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08.21.19

Links 21/8/2019: Open Source POWER, Alpine 3.10.2, Netrunner 19.08

Posted in News Roundup at 4:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Chrome OS 77 to bring Crostini (Linux beta) to Chromebook Pixel 2015, other older devices

      A few months ago, 9to5 Google reported on “kernelnext” in Chrome OS, with the expectation that it was a way to bring the Linux beta, also known as Project Crostini, to some older Chromebooks. Now, the results of that effort are appearing in early builds of Chrome OS 77, reports 9to5 Google: The Chromebook Pixel 2015 and eight other Chrome OS devices are getting Linux support, thanks to an updated kernel.

    • Desktop

      • Five reasons Chromebooks are better than Windows laptops

        Today, Windows users hold off for as long as possible before “updating” their PCs. Chrome OS users, on the other hand, have their systems updated every six weeks without a hitch. And, I might add, these updates take a minute or two instead of an hour or two.

        Chrome OS is also more secure than Windows. WIndows security violations pop up every blessed month. Sure, Chrome OS has had security holes, but I can’t think of one that’s been significantly exploited.

        Want a nightmare? Try migrating from an old Windows PC to a new one. Even if you’re jumping from Windows 10 to Windows 10, there are no easy ways to do it. If you have a Microsoft account, rather than a local account, you must manually move your local files from third-party programs such as Photoshop

        On Chrome OS, you log in to your new Chromebook and — ta-da! — you’re back in business. No fuss, no muss.

      • 6 Best Linux Distros for Laptops

        Whether buying a Linux pre-installed laptop or selecting a Linux distro for your existing laptop, there are many things to consider. Let’s take you through some of the best Linux distros that are optimized for Laptops in this 2019 edition of the article. Read on.

    • Server

      • Announcing Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU12

        Today we are releasing the SRU 12 for Oracle Solaris 11.4. It is available via ‘pkg update’ from the support repository or by downloading the SRU from My Oracle Support Doc ID 2433412.1.

      • Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU12 Released – Adds GCC 9.1 Compiler & Python 3.7

        While we haven’t heard anything yet about Oracle’s plans for Solaris post-11.4 whether that means Solaris 11.4 or the reportedly killed Solaris 12, Oracle today did release Solaris 11.4 Stable Release Update 12 as their newest installment for their supported Solaris operating system release.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat Satellite 6.6 Beta is now available with enhancements across reporting, automation, and supportability

          We are pleased to announce that Red Hat Satellite 6.6 is now available in beta to current Satellite customers.

          Red Hat Satellite is a scalable platform to manage patching, provisioning, and subscription management of your Red Hat infrastructure, regardless of where it is running. The Satellite 6.6 beta is focused on enhancements across reporting, automation, and supportability

          While Satellite 6.6 Beta supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 hosts, it is important to note that Satellite 6.6 must be installed on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 host. Support for running Satellite itself on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 host is scheduled for a later release.

        • Serverless on Kubernetes, diverse automation, 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. Here are five of my and their favorite articles from that update.

          [...]

          The impact: What struck me is the range of things that can be automated with Ansible. Windows? Check. Multicloud? Check. Security? Check. The real question after those three days are over will be: Is there anything in IT that can’t be automated with Ansible? Seriously, I’m asking, let me know.

        • Open source POWER ISA takes aim at Intel and Arm for accelerator-driven computing

          IBM announced the release of the POWER instruction set architecture (ISA) as an open standard at the OpenPOWER Summit in San Diego on Tuesday. This announcement comes six years after the formation of the OpenPOWER Foundation, which aimed to foster the creation of hardware from third-party vendors that integrates the POWER architecture in the datacenter.

          While the POWER ISA was itself licensable following the creation of the OpenPOWER Foundation in 2013, that came at a cost. Now, the POWER ISA is available royalty-free, inclusive of patent rights. IBM is releasing a soft core reference implementation of the POWER ISA, and reference designs for Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (OpenCAPI) and Open Memory Interface (OMI) architecture-agnostic compute accelerators.

        • IBM is moving OpenPower Foundation to The Linux Foundation

          IBM makes the Power Series chips, and as part of that has open sourced some of the underlying technologies to encourage wider use of these chips. The open source pieces have been part of the OpenPower Foundation. Today, the company announced it was moving the foundation under The Linux Foundation, and while it was at it, announced it was open sourcing several other important bits.

          Ken King, general manager for OpenPower at IBM, says that at this point in his organization’s evolution, they wanted to move it under the auspices of the Linux Foundation . “We are taking the OpenPower Foundation, and we are putting it as an entity or project underneath The Linux Foundation with the mindset that we are now bringing more of an open governance approach and open governance principles to the foundation,” King told TechCrunch.

          But IBM didn’t stop there. It also announced that it was open sourcing some of the technical underpinnings of the Power Series chip to make it easier for developers and engineers to build on top of the technology. Perhaps most importantly, the company is open sourcing the Power Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). These are “the definitions developers use for ensuring hardware and software work together on Power,” the company explained.

        • OpenPOWER Foundation | The Next Step in the OpenPOWER Foundation Journey

          Today marks one of the most important days in the life of the OpenPOWER Foundation. With IBM announcing new contributions to the open source community including the POWER Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) and key hardware reference designs at OpenPOWER Summit North America 2019, the future has never looked brighter for the POWER architecture.

          OpenPOWER Foundation Aligns with Linux Foundation

          The OpenPOWER Foundation will now join projects and organizations like OpenBMC, CHIPS Alliance, OpenHPC and so many others within the Linux Foundation. The Linux Foundation is the premier open source group, and we’re excited to be working more closely with them.

          Since our founding in 2013, IEEE-ISTO has been our home, and we owe so much to its team. It’s as a result of IEEE-ISTO’s support and guidance that we’ve been able to expand to more than 350 members and that we’re ready to take the next step in our evolution. On behalf of our membership, our board of directors and myself, we place on record our thanks to the IEEE-ISTO team.

          By moving the POWER ISA under an open model – guided by the OpenPOWER Foundation within the Linux Foundation – and making it available to the growing open technical commons, we’ll enable innovation in the open hardware and software space to grow at an accelerated pace. The possibilities for what organizations and individuals will be able to develop on POWER through its mature ISA and software ecosystem will be nearly limitless.

        • POWER ISA Contributed To Open-Source, OpenPOWER Joining The Linux Foundation

          The POWER ISA is being moved to an open model and with IBM contributing a POWER ISA license to the OpenPOWER Foundation, technically anyone can implement on top of it royalty-free and with patent rights. This comes following the success of the royalty-free RISC-V and even the MIPS processor ISA being open-sourced.

        • How Red Hat delivers $7B in customer savings

          This spring, Red Hat commissioned IDC to conduct a new study to analyze the contributions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux to the global business economy. While many of the findings were impressive, including immense opportunities for partners, we were especially excited to learn more about how our customers benefit from Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

          According to the study, the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform “touches” more than $10 trillion of business revenues worldwide each year and provides economic benefits of more than $1 trillion each year to customers. Nearly $7 billion of that number comes in the form of IT savings. Even more exciting? As hybrid cloud adoption grows, we expect customers to continue to benefit given the importance of a common, flexible and open operating system to IT deployments that span the many footprints of enterprise computing.

        • The road ahead for the Red Hat OpenStack Platform

          If you didn’t have a chance to attend our Road Ahead session at Red Hat Summit 2019 (or you did, but want a refresher) you’ll want to read on for a quick update. We’ll cover where Red Hat OpenStack Platform is today, where we’re planning to go tomorrow, and the longer-term plan for Red Hat OpenStack Platform support all the way to 2025.

          A strategic part of our portfolio

          Red Hat OpenStack Platform is a strategic part of Red Hat’s vision for open hybrid cloud. It’s the on-prem foundation that can help organizations bridge the gap between today’s existing workloads and emerging workloads. In fact, it just earned the 2019 CODiE award for “Best Software Defined Infrastructure.”

          One of those emerging workloads, and more on the rest in a moment, is Red Hat OpenShift.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • CodeWeavers Reflects On The Wild Year Since Valve Introduced Steam Play / Proton

        This week marks one year since Valve rolled out their Proton beta for Steam Play to allow Windows games to gracefully run on Linux via this Wine downstream catered for Steam Linux gaming. It’s been crazy since then with all of Valve’s continued work on open-source graphics drivers, adding the likes of FAudio and D9VK to Proton, continuing to fund DXVK development for faster Direct3D-over-Vulkan, and many other infrastructure improvements and more to allow more Windows games to run on Linux and to do so well and speedy.

      • Turn your Xbox console into a home PC with this guide

        If you’ve ever wondered if you can turn your Xbox into a PC, you came to the right place.

        Because the Xbox console has the same hardware specifications as some older computer desktops, you will be able to convert it to a fully functioning PC. Unfortunately, you will not be able to install Windows on your console, but you can use the Linux operating system.

        In this article you will find out what items you’re going to need in order to make this happen, and also the steps you need to follow to accomplish this.

      • Action-adventure roguelike UnderMine now available in Early Access

        UnderMine from developer Thorium is an action-adventure roguelike with a bit of RPG tossed in, it’s now in Early Access with Linux support. [...]

        Featuring some gameplay elements found in the likes of The Binding of Isaac, you proceed further down the UnderMine, going room to room digging for treasure and taking down enemies. There’s also some RPG style rogue-lite progression involved too, as you’re able to find powerful items and upgrades as you explore to prepare you for further runs.

      • Attack of the Clones with custom Proton builds for Steam Play

        I know how you all love to tinker, so how about tinkering away with some custom builds of Steam Play Proton on this fine Tuesday afternoon?

        There’s a feature in the Steam client on Linux that enables you to add in your own special builds of Steam Play and other compatibility tools like Boxtron for native DOSBox. A very useful feature, since the community can build on top of work done by Valve to make Linux gaming with Steam Play even better.

        One such custom build of Proton which recently released is Proton-i 4.13-3. This one is quite simple with a few little updates and fixes like moving Proton 4.11-2 patches on top of Wine 4.13, a fix for Unreal Engine 4 and a few other little changes. Likely a good one to try, if you just want to be that little bit more up to date.

      • Mixing Tower Defense with production chains, the free and open source game Mindustry has a big update

        Could this be your next time sink? Mindustry merges together Tower Defense style gameplay with production chains from the likes of Factorio.

        A few days ago, the developer released the final 4.0 build which is an absolutely massive update to Mindustry. It took 88 builds to get there and it was worth the wait. It’s an overhaul to all parts of the game including new gamemodes, customizable rules, a new editor, new graphics, new enemies, unit production, new progression, a campaign and more.

      • Wasteland 3 has an impressive new trailer for Gamescom

        inXile Entertainment have shown off more of their upcoming party-based RPG Wasteland 3 at Gamescom and it’s looking great.

      • Areia: Pathway to Dawn aims to be a relaxing meditative adventure game

        Areia: Pathway to Dawn from Gilp Studio was just recently announced with the developer promising it to be a “journey like no other”.

        It’s an adventure game, with a few puzzle elements to it and a wondrous style. The developer said it’s a game about emotions and spiritual growth, a tale of wonder as you explore a land inhabited by only one character. It’s supposed to be a calming experience, with Gilp Studio saying it’s “a unique addition to the range of meditative games”.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE’s Onboarding Sprint: Making it easier to setup a development environment

          Suse were generous enough to offer two spacious and fully equipped offices at their headquarters to host the KDE sprints. We owe a special thanks and a big KDE hug to the OpenSuse team and in particular Douglas DeMaio and Fabian Vogt for being incredible hosts.

        • Third month progress

          I am here presenting you with my final month GSoC project report. I will be providing the links to my work at the end of the section.

          Final month of the work period was much more hectic and tiring than the first couple of months. I had been busy more than I had anticipated. Nonetheless, I had to write code which I enjoyed writing : ) . In the first half of this work period, I was focused on completing the left-over QDBus communication from the phase 2, which I did successfully. But as when I thought my task was all over, I was faced with some regression in the code, which I utilised my rest half a month to fix it.

          [...]

          As I had said above in the intro, I was faced with some real difficulty during the second half of the work period. As soon as I finished up QDBus thing, a regression was caused (Which I should have noticed before, my bad), helper was no longer started by the main application. I spent rest of the days brain-storming the issue but due to shortage of time, could not fix it. I plan to try fixing it in the next few days before GSoC ends(26th August), if I successfully do that, I will update the status here as well .

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Sajeer Ahamed: Review | GSoC 2019

          I’ve been working on GStreamer based project of Gnome Foundation. GStreamer is a pipeline-based multimedia framework that links together a wide variety of media processing systems to complete complex workflows. The framework is based on plugins that will provide various codec and other functionality. The plugins can be linked and arranged in a pipeline. And most of the plugins are written in C. Now the developers are in an attempt to convert them to Rust which is more robust and easily maintainable. My task is to be a part of this conversion and to help fix issues related to this.

    • Distributions

      • openSUSE Boards Gets A New Chairman

        Long-time openSUSE contributor Richard Brown is stepping down from his role as chairperson of openSUSE board, a position he had been holding for the last five years. He will be replaced by Gerald Pfeifer, SUSE’s CTO for EMEA. Gerald himself is a developer who has contributed to projects like like GCC and Wine.

        In a blog post, Brown said, “Some of the key factors that led me to make this step include the time required to do the job properly, and the length of time I’ve served. Five years is more than twice as long as any of my predecessors. The time required to do the role properly has increased and I now find it impossible to balance the demands of the role with the requirements of my primary role as a developer in SUSE, and with what I wish to achieve outside of work and community.”

      • New Releases

        • Alpine 3.10.2 released

          The Alpine Linux project is pleased to announce the immediate availability of version 3.10.2 of its Alpine Linux operating system.

        • Redcore Linux 1908 Released, Which Fixes Many of the Pending Bugs

          Redcore Linux developer has released the new version of Redcore Linux 1908 and code name is Mira.

          This release fixes most of the outstanding bugs and some more polishing. Also, added new features as well.

          Bunch of packages (1000+) got updated because this release is based on Gentoo’s testing branch, unlike previous releases which were based on a mix of Gentoo’s stable and testing branches.

          Starting from Redcore Linux 1908, the packages shold be up-to-date since it’s using Gentoo’s testing branch.

        • Netrunner 19.08 – Indigo released

          The Netrunner Team is happy to announce the immediate availability of Netrunner 19.08 Indigo – 64bit ISO.

          This time Netrunner 19.08 ships with a brand new Look and Feel called Indigo which features the identically named color as main attraction. The mixture of darker blue and lighter blue together with classic white like gray creates a pleasent to the eye look that matches the Breeze Icon theme without distracting your eyes. The new red colored cursor (RED-Theme) has a slight retro vibe to it and takes care of quickly finding the cursor on the screen and never really loose track of it. As always we provide a wonderfully drafted wallpaper which fits the overall design of the desktop.

        • Netrunner 19.08 Released For Delivering A Clean KDE Experience Atop Debian 10
      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

        • Is Fedora Linux a Good Distro? The 15 Best Reasons to Use Fedora Linux

          It goes without saying that Fedora Linux is one of the best Linux distributions and significantly distinct with its properties. There is no denying that it is an enticing version of Linux and there are enough reasons to be lured with the Fedora. It offers far ranges of features that have made it an undeniable choice for the users. There is a close and intimate collaboration between Fedora and “Redhat” what has given a new dimension of this Linux version. It is more comfortable to use, user-friendly and latest technology oriented; thus, there are many obvious reasons for loving in it.

          [...]

          The various distribution of Linux system is recognized for easy-going properties, albeit Fedora is the easiest one in this context. Having an easier interface, users are capable of dealing with it very easily since the boot phase. When the boot is done, users will be guided with simple features to run it the way they desire.

      • Debian Family

        • Knoppix 8.6 Released

          Klaus Knopper has announced the release of the latest version of KNOPPIX Live GNU/Linux distribution.

          Version 8.6 of KNOPPIX is based on Debian/stable (buster), with some packages from Debian/testing and unstable (sid) for newer graphics drivers or desktop software packages. It uses Linux kernel 5.2.5 and Xorg 7.7 (core 1.20.4) for supporting current computer hardware.

        • Knoppix 8.6.0 Released, Which is Based on Debian “Buster”

          Knoppix team had announced the release of KNOPPIX 8.6, a new stable version which is based on Debian “buster”.

          It allow users to run directly from a CD / DVD (Live CD) or a USB flash drive (Live USB).

          Added few of the packages from Debian/testing and unstable (sid) for newer graphics drivers or desktop software packages.

          It uses Linux kernel 5.2.5 and Xorg 7.7 (core 1.20.4) for supporting current computer hardware.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Dualboot Ubuntu 19.04 and Debian 10 on a 32GB USB Stick

          Ubuntu 19.04, or Disco Dingo, and Debian 10, or Buster, are two latest versions in 2019 of two most popular GNU/Linux distros I already wrote about here and here. This tutorial explains dualboot installation procedures in simple way for Ubuntu Disco Dingo and Debian Buster computer operating systems onto a portable USB Flash Drive. There are 2 advantages of this kind of portable dualbooting; first, it’s safer for your data in internal HDD and second, you can bring both OSes with you everywhere you go. You will prepare the partitions first, then install Ubuntu, and then install Debian, and finally finish up the GRUB bootloader, and enjoy. Go ahead!

        • Elementary OS is the latest group to ditch Medium for their own blog

          Elementary OS – a Linux distribution (distro) built on top of the large, company-backed giant Ubuntu – is a mom-and-pop store by comparison.

          But it’s also one that’s managed to capture the attention of even some seasoned Linux users thanks to its focus on user interface (UI) and even user experience (UX) – something often lacking from the more spartan distros.

          With their focus on icon and UI themes sometimes suspiciously reminiscent of Apple’s interfaces – the Elementary OS team have also earned themselves something of a label of “hipsters” in the community.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Databases

        • Amazon DocumentDB Speeds Up With Slow Queries Logging

          Amazon continues to add extra supports to its non-relational database store DocumentDB with the addition of slow queries logging.

          Slow queries logging allows user to monitor their slowest queries in the cluster. This helps to improve overall performance of the cluster and the individual query.

          Once the user has enabled a set profiler for the query the system will monitor operations and if any queries run longer than the customer-defined threshold, set at 100ms by default, the system will log their execution time and send an alert to the CloudWatch Logs.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • [LibreOffice GSoC] Week 12 Report

          It was The last week of GSoC program. Raal was working on testing all the project and the generated files and I help him by solving some bugs or add anything.

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • GNU Scientific Library 2.6 released

          Version 2.6 of the GNU Scientific Library (GSL) is now available. GSL provides a large collection of routines for numerical computing in C.
          This release introduces major performance improvements to common linear algebra matrix factorizations, as well as numerous new features and bug fixes. The full NEWS file entry is appended below.
          The file details for this release are:
          ftp://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/gsl/gsl-2.6.tar.gz
          ftp://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/gsl/gsl-2.6.tar.gz.sig
          The GSL project homepage is http://www.gnu.org/software/gsl/
          GSL is free software distributed under the GNU General Public License.
          Thanks to everyone who reported bugs and contributed improvements.
          Patrick Alken

      • Public Services/Government

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • 5 notable open source 3D printers

            Open source hardware and 3D printers go together like, well, open source hardware and 3D printers. Not only are 3D printers used to create all sorts of open source hardware—there are also a huge number of 3D printers that have been certified as open source by the Open Source Hardware Association. That fact means that they are freely available to improve and build upon.

            There are plenty of open source 3D printers out there, with more being certified on a regular basis. Here’s a look at some of the latest.

      • Programming/Development

        • Raspberry Pi gets MIT’s Scratch 3 programming language for Raspbian

          Ever since Scratch 3 was released this January, a team at the Raspberry Pi Foundation has been working with MIT to develop an offline, installable version for the Raspberry Pi.

          That offline version is now available, offering students and beginners an easy environment to begin coding with the language’s visual ‘code blocks’, as well as paint and sound-editing tools.

          Scratch 3 requires installing the latest version of Raspbian known as ‘Buster’, the latest version of Debian Linux that was released alongside the Raspberry Pi 4 in June.

          Due to the memory requirements of Scratch 3, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is recommending it is installed on a Raspberry Pi 4 with at least 2GB of RAM. The 2GB model costs $45.

        • GCC 10 Lands Support For -march=tigerlake & -march=cooperlake

          The GNU toolchain has already been preparing for Cooperlake CPUs as the successor to Cascadelake as well as supporting the new instruction set extensions, but finally today the support for -march=cooperlake was merged to GCC 10 for conveniently exposing the new CPU target in the GNU Compiler Collection. At the same time, -march=tigerlake was also added.

          The Cooperlake target is notable for adding BF16 / BFloat16 support compared to Cascadelake.

        • Automating Low Code App Deployment on Red Hat OpenShift with the Joget Operator

          This is a guest post by Julian Khoo, VP Product Development and Co-Founder at Joget Inc. Julian has almost 20 years of experience in the IT industry, specifically in enterprise software development. He has been involved in the development of various products and platforms in application development, workflow management, content management, collaboration and e-commerce.

        • Python Histogram Plotting: NumPy, Matplotlib, Pandas & Seaborn

          In this course, you’ll be equipped to make production-quality, presentation-ready Python histogram plots with a range of choices and features.

          If you have introductory to intermediate knowledge in Python and statistics, then you can use this article as a one-stop shop for building and plotting histograms in Python using libraries from its scientific stack, including NumPy, Matplotlib, Pandas, and Seaborn.

        • PyCon 2020 Conference Site is here!

          Our bold design includes the Roberto Clemente Bridge, also known as the Sixth Street Bridge, which spans the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Steelmark, was originally created for United States Steel Corporation to promote the attributes of steel: yellow lightens your work; orange brightens your leisure; and blue widens your world. The PPG Building, is a complex in downtown Pittsburgh, consisting of six buildings within three city blocks and five and a half acres. Named for its anchor tenant, PPG Industries, who initiated the project for its headquarters, the buildings are all of matching glass design consisting of 19,750 pieces of glass. Also included in the design are a fun snake, terminal window, and hardware related items.

          [...]

          As with any sponsorship, the benefits go both ways. Organizations have many options for sponsorship packages, and they all benefit from exposure to an ever growing audience of Python programmers, from those just getting started to 20 year veterans and every walk of life in between. If you’re hiring, the Job Fair puts your organization within reach of a few thousand dedicated people who came to PyCon looking to sharpen their skills.

        • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #382 (Aug. 20, 2019)
        • Python Qt5 – the QTimer class.
      • Standards/Consortia

        • [Old] What is hi-res audio and how can you experience it right now?

          To store hi-res audio, you need a file type that can accommodate these higher bit depths and sampling frequencies. MP3 files can’t do that, which is why you’ll see hi-res music presented as one of AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, WAV, or DSD. Of these, FLAC tends to be the most widely used and 24-bit/96kHz is the most common quality level, though some FLAC files are available in 24-bit/192kHz too.

  • Leftovers

    • The Creators of the World’s Longest-Running Webcam Are Pulling the Plug

      Early webcams, including the 1991 Trojan Room coffee pot cam (the first webcam ever) and Netscape founding engineer Lou Montulli’s Amazing Fishcam, were the testing grounds for many elements of the internet as we know it today, including sending real-time images over the internet, and ecommerce. JenniCam, the first “lifecaster,” launched two years later, in 1996. These livestreams paved the way for modern streaming services that have become ubiquitous to life online.

      “Our webcam is a throwback to the early days of the Internet when anyone could do anything,” Schwartz told SFGate. He said that they’re unsure whether the university will step in to continue the project and save the FogCam, but they’re open to the idea of a new generation keeping it running.

      If FogCam does cease operations, it will pass the title of oldest operating webcam to Montulli’s Fishcam, which also started live-streaming in 1994.

    • Neil Young hates what the internet has done to music [iophk: Neil Young is right.]

      There’s an epic interview slash feature in the New York Times with music legend Neil Young. The notoriously particular audio purist explains why he believes the internet is killing music through poor quality streaming, and how it’s harming our brains.

    • Neil Young’s Lonely Quest to Save Music [iophk: came to similar conclusions myself last year]

      But Young hears something creepier and more insidious in the new music too. We are poisoning ourselves with degraded sound, he believes, the same way that Monsanto is poisoning our food with genetically engineered seeds. The development of our brains is led by our senses; take away too many of the necessary cues, and we are trapped inside a room with no doors or windows. Substituting smoothed-out algorithms for the contingent complexity of biological existence is bad for us, Young thinks. He doesn’t care much about being called a crank. “It’s an insult to the human mind and the human soul,” he once told Greg Kot of The Chicago Tribune. Or as Young put it to me, “I’m not content to be content.”

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘Monsanto Has Worked Very Hard to Discredit Me and My Work’ – CounterSpin interview with Carey Gillam on Monsanto’s attack on journalism

        Our next guest is wearing that particular badge of honor at the moment. Carey Gillam is a veteran reporter, covering food and agriculture for Reuters for many years, and is now research director at the group US Right to Know. One thing Gillam thinks we have a right to know about is the impacts of pesticides made by Monsanto, which she explores in her book Whitewash: The Story of a Weedkiller, Cancer and the Corruption of Science; it’s out now from Island Press.

        Who doesn’t want you to know what’s in that book, or take it seriously? Monsanto. And the agrochemical giant, now owned by Bayer, is willing to go to some lengths to try and prevent that. Carey Gillam joins us now by phone from Kansas. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Carey Gillam.

        [...]

        But the book is really—I’ve tried to make it very reader-friendly. It’s almost an academic exercise. It’s based on a lot of documents and a lot of data, and tracks the history of the rise of this chemical to become so pervasive in our environment that it’s found in our own bodies, that it’s found in our food and our water, and it’s in the soil and it’s affecting the environment and reducing biodiversity. It really has become, as I’ve said, very pervasive.

        And so the book explores how that happened, how Monsanto manipulated and collaborated with regulators to affect public policy and reduce the regulatory restrictions that should have been placed on this chemical. And it involves a lot of farmers and real stories of real people. So, it did win the Rachel Carson Book Award, and I’m very proud of the book.

        Monsanto—as we know now through a recent release of internal Monsanto documents—Monsanto really does not like the book, and really has worked very hard to try to discredit the book, and to discredit me and my work.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security updates for Tuesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (flask), openSUSE (clementine, dkgpg, libTMCG, openexr, and zstd), Oracle (kernel, mysql:8.0, redis:5, and subversion:1.10), SUSE (nodejs6, python-Django, and rubygem-rails-html-sanitizer), and Ubuntu (cups, docker, docker-credential-helpers, kconfig, kde4libs, libreoffice, nova, and openldap).

      • Linux “Lockdown” Patches Hit Their 40th Revision

        The long-running Linux “Lockdown” patches were sent out again overnight for their 40th time but it remains to be seen if these security-oriented patches will be pulled in for the upcoming Linux 5.4 cycle.

        The Linux Lockdown functionality is for restricting access to the kernel and underlying hardware by blocking writes to /dev/mem, restricting PCI BAR and CPU MSR access, disabling system hibernation support, limiting Tracefs, and restricting or outright disabling other functionality that could alter the hardware state or running Linux kernel image.

        Linux Lockdown has been opt-in only and designed for use-cases like honoring UEFI SecureBoot for ensuring nothing nefarious could happen once booted into the operating system by bad actors. Most end-users won’t voluntarily want the lockdown mode due to all the restrictions in place, but could be a favor for enterprises and very security conscious users.

      • Backdoor Found in Webmin Utility [Ed: It is not a back door but a bug inserted by a malicious entity rather than the project developers themselves; this incident demonstrates or classically highlights the need for reproducible builds.]

        On August 17, the developer of the popular Webmin and Usermin Unix tools pushed out an update to fix a handful of security issues. Normally that wouldn’t generate an avalanche of interest, but in this case, one of those vulnerabilities was introduced intentionally by someone who was able to compromise the software build infrastructure used by the developers.

      • A New Dawn for Security Vulnerabilities in HPC

        In February 2018, Russian nuclear scientists at the Federal Nuclear Center were arrested for using their supercomputer resources to mine the crypto-currency, Bitcoin. Previously, high-performance computing (HPC) security breaches like this tended to be few and far between. However, recent trends are increasing the vulnerabilities and threats faced by HPC systems.

        Previously, compute clusters enjoyed a level of security through obscurity due to their idiosyncratic architectures in terms of both hardware, with different CPU architectures and networking, and software of often home-grown applications running on Unix-like operating systems. In addition, the reward for compromising a cluster wasn’t all that great. Although hacking into HPC data generated by atomic weapons research and pharmaceutical modelling does present a valuable outcome; meteorological institutes, astrophysics laboratories or other mathematical research is less so.

      • Exposed Sphinx Servers Are No Challenge for Hackers [Ed: That’s the same agency and the same troll site that initially promoted the lies and the FUD about VLC]

        A popular open-source text search server, Sphinx offers impressive performance for indexing and searching data in databases or just in files. It is cross-platform, available for Linux, Windows, macOS, Solaris, FreeBSD, and a few other operating systems.

        [...]

        CERT-Bund posted the warning on Twitter today alerting network operators and providers about the risk of running Sphinx servers with a default configuration that are open on the web.

        The organization highlights that Sphinx lacks any authentication mechanisms. Exposing it on the web gives an attacker the possibility “to read, modify or delete any data stored in the Sphinx database.”

      • Ransomware Hits Texas Local Governments [iophk: Windows TCO]

        The attack was observed on the morning of August 16 and appears to have been launched by a single threat actor, the DIR announcement reads.

        The State Operations Center (SOC) was activated soon after the attack reports started to come in, and DIR says that all of the entities that were actually or potentially affected appear to have been identified and notified.

        A total of twenty-three entities have been confirmed as impacted so far, and the responders are working on bringing the affected systems back online.

      • Webmin Backdoored for Over a Year [Ed: It's only a back door if they intentionally put it there (which isn't the case); compromised is the correct term.]

        The security hole impacts Webmin 1.882 through 1.921, but most versions are not vulnerable in their default configuration as the affected feature is not enabled by default. Version 1.890 is affected in the default configuration. The issue has been addressed with the release of Webmin 1.930 and Usermin version 1.780.

      • The YubiKey 5Ci is the ‘first’ iOS-compatible security key

        Like other YubiKey options in the 5 series, the YubiKey 5Ci supports multiple authentication protocols, including IDO2/WebAuthn, FIDO U2F, OTP (one-time-password), PIV (Smart Card), and OpenPGP.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

      • Amazon fires: Record number burning in Brazil rainforest – space agency

        Inpe said it had detected more than 72,000 fires between January and August – the highest number since records began in 2013. It said it had observed more than 9,500 forest fires since Thursday, mostly in the Amazon region.

        In comparison, there were fewer than 40,000 in the whole of 2018, it said.

        The satellite images showed Brazil’s most northern state, Roraima, covered in dark smoke, while neighbouring Amazonas declared an emergency over the fires.

      • Afrobarometer: Climate change literacy still low in Africa

        Despite the fact that Africa bears the brunt when it comes to erratic global weather patterns, many people are still unfamiliar with the climate change phenomenon, a new survey reveals.

      • Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Private Jet Usage Is Being Criticized for Environmental Reasons

        Aviation accounts for more than 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the European Union. While figures comparing private and commercial flights are elusive, The Independent broke down how much more private jets emit per person when they fly. It can vary based on aircraft and flight path, but private jets could be creating 8 to 10 times the amount of carbon per passenger as commercial flights.

      • [old] Why Carbon Credits and Offsets Will Not Work

        Unfortunately, carbon credits (one credit equals a one metric ton reduction) and carbon offsets are the primary tools being used by national and international communities as a way to reduce emissions on an industrial scale. Credits can be exchanged between businesses or purchased and sold in the markets. The carbon credit/offset market is now well established. In 2006 about 5.5 billion dollars were purchased. Some experts expect this market to reach a trillion dollars within a decade. There are now at least five carbon exchanges operating global. The largest is the Chicago Climate Exchange. Why have these markets taken off? The simple answer is that there is huge amount of money to be made. However, these markets are simply the indulgence of societies which want to carry on with business as usual. The consequences of business as usual are ecological disaster.

      • [old] Carbon offsets are not our get-out-of-jail free card [iophk: besides, the trees are a separate carbon cycle]

        If we are serious about averting catastrophic planetary changes, we need to reduce emissions by 45 per cent by 2030. Trees planted today can’t grow fast enough to achieve this goal. And carbon offset projects will never be able to curb the emissions growth, while reducing overall emissions, if coal power stations continue to be built and petrol cars continue to be bought, and our growing global population continues to consume as it does today.

      • Outlaw Oceans: Exposing Slavery, Overfishing and Other Abuses on the High Seas

        Our oceans are a vast, lawless frontier. But this long-exploited, still mysterious realm is central to modern economic life.

        About 90 percent of international trade occurs by ship. Oceans provide fossil fuels and then absorb most of the carbon dioxide and heat produced by burning them. Billions of people in the poorest countries rely on the ocean for food and work.

        And some of the most brutal forms of economic exploitation take place on the water. Sea slavery and other flagrant human-rights violations are rampant. And industrial-scale overfishing, both legal and illegal, has undermined conservation efforts and pushed prized fish species toward extinction.

        This all happens out of view: The average American has little idea what went into putting fish on his or her plate, or where all that plastic packaging will end up. Even governments that try to police the worst abuses are often in the dark.

        Thankfully new light is being shined on the problem.

      • Energy

        • ‘Small’ nuclear war could bring global cooling

          If a nuclear war should ever break out, any survivors could have to cope not just with the immediate effects of blast and radioactivity, but with climate mayhem as well: global cooling with unknowable consequences.

          The wildfires in the Canadian province of British Columbia in the summer of 2017 were the worst the region had ever seen. They were so bad that the smoke from the sustained blaze rose 23 kms into the upper stratosphere and stayed there for eight months.

          And that has given US scientists the chance once again to model the consequences of a nuclear winter after thermonuclear war.

    • Finance

      • Brexit: Unity divides parties trying to stop no-deal – Ian Swanson

        Principles and beliefs could scupper moves towards an emergency government with Brexit looming, writes Ian Swanson

        Voters apparently like politicians working together across party lines. The noise of elected representatives point-scoring while a crisis rages regularly prompts complaints that everyone should be co-operating for the ­common good.

        The demand often ignores the fact that there are fundamental differences of principle and belief over the matter at issue, which mean the politicians could never come together and agree a joint approach.

        Talk of a possible temporary cross-party government as a way of stopping a no-deal Brexit makes no pretence of trying to include the extreme ­Brexiteers, but it does envisage ­bringing together a diverse band of MPs from Tory dissidents and Labour defectors to Corbyn diehards.

      • Bill Gates Adviser ‘Shocked’ Jeffrey Epstein Named Him in Will

        Jeffrey Epstein signed his last will and testament just two days before he killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell—naming as his backup executor a former adviser to Bill Gates who doesn’t even want the job.

        Epstein’s longtime lawyers, Darren K. Indyke and Richard D. Kahn, were named as primary executors of the estate and are slated to receive $250,000 of the $577 million fortune for their efforts.

        But the document shows the disgraced money-manager also selected an alternate executor in the event that Indyke and Kahn can’t carry out their duties: Boris Nikolic, an immunologist and biotech entrepreneur.

        Nikolic was reportedly “shocked” to learn that he was listed in the will—which dictates that all of Epstein’s personal property should go to the trustees of a mysterious entity called The 1953 Trust.

        “I was not consulted in these matters and I have no intent to fulfill these duties, whatsoever,” he said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • ‘Hong Kong mob’ — How mainland Chinese see the democracy movement

        “You can call it propaganda, you can call it an official media campaign, but there’s only one version of the story here,” Qian confirms. He explains that state media don’t report on the background to the protests or how they began; instead, they focus on the escalation in Hong Kong. The outbreak of violence is the main emphasis of the reports, which often use just a few images that show demonstrators who are prepared to use force.

      • Hong Kong’s last stand? A gallant battle in the face of unspeakable sacrifice and overwhelming odds

        Hong Kong people can foresee the worst-case scenario: one day the curtain will fall and we will be completely blanketed by the authoritarianism of the CCP. The great firewall will cut the [Internet] and people will no longer have access to the world, or the world to us. Anyone telling an inconvenient story will be taken into detention and lost within the system of no recourse.

        [...]

        This may not be our final stand, but it could be our last. So let the record show, may it be written in history books, and for us to tell our children, that in 2019 Hong Kong people made a stand, fought a gallant battle for our own freedoms in the face of unspeakable sacrifice and overwhelming odds.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Gizmodo Media’s Clueless New Owners Tell Reporters They Can’t Use Encrypted Email Any More

        G/O Media is the latest incarnation of Gizmodo Media, after it was sold by Univision to private equity firm Great Hill Partners earlier this year. Univision, of course, acquired “Gizmodo Media” out of the remnants of Gawker Media, after that company was forced into bankruptcy by a bogus lawsuit and a bad court ruling. There had been plenty of indications that the reporters and editors at G/O Media were chaffing under their new bosses (despite Great Hill putting media exec Jim Spanfeller in charge) as they very quickly laid off some of their best reporters, including Kashmir Hill.

        Last month there were reports that the staff were “enraged at the new CEO’s ‘insane’ direction” and the details of all that flooded out — in classic Gawker fashion — on one of their own sites, Deadspin, which posted a truly incredible piece of journalism entitled This Is How Things Work Now At G/O Media. It’s a really damning report. And it’s long. It talked a lot about how the new bosses brought in a bunch of old friends (all white men) often replacing (or simply ignoring) women who were already in those jobs.

      • YouTube Sues Guy Who Tried To Extort People Through Bogus DMCA Takedowns

        We’ve talked in the past about how Section (f) of the DMCA Section 512 is more or less a dead letter. 512(f) is the part that is supposed to stop bogus DMCA takedowns, by saying that you can be liable for “misrepresentations” in takedowns. In practice, though, courts never seem to award anything for bogus takedowns, meaning that it’s a “free” way to censor anyone you’d like. Or worse. Earlier this year, we covered how some had taken the DMCA abuse process so far that they were using bogus YouTube DMCA takedowns as part of an extortion scheme. Literally, people would contact popular YouTubers (often those who made videos about Minecraft) and threaten to DMCA their videos if they didn’t receive payment.

        It appears that YouTube was actually paying attention, and it has now filed a 512(f) claim against at least one of the people doing this, a guy in Omaha, Nebraska named Christopher Brady — who probably is not having the best week. You can read the complaint here.

        [...]

        Either way, it’s interesting to see YouTube trying to breathe some life back into 512(f). This case seems perfectly made for just such a thing. If this case can’t get a 512(f) win, then no case can. For what it’s worth, YouTube isn’t asking for monetary damages, but for Brady to cover their legal fees (which I’m sure are substantial), as well as an injunction barring Brady from submitting more bogus DMCA notices. It’s interesting to note that they’re not even looking to bar him from YouTube entirely — just from submitting bogus DMCA takedowns.

        While Brady may end up in deeper hot water over the swatting claims (should prosecutors suddenly take an interest in him over this), from a purely copyright standpoint, it would be nice to see 512(f) succeed in one case before we reach the heat death of the universe.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Palantir Renews U.S. Immigration Contract Despite Protests [iophk: TCO calculations /must/ include exit costs or else they are false]

        The contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement will continue through 2022, according to a redacted document made public this week. The value of the deal wasn’t disclosed. The agreement strengthens a longstanding relationship, wherein immigration officials use Palantir’s data management software to build profiles on people.

      • China Wants Philippines to Stop All Online Gaming

        The Philippine gaming regulator said on Monday that it won’t halt existing online casinos but will stop accepting applications for new licenses at least until the end of the year to review concerns about the burgeoning sector. Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday that Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered a stop on new licenses for online gambling operations. Existing licenses won’t be renewed upon expiry, said the report.

      • Cox Asks Court to Sanction Labels Over Destroyed Tracking Evidence

        Internet provider Cox Communications has asked a federal court in Virginia to preclude piracy tracking evidence from the liability lawsuit several music companies have filed. The case relies on evidence collected by MarkMonitor. However, according to Cox, the piracy tracking outfit destroyed crucial data that backs up these claims.

      • Apple Card vs Citi, Chase, and Capital One: Is Apple’s new credit card as good as it seems?

        For many iPhone users, an extra point or percent here and there probably won’t matter. The experience and convenience will have more appeal, and the titanium card will stand as the ultimate status symbol, even if savvier shoppers are getting bigger rewards checks. That’s likely what Apple is banking on. Still, by the numbers, most people can do better than the Apple Card.

      • You should opt out of the Apple Card’s arbitration clause — here’s how

        But you can opt out of this arbitration clause. The agreement that you sign for the Apple Card gives specific directions on how to do it. Basically, it says that you’ll have to contact the company within 90 days after you open the account, using Messages, calling 877-255-5923 toll-free, or writing to Lockbox 6112, P.O. Box 7247, Philadelphia, PA 19170-6112. It will want the following information.

      • Don’t Renew Section 215 Indefinitely

        The New York Times reported that the Trump administration wants Section 215, the legal authority that allows the National Security Agency to collect Americans’ telephone records, renewed indefinitely. That’s despite earlier reports the NSA had shuttered its Call Details Record (CDR) Program because it ran afoul of the law, violated the privacy of scores of Americans, and reportedly failed to produce useful intelligence. In a letter to Congress, outgoing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats argued for permanently reauthorizing the legal authority, which also allows the government to collect a vast array of “tangible things” in national security investigations, as well as other provisions of the Patriot Act that are set to expire in December.

        For years, the government relied on Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act to conduct a dragnet surveillance program that collected billions of phone records documenting who a person called and for how long they called them—more than enough information for analysts to infer very personal details about a person, including who they have relationships with, and the private nature of those relationships.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • British Council worker Aras Amiri loses appeal against 10-year sentence in Iran

        Ms Amiri said in her letter that she was arrested because she refused to cooperate with Iranian intelligence officials who wanted her to spy for them in Britain.

        “I directly rejected their offer for cooperation and told them that I can only work in my own field and nothing else,” she wrote.

        Iran often tries to pressure its expatriate citizens to cooperate with intelligence work.

      • Aras Amiri: British Council worker jailed in Iran for ‘spying’ loses appeal against 10-year prison sentence

        Her cousin, Dr Mohsen Omrani, 39, a Canada-based medical researcher, claimed Iran was using Ms Amiri as a “bargaining chip” in the latest escalation of tensions with the West.

      • The Attorney General Who Doesn’t Respect Or Comply With His Oversight Wants Citizens To Respect And Comply With Cops

        The “law and order” administration is flexing its muscles. New Attorney General William Barr has been particularly vocal since his appointment, going after device encryption and the supposedly-dangerous “disrespect” for police.

        Barr’s public statements — the latter of which was delivered to a very receptive audience composed of police union reps — have made it clear his DOJ is going to carry out Trump’s back-the-blue mandates. Law enforcement officers will receive the federal government’s seal of endless approval, as well as its benefit of a doubt when things go badly.

        Things go badly quite often. Cops are still killing more than 1,000 people (and nearly 10,000 dogs) every year, even as crime rates remain at historic lows. Barr’s message to America was: comply, shut up, stop complaining. If you do somehow still feel your rights have been violated, you’re welcome to lawyer up and attempt to sue your way past layers of immunity and multiple, ultra-flexible warrant exceptions.

        But while this administration talks a good game about respect for law and order, it certainly doesn’t show the respect it believes is owed to the nation’s law enforcement officers. Marcy Wheeler points out this hypocrisy to devastating effect in her post dissecting (and recasting) Barr’s pro-police, anti-everyone else rant.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • IPANDETEC Rates Panama’s ISPs in its First ¿Quién Defiende Tus Datos? Report

        It’s Panama’s turn to take a closer look at the practices of its most prominent Internet Service Providers, and how their policies support their users’ privacy. IPANDETEC, the leading digital rights NGO in Panama, has launched its first “Who Defends Your Data” (¿Quién Defiende Tus Datos?) report. The survey shines a light on the privacy practices of the main ISPs of the country: Claro (America Movil), Movistar (Telefonica), Digicel, and Más Móvil (A joint operation between Cable & Wireless Communications and the Panamanian State, who owns 49% of the shares).

        This year, while all companies surveyed received a low score, Movistar (Telefonica) led the pack in protecting their customers — with Digicel right behind.

        Movistar is the only company that published both a transparency report and law enforcement guidelines, but unfortunately, it did so only on its parent company’s site. Digicel is the only ISP to publish its privacy policy on its Panamanian website; Claro came close, but its policy was limited to the company’s website, not its wider privacy practices. Más Móvil and Movistar direct visitors to their parent company’s privacy policy.

        Movistar and Claro, through their parent companies, both assured their users that they require judicial authorization before authorities can access consumer data. Más Móvil and Digicel do not.

        Movistar and Claro were the only ISPs that proactively responded to IPANDETEC’s survey. Más Móvil and Digicel, on the other hand, did not respond when contacted. This is a missed opportunity. At their heart ¿Quién Defiende Tus Datos? reports are a chance for civil society groups and ISPs to understand each other’s work. The report will be published each year, and plans to capture ISPs’ progress as they improve.

    • Monopolies

      • Big Brands Are Using Amazon’s Anticounterfeiting Measures to Crush Small Businesses

        In the United States, thanks to a legal principle called the “First-Sale Doctrine,” individuals have the right to resell copyrighted goods even if the owner of that copyright objects. The exhaustion rule “is the reason we have public libraries and eBay. It’s the reason we can lend a novel to a friend and leave our record collections to loved ones in our wills” write Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz in their book The End of Ownership. “But the rules that permit these uses are not a given. They were established by the courts and Congress, and their survival depends on continued legal recognition.”

        For Card & Party and other retailers who have been banned from selling certain brands on Amazon, the retail giant’s authorization process could be seen as an infringement upon these fundamental property rights. [...]

      • Facebook Already Controls Our Information. Don’t Let It Control Our Commerce

        Through concerted action, national governments likely could block the creation of Libra—or at least alter its architecture in a substantial way—especially if they applied their anti-trust powers. But this wouldn’t get to the root of the threat, which is Facebook’s relentlessly expanding power over increasingly overlapping areas of our lives. And so the rise of Libra signals a larger problem that requires a larger solution. Simply put, Facebook must be broken up, in the style of North America’s Bell System in the early 1980s.

        Facebook isn’t just a big social media company that became an enormous social media company. It has mutated into a de facto empire unto itself. Moreover, it is controlled by a single human being, Mark Zuckerberg, who possesses 53% of voting rights within the company.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Court Rules That “Patent Troll” is Opinion, Not Defamation

          Free speech in the patent world saw a big win on Friday, when the New Hampshire Supreme Court held that calling someone a “patent troll” doesn’t constitute defamation. The court’s opinion [PDF] is good news for critics of abusive patent litigation, and anyone who values robust public debate around patent policy. The opinion represents a loss for Automated Transactions, LLC (ATL), a patent assertion entity that sued [PDF] more than a dozen people and trade groups claiming it was defamed.

          EFF worked together with the ACLU of New Hampshire to file an amicus brief [PDF] in this case, explaining that the lower court judge got this case right when he ruled against ATL. That decision gave wide latitude for public debate about important policy issues—even when the debate veers into harsh language. We’re glad the New Hampshire Supreme Court agreed.

          Last week’s ruling court notes that “patent troll” is a phrase used to describe “a class of patent owners who do not provide end products or services themselves, but who do demand royalties as a price for authorizing the work of others.” However, the justices note that “patent troll” has no clear settled definition. For instance, some observers of the patent world would exclude particular entities, like individual inventors or universities, from the moniker “patent troll.”

          Because of this, when ATL’s many critics call it a “patent troll,” they are expressing their subjective opinions. Differences of opinion about many things—including patent lawsuits—cannot and should not be settled with a defamation lawsuit.

          “We conclude that the challenged statement, that ATL is a well-known patent troll, is one of opinion rather than fact,” write the New Hampshire justices. “As the slideshow demonstrates, the statement is an assertion that, among other things, ATL is a patent troll because its patent-enforcement activity is ‘aggressive.’ This statement cannot be proven true or false because whether given behavior is ‘aggressive’ cannot be objectively verified.”

        • Enzo Life Sciences, Inc. v. Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          The opinion also notes that Enzo’s expert had explained that one of skill in the art “would need to actually make the compound and test it in a hybridization experiment” in order to be comfortable that an oligonucleotide or polynucleotide encompassed by the asserted claims would work as a probe.

          With respect to the ’405 patent, the opinion indicates that the asserted claims of that patent are broader than the asserted claims of the ʼ180 patent, explaining that “rather than covering only phosphate-labeled polynucleotides, they also cover labeling at other locations on a nucleotide.” The opinion concludes that “[b]ecause the specification does not enable the narrower scope of polynucleotides claimed in the ’180 patent, it also cannot enable the broader scope of polynucleotides claimed in the ʼ405 patent.” The Federal Circuit therefore affirmed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment that the asserted claims of the ’180 and ’405 patents are invalid for lack of enablement.

        • “Customization Module” is a Means-Plus-Function Element; Indefinite Without Disclosed Algorithm

          In a non-precedential decision, the Federal Circuit has affirmed the district court’s holding that Grecia’s asserted claims invalid as indefinite. The claims include a means-plus-function limitation, but an example of the underlying mechanism was not disclosed in the specification.

          In the years leading up to the Patent Act of 1952, several courts (including the U.S. Supreme Court) severely limited the ability of applicants to use functional claim limitations (rather than structural) in order to obtain broader patent protection. See, for example, Halliburton Co. v. Walker, 329 U.S. 1 (1946) (barring functional limitations at the point of novelty). Traditionally, patent attorneys had drafted these functional limits in “means-plus-function” language. In Halliburton, for instance, Walker’s invalidated claim required “means … for creating pressure waves of known frequency.”

          [...]

          Invalidity affirmed.

          [...]

          In a prior unpublished decision, the Federal Circuit McDonald’s escaped liability on a divided infringement claim. Grecia v. McDonald’s Corp., 724 Fed. Appx. 942 (Fed. Cir. 2018). The case against Samsung focused on Claim 21. Claims 1-8 and 11-20 had been cancelled by the PTAB. Mastercard International Inc. v. Grecia, IPR2017-00791 (PTAB 2017).

        • Tillis, Coons to Hold New Huddles on Patent Eligibility Proposal (1)

          The draft proposal could undo several U.S. Supreme Court decisions on what inventions deserve patent protection. The rulings have left the law poorly defined, and made it harder for companies to win patents and raise venture capital, attorneys and some trade groups say.

          Participants will be given 30 minutes to review the new draft, but must leave the document and any notes behind at the end of the meeting, according to an invitation obtained by Bloomberg Law.

          The participants will discuss revisions made after three patent eligibility hearings held in June by Tillis, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s intellectual property subcommittee, and Coons, the subcommittee’s ranking member, the email said. The pair last floated a proposal in May.

      • Trademarks

        • Four Rings to Rule Them All – German Federal Court of Justice Finds Trademark Infringement in Radiator Grille with Audi-Logo-Shaped Mounting Fixture

          If you picture an Audi, you likely imagine some type of car with four interlocking rings on the radiator grille [a symbol of the merger of the four automobile manufacturers Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer in 1932]. It is thus safe to assume that a radiator grille built for an Audi is expected to have a space where the four-ring shaped logo can be fitted. Spare part manufacturers who thought that, say, a four-ring shaped space is ideally suited to be fitted with a four-ring shaped logo, have just been told by the German Federal Court of Justice to try harder, as the shape of the mounting fixture can amount to trademark infringement (case I ZR 61/18).

          [...]

          Whether the specific form of the mounting fixture is “necessary” to indicate the intended purpose of the radiator grille is a question of fact, which had already been decided by the lower court in the negative. The appellant could not dispute this finding, since questions of fact are in principle excluded from the review of the Federal Court of Justice. Once the finding was made that the form of the mounting fixture was not “necessary”, the case became very difficult to win for the spare part manufacturer.

          Another aspect of the case is, however, more surprising. The Court had no hesitation in finding that the general public would see the shape of the mounting fixture (also) as an indication of the origin of the radiator grille. But is this actually correct?

          The EU General Court has recently ruled that the relevant public purchases spare parts for goods in classes 7 and 12 with a level of attention that is higher than average, “even if spare parts are priced relatively modestly” (T-792/17 – MAN/EUIPO). Consumers and professionals shopping for automobile spare parts are very much aware of the fact that some spare parts are manufactured by the brand owner, whereas other (often cheaper) spare parts are manufactured by third parties. This information can be (and often is) conveyed through the description of the product that is accessible prior to the purchase.

      • Copyrights

        • DOJ/Copyright Office File An Amicus Brief In Support Of Led Zeppellin

          As announced by the Copyright Office’s General Counsel, the DOJ and the Copyright Office have now filed an amicus brief in the 9th Circuit in support of Led Zeppelin in its never ending legal dispute with the estate of Randy Wolfe (aka Randy California) over whether or not Led Zeppelin infringed on the copyright of the Spirit song “Taurus” with their classic “Stairway to Heaven.” We’ve discussed this case at length over the years. If you were to just listen to the recordings of Taurus and Stairway to Heaven, you can definitely hear some similarities. Yet, as we noted, you can hear the same similarities in J.S. Bach’s Bourree in E Minor, which I believe predates both of those other songs. This video also shows a bunch of other songs (most predating Taurus) that have the same basic melody.

        • [Guest post] Cheaper by the Dozen? Two further CJEU referrals on YouTube’s ‘active role’

          Readers of this blog know that in September 2018, the German Federal Court of Justice made a YouTube, C-682/18) asking, among other things, whether “the operator of an internet video platform on which videos containing content protected by copyright are made publicly accessible by users without the consent of the rightholders carry out an act of communication within the meaning of Article 3(1)” of the InfoSoc Directive, insofar as certain conditions are satisfied.

          [...]

          YouTube argued that it operates a neutral platform and that infringements were made only by its users and it did not have knowledge of infringement. More interestingly, the platform also asserted that even when its conduct must be considered as an act of communication to the public, it would still be shielded from liability by the hosting provider privilege granted in Art. 14 of the E-Commerce-Dirctive.

        • Copyright law issues on U.S. Supreme Court’s next term agenda

          The dispute arose from the discovery of Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, which ran ashore at Beaufort, North Carolina in 1718. The shipwreck was discovered in November 1996 by Intersal, a private research and salvage company, which subsequently engaged Nautilus Productions to take pictures and videos of the ship. Nautilus filmed the shipwreck for nearly two decades. A well, it registered copyright for the resulting videos and still images.

          The State of North Carolina and its Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) copied and publicly displayed Nautilus’s works without authorisation, this by uploading and posting them online. The parties reached a settlement agreement. However, the state nevertheless resumed its infringing activity in both online and print formats, claiming that it is insulated from liability because of the so-called “Blackbeard’s Law”, which effectively converted Nautilus’s works into “public record” materials that can be freely used by the state, thereby depriving the copyright holder of any remedy.

          Nautilus sued the state in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina; in turn, the state sought to dismiss the copyright claim on the ground that the state sovereign immunity provisions of the 11th Amendment shield it from suit in federal court. The district court denied the state’s motion, holding that the CRCA abrogated the state’s sovereign immunity from suit.

          The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously reversed the district court’s ruling (here), concluding that “Nautilus’s copyright claims against the North Carolina officials in their individual capacities are precluded by qualified immunity […] [and] that legislative immunity shields the North Carolina officials in their individual capacities for their alleged involvement in the enactment of [“Blackbeard’s Law”]”.

          [...]

          The much-awaited Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc. case has now been referred to the Solicitor General to file a brief in this case, expressing the views of the United States. The questions presented are: (1) whether copyright protection extends to a software interface; and (2) whether, as the jury found, the petitioner’s use of a software interface in the context of creating a new computer program constitutes fair use.

        • It’s On: Details Emerge Of Polish Government’s Formal Request For Top EU Court To Throw Out Upload Filters

          Earlier this year, Techdirt wrote about an intriguing tweet from the account of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland, which announced: “Tomorrow #Poland brings action against copyright directive to CJEU”. The hashtags for the tweet made clear what Poland was worried about: “#Article13 #Article17″. However, at that time, no details were forthcoming about this potentially important legal move. It was disappointing that nothing more has been heard about this unexpected development since then — until now. A notice on the Official Journal of the European Union includes the following: “Case C-401/19: Action brought on 24 May 2019 — Republic of Poland v European Parliament and Council of the European Union”.

        • FACT Confirms Premier League Anti-Piracy Action Against IPTV Suppliers

          The Federation Against Copyright Theft has confirmed that last month it helped to serve cease-and-desist notices to individuals at 16 premises in the UK connected to the supply of illegal sports streaming services. The action was taken in collaboration with the Premier League and law enforcement agencies.

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