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GitHub is All About Control

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 4:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

These are a few of my favorite things about this proprietary software trap

Spying, Scanning, Banning, Censoring, Discriminating

Summary: GitHub is not a platform for sharing and collaboration but social control and manipulation of the Free software community

2019 in Review: Worst Year Ever for Software Freedom

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 2:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A railway station

Summary: A look back (and ahead) as the year’s end fast approaches, marking the end of a mostly bad year

THE first half of the last month of the year is now over. Free software is doing extremely well in the sense that it’s widely used (more than ever before), but listening devices (commonly euphemised as “smart” “assistants”; they’re neither) apparently continue to spread, sometimes even as holiday “gifts”. Yesterday I found out that a fellow Ph.D. student, whom I shared an office with a decade and a half ago, had left the company where he worked for about 15 years. It’s a small company we rely on for hosting (at my night job). I won’t name him or the company; they’re likely victims of the whole “clown computing” hype — the idea that all data and all computing should be outsourced to few monoliths — typically in another continent and with lucrative military contracts (those include access to all the data!).

“I couldn’t possibly imagine that Richard Stallman would leave the FSF later in the year…”In 2019 we cut down most USPTO coverage; that’s a decision I made almost exactly a year ago when I was in Berlin; coverage about European Patent Office (EPO) scandals was prioritised and seeing that European software patents were making a comeback in “hey hi” form (also in the US, where bypassing 35 U.S.C. § 101 isn’t simple) it seemed important to tackle.

I couldn’t possibly imagine that Richard Stallman would leave the FSF later in the year; nor could I envision a number of other setbacks to come, including the rapid deterioration of the Linux Foundation (total deviation from its identity and mission statement), demise of Linux.com (all writers fired except one who isn’t even using GNU/Linux!), and closure of Linux Journal. There were several other bits of bad news; what an awful year it has been! Our associates largely share that sentiment.

The important thing is that we remain vigilant and fight back. The software keeps spreading, but it doesn’t always spread freedom with it (for various different reasons, depending on one’s definition/interpretation of freedom).

“The important thing is that we remain vigilant and fight back.”We started a number of initiatives, including Delete GitHub. Earlier this year, for a number of months, we had the Openwashing Report. We ended it when it started to feel a tad repetitive. At the moment figosdev works on Systemdisenfranchised, which neatly fits into the Librethreat Database. Seeing the democratic process in Debian this month, there’s hope they’ll choose to become separable from Red Hat/RHEL. If that’s not too late…

At the moment I use 3 laptops; one runs GNOME, another runs KDE Plasma and the main one runs Openbox. The main one is satisfactory for work and the setup suits my workflow; this machine turns 11 next year. I use it without battery (it hasn’t worked for nearly a decade), without a screen (it’s broken, so I use this laptop only with an external monitor) and the keyboard too is mostly busted, so I use an external one (for years now). That’s difficult to explain when guests come over, but all these issues are hardware issues, nothing to do with GNU/Linux…

“At the moment I use 3 laptops; one runs GNOME, another runs KDE Plasma and the main one runs Openbox.”In 2020 we expect more actions at the EPO (protests, strikes) and far too much apathy on the subject of software patents. Almost nobody but us is left to speak about this issue (which is sad and unfortunate). On the Free software side of things, we hope to see fewer companies/projects joining GitHub (Microsoft) and more leaving it; the same goes for Windows and Azure. From what we’ve been hearing, even from former Microsoft insiders, things aren’t rosy at Microsoft. People are leaving, both staff and customers. Microsoft is aware and it seems to be busy chasing contracts with authoritarians in China, the Pentagon, ICE and Big Polluters (oil giants that drill the seas).

If the fake news has an element of truth to it, Microsoft has some sort of Arctic vault. Good. Maybe they make burial plans for the company itself. That’s long overdue. Is the vault large enough to accommodate the many hundreds of dead Microsoft products and projects? Will Bill Gates outlast the company? If not, he can always use his Epstein contacts posthumously to meet lots of young ladies, making up for the loss of youth he cannot buy back. Imagine… no more “Bill says” articles.

Links 15/12/2019: Hacker-Friendly Hardware Success Stories and Mozilla Woes

Posted in News Roundup at 1:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Google prevents some Linux users from signing into its services

        Google, and much of the web and internet infrastructure that powers the world’s digital revolution today, relies squarely on Linux. Linux is the kernel whose development started more than 25 years ago, and today the term applies to a number of operating systems building on that kernel and powering anything from the world’s top supercomputers to every Android phone – and much of the vast expanses of tech that lie in between.

      • Several Linux Browsers Blocked from Accessing Google Services

        Users are reporting on reddit that a number of Linux browsers can no longer be used to log in to Google services, such as Gmail and Google Docs, with the error page indicating that the apps may no longer be supported.

        The blocked browsers include Konqueror, Falkon, and Qutebrowser, according to the linked discussion thread.

    • Server

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa 19.3 To Arrive With Open Source OpenGL 4.6 And Several New Vulkan Extensions Supported By Intel And AMD Radeon Drivers

          The upcoming quarterly update to Mesa 3D Graphics Library, which brings the version to Mesa 19.3, is expected to pack a lot of benefits, including support for the latest Open Source OpenGL v4.6, and several new Vulkan extensions. The Mesa 19.3 update could land as soon as this week itself, and experts argue it is by far the biggest or most significant improvement before the current year ends. Linux desktop users have been eagerly awaiting the critical component additions to the Mesa 3D Graphics Library, as the update was severely challenged and hence delayed, due to ‘blocker’ bugs.

        • Intel Revises The Shared Virtual Memory Support For Their Linux Graphics Driver

          In their journey towards the Intel Xe GPUs expected to launch initially next year in the form of Ponte Vecchio, just about one month ago Intel posted patches implementing Shared Virtual Memory support for their Linux graphics driver. Those SVM patches have now been revised for further review in potentially making it for Linux 5.6 should everything look good.

          Shared Virtual Memory support allows a single address space to handle threads operating on both CPU backed and GPU discrete memory. SVM is important for OpenCL, oneAPI, and other modern pointer-based programming models. Intel’s SVM support is built atop the Linux kernel’s Heterogeneous Memory Management (HMM) infrastructure.

        • AMD’s GPU Performance API Library 3.5 Drops ROCm/HSA Support

          Released on Friday was a new version of AMD’s GPU Performance API “GPUPerfAPI” project under the GPUOpen umbrella. This is the AMD library used by CodeXL, Radeon Compute Profiler, and others for tapping GPU performance counters and to help in analyzing performance/execution characteristics for Radeon hardware. But this new GPUPerfAPI 3.5 release comes with a rather surprising change.

    • Applications

      • VirtualBox 6.1 released with enhanced 3D support, UI

        Oracle, the California-based software manufacturing company, just released VM VirtualBox 6.1.0 today. This is the first major release of the free and open-source hosted hypervisor software since version 6.0 release December of last year.

        VirtualBox 6.1.0 includes better integration with the public Oracle Cloud, user-interface improvements, further work on the 3D support introduced in VirtualBox 6.0 and a plethora of other changes.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Customize your Linux desktop with the Trinity Desktop Environment

        When KDE 4 was released in 2008, KDE 3 went into support mode until support was dropped entirely. That’s the usual lifecycle of software, desktops included, but the KDE 3 fanbase wasn’t universally pleased with KDE 4, and some of them decided a fork was in order.

        Some of them formed a new project with the mission of preserving the look and feel of KDE 3, starting from KDE 3.5.10 (the last official release in the 3.x series), and then forking Qt 3 into TQt to keep the underlying technology updated. Today, the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) delivers a traditional desktop environment that looks and feels essentially the same as KDE 3 did 10-plus years ago.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Zorin 15.1 released with improved Office compatibility, and Game mode

          It’s been more than half a year since the release of Zorin 15, but now the new point release of this operating system is finally here with plenty of new features and improvements that are sure to get the users excited.

          Not too long ago, Zorin 15 was made available to the general public. So, before discussing the new point release, it only makes sense to highlight the features of Zorin 15, as most of them would be included in Zorin 15.1.

          The Ubuntu-based operating system accompanies a Windows-like appearance, which it’s most famous for. When it comes to its features, it also sports a new touch mode, auto dark theme support, and Zorin Connect (which connects your computer to your phone and allows you to control your cursor through your phone and do a bunch of other cool stuff). The operating system is also available in Lite flavor, which you can get to know more about here.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Open Suse Asia Summit 2019, Bali

          When you travel for the very first time Internationally there are lot of things going in your head. Especially for someone like me, who is a vegetarian and is travelling all alone with no experience of flight. I was a lot nervous, was thinking about the culture of the place I am going, was nervous about flight itself, I watched a lot of “How to save yourselves” videos while travelling in flights.


          I was in the flight, slept for a while ( It was midnight flight) , and then it hit me, I saw that crew was up whole the time making sure that we sleep well, I was so touched by this, and I reached out to the crew and talked about this, they were very welcoming and talked about their job and I had a nice talk with them, All of the whole experience was just so nice.

          In the end, they reached out to me, and shared a token of gratitude, they gave me “Singapore airlines playing cards and a ball point pen”, with a letter that they enjoyed having me as a passenger. Well, I was not aiming for any gifts or something, I just went to them and asked about their job and appreciated their hard-work genuinely.

      • Debian Family

        • Giovanni Mascellani: Debian init systems GR

          I don’t think that nowadays the choice of the init system can neutral: like the choice of a kernel, a libc and some other core components, you cannot just pretend that everything can be transparently swapped with anything else, therefore Debian rightly has to choose a default thing (Linux, glibc, the GNU userland, and now systemd) which is the standard proposal to the casual user. Systemd has clearly become the mainstream thing for a lot of good reasons, and it is the choice the most Debian users and developers should adopt (this is not to say that systemd, its development mode or its goals are perfect; but we have to choose between alternatives that exist, not between ideal ones). This is the reason why imposing that any init system should be supported at the same level is silly to me, and therefore why option E is the last one, and the only one below Further Discussion; in much the same way as it would be silly to impose that kFreeBSD, Mach and musl should be supported at the same level of their default counterparts (although I would be pretty excited to see that happening!). We cannot expect any Debian contributor to have the resources to contribute scripts/units for any init system randomly appearing.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • The 20 Best Raspberry Pi OS Available to Use in 2020

        Raspberry Pi is the most popular SBC – Small Board Computer around the world. It can do pretty much everything that a desktop computer can do and suitable for all ages who are keen to explore computing. Raspberry comes with all the software; you require for basic computing. But if you want to extend the functionalities to some extent, you will need to take the help of OS running on your device. It performs as a bridge between the user and Raspberry hardware. OS is the most crucial program that helps you to develop and execute programs. It enables the hardware to communicate with the software for generating meaningful interactions. Also, it manages CPU, memory, disk drives, printers, establishes user interface, and provides services for applications software. Although Raspbian is the official Raspberry Pi OS, there are other alternative operating systems also available out there you can run on the Raspberry Pi projects.

      • FreeMesh is a $150 open source mesh WiFi system (1 router + 2 nodes)

        Mesh WiFi systems have taken off in the last few years, with pretty much every company that makes routers offering a mesh option or two. But they tend to be on the pricey side, since you typically have to buy two or more devices to get the most out of a mesh system. And like most routers, they tend to run proprietary software.

        FreeMesh is designed to be an open source, relatively inexpensive alternative.

        For $150 you can pick up a FreeMesh WiFi router and 2 nodes that run an open source operating system based on OpenWRT.

      • Onion Omega2 Dash Enables Touch-based UI’s, Features Omega2S WiFi Module (Crowdfunding)

        Onion, the team behind the Omega2 series self-styled computing modules has launched the Omega2 Dash a self-contained Omega2S module with a touchscreen.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • Stackable Open Source 3D Printer Enclosure

          One of the unfortunate realities of desktop FDM 3D printing is that environmental factors such as ambient temperature and humidity can have a big impact on your results. Even with the exact same settings, a part that printed beautifully in the summer can warp right off the bed during the winter months. The solution is a temperature-controlled enclosure, but that can be a daunting project without some guidance. Luckily, [Jay Doscher] has spent the last few months designing a very impressive enclosure that he’s released to the community as open source.

        • Open-Source Satellite Propulsion Hack Chat

          When you look back on the development history of any technology, it’s clear that the successful products eventually reach an inflection point, the boundary between when it was a niche product and when it seems everyone has one. Take 3D-printers, for instance; for years you needed to build one if you wanted one, but now you can buy them in the grocery store.

        • Codasip partners with Western Digital on open‑source processors

          A supplier of configurable RISC-V embedded processor IP, Codasip GmbH announced it has joined forces with Western Digital Corp. to become the preferred provider of hardware implementation packages and expert technical support for users of Western Digital’s SweRV Core EH1, a RISC-V core currently available to the open-source community and further supported by the open-source development organization CHIPS Alliance.

          CHIPS Alliance is a barrier free environment which allows collaboration for open-source software and hardware code.

          The SweRV Core EH1 is a 32-bit, 2-way superscalar, 9-stage pipeline core introduced earlier this year by Western Digital, a leader in data infrastructure. With performance of up to 4.9 CoreMark/MHz and a small footprint, it offers compelling capabilities for embedded devices supporting data-intensive edge applications, such as storage controllers, industrial IoT, real-time analytics in surveillance systems, and other smart systems. The power-efficient design also offers clock speeds of up to 1.8 GHz on a 28nm CMOS process technology.

        • Codasip Teams Up with Western Digital to Support Adoption of Open-Source Processors

          The SweRV Core EH1 is a 32-bit, 2-way superscalar, 9-stage pipeline core introduced earlier this year by Western Digital, a leader in data infrastructure. With performance of up to 4.9 CoreMark/MHz and a small footprint, it offers compelling capabilities for embedded devices supporting data-intensive edge applications, such as storage controllers, industrial IoT, real-time analytics in surveillance systems, and other smart systems. The power-efficient design also offers clock speeds of up to 1.8 GHz on a 28nm CMOS process technology.

        • CutiePi open source tablet crowdfunding campaign in the works, open source design files already available

          The CutiePi is a tablet powered by a Raspberry Pi Computer Module 3 Lite. It’s designed to run Linux-based software such as Raspbian, and the design of the tablet is also open source.

          First revealed earlier this year, the hardware and software are a little closer to final at this point — the CutiePi developers have posted some pictures and a video showing the custom CutiePi printed circuit board in action, and the design files are all available at github for anyone who wants to try manufacturing their own PCB and assembling their own tablet.

        • Bangle.js open source smartwatch hands on

          After a successful crowdfunding campaign the fantastic open source smartwatch which is completely hacker bore and programmable has now made the jump from concept to production. If you missed out on the Kickstarter campaign the Bangle.js smartwatch is now available to pre-order from the Espruino shop priced at £70 or approximately $92.

        • CORE-V Chassis SoC open source project calls for participation

          With the CORE-V Chassis project, the recently formed OpenHW Group aims to tape out a heterogeneous multi-core processor evaluation SoC, capable of running the Linux operating system during the 2nd half of 2020.

          The CORE-V Chassis will see a CV64A 64-bit core running alongside a CV32E 32-bit coprocessor core.

          Based on the proven NXP iMX platform, the resulting CORE-V Chassis evaluation SoC will also feature 3D and 2D GPUs, MIPI-DSI and CSI display and camera I/O, hardware security blocks, PCIe connectivity, a GigE MAC, USB 2.0 interfaces, support for (LP)DDR4, and multiple SDIO interfaces, along with a wide range of further peripheral blocks.
          The 64-bit CV64A core in th

        • Cobham Introduces Two New Open Source Processor IP Cores

          Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions revealed Thursday that it has introduced two new offerings to its Cobham Gaisler family of Open Source IP Cores. The new LEON5 IP core implements the SPARC V8 32-bit Instruction Set Architecture (ISA), a 32-bit architecture. And Cobham’s new NOEL-V supports RISC-V, an open, free ISA that enables processor innovation through open standard collaboration. NOEL-V is Cobham’s initial RISC-V solution and the company plans to introduce a range of RISC-V offerings.

        • Cobham Unveils New Open Source Processor IP Cores

          Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions announced today that it has introduced two new offerings to its Cobham Gaisler family of Open Source IP Cores. The new LEON5 IP core implements the SPARC V8 32-bit Instruction Set Architecture (ISA), a 32-bit architecture. Based on VHDL, Cobham’s LEON5 super-scalar dual-issue processor provides software backward compatibility with previous generation LEON processors, while increasing performance both in terms of maximum achievable operating frequency and amount of computations performed per system clock cycle. Cobham’s new NOEL-V supports RISC-V, an open, free ISA that enables a new era of processor innovation through open standard collaboration. Cobham, a Gold-Level Member of the RISC-V Foundation, plans to introduce a wide range of RISC-V offerings. NOEL-V, Cobham’s initial RISC-V solution, is a RV64GC compliant processor Intellectual Property (IP) core, a 64-bit architecture, written in VHDL. Both of Cobham’s new Processor IP Cores will be available for initial download into Xilinx UltraSCALE FPGAs.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Organizing open source for cities

        Cities and municipalities around the world are facing serious problems that are affecting citizens’ safety and access to government services. Take Baltimore, for example, the home of Mosslabs.io and its founder/organizer Jacob Green, which experienced a ransomware attack that shut down the city’s digital services for most of the summer, preventing people from buying real estate and doing other everyday business with the local government.

      • Your open source gift giving guide for 2019

        The holiday season is upon us, and that means you’ll be giving gifts to family and friends. But what do you do when those gifts are going to fans and users of open source software? Fortunately, you don’t have to fret, as there are plenty of options available that are sure to please your Linux and open source friends.

        And just because your recipients are supporters of open source, it doesn’t mean that every gift you hand out must be released under the GPL or be powered by the Linux operating system. In fact, you have plenty of options.

        Here are my picks for the best open source gift options of the year.

      • Librecorps: an organization that connects student free/open source software developers with humanitarian NGOs

        Librecorps is a program based at the Rochester Institute for Technology’s Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) initiative that works with UNICEF to connect students with NGOs for paid co-op placements where they build and maintain FOSS tools used by nonprofits.

      • Healthcare Industry: Open-Source is gaining momentum
      • The future of open source: 3 discoveries

        The majority (60%) of tech professionals said their involvement in open source has increased for three key reasons: They enjoyed it, they wanted to learn new skills, or they found their contributions fulfilling, a DigitalOcean report found. The popularity of open source isn’t a huge surprise, since the market for open source is forecasted to exceed $32 billion by 2023, according to the report.

      • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Apache APISIX

        “The APISIX will help speed development time and support configurable plugins for enterprise personality configuration,” the team added “APISIX is based on Nginx and etcd. Compared with traditional API gateways, APISIX has dynamic routing and plug-in hot loading, which is especially suitable for API management under micro-service system.”

        It includes dynamic load balancing to balance across multiple upstream services, additional security layers such as ACL, CORS, Dynamic SSL and IP restriction. It also has traffic control, analytics, monitoring and logging plugins.

      • Open Source and AI: Ready for primetime in government?

        The Office of Management Budget released its open source policy in 2016.


        The policy requires agencies to examine the total life cycle cost of IT purchases. Open source software has a huge pricing spectrum from free to very expensive. There is a reason that IBM recently paid $34 billion for Red Hat, the largest provider of open source-based solutions. More often than not, there is an enterprise edition of open source software that packs a commercial license, and only a stripped-down “community edition” with a free license.

      • Open Software Means Kinder Science

        As a marine ecologist, I never expected I would one day advocate that science should operate more like the tech industry.
        This is not about “moving fast and breaking things.” For me, it is about openness.
        Open software, both a driver and a result of Silicon Valley’s success, has been game-changing for me as a scientist. Its transformative power has improved my ability to analyze data and collaborate with other scientists.
        But it is not only about the tool sets and skill sets. It is about mind-sets and culture: An unsung part of open software are its communities that promote and enable a more inclusive, kinder culture.
        When I truly began learning the open-source programming language R in 2014, I was part of a small team of marine ecologists who needed R to bring order to the chaos of repeating an annual and massive analysis of global ocean health. The first thing that surprised me was that R software was created by real people—real and incredibly nice people whom I could actually talk with and who made intentional efforts to welcome and include me.

      • Where To Get Noticed By Recruiters Before The Job Posting Goes Live

        Open-Source Technology Projects

        For software engineering and data science positions, recruiters will often spend time looking through open-source technologies that are relevant to the job descriptions. Specifically, who was contributing, and who was following?

        Similar to conferences, this is another way to measure who is actively interested in the same technologies and projects. Why is this important? Showing a drive to learn more means that a candidate is already likely a good fit as long as they have the right skills (both technical and soft).

        Often, people who are working on/contributing to these projects are doing it on their own time because it is one of their passions. Many of them would love to do it as a full-time job but haven’t found that position yet. As a recruiter, sourcing from these open-source projects means that you are catching them before their search has started, which saves them time.

      • Survey Reveals Talent, Tech and Compliance Key Drivers for Financial Institutions to Engage in Open Source

        For financial firms, seeing the value of engaging in open source isn’t something that happens overnight-it requires a strategic commitment and understanding of the technology’s long-term benefits. Aite Group’s new report called, “From Secret Sauce to Open Source,” addresses this issue and revealed key findings for firms looking to engage in open source. The report was commissioned by FINOS (the Fintech Open Source Foundation), a nonprofit member organization whose mission is to foster adoption of open source, open standards and collaborative software development practices in financial services and released at yesterday’s Open Fintech Forum.

      • An Overview of Cloud Migration and Open Source

        The role and emergence of open source technologies simplified the equation of overall expenditure for all enterprises and organizations of any industry domains. Year by year, more open source projects are coming up and solve major challenges which businesses are facing. Companies such as Red Hat and communities like Linux Foundation have a major role in promoting open source projects at the heart of digital transformation.

      • A Guide to Open Source Support Providers
      • How open-source software took over the world

        What’s more, lots of this software is actually developed collaboratively, created and maintained by an army of thousands, from unpaid volunteers to employees at competing tech companies.

        This is the world of open-source software, where code is written and distributed freely. So how did a business model that essentially revolves around giving away information and products take over the world?

      • This Mozilla Project Can Be A Game Changer Speech Recognition
      • How to Make Your Own Open-Source Voice Assistant With Raspberry Pi

        Want an open-source alternative to Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant? Download Mycroft onto Raspberry Pi for a privacy-focused voice assistant.

      • BP goes all-in on AWS migration of European mega data centres

        Oil and gas giant BP is planning on shutting down its two European data centres and shifting 900 applications to the cloud with Amazon Web Services (AWS) over the next two and half years, as part of an ambitious cloud migration strategy.

        After already shifting the majority of workloads from its Houston, Texas data centre to both Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services public cloud infrastructure, BP has decided to go all in with AWS for its European cloud migration.

      • Huawei, Intel, Bosch Et Al Take On Open Source Edge Computing

        The launch of the Edge Native Working Group sees the likes of ADLINK, Bosch, Edgeworx, Eurotech, Huawei, Intel, Kynetics, and Siemens collaborating as founding members.

        The Edge Native Working Group is a vendor-neutral and code-first industry collaboration that is set to drive the evolution and broad adoption of open source software for edge computing.

        With open source still yet to unleash its full potential, the Edge Native Working Group is focused on the near-term creation of an end-to-end software stack that will support deployments of today’s most transformative technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), autonomous vehicles, and more.

      • Huawei’s HarmonyOS source code will be available to developers next year
      • Huawei’s HarmonyOS source code will be available to developers next year
      • Events

        • Why OFFDEM?

          FOSDEM is approaching its 20 year anniversary.

          It is customary to many large festivals to have an Off version at the margin of the main festival, to give space to proposals that are not represented in the official one.

          The idea of OFFDEM is to address intersectional questions that are not present at FOSDEM, in a format that attracts people who usually do not go there: at OFFDEM, everyone is a user.

          FOSDEM misses cosy and quiet spaces for collectives to meet, focus, hack and work together in good conditions, away from the noise and seasonal rain, shielded from the usual stress of too much sollicitation and perceptual saturation ; the main attraction of OFFDEM should be its absence of both concurrent tracks and a main track, so that ad-hoc organization, free conversation and unexpected activities can take place.

          OFFDEM should also act as an overflow mechanism for a number of free software groups that could not obtain a devroom due to the saturation of physical space at FOSDEM.

        • Release Notes: Join us for Demo Night in Boston next Tuesday!

          On December 17, MuckRock, Code for Boston, and Hacks/Hackers are putting together a demo night to highlight a number of open source projects, including MuckRock’s newest government transparency tool, GovLens.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Remains Confident Despite Dip In Revenue

            As far as revenue is concerned, 2018 saw a 20% decline on the previous year, dropping from USD 562,279,000 to USD 450,860,000. Royalties, the fees which Mozilla receives received from companies like Google, Baidu and Yandex for including their search engines in Firefox and which represents 95% of Mozilla’s revenue went down, in percentage terms, slightly more than the total revenue. Relying so much on Royalties puts Mozilla in a vulnerable position since it relies on keeping on good terms with the Goliaths of the industry, in particular Google with which it is in direct competition for browser traffic. Mozilla has plans for augmenting its revenue with paid-for services and has recently launched its first two branded products. Firefox Premium for Enterprises was launched, in the US only, in September 2019. Its Basic service is Free, so there is no suggestion of paying to use Firefox, but for a fee starting at $10 per supported installation, enterprise users can benefit from private bug submission, critical security bug fixes, or even “concierge bug entry with guaranteed response time”. A Service Level Agreement Management tool is another benefit on offer.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

      • Funding

        • Creators of the Open Source ​DAML​ Smart Contract Language Digital Asset – Raises $35 Million in Series C

          The creators of the open-source ​DAML​ smart contract language, ​Digital Asset​ (DA), has raised approximately $35 million in Series C funding from new and existing investors. According to DA, the latest financing round brings the total amount raised by the company to $150 million.

        • High Fidelity lays off half of staff, pulls plug on open-source VR platform

          High Fidelity is laying off half of its workforce and halting development on its open-source VR platform. High Fidelity CEO Philip Rosedale announced the moves in a blog post yesterday.

          It is the second big pivot for the company this year. In May, it laid off 25% of its employees as it switched gears from building a VR “metaverse” to a narrower goal of building its tech for virtual office spaces.

          “We plan to continue to use our technology as our company’s primary virtual office but we have decided not to commercialize the virtual workplace application at this time,” Rosedale said. “Simply put, having taken a close look, while we can see that remote work is going to continue on its growth trajectory and we do have customers using it — the opportunity is not big enough today to warrant additional development.”

      • FSF

        • Licensing / Legal

          • GSA Satellite-Navigation Data May Be A Lot to Digest!

            Why is such software so important? The problem is that Galileo navigation signals travelling through the ionosphere can be significantly delayed by the electrical charges in this atmospheric layer before reaching the end-users’ terminal. To compensate this perturbation in the signal, Galileo receivers integrate a dynamic model of the ionosphere composition known as the NeQuick G model. Receiver manufacturers will now be able to benefit from an open version of the NeQuick G correction algorithm that implements a new coding approach.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Programming/Development/Admin

        • The Eclipse Foundation Launches the Edge Native Working Group to Deliver Production-Grade Code for Open Source Edge Computing

          The Eclipse Foundation today announced the launch of the Edge Native Working Group, a vendor-neutral and code-first industry collaboration that will drive the evolution and broad adoption of open source software for edge computing. With edge computing code from the foundation already deployed in production environments, the Edge Native Working Group is focused on the near-term creation of an end-to-end software stack that will support deployments of today’s most transformative technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), autonomous vehicles, and more. Founding members of the Edge Native Working Group include ADLINK, Bosch, Edgeworx, Eurotech, Huawei, Intel, Kynetics, and Siemens.

          “Edge computing has emerged over the past few years as the way to process data and deliver services for AI, autonomous vehicles, 5G, IoT, and important industrial use cases by leveraging distributed, localized compute,” said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. “Within the Eclipse community, we already have a mature code base of open source edge computing platforms with production deployments in the field. The Eclipse Foundation is happy to host this vendor-neutral industry collaboration to accelerate the adoption of distributed applications at the edge.”

          Edge computing, a distributed computing architecture that brings compute power and storage physically closer to applications in order to improve performance and increase efficiency, is forecast to generate a market worth $16.5 billion within the next five years (Allied Market Research, 2019). The Eclipse Foundation already hosts production-ready code that enables developers to quickly build, deploy, and manage applications at the edge at enterprise scale.

        • Rootconf Hyderbad, 2019

          Rootconf is the conference on sysadmins, DevOps, SRE, Network engineers. Rootconf started its journey in 2012 in Bangalore, 2019 was the 7th edition of Rootconf. In these years, through all the Rootconfs, there is a community that has developed around Rootconf. Now people do come to attend Rootconf not just to attend the conference but also to attend friends and peers to discuss projects and ideas.

        • A bit of fun with awk

          I learned a few tidbits in awk this week. awk is a language I have, at best, looked at only very superficially, even though I use it frequently if very basically: to chop a line into fields. I tend to use it more than cut(1) because I can print additional data to that which I’ve cut out (without having to add sed(1) so awk just is more versatile for me.

        • How Unix Works: Become a Better Software Engineer

          I’ll put just enough commands for us to play along, assuming you’re starting from scratch. We’ll explore concepts, see them in practice in a shell, and then scream “I GET THIS!”. Along the way, we’ll also figure out what a shell really is.

          But we can’t begin without getting into the minds of the creators: exploring Unix’s philosophy.

          For now, we can assume Linux is Unix. If you want to know why that’s not really the case, you can skip to the bottom and come back. We’ll end the Unix vs linux confusion once and for all.

        • wireguard

          wireguard (wg) is a modern vpn protocol, using the latest class of encryption algorithms while at the same time promising speed and a small code base.

          modern crypto and lean code are also tenants of openbsd, thus it was a no brainer to migrate my router from openvpn over to wireguard.

        • Python

          • Python Software Foundation: Mozilla and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are funding pip with $407,000

            The Mozilla Corporation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are funding the Python package installer pip with $407,000 USD to support work that is planned for 2020. Where is pip headed next year? The roadmap has been laid out, so let’s have a look at what the future holds.
            As the Python Software Foundation (PSF) announced in a blog post, it is receiving $207,000 USD from Mozilla via the Mozilla Open Source Support Award and $200,000 USD from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) as Essential Open Source Software for Science grant.

            The funds are designated to support a three-phased working plan for pip in 2020 to make the package installer “easier for people to use and troubleshoot”, and here’s what’s going to happen.

          • A Tiny Python Exception Oddity

            If you go back to the first case I discussed, with the unmatched parenthesis, in Friendly-traceback, I rely on the location of the error shown by Python to indicate where the problem arose and, when appropriate, I look *back* to also show where the potential problem started. Unfortunately, I cannot do that in this case with CPython.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • If You ARIA Label Something, Give It A Role

          The longer version is that several elements created extraneous amount of announcements in screen readers in the past that were not really useful. Especially in the ARIA 1.0 days where a lot of things weren’t as clear and people were still gathering experience, this was an issue for elements or roles that mapped to regions, multiple landmarks of the same type on a page, etc. Therefore, best practice has become to label both widgets (which should be labeled anyway), and landmarks with means such as aria-label or aria-labelledby, to make them more useful. This is important for several reasons…

        • A small Wisconsin company stored thousands of people’s CDs, then suddenly vanished

          Last month, almost a million CDs stored in Wisconsin seemed to disappear. For years, thousands of people paid a Madison-based company, named Murfie, to rip, stream, and store their CDs, vinyl, and cassettes. But a few weeks ago, Murfie’s website went offline and nearly all communication from the company ceased. Now, customers fear their physical music collections may be lost forever.

          Murfie’s main service was digitizing people’s audio CDs for high-fidelity cloud playback. You’d mail in your collection, Murfie would rip them to the cloud, and if you kept paying a storage fee, Murfie would hold onto your physical collection and even let you buy and sell with other users. For nine years, it had done that. But late last month, the service stopped, and customers who went to the website found it had gone offline.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • A Kung Fu Master’s Leap Breaks the Internet—but Not Physics

        Yep, once he pushes off the ground, his center of mass actually follows a normal parabolic trajectory. Just like when you toss a ball into the air, the only force acting on him at that point is the gravitational interaction with Earth. That means he has a constant downward acceleration, producing that familiar path. At this level, it’s normal projectile motion.

        But he’s not just a rigid ball; his body is still working as he moves through the air, and that’s where the magic happens. To sort it all out, I ran this clip through my Tracker video-analysis app.

      • As I See It: When Gates Was Young

        And all of this malignant online activity has real-world consequences. Children are bullied to the point of suicide; immigrants and LGBTQ people are harassed, attacked, and sometimes killed; neo-Nazis are emboldened to march through our streets; women and children are sexually exploited to feed the boundless appetite for pornography; and dangerous divisions grow around the world as orchestrated lies feed suspicions and fuel hatreds.

        Nations now have low-cost, non-military means to influence, disrupt and divide their adversaries. In the run up to the Brexit vote, Russian trolls were able to convince a sizeable portion of the British electorate that Turkey was going to be welcomed into the European Union and, as a result, England would be invaded by millions of Turks seeking a better life. None of it was true, but enough people believed it to fracture the European Union. It was the first known instance of an economic and cultural alliance being shattered from remote desktops.

        And here in the United States, Russian electoral interference helped – depending on your orientation – elect either the man chosen by God to save the country, or that fraction of a human being who resides in the White House. In nations where freedom is a threat, digital Berlin walls are being constructed. Paul Krugman describes China’s efforts to keep its people ignorant and docile.

        “China created its Great Firewall to seal off the Internet inside China from the global Internet – so Beijing could censor all news and online internal discussions, freezing out Google, Facebook, and Twitter. China, as well as other countries, has also begun ring-fencing certain data pools, software and technology stacks to make sure that all of them, or at least key elements, are stored on domestic servers and not accessible from abroad.”

        And so, these marvelous, miraculous creations – personal computers, the Internet, social media – the gifts of the digital Magi, have been weaponized. The dreamers and idealists were right: They did change the world, but could not have imagined the direction the changes would take, or all of the ways their inventions would be abused.

        The fearful, vile, and opportunistic have historically used the brilliance of their betters to harm the object of their fears. I think it was Ayn Rand who posited that the person who harnessed fire was probably the first to be burned at the stake. Regardless, technological progress continues at an accelerated pace. It races out ahead of our ability to integrate it. It is the evolution of human consciousness that lags so frightfully behind.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Medicare for All or Profits for a Few

        On a level democratic playing field, the for-profit healthcare industry’s fear mongering would gain little traction, as its talking points are easily refuted.

      • Opinion: What Canada can learn about two-tier health care from Ireland

        Be careful what you wish for, Canada.

        One way or the other, Canadian courts are about to make some key decisions about the role of private financing and practice in the health care system; the Cambie case in British Columbia is just the latest attempt to overturn fundamental components of publicly funded medicare.

        Closing arguments were made last week and the decision in this legal case, which is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court, will have ramifications for decades and for millions of people.

      • [Old] USMCA (NAFTA 2.0): tightening the constraints on the right to regulate for public health

        The most significant chapter in terms of access to medicines is Chapter 20 (Intellectual Property Rights [sic]). This chapter includes many of the ‘TRIPS-Plus’ rules from the TPP as originally negotiated, including the following obligations, which were subsequently suspended in the CPTPP:

    • Integrity/Availability

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Houses of Worship Attacked With Deadly Frequency in 2019

        On Dec. 1, a band of assailants opened fire on worshippers at a small-town Protestant church in Burkina Faso, an impoverished West African country where the Christian minority is increasingly a target of attacks. The victims included the pastor and several teenage boys; regional authorities attributed the attack to “unidentified armed men” who, according to witnesses, got away on motorcycles.

      • Fighting Rages Near Libya’s Capital Amid Push by Rebel Army

        Just two days after rebel Libyan commander Khalifa Hifter declared a “final” and decisive battle for the capital Tripoli, heavy fighting raged for a 24-hour period between his troops and militias loosely allied with the internationally backed government based in the city, officials said Saturday.

      • Between Hope and Horror: Sandy Hook Families Still Breathe Tiny Shards of Glass
      • Where Is the Outrage Over the War in Afghanistan?

        On Monday, The Washington Post began a new series called “The Afghanistan Papers,” based on documents obtained by the newspaper of an internal military report on “lessons learned” from Afghanistan since the American invasion in 2002. The Post deliberately echoed the Pentagon Papers in the title, and the series explicitly draws parallels with the earlier scoop. This comparison might seem like hype, but the revelations in the Afghan report live up to its precursor. Like the Pentagon Papers, the Afghanistan Papers make clear that policy-makers consistently held a much more pessimistic private view of the Afghan War than they ever admitted in public. A feel-good story of progress was sold to the American people by military leaders and politicians who knew the truth was very different.

        And yet, unlike the Pentagon Papers, the Afghanistan Papers are not making a splash. [...]

      • Turkey is getting military drones armed with machine guns

        A drone with a machine gun attached can hit targets with high precision, according to its makers. Turkey is set to become the first country to have the drone, when it gets a delivery this month.

        The 25-kilogram drone has eight rotating blades to get it in the air. Its machine gun carries 200 rounds of ammunition and can fire single shots or 15-round bursts.

      • Palantir Wins New Pentagon Deal With $111 Million From the Army

        The new Defense Department deal will represent about 10% of Palantir’s revenue next year, according to people familiar with the company’s finances. It’s the first step in what could be a four-year, $440 million deal with the Army.

        The Silicon Valley company will provide software to connect human resources, supply chains and other Army operations systems into a single dashboard. The Army considered earlier proposals for related work from Accenture Plc, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and Microsoft Corp.

      • Killer Robots Aren’t Regulated. Yet.

        “We call them precursors,” Mary Wareham, advocacy director of the arms division at Human Rights Watch, said in an interview between meetings at the United Nations in Geneva. “We’re not quite there yet, but we are coming ever closer.”

        So when will more advanced lethal autonomous weapons systems be upon us?

        “I think we’re talking more about years not decades,” she said.

    • Environment

      • Depth of Field: Greta Thunberg Takes on the World

        Over the course of the last two weeks, at the 25th Conference of the Parties in Madrid—referred to as COP25, an annual United Nations summit that gathers global leaders, scientists, and activists on issues of environmental justice—16-year-old Swede Greta Thunberg has commanded an unusual pull. Fortunately for the planet, Thunberg is not alone. Her voice joins a youth-led climate movement that is demanding a course correction from the politicians, governments, and private corporations that have led to skyrocketing levels of greenhouse gas emissions. To put it plainly, the planet is getting too hot too fast. We’re in deep trouble.

      • “Market Solutions” Won’t Bring Climate Justice. Eco-Feminism Is the Alternative.

        As world leaders descended on Madrid, Spain, during the first two weeks of December 2019 for the annual United Nations climate summit (COP25), a video of blindfolded women filling plazas across Latin America and Europe went viral; the women stomping, symbolically squatting and singing in unison, in Spanish, to the beat of a drum: “The patriarchy is the judge/ It judges us for just being born/ And our punishment / is the violence you don’t see.” The lyrics escalate, “The rapist is you/ It’s the cops/ The judges/ The state/ The president.” In Madrid, feminists from around the world gathered near COP25 to perform the piece, “A Rapist in Your Path.”

      • U.N. Climate Talks in Limbo as Chair Chile Bids for Compromise

        Chilean officials presiding over this year’s U.N. climate talks said Saturday they plan to propose a compromise to bridge yawning differences among countries that have been deadlocked on key issues for the past two weeks.

      • In Final Hours, COP 25 Denounced as ‘Utter Failure’ as Deal Is Stripped of Ambition and US Refuses to Accept Liability for Climate Crisis

        “The only thing more disastrous than the state of UN climate negotiations at COP 25 is the state of the global climate.”

      • Climate Policy Should Reflect the Resilience of Northern Indigenous Communities

        This year, Canada experienced record-breaking temperatures across the nation, with a larger increase above normal temperatures in the north than in the south. Canada’s annual average temperature has warmed 1.7C since 1948, but in northern Canada it has increased by 2.3C.

      • Energy

        • ALEC Behind Ohio Bill Criminalizing Protests Against Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

          When anti-protest legislation pushed by oil, gas and utility interests was introduced in the Ohio state Senate this year, it met a receptive audience and passed easily on a mostly party-line vote. It has since moved to the state House, where almost one-third of legislators are ALEC members, and will likely pass at the beginning of 2020.

    • Finance

      • Danny Glover Supports Landmark Reparations Fund in Chicago Suburb

        The Hollywood actor spoke at an Evanston town hall in support of a new policy to use revenue from marijuana legalization to narrow racial economic gaps.

      • How McKinsey Makes Its Own Rules

        It’s not easy being McKinsey & Company these days.

        For most of its 90-odd-year existence, the prestigious management consultancy prided itself on remaining above the fray. McKinsey consultants plied the executive suites of Fortune 500 companies, counseling chief executives with discretion and quietly building a business that, with $10 billion in annual revenues, is now bigger than many of the entities it serves. The substance of the company’s work, and even the identities of its clients, lie concealed under an institutional code of silence. That reticence, enforced by a nondisclosure agreement, bedeviled Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign until last Monday, when McKinsey granted him a rare dispensation to reveal the names of his former clients.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • For Real Democracy, We Need Political Participation at All Levels of Public Life

        Yavor Tarinski is an independent researcher and activist whose publications and talks center on the possibilities of direct democracy and commoning practices as an alternative to the current social imaginary. He is the author of Direct Democracy: Context, Society, Individuality (Durty Books Publishing House, 2019). He is a member of the editorial team of the Greek political journal Aftoleksi, bibliographer at Agora International and member of the administrative board of TRISE. In the past he has co-founded “Adelante” — the first social center in Bulgaria as well as the first Bulgarian Social Forum.

      • The Perry and the Tweet

        “It all made sense thanks to a simple trumpian tweet…”

      • Postal Pay Cuts Provoked a General Strike in Finland. US Postal Workers Deserve the Same Solidarity.

        The prime minister resigned over the nationwide protests, catapulting a 34-year-old woman into Finland’s top job.

      • Ukrainian Foreign Influence Operation Bankrolled by Secret Donors

        Foreign agents peddling influence for a controversial Ukraine politician were part of a coordinated effort bankrolled through a secretive network of shell companies and offshore entities, according to new foreign lobbying records.

      • Bolsonaro’s Revisionist History of Brazil

        The Brazilian government announced the creation of a new video series with which it intends to “combat leftist ideas” and offer a false narrative of Brazilian history.

      • House Judiciary Committee Recommends Impeachment of Donald Trump

        On Friday the 13th of December, the House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump. After a 14-hour hearing, the committee voted 23-17, along party lines, to recommend to the House of Representatives that Trump be impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

      • Following Warren and Sanders, Candidates Vow Not to Cross Picket Line for Debate

        As the hospitality workers’ union Unite Here Local 11 said that next week’s Democratic presidential debate could be threatened by stalled contract negotiations for workers at Loyola Marymount University, which is hosting the debate, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders led the Democratic field in announcing they would be on the side of the workers if a deal is not reached in the coming days.

      • Ilhan Omar Joins Sanders in Drawing 1,300 People to Largest New Hampshire Rally of 2020 Primary So Far

        “If believing that 500,000 Americans should not be forced into medical bankruptcy every single year is radical, than we’re proud to be radical.”

      • Don’t Let the Smears That Sank Corbyn Tank Bernie Sanders

        “Labour’s worst performance since 1983 carries an important lesson for the grassroots left-wing campaign in the United States to elect Bernie Sanders as president: You must defeat false anti-Semitism smears at all costs.”

      • Johnson’s Win May Deliver Brexit but Could Risk U.K.’s Breakup

        Leaving the European Union is not the only split British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has to worry about.

      • Boris Johnson’s election win means we’re all heading off a cliff

        Not much of a cliff-hanger, was it? Despite every squalid disappointment of this dull, dishonest election and all that driving rain, Boris Johnson’s winter gamble has paid off. Now his troubles really begin. He has refashioned his party in Nigel Farage’s harsher image and has promised to deliver many impossibles. He has the Commons majority he asked for. No more excuses for the World King. No more hope of reversing Brexit. That re-set Brussels clock is ticking again towards a weak deal, a no-deal or a One Nation chameleon’s U-turn.

      • Key committee passes Trump impeachment charges

        Friday’s hearing lasted just over ten minutes before the two articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstructing Congress – were passed by 23 votes to 17.

        The vote had been expected on Thursday but was delayed after more than 14 hours of rancorous debate. Republicans criticised that decision by Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Nadler, accusing him of pushing back the vote to ensure more TV coverage.

        In the abuse of power article, Mr Trump is accused of soliciting a foreign country to help him politically by trying to force Ukraine to launch a corruption investigation into his political rival Joe Biden, a leading Democratic presidential contender.

        He is also accused of obstructing Congress by failing to co-operate with the House investigation.

      • Showdown in Wisconn Valley

        Whatever Foxconn is building in Wisconsin, it’s not the $10 billion, 22 million-square-foot Generation 10.5 LCD factory that President Trump once promised would be the “eighth wonder of the world.” At various points over the last two years, the Taiwanese tech manufacturer has said it would build a smaller LCD factory; that it wouldn’t build a factory at all; that it would build an LCD factory; that the company could make any number of things, from screens for cars to server racks to robot coffee kiosks; and so on.

        Throughout these changes, one question has loomed: given that Foxconn is building something completely different than that Gen 10.5 LCD facility specified in its original contract with Wisconsin, is it still going to get the record-breaking $4.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies?

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The Future of Sex Work Slams Up Against Big Tech

        There was just one problem. Around the time Blanco opened his account,v (Blanco embraces the term sex worker; not all influencers on these sites are as unabashed in welcoming the label.) Today, building a sustainable brand requires cross-platform synergy—a kind of digital harmonic convergence—which means many creators often leverage their following on Instagram to promote their fan accounts, typically adding a link in their bio. As first reported by XBIZ, Facebook updated its community guidelines over the summer, fine-tuning specific language around sexual expression; this applied to content not only on Facebook but also on Instagram, which it owns. (The platforms share “sexual solicitation” policies, the company confirmed.)

        According to a Facebook spokesperson, the update aimed “to help people better understand our policies, but nothing changed in terms of the policy itself or how we enforce it. In other words, it was simply a clarifier for the community.” The company said in an email to WIRED that it has AI “constantly running” to find content that violates its policies.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • How the FCC lets your ISP paint a rosy picture of [Internet] speeds

        According to the WSJ, companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast have worked to influence the reports and have used a variety of tactics over the years to boost their numbers. In doing so, the FCC’s reporting system could be showing connection speeds that are far faster than what customers actually get.

      • Planned $1.1B Sale of .Org Angers Many Open Source Crypto Developers

        “.Org is usually the namespace for non-profits, foundations, governmental research institutes, and others. Being owned by a private equity firm usually stands for maximizing profits and revenue. The big problem is that non-profits have limited funds and they fear that the domain prices will rise beyond a level that they can afford,” said Peter Wilfahrt, co-founder of Versangigant.

        While not many open-source blockchain projects depend on the .org TLD, the move from the non-profit Internet Society (INSO) to the for-profit Ethos could hasten the end of the public-domain Internet. In fact, INSO’s parent, the so-called PIR – which stands for Public Interest Registry – “has confirmed it will discard the non-profit status it has held since 2003 as a result of the sale,” according to a Register report.

        Although moving the TLD into private hands shouldn’t change much technically, it effectively removes the price cap associated with .org domains, allowing squatters to set outlandish prices for sought-after domains.

    • Monopolies

      • Billboard is changing its albums chart to count YouTube streams

        Billboard has announced that YouTube streams will be factored into the Billboard 200 albums chart starting early next year. Video streams from other platforms will also count, including Apple, Spotify, Tidal, and Vevo, and Billboard says the change will also impact genre album consumption charts, like country, Latin, and others. Billboard’s charts have historically been seen as a barometer of success within the music industry.

      • WIPO Public Consultation on AI and IP

        The World Intellectual Property Organization has launched a public consultation process on artificial intelligence and intellectual property policy, inviting feedback on an issues paper designed to help define the most-pressing questions likely to face IP policy makers as AI increases in importance.

        In January 2019, WIPO issued a study that surveyed the landscape of AI innovation. The WIPO Technology Trends report offers evidence-based projections to inform global policymakers on the future of AI. Subsequently, in September 2019, WIPO held a Conversation on IP and Al bringing together member states and other stakeholders to discuss the impact of Al on IP policy, with a view to collectively formulating the questions that policymakers need to ask.


        Looking at issues around Inventorship and Ownership, Patentable Subject Matter and Patentability Guidelines, Inventive Step or Non-Obviousness, Disclosure and General Policy Considerations for the Patent System.

      • Prime Leverage: How Amazon Wields Power in the Technology World

        Software start-ups have a phrase for what Amazon is doing to them: ‘strip-mining’ them of their innovations.

      • Patents

        • One man’s crusade to open-source cannabis DNA

          By 2018, Medicinal Genomics’s ability to map the genome of cannabis strains had advanced greatly. So when a cryptocurrency gave McKernan’s company 150 DASH (approximately $67,500 at the time of the grant) to map a strain called Jamaican Lion, the genome was assembled and publicly available within 60 days of the payment.

          Blockchain technology didn’t just fund the effort. Jamaican Lion’s actual genomic information was also encoded directly into a blockchain. That made sure the data was published publicly and securely, with a globally recognized timestamp, in a way that can’t be edited after the fact.


          That paper trail is important because it predates the patent applications of Biotech Institute LLC, a shadowy cannabis science company profiled extensively in Part 2 of this special report. Which means that if Jamaican Lion can be proven to have exhibited the same properties described in Biotech Institute’s first patent at least a year prior to when the Biotech patent was issued, then that would effectively invalidate Biotech’s claims.

          But that’s far from a sure thing. Cannabis patent law remains in its infancy, and the plant remains federally illegal in the United States, so it’s pretty much impossible to predict how the government will weigh a claim based in part on a High Times sponsored harvest contest.

        • Nokia stresses confidentiality of EU antitrust mediation with Daimler and suppliers

          I asked Nokia, which has recently issued a couple of public statements on its EU antitrust row with Daimler and four of its suppliers, for comment on Continental’s new licensing offer. Nokia declined to comment, and stressed that they “respect confidentiality, including that of the mediation process, which will itself be confidential.”

          This means we’re unlikely to hear anything for some more time. EU competition commissioner Vestager said she was going to wait until mid-February.

        • USMCA

          • NAFTA 2.0 Does Little to Reverse the Damage of Its Predecessor

            On Tuesday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that Democrats had reached a deal with the Trump administration to advance the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), also referred to as “NAFTA 2.0.” In explaining the deal, she said: “There is no question of course that this trade agreement is much better than NAFTA.”

          • With USMCA Moving Forward, American Farmers Seek More Trade Deals

            The USMCA replaces the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. A key part of the new agreement is to lower or end tariffs and boost markets for U.S. crops – most notably corn and soybeans – in countries bordering the United States.

          • United States–Mexico–Canada Trade Fact Sheet Modernizing NAFTA into a 21st Century Trade Agreement

            The United States, Mexico, and Canada have reached an agreement on a modernized, high-standard Intellectual Property (IP) [sic] chapter that provides strong and effective protection and enforcement of IP rights critical to driving innovation, creating economic growth, and supporting American jobs.

          • [Old] USMCA: Intellectual Property [sic] Rights [sic] (IPR)

            Patents protect new inventions, such as pharmaceutical products, chemical processes, business technologies, and computer software. USMCA definespatentable subject matter asnew productsand processes, as well as new uses, methods, or processesof a known product. Under TRIPS, patented inventions must receive a minimum term of 20 years of protection. USMCA requires adjustments of patent termsfor “unreasonable” delays in the patent examination or regulatory approval processes. “Unreasonable delays” include a delay of more than five years from the date of filing or three years after a request for examination of an application, whichever is later. USMCA includes a notification system and procedures(e.g., judicial or administrative proceedings) to assert patent rights or to challenge a patent’s validity. These procedures are more flexible than “patent linkage”—a provision common to many prior U.S. FTAs whereby regulatory authority cannot grant marketing approval to a generic drug without the patent holder’s permission

          • USMCA: The 3 most important changes in the new NAFTA and why they matter

            The new agreement includes stronger protections for patents and trademarks in areas such as biotech, financial services and domain names – all of which have advanced considerably over the past quarter-century. It also contains new provisions governing the expansion of digital trade and investment in innovative products and services.

      • Copyrights

        • Two Las Vegas Men Plead Guilty in U.S. Criminal Streaming Piracy Case

          Two defendants have pleaded guilty for their role in the operation of two streaming services that offered access to pirated movies and TV-shows. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, ]iStreamItAll and Jetflicks were among the biggest illegal streaming services in the US. The platforms used torrent and Usenet sites to source thousands of pirated videos for their platforms, which were offered to the public for a monthly subscription fee.

European Patents Losing Their Appeal, Lustre and Glamour

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Presumption of validity an elusive dream now

IAM on quality at EPO

Summary: Years of assaults on EPO staff — including EPO judges — have taken their toll and the quality of patents is nothing like it used to be

WHETHER it’s Iancu (USPTO) or Campinos — or his predecessor Battistelli — the trend in Western patent offices isn’t encouraging. For a little while, with Michelle Lee at the USPTO for example, there was a glimmer of hope. Will these offices quit their obsession with quantity? Will they focus on quality instead (not just mention the word “quality”)?

“Patent maximalists are devaluing the patent pool and harming the perception associated with patents.”Ask European patent examiners what they’re seeing; they know patent quality is being reduced. Even recent court cases show that many European Patents are ‘fake’, e.g. SolarEdge. Fewer firms than before are writing a whole press release and paying to spread it just to say that the European Patent Office (EPO) — with all its issues — granted a monopoly; over the past few weeks if not month we found only one example of it [1, 2] (4 days ago).

Patent maximalists are devaluing the patent pool and harming the perception associated with patents. This new article (“The Rise Of Patent Wars In Europe’s Gene Therapy Space”) reminds us that monopolies on genetics are being granted by the EPO (patents that are in violation of the EPC, instructions from Parliament and so on). The part about these patents is behind the paywall and it’s preceded by loads of hype and jingoism:

The gene therapy industry is in an exciting phase of growth, undergoing significant mergers and acquisitions activity, product sales and new marketing authorizations that are being issued with increasing regularity globally.

Recent reports have estimated that the market is likely to be almost four times its current value by 2025[1], with up to 20 new product approvals expected every year[2].

This rapid growth brings inevitable challenges. Significant issues relating to regulatory standards in manufacturing plants, establishing acceptable reimbursement policies and antitrust investigations are among a few.

There are now many patent disputes and law firms profit from these. Many of the underlying patents perish in courts (we’ve given several examples earlier this year). That’s not really a problem for law firms because they profit regardless and days ago in Mondaq Marta Kawczynska (Polservice) was trying to ‘sell’ patent ‘services’, including at the EPO, citing the EPC which the EPO violates every day:

In accordance with the EPC, a European patent application may be filed by any natural or legal person, or by any equivalent to a legal person by virtue of its governing law. For the purposes of proceedings before the European Patent Office, the applicant is deemed to be entitled to exercise the right to the European patent. The application may be in the name of one applicant or joint applicants. The application may also be filed by two or more applicants designating different contracting states. It is possible that a first applicant may designate one group of contracting states and a second a different group of contracting states, while both applicants jointly designate a third group of contracting states.

It would be useful to be told about the rapidly-declining patent quality and low validity rates this entails. National patent offices (NPOs) likely provide much better services than the EPO, based on people who have worked with both. The way things are going, some time soon European Patents (EPs) will be synonymous with Invalid Patents (IPs). The EPO nowadays grants patents on animals, life, nature, plants, seeds, maths, and statistics. It’s really ridiculous.

Incidentally, promoted in Lexology the other day was this article by UDL Intellectual Property’s Terence Broderick, noting that “the EPO found that the documents could be passed without any legal barrier” in a case initially mentioned here a few weeks ago (it’s regarding a trolling conglomerate with a pile of software patents wrongly granted in Europe). To quote:

This year, the European Patent Office (EPO) considered this exact point, examining the public availability of shared documents in the context of a disclosure which would prejudice the patentability of an invention.

The documents were produced as part of the MPEG standardisation process. Standardisation can often involve collaboration between organisations and the employees involved will often pass documents between each other without stopping to consider the confidentiality implications.

However, in this particular case, the EPO found that the documents could be passed without any legal barrier to individuals not bound by confidentiality. The documents were found to be publicly available as it was possible for them to be accessed by individuals not bound by an explicit confidentiality obligation.

So, if your employees are collaborating with others and sharing confidential information, you must ensure that all of the parties are bound by explicit obligations of confidentiality. Otherwise, you may find that one of your employees has accidentally invalidated one of your patents before it’s filed.

When it comes to lack of confidentiality, there have been vastly worse scenarios over this past year. The EPO just isn’t acting like a law-abiding institution; it’s hardly even trying.

Software Freedom and The U.S. Constitution

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, Law at 5:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

By figosdev

US Constitution

Summary: “We need to stand for the freedom to not use the software — we need to enjoy that freedom without giving up the rest of the existing Free software ecosystem.”

I think it’s unlikely that Stallman was considering the Constitution as the primary inspiration for the Free Software Definition. One reason I think it’s unlikely is I’ve never read that he did, and he’s the sort of person to say so more than once. But whether intentionally or inadvertently, I think what he did is actually create a constitution for software users.

The United States Constitution represents the nature of the American government, according to the will of the people. This is the nicest way of putting it, as a “2/3 majority” is not exactly what people sometimes assume it is. All the same, the British monarchy invites someone to create a government — and in the Constitution, Americans provide their consent to the government’s existence.

In order for this consent to be reached, a list of amendments had to be added. The states would not agree to ratify the Constitution if it created too much centralised authority, and the Bill of Rights was a list of deal-breakers — they were freedoms that were demanded before consent would be given.

“I think it’s unlikely that Stallman was considering the Constitution as the primary inspiration for the Free Software Definition.”Obviously, I am not going to propose that the Free software Definition is like the Constitution in every way. But I think some of the similarities are instructive, or at least interesting.

The Free software Definition began with three freedoms, including the rights to study, change and share any software that met this definition. If a law violates the Constitution, it is invalid and should be struck down. If software comes with a license that denies one of these freedoms, it is considered non-free and should either be avoided or (according to those who consider software freedom more ethically imperative than license restrictions) disobeyed. Personally, I prefer to avoid using software that doesn’t offer the freedoms in the FSD.

As to what gives people any moral right to disobey a software license that denies the user the rights to control their own computer, it goes back to the idea that just laws should be followed, but unjust laws should not. Who decides which laws are which? Ultimately, it is the people whose decision matters. Sure, that complicates things, but that is the nature of ethics.

“As to what gives people any moral right to disobey a software license that denies the user the rights to control their own computer, it goes back to the idea that just laws should be followed, but unjust laws should not.”I am generally happy to simply boycott non-free software or at least work to remove it from the computers that I control, because I believe we create a better world for computer users and even developers when we do this. But when it comes to other works, such as books and movies and music, disobeying unjust laws becomes very important and also extremely common — almost universal. So unless you wish to plead a very special case for obeying unjust software licenses, I can’t fully disagree with at least the concept of disobeying them, even if I think there are more practical (even generally safer, one might add wiser) alternatives like using Free software instead.

The most common protest of this reasoning is that who is going to pay artists or programmers for their work? What Stallman says about this with regards to software development is well known.

With regards to artists, it is probably easier to make money (on average) as a musician now than at any other point in history, and people have more unpaid access to music than at any point in history as well. The existence of free libraries has the effect of increasing, rather than diminishing author revenue, because libraries lead to better book sales. Even if you’ve read a book, the odds are increased you will buy that book as a gift, and so on. These facts fly in the face of rhetoric from monopolists and copyright expansionists.

There are also ways for programmers to make money that don’t involve the very predatory nature of end-user-license agreements and non-free software licenses.

Just as the Constitution and Bill of Rights outlined a system that the people were willing to consent to, the Free software Definition outlines a system that free users and developers are willing to participate in. For those who believe Free software is vital, they do not consent to software licenses that violate the Four Freedoms.

Of course it is Four Freedoms now, because like the Constitution, the Free software Definition was eventually amended to include the freedom to use the software, for any purpose. So we had the freedom to study, change, share the software — plus the obvious freedom to use the software.

“There are also ways for programmers to make money that don’t involve the very predatory nature of end-user-license agreements and non-free software licenses.”It’s not very practical to study, change or share the software if it can’t be used, but adding the freedom to use the software clarifies an important point — the freedom to use the software can be unreasonably limited. DRM made the arguably implicit freedom to use worth clarifying and making explicit. But does it limit the freedom to change the software?

A sophist may tell you that the freedom to change the software includes the freedom to change it so that other people can’t use it. This is sophistry because that comes down to the freedom to limit the freedom of others. The freedom to change the software never really included the freedom to change it so that others can’t use it, because the freedom to change it also implies the freedom of others to change it so they can use it.

“A sophist may tell you that the freedom to change the software includes the freedom to change it so that other people can’t use it. This is sophistry because that comes down to the freedom to limit the freedom of others.”Which is more relevant to freedom, really–the freedom to change the software so people can’t use it, or the freedom to change it so people can? Clearly if you have the freedom to change it, you have the freedom to change it so you can use it! So freedom 0 is not an amendment that violates freedom 3 (or at least, I firmly believe this is better reasoning than the alternative.)

With regards to an amendment that says you have the freedom to NOT run the software, a freedom 4, I will apply the same kind of reasoning. Let’s look at the exact wording of Peter Boughton’s freedom 4 as I’ve tailored it to fit the Four Freedoms:

The freedom to NOT run the software, to be free to avoid vendor lock-in through appropriate modularization/encapsulation and minimized dependencies; meaning any Free software can be replaced with a user’s preferred alternatives (freedom 4).

And here are the exact original words for comparison:

Here would be my fifth: replace – the freedom to not run the software, to be free to avoid vendor lock-in through appropriate modularization/encapsulation and minimized dependencies – meaning any Free software can be replaced with a user’s preferred alternatives.

“Up till now, Linux has greatly benefited from the integration / componentization model pushed by previous UNIX’s. Additionally, the organization of Apache was simplified by the relatively simple, fault tolerant specifications of the HTTP protocol and UNIX server application design.” https://www.gnu.org/software/fsfe/projects/ms-vs-eu/halloween1.html

Let’s look at these key words, which are bound to be disputed as compatible with the existing freedoms:

A. “the freedom to not run the software,”

B. “to be free to avoid vendor lock-in through appropriate modularization/encapsulation and minimized dependencies -”

C. “meaning any Free software can be replaced with a user’s preferred alternatives.”

Regarding A., if you have the freedom to change the software (freedom 3), which is more important — the “freedom” to change the software so users have no choice but to run it, or the freedom to change it so you have the choice?

Regarding B., if you have the freedom to change the software, which is more important — the freedom to change the software so as to avoid vendor lock-in, or the freedom to change the software to create it?

Regarding C., which is more important, the freedom to change the software so components can be changed or replaced, or the freedom to change it so that components cannot be?

“If you look around, you can see people spending years to remove lock-in created by very deliberate and obvious (and of course, sometimes denied but sometimes, even gloated about!) effort to force people to use the software.”It is sophisty to claim that Free software authors have a right to create increasing amounts of lock-in. The more lock-in they create, the less free the user is — the less control they have over their computing.
Taken to its extreme, the user has no freedom 3 at all. So why would we call it “freedom” when suddenly it is only halfway there? There is no crime on Earth which does not suffer from similar pedantry used to deny the problem — all the way up to people and governments not taking action against genocide because essentially, “how do we know it’s really genocide if some of them are still around?”

“OSS projects have been able to gain a foothold in many server applications because of the wide utility of highly commoditized, simple protocols. By extending these protocols and developing new protocols, we can deny OSS projects entry into the market.” https://www.gnu.org/software/fsfe/projects/ms-vs-eu/halloween1.html

As with freedom 0, the freedom to use outweighs any “freedom” to change software so as to lock out the user with Tivoisation. With freedom 4, the freedom to choose not to use outweighs the “freedom” to change in a way that forces people to use software.

As to whether people are being “forced” to use software via lock-in, again, that’s the hardest thing to prove, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tell. If you look around, you can see people spending years to remove lock-in created by very deliberate and obvious (and of course, sometimes denied but sometimes, even gloated about!) effort to force people to use the software.

“There are similar problems with the Constitution today.”The freedom to not use the software was for most of our history, implicit until these attacks came along 5 or more years ago. The fifth freedom makes that freedom explicit.

The freedom to to use the software was also implicit, at least with Free software, until DRM came along. It was most likely DRM that made freedom 0 necessary to reinforce the other three freedoms. It is considered more fundamental — it supports the other freedoms.

The freedom to not use the software supports the freedom to change the software. If you are being effectively forced to use software, if your entire software ecosystem is being attacked in a way that makes it take half a decade to remove the offending software, if running away from it and boycotting it only results in it steamrolling through every distro you try, even the ones that exist specifically for the purpose of avoiding it — then you have a real problem.

“The First Amendment is a limitation on Congress to abridge the freedom of speech.”There are similar problems with the Constitution today. For both the Constitution and the Free software ecosystem, the overarching reason that freedom is threatened is that both the country and Free software are being taken over by the same monopolistic entities that Free software (and the United States) were created to resist.

The First Amendment is a limitation on Congress to abridge the freedom of speech. It is from this freedom of speech that software freedom (software is, very easily, a form of speech — it is a written work, and as some of us argue it ought to be as unabridged as the right to do mathematics) is easiest and most obvious to justify as a human right.

And yet worse in terms of precedents than abridging free speech is compelled speech. Compelled speech has its ethical domain in P.O.W. camps and totalitarian regimes, the sort of regimes that Microsoft has enjoyed creating with its software. Do not turn off your computer, we will these run updates now, whether you need to turn it off or not. Compelled speech violates the freedom of thought, not just the freedom of speech.

“We’ve seen Microsoft play this game before, and they’re very good at it. When it works, Microsoft wins a monopoly lock. Customers lose.” https://www.gnu.org/software/fsfe/projects/ms-vs-eu/halloween1.html

“Of course we should resist compelled software, with the same disdain and distrust we reserve for compelled speech. The alternative to this compelled software continues to be attacked and eroded.”Compelled software is the theft your CPU cycles, a denial of service attack on the installment plan. If you decide to spend those cycles, that’s one thing. But traditionally, software that uses those cycles without the permission of the user was called malware.

Of course we should resist compelled software, with the same disdain and distrust we reserve for compelled speech. The alternative to this compelled software continues to be attacked and eroded.

The legitimacy and the institution of those who claim to stand for software freedom is hurt when they excuse increasing and incessant attempts to compel oppressive and overbearing corporate software, as much as it hurts the legitimacy and office of a president who signs unconstitutional laws and orders. These are people who speak of freedom, while signing it away in our name. And they ought to be impeached for it, but at the very least they should be roundly criticised and condemned.

Freedom 0, to use the software for any purpose, could be said (metaphorically) to go back at least as far as the Declaration of Independence and that the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” I am aware that “Happiness” meant “wealth” and I am taking a few liberties with this metaphor, to be certain. The Constitution and the Declaration were not the first things of their kind at any rate, as with GNU they also took some inspiration from older documents and systems.

“The original goal of the patent system for example, was to give incentive for people to document their inventions and avoid relying as heavily on trade secrets.”Freedom 1, the freedom to study the software, is the very basis of science, education and free thinking. Article I of the Constitution offers the only justification for the monopolies of today as “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts…” The original goal of the patent system for example, was to give incentive for people to document their inventions and avoid relying as heavily on trade secrets.

It was intended to increase the ability of people to study and improve (change) inventions, rather than lock them up indefinitely. This is why all monopolies that Congress may grant can only be granted “for limited times.” All inventions are intended to enter the public domain, and the monopolies are granted as an incentive to help that along and encourage contribution to that public domain.

Freedom 2, the freedom to share the software, was inherent to all works during the framing the Constitution — all works were in the public domain, and no real restriction on sharing them (only publishing, not even non-commercial copying) existed. In fact for the first 204 years of the existence of the USA, until 1980, there was no restriction on sharing software, as copyright did not apply to software at all until that year.

Freedom 3, the freedom to change the software, is built into the constitution as well.

As with freedom 3 in the Free software Definition, this constitutional freedom is one of the originals, as found in Article V. You could call this “The fifth freedom of the Constitution” (rather than the Fifth Amendment) as Article V. states, among few other things:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress;

In plain English, the Constitution itself can be amended either by Congress, or if Congress is corrupt or otherwise uncooperative, “when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof”.

By this process, not only can you change the laws (the software) but the Constitution itself; even if the federal government is corrupt or otherwise uncooperative.

Article V not only lets you change the software, it gives you the freedom to not run it, and even the ability to peacefully dissolve the government itself.

“Article V not only lets you change the software, it gives you the freedom to not run it, and even the ability to peacefully dissolve the government itself.”On paper at least, there is no freedom that Americans do not enjoy. But despite having that freedom on paper, we know that corporations deny us basic freedoms every day. They are entrenched, and our lack of greater attention to freedom costs us our wealth, our health and indeed our freedom.

The freedom to not use the software is implied in the freedom to change it, but freedom 0 was added to clarify and codify what was implicit before.

To fulfill freedom 3, we should now clarify and codify the freedom to not run the software that was implicit until it was (as with DRM violating what is now freedom 0) so thoroughly and routinely violated and threatened for years now, until the present day.

I happen to think that the wording of freedom 4 is acceptable as it is, but the freedom to not use the software must remain inviolate, and it is time we stood for that freedom and (as we do regarding other forms of non-Free software.)

Remember that it is the Constitution that outlines your freedom in the United States, and the laws that try to make it work. The laws of the nation are not what fundamentally define your freedom.

Similarly, it is the Free software Definition, not Free software licenses, that actually define your freedom as a proponent of Free software. GPL 2 left you “free in license only” when it came to Tivoisation, and GPL 3 fixed that to protect freedom 0 better than the GPL ever had previously.

“Licenses do not guarantee freedom. They try to make it work.”This is very important:

Tivoisation, despite GPL 2 demonstrates that compliance with the GPL could not by itself prove that your software is sufficiently free.

It is just as ridiculous to say that an act’s compliance with American law proves that you are free.

If software is compliant with the latest version of the GPL, that provides good evidence that it is Free software, but it is not proof.
Licenses do not guarantee freedom. They try to make it work.

Software must comply with the Four Freedoms at least, in order to be Free software.

“Software must comply with the Four Freedoms at least, in order to be Free software.”In other words, it is possible to have software under the GPL 2 or (potentially even the) GPL 3 license, that actually violates freedom 3.

“The objective is to make the new protocols a checklist item for gullible corporate buyers, while simultaneously making the writing of third-party symbiotes for Microsoft programs next to impossible. (And anyone who succeeds gets bought out.)” https://www.gnu.org/software/fsfe/projects/ms-vs-eu/halloween1.html

“We need to stand for the freedom to not use the software — we need to enjoy that freedom without giving up the rest of the existing Free software ecosystem.”What is not possible to say without question is “of course it respects your freedom, it is under a free license.” This is a fallacious dismissal, and can be made in error. People who rely on this argument to prove software is free really should recognise that it is unsound and already once shown to be untrue. This doesn’t dispute that GPL compliance is a very good indicator, in most instances, but it does not automatically mean that your software is free.

We need to stand for the freedom to not use the software — we need to enjoy that freedom without giving up the rest of the existing Free software ecosystem. Another way of saying exactly that, is that we need modularity, or “appropriate modularization/encapsulation and minimized dependencies” in order for the user to be free.

Long Live Stallman, and Happy Hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 14, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:14 am by Needs Sunlight



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now


Links 15/12/2019: Wine 5.0 RC1 Released, KDE Frameworks 5.65.0, Qubes OS 4.0.2 RC3

Posted in News Roundup at 7:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Google slaps blocks on some Linux web browsers

        It may seem that the big names of tech are eager to embrace — and to be seen embracing — Linux, but Google is being a little selective.

        Users of the Konqueror, Falkon and Qutebrowser web browsers for Linux-based operating systems have reported that they are unable to log into Google services. What’s strange is that not all users of these browsers are affected, but many people are seeing a warning

      • These Linux browsers are being banned from Google services

        The popular Linux browsers Konqueror, Falkon and Qutebrowser are now being banned from logging into Google services as they may not be secure.

        It’s unclear as to when the search giant began blocking these browsers but a Reddit user recently made the discovery and wrote a post about it.

        After running its own tests on Konqueror and Falcon, BleepingComputer confirmed that it was unable to login to Google services using either browser and Google suggested using another browser instead as they may not be secure.

      • Google Is Banning Popular Linux Web Browsers For Unknown Reasons

        As reported by Bleeping Computer, Google, the search giant, is banning some of the popular web browsers like Konqueror, Falkon, and Qutebrowser. If you’re using any of the mentioned browsers, there are chances that you’ll be restricted from logging into Google services.

        The ban was discovered by a Reddit user who posted about the same on the platform. The post garnered attention from several Linux enthusiasts who also reported they aren’t able to access Google services from some Linux browsers.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • New extensions in IBM z/OS — containerized workloads

          Container frameworks like Docker allow software to be deployed in a modular fashion and provide the foundation for cloud architectures. With the release of container extensions, IBM’s z/OS platform now supports containerized workloads and enables future deployments through orchestration mechanisms like Kubernetes and OpenShift. This allows z/OS to operate more seamlessly with Linux-based open source workloads that require access to local mainframe resources and subsystems.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2019-12-13 | Linux Headlines

        Zulip version 2.1 is out, LibreOffice has a new manual, the Linux Foundation announces yet another initiative, and individual talks from the Linux App Summit have hit the web.

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel Releases Cloud-Hypervisor 0.4 As Its Rust-Written VMM Built Off KVM

        Friday marked not only the release of QEMU 4.2 for Linux virtualization but Intel’s open-source crew developing the Cloud-Hypervisor as the Rustlang-based VMM built around Linux’s KVM and VirtIO interfaces is out with a big feature release.

        Cloud-Hypervisor took shape this year and has been quick to evolve since its inaugural release in July. Cloud-Hypervisor during its pre-alpha stage is catered to Clear Linux and Ubuntu while also focusing on x86_64 CPU support but AArch64 coverae is said to be coming in the future. Windows 64-bit guest support is also under evaluation.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa 20.0-devel Intel Gallium3D Performance Benchmarks Are Looking Good For Ice Lake

          While the Mesa 20.0 cycle is quite young and still over one month to go until the feature freeze for this next quarterly installment of these open-source OpenGL/Vulkan Linux drivers, it’s quite exciting already with the changes building up. In particular, on the Intel side they are still positioning for the Intel Gallium3D driver to become the new default on hardware of generations Broadwell and newer. Here is a quick look at how the Intel Gallium3D performance is looking compared to their legacy “i965″ classic OpenGL driver that is the current default.

          As you should already know if you’ve been reading Phoronix for any real length of time, the new Intel Gallium3D driver is quite competitive and for supported generations is generally now ahead of their classic OpenGL driver. The Intel Gallium3D driver supports OpenGL 4.6 like the i965 driver and the lingering bugs are just being addressed before turning it on as the default Intel OpenGL Linux driver while i965 will be sticking around as the default for Haswell and older.

        • Ubuntu’s Mir Display Stack Accomplished A Lot In 2019 For Being Discounted Two Years Ago

          Canonical’s Alan Griffiths continues leading the Mir efforts and his team had a very busy 2019 continuing to push along Mir even though it’s not featured on the Ubuntu desktop right now is still playing a big role at the company due to IoT use-cases like digital signage. Griffiths provided a look back at Mir in 2019 on Ubuntu Discourse. Here were some of the highlights:

        • AMD releases the Radeon 5500XT

          Now step forward almost six months and the drivers for the 5700 and 5500 lines still don’t exist. OK sure there are drivers for Ubuntu 18.04.03, and ONLY for Ubuntu 18.04.03, nothing newer.

    • Benchmarks

      • Sabrent Rocket 4.0 NVMe Gen4 Linux Benchmarks Against Other SATA/NVMe SSDs

        When it comes to PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs, the drives we have been using are the Corsair Force MP600 that have been working out great for pairing with the newest AMD Ryzen systems. But a Black Friday deal had the Sabrent 1TB Rocket NVMe 4.0 Gen4 PCIe M.2 SSD on sale, so I decided to pick one up to see how it was performing on Ubuntu Linux. Here are benchmarks of the Sabrent Gen4 NVMe SSD, which in the 1TB capacity can be found for $150~170 USD.

        The Sabrent 1TB Rocket NVMe 4.0 Gen4 (SB-ROCKET-NVMe4-1TB) features Toshiba BiCS4 96L BGA132 TLC NAND flash memory, Phison PS5016-E16 flash controller, and Sabrent rates its performance for sequential reads up to 5000MB/s and sequential writes up to 4400MB/s. Obviously for hitting those peak performance figures this solid-state drive needs to be installed in a PCI Express 4.0 M.2 slot.

    • Applications

      • VirtualBox 6.1 Released with Kernel 5.4 Officially by Oracle Team!

        VirtualBox 6.1 Released: The Oracle team announced in their blog as “The Final version of VirtualBox 6.1 Released Today“. The VirtualBox is a cross-platform software available for Windows, Mac & Linux operating systems. According the them, VirtualBox 6.1 is one of the best edition released ever. It is the largest and open-source version released now. This version is designed to work with cloud application and servers.

        The New Version VirtualBox 6.1 introduces the option to “Import from Oracle Cloud Infrastructure”

        This unique feature allows us to run a virtual machine environment locally on your 32 bit x86 Desktop System. The new version will run the virtual machine on x86 based Windows, Linux, Mac, Oracle Solaris machines. The version 6.1 allows you to update the VirtualBox version locally on your x86 systems.

      • 10 Best Linux Log File Management Tools

        Log file management is essential for apps, operating systems, servers, and anything software related. Realistically, there are some specific file management best practices that are fundamental, and tools which tend to make the process easier while outpacing the rest. We’ll briefly explore ten of these tools in this writing.

        Linux and Unix require log management that’s as convenient as possible for best server management. Servers are the core of many businesses in terms of technology, and different businesses have different needs. From Papertrail to Lnav to LOGalyze, there are plenty of worthwhile options. Find those that best fit your business and needs of its tech personnel.

      • QEMU 5.0 Kicks Off For Development

        Following yesterday’s release of QEMU 4.2, the next version of this open-source processor emulator for hardware virtualization entering development is QEMU 5.0.

        QEMU 4.0 launched just this past April while QEMU 5.0 is the new version entering development to succeed QEMU 4.2.

        Development for QEMU 5.0 is now open but as of writing there hasn’t been any mad rush of new features to land. But among the “5.0″ patches that have been residing on their mailing list include VirtIO IOMMU device support, XIVE support for POWER KVM guests, support for real-time clock ioctls, and other mostly routine patches around s390x / 9pfs / other common areas of code churn for QEMU.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 5.0-rc1 is now available.
        This is the first release candidate for the upcoming Wine 5.0. It
        marks the beginning of the yearly code freeze period. Please give this
        release a good testing to help us make 5.0 as good as possible.
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Gecko update, with support for running from a global location.
          - Unicode data updated to Unicode version 12.1.
          - Initial version of the MSADO (ActiveX Data Objects) library.
          - Update installation support in the WUSA (Windows Update Standalone) tool.
          - More progress on the kernel32/kernelbase restructuring.
          - Support for signing with ECDSA keys.
          - Various bug fixes.
        The source is available from the following locations:
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
      • Wine 5.0-RC1 Released With Unicode 12.1 Support, Initial ActiveX Data Objects Library

        Making it into Wine 5.0-rc1 is an updated Mozilla Gecko revision, Unicode 12.1 support, an initial MSADO ActiveX Data Objects library implementation, updating the installation support within the WUSA (Windows Update Standalone_ utility, continued Kernel32/Kernelbase restructuring, support for signing with ECDSA keys, and the usual variety of bug fixes.

      • Where there’s a will there’s a Wine 5.0rc1

        The Wine hackers have announced the first Release Candidate for the big 5.0, marking the beginning of the code freeze period where only bug fixes make it in and no new features after this.

      • Wine 5.0-RC1 Saw A Number Of Patches Upstreamed From Staging

        With yesterday’s release of Wine 5.0-RC1 as the last feature release prior to the code freeze for this forthcoming annual Wine stable release, a number of the patches merged came via way of Wine-Staging.

        Upstreamed out of Wine-Staging and into Wine ahead of the 5.0-RC1 release were the WUSA (Windows Update Standalone) patches, support for reading SCSI devices via Linux’s sysfs, quieting a warning/FIXME in the WineD3D code, correctly parsing Unicode property storage dictionaries, and other work.

      • D9VK, the Direct3D9 to Vulkan layer has a huge new 0.40 ‘Croakacola’ release out

        For use with Wine and Steam Play Proton, D9VK is the awesome project based on DXVK which translates Direct3D9 to Vulkan for better performance. A big new release just went out.

        Codenamed Croakacola, D9VK 0.40 is a big one. D9VK can now use more than 4GB VRAM on 32-bit applications/games, with it being noted to help modded Skyrim/Oblivion and obviously more too. There’s also now async presentation across all vendors, some “query flushing” improvements, performance fixes for Risen and Legend of the Heroes: Trails of the Sky, bloom rendering fixes for SpinTyres/Mudrunner and other misc updates.

      • D9VK 0.40 Uses Async Present On All Drivers, Various Other Features + Perf Optimizations

        D9VK 0.40 is out today as the latest feature update to this Direct3D 9 over Vulkan translation layer based on DXVK.

        D9VK lead developer Joshua Ashton released version 0.40 today as the “Croakacola” release and it includes some big features like for 32-bit applications to be able to utilize more than 4GB of video RAM, which should help Skyrim, Oblivion, and other games.

    • Games

      • Serene naval adventure Sail Forth has a brand new trailer, coming to Linux next year

        David Evans and The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild have a brand new trailer out for their upcoming naval action and adventure game Sail Forth.

        While previously Evans was working alone on Sail Forth doing graphics, audio and programming they’ve recently announced the team up with The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild who’ve developed and published multiple other titles with Linux support like The Bridge, Tumblestone and Almost There: The Platformer.

      • Crazy typing adventure dungeon-crawler Backspace Bouken is out now

        Backspace Bouken isn’t your standard dungeon crawler, it mashes it together with a typing game and the end result is pretty hilarious.

      • Realistic gun simulation FPS ‘Receiver 2′ announced from Wolfire Games

        Receiver is getting a much expanded sequel! Wolfire Games (Overgrowth, Lugaru) have confirmed Receiver 2 is releasing with Linux support next year.

        Announcing the game on Twitter, they said “Receiver. Is. Back. The most realistic gun simulator ever returns in #Receiver2, a brand new game from Wolfire Games.”.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Get started with Lumina for your Linux desktop

        For a good number of years, there was a desktop operating system (OS) based on FreeBSD called PC-BSD. It was intended as an OS for general use, which was noteworthy because BSD development mostly focuses on servers. For most of its life, PC-BSD shipped with the KDE desktop by default, but the more KDE came to depend on Linux-specific technology, the more PC-BSD migrated away from it. PC-BSD became Trident, and its default desktop is Lumina, a collection of widgets written to use the same Qt toolkit that KDE is based upon, running on the Fluxbox window manager.

        You may find the Lumina desktop in your Linux distribution’s software repository or in BSD’s ports tree. If you install Lumina and you’re already running another desktop, you may find yourself with redundant applications (two PDF readers, two file managers, and so on) because Lumina includes a few integrated applications. If you just want to try the Lumina desktop, you can install a Lumina-based BSD distribution in a virtual machine, such as GNOME Boxes.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Frameworks 5.65.0

          KDE Frameworks are over 70 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the KDE Frameworks web page.

          This release is part of a series of planned monthly releases making improvements available to developers in a quick and predictable manner.

        • KDE Frameworks 5.65 Released With KQuickCharts For Accelerated Charts
        • KDE Itinerary @ 36C3

          I’ll be attending the Chaos Communication Congress this year finally for the first time, after having failed to obtain a ticket in the past. This week I got the actual ticket document, and seeing it contain an UIC 918.3 barcode I of course had to make KDE Itinerary support this ticket too :)


          The QR code is fairly useless for our purposes, it basically just contains a random number. Good from a privacy point of view, but therefore providing nothing the extractor can work with. Not so the second one, that contains some very specific markers we can use for selecting the extractor, such as the unassigned UIC operator code “9997” and the passenger name “36C3”.

        • Preparing foss-north 2020

          The preparations are under way and we’ve opened the Call for Papers. We truly believe that we bring together the best audience with the best speakers. Being a part of this is a great experience, so make sure to get your talk proposal submitted.

          Another part of the foss-north experience is the community day. The day before the actual conference, a large set of community groups arrange workshops, hackatons, dev sprints, even mini conferences. This year we’ve already confirmed the participation of KDE, FreeBSD, and “something embedded” arranged by Endian (last year they did a full day workshop on the Zephyr Project).

        • This week in KDE: building up to something big

          We’ve got some really big things planned and in progress for Plasma 5.18 and Frameworks, and work proceeds smoothly. None of it is quite done yet, but we did land a number of nice bugfixes and user interface polish for issues that have been irritating people for years…and mere days!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.36 and Fedora 32 to get better GPU switching with NVIDIA support

          Developer Bastien Nocera has written a blog post talking about improvements coming to GNOME 3.36 and Fedora Linux, to help those of you switching between GPUs.

          While the GNOME desktop has had the ability to launch items with a dedicated GPU for some time, it was quite limited. Thankfully, SwitcherooControl and the API used has been extended to improve it and add support for the NVIDIA proprietary driver.

        • Ten Years Past GNOME’s 10×10 Goal, The Linux Desktop Is Still Far From Having A 10% Marketshare [Ed: The desktop itself is on the decline and they're not counting Chromebooks (or misuse the brand "Linux")]

          That very ambitious 10×10 goal is still documented on the GNOME Wiki and is about “10% of the global desktop market.” Perhaps in some very select geographic regions, the Linux desktop marketshare may be close to 10%, but on any large scale that goal is still a pipe-dream.


          In any case, GNOME has advanced a lot over the past decade and particularly the past 2~3 years since Canonical switched back to GNOME Shell by default and has helped in addressing many bugs — including several high profile performance issues. GNOME 3.34 is a hell of a lot better than the state of GNOME 3.0 from at the start of this decade. In reliving GNOME’s highlights from the past decade, here is a look at the twenty most viewed GNOME stories since 2010.

        • Outreachy week-2 progress report!

          It was a really productive week. I am almost done with the current tasks. I’ve finished replicating the wire-frame of gnome-builder’s search-and-replace-bar widget into the libdazzle-example application. There are a couple (or maybe a couple more) of final nitpicks to do to actually mark these as finished.

          At the moment, I am far more comfortable with the project. Nothing seems really alien-sih now, rather most of the stuffs (from the project) looks quite familier (and imparts somewhat proper sense).

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Xubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine – The winter is here

          Sadly, Xubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine is an average distro. And it aligns with how the cycle of enthusiasm typically works in the Linux world, matching the whims of its decentralized developer community. A couple of years back, I was talking about the freshness in the Xfce world, just before Plasma kicked into high gear, and seemingly, Xfce took its place. Which explains why you get nominal, by-the-book, zero-excitement Xubuntu releases more recently. Alas, Ermine takes it one step further with functional issues.

          Most of the stuff actually works – solid networking, media, phones support, good app collection, excellent performance. But then, the packaging of it all is quite lackluster, and even a seemingly innocent thing like an icon theme seems to bring the distro to its proverbial knees. Thunar is quite rigid, and there’s no sense of passion. I mean yes, desktops should be boring – but they should also allow their users to be able to explore and try new things, and in this regard, Xfce seems to have fallen behind. I’s say 6/10. Okay, but going through motions ain’t fun. Curtain.

      • New Releases

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora Deciding Whether CD/DVD Installation Issues Should Still Hold Up Releases

          Fedora will continue producing ISO images of their distribution that can be installed to a DVD (or CD in the case of some lightweight spins) or more commonly these days copied to USB flash drives, but they are debating whether any CD/DVD optical media issues should still be considered blocker bugs in 2020 and beyond.

          Fedora optical media and any issues pertaining to that would be considered non-blocking for Fedora releases. This reflects the fact a majority of Linux users these days are copying their Linux distributions to USB flash drives and installing from there rather than still burning CDs/DVDs. Particularly with many computers these days lacking CD/DVD drives, not having to worry about optical install issues as blocker bugs would free up resources to deal with more pressing bugs around release time.

      • Debian Family

        • An Interview With Slax Creator Tomas Matejicek

          was always in a need of some bootable operating system, which could be started on a broken computer or server to restore and backup data. I also wanted to impress my friends with a fully functional Linux desktop started from a removable media, which they can try without installing. But carrying full-sized CD was not much convenient, and floppy drives didn’t provide sufficient space. So my goal was to make a full featured Linux system, but small enough so it could fit those small 200MB mini CDs.

          But since I was a beginner with Linux as well myself, I didn’t know much options to start with. All the distributions I tried at that time (Mandrake, Fedora) were too big, I didn’t know how to install minimalistic versions of them. Slackware provided very clever installer, which allowed me to select individual packages to install, so I started using Slackware as my base.

        • Debian Releases Updated Intel Microcode for Coffee Lake CPUs, Fixes Regression

          Last month on November 13th, the Debian Project shipped updated CPU microcode for various types of Intel CPUs to mitigate the TAA (TSX Asynchronous Abort) vulnerability (CVE-2019-11135). But not all Intel CPU models were covered by the update, so they released a new intel-microcode security update that addresses this flaw for Coffe Lake processors too.

          “This update ships updated CPU microcode for CFL-S (Coffe Lake Desktop) models of Intel CPUs which were not yet included in the Intel microcode update released as DSA 4565-1,” reads the security advisory. “We recommend that you upgrade your intel-microcode packages.”

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Firms Lack Enterprise Open-Source Strategy

        Wall Street’s adoption of open-source development has come to a crossroads, according to recent research published by industry analyst firm Aite Group.
        In the 28 years since Linus Torvalds released his open-source Linux operating system kernel, it has taken 23 years for the adoption of the development model to gain prominence with financial services institutions, according to Tosha Ellison, director of member success at the Fintech Open Source Foundation as whose organization sponsored the research,

      • Introducing CC Vocabulary, Our New Web Design System

        Over the past few months, we’ve been working on CC Vocabulary, a new open source software project that provides a cohesive design system to unite the web-facing Creative Commons (CC).

      • Web Browsers

        • Top 5 Lightweight Web Browsers for Linux

          Various Linux distributions provide a number of lightweight browsers that can easily run without eating up too much of your machine’s memory. So, without any further ado, here are Top 5 Lightweight Web Browsers that you can use on your Linux System.

        • Mozilla

          • Some fixes in Accessibility Inspector in Firefox 72

            Firefox 72, currently in beta, received some fixes to the Accessibility Inspector this week. Here they are.

            The first fix is to a longer standing issue. If you opened Accessibility Inspector by right-clicking an element and choosing Inspect Accessibility Properties, keyboard focus would not land on the Inspector or Properties tree view, but in limbo somewhere on the document. You had to tab a couple of times to get focus to the correct place. Well, that will be no more. From now on, keyboard focus will land in the properties tree, so you can directly start exploring the name, role, states etc., of the element you are interested in.

            Related to that, if you selected to inspect an accessibility element’s property either from the browser or DOM Inspector context menus, the selected row in the Accessible Objects tree would not always scroll to actually show the selected item. That too has been fixed.

          • Pub True [Ed: Mozilla does surveillance on Firefox users, using the popular euphemisms “data science” and “telemetry”]

            I’m ramping up on a project to understand how Firefox retains users. Right now I’m trying to build some context quickly. For example, what’s our monthly retention? How about our annual retention? There’s a bunch of interesting and nuanced measurement questions that we’ll eventually have to answer, but for now I’m just interested in getting some quick back-of-the-envelope numbers.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Help our community with social media in various languages and locations!

          Love LibreOffice? Want to help spread the word? And do you speak another language than English? Then we’d appreciate your help! We have lots of community-created LibreOffice accounts on Facebook and Twitter, but some haven’t been updated for a while. The full list is below, with the date the account was last active – if you’re interested in helping to maintain one, join our marketing list and let us know!

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • 7 free GIMP scripts and plug-ins for filters, brushes, textures and more

            The free and open source photo-editing program called GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a nice alternative to the subscription-based or boxed versions of its competition (including PhotoShop). Whether you’re a beginner with GIMP or a seasoned pro, there’s lots to love.

            Some of GIMP’s greatest assets are the plugins and scripts created by numerous independent programmers. At one time, there was a massive collection called the GIMP Plugin Registry, but that resource is no longer available. Consequently, you must search the Internet for GIMP plug-ins and scripts.

            To start you on the right track, we’ve selected our favorite plugins and scripts for you to try, with a brief description of each, and a link to the resource location. First; however, we should explain the complicated process of how to install these treasures and where to find them on the GIMP menus.

      • Programming/Development

        • Eclipse Foundation forms working group for open source edge computing tech

          The Eclipse Foundation today announced the formation of the Edge Native Working Group, which will drive the adoption of open source software for edge computing. Founding members include Adlink, Bosch, Edgeworx, Eurotech, Kynetics, Huawei, Intel, and Siemens. The working group plans to focus on creating an end-to-end software stack that will support deployments of today’s most transformative technologies, including the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles.

          Edge computing is a distributed computing paradigm that brings compute power and storage physically closer to applications. The goal of doing so is to improve performance, increase efficiency, and save bandwidth. Over the years, the Eclipse Foundation has built up a sizable IoT community — 41 open source projects from over 40 members, with over 4 million lines of code produced. Now the foundation wants to do the same thing for edge computing.

        • Code the Classics on sale now

          TL;DR: we made a fully automated luxury gay space communist type-in-listing book. Buy it now and get it in time for Christmas.

        • History of Java

          Java was first introduced by Sun Microsystems in 1995. The project was started in the lab of Sun Microsystems by James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, Patrick Naughton. There were more people in the team but these three were main. The name of this team was the Green Team.

          The first version’s name was the Java Alpha Beta version in 1995. Java Development Kit also called JDK was first introduced in 1996. When Sun Microsystems released the first version of Java in 1996, it was called JDK 1.0 and the code name for this project was OAK. The OAK word was taken from the name of OAK Tree. The picture of the OAK tree is shown below.

        • Python

  • Leftovers

    • Ideology Shall Have No Resurrection

      Christmas can be a clarifying time. It clarified that yes, the fervent Mariah Carey, not The Beatles is the best Western music act of all time. On a less serious note, we learn a great deal about the woke postmodern subject this time of year. The postmodern subject may see Karl Marx as just another theorist to be modified, corrected, and therefore continually individualized (therefore continually resold, marketed and divided). But somehow this subject also manages to see right through the scam of Christmas as a materialist plot that was never about the transcendence of love but only another event in the game of capitalism.

    • Science

      • Seeing the World Without Shadows: the Enlightenment Dream

        The scientific revolution of the seventeenth century (c. 1500-1700) in Europe—beginning with Copernicus (1493-1543) and ending with Isaac Newton (1642-1727)—precipitated a momentous transformative learning moment for humankind.

      • Standardized Tests are Biased and Unhelpful

        A lawsuit is taking on the University of California system’s use of the SAT and ACT standardized tests in admissions. The suit claims the tests are “deeply biased and provide no meaningful information about a student’s ability to succeed.”

      • Mathematics of the Pharaohs: The Rhind Papyrus and Ancient Egyptian Math

        Western civilization has always had a fascination with the civilization which grew up along the Nile River around 3,000 BC. Greek intellectuals, such as Thales, visited Egypt and were enamored by the design and mathematical exactness of the shape of the pyramids. For millennia, ancient Egypt has been considered synonymous with wisdom by the civilizations of the Mediterranean basin, but especially the West.
        One text that reveals an example of that wisdom is the Rhind papyrus, a document that appears to be an otherwise mundane primer on mathematics. But much of what scholars know of Egyptian mathematics comes from this text.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Apple Releases CUPS 2.3.1 To Fix Security Issue + Other Bugs

            Back in August was the release of the very big CUPS 2.3 update that shifted the source code license, added support for IPP Printer presets, added a new utility, and other improvements for this Apple-controlled Unix/Linux printing system. Available now is CUPS 2.3.1 with various fixes.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • EFF Report Shows FBI Is Failing to Address First Amendment Harms Caused By National Security Letters

              EFF has long fought to end the FBI’s ability to impose gag orders via National Security Letters (NSLs). They violate the First Amendment and result in indefinite prohibitions on recipients’ ability to speak publicly about controversial government surveillance powers. Records and data released by the FBI earlier this year confirm that, despite congressional reforms in 2015, the vast majority of NSL recipients remain gagged. What’s more, the FBI has not taking meaningful steps to dissolve those gag orders.

              Today, EFF is publishing “The Failed Fix to NSL Gag Orders,” a new report based on an in-depth analysis of records EFF obtained after we won a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit earlier this year. Our report is based on records we obtained that identified more than 700 NSL recipients that the FBI had freed from lengthy gag orders, the subject of a front-page New York Times story in September.

            • The  FBI: Another Worry in the National Security State

              The Department of Justice’s Inspector General report of the FBI’s Russian investigation has fully exposed one more dangerous aspect of the steady abuses of national-security surveillance against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 of the national security abuses of the National Security Agency exposed the massive surveillance of U.S. citizens in the expanded campaign against terrorism. Michael Horowitz, the inspector general of the DoJ, has highlighted the abuses of the FBI and the misuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court over an extended period.  It will require a comprehensive and bipartisan congressional reform program to gain control over national-security wiretapping.

            • A report on FBI surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser shows dysfunction, not political bias. That’s still a problem.

              About 25 to 40 applications go before a few top officials at the Justice Department every week; most are not singled out for additional review, the report said.

              “It would be surprising if the Carter Page case were the only one that had serious problems,” said Steven Aftergood, who works on intelligence policy at the Federation of American Scientists. “And in fact, the inspector general makes several systemic recommendations that suggest that the problem is broader than a single case.”

              These problems, though not political, are equally troubling, experts said.

            • Tracking Every Move: From Location-Based Apps to Stalkerware and Advanced Attackers

              While use of these apps may seem trivial, when abused, this data can have a significant effect on people’s lives. In a 2019 paper presented at the USENIX Security Symposium, researchers performing a field study of computer security and intimate partner violence found two of the top three concerns for clients in their study were related to location tracking or spyware.

            • Confidentiality

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Afghanistan Pentagon Papers

        The war in Afghanistan, America’s longest, has cost about 2,300 US lives, over 20,000 wounded, and about $1 trillion. Now, thanks to the persistence of the Washington Post, we have an abundance of interviews which, like the Pentagon Papers, reveal the enormous wastefulness, ignorance, and deceit that make Afghanistan, like Vietnam, a chapter in the history of failed US interventions.

      • The Wind That Shook the Barley: the Politics of the IRA

        When I lived in the Bronx in 1973 and early 1974, I used to go to a bar up Fordham Road. I was attending Fordham University at the time and it was the custodian who cleaned our dorm hallways and bathrooms who first took me there. He was IRA through and through. So was the bar. There was nothing but Irish songs on the jukebox and various revolutionary flags hung on the walls. The regulars at the bar were mostly in their thirties and forties and were mostly working-class men. IRA newspapers and pamphlets were available for purchase. Like the conversation at the bar, the tables and around the pool table, some were in English and some were in Gaelic. I was not privy to any of those conversations, but I did learn about boilermakers there. And read the newspapers.

      • Arms Expert Warns of ‘Reckless and Unnecessary Escalation’ After Pentagon Tests Missile Banned by INF Treaty That Trump Ditched

        The move could “exacerbate tensions with Russia, China, and North Korea—all of whom would be in range of this type of missile.”

      • JEDI Mind Tricks: Amazon Versus the Pentagon and Trump

        Amazon is one of the largest companies in the world, boasting revenues of more than $230 billion last year. But last month the company sued the US Department of Defense over a paltry potential  $10 billion spread over ten years.

      • Trump’s War on the Poor

        Donald Trump is famed for his head-snapping reversals. One day he’s taking troops out of the Middle East; the next he’s sending more in. One day he’s on the verge of an agreement with China on trade; the next he’s tweeting about holding off until after the election.

      • The End of the Era: Nineteen Nineteen

        “To be a red in the summer of 1919 was worse than being a Hun in the summer of 1917,” reckoned Dos Passos, in Nineteen Nineteen, his novel of the war years.

      • Pakistan Must Face Its Past

        I have often wondered if Pakistan would have been a better country and South Asia a more peaceful region if the crisis that led to the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 had been handled differently. As we know that did not happen when Pakistani forces went to war to prevent the secession of East Pakistan.

      • Human Rights and Humbug in Washington

        It has recently been announced that “a confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.”  Fascinating, of course, but the underlying message is that lying and deception continue — and not only as regards the Afghan war catastrophe.

      • An Outrageous Proposal: Peace Boats to Iran

        Tis the season! Season of giving.

      • The Perils of Embedded Journalism: ‘Afghan Papers’ Wouldn’t Be Needed If We Had a Real Independent News Media

        In 1966, during the early years of the America’s war against Vietnam, Congress passed and President Johnson signed into law a Freedom of Information Act. It wasn’t all that great at the time, though. Indeed, it took the courageous act of two men, Daniel Ellsberg and his co-conspirator, Anthony Russo, to steal and then copy thousands of pages of a secret US government study of the history of that war, known as the Pentagon Papers, in 1969, and to then, at great personal risk, to get them, in 1971, printed in the New York Times.

      • A 7-Year-Old Complained About a Scary Office at School. This Is the Video His Parents Saw — a Month Later.

        This week, ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune co-published an investigation about Gages Lake School, a therapeutic day school in Lake County for students in kindergarten through fifth grade with emotional and behavioral disabilities. It is our latest story in “The Quiet Rooms,” an investigation into the way schools across Illinois have used — and often misused — seclusion. Over the 15-month period reporters examined, Gages Lake used seclusion more than almost any other Illinois school included in the analysis.

        We also published a video, based on surveillance footage from Gages Lake, of a 7-year-old boy, Staley Sandy-Ester, who was routinely put in the school’s seclusion rooms last spring. The April 30 video, obtained from the school by the boy’s family and then provided to us, shows him trying to leave the room while a school aide, sitting in a rolling chair, blocks the doorway. At one point, the aide pins Staley’s wrist against the wall. He gets increasingly upset and kicks at her. She then stands up, chases Staley, grabs a folded piece of paper from his hand and shoves him toward a wall.

      • The Terror Report You Weren’t Meant to See

        In 1953, they deposed Iran’s democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mossadiq, with the help of the British. In the 60s, they were there at the Gulf of Tonkin, false flagging the North Vietnamese; and there pushing exiles onto the shores of the Bay of Pigs, shouting “Cuba Si, Castro No.” In the 60s and 70s, they spied on American activists, violating the Agency’s charter against domestic surveillance, and in 1975 were chastised by Frank Church’s committee. They fomented regime changes in Central America throughout the 80s, leading to Irangate and the Contra-Sandinista standoff. The Gulf War, economic sabotage, MK-ULTRA, intellectual property theft, 70 years of war with Russia (with two-way electoral interference), and spook Duane Clarridge, who helped bring down Chile’s Allende, telling us to “lump it.”

      • Krampus Trumpus Rumpus

        Seasons Beatings!


        I really wish that Nancy Pelosi had had the cajones to impeach that other, arguably worse MF, George W. Pussy-Bush, along with his abidingly evil consigliere Dick-tator Cheney, for war crimes based on a pile of lies (some of which are *just* coming out) that murdered a million people and put us on the dreadful course of a Perma War that is good for nothing and no one except the top players in fossil fuels and the Military Industrial-Complex.

      • A Plague on Both Their Houses, Plus a Dozen Poxes on Trump’s

        Nancy Pelosi should thank Donald Trump for helping her get over a bad case of IAS, Impeachment Aversion Syndrome. We all should.

      • Sorry Lefties, Your Impeachment is Bullshit

        The ongoing impeachment of one Donald J. Trump is bullshit. There, I said it and I’ll say it again just to make sure you heard me right. This impeachment is fucking bullshit, and I’m tired of pretending otherwise. I don’t care if this makes me a bad leftist or a bad libertarian or whatever, its the stone cold honest truth and I stand by it.

      • Unsuccessful U.S. Policy on Cuba Should End

        In an increasingly globalized world, relations between nations can lead to a more general climate of antagonism or to one of cooperation that extends beyond the countries in conflict. Relations between Cuba and the United States are such a case, since the continuous US embargo on Cuba has soured the relations between the US and its Latin American neighbors and the world at large.

      • Equally Determined: To Impeach/To Support

        There are three obvious reasons why the House of Representative is determined to move with all deliberate speed to impeach President Donald J. Trump.

      • The Conservatism of Impeachment

        John Bolton might be the one to save us.

      • The Price of America’s Inability to Track Child Deaths from Abuse and Neglect? Sometimes, More Lives.

        Experts have long suspected that the United States badly undercounts the number of children who die from abuse and neglect. The voluntary reporting system relied on for decades may be off by at least 200%, they say, missing thousands of fatalities.

        In 2012, Congress moved to make information about the deaths more accessible to the public by requiring states to release detailed reports on child fatalities and near-fatalities. But when The Boston Globe and ProPublica set out to collect these reports, it turned into a frustrating, three-year slog through child welfare offices from Maine to Hawaii.

      • The Law Says She Should Have Been Protected From Birth. Instead, She Was Left in the Care of Her Drug-Addicted Mother, Who Killed Her.

        KOSCIUSKO, Miss. — The adults in her life began failing Jasmine Irwin before she ever left the hospital.

        Born severely underweight — just 4 pounds, 3 ounces — to a mother with a history of dealing and abusing methamphetamine, Jasmine might have been exposed to drugs in the womb, doctors believed, which should have jump-started intensive efforts to keep her safe.

      • A Moment for Justice in the Central African Republic

        On December 11, the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for Central African Republic militia leaders Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona and Alfred Yekatom. While they can appeal the charges, as it stands, they will be the highest ranking anti-balaka leaders to face trial for crimes committed during the country’s most recent conflict.

        Beginning in 2013, fighting between the Seleka, a brutal rebel coalition of mostly Muslims from the Central African Republic’s northeast that had assumed control of the country, and militias called anti-balaka, displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Targeting any Muslims perceived to be Seleka, anti-balaka fighters launched gruesome attacks on civilians in Muslim neighborhoods.

      • The Science of Lethality

        The geographical scope of the US military is larger than the world, as even without the “Space Force” the militarization of space has proceeded apace. On this earth, there is its division into “commands.”

      • The National Defense Authorization Act Perpetuates the Destruction of Yemen

        The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), released on December 9, signals that the US will continue to render assistance to the coalition led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which has killed 100,000 Yemenis, including 12,000 civilians.

      • U.S. Treasury removes three Russian companies with alleged ties to hacker collective Evil Corp from sanctions list

        The U.S. Department of the Treasury has removed three Russian companies — TsAO, Vertikal, and Unicom — from its list of sanctioned entities. They were first added to the list on December 5 for their alleged ties to Denis Gusev, whom U.S. officials say is the leader of the Evil Corp hacking collective. Evil Corp stands accused of stealing about $50 million in total from banks around the world.

      • Afghanistan Papers Confirm That the Longest War Is a Lie

        The important question today is: Will the Afghanistan Papers bring about the end of the longest war?

      • Getting Away With Murder: ‘Clash’ as Media Euphemism for ‘Massacre’

        After deposing Evo Morales in a US-backed coup November 11, Bolivia’s military selected Jeanine Añez as president. Añez immediately signed a decree pre-exonerating security forces of all crimes during their “re-establishment of order,” understood by all sides as a license to kill. Those same forces have now conducted massacres of Morales supporters near the cities of Cochabamba and La Paz.

      • OPCW-DOUMA – Release Part 3

        Today WikiLeaks releases more documents showing internal disagreement within the OPCW about how facts were misrepresented in a redacted version of a report on an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018.

        Amongst these is a memorandum written in protest by one of the scientists sent on a fact finding mission (FFM) to investigate the attack. It is dated 14 March 2019 and is addressed to Fernando Arias, Director General of the organisation. This was exactly two weeks after the organisation published its final report on the Douma investigation.

        WikiLeaks is also releasing the original preliminary report for the first time along with the redacted version (that was released by the OPCW) for comparison. Additionally, we are publishing a detailed comparison of the original interim report with the redacted interim report and the final report along with relevant comments from a member of the original fact finding mission. These documents should help clarify the series of changes that the report went through, which skewed the facts and introduced bias according to statements made by the members of the FFM.

        The aforementioned memo states that around 20 inspectors have expressed concerns over the final FFM report, which they feel “did not reflect the views of the team members that deployed to Douma”. Only one member of the fact finding team that went to Douma, a paramedic, is said to have contributed to the final version of the report. Apart from that one person, an entirely new team was gathered to assemble the final report, referred to as the “FFM core team”.

        This new team was staffed with people who “had only operated in country X”, according to the memorandum. It is not clear what country that refers to, except that it is presumably not Syria. It is possible, though only speculation, that country X refers to Turkey, as OPCW has sent teams into refugee camps there to interview survivors from Douma.

        The author of the memorandum states that he was the one originally tasked with analysis and assessment of the two cylinders found on the scene of the alleged chemical attack. This was a task he undertook “in the understanding [he] was clearly the most qualified team member, having been to the location in Douma and because of [his] expertise in metallurgy, chemical engineering (including pressure vessel design), artillery and Defence R&D”. He continues: “In subsequent weeks I found that I was being excluded from the work, for reasons not made clear”.

        The author explains that he had frequently asked to be updated on the progress of the final report and to be allowed to review the draft, but was turned down on both counts. “The response was utmost secrecy”.

        Once the final report was released on the 1st of March 2019, it became clear that the conclusions of the report had changed significantly in the hands of the new “core” team that assembled it into its final form: “At the conclusion of the in-country activities in the Syrian Arab Republic, the consensus within the FFM team was that there were indications of serious inconsistencies in findings. After the exclusion of all team members other than a small cadre of members who had deployed (and deployed again in October 2018) to Country X, the conclusion seems to have turned completely in the opposite direction. The FFM team members find this confusing, and are concerned to know how this occurred.”

        Towards the end of the memo he writes:

        “In conclusion, I must stress that I hold no opinion, interest or strong views on the technical part of the matter, nor any interest in the political outcomes. My interest is in sound technical rigour; the science, engineering and facts will speak for themselves.”

        WikiLeaks is releasing supporting documents that back up these claims in great technical detail, including the original interim report and appraisal of the changes each iteration went through.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • If Time Magazine Celebrates Greta Thunberg, Why Should We?

        In just over 6,500 words, Time Magazine  makes the case for Greta Thunberg being 2019’s Person of the Year. For much of the left, this confirms that she is a corporate tool. Founded in 1923 by Henry Luce, Time was the flagship of the Luce empire. Print newsmagazines have gone into a steep decline with the advent of the Internet. Despite a steep decline in circulation, Time remains the second-largest weekly after People.

      • Sharon Lerner on Plastic Recycling
      • ‘We Are Furious’: As COP 25 Draws to Close, Green Campaigners Fume as Rich Nations Move to Gut Paris Agreement

        “Just as we thought the slow pace and weak ambition shown at the climate talks couldn’t get worse, along comes COP 25.”

      • COP25 Is Perpetuating a Culture of Impunity for Human Rights Violations

        The austral spring of 2019 marked a historical watershed in the history of Latin America, with a series of popular mobilizations in several nations denouncing economic inequality and environmental injustice. Of particular intensity is the popular uprising in Chile that was used to justify the last-minute relocation of the United Nations climate summit, COP25, from Chile to Madrid, Spain.

      • COP25: Over 40 Gulf State Delegates Are Current or Former Employees of Fossil Fuel Companies

        More than half of the delegation from Kuwait and almost a third of Saudi Arabia’s representatives attending the Madrid meeting, known as COP25, are associated with the oil and gas industry. The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar collectively sent at least 16 delegates associated with the fossil fuel industry.

      • COP25: Anger Over Lack of Action for Vulnerable States as Climate Talks Conclude

        “It’s like two parallel worlds,” says Sara Shaw, part of the Friends of the Earth International delegation at the meeting, known as COP25. “It’s so stark, the contrast between climate breakdown, the potential of massive expansion of fossil fuels, using markets to game the system, the access polluters have to these talks when civil society is really marginalised. I think it’s just coming together in a huge amount of frustration at the injustice of it all.”

      • More Than 70 Global South Countries Charge Ahead With Bold Climate Plans

        As this year’s United Nations climate summit wraps up in Madrid, Spain, many activists, scientists, indigenous and grassroots climate leaders say that rich countries most responsible for the climate emergency have spent the talks dialing back ambition and blocking progress. This comes as deadly droughts, flooding, cyclones and wildfires rage around the world. This week, more than 70 developing countries have announced they will accelerate their climate plans, and 72 countries have signed onto goals to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But major emitters Australia, China, India, Brazil and Saudi Arabia have made no such promises, while the U.S. is slated to pull out of the Paris Agreement entirely by next year. For more on the negotiations at COP25, we speak with Saleemul Huq, climate scientist and the director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh. He is advising the bloc of Least Developed Countries in the climate talks.

      • Ultra-fast computers could avert global disaster

        The world can be saved. It needs global co-operation, careful research and the building of ultra-fast computers.

      • Hungry for a Livable Planet: Why I Went On Hunger Strike and Occupied Pelosi’s Office

        I occupied Nancy Pelosi’s office and went on hunger strike for 13 days. Still she wouldn’t meet us. Instead she flew off to attend the UN Climate Conference in Spain. That’s not enough.

      • Beyond Changing Light Bulbs: 21 Ways You Can Stop the Climate Crisis

        Here’s the good news: The debate is over. 75% of US citizens believe climate change is human-caused; more than half say we have to do something and fast.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Overpopulation

        • Trump’s Hunger Games

          More damage to our nation’s most successful anti-hunger program is on the horizon.

        • Climate-Fueled Drought, Sea Level Rise, Storms and Fires Displace Millions

          A new report reveals how long-term disasters, including sea level rise and desertification, and short-term disasters, such as storms and fires, are especially threatening to people living in the Global South and island nations. We speak with the co-author of a new study that finds the climate crisis is already leading to a massive increase in the number of refugees being displaced around the world. Hossein Ayazi is a policy analyst with the Global Justice Program at the Othering & Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. We’re also joined at the U.N. Climate Summit in Madrid by Saleemul Huq, climate scientist and the director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh. He is advising the bloc of Least Developed Countries in the climate negotiations.

    • Finance

      • Progressives Blast New NLRB Union Elections Rule That ‘Betrays the Workers It Is Meant to Protect’

        The board’s only Democrat said the move “places an unjustified burden on workers seeking to exercise their fundamental workplace rights.”

      • The Bloomberg Factor: Authoritarianism, Money and US Presidential Politics

        Political rottenness may be bottomless. Consider the following description of a political aspirant for the White House, this person being from the Democratic Party. His “liabilities as a political candidate are so glaringly obvious that it’s easy to dismiss his presidential bid as a vanity project.” The author goes on to describe what can only be seen as a template of sorts. “He is utterly devoid of charisma, has no real organic base in the Democratic Party, and is a viable candidate only because he’s filthy rich and is willing to inundate the race by opening up his nearly limitless money pit.”

      • Deteriorating Climates: Home and Abroad

        Here in the United States, the socio-political climate has never been pristine. Normally, it amounts to maintaining an environment wherein the rich stay rich and all others stay hopeful—except for the segregated and downtrodden. Therefore, it is notable that between the 1960s and early 2000s, the social environment did improve: it got more equalitarian—the social rules favored tolerance. But, of course, it didn’t last.

      • Kanye in the West

        At the beginning of August I drove from the Oregon Coast to the middle of New York State mostly on U. S. Highways and state and county roads. I spent the second night of the trip in Idaho Falls at a cheap motel with a view of the Mormon Temple just across the roaring Snake River. This was Mormon country—irrigation, rural-urban sprawl, golden angels gleaming against mountain backdrop, large families on vacation come to visit the shrine—but on request, the motel front desk supplied a corkscrew. Back in my room with bottle opened and plastic cup full of red wine, I took in the scene. The riparian setting and big church strutting its stuff in the glowing twilight made me think of Florence and its Duomo—the neon signs and parking lots full of minivans notwithstanding.


        Maybe the West-Kardashian pair was returning on one of those planes. As I found out later, West was indeed at that time shopping for real estate in the area.

        In September he bought the 4,000-acre Monster Lake Ranch in Cody, Wyoming, a hundred miles from increasingly crowded Jackson, where the spreads were too small for West’s territorial ambitions and where prices have shot up faster than Old Faithful, still steadily at its tourist-attracting work two hours to the north in Yellowstone Park.

        Less than a month ago the rapper snapped up a 7,000-acre ranch, just fifty miles to the east of Cody in Greybull, Wyoming. The pair of ranches set him back to the tune of just under $15 million each.

      • Dark Money Groups Drove Support for IRS Rule Eliminating Donor Disclosure

        A proposed Trump administration rule to exempt some “dark money” groups from disclosing their donors to the Internal Revenue Service is making progress after experiencing roadblocks earlier this year.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Knight Crawlers

        The perpetually red, glaring figure of Coach Bobby Knight was a kind of weed in the Clinton era that combined a Popeye Doyle ‘70s with contemporary Wall Street Nasty. Strutting the college basketball court, hurling chairs, and ‘getting results’ while ratcheting up the Hoosier cash cow for the corrupt administration at Indiana U – his employers with whom he remained on theatrically strained terms until he outlived his usefulness – Knight personified the stagey violence of a decade of pension fraud, corporate raiding and cultic glitz. The same President who pardoned Iran Contra crooks could do the NYT crossword in less than 5 minutes (Golly! Jeez!), a skeevy lawyer’s compliment to Knight’s famous tantrums. In short, the President was a genius. So were Bobby Knight and Michael Milken. Clinton’s friend Jeffrey Epstein was also a genius. We are perpetually drowning in such Genius.

        Knight’s ‘genius’ is well on display in ESPN’s absorbing doc, The Last Days of Knight, both a good introduction for the uninitiated and an intriguing summary of the so-called Season on the Brink. Several Sports Illustrated journalists crow over Knight’s rough and bumble profundity, his renegade yet devastatingly effective ‘style’ of coaching and – occasionally, predictably, pitifully – anecdotes showing his deep sense of care for the team. Robert Abbott’s film is no hagiography, but the insistence of several key dramatis personae is telling. Most of the guilt remains with the athletes. Everyone else seems to feel absolved. Knight appears only in flashback footage, a gusty and ghostly figure staring down scholarships. To illustrate this, the camera wanders around the empty stadium like it was Amityville.

        Knight’s losing streak began around 1993, the year of his final college basketball conference championship. It is folk wisdom that his bullying, gaudy explosions had become archaic in a new age of sensitivity and equality in the Republic. Such Prussian techniques were archaic, counterproductive, a liability – as if that was the only reason Knight looked ridiculous (It should be noted that Abbott himself is agnostic about this explanation). Remember that this is while the US was starving Iraq (and bombing it by Navy), signing NAFTA, blitzkrieging both Serbia and Waco, gutting welfare and screwing Monica Lewinsky. Capital gains and junk bonds, university property grabs – the latter at least facilitated by bastards like Bobby Knight, whose winning streak at Indiana U was so wide he was able to throw its wretched President, Myles Brand, out of the gym in front of the whole basketball team. If even Knight is a model of Zen restraint when compared to Janet Reno and Secretary Albright, there is still nothing enlightened about any of them.

      • Facebook Ads Can Still Discriminate Against Women and Older Workers, Despite a Civil Rights Settlement

        For Dolese Bros. Co. construction and supply company, which has a fleet of 300 trucks, recruiting enough qualified drivers in rural Oklahoma has been a challenge. The company has hung up banners at its plants. It has bought classified ads in newspapers. It has even turned its massive mixer trucks into moving billboards, with bumper stickers telling people how to apply.

        But Dolese fills most jobs, according to community relations director Kermit Frank, by advertising on Facebook. On Nov. 4, the company placed a video ad featuring a longtime driver in a hardhat wiping down his truck, talking about all the reasons he appreciates the company: “Here, I’m home every night. And I make really good money. And I get to see my family a lot more.”

      • How We Measured States’ Compliance With a Forgotten Federal Child Abuse Law

        The Globe and ProPublica measured states’ and territories’ compliance with the primary federal child abuse law for children not in foster care, known by its acronym CAPTA, focusing on five provisions identified by experts as among the most important. Over more than two years, child welfare agencies were surveyed about their efforts to protect children. The survey responses, which were also reviewed by child welfare experts from around the country, showed that every child welfare agency fell short in at least one category.

      • Women of Color Bear a Heavy Burden When a Loved One Is Jailed

        Tamiki Banks’ life was turned upside down when her husband was arrested, leaving her the sole breadwinner and caregiver to their twins. More than two years later, she’s still struggling, and he’s still in custody, even though he hasn’t been convicted of any crime. From Atlanta, Pamela Kirkland reports on the heavy burden women of color like Tamiki bear when a loved one is jailed.

      • Midnight Ramble: A Fascist Rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania

        At one of his permanent fascist-style campaign rallies on December 10, 2019, the day the U.S. House of Representatives rolled out Articles of Impeachment, United States President Donald J. Trump told an adoring Pennsylvania crowd that U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren “has a fresh mouth.” The meaning of this insult was understood by his audience. It was that Senator Warren is an uppity woman who talks back inappropriately to male superiors. Trump also repeated his mocking racist reference to Warren as “Pocahontas,” a derisive term he fixed on her in 2016 to make fun of her claims of Native American ancestry.

      • I Spent Three Years Running a Collaboration Across Newsrooms. Here’s What I Learned.

        ProPublica’s Documenting Hate collaboration comes to a close next month after nearly three years. It brought together hundreds of newsrooms around the country to cover hate crimes and bias incidents.

        The project started because we wanted to gather as much data as we could, to find untold stories and to fill in gaps in woefully inadequate federal data collection on hate crimes. Our approach included asking people to tell us their stories of experiencing or witnessing hate crimes and bias incidents.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Bernie’s Broadband Plan Gives A Big Green Light To Community Broadband

        We’ve long noted how community broadband networks are often an organic response to the expensive, slow, or just-plain unavailable service that’s the direct product of a broken telecom market and regulatory capture. While you’ll occasionally see some deployment duds if the business models aren’t well crafted, studies have shown such local networks (there are 750 and counting now in the States) offer cheaper, faster service than many incumbents. Chattanooga’s EPB, for example, was rated the best ISP in America last year by Consumer Reports.

      • The FCC Helped AT&T Hide Its Crappy Broadband Speeds

        Unless you’re in fairly stark denial, it’s clear the Trump Federal Communications Commision has been a rubber stamp for the every fleeting whim of the telecom sector, be it the agency’s decision to effectively neuter itself at telecom lobbyist behest, or the attack on net neutrality rules with widespread bipartisan support. But such revolving door regulation has more subtle casualties, as well. The Wall Street Journal this week for example offered up an interesting deep dive into how ISPs successfully pressure the FCC to ignore slower broadband speed test data when analyzing whether ISPs are delivering the speeds they promise:

      • The Great $50M African IP Address Heist

        A top executive at the nonprofit entity responsible for doling out chunks of Internet addresses to businesses and other organizations in Africa has resigned his post following accusations that he secretly operated several companies which sold tens of millions of dollars worth of the increasingly scarce resource to online marketers. The allegations stemmed from a three-year investigation by a U.S.-based researcher whose findings shed light on a murky area of Internet governance that is all too often exploited by spammers and scammers alike.

        There are fewer than four billion so-called “Internet Protocol version 4” or IPv4 addresses available for use, but the vast majority of them have already been allocated. The global dearth of available IP addresses has turned them into a commodity wherein each IP can fetch between $15-$25 on the open market. This has led to boom times for those engaged in the acquisition and sale of IP address blocks, but it has likewise emboldened those who specialize in absconding with and spamming from dormant IP address blocks without permission from the rightful owners.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • checkra1n 0.9.7 up for grabs, Linux release may take time due to licensing issues

        Jailbreaking is a household word for iOS users who forayed into customisation by surpassing the company restrictions. However with each OTA update, they find it difficult to reinstate the elated privileges because chances are high for their preferred tool to go unusable.

        Released in November, checkra1n solved this concern to a great extent as it takes advantage of checkm8 bootrom exploit. You might have read our coverage on its previous beta version, which made Apple TV support possible.

    • Monopolies

      • In-house seek to capitalise on woke attitudes in counterfeit fight

        With young consumers increasingly worried about social and environmental issues, brands can seek to capitalise in explaining the dangers of counterfeits, say counsel

      • In-house: clarity over Amazon role should ease counterfeit burden

        Brand owners believe that the latest EU opinion on the role of intermediaries in the fight against counterfeits will result in e-commerce platforms taking more care and start a shift away from the current ‘shop-owner’ model.

      • Supreme People’s Court of China releases white paper on Chinese courts and the Internet judiciary

        On 4 December 2019, the Supreme People’s Court of China (SPC) held a press conference at Wuzhen, Zhejiang, in conjunction with the publication of a significant white paper titled Chinese Courts and the Internet Judiciary (downloadable here, in Chinese and in English).

        This 135-page document is a must-read for anyone who would like to have an overview of what efforts China has made towards building online judiciary courts using big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and blockchain, to understand how the online frameworks for diversified dispute resolution and litigation services have taken shape, and to know how judicial rules and policies on cyberspace governance have been established in China.

      • The UK Government sheds light on the status of cryptoassets and enforceability of smart contracts (Part I)

        Following several rounds of consultation, The UK Jurisdiction Taskforce (UKJT) has issued a legal statement on the status of cryptoassets and smart contracts under the English and Welsh law. [The IPKat has previously written about the potential challenges of smart contracts here].


        The term “property” describes a legal relationship rather than an object…


        The courts have historically been reluctant to treat informationper se (as opposed to the medium on which it is recorded) as property. This is based on the rationale that information is not exclusive in nature, i.e. it can be easily duplicated, used simultaneously by different people, and cannot be alienated, which makes it difficult to exercise control and determine an ownership interest. However, in UKTJ’s view, the transaction ledger and consensus mechanisms preclude such difficulties by preventing double-spending or simultaneous control.

        Such reasoning applies to the cryptoasset viewed as a conglomeration of public data, private key and system rules. It does not apply to the private key viewed in isolation, which is “no more than an item of pure information and, like a password or a telephone number, it cannot in itself be treated as property”.

        Another potential difficulty might arise from the fact that the law has traditionally recognised two distinct types of personal property: things in possession and things in action. A cryptoasset is not a thing in possession because it not tangible and so cannot be possessed. Does it mean that since an intangible thing is not in action, it may not be a property at all?

      • Copyright, Trademark, and Artificial Intelligence

        Back in August 2019, the USPTO published a notice requesting public input on the interplay between patent law and artificial intelligence (AI). In October, the USPTO expanded its notice to extend the inquiry to include copyright, trademark, and other IP rights. The PTO has now extended that deadline for comments until January 10, 2020. 84 FR 66176.


        3. To the extent an AI algorithm or process learns its function(s) by ingesting large volumes of copyrighted material, does the existing statutory language (e.g., the fair use doctrine) and related case law adequately address the legality of making such use? Should authors be recognized for this type of use of their works? If so, how?

        4. Are current laws for assigning liability for copyright infringement adequate to address a situation in which an AI process creates a work that infringes a copyrighted work?

        5. Should an entity or entities other than a natural person, or company to which a natural person assigns a copyrighted work, be able to own the copyright on the AI work? For example: Should a company who trains the artificial intelligence process that creates the work be able to be an owner?

      • Patents

        • A Rose by Any Other Name – or – It’s not Wrong it’s just Different

          SAS. To be clear, if the no-appeal statute’s sole function is to block appeal of the reasonable-likelihood decision, then the decision is foreclosed in favor of the patentee (allowing appeal of the time-bar question). However, as I suggested in a prior essay, I believe that Justice Gorsuch SAS opinion overstated Cuozzo’s holding. I suspect this was an intentional shading of Cuozzo made possible because of 5-4 split. A smaller majority allows for a more extreme opinion.

          This issue was ripe for discussion in the oral arguments with Thryv’s counsel Adam Charnes attempting to explain that Gorsuch’s SAS statement isn’t “wrong” per se, it just isn’t complete. Charnes would obviously rather not require overturning of the Supreme Court’s most recent case on the subject in order to win.

        • Supreme Court: PTO Cannot Recoup its Attorney Fees in Defending §145 Civil Actions

          I have sympathy for the PTO in this case. It is expensive for the agency to defend itself in district court litigation and those costs must be recouped somehow. If the PTO spends $300,000 on defending a § 145 trial, that money will likely be taken-away from examination and lead to increased fees for next year. From the PTO’s perspective, almost every substantial request from the patent applicant comes with an associated fee that is related to the cost of providing the service and why should this be different? The answer, of course, is that a trial in Federal Court is a far cry from agency action and is particularly designed to cut-off and avoid agency overreach. The Supreme Court correctly decided the case today based upon the tradition and long history of the “American rule” that is also supported by are culture of providing access to the courts.

        • Disavowal: Case Closed Once the Inventor Manifests That the Invention Includes a Particular Aspect

          The accused infringer is Hong-Kong based TTI. TTI owns Ryobi, and Ryobi makes the accused garage door opening system. hamberlain filed its case in the USITC which issued exclusion orders against the appellants. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has reversed and vacated on claim construction.


          The court appears to note that one problem with this additional invention is that the specification was not very specific. The claimed “digital data bus”, for instance, is not expressly discussed in the specification other than an oblique reference to “lines carrying the normal wall control switch signals.”

          Chamberlain also argues that disavowal is not clear because nothing in the specification suggests that it would be impossible or infeasible to put a passive infrared detector elsewhere. On appeal, the Federal Circuit found some merit to that argument, but concluded that the specification here “plainly represents the scope of the invention to the exclusion of some embodiments.”

        • Berkeley Files Substantive Motion No. 2 to be Accorded Benefit to Earlier Priority Application in Interference

          What follows is a succinct statement of the Precise Relief Requests (pursuant to PTAB rules) and support in the P1 specification for this relief, recited in the alternative with the other priority documents recited in CVC’s request for relief. The standard, undisputed by the parties, is that to be accorded benefit of priority a prior application must show constructive reduction to practice (CRTP) regarding at least one embodiment falling within the scope of the count, citing Falkner v. Inglis, 448 F.3d 1357, 1362 (Fed. Cir. 2006). After setting out the legal grounds for CRTP, the brief then applies these rubrics to the disclosure in P1 for subject matter falling within the scope of the interference Count (which CVC argues satisfies these requirements). Along the way the brief also suggests that “Broad will doubtlessly rely on cherry-picked quotes about whether or not the inventors or experts knew CRISPR would work in eukaryotic cells before testing it,” rejecting these anticipated arguments on the ground that CTRP is grounded on what is disclosed in the specification citing Ariad Pharms., Inc. v. Eli Lilly and Co., 598 F.3d 1336, 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (en banc); Frazer v. Schlegel, F.3d 1283, 1288 (Fed. Cir. 2007); and Centrak, Inc. v. Sonitor Tech., Inc., 915 F.3d 1360, 1369 (Fed. Cir. 2019). The relevant P1 disclosure for CVC is that CRISPR is functional “when removed from its natural prokaryotic cellular milieu, which is highly relevant here because it establishes CVC’s possession of the necessary and sufficient components for a functional CRISPR-Cas9 DNA-cleavage complex regardless of its environment” (emphasis in brief).


          Finally, the brief argues in the alternative that the other applications CVC asserts for priority contain the P1 disclosure relied upon for priority in this brief, and thus for the same reasons (set forth in brief for each reference) CVC is entitled to priority to these applications, based on the “continuous chain” of priority in these CVC applications.

        • Berkeley Files Responsive Motion to Broad’s Substantive Motion No. 2 in Interference

          Early last month (November 7th), Junior Party the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Vienna; and Emmanuelle Charpentier; collectively, “CVC”) filed its Responsive Motion (Contingent) to the Broad’s motion no. 2, to be awarded priority to its earlier applications for the subject matter of proposed new Count 2. (Careful readers with appreciate that in many ways this brief is substantially identical to CVC’s Substantive Motion No. 1 filed to be accorded benefit to the same priority applications for the current Count.) As required by the rather formulaic procedural rules of interferences, the brief is structured to address (and rebut) Senior Party’s argument; the argument (simply stated) is that CVC is entitled to priority to the following priority applications: USSN 61/652,086, filed May 25, 2012 (P1); USSN 61/716,256, filed October 19, 2012 (P2): USSN 61/757,640, filed January 28, 2013 (P3); USSN 13/842,859, filed March 15, 2013; USSN 14/685,504, filed April 13, 2015; or USSN 15/138,604, filed April 26, 2016.

          Mirroring the Broad’s motion, CVC sets forth in detail the disclosure in its earlier priority applications for at least one embodiment falling within the scope of proposed Count 2. And as the Broad did in its motion, the brief hagiograhically recites the “ground-breaking” nature of their work, stating that the earliest priority document (P1) disclosed “the minimal components required to generate a functional CRISPR-Cas9 DNA-cleavage complex—Cas9, crRNA, and tracrRNA.” In addition, and addressing the Broad’s argument that CVC’s disclosure (and this interference) were directed to single-molecule embodiments of CRISPR, CVC argues that on the contrary this priority document “disclosed, for the first time, that complexes of Cas9 and a double- or single-molecule DNA-targeting RNA . . . are useful for targeted DNA cleavage and described numerous applications of this gene-editing technology, including modifying target DNA in eukaryotic cells” and that “[t]he CVC inventors immediately understood that the CRISPR-Cas9 DNA-cleavage complex could be used in a variety of different cellular and noncellular settings.” The brief recites (prophetic) Example 1 in the P1 specification, asserting that the failure of the P1 specification to show actual reduction to practice is not required to satisfy the requirement for entitlement benefit. CVC also cautions the Board against any attempt by the Broad to “erroneously to link the issues in this motion to the PTAB’s termination of Interference No. 106,048 due to no interference-in-fact,” stating that “the legal and factual issues raised here are fundamentally different from those decided in the prior ’048 proceeding” based on the PTAB’s own prior statements of the grounds for its no interference-in-fact determination.

        • Father Christmas: beware of risks of patent infringement

          In view of the upcoming Christmas season, in light of a judgment of 15 October 2019 from the Court of Appeal of Valencia published recently, a call for caution for Father Christmas is in order. The facts of the case may be summarized as follows.


          In relation to novelty, the Court found that none of the references of the prior art cited by Famosa disclosed the combination of elements of claim 1. Moving on to inventive step, this judgment is a rather harsh example of how important formal aspects are in Spanish patent litigation. In this regard, the Court noted that patent EP ‘917 had been revoked due to lack of inventive step by the German Federal Patent Court. However, this did not impress the Court of Appeal of Valencia, which noted that the document (a French patent) relied on by the Federal Patent Court to annul the same patent in Germany had not been translated into Spanish in the case at hand. The Court highlighted that the omission of this translation was a fundamental defect of the revocation counterclaim that could not be remedied at a later stage (for example, at the Preliminary Hearing or when filing the writ of appeal). So, as mentioned, the harsh lesson from this part of the judgment is that, in Spain, what has not been translated into Spanish does not exist in this world.

          Moving on to infringement, Famosa alleged that its product did not reproduce the first element of the claim which, as set out above, refers to “A tricycle (800,810) operable between a first mode of operation steerable by a tricycle rider, and a second mode of operation steerable by an individual pushing the tricycle.” Famosa filed an expert opinion which, in short, argued that this product does not offer one single vehicle with two modes of operation, but two different vehicles that share elements, each of which with different modes of operation. As mentioned, this line of defence persuaded the Court of First Instance, which denied infringement, finding, among other aspects, that this product had three modes of operation (not only two). However, the argument did not pass muster before the Court of Appeal, which found that claim 1 did not have limitations regarding the way the two modes of operation should be performed (simultaneously or not, with additional modes of operation, etc.). So, the Court concluded that the product reproduced this element literally.

          Famosa also alleged that its product did not reproduce element 1.04, that is, “a head tube (707)”. In short, Famosa argued that its product did not have “a head tube” as required by claim 1, but a “complex” composed of a cylinder and an embellishment cover that entailed advantages not offered by the “head tube” of claim 1. This was actually the most controversial and deeply discussed aspect of the case. In the end, the Court of Appeal leaned towards the conclusion that although such “complex” was not a literal reproduction of the “head tube” element, it performs the same function, in the same way to obtain the same result. So, the Court applied the well-known “same function-same way-same result” test applied by U.S. Courts (see judgment of 29 May 1950 of U.S. Supreme Court in Graver Tank v. The Linde Air Products) to find infringement under the doctrine of equivalents. It may be added, in passing, that Spanish Courts tend to apply this test in the case of mechanical patents.

        • New Bill May Lead To Overly Aggressive Blocking Of Goods At Border

          A new bill, introduced by Sens. Coons, Tillis, Hirono, and Cassidy, would give Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers the authority to seize goods at the border if they involve design patent violations. Customs already has this authority for goods that violate copyrights or trademarks.

          But design patents work differently. Trying to use the same form of enforcement for design patents is likely to lead to perfectly legal goods being excluded, increasing prices for American consumers and hurting American businesses.


          But that’s not the test for design patents. For design patent infringement, you need to show not just that a design appears to be substantially similar to an ordinary observer, but that it is substantially similar in light of the prior art. In other words, after showing that the patented design and the article aren’t plainly dissimilar, you also need to evaluate the similarities between the two in the context of what was already known and used in the field of design.

          As one example, a Supreme Court design patent case addressed a design patent on a saddle that had a particular cantle and a drop at the rear of the pommel. The allegedly infringing article had the cantle, but not the drop, and both saddles were broadly similar in shape otherwise. If you only looked for substantial similarity, the saddle might have infringed. But the prior art also contained saddles with that cantle—in light of the prior art, the similarity was insufficient to find infringement.

          When lawyers filing design patent cases frequently fail to properly apply the design patent infringement test, as amply documented by Prof. Sarah Burstein, it’s unreasonable to think a Customs officer will be able to do so.


          There isn’t even a reason to think this would have a significant impact on counterfeit goods. Many counterfeit goods that violate a design patent would also violate a trademark or copyright, meaning that the ability to exclude them already exists—the problem is in detecting those goods when they’re being imported, a problem this bill won’t solve. At the same time, the bill would likely create serious problems.

          This bill would put new obligations onto Customs, obligations they will likely find extremely difficult to properly execute. It’s telling that Customs hasn’t asked for this authority—they probably don’t want to have it. The primary impact of this bill would be creating numerous false negatives, allowing rights owners to take advantage of a system designed to over-exclude, helping them prevent legitimate competition.

          The only people asking for this are the rightsholders who can use it to harm competitors without going through the courts and the lawyers who stand to benefit from the increases in legal disputes that the bill would create.

        • Continental makes Nokia binding patent licensing offer ahead of EU antitrust mediation with Daimler, other suppliers

          FOSS Patents has found out from unnamed but reliable sources that, just this week, German automotive supplier Continental has made a legally binding offer to Nokia for taking a license to its cellular standard-essential patent (SEP) portfolio. The offer forces the Finnish former mobile device maker to come clean on whether it trluy intends to address and alleviate the competition concerns raised under EU antitrust law (Art. 102 TFEU) by Daimler and four of its suppliers (Continental, Valeo, Gemalto, BURY Technologies).

          Nokia announced yesterday that Daimler and its tier 1 (= direct) suppliers agreed to mediation, which theoretically could put the highest-profile EU antitrust matter pending at the moment to rest. EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, usually not one to shy away from decisive action, is oddly going to hold off until the outcome of the mediation effort will be reported to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) by mid-February.


          But neither a venue transfer nor an anti-antisuit injunction (no matter how spectacular the latter actually is) have the potential to answer the underlying question of access to component-level licenses. Earlier this decade, when some SEP holders abusively sought and enforced injunctive relief over SEPs, they argued that unwilling licensees were engaging in “holdout.” Now there is a totally willing licensee–Continental–who has made every effort, up to the point of bringing a U.S. antitrust lawsuit, lodging an EU complaint, and now making Nokia an offer even though it’s a SEP holder’s obligation to make a first offer when requested. And there’s a company that now risks being fined for an EU antitrust violation by being an unwilling licensor, unless Nokia departs from its prior refusal to grant the type of license requested.

          The mediation effort will be farcical if Nokia continues to offer only insufficient (from a competition perspective) types of arrangements, such as “have made” rights that come down to extending a true license only to the car maker while hobbling component makers (who under such structure could not simply sell their components to any customer of their choosing).

        • Software Patents

          • Solicitor General Files Brief in Berkheimer v. HP

            Berkheimer v. HP Inc. was decided by the Federal Circuit in February 2018 and stands for — in the words of Judge Moore of that Court — “the unremarkable proposition that whether a claim element or combination of elements would have been well-understood, routine, and conventional to a skilled artisan in the relevant field at a particular point in time is a question of fact.” The Supreme Court’s patent-eligibility opinions in Mayo Collaborative Srvs. v. Prometheus Labs, Inc. and Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l had not been perfectly clear on this issue, and the Federal Circuit appeared to have taken both sides at various times. Berkheimer settled the issue, for a while at least.

            HP petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari in September 2018. In January of this year, the Court requested that the Solicitor General file a brief expressing the views of the United States in this matter. That brief finally arrived last week. In short, the Solicitor General is of the opinion that the overall lack of clarity regarding the fundamental issues surrounding patent-eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 makes addressing the points of Berkheimer premature.

          • Gov’t Suggests that neither Berkheimer nor Hikma are ready for Supreme Court

            The Supreme Court has previously identified patent eligibility as a question of law. However, in Berkheimer, the Federal Circuit recognized that the ultimate legal conclusion may be based upon factual conclusions. For example, the level of skill in the art (or state-of-the-art) is a classic factual question that may be relevant to the question of inventive contribution (Alice step 2).

      • Trademarks

        • Russian court prevents company from using Putin’s KGB school pseudonym as a brand name

          Russia’s Court for Intellectual Property Rights has rejected a lawsuit by the company “Intellect and Rights” attempting to overturn a patent office decision not to grant the company ownership over the brand “Pseudonym Platov.” The court’s decision indicates that the brand name was rejected because it uses a pseudonym that belonged to Russian President Vladimir Putin during his KGB training years.

        • Trumped-up Trademarks – or – How are you today?: I’m Peachy

          IMPEACH 45. President Trump is the 45th President and so the meaning of this proposed mark (IMPEACH 45) is clear. The USPTO examiner caught the implication and rejected the application “because the applied-for mark consists of or includes something identifying a particular living individual whose written consent to register the mark is not of record.” The applicant then abandoned the registration application. A slightly more cryptic mark made it through the registration process. The image to the right shows the general prohibition sign (“no-sign”) covering the number 45 that is now a registered mark owned by Kamyar Shadan of Tiburon, CA.

          Back in August 2016, it looked like Hillary Clinton would be No. 45. Thus when Mark Allan filed for IMPEACH THAT BITCH, the TM examiner similarly found that the proposed mark improperly “identifies Hillary Clinton, a living individual.” That registration application has also been abandoned. Other anti-Hillary registration applications include ANYBODY BUT CLINTON, WOMEN AGAINST CLINTON, and the catchy HILLARY.CON. These registration applications have all been abandoned.

      • Copyrights

        • What’s yours is ours Rambler Group claims exclusive rights to world’s most popular web-server software, six months after it’s sold to U.S. company for 670 million dollars

          On Thursday, December 12, Russian law enforcement raided the Moscow office of the IT company “Nginx,” which owns the eponymous web-server used by almost 500 million websites around the world. According to several reports, Nginx co-founders Igor Sysoev and Maxim Konovalov spent several hours in police interrogation. The search is part of a criminal case based on charges by a company tied to the Russian billionaire and Rambler Group co-owner Alexander Mamut, whose businesses believe they own the rights to the Nginx web-server because Sysoev started developing the code while working for Rambler in 2004. Meduza’s correspondent Maria Kolomychenko looks at how Sysoev and his partners spent 15 years creating the world’s most popular web-server before selling it to an American firm for $670 million, and how Rambler decided, half a year later, that it owns the technology.

        • ‘A typical racket, simple as that’ Nginx co-founder Maxim Konovalov explains Rambler’s litigation against his company, which develops the world’s most popular web-server

          Russia’s IT industry is in the midst of a major conflict between businesses belonging to “Rambler Group” co-owner Alexander Mamut and the company “Nginx,” created by Igor Sysoev and his partner Maxim Konovalov. Nginx’s key product is the eponymous web-server used by more than a third of the world’s websites. Sysoev first released the software in 2004, while still an employee at Rambler, which is now claiming exclusive rights to Nginx, based on its interpretation of Russian law. The police have already joined the dispute, launching a criminal investigation and searching Nginx’s Moscow office. In an interview with Meduza, Nginx co-founder Maxim Konovalov described the police raid and explained why he thinks it took Rambler 15 years to claim ownership over the coveted web-server technology, which recently sold to the American corporation “F5 Networks” for $670 million.

        • ‘Copyright Troll’ Bypasses Federal Court To Get ‘Cheap’ Piracy Settlements

          Strike 3 Holdings has been the most active copyright litigant in the U.S. this year but, during the summer, it suddenly stopped filing lawsuits in federal courts. Further research now reveals that the adult entertainment company moved its efforts to the state level, which can be a much cheaper option. However, several defense attorneys are protesting this move, noting that it’s not allowed.

        • Apple Filed A Silly, Questionable DMCA Notice On A Tweeted iPhone Encryption Key… Before Backing Down

          Copyright continues to serve its purpose as a tool for censorship, it seems. This week there was some hubbub over Apple’s highly questionable decision to send a DMCA takedown notice over a tweet by a security researcher who goes by “Siguza,” and who appeared to publish an iPhone encryption key on Twitter:

        • Fake: DMCA Notice Targeting Apple Jailbreaks on Reddit Was Fraudulent

          A DMCA notice that targeted Reddit’s /r/jailbreak sub-Reddit earlier this week was fraudulent. Fingers were pointed firmly towards Apple on the basis it had previously targeted a tweet containing an encryption key. However, it now transpires that the notice sent to Reddit was created by an imposter. The targets of this malicious act are now calling on Reddit to share DMCA notices by default, to prevent abuse.

        • Bogus DMCA Notices Still A Huge Problem As Apple Gets Unfairly Blamed For Reddit Takedown

          As we’ve discussed in the past, the DMCA system is enforced in such a way as to make it wide open for abuse. One of the chief problems is that, while the DMCA does include potential punishments for filing bogus notices under 512(f), the courts have traditionally appeared to have forgotten that this part of the law even exists. The end result is that anyone looking to censor or extort others by either filing or threatening to file bogus DMCA notices is mostly free to do so without risk. The times when 512(f) actually gets a spotlight are so few and far between as to be news when it happens. This has been going on, and has been pointed out by various publications, for years.

        • 50 Cent Slams Oprah Winfrey in #MeToo Documentary

          Rapper 50 Cent attacked media mogul Oprah Winfrey in an Instagram post after learning that she was producing a documentary on allegations that producer Drew Dixon made against Def Jam Recordings co-founder Russell Simmons.

It Matters a Lot What You Call the System

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux at 10:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Richard Stallman: Based on years of conversations, I am convinced that part of the cause of the problem is the tendency to call the system Linux rather than GNU, and describe it as open source rather than free software.
“Based on years of conversations, I am convinced that part of the cause of the problem is the tendency to call the system Linux rather than GNU, and describe it as open source rather than free software.”

Summary: Why the best name for the best operating system would be “GNU”, not “Linux” (media has twisted the words so as to marginalise GNU and its politics/philosophy)

THE CROWD that says that “LINUX” is simpler to say than “GNU” perhaps doesn’t know how to pronounce GNU (not pertinent letters in the acronym). Or maybe it doesn’t know the difference between vowels and consonants. GNU is a lot simpler to say than LINUX and in many cases it’s also a lot more accurate. In the corporate media not a day goes by without some pundit or self-appointed expert calling some GNU program “Linux command” (even if that programs runs on dozens of different kernels and has no connection to Linux).

Do we need to say “GNU/Linux”? Well, that’s actually a compromise. It’s Stallman’s compromise. As he once said: “When I do this, some people think that it’s because I want my ego to be fed, right? Of course, I’m not asking you to call it “Stallmanix”!”

Stallman did not call his work after himself. GNU is Not UNIX. Simple. Factual. It’s Linus Torvalds who sought to associate his project with his identity, but that’s not the point.

“Stallman did not call his work after himself. GNU is Not UNIX. Simple. Factual.”Some people argue that “GNU/Linux” is unjustified as you then need to also name X/Wayland, GNOME/KDE and so on…

But again, remember that GNU predates most of these and it’s a very comprehensive set of packages (or pertinent programs). Why not just call it all GNU?

“An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows,” Dwight Eisenhower once said. A lot of these experts out there very well know that it started with GNU. Why do they refuse to even use the G word? Or the F word (freedom)?

“False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil,” Socrates said. Any time someone refuses to give credit to GNU that says more about that someone than it says about GNU, Stallman, or oneself (the one urging to give credit to GNU).

“…remember that GNU predates most of these and it’s a very comprehensive set of packages (or pertinent programs). Why not just call it all GNU?”“It`s strange that words are so inadequate,” T.S. Eliot said, “Yet, like the asthmatic struggling for breath, so the lover must struggle for words.”

Are people afraid that if they say GNU they would be stigmatised as “Stallman lovers” (or “fans” or whatever)?

What’s so wrong about giving credit to the right people?

“When ideas fail,” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “words come in very handy.”

Dave Barry said: “Don`t you wish you had a job like mine? All you have to do is think up a certain number of words! Plus, you can repeat words! And they don`t even have to be true!”

“What’s so wrong about giving credit to the right people?”People who refuse to credit GNU or say “Free software” aren’t comedians. They mislead with sincerity. They may have even lied to themselves (to justify this).

So nowadays we basically have a bunch of nonsense called “Open Source” — a term borrowed (copied) from the military and intelligence (spying) industry. Moreover, a system with hundreds of GNU programs is called after only its kernel — Linux. How come?

Alexis de Tocqueville said: “The genius of democracies is seen not only in the great number of new words introduced but even more in the new ideas they express.”

People in the media have kindly taught us that KDE “is Linux”, all those things in the command line are “Linux commands”, Web servers “run Linux” (not Apache) and so on and so forth…

“People in the media have kindly taught us that KDE “is Linux”, all those things in the command line are “Linux commands”, Web servers “run Linux” (not Apache) and so on and so forth…”Where’s Stallman in all this? Or the many programmers who worked with him on GNU?

“He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words,” Elbert Hubbard said. If anyone is humble here (and still deserves credit) it’s the GNU camp, not the Linux camp. The “Linux” people have gotten far more credit than they deserve. Some have become far more hungry than humble and now they're being eaten up by Microsoft, unlike GNU. Their love of money became their weakness. The same is true for Git, another Torvalds project.

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