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07.05.17

Links 5/7/2017: Size of Linux Kernel 4.12, Release of Kube 0.3.1, GCC 6.4

Posted in News Roundup at 6:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Ubuntu Laptops from VANT Get Kaby Lake Refresh, Priced from €609

      Finding a Linux laptop used to be a chore — but that’s not quite the case anymore.

      Companies like Dell, HP, Entroware, Tuxedo, ThinkPenguin, ZaReason, Slimbook and many others offer us up an array of laptops and PCs that are pre-loaded with Linux.

      Also part of that list is Vant. Vant is a small Spanish computer company that sell a range of Linux laptops and desktop PCs in (where else?) Spain.

    • Last Call To Participate In The 2017 Linux Laptop Survey

      This is your last chance to participate in the 2017 Linux Laptop Survey. There’s nearly twenty-thousand submissions so far, but the survey is expiring at the end of day Thursday.

    • How I replaced my MacBook Pro by a Raspberry Pi during 1 week

      The Raspberry Pi is clearly a good idea: It’s powerful, it runs Linux, it’s silent. Let’s go for one week on this!

    • Developer Replaces His MacBook Pro with a Raspberry Pi 3 Computer for One Week

      Node.js expert and backend software engineer Pierre-Gilles Leymarie has recently lost his precious MacBook Pro in a taxi in Paris, and since he didn’t have any other computer at home, he decided to give Raspberry Pi a try.

      MacBook Pro is a powerful computer, running Apple’s state-of-the-art macOS operating system, yet Pierre-Gilles Leymarie was using it for coding on his Gladys home assistant based on a Raspberry Pi single-board computer using software like VS Code, Node.js and MySQL, along with some other developer-related tools.

      Since Pierre-Gilles Leymarie was very familiar to Raspberry Pi, as it own a few of them at home to hack on his Gladys project, setting up a Raspberry Pi 3 SBC and convert it into a full-featured desktop PC was quite easy to do by installing Raspbian Jessie, an old wireless mouse, a very old USB keyboard, and a 22-inch HDMI LCD.

    • Why Microsoft (And Even Apple) Are Threatened By Google Chromebooks’ Popularity

      Chromebooks easily surpassed Windows and Mac OS computers in the U.S. K-12 education market.

      Alphabet’s cakewalk victory in the education market forced Microsoft to invent the walled-garden Windows 10 S. Apple now offers discounts to make its iPad more attractive to K-12 education customers.

      Microsoft and Apple know that letting Google dominate the K-12 education is dangerous. The kids of today are tomorrow’s corporate workers and movers.

      Instead of kids getting trained on Windows and Microsoft Office, a larger part of the U.S. K-12 education system is now being indoctrinated with Chrome OS, Android Apps, and Google Docs.

      The Windows 10 S initiative is Microsoft trying to insure that its operating system and productivity software are not rendered irrelevant in the future.

    • German Laptop Company Announces Own Linux Distro

      Tuxedo, a German computer company selling a range of Linux laptops, has announced it is launching it own Linux distribution.

      “We have been working on this project for several months,” they say in their announcement. “We have been thinking about the usability of the desktop, have included user feedback in our considerations and made some surveys on desktop usage.”

      As a result of this feedback the computer outfit plan to ship an in-house Xubuntu spin prinstalled on its devices. That spin is called (somewhat confusingly) “Tuxedo Xubuntu 16.04 LTS“.

    • TUXEDO Computers to Develop Own Ubuntu-Based Linux Distro Using Xfce Desktop

      Vinzenz Vietzke of TUXEDO Computers announced today that the German electronics manufacturer, which is known for selling laptops and desktop computers that ship pre-loaded with Linux, created their own distro.

      The news comes just a week after System76 computer reseller announced Pop!_OS as their own GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu and the GNOME desktop environment, and it now looks like TUXEDO Computers follow suit and announce TUXEDO Xubuntu, their own Xubuntu-based distro, which will power all of their computers in the near future.

  • Server

    • Microsoft Office 365 portal suffers another wobble

      IT administrators express their frustration as they struggle to log in for a second business day running

    • Containers in Research

      Last week, I attended the Docker Containers for Reproducible Research Workshop hosted by the Software Sustainability Institute. Many talks were addressing how containers can be used in a high performance computing (HPC) environment. Since running the Docker daemon requires root privileges, most administrators are reluctant to allow users running Docker containers in a HPC environment. This issue as been addressed by Singularity, which is an alternative conterization technology that does not require root privileges. The nice thing is that Singularity allows importing existing Docker images, which allows you creating a Singularity container from anything that is on Docker Hub. Although I only used Docker so far, Singularity sounds like a nice technology I would like to explore in the future.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Canonical Mainlines A Bunch Of Their AppArmor Changes For Linux 4.13

      The Linux 4.13 kernel that’s in development will pick up a big code contribution from Canonical as they have prepped a lot of their AppArmor security changes for mainlining, some of which code has been sitting in Ubuntu’s kernel build for years.

    • Power Management Updates Touch Intel P-State & More For Linux 4.13

      Rafael Wysocki has submitted the ACPI and power management updates for the Linux 4.13 merge window.

      Highlights of the power management changes for this next kernel revision include:

      - A rework of the suspend-to-idle driver in order to properly support the power button wake-up on newer Dell laptops.

    • GNU Linux-Libre 4.12 Kernel Officially Released for Those Who Seek 100% Freedom

      Alexandre Oliva announced the release and immediate availability of the GNU Linux-Libre 4.12 kernel, a 100% free and libre kernel that doesn’t use any proprietary drivers.

    • RISC-V Linux Port v4

      Thanks to everyone who has participated in the review process so far.

    • RISC-V Developers Hope Their Port Will Land In Linux 4.13

      RISC-V developers have posted their fourth revision to the kernel patches porting the Linux kernel to this royalty-free CPU instruction set architecture. The developers are hoping this code will be pulled into Linux 4.13, but it’s not yet clear if that will happen.

    • A record number of contributors!

      Linux Kernel 4.12 is out, with 12 Collabora developers having contributed a total of 76 patches between them. This is a new record number of developers contributing to a single kernel release for Collabora, just raising the bar above the 11 developers contributing to the 4.9 development cycle. Additionally, Collabora has added 29 Reviewed-by tags and 9 Tested-by tags. Furthermore, 41 patches received a Signed-off-by tag from Collabora developers. You can read more information about the v4.12 merge window in LWN.net’s extensive coverage: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

    • Linux Kernel 4.12 is Big, Bigger Than You Thought Big, Says Greg Kroah-Hartman

      Last Sunday, Linus Torvalds announced the release of the Linux 4.12 kernel as “one of the bigger releases historically,” and, if you’re curious to know just how big this new kernel is, maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman has some stats for us.

      According to the stats posted by Greg Kroah-Hartman, Linux kernel 4.12 was developed during a period of 63 days, it received a total of 14.570 commits, contains a total of 59,806 files (3.18% growth), and has 24,170,860 million lines of code (4.47% growth), with 795.58 lines of code added per day.

    • Collabora Developers Made a Record Number of Contributions to Linux Kernel 4.12

      Collabora’s Mark Filion is informing us today about the contributions made by various Collabora developers to the recently released Linux 4.12 kernel series.

      As you are aware, Linux 4.12 is one of the biggest kernels released, almost as big as the long-term supported Linux 4.9 kernel, and it looks like Collabora developers have also made a record number of contribution this cycle. In numbers, a total of 12 developers contributed no less than 76 patches to Linux kernel 4.12, not to mention that they also tagged numerous other patches.

    • The newly released Linux Kernel 4.12 is huge – 795 lines of code were added every hour

      Greg Kroah-Hartman, one of the prominent maintainers of the Linux Kernel, has posted a new chart containing data about the Linux Kernel from version 4.7 to 4.12. The latest release which launched this past Sunday, version 4.12, saw a huge 795 lines of code added to the kernel every hour, and 19,093 lines added every day.

    • How Big Is Linux Kernel 4.12? [Chart]

      “Linux 4.12 is big, really big, like bigger than you thought big,” Gregs says in an update on his Google+ profile — and he’s made a chart to prove it.

    • Btrfs In Linux 4.13 Brings Statx Support, Other Improvements

      The Btrfs file-system updates for the Linux 4.13 kernel have been submitted.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Improve Your Photography Workflow on Linux with Rapid Photo Download 0.9

        Rapid Photo Download 0.9.0 is now stable, and available to download. The app, which makes mass importing photos and videos from SD cards, smartphones and USB devices easier, switches from GTK to Qt for this release. We reported on this change when we covered the beta release back in April.

      • Rapid Photo Downloader For Linux Switches From GTK To Qt

        Rapid Photo Downloader, the open-source software for Linux which its developer claims is “the Linux desktop’s best photo and video downloader/importer”, is out with a new release after two and a half years in development.

      • Release of Kube 0.3.1

        Kube 0.3.1 is out the door.

        Over the past months we’ve been working hard on turning Kube into something more useful than a pure techpreview, and while Kube 0.3.1 still isn’t anywhere near production ready, I can finally say that I can use it for most of my email needs.

        First, let’s get out of the way what doesn’t work just yet so you know what you can expect.

      • Release of KDav2 0.1.0

        I’m pleased to announce the release of KDav2 0.1.0.

        KDav2 is a KJob based DAV protocol implementation.

      • KDE’s Promising New Email App Has a New Release

        We mentioned KDE Kube, a promising KDE email and PIM suite, earlier this year — and we’re pleased to report that there’s a brand new release available for testing.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • New GNOME 3.26 Wallpaper (Sneak Peek)

        Holy geometric structure, batman! The new GNOME 3.26 wallpaper is up on GNOME Git — and it’s a bit of a departure from what’s gone before.

      • python-pkcs11 with the Nitrokey HSM

        So my Nitrokey HSM arrived and it works great, thanks to the Nitrokey peeps for sending me one.

      • fwupd 0.9.5 and new goodies

        I’ve just released the latest version of fwupd from the development branch.

      • Fwupd 0.9.5 Released With Logitech Support, Intel ME Version Querying

        Richard Hughes of Red Hat has announced the release of the fwupd 0.9.5 firmware update utility for the Linux desktop.

        In addition to bug fixes and other minor improvements, this release adds support for Logitech’s “DFU” protocol for updating devices like the K780 keyboard. This Logitech Linux firmware updating support comes thanks to the cooperation from Logitech itself.

  • Distributions

    • What Linux Distributions Can Teach about Rolling Releases

      More than anything, what the examples of Linux distributions shows is that rolling releases can be a useful alternative to point releases — but they are not for every user. Regardless of the release strategy used, testing and updating still needs to be done somewhere along the line. The difference is when they are done, the tactics for coordinating a distribution as a whole, and the intended users.

      A single Linux distribution can often choose one release method over another because the alternative is supplied by a related one. For instance, the long intervals between Debian releases is compensated for the fact that derivative point releases like Ubuntu occur regularly and more often, and rolling releases like Siduction are also available.

      In other software projects, a choice may be needed between a point and a rolling release, especially if the project is large. Yet even when the main strategy is chosen, other tactics are likely to be necessary to obtain some benefits of the other strategy, whether backports for point releases, or rollbacks for rolling releases. Such lessons should apply to other software as much as they do to Linux distributions and free software.

    • 50+ Best Lightweight Linux Distros for 2017

      With the feedback and requests we got from our Best Linux Distros for Gaming list, we had to do another list of the best lightweight Linux distros. Actually, some of them fit both our categories. Sure, there are other similar lists our there, but this one has up-to-date info and we’ve personally tried and tested (almost) every distro on our old laptops. It took us 7 months to compile this list and a few weeks to update it with new data! We’ve seen new lists that included distros with their latest update being in 2005. Come on, how is that distro still relevant and good in 2017? And don’t get us started on how each list is just a rehashed version of the same 5 distros. We purposefully included many distros in our list so you have more options to choose from. All distros are free and can run on ~512MB RAM or less. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just pick any distro.

    • New Releases

      • Zorin OS 12 Lite Is Here: One Giant Leap for Lite

        We’re excited to announce the release of the Zorin OS 12 Lite, the biggest leap forward in our lightweight operating system for old and low-spec computers.

        With Zorin OS 12 Lite, we have re-thought what the Zorin OS experience can be for low spec machines and computers as old as 14 years. We have built Zorin OS 12 Lite to be a more streamlined concentration of, not a reduction of, the original version, with the same simple user experience, running the same extraordinary apps.

      • Zorin OS 12 Lite Edition Released as the Biggest Leap Forward for the Distro Yet

        The Zorin OS developers are pleased to announce today the release and immediate availability of the Zorin OS 12 Lite operating system, the biggest leap forward for the lightweight distro designed for old and low-spec computers.

        Based on the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system and powered by the Linux 4.8 HWE kernel from Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak), Zorin OS 12 Lite introduces support for more hardware components, an extra layer of performance improvements, the latest security enhancements, and an updated user experience with up-to-date applications and a refreshed design.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Post-mortem: Extended Deployment time on June 30, 2017

        On June 30, 2017 we had an extended deployment time of roughly 45 minutes for our reference server because of a couple of problems with one of the data migrations. We implemented a new feature, user notifications via RSS, that included a migration of data in our database. This migration was broken, causing this deployment to go terribly wrong.

        The frontend team afterward met to do a post-mortem to identify the problems, solutions and possible take aways for the future. This is the first post-mortem meeting we held, hopefully but not likely the last. Here goes the report.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Life full-time at Red Hat

        I had been talking with my manager, Paul Frields, for some time about transitioning to full-time after college. Long story short, the timing so happened to work out that I could be brought on slightly before I’m officially done with college. To that end, I am planning to finish college out part-time from here on out. I still have to take an Ethics course to finish my computer science degree, and I still have some math classes left, for my math degree. I plan on going >= 6 credit hours per semester until I am done, however long that takes.

    • Debian Family

      • My Free Software Activities in June 2017

        My monthly report covers a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world. I write it for my donors (thanks to them!) but also for the wider Debian community because it can give ideas to newcomers and it’s one of the best ways to find volunteers to work with me on projects that matter to me.

      • Derivatives

        • Proxmox VE 5.0 released

          We are really happy to announce the general availability of Proxmox VE 5.0!

          This new major release 5.0 sets another milestone in the 9-year-long history of the open-source virtualization and container platform Proxmox VE, and also is the base for many new features to come within the Proxmox VE 5.x family.

        • Proxmox Virtual Environment 5.0 Released, Based on Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch”

          Proxmox VE (Virtual Environment) project leader Martin Maurer is pleased to announce today the release and immediate availability for download of the Proxmox VE 5.0 operating system.

          Based on the recently released Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system, Proxmox 5.0 “Virtual Environment” is here to introduce a bunch of new functionalities and under-the-hood improvements, and the biggest of them all is the implementation of a new Proxmox VE storage replication stack.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source is the most important motor for innovation

    Recently, during the OpenTechDay in Utrecht, I had the opportunity to share my passion for open source. Since I didn’t need to convince the open source audience, I decided instead to focus on the open source success story. How far have we come since the beginning and where are we going? I think we, as a community, should be proud of the huge success of open source and also its ability to capture the cloud.

  • GitHub’s Advice to ‘Ask What You Can Do for Open Source’

    On Saturday, the folks in Canada celebrated Canada Day, while today we here in the States are celebrating our Independence Day. Both countries celebrate with parades, fireworks and by eating too many hot dogs, and oddly enough, in the U.S. we include outdoor performances of the 1812 Overture — which celebrates the defeat of a Western nation by Russia. Go figure.

    Both holidays offer an opportunity to overindulge in national pride and to reflect on what it means to be a good citizen, which always evokes some variation on JFK’s advice to “ask what you can do for your country.” Of course, in this global world you might reword that to “ask what you can do for humankind.” The choice is yours.

    If you’re a developer — especially if you or your organization uses open source software — GitHub has a potential answer to the question JFK would have you ask. You can pledge time to contribute to open source projects. It won’t cost you anything but time, and you’ll get to use your skills for the greater good.

  • 7 ways to make better user-facing software

    Open source has been amazingly good at solving two sets of issues: 1) infrastructure and 2) developer tools. This is because those developers and users are basically the same people—the developer is an “insider” to the problem, understands it well, and is motivated to solve it. Hence, open source has worked extremely effectively using the “itch-to-scratch” model Eric Raymond discussed in his seminal work, The Cathedral and the Bazaar.

    However, open source has not performed well in the user-facing space, meaning software where the primary users are not developers or technicians. Consider that the internet runs on free software, but most desktop applications and platforms in the web space are closed. Where we need GUIs, we have largely failed. I think that’s because the user is not the same as the developer; the developer is an outsider to the problem and is developing a solution for someone else.

  • Baidu Enlists More Than 50 Companies For Open-Source Driverless Tech Project
  • Celebrate Independence Day with MC Frontalot’s nerdcore rap about free software vs open source

    Animator Chad Essley writes, “The new MC Frontalot (previously) nerdcore video is out for the 4th of July! Celebrate our nation’s hostility toward the British crown by listening to Front rap about internet arguments over Free Software!”

  • Events

    • Netfilter Workshop 2017: I’m new coreteam member!

      I was invited to attend the Netfilter Workshop 2017 in Faro, Portugal this week, so I’m here with all the folks enjoying some days of talks, discussions and hacking around Netfilter and general linux networking.

      The Coreteam of the Netfilter project, with active members Pablo Neira Ayuso (head), Jozsef Kadlecsik, Eric Leblond and Florian Westphal have invited me to join them, and the appointment has happened today.

    • POSSE Workshop at University of Bologna, Italy

      I attended Professors’ Open Source Software Experience, workshop at Bologna, Italy July 1-2, 2017. It was out of the box wonderful experience. Teacher’s in higher education are working so hard to bring students to HFOSS/FOSS. It was a great pleasure to meet very energetic and hardworking POSSEs’ organizers Heidi Ellis, Gregory Hislop, Stoney Jackson, and Gina Likins in person.

  • Web Browsers

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 6 Release Series

      The GNU project and the GCC developers are pleased to announce the release of GCC 6.4.

      This release is a bug-fix release, containing fixes for regressions in GCC 6.3 relative to previous releases of GCC.

    • GCC 6.4 Compiler Released
  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Volvo’s Driverless Cars Can’t Figure Out Kangaroos

    The Swedes, geniuses that they are, have long led the world in conquering the moose test. But here’s one thing they don’t seem prepared for: the kangaroo test.
    Volvo began looking into how autonomous vehicles would react when encountering animals over a year ago, and they noticed these marsupials a lot harder for computers to figure out than expected.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Today, On The NHS’s 69th Birthday, I Urge The Government To Reverse Cuts And Pay Staff A Salary They Deserve

      69 years ago, on this day in 1948, the NHS, our national treasure of which I am so proud, was born. Founded on the principle of free healthcare for all, regardless of wealth.

      I have been a nurse in the NHS for 35 years, and in that time I have worked thousands of shifts, treated countless patients and seen a lot of changes to our health service. As a nurse at Oxford University Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department, my job is often stressful, but I love what I do. The patients I have treated in the many years since becoming a nurse inspire and humble me. Every day I witness the strength of those living with cancer or facing major surgery, and do everything I can to support and treat them through their time in hospital. Nurses are specialists who run clinics, treat, admit and discharge. We are consultants, professors and educators, innovators, researchers and managers.

    • New WHO Director Tedros’s Opening Vision: People First

      His 3 July address, available here, began: “Let me start with the moral centre of our work, with this simple but crucial statement: WHO’s work is about serving people, about serving humanity. It’s about serving people regardless of where they live, be it in developing or developed countries, small islands or big nations, urban or rural settings. It’s about serving people regardless of who they are. Poor or rich, displaced or disabled, elderly or the youth. Most importantly, it’s about fighting to ensure the health of people as a basic human right. Health is a basic human right, that you fully understand.”

  • Security

    • GnuPG crypto library cracked, look for patches

      Linux users need to check out their distributions to see if a nasty bug in libgcrypt20 has been patched.

      The patch, which has landed in Debian and Ubuntu, is to address a side-channel attack published last week.

      The researchers published their work at the International Association for Cryptologic Research’s e-print archive last week. The paper was authored by David Bernstein, Joachim Breitner, Daniel Genkin, Leon Groot Bruinderink, Nadia Heninger, Tanja Lange, Christine van Vredendaal and Yuval Yarom (who hail variously from the Technical University of Eindhoven, the University of Illinois, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Maryland, and the University of Adelaide).

    • It’s time for the NSA to speak up about its stolen cyber weapons [Not just that; it should be held accountable, along with accomplices like Microsoft]

      After a global ransomware attack extending from Russia to the U.S. hit computer systems last week, security analysts quickly realized the perpetrators were using stolen cyber weapons that were part of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) arsenal — for the second time in just six weeks.

      While the NSA has yet to acknowledge publicly that their hacking tools have fallen into the wrong hands, at least one congressman asked them to take action. “As a computer science major, my long-term fear — which is shared by security researchers — is that this is the tip of the iceberg and many more malware attacks will soon be released based on NSA’s hacking tools,” Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., wrote in a letter to NSA Director Michael Rogers.

    • Linux malware: Leak exposes CIA’s OutlawCountry hacking toolkit
    • Security updates for US Independence Day
    • Reproducible Builds: week 114 in Stretch cycle
    • When Cyberweapons Go Missing
    • Kaspersky Lab row: Russian minister warns of blowback

      Russian Communications Minister Nikolay Nikiforov said in a Bloomberg interview that Russia was using a “a huge proportion of American software and hardware solutions in the IT sphere, even in very sensitive areas”.

      Microsoft and Cisco are said to be the American companies whose products have the highest usage in Russia.

    • Threats to Linux IoT devices on the rise [Ed: there are still puff pieces like these, citing Microsoft partner WatchGuard from Seattle, attacking perception of Linux security]

      Many of these devices, which often use old versions of Linux, have a default username and password which users often do not bother to change. Logging in with these credentials — which are easy to find on the Web — gives root access to the device in question.

    • Cybersecurity battleground shifting to Linux and web servers – report [Ed: another one of those; there have been half a dozen, mostly quoting the press release]
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Theresa May still refuses to publish report on Saudi Arabia funding of UK extremists

      Theresa May has been accused of burying a report about Saudi Arabian funding of Islamist extremism in the UK for fear it may damage relations with their ally.

    • My daughter was killed by Donald Trump’s botched drone attack in Yemen

      What to tell you? I was home with my family. We were sleeping. At about 1:30am, I heard shooting taking place. At the beginning, I thought it was a confrontation with the Houthis, or clashes between our tribes. (We are nomads and our houses are at spaced distance.) Anyway, after half an hour of clashes, aircrafts flew over and started to strike anywhere and kill anyone coming out of their house.

      I did not leave my house to the place where the shootings and confrontations took place, a few metres away. My family and I were inside and shootings and explosions continued. We did not imagine nor expect that it was a landing operation.

      During the operation, I heard strong explosions hitting the area and Apache planes striking homes and targeting everything mobile. Anyone, who tried to escape from their homes – whether a man, a woman or a child – were killed.

    • Behind China’s Sikkim aggression, a plan to isolate Northeast from rest of India

      The Siliguri Corridor, through the rail and road networks passing through it, feeds the primary military formations located in the North East which will counter China during a conflict. They also include the newly raised mountain strike corps. Experts think the road which China started building in the Doklam plateau will give it the capability to launch an overwhelming offensive during a conflict with India. This could strangle the corridor and cut off the North East from the rest of India. This would also lead to isolation of crucial military formations, cutting off supplies and reinforcements to them.

    • Indian bunker in Sikkim removed by China: Sources

      Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim.

      Beijing is also upset with New Delhi over the recent visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, the sources said, adding they were also trying to escalate tension in the forward areas, including in Sikkim, even though the border in the northeastern state is demarcated.

    • Amid Sikkim stand-off, China naval vessels ‘unusually’ active in Indian Ocean

      India has already been critical of China’s mega infrastructural project ‘One Belt One Road’ as one of its components called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

    • Suspicious bag causes evacuation at Manchester Airport Terminal Three

      An evacuation at Manchester Airport’s Terminal 3 is underway amid reports of a suspicious bag.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Hanoi plan to ban motorbikes by 2030 to combat pollution

      Hanoi – a city of five million motorbikes – is planning on banning the popular two-wheeled transport by 2030.

      The city council voted for the ban almost unanimously, hoping to unclog roads and reduce soaring levels of pollution.

      The council has also promised to increase public transport so that half the population are using it by 2013, instead of the current 12%.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Don’t laugh at Donald Trump sharing that CNN wrestling video: at its core it is violent, frightening and wrong

      It was bad enough that his toddler-esque tantrums were apparently deemed acceptable in the boardroom; that they can continue without sanction now he is President is simply astonishing.

    • UK Tory MP pleads not guilty to election fraud charges

      U.K. Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of making false declarations over his spending during the 2015 general election, Reuters reported.

      Mackinlay, who serves as a member of parliament for South Thanet, was charged with illegal election spending during the previous election. He beat Nigel Farage, the then leader of the Euroskeptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), in 2015 by 2,812 votes.

      Despite the ongoing investigation, Mackinlay was reelected in this year’s June snap election, increasing his majority to more than 6,000 votes. If Mackinlay is found guilty, a by-election in the seat is likely to follow.

    • On American Revolution

      My fellow U.S.-Americans, we’ve never had a revolution.

      It’s true that slaveowner Thomas Jefferson’s July 4, 1776 Declaration of Independence (DOI) articulated the revolutionary notion that the people have the right to dissolve a government that no longer serves their interests. But the “American Revolution” was a national independence movement led by wealthy landowners, slaveowners, and merchants who feared uprisings from below. They wanted more breathing space to develop further systems of racial oppression, territorial conquest, and class rule. For them national independence was required among other things to prevent social revolution. The last thing the nation’s wealth aristo-republican Founders wanted was a world turned upside down.

      One of the grievances the signers of the DOI raised against the British king was that “he has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.” Another purported sin of King George was that he “endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.” This vicious charge against the Native Americans was a total inversion of reality. It was the Euro-American invaders and settlers, not the Indigenous inhabitants, who practiced genocide.

    • Why the Koch brothers want to kill an obscure Senate rule to help shape the federal courts

      The influential donor network tied to billionaire Charles Koch is taking aim at a longstanding Senate tradition that allows Democratic senators to block judicial nominees from their states, as conservatives race to seize on one-party control of Washington to rapidly reshape the federal judiciary.

      Their target: The “blue-slip” process, which keeps judicial nominees from moving forward in Senate confirmation if a home-state senator raises an objection. Since Republicans hold a narrow 52-48 majority in the Senate, honoring the practice could give Democrats significant power to delay confirmation of President Trump’s nominees.

      “Having a home-state senator have the ability to slow down the process, in our opinion, doesn’t make sense under the Constitution,” Mark Holden, a top official in the Koch network, told USA TODAY. “If you look at why (President) Trump won, he wanted to change the culture of D.C. and what’s going on there.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Next iPhone might use 3D face-scanning tech instead of TouchID

      The next iPhone (the iPhone 7S, iPhone 8?), which is due to be released in September, might replace the TouchID fingerprint sensor with whole-face 3D scanning.

    • Congress Needs to End Warrantless Spying, Not Make It Permanent

      Lawmakers are getting serious about renewing the U.S. government’s Internet spying powers, so we need to get serious about stopping their bad proposals.

      First out of the gate is a bill from Sen. Tom Cotton, an ardent defender of government surveillance. His bill would not just reauthorize, but make permanent the expiring measure that the government says justifies the warrantless surveillance of innocent Americans’ online communications—Section 702, as enacted by the FISA Amendments Act. His bill (S. 1297) is supported by several Republicans in the Senate, including Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr and Sens. John Cornyn, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham.

    • Facebook’s Find WiFi will do the obvious in exchange for your location information

      Or, as we said earlier, you could find something else to do that doesn’t involve you sharing your personal information with a company in America that uses it for its own profit.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Could You Design A Worse Patent Reform Bill Than The STRONGER Patent Act By Senator Coons? Don’t Think So

      Except, of course, this is not an accurate description of patents at all. When patents are too “strong” they impede and hinder innovation. They slow down, limit, or outright kill important improvements and follow-on innovations. They work on the truly wrong concept that whoever comes up with an idea “first” is best able or equipped to actually successfully execute and bring things to market. They work on the assumption that less competition improves innovation when basically all evidence points in the other direction.

    • Copyrights

      • Council Of Europe Report On Copyright Exceptions And Limitations

        The intergovernmental Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg, France, has published a freely available report on exceptions and limitations to copyright. The report comes as a contribution to the ongoing process of reforming European copyright rules.

        The press release states: “The European Audiovisual Observatory, part of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, has published its latest IRIS Plus report: Exceptions and limitations to copyright, free to download here. This is a truly invaluable roadmap through the often complex landscape of exceptions and limitations to copyright in Europe.” The Council of Europe includes European Union members but is larger than the EU.

      • Hollywood Wants Governments to Push Voluntary Anti-Piracy Deals

        Hollywood’s MPAA sees voluntary anti-piracy agreements as a key element to fight cross-border piracy. The industry is already cooperating with advertisers and payment providers, but more can be done. Local governments could help to negotiate new deals with online intermediaries such as hosting providers, CDNs and search engines, the group suggests.

      • Steal This Show S03E04: ‘Re-Decentralizing The Net’

        Today we bring you the next episode of the Steal This Show podcast, discussing renegade media and the latest file-sharing and copyright news. In this episode, we talk to Ryan Shea, co-founder of Blockstack, a new decentralized Internet.

      • The BBC is shelling out $44 million to turn kids away from YouTube and Netflix

        The funding will go into making personalized online programs for kids, including video, live online program clips, vlogs, podcasts, quizzes, games and apps. According to the network, the programs will be made out of “bespoke commissioned content, re-purposed BBC Archive and third-party content from education/cultural bodies.” These features will go alongside traditional BBC kids television channels like BBC Bitesize, for education, and the hilariously named CBeebies, for ages six and under.

      • BBC publishes Annual Plan for 2017/18

07.04.17

Patent Lobbying by Patent Law Firms Down Under

Posted in Australia, Patents at 11:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

AJ Park and NSA

Summary: Lexology gives Griffith Hack, FB Rice, and AJ Park a platform for influence and marketing that strive to alter how patents are dealt with in New Zealand and Australia

A FEW DAYS ago we saw headlines about Apple “filing [patents] in Australia [for] all Aspects of Siri in Relation to Home Automation” (essentially software patents). We hadn’t lost sight of Australia, where software patents basically remained a problem.

“They just want to market themselves for software patents in the continent.”Recently we saw Griffith Hack, a law firm, alleging that “Australia’s Raising the Bar IP law reforms have created a system that makes oppositions quicker and delivers greater certainty.” The article about Australian patent oppositions is actually shameless self-promotion, as is typical from such sites. We have grown accustomed to that. This same site also published — we presume for a fee — shameless self-promotion from Australian patent law firm FB Rice, which has been pushing for software patents for quite some time [1, 2, 3]. “This is the first part of a two-part series and deals with the current state of software patents,” it said. “The second part will provide our prediction on where software patents will go in the future.”

They just want to market themselves for software patents in the continent. AJ Park, which operates in Australia and New Zealand (where software patents are effectively banned in spite of AJ Park’s heavy lobbying over the years [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]), is still at it, having published in that same site “Should innovation patents be kept?”

In our assessment, AJ Park has been one of the most villainous forces for software patents in New Zealand if not in Australia too. These firms need to be watched as their corrupting influence in policy is well documented.

Ignore So-Called Professional Advice From Patent Law Firms and Share Information

Posted in America, Patents at 11:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Science before profit

Science before profit

Summary: A roundup of patent news and supposed ‘advice’ from firms whose sole motivation is to increase the number of patents irrespective of patent quality and effects on science

THE US patent system is moving away from software patents (some attempts to revive these notwithstanding) and now is a good time to highlight bad advice from firms that profit from software patents — without actually writing a single line of code!

IdeaJam, which was last mentioned here 7 years ago (in the comments), has returned to the headlines [1, 2]. These people seem to be rebranding/reinventing themselves (and their company) as more of a “patent platform” which targets “startups” or “entrepreneurs” — even though these are often the most convenient target for trolling; they can’t afford or don’t have the incentive to legally defend themselves in court. “Oldenburg said the service protects users ideas,” according to one of those promotional articles, “by automatically privatizing and encrypting documents. Users can manage their privacy settings, and choose to share with certain collaborators. And unlike services like LegalZoom, which can help supply patent documents, Oldenburg said IdeaJam goes beyond that, connecting users with others who may be able to help build their business.”

Small businesses need to crowdsource and pool resources (the above articles speak of “crowdfunding”), not bicker over patents. But companies that are in the business of “patents” don’t want people to think that way…

About a month ago The Independent (UK) published this article titled “How a free-for-all on patents could help build a sustainable future” — a piece which encouraged publication of one’s ideas, asserting that a sharing economy works better. Here is a portion:

To sustain the the population of 9.7 billion expected by 2050 the world is going to need innovations that make careful use of available resources, both human and environmental. Key industry sectors such as energy, water, agriculture and transport are already under pressure to move to more sustainable methods of production and consumption. However, there are barriers in the way.

One of these lies in how the world manages the creation and ownership of inventions and ideas. The the protectionist approach to intellectual property, designed to protect and prolong the lifecycle of existing technologies and allow innovators to capture the profits from their creations.

The Independent expresses views that many people agree with. The patent microcosm, however, is very nervous about such a mindset. It might make the microcosm obsolete.

Consider this recent ad in the form of an ‘article’ by Elaine Bergenthuin, managing partner at De Beer Attorneys. “Why register or patent?” is the title and it’s more or less a placement from a patent law firm which profits from patent chaos, i.e. patent maximalism. Local press too publishes the habitual glorification of patents, typically software patents. Why is that? Why are these treated as trophies in spite of the ebbing/declining potency of such patents? Who’s hoping for software patents anyway? Certainly not software developers.

A lot of the advocacy of software patents continues to come from lawyers’ media with headlines such as “Is Software Patentable? Recent US Case Law Offers a Glimmer of Hope,” insinuating that such patents bring “hope” rather than desperation. Truth be told, parasitic firms like this author’s wish software developers to actually believe that they need software patents and that software patents still have merit; forth they come with totally meaningless statements like, “as inventors know, software can implement methods which are technical solutions to technical problems.”

That’s nonsense. It doesn’t even say anything. This is pure marketing. Here is another new example from lawyers’ media. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP says that “prohibition on patenting abstract ideas has been applied extensively to patents and patent applications on software and business methods.”

They basically oppose this, as one can expect. Elsewhere in the news we find this press release which says “Leonard has extensive technology leadership experience and is the co-inventor of four software patents.”

He cannot be “co-inventor of four software patents.” Because nobody “invents” a patent. People invent things and sometimes they pursue a patent, but the patent itself is not the invention.

The world desperately needs proper patent journalism. Right now we have the patent ‘industry’ writing or ghostwriting the news.

If the NSA Pursues Software Patents, Subsidised by Taxpayers, They Should be in the Public Domain, Not up for Licensing

Posted in America, Patents at 10:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software patents oughtn’t be permitted in the first place though

Not wittingly

Summary: Profit for private companies and tax on the public is “not wittingly” part of this latest patent scheme, which sees public investment turning into a monopoly

THE US patent system gives of plenty of reasons for optimism. Over the past few years, for example, software patents have been marginalised there; as we predicted, accompanying this trend would be the decline in abusive litigation primarily (but not exclusively) from patent trolls.

Once in a while we stumble upon news about patents that we cannot help remaking on. To give an example from today, the NSA, which is funded by taxpayers, is pursuing monopolies on surveillance, based on this report from WIPR. Shouldn’t that be in the public domain rather than up “for licensing”? We wrote about that before in relation to NASA patents, which had been fed to patent trolls [1, 2]. According to this new report, there are plenty of similarities; “According to the NSA,” it says, “the TTP creates partnerships between the agency and industry to ensure that the NSA’s investments in research find additional uses that will benefit the US economy.”

But the allusion to “licensing” implies there’s a cost to it. If the public paid for it, why can’t it be in the public domain? This should be obvious.

EPO Silent About EPO Strikes and Battistelli Leaving

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Anything to distract from the real news…

Summary: The staff has not been at work since Thursday (due to a strike) and Battistelli’s job is being offered to someone else, but the EPO says nothing about it (in fact, it actively distracts from it)

TECHRIGHTS has covered the EPO for about a decade and covered it very closely for the past three years (based on leaks from the inside). We generally know the EPO’s antics and tactics, including the milking of terror attacks, the distraction strategy, and the subversive (not to mention expensive) media strategy.

Not too long ago we mentioned Angola and Cambodia (with zero patents) being used by Battistelli for diversion from real news. Today it’s Malaysia, with 24 patents last year, and the Philippines with just 5 (for the sake of comparison, it’s 18,728 for Germany and 15,395 for Japan).

What does that help distract from? Battistelli is going. The vacancy for Battistelli's job was finally advertised as scheduled. The EPO says nothing about it; nothing even in the Twitter account or the announcements section (e.g. from the AC). Instead, the post was almost silently put online (the same is true for Kongstad when it became official he will have left by the end of September). The EPO keeps promoting just the puff piece/distraction from yesterday and then, instead of the important opening, there’s this new puff piece in the EPO’s own site (screenshot above so readers need not risk the tracking). Countries with almost no European Patents (EPs) are mentioned; anything to distract from a multi-day EPO strike? The page was filed under the “news” section, but it’s more like a press release with Battistelli’s name all over it, e.g.:

“We are pleased to launch these programmes with Malaysia and the Philippines, two important markets in the dynamic ASEAN region,” said EPO President Battistelli.

Don’t be misled by it. That’s not important news at all. It’s hardly even news. Deep inside a comments section from 4 months ago there’s the real news:

Praise The Lord, finally !

You seek a professional challenge ? you want to work to restore social peace in a toxic atmosphere, to bring back trust in management and foster team work over individual rat race, to restore product quality and the reputation of a damaged international organisation ? you respect in Fundamental Rights and negotiated solutions ? You respect the Rule of Law and social partners ? You want to make EPO staff proud again ?

This job is for you ! apply now

Another reaction to this:

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

IAM took note of the news yesterday, but only in its Twitter account; not a word in IAM’s site. At all! Not a single publication other than Techrights appears to have covered it. Why?

Battistelli will be gone in less than a year (staff is jubilant [1, 2, 3, 4]), but he leaves a legacy of patent trolls in Europe, which is reportedly a fast-growing problem if not an epidemic*. We wrote a great deal about it and gave some examples. Moreover, it’s not clear what kind of future the EPO will have after all the damage caused by Battistelli (likely irreversible). Some staff will never get their lives or their jobs back; some staff and former staff is literally dead (not just due to suicide) and ILO is incapable of handling its responsibilities — a subject to be covered in greater depth soon.

Many people have gone on holiday, so we expect to have more time for researching. Today, for example, we intend to focus a bit (and catch up with) the situation in the US patent office.
_____
* The other day IAM helped Carpmaels & Ransford LLP help patent trolls in the UK, by noting that “Birss’s detailed judgment has many implications for UK standard-essential patent litigation, and there are significant ways in which the guidance will affect future UK FRAND disputes.” We wrote about this case about half a dozen times before. Bristows repeatedly celebrated this and "brown-nosed" the judge.

Links 4/7/2017: Market Share Debate is Back, Libinput 1.8 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Stats [From Microsoft-Connected Firm] Say Linux Marketshare Hit All-Time High Last Month

    Desktop Linux marketshare hit an all-time high last month, according to the latest data from web analytics firm NetMarketShare.

    The company report that Linux users made up 2.36% of tracked visits to websites it tracks last month, the highest the Linux figure has ever been.

  • Why Linux Marketshare Stats Are Wrong

    Every few months, new statistics about Linux users on desktop platform come out. The methodologies used for each one varies according to its provider. However, they all share one thing: Being wrong.

    Measuring number of users who use a certain operating system on desktop is totally different thing from servers or other devices. E.g for web servers, you may have a list of static IP addresses which you can analyze and try to reach. You may check hosting companies or huge enterprises for additional data. Lot of methodologies can be used.

    However, for desktop. It seems like most statistics providers don’t have any scientific methodology to rely on so far. What they depend on is that they try to make partnerships with some famous advertising networks (which include thousands of websites) and try to analyze the visitors of those websites to provide them with data.

    Such methodology is so far from being accurate. This article tells you why.

  • Desktop

    • Pop!_OS Linux Distribution Unveiled By System76

      system76 has this week announced the October 2017 availability of a new Linux distribution in the form of the Pop!_OS which is currently in its Alpha development stage.

    • Introducing: Guy Tux

      Meet Guy Tux: the one who will pave the way to a powerful open source revolution. Follow Guy Tux through his revolt against proprietary corporations and supreme control over the maker in all of us.

    • Nine Most Privacy-Loving Laptops You Can Buy Today Got Stamped By FSF

      In an announcement made last week, FSF has certified 15 devices including laptops, Wireless cards, Bluetooth adapters, printers, etc. RYF was first materialized in 2012 and till now the number of devices to get a green signal can count on our fingers.

      The list now has a total of six laptops which can tap their back, as FSF thinks they won’t cause a dent in people’s personal lives and allow them to control every bit.

  • Server

    • Three New Open Source Container Utilities By Oracle

      With the three new tools- Smith, Crashcart and Railcar, the Oracle is helping development teams build and operate containers. The tools are designed to tackle containerization challenges commonly faced.

    • IBM Using Docker and Kubernetes to Enable Watson Cognitive Computing

      IBM’s Watson computing platform is helping to enable a new era of what IBM calls “Cognitive Computing” with its powerful processing and analytics capabilities. Looking beyond the physical hardware behind IBM Watson, it is Docker containers that are helping IBM to deliver Watson services.

      In a video interview with eWEEK, Jason McGee, VP and CTO for IBM cloud platform discussed the intersection of Watson and containers.

      “All the Watson services run in Docker containers,” McGee said. “So we’re running many tens of thousands of containers that are basically the internal implementation for all the Watson APIs the run on (IBM) Bluemix.”

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.12 kernel lands: ‘Go forth and use it’ quoth Linus Torvalds

      As anticipated last week, version 4.12 of the Linux kernel landed Sunday amid a storm of … well, placidity, as it happens.

      Linus Torvald’s release announcement is suitably low-key for something he expected to land without fuss. “Things were quite calm this week, so I really didn’t have any real reason to delay the 4.12 release”, he writes.

      The “just plain big” release has “also nothing particularly odd going on in the tree – it’s all just normal development, just more of it that usual.”

    • Linux Kernel 4.12 Released — These Are The 5 Biggest Features

      After the usual development process involving seven release candidates, Linus Torvalds has released Linux kernel 4.12. Regarding commits, probably, it’s the second biggest kernel release. The most significant feature of kernel 4.12 is the support for new AMD Vega graphics processors. You can go ahead and download the Linux kernel 4.12 tarball from kernel.org.

    • Massive Linux 4.12 kernel release brings AMD Vega support

      ATTENTION YOU ‘orrible lot! It is I, your leader, Colonel Kitten the Kernel Kitten.

      I have spent the last seven weeks as a sleeper agent awaiting instructions from Commander Torvalds. Which basically means I found a sunbeam on a window sill and no one shouted at me to move.

    • Linux Kernel 4.12 Released with BFQ, USB Type-C Manager, Much More

      Announcing the release on the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) Linus Torvalds says: “Things were quite calm this week, so I really didn’t have any real
      reason to delay the 4.12 release.”

      “As mentioned over the various rc announcements, 4.12 is one of the
      bigger releases historically.”

      He advises the mailing list recipients to “go out and use it.”

    • New UUID Subsystem For The Linux 4.13 Kernel

      The Linux 4.13 kernel will bring at least one new subsystem.

    • Heavy Staging Updates Submitted For Linux 4.13: 500+ Patches

      Greg KH has sent in the staging code updates for the Linux 4.13 merge window.

    • Linux 4.13 Adding Write Hints To Allow For Better NVMe Performance

      The block changes for the Linux 4.13 kernel include some interesting changes.

    • Mux Subsystem, Thunderbolt Updates Coming For Linux 4.13

      Greg KH has submitted pull requests of Linux 4.13 feature updates for the various subsystems he oversees, including the char/misc driver patches.

    • Hwmon Updates Submitted For Linux 4.13, Still No Ryzen/Epyc Temp Support

      The hwmon (hardware monitoring) subsystem updates have been submitted for Linux 4.13 and what’s sad about the pull request is what isn’t present.

    • Scheduler Improvements Set For Linux 4.13

      Scheduler improvements are en route for the Linux 4.13 kernel.

    • Linux just got one of its biggest kernel updates yet says Linus Torvalds

      Linux creator Linus Torvalds on Sunday announced the arrival of the Linux 4.12 kernel, which is notable for its size thanks to addition support for AMD’s new Radeon RX Vega graphics card.

      “Things were quite calm this week, so I really didn’t have any real reason to delay the 4.12 release,” wrote Torvalds.

    • Linux 4.12
    • GNU Linux-libre 4.12 Kernel Released, More Driver Deblobbing

      The GNU Linux-Libre 4.12 kernel is now available and is the sanitized version of the Linux 4.12 kernel to ensure no binary-only firmware blobs are loaded or used by this trimmed down Linux kernel.

      The GNU Linux-Libre kernel continues to focus on “deblobbing” drivers and removing support for the kernel from any drivers relying upon proprietary firmware/microcode files, even if it means reducing hardware support or functionality.

    • GNU Linux-libre 4.12-gnu is now available
    • Linux 4.12 Kernel Debuts New Schedulers in Big Release

      Linux creator Linus Torvalds officially released the Linux 4.12 kernel on July 2, providing improved capabilities that will help improve the scalability and performance of Linux operating systems.

      The 4.12 kernel is the third major Linux kernel release of 2017, following the April 30th Linux 4.11 kernel release. In his release announcement,Torvalds commented on the large size of the Linux 4.12 release.

    • Graphics Stack

      • [ANNOUNCE] libinput 1.8.0

        libinput 1.8 is now available. Only a bit of tidying up after the last RC,
        the only visible change for distributions is that the libinput debug-gui is
        now installed by default unless disabled.

        This is the last release off git master with autotools present, expect git
        master to be purged of autotools files very soon. The 1.8.x series will
        remain compatible with autotools.

      • Libinput 1.8 Released

        Peter Hutterer has released libinput version 1.8 for X.Org and Wayland systems as the generic input handling library.

      • Vulkan Support in Qt 5.10 – Part 3

        In the previous posts (part 1, part 2) we covered the introduction and basic Vulkan instance creation bits. It is time to show something on the screen!

      • AMD Vega FE reviews disappoint fans with humdrum gaming performance
      • AMD Radeon Vega Official Driver Support Comes To Linux Kernel 4.12

        All major Linux kernel releases carry a handful of special updates, but there are some that are still a lot more notable than others. Linux 4.12 is one of those kernels, with even Linus Torvalds stating that it’s one of the “bigger releases historically”. A big reason for that? Well, for starters, it include introductory AMD Radeon Vega support. This comes hot on the heels of AMD unleashing its Vega Frontier Edition to the world, and close to a month before the consumer variants launch at SIGGRAPH 2017 in Los Angeles.

      • libinput and pressure-based palm detection

        I (finally!) merged a patchset to detect palms based on pressure into libinput. This should remove a lot of issues that our users have seen with accidental pointer movement. Palm detection in libinput previously used two approaches: disable-while-typing and an edge-based approach. The former simply ignores touchpad events while keyboard events are detected, the latter ignores touches that happen in the edge zones of the touchpad where real interaction is unlikely. Both approaches have the obvious disadvantages: they’re timeout- and location-dependent, causing erroneous pointer movements. But their big advantage is that they work even on old touchpads where a lot of other information is unreliable. Touchpads are getting better, so it’s time to make use of that.

      • RADV Vulkan Driver Now Exposes INT64 Support

        The RADV Radeon Vulkan driver now has support for 64-bit integers with shaderInt64 capability now being set.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE at Asian FOSS conferences

        It feels great to say that KDE has active contributors across the globe. Two KDE contributors recently presented talks in Asia about their work and encouraged new contributors to join us and get started.

      • GSoC’17-Week #3
      • KIO Stash – Shipped!

        Selecting multiple files in any file manager for copying and pasting has never been a pleasant experience, especially if the files are in a non-continuous order. Often, when selecting files using Ctrl+A or the selection tool, we find that we need to select only a subset of the required files we have selected. This leads to the unwieldy operation of removing files from our selection. Of course, the common workaround is to create a new folder and to put all the items in this folder prior to copying, but this is a very inefficient and very slow process if large files need to be copied. Moreover Ctrl+Click requires fine motor skills to not lose the entire selection of files.

        This is an original project with a novel solution to this problem. My solution is to add a virtual folder in all KIO applications, where the links to files and folders can be temporarily saved for a session. The files and folders are “staged” on this virtual folder. Files can be added to this by using all the regular file management operations such as Move, Copy and Paste, or by drag and drop. Hence, complex file operations such as moving files across many devices can be made easy by staging the operation before performing it.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Lite Users Are the First to Get Linux Kernel 4.12, Here’s How to Install

      Not even a day after the release of the Linux 4.12 kernel, Linux Lite creator Jerry Bezencon announced today that users of his Ubuntu-based operating system can now install the new kernel version on their computers.

      The developer was quick to compile and optimize Linux kernel 4.12 for both 32-bit and 64-bit variants of his Linux Lite operating system, allowing users to install it on their existing installations with a straightforward command that you can find below. However, he warns users using the proprietary Nvidia graphics driver not to install the new kernel version.

    • New Releases

      • Rockstor Linux NAS Solution Now Offers Full Disk Encryption with LUKS

        Rockstor, the Linux- and Btrfs-based open-source storage operating system that supports features like CIFS/SMB, snapshots, and Copy-on-Write, has been updated recently to version 3.9.1.

        Rockstor 3.9.1 is the latest and most advanced version of the operating system, shipping with many improvements, under-the-hood optimizations, and some exciting new features like the ability to encrypt disk installations using LUKS and support for scheduling power management, and support for jumbo frames.

        “Disk encryption with LUKS is the biggest feature we’ve added and something the community has been wanting for a while. We’ve also added support for scheduling power management and jumbo frames just to name a few,” says Suman Chakravartula in the release announcement.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The July 2017 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the July 2017 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Highlights of YaST development sprint 37

        We got a bug report about YaST not responding when a very long package changelog was displaying in the package manager. It turned out that some packages have a huge change log history with several thousands entries (almost 5000 for the kernel-default package). That produces a very long table which takes long time to parse and display in the UI.

        The solution is to limit the maximum number of displayed items in the UI. You cannot easily read that very long text anyway, for such a long text you would need some search functionality which the YaST UI does not provide.

        Finding the limit, that magic number, was not easy as we want to be backward compatible and display as much as possible but still avoid that pathological cases with a huge list.

      • Fujitsu and SUSE unveil ‘SUSE Business Critical Linux’ support
      • Fujitsu & SUSE unveil Linux service – as global adoption & demand increases

        The Japanese information and communication technology giant Fujitsu has teamed up with SUSE to offer a new premium Linux service – SUSE Business Critical Linux.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • My free software activities, June 2017

        This is my monthly Debian LTS report. This time I worked on Mercurial, sudo and Puppet.

      • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, June 2017

        I was assigned 15 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative and carried over 5 hours. I worked all 20 hours.

      • My free software activities, June 2017

        This is my monthly Debian LTS report. This time I worked on Mercurial, sudo and Puppet.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Switching from Unity to Gnome-Shell: first challenges

            I work at Canonical, on the desktop team. The team works on Ubuntu Desktop, publishing a release every six months containing the fruits of our efforts — or at least those ones that are ready enough for real people to use.

            For the next release (out in October), we were given a big task. Switch the desktop environment from Unity to GNOME Shell. Make the switch as smooth as possible for our users, but at the same time respect upstream’s design decisions. That sounds like a good thing: if you are led by the upstream team, then there should be less to change downstream, right? This is something that the Ubuntu Desktop has had a reputation for in the past.

          • The Challenges In Ubuntu Switching To The GNOME Desktop

            While Ubuntu 17.10 daily ISOs have already transitioned to GNOME Shell by default, they are still working through refinements to the GNOME interface and user experience for suiting their preferences for the Ubuntu desktop and ensuring the users will enjoy GNOME on Ubuntu as the new default experience. Unity 7, meanwhile, will still remain within the Ubuntu archive for those wishing to install it atop Ubuntu 17.10.

          • Folder Color Now Works With More Icon Themes, Includes More Color Options

            A couple of weeks back we spotlighted Folder Color, a simple app that makes it easy to change folder color on Ubuntu.

            Great timing it turns out as the app has just picked up a brand-new release that adds support for more icon themes and includes more color options by default.

            The app is now able to work with any theme that ships with folder color options, like the La Capitaine icon set we recommended in our tutorial on how to make Ubuntu look like a Mac.

            If you long to color code your Home directories, add emblems to specific folders, or prioritize your work in traffic light color pockets, this app lets you.

          • AZLOGICA use Ubuntu Core for customised IoT agricultural solutions

            Shrimps are now considered as the most lucrative seafood product with demand growing from consumers due to their high nutritional value. This is reflected in the export figures with the two largest exporters of shrimps, Ecuador and India, seeing increases of 7.6% and 10.8% respectively in the first half of 2016. Due to their perishable nature, it is imperative for shrimp producers to maximise their profitability and reduce the risk of wasted stock either from theft, unfavourable weather conditions or a sub-optimal production environment – particularly with increasing demand and high revenue opportunities at stake.

          • How Canonical approaches the IoT market with Ubuntu Core

            The Internet of Things has enjoyed major growth in recent years, as more and more of the world around us gets smarter and more connected.

            But keeping all these new devices updated and online requires a reliable and robust software background, allowing for efficient and speedy monitoring and backup when needed.

            Software fragmentation has already become a significant issue across the mobile space, and may threaten to do so soon in the IoT.

          • Designing build.snapcraft.io

            In January, I was presented with a design challenge. Many open-source software developers use GitHub. Let’s make it as easy as possible for them to build and release their code automatically, as a snap software package for Ubuntu and other Linux systems. The result is now available to the world: build.snapcraft.io.

          • Canonical Design Team: June’s reading list
          • Snap Apps Now Appear as ‘Editor’s Picks’ in Ubuntu Software

            It’s now even easier to find Snap apps in Ubuntu Software. The latest stable update to Ubuntu Software in Ubuntu 17.04 (and up) ships with a number of Snap friendly improvements, including spotlighting a selection of Snap apps under the ‘Editor’s Picks‘ section on the home page of the software store app.

          • Ubuntu Developer Shares His Thoughts on the Unity to GNOME Shell Transition

            According to Ubuntu developer Iain Lane, the Ubuntu Desktop team over at Canonical, the company behind the popular Linux-based operating system, has a very big task to accomplish this year for the upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 release.

            As you are aware, Canonical and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth decided to stop the development of the Unity 8 desktop environment, along with the company’s Ubuntu Phone/Tablet and Convergence visions, as well as to no longer support its Unity 7 interface in future Ubuntu releases.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • How to turn Kubuntu into a perfect desktop

              Here’s a little wannabe guide. Shiny, happy, full of adjectives and superlatives but no laxatives. With a good reason. I’m psyched, and this without ingesting any chemicals. The reason being, the very recent Kubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus is a mighty good little distro, and I’m pleased to actually be using it on a daily basis, something that hasn’t happened with KDE for at least 5-6 years.

              To commemorate this revolutionary moment, we have this little pimping guide, akin to my many other pimping guides, which should help you make your Kubuntu into a mean, lean productivity machine. Let’s see what you can or should do. Voluntary, optional and fun.

            • Download Links for Linux Mint 18.2 “Sonya”

              Linux Mint 18.2 “Sonya” has been released at Sunday 02 July 2017. This including Cinnamon, MATE, XFCE, and KDE editions. I show here download links as well as torrent links, plus some mirrors, release notes links, and of course the checksum table. Enjoy this user-friendly GNU/Linux OS and share it with your friends. You can download them all right now!

            • Linux Mint 18.2 out now and ready for download
            • Linux Mint 18.2 arrives: Here’s what to look out for
            • Linux Mint 18.2 released
            • Linux Mint 18.2 ‘Sonya’ Released: Download Cinnamon, KDE, Xfce, And MATE Editions Now
            • Linux Mint 18.2 ‘Sonya’ Ubuntu-based distro is here with Cinnamon, Mate, KDE, and Xfce

              Another day, another distro! Today, Linux Mint 18.2 achieves stable release. While the usual desktop environments, Cinnamon and Mate, are available immediately, so too are both KDE and Xfce. It is nice to see all four of these flavors released at once, as sometimes the Mint Team opts to stagger them.

              Code-named “Sonya,” this operating system is based on Ubuntu 16.04 which is a long term support version. This means Linux Mint 18.2 will be supported until 2021. The kernel is fairly modern at version 4.8. To further highlight the continuing death of optical media, the excellent Brasero is no longer being included by default.

            • Linux Mint 18.2 Cinnamon: Quick Screenshot Tour

              Linux Mint is one of the operating systems that release the new versions regularly. However, dislike Ubuntu and Fedora releases, Linux Mint only releases “when ready”, more like the Debian operating system.

              The most recent release of Linux Mint was named Sonya and has the version number 18.2. This is the third release in the Linux Mint 18 series that is based on Ubuntu 16.04. It saw the light on the 2nd of July 2017.

            • Linux Mint 18.1 Users Can Now Upgrade to Linux Mint 18.2 “Sonya,” Here’s How

              He promised that it would be only a matter of days until the upgrade path to the recently released Linux Mint 18.2 “Sonya” operating system is open to users of Linux Mint 18.1 “Sarah,” and today Clement Lefebvre made an official statement.

              Linux Mint 18.2 “Sonya” launched the other day for all its officially supported flavors, including Cinnamon, MATE, KDE, and Xfce, and while it was made available for download to those who wanted to reinstall or deploy the operating system on new computers, the upgrade path from Linux Mint 18.1 wasn’t open.

            • How to upgrade to Linux Mint 18.2

              It is now possible to upgrade Linux Mint 18 and 18.1 to version 18.2.

              If you’ve been waiting for this I’d like to thank you for your patience.

              Upgrading to 18.2 is relatively easy.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ars spends too much time trying to work in Haiku, the BeOS successor

    And it started with such promise, too. Haiku, the open-source successor to the late and lamented BeOS—that late, lamented operating system of the 1990s developed at Apple refugee Jean-Louis Gassée’s Be Inc. BeOS was intended to compete with the “classic” Apple MacOS and with Microsoft Windows; by 1996, Gassée was jockeying to get Apple to acquire his company and make BeOS the basis of the next-generation Macintosh operating system. But then along came some guy named Steve Jobs, with a company called NeXT. And the rest, as they say, is history. Be Inc. was eventually acquired by another doomed company (Palm) and dissolved.

    Haiku (initially “OpenBeOS,” but changed because of copyright assertions by Palm) was launched in 2001 to create an operating system that was binary-compatible with applications written for the ill-fated BeOS. It uses the same C++ API as BeOS, but it is a re-implementation of that API, so it shares virtually none of the code of the original BeOS. As it has evolved, Haiku has taken two diverging roads: a 32-bit version that retains backward compatibility, and a 64-bit version that is more forward-looking but breaks backward compatibility because of compiler issues. That’s because the 32-bit version, (like BeOS before it, is based on Gnu Compiler Collection (GCC) 2.

  • Goodbye To Bob Chassell

    It’s fortunately more common now in Free Software communities today to properly value contributions from non-developers. Historically, though, contributions from developers were often overvalued and contributions from others grossly undervalued. One person trailblazed as (likely) the earliest non-developer contributor to software freedom. His name was Robert J. Chassell — called Bob by his friends and colleagues. Over the weekend, our community lost Bob after a long battle with a degenerative illness.

  • The problem with software before standards

    By any measure, the rise of open source software as an alternative to the old, proprietary ways has been remarkable. Today, there are tens of millions of libraries hosted at GitHub alone, and the number of major projects is growing rapidly. As of this writing, the Apache Software Foundation hosts over 300 projects, while the Linux Foundation supports over 60. Meanwhile, the more narrowly focused OpenStack Foundation boasts 60,000 members living in more than 180 countries.

    So, what could possibly be wrong with this picture?

    What’s missing is enough awareness that, while open source software can meet the great majority of user demands, standing alone it can’t meet all of them. Worse yet, too many members of the open source community (business leads as well as developers) have no interest in making use of the most appropriate tools available to close the gap.

  • Why can’t we have the Internet of Nice Things? A home automation primer

    This is where Home Assistant comes into play. Home Assistant is an open source home automation hub that can be installed on a variety of devices—from full Linux systems, to some network-attached storage (NAS) environments, or even a Raspberry Pi. The project made great early decisions, such as writing in Python, which has made it easy for hundreds of people to add device support to the platform. The UI is based on Polymer, the Google library implementing the Web Components standard, so it looks clean and attractive out of the box. The internal state and event model are clean, which makes automating interactions between different components easy.

  • MuleSoft Announces Open Source API Console v4

    I am excited to announce a new version of our open source API console. The 4.0 release comes with a completely new and responsive UI, improved capabilities for trying out your API, and additional tools to integrate automated builds into your CI/CD pipeline.

  • Events

    • Looking back at the history of dgplug and my journey

      During a session of the summer training this year, someone asked about the history of DGPLUG and how I started contributing to it. The story of the dpglug has an even longer back-story about my history with Linux. I’ll start with there, and then continue with the story of dgplug.

    • Cockpit Virtual Hackfest Wrapup

      Last week a bunch of us met up in Karlsruhe in Germany to work on virtual machines support in Cockpit. We had some specialists there who helped us get up to speed with VMs. Tons of pull requests opened, designs put together. Some of the changes are already merged and released in Cockpit 144.

      Marek helped all of us understand how Redux stores and models data. The oVirt folks are using Redux a lot in front end code and want to be able to share code. Marius managed to reconcile Redux with our dialog and promise code.

    • The linux.conf.au 2018 CFP is open

      The call for presentations for the 2018 linux.conf.au event is now open. “linux.conf.au is one of the best-known community driven Free and Open Source Software conferences in the world. In 2018 we welcome you to join us in Sydney, New South Wales on Monday 22 January through to Friday 26 January.” The submission deadline is August 6.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Kids Coding: Simple Java

      I recently got my son (9) started on “real” programming with text files and the command line. Here are some notes about that. It’s still early in this experiment so I can’t claim that it’s a great idea, but its kind of working so far. There are so many web sites and product to get kids started in programming, but very little to move them past the basics into something more expansive. They risk getting obsessed but not then staying obsessed.

      I learned programming because that is what you did with computers when I was a child. I kept learning programming because I could make the computer do new and interesting things. The problem now is that computers do amazing things without any programming and it requires massive experience and effort to achieve equally impressive results. So we must create a simpler environment which lets the child feel good about creating and understanding something more straightforward. It should be a path to real programming, not another island in a chain.

    • Java 9 gets go-ahead but Red Hat abstains from vote

      Oracle has confirmed the release date for the new Java 9 platform, with September 21 named as the day that developers can finally get their hands on the much anticipated update.

      Previously Oracle had struggled to get Java 9 approved by the Java Community, with members including IBM having concerns regarding compatibility with the new modular system. However, this most recent vote secured approval for Oracle, with all members of the community process voting “yes” for the platform – apart from Red Hat who chose to abstain from the vote.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Book review: ‘OPEN’ explores broad cultural implications of openness

      What he found online wasn’t a group of self-pitying people or folks sharing dubious “cures.” Instead, Price discovered individuals coming together to form communities to share diagnoses, information, tips, and support. The experience led Price to further explore open—what it is and what it means. The result of that exploration is OPEN, a look at “how we’ll work, live, and learn in the future.”

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Winamp’s woes: How the greatest MP3 player undid itself

    MP3s are so natural to the Internet now that it’s almost hard to imagine a time before high-quality compressed music. But there was such a time—and even after “MP3″ entered the mainstream, organizing, ripping, and playing back one’s music collection remained a clunky and frustrating experience.

    Enter Winamp, the skin-able, customizable MP3 player that “really whips the llama’s ass.” In the late 1990s, every music geek had a copy; llama-whipping had gone global, and the big-money acquisition offers quickly followed. AOL famously acquired the company in June 1999 for $80-$100 million—and Winamp almost immediately lost its innovative edge.

  • Science

    • Aztec tower of skulls turns out to be no myth

      An ongoing excavation in the heart of Mexico City, once the great Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, has revealed a legendary tower inlaid with hundreds of skulls. This tower was first described by Europeans in the early 16th century, when a Spanish soldier named Andres de Tapia came to the city with Hernan Cortez’ invading force. In his memoirs, de Tapia described an “edifice” covered in tens of thousands of skulls. Now his account is corroborated by this historic find.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • More UK nurses and midwives leaving than joining profession

      More nurses and midwives are leaving the profession in the UK than joining it, for the first time since 2008, figures show.

      The number registered in the UK fell by 1,783 to 690,773, in the year to March.

      The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said the downward trend had been most pronounced among British workers. Many leavers cited working conditions.

      But the government said there were now 13,000 more nurses working in hospitals in England than in 2010.

    • World’s Most Effective HIV Drug Rolled Out In Africa In Generic Version

      On 28 June, the government of Kenya and drug pricing and innovation mechanism Unitaid unveiled the new first-line drug in an effort to accelerate access to better antiretroviral (ARV) drugs for her people living with HIV. It becomes the first country in Africa to introduce the generic version of drug.

  • Security

    • Linux: A Hacker’s Preference

      Even though other types of operating systems also have their advantages, the needs of a person will vary from one point to the other.

      In brief, factors that can determine the type of OS a person will use are similar to age demographics or job descriptions.

      And for this reason, you usually won’t find a hacker using Windows, as it limits their activities because the OS isn’t open source.

    • NFS and Samba Explored – Unleaded Hangout

      Which is best and which file sharing method does the crew from the Hangouts use? We explore! Plus, Hangouts decides that I’m not yellow today! FTW! Also, for our $3 and up Patreons, the audio RSS feed is out of the oven and ready!

    • WikiLeaks reveals CIA targeting Linux users with OutlawCountry malware
    • WikiLeaks reveals CIA malware for hacking Linux computers
    • Security updates for Monday
    • Let’s Encrypt Has Issued 100 Million Certificates

      This evening, the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority issued its hundred millionth digital certificate. This is a remarkable milestone in just a year and a half of public operation; Let’s Encrypt is likely now either the largest or second-largest public CA by volume of certificates issued.

      Let’s Encrypt was created by Mozilla, the University of Michigan, and EFF, with Cisco and Akamai as founding sponsors, and is operated by the Internet Security Research Group, a non-profit organization. (See also the thoughts of Josh Aas, ISRG’s executive director, on reaching this milestone.)

      Free certificates from Let’s Encrypt allow web sites to offer secure HTTPS connections to their users, protecting the privacy and security of those connections against many network-based threats. EFF continues to help develop the Boulder software that Let’s Encrypt uses internally, as well as Certbot, Let’s Encrypt’s recommended software for obtaining and installing certificates on web servers.

    • Linux Bug Gets Squashed Two Years After Being Introduced

      The cycle in which ideas turn into software is getting shorter and shorter. By and large, this is a good thing as new functions are delivered to users faster than ever before. But one of the consequences is software bugs are introduced and sometimes missed. I suspect part of the reason is testing cycles are being squeezed. This is part of the root cause, I think, as to why a two year old bug was introduced into Linux.

    • Malicious ReplyTo
    • Is it Time to Can the CAN-SPAM Act?

      The “CAN” in CAN-SPAM was a play on the verb “to can,” as in “to put an end to,” or “to throw away,” but critics of the law often refer to it as the YOU-CAN-SPAM Act, charging that it essentially legalized spamming. That’s partly because the law does not require spammers to get permission before they send junk email. But also because the act prevents states from enacting stronger anti-spam protections, and it bars individuals from suing spammers except under laws not specific to email.

    • AA downplays breach that exposed details of more than 100,000 customers

      Car insurance outfit the AA has suffered a major data breach that has exposed the personal information – including partial credit card data – of more than 100,000 customers.

    • The AA Exposed Emails, Credit Card Data, and Didn’t Inform Customers

      However, an exposed server contained sensitive information on over 100,000 AA customers, in many cases including partial credit card data, according to a database obtained by Motherboard. Judging by interviews with victims, the AA never directly informed affected customers either, even though the company says it knew about the breach in April.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Norway to ban the use of oil for heating buildings by 2020

      The Scandinavian country, which is the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas outside the Middle East, will wholly stop the use of both oil and paraffin to warm buildings from 2020 onwards.

      The country, which hopes to ban the sale of all fossil fuel-based cars by 2025, has made a concerted effort to introduce policies which shrink domestic emission of greenhouse gases.

    • Global drop in wildfires results in lower emissions but threatens life on the savannah – Cosmos

      The number of bush and grass fires across the globe has declined by almost a quarter in less than two decades – but that’s not necessarily all good news.

      Using data from several satellites gathered over the past 18 years, researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in the US state of Maryland, found the total area burnt each year has dropped by about 24%.

  • Finance

    • Three things about Brexit

      Since the referendum vote last summer for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, three things have become apparent.

      First, Brexit will be complex, not simple.

      Second, the UK government is not (or is not currently) equal to the task of Brexit.

      Third, regardless of the difficulties, the UK government is in any case making it worse for itself, to the extent it seems almost that it is self-sabotaging the whole process.

    • Government home ownership schemes most likely to help the rich, report warns

      Government schemes designed to help more people get on the UK housing ladder have little impact on improving social mobility as better-off buyers are most likely to benefit from the support, a report has found.

      Research by the Social Mobility Commission reveals that many low-cost home ownership schemes are beyond the reach of almost all families on average earnings, prompting warnings that the UK housing market is “exacerbating inequality and impeding social mobility”.

      Those benefiting from low-cost home ownership schemes, such as Help to Buy, earn more than one and a half times the national working age median income, according to the findings.

    • How the student loan industry is helping Trump destroy american democracy

      However, the untold story of student loan debt in the United States is that it is being used as a form of economic terrorism designed not only to redistribute wealth from everyday Americans to the elite, but to undermine and degrade American democracy as a whole.

    • Tom Friedman Mourns a Trade Deal He Doesn’t Understand

      This is, of course, wrong. First, and most importantly, all the provisions on items like human trafficking, child labor and trading in endangered wildlife depended on action by the administration. In other words, if the TPP had been approved by Congress last year, we would be dependent on the Trump administration to enforce these parts of the agreement. Even the most egregious violations could go completely unsanctioned, if the Trump administration opted not to press them. Given the past history with both Democratic and Republican administrations, this would be a very safe bet.

      In contrast, the provisions on items like violations of the patent and copyright provisions or the investment rules can be directly enforced by the companies affected. The TPP created a special extra-judicial process, the investor/state dispute settlement system, which would determine if an investor’s rights under the agreement had been violated.

      Friedman also bizarrely seems to be claiming that increased intellectual property restrictions will benefit US workers. These forms of protectionism (yes, folks, patent and copyright protection are protectionism—even if you like them) are directly antithetical to the interest of most US workers. It means that foreign countries will pay more money to Microsoft for its software and Pfizer for its drugs. This means that they will have less money to buy US manufactured goods. This is pretty straight and simple economics; in other words, way over the head of Thomas Friedman. (He wrongly uses the term “free trade” in reference to the TPP four times. This is a propaganda term used to sell the deal. It is not accurate, since the increased protections in the pact likely more than offset the tariff reductions in the deal.)

    • Brexit: Remain would win if new EU referendum vote were held tomorrow, poll finds

      The outcome of the Brexit referendum would be reversed if it was held tomorrow, a poll suggests.

      The Survation survey showed a clear majority of Britons (54 per cent) would vote to Remain in the European Union if another referendum was held, while 46 per cent would back Brexit.

      As Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom signalled a more consultative approach, the Survation survey also showed just over half want a cross-party coalition of parties to negotiate the UK’s exit from the EU, compared to less than a third who think it should fall to the Tory minority Government alone.

    • Brexit: Minister appointed to negotiate Britain’s withdrawal wants European Union ‘wholly torn down’

      In a speech to a right-wing think tank, minister Steve Baker said the EU should be “wholly torn down”, before branding it an “obstacle” to world peace and “incompatible” with a free society.

      Tory MPs warned Mr Baker’s appointment could now risk the UK’s ability to secure good Brexit terms, while Labour said it was “extraordinary” and raised a major question about the Prime Minister’s judgement.

    • Donald Trump considers dropping heating benefit to leave low-income Americans out in the cold

      The summer air is sizzling as the Fourth of July approaches, yet 86-year-old Richard Perkins already worries about how he’s going to stay warm this winter.

      President Donald Trump has proposed eliminating heating aid for low-income Americans, claiming it’s no longer necessary and rife with fraud. People needn’t worry about being left in the cold, he says, because utilities cannot cut off customers in the dead of winter.

    • Bank of England steps up scrutiny of lenders

      The Bank of England is stepping up its scrutiny of banks and other lenders on credit cards, personal loans and car purchases amid fears they are being lulled into a false sense of security by the current economic backdrop.

      Threadneedle Street is writing to the firms it regulates after reviewing the consumer credit sector, where lending is growing at 10.3% a year – outpacing the 2.3% rise in household income.

      The bank is calling on firms to look at the terms under which they are granting 0% balance transfers on credit cards and the basis on which they are issuing personal loans, and to consider the impact of a fall in value of a car when providing vehicle finance.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • A Cry of Defiance and Not of Fear for July 4th: Impeach!
    • The Hackers Russia-Proofing Germany’s Elections

      This wasn’t just a prank. The hackers, several of them associated with the Hamburg collective known as the Chaos Computer Club, or CCC, also proved they could manipulate votes that the computers had recorded. As a result, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court struck down the nation’s use of voting computers, citing CCC by name in its ruling. Oh, and this was in 2006.

    • We now have a climate change sceptic in charge of environment, a man who hates Europe in charge of Brexit, an NHS enemy in charge of health and a PM who hates human contact

      I’m not a politician. I’m barely a pundit. I’m a taxpayer. I’m a dad. I’m an immigrant. I’m someone who lives in the UK, in the British countryside, and commutes into an area recently targeted in a terror attack. I’m writing this post because a baffled and frustrated Facebook status update I published piqued the interest of the comment editor, and so here we are.

      With that said, I’m wondering if others share my bafflement by some of the appointments made to the cabinet following the election.

      We now have a health secretary who is hated by (and seems to want to privatise) the health service, an environment secretary who once tried to remove climate change from the curriculum, a Brexit secretary who hates Europe, a home secretary who is indifferent to civil liberties, and a prime minister who dislikes human contact, and will seemingly sign a deal with literally anyone to preserve her tenuous hold on power.

    • U.S. no longer a ‘friend’ in Merkel election program

      In their campaign program for the German election, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives have dropped the term “friend” in describing the relationship with the United States.

      Four years ago, the joint program of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), referred to the United States as Germany’s “most important friend” outside of Europe.

      The 2013 program also described the “friendship” with Washington as a “cornerstone” of Germany’s international relations and talked about strengthening transatlantic economic ties through the removal of trade barriers.

    • Trump’s name to be scrubbed from high-rise building in Toronto

      The Trump name is to be scrubbed from the Toronto skyline after the new owner of a high-rise hotel and condo development reportedly paid millions of dollars to Donald Trump’s company to break off a branding contract.

      The US firm JCF Capital said on Tuesday that it had reached a deal with Trump Hotels to buy out its management contracts. While the Toronto hotel, which opened in 2012, was not owned by Trump, contracts inked with the building’s developer, Talon International Development, saw the project license the Trump brand and managed by a Trump-owned company.

    • Foisting Blame for Cyber-hacking on Russia

      Cyber-criminal efforts to hack into U.S. government databases are epidemic, but this ugly reality is now being exploited to foist blame on Russia and fuel the New Cold War hysteria, reports Gareth Porter.

    • Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?

      The plan for Democrats to run against Russia may be falling apart.

      After squandering much of the last six months on faulting Russians for the horrific presidency of Donald Trump…

      After blaming America’s dire shortfalls of democracy on plutocrats in Russia more than on plutocrats in America…

      After largely marketing the brand of their own party as more anti-Russian than pro-working-people…

    • Should Media Expose Sources Who Lied to Them?

      If an anonymous source knowingly and maliciously feeds a media outlet false information, should they continue to be granted anonymity? If media continue to protect the deceptive source’s identity, doesn’t that ensure the continuance of a disinformation conveyor belt?

    • Donald Trump has made conspiracy theories great again

      Donald Trump’s political career was birthed of a conspiracy theory: The much-debunked idea that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

      Trump, beginning around 2011, seized on the issue — which had been percolating in the fever swamps on the far right since Obama won — and used it to cast himself as the lone voice among conservatives willing to stand up to Obama (and political correctness).

    • If Trump tries a ‘sneak’ visit to Britain, he’ll see how much he is despised

      Donald Trump was keen, it is said, to be driven in the Queen’s gold-plated carriage down the Mall to Buckingham Palace during his state visit to the UK. He fancied having tea with Kate Middleton and a tour of the Churchill rooms. And golf of course. Such a visit has been postponed because it would cause such massive protests and policing problems. Despite Theresa May and Trump’s fumbled hand-holding, he is not welcome here. So unwelcome that if he wants to come, it will be a “sneak” visit. Yes, this is on the cards.

      After he attends the G20 summit in Hamburg this week, before Bastille day on 14 July, for which he may be in France, there is a gap in his diary, and there are expectations he may use that time to visit Scotland. He would have to give 24 hours’ notice, and there would be a low-key meeting with May.

      So if he is not lauded on the streets of London, he will have to be protected from the public if he wants to visit his golf courses in Scotland. This is the unbelievable reality of the American president, and like most things to do with Trump, it seems frighteningly unreal. As the gap between Trump’s self-image and how he is seen by others grows ever wider, this gulf becomes a dark and dangerous place full of fantasies of violence, vengeful and malevolent.

    • Apollo 11 hero Buzz Aldrin looks bemused as Donald Trump gives speech about space

      Donald Trump was flanked by world-renowned astronauts as he signed an executive order re-launching America’s National Space Council.

      He was joined at a press conference by David Wolf, Benjamin Alvin Drew and, most famously, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin – the second man on the moon.

      But, as President Trump made a somewhat vague speech about the importance of exploring space, Mr Aldrin failed to conceal his bewilderment.

      As the President took to the stand, he said: “We are going to lead again like we have never led before.

    • The Tories must rein in Rupert Murdoch and block the Sky deal

      Rupert Murdoch wields enormous power through his global network of media companies, particularly in Australia, the US and the UK. He’s adept at leveraging commercial dominance to win political influence, which leads to the removal of legislative or regulatory barriers to further expansion. It’s a tested formula, but it’s hard to discern how the rest of us benefit. What a pleasant surprise it would be to see his ceaseless expansion thwarted. I’m not holding my breath.

      The culture secretary’s statement that she’s minded to refer Fox’s bid for Sky to the Competition and Markets Authority is no surprise. But Theresa May’s secret meeting with Murdoch in New York last year makes me worry we are about to see another Murdoch stitch-up that Karen Bradley may be powerless to stop. The pattern of behaviour has become familiar. A Murdoch company offers concessions – in this case guaranteeing the autonomy of Sky News by creating a separate editorial board; the government insists they don’t go far enough; the company returns with another proposal; the government waves the deal through.

    • Donald Trump accused of ‘running scared’ over plan to sneak into UK with 24 hours’ notice to dodge protests

      Donald Trump has been accused of running scared after it emerged that he could visit the UK in a matter of weeks with as little as 24 hours’ notice, to prevent people from organising protests.

      Columnist and co-founder of Stop Trump Coalition Owen Jones said: “Donald Trump is so cowardly he thinks he can sneak into the country to avoid protests.

      “We have to prove him wrong. We’re asking Britain to be on standby to take to the streets with just hours’ notice if necessary.”

    • Chris Christie boldly soaks up rays on beach he shut to public

      Even for a US state governor with six months left in office and an approval rating of just 15%, it was an unusually bold move.

      First, you order a government shutdown that closes all state parks and beaches on the eve of the 4 July holiday weekend.

      Then you take a police helicopter to the coast and spend a good chunk of Sunday soaking up the rays with your family on a pristine stretch of sand that – thanks to your order – you have entirely to yourselves.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • As online defamation cases grow, cartoonists face self-censorship and rejection

      TERRORISM, armed conflict, drug trafficking and child soldiers. These are some of the subjects that Myanmar cartoonist Maung Maung Phaung Tain gets nervous about.

      He wasn’t always so worried, but a spike in online defamation cases under the current National League for Democracy government has put him on edge.

      The number of cases has increased since the NLD came to power in March 2016, raising concerns about a chilling effect on freedom of expression in Myanmar.

    • Germany’s €50m fines for social media companies threaten freedom of speech, experts warn

      German politicians have voted in favour of fines of up to €50m for social media companies that regularly fail to swiftly remove illegal content from their platforms.

      The new law comes into force in October and compels firms such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook to take down obviously criminal material within 24 hours and to assess content that is not clearly unlawful within seven days.

    • Parachinar and censorship

      How, for one, is it acceptable that for 7 days, the Pakistani electronic media blatantly refused to cover mass protests in the aftermath of an attack that targeted and killed nearly a 100 Shia Turis and constituted the seventh such attack in Parachinar in just 6 months? Perhaps it is unreasonable to expect basic human empathy for the victims by media moguls, but surely our ratings-obsessed television channels could have thought it worth their while to cover non-stop protests by thousands? Some of course chose self-censorship; but the fact that some committed journalists were turned away at the gates of Kurram Agency only deepens the suspicion that state censorship was involved. The reason protestors were able to get their voices across to the civilian and military leadership was their use of social media to circumvent the mainstream media blackout.

    • Theresa May compared to ‘Chinese dictator’ by her own extremism watchdog over online crackdown

      Theresa May has been compared to a Chinese dictator by her own counterterrorism watchdog, over her online extremism crackdown.

      The Prime Minister plans to fine technology firms including Google and Facebook if they ‘don’t do enough’ to prevent extremist content being shared on their platforms.

      Max Hill QC was appointed by the government as independent reviewer of terrorism legislation in February.

      But he hit out at May’s policy of imposing financial penalties on tech companies if they don’t do enough to combat online hate.

    • Watchdog likens May’s internet fines threat to Chinese censorship

      The terrorism legislation watchdog has likened Theresa May’s proposals to punish companies such as Facebook and Google for failing to tackle extremist propaganda to China’s strict regime of internet censorship.

      Max Hill QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said internet companies should be “brought firmly onside” rather than threatened with fines.

    • LiveJournal’s Goat Mascot Is Back to Protest the Site’s Russian Censorship

      The Russian-owned blog community LiveJournal previously banned “political solicitation,” part of a decade-long effort to censor Russians who were using the platform to criticize the government. Now, LiveJournal’s former comic artist has returned from an eight-year absence… bringing back LiveJournal’s “Frank the Goat” one more time to protest the site’s abuses from the inside.

    • First application of the parody exception in Canadian law – long live Deckmyn!

      Readers will remember that back in 2012 Canada introduced a parody exception into its own law. Yet, until now the scope of the exception was not entirely clear, lacking judicial application.

      From IPKat friend and parody expert Sabine Jacques (University of East Anglia) comes the news that a Canadian court has just interpreted s29of the Canadian Copyright Act, and also considered the case of trade mark parodies.

      [...]

      The Federal Court’s outcome regarding the trade mark infringements was expected. In the absence of a specific parody exception under trade mark legislation, courts have struggled to recognise lawful uses in trade mark parodies. This case demonstrates the strong protection granted to trade mark owners to protect their marks, bringing to the fore a possible real risk that trade mark protection becomes absolute without adequate legislative limitations applicable in some circumstances.

    • Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Protect White Men from Hate Speech But Not Black Children
    • The Necessity Of Context In Hip-Hop Censorship

      It reminded me of an infamous Kanye West interview from almost twelve years ago. During a visit to Canada’s Flow 93.5, Ye voiced his opinion on the phrase “white girl” being censored on ‘Gold Digger’. He argued that the line “when he get on, he leave yo’ ass for a white girl” was less of an insult and more social commentary. An intelligent observation more than a stereotype. The conversation about the video ended up revolving around Ye walking out of the room after being constantly interrupted by DJ Hollywood Rich but the point should not be diminished.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Germany suggests Facebook shakes down its members with social extortion racket

      Social network privacy problem Facebook is being investigated by German regulators because of suggestions that users are terrorised into sharing their data because of a fear of missing out on the social experience if they do not.

    • Facebook investigated by Germany’s Federal Cartel Office over claims it ‘extorts’ personal data from users

      In the eyes of the Cartel Office, Facebook is “extorting” information from its users, said Frederik Wiemer, a lawyer at Heuking Kühn Lueer Wojtek in Hamburg. “Whoever doesn’t agree to the data use, gets locked out of the social network community,” he said. “The fear of social isolation is exploited to get access to the complete surfing activities of users.”

    • Facebook free to track every aspect of your online lives – judge says so

      A US district judge in San Jose, California, has thrown out a lawsuit that sought to hold Facebook accountable for tracking users after they had logged out of Facebook.

    • Facebook beats privacy lawsuit in U.S. over user tracking [iophk: “economic is the only metric now?”

      In a decision late on Friday, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California said the plaintiffs failed to show they had a reasonable expectation of privacy, or that they suffered any “realistic” economic harm or loss.

      [...]

      Davila said the plaintiffs cannot bring their privacy and wiretapping claims again, but can try to pursue a breach of contract claim again. He had dismissed an earlier version of the 5-1/2-year-old case in October 2015.

    • Facebook can track your browsing even after you’ve logged out, judge says

      A judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing Facebook of tracking users’ web browsing activity even after they logged out of the social networking site.

      The plaintiffs alleged that Facebook used the “like” buttons found on other websites to track which sites they visited, meaning that the Menlo Park, California-headquartered company could build up detailed records of their browsing history. The plaintiffs argued that this violated federal and state privacy and wiretapping laws.

      US district judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California, dismissed the case because he said that the plaintiffs failed to show that they had a reasonable expectation of privacy or suffered any realistic economic harm or loss.

      Davila said that plaintiffs could have taken steps to keep their browsing histories private, for example by using the Digital Advertising Alliance’s opt-out tool or using “incognito mode”, and failed to show that Facebook illegally “intercepted” or eavesdropped on their communications.

      “Facebook’s intrusion could have easily been blocked, but plaintiffs chose not to do so,” said Davila, who dismissed an earlier version of the five-year-old case in October 2015.

    • 6 Best VPN Services with Lifetime Subscription

      To protect your privacy when you are online at home or at a public place (such as an airport or a café), you may want to consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN. This guarantees that data transmissions from your network to the open Internet and are encrypted.

      Another advantage of using a VPN consists in being able to access social websites, VoIP applications, P2P services, and other type of media content that may be restricted by your ISP.

    • Snowden Leak Reveals NSA Traffic Shaping Tech That Diverts US Internet Routing For Spying

      Geopolitical borders have softened in various ways thanks to the prevalence of the Internet. An email sent by an American could cross multiple international borders before being received by another American. A recent study by the Century Foundation revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) reportedly utilizes various “traffic shaping” techniques to survey and store American communications.

    • Our surveillance future: pervasive, continuous facial recognition from wandering robo-cars and hovering drones

      As artificial intelligence is deployed more widely in real-life situations such as policing, with real-life consequences, we are clearly beginning to enter RoboCop territory. The O-R3 may not come equipped with any weapons today, but it is surely only a matter of time before a police force somewhere asks for them – and they are added. Once that happens, other law enforcement agencies will point to the precedent, and push to acquire similar surveillance capabilities. And so it goes on.

    • NHS illegally handed Google firm 1.6m patient records, UK data watchdog finds

      The Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust in London “failed” to comply with data protection rules when it gave 1.6 million patient records to Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind for a trial, the Information Commissioner’s Office has ruled as it ordered tighter guidelines.

    • Royal Free breached UK data law in 1.6m patient deal with Google’s DeepMind

      The ICO ruled that testing the app with real patient data went beyond Royal Free’s authority, particularly given how broad the scope of the data transfer was.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Officers Involved in the Laquan McDonald Case Were Indicted This Week. The Larger Fight for Police Reform That Will Protect Communities Remains.

      The indictment in Chicago is a reminder that far too many cases lack police accountability.

      For more than a year after 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times in 14 seconds on a Chicago street by Officer Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago Police Department claimed that McDonald had been assaulting officers Van Dyke, Joseph Walsh, and Thomas Gaffney, forcing Van Dyke to step in and kill him. The police report stated that McDonald was lunging toward Van Dyke with a knife when Van Dyke shot him, and that Van Dyke, Walsh, and Gaffney were “victims” of McDonald. Detective David March, who was assigned to investigate the shooting immediately after it occurred, ultimately deemed it justified. I would say it was the ultimate betrayal of the trust between the police and the communities they are supposed to protect, but that betrayal happens every day in this nation when police kill unarmed Black men.

      “Do you actually think the police got together and made this up?” This is the rhetorical question people from Black and brown communities are always asked when they claim that police officers lie to protect each other. It is usually asked with at least a hint of sarcasm – we all know the police don’t do that. It is asked by judges, prosecutors, criminal defense lawyers, and community members. And it was asked of the McDonald family.

      Then came the video. McDonald veers away from, not toward, the police. He was not slashing his knife at Van Dyke, Walsh, or Gaffney when Van Dyke began firing his weapon. The shooting continued as Mr. McDonald lay crumpled on the street. One might ask why it took prosecutors a year to charge Van Dyke with murder when the video so clearly contradicts the police account. One might ask why the “police as victims” story was the official version of the Chicago police department until the day the video was released more than one year later – especially since they had the video the entire time. (The shooting was on October 20, 2014, and the video was released on November 24, 2015.)

    • Theresa May sitting on report on foreign funding of UK extremists

      A report on the foreign funding of extremism in the UK was given to Downing Street last year, it has been revealed, but Theresa May is still to decide whether to make its findings public.

      The Green party co-leader, Caroline Lucas, said the delay in publishing the Home Office investigation, believed to focus on Saudi Arabia, “leaves question marks over whether their decision is influenced by our diplomatic ties”.

      Since the beginning of her premiership, May has sought to deepen the UK’s relationship with the Gulf, visiting Saudi Arabia as one of her first trips after triggering the formal Brexit process in March, a highly symbolic move.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Kill the Open Internet, and Wave Goodbye to Consumer Choice

      But at its heart, the issue rests on two simple realities: First, for more than a decade, the status quo in the US has been an open internet that supports thriving innovation among websites, apps, and new digital services. Second, innovators and consumers are dependent on a few large broadband providers that serve as gatekeepers to the internet.

    • Don’t Trust in Antitrust Law to Protect Net Neutrality

      Back in 2014, we considered many possible ways of protecting net neutrality that would not rely on the FCC, including antitrust law. Unfortunately, U.S. antitrust law is not up to the challenge.

      Antitrust law is an economic doctrine that gives little if any weight to freedom of expression and other noneconomic values secured by net neutrality. Antitrust law defines harm in terms of higher prices and diminished product quality. If antitrust law deems that a practice is not harmful to competition, it does not matter how much it represses speech, distorts access to knowledge, or intrudes on privacy. Antitrust law has no concept of the “gatekeeper” problem posed by an ISP’s control over your conduit to information.

      There are other reasons why antitrust isn’t an effective tool for net neutrality problems. Antitrust law is fundamentally about protecting competition, but the market for broadband is very different than the theoretical ideal contemplated by antitrust law.

      First, there is very little broadband competition to protect. More than 9 out of 10 Americans live in monopoly or duopoly markets for broadband according to the FCC. Even lower-speed wireless service is available from only a handful of carriers in most places, all of which oppose net neutrality and have pushed the boundaries of the existing Open Internet Order with throttling or pay-to-play zero-rating schemes.

    • Internet, Activate! Stand Up for Net Neutrality on July 12

      Two months ago, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced his plan to abandon the agency’s commitment to protecting net neutrality. On July 12, let’s give the world a preview of what the Internet will look like if the FCC goes forward with its plan to dismantle open Internet protections.

      EFF is joining a huge coalition of nonprofits and companies in a day of action standing up for net neutrality.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Medicines Patent Pool Nets WHO’s Kieny As New Chair

      Marie-Paule Kieny, fresh out of the World Health Organization, where she held the position of assistant director general for Health Systems and Innovation, will be the new chair of the Medicines Patent Pool, as of 1 September.

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Office Proposes Modest Fixes to DMCA 1201, Leaves Fundamental Flaws Untouched

        The U.S. Copyright Office just released a long-awaited report about Section 1201, the law that bans circumventing digital restrictions on copyrighted works. Despite years of evidence that the social costs of the law far outweigh any benefits, the Copyright Office is mostly happy with the law as it is. The Office does recommend that Congress enact some narrow reforms aimed at protecting security research, repair activities, and access for people with disabilities.

        We’re sorry the Office didn’t take a stronger stance. Section 1201, part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, makes it illegal to circumvent any “technological protection measure” (often called DRM) that controls access to copyrighted works. It also bans the manufacture and sale of tools to circumvent those digital locks. Although it was pitched as a new legal protection for copyright holders to prevent infringement, the law has given major entertainment companies and other copyright owners lots of control over non-infringing uses of technology, allowing them to lock out competition in repair and re-sale businesses, and to threaten and silence security researchers. The law has some exceptions, but they are far too narrow and complicated.

      • US International Trade Administration Worries About Widespread Piracy

        The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration sees piracy as a significant threat to the media and entertainment sectors. According to the agency, there are grave piracy concerns in top export markets such as Canada, India, and Brazil. These issues can be addressed through solid copyright laws and increased enforcement, among other things.

07.03.17

It’s Official: Battistelli Will Leave the EPO in Less Than a Year

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli out

Summary: Battistelli’s position is up for grabs (see above), but it remains to be seen who takes this position and what Battistelli does afterwards

EARLIER today we wrote about the final day of strike and the lack of independence that ensues (not just judges’ independence). Well, one thing the staff is almost guaranteed to have before the next Independence Day is independence from Battistelli (albeit not Team Battistelli, which might occupy the same position by succession).

Battistelli’s ‘notice of removal’ — so to speak — was published on the planned date (as per the leaked document we received and published weeks ago) and Battistelli’s protectors at IAM said: “Is this first time EPO President’s job has been advertised? Usually candidates nominated by national governments.”

Well, here is the ad from epo.org

The post of President of the European Patent Office falls vacant on 1 July 2018.

The President manages the Office, under powers laid down in the European Patent Convention (Article 10 EPC). The official languages of the European Patent Office are English, French and German.

Candidates must have a diploma of completed studies at university level and proven high-level management experience.

Some people suspect that Battistelli will try to sneak into some UPC-related position while assuring that some crony of his continues to run the EPO.

Regarding the UPC, we very much doubt anything at all will run by July 2018. There are constitutional issues in Germany and determination on the matter may come no sooner than January 2018, whereupon there are still barriers in Poland, Spain, the UK and so on.

The following new comment appeared today regarding the constitutionality of the UPC/unitary patent:

That discussion is to test the “imbalance” argument of Bross. (“A further point was the unjust imbalance…”)

It seems to me Bross is arguing that even if the EPO boards were a court, the imbalance caused by the opponent getting two shots would be sufficient to render the EP/DE system as a whole unconstitutional.

Now replace EPO boards with BPatG and the argument applies in just the same way to the DE/DE system.

His other arguments also seem flawed. Whatever problem there may be with the EPO (or not), from a German national point of view it logically cannot affect the constitutionality of the UPC/unitary patent more than it affects the constitutionality of the EP/DE system. The role of the EPO is exactly the same in both systems.

“I had not understood the Professor’s compliant to be based upon the mere existence of a “2 shots vs 1 shot” imbalance,” said one response to that. “Instead, my understanding was that the complaint relates to the imbalance in the number of unappealable (and unconnected) decisions. It is that imbalance which has the appearance of unfairness.”

They are still struggling to figure out what the barrier is all about. The less they know (opponents of a sane patent system and proponents of UPC chaos), the better…

In another thread, this one about the UK and brexit, the following was said today:

Anon – all of the previous legislative steps that you mention occurred prior to both the EU referendum and the triggering of Article 50. Thus, given that the UPCA requires its PMSs to be EU Member States, one would have thought that it would be eminently sensible for the JCSI (and/or the committee of the commons or Lords) to conduct a quick check of whether the UPCA stands any chance of surviving.

Whichever way you cut it, the current UPCA is unworkable post-Brexit. Given that there is no amended UPCA (nor any prospect of such an amended Agreement being drafted, agreed and ratified in the near future), why on earth would Parliament contemplate giving the government the green light to ratify something that looks like it will be pronounced (by the CJEU) dead on arrival?

If your argument is merely that procedural rules prevent the various committees applying common sense, then what does that say about the current rules? Personally, I would have thought that the unexpected arrival of an existential threat to the UPC (ie Brexit) justifies “bending” the rules a little to allow for an assessment of the UPCA’s chances of survival.

Our UPC predictions have always been correct (so far) and we expect nothing to really get off the ground before Battistelli’s tenure is over (or ever). That penthouse he build for himself at the expense of contractors may still be enjoyed by Team Battistelli, but not Battistelli himself.

4 Days of Strike in a Row (Including Weekend), But Tomorrow is No Independence Day at the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Battistelli-influenced media treated this strike as though it never happened

Oval Office

Summary: With a tyrant at the Office (not the Oval Office but the European Patent Office) this year’s Independence Day will feel like anything but, even though the staff made it abundantly clear that it is fed up and unwilling to tolerate it any longer

We are not shocked that the EPO says nothing at all about the strike; but we are very disappointed that the media too plays along with the EPO in that silence. Only two publications, WIPR and Intellectual Property Watch (IP Watch) have covered it, at least in English. SUEPO’s Web site still says not a word about it; neither does The Register, which did take the opportunity to mention the strike last year (Benoît Battistelli escaped to London when the last strike took place).

Well, the EPO was still on strike today and not only does the EPO say nothing about it (same as last week); it does its typical greenwashing with utterly shallow puff pieces today (warning: epo.org link), including the obligatory Battistelli self-promotion:

“Supported by patents, innovation in the renewable energy technologies sector has contributed to dramatic cost reductions and rapid technology deployment,” said EPO President Benoît Battistelli.

We then saw Catherine Saez copy-pasting the press release and publicly asked: “Did IP Watch really need to help #epo carry #greenwashing puff pieces to distract from today’s STRIKE?”

IP Watch retweeted this critical message, but it has not responded.

To IP Watch‘s credit, one of their writers does habitually cover EPO scandals and he also covered this latest strike.

Earlier today someone anonymously asked about Willy Minnoye: “So how many people showed up for Willy’s farewell bash ?”

A cartoon about his last day at work was recently circulated. Was he the only person in the Office that day? Almost?

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