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06.23.16

Links 23/6/2016: Red Hat Results, Randa Stories

Posted in News Roundup at 8:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Lessons learned for building an open company with transparent collaboration

    In the first part of this two-part series, Building a business on a solid open source model, I described how an open source business needs to provide a solid ground for all stakeholders, users, contributors, employees, customers, and of course investors. Foundations, licenses, and trademarks can be helpful in building an open ecosystem. Open source communities need supporting organizations to work transparently, otherwise there are barriers to contribution. Code might be public, but code dumps (like Google tends to do with Android) don’t always facilitate collaboration. To encourage collaboration, you must go one step further and be proactive. Development in a place like GitHub or GitLab, and having open feature planning meetings and conferences help toward that goal. But still, open source project leaders can do more.

  • Why share / why collaborate? – Some useful sources outside Debian

    I consider that the Golden Rule requires that if I like a program I must share it with other people who like it. Software sellers want to divide the users and conquer them, making each user agree not to share with others. I refuse to break solidarity with other users in this way. I cannot in good conscience sign a nondisclosure agreement or a software license agreement. … “

  • “But I’m a commercial developer / a government employee”

    Your employer may be willing to negotiate / grant you an opt-out clause to protect your FLOSS expertise / accept an additional non-exclusive licence to your FLOSS code / be prepared to sign an assignment…

  • How to share collaboratively

    Always remember in all of this: just because you understand your code and your working practices doesn’t mean that anyone else will.

  • twenty years of free software — part 3 myrepos

    myrepos is kind of just an elaborated foreach (@myrepos) loop, but its configuration and extension in a sort of hybrid between an .ini file and shell script is quite nice and plenty of other people have found it useful.

    I had to write myrepos when I switched from subversion to git, because git’s submodules are too limited to meet my needs, and I needed a tool to check out and update many repositories, not necessarily all using the same version control system.

  • OPNFV

    • Linux’s NFV crew: Operators keen to ditch clunky networks, be cool like Facebook

      Network operators have a jealous eye on the likes of Facebook and Google and want to ditch their clunky networks to compete for “cooler” consumer services, the head of the open-source network function virtualisation (NFV) project has said.

      Heather Kirksey is director of the collaborative Linux foundation’s OPNFV project – the open source software platform intended to promote the uptake of new products and services using Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV).

    • Nokia, Intel collaborate on open source hardware

      Just a week after Nokia (NYSE:NOK) announced an agreement to help China Mobile move to a more flexible cloud network infrastructure, Nokia said it is teaming up with Intel to make its carrier-grade AirFrame Data Center Solution hardware available for an Open Platform Network Functions Virtualization (OPNFV) Lab.

    • OPNFV Summit: Key Takeaways

      The open source multi-VIM MANO, Cloudify, is giving a sneak preview of its Telecom Edition today at the OPNFV Summit in Berlin. Cloudify is an open source orchestrator used by a growing group of large telecoms and Tier 1 network operators that are pursuing network functions virtualization (NFV).

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Being open to open source and creating a new business category at VMWare

      In the age of developer-defined infrastructure, where developers have decision making power in application and cloud infrastructure technologies, open source has proven to be a powerful go-to-market and distribution method for both startups and enterprises. Developers are always looking for new technologies to improve their productivity.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Microsoft Edge is a system hog and cannot be called ‘power efficient’

    IT WAS ONE HELL of a Monday morning. The rain was hammering down with no end in sight, and the usual ‘wrong type of rain’ and ‘leaves on the line’ meant that trains from outlying areas into central London were all pretty much stationary.

    When I finally got to the office, I dashed to my desk, powered up my system and launched Microsoft Edge – the window to my Office 365-using world.

    I was met with a big, blank white window that wouldn’t shift, no matter how often I pressed Ctrl+Alt+Delete.

    It was the final straw after a year of repeated crashes, hangs, random tab locks followed by forced refreshes, and general slow motion performance that’s made anguished cries and keyboard thumps a normal occurrence for those around me.

    So after using Edge religiously since Windows 10′s launch as an attempt to ‘embed’ with the tech I write about, I decided this morning to stop using it entirely.

  • Opera repudiates Microsoft Edge battery-saving claims

    The browser-maker Opera has negated Microsoft’s much-publicised claim that its Windows 10-exclusive Edge browser provides significantly less battery drain than competitors Chrome and Opera – and its own tests put Edge firmly in second place for battery efficiency.

    In a post at the Opera blog today, Błażej Kaźmierczak reveals the result of the company’s own tests, which put Google Chrome in third place at two hours and fifty-four minutes, Edge in second at three hours twelve minutes, and Opera ahead of that by obtaining three hours and fifty-five minutes of battery life under identical tests.

  • Dell Sells Off Software to Double Down on Its Riskiest Business

    For Dell, combining software and hardware within a single company was supposed to be like chocolate and peanut butter. Instead, it’s turning out more like oil and water.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The media may have stopped talking about it, but the Flint water crisis is far from over

      “The national media [attention] has waned, but we are trying to keep the story alive,” Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha said, with a voice of sheer determination.

      After becoming the face of a national movement, Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who helped unmask the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, knows all too well — for herself and the residents of Flint — the disaster which almost destroyed the city is far from over. The series of unfortunate of events leading up to the calamity, the world knows all too well — the city stopped using Detroit’s water supply to use water from the Flint river as an economic measure in April 2014.

      High levels of lead permeated the pipes and infiltrated the water supply, while Flint locals complained incessantly about the water’s color, taste and odor, and reported several incidences of strange rashes and skin outbreaks. Yet, government officials assured residents of a majority black city, the water was not a “threat to public health” and “safe to drink.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Destroying Fallujah to ‘Save It’

      One of the concepts that emerged from the Vietnam War was that of destroying a village to save it. The idea was that by leveling a place where people once lived, the area would be denied to the Viet Cong. The people? Well, they’d just have to find somewhere else.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Here’s the Full Transcript of Our Interview With DNC Hacker ‘Guccifer 2.0′

      We spoke to the hacker who claimed to have broken into the servers of the Democratic National Committee, who goes by the name of “Guccifer 2.0,” in reference to the notorious hacker who leaked the George W. Bush paintings and recently claimed to have hacked Hillary Clinton’s email server.

      In the interest of transparency, and to let readers judge for themselves, we decided to publish the full chat log. We kept the parts in Romanian, adding the English translation, according to Google Translate.

    • Signs of thaw in Assange affair as he begins fifth year in embassy

      As Australia’s Julian Assange begins a fifth year of life in the Ecuador embassy in London, it looks like Sweden, the country that has accused him of rape, is finally beginning to come around.

      A report in the Guardian says Ecuador has received a formal request from Swedish authorities to interview Assange, a move that could bring the long-running saga to an end.

      Strangely, this is exactly what Ecuador has been asking for all along!

      Proposals for Assange to be extradited to Sweden for questioning were rejected because it was feared that he would be sent to the US from there.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Saudi energy minister just declared the oil glut over

      After two years of pain, the market has finally worked off the global glut of crude that slammed oil prices, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said in a newspaper interview published Wednesday.

      “We are out of it. The oversupply has disappeared,” said Khalid Al-Falih, according to the Houston Chronicle. “We just have to carry the overhang of inventory for a while until the system works it out.”

    • Indonesian Foreign Ministry on Smoke Haze

      This story is from the Jakarta Post. I reproduce it with this brief comment.

      I find the reluctance of the Indonesian Foreign Ministry to make meaningful comment about the problem of transboundary haze very puzzling indeed. It leads me to wonder whether there is the will and capacity, at a national level, to tackle this problem.

  • Finance

    • We can only contemplate leaving the EU because its miracles have become banal

      Another day has brought another dismal poll for the Remain campaign. And yet, if Britain does vote to leave the EU on the 23rd, it will still most likely not be because a majority of British people wish to leave, but because those who wish to remain are too lukewarm about the issue to get out and vote.

      This, if it happens, will be tragic. For all its faults – which, though very real, are inherent to the grandeur of its virtues – the European Union is arguably the greatest thing human beings have ever achieved in the political sphere.

      To put the matter in perspective, imagine for a moment how the world would look if the international system worked like the EU.

    • EU Referedum polling day: Race ‘too close to call’ as four polls give different sides the lead as voting begins

      People are taking to Twitter to complain about flooded polling stations.

      The rain doesn’t seem to be putting people off, but many are being forced to return to their polling stations this evening.

      There are reports of flooded streets as storms swept through the South East this morning.

    • EU referendum: Why is there no exit poll?

      There will be no (public) exit poll following the EU referendum: our Chief Political Commentator explains why, and tells you what to look out for instead

    • Why isn’t there a European referendum exit poll?

      When Britain votes at general elections, minutes after voting ends at 10pm, the broadcasters reveal the results of their exit poll – a massive survey of around 150 seats in the country, paid for the BBC, Sky and ITV – which, mostly, gives us a fairly clear idea of how the country has voted.

    • Chinese internet firm buys majority stake in Finnish gamemaker Supercell

      The Chinese internet giant Tencent has finalised a deal to purchase a majority share in Finland’s biggest earning game company, Supercell. Tencent replaces the Japanese telecoms group SoftBank as the Finnish gamemaker’s largest owner.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The degenerate gambler: Trump runs his campaign like he ran his casinos — right into the ground

      Monday’s bombshell that Trump had finally fired his incompetent campaign manager Corey Lewandowski hit the news networks like a lightning bolt. It had been clear for months the man was in over his head but Trump was loyal to him apparently under the assumption that he’d ushered him through the primaries and therefore knew what he was doing. According to news reports it took the Trump heirs gathering Lewandowski and The Donald in a room together to confront the campaign manager with the campaign’s lack of organization.

    • R. Crumb v. D. Trump, 1989 [NSFW]
    • More young people voted for Bernie Sanders than Trump and Clinton combined — by a lot

      It’s hard to overemphasize how completely and utterly Sen. Bernie Sanders dominated the youth vote to this point in the 2016 presidential campaign. While Hillary Clinton dominated him among older voters, he dominated her right back among younger voters — even winning more than 80 percent of their votes in some states against no less than the eventual Democratic nominee.

      But this fact might say it better than any: In the 2016 campaign, Sanders won more votes among those under age 30 than the two presumptive major-party presidential nominees combined. And it wasn’t close.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Wearables at work are the new spy tool, UK workers say

      Despite 3m Britons buying a wearable device in 2015, we are not willing to use them at work, according to new research from PwC.

      In a survey of 2,000 workers across the UK, only 46pc of people said they would accept a free piece of wearable technology if their employers had access to the data recorded.

      This was despite the fact that two-thirds of respondents wanted their employer to take an active role in their health and well-being. The biggest barrier to adoption was trust, with 40pc saying they don’t trust their employer to use it for their benefit, and in fact believe it will actively be used against them.

    • Facebook Signs Deals With Media Companies, Celebrities for Facebook Live

      Facebook Inc. has inked contracts with nearly 140 media companies and celebrities to create videos for its nascent live-streaming service, as the social network positions itself to cash in on a lucrative advertising market it has yet to tap—and keep its 1.65 billion monthly users engaged.

    • Facebook Just Made A Pretty Awkward Change To Your Profile

      If you haven’t looked at your own Facebook profile recently, you might want to go check it out.

      The social network recently tweaked a setting that changes how your employment and education history is displayed, a spokeswoman for Facebook told The Huffington Post on Monday. While the change won’t make any private information public, it could make some previously tucked-away information very obvious to your friends — which might be a bit uncomfortable.

    • Supreme Court Gives Police More Leeway on Illegal Searches

      NBC reports that Justice Sonia Sotomayor let loose a scorching dissent in a case involving the Fourth Amendment and police conduct. The case concerns Edward Strieff, who was stopped while leaving a house a police officer was watching on suspicion of drug activity. When the officer discovered Strieff had an outstanding warrant for a minor traffic violation, he searched Strieff and found methamphetamine. The court had to decide whether the drugs found on Strieff could be used as evidence or whether such evidence was disqualified by the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority, saying the evidence was “admissible because the officer’s discovery of the arrest warrant attenuated the connection between the unlawful stop and the evidence seized incident to arrest.”

    • After Orlando, Senate rejects plan to allow FBI Web searches without court order

      The Senate on Wednesday rejected a Republican-led effort to allow the FBI to access a person’s Internet browsing history, email account data and other electronic communications without a court order in terrorism and spy cases.

      The measure from Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) would have also extended the government’s authority to conduct surveillance over potential “lone wolf” attackers.

      McCain and Burr argued that the changes were necessary in the wake of recent terrorist attacks such as in Orlando, where a gunman claiming inspiration and loyalty to the Islamic State killed 49 people at a gay nightclub.

    • How ‘Deleted’ Yahoo Emails Led to a 20-Year Drug Trafficking Conviction

      In 2009, Russell Knaggs, from Yorkshire, England, orchestrated a plan to import five tonnes of cocaine from South America hidden in boxes of fruit. Somehow, he did this all from the cell of a UK prison, while serving a 16-year sentence for another drug crime.

      As part of the plan, a collaborator in Colombia would log into a Yahoo email account and write a message as a draft. Another accomplice in Europe would read the message, delete it, and then write his own. The point of this was to avoid creating any emails that could be found by law enforcement.

      Knaggs didn’t use the email account himself, but when Yahoo provided copies of the inbox contents to the authorities, he was convicted and sentenced to another 20 years in prison. The emails certainly aren’t the only pieces of evidence used to bust Knaggs (the plot was foiled after officers found a piece of paper with transfer routes and other details during a cell search), but it’s one that the defense is scrutinizing.

    • Invoking Orlando, Senate Republicans set up vote to expand FBI spying

      U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set up a vote late on Monday to expand the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s authority to use a secretive surveillance order without a warrant to include email metadata and some browsing history information.

    • Don’t break crypto, go easy on the algorithms—global Internet commission

      Crypto backdoors, the overuse of opaque algorithms, turning companies into law enforcement agencies, and online attacks on critical infrastructure have all been attacked by the Global Commission on Internet Governance in a new report published on Wednesday.

      The body, which was set up in 2014 by UK-based Chatham House and the Canadian Centre for International Governance Innovation, has presented its 140-page-long One Internet report to provide “high-level, strategic advice and recommendations to policy makers, private industry, the technical community, and other stakeholders interested in maintaining a healthy Internet.”

      It comes out in favour of strict legal controls on the aggregation of personal metadata, net neutrality, open standards, and the mandatory public reporting of high-threshold data breaches. Along the way, it offers opinions on areas such as the sharing economy, blockchains, the Internet of Things, IPv6, and DNSSEC.

    • EFF Urges Citizens, Websites to Fight Rule Changes Expanding Government Powers to Break Into Users’ Computers

      San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Tor Project, and dozens of other organizations are calling today on citizens and website operators to take action to block a new rule pushed by the U.S. Justice Department that would greatly expand the government’s ability to hack users’ computers and interfere with anonymity on the web.

      EFF and over 40 partner organizations are holding a day of action for a new campaign—noglobalwarrants.org—to engage citizens about the dangers of Rule 41 and push U.S. lawmakers to oppose it. The process for updating these rules—which govern federal criminal court processes—was intended to deal exclusively with procedural issues. But this year a U.S. judicial committee approved changes in the rule that will expand judicial authority to grant warrants for government hacking.

    • Congress Seeks to Expand Warrantless Surveillance Under the Patriot Act

      How would you feel if the Federal Bureau of Investigation could get information about websites you visited or emails you sent – without ever getting permission from a judge? Would you begin to self-censor the websites you visited — maybe avoiding revealing sites? Or, avoid emailing your pastor, therapist, or lawyer? These scenarios may soon no longer be hypothetical.

    • Battle of the Secure Messaging Apps: How Signal Beats WhatsApp

      This spring, text messages got a lot more private. In April, the world’s most popular messaging service, WhatsApp, announced it would use end-to-end encryption by default for all users, making it virtually impossible for anyone to intercept private WhatsApp conversations, even if they work at Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, or at the world’s most powerful electronic spying agency, the NSA. Then in May, tech giant Google announced a brand new messaging app called Allo that also supports end-to-end encryption.

    • Senate Just Barely Rejects Plan To Expand FBI Surveillance Powers

      Just yesterday we wrote about how the Senate was, somewhat ridiculously, rapidly pushing forward plans on a vote for an amendment to the laws concerning what information the FBI can gather using National Security Letters (NSLs). Despite the fact that the big push for this bill began a few weeks ago, and the fact that it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Orlando shooting, cynical Senators including John McCain and Mitch McConnell pointed to the shootings in Orlando as a reason that this expansion of FBI surveillance powers was needed. Of course, the reality is that it wasn’t needed, and the law is really there to paper over the fact that the FBI has already been widely abusing its NSL powers to get information it’s not allowed to request.

      After a vocal debate this morning, the measure (somewhat surprisingly) failed to pass, but by just two votes. It need 60 votes to move forward (it was a vote for “cloture” on debate, which requires 60 votes), and it only received 58. But McConnell already made it clear that the amendment will be reconsidered soon, which means he’s likely going to be pushing strongly to get those two remaining votes.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • CIA Psychologists Admit Role In ‘Enhanced Interrogation’ Program In Court Filing

      Two psychologists who helped the CIA develop and execute its now-defunct “enhanced interrogation” program partially admitted for the first time to roles in what is broadly acknowledged to have been torture.

      In a 30-page court filing posted Tuesday evening, psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen responded to nearly 200 allegations and legal justifications put forth by the American Civil Liberties Union in a complaint filed in October. The psychologists broadly denied allegations that “they committed torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, non-consensual human experimentation and/or war crimes” — but admitted to a series of actions that can only be described as such.

      “Defendants admit that over a period of time, they administered to [Abu] Zubaydah walling, facial and abdominal slaps, facial holds, sleep deprivation, and waterboarding, and placed Zubaydah in cramped confinement,” the filing says.

      The American Psychological Association issued a lengthy report last year acknowledging members of the profession collaborated with the CIA and Pentagon on the torture program, and apologized. But until now, no psychologist has ever been called to account in court.

    • Anger as Swiss council plans non-pork school lunches

      Politicians with the conservative Swiss People’s Party believe school authorities in Basel have caved to religious minorities in their decision to take pork off the school lunch menu in the coming school year.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • OECD Ministerial On Internet: Trust, But Whom?

      Beware “digital protectionism.” That was one of the key messages of United States Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, speaking at the official opening of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Ministerial on the digital economy in Cancun, Mexico.

    • After Net Neutrality Win, Emboldened FCC Eyes New Reforms

      One week after a federal court upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s landmark net neutrality policy, emboldened FCC officials are moving to advance an ambitious set of reforms that are already generating static from the broadband industry and its political allies.

      The decade-long battle over net neutrality, the principle that all content on the internet should be equally accessible to consumers, is not over. Industry giant AT&T has said it plans to join an appeal of the DC Circuit’s decision to the Supreme Court, and net neutrality foes in Congress continue to pursue their relentless campaign aimed at knee-capping the FCC’s consumer protections.

    • Open Access Idaho Broadband Network Lets Customers Switch To A New ISP In Seconds

      In 2009, the FCC funded a Harvard study that concluded (pdf) that open access policies (letting multiple ISPs come in and compete over a central, core network) resulted in lower broadband prices and better service. Of course when the FCC released its flimsy, politically timid “National Broadband Plan” back in 2010, this realization (not to mention an honest accounting of the sector’s limited competition) was nowhere to be found. Since then, “open access” has become somewhat of a dirty word in telecom, and even companies like Google Fiber — which originally promised to adhere to the concept on its own network before quietly backpedaling — are eager to pretend the idea doesn’t exist.

  • DRM

    • Taking the headphone jack off phones is user-hostile and stupid

      Another day, another rumor that Apple is going to ditch the headphone jack on the next iPhone in favor of sending out audio over Lightning. Or another phone beats Apple to the punch by ditching the headphone jack in favor of passing out audio over USB-C. What exciting times for phones! We’re so out of ideas that actively making them shittier and more user-hostile is the only innovation left.

      [...]

      1. Digital audio means DRM audio

      Oh look, I won this argument in one shot. For years the entertainment industry has decried what they call the “analog loophole” of headphone jacks, and now we’re making their dreams come true by closing it.

    • 74% of Netflix Subscribers Would Rather Cancel Their Subscription Than See Ads

      In its early days as a streaming service, Netflix wasn’t just the biggest and best company on the block – it was the only one. In those heady days, Netflix was able to charge low subscription rates and still provide a catalog that included just about everything.

      As we’ve seen, that’s been changing. With new competition from companies like Hulu and Amazon, Netflix has seen streaming deals get pricier and customers get antsier. For a few years now, Netflix’s catalog has been shrinking while its prices have been rising.

      So where’s a streaming company to find new profits in a tight market? According to some people, the answer is for Netflix to start showing ads, like competitor Hulu does. That would give the company new revenue streams without forcing them to raise prices.

      Of course, there’s a group of stakeholders that’s still left unaccounted for here: Netflix’s customers. We decided to ask them about the issue. And, in a survey of more than 1,200 people on Reddit, we got some pretty clear answers.

    • If you kill the headphone jack, you need to replace it with something better

      As the rumors that the next iPhone will drop the 3.5mm headphone jack have intensified, I’ve been keeping tabs on the specific argument that Daring Fireball’s John Gruber made yesterday: that removing the headphone jack from the iPhone is the modern-day equivalent of removing the floppy drive from the iMac in the late ’90s. It caused some pain at the time, but it was the way things were moving anyway and in the grand scheme of things it was a smart thing to do.

      The people on the “get rid of the headphone jack” side of the debate normally choose some version of this position as the justification that the jack is “old” and so getting rid of it represents “progress.” And the fact of the matter is that Apple has been pretty good at this kind of progress over the years, picking up new technologies like USB and SSDs and dropping aging ones like the DVD drive well before those technologies had gone (or ceased to be) mainstream.

      But the headphone jack is not the floppy drive. It’s not the 30-pin connector. It’s not the DVD drive. It’s not even USB Type-C. It’s not, in other words, directly comparable to all those other times when Apple has been “right” to remove or change something, both because of the ubiquity of the headphone jack and the quality of the supposed replacements.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Texas Trademark Spat Full Of Crap?

        We’ve seen plenty of strange, even laughable, trademark spats around here. What can get lost in the kind of ownership culture we’ve collectively created is that trademark is chiefly built around the concept of avoiding customer confusion. With that noble goal in mind, businesses are allowed to reserve the right to use specific marks that act as identifiers for their brands. One of the tests that’s commonly referenced to determine whether there is the potential for customer confusion is: would a moron in a hurry be confused by a given use between two competing companies?

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay Co-Founder to Sue Record Labels For Defamation

        Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde is firing back at several major record labels, demanding compensation for damaging his name. Sunde is preparing a lawsuit against the music labels, who were recently awarded damages for his involvement with the notorious pirate site.

Interview With FOSSForce/All Things Free Tech

Posted in Interview at 7:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: New interview with Robin “Roblimo” Miller on behalf of FOSSForce

06.22.16

Links 22/6/2016: PulseAudio 9.0, GNOME 3.21.3 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Building a business on a solid open source model

    Since we announced Nextcloud, an ownCloud fork, many people have asked me how we plan to build a sustainable, healthy open source business. My short answer is that it requires a strong focus on maintaining a careful balance between the needs of all stakeholders: users, contributors, employees, customers, and—of course—investors. Building a solid open source business requires that management has confidence in the abilities of your company, stakeholders must be on board with the business model, and everyone must understand that balance is important for the ecosystem. Like a rising tide lifts all boats, a strong ecosystem benefits all stakeholders.

  • Why I must use Free Software – and why I tell others to do so

    My work colleagues know me well as a Free/Libre software zealot, constantly pointing out to them how people should behave, how FLOSS software trumps commercial software and how this is the only way forward. This for the last 20 odd years. It’s a strain to argue this repeatedly: at various times, I have been asked to set out more clearly why I use FLOSS, what the advantages are, why and how to contribute to FLOSS software.

  • BusyBox 1.25 Released

    This latest update to the widely-used BusyBox software features a new blkdiscard applet, new options for gunzip/gzip, new nsenter / unshare / ubirename applets, build system changes, fixes for unzip, updates to ntpd, Ash additions, and a wide variety of other changes.

  • Altair Adds Open-Source Licensing to PBS Pro

    One of the problems that continues to hinder HPC is that, by and large, there’s a greater demand for computing cycles than there are CPUs and GPUs available. With researchers and engineers lining up to have their calculations crunched, it’s critical that HPC schemes have effective job management software that can keep track of a queue or jobs and assign the appropriate hardware to each project.

  • ClusterHQ’s Mohit Bhatnagar Talks Flocker, Docker, and the Rise of Open Source

    Container technology remains very big news, and if you bring up the topic almost everyone immediately thinks of Docker. But, there are other tools that can compete with Docker, and tools that can extend it and make it more flexible. CoreOS’s Rkt, for example, is a command-line tool for running app containers. And, ClusterHQ has an open source project called Flocker that allows developers to run their databases inside Docker containers, leveraging persistent storage, and making data highly portable.

  • Events

    • openSUSE Conference 2016 Day 1

      The first day of this year’s openSUSE Conference went well and the keynote speaker team of SaltStack Chief Technical Officer and technical founder Thomas Hatch along with Senior SaltStack Engineer David Boucha and SUSE’s Joe Werner showed how powerful Salt is for IT automation.

      Boucha gave a live demo and Hatch talked about the evolution of Salt and even talked a little about Salt’s Thorium Reactor, which was added to Salt as an experimental feature in the 2016.3.0 release. Werner discussed how SUSE uses Salt with SUSE Manager.

    • Building a better LibrePlanet: What we learned from the conference surveys

      Our samples are usually about sixty to seventy respondents, and self-selecting — from their responses, we can say with confidence that LibrePlanet attendees feel we’re doing a decent job organizing the conference. The questions “How much did you enjoy the sessions you attended, compared to those at other conferences you have attended?” and “How likely is it that you will return to LibrePlanet next year?” received an average of about 3.5 out of 4 each of the last three years.

    • Do you GNU? Attend the GNU Hackers’ Meeting in France this summer!

      The GNU Hackers’ Meeting is a friendly, semi-formal forum to discuss technical, social, and organizational issues concerning free software and GNU. This is a great opportunity to meet GNU maintainers and active contributors.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

  • OPNFV

  • Healthcare

    • Dysfunction and Sabotage: Why Large Hospital EHR Costs So Much

      Years ago I read the cannon of the classic medical book “House of God” by Samuel Shem which reads: “…the House of God was sad and sick and cynical…like all our doings in the House…” At first, before I had worked in an actual hospital I thought the book itself was sick and cynical. After working in an actual hospital I re-read the book. I then found it hilarious for its uncomfortable truths, and did not think it was sick or cynical enough. Therein likes the crux of the matter with regard to very expensive large hospital EHR’s.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • ‘Steal My Tool’ showcases open source tools for journalists at IRE conference

      Robert Gebeloff, database projects editor at The New York Times, demonstrated how to use XML Grid to access and interpret a website’s data. Using these tools and techniques, Gebeloff showed how one can find which Trader Joe’s stores sell beer by simply scraping the site’s XML code. Gebeloff has published detailed instructions for web scraping without programming on his GitHub page.

    • Open Data

      • The current state of open data in the US government

        The S.2852 OPEN Government Data Act aims to require true open data access at the federal level. In this article I will discuss the importance of open data in government, the current state of open data in government, and what we need to do to implement true open data.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • VR Care is Frog’s open source VR headset for hospital patients

        VR is pretty good at distracting us from the outside world – take off the headset you’ve been wearing and you’ll see that it’s gone dark/everyone has left/you really need to shower.

      • 2048 DIY Open Source Game Console Hits Kickstarter (video)

        Anyone looking to learn more about coding and creating video games may be interested in the new DIY open source games console called 2048 which has been created by 2048.

        The name refers to the special screen that the game console is equipped with that is constructed from 2048 individual LED bulbs that are placed in a matrix form offering a 64 x 32 resolution.

        Learn more about what is possible using the open source games console from the developers at Creoqode. Who was taken to Kickstarter this week to raise the £20,000 they require to take the hardware into production. Early bird pledges are available from just $99 with delivery expected to take place during December 2016 with worldwide shipping available if required.

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Google Hacker Donates His $15,000 Bug Bounty Cash Award To Charity

      Google’s leading security engineer Tavis Ormandy recently won a bug bounty challenge run by security solutions firm Bromium and decided to donate the money to charity. Following his gesture, Bromium matched Ormandy’s donation and donated $15,000 to Amnesty International organization.

    • TOR Project And Security Experts Making A “Hardened” Version Of TOR To Defeat FBI

      The TOR Project is working closely with security researchers to implement a new technique to secure the TOR Browser against the FBI’s de-anonymization exploits. Called “Selfrando”, this technique will fight the FBI’s “Code Reuse” exploits and create a “hardened” version of TOR.

    • Mozilla Awards $385,000 to Open Source Projects as part of MOSS “Mission Partners” Program

      For many years people with visual impairments and the legally blind have paid a steep price to access the Web on Windows-based computers. The market-leading software for screen readers costs well over $1,000. The high price is a considerable obstacle to keeping the Web open and accessible to all. The NVDA Project has developed an open source screen reader that is free to download and to use, and which works well with Firefox. NVDA aligns with one of the Mozilla Manifesto’s principles: “The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.”

    • Mozilla MOSS ‘Mission Partners’ makes it rain $385,000 on open source project developers

      Open source is very important nowadays, especially from a privacy and security standpoint. Look, closed source ideology is not inherently bad — it is a good way to protect a company’s code. The problem, however, is that users are increasingly suspicious of software since Edward Snowden’s leaks. There is no telling what kind of back doors or other malicious things are hiding in the code.

    • Severe flaws in widely used archive library put many projects at risk

      n a world where any new software project is built in large part on existing third-party code, finding and patching vulnerabilities in popular open-source libraries is vital to creating reliable and secure applications.

      For example, three severe flaws in libarchive, recently found by researchers from Cisco Systems’ Talos group, could affect a large number of software products.

      Libarchive is an open-source library first created for FreeBSD, but has since been ported to all major operating systems. It provides real-time access to files compressed with a variety of algorithms, including tar, pax, cpio, ISO9660, zip, lha/lzh, rar, cab and 7-Zip.

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Ecuador ‘fed up’ with Assange embassy ‘under siege’

      Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Guillaume Long says there is concern about the health of Julian Assange, who has now been in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy for four years.

      He told Zeinab Badawi: “We are concerned about his health. He doesn’t have access to good health care. We are very worried about this. After four years, there is a clear deterioration.”

      The Wikileaks founder sought refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face accusations of sexual assault, which he denies.

    • Julian Assange Just Began His 5th Year Inside the Ecuadorian Embassy

      This past Sunday, June 19, Julian Assange began his fifth year inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he was granted asylum from the United States in 2012. The date was marked with simultaneous worldwide events—with 60 prominent supporters, including Noam Chomsky, Ai Wei Wei, Patti Smith, and Michael Moore, demanding Assange’s release. The theme of the day was “First They Came for Assange,” an allusion to Pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous poem warning of the dangers of staying silent in the face of rising state repression.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • NSA rejects ‘inappropriate’ invitation to assist with design of lynx introduction programme

      Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: “Our understanding is the Project Advisory Group will design the trial that will only go ahead if Lynx UK is successful in gaining a licence from Natural England and/or Scottish Natural Heritage. We feel it is inappropriate for NSA to provide guidance to Lynx UK ahead of that licence application, as we remain opposed to any pilot taking place. In addition, we are not prepared for someone from NSA to be part of the group when the terms of reference state members would not be there to represent the views of any particular organisation.”

    • The lynx effect: Plans to release wild animals in Britain abandoned

      But two more sites on either side of the border are still under consideration and one will ultimately be chosen to have lynx released to start breeding colonies.

      Alarmed farmers say it could lead to savage attacks on livestock and even children by the hungry beasts, which became extinct in Britain around 700 AD, almost 150 years before King Alfred the Great was born.

    • Bloodthirsty lynx to be released into UK for breeding for first time

      One of two sites will be chosen where the Eurasian lynx will be reintroduced.

      Alarmed farmers warn the decision could lead to savage attacks on livestock and even children by the beast.

      Now the Lynx UK Trust hopes to release the wild cat to somewhere in Aberdeenshire or Northumberland.

    • Lynx return ruled out in Cumbria and Norfolk

      Plans to reintroduce the lynx to the wild in Cumbria and Norfolk have been scrapped.

      The Lynx UK Trust said the animal, which has been extinct in Britain for 1,300 years, would help control deer populations and attract tourists.

      But it has now ruled out Ennerdale in the Lake District and Thetford Forest in Norfolk, as too small to support populations of the big cat.

  • Finance

    • Banks Warn Of Trading Issues Over EU Vote

      Banks and money transfer services are warning that a surge in market volatility surrounding Thursday’s EU referendum may impact electronic trading platforms.

      As holidaymakers flock to cash in on the strong pound, and buy their travel money ahead of the vote, a number of money transfer companies are suspending services.

      Azimo and rival website Transferwise, have both announced they will be suspending trading on Thursday morning.

    • Michael Gove compares experts warning against Brexit to Nazis who smeared Albert Einstein’s work as he threatens to quit David Cameron’s Cabinet

      Michael Gove has compared economic experts warning about Brexit to Nazis who smeared Albert Einstein’s scientific findings during the 1930s.

      Mr Gove, who chairs the Vote Leave campaign, also suggested that he may quit the Government if Britain votes to stay in the EU because David Cameron will not be able to meet his pledge to control migration.

    • Eddie Izzard: Comedian Gets Serious with ‘Remain’ Campaign

      English comedian Eddie Izzard is a passionate European who has been vigorously campaigning for young people to vote Remain in the Brexit referendum. Ahead of his last speech before the vote, he told Handelsblatt about his vision for a positive, unified European future.

    • A Brexit won’t stop cheap labour coming to Britain

      The Unite union is fighting all the way for a remain vote and for British workers to build their future in unity with workers in the rest of Europe. But I refuse to lecture or to patronise those working people who take a different view. After all, who can be surprised that in so many industrial areas, voting for the status quo is not a popular option?

    • Brexit: James Dyson is lone, pro-Leave voice among UK tech superstars

      British tech firms overwhelmingly support the UK remaining part of the European Union, even at the eleventh hour before Thursday’s referendum vote.

      In fact, the vacuum cleaner innovator Sir James Dyson is the only really big name among the country’s tech players to publicly come out and back Brexit—he believes that leaving the EU might help him recruit top engineering talent from outside Europe to come and work in the UK, and says “we will create more wealth and more jobs by being outside the EU.”

      Aside from him, the British tech sector appears to be very pro-European Union.

    • Why Mining Corporations Love Trade Deals

      From the salmon-spawning waters of Alaska to the cloud forests of Ecuador, communities are standing up to mining projects that threaten their health, environment, and livelihoods.

      But mining corporations are fighting back with a powerful tool buried in trade and investment agreements: the ability to go to private, unaccountable tribunals and sue governments that act to protect communities from mining.

      In these private tribunals, which sit outside of any domestic legal system, corporate lawyers – not judges – decide whether governments must pay corporations for halting destructive mining projects. To date, mining corporations have used these private tribunals to sue over 40 governments more than 100 times.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Hillary Clinton Criticizes Donald Trump for One of the Few Things He Is Right About

      Deficit hawks often raise the specter of hyperinflation to scare people who disagree with them. And that’s exactly what Hillary Clinton did on Tuesday.

      Speaking in Columbus, Clinton criticized Donald Trump for saying last month that the U.S. can never default on its debt obligations “because you print the money.”

      “We know what happened to countries that tried that in the past, like Germany in the ‘20s and Zimbabwe in the ‘90s,” Clinton said. “It drove inflation through the roof and crippled their economies.”

      But printing money — otherwise known as increasing the money supply – is a routine occurrence for governments that control their own currency. The Federal Reserve has increased its balance sheet by over $3 trillion since the financial crisis, explicitly to support the economy. (The Fed does this by buying stocks and bonds with electronic cash that didn’t exist before.)

      In fact, an increasingly influential school of economics, known as Modern Monetary Theory, argues that deficit spending, including through money printing, is critical to promote full employment.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The New Censorship

      How did Google become the internet’s censor and master manipulator, blocking access to millions of websites?

    • Cleveland Bans Soapboxes and Sleeping Bags, Not Guns, Near Republican Convention

      Anyone venturing into a 3.3-square-mile “event zone” surrounding next month’s Republican National Convention will be prohibited from carrying tennis balls, tape, rope, bike locks, sleeping bags, or any object they could stand on to rise above the crowd and speak. They won’t be allowed to carry swords or water guns. But if they have a license, they’ll be permitted to openly carry real guns, including assault weapons.

      As Cleveland gears up to host one of the most controversial GOP conventions in decades, Ohio’s permissive gun policy isn’t the only red flag raised by prospective protesters and civil rights advocates. Many also warn that the regulations put in place by the city place “unacceptable restrictions on free speech” and risk escalating conflict, rather than diffusing it, by forcing rival groups of demonstrators to share tight quarters and schedules while keeping them out of sight and earshot of delegates and the media.

      The restrictions imposed on the large event zone drawn around Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena — known locally as “The Q”— have earned the city a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Ohio and widespread criticism across the spectrum of groups planning to show up at the convention to make their voices heard.

    • Egyptian and Lebanese film festivals censor ‘I Say Dust’ because of a same-sex kiss

      In making her short film “I Say Dust,” Darine Hotait wanted to explore Arab American identity from her perspective as a New York-based American Lebanese writer and director. It just so happened that her two lead characters would be women in their 20s who share a kiss. That kiss, however, has put “I Say Dust” at the center of a long-standing discussion about censorship after it was recently banned from two film festivals in the Middle East.

    • Sex Party forced to remove posters in ACT

      The Sex Party says it will reluctantly take down posters around Canberra deemed offensive by the ACT government.

      The party’s Senate candidate Steven Bailey says he will on Thursday remove signs reading “Screw the major parties – Vote for the Sex Party” and “Tax the Church – Vote for the Sex Party”.

      He said a city ranger on Monday gave the party 48 hours to remove the signs or face potential prosecution.

    • Election 2016: Sex Party hits out at ‘censorship’ after election signs taken down
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA Designates UTEP as a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Operations
    • Author Stephen Budiansky adds perspective to NSA’s covert activities

      Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon used the CIA and NSA for personal projects

    • American Intelligence Agencies Lag Behind in Diversity

      For decades, intelligence agencies like the CIA and NSA that have been tarred with accusations of sexism and racial profiling have worked hard to clean up their images and present a friendlier, more inclusive face to the world. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, similar scandals continue to hound the intelligence community, from the CIA’s hand in helping the NYPD monitor “ancestries of interest” to a culture within the NSA that condones violations of women’s privacy.

    • DOJ Insists That Rule 41 Change Is Not Important, Nothing To See Here, Move On Annoying Privacy Activist People

      We’ve been talking a lot about Rule 41 lately around here. As we’ve discussed, the DOJ had pushed for an update to the rule, basically granting the FBI much greater powers to hack into lots of computers, including those abroad (possibly creating diplomatic issues). We’ve been discussing the problems with the DOJ’s proposed change for years, and we haven’t been alone. Civil liberties groups and tech companies have both blasted the plans, but to no avail.

      Back in March, a judicial panel approved the DOJ’s proposed changes, and the Supreme Court gave its blessing a month later. The rule changes are set to go into effect on December 1st if they’re not stopped. Senators Ron Wyden and Rand Paul have introduced a bill to block them, while the EFF, Tor and friends have kicked off a big No Global Warrants campaign, encouraging Congress to block this change.

    • Firm pays $950,000 penalty for using Wi-Fi signals to secretly track phone users

      A mobile advertising company that tracked the locations of hundreds of millions of consumers without consent has agreed to pay $950,000 in civil penalties and implement a privacy program to settle charges that it violated federal law.

      The US Federal Trade Commission alleged in a complaint filed Wednesday that Singapore-based InMobi undermined phone users’ ability to make informed decisions about the collection of their location information. While InMobi claimed that its software collected geographical whereabouts only when end users provided opt-in consent, the software in fact used nearby Wi-Fi signals to infer locations when permission wasn’t given, FTC officials alleged. InMobi then archived the location information and used it to push targeted advertisements to individual phone users.

    • Senate Narrowly Rejects Controversial FBI Surveillance Expansion—For Now

      A controversial amendment that would expand the FBI’s surveillance power was narrowly defeated in the Senate Wednesday.

      The final tally was 58 to 38, two votes shy of the 60 needed for the amendment to move forward. The issue will likely surface again soon, however, as Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., immediately filed for a motion to reconsider the amendment.

    • Dashcam and bodycam undermine reasonable suspicion in two cases

      These two make one wonder how many times officers have just fabricated reasonable suspicion and courts have bought it:

      The dashcam video supports the defendant’s argument that he was stopped without reasonable suspicion of driving with lights off when they should have been on. The stop for following too close is also unsupported. The highway was nearly empty. Suppressed. United States v. Dominguez-Fernand, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76368 (S.D.Ind. June 13, 2016).

    • Court Refuses To Uphold Evidence Seized During A Completely Bogus Traffic Stop

      Very rarely does anyone want to believe a defendant in a criminal prosecution. They have the most to lose, are often presumed guilty by all involved, and if they’d done nothing wrong, they wouldn’t be here defending themselves, right? None of that is how the system is supposed to work. But that’s how it often does.

      Law enforcement officers, on the other hand, are often treated as unimpeachably credible, even when their recollections of events are less than accurate. Sometimes they get called out for it. Most times they don’t. About the only way their dishonesty is called out if if there’s another set of eyes on the scene — like dashcams or body-worn cameras. (This, too, is far from a sure thing.)

      That’s what happened here. A bogus traffic stop that morphed into a drug bust began with zero traffic violations — even though the officer performing the stop claimed at least two violations had occurred. (via FourthAmendment.com)

      Victor Dominguez-Fernand was pulled over for allegedly driving with his headlights off and following too close to the vehicle ahead. Unfortunately for Deputy Nicholas Ernestes, his dashcam showed both claimed violations were bogus.

      First off, the supposed violation of “driving with headlights off” was only a presumed violation. Deputy Ernestes testified that he “believed” headlights were required because of the weather conditions (overcast and raining) but couldn’t actually assert that such a requirement exists.

    • GCHQ sets out ‘operational case’ for bulk collection

      A GCHQ document has put forward the ‘operational case’ for bulk collection.

      Authored by the UK’s signals intelligence agency, which is also the principal agent of bulk collection in the UK, the report sets out the manner in which “bulk powers provide vital intelligence that cannot be generated from any other source”.

      It goes on to draw out scenarios, some real, some hypothetical, in which bulk powers were or could be useful.

    • EFF Urges Senate Not to Expand FBI’s Controversial National Security Letter Authority

      The controversial National Security Letter (NSL) statute could be significantly expanded under two separate bills currently being debated by the Senate. Every year, the FBI issues thousands of NSLs to telephone and Internet companies, demanding records about their customers and gagging the companies from informing the public about these requests. NSLs are inherently dangerous to civil liberties because their use is rarely subject to judicial review. But NSLs are not magic, and they don’t require recipients to do whatever the FBI says. Above all, the type of information available to the FBI with an NSL is quite limited, reflecting the need to tightly control the extrajudicial nature of this controversial power.

    • Jewel v. NSA Moves Forward—Time For NSA To Answer Basic Questions About Mass Surveillance

      It’s time to lift the cloak of secrecy that has until now shielded the NSA from judicial scrutiny. EFF served the agency with information requests late last week in Jewel v. NSA, EFF’s signature case challenging government surveillance. Since we filed the case in 2008, leaks about government spying—much of which have been confirmed by intelligence agencies—have vindicated our claims that the U.S. government is and was illegally spying on millions of innocent Americans. Now, we are seeking answers to basic questions about the nuts and bolts of the government’s Internet and telephone mass surveillance programs.

      Not only does this mark the first opportunity to obtain evidence since the case was filed nearly eight years ago, but it’s also the first time any party has been allowed to gather facts about the programs’ inner workings from the NSA in a case involving the agency’s warrantless surveillance.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Customs Agents, Local Doctor Subject 18-Year-Old To Vaginal, Rectal Probing In Search Of Nonexistent Drugs

      The police obtained no drugs, but Eckert obtained a $1.6 million settlement.

      Perhaps that sort of payoff is in 18-year-old Ashley Cervantes’ future. Cervantes did nothing more than cross the border to eat breakfast in Nogales, Mexico. Upon her return, things went from bad to worse to nightmarish.

    • Guy In Australia Pleads Guilty To Criminal Trolling On Facebook, Faces 3 Years In Jail

      Let’s start off with this: there’s no legitimate way to defend Zane Alchin, a guy in Australia who appears to be an all around horrible person. He went on Facebook, and after seeing a friend of his post (and mock) a woman’s Tinder profile, proceeded to post a whole bunch of pretty horrible and misogynistic posts on Facebook, including some pretty horrifying statements about “raping feminists.” I won’t post any of his other comments, though they’re covered in some of the articles written about the case. Alchin, who now claims he was just drunk and trolling, and also insisted he wasn’t breaking any laws, has since discovered that apparently he was breaking a weird Australian law…

    • Sydney labourer Zane Alchin switches to guilty plea over Tinder shaming case

      A Sydney labourer, who unleashed a torrent of explicit abuse online after a screen shot of a woman’s Tinder profile was uploaded to Facebook, told police he was drunk and unaware that trolling was a crime, court documents show.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • As OECD Gathers, Call For New Internet Social Compact – With Some Open Questions

      The GCIG report is here. Information on the OECD Ministerial is here.

      Information Society (ISOC) background on Ministerial is available here.

      Insurance companies for example are asked in the report presented in Cancun today to “rise to the challenge of ensuring that best practices for data protection and security are appropriately rewarded.” Governments are requested “to ensure their taxation policies do not bias the market for internet services or related equipment.”

    • Study Finds That T-Mobile’s Binge On Is Exploitable, Unreliable, And Still Violates Net Neutrality

      For a while now we’ve warned how “zero rating” (letting some content bypass usage caps) is a creative way for ISPs to tap dance around net neutrality –potentially to public applause. Comcast, for example, exempts its creatively-named “Stream” streaming video service from caps, but claims this doesn’t violate net neutrality because the traffic never technically leaves Comcast’s network. Verizon exempts its own Go90 video service from caps as well, and to date doesn’t even bother justifying the move. Both AT&T and Verizon let companies pay for cap exemption.

      And while these programs all laugh in the face of neutrality, many users still tend to applaud the horrible precedent because they believe — despite paying an arm and a leg for wireless data — that they’re getting something for free.

      T-Mobile has been perhaps the most creative in exploiting this belief and implementing zero rating, now exempting some 90 video services from user usage caps and throttling these services to 1.5 Mbps (or 480p) unless a user opts out. But neutrality advocates have repeatedly noted this idea still violates net neutrality given that thousands of startups, educational orgs, and non profits still aren’t whitelisted — and may not even realize they’re being discriminated against.

    • Northeastern researchers find T-Mobile’s Binge On doesn’t live up to the hype

      Want to watch unlim­ited videos from Net­flix, YouTube, and other providers on your mobile device for free? Make us your internet ser­vice provider, says T-​​Mobile. Our Binge On ser­vice allows you to do just that.

      Not so fast, says Northeastern’s David Choffnes, assis­tant pro­fessor in the Col­lege of Com­puter and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence. New research by Choffnes and his col­leagues shows that what T-​​Mobile promises is not what you, or con­tent providers, may actu­ally get.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • No Man’s Sky Settles With Sky TV So It Can Have ‘Sky’ In Its Name

        As you may or may not be aware, Sky TV is a European cable television network owned by Rupert Murdoch. Sky TV is also a company that has trademarked the word “sky” and enjoys bludgeoning anyone who uses the word “sky” in business into the ground. This has resulted in exceptionally silly disputes, such as Sky TV suing Skype, despite there being not a lick of competition between a messaging/calling system and television.

        This past week, gaming enthusiasts learned that the much anticipated open universe space exploration game No Man’s Sky had been battling with Sky TV over the inclusion of the word “sky” in its title. This case of trademark bullying can act as a wonderful barometer, because if you don’t think this is ridiculous, then you are ridiculous.

      • Cinemark Files Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Against Roblox Over User-Generated Content

        Today’s misguided IP infringement lawsuit comes from Cinemark USA, one of the largest theater chains in the United States. Its target is Roblox, a multiplayer online sandbox game where users can create their own “worlds” using blocks — putting it somewhere between Minecraft and Second Life.

        Cinemark is accusing Roblox and a few dozen of its users of trademark infringement, thanks to the latter’s creations. According to the lawsuit [PDF], various users have created versions of Cinemark theaters (complete with branding) and placed them in their own worlds, or uploaded for others to use in theirs.

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Happily Gets Into Bed With Russian State Censor Agency… To Protect Copyright!

        Roskomnadzor is the Russian “telecommunications regulator” or “watchdog,” but it could just as easily be described as the Russian internet censor, because that appears to be a large part of its role in the country. In the past, we’ve written about Roskomnadzor blocking all of Wikipedia over a single reference to hashish (really) and also a plan to block all of CloudFlare because the company made it difficult for Russia’s internet censorship plans to work. Earlier this month, Roskomnadzor made news for blacklisting a Vice article, claiming that it would encourage shoplifting.

        So, who better to support such a censorship regime than… Hollywood! The MPAA has now proudly signed an agreement with Roskomnadzor to cooperate on protecting copyright online. The linked article is unfortunately horribly written. The title implies that the MPAA represents the government of the United States (while sometimes true in practice, that’s not how it’s supposed to work…) and then provides frightfully few details on what the agreement really is), beyond “protect copyright!”

IP Europe’s UPC Lobbying and the EPO Connection

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michael Fröhlich lobbying for the UPC as an EPO employee

Michael Fröhlich for EPO
Photo credit: Nordic Patent

Summary: The loose but seemingly ever-growing connections between AstroTurfing groups like IP Europe (pretending to represent SMEs) and EPO staff which is lobbying-centric

THE EPO is a small world and there are many revolving doors in that world. Just watch what kind of people Battistelli gave top positions to. See their recent professional background. Apparently it’s OK for Battistelli to dismiss and prevent future employment of people whom he doesn’t like, but the same standards do not apply to him. He won’t reciprocate when it comes to ethics because he has none. Those who mention it are likely to become victims of his witch-hunting parades (intended to terrify the rest of the staff).

We recently did some research regarding Michael Fröhlich, who not too long ago joined the EPO and is already lobbying for the UPC with his EPO hat. On our path we found all sorts of interesting connections. “IP Europe” for example (these are newly-named parasites, vultures and enemies of Europe, as mentioned by Professor James Bessen, a high-profile trolls opposer, earlier this year) has been doing a lot of pro-UPC lobbying. There is also Francisco Mingorance, the author of the EU Commission’s proposed software patent directive. There is even Claudia Tapia, previously at BlackBerry, which increasingly leans towards patent trolling [1, 2, 3, 4]. Claudia’s colleague of then, Michael Fröhlich, works at the EPO right now. It appears to be a lobbying-oriented job (a growing activity at the EPO, which perhaps forgot its real task, which is patent examination). Earlier this year we mentioned in an article about the PR strategy of the EPO how an entity called “IP Europe” was about to be launched in Brussels (a location/site for which EPO hires lobbyists).

“It’s rather revealing that Battistelli visits nations that consider leaving the EU as of late, notably Finland and the UK.”We mentioned Michael Fröhlich earlier this month in relation to that UPC promotion he had done in Scandinavia and perhaps elsewhere. He lived in Munich even while working at RIM, so he didn’t even have to relocate for becoming another Battistelli minion. The UPC is definitely stoppable, but the 'UPC gang' (a conspiracy of patent lawyers basically) wants us to believe otherwise. So does the EPO, albeit it reluctantly admits there are major barriers as of late (Battistelli and his minions name Brexit as one of them). So what’s all this UPC lobbying for? It’s rather revealing that Battistelli visits nations that consider leaving the EU as of late, notably Finland and the UK.

Sadly, UPC lobbying comes from many directions right now, including from what Florian Müller said yesterday made the “false claim of supporting ‘innovatives SMEs.’” This is reminiscent of the Association for Competitive Technology (Microsoft front group, pretending to represent SMEs in Europe). As we have shown here before, UPC lobbyists are hijacking the voices of SMEs, which openly complain about this. Here is what Müller wrote about the latest name of the front group, “IP Europe” (calling it a “trolls’ lobbying entity” in his headline):

With respect to standard-essential patent licensing, my preferred European voice of reason(ableness) is the Fair Standards Alliance, an organization Google recently joined and which I’d like to see Apple and Samsung team up with at some point. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s a lobbying group named IP Europe. While I personally know and respect two of the individuals working for that one, I fundamentally disagree with its policy positions and object to its false claim of supporting “innovatives SMEs.” IP Europe advances the cause of patent trolls and of businesses that failed in the mobile phone business for a lack of innovation and increasingly resort to patent licensing as a revenue source.

Looking at IP Europe’s member list, it’s generally easy to see why each of those organizations expects to gain something from overpatenting and from an overcompensation of patentees, with a couple of exceptions, however.

[...]

To many of you this may seem obvious, but let me explain this for the rest: there is no such thing as a software patent that guarantees stability and security. The reason: no matter what a patent may describe (with or without specificity), it can always be implemented in an unstable and insecure fashion.

Airbus has a software quality problem. Last year Airbus even admitted that a software configuration error caused the crash of a military transporter, and I vaguely remember a crash of a commercial Airbus plane many years ago that some experts attributed to a software issue. In terms of success factors in the airplane business, that is what Airbus should be focusing on. It has nothing to do with patents. Any code that is stable or unstable, secure or insecure, is protected by copyright (and trade secrets). Any configuration that is stable or unstable, secure or insecure, is a matter of quality assurance.

If Airbus focused on software quality, it wouldn’t have to fear copycats. If someone copied great code, copyright (not patent) law would protect Airbus.

With ‘SMEs’ like Airbus it’s not hard to imagine who “IP Europe” really stands for (or fronts for).

Expect us to write a lot more about the UPC in the coming months. It has a lot to do with everything that’s wrong in the EPO nowadays.

“When asked by Ars, the EPO’s spokesperson mentioned the imminent arrival of the unitary patent system as an important reason for revising the EPO’s internal rules…”

Dr. Glyn Moody

EPO “Recruitment of Brits is Down by 80%”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Board 28 has already admitted there's a "crisis" as mass departure [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] goes all the way to the top

Very British

Summary: Letter says that “recruitment of Brits is down by 80%” and “the EPO lost 7% of UK staff in one year”

THIS morning someone diverted a message about the EPO to us. This message appears to have headed towards quite a few delegates and perhaps politicians too.

In the tradition of maximal transparency we have decided to share it below. We hope that readers will end up contacting their national representatives to let them know what nationals (whom they supposedly represent) think about this.

“We hope that readers will end up contacting their national representatives to let them know what nationals (whom they supposedly represent) think about this.”The message below is long (3 pages) and there are some interesting things in there about brain drain and the rather amazing exodus of British workers this past year (or slightly longer).

“The EPO-FLIER Team,” we learned, “a group of concerned staff of the EPO who wish to remain anonymous due to the prevailing harsh social climate and absence of rule of law at the European Patent Office, sent an open letter to delegations of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation. Interested circles and stakeholders of the European patent system were informed as well.”

Text of the E-mail was as follows:

Open letter to the Delegations of the EPO’s Administrative Council

Dear Heads and members of the Member States’ delegations to the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation,
dear Chairman, dear Mr Grandjean,

Please find enclosed an open letter titled

‘The Administrative Council’s fiduciary duty to the European Patent Organisation and the Office’s duty of care’

directed to the delegations of the member states of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation.
The EPO-FLIER Team,
a group of concerned staff of the EPO
who wish to remain anonymous
due to the prevailing harsh social climate and
absence of rule of law at the European Patent Office

__________________________________
further links:

http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/12/european-patent-office-examiners-fear.html

http://www.ip-watch.org/2014/12/10/epo-supervisory-body-to-face-patent-quality-judicial-independence-fears/

http://techrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/EPO-examiners-can-no-longer-ensure-appropriate-quality-standards.pdf

http://techrights.org/2014/12/08/epo-staff-is-demonstrating/

There was a PDF attached to the message and here is what it said:

Open letter – by email to the Heads of Delegation

22 June 2016
EPO-FLIER team

The Administrative Council’s fiduciary duty to the European Patent Organisation and the Office’s duty of care

Dear heads and members of the delegations to the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, dear Chairman, dear Mr Grandjean,

Ever since the founding fathers drafted the European Patent Convention, a high perception of legal validity of a granted patent has taken the Office from strength to strength. Highly qualified staff has for a long time dealt with significant workload increases while maintaining the quality of work that has drawn applicants to the EPO. However, we are now observing an accelerated change for the worse. Strong professional ethics are gradually giving way to rubber stamping in order to meet entirely arbitrary production targets. Despite embellished statistics allegedly showing otherwise, staff’s health is on the decline and the EPO is no longer an employer of choice.

Is it not the Administrative Council’s (AC’s) and the President’s duty to hand over to any successor an Office that is at least as healthy as it was when he took it over? And should
the AC not be seen to be positively influencing good housekeeping and a constant pursuit of excellence?

Who is the boss?

It was so refreshing to see the AC take its responsibility when it issued a resolution with clear and achievable objectives for the President. Very briefly there was a marked
improvement of the atmosphere in the Office. Very briefly, the AC had switched on the light at the end of the tunnel.

But instead of complying with unambiguous instructions, Mr Battistelli is playing games like an adolescent who is testing the envelope. He has not even tried to comply. Instead, he is
doing the opposite, challenging his supervisory body, rebelling against his “parents”.

It is time for the members of the AC to stop flogging a dead horse:
Mr Battistelli is causing immeasurable damage to the Office; he is now untenable.

The President’s extravagances

The AC delegations are aware of and endorse the costs for the President’s luxury fortress on the top floor of the Isar Building and his alleged need for highly expensive personal body guards. The EPO further pays for hosting high-profile events that seem to be mainly instigated for the greater glory of the President.

The Office should not be seen to be celebrating some inventors as being better than others. It risks reputational damage by highlighting the success of some inventions, especially if they later could prove not to work (see media coverage on Elizabeth Holmes’ dysfunctional blood testing equipment). For critical observers, her results looked too good to be true. The same applies to the current EPO results.


EPC changes through the back door?

Sinking almost endless resources into the IT Roadmap, with its badly managed outsourcing and brain-drain (due to salary cuts and a poor work atmosphere), is failing to provide appropriate tools. The changes in operation – above all an ill-conceived new career system in combination with management by intimidation – are resulting in more products per staff member, but with an outcome that no longer compares favourably to past quality standards.

Critical observers have started speculating about the effects the dramatic increase in the number of patents granted may have1. Applicants have started observing a decline in the quality of the EPO’s products and sometimes share their concerns with individual examiners. The existing quality indicators are not reliable. IAM 2, 3 is sponsored by the Office and the EPO’s own quality measuring system ‘CASE’ suffers from a built-in conflict-of-interest. The way it has been designed, it will always indicate excellent quality, no matter what the actual quality is.

A presumption of invalidity of granted patents leads to higher litigation costs. Big applicants might be able to finance such higher costs, but SMEs will suffer economically from low quality patenting4. The EPO can foster economic growth only if it returns to the previously high search and examination standards5.

The AC is the guardian of a non-discriminatory application of the EPC.
That is not possible under the leadership of this President.

EPO – employer of choice?

Word has got out that all’s not well at the EPO. The Office no longer attracts the same calibre of staff and therefore has had to resort to recruiting what it gets. That’s why the
EPO is currently abandoning previous quality criteria, such as language skills, or a balanced geographical distribution6, in the selection of new staff.

The recent Technologia survey on psycho-social risks for EPO employees is alarming, and the comparison of three surveys from consecutive years shows that the situation is deteriorating. Despite the AC’s mandate to the President to go easy with HR reforms, the Administration is still instigating some highly undesirable changes.

The self-proclaimed Dr. med. Battistelli and Dr. med. Bergot judge on the fitness of staff for work. The EPO exposes vulnerable staff to its medical advisors, who now have a direct reporting link to a PD Human Resources, who herself has a reputation of being vindictive. The Office now has the tools that it needs to breach medical secrecy indiscriminately and to abuse information given to medical practitioners in confidence.

The unfair dismissal of two staff representatives, the downgrading of a third and the ongoing attacks on other members of the staff representation are unacceptable, and have been criticised by the Council itself. Staff are dumbfounded by the way that an organisation that has a legal function (granting and refusing patents) behaves in ways that are contrary to the rule of law in its member states and how representatives of countries with a great legal tradition can condone such behaviour.

_________
1 http://ipnoncredere.blogspot.de/2016/06/high-how-will-ball-bounce.html
2 http://www.iam-media.com/Blog/Detail.aspx?g=77979ee9-60a0-4b2c-b074-e9a2b2623a0c
3 65% of the respondents rated the quality of patents granted by the EPO as excellent or very good.
4 http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/06/15/patent_trolls_innovation_and_brexit/
5 http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/12/european-patent-office-examiners-fear.html
6 It seems that in the EPO the „brexit“ is taking place, as according to the Social Report for 2015 CA 55/16, page 22, the recruitment of Brits is down by 80%, while according to page 8, the EPO lost 7% of UK staff in one year. Further, no Irish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Danish and Swiss personnel was recruited.


Mr Battistelli continues to undermine the rights of staff

EPO staff undergo a stringent selection process and have a long probationary period before being appointed as permanent staff. But in the interpretation of the EPO’s very senior management it is professional incompetence if staff members do not meet inflated output demands. In the President’s plans there will be no intervention of any meaningful advisory review instance in decisions for dismissal for reasons of professional incompetence (CA/53/16). If the proposal gets approval, Mr Battistelli will be in a position to expose staff of the EPO to unemployment without a social security system, which he aggravates by claiming exclusive rights to permit gainful employment a full two years following departure from the Office (CA/29/16).

The review of the Investigation Guidelines (CA/52/16) will, if adopted, increase the autonomy and powers of the Administration. The guidelines would become an even more dangerous weapon if put in the wrong, i.e. in Mr Battistelli’s and Ms Bergot’s, hands. Due process, duty of care and state-of-the-art HR management are completely absent from the Office now.

And all the time, the members of the Office’s only supervisory body watch it happen. To the neutral observer there is no doubt: this Administration is professionally incompetent, and
the supervisors are doing nothing about it.

The President and his cronies have to be stopped. By you. Now.

The Council and President have to show that they are good caretakers of the great organisation that has been put in their custody and entrusted to them. It is time to live up to
the expectations of the founding fathers, the European public and the staff of the Office.

You will be in the spotlight during the June Council meeting.

Please do not support the President’s change proposals in CA/29/16, CA/52/16 and CA/53/16.

Instead, please do what needs doing: restore a constructive climate at the EPO, under leadership of a President who wants to join the effort for the continued success of the Office.

For the undersigned, that President is not Benoît Battistelli.

With our best regards,
The EPO-FLIER team

a group of concerned staff of the EPO who wish to remain anonymous due to the prevailing harsh social climate and absence of rule of law at the European Patent Office

Copies to: Competent Ministries of the Member States

These proposal were mentioned here one week ago. We can’t help wondering how many other EPO employees are contacting delegations or at least heads of delegations. These delegates might only feel compelled to save the EPO if they witness enough voices of concerned insiders and outsiders. That’s how it goes in politics, for better or for worse.

06.21.16

The Conspiracy of Patent Lawyers for UPC and Battistelli’s Role in Preparing by Firing People

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bristows and Bird & Bird among the culprits

Trojan horse

Summary: The parasitic firms that lobby for the UPC and actually create it — firms like those that pass money to Battistelli’s EPO — are doing exactly the opposite of what Europe needs

THE EPO is in a dire and sad state because of its top-level management, which is effectively a cabal of ‘yes men’ to Battistelli. The sociopaths find these positions attractive and if they’re French and former colleagues of Battistelli, then they already have some job requirements covered. Megalomaniacal tendencies of Battistelli are rather contagious and it shows. This takes its toll on staff. Many are thankful to have never accepted a job offer from Battistelli’s EPO as there is an element of entrapment to it (Battistelli can veto employment choices even after someone leaves the Office).

“Megalomaniacal tendencies of Battistelli are rather contagious and it shows. This takes its toll on staff.”There are even worse things coming out of the EPO and they impact everyone in Europe, not just EPO staff. There’s no escaping the wrath of Battistelli and his grand plan, notably the UPC which rumours say he wishes to head (in spite of retirement age). The EPO routinely lobbies for the UPC rather than focus on patent examination (the EPO’s real purpose).

All one needs to know about the UPC is that it would harm European businesses and the media misleads about it (EPO's payments to European media companies contribute to this). The UPC is being designed and refined by and for patent lawyers, primarily in order to increase their overall profit/reputation, typically by making the number of lawsuits greater and the damages higher. Coup by occupation is all it boils down to, and it is not EU-centric either. The moment more people come to grips with what the UPC is and who it has been optimised for is the moment the whole thing comes tumbling down like ACTA in Europe, but right now a lot of UPC proceedings and intentionally kept in the dark, except when politicians are approached to ratify under the false preteses and the premise that this kind of coup is all about “unity”, “harmony”, “EU”, and “community” (among other euphemisms whose purpose is to perfume this very bad deal/bundle). A lot of the misinformation about the UPC just ‘happens’ to come from Battistelli, who has been promoting this whole scheme for a very long time along with other Frenchmen who consider French a more important language than Spanish (how convenient for them).

“A lot of the misinformation about the UPC just ‘happens’ to come from Battistelli, who has been promoting this whole scheme for a very long time along with other Frenchmen who consider French a more important language than Spanish (how convenient for them).”Based on some sad news from self-serving UPC propagandists, the Dutch people have been put aside again while the patent microcosm (includes the EPO and its clients/lawyers) used control of politicians to ram UPC down the country’s throat. This is a gross attack not only on democracy but on human rights. As I put it earlier in relation to similar plans in Germany (“UPC software patent ratification is on the agenda of the Bundestag this Thursday evening around 21H,” according to Benjamin Henrion), the UPC tests whether a nation is a client of its citizens or of patent lawyers and their foreign clients. It is a corporate takeover attempt, much like ISDS. Will it work?

Well, never for a moment believe that the UPC is inevitable. It’s not. To say so is to help the propaganda strategy of the patent microcosm, which has grown visibly stressed about UPC woes this month. Things aren’t going as they hoped because even Battistelli and his minions say that UPC might not happen. There are still many barriers.

“Can Europe beat its enemies, those scheming to undermine European laws (and the EPC) to make a new “order”?”“Kluwer UPC News blogger” is what Wouter Pors and the lads call their blog now. It’s just more UPC propaganda like Bristows’ (with “Bristows UPC” for marketing) and Wouter Pors has quite a reputation for UPC meddling, e.g. [1, 2, 3]. These are the very same people who ‘engineered’ much of the UPC and are actively pushing software patents into Europe, as well as patent trolls. To them, it’s all about money (theirs, at everyone else’s expense).

Can Europe beat its enemies, those scheming to undermine European laws (and the EPC) to make a new “order”? We sure hope that more people will join the battle. Just look which firms are behind this site (top) that promotes UPC events right now (EPLAW). UPC is for the lawyers, by the lawyers, against the people, definitely not by the people. Those same lawyers recently mentioned that Battistelli basically crushes the Office and ruins patent quality by demolishing appeal boards, in effect paving the way to UPC (where appeals would be dealt with differently).

Let’s bury the UPC before it’s too late. Now it the time to take action and expose what UPC is really all about.

Patent Lawyers, Having Lost Much of the Battle for Software Patents in the US, Resort to Harmful Measures and Spin

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 6:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The gentler equivalent of Donald Trump discrediting a US-born judge for being “Mexican”?

Justice Breyer ad hominem

Summary: A quick glance at how patent lawyers and their lobbyists/advocates have reacted to the latest decision from the US Supreme Court (Justice Breyer)

TECHRIGHTS isn’t too shy to mock those who mislead the public in order to attract business. They’re selling snake oil.

Earlier today we found this piece from IP Watch which took the side of patent holders [sic] as if they and they alone are the ones who matter. This is rather typical and very much expected from so-called ‘IP’ sites. Dugie Standeford (publishing behind a paywall) tells/covers only one side of this debate — the much smaller side. The narrative is not complete.

“Personal attacks on SCOTUS Justices (especially Justice Breyer) are again quite tactlessly thrown into the mix, with focus on the same Justice whose intelligence was attacked before (see above).”IAM, which is funded by patent law firms and even patent trolls, is once again lobbying for software patents, trolls and many others that lose in the Cuozzo decision last covered here this morning (yesterday’s rant was apparently not enough for this author). Earlier today he selectively mentioned people supportive of his position (i.e. IAM’s sponsors). Just remember that IAM is not a news site but a lobbying campaign dressed up as 'reporting'. It’s an advocacy site for EPO management as well, so it’s important to see what these guys (yes, all male) are up to.

Personal attacks on SCOTUS Justices (especially Justice Breyer) are again quite tactlessly thrown into the mix, with focus on the same Justice whose intelligence was attacked before (see above). And for what? Simply for daring to put an end to (or helping towards the end of) software patents and by extension patent trolls in the US? Watch the ad hominem parts therein. How shameful. Over at Patently-O, which is a lot more professional, two related decisions are named as “their impact could shape the business model of patents licenses as property.”

Actually, patents are not property but a time-limited monopoly on an idea, a concept, and sometimes a mechanical design or chemical recipe etc. SCOTUS is not in any way challenging property rights. There’s nothing physical at stake.

“Actually, patents are not property but a time-limited monopoly on an idea, a concept, and sometimes a mechanical design or chemical recipe etc.”Speaking of physical things, this new post from the Docket Report indicates that § 101 has just eliminated another bogus patent. To quote the original: “Similarly, a lawyer’s legal assistant may provide her with messages or mail in a manner that does not interfere with her primary activity: participating in a conference call. This could be accomplished at a certain time (delivering the message between telephone calls) or in a certain location (placing the message in the corner of her desk).”

It is truly satisfying and increasingly nice to see that all those bogus patents (on old ideas implemented in software) drop like flies. With few exceptions, no doubt, software patents continue to die in the US. For the first time in over a decade (since I started getting involved in this area), patent lawyers are on the defensive and they’re terrified. Their software patents bubble is bursting and they might have to downsize a bit (maybe no yacht and one Ferrari fewer). Patents on algorithms are sinking like the Titanic in the very birthplace of software patents (it has been two years since Alice at SCOTUS; many patent applications get rejected now). It’s great, unless one is a patent lawyer. Having been let down by SCOTUS, lawyers and attorneys now lean on [1, 2] CAFC, the nepotists’ court that gave the US software patents in the first place (several decades ago with Martin Goetz). Incidentally, Patently-O writes about the very same case (Immersion Corp. v HTC Corp., which is effectively against Android/Linux) and it’s not about patentability of software patents at all; it’s about timing. Not much will come out of it and they’re trying to find some small victory to distract themselves from the major defeat (Cuozzo).

“As always, we remain committed to fighting software patents wherever they appear.”Funnily enough, in light of the Cuozzo decision Apple advocacy sites now pretend that Apple is fighting patent trolls when in fact it is Apple that acts like a massive troll, especially when it comes to its war on Android OEMs. Here is one such Apple advocacy site reminding us of Apple’s patents hoard. Another site warns that “LinkedIn’s portfolio of over 1,000 families of granted patents, though only roughly half the size of Facebook’s, is on a par with Twitter’s.” The LinkedIn deal with Microsoft “has a patent profile,” says the headline. These are two companies which are very hostile with software patents, especially against GNU/Linux and Free software.

As always, we remain committed to fighting software patents wherever they appear. Software developers do not want them, whereas many of the above-mentioned parasites want them, in order to claw/grab the money earned by hard-working professionals that actually produce things.

Links 21/6/2016: Fedora 24 and Point Linux MATE 3.2 Officially Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Elon Musk’s open source OpenAI: We’re working on a robot for your household chores

    OpenAI, the artificial-intelligence non-profit backed by Elon Musk, Amazon Web Services, and others to the tune of $1bn, is working on a physical robot that does household chores.

    The robot OpenAI is targeting would be as reliable, flexible, and intelligent as Rosie the maid from TV cartoon comedy The Jetsons.

    OpenAI leaders Musk, Sam Altman, Ilya Sutskever, and Greg Brockton explain in a blogpost that they don’t want to manufacture the robot itself, but “enable a physical robot … to perform basic housework”.

  • Is Open Source Right for You? Maybe, But Cost Should Be the Last Consideration

    Without a doubt, open source is making the software business better. But, if you’re considering going the open source route for software that’s critical to your company, keep in mind that “open” doesn’t mean “free.” It’s understandable that cost would be a major factor in the decision to go open source, as it’s free to license and allows you to spin up unlimited instances. However, there are a number of hidden expenses associated with using open source software that in many cases can drive up the price tag way past commercial software. The real differentiating factors in open source have less to do with cost than they do with your objectives, and the capabilities of your team.

  • Community-powered marketing succeeds where traditional marketing fails

    It’s time for us B2B marketers to stop being so transactional and impersonal—to stop believing that buyers’ purchase decisions are completely rational. Buyers, after all, are people, not cogs in a wheel spinning inside their companies.

    Traditional B2B marketing tactics are expensive and increasingly ineffective. You know them well: online banners, emails from random salespeople, sponsored golf outings, airport advertising, billboards, radio ads. Our customers are swimming in messages about why our product is better than the next guy’s. They’re messages designed to promote, persuade, and convince, and they speak to the part of us hungry for just one more tiny bit of data that might help with an important decision.

  • Understanding Ceph and Its Place in the Market

    I see a strong and promising future for Ceph. Sure, like any other data storage solution it doesn’t address all data storage needs, but it’s here, and it’s yet another contender in the software-defined storage arena.

  • twenty years of free software

    I’m forty years old. I’ve been developing free software for twenty years.

    A decade ago, I wrote a series of posts about my first ten years of free software, looking back over projects I’d developed. These retrospectives seem even more valuable in retrospect; there are things in the old posts that jog my memory, and other details I’ve forgotten by now.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Getting Automatic Crash Reporting

      Markus Mohrhard cross-posted today on the Document Foundation blog of a new feature coming in LibreOffice 5.2. Mohrhard said, “Starting with LibreOffice 5.2 the LibreOffice project will have an automated crash reporting tool with server side analysis.” In other news, GNOME’s Sébastien Wilmet today blogged this thoughts on Mint’s X-Apps, little applications commonly forked from GNOME apps and Sam Varghese reported on the exit of Jacob Appelbaum from Debian. Gizmodo listed five reasons to install Linux, and by Linux they mean Ubuntu, onto your laptop and Matt Hartley discussed why Ubuntu LTS is better than the latest and greatest.

    • Crash reporting for LibreOffice

      Starting with LibreOffice 5.2 the LibreOffice project will have an automated crash reporting tool with server side analysis of the reports. This has been active in the builds since 5.0.0.0.beta1 and was really working since beta 2.

  • Docker

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing/Legal

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Science and Tech museums’ documents to be ‘open by default’ by fall, CEO pledges

        In a government town like Ottawa, where information has traditionally been jealously guarded, what Alex Benay is proposing could trigger a bout of cognitive dissonance.

        According to Benay, president and CEO of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation, almost all documents generated by the corporation’s three national museums – Science and Technology, Aviation and Space, and Agriculture and Food – will soon be available to the public through an online portal.

        “Our hope is by the fall, roughly 90 per cent of our information is available to the public in real time,” Benay said in an interview Monday, hours after tweeting that museum documents will be “open by default” by autumn.

        Not everything will be made public: cabinet documents and material dealing with such things as personnel matters or corporate planning will remain confidential.

        But after that, pretty much anything goes, Benay said, including early drafts of historical assessments, exhibition plans and schedules for travelling exhibitions.

  • Programming/Development

    • Automating your Home with Home Assistant: Python’s Answer to the Internet of Things

      Paulus Schoutsen created Home Assistant in 2013 “as a simple script to turn on the lights when the sun was setting,” as he told attendees of his recent Embedded Linux Conference and OpenIoT Summit presentation, “Automating your Home with Home Assistant: Python’s Answer to the Internet of Things.”

    • How DevOps best practices improve team dynamics

      I’ve spent the past few months writing about the small, incremental behaviors that individuals can employ to be more successful. This month, I’d like to highlight team behaviors that I think are critical to having small successes at work. I spent time with one of the AtomicOpenShift (AOS) teams at Red Hat—the Cockpit project.

      Although I spend a significant amount of my time with the AOS teams, I rarely get the chance to work directly with Cockpit. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to sit with them for a while when we were all in Brno earlier this year. From an outsider’s perspective, the team has an ease of speaking with each other—both on technical topics and personal ones—that makes you take notice. In fact, you might have assumed they all work together in the same office. However, all five engineers and the designer on the team are spread out across Europe and the United States.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • IOC Upholds Olympic Ban on Russia’s Track and Field Athletes

      The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced today that it has upheld the ban imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Russia’s track and field athletes.

      Meeting in the Swiss city of Lausanne, the IOC said that the widespread doping allegations in Russia casts “very serious doubts on the presumption of innocence” on Russian athletes and every athlete from the country who wants to compete in the Olympics will have to undergo an individual doping evaluation from an independent lab before being allowed to compete.

      Although some Russian media and officials had pinned hopes on the IOC intervening in the ban, most indications were that the Olympic body would affirm the IAAF decision. On Saturday, the IOC released a statement that it “fully respected” the IAAF decision and said it accepted the IAAF’s right to determine athletes’ eligibility to compete.

    • Rx Pizza: 1 Free Meal Can Sway Doctor Prescribing

      As little as one free meal from a drug company can influence which medicines doctors prescribe for Medicare patients.

    • Feed Me, Pharma: More Evidence That Industry Meals Are Linked to Costlier Prescribing

      Evidence is mounting that doctors who receive as little as one meal from a drug company tend to prescribe more expensive, brand-name medications for common ailments than those who don’t.

      A study published online Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine found significant evidence that doctors who received meals tied to specific drugs prescribed a higher proportion of those products than their peers. And the more meals they received, the greater share of those drugs they tended to prescribe relative to other medications in the same category.

      The researchers did not determine if there was a cause-and-effect relationship between payments and prescribing, a far more difficult proposition, but their study adds to a growing pile of research documenting a link between the two.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • BadTunnel: Critical vulnerability affects every version of Microsoft’s OS since Windows 95

      A security researcher from Tencent, China’s largest internet service portal, has discovered a critical security flaw in Microsoft’s Windows operating system that affects every single version of Windows over the last two decades, from Windows 95 all the way to Windows 10.

    • Decentralized Security

      If you’re a fan of the cryptocurrency projects, you’ve heard of something called Ethereum. It’s similar to bitcoin, but is a seperate coin. It’s been in the news lately due to an attack on the currency. Nobody is sure how this story will end at this point, there are a few possible options, none are good. This got me thinking about the future of security, there are some parallels when you compare traditional currency to crypto currency as well as where we see security heading (stick with me here).

      The current way currency works is there is some central organization that is responsible for minting and controlling the currency, usually a country. There are banks, exchanges, loans, interest, physical money, and countless other ways the currency interacts with society. We will compare this to how IT security has mostly worked in the past. You had one large organization responsible for everything. If something went wrong, you could rely on the owner to take control and make things better. There are some instances where this isn’t true, but in general it holds.

      Now if we look at cryptocurrency, there isn’t really a single group or person in charge. That’s the whole point though. The idea is to have nobody in charge so the currency can be used with some level of anonymity. You don’t have to rely on some sort of central organization to give the currency legitimacy, the system itself has legitimacy built in.

    • New RAA ransomware written in JavaScript discovered

      A new variety of ransomware called RAA has been discovered that has the somewhat unusual attribution of being coded in JavaScript instead of one of the more standard programming languages making it more effective in certain situations.

    • Want To Be A Cool Security Guru?

      Well it will take some work, security is not like what they show on TV. You don’t need green on black text, special goggles or an unlimited enhance function. Instead, it requires sitting down and understanding the history of the field, what it means to be “secure” and what limitations or assumptions you can work under. This summer I have decided to start my journey on the vast field of cryptography and am doing an online course at Stanford University that provides an introduction to cryptography. It is appropriately named “Cryptography I” and is the first part of a two part course, the second part being offered later in the Fall. Both are taught by a really awesome professor Dan Boneh who I find explains the material very well. I decided I would like to make some posts about what I have learned in this course as I go through the material so that I can share my knowledge and get a chance to write it down somewhere for later reference.

    • WordPress 4.5.3 Maintenance and Security Release

      WordPress 4.5.3 is now available. This is a security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • US election: Arrested Briton ‘wanted to shoot Donald Trump’

      A Briton who tried to grab a police officer’s gun at a Donald Trump rally in Las Vegas said he wanted to shoot the US candidate, court papers say.

      Michael Steven Sandford, 20, did not enter a plea when he appeared before a judge in Nevada and was remanded in custody until a hearing on 5 July.

      He is charged with an act of violence “on restricted grounds”.

    • Medea Benjamin

      This week’s Project Censored features a recent speech by long-time peace organizer Medea Benjamin. She examines recent successes and setbacks for the antiwar movement, and discusses her current campaigns.

      Medea Benjamin is cofounder of the womens’ peace group Code Pink and the fair trade organization Global Exchange. She spoke at Sonoma State University on March 25, 2016, as part of the student-organized Social Justice Week.

    • What is Missing from the Memo 51 U.S. Diplomats Signed Urging Strikes Against Assad in Syria

      Despite over 400,000 dead and ongoing ground and air campaigns inside the country by the U.S., Russia and several others, 51 U.S. diplomats are publicly demanding the Obama administration launch strikes directly against Bashir Assad in Syria.

    • The Use of Error-Prone and Unfair Watchlists Is Not the Way to Regulate Guns in America

      Using the broken watchlist system to regulate gun ownership raises issues of fundamental fairness.

      In the wake of the attack on LGBTQ Americans in Orlando, gun control is again at the forefront of the national conversation. It is also the subject of proposed legislation in Congress. We at the ACLU, like many other Americans, are appalled by the Orlando tragedy. We have deep concerns, however, about legislative efforts to regulate the use of guns by relying on our nation’s error-prone and unfair watchlisting system.

    • If You Value Life, Wake Up!

      Do you remember how close we came to Armageddon in the early 1960s when Washington put nuclear missiles in Turkey on the Soviet Union’s border and the Soviets responded by putting nuclear missiles in Cuba? Fortunately, at that time we had an intelligent president instead of a cipher. President John F. Kennedy pulled us back from the brink and was assassinated by his own government for his service to humanity.

    • How a Shootout on a Guatemalan Highway Opened Window to Corruption

      In 2013, ProPublica reporter Sebastian Rotella got a tip on an assassination attempt against Enrique Degenhart Asturias, a 44-year-old Guatemala native who had been working as a consultant to the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City. Rotella, a veteran Latin America correspondent, knew such violence was common in that part of the world, but this event felt distinctive.

  • Finance

    • George Soros: EU exit risks ‘black Friday’

      The world’s most famous currency speculator has warned that a vote on Thursday for Britain to leave the EU would trigger a bigger and more damaging fall for sterling than the day he forced Britain out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism almost a quarter of a century ago.

      George Soros, writing in the Guardian, said a Brexit vote would spark a ‘black Friday’ for the UK, but the devaluation of sterling would bring none of the benefits to the economy that it enjoyed after it dropped out of the ERM on 16 September 1992 – Black Wednesday.

      He said that, as in 1992, there would be big financial gains for speculators who had bet on the UK leaving the EU but that such an outcome would leave “most voters considerably poorer”.

    • Microsoft UK’s tax bill challenged… by the Sunday Times [Ed: Microsoft Jack calls story about Microsoft tax evasion “weak story”]

      Microsoft’s name has generally been missing from the reporting of tax avoidance by America’s tech giants: the brunt of the attack has been borne by Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon, all of which have sophisticated tax reduction strategies. Now the Sunday Times has thrown Microsoft’s hat into the ring, in a half page (paywalled) story headlined “Taxman backs £100m Microsoft wheeze”.

    • Boris Johnson will make TV apology if Brexit triggers recession

      Boris Johnson has said he will apologise on national television if Britain were to plunge into recession after a vote to leave the EU.

      His promise came in response to a caller to radio station LBC, who asked the former mayor of London: “If we Brexit and we go into recession, would you have the political courage, to go on TV … and say sorry, I made it wrong and I apologise?”

    • ‘Together as a people we are strong’ – David Beckham to vote Remain in EU

      Former England and Real Madrid star David Beckham has said that he will be voting for Remain in the EU Referendum.

    • David Beckham Will Vote Remain ‘For Our Children’ In EU Referendum

      “I played my best years at my boyhood club, Manchester United. I grew up with a core group of young British players that included Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville Brothers. Added to that was an experienced group of older British players such as Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce and Paul Ince. Now that team might have gone on to win trophies but we were a better and more successful team because of a Danish goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel, the leadership of an Irishman Roy Keane and the skill of a Frenchman in Eric Cantona.”

      Beckham continued: “I was also privileged to play and live in Madrid, Milan and Paris with teammates from all around Europe and the world. Those great European cities and their passionate fans welcomed me and my family and gave us the opportunity to enjoy their unique and inspiring cultures and people.

    • The writings of Gove and Boris reveal a chilling double act

      If Brexit happens, the chances of them running the country will increase. Do their books contain any clues about what they might do?

    • Barnes Denies Gove Claim He Backs Brexit

      The former footballer tells Sky News his views have been “misinterpreted” after he said Brexit would be good for English players.

    • EU referendum: England’s John Barnes calls out Michael Gove for saying he supports Brexit
    • Oracle profits surge—at the expense of Java development and software support

      On June 16, Oracle Corporation released financial results for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016, and corporate executives trumpeted the company’s cloud services success. According to the latest report, Oracle’s cloud infrastructure, platform, and software services collectively brought in $859 million for the quarter ending May 31, compared to $576 million for the same period in 2015. Oracle brought in $2.853 billion in revenues for cloud and had an $8.9 billion (£6.07 billion) profit for the year.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • No, Sanders’ Secret Service Detail Isn’t Costing ‘Taxpayers’ $38,000 a Day

      How does Messing propose that the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security, given Sanders’ authorization to stop protecting him, turn the resulting savings into cash for the purposes of “donating to Orlando families”? She, of course, won’t be proposing any such process, because this talking point is based on shallow moralizing, not on an honest assessment of the costs of Sanders’ continuing his campaign. Even without the exploitation of the Orlando attack, it’s a talking point that doesn’t make any sense.

      [...]

      Does anyone think the Secret Service is going to fire the exact number of agents assigned to Sanders the day he drops out? Does anyone think the additional vehicles and equipment needed will quickly be pawned off and the money transferred over to Johnny Taxpayer? Does anyone repeating this talking point think that if the Sanders campaign had ended one week ago the US federal government would somehow be $166,000 richer?

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Seeing Opportunity, Congress Tries To Rush Through Its Plan To Legalize FBI Abuses Citing ‘Orlando!’

      Just a few weeks ago, we wrote about the FBI pushing strongly for an update to the law that covers National Security Letters (NSLs) to cover up the fact that the FBI has been using them to get electronic communications records. The current law on NSLs doesn’t cover that information, though the FBI insists that it’s just a “typo” in the law, and still frequently asks for them in its NSLs, because NSL recipients often don’t know the law themselves and will still turn over the info. Of course, it helps that the NSLs often come with gag orders. Reports going back a decade have shown that the FBI has a serious problem with abusing its NSL powers to get lots of information it’s not supposed to have. And rather than do something to stop such abuses, the FBI’s friends in Congress have, instead, been trying to legalize such abusive practices to allow the FBI to do even more.

      And, in the spirit of “leave no crisis unexploited,” Senator Mitch McConnell is pushing forward on the amendment put forth by Senators McCain and Cornyn to expand NSLs. And, cynically, they’re citing the Orlando shootings as the reason why, despite the fact that this amendment was being pushed for before the shootings even occurred and the fact that this would have done absolutely nothing to stop the shootings.

    • Snooper’s charter: GCHQ will be licensed ‘to hack a major town’

      The security services are to receive a licence for hacking into the phones and laptops of a “major town” under the snooper’s charter legislation, which reaches the House of Lords next week.

      The broad nature of the hacking powers to be handed to GCHQ are disclosed in an obscure case study in a background Home Office document setting out the operational case for their use.

      This shows that all the phones and laptops in a “major town” could be hacked into, as long as the town were overseas and the action were necessary for national security purposes. The example used in the case study is identifying the phones and laptops being used by a terrorist group planning an attack on Western tourists in a major town

    • EU biometric data collection welcomed by US

      According to the minutes of the most recent EU-US justice and home affairs ministerial meeting, held in Amsterdam on 1 and 2 June, the US: “commended the EU collection of biometric data which had facilitated the fight against terrorism and the work of US law enforcement.”

    • Tor looks to beat off FBI hacking with Selfrando project

      YOUR PRIVACY PAL the Tor Project is going the extra mile to protect users from the spying eyes of the FBI.

      Tor, as you might already know, is a solid privacy choice that the anti-privacy people would like to see eviscerated. The Russians want it, and so does the US, which has broken into Tor already, apparently legitimately, in the pursuit of the Silk Road marketplace.

      Tor does not rest, and a document entitled On the Effectiveness of Address-Space Randomisation (PDF) shows the firm’s efforts to limit the kind of exposure that it was set up to circumvent.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • NY Legislature Rushes Anti-Airbnb Legislation; Likely In Violation Of Federal Law

      A few weeks ago, we wrote about how legislators in various cities (mainly SF, Chicago and LA) were trying to push through anti-Airbnb legislation that would require homeowners doing short term rentals to register with the city — and which would hold the platform (Airbnb) liable if its users failed to do so. As we noted, that almost certainly violates Section 230 of the CDA, which bars any law that attempts to hold a platform liable for the actions of its users. At least in San Francisco, the Board of Supervisors ignored all of this with a city attorney claiming (incorrectly) that since it regulates “business activities of platforms,” it’s not regulating the content on those platforms. That’s an… interesting dodge on the Section 230 issues. It seems unlikely to hold up in court, but California’s been especially wacky on CDA 230 lately. The SF legislation has since passed, and it will be interesting to see if anyone (i.e., Airbnb) decides to challenge it in court.

    • NY Post Craps On NYC’s Plan To Offer Free Wi-Fi — Because The Homeless Might Watch Porn

      As you might have heard, New York City recently launched one of the biggest free Wi-Fi initiatives ever conceived. Under the program, some 7,500 Wi-Fi kiosks will provide gigabit Wi-Fi, free phone calls to anywhere in the country (via Vonage), as well as access to a device recharging station, 311, 911, 411 and city services (via an integrated Android tablet). The city is installing ten a day — most at old payphone locations — and hopes to have 500 of the kiosks in place by July. It’s a pretty impressive effort, and by most measures providing fast, free connectivity to the city’s five boroughs has been something to celebrate.

    • How An Engineer’s Little Mistake Nearly Broke The Entire Internet

      A recent internet outage has affected many services like WhatsApp, Facebook, Slack, Reddit, and CloudFlare. After this massive outage was reported across many countries, TeliaSonera sent a note to other network operators and informed them about the mishap.

    • Cable Industry: Our Shitty TV Apps Are Just As Good As Real Cable Box Competition, Right?

      The cable industry is aggressively fighting the FCC’s attempt to bring competition to the cable box market. So far that’s been via a two-pronged approach of buying a torrent of incredibly misleading editorials by people pretending to be objective observers (including Jesse Jackson), and throwing money at politicians who oppose the plan, but pretty clearly have no goddamned idea what they’re actually talking about.

      Under the FCC’s plan (pdf), cable providers would be required to provide their existing programming to third-party hardware vendors, creating competition and hopefully a flood of better, cheaper hardware without the need for expensive, and annoying CableCARDs. But with the average user paying $231 annually in set top box rental fees, the cable industry is pulling out all the stops to protect $21 billion in annual, captive revenues.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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