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10.19.18

Links 19/10/2018: OpenBSD 6.4 and OpenSSH 7.9 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 12:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Suddenly Linux runs in Android

    Yes, Android is based on a modified version of the Linux kernel. But once you’ve got Android running, you can utilize this app to get Linux running inside Android. But why, you might be asking – why would you want to do that? If you have to ask, you might just want to turn back now. With this app, users are able to run Debian or Ubuntu, games like Adventure or Zork, and Math systems like Gnuplot, Octave, and R.

    UserLand allows one Session at a time and can also monitor filesystems. If you’re looking for a graphical interface, and not just a command line system, you might want to take a peek at the operating system Android. In other words: This is mostly just for fun, and a sort of proof of concept – but it has so much potential!

  • Desktop

    • Love Microsoft Teams? Love Linux? Then you won’t love this

      Microsoft loves Linux. Unless you are a Linux user who happens to want to use Teams. In that case, you probably aren’t feeling the love quite so much.

    • Chrome OS Linux support to gain folder sharing, Google Drive, more

      Chrome OS has been shaping up to be the all-in-one system, combining the best of Google’s ecosystem, including Android apps, with the power of Linux apps. The latter is still in beta phase with improvements and new features in every update. Today we take a look at some of the features coming soon to Chrome OS Linux apps.

      Chrome OS first gained its Linux app support, also known as Crostini, with version 69. While it’s certainly not flawless, the support has been groundbreaking, enabling everything from full photo editors to Android Studio on Chrome OS. With upcoming versions of Chrome OS, Google is working to smoothen the rough edges of Crostini to make it easier to use.

  • Server

    • Google Cloud CTO Brian Stevens on using open source for competitive advantage in the public cloud

      As all three continue to vie for the affections of CIOs, how they market their respective public cloud propositions to enterprise IT buyers has subtly shifted over time.

      For evidence of this, one only has to look at how little fuss the big three now make about rolling out price cuts for their services compared to several years ago, when one provider announcing a price drop would not only make headlines, but prompt its competitors to publicly follow suit too.

      This in itself is indicative of the fact enterprises expect more from providers than just access to cheap commodity IT services these days, and that ongoing cost reductions are simply an accepted part of using cloud, Google Cloud CTO Brian Stevens, tells Computer Weekly.

  • Kernel Space

    • KUnit: A new unit testing framework for Linux Kernel

      On Tuesday, Google engineer Brendan Higgins announced an experimental set of 31 patches by introducing KUnit as a new Linux kernel unit testing framework to help preserve and improve the quality of the kernel’s code.

      KUnit is a lightweight unit testing and mocking framework designed for the Linux kernel. Unit tests necessarily have finer granularity, they are able to test all code paths easily solving the classic problem of difficulty in exercising error handling code.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 18.2.3 Coming This Week With Fixes/Workarounds For Several Steam Play Games

        Igalia’s Juan Suarez Romero as the Mesa 18.2 series release manager is putting the finishing touches on the 18.2.3 point release to benefit Steam Play / Proton / Wine games.

        This latest bi-weekly point release to the Mesa 18.2 stable series has over three dozen patches queued so far and several of them are for fixes/workarounds to different games. Those affected games include Rage, Yakuza, The Evil Within, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, ARMA 3, and No Man’s Sky.

    • Benchmarks

      • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 OpenCL, CUDA, TensorFlow GPU Compute Benchmarks

        Here are the first of our benchmarks for the GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card that launched this week. In our inaugural Ubuntu Linux benchmarking with the GeForce RTX 2070 is a look at the OpenCL / CUDA GPU computing performance including with TensorFlow and various models being tested on the GPU. The benchmarks are compared to an assortment of available graphics cards and also include metrics for power consumption, performance-per-Watt, and performance-per-dollar.

      • Intel Core i9 9900K Linux Benchmarks – 15-Way Intel/AMD Comparison On Ubuntu 18.10

        Intel sent over the Core i9 9900K as their first 9th Gen Coffeelake-S CPU hitting store shelves today. With the embargo on that now expired, let’s have a look at how well this eight-core / sixteen-thread processor performs under Linux.

        The Core i9 9900K is Intel’s new answer for competing with the likes of the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, but does come at a higher price point of $499 USD. While the Core i9 9900K is a Coffeelake refresh, rather than being six cores / twelve threads, they are matching AMD’s precedent set by the Ryzen 7 processors in having eight cores / sixteen threads. This 14nm 8C / 16T processor has a base clock frequency of 3.6GHz with a turbo frequency at 5.0GHz, a 16MB L3 cache and supports dual-channel DDR4-2666 memory.

      • Intel Core i9 9900K vs. AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Linux Gaming Benchmarks

        Complementing the just-published Intel Core i9 9900K Linux benchmarks with the launch-day embargo lift are the Linux gaming benchmarks… This article is looking at the Linux performance between the Core i9 9900K and AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700X in a variety of native Linux games as well as comparing the performance-per-Watt. So if you are a Linux gamer and deciding between these sub-$500 processors, this article is for you.

        If you didn’t yet read the main article that features a 15-way CPU comparison on Ubuntu 18.10 with the Linux 4.19 kernel, here is a recap of this new Coffeelake refresh CPU. The Core i9 9900K is an eight-core / sixteen-thread processor with 3.6GHz base frequency and 5.0GHz turbo frequency. This 14nm CPU has a 16MB L3 cache, dual channel DDR4-2666 support, and a 95 Watt TDP. There is also the onboard UHD Graphics 630, but if you’re a gamer, that isn’t going to cut it. The Core i9 9900K is launching at $499 USD.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Kraft Version 0.82

        A new release of Kraft, the Qt- and KDE based software to help to organize business docs in small companies, has arrived.

        A couple of days ago version 0.82 was released. It mainly is a bugfix release, but it also comes with a few new features. Users were asking for some new functions that they needed to switch to Kraft with their business communication, and I am always trying to make that a priority.

        The most visible feature is a light rework of the calculation dialog that allows users to do price calculations for templates. It was cleared up, superflous elements were finally removed and the remaining ones now work as expected. The distinction between manual price and calculated price should be even more clear now. Time calculations can now not only done in the granularity of minutes, as this was to coarse for certain usecases. The unit for a time slice can now be either seconds, minutes or hours.

      • Working on QML Book

        Do you remember QML Book? It started as a project between me and Jürgen Bocklage-Ryannel where we tried to fix the problem that there is no QML book out there.

        Back in the Qt 5.2 days, we spent wrote about a year. Unfortunately, the project has mainly been sitting idle since then. I’ve poked at issues every now and then, and Jürgen has done various fixes as well.

        Thanks to The Qt Company, this is changing. This autumn, it sponsors me to work on the project. The current plan is to add a chapter to Qt Quick Controls 2, and to update the entire contents to Qt 5.12 and Qt Creator 4.8. By doing so, many of the remaining bug reports will be resolved.

      • Cleaning up the KDE Store

        In August of last year, i wrote a blog entry about my experience at Akademy 2017 in the amazing Almería, and in that blog entry, amongst many other things, i wrote about an effort which had been slowly brewing, conceptually, for about a year by then: Tagging support in the Open Collaboration Services API. Now, what does that have to do with the KDE Store, you might say? Well, that is the API used by the KNewStuff framework to interface with the store, and that in turn is what is used in the many various places in our software which show shiny, new content for downloading (or to put it in a different way: used by our software to let users Get Hot New Stuff).

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Android Integration Extension For Gnome GSConnect v13 Stable Released

        The latest GSConnect v13, released today, is a rewrite with with changes to the architecture, settings and default behavior, and it requires Gnome Shell 3.28 or 3.30. The new version includes redesigned settings, Do Not Disturb mode, quick reply from notifications, and other features and improvements.

        GSConnect is a complete KDE Connect protocol implementation written in GJS for Gnome Shell, which integrates Android devices with your Gnome desktop. Using it, you can easily send files between your Gnome desktop and Android smartphone, sync the clipboard or notifications between the two devices, browse files wirelessly on your Android device from your desktop, and much more.

  • Distributions

    • IPFire Hardened Linux Firewall Distribution Is Now Available on Amazon Cloud

      IPFire maintainer Michael Tremer announced the availability of a new version of the open-source hardened Linux firewall distribution and intrusion detection and prevention system.

      IPFire 2.21 Core Update 124 is now available with Linux kernel, OpenSSH, and Unbound hardening. It ships with Linux kernel 4.14.72 LTS, a release that improves support for network adapters and enables built-in kernel security features to further harden IPFire against various attack vectors, and Unbound 1.8 DNS proxy hardened to reduce the load on DNS servers.

      This is also the first release of IPFire to add support for booting in EFI (UEFI) mode on x86_64 computers that support the standard. However, the developers noted the fact that to benefit of EFI support, users will have to reinstall IPFire.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Tumbleweed Gets New Versions of KDE Applications, Krita, Apache Subversion

        Since last week’s openSUSE Tumbleweed update, there were two snapshots released that brought KDE users a newer version of Applications 18.08.2 and all Tumbleweed users could update to Linux Kernel 4.18.13.

        Last week brought newer versions of KDE’s Plasma 5.14 and Frameworks 5.50.0, and this week the arrival of Applications 18.08.2 came in snapshot 20181015. Applications 18.08.2 contained only bug fixes and translation updates. Among the key bug fixes was the dragging of a file in Dolphin that no longer accidentally triggers inline renaming; KCalc again allows both ‘dot’ and ‘comma’ keys when entering decimals and a visual glitch in the Paris card deck for KDE’s card games was fixed. Snapshot 20181015 had a few other updated packages like the open source painting program krita 4.1.5, which fixed a missing shortcut from the Fill Tool tooltip and a change of importing SVG files as vector layers instead of pixel layers. The ibus-table 1.9.21 update, which is an engine framework for table-based input methods, migrated IBusConfig to GSettings; non-gnome users have a Draw InputMode text instead of icon into panel. The 4.18.13 Linux Kernel was also included in the snapshot and fixed an unexpected failure of nocow buffered writes for Btrfs after snapshoting when a user is low on space; the newer kernel also added support for Apple Magic Keyboards. Python-jedi 0.13.1 removed Python 3.3 support. The Apache version-control package subversion 1.10.3 fixed conflict resolver crashes and endless scan in some cases.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian GSoC 2018 report

        One of my major contributions to Debian in 2018 has been participation as a mentor and admin for Debian in Google Summer of Code (GSoC).

        Here are a few observations about what happened this year, from my personal perspective in those roles.

        Making a full report of everything that happens in GSoC is close to impossible. Here I consider issues that span multiple projects and the mentoring team. For details on individual projects completed by the students, please see their final reports posted in August on the mailing list.

        [...]

        Google encourages organizations to put project ideas up for discussion and also encourages students to spontaneously propose their own ideas. This latter concept is a significant difference between GSoC and Outreachy that has caused unintended confusion for some mentors in the past. I have frequently put teasers on my blog, without full specifications, to see how students would try to respond. Some mentors are much more precise, telling students exactly what needs to be delivered and how to go about it. Both approaches are valid early in the program.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) released

            Codenamed “Cosmic Cuttlefish”, 18.10 continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition
            of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a
            high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at
            work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs.

            The Ubuntu kernel has been updated to the 4.18 based Linux kernel,
            our default toolchain has moved to gcc 8.2 with glibc 2.28, and we’ve
            also updated to openssl 1.1.1 and gnutls 3.6.4 with TLS1.3 support.

            Ubuntu Desktop 18.04 LTS brings a fresh look with the community-driven
            Yaru theme replacing our long-serving Ambiance and Radiance themes. We
            are shipping the latest GNOME 3.30, Firefox 63, LibreOffice 6.1.2, and
            many others.

            Ubuntu Server 18.10 includes the Rocky release of OpenStack including
            the clustering enabled LXD 3.0, new network configuration via netplan.io,
            and iteration on the next-generation fast server installer. Ubuntu Server
            brings major updates to industry standard packages available on private
            clouds, public clouds, containers or bare metal in your datacentre.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Officially Released

            It should come as no surprise, but the official release of Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” is now available with the announcement just hitting the wire.

          • Infographic: Snaps in numbers

            Coinciding with the release of Ubuntu 18.10 today, we have celebrated the exceptional adoption of snaps by sharing the infographic below. From popular snaps to daily installs, this infographic demonstrates where, when and why users are installing and adopting the secure, Linux application format. For more commentary around these numbers, check out this recent blog. Alternatively, start installing your chosen snaps.

          • Ubuntu 18.10:Multi-cloud,new desktop theme & enhanced snap integration

            Canonical today announced the release of Ubuntu 18.10, focused on multi-cloud deployments, AI software development, a new community desktop theme and richer snap desktop integration.

            “Ubuntu is now the world’s reference platform for AI engineering and analytics” said Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical. “We accelerate developer productivity and help enterprises operate at speed and at scale, across multiple clouds and diverse edge appliances.”

            This year, the financial services industry has engaged significantly with Canonical and Ubuntu for infrastructure efficiency on-premise and to accelerate their move to the cloud. The push for machine learning analytics and of fintech efforts around blockchain, distributed ledger applications and cryptocurrencies are current drivers of Ubuntu investments and deployments.

          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E32 – Thirty-Two Going on Spinster

            This week we interview Daniel Foré about the final release of elementary 5.0 (Juno), bring you some Android love and go over all your feedback.

            It’s Season 11 Episode 32 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

          • Canonical have released some statistics from the Ubuntu installer survey

            When installing Ubuntu 18.04, Canonical’s installer will offer to send some statistics to them. Canonical have now released some of this. One thing to note, is that this data does not include Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Core, cloud images or and any other Ubuntu derivatives that don’t include the report in their own installer.

            They’ve had some good results from it, with 66% of people sending them their data. It’s a nice start, but I think they really need to do some separation of physical and virtual machines, since it seems they’re merged together which will skew a bunch of the data I would imagine.

          • Ubuntu “User Statistics” Published, But It’s A Letdown To Data Junkies

            Canonical managed to announced on the same-day as the Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” debut their goal for this cycle of opening up their software/hardware survey results that began with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS desktop installations. Those initial results are now available but the available data and analytic capabilities are rather underwhelming.

          • Canonical Launch Ubuntu User Statistics Website

            Canonical has launched an official webpage to relay Ubuntu user statistics collected by the Ubuntu report tool.

            The company had shared a few early findings from its data collection tool earlier in the year, but we’ve had to wait until now to get the full set via a fancy-pants website.

            And they were worth the wait.

            All of the info that makes up the Ubuntu user statistics report was collated from non-identifiable system data that users who installed Ubuntu 18.04 LTS explicitly opted in to share.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish is now ready to download
          • 18 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 18.10 ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’
          • Ubuntu 18.10 released, here’s our review of changes it brings
          • Ubuntu 18.10 released (new default theme, performance improvements)
          • Ubuntu Linux 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish is finally available for download!
          • Is this cuttlefish really all that cosmic? Ubuntu 18.10 arrives with extra spit, polish, 4.18 kernel
          • Ubuntu 18.10 Is Out With a New Theme and Snappier Desktop Performance

            Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” is now available. This releases features a shiny new theme named “Yaru,” which was originally scheduled for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. The new GNOME 3.30 improves desktop performance, too.

            Most of the improvements in Cosmic Cuttlefish are low-level things you can’t see. As usual, this means a lot of package upgrades. Ubuntu 18.10 features the Linux kernel 4.18, GNOME 3.30 desktop, and LibreOffice 6.1.2. Under the hood, this new release boasts a “state of the art toolchain” featuring various new versions of system software, from glibc 2.28 to GCC 8.2 and OpenSSL 1.1.1.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Released, Includes Gnome 3.30 And New Default Yaru Theme

            Ubuntu 18.10, codenamed Cosmic Cuttlefish, is available for download. This release will be supported for 9 months (after which you’ll have to upgrade), and brings improvements ranging from updated Gnome to version 3.30 to a new default Gtk and icon theme called Yaru.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” Due Out Today, Arm Launches IoT-Focused Mbed Linux, GitHub’s New Security Features, MongoDB Announces New Server Side License and Google to Charge for Apps on Android Handsets Sold in Europe

            Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” expected to be released today. According to Phoronix, the biggest change for users will be the revised default theme for the GNOME Shell experience, now known as “Yaru”. Ubuntu 18.10 will also have the Linux 4.18 kernel, “which means better hardware support, various performance improvements, and other optimizations compared to Ubuntu 18.04′s Linux 4.15″.

          • New Things on Ubuntu 18.10: GNOME 3.30, More RAM Friendly, Yaru Theme, and More

            Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” released today Thursday, 18 October 2018 with the new user experience and latest desktop technology, including, GNOME 3.30, GTK+3.30, and Yaru Theme. The most shocking, but pleasing thing is it got reduced in RAM usage down to only ~800MiB after freshly installed (already lower than 1GiB)! It brings the latest Snappy with the rapidly increasing and growing Snapcraft.io App Store platform. It comes as the most user friendly operating system for PC and laptop with 9-month support lifespan (October ’18-July ’19). This traditional welcome article sums up some details and information in brief about this latest version. Download, install, give it a try, and enjoy 18.10!

          • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

            Canonical announced today the general availability of Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish), the most recent version of the Linux-based operating system featuring all the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software products.

            Dubbed Cosmic Cuttlefish, Ubuntu 18.10 has been in development during the past six months, during which it received numerous improvements over previous releases. Ubuntu 18.10 features the latest GNOME 3.30 desktop environment and it’s powered by the most recent and advanced kernel, Linux 4.18.

            Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) will be supported by Canonical for the next nine months with software updates and security patches. It’s now available to download as Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Server, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Kylin, and Ubuntu Studio flavors.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 is Released. Here’s What’s New

            The Latest installment of Ubuntu – Cosmic Cuttlefish – 18.10 is released and available for download.

            Ubuntu 18.10 code named ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’ is released after 6 months of development efforts. The latest release of Ubuntu comes with some major feature updates and latest software. This release is a short term release and would be receiving updates and security fixes till July 2019.

          • Snaps for Linux are a massive success

            One of the big knocks against Linux-based operating systems is lack of software. The truth is, there are countless excellent programs for both productivity and fun. One fair criticism, however, is fragmentation between distributions. For end users, it can be difficult installing an app that isn’t designed for their distro. And yeah, that has been a pain point for years.

            Thankfully, Canonical — maker of Ubuntu — aimed to alleviate that problem with Snaps. These containerized packages can be installed on pretty much any Linux distribution, making things easier for both users and developers. But has the organization’s standard been a success? Apparently, very much so. As a way to celebrate yesterday’s release of Cosmic Cuttlefish, Canonical shares the following infographic.

          • Canonical releases statistics showing “exceptional adoption of snaps”

            Canonical has revealed some statistics pertaining to its relatively new snap packages. The firm stated that there are now more than 4,100 snaps available, several of which we’ve reported on, they include the Opera web browser, PowerShell Core, Slack, the Kotlin programming language, Plex, Firefox Quantum, Microsoft’s VoIP client – Skype, the popular music streaming service – Spotify, and Visual Studio Code.

            Impressively, snaps are seeing 100,000 installs every day on cloud, server, container, desktop and on IoT devices, which works out to around three million installs each month. Of course, these statistics don’t only take into account snap installs on Ubuntu, but other distributions too. Canonical said that snaps are supported on 41 Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint, Arch Linux, Fedora, and many more.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Released: All Flavors Download Links, Torrents, and Checksums

            Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” just released yesterday 18 October 2018. I wrote the short welcome review here, and now this article lists all download links of Ubuntu and 7 Official Flavors including torrents. I include a brief how to download below as well just in case it’s your first experience with Ubuntu. Last but not least, I list all MD5SUM values of them in the end so you can verify your downloads. Happy downloading, happy installing, and happy running with Ubuntu. Good luck!

          • Ubuntu 18.10 released with new desktop theme

            Canonical released a new version of the organization’s Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution; Ubuntu 18.10, called Cosmic Cuttlefish, comes with a new community desktop theme, improved snap desktop integration, multi-cloud computing optimizations and other improvements.

            Ubuntu 18.10 will be supported for nine months; organizations and users who require long term support should stay with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS instead which is supported for five years.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’ releases with focus on AI development, multi-cloud and edge deployments, and much more!

            Yesterday (on 18th October), Canonical announced the release of Ubuntu 18.10 termed as ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’. This new release is focussed on multi-cloud deployments, AI software development, a new community desktop theme, and richer snap desktop integration.

            According to Mark, the new release will help accelerate developer productivity and help enterprises operate at a better speed whilst being scalable across multiple clouds and diverse edge appliances.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu Studio 18.10 Released

              The Ubuntu Studio team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu Studio 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish”. As a regular release, this version of Ubuntu Studio will be supported for 9 months.

              Since it’s just out, you may experience some issues, so you might want to wait a bit before upgrading. Please see the release notes for a complete list of changes and known issues.

            • Ubuntu MATE: Ubuntu MATE 18.10 Final Release

              Ubuntu MATE 18.10 is a modest, yet strategic, upgrade over our 18.04 release. If you want bug fixes and improved hardware support then 18.10 is for you. For those who prefer staying on the LTS then everything in this 18.10 release is also important for the upcoming 18.04.2 release. Oh yeah, we’ve also made a bespoke Ubuntu MATE 18.10 image for the GPD Pocket and GPD Pocket 2.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.10 is Now Available for the GPD Pocket Laptop

              Announced alongside the standard Ubuntu MATE 18.10 release, project lead Martin WImpress has unveiled a set of bespoke images built specifically for use with the GPD Pocket machines, in both their first and second-gen guises.

              The 7-inch crowdfunded portables have proven a big hit thanks to their canny combination of decent specs, high-res touch-screen, and intimately sized proportions.

            • Ubuntu 18.10 Flavors Released, Ready to Download

              Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish, the latest version of Ubuntu, is now available to download and so too are freshly spun images for it crop of community-based flavors.

              New stable versions of Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie, Xubuntu and Kubuntu are ready to download, all based on Ubuntu 18.10.

              Read on to learn about the biggest changes these updates bring and to snag a download of them to try for yourself.

            • Kubuntu 18.10 is released today

              Kubuntu 18.10 has been released, featuring the beautiful Plasma 5.13 desktop from KDE.

              Codenamed “Cosmic Cuttlefish”, Kubuntu 18.10 continues our proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution.

              The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs.

              Under the hood, there have been updates to many core packages, including a new 4.18-based kernel, Qt 5.11, KDE Frameworks 5.50, Plasma 5.13.5 and KDE Applications 18.04.3

            • Kubuntu 18.10 Released with Snap Integration in Plasma Discover, KDE Plasma 5.13

              Kubuntu developer Rik Mills informs us on the general availability of the Kubuntu 18.10 release as part of the Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) operating system series launch by Canonical the other day.

              Continuing the project’s tradition to offer users the latest KDE technologies with every new major release, Kubuntu 18.10 ships with the KDE Plasma 5.13.5 desktop environment by default, along with the latest KDE Applications 18.04.3 software suite, KDE Frameworks 5.50 software suite, and Qt 5.11 software development framework.

              Just like Ubuntu 18.10, the Kubuntu 18.10 operating system is powered by the latest Linux 4.18 kernel by default, which provides better hardware support, especially for AMD users. Furthermore, Kubuntu 18.10 comes with Snap integration in the Plasma Discover graphical package manager.

            • Xubuntu 18.10 released!

              The Xubuntu team is happy to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 18.10!

              Xubuntu 18.10 is a regular release and will be supported for 9 months, until July 2019. If you need a stable environment with longer support time, we recommend that you use Xubuntu 18.04 LTS instead.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Braiins OS: An Open Source Alternative to Bitcoin Mining Firmware

    The company behind Slush Pool recently rolled out the initial release of its ASIC miner firmware: Braiins OS. The operating system is advertised as “the very first fully open-source, Linux-based system for cryptocurrency embedded devices,” an alternative to the factory-default firmware that comes with most popular mining hardware.

    Upon visiting the project’s website, visitors are greeted with a clear message, a mantra that resonates with its related industry’s ethos: “Take back control.”

  • Cryptoexchange Coinbase open sources its security scanner tool Salus

    The renowned United States-based cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase always focuses on the security of its platform. Moreover, it has developed novel solutions to implementing security protocols to further strengthen their security. Furthermore, just recently, they announced that they are listing their security scanner execution tool, Salus as open source.

  • Crypto Exchange Coinbase Open-Sources Its Security Scaling Tool

    U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is making a recently developed automated security scaling tool available to the public.

    Called Salus, after the Roman the goddess of safety and well-being, the program can automatically choose to run and configure different security scanners and issue a report on the results, according to a Thursday blog post from Coinbase developer Julian Borrey.

    Available as an open-source tool on GitHub from today, Salus is said to offer the advantage of being able to centrally coordinate security scans across a large number of software storage repositories, avoiding having to configure a scanner for each different project.

  • Announce: dnsmasq-2.80

    I just published dnsmasq-2.80, available at

    http://www.thekelleys.org.uk/dnsmasq/dnsmasq-2.80.tar.gz

    Changelog attached below.[...]

  • To BeOS or not to BeOS, that is the Haiku

    Back in 2001, a new operating system arrived that promised to change the way users worked with their computers. That platform was BeOS and I remember it well. What I remember most about it was the desktop, and how much it looked and felt like my favorite window manager (at the time) AfterStep. I also remember how awkward and overly complicated BeOS was to install and use. In fact, upon installation, it was never all too clear how to make the platform function well enough to use on a daily basis. That was fine, however, because BeOS seemed to live in a perpetual state of “alpha release.”

  • HarfBuzz 2.0 Released For Advancing Open-Source Text Shaping

    The HarfBuzz open-source text shaping library that is used by GNOME, KDE, Firefox, LibreOffice, Chrome OS, Java, and countless other desktop applications has reached version 2.0.

  • 5 open source intrusion detection tools that are too good to ignore

    As cybersecurity professionals, we try to prevent attackers from gaining access to our networks but protecting perimeters that have grown exponentially with the rise of mobile devices, distributed teams, and the internet of things (IoT) is not easy. The unpalatable truth is that sometimes the attackers are going to get through and the cost of a data breach grows the longer it takes you to uncover the attack.

    By employing a solid intrusion detection system (IDS) backed up by a robust incident response plan, you can reduce the potential damage of a breach.

  • How Open Source Marketers Can Leverage Community For Success

    If you’re an open source marketer, you have some unique challenges to overcome. Not only does one of your primary audiences — developers — shy away from marketing, despite the fact open source needs it (as I wrote about previously), but you must let go of the traditional mindset that your job is to differentiate the product from its competitors. Products built on open source differentiate themselves, of course, but when you’re talking about the open core, that’s just not how it works.

  • Petter Reinholdtsen: Release 0.2 of free software archive system Nikita announced

    This morning, the new release of the Nikita Noark 5 core project was announced on the project mailing list. The free software solution is an implementation of the Norwegian archive standard Noark 5 used by government offices in Norway.

  • Events

    • Take Our Cloud Providers Survey and Enter to Win a Maker Kit

      The Linux Foundation has been commissioned to survey FOSS developers and users about their opinions, perceptions, and experiences with 6 top cloud solution and service providers that deploy open source software. The survey examines respondents’ views of reputation, levels of project engagement, contribution, community citizenship and project sponsorship by six major cloud product and services providers.

    • The top 13 Linux and open source conferences in 2019

      No matter how small your budget, there’s a Linux or open source conference you can afford—and should attend.

      By the end of 2018, I’ll have spent nine weeks at one open source conference or another. Now, you don’t need to spend that much time on the road learning about Linux and open source software. But you can learn a lot and perhaps find a new job by cherry-picking from the many 2019 conferences you could attend.

      Sometimes, a single how-to presentation can save you a week of work. A panel discussion can help you formulate an element of your corporate open source strategy. Sure, you can learn from books or GitHub how-tos. But nothing is better than listening to the people who’ve done the work explain how they’ve solved the same problems you’re facing. With the way open source projects work, and the frequency with which they weave together to create great projects (such as cloud-native computing), you never know when a technology you may not have even heard of today can help you tomorrow.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • WebRender newsletter #26

        Here comes the 26th issue of WebRender’s newsletter.

      • Getting serious about political ad transparency with Ad Analysis for Facebook

        Do you know who is trying to influence your vote online? The votes of your friends and neighbors? Would you even know how to find out? Despite all the talk of election security, the tech industry still falls short on political ad transparency. With the U.S. midterm elections mere weeks away, this is a big problem.

        We can’t solve this problem alone, but we can help by making it more visible and easier to understand. Today we are announcing the release of our experimental extension, Ad Analysis for Facebook, to give you greater transparency into the online advertisements, including political ads, you see on Facebook.

      • Introducing Spoke: Make your own custom 3D social scenes

        Today we’re thrilled to announce the beta release of Spoke: the easiest way to create your own custom social 3D scenes you can use with Hubs.

        Over the last year, our Social Mixed Reality team has been developing Hubs, a WebVR-based social experience that runs right in your browser. In Hubs, you can communicate naturally in VR or on your phone or PC by simply sharing a link.

        Along the way, we’ve added features that enable social presence, self-expression, and content sharing. We’ve also offered a variety of scenes to choose from, like a castle space, an atrium, and even a wide open space high in the sky.

      • Encrypted SNI Comes to Firefox Nightly

        Firefox Nightly now supports encrypting the TLS Server Name Indication (SNI) extension, which helps prevent attackers on your network from learning your browsing history. You can enable encrypted SNI today and it will automatically work with any site that supports it. Currently, that means any site hosted by Cloudflare, but we’re hoping other providers will add ESNI support soon.

      • If you build it (together), they will come…

        Mozilla and the Khronos Group collaborate to bring glTF capabilities to Blender

        Mozilla is committed to the next wave of creativity in the open Web, in which people can access, create and share immersive VR and AR experiences across platforms and devices. What it takes though is an enthusiastic, skilled and growing community of creators, artists, and also businesses forming a healthy ecosystem, as well as tool support for web developers who build content for it. To overcome a fragmented environment and to allow for broad adoption, we need the leading content format to be open, and frameworks and toolsets to be efficient and interoperable. Ensuring that tools for creation, modification and viewing are open to the entire community and that there aren’t gatekeepers to creativity is one of the main working areas for Mozilla’s Mixed Reality (WebXR) Team. Building on its “Open by Design” strategy Open Innovation partnered with that team around Lars Bergstrom to find neat, yet impactful ways to stimulate external collaboration, co-development and co-funding of technology.

      • Mozilla Productivity Tip: Managing try pushes

        I tend to do a lot of try pushes for testing changes to Gecko and other stuff, and by using one of TreeHerder’s (apparently) lesser-known features, managing these pushes to see their results is really easy. If you have trouble managing your try pushes, consider this:

        Open a tab with an author filter for yourself. You can do this by clicking on your email address on any of your try pushes (see highlighted area in screenshot below). Keep this tab open, forever. By default it shows you the last 10 try pushes you did, and if you leave it open, it will auto-update to show newer try pushes that you do.

      • Opus 1.3 Released – One Of The Leading Lossy Open-Source Audio Codecs

        Opus 1.3 features improvements to allow using SILK with bitrates down to around 5kb/s, wideband encoding down to 9kb/s, improved Ambisonics support, better security hardening, a new speech/music detector, and more.

      • Introducing Opus 1.3

        The Opus Audio Codec gets another major update with the release of version 1.3 (demo).

        Opus is a totally open, royalty-free audio codec that can be used for all audio applications, from music streaming and storage to high-quality video-conferencing and VoIP. Six years after its standardization by the IETF, Opus is now included in all major browsers and mobile operating systems. It has been adopted for a wide range of applications, and is the default WebRTC codec.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.2 Launches February 2019, May Drop Support for 32-bit Linux Builds

      The second major update to the LibreOffice 6 series, LibreOffice 6.2, is expected to arrive next year, in early February, and it may be the first release of the acclaimed and free office suite to drop support for 32-bit Linux builds. This means that 32-bit LibreOffice releases won’t be available on the Linux platform anymore.

      While The Document Foundation assures Linux users in the preliminary release notes for LibreOffice 6.2 that Linux x86 (32-bit) compatibility will not be removed from existing LibreOffice versions, the company noted the fact that no new builds will be produced for the Linux x86 platform starting with a future version.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • MidnightBSD Hits 1.0! Checkout What’s New

      A couple days ago, Lucas Holt announced the release of MidnightBSD 1.0. Let’s take a quick look at what is included in this new release.

    • OpenBSD 6.4 Released – Disables SMT/HT By Default, Updates Radeon DRM

      Adding to the exciting release day is Theo de Raadt releasing OpenBSD 6.4 as the newest version of this BSD operating system known for its security mindfulness.

      Exciting us from a technical standpoint and for anyone using OpenBSD on the desktop is a newer Radeon DRM display driver, but it’s still very dated compared to what is found in the mainline Linux kernel. Their Radeon DRM driver is now synced against the Linux 4.4.155 LTS upstream state that then provides mode-setting support for various GCN 1.0/1.1 graphics cards as a new feature to OpenBSD… But newer GPUs and the many other open-source AMD improvements past Linux 4.4 haven’t made their way into the OpenBSD world yet. Even still, Radeon graphics remain among the best supported options for what is available to OpenBSD users. The Radeon DRM code is also now available for 64-bit ARM OpenBSD users.

    • OpenBSD 6.4
    • OpenBSD 6.4
    • OpenBSD 6.4 Released

      Rather than reproducing the full list of new features here, we refer readers to the official OpenBSD 6.4 page.

      [...]

      Security enhancements include unveil(2), MAP_STACK, and RETGUARD. Meltdown/Spectre mitigations have been extended further, and SMT is disabled by default.

    • OpenBSD Foundation gets a second Iridium donation from Handshake!
    • Announce: OpenSSH 7.9 released

      OpenSSH 7.9 has just been released. It will be available from the
      mirrors listed at http://www.openssh.com/ shortly.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Licensing/Legal

    • MongoDB introduces the Server Side Public License for open source

      Recently, a group of disgruntled developers and companies took to the Commons Clause as a way to protect their open-source work. However, this caused great controversy within the open-source industry because the clause added restrictions to open-source licenses, therefore violating the accepted definition of open source as well as the guidelines for the Open Source Initiative’s (OSI) approved open-source licenses, according to Vicky Brasseur, vice president of the OSI.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • UTSA creates web-based open source dashboard of North Pole

        UTSA professors Hongjie Xie and Alberto Mestas-Nuñez examine images of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.

        Xie along with Xin Miao at Missouri State University started working on the project five years ago. Now the National Science Foundation has given the green light in the way of funding to develop the online system which uses high resolution imaging either obtained on-site, via satellites, or via airborne monitoring.

        The system will allow the scientific community the ability to readily extract detailed information of various ice properties including submerged ice, ice concentration, melt ponds or ice edge—the boundary between an area of ice and the open sea. The on-demand database will be dynamic and allowed to include new algorithms as well as additional datasets as they become available. Currently, the cloud-based system holds about a terabyte of images but that number will surely grow. The earliest dataset is from 1998 from the Sheba expedition which conducted 13 flights over the Beaufort Sea. Now researchers will include close to 1760 declassified images.

      • Open Access Is the Law in California

        Governor Jerry Brown recently signed A.B. 2192, a law requiring that all peer-reviewed, scientific research funded by the state of California be made available to the public no later than one year after publication.

        EFF applauds Governor Brown for signing A.B. 2192 and the legislature for unanimously passing it—particularly Assemblymember Mark Stone, who introduced the bill and championed it at every step. To our knowledge, no other state has adopted an open access bill this comprehensive.

        As we’ve explained before, it’s a problem when cutting-edge scientific research is available only to people who can afford expensive journal subscriptions and academic databases. It insulates scientific research from a broader field of innovators: if the latest research is only available to people with the most resources, then the next breakthroughs will only come from that group.

        A.B. 2192 doesn’t solve that problem entirely, but it does limit it. Under the new law, researchers can still publish their papers in subscription-based journals so long as they upload them to public open access repositories no later than one year after publication.

  • Programming/Development

    • How to use Pandoc to produce a research paper

      This article takes a deep dive into how to produce a research paper using (mostly) Markdown syntax. We’ll cover how to create and reference sections, figures (in Markdown and LaTeX) and bibliographies. We’ll also discuss troublesome cases and why writing them in LaTeX is the right approach.

    • LLVM Continues Working On Its Transition From SVN To Git

      In addition to LLVM’s multi-year effort on re-licensing their code, some developers also remain hard at work on officially migrating the project from an SVN development workflow to Git.

      For the past few years LLVM has been wanting to move from SVN to Git. While there are read-only Git copies of the LLVM repositories already and it’s been that way for a while, officially moving over their code-bases to Git has proven to be a challenge for preserving all of the branches, keeping accurate commit messages, etc, for a sane transfer process. This is just like the complex process of moving the GCC compiler over to Git as well.

    • Enterprise Java caretakers float new rules of engagement for future feature updates

      The Eclipse Foundation, saddled with oversight of Java EE last year after Oracle washed its hands of the thankless business of community governance, wants to revise the process by which enterprise Java – rechristened Jakarta EE when Oracle declined to grant use of its Java trademark – gets improved.

      Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, on Tuesday posted a draft of the Eclipse Foundation Specification Process (EFSP), seeking community review and comment. The intent is to replace the Java Community Process (JCP), the current system for evolving the technical specifications related to Java technology, as least as it applies to the enterprise flavored brew of Java.

      The need to replace the JCP for Jakarta EE arises from intellectual property concerns. As software developer Richard Monson-Haefel observed over the summer, “Unfortunately, Oracle was not able to donate all of the Java EE 8 specification documents (e.g. JMS, EJB, Servlet) because these specifications were developed under the Java Community Process and included the efforts of hundreds of people, many of who are not Oracle employees.”

Leftovers

  • Did I Make a Mistake Selling My Social-Media Darling to Yahoo?

    I was working a day job at Morgan Stanley, so I couldn’t fix Del.icio.us during the day. I would go home to the Upper West Side, eat dinner, and then work on the site. I’d build a feature, think, That seems to work, and fall asleep and wake up, and I’d have rolled out a broken feature, so no one could save anything. It was very haphazard. I moved the site from one server to two servers over New Year’s Eve, when I figured there would be the lowest traffic. On New Year’s Eve, I was at my mother’s house and porting the site to new hardware. Good times.

    I went to Union Square Ventures in the beginning of 2005 to raise money. The site was coming apart at the seams. It was down for something like two out of every five minutes. I could not keep up with keeping it alive, and I had an inkling that I maybe had something bigger on my hands.

    We raised $1 million on $3 million in early 2005, and we just kept building. We were in a closet-size office in Union Square Ventures because landlords didn’t want to talk to us. We started to try to raise money again toward the end of the year, but it didn’t go well. People say VC is pattern matching, and we were so far out of the pattern that no one could really evaluate us. We got one or two term sheets, but they were small.

  • Science

    • ‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

      There is growing concern that as well as addicting users, technology is contributing toward so-called “continuous partial attention”, severely limiting people’s ability to focus, and possibly lowering IQ. One recent study showed that the mere presence of smartphones damages cognitive capacity – even when the device is turned off. “Everyone is distracted,” Rosenstein says. “All of the time.”

      But those concerns are trivial compared with the devastating impact upon the political system that some of Rosenstein’s peers believe can be attributed to the rise of social media and the attention-based market that drives it.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • New US Law Requires Reporting Of Biologic, Biosimilar “Pay-for-Delay” Pacts

      The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act became effective in the United States on 10 October. Among other things, it extends to biologic and biosimilar products a 2003 law requiring drug manufacturers to notify US antitrust authorities of patent settlement agreements. The idea is to cut down on so-called “pay-for delay” tactics which can slow the introduction of cheaper medicines into the market.

  • Security

    • Open source web hosting software compromised with DDoS malware [Ed: CBS hired Catalin Cimpanu for him to have a broader platform with which to associate "Open Source" with security issues (does he say "proprietary" when it's proprietary, too?). Microsoft has long financed efforts to associate FOSS/copyleft with security issues and stigmatise it with licensing terror.]
    • Commission tried to hide details of ‘WiFi4EU’ glitch

      The European Commission has tried to hide information related to technical problems its free wifi fund portal suffered, by claiming that it was “out of scope”.

      It released documents to EUobserver following an access to documents request – but heavily redacted some of the key papers.

      However, one of the documents has been leaked and published online. A comparison between the leaked version and the one released by the commission clearly shows that the commission went too far with its redactions.

    • The Flawed System Behind the Krack Wi-Fi .Meltdown

      “If there is one thing to learn from this, it’s that standards can’t be closed off from security researchers,” says Robert Graham, an analyst for the cybersecurity firm Erratasec. “The bug here is actually pretty easy to prevent, and pretty obvious. It’s the fact that security researchers couldn’t get their hands on the standards that meant that it was able to hide.”

      The WPA2 protocol was developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which acts as a standards body for numerous technical industries, including wireless security. But unlike, say, Transport Layer Security, the popular cryptographic protocol used in web encryption, WPA2 doesn’t make its specifications widely available. IEEE wireless security standards carry a retail cost of hundreds of dollars to access, and costs to review multiple interoperable standards can quickly add up to thousands of dollars.

    • Security updates for Friday
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sues Ecuador for ‘violating his rights’

      Julian Assange is launching legal action against Ecuador, accusing its government of violating his “fundamental rights and freedoms”.

      It comes after Ecuador cut off communications for Mr Assange, who has been living inside the country’s London embassy for more than six years.

      Baltasar Garzon, a lawyer for WikiLeaks, has arrived in Ecuador to launch the case, which is expected to be heard next week in a domestic court.

      WikiLeaks claims Mr Assange’s access to the outside world has been “summarily cut off” and says Ecuador has threatened to remove the protection he has had since being given political asylum.

      The site said Ecuador’s government has refused to allow a visit by Human Rights Watch general counsel Dinah PoKempner and prevented several meetings with Mr Assange’s lawyers.

  • Finance

    • Trump’s Tax Law Failed to Kill Off Corporate America’s Prized Dodge

      U.S. corporations have largely abandoned the contentious deals that allowed them to shift their addresses abroad for a lower tax rate. Yet a key part of the transactions is continuing quietly even after President Donald Trump’s tax overhaul.

      The 2017 tax law was designed to stop traditional inversions, which had brought scrutiny and negative publicity for companies that moved their headquarters overseas, as well as to halt the flow of valuable intellectual property to low-tax countries. For companies that invert, the address change is generally the final step so they can more easily access the cash they’ve generated after years of shifting IP overseas.

      Most firms are continuing with business as usual when it comes to their IP since the law’s provisions aren’t enticing enough for them to keep it at home, according to interviews with eight tax experts who advise large public corporations. They disclosed the details of the conversations they’re having with companies, but declined to identify the specific clients.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Secretive Organization Quietly Spending Millions on Facebook Political Ads

      Over just two weeks in September, a limited-liability company calling itself News for Democracy spent almost $400,000 on more than 16 million impressions for a network of 14 Facebook pages that hadn’t existed until August. This represented the second-largest political ad buy on Facebook for the period, trailing only Beto O’Rourke’s Texas Senate campaign and substantially overshadowing the third-place spender, the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to an analysis by a team at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, led by Damon McCoy.

    • A new kind of dark money on Facebook is influencing elections

      How unknown parties are exploiting loopholes in Facebook’s ad archive

    • Twitter’s Dated Data Dump Doesn’t Tell Us About Future Meddling

      Twitter dropped an almost unfathomably large archive of tweets connected to two alleged influence campaigns on Wednesday. The trove included over 9 million tweets associated with 3,841 accounts connected to Russia’s notorious Internet Research Agency, or IRA, as well as more than a million tweets attributed to a network of 770 Iranian propaganda-pushing accounts. Twitter has never before released an archive of this size. But researchers tell WIRED that it says more about the past than it does about present or future threats Twitter should be wary of with important midterm elections less than three weeks away.

    • The Decline Of Congressional Expertise Explained In 10 Charts

      When Mark Zuckerberg was called to testify earlier this year, the world was shocked by Congress’s evident lack of basic technological literacy. For many, this performance illustrates the institution’s incompetence. After all, if our elected representatives have trouble understanding how Facebook works, how capable are they of understanding the complexities of the federal government, or crafting legislation across a range of technical subjects?

      For those of us who live and work in the “swamp,” the Zuckerberg hearings were no great surprise. Just this year, we’ve seen Congress struggle with technology issues such as quantum computing, cryptocurrencies, and the governance of online platforms. Indeed, it seems effectively incapable of tackling major technology policy issues such as the debate over online privacy, election cybersecurity, or artificial intelligence.

      This state of affairs is the product of decades of institutional deterioration, sometimes referred to as the “big lobotomy.” While scholars of American government may offer various books or white papers chronicling this decline, the pattern is evident from a few trends that this post will highlight.

    • Twitter Trolling Becomes Harder With This Change of Policy

      Social media is full of trolls but Twitter is a cesspool of toxic insects that attack anything and everything, It is a safe haven for toxic people but trolling on Twitter will be harder to do now when Twitter is changing some of its policy.

      Over the years Twitter has been highly criticized for the way it handles trolls, and other people who spread hate, harass. But since the start of 2017, Twitter has made efforts to deal with such issues. Through the policy update, rules changes, and better enforcement, the company is trying to create a safer space for all of its users.

    • Trump’s Tangled Relationship With Saudi Arabia — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast Extra

      The disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate has brought renewed attention to what’s been true for years: The United States — and its president — has an important, and extremely complicated, relationship with Saudi Arabia.

      Trump has been doing business with Saudis for years, even bragging during his presidential campaign about the large amount of money Saudi buyers paid for his apartments.

      [...]

      In this “Trump, Inc.” podcast extra, WNYC’s Charlie Herman talks with The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold and Joe Nocera from Bloomberg Opinion about all the ways Saudi Arabia is intertwined with U.S. business interests, including those of the president himself.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Why we should all hate the hate-crime laws

      If a hate crime is about how hurt somebody feels, then how can the subjective reaction of one group be considered more important than another? It is surely not for you or I to deny the personal feelings of any man or woman, goth or grandmother. Equality demands that all must be protected from whatever they deem offensive or hateful.

    • [Old] Saudi Arabia bans journalist for criticising Donald Trump

      After Mr Khashoggi criticised Mr Trump’s Middle East policies at a Washington think-tank on 10 November, an official Saudi spokesman said he did not represent the Kingdom in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency.

    • [Old] Saudi journalist banned from media after criticising Trump

      Khashoggi’s weekly column in Al Hayat newspaper was not published this week, although it has appeared every Saturday for almost five years. His last tweet appeared on 18 November.

    • Journalist’s tweets caused irreparable loss to MJ Akbar’s reputation: Lawyer

      During the hearing, senior advocate Geeta Luthra, who represented Akbar in the court, referred to tweets of Priya Ramani and said the journalist’s tweets caused irreparable loss to MJ Akbar’s reputation built over 40 years.

      “Articles in international and national media quoted these defamatory tweets. Tweets are defamatory unless Ramani proves anything,” Luthra told the court adding “Priya Ramani has tweeted defamatory tweets against complainant. Her second tweet was clearly defamatory and liked by 1200 people. “

    • UK porn law’s latest guidelines fail to answer critics

      “The policy is completely full of holes,” Jim Killock, executive director of the UK’s Open Rights Group, told The Verge. “It puts too much power in the hands of companies, [and] if teenagers in particular have any incentive to get around these controls, they will.”

    • Big Tech Snuffing Free Speech; Google’s Poisonous ‘Dragonfly’

      If the big social media companies choose what to publish and what not to publish, they should be subject to the same licensing and requirements as media organizations.

    • As Predicted, Australian Government Looks To Creep Site Censorship Into Search Censorship

      Earlier this year, we discussed Australia’s Department of Communications asking for feedback on the effectiveness of its site-blocking policy after it had been in place for several years. The copyright industries both local and foreign leapt at the chance, making two divergent claims. Claim one: site-blocking is working really, really well and should be continued. Claim two: site-blocking is being vastly undermined by, you guessed it, Google, and the government should extend site-blocking into search-blocking as a result. We made the point at the time that this type of thing occurs like clockwork: you open the door to some censorship and those cheering it on will attempt to expand it further.

      Well, after collecting its feedback, the Australian Department of Communications has come out with proposed amendments to Australian copyright law that would, you guessed it again, force search engines to censor links to so-called “pirate sites.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘The Media Continue to Promote a Narrative of Dependency’ – CounterSpin interview with Teresa Basilio on Puerto Rico communications

      Advocates and activists are calling on FCC chair Ajit Pai to appoint an independent commission to examine the causes for communications failures in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, just over a year ago. Over 95 percent of cell sites were knocked out of service, hindering rescue and recovery efforts. Days after the storm, no TV and only a handful of radio stations could function. And the restoration has been painfully slow.

      The coalition of groups also urged the agency to convene public hearings in Puerto Rico, so that commissioners could “hear directly from Puerto Ricans on how their lives were impacted” by the lack of a resilient communications infrastructure.

    • Meet Edward Blum, the Man Who Wants to Kill Affirmation Action in Higher Education

      Activist Edward Blum has been trying to destroy race-conscious college admissions for a long time.

      In a federal lawsuit that went to trial this week, the organization Students for Fair Admissions is challenging Harvard University’s admissions practices, arguing that the consideration of race in the process violates the Equal Protection Clause.

      So what’s at stake in this case? A lot.

      Just two years ago, in Fisher v. the University of Texas, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the consideration of race as part of a holistic admissions process, a practice known as affirmative action, is consistent with the Equal Protection Clause. The district court already dismissed this claim citing Fisher.

      But make no mistake about it — the engineer behind this litigation is intent on sowing divisiveness amongst communities of color in an effort to dismantle diversity programs and civil rights protections that benefit all people of color. Students for Fair Admissions is the creation of Edward Blum. Blum is not a lawyer, but he has a long history of crafting legal attacks on civil rights.

      After losing a congressional election in the early 1990s, Blum, who is white, challenged the Texas redistricting process as discriminating in favor of African-American and Latinx voters. While his success in that case, Bush v. Vera, was limited to particular districts, among his other challenges to the voting rights, Blum was behind Shelby v. Holder. That case gutted important protections in the Voting Rights Act with drastic effects for voters of color. His attacks on laws and policies designed to promote the equality of people of color are not limited to voting rights. Blum also crafted the unsuccessful challenge to race-conscious college admissions programs in Fisher v. University of Texas.

    • Louisiana Court Declares State’s Non-Unanimous Jury Verdict Scheme Unconstitutional, Motivated By Racial Discrimination

      A district court in Louisiana ruled the state’s use of non-unanimous juries is unconstitutional and violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.

      The court found the “non-unanimous jury verdict scheme in Louisiana was motivated by invidious racial discrimination.”

      “All cases that are currently pending trial and all cases on direct review must now be adjudicated subject ot a unanimous jury requirement,” the court ordered. However, prior cases and convictions may not be challenged.

      According to the state’s constitution and a section of the state’s criminal code, cases involving capital punishment require a unanimous decision by jurors.

      But in cases where the punishment is “necessarily confinement at hard labor,” only 10 of 12 jurors are required to find a defendant guilty. Cases where imprisonment is only a possible outcome require an even lower threshold—six jurors.

      The ruling comes as Louisiana residents vote on Amendment 2, a ballot initiative that would “require the unanimous agreement of jurors, rather than just 10 of 12 jurors, to convict people charged with felonies.”

    • DOJ Rings Up Another Leaker, Nailing Financial Investigation Official For Handing Docs To Buzzfeed

      So much for going dark. Presumably the information obtained with the pen register order was enough to secure a warrant to search a cellphone and flash drive owned by Edwards. “Reporter-1″ is likely Jason Leopold, who wrote or co-wrote every article named in the DOJ complaint. This also means the DOJ likely has a whole bunch of conversations between a journalist and his source, although obtaining them from the source makes it far less of a First Amendment issue.

    • In a Case that Rocked Alabama, a Man With Intellectual Disability Is Spared Death

      Almost a decade after his death sentence, the state agreed Lam Luong could not be executed and joined the defense in asking to change the sentence.

      This week, in one of the highest profile cases in Alabama history, longtime ACLU client Lam Luong was resentenced to life in imprisonment without parole, nine years after he was sentenced to death. Luong’s life was spared because experts hired by both the state of Alabama and the defense agreed that he met the criteria for intellectual disability.

      Luong, born during the Vietnam War to a Vietnamese woman and a Black American serviceman, was convicted and sentenced to death in the spring of 2009 for the murder of his four young children on the Dauphin Island Bridge in Alabama.

      In 2002, the Supreme Court held in Atkins v. Virginia that the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the execution of persons with intellectual disabilities. There was no question that Luong met the criteria. Almost a decade after his original conviction and death sentence, the state finally agreed that Luong could not be executed and joined the defense in asking to change his sentence.

    • Ohio Prisons Uphold Year-Long Communications Ban Against Incarcerated Activist Who Supported National Prison Strike

      Ohio state prison officials denied an appeal by Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan against the one-year restriction placed on his phone and email use after he spoke publicly in support of the 2018 prison strike.

      The restrictions—and the case that led to them—are yet another example of the lengths prison officials will go to police the political speech of prisoners and punish those who express support for protest, particularly the prison strike movement.

      Shadowproof repeatedly requested phone transcripts the prison’s administrative disciplinary body cited as evidence that Hasan was fomenting a riot. Ohio prison officials categorically refused to provide them, even in redacted form, citing exemptions in state open records laws.

      Hasan is prohibited from making phone calls or using email until August 13, 2019, unless the warden intervenes.

      He is currently on death row in connection with the 1993 rebellion known as the Lucasville Uprising, which began as a protest by Muslim prisoners against an attempted forced medical procedure by prison officials that violated their religious beliefs. As such, he is already subject to significant isolation. By forbidding him from using phone and email—his two primary connections to the outside world—that isolation will intensify.

      Hasan denied the charges against him, rebutting them and criticizing the disciplinary process in an appeal filed August 22. He maintained the restrictions will not deter him from speaking out for human rights for incarcerated people and exercising his right to speech and protest.

    • Louisiana’s Infamous Angola Prison Goes on Trial

      Angola prison is home to horrific constitutional violations that threaten the health and welfare of people incarcerated in the facility.

      In November 2012, Shannon Hurd, who was serving a life sentence for stealing $14, began losing weight and experiencing flu-like symptoms. His symptoms worsened, and he developed a pain in his side. But doctors at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as “Angola,” repeatedly dismissed his medical complaints.

      He did not receive medical care in the weeks that followed. He did not receive medical care in the months that followed. And as he waited for basic medical care, a disease was spreading in his system.

      In the end, Hurd waited three devastating years before he was finally tested and diagnosed with kidney cancer. At that point, the tumors had already spread to his brain. Kidney cancer is generally treatable if it’s caught early. This was not the case here. By the end of 2015, Shannon had lost over 60 pounds. He was often numb in his fingers and feet.

      Denied medical parole requests by prison officials, Shannon died in prison in March 2017. He was just 42 years old.

    • Mississippi Law Enforcement Performed $200,000 Worth Of Illegal Forfeitures Because It ‘Didn’t Realize’ Law Had Changed

      Now, this could be a legitimate excuse. But not for a narcotics director who probably had plenty to say about the impending demise of the most profitable part of the state’s asset forfeiture program. He could not have been completely “unaware.” After all, here he is announcing the roll out of a website listing state forfeiture actions as mandated by the same law Dowdy now claims he didn’t know much about.

      It might be a legitimate excuse for a federal official who may not know the legislature included a sunset provision that gave legislators a chance to kill the passed law before it went into effect. Some efforts were mounted to roll back the reforms, but they both died without moving forward.

      Because law enforcement can’t follow the law, lots of people will be getting their stuff back. The Tampa Bay Times article says the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics is offering to return $42,000 worth of property it illegally seized — a phrase that makes its effort sound far more magnanimous than the reality: relinquishing stolen property.

    • FBI Whistleblower Who Disclosed Documents On Profiling And Informant Recruitment Is Sentenced To Four Years In Prison

      Former FBI special agent Terry Albury was sentenced to four years in prison for retaining and releasing documents to a media outlet on the FBI’s racial profiling, surveillance, and informant recruitment practices.

      He accepted an agreement in April, where he pled guilty to two counts of violating the Espionage Act. Both offenses are felonies.

      Albury was the only black agent in the region for most of the time that he worked for the FBI’s terrorism squad in Minnesota. He was a special agent in the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office from 2012 to August 28, 2017.

      His defense attorneys asserted Albury’s unauthorized disclosures to the Intercept were an “act of conscience, of patriotism, and in the public interest.” They were made for “no personal gain whatsoever.”

      “The documents at issue advanced the discourse necessary in a free society about how to maintain the delicate balance between freedom and security,” his attorneys added. “He was endeavoring to resolve what for him became an insurmountable moral conflict between his role as an FBI agent sworn to uphold the written law and his personal commitment to social justice and human rights.”

      The federal court in Minnesota was urged to approve a sentence, where Albury was placed on probation.

    • Explore Racial Disparities in Hundreds of Illinois Schools and Districts

      This week, ProPublica launched “Miseducation,” an interactive database where you can search, examine and compare racial disparities in thousands of schools and school districts across the United States. The tool — based on data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection program — measures these disparities in four ways: enrollment in advanced classes, student discipline, gaps in academic achievement and level of segregation at the district and state level.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • U.S. Patent Damages

      For most patent owners, the amount of recoverable damages for patent infringement is a primary driver when deciding when to bring, defend, or settle patent litigation. The potential damages from litigation also drives (offensive and defensive) licensing decisions and freedom-to-operate analyses (when balancing design-around costs). US patent law guarantees a prevailing patent owner at least “a reasonable royalty.”1 However, determining the potential damages (both before and during litigation) can prove complex, particularly for the multi-component products common in today’s global marketplace. is because courts seek to compensate patent owners for the value of the patented improvement, which is oft en less than the value of the overall product.2Difficulty arises when attempting to determine the value attributable to a subcomponent instead of the whole product, especially when there is no established market for just the infringing subcomponent.3To address this, courts require patent owners to apportion the value of the patented feature relative to the overall product to avoid overcompensating a patent owner for an invention that contributes only a portion of the overall value of a final product.

    • Trademarks

      • SLCC/FanX Gets A Stay On $4 Million In Legal Fees For SDCC Pending Appeal

        The whole saga of the trademark dispute between the famous San Diego Comic-Con comics convention and the smaller Salt Lake Comic Con has been a long and stupid one. Despite everyone with a working brain knowing that the term “comic-con” is both generic and descriptive, SDCC has a trademark on the term that it managed to wield like a legal sword attempting to slay SLCC. While a jury trial returned only a $20k judgement, the court then awarded $4 million in legal fees in favor of SDCC, arguing that SLCC’s legal team attempted to jam up the trial process and timeline with its tactics. After all of this, SLCC changed its name to FanX, a whole bunch of other conventions proactively changed their own names, and FanX promised to appeal everything.

        But it was an open question if SLCC/FanX would survive long enough for the appeal to take place. A $4 million dollar payout to SDCC, according to SLCC, would simply have crippled it and put it out of business altogether. This was the argument made to the appeals court, in which SLCC/FanX asked for a stay on the payments pending the appeal process. Fortunately, the court agreed to delay the attorney’s fees payments.

    • Copyrights

      • Streaming Exclusives Will Drive Users Back To Piracy And The Industry Is Largely Oblivious

        As you probably have noticed, there’s a growing tide of streaming video services popping up to feed users who want a cheaper, more flexible alternative to traditional cable. By and large this has been a very good thing. It’s finally driving some competition for bumbling apathetic giants like Comcast, forcing them to at least make a feeble effort to improve customer service. It also reflects a belated admission by the broadcast industry that you need to compete with piracy (instead of say, suing the entire planet and hoping it goes away) by offering users access to cheaper, flexible viewing options.

        But the gold rush into streaming has come with a few downsides. Studies have suggested that every broadcaster on the planet will likely have their own streaming service by 2022. In a bid to drive more subscribers to their service, said broadcasters are increasingly developing their own content, or striking their own content exclusivity deals, and then locking that content in an exclusivity silo. For example, if you want to watch Star Trek: Discovery, you need to shell out $6 a month for CBS All Access. Can’t miss House of Cards? You’ll need Netflix. Bosch? Amazon Prime. The Handmaid’s Tale? Hulu.

        Again, on its face this impulse makes perfect sense: you want the kind of content that drives users to your platform. And at first it wasn’t all that noticeable, because there were only a handful of services. Even if you subscribed to four of them, you still probably were saving money over your traditional cable bill.

        The problem is, as more and more companies jump into the streaming market, users are being forced to subscribe to an ocean of discordant services to get access for the content they’re looking for. As users are forced to pony up more and more cash for more and more services, it’s going to start defeating the purpose of ditching over-priced, traditional cable. But instead of going back to cable, back in March we noted how users are just as likely to consider piracy.

      • CJEU rules that family life does not trump copyright protection

        The owner of an internet connection used for copyright infringement through file-sharing cannot escape liability by naming a family member who may have used the connection, the CJEU holds

      • Bell and Rogers Ask Government to Simplify Site Blocking and Criminalize Streaming

        Earlier this month, Canadian telco regulator CRTC denied a controversial site blocking proposal put forward by the FairPlay coalition. This came as a major disappointment to Bell and Rogers, two of the main proponents of the plan, who are now trying to tackle various piracy issues through a revision of the Copyright Act.

      • Accused Pirate Can’t Escape Liability By Pointing at a Family Member Without Detail

        The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that the right to a private family life doesn’t shield accused file-sharers form potential liability. This means that an accused pirate can’t hide behind other family members who may have committed the infringements, without providing more detail. Doing so would harm the fundamental rights of copyright holders.

Ingve Björn Stjerna Has Just Warned That If Team UPC and the European Patent Office Rigged the Proceedings of the German Constitutional Court, Consequences Would be Significant

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Law, Patents at 3:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fair trial

Summary: The EPO is back to mentioning the Unified Patent Court and it keeps making it abundantly clear that it is only working for the litigation ‘industry’ rather than for science and technology (or “innovation” as they like to euphemise it)

EUROPE’S patent system is under attack. It’s under attack from lawyers, who try to hijack the system, taking it away from scientists and technologists (the same thing, incidentally, has been happening at the USPTO, partly due to Trump's awkward appointment this year). Underhanded tactics have been used by a cabal of lawyers to basically undermine the very purpose of patent systems. All they want is lots and lots of lawsuits; for that (litigation galore) they need lots and lots of low-quality — even invalid — patents to be granted and circulated, e.g. among patent trolls.

“There are pressures to grant even software patents in Europe, irrespective of the EPC (the founding document).”It has already become incredibly hard to be a potent patent examiner at the EPO. There are pressures to grant even software patents in Europe, irrespective of the EPC (the founding document).

Regarding “Inventiveness of the cocktail,” a new IP Kat comment said last night (the comments are as usual better than the posts): “According to an English translation of the German description: “Surprisingly, it has been found that this cocktail obtained in this way has a very rounded, mild fruity taste that meets the taste of many”. The EPO Examiner did not raise an inventive step objection, or ask for evidence of the technical effect.”

Blaming the examiners… as if EPO examiners still have time to properly examine patent applications under their corrupt management. They don’t have quality; they just have targets (quantified not in terms of quality). The EPO is basically ‘fast-tracking’ justice and putting it under the control of people who mock and attack justice. People like Battistelli and António Campinos, whose financial past offers room for speculations about whether they belong behind bars.

Last night the EPO again promoted software patents, this time in its Web site rather than its Twitter account (warning: epo.org link). For the first time in a while they’re promoting “computer-implemented inventions” (software patents) and UPC. To quote one paragraph:

EPO staff gave presentations on the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court, Patent Cooperation Treaty Strategy, projects being undertaken by the IP5 (the forum of the five largest intellectual property offices), substantive patent law harmonisation, standard essential patents, Early Certainty and computer-implemented inventions (CII) in view of developments relating to Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. The US members updated Office staff on current developments in US patent legislation and litigation.

Instead of meeting with scientists they meet a bunch of US lawyers. The EPO is a rogue institution that digs its own grave. It keeps showing who it really works for and it’s not scientists.

IAM and a partner law firm have meanwhile paid to repost a celebratory post about EPO pushing fake patents on software under the guise of “AI”. They must be excited by the prospect of all those abstract patents that are null and void (yet are still being granted by the EPO).

The best these people can hope for now is someone corrupt like Battistelli taking over the UPC and overriding all of Europe’s patent courts. Can that happen? Well, never underestimate what criminals from the EPO (with a proven history of serious crime) can accomplish. Not even the Alexandre Benalla scandal can hold them accountable, so what can?

Is UPC dead? “Maybe, maybe not (so quickly),” one reader told us this morning, taking note of the latest ‘paper’ (PDF) from Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna. Published in English and German, the introduction says:

This article tries to provide answers to some of the questions raised in relation to the constitutional complaint against the ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court in Germany.

Never underestimate team UPC’s ability to totally corrupt the political system (basically buying outcomes in Germany).

According to the last couple of paragraphs from the author, Germany might be face a true crisis if Team UPC corrupted the courts like it did the German political system. To quote:

After all, is the outcome of the proceedings already know in certain circles, even before the BVerfG has announce its decision? If this were the case, the significance of the ensuing state political implications could hardly be overestimated. Or are all these just once more astonishing “coincidences”, as they have already been repeatedly observe in the context of the European patent reform?

You be the judge.

If they ever get their way, they hope that Battistelli will be the (chief) judge.

10.18.18

Links 18/10/2018: New Ubuntu and Postgres

Posted in News Roundup at 1:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • New Details On System76′s Open-Source Hardware Plans Come To Light

      Longtime Ubuntu/Linux PC vendor System76 has been teasing their efforts around an “open-source computer” and other open-source hardware efforts now that they are in the home stretch of setting up their own US-based manufacturing facility. Some new details on their initial aspirations are now out there.

      The “open-source computer” speculations have fueled speculation quite wide ranging from some thinking system76 is working on RISC-V or ARM designs to others thinking they may be doing a Coreboot effort for Intel x86 CPUs… Harris Kenny of system76 shed some light on their open-source hardware journey a few days back on Twitter. System76 founder Carl Richell also chimed in with some additional details.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.18.15
    • Linux 4.14.77
    • Linux 4.9.134
    • What’s a CPU to do when it has nothing to do?

      It would be reasonable to expect doing nothing to be an easy, simple task for a kernel, but it isn’t. At Kernel Recipes 2018, Rafael Wysocki discussed what CPUs do when they don’t have anything to do, how the kernel handles this, problems inherent in the current strategy, and how his recent rework of the kernel’s idle loop has improved power consumption on systems that aren’t doing anything.

      The idle loop, one of the kernel subsystems that Wysocki maintains, controls what a CPU does when it has no processes to run. Precise to a fault, Wysocki defined his terms: for the purposes of this discussion, a CPU is an entity that can take instructions from memory and execute them at the same time as any other entities in the same system are doing likewise. On a simple, single-core single-processor system, that core is the CPU. If the processor has multiple cores, each of those cores is a CPU. If each of those cores exposes multiple interfaces for simultaneous instruction execution, which Intel calls “hyperthreading”, then each of those threads is a CPU.

    • New AT_ flags for restricting pathname lookup

      System calls like openat() have access to the entire filesystem — or, at least, that part of the filesystem that exists in the current mount namespace and which the caller has the permission to access. There are times, though, when it is desirable to reduce that access, usually for reasons of security; that has proved to be especially true in many container use cases. A new patch set from Aleksa Sarai has revived an old idea: provide a set of AT_ flags that can be used to control the scope of a given pathname lookup operation.

      There have been previous attempts at restricting pathname lookup, but none of them have been merged thus far. David Drysdale posted an O_BENEATH option to openat() in 2014 that would require the eventual target to be underneath the starting directory (as provided to openat()) in the filesystem hierarchy. More recently, Al Viro suggested AT_NO_JUMPS as a way of preventing lookups from venturing outside of the current directory hierarchy or the starting directory’s mount point. Both ideas have attracted interest, but neither has yet been pushed long or hard enough to make it into the mainline.

    • Some numbers from the 4.19 development cycle

      The release of 4.19-rc6 on September 30 is an indication that the 4.19 development cycle is heading toward its conclusion. Naturally, that means it’s time to have a look at where the contributions for this cycle came from. The upheavals currently playing out in the kernel community do not show at this level, but there are some new faces to be seen in the top contributors this time around.

      As of this writing, 13,657 non-merge changesets have found their way into the mainline for 4.19.

    • The modernization of PCIe hotplug in Linux

      PCI Express hotplug has been supported in Linux for fourteen years. The code, which is aging, is currently undergoing a transformation to fit the needs of contemporary applications such as hot-swappable flash drives in data centers and power-manageable Thunderbolt controllers in laptops. Time for a roundup.

      The initial PCI specification from 1992 had no provisions for the addition or removal of cards at runtime. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, various proprietary hotplug controllers, as well as the vendor-neutral standard hotplug controller, were conceived and became supported by Linux through drivers living in drivers/pci/hotplug. PCI Express (PCIe), instead, supported hotplug from the get-go in 2002, but its embodiments have changed over time. Originally intended to hot-swap PCIe cards in servers or ExpressCards in laptops, today it is commonly used in data centers (where NVMe flash drives need to be swapped at runtime) and by Thunderbolt (which tunnels PCIe through a hotpluggable chain of converged I/O switches, together with other protocols such as DisplayPort).

    • PCI Peer-To-Peer Memory Support Queued Ahead Of Linux 4.20~5.0

      With the upcoming Linux 4.20 kernel cycle (that given past comments by Linus Torvalds might be renamed to Linux 5.0), a new PCI feature queued ahead of the upcoming merge window is peer-to-peer memory support.

      This peer-to-peer (P2P) PCI memory support has been in the works for a while now. What this functionality is fundamentally about is supporting PCI (Express) devices that have memory mapped within their BAR space (Base Address Register) for peer-to-peer transactions. The new kernel code provides the necessary interface so other kernel subsystems can find/allocate portions of this memory as for peer-to-peer memory via P2P DMA. Peer-to-peer memory can help reduce pressure on the system RAM as memory is exchanged directly between PCIe devices.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Coreboot’s Flashrom Working On Radeon GPU Flashing Support

        Former RadeonHD driver developer Luc Verhaegen is back at the AMD Radeon GPU reverse-engineering game. He’s now pursuing Radeon firmware flashing with the Coreboot Flashrom utility.

      • Mesa VCN JPEG Decode Patches Posted For AMD Raven Ridge

        With the imminent Linux 4.19 kernel release there is VCN JPEG decode support within the AMDGPU DRM driver for use with Raven Ridge APUs. The accompanying user-space patches for the Radeon Gallium3D code have now been posted for making this functionality work on the Linux desktop with these Zen+Vega APUs.

        Now that the kernel-side bits for accelerated JPEG decoding using the “Video Core Next” block are in place, the Mesa/Gallium3D patches were posted today for getting this functionality enabled and working for Raven Ridge. VCN as a reminder is the new unified video encode/decode block with Raven that succeeds the UVD video decoding and VCE video encoding blocks on the GPU.

      • Open-Source Qualcomm Graphics Support Continues Flourishing With Freedreno

        When it comes to open-source ARM graphics drivers, the Raspberry Pi / VC4 effort and Freedreno continue to be the two best examples of fully open-source graphics driver coverage including 3D support. Freedreno has been attracting contributions from Qualcomm / CodeAurora in what started out as solely a community reverse-engineered effort and with the latest-generation Adreno 600 series hardware the open-source support is in great shape.

      • Advances in Mesa continuous integration

        Continuous integration (CI) has become increasingly prevalent in open-source projects over the last few years. Intel has been active in building CI systems for graphics, both for the kernel side and for the Mesa-based user-space side of the equation. Mark Janes and Clayton Craft gave a presentation on Intel’s Mesa CI system at the 2018 X.Org Developers Conference (XDC), which was held in A Coruña, Spain in late September. The Mesa CI system is one of the earliest successful CI initiatives in open source that he knows of, Janes said. It is a core component of Mesa development, especially at Intel.

        Like many companies, Intel is a large organization with an “old school development model”. He likened it to a Roman army, where there are legions that are made up of smaller groups, each of which has procedures for all of its activities; tents are set up and arranged the same way each time. When Intel first encountered Mesa development, it was something of a shock. There were no architects in the group, but the Mesa developers were simply running right through the Intel army.

      • A status update for virgl

        At the 2018 X.Org Developers Conference, Elie Tournier gave an update on the state of the Virgil (or virgl) virtual 3D GPU for QEMU. He looked at the project’s history along with what has happened with it over the last year or so. As is usual in a status update talk, he finished with some thoughts about future plans for virgl. For the last year, Tournier has been working on virgl for Collabora.

        Virgil began as a Dave Airlie side project four or five years ago. Tournier recommended a YouTube video of a 2014 linux.conf.au talk that Airlie gave as a good starting point. It is meant to be a way for guests running in a virtual machine (VM) to access the host GPU using OpenGL and other APIs. It is based on Gallium3D, because Airlie was familiar with that architecture, Tournier said. It has reached the stage where it is ready for use in products. A company is currently building a project using it; in addition, QEMU is using virgl to allow Windows guests to access the GPU. Overall, virgl is in pretty good shape, he said.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE neon 16.04 EOL on Monday

        Upgrades to 18.04 are working well but maintaining twice as many builds as normal is taking its toll on our time and team of guinea pig packagers. Neon on 16.04 (xenial) base will reach End of Life on Monday. Please update to 18.04 base to continue receiving updates.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • A pango update

        Pango development has been slow in the last few years, while most of the work on the text rendering stack has moved to harfbuzz. But recently, Behdad and I got together for a pango work day, and made some plans, which we want to share. The underlying goal of these changes is to ensure that GTK+ and GNOME continue to have a competitive text rendering stack, and to avoid pango becoming a roadblock for this.

      • GNOME Developers Are Looking At Sprucing Up Pango

        GNOME developers want to make sure they have a competitive text rendering stack with other platforms and as such are looking to make some modernization improvements to Pango.

        Pango as a refresher is the text layout library used by GTK+ as well as other applications and works in hand with the HarfBuzz shaping engine for the display/placement of text.

      • Stylish Gtk Themes Makes Your Linux Desktop Look Stylish

        There are plenty of nice themes available for Gnome desktop and many of them are in active development. Stylish theme pack is one of the great looking pack around since 2014 and constantly evolving. It offers stylish clean and flat design themes for Gtk-3 and Gtk-2, including Gnome shell themes. Stylish theme pack is based Materia theme and support almost every desktop environment such as Gnome, Cinnamon, Mate, Xfce, Mate, Budgie, Panteon, etc.
        We are offering Stylish themes via our PPA for Ubuntu/Linux Mint. If you are using distribution other than Ubuntu/Linux Mint then download this pack directly from its page and install it in this location “~/.themes” or “/usr/share/themes”. Since Stylish theme pack is in active development that means if you encounter any kind of bug or issue with it then report it to get fixed in the next update.

      • Delft: Another Great Icon Pack In Town Forked From Faenza Icons

        In past, you may have used Faenza icon theme or you still have it set on your desktop. Delft icons are revived version of Faenza and forked from Faenza icon theme, maybe it is not right to say ‘revived’ because it looks little different from Faenza theme and at the same time it stays close to the original Faenza icons, it is released under license GNU General Public License V3. The theme was named after a dutch city, which is known for its history, its beauty, and Faenza in Italy. The author who is maintaining Delft icons saw that Faenza icons haven’t been updated from some years and thought to carry this project. There are some icons adopted from the Obsidian icon theme.
        Delft icon pack offer many variants (Delft, Delft-Amber, Delft-Aqua, Delft-Blue, Delft-Dark, Delft-Gray, Delft-Green, Delft-Mint, Delft-Purple, Delft-Red, Delft-Teal) including light and dark versions for light/dark themes, you can choose appropriate one according to your desktop theme. These icons are compatible with most of the Linux desktop environments such as Gnome, Unity, Cinnamon, Mate, Lxde, Xfce and others. Many application icons available in this icons pack and if you find any missing icon or want to include something in this icon pack or face any kind of bug then report it to creator.

      • Give Your Desktop A Sweet Outlook With Sweet Themes Give Your Desktop A Sweet Outlook With Sweet Themes

        It is feels bit difficult to describe this theme we are going to introduce here today. Sweet theme pack looks and feel very different on the desktop but at the same time make the Linux desktop elegant and eye catching. Maybe these are not perfect looking themes available but it lineup in the perfect theme queue. You may say, I don’t like it in screenshots, let me tell you that you should install it on your system and if you don’t like then you already have option to remove it. So there is no harm to try a new thing, maybe this is next best theme pack for your Linux desktop.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • 2nd New MakuluLinux Release Offers Flash and Substance

        The MakuluLinux Flash distro is splashy and fast with a spiffy new look and new features.

        MakuluLinux developer Jacque Montague Raymer on Thursday announced the second of this year’s three major releases in the Series 15 distro family. The Flash edition follows last month’s LinDoz edition release. The much-awaited innovative Core edition will debut between the end of November and mid-December.

        MakuluLinux is a relatively new Linux OS. Its positive reputation has been developing since 2015. The three-year growth spurt involved a variety of desktop environments.

        Its small developer team has delivered a surprisingly efficient and productive desktop distribution in a relatively short time period. It is unusual to see a startup rise so quickly to offer an innovative and highly competitive computing platform.

        Series 15 is not an update of last year’s editions. This latest release introduces some radical changes that were under development for the last two years. The Series 15 releases of LinDoz and Flash include a complete rip-and-replace rebuild on top of an in-house developed computing base. LinDoz and Flash have been reworked completely from the ground up.

      • A Bright Spotlight on elementary OS 5.0

        It’s really bright. elementary OS 5.0 is the best release so far by mainly it’s AppCenter uniqueness and richest of desktop features ever among the prior releases. The thing I love the most is the fact that elementary OS developers contribute greatly to our community which we didn’t see anything like that before: they created a new software distribution platform similar to what we previously saw on Apple macOS, except it’s for free/libre open source software, by allowing app developers to get paid directly by the users (with the so-called “pay-what-you-want” system). elementary OS is popular, as you may see on Distrowatch, so we can expect bright future for the health of its apps market (and hope more developers getting attracted to join).

        The desktop is really usable, the shortcut keys are visible (by pressing Super key) and customizable, its enhanced with parental control as well as Night Light, the apps are plenty and still growing in numbers, plus it’s compatible with Ubuntu 18.04 so you can install thousands of packages if you wish right now.

        I can run it really smooth on an Intel 967 CPU with 4GB RAM (Intel Graphics). I hope it will be smoother on your systems. I wish this quick review of mine helps you a lot to get attracted to elementary OS and soon be a happy user.

    • New Releases

      • Elementary OS Juno Released! Here’s What’s New

        Elementary OS team delivers again with a shiny and powerful OS.

        After a two year long development and testing elementary team announced the release of elementary OS version 5.0 code named “Juno”. This release brings some of the iconic changes as well as it has bumped the version number from previous release which was 0.4 “Loki”.

      • elementary OS 5.0 Juno Review: A New Polished Experience

        elementary OS is a Linux distribution which aims to be a modern, fast & beautiful replacement for Windows and macOS. It also tries to mimic a lot of design decisions from the latter, it’s very similar to macOS in terms of UI and usability, and is used by millions of beauty lovers around the world.

        Yesterday, the elementary OS team released version 5.0 codenamed “Juno” of its operating system. Bringing tons of updates and improvements to both its core software and shape.

        Here’s our review for the latest release and what you can expect from it. You may grab the release from the elementary’s official website while reading our review, TL;DR: It’s worth it.

      • 30 Things to do After Fresh Installation of Elementary 5 Juno

        Here comes Elementary OS 5 Juno which is built with ultimate care for better user experience. This time it comes with Linux 4.15 (based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS) which brings improved hardware support and performance. Read the official release announcement and know about the added features in details.

        If you already downloaded & installed elementary Juno then I will show things to do after installing elementary OS Juno for better user experience.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • KDE and openSUSE: Plasma 5.14, Qt 5.12 and more

        Plasma 5.14 was released with many improvements.

        It was planned to have it in a released in a Tumbleweed snapshot on the same day, but openQA issues prevented snapshot 20181008 from getting published. Instead, Tumbleweed users got it with snapshot 20181009 on Thursday morning. Currently, 5.14.1 is staged to be accepted in Tumbleweed.

        To get it on Leap 15 (and even 42.3 with restrictions), you can add https://en.opensuse.org/SDB:KDE_repositories#KDE_Frameworks_5.2C_Plasma_5_and_Applications. Note that those are not part of the official distribution and therefore not as well supported.

      • OpenSUSE Begins Preparing For Leap 15.1 (15 Service Pack 1)

        As part of some brief openSUSE news today, some early details concerning Leap 15 Service Pack 1 (Leap 15.1) were shared.

        The main user-facing changes of the forthcoming openSUSE Leap 15.1 is that with this first service pack release Qt WebKit is being removed from the default installation. On the desktop side it will be shipping KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS in its latest point release at the time. It will also be shipping with the very latest KDE Applications and KDE Frameworks packages.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.10: What’s New? [Video]

            But how do you follow up the brilliant Bionic Beaver?

            It’s far from being an easy task and, alas, the collected changes you’ll find accrued in the ‘Cosmic Cuttlefish’ are of the “down-to-earth” variety rather than the “out-of-this-world” ones you might’ve been hoping for.

            But don’t take our word for it; find out yourself by watching our Ubuntu 18.10 video (and it’s best watched with headphones because, ahem, I can level sound properly).

            In 3 minute and 18 seconds we whizz you through everything that’s new, neat and noticeable in Ubuntu 18.10.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Set For Release Today With Some Nice Improvements

            It’s Cosmic Cuttlefish day! Assuming no last minute delays, Ubuntu 18.10 and its downstream flavors will be out today with their newest six-month non-LTS releases to be supported through July of 2019.

            With Ubuntu 18.10 on the desktop the most user-facing change is the revised default theme for the GNOME Shell experience. The theme formerly known as “Communitheme” and now known as “Yaru” turned out fairly nice for Ubuntu 18.10 as the default appearance. While on the topic of GNOME Shell, Ubuntu 18.10 is defaulting to the X.Org Server based session like Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and they are not yet back to riding the Wayland session — but it can be easily still toggled at log-in time for those wishing to help vet the GNOME Wayland stack.

          • How to Upgrade to Ubuntu 18.10 from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            But although it’s easy to upgrade to Ubuntu 18.10 from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS there are a number of reasons why you might not want to.

            As a Long Term Support (LTS) release 18.04 boasts 5 years of ongoing support, critical fixes and updates. Regular releases, including the latest one? Yeah, not so much; updates for 9 months.

            But if, for you, the benefits of upgrading, like fresher software, updated packages, and a newer Linux kernel, are too tempting to resist, here’s what you need to do.

          • Updating firmware on Dell XPS 13 With Pop!_OS 18.04
          • Ubuntu Plans To Make Updating Graphics Drivers Much Easier For Gamers

            The state of installing newer graphics drivers for AMD and Nvidia cards on Ubuntu is a mixed bag. While it’s undeniably faster than Windows, it’s not intuitive for new users who need bleeding edge beta drivers to play the newest games. Or for those of us who want to enjoy Windows games on Linux courtesy of Steam Play. Fortunately, Canonical plans to make this process much easier in the next version of Ubuntu.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Is Now Available to Download

            After six months in development, Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) is now finally here, and you can download the ISO images right now for all official flavors, including Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Kylin, and Ubuntu Studio, for 64-bit and 32-bit architectures (only Lubuntu and Xubuntu).

            The Ubuntu Server edition is also out and it’s supported on more hardware architectures than Ubuntu Desktop, including 64-bit (amd64), ARM64 (AArch64), IBM System z (s390x), PPC64el (Power PC 64-bit Little Endian), and Raspberry Pi 2/ARMhf. A live Ubuntu Server flavor is also available only for 64-bit computers.

          • Ubuntu Linux 18.10 arrives
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Financial Services Embracing Open Source to Gain Edge in Innovation

    By now, it’s pretty much a cliché to say that all companies should be technology companies. But in the case of banks and financial services these days, it’s true.

    Many finance companies are early adopters of new technologies such as blockchain, AI and Kubernetes as well as leaders in open source development. And as they seek an edge to retain customers and win new ones, they are not afraid to try new things.

    At the Linux Foundation’s inaugural Open FinTech Forum here last week, attendees got a chance to discuss the latest state of open source adoption and the extent that open source strategies are changing financial service businesses.

    The fact is, banks really do have tech businesses inside of them. Capital One’s DevExchange boasts several products that it has developed for internal use and also made available as open source, including the Cloud Custodian DevOps engine and the Hydrograph big data ETL tool.

  • Why the Open Source Enterprise Search Trend Will Only Accelerate

    Enterprise search has been going through a dramatic shift as of late. We’ve watched as some of the leaders in search, those platforms usually found in the upper right quadrant on Gartner reports, have fallen off through acquisition or from simply not keeping up with the market.

    But behind the scenes an even bigger shift is taking place: from proprietary kernels to core technologies based on open source projects.

    Some, like Lucidworks, have always been based on the open source Apache Solr project. Others, like Coveo, have joined the open source movement by offering the choice of using its traditional proprietary kernel or licensing the Coveo user experience built on top of the Elastic kernel.

  • Bentley Systems Releases Open-Source Library: iModel.js
  • Bentley Releases iModel.js Open-Source Library

    Bentley Systems, Inc., the leading global provider of comprehensive software solutions for advancing the design, construction, and operations of infrastructure, today announced the initial release of its iModel.js library, an open-source initiative to improve the accessibility, for both visualization and analytical visibility, of infrastructure digital twins. iModel.js can be used by developers and IT professionals to quickly and easily create immersive applications that connect their infrastructure digital twins with the rest of their digital world. iModel.js is the cornerstone of Bentley’s just-announced iTwin Services that combine iModelHub, reality modeling, and web-enabling software technologies within a Connected Data Environment (CDE) for infrastructure engineering.

  • Software Heritage Foundation Update

    I first wrote about the Software Heritage Foundation two years ago. It is four months since their Archive officially went live. Now Roberto di Cosmo and his collaborators have an article, and a video, entitled Building the Universal Archive of Source Code in Communications of the ACM describing their three challenges, of collection, preservation and sharing, and setting out their current status: [...]

  • 4 open source alternatives to Microsoft Access

    When small businesses, community organizations, and similar-sized groups realize they need software to manage their data, they think first of Microsoft Access. That may be the right choice if you’re already paying for a Microsoft Office subscription or don’t care that it’s proprietary. But it’s far from your only option—whether you prefer to use open source alternatives from a philosophical standpoint or you don’t have the big budget for a Microsoft Office subscription—there are several open source database applications that are worthy alternatives to proprietary software like Microsoft Access or Apple FileMaker.

    If that sounds like you, here are four open source database tools for your consideration.

  • The case for open source classifiers in AI algorithms

    Dr. Carol Reiley’s achievements are too long to list. She co-founded Drive.ai, a self-driving car startup that raised $50 million in its second round of funding last year. Forbes magazine named her one of “20 Incredible Women in AI,” and she built intelligent robot systems as a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University.

    But when she built a voice-activated human-robot interface, her own creation couldn’t recognize her voice.

    Dr. Reiley used Microsoft’s speech recognition API to build her interface. But since the API was built mostly by young men, it hadn’t been exposed to enough voice variations. After some failed attempts to lower her voice so the system would recognize her, Dr. Reiley enlisted a male graduate to lead demonstrations of her work.

  • How an affordable open source eye tracker is helping thousands communicate

    In 2015, while sat in a meeting at his full-time job, Julius Sweetland posted to Reddit about a project he had quietly been working on for years, that would help people with motor neurone disease communicate using just their eyes and an application. He forgot about the post for a couple of hours before friends messaged him to say he’d made the front page.

    Now three years on Optikey, the open source eye-tracking communication tool, is being used by thousands of people, largely through word of mouth recommendations. Sweetland was speaking at GitHub Universe at the Palace of Fine Art in San Francisco, and he took some time to speak with Techworld about the project.

    [...]

    Originally, Sweetland’s exposure to open source had largely been through the consumption of tools such as the GIMP.

    “I knew of the concept, I didn’t really know how the nuts and bolts worked, I was always a little blase about how do you make money from something like that… but flipping it around again I’m still coming from the point of view that there’s no money in my product, so I still don’t understand how people make money in open source…

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Searchfox in Phabricator extension

        Being able to search code while reviewing can be really useful, but unfortunately it’s not so straightforward. Many people resort to loading the patch under review in an IDE in order to be able to search code.

        Being able to do it directly in the browser can make the workflow much smoother.

        To support this use case, I’ve built an extension for Phabricator that integrates Searchfox code search functionality directly in Phabricator differentials. This way reviewers can benefit from hovers, go-to-definition and find-references without having to resort to the IDE or without having to manually navigate to the code on searchfox.org or dxr.mozilla.org. Moreover, compared to searchfox.org or dxr.mozilla.org, the extension highlights both the pre-patch view and the post-patch view, so reviewers can see how pre-existing variables/functions are being used after the patch.

      • Searching Made Faster, the Latest Firefox Exploration

        earch is one of the most common activities that people do whenever they go online. At Mozilla, we are always looking for ways to streamline that experience to make it fast, easy and convenient for our users.

        Our Firefox browser provides a variety of options for people to search the things and information they seek when they’re on the web, so we want to make search even easier. For instance, there are two search boxes on every home or new tab page – one is what we call the “awesome bar” also known as the URL bar, and the other is the search box in the home/new tab pages.

        In the awesome bar, users can use a shortcut to their queries by simply entering a predefined keyword (like @google) and typing the actual search term they are seeking, whether it’s the nearest movie theater location and times for the latest blockbuster movie or finding a sushi restaurant close to their current location. These Search Keywords have been part of the browser experience for years, yet it’s not commonly known. Here’s a hint to enable it: Go to “Preferences,” then “Search” and check “ One-Click Search Engines”.

      • Dweb: Decentralised, Real-Time, Interoperable Communication with Matrix

        Matrix is an open standard for interoperable, decentralised, real-time communication over the Internet. It provides a standard HTTP API for publishing and subscribing to real-time data in specified channels, which means it can be used to power Instant Messaging, VoIP/WebRTC signalling, Internet of Things communication, and anything else that can be expressed as JSON and needs to be transmitted in real-time over HTTP. The most common use of Matrix today is as an Instant Messaging platform.

      • This Week in Rust 256
  • SaaS/Back End

    • Fission open source serverless framework gets updated

      Platform9 just released updates to Fission.io – the open source, Kubernetes-native Serverless framework, with new features enabling developers and IT Operations to improve the quality and reliability of serverless applications.

      Other new features include Automated Canary Deployments to reduce the risk of failed releases, Prometheus integration for automated monitoring and alerts, and fine-grained cost and performance optimization capabilities. With this latest release, Fission offers the most complete set of features to allow Dev and Ops teams to safely adopt Serverless and benefit from the speed, cost savings and scalability of this cloud native development pattern on any environment – either in the public cloud or on-premises.

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL 11 released

      The PostgreSQL Global Development Group today announced the release of
      PostgreSQL 11, the latest version of the world’s most advanced open
      source database.

      PostgreSQL 11 provides users with improvements to overall performance of
      the database system, with specific enhancements associated with very
      large databases and high computational workloads. Further, PostgreSQL 11
      makes significant improvements to the table partitioning system, adds
      support for stored procedures capable of transaction management,
      improves query parallelism and adds parallelized data definition
      capabilities, and introduces just-in-time (JIT) compilation for
      accelerating the execution of expressions in queries.

    • PostgreSQL 11.0 Released With Better Robustness, Performance Improvements
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 9 Feature Development Is Ending Next Month

      There is just three weeks left for GNU toolchain developers to finish landing new feature material in GCC 9.0 ahead of next year’s GCC 9.1 stable release.

      Richard Biener of SUSE announced today that GCC’s “stage 1″ development will shift to “stage 3″ on 11 November. This marks the point at which open feature development is over and will then focus on bug-fixing… No new features are generally allowed in during this stage. On 6 January 2019 is when they intend to begin their final period of only working on regression fixes and documentation updates.

    • GCC’s Test Suite To Begin Testing C++17 By Default

      GCC’s test suite will soon begin testing the C++17 standard as part of its C++98/11/14 standard tests by default… This doesn’t affect the default C++ standard used by the GCC G++ compiler at this point, but at least will help eliminate any lingering C++17 bugs as well as helping to stop regressions in the future.

      With the GCC test suite’s test cases having cleared through the last of the C++17 issues, Marek Polacek of Red Hat sent out the patch today to begin testing C++17 by default when running its test suite. C++17 is tested in addition to the earlier C++98, C++11, and C++14 standards.

    • GCC 9 Compiler Adds -std=c2x And -std=gnu2x For Future C Language Update

      With GCC 9 feature development ending in a few weeks, it’s now a mad dash by developers to land their last minute additions into this annual open-source compiler update — including a look ahead for what is coming down the pipe in the compiler space.

      Joseph Myers of CodeSourcery landed on Wednesday the initial C language standard compiler switches for the upcoming C2X standard. This update that for now is just dubbed C2X is currently in a draft standard with feature development still happening for this next C programming language update. In preparing for that, to GCC 9 he has added support for the -std=c2x and -std=gnu2x (for the GNU C dialect of C2X) switches so developers can specify using this newer version of C.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open-source hardware could defend against the next generation of hacking

        Imagine you had a secret document you had to store away from prying eyes. And you have a choice: You could buy a safe made by a company that kept the workings of its locks secret. Or you could buy a safe whose manufacturer openly published the designs, letting everyone – including thieves – see how they’re made. Which would you choose?

        It might seem unexpected, but as an engineering professor, I’d pick the second option. The first one might be safe – but I simply don’t know. I’d have to take the company’s word for it. Maybe it’s a reputable company with a longstanding pedigree of quality, but I’d be betting my information’s security on the company upholding its traditions. By contrast, I can judge the security of the second safe for myself – or ask an expert to evaluate it. I’ll be better informed about how secure my safe is, and therefore more confident that my document is safe inside it. That’s the value of open-source technology.

  • Programming/Development

    • Announcing: Thorntail 2.2 General Availability

      Today Red Hat is making Thorntail 2.2 generally available to Red Hat customers through a subscription to Red Hat OpenShift Application Runtimes (RHOAR). RHOAR provides application developers with a variety of application runtimes running on the OpenShift Container Platform.

      Thorntail is the new name for WildFly Swarm, and bundles everything you need to develop and run Thorntail and MicroProfile applications by packaging server runtime libraries with your application code and running it with java -jar. It speeds up the transition from monoliths to microservices and takes advantage of your existing industry standard Java EE technology experience.

    • The history and future of OpenJDK

      In the second half of 2017, a number of major changes were announced in the Java ecosystem that have the potential to force a reassessment of Java roadmaps and vendor selection for enterprise Java users. Some of the changes are happening in the upstream OpenJDK (Open Java Development Kit) community, and some of the changes are happening in proprietary commercial distributions of Java. Red Hat anticipates that many of our customers will need to review their current Java plans and we want to take this opportunity to review the history of our relationship with the OpenJDK community, discuss the changes in the Java ecosystem, and describe Red Hat’s Java offerings. Subsequent posts will cover the ecosystem changes and Red Hat’s plans going forward.

    • LLVM 7 improves performance analysis, linking

      The developers behind LLVM, the open-source framework for building cross-platform compilers, have unveiled LLVM 7. The new release arrives right on schedule as part of the project’s cadence of major releases every six months.

      LLVM underpins several modern language compilers including Apple’s Swift, the Rust language, and the Clang C/C++ compiler. LLVM 7 introduces revisions to both its native features and to companion tools that make it easier to build, debug, and analyze LLVM-generated software.

    • wlc 0.9

      wlc 0.9, a command line utility for Weblate, has been just released. There are several new commands like translation file upload or repository cleanup. The codebase has been also migrated to use requests instead of urllib.

    • Code Review–an Excerpt from VM Brasseur’s New Book Forge Your Future with Open Source

      Even new programmers can provide a lot of value with their code reviews. You don’t have to be a Rockstar Ninja 10x Unicorn Diva programmer with years and years of experience to have valuable insights. In fact, you don’t even have to be a programmer at all. You just have to be knowledgable enough to spot patterns. While you won’t be able to do a complete review without programming knowledge, you may still spot things that could use some work or clarification.

      If you’re not a Rockstar Ninja 10x Unicorn Diva programmer, not only is your code review feedback still valuable, but you can also learn a great deal in the process: Code layout, programming style, domain knowledge, best practices, neat little programming tricks you’d not have seen otherwise, and sometimes antipatterns (or “how not to do things”). So don’t let the fact that you’re unfamiliar with the code, the project, or the language hold you back from reviewing code contributions. Give it a go and see what there is to learn and discover.

Leftovers

  • Why Google wants to sell its gadgets in Goop stores [iophk: "Google buys into pseudo science"]

    We really don’t have to look that closely. It’s an example of mutual corporate back-scratching that incorporates two of consumerism’s favorite buzzwords: “wellness” and “luxury.”

  • Think global: How to overcome cultural communication challenges

    What does it mean to be a high- or low-context culture? In the United States, children learn to communicate explicitly: “Say what you mean; mean what you say” is a common principle of communication. On the other hand, Japanese children learn to communicate effectively by mastering the ability to “read the air.” That means they are able to read between the lines and pick up on social cues when communicating.

    Most Asian cultures follow the high-context style of communication. Not surprisingly, the United States, a young country composed of immigrants, follows a low-context culture: Since the people who immigrated to the United States came from different cultural backgrounds, they had no choice but to communicate explicitly and directly.

  • Science

    • What do we actually know about the risks of screen time and digital media?

      Recently, PNAS took a look at what we actually know about these risks, publishing a series of papers focused on “Digital Media and Developing Minds.” Collectively, this work explores the current state of research on this broad question lingering in the back of many minds: what impact do screens have on our brains, especially the developing noggins of everyone from children to young adults?

    • Tesla patents new type of cable easier to manipulate by robots in move to automate production

      Tesla has made some missteps in its attempt to drastically automate vehicle production, but it has now launched new initiatives to get it right for its next-generation ‘Alien Dreadnought’ factory.

      [...]

      Tesla’s solution consists of having a “structural element” inside the cable with the goal being “manipulated into place by a robotic arm as part of an automated process while providing reliable data connections to its desired location.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • GOP Senator Pushed VA to Use Unproven “Brainwave Frequency” Treatment

      Sen. Dean Heller, a Nevada Republican, pushed doctors at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Reno to adopt an experimental mental health treatment marketed by a company with ties to his office.

      On a Friday night last December in his Reno office, Heller, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced VA officials to representatives from a health care startup called CereCare. The company markets an “off-label” method of treating addiction and post-traumatic stress, using electromagnetic brain stimulation.

      The meeting came about because two of CereCare’s partners had a business connection to Heller’s senior aide in Reno. “We’ve known her for years,” one of the partners, Nino Pedrini, said of the aide, Glenna Smith. Pedrini and his partner have a separate joint venture with Smith’s former employer. “This was Glenna reaching out to us, knowing what we were doing, saying we think there’s a fit here where you folks can help our veterans,” Pedrini said.

    • Research Group Identifies Over-Patenting Of Pharmaceuticals In India, Calls For Patent Reform

      The tricontinental research group “accessibsa” has found that while the Indian Patent Office rejects 40 percent of pharmaceutical patent applications, it should be rejecting 90 percent of applications to comply with Indian patent law, according to the results of its recent study of Indian patent data.

    • U.S. appeals court upholds ruling that canceled Teva Copaxone patents

      A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld a ruling that canceled patents owned by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd on its blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone.

  • Security

    • DMARC Email Security Adoption Soars as US Government Deadline Hits
    • ShieldX Integrates Intention Engine Into Elastic Security Platform

      ShieldX announced its new Elastic Security Platform on Oct. 17 providing organizations with Docker container based data center security, that uses advanced machine learning to determine intent.

      At the core of the Elastic Security Platform is a technology that ShieldX calls the Adaptive Intention Engine that automatically determines the right policy and approach for security controls across multicloud environments. The intent-based security model can provide network microsegmentation, firewall and malware detection capabilities, among other features.

    • Spectre V2 “Lite” App-To-App Protection Mode Readying For The Linux Kernel

      We are approaching one year since the Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities shocked the industry, and while no new CPU speculative execution vulnerabilities have been made public recently, the Linux kernel developers continue improving upon the Spectre/Meltdown software-based mitigation techniques for helping to offset incurred performance costs with current generation hardware.

    • Another Massive Credit Reporting Database Breached By Criminals

      Lots of companies like gathering lots of data. Many do this without explicit permission from the people they’re collecting from. They sell this info to others. They collect and collect and collect and it’s not until there’s a problem that many people seem to feel the collection itself is a problem.

      The Equifax breach is a perfectly illustrative case. Lenders wanted a service that could rate borrowers quickly to determine their trustworthiness. This required a massive amount of data to be collected from numerous creditors, along with personally-identifiable information to authenticate the gathered data. The database built by Equifax was a prime target for exploitation. That this information would ultimately end up in the hands of criminals was pretty much inevitable.

      But Equifax isn’t the only credit reporting service collecting massive amounts of data but failing to properly secure it. TransUnion not only collects a lot of the same information, but it sells access to cops, lenders, private investigators, landlords… whoever might want to do one-stop shopping for personal and financial data. This includes criminals, because of course it does.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • LibSSH Flaw Allows Hackers to Take Over Servers Without Password
    • This iPhone Passcode Bypass Allows Hackers To View And Share Your Images

      If you look at the video, the iOS vulnerability can be seen as part of running accessibility features on the device. He used the iPhone VoiceOver feature and the Siri assistant to access the Photo Library, open photos and send them to another device chosen by the attacker.

    • Windows PCs Vulnerable To RID Hijacking; Grants Full System Access To Attackers
    • RELPOLINES: A New Spectre V2 Approach To Lower Overhead Of Retpolines

      Nadav Amit of VMware has announced their (currently experimental) work on “dynamic indirect call promotion” or what they have dubbed “RELPOLINES” — not to be confused with the traditional Retpolines for “return trampolines” as one of the Spectre Variant Two software-based mitigation approaches. Relpolines is designed to have lower overhead than Retpolines.

    • Security updates for Thursday
  • Defence/Aggression

    • UAE Contracted An American Hit Squad to Kill Political Figures And More in Yemen
    • A Middle East Monarchy Hired American Ex-Soldiers To Kill Its Political Enemies. This Could Be The Future Of War.

      Cradling an AK-47 and sucking a lollipop, the former American Green Beret bumped along in the back of an armored SUV as it wound through the darkened streets of Aden. Two other commandos on the mission were former Navy SEALs. As elite US special operations fighters, they had years of specialized training by the US military to protect America. But now they were working for a different master: a private US company that had been hired by the United Arab Emirates, a tiny desert monarchy on the Persian Gulf.

    • Dramatic drone video shows US mercenaries act as ‘murder squads’ to assassinate high-profile politicians and clerics in the Middle East

      Video captured by military drones shows armed American mercenaries take part in an operation to assassinate a prominent cleric in Yemen, a Buzzfeed News investigation has revealed.

      Two former Navy SEALs were among the fighters working for Spear Operations Group, a private US company that was hired by the United Arab Emirates to carry out an assassination in war-torn Yemen on December 29, 2015.

    • Terror at the Moria refugee camp

      Anyone who doesn’t toe the line or is in the way can expect physical violence or even death threats. The perpetrators often cite Sharia law as their justification. More and more graffiti glorify IS. The Greek authorities take no action.

    • ISIS sympathisers dominate Greek refugee camp: “If you are not Muslim I can rape you” [Ed: More unsavoury sites take it even further]

      The video is titled: “Terror in Camp Moria”. DW reporters attached spy cameras on former inmates of the camp, and the images they got described a living hell.

      Former inmates described Moria as the worst camp of Europe. More than 8000 people are living under miserable conditions inside this camp, which was initially designed to host about 2500 people. And they give a SHOCKING statement in front of the camera.

    • ‘Islamic State Recruiter’ Allegedly Runs Free School In Sweden [iophk: “Free in that context means Private”

      While no formal charges have been brought against him, El Nadi (53) is considered one of the reasons for the rise of Islamist extremism in Gothenburg, which produced about a third of Sweden’s roughly 300 jihadists (or “foreign fighters,” to use the official parlance), Doku reported.

    • The multiculturalism umbrella: Made in Islam wool [Ed: Right wing media in Israel is inflaming the far right in Europe (also below)]

      Why do US citizens miss the wool being pulled over their eyes? Because Americans are conditioned to be tolerant and compassionate, to embrace multiculturalism and respect each other’s beliefs, ideals and values. Islam, however, does not reciprocate.

    • When is church vandalism just high jinks? When Muslims are involved

      Swedes, especially Christians, remain on edge as their new Muslim neighbours who refuse to assimilate continue to get a pass on hateful behaviour, and the Swedish media continues to cover it up.

    • It is game over for Europe

      Charlotte d’Ornellas, a journalist for the French weekly magazine Valeurs Actuelles, has just explained it in different words: “When you go to Château-Rouge, there is a cultural Africanization, when we go to certain areas, where all the women are veiled, there is an Islamization of the landscape”.

    • Iranian pseudo anti-imperialism

      Anti-imperialism comes in various shapes and forms in Iran, ranging from hard-nosed to soft-bellied. However, with the rise of reactionary forces, the history of anti-imperialism in post-revolutionary Iran has been the triumph of the latter. The 1979 Revolution in which the religious forces seized the power and tried to redirect the anti-imperialist discourse, brought the long-term Iran-America honeymoon to an end. It led to a misconception among western intellectuals that the Iranian government is at the forefront of resistance against American imperialism. There were also some people among the secular Iranian intellectuals who endorsed this anti-imperialism – most importantly Tudeh Party (Party of the People) that was the admirer of imperialist discourse of the Islamic Republic, until the regime imprisoned and executed its main leaders in 1983.

      The hostage crisis in 1979 marked a turning point in Iran-United States relations. It derailed the leftist anti-imperialist discourse and turned it into shallow rhetoric against the so-called Great Satan with the unifying slogan ‘Down with America’.

      Thirty years later, when Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad took power, even some western intellectuals fell for a misleading vision that considered him a leftist fighting against the dominant global system.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Ecuador Rejects Reports on Assange but It Admits New Protocol

      Ecuador on Wednesday rejected reports about pressure from UN officials on the government, regarding the situation of Julian Assange, but it accepted to implement a new Special Protocol to maintain his asylum status.

      ‘The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador rejects with indignation such stories and underlines that the president of the Republic did not even discuss the issue of Mr. Assange’s asylum with the United Nations high commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, or with the United Nations special rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, David Kaye,’ an official statement said.

      According to the press release, the fake reports aim to maintain that UN officials pressured Ecuador to make the decision to issue a Special Protocol with regulations on the minimum conditions of the asylum seeker’s stay at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

    • Ecuador warns Assange to obey rules or lose asylum

      Ecuador officials have told WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been in asylum in the country’s British embassy for six years, to obey house rules or lose asylum.

    • Leading US House Democrat demands that Ecuador’s president “hand over” Julian Assange

      The US is increasing its pressure on Ecuador to evict WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from its London embassy, where he took political asylum in June 2012. He would then be arrested immediately by British police and subjected to extradition proceedings to face trumped-up espionage charges in the US that could see him jailed for life or even executed.

      On Wednesday, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee sent a threatening letter to Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno insisting that he “hand over” Assange to the “proper authorities” as a precondition for improving relations with the United States.

      In a bipartisan letter, Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat, and former Foreign Relations Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican, declared: “We are very concerned with Julian Assange’s continued presence at your embassy in London and his receipt of Ecuadorian citizenship last year.”

    • In Illinois Governor’s Race, Rauner and Pritzker See a Clear Need to Promise Transparency

      Since he first entered politics as a candidate five years ago, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has pledged his commitment to open government.

      As he put it during a debate last week with challenger J.B. Pritzker before the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board: “Transparency is great.”

      As he fights for re-election, making the declaration is a great move on Rauner’s part — and an easy one. Voters are demanding more and more information about what their governments are doing with their tax money, and every candidate at every level is wise to speak in favor of sharing it with them.

      But what Rauner means when he vows to be transparent isn’t so clear, given his administration’s habit of fighting against the release of information. The governor’s office won’t even disclose how often it blocks the release of records sought by the public.

    • TMID Editorial: The state broadcaster and Julian Assange

      It is a small detail, but it is very much symptomatic of the rather large problem of media imbalance that we are facing, and which we have been facing for years, in Malta.

      Yesterday, a group of the world’s leading proponents of freedom of speech, expression and media gave a press conference in which they delivered an extremely grave assessment, from an outsider’s point of view, on how those rights are, or, rather, are not, espoused in Malta.

      [...]

      That PBS is little more than a tool in the hands of the government of the day has been a reality for a long time but this government has pushed that envelope to all new abysmal levels. This in itself is a most damning indictment and is symptomatic of a far deeper rot that has taken hold of this country.

      Funnily enough, that completely out of place question came just after the organisations’ assessment on the state of the country’s media pluralism, which was not complimentary at all. The journalist was politely reminded that it was not the time or place for such questions, and was invited to speak about Assange after the press conference about Malta.

      The national broadcaster, after all, is meant to be the standard bearer when it comes to objectivity, fairness and neutrality, but so many times, more often than not, it very selectively chooses to completely ignore the news of the day when it is not complimentary to the government.+

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Company that sucks CO2 from air announces a new methane-producing plant

      It’s been a banner week for hydrocarbons made from waste gases. Earlier this week, a company announced that it had delivered 4,000 gallons of jet fuel made from steel-plant waste gases to Virgin Atlantic. Now, Swiss company Climeworks has announced the opening of a new plant in Italy that will collect carbon dioxide (CO2) from ambient air and pair it with renewably made hydrogen (H2) to make methane fuel that would add little or no CO2 to the atmosphere.

    • Report: Action Needed Now in Climate Crisis
    • We Need Massive Change to Avoid

      To correct course and avoid 1.5 C, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, we’ll need to cut emissions by half before 2030, and go carbon-neutral by 2050, the report says. That gives us three decades to transform our energy production into something unrecognizable, with renewable energy galore combined with carbon capture techniques like the bolstering of forests, and maybe even sucking the stuff out of the atmosphere and trapping it underground. We’ll have to change our behavior as individuals, too. Meaning, we’re looking at unprecedented change, what is essentially the restructuring of civilization.

    • Why the next three months are crucial for the future of the planet

      This time, the scientists will attempt to answer whether and how the world can meet the “aspiration” set in the Paris agreement of 2015 to hold warming to no more than 1.5C, beyond which many low-lying states and islands are likely to face dangerous sea level rises.

      When the scientists deliver their verdict, the onus will pass to politicians to translate their advice into concrete action. Already in recent weeks, global initiatives have begun aimed at doing so: the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco last month spurred protests, and dozens of local governments and multinational companies to make pledges; the second One Planet Summit saw advances in climate finance; while at the UN General Assembly, secretary general António Guterres urged world leaders to step up, calling climate change “the defining issue of our time”.

    • We Can Still Do A Lot To Slow Climate Change. But Will We?
    • Why Half a Degree of Global Warming Is a Big Deal

      The report also highlights the possibility that even modest amounts of warming may push both human societies and natural ecosystems past certain thresholds where sudden and calamitous changes can occur.

    • ‘a guardian’ film shows how drone technology can save animal lives in africa

      director andy fackrell has launched a guardian, a 90-second film that highlights that surprising role of drone technology in the war against poaching. produced for los angeles–based charity over and above africa, the all-drone shot movie presents a series of swooping aerial shots of animal groups, each titled with the respective collective nouns – a pride of lions, a wobble of ostrich, an implausibility of gnu, etc. – before tracking ‘a gang’ of poachers on the drone’s night vision camera.

  • Finance

    • We have the answers to Brexit’s causes

      The seaside town had one of the highest leave votes in the country. Image: Teresa Dapp/DPA/PA ImagesWe should have seen the referendum result coming. For millions the status quo isn’t working. Life is unstable, unfulfilling and unfair. And given the option to send a message to Westminster – or, as Russell Brand would have it, to press a bright red button that said “F off establishment” – it’s not surprising that so many people took it.

      Too many people spend too many hours working in insecure jobs to pay rocketing rents. The cost of living continues to rise, while average earnings remain almost £800 a year lower than they were ten years ago. As a nation, we are £19 billion in debt on our everyday bills.

    • Brexit is showing the urban middle classes the real Britain

      Back in July, I rang the Met. Britain’s elections watchdog had just referred another major Leave campaign to the cops, for suspected crimes committed during the knife-edge Brexit campaign. This was the second referral in three months (the first related to Arron Banks’s controversial pro-Brexit outfit, Leave.EU). I assumed the Metropolitan Police had done nothing about either case. After all, if Britain’s police forces took the crimes of rich white people seriously, London wouldn’t be the world centre for money laundering. But it’s always important to check your assumptions.

      When the police finally got back to me, they confirmed my suspicions. They hadn’t opened an investigation into any of the cases referred to them by the Electoral Commission. I mentioned this in a broader story about regulators (noting “you can be fined more for touting football tickets than you can for subverting Britain’s democratic process”). And then I popped a reminder in my diary for a fairly random date a few months thence, saying “check whether Met still haven’t opened investigation”.

      Last week, we published the result of that diary entry. No, the Met still hadn’t opened an official investigation, citing “political sensitivities”. When I tweeted the piece, it was carried across the internet on a wave of FBPE fury. Some said they were angry, but not surprised. But the reaction from most seemed to be shock. Shock that politics might interfere with policing; astonishment that London’s police force might not be policing the laws of our democracy as vigorously as they do many other rules of our society.

    • Brexit is taking our food policy in the wrong direction

      The decision around the food that we eat is among the most intensely private that we can make. Children express extremely strong preferences from the earliest ages – and these can last a lifetime. The choice about food has a direct, causal impact on our health. There is growing awareness for example that refined sugar is addictive, and is contributing to an obesity crisis.

      We assume that the food that we buy is not poisonous, even if extravagances are ultimately unhealthy. We expect responsible companies to sell products that are not extremely bad for our children.

      But we have a problem. There can be a conflict of interests between the producer of foods and the customer. The producer needs to sell as much food at as low a price as possible. If the ill effects are immediate and significant then customers will notice and most will stop buying the food. But if the effects are less direct and take longer, then this is not so clear.

      We therefore want governments to ban hidden ingredients that will cause cancer, or otherwise make us sick. We want to go about our lives with an assurance that our food will not kill us. So who influences government decisions: is it us, or the corporations?

      Take the use of growth hormones in the raising of beef for slaughter. The synthesised hormone causes the animal to grow more meat, resulting in higher profits for the company concerned – and more protein going into the human diet. The European Union has considered evidence that some hormones can cause cancer and has therefore banned their use as growth promoters, and also banned meat from other countries where hormones have been used for that reason.

    • What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit

      You’d think that the 100th anniversary of the sinking of a Royal Mail ship – torpedoed in the Irish Sea in 1918 with the loss of 569 lives – would cause a few ripples in Brexit Britain. Most of the 771 passengers aboard were British soldiers heading back to the Western Front to fight for France. One of the engineers came from Birkenhead, a ship’s trimmer from Holyhead. There were Americans, Canadians and New Zealanders among the dead. So revolted was US president Woodrow Wilson by the sinking – for the RMS Leinster was also carrying more than a hundred civilians – that he delayed replying to a German request for an armistice.

      The Leinster, the regular daily ferry to Holyhead, was sunk 100 years and a day ago, the greatest ever disaster in the Irish Sea, and scarcely a month before the end of the First World War. But yesterday in Britain, only a mention in the Welsh press, a local BBC report and a minute’s silence at the Holyhead cenotaph commemorated the event. Obversely, the nation which suffered the greatest loss of life aboard the Leinster hardly bothered to remember its sinking until recent years. And the reason is simple. For most of the British soldiers aboard were Irishmen and the ship was a Dublin vessel and the 22 postal sorters killed were Irish and it sank less than an hour after it left the Irish port of Kingstown which is now called Dun Laoghaire.

      And this has produced an extraordinary irony of both history and politics. An independent Ireland which deliberately erased its First World War history after its brutal war for freedom from Britain – then a civil war within its 26 county borders – has only in recent decades felt able to acknowledge its people’s sacrifice in British uniform on the Somme, Flanders and at Gallipoli. And aboard the Leinster. And so it was that yesterday morning, led by the Irish naval service patrol ship Orla, a small flotilla of boats set sail from Dun Laoghaire – once a great royal navy port – so that descendants of the dead could scatter wreaths only a hundred feet above the wreckage of the Leinster. The Irish Times devoted a whole page to the disaster. Irish national television carried a prime time documentary on the Leinster.

      [...]

      For weeks, bodies washed up in Ireland, Scotland and Wales; one of them a young, unidentified woman came ashore near Holyhead. So did rumours: that soldiers threatened the passengers in the panic to abandon ship, that firearms were used – Sinn Fein would use this in its forthcoming election campaign. A few days later, the German U-boat U-123 was lost with all hands when it struck a mine in the North Sea.

      The local council at Dun Laoghaire has just produced a fine volume on the sinking of the Leinster in which the lord mayor of Dublin, Mícheál Mac Donncha, refers to the 1914-18 war as “futile” and adds – truthfully – that “our country was brought into it without … a democratic, independent government which was denied to us by the British government.” The mayor of Holyhead, Ann Kennedy, regards the Leinster tragedy – again, correctly – as “part of the history of Holyhead and Ireland” and speaks of “the friendships that have developed between Wales and Ireland”. She does not mention Britain. The British ambassador in Dublin, Robin Barnett, concludes rather prissily that the commemorations allow us “to remember our forbears in a respectful and inclusive (sic) manner”.

      But the German ambassador to Ireland, Matthias Hopfner, gets it spot on. Peace, he says, is inextricably linked to the European Union. “Europe is not only an answer to the past. It is an answer to the future.” In other words, this is not about “inclusivity” – how I am beginning to hate that smug word – but about history. Wales, alas, voted for Brexit – although there are signs it would not do so again if given a second referendum.When Ireland “did a Brexit” by leaving the British empire after 1921 – and the Commonwealth in 1949 – it buried some of its recent history. Through pride or prejudice? But its EU membership surely encouraged Ireland to see itself as a free and confident European country which could re-examine that history. Hence yesterday’s commemorations above the 1918 wreck of the Leinster. In those days, of course, British soldiers on leave from the Western Front in France could be given a free ticket to London or Dublin. No hard borders then.

    • Why a people’s vote on Brexit is democratic

      Britain is not used to referendums. Which is why the view that a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal – which thousands will be taking to the streets of London to demand this weekend – is somehow ‘undemocratic’ has gained traction.

      But it is actually quite usual to have a second vote on really big decisions that will have longterm impacts. For example, Ireland had two referendums on the Nice Treaty, first in June 2001, then in October 2002, before ratifying the Nice Treaty. Denmark also had two referendums on Maastricht, in June 1992 then May 1993.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why Do the Media Keep Parroting Trump’s Falsehoods?

      The circle of lies begins with Trump, continues through Fox News, and ends up in the mainstream media.

    • Here Are the Trump Projects Where Ivanka and Her Dad Misled Buyers

      A pattern of deception ran through the Trumps’ real estate deals since the mid-2000s. Not only were the Trumps more than the mere licensors they claimed to be, extracting millions in fees from nearly every facet of these projects, but they often misled buyers and investors on key information — such as the level of sales and the Trumps’ role and investment in the deals. (Read our full investigation.) The Trump Organization did not respond to our questions, and the White House didn’t have a comment.

    • Facebook’s Purge Of Political Pages Fuels Delusion Of Insurgent Threats To Democracy

      Facebook’s purge of more than 500 pages and 250 accounts ahead of midterm elections in the United States represents a massive trend to police social media activity in ways that put freedom of expression at risk.

      This trend effectively discourage users from engaging in radical politics and may be viewed as part of a counterinsurgency effort by a powerful social media company to assure a passive majority of Americans that they are properly guarding a widely used platform from alleged threats to democracy.

      On October 11, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, and Oscar Rodriguez, the company’s product manager, published a press release about the purge.

      “We’re removing 559 pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Gleicher and Rodriguez stated. “Many were using fake accounts or multiple accounts with the same names and posted massive amounts of content across a network of groups and pages to drive traffic to their websites.”

      According to Gleicher and Rodriguez, these techniques were used by groups and pages to make content “appear more popular” than it truly was on Facebook.

      Both suggested some of the pages and accounts were “ad farms” that misled users into believing they were “forums for legitimate political debate.”

    • Facebook Accused of Hiding Inflated Ad Metrics Back in 2015

      Facebook Inc. knew in early 2015 that it misled advertisers about the average time users spent viewing online video clips — and then lied about it, according to a lawsuit.

      The owner of the world’s largest social network acknowledged in September 2016 that it had inflated the metric for marketers, and said it fixed its calculations. Crowd Siren, the online marketing agency that sued over the misrepresentations, now claims that Facebook knew as early as 2015 that it was over-reporting the figures.

      Crowd Siren added fraud claims and a request for punitive damages against the company in an amended complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Oakland, California.

    • Facebook Sued By Advertisers For Hiding Ad-Metrics Error For More Than A Year

      After going through 80,000 pages of internal Facebook records that were obtained as a part of court proceedings, they found that that the company recognized the miscalculations in the year 2015.

    • Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections

      On October 11, Facebook announced the removal of 559 pages and 251 accounts from its service, accusing the account holders of “spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

      The purged users stand accused of posting “massive amounts of content … to drive traffic to their websites” with suspicious “timing ahead of US midterm elections.”

      Facebook admits to “legitimate reasons” for such behavior — “it’s the bedrock of fundraising campaigns and grassroots organizations.” Not to mention the operations of CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and a bunch of other users/pages which weren’t purged.

      Facebook also admits that it has previously “enforced this policy against many Pages, Groups and accounts created to stir up political debate …”

    • Twitter Publicly Shames Russian Troll Accounts: Publishes 10 Million Tweets

      Since the 2016 US election meddling went under the nose of Twitter, the company has become very diligent towards catching any troll accounts. Now, the company is publicizing troll tweets in order for people to understand the situation in a better way.

      The social media website has published datasets comprising 10 million tweets which includes text, images, GIF, videos from Russia and Iran affiliated accounts.

      The data set is made up of 3,841 accounts from the Russia-based Internet Research Agency, 770 accounts potentially from Iran. It also includes 2 million GIFs, videos and recorded Periscope live streams. Some data even dates back to 2009.

    • Twitter publishes tweet archive of Russian and Iranian state-run [astroturfer] farms

      The Russian set is 1.24GB of tweets, with nearly 300GB of media. The Iranian one is 168MB, with 65GB of media.

    • Enabling further research of information operations on Twitter

      These large datasets comprise 3,841 accounts affiliated with the IRA, originating in Russia, and 770 other accounts, potentially originating in Iran. They include more than 10 million Tweets and more than 2 million images, GIFs, videos, and Periscope broadcasts, including the earliest on-Twitter activity from accounts connected with these campaigns, dating back to 2009.

    • Why Coverage of Indigenous Issues Is So Lousy

      Long ago and far, far away, in a Canadian prairie city and a prior life as a local and regional reporter for TV news, I wondered why we covered Indigenous issues so badly. I presented this question to reporters, editors and producers in print and broadcast newsrooms, including my own, throughout the city. This in a city where roughly one-quarter of the local population was Indigenous, living literally on the other side of the tracks.

      Not a single person I interviewed argued against my premise. Everyone agreed our coverage was “lousy,” and got worse throughout the province, the further away from the city you were. Most gave me the usual excuses: We didn’t have enough time or people to do better, given tight deadlines; didn’t have adequate resources or people, given tighter budgets; and we worried about accusations of racism if we did a story about the problems, and accusations about racism if we painted over the problems.

      One producer in TV news said something different. She didn’t agree with what she called easy excuses. She said it was about money—advertising. Poor people in poor neighborhoods didn’t buy advertising, as a rule. Indigenous peoples, often the poorest of the poor, not only didn’t buy ads, but didn’t pay attention to ads or buy newspapers, a major source of stories and ideas for local broadcasting newsrooms. To her, Indigenous peoples got the coverage they paid for: no money, no coverage.

      Put simply—we weren’t considered part of the audience or readership.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Facebook accused of censorship after hundreds of US political pages purged

      And those who have built their livelihoods around the power of Facebook to drive traffic to their websites are wondering what to do next.

    • UK gov ploughs on with plans for mandatory porn age checks

      The regulation will be left for Parliament to poke to see if it becomes enshrined into law, and if it does, the regulation would force any website with porn content to force age checks before access is granted to a site.

      But things get murky to how the law could be applied. While sites that directly provide porn and charge for it or serve adverts to visitors will need to have age checks in place. But apps and services that have less than a third of their content rammed with porn won’t have to have the checks in place.

    • Why Trump’s Stormy Daniels Tweet Wasn’t Defamation

      Defamation is hard to prove in the United States — and that’s a good thing for political debate.

      On Monday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, against Donald Trump alleging that he defamed her on Twitter. While Trump’s bullying and name-calling, particularly targeting women, are abhorrent and vulgar, it’s not surprising that Clifford’s suit was unsuccessful. Defamation is relatively hard to prove in the United States — and that’s a good thing.

      The case was about Clifford’s assertion that in 2011, as she was considering going public with information about an affair she had with Trump, she was confronted by a stranger in a parking lot who told her to “leave Trump alone.” In April 2018, Clifford released a sketch of the person who she says confronted her. Trump responded by tweeting that the alleged encounter didn’t happen and the whole story was a “con job.” Clifford then sued Trump for defamation, among other legal actions she has taken against him and his coterie.

      To prove defamation, a plaintiff must essentially show three things: that the published statement in question was provably “false” and not just an opinion, that the defendant knew it was false and published it with the intent to cause harm, and that the plaintiff suffered demonstrable injury from the published falsehood.

    • PEN America Sues Donald Trump For 1st Amendment Violations In Attacking The Press

      PEN America, the well known human rights group that focuses on protecting freedom of expression for writers has now sued President Trump for a bunch of different attacks on the First Amendment — using Trump’s repeated tweets and threats as the key evidence in making these claims. The complaint lists out a bunch of different statements and actions by the President that PEN America argues all violate the 1st Amendment. There are four separate actions by the President described in the lawsuit, and let’s go through them one by one.

      First up is the President issuing an executive order about raising postal rates in retaliation against Jeff Bezos and Amazon, because Bezos (not Amazon) owns the Washington Post, and the Washington Post has been doing pretty strong reporting in revealing all sorts of Presidential misdeeds.

    • The Good Censor Document Shows Google Struggling With The Challenges Of Content Moderation

      Last week, the extreme Trump-supporting media sites went positively ballistic when Breitbart released a leaked internal presentation entitled “The Good Censor.” According to Breitbart and the other Trumpkin media, this is somehow “proof” that Google is censoring conservatives, giving up on free speech and planning to silence people like themselves. To put this into a context those sites would understand, this is “fake news.” I finally had the time to read through the 85 page presentation and, uh, it paints a wholly different picture than the one that Breitbart and such sites have been painting.

      Instead, it pretty clearly lays out why content moderation is impossible to do well at scale and that it will always result in decisions that upset a lot of people (no matter what they do). It also discusses how “bad actors” have effectively weaponized open platforms to silence people.

      It does not, as some sites have suggested, show a Google eager to censor anyone. Indeed, the report repeatedly highlights the difficult choices it faces, and repeatedly highlights how any move towards increased censorship can and will be abused by governments to stamp out dissent.

    • Chinese Professor Argues Google Should Launch A Censored Search Engine In China

      There’s been quite a lot of reasonable uproar over the leaked plans for Google to re-enter the Chinese market with a censored, locked down search engine. There’s a lot of history there, but giving in to the authoritarian government’s desire to block access to all sorts of content would seem to go very much against Google’s stated focus on helping provide access to information around the globe. There have been numerous recent reports of Google employees protesting this decision internally, and even some employees have quit Google to put an exclamation point on just how against this idea they are. Recently an opinion piece in the South China Morning Post from a Chinese professor started making the rounds, arguing that “even a censored Google search engine would be better” for people in China than its current main search engine, Baidu.

      [...]

      That’s really throwing in the towel entirely, though. The entire argument is based on the idea that Google hoped that leaving China would prompt some change in its unhealthy censorship policies. But, if true, that would entrust to Google a lot more power than I think even the biggest Google booster thinks the company has. It didn’t pull out of China to try to force China’s hand. It pulled out of China because it believed China’s censorship and surveillance campaigns were simply wrong. That hasn’t changed, and that’s why Google shouldn’t give in here. It’s not about some big calculus about what’s better for whom. It’s about not censoring content at the behest of an authoritarian censorship-happy government.

    • The Benton’s ‘Dangerous Art and Censorship’ forum brings much needed discourse on art’s impact in our world

      On Friday, The William Benton Museum of Art held a forum on the topic of dangerous art and censorship, directly tying into the museum’s latest exhibit, “What’s the Alternative? Art and Outrage of the 1960s Underground Press.” The panel showcased Dwayne Booth (also known as Mr. Fish), cartoonist and curator of the aforementioned exhibit, Molly Land, professor of law and associate director of UConn’s Human Rights Institute and Christopher Vials, associate professor of English and director of American studies. The forum was moderated by Brendan Kane, associate professor of history and assistant director of public humanities. The conversation lasted just over an hour and a half.

    • Saudi Arabia Threatens Anyone Spreading ‘Fake News’ Online with 5 Years in Prison, Heavy Fines

      Saudi Arabia is threatening to give 5-year prison terms and heavy fines to anyone caught spreading “fake news” online, a warning to those discussing the suspected murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The threat, published over the weekend in the Saudi Gazette, echoes one of President Trump’s favorite phrases to demean any journalism that he finds unfavorable to his regime.

      The Saudi Gazette cited Article 6 of the Saudi Arabia’s cybercrimes regulations which makes it against the law to breach “public order, religious values, public morals and privacy.” The law makes no distinction between Saudi citizens and foreign nationals found to be in violation of the draconian rules.

    • Facebook’s purge of left-wing media: A frontal assault on freedom of speech

      On Thursday, Facebook carried out a mass purge of left-wing political pages as part of an ongoing conspiracy by the state and the technology monopolies to censor the internet.

      Over 800 pages and accounts, with a combined following in the tens of millions, were summarily removed. The banned pages include highly popular postings by groups opposing and publicizing incidents of police violence such as Police the Police, Cop Block and Filming Cops, as well as prominent left-wing news pages such as Anti-Media, Reverb Press, Counter Current News and Resistance.

      The removal of these pages is an unconstitutional assault on freedom of speech and expression. Facebook, acting in coordination with the US government, is violating the most fundamental rights of the American population.

    • Ambassador to France criticized over censorship attempt

      Israeli Ambassador to Paris Aliza Bin-Noun, demanded that French television channel France 2 reconsider airing a news report about Palestinians who were wounded by the IDF, calling it “unbalanced” and asserting that it will cause incitement against Jews in the country.

      The French media was outraged at Bin-Noun’s request and protested it via various media channels. It was seen as an Israeli attempt to censor and undermine freedom of speech.

    • Supreme Court To Hear Case That Could Possibly (But Not Really) Impact Social Media Content Moderation

      This week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal in a case called Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, which some are arguing could have a major impact on whether or not social media sites are barred from moderating content because they’re quasi state actors and the 1st Amendment blocks them from moderating content.

      Let’s be clear on this: while something could go completely wacky and sideways (it is 2018, after all) the chances of this ruling directly impacting social media platforms is very, very, very, very, very, very, very small. That does not mean whatever ruling won’t be cited by various plaintiffs to make bizarre arguments — as we’ve seen repeatedly with people misinterpreting the Packingham decision. However, given both the facts of this case, and the way the Supreme Court works, I would be shocked if this ruling has any significant impact at all.

      This case involves a public access channel, Manhattan Neighborhood Network, where two producers — DeeDee Halleck and Jesus Melendez — were apparently fired for making critical comments about the network. They sued, claiming their First Amendment rights were violated, because the city and the network — as a state actor — were punishing them based on the content of their speech. The city has been dismissed from the case as it has basically nothing to do with any of this. The question at issue is whether or not this public access channel is a “traditional public forum,” in which even a private operator can be judged to be a de facto representative of the government and subject to the limits on the state — such as the First Amendments ban on suppression of speech.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Secret Government Report Shows Gaping Holes in Privacy Protections From U.S. Surveillance

      The Trump administration released a report from federal privacy watchdog after the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request.

      On Tuesday, in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, a federal privacy watchdog released an important report about how the U.S. government handles people’s personal information that it sweeps up in its surveillance. Despite requests from Senator Ron Wyden and the European Union, the Trump administration had refused to make the report public — until now. The report addresses government agencies’ implementation of “PPD-28,” President Obama’s 2014 policy directive on government spying and the treatment of “personal information,” which includes communications like emails, chats, and text messages.

      [...]

      This new report is yet more evidence that the future of the central U.S.–EU data-sharing agreement — known as Privacy Shield — is in doubt.

      Privacy Shield allows American tech firms operating in Europe to easily and lawfully transfer data to the United States, and it’s predicated on the idea that the U.S. “adequately” protects Europeans’ communications. The European Commission approved Privacy Shield in part because it believed that Obama’s directive provided meaningful protection. PPD-28 recognized that “all persons have legitimate privacy interests in the handling of their personal information” — and it explicitly extended some very modest privacy protections to non-Americans abroad.

      Although the directive was a step in the right direction, we’ve explained elsewhere why it does not provide adequate protection for EU persons’ data and is too weak to serve as the legal basis for Privacy Shield. This report makes it even clearer that the directive fails to cure the fundamental problems with U.S. surveillance law.

      In short, the U.S. government is exploiting the personal information it gathers using these spying activities more broadly than ever, but the report reveals just how anemic PPD-28’s protections are in practice. It also raises serious questions about whether the directive has been implemented fully and consistently across the intelligence community.

    • ABA Issues Opinion on Lawyers’ Obligations after Electronic Data Breach

      ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 483 (Oct. 17, 2018) is here. Like many ABA opinions, it provides a useful roadmap to the issues and how to respond to them (and, in this opinion, some good proactive advice). The opinion addressed the narrow issue of a data breach which results in disclosure of, or destruction of, client confidences as opposed to “ransomware” attacks and the like, where access is denied but the data is not compromised, or access to data is otherwise inhibited or delayed.

      The first take away is an obligation to “employ reasonable efforts to monitor” for unauthorized access to client confidences, whether at the office, through vendors, or otherwise.

      The second is that the lawyer must act reasonably promptly to stop any breach and mitigate, or rectify, the consequences. In this regard, the opinion suggests creating an “incident response plan with specific plans and procedures” to do so.

      Third, the opinion states that the lawyer must determine what, with reasonable care, was compromised, deleted, or misappropriated. And, again, it suggested these be part of the “incident response plan.”

    • Just As Expected: GDPR Has Made Google Even More Dominant In Europe

      Oh, the EU, will you ever learn? Over the last few years, the EU has been screaming about the awfulness of evil large tech companies in the name of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (sometimes called “GAFA”), though in reality, their biggest concerns are focused almost entirely on Google and Facebook. The EU keeps popping up with ridiculous laws, all of which are designed to hit Google and Facebook. The GDPR was a big one, and the latest is the EU Copyright Directive. And there are more as well. Some of us keep pointing out to the EU that if these laws are designed to go after Google and Facebook, they’re going to miss their target quite a bit, because they’ll mostly serve to lock in those companies as the dominant providers. That’s because they’re big enough to manage the regulatory burden, whereas startups and smaller competitors will not be able to and will suffer.

      The first bit of data is in on the GDPR and of course it shows that the big winner under the GDPR is… Google. The biggest losers? Smaller competitors to Google. A bit surprisingly, Facebook did see its adtech marketshare decline (while Google’s grew), but relative to everyone else, Facebook sill beat out all other competitors.

    • Facebook lied: its in-home “Portal” cameras will collect your data

      Portal will spy on you continuously while you use it and that data will be used to target Facebook ads at you later.

    • It turns out that Facebook could in fact use data collected from its Portal in-home video device to target you with ads

      Facebook announced Portal last week, its take on the in-home, voice-activated speaker to rival competitors from Amazon, Google and Apple.

      The biggest question surrounding the device: Why should anyone trust Facebook enough to put Facebook-powered microphones and video cameras in their living room or kitchen? Given Facebook’s year of privacy and security issues, privacy around the device — including what data Facebook collects and how it’s used — has been an important part of the story surrounding Portal.

    • Turns Out Putting a Facebook Camera in Your House Might Be a Privacy Issue

      Right after getting hacked a few weeks back, Facebook announced the Portal, a smart video calling device for your home that they said would respect your privacy. Turns out they didn’t really mean your privacy. Somebody’s privacy might get respected though.

      The Facebook Portal has a camera and microphone, and is meant to be used to talk to your relatives, watch videos from social media, and listen to music. It’s supposed to be the new communication portal with the rest of the world, using Facebook and Messenger to communicate with friends and family.

    • Ten Legislative Victories You Helped Us Win in California

      Your strong support helped us persuade California’s lawmakers to do the right thing on many important technology bills debated on the chamber floors this year. With your help, EFF won an unprecedented number of victories, supporting good bills and stopping those that would have hurt innovation and digital freedoms.

      Here’s a list of victories you helped us get the legislature to pass and the governor to sign, through your direct participation in our advocacy campaigns and your other contributions to support our work.

    • Atlanta airport launches America’s first “biometric terminal”

      On October 15th Delta Air Lines launched what it called America’s first “biometric terminal”, in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Once the programme is fully implemented, passengers will be able to use facial-recognition technology to check in, pass through security and board flights without having to scan a passport or boarding documents. The technology started to be used at boarding gates on October 15th and will be expanded throughout the airport’s international terminal by December 1st.

    • Public funds support proposal to remove Zuckerberg as Facebook chairman

      “Facebook plays an outsized role in our society and our economy. They have a social and financial responsibility to be transparent – that’s why we’re demanding independence and accountability in the company’s boardroom,” Stringer said in a statement.

    • Major Shareholders Propose To Remove Zuckerberg From Facebook’s Chairman Position

      2018 is certainly one of the worst years for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. After successive data breaches leading Zuckerberg to testify in front of Congress, now several shareholders are pushing to dethrone him from his position as Chairman of the board.

      On Wednesday, state treasurers of Rhode Island, Illinois, and Pennsylvania raised signed a proposal issued by Trillium Asset Management in June. The proposal suggests that Mark Zuckerberg should be removed as the Chairman for mishandling several high profile scandals.

    • Are Consumers Worried Enough to Buy a Personal Computer Server?

      Longer term, Privacy Labs wants Helm to be a private digital-identity hub for everything people do online. Instead of Google and Facebook Inc. storing all your information in their data centers and selling ads based on it, consumers would control the data and [I]nternet companies would have to ask for access, according to Chief Executive Officer Giri Sreenivas.

    • Meet Helm, the startup taking on Gmail with a server that runs in your home

      “I think more and more people are learning that what they get for free is not actually free,” Giri Sreenivas, cofounder and CEO of Helm, told Ars. “They’re learning that they give up their data, and companies like Google and companies like Facebook and others are figuring out anything and everything they can do under the sun to make money with that data and the corresponding online behaviors. This rising awareness is driving people to ask questions like ‘How do I own my data? How do I own my online identity?’”

    • Facebook faces GDPR probe as watchdog confirms breach hit three million EU users

      Facebook confirmed earlier this week that one million accounts had no, and 14 million lost what Facebook calls basic contact information – a name and an email address or phone number.

      The remaining 15 million got the worst of it: basic information, plus extra data which may include gender, religion, relationship status, education, work, location, device information and the 15 most recent searches they had done at the time.

    • Facebook hack [sic] affected 3 million in Europe, creating the first big test for privacy regulation there

      Approximately 3 million Europeans were affected by a September Facebook security breach in which users’ personal information was stolen, the Irish Data Protection Commission told CNBC on Tuesday.

    • EU General Court confirms that there is no general presumption of confidentiality in clinical study

      The circumstances in which clinical data concerning authorised medicinal products can be disclosed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), continues to generate debate. In the recent case of Amicus Therapeutics v European Medicines Agency (EMA) (Case T-33/17), the General Court (Second Chamber) of the European Union has confirmed that there is no general presumption of confidentiality of certain categories of documents submitted in the context of a marketing authorisation application, and in particular clinical study reports.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • NY Prosecutors Sue to Stop Misconduct Watchdog

      New York prosecutors sued Governor Andrew Cuomo and others Wednesday to block a new law that made the Empire State the first in the country to put its district attorneys under the scrutiny of an oversight panel.

    • How the Ongoing Prison Strike is Connected to the Labor Movement

      The striking prisoners of today have released a list of ten demands, which calls for improvements to the current living conditions in prisons, increased rehabilitation programs, educational opportunities, and specific policy goals. This essentially articulates the idea of non-reformist reforms, a central plank of prison abolition. By illuminating the barbarity of the current prison system and calling for its abolishment while advocating for an improvement in current conditions, they are—to paraphrase French socialist André Gorz—asking not for what can be achieved within a current system, but for what should be possible.

    • A Confederate Portrait, Racial Bias, and the Death Penalty in Virginia

      A portrait of Robert E. Lee on display in a Virginia court where a Black man faces the death penalty reveals an abhorrent racial injustice.

      In Louisa County, Virginia, a Black man stands trial for his life. When he looks around to see who is presiding over his trial he will see the picture of another man besides the judge staring down at him from above— Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

      This isn’t the post-war South of the late 19th century or even the first six decades or so of the 20th century. This is Virginia in 2018. And this is the court where the defendant, Darcel Murphy, is expected to receive justice under the portrait of a man who fought to keep his ancestors enslaved. This week, Murphy’s lawyers filed a motion asking for the trial to be held in a courtroom free of Confederate symbols, memorials, and iconography.

      Although it should not need to be stated, a man whose picture is etched on Stone Mountain, the Mount Rushmore of white supremacy, should not be on the wall in a court of law in America. The fact that the portrait is speaks volumes about how America has historically and continues to minimize its racist legacy.

    • ‘Their Policies Toward Indigenous People and Toward the Land Need to Change’

      The second Monday of October has passed, and listeners may have noticed that there was less “In fourteen-hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue” than they might remember from the past. More and more cities, states and colleges have officially changed the day’s name to Indigenous Peoples Day, in acknowledgment that Columbus’s legacy of mass murder, rape, invasion and enslavement is nothing to celebrate.

      Challenging the glorification of someone who did such horrific harm is welcome. But changing the name of the holiday might give some the impression that that harm—which is ongoing—has been addressed. And that wouldn’t be just untrue, but unhelpful.

      Our next guest is among those asking that, even should the whole country go along, we think more deeply about declaring Indigenous Peoples Day a completed intervention.

    • With 19 Days to Midterms, Georgia Is Rejecting Ballots Over Handwriting

      Georgia’s signature-match laws deprive voters of due process. We’re suing.

      Early voting in Georgia for the 2018 general election just kicked off on Monday, but already the state has rejected close to 600 absentee ballots or applications for an absentee ballot.

      One culprit?

      State laws that require election officials to reject all absentee ballots and absentee ballot applications if they believe that signatures within the voter’s paperwork do not match each other.

      The elections’ officials making these determinations do not have any formal education or training to analyze people’s handwriting, and are not given any unifying instructions on what should constitute a mismatch. It’s left entirely up to them, a layperson. Georgia does not notify voters before their ballots are rejected nor does it provide them an opportunity to contest the determination.

      To throw out someone’s ballot — without any prior notice or chance to appeal — is a clear due process violation. That’s why we, with the ACLU of Georgia, are suing Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp and all county registrars on behalf of the Georgia Muslim Voter Project, an organization that will have to divert voter turnout resources into educating the public about the risk of being disenfranchised over handwriting.

    • ‘See Something Say Something’ Sends Philly Counter-Terrorism Unit After A Local Journalist Over A Harmless Facebook Post

      But they were. Philly police insisted on speaking personally to Owens about his post. He met them at the unit’s headquarters the next day. Once there, the officers said stuff about “see something, say something” and proceeded to question Owens about gun ownership, bomb-making ability, and any plans he might have to harm anyone else. After answering these questions, the police told Owen he was “cleared” and free to go. The officers also told him this was standard procedure police follow when criminal activity is reported.

    • Philly Police counterterrorism unit interrogated journalist over Facebook comment

      Ernest Owens, the LGBTQ editor at Philadelphia Magazine, tends to be provocative when writing about racism and homophobia. But he had no idea that a social media comment about racial tensions in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood would get him a call from the Police Department’s counterterrorism unit.

      That’s what happened last December, after someone complained to the police about what he wrote on Facebook. “I was just shocked,” Owens, 27, said two weeks ago. Being questioned by detectives in an interrogation room in South Philadelphia left him shaken, he said, and factored into his decision not to cover the January 2018 Mummers Parade, as he had in the past.

    • Even in Philadelphia, One of the Most Determined Sanctuary Cities, Refuge Is Elusive

      A small, impish grin spread across Jeff Sessions’ face. It was a sun-drenched June afternoon in Scranton, a northeastern Pennsylvania town a few generations removed from its coal-mining heyday, and the U.S. attorney general was ensconced in a window-lined university hall, preaching to cops, prosecutors and police cadets about the importance of President Donald Trump’s war on illegal immigration. Outside, protesters jeered.

      Sanctuary cities, Sessions said, reject the law, reward criminals and put U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in peril. Then he smiled and began attacking Jim Kenney, Philadelphia’s Democratic mayor.

      Philadelphia had emerged as one of the largest thorns in the Trump administration’s side. It wore its sanctuary reputation like a badge of honor, and its leaders, including Kenney and District Attorney Larry Krasner, continued to find creative ways to outmaneuver ICE’s enforcement efforts. Just a week earlier, Philadelphia won a federal lawsuit that Kenney filed against the Department of Justice. At risk had been a $1.6 million law enforcement grant, and the critical question of whether Philadelphia — and, by implication, cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco — could limit cooperation with ICE without being penalized by the federal government.

    • AIMPLB to advise women: Settle marital disputes within family, avoid police & courts

      Avoid approaching the police or a court against your husband, try and settle marital disputes within the family under Sharia law, know your rights under Sharia law — this is the advice the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) is planning to give Muslim women through a series of workshops across the state.

    • Girl killed, mother wounded over marriage dispute
    • Iran: Victim of domestic and sexual violence, arrested as a child, is executed after unfair trial

      “After the murder of her husband, Zeinab Sekaanvand said she was interrogated under torture by male police officers without a lawyer present. During her final trial session, where she was allowed a lawyer for the first time, she retracted her earlier ‘confession’ that she had murdered her husband, saying that she had been coerced to make it. Despite this, the judge refused to order a further investigation and instead sentenced her to death.

    • Despite Pleas, Iran Executes Female Juvenile Offender

      According to religious law, Iran considers girls as young as nine criminally liable and the age for boys is 15, based on a notion of when children reach puberty.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • New York Attorney General Expands Inquiry Into Net Neutrality Comments

      Most strikingly, many comments on net neutrality were falsely submitted under the names of real people, in what amounted to mass acts of virtual identity theft. Some comments used the name of dead people. Ms. Underwood’s investigators have estimated that almost half of all of the comments — more than nine million — used stolen identities.

    • NY’s AG Is Trying To Tie Major ISPs To Those Bogus Net Neutrality Comments

      Last year you might recall that the New York AG’s office began investigating who was behind all of those bogus comments that flooded the FCC’s website during the net neutrality repeal. As we noted then, “somebody” paid a proxy organization to flood the FCC comment period with a myriad of fake comments. Some of those comments hijacked the real identities of real people (like myself). Others utilized a bot to post a myriad of fake support for Ajit Pai using a hacked database of some kind. Some of the most enthusiastic supporters of Ajit Pai’s policies were, interestingly enough, dead.

      When the AG’s office reached out to the FCC for help getting to the bottom of who was behind the fake comments, the FCC completely stonewalled them, rejecting nine requests for data between June and November of last year. The FCC has subsequently stonewalled numerous FOIA requests regarding who used the necessary APIs to submit the fraudulent comments in bulk, resulting in a lawsuit by journalist Jason Prechtel. A court recently ruled in Prechtel’s favor, demanding the FCC release at least some data (in a month or two) that could identify the culprits.

    • Up to 9.5 million net neutrality comments were made with stolen identities

      The New York attorney general’s office is widening an investigation into fraudulent net neutrality comments, saying it estimates that up to 9.5 million comments were submitted using stolen identities.

    • YouTube Is Down Across The World; Company Working On The Fix

      There is no word on what caused the massive outage and for a Google-operated service like this, such a serious downtime for YouTube is quite rare. The pages have begun loading a few minutes back but trying to watch a video still throws up an error message.

      [...]

      But the most interesting one came from Philadelphia police requesting residents not to call 911 to complain about YouTube’s downtime!

    • Pakistan causes YouTube outage for two-thirds of world

      Most of the world’s Internet users lost access to YouTube for several hours Sunday after an attempt by Pakistan’s government to block access domestically affected other countries.

      The outage highlighted yet another of the Internet’s vulnerabilities, coming less than a month after broken fiber-optic cables in the Mediterranean took Egypt off line and caused communications problems from the Middle East to India.

      An Internet expert explained that Sunday’s problems arose when a Pakistani telecommunications company accidentally identified itself to Internet computers as the world’s fastest route to YouTube. But instead of serving up videos of skateboarding dogs, it sent the traffic into oblivion.

      [...]

      The block was intended to cover only Pakistan, but extended to about two-thirds of the global Internet population, starting at 1:47 p.m. ET Sunday, according to Renesys Corp., a Manchester, N.H., firm that keeps track of the pathways of the Internet for telecommunications companies and other clients.

      The greatest effect was in Asia, were the outage lasted for up to two hours, Renesys said.

      YouTube confirmed the outage on Monday, saying it was caused by a network in Pakistan.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Did Uber Steal Google’s Intellectual Property [sic]?

      Levandowski, for his part, has been out of work since he was fired by Uber. It’s hard to feel much sympathy for him, though. He’s still extremely wealthy. He left Google with files that nearly everyone agrees he should not have walked off with, even if there is widespread disagreement about how much they’re worth. Levandowski seemed constantly ready to abandon his teammates and threaten defection, often while working on an angle to enrich himself. He is a brilliant mercenary, a visionary opportunist, a man seemingly without loyalty. He has helped build a technology that might transform how the world functions, and he seems inclined to personally profit from that transformation as much as possible. In other words, he is an exemplar of Silicon Valley ethics.

    • Stark’s broad WesternGeco application tees up damages issue for Federal Circuit

      Delaware’s chief judge ruling in Power Integrations v Fairchild Semiconductor means the Federal Circuit may soon rule on the scope of the Supreme Court’s WesternGeco decision on patent damages for foreign sales

      District of Delaware Chief Judge Leonard Stark on October 4 ruled that the US Supreme Court’s WesternGeco v Ion decision has broad implications for patent damages for foreign sales.

    • Germany: Filtern digitaler Videobilder, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 90/15, 23 May 2017

      This decision by the FCJ confirms that the cited prior art should, generally, provide concrete suggestions, hints or at least provide other reasons beyond the recognizability of the technical problem to seek the solution of a technical problem in the way presented in the patent.

    • China’s Supreme Court Clarified the Doctrine of Prosecution History Estoppel

      In China, a patent owner’s statements made during prosecution or invalidation may give rise to prosecution history estoppel (or prosecution disclaimer), which precludes the patent owner from recapturing subject matter that was relinquished during prosecution or invalidation in subsequent infringement actions. To invoke the doctrine of prosecution disclaimer, such statements must constitute a clear and unmistakable surrender of claim scope.

      Prior to 2016, China’s standard of prosecution disclaimer was not clear in that, whether a patentee is bound by the arguments that it made before the examiner or the Board regardless of whether the examiner or the Board adopted such argument for allowance.

      In 2016, the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) in a judicial interpretation introduced an exception to prosecution history estoppel if a patentee’s narrowing statements are expressly rejected by the examiner during prosecution or by the Paten Reexamination Board (PRB) during invalidation proceedings.

    • Court of Appeal gives Ice-World the cold shoulder

      On 10 October 2018 the Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in the matter of Icescape Limited v Ice-World International BV & Ors*. Three discrete issues were considered by the Court and, although the decision of the Lord Justices of Appeal ultimately did not change the effect of the first instance judgment, the opinions given on Priority, Infringement (further to the supreme court decision in Actavis v Eli Lilly**), and Threats are worthy of note.

    • Equitable Servitudes and Post-Sale Restrictions

      I have continued to find the issue of post-sale restrictions vexing. On the one hand, I think that there are sound economic reasons for them. On the other hand, I really don’t like them, especially when they limit what should otherwise be reasonable and free activities.

      The Supreme Court’s recent cases in this area have made it more difficult to enforce such restrictions, but they have done so in a way that leaves open the possibility that some restrictions might apply while also not giving much guidance about when.

    • USA: Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Sandoz Inc., United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, No. 2017-1575, 12 October 2018

      Concluding that the asserted claims of patents relating to dosing and administration of the drug Copaxone used to treat multiple sclerosis are obvious, the U.S. Court of Appeals the Federal Circuit has affirmed a decision by the federal district court in Delaware invalidating the patents, handing a major victory to generic drug manufacturers.

    • Proportional Restraints in Horizontal Patent Settlements

      When rivals settle a patent dispute, they prefer to preserve monopoly profits, even if the patent is very likely invalid or noninfringed. Antitrust has come to embrace a policy that requires horizontal settlements to restrain competition by no more than the expected result of counterfactual patent litigation. But this creates serious difficulties in practice, and has only been effectively applied to one type of settlement. However, we show that a settlement’s design necessarily determines how “proportional” private bargaining outcomes will be: how closely their competitive effects will compare to the expected result of litigation. Using our approach, one can identify settlement designs that will always induce bargaining outcomes generating the same profits — and greater consumer welfare — than litigation would provide in expected value. More generally, our approach enables one to discern any settlement’s proportionality (or lack thereof) without having to estimate the expected outcome of counterfactual patent litigation.

    • Extraterritoriality and Proximate Cause after WesternGeco

      The Supreme Court’s decision WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp. appeared to be a narrow case about a rather obscure patent law provision. In reality, however, it had the potential to reach into a number of trans-substantive areas, including the nature of compensatory damages, proximate cause, and extraterritoriality. Instead of painting with a broad brush, the Supreme Court opted to take a modest, narrow approach to the issue of whether lost profits for foreign activity were available to a patent holder for infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f)(2). In addressing this issue, the Court utilized its two-step framework for assessing the extraterritorial reach of U.S. law adopted in RJR Nabisco Inc. v. European Community. The Court skipped step one, but its analysis of step two confirmed that the territorial limits of damages is tied to the corresponding liability provision. Ultimately the Court allowed the damages for the relevant foreign activity.

      This decision clarified a few things about the extraterritorial application of US law. By skipping step one, the Court made it clear that the presumption against extraterritoriality is distinct from the focus analysis of step two. The Court passed on the opportunity to further elaborate on step one and to answer definitely whether the presumption applies to remedial provisions. The Court also elaborated on step two and embraced a methodology that tied extraterritorial reach of a general remedy provision to the corresponding liability provision.

      The Court’s decision also leaves a number of questions open. Specifically, it remains unclear whether the Federal Circuit’s Power Integrations and Carnegie Mellon decisions survive WesternGeco. I contend that they do, in disagreement with other professors. The Court also failed to explore the important role that proximate cause may play in future patent cases, particularly those involving global theories of damages, and issue that I take up here. The Federal Circuit could – and should – embrace a narrower conception of proximate cause to limit these types of global theories of patent damages.

    • How To Avoid Having A Worthless Patent

      This summer, the United States Patent & Trademark Office issued patent number 10 million with great fanfare. But most of those patents are worthless, I’m afraid. Few patented inventions recoup the cost of filing and maintaining patent protection. There isn’t a single definitive figure. But it’s safe to say probably fewer than 10% do.

      The question of why so many patented inventions never make it to market is one I’ve been asking myself for years.

    • Considering the Value of Patents in African Countries

      Many African countries have strict exchange control requirements that govern the flow of capital into and out of their economies. For a global company doing business in Africa, expatriating profits made from their African operations may not be a simple matter. Local officials may carefully scrutinise cross-border licence agreements and query the royalty rates charged.

      Transfer pricing principles must be applied when supplies are made between related entities within a corporate group structure. In particular, when royalties are paid by a local subsidiary to a foreign parent company, the royalty charged must be aligned with what would be charged on an arms-length basis between unrelated parties.

    • Practice Note: Don’t Send Drugs to the Federal Circuit

      The cannabis attachment was apparently intended to create subject matter jurisdiction in the case. I don’t fully understand the Schirripa’s flow chart, but it appears to be a boot-strap version a catch-22 for the court — the type of argument that you might figure out while high.

    • Trademarks

      • ISU Student Groups Changing Names En Masse To Protest School’s Ridiculous New Trademark Policy

        You will recall that over the past few years, we have been discussing how Iowa State University essentially did everything wrong concerning an alumni group running a pro-marijuana organization that made use of school symbols and iconography. After initially approving the group’s use of school trademarks, several members of the state’s conservative legislature got involved, leading to the school rescinding that authorization. NORML, the name of the group, sued the school, claiming all of this was a violation of their free speech rights. The courts agreed, eventually to the tune of a $600k judgement, meaning that school wasted over half a million dollars of taxpayer money to fail at trademark bullying.

        You might have expected that this would serve as a delightful education for the school as to the reasons why they don’t want to be a trademark bully. You would be wrong, of course. Instead, the school’s next step was to immediately rewrite its trademark use policy, making it laughably restrictive and essentially attempting to give the school broad oversight over all uses of its iconography by student groups. This, predictably, has led to a full on revolt both by many of the school’s student organizations and its student government.

    • Copyrights

      • Italian Supreme Court holds that an unauthorized derivative work may be both infringing and protectable

        In 1979 Ralph Carey created what would become the mascot of the Western Kentucky University (WKU) basketball team, a red character named Big Red. In 2009 he brought proceedings before the Milan Court of First Instance against broadcasters RTI and Mediaset and the creator of well-known TV programme Striscia La Notizia, claiming that the likeness of mascot/TV character Gabibbo (‘operating’ since 1990) would infringe copyright in Big Red.

      • Advertisement distributed by Swedish ISP held to be sexually discriminatory

        Readers who have been following the EU copyright reform saga may be familiar with the argument that the new directive, if adopted, would make it impossible to share GIFs and memes in Europe due to the requirements under Article 13.

        But can a meme be pulled also on other grounds than what, quite scarily, copyright has been accused – rightly so or not – of?

        This is indeed what happened in what frankly looks like a bizarre decision of the Board of the Swedish Advertising Ombudsman(the Board) a few weeks ago.

        According to the Board’s decision, the well-known Distracted Boyfriendmeme (a stock image come to fame) used for advertisement would be sexually discriminatory and should be consequently banned.

        [...]

        In response to the negative attention, Bahnof attempted to publicly apologize on Facebook. It stated that it was attempting to use the Distracted Boyfriend meme to visualize the application process in a humouristic fashion. It depicts – albeit in a sarcastic style – jealousy and longing – for something better than what the employee currently has. The spirit is that the advertiser is an attractive workplace that can lure you into breaking your relationship with the current employer.

        [...]

        In light of the above, the Board found that the advertisement was in breach of Article 4 of the ICC Marketing and Advertising code.

        Beware memes!

      • 20 Best Legal Alternatives To Sites Like Pirate Bay, KAT, Yify, 123movies, Putlocker

        I am sure many of you remember the golden days of torrents when it was easily accessible and offered really good content. However, in recent years, due to crackdown on torrents like KickassTorrents, several file-sharing websites have been shut down. While there are mirror sites to substitute the original ones, they come with their share of risks like malware or adware.

        But there are several legal alternatives to torrents and illegal streaming sites like Pirate Bay, KAT, Yify, 123movies, Putlocker. Such legal websites offer free movies, TV shows, music, anime, ebooks, cracked software, etc. So in this article, I have listed them according to the content they provide best. So do check out all the sections to find exactly what you need.

      • Australia Targets Google With Tough New Anti-Piracy Law

        Australia already has laws to enable the blocking of overseas sites that facilitate piracy but the content industries want more. New legislation unveiled today will give copyright holders new tools to force Google and other search engines to delete search results that link to infringing sites.

      • Court: ISP’s Lack of Terminations Didn’t Lure Pirating Subscribers

        There is no evidence that Internet provider Grande Communication’s lack of repeat infringer terminations acted as a draw to pirating subscribers. US District Court Judge Lee Yeakel has adopted the recommendations of the Magistrate Judge, which means that the RIAA labels must now limit their case to the contributory infringement claim.

      • Roku to Go Back on Sale in Mexico After Copyright Victory

        Popular streaming device Roku will go back on sale in Mexico after a ruling by a court in Mexico City. The device has been off the shelves for more than a year following an initially successful copyright complaint by TV company Cablevision. However, that ruling has now been overturned and Roku declared legal, paving the way for a full return to the streaming market in Mexico.

It’s Almost 2019 and Team UPC is Still Pretending Unitary Patent (UPC) Exists, Merely Waiting for Britain to Join

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amplifying those two lies (twisting facts) still

Female gymnast

Summary: Refusing to accept that the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) has reached its death or is at a dead end, UPC proponents — i.e. lawyers looking to profit from frivolous litigation — resort to outright lies and gymnastics in logic/intellectual gymnastics

EUROPEAN patent courts don’t quite tolerate software patents in Europe. National courts have pretty clear laws (excepting or excluding abstract things), so the António Campinos-run EPO hopes to bypass/replace these courts with UPC, which rumours say Battistelli still wants to manage. IAM keeps him in the loop, as does CEIPI.

Earlier this week Womble Bond Dickinson LLP’s Patrick Cantrill, Rose Smalley and Tim Barber spoke about UPC. They clarify that everything is conditional although they stop short of saying it’s dead. To quote:

The current membership of the EPO numbers 38 countries, i.e. a far greater number than the current 28 Member States of the EU. Therefore, as far as the EPO, EPC and UK patent profession are concerned, it is business as usual. To put into context this continuation of the UK in the operations of the EPC and the EPO, it may be recalled that UK patent attorneys comprise one-fifth of the total number of professionals across the EPO signatory states, and they handle one-third of all of the European patent (“EP”) applications. Moreover, of the 40,000 EPs filed last year by UK patent attorneys, 90% originated from outside the UK. Consequently, the prosecution of EP applications, whether at the EPO or through the Patent Cooperation Treaty, will not change. New and pending applications will continue to designate the UK and as before, at the grant stage, the applicant will be able to opt for national protection in the UK and other countries, exactly as they do at present.

However, there will be some ramifications following Brexit in such areas as Supplementary Protection Certificates (“SPCs”); Community Plant Variety Rights (“CPVRs”); and the proposed Unitary Patents (“UPs”) and Unified Patents Court (“UPC”).

Moreover, if the UP system is to come into existence, there is a query as to the extent to which the UK can participate, an issue which this note addresses in greater detail below, along with the issue as to whether, and if so how, patentees might wish to opt out of UPC system.

[...]

The establishment of the UPC has been stalled by a challenge brought before the German Constitutional Court, which is not due to be heard until the autumn of 2018. Even if this challenge were to be overcome, the UPC is now unlikely to open its doors until the middle of 2019 at the earliest, after the date for Brexit.

It has nevertheless been stated by the UK Government that, regardless of Brexit, the UK wishes to participate in the UPC. With this in mind, the UK ratified the UPC Treaty on 26 April 2018. However, as aspects of the UPC will be subject to EU law, the UK’s participation post-Brexit will require an amendment to the UPC Treaty, as its provisions only cover ‘Member States’. Encouragingly, there appears to be willingness on all sides that such an accommodation will be made in order to allow the UK to participate.

If the UK is unable (or unwilling) post-Brexit to participate in the UP system, a UP will cover only those EU Member States within the EPC system that have ratified the UPC Treaty. As at the date of publication, 16 Member States had ratified and three more are on track to have ratified by the time that the UP system commences (if such should occur in mid-2019). If the UK does not join, it will continue to be possible to validate ‘classical’ EP application in the UK as is the case today.

They are leaping quite a few steps because there are additional barriers (other than Germany’s challenge) and opposition can be leveraged — if necessary — in all sorts of other ways. The truth is, UPCA is nothing but a collusion of law firms. They strive to change the law to better suit the litigation ‘industry’. It’s bad for Europe and good for foreign patent trolls.

IPPro Patents’ Ben Wodecki has meanwhile mentioned some nonsense from a “LIPS panellist” (they promote patent maximalism in this event). The UPC is virtually dead, but facts don’t seem to matter because Team UPC keeps lying about it in its behind-closed-doors lobbying events. Here’s what the new report said:

The UK does not need to sign a new treaty to remain part of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), according to Francesco Macchetta, intellectual property advisor and former director of IP at Bracco Imaging.

In a panel discussion at the London IP Summit on intellectual property post-brexit, Macchetta said that, in his opinion, no new treaty would be necessary for the UK to remain in the UPC as “the UK ratified when it was an EU member as required by the legislation”.

Pierre Véron, honorary president of the European Patent Lawyers Association, agreed, showing the audience the Lamping-Ullrich paper, which suggests that the UK should not be allowed to be part of the UPC post-brexit.

This is the same European Patent Lawyers Association (EPLAW) which recently mocked the paper using anonymous sockpuppets. These people are downright crazy and they’re growingly miserable.

Last but not least we have this new article by Dorsey & Whitney LLP. “The Unified Patent Court (‘UPC’) has not yet been established as it is still needs ratification by Germany (the timing of which, vis-à-vis Brexit, is unknown),” it says. Timing? Not even the outcome is known!

But that doesn’t matter, does it?

They’d have their target audience believe that the outcome is already known and judges are just some ‘nuisance’ in the face of inevitability. From their article:

As much of patent law has a basis in UK domestic legislation, the existing systems (including conditions, legal requirements and application processes) will remain in place but will operate independently from the EU. EU legislation relevant to patents and supplementary protection certificates will be retained in the UK law and will form the UK’s own supplementary protection certificate regime on exit. Any existing rights and licences in force in the UK will remain in force after exit day.

The Unified Patent Court (‘UPC’) has not yet been established as it is still needs ratification by Germany (the timing of which, vis-à-vis Brexit, is unknown). The UPC is intended to be a single international forum established by 25 EU countries to provide businesses with a streamlined process for enforcing patents. The UK government has stated that it wishes to remain part of the UPC and unitary patent system on exit day if possible. If the UPC is ratified and comes into force, the UK will explore whether it would be possible to remain within the UPC and unitary patent systems following Brexit. Following Brexit it may be that staying within the UPC and unitary patent system is unworkable. To do so would mean that the UK has to accept the supremacy of European law in these matters and this is most likely not acceptable to certain UK political circles who regard the supremacy of any form of outside law and of forum as objectionable.

Pretty much all the above is a salad of lies and wishful thinking, i.e. what sums up pretty much everything that comes out of the mouths of Team UPC nowadays. Time has probably run out for them already, but they refuse to give up. They’re delusional.

IAM and IP Kat Are Still Megaphones of Battistelli and His Agenda

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

(The ‘new’ IP Kat (after Merpel 'died'), the one which deletes comments about Battistelli and António Campinos)

Battistelli revisionism

Summary: IAM reaffirms its commitment to corrupt Battistelli and IP Kat maintains its stance, which is basically not caring at all about EPO corruption (to the point of actively deleting blog comments that mention such corruption, i.e. ‘sanitising’ facts)

THE EPO said “goodbye and good riddance” to Battistelli almost 4 months ago. He has since then maintained a low profile except when French media approached him as he may be criminally liable but immune nonetheless.

Joff Wild of IAM, where the corrupt Battistelli writes on occasions (promoting software patents in Europe), is still whitewashing this man. This is the man IAM does revisionism for even in October. See the screenshot above.

Curiously enough, not only was the above behind paywall (which makes it harder for Battistelli’s critics to assess). It only appeared in searches more than a fortnight late. Why?

On the same day (Tuesday) Annsley Merelle Ward (Bristows LLP), who dominated IP Kat last year, returned for a change to carry on cheering for patent trolls in the UK. “One of the key issues on appeal from Mr Justice Birss’ decision,” she said, is basically whether companies can use their proxy patent trolls to shake down the competition.

“In conclusion, IAM is still (more than 3 months later) grooming Battistelli and IP Kat has no interest whatsoever in EPO scandals (which carry on by the way).”So a firm involved in the case uses IP Kat for its own purposes; “The IPKat team [i.e. Bristows staff quoting other Bristows staff] will be back next week to report on the key findings of the Court of Appeal, with analysis to follow,” she said.

What has IP Kat become? Aside from the fact that it doesn’t write as much as it used to (and several writers very recently left), watch what it published on the same day about “blockchain” (the usual patent hype) and then in “Standards and Patents annual conference returns to London”. IP Kat actively promotes an event in London that lobbies for software patents under the guise of “AI”, “FRAND” and other nonsense (even software patents inside standards).

Later in the same day IP Kat started celebrating patents on food; the comments are better than the post. Last but not least, on the same day IP Kat mentioned the EPO (at long last). But remember this is the Kat which deleted the thread (about 40 comments) about António Campinos, whose friends he already brings to the EPO (just like Battistelli did). What did the blog write about the EPO? Nothing. It just plugged in the EPO’s press release: “The Administrative Council of the EPO has appointed the next vice-presidents of the EPO: Stephen Rowan (UK), Christoph Ernst (Germany) and Nellie Simon (Austria). Find out more about the new vice-presidents here.”

In conclusion, IAM is still (more than 3 months later) grooming Battistelli and IP Kat has no interest whatsoever in EPO scandals (which carry on by the way). This cat got neutered…

The EPO Under António Campinos Relaxes the Rules on Software Patenting and the Litigation ‘Industry’ Loves That

Posted in Europe, Marketing, Patents at 5:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Easier to tax coders, whose projects will be undermined or never come to fruition in the first place (due to fear of lawsuits)

EPO white flag

Summary: EPO management, which is nontechnical, found new terms by which to refer to software patents — terms that even the marketing departments can endorse (having propped them up); they just call it all AI, augmented intelligence and so on

THE EPO seems eager to handicap Europe’s software industry. What does it care anyway? All it wants to do is grant as many patents as possible and get a pat on the back from litigators. António Campinos has taken this lunacy to new levels as the EPO under his leadership constantly promotes software patents in Europe. It does so not only every day but several times per day. Campinos recently saw the need to write a blog post about it.

“…now that nontechnical people (promoted based on loyalties rather than merit) run the EPO they’re more easily swayed by law firms and marketing departments, not scientists.”Not everyone is upset about this abomination. Some people make a living not from creation but from destruction; put another way, they sue things out of existence. Like patent trolls do…

Patent law firms, unlike patent trolls, win irrespective of the courts’ outcomes. It doesn’t matter if European Patents are nowadays presumed invalid; all that matters is that lawyers are needed…

We recently wrote about the leveraging of "AI" as a byword or surrogate for software patents. Philip Naylor (Carpmaels & Ransford LLP) took note of that too; writing in IAM, the EPO’s propaganda rag, Naylor said this:

The EPO has updated its official guidelines to include a specific section on how the office is likely to assess patent applications directed towards artificial intelligence (AI). A preview of the update can be found on the EPO website and will come into force on 1 November 2018.

The update to the guidelines provides further clarity on how the EPO’s existing legal framework will be applied to AI inventions. Generally, the update confirms that the same rules that are applied to all computer-implemented inventions will apply to inventions involving AI. The rules stipulate that mathematical methods per se are “devoid of technical character” and thus are not patentable when considered in isolation. However, inventions that use mathematical methods remain patentable if they provide a technical solution to a technical problem. The EPO’s guidelines now state that AI and machine-learning algorithms are considered to be mathematical methods. Therefore, an invention that uses AI or machine learning must solve a technical problem in order to be patentable, in the same way as any other computer-implemented invention.

So they’re adding tricks for software patenting, knowing that these are not allowed. They tell applicants to say “AI” and at the same time instruct examiners to almost ‘rubber-stamp’ all this “AI” stuff. Never mind if the concept is rather nebulous, much like the concept of “cloud”. The litigation industry rejoices and helps this agenda, based on another new article that says:

Jennings is in the camp that believes that AI “augments humans”. He said he was “very happy to see that the European Patent Office (EPO) stresses AI as augmented intelligence”.

The EPO published its preliminary update of its guidelines for examination in early October, which included changes for provisions relating to the patentability of AI and machine learning.

So software can be patented “per se” and “as such”; just make sure the application says “AI” in it.

Eamon Robinson (Haseltine Lake LLP) has also just published this article about the EPO cutting corners for shallower or faster examination:

A European patent or a patent application may not be amended to contain subject matter extending beyond the application as filed. This section of the Guidelines provides guidance on when replacing or removing features from a claim results in unallowable added subject matter.

The Guidelines describe a three step test to determine if such amendments result in added subject matter. The updated Guidelines clarify that an amendment will fail the test, and thus add matter, if at least one criterion of the test is failed.

[...]

The changes to the Guidelines emphasise the importance of this “gold standard” over the above three step test. The “gold standard” should therefore, be considered when making amendments to the claims of a patent or application, in particular when removing or replacing features. Furthermore, the change to the first step of the test may make it easier for objections to be raised to amendments. The previous Guidelines stated that it was enough for a skilled person to recognise that a feature is explained as essential, whereas, the updated Guidelines require that the feature must be objectively explained as essential.

In summary then, the EPO’s advice to examiners in relation to removal of features would seem to be getting stricter.

Decisions are already being made a lot faster, at the very least in order to meet quotas/targets. Maybe some time soon Campinos will just use so-called ‘AI’ (algorithms) to assess patent applications with the term “AI” in them.

It should be noted that this whole “AI” hype doesn’t deal with novelty; the term “AI” was reintroduced a lot in the media last year. A lot of it boils down to marketing. In the broadest sense of the term the concept of AI dates back to the dawn of computing. But now that nontechnical people (promoted based on loyalties rather than merit) run the EPO they’re more easily swayed by law firms and marketing departments, not scientists.

10.17.18

Links 17/10/2018: Elementary OS 5.0 “Juno” Released, MongoDB’s Server Side Public Licence

Posted in News Roundup at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Hedera Hashgraph Distributed Ledger Technology Shares New Open-Source SDK [Ed: Hedera needs to delete GitHub, however, as the new head of GitHub killed Java projects like Hedera’s]

    Hedera Hashgraph, one of the DApp facilitators within the blockchain industry recently announced that it has released its Software Development Kit (SDK) in Java.

  • Service Providers Should Adapt to Open Source World

    Finding differing opinions on open source with the telecom industry isn’t hard to do, especially where orchestration is concerned. That’s why a panel discussion on open source and MANO at the Light Reading NFV-Carrier SDN event in Denver seemed an odd place to find such outspoken agreement on that topic, but there it was.

    Four smart guys, none shy with their opinions, all seemed to agree on key points around open source, the need for standards, the role of vendors and the lack of internal software skills. But they also agreed that telecom service providers are struggling a bit to understand how to proceed in an open source world and still need some fundamental internal changes.

  • Renaming the Bro Project

    More than 20 years ago I chose the name “Bro” as “an Orwellian reminder that monitoring comes hand in hand with the potential for privacy violations”, as the original Bro paper put it. Today that warning is needed more than ever … but it’s clear that now the name “Bro” is alas much more of a distraction than a reminder.

    On the Leadership Team of the Bro Project, we heard clear concerns from the Bro community that the name “Bro” has taken on strongly negative connotations, such as “Bro culture”. These send a sharp, anti-inclusive – and wholly unintended and undesirable – message to those who might use Bro. The problems were significant enough that during BroCon community sessions, several people have mentioned substantial difficulties in getting their upper management to even consider using open-source software with such a seemingly ill-chosen, off-putting name.

  • We already have nice things, and other reasons not to write in-house ops tools

    When I was an ops consultant, I had the “great fortune” of seeing the dark underbelly of many companies in a relatively short period of time. Such fortune was exceptionally pronounced on one client engagement where I became the maintainer of an in-house deployment tool that had bloated to touch nearly every piece of infrastructure—despite lacking documentation and testing. Dismayed at the impossible task of maintaining this beast while tackling the real work of improving the product, I began reviewing my old client projects and probing my ops community for their strategies. What I found was an epidemic of “not invented here” (NIH) syndrome and a lack of collaboration with the broader community.

  • Open Source Program Benefits Survey Results

    There are many organizations out there, from companies like Red Hat to internet scale giants like Google and Facebook that have established an open source programs office (OSPO). The TODO Group, a network of open source program managers, recently performed the first ever annual survey of corporate open source programs and revealed some interesting findings on the actual benefits of open source programs.

  • Web Browsers

    • Browsing the web with Min, a minimalist open source web browser

      Does the world need another web browser? Even though the days of having a multiplicity of browsers to choose from are long gone, there still are folks out there developing new applications that help us use the web.

      One of those new-fangled browsers is Min. As its name suggests (well, suggests to me, anyway), Min is a minimalist browser. That doesn’t mean it’s deficient in any significant way, and its open source, Apache 2.0 license piques my interest.

    • Chrome

      • CTL’s New CBX1 Chromebox is a Powerhouse at a Great Price

        Chromeboxes are really great desktops for users who have moved their workflow into a web browser, especially at lower prices. You don’t need higher specs inside a Chromebox for it to work well, but it can help.

        For those who want a supercharged Chromebox on the cheap, Oregon-based CTL has just the thing for you. Its new Chromebox—the CBX1—has all the high-end parts you could want, at a comparatively low price.

      • How to Install Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) in Chrome

        Chrome 70, available now, lets you install “Progressive Web Apps,” or PWAs, on Windows. When you visit a website with a PWA, like Twitter or Spotify, you can now “install” it to make it behave more like a normal desktop application.

      • How to Stop Chrome From Automatically Signing You Into the Browser

        With Chrome 69, Google began automatically signing you into the Chrome browser whenever you signed into a Google website like Gmail. Chrome 70, available now, has a hidden option to disable this feature.

        We don’t think most Chrome users will care about this. But, if you do care, Google now gives you a choice. And that’s good news.

      • Chrome 70 released with Windows web app support and option to disable controversial login

        Chrome 70, the latest version of Google’s browser, is rolling out now on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. The update sees Google reverse some of the controversial changes it made with the last version, by allowing users to stop the browser from automatically signing into their Google account after logging into one of the search giant’s apps. Chrome 70 also brings support for Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs, on Windows.

      • elementary OS Juno Released, Plasma 5.14.1 Is Out, Chrome 70 Now Available, Docker Raises New Funding and New Badges for Firefox Users

        Chrome 70 is now available. This release removes the controversial change from the last version, and now allows users to stop the browser from automatically signing in to their Google accounts after logging in to one of its apps, The Verge reports. You still need to opt-out and specifically change this setting, however. Other changes include support for progressive web apps on Windows. See the “New in Chrome 70″ post for more information on this release.

      • Chrome 70 Now Officially Available With AV1 Video Decode, Opus In MP4 & Much More

        Google’s Chrome/Chromium 70 web-browser made it out today for Linux users as well as all other key supported platforms.

        Chrome 70 is notable for shipping with preliminary AV1 video decoding support granted rather limited and only CPU-based decoding at this stage after the AV1 video decode support was dropped from Chrome 69.

      • Raptor Computing Systems Is Working On Bringing Up Chrome’s POWER Support

        With Raptor Computing Systems’ Talos II Lite and especially the forthcoming Blackbird positioning the POWER architecture in a prime spot for use by libre Linux users who want a system that’s open-source down to the firmware, they’ve been trying to make sure the Linux desktop stack is in order. The latest area they’ve been working on is browser coverage.

        At the moment for 64-bit POWER little-endian (PPC64LE), there isn’t a modern browser with JavaScript JIT support available upstream… Obviously that is a problem for more Linux desktop users in 2018. But fortunately Raptor has been committing resources to changing that. They have gotten a patched version of Chrome working well on their POWER9 hardware complete with JIT support.

    • Mozilla

      • Going from New Laptop to Productive Mozillian

        My old laptop had so many great stickers on it I didn’t want to say goodbye. So I put off my hardware refresh cycle from the recommended 2 years to almost 3.

        To speak the truth it wasn’t only the stickers that made me wary of switching. I had a workflow that worked. The system wasn’t slow. It was only three years old.

        But then Windows started crashing on me during video calls. And my Firefox build times became long enough that I ported changes to my Linux desktop before building them. It was time to move on.

      • Show your support for Firefox with new badges

        Firefox is only as strong as its passionate users. Because we’re independent, people need to make a conscious choice to use a non-default browser on their system. We’re most successful when happy users tell others about an alternative worth trying.

      • At MozFest, Spend 7 Days Exploring Internet Health

        Workshops that teach you how to detect misinformation and mobile trackers. A series of art installations that turn online data into artwork. A panel about the unintended consequences of AI, featuring a former YouTube engineer and a former FBI agent. And a conversation with the inventor of the web.

        These are just a handful of the experiences at this year’s MozFest, Mozilla’s annual festival for, by, and about people who love the internet. From October 22-28 at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and Ravensbourne University in central London, more than 2,500 developers, designers, activists, and artists from dozens of countries will gather to explore privacy, security, openness, and inclusion online.

      • Using requestIdleCallback for long running computations

        One of the ways developers have tipically tried to keep a smooth web application, without interfering with the browser’s animation and response to input, is to use a Web Worker for long running computations. For example, in the Prism.js (a library for syntax highlighting) API there’s an async parameter to choose “Whether to use Web Workers to improve performance and avoid blocking the UI when highlighting very large chunks of code”.

      • These Weeks In Servo 115

        In the past three weeks, we merged 181 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

        Our Windows nightlies have been broken for several months for a number of reasons, and we have now fixed all of the known breakage. If you’re a Windows user, give our latest builds a try! You can visit arbitrary URLs by pressing Ctr+L.

        The Android Components project added a component to use Servo in any Android app.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD Continues Squeezing More Performance Out Of AMD’s Threadripper 2990WX

      DragonFlyBSD 5.4 should be a really great release if you are a BSD user and have an AMD Threadripper 2 box, particularly the flagship Threadripper 2990WX 32-core / 64-thread processor.

      The project leader of this long ago fork from FreeBSD, Matthew Dillon, has been quite outspoken about the Threadripper 2990WX since he purchased one earlier this summer. This prolific BSD developer has been praising the performance out of the Threadripper 2990WX since he got the system working on the current DragonFlyBSD 5.3 development builds.

      Since getting DragonFlyBSD running on the Threadripper 2 hardware in August, he’s routinely been making performance tuning optimizations to DragonFly’s kernel to benefit the 2990WX given its NUMA design.

    • Absolute FreeBSD now shipping!

      Grab an ebook/print bundle direct from No Starch Press. NSP coupon code ILUVMICHAEL gives you 30% off any NSP purchase and puts a few extra bucks in my pocket, so that’s cool. And there’s Amazon. There’s always Amazon, the company we all love to loathe.

    • LLVM Still Proceeding With Their Code Relicensing

      It’s been three years since the original draft proposal for relicensing the LLVM compiler code was sent out and while there hasn’t been a lot to report on recently about the effort, they are making progress and proceeding.

      Since 2015 LLVM developers have been discussing relicensing to an Apache 2.0 license to help motivate new contributors, protect users of LLVM code, better protect existing contributors, ensure that LLVM run-time libraries can be used by both other open-source and proprietary compilers.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Automotive Software Governance and Copyleft

      The Software Freedom Law Center is proud to make available a whitepaper by Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, Ltd., and Eben Moglen, Founding Director of the Software Freedom Law Center and Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. The whitepaper shows how new capabilities in the free and open source software stack enable highly regulated and sensitive industrial concerns to take advantage of the full spectrum of modern copyleft software.

      Software embedded in physical devices now determines how almost everything – from coffee pots and rice cookers to oil tankers and passenger airplanes – works. Safety and security, efficiency and repairability, fitness for purpose and adaptability to new conditions of all the physical products that we make and use now depend on our methods for developing, debugging, maintaining, securing and servicing the software embedded in them.

    • SFLC: Automotive Software Governance and Copyleft

      The Software Freedom Law Center has announced the availability of a whitepaper [PDF] about automotive software and copyleft, written by Mark Shuttleworth and Eben Moglen. At its core, it’s an advertisement for Ubuntu and Snap, but it does look at some of the issues involved.

    • Bradley M. Kuhn: Toward Community-Oriented, Public & Transparent Copyleft Policy Planning

      More than 15 years ago, Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) community activists successfully argued that licensing proliferation was a serious threat to the viability of FLOSS. We convinced companies to end the era of “vanity” licenses. Different charities — from the Open Source Initiative (OSI) to the Free Software Foundation (FSF) to the Apache Software Foundation — all agreed we were better off with fewer FLOSS licenses. We de-facto instituted what my colleague Richard Fontana once called the “Rule of Three” — assuring that any potential FLOSS license should be met with suspicion unless (a) the OSI declares that it meets their Open Source Definition, (b) the FSF declares that it meets their Free Software Definition, and (c) the Debian Project declares that it meets their Debian Free Software Guidelines. The work for those organizations quelled license proliferation from radioactive threat to safe background noise. Everyone thought the problem was solved. Pointless license drafting had become a rare practice, and updated versions of established licenses were handled with public engagement and close discussion with the OSI and other license evaluation experts.

      Sadly, the age of license proliferation has returned. It’s harder to stop this time, because this isn’t merely about corporate vanity licenses. Companies now have complex FLOSS policy agendas, and those agendas are not to guarantee software freedom for all. While it is annoying that our community must again confront an old threat, we are fortunate the problem is not hidden: companies proposing their own licenses are now straightforward about their new FLOSS licenses’ purposes: to maximize profits.

      Open-in-name-only licenses are now common, but seem like FLOSS licenses only to the most casual of readers. We’ve succeeded in convincing everyone to “check the OSI license list before you buy”. We can therefore easily dismiss licenses like Common Clause merely by stating they are non-free/non-open-source and urging the community to avoid them. But, the next stage of tactics have begun, and they are harder to combat. What happens when for-profit companies promulgate their own hyper-aggressive (quasi-)copyleft licenses that seek to pursue the key policy goal of “selling proprietary licenses” over “defending software freedom”? We’re about to find out, because, yesterday, MongoDB declared themselves the arbiter of what “strong copyleft” means.

    • Fed up with cloud giants ripping off its database, MongoDB forks new open-source license

      After Redis Labs relicensed the modules it developed to complement its open-source database, from AGPL to Apache v2.0 with a Commons Clause, the free-software community expressed dismay.

      And, inevitably, some responded by forking the affected code.

      Today, the maker of another open source database, MongoDB, plans to introduce a license of its own to deal with the issue cited by Redis: cloud service providers that sell hosted versions of open-source programs – such as Redis and MongoDB database servers – without offering anything in return.

      “Once an open source project becomes interesting or popular, it becomes too easy for the cloud vendors to capture all the value and give nothing back to the community,” said Dev Ittycheria, CEO of MongoDB, in a phone interview with The Register.

      Ittycheria pointed to cloud service providers such as Alibaba, Tencent, and Yandex. Those companies, he claims, are testing the boundaries of the AGPL by benefiting from the work of others while failing to share their code.

    • MongoDB switches up its open-source license

      MongoDB is a bit miffed that some cloud providers — especially in Asia — are taking its open-source code and offering a hosted commercial version of its database to their users without playing by the open-source rules. To combat this, MongoDB today announced it has issued a new software license, the Server Side Public License (SSPL), that will apply to all new releases of its MongoDB Community Server, as well as all patch fixes for prior versions.

      Previously, MongoDB used the GNU AGPLv3 license, but it has now submitted the SSPL for approval from the Open Source Initiative.

    • MongoDB license could push open source deeper into cloud: Is this what industry needs?

      Things just got serious in open source land. Despite the occasional Commons Clause or Fair Source licensing attempt to change the meaning of the words “open source” to include “the right for a private company to make money from its open source efforts,” we’ve stuck to the Open Source Definition, and it has served us well. Open source communities have become the center of the innovation universe, giving us exceptional code like Linux, Kubernetes, Apache Kafka, and more.

    • It’s MongoDB’s turn to change its open source license

      The old maxim that the nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from could well apply to open source licensing. While now nearing a couple years old, the last WhiteSource Software survey of the top 10 open source licenses found close competition between the GPL, MIT, and Apache licenses. While the commercial-friendly Apache license has dominated the world of big data platforms and AI frameworks, MIT and GPL (which has “copyleft” provisions requiring developers to contribute back all modifications and enhancements) continues to be popular. GPL and variants such as the AGPL have been popular amongst vendors that seek to control their own open source projects, like MongoDB.

    • Matthew Garrett: Initial thoughts on MongoDB’s new Server Side Public License

      MongoDB just announced that they were relicensing under their new Server Side Public License. This is basically the Affero GPL except with section 13 largely replaced with new text, as follows:

      “If you make the functionality of the Program or a modified version available to third parties as a service, you must make the Service Source Code available via network download to everyone at no charge, under the terms of this License. Making the functionality of the Program or modified version available to third parties as a service includes, without limitation, enabling third parties to interact with the functionality of the Program or modified version remotely through a computer network, offering a service the value of which entirely or primarily derives from the value of the Program or modified version, or offering a service that accomplishes for users the primary purpose of the Software or modified version.

      “Service Source Code” means the Corresponding Source for the Program or the modified version, and the Corresponding Source for all programs that you use to make the Program or modified version available as a service, including, without limitation, management software, user interfaces, application program interfaces, automation software, monitoring software, backup software, storage software and hosting software, all such that a user could run an instance of the service using the Service Source Code you make available.”

      MongoDB admit that this license is not currently open source in the sense of being approved by the Open Source Initiative, but say:”We believe that the SSPL meets the standards for an open source license and are working to have it approved by the OSI.”

      At the broadest level, AGPL requires you to distribute the source code to the AGPLed work[1] while the SSPL requires you to distribute the source code to everything involved in providing the service. Having a license place requirements around things that aren’t derived works of the covered code is unusual but not entirely unheard of – the GPL requires you to provide build scripts even if they’re not strictly derived works, and you could probably make an argument that the anti-Tivoisation provisions of GPL3 fall into this category.

    • MongoDB issues new open source license

      MongoDB has submitted the SSPL, which is replacing the previous GNU APGLv3 license, for approval from the Open Source Initiative.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Arm Launches Mbed Linux and Extends Pelion IoT Service

        Politics and international relations may be fraught with acrimony these days, but the tech world seems a bit friendlier of late. Last week Microsoft joined the Open Invention Network and agreed to grant a royalty-free, unrestricted license of its 60,000-patent portfolio to other OIN members, thereby enabling Android and Linux device manufacturers to avoid exorbitant patent payments. This week, Arm and Intel kept up the happy talk by agreeing to a partnership involving IoT device provisioning.

        Arm’s recently announced Pelion IoT Platform will align with Intel’s Secure Device Onboard (SDO) provisioning technology to make it easier for IoT vendors and customers to onboard both x86 and Arm-based devices using a common Peleon platform. Arm also announced Pelion related partnerships with myDevices and Arduino (see farther below).

      • Arm doodles server, comms CPUs in public before they leak out in open-source code…

        Japanese chip designer Arm has lightly sketched out in public its future processor designs that are aimed at powering internet servers and infrastructure.

        Think CPU cores, chip interconnects, memory subsystems, and so on, for semiconductor manufacturers to use in silicon brains for data center systems, edge devices, and networking and telecommunications gear. Arm really wants to nuzzle its way into server and telecoms racks, tiptoeing past Intel Xeons and AMD Epycs, and so here’s the intellectual property it hopes will do the trick.

        And we’re not joking when we’re say lightly sketched: the biz has only shown off a roadmap of codenames and process nodes. Arm is going public with these plans partly because source code supporting these future chip designs will soon be trickling into the Linux kernel and other open-source projects referencing said codenames, so it may as well spill some beans now to head off speculation.

  • Programming/Development

    • How to Use Git Version Control System in Linux [Comprehensive Guide]

      Version Control (revision control or source control) is a way of recording changes to a file or collection of files over time so that you can recall specific versions later. A version control system (or VCS in short) is a tool that records changes to files on a filesystem.

      There are many version control systems out there, but Git is currently the most popular and frequently used, especially for source code management. Version control can actually be used for nearly any type of file on a computer, not only source code.

    • 5 Things Your Team Should Do to Make Pull Requests Less Painful

      A user story is a short description of a unit of work that needs doing. It’s normally told from the perspective of the user, hence the name. The journey towards a good pull request starts with a well-written user story. It should be scoped to a single thing that a user can do in the system being built.

    • More GitHub workflow automation

      The more you use computers, the more you see the potentials for automating everything. Who doesn’t love that? By building Mergify those last months, we’ve decided it was time bring more automation to the development workflow.

    • Automating upstream releases with release-bot

      Good news: We have developed a tool called release-bot that automates the process. All you need to do is file an issue into your upstream repository and release-bot takes care of the rest. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, let’s look at what needs to be set up for this automation to happen. I’ve chosen the meta-test-family upstream repository as an example.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Doc charged with involuntary manslaughter in Flint crisis wins top health award

      Health officials in Michigan this week honored Dr. Eden Wells with the state’s top award for an eminent career in public health—despite that Wells is currently facing several charges in connection with the Flint water crisis, including involuntary manslaughter.

    • Finnish hospitals see more babies born to mothers with FGM

      It was only last year that Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) began recording births by circumcised women in Finland, and other major hospitals have also failed to keep detailed records. [...]

    • ‘The world is against them’: new era of cancer lawsuits threaten Monsanto

      The Johnson v Monsanto trial was groundbreaking before it even began, because a judge allowed the plaintiff’s attorneys to present research and expert testimony on glyphosate and health risks – scientific evidence that the jury ultimately found credible and compelling.

    • Antimicrobial Resistance At The World Investment Forum: UNCTAD, WHO Join Forces

      The third panel gathers governments and civil society, he said, and will look into the need for antibiotic stewardship. For example, he said, a representative of the Swedish Public Health Agency will talk about its strategy to incentivise companies to keep existing antibiotics on the market despite their low prices.

      UNCTAD and WHO are expecting a good debate and some clarification of how stakeholders see the needs for the future, Spennemann said. The two UN organisations seek to informally bring together small companies, and potentially interested investors, and launch an informal debate.

  • Security

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #181

      Another brief reminder that another Reproducible Builds summit will be taking place between 11th—13th December 2018 in Mozilla’s offices in Paris. If you are interested in attending please send an email to holger@layer-acht.org. More details can also be found on the corresponding event page of our website.

    • A mysterious grey-hat is patching people’s outdated MikroTik routers

      A Russian-speaking grey-hat hacker is breaking into people’s MikroTik routers and patching devices so they can’t be abused by cryptojackers, botnet herders, or other cyber-criminals, ZDNet has learned.

      The hacker, who goes by the name of Alexey and says he works as a server administrator, claims to have disinfected over 100,000 MikroTik routers already.

    • Chrome, Edge, IE, Firefox, and Safari to disable TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 in 2020

      Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla announced plans today to disable Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.0 and 1.1 support in their respective browsers in the first half of 2020.

    • Canonical Announces Partnership with Eurotech, the Big Four to End Support of TLS 1.0 and 1.1, Sony Using Blockchain for DRM, NETWAYS Web Services Launches IaaS OpenStack, Grey Hat Patching MikroTik Routers and Paul Allen Dies at 65

      Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla all announce the end of support for TLS 1.0 and 1.1 standards starting in 2020, ZDNet reports. Chrome and Firefox already support TLS 1.3, and Microsoft and Apple will soon follow suit.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • libssh 0.8.4 and 0.7.6 security and bugfix release

      libssh versions 0.6 and above have an authentication bypass vulnerability in the server code. By presenting the server an SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_SUCCESS message in place of the SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_REQUEST message which the server would expect to initiate authentication, the attacker could successfully authentciate without any credentials.

    • Trivial authentication bypass in libssh leaves servers wide open

      There’s a four-year-old bug in the Secure Shell implementation known as libssh that makes it trivial for just about anyone to gain unfettered administrative control of a vulnerable server. While the authentication-bypass flaw represents a major security hole that should be patched immediately, it wasn’t immediately clear what sites or devices were vulnerable since neither the widely used OpenSSH nor Github’s implementation of libssh was affected.

    • A Cybersecurity Weak Link: Linux and IoT [Ed: Blaming "Linux" for companies that put default passwords on all their products? Windows has back doors.]
    • Undetectably bypass voting machines’ anti-tamper mechanism with a bit of a soda-can

      But University of Michigan grad student Matt Bernhard has demonstrated that he can bypass the tamper-evident seals in seconds, using a shim made from a slice of a soda can. The bypass is undetectable and doesn’t damage the seal, which can be resecured after an attacker gains access to the system.

    • Security Seals Used to Protect Voting Machines Can Be Easily Opened With Shim Crafted from a Soda Can

      Bernhard, who is an expert witness for election integrity activists in a lawsuit filed in Georgia to force officials to get rid of paperless voting machines used in that state, said the issue of security ties and seals came up in the lawsuit earlier this year when Fulton County Elections Director Richard Barron told the court that his Georgia county relies on tamper-evident metal and plastic ties to seal voting machines and prevent anyone with physical access to the machines from subverting them while they sit in polling places days before an election.

      [...]

      He noted that defeating ties and seals in non-tamper-evident ways isn’t the only method to wreak havoc on an election in Michigan. The state has a unique law that prohibits ballots from being used in a recount if the number of voters doesn’t match the number of ballots cast at a precinct or if the seal on a ballot box is broken or has a different serial number than what it should have. Someone who wanted to wreak havoc on an election or alter an election outcome in Michigan could purposely tamper with ballot box seals in a way that is evident or simply replace them with a seal bearing a different serial number in order to get ballots excluded from a recount. The law came into sharp relief after the 2016 presidential election when Green Party candidate Jill Stein sought to get a statewide recount in Michigan and two other critical swing states and found that some precincts in Wayne County couldn’t be recounted because the number of voters who signed the poll books—which get certified with a seal signed by officials—didn’t match the number of ballots scanned on the voting machines.

    • Facebook’s ex-security chief will start a new center to bring Washington and Silicon Valley together
    • Most government domains adopt program to prevent sending of fake emails

      The Department of Homeland Security announced last October that all federal agencies had until Oct. 16, 2018, to adopt the email authentication process, known as domain-based message authentication, reporting and conformance (DMARC), which blocks fake or spoofed emails being sent from a government domain.

    • 21-year-old who created powerful RAT software sentenced to 30 months

      When Grubbs was first charged, he claimed LuminosityLink was a legitimate tool for system administrators, and he never intended for it to be used maliciously. He reversed course in a plea agreement he signed in July 2017. In that document, he admitted for the first time that he knew some customers were using the software to control computers without owners’ knowledge or permission. Grubbs also admitted emphasizing a wealth of malicious features in marketing materials that promoted the software.

    • What To Do If Your Account Was Caught in the Facebook Breach

      Keeping up with Facebook privacy scandals is basically a full-time job these days. Two weeks ago, it announced a massive breach with scant details. Then, this past Friday, Facebook released more information, revising earlier estimates about the number of affected users and outlining exactly what types of user data were accessed. Here are the key details you need to know, as well as recommendations about what to do if your account was affected.

      30 Million Accounts Affected

      The number of users whose access tokens were stolen is lower than Facebook originally estimated. When Facebook first announced this incident, it stated that attackers may have been able to steal access tokens—digital “keys” that control your login information and keep you logged in—from 50 to 90 million accounts. Since then, further investigation has revised that number down to 30 million accounts.

      The attackers were able to access an incredibly broad array of information from those accounts. The 30 million compromised accounts fall into three main categories. For 15 million users, attackers access names and phone numbers, emails, or both (depending on what people had listed).

    • GNU Binutils read_reloc Function Denial of Service Vulnerability [CVE-2018-18309]
  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • A court ruling knocks another hole in Swiss banking secrecy

      DURING his decade-long legal battle with the Swiss authorities, Rudolf Elmer, a bank whistleblower, endured 48 prosecutorial interrogations, spent six months in solitary confinement and faced 70 court rulings. None, though, was more important than the decision by Switzerland’s supreme court on October 10th, which set strict limits on the country’s famous bank-secrecy laws.

      Mr Elmer had leaked data from Julius Bär after being sacked by the Cayman Islands affiliate of the Zurich-based bank. The court, dismissing an appeal by prosecutors, ruled that because he was employed by the Cayman outfit, not its parent, he was not bound by Swiss secrecy law when he handed data to WikiLeaks in 2008. The 3-2 ruling followed a rare public debate among the judges, held in only 0.3% of supreme-court cases, underlining the national importance of the issue.

    • Pacifica stands with Wikileaks and Julian Assange

      If you’re opposed to war, how can you not love Julian Assange? Peace has been his overarching goal ever since he hacked into Pentagon computers at age 17, and he still has hope. In 2011, he told RT:

      “Nearly every war that has started in the past 50 years has been the result of media lies. The media could have stopped it. If they hadn’t reprinted government propaganda, they could’ve stopped it. But what does that mean?

      “That means basically that populations don’t like wars. And populations have to be fooled into war. Populations don’t willingly and with open eyes go into war. So if we have a good media environment, then we’ll also have a peaceful environment.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Devastating UN Report: CO2 Emissions Must Go to Zero By 2050 to Avoid Worst Effects of Climate Change

      Carbon dioxide emissions must reach net zero by 2050 in order to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius according to the “1.5 Degree Report,” compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a coalition of climate scientists working for the United Nations. For perspective, we emitted over 32 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide last year (a gigatonne is one billion metric tonnes.) The report also claims that national pledges from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord are not enough to meet these targets.

    • Coal Is Killing the Planet. Trump Loves It.

      Scientists issued a new alarm on the devastating impacts of continued burning of fossil fuels. But the Trump E.P.A. keeps propping up coal.

    • Why Catastrophic Climate Change is Probably Inevitable Now

      So now let’s connect all the dots. Capitalism didn’t just rape the planet laughing, and cause climate change that way. It did something which history will think of as even more astonishing. By quite predictably imploding into fascism at precisely the moment when the world needed cooperation, it made it impossible, more or less, for the fight against climate change to gather strength, pace, and force. It wasn’t just the environmental costs of capitalism which melted down the planet — it was the social costs, too, which, by wrecking global democracy, international law, cooperation, the idea that nations should work together, made a fractured, broken world which no longer had the capability to act jointly to prevent the rising floodwaters and the burning summers.

    • Denmark to label food according to effect on climate

      Food products will be marked with stickers showing their environmental impact, according to a proposal expected to be included in a new climate package to be presented by the government this week.

    • We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero or face more floods

      Even 1.5C of warming would have brutal consequences, according to the report. Poor people, in particular, would suffer as the threat of food and water shortages increase in some parts of the world.

      But the report makes clear that allowing warming to reach 2C would create risks that any reasonable person would regard as deeply dangerous.

    • A major climate report will slam the door on wishful thinking

      According to the drafts, the report finds that it would take a massive global effort, far more aggressive than any we’ve seen to date, to keep warming in line with 1.5°C — in part because we are already en route to 3°C of warming. And even if we hit the 1.5°C goal, the planet will still face massive, devastating changes. So it’s pretty grim.

    • Earth’s climate monsters could be unleashed as temperatures rise

      As a UN panel prepares a report on 1.5C global warming, researchers warn of the risks of ignoring ‘feedback’ effects

  • Finance

    • Budget Deficit Jumps Nearly 17% in 2018

      The federal budget deficit swelled to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018, the Treasury Department said on Monday, driven in large part by a sharp decline in corporate tax revenues after the Trump tax cuts took effect.

      The deficit rose nearly 17 percent year over year, from $666 billion in 2017. It is now on pace to top $1 trillion a year before the next presidential election, according to forecasts from the Trump administration and outside analysts. The deficit for the 2018 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, was the largest since 2012, when the economy and federal revenues were still recovering from the depths of the recession.

      Administration officials attributed the deficit’s rise to greater federal spending, including the military and domestic budget increases that President Trump approved this year, not the $1.5 trillion tax cut.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Peter Thiel associate named as ambassador to Sweden
    • Taibbi: Why Aren’t We Talking More About Trump’s Nihilism?

      Now comes this Linda Blair-style head turn. The NHTSA report deftly leaps past standard wing-nut climate denial and lands on a new nihilistic construct, in which action is useless precisely because climate change exists and is caused by fossil fuels.

      The more you read of this impact statement, the weirder it seems. After the document lays out its argument for doing nothing, it runs a series of bar graphs comparing the impact of various action plans with scenarios in which the entire world did nothing (labeled the “no action” alternative).

    • The Trump administration knows the planet is going to boil. It doesn’t care

      The news in that statement is that administration officials serenely contemplate that 4C rise (twice the last-ditch target set at the Paris climate talks). Were the world to actually warm that much, it would be a literal hell, unable to maintain civilizations as we have known them. But that’s now our policy, and it apparently rules out any of the actions that might, in fact, limit that warming. You might as well argue that because you’re going to die eventually, there’s no reason not to smoke a carton of cigarettes a day.

      Meanwhile, reporters also discovered that the administration has set up what can only be described as a concentration camp near the Mexican border for detained migrant children, spiriting them under cover of darkness from the foster homes and small shelters across the nation where they had been staying.

    • Voter Purges: What Georgians Heading to the Polls Need to Know

      Charges of voter suppression have been levied in the governor’s race in Georgia in recent weeks, pitting the secretary of state and GOP candidate Brian Kemp against critics, including his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams, who say that he’s using his perch as the chief election official to benefit his own candidacy.

      The race, which the Cook Political Report currently lists as a toss-up, has received national attention. The controversy has raised questions about whether some Georgians will be turned away at the polls.

      Here’s what’s happened so far, and what voters need to know.

      In 2017, Georgia passed a new “exact match” law, supported by Kemp, which requires that voter registration applications precisely match information on file with the Georgia Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration.

    • Voter Registration Around Austin Smashed Records. That May Be a Problem.

      Travis County, Texas — the home of Austin — has experienced a massive spike in voter registrations this cycle, which officials there attribute to the heightened interest in the state’s competitive Senate race. The county received around 35,000 registrations on the final day to submit them — that’s 10,000 more than on the same day in 2016.

      While the increase in voter participation is good news, the recent surge is complicated by the fact that the registrations were submitted on paper. Texas is one of only 13 states not to have online voter registration. About a dozen county employees are now sifting through thousands of applications, verifying them and entering them into the state’s voter rolls by hand.

      Of the 35,000 registrations received on Oct. 9, 25,000 have yet to be processed. Early voting starts Monday. County officials recognize that the haste required to process that many applications is likely to lead at least some voters to experience problems at the polls.

    • Washington Post Saudi Link; Assange Has Partial Wi-Fi; Harvard Lawsuit

      Lazare joins us to discuss a recent Intercept article, “The Washington Post, as it Shames Others, Continues to Pay and Publish Undisclosed Saudi Lobbyists and Other Regime Propagandists,” by Glenn Greenwald. It questions the Washington Post grieving one of its journalists while at the same time continuing ties with the Saudi regime: “In the wake of the disappearance and likely murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, some of the most fervent and righteous voices demanding that others sever their ties with the Saudi regime have, understandably, come from his colleagues at that paper… addressing unnamed hypothetical Washington luminaries who continue to take money to do work for the despots in Riyadh, particularly Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, or ‘MbS’ as he has been affectionately known in the Western press.” But Greenwald says Post writers should ask those question of themselves, given the paper’s history of favorable reporting on Saudi Arabia’s government. What do we make of these headlines?

    • Pump and Trump

      Donald Trump claims he only licensed his name for real estate projects developed by others. But an investigation of a dozen Trump deals shows deep family involvement in projects that often involved deceptive practices.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Jokes can spark threats

      I feel that as a woman, people will give you hell just because they can. If it is very nasty, I tend to ignore it. Somedays, when I am in a really bad mood, I may give it back to them in the same vein though. When asked which video of hers received a lot of flak, Saadiya recounts, “There was a video of mine on Muslims; nothing derogatory, I was just making fun of my own people. That ticked off a lot of Muslims. I also speak of topics that are hardcore feministic and this doesn’t go down well with a lot of people.

      “The threats range from I should get raped or killed to asking me to put out my address if I was that brave because they wanted to teach me a lesson. A lot of these people don’t even understand jokes, sarcasm or satire. They pick some words, form their own ideas and get offended. Now how is this my fault?”

    • Stand up for journalists and the free press by opposing the Future Investment Initiative!
    • Political correctness: an elite ideology

      So if it is not ethnic minorities clamouring for PC censorship, who is? The Hidden Tribes researchers identified a section of society which it labelled ‘progressive activists’. This group includes those most wedded to political correctness: only 30 per cent see it as a problem. It is characterised as being young, cosmopolitan and liberal. But it makes up just eight per cent of the US population. They are also disproportionately white: 80 per cent of the ‘progressive activists’ surveyed were white compared with 69 per cent of those surveyed overall. They are also overwhelmingly better-off: so-called progressive activists are three times as likely to have a postgraduate education and twice as likely to be earning over $100,000 a year.

    • Google CEO speaks out about controversial Chinese search engine plans

      He was also quick to defend the project, which human rights groups have suggested will likely to be complicit in human rights violations and would allow for far more detailed tracking and profiling of people’s behaviour.

    • Lawsuit Seeking to Unmask Contributors to ‘Shitty Media Men’ List Would Violate Anonymous Speakers’ First Amendment Rights

      A lawsuit filed in New York federal court last week against the creator of the “Shitty Media Men” list and its anonymous contributors exemplifies how individuals often misuse the court system to unmask anonymous speakers and chill their speech. That’s why we’re watching this case closely, and we’re prepared to advocate for the First Amendment rights of the list’s anonymous contributors.

      On paper, the lawsuit is a defamation case brought by the writer Stephen Elliott, who was named on the list. The Shitty Media Men list was a Google spreadsheet shared via link and made editable by anyone, making it particularly easy for anonymous speakers to share their experiences with men identified on the list. But a review of the complaint suggests that the lawsuit is focused more broadly on retaliating against the list’s creator, Moira Donegan, and publicly identifying those who contributed to it.

      For example, after naming several anonymous defendants as Jane Does, the complaint stresses that “Plaintiff will know, through initial discovery, the names, email addresses, pseudonyms and/or ‘Internet handles’ used by Jane Doe Defendants to create the List, enter information into the List, circulate the List, and otherwise publish information in the List or publicize the List.”

      In other words, Elliott wants to obtain identifying information about anyone and everyone who contributed to, distributed, or called attention to the list, not just those who provided information about Elliot specifically.

      The First Amendment, however, protects anonymous speakers like the contributors to the Shitty Media Men list, who were trying to raise awareness about what they see as a pervasive problem: predatory men in media. As the Supreme Court has ruled, anonymity is a historic and essential way of speaking on matters of public concern—it is a “shield against the tyranny of the majority.”

    • Will Donald Trump Support A Federal Anti-SLAPP Law Now That It’s Helped Him Win Stormy Daniels’ Defamation Suit?

      And it’s that tweet that Daniels/Avenatti sued over. Again, this was clearly going nowhere. That tweet is not at all defamatory under the 1st Amendment. In his defense, Trump, who was represented by Charles Harder*, filed an anti-SLAPP motion, arguing that Trump was protected under Texas’ anti-SLAPP law, that the case should be dismissed, and that Trump should be awarded attorneys’ fees. And the court easily agreed.

      [...]

      He and Daniels will almost certainly lose this appeal and Trump will almost certainly win. But the real question is whether or not this helps Trump recognize the value of strong anti-SLAPP laws. It seems like now would be a good time for Congress to finally move on the federal anti-SLAPP law, while reminding Trump that it may have just saved him a bunch of money…

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Massachusetts Supreme Court Looking To Define Where The Fifth Amendment Ends And Compelled Decryption Begins

      Another case attempting to define the contours of the Fifth Amendment as it pertains to cellphones and passwords has arrived in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The case involves sex trafficking allegations and a phone seized from the defendant at the time of his arrest. Testimony from a person who said she was trafficked suggested the phone seized belonged to the defendant Dennis Lee Jones. The state sought to compel Jones to unlock the seized phone, but this motion was denied by the trial court, resulting in the state’s appeal.

      While the lower court did express some concern that unlocking devices can result in the production of evidence to be used against the person unlocking it, the standard for compelled password production has nothing to do with the eventual recovery of evidence. All the state* needs to reach is a reasonable certainty the defendant knows the password to the seized device. This is called a “foregone conclusion” — the defendant “telling” the state what it already “knows:” that the phone belongs to him and he can unlock it. The potential evidence held inside the phone may eventually be used against the defendant, but the Fifth Amendment question isn’t about this evidence, but rather the simple act of producing a password, which isn’t considered testimonial if the government can tie the phone to the accused.

    • Report: Your Browser’s “Do Not Track” Isn’t Respected by Twitter, Facebook and Other Major Players

      Right now, if you head to the privacy settings of your browser, there is a feature called “Do Not Track.” If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically a feature that sends a message to every website you visit asking them to not track your digital footprint.

      Websites use tracking to study your behavior and serve you ads accordingly to boost online sales revenue. We often fall for it, one minute you are looking at an expensive Jacket you want but you can’t afford it, the next minute you visit Facebook and there it is again, 20% off. And more often than not we end up buying the products.

    • Canadian Privacy Commissioner Goes To Court To Determine If Canada Can Force Google To Delete History

      Canada has been stumbling towards an EU-style “right to be forgotten” (RTBF) for quite some time now. There was a big case last year that not only said Google can be forced to remove links to certain information, but that it could be forced to do so globally (i.e., outside of just Canada). That was as a result of a specific lawsuit about specific information, but this year, a bigger exploration of the RTBF concept has been underway, as some have argued that Canada’s PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) meant that Google should be forced to “de-link” articles on certain people’s name searches upon request (just like the EU’s RTBF).

      A report from the Canadian Privacy Commissioner earlier this year argued that PIPEDA already provided such a right and the Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien has been stumping for this ever since. Google has — for obvious reasons — been expressing its position that this is ridiculous, saying that PIPEDA does not apply to de-linking individuals’ names from news articles, and further argued that requiring such a result would be unconstitutional.

    • The ‘Donald Daters’ Trump Dating App Exposed Its Users’ Data

      Alderson pointed Motherboard to the apparently misconfigured database which contains the Donald Daters user information. To verify the data did come from Donald Daters, Motherboard created an account on the app, searched for users mentioned in the exposed data, found these through the app itself, and confirmed the profile photos and names matched up.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Checkpoint Nation

      Increasingly, Padilla’s description applies to CBP as well. It turns out that the legal definition of “the border” is troublingly broad. Some 200 million people — nearly two-thirds of all Americans — live within the “border zone,” which is defined by the Justice Department as the area up to 100 air miles from any U.S. land or coastal boundary. Nine of the country’s 10 largest cities lie within the zone. It touches 38 states and encompasses all of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

    • Innocent man ‘intimately searched’ and ‘called a paedo’ by police in brutal arrest paid £35k damages

      The force confirmed it had settled the case without liability, meaning it made no formal admission of wrong-doing, although the settlement including a letter of apology.

    • China disappearances show Beijing sets its own rules

      The recent disappearances of two high-profile Chinese citizens have once again focused international attention on China’s legal system and its use of secret detentions.

    • The Spirit of 1968 Lives on Today in Athletes like Colin Kaepernick

      Tommie Smith and John Carlos staged a stunning protest at the ’68 Summer Olympics. Fifty years later, rampant racial discrimination remains.

      In 1968, rage over the United States’ treatment of Black America was boiling over. It culminated that year in a protest at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City that shocked the world. But perhaps the lid blowing off the kettle shouldn’t have been so surprising.

      In May of 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. admitted that his “dream” of 1963 had “turned into a nightmare.” The uprisings later that summer reflected long-festering racial inequality. And as 1968 dawned, poverty was rampant in Black America.

      In Memphis, striking sanitation workers made about a dollar an hour. The Kerner Report, which was released in March of 1968, sounded ominous:

      “What white Americans have never fully understood — but what the Negro can never forget — is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.”

      Less than one month later, King was shot down in Memphis supporting those very sanitation workers.

      1968 also saw continued protests over the Vietnam War, the assassination of Robert Kennedy, and the live broadcast across the nation of the Chicago Police beating demonstrators at the Democratic National Convention. As the 1968 Olympics Games began, track athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith made a decision. Something had to be said to the world about the promise of America going up in smoke.

    • Police Reform Is Coming to New York City, but Will the NYPD Follow the Law?

      Police reform legislation will go into effect this week in New York City, but the law depends on the NYPD acting in good faith.

      In December 2017, the New York City Council passed two police reform measures, collectively known as the Right to Know Act, which aimed to improve communication and transparency during police stops and searches. On Friday, both bills will take full effect, and the New York Police Department will be tasked with implementing the council’s mandate to become more transparent and accountable. But there are good reasons to be skeptical that the NYPD will implement the law faithfully.

      The first measure requires the NYPD to develop a policy that instructs officers to let people know when they have the right to refuse to be searched. Under the consent-to-search law, if an officer wants to search someone, her home, her vehicle, or her property without a warrant or a legally recognized exception under the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement, the officer must ask if the person voluntarily agrees to be searched.

      The law also requires the officer to explain that no search will happen if the individual stopped says no, and it requires the officer to double check that the person stopped understands that explanation. If the person has limited English proficiency, the officer must use interpretation services so that the person understands what’s being asked of her.

      If the officer has a body-worn camera, the encounter will be recorded, and the officer will be required to let the person know how to request a copy of that footage. The NYPD will also have to start keeping track of these encounters and publicly report how many searches are happening and, perhaps most importantly, the demographics of the people being asked to let an officer search them.

    • Facebook’s Latest Fake News ‘Purge’ Terminates Several Accounts Known For Their Criticism Of Law Enforcement

      Moderating at scale is a nightmare. Anything you do will be wrong. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to criticism. Just be aware every move you make will cause unintended collateral damage. Making everyone happy is impossible. Making everyone angry is inevitable.

      [...]

      Maybe so, but the vanishing of a handful of cop accountability-focused pages isn’t exactly what comes to mind when someone’s talking about Russian interference. Encouraging platforms to engage in further moderation may seem innocuous, but the reality of the situation is there is constant pressure — applied by people like Senator Warner — for platforms to do more, more, more because some speech they don’t care for can still be found on the internet.

      The more politicians push for action, the more collateral damage they will cause. They may feel there’s no Constitutional problem since they’re not directly mandating moderation efforts. But they are harming free speech, if only indirectly at this point.

    • How America Systematically Fails Survivors of Sexual Violence

      #MeToo exposed the widespread silencing and dismissal of survivors and the need for our institutions to do better.

      Before there was Christine Blasey Ford, there was Recy Taylor, an African-American woman who was raped by six white men in 1944 and fought for justice with the help of Rosa Parks. And in between the two of them, there was Anita Hill, Tarana Burke, Alyssa Milano, Lupita Nyong’o, Tanya Selveratnam, Aly Raisman, and many, many more.

      For centuries, women have experienced violence and harassment, and many have spoken out. #MeToo brought us to a new phase in building the movement to end gender-based violence, magnifying and connecting thousands of voices as they shared their stories. Despite women’s achievement of formal equality, #MeToo exposed how common such violence is, the widespread silencing and dismissal of survivors, and the myriad ways violence undermines survivors’ security, dignity, and opportunities.

      The President and Senate Judiciary Committee are far from the only powerful people and institutions that limit investigations, disbelieve survivors, and fault people for coming forward. Discrimination against survivors infiltrates all aspects of life, including the responses of law enforcement, employers, housing providers, and schools, to name a few. Speaking out about violence is a crucial step. But law enforcement, employers, housing providers, and schools must also step up and acknowledge how their policies and practices contribute to violence.

      “Why didn’t you report?” is the refrain so many survivors face when they disclose violence for the first time. But too often, police dismiss survivors who go to law enforcement. This attitude results in governments’ decisions not to test thousands of rape kits in cities like Detroit, Albuquerque, and Washington DC, based on officers’ assumptions that there was no sexual assault. It also explains why one in three survivors feel less safe after contacting police.

    • From Canada to Argentina, Security Researchers Have Rights—Our New Report

      EFF is introducing a new Coders’ Rights project to connect the work of security research with the fundamental rights of its practitioners throughout the Americas. The project seeks to support the right of free expression that lies at the heart of researchers’ creations and use of computer code to examine computer systems, and relay their discoveries among their peers and to the wider public.

      To kick off the project, EFF published a whitepaper today, “Protecting Security Researchers’ Rights in the Americas” (PDF), to provide the legal and policy basis for our work, outlining human rights standards that lawmakers, judges, and most particularly the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, should use to protect the fundamental rights of security researchers.

      We started this project because hackers and security researchers have never been more important to the security of the Internet. By identifying and disclosing vulnerabilities, hackers are able to improve security for every user who depends on information systems for their daily life and work.

    • For Wearing Tampon, Virginia Woman Says She’s Barred From Prison Visits

      A Virginia woman says state prison officials terminated a visit with her husband and accused her of attempting to smuggle drugs with a tampon days after the state suspended a policy that would have banned women from wearing the feminine hygiene product to visits.

      Weeks later, according to the woman, her visits were unofficially suspended indefinitely as officials continue to investigate the package.

      The woman, who asked not to be named out of fear of retaliation from prison officials, said a Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) administrator told her she was one of several women who had their visits terminated that day (although a friend who was in the visitation room with her said she did not see anyone else dismissed). She told Shadowproof she felt like she was targeted because she was on her period.

      The Virginia DOC did not return requests for comment on the alleged incident and visitation privileges. It posted a vague tweet on October 3 about drugs being found in the bathroom of one of its facilities but a spokeswoman did not disclose further details on the statement.

      The confrontation marked the latest incident in which officials used contraband to exert their power over incarcerated women and visitors’ periods.

    • FBI Releases Guidelines On Impersonating Journalists, Seems Unworried About Its Impact On Actual Journalists

      The FBI’s impersonation of journalists raised questions about its investigative activities, none of which the FBI felt like addressing. An Inspector General’s investigation of FBI investigations using this tactic found that it was generally a bad idea, but not an illegal or unconstitutional one. Prior to the investigation, the FBI apparently had no clear policies governing this form of impersonation, which it used to snare a school-bombing suspect.

      Following the report, a policy was put in place that added some additional layers of oversight but didn’t indicate the obvious downside of impersonating journalists: that the people the FBI wants to investigate are going to do a lot less talking to anyone they don’t know, which includes journalists attempting to document newsworthy events that might contain criminal activity.

      The FBI blew it with one of its other impersonation efforts. As Camille Fassett reports for the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a more recent effort may have put a serious damper on its fake news(person) efforts.

    • 16-year-old gets 4.5 years in prison for kissing 13-year-old

      The case concerns the 16-year-old A.K. and 13-year-old S.Ö. who have hugged and kissed each other on the school premises of the latter. The incident however was taken to the judiciary when a schoolmate of the 13-year old S.Ö. (known with initials A.Ş) took the video of the two kissing and shared it with friends. Once the relevant video was seen by the school management, a lawsuit was opened at the Antalya 6th Heavy Penalty Court against the middle schooler A.Ş. for “using children in the production of inappropriate images” and the high schooler A.K. for “sexual assault.”

    • Australians should sign Muslim peace contract or be executed, witness tells court

      He was questioned about his support for Islamic State, the caliphate and Sharia Law, which he believed should be implemented in Australia for all Muslims and non-Muslims.

      “They would have to sign a contract to live with, amongst Muslims in peace,” he said.

      “Whoever does not sign the contract either leaves the country or is executed.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast complains it will make less money under Calif. net neutrality law

      Comcast submitted its filing on October 3 as part of the broadband industry lawsuit that seeks to overturn California’s net neutrality law (SB 822), which is slated to take effect on January 1, 2019 unless the court grants a stay halting implementation. Comcast’s filing is meant to support the industry’s request for an injunction that would halt enforcement of the law while litigation is pending.

    • 99.7% Of Original Comments Opposed FCC Repeal Of Net Neutrality

      A new study has once again confirmed that the vast, vast majority of the public opposed the FCC’s ham-fisted repeal of net neutrality.

      Like most government proceedings, the FCC’s net neutrality killing order’s public comment period was filled will all manner of comments (both in favor and against) generated by automatic letter-writing campaigns. Like most government proceedings in the post-truth era, the net neutrality repeal was also plagued by a lot of shady gamesmanship by companies trying to disguise the fact that the government was simply kissing the ass of giant, unpopular telecom monopolies. But what happens if you eliminated all of the letter-writing campaign and bogus bot-comments?

      A new report from Stanford University (pdf) did just that. It eliminated all automated or form-generated comments and found just 800,000 Americans willing to take the time to put their own, original thoughts on the net neutrality repeal into words.

    • 99.7 Percent of Unique FCC Comments Favored Net Neutrality

      After removing all duplicate and fake comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission last year, a Stanford researcher has found that 99.7 percent of public comments—about 800,000 in all—were pro-net neutrality.

    • DOJ Continues To Point Out A Mega-Merged AT&T Will Jack Up Prices On Everybody

      AT&T recently defeated the DOJ’s challenge to their $86 billion merger with Time Warner thanks to a comically narrow reading of the markets by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon. At no point in his 172-page ruling (which approved the deal without a single condition) did Leon show the faintest understanding that AT&T intends to use vertical integration synergistically with the death of net neutrality to dominate smaller competitors.

      In fact, net neutrality was never even mentioned by the DOJ at the multi-week trial. Likely in part because the DOJ didn’t want to highlight how the Trump FCC was screwing everybody over with one hand, while the Trump DOJ was allegedly suing AT&T to “protect consumers” with the other (some argue that Trump’s disdain for CNN and adoration of Rupert Murdoch were the more likely motivators). But if you ignore the fact that AT&T plans to use its monopoly over many broadband markets (from residential to cellular tower backhaul) combined with the death of net neutrality to make life difficult for consumers and competitors alike, you’re not paying any attention to history or to AT&T’s repeated nods in that general direction.

  • DRM

    • Security Updates Are Even Breaking Your Printer (On Purpose)

      Printer manufacturers hate third-party ink cartridges. They want you buying the expensive, official ones. Epson and HP have issued sneaky “updates” that break these cheaper cartridges, forcing you to buy the expensive ones.

      HP pioneered this technique back in 2016, rolling out a “security update” to its OfficeJet and OfficeJet Pro printers that activated a helpful new feature—helpful for HP’s bottom line, at least. Now, before printing, the printer would verify you’re using new HP ink cartridges. If you’re using a competitor’s ink cartridge or a refilled HP ink cartridge, printing would stop. After some flaming in the press, HP sort-of apologized, but not really.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Microsoft’s Peace Treaty With the ‘Linux System’

      “The only reason you don’t sign the OIN license is because you want to reserve the right to sue on core Linux,” he said.

      Taking Microsoft on as a member creates something of a public relations problem for OIN, which is not without detractors in the open source community. The opposition primarily centers on the widespread belief in open source circles that software shouldn’t be patentable, mostly because software is already covered under copyright law. In a recent article on Microsoft’s joining OIN, Roy Schestowitz, publisher of the software patent-focused Techrights website, called OIN “an IBM-centric group that favors software patents” and has said the organization’s model works against patent reform because it supports the legitimacy of patents.

      “We don’t feel that we’re legitimizing them,” Bergelt said. “We’re recognizing that they exist. It’s a matter of pragmatism to say that whether we believe they should exist or shouldn’t exist doesn’t matter — they do exist. My view is we’re recognizing reality and dealing with it in a determined way, and I disagree with those who believe it’s a validation.”

    • Germany: Feuerfeste Zustellung einer Gießpfanne, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 44/16, 13 March 2018

      The Federal Court of Justice held that the purpose of determining the technical problem (objective) in invalidity proceedings is to locate the starting point of skilled efforts to enrich the state of the art without knowledge of the invention, in order to assess, in the subsequent and separate examination of patentability, whether or not the solution proposed for this purpose was rendered obvious by the state of the art. Accordingly, it does not have the function to make a preliminary decision on the question of patentability. Therefore, it is neither permissible to take into account elements belonging to the solution according to the patent in the formulation of the problem nor may it be assumed without further ado that it was appropriate for the person skilled in the art to deal with a particular problem.

    • Why would the Federal Trade Commission snatch defeat from the jaws of victory over Qualcomm?

      This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post on Judge Lucy H. Koh’s decision to deny a joint administrative motion by the Federal Trade Commission and Qualcomm asking her not to rule on a motion for partial summary judgment on the obligation to extend standard-essential patent (SEP) licenses on FRAND terms to rival chipset makers (such as Intel).

      I didn’t want to jump to conclusions from a case management decision, but in purely probabilistic terms it’s a fact that Judge Koh’s order increases the likelihood of summary judgment being granted. There’s no harder-working judge than her, and she wouldn’t have decided to cancel the hearing and take this motion (as well as several other, less important motions) under submission if there had been any questions left to ask. However, if she had been inclined to deny the actual motion, she might just have given the parties four weeks to work out a settlement–the sole remaining plausible explanation would be that she wanted to make it clear her court is nobody’s tool, much less a restaurant that serves litigation à la carte where you can put one motion on hold while letting the process continue on the same schedule in all other respects.

      This antitrust litigation has been going very, very well for the FTC for a long time. It wouldn’t make sense to let Qualcomm off the hook now that there is a near-term opportunity (with respect to the summary judgment motion, “near-term” is actually a gross understatement) to restore fair competition in the market for baseband chipsets and with respect to cellular SEP licensing.

      There’s probably a lot of fighting going on in DC behind the scenes, inside and outside the FTC. Prior to the latest twist I had already tried to find out about where the current five commissioners stand on FRAND, but haven’t found any information that would enable me to predict the outcome of a vote on a hypothetical settlement proposal tantamount to the agency’s surrender. In the past, the positions of Commissioners Maureen Ohlhausen and Joshua D. Wright were well-known (I mentioned Mrs. Ohlhausen on several occasions, and in 2013 I dedicated a blog post to Mr. Wright’s stance), but they aren’t in office anymore. So I extended my search for clues to high-ranking FTC officials. It turns out that two of them–Alden Abbott (the FTC’s General Counsel) and Bruce H. Kobayashi–have a certain proximity to Qualcomm and are sympathetic to Qualcomm’s unFRANDly positions to a degree that is clearly a minority opinion in the legal community. While I don’t have the slightest indication of any impropriety, there is a conspicuous lack of impartiality.

    • Copyrights

      • 9th Circuit Led Zeppelin ruling introduces new copyright infringement framework

        The Ninth Circuit’s Stairway to Heaven decision on September 28 offers a better application of the inverse ratio rule, according to one observer

        The Ninth Circuit recently vacated in part the district court’s judgement that Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven did not infringe Spirit’s 1960s instrumental track Taurus.

      • Art, AI & Infringement: A Copyright Conundrum

        The trademark claim rests solely on the name of the file including Chamandy’s full name. It’s a silly argument for trademark infringement as the whole point of including the name is to weigh the new art piece against her specific work, which necessarily involves anyone viewing these pieces being informed that they are not the work of the original author. The whole purpose of the validation process is to show what differentiation remains between the new piece and the human-made example. That’s not trademark infringement. It’s not really even close.

        As for the copyright portion of this, it’s important that you not be fooled by the percentage the machine setup notes in the validation process. You might think that an 85% match would mean the two images are very similar and would share a ton of features that would link the two in the viewer’s mind. That’s not even close to being the case, as you can see just how different the two images are below.

      • Can’t Wish Away The Mistakes In The Original ‘Stairway To Heaven’ Verdict

        Last time, I explained why I thought the Ninth Circuit’s recent vacating and remanding of the jury verdict in Led Zeppelin’s favor was, long-term, a good thing for copyright law (even if I kind of liked the verdict and am genuinely sorry for Led Zeppelin). The reason is that the reversal gave one panel of the Ninth Circuit an opportunity to try to fix the Ninth Circuit’s unhelpful legal framework for determining copyright infringement.

        But that isn’t why the panel reversed. While the panel did make some suggestions about how to present the “inverse-ratio” rule to the jury, the way it was presented to the original jury isn’t what merited reversal. What merited reversal was the lack of another jury instruction about a basic and uncontroversial principle of copyright law that the parties agreed should have been there in some form. In short, the case is being reversed — and the Ninth Circuit is getting a chance to fix its own weird copyright law — because of what appears to have been a brain fart.

      • Vodlocker Hammers Streaming Sites with JavaScript-based DDoS

        Vodlocker.to offers a handy video embed tool which several smaller pirate streaming sites have grown to rely on. Starting recently, however, the site also appears to have become the source of a rather nasty JavaScript-based DDoS campaign, which uses the unwitting viewers of these embedded videos to take out several pirate streaming sites.

      • Court Orders Swedish ISP Telia to Block The Pirate Bay & FMovies

        Sweden’s Patent and Market Court has ordered a local ISP to block access to several large torrent and streaming platforms. The interim ruling, which comes into force at the end of October, requires Telia to block The Pirate Bay, Dreamfilm, FMovies, and NyaFilmer following a complaint from Hollywood and local studios.

      • High Court overturns ruling of breach of privacy in Kim Dotcom case

        At the four-day appeal hearing last month, the lawyer for the Attorney-General, Victoria Casey told the High Court at Wellington the transfer of the requests was “orthodox and sensible”, and that the Tribunal had taken the wrong approach to deciding whether the requests were vexatious.

      • Kim Dotcom loses court battle over information requests

Improving US Patent Quality Through Reassessments of Patents and Courts’ Transparency

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 3:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Transparency in CD

Summary: Transparency in US courts and more public participation in the patent process (examination, litigation etc.) would help demonstrate that many patents are being granted — and sometimes asserted — that are totally bunk, bogus, fake

THE new leadership is oftentimes frustrating if now downright depressing; they put the so-called ‘swamp’ in charge. A new event about patents issued the following nonsensical tweet: “A new twist has recently entered the debate about how #patents and #opensource interact and whether the two principles are compatible with each other or not.”

“So stop granting software patents; the principal problem would be solved.”They’re obviously not compatible, but the sponsors would pay for us to believe otherwise. The event took place yesterday and attending as well as speaking was Director Iancu, who said, according to third-party accounts: “lack of predictability on Section 101 limits investment in innovation. [] gets specific: “Step 1 of Alice-Mayo test must be a ‘category’ analysis not a claim analysis. If the matter is sometimes patentable then it is not a subject matter Section 101 problem.”

So stop granting software patents; the principal problem would be solved. We’ll probably say more in the weekend (once all the patent maximalists are done boosting him).

Totally meaningless is the message above (lots of mythology embedded in it, pure fiction from the patent microcosm). He just wants to find ways to defy the courts, ignore caselaw, and grant software patents anyway.

Last night Josh Landau (CCIA) spoke about history and noted that “[w]hile the PTO no longer operates under a registration system, that situation still exists today. The PTO—unlike many other patent offices around the world—is unable to permanently refuse a patent application.”

Here are some key bits:

Setting aside the apparent fact that the vast majority of patents back then were on old ideas—a problem that continues to exist, given the significant number of invalid patents issued by the PTO—there’s another lesson to be had from this diary entry.

Dr. Thornton was operating under the registration system, during which patents were not examined but were simply granted. As Adams emphasized, the problem of an inability to refuse a patent leads to the existence of patents on old technology, imposing significant harms on the public who become unable to utilize the prior technology that they should have had the right to employ.2

While the PTO no longer operates under a registration system, that situation still exists today. The PTO—unlike many other patent offices around the world—is unable to permanently refuse a patent application. All they can do is temporarily reject it and wait for the applicant to decide if they want to keep going with prosecution. Unsurprisingly, in a system where it’s impossible to permanently get rid of an application, a large number of them eventually become patents. When correcting for procedures like continuations, the percentage of patent applications that are issued has risen, approaching nearly 100% last year—a proportion not reached since the turn of the millennium.

[...]

It’s unfortunate that the PTO and policymakers continue to fail to learn from these mistakes—particularly when the first Commissioner for Patents identified the issue over 200 years ago.

This means that we increasingly need to rely on courts and tribunals, not examiners.

In spite of fee hikes and other attempts — more recently by Iancu — to sabotage the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) this tribunal is still attracting many inter partes reviews (IPRs), abolishing software patents by the hundreds each month, owing to to 35 U.S.C. § 101, inspired by SCOTUS and embraced by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Michael Loney graphed/charted the numbers yesterday and said:

2018 is on course to have the lowest petition filing rate since 2013. The third quarter included the impact of SAS on institution decisions, an update to the AIA Trial Practice Guide, the departure of the PTAB chief judge and the creation of a Precedential Opinion Panel

Sometimes there are appeals and these typically swiftly affirm the Board’s decisions.

As we noted here before, the EFF’s Daniel Nazer and his colleageus had been asking the Federal Circuit for greater transparency in patent lawsuits, affairs, lobbying etc. (without time delays as before).

The final outcome is positive, as Nazer noted some hours ago. To quote:

In a victory for transparency, the Federal Circuit has changed its policies to give the public immediate access to briefs. Previously, the court had marked submitted briefs as “tendered” and withheld them from the public pending review by the Clerk’s Office. That process sometimes took a number of days. EFF wrote a letter [PDF] asking the court to make briefs available as soon as they are filed. The court has published new procedures [PDF] that will allow immediate access to submitted briefs.

Regular readers might note that this is the second time we have announced this modest victory. Unfortunately, our earlier blog post was wrong and arose out of a miscommunication with the court (the Clerk’s Office informed us of our mistake and we corrected that post). This time, the new policy clearly provides for briefs to be immediately available to the public.

We certainly hope that CAFC, by affirming decisions of PTAB, can undermine Iancu’s agenda of weakening PTAB and broadening patent scope in defiance of the Supreme Court. Iancu appears to have adopted lawlessness, just like his boss who appointed him after he had worked for him. The EFF is rightly upset about it.

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