How to Become a Debian Developer (DD) Without Writing a Single Line of Code

Posted in Debian, Deception, GNU/Linux at 9:16 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

What is the scandal about the Mollamby Debian Developer Certificate?

In March 2018, the script for generating Debian Developer certificates was updated to create certificates for non-uploading Debian Developers.

We can see that in the logs of the Debian keyring, the Debian Project Leader’s girlfriend, Molly de Blanc, was added to the Debian Developer non-uploading keyring in December 2018.

In April 2019, Miss de Blanc started a new job at GNOME Foundation.

If you assume she had to give her previous employer, the FSF, one or two months notice, then she probably received the GNOME job offer in January or February. Take another step backwards and it appears she was in the process of making job applications in December 2018.

It appears that the DPL’s girlfriend was promoted and given that holy DD status at the very time she was looking for a job.

Her Github profile reads:

I don’t know how to code, but I do have blue hair.

Please don’t rush to criticize her though: that disclaimer on her Github profile is refreshingly honest and de Blanc deserves to be commended for it. It is those around her who need more careful scrutiny.

The questions on everybody’s lips:

  • did Chris Lamb use his position as DPL to issue his girlfriend with one of those DD certificates or even write her a full reference letter while he was secretly dating her?
  • How many cabal members, including those in the new member process, knew about the relationship that was hidden from other Debian Developers working with de Blanc?
  • Did de Blanc’s new boss, Neil McGovern at GNOME Foundation, know that de Blanc was dating his friend Lamb at the same time he was evaluating her for a job?
  • Did Lamb and others know that de Blanc was actively looking for a job and therefore consciously use their positions to help her?

McGovern expressed support for de Blanc without denying the conflicts of interest.

While de Blanc might be capable of doing the job, there are thousands of other volunteers and non-developers out there who might also be equally good or better at this role. Why didn’t they have the opportunity to apply?

Ironically, McGovern’s email accuses the person asking the question of being divisive. Yet just weeks later, Neil McGovern played a key role in one of the most divisive events in the entire history of free software, ambushing de Blanc’s former boss, Richard Stallman, using his GNOME title to add weight to an anti-RMS attack blog.

Links 13/9/2020: GNOME 3.38 RC2 and Develop.kde.org

Posted in News Roundup at 7:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • 5 Linux VPN Providers To Secure your Connections With

        VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a communication tunnel between your devices and remote connection servers to bypass your local ISP censorship and local network monitoring. The working concept is that you redirect all your Internet traffic via these tunnels to access the Internet rather than directly using your ISP, and in this way, ISPs ability to see your activities on the Internet will be greatly reduced.


        There are many companies out there which provide VPN services, but if you are a Linux user then what you should be concerned with is what companies provide native clients for Linux? Because not all of them do so, so you have to make sure that the VPN provider supports Linux before subscribing for their service.

        This, of course, is in addition to the privacy and security features provided by the VPN provider.

        We’ll take you today in a tour on some Linux VPN providers, so that you can use them and increase your security and privacy online.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Snap: Linux’s Most Controversial Universal Packaging System

        Recently I discussed AppImage’s on this channel which I’m sort of a fan of so I thought why not also talk about Snap packages which I think it would be fair to describe as the most controversial universal packaging systems that exist on Linux. This has gone so far to the point where some distros such as Linux Mint have disabled support for them out of the box due to some issues involving the Chromium package.

      • Test and Code: 130: virtualenv activation prompt consistency across shells – an open source dev and test adventure – Brian Skinn

        virtualenv supports six shells: bash, csh, fish, xonsh, cmd, posh. Each handles prompts slightly differently. Although the virtualenv custom prompt behavior should be the same across shells, Brian Skinn noticed inconsistencies. He set out to fix those inconsistencies. That was the start of an adventure in open source collaboration, shell prompt internals, difficult test problems, and continuous integration quirks.

      • GNU World Order 371

        Get started with containers with **lxc**. Also covered in this episode: the **lzip** command.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.4.65
      • Linux 4.19.145
      • Linux 4.14.198
      • Linux 4.9.236
      • Linux 4.4.236
      • Linux 5.8.9
        I'm announcing the release of the 5.8.9 kernel.
        All users of the 5.8 kernel series must upgrade.
        The updated 5.8.y git tree can be found at:
        	git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.8.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
      • The Latest On The Linux 5.9 Kernel Regression Stemming From Page Lock Fairness

        Last week we reported on a Linux 5.9 kernel regression following benchmarks from Linux 5.0 to 5.9 and there being a sharp drop with the latest development kernel. That kernel regression was bisected to code introduced by Linus Torvalds at the start of the Linux 5.9 kernel cycle. Unfortunately it’s not a trivial problem and one still being analyzed in coming up with a proper solution. So the short story is it’s a work-in-progress while this article has some additional insight and benchmarks done over the course of the past few days.

        For those wondering about that Linux 5.9 kernel regression spotted for the likes of Apache HTTPD / Nginx / Hackbench, it’s still being evaluated. Linus Torvalds knows what’s going on but he’s still trying to sort out the best way to solve it in addressing those sharp performance drops but also trying to address his motives for writing that patch originally.

      • Linux File Systems: Everything You Need to Know

        While working with disks and operating systems after a certain level, there are several terms that we come across that we vaguely know about, and to many of us, they are not clearly understood. Well, in this article, we aim to cover everything about the Linux File Systems and those different terms related to it to leave no gaps.

      • Habana Labs’ Gaudi NIC Support Being Worked On For Linux Kernel

        Intel-owned AI startup Habana Labs is working on expanding their “Gaudi” support to now include the NIC network interface found on this AI training accelerator hardware.

        Back for Linux 5.8 there was Gaudi support added to the Habana Labs accelerator driver. Previously the Hababa Labs open-source Linux driver only supported their Goya AI inference accelerator but now with the latest stable Linux kernel release there is support for the Gaudi AI training accelerator.

    • Applications

      • Linux Weekly Roundup – Vivaldi, Manjaro 20.1, Wine 5.17

        Here’s the Linux Weekly roundup series, baked for you from the Linux and opensource world on app updates, new releases, distribution updates, major news, and upcoming highlights.

      • Best Free and Open Source Terminal-Based Music Players

        There’s a huge raft of free and open source music software available on the Linux platform which is both mature and sophisticated. Linux has many music tools which offer enhanced functionality and integration with internet music services. With most desktop environments having several audio players, together with cross-platform applications, integrated media players, there is a plethora of music players to choose from.

        Like many types of software, the selection of a favorite music player is, to some extent, dependent on personal preferences. Nevertheless, we are confident that the applications featured in this article represent the most appealing music players.

      • Best Free and Open Source Web Servers

        In hardware terms, a web server is a computer that stores web server software and a website’s component files such as HTML documents, images, CSS and JavaScript files. A web server connects to the Internet and supports physical data interchange with other devices connected to the web.

        This article focuses on the software side. In this respect, a web server’s primary function is to store, process and deliver web pages to clients. It has several parts that control how web users access hosted files. At a minimum, this is an HTTP server. An HTTP server is software that understands URLs (web addresses) and HTTP (the protocol your browser uses to view webpages). An HTTP server can be accessed through the domain names of the websites it stores, and it delivers the content of these hosted websites to the end user’s device.

        At the most basic level, whenever a browser needs a file that is hosted on a web server, the browser requests the file via HTTP. When the request reaches the correct (hardware) web server, the (software) HTTP server accepts the request, finds the requested document, and sends it back to the browser, also through HTTP.

      • TLDR – Makes it easier to understand man pages

        In this article, you will learn about an amazing tool called TLDR and how to install and use it on Linux distributions.

        Linux has a built-in man utility tool. It is an interface to the reference manuals (Documentation). That means if you do not understand something like how a command or a function works then you can query for its man reference page to learn about it.

        However, these pages can be long and confusing (Especially for beginners) which eventually discourse you to read them.

        Introducing TLDR, a tool that makes it easier to understand man pages in UNIX-Like systems such as Linux. It’s the same as man pages but very concise and has examples for different use cases.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Bounty Battle: No Bounty to be Found Here

        Bounty Battle was something I was looking forward to: a 2D crossover indie fighting game that features characters from a bunch of different indie titles, such as Juan from Guacamelee!, Trace from Axiom Verge, and Otus from Owlboy. And, sad to say, I’m debating whether I should request a refund.

        After reading some of the negative reviews on Steam, I was hoping I could find something in the game that would prove some of the reviewers wrong, but, suffice to say, after several delays and three years from their initial crowdfunding campaign, we still have a half-baked product. Something that probably should have been labeled as Early Access.

        As I’m trying to keep my time on the game under two hours to meet the refund requirements, my thoughts on this game will be brief.

      • Battle for Wesnoth 1.14.14 Released with Add-on Improvements

        Battle for Wesnoth 1.14.14 was released one day ago as the latest maintenance release for the turn-based strategy game.

        In the new release, translations for add-on titles and descriptions now are used in Add-on client when available, and provided via Add-on server at upload time in the .pbl.

      • Building A Color Picker in PyGame using Hooman

        In this tutorial we’ll be building a color picker in PyGame using the Hooman library:


        Hooman is a library which simplifies PyGame coding.

      • Jussi Pakkanen: Proposal for a computer game research topic: the walk/game ratio

        I used to play a fair bit of computer games but in the recent years the amount of time spent on games has decreased. Then the lockdown happened and I bought a PS4 and got back into gaming, which was fun. As often is the case, once guy get back into something after a break you find yourself paying attention to things that you never noticed before.

        In this particular case it was about those parts of games where you are not actually playing the game. Instead you are walking/driving/riding from one place to another because the actual thing you want to do is somewhere else. A typical example of this is Red Dead Redemption II (and by extension all GTAs). At first wondering the countryside is fun and immersive but at some point it becomes tedious and you just wish to be at your destination (fast travel helps, but not enough). Note that this does not apply to extra content. Having a lush open sandbox world that people can explore at their leisure is totally fine. This is about “grinding by walking” that you have to do in order to complete the game.

      • The weekend chat – what have you been playing?

        The ending of another week is just about here, ready to begin anew. Before Monday comes knocking, it’s time for the usual GOL community chat post.

        For us over here at GOL, there’s been plenty of Left 4 Dead 2 while we wait for the upcoming community expansion with The Last Stand. Our streamer Sin has been doing a bunch live on our Twitch Channel and it’s been absolutely hilarious. Left 4 Dead 2 released around 11 years ago and it holds up incredibly well. Still hugely popular overall too, with it regularly pulling in close to around 20K players each day.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce 4.16: First Look at the New Features and Improvements

        The initial plan for Xfce 4.16 wasn’t to be a big release, like Xfce 4.14 was, but it turned out it was worth the effort of working on more new features for the lightweight desktop environment and present users with a comprehensive update.

        Of course, nothing can beat the Xfce 4.14 release, which was more than 4 years in the works. However, Xfce 4.16 has some very nice additions fans will more likely enjoy, and who knows, it may even convert a few GNOME or KDE users to the lightweight alternative used by many popular distros by default, including Xubuntu, Manjaro, and others.

        So, without further ado, here are the top 10 new features in the Xfce 4.16 desktop environment.

      • Xfce 4.16pre1 Released As The First Step Towards This Next Desktop Update

        Following the very delayed Xfce 4.14, the Xfce 4.16 release is progressing with plans for releasing this year. Xfce 4.16pre1 was released at the end of August while it was the release announcement that was delayed for this lightweight desktop environment update.


        The Xfce developers are hoping for another pre-release towards the end of the month, a possible third pre-release in October, and ideally shipping Xfce 4.16 in November.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE’s Latest Plasma Wallpaper is Here And It’s …Shiny

          KDE Plasma 5.20 is due for release on October 13, 2020. It will, just like almost every major stable update before it, come with a new desktop wallpaper as default.

          Why does that matter?

          Well it kinda doesn’t, but it also kinda does. I’ll explain.

          Unlike the default wallpaper that ships in GNOME 3 most Linux distros that use KDE Plasma also keep its’ default wallpaper too — to the point that each KDE release is identifiable by its wallpaper alone; it’s synonymous almost as people see it in marketing and screenshots and so on.

        • Kate – Color Themes with Frameworks 5.75

          Last week I reported about the currently done changes to the color themes in KTextEditor (Kate/KWrite/KDevelop/…). As this was just the half finished job, I felt somehow motivated to work on the remaining parts.

          I had more time this week to work on it than thought and finalized the transition from the old “schema” stuff we had to pure use of KSyntaxHighlighting themes. This is a rather large change, I guess one of the largest code changes I did in KTextEditor in the last years beside the porting of the highlighting itself to KSyntaxHighlighting. This change touches a lot stuff that is more than one decade old.

        • 3 days to sends your talks to Linux App Summit 2020!

          Head to https://linuxappsummit.org/cfp/ and talk about all those nice [Linux] Apps you’re working on!

        • O² or Oxygen all over again, aka Oxygen Reboot, maybe O squared?

          Ok starting to get a bit more serious because, well I have to, this new thing is something that I had as a plan since the end of Oxygen.. Something on the realm of… “How would I do it now that I know what I did not knew wen this started…..” But even before that I had to come to terms with the present at the time design ethos. AKA the flatness. I have to be honest was not my thing, still is not my thing, I get it, but I got pretty good at disguising my design limitations under layers of more design, decoration, skeomorphism, gradients etc..

          I had to, take my time to discover what I was a designer, and also I was burned out on KDE again look at the hours mentioned… And real life and work was work enough. And so a few years passed…

          In what today seams eons ago in Qt world Summit I got to have diner with Good Friend Eike Hein, that challenged me to get back (aka if anything goes terribly wrong you know the reasons name). And that was it i was decided…. some day I would be back….

          Cue in 2020. A year that will be…yeah.. Specially by me, with 2 of the most important people in my life gone (not Covid related).

          Finally Akademy 2020, I got to do a Design/Workshop thingy, had to prepare for it think about it. witch meant thinking of just how much fun I had doing KDE stuf. and it was great. meeting the people way greater… and that was it, I was hooked again…

        • Develop.kde.org

          The long term goal of this new website is to increase the first and third parties use of the KDE Frameworks and development tools. To achieve this goal, this website will provide high quality and complete documentation about the usage of the KDE Frameworks and other libraries (a quite ambitious goal I know), but also provide marketting content for the libraries to offer them a bigger visibility in the internet.

          The more short term and more realistic goal is to import the existing tutorials available from various places (techbase, the framework book, the plasma mobile docs and other more hidden places. And more importantly while importing the content, also update and improve it and allow other in the community to review the content for correctness. Another big task is to better organize the content in logical sections.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.37.92 Released
          The second release candidate for 3.38 is here! Remember this is the
          end of this development cycle; enjoy it as fast as you can, the final
          release is scheduled for this coming week!
          The corresponding flatpak runtimes have been published to Flathub.
          If you'd like to target the GNOME 3.38 platform, you can test your
          application against the 3.38beta branch of the Flathub Beta
          You can also try the experimental VM image, available here for a
          limited time only (Note: If you use Boxes, you need a recent version
          (=> 3.37.90)):
          We remind you we are string frozen, no string changes may be made
          without confirmation from the l10n team (gnome-i18n@) and notification
          to both the release team and the GNOME Documentation Project
          Hard code freeze is also in place, no source code changes can be made
          without approval from the release-team.  Translation and documentation
          can continue.
          If you want to compile GNOME 3.37.92, you can use the official
          BuildStream project snapshot. Thanks to BuildStream's build
          sandbox, it should build reliably for you regardless of the
          dependencies on your host system:
          The list of updated modules and changes is available here:
          The source packages are available here:
          This release is a snapshot of development code. Although it is
          buildable and usable, it is primarily intended for testing and hacking
          purposes. GNOME uses odd minor version numbers to indicate development
          For more information about 3.38, the full schedule, the official module
          lists and the proposed module lists, please see our colorful 3.38 page:
          For a quick overview of the GNOME schedule, please see:
          Javier Jardón Cabezas
          GNOME Release Team
        • GNOME 3.38 RC2 Released With Last Minute Changes

          GNOME 3.38 is due for release next week while the second and final release candidate is now available as one last chance for testing.

          Given the late stage, GNOME 3.38 RC2 (GNOME 3.37.92), there aren’t many changes given the freezes in place and emphasis on fixing bugs and other regressions.

    • Distributions

      • The 10 Best Rolling Release Linux Distributions

        In this guide, we will discuss some of the popular rolling release distributions. If you are new to the concept of a rolling release, worry not. A rolling release system is a Linux distribution that is constantly updated in all aspects: from the software packages, desktop environment, to the kernel. Applications are updated and released on a rolling basis thereby eliminating the need to download the latest ISO which would be representative of the latest release.

        Let’s now have a glance at some of the best rolling releases.

      • Linux Jargon Buster: What is a Long Term Support (LTS) Release? What is Ubuntu LTS?

        In Linux world, specially when it comes to Ubuntu, you’ll come across the term LTS (long term support).

        If you’re an experienced Linux user, you probably know the various aspects of a Linux distribution like an LTS release. But, new users or less tech-savvy users may not know about it.

        In this chapter of Linux Jargon Buster, you’ll learn about what is an LTS release for Linux distributions.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Deepin 20

          Today we are looking at Deepin 20. It comes with Debian 10, Linux Kernel 5.4, and uses about 800MB – 1.4GB of ram when idling

        • Deepin 20 Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Deepin 20.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • PHP on the road to the 8.0.0 release

          Version 8.0.0 Beta 3 is released. It’s now enter the stabilisation phase for the developers, and the test phase for the users.

          RPM are available in the remi-php80 repository for Fedora ≥ 31 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 7 (RHEL, CentOS), or in the php:remi-8.0 stream, and as Software Collection in the remi-safe repository (or remi for Fedora)

        • Overcoming resistance to open management

          In this installment of our “Managing with Open Values” series, I chat again with Braxton, Director of Pricing for a nationwide U.S. insurance company and people manager.

          In June 2018, Braxton reached out to Red Hatters in the Open Organization community. He wanted to learn more about how both he and his team could work differently—using open values. We were happy to help. So I co-organized a workshop on open organization principles for Braxton and his team—and kept in touch afterward, so I could learn about his adventure in becoming more open.

          In this second interview (which includes collaborators Tracy Guiliani, industrial/organizational psychologist and expert in associate engagement, and Bryan Behrenshausen), we explored what it was like to learn firsthand about open source values, and how to use them to transform an organization. In particular, we discussed the value of feedback, managing resistance to using open values, and how the management practice of creating shared purpose caused unexpected benefits for a team with dissimilar roles. It’s another enlightening conversation, one that allowed us to witness—directly—how someone transformed Open Organization community-driven workshop material into dynamic change with benefits for him, his team, and his organization.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian Janitor: All Packages Processed with Lintian-Brush

          The Debian Janitor is an automated system that commits fixes for (minor) issues in Debian packages that can be fixed by software. It gradually started proposing merges in early December. The first set of changes sent out ran lintian-brush on sid packages maintained in Git. This post is part of a series about the progress of the Janitor.

          On 12 July 2019, the Janitor started fixing lintian issues in packages in the Debian archive. Now, a year and a half later, it has processed every one of the almost 28,000 packages at least once.

        • Markus Koschany: My Free Software Activities in August 2020

          Welcome to gambaru.de. Here is my monthly report (+ the first week in September) that covers what I have been doing for Debian. If you’re interested in Java, Games and LTS topics, this might be interesting for you.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Mark Shuttleworth Now Plans To Restore Ubuntu’s Community Council

          Back on Friday there was Mark Shuttleworth’s comments following some friction within the Ubuntu community and uncertainty over roles. After thinking about it over the weekend, he has decided to go ahead and work to reinstate the Ubuntu Community Council.

          While the Ubuntu Community Council previously faded away and there are differing views over the motivation of the participants, there has been some renewed interest in having the Community Council around. When running years ago, the Community Council formed the principal community governance body for the Ubuntu project. Members historically were appointed by Mark Shuttleworth and approved by the Ubuntu members. They would meet bi-weekly on IRC to discuss and act on matters.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The open-source community dumps the swag bag in favor of supporting STEM education

        Guagenti and Janet Matsuda (pictured, left), chief marketing officer at Sysdig, spoke with theCUBE for a Women in Tech special feature on the KubeCon for Good initiative to reward attendance with donations instead of “stuff.”

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • India’s ambitious non personal data report should put privacy first, for both individuals and communities

            After over a year’s deliberation, the Kris Gopalakrishnan Committee released its draft report on non-personal data regulation in India last month. The report is one of the first comprehensive articulations of how non-personal data should be regulated by any country and breaks new ground in interesting ways. While seemingly well intentioned, many of the reports recommendations leave much to be desired in both clarity and feasibility of implementation. In Mozilla’s response to the public consultation, we have argued for a consultative and rights respecting approach to non-personal data regulation that benefits communities, individuals and businesses alike while upholding their privacy and autonomy.

            We welcome the consultation, and believe the concept of non-personal data will benefit from a robust public discussion. Such a process is essential to creating a rights-respecting law compatible with the Indian Constitution and its fundamental rights of equality, liberty and privacy.

      • Programming/Development

        • Erlang Is Seeing Work On “BeamAsm” – A JIT Compiler Yielding Much Performance Uplift

          Lukas Larsson of Erlang Solutions is proposing “BeamAsm” as a JIT compiler for the Erlang virtual machine.

          Erlang/OTP could soon be the latest programming language featuring a just-in-time compiler. With BeamAsm, Erlang instructions are turned into native code on x86-64 making use of ASMJIT. While at the moment only x86-64 is working, support for ARM 64-bit is also in the works.

        • Logic makes me hungry

          A nicety of Erlang is one can do away with the classical true/false logic in your program flow. This usually takes the form of if statements in other languages. When I have zero will-power, I have noticed it’s this brand of logic that piles up quickly and wears me out.

          So, how do we control the flow of a program then? In Erlang we tend to eschew decisions and hand them off to other functions that will deal with the particulars. This is where pattern matching comes in. Humans are amazing at pattern matching. We are pretty good at logic, too, but if you have ever noticed a subway-car full of ‘Candy-Crush’ playing commuters, you will tend to agree with me.

        • Static Site Generators Revisited

          I’ve really enjoyed learning Jekyll and how it all fits together. I really like the simplicity of it, but I think that simplicity is due to the fact that Dad’s Notebook is a really simple site. A blog, about and contact pages, that’s it.

          If I were to start implementing a lot of the more complicated features of this site, such as comments, a newsletter and some IndieWeb goodness, I think managing the site with Jekyll would become a lot of work.

          I’m going to stick with WordPress for this site, but never say never. Having a simple site like Dad’s Notebook on Jekyll is fun, and it adds an interesting dimension to producing content, but I think moving a bigger, more complicated site like this would be too much like hard work.

        • mlocate slowness

          That is just changing mbsstr to strstr. Which I guess causes trouble for EUC_JP locales or something? But guys, scanning linearly through millions of entries is sort of outdated :-(

        • Perl/Raku

          • Russ Allbery: PGP::Sign 1.03

            Part of the continuing saga to clean up CPAN testing failures with this module. Test reports uncovered a tighter version dependency for the flags I was using for GnuPG v2 (2.1.23) and a version dependency for GnuPG v1 (1.4.20). As with the previous release, I’m now skipping tests if the version is too old, since this makes the CPAN test results more useful to me.

            I also took advantage of this release to push the Debian packaging to Salsa (and the upstream branch as well since it’s easier) and update the package metadata, as well as add an upstream metadata file since interest in that in Debian appears to have picked up again.

          • Expand one into two – CY’s Take on TWC#077

            I found that I gained unnecessary promotion due to being in a GMT+8.00 timezone – my blogpost appears on the top of http://blogs.perl.org for longer hours.

        • Python

        • Rust

          • Henri Sivonen: Rust 2021

            I wish either the Rust Foundation itself or at least a sibling organization formed at the same time was domiciled in the EU. Within the EU, Germany looks like the appropriate member state.

            Instead of simply treating the United States as the default jurisdiction for the Rust Foundation, I wish a look is taken at the relative benefits of other jurisdictions. The Document Foundation appears to be precedent of Germany recognizing Free Software development as having a public benefit purpose.

            Even if the main Foundation ends up in the United States, I still think a sibling organization in the EU would be worthwhile. A substantial part of the Rust community is in Europe and in Germany specifically. Things can get problematic when the person doing the work resides in Europe but entity with the money is in the United States. It would be good to have a Rust Foundation-ish entity that can act as an European Economic Area-based employer.

  • Leftovers

    • I, Like You, Am Made of Stars: Matt Sedillo’s Mowing Leaves of Grass

      Anyone listening to Matt Sedillo spit his poems across a crowded room will be mesmerized. It’s the rapid-fire of his delivery, the plain-speaking, the cadence and rhythm, the wordplay.  The content.  Yes, it is the content.  After all, none other than Greg Palast calls him the best political poet in America. It’s an important book to read in the midst of a season of uprisings. A new poetics and a new way of seeing the world are needed in a time of rebellion. Having a chance to examine the poems in his book shows that the form you hear in the delivery is there, on the page, too.

    • Sick of Bach

      J. S. Bach’s music has many lessons to teach us, though they are rarely for the faint-of-heart. Indeed, faintness of heart is one of Bach’s main themes. In this gnarled body of work, weakness and decline make for the central facts of earthly life, and the human susceptibility to moral and physical disease contaminates even the enjoyment of music itself. To listen to Bach is therefore to listen to a paradox: taking in his religious cantatas relies on bodily organs and inclinations prone to pleasure, sin and degradation.

    • Take Back The Night Like A Fresh Burning Star

      One hundred years ago, women were risking everything to get the right to vote, including marching on Washington during the Spanish Flu epidemic, which saw millions of people drop like flies. American suffragists had been fighting since the turn of the 20th century to get their ‘equality’ etched into legislative stone by the doodling lip-servants in Congress. Finally, the 19th Amendment was passed in August 1920, coming out of a snarky Seneca Declaration of Sentiments that was essentially a re-writing of the sacrosanct Bill of Rights, adding to “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal….” AND WOMEN. Women and men are created equal. It’s that self-evident. Seriously, Lennon says, take a look at her. She’ll beat you upside your head with a rib, like that ape at the watering hole in 2001: A Space Odyssey, if you fail to get the message again. Existence precedes essence, n’est ce-pas?

    • My Initial “New York Minutes” on 9-11-2001

      “NOT SINCE PEARL HARBOR …” were the first words I heard as I flicked on the TV that brilliant, blue-skyed Tuesday. It was late morning.

    • My 9-11 and Jack Whitten’s

      I’m not out to compare myself to Jack Whitten, but on this day, my mind is on his 9-11 story and my own.

    • Return to Decency

      I had always been proud to be an American.

    • Ergonomic of Graphics tablets

      About the 2020 remake of this article: For the ten years anniversary of this article (originally published the 11 april 2010) I decided to rewrite it and refresh all the article. I also made new artworks and published them in higher quality. Over the years, I was super happy to see this article being republished on big CG portals, printed on CG magazines and even the artworks were republished by Wacom on their blog! Recently, I had the request for another repost; but after re-reading the article, I felt it to be totally obsolete and not really sync with what I’m thinking now… Since 2010 many things happened: the first Ipad-like tablets with styluses, the historical monopoly of Wacom breached after their patent for battery-less stylus expired and competition could finally start on the tablet market with many new models (Huion/XpPen/etc…) and pen display tablet are cheaper to buy and more and more common on the desk of artists. So, this update was more than just necessary. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.

    • Education

      • “Over-representation” Is Not Racism

        Now there’s an “over-representation” of Jews and Asians at universities, in terms of their numbers in the population, and for good reason: out of universities having to develop “policies that are blind to considerations of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, socio-economic class and any other factor not relevant to intellectual achievement.”

      • My n-of-one observation of academia

        Rick has an enormous ambition to make a difference in the world, which is interesting, as I don’t know where he would etch out time to sprinkle in innovating, deep thinking, or discovery with all the busy-ness he has currently. And the red tape just increases the more senior and decorated he gets. (Currently, he’s a vice chair, and has many titles in addition to being associate professor within a wing of a STEM college.)

    • Hardware

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Dakotas Lead US in Virus Growth as Both Reject Mask Rules

        Amid the brute force of the pandemic, health experts warn that the infections must be contained before care systems are overwhelmed. North Dakota and South Dakota lead the country in new cases per capita over the last two weeks, ranking first and second respectively, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.

        South Dakota has also posted some of the country’s highest positivity rates for COVID-19 tests in the last week — more than 17% — an indication that there are more infections than tests are catching.

        Infections have been spurred by schools and universities reopening and mass gatherings like the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which drew hundreds of thousands of people from across the country.

      • Hundreds of Children Are Stuck in Psychiatric Hospitals Each Year Despite the State’s Promises to Find Them Homes

        Two years ago, officials from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services vowed to rescue the children they called “stuck kids” — those in state care who had languished in psychiatric hospitals for weeks and sometimes months after doctors had cleared them for release because the agency could not find them proper homes.

        But children continue to be held at psychiatric hospitals long after they are ready for discharge, a practice our reporting showed leaves them feeling isolated and alone, falling behind in school and at risk of being sexually and physically abused during prolonged hospitalization.

      • Peter Maybarduk on Covid Treatments, Kia Rahnama on the Right to Protest

        This week on CounterSpin: There is the fact that, back in February, Donald Trump was saying one thing to the public about the coronavirus while saying something else entirely in late night calls to a once-hotshot reporter. And there is the fact that the reporter chose not to share that information with the public until his book was ready to sell. Combined, those facts go a ways toward explaining the particular coronavirus nightmare the US faces, with a president who says and does whatever, public health and humanity be damned, and—where there should be a vigorous, principled check on that—a press corps that can’t seem to remember whose interest they’re meant to represent.

      • Pandemic in the Pacific: US Military Bases Are Hot Spots for More Than Just Covid-19—They Also Make Island Territories Targets for Climate Disasters

        The U.S. military will continue to put the people of Guåhan at risk, long after the pandemic ends without a fundamental dismantling of the colonial project.

      • ‘Downright Criminal’: Leaked Emails Reveal Effort by Trump Aides to Censor and Alter CDC Covid Reports Behind Closed Doors

        “A Trump stooge with a history of racist statements and no medical background is doctoring CDC reports warning Americans on Covid because they make Trump look bad.”

      • Teacher Deaths and College-Town Outbreaks Deepen Concern Over Covid-19 Risks Stirred by School Reopenings

        Rising infections among students and educators as reopenings begin appear to confirm warnings from teachers and parents that schools lack adequate resources to safely restart in-person classes.

      • Trump Aides Tried to Alter CDC COVID Reports to Fit President’s False Claims

        Days after President Donald Trump admitted to knowingly downplaying the Covid-19 pandemic in his statements to the public, new reporting late Friday revealed that Trump political aides have been reviewing — and in some cases altering — weekly CDC reports about the deadly virus in an effort to bring them into closer alignment with the president’s false narrative and claims.

      • Woodward defends decision to withhold Trump’s virus comments

        Bob Woodward, facing widespread criticism for only now revealing President Donald Trump’s early concerns about the severity of the coronavirus, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he needed time to be sure that Trump’s private comments from February were accurate.

        In Woodward’s upcoming book on Trump, “Rage,” the president is quoted saying the virus was highly contagious and “deadly stuff” at a time he was publicly dismissing it as no worse than the flu. Woodward, the celebrated Washington Post journalist and best-selling author, spoke with Trump more than a dozen times for his book.


        The issue of daily journalists presenting newsworthy information in books isn’t new. The competition for attention is intense, and headlines help boost sales and guest shots for interviews. Reporter Michael S. Schmidt of The New York Times recently attracted attention for his book, “Donald Trump v. The United States,” by reporting new details on an unannounced visit by Trump to Walter Reed military hospital in November 2019. Schmidt reported that Vice President Mike Pence was put on alert that he might have to briefly assume the powers of the presidency if the president had to undergo a procedure that required anesthesia.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Ransomware to blame for nearly half the cyber-insurance claims filed in early 2020

          Ransomware attacks were the cause of 41% of the cyber-insurance claims filed over the first six months of 2020, according to a report published by Coalition, a cyber-insurance vendor that compiled the data based on findings from 25,000 small and medium-sized companies in the U.S. and Canada. Coalition reported a 47% increase in the number of ransomware attacks, with the average size of the demand jumping by 46% over the time period in question.

        • Security

          • Reproducible wheels at SecureDrop

            SecureDrop workstation project’s packages are reproducible. We use prebuilt wheels (by us) along with GPG signatures to verify and install them using pip during the Debian package building step. But, the way we built those wheels (standard pip command), they were not reproducible.

            To fix this problem, Jennifer Helsby (aka redshfitzero) built a tool and the results are available at https://reproduciblewheels.com/. Every night her tool is building the top 100 + our dependency packages on Debian Buster and verifies the reproducibly of them. She has a detailed write up on the steps.

          • New vulnerability fixes in Python 2.7 (and PyPy)

            As you probably know (and aren’t necessarily happy about it), Gentoo is actively working on eliminating Python 2.7 support from packages until end of 2020. Nevertheless, we are going to keep the Python 2.7 interpreter much longer because of some build-time dependencies. While we do that, we consider it important to keep Python 2.7 as secure as possible.

            The last Python 2.7 release was in April 2020. Since then, at least Gentoo and Fedora have backported CVE-2019-20907 (infinite loop in tarfile) fix to it, mostly because the patch from Python 3 applied cleanly to Python 2.7. I’ve indicated that Python 2.7 may contain more vulnerabilities, and two days ago I’ve finally gotten to audit it properly as part of bumping PyPy.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Intercepting Zoom’s encrypted data with BPF

              TLDR: I wrote a command line tool that uses BPF uprobes to intercept the TLS encrypted data that zoom sends over the network, and here I’m going to show the process I went through to write it. After I wrote this post I made the tool generic so that it can now instrument any program that uses OpenSSL. [...]

            • The Woman Taking Over TikTok at the Toughest Time

              Ms. Pappas is now repeating that message as she lands in an even hotter hot seat. Last month, Kevin Mayer, TikTok’s chief executive, said he was leaving the company, citing its uncertain political status. Ms. Pappas was appointed TikTok’s interim global head, just as the app faces an even murkier future.

            • Facebook files legal challenge after inquiry from Irish privacy watchdog

              The social network was one of about 5,000 organizations that depended on the US-EU Privacy Shield to move data across the Atlantic. Now that the framework is no longer in force, the social network is still bringing EU users’ data stateside but using a different legal mechanism known as Standard Contractual Clauses, or SCCs. The legal dispute stems from the fact that it’s not yet fully clear if SCCs may be used for the kind of data transfers to the US-EU Privacy Shield permitted.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • How democracy beat back lies, fear-mongering and conspiracy theories — in 19th-century Connecticut

        The Federalists may not have had social media in the contemporary sense, but they definitely had viral memes, vicious rumors and conspiracy theories, often ruthlessly spread by the men in the pulpits of the largest and most powerful churches. Of course, they had voter suppression laws too. Arguably they had far more in common with us than contemporary Americans have with our own recent history — at least back when we still had the FCC’s “fairness doctrine” ensuring some degree of balance in major media.

        So the story of how Connecticut moved from a colonial-era theocracy to a modern pluralistic democracy is more than a historical curiosity. It’s a source of inspiration and instruction for all of us in the midst of our own very dark time. There is light ahead, if we make it so. It’s been done before. For a sense of its whole sweep, Salon interviewed Rodda by email. Our exchange has been lightly edited.

      • Indonesia rejects Chinese request for military base

        Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto told his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe (魏鳳和), that his country would not accept a request for a Chinese military base in the country, reports said Friday (Sept. 11).

        The conversation occurred during a meeting between the two top defense officials in Jakarta on Sept. 8, according to a report by Indonesian publication Kompas. Indonesia occupies a strategic location on the southern edge of the South China Sea and on the main sea route between China and the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

      • How Conspiracy Theories Are Shaping the 2020 Election—and Shaking the Foundation of American Democracy

        It’s hard to know exactly why people believe what they believe. Some had clearly been exposed to QAnon conspiracy theorists online. Others seemed to be repeating false ideas espoused in Plandemic, a pair of conspiracy videos featuring a discredited former medical researcher that went viral, spreading the notion that COVID-19 is a hoax across social media. (COVID-19 is not a hoax.) When asked where they found their information, almost all these voters were cryptic: “Go online,” one woman said. “Dig deep,” added another. They seemed to share a collective disdain for the mainstream media–a skepticism that has only gotten stronger and deeper since 2016. The truth wasn’t reported, they said, and what was reported wasn’t true.

        This matters not just because of what these voters believe but also because of what they don’t. The facts that should anchor a sense of shared reality are meaningless to them; the news developments that might ordinarily inform their vote fall on deaf ears. They will not be swayed by data on coronavirus deaths, they won’t be persuaded by job losses or stock market gains, and they won’t care if Trump called America’s fallen soldiers “losers” or “suckers,” as the Atlantic reported, because they won’t believe it. They are impervious to messaging, advertising or data. They aren’t just infected with conspiracy; they appear to be inoculated against reality.

        Democracy relies on an informed and engaged public responding in rational ways to the real-life facts and challenges before us. But a growing number of Americans are untethered from that. “They’re not on the same epistemological grounding, they’re not living in the same worlds,” says Whitney Phillips, a professor at Syracuse who studies online disinformation. “You cannot have a functioning democracy when people are not at the very least occupying the same solar system.”

      • Grandson of overthrown Chilean President Salvador Allende defends Venezuela against US coup attempt
      • Finding the poison: Dr. Marc-Michael Blum explains the analytical chemistry needed to identify nerve agents in patients

        On social media, it’s easy to find skeptics who question the German specialists’ conclusions — particularly because the implications of a nerve-agent attack against an opposition leader on his home soil are severe and strongly suggest the state authorities’ involvement — but such incredulity is hard to maintain in the face of Dr. Blum’s explanations.

      • Boy’s shooting raises questions about police crisis training

        A police shooting that wounded a 13-year-old autistic boy in Salt Lake City is revealing shortfalls in the way officers respond to a mental health crisis, an advocacy group said Wednesday, a part of policing that’s facing renewed scrutiny during nationwide protests over brutality by law enforcement.

        Similar questions are being raised in Rochester, New York, following the death of a Black man whose brother called police about his unusual behavior shortly after a mental health evaluation. It comes as demonstrators have urged cities to “defund the police” and shift money to social services instead.

    • Environment

      • How Charles Koch Is Buying Credibility With Academic Investments

        Nearly two and a half decades later, Koch influence in the academic sphere is far ranging. Koch money funds individual courses, professorships, fellowships, and even energy research and policy programs, like the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University. These centers represent significant investments in the “intellectual raw materials” of free-market advocacy.

        According to Samantha Parsons of UnKoch My Campus, a group working to remove the Koch influence in higher education, there are at least 40 centers at prominent American colleges and universities that are funded directly by the Koch donor network. Three of the most prominent examples are described below.

      • As Fires Engulf West, Democrats Not Running on Trump Climate Failures Accused of ‘Political Malpractice’

        “People are dying and losing their homes and jobs. But politicians in D.C. are sitting on their hands, and the president of the United States is telling people that the solution is to clean up their yards.”

      • With Wildfires Tearing Through the West, Biden Slams Trump Denial and Calls Climate Crisis an ‘Imminent, Existential Threat’

        “Biden and Harris should be repeating this message every hour of every day,” said the youth-led Sunrise Movement.

      • Hurricane Laura Signaled the Arrival of Climate-Intensified Toxic Disasters

        The weather system that would become history-making Hurricane Laura spun out of a tropical wave that moved into the Atlantic Ocean off the West African coast on Aug. 16. Five days later the system strengthened into a tropical storm, with sustained winds of 45 miles per hour. Passing over the island of Hispaniola, Laura killed at least 31 people in Haiti and four in the Dominican Republic before moving across Cuba and into the Gulf of Mexico, still as a tropical storm.

      • ‘They Put the Blame of Waste on Individuals as Opposed to Companies’
      • Climate Emergency Overdrive: Our Age of Compound Disasters as 10% of Oregon Is Evacuated, California Burns, and Louisiana Sinks

        Mother Nature is trying to tell us something but we are not listening.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • ‘There was no fighting this fire,’ California survivor says

          John Sykes built his life around his cabin in the dense woods of Northern California. He raised his two children there, expanded it and improved it over time and made it resilient to all kinds of disaster except fire.

          So when the winds started howling Tuesday and the skies became so dark from smoke that he had to turn on his lights at midday, he didn’t hesitate to leave it all behind in an instant before any evacuation order.

        • Hawkins: Wildfires are the Alarm Bell to Declare Climate Emergency

          Howie Hawkins, the presidential nominee of the Green and Socialist parties, offered his condolences to the hundreds of thousands of West Coast residents whose lives have been shattered by the wildfires. The fires have killed at least 33 since August as the death toll and damages continue to mount.

          Trump is visiting California on Monday. Hawkins blasted Trump for denying climate change, which is making the fire season longer and more severe.

          “The wildfires we are seeing not only on the West Coast but across the planet from Australia to the Amazon to the arctic are the latest alarm bell that we have to start treating climate change as the emergency that it is. These extreme weather events are increasing in frequency, intensity, and duration. We need a full-scale mobilization to eliminate the burning of fossil fuels in the next decade, make a rapid transition to clean energy sources, and invest in resiliency measures to help residents survive extreme weather,” said Hawkins.

    • Finance

      • Manufacturing Disgrace: Reuters Distorts Chevron v. Donziger

        Independent journalist Chris Hedges (ScheerPost, 8/25/20) wrote:

      • Manufacturing Disgrace: Reuters Distorts Chevron v. Donziger

        Attorney Steven Donziger has been under house arrest since August 6 of last year. He is charged with contempt of court for refusing to turn over his cell phone and computer to Chevron as ordered by a federal judge.

      • Our Capitalist Economy’s Dependence on Credit Is Driving Us Toward Fascism
      • The Big Corporate Rescue and the America That’s Too Small to Save

        Girish Patel doubts his small, 20-year-old shop will survive the pandemic economy. Thirty stories above, aerospace company TransDigm has sustained eye-popping profits thanks to steep layoffs and raised over a billion with help from the U.S. government.

      • Citizen Musk

        Musk initially dismissed worries about the coronavirus as “dumb” and speculated there would be “probably close to zero new cases” in the United States by the end of April. He was obviously wrong. But even in April, Musk was still at it, tweeting “FREE AMERICA NOW” in response to stay-at-home orders. The next day, on the company’s earnings call, he called quarantine measures “fascist” and demanded that officials return people’s “freedom.”

      • Pragmatism: a compass rose

        American conservatism and liberalism diverge philosophically. Furthermore evangelism, in conservatism’s orbit, and different leftisms, in liberalism’s orbit, and environmentalism, mostly in liberalism’s orbit but a certain environmentalism orbits around conservatism, guide liberalism and conservatism away from each other. Money’s ability to finance conservative philosophy and politics, especially politics, has made American conservatism dominant where the “price of life”, a term that can be applied to how Reaganism led to both expensive universities and hospitals, among other based on the principle that such things should not be cheap and that everyone (black, brown, indigenous, etc) should not have access to them. Despite diverging philosophically, conservatism and liberalism converge cynically, as part of a revolving door that capitalism puppets. As this happens, everyday life in America, its tradition and character, loses out to the urgency to instate liberalism and to fight their cynical convergence. Something has happened however that can change all of this. Social movements that orbit liberalism have become very popular, not only the Black Lives Matter movement but also the tenant movement and what remains of Occupy Wall Street. They now have the power to squash contemporary liberalism and found a new platform, whether it be a turn back to progressivism or socialism or something new. Through pragmatism – in dialogue, activism, pedagogy, mutual aid, visual communication, etc – this new platform will come into existence and give birth to a new society and the states, counties, municipalities, laws, and governments that will ensue from this.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Pakistan: Journalist Bilal Farooqi arrested over posts criticizing army

        Despite Prime Minister Imran Khan asserting that the country has a free media, attacks, abductions and arrests of journalists have become increasingly common, critics say. Last year, at least four people were killed in connection with their reporting.

      • Hollywood makes shameful assentions to Beijing

        If you think Hollywood would be sensitive about associating itself with an ongoing atrocity, you haven’t paid much attention to its priorities lately, which are all about pleasing Beijing.

        Hollywood hasn’t dared to make movies offensive to Beijing in more than two decades. A trilogy of such movies came out in 1997, most famously “Seven Years in Tibet,” starring Brad Pitt. Ever since, Hollywood has considered kowtowing to Beijing the better part of valor.

        Shortly after the release of its offending 1997 movie “Kundun,” also about Tibet, the then-CEO of Disney hastened to make amends. “We made a stupid mistake in releasing ‘Kundun,’ ” Michael Eisner told China’s premier at the time Zhu Rongji. “Here I want to apologize, and in the future we should prevent this sort of thing, which insults our friends, from happening.”

        In a chilling report released a few weeks ago about Hollywood’s subordinate relationship to Beijing, PEN America described the forces that have given China the whip hand.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • The Assange Trial, And Other Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

        It’s crazy how there are still people who try to claim Assange isn’t a journalist. He is, and it’s not even debatable. Publishing information that informs the public about what’s going on in the world is exactly the thing that journalism is.

        The mainstream press have been far, far less critical of immensely powerful world-dominating government agencies than they’ve been of one thin, frail man locked in a cage who published inconvenient facts about those agencies.

      • Julian Assange’s First Witness, Journalism Professor Mark Feldstein, Professes to be Unfamiliar with the Public Record on Assange

        Let me be clear: I wholeheartedly agree with large swaths of Professor Feldstein’s testimony. Donald Trump has waged unprecedented attacks on members of the news media, both verbally and through policy. I agree, too, that the First Amendment is not limited to journalists, and that political advocacy like Assange’s has a storied place in the history of journalism. I agree that some of the stories based off Chelsea Manning’s leaks were blockbusters (Feldstein predictably starts by listing Collateral Murder, which is not charged, and his effort to include all the files that were charged strays much further from the ones that have been most important.) His history of classified leaks is useful, though in some places he seems to misunderstand what was new and what wasn’t revealed until the release of declassified documents. His statement speaks at length about the dire problem with overclassification (though in one case, he cites a John McCain accusation about Obama’s motive for leaking as fact, a claim that hasn’t held up to subsequent events; he later cites McCain as a classification villain). I even agree with some, though not all, of his analysis of how the charges against WikiLeaks threaten normal journalistic activities like soliciting, receiving, and publishing documents, and protecting confidential sources. (Feldstein never goes so far as to defend helping a source hack something.) His testimony is valuable for the background on journalism it offers.

        But Feldstein’s account of how the Assange prosecution arose out of Donald Trump’s election — which occurred with Assange’s help!!! — not only invents claims he doesn’t support, but makes several telling errors in citation.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • British blogger compares quality of life in Taiwan and Singapore

        Hazeldine lived in Taiwan for 17 years before moving to Singapore, where he has been for five years.

        “Whenever this crops up in conversation, people here, especially taxi drivers, immediately ask me ‘which place is better?’ and ‘what’s the difference between living here and in Taiwan?’ So I decided to make a video about it,” Hazeldine says at the beginning of the video.

      • University of Michigan Graduate Workers Are on Strike

        But what’s also notable about the strike is its abolitionist demands. A safe and just campus for all cannot be achieved without disarming and defunding the campus police. Therefore, GEO’s proposal of a “safe and just” campus articulates two sets of demands: COVID-19 demands, which include robust testing, a universal option for remote teaching, extension of graduation timelines, childcare subsidies for parents and caregivers, and the repeal of international student fees. And anti-policing demands which include disarming, demilitarizing, and defunding campus police (GEO is demanding a 50 percent cut in the campus police budget, which should in turn be redirected to community-based initiatives), as well as severing ties from both Ann Arbor police and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

      • Tibetan School Year Begins Under New Restrictions, Mandarin-only Instruction

        The school year for children living in Tibetan areas of China has started under harsh new restrictions, with children in one Qinghai county ordered by authorities out of their homes and into Chinese boarding schools, and the language of classroom instruction in another county switched from Tibetan to Chinese, Tibetan sources say.

      • ‘When You Talk About White Supremacy, You’ve Got to Take a Hard Look at Our Culture’
      • The Lonesome Death of the Liberal Social Justice Warrior

        Joseph Biden killed the liberal social justice warrior with a cane that he twirled around his diamond ring finger at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, and blue lives were called in to matter, and his weapon took from him, as they rode him in custody down towards the White House, and booked Joseph Biden for Democratic nominee for president of these United States of Hysteria. But you who philosophize, disgrace and criticize all fears, take the rag away from your face, now ain’t the time for your tears.

      • The Right-Wing Worldview Is One of Scarecrows and Scapegoats

        In the 1995 movie, The American President, President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) dissects the politics of conservative Sen. Bob Rumson (Richard Dreyfuss) in a fiery White House speech. Shepherd declares:

      • Florida Sheriff’s Predictive Policing Program Is Protecting Residents From Unkempt Lawns, Missing Mailbox Numbers

        Defenders of “predictive policing” claim it’s a way to work smarter, not harder. Just round up a bunch of data submitted by cops engaged in biased policing and allow the algorithm to work its magic. The end result isn’t smarter policing. It’s just more of the same policing we’ve seen for years that disproportionately targets minorities and those in lower income brackets.

      • The Direct Line From Portland To Authoritarian Crackdowns Around the World

        What happened in Portland is an American foreign policy tactic, this time directed against American citizens.

      • Re-Appraising “The West Wing”: A Multi-Season Hyperreal Clinton Sobriquet-Cum-Apologia For Thermidor

        In the past several years, thanks to the ascendancy of a nasty narcissistic white nationalist game show host to the Oval Office, there’s been a re-appraisal of the NBC television drama The West Wing (how meta!) Though there are no viable metrics for digital streaming services, it seems safe to presume that the COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed liberal binge-watching sessions far and wide, serving as a Linus van Pelt-style security blanket for the dour viewer. On August 25, it was announced on The Today Show that the cast was preparing for a reunion/fundraiser special on HBO for Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote organization.

      • In Calling to Defund Police, Don’t Fixate on Costs of Police Settlements

        When someone is harmed, disabled or killed by police, they, and their families, deserve compensation — for medical bills, lost time at work, emotional and physical trauma. In fact, as outlined in the Movement for Black Lives’s BREATHE Act, they deserve reparations — like those recently paid and made to survivors of torture by Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge. If anything, police settlements should be larger than the amounts survivors and families often receive.

      • Federal Court Blocks ‘Nakedly Partisan’ Trump Effort to Exclude Undocumented Immigrants From Census

        “President Trump has tried and failed yet again to weaponize the census against immigrant communities.”

      • As NFL Players Offer Show of Unity, Booing by Fans Shows Objections to Protests ‘Was Always About Perpetuating White Supremacy’

        “In the past, folks have claimed to be turned off by the Kaepernick-led protests because they disrespected the flag or the troops or the anthem or the country, or all of the above. That excuse is not applicable for the fans’ ugly display Thursday night.”

      • Police Encounters During Mental Health Crises Don’t Have to Be Violent

        Individuals facing mental health challenges deserve better treatment from police—and the rest of society. 

      • Guns, Land, and Chickens Won’t Save You

        Following the Great Recession of 2008, many of my friends started talking about “living off the land.” At the time, I didn’t give their words much thought. After all, Obama was in the White House; Neoliberalism was on the rise; imperial wars raged abroad, and the antiwar movement was falling apart.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Auto Industry Pushes Bullshit Claim That ‘Right To Repair’ Laws Aid Sexual Predators

        A few years back, frustration at John Deere’s draconian tractor DRM culminated in a grassroots tech movement dubbed “right to repair.” The company’s crackdown on “unauthorized repairs” turned countless ordinary citizens into technology policy activists, after DRM (and the company’s EULA) prohibited the lion’s share of repair or modification of tractors customers thought they owned. These restrictions only worked to drive up costs for owners, who faced either paying significantly more money for “authorized” repair, or toying around with pirated firmware just to ensure the products they owned actually worked.

    • Monopolies

      • PayPal Is Stalling Cute Tardigrade Merch—and a Notorious Weapons Dealer Is to Blame

        Earlier this week, Archie McPhee, a Seattle-based gift seller (and home of the Rubber Chicken Museum) launched a glittery, green tardigrade ornament. It was a fitting addition to their squishy micro-animal themed products: tardigrade mints, glow-in-the-dark fingers, stress balls.

        But when customers tried to buy the ornament using PayPal, some received an error message: “This transaction cannot be completed because it violates the PayPal User Agreement.” It was happening to enough tardigrade merchandise fans and sellers that several spoke out on Twitter this week.

      • ‘The Social Dilemma’ Documentary Director Compares Tech Giants to Fossil Fuel Industry

        Orlowski, the director of the climate change documentaries Chasing Coral and Chasing Ice, hadn’t always thought of tech as pernicious. But he knew Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google and the co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology, from his college days at Stanford, and began talking with him about “the problems of the technology companies and how their business model is misaligned with society,” says Orlowski.

        In the film, which premiered earlier this year at Sundance, Harris is joined by an array of former tech executives (such as the co-creator of Facebook’s Like Button) and scholars (including an addiction specialist) breaking down the business models and effects of technology companies.

        It covers such topics as the spread of conspiracy theories and misinformation, extreme polarization in politics, data mining, surveillance capitalism (the commodification of personal data), and the addictive qualities baked into the systems. As far-reaching as the impacts are, they are the result — as the film hammers home — of decisions made by a very small number of people in Silicon Valley.

      • Macomm Delrahim makes strides toward antitrust action against IEEE over its standard-essential patent policy: updated Business Review Letter

        Emboldened by a Ninth Circuit panel’s decision to overturn a district court’s FTC v. Qualcomm antitrust ruling, Antitrust Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim–whom I call “Macomm” because he’s a former and presumably future Qualcomm lawyer who has been unabatedly promoting Qualcomm’s SEP enforcement agenda in his current office–updated (DOJ press release; supplemental letter (PDF)) the Justice Department’s 2015 Business Review Letter to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) with respect to the DOJ’s take on the IEEE’s patent policy.

        For ten years this blog has tried to provide original content, so rather than provide duplicative commentary, let me just point you to Professor Thomas Cotter’s analysis (note the four items he specifically criticizes, “all of which are (in [Professor Cotter's] view) much more of an overstatement than the overstatement [AAAG Delrahim] claims to be correcting”) and a 2018 paper by Professor Jorge Contreras on the way Mr. Delrahim changed the DOJ’s focus in this context.

      • World-famous iOS app developer Marco Arment highlights community sensitivities as Apple defends against Epic Games’ antitrust complaint

        By and large, Apple’s strong response to Epic Games’ antitrust complaint in the Northern District of California has been a PR win for Cupertino. What was widely quoted in the media is Apple’s criciticsm of Epic “portray[ing] itself as a modern corporate Robin Hood,” which is a similar metaphor to one I recently used when I wrote “Epic would have us all believe that they’re idealistic freedom fighters, the Braveheart of the mobile app universe.”

        It’s one thing to expose someone else’s hypocrisy (please note that I’m neutral on the question of whether Epic actually sought a side letter that would have resulted in secret kickbacks or merely permission to do something everyone could have seen on the screen). It’s a greater challenge to make one’s point in an adversarial legal proces while steering clear of unintentionally belittling third parties.


        The term “sales” in that passage is a bit vague: does this mean the combination of in-app purchasing, app download fees, and in-app advertising? Or does it also include purchases via Amazon, eBay etc.? Presumably not the latter, since “developers” aren’t typically “merchants” and e-commerce transactions over the iPhone must be way bigger.

        At any rate, the point Apple makes there is that revenues are–which is undoubtedly true–being generated on iOS without Apple always getting its 30% cut. The first release of my game is going to come with in-app advertising, while in-app purchasing will be added later –just for time-to-market considerations. The second release will come with IAP, but even then we’re still going to generate ad revenues. As a result, the effective percentage of my game’s revenues on iOS that Apple will get is going to be less than 30% (initially even 0%, apart from the $99 annual developer fee), and in the long run the percentage may be similar to the 17% the paragraph I quoted above suggests.

        I don’t think anyone in the developer community could criticize Apple for highlighting such numerical facts. But even if they get the numbers right, words matter. Marco Arment has a point that Apple may have gone a bit too far from the developer community’s perspective in its efforts to counter Epic’s story, which sounds like Apple does nothing and developers contribute everything.

      • Dallas-based federal judge dismisses Continental’s antitrust complaint against Avanci, Nokia, Sharp, and some patent trolls

        The Dallas-based court nevertheless found that Continental had Article III standing on the basis of its allegation that the defendants refused to grant Conti a license. But with indemnification no longer being part of the consideration in the further analysis, the next problem Conti’s complaint faced (after easily overcoming the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvement Act hurdle with respect to foreign patents) was that, in Judge Lynn’s opinion, “[t]he anticompetitive conduct allegedly directed at the downstream OEMs does not create an antitrust injury for the upstream TCU suppliers, like Plaintiff.” Instead, the court held that OEMs (i.e., car makers in this context) would be the correct parties to complain.

        I understand the court’s rationale, but I struggle with the result as I find it hard to imagine how a car maker like Daimler could bring an antitrust complaint to the effect of requiring a SEP holder like Nokia to license its suppliers. Daimler could, as it does in Germany, raise an antitrust affirmative defense to infringement cases on that basis. But it’s hard to understand how and why the would-be willing licensee (here, Conti) “is not the best entity to bring this antitrust action to vindicate the injury alleged” (which alleged injury, as explained before, was recognized by the court with respect to the refusal to license Conti).

        The court’s dismissal with prejudice (meaning that Conti can appeal this to the Fifth Circuit, which as the decision notes has limited case law on SEPs, but it’s game over in district court now, short of successful defibrillation) is additionally based on a complete disagreement with Conti’s federal antitrust theories under the Sherman Act. I’m a frequent critic of Antitrust Assistant Attorney General Makan “Macomm” Delrahim’s amicus brief and business review letter campaign favoring SEP abusers and even foreign patent trolls like the Softbank-owned Fortress group, but there’s no denying that his activities are impactful. Between the lines of Judge Lynn’s decision it’s clear that the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division strongly influenced the court’s thinking and particularly persuaded the judge of the idea that SEP issues aren’t really antitrust problems but should be resolved under other laws (contract law, patent law).

        The DOJ’s statement wouldn’t have been needed, however, for the dismissal of Conti’s theory that Avanci’s members–contrary to what Avanci’s contributor agreement actually says–engaged in parallel conduct to the effect of either not licensing component makers or doing so only at the same prices at which the Avanci pool licenses car makers. In this regard, Conti simply had no facts to allege. They wanted a fishing expedition, but by failing at this early stage of proceeding, Conti never got (and probably never will get) the chance to prove that the Avanci group is an anti-component-maker conspiracy.

      • Big Win for Qualcomm in the Ninth Circuit

        One important problem with the District Court’s analysis, according to the Ninth Circuit, was the District Court’s failure “to distinguish between Qualcomm’s licensing practices (which primarily impacted OEMs) and its practices relating to modem chip sales (the relevant antitrust market).” The Ninth Circuit rejected the District Court’s reliance on the Aspen exception to the general concept that refusals to deal are not antitrust violations and quoted a prior case: “’Competitors are not required to engage in a lovefest.’” The Ninth Circuit also found that Qualcomm’s conduct in breaching its SSO agreements did not arise to an antitrust violation.

      • Patents

        • Patent exploitation, competition law and the challenge of overlapping subject-matter jurisdiction

          One of the thorniest ongoing issues in IP law is its overlap with competition law. A recent interesting instance can be found in the decision delivered by Justice Bakhru of the Delhi High Court in the case of Monsanto v. Competition Commission of India. The question addressed was whether the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which is the statutory authority responsible for maintaining free and fair competition in India, has jurisdiction to investigate anti-competitive behaviour involving the licensing and alleged exploitation of IP rights.

          In this case, Monsanto’s licensees and sub-licensees approached the CCI, alleging anti-competitive behaviour through discriminatory and restrictive licensing by Monsanto. On the basis of information received, CCI ordered investigation into the activities of Monsanto. Monsanto then invoked the writ jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court to dispute the jurisdiction of CCI over matters related to patent licensing terms, relying both on statutory construction and judicial precedents.


          The issue of concurrent jurisdiction raised by Monsanto had previously been addressed by the same justice, Justice Bakhru, in 2016 in Ericsson v. CCI, a dispute over the licensing terms of Standard Essential Patents. The Delhi High Court ruled in favour of the CCI’s jurisdiction to investigate the alleged anti-competitive conduct of Ericsson. Under the court’s construction to the Patent Act and the Competition Act, there are no irreconcilable difference between them. Regarding the nature of remedies provided in the two statutes, it was held that while the remedies in the Patent Act were in personam, the remedies under the Competition Act were remedies in rem.

          Having regard to the nature of the issues involved, the Ericsson judgement given by Justice Bakhru in 2016 was extensively referred to in order to undercut the arguments proffered by Monsanto. Monsanto sought to overcome the seemingly settled proposition of law by pointing to a 2018 decision by the Supreme Court of India, CCI v. Bharti Airtel. The Supreme Court in Bharti Airtel sought to balance the powers of the sectoral regulator with those of the CCI, holding that only after the sectoral regulator had returned a finding of anti-competitive conduct was the CCI empowered to investigate into such conduct.

          Relying on the Bharti Airtel decision, Monsanto sought to import this ‘two-step test’ to patent law. It argued that just as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was the sectoral regulator to the telecom industry, the Controller of Patents was the sectoral regulator in reference to patents.

        • Artificial Intelligence and the Limits of Legal Personality

          As artificial intelligence (AI) systems become more sophisticated and play a larger role in society, arguments that they should have some form of legal personality gain credence. It has been suggested that this will fill an accountability gap created by the speed, autonomy, and opacity of AI. In addition, a growing body of literature considers the possibility of AI systems owning the intellectual property that they create. The arguments are typically framed in instrumental terms, with comparisons to juridical persons such as corporations. Implicit in those arguments, or explicit in their illustrations and examples, is the idea that as AI systems approach the point of indistinguishability from humans they should be entitled to a status comparable to natural persons. This article contends that although most legal systems could create a novel category of legal persons, such arguments are insufficient to show that they should.

        • It’s Anti-Suit Injunctions All The Way Down – The Strange New Realities of International Litigation Over Standards-Essential Patents

          Today’s markets for technology products — from smartphones to home appliances to automobiles — are inherently global. This is especially true of products that embody technical standards — protocols like 5G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB that are covered by hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of patents (so-called “standards-essential patents” or “SEPs”). Given the global scope and size of these markets, it is not surprising that patent litigation over standardized products is often conducted on a global scale. This article looks at an increasingly important aspect of these global standards wars: the ability of a court in one jurisdiction to prevent a party from pursuing litigation in another jurisdiction using a procedural mechanism called the anti-suit injunction (ASI). To complicate matters further, a litigant may also petition a court in one jurisdiction to prevent a party from seeking an ASI in another jurisdiction — the so-called anti-anti-suit injunction (AASI). And, curiouser still, litigants have recently re-invigorated the anti-anti-anti-suit injunction (AAASI), a procedural move that seeks to prevent a litigant from obtaining an AASI to block another litigant from requesting an ASI. If there is no theoretical limit to the procedural machinations to which parties can go in such disputes, it may, indeed, be injunctions “all the way down”.

        • The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Dismisses Antitrust Case Challenging Patent Thicket (Humira)

          Whether behavior relating to a patent thicket presents an antitrust issue is a nuanced question. But a recent ruling involving the biologic Humira shows how not to decide these issues. This short piece discusses the court’s opinion and highlights its errors analyzing sham behavior, patent settlements, and antitrust injury.

        • Big Bonuses for Patent Appeals Judges Raise Fairness Questions
        • Apple returns fire in Koss AirPods patent infringement battle

          Apple is firing back against Koss’s patent lawsuit with a filing of its own, with Apple claiming not only that the personal audio manufacturer’s claims are baseless, but also that it broke a confidentiality agreement.

          In July, Koss filed in the U.S. District Court in Waco, Texas accusing Apple of infringing several patents it owns relating to wireless earphone technology, and that selling AirPods, AirPods Pro, and Beats by Dre products is a violation. Furthermore, the HomePod and Apple Watch were also targeted under another patent relating to configuring wireless devices to work on a wireless network.

          In a new filing with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California San Jose Division, Apple one-ups Koss’ five-count lawsuit with one containing six counts. While the first details an alleged breach of contract, the other five each declare Apple didn’t infringe on each of five patents that Koss is using in its own complaint.

        • Apple, Cisco, Google and Intel Sue PTO Over New NHK-Finitiv Rule for IPR

          Apple Inc., Cisco Systems, Inc., Google LLC, and Intel Corporation filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief on Monday in the Northern District of California against Andrei Iancu in his official capacity as Under Secretary of Commerce for the Intellectual Property and Director and the United States Patent and Trademark Office under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The complaint challenged a rule adopted by the defendant governing the Patent and Trademark Office’s (PTO) consideration of petitions to institute an inter partes review (IPR), which the plaintiffs purported hinders Congress’ intention for IPR to determine patentability in order to streamline the patent system and propel inventions.

          The plaintiffs noted that the IPR framework “was a centerpiece of Congress’s efforts to strengthen the U.S. patent system” by recognizing that “innovation is inhibited when invalid patents are issued and then deployed in litigation against technology inventors and developers.” Developing IPR helped this by determining patentability through “weeding out” weak or obvious patents, especially with “non-practicing entities that use that patent system not to spur their own innovations, but to extract monetary returns by asserting weak patents in infringement suits,” which can hinder innovation.

        • Aion Therapeutic Files Five Patents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office
        • Amazon Envisions Aerial Drones Pulling Skiers and Surfers Across Water, New Patent Filing Reveals
        • Munich court’s Mercedes sales ban drives demand for Huawei’s chips, underscores need for CJEU decision and German patent injunction reform

          Bloomberg reports that the Munich I Regional Court’s Seventh Civil Chamber (Presiding Judge: Dr. Matthias Zigann) earlier today granted Japanese electronics maker Sharp a standard-essential patent (SEP) injunction against Daimler.

          Sharp will be able to enforce this injunction if it posts a bond or makes a deposit of 5.5 million euros–and if the Munich Higher Regional Court, to which Daimler can and certainly will appeal the decision, doesn’t stay the enforcement of the injunction pending the appellate proceedings.

          In July, this blog reported on the trial, which was revelatory in one particular respect: Daimler stated that six out of seven cars would not be affected by the then-hypothetical, now-actual injunction as they already come, or can easily be, equipped with baseband chips or connectivity modules provided by Huawei. That’s because Sharp and Huawei reached an exhaustive component-level SEP license agreement that indirectly (through patent exhaustion) covers Daimler for the most part.

          If one-seventh of Daimler’s German sales were affected, that would still be a sizable amount, and the damage caused in that case would exceed the court-ordered security by a factor in the hundreds. However, the court may have based the determination of the security amount on the assumption that Daimler should be able to equip the remaining one-seventh of its cars with Huawei components. Only Daimler knows whether that is the case.

          The Munich I Regional Court has, therefore, done more to bolster Huawei’s sales than the courts in any other jurisdiction, including China itself. Not only Daimler but also other automotive companies will be led to conclude that Huawei and its customers (such as Samsung subsidiary Harman) put car makers in a better position to weather the SEP enforcement storm than other suppliers. I would prefer automotive suppliers to compete purely on quality and pricing, but SEP enforcement is a fact of life and, ultimately, a cost factor.

        • Carbiotix first European AXOS patent is officially granted

          Carbiotix (publ) (“Carbiotix”) announces today that the company has received confirmation from the European Patent Office (EPO) that the company’s first AXOS patent has been officially granted. This is an important milestone in securing Carbiotix competitive position as the company accelerates AXOS scale-up activities on the market for prebiotic ingredients, and targets medical food and therapeutic applications.

          Carbiotix received confirmation from EPO that the company’s European Patent Application no. 16786855.3, titled: Preparation comprising Arabinoxylo-Oligosaccharides, has been officially granted and will expire in 2036. This is Carbiotix first patent granted in Europe and represents an important milestone to protect the company’s prebiotic ingredient containing AXOS.

        • German Patent on digital printing completely revoked

          The patent in dispute is protected as German Patent “Method and Device for the Generation of Print Data” (GER Patent No. 11 2004 002 429.3) since 2004 and also as international PCT patent (PCT/JP2004/018213). Patent holder is Ryobi MHI Graphic Technology Ltd. (Japan).

          In 2015, the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) rejected an appeal against the patent registration and fully upheld the patent on digital printing. The DPMA did not consider any of the opposing printed matter to be sufficient to evaluate patent claims 1 and 3 as “not novel and not inventive”, as the appeal requested. The main focus was on the aspects of how to correct vector graphics based files containing image objects. In particular, it was not suggested, the DPMA judged, to change the shape of at least one image object embedded in the printed image in addition to the position.

        • Connected cars lawsuits: referral to CJEU increasingly likely

          Can an SEP holder like Nokia freely decide, without breaching its FRAND obligations, to whom in the supply chain it offers a licence? That is the key question in the current connected cars lawsuits. After the oral hearing yesterday in the dispute between Nokia and Daimler and its supplier of connectivity modules (case ID: 4c O 17/19) it seems increasingly likely that the Regional Court Düsseldorf will refer this issue to the CJEU for clarification.

          Nokia has offered a licence to Daimler but not to the latter’s suppliers. Daimler wants the suppliers rather than the OEM to take the licence. The suppliers have always emphasised their willingness to take a licence. Huawei, an important supplier of connectivity module preamplifiers, for example, asked the Düsseldorf court to order a FRAND licence. There was also an oral hearing for this case in Düsseldorf yesterday (case ID: 4c O 53/20).

          At the beginning of yesterday’s hearing, the Düsseldorf judges expressed doubts as to whether Nokia’s offer to Daimler was in line with FRAND conditions. They discussed with the parties whether a licence with Ford, which the US car manufacturer according to public sources has since cancelled, had come about under the same pressure as licences concluded between the patent pool Avanci and other car manufacturers from the BMW and VW groups.

          The main issue of the case, however, according to presiding judge Sabine Klepsch, is upstream of the question of whether the parties have acted in conformity with FRAND. It was still up in the air as to whether the CJEU ought to clarify the question concerning the production chain. The Federal Cartel Office had recommended this in June.

        • We Are Libertarians 457: Path to Libertarianism

          Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 298. This was my appearance on We Are Libertarians, host Chris Spangle, Ep. 457, part of their “Path to Libertarianism” series. From their shownotes: “Chris Spangle speaks to scholar Stephan Kinsella about his path from Objectivism to anarcho-capitalism, why intellectual property laws conflict with property rights, and gives an excellent overview of Austrian Economics.”

        • BioWorld MedTech Patent Highlights: Week 36

          o read more on these records and others in the pharmaceutical arena, please visit Clarivate Analytics Cortellis, where you may access full pdf documents of the same, along with expert analysis and indexing of their content to accompany detailing of such aspects as expirations, infringements, licensing and exclusivity.

          The Patent Gazette provides snapshot analysis and indexing of pharmaceutically relevant patenting within days of its publication by patent offices. Primarily focusing on material from the main three patents offices (i.e., the EPO, USPTO, and WIPO), it provides brief descriptions of a patent’s content and seeks to link it to both prior patenting of relevance and to any commercial activity pertinent to the technology being described.

        • Dallas Invents: 144 Patents Granted for Week of Aug. 4

          Dallas Invents is a weekly look at U.S. patents granted with a connection to the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area. Listings include patents granted to local assignees and/or those with a North Texas inventor. Patent activity can be an indicator of future economic growth, as well as the development of emerging markets and talent attraction. By tracking both inventors and assignees in the region, we aim to provide a broader view of the region’s inventive activity. Listings are organized by Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC).

        • M&A: what good Brexit-related IP due diligence looks like

          Patents are largely unaffected by Brexit. Brexit will not affect the existing European patent system on the basis that the European Patent Convention (EPC), which established the European Patent Office (EPO) and governs the grant of European patents, is a treaty between contracting states and not a piece of EU legislation.

          Similarly, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which allows an applicant to file one patent application designating multiple jurisdictions, is not a piece of EU legislation and will remain unaffected.

          As a result, national patents granted by the UK IPO and European patents granted by the EPO, and validated in the UK, will continue to be in force in the UK after the UK’s exit from the EU.

          Importantly, the UK will remain a member of the Paris Convention, which underpins IP protection around the world. This means it will remain possible for applicants who have filed for patent protection in the UK to subsequently claim the priority of that application for a patent registration in other countries, and vice versa.

        • EPO Oppositions and Appeals – 2-Day Case Law Workshop (London, UK – October 1-2, 2020) – ResearchAndMarkets.com
        • Apple sees Chinese giant Tencent behind Epic Games’ App Store antitrust action, brings counterclaims to ensure jury trial
      • Trademarks

        • ECJ: no automatically descriptive character in Unionmark with advertising message

          The European Patent and Trademark Office (EUIPO) rejected the application for the EU figurative mark ” achtung! ” for lack of distinctive character (with reference to Article 7(1)(b) and (2) of Regulation No 207/2009). ‘Achtung’ is a common German word in the meaning of ‘attention, ‘stop’ or ‘caution’, and also in the meaning of ‘respect’ and ‘appreciation’. The mark in dispute had been applied for in several classes of the Nice Classification, mainly in the field of goods and services for the PR and advertising industry, from communication services to domain and e-commerce services. Trade mark applicant is achtung! GmbH (Germany).

          The appeal of the trademark applicant was rejected by the EUPIO Board of Appeal and in the next instance before the European Court (CFI, judgment EU:T:2019:2). Since the trademark applied for is perceived in the German-speaking world as a promotional advertising message and the trademark does not contain any figurative element that would enable it to be understood as an indication of commercial origin, the figurative sign lacks the necessary distinctive character.

          The plaintiff achtung! appealed against this decision. GmbH and turned to the highest European Court of Justice (ECJ), which ruled in this case today.

        • Chanel Adds Camellia Drawing to its Arsenal of Trademarks

          As the story goes, years before Chanel began attaching a single white flower to its black boxes tied up with Chanel-branded ribbons, before its garments – such as the floor-grazing frock that young actress Margaret Qualley wore on the red carpet in at the Golden Globes last year – were dotted with a lone floral accent, and quite a bit before the brand began offering up sparkling, fine jewelry in the shape of delicately-pelated blooms, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel developed a love for camellias.

          It is unclear exactly how the late Ms. Chanel’s affinity for the exquisitely-blossoming flower came about; some point to Alexandre Dumas’ novel La Dame aux Camélias as piquing the designer’s interest in the flower that can be found among the foliage in various regions of her native France. Others suggest that a bouquet from lover Arthur “Boy” Capel was the reason. What is clear is that it did not take long for the designer to begin pinning one of the flowers in her hair or adorning her waistbands and jackets – and ultimately, no shortage of products from her eponymous brand – with a single camellia.

          “The camellia was [Ms. Chanel’s] simple, near symmetric wordless calling card, almost as iconic as the linked double Cs, but categorically more symbolic,” as the Independent characterized it not long ago, noting that the flower “has, of course, endured as an emblem of the Chanel house of fashion, beauty and fragrance long after its founder’s death in 1971.”

      • Copyrights

        • Hollywood, Netflix & Amazon Win Injunction Against CCM IPTV & Resellers

          The Hollywood studios of the MPA plus Amazon and Netflix have obtained an injunction against ‘pirate’ IPTV provider Crystal Clear Media. The action comes in response to a lawsuit filed in the US last month, in which the companies alleged copyright infringement of thousands of movies and TV shows.

        • Libtorrent Adds Support for BitTorrent v2, a Potential Game-Changer

          Libtorrent has just released version 2.0, which is a potential game-changer. The BitTorrent library, which is used by popular clients including uTorrent Web, Deluge, and qBittorrent, adds support for the new BitTorrent v2 protocol specification. This opens the door to various new features and introduces a new torrent format, which creates a separate swarm.

        • Should Illegal Works Receive Copyright Protection?

          We’re pleased to bring to you a guest post by Aniruddha Majumdar, analysing whether illegal works should receive copyright protection in India – a question raised by Justice Gautam Patel in his wonderfully thought provoking post on the blog a few years ago, and also engaged with in an insightful response post by Prof. Joshua D. Sarnoff.

          Aniruddha is an Associate at Talwar, Thakore & Associates in Mumbai. He graduated from NLS, Bangalore in 2019 and was Chief Editor of the Indian Journal of Law and Technology in 2017-18. The views expressed in the post are personal.


          Given that the copyrightability of a work does not expressly get affected based on its legality, the question then is – should a court of law enforce all the rights of an author under copyright laws even if the work is illegal? The principle ‘no court will lend its aid to a man who founds his cause of action upon an immoral or an illegal act’ is a strong argument against the above proposition, and has been alluded to by the Delhi High Court in the context of copyright laws in Super Cassettes Industries Ltd. v. Hamar Television Network Pvt. Ltd. At first glance, one would agree. For instance, if the owner of a movie depicting child pornography sues a third party for a copyright infringement, few would insist that he be awarded damages by a court for his cause of action. A similar conclusion could follow in case of an article which is purely defamatory. But what about cases such as a political work which is declared to be hate speech? While the author’s style of writing may have been passionate, perhaps they did not intend to include elements of hate speech in the work. There is a broad spectrum of illegality, one end of which would include works which are patently, knowingly, or substantially illegal. However, for cases lying elsewhere on the spectrum, which are less cut and dried, there are a few concerns which surround the wholesale denial of copyright protection, which are as follows:

          1. It would result in a double disincentive on authors who do not intentionally produce an illegal work. There are several works which are in the grey area, and an author cannot be expected to know whether a given work necessarily amounts to an offence. As a result, authors may become over-cautious and steer clear of producing works, which a court may have found to be protected or innocent speech. This fear would be rooted in the possibility of a lack of copyright protection and would result in a chilling effect on free speech. The adverse effects of this chilling effect have been dealt with by the Supreme Court here and here.

        • EFF to EU Commission on Article 17: Prioritize Users’ Rights, Let Go of Filters

          During the Article 17 (formerly #Article13) discussions about the availability of copyright-protected works online, we fought hand-in-hand with European civil society to avoid all communications being subjected to interception and arbitrary censorship by automated upload filters. However, by turning tech companies and online services operators into copyright police, the final version of the EU Copyright Directive failed to live up to the expectations of millions of affected users who fought for an Internet in which their speech is not automatically scanned, filtered, weighed, and measured.

          EU “Directives” are not automatically applicable. EU member states must “transpose” the directives into national law. The Copyright Directive includes some safeguards to prevent the restriction of fundamental free expression rights, ultimately requiring national governments to balance the rights of users and copyright holders alike. At the EU level, the Commission has launched a Stakeholder Dialogue to support the drafting of guidelines for the application of Article 17, which must be implemented in national laws by June 7, 2021. EFF and other digital rights organizations have a seat at the table, alongside rightsholders from the music and film industries and representatives of big tech companies like Google and Facebook.

It is Polite to Question Corruption and Perfectly Civil to Expose Crimes

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wars between genders can act as a distraction from wars between classes (as the financial gap rapidly widens)

Men at work
Media prefers fanning the flames of sectarian wars

Summary: Dissent and disagreement are being limited (in terms of scope) to rather shallow and superficial things to ensure “business as usual” goes on and oppressive structures remain unchallenged

This site isn’t new to controversy and critics. We’ve had them since day one (2006) when we called for a Novell boycott. The reasons were clear and were largely justifiable. We explained them repeatedly and over time we provided a body of evidence to support the boycott (which generally worked).

Let’s be perfectly clear about something–

“We’re meant to think that the fiercest fights to be won are over things like abortions and celebrities (including so-called ‘royalty’).”Throughout history the press or the media was controlled by powerful people/interests and actively worked to demonise critics of the status quo. When we collectively refer to “media” we mean mass media or mainstream media and what nowadays frequently gets called corporate media (because few corporations control almost all of it). In many ways they serve to perpetuate injustices, with few exceptions here and there (to gain perceived honesty and legitimacy). There are some sacred cows that are rarely scrutinised, especially fiscal and foreign policies. We’re meant to think that the fiercest fights to be won are over things like abortions and celebrities (including so-called ‘royalty’). This is partly deliberate as there’s intentional diversion of outrage (away from class war and into the realms of race/gender/sex conflicts).

I myself don’t follow the mainstream media (I actively try to avoid it, seeing it leverages non-issues or lesser issues). I gave away my TV around 2001 and I visit the BBC’s Web site only for occasional weather updates. Twitter became an extension of this propaganda machine (deciding ‘for’ people what the ‘news’ is, pushing outrage over substance in order to sell ads).

MicEarlier today figosdev published this article (“Weapons, Technology and Freedom” or “WTF” for short). In it, figosdev explained a mechanism for censorship of debate and scrutiny of important issues, including militarism. Corporate funds inside Free software projects/institutions appears to be contributing to a culture of censorship, justified using doublespeak terminology (“safe space”, “harassment” and so on), where the terms sort of twist what actually happens. Nobody has a safe space when bombings carry on in a dozen or more countries and speaking about war crimes (or even corporate bribery) isn’t really harassment just because the culprits’ feelings are hurt (and perhaps they ought to).

I consider myself to be quite left-leaning (the Daily Links are a reflection of our biases), but newer definitions of “liberal” seem to be compatible with corporate agenda rather than the real left. Censorship is a cornerstone of that, usually in the name of protection (whose? Corporations’ of people’s?).

“We certainly hope that software freedom aficionados are also free speech aficionados because if the goal of Free software is justice, then freedom of expression will be essential (yet opposed by those we dissent against).”Condoning censorship isn’t a “leftist” thing to do; authoritarians love censorship because that makes them less accountable (to anybody). The way I see it — and have long seen it — a Code of Conduct may be an OK idea in theory, but in practice those things have often been misused to marginalise truth-tellers and whistle-blowers on behalf of big sponsors. The self-described “anti-harassment” teams have, in effect, acted as “anti-dissent” teams, including dissent against corporations with malicious agenda (see what companies like Microsoft, IBM and Google are doing for governments worldwide).

We certainly hope that software freedom aficionados are also free speech aficionados because if the goal of Free software is justice, then freedom of expression will be essential (yet opposed by those we dissent against).

Recently, seeing all sorts of ‘pronoun policing’ and other sorts of superficial speech policing (or even ‘tone-policing’ as a vague concept), I fear we’re losing or have already lost the battle. Expression of ideas is being increasingly hard when people’s words (even going a decade or two back) get scrutinised for ‘wrongspeak’, whereupon there are severe consequences, including but not limiting to shaming and expulsion.

“Do you pine for the nice days of Minix-1.1, when men were men and wrote their own device drivers?” –Linus Torvalds

In Screenshots: Corporations That Sponsor the Free Software Movement Are Rarely Compatible With This Movement’s Vision/Objective

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux at 10:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent (a cautionary tale): Something Very Fishy About the Way the Linux Foundation Puts Its Leadership ‘on Sale’

LF corporate patrons: Wanna buy a seat?

Summary: The money of proprietary computing companies isn’t helping the cause of software freedom, even if it seems to be helping institutions that claim to stand for us and represent our interests

FSF top sponsors 2020:

FSF patrons 2020

FSF top sponsors 2019:

FSF patrons 2019

FSF top sponsors 2018:

FSF patrons 2018

FSF top sponsors 2017:

FSF patrons 2017-again

FSF top sponsors 2016:

FSF patrons 2016

FSF top sponsors 2015:

FSF patrons 2015

FSF top sponsors 2014:

FSF patrons 2014

Note: When I interviewed RMS regarding Google [1, 2] I did not know Google was the top FSF sponsor (to the tune of one whole salary, or about $50,000 per annum, i.e. more than any other company at the time)

FSF top sponsors 2011:

FSF patrons 2011

FSF top sponsors 2010:

FSF patrons 2010

Blackmail Tactics for Productivity and Coercion

Posted in Debian, Deception, GNU/Linux at 9:44 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

DebConf going online in 2020 doesn’t mean we can’t have the full experience. Yesterday, we began with the foreplay of plotting defamation with Erinn Clark and today we move on to a full-blown DebConfs orgy of hypocrisy.

Lunar (Jérémy Bobbio) is one volunteer who wrote about experiences with Jacob Appelbaum on the debian-private (leaked) gossip network. Here is what he had to say:

Subject: Re: Jacob Appelbaum and harrassement
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2016 18:39:28 +0200
From: Jérémy Bobbio <lunar@debian.org>
To: debian-private@lists.debian.org

... snip ...

I can personally vouch for 2 of the stories on the website. I also have
direct experience of Jake playing with people's boundaries, mine
included since I first met him in Florence four years ago.

Lunar    .''`. lunar@debian.org  : :Ⓐ  :
        `. `'`                     `-   
# apt-get install anarchism

We don’t want to diminish the experiences of any actual victims of abuse. On the other hand, we don’t feel that Lunar’s very brief message on debian-private is sufficient evidence to destroy the career of another volunteer.

Playing with boundaries is very ambiguous. It can mean anything you want really. If a complete stranger plays with your boundaries on public transport, that is completely unacceptable and hopefully leads to the confiscation of your child pornography collection, which is apparently a more serious punishment than jail for some people.

On the other hand, in an environment where people choose to mix their professional and social lives, comments like that need to be considered in context to understand correctly. For example, if everybody gets high on drugs and loses track of the boundaries, why should only one participant be singled out for a public flogging? In these events, are yes and no always black and white or are we talking about situations with 250 shades of gray?

In fact, we have the same dilemma when considering the case of Dr Norbert Preining. Molly de Blanc’s anti-harassment hit squad sent Dr Preining that ridiculous long list of accusations days before Christmas. Outsiders may raise their eyebrows at some of Dr Preining’s comments. Yet when you consider he is not a native English speaker and you peruse the things Debian Developers have been writing in debian-private, you find there was nothing unusual about Dr Preining’s writing style in the context of Debian behavior. If anything, exposure to the Debian community lowers everybody’s standards by a similar amount.

Let’s get back to that difficult question of boundaries and hear from the expert on community, Molly de Blanc. de Blanc got her Debian Developer certificate while dating Debian Project Leader Chris Lamb (a.k.a. Mollamby) and with that in hand, she was nominated to become president of the OSI. In Molly’s own words, taken from FrOSCon 2019, she demonstrates the incredibly limited extent of her leadership skills:

Well we can use our collective power to push others

de Blanc has even provided a cute drawing. Does this look like pushing somebody’s boundaries? At three-to-one odds, it could be alluding to gang rape.

Molly de Blanc, pushing volunteers, pushing boundaries, bullying, cyberbullying, enforcement

“Push others”, Copyright (C) 2019 Molly de Blanc

What happened when a Debian mentor pushed their GSoC intern to work up to the last day and didn’t pay them? Other mentors and admins suggested asking Google. de Blanc didn’t want to push Google though, maybe they are too big for her:

Subject: Re: Revaluation appeal for [redacted/name of intern]

Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2018 11:35:10 -0700

From: Molly de Blanc <deblanc@riseup.net>

Hi Team,

Google has already spent a lot of resources reviewing code from Debian

participants. We should think very carefully before asking them to do

any more.



molly de blanc, toxic woman, toxic person, debian, open source, fsf, free software, gsoc, outreachy, payment, unpaid

The intern spent three months on a project, de Blanc, who is not a developer, didn’t look at it and didn’t think it was worth writing more than two lines about the matter. de Blanc rarely appears to push herself as much as she pushes others.

de Blanc is only willing to push people who are smaller or outnumbered. In Molly’s world, freelancers, employees of small companies, students and interns can be pushed, but not Molly and not Google. de Blanc is not interested in pushing companies like Google and Microsoft, especially when they give her treats to help exert influence.

Looking at the Jacob Appelbaum allegations again, somebody tweeted that he had used their work in 2007 without properly crediting them in a research paper. This is a serious issue in the academic world. Nonetheless, we can see exactly the same behavior in Debian: multiple people have been removed from the list of Debian Developers, while Debian continues to distribute their work and take credit for it. The most blatant example of this was Dr Preining, who was told to keep working as a Debian Maintainer, like an apprentice, but he wouldn’t be credited for his work as a Debian Developer. Ironically, the software that Dr Preining packages is the LaTeX software. This is the same software that is typically used to format the academic research papers that Jacob Appelbaum is accused of creating from other people’s work. How could Debian deny Dr Preining full and proper credit for his work while adding weight to accusations of plagiarism against another volunteer, Appelbaum?

It is not clear if the tweet about plagiarism is noteworthy. Genuine mistakes with crediting authors are not unprecedented and are usually fixed behind the scenes by releasing an updated copy of the paper and a thank-you note on a blog. Many of the Appelbaum allegations are simply misunderstandings that have been hyped by the media, who went into a feeding frenzy over stories of orgies in his apartment.

Back into the domain of pushing people’s boundaries, as alleged by Lunar, when you read the self-deprecating confession-apology that Dr Preining wrote, it should be clear that this was not written spontaneously and under his own free will: in Debian, consent is rarely taken seriously. Dr Preining’s boundaries were pushed by three months of blackmail. This almost looks like it was written for him and he didn’t have any choice whether to send it or not:

I also will take care to listen carefully to advice and corrections,

In cooperation with DAM – and the invaluable help of some fellow DDs -
we have reached the agreement about my further status. DAM will write
about this in a separate email outlining the agreement and consequences.

Absolutely chilling.

We hope this orgy of hypocrisy has made it clear. When we evaluate behavior against Debian’s own standards, the behavior of the people accused is relatively tame compared to the behavior of project leadership. If the leader’s girlfriend can stand up at a conference and boast about pushing people to do things she won’t do herself, how can the same people accuse Appelbaum of pushing to get what he wants?

Note to victims of abuse: in the first instance, we suggest you seek assistance from a competent person close to where you live. We do not recommend seeking help in free software communities, debian-private and other gossip networks. We welcome reports of abuse to help us corroborate stories but we do not disclose any private information.

molly de blanc, bondage, oppression, volunteers, debian

Slides above chosen by Molly de Blanc to show how she wants to coerce volunteers using pressure and punishments.

Fake Patents Granted by the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) and the EPO’s Misleading Propaganda Video Series (Conflating Patents With Other Things) Exploits Dead People

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As if science would not exist if it weren’t for patents…

Benoit Battistelli
Not the first time EPO management is exploiting deaths

Summary: Europe’s biggest and most powerful patent office (EPO), which is also Europe’s second-largest institution, is misleading the public and exploiting the deaths of many Europeans for shameless, self-promotional marketing

THE EPO issues persist, assured us an EPO insider last week. This site may not seem to be focused on the EPO anymore. That’s simply because not much is known about what goes on at the EPO, as we explained earlier this month. SUEPO has not been saying much and we don’t fault it for that; aside from holidays there seems to be growing secrecy and some people aren’t or haven’t been working ‘onsite’ for a while.

The EPO itself has hardly said anything lately, with only two public statements in more than a month! We have not been seeing promotion of European software patents for a while, but that does not mean they’re not being granted anymore.

“Many fake patents last their entire lifetime (a couple of decades typically) without a single challenge, so many out there will presume they’re legitimate. This is what happens when so many monopolies are granted with little concern for facts.”The other day we saw this report about a patent which was wrongly granted by the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) and then (mis)used for litigation. To quote a report in English: “The patent in dispute is protected as German Patent “Method and Device for the Generation of Print Data” (GER Patent No. 11 2004 002 429.3) since 2004 and also as international PCT patent (PCT/JP2004/018213). Patent holder is Ryobi MHI Graphic Technology Ltd. (Japan).”

Notice how long it took to revoke this fake patent. Many fake patents last their entire lifetime (a couple of decades typically) without a single challenge, so many out there will presume they’re legitimate. This is what happens when so many monopolies are granted with little concern for facts. Sometimes the patents are not being challenged because so many of them are leveraged in bulk and in tandem, discouraging a full legal battle and pushing towards a settlement or cross-licensing (meaning tacit endorsement of low-quality and likely junk patents).

A few days ago the EPO went even further by issuing this truly ridiculous ‘news’ (self-promotional garbage), which merely exploits COVID-19 for shameless marketing like the EPO exploited terror attacks. (warning: epo.org link)

Let’s examine what they said.

The EPO today has published Inventors against coronavirus, a new video series highlighting the inventors working on solutions to various COVID-19 issues.

This has nothing to do with patents. It’s about invention. Patents don’t beget invention; sometimes they suppress research (fear of litigation).

It comprises interviews with experts from several fields including vaccinology, satellite navigation, diagnostics and haematology, and explores the role of each in driving recovery from the pandemic.


Inventors against coronavirus is one of several measures implemented by the Office to disseminate information to keep the public informed with expert viewpoints, and help researchers make informed decisions.

This is not what patent offices exist for. This is just PR-centric propaganda from the EPO and it exploits a tragedy, as usual.

On it goes:

Earlier in the year, patent examiners and data analysts compiled datasets to support the important work of clinicians, scientists and engineers. These cartographies are available in the Fighting coronavirus pages of the EPO website.

This is a catalogue of monopolies; it details what cannot and should not be done. It’s an impediment/barrier to researchers. Earlier this year French researchers studying COVID-19 got sued by a patent troll, using a patent the EPO granted to a literal fraud. The EPO later glorified this fraud using EIA, which this ridiculous ‘news’ item now celebrates!

So much for public service…

And get this:

They show recent developments in coronavirus-related technical fields as revealed in patent databases, including which countries and inventors have filed the most patent applications.

So they’re equating number of “patent applications” with solution to coronavirus. What kind of fool would fall for it? It’s basically an invitation to send in loads of low-quality patent applications, in the name of fighting with “Inventors against coronavirus” (as if coronavirus is afraid of monopolies, as opposed to open-ended collaboration to defeat and eradicate the virus as soon as possible).

“So they’re equating number of “patent applications” with solution to coronavirus.”Shallow propaganda such as this does not present the EPO as benevolent and mighty; instead, it serves to expose what a bunch of clueless and incompetent people nowadays run Europe’s largest patent office. They don’t understand the sector they’re in, they shamelessly lie at the expense of almost a quarter million Europeans who lost their lives (soon a million worldwide), and they constantly attack their own staff, ruining these people’s physical and mental health while claiming to fight for public health.

Weapons, Technology and Freedom

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 3:04 am by Guest Editorial Team

By figosdev


Summary: “We have too much war, and we have too much stupid (unwise, foolish, destructive) technology.”

This is not technically / really about the 2nd Amendment.

In the 1980s, I met a man who had worked on the Manhattan Project. I was very young, and his involvement was not the point of the meeting; I went to meet an electronics engineer, and he happened to be a very famous one. I knew him as the inventor of the strobe light.

He showed us around his lab at MIT — where he had numerous framed patents on the wall (albeit extremely dusty ones) and a cabinet full of underwater lighting equipment (which he used to look for “Nessie” with Cousteau) and a cluttered desk with a large stuffed toy polar bear in front of it, wearing 3D glasses and holding a Sprite can (given that decades have passed, it could have been 7UP).

“I didn’t grow up loving war, but I understood that technology plays a role in Defence.”He could have very easily been one of the scientists who didn’t think they would use the thing.

Perhaps it’s (CIA) Hollywood to thank for this, but the two reasons I’m not 100% uncomfortable living in a world where these sorts of devices exist are asteroids and the fairly remote possibility of hostile extra-terrestrial contact. So let’s stick with asteroids. I’m not an expert in geology, ballistics or warheads, so I really can’t tell you if having them will help protect us from asteroids or not. I am pretty confident, however, that rifles and even the A-10 cannon (designed, as was the computer that BASIC and DTSS first ran on, by General Electric) would be ineffective.

“I am an anti-war activist, for longer than I’ve been a Free Software activist — because most wars are illegal, unnecessary and for-profit.”I also knew someone who designed part of the SR-71 spy plane. I didn’t grow up loving war, but I understood that technology plays a role in Defence. Not only this, but Defence plays a major role in technology. Watching the history of BSD with Marshall Kirk McKusick is a reminder of this, but obviously the US DOD (DARPA in particular) plays a prominent role in the history of the Internet as well.

I am an anti-war activist, for longer than I’ve been a Free Software activist — because most wars are illegal, unnecessary and for-profit. This is an understanding of war nobody bothered to give me when I was younger, but even then I knew that killing for profit is wrong — I simply didn’t know how much war was a for-profit venture. (We need to get the USD out of the US DOD. But we all know that the former is propped up by the latter).

I’m not sure all war is wrong, nor do I think turning our backs on technology in general is the answer. If we live without technology, we will still find it flying over our heads, following our interactions, even finding its way into our food. Today some people are sceptical of GMOs, tomorrow more people will be sceptical of nano-technology. They have a nano-tech coating for the inside of ketchup bottles, so it seems more likely than not that the complaints by organic food advocates of tomorrow will s/GMOs/nanotech/ at least sometimes.

We have too much war, and we have too much stupid (unwise, foolish, destructive) technology. Of that much I am certain. But unless we decide to let authority have command over thought itself, we will need to be able to discuss these things about the human existence in order to improve them.

One of the dumbest wars we’ve ever had of course, is the war on intelligent conversation. By “intelligent” I don’t mean elitist, Ivy League, erudite and formal exchange; I simply mean conversation where you aren’t required to either be an idiot or pretend to be one. I consider Debian’s efforts to stifle any discussion (down to indirect mention or even non-mention) of the war crimes against civilians in Palestine to be a crime in and of itself. To participate in Debian, you either have to be an idiot, or pretend to be one.

Details matter too, but I am fond of the idea that it is philosophy’s job to look for root causes of what we consider problems. Some of the overarching narratives and themes that accompany our marching on for profit are more interesting than the cliched excuses and rhetoric they tend to produce. When you want to understand computers, you should look under the GUI, at least. When you want to understand war, you can follow the money though it’s not the only level these things work on. Ultimately you will need a better understanding of humanity itself (unless you’re content with cliches, I mean).

“I’m no fan of the Free Software Award, or the Nobel Peace Prize, but not because I’m no fan of Free Software or Peace.”Of course I would like war kept to a minimum — I probably wouldn’t miss it if we did away with it entirely, though I doubt that’s going to happen. War isn’t something we found stashed under a mountain and decided to play with, accidentally blanketing the planet with conflict. It is an aspect of human (not only human) interaction, exacerbated by millennia of changes in the way that humans organise politically. We’ve tried, to our credit — to ban it on different levels. Some of those efforts are probably brilliant, while others are more likely naive. We should keep trying to get things right, because the alternative is monstrous.

I’m no fan of the Free Software Award, or the Nobel Peace Prize, but not because I’m no fan of Free Software or Peace. They tried to give the Nobel Peace Prize to Henry Kissinger; they haven’t given the Free Software Award to Nat Friedman yet as far as I know, but they did give it to Miguel de Icaza.

These sorts of awards do as much to confuse the issues they are related to as they do to celebrate already-celebrated heroes of peace and freedom, and I’m against them — not because I’m against fun or celebration (have a cake on the anniversary of your/favourite free software project, I celebrated my own with chocolate torte) but because I’m against elevating the worst kinds of bullshit and corruption to the level of a ceremony. It’s time to retire the Free Software Award as well as the Nobel Peace Prize… not that they probably will. If you really want to celebrate peace, do it by ending a war. It’s not as glamorous, or as easy — but unlike the Peace Prize it actually means something.

As much as I would like war kept to a minimum, the central point of this long-winded essay is that sometimes our way of fighting for a cause like peace is done in a way that defeats our goal much more than it furthers it. And that sort of statement typically segues into some defence of P.R. tactics, formality and tone arguments. We’ve had more than enough of those, they’re pretty much the opposite of what I want to say.

Weapon of Mass Destruction

Too much “progress”, at least these days, is founded on the idea of having comfortable, polite conversations. Just because we ask that you be polite, the rhetoric goes, doesn’t mean that you can’t discuss important issues.

That’s not really true though, because the whole idea of what constitutes politeness is based on comfort, and not every important issue can be resolved with a comfortable conversation. (Also people are human, and you probably shouldn’t rate someone’s worth to activism by whether they’re capable of discussing pointless and politically-motivated death like the sociopathic mannequins in the corporate media). Guess what? The human brain has several layers with different functions that sometimes compete with each other, the human psyche has various foibles, and ejecting people who can’t pretend they’re emotionless robots is so Neo-Victorian, you might as well not let people attend public meetings if we find out they (Gasp!) masturbate at home. (Thank you, Cory Doctorow).

Talking about Middle Eastern politics is not a great way to have a comfortable conversation, and avoiding Middle Eastern politics altogether is not a great way to be a peace activist. So this business of “being polite” which really comes down to “don’t make people uncomfortable” is unfortunately, mostly a lot of bullshit. To participate in Debian, you either have to be an idiot, or pretend to be one.

“…too many people you find promotion of the inane concept that by removing those images from society, we can remove them from human behaviour.”Debian is a big example, it’s prominent, but it really is just an example. This is a problem that ultimately affects all activism and philosophy itself — we are creating a society that literally values comfort over thought. That’s a hallmark of pure decadence — I mean Fall-of-the-Roman-Empire kind of decadence.

But this isn’t just about the enormous roadblock between here and real progress caused by stifling intelligent conversation — it’s just as much about the things we would be able to talk about, if we weren’t raising a new generation of idiots to run away from actual thought and philosophy itself — if we weren’t creating Mandatory Idiocy policies as a prerequisite for participating in any progressive activities.

I’ve read loads of the garbage that Susan Sontag wrote about metaphors, War and disease. It’s nearly the most numbing, idiotic stuff I’ve ever read in my life. She’s right at least, that P.R. overdoes it with these metaphors. Though she heads in a Naomi Klein like direction, until you’d swear she was laying a foundation for Anita Sarkeesian — I know that images and metaphors play a role in propaganda, but in too many people you find promotion of the inane concept that by removing those images from society, we can remove them from human behaviour.

It’s baseless, handwavey superstitious babble, and just about as stupid as anything gets. Beyond this it is extremely invasive — let’s use what amounts to mind control to improve humanity. How about, No? Calling that sort of thing “Leftist cult tactics” isn’t hyperbole, it’s very literally a cult tactic. I’m not saying the “right” doesn’t do it as well.

But as some people try to create peace by running away from war (first as a tactic, and ultimately as a topic of discussion) we can either prostrate ourselves as subjects of these idiots or we can rebel against them. Not that most of the people “rebelling” are any good for conversation — I checked out Gab, Roy quotes responses from Minds in the logs, I still have an account at that Facebook alternative (whatever it’s called) that is mostly right-wing nutjobs. I know, there’s a couple of them. I’d probably have to do password recovery to visit the one I’m thinking of.

“Should he be able to talk about things that are important to talk about? How the hell is that even a question?”We still have to reserve the right to have intelligent (and uncomfortable) conversations about uncomfortable topics, if we want to change the world. Gandhi didn’t worry that his rants about western society or the British might get turned around as being racist, he took a lot of inspiration from Thoreau. But we could have done it — we could have simply called him a racist and pretended that ridiculous accusation negated whatever he had to say. I’m really not even that much of a Gandhi fan (MLK, Thoreau, Malcolm X? Yes. Gandhi? Ehhhh…) but beside that detail, he still talked about things that were important to talk about. Should he be able to talk about things that are important to talk about? How the hell is that even a question?

It’s not just that some technology (like the Internet) might not exist if not for tension and violence between various human factions. It’s that uncomfortable topics are part of a broad, connected philosophical tapestry — and we can’t talk about liberating humanity (from humanity) while avoiding every uncomfortable part of that tapestry.

If we run away from the topics of war and human rights violations, we start to become party to the propaganda tactics used to make war and human rights violations more palatable to the public — in trying to make conversation more humane, we do the opposite of what many imply, which is that words and images are the source of all violence; we actually increase the amount of violence by making it impossible to talk about how awful it is. I’m hardly the first to say so, George Carlin even had a routine about it. But would you stop being so politically correct if you realised that (by design) it actually leads to MORE deaths, NOT fewer? (FUCK YOU, A BILLION FUCKING TIMES, MIKE GODWIN! YOU should get the Nobel Peace Prize. Hell, they should rename it after you…)

“Imagine trying to show the horrors of slavery without being able to show the horrors of slavery — of sanitising Roots or taking anything uncomfortable out of the Holocaust museum. The implications of every argument for sanitisation are nonsensical.”And people will say that everybody already knows how awful it is, otherwise it couldn’t be traumatic or uncomfortable. But that’s a completely dishonest argument, because if we sanitise all future debates, many people indeed will have no idea what any of us are actually talking about — because we will try to have every conversation without actually talking about the problems we are discussing.

Imagine trying to show the horrors of slavery without being able to show the horrors of slavery — of sanitising Roots or taking anything uncomfortable out of the Holocaust museum. The implications of every argument for sanitisation are nonsensical.

We are already getting to the point where we can’t even talk about the EFFECTS of censorship, because people will invariably argue that you’re simply complaining about censorship itself — and that’s really just because you want to say something horrible — there’s no other reason to complain about censorship, like all the reasons human rights activists have for hundreds of years…

“If you want to advocate for freedom, you have to able to talk about the things that happen when that freedom is missing from the equation.”In fact, what I’m trying to say is that we are removing our ability to talk about ANY problems AT ALL — because we are as a society becoming increasingly uncomfortable speaking for ourselves and having real conversations — we are being taught to let someone “qualified” speak for us instead. And to separate all connections between topics (like war and technology) and pretend they don’t exist or don’t have historical significance (thus implications for the future).

To participate in PROGRESS, you must either be an idiot, or pretend to be one — by pretending you don’t know what you know.

That’s a foundation for a non-society, for a slave state where everyone is truly voiceless. If you want to advocate for freedom, you have to able to talk about the things that happen when that freedom is missing from the equation.

Invariably, you will have to talk about the negative effects that lack of freedom has.

Invariably, that will upset an individual or a sponsor. FUCK EM! They are not THAT important. We can’t simply reshape the fabric of the universe (and truly abandon what it is we DO) to make those people happy. Though we will be “asked” to. And a$ long a$ we are a$ked politely to abandon our very cause (at least on any meaningful level) then it might as well be reasonable to ask.

“You can’t explain why the Internet exists without talking about war.”If you remove the topic of war from the topic of technology, you can’t talk about the technology. The two are connected in many ways, from surveillance to other human rights abuses, to the same political problems (partisan and otherwise) that we are trying to mitigate and solve, to the history or purposes of the technology. You can’t explain why the Internet exists without talking about war.

Nearly 20 years ago, it was a bigger risk speaking out against war, because being against war (suddenly) meant you were FOR terrorists.

Today, it’s a bigger risk speaking out against censorship — if you’re against censorship, it means you’re FOR racists and other horrible people. And I’m as unimpressed by this foolishness as I was nearly two decades ago. Some of you are (obviously) idiots, but many of you are too stifled.

“Today, it’s a bigger risk speaking out against censorship — if you’re against censorship, it means you’re FOR racists and other horrible people.”We sometimes pretend (or are expected to pretend) that you can solve software freedom problems without uncomfortable conversations — the same way politicians insist you can have backdoors AND have security. Some things really are either / or, though. You can have uncomfortable conversations, you can ultimately risk those — OR you can’t talk about how to improve the human condition.

You CAN however, have meaningless conversations and meaningless security while trying to square the circle with “government-only” backdoors and “polite” talk about war crimes and corruption.

“We sometimes pretend (or are expected to pretend) that you can solve software freedom problems without uncomfortable conversations — the same way politicians insist you can have backdoors AND have security.”Open Source, at least from 1998 onwards, was intended as a way to talk about the advantages of Free Software without the uncomfortable conversations about freedom.

The ultimate triumph of that brand of Open Source will be if it becomes impossible for society to say anything meaningful about technology, because it is too uncomfortable to confront any of the relevant issues that make the discussion necessary in the first place. If it’s hyperbole to say we are headed in that direction… are we headed the other way? Are Debian Developers and even LibrePlanet attendees MORE free than they used to be to speak? I seriously doubt it. Lots of people do, but they fear the consequences of saying so. That’s a culture of fear and frankly, strictly-enforced stupidity.

But that’s okay, really! Because you can still say it’s all SUPER-NEAT! At least until THAT offends somebody. We are creating a concept of a model citizen who is the absolutely worst sort of (anti-)intellectual coward. If we could talk about history (can’t talk about history, war would only come up when we started explaining propaganda…) we could tell you what a grand error that truly is. Loose lips may sink ships, but zipped lips destroy entire nations.

“You CAN however, have meaningless conversations and meaningless security while trying to square the circle with “government-only” backdoors and “polite” talk about war crimes and corruption.”This all certainly makes it impossible to talk about Free Software (but only bit-by-bit, so people are still talking about it — and they’re still getting silenced over increasingly ridiculous things as well) but it also strips people of their humanity. Mass censorship is invariably a class war tactic; censorship is always foisted more fully on the poor and the weak than the rich and powerful, who own 90% of the media for crying out loud. And you’re going to let them dictate the other 10% of what’s said in public as well? Whose side do you think you’re on?!

“Mass censorship is invariably a class war tactic; censorship is always foisted more fully on the poor and the weak than the rich and powerful, who own 90% of the media for crying out loud.”Also, should we be able to shoot at drones if they can shoot at us? OOPS, who am I kidding?! We aren’t forbidden from discussing that per se, but we certainly can’t have that as a conversation. It brings up too many uncomfortable things. Better to just let them shoot at us, then! That’s certainly less offensive.

Good luck, Humanity.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

Crisis Minimisation Tactics: Debian Leadership Wants People to Think That One Single Person (Longtime Debian Developer) is the Real and Sole Problem Although the Issues Are Far Broader and Systemic

Posted in Debian, Deception, Free/Libre Software at 2:20 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News

IN Sam Hartman’s latest attack on a volunteer, he makes a series of arguments intended to lead us to the conclusion that a single Debian Developer woke up one day and decided to pursue a new career as an Internet troll.

Hartman’s claim is bizarre for various reasons.

When you look at Hartman’s arguments, they are wafer-thin. Consider this claim:

Without claiming authorship of these anonymous messages, (the scapegoat) quickly expands on the messages in his blogs and goes forward assuming these anonymous claims are true

The volunteer in question is not the only one with a blog. It is not hard to find additional blogs if you only look. A Debian Developer, who is also a former community representative, widely connected in the community, probably knows which anonymous claims have substance or has ways to validate them. Looking at how people use the Internet today, for every one person who writes a blog about a topic, there are hundreds of people referencing the same topic on social media, Reddit and other sites. Being quick to blog about a topic is important for any blogger, especially for those people who are censored from replying on certain mailing lists. None of these tendencies stand out as evidence of wrongdoing, quite the opposite, they are normal behaviour for the majority of bloggers.

By suggesting only one person cares about a particular issue, Hartman is attempting to minimise and invalidate those issues that he doesn’t want to answer questions about. The narrative of a single troll and a single scapegoat is very convenient when you want to make some very inconvenient questions about money look irrelevant.

In many cases, apparently trolled or forged messages appeared after the relevant blogs, contradicting Hartman’s exaggerated claims. A blog about Debian’s diversity problems appeared on Friday, 6 March 2020 but the email about women impersonating Mark Shuttleworth only appeared more than 48 hours later. On what grounds does he claim the latter is from the same person as the former? Hartman appears to be quite wrong indeed.

If you look at all five points in Hartman’s blog post, you don’t find any evidence to link the points together. How can Hartman expect readers to follow all the way from the first point to the last point and agree with his conclusion, when he did not even try to prove a link from the first point to the second point?

When an email was circulated claiming to prove the identity of Cryptie in FSFE, the Free Software Fellowship blog didn’t simply cut and paste the story. It was documented step by step, with links that people can check to verify Cryptie‘s real name, Amandine Jambert @ CNIL. The Fellowship bloggers also demonstrated it was in the public interest, documenting the privacy vulnerability and cover-up at FSFE.

The Cryptie case is proof that there is more than one person in the free software community who doesn’t use their real name. Cryptie‘s very existance debunks Hartman’s one-troll-to-rule-them-all theory.

Hartman knows he has no evidence and he doesn’t care. In the twilight of his term as Debian Project Leader (DPL), he is deliberately borrowing from the project’s reputation and using his DPL title as the sole foundation for his accusations. He knows some people will be fooled, “if Debian said this, it must be true”. If the same baseless accusations were repeated on an anonymous blog account, without evidence, nobody would take them seriously. When a leader uses his title in this fraudulent manner, the name of the organization inevitably loses some of its shine.

If Hartman is actually right and a respected Debian Developer has undergone this metamorphosis into a troll, a competent Debian Project Leader may want to find out why. What has the Debian community done to the person to bring about such a change? For example, could this be the side effect of some unethical social experiment gone wrong, like blackmailing somebody at the wrong time? Former leader Chris Lamb brilliantly decided to introduce demotions to Debian, has it become a self-fulfilling prophecy, demoting DDs to trolls? Or is it something that was inevitably going to emerge from the culture of Debian?

An alternative narrative is that all the trolling in the free software world reflects the lack of leadership, both the personal leadership failures of people like Hartman, the failure to empower people who remain trapped in groupthink, the bullying culture of large organizations and the assassination of principled leaders like Richard Stallman. Under Hartman’s term as DPL, Debian has stumbled on through long email threads and another divisive systemd vote, in other words, people put in a whole lot of time and energy but achieved nothing. The narrative of a single omni-troll is a convenient scapegoat indeed, as it is much easier than admitting Hartman’s term didn’t achieve very much.

When you think about it, there is simply no way a single person, an experienced developer, spontaneously turns into a troll overnight. Not only does Hartman need to prove why we should believe the far-fetched claims he is making, he would then need to explain the extent of Debian’s responsibility in creating such a disturbing outcome.

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