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09.08.19

Links 9/9/2019: Linux 5.3 RC8, DXVK 1.3.4, Debian 9.11

Posted in News Roundup at 9:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.3-rc8
        So we probably didn't strictly need an rc8 this release, but with LPC
        and the KS conference travel this upcoming week it just makes
        everything easier.
        
        And partly because of the extra week, we then had a few fixes that
        maybe otherwise would have been delayed and marked for stable. The
        most notable one (but hopefully not very noticeable) is fixing race
        conditions in configfs. That won't affect very many people, with
        configfs not all that widely used, but Christoph and Al both felt it
        needed to be fixed.
        
        Other than that, it really is a very small rc (and hopefully the final
        week will be smaller still). In fact, the configfs fix along with a
        vhost revert is about half of the patch. The rest is various small
        things: a few sound fixes, some drm fixes, and a few other random
        fixes. Even in the drm case, the selftest addition is bigger than the
        core code patches.
        
        The appended shortlog is short enough that it's easy enough to scroll
        through if you are interested in the details.
        
      • Linux 5.3-rc8 Released To Let The Kernel Bake An Extra Week
      • Linux 5.3 Is Near With Radeon RX 5700 Support, Speed Select & MBP Keyboard/Trackpad

        The Linux 5.3 kernel is fit enough to be released today after another quiet week following 5.3-RC7. But due to the Linux Kernel Summit happening this week and Linus Torvalds traveling for that, he’s expected to delay the stable kernel release until next weekend so as to not open the Linux 5.4 merge window until he returns from the event.

      • Graphics Stack

        • This Handy Nvidia Optimus Linux Tool Makes Switching Between GPUs Easy

          This panel-based applet even supports the Nvidia PRIME offloading feature included in the latest NVIDIA 435.x Linux beta driver and the Nvidia 435.21 Linux stable drivers — both of which are now available in daily builds of Ubuntu 19.10.

          Nvidia PRIME offloading (for those who’ve not heard of it) is a useful feature that allows Linux users on multi-GPU set-ups (i.e. laptops with Nvidia Optimus) to offload specific intensive tasks to the discrete NVIDIA GPU, while using the lower-power integrated Intel GPU used to handle everything else.

        • Intel’s Open-Source VP9 Video Encoder Just Scored A Massive ~3x Performance Boost

          Intel’s open-source team continues showing the power of optimizations… Or rather in this case, a three fold performance improvement due to previously limiting an AVX-512 routine that also works on AVX-2 CPUs. SVT-VP9 is now a lot faster on AVX2 CPUs from both Intel and AMD.

          We were alerted today to this change to Intel’s SVT-VP9 video encoder. Oddly enough the title is “Fix the perf gap for Epyc CPU” And, yes, the fix was contributed by an Intel developer.

    • Benchmarks

      • PHP 7.4-RC1 Released With The Performance Looking Real Good – PHP 7.4 Benchmarks

        PHP 7.4-RC1 was released this week as this next annual update to the PHP programming implementation nears. Here is a look at how the PHP 7.4-RC1 performance looks like compared to the major releases going back to PHP 5.6.

        PHP 7.4-RC1 fixes a variety of bugs ranging from parsing errors to a segmentation fault to other core bugs. There are no new features with PHP 7.4 having been under its feature freeze since July. At least five more release candidates to PHP 7.4 are expected before its general availability release around the end of November.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • DXVK 1.3.4 is out with a few quick fixes, plus more updates to Proton GE

        Two bits of Wine related news for you to peruse over this fine Sunday evening, as both DXVK and Proton GE have new releases available.

        First up: the DXVK 1.3.4 maintenance release was just put out to solve a couple urgent issues. One of these is a problem with Winelib builds and the Wine 4.15 release and there’s a possible memory leak fixed with games using Direct2D.

        On top of that the game Control has “d3d11.allowMapFlagNoWait” enabled to improve GPU utilization and Quantum Break has a performance issue fixed for NVIDIA and older AMD drivers.

        The other project with a new release is Proton-4.15-GE-4, the unofficial version of Proton for Steam Play that pulls in a bunch of extras. Released today adding in some needed hotfixes for mf_install, an issue with the protonfixes import, the Warframe launcher should be fully working now with a wininet patch from upstream backported, the raw input patch was re-enabled and some updates for gamepad/mouse input.

      • DXVK 1.3.4 Released With More Workarounds, Performance Bits

        DXVK 1.3.4 has a Winelib workaround for builds with Wine 4.15, potential memory leak fixes for games just making use of Direct2D, a new d3d11.allowMapFlagNoWait toggle to help improve GPU utilization, and performance fixes for the game Quantum Break with NVIDIA and older AMD drivers. DXVK 1.3.4 is a small update but not bad for just a week’s worth of changes and after several notable recently DXVK updates.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Sketchnotes at Akademy 2019

          The conference part of this year’s Akademy is now over. Like last year, I did live sketchnoting of all the sessions I attended.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Julita Inca: A reason to go to GUADEC

          You may not know much about the GNOME project or the GNOME community. From my experience in the GNOME community for more than eight years, I can list some reasons to get to know more about it…

    • Distributions

      • Sparky Linux: Riot

        There is a new tool available for Sparkers: Riot

      • Reviews

        • Review: Adélie Linux 1.0 Beta

          Adélie Linux is a young project which was recently added to the DistroWatch waiting list. The project strives for a minimal, clean and portable design that uses free software exclusively. The project’s website describes Adélie as follows:
          Adélie Linux is a free, libre operating environment based on the Linux kernel. We aim for POSIX compliance, compatibility with a wide variety of computers, and ease of use without sacrificing features, setting us apart from other Linux distributions.
          Adélie uses the musl c library instead of the more commonly used GNU C Library. It also uses the classic SysV init software with the OpenRC service manager instead of the widely adopted systemd init suite. Adélie makes use of the APK package manager, which is very light and fast. APK is also used by Alpine Linux, though the two projects do not appear to share any specific code or utilities apart from the package manager. As mentioned above, Adélie’s website claims the project uses only libre software. This makes it possible to audit and modify any part of the operating system. Adélie also supports a wide range of CPU architectures, including: PPC, PPC64, ARM64, PMMX (i586), and x86_64. The distribution is available in two builds: Full and Live. Live is smaller and can download packages from the network during the installation. The Full edition includes all required packages, suitable for off-line installs. The Live edition for 64-bit x86_64 is a mere 128MB in size while Full is 321MB. Both are relatively small for a modern OS. I downloaded the Full edition for my trial.

          The live media boots to a text console very quickly. Adélie displays login information for the root account and an unprivileged account called “live”. Neither of these two accounts are password protected on the live media. When we sign in we are told we can get useful information by installing a handbook package (adelie-handbook) First we need to get on-line though as the network is not connected by default. Once on-line, I could not find any package called adelie-handbook or any package with “handbook” in the name.

      • Arch Family

        • Manjaro is taking the next step

          Started as a passion project by three ambitious guys back in 2011, Manjaro has evolved rapidly to establish itself as one of the most popular and well-known Linux distributions available today. Likely one of the main reasons for its success is a unique balance between a wide variety of an ever-growing diverse community and the consistency of a small and closely connected core team.

          Today, many thousands of users are relying on the constancy, stability and security associated with Manjaro daily. The development and maintenance have become considerably more time consuming and a much larger task than can be managed by a few people in their spare time.

          For some time, Philip has been investigating ways to secure the project in its current form and how to allow for activities which can’t be undertaken as a “hobby project”, and, along with the rest of the team, a plan of action has been created.

        • Arch-based Manjaro Linux Will Pursue Full-Time Maintainers, Ramping Up Efforts
        • Manjaro Linux Just Made A Massive Announcement About Its Future
        • Manjaro Linux Tries Forming A Company To Fund Full-Time Development

          Since 2011, Arch Linux-based Manjaro has focused on being a simple-to-use, accessible Linux desktop distribution with a friendly community… But as of today, Manjaro Linux is no longer just a Linux distribution — it’s officially transforming into a company with ambitious plans for its future. Say hello to Manjaro GmbH & Co. KG.

        • Manjaro levels up as a serious Linux distribution

          Today, the team at Manjaro [Official Site] shared some pretty big news for the future of the Linux distribution and it sounds great.

          A new company was officially formed as Manjaro GmbH & Co. KG, with Manjaro developers Philip Müller and Bernhard Landauer now being able to commit to the Linux distribution full time with the help of Blue Systems in an advisory role. On top of that, they’re working towards teaming up with the non-profit groups CommunityBridge and OpenCollective to handle their donation funding which can then be used towards project-related expenses.

          They say this will help them do quite a lot like: protect the independence of Manjaro, provide faster security updates and a more efficient reaction to the needs of users, provide the means to act as a company on a professional level, bring in additional contributors on a paid basis and so on.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian-based MX Linux 19 Beta 2.1 now available for download

          MX Linux is apparently becoming increasingly more popular these days, and I am not really sure why. Lately, I have been testing out the open source operating system, and I simply don’t understand the hype.

          Xfce, which MX uses, remains one of the worst desktop environment for end users — it is lightweight, but that aside, it offers nothing over the superior GNOME or KDE. If you own a HiDPI monitor (which more and more people have), Xfce remains a terrible experience.

          Some of the mx-apps and tweaks are appreciated, but nothing is really notable. The installer is average at best — hardly a positive experience. Conversely, I recently installed Pop!_OS again, and that installation was an absolute dream. Ultimately, MX’s fanfare seems unwarranted — it feels very outdated in 2019.

        • Updated Debian 9: 9.11 released

          The Debian project is pleased to announce the eleventh update of its oldstable distribution Debian 9 (codename stretch).

          This point release is primarily an update to the recently-released 9.10, in order to resolve a critical problem with the installer that was discovered during image testing.

          Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old stretch media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror.

          Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won’t have to update many packages, and most such updates are included in the point release.

        • Chasing around installing CD images for Buster 10.1 …

          and having great fun, as ever, making a few mistakes and contributing mayhem and entropy to the CD release process. Buster 10.1 point update just released, thanks to RattusRattus, Sledge and Isy and Schweer (amongst others).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu vs Linux Mint Distro Comparison

          With the constantly changing system and desktop requirements, our needs for a suitable operating system change too. For people belonging to the programming and software development field, an operating system or a distro matching their work capacity matters a lot. If you are a Linux user and looking for a new Linux distribution for your system, then the two best options you could consider – are Ubuntu, and Linux Mint. Keeping in mind both of the above distros have a number of editions to download from, so we will compare the latest ones for your ease.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • AKQA Melbourne helps develop open source software to save rainforests

        In collaboration with NGOs from all over the world, innovation and experience design company AKQA, has launched an open source software called Code of Conscience that restricts the use of heavy-duty vehicles in protected land areas.

        Code of Conscience uses open-source mapping data from the United Nations World Database on Protected Areas – updated monthly by NGOs, communities and governments – in conjunction with existing GPS tracking technology that’s installed in construction vehicles, to autonomously restrict deforestation crews from entering protected zones.

        A small, low-cost chip has been developed to equip the code into older, non-GPS models, and the software is available for free to everyone on CodeofConscience.org

        An invitation comprising the Code of Conscience chip embedded in a wooden sculpture of an endangered animal has been sent to the CEOs of the world’s top-ten construction equipment manufacturers, with a vision for all new machines to leave the factory with Code of Conscience pre-installed.

        Chief Raoni Metuktire – the most prominent Native Brazilian leader and a living symbol of the mission to preserve the rainforest and its indigenous culture – affirms the urgent need for action.

      • Industrifonden invests $1.5 million in Freemelt’s open source EBM technology

        The Freemelt One, is an electron beam melting 3D printer, intended for Additive Manufacturing materials R&D and requires only a small amount of powder to operate, making it affordable and fast for users to test different metal powders. Since it is an open-source system, it allows users to adapt and evolve the code, and share it within the community, to accelerate the development of tomorrow’s materials.

      • Introducing CUE, an open-source data constraint language that merges types and values into a single concept

        Inspired by Google’s General Configuration Language (GCL), a team of developers has now come up with a new language called CUE. It is an open-source data validation language, which aims to simplify tasks that involve defining and using data. Its applications include data validation, data templating, configuration, querying, code generation and even scripting.

        There are two core aspects of CUE that set it apart from other programming or configuration languages. One, it considers types as values and second, these values are ordered into a lattice, a partially ordered set.

      • Leadership Shakeup at Wasabi Wallet as Bitcoin Business Surges

        One of bitcoin’s most experimental startups has grown dramatically over the past year, highlighting both the opportunities and pitfalls of open source development.

      • Auterion, Open Source Operating System for Drones, Announces New MAVSDK: Software Development Kit for Drone Communications

        Auterion, the leading open-source operating system for enterprise drones, today announced the release of MAVSDK, a set of libraries in different programming languages (C++, Python, Swift, Java) that provide a high-level API to the MAVLink protocol for communication between a ground control station and drones, or the drone and a payload sensor.

        [...]

        “Until today, customizing operations in the MAVLink protocol required a deep understanding of complex subjects such as embedded systems, drone dynamics, and the C++ programming language,” said Kevin Sartori, co-founder of Auterion. “Now, with MAVSDK, any qualified mobile developer can write high-level code for complex operations, meaning more developers will be able to build custom applications and contribute to the community.”

      • Binance launches ‘Binance X’, aims at building open-source crypto software

        Crypto-exchange giants, Binance, launched BInance X to extend its research in open-source blockchain development. They will be funding more than 40 developers researching open-source crypto software. Binance X also hopes to assist “evangelists” to promote education around the space by providing resources to projects in various stages of development.

        Binance X offers a fellowship program that is aimed at research and development of open-source blockchain software. The exchange has not yet disclosed any information on how much funds it will provide for the 40 project leads that have already signed on as Binance X fellows. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

      • Catching the Second Wave With Kubernetes Open Source Products

        I’d like to add to that “second wave” sentiment. We’ve been making a case for containers and Kubernetes for some time now, and adoption is growing at a rapid rate. But as Kubernetes continues to mature, companies realize that the complexity of spinning up their first clusters was only the tip of the iceberg. Kubernetes clusters require constant maintenance and oversight; while applications running inside Kubernetes can be individually trusted to start, scale and stop healthily, your cluster as a whole is an ever-evolving ecosystem.

      • Asterisk Service Launches Open Source SBC Solution With Advanced Features
      • Donations

        • After banning adverts in command-line terminals, NPM floats idea of Patreon-style donations to open-source devs

          NPM, Inc., the overseer of the widely used npm JavaScript package registry, hasn’t been particularly supportive of worker complaints, but the would-be enterprise biz wants to lend a hand to open source contributors.

          Following a software developer’s recent experiment with ads delivered to the command line via npm-hosted packages – a testament to longstanding concerns about labor compensation and exploitation in the open source community – NPM said it intends to develop a funding platform for open source developers by the end of the year. The announcement comes as the biz revised its policies to forbid packages that “display ads at runtime, on installation, or at other stages of the software development lifecycle…”

          In a blog post on Friday, CEO Brian Bogensberger said over the past few months, company engineers have been working on registry infrastructure so the biz can support services of this sort. This week, he said, company leaders “will be reaching out in order to get the expertise around the table with a goal of being able to share the framework by late September.”

          The project, undertaken at a time the cash-strapped biz is trying to build its enterprise business, appears to be not very far along.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Why Use Firefox Portable?

            The portable edition of Mozilla Firefox is commonly referred to as ‘Firefox Portable’. This is just a repacked version of Mozilla Firefox created by J. T. Haller. The software is designed to allow Firefox to operate from a CD-ROM, USB flash drive or any other portable device on Windows computer or UNIX/Linux computer running Wine.

            One unique thing about this program is that it doesn’t need Firefox to get installed on a computer. Also, it doesn’t leave behind your private information on an interface or computer with pre-installed versions of Firefox. However, you can install this software on a hard drive without any problem.

      • SaaS/Back End

        • 4 Open source alternatives to Slack and…

          Within this segment, the strongest sound is Matrix, an interesting open and decentralized standard for communication designed for interoperability in a similar way to the interoperability existing in the e-mail segment, Enabling real-time communication between users regardless of the customers or servers they use.

          Currently, the standard and all its development is maintained by Matrix.org Foundation, a non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom.

          Matrix has been developed with privacy and security in mind, taking into account the federation between servers, so that a user can communicate in any existing room securely, with end-to-end encryption, regardless of the server Where you have registered your account, and using any client of your choice.

          There are also gateways to participate through messaging programs such as Telegram, discord or Slack, among others.

          Matrix allows communication between users basically via text chat, audio calls and video calls, along with other possibilities.

          In addition, it aims to surpass the relative success achieved by the standards SIP, XMPP and RCS trying to circumvent the obstacles that have prevented that the standards now mentioned have not been able to go to more.

          Among the customers, the best known is Riot, also open-source. Those who do not want to create their own self-hosted Matrix servers, have the possibility to hire some of Modular.im’s plans to create their servers with a few clicks away, depending on their needs.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • Licensing/Legal

        • After Red Hat, Homebrew removes MongoDB from core formulas due to its Server Side Public License adoption

          In October, last year MongoDB announced that it’s switching to Server Side Public License (SSPL). Since then, Redhat dropped support for MongoDB in January from its Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora. Now, Homebrew, a popular package manager for macOS has removed MongoDB from the Homebrew core formulas since MongoDB was migrated to a non open-source license.

          [...]

          In January this year, MongoDB received its first major blow when Red Hat dropped MongoDB over concerns related to its SSPL. Tom Callaway, the University outreach Team lead at Red Hat had said that SSPL is “intentionally crafted to be aggressively discriminatory towards a specific class of users. To consider the SSPL to be “Free” or “Open Source” causes that shadow to be cast across all other licenses in the FOSS ecosystem, even though none of them carry that risk.”

          Subsequently, in February, Red Hat Satellite also decided to drop MongoDB and support PostgreSQL backend only. The Red Hat development team stated that PostgreSQL is a better solution in terms of the types of data and usage that Satellite requires.

          In March, following all these changes, MongoDB withdrew the SSPL from the Open Source Initiative’s approval process. It was finally decided that SSPL will only require commercial users to open source their modified code, which means that any other user can still modify and use MongoDB code for free.

      • Programming/Development

        • Finding the Edge

          Three months of fighting with boost, qt, having a proper plan, multiple individuals to get help from and still unable to hit the target in time. That will be software engineering 101 for me.

          To be honest, I didn’t expect my algorithm to become that slow, when I started formulating the plan, but it was and still is, the difference is, now I know the places where it can be optimized. Continuing about my algorithm, people seem to get bored when I start talking about it. With confused faces over the term “convolving” and depressed over “derivative”.

        • pinp 0.0.8: Bugfix

          This release was spurned by one of those “CRAN package xyz” emails I received yesterday: processing of pinp-using vignettes was breaking at CRAN under the newest TeX Live release present on Debian testing as well as recent Fedora. The rticles package (which uses the PNAS style directly) apparently has a similar issue with PNAS.

          Kurt was a usual extremely helpful in debugging, and we narrowed this down to an interaction with the newer versions of titlesec latex package. So for now we did two things: upgrade our code reusing the PNAS class to their newest verson of the PNAS class (as suggested by Norbert whom I also roped in), but also copying in an older version of titlesec.sty (plus a support file). In the meantime, we are also looking into titlesec directly as Javier offered help—all this was a really decent example of open source firing on all cylinders. It is refreshing.

          Because of the move to a newer PNAS version (which seems to clearly help with the occassionally odd formatting of floating blocks near the document end) I may have trampled on earlier extension pull requests. I will reach out to the authors of the PRs to work towards a better process with cleaner diffs, a process I should probably have set up earlier.

          The NEWS entry for this release follows.

        • How to Read & Write SPSS Files in Python using Pandas

          In this post we are going to learn 1) how to read SPSS (.sav) files in Python, and 2) how to write to SPSS (.sav) files using Python.

          Python is a great general-purpose language as well as for carrying out statistical analysis and data visualization. However, Python is not really user-friendly for data storage. Thus, often our data will be archived using Excel, SPSS or similar software.

        • Episode #146: Slay the dragon, learn the Python
  • Leftovers

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • WebKit Vulnerabilities Facilitate Human Rights Abuses

        Volexity has presented convincing evidence that Chinese state actors have recently abused vulnerabilities in the JavaScriptCore component of WebKit to hack the personal computing devices of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region of China. Mass digital surveillance is a key component of China’s ongoing brutal human rights crackdown in the region.

        This has resulted in a public relations drama that is largely a distraction to the issue at hand. Whatever big-company PR departments have to say on the matter, I have no doubt that the developers working on WebKit recognize the severity of this incident and are grateful to Project Zero, which reported these vulnerabilities and has previously provided numerous other high-quality private vulnerability reports. (Many other organizations deserve credit for similar reports, especially Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative.)

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 160 – Disclosing security issues is insanely complicated: Part 2

        Josh and Kurt talk about disclosing security flaws in open source. This is part two of a discussion around how to disclose security issues. This episode focuses on some expectations and behaviors for open source projects as well as researchers trying to disclose a problem to a project.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Robert Mugabe: a product of a system built on repugnant ideology

        THE death of former President Robert Mugabe at a hospital in Singapore on September 6 rang memory bells about the hush-hush, but spirited conversations that Zanu PF comrades used to have about this day, during the 2013 election campaign in which his advanced age and mortality were campaign issues.

        In one such conversation, General Constantino Chiwenga was adamant that calls, which were then spreading and getting louder, for Mugabe to name a successor and retire were misguided because “as a founding leader Mugabe was entitled to die in office like his departed co-founders Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika, who had died in office with the dignity of the office befitting a founding leader”.

      • Dictator Mugabe denied million a vote – now they can finally ‘vote’, by boycott his funeral

        David Coltart has proven to be a confused, corrupt and incompetent opposition politician; the kind very nation dreads. Coltart was a senior member of the MDC during the 2008 to 2013 GNU and they failed to implement the democratic reforms landing us in the political and economic mess we are in today. It is disappointing that his son, Doug Coltart is following in his father’s foot-steps, a confused young man.

        “It is tempting to see Mugabe through our chosen lens and ignore the complexity of the character that he was. Some engage in an ahistorical narrative that he was a good guy who turned bad. That ignores both the evil he perpetrated during the early years and the good that he achieved even in his twilight years. In truth, Mugabe the educator, Mugabe the freedom fighter, and Mugabe the dictator were intermingled throughout his life,” he wrote.

      • Kenyans participate in the annual safety walk to support refugees

        Thousands of Kenyans have participated in the second United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for Safety annual Walk in support of refugees who have been displaced because of conflict and persecution in the East African region and across Africa.

        The Step for Safety walk is an initiative of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s LuQuLuQu campaign.

        The campaign draws attention to the plight of forcibly displaced people and strives to change the public perception of the refugee narrative by highlighting their resilience.

        “Kenya hosts more than 475,000 refugees with close to 80 percent of them being women and children. Having met some of the people behind these numbers, I am continuously impressed and inspired by their talent, ambition, and potential,” said Fathiaa Abdalla, UNHCR Representative in Kenya.

    • Monopolies

      • Anthony Levandowski: Is Being a Jerk a Crime?

        Former Google employee Anthony Levandowski was recently indicted on federal criminal charges of trade secret theft. As reported in the Los Angeles Times, the indictment was filed by the U.S. attorney’s office in San Jose and is based on the same facts as the civil trade secrets lawsuit that Waymo (formerly Google’s self-driving car project) settled with Uber last year. It is even assigned to the same judge. The gist of the indictment is that, at the time of his resignation from Waymo, and just before taking a new job at Uber, Levandowski downloaded approximately 14,000 files from a server hosted on Google’s network. These files allegedly contained “critical engineering information about the hardware used on [Google's] self-driving vehicles …” Each of the 33 counts with which Levandowski is charged carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

        This is a crucial time to remember that being disloyal to your employer, on its own, is not illegal. Employees like Levandowski have a clear duty of secrecy with respect to certain information they receive through their employment. But if none of this information constitutes trade secrets, there is no civil trade secret claim. In other words, for a civil trade secrets case, if there is no trade secret, there is no cause of action.

        [...]

        This means Levandowski can be found guilty of attempting to steal trade secrets that never actually existed. This seems odd. It contradicts fundamental ideas behind why we protect trade secrets. As law professor, Mark Lemley, observed in his oft-cited Stanford Law Review article, modern trade secret law is not a free-ranging license for judges to punish any acts they perceive as disloyal or immoral. It is a special form of property regime. Charles Tait Graves, a partner at Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, who teaches trade secrets at U.C. Hastings College of Law, echoes this conclusion. Treating trade secrets as an employer’s property, Graves writes, counterintuitively “offers better protection for employees who change jobs” than the alternatives, because it means courts must carefully “define the boundaries” of the right, and may require the court to rule in the end “that not all valuable information learned on the job is protectable.” See Charles Tait Graves, Trade Secrets As Property: Theory and Consequences, 15 J. Intell. Prop. L. 39 (2007).

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • [Older] SK Innovation fuels LG Chem feud with EV battery patent lawsuit

          A feud between two South Korean battery makers escalated on Friday as SK Innovation Co Ltd (096770.KS) said it plans to sue bigger rival LG Chem Ltd (051910.KS) in the United States over alleged patent infringement related to electric vehicles (EV).

        • [Older] Lawsuit Over Computer Chips Invokes Trade War With China

          One of the biggest semiconductor makers in the United States on Monday initiated a broad legal attack on Taiwan’s dominant chip manufacturer, the latest twist in a complex geopolitical battle over electronic components that could affect big chip users like Apple and Google.

          Globalfoundries, which runs former IBM chip factories in New York State and Vermont but is owned by an Abu Dhabi investment firm, filed a series of suits accusing the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company of infringing 16 patents covering processes used in manufacturing computer chips.

          The suits were filed in two federal courts in the United States and two German courts. Globalfoundries also complained to the United States International Trade Commission.

        • Fewer Patent Applications are Being Drafted and Filed First in the U.S.

          I previous wrote (here) that Alice seemed to have cause decreased patent filings in certain technologies but that overall U.S. patent filings seemed to be slightly down — especially when compared to the overall health of the economy. Indeed the PTO’s annual report noted that overall U.S. utility patent filings where down for second straight year in 2018 (and for the third time in four year). The only other year in the past 20 years in which filing was down was in 2009 after the great recession hit (it also caused a lot of abandonments of already-filed applications, as can be seen in IBM’s abandonment numbers ) Below is the table (the full report is here)

      • Copyrights

        • Google Search Apparently Indexes Over 80 Million Torrent Hashes

          The popular torrent meta-search engine Torrentz2 is the go-to site for many avid BitTorrent users. Aside from indexing classic torrent sites, Torrentz2 recently expanded by adding Google to its index, which apparently has a pretty impressive collection of unique torrent hashes. More than 80 million in total.

          [...]

          Starting a few weeks ago, Torrentz3 began listing “Google” as a ‘source’ in its search results. Not somewhere down the bottom, but as the top result for every piece of content. Here’s what shows up on the “Ubuntu desktop 19.04” page.

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  1. Microsoft's Abduction of the Voice of Its Opposition Highlights the Urgency of the Movement/Campaign to Delete GitHub

    Microsoft understands that by entrapping FOSS and GNU/Linux inside proprietary software platforms like GitHub and Azure it can utilise the false perception that it somehow speaks on behalf of both (whilst attacking both)



  2. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 10, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 10, 2019



  3. SUEPO Protests Against Management of the European Patent Office Brought Back Discussions About Corruption

    The atmosphere at the second-largest institution in Europe has long been toxic; now it is becoming a lot more visible again and comments highlight the reasons for the cover-up (gross misuse of billions of euros)



  4. Links 11/11/2019: Linux 5.4 RC7, HandBrake 1.3.0 and Analysis of XFCE

    Links for the day



  5. Links 10/11/2019: digiKam 6.4.0, OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 Alpha and OpenZFS Plans

    Links for the day



  6. Video: Dutch Media on EPO Protest

    The new video added by SUEPO on Saturday in order to show Dutch media coverage of last week's protest in The Hague



  7. Politics in the Workplace Are Not Paradoxical and Outside the Workplace They Are Free Speech

    The safest space is one in which no other human (or creature) exists, but in reality we must make compromises and accept that not everyone will agree with us 100% of the time (so we must learn to live with that)



  8. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 09, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 09, 2019



  9. Thick Skin Makes Strong Communities

    Learning to coexist with people who don't agree on everything is a strength and successful societies encourage that (the alternative is blind conformity on all matters)



  10. Training (Proprietary Software) Versus Teaching (Free Software)

    Education necessitates software freedom — a fact that companies like Adobe, Apple and Microsoft try hard to distract from



  11. The Linux Foundation Brought as Keynote Speakers People Vastly Worse Than Those Whom It Now 'Cancels' for Purely Political Reasons

    A lot of people are very upset about the Linux Foundation's alleged 'witch-hunt' and even press coverage has caught up with the outrage; but our position is that it distracts from vastly bigger Linux Foundation scandals



  12. An Open Letter to Richard Stallman

    "It's past the time for the official cornerstones of the Free software movement to return to their full operational capacity, and to take the gear out of neutral."



  13. Links 9/11/2019: Linux Journal Goes Dark (Offline), KStars 3.3.7, OpenSUSE Name Change Aborted

    Links for the day



  14. Think Tanks, Bristows, 'Simmons' and 'Birds' Can Only Ever Lie to Us About the Dead Unified Patent Court (UPC)

    The UPC is a dead bird, but lobbyists of the litigation giants would have us believe otherwise, in “In-depth Analysis” which is anything but (it's just propaganda with the veneer of officialism)



  15. The EPO's Management is Trying Really Hard to Distract the Media From EPO Unrest (and It Has Been Partly Successful)

    We take a look at the profoundly bad situation at the EPO (examiners unable to do their job properly because of rogue leadership); we also reexamine how media covered — or rather refused to cover — this urgent issue



  16. Microsoft's 'Safe Spaces'

    The 'new' and 'ethical' Microsoft that offers us all a 'safe space'



  17. 'Artificial Intelligence' (AI) Will Only Doom Patent Offices If It's Used to Stamp Millions of Invalid Patents (IPs)

    The Artificial Intelligence (AI) craze is being used as an excuse or as a pretext for granting loads of patents on mathematics and statistics (maths and stats aren't permissible or eligible for patent coverage); by calling just about everything "Artificial Intelligence" (or AI, or "hey hi!") they hope to mislead examiners, who are also being presented with new guidelines full of these buzzwords



  18. Need More Questions

    Pedophilia-centric scandals associated with Bill Gates or people working for Bill Gates don't interest the media anymore; people shy away from the possibility of 'embarrassing' the so-called 'philanthropist', celebrated by the media he is sponsoring



  19. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 07, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 07, 2019



  20. Helps to Have Connections and Operate at a Loss Just to Drive the Competition Out of the Market

    Microsoft still uses the same anticompetitive tactics and outright illegal tactics such as bribery, but we're supposed to think Microsoft is run like a charity



  21. Startpage Shows Sheer Hypocrisy After Selling Out and Betraying Privacy (Corrected)

    After more than half a decade of using and advocating Startpage I've come to realise it's a spying operation and Startpage hopes nobody will notice



  22. Former Mayor of Munich Explains How Microsoft Hates Linux

    Christian Ude speaks in a new interview about what Microsoft did in Munich and elsewhere in Europe in order to undermine GNU/Linux and impose Microsoft Windows on everybody, together with all the spyware Microsoft provides for it (likely violation of privacy laws)



  23. Linux Journal is Offline, But the Articles Will Come Back

    Linux Journal may be offline (since just before the weekend), but the articles will come back one way or another



  24. Links 8/11/2019: Ubuntu MATE 19.10 Reviewed, FreeBSD Migrating to OpenZFS

    Links for the day



  25. Nobody Should Believe Bill Gates and the Media He 'Sponsors' (Bribes) Anymore

    No matter how hard Bill Gates and his legion of lawyers/PR people try to divert the media's attention away from his Epstein scandal, it keeps coming back



  26. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 07, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 07, 2019



  27. System1 (Company Behind Startpage, Dogpile, WebCrawler, MetaCrawler and More) Calls Surveillance “Privacy”

    Surveillance seems to have become so fashionable that its purveyors and intermediaries (sending one's data to Microsoft, Google and so on) have a sense of humour strong enough or sufficient to call that "privacy"



  28. Links 8/11/2019: Rust 1.39.0 and KDE Applications 19.08.3

    Links for the day



  29. MIT Suggestions

    Sometimes things are too ugly to talk oneself out of; so a distraction is urgently needed



  30. Quick Mention: Some Dutch Media Covers Dutch EPO Protest

    Signs that the EPO's attempts to distract the media (or from the media) aren't 100% effective; workers get their voice heard by some Dutch people


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