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09.30.19

Even IP Kat Explains Why the EPO and the EUIPO Are Lying Through Their Teeth With a Paid-for So-called ‘Study’

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Liars rewarded, scientists being lied about (or bribed to participate in the lying)

From left to right: Benoît Battistelli, President of the EPO; Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services; Antonio Campinos, President of OHIM

Summary: Even repressed voices that have been co-opted by threats and intrusions wind up explaining that the EU and its sibling in Munich intentionally lie to the public, assisted by media that does not value basic fact-checking (or is being paid to not check the deeply flawed claims)

THE corrupt EPOnia is a threat to scholarly research that is honest. It bribes scholars. It also bribes media and it shows. It breaks every rule as we last explained on Saturday. The media has repeated lots of propaganda over the past week. Nothing at all is being said about EPOnia scandals. Nothing at all.

“To Léon Dijkman’s credit there’s extensive mention of the fact that this so-called ‘study’ is deeply flawed.”Yesterday Léon Dijkman of IP Kat relayed but partly rebutted the latest propaganda from the Campinos/Battistelli (EUIPO/EPO) duo. It has been years in the making, parroted annually, while the EPO passes bribes to media companies that then repeat lies, attributed to the European Patent Office and the EU.

Two hours ago the EPO retweeted an EU account as saying (lying): “IPR-intensive industries and economic performance in the #EU: The Europan Patent Office @EPOorg and @EU_IPO have just published the 3rd edition of their report covering all major IP rights and identifying which industries make above-average use of them…”

EPO lies (originally Battistelli/Campinos) are quickly becoming a liability to the EU’s integrity and reputation/credibility. One hour ago the EPO tweeted more or less the same paid-for lies: “We have just published a new joint study with @EU_IPO. See the impact of industries that make intensive use of IP rights on economic activity in Europe…”

They’ve been doing this for a whole week now. Two thirds of today’s EPO tweets (so far) are paid-for lies and this third one is pure lobbying. They refuse to improve in any way. Campinos is just Battistelli with a different face.

To Léon Dijkman’s credit there’s extensive mention of the fact that this so-called ‘study’ is deeply flawed. It’s explained rather clearly, especially towards the end. To quote:

Number two on the list is ‘Manufacture of communication equipment’ and number three is ‘Research and experimental development on biotechnology’. According to the EPO’s most recent annual report, these are indeed the technical fields where the most patent applications are filed [see here]. But those same applications are the subject of considerable controversy. The automotive industry – incidentally Europe’s biggest contributor to GDP among patent-intensive industries, as we saw – feels increasingly threatened by telecoms patents and claims they threaten the viability of their business. And in the field of biotech, there is concern that the growing number of patent applications will foreclose access to next-generation gene-editing techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9.

[...]

Much more could be said about the report, e.g. that it would have been interesting to include the tax revenue obtained from IPR-intensive industries [Merpel notes that this could end up disappointing readers, with one IP-heavy tech giant allegedly owing as much as $14.3 billion in back taxes…]. But the most important observation should be that the report contains no evidence of a causal relation between IPR and the studied variables, even if they appear to be correlated. The question of how IP causally relates to economic growth has been studied for decades. In footnote 24, the report itself notes that there “is a rich body of economic literature dedicated to patents”, making it all the more surprising that it does not engage with this literature at all.

This Kat’s criticism may suggest a lack of appreciation for the hard work of the economists at the EPO and the EUIPO. Not so: as stated above, studies on the real-world effects of IP are very badly needed, and any attempt at it is welcome. But these reports form the basis for EU policy, for instance the European Commission’s extremely important 2017 Communication on a balanced IP enforcement system [see footnote 2]. That means critical assessment of these findings by academics – and, ideally, the public – is very important, and it is hoped that this post may form a humble contribution to this debate.

Using that same laughable ‘logic’ they might claim that because software patents were granted in Europe every software company in Europe only ever saw success because of these patents, not despite of that nuisance (which software companies generally reject).

“In the process they corrupt institutions outside the EU and outside EPOnia.”The first comment in IP Kat says: “These reports are purely pro domo and should be taken for what they are: advertising.”

Even worse: lying. In the process they corrupt institutions outside the EU and outside EPOnia.

Red Hat is Not the Company You Once Knew

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 4:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coming soon: Red Hat Forum, sponsored (the most) by Microsoft

Red Hat Microsoft event

Summary: Red Hat in 2019 is very different from the company it was two and a half decades ago or even one decade ago

EARLIER this year we stressed that Red Hat considered Microsoft as a buyer and is nowadays running events with Microsoft, mostly funded by Microsoft. Red Hat also hired quite a few managers from Microsoft and it habitually promotes Microsoft .NET, Azure, MSVS and so on. This is beyond baffling to those of us who were led to believe Red Hat was our ‘flag bearer’. To be fair to Red Hat, however, its partnership with Microsoft goes 10 years back; it started with virtualisation. It has been progressing since — sometimes to the point of outright absurdity. We’re still trying to wrap our collective heads around the IBM takeover and what it will mean for Red Hat. We last mentioned this yesterday at around noon. Then, posted at 1AM on Sunday afternoon (1PM) was this hint that Red Hat had become more like IBM (not the other way around) when it comes to patent policy, much as we predicted.

“…Red Hat had become more like IBM (not the other way around) when it comes to patent policy, much as we predicted.”“In an exclusive interview,” IAM wrote, “Red Hat’s IP [sic] head reveals that in the run-up to its acquisition by IBM the company went shopping for patents at a range of sellers including AT&T, Huawei and Panasonic.” (behind paywall)

Well, the IAM paywall helps prevent their critics from scrutinising the text like we used to. They tend to spread many falsehoods and use intentionally-misleading terminology. But that’s not the point here; the point is that Red Hat is hungry for patents, including software patents, just like IBM. It’s no secret that systemd develops have also applied for (and received) patents. It’s also no secret that IBM is a patent bully and its shakedown/lawsuits against companies were reported (also by IAM) as recently as weeks ago. Zillow is among the latest targets.

“We alluded to some of these patents in passing in the more distant past.”Red Hat as a company (or unit) has no say on directions such as these; it’s rather worrying as more “Red Hat technologies” (e.g. stuff in Linux that only Red Hat actively develops) are patented. That includes systemd patents, which we know exist (at the very least based on the applicants’ names and assignee, Red Hat), but any patent on something inside systemd would not mention the software by name. We alluded to some of these patents in passing in the more distant past.

Over the past few days both good [1] and bad [2] things were said about systemd. Some have dubbed it “Open Source Proprietary Software” (OSPS) — a catchy phrase — and Laurent Bigonville responded to me some minutes ago to say: “If you look at the copyright claims in #systemd project, it gives me 9 lines for Red Hat et 4 lines for IBM, so much for an attempt to make it “proprietary”…” (there’s a screenshot there). Bigonville is always very defensive and protective of systemd.

“A few within the BSD crowd seem so gleeful about taking RMS down, and finding creative ways to rationalize it, because then their hero Bill Gates stays out of the public eye despite his actual association with Epstein.”
      –Techrights associate
Suffice to say, systemd does have its merits (see below), mostly technical merits, arguably at freedom’s expense (not to mention choice). What upset me personally earlier this month was seeing some senior Red Hat staff cheering the removal of Richard Stallman (RMS). Cui bono?

“Even (or especially) those tools that smugly applaud the removal of RMS based on behavior should especially object to the means by which he has been removed,” an associate of ours wrote this morning. “Ends never justify the means. When it comes down to it they are supporting online lynching.

“A few within the BSD crowd seem so gleeful about taking RMS down, and finding creative ways to rationalize it, because then their hero Bill Gates stays out of the public eye despite his actual association with Epstein. It is rather disgusting that they spend so much effort attacking RMS to cover for Bill. Again, when it comes down to it, they are supporting online lynching and trying to legitimize it.”

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. systemd is really well designed

    One of the things I think has generally worked well about “Linux” and the ecosystem on top of it has been the variety of userspace. There’s obviously some pointless things, but also some genuine innovation. It works well when upstream projects are structured in a way that they can be mixed and matched.

    For Fedora CoreOS we are combining two technologies; Ignition and rpm-ostree. Previously they were used independently (Ignition with a ChomeOS style A/B updater) and rpm-ostree with the traditional Fedora-and-derivatives setup of Kickstart for bare metal, and cloud-init for clouds.

    Putting the two together has been working well so far, but I’ve recently been working on support for root filesystem reprovisioning which is where the two projects intersect strongly. This has meant a lot of time writing code in the initramfs.

  2. Write a Letter to Redhat About systemd

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) incorporated systemd as their default and only init system in 2014. Soon after, perhaps with some persuasion from Red Hat and its allies, Debian adopted systemd as its default init system, and many Debian Derived distros, including all the Ubuntus, followed suit. Starting in 2014, this caused extensive protest from many in the Linux community, for reasons such as: [...]

    I’ll be glad to serve as a central information point for this letter writing campaign. If you find other contacts, please feel free to write to them and please email me with those contacts and contact information.

Links 30/9/2019: Improvements for Linux 5.4 and Plasma 5.18

Posted in News Roundup at 1:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Huawei to build a global open-source software ecosystem without US tech

      Chinese technology giant Huawei unveiled its own open-source software ecosystem on Friday (Sept 20) with the goal of attracting global developers and players to use its system.

      Huawei will invest US$1.5 billion in the next five years in an upgraded version of its existing developer programme.

      It will provide funding to universities, individuals, start-ups and enterprises to support them in learning, product development and marketing.

    • Desktop

      • Chrome OS 77 Brings Google Assistant to More Chromebooks, Updated Files App

        Google has begin the rollout of the latest Chrome OS 77 operating system for Chromebooks, a release that brings the Google Assistant to more devices and several other updates.
        Google’s Linux-based operating system for Chrome devices, Chrome OS, has been promoted to version 77, based on the recently released Google Chrome 77 web browser. Chrome OS 77 is here to bring the Google Assistant intelligent voice assistant to more Chromebooks, making it easier for users to do things on their devices and be more productive.

        “The Assistant on Chromebook helps you stay productive, control your smart devices, and have a little fun along the way. To get started, enable the Assistant in your Chromebook’s settings and then try asking or typing some of these queries,” said Alexander Kuscher, Director of Chrome OS. “It’s starting to roll out now to more non-managed, consumer devices.”

        Google Assistant will help you quickly create new documents, sheets or slides in your Google Drive account, check your schedule or add a new event to your calendar, set reminders, play music through supported speakers, control smart devices in your home, as well as thousands other actions.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • systemd is really well designed

          One of the things I think has generally worked well about “Linux” and the ecosystem on top of it has been the variety of userspace. There’s obviously some pointless things, but also some genuine innovation. It works well when upstream projects are structured in a way that they can be mixed and matched.

          For Fedora CoreOS we are combining two technologies; Ignition and rpm-ostree. Previously they were used independently (Ignition with a ChomeOS style A/B updater) and rpm-ostree with the traditional Fedora-and-derivatives setup of Kickstart for bare metal, and cloud-init for clouds.

          Putting the two together has been working well so far, but I’ve recently been working on support for root filesystem reprovisioning which is where the two projects intersect strongly. This has meant a lot of time writing code in the initramfs.

        • Top Gun 51 Profile: Red Hat’s Scott Musson on IBM, Channel Strategy, More
        • Write a Letter to Redhat About systemd

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) incorporated systemd as their default and only init system in 2014. Soon after, perhaps with some persuasion from Red Hat and its allies, Debian adopted systemd as its default init system, and many Debian Derived distros, including all the Ubuntus, followed suit. Starting in 2014, this caused extensive protest from many in the Linux community, for reasons such as: [...]

          I’ll be glad to serve as a central information point for this letter writing campaign. If you find other contacts, please feel free to write to them and please email me with those contacts and contact information.

        • Crunchy High Availability PostgreSQL Certified as a Database Backend Solution for Red Hat Ansible Tower
    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux Action News 125

        CentOS Stream and 8 have quite a bit for us to talk about, Docker’s struggles go public, and the GNOME Foundation is facing a patent fight.

        Plus the best bit of Android 10 Go, Microsoft gives serious thought to bringing Edge to Linux, and Stallman’s role at GNU comes into question.

      • GNU World Order 13×40

        Is an open source operating system important?

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 163 – Death to python 2

        Josh and Kurt about the upcoming Python 2 EOL. What does it mean, why does it matter, and what you can you do?

    • Kernel Space

      • KVM Changes For Linux 5.4 Fix Performance Regression, Add UMWAIT Support

        A second batch of Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) changes for the Linux 5.4 kernel have landed.

        The first pull of KVM changes for Linux 5.4 last week weren’t too exciting. That original pull brought support on ARM for up to 512 virtual CPUs, an ARM ITS translation cache, IPI x86 optimizations, and a wide variety of x86 bug fixes.

      • The Linux Kernel Firms Up The Process For Dealing With Nasty Hardware Vulnerabilities

        With all of the CPU security bugs over the past two years and heightened concerns about hardware vulnerabilities in general, the upstream Linux kernel has been working to create a formal process for dealing with the disclosure process and addressing said issues within the kernel code.

        Added originally back to Linux 5.3-rc7 and further improved now for Linux 5.4 is the formal public documentation for the kernel’s approach for going about the disclosure process and mitigating the kernel for new vulnerabilities.

      • Linux 5.4 Should Improve NUMA Hugepage Allocation Performance

        It turns out Linux 5.3 shipped with potentially subpar performance for the allocation of hugepages but that should be rectified in the now open Linux 5.4 cycle for trying to provide a sane default allocation strategy on NUMA boxes.

        With Linux 5.4, the kernel will now avoid the reclaim operation when compaction isn’t likely to succeed. It will also allow hugepages to fallback to remote nodes when seeking hugepages via madvise but the node-local hugepage allocation failed. Additionally, Linux 5.4 reverts two patches from Linux 5.3 that ended up regressing other workloads unintentionally.

      • Linux Plumbers Conference 2019, part 3

        Connections are point-to-point between “components”. Switch components provide fan-out.

        Components can be subdivided into “resources” and also have “interfaces”.

        No requirement for a single root (like typical PCIe) and there can be redundant connections forming a messh.

        Fabric can span multiple logical computers (OS instances). Fabric manager assigns components and resources to them, and configures routing.

        Protocol is reliable; all writes are acknowleged (by default). However it is not ordered by default.

        Components have single control space (like config space?) and single data space (up to 2⁶⁴ bytes). Control space has a fixed header and then additional structures for optional and per-interface registers.

      • Linux 5.4 Features Are Huge From exFAT To New GPUs To Enabling Lots Of New Hardware

        The Linux 5.4 merge window is set to end today with the release of Linux 5.4-rc1. With the major pull requests in, here is a look at the prominent changes and new features coming with Linux 5.4. As is standard practice, there will be about eight weekly release candidates of Linux 5.4 prior to officially releasing this kernel as stable in late November or potentially early December depending upon how the cycle plays out.
        Among the major highlights for Linux 5.4 is the initial Microsoft exFAT file-system support, integration of the LOCKDOWN LSM, DM-Clone as a new means of remotely replicating block devices, case-insensitive F2FS support, support for several new AMD Radeon GPU targets, initial support for Intel Tigerlake with Gen12/Xe Graphics (still very much a work-in-progress), beginning to see various consumer Arm laptops working off the mainline kernel, a kernel fix around UMIP to help various Windows games in Wine, and a lot of other new hardware support.

      • Linux to get kernel ‘lockdown’ feature
      • Linux Foundation

        • Harbor Container Registry Project Advances

          An initiative focused on developing an open source registry that makes it easier to manage containers at scale has been updated.

          Harbor, developed by VMware, is now a incubation project being developed under the auspices for the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The 1.9 release of Harbor adds a range of capabilities, including a Webhook notification that can be employed to integrate the registry more easily with continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) tools.

          Other capabilities available in this latest release include the ability to replicate projects between the registry services of major cloud service providers, tag retention and project quotas that strengthen image lifecycle management and security, syslog integration and the ability to apply exceptions that would allow developers to continue to employ a container with a known bug.

        • Alibaba, Global Tech Giants Form Foundation for Open-Source Database Tool

          Chinese internet giant Alibaba has joined forces with Facebook, Twitter, and Uber to set up a foundation for the Facebook-developed database search engine and processing tool Presto, according to a Monday announcement by U.S.-based nonprofit the Linux Foundation.

          The Presto Foundation aims to make the engine — which can scour multiple different data sources and formats and help analyze them — the “fastest and most reliable” of its kind. Presto will have its own project within the Linux Foundation, the announcement said.

          Presto was developed in 2012 for large-scale data processing by Facebook, which opened the source code up to developers the following year in the hope companies that rely on the technology would help to hone it.

        • Facebook, Uber, Twitter and Alibaba form Presto Foundation to Tackle Distributed Data Processing at Scale
        • IOTA unleashes Fast Probabilistic Consensus Simulator; the Linux deal will greatly aid MIOTA in the long run

          IOTA is ranked at #16 to the south of Huobi Token and TRON in the market. This virtual currency was in the green zone a few hours ago but has since declined at a rate of 0.55% which led to MIOTA dropping to reach $0.262404 where it presently rests. The trading volume recorded stands at roughly $3.629 million, whereas the supply has approximately 2.779 billion MIOTA tokens in play for now. The total market cap of IOTA is $729.358 million as of this very moment.

        • Linux Foundation Gets Ready for the Rise of Edge Computing
        • Linux Foundation exec believes edge computing will be more important than cloud computing
        • LF Edge Continues Rapid Growth as New Projects, Members Collaborate at Open Source Edge

          LF Edge, an umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation, announced continued project momentum with the addition of two new projects and four new members.

        • Common NFVI Telco Taskforce (CNTT) Boasts Reference Milestone

          LF Networking (LFN) and the GSMA today announced that the Common NFVI Telco Taskforce (CNTT) has reached its first major milestone with the publication of its initial common Reference Model and first Reference Architecture. Jointly hosted by the GSMA and the Linux Foundation, CNTT operates as an open committee responsible for creating and documenting an industry-aligned Common NFVI Framework.

        • Open Source Networking Industry Rapidly (In Some Cases) Moves To The Edge

          At its annual European knees up, the Linux Foundation’s Open Networking Summit set out its stall as to how it will address the needs of next generation connectivity, AI and rapidly advancing edge deployments.

          Illustrating the priority of moving to the edge in open source networking thinking, is the announcement at the annual Open Networking Summit (ONS) Europe that the event will be called the Open Networking and Edge Summit from 2020.

          At his keynote at this week’s summit in Antwerp, Begium, Arpit Joshipura, general manager for networking at The Linux Foundation, outlined the importance of collaboration across the edge ecosystem as open source network developers scaled up their projects to cover everything from the enterprise to the cloud and the edge, whether that was for 5G, IoT, AI analytics or the evolution of driverless cars.

          He even suggested that those traditionally slow moving beasts, the telcos, were starting to catch up with the cloud hyperscalers when it came to extending their coverage in supporting connectivity to the above leading edge applications.

        • Open standards model for VNFs is a boon to open source networking

          The model will drastically streamline the compliance and verification process of bringing virtual network functions to market
          Linux Foundation Networking, together with the GSMA, has created the first standardised compliance and verification model to help network operators and equipment vendors approve networking apps and increase time-to-revenue.

          The model created by the Common NFVI Telco Taskforce (CNTT) replaces the pre-existing method whereby vendors bring virtual network functions (VNFs) to network operators, which then need to be tested before they can be deployed. As the type of tests required varies by operator, this could be a very lengthy process, whereas the new open model provides a single top-line test to be applied across the whole industry.

          The new model will allow operators and vendors to profit more quickly from their VNFs and then re-invest that profit back into the open source life cycle, ultimately fuelling more rapid industry growth.

          “The speed with which this group has been established and produced its first tangible results are a testament to the close cooperation and collaboration of its industry members,” said Alex Sinclair, CTO of GSMA. “A common framework and approach will accelerate adoption and deployment in the 5G era and we look forward to aligning further with our partners on this important project.”

        • Operator-Led Effort Hosted by Linux Foundation and GSMA publishes Initial Specifications for Common NFV Infrastructure, Empowered by LFN’s OVP Framework
      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel’s SNA 2D Acceleration Code Sees Rare Activity

          Intel’s SNA “Sandybridge New Acceleration” for 2D acceleration via their deprecated xf86-video-intel X.Org driver has seen some improvements, which is rare these days considering the for this driver that has been in perpetual version 3.0 development for the past six years.

          It looks like the xf86-video-intel 3.0 release will never officially be released given there hasn’t even been a new development release of it in five years. The 3.0 milestone was their release to officially default to the SNA accelerated support in place of their EXA-derived UXA acceleration architecture. The 3.0 release has been so long in development that it was going to be the version that added XMir support prior to that being canned years ago already.

    • Applications

      • Ulauncher: Use An Alternative App Launcher In Your Ubuntu/Linux Mint

        You might have used several type of launchers or maybe currently using your desktop’s default laucher/menu to launch application. If you want to try something new and different on your Linux then we present you ULauncher. It is simple and fast application launcher designed to use on Linux desktop written in Python programming language.
        Ulauncher consumes very few system resources and has ability to run on almost every desktop environment such as: Gnome Shell, Gnome classic, Mate, Xfce, Lxde, Cinnamon, Openbox and so on.
        Using Ulauncher you can search for applications on your system and you can also send search queries to Google, Wikipedia and Stack Overflow. Moreover, there are plenty of extensions available for Ulauncher which can be found on official website.

      • Free Software Planetarium Stellarium 0.19.2 Released (Ubuntu PPA)

        The second bugfix release for the free open-source planetarium Stellarium 0.19 series was released today. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, and higher.

      • MUA++ (or on to neomutt)

        About 18 months ago or so, I posted about switching my Mail User Agent / mail client from claws-mail to thunderbird: https://www.scrye.com/wordpress/nirik/2017/03/24/mua-or-on-to-thunderbird/ last week, I moved on to a new setup.

        First let em talk a bit about why I am moving on from thunderbird. Since moving to it thunderbird seems to have gotten slower and slower (no matter how much I compacted mail folders). They made some, IMHO, anoying changes (like in thunderbird 52: “”When replying to a mailing list, reply will be sent to address in From header ignoring Reply-to header”, which is just dead WRONG). Recent thunderbird versions had taken to pausing randomly and just not doing anything at all for like 20-30seconds. I had become annoyed more than once because thunderbird handled all my filtering, so if I was offline for a while and reconnected, it would take a long time for thunderbird to filter my emails and during that time I couldn’t really do anything else. The final straw was thunderbird 68’s changes to add-ons. Since they were moving to the newer engine, all add-ons have to be reworked to be “webextensions”. Firefox went through this last year. However, thunderbird seems to have not handled it well. I didn’t see any press or announcement, just updated and suddenly all my add-ons were gone. Additionally, going to the thunderbird addons site, there’s a filter for version, but at the time, it didn’t even have 68 listed! Pretty much non of my addons were ready for this change.

        So, finally I decided I would look at mutt. I had avoided it in the past for a few reasons: I wanted to be able to see html emails easily in the same application I was using to read the rest of my emails, and I just liked the idea of a application that didn’t depend on a terminal. With no real GUI MUA’s left, I decided to get over those and look at mutt.

        Doing some reading and pondering, I ran into a number of places talking about patches to mutt (“If you want to use this, you need patch X…”) which lead me to neomutt. I don’t know the details, but my understanding is that mutt development slowed way down for a number of years, and a lot of patches piled up. neomutt is a fork of mutt with all those patchsets applied, with the goal of cleaning them up and getting them into the mainstream mutt package. They already got the sidebar patches in, and hopefully they will get others in over time. Since I like living on the edge, I went with neomutt, which has a handy copr made by the main developer.

      • Proprietary

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • D9VK 0.22 Released To Workaround Direct3D 9 Game Bugs

        Joining DXVK 1.4.1 with a new release this weekend is D9VK 0.22 as the similar project achieving faster Direct3D 9 performance over Wine/Proton via translating the API calls to Vulkan.

        With D9VK 0.21 having been released less than one week ago, this isn’t the biggest release in recent times, but in fact quite small. There is support for GetSoftwareVertexProcessing / SetSoftwareVertexProcessing for software-based vertex processing with D3D9 but the rest of the D9VK 0.22 changes amount to fixes.

      • Wine-Nine-Standalone 0.5 Released To Improve Wine Integration With Gallium Nine

        Wine-Nine-Standalone is the project making it easier to make use of Gallium3D’s Direct3D 9 state tracker within Wine. Wine-Nine-Standalone 0.5 is out as the first new release since March for this project making it easier to use the Direct3D 9 Gallium state tracker within Wine.

        While D9VK is getting into increasingly great shape for accelerating D3D9 over Vulkan, for the Nouveau drivers that lack Vulkan support and other cases, the Gallium3D D3D9 state tracker is still relevant. With Wine-Nine-Standalone it’s easy to make use of this state tracker regardless of Wine version/configuration. Wine-Nine-Standalone supplies the Wine parts of Gallium Nine decoupled from the Mesa source tree. This provides the Direct3D 9 “Nine” DLL as well as a ninewinecfg configuration GUI for toggling the Gallium Nine state.

      • Blade & Sorcery | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.04 | Steam Play

        Blade & Sorcery running through Steam play.

    • Games

      • The Linux and gaming Sunday round-up paper

        Another week has passed already? There’s simply not enough time in the week! Since we slow right down during the weekend to get a little downtime ready to be fresh for another week, here’s some interesting bits for Sunday reading.

      • Linux Users Finally Have a PlayStation Remote Play Client

        After years of waiting, unsure of what would come from it, Linux users can finally access their PlayStations from anywhere in their home. The Chiaki PlayStation Remote Play Client for Linux isn’t official, but those who have used it report it doesn’t require you to jailbreak your PS4 or hack it in any way.

        Chiaki is also available on Windows and Mac, and it has a few clear advantages to the PlayStation official client. First of all, Chiaki allows you to use your keyboard as a controller, while the official client requires you to use either a DualShock 4 Controller or something that mimics it. There are also plans to try and port it to other platforms, which connect to its largest advantage: Open Source. As a completely free and open source project, Chiaki has the potential to grow far beyond a simple replacement to the official PlayStation Remote Play client.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Developers Begin Pushing Improvements For Plasma 5.18

          With Plasma 5.17 releasing soon, developers have begun pushing changes targeted for Plasma 5.18. The KDE Plasma 5.18 release isn’t set to arrive until next February but if any of the recent releases are an indication, it should be another exciting and solid release.

        • KDE Connect Sprint 2019 in Nuremberg

          There we discussed and hacked on many things, and probably Simon’s series of blogposts cover that better than I could do. However, if I can pick a single thing to highlight from the sprint, it is that I had the chance to meet in person with my Google Summer of Code mentee, Inoki.

          KDE Connect itself began as a GSoC project the year 2013, and since then it accumulates the work of 5 different GSoC students, among many other developers, translators, designers… However, this was the first time I met a student I was mentoring in person!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Open-source GNOME Foundation slapped with patent infringement lawsuit

          The open-source GNOME Foundation has been slapped with a patent infringement lawsuit over its Shotwell personal photo manager.

        • Tracker developer experience improvements

          There have been lots of blog posts since I suggested we write more blog posts. Great! I’m going to write about what I’ve done this month.

          I’m excited that work started on Tracker 3.0, after we talked about it at GUADEC 2019. We merged Carlos’ enourmous branch to modernize the Tracker store database. This has broken some tests in tracker-miners, and the next step will be to track down and fix these regressions.

          I’ve continued looking at the developer experience of Tracker. Recently we modernized the README.md file (as several GNOME projects have done recently). I want the README to document a simple “build and test Tracker from git” workflow, and that led into work making it simpler to run Tracker from the build tree, and also a bunch of improvements to the test suite.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Acer AspireOne D255 with openSUSE Tumbleweed Xfce

          Anytime someone wants to give me a piece of hardware, it’s hard for me to say, “no.” I received this Acer AspireOne D255 as payment for installing openSUSE Leap on an HP Laptop. This little netbook was a bit slower than my other Acer AspireOne and with only 1 GiB of RAM and a dead battery. I tried to see if I could install anything but the hard drive was at it’s end of life. So, thing sat in a drawer for about a year or so. I found that there are some education open source programs that are quite educational and since I would rather my kids not play games on phones and tablets, now was the time for me to act.

          I purchased a new battery and a charger for this computer which cost me all of $21. I ordered a 2 GiB stick of DDR3 memory so that whenever it did arrive, I could upgrade that as well.

          Taking apart the AspireOne is not that difficult, at all, you just have to know how to get to the screws to drop the back panel. Annoyingly, you have to remove the keyboard by essentially pushing back little detents to pop the thing out. It isn’t exactly work made for large hands.

        • Review: FreedomBox 2019-07-10 “Buster”

          FreedomBox is the most recent distribution to be added to the DistroWatch database. What is FreedomBox? According to the project’s website:
          FreedomBox is designed to be your own inexpensive server at home. It runs free software and offers an increasing number of services ranging from a calendar or Jabber server to a wiki or VPN. Our web interface allows you to easily install and configure your apps.
          On the technical side, FreedomBox is based on Debian. The latest version is based on Debian 10 “Buster”. Unlike some Debian projects, FreedomBox is a “pure blend” which means all the packages it uses, or develops, can be found in the Debian repositories. This keeps FreedomBox close to upstream and completely compatible with Debian.

          FreedomBox can be purchased bundled with hardware running an ARM CPU or downloaded as a compressed disk image to be installed on existing hardware. The distribution has disk images that run on 32-bit (x86), 64-bit (x86_64) and several flavours of ARM-powered boards. These flavours are available in Stable, Testing and Daily branches, depending if we want a fixed or rolling release operating system. I decided to try the Stable version for 64-bit machines.

          The 64-bit image file is a 386MB download which unpacks to 3.8GB when uncompressed. This image file can be written to an SD card or USB thumb drive. By default, FreedomBox runs from the thumb drive or SD card rather than having a typical install process where packages are written to a hard drive. People who wish to perform a customized hard drive install can install Debian first and then add the FreedomBox software on top with a few commands.

      • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • The Ubuntu MATE 19.10 ‘Paper Cut Release’ Is A Great Lesson In Developer Transparency And Community Impact

          I’ve always praised the elementary OS team for its extensive and accessible release notes and overall transparency throughout the entire development process. Now it’s time to direct that same praise at Martin Wimpress, the Project Lead for Linux desktop distribution Ubuntu MATE.

          Wimpress begins his release notes for the upcoming Ubuntu MATE 19.10 by saying “I have not been completely happy with the quality of recent Ubuntu MATE releases.”

          You don’t hear that kind of honesty every day.

          Wimpress calls out several minor issues in existing releases of Ubuntu MATE that “by themselves are not deal breakers, but in aggregate are frustrating and spoil the experience.” He goes so far as to designate version 19.10 a “Paper-Cut Release.”

        • Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine Beta available for download

          Today, Canonical officially released the Beta version of Ubuntu 19.10, codenamed “Eoan Ermine.”

          FOSS Linux first brought you news of Eoan Ermine back in May of this year. Earlier this month, we reported on the Canonical Team’s decision to use LZ4 compression in Ubuntu 19.10 as it was the most effective compromise between best compression and decompression.

          It’s no secret that Ubuntu’s code naming scheme are tautograms containing an animal’s name or mythic creature’s name. The word eoan is of Ancient Greek origin and means relating to the dawn. While an ermine is a stoat, also known as a short-tailed weasel. The ermine moniker is particularly famous when the stout’s winter coat is white.

        • A List of All Default Ubuntu Official Wallpapers [Gallery]

          Ubuntu- the most popular Linux Operating System in used today, have always gives importance to the default wallpaper and how it looks. The default wallpaper is the first thing that user notices after a brand new Ubuntu installation. So, lots of thought goes into designing the Ubuntu default wallpaper.

          Here’s a list of all Ubuntu default wallpapers that has been released for last 10+ years with download links for your treat.

        • Phew, Ubuntu’s New Light Theme Won’t Be Default After All

          Ubuntu devs have reversed their impromptu decision to swap Ubuntu’s distinctively dark “Yaru” theme for a lighter more closely attuned to the GNOME Adwaita GTK theme.

          But though Ubuntu devs have decided NOT to make the “new” Yaru light theme — aka “are you sure that isn’t just Adwaita?” — the default in 19.10 it will still be included as an option, but you’ll need to install the GNOME Tweaks app to access it.

          Personally speaking I wasn’t thrilled by the “Yaru light theme” change for a couple of reasons — the most pressing of which was the life-sucking effect it had on Ubuntu’s identity and branding.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • ReactOS 0.4.12 features improved network functionality and new themes

        The latest 0.4 iteration saw significant kernel improvements, according to the blog post. While the OS can’t yet run Microsoft’s own FS drivers, substantial improvements were made, specifically in regards to the common cache. Considerable improvements were also made toward proper device power management, referring to the action of setting a device to sleep mode and waking it up in a working state.

        Developers also worked on mending support for PXE booting with ReactOS, expanding the network functionality of the system.

        Security is integral to successful operating systems, with most having locks that prevent applications from altering images loaded and launched in the kernel space. ReactOS previously struggled with this, but 0.4.12 fixed this issue, according to the announcement.

        Other improvements included window snapping—which aligns windows side-by-side or allows users to minimize or maximize windows by dragging them in particular directions—font improvements, and new themes.

        The new themes include Lunar and Mizu, the first being reminiscent of Windows XP, and the second being a more modern design. While these aren’t ReactOS’s first themes, the system previously only had one other non-default theme, and the addition of these racks the total up to four, said Alexander Rechitskiy, community and media relations manager for ReactOS.

      • Elastic’s Core Search Technology Powers Multiple Growth Levers

        With its roots in open source, Elastic created Elastic Stack as its monetization vehicle. Comprised of proprietary software products that address numerous use cases, Elastic Stack drove the company’s fiscal 2019 (ended April) revenue growth of 70%.

      • UIC to promote open source projects

        The International Union of Railways has launched OpenRail as a brand to gather and promote open source projects in the rail sector, and to foster proofs of concept and software development.

        Announcing OpenRail on September 20, UIC said the programme would facilitate the identification of open source licences to ensure interoperability and project compatibility.

        According to the association’s Chief Digital Officer Francis Bédel, the programme would enable the rail industry to ‘draw upon the many advantages of open source in order to disseminate and enhance development in digital technologies’. It would also enable the consolidation of open source projects to better identify possible synergies.

      • Open Source technology is not secure is untrue and a myth: Manish Gupta of Liferay

        The era when open source technologies were considered as snowflakes is fading out. Just about 5 years ago there was a sense of scepticism from both businesses and investors end in investing time and money on open-source models. These models have now proved and earned their right place against the Proprietary technologies/businesses. The community developers understood and believed that they can collaborate and bring in (or disrupt) software which can be accessed, improved and enhanced as time moves on. This leads us to the era of open source technology which is now a collaborative space.

        Thanks to the first generation of open source software companies like Windows, Linux, Red hat who started the revolution by building the software with the help of collaborative developer’s community. To overcome the challenges faced by the first generation (low revenue generation and asynchronous collaboration), the second generation was started back by companies like Yahoo, Cloudera, Hortonworks to name a few. They followed the in-house development (instead of a collaborative community of developers) of the software and also they made some part of the software chargeable under a commercial license to combat the low-profit generation from software support services. This generation faced downsides in terms of high competition. The USP game became the most important factor in winning or losing clientele and business.

        Now, we are in the third generation of open source technologies where we have worked on the challenges faced by the later generations. Now the in-house developers build 80-90 percent of the software leaving the rest to the clients who can shape and reshape as per their needs and requirements over the platform. Most importantly businesses are tapping into software as a cloud service model.

        Open source technology can be rightly termed as a disruptive innovation. There is a shift of cost centre from operating cost (licensing) to capital expenditure (expense for customisation and in-house implementation). Most importantly and going by the data, open-source software has proved to produce better quality implementations than proprietary counterparts. We are following the best practices like Agile and Scrum, which improves the workflow and brings in rapid and more frequent development and release cycles without sacrificing time and quality.

      • Why are enterprises adopting open source?

        In a business climate of rapid iteration, the companies best positioned for success are those that can adapt quickly and easily, free of legacy infrastructure. Digital transformation is more than just a buzzword; it’s become an imperative. So, how do organizations achieve the agility they need?

      • Cloudera debuts all-open-source integrated cloud data platform

        Two months after adopting an all-open-source strategy, Cloudera Inc. today is announcing an integrated data platform made up entirely of open-source elements.

        Cloudera Data Platform is being positioned as one-stop-shopping cloud service for organizations that want to perform analytics across hybrid and multicloud environments with enterprise-grade security and governance.

      • The open-source answer to the IT skills challenge

        Why IT companies are turning to open source to address the shortage of graduates, an ageing workforce and the changing working habits

      • Top 8 Open Source Data Visualization Tools

        These all can be done only when you have the right data visualization tool. And open-source has started to gain significant traction when it comes to data visualization tools. Also, people tend to confuse free with open-source. Open-source is about having access to the source code, it has absolutely nothing to do to free tools.

      • 5 Reasons Why Contributing To Open Source Projects Helps In Landing A Job

        With time the way companies recruit people is changing significantly. More than your qualifications, your skills and expertise are gaining more importance in the employer’s eyes. There are even articles on platforms like Glassdoor that lists companies who no longer ask candidates for college degrees but look for skills and expertise.

      • 10 Benefits of Open Source Software for Enterprises

        Selecting technologies means committing to solutions that will support an active, growing business over the long term, so it requires careful consideration and foresight. When enterprise bets on the wrong horse, the result is often significantly higher development costs and reduced flexibility, both of which can stick around for the long haul.

        In the past decade, adoption of open-source software at the enterprise level has flourished, as more businesses discover the considerable advantages open source solutions hold over their proprietary counterparts, and as the enterprise mentality around open source continues to shift.

        Enterprises looking to make smart use of open source software will find plenty of great reasons to do so. Here are just some of them.

      • Insight Engines, Powered By Apache

        It wasn’t too long ago when open source software had a bad rep among Fortune 500 companies — which trickled down to smaller “Fortune 5000” companies and even smaller firms. They were not willing to risk betting the company on technology the big guys wouldn’t touch.

        Times have changed. Now, I’d wager virtually every Fortune 500 and Fortune 5000 firm have open source technologies in active use. Open source, and companies based on open source technologies, are enjoying the trend. I thought I’d walk you through the technologies we see in our search practice, but first I have to mention a trend we’ve seen.

      • Introducing ESPRESSO, an open-source, PyTorch based, end-to-end neural automatic speech recognition (ASR) toolkit for distributed training across GPUs

        Last week, researchers from USA and China released a paper titled ESPRESSO: A fast end-to-end neural speech recognition toolkit. In the paper, the researchers have introduced ESPRESSO, an open-source, modular, end-to-end neural automatic speech recognition (ASR) toolkit. This toolkit is based on PyTorch library and FAIRSEQ, the neural machine translation toolkit.

        This toolkit supports distributed training across GPUs and computing nodes and decoding approaches that are commonly employed in ASR such as look-ahead word-based language model fusion.

        ESPRESSO is 4 to 11 times faster for decoding than similar systems like ESPNET and it achieves state-of-the-art ASR performance on data sets such as LibriSpeech, WSJ, and Switchboard.

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

        The SD Times Open Source Project of this week is Spacemesh, a decentralized cryptocurrency that people can buy without using local currency. It is designed to be fairly distributed and run by home desktop PC owners from around the world.

        “We believe that current methods for coin distribution, such as ICOs, airdrops, participation in mining pools and IEOs all have serious deficiencies and that the problem remains as yet unsolved,” the creators of Spacemesh wrote on their website. “We aim to create a cryptocurrency that is highly usable as means of payment between any two people in the world without any possibility of censorship.”

      • Open Source Gains Ground in the Enterprise
      • What’s behind the world’s largest crowd-sourced microbiome project?

        In 2012, two scientists co-founded what went on to become the world’s largest crowd-sourced, citizen science microbiome research project: the American Gut Project.

        Co-founder Dr. Rob Knight’s lab at the University of California, San Diego, processes over 100,000 samples per year as a part of several microbiome projects. Today we speak with experienced members of the Knight lab, scientific director and American Gut Project manager Dr. Daniel McDonald, and wet lab research supervisor, Greg Humphrey, to get a sneak-peek into what goes on inside one of the busiest microbiome labs in the world. We uncover the technologies enabling this high-throughput research, and finally, what happens to all the data collected from participating citizens.

      • Developer ICEs open source software

        A software engineer pulled a personal project down after he found out that one of the companies using it had recently signed a contract with the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

        The engineer, Seth Vargo, cited the ICE’s “inhumane treatment, denial of basic human rights, and detaining children in cages” as the reason for taking down his library. The project was called Chef Sugar, a Ruby library for simplifying work with Chef, a platform for configuration management. Varga developed and open-sourced the library while he worked at Chef, and the library was later integrated into Chef’s source code.

        Earlier this week, a Twitter user discovered that Chef was selling $95,000-worth of licenses through a government contractor to the ICE.

      • Should open source licenses fight evil?
      • Can a modified MIT ‘Hippocratic License’ to restrict misuse of open source software prompt a wave of ethical innovation in tech?
      • Programmer who took down open-source pieces over Chef ICE contract responds
      • After protest, open source software company Chef will let ICE contract expire
      • IT automation startup Chef says it will not renew its contract with ICE, days after an open source programmer brought the service to a temporary halt in protest
      • Can open-source Camunda disrupt the BPMS market?

        When I heard what Camunda, the scrappy open-source vendor of business process management software (BPMS), was up to, I had to head to its hometown of Berlin to see for myself.

        On the surface, Camunda appears to be bucking all the major trends in today’s BPMS world. Instead of recasting its platform as low-code, Camunda unabashedly serves Java developers, requiring hands-on Java skills to use its platform effectively.

        Camunda also supports and leverages the now-aging Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) standard—a standard that I have recently taken issue with for being overly verbose and waterfall-centric.

      • Sourcehut: Open Source Software Development Platform

        This is where sourcehut—heretofore known by its abridged moniker sr.ht —shines.

        It provides all of what you’d expect—git repository hosting, bug tracking, wikis, the usual suspects—and so much more. It offers powerful continuous integration through a variety of virtualised builds including OpenBSD, which is super cool. Through YAML-based build manifests, a new environment can be deployed in seconds, with test automation running for every commit in your continuous integration workflow. But it’s the impetus driving the entire ecosystem that makes sourcehut an attractive home for free and open source software developers. Particularly those with an affinity for correctness and security, which is why I feel it’s perfectly suited for OpenBSD users.

      • Events

      • Databases

      • CMS

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • Funding

        • Netdata, a monitoring startup with 50-year-old founder, announces $17M Series A

          Nearly everything about Netdata, makers of an open-source monitoring tool, defies standard thinking about startups. Consider that the founder is a polished, experienced 50-year-old executive who started his company several years ago when he became frustrated by what he was seeing in the monitoring tools space. Like any good founder, he decided to build his own, and today the company announced a $17 million Series A led by Bain Capital.

        • Sentry, a startup co-founded by a former Dropbox engineer that helps developers run more reliable code, just raised $40 million

          Cramer tells Business Insider that in Sentry’s earliest days, not all investors understood why open source software was important.

        • P’unk Ave is spinning out open-source product Apostrophe into its own company

          After about a decade of work on an open-source project Apostrophe, South Philly web developer firm P’unk Avenue is spinning the product out as its own company.

        • Gatsby raises $15 million for website and web app development tools

          Gatsby builds upon two open source JavaScript projects for website and web app development. One is React, a library for designing UIs that’s maintained by Facebook and a community of developers, and the other is Webpack, a module bundler that transforms assets like HTML, CSS, and images. Gatsby generates sites as static files that prefetch resources to cut down on page load times, and it integrates with more than 120 backends and over 1,200 plugins across 15 of the top content management systems (CMSs).

        • Gatsby raises $15M Series A for its modern web development platform

          Gatsby also does away with a monolithic CMS system and instead brings together a variety of tools that still allow content creators to use platforms like WordPress or Drupal to create what’s essentially a headless CMS system. In that case, Gatsby simply becomes the presentation layer for the CMS.

          [...]

          Like similar open-source projects, Gatsby monetizes its tools by offering a hosted service that helps teams of developers stand up a new site quickly, with prices starting at $50/month for one site.

        • Docker, once worth over $1 billion, tells employees it’s trying to raise cash amid ‘significant challenges’

          Docker, a one-time highflier in business software that reached a $1 billion valuation in 2015, is struggling mightily these days as it tries to raise some much-needed capital.

          Rob Bearden, who was named CEO in May, wrote an email to employees this week thanking them for “persevering in spite of the lack of clarity we’ve had these past few weeks.” In the note, which was viewed by CNBC, he told his staff that more cash is hopefully on the way.

          “As shared at the last All Hands, we have been engaging with investors to secure more financing to continue to execute on our strategy,” wrote Bearden, who was previously CEO of Hortonworks before the company merged with rival Cloudera last year. “I wanted to share a quick update on where we stand. We are currently in active negotiations with two investors and are working through final terms. We should be able to provide you a more complete update within the next couple of weeks.”

        • FOSSA: Open Source Management Company Raises $8.5 Million In Funding

          FOSSA — an open-source management company — announced it closed $8.5 million in Series A funding led by Bain Capital Ventures and Costanoa Ventures with participation from Norwest Venture Partners. Including this funding round, FOSSA has raised a total of $11 million. And the investment will be used to accelerate product development, expand enterprise features, and drive overall corporate growth.

          FOSSA focuses on automating the workflow of open source management both within and outside of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). And this enables enterprises to quickly identify and mitigate risks, improve engineering efficiency, and accelerate time to market.

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • Open letter to the Free Software movement

          This is an open letter to all the people who, in their good faith, are concerned about the recent events which have shaken the long-standing leadership of the Free Software Movement.
          Dear hackers, first and foremost let us say that, as a collective and in the true uncompromising spirit of the teachings of Free/Libre Software/Society, we are capable of doing much better than what has just happened.
          Many of us work everyday towards ensuring that everyone, regardless of their ethniticy, religion, gender, or neurotypicality, can participate, learn and share in our communities. We do not claim we are perfect, we sometimes make mistakes, some of them guided by systemic patterns and structures of power still entangling us, and some of them just due to our human nature . But we claim our right to learn every day how to become better at including all contributions and opinions, and this implies the ability of making mistakes without being destroyed by them.
          In the past years it has become clear that our movement and our ethos has transformed the world as we know it, with all the courage and all the mistakes considered; some of us rose to fame, while some others wore masks, both as a message and as a protection from the regime of global espionage. In any case, many of us have sacrificed a great deal of comfort in life to change what needed to be changed.
          Let us not be mistaken about the cause that brought us here and let us not forget where the injustice comes from.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Use Ghanaian developed Open Source Software – ISOC

          Mr Marcus Adomey, the President, Internet Society (ISOC) Ghana Chapter, has advocated the use of Ghanaian developed Open Source Software (OSS) to help build better internet programmes.

          OSS is a type of computer software where source code is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.

          He said there was the need to develop an innovative software that focused on addressing issues in specific areas in the Ghanaian economies.

          Mr Adomey said this during the opening of the 2019 Software Freedom Day (SFD) in Accra aimed at increasing awareness of Free Software and its virtues, and encouraging its use.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • AI and open sourcing: a new frontier for prosthetic leg design

            Open-source projects allow clinicians to piggyback off of each other’s research and create the best artificial limbs possible. Scientists from the University of Michigan have now unveiled an artificially intelligent prosthetic leg that fellow researchers can access through open-sourcing, a development which has the potential to revolutionise the prosthetic leg industry.

            [...]

            Through this website, researchers are able to access the specific materials used to construct the OSL, alongside the vendors they can access these materials through. The leg has been designed using motor technology developed for the drone industry, with flat pancake-style motors inside which trade speed for torque. This allows the user to have more efficient control over their prosthetic and lets them walk more naturally.

            Once the leg is constructed, researchers using the OSL can download the AI software, which tells the leg how to move. The resulting algorithmic data from different users of the OSL is also designed to be open-source. The common platform enables direct comparisons of different uses of the software, which researchers can then merge and build upon.

            The full bionic leg, made according to the website’s specifications, will cost each manufacturer $28,500.

            As well as being robust and fairly inexpensive – the full bionic leg, made according to the website’s specifications, will cost each manufacturer $28,500 – the system is designed to be straightforward and easy to manufacture. Videos online detail each step of the building process.

          • OpenLeg, a new open source project for building robot legs

            Navigating multi-level environments, including stairs and unstructured environments such as a floor with debris or uneven terrain, is difficult for wheeled robots. Legged robots such as quadrupeds are able to excel in these environments. However, it’s far easier to give robot a wheel than to give a robot leg or wings. How about doing so with an open-source leg?

            This can be possible, thanks to the OpenLeg, a new open source project for building robot legs. The idea behind the project – created by Joey Byrnes and the team at the University of Illinois – is to create a robot leg that others can use to build four-legged robots that is compatible with the surrounding environment.

      • Programming/Development

        • How to use iloc and loc for Indexing and Slicing Pandas Dataframes

          In this post, we are going to work with Pandas iloc, and loc. More specifically, we are going to learn slicing and indexing by iloc and loc examples.

          Once we have a dataset loaded as a Pandas dataframe, we often want to start accessing specific parts of the data based on some criteria. For instance, if our dataset contains the result of an experiment comparing different experimental groups, we may want to calculate descriptive statistics for each experimental group separately.

  • Leftovers

    • ‘Estonia’ Ferry Disaster: Call For New Inquiry, 25 Years On

      Relatives of Swedish victims have petitioned an Estonian court, pressing for a more thorough investigation. It is due to decide late October whether or not to reopen an international inquest.

    • the trial of a terrible shipwreck

      After more than twenty years of procedure, it is in France that opens the file, because it is a French company, Bureau Veritas, which is attacked today by a thousand relatives of victims. The plaintiffs are also questioning the German builder of the ferry. For his lawyer, the victims have already been compensated during a transaction with the shipping company. This exceptional trial, planned over two days, should make it possible to establish the responsibility of the French verification office, just like that of the German manufacturer of the ship.

    • What do executives do, anyway?

      An executive with 8,000 indirect reports and 2000 hours of work in a year can afford to spend, at most, 15 minutes per year per person in their reporting hierarchy… even if they work on nothing else. That job seems impossible. How can anyone make any important decision in a company that large? They will always be the least informed person in the room, no matter what the topic.

      If you know me, you know I’ve been asking myself this question for a long time.

      Luckily, someone sent me a link to a really great book, High Output Management, by Andy Grove (of Intel fame). Among many other things, it answers this key question! And insultingly, just to rub it in, it answered this question back in the 1980s.

      To paraphrase the book, the job of an executive is: to define and enforce culture and values for their whole organization, and to ratify good decisions.

      That’s all.

    • Science

      • These YouTubers Have Hacked College Admissions

        Officials at YouTube say they’ve noticed the demonstrated interest in college admissions content. Each August, for example, the company sees an uptick in freshman advice videos. YouTube also recently partnered with Michelle Obama and the Princeton Review for two separate original series on higher education, according to a spokesperson. Katie Kurtz, director of learning content and partnerships at YouTube, told Teen Vogue that high school and college students are turning to the platform for a number of reasons.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • India doesn’t need women or doctors

        India doesn’t seem to be a country for doctors as well. In 2017, in BRD Hospital at Gorakpur 63 children died due to oxygen supply issues. For this, four doctors and couple of staff were held responsible for their deaths.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Tethered jailbreaks are back

        checkm8 exploits the Boot ROM to allow anyone with physical control of a phone to run arbitrary code. The Boot ROM, also called the Secure ROM, is the first code that executes when an iPhone is powered on and cannot be changed, because it’s “burned in” to the iPhone’s hardware. The Boot ROM initializes the system and eventually passes control to the kernel. It’s the root of trust for the trusted boot chain of iOS and verifies the integrity of the next stage of the boot process before passing execution control.

      • Open source tool for bug hunters searches for leaked secrets in GitHub commits

        Bug hunters and security researchers have been offered a new tool to search for sensitive material that’s inadvertently been published on code repository GitHub.

        Launched earlier this month, Shhgit finds secrets and sensitive files across the GitHub code base by listening to the GitHub Events API.

        Secrets such as passwords and connections strings end up being published on GitHub because users fail to sanitize app setting and config files within their code, among other security oversights.

        Finding secrets in GitHub is nothing new. Tools such as Gitrob, for example, allow red teamers to dig into commit history to find secret tokens from specific repositories, users, or organisations.

      • Sonatype builds automated malware prevention for open-source libraries
      • Sonatype Delivers First-of-Its-Kind Automated Malware Prevention For Open Source Libraries
      • The Dot Zero Conundrum and the New Frontier of Securing Open Source

        Over the past two years, I’ve spoken about more than 20 instances of adversaries intentionally publishing malicious components into public open source and container repositories. Adversaries used these attacks to mine cryptocurrency, steal private ssh keys, insert backdoors, and even deliver targeted patches to alter proprietary code. Open source projects impacted by the malicious injections have been difficult to detect because, on the surface, they look no different than other open source contributions. These bad actors leveraged the communal nature of open source to their advantage with devastating effect in some instances.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Syria Demands Withdrawal of All U.S., Turkish Forces

        Syria’s top diplomat on Saturday demanded the immediate withdrawal of American and Turkish forces from the country and said his government reserves the right to defend its territory in any way necessary if they remain.

      • A coalition of investigative journalists says ‘The New York Times’ is wrong about a Berlin murder, but the killer is still likely a Russian state assassin

        On September 26, The New York Times cited an anonymous email in a report claiming that former Chechen separatist commander Zelimkhan Khangoshvili’s killer is likely an ex-cop from St. Petersburg named Vladimir Stepanov, a convicted murderer who was sentenced to 24 years in prison. Several Russian news outlets — The Insider, Fontanka, Interfax, and Znak.com — as well as Bellingcat, have now challenged the allegations by The New York Times, stating that Stepanov is still incarcerated, and the man arrested in Berlin for killing Khangoshvili is someone else. The Insider and its partners have also published new information about the killer’s fake identity.

      • American History for Truthdiggers: A Once, Always and Future Empire

        Editor’s note: The past is prologue. The stories we tell about ourselves and our forebears inform the sort of country we think we are and help determine public policy. As our current president promises to “make America great again,” this moment is an appropriate time to reconsider our past, look back at various eras of United States history and re-evaluate America’s origins. When, exactly, were we “great”?

      • Judge accuses Catalan separatists of belonging to new terrorist group
      • The Yemen Project: Open Source Investigations and the Law of War

        Short of a public confession by a state to unlawful conduct, what does it take to prove a violation of the international law governing aerial bombardment? The Saudi-led coalition’s bombing campaign in Yemen is now the subject of a major Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) investigation by Bellingcat, an investigative journalism organisation. The fruits of this investigation, released in a dedicated website, provide insight into bombing patterns. These bombings, alongside the blockade on the ports of Aden and Al-Hudaydah and ground operations, have often caused grave harm to civilians, including the destruction of essential civilian infrastructure and specially protected objects. They also raise serious questions about compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL), as recently highlighted in the September 3 Report of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen (Group of Experts), released by the UN Human Rights Council, which found an array of violations by all parties to the conflict in Yemen.

    • Environment

      • Greta Thunberg leads 500,000 people at Montreal climate rally

        Thunberg said: “My message to all the politicians around the world is the same. Just listen and act on the current best available science.”

      • Air pollution linked to increased risk of infant death & reduced lung function in children

        The study shows that three air pollutants – particulate matter (PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) – separately and together are associated with a 20-50% increased risk of death for babies born in the most polluted areas when compared with those born in the least polluted areas.

      • Air pollution linked to an increased risk of death in babies

        Professor Jørgen Vestbo, chair of the European Respiratory Society’s Advocacy Council and Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Manchester, UK, said: ‘Air pollution affects 100% of the population as it cannot be avoided, and these studies highlight the harmful effects that are linked to being exposed to dirty air from the very beginning of our lives.’

      • Greta Thunberg’s Digital Rise Calls Back to a Pre-Digital Era

        To youth activism experts, 2019 looks a lot like the 1960s: young people trying to get the government to pay attention to issues they’d rather ignore, whether it’s the Jim Crow culture of violence or rapidly rising sea levels. “What’s interesting about now, and the ’60s, is that they’re coming with policy goals and engaging with elected officials,” says Ellen Middaugh, who researches digital media and youth civic engagement at UC Riverside’s Civic Engagement Research Group. “In the ’90s, it was always about opting out of electoral politics, and participating in high-profile boycotts of Nike or the World Trade Organization.” Not so coincidentally, the 1960s and now are united by a sudden, widespread access to information. Activism in the 1960s, some argue, was defined by the photograph, like John Paul Filo’s image from the Kent State Shootings. The unit of activism today is probably the tweet.

      • Plastic tea bags shed billions of microplastic particles into the cup

        Tufenkji’s team bought four different tea bags from shops and cafés in Montreal, cut them open and washed them, steeped them in 95°C water and analysed the water with electron microscopes and spectroscopy. A control of uncut tea bags was used to check it wasn’t the cutting that was causing the leaching of microplastics.

      • Could Climate Change Fuel the Rise of Right-wing Nationalism?

        One has been the escalating effects of climate change, which were the focus of the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit. Forest fires, floods and hurricanes are all rising in their frequency and severity. Eight of the last 10 years have been the warmest on record. Marine biologists warned that coral reefs in the U.S. could disappear entirely by the 2040s.

    • Finance

      • The Hedge Fund Billionaire’s Guide to Buying Your Kids a Better Shot at Not Just One Elite College, but Lots of Them

        The unhappy heroine of “The Mistakes Madeline Made,” which premiered Off Broadway in 2006, hates working as one of 15 personal assistants to a financier and his family. The patriarch, she observes, “runs his home the way he runs his hedge fund — using a model to protect his family against the possibility of loss or waste or even just the unexpected.” His “Household System” demands perfection: Even the hunt for a duplicate pair of New Balance sneakers is to be executed with the logistical finesse of a Navy SEAL strike.

        The play was written by Elizabeth Meriwether, who would go on to create the sitcom “New Girl” for Fox. Her fictionalized account of her brief stint working for the Wall Street billionaire David E. Shaw never reached a wide audience, but the script became samizdat among the harried members of Shaw staff — as the family’s highly compensated, Ivy-educated, hierarchical cadre is known. Her disgruntled protagonist’s job making sure “nothing bad can ever happen to this family” has felt familiar to some of Meriwether’s successors.

      • Vitalik Buterin Highlights Grants for Open Source Projects

        Thanks to the initiative, almost 90 projects, focusing on blockchain aspects as diverse as scalability, security, UI/UX, DeFi, and education are inline for a financial injection.

        Having distributed over half a million dollars to date, Gitcoin Grants with support from Ethereum and ConsenSys in correlation with individual donations, are now using a quadratic funding mechanism to distribute funds of $100,000 to coders with a community-valued open source repository.

      • Zurich-Based Shift Cryptosecurity Launches Second Generation Swiss Made Open Source BitBox02 Hardware Wallets

        Shift Cryptosecurity equip their customers to secure their cryptocurrencies by combining the authentication capabilities of applied cryptography with the physical security of offline hardware devices. Today, they announce the launch of their fully redesigned hardware wallets, the BitBox02 and the BitBox02 Bitcoin only edition.

        Manufactured in Switzerland, the BitBox02 enables users to independently generate and securely store their private keys to access and transact their crypto assets. BitBox02 natively supports Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH) and ERC-20 tokens. It can also be used as a second factor authenticator (FIDO compliant U2F) to secure accounts on a wide range of websites. The Bitcoin only edition has Bitcoin dedicated firmware and update mechanism to further reduce its attack surface.

      • Best Cryptocurrency To Invest In: 20 Top Cryptocurrency List for You

        Cryptocurrency refers to the digital currency that belongs to an ever-expanding industry. The word crypto in cryptocurrency indicates the sophisticated techniques of cryptology. Cryptography ensures the security of online transactions and generates tokens or coins for taking crypto industry one step further. Although cryptocurrency started its journey with the arrival of bitcoin, now there are many coins available out there. But all the crypto share a prevailing ideology that is to decentralize the distribution network while maintaining high-security protocol regulated by the cutting edge technologies remains the top priority.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Impeachment Firestorm Scorches William Barr

        As Washington plunges into impeachment, Attorney General William Barr finds himself engulfed in the political firestorm, facing questions about his role in President Donald Trump’s outreach to Ukraine and the administration’s attempts to keep a whistleblower complaint from Congress.

      • Revenge of the Intelligence Nerds

        The key was its simplicity: By channeling the details of Trump’s misconduct into a formal complaint and then feeding it into the intelligence community’s system, the whistle-blower has thrown a wrench into Trump’s heretofore insurmountable deflect-by-chaos machine. As the scandal escalates, Trump and his White House seem to be in increasing disarray. He released a damaging reconstructed transcript of his July 25 call with Ukraine’s president, which left even some of his Republican allies scratching their heads. He threatened the whistle-blower’s sources in front of a room full of U.S. diplomatic staff. His communications team mistakenly emailed a strategy memo to Democratic lawmakers, then tried to recall the message. His personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who is also implicated in the scandal, has tried to drag the State Department down with him, while also embarking on confusing rants in conversations with reporters.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Facebook, WhatsApp Will Have to Share Messages With U.K. Police

        The accord, which is set to be signed by next month, will compel social media firms to share information to support investigations into individuals suspected of serious criminal offenses including terrorism and pedophilia, the person said.

      • No, Alexa won’t stop recording you

        Either way, the recordings will continue. “There will be a point in the future, I’m sure of…” says Limp, “we don’t have to annotate the data, that we’ll need less. And when that time comes, we will keep less. And give customers more options, I think, even than we do today.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • ‘My guard was down’: Hong Kong pro-independence leader Andy Chan attacked in street by masked men

        Hong Kong activist Andy Chan said he was attacked by three or four men on Friday when he was walking to a court hearing.

        Chan, the co-founder of the banned pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, was charged with unlawful assembly and assaulting a police officer at a protest in Sheung Shui on July 13. A hearing for his case was scheduled on Friday afternoon at the Fanling Magistrates’ Courts.

      • Mississippi City Argued Cops Who Shot Undocumented Immigrant Couldn’t Have Violated Constitution

        Southhaven filed a brief in support of its motion to dismiss the case against it, arguing that Ismael Lopez had no constitutional rights on which to base the lawsuit. While an American citizen might have had a legal right not to be killed by police, Ismael Lopez –an immigrant here unlawfully– simply didn’t.

        Yes, the city actually said this. Here’s an excerpt from the brief: [...]

      • Southaven argues Constitution doesn’t protect immigrant killed by police

        Ismael Lopez was shot and killed by Southaven police officers one night in the summer of 2017 at his own home, and an investigation later showed that during a search for a suspect, officers had gone to the wrong home.

      • Nigeria frees more than 300 ‘abused’ students from Islamic School

        Police in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna have rescued more than 300 male students, most of them children and some of them in chains, from an Islamic school where many had been tortured and sexually abused, a police spokesman said Friday.

      • Nigeria: Police free chained, abused children from Islamic school

        Police had been alerted by complaints from local residents. Sabo said seven people had been arrested, including the school’s proprietor and six teachers.

        He also said officials had found a “torture chamber” where children had been chained, hung and beaten.

        Nigerian media quoted one of the students, Bello Hamza, who said he had spent three months in the school with “chains on my legs.”

    • Monopolies

      • Pope Francis warns against deepfakes and tech ‘barbarism’

        Pope Francis urged Silicon Valley giants on Friday to make sure technological advances such as artificial intelligence do not lead to a new “form of barbarism” where the law of the strongest prevails over the common good.

      • Digital barbarism? Vatican summit highlights dangers in tech revolution

        “If mankind’s so-called technological progress were to become an enemy of the common good, this would lead to an unfortunate regression, to a form of barbarism dictated by the law of the strongest,” the pope said Sept. 27 at a meeting with participants at the Vatican-sponsored conference, “The Common Good in the Digital Age.”

        The pope urged the assembly — comprised of Silicon Valley CEOs, a Facebook lawyer and specialists in robotics, cybersecurity and cyberwarfare, as well as moral theologians — to find a unifying ethical framework to guide tech entrepreneurs, inventors and venture capitalists in an increasingly diverse, globalized world.

      • Vatican summit highlights dangers in tech revolution [iophk: the solution is to redecentralize, but that goal is hard to reach given the political disincentives against it]

        With the [Internet], “it is possible, as never before, to circulate tendentious opinions and false data that could poison public debates” to the point of “endangering the very institutions that guarantee peaceful coexistence,” the pope warned.

        Cautionary notes also were struck by conference speakers Sept. 26 at the inaugural session of the three-day seminar.

        “Many of us would have hoped that digitalization, easing communication and shortening the distance between people would have created an easier environment for discussion and for dialogue,” Bishop Paul Tighe, adjunct secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, told the gathering.

        Instead, Bishop Tighe said, advances in digital communication technologies have increased social and economic inequalities, polarized politics and altered human culture in profound ways.

        But one positive trend is that the business leaders and scientists at the vanguard of the digital revolution are beginning to recognize the ethical implications of their work, Bishop Tighe said.

      • U.S. Justice Department to open Facebook antitrust investigation: source

        The U.S. Justice Department will open an antitrust investigation of Facebook Inc (FB.O), a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, marking the fourth recent antitrust probe of the social media company.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Qualcomm makes “more equal than others”-like argument in Ninth Circuit appeal of Judge Koh’s summary judgment on chipset licensing of SEPs

          Qualcomm’s procedural objective is for the November 2018 summary judgment to be vacated. In that case, the district court would have to consider all sorts of evidence Qualcomm would like to present. I’m sure that in the hypothetical event of a remand for this purpose, Qualcomm would again appeal any finding in the FTC’s favor, but for now, Qualcomm firstly wants a second bite at the apple–possibly also hoping to just settle the case with the FTC in that scenario.

          I don’t recall whether this was Qualcomm or one of its allies, but someone had even made a jurisdiction-related argument in recent months, according to which the FTC’s summary judgment motion on a matter of contract interpretation was out of place in an antitrust case. Qualcomm’s Ninth Circuit opening brief doesn’t say that, however.

          Qualcomm does not–as it could not–argue that the language of those ATIS and TIA FRAND declarations unambiguously rules out chipset-level licensing. Instead, the common denominator of Qualcomm’s attack vectors against the summary judgment decision is that there was extrinsic evidence that the district court allegedly failed to consider. Such evidence would be partly technical (related to whether or not a baseband chip practices and implements a cellular standard), partly related to other SEP policies (ETSI–which would raise questions under French law–and ANSI) that Qualcomm says the ATIS and TIA FRAND declarations must be compatible with, and partly about industry practice and, closely related to that one, the industry’s understanding of SEP licensing obligations.

          Qualcomm engages in hair-splitting when it says, after conceding “that some modem chips infringe some Qualcomm SEPs,” that “infringement of a patent does not determine what ‘implements’ or ‘practices’ an ATIS or TIA standard,” which Qualcomm argues are two “legally and factually distinct” questions. However, the definition of a SEP is that it’s inevitably infringed by implementing the relevant standard. Theoretically, one can also infringe a SEP without practicing or implementing any standard it’s been declared essential to–but the reason those modem chips do infringe is because they do just that.

        • Irreparable harm discussion awakens from its slumber in Switzerland

          In most legal systems, preliminary injunctions in patent matters require the applicant to show that he would suffer an irreparable disadvantage without the approval of the requested preliminary injunction.

          In the different legal systems, there are different standards and requirements for the proof of irreparable harm.

          While some jurisdictions require a completely irreparable disadvantage, others content themselves with a disadvantage that cannot easily be rectified even in the case of a verdict that backs the defendant’s position in ordinary proceedings on the merits or in appeal proceedings.

          Furthermore, in some jurisdictions, irreparable harm must only be proven if an injunction is to be issued without hearing the other party (ex-parte measures), but not in adversarial inter partes proceedings.

          Some jurisdictions examine the irreparable harm in the framework of the balance of (in-)convenience test.

      • Trademarks

        • Beijing IP Court: Moutai is excellent, but not exclusively so

          Kweichow Moutai (or Guizhou Maotai) is probably the most famous liquor in China. As early as 1915, it was awarded a silver medal in the Panama Expo, and it is frequently served at diplomatic and other important national occasions. Many consider Kweichow Moutai the national liquor of China. So does Kweichow Moutai itself.

          [...]

          In 2001, KMCL began filing trade mark applications for ‘national liquor Moutai’ in class 33 for products of alcoholic beverages. However, most of those did not survive preliminary examination. In 2012, four applications for ‘national liquor Moutai’ (in Chinese, application numbers 8377491, 8377533, 8377511 and 8377467) did successfully pass the initial stage but faced 95 oppositions, the majority of which filed by the company’s own competitors.

          These four temporary victories came as a surprise: according to ‘The Examination and Trial Standards for the Trade Marks containing “China” or starting with “National”’ (full text available here, in Chinese, Google translatable) issued in 2010 by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (now the State Administration for Market Regulation), applications containing these words would be rejected due to deceptive and exaggerated advertising, lack of distinctiveness, or adverse effects.

          In December 2016, the Trade Mark Office rejected the four applications, and no further details were made available. Eventually, on 13 August 2018, a statement appeared on KMLC’s official website stating it ‘sincerely apologise[s] to the Trade Mark Office and all relevant stakeholders’. The company also stopped using ‘the national liquor Moutai’.

      • Copyrights

        • U.S. Navy Fights Off Mass Software Piracy Lawsuit

          The United States has successfully defended itself against a mass copyright infringement lawsuit filed by German software company Bitmanagement. After more than three years, the US Court of Federal Claims has concluded that the US Navy indeed copied Bitmanagement’s software on hundreds-of-thousands of computers, but that it was authorized to do so.

        • Travis McCrea’s Answer to Ebook.bike Piracy Lawsuit Cites DMCA & Religious Defenses

          In an answer to the copyright complaint filed in March by author John Van Stry, eBook.bike operator Travis McCrea stands by his earlier claim that he’s protected by the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA. However, the former Pirate Party leader also states that any failure to address infringement on the site, to the extent any existed, occurred when he tried to balance “religious beliefs” against “societal laws”.

        • Access to Information Is Not Universal: Here’s Why That Matters

          You may be wondering why this day is necessary—particularly in 2019, when the average person is inundated with an estimated 34 gigabytes of information every day, from emails and text messages to Youtube videos and news programs. In fact, it’s easy to take information for granted. However, access to public information, in particular, is not universal.

09.29.19

Large Corporations Can Definitely Work With Free/Libre Software But Total Domination Over Free/Libre Software is the Problem

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, GPL, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 7:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If they cannot control it, they will try to destroy it (and the people who made it)

Stallman needs new home

Summary: Typical and lousy corporate screed, along with corporate media, incites the public against Stallman (based on deliberate misrepresentation), potentially forcing him into temporary ‘homelessness’ (the above is a new Web page from Stallman) while corporations that incorporate GNU into their products rake in billions of dollars each month

HALF A DOZEN of us are still trying to figure out, mostly in IRC, who’s responsible for defacing Stallman’s site (it’s definitely a defacement based on a video link, as we noted in our previous post). It’s definitely not a joke and the goal is to make Stallman look bad. The goal is to embarrass him and cause maximal damage to his image.

We’ve seen a bunch of names mentioned. Generally speaking, it’s just the latest of a long series of events, which already caused Stallman to be removed from MIT (his ‘home’), then removed from FSF. He’s now looking for a place to live and it’s starting to resemble that long voyage of Julian Assange, who was demonised and defamed in the media for nearly a decade. He lived a frugal, repressed life in an embassy’s room.

“Generally speaking, it’s just the latest of a long series of events, which already caused Stallman to be removed from MIT (his ‘home’), then removed from FSF.”There seem to be powerful forces looking to ruin Stallman’s life, not just his work and his reputation. Some people blame Microsoft, others blame Red Hat/IBM (typically citing its short and controversial press release about diversity in the wake of Stallman’s resignation). It’s not pretty and many accusations are largely hypothetical and based on conjectures.

An associate of ours has meanwhile relayed this seemingly new (albeit undated) post from Steve Litt, who recently wrote some long rants about systemd (because it’s expanding to yet more corners if not centres of Linux). “Write a Letter to Redhat About systemd” is the title and it says this:

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) incorporated systemd as their default and only init system in 2014. Soon after, perhaps with some persuasion from Red Hat and its allies, Debian adopted systemd as its default init system, and many Debian Derived distros, including all the Ubuntus, followed suit. Starting in 2014, this caused extensive protest from many in the Linux community, for reasons such as: [...]

I’ll be glad to serve as a central information point for this letter writing campaign. If you find other contacts, please feel free to write to them and please email me with those contacts and contact information.

For a number of years I personally chose not to comment/say much about systemd because I don’t understand it as well as some core developers. But seeing how large it has gotten, the fact it’s Microsoft-hosted and the fact it’s IBM-owned (proprietary software company that adores lock-in), I am increasingly worried about it. Corporations do not have feelings or ideology. They don’t care about UNIX principles, either. Corporations are run by very few people seeking to maximise short-term profits and Red Hat is no exception to the rule (only slightly different because of public image), more so under IBM. Frequent releases of systemd help leave rivals of Red Hat perpetually behind, always chasing Red Hat for bug fixes and never capable of offering the same levels of support and customisation. systemd is gradually devouring much of the system or codebase that’s not stale. I am also growingly suspicious of Red Hat because of the IBM agenda that’s inherited by ownership (I’ve been critical of IBM for about 5-7 years); it’s like they have an alliance of convenience with Microsoft and there's ample evidence. I’ve been watching these things closely for a very long time. Red Hat even considered/entertained Microsoft as a buyer. IBM betrayed “Linux” about a decade ago after it had done some good work, including ODF advocacy. Many of us will always remember their back room agreement with Microsoft around 2008 (it was about OOXML). We were all furious. They sold us out. Soon enough they also stopped contributing to OpenOffice and related projects.

“IBM betrayed “Linux” about a decade ago after it had done some good work, including ODF advocacy. Many of us will always remember their back room agreement with Microsoft around 2008 (it was about OOXML).”That’s not to say IBM is evil; we never said such a thing. Our main issue with IBM is its patent policy, which includes lobbying aggressively for software patents.

IBM is somehow left out from GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft). The same goes for Intel, Oracle and several other companies. Are they all foes of GNU/Linux? No. In our view, for reasons we explained before, Microsoft is the only company that stands to gain a lot from the destruction/failure of GNU/Linux, both in servers and desktops/appliances (the same cannot be said about Apple as its range of products/services is a lot more limited).

Amazon, for instance, isn’t a big concern to us, albeit it’s dangerous to Software Freedom, mostly because of ‘cloud’ loopholes, centralisation, surveillance and licensing matters that impact FOSS economics. Be wary of Mac Asay. “Asay [is] back,” one reader said this morning about this article. “However based on past posts, I haven’t read his full post this time.”

“…Microsoft is the only company that stands to gain a lot from the destruction/failure of GNU/Linux, both in servers and desktops/appliances (the same cannot be said about Apple as its range of products/services is a lot more limited).”Mac Asay has been against copyleft for quite some time now (he’s an Amazon AWS employee now, serving Bezos and by extension the CIA/US Army); opposition to ethics is very much expected from him. He has worked for a number of proprietary software companies in recent years and he had also applied for a job at Microsoft. He’s one of those people who attack Software Freedom while pretending to care about it. Writing about “open source” while promoting pure exploitation/abuse of it…

Going back to Red Hat, it habitually promotes .NET, sometimes Azure too. It took former Microsoft employees even into management ranks and OpenSource.com often posts pro-Microsoft nonsense. How about this latest post, “Microsoft open sourcing its C++ library, Cloudera’s open source data platform, new tools to remove leaked passwords on GitHub and combat ransomware, and more open source news”?

As we put it in our last Daily Links bundle, “”Microsoft open sourcing its C++ library” means proprietary software MSVS is “open” and “new tools to remove leaked passwords on GitHub and combat ransomware” means NSA PRISM is “security”…”

“Writing about “open source” while promoting pure exploitation/abuse of it…”We also included this new article, calling it “more Microsoft openwashing whose net goal is to sell Microsoft proprietary software for developers to become ‘serfs’ of Windows, Azure etc.”

This morning we saw “Chromium-based Microsoft Edge could hit Linux” and days ago we explained that nobody wants it or asked for it.

GNU/Linux is being changed. It’s being made more proprietary. One might say it’s being hijacked with help from the likes of the Linux Foundation.

FSF May Not be Trustworthy Anymore, It’s Believed/Said to Have Just Defaced Richard Stallman’s Personal Web Site (Updated)

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, Rumour at 5:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Update (01/10/2019): Stallman has told us that “stallman.org has not moved. It has been hosted by the same company for many years. It was never hosted by the FSF. On the contrary, I started it to keep it separate from the FSF.” Corrected text below.

Update (03/10/2019): Richard Stallman has since then stated he wants people to support the FSF.

Free Software Foundation History
Reference: Free Software Foundation History

Summary: The FSF is now actively ‘attacking’ its very own founder, whose Web site is said to have been defaced by FSF staff

“Stallman.org was defaced by an FSF employee,” I have just been told, “the deface has been reverted, and the domain appears to now be operating on non-FSF infrastructure…”

“The FSF must now issue a statement naming the culprit who defaced Stallman’s Web site,” I said. This is pretty serious. We heard rumours to that effect about 7 hours ago, but we were unable to verify and did not know who had done that. These rumours noted that other indicators of a defacement existed; “RMS’ site may have been tampered with,” somebody said in #techrights (IRC) at 4AM. “Some discussion elsewhere noted that the link to the “donate to the Free Software Foundation” leads to a youtube video as seen in this snapshot (it has since been fixed): https://archive.is/Yya6g . It might be a good idea to contact him regarding the two “step down” notices (one recent, other was his “remain” post edited) on his site to clear things up.”

“Something is going on and rumours suggest that large corporations play a role.”“Looks like code isn’t the only thing some people are deleting,” said the same person.

For those who have just woken up on a lazy Sunday, here’s some background. Earlier today we mentioned Richard Stallman's message (succinct site post) in which he said he had stepped down from GNU (just two days after saying the exact opposite). He has since then removed the post, causing a lot of confusion and unnecessary speculation that we won’t reproduce here because we don’t know all the facts (at least not yet). Something is going on and rumours suggest that large corporations play a role. The name “Saleforce” has been thrown around by several people, but there’s no ‘smoking gun’ evidence by which to prove a link. As far as we’re aware, Stallman has not responded to anyone to explain the withdrawal of his post about withdrawing from GNU. It’s a mystery, but the above update comes from a generally reliable source. We judge reliability based on connections and track record.

He later said “the deface was reverted [and] now stallman.org is not hosted on FSF servers (it was before). [And] given that stallman.org is basically 100% html, no php or whatever that means it pretty much had to be an inside job.”

Links 29/9/2019: Happy Birthday to LibreOffice and FreeBSD 12.1 Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 2:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop

      • Dell’s new web page makes finding Linux laptops and desktops easier

        Dell currently offers 11 laptops and 6 desktop computers with Ubuntu and Linux. But up until recently actually finding those options on the Dell website could be a bit of a hassle.

        Now rather than hunting through configuration options to find out if Ubuntu is an option, you can just visit Dell.com/Linux to see the company’s new landing page for computers that come with a GNU/Linux-based operating system pre-installed.

        The current lineup includes Dell XPS 13 developer edition laptops with 10th-gen Intel Core processors or 8th-gen Intel Core chips that ship with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

        Dell also offers a number of Precision mobile workstation laptops featuring 15 to 17 inch displays, AMD or NVIDIA graphics, and Ubuntu Linux (although they’re also certified for Red Hat 8.0).

        Rounding out the lineup are a half dozen different Dell Precision Tower workstation PCs including models with up to 3TB of RAM and 136TB of storage (surprisingly not a typo).

    • Server

      • Another Update on Oracle Java and Oracle Solaris

        Since our last update on Oracle Solaris and Oracle Java we’ve been getting more questions, so we wanted to write a quick blog to share the latest on this topic.

        There are a lot of applications out there running on Oracle Java SE 8 and Oracle Java SE 11, these are mature and widely adopted platforms. As you can see on the Oracle Java SE Support Roadmap, Oracle is committed to supporting these releases until at least 2025 and 2026 respectively.

        In addition, this page notes:

        “Oracle Java SE product dates are provided as examples to illustrate the support policies. Customers should refer to the Oracle Lifetime Support Policy for the most up-to-date information. Timelines may differ for Oracle Products with a Java SE dependency”

        This is important given the Oracle Applications Unlimited commitment. This essentially says that if you are running on-premise applications covered under Oracle Applications Unlimited (see the list included here), Oracle is committed to offering Oracle Premier support until at least 2030, and that includes the Oracle Java SE releases used by these applications, even if the Oracle Java SE support timelines appear shorter.

      • Oracle Reaffirms Supporting Solaris 11 Through Part Of The Next Decade

        Oracle has reaffirmed their “long term commitment to deliver innovation on Oracle Solaris” though it still doesn’t look like anything past Solaris 11 will materialize.

        Solaris 11 is eight years old and while Oracle has made incremental improvements to it, there still is no signs of Solaris 12 or “Solaris-Next” as some previous road-maps had referenced. Oracle on Friday reaffirmed their commitment to supporting Solaris 11 through 2031~2034 depending upon the support agreement.

      • IBM

        • CentOS 8 is finally here

          It’s been a while, old friend. In fact, the last time you enjoyed a major release was over five years ago—CentOS 7 initially hit the ether on July 7, 2014. In IT terms, that’s almost a century or three. But don’t worry friend, we know you’ve remained stable, reliable, and secure the whole time.

          However, your last release is a bit long in the tooth, so it’s a good thing your latest has arrived to bring to the faithful masses something new and fresh.

          Said something new and fresh comes on the heels of the May 2019 release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8 and is called, as you probably expected, CentOS 8.

          For those that don’t know, CentOS is the “community version” of RHEL and is functionally compatible with its upstream sibling (see What does upstream and downstream development even mean?). With the release of CentOS 8 comes a bevy of new features and improvements.

        • As ‘CentOS Stream’ Brings Rolling Releases, Some RHEL Development Moves Into CentOS Project

          It Pro Today points out that CentOS already runs on about 16% of all servers, “a number that’s only bested by Ubuntu with an estimated 28%,” and says that this move “points to CentOS taking a more important role within Red Hat [and] indicates a sea change not only for CentOS, but for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) development pipeline.”

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.4 Pulls In LOCKDOWN Support For Opt-In Hardware/Kernel Security Restrictions

        While yesterday Linus Torvalds was still undecided on whether to pull in the long-revised “LOCKDOWN” kernel patches and wanted to review them patch-by-patch, following that lengthy examination he has decided to indeed land this opt-in restricted functionality for Linux 5.4.

        The Linux LOCKDOWN patches have been found in various distribution kernels for years and for the mainline process went through dozens of rounds of review to address various issues and ensure all bases are covered for tightening up the kernel’s interaction with the system hardware when desired as well as ensuring the running kernel image cannot be manipulated.

      • It Turns Out CPU Speculative Execution Can Be Useful For Random Entropy / RNG

        While CPU speculative execution has caused a lot of frustrations over the past two years due to the likes of the Spectre vulnerabilities, it turns out CPU speculative execution can be exploited to be a viable source of random entropy for random number generators.

        Particularly on newer Intel/AMD CPU microarchitectures where speculative execution is much more advanced than hardware from years ago, it’s been found that measuring the execution time of loops relying upon speculation is random enough to be a cheap and speedy source of entropy.

        [...]

        Linus Torvalds commented and he believes that this is not very reliable and a simple jitter entropy implementation. But he did post his own proof-of-concept code for improving the jitter entropy code based upon this.

      • IO_uring Is More Polished With Linux 5.4

        Added back during the Linux 5.1 cycle was IO_uring for fast and efficient I/O. This new interface allows for queue rings to be shared between the application and kernel to avoid excess copies and other efficiency improvements over the existing Linux AIO code. With Linux 5.4, IO_uring is in even better shape.

        In the months since IO_uring was merged to mainline, we’ve seen a ton of continued work on it including the likes of a 755x performance improvement. With Linux 5.4, it seems following extensive optimizations by Jens Axboe and others, it’s in quite a polished shape.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Java Applications On GNOME Under Wayland Will Now Behave Better

          Another GNOME Wayland paper-cut was healed on Friday with the fixing of this issue seemingly isolated to Java programs having keyboard input focus issues when child windows are closed. The bug was tracked down to Mutter and its handling of focusing for windows within X11 code and Java applications behaving differently (not triggering _NET_ACTIVE_WINDOW).

        • Radeon ROCm 2.8 Released But Still Without Navi Support

          When seeing ROcm 2.8 hit the wire we immediately thought it may have been the release introducing support for Navi with the Radeon RX 5700 series being available since July, but that turned out to not be the case… ROCm 2.8 still doesn’t appear to be supporting compute/OpenCL capabilities for Navi graphics processors. Though it’s not entirely surprising with ROCm being mostly focused on workstation/professional accelerator use-cases and the Navi GPUs to date are just the consumer parts. But still for ROCm being AMD’s main focus for taking on NVIDIA’s CUDA dominance, it’s a pity still not seeing Navi support. There have been signs of Navi 14 workstation graphics cards but with Navi 14 itself expected to just be a step above Polaris, it’s quite possible they will be more display focused than compute accelerators.

    • Benchmarks

      • Peter Bengtsson: How much faster is Redis at storing a blob of JSON compared to PostgreSQL?

        First of all, I’m still a PostgreSQL fan-boy and have no intention of ceasing that. These times are made up of much more than just the individual databases. For example, the PostgreSQL speeds depend on the Django ORM code that makes the SQL and sends the query and then turns it into the model instance. I don’t know what the proportions are between that and the actual bytes-from-PG’s-disk times. But I’m not sure I care either. The tooling around the database is inevitable mostly and it’s what matters to users.

        Both Redis and PostgreSQL are persistent and survive server restarts and crashes etc. And you get so many more “batch related” features with PostgreSQL if you need them, such as being able to get a list of the last 10 rows added for some post-processing batch job.

        I’m currently using Django’s cache framework, with Redis as its backend, and it’s a cache framework. It’s not meant to be a persistent database. I like the idea that if I really have to I can just flush the cache and although detrimental to performance (temporarily) it shouldn’t be a disaster. So I think what I’ll do is store these JSON blobs in both databases. Yes, it means roughly 6GB of SSD storage but it also potentially means loading a LOT more into RAM on my limited server. That extra RAM usage pretty much sums of this whole blog post; of course it’s faster if you can rely on RAM instead of disk. Now I just need to figure out how RAM I can afford myself for this piece and whether it’s worth it.

      • Fresh Video Encode/Decode Benchmark Numbers For Xeon Platinum 8280 vs. EPYC 7742

        Given recent updates to the Intel Scalable Video Technology (SVT) open-source video encoders as well as other open-source video encoders/decoders, here is a fresh look at the performance of the AMD EPYC 7742 2P server against the Intel competition with the dual Xeon Platinum 8280.

    • Applications

      • Open Source Voice Chat Mumble Makes a Big Release After 10 Years

        The greatest power of the Internet is its ability to connect people anywhere in the world. Voice chat applications are just one category of tools uniting us. Recently, one of the biggest open-source voice chat apps made a new release, 10 years after its previous release.

        Mumble is a “free, open source, low latency, high quality voice chat application”. It was originally created to be used by gamers, but it is also used to record podcasts. Several Linux podcasts use Mumble to record hosts located at different places in the world, including Late Nite Linux. To give you an idea of how powerful Mumble is, it has been used to connect “Eve Online players with huge communities of over 100 simultaneous voice participants”.

      • SimpleScreenRecorder is a user friendly video capturing app for Linux

        Video recording tools can be complex for many users. Besides requiring users to configure plenty of options, they often make use of technical terms such as bitrate, fps, codecs, sample rate and formats.

        There are some solutions for users who are just getting started and those who want a simple app that makes configuration and recording a breeze, and one of them is called SimpleScreenRecorder.

      • MusicBrainz Picard Is A Cross-Platform Audio Tagger

        MusicBrainz Picard is an open-source and free tag editor for audio files. It is written in Python programming language licensed under GNU General Public License version 2+. It supports multiple popular formats such as mp3, FLAC, OGG, M4A, WMA and more. Picard uses AcoustID audio fingerprints, allowing files to be identified by the actual music, even if they have no metadata.

        Picard can lookup entire music CDs with a click. Picard also supports plugins if you need a particular feature, you can choose from a selection of available plugins or write your own to extend functionality. Picard is not built to be a mass single-track tag fixer. Picard believes in quality over quantity and provides a plethora of customization to tweak music collections to your needs.

      • Best Linux apps of 2019: free and open source software

        One of the big advantages of most Linux distros isn’t just that they are free and open source – so are most of the software applications used for Linux. While some business-orientated software does come with a cost, for most home users most of what they will need won’t be.

        But what are the applications that most Linux will want to have installed? Luckily, many Linux distros come with a number of essential software packages already bundled with the Operating System (OS), as is the case with Windows and Apple desktops. This means you shouldn’t have to spend too much time looking for what you may actually need.

        However, Linux software is in constant development and so are the software apps used to run on it. While updates for those bundled should be easy to manage, you’ll probably still want to ensure you have a full range of the most useful software, not all of which may be included.

      • Invidious Everywhere

        Do you know Invidious? On Invidious, you can watch all YouTube videos safely and without ads with ability to download all of them. Technically, it means Invidious acts as an intermediary between you and YouTube and plays videos without JavaScript. This also means privacy, that is Google will not be able to record you! But the problem is all YouTube links on the net linked to youtube.com and not invidio.us. Many people still don’t know Indivious as well. So we always need to rewrite every link to invidio.us to watch every video. This makes life difficult. Fortunately, thanks to several Firefox addons below, we can automatically change all youtube link to invidious instead, even the embed ones on webpages and social medias! This makes life easy. Finally, Invidious is free software licensed under GNU AGPL you can have the source code from GitHub. Let’s make Indivious everywhere!

      • Proprietary

        • Best virtual machine software of 2019: virtualization for different OS

          Virtual machines have become an important part of computing, not least for business and especially for cloud applications. However, virtualization is something also available to home users as well.

          For personal use, virtualization enables users to run different operating systems on their home PC, such as running Windows on a Mac, or running Linux on a Windows PC – and vice versa.

          A key advantage of running a virtual machine is that it allows you to run apps that would otherwise not be available due to having very different system requirements, which is one particular reason why virtualization has become so important in business.

          Another, surprisingly, is security concerns, as malware cannot run properly in a virtualized environment, and often will shut down if it detects it is in one.

          Overall, virtualization has become a powerful tool in computing and IT, and here we’ll feature the best in virtual machine software.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine-Staging 4.17 Brings Raw Input For Overwatch, StarCitizen & Other Games

        Wine 4.17 was released yesterday that merged the DXTn support and other improvements from Wine-Staging. Meanwhile Wine-Staging 4.17 is out today to re-up their game with now more than 850 patches in total against upstream Wine.

        The big addition to Wine-Staging 4.17 is raw input support for games like Overwatch and StarCitizen as well as other titles now seeing working or drastically improved input handling.

    • Games

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Essential tweaks after Manjaro (Plasma) installation

          Thus endeth the article. Hopefully, this was useful. Overall, Manjaro has a lot of cool features, but it also suffers from various sub-optimal default settings. Luckily, changing most of them is relatively easy, and in the worst case, you need to install a few packages. The biggest challenge is installing third-party software, for which you need AUR (unless you want to do things manually). But it’s all doable.

          With some luck, these issues will be ironed out in future releases of Manjaro. If not provided as defaults, then at least, there will be an easy path for users to grab the desired software and install it in a friendly, simple, straightforward fashion. Well, I guess that would be all. Manjaro away.

        • This week in KDE: Towards Plasma 5.18

          With Plasma 5.17 due to be released in less than two weeks, developers are working hard to polish it up. It’s also time to look forward towards Plasma 5.18. Features are already starting to land and it promises to be another very cool release!

          There’s lots of great stuff in the apps world too, including that Filelight is now in the Microsoft Store! KDE truly is all about the apps.

        • August/September in KDE Itinerary

          Since the last KDE Itinerary summary two month have passed that saw the 19.08 KDE Application release, Akademy and more than 250 changes to KDE Itinerary and its underlying infrastructure. As usual, here are some of the highlights.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

        • RPM 4.15 Released With Experimental Rootless Chroot Support

          RPM 4.15 adds experimental support for operations depending upon chroot without requiring root (by means of user namespaces), a dummy database back-end to help RPM run on systems without RPMDB like Debian, better ARM detection, various 64-bit ARM additions and improvements, a variety of transaction fixes, support for dynamic build dependencies, and a long list of other improvements.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 19.10 Beta Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Ubuntu 19.10 Beta.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” Beta Released. Download Now.

          Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” is due release on Oct 17, 2019 and we have the beta ISO available for wider testing for the users, developers to provide users a rock solid Ubuntu release, once again.

          Before the next Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS) relase, Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” is the choice for introduction of new features which would eventually be part of next LTS. For couple of reasons, Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” is iconic in nature.

          Firstly, Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” is introducing NVIDIA drivers in the ISO image itself. This would help users to install NVIDIA proprietary (closed source) drivers for their graphics card while installing the OS itself. This definitely removes lots of hassles for users to find and update NVIDIA drivers in Linux.

          Secondly, this release introduces installation of Ubuntu using ZFS file system. ZFS is known to be scalable, data corruption tolerant, ability to support high storage spaces. Though it is said to be experimental in Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” – but it is a first for any Linux Distro to support ZFS. Users hope to see more distros supporting ZFS in near future.

        • Android Reverse Tethering with Ubuntu 18.04

          That magical program is Gnirehtet (tethering reversed) available as Android app and GNU/Linux desktop programs. With this program, without root access at all, we can easily share internet access via USB cable from laptop to smartphone by utilizing USB Tethering in reversed mode. Finally, the topology will be phone -> USB -> desktop -> wifi -> internet. I show you here how to do it with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Enjoy!

        • Ubuntu Studio 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) Beta Released

          The Ubuntu Studio team is pleased to announce the beta release of Ubuntu Studio 19.10, codenamed Eoan Ermine.

          While this beta is reasonably free of any showstopper CD build or installer bugs, you may find some bugs within. This image is, however, reasonably representative of what you will find when Ubuntu Studio 19.10 is released on October 19, 2019.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Free software and the wish to be good

        The free software movement has recently been going through a lot. From the introduction of Commons Clause, to the resignation of Stallman. It seems like the mood in the air is that now is the time for a redefinition of what free and open source software actually is.

        My view on this is that free software, and open source, is about software. For instance, I agree to Roman Gilg’s great post about activism. What we share within the FOSS movement is our passion for software licensing. For other political issues, we do not all agree. It is important to recognize this, and that by implying political standpoints, we limit the size of the communities.

        To me, we in the FOSS movement need to define tackle two issues: what is distribution (to address the Common Clause issues), and can we be neutral to what the software is used for (to address the activism issues).

      • Dependencies: Both Technological And Human, On Display In The Story Of A Developer Who Deleted Code Being Used By ICE

        Three years ago, we had a pretty fascinating story about how a developer, after getting an ambiguously threatening note from a company about how a bit of his code might violate the trademark of another company, deleted all of his code from NPM (Node Package Manager), a key repository for node.js code. One of the bits that the developer deleted (totally unrelated to the potential trademark dispute) was simple code that tons of websites relied on — leading many of them to break in response. The story raised all sorts of interesting questions not just about trademark, but namespaces, who controls code, dependencies, and much more. Indeed, the story was so interesting to me that I (very loosely) used it as inspiration for a science fiction story I recently wrote that will be released very soon (more on that very soon as well!)

      • Events

        • I went to Akademy 2019!

          After multiple failed attempts to get to the KDE Connect 2019 Sprint held in Germany, I was again presented with an opportunity to meet KDE Community, in its full glory. I was very excited and a bit skeptical of whether applying again for a short schengen VISA (this time through Italian Embassy) would be a good idea.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Happy Birthday, LibreOffice!

          Nine years ago, something very special was created. It changed my life a lot for sure, it gave me new challenges too, and I am proud and eternally honoured to be part of this amazing community of friends. Happy Birthday, LibreOffice!

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD 12.1-BETA2 Now Available
          The second BETA build of the 12.1-RELEASE release cycle is now
          available.
          
          Installation images are available for:
          
          o 12.1-BETA2 amd64 GENERIC
          o 12.1-BETA2 i386 GENERIC
          o 12.1-BETA2 powerpc GENERIC
          o 12.1-BETA2 powerpc64 GENERIC64
          o 12.1-BETA2 powerpcspe MPC85XXSPE
          o 12.1-BETA2 sparc64 GENERIC
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv6 RPI-B
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 BANANAPI
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 BEAGLEBONE
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 CUBIEBOARD
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 CUBIEBOARD2
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 CUBOX-HUMMINGBOARD
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 RPI2
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 PANDABOARD
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 WANDBOARD
          o 12.1-BETA2 armv7 GENERICSD
          o 12.1-BETA2 aarch64 GENERIC
          o 12.1-BETA2 aarch64 RPI3
          o 12.1-BETA2 aarch64 PINE64
          o 12.1-BETA2 aarch64 PINE64-LTS
          
          Note regarding arm SD card images: For convenience for those without
          console access to the system, a freebsd user with a password of
          freebsd is available by default for ssh(1) access.  Additionally,
          the root user password is set to root.  It is strongly recommended
          to change the password for both users after gaining access to the
          system.
          
          Installer images and memory stick images are available here:
          
          https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/releases/ISO-IMAGES/12.1/
          
          The image checksums follow at the end of this e-mail.
          
          If you notice problems you can report them through the Bugzilla PR
          system or on the -stable mailing list.
          
          If you would like to use SVN to do a source based update of an existing
          system, use the "releng/12.1" branch.
          
          A summary of changes since 12.1-BETA1 includes:
          
          o An off-by-one error in fusefs(5) had been fixed.
          
          o A problem with in-place strip(1) on msdosfs(5) had been fixed.
          
          o Stability fixes for mpr(4) and mps(4) have been merged from head.
            Note, support for these drivers have been removed for 32-bit powerpc.
          
          o A regression had been fixed in the ping6(8) utility when the system is
            built without capsicum(4).
          
          o A regression in the jme(4) driver had been fixed.
          
          o A change to the bhyve(4) uart(4) driver had been fixed to support
            running under syzkaller.
          
          o The WITH_PIE and WITH_BIND_NOW build knobs have been added.
          
          o The 'updatesready' and 'showconfig' subcommands have been added to
            freebsd-update(8).
          
          o The camcontrol(8) 'devtype' subcommand had been fixed to correctly
            report SATL devices.
          
          A list of changes since 12.0-RELEASE is available in the releng/12.1
          release notes:
          
          https://www.freebsd.org/releases/12.1R/relnotes.html
          
          Please note, the release notes page is not yet complete, and will be
          updated on an ongoing basis as the 12.1-RELEASE cycle progresses.
          
          === Virtual Machine Disk Images ===
          
          VM disk images are available for the amd64, i386, and aarch64
          architectures.  Disk images may be downloaded from the following URL
          (or any of the FreeBSD download mirrors):
          
          https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/releases/VM-IMAGES/12.1-BETA2/
          
          The partition layout is:
          
              ~ 16 kB - freebsd-boot GPT partition type (bootfs GPT label)
              ~ 1 GB  - freebsd-swap GPT partition type (swapfs GPT label)
              ~ 20 GB - freebsd-ufs GPT partition type (rootfs GPT label)
          
          The disk images are available in QCOW2, VHD, VMDK, and raw disk image
          formats.  The image download size is approximately 135 MB and 165 MB
          respectively (amd64/i386), decompressing to a 21 GB sparse image.
          
          Note regarding arm64/aarch64 virtual machine images: a modified QEMU EFI
          loader file is needed for qemu-system-aarch64 to be able to boot the
          virtual machine images.  See this page for more information:
          
          https://wiki.freebsd.org/arm64/QEMU
          
          To boot the VM image, run:
          
              % qemu-system-aarch64 -m 4096M -cpu cortex-a57 -M virt  \
          	-bios QEMU_EFI.fd -serial telnet::4444,server -nographic \
          	-drive if=none,file=VMDISK,id=hd0 \
          	-device virtio-blk-device,drive=hd0 \
          	-device virtio-net-device,netdev=net0 \
          	-netdev user,id=net0
          
          Be sure to replace "VMDISK" with the path to the virtual machine image.
          
          === Amazon EC2 AMI Images ===
          
          FreeBSD/amd64 EC2 AMIs are available in the following regions:
          
            eu-north-1 region: ami-0fde974647f2afb71
            ap-south-1 region: ami-08c5b6c3c67660000
            eu-west-3 region: ami-0d2295cb848b04044
            eu-west-2 region: ami-0defe97a58c32e336
            eu-west-1 region: ami-04794e03ec4994477
            ap-northeast-2 region: ami-0376260338b9a442c
            ap-northeast-1 region: ami-030b542da16e02b36
            sa-east-1 region: ami-09fef4294a171f081
            ca-central-1 region: ami-0444d3dbbb3d973d2
            ap-east-1 region: ami-01870b4cd52cd63f5
            ap-southeast-1 region: ami-0ef470ae9dddc6d31
            ap-southeast-2 region: ami-0eb87756562803e37
            eu-central-1 region: ami-0d4f1151306798937
            us-east-1 region: ami-0aa4feba66441f8cb
            us-east-2 region: ami-073aac094f7a1e753
            us-west-1 region: ami-0b702fd3bc6987d9e
            us-west-2 region: ami-01e70706d53dcbd16
          
          FreeBSD/aarch64 EC2 AMIs are available in the following regions:
          
            eu-north-1 region: ami-004e595acdaea9f8a
            ap-south-1 region: ami-043ee11f276cbac49
            eu-west-3 region: ami-0a3ca0207e9a78b42
            eu-west-2 region: ami-04cf3e3951b03f0e7
            eu-west-1 region: ami-0846d71aa6ed537a7
            ap-northeast-2 region: ami-0c8b2410ee65152eb
            ap-northeast-1 region: ami-0d0495617fe90c04d
            sa-east-1 region: ami-08f2f3eb468314f2f
            ca-central-1 region: ami-0ea0dff5097085c4f
            ap-east-1 region: ami-0e8e411b892c424f3
            ap-southeast-1 region: ami-0552d07457be8afe7
            ap-southeast-2 region: ami-0f89f9d16dc3fc949
            eu-central-1 region: ami-05f5b271d7603e2cb
            us-east-1 region: ami-0dd2d517058d5c225
            us-east-2 region: ami-06d46829d315d1e20
            us-west-1 region: ami-047a11f3142a87598
            us-west-2 region: ami-0df2f50be88aa4073
          
          === Vagrant Images ===
          
          FreeBSD/amd64 images are available on the Hashicorp Atlas site, and can
          be installed by running:
          
              % vagrant init freebsd/FreeBSD-12.1-BETA2
              % vagrant up
          
          === Upgrading ===
          
          The freebsd-update(8) utility supports binary upgrades of amd64 and i386
          systems running earlier FreeBSD releases.  Systems running earlier
          FreeBSD releases can upgrade as follows:
          
          	# freebsd-update upgrade -r 12.1-BETA2
          
          During this process, freebsd-update(8) may ask the user to help by
          merging some configuration files or by confirming that the automatically
          performed merging was done correctly.
          
          	# freebsd-update install
          
          The system must be rebooted with the newly installed kernel before
          continuing.
          
          	# shutdown -r now
          
          After rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to install the new
          userland components:
          
          	# freebsd-update install
          
          It is recommended to rebuild and install all applications if possible,
          especially if upgrading from an earlier FreeBSD release, for example,
          FreeBSD 11.x.  Alternatively, the user can install misc/compat11x and
          other compatibility libraries, afterwards the system must be rebooted
          into the new userland:
          
          	# shutdown -r now
          
          Finally, after rebooting, freebsd-update needs to be run again to remove
          stale files:
          
          	# freebsd-update install
          
        • OpenBSD at EuroBSDcon 2019

          EuroBSDcon 2019 has concluded, and materials for the OpenBSD-related talks can be found in the usual place.

      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • Richard Stallman Reportedly Steps Down As Head Of The GNU Project

          It was just two days ago that Richard Stallman said he would continue as head of the GNU project after last week having resigned as head of the Free Software Foundation (as well as his post at MIT), but this afternoon he reportedly has stepped down from his GNU leadership role.

        • FSFE Newsletter September 2019

          In this month’s newsletter, we focus our attention on the impact of Free Software on competition, in a piece written by our guest expert, Prof. Dr. Simon Schlauri. We also take the chance to announce the awesome progress we have made in the REUSE project towards making copyright and licensing easier for developers. Further down, you can discover upcoming events and information about the FSFE Annual Community meeting, as well as see some photos and video recordings from events where our community promoted Free Software across Europe. We also make some recommendations for articles you may find useful.

      • Programming/Development

        • Segfault with custom events in wxPython

          When working on porting Timeline to Python 3, I ran into a problem where a test caused a segfault. I managed to create a small example that reproduces the failure. I describe the example below and show how I solved the test failure.

        • Test and Code: 89: Improving Programming Education – Nicholas Tollervey

          Nicholas Tollervey is working toward better ways of teaching programming. His projects include the Mu Editor, PyperCard, and CodeGrades. Many of us talk about problems with software education. Nicholas is doing something about it.

        • 101 Data Science Interview Questions, Answers, and Key Concepts

          In October 2012, the Harvard Business Review described “Data Scientist” as the “sexiest” job of the 21st century. Well, as we approach 2020 the description still holds true! The world needs more data scientists than there are available for hire. All companies – from the smallest to the biggest – want to hire for a job role that has something “Data” in its name: “Data Scientists”, “Data Analysts”, “Data Engineers” etc.

          On the other hand, there’s large number of people who are trying to get a break in the Data Science industry, including people with considerable experience in other functional domains such as marketing, finance, insurance, and software engineering. You might have already invested in learning data science (maybe even at a data science bootcamp), but how confident are you for your next Data Science interview?

          This blog is intended to give you a nice tour of the questions asked in a Data Science interview. After thorough research, we have compiled a list of 101 actual data science interview questions that have been asked between 2016-2019 at some of the largest recruiters in the data science industry – Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Expedia, etc.

        • What’s your favorite compiler?

          Everyone has a favorite tool for any given job. For programmers, the building process is often a relatively brief job in their workflow, but it’s the one that really matters. After all, without compiled code, there’s nothing to distribute to users. And different compilers have different features and—whether or not there’s a bug about it—quirks. Compilers matter.

          A compiler’s never just a compiler, though. When you decide upon a compiler, you’re usually committing to a whole toolchain. There’s always flexibility in open source, but if you want to take advantage of what a compiler offers, it’s usually best to use the kind of workflow that its maintainers and developers expect. That means using Autotools with GCC, or Ant with Javac, and so on.

          Finally, investing in a compiler often means joining the community around that compiler, whether it’s just to get alerts about updates or to actively socialize with other users. A compiler without a community is like a tool without a shed: it still works for what it was designed to do, but sometimes it gets rained on or misplaced.

        • Data Cleaning In Python Basics Using Pandas

          When working with data, there’s one skill you have to master, and that is cleaning data. It’s very rare that you’ll have clean data to work with. So, you’ll have to learn how to clean data.

          In this post, I’ll walk you through how to deal with cleaning data in Python using the Pandas library. After reading this post, you’ll be equipped with the tools necessary to do this.

        • VS code IDE integration for LibreOffice

          Successfully submitting a very first patch to LibreOffice can be quite challenging. Not only because you have to deal with the build dependencies first, but because the project doesn’t come with a default/suggested development environment.

          [...]

          After this the semantic code completion features (code completion, Goto Definition, …) should work. In order to get debug working, you can follow this description. For handy tricks you should take a look at this and this.

        • All Unicode characters
        • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (cxcvi) stackoverflow python report
  • Leftovers

    • Polluting the Heavens

      Heavens brings to mind the vast sky and the millions of stars lighting the Earth at night. Greek mythology has the sky and the Earth mating and giving birth to the natural world, the ocean, terrible monsters, the gods and the cosmos.

    • Tony Chin’s Tuff Gong Business

      At the end of Part 1 of my interview of legendary guitar player Tony Chin, Tony recounted several never before published stories about his friendship and collaboration with Bob Marley. In this second segment of the interview, we pick up where we left off, with what Tony calls more “Tuff Gong business.” Next, there’s extended discussion about the “Flyers” rhythm guitar style – a defining sound of roots reggae. Part 2 closes with a recitation of several very important but undiscussed topics, setting up a to-be-continued Part 3 of this interview. Enjoy!

    • World Athletics Championships Doha 2019: Coe confirms German media’s Kenya doping claims

      Television channel ZDF alleged at least two athletes had taken performance enhancing erythropoietin (EPO), which boosts the capacity of blood to carry oxygen, before the Doha Worlds to be held from September 27 to October 6.

      “I know the AIU (Athletics Integrity Unit) is following up on some accusations that have been made in the German media. I’m sure they (AIU) will report back as soon as they’ve established the facts to the IAAF,” Coe was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

    • Science

      • Analysis of the B cell receptor repertoire in six immune-mediated diseases

        B cells are important in the pathogenesis of many, and perhaps all, immune-mediated diseases. Each B cell expresses a single B cell receptor (BCR)1, and the diverse range of BCRs expressed by the total B cell population of an individual is termed the ‘BCR repertoire’. Our understanding of the BCR repertoire in the context of immune-mediated diseases is incomplete, and defining this could provide new insights into pathogenesis and therapy. Here, we compared the BCR repertoire in systemic lupus erythematosus, anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis, Crohn’s disease, Behçet’s disease, eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and immunoglobulin A (IgA) vasculitis by analysing BCR clonality, use of immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable region (IGHV) genes and—in particular—isotype use. An increase in clonality in systemic lupus erythematosus and Crohn’s disease that was dominated by the IgA isotype, together with skewed use of the IGHV genes in these and other diseases, suggested a microbial contribution to pathogenesis. Different immunosuppressive treatments had specific and distinct effects on the repertoire; B cells that persisted after treatment with rituximab were predominately isotype-switched and clonally expanded, whereas the inverse was true for B cells that persisted after treatment with mycophenolate mofetil. Our comparative analysis of the BCR repertoire in immune-mediated disease reveals a complex B cell architecture, providing a platform for understanding pathological mechanisms and designing treatment strategies.

    • Hardware

      • Apple’s seventh-gen iPad is as fiddly as ever to repair

        The regular iPad, now in its seventh generation, was never going to be easy to repair. But iFixit did note that if you smash the screen, the lack of lamination and the use of a separate cover glass means replacing the LCD is less fiddly and expensive. And once the digitizer and the cover glass are separated the LCD panel is simple to remove. So that’s something.

        However, it’s all downhill from there, with iFixit moaning that, as ever, there’s a solid barrier of very strong adhesive that gets in the way of DIY repairs. That adhesive holds an all manner of things in place, such as the battery and logic board which iFixit described as “particularly obnoxious” to replace; to be honest we’d say being obnoxious is one of Apple’s raison d’etre-s.`

    • Health/Nutrition

      • No One Should Have to Bargain for Their Health Care

        Nearly 50,000 members of the United Auto Workers began striking earlier this month, demanding that General Motors pay them their fair share of the billions in profits the company raked in last year.

      • ‘We Can Assure Long-Term, Affordable Access to All Essential Medication’
      • Risking Women’s Health, While Widening the Door to Techno-Eugenics

        In September, California’s legislature passed AB 922, a bill legalizing the payment to women for their eggs for research purposes.  Additionally, next year, the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is expected to return to the voters to secure passage of an initiative that will supply billions of dollars to fund entrepreneurial bioresearch. If Governor Newsom does not veto AB 922, CIRM will have a green light to fund research that will not only jeopardize women’s health through egg extraction but will enable the controversial genetic manipulation of human embryos. (Already, there are bioentrepreneurs who have created genetically engineered human embryos for implantation.)

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Yahoo Hack Victims Line Up To Get $100 (Or Less) For Historic Hack

        It seems like only yesterday that we learned of the historic hack of Yahoo, resulting in the leaked data of more than 500,000 subscribers. Granted, like most hack stories, it didn’t take long before we learned that the impacted number of subscribers was far far larger, with in fact several different hacks resulting in the leaked data of roughly 3 billion potential users, or pretty much everybody that had ever used the service.

      • Create a Backdoor Shell in Python

        So we’ve delved into Python before, but this post should be a bit more interesting. What we will do today is write a backdoor in Python and if you manage to install this backdoor on anyone’s computer, you will have a shell to that computer from your own.

        As always, these posts are for educational purposes and you should not try this on anyone’s devices but your own.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • An Important History Lesson for Mainstream Indian and Pakistani Mainstream Politicians

        India agreed to hold a free and impartial plebiscite in the state. At a mass public rally in Srinagar in 1948, Nehru, with the towering Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah by his side, solemnly promised to hold a plebiscite under United Nations auspices.

      • A Dangerous Confrontation With Russia Over Kalingrad

        “What idiocy”, exclaims Jack Matlock on Facebook. Matlock is one of my “Facebook Friends” because I judge his knowledge of Russia as second to none, having been under President Ronald Reagan the White House’s senior advisor on the Soviet Union and, later, his ambassador to Moscow.

      • Mass Killings In Afghanistan Are Acts of White Supremacy

        An American white nationalist killed over 30 people recently. The victims, all brown, had full lives; children, loved ones, and years, full of plans, ahead of them. But then they were incinerated. Worst of all, they were murdered while Afghan.

      • Trump and the Kashmir Catastrophe

        India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump have much in common, not least extensive use of Twitter to communicate their thoughts, policies and intentions. The arrangement for a Modi-Trump meeting on September 22 in Houston Texas, at a rally of Indian-Americans, known as “Howdy Modi!” was greeted enthusiastically by India’s leader (“The special gesture of President Trump to join us in Houston highlights the strength of the relationship and recognition of the contribution of the Indian community to American society and economy”) and no doubt he was confident that Trump would not refer to him, as he did to Egypt’s General Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, as “my favorite dictator.”

      • When Drones Come Home to Roost

        It was fucking beautiful. There are no more accurate words in the English dictionary to describe the vision I saw. I awoke Sunday afternoon, turned the TV on to CNN and there it was in all its infernal glory like Christmas Morning in hell. Standing six-hundred stories high above the sea of sand in Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter, a leaning wall of towering flames shimmering across the night sky like an aurora borealis made of fire. As all the usual yammering skulls off camera spun fantastic tall tales about an Iranian conspiracy to deny the House of Saud their Allah given right to rape and pillage with abandon, only one thing, one message, burned through my frontal lobes like Abqaiq crude, “They did it. The Houthis really did it!” The resounding feeling of karmic justice was downright euphoric. I wanted to cry. I wanted to dance. Fuck, I wanted to masturbate to the sight of those rabid dogs getting exactly what they deserved.

      • Monsanto, Bayer and Two Wars

        Incendiary exposés of Monsanto products – scientifically proven in court to cause cancers in workers and homeowners who have used them – have caused stocks to plunge, and new owner, German pharmaceutical corporation Bayer, to no longer want to use the brand name.  Three multi-billion dollar lawsuits, with 18,000 pending, are quite a corporate burden for Bayer to acquire, along with the $62.5 billion price tag to merge the two chemical giants. However, both these giants have major war crimes, from World War II to Viet Nam, hidden in their pasts.

      • When Indifference Fuels and Perpetuates Genocide

        In August 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary in a war against the Allied Powers of Great Britain, France and Russia.

      • Hope and necessity this International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

        “Nuclear weapons present an unacceptable danger to humanity. The only real way to eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons is to eliminate nuclear weapons.”¾UN Secretary-General António Guterres

      • UN Expert ‘Shocked’ by Abuses in Zimbabwe

        A United Nations expert outlined a slew of “extremely disturbing” abuses by Zimbabwe’s security forces at the conclusion of a fact-finding mission to the country.

      • Soldiers and Veterans are Anti-War Leaders. Could This Be The Peace Movement of Our Time?

        If you want to stop the wars, challenge the empire and deal with climate crisis then support our anti-war soldiers and veterans. Soldiers and veterans carry special knowledge. Sometimes that knowledge starts with the gut-wrenching realization that they have fought, suffered, killed and died in vain — or worse. It’s hard not to hear the echoes of anti-war Vietnam veterans in the words of today’s war veterans. High-stakes betrayal teaches some mighty hard lessons.

      • Serving as US Mayor Can Be a Dangerous Job

        In all, 13% of mayors say they’ve been subjected to physical violence, according to Thomas’s research. Eight in 10 mayors say they’ve faced some sort of psychological abuse.

      • Turkey is now a haven for terrorists and an enabler of terrorism

        The lawsuit against this Shariah-compliant bank, which counts the Turkish government as a shareholder, comes two weeks after the US Treasury sanctioned 11 Turkey-linked entities and individuals for supporting Hamas and other jihadist outfits. The evidence keeps mounting: Turkey has become a haven for regional baddies.

      • Sweden Spinning out of Control

        From the beginning of 2019 to the end of July, there were 120 bombings in Sweden, according to police statistics.

        In Uppsala alone, a picturesque Swedish university town, where 80% of girls do not feel safe in the city center, four rapes or attempted rapes took place in early August within four days.

      • Pakistan Drone Found In Punjab After Terror-Accused Reveals Location

        “This drone couldn’t return to Pakistan due to a malfunction, so the accused hid it at a village near the Attari border,” senior police officer Balbir Singh of the counter-intelligence unit said.

        The drone was kept hidden beneath the undergrowth of a paddy field at the village. In visuals, policemen are seen walking in a file towards the drone.

        The Punjab Police first announced last week the intrusion by heavy-lifting Pakistani drones to drop AK-47 assault rifles and grenades in Amritsar. The weapons were meant for terrorists to create trouble in Jammu and Kashmir, sources in the Punjab Police have told NDTV.

      • New Evidence Links Russian State to Berlin Assassination

        In the process of this investigation, Bellingcat and its partners have obtained conclusive evidence that the suspect – whose real identity is still being sought by our team – traveled to Berlin under a cover identity with the active support of the Russian state that created a comprehensive, back-dated paper-trail for this fictitious persona in order to help him obtain the necessary travel and insurance documents, and – crucially – a Schengen visa. These findings preclude the hypothesis that this was an organized crime operation, or even a semi-official operation that received only limited support from individual corrupt officials.

      • A Murder in Berlin: The Untold Story of a Chechen ‘Jihadist’ Turned Secret Agent

        The shooting took place in full view of CCTV cameras, yet the would-be assassin was never identified, much less apprehended. The Human Rights and Monitoring Center, a Georgian NGO, found that the government undertook a “pro forma” investigation “characterized by significant legal flaws,” which included allowing recorded evidence of the crime to be destroyed and failing to provide state protection for Khangoshvili and his family.

      • It Doesn’t Get More Illegal Than a War With Iran
      • UN Takes Strong Stand on Sri Lanka’s Army Chief

        The United Nations took a stand against impunity for war crimes this week by announcing it will no longer accept non-essential Sri Lankan troops in peacekeeping missions. The reason? Sri Lanka’s newly appointed army chief, Gen. Shavendra Silva, faces credible allegations of war crimes.

      • Netanyahu on Steroids: What a Gantz-led Government Means for Palestine

        Experience has taught Palestinians not to pay heed to Israeli elections. But to every rule there is an exception.

      • Bewildered in Jerusalem

        It was desolate. Quiet. In the quietness I heard voices, whispers, words being repeated. Words that had been repeated for a long time. “Two states”, “peace”, “demolitions”, “negotiations”, “walls”, “rocks”, “keys”, “reconciliation”, “resistance”, “executions”, “we are staying”. I had been served repetitions for breakfast, lunch, dinner. They ruined my sleep. They were in every report, in every conversation.

      • The Pentagon’s New Reform Plan Is Just Another Scam

        For the Pentagon, happy days are here again (if they ever left). With a budget totaling more than $1.4 trillion for the next two years, the department is riding high, even as it attempts to set the stage for yet more spending increases in the years to come.

      • UK’s Prince Harry Should Highlight Landmines During Angola Visit

        Today, Britain’s Prince Harry starts a two-day visit to Angola as part of a tour that will take him to South Africa, Botswana, and Malawi.

      • Trapped in an Empire of Borders

        The driver of the passenger van pulled onto the shoulder of the road, looked back, and said, “There’s an immigration checkpoint up ahead. Does everyone have their papers?”

      • Military Suicides Jump to Record High

        WMilitary suicides surged this year to a record high among active duty troops, continuing a deadly trend that Pentagon officials say is frustrating and they are struggling to counter.

      • ‘Killer Robots:’ Ban Treaty Is the Only Credible Solution

        (New York) – France, Germany, and other nations that are committed to a rules-based international order should begin negotiations on a new international treaty to ban preemptively lethal autonomous weapons systems, also known as fully autonomous weapons or killer robots.

      • Starvation may force nations to war

        Unless nations act now to halt the spread of deserts, they may face wars over food shortages and starvation by mid-century, the UN says.

    • Environment

      • “That we’re not preventing climate change is costing us money,” says professor

        The daily lives of Finns are affected by the climate crisis in a number of ways, including some unexpected ones, despite the fact that the continuing land uplift makes sea level rise a less acute problem in Finland, says Markku Ollikainen, a professor of environmental and resource economy at the University of Helsinki.

        “One thing people don’t realise is that climate change is sneaking up on us, too,” he stated on MTV on Friday.

        “We’re situated in the relatively safe Fennoscandia. But think about ticks, think about the problems we’ve had producing drinking water, about our river system turning brown. It’s sneaking up on us day by day.”

      • Subway Proselytizer Preaches Climate Emergency, Trains Others To Spread Their Message

        “It’s not our fault we inherited a broken system,” he yells, “but we do have a choice.”

        The performances are awkward. These newbies don’t yet connect with their audiences, at least not as effectively as their mentor does. But McLachlan is all praise. He knows from experience what it takes to stand up and start hollering that first time.

      • Pesticides in the Dock: Ecological Apocalypse But Business as Usual

        In a new paper published in King’s Law Journal –  ‘The Chemical Anthropocene: Glyphosate as a Case Study of Pesticide Exposures’ – the authors Alessandra Arcuri and Yogi Hale Hendlin state:

      • Tempered Emergency: the Climate Change Summit in New York

        It had a good deal of desperate scolding.  Sweden’s Greta Thunberg assumed the role of punishing advocate, a Joan of Arc of fury.  The main culprit in her speech at the UN Climate Action Summit was the hideous, super ego, the big bad “You”, ever condescending, ever indifferent, the “You” of adulthood that had trashed the environment and left a gigantic mess to clean up.  She lamented how she should be in school on the other side of the ocean.  “How dare you”, these adults who had “come to us young people for hope”.

      • The Illusion of Saving the World

        At the end of this month, as you probably know by now, an extraordinary hoopla event will descend on Manhattan in the form of a “Climate Action Summit,” summoned by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, to get the nations of the world finally to take seriously the threat of “global warming” and pledge to actually take serious action to save the world from catastrophe.

      • Children to Adults: ‘Do Your Job So We Have a Future’

        On Friday, my 12-year-old son carried his handmade cardboard protest sign to one of the thousands of climate strikes around the world, along with five of his classmates. His sign read, “Where you gonna hide from the hell you made?” This die-hard rock ’n’ roll fan had tapped an obscure song by his favorite band—Queen—called “White Man,” about the genocide of Native Americans, and picked out the perfect line to describe his rage at our human-made climate crisis.

      • Russian activists step up for second week of global climate strikes
      • 10 Ways the Climate Crisis and Militarism Are Intertwined

        The environmental justice movement that is surging globally is intentionally intersectional, showing how global warming is connected to issues such as race, poverty, migration and public health. One area intimately linked to the climate crisis that gets little attention, however, is militarism. Here are some of the ways these issues—and their solutions—are intertwined.

      • Climate Change and Technology

        Climate change is one of a host of environmental ills for which technological solutions are being proposed. In fact, most of the proposed solutions exacerbate environmental ills in other dimensions such as species loss and mass extinction. This tendency of technological reasoning to ‘bleed’ from one dimension or axis to another— to cause unintended consequences, is a function of the structure of this type of reasoning.

      • Naomi Klein v The Times Roy Scranton: Mobilization to Fight Climate Change or Surrender?

        I have a good friend, a professor of English Literature, who I often go out with to see plays, band performances and movies. Lately, we’ve also been having a running text message and email debate about various political issues. In an earlier exchange, he described himself as, “not philosophically opposed to the Republicans” but since they “have gone the furthest off the deep end,” he finds himself a “Democrat by default.” He also sees Joe Biden as the only realistic alternative to Trump, despite his considerable flaws as a candidate. Friends though we are, we couldn’t be further apart on this. I abhor the modern Republican Party and everything it stands for. Long ago it betrayed whatever legacy it had as the more progressive major American political party, founded in part by émigré socialists who fled the abortive wave of revolutions that hit Europe in 1848. My personal view is that Biden will be a disaster as the Democratic presidential nominee. I still prefer Bernie Sanders to all the rest, despite his own flaws and contradictions.

      • Protest Alone Won’t Save Our Planet

        We can all use a shot of hope. I got one from 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and the disproportionately youthful masses—4 million across 150 cities worldwide—who came out for climate sanity last week. I listened online to the speech Thunberg delivered to more than 300,000 mostly young people in lower Manhattan on Friday. She spoke eloquently about the supreme ecological danger we face, thanks to the relentless pursuit of profit and to the insincere assurances and pathetic inaction of politicians and policymakers the world over:

      • 2nd Wave of Protests Caps Week Focused on Climate Action

        Students took to the streets across the globe in the hundreds of thousands Friday for a second wave of worldwide protests demanding swift action on climate change.

      • Huge Divide Among Democratic Presidential Frontrunners on Climate Change

        Vote Climate U.S. PAC’s 2020 Presidential voters guide, released today, empowers Americans to make climate change a top priority. Our voters guide gives Democrats and Republicans running for president, a climate calculation, distinguishing candidates on the issue. Voters must choose presidential, climate-action in 2020, perhaps one of our last chances to prioritize the climate emergency in the voting booth.

      • The Teachable Moment of the Greta Thunberg Phenomena

        Like many people, I have been inspired by Greta Thunberg’s words and spirit, and the challenge she seems to present to the status quo. As I have learned more about her, I have found out that everything is not as it seems, but I remain grateful for her presence on the scene anyway. Regardless of my own feelings, her popularity presents a teachable moment about media, social forces, and activism.

      • Listen to the Children

        The Republicans are on the sidelines on the climate crisis.  Government scientists are muzzled.  Leading Democrats—though not all—are cautious.  CEOs of some of America’s biggest corporations are pledging action while others, like investment firms, fossil fuel companies, and Charles Koch’s lobbyists, are downright hostile. And Donald Trump, the world’s leading climate change denier, will not even attend a UN climate summit on September 23 even though he will be in the UN building the same day.

      • Seabed carbon storage may help in climate crisis

        The Blue Planet hasn’t been considered as a solution to the climate crisis. Three scientists advocate a sea change in global thinking: seabed carbon storage.

      • Favorite Things: Greta, Ariana, Coltrane and the Von Trapps

        Greta Thunberg’s four-minute jeremiad at the United Nations this past Monday was delivered not standing behind a pulpit or kneeling on rocky ground. With perfect posture she perched at the front of a bright white modernist chair that made her magenta raiment appear as angry as victim’s blood. The chair was an oddly clinical prop for a martyr’s castigation: “This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be in school on the other side of the ocean.” The saint doesn’t chose her path to righteousness. She is chosen.

      • A Twenty-First Century Children’s Crusade

        “You Had Your Future, And So Should We”

      • Decimation of the Rainforests and the Money Men

        During August thousands of fires ravaged the Amazon rainforest in Brazil and Bolivia. Some are still burning. In the wet ecosystem of the rainforest fires are not a natural phenomenon, they are started by people, mostly well-organized criminal gangs that profit from illegal logging and land clearance.

      • Extinction Rebellion Activists in Sacramento

        Over 20 activists from the Extinction Rebellion today targeted the offices of the Western State Petroleum Association (WSPA) offices at 1415 L St. at 12 Noon. They sang songs, shouted out chants and briefly blocked the street in front of the WSPA offices just down the street from the State Capitol. There were no arrests.

      • Climate Change and Consciousness Shift

        Climate change: It feels like the approaching End Times.

      • Energy

        • Is Natural Gas the New Coal?

          “The industry really is at a critical juncture,” Coleman said. “We run the risk of being demonized like that other fossil fuel out there called coal.”

        • Finnair joins Nordic initiative for electric aviation

          The NEA network will organize workshops and other events to build knowledge and cooperation in the Nordic countries. At present, the network has eleven members: Air Greenland, Avinor, Braathens Regional Airlines, El-fly AS, Finnair, Heart Aerospace, Iceland Air, NISA (Nordic Innovation Sustainable Aviation), RISE, SAS and Swedavia.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Destruction of Public Education in Providence

        Someday, after the operatic cycle of Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo’s political career has reached its concluding note, it will be a masterpiece of neoliberal assault upon the public sector, the commons, and the fabric of the welfare state in America to behold. It is absolutely essential, in order for the faculty and the students of Providence to fight back and win in this contest, to form a broad-based coalition that is centered on the success of students and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline.

      • What’s In It For Me? Turning Citizens Into Customers

        Sociation by consumption

      • Corporate Media Still Waiting for Trump to Knock Over a Bank

        Here’s a Doonesbury cartoon by Garry Trudeau from 1974:

      • Shailly Gupta Barnes, Frances Fox Piven on Defining and Ending Poverty

        This week on CounterSpin: “‘When I use a word,’” says Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty “in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’” So it is with corporate media when it comes to money—the idea, if not the word. Congress passes a $700 billion Pentagon bill, and the New York Times calls it “a muscular vision of America as a global power”—with not a hint of consideration of whether that muscularity could’ve been bought for maybe a billion or two less. The same media find important indeed the difference between a family of four living on $24,000 a year and one living on $48,000. In discussion of how much help the government should provide, they say the conflation of those two groups is unacceptable.

      • Are We Possessed by Our Possessions?

        Virtually everyone agrees that people in the advanced capitalist nations have way too many possessions. Three and four car families, multiple televisions and numerous devices to send and receive messages and media all day and all night. Of course, many more people have considerably less, even in the United States, where possessions are totems to the public’s capitalist faith. In recent years it seems that more and more observers of this need to possess have called on the consuming masses to slow down and consider their buying practices in terms of the planet’s future. The fact that this addiction to things has helped create and ecological disaster is finally sinking in.

      • How Bitcoin Ends

        The problem was that the aristocracy, who hadn’t created value themselves for hundreds of years, was losing its stranglehold over the masses. As the poor grew wealthy, the wealthy grew relatively poorer. So they outlawed local moneys, and replaced them with central currency. Central currency sometimes had trivial bits of gold in it, but that’s not where it got its value. No, central currency was valuable by decree.

        Everyone who wanted to transact from then on had to pay kings and their banks for the privilege of using coin of the realm. All money was borrowed from the central treasury, at a rate of interest set by the king. People had to pay back more than they borrowed. It was a terrible drain. The rising merchant middle class of the late Middle Ages became incapable of transacting on their own; the money was just too expensive. The merchant class became peasants and laborers again, the cities became the only place to work, and the plague soon followed.

        And that’s the system we’re stuck with today, with central banks issuing money, and banking conglomerates lending it to the public and verifying our transactions for a fee. All of our businesses are just subsidiaries of a banking system with a legal monopoly over our money.

      • No Help for the Homeless, Please!

        After reading the news, I find Trumps recent comments regarding America’s homeless particularly appalling, scary and dangerous. According to Trump the homeless are “living on our best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings, where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes.” “How the hell can we get these people off the streets?” he was also reported to have asked by a senior administration official. (Wash. Post)

      • Workers are Asking, Whose Side Are You On?

        More than 2,200 nurses at the University of Chicago Medical Center went out on strike last week, but they are not alone. American workers are waking up and walking out.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • U.K.’s Boris Johnson Denies He’s Inciting Violence Against Brexit Foes

        British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday rebuffed allegations that he was inciting violence by accusing his Brexit opponents of “surrender” and “betrayal,” saying the only way to calm the simmering tensions was to stop delaying and leave the European Union.

      • The Case for Impeachment Goes Far Beyond Ukraine

        “Has Trump finally gone too far?” There’s a headline you’ve seen a thousand times.

      • Neoliberalism: The Ideology that Dares not Speak its Name

        The question, “What is neoliberalism?” invites a response similar to the old canard about art: “I don’t know what it is, but I know it when I see it”. Unlike art, which seldom rears its head outside a rarified, specially designated setting, neoliberalism is everywhere, which is why we seldom acknowledge its ubiquity, even as we endure its predations on every aspect of our lives.

      • Does the USA Have a Slavery Habit?

        As part of its “1619 Project” on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first African slaves in North America, the New York Times Magazine ran an essay with the somewhat radical message in its title: “American Capitalism Is Brutal. You Can Trace That to the Plantation” (Matthew Desmond, 8/14/19). But how will studying slavery help us understand modern concerns like rising inequality? After all, America banned slavery long ago; not even Nazis want to bring it back.

      • Subpoenas Mark First Concrete Steps for Trump Impeachment

        WHouse Democrats took their first concrete steps in the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump on Friday, issuing subpoenas and demanding documents from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and scheduling legal depositions for other State Department officials.

      • Anatomy of a Conspiracy Theory

        It’s not the first time I have seen this particular meme on Facebook. It is rather striking and these days I see it (or something like it) perhaps every other week.  It involves a sinister looking, decrepit old man in a black suit, grinning luridly, affixing the camera with a furtive stare.  The background has been blacked out so that the man’s features achieve a heightened definition; the large-domed forehead, the few straggly white hairs which draggle from it, and the long pronounced nose.  Next to him are a few lines of plain white text which are equally striking in the dark. ‘My name is Jacob Rothschild’, the reader is informed. ‘My family is worth 500 trillion dollars.  We own nearly every central bank in the world.  We financed both sides of every war since Napoleon. We own your news, the media, your oil and your government.’  And then finally, with a sinister flourish:  ‘You have probably never heard of me.’

      • Why Warren Can’t Win

        It looks like the elites, the establishment, whatever your choice name is for it—have decided that Elizabeth Warren will be their nominee. OK. Of course no outcome is a foregone conclusion—but they apparently see Biden will fail, Kamala Harris, Buttigieg et al. are not serious contenders, and of course, Bernie has to be stopped.

      • Episode 47 – Are Sports Political? – Along The Line Podcast

        Along the Line, is a member of the Demcast network, brought to you by the Media Freedom Foundation. On today’s episode hosts are Nicholas Baham III (Dr. Dreadlocks), Janice Domingo,  and Nolan Higdon explore the history of politics and sports. ATL’s  Creative Director is Dylan Lazaga.  Mickey Huff is ATL’s producer. ATL’s engineer is Janice Domingo. Adam Armstrong is ATL’s webmaster.

      • To Joe Biden, Trump’s Potential Successor Mike Pence “Is a Decent Guy”

        When Joe Biden told an audience that Mike Pence “is a decent guy,” Pence had already been vice president for more than two years. After the comment drew fierce criticism, Biden responded that he’d said it “in a foreign policy context” — an odd effort at damage control, given that Pence has publicly backed every one of President Trump’s countless abhorrent policies, whether foreign or domestic.

      • Trump’s Ukraine Plotting Has Been Happening in Plain Sight. So Why Didn’t We See It?

        Try for a moment to imagine the world as it was a week ago. Before we knew that President Donald Trump put the squeeze on another country to investigate his political opponent, before we knew he wanted to involve the attorney general, or that aid may have been held up in the plotting.

        Except, we did know each of those things. The president hasn’t been quiet about what he’s up to. And while we didn’t know many details, much of the hanky-panky has been happening right before our eyes.

      • Where Do Illinois Lawmakers Stand on Impeachment?

        Oh, there was just a little bit of national news this week. While the Trump-Ukraine and impeachment stories keep breaking, we thought we’d keep you informed on what’s happening in Illinois in the meantime. Here’s a slice:

        1. Each of the 13 House Democrats from Illinois support an impeachment inquiry. Two House Republicans, Mike Bost, of the 12th Congressional District, and Darin M. LaHood, of the 18th District, have stated they do not. Three House Republicans had not made a statement as of Thursday afternoon, according to this list via The New York Times. Crain’s Chicago Business reporter Greg Hinz followed up with some House members, including the Democract Dan Lipinski, of the 3rd District, “a relative conservative who has been reluctant to board the impeachment train” but who tweeted his support for an investigation.

      • US Refugee Action Has Worldwide Impact

        The United States government announced on Thursday that it will cap the annual number of refugees admitted at 18,000 – by far its lowest ceiling in 4 decades.

      • What Isn’t Mentioned About the Trump-Ukraine ‘Scandal’
      • Trump Announces Plan to Admit Fewer Refugees Than Any Previous President

        The Trump administration yesterday announced its plan to admit 18,000 refugees this fiscal year, taking another step in its agenda to dismantle the program that has long provided protection for people and families seeking safety from persecution. This sickening announcement is consistent with Trump’s attacks on refugees, Muslims, and immigrants across the board — particularly those who are Brown or Black.

      • The Trump Administration Can’t Force Colleges to Further Its Anti-Muslim Agenda

        In a move that would make even Senator McCarthy blush, the Trump administration is threatening to pull federal funding from a Middle East Studies program for failing to toe the government’s line on Islam and Muslims.

      • Heroes, Villains and Establishment Hypocrisy

        Trump and Johnson’s populism have shaken the old Establishment, and raised some very interesting questions about who is and who is not nowadays inside the Establishment and a beneficiary of the protection of the liberal elite. Yesterday two startling examples in the news coverage cast a very lurid light on this question, and I ask you to consider the curious cases of Hunter Biden and Brendan Cox, two of the most undeserving and unpleasant people that can be imagined.

      • Whistleblower Probe Tests GOP’s Alliance with Trump

        One Republican hadn’t read the whistleblower’s complaint. Another called President Donald Trump’s conversation with the Ukraine leader “thin gruel” for any impeachment effort. A third said the whole thing was “blown way out of proportion.”

      • Are Democrats Sitting on a Separate, Explosive Whistleblower Charge?

        House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Richard Neal is reportedly sitting on a credible and “potentially explosive” whistleblower complaint alleging that President Donald Trump attempted to influence an IRS audit of his tax returns.

      • Cuba, OFAC, Fines and Extraterritoriality

        Those of us who follow events going on in Cuba–as well as Cuba’s international relations – should discuss the extraterritorial power that the US Treasury Department has to impose huge financial fines on non US foreign financial institutions.

      • Joe Biden’s Remarks About Mike Pence Should Be Disqualifying

        When Joe Biden told an audience that Mike Pence “is a decent guy,” Pence had already been vice president for more than two years. After the comment drew fierce criticism, Biden responded that he’d said it “in a foreign policy context”—an odd effort at damage control, given that Pence has publicly backed every one of President Trump’s countless abhorrent policies, whether foreign or domestic.

      • The 2020 Democratic Impeachment Strategy and Why it Makes Sense Now

        For so long “If to impeach the president?” was the question, now the question is “When?” Maybe thus far Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision not to pursue impeachment of Donald Trump made electoral sense.  But increasingly a 2020 impeachment next summer just as the presidential general election is kicking into high gear makes sense both as a tool to mobilize the Democratic base, weaken Donald Trump, and place pressure on Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senate.

      • The Problem With Impeachment

        Impeaching Donald Trump would do nothing to halt the deep decay that has beset the American republic. It would not magically restore democratic institutions. It would not return us to the rule of law. It would not curb the predatory appetites of the big banks, the war industry and corporations. It would not get corporate money out of politics or end our system of legalized bribery. It would not halt the wholesale surveillance and monitoring of the public by the security services. It would not end the reigns of terror practiced by paramilitary police in impoverished neighborhoods or the mass incarceration of 2.3 million citizens. It would not impede ICE from hunting down the undocumented and ripping children from their arms to pen them in cages. It would not halt the extraction of fossil fuels and the looming ecocide. It would not give us a press freed from the corporate mandate to turn news into burlesque for profit. It would not end our endless and futile wars. It would not ameliorate the hatred between the nation’s warring tribes—indeed would only exacerbate these hatreds.

      • Russian youth affairs agency plans to spend 3 million rubles on teaching students to combat ‘fake news and post-truth’

        Rosmolodyozh, Russia’s federal agency for youth affairs, plans to develop programming that will teach university students how to stand up against “fake news,” “post-truth” and rhetorical manipulation techniques.

      • Dialogue in Venezuela is a Missed Opportunity for Democrats

        Days after the Democratic presidential candidates missed yet another opportunity to challenge President Donald Trump’s failed Venezuela policy on the debate stage on September 12, President Nicolás Maduro signed an important agreement with four opposition parties. These events offer insight into the differing perspectives on the economic, social and political crises in Venezuela – one perspective from the Washington political establishment, the other from Venezuelans.

      • Hong Kong Leader’s ‘Listening Mode’ Isn’t Enough

        Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam yesterday spent more than two hours facing angry questions and condemnations from people at a “community dialogue session,” organized after four months of massive street protests. 

      • Policy Manifesto

        Given we’re likely to have a General Election soon I’m considering forming my own party and so with that in mind I’ve roughed out some bare bones of a manifesto. Obviously, I need a catchy name but I can’t think of one for the minute.

      • Solitude and the Love of the Human Race

        When I return from a solo backpacking trip, all I want is company.  I see another person at the trail’s end, at the road that leads back to the cities, I’m a slavering dog – I hump all legs, my tongue is out, I run around in circles, I want to talk and talk.  My fellow humans seem god-sent, their presence like a long-awaited lovemaking.

      • Towards a More Mature Democracy

        You could be forgiven (but what’s the fun in that), if you were to think. Looking at Jacques-Louis David’s neoclassical painting The Death of Socrates, you could believe you’re seeing Socrates giving the bird to democracy and demanding that Crito give him the goddamned chalice full of hemlock, and get out of the way. There are different versions of what Socrates’ last words were. I thought I heard, “Tell my neighbor, Asclepius, he’s a cock, and I owe him one.” But I’d just come off reading The Clouds, Aristophanes’ take-down of Socrates, so I could be wrong. All we know is that he was in a foul mood.

      • The Class Struggle in the Old West

        While channel surfing the other night, I was intrigued to see “Heaven’s Gate” playing on Showtime, Michael Cimino’s 1980 revisionist Western that many critics viewed as both a Marxist tract in the vein of Luchino Visconti and the greatest flop in Hollywood history. That the two views could be the most common refrains about the film tells you a lot about the spurious characterization of Tinseltown as “leftist”.

      • Rotten in Tunisia: the Corrupt Rule of Ben Ali

        He was the prototypical strong man softened by tactical reforms, blissfully ignorant before the fall, blown off in the violent winds of the Arab Spring. Having come to power in 1987 on the back of a coup against the 84-year-old Habib Bourguiba, whom he accused of senility, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was the face of Tunisia till 2011, when he exited his country’s politics in a swift repairing move to Saudi Arabia. Previous whiffs of revolution – for instance, in 2008 in Gafsa – had been contained and quelled by what was a distinct mukharabat-intelligence security state.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Russia starts rolling out DPI filtration tech that might finally block Telegram

        Russia’s federal censor has started testing new digital filtration equipment that could finally make it possible to block access to the instant messenger Telegram. A source participating in the pilot project told the news website RBC that DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) technology is rolling out in Russia’s Ural Federal District, enabling ISPs to analyze and filter specific Internet traffic (a more sophisticated form of online censorship than simply blocking whole IP addresses, which has failed against Telegram).

      • Russian foreign interference committee to investigate several media sources, including ‘Meduza’

        The State Duma committee to investigate foreign political interference has agreed to examine stories published by several news outlets based abroad for potential violations of Russian laws. Lawmakers will target reporting by the BBC Russian Service, MBK Media, Voice of America, Radio Svoboda, Current Time, and Meduza. It’s not yet clear what reports the committee intends to review.

      • Adland Shuts Down After Web Host Complies With Bullshit DMCA Notice

        Those of you familiar with Adland will know just how useful and interesting a site it was for anyone interested in the recent history of commercial advertising. Started in 1996, the site served as a repository of commercials and a place that commented on ads and their impact on the advertising world. Cool concept. Adland has also made a fair amount of noise in being pro-copyright, dismissive of the concepts of “free” anything, and has on at least one occasion given Techdirt some shit for our stances, in this case on allowing users to turn off ads on our site.

      • DC Circuit Hears Oral Argument In The Constitutional Challenge Of FOSTA

        It is impossible to read the tea leaves at an oral argument and come away with any dependable prediction of how the judges will rule. But at the oral argument last Friday at the DC Circuit it appeared that the judges at least understood what they needed to in order to rule in the plaintiffs’ favor and revive their Constitutional challenge of FOSTA.

      • What’s Australian For Streisand Effect? Perhaps It’s Fatty McFuckhead

        We’ve covered a few times just how strange Australian defamation law can be, so I wouldn’t even take a guess at how the courts might come down on the question of whether or not calling billionaire Clive Palmer “Fatty McFuckhead” is defamatory. However, I will note that if Palmer didn’t want people to start associating himself with the name Fatty McFuckhead, he might have thought twice about threatening to sue someone over that moniker.

      • Top court says “right to be forgotten” doesn’t always apply outside EU – and orders search engines to manipulate results

        One of the more controversial elements of EU data protection law is the so-called “right to be forgotten” (RTBF), which dates back to 2014. This allows EU citizens to request internet search engines such as Google to remove search results directly related to them. Despite its misleading name, they are not “forgotten”: the material that relates to them remains on the Internet. It is just that the direct route to finding it using a search engine is removed – it is a right to “de-referencing”. Indirect searches will still locate the material. The law within the EU was well established. But the question then arose: what about Google’s sites outside the EU? If they could be used to find material that had been de-referenced on Google’s sites in the EU, then RTBF was greatly reduced. This was such an important question that it ended up before the top EU court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which has now handed down its judgment. It concludes:

      • That time my husband reported me to the Facebook police: a case study

        Here’s what happened. San Francisco’s Legion of Honor Museum has a room devoted to Rodin sculptures, including an 1877 nude called The Age of Bronze. A large informational placard next to the piece shows a photo of the original model, a muscular naked man, posing in Rodin’s studio. I put a picture of the placard on Facebook, along with a very insightful and mature comment about how well San Francisco curators know their audience.

        Sometime in the next two hours, my husband flagged the picture as inappropriate, and I got this notice: [...]

      • Nigeria Misuses Overbroad Cyberstalking Law: Levels Charges Against Political Protester Sowore

        EFF has long been concerned that—unless carefully drafted and limited—cyberstalking laws can be misused to criminalize political speech. In fact, earlier this year we celebrated a federal court decision in Washington State in the United States that tossed out an overbroad cyberstalking law.  In the case, the law had been used to silence a protester who used strong language and persistence in criticizing a public official. EFF filed an amicus brief in that case where we cautioned that such laws could be easily misused and the court agreed with us.  Now the problem has occurred in a high-profile political case in Nigeria. Just this week the Nigerian government formally filed “cyberstalking” charges against Omoyele Sowore, a longtime political activist and publisher of the respected Sahara Reporters online news agency. Sowore had organized political protests in Nigeria under the hashtag #RevolutionNow and conducted media interviews in support of his protest. He was detained along with another organizer between early August and late September before being granted bail. He reports that he has been beaten and denied access to his family and, for a while, denied access to an attorney. The charges make clear that this prosecution is a misuse of the overbroad cyberstalking statute, passed in 2015. They state that Sowore committed cyberstalking by: “knowingly sent messages by means of press interview granted on ‘arise Television’ network which you knew to be false for the purpose of causing insult, enmity, hatred and ill-will on the person of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”  That’s it. The prosecution claims that you can “cyberstalk” the President by going on TV and saying allegedly false things about him with a goal of causing “insult” or “ill-will.”

      • Louisiana’s Terrible Criminal Defamation Law Again Being Used To Unconstitutionally Target A Critic Of Law Enforcement

        Louisiana’s stupid, unconstitutional criminal defamation law remains on the books despite the state’s highest court reaching this conclusion nearly forty years ago:

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • The FISA Oversight Hearing Confirmed That Things Need to Change

        Section 215, the controversial law at the heart of the NSA’s massive telephone records surveillance program, is set to expire in December. Last week the House Committee on the Judiciary held an oversight hearing to investigate how the NSA, FBI, and the rest of the intelligence community are using and interpreting 215 and other expiring national security authorities. 

        Congress last looked at these laws in 2015 when it passed the USA FREEDOM Act, which sought to end bulk surveillance and to bring much-needed transparency to intelligence agency activities. However, NSA itself has revealed that it has been unable to stay within the limits USA FREEDOM put on Section 215’s “Call Detail Records” (CDR) authority. In response to these revelations, we’ve been calling for an end to the Call Details Records program, as well as additional transparency into the government’s use of Section 215. If last week’s hearing made anything clear, it’s this: there is no good reason for Congress to renew the CDR authority.

      • South Africa Bans Bulk Collection. Will the U.S. Courts Follow Suit?

        The High Court in South Africa has issued a watershed ruling: holding that South African law currently does not authorize bulk surveillance. The decision is a model that we hope other courts, including those in the United States, will follow.

      • Rich Dude Goes Back On His Promise About Forcing California Into A Dreadfully Bad Privacy Law, Brings A Worse Version Back

        California is inching ever closer to having its very problematic privacy law take effect. As we’ve noted, while good privacy legislation would be desirable, this is not it. Indeed, this law is woefully undercooked by design. If you don’t remember, the process by which we got here dictated terrible results. A wealthy real estate developer, Alastair Mactaggart, decided that he was going to “fix” internet privacy, by putting a truly bad proposal regarding internet privacy to a public vote, using California’s somewhat horrific public referendum system — that allows for the public to effectively modify California’s constitution by popular vote.

      • AT&T Proclaims It Cannot Be Sued For Selling Your Location Data To Random Nitwits

        You’ll of course recall that wireless carriers are in the midst of a massive, ongoing scandal involving your location data. As in, they’ve been repeatedly caught collecting and selling your daily movement habits to a rotating crop of random nitwits, including stalkers and folks pretending to be law enforcement. And while they say they’ve stopped the practice there’s no way to be sure, given that the current industry-friendly FCC has yet to pressure (or even mildly scold) them, much less conduct any real investigation into whether mobile carriers have actually stopped, or what they’ve done with location data collected over the last decade.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Lebanon: Access to Information Law Stalled

        Lebanese authorities have largely failed to comply with the country’s Right to Access to Information Law, and the government has not established the body designated to oversee its implementation nearly three years after its passage, Human Rights Watch said today.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • A Turning Point on Racial Equality

        At this September’s Democratic presidential debate — held at a historically black college in Houston — some 14 million Americans tuned in to watch the 10 leading candidates debate each other for the first time.

      • Politicians Agree: “Any White Cop Can Kill a Black Man”

        In 2017 my CounterPunch article, “Any White Cop Can Kill a Black Man at Any Time,” told how St. Louis cop Jason Stockley killed a 24-year-old black man, Anthony Lamar Smith. Though Stockley claimed he had fired in self defense when Smith pulled a gun on him, evidence showed that he had planted the gun after the killing. When Stockley was found “not guilty” protests by thousands in St. Louis lasted for months, just as in 2014 when another white cop Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown in neighboring Ferguson.

      • Can Literature Really Be an Agent of Political Resistance?
      • Moscow’s Higher School of Economics fires instructor, following sexual misconduct allegations

        Moscow’s Higher School of Economics has fired an instructor, after a former student accused him of sexual misconduct towards other students at a high school where he taught previously. The Higher School of Economics’s press office told MBKh Media that an internal investigation found that Alexander Kuznetsov behaved inappropriately, violating the ethical boundaries in place between staff and students. Kuznetsov has not commented publicly on his dismissal.

      • ‘The Remedies That Were Proposed Weren’t About Ending the List’
      • Lawsuit: School Strip-Searched An 8-Year-Old Because Someone Found Feces On A Bathroom Floor

        Here’s what we’re strip-searching elementary school students for these days: the existence of feces on a school bathroom floor.

      • Language as a Prison: Why Do We Fall in Love?

        I recently had a guest visiting for a few days. On a lovely summer evening, we went for a walk. When I asked how his day went, he said it was frustrating because he wasted two hours trying to authenticate an email account. I expressed my sympathy for his lost time. He added, “First world problems, you know.” I remained silent. He looked at me and asked, “You know what the phrase, ‘first world problems’ means right?” I said I knew what it meant, but I never liked using it. He was shocked about why I would have a problem with such a widely used phrase in English. He then assured me that he did not mean it in an arrogant way, but rather to show that he was mindful that there are many greater hardships happening around the world than what he had experienced on that day. When all his attempts to justify the innocence of this phrase failed, he finally asked me directly about what I thought was problematic about it.

      • Venezuela: UN Creates Independent Investigative Body

        The United Nations Human Rights Council has taken a crucial step to ensure that Venezuelan victims have access to justice and that those responsible for serious abuses are held accountable for their crimes. 

      • Hundreds of Thousands of Chicago Motorists Could Receive Debt Relief From Vehicle Sticker Tickets as the City Expands Reform

        The city of Chicago said Friday that it will wipe out some, if not all, debt due to unpaid vehicle sticker tickets for motorists who come into compliance by the end of October, a program that has the potential to benefit an estimated 500,000 motorists and lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in debt forgiveness.

        The announcement comes as the office of City Clerk Anna Valencia prepares to offer its own amnesty program next month allowing residents to buy prorated vehicle stickers without incurring late penalties.

      • US: Judge Blocks Indefinite Family Detention

        (Los Angeles, CA, September 27, 2019) – A federal judge’s ruling on September 27, 2019, to block the Trump administration’s new rules allowing indefinite detention of children with their parents is a victory for the rights of migrant children, Human Rights Watch said today.

      • Judge Blocks Trump Rules for Detained Migrant Kids

        A U.S. judge on Friday blocked new Trump administration rules that would enable the government to keep immigrant children in detention facilities with their parents indefinitely.

      • Google Says Google Translate Can’t Replace Human Translators. Immigration Officials Have Used It to Vet Refugees.

        It’s a common internet experience: throw a foreign phrase into Google Translate or any other online translation tool and out comes a farcical approximation of the real thing.

        That’s why many experts — even Google itself — caution against relying on the popular Google Translate for complex tasks. Google advises users that its machine translation service is not “intended to replace human translators.”

      • Egypt: Hundreds Arrested in Nationwide Crackdown

        Egyptian authorities have arrested nearly 2,000 people in a sweeping nationwide crackdown following anti-government protests that erupted on September 20, 2019. Authorities acknowledged only 1,000 arrests.

      • The Two Internationalisms

        In recent years, internationalism—cooperation among nations for promotion of the common good—has acquired a bad reputation.

      • White students called a 10-year-old black girl the N-word as they beat her up on a bus, court documents say

        The 10-year-old girl says this happened “because of the color of my skin, how my hair looks , how I dress and that I look different from them.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Sprint Busted For Allegedly Defrauding The FCC Lifeline Program

        For years, big cellular carriers have been busted defrauding the FCC Lifeline program, a fund that’s supposed to help subsidize telecom connectivity for low income users. Started by Reagan and expanded by Bush, the fairly modest program doles out a measly $9.25 per month subsidy that low-income homes can use to help pay a tiny fraction of their wireless, phone, or broadband bills (enrolled participants have to chose one). While the program (which you pay into via your telecom bills) has been a subject of fraud, the agency has done some solid work under both parties trying to rein in abuse of the program.

      • Study Proves The FCC’s Core Justification For Killing Net Neutrality Was False

        But a new study from George Washington University indicates that Pai’s claims were patently false. The study took a closer look at the earnings reports and SEC filings of 8,577 unique telecom companies from Q1 2009 through Q3 2018 to conclude that the passage and repeal of the rules had no meaningful impact on broadband investment.

        “The results of the paper are clear and should be both unsurprising and uncontroversial,” The researchers said. “The key finding is there were no impacts on telecommunication industry investment from the net neutrality policy changes. Neither the 2010 or 2015 US net neutrality rule changes had any causal impact on telecommunications investment.”

        While the study is the biggest yet to do so, it’s not the first to reach this conclusion.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • A Walk in the Deference Labyrinth: Further Comment on Facebook v. Windy City

          As noted in a Patently-O post of September 18, in Facebook, Inc. v. Windy City Innovations, LLC, Nos. 2018-1400 et al. (Fed. Cir. Aug. 12, 2019), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit requested supplemental briefing on the extent to which it should give deference to the precedential interpretation of a Patent Act joinder provision that the Precedential Opinion Panel (“POP”) of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) adopted in Proppant Express Investments, LLC v. Oren Technologies, LLC, IPR2018-00914 (P.T.A.B. Mar. 13, 2019). As explained in the earlier post, in Proppant, the POP interpreted the language of 35 U.S.C. § 315(c), which permits the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) Director, in instituting an inter partes review (IPR), to “join as a party to that inter partes review any person who properly files a petition under section 311 that the Director … determines warrants the institution of an inter partes review under section 314.” This post is not concerned with the substance of the POP’s interpretation but instead the different ways in which the Federal Circuit might resolve or avoid the deference question, which could determine more generally (i.e., in cases involving interpretation of other provisions of the Patent Act) the extent to which the Federal Circuit gives deference to statutory interpretations of the POP. The deference question is relatively easily stated, but arguments about it can become intricate.

          [...]

          The United States’ brief rejects the notion that a specific statutory authorization to issue “regulations” implicitly precludes an agency from “issu[ing] binding [statutory] interpretations through other mechanisms Congress also provided”—in this case, PTAB adjudication. U.S. Brief, supra, at 8. In support of this position, the Government invokes a principle that agencies generally have a choice of policymaking mode—a principle with long-standing resonance in U.S. administrative law, see, e.g., Peter L. Strauss et al., Gellhorn and Byse’s Administrative Law: Cases and Comments 385 (11th ed. 2011). U.S. Brief, supra, at 8–11 & n.4. Alternatively, the United States’ brief might have sought to distinguish Judge Moore’s position in Aqua Products on the narrower ground that this position primarily contemplated substantive “standards,” not “rules on procedure,” which the opinion explicitly noted “are exempt from the notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements of § 553,” 872 F.3d at 1331–32 & n.4. Perhaps the United States declined to rely on this distinction because the Government wishes to avoid having deference questions turn on sometimes tricky classifications of substance and procedure. Joinder rules, for example, might on their face seem fundamentally procedural, cf. Luxliner P.L. Export, Co. v. RDI/Luxliner, Inc., 13 F.3d 69, 71–72 (3d Cir. 1993), but there might be an argument that the IPR joinder provision’s relationship with the statutory time bar for IPR petitions under 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) muddles its status, cf. Joseph v. Athanasopoulos, 648 F.3d 58, 65 (2d Cir. 2011) (quoting the New York Court of Appeals’ statement that “the impact of the Statute of Limitations, though often denominated as procedural, in a practical sense may also be said to be substantive,” Smith v. Russell Sage Coll., 429 N.E.2d 746, 750 (N.Y. 1981)).

          [...]

          The intricacies of the above arguments suggest that the Federal Circuit could do the patent community a substantial service by engaging with the question of what deference framework applies to a POP statutory interpretation such as that in Proppant—i.e., by pursuing path (2) or (3) in the three bullets above. Of course, if the Federal Circuit does answer such a question of general significance, that could increase Supreme Court interest in reviewing the decision. Several Justices have already signaled interest in reconsidering the reach and validity of the Chevron deference framework. This past June, five Justices went out of their way to indicate a belief that the framework’s validity is an open question. See Kisor v. Wilkie, 139 S. Ct. 2400, 2425 (2019) (Roberts, C.J., concurring in part); id. at 2446 n.114 (Gorsuch, J., concurring in the judgment); id. at 2449 (Kavanaugh, J., concurring in the judgment). Could Facebook be yet another patent case taken up by the Supreme Court?

        • Garmin: Applying Facts-to-the-Law vs Law-to-the-Facts

          In the petition, the challengers argue that patent eligibility should be seen as a pure question of law: Patent eligibility is a question of law for the court, and the Federal Circuit erred in holding otherwise.

        • There is No Such Thing as a Free Launch – CJEU Does Not Follow AG on Compensation for Wrongful PI

          On 12 September 2019, the Court of Justice handed down its (at least among patent litigators) eagerly awaited ruling (case C-688/17, not yet available in English) on a core principle of damages under Art. 9(7) of the Enforcement Directive for a wrongly-issued preliminary injunction. The AG Opinion can be consulted here and the respective Katpost here.

          The background of the decision is how to assess the “launch at risk” of a pharmaceutical product when a preliminary injunction is first granted and later lifted (typically because the patent in suit turns out to be invalid or is not infringed in main proceedings). Does the generic manufacturer’s failure to clear the way (by suing for invalidation of patents potentially infringed by the product prior to launch) preclude the grant of any compensation for the unjustified preliminary injunction? In short, while AG Pitruzzella had proposed that the question be answered by a “no, but…”, the Court takes the stance that the answer should be “yes, but…”.

        • Functionally defined medical devices at the EPO – is this a thing of the past?

          European patent EP 1 613 394 had a single independent claim to a device for the desynchronization of activity of pathologically active brain areas. While the opposition was initially based on lack of novelty and inventive step (obviousness) and inadmissible extension (added matter), the opposition division of the EPO (“OD”) introduced the opposition ground “exception to patentability” (patent eligibility) on its own motion. The opposition ground was introduced because the claim was thought to relate to a method for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy. After having introduced the ground, the OD dismissed it. Opponent appealed. In the appeal Opponent also argued patent eligibility. Board of Appeal 3.4.01 (a Physics board) provided a provisional opinion in which it provisionally dismissed the opposition ground raised under patent eligibility, but introduced yet another opposition ground. At such a late stage, case law from the enlarged Board of appeal makes the admissibility of this still other opposition ground be contingent on proprietor consenting. Proprietor did not consent. At the beginning of the oral proceedings, the BoA confronted the proprietor with a reversal of opinion on eligibility. The Board said that the claimed subject matter would likely, after all, lack patentability. In support, the Board pointed to Art. 53(c) EPC and to T 775/97 (issued by another BoA). The Board ultimately revoked the patent entirely as relating to non-eligible subject matter.

          The invention relates to a device for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia, or the like. This is a group of neurological disorders which the patent said is due to unwanted synchronization of the activities of pathologically active areas of the brain. The device for treating these conditions was claimed to be one for desynchronizing the activities of these areas. The device comprises at least two electrodes and control means. Claim 1 recites that the control means are designed such that, during operation, they control the at least two electrodes such that these stimulate at least two sub-populations of a neuron population to be desynchronized. The stimuli are further defined with reference to phase resets of the sub-populations, and the claim concludes with a functional statement that the stimuli are “such that the at least two sub-populations have different neural-activity phases after the phase resets produced by the stimuli”. So in summary and at the risk of over-simplifying, claim 1 contained a requirement that there be control means which is designed such that it emits certain stimuli causing the activity of the sub-populations in the brain to change.

          On the face of it, claim 1 is thus directed to a device, not a method; in a typical manner, the device is defined by means of a functional clause relating to the clinical effect. Art. 53(c) EPC, which governs exceptions to patentability or patent eligibility, conversely, is directed to methods, not devices. It says that European patents shall not be granted in respect of methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy and diagnostic methods practiced on the human or animal body. From this wording alone, one can clearly take that claims to products ought not to fall under the exception. Apparatus, device, or system claims are typically construed as product claims. Furthermore, Art. 53(c) EPC continues by clarifying in its last sub-clause that the provision recited in the first sub-clause “shall not apply to products, in particular substances or compositions, for use in any of the [non-patentable] methods”.

          [...]

          For us, this decision creates uncertainty. It also leaves us with a few practice points until the uncertainty has been resolved. The problem with the functional statement was identified in the perceived fact that the claimed function could only be delivered in vivo and in situ. So as to avoid the problem, one could, of course, avoid such functional statements in a claim. In a further step, specifications could be drafted so that they describe alternative ways of delivering the function ex situ, possibly in a machine environment, for instance for testing or calibration purposes. Doing so, however, may well result in a claim which the EPO understands to embrace both, patent eligible and non-eligible subject matter. The current EPO approach to such claims is to request that the non-eligible subject matter be excised from the claim, possibly by means of a disclaimer. It will need to be evaluated if the resulting scope is still of commercial interest.

      • Trademarks

        • AG Pitruzzella advises CJEU to rule that proprietor of trade mark revoked for non-use can seek compensation for infringing acts committed prior to revocation

          Is it possible to award compensation to a trade mark holder who has never exploited their trade marks and whose rights were revoked, in the context of an action for infringement of that trade mark by third parties?

          [...]

          The use of a trade mark is key for maintaining relevant rights and, in some Member States, to acquire rights over a sign.

          One of the implications of this Opinion is to limit the importance of use of a trade mark in the period of five years following registration, in that a trade mark holder can act for infringement even after their trade mark has been revoked.

          This is in line with a broader tendency to extend the scope of protection granted by trade marks. First, we have already seen the extension of the functions of trade marks; second, the analysis of likelihood of confusion between signs extends the protection of trade marks from what was purely the object of registration. In this case it could be stated that an abstract analysis, based only on the registration, may allow protecting a trade mark that has never been used and which has been revoked.

      • Copyrights

        • Case to determine whether states can ‘violate copyright with impunity’

          If the US Supreme Court upholds a previous decision, lawyers say that copyright holders will be unable to sue states in cases of infringement

        • AIPPI Congress Report 4: Copyright in AI generated works

          Should copyright (or related rights) subsist in works created using an AI system? If not, should these works obtain some other form of protection? These are thorny questions. They touch on the legal, economic and moral justification for intellectual property protection. They also require us to consider the relative value we attribute to human endeavor in creating works as compared to the human endeavor in creating AI systems which can themselves create works. With AI generated music available on streaming services, algorithms being signed to record labels and AI generated artworks sold at auction for six figure sums the answers to these questions already have real economic significance.

          Not an organisation to shy away from grappling with difficult questions, AIPPI’s 2019 Study Question “Copyright in artificially generated works” took stock of the current position and explored possibilities for future harmonisation. 30 AIPPI groups responded to the Study Question, published in January, expressing a wide range of views on the eligibility of AI generated works for existing forms of IP protection and the desirability for new forms of protection. The responses were helpfully summarised in advance of this year’s AIPPI Congress in London by the Reporter General’s Summary Report followed by a draft resolution. Over a seven hour session on Sunday, a three hour plenary on Monday and a vote on a final resolution on Wednesday, the promise of lively debate on this challenging and complex subject did not fail to disappoint.

        • New CJEU referral on right of communication to the public … this time on seeding and de minimis threshold

          As readers know, the CJEU has already clarified that, for there to be an act of communication to the public, what is required is (1) an act of communication to (2) a public. In addition, other interdependent, non-autonomous criteria might also come into consideration depending on the context, eg whether the defendant pursues a profit-making intention in linking cases.

          However, the question whether, besides all this, there is also a de minimis threshold that needs to be passed in relation to what is actually communicated is an interesting one. Unlike the right of reproduction in Article 2 of the InfoSoc Directive, in fact, Article 3(1) does not refer to the communication of a work “in whole or in part”. Hence, it may not be readily apparent whether there can be a communication also when what is being communicated is not a ‘work’ as a whole, but rather ‘individual pieces’ which are unusable.

        • Canadian ISPs Continue Quest To Bankrupt TVAddons, Site That Hosted Tons Of Legal Kodi Addons

          A few years back we wrote about how various Canadian telcos had appeared to completely lose their minds over TVAddons, a Canadian site that hosted various software add-ons for Kodi (open source home theater software that was originally the Xbox Media Center or XBMC). Now, it is true that there’s a thriving market in pirated content via Kodi boxes and the like, but TVAddons was just a site that hosted all sorts of add-ons, and most of them had nothing at all to do with infringing content. As we mentioned in our original article, out of over 1,500 add-ons, only 22 were found to involve infringing content. To put this in perspective, think of the VCR/Betamax in the early years, when Jack Valenti was insisting that it would be the “Boston Strangler” to the movie industry. Back then, a ton of the content being passed around on those tapes would likely be considered infringing — in part because that was before the industry learned to embrace home video (which quickly became a huge moneymaker for Hollywood). But that was found legal because, as the Supreme Court noted, there were “substantial non-infringing uses” of the technology. It seems pretty damn clear that there are “substantial non-infringing uses” of Kodi add-ons as well, and especially of a platform like TVAddons, that was there just to host those add-ons — and not to host any infringing content directly.

        • Kodi is Sick of Pirate Addons But Banning Them is Not an Option

          The Kodi media center is often linked to piracy. This frustrates the developers, none of whom are paid. The software they release is totally legal but some third-party addons and their promoters often cross the line. While a ban may seem like a logical solution to some, that’s out of the question, as it goes directly against Kodi’s open ecosystem philosophy.

        • ‘Pirate’ IPTV Traffic “Dropped 50%” After Xtream Codes Raid

          When IPTV management system Xtream-Codes was taken down as part of an EU anti-piracy operation last week, chaos ensured. With a large proportion of the illicit market estimated to use the software, large numbers of services went dark. According to data provided to TorrentFreak by networking equipment company Sandvine, illicit traffic nosedived by 50%.

        • Piracy will Surge if More Legal Streaming Services Launch, Research Shows

          A new survey conducted by Broadband Genie shows that piracy will surge if content is spread out across more streaming subscription services. In part due to increasing costs, the number of UK streaming subscribers who “pirate” on the side is set to double.

        • Just As Everyone Predicted: EU Copyright Directive’s Link Tax Won’t Lead To Google Paying Publishers

          Look, not only was the following story totally predictable, but many of us directly warned the EU of what would happen if they instituted a “link” or “snippet” tax as part of the EU Copyright Directive. Of course, EU officials totally ignored all of the experts (or listened to a bunch of idiots in the publishing industry who insisted that “this time it will be different,” despite multiple examples of link taxes not working) and put a link tax into law anyway.

09.28.19

Will Bill Gates’ Bribes to the Leader of India Harm India’s GNU/Linux Adoption and Will Gates Ever be Held Accountable for His Many Crimes?

Posted in Bill Gates, Fraud, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 8:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yes and no.

Bill Gates arrested
Bill Gates arrested before he had sufficient connections. Now people are given strategic awards (for corporate agenda of GMO, Microsoft etc.) named after a famous criminal glorified by press that he buys.

Summary: The reckless and likely illegal behaviour of Bill Gates (he was arrested in the past) continues to demonstrate that some people — especially those who bribe officials, media and so on — can get away with virtually anything

THE Stallman 'scandals' (whatever they are; mostly quote-mining very old posts of his), as we’ve just noted, ended his career; moreover, they’ve helped distract from Gates' Epstein affairs, which are the vastly bigger scandal (we wrote about this several times this past month). It certainly seems to boil down to connections, not deeds.

A reader has meanwhile asked us: “You following the Gates Foundation stuff in Kashmir?” He referred to Gates Foundation ‘gifts’ to the most powerful man in India, traditionally a growth area of Free/libre software. Cablegate (or CableGates) showed us what the Gates Foundation did in Tunisia in order to undermine GNU/Linux (OLPC). Bribing officials and heads of state through the Gates Foundation is habitual. Usually it’s not visible. It’s disguised (or laundered) as charity, children, social justice etc.

“It certainly seems to boil down to connections, not deeds.”The media has mostly ignored the aspect or angle of bribery, instead focusing on Kashmir. As the article “problem with the Gates Foundation’s award to Narendra Modi” put it: “Modi campaigned on a populist platform and was elected with a strong majority. He took that mandate and rescinded the special status of Kashmir, a mostly Muslim semi-autonomous region split between India and Pakistan. Modi then sent in police to make mass arrests. He’s also cut off mobile and internet service. At the same time, India is building mass detention camps in the northeastern state of Assam to hold what it considers “illegal immigrants,” mostly Muslim inhabitants who don’t have the paperwork to prove their citizenship. Modi’s rhetoric, meanwhile, has both incited Hindu violence around the country and inflamed tensions with Pakistan, a mostly Muslim country and India’s neighbor.”

“Isn’t it curious that the Microsoft Board can just bribe world leaders through a fake ‘charity’ and the sole scandal the press can see is something to do with Kashmir? And somehow child porn being found in Bill Gates’ home as well as strong ties to Epstein have led to not a single call to “remove Gates”?”Sabah Hamid has meanwhile published (3 days ago in the New York Times) “Why I Resigned From the Gates Foundation” and her reasons are politics, not the bribery. To quote: “Along with other staff at the India office of the Gates Foundation, I first heard about Mr. Modi being considered for the award a few months ago. I did not realize that the decision had already been made. It took me until early August to raise my questions, but I saw very quickly that the foundation had taken the decision and considered it irrevocable. That this endorsement of Mr. Modi would not do the Gates Foundation any good did not seem to be up for discussion.”

Isn’t it curious that the Microsoft Board can just bribe world leaders through a fake ‘charity’ and the sole scandal the press can see is something to do with Kashmir? And somehow child porn being found in Bill Gates' home as well as strong ties to Epstein have led to not a single call to “remove Gates”?

Shortly After Richard Stallman Says He’s Head of GNU He Writes “I Hereby Step Down as Head of the GNU Project, Effective Immediately” (Updated)

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux at 7:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What happened?

Update (16:00 GMT): turns out his site got defaced

Update (03/10/2019): Richard Stallman has since then stated he wants people to support the FSF.

Very confused

Summary: Very confusing times; it looks like Richard Stallman is being forcibly separated from everything he ever created as well as the place of those creations (MIT)

TORVALDS and Stallman are both being besieged, albeit in somewhat different ways; both are also at different stages of the apparently staged ‘phaseout’.

It’s all happening so quickly. MIT, FSF, now GNU. He’s being ‘canceled’.

“It’s all happening so quickly. MIT, FSF, now GNU.”As reported by Phoronix, Stallman sought to clarify that he had remained in charge of GNU, but posted a short time ago was this odd (contradictory) update:

I hereby step down as head of the GNU Project, effective immediately.

“Richard Stallman

Only two days earlier Stallman wrote (as a formal statement, not a reply to anything):

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: GNU Project
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2019 13:20:25 -0400

[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies, ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

On September 16 I resigned as president of the Free Software
Foundation, but the GNU Project and the FSF are not the same.
I am still the head of the GNU Project (the Chief GNUisance),
and I intend to continue as such.


Dr Richard Stallman
Founder, Free Software Foundation (https://gnu.org, https://fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)

It’s very clear that something then happened; someone contacted him. One can guess.

“It’s very clear that something then happened; someone contacted him. One can guess.”No further details given. As DarwinElf put it in our IRC channel, “first RMS said he’s remaining as head of GNU Project because it’s not the same as FSF… now a few days later he said he stepped down as head of GNU… is the theory he was pressured/ordered by bad actors? It’s on stallman.org… his news (political?) section…”

“I don’t want it to be taken over by a Lennart/Red Hat/IBM yesman…”

RMS “turned into that anyway,” MinceR joked.

“Either way, Richard Stallman seems to have been incapacitated.”He was referring to Stallman’s reluctance to say something negative about systemd.

Either way, Richard Stallman, the legendary “RMS”, seems to have been incapacitated.

What a major, catastrophic loss for the Free software movement.

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