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09.20.14

Links 20/9/2014: GNOME 3.13.92, Android L

Posted in News Roundup at 3:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • German Official: Google Should Reveal Its Ranking Algorithm

    One of the unanswered questions in the ongoing European-Google antitrust saga is what concrete changes or concessions critics want (or will accept) from Google. One of those things may have just come to light in a Financial Times interview with German justice minister Heiko Maas.

  • Germany wants Google’s search engine formula
  • With Open-Source Software, You Don’t Have to Start From Scratch

    As an entrepreneur, you always have questions to answer: “How do I efficiently manage my people?” “How can I keep track of my projects?” “Where do I start with my website?”

    It can all feel pretty overwhelming, but luckily, there’s a fantastic resource you can use to solve an abundance of entrepreneurial problems: open-source technology.

    It all began in the ’90s when there was a big push to create operating systems to make using new computer technology more efficient. Companies saw the value in these operating systems and acquired creators such as Linux to write the code.

  • The future of analytics lies in open source technology

    There’s the parquet system that they added to Hadoop. That was based on work that Google did on Dremel. Facebook has introduced things like PrestoDB. There’s just a fascinating array, and the biggest thing about this is that these things are truly freely licensed from companies that have incredible depth of knowledge. They’re really going to drive it now, and I think the open source stack is going to be pushed higher and higher. Even commercial vendors will incorporate it. So, it’s definitely going to work itself into the enterprise.

  • Oculus Makes Rift DK1 Open Source

    The first surprise of the Oculus Connect virtual reality (VR) developer conference in Hollywood, California has been revealed. Earlier today event host Oculus VR announced that the first development kit (DK1) of its Oculus Rift head-mounted mounted display (HMD) was now open source. This means that anyone can now download the company’s full list of workings on the device and use them how they see fit.

  • Open source is on top of the ‘TODO’ list

    Open-source software comes in many different shapes and sizes, and some are better maintained than others. Because of this, organizations need to spend time, money and resources to ensure the quality of source code, and not every company has the ability to do so.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Global Web Literacy Gets a Boost From Maker Party 2014

        This week we celebrated the record-breaking 2,513 events in 86 countries that made up Maker Party 2014. The campaign, which officially began on July 15th and ended this week, brought nearly 130,000 adults and children together to learn valuable digital literacy skills in classrooms, libraries, cafes, and living rooms around the world.

  • Databases

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • A New Update For The Curl Package Has Been Released

      There are two exploits identified by the developer in this package. One of them allows the disclosure of cookies to the wrong sites and malicious sites being able to set cookies for others. The other vulnerability which has been identified by this developer in the curl package incorrectly allows cookies to be set for Top Level Domains (TLD). According to the Canonical’s security notification this could allow a malicious site to set a cookie that gets sent to other sites.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source and the NHS: Two huge disorganised entities without central control

      Newton argues open source is well suited to systems that need to be transparently stable and secure, where a lot of people have an interest in collaborating. He adds it is favoured by intelligence services for exactly these reasons, and if it’s good enough for spooks, it should serve for hospitals.

      Alfresco hit its initial end-of-year download target of 10,000 in the first week, with eventual downloads numbering in the millions for the initial release of its software in 2005. “You want to join the cool party,” Mr Newton said. “That’s what open source is all about.”

    • India yet to catch up with FOSS, says Rushabh Mehta of ERPNext

      We got a chance to interact with Rushabh Mehta, the founder of Web Notes Technologies, a company based in Mumbai, India. ERPNext is the major product of the company. It is a free and Open Source web based ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution for small and medium sized businesses with its presence in more than 60 countries. In addition to the regular discussions on their Open Source product, strategy, customers etc. we also got a chance to understand how hard it is to thrive in an environment where the “Open Source” philosophy is not a familiar term yet. A software developer by passion and an Industrial Engineer by training, Rushabh also informed us about their imminent product conference in Mumbai he is quite excited about.

Leftovers

09.19.14

Scanning Patent Troll Implodes; Is the Podcasting Patent Troll Next?

Posted in Patents at 3:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: MPHJ loses and Personal Audio LLC perhaps wins for the last time since software patents are quickly losing legitimacy in the United States

While the corporate press (and CAFC) carries on glorifying patents (for its own profit interests) a lot of the public increasingly realises that the role of patents is to merely elevate prices of products and services. It either helps billionaires or trolls. MPHJ, one of the most notorious trolls in recent years, is losing its teeth after a case that was not settled. Is this the coming end of more such trolls? Joe Mullin covered this wonderful news:

There are hundreds of so-called “patent trolls,” but MPHJ Technology became one of the most well-known when it sent thousands of letters to small businesses around the country suggesting they should pay around $1,000 per worker for using basic “scan-to-email” functions.

This trial, for a change, was not stationed in Texas.

We recently wrote about the demise of some very big trolls owing to a Supreme Court ruling. Here is another infamous troll to keep an eye on. It recently got money from CBS because “A jury in Marshall, Texas found the infamous “podcasting patent” was infringed by CBS’s website today and said that the TV network should pay $1.3 million to patent holder Personal Audio LLC.

“The verdict form shows the jury found all four claims of the patent infringed, rejecting CBS’ defense that the patent was invalid. The document was submitted today at 1:45pm Central Time.”

But wait. That was in Texas, the capital of trolls. There seems to have been a challenge in the way. As the same site put it some days beforehand:

Jim Logan is an archetype in the patent world—he personifies the great American invention story. In 1996, Logan says, he had a brilliant idea: a digital music player that would automatically update with new episodes. Think iPod, five years before the iPod.

“Our product concept, which spawned the patent, was all about a handheld MP3 player that could download off the Internet some kind of personalized audio experience,” he told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in an April interview. “We designed that, we prototyped it, we went to investors trying to raise money to produce the product, and we were not successful.”

This was going to trial (for a change) and given that it is a software patent, the Alice case could be used to put an end to it. But it didn’t. Not this time around. The EFF will hopefully use the Alice case in challenging this troll and putting an end to it. One CCIA front says we should “expect another flood of troll suits to be filed in November of next year, if history is any guide.” Given the recent trend of software patents and patent trolls failing, however, there is little reason to believe they will succeed, let alone try. Whenever they fail it opens the gate to more failures, by means/virtue of precedence.

If CAFC is Not Above the Law, Then it Should be Shut Down Now

Posted in Courtroom, Law at 3:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Randall R. Rader
Photo from Reuters

Summary: A long series of abuses in CAFC may as well suggest that this court has become broken beyond repair

THE Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), a corrupt court which brought software patents to the world some decades ago, is seriously considered rogue and some are calling for it to shut down.

Mike Masnick names another reason to shut down CAFC: “Back in 2004, when I first read the book Innovation and Its Discontents, I was convinced that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, better known as CAFC, or the “patent appeals court” was a huge part of the problem with the patent system. It was the special court that had been set up in the early 80s to handle all patent appeals, based on the totally misplaced notion that because patent issues were so technical, regular appeals courts wouldn’t be able to handle the nuances. What we got instead was a court that became “patent specialists” in that they spent much of their time with the patent bar — who tended to be lawyers who profited handsomely from an ever expanding patent law. It didn’t help that one of the original CAFC judges was Giles Rich, a former patent attorney who almost single-handedly wrote the Patent Act of 1951. Rich more or less made it his lifetime goal to expand the patent system to cover “everything under the sun made by man,” and he came close to succeeding.”

The article is titled “CAFC: The Rogue Patent Court, Captured By The Patent Bar, Needs To Go Away” and it very much reflects on what we see much of the time.

The numbers of controversies or corruption (as we have covered before) surrounding CAFC indicate that it should not be unthinkable or controversial to suggest shutdown. When is a court deemed “above the law”?

The Latest From Microsoft Patent Trolls and Patent Partners

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Samsung at 3:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A plot to shun Free software

Royal place

Summary: Microsoft-linked and Linux-hostile trolls continue their relentless attacks (albeit with little or no success) while patents as a weapon lose their teeth owing to a Supreme Court ruling

Microsoft’s cofounder is now a patent troll and his trolling activity resumes in the US. As Reuters very recently put it: “A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday revived part of a patent lawsuit brought by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen against AOL, Apple, Google and Yahoo, saying a lower court incorrectly found that the tech companies didn’t infringe one of its patents.

“The patent, held by Allen’s Interval Licensing, relates to the ubiquitous pop-ups that computer users routinely see while surfing the Web or shopping online.

“The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said that Chief Judge Marsha Pechman of the federal district court in Seattle had made an “erroneous” interpretation of the patent in 2013 and it sent the case back to her for further hearings.”

Allen has also targeted Android and Microsoft produces patent trolls other than Allen (IV, Interval, Gates et al.) who tend to target Free software and Microsoft rivals such as Google.

Recently we saw Microsoft and Apple collaborating in their patent attacks on Linux-using rivals. Microsoft sued Samsung some weeks ago, following Apple’s footsteps that led almost nowhere. “Apple denied retrial of Samsung patent case in California” based on IDG, which also says that “Apple’s slide-to-unlock patent not willfully infringed by Samsung, judge rules”.

The good news is that software patents are now dying in the US. Along with them the trolls are dying (ignore highly deceiving press releases from VirnetX, which is collapsing at the moment). The killing of trolls is a trend that was noted also by Simon Phipps (OSI President) the other day when he wrote:

Alice is killing the trolls — but expect patent lawyers to strike back

Open source software developers rejoice: Alice Corp. v CLS Bank is fast becoming a landmark decision for patent cases in the United States.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which handles all appeals for patent cases in the United States, has often been criticized for its handling of these cases — Techdirt describes it as “the rogue patent court, captured by the patent bar.” But following the Alice decision, the Court of Appeals seems to have changed.

The Court of Appeals will be the subject of our next post.

Microsoft Proves That Its Massive Layoffs Are Not About Nokia

Posted in Microsoft at 2:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Colours

Summary: Microsoft is laying off a lot of employees who have nothing at all to do with Nokia

After committing crimes to make companies go out of business Microsoft feels what it’s like to have big layoffs company-wide. “Microsoft lopped off a second set of jobs Thursday,” says IDG, “cutting 2,100 positions as part of a restructuring plan announced two months ago to eliminate 18,000 positions, or about 14 percent of the company’s workforce.”

This layoffs round (not the first) is not about Nokia at all. This is how Microsoft tried to portray it in the media, as we showed before.

After the NSA revelations Microsoft is really suffering as the documents released by Snowden made a mockery of this thing called “Trustworthy Computing group”, which was saving face and making it look as though Microsoft was interested in security. The very opposite was true. Microsoft was pursuing back doors and coordinating with the NSA how to get in.

Here are the effects on this pseudo-security division:

Microsoft will shutter its standalone Trustworthy Computing group, folding elements of the unit’s work on security, privacy and related issues into its Cloud & Enterprise Division, and its Legal & Corporate Affairs group.

It’s the latest change related to the company’s new round of layoffs, announced this morning. A spokesman confirmed that an unspecified number of jobs are being eliminated from the Trustworthy Computing group as part of the changes.

This has nothing to do with Nokia and it is no exception. Microsoft is now confirming that the Nokia-flavoured spin was just shameless spin. It was a convenient disguise for PR purposes.

Links 19/9/2014: Another Red Hat Acquisition, Netflix Dumps Microsoft Silverlight and Brings DRM to WWW

Posted in News Roundup at 2:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source mobile innovation improves Atul’s competitiveness

    Understanding the importance of mobility, the IT team at Atul realized that access to ERP applications on mobile devices could greatly enhance business capabilities and insights. The team aspired to enable its sales team to punch in orders directly from their smartphones into the ERP. However, after prospecting various solutions available in the market – it was inferred that mobile integration was an expensive and complex proposition. The solution costs were in the range of Rs 40-50 lakh in addition to the database license costs which seemed to be prohibitive for Atul.

  • Facebook’s TODO Project brings serious momentum to open source
  • Simple Secure — open source security organization backed by Google and Dropbox

    Strong security is necessary nowadays. However, some solutions can be overwhelming to many users, so they are often not implemented or simply misunderstood. In other words, regardless of how strong a security implementation is, if users do not understand how it works or how to use it, it may be worthless.

  • Google, Dropbox: Open Source Needs to Be More Secure
  • Cloudflare launches open source keyless SSL

    Cloudflare today announced it has made available a keyless SSL solution that enables the content delivery network to provide data transfers that are both authenticated and encrypted, without requiring customers’ private digital keys.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Quietly Shutters its Labs, Delivers Firefox OS Phone in Bangladesh

        Mozilla is much in the news this week, partly for technology efforts that are moving forward, and partly for shuttering a long standing effort from the company. Partnered with Grameephone, an operator in Bangladesh, Mozilla rolled out Firefox OS-based phones for Bangladesh that are priced under $60 and are poised to put smartphones in the hands of some users who haven’t had phones before.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Rackspace Says It’s Not for Sale, Despite Obstacles

      Rackspace names a new CEO, as the OpenStack cloud founder chooses not to sell after evaluating its strategic options.

    • Workload deployment tools for OpenStack

      This is the second part in a series of three articles surveying automation projects within OpenStack, explaining what they do, how they do it, and where they stand in development readiness and field usage. Previously, in part one, I covered cloud deployment tools that enable you to install/update OpenStack cloud on bare metal. Next week, in the final article, I will cover automating “day 2 management”—tools to keep the cloud and workloads up and running.

  • Databases

    • Tesora Delivers OpenStack Database-as-a-Service for Enterprises

      As the OpenStack cloud computing arena grows, a whole ecosystem of tools is growing along with it. Tesora, the leading contributor to the OpenStack Trove open source project, is out this week with what it is billing as the first enterprise-ready, commercial implementation of OpenStack Trove database as a service (DBaaS). Tesora also recently announced that it has open sourced its Tesora Database Virtualization Engine, and now is also offering the Tesora OpenStack Trove Database Certification Program.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • King Ellison Abdicates As Oracle CEO

      Under Ellison, Oracle has already squandered all of their open source holdings. We don’t need MySQL anymore, we’ve got Maria. The Document Foundation with LibreOffice has made Open Office irrelevant — and it doesn’t even belong to Oracle anymore anyway. What’s left? Java? What a fine job they’ve done managing that mess. Oracle Linux? OMG, what’ll we do if they screw that up?

      Oracle couldn’t do any worse with Ellison gone than they’ve done with him.

    • Ellison Steps Down as Oracle CEO, but Management Team Stays

      The all-purpose IT vendor reported that its fiscal 2015 Q1 total revenues were up 3 percent; net income was unchanged at $2.2 billion over Q1 2014.
      Few people keep their jobs for life, except perhaps the pope, members of the U.S. Supreme Court, and those who own their own businesses and don’t wish to retire.

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Software Freedom Day serves online democracy

      The Christchurch Unix community has its annual technical show this weekend, as part of international Software Freedom Day celebrations. Personal Computer operating systems derived from Unix offer an alternative, to Microsoft desktop security issues and costs, and are maintained by a large international community. Main variants of Unix are GNU/Linux and Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) operating systems. BSD is the core of Apple Computer’s OS-X. Licensed free software installation discs, install help and tuition are made available to the public on Software Freedom Day.

    • RCS 5.9.3 available

      GNU RCS (Revision Control System) 5.9.3 is available.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Facebook’s TODO project, Coursera in Brazil, Drupal, and more
    • Open Data

      • Going behind the scenes at Data.gov

        Data.gov wants to be the fuel that helps power the organizations and people that will change the world.

        Data by itself is just the tinder for the spark of imagination and innovation. Without it many of the kinds of innovations we see like iTriage, Bright Scope, and Patients Like Me would not be possible. The Data.gov project is how the United States government, under the Obama administration, is striving to empower citizens to create the change they envision; not just by fixing a temporary problem, but by helping to let citizens solve the problem themselves.

Leftovers

  • Russia cries foul over Scottish independence vote

    Russia has said the conduct of the Scottish referendum “did not meet international standards”, with its observers complaining the count took place in rooms that were too big and that the procedure was badly flawed.

    In an apparent attempt to mirror persistent western criticism of Russia’s own elections, Igor Borisov – an accredited observer – said the poll failed to meet basic international norms.

  • Moving On For Social Justice

    I met numerous voters who had received letters from their employers – including Diageo, BP, RNS and many others – telling them to vote No or their job was in danger.

  • About Apple’s Dead Warrant Canary

    I find Apple’s dead warrant canary of particular interest given the revelation in the recent DOJ IG Report on National Security Letters that some “Internet companies” started refusing NSLs for certain kinds of content starting in 2009; that collection has moved to Section 215 authority, and it now constitutes a majority of the 200-some Section 215 orders a year.

  • Security

    • TrueCrypt Getting a New Life

      When the developers of TrueCrypt delivered the bombshell that they were abandoning their popular open source encryption program, it left many organizations in a hugely difficult position. Should they continue to use it, or heed the developers’ advice that it was no longer secure and switch to another encryption product?

      On the face of it, the decision should be an easy one: If the developers of something as security sensitive as an encryption program say that their program is no longer secure, surely it would be rash not to heed the warning.

    • Encryption goof fixed in TorrentLocker file-locking malware

      The developers of a type of malicious software that encrypts a computer’s files and demands a ransom have fixed an error security experts said allowed files to be recovered without paying.

      The malware, called TorrentLocker, popped up last month, targeting users in Australia, according to iSight Partners, a security consultancy. It now appears to be also geo-targeting victims in the U.K.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Ombudsman ‘appalled’ by ex-Customs lawyer’s OIA allegations

      A former Customs lawyer claim that he was told to bury bad news matches similar stories which have sparked a wide-ranging inquiry by Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem.

      She said she was “appalled” by Curtis Gregorash’s claim. “Having said that one of the reasons I am undertaking of selected agencies in respect of their OIA practices is that anecdotally a number of people have told me similar stories,” she said.

      She said a planned inquiry to be launched after the election could see the Ombudsman’s office using its Commission of Inquiry powers to compel evidence to be given under oath were there signs information was being hidden.

    • Banned Books Week

      On the next Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio, join co-hosts Mickey Huff and Peter Phillips as they celebrate Banned Books Week. This year, BBW focuses on Graphic Novels. Their first guest is Charles Brownstein, executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Charles will give a history of censorship and comic books and why this theme was chosen for BBW this year; Barbara Jones joins the program to give perspectives on BBW from the American Library Association where she is director of Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom; the second half of the show looks at a recent example of book banning in Delaware regarding The Miseducation of Cameron Post– the librarian of the Dover Pubic Library, Margery Cyr, joins the program to give overall details of the struggle over the book; Susan McAnelly, manager of Browesabout Books in Rehoboth Beach tells of her role and that of independent bookstores in fighting censorship; and recent high school graduate, Maddi Bacon, explains how she was active opposing the ban as a student at the Cape Henlopen High School. We round out the show with a quick update from former CIA analyst, transparency activist and civil libertarian Ray McGovern who will be speaking in the San Francisco Bay Area next week.

    • PROJECT CENSORED is a proud sponsor of Banned Books Week again this year!
  • Civil Rights

    • NYPD suspends “totally unprovoked” officer caught kicking street vendor

      Responding to public outcry after a video showing officers from the New York Police Department assaulting unarmed street vendors in Brooklyn recently was posted online, NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton announced on Wednesday that a cop seen in the video viciously kicking one merchant had been suspended and was under investigation by the department’s office of internal affairs.

    • L.A. schools police will return grenade launchers but keep rifles, armored vehicle

      Los Angeles Unified school police officials said Tuesday that the department will relinquish some of the military weaponry it acquired through a federal program that furnishes local law enforcement with surplus equipment. The move comes as education and civil rights groups have called on the U.S. Department of Defense to halt the practice for schools.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Jimmy Kimmel Joins John Oliver In Explaining Net Neutrality

      A few months ago, John Oliver did an amazing job making net neutrality into a mainstream issue, by reducing it to its core element: that it’s all about “preventing broadband provider fuckery.” That was a great segment that truly went viral. But, still, the TV folks have remained pretty quiet on the issue. However, it appears that another late night comedian has jumped into the game as well, with Jimmy Kimmel doing a segment last week trying to explain the fast lane/slow lane issue in rather graphic form:

    • ​Russia eyes counter to Washington’s internet kill-switch – report

      Facing a possible cut-off from the internet by the US, Russian security officials and IT giants are discussing the possibility to make the Russian sector of the net independent, according to insiders.

      The issue would be discussed at several closed-door events in the days to come, including a national Security Council session on Monday next week, reports Vedomosti newspaper citing a number of unnamed security and industry sources.

      The meeting of security officials, to be chaired by President Vladimir Putin, will to discuss the results of a July Communications Ministry exercise to test how robust the Russian internet infrastructure would be if it were subject to a massive cyber-attack. The answer to that is reportedly “Not robust enough.”

    • Verizon, enemy of Open Internet rules, says it loves the “open Internet”

      No company has gone to greater lengths than Verizon in trying to stop the government from enforcing network neutrality rules.

      Verizon is the company that sued to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order from 2010. Verizon won a federal appeals court ruling this year, overturning anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules and setting off a months-long scramble by the FCC to get enforceable rules into place.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • 7 Amazing Works of Pop Culture That Have Been Lost Forever
      • Only Surviving Recording Of The Very First Superbowl Is Because A Fan Recorded It, But You Can’t See It, Because Copyright

        We’ve written a few times in the past about how the entertainment industry’s woeful job of preserving and archiving old works has resulted in culture being lost — but also how unauthorized copies (the proverbial “damn dirty pirates”) have at least saved a few such treasures from complete destruction. There was, for example, the “lost” ending to one of the movie versions of Little Shop of Horrors that was saved thanks to someone uploading it to YouTube. Over in the UK, a lost episode of Dad’s Army was saved due to a private recording. However, Sherwin Siy points out that the very first Super Bowl — Super Bowl I, as they put it — was basically completely lost until a tape that a fan made showed up in someone’s attic in 2005. Except, that footage still hasn’t been made available, perhaps because of the NFL’s standard “we own everything” policy.

      • Report Brands Dotcom’s Mega a Piracy Haven

        A new report published by the Digital Citizens Alliance estimates that the most popular cyberlockers generate millions of dollars in revenue. The research claims that the sites in question are mostly used for copyright infringement. The list of “rogue” sites includes the Kim Dotcom-founded cloud hosting service Mega, albeit based on a false assumption.

      • Hollywood Workers Demand Peter Sunde’s Dignity & Freedom

        Led by director Lexi Alexander, a collection of Hollywood directors, producers, actors, writers and other workers have teamed up in support of Peter Sunde. As the jailed former Pirate Bay founder prepares for his father’s funeral, the insiders call for his uncuffing. “We oppose your imprisonment,” they say in their video.

      • Hollywood Insiders: Directors, Actors, Producers, Camera People And More Demand Peter Sunde Be Freed & Treated With Dignity

        While we’ve written plenty about Peter Sunde, the former spokesperson for The Pirate Bay, we didn’t cover his eventual jailing earlier this year. Given all the coverage of his trial and efforts post-trial to have the results revisited, the fact that he finally ended up going to jail didn’t seem like much of a story. However, the way in which he’s been treated in jail is simply inhumane. He’s been put in the equivalent of a maximum security prison and basic requests for more humane treatment have been rejected. The latest outrage was that Peter’s father recently passed away, and while prison officials have said they’ll make arrangements for him to attend the funeral, he’ll have to wear handcuffs. TorrentFreak says he’ll have to wear handcuffs while carrying his father’s coffin — but from Peter’s brother’s quote, it seems clear that the prison officials were actually saying he can’t even carry his father’s coffin. The handcuff remark was just their way of saying “fuck you.”

09.18.14

Links 18/9/2014: Windows Copying GNU/Linux, Germany Moves to Security

Posted in News Roundup at 6:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Sorry, Windows 9 Fans, This Is How Multiple Desktops Should Work – Video

    The Linux platform has always taken pride in this cool feature. Having multiple desktops is a great way to increase the productivity and there are numerous means to implement it. Lots of Linux distributions have this option, which is used in various ways.

  • Germany Seeks The Most Secure IT In The World

    This will be something to watch no matter how it turns out. Practically, I think it is most likely that Germany will ship a government distro with only well-tested software in the vault. I recommend they start with Debian GNU/Linux.

  • Desktop

    • A Linux love story with real love and romance

      Zorin OS had an amazing impact on my relationship. I’m now really well accepted by my girlfriend’s family. For an Italian girl this is quite important. They like me and my girlfriend is so so proud of me. Her family already asked me to update all their Zorin version and I’m willing to do it as soon as I can.

      I love Zorin OS. I feel so grateful to it. My relationship couldn’t work better than now. Love you guys for the amazing work you are doing. Hope you never stop.

    • Is ChromeOS a threat to desktop Linux?

      ChromeOS devices have always struck me as being much more “appliance-like” than traditional Linux distributions. The goal for Google seems to be that you turn them on and just go about your business. With desktop Linux there’s more work involved but along with that extra effort comes a tremendous amount of control over your experience.

      Most ChromeOS users are probably not going to care about having such control. They most likely want to buy a ChromeOS device and then simply do all of their usual tasks without caring much about what’s going on under the hood. No doubt there are some desktop Linux users that are the same way, but I suspect there are many who are the exact opposite and need to be able to fine-tune their systems.

    • 5 more killer features Windows 9 should steal from Linux

      If the latest Windows 9 leaks are any indication, some of the operating system’s coolest new features will look a lot like what Linux users already enjoy: Like the virtual desktops Linux users have had since the 90’s, and a centralized notification center like the one available in GNOME Shell.

      Windows 9 also looks like it’ll co-opt Ubuntu’s vision of a single operating system interface that can run on all form factors, complete with apps that run in windowed mode when it makes more sense to do so. Who would have imagined? Windowed applications are a big new feature in Windows.

  • Kernel Space

    • New Video Series Teaches Kids About Linux

      Growing up in rural Utah, brothers Jared and JR Neilsen spent their free time recording videos that starred a cast of homemade puppets. As adults they’ve reconvened to create their own web series,Hello World, which aims to teach kids about computer science.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The KMS Mode-Setting Driver Was Imported For X.Org Server 1.17

        A few days ago I wrote about the plans to mainline the xf86-video-modesetting driver as the hardware-agnostic DDX driver that (theoretically) works with any hardware having a DRM/KMS graphics driver. Given that this driver doesn’t go through much churn these days and works fairly well, it’s now being merged within the X.Org Server code-base given the increasing number of systems compatible with (and depending on) this driver.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Applications and Platform 4.14.1 Officially Released

        The KDE developers have released an update for KDE 4.14, which is actually the last version in the series. It will soon be replaced by KDE Frameworks 5, KDE Plasma, and KDE Applications. The entire system is now much more modular and the projects have been decoupled. The devs won’t have to follow the same version number, so there will be some misunderstandings in the future.

      • Mathematics that you can touch

        These last months have been intense, so intense I needed a bit of a distraction. I’ve always felt some kind of curiosity for the world of 3D printing and, as I’ve said in different occasions, I always push KAlgebra to the limit when I have the occasion.

      • POW! Digia straps Qt into ejector seat, gleefully pulls handle
      • KDE Touchpad configuration ported to Frameworks 5

        Fedora 20 with KDE SC 4.14 has been very stable, and after a while it gets…boring – especially when Plasma 5 is already released and you see screenshots everywhere. If you cannot hold the urge and feel sufficiently adventurous, Dan Vratil has built the Fedora 20 and 21 rpms here. If you install i386 versions, beware that baloo-widgets cannot be installed due to unmet dependencies. So, once you install dvratil’s copr repo, just do:

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Making of GNOME 3.14

        The release of GNOME 3.14 is slowly approaching, so I stole some time from actual design work and created this little promo to show what goes into a release that probably isn’t immediately obvious (and a large portion of it doesn’t even make it in).

      • GNOME Tweak Tool 3.14 RC1 Ditches Menubar

        The release of GNOME Tweak Tool 3.14 RC1, a utility popular among users of the GNOME 3 desktop environment, has been announced by its developer.

  • Distributions

    • LQ ISO Has Now Facilitated More Than 50 MILLION Linux Downloads
    • New Releases

      • Webconverger 26 released
      • Webconverger 26 Is a Secure Kiosk OS That Doesn’t Store Any Data

        Webconverger is a distribution designed and developed with a single goal in mind, namely to provide the best Kiosk experience possible. This means that people will be able to use that OS as a regular system, although its functionality will be limited and it will be impossible to install any other apps.

        This is a very helpful solution if this is a public PC, like in a library or a cafe, and it preserves the quality of the installation for a very long time. Because users can’t interact with it on a deeper level, the operating system will remain stable and it will be pretty much the same like in the first day that it was used.

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Knoppix 7.4.1 Updated with New Linux Kernel and Multiple Fixes – Gallery

        Knoppix 7.4.1, a bootable Live CD/DVD made up from the most popular and useful free and open source applications, backed up by automatic hardware detection and support for a large number of hardware devices, has been released and is now available for download.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch RTM Officially Released – Screenshot Tour

            In just a few months, two years will have passed since the official announcement of Ubuntu for mobiles and tablets. It looks like Canonical is almost ready to release the OS on a device that’s actually selling in stores, and that will be the true test of the new operating system.

          • AMD, Canonical Partner on Ubuntu OpenStack Cloud Server
          • Ubuntu Touch rtm image released!

            Canonical has finally released the first image of Ubuntu Touch RTM. The news comes to the heels of announcement by Meizu that Ubuntu powered devices will becoming later this year. Another Ubuntu Touch mobile partner Bq has not announced any release date for their Linux powered devices.

            RTM means release to manufacturing or going gold, the term is used for the software products which is ready to be supplied to customer as final product.

            Ubuntu Touch has become an important project and product as it is one of those few open source projects from among Jolla and Firefox OS which is fully open source. So Ubuntu Touch going rtm is great news for partners and users.

          • Learn Ubuntu – The Unity Launcher

            Ubuntu’s Unity desktop environment has divided the opinion of many Linux users over the past few years but it has matured very well and once you get used to it you will see that actually it is very easy to use and highly intuitive.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Samsung to accelerate the pace of Tizen based Business from Next Year

      Samsung Electronics are looking at releasing Tizen TV as well as other other home appliances that will use the Tizen Operating System early next year, in fact we should see them at CES 2015. According to an executive that is in charge of the Smart Home range of products, Tizen will be found in increasingly more appliances. This is also what Samsung Co-CEO J.K. Shin mentioned in an Interview in August 2013 with CNET, that Tizen was destined to be the OS of Cross-convergence between many different type of gadgets and Industries.

    • Hackable $39 Allwinner A20 SBC packs HDMI and GbE

      The $39 hackable “pcDuino3Nano” SBC runs Android or Ubuntu on a dual-core Allwinner A20 SoC, and offers GbE, HDMI, and 3x USB, plus Arduino-style expansion.

    • Raspbian 2014-09 and NOOBS 1.3.10 released with new features and software

      The latest version of Raspbian, the official Raspberry Pi distro, and the simple installer package, NOOBS, is out now. There’s lots of new software out of the box including Minecraft Pi and Sonic Pi 2…

    • DiceBot interview

      I worked on it myself. I got a little help on the website from some others at Intridea, but we’ve been working as a company just exploring various interfaces and social machines – Internet of Things, things like that. So it’s kind of how this idea came about. We have a few projects that we’re working on at the moment that are in a similar vein but this is the first one we’ve published. So I came across this little dice roller and I thought ‘Hey, this would make a perfect internet- controlled device’. And it would be a fun project, using something old and retro.

    • Linux-based pedalboard features 100+ virtual effects

      A Kickstarter project called “MOD Duo” is an open source Linux music pedalboard with Arduino hooks and virtual pedals for 100-plus guitar and voice effects.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Launching the project ‘i18nWidgets for Android’

          As of now the platform supported is Android 4.0.3 ICS. One would argue why support an older revision, but that’s exactly where the problem is relevant. As many of the lower end widely used android devices are still to upgrade to the latest version, there are vast number of users still struggling to use their native languages, where as the developers who wish to maintain compatibility with these devices are also struggling while making apps for those users.

        • Motorola Moto X reviews roundup

          The new Moto X phone from Motorola has gotten a lot of attention lately, and now the reviews have started to roll in from many tech sites. But not all reviews are the same, and many folks have waited to see what AnandTech has to say about the Moto X. Their patience has been rewarded because AnandTech has published a very deep review of Motorola’s new phone.

        • How to Give your Smartphone the Android L Look

          Android L is Google’s latest mobile operating system. Apart from a complete UI overhaul, this version brings along a myriad of performance improvements. Compared to its competitor iOS 8, Android L outperforms the Apple mobile operating system in design and performance. Though there is no clear announcement as to when Android L will be reaching our devices, its Material Design has slowly started catching up among app developers. Furthermore, many apps have come up that let you completely change the Android smartphone’s user interface to match that of Android L.

        • How to get iOS 8’s best new features on Android even before iPhone users get them

          When CEO Tim Cook and his fellow Apple executives unveils iOS 8’s great new features on stage during their WWDC 2014 keynote presentation back in June, the most dramatic audience response might have come when the crew unveiled iOS 8’s new Continuity features. With this great new functionality, iOS devices and Mac computers will be more closely connected than ever, able to quickly and easily exchange files and other data. Better still, iOS device notifications appear on a user’s connected Mac, and messages can even be sent and received right from within OS X.

Free Software/Open Source

  • I will never again talk about the benefits of Free Software

    Therefore I am never again going to tell people why they should be using Free Software.

    Instead I am going to ask them why they insist on using closed source software.

    Is it because they love paying lots of money for software that does little more (if anything) than suitable Free Software?

  • Industry titans band together to improve open source

    Facebook, Google, Twitter, GitHub, Walmart, and others have formed a group called TODO, designed to standardize and improve open source releases.

  • TODO – A New Group To Tell Open Source Programmers
  • Another open-source consortium for Facebook, new project to go along
  • Google, Facebook, Twitter Launch Open-Source Project TODO
  • What’s in a job title?

    Over on Google+, Aaron Seigo in his inimitable way launched a discussion about people who call themselves community managers.. In his words: “the “community manager” role that is increasingly common in the free software world is a fraud and a farce”. As you would expect when casting aspertions on people whose job is to talk to people in public, the post generated a great, and mostly constructive, discussion in the comments – I encourage you to go over there and read some of the highlights, including comments from Richard Esplin, my colleague Jan Wildeboer, Mark Shuttleworth, Michael Hall, Lenz Grimmer and other community luminaries. Well worth the read.

  • Events

    • SOSCON Booms with 1,000+ Open Source Software Developers

      The first-ever Samsung Open Source Conference (SOSCON) opened on Sept. 16 at the Grand Intercontinental Hotel located in Samsung-dong, Seoul. Over 1,000 people attended the largest open source conference in Korea.

      Prepared by Samsung Electronics, the software developers’ conference has the purpose of sharing open source knowledge and experience as with the annual Worldwide Developers’ Conference (WWDC) of Apple held in San Francisco.

      The first keynote speaker was former Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon, who is currently a senior director at the X Prize Foundation. He made a speech on the topic of the value of sharing and the way open source software enriches people’s lives.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google’s Chrome Strategy Heads in New Directions, Draws Linux Comparisons

        Google’s Chrome browser and Chrome OS operating system are grabbing headlines this week for several reasons. As Susan reported here, Matt Hartley said recently, ‘Anyone who believes Google isn’t making a play for desktop users isn’t paying attention.’ Hartley favors putting Linux in front of a lot of potential Chrome OS users, and says “I consider ChromeOS to be a forked operating system that uses the Linux kernel under the hood.”

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Cisco Acquires Metacloud for OpenStack as a Service Tech
    • Open source is key building block for cloud, says HP

      When it comes to cloud infrastructure tactics in the enterprise, open source is the winning method among enterprise service providers who we see incorporating it into their own services now. For example, Hewlett-Packard Co. delivers private, hybrid, managed and public clouds to enterprise customers worldwide. HP recently announced that it’s acquiring Eucalyptus Systems, Inc., provider of open-source software for building private and hybrid enterprise clouds.

  • Education

    • Redefining the Public Library Using Open Source Ideas

      “I’m interested in open source as a cultural method and philosophy, beyond software creation,” he explained. “To open source the public library means to do more than bring in Linux computers for public use. The heart of the open source method is participation, so a public library that is open sourced has much greater involvement of the public in library decision making, including all uses of library funds.”

    • 12 open education videos for China

      Last summer was special for the Creative Commons China Mainland team, Wenzhou Medical University, and Guokr.com. These three parties co-hosted an Open Education Resources (OER) summer camp on Luxi Island off the coast of China. For Wenzhou Medical University, the summer camp had been a part of their routine volunteering activities for five consecutive years, but it was the first time they partnered with the CC China Mainland Project; a team that brought a need in rural China to the camp’s participants.

    • Teaching open source changed my life

      Teaching open source has been a breath of fresh air for myself and for many of our students because with the open source way, there are no official tests. There is no official certification for the majority of open source projects. And, there are no prescribed textbooks.

    • Back to school with GRASS GIS

      When we started talking about hosting a ‘back to school’ week at Opensource.com, I decided to take that quite literally, and went back to NC State University earlier this month to attend the inaugural Geospatial Forum at the Center for Geospatial Anaytics. Geospatial analytics and GIS (geospatial information science) is a huge field, with a number of open source tools for research and teaching available, and I wanted to learn more about how these tools are being used in the real world.

  • Funding

    • Coinbase Announces Toshi: The Open Source Bitcoin Node For Developers

      San Francisco-based Coinbase announced Wednesday the launch of a new project called Toshi (most likely after Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin’s creator). Toshi is an open source bitcoin node designed for developers.

      In short, the software makes it simpler for developers to build their web applications, and it’s 100 percent compatible with Bitcoin Core. Or as Coinbase says, Toshi is an API to query blockchain data. It’s written in Ruby, and it’s using the PostgreSQL database.

    • Bitcoin for FOSS Projects

      There has been a growing interest among Free and Open Source Software (“FOSS”) projects in the use of crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin and its myriad derivatives (hereinafter “Bitcoin”). However, uncertainty over the treatment of these currencies by US law has dissuaded developers from from using Bitcoin. This post provides some general guidance on the legal consequences of using such convertible virtual currency.

      Please note that different jurisdictions address the issues related to Bitcoin differently. The comments provided in this post are restricted to U.S. law. If you are uncertain of your legal obligations, contact the Software Freedom Law Center or seek other legal counsel.

    • Docker Lands $40M Funding Round As Linux Container Tech Continues Meteoric Rise

      Docker, an open source startup that has emerged as one of the hottest enterprise technologies on the planet, said it closed on a $40 million Series C funding round Tuesday and looks poised to continue making Linux containers more useful for developers.

      Developers love Docker containers because they let them build apps that are portable and can run on any type of machine or cloud. Containers also deliver faster performance than virtual machines because they don’t have the overhead of a guest operating system.

  • Public Services/Government

    • French ministries prove free software is viable

      Free and open source software solutions are suitable for use in public administrations, the extensive use by French ministries proves. The LibreOffice suite of office productivity tools is now installed on more than 500,000 desktops across the ministries. The combination of Postgres, a relational database system and servers running the Linux operating system is also very common.

  • Licensing

    • edX Revisits Completely Open Source License

      Previously, Open edX’s source code had been designated under an Affero GPL license, which stated that developers were free to remix the code—frequently used to create MOOC platforms and individual features—so long as their finished products were open as well.

      However, in a blog post Ned Batchelder, edX Software Architect, wrote that the single license didn’t “fit all purposes.” Given that a key objective of edX is to establish itself as a sort of industry standard platform, it is relicensing XBlock (an API used to create interactive components in MOOC courses that functions as sort of the underlying architecture of the platform) under an Apache 2.0 license, which allows users to choose whether to share their creations or keep them private.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Secessionists in Texas and Alaska are thrilled about Scotland’s independence referendum

    On Thursday, Scottish voters will head to the polls to decide whether Scotland should break from the United Kingdom and become an independent nation. Here in America, members of various separatist groups are closely watching the referendum and hoping it will boost other independence movements.

  • An Independent Scotland Will Hurt Labour

    Forget North Sea oil. The biggest implications of tomorrow’s Scottish vote are political, and they aren’t good for Labour in the long term.

  • How the media shafted the people of Scotland

    Journalists in their gilded circles are woefully out of touch with popular sentiment and shamefully slur any desire for change

  • Scottish independence: Voting under way in referendum

    With 4,285,323 people – 97% of the electorate – registered to vote, it is expected to be the busiest day in Scottish electoral history.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • U.S. militarism won’t eradicate ‘traces of evil’

      Barack Obama’s central dilemma last week, when he tried to sell a new war to the American public on the eve of the 13th anniversary of 9/11, was to speak convincingly about the wisdom and effectiveness of U.S. foreign policy over the last decade-plus while at the same time, alas, dropping the bad news that it didn’t work.

    • Targeted killings and the rule of law

      President OBAMA recently announced that the United States had targeted and killed Ahmed Abdi Godane, the leader of an Al Qaeda-linked group of terrorists in Somalia, and that it is now targeting ISIS leaders for assassination. We have, of course, targeted several alleged terrorists in the past, including at least one US citizen.

      [...]

      The decision to employ this tactic has generated considerable controversy, most particularly when the target is an American citizen who has joined a terrorist group. But it is also controversial when the target has no connection to our country, other than his hatred of it and his intention to do us harm. The Obama administration’s efforts to provide a legal justification for this practice has proved less than convincing to many.

    • Lanny Davis: Is Obama too much of a hawk for Democrats?

      The day before President Obama’s Sept. 10 speech on the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to American security — in my judgment, one of the best speeches of his two-term presidency — a pundit I like and respect, Chuck Todd, the new moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” was interviewed on PBS’s “Charlie Rose Show.” He told Rose: “If [Hillary Clinton] were running to be the second woman president, I think she would not even be considered a front-runner. She’d be just considered another candidate.”

    • Obama lauds the troops at MacDill – and insists they won’t be fighting on the ground against ISIL
    • Review: Grounded Is Right on Target in BETC’s Powerful Production

      “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” So said J. Robert Oppenheimer of his work on the atomic bomb, quoting the Bhagavad Gita. There’s grief and guilt in the statement, as well a daunting realization of just what he’s unleashed on the world. But as you think about it, you also catch a note of megalomaniacal power.

    • Drones should be restricted to the security forces
    • Stop Postulating the Clash of Civilizations

      The British are mystified by their Muslim citizens becoming “jihadists” and joining the so-called Islamic State. They are horrified by the beheading of an American journalist by “John” a British citizen and member of the IS.

    • How We Missed Mullah Omar

      An inside account of America’s botched first Predator mission.

    • The lost lessons

      Thirteen years have gone by. Thirteen blood-filled years. The number of deaths perpetrated by the United States boggles the mind. The numbers of US deaths, including the first responders dying of cancers and lung ailments, soldiers dying on the battle field, or soldiers killing themselves at home, pales in comparison to the retribution we have meted out across the globe- often to completely innocent victims of our self serving ‘justice’.

      Yet our President endorses more bombing, more destruction, and more death. On the thirteenth anniversary, with the carnage stretching from North Africa to Central Asia our president says, “ISIL has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.” He could very easily be describing us.

    • We don’t need another dumb war: Rosa Brooks
    • Rosa Brooks, Foreign Policy: Why America needs to avoid a dumb war, but probably won’t

      Back when he was just a U.S. senator, Barack Obama used to say that he didn’t oppose all wars, just “dumb wars.” I assumed that by “dumb wars,” he meant wars to address phantom or exaggerated threats (see: Iraq, 2003), or wars launched to achieve domestic political objectives (see also: Iraq, 2003), or wars begun without sufficient attention to alternatives, capabilities or strategic consequences (see yet again: Iraq, 2003).

    • George Jonas: The assassin President

      Last week U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he was ready to destroy the monster IS(IS) he helped create. This wasn’t the way he put it, of course, and no doubt some will find the way I put it unfair. President Obama, they’ll say, welcomed and encouraged the Arab Spring, not the masked head-hackers of IS(IS). True as this is, it amounts to falling back on the defence of the sorcerer’s apprentice. The leader of the free world ought to have known the likely consequences of America’s mea culpa coupled with its endorsement of fundamental changes in the world’s most volatile region.

    • Where Are We With Drone Resistance?

      Last Friday, September 5, the President clarified things for me when, in a press conference at the Wales NATO meeting, he committed the United States to an all out war against the Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL) that will depend on the use of drones for surveillance and for assassination.

      The tip-off about the key role of drones in the new war came in his reference to what he sees at success in the US campaign against al Qaeda in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan, a campaign that has been based on drone surveillance and killing.

    • DARPA testing planes with a ‘Star Wars’-style laser cannon

      We don’t have X-wing fighters just yet, but we may soon have their laser weapons. DARPA is working on a system that’s downright Lucasian.

    • Peres: Terror ‘opportunity’ for Israel to win new allies

      Former Israeli president Shimon Peres said that it would not able to kill every terrorist, therefore it must dry out their source of funding.

    • Unit 8200: Teaching NSA A Thing Or Two About Dark Arts – OpEd

      James Bamford spent three days in Moscow with Snowden and wrote about it in Wired. Today, he has a NY Times op-ed focussing particularly on the Snowden revelations about NSA collaboration with the IDF’s Unit 8200. None of this is particularly new. Further, at one point Bamford even dubiously claims that material the NSA shared with Israel might’ve led to some of the blackmail and recruiting of spies, which the Unit 8200 veteran’s letter decried. I think that’s doubtful because the activities criticized by the refusers involved listening to phone conversations and reading e mail and text messages by Palestinians in the Territories. It’s hard to believe (though not impossible, I suppose) that NSA spying on U.S. citizens would help 8200 to target Palestinians.

      [...]

      What the NSA refuses to realize in adopting the Israeli model is that Unit 8200 is oppressing Palestinians who, while occupied by Israel, aren’t Israeli citizens. At least technically, from an Israeli point of view, this allows them freer rein in their invasions of Palestinians privacy and rights. The NSA is often spying on U.S. citizens. If they bring Israeli spycraft to these shores, then the American intelligence community will be treating its own citizens the same way Israelis treat avowed Israeli enemies. Is that the standard under which we want the NSA to operate? Do we wish to allow out own spy agency to treat us as the enemy?

    • Israeli Unmanned Systems Conference showcases drones

      Only a few weeks after the recent truce that ended the Gaza war, Israel weapons manufacturers are displaying weapons used in the conflict at their annual Unmanned Systems Conference in Tel Aviv, from Sept. 14th to 19th.

    • An Israeli drone conference is featuring a product recently used on Gaza

      A few weeks after Israel and Hamas signed an open-ended truce to end their nearly two-month-long war in Gaza, Israeli defense contractors are parading weapons used in the conflict at a conference in Tel Aviv. The annual Israel Unmanned Systems conference, which began Sunday and runs through Friday (Sept. 19), is jointly hosted with the US Embassy in Tel Aviv. According to its website, attendees include “senior officials from commercial and government entities” from Europe, Asia, North and South America.

    • Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution
    • Must-Read Tale Of Predator’s Tortuous Ride To Fame

      Rick Whittle’s superb book on the creation and uses of the Predator drone needs to be read by the Pentagon’s head of acquisition, Frank Kendall, and everyone else who decides what weapons America buys, including the professional staff on Capitol Hill who tell their congressional bosses what’s real and why.

    • “The Kill Team” looks at out-of-control platoon

      A provocative documentary about American soldiers who killed unarmed Afghans for sport comes to the Naro Expanded Cinema on Wednesday evening.

    • Get Out! – The Only Sane Response to the Islamic State

      The Islamic State (ISIS) proves the law of unintended consequences. Congratulations America! We killed Christianity in the Middle East and unleashed a terror organization with far greater reach and power than Al Qaeda ever possessed. If insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results, then our foreign policy needs to have been locked away in an institution a long, long time ago.

    • Don’t Bomb ISIS On My Behalf

      A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted Sept. 4-7 among 1,001 adults nationwide revealed that 59% of Americans believe ISIS (or ISIL or the Islamic State) is a “very serious threat to US vital interests.” Another 31% view ISIS as a “somewhat serious” threat.

    • Henry Kissinger is not telling the truth about his past. Again.

      Henry Kissinger is back. With this new book, World Order, he attempts to explain the chaotic state of the world through the lens of history. But in the interviews he is giving to promote his book, he rewrites history and obfuscates facts—about U.S. war policy and his own bloody legacy—to make himself look good. He has done this before. Here are some of Kissinger’s biggest distortions.

    • Let Truth Prevail

      10 suspected militants were killed in fresh airstrikes in Boya and Digan area, an Army release said on 8th September.

    • Those Who’ve Seen Bloodshed Warn of Endless, Brutal War in Iraq

      For more than a month, Dakheel Ahmed’s family has been living under a bridge in northern Iraq. They are members of Iraq’s Yazidi minority sect, and each night they sleep in the open surrounded by others like them. The families have nowhere else to go. They were displaced earlier this summer when Islamic State — the well-funded, ultra-violent militant group alternately known as IS, ISIS or ISIL — swept into their country, took over major cities, and declared the Yazidis devil worshipers who could either convert to their brand of radical Islam or die.

    • Drones to fly at Reno air races

      A new kind of aircraft is competing for the first time at this week’s National Championship Air Races in Reno: drones.

      More than 200,000 people are expected to attend the annual air races, which ends a five-day run Sunday. The three-day drone competition, called the Small UAS Challenge, ends Sunday, as well.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Corporate Media: Don’t Worry, Be Fracking

      A new study shows that gas leaks from wells associated with the controversial drilling technique known as fracking are responsible for water contamination. Over at Think Progress (9/15/14), the study was summarized under the headline “Study Links Water Contamination to Fracking Operations in Texas and Pennsylvania.”

    • Things Are Bad in the Good Old U.S. of A.

      This weekend is the People’s Climate March, which will almost certainly be the largest climate march in U.S. history. It is more than just a march about the environment, though, it is an opportunity to begin building a mass movement, one that has the potential to radically change the course of U.S. politics. As all of us living through this increasingly dire period of American history know, environmental devastation is just one of the many serious problems we currently face.

  • Finance

    • Sony quadruples annual loss expectations as smartphone sales falter

      These widening losses are due to the firm’s faltering smartphone business, with the firm admitting that it is struggling to match sales seen by Apple and Samsung, as well as Chinese and Asian smartphone makers like Xiaomi, which are offering fully-fledged handsets at lower prices than most.

  • Privacy

    • New e-mail shows “stingray” maker may have lied to FCC back in 2010

      A newly published e-mail from 2010 shows that Harris Corporation, one of the best-known makers of cellular surveillance systems, told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that its purpose “is only to provide state/local law enforcement officials with authority to utilize this equipment in emergency situations.”

      That e-mail was among 27 pages of e-mails that were part of the company’s application to get FCC authorization to sell the device in the United States. Neither the FCC nor Harris Corporation immediately responded to Ars’ request for comment, and Harris traditionally stays mum on its operations.

    • Rogue cell towers discovered in Washington, D.C.

      Towards the end of July, ESD America, the makers of the ultra-secure CryptoPhone, said that their engineers and customers had discovered more than a dozen rogue cell towers (also known as interceptors or IMSI catchers) around the U.S.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • As three million comment on net neutrality, the FCC adjusts its plans

      With AT&T already banning Apple users from using Facetime on its network, and Verizon settling out of court to avoid an investigation of traffic shaping for its mobile data customers, there is already some conflict on the issue that the FCC could be about to turn to its advantage. However, we won’t know until the FCC announces its decision.

    • Why Hasn’t The Obama Administration Weighed In On The FCC’s Net Neutrality Comment Period?

      Marvin Ammori has a good article over at Slate questioning why the Obama White House does not appear to have submitted comments with the FCC concerning net neutrality. As you know by now, the FCC received over 3 million comments when the commenting period finally closed on Monday — but so far, it does not appear that the Obama administration weighed in (it’s possible that not all comments are in the database yet, but still…).

    • More Than 3 Million Told the FCC What They Think About Net Neutrality. Why Hasn’t Obama?

      The FCC has received more than 3 million comments on Commissioner Tom Wheeler’s controversial plan to rethink net neutrality. If the last couple of million comments are anything like the first 1.1 million, 99 percent of commenters were strongly in favor of protecting net neutrality. They include startups, small businesses, artists, and small- and medium-size broadband providers, among many others.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay Founder “Will Wear Handcuffs” to Carry Father’s Coffin

        After succumbing to a long illness, Peter Sunde’s father has passed away. While the Pirate Bay founder will be allowed to attend the funeral, prison staff have told him he can expect to carry the coffin while wearing handcuffs. For someone convicted of copyright offenses with just 50 days of his sentence left, it’s an unpalatable threat.

      • Copyright Holders Want Netflix to Ban VPN Users

        If copyright holders get their way it will soon be impossible to access Netflix though a VPN service. The entertainment industry companies are calling for a ban on privacy services as that opens the door to foreign pirates.

Web Site ‘Patent Progress’ Now Officially ‘Powered by CCIA’ (FRAND Proponent, Microsoft Front)

Posted in Patents at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ed Black
Source: DECLAN MCCULLAGH PHOTOGRAPHY

Summary: After talking a job at CCIA, “Patent Progress” and its chief author should be treated as dubious on real patent progress

EARLIER this year and last year we warned about a site that calls itself “Patent Progress”.

The new (redesigned) “Patent Progress” now states “Powered by CCIA”, which is funny given CCIA‘s track record when it comes to patents. One of my followers in Twitter said: “Funny use of the words “Powered by” – could think of a move accurate phrase, like “A front for”…”

CCIA is a Microsoft-funded front/lobby group; it has been paid millions of dollars by Microsoft (Ed Black would know where his money comes from).

Over the years, and especially in recent years (after Microsoft payments), CCIA echoed a lot of Microsoft’s agenda and there has not been much for CCIA to say about the demise of software patents in the United States after the Supreme Court's decision. The site does, however, say a lot about trolls and this new post says: “The Supreme Court ruled in a couple of cases, Iqbal and Twombly, that a complaint has to have enough facts in it to support the legal claims. But, thanks to a Federal Circuit decision, that rule doesn’t apply in patent cases. The Federal Circuit relied on Form 18 in making its decision.”

CCIA remains a FRAND booster (hence anti-Free software) that would rather talk about trolls (except Microsoft) than about patent scope. At Dennis Crouch’s blog there is a new guest post from Professor Jorge L. Contreras, who says about FRAND: “There has been a fair amount of controversy recently over commitments that patent holders make to license patents on terms that are “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” (FRAND). As I have previously written here and here, FRAND commitments generally arise when a patent holder wishes to assure the marketplace that it will not seek to block implementation of a common technology platform or product interoperability standard. Making such a public commitment encourages widespread adoption of these technologies, which is often beneficial for both the patent holder and the market. As such, it is important that these commitments be enforced.”

But what about exclusion of Free software? Contreras continues: “I am not arguing, of course, that FRAND commitments should not be enforced. I feel quite the opposite, and have argued that these promises form an important subset of a larger category of “patent pledges” that ought to be enforced for the benefit of the market. However, there are many more sound and coherent theories for enforcing patent pledges, and FRAND commitments in particular, than common law contract. These include various antitrust and competition law approaches, which have been advanced by the FTC and others, as well as my personal favorite, a modified variant of promissory estoppel that I call “market reliance”. The market reliance theory is grounded in the fact that patent pledges are promises, whether or not they fulfill the requirements of common law contract, and promises ought to be enforced. The theory overcomes the requirement that specific and actual reliance be proved in promissory estoppel cases by introducing a presumption of reliance based on the “fraud on the market” theory used in Federal securities law.”

How about getting rid of software patents altogether? That would eliminate the need for FRAND in software. Being a lawyers’ site, however (same as “Patent Progress”), don’t expect these people to be too technical or to represent the views/interests of non-lawyers.

A somewhat better site, IP Troll Tracker, seems uplifted by news about USPTO arranging an event today. As Steph put it, “here we are two-plus years later and what has the USPTO gone and done? Set up a webinar to help business owners find relief from patent litigation. It’s all right here in their flyer. And if you’ll look closely on their list of resources for people who’ve been sued, you will find a familiar link.”

If the USPTO is serious about reducing litigation, then it will raise the bar and stop issuing a patent for almost every application that comes in. Thankfully things are changing for the better as even the USPTO has begun rejecting software patents based on the now-famous SCOTUS ruling from the summer. New guidelines were issued for examiners (one of whom is the wife of the man who operates “Patent Progress”).

Remember to view “Patent Progress” as what it really is; it’s a lawyers’ site run and powered by a front group that is funded by Microsoft and mirrors some of Microsoft’s policies. Names of sites can be deceiving, misnomers even.

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