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11.19.19

ZDNet (CBS) Associates GNU/Linux Users With ISIS

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux at 11:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ZDNet FUD

Summary: Response to “US student was allegedly building a custom Gentoo Linux distro for ISIS,” just published by ZDNet and composed by their biggest troll, Catalin Cimpanu

Understanding Thierry Breton: Noël Forgeard and His “Golden Parachute”

Posted in Europe, Finance, Fraud at 10:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Overview

Understanding Thierry Breton

Further parts pending review and research


Forgeard in trouble
Wikileaks cables revealed that his German colleagues regarded Forgeard as an “over-ambitious maniac”.

Summary: The end of the first half of the Breton series; in this particular part we continue to cover the EADS scandal and the second half of this series will include the EPO connections (the vote in a plenary for Breton’s nomination is due 27/11)

When Noël Forgeard, the French co-CEO of EADS, was compelled to resign in June 2006 he received a severance package in the form of € 6.1 m euros in remuneration – more than two years’ salary – along with a non-competition indemnity package payable over two years which was worth an additional € 2.4 million euros.

This “golden parachute” was widely perceived as being overly generous and it caused public outrage in France and Germany, particularly among EADS/Airbus staff.

“The 2007 French Presidential election was in progress at the time and this combination of circumstances led to a heated political debate about executive remuneration in the land of “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”.”The controversy was aggravated by the fact that details of the severance package became known in April 2007 at a time when the EADS group was seeking thousands of job cuts as part of a massive turnaround plan to recover from a two-year delay to the superjumbo that wiped some € 5 billion off its profit forecasts for 2006-2010.

Fabrice Remon, president of a minority shareholder association commented as follows: “It’s shocking about Forgeard because of the conditions under which he left. … What’s shocking in France is that the parachutes are independent of the performance of the executive.”

The 2007 French Presidential election was in progress at the time and this combination of circumstances led to a heated political debate about executive remuneration in the land of “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”.

“During this time, a number of reports appeared in the French media exposing the role played by Thierry Breton in the “golden parachute” affair.”The Socialist candidate, Ségolène Royal, said that she was scandalized by the amount of the severance package and called Forgeard’s golden parachute “a scandal, a provocation, especially in this company, where the state is a shareholder”.

The centrist candidate, François Bayrou, said that such severance packages “damage the image of business” and he promised, if elected, to champion a law that would “require transparency in economics, decision-making in general assemblies, instead of a capitalism of convenience where everything is decided in small groups”.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the centre-right candidate who was eventually elected as Chirac’s successor, called on Forgeard to return his severance package calling the matter a “question of ethics”.

During this time, a number of reports appeared in the French media exposing the role played by Thierry Breton in the “golden parachute” affair.

Forgeard landing
As Foregard descends with his “golden parachute” he is greeted by an angry crowd of citizens and politicians brandishing a banner with the slogan “No to golden parachutes” which leads him to ponder that he would have been better off staying in his Airbus.

The current affairs magazine Challenges broke the story in April 2007 by revealing that Breton had out-manouevred Manfred Bischoff and Arnaud Lagardère of the Board of Directors who had been strongly opposed making a severance payment to Forgeard.

According to Challenges, Breton had personally intervened in favour of Forgeard and exerted pressure to ensure that he received his “golden parachute”.

EADS Directors
EADS Directors Bischoff and Lagardère – outmanoeuvred by Thierry Breton.

The story was quickly taken up by other media (here, here, here, here, here and here) and there were cross-party calls for Breton’s resignation from the Secretary of the Socialist Party, François Hollande and from the centrist Presidential candidate François Bayrou.

“In the end, Breton did not have to resign. He was left to serve out his term of office which ended shortly afterwards on 15 May 2007.”Challenges returned to the story in May 2017 a month after its initial report. It noted that Breton had strenuously denied that he had made any intervention on behalf of Forgeard and that he considered it “scandalous” that he could be suspected of such impropriety.

In the end, Breton did not have to resign. He was left to serve out his term of office which ended shortly afterwards on 15 May 2007.

However, despite a recommendation from the outgoing President Jacques Chirac that he retain the services of the “turnaround king” at Bercy, the President-elect, Nicolas Sarkozy, decided not to keep him on his team.

“…it is also possible that Sarkozy regarded Breton as a political liability at that point in time due to his alleged involvement in the “golden parachute” controversy.”
It’s not clear what exactly motivated Sarkozy’s decision to drop Breton. Some commentators attributed this to Breton being overly close to Chirac faction of the UMP which was at loggerheads with Sarkozy. However, it is also possible that Sarkozy regarded Breton as a political liability at that point in time due to his alleged involvement in the “golden parachute” controversy.

Whatever the truth of the matter may be, the ministerial career of “Chirac’s joker” came to an end with more of a whimper than a bang.

In the next part we will turn our attention to what Thierry did next.

Links 19/11/2019: Zswap’s B-Tree Search Implementation, WordPress 5.2.4

Posted in News Roundup at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • We know where Rick (from Rick and Morty) stands on Intel vs AMD debate

      For one, it appears Rick is running a version of Debian with a very old Linux kernel (3.2.0) — one dating back to 2012. He badly needs to install some frickin’ updates. “Also his partitions are real weird. It’s all Microsoft based partitions,” a Redditor says. “A Linux user would never do [this] unless they were insane since NTFS/Exfat drivers on Linux are not great.”

    • Desktop

      • Slimbook Tease New Linux Laptop in Apple-Bashing Video

        The video, which should be embedded above, is relatively short and relatively bizarre. It follows a Slimbook engineer in a penguin mask carefully measuring an apple before getting up and smashing it with a baseball bat bearing the Slimbook brand name.

        Accompanying the clip are the hashtags #NoMoreFruit and #ForgetTheFruit — a playful dig at a certain fruit-branded company whose laptops are fairly popular? I think so.

        The video also reveals that Slimbook will announce its new device on November 21, 2019 via the Slimbook website.

      • Growing the fwupd ecosystem

        Yesterday I wrote a blog about what hardware vendors need to provide so I can write them a fwupd plugin. A few people contacted me telling me that I should make it more generic, as I shouldn’t be the central point of failure in this whole ecosystem. The sensible thing, of course, is growing the “community” instead, and building up a set of (paid) consultants that can help the OEMs and ODMs, only getting me involved to review pull requests or for general advice. This would certainly reduce my current feeling of working at 100% and trying to avoid burnout.

        As a first step, I’ve created an official page that will list any consulting companies that I feel are suitable to recommend for help with fwupd and the LVFS. The hardware vendors would love to throw money at this stuff, so they don’t have to care about upstream project release schedules and dealing with a gumpy maintainer like me. I’ve pinged the usual awesome people like Igalia, and hopefully more companies will be added to this list during the next few days.

    • Server

      • World’s Top 500 Supercomputers Run On Linux

        Top500 has released its 54th edition of the list comprising of the top 500 supercomputers in the world, and all the supercomputers in the list have one thing in common – Linux.

        The average speed of the supercomputers featured in the list is now 1.65 exaflops, and the entry-level supercomputer now performs at 1.14 petaflops as compared to 1.02 petaflops when the list was released back in June 2019.

      • HPE Launches Kubernetes-Based Container Platform

        Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has launched an enterprise-grade Kubernetes-based container platform. Called HPE Container Platform, it is designed for both cloud-native applications and monolithic applications with persistent storage.

        According to the company, HPE Container Platform is built on innovations from HPE’s acquisitions of BlueData and MapR, together with 100 percent open source Kubernetes. The new platform addresses the requirements for large-scale enterprise Kubernetes deployments across a range of use cases, from machine learning and edge analytics to CI/CD pipelines and application modernization, the company said.

      • IBM

        • Command Line Heroes takes Bash from script to screen

          Creating visuals for stories about programming language isn’t always straightforward. The artwork for the first few episodes of this season was inspired by origins and functions. But for Episode 6, Heroes in a Bash Shell, we decided to take a more abstract approach.

          Shells, particularly the Bash shell, are widely used large-scale IT environments. Shell scripting allows us to automate repetitive tasks and do much more with standalone utilities. Our graphic designer, Karen Crowson, and animator, Drew Carrow, share how that reality, mixed in with some pun-related imagery, provided the frame for the Heroes in a Bash Shell artwork.

        • OpenShift Hive: Cluster-as-a-Service

          Red Hat OpenShift has enabled enterprise developers to utilize a fast feedback loop during the development phase of platforms and applications. The idea of ‘as-a-service’ has arisen from the ability of cloud providers to offer an on demand capability to consume services and products. This increased flexibility for organisations can further ease the development path to production.

          Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift unlocks organisations to achieve freedom with platforms of choice on a number of cloud providers without lock-in as workloads are abstracted from vendor specific constructs. Kubernetes, and Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, provide the ability to run operators, where operators can act as an organisation’s very own consumable on demand service whilst providing a unique user experience to its intended audience.

          As a developer having a personal on demand environment was once one of the reasons for the rise of “shadow IT”. Organisations have since moved from the days of having to build servers for additional workloads through the use of new models of IT services thanks to virtualisation, PaaS and public/private cloud in an effort to adopt the on-demand/as-a-service utopia and enable their consumers to have the freedom to develop and produce strong value proposition products in today’s competitive market.

          OpenShift has become the platform of choice for many organisations. However, this can mean developers are somewhat restricted in consuming PaaS environment, due to greater process and management surrounding the environment, in accordance with internal IT regulations. OpenShift Hive is an operator which enables operations teams to easily provision new PaaS environments for developers improving productivity and reducing process burden due to internal IT regulations. Hive can do this in a true DevOps fashion while still adhering to an organization’s regulations and security standards.

        • Red Hat Software Collections 3.4 and Red Hat Developer Toolset 9 Beta now available

          The latest versions of Red Hat Software Collections and Red Hat Developer Toolset are available now in beta. Red Hat Software Collections 3.4 delivers the latest stable versions of many popular open source runtime languages and databases natively to the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform. These components are supported for up to five years, helping to enable a more consistent, efficient, and reliable developer experience.

        • What is a community of practice in an open organization?

          In other words, people in open organizations often define their roles, responsibilities, and affiliations through shared interests and passions—not title, role, or position on an organizational chart.

          That means organizational leaders will find themselves invested in building communities inside their organizations, connecting like-minded people with one another to accelerate business objectives.

          For this reason, communities of practice can be a useful component of open organizations. In this three-part series, I’ll explain what communities of practice are, why they are beneficial to an organization, and how you can start a community of practice.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Brunch with Brent: Emma Marshall | Jupiter Extras 33

        Brent sits down with Emma Marshall, Customer Happiness Manager at System76 for a fun chat touching on her love of pinball and puppies, spreading happiness, women in tech, and more.

        Note: This episode was recorded before the Superfans 3 event, which occurred between Novermber 15-17, 2019.

      • Podcast.__init__: From Simple Script To Beautiful Web Application With Streamlit

        Building well designed and easy to use web applications requires a significant amount of knowledge and experience across a range of domains. This can act as an impediment to engineers who primarily work in so-called back-end technologies such as machine learning and systems administration. In this episode Adrien Treuille describes how the Streamlit framework empowers anyone who is comfortable writing Python scripts to create beautiful applications to share their work and make it accessible to their colleagues and customers. If you have ever struggled with hacking together a simple web application to make a useful script self-service then give this episode a listen and then go experiment with how Streamlit can level up your work.

    • Kernel Space

      • Schedutil Frequency Invariance Revised For Better Intel Performance + Power Efficiency

        SUSE developer Giovanni Gherdovich has sent out the latest patches on supporting frequency invariance within the kernel’s scheduler code and ultimately making use of it for select Intel CPUs to yield not only better raw performance but also power efficiency.

      • Linux’s Crypto API Is Adopting Some Aspects Of Zinc, Opening Door To Mainline WireGuard

        Mainlining of the WireGuard secure VPN tunnel was being held up by its use of the new “Zinc” crypto API developed in conjunction with this network tech. But with obstacles in getting Zinc merged, WireGuard was going to be resorting to targeting the existing kernel crypto interfaces. Instead, however, it turns out the upstream Linux crypto developers were interested and willing to incorporate some elements of Zinc into the existing kernel crypto implementation.

        Back in September is when Jason Donenfeld decided porting WireGuard to the existing Linux crypto API was the best path forward for getting this secure networking functionality into the mainline kernel in a timely manner. But since then other upstream kernel developers working on the crypto subsystem ended up with patches incorporating some elements of Zinc’s design.

      • zswap: use B-tree for search
        The current zswap implementation uses red-black trees to store
        entries and to perform lookups. Although this algorithm obviously
        has complexity of O(log N) it still takes a while to complete
        lookup (or, even more for replacement) of an entry, when the amount
        of entries is huge (100K+).
        
        B-trees are known to handle such cases more efficiently (i. e. also
        with O(log N) complexity but with way lower coefficient) so trying
        zswap with B-trees was worth a shot.
        
        The implementation of B-trees that is currently present in Linux
        kernel isn't really doing things in the best possible way (i. e. it
        has recursion) but the testing I've run still shows a very
        significant performance increase.
        
        The usage pattern of B-tree here is not exactly following the
        guidelines but it is due to the fact that pgoff_t may be both 32
        and 64 bits long.
        
        
      • Zswap Could See Better Performance Thanks To A B-Tree Search Implementation

        For those using Zswap as a compressed RAM cache for swapping on Linux systems, the performance could soon see a measurable improvement.

        Developer Vitaly Wool has posted a patch that switches the Zswap code from using red-black trees to a B-tree for searching. Particularly for when having to search a large number of entries, the B-trees implementation should do so much more efficiently.

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMD Announces Radeon Pro W5700 RDNA Workstation Graphics Card

          In addition to AMD’s SC19 announcements yesterday, their embargo just lifted on the Radeon Pro W5700 as their first 7nm workstation graphics card build on their new RDNA architecture.

          The Radeon Pro W5700 is built on their RDNA architecture, supports GDDR6 video memory, and is said to deliver up to 18% better efficiency than NVIDIA’s competition. The Radeon Pro W5700 is also AMD’s first graphics card featuring a USB-C connector for monitors and VR HMDs.

        • AMD Lands EXT_direct_state_access For OpenGL Compatibility Contexts In Mesa

          In recent weeks AMD driver developers have been working on EXT_direct_state_access improvements within Mesa and following their latest code push today now support the D.S.A. extension for OpenGL compatibility profile contexts.

          OpenGL Direct State Access allows for various efficiency improvements in allowing the modification of objects without needing to bind them to the context. More background information on the direct state access semantics can be found via the OpenGL Wiki.

        • Intel Linux Graphics Driver Patches For Fast Soft-RC6 Yield Big Energy Use Improvement

          Longtime open-source Intel Linux graphics driver developer Chris Wilson has sent out a set of 19 patches for what he calls fast soft-RC6 support and is a “substantial” improvement over the current driver code for Intel graphics power-savings.

          Chris simply wrote at the start of the patch series, “In my very simple testing of scrolling through firefox, this brings up back into line with HW rc6 energy usage, a substantial improvement over current -tip.”

        • NEMO-UX Vanishes As What Was A Wayland Shell Designed For Large, Multi-User Surfaces

          Over the years there have been many interesting Wayland projects to take flight focused on new and interesting use-cases. One of these interesting (and experimental) Wayland compositors was NEMO-UX focused on providing a shell for computing environments that span large surfaces like virtual chalkboards or tabletops.

          Five years ago this week we covered this futuristic, multi-user Wayland experience. While the concept is still interesting and large format, multi-user computing remains a niche area, NEMO-UX appears to sadly no longer exist.

    • Applications

      • Proprietary

        • Louisiana Target of Attempted Ransomware Hack, Governor Says [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The state was attacked as election officials canvass the results of a tightly contested Nov. 16 gubernatorial election won by Edwards by about 40,000 votes. The tally is unlikely to be affected as the state did not suffer any data loss, nor has it paid a ransom, Edwards said. A spokesman for the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office couldn’t be reached for comment.

        • Nokia WiFi Beacon 3 review: high-speed mesh networking

          The Beacon 3 units are considerably larger than either Eero or Nest Wifi routers; they are roughly the size of an Amazon Echo speaker. That makes them a bit less discreet than other routers, but the advantage is that each node includes four gigabit Ethernet ports, which is two more than either Google or Eero gives you. More Ethernet ports on the nodes give you more flexibility with what you can do with them, whether that’s running a wired backhaul between them with Ethernet that’s built into your home or plugging devices like a desktop computer, smart home hub, or gaming system directly into the Wi-Fi node to minimize wireless traffic.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Path of Exile continues down the Vulkan path, with a possible port to Linux mentioned

        We’ve known for a while that the massive and popular RPG Path of Exile was going to get a Vulkan API implementation and they would have liked to do Linux support, seems like they’re continuing that line of thinking.

        In a new interview done by YouTuber Zizaran, they were testing out some upcoming content and changes coming with the recently announced Path of Exile 2. While doing this they were joined by Chris Wilson from Path of Exile developer Grinding Gear Games to answer some questions.

      • Time to play some classic Command & Conquer as OpenRA has a huge fresh stable release out

        OpenRA, the free and open source game engine to bring classic Command & Conquer titles like Tiberian Dawn, Red Alert, Dune 2000 and eventually Tiberian Sun to modern systems has a big new release up.

        This is a massive update overall. Lots of big and small changes all over, for all three currently supported games. If you follow GamingOnLinux regularly, we’ve posted about this update a few times while it’s been in development. One of the biggest improvements is the ability to save your game during missions and skirmishes against the AI, you no longer have to blast through an entire game which is excellent and needed.

      • Open-ended village life sim Village Monsters set in a forgotten game world enters Early Access

        Village Monsters, the open-ended village life game set in a forgotten video game world has entered Early Access with Linux support.

        Funded on Kickstarter in October last year, it’s a little bit like Stardew Valley with a weirder and slightly more comical setting. Very much a relaxing casual experience, with you running around befriending various NPCs, doing little task and exploring.

      • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s mission system in Operation Shattered Web is pretty good

        I will admit, after dropping an update last night with a big new Operation for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive I was a little sceptical with the Battle Pass system. However, it’s surprisingly good. This update shows what Valve can do when they experiment a little further.

        There’s not many of these missions in yet, but Operation Shattered Web goes on for at least 16 weeks so there will no doubt be more coming. Let’s talk about the new co-op Virus Outbreak mission for example, which uses the Danger Zone map Sirocco. Valve has actually expanded the map, with a big underground complex and some new voice-over from your leader and the enemy leader.

        They’ve taken all the additions to CS:GO over the last year or so and done something quite fun with it. Since this new mission requires co-op, this is also the first time I’ve made use of the Looking to Play system added in May this year and it works well. Within a few seconds of turning it on, I had invites ready to begin.

      • The fantastic co-op space sandbox Avorion should now be easier to get going

        Avorion already had a lot of things truly nailed down, from the freedom to build and explore to the excellent presentation but one thing it lacked was a good experience for newer users. Now it should be much improved.

        It starts off as your typical space adventure, with you beginning with nothing but the most basic possible ship. Taking elements from games like the X series, Freelancer, Eve Online and others it blends things together giving you the chance to explore space and do whatever you want. The most interesting part of it though, is that you build you ships block by block and you can make some fun designs.

        Currently in Early Access, elements of it were a little rough for newcomers. However, they’ve been gradually improving that a lot recently. Last month they introduced several new tutorial missions, helping you get to grips with the basics and some long-terms quests to guide you through the galaxy a bit more.

      • SamRewritten is an open source Steam Achievements Manager for Linux

        Want an easy way to view, lock and unlock Steam Achievements on Linux? SamRewritten seems like a very handy application to do all of that and more.

        The developer just announced a brand new release with a bunch of new features. Messing with achievements by manually unlocking them or locking them should be reliable, all your games should show up, it dynamically finds your Steam folders, a bunch of UI improvements and more.

      • 7 Days To Die Is Another Game Seeing A Big Bump From Mesa OpenGL Threading

        For those that are fans of the 7 Days to Die open-world shooter / horror game, the performance on Linux is now as much as 30% higher as a result of Mesa GL threading.

        With Mesa 20.0-devel (and presumably for back-porting too) is whitelisting mesa_glthread for the 7 Days to Die game on Linux.

        This is the few years old functionality around better CPU multi-threading within Mesa where some games are as much as 60~76% faster thanks to punting some of the OpenGL driver work off to a separate CPU thread.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Open Invention Network teams up with IBM, Linux Foundation, and Microsoft to protect open-source software from patent trolls

          Open-source software — heck, all software — has been plagued by patent trolls for decades. The Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history, is now expanding protection of open-source and Linux by partnering with IBM, the Linux Foundation, and Microsoft to further protect it from Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs), aka patent trolls. This new consortium is doing this by supporting Unified Patents’ Open Source Zone with a substantial annual subscription.

          Unified Patents is an international organization of over 200 businesses. Unified Patents takes an aggressive stance against trolls. The name of its game is deterring trolls from attacking its members by making it too expensive for the troll to win. The group does this by examining troll patents and their activities in various technology sectors (Zones). The Open Source Zone is the newest of these Zones.

          United Patents does this in a variety of ways. For example, it runs a public bounty program, where it seeks prior art for troll patents. According to Kevin Jakel, Unified Patents CEO, in a recent interview, “The prize money offered can be as much as $10,000 for anyone that is able to find prior patents on the one being questioned. For example, we recently announced a $10,000 bounty for any prior art relating to network monitoring and sequence integrity.”

          In practice, their method works. For instance, with Unified Patent’s aid, the ride-sharing company Lyft recently beat a patent troll. In the case, a troll claimed essentially he has created all ride-sharing software. US District Judge Jon S Tigar ruled against the troll, saying, “Given the lack of an algorithm for allocation, RideApp ‘has in effect claimed everything that [performs the task] under the sun.”

        • Georges Basile Stavracas Neto: Every shell has a story

          … a wise someone once muttered while walking on a beach, as they picked up a shell lying on the sand. Indeed, every shell began somewhere, crossed a unique path with different goals and driven by different motivations. Some shells were created to optimize for mobility; some, for lightness; some, for speed; some were created to just fit whoever is using it and do their jobs efficiently. It’s statistically close to impossible to not find a suitable shell, one could argue.

          So, is this a blog about muttered shell wisdom?

          In some way, it actually is. It is, indeed, about Shell, and about Mutter. And even though “wisdom” is perhaps a bit of an overstatement, it is expected that whoever reads this blog doesn’t leave it less wise, so the word applies to a certain degree. Evidently, the Shell in question is composed of bits and bytes; its protection is more about the complexities of a kernel and command lines than sea predators, and the Mutter is actually more about compositing the desktop than barely audible uttering.

    • Distributions

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE welcomes cooperation of Open Invention Network, Linux Foundation, IBM and Microsoft in co-funding Unified Patent’s new Open Source Zone

          An eternal truth is that everything has its opposite for good and evil. Patents are no exception. In fact, even the simple word ‘Patent’ evokes much positive and negative emotion in today’s software world – particularly as news continues to circulate around baseless patent lawsuits by non-practicing entities (NPEs).
          But in news this week there is a bit of positive for a change. The positive news is the announcement of the efforts by Unified Patents to reduce NPE assertion of invalid patents in the open source software zone.

        • SC19: Empowering SUSE HPC customers with expanded options

          SC19, the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis is just around the corner. For SUSE, it’s a great opportunity to reconnect with customers and partners working in one of the sectors of our industry driving significant innovation in all aspects of computing.

          If I tried to succinctly define SUSE’s message at SC19, it would be: “As with any journey, who you travel with is more important than the destination”. In SUSE’s instance, customers and partners make up our travel companions. In this journey, the customer is in the driver’s seat and elects the destination. Our role at SUSE is to empower HPC customers with choice across processor and GPU platforms as well as delivery options (on-premise, cloud, or hybrid).

        • SUSE and Iguazio Break the Mold by Providing an Open Source Solution for Enterprise Data Science Teams

          The notions of collaborative innovation, openness and portability are driving enterprises to embrace open source technologies. Anyone can download and install Kubernetes, Jupyter, Spark, TensorFlow and Pytorch to run machine learning applications, but making these applications enterprise grade is a whole different story. Delivering enterprise grade applications involves scalability, high-performance, tuning, monitoring, security and automation of infrastructure tasks. It can take months and typically requires a large team of developers, data scientists and data engineers.

      • Fedora Family

        • Stories from the amazing world of release-monitoring.org #8

          The evening wind was cold, but I protected myself by the fire spell. It was nice to sit outside and look at the whole release-monitoring.org realm in the sunset. One could see the beauty behind all this hard work and it’s ignites a nice feeling inside one’s heart. Lately I didn’t have much time to appreciate this beauty. To be honest I didn’t have much time to work on this realm in the last few months. But still some work was done even here.

          I heard the footsteps behind me. “Traveler, it’s nice to see you again. Do you want to join me?” Footsteps stopped beside me and my companion was looking at the sunset with me. “I suppose you are here to hear about the news from this world. I assure you there are many things I want to share with you. Just listen…”

      • Debian Family

        • extrepo followup

          My announcement the other day has resulted in a small amount of feedback already (through various channels), and a few extra repositories to be added. There was, however, enough feedback (and the manner of it unstructured enough) that I think it’s time for a bit of a follow-up…

        • Debian 10 gets second point release with important security fixes

          Debian just got a lot more secure, all thanks to the latest second point update to buster. No matter how much you’re into the Linux or open-source world, maybe you never got a chance to try out Debian, and there’s nothing to be ashamed about that. Let FOSSLinux give you a brief intro to this operating system.

          Although Debian is a Linux-based, open-source operating system, much like its other contemporaries, what makes it unique is the fact that it comes with a wide array of pre-installed software aimed at people belonging to different walks of life. It’s the mother of popular distros like Ubuntu, Kali Linux, Tails, Purism, and more.

          Apart from that, you will also find other popular operating systems like Ubuntu and Kali Linux to be based on Debian. For those who weren’t keeping up with the recent developments in the Debian project, you can read more about its latest major release, Debian 10, by clicking here.

        • Debian 10.1 Buster review

          Debian has a reputation, somewhat deserved but no longer so accurate, of being way out of date in terms of software versions. A few years ago it had a huge gap in its release cycle, but things are much better these days.

          No, you won’t get the latest versions in the stable version, but that’s not what it is about. The main Debian tree is called stable for a reason: it remains relatively static rather than always chasing the latest versions. That makes administering a Debian system so much easier as you don’t have a continual stream of changes to deal with – to the point of being the difference between manageable and unmanageable with a large number of computers. So what is the latest release like?

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Daily Builds Are Now Available to Download

          Freshly spun ISOs of what will go on to become Ubuntu’s next long-term support release (aka 20.04 LTS) will be produced every day from now until shortly before the final, stable release makes an appearance in April 2020.

          Prior to today (November 19, 2019) only “pending” live images had been available on the Ubuntu CD image server. Now ‘Current’ images — these are images that have passed a series of automated tests — are available.

          This is an important milestone in the development cycle.

          Many testers — do pop up in the comments if this includes you! — will install a ‘current’ daily build and ride it like a rolling release distro, installing any and all updates released to the Focal Fossa development as and when they arrive.

        • Adieu, 32

          The tenth month of the year arrives and so does a new Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) update. Is it a portent that this is the 31st release of Ubuntu and with the 32nd release next year, 32-bit x86 Ubuntu builds will end?

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • Linux Plumbers Conference: Linux Plumbers Conference 2019 videos are now available

          Following up on our previous post, and as many of you have already noticed, the LPC 2019 videos have now been uploaded to our YouTube channel.

          Over the coming days the LPC committee will be updating the 2019 site to incorporate links to the videos. At the same time, we will be getting ready to launch the 2020 site as well.

        • Audio Miniconf 2019 Report

          Daniel Baluta then started some discussion of topics related to Sound Open Firmware (slides). The first was issues with loading firmware before the filesystems are ready, we agreed that this can be resolved through the use of the _nowait() APIs. More difficult was resolving how to deal with card initialization. Currently the only complete in-tree users are x86 based so have to deal with the problems with the incomplete firmware descriptions provided by ACPI, there’s nothing standards based like we have for device tree systems, and assumptions about that have crept into how the code works. It’s going to take a bunch of work to implement but we came to a reasonable understanding of how this should work, with the DSP represented as a device in the device tree and bound to the card like any other component.

          Continuing on the DSP theme Patrick Lai then lead a discussion of gapless playback with format switches, we agreed that allowing set_params() to be called multiple times on a single stream when the driver could support it was the most sensible approach. The topic of associating controls with PCM streams was also discussed, there are some old APIs for this but so little hardware has implemented them that we agreed that a convention for control names based on the stream names was probably easier to support with current userspace software.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Updates to the Mozilla Web Security Bounty Program

            Mozilla was one of the first companies to establish a bug bounty program and we continually adjust it so that it stays as relevant now as it always has been. To celebrate the 15 years of the 1.0 release of Firefox, we are making significant enhancements to the web bug bounty program.

          • Creating UI Extensions for WebThings Gateway

            Version 0.10 of Mozilla’s WebThings Gateway brings support for extension-type add-ons. Released last week, this powerful new capability lets developers modify the user interface (UI) to their liking with JavaScript and CSS.

            Although the initial set of extension APIs is fairly minimal, we believe that they will already enable a large amount of functionality. To go along with the UI extensions, developers can also extend the gateway’s REST API with their own handlers, allowing for back-end analytics, for example.

            In this post, we’ll walk through a simple example to get you started with building your own extension.

          • GeckoView + Glean = Fenix performance metrics

            This week in Glean we tell a tale of components, design, performance and ponies (I promise!): how to bridge different telemetry worlds, with different semantics and principles? How can we get the data to answer the question “is Fenix loading pages faster or slower compared to Fennec”?

            [...]

            In Fennec a legacy telemetry system was in place: Telemetry was tightly coupled with both Gecko and the product. In Fenix, we had the opportunity to introduce Glean, a modern telemetry framework by Mozilla that encourages lean data practices. Glean comes with an SDK that provides a variety of tools for engineers to measure timespans, timing distributions, counts and so on in contrast with Telemetry which offered lower level facilities such as histograms and scalars. Moreover, the Glean SDK defines a few pings out of the box, with the ‘metrics’ ping containing the bulk of metrics being sent only once per day.

      • Linux Foundation

        • AT&T Finally Opens Up dNOS “DANOS” Network Operating System Code

          One and a half years late, the “DANOS” (known formerly as “dNOS”) network operating system is now open-source under the Linux Foundation.

          AT&T and the Linux Foundation originally announced their plan in early 2018 wish pushing for this network operating system to be used on more mobile infrastructure. At the time they expected it to happen in H2’2018, but finally on 15 November 2019 the goal came to fruition.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Redis Labs eases database management with RedisInsight

          The robust market of tools to help users of the Redis database manage their systems just got a new entrant.

          Redis Labs disclosed the availability of its RedisInsight tool, a graphical user interface (GUI) for database management and operations.

          Redis is a popular open source NoSQL database that is also increasingly being used in cloud-native Kubernetes deployments as users move workloads to the cloud. Open source database use is growing quickly according to recent reports as the need for flexible, open systems to meet different needs has become a common requirement.

          Among the challenges often associated with databases of any type is ease of management, which Redis is trying to address with RedisInsight.

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.2.4 Update

          Late-breaking news on the 5.2.4 short-cycle security release that landed October 14. When we released the news post, I inadvertently missed giving props to Simon Scannell of RIPS Technologies for finding and disclosing an issue where path traversal can lead to remote code execution.

          Simon has done a great deal of work on the WordPress project, and failing to mention his contributions is a huge oversight on our end.

          Thank you to all of the reporters for privately disclosing vulnerabilities, which gave us time to fix them before WordPress sites could be attacked.

      • Programming/Development

        • Lesson 101: Everything You Need To Learn About Programming Guidance

          This era has witnessed how far technology can go, and at present, it seems to be ruling all. Technology plays a significant role when it comes to innovations and a remarkable portion of such creations deal with software.
          Software development is mainly based on programming, and thus, it has become an exciting topic. Since a significant portion of technology revolves around programming, every student should at least have a basic concept regarding the same. However, many are willing to gain in-depth knowledge. Either way, there are some essential aspects everyone should be aware of before proceeding with the subject.

        • Generate random passwords with this Bash script
        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Java
        • Mike Hommey: Five years of git-cinnabar

          On this very day five years ago, I committed the initial code of what later became git-cinnabar. It is kind of an artificial anniversary, because I didn’t actually publish anything until 3 weeks later, and I also had some prototypes months earlier.

          The earlier prototypes of what I’ll call “pre-git-cinnabar” could handle doing git clone hg::https://hg.mozilla.org/mozilla-central (that is, creating a git clone of a Mercurial repository), but they couldn’t git pull later. That pre-git-cinnabar initial commit, however, was the first version that did.

          The state of the art back then was similar git helpers, the most popular choice being Felipec’s git-remote-hg, or the opposite tool: hg-git, a mercurial plugin that allows to push to a git repository.

          They both had the same caveats: they were slow to handle a repository the size of mozilla-central back then, and both required a local mercurial repository (hidden in the .git directory in the case of Felipec’s git-remote-hg).

        • Top 10 Vim plugins for programming in multiple languages

          Recently, when I was redoing my setup (as I do every so often), I decided it was a good opportunity to identify the best Vim plugins for programming in multiple languages and a way to combine those plugins for each language I program in.

          I do use certain plugins for specific languages and profiles (e.g., I only install Rocannon in my Ansible profile), and I won’t go into those here—that would be a long list. But the 10 Vim plugins described below are my favorites, the ones I use in virtually every profile I have, no matter what programming language I’m using.

        • teach your kids to build their own game with Python – 1

          I used to be a coding trainer few months ago. Our students were former street kids coming from under-privileged societies. You can imagine the lack of education they had. As a teacher there, I had to make my lessons fun and easy for them to grasp, so I would often use games to do so. I was going through my old files and I found this lesson plan I wrote to teach the kids how to build the famous game Space Invaders. At the beginning it seemed an impossible mission, but they actually loved it and got to love coding because of it!

          Anywho, with no further details, I am going to share this lesson in three posts here. today is the first, hoping that any beginner or parent would find it helpful.

        • p2k19 Hackathon Report: Jeremy Evans on PostgreSQL and Ruby

          I started off by preparing an update to PostgreSQL 12. This involved updating a bunch of ports that depend on PostgreSQL. Thankfully, the PostgreSQL 12 update was a little easier than the PostgreSQL 11 update, and didn’t take as much time. Now that PostgreSQL 12.1 has been released, this update should hopefully be committed to the ports tree soon.

        • Book review – Supercharged Python, by Brian Overland and John Bennet

          If you have been following beginner or even intermediate guides on Python and are starting to feel the need for more advanced learning, this book may be the one you have been looking for.

          According to the authors, this book was written for those who already know the basics of Python, but want to deepen their knowledge and skills. While being targeted to people who already know the fundamentals of Python, it still includes a quick review in the first chapter. It goes briefly through the usual stuff, like variables, operators, data types, basic I/O, if/else, while, for, function definitions and arguments, lists, tuples, dictionaries, sets, and the distinction between global and local variables. This initial chapter is presented as being an optional reading, as its contents are pretty basic, but the authors recommend that the reader takes a minute or so on the last to pages, which cover the global statement.

        • New book: Retro Gaming with Raspberry Pi

          Raspberry Pi Press is delighted to announce the release of the latest addition to your bookshelf: Retro Gaming with Raspberry Pi!

        • 2019.46 Guidance

          Naoum Hankache has taken the famous perl6intro.com website, which currently provides the same introduction in 13 different languages, to the Raku era at https://raku.guide (/r/rakulang comments). So if your native language is Bulgarian, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian or Turkish, you can learn the basics about the Raku Programming Language in your native language!

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • Russian programmer claims he hacked Wi-Fi on popular high-speed train in 20 minutes, gaining access to passenger data

        On the technology-oriented social site Habr, an individual writing under the username keklick1337 has claimed that he was able to hack into the public Wi-Fi network provided on a popular high-speed Russian rail route, gaining access to a database of passenger data. The user boarded a Sapsan train from St. Petersburg to Moscow and subsequently decided to try hacking its wireless network out of boredom, he wrote.

      • White hat hackers in China hack Chrome, Edge and Safari for Tianfu Cup

        Over the weekend, a number of participating teams hacked into some of the world’s most popular web browsers, Wi-Fi routers and other software. The hackers tested vulnerabilities hidden in several popular apps, including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Apple’s Safari. Participants also found vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe PDF Reader.

        The event concluded with the team 360Vulcan emerging as the leader. The team won a total bounty of $382,500 (Approx. Rs. 2,74,80,000) by exploiting vulnerabilities in Microsoft Edge, Adobe PDF Reader, MS Office 365, qemu+Ubuntu, and VMWare Workstation.

      • Major browsers Chrome, Safari, and Edge are easily hacked on day 1 of hacking contest

        Some of the world’s leading browsers made by some of the world’s biggest tech companies have been hacked in record time by computer security experts competing China’s Tianfu Cup.

        The hackfest, established as an alternative to its Western counterpart, Pwn2Own, puts software and devices to the test as researchers look for Zero-day bugs – unfixed vulnerabilities that can be exploited by bad actors.

      • Security updates for Tuesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (python-psutil, slurm-llnl, symfony, and thunderbird), Fedora (gd and ghostscript), and SUSE (ceph, haproxy, java-11-openjdk, and ncurses).

      • NextCry Ransomware Goes After Linux Servers [Ed: This exploits already-compromised (unpatched) servers]
      • NextCry Ransomware Encrypts Files On NextCloud Linux Servers

        The ransomware gets its name from the extension it uses to append the file names of encrypted files. There is no free decryption tool available for NextCry victims at the moment and it remains undetected by the majority of antivirus engines on public scanning platforms.

      • Coin Stealer Found in Monero Linux Binaries From Official Site [Ed: The news isn't about Linux but about a compromised site]
    • Defence/Aggression

      • America’s Arms Sales Addiction

        It’s no secret that Donald Trump is one of the most aggressive arms salesmen in history. How do we know? Because he tells us so at every conceivable opportunity. It started with his much exaggerated “$110 billion arms deal” with Saudi Arabia, announced on his first foreign trip as president.

      • Campus Under Siege as Hong Kong Police Battle Protesters

        As night fell on Hong Kong, police tightened their siege of a university campus where hundreds of protesters were trapped in the latest dramatic episode in months of protests against growing Chinese control over the semi-autonomous city.

      • Iran: Economic Blockade and Crowd Protests Were Also How the US Made the 1953 Coup

        The crowd protests that grew to affect 100 cities over the weekend in Iran were sparked by the government increasing the price of gasoline by as much as 3 times overnight.But the underlying discontents with the government have been caused by a sinking economy, expected to shrink by 9% this year.

      • North Korea Says It Won’t Give Trump a Summit for Free

        North Korea on Monday responded to a tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump that hinted at another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying it has no interest in giving Trump further meetings to brag about unless it gets something substantial in return.

      • New Effort to Curb Explosive Weapons

        Governments should make a commitment to protect civilians from the harmful impacts of explosive weapons used in towns and cities during conflicts, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today at a diplomatic conference in Geneva.

      • Incendiary Weapons Draw Widespread Condemnation

        Incendiary weapons drew widespread condemnation at last week’s annual meeting of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), but interventions by Russia and the United States will keep the issue off the agenda next year.

      • Ending Endless War From the Right

        They sure didn’t look the part. These weren’t a bunch of stereotypical hippie peaceniks. As I surveyed the room in the beautiful DC brownstone which hosted the BringOurTroopsHome.us opening night reception, I saw well-built, well-dressed men and women, many still sporting military-style haircuts (though often with a well-groomed beard). Instead of tie-dye shirts, I spied some flag-lapel pins, a few Trump 2020 ball caps, and even a big old cowboy hat. Yet all these relatively young combat veterans were gathered in the nation’s capital last week with a common cause: ending America’s endless wars! The very wars, of course, that they had fought, the wars they could still smell, the wars that killed their friends.

      • UN watchdog report says Iran exceeds heavy-water limit under nuclear pact

        Iran has breached another limit in its nuclear deal with major powers by accumulating slightly more than 130 tonnes of heavy water, a substance used in a type of reactor it is developing, a UN nuclear watchdog report showed on Monday.

      • Secret US Intelligence Files Provide History’s Verdict on Argentina’s Dirty War

        This past spring, nearly 42 years after Hidalgo Solá’s disappearance, the Trump administration declassified some 47,000 pages of secret US intelligence files on the “Dirty War” that Argentina’s military government waged against its own people. More than 7,000 CIA, FBI, Pentagon, and National Security Council (NSC) records—now posted on a specially created US government website at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence—shed considerable light on the state of terror that existed in Argentina from 1976 to 1983, when the military held power. The detailed documents provide extensive new evidence on the infrastructure of repression, Argentina’s role in the international terrorism campaign known as Operation Condor, and most important, the fate of hundreds of desaparecidos who were kidnapped, tortured, and murdered—among them Hidalgo Solá.

      • Saudi-led coalition says Yemen’s Houthis seize ship in Red Sea

        South Korea said two of its vessels were captured, a tug boat and a sand dredger, each of which had one South Korean national was on board.

        Four other crew members of unknown nationalities were also on board, the South Korean foreign ministry said in a statement.

        Both vessels were owned by South Korean builder Woongjin Development, a company official told Reuters.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Sweden Pushes On With Assange ‘Investigation,’ Won’t Address UN Torture Rapporteur’s Concerns

        United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer, who raised specific concerns related to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s case, has grown increasingly frustrated as the government of Sweden refuses to answer his questions.

        Melzer wrote letters in May and in September. In response to his most recent letter, which alleged violations of due process and human rights, Swedish officials wrote, “The government has no further observations to make.”

      • The Roger Stone – Wikileaks – Russia Hoax

        As ever, the Guardian wins the prize for the most tendentious reporting of Roger Stone’s conviction. This is not quite on the scale of its massive front page lie that Paul Manafort visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy. But it is a lie with precisely the same intent, to deceive the public into believing there were links between Wikileaks and the Trump campaign. There were no such links.

      • Sweden Drops Investigation of Julian Assange

        From the outset of this preliminary investigation, Julian Assange’s expressed concern has been that waiting in the wings was a United States request that would be unstoppable from Sweden and result in his spending the rest of his life in a US prison.

        Now that the US does seek Mr Assange’s extradition to stand trial on unprecedented charges for journalistic work, it continues to be a matter of extreme regret that this reality was never acknowledged and that in turn a process in Sweden, with which Mr Assange has always expressed his willingness to engage and indeed did so, became so exceptionally politicised itself.

        The US is seeking a 175-year prison sentence. Sweden has to date failed to give assurances it will block Mr Assange’s US extradition.

        The UN has investigated the procedural history of the Swedish “preliminary investigation” against Assange. The conclusions are clear. The matter became rapidly politicised and there has been no prospect for a fair hearing for many years. An investigation into how the justice system failed to withstand the political and media pressure and lessons learned should be pursued.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Chief Justice Orders Delay in House Fight for Trump Financial Records

        Chief Justice John Roberts is ordering an indefinite delay in the House of Representatives’ demand for President Donald Trump’s financial records to give the Supreme Court time to figure out how to handle the high-stakes dispute.

      • Yes, Something Stinks about the State Takeover of the Houston Independent School District

        A trio of activists on behalf of public schools wrote a blistering critique of the pending state takeover of the Houston Independent School District, based on the failure of ONE high school that has an unusually high proportion of students who are poor and have disabilities.

      • New Jersey Political Boss Defends Tax Breaks, Denounces “King George” Critics

        The influential New Jersey businessman at the center of an investigation into the state’s troubled tax-incentive program appeared on Monday before state legislators, rebuffing allegations of corruption and defending the hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives to him and his business partners.

        Facing a panel of friendly lawmakers and a room of boisterous demonstrators, George E. Norcross III said the tax breaks had laid the groundwork for a “rapid and stunning renaissance” in Camden, the South Jersey city where he was born and where he built himself into the most powerful unelected figure in state politics.

      • US: Approve Bill to Curb Money Laundering

        The United States Senate should pass a proposed law that would provide law enforcement a crucial tool for stemming corruption and advancing human rights, 10 human rights organizations said in a letter to senators today. 

      • Amazon will pay $0 in taxes on $11,200,000,000 in profit for 2018

        While some people have received some surprise tax bills when filing their returns, corporations continue to avoid paying tax — thanks to a cocktail of tax credits, loopholes, and exemptions.

        According to a report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), Amazon (AMZN) will pay nothing in federal income taxes for the second year in a row.

        Thanks to the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), Amazon’s federal tax responsibility is 21% (down from 35% in previous years). But with the help of tax breaks, according to corporate filings, Amazon won’t be paying a dime to Uncle Sam despite posting more than $11.2 billion in profits in 2018.

        How is that possible?

        [...]

        “This is another situation where the rhetoric from President Trump is completely divorced from what he does and what his policies do,” explained Wamhoff. “The part about cutting corporate tax rate was true. And they eliminated some corporate tax rates but not all.”

        He added: “The corporate tax revenue was a big loser. We aren’t going to see corporations suddenly paying more. We see that in the case of Amazon.”

        Declining tax revenue has only widened deficits, as national debt has ballooned up and over $22 trillion.

      • Massive Hack Strikes Offshore Cayman National Bank and Trust

        A blast of sunshine has hit a secretive banking network used by global ultra-wealthy figures following a massive hack by “Phineas Fisher“, a notorious self-described “hacktivist”, of Cayman National Bank and Trust, which serves nearly 1,500 accounts in Isle of Man. Transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets has began publishing copies of the bank’s servers, a cache of documents as well as communications among bankers and others. Journalists around the world are investigating and have begun releasing stories.

        Following the hack, a manifesto was uploaded to the Internet addressing the motivation for hacking financial services companies. Unicorn Riot has embedded the manifesto below which includes previously unpublished code which the author claims was used to break into “Hacking Team” an Italian surveillance company. Hacking Team was an elite corporation that specialized in developing malware until Phineas Fisher hacked them and published their code online. The malware developed by Hacking Team was often used to attack journalists and activists on behalf of repressive governments .

        Unicorn Riot has obtained the small HackBack announcement text released exclusively in Spanish, described as “Desde las montañas del Sureste Cibernético” (‘From the mountains of the Cyber Southeast’). It bills itself as a “HackBack” DIY guide for “Una guía DIY para robar bancos” (‘A DIY guide for robbing banks.’) The announcement begins with a tongue-in-cheek dedication to “Subcowmandante Marcos” with an ASCII text-styled pipe-smoking cow referring to former Zapatista spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Trump Sycophant Jon Voight to Receive National Medal of Arts

        Jon Voight thinks Donald Trump is “the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln,” which is probably reason enough for the praise-hungry president to give the star of movies like “Midnight Cowboy,” “Coming Home” and “Deliverance” the National Medal of Arts. Once an annual tradition, Trump hasn’t found anyone he deems sufficiently worthy (or sufficiently worshipful), since his 2017 inauguration, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

      • Trump’s Child Separation Policy “Absolutely” Violated International Law Says UN Expert

        The way the Trump administration was “separating infants from their families only in order to deter irregular migration from Central America to the United States of America, for me, constitutes inhuman and degrading treatment.”

      • House Impeachment Investigators Probing Whether Trump Lied to Mueller

        “The House is trying to determine whether the current president should remain in office. This is unbelievably serious and it’s happening right now, very fast.”

      • Deputy head of Russia’s penitentiary system reportedly resigns after criticizing press policy changes

        Valery Maximenko, the deputy head of Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN), has reportedly submitted a resignation letter. The outlets Daily Storm and RBC both learned of the resignation from anonymous sources and said it was related to the arrival of a new director, Alexander Kalashnikov, at FSIN.

      • ‘Fear of Victory’ for Sanders or Warren in 2020 Driving Bloomberg and Patrick Bids, Say Progressive Critics

        “There’s clearly anxiety from parts of the Democratic Party establishment and donor class about becoming a party that is unapologetic about taking on oligarchs, whether they’re Donald Trump or Jeff Bezos.”

      • Fighting Corruption Worldwide
      • The Fall of the Berlin Wall, Shock Therapy and the Rise of Trump

        The Berlin Wall fell 30 years ago. It was one of the few unambiguously joyous moments in modern history. This popular, nonviolent explosion of dissent effectively toppled East Germany’s despotic regime. And it signaled, if only symbolically, the end of the Cold War that had divided Europe for nearly half a century.

      • Another Death Penalty Horror: Stark Disparities in Media and Activist Attention

        On November 12, intrepid abolitionist Sister Helen Prejean tweeted to her legions of followers: “What do Sen. Ted Cruz, Gigi Hadid, Kim Kardashian, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and me all have in common? We’re among a growing local and national movement asking Texas @GovAbbott to stop the scheduled Nov. 20 execution of #RodneyReed[.]”

      • Stefanik Stands By Her Man and Roger Stone Gets Convicted on All Counts: Impeachment Day Two

        The myth that the United States is a nation of laws provides the context for Friday’s hearings, if not for the entire process. The most obvious irony is that this occurs while lawless acts by the president of this nation of laws are being discussed. It is the trumpist belief that Trump either did nothing illegal or that even if he did, it doesn’t matter because he is president, As this process moves forward, it becomes clearer that many trumpists have little understanding of what is illegal. This is more than apparent just in their demands to name the whistleblower, which would be a blatant violation of the law should someone do so. Never mind their obfuscation of the particulars in Trump and Giuliani’s actions. Or, as far as the US government goes, the criminality of its foreign policy. The question in the Capitol is not, nor will it likely ever be, a question of who the nation’s laws serve. However, how those laws are enforced will become clearer as the process continues. If Trump and his co-conspirators get away with this, then it will certainly be clear who the nation’s laws do not apply to.

      • #SayHerName, Impeachment, and a Hawk

        I was thinking about impeachment when a bird fell out of the sky.

      • Andrew Yang’s Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Tech Policy

        Andrew Yang has been a bit of a surprise Presidential candidate this year, and is often described as a former “tech exec” or “Silicon Valley’s presidential candidate”. The “tech exec” claim seems a bit exaggerated, as he was a lawyer, and then ran a test prep company before a non-profit. Still, he got lots of attention for being a bit wonky and at least speaking the language of tech. His main claim to fame has been to support Universal Basic Income of $1,000/month which is a popular idea here in Silicon Valley.

      • American Oblivion

        Nearly two hundred years ago the Russian diplomat and poet Fyodor Tyuchev wrote a poem that helps describe how Donald Trump and his associates impact all of life. The poem “The Vision (Videnie)” (1828) begins with four lines about a starry night when “the living chariot of the universe rolls openly into the sanctuary of the heavens.” But then the “night thickens, like chaos on the waters, and oblivion, like Atlas, crushes the earth [Bespamiatstvo, kak Atlas, davit sushu].” President Trump and many of his associates display ingrained habits of deception as well as bespamiatstvo—literally “without memory” or oblivion, the “state of being forgotten.” Tyutchev offers an apt description for the effect upon us of the flagrant deceptions of Trump and his team. A blizzard of lies, falling incessantly upon the public discourse and infecting our imaginations, makes truth itself a suspect. Bespamiatstvo threatens to crush and obliterate all that is sharp and clear in our minds.

      • U.S. Angers Palestinians With Reversal on Israeli Settlements

        The Trump administration on Monday softened the U.S. position on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, reversing four decades of American policy and further undermining the effort to gain Palestinian statehood.

      • Trump ‘Pandering to His Extremist Base’ on Israeli Settlements, Says Bernie Sanders

        Sanders was one of a number of critics who saw the Monday announcement that the White House won’t treat the settlements as illegal as another attack on the Palestinian people. 

      • ‘There Is No More Two-State Solution’: Trump Administration to Further Soften Opposition to West Bank Settlements

        “How the hell is it possible for the U.S. policy to be any softer?”

      • Michael Lynk’s UN Report on Israeli Settlements Speaks the Truth, But the World Refuses to Listen

        He’s a very tall man with bright eyes and a broad smile, and he holds out a great paw when he greets you. But Michael Lynk is no gentle giant.

      • Unpacking Media Propaganda About Bolivia’s Election

        To endorse the coup in Bolivia, numerous editorials in major US media outlets paint President Evo Morales as undemocratic. Exhibit A in their case is the Organization of American States’ (OAS) claims that there was fraud in the October 20 Bolivian election in which Morales was elected for a fourth term. They also argue that he should not have been allowed to run again in the first place.

      • Whose News Literacy?

        In schools and campuses across the country, tens of thousands of students are in the midst of media and news literacy courses.

      • Klobuchar unveils plan to secure elections as president

        In her plan, Klobuchar, who is a longtime advocate in the Senate for election security efforts, zeroed in on improving the transparency of political ads on social media, combating disinformation, and promoting cybersecurity.

        Key parts of the strategy include Klobuchar’s intention to issue an executive order that would bolster government-wide cybersecurity efforts, and launch a “cabinet-level taskforce” that would coordinate across federal agencies and with state and local governments to better address cyber threats to elections.

        Klobuchar would also require states to use paper ballots as a way to prevent cyber tampering with the vote, and set “strong cybersecurity standards” for voting infrastructure.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Ramzan Kadyrov says he was merely articulating Chechen ethics when he advocated the murder of ‘Internet gossips’ earlier this month

        Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Russia’s Chechen Republic, has offered a public explanation of a speech he made earlier this month, where he advocated the murder, imprisonment, and harassment of people who “spread rumors” online. While visiting a construction site in Grozny, Kadyrov spoke in Chechen in an interview aired on local state television. The website Caucasian Knot later published a translation into Russian.

      • Why Iran shut down the [Internet] this weekend

        The government shut down [Internet] access across the nation of 80 million people to staunch demonstrations that took place in a reported 100 cities and towns. That made it increasingly difficult to gauge whether unrest continued. Images published by state and semiofficial media showed the scale of the damage in images of burned gas stations and banks, torched vehicles and roadways littered with debris.

      • Iran Blocks Internet for 3rd Day as Death Toll From Protests Rises to Eight

        “This is essentially a near-total blackout,” Alp Toker said. “There are a few ([Internet]) routes out (of the country), but these are very technical right now, so it’s not practical to circumvent these measures for most people.” Toker said some technically savvy Iranians might be able to get web access using a fixed line or broadband connection rather than a mobile device.

        The [Internet] outage has made it difficult for Iranians to share protest images and information with each other and the outside world. The demonstrations erupted in response to the government abruptly raising the subsidized price of gas by 50% early Friday.

      • Democrats are not “censoring” Donald Trump — his increasingly desperate staff is doing that

        Except for maybe one person’s attention. The obvious purpose is to keep Trump busy so he doesn’t get into trouble, a management style familiar to any parent of toddlers. Frankly, it’s a smart move, as Trump’s behavior last Friday showed. Even on Fox Business, which has been fiercely pro-Trump, a host cracked and said that his Twitter behavior “makes him look like a big dumb baby” and draws more attention to the hearings than if he could just sit still with his coloring book like a big boy.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Supreme Court’s Warrant Requirement For Cell Site Location Info Apparently Killed Another Domestic Surveillance Program

        Oh, guess what? The NSA has ended another third party data collection — one it hopefully ended right after the Supreme Court’s Carpenter decision was released. Spencer Ackerman fills in the details at the Daily Beast.

      • France embraces facial recognition tech

        Civil rights groups worry France is taking a step toward a surveillance state. It is about to become the first European Union country to introduce facial recognition software for government services.

      • Inside Facebook’s efforts to stop revenge porn before it spreads

        In November 2017, Facebook launched a pilot in Australia inviting users to pre-emptively send the company their nude or intimate images. The idea was that Facebook could then block any attempts to distribute those images on the platform without the subject’s consent.

      • Facebook’s Anti-Revenge Porn Tools Failed to Protect Katie Hill

        Later that year, Facebook piloted a program in which anyone could securely share their nude photos with Facebook to preemptively hash and automatically block. At the time, the proposal was met with some incredulity, but the company says it received positive feedback from victims and announced the program’s expansion in March. The same day, Facebook also said that it would deploy machine learning and artificial intelligence to proactively detect near-nude images being shared without permission, which could help protect people who aren’t aware their photos leaked or aren’t able to report it. (Facebook’s policy against nonconsensual porn extends to outside links where photos are published, but a spokesperson says that those instances usually have to be reported and reviewed first.) The company now has a team of about 25 dedicated to the problem, according to a report by NBC News published Monday.

      • Senate Democrats unveil priorities for federal privacy bill

        Legislation built on the Democrats’ stated priorities would limit how much sensitive information tech companies are allowed to collect on their millions of U.S. users, require companies to audit whether their algorithms result in unintended discrimination against minorities and vulnerable populations, and allow users to sue companies that do not protect their privacy rights.

      • Democrats request info on Google-Ascension partnership

        Four Democratic leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Monday sent letters to Google and Ascension requesting briefings and information related to the search giant’s partnership with the health system.

        The committee chair and heads of three relevant subcommittees requested briefings on the data partnership, codenamed project Nightingale, by Dec. 6.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • The FCC Is About to Raise Billions. Congress Should Invest it in Fiber Infrastructure

        FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced his plans to begin freeing up valuable airwaves within the C-Band, a part of the spectrum—the radio frequencies that our cell carriers, television stations, and others use to transmit services—historically used for satellite television. Once freed, the spectrum would be auctioned and used for 5G and other advanced wireless services. The FCC is making the right call here. This announcement puts the public interest ahead of the desires of the few private actors currently occupying the spectrum, who sought to leverage the hype around 5G to enrich themselves at the public’s expense.

        Their proposal, known as the C-Band Alliance proposal, attempted to argue that the nation’s 5G coverage would benefit if they engaged in a private sale of public property, because it would be faster than the FCC conducting a public auction. But limited spectrum is not the main bottleneck to 5G deployment right now. What national 5G coverage lacks right now is dense fiber networks across the country to support high-speed wireless.

      • Apathy Isn’t A Business Model: Major US Telcos Teeter Toward Bankruptcy

        For more than a decade we’ve noted how the US broadband industry’s biggest problem is a lack of healthy competition. In countless markets consumers either have the choice of a terrible phone company or a cable giant. The nation’s phone companies have spent the last decade refusing to upgrade (or in some cases even repair) their aging DSL lines, because they don’t see residential broadband as worth their while. That in turn is giving giants like Comcast and Spectrum an ever greater monopoly in many markets, reducing the already muted incentive to compete on price or shore up comically terrible customer service.

      • ICA asks ICANN to block .Org private equity deal in damning letter

        Internet Commerce Association is asking domain overseer ICANN to block the sale of the .Org registry to Ethos Capital.

        It sent a damning letter (pdf) to ICANN today that states what many observers are thinking. In part: [...]

      • Courts Shoot Down Another Barrier to Community Broadband

        Connecticut this week was the latest state to shoot down industry-backed barriers preventing your town or city from building its own broadband networks, even if nobody else will.

        Across the U.S., countless towns and cities either have no broadband at all, or are stuck with just one over-priced [Internet] service provider (ISP). A lack of serious competition means ISPs often have no incentive to expand or improve their networks, and revolving door regulators ensure government usually won’t pressure them to try harder.

        In response, more than 750 U.S. communities have started building their own locally-owned broadband networks, despite the industry’s near-constant effort to undermine them.

    • Monopolies

      • Economics and IP: the good, the bad and the ugly (and a request for reader feedback)?

        IP rights have expanded, despite the findings of economic analysis. Trade agreements have slowly but surely extended the footprint of IP rights. Countries that primarily import, rather than export, IP may not benefit from IP regimes, which strengthen rights and increase enforcement domestically.

        Dubious but successful copyright claims increase the cost of creating new content. Rightholders’ questionable efforts to protect their interests in the wonderful new cyberworld have had a chilling effect on research communities (e.g. Volkswagen versus Garcia.) Expanding IP tends to benefit the fortunate few, whereas economics – in theory – supports changes that benefit the many.

        Similarly, some copyright policy recommendations have not come to fruition, despite the economic arguments. Unable to empirically prove a lack of harm – something that is nigh impossible to do – the UK government was forced to quash a Hargreaves-recommended policy that permitted private copying. Thankfully, though, my hope was not completely misplaced, as economically justifiable policy changes have been implemented, including the UK orphan works and parody, character and pastiche copyright exceptions. The sky has not since fallen, as the economic evidence predicted.

        The last decade has seen continued hostility from parts of the IP community towards economics, with various criticisms that economics is anti-IP, or cannot and should not attempt, to analyse the legal complexities of IP. A keynote speaker at a legal seminar proposed economics should be relegated to Room 101 (the Ministry of Love’s torture chamber in Goerge Orwell’s novel “1984″.) Salacious suggestions aside, a general theme has been incredulity and scepticism of economic findings.

        The IP rightsholder community is, unsurprisingly, not a fan of economics as most of the economics research argues that IP rights are too strong. One of my personal claims to fame is that a prominent copyright stakeholder said, “what the f@@k was that?”, following my presentation on business models.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • En Banc at the Federal Circuit

          In American Axle, the patent is at issue, U.S. Patent 7,774,911, relates to “automotive driveshafts used in pickup trucks — claiming “novel and unconventional methods of manufacturing improved driveshafts that include ‘liners’—low cost, hollow tubes made of a fibrous material (such as cardboard).” Petition. The courts found the claims ineligible as directed to “Hooke’s law, and possibly other natural laws.”

        • CRISPR Motions Day at the PTAB: Broad Files Its Substantive Motion No. 2

          October 14th was a busy day at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) for the current interference over CRISPR technology (No. 106,115). The Junior Party (the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Vienna; and Emmanuelle Charpentier; collectively, “CVC”) filed its Substantive Motion No. 1 for priority benefit to its application No. 61/652,086, and its Opposition to the Senior Party’s (the Broad Institute, Harvard University and MIT) Substantive Motion No. 1. The Broad for its part filed three additional substantive motions (Contingent Motion No. 2 to substitute the count; No. 3 to designate claims as not corresponding to the count; and No. 4, for priority benefit to the Broad’s application No. 61/736,528). This post will discuss The Broad’s Substantive Motion No. 2; future posts will review the remaining Broad motions and CVC’s Substantive Motion No. 1.

      • Copyrights

        • ‘Royalty-Free’ Music Supplied By YouTube Results in Mass Video Demonetization

          A YouTuber who used a royalty-free track supplied by YouTube itself has had all of his videos copyright claimed by companies including SonyATV and Warner Chappell. According to the music outfits, Matt Lownes’ use the use of the track ‘Dreams’ by Joakim Karud means that they are now entitled to all of his revenue.

        • Federal Court Approves First ‘Pirate’ Site Blockade in Canada

          A group of major broadcasters and telco giants, including Rogers and Bell, have obtained the first Canadian pirate site blocking order. The Federal Court approved a request that requires several major ISPs to block access to domains and IP-addresses of the pirate IPTV service GoldTV. The order paves the way for a broader site blocking push, that may target traditional pirate sites as well.

        • Music Collection Org: Revenues Are Booming… And That’s Proof Why We Need Even More Draconian Copyright Laws

          As we showed earlier this year in our latest Sky Is Rising report, revenue in the entertainment industry continues to shoot upwards — and not because of draconian new anti-piracy laws, but almost entirely because of successful innovations from internet companies that have opened up massive new markets for content creators. You’d think that maybe this would make some copyright system supporters think twice about continuing to push for expansionary copyright policies that are likely to hamstring the very internet services that have provided them this windfall, but that would be expecting self-reflection from an industry famous for blaming everyone else for everything that has ever gone wrong.

We’ve Already Entered the Era When Patents Should be Presumed Invalid

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 7:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Only lawyers can benefit from patents that are without merit

Graph extrapolated from the EPO
Graph extrapolated from the EPO’s own numbers

Summary: The abundance of low-quality patents may mean short-term profits for patent offices and law firms; but we know at whose expense they are profiting and the legitimacy of patent systems suffers as a result

THE European Patent Office (EPO) remains our prime topic of interest. It’s about the EPO as an institution we are trying to save/salvage from predators like Battistelli and his chosen successor (and friend) António Campinos. They don’t care about the EPO, they just care about the EPO’s money, which they funnel into dubious coffers (their friends’ and colleagues’). They’re looting the EPO whilst likely defrauding the European public.

“We don’t regret the EPO focus, seeing that it may gradually lead to results (where the desired outcome is of course truth and justice, not money).”Our focus on the EPO has come at the expense of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) coverage — something we did in about 5,000 articles, most of which focusing on 35 U.S.C. § 101 in recent years. We don’t regret the EPO focus, seeing that it may gradually lead to results (where the desired outcome is of course truth and justice, not money).

The US patent system moved in a positive direction in recent years (prior to Iancu’s appointment by Donald Trump). Seeing Watchtroll‘s founder stepping down and resorting to attacks on courts and judges is all we need as evidence. Paula Murgia wrote at Watchtroll on Monday, moaning about the demise of software patents, i.e. the usual. The opening sentence: “It has been one year since my software patent was invalidated in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.”

“Thanks to the USPTO pursuing nothing but money she got a bad patent that would never withstand a trial/courts’ scrutiny.”Too bad, eh? All these patents are bogus, fake and worthless. Thanks to the USPTO pursuing nothing but money she got a bad patent that would never withstand a trial/courts’ scrutiny. The lawyers alone profit (from the fruitless proceedings). During the weekend we put in our Daily Links many more examples like that. Rarely do such patents withstand a challenge. The above was mentioned by Benjamin Henrion, which is as close as we’ll get to citing Watchtroll (we don’t link to it anymore, as it’s a combative site that attacks actual judges). On Monday we also saw Michael Borella commenting on Example 46 — an example by which the USPTO hoped to be helping applicants cheat the law to get fake patents just so that USPTO administrators can make more money (and lawyers then have something to fight over). To quote:

Last month the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an update (“October Update”) to its subject matter eligibility guidance. As we noted at that time, the October Update is more evolutionary than revolutionary, and primarily serves to provide clarifications to the more substantive January Guidance. Nonetheless, the USPTO did provide four additional examples applying its revised test for subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 to hypothetical claims. Here, we discuss Example 46.

The background, of course, is 2014′s Alice Corp. vs. CLS Bank Int’l Supreme Court holding. Therein, the Court set forth a two-part test to determine whether claims are directed to patent-eligible subject matter under § 101. These parts are denoted by the USPTO as steps 2A and 2B, respectively (step 1 is to determine whether the claimed invention is one of the four statutory categories of subject matter set forth in § 101, and is rarely at issue in practice).

Why does the USPTO advise people to overcome Alice? Look no further than the leadership, notably Iancu and his deputy. Trump is putting the litigation ‘industry’ back in charge of the Office, but they cannot control the law (courts), can they?

“Courts outside the EPO would reject these sorts of patents.”The issue prevails in Europe as well and it even exacerbates over time. The EPO simply does not have any concept of justice (neither inwards nor outwards). Well, software patents in Europe are not legal, for example, but litigation firms keep pushing them (citing the Office for ‘support’). The latest software patents promotion is marketed as follows in Twitter: “The EPO acknowledged a number of technical aspects of a method of organizing a database for sequences of time-stamped records…”

Courts outside the EPO would reject these sorts of patents. “To assess patents you must look at the record peripheral to the EPO,” I responded to them.

A comment has meanwhile been posted in IP Kat to say: “I doubt that the fathers of the EPO wanted it to merely grant patents being simply a kind of guideline and the rest to be fought out in national courts.”

It also said: “The EPO should also publish a study to see how many patents are nullified or severely limited in front of national courts. The presumption of validity still applies, but it looks more and more like a giant with very fragile feet.”

They’ve shut down a study on quality because they did not like the result.

Here’s the full comment:

Dear Sing-A-Pore,

That the UK Supreme Court wanted to go away from the famous Improver decision is one thing. The pemetrexed case is however anything else than a model. On the one hand it is a premium for slapdash drafting and one the other hand, it has made a founded FTO study nearly impossible.

It is true that in the new protocol on Art 62 after EPC 2000, the notion of equivalents was introduced, but during the diplomatic conference, the member states refused to endorse the definition of equivalents proposed by the EPO. So it is very easy to talk about equivalents, when everybody can understand w2hat he wants under the topic.

That on top of it Lord Neuberger found it necessary to criticise the examiner for having raised an objection under Art 123(2)is neither fair nor correct. This attitude shows a clear lack of knowledge of EPO procedures and case law.

The applicant only had examples for pemetrexed disodium in his application, but wanted originally to claim the association of any antifolate with vitamin B12, then pemetrexed in general, without the faintest support for it. The examiner had no choice but to raise a problem of Art 123(2), what was claimed was not supported by the original disclosure.

By the way, the court of 1st instance in the Netherlands was not impressed by the behaviour of the applicant during examination and refused to consider that anything else than pemetrexed disodium was originally disclosed.

At the EPO, the applicant wanted a quick grant, and never tried to bring in any proof that any salt of pemetrexed could work. He could have filed further experimental data or even file a divisional application to try to argue for a broader scope of protection. Nothing of this kind was brought forward or even envisaged.

I doubt that the fathers of the EPO wanted it to merely grant patents being simply a kind of guideline and the rest to be fought out in national courts.

Patents should be granted for improvements over the prior art, and not merely for some kind of possible guideline. If the EPO would do this, then it would price itself out of the market, as it cannot ask the price of a Rolls and deliver a kind of Mini having merely 4 wheels and some doors, and that the actual finishing touch is debated in front of national courts.

The EPO should also publish a study to see how many patents are nullified or severely limited in front of national courts. The presumption of validity still applies, but it looks more and more like a giant with very fragile feet.

Even if only 5% of patents are opposed before the EPO, in 2/3 of the cases the patent comes out battered from an opposition procedure (roughly 1/3 revoked, 1/3 maintained in amended form, i.e. limited) and only in 1/3 of the cases the opposition is rejected. Also something to think about when discussing quality. A linear extrapolation is certainly inappropriate, but there is food for thoughts.

This is the kind of comment that we miss. Back in the old days IP Kat spoke about these issues and did not delete comments that did too. Today’s ‘Kats’ are litigation fanatics and yesterday Frantzeska Papadopoulou worked to keep the “hey hi” hype going. In relation to patents Papadopoulou wrote: “Although one could question how important and breathtaking this amendment is, still, it signals the intention of the UKIPO and the way that it perceives AIat this point of time. It is difficult to be sure what has triggered this new provision,, but it could be related to the patent applications submitted in the UKIPO, UPSTO and EPO, respectively, concerning (i) a new form of beverage container based on fractal geometry and (ii) a device for attracting enhanced attention valuable for search and rescue operations. What these patent applications have in common is the inventor, an AI called Dabus. Naturally, humans are involved in these patent applications, namely in the form of the applicants, two professors from Surrey University. The question is, of course, why the applications name the AI program as the inventor, if not to provoke a reaction from major patent offices.”

When did the ‘Kats’ last question the EPO’s legitimacy and its courts’ record on justice? When the team is led by people from AstraZeneca and firms that represents patent trolls (Bristows for example) are such viewpoints even permitted?

“When did the ‘Kats’ last question the EPO’s legitimacy and its courts’ record on justice? When the team is led by people from AstraZeneca and firms that represents patent trolls (Bristows for example) are such viewpoints even permitted?”The situation in Europe has gotten rather grim. Based on a recent presentation from Dolmans, whom Henrion cited and quoted/paraphrased yesterday [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] (the original is a PDF): “only 5% of times patent trolls the patent is found valid (Germany) … NPEs are still very well alive: Conversant, Unwired, Planet, Polaris, Avanci, HEVC, Intellectual Ventures, IPCom … patent trolls win more often in Germany … Patent trolls litigation is also growing in the EU … Germany’s bifurcated patent system might be illegal under the ‘proportionaly’ principle of IPRED1 directive, also present in UPC https://www.scribd.com/document/435184574/19-11-12-Maurits-Dolmans-Proportionality-in-Patent-Injunctions …”

Matteo Pes, an attorney whom we respect for sincerity on some subjects (such as UPC realities), responded on Twitter [1, 2]: “In the long run the bifurcated system might attract more and more NPE (trolls). On the other side, I like the sensibility and the competence of the BpG in deciding on validity. [...] in my experience the bifurcated system really favors the #patent owner from the very beginning of the #litigation. The defendant must be ready to face loss of the first instance, because the #patent Federal Court BpG usually doens’t deliver before the first instance ends”

“Does Germany’s leadership strive to become EDTX and adopt the ‘Gilstrap model’?”The emergence of patent trolls in Europe isn’t exactly news. Germany’s government looks the other way when the EPO (on German soil) grossly violates all laws, including German law. Battistelli should have been arrested for some of the things he did. But not even an arrest warrant was issued. The reluctance to arrest EPO officials for their crimes (committed in Munich, Bavaria) shows that the last thing this government cares about is the Rule of Law (just quick money). It gives a carte blanche for trolls and bullies whose patents they know to be worth nothing; more favourable to pre-settlement over meritless ‘cases’. Does Germany’s leadership strive to become EDTX and adopt the ‘Gilstrap model’? Will Germany become to Europe what Eastern Texas is to the United States?

Jean-Luc Breton

Posted in Europe, Humour at 6:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

I tried to tell you Breton is as awful as that previous candidate, but whose Web site has been taken offline to withhold evidence

Summary: Breton a champion of obstruction and obfuscation

Understanding Thierry Breton: Insider-Trading Scandal at EADS

Posted in Europe, Finance at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Overview

Understanding Thierry Breton

Further parts pending review and research


EADS and breton
EADS insider-trading scandal – Thierry Breton appears before a Senate Committee (October 2007)

Summary: Although Breton was not directly implicated in the insider trading scandal itself he did come under fire in 2007 for the role he played in a side-show to the main story, namely the payment of a generous € 8.5m severance package to Noël Forgeard when the EADS co-CEO was compelled to resign in June 2006.

The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) NV (now Airbus SE) is a European industrial conglomerate created through the merger of Daimler Chrysler Aerospace AG, Aérospatiale Matra, and Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA).

The new Netherlands-registered company, EADS N.V., came into existence in July 2000. It had two sets of CEOs and chairmen to represent France and Germany, as well as head offices in Paris, Munich, and Madrid. The company’s official language was English.

EADS had about 90,000 employees at the time of the merger. EADS was the third largest aerospace company behind Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The company was a market leader in helicopters, missile systems, and space launchers and a showcase example of European industrial co-operation.

In June 2006, a major political scandal erupted over allegations of insider trading at EADS.

According to media reports, the French joint CEO Noël Forgeard sold 162,000 EADS shares in March 2006, shortly before the official announcement that delivery of the A 380 superjumbo aircraft manufactured by EADS subsidiary Airbus would be delayed causing the share price to nosedive by 26%. Forgeard was reported to have made a profit of some € 2.5 million on the sale. In addition, his children sold 128,000 EADS shares several days after he did, and made more than € 4.2 million profit.

An EADS spokesman said that the share trading by company executives was “fully in line with EADS regulations” and Forgeard insisted he had no “privileged information” before the sales, describing the timing as an “unfortunate coincidence”.

EADS insider-trading
Insider trading at EADS? According to Noël Forgeard:
“We only knew one thing … that there was money to be made!”

The scandal grew as it emerged that EADS’ main shareholders, Germany’s Daimler AG and France’s Lagardère SCA, had sold shares worth 7.5 % of the EADS total unexpectedly early in April 2006. It was alleged that Daimler and Lagardère executives had known about the A380 problems from the time of the decisive executive board meeting on 7 March 2006.

After the affair became public, the French financial markets regulator Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) opened an investigation into 17 executives at EADS as well as EADS itself and the main shareholders Daimler AG and Lagardère.

Forgeard resigned as joint CEO of EADS on 2 July 2006 due to criticism over the alleged insider trading and after it had become apparent that delays in the Airbus A380 superjumbo program would have a severe financial impact on EADS.

In May 2008, it was reported that Forgeard, had been detained by French police on suspicion of insider trading.

Following a three-year AMF regulatory probe which had named 17 EADS and Airbus executives as suspects, in July 2009 the chief investigator narrowed the list down to seven people suspected of selling shares illegally in the period 8 to 21 March 2006:

  • Noël Forgeard, former joint CEO of EADS;
  • Jean-Paul Gut, a former Deputy CEO who oversaw strategy;
  • John Leahy, Chief Airbus salesman;
  • Andreas Sperl, Director of the EADS site in Dresden;
  • Olivier Andries, a former EADS Vice-President;
  • Erik Pillet, HR director; and
  • Alain Flourens, in charge of training centers.

Heavy fines were recommended against the seven executives and against EADS its corporate shareholders, Lagardère SCA and Daimler AG.

After a hearing in November 2009, the AMF formally cleared the accused executives as well as EADS, Daimler and Lagardère.

Colette Neuville, head of minority shareholder association ADAM, called the AMF decision a “veritable scandal”. She told the press: “This will have a catastrophic effect on public opinion. Keep moving, there is nothing to see here – that is what we are being told”.

In the meantime, the parallel criminal investigation continued and in December 2013 a Paris court ordered the opening of criminal proceedings against the seven executives suspected of insider trading, along with Daimler and Lagardère.

EADS Noël
Noël Forgeard, at the Palace of Justice in Paris (December 2013)

In May 2015, the case was dismissed following a decision by France’s Constitutional Court which found that because the defendants had been cleared by the AMF in 2009 they could not be tried again as this would breach the double jeopardy rule.

The dismissal of the criminal prosecution drew a line under a turbulent period at EADS/Airbus which had been marred by acrimonious management disputes, multi-billion-euro cost overruns and political tensions between the French and German governments, both of which held stakes in the aerospace group.

Not only did the disgraced former co-CEO Forgeard fail get to grips with the company’s production problems in a timely fashion, his aggressive attempts to wrest control from German management exacerbated national tensions.

Much later, in March 2011, an analysis of the Wikileaks cables revealed that Forgeard was regarded by his German colleagues as an “over-ambitious maniac”.

Questioned by an investigative Committee of the French Senate in October 2007, Thierry Breton – who had been Minister for the Economy at the time – declared that the government was “beyond reproach” in the affair. He claimed to be “shocked” by insinuations that the government could come under suspicion of having a hand in the alleged irregularities.

Breton stated that in January 2006, he read a note by the public Agency for State Shareholdings, recommending that the French state reduce its own stake in EADS as the company would soon enter “a zone of turbulence”. However, for “strategic reasons”, he decided not to follow its advice. He also insisted that this note contained no new information about the delays to the A380, but was based on an independent evaluation of the situation. The government, he added, played no part in subsequently getting the state-owned CDC to buy part of the Lagardère shareholding in early April 2006. The state itself, Breton recalled, never sold any of its own shares in EADS.

Philippe Marini, the Senate finance committee rapporteur, said that he found Breton “transparent” and “honest” but “not convincing” about the role of the state. François Chérèque, Secretary-General of the French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT), was less charitable: “either he’s lying, or he’s incompetent”.

Noël's parachute
Noël Forgeard’s “golden parachute” caused public outrage.

Although Breton was not directly implicated in the insider trading scandal itself he did come under fire in 2007 for the role he played in a side-show to the main story, namely the payment of a generous € 8.5m severance package to Noël Forgeard when the EADS co-CEO was compelled to resign in June 2006.

We will look at the “golden parachute” affair in the next part.

Startpage is Not Denying Its Betrayal of Privacy, It is Just Being Evasive

Posted in Deception, Search at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If you cannot deny it, you will just change the subject

Summary: They can’t call you a liar if you issue a non-denying ‘denial’; the “Roll Safe Think About It” meme seems applicable here

THE series about Startpage has been somewhat of a Techrights ‘exclusive’ and it leads us to identifying other surveillance culprits that mask themselves as the complete opposite. We must call them out because they put at great risk those who wrongly assume anonymity etc. In some countries this can lead to assassination, death penalty etc. This is no laughing matter or a luxury or a “first world problem”; it’s a profoundly critical issue and a matter we’ll write more about.

“They sent me the same ‘waffle’. They don’t actually deny anything.”“We received a very general response that did not address key questions,” PrivacyTools wrote last week. There have since then been a number of comments. Startpage/System1 people are still trying to evade answering questions directly, fully and transparently.

“On the 15th of October,” PrivacyTools said, “it was brought to our attention that Startpage.com was reportedly (partially?) taken over by a company called the Privacy One Group, which is in turn owned by a company called System1. We found this quite remarkable as the two companies seem to have conflicting business models. Startpage has been known for basing their advertisements on what their users enter in their search bar. System1 on the other hand, is a pay-per-click advertising company that “has developed a pre-targeting platform that identifies and unlocks consumer intent across channels including social, native, email, search, market research and lead generation rather than relying solely on what consumers enter into search boxes. We reached out to System1 CEO Ian Weingarten for an explanation. We received a very general response that did not address key questions.”

As before. They sent me the same ‘waffle’. They don’t actually deny anything. All these ‘prepared’ and reused statements are similar to those we hear from Andrew Saxe Coburg Gotha in his BBC interview.

“Seemingly prompted by our ongoing concerns,” PrivacyTools continued, “Startpage released a public letter addressed to us from their CEO, and hosted a Q&A on their Subreddit to try and explain the situation. While some of our questions were answered, we noted that the company seemed to be evasive, essentially restating information from a previously published blog post or posting the same response to different questions. People had to really dig to get answers and puzzle all information together, instead of getting a clearly explained and comprehensive answer from the start. Requests for clarification to some important questions went ignored.”

The issue has meanwhile been mentioned by other sites. “Privacytools.io delists Startpage from its list of privacy tools and services,” said one such site. “Startpage had been taken over by Privacy One Group, which itself is owned by System1. System1 is a targeted advertising company with a business model that seemed—to many—to be in conflict with Startpage’s own privacy-centric model.”

Notice what Dan Arel wrote in the comments: “You raise some of the best points I have heard about this statement by them. It’s amazing how they somehow manages to leave us with more questions, not fewer.”

One has to conclude that they have no potent response/clarification/rebuttal/defense. Among the arguments: “If we know that System1 has a “majority ownership of Startpage” — a legal definition meaning more than 50% — do the specific percentages still matter?”

The proportion must be rather high; if it wasn’t, they’d just say what it is (openly).

Guest Post: Open Source is Not Free Software

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Article by Jagadees.S: “You cannot support both Free software and Open Source software at the same time”

Very different

Summary: “If you look at human history, you can see lots of similar ideas, movements, intellectuals who are affected by the power of the ruling class like this.”

IN 1983 the Free software movement began to free users from the chains of propitiatory software. At that time nobody gave or ascribed much importance to it. Companies and developers thought it was some Utopian idea and one that’s never going to fulfill its goals. So none cared about ‘the ethics’ at that time. Only the leader, Richard Stallman, was there. Later on lots of people got motivated by Stallman’s reason, commitment, and with their own political values they joined the movement. To everyone’s surprise, against the odds, a fully functional and complete “freedom software” stack appeared in the early 1990s.

Attack from inside

As usual, for-profit entities realised its value and jumped onto new opportunities. But they didn’t like the idea of users’ freedom. They only wanted their own profit. So they created a decoy for this great movement, mostly as a distraction. It was called the Open Source movement. Stallman called them freedom subtracted software. (Actually he is wrong. We should not relate to OSS with respect to Free software.)

“Companies and developers thought it was some Utopian idea and one that’s never going to fulfill its goals.”They joined in with the Free software movement and started collaborating with Free software activists. New collaborations of this kind may be called Free and Open Source software (FOSS). Since they had support from businesses, further development became faster and more people joined the movement. They also had support from the media and re-branded the entire Free software movement to their name.

Because of these tricks Free software politics vanished from the public discourse and even Free software activists don’t like to talk about Free software politics. This happened not as a natural thing. It was created for the corporations by this apolitical Trojan horse called OSS.

There is no conspiracy. It is the way the system works.

Nothing new

If you look at human history, you can see lots of similar ideas, movements, intellectuals who are affected by the power of the ruling class like this. A very good example is democracy. 60 years ago people died to get elections or to earn voting rights. But now, who cares enough to go out and vote? What is the voting percentage in the US? Even if they go, will they get a chance to vote? Whether their votes actually get counted is another issue.

Think about the media. It has a very important role in society. But now, what does it do? It’s just a stenographer for the ruling class.

OSS, FOSS are diluted propitiatory software

You can either be with Free software or with propitiatory software. This is clear. No confusion. But when an amorphous group appears this gets messy. Messy for the Free software movement. Because the propitiatory for-profit software idea is clear; they have money, media and political power.

“They also had support from the media and re-branded the entire Free software movement to their name.”The idea of Free software is new and complicated for the ordinary person. So this diluted Free software group is actually an attack on Free software itself. Their vicious attack had grown into such a level that they forced the founder out of the movement.

But a lot of Free software activists are working with this so-called FOSS without knowing the damage it is causing to the Free software movement. Please consider OSS as on the propitiatory software side. If they produce anything which is compatible with the GPL, then they take it and leave everything else behind. Never saying the words OSS or FOSS…

The purpose of Open Source is to move the frame away from users’ freedom and destroy the Free software movement. OSS, FOSS and all other kinds of these PR phrases work similarly; they are the same. So why are you still saying FOSS? Please end that relationship.

We have to understand that anything other than Free software is propitiatory software. There is no middle ground. There is no friendship. There is no cooperation. Just take whatever is under GPL from wherever possible. That’s all.

Be with users’ freedom

You can’t keep your legs in 2 different boats. You have to choose. There is nothing wrong about being with propitiatory software. If you want to make a profit, then do it that way. No problem. With Free software, if you cannot find a way to make a living, then join a proprietary company. Then, in your free time, contribute to Free software. Nothing wrong with that. That is far better than the OSS kind of half ethics. Half ethics end up with no ethics. You have to be either a person supporting users’ freedom or you’re with for-profits. (Remember you are not going to end capitalism with few lines of code. Profit is a reality. And these companies are not evil. The system is evil.)

“So be with the movement that respects users’ freedom. After all, that was the initial purpose of the movement.”If you are not mixing the issues, then there will be more clarity in the public sphere. More discussion in terms of users’ freedom will happen. More people will support Free software. Sure, it’s a hard path. But that is the right path. So be with the movement that respects users’ freedom. After all, that was the initial purpose of the movement.

Note: For this to happen you have to be economically independent as I’ve mentioned in the post “Do not make Free software your source of income; it will make you weak, politically”. It’s not a Free software movement issue. All the social movements have this problem.

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