we leverage on the existing build infrastructure for PDFium in qtwebengine.git, and host and build the Qt PDF libraries there. This also means that PDFium will be updated as part of the regular Chromium updates in qtwebengine.git. qtwebengine.git would furthermore get configure flags so that you can build just the Qt PDF libs. And, to reiterate: The Qt PDF libraries will _not_ depend on Qt WebEngine libs at runtime.

          What do you think? Are there any objections for going forward with this for Qt 5.14?

        • Qt PDF Being Discussed For Qt 5.14

          Being evaluated for Qt 5.14 is shipping Qt PDF that allows PDF documents to be rendered/viewed inside QWidget-based applications.

          Qt PDF would be introduced as a technical preview module for Qt 5.14. This Qt component is currently built off the PDFium library. PDFium as part of the Chromium sources for Qt WebEngine is already within the Qt tree and their goal would be to re-use that existing code for the PDF library support.

        • Top 9 Django Concepts – Part 1: 4 Mins

          When I first dive into Django after deciding to specialise as a Django developer.

          The number of concepts that are required for anyone to learn to understand Django can be overwhelming.

          Since Django development approach forces, you to develop in a single and opinioned way of web development with a vast ecosystem of packages to support your needs.

          This could discourage potential Django developers, who prefer flexibility, a lesser amount of learning and unopinionated approach to develop a web application using Python.

          These are the people who want to get things done by picking their own adventure using a smaller amount of packages instead of Django’s batteries-included approach.

          In the first part of the series, I will be covering only 3 concepts and their related technical terms to help you get up to speed in using Django.

        • Stack Abuse: Using Django Signals to Simplify and Decouple Code

          Systems are getting more complex as time goes by and this warrants the need to decouple systems more. A decoupled system is easier to build, extend, and maintain in the long run since not only does decoupling reduce the complexity of the system, each part of the system can be managed individually. Fault tolerance has also enhanced since, in a decoupled system, a failing component does not drag down the entire system with it.

          Django is a powerful open-source web framework that can be used to build large and complex systems, as well as small ones. It follows the model-template-view architectural pattern and it is true to its goal of helping developers achieve the delivery of complex data-driven web-based applications.

          Django enables us to decouple system functionality by building separate apps within a project. For instance, we can have a shopping system and have separate apps that handle accounts, emailing of receipts, and notifications, among other things.

          In such a system, several apps may be need to perform an action when certain events take place. One event can occur when a customer places an order. For exmaple, we will need to notify the user via email and also send the order to the supplier or vendor, at the same time we can be able to receive and process payments. All these events happen at the same time and since our application is decoupled, we need to keep every component in sync, but how do we achieve this?

        • Traditional Face Detection With Python

          Computer vision is an exciting and growing field. There are tons of interesting problems to solve! One of them is face detection: the ability of a computer to recognize that a photograph contains a human face, and tell you where it is located. In this course, you’ll learn about face detection with Python.

          To detect any object in an image, it is necessary to understand how images are represented inside a computer, and how that object differs visually from any other object.

        • What’s in a Name? Clarifying the Anaconda Metapackage

          The name “Anaconda” is overloaded in many ways. There’s our company, Anaconda, Inc., the Anaconda Distribution, the anaconda metapackage, Anaconda Enterprise, and several other, sometimes completely unrelated projects (like Red Hat’s Anaconda). Here we hope to clarify two of those – the difference between the Anaconda Distribution and the anaconda metapackage.

          The Anaconda Distribution is the installer that many people download to get a good start on a Python data science coding environment. It includes Python, pandas, scikit-learn, multiple data visualization options, and many other helpful libraries. This installer may come in the form of a GUI .pkg installer (for MacOS), a command-line .sh installer (for MacOS and Linux) and a GUI .exe installer (for Windows). When you see “Anaconda Distribution,” we’re referring to these installers.

        • Getting Started with Machine Learning in the Enterprise

          Machine learning (ML) is a subset of artificial intelligence (AI) in which data scientists use algorithms and statistical models to predict outcomes and/or perform specific tasks. ML models can automatically “learn from” data sets to improve their performance.

          ML is uniquely applicable to enterprise business use cases across a wide number of industries — for example, credit scoring and fraud detection in financial organizations, and tumor detection and DNA sequencing in healthcare. Given the wide applicability, it’s no surprise that many in the enterprise have already embraced machine learning. According to Deloitte Insight’s 2018 survey of US-based early adopters, 63% were already using ML in their enterprise organizations.

        • Organizing PythonPune Meetups

          One thing I like most about meetups is, you get to meet new people. Talking with people, sharing what they are doing helps a lot to gain more knowledge. It is also a good platform to make connections with people having similar area of interests. I have been attending PythonPune meetup since last 2 years. In this blog post, I will be sharing some history about this group and how I got involved in organizing meetups. I will also cover all things involved in organizing a monthly meetup of PythonPune.

  • Leftovers

    • Haben Girma: Guide dogs don’t lead blind people. We wander as one.

      My guide dog crossed the street, then jerked to a halt. “Mylo, forward.” My left hand held the leather harness that wrapped around his shoulders. “Forward,” I repeated. The harness shifted, and I knew he was peering back at me. Some barrier, unseen and unheard by me, blocked our passage.

      Cars created little earthquakes in the street on our left. Behind us ran the road we just crossed. I made the decision: “Mylo, right.” He turned and headed down the sidewalk. I directed him around the block to bypass whatever had stood in our way.

      My dog never knows where I’m going. He has his theories, of course. You went to this cafe yesterday, so clearly you’re going there again, right? Or he’ll veer toward an open door. Seriously, Haben, we need to step in here for a sniff.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Josh Bressers: Appsec isn’t people

        The best way to think about this is to ask a different but related question. Why don’t we have training for developers to write code with fewer bugs? Even the suggestion of this would be ridiculed by every single person in the software world. I can only imagine the university course “CS 107: Error free development”. Everyone would fail the course. It would probably be a blast to teach, you could spend the whole semester yelling at the students for being stupid and not just writing code with fewer bugs. You don’t even have to grade anything, just fail them all because you know the projects have bugs.

        Humans are never going to write bug free code, this isn’t a controversial subject. Pretending we can somehow teach people to write bug free code would be a monumental waste of time and energy so we don’t even try.

        Now it’s time for a logic puzzle. We know that we can’t train humans to write bug free code. All security vulnerabilities are bugs. So we know we can’t train humans to write vulnerability free code. Well, we don’t really know it, we think we can if you look at history. The last twenty years has had an unhealthy obsession with getting humans to change their behaviors to be “more secure”. The only things that have come out of these efforts are 1) nobody likes security people anymore 2) we had to create our own conferences and parties because we don’t get invited to theirs 3) they probably never liked us in the first place.

      • Security updates for Tuesday

        Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium, postgresql, and postgresql-libs), Debian (atril, chromium, evince, ghostscript, jackson-databind, kernel, and php5), Fedora (kf5-kconfig, mingw-sqlite, pam-u2f, and poppler), Mageia (kernel), openSUSE (aubio, chromium, kconfig, kdelibs4, nodejs10, osc, and zstd), Red Hat (ghostscript), and Ubuntu (ghostscript and MariaDB).

      • When your mail hub password is updated…
        don't
         forget
          to
           run
            postmap
             on
              your
               /etc/postfix/sasl_passwd
        
        
    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Assange Must Not Also Die in Jail

        There is no official explanation as to why Julian’s health has continued to deteriorate so alarmingly in Belmarsh. Nobody genuinely believes him to be a violent danger, so there is absolutely no call for him to be imprisoned in the facility which houses the hardcore terrorist cases.

        Assange is fighting major legal cases in the UK, Sweden and the United States, yet is permitted visitors for only two hours per fortnight, inclusive of time spent with his three sets of lawyers. All of his visitors have been alarmed by his state of physical health and many have been alarmed by his apparent disorientation and confusion.

        It is because of Assange’s draconian one year sentence for “bail-jumping” on claiming political asylum that he can be kept in such harsh conditions and with so little access to his lawyers. That is why his sentence was so unprecedentedly stiff for missing police bail. Otherwise, as a remand prisoner awaiting extradition hearing his conditions would ordinarily be less harsh and his access to lawyers much better. The Establishment has conspired to reduce his ability to defend himself in court. I am not convinced it is not conspiring to destroy him.

    • Environment

      • Humans cause Antarctic ice melt, study finds

        A team of British and American scientists has found what it says is unequivocal evidence that humans are responsible for significant Antarctic ice melt.

        They say their study provides the first evidence of a direct link between global warming from human activities and the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS).

        The discovery is fundamentally important to international efforts to limit climate change, as a small number of scientists still argue that global warming results from natural rather than human causes. That argument should from now on be harder to sustain.

      • Energy

        • Russia says radiation levels rose by 4-16 times in city after accident: TASS

          Radiation levels in the Russian city of Severodvinsk rose by up to 16 times on Aug. 8 after an accident that authorities said involved a rocket test on a sea platform, Russia’s state weather agency said on Tuesday, the TASS news agency reported.

          The defense ministry initially said background radiation had remained normal after the incident on Thursday, but city authorities in Severodvinsk in northern Russia said there had been a brief spike in radiation levels.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • UK Moves To Give Regulators Power To Fine Internet Companies 5% Of Revenue If They Can’t Wave A Magic Wand And Make Bad Content Disappear

        While in theory the UK is supposed to be leaving the EU soon, it’s still technically a part of it, and now appears to be implementing the AVMSD (Audiovisual Media Services Directive) which was agreed to last year. One section of the agreement talks about “protection of minors” and like pretty much all “think of the children” type regulations, it’s full of moral panics and impossible demands. While the Directive looks like it was designed for professionally broadcast content, apparently the UK has determined that it should apply to all online video, and the UK Parliament “quietly approved” a plan to give its media regulatory body, Ofcom, the power to fine social media companies up to 5% of their revenue if they can’t magically make stuff that “might seriously impair” minors disappear from the internet.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Interoperability and Privacy: Squaring the Circle

        Last summer, we published a comprehensive look at the ways that Facebook could and should open up its data so that users could control their experience on the service, and to make it easier for competing services to thrive.

        In the time since, Facebook has continued to be rocked by scandals: privacy breaches, livestreamed terrorist attacks, harassment, and more. At the same time, competition regulators, scholars and technologists have stepped up calls for Facebook to create and/or adopt interoperability standards to open up its messenger products (and others) to competitors.

        To make matters more complex, there is an increasing appetite in both the USA and Europe, to hold Facebook and other online services directly accountable for the actions of its users: both in terms of what those users make available (copyright infringement, political extremism, incitements to violence, etc) and in how they treat each other (harassment, stalking, etc).

        [...]

        Standards-washing: the lesson of Bush v Gore

        But not all interoperability is created equal. Companies have historically shown themselves to be more than capable of subverting mandates to adhere to standards and allow for interconnection.

        A good historic example of this is the drive to standardize voting machines in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v Gore. Ambiguous results from voting machines resulted in an election whose outcome had to be determined by the Supreme Court, which led to Congress passing the Help America Vote Act, which mandated standards for voting machines.

        The process did include a top-tier standards development organization to oversee its work: the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which set about creating a standard for their products. But rather than creating a “performance standard” describing how a voting machine should process ballots, the industry sneakily tried to get the IEEE to create a “design standard” that largely described the machines they’d already sold to local election officials: in other words, rather than using standards to describe how a good voting machine should work, the industry pushed a standard that described how their existing, flawed machines did work with some small changes in configurations. Had they succeeded, the could have simply slapped a “complies with IEEE standard” label on everything they were already selling and declared themselves to have fixed the problem…without doing the serious changes needed to fix their systems, including requiring a voter-verified paper ballot.

        Big Tech is even more concentrated than the voting machine industry is, and it’s far more concentrated than the voting machine industry was in 2003 (most industries are more concentrated today than they were in 2003). Legislatures, courts or regulators that seek to define “interoperability” should be aware of the real risk of the definition being hijacked by the dominant players (who are already very skilled at subverting standardization processes). Any interoperability standard developed without recognizing Facebook’s current power and interest is at risk of standardizing the parts of Facebook’s business that it does not view as competitive risks, while leaving the company’s core business (and its bad business practices) untouched.

        Even if we do manage to impose interoperability on Facebook in ways that allow for meaningful competition, in the absence of robust anti-monopoly rules, the ecosystem that grows up around that new standard is likely to view everything that’s not a standard interoperable component as a competitive advantage, something that no competitor should be allowed to make incursions upon, on pain of a lawsuit for violating terms of service or infringing a patent or reverse-engineering a copyright lock or even more nebulous claims like “tortious interference with contract.”

        [...]

        But it turns out that you don’t need the phone company’s cooperation to design a device that works with its system. Careful reverse-engineering and diligent product updates meant that even devices that the phone companies hated–devices that eroded their most profitable markets–had long and profitable runs in the market, with devoted customers.

        Those customers are key to the success of adversarial interoperators. Remember that the audience for a legitimate adversarial interoperability product are the customers of the existing service that it connects to. Anything that the Bell system did to block third-party phone devices ultimately punished the customers who bought those devices, creating ill will.

        And when a critical mass of an incumbent giant’s customer base depends on–and enjoys–a competitor’s product, even the most jealous and uncooperative giants are often convinced to change tactics and support the businesses they’ve been trying to destroy. In a competitive market (which adversarial interoperability can help to bring into existence), even very large companies can’t afford to enrage their customers.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Daily Dose of Protest: I Dream Guillotine and Mercedes Marxist – IDLES

        One of the best protest albums of 2018 was Joy As An Act Of Resistance by the UK punk band IDLES.

        The album’s socially conscious tunes tackled the regressive attitudes and xenophobia that contributed to Brexit and the culture of “Make America Great Again.” Multiple tunes also addressed toxic masculinity.

        IDLES recently released a seven-inch single featuring two unreleased songs from the album’s session, “Mercedes Marxist” and the B-side “I Dream Guillotine.” Even though the band may have felt that they didn’t fit the mood of their last album, both tracks are hard-hitting, insightful and well worth a listen.

        The band made a video for “Mercedes Marxist.” The visuals support the song’s lyrical message, which relates to the frustration of being a cog in the life-sucking machine of capitalism.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Courts Again Shoot Down FCC For Ignoring The Law, Making Up Stuff

        As the FCC has rushed to kiss up to telecom giants like AT&T and Verizon, it has enjoyed a fairly casual relationship with both the truth and the law. The agency’s repeal of net neutrality, for example, was hinged largely on the idea that the modest rules devastated sector investment, something that data repeatedly disproved. Other Pai FCC policies have equally leaned on flimsy and manufactured data plucked directly from the mouths of sector lobbyists. And while this casual relationship to the truth may play well to Pai’s allies, just making things up doesn’t work quite as well when it comes time to defend these policies in the courts.

        Case in point: earlier this year the FCC tried to take away a modest $25 per month broadband stipend for tribal residents (you know, for freedom or whatever), while also banning smaller companies from receiving broadband subsidies (giants like AT&T and Verizon surely appreciated that). But while Pai’s office claimed screwing tribal residents would somehow massively spur broadband deployment, the courts shot that ruling down for being “arbitrary and capricious,” noting that Pai’s FCC failed completely to follow the law or to justify its policy with actual facts.

        Fast forward to last week, and the FCC found itself again slapped down for playing fast and loose with factual reality. This time, the courts shot down a sizeable chunk of a recent proposal that gutted most state and local authority over the placement of cellular towers (and so-called “small cells,” which are smaller antenna usually affixed to city street lights to extend wireless coverage). While the FCC claimed that doing so would speed up broadband deployment, a coalition of local leaders stated the plan was little more than a giveaway to giants like AT&T and Verizon, who don’t like having to deal with pesky things like environmental reviews for cell tower placement.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Eli Lilly & Co. v. Hospira, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          In its decision in a consolidated appeal, Eli Lilly & Co. v. Hospira, Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co. v. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Ltd., the Federal Circuit had the occasion to apply the Supreme Court’s distinction regarding the limits of prosecution history estoppel on the doctrine of equivalents, regarding the effects on the estoppel of amendments made that are only tangentially related to patentability.

          [...]

          The panel completes its analysis by rejecting Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories’ argument that the “disclosure-dedication” rule, Johnson & Johnston Assocs. Inc. v. R.E. Serv. Co., 285 F.3d 1046, 1054 (Fed. Cir. 2002) (en banc), prevented Lilly from asserting its claims under the doctrine of equivalents. The Federal Circuit agreed with Lilly that this doctrine does not apply where, as here, the patent does not disclose the specific embodiment at issue (here, pemetrexed ditromethamine) and thus could not have dedicated it to the public. Despite reference to earlier disclosure comprising about 50 antifolate compounds (none of them pemetrexed) and disclosure related to pharmaceutically acceptable salts thereof (but not ditromethamine), in the absence of express disclosure of pemetrexed ditromethamine “we see no reason why a skilled artisan would set out on DRL’s winding path to cobble together pemetrexed ditromethamine” and thus held that the dedication-disclaimer rule did not preclude Lilly from asserting infringement under the doctrine of equivalents.

          And on the merits, the Federal Circuit found no clear error in the District Court’s determination that the methods for treating pemetrexed ditromethamine claimed by defendants was equivalent to Lilly’s claimed methods for administering pemetrexed disodium. Thus, the Federal Circuit affirmed the District Court’s grant in each case of summary judgment of infringement under the doctrine of equivalents.

Links 13/8/2019: KDevelop 5.4.1 and DragonFly 5.6.2 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Addressing Typography Issues in the new User Interface

        We tackled typography issues after receiving feedback from multiple users.

      • [Update: Arriving] Chromebook Pixel 2015, 8 more Chrome OS devices to get Linux apps support soon

        The ability to run Linux apps has opened the door for Chromebooks to become more than just a glorified web browser, but an actual workstation. Many older devices, however, were unable to get Linux apps support, due to not having the necessary hardware. Other Chromebooks were held back because their underlying Linux kernel for Chrome OS was much older and thus didn’t have everything necessary to integrate Linux apps properly.

        A handful of devices from 2015, including that year’s Chromebook Pixel, were stuck in an awkward place, being too outdated for Linux apps to be easily possible and being too new to be ignored completely. Last August, the Chromium team said that the fate of these devices was still “undecided,” which is why they’re not explicitly mentioned in Chromium documentation.

        In the intervening months, Google has been hard at work on a project called “kernelnext,” which seems poised to update the Linux kernel of certain devices, starting with the 2015 Chromebook Pixel (aka Samus), from version 3.14 to 4.14. There are actually eight other Chrome OS devices built on the same Broadwell generation Intel processors found in the 2015 Chromebook Pixel, all of which are also being tested with “kernelnext.”

    • Server

      • Apache Hive vs. Apache HBase: Which is the query performance champion?

        It’s super easy to get lost in the world of big data technologies. There are so many of them that it seems a day never passes without the advent of a new one. Still, such fast development is only half the trouble. The real problem is that it’s difficult to understand the functionality and the intended use of the existing technologies.

        To find out what technology suits their needs, IT managers often contrast them. We’ve also conducted an academic study to make a clear distinction between Apache Hive and Apache HBase—two important technologies that are frequently used in Hadoop implementation projects.

      • Geeking outside the office

        Sysadmins have plush, easy desk jobs, right? We sit in a nice climate-controlled office and type away in our terminals, never really forced to exert ourselves. At least, it might look that way. As I write this during a heat wave here in my hometown, I’m certainly grateful for my air-conditioned office.

        Being a sysadmin, though, carries a lot of stress that people don’t see. Most sysadmins have some level of on call. In some, places it’s a rotation. In others, it’s 24/7. That’s because some industries demand a quick response, and others maybe a little less. We’re also expected to know everything and solve problems quickly. I could write a whole separate article on how keeping calm in an emergency is a pillar of a good sysadmin.

        The point I’m trying to make is that we are, in fact, under a lot of pressure, and we need to keep it together. While in some cases profit margins are at stake, in other cases lives could be. Let’s face it, in this digital world almost everything depends on a sysadmin to keep the lights on. Maintaining all of this infrastructure pushes many sysadmins (and network admins, and especially information security professionals) to the brink of burnout.

        So, this article addresses how getting away from the day job can help you keep your sanity.

      • Rook v1.0 Adds Support for Ceph Nautilus, EdgeFS, and NFS Operator

        Rook, a storage orchestrator for Kubernetes, has released version 1.0 for production-ready workloads that use file, block, and object storage in containers. Highlights of Rook 1.0 include support for storage providers through operators like Ceph Nautilus, EdgeFS, and NFS. For instance, when a pod requests an NFS file system, Rook can provision it without any manual intervention.

        Rook was the first storage project accepted into the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), and it helps storage administrators to automate everyday tasks like provisioning, configuration, disaster recovery, deployment, and upgrading storage providers. Rook turns a distributed file system into storage services that scale and heal automatically by leveraging the Kubernetes features with the operator pattern. When administrators use Rook with a storage provider like Ceph, they only have to worry about declaring the desired state of the cluster and the operator will be responsible for setting up and configuring the storage layer in the cluster.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat technologies make open hybrid cloud a reality

          It’s important to make the distinction between open hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments. A hybrid cloud features coordination between the tasks running in the different environments. Multi-cloud, on the other hand, simply uses different clouds without coordinating or orchestrating tasks among them.

          Red Hat solutions are certified on all major cloud providers, including Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services, the Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. As you’re defining your hybrid cloud strategy, you can be confident that you won’t be going it alone as you work with a cloud provider. You won’t be the first person to try things on Cloud x; you’ll have the promise of a proven provider that works with your hybrid architecture.

        • Successful OpenShift 4.1 Disconnected install

          My new position has me working with Red Hat customers in the financial services industry. These customers have strict regulations for controlling access to machines. When it comes to installing OpenShift, we often are deploying into an environment that we call “Air Gapped.” What this means in practice is that all install media need to be present inside the data center, and cannot be fetched from online on demand. This approach is at odds with the conveniences of doing an on-demand repository pull of a container image. Most of the effort involves setting up intern registries and repositories, and getting X509 certificates properly created and deployed to make access to those repositories secure.

          The biggest things we learned is that automation counts. When you need to modify a file, take the time to automate how you modify it. That way, when you need to do it again (which you will) you don’t make a mistake in the modification. In our case, we were following a step-by-step document that got us about halfway through before we realized we made a mistake. Once we switched from manual edits to automated, we were far more likely to rollback to a VM snapshot and roll forward to make progress. At this point, things really started getting smoother.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • GNU World Order 13×33
      • Xfce 4.14, FFmpeg, KDE Zero-Day, Linux Journal, NVidia, AMD, LibreOffice | This Week in Linux 78

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we got a lot of Big Releases from Xfce, FFmpeg and LibreOffice. Nvidia announced something we never expected them to, they have actually started releasing documentation related to their hardware. There were some reports for a Zero-Day Exploit concerning KDE so we’ll take a look at that. In Distro News, Voyager Linux released a new version and we got some interesting news from Ubuntu regarding their usage of ZFS. In the Sad News, The Linux Journal announced they will be shutting their doors again. Later in the show, we’ll check out the new operating system from Huawei, AMD Firmware Updates are rolling out for Linux support and we’ll take a look at an app to display your Android phone on your desktop, scrcpy. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

      • CodeGrades on Podcast.__init__

        CodeGrades was recently on the Podcast.__init__ show where we had lots of fun exploring the links between music and coding education as a way to explain the concepts behind CodeGrades.

      • GNR 87 – Lads on Tour [Ed: Fab from Linux Outlaws]
    • Kernel Space

      • Intel’s Linux Graphics Driver Developers Discover 3~20% Boost For Current-Gen Hardware

        Last week was the Intel Gallium driver one line patch to boost performance by 1%. Today’s code churn within Mesa for Intel’s open-source Linux graphics drivers were larger but also with a more profound performance impact with some workloads now being faster by around 20%. Making this more exciting is that today’s round of driver optimizations apply to the very common and mature “Gen 9″ graphics hardware.

      • Linux Finally Has A Fix For Crackling Audio Input On Recent AMD Systems

        Queued now for Linux 5.3 and also marked for back-porting to existing kernel stable series is a fix to address distorted and crackling analog audio input that has affected AMD systems for at least the past two years with certain Realtek audio codecs.

        Going back to at least early 2017 has been bug reports like this one making mention of “crackled” or otherwise distorted audio capturing on AMD systems. But it’s been largely a mystery up to now what’s been causing these problems under Linux with other common workarounds for audio troubles not working out.

      • Graphics Stack

        • TGSI To NIR Improvements Hit Mesa 19.2 For RadeonSI

          AMD Mesa lead developer Marek Olšák has landed a set of improvements to the TGSI-to-NIR pass today for Mesa 19.2 to enhance the RadeonSI driver’s support for using this intermediate representation.

          The “tgsi_to_nir” code for going from the traditional Gallium3D IR to the increasingly used “NIR” has seen support for more operations and also basic compute shader support is now in place. Marek landed these improvements over the course of several commits today for the still-open Mesa 19.2 code-base.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Total War: Shogun 2 – Fall of the Samurai is now a Total War Saga game, DLC free for existing owners

        Creative Assembly did a bit of a rebranding today, as Total War: Shogun 2 – Fall of the Samurai which was a standalone expansion for Total War: Shogun 2 has now become Total War Saga: FALL OF THE SAMURAI. Originally released in 2012, we were given a Linux port from Feral Interactive back in 2017.

        Writing about the news on the official Total War blog post, Creative Assembly mentioned that along with the title adjustment that existing owners will get every DLC (excluding the blood pack) as a free gift which is pretty darn nice of them.

      • G2A have extended the deadline for their proposed key-blocking tool, as more developers are unhappy with them

        Recently, after G2A appeared in the spotlight once again for being terrible, they offered to make a key-blocking tool for developers. This was offered after our recent article highlighting a bunch of problems, an article that’s worth a read as a little background on what’s going on.

        According to G2A, such a key-blocking tool would be “time-consuming and expensive”, which is completely ridiculous because it’s a pretty damn simple feature to make, with it comparing lists of keys against what users try to sell. Not just that, they also required at least 100 developers to sign up to it before they would do it which is also outrageous. They even gave a deadline of August 15th for developers to sign up.

        That deadline has now been extended until the end of August as only 19 developers signed up, how generous of them.

        Wube Software, developer of Factorio, actually took up G2A on their offer of paying developers back “10x the money proven to be lost on chargebacks”, as noted by Wube in one of their blog posts. That was posted on July 12th, noting that they last heard from G2A a few days before posting and G2A had their list of keys. As an update on that, it seems they’re still waiting. Surprised? Nope.

      • Putting a Linux game on Steam: Missing Executable – a common pitfall for game devs

        Since this comes up so often when testing games for developers and surprisingly often for newly released Linux games, I thought it might help to give developers a quick hint.

      • Goonies-inspired adventure Knights And Bikes releasing with Linux support on August 27th

        Developed by Foam Sword and publisher Double Fine Presents, the hand-painted action-adventure Knights And Bikes is releasing soon. Confirmed on Twitter by both the developer and publisher, the August 27th release will indeed come with Linux support on the same day.

        Featuring gameplay for 1-2 players, it takes place in the 1980s on a fictional British island called Penfurzy. You’ll be exploring on your customizable bikes while dealing with puzzles and enemies using improvised tools like frisbees, water-balloons, puddle-stomping welly boots, and a powerful boom-box stereo. Sounds like it could be pretty sweet!

      • Eliza, the new Visual Novel from Zachtronics is out now with Linux support

        Usually known for their excellent puzzle games, Zachtronics have released Eliza, a new and intriguing sounding Visual Novel.

      • Towertale, the fast-paced 2D boss battler now has a Linux version available

        With fast-paced 2D action, Towertale from MiSou Games arrives on Linux and not long after the original Windows version. If you’re wondering what a “boss battler” actually is, all the fights are against big beasts instead of you having to easily make your way through tons of low-level sword fodder.

        Towertale tells the story of a mysterious tower, created to by some sort of ancient being. If you manage to defeat the guardian on each level, you will be granted “the ultimate wish” or so the legend says anyway. Many have tried, just as many died.

      • The 2D racer Bloody Rally Show is coming along nicely and it’s good fun already

        Bloody Rally Show is an upcoming indie 2D racer from Game Hero Interactive, releasing either late this year or early next year it’s currently in Beta and it’s running well on Linux.

        It’s a game I briefly covered back in late March, I’ve not really followed it too closely until now. Recently though, the developer confirmed on Steam they will “never” release on the Epic Store, as well as the game being DRM-free on Steam as the Steam integration is going to be completely optional so you can copy it away from Steam and it will work fine.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • XFCE 4.14 Released. Here’s What’s New.

        As per the XFCE development roadmap, the major goal of XFCE 4.14 was to port all core modules and components to GTK3 from GTK2 and GDBus. Due to this migration, users can experience more faster and polished UI experience with XFCE 4.14.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDevelop 5.4.1 released

          We today provide a stabilization and bugfix release with version 5.4.1. This is a bugfix-only release, which introduces no new features and as such is a safe and recommended update for everyone currently using KDevelop 5.4.0.

          You can find the updated Linux AppImage as well as the source code archives on our download page.

    • Distributions

      • 6 Best Linux Distros for Beginners

        If you’re a programmer, server admin, or just someone who likes to have everything tailored to their needs, Linux-based operating systems are worth a try. With a powerful terminal, better security, and the freedom to modify your operating system; however, you want, users will find Linux to come in quite handy.

        Making the shift to Linux is not as complicated as some people make it out to be. There is a variety of Linux distributions available that cater to the needs of people who are planning on making the jump to Linux from any other operating system. However, it is also worth noting that there are some complex Linux distros out there like Arch Linux and Kali Linux, which newbies should refrain from installing as of today. Considering all this, FOSSLinux brings you the best Linux distros for beginners that will help you get started with Linux more straightforwardly.

      • Reviews

        • Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon vs Kubuntu 19.04 Review

          Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon still ships with ‘ureadahead’ daemon which as I’ve shown, has the capacity to significantly speed things up (again, it only works on rotational disks) when booting up, even though the memory usage is not as impressive compared to modern KDE desktops (that then again is not Cinnamon’s fault, because, that’s how it is with most GNOME 3 based distributions these days).

          If you’re not happy with the power usage, then install TLP, if the responsiveness is not impressive, try changing the I/O scheduler, and you’re good to go. It’s easy to use, quite stable and even though Cinnamon’s apps are forked from GNOME 3’s apps, due to its will to retain its own identity, nowadays, to a great extent, Cinnamon is its own thing. If interested in, download it from Mint’s official web page. Good luck and thank you for reading.

      • Fedora Family

        • NEST 2.18.0 (and 2.16.0) are ready for use on NeuroFedora

          After a bit of work and testing, NEST 2.18.0 and 2.16.0 are now both available for use on NeuroFedora.

        • Capture and playback UDP packets

          Generating some random statsd communication is easy, it’s text-based UDP protocol and all you need to have is netcat. However things change when statsd server is integrated with real application flodding it with thousands of packets of various attributes.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla VR Blog: Custom elements for the immersive web

            From the Mixed Reality team, we keep working on improving the content creator experience, building new frameworks, tools, APIs, performance tuning and so on.
            Most of these projects are based on the assumption that the users have a basic knowledge of 3D graphics and want to go deep on fully customizing their WebXR experience, (eg: using A-Frame or three.js).
            But there are still a lot of use cases where content creators just want very simple interactions and don’t have the knowledge or time to create and maintain a custom application built on top of a WebXR framework.

            With this project we aim to address the problems these content creators have by providing custom elements with simple, yet polished features. One could be just a simple 360 image or video viewer, another one could be a tour allowing the user to jump from one image to another.

          • Mozilla Reps Community: Reps OKRs for second half of 2019

            Here is the list of the OKRs (objective and Key Results) that the Reps Council has set for the second half of 2019

      • BSD

        • DragonFly 5.6.2 released

          Because of the recent tcp keepalive change and some other updates, DragonFly 5.6 has been updated to 5.6.2. See my release email, and update the normal way. You will need to update your installed dports.

        • DragonFlyBSD 5.6.2 Released With Disruptive Change To Help Chromium, Ported Apps

          DragonFlyBSD 5.6.2 is out today as the newest version of this popular BSD operating system.

          DragonFlyBSD 5.6.2 includes the usual minor bug fixes ranging from panics, deadlocks, and null pointer dereferences to more prominent fixes this round. The DragonFlyBSD AHCI driver now enforces a 10-second poll of the chipset, a quirk for the Corsair Strafe RGB keyboard, and other fixes.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • To equip tomorrow’s cybersecurity experts, we’ll need an open approach

          Today’s world—marked by an increase of Internet-connected devices, digital assets, and information systems infrastructure—demands more cybersecurity professionals. Cybersecurity is the practice of defending these devices, assets, and systems against malicious cyberattacks from both internal and external entities. Often these cyberattacks are linked to cybercrimes, or crimes committed using a computer to generate profit or to affect the integrity, availability, and confidentiality of the data or system. In 2016, cybercrimes cost the global economy more than $450 billion.

          [...]

          It’s critical for students to not only become acquainted with the advantages of open source software but also to develop strong skills working openly, since open source software is not only common in the IT industry in general, but is specifically necessary in the field of cybersecurity. With this approach, students can learn within the safety and guidance of the classroom while also naturally acquiring research and troubleshooting skills by facing challenges that are presented or arise during exercises.

        • Cloud-native Java, open source security, and more industry trends

          As part of my role as a senior product marketing manager at an enterprise software company with an open source development model, I publish a regular update about open source community, market, and industry trends for product marketers, managers, and other influencers.

      • Programming/Development

        • Step-by-Step Execution and Examples

          Last week I finished writing all the new examples for the ROCS, together with a little description of each commented in the beginning of the code

        • Applying C – Deadline Scheduling

          For real time tasks FIFO scheduling is appropriate. However, if you are using a modern version of Linux there’s a better choice. Earliest Deadline Scheduling (EDS) is new recently introduced (Kernel 3.14) Linux scheduling policy. Due to its recent introduction and because it isn’t a POSIX scheduling method, it isn’t widely used, but it does have many good properties for realtime tasks.

          A SCHED_DEADLINE thread is associated with three parameters – runtime, period and deadline. The thread will receive runtime nanoseconds of execution every period nanoseconds and deadline specifies in nanoseconds how delayed into the period the allocation can be. If a thread takes longer than its runtime period the operating system suspends it and restarts it at its next activation period.

          It is also useful to know that in this case sched_yield suspends the thread until its next time period starts. This means you can give time back to the system if you have overestimated how long a task should take.

          Notice that times are specified in nano seconds (ns) but micro seconds (us) are more reasonable for describing how long a real world task is likely to take.

          For example, if runtime is 10 us, period 100 us and deadline 20 us you can be sure that the thread will get 10 us every 100us and the maximum delay from the start of the 100 us period is 20 us. If the thread is, say, setting a hardware line high at the start of the 10us and low at the end, the pulses will be 10us wide and repeat every 100us, but with a jitter of 20 us from the start of the 100us period, i.e. a pulse could be up to 20us late. This only works if the system isn’t overloaded and there are enough CPUs to satisfy all of the demands. As long as the system isn’t overloaded then the scheduling algorithm is proven to meet the specifications of period and deadline.

        • Building a non-breaking breakpoint for Python debugging

          This is the story of how our team at Rookout built non-breaking breakpoints for Python and some of the lessons we learned along the way. I’ll be presenting all about the nuts and bolts of debugging in Python at PyBay 2019 in San Francisco this month. Let’s dig in.

        • Excellent Free Books to Learn X86 Assembly

          An assembly language is a low-level programming language for a computer, or other programmable device. Assembly language is used by almost all modern desktop and laptop computers. It is as close to writing machine code without writing in pure hexadecimal. It is converted into executable machine code by a utility program referred to as an assembler.

        • A comprehensive guide to agile project management

          With a focus on continuous improvements, agile project management upends the traditional linear way of developing products and services. Increasingly, organizations are adopting agile project management because it utilizes a series of shorter development cycles to deliver features and improve continually. This management style allows for rapid development, continuous integration (CI), and continuous delivery (CD).

          Agile project management allows cross-functional teams to work on chunks of projects, solving problems and moving projects forward in shorter phases. This enables them to iterate more quickly and deliver more frequent updates.

          The agile methodology provides a higher level of quality improvements on an incremental basis instead of waiting to distribute finished projects. And agile project management works. For example, PWC reports agile projects are 28% more successful than traditional project methodologies.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Other voices: The transplant waiting list is where hope goes to die

        It’s illegal to pay for a human kidney, but it’s perfectly fine to beg for one. So if you’ve driven through Alabama, Indiana, South Carolina, Manhattan or Los Angeles recently, you may have seen billboards taken out by patients urging passers-by to part with their kidneys. Hundreds more patients seek living donors online; others search abroad (often with grim results).

        There just aren’t enough organs to go around. For every 1,000 Americans who pledge to donate their kidneys after death, only three die in a way that permits a transplant. That frees up about 14,000 kidneys a year — about one for every seven people on the 90,000-strong transplant waiting list. The longer they wait — five years, on average — the sicker they get. Every day, some 13 people die waiting.

        That’s why living donors are so important — and why donations should be encouraged rather than penalized.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Indian Counseling Company Files Criminal Complaint Against Blogger Who Informed It About A Sensitive Data Leak

        As Doe notes, it appears 1to1Help’s lawyers made a number of self-serving omissions when filing this complaint. First, they failed to point out the article had already been published, which would have allowed the court to review the content and see if it actually violated the law.

        Second, the lawyers claimed Doe’s site was “rogue,” due to it containing no contact information for Doe. They were either wrong or lying, as Doe’s site does contain a contact number and she is reachable via social media and other venues, having spent more than a decade covering security breaches.

        Finally, 1to1Help claimed in its filing that Doe tried to blackmail it by giving Anil Bisht deadlines to respond for comment before publication. That’s called journalism, not blackmail, and either its lawyers can’t comprehend that or willfully misportrayed this extremely common process to the court.

        The problem isn’t the person reporting the leak. The problem is the leak and the company that took its time responding to the problem and then decided to take legal action when the person reporting the leak refused to cover it up.

      • Platform9 Shares Best Practices for Kubernetes at Scale on Bare Metal, with RDBMS, and with Serverless Apps at Open Source Summit and Other Industry Events in August

        Platform9 (https://platform9.com/), the leader in SaaS-managed hybrid cloud, today announced it will present three sessions at Open Source Summit North America. The company is also sponsoring VMworld 2019 US, and will present at a live webinar from VMworld about Kubernetes and cloud native for Enterprise IT.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Judge won’t reconsider daily fines against Chelsea Manning for refusing to testify

        Chelsea Manning will not get a hearing to challenge steep daily penalties imposed for her refusal to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

        In an order issued Monday, Judge Anthony J. Trenga in Alexandria federal court said there were no “reasonable grounds” to reconsider his decision to impose the fines, which started at $500 per day and have now risen to $1,000. Manning, 31, who was first jailed in March for refusing to testify, could be in jail for up to 18 months, and her attorneys estimate that the total cost will be close to half a million dollars.

        Her attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen said Manning “expects to remain” in jail for about 400 more days. She added that while they are “evaluating our legal options . . . above all right now we are all working to strategize for her long-term health and welfare.”

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • Trump Administration Slashes Endangered Species Act, Worsening Extinction Crisis

          It took just 30 minutes for Trump administration officials to announce dramatic steps to undermine more than 45 years of successful conservation policy under the Endangered Species Act.

          In an abbreviated half-hour press conference on Monday, August 12, officials from the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a series of new regulations critics say will put economic interests before species recovery and threaten the efficiency of all species protections.

          Tellingly, many of the regulatory changes appear to have been written specifically to cater to business interests. They will “provide regulatory assurances and protection for both endangered species and the businesses [emphasis added] who rely on the use of federal and private lands,” Karen Budd-Falen, Interior’s deputy solicitor for fish, wildlife and parks, said in her introduction to the press conference.

          Budd-Falen is a longstanding opponent of the Endangered Species Act and public lands, whose previous roles include advocating for private-property rights and serving as attorney for the notorious Cliven Bundy family.

          The rules also appear to be a sneak attack against federal-level protections. Margaret Everson, Fish and Wildlife’s principal director, said in her remarks that the regulations will “return management of recovered species to the states.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • CNN did not learn the lesson from the Manafort hoax 40 Rebuttals to CNN’s Bias on Assange

        Having worked as a diplomat at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for six out of the seven years that Julian Assange lived there as a political refugee, unlike others, I am privy to what actually happened there. I am alarmed by CNN’s June 15th 2019 story, alleging Assange turned the Ecuadorian embassy in London into a command post for election meddling.

        The story contains several substantive shortcomings and too many factual errors. I warned CNN about them when I was approached during their “investigation,” but none of my points were included in the article. It is clear that CNN was not looking for balance in their publication, choosing instead to make assertions without showing actual proof, and to use props such as irrelevant CCTV images, a sensationalist collage and a miniature image of unreadable documents to make it seem as though the story was based on evidence.

        CNN’s story is based on the wrong premise that publishing information about an election—in this case the 2016 US presidential election—constitutes interference. Nobody refutes the authenticity of the material and nobody claims that the information was not in the public interest.

      • Caroline Lucas and the unworkable madness of woke politics

        Have you had the call to join the Government of National Unity (GNU) yet? My mobile telephone has been playing up in recent days, which may explain why I have not – at the time of writing – received a summons from Heidi Allen or Dominic Grieve, both former Conservative MPs and the leaders of the audacious bid to unite Britain this autumn. They plan to achieve this by sacking Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, setting aside the result of the 2016 referendum, and establishing a cross party administration to halt Brexit. What could possibly go wrong?

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • If You Lament The State Of Politics Today, Lament The Loss Of Aereo

        Disclaimer: I did a teeny bit of legal work on a teeny part of Aereo’s defense against the litigation onslaught seeking to obliterate it. But that’s not why I think the Supreme Court’s decision enabling that obliteration was terrible. On the contrary, it’s why I wanted to work on the defense at all, because it was always apparent that trying to use copyright to crush Aereo was a terrible idea that would have terrible consequences. And time has, of course, born this prediction out.

        It had never made sense why all these TV stations would be suing Aereo in the first place. After all, isn’t the thing that TV stations always want a larger viewership? With a larger viewership they can charge more for ads and make more money. So a service that helps them get that larger viewership (and at no cost to themselves) seems like something they should actually be glad to have. In any case, it was certainly quite odd to see them resent something that helped connect them with bigger audiences beyond what their broadcast signal could manage.

        And it made even less sense for a public television station like WNET to be part of any of these lawsuits. Commercial profit was never supposed to be its goal. Instead, pledge drive after pledge drive has always begged the public for the funds necessary to show its programming. Yet there it was, now trying to eradicate a service that helped people actually watch that programming. Which necessarily prompts the question of why anyone should ever bother to give money to WNET ever again if it was so bound and determined to limit the number of people who could benefit from it.

      • Ex-Googler Recently Held Up As A ‘Whistleblower’ And ‘Proof’ Of Anti-Conservative Bias At Google, Actually Supported Richard Spencer, Racist Skinheads

        When we recently wrote about the myth of anti-conservative bias at the various internet platforms, we got a lot of angry responses from people who insist (very loudly, often with lots of insults and anger, but rarely with any facts or data) that we’re full of shit. We’d be open to believing it if there was any actual support for these claims. But none is ever forthcoming. Indeed, amusingly, some people pointed out that a recent WSJ article about an alleged fired “conservative” engineer at Google, described as a “whistleblower,” was more “proof” that the company has it in for conservatives. Tucker Carlson even had the engineer, Kevin Cernekee, on his show last week to continue to feed the narrative.

        And, of course, other Fox News characters, such as Lou Dobbs, played up Cernekee’s claims as well, which even got President Trump to retweet Dobb’s segment about Cernekee as “proof” that Google is trying to influence the 2020 election.

        However, as we’ve pointed out concerning most of the “conservatives” who have had content removed or been banned from social media platforms (as is true in similar situations with liberals and other non-conservatives) there is almost always more to the story — and that “more” is often that these people are not banned or fired or otherwise held back because of their general political views, but because of something much worse. And, in the case of Cernekee, people finally realized that maybe it wasn’t that he was a conservative, but that he wanted to fundraise in support of one of the US’s most well known white supremacists, Richard Spencer.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Emails From License Plate Reader Company Hack Show Lobbyists Writing Legislation And Handing Out Talking Points To Congressional Reps

        There’s no element of surprise here. There will be no gasps of disbelief. About the only thing we can do is shake our heads at how willingly our public representatives will follow stage direction from corporations, especially when the talking points are in the interest of subjecting more people — many of them US citizens — to more surveillance.

        It’s amusing when a social media influencer accidentally posts some paid content from a sponsor/advertiser without changing a single word of the sales pitch. It’s not nearly as funny when a Congressional rep reads directly from a company’s email, demanding to know whether or not the CBP would be spending more LPR money in the near future.

        Ultimately, this didn’t work out for Perceptics. Not because Congressional reps decided they wouldn’t be unofficial spokespeople for a number of corporate interests. The only reason Perceptics was dumped by the CBP was because it couldn’t keep its information secure — information that included its pointed conversations with legislators.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Jeffrey Epstein’s Uniquely American Death In Jail

        The United States holds more of its population in prisons and jails than any other country in the world. Suicide is one of the biggest causes of death in U.S. jails and hit a high of 50 deaths for every 100,000 inmates in 2014.

        That makes the death of Jeffrey Epstein, who was involved in a sex trafficking ring, a uniquely American death, especially if investigators confirm he committed suicide.

        A day after Epstein was found dead, the New York Times spoke with an unnamed “law enforcement official with knowledge of his detention.” The official claimed Epstein was “supposed to have been checked by the two guards in the protective housing unit every 30 minutes, but that procedure was not followed” on August 9.

        The Times cited additional unnamed officials, who suggested “because Mr. Epstein may have tried to commit suicide three weeks earlier, he was supposed to have had another inmate in his cell.”

        “But the jail had recently transferred his cellmate and allowed Mr. Epstein to be housed alone, a decision that also violated the jail’s procedures,” according to two officials.

        The Associated Press reported that guards in the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s Special Housing Unit, where Epstein was confined, was staffed with “one guard working a fifth straight day of overtime and another who was working mandatory overtime.” The information was attributed to an unnamed person “familiar with the jail’s operations.”

    • Monopolies

      • Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives (Introduction)

        Twenty-five new runways would eliminate most air travel delays in America; fifty patent owners are blocking a major drug company from creating a cancer cure; 90 percent of our broadcast spectrum sits idle while American cell phone service suffers. These problems have solutions that can jump-start innovation and help save our troubled economy. So, what’s holding us back?

      • Ownership of University Intellectual Property

        Every university needs a comprehensive set of written policies communicating the development of intellectual property resources in the context of its educational and research mission. Patent policies, copyright and trademark management, ownership guidelines, usage policies, and many other issues need to be carefully developed by each school.

        These policies are not the same among the various forms of intellectual property and need to specify those rights assigned to the university and those rights retained by the student with specificity and detail. And even this is not enough. Students are often employees, a status that has a very different legal and contractual right under the university policies. Some students are also instructors and researchers. Similarly, faculty status does not convey the same rights for all individuals, so the policies must capture the distinctions between full-time faculty, visitors, adjuncts and those with other status.

        By using the legal and business guidelines in copyright, patent, and other laws more carefully, schools can begin to tailor a usage and implementation policy that meets the educational and pedagogical goals of the classroom and research. Because the goals of academic instruction vary from school to school and even from class to class, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, the law provides a framework against which an academically sound policy can be developed.
        This article highlights the role of copyright, patent, publicity rights, and trademark as they impact the teacher, researcher, student employee, student entrepreneur, and student athlete. It provides a framework for universities and their stakeholders to better understand the rights and responsibilities they have to each other regarding intellectual property rights and how best to draft policies and agreements within the context of those responsibilities.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • How Patents Really Work in the Innovation Economy [Ed: The Globe and Mail lets a patent lawyer 'lecture' us on 'innovation' (not)]

          Dealing strictly on the issue of patents, the concern is that non-practising entities (NPEs) are corrupting the patent system. An NPE is an entity that holds a patent for a product or process but has no intention to develop it. Under that definition, any Canadian university that holds patents is an NPE, just as Ottawa’s WiLAN – one of the world’s top patent licensing companies that has licensing agreements with more than 320 of the world’s largest technology companies worth more than $900-million – is also considered an NPE.

          One recent article in The Globe and Mail suggests that NPEs target the “patents” of practising entities. When an NPE asserts its patent(s) against a practising entity, the NPE is targeting the activity of the practising entity – not its “patents.” Generally, most NPEs, including universities, are seeking fair and reasonable compensation for their patent(s) through a licence. Aggressive NPEs that have been called “patent trolls” typically target larger companies and often assert portfolios of defunct small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the benefit of those who initially invested in them. Some NPEs also enable SMEs to leverage their patent assets or keep larger companies from infringing on the technologies of these smaller companies. While NPEs should be regulated to ensure ethical business practices are upheld, they are an important market force.

          The concern that patent trolls are targeting Canadian startups is also unfounded. Patent trolls aren’t concerned with prerevenue or low-revenue-generating startups. However, profitable Canadian SMEs (that is, not startups) operating in the United States are being targeted by U.S. patent holders.

        • Cancer Doctors are Calling for a Permanent Fix to Drug Shortages in Canada

          Cancer specialists are concerned national shortages of three vital cancer drugs could lead to a time when they could run out of treatment options for patients in Canada.

          The three drugs are all injected into patients’ veins.

          The federal government’s drug shortage reporting website lists all three as experiencing national shortages, meaning the scarcity problem could affect patients throughout the country.

          At hospitals in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, oncologists, pharmacists and nurses have all scrambled to find alternatives, make substitutions and share precious vials.

          “My point in raising this publicly is not to alarm patients,” Dr. Gerald Batist, director of the Segal Cancer Centre at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital.

          “But to start to bring this into the public discourse so that we have some pressure on our government and on drug producers to find a solution to this.

        • IBM Files Patent for a Blockchain-Based Web Browser

          A new patent application from IBM describes a blockchain-based web browser.

          Published on August 6 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, IBM’s patent is for a web browser backed by a peer-to-peer network.

          The browser collects pre-specified information from web browsing sessions, according to the patent. The information is then transferred to a network of peer-to-peer nodes for collection and storage. Information collection depends on the type of browsing experience chosen. Browsing on a work computer versus a personal browser would demand different settings, for example.

      • Trademarks

        • DC Opposes Trademark Application For ‘Algorithmic Justice League’ For Some Reason

          DC Comics, the company behind some of our most beloved superheroes, has built a reputation for itself for playing the supervillain when it comes to intellectual property disputes. Chiefly at issue tends to be trademark law, which DC views as some kind of overarching right for it to not allow any other entity to hold a trademark that even remotely overlaps with its own established marks. DC has taken this to absurd levels, opposing trademark applications that couldn’t possibly be confused with its own properties, even as many of its marks are very, very well known.

          This continues to the present. Most recently, DC has decided to oppose the trademark application for a group founded by MIT’s Joy Buolamwini to spotlight the negative consequences of certain technologies, which she dubbed The Algorithmic Justice League.

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