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05.28.15

Links 28/5/2015: SourceForge Hijack, RIP Marco Pesenti Gritti

Posted in News Roundup at 2:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Voice of the Masses: What will Linux look like in 10 years?

    The future promises to bring us many things: solar powerered hoverboards, giant underground cities on Mars, and slightly less painful dentistry. But what about in Linux? How do you think our operating system will look like in 10 years? Maybe we’ll all be controlling our Wayland-powered Gnome 18 desktops via eye movement trackers, or perhaps the long-established desktop metaphors will ultimately win and not much will drastically change.

  • Running Linux On The Intel Compute Stick

    The Intel Compute Stick has begun shipping, a tiny device that plugs into any HDMI TV or monitor and turns it into a fully-functioning computer. This low-power PC ships with Windows 8.1 or Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, though at the moment the Windows version is first to market with the Ubuntu Compute Stick not widely shipping until June. I have an Intel Compute Stick at Phoronix for testing.

  • 11 pointless but awesome Linux terminal tricks

    Linux is one of the most astoundingly functional and utilitarian Operating Systems around when it comes to working from the command line. Need to perform a particular task? Odds are there is an application or script you can use to get it done. Right from the terminal. But, as they say in the good book, “All work and no play make Jack really bored or something.” So here is a collection of my favorite pointless, stupid, annoying or amusing things that you can do right in your Linux Terminal.

  • Desktop

  • Security

  • Kubuntu/Canonical Feud

    • Moderating and Code of Conduct

      To me there seems to be a lot of similarities between above and personal experience with moderating. Basically: don’t moderate in threads you’ve participated in because you’re biased. If you think you’re unbiased, guess again and have fun dealing with the fallout if you still take a decision. I thought a few times that I really could be unbiased and was proven wrong each time.

    • Ubuntu Community Council Can’t Track Down $143,000 Worth of Donations

      The Ubuntu Community Council has made a rather troublesome discovery regarding the accounting of $143,000 in donations. From the looks of it, no one knows how this money was spent.

    • Jonathan Riddell gets full support from the Kubuntu community

      By now, you’ve probably met the donate page on Ubuntu, the one you see when you go to download an Ubuntu ISO. This donation page has led to a schism between the Ubuntu Community Council and Jonathan Riddell, the ‘leader’ of the Kubuntu project. All stemming from a perceived lack of transparency regarding donations made to Canonical.

    • Challenges and opportunities

      Jonathan’s questions to the CC about a legal issue and that of funds donated to the flavors were not personal, but done on behalf of the Ubuntu community, and on behalf of us, the Kubuntu Council and the Kubuntu community as a whole. We are still concerned about both these issues, but that pales in comparison to the serious breach in governance we’ve experienced this past week.

    • Making Sense of the Kubuntu/Canonical Leadership Spat
    • Jonathan Riddell forced out of Kubuntu

      He has also stated his intent to leave the Ubuntu community. “I also wish to extend my personal apology to the Kubuntu community for keeping this private for as long as we did. Generally, I don’t believe such an approach is consistent with our values, but I supported keeping it private in the hope that it would be easier to achieve a mutually beneficial resolution of the situation privately. Now that it’s clear that is not going to happen, I (and others in the KC) could not in good faith keep this private.”

    • Of course I support Jonathan

      I’m disappointed in the way the Ubuntu Community Council has handled this and I think the way they treated Jonathan is appalling, even taking into account that he could’ve communicated his grievances better. I’m also unconvinced that the Ubuntu Community Council is at all beneficial to the Ubuntu community in its current form. The way it is structured and reports to the SABDFL makes that it will always favour Canonical when there’s a conflict of interest. I brought this up with two different CC members last year who both provided shruggy answers in the vein of “Sorry, but we have a framework that’s set up on how we can work in here and there’s just so much we can do about it.” – they seem to fear the leadership too much to question it, and it’s a pity, because everyone makes mistakes.

    • #ISupportCommunity
    • Ubuntu Community Manager Explains the Workings of the Community Council

      Canonical has a community team that interacts with the users and Nicholas Skaggs is part of that team. He wasn’t involved in the discussions regarding Jonathan Riddell, but he posted a lengthy post on his blog explaining what is the Community Council and why it’s important to respect its decisions. One phrase, in particular, is very interesting.

      “So please respect the authority of our community governance structure. Respect those who serve on both councils. Not satisfied? We vote again on Community Council members this year! Think we should tweak/enhance/change our governance structure? I welcome the discussion! I enjoyed learning more about ubuntu governance, and I challenge you to do the same before you let your emotions run with your decisions”, wrote Nicholas Skaggs.

    • Joining the Kubuntu Family

      I’m very happy to join the Kubuntu Team and look forward to supporting the project through contributions in my spare time.

    • #ISupportJonathan

      You too can let folks know that you support Jonathan Riddell just like the Kubuntu Council has by tweeting with hashtag #ISupportJonathan or using this nifty banner on social media.

    • Shuttleworth delivers death blow in Umbongoland dispute

      A storm of accusations, claims, and furious counterclaims has hit the Ubuntu penguins, with a community cleaved of its head following allegations of unsavory behavior.

      Long-time Kubuntu dev Jonathan Riddell has been dismissed as head of Kubuntu and removed from all positions of responsibility within the Ubuntu community.

    • Kubuntu: Statement from a not so important Kubuntu Developer.

      It truly saddens me to see all this FUD being thrown around, by folks that up till recently I had great respect for.
      Couple things that do not sit well with me at all.
      1) Absolutely zero communication to the Kubuntu Council about the “issues” with Jonathan prior to the shocking “request”.
      2) The Kubuntu Council asked (repeatedly) for one thing: proof. This still has not been provided.
      So what was suppose to happen here? Evidently bow down, walk away and happily work away silenced.
      This is NOT the open source / FLOSS way. At least not to my understanding. Perhaps I have misunderstood the meaning all these years.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 4.1 Kernel Benchmarks With An Intel Core i7 IVB System

        Yesterday I ran some fresh tests of Intel Ivy Bridge on the latest Mesa Git code to see if the performance has changed much recently for the slightly-older generation of Intel HD Graphics. Today I’ve done some similar tests in kernel-space with the Linux 4.1 kernel.

        I ran benchmarks from the same Core i7 3770K system while testing the vanilla Linux 3.19, 4.0, and 4.1 Git kernels and running various graphics tests to see if there’s been any recent i915 DRM kernel changes affecting the Ivy Bridge graphics performance.

      • Mesa Git OpenGL Tests With Intel Ivy Bridge Graphics

        From an Ubuntu 15.04 x86_64 system with the Linux 3.19 kernel, I ran some tests on an Intel Core i7 3770K Ivy Bridge desktop system in our labs. Compared was the stock Mesa 10.5.2 on Ubuntu 15.04 against Mesa 10.7-devel Git as of this week.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • ColorHugALS and Sensor HID

        As Bastien hinted in his last blog post, we now have some new test firmware for the ColorHugALS device. The ever-awesome Benjamin Tissoires has been hacking on an alternative device firmware, this time implementing the Sensor HID interface that Microsoft is suggesting vendors use for internal ambient light sensors on tablets and laptops for Windows 8.

      • Mourning Marco Pesenti Gritti

        I unfortunately have some terrible news, Marco Pesenti Gritti passed away last Saturday in London, after a long fight against cancer. He was with his family and in good medical hands. He leaves behind his girlfriend Daniela and 4 year old daughter Daniela. I had the chance to say goodbye last week, and convey thoughts and support for his coworkers, current and passed.

        I was lucky to have worked with Marco for many years at litl, on a very broad range of projects, and had the chance to count him as a good friend. He was the most passionate and dedicated hacker I knew, and I know he was extremely respected in the GNOME community, for his work on Epiphany, Evince and Sugar among many others, just like he was at litl. Those who knew him personally know he was also an awesome human being.

        We will try to help his family as much as we can. He will be sorely missed.

      • GNOME’s Mutter 3.17.2 Adds X11/Wayland Clipboard Interoperation

        GNOME’s Mutter window manager was updated to v3.17.2 today as the latest development version in the road to GNOME 3.18.

        Of importance to Mutter 3.17.2 is that it now supports X11/Wayland clipboard interoperation. Now the clipboard contents from copying and pasting can be done between native X11 and Wayland applications, which previously wasn’t possible up until now for those running a mix of X11 and Wayland programs on the desktop.

      • The 5 best distros for the Gnome desktop

        Gnome is a great great desktop environment that offers an elegant and simplified Linux experience. These are the 5 best distros for Gnome that offer it as the default DE.

      • GNOME Shell for GNOME 3.18 Increases Expanders’ Visibility in the Alt-Tab Popup

        The GNOME Project is about to release the second development release towards the GNOME 3.18 desktop environment, which will see the light of day on September 23, 2015.

      • GNOME’s Orca Is Now Compatible with the Latest Mozilla Thunderbird Releases

        The Orca open-source screen reader and magnifier software that is used by default in numerous Linux kernel-based operating systems, including Ubuntu, has received a new update in preparation for GNOME 3.17.2.

      • Cinnamon 2.6.3 Arrives in Unstable Official Repository for Linux Mint

        Cinnamon developers have just released a new version of the desktop environment today, 2.6.3. The packages are now available for testing in Linux Mint 17.1 and Linux Mint Debian 2, via the Romeo unstable repository.

  • Distributions

    • 10 of the most popular lightweight Linux distros

      Modern Linux distros are designed to appeal to a large number of users. As a result, they have become too bloated for older machines or systems with limited resources. If you don’t have several gig of RAM to spare and an extra core or two, these distros may not deliver the best performance for you. Thankfully, there are many lightweight distros that you can use to breathe new life into older hardware.

      But there’s one caveat when working with lightweight distros – they usually manage to function with limited resources by cutting away just about everything you take for granted, such as wizards and scripts which make everyday tasks easier.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • Indonesia uses Linux, openSUSE for pilot project

        An estimated 45,000 students from a province in Indonesia have enhanced their education and computer-usage knowledge through a pilot program using Linux and openSUSE that is expected to become a nationwide educational program.

        From 2009 to 2014, the project called “Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Utilization for Educational Quality Enhancement in Yogyakarta Province” used openSUSE and created material with Linux to enhance educational quality and equality in Yogyakarta Province schools.

    • Slackware Family

      • KDE 5_15.05 packages are available for slackware-current

        I am trying to keep up with a monthly release of KDE 5 (Plasma5) packages for Slackware-current. So far, so good, and every month I have been able to make a significant difference. Today the KDE developers released an update to Plasma 5 while earlier this month you could have noticed updates for Frameworks and Applications. Time for some new packages for Slackware land!

    • Red Hat Family

      • New Red Hat Cloud Suite for Applications Offers Open Source Integrated IaaS and PaaS Solution

        Red Hat has announced Cloud Suite for Applications, an accelerated way to develop, deploy, and manage applications at scale using open source technologies. The new cloud offering helps enterprises reduce silos and enable more efficient OpenStack cloud deployments. Through the platform, Red Hat is offering IaaS, PaaS and management in an open environment, supported by Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the ability to leverage certified hardware of choice.

      • Red Hat Extends Enterprise Management for OpenStack with CloudForms 3.2

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced Red Hat CloudForms 3.2, the latest version of its award-winning solution for managing private and hybrid clouds. CloudForms 3.2 delivers innovative management features that enable customers to automate the deployment and management of OpenStack infrastructures, using advanced management instrumentation available in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 7 release (based on OpenStack Kilo).

      • Jim Whitehurst

        • Beware Red Hat interviews: you’ll pay for coffee, lunch and fuel

          Want a job at Red Hat? If so, prepare to buy your interviewer coffee, lunch and maybe even the petrol needed to drive to the coffee shop.

          That’s what happened to the company’s CEO Jim Whitehurst when he was interviewed by his predecessor Matthew Szulik.

        • Red Hat CEO: Here’s how to create an ‘Open Organization’

          In a brand-new book, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst explains what he’s learned from leading the largest open source company and how the lessons can be applied

        • The open source CEO strikes again

          In The Open Organization, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst presents a compelling, modern alternative to the traditional, top-down hierarchy of business organization. I had the pleasure of interviewing Whitehurst for TechCrunch.com in early 2012, and the seeds of many of the ideas in the book were clearly present even then. Reading The Open Organization felt, in some ways, like the conclusion to that interview.

        • Why I Wrote “The Open Organization”

          In my line of work, I get a lot of questions. Most of these are along the lines of “What’s it like to be CEO of an open source company” or “Where do you see technology moving over the next year?”

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • SourceForge hijacks GIMP account, loads it with adware

    It looks like SourceForge has taken over the account of GIMP user Jernej Simončič who was maintaining the Windows version of the project.

  • SourceForge grabs GIMP for Windows’ account, wraps installer in bundle-pushing adware [Updated]

    SourceForge, the code repository site owned by Slashdot Media, has apparently seized control of the account hosting GIMP for Windows on the service, according to e-mails and discussions amongst members of the GIMP community—locking out GIMP’s lead Windows developer. And now anyone downloading the Windows version of the open source image editing tool from SourceForge gets the software wrapped in an installer replete with advertisements.

  • Using Windows? Avoid SourceForge.

    GIMP is not the only program. According to Ars Technica, a SourceForge staffer appears to have taken control of the SourceForge repository for all these projects:

  • SourceForge accused of shackling GIMP in kinky adware
  • SourceForge takes liberties with open-source software, uses it to push advertisements
  • GIMP Devs Accuse Sourceforge of Locking Them Out and Distributing Adware
  • Sourceforge accused of hijacking GIMP photo editor, company claims project was abandoned
  • Genode OS 15.05 Brings New Drivers, Architecture Improvements

    The release of the Genode OS 15.05 Operating System Framework is now available and it’s quite a sizable release.

    Genode OS 15.05 is shipping with a new AHCI driver, new audio drivers ported from OpenBSD, new SD-card drives, platform support for the i.MX6, and multi-touch support.

  • Test out DocHive for data geeks and journalists

    DocHive is an open source Ruby on Rails project for capturing data from image-based PDFs. Created for journalists and other professionals who need a more efficient way to extract meaning for tedious data, DocHive is in development and ready for testing in the community.

  • Philly’s open source mentorship program is back and expanding to 3 cities

    Women are drastically underrepresented in the open source movement. Of the open source contributions made in 2013, only 11 percent were made by women, according to a survey of the open source community.

    Girl Develop It wanted to change that. That’s why the nonprofit partnered with civic hacking group Code for Philly last year to launch a summer-long open source fellowship for women. Fellows said the program helped them find their place in the tech community.

  • Research community looks to SDN to help distribute data from the Large Hadron Collider

    There is one project called the LHC Open Network Environment (LHCONE) that was originally conceived to help with operations that involved multiple centers. To understand this, though, I have to explain the structure of the data and computing facilities.

  • How to Find the Best Open Source Project to Work On

    In my last article for Linux.com, I explored a few ways newcomers to open source projects can get started. While there are many resources to explore open source project communities, choosing which project to contribute to can still be a quite daunting task. You could go searching in the more than 23 million repositories on GitHub, the world’s largest source code hosting platform. But there are better ways. This article is meant to be a short guide to help novice open source practitioners more easily identify the first project they’d like to contribute to.

  • Using Raspberry Pi to get teens involved in open source

    At the end of last month, I had the unique opportunity to participate with a few of my work colleagues on the US2020 RTP STEM EXPO. About 500 students from North Carolina interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) showed up to the event. My colleagues and I gathered around a couple of tables and chatted with students, teachers, administrators, and parents about open source, open hardware, and programming.

  • Companies should be on the hunt for gremlins in the open-source machine

    Open-source software makes the computer code at its heart publicly accessible. This in turn means that anyone can update it or change it to suit their own needs. Closed-source, or proprietary software, remains the property of its original authors, who are the only ones legally allowed to copy or modify it. So Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is a closed-source product, but if you are reading this article on Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, you are making use of an open-source product. The authors of those browsers have made the source code available to you, and – if you were so inclined – you could view the code, copy it, learn from it, alter it and share it. But read to the end before you dive in.

  • Twitter Kit and Digits for Android go open source

    With a swarm of developers from around the world converging on San Francisco’s Moscone Center tomorrow for Google I/O, Twitter wants them to keep the company’s real-time social platform at the top of mind. This afternoon it announced that its developer tools for integrating Twitter into Android apps have been open-sourced, with the projects now hosted publicly on Github.

  • First Look Publishes Open Source Code To Advance Privacy, Security, and Journalism

    The Intercept and its publisher First Look Media strongly believe in the benefits of free and open source software — in part because we rely on such software every day. To keep our journalists and sources safe, we use secure communication tools like the data-encryption system GnuPG, the Off-the-Record secure messaging protocol, the SecureDrop communications platform, and the secure calling and texting app Signal. To publish on the web, we use the GNU/Linux operating system; the Apache web server; OpenSSL, a web encryption library; WordPress, the open-source blogging engine; and Piwik, which tracks web traffic. The list goes on.

  • Google Makes The Roboto Typeface Open Source

    With Ice Cream Sandwich, Google introduced Roboto to the world. Since then, the family (designed by Googler Christian Robertson) has expanded to include a set of slab serif fonts, and has even seen a major revision introduced with Android 5.0 last year.

  • Google has made its Roboto font open source
  • Google’s Roboto font for Android and Chrome is now open source
  • Google has made its Roboto font totally open source
  • Google makes its Roboto font from Android/Chrome OS open source
  • The Android ‘Roboto’ Font Is Now Open Source To Be Modified
  • Google makes their most famous font: Roboto completely open-source
  • Chrome for Android Goes Open Source; Now Anyone Can Build a Chromium Browser for Android
  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • Basho combines its databases with open-source tech into an analytic bundle

      The intensifying competition in the NoSQL world is driving Basho Technologies Inc. to move up the value chain with a new platform promising to provide a unified environment for storing and processing the growing amounts of unstructured data entering the corporate network. It’s the latest realization of the tried and true one-shop-stop approach to differentiation in the enterprise.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice launches Open Document Format viewer app for Android

      THE DOCUMENT FOUNDATION, curator of the LibreOffice suite, has announced LibreOffice Viewer for Android.

      LibreOffice Viewer is the first native application from the group to offer Open Document Format documents.

      The term ‘Viewer’ should be emphasised at present, as the Foundation acknowledges that it is not ready for “mission critical tasks” in edit mode, and indeed users have to opt in to editing within settings.

      It is an important first step, however, and the community is already working on a fuller version that offers more of the expected features.

  • CMS

    • 8 features multilingual organizations should look for in a CMS

      For rapidly growing organizations, global expansion introduces hosts of new challenges. As you are spinning out more sites, you will likely be opening the door to new regional sites featuring local translations. In this scenario, a content management system (CMS) with multilingual capabilities isn’t just a nice feature to have, but rather a necessity.

  • Education

    • NY State school libraries fund flexible software

      OPALS is licensed under a GPL license, and libraries can elect to support it on their own hardware or have it hosted by Media Flex in the United States, or by Bibliofiche in Canada and internationally. Media Flex hosts nearly two thirds of the 2,000 libraries worldwide currently using OPALS. The other third are self-hosted and supported by MediaFlex.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU ease.js 0.2.5 release [stable]

      This is a feature release, focused primarily on the continued development of traits. This release succeeds v0.2.4, which was released 07 Aug, 2014.

  • Project Releases

    • Blender 2.75 Allows For AMD OpenCL Support

      A test build of Blender 2.75 was released this past week and it will be of interest to a lot of open-source designers and artists.

      Blender 2.75 notably has added initial support for OpenCL on AMD Radeon GPUs with the Cycles Rendering. The AMD OpenCL support is coming as the Cycles compute kernels have finally been split into smaller kernels, so they now compile and work for AMD GPUs. However, the AMD OpenCL stack failing to work with transparent shadows due to a compiler bug. The AMD OpenCL improvements for Blender was work led by AMD that we previously covered on Phoronix.

    • Blender 2.75 Open-Source 3D Modelling App Will Be a Massive Release with AMD GPU Support

      The Blender Foundation has informed users today, May 27, about the immediate availability for download and testing of the first Beta test build of the forthcoming Blender 2.75 open-source and cross-platform 3D modelling software.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • BuzzFeed Founder Launches New Lab for Open-Source Invention

      Over the nearly two decades that BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti has spent inventing things, he’s figured out that one of the most important ingredients of new ideas is something closer to play—experiments taken on not to profit immediately, or to develop a product, but because they’re flat-out fascinating. It’s what he figured out at MIT Media Lab, where he first became Internet Famous after his correspondence with a Nike customer service representative over getting the word “sweatshop” stitched into his sneakers went viral. And it’s what he promoted at the Brooklyn art and technology nonprofit where he built Eyebeam OpenLab, an open-source research and development space for artists.

    • Open Hardware

      • Introducing the Cubic Board — A Completely Open Source FPGA Project

        We believe the Cubic SoC board has a lot more performance and capability than other similar products out there (e.g., Arduino or Raspberry Pi) and — using the Cyclone FPGA’s pin migration capability — adding additional hardware resources by building the same board with a larger capacity FPGA is possible. All that processing power does, however, come at a price premium, probably retailing for sub-$200, which we believe is still very accessible for many hobbyists and commercial product developers.

      • exiii Japan releases Open Source files for amazing 3D printed HACKberry Bionic Hand

        Exiii, which consists of graduates from Sony’s manufacturing industry including Gentu Kondo, Hiroshi Yamaura, Tetsuya Konishi and by Akira Morikawa – have concluded the first iteration of their Open Source HACKberry bionic hand and have just released all of the design files online for others to use in creating their own bionic hands using a 3D printer and some basic hardware components – including an existing smartphone for the onboard computer.

      • Can Open-Source 3D Printing Make Custom Prostheses Affordable?

        One exciting thing about 3D-printed prostheses is that the designs are all freely available open source and constantly evolving. Holmes-Siedle is particularly interested in tensioning, and the fishing wire that acts as tendons in the prosthetic hands. He made some changes to the basic design of Joe’s hand and within minutes of sharing his new designs online, other volunteers around the world were printing, testing and giving feedback on the adjustment. He’s now working on a new revision based on what he’s learned.

      • Building better assistive technology with open hardware

        For many people, technology assists and augments our lives, making certain tasks easier, communicating across long distances possible, and giving us the opportunity to be more informed about the world around us. However, for many people with disabilities, technology is not an accessory but essential to living an independent and quality life.

        [...]

        Examined through the lens of accessibility, open hardware brings a lot of advantages, such as letting people with disabilities use readily available hardware that others use regardless of ability. Open hardware’s basic tenets in openness and usability allow for the creation of more customized, personalized assistive technology devices that fit a user’s needs. Open hardware allows for features to be added or removed as an individuals’ needs change with age and ability, extending the life of their device. The availability of parts, detailed guides, and tutorials on various single-board computers (SBCs) and components, ease of repair, and affordability are all profound qualities that are not only wanted, but needed in AT. Also, since open hardware is not locked behind proprietary controls and patents, there’s no requirement to use insurance or obtain medical permission to alter, modify, or change the state of what is truly owned by the person—in this case, their own assistive technology device.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe

      The 6th May 2015, the European Commission published a communication to the European Parliament, the Council, The European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions councerning a new Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe.

Leftovers

  • Reynolds: Fire administrators to fix higher ed

    Administrators increasingly outnumber faculty, and they’re weighing down higher education.

  • UK TV Licensing – Time to let a court hear this episode.

    So my message to TV Licensing is this: Good. Lets go to court. Lets have a court hear how I’ve written twice, let a court see my payment already made and my in date license; and then let the court hear my counter claim for the waste of my time and loss of earning incurred from attending. I’ll donate any award from the court to a local food bank.

  • Science

  • Security

    • IT Security Pros See Rise in Salaries

      Lead software security engineers, security consultants and others tasked with repelling cyber-threats can expect to earn six-figure salaries per year.

      Salaries for security tech professionals can greatly exceed the baseline for IT professional salaries, according to a report from Dice, the IT jobs portal.

      Lead software security engineers, directors of security, security consultants and others tasked with repelling cyber-threats can expect to earn six-figure salaries per year, so long as their skills, experience and certifications prove to be a match for demanding roles that are continuously evolving, the report noted.

    • The Price Of Ignoring Free Internet Security Advice: Billboards Of Goatse

      Great, so because whoever is in charge of managing that electronic billboard couldn’t be bothered to take the advice any competent technology person who came across the setup, of which there must have been at least one, the great people of Atlanta were treated to one of the most disgusting images in human existence. I’m generally loathe to blame the victim, but the owner of a public-facing billboard must have some culpability when it comes to securing their display. And I say that there was at least one person who warned them about this, because at least one has come forward publicly.

    • Hush! Call that bug ‘severe’ at your own risk

      Ever had a job where you had to constantly look over your shoulder and were hesitant to make decisions because you could be blamed for them? It’s not fun. I once found myself in such a situation, but fortunately, it didn’t last too long.

      In the late aughts, I worked for a large national bank that was acquired by an even larger national bank. Our bank still ran our own IT operation, but we engaged with the larger bank’s incident management team for any major problems. Part of my job supporting our Retail Bank organization was incident coordination.

    • iOS bug lets anyone crash your iPhone with a text message

      Glitch causes iOS to choke when certain non-Latin script is sent in a text message, causing the device to crash

    • Logjam, Part 1: Why the Internet is Broken Again (an Explainer)

      The discovery last week of another major flaw in TLS was announced, nicknamed “Logjam” by the group of prominent cryptographers who discovered it. It’s getting so hard to keep track of these flaws that researchers at INRIA in France created a “zoo” classifying the attacks (which is not yet updated to include Logjam or the FREAK attack discovered in March). Despite the fact that these attacks seem to be announced every few months now, Logjam is a surprising and important finding with broad implications for the Internet. In this post I’ll offer a technical primer of the Logjam vulnerability.

    • Logjam, Part 2: Did the NSA Know the Internet Was Broken?
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Tony Blair Resigns As Middle East Peace Envoy, Twitter Has A Field Day

      Yes, the news that the former British prime minister has quit his job as a peace envoy for Quartet after eight years has been met with the sort of reaction you’d expect. At least: the sort of reaction you’d expect on Twitter. Which is a mixture of mirth, relief and irony…

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Critics of Capitalism Must Include Its Definition

      Because capitalism is so regularly defined as “a market system,” we may consider first the actual nonequivalence of capitalism and markets. Capitalism became the dominant economic system in England in revolt against feudalism there in the 17th century. Capitalism spread from England to the western European mainland and thereafter to the rest of the world. However, capitalism was neither the first nor the only system to utilize markets as its means of distributing resources and products. In the slave economic systems that prevailed in various times and places across human history, markets were often the means of distributing resources (including slaves themselves) and the products of slaves’ labor. In the pre-Civil War United States, for example, masters sold slaves and cotton produced by slaves in markets. Thus, the presence of a “market system” does not distinguish capitalism from a slave system.

    • NYT: ‘Too Generous’ Family Policies Cause Discrimination Against Women

      That’s one way to put it, and the article, by “Women at Work” columnist Claire Cain Miller, puts it that way repeatedly. Women are paid less in Chile as a “result” of the law that requires employers to provide childcare for working mothers. Maternity leave measures “have meant that” European women are less likely to achieve powerful positions at work. Policies intended to mitigate the penalty women pay for their traditional “dual burden,” the Times says, “end up discouraging employers from hiring women in the first place.”

      The workplace repression of women is described as the “unintended” impact of family-friendly policies. Sure, such impacts weren’t intended by the policies’ drafters, but that makes it sound as though there were no conscious human beings behind decisions to pay working mothers less or not to hire women. It isn’t the policies that “make it harder” for women, but the male-centric management structure’s unwillingness to integrate those policies into the way work is done. Why not say that?

    • KKR Rolls Out Petraeus in $4 Trillion Hunt for Family Wealth

      McCarthy is the type of investor that KKR and its private equity competitors including Blackstone Group LP and Carlyle Group LP are increasingly courting. Family offices and their advisers manage an estimated $4 trillion, including for the newly rich in Silicon Valley and China, Midwestern entrepreneurs and old money in Europe.

    • Sterling falls on UK GDP data

      Sterling fell on Thursday after data confirmed that the UK economy grew at 0.3 per cent in the first quarter compared with the previous three months, disappointing those who had expected a higher reading.

    • “Dirty last-minute deal” sees ISDS accepted by key European Parliament committee

      In a significant omission, one of the European Parliament’s key committees, INTA, has not called for the rejection of the controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism in its TTIP report, which will be voted on by the full European Parliament on June 10. Although neither today’s vote, nor the plenary next month, has any direct effect on the negotiations, it is regarded as an indicator of the mood of the MEPs, and of how any eventual vote on ratifying TTIP might go.

      The second-largest party in the European Parliament, the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group, published a position paper on ISDS back in March, which said: “we have made it clear that we do not see a need for its inclusion and have called for it to be excluded when negotiations for the investment chapter start.” It appears that S&D MEPs initially held onto this position in INTA, but as the result of what the Greens MEP Michel Reimon calls a “dirty last-minute deal” between the main political parties, they voted to drop all mention of ISDS from the committee’s final report.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • NYT Scrapes the Bottom to Argue ‘Democrats Pulled Too Far Left’

      Surely Wehner remembers that after the first half of Clinton’s first term, Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate for the remainder of his administration—exactly as happened under Obama. There were 30 Democratic governors when Clinton took office, and 19 when he left; there were 29 when Obama took office, and currently there’s 18.

      It’s true that Obama has been been bad news for his party—but as FAIR has long pointed out, that’s true of Clinton as well. An honest appraisal of the administrations of both Clinton and Obama, with their emphasis on deficit-cutting and corporate-friendly trade deals, reveals both Democrats to be establishment centrists—and centrist politics, contrary to what the punditocracy would have you believe, do not have a particularly winning record at the ballot box.

  • Privacy

    • The government’s data law – an attack on encryption?

      Overdue modernisation of the way the authorities monitor criminals and terrorists – or a Snooper’s Charter eroding our basic liberties? The proposal outlined in the Queen’s Speech to “modernise the law on communications data” will divide opinion. But prepare for another long battle over the way that law is framed and the balance it strikes between privacy and public safety.

      [...]

      The Open Rights Group (ORG), which campaigns against increased surveillance, is convinced this is the return of the so-called Snooper’s Charter, with increased powers of data collection and retention aimed at the entire population, coupled with attacks on encryption.

      The ORG’s executive director Jim Killock thinks the bill will have two aims – codifying existing practices by the intelligence agencies uncovered by Edward Snowden and expanding data retention by ISPs.

      But he believes that the increasing use of encryption by the likes of Google and Facebook means that ordering ISPs to store their customers’ data won’t be enough: “There’s going to be a very interesting discussion about whether government can break encryption or order companies to break it.”

    • Obtained Emails Show FBI’s General Counsel Briefly Concerned About Privacy Implications Of License Plate Readers

      According to documents obtained by the ACLU, the FBI briefly had a crisis of (4th Amendment) conscience while putting together its license plate reader program. How it talked itself out of its privacy concerns remains secret, as do any policies or guidelines addressing potential privacy issues. All we have so far is a heavily-redacted email in which the FBI’s General Counsel is noted as struggling with the issue.

    • German “Gründlichkeit” (Thoroughness)

      The German BND and the American NSA are not so different in the end, especially regarding their objectives and actions. The NSA might be better equipped technically and the BND signs formally correct contracts. In any case, this shows again that we can not trust that suggestions like “Schengen-Routing”, data storage in Germany only or even German inventions like “De-Mail” serve to protect the privacy of communications and data.

    • Queen’s Speech: Snooper’s Charter is back, plus extension of GCHQ powers

      The Queen’s Speech, delivered this morning at the opening of UK parliament, has confirmed earlier indications that the Snooper’s Charter is on its way back, with the UK government promising that “new legislation will modernise the law on communications data.”

      An analysis in The Guardian claims this new legislation will also include “an extension of the powers of the security services in response to the surveillance disclosures by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden,” although no sources are given for that information.

    • UK Government Goes Full Orwell: Snooper’s Charter, Encryption Backdoors, Free Speech Suppression

      The old joke goes “George Orwell’s 1984 was a warning, not a ‘how to’ manual.” But that joke is increasingly less funny as the UK really seems to be doing everything it can to put in place Orwell’s fictitious vision — just a few decades later. Right after the election a few weeks ago, we noted the government’s plan to push forward with its “extremist disruption orders” (as had been promised). The basic idea is that if the government doesn’t like what you’re saying, it can define your statements as “extremist” and make them criminal. Prime Minister David Cameron did his best Orwell in flat out stating that the idea was to use these to go after people who were obeying the law and then arguing that the UK needed to suppress free speech… in the name of protecting free speech. Really.

    • Updated: Flower Mound HS Student Photographer Forced to Take Down Website

      A sophomore honors student at Flower Mound High School who posted online some of the photos he took as part of his yearbook class, has been forced by school administrators to take down the photos. Anthony Mazur, 16, is on his school’s yearbook staff, and over the past year has been learning about photography- focusing mostly on sports photography. Mazur posted his best photos on Flickr, and had even been successful at selling a few of them to the parents of his subjects, until school administrators threatened him with in-school suspension or loss of privileges unless he removed them all.

      [...]

      Hass declined to answer our followup questions about how the AUP applied to the situation, since his work was related to a class project (yearbook), and since photographs taken at public events have no legal expectation of privacy, or whether Brown threatened him with expulsion, confiscating money, or reporting him to the IRS.

      Although the Mazur family is fighting the decision, Anthony says he is undeterred. He has since obtained his own camera, and is continuing to photograph sporting events, where he says he has the same access as other members of the public, and members of the media. “They’re not going to stop me, I’ll keep doing what I love,” said Anthony.

    • Hola VPN Sells Users’ Bandwidth, Founder Confirms

      The operator of 8chan says the bandwidth of millions of Hola users is being sold for reuse, with some of it even being used to attack his site. Speaking with TorrentFreak, Hola founder Ofer Vilenski says that users’ idle resources are indeed utilized for commercial sale, but that has been the agreement all along.

  • Civil Rights

    • Meanwhile, In Japan: More Arrests For Cheating At Video Games

      Some months back, we noted that something odd was happening in Japan: online gaming cheaters were being arrested. Yes, arrested. Not arrested in a virtual sense, not banned from games, arrested as in picked up by police and charged with a crime. This, in case you are undecided on the matter, is insane. Cheating and online gaming have been a virtual arms-race for going on forever and generally it’s been on the gaming companies to win that war. If they can use law enforcement as a new ally, the implications could be scary, especially when it’s quite easy to levy accusations of cheating and when simply finding ways to exploit an advantage within a game is often times mistaken for cheating as well.

    • Steam Replaces The Linux Tux Logo With SteamOS

      In an unsurprising move, Steam has replaced the Linux icon of “tux” with their own SteamOS icon. I completely understand why they did this, but it does make things confusing.

    • A Bill AP Calls a ‘Compromise’ Could Put AP’s Sources Away for 10 Years

      If you’re more worried about the government spying on you than you are about the government losing “valuable surveillance tools”—well, I guess AP is not the news service for you, then.

      One such PATRIOT Act preservation effort is labeled a “compromise” by AP—Senate Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr’s proposal to extend the NSA’s bulk collection of domestic phone records until 2017—in what AP calls a “transition.”

    • Corruption Welcome in London

      The FBI had somebody wearing a wire at the London Olympics to capture the FIFA corruption taking place in the margins. What were the British authorities doing? Nothing.

      Britain prides itself as having in London the world’s leading financial centre. Substantial assets, both financial and real estate, from FIFA corruption are located in London. But Britain has taken over the crown from Switzerland as the major financial destination which will always protect ill-gotten wealth.

      Alisher Usmanov played a major role as bagman for the corrupt Russian World Cup bid, particularly with delegates from FIFA’s Asian Confederation. His place as Britain’s third richest resident is very obviously based on extreme Russian corruption and he rose to power and wealth solely with the use of gangster muscle and contacts he gained and expanded while serving a prison sentence for blackmail. But he is a billionaire and beloved by the City of London so there is no danger of him ever being investigated in the UK.

    • Fifa scandal: Why the US is policing a global game
    • Putin: FIFA-linked arrests are US attempt to thwart Blatter re-election
    • 2 Teen Diablo Players Were Charged, Got Probation For ‘Stealing’ Virtual Items That Were Replaced

      With some of the recent news stories about how cheating, or other crimes, committed in virtual settings is resulting in real-world legal consequences, I’m sort of surprised the media hadn’t picked up on this story before. Apparently back in the summer of 2012, two teenagers, Patrick Nepomuceno and Michael Stinger, ran a scheme in Blizzard’s Diablo 3 in which Stinger would send out a link to another player that allowed Nepomuceno to take control of the player’s computer, force the player’s character to drop all of his/her valuable virtual game items, and then Stinger would scoop them up.

    • An Innocent Pressure Cooker Pays The Price In The War On Terror

      Israel Shimeles operates a food truck (SUSPICIOUS!) and moved those items to his parked car to make more room in his truck. He has since apologized and calls his own actions “stupid.” That’s the world we live in today, where a propane tank and a pressure cooker laying in plain sight in a parked vehicle results in destroyed property and apologies from the person who’s now out a pressure cooker, propane tank and rear window.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T Argues Net Neutrality Violates Its First Amendment Rights

      Back when Verizon sued to overturn the FCC’s 2010 net neutrality rules, the telco argued that the FCC was aggressively and capriciously violating the company’s First and Fifth Amendment rights. According to Verizon’s argument at the time, broadband networks “are the modern-day microphone by which their owners engage in First Amendment speech.” Verizon also tried to claim that neutrality rules were a sort of “permanent easement on private broadband networks for the use of others without just compensation,” and thereby violated the Fifth Amendment.

    • Code injection: A new low for ISPs

      Imagine you’re on the phone with your doctor, discussing a very sensitive and private matter that requires your full attention. Suddenly in the middle of a sentence, your mobile phone provider injects a recording saying you’ve used 90 percent of your minutes for the month and to press 1 to contact customer service, and repeats the message until you either hit 1 or hit 2 to cancel.

      Or you’re on a call with a buddy, talking about your favorite sports team. Suddenly you get several text messages with “special offers” from companies that sell jerseys and other sporting goods.

    • Net Neutrality On The Ropes In Europe As Some EU Members Wimp Out On Real Rules

      While net neutrality may have recently found its way into the Merriam Webster dictionary, it still hasn’t managed to find its way to Europe. Most assumed that the EU would have passed net neutrality protections long before the States, so the FCC beating the EU to the punch surprised more than a few people. That was especially true if you’d been watching some of rhetoric coming out of the EU over the last few years.

      [...]

      The EU’s net neutrality bill began in 2013 when Kroes introduced a proposal for a Telecoms Single Market (TSM), or a single piece of regulation covering all telecom issues across the EU. That proposal was slowly but surely boiled down to just two major proposals: one aimed at eliminating wireless roaming between EU nations to reduce consumer rates, and one focused on enshrining net neutrality into law. Like initial efforts in the States, however, this proposal was packed with all manner of loopholes pushed for by major telecom carriers, worried their ability to abuse limited last-mile competition would come to an end.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Sherlock Holmes And The Case Of The Never Ending Copyright Dispute

        For the last few years, we’ve been covering a long (now complete) saga concerning the status of the copyright on Sherlock Holmes. A few years ago, we wrote about the odd state of the copyright according to the Conan Doyle Estate — which insisted that the character was not in the public domain in the US (even as it is in the public domain in many other countries). That’s because, while nearly all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works were published long before 1923, a final set of 10 stories were published after. The Estate erroneously argued that as long as any part of Sherlock Holmes was under copyright, all of it was. In 2013, a scholar of Sherlock Holmes sued the Estate to argue otherwise. And despite the silly fears of the Estate, both the district court and the appeals court rightly explained how copyright law works to the Estate, noting that all of the early works are in the public domain, and the only copyright that may be maintained is in the marginal creative additions in those final 10 works. The appeals court even went so far as to argue that the Estate was abusing antitrust laws in demanding fees from everyone. And the Supreme Court refused to review the case.

Censorship on Reddit Has Gotten (Condé) Nasty and Silent, Even Actively Silenced

Posted in Deception at 6:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Censoring evidence of the censorship, too

“Bill Gates cites copyright enforcement to justify Chinese censorship. Microsoft executives used to call us communists, but they are now clearly revealed as the ones who support communist-style dictatorship.”

Richard Stallman

Summary: Condé Nast has turned Reddit into a platform of censorship after the acquisition

A FEW years ago we published a reader’s complaint about Facebook censorship. It is widely known that Facebook engages in heavy censorship (usually silently, e.g. by omission), not just in heavy surveillance. Today we have confirmatory evidence that Reddit is also overzealously censoring (deleting), blocking, etc. entire accounts. We have heard about this before, we have actually seen this before, but not much has been said or written about this as far as we can tell. Reddit is trying to hide what it does under Condé Nast’s wing. Aaron Swartz, a Reddit pioneer, never liked Condé Nast when it became his employer (not by choice). It didn’t take him to leave Condé Nast, which generally depressed him and gave him no room for creativity. Being a large corporation headquartered near Wall Street, nobody should expect Condé Nast to have turned Reddit into anything other than adjunct of corporate media, only a shadow of its rebellious (former) self.

Reddit’s policy is somewhat sickening. A lot of people don’t quite realise how many trolls and spam come from Reddit. Censorship there is directed against anyone who is not good to Condé Nast’s business model (they own Reddit), not trolls or spam. Reddit even takes Microsoft money to advertise Microsoft under the guise of Q&A or whatever. The same previously was done with (or for) Bill Gates and pro-Microsoft agenda had run rampant for many years now (including negative comments about sites like Techrights). Condé Nast loves Microsoft and Bill Gates to the point of habitually grooming them, under the guise of ‘journalism’. Last year it was revealed (by a whistleblower’s account) that Microsoft employs AstroTurfers to leave posts favourable to Microsoft products in Reddit. It speaks volumes, does it not?

Our perception of Reddit it far worse than that of Slashdot after Dice took over. Reddit — like Facebook — is where bold ideas come to die rather than be spread. It’s hardly a “social media”, it’s more like corporate media where advertising is embedded.

Today’s story comes from an anonymous reader who has been gagged by Reddit. When he asked about the gagging he was further suppressed by Reddit (hiding evidence of the suppression). He is one of many others who have been treated like this, based on what we have learned over the years, so there needs to be an explanation out there of what Reddit actually does.

“See how Reddit hides messages,” told us the reader, “except to the original poster… very sneaky. As far as I can make out, most of the posts are advertisements disguised as fake personal anecdotes. Adverts for the Credit Card industry under disguise as asking for financial advice, or in this case a free advert for the psycho-pharma industry.”

Now you see the comment:

Reddit thread

Now you don’t (logged out):

Reddit thread

“Well then,” he pleaded, “do a story on it over on techrights.org. Have people open an account and see when and if they become invisible. I think it’s very sneaky making the posts only visible to the logged in user.”

Here are 2 image attachment which show how Reddit deals with accounts. First this:

Reddit user

Now it’s gone…

Reddit user

So it’s virtually banned.

“And apparently the user home page doesn’t exist,” our reader said, “except only for the logged in user. Can you see the message posted on this link?”

Of course we can’t, that’s the intention.

This profile page returns a “page not found” error.

That’s a ban. “And apparently the user home page doesn’t exist,” our reader concluded. He is not an agent of some company and he wasn’t rude, either.

Reddit remains one of several nasty sites which pretend to be “activism” and pose as “community” while in practice doing the very opposite. Remember who owns Reddit.

We are proud to say that in nearly a decade of operation we never deleted a single comment here. All comments were approved, over 30,000 of them in total, even very vulgar ones. That’s what free speech means. Reddit lost its way a long time ago, so free-thinking individual ought to stay out of there.

The Supreme Court of the United States Helps Patent Trolls

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 5:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fly

Summary: In an unforeseen kind of ruling, the same court which slapped down a lot of software patents last year is now legitimising the actions of a patent troll

Joe Mullin wrote about Patent Troll Tracker quite some time before he became a widely-recognised journalist focusing on patent trolls and some other patent-related matters. Patent Troll Tracker was later ousted with a bounty on his head (coming from a patent troll). Patent Troll Tracker was a patent lawyer from Cisco, which had attracted many trolls to it. Based on this new report from Mullin, Cisco has just lost to a troll at SCOTUS level (the highest possible level, which is also expensive). As Mullin put it: “The Supreme Court issued a ruling (PDF) today in Commil USA v. Cisco Systems, one of two patent cases it heard this term. On one key issue, the opinion favors Commil, a “patent troll” that won a $64 million jury verdict against Cisco. But other findings mean that the non-practicing entity won’t be getting a payday any time soon—and a final section of the opinion is wholly dedicated to reminding judges to sanction misbehaving patent plaintiffs, something that didn’t even come up in this case.

“In the Commil USA v. Cisco Systems case, a 6-2 majority of justices held that defendants in patent cases can’t evade claims of “induced infringement” by arguing they had a “good faith belief” the patent was invalid. That overturns an appeals court decision favoring Cisco. Justice Stephen Breyer was recused from the case.”

This is very bad because only one year after the Alice case we are now seeing SCOTUS leaning in favour of patent trolls, not just rubbish patents. SCOTUS is, in some sense, feeding the trolls here.

“Stop Feeding the Patent Trolls,” says the headline of a new article, explaining: “At AngelList, we’ve spent the last several years creating a platform for startups and founders to connect with their peers, secure seed investments and recruit employees. We’re passionate about what we do, which is why it’s all the more upsetting to see fledgling businesses continue to take unnecessary and costly hits from greedy patent trolls.

“What SCOTUS has just done is only going to further legitimise trolls.”“For years, patent litigation has drained small businesses of resources that would otherwise be used for research, investment and job creation. Specifically, flaws and loopholes in the current law allow patent assertion entities (PAEs), also known as patent trolls, to exploit the system and claim rights to patents without ever having made a product or provided a service to any customers. Congress’ inaction has led to billions of dollars spent on frivolous patent suits, needlessly costing the economy and consumers.”

There is then a reference to the PATENT Act, which only tackles small trolls but not big trolls. “The Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship Act of 2015,” says the author, “is sponsored by both sides of the aisle, including Senators Grassley, Leahy, Cornyn, Schumer, Lee, Hatch and Klobuchar.” It is also sponsored by the large corporations that are funding these politicians.

Let it be clear that patent trolls truly are an issue, but they are not the only issue and they benefit from the vast extent of patents on software. Various sites that focus on patent trolls (and patent trolls only) amplify the claims of those famed academics who focus only on trolls, for example Michael Meurer and Bessen. As Matt Levy put the situation, it was “Bessen that estimated that NPEs cost U.S. businesses at least $29 billion dollars in 2011.” Levy previously related a SCOTUS approval of Form 18 abandonment to patent trolls. 9 days ago he wrote: “In a blog post last year, I wrote about about the prolific patent troll eDekka, which filed well over 100 complaints in 2014. Not one of them gave any useful information to the defendants. Most of the complaints were filed in the Eastern District of Texas.”

Eastern District of Texas is where a lot of patent trolls operate from and the environment sure became fertile for their racketeering. What SCOTUS has just done is only going to further legitimise trolls.

IP Troll Tracker (not to be confused with Patent Troll Tracker) recalls one of the most notorious trolls out there, Erich Spangenberg, saying that there is alarming embellishment of what trolls like him are doing. “In another alarming chapter of the “saved from a troll by a troll” play book,” she writes, “Jump Rope misses the rope itself and jumps straight into bed with Erich Spangenberg. Like Ditto before him, Mr. Braxton of Jump Rope found himself in the unfortunate position of having to take investment money from one of the founders of the business model that put his company in jeopardy to begin with.”

Here is Mike Masnick at TechDirt put it: “The story tries to play this out like a “patent troll done good,” but it’s horrifying. It’s one patent troll beating up on a startup, and then allowing a second one to come in and vulture up the leftovers. It’s certainly not good for innovation in any way.”

One might expect patent trolls to be vilified or cracked down on by now, but even the SCOTUS helps them these days. Some of the media paints them as innovators and some as saviors. Actions are now judged by the actor’s size, not the action.

Patent Lawyers Fight Hard for the Future of Software Patents

Posted in Law, Patents at 4:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“People naively say to me, “If your program is innovative, then won’t you get the patent?” This question assumes that one product goes with one patent.” —Richard Stallman

An algorithm

Summary: Media that is dominated by patent lawyers and targets an audience of patent lawyers refuses to accept the post-Alice reality

THE USPTO is a sordid mess. As the previous article served to show, it attracts many opportunists and trolls. However, recent amendment of guidelines used inside the USPTO examination pipeline stopped many software patents, rendering them invalid while citing Alice (a relatively recent SCOTUS ruling). Both the court system and the patent system are now far less favourable or tolerant towards software patents.

“These patents are affecting not only Free software but also proprietary software.”As usual, patent lawyers’ sites are quick to shoot down the message and the messengers. Legal News Line says that a “new study shows first decline in patent litigation in five years”. It of course proceeds to refutation attempts. Other lawyers (McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP in this case) are trying hard to shoot down claims that software patents are being stopped in the US. Here is their abstract: “A recent publication by PricewaterhouseCoopers announced that patent suit filings in 2014 had reduced by 13% from the prior year, and concluded that this “dramatic shift” was “[d]riven by Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, which raised the bar for patentability and enforcement of software patents” (see “2015 Patent Litigation Study: A change in patentee fortunes”). This rather strong attribution has in turn driven a number of news outlets, such as IPLaw 360 and bloggers to pick up the story (see “Patent Lawsuits Took First Dive In Years, Report Says” and “Patent Litigation Study Should Cause Patent Reform Pause”).”

They say that this report “raises questions”, but actually it answers a question and tackles an issue. It’s a step towards the solution.

Another patent lawyers’ site, Managing IP, says that “Rumours of the death of software patents are greatly exaggerated” (well, they sure would hope so) and Gene Quinn (very vocal proponent of software patents, for he is a patent lawyer) asks, “Is there a future for software patents in an age of software innovation?”

What we are hoping to show here, as we did many times before, is that patent lawyers are very concerned about the death of many patents on software, not only at the court level but also, increasingly, at the examination level (where they can make a lot of money at the expense of software developers). These patents are affecting not only Free software but also proprietary software. Even Bitcoin, which strives to reform today’s monetary system, is said to be affected. As this report from the beginning of the month put it: “Bitcoin wallet company BitGo, Inc. is currently being circled by Redditors for its alleged attempts to patent the Bitcoin multisig technology.

“The San Francisco based company had submitted a patent request to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on February 4th last year, a document of which was published yesterday, on April 30th 2015. The document reveals BitGo’s application in which it is seeking a patent for a network device that is “configured to receive public keys, over an electronic network, of two or more second public-private keys,” something that is reportedly identical to the multisig functionality.”

They are patenting cryptological methods now. This is like patenting mathematics. It has got to stop at the examination level, not just at the courts (legal fees are obscenely high).

Fortune Glorifies Patent Troll Jay Walker (Patent Utility)

Posted in Patents at 4:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jay Walker
Photo by Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA

Summary: Jay Walker, a patent troll, creates a Web-based trolling/’licensing’ service and the corporate media helps him

“Big data is key to disrupting the U.S. patent industry,” said last month’s headline from the plutocrats’ media (Fortune). Let’s put aside the term “patent industry”, which equates patenting to production. This article spoke about a patent troll named Jay Walker– a man whom we wrote about before. To quote what it’s about: “The United States Patent Utility is a newly launched web-based licensing platform offered by Parent Properties. Led by Priceline founder Jay Walker, the Utility (as it’s sometimes called) is a public company that will bring together inventors and would-be users, kind of like a match-making service.”

“It’s like an answer in search of a question or a solution in search of a problem, unless the target audience is patent examiners and trolls.”That’s the sort of vision laid out by patent hoarders who litigate rather than create anything. They treat patents as a product to be sold or rented. Notice that they call it “web-based licensing platform” (trolling sounds almost synonymous), nothing like a “match-making service.” There’s no love in it.

Oddly enough, this article completely neglects to mention that Walker is now a patent toll. “The company’s analytics technology,” it says, “searches the two million-plus patents on file with the U.S. Patent Office, as well as its huge volume of pending patents, and matches companies with any concepts that will help them meet their business goals.”

Companies don’t need patents to tell them what to do and they don’t need to look up patents instead of doing what they do. It’s like an answer in search of a question or a solution in search of a problem, unless the target audience is patent examiners and trolls. The world’s patent examiners already have expansive tools for finding prior art and/or existing patents.

The article goes on and states: “The Utility is designed to open up the world of innovation to companies of all sizes, particularly those with limited resources.”

Actually, this sounds more like a patent trolls’ toolbox. It makes it cheaper for trolls to acquire ‘licensing’ deals or acquire patents, without even a lawsuit.

Stealing Android’s Thunder, Making It All About Apple and Microsoft During Google I/O

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 3:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry.”

James Plamondon, Microsoft [PDF]

Summary: Misleading articles and conjoined media/analyst attacks on Android coincide with Google’s event where major Android announcements are being made

ANDROID, which runs Linux at its core, is now the world’s most widely used operating system, not just the most commonly ‘sold’ (if that word is applicable to Free software) operating systems. Microsoft is very annoyed by that. Apple is jealous.

Android is expanding from phones to tablets, watches, and even cars. Right now there’s a lot of talk about ​Android Auto (see our upcoming daily links for more information, as well as various links that we posted about Google I/O before) and this means that the reach of Linux is vast beyond imagination. It’s always growing. Devices now outnumber people, especially with all that “IoT” hype. Many of these devices (probably the majority) run Linux.

“Devices now outnumber people, especially with all that “IoT” hype. Many of these devices (probably the majority) run Linux.”Microsoft seems to be trying to crash the event of Google, making it all about Apple and Microsoft in a potentially strategic (and timely) way. Farhad Manjoo, who promoted Microsoft in Slate (we mentioned it here several times before, especially in the IRC channels), is now doing a piece on Android in the New York Times. While acknowledging “Market Dominance” of Android he goes on to say that there is “A Murky Road Ahead for Android”. We’ve heard it all before, usually from Microsoft- and Apple-friendly media. As this article is composed by an old friend of Microsoft, we consider it more of that same. For the second day in a row it’s IDG (parent company of IDC, but without disclosure to that effect) that uses IDC-produced figures to bash Android’s dominance as well. Mikael Ricknäs has spread through a bunch of IDG-owned sites an article titled “Android stutters while iOS shines in Q1″. Two Microsoft-bribed firms, namely the Gartner Group and IDC, are being quoted so as to bash Android. They do this by gaming numbers, making it seem like Apple enjoys huge growth while actually it’s Android that continues to gain (at the expense of mostly proprietary platforms). IDC is grossly overstating Microsoft’s role in mobile, but given the long-term relationship of IDC and Microsoft, this is hardly surprising. IDC previously had us believe (using bogus predictions) that Windows would be dominant in mobile by now. How wrong were they! Android is dying/doomed/terrible, say Microsoft- and Apple-connected firms, so maybe the real observation to be made here is that Microsoft is really afraid of Android. It’s nervousness and response.

The conflicts of interest at IDG are not news to us. We have written about them for nearly a decade. Here you see Roger Grimes from Microsoft and IDG (yes, at the same time!) giving poor advice about security (he often blames users for security issues that are Microsoft’s). “Better solution,” wrote iophk to us, would be “OpenWRT or DD-WRT” (Linux).

Incidentally, amid all that Android FUD (vastly increased while Google I/O takes place), Tony Bradley, a Microsoft mole and booster (professionally connected to Microsoft but pretending to be journalist in IDG, as well as other Web sites/news networks) says that “Microsoft Has Hijacked Android In A Hostile Takeover” (his headline).

Rogue players, including Microsoft, tried this before, with examples that include Facebook, Nokia, and Amazon. They always failed. It’s just a misguided strategy that weakens Windows in the hope that somehow it’ll pay off or gradually sink the competition.

Watch how IDG covered this latest case of patent extortion/shakedown. Microsoft’s abuse of patents is not mentioned even once! It’s all promotional. The opening sentence says: “Tuesday’s announcement means Microsoft is now working with 31 device manufacturers to pre-load applications on Android tablets.”

Here again we see the artificially- and misleadingly-inflated number which we alluded to the other day.

“Microsoft has made a killer move,” wrote Pavithra Rathinavel about patent racketeering while glorifying it as some kind of ingenious strategy. He also wrote: “Many observers say Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is making the right moves to cater to all the major platforms used by customers across the globe.”

No, Microsoft uses extortion and blackmail using patents in order to force companies to exclude the competition. It’s bundling by force. That is nothing worth commending.

British Government May be a Step Closer to GNU/Linux (on the Desktops, Not Just Servers)

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Windows at 2:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The Justice Department also renewed its request that the court fine Microsoft $1 million a day for contempt…”

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul

Summary: The British government stops paying the criminal company that blackmails its members, thereby increasing the possibility of complete escape from proprietary software

SPENDING around $10,000 per Windows desktop per year in the British government (i.e. around the same as a brand new car per year for one single desktop!) is far from reasonable. It’s theft, it’s embezzlement. It shows why Microsoft is so exceptionally desperate to keep its contracts with the British government — to the point of blackmailing British politicians.

According to this new report which relates to our recent writings, no more will our government waste $10,000 per desktop per year and it is definitely getting closer to altogether dumping Windows.

“The UK government has decided,” says The Register, “as foreshadowed by The Reg, that it can do without extended support for Windows XP.

“The nation signed up for Microsoft’s super-special zombie OS support service – aka a Custom Support Agreement – last year, but a recent meeting of government Technology Leaders decided enough is enough. A post on the Government Technology Blog says the Leaders “took a collective decision to not extend the support arrangement for 2015.”

“A support agreement that ended in April was therefore not renewed.”

Microsoft now uses scare tactics to make the government ‘upgrade’ (rent new versions of Windows, Office, etc.) or ‘buy’ extended — and surely overpriced — ‘support’.

Well, just bin Microsoft already; it is a huge security risk and Free software is capable is serving the public a lot better. It would also create jobs in the UK because people are needed to support these desktops. Surely we can be self-sufficient in the software sense. Britain has got some skilled programmers and it is internationally renowned for its services-based industry.

05.27.15

Microsoft’s Patent Allies LG and Sony Agree to Put Microsoft Inside Android

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 6:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Using blackmail and extortion to ‘bastardise’ Android

Rockstar Consortium

Summary: LG and Sony (of Rockstar Consortium) follow Samsung and Dell in Microsoft’s campaign to turn Android into ‘Microsoft Android’ using patents-induced pressure/leverage

THERE is an effort by Microsoft to hijack Android and turn it into a Microsoft platform. Cyanogen is a key Trojan horse in this effort (an embrace extend and extinguish manoeuvre by a Microsoft proxy), but then there are Microsoft-occupied companies like Dell and patent partners like Samsung (patent extortion and lawsuits played a role in this too) which agree to replace Android software with Microsoft spyware. Samsung is now thinking about a Windows-Android mix [1], having learned nothing from Nokia’s Microsoft-inflicted demise.

Venture Beat has this disturbing news. Having spent several years bragging about the number of companies Microsoft bullied into Android ‘patent deals’, Microsoft now starts bragging about the number of companies Microsoft bullied into Android ‘Microsoft deals’ (which relates to the former because the Taiwanese press says Microsoft offers patent concessions in exchange for installation/bundling of Microsoft spyware). This is extortion, plain and simple. It’s based on patent litigation threats and bribes. As Venture Beat puts it: “The news follows Microsoft’s announcement in March that it had gotten Samsung, Dell, and several regional hardware makers to sell Android devices packed with those same Microsoft apps.”

It’s just Microsoft’s patent ally LG and also Sony, which works together with Microsoft when it comes to patents (recall Rockstar). The rest are mostly obscure ‘partners’. “In total,” says the article, “Microsoft has now partnered with 31 global and local OEMs (11 in March and 20 today) to preinstall its apps onto Android devices throughout this year. Only time will tell if Microsoft’s apps end up actually being used more because of these deals.”

The number, 31, sure sounds high, but in reality, only a handful of these have got significant market share. Microsoft is exaggerating here. It’s marketing or even shameless propaganda. A small payment to some of these small companies (a bribe) would be sufficient towards artificial inflation of the number.

Microsoft, an NSA partner, hopes to turn Android into more of a spying platform than it already was, harvesting audio using Cortana, which Microsoft re-announces this week.

“Having spent several years bragging about the number of companies Microsoft bullied into Android ‘patent deals’, Microsoft now starts bragging about the number of companies Microsoft bullied into Android ‘Microsoft deals’ (which relates to the former because the Taiwanese press says Microsoft offers patent concessions in exchange for installation/bundling of Microsoft spyware).”Incidentally, Richard Stallman very recently warned about Android as well as Windows. They are both “malware” according to him. Well, one learns something new every day. This news site says Stallman created Linux, despite him making it quite clear that it all started with GNU [2] almost a decade earlier. Most sites got it right [3-8], responding to his original article (published in The Guardian a couple of days ago).

The article which dubs Stallman “Linux creator” says “Richard Stallman, known for his instrumental role in the creation of Linux, has written an opinion piece arguing that nearly any operating system you might use today can be considered malware, and that goes for popular mobile platforms as well as desktop operating systems.”

Later on it states: “The solution, he said, is to reject software and web services that snoop or track, to support the development of free software that doesn’t track the user, and to design legislation that would criminalize all of these new forms of “malware.””

Microsoft boosting sites don’t agree with Stallman but at least they give his views a mention [1, 2]. It is getting hard to ignore Google’s own privacy violations and even its patents on privacy-infringing things, such as this latest example from the news [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] (widely referred to as “creepy”). Nevertheless, giving Microsoft control of Android, especially using an obscene bunch of moves and criminal extortion, is not OK.

Microsoft is attacking Android from other angles too, including the FUD angle. A Microsoft-bribed firm, , which said Windows will have become dominant in mobile by 2015, bashes Android again. It also praises Windows. To quote IDG (parent company of IDC reporting on IDC without disclosure): “Windows Phone will remain at about 3.2% market share in 2015, shipping nearly 47 million phones, IDC said. Those numbers will increase to 5.4% in 2019, when Windows Phone will surpass 103 million smartphones shipped, IDC predicted.”

Well, there is a lie there about Windows Phone because it’s actually at around 2%, based on some respectable sources. Any predications of huge Windows growth from IDC were previously laughable and utterly wrong now that we look back. Perhaps it’s not surprising that IDC needs IDG (its parent company) to spread out such nonsensical propaganda.

Microsoft’s attacks on Android are becoming more gross by the day. Defending Android is not a case of defending Google but a matter of defending truth and opposing Microsoft’s criminality.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Samsung proposes an Android phone that transforms into a Windows laptop

    Samsung has been thinking up new ways to transform smartphones into laptops. In a patent application filed last week, first spotted by Patently Mobile, Samsung describes a mobile device that runs Android and is able to switch over to Windows when inserted into a dock. Individually, these ideas aren’t new — dual-OS devices and docking smartphones have been tried a number of times over the past several years — but they haven’t been put together in a particularly straightforward way. Of course, this is only a patent application, so there’s no guarantee that Samsung will actually make it.

  2. Richard Stallman Says He Created GNU, Which Is Called Often Linux

    Richard Stallman is the President of the Free Software Foundation and also the founder of GNU or GNU’s Not Unix! operating system that contains only free software. One of his constant claims is that GNU/Linux is a misnomer and that it shouldn’t be used. In fact, he’s now saying that the GNU operating system is often called Linux.

  3. Windows and OS X are malware, claims Richard Stallman

    ‘Resist gratification’, says super-GNU-man freedom fighter

  4. Linux Creator Says Windows, OS X, iOS and Android Are All Malware
  5. GNU Creator Labels Windows And OS X As Malware, Trashes IoT Movement
  6. Are Windows and OS X malware?
  7. Richard Stallman labels Windows and iOS as malware
  8. Richard Stallman: Windows OS is malware

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