EPO Social Workshops on Monday and Tuesday? No, EPO Staff up in Arms!

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benoît Battistelli keeps digging his own grave

Flash demo

Summary: A large bundle of information about the latest horrible actions from Benoît the Terrible, who decided to bust unions also at The Hague, not just in Munich where he resides

TODAY, THE EPO is throwing another stupid and distracting party (an event called Patent Information Conference 2016) and after the social conference from an antisocial boss we expect to see social “workshops”, ones that are supposed to have taken place today and yesterday. But don’t expect staff to have attended or for anyone to genuinely care for this. Staff of the EPO was up in arms after it learned that on Friday the boss had fire yet another staff representative, as first covered in our site with this leak.

Today we heard of yet more “erratic behaviour” from Battistelli, but we shall leave that aside as a subject for another day.

Looking at some correspondence that got leaked to us, “Laurent Prunier is FIRED with immediate effect – no game changer” was the initial word, preceding if not almost coinciding with Battistelli’s announcement. “It has been reported that the EPO president has taken a final decision regarding our suspended Colleague in The Hague,” said one person. “After Els Hardon and Ion Brumme earlier this year it is now the turn of Laurent Prunier, elected Central Staff Committee and SUEPO official, to be fired with immediate effect!”

“One thing can be concluded,” said this message. “Fact is that the clear warnings given by the AC delegates in the last AC (see previous mail below) has had little influence on the President of the Office.”

Well, he certainly doesn’t seem to care.

“Under these conditions, despite many declarations of intent,” continued the message, “it is hard to believe that there is any significant paradigm change in the present management policy. And It bodes bad news for the further two further investigations and disciplinary cases running presently on The Hague Union officials… for the record, there have been also four further downgrades and several additional suspensions not listed over the past two years.”

We happen to be aware of some of them. Things are even worse than it appears to outsiders because de facto gag orders or scare tactics (or even blackmail) are being used to discourage or suppress facts. It’s like those fictional novels that are cautionary tales about totalitarian regimes. Apparently, some say, Mr. Prunier risks losing even his pension if he speaks out too much. What on Earth is this, an authoritarian failed state? At the very heart of Bavaria or in The Hague? How can it be and one can that persist?

At The Hague, told us one source “The Office does not allow demonstrations on the premises, and in the Netherlands public demonstrations cannot be organised spontaneously (the preparation takes about a week, at least). That’s why some staff members organised a spontaneous gathering to protest against the unfair dismissal of Laurent: 250 to 300 persons wearing solidarity T-Shirts spontaneously gathered on Monday morning in the canteen of the EPO’s The Hague branch. Sad and angry, they expressed their disagreement with the emperor’s bullying against their staff reps and the firing of Laurent.”

The protest photos from Monday was posted here yesterday (hours after they had been taken) and these help spread the message to more sites. “Even IAM could finally see the light,” one EPO insider wrote, after IAM said Battistelli had scored an "own goal".

Is IAM finally ‘defecting’? Does it realise that in order to save the EPO change in management is urgently needed?

IAM’s Editor in Chief (Joff) later published in the blog “EPO users and staff need the Administrative Council to get a grip on current events,” albeit he maintained caution, probably because he needs not to get into a fight with his buddies/parters at the EPO. Battistelli does not tolerate any dissent, or even a minor disagreement. To quote a portion:

What’s more, we have continuously pointed out that disputes between the EPO’s senior management and the staff union SUEPO were taking place long before Benoît Battistelli became the EPO president, and that the union has often been its own worst enemy by making explosive, unsubstantiated claims and by being highly provocative in its approach to negotiation. If being an EPO examiner is such a bad thing, we have always asked, why do so few people ever leave?

This was noticed by the following new comment that said:

Joff Wild of IAM writes:

EPO users and staff need the Administrative Council to get a grip on current events

I have always given the EPO’s senior management the benefit of the doubt, but increasingly it looks like I may have been wrong to do so. With the same things happening over and over again, what other conclusion can I reach – especially when I have met many SUEPO members and know them not to be agitating obstructionists, but people who genuinely want what is best for the office and those who use it.

Mr. Müller and I spoke about Joff’s motivations [1, 2] and meanwhile yet another article was written about the subject, arguing that “The Rule of Law (Rechtsstaat) is Endangered and Needs to be Defended!”

Here is the most relevant portion

The first two examples that, in my view, demonstrate how the Rule of Law is currently endangered came from the “ugly world” of politics. So you might not expect that my third one stems from an organisation which ought to be relatively apolitical, namely the European Patent Office. Unfortunately, however, all is not well there either. This has to do with the peculiar “constitution” of the EPO, the European Patent Convention, which only provides for an imperfect system of checks and balances and in particular does not subject the Office President to an independent judiciary, whereas the members of the Boards of Appeal are subject to being proposed by the President for being (re)appointed by the EPO’s Administrative Council. In other words, the Office President has a lot of power and the only entity that can control him is the same Administrative Council that elected him in the first place.

Given how important an independent and fearless judiciary is for a functioning system of checks and balances, an Office President would, in this author’s view, be well advised to exercise utmost restraint in interfering with the Boards of Appeal as the EPO’s judiciary. Yet I am afraid that this is not what happened in summer of this year. Quite to the contrary, the members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) of the EPO made very clear that they actually felt threatened by disciplinary measures of the Executive Branch of the EPO, i.e. the President, and insufficiently supported by the Administrative Council. The clash came up in proceedings between the Administrative Council as Petitioner and a member of the Technical Boards of Appeal who seems to have been accused of libelling the EPO’s President and Vice Presidents, which he/she has apparently denied. The Enlarged Board stated in its decision this:

As the Petitioner did not clearly distance itself from the Office President’s position, there is the threat of disciplinary measures against the members of the Enlarged Board. It is then the Enlarged Board’s judicial independence in deciding on this case which is fundamentally denied.

I will not bother you with the complete background of this case that is summarized in the EBA’s decision and has amply been reported by IPKat, in my 2014 blog on the same case, and by others. Suffice it to say that the Enlarged Board had ordered to conduct its latest hearing coram publico, which apparently incensed the Office President (why? – honit soit qui mal y pense) to a degree that he felt he should intervene into the judicial proceedings by writing a letter to the Enlarged Board of Appeal which the Board perceived as a threat. Inter alia, the President instructed his lawyer to write that “In view, in particular, of the gravity of the reputational, security, welfare and public order risks identified, there is a strong case for saying that any decision to conduct this hearing in public would be unlawful because it could not be defended as either proportionate or reasonable”. (This may be right or wrong, but is it for the President to decide on whether it is lawful or unlawful to conduct the EBA’s hearing in public, or is it for the EBA itself???) And even more, the letter continued with stating that the President “will not hesitate to take any appropriate steps available to him to ensure the proper running of the Office and the safety of its employees”.

Now, might you argue, the President has just voiced his opinion to the EBA – so why should this be a threat? The problem is exactly the background of the case at stake, i.e. that the President imposed and immediately executed a house ban on a Board of Appeal member for alleged unlawful conduct, without adhering to the procedure prescribed in Art. 23 EPC. Who can guarantee to the EBA that such a thing cannot happen again, if the President feels that some conduct of the EBA is unlawful and sees only himself in the position to ensure the “proper” running of the Office?

I am afraid (and very sorry) to say that even among the EPO’s top officials, the principle of the Rule of Law does not seem to be respected very much. Where are you, Administrative Council?

Given the source of the above, a pro-EPO blog, we can deduce that Battistelli is rapidly running out of allies and regarding the above one comment said that “violation of all principles of due process sadly confirms the damage done to the whole institution.” Here is the full comment:

The following recent contribution refers to the situation at the EPO and mentions the lack of independence of the boards of appeal:


In this respect the evident lack of support by the members of the boards of appeal for their colleague who has been maintained in limbo for almost 2 years now in violation of all principles of due process sadly confirms the damage done to the whole institution.
Looking forward to reading the upcoming decisions of the German Bundesverfassungsgericht on the constitutionality of an european patent system lacking a truly independent higher instance.

And also:

Kluwer Patent Blog has a post titled The Rule of Law (Rechtsstaat) is Endangered and Needs to be Defended!

It refers to the case of the suspended member of the Boa – but I quote:

“I am afraid (and very sorry) to say that even among the EPO’s top officials, the principle of the Rule of Law does not seem to be respected very much. Where are you, Administrative Council?”

Well, maybe it’s busy slaughtering chinchillas in Denmark.

Someone wrote a little poem about the situation:

Plum position falls foul of a one man gang
Representative Prunier dried out to hang
Unless the Muppets wake up fast
No functional office can this last
EPO on a highway to hell
Does the AC need some DC as well?

AC is the Administrative Council and DC is the Disciplinary Committee/s.

Regarding some of the above comments, one person asked “Why pick Germany and the Netherlands to review the cases? What about a UK review, for example? May one be more likely to exonerate El Presidente, I wonder.”

One answer to that was: “How many Epo staff work in the U.K.? Or do you propose to apply U.K. Law in NL, DE?”

Another person responded with “errrrmmmm – none, but then no EPO staff actually work under NL or DE law either.”

“French review,” said another. “And thanks for BB France!!!”

“Do not forget that the delegate from the Netherlands was (is) one of the few AC members that dares to withstand the President. The Netherlands was one of the few countries that voted against the reorganisation of the BoA,” added another person and someone who knows Prunier (presumably from the Office at The Hague) wrote:

I think all we can say is that so far the AC has shown itself to be about as much use as the proverbial one-legged man in the arse-kicking competition. Kicking arse is certainly not their forte so far.

As far as Laurent goes, I’ve known him for a long time: he’s a fiery character with strongly-held opinions who isn’t averse to voicing them. Unfortunately, some seem to think that to do so within the context of a heated discussion amounts to harassment. If that’s true, I have certainly been guilty of harassment in the past. I personally don’t believe that the Laurent I know is guilty of harassment. Harassment is about bullying and spite. He may be guilty of expressing himself too forcefully or of intemperate language, but the Laurent I know is not a bully. Unfortunately, of course, neither I nor anyone outside a certain charmed circle know exactly what he is accused of which is said to amount to harassment. So who knows?

That’s why, in proper judicial procedures, rather than the banana republic/kangaroo courts we have here, evidence is tested in open court in public (unless there is a good reason why not) and weighed by an independent arbiter who considers only the law. Here, as in the (still-unresolved) case of the DG3 judge, we have a bunch of vague rumours and innuendos put out by Batistelli in his latest communiqué to justify his partial and self-serving adjudication.

In Laurent’s case, justice is neither done nor seen to be done. Nevertheless, I have already heard colleagues who should know better opining that they ‘haven’t much sympathy’ with his position, which seems to be another way of saying: ?I didn’t like him much and therefore he had it coming’.

Is this where we are now? Trial by prejudice?

“Has the alleged victim of LP’s harassment not been recently promoted,” one person asked, “consequently should a victim of BB’s harassment not be compensated as well?…WHERE IS THE JUDGE??”

Which judge? The one Battistelli illegally suspended? Nearly 2 years ago? “The EPO is becoming sick by the day,” the comment below says. Here it is in full:


and guess what they did it clever to cover up the reward. Technically this was no promotion but, after a selection procedure to a position designed for a very specific profile matching precisely the domain of competence of the individual concerned, he was appointed to a position higher graded.

And the “funny” thing is that Battistelli in his address email to staff (read smear campaign) on intranet about this sad story dared to complaint that Laurent did not presented excuses!

Well to whom should he do this: to the alleged victim who is not the one who filed the complaint since he is no victim or to the top manager close to Battistelli who filed the complaint and is a true harasser (everyone knows it by now)?

The EPO is becoming sick by the day

“How can they indulge in the EPO being driven in the wall, and forced in expenses,” another person wrote. The comment is fairly long:

It cannot continue this way and at this pace.

It is high time for the AC to make clear to the president and all the yes men and women around him that immunity does not mean impunity.

How can they indulge in the EPO being driven in the wall, and forced in expenses which do not have any other aim than to satisfy the president’s wish for retaliation against the boards of appeal. After all he started by disregarding the separation of powers.

When one looks at the vote in the BFC, it appears that the states which barely contribute to the filings have decided in favour of sending the boards to the outskirts of Munich. That this implies unnecessary extra costs for the users did not seem to have played a role.

That any organism which does not change dies, this is valid as well for the EPO. Any reasonable person will agree that changes had to be carried out at the EPO. But did it have to be in such a ruthless manner?

If the social climate would be as rosy as tooted out by the higher management of the EPO, why did the president not organise Christmas gatherings with staff for many years? This alone is revealing and says a lot.

“Indeed all organisms must change,” wrote another person. “And that applies to top management as well. And the AC. Maybe time for that 5-yearly conference to address failings at the top to deal with issues?”

No doubt changes are necessary at many levels as Battistelli’s departure, which is inevitable, won’t be enough to restore a decent working atmosphere. “Can’t we simply vote to leave the EPC? It would make things so much easier,” one person proposed, as if the Brexit effect now spreads to the EPO, not just the EU. One person, on the day of the US election, wrote: “Battistelli is the Trump of the IP world. Be careful IPpussyKat. Early Uncertainty…”

Well, both Battistelli and Trump manage to stay in the race no matter how extraordinary the scandals. Battistelli kills the EPO (Office) as well as the Organisation by suspending members of the Boards of Appeal. See this new legal article titled “Disclaimers face an uncertain future at the EPO: new Enlarged Board referral”:

The EPO Enlarged Board in G 1/03 decided disclaimers that did not have basis in the application as filed were in some cases allowable, but only where a disclaimer was required to: i) restore novelty over an A54(3) document; ii) restore novelty over an “accidental” prior art document, where the anticipation was “so unrelated and remote that the person skilled in the art would never have taken it into consideration when working on the invention”; or iii) disclaim subject matter that was excluded from patentability for non-technical reasons. This allowed a disclaimers to be made that would otherwise fall foul of Article 123(2), in other words the language of the disclaimer was not included in the content of the application as filed, but only in quite limited circumstances.

A further Enlarged Board decision in G 2/10 related to disclaimers, but instead to those that were based on subject matter disclosed in the application as filed. The Board did, however, state that the test to be applied is “whether the skilled person would, using common general knowledge, regard the remaining claimed subject-matter as explicitly or implicitly, but directly and unambiguously, disclosed in the application as filed” (point 4.5.4 of the reasons). This test was, according to G 2/10, the generally accepted “gold standard” for assessing any amendment for compliance with Article 123(2) EPC.

Without the boards, especially without their complete independence, the EPO will certainly continue to fall into the abyss as patent quality declines and there is not enough capacity to correct this. A company called BioPorto has just issued a whole press release [1, 2, 3] to brag about a European Patent (EP) being approved at time of EPO turmoil and lack of quality control. How long will the perception of high value of EPs last? Based on Dutch attorneys, clients already start asking them troubling questions about the EPO.

This later comment, also posted in the above-mentioned thread, is alluding to a Battistelli Chinchilla, Bergot, and says the following about the HR angle:

Thanks for picking this up. Was beginning to wonder if you had been gagged.

With regard to your final witty comment “Of course this presents a shining opportunity for ambitious, concerned members of staff to take up the banner and step forward into leadership roles in the staff union. Those without dependent families and who are financially independent would be best suited to take on this career-ending role.”, I don’t remember if you previously noted that:

A. Standing for staff representation is at the president’s agreement and there is a ban on those at the end of their career. Staff don’t simply get to choose their representatives. Being close to retirement and likely to say what the heck, as you joke, is a good reason to prevent you from being a position to do so.
B. Being a representative means being moved administratively into a separate department run by his well-known HR Director. She must approve all your ‘work’ and its related travel etc. And sign off your holidays, sick leave etc. All a bit strange that staff are deliberately moved under the control of the person with whom they should negotiate/interact. Certainly one way to stifle the ‘awkward squad’ and, if all else fails, you can accuse them of harassment of each other and get them sacked (I don’t refer to Laurent’s case since that is secret).
C. And the threat to cut your pension at the presidents whim could take a column and a half to deal with as a final blunting instrument.

A “Fine Social Balance” (sarcastic) says:

BoA: “Madness is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”

SR: “Messing with madness is one thing, when madness is messing back, it is time to call the whole Social Conference off”

Someone then spotted “another report on the topic,” this time from IP Watch. “IP-Watch also reports that the Union Calls “Flash Demo” After EPO Fires Another Union Representative,” wrote another commenter, noting that “it was the first day of snow in Munich today.”

We’re expected to have our first day of snow in Manchester on Wednesday, but anyway, here is a portion from the article:

The Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) called a 7 November “flash” demonstration in Munich after the office fired Laurent Prunier, SUEPO secretary in The Hague. The move dismayed employees encouraged after the Administrative Council (AC), made up of the office’s member states, last month pressured President Benoît Battistelli into backing off from two unpopular proposals for investigating and disciplining staff.
via the term “snipers of the Hague,” the source said.

The communiqué “is another example of an attempt of character assassination made by the president,” a source known as “epoinsider” told Intellectual Property Watch. Battistelli linked two disciplinary cases, the one against Prunier and one against Elizabeth Hardon,

We particularly like the part which says it “is another example of an attempt of character assassination made by the president” because we saw so much of this. In fact, the EPO even accused me of “defamation”, without even providing a clear example. They just can’t help shooting the messengers everywhere (even foreign/overseas). They’re like Stalin!

SUEPO’s public Web site has been updated to include much of the above and it currently says:

“Firings will continue until morale improves – Merpel revisits the EPO” (IPKAT, 7 November 2016).
“EPO users and staff need the Administrative Council to get a grip on current events” (IAM, 7 Novmber 2016).
“Union Calls “Flash Demo” After EPO Fires Another Union Representative” (IP-Watch, 7 November 2016).
“The Rule of Law (Rechtsstaat) is Endangered and Needs to be Defended!” (Kluwer Patent Blog, 7 November 2016), especially section 4 of the article dealing with the EPO.
“Fresh Euro Patent Office drama: King Battistelli fires union boss” – EPO president ignores his own admin council (The Register, 4 November 2016).

Earlier today someone asked the EPO if they “have a response to http://www.iam-media.com/Blog/Detail.aspx?g=85178c62-24df-403f-990d-f3f5f5c4ce51 … ?”

‘Do you believe in Fairytales,” an insider replied with a rhetorical question. “Me neither!”

The EPO will just pretend none of this is happening. What kind of social workshop actually took place on Monday and Tuesday? What a sham! The only “work” was Battistelli working on (or stroking) his big ego.

At EPOPIC Today, As Expected, Software Patents Courtesy of EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The race to the bottom of patent quality continues…

Photo credit: EPO Patent Information Conference 2016

Summary: European events that strive to expand the scope of patents so as to grant ever more patents, essentially by lowering patent quality, broadening range of applicability, and ‘automating’ translations

THERE ARE MANY PATENT events in Europe and some of them, as we mentioned last month, promote software patents in Europe, regardless of the Parliament’s opposition.

Some of the proponents of software patents are Team UPC, and despite Brexit, which effectively killed the UPC (it’s in a limbo now and cannot proceed), these bunch of people live in a fantasy land. There is no sign of the UK ratifying the UPC any time soon (or ever!), but the patent microcosm never gives up and it has just published yet another piece on the subject. Folks, get over it. Move on, the UPC is dead.

“Sadly, a growing number of EPO events and UPC events promote the software patents agenda and put at tremendous risk the frugal software industry, not to mention invite patent trolls to attack European programmers.”More relevant to today’s focus, however, is Grant Philpott, one of the (growing number of) people who came from the military and now work for Battistelli (we covered examples other than this).

People can see in the above photo (source) that much/just as we predicted (based on the abstract), he was talking about software patents using the misleading term “CII”. There are more photos in [ 1, 2] and while we don’t have the transcripts we can imagine what he said, based on the abstract which we remarked on before (there are more EPO events that interject this cheeky terminology). Last year we wrote several articles about his software patents agenda and at the end of last year we were threatened to remove an article with an E-mail from Philpott — one in which he urged his colleagues to grant patents to Microsoft faster (not all applicants are equal).

Sadly, a growing number of EPO events and UPC events promote the software patents agenda and put at tremendous risk the frugal software industry, not to mention invite patent trolls to attack European programmers. That includes yours truly. Later this month we can expect these people to congregate again and attempt to push the Trojan horse of software patents right through the gates of Europe. Someone sent us the following message earlier today, showing us that people like Winfried Tilmann (covered here many times before) will take somewhat of a lead:

Subject: Finalising the Unitary Patent Package – 30 Nov, Brussels

Finalizing the Unitary Patent Package:

Challenges and Ways Forward
Manos Hotel Premier
Wednesday 30th November 2016

Willem A. Hoyng, Partner, Hoyng Rokh Monegier

Pierre Véron,
Lawyer, Member of the Paris Bar
Véron & Associés

Frank Van Coppenolle
Head of High-Tech Patent Team, Gevers
European Intellectual Property Architects

Bruno van Pottelsberghe
Economist, Solvay Chair of Technological Innovation

Prof. Dr. Winfried Tilmann,
Of Counsel
Hogan Lovells, Düsseldorf

Darren Smyth
Partner, Patent and Design Attorney, London, EIP Europe LLP
Author for The IPKat & IP Alchemist
Member of the Editorial team for the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice

On December 2012, after a 40 year long quest, the European Parliament and the European Council finally reached a formal agreement on two EU regulations, making the European Patent with Unitary Effect (EPUE) an achievable prospect. With almost all EU member states – except for Spain and Croatia – participating in the enhanced cooperation, the legislation is supposed to come into force by the end of the year 2016/beginning 2017.

Experts, however, argue about the intended cost saving factor as well as the theoretical simplicity the EPUE package will bring, being mostly concerned about the patchwork nature of the system. Also, with the recent Brexit vote, additional straits are adding up, making the future of the Unitary Patent unclear.

This timely Symposium will offer an opportunity to inform and find out more about the current developments and challenges regarding the Unitary Patent and the Unitary Patent Court. The conference will evaluate advantages and disadvantages, build strategies for businesses on how to proceed and support the exchange of information and best practices with experts, practitioners and policymakers at EU level.

Delegates will also:

Identify the latest developments regarding UP & UPC
Qualify various issues, opportunities and challenges regarding UP
Prepare for any eventuality and develop a successful transition strategy
Analyse ways forward and challenges for the industry in Europe
Examine practical issues such as the recruitment of judges, court procedures, fees and logistics
Find out more about methods to prevent UPC bifurcation, infringement and revocation
Develop strategies for protection and new portfolio creation under the new system
Discuss the potential impact of the Brexit vote on the future of the EPUE package

For further details, please refer to the enclosed event abstract and programme. Do feel free to circulate this information to relevant colleagues within your organisation.

In the meantime, to ensure your organisation is represented, please book online or complete and return the registration form at your earliest convenience in order to secure your delegate place(s).

Kind regards,

Conference Team
Public Policy Exchange
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3137 8630
Fax: +44 (0) 20 3137 1459

It’s stuff like this which motivates us to work even harder against the menace of patent maximalism — that same misguided plan which threatens to undermine not only the EPO but the whole of Europe. And for what? Foreign multinational corporations and their patent law firms (like the above people)?

Links 8/11/2016: SUSE Release, Android Distribution Stats

Posted in News Roundup at 5:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



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      The blockchain is a decentralised electronic ledger with duplicate copies on thousands of computers around the world. It cannot be altered retrospectively, allowing asset ownership and transfer to be recorded without external verification.

      Investors have now realised the blockchain is bigger than Bitcoin. In the first quarter of 2016, venture-capital investment in blockchain startups overtook that in pure-play Bitcoin companies for the first time, according to industry researcher CoinDesk, which has tallied $1.1 billion (£840m) in deals to date.

      Even governments have taken an interest. Sir Mark Walport, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser, published a report on the blockchain in January this year, outlining how the massively distributed shared ledger is “a database that tracks who owns a financial, physical or electronic asset”. But it could also, say, monitor driverless cars.

    • Linux Foundation Fumbles

      FLASH? LF webinars depend on FLASH!? This is the 21st century. Folks are using HTML5 and lots of other popular standards. Why is LF trying to hold the world back to a deprecated technology, one that only awkwardly works with their kernel?

    • Linux Foundation ‘Fails’ Linux Mint: Suggests Upgrade to Windows or Mac

      Excuse me if I have a little fun at the Linux Foundation’s expense.

      Linux Foundation failed textThis morning while perusing the day’s tech news, I ran across an article on Linux.com about a free webinar, “Open Source Automotive: How Shared Development Will Drive the Industry Forward,” being hosted on Wednesday by the Linux Foundation. This sounded like something I wouldn’t mind spending an hour watching, so I registered. Afterwards, I clicked a “Test Your System” link, just to make sure that I’d have no problems using the good ol’ FOSS Force machine.

      The results were a big surprise, and hearkened back to the bad ol’ days when open source and the rest of the world usually didn’t work and play well together. Browser, cookies, bandwidth and “Flash Test Video” all passed with flying colors. What didn’t pass? Our Linux Mint operating system.

      “We have detected that your operating system does not meet the optimal webinar specifications for listening to and/or viewing webinars,” the test automation said. “We recommend the following operating systems: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and the latest Mac OS X.”

      For an online event being hosted by the Linux Foundation? Really? I understand that the foundation isn’t very interested in desktop Linux, but…

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • OpenGL vs. Vulkan With AMDGPU-PRO 16.40, Compared To NVIDIA On Linux

        At the end of October AMD released the long-awaited AMDGPU-PRO 16.40 update. For some birthday benchmarking fun today, I finished up a comparison of the AMDGPU-PRO 16.40 stack with its proprietary OpenGL and Vulkan components on various AMD GPUs compared to NVIDIA results using the 375.10 binary driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KaOS 2016.11 Distro Gets KDE Plasma 5.8.3 & Linux Kernel 4.8, AMDGPU by Default

        Today, November 7, 2016, the developers of the KaOS rolling GNU/Linux distribution were pleased to announce the release and immediate availability for download of KaOS 2016.11.

      • KaOS 2016.11

        KaOS is pleased to announce the 2016.11 release. As always with this rolling distribution, you will find the very latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, this includes Frameworks 5.27.0, Plasma 5.8.3, KDE Applications 16.08.2 & not yet released ports of KDE Applications. All built on Qt 5.7.0.

      • Krita 3.1 Digital Painting App Gets Closer, Beta 3 Is Out with More Improvements

        Today, November 7, 2016, the developers of the popular, open-source and cross-platform Krita digital painting software have released the third Beta milestone towards the major 3.1 update of the application.

        Krita 3.1 Beta 3 is here exactly two weeks after the announcement of the second Beta development snapshot, in an attempt to polish the upcoming release by patching various annoyances and adding some minor improvements. For examples, several crashes were addresses, and it’s possible to load swatch names in ACO files again.

      • digiKam 5.3.0 Open-Source Image Editor Released for Linux as an AppImage Bundle

        In the last minutes of November 7, 2016, the development team behind the open-source and cross-platform digiKam image editor, viewer and organizer software was proud to announce the release of digiKam 5.3.0.

        digiKam 5.3.0 is the third maintenance update to the stable 5.x series of the software project, bringing a month’s worth of bug fixes and general improvements. However, the biggest new change in digiKam 5.3.0 is the availability of an AppImage bundle that allows Linux users to install the application in virtually any GNU/Linux distribution.

      • digiKam 5.3.0 is published…

        After a 3rd release 5.2.0 published more than one month ago, the digiKam team is proud to announce the new release 5.3.0 of digiKam Software Collection. This version introduces an important common solution to deploy the application under Linux using AppImage bundle.

        AppImage is an open-source project dedicated to provide a simple way to distribute portable software as compressed binary file, that standard user can run as well, without to install special dependencies. All is included into the bundle, as last Qt5 and KF5 frameworks. AppImage use Fuse file-system, which is de-compressed into a temporary directory to start the application. You don’t need to install digiKam on your system to be able to use it. Better, you can use the official digiKam from your Linux distribution in parallel, and test the new version without any conflict with one used in production. This permit to quickly test a new release without to wait an official package dedicated for your Linux box. Another AppImage advantage is to be able to provide quickly a pre-release bundle to test last patches applied to source code, outside the releases plan.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Epiphany 3.22.2 Web Browser Improves Password Form Autofill Handling, Adblocker

        As reported earlier, the GNOME development team is hard at work these days to bring us the second and last point release of the GNOME 3.22 desktop environment, versioned 3.22.2.

      • Evolution 3.22.2 Groupware Client Released for GNOME 3.22.2 with Many Fixes

        The GNOME Project is preparing to unleash the second and last maintenance update of the GNOME 3.22 desktop environment, which already started to land in the stable repositories of various GNU/Linux distributions.

      • Cinnamon 3.2 Desktop Environment Now Available with Support for Vertical Panels

        Today, November 7, 2016, Linux Mint leader Clement Lefebvre tagged the final release of the Cinnamon 3.2.0 desktop environment on the GitHub page of the project, from where users can download the source archive if they want an early taste.

      • Cinnamon 3.2 Desktop Arrives
      • Reaching more FEDORA and GNOME newcomers at UTP

        With Hack Space permitting on November 11, the next Friday at UTP (Universidad Tecnológica del Perú – Technology University of Perú), I am going to present the Free Software Projects: FEDORA and GNOME. The workshop will be focused in installation of FEDORA and then build the jhbuild of GNOME as a challenge for more than 8 hours. Then, the journey will start at 10:00 p.m. and it will finish at 7:00 a.m.

      • GXml 0.13.1 Released

        Now you can convert your GObject classes in XML nodes. This is, you can read and write XML trees directly to object classes’ properties, from basic types to complex like object properties, representing XML element’s attributes, to other child elements, while you can use collection of child nodes.

        This has been easiest to implement than GXml.SerializableObjectModel, which requires you to read an XML tree and then translate to your object properties. This should be slower than new GOM implementation included in this release.

      • About internet comments and aggressive communication

        That made me think about how we usually run conversations through internet. Because I work with GNOME, a thick skin naturally grew. I eventually have people yelling me “y u keep breaking stuff?” or “stop making this piece of crap” or even “ur product is bad, u offend me by releasing it” (and yes, they’re all real comments). After some time, this kind of thing becomes just background noise which we have to work with every day. I can only think that other contributors faced the same kind of top-notch treatment.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Six big projects that went open-source

    Making big software and hardware projects open-source is an increasingly popular thing to do, whether you’re a big company, a small company, or even the government. Here’s a sampling of the latest major projects to hit the open-source realm. Enjoy.

  • Using Apache Hadoop to Turn Big Data Into Insights

    The Apache Hadoop framework for distributed processing of large data sets is supported and used by a wide-ranging community — including businesses, governments, academia, and technology vendors. According to John Mertic, Director of ODPi and the Open Mainframe Project at The Linux Foundation, Apache Hadoop provides these diverse users with a solid base and allows them to add on different pieces depending on what they want to accomplish.

  • AMD Stoney Ridge Support Lands In Coreboot

    It has been a long time since last seeing any new AMD support in Coreboot while that changed this past week with the arrival of the mainline Stoney Ridge support.

  • How to create an internal innersource community

    In recent years, we have seen more and more interest in a variance of open source known as innersource. Put simply, innersource is taking the principles of open source and bringing them inside the walls of an organization. As such, you build collaboration and community that may look and taste like open source, but in which all code and community is private within the walls of the organization.

    As a community strategy and leadership consultant, I work with many companies to help build their innersource communities. As such, I thought it could be fun to share some of the most important principles that map to most of my clients and beyond. This could be a helpful primer if you are considering exploring innersource inside your organization.

  • Open is a means, not a movement

    In the humble beginnings of the GNU and Linux projects, open source was a primitive and narrowly-defined idea. It applied only to programming, and was a largely legal designation that sought to guarantee that source code remained available to users even as others augmented it through subsequent contributions.

    Now, thirty years later, “open” is sweeping the enterprise. On top of “open source,” we also have “open data,” “open management,” “open design,” “open organizations,”—and even just “open,” which we often take to imply something vague about a progressive policy.

  • Showing Code

    Which goes to show that terseness is a demanding constraint; I did not adequately state what I was trying to state in my attempt to limit it to a single tweet. And of course, that meant it became a discussion back and forth.

  • Open-source Sesame! Alibaba promises super-size magic for Java

    Online commerce giant Alibaba is among a crop of “new world” Java users seeking to shape the direction of both language and platform.

    Alibaba, one the world’s largest users of Java, has entered the race for election to the ruling executive committee (EC) of the Java Community Process (JCP). Jack Ma’s ecommerce giant joined the JCP only three months ago – in August.

    Also running for election to Java’s steering group are representatives of end user groups from China, Africa and Germany. One, the GreenTea Java User Group (JUG) in Shanghai, was founded and sponsored by technical staff from Alibaba.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Kubernetes


    • The Sorcerer’s Code

      Richard Stallman, a software advocate affiliated with MIT, doesn’t really wear hats, but he’s been known to don tinfoil. In 2005, while attending a U.N. technology summit in Tunisia, he received a photo badge with a radio-frequency identification chip. Disgusted, he purchased a roll of aluminum foil, covered his badge, and handed sheets out to others. Tunisian security nearly blocked him from giving his talk. “By covering our badges,” he later noted, “we could prevent our movements within the summit, and our movements outside, from being scanned; we could also make a visible protest against the surveillance society that many governments are trying to impose.” A fellow delegate blogged that Stallman had “a legitimate gripe, handled with Richard’s usual highly visible, guileless, and absolutely unsubtle style of nonviolent protest.”

  • Public Services/Government

    • US launches website to share open-source software code

      The US government has just launched its latest website, Code.gov with the aim of preventing the replication of code across government agencies in order to conserve valuable time and resources.

      The site, which was launched on Thursday, already contains almost 50 open-source projects from a number of government agencies. Code.gov is the product of the Federal Source Code policy that was first announced in August by the White House.

      The site’s goal is to provide new custom source code that can be reused across government agencies to cut down on replicating code which is a waste of government expenses and time. The public will also benefit as a result of Code.gov since government agencies are required to make some of the software they create available under an open-source license.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open-source tool to put optogenetics in more labs

      The first low-cost, easy-to-use optogenetics hardware platform will let biologists who have little or no training in engineering or software design incorporate optogenetics testing in their labs.

      The Light Plate Apparatus (LPA), which researchers created in the lab of Jeffrey Tabor, assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice University, uses open-source hardware and software. The apparatus can deliver two independent light signals to each well in a standard 24-well plate and has sockets that accept LEDs of wavelengths ranging from blue to far red.

    • Open Data

      • Identify-org launched to better identify organisations through Open Data

        A group of Open Data standard bodies have launched Identify-org, a new initiative whose goal is to create an open codelist in Open Data to better identify organisations in the world.

        International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), Open Contracting Partnership, 360Giving, Joined Up Data Standards (JUDS) and the Initiative for Open Ag Funding presented the initiative at the Open Data International Conference in Madrid in October.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Lab creates open-source optogenetics hardware, software

        Nobody likes a cheater, but Rice University bioengineering graduate student Karl Gerhardt wants people to copy his answers. That’s the whole point.

        Gerhardt and Rice colleagues have created the first low-cost, easy-to-use optogenetics hardware platform that biologists who have little or no training in engineering or software design can use to incorporate optogenetics testing in their labs.

  • Programming/Development

    • Building code faster and why recursive Make is so slow

      One of the most common reactions to Meson we have gotten has been that build time is dominated by the compiler, thus trying to make the build system faster is pointless. After all, Make just launches subproject processes and waits for them to finish, so there’s nothing to be gained.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Why didn’t PDF die like Flash?

      The British government’s Accessibility department has just published the results of a six-week online survey, quizzing users of assistive technology about what aspects of government publishing might need addressing. Many of the users, according to the section’s blog, find the government’s widespread use of the semi-open Adobe PDF format ‘hard to use’, asking for alternative content in HTML. The government is considering these complaints, but civil and municipal retrenchment into PDF-dependence does seem to make change unlikely…


  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Reproducible Builds: week 80 in Stretch cycle

      Patches to GCC to generate reproducible output independently of the build-path were submitted by Ximin Luo.

    • Security considerations with github continuous integration

      Continuous integration (CI) support in github is a very useful addition. Not only can you utilize existing services like Travis CI, you can utilize the github API and roll your own, which is exactly what we did for libStorageMgmt. LibStorageMgmt needs to run tests for hardware specific plugins, so we created our own tooling to hook up github and our hardware which is geographically located across the US. However, shortly after getting all this in place and working it became pretty obvious that we provided a nice attack vector…

    • The perfect cybercrime: selling fake followers to fake people

      Hackers are recruiting the internet of things into a botnet. But this time they’re not trying to take down the internet. They’re just using them to make fake social media accounts – which they can then sell to online narcissists to make an easy buck.

      Masarah-Cynthia Paquet-Clouston, a criminologist with the University of Montreal, and Olivier Bilodeau, a cybersecurity researcher at Montreal-based company GoSecure, have uncovered a large botnet that recruits everyday devices such as connected toasters, fridges or even your grandmother’s router to help commit social media fraud. They think that this stealthy, lucrative scheme is a glimpse into the future of low-level cybercrime.

    • Yet Another E-voting Machine Vulnerability Found

      We’ve been talking about the ridiculousness of e-voting machines for well over a decade. If a machine doesn’t include a paper trail for backup, it’s suspect. That’s been the case since e-voting machines have been on the market, and many of us have been pointing this out all along. And the big e-voting companies have a long history of not really caring, even as their machines are shown to be vulnerable in a variety of ways. So it come as little to no surprise to find out that security firm Cylance has announced that it’s found yet another set of e-voting vulnerabilities in the Sequoia AVC Edge Mk1 voting machine. Sequoia especially has a long history of buggy, faulty machines.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Pundits think Islamic State’s Baghdadi is smart because he’s cruel. That’s nonsense

      Is Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the infamously cruel Islamic State leader, an unusually smart terrorist?

      Terrorism pundits seem to think the answer is “yes” — precisely because he’s turned cruelty into a sort of brand. He gained notoriety in the West for indiscriminately killing civilians and then directing his followers to brag about wanton bloodshed in “Jihadi John” beheading videos. Many would argue that, by leaving a photographic trail of bloodshed in his wake, Baghdadi has surpassed Osama bin Laden, the former Al Qaeda leader. In a Politico article from last year, for example, a prominent Brookings analyst exclaimed that Baghdadi “out-terrorized bin Laden,” who never fully grasped how well “violence and gore work.”

      I see things differently. I think the Islamic State CEO is an unusually stupid terrorist — precisely because he’s turned cruelty into a sort of brand.

      For a decade, political scientists have known that terrorist groups suffer when they exercise too little restraint by attacking civilians. Civilian attacks carry substantial downside risks by strengthening the resolve of target countries, eroding their confidence in negotiations, lowering the odds of government concessions, reducing popular support for the group and, all in all, expediting its demise.

    • Long-range projectiles for Navy’s newest ship too expensive to shoot

      …Navy is canceling production of the LRLAP because of an $800,000-per-shot price tag — more than 10 times the original projected cost. By comparison, the nuclear-capable Tomahawk cruise missile costs approximately $1 million per shot, while the M712 Copperhead laser-guided 155-millimeter projectile and M982 Excalibur GPS-guided rounds cost less than $70,000 per shot. Traditional Navy 5-inch shells cost no more than a few hundred dollars each.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Vancouver Considers Abandoning Parts of the Coast Because of Climate Change

      Vancouver prides itself on being a coastal city, nestled between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific. Like every other part of the world, it’s under threat from climate change, as warming temperatures cause sea levels to creep ever-higher. The city is looking at many options to hold back the rising water—and for the first time, retreat from the coast is one of them.

      This week, Vancouver officials put out a report laying out plenty of options to deal with sea level rise, including barriers, dykes, and seawalls. But it also suggests that, at least in some parts of the city, they may want to consider just getting people out of the way. The option of retreat from the coast is on the table in Vancouver, and other cities might soon follow.

    • Palm oil’s green body comes under fire from activists

      Some activist groups are withdrawing support for the palm oil body that provides sustainability certificates for the industry, saying it is biased toward producers and its complaints panel is flawed.

      Aidenvironment, an Amsterdam-based green group, could become the latest to cut ties with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) over what it calls poor handling of a complaint against major palm producer IOI Group.

      RSPO — a body of palm producers, consumer companies, and activist groups — has long faced criticism for weak enforcement standards. Some faith was restored earlier this year when RSPO suspended IOI’s certificates, which then dissipated when RSPO revoked the suspension four months later.

      A withdrawal by green groups, long seen as the conscience of the RSPO, could undermine the credibility of the industry body, especially for consumer manufacturing companies under pressure globally to ensure they have a sustainable supply chain.

    • Poaching is on the rise — most illegal ivory comes from recently killed elephants

      Almost all the world’s illegal ivory comes from elephants that have been recently killed, researchers say. The new study shows that seized ivory isn’t coming from old stockpiles, but from African elephants that have been poached less than three years before the tusks were seized. That means that poaching — one of the biggest threats to elephants — is widespread and may be a bigger problem than we think.

    • Elephant poachers are hard at work in Africa, and carbon dating proves it

      Elephant poaching is alive and well — and the elephants are not. A team of scientists examining seized shipments of elephant tusks from Africa have found that the vast majority of the ivory came from elephants that died within the last three years.

      The sobering results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveal that the killing of elephants for their ivory is continuing at a disturbing pace — even as elephant populations across the continent are in sharp decline.

      While poaching had been easing for several years, it has returned with a vengeance in the last decade or so, said lead author Thure Cerling, a geochemist at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Central African forest elephants have fallen by an estimated 62% from 2002 to 2011. At the Selous Wildlife Reserve in Tanzania, savanna elephants have declined 66% from 2009 to 2013.

      “There’s been a staggering rate of elephant loss every year,” Cerling said.

    • Dakota Access Pipeline CEO Kelcy Warren Should Face the Music

      President Barack Obama foreshadowed more complications for the Dakota Access pipeline this week, as he told an interviewer that “right now the Army Corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline.” With hundreds arrested in recent weeks at the Standoff at Standing Rock, North Dakota, the movement to halt construction of this 1,200-mile, $3.8 billion oil pipeline only builds. Musicians are increasingly joining the fray, striking an unexpected chord: pressuring oil billionaire Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, which owns the pipeline. Warren also owns a small music label and recording company, and is the founder and driving force behind the Cherokee Creek Music Festival in Texas. Many musicians, including folk/rock legend Jackson Browne, are banding together to confront Warren and help stop the pipeline.

      In a statement published in September by Indian Country Today Media Network, Jackson Browne wrote: “I met Kelcy Warren on one occasion, when I played at the Cherokee Creek Music Festival, held at his ranch. Later his company, Music Road Records, produced an album of my songs. Though I was honored by the ‘tribute’ and think highly of the versions—which were done by some of my favorite singers and songwriters, I had nothing to do with producing the recordings or deciding who would be on it.”

  • Finance

    • We need a Brexit deal that heals the north-south divide

      It’s official. The north-south divide in Britain is now wider than at any time since the beginning of the industrial revolution – wider than when Charles Dickens was writing about Victorian squalor, and wider than in the depression years of the 1930s, when George Orwell exposed the grinding poverty of northern England in The Road to Wigan Pier.

      Remarkable new evidence from a study by the academic Philip McCann, The UK Regional-National Economic Problem, shows that while economic output per head, measured by gross value added, is near £43,000 a year in London – and as high as £135,000 in inner west London – almost half the UK population lives, in regions where output per head is below £22,325.

      Indeed the regional divide is so vast that, at £13,500 per person, economic output in Gwent, Wales, is a tenth that of one of the wealthiest part of London; and in the Tees and Welsh valleys it has now fallen below that of Lithuania, Slovenia and Slovakia.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Affinity Interviews Jill Stein!
    • Voters Express Disgust Over U.S. Politics in New Times/CBS Poll

      An overwhelming majority of voters are disgusted by the state of American politics, and many harbor doubts that either major-party nominee can unite the country after a historically ugly presidential campaign, according to the final pre-election New York Times/CBS News Poll.

      In a grim preview of the discontent that may cloud at least the outset of the next president’s term, Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump are seen by a majority of voters as unlikely to bring the country back together after this bitter election season.

      With more than eight in 10 voters saying the campaign has left them repulsed rather than excited, the rising toxicity threatens the ultimate victor. Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic candidate, and Mr. Trump, the Republican nominee, are seen as dishonest and viewed unfavorably by a majority of voters.

    • Wikileaks releases second batch on Election Eve
    • As Our Revolution’s Former Electoral Manager, This Is How We Keep President Clinton Accountable

      With the right combination of strategies, we can make Bernie Sanders the most powerful senator in the country and keep President Hillary Clinton accountable to the progressive movement. Our best opportunity to accomplish this is right around the corner.

      The Huffington Post points out that Clinton leads in a greater proportion of polls than Obama did in 2008 and 2012. Their model gives Clinton an overwhelming 98.2 percent chance of victory. Clinton’s lead is so substantial that she could lose all seven swing states, a highly improbable outcome, and still have enough electoral votes tucked away in safe states to win the election. In short, Hillary Clinton will be our next president.

      Instead of staying home or turning Clinton’s big lead into a landslide, we should invest our votes into getting the most progressive candidate in the race, Dr. Jill Stein, to the major electoral threshold of 5 percent. Success will qualify the Green Party for official national party status, along with a simplified path to ballot access and about $10 million dollars in federal campaign funds for the next presidential election.

    • EMAILS: Clinton Sent Classified Info To Chelsea After UN Climate Talks

      Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent her daughter an email after the conclusion of a United Nations climate summit that had information later deemed classified by the Department of State.

      Clinton sent an email to her daughter, Chelsea, two days after she and President Barack Obama tried to negotiate an international global warming agreement at Copenhagen in 2009. The email was sent to Chelsea’s alias email account under the name, “Diane Reynolds.”

      Clinton forwarded Chelsea a Dec. 19, 2009 email from top State Department officials and Obama’s global warming “czar” Carol Browner — a long-time Clinton ally — according to emails released by the State Department Friday.

    • WikiLeaks releases election day batch from Clinton campaign chair

      WikiLeaks has released its 35th batch of emails from the hacked account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta, as Americans go to the polls in the presidential election.

    • The 44 Most Damning Stories From WikiLeaks

      WikiLeaks has published tens of thousands of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails. This is what The Daily Caller believes are the most important findings from them.

      They expose a corrupt press, Clinton Foundation play for play, cronyism, and the Clintons’ real thoughts on the issues.

    • Bill Clinton branded Jeremy Corbyn ‘maddest person in the room’, leaked speech reveals

      Bill Clinton branded Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn the “maddest person in the room” in a speech he gave explaining the resurgence of left-wing politics in Europe and America.

      Documents released by Wikileaks show the former President joked that when Mr Corbyn won his leadership contest, it appeared Labour had just “got a guy off the street” to run the party.

    • WikiLeaks: Mook Frantic Over Appearance of TPP Support

      It likely will not make a difference in the outcome of today’s presidential election, but WikiLeaks offered more evidence Tuesday that even campaign staff for Democrat Hillary Clinton couldn’t follow her shifting position on trade.

      Clinton had studiously avoided taking a public position on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which her Democratic primary opponents had been bashing with gusto. On June 14 of last year, at a campaign rally in Iowa, she dipped her toe in the water.

    • Statement by Julian Assange on U.S. Presidential Election

      In recent months, WikiLeaks and I personally have come under enormous pressure to stop publishing what the Clinton campaign says about itself to itself. That pressure has come from the campaign’s allies, including the Obama administration, and from liberals who are anxious about who will be elected U.S. president.

    • The Stakes Are Higher Than You Realize

      In one of the more memorable riffs of the 2016 election, President Barack Obama recently said “My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot. Tolerance is on the ballot. Democracy is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Good schools are on the ballot. Ending mass incarceration – that’s on the ballot right now!”

      I increasingly fear that The West is on the ballot too.


      What’s the significance of the FBI’s intervention in these last days of the U.S. election campaign, in the case against Hillary Clinton?

    • A Tale of Three Foundations: Carter, Clinton and Trump

      Seen the latest front-page Jimmy Carter Center scandal? Hear about the six figure fees speaking former president Jimmy Carter pulls in from shady companies and foreign governments? An oil painting of himself he bought with charity money? Maybe not.

      Take a moment to Google Jimmy Carter. Now do the same for Bill Clinton. The search results tell the tale of two former presidents, one determined to use his status honorably, the other seeking exploitation for personal benefit. And then throw in Donald Trump, who of course wants to someday be a former president. Each man has his own charitable foundation. Let’s compare them.

      Three charitable organizations enter, only one emerges with honor. Let’s do this!

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Following scare at Trump rally, life is now different for protester

      Life was fairly normal for Austyn Crites until Saturday night.

      The 33-year-old, Eagle Scout and high-altitude balloon inventor was by his own account a fairly average guy. He wasn’t famous — or infamous — and his face certainly wasn’t plastered all over international media.

      That is, until the Donald Trump rally on Saturday in Reno.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Thinking Like an Intelligence Officer: Anthony Weiner and Russian Spies

      There are many reasons why Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey is interested in the emails on Anthony Weiner’s home computer, emails which may include United States government information pertinent to Hillary Clinton or those communicating with her.

      The majority of those reasons for Comey’s involvement, for good or for bad depending on your political position, have been laid out across the media spectrum.

      But there may be one more reason not yet discussed. Since we seem to be spending so much time this election cycle on the Russians this year, let’s think like Russian intelligence officers. Comey may be looking at an intelligence operation.

    • If GCHQ says it then it must be right, right?

      What happens if GCHQ advice is questionable or goes directly against the direction the majority of industry is heading?

    • France wants a ‘monster’ database of citizens’ info

      The French government’s fairly discreet plan to create a massive database containing personal information of the country’s population has encountered gremlins in the form of growing opposition.

      French government plans to create a new database containing details of almost the entire population suffered fresh blows on
      Monday as criticism grew of the controversial project.

      The Socialist government announced a decree to create the database, which would contain personal information of 60 million people, on a public holiday weekend at the end of October.

      It has led to fears that hackers might target the information as well as anxiety that so much personal data could be misused in the future by the security forces or other government agencies.

    • Can FBI review 650,000 emails in nine days? Absolutely, says Edward Snowden

      GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and his supporters are questioning whether the FBI could have sifted through 650,000 emails quickly enough to clear his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, just nine days after they were discovered.

      But the FBI and cybersecurity experts say it can be done with database scanning software – and one of those experts is none other than Edward Snowden, the fugitive whistleblower who’s hoping to get a presidential pardon.

      The debate unfolded today in the wake of FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that a search through a laptop used by Clinton aide Huma Abedin turned up nothing to change “our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.”

    • Disable Nvidia Telemetry tracking on Windows

      Telemetry — read tracking — seems to be everywhere these days. Microsoft pushes it on Windows, and web and software companies use it as well.

      While there is certainly some benefit to it on a larger scale, as it may enable these companies to identify broader issues, it is undesirable from a user perspective.

      Part of that comes from the fact that companies fail to disclose what is being collected and how data is stored and handled once it leaves the user system.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Indonesia Police Question Christian Politician in Blasphemy Case

      Police questioned the most prominent Christian politician in this predominantly Muslim country on Monday as they consider a blasphemy charge against him, just three months ahead of an election where he is the leading candidate.

    • ‘Persecuted’ family forced to flee Manningham home as threats escalate

      Mr Hussain converted to Christianity 20 years ago, but says in recent years he has been subjected to harassment and violence by sections of the Islamic community.

      “This extreme persecution by certain people in the Muslim community because we are converts has broken us as a family,” he said.

      “We are fragmented and I do not know how we will recover from this. We haven’t functioned properly for years.”

      He said “serious questions” needed to be answered.

      Last year, Mr Hussain was hospitalised after his kneecap was smashed and his hand broken during an attack outside his home in St Paul’s Road, Manningham.

      Two hooded men, one armed with a pick-axe handle, assaulted him in a vicious attack caught on CCTV.

    • Officials: SA cop fired for attempting to feed fecal sandwich to homeless person

      An officer from the San Antonio Police Department has been fired for allegedly attempting to feed a fecal sandwich to a homeless person, several sources have confirmed.

      The City Council was briefed on the matter during a private session Thursday, sources said. The officer reportedly placed fecal matter between two pieces of bread and gave it to a homeless person.

      “This was a vile and disgusting act that violates our guiding principles of ‘treating all with integrity, compassion, fairness and respect,’ Chief William McManus said in a prepared statement. “The fact that his fellow officers were so disgusted with his actions that they reported him to Internal Affairs demonstrates that this type of behavior will never be tolerated. The action of this one former officer in no way reflects the actions of all the other good men and women who respectfully serve this community.”

    • One woman’s brush with Sharia courts in the UK: “It ruined my life forever”

      The UK government is conducting an inquiry into the operation of Sharia courts which is being boycotted by a number of women’s organisations because its remit is too narrow, and the panel of judges is not seen as ‘independent’ enough.

      Parallel to this, the Home Affairs Committee has also launched an inquiry into whether the principles of Sharia are compatible with British law.

      On 7 November, there will be a public seminar on “Sharia Law, Legal Pluralism and Access to Justice” 7-9pm at Committee Room 12 at the Houses of Parliament. Below, we publish the story of a woman Shagufta (not her real name) who spoke to the campaign group, One Law for All, and described how a brush with the Sharia courts ruined her life forever.

      I am a practising Muslim. My faith is central to who I am. I was born in 1947 in Pakistan and joined my husband in the UK in 1965. I am from a middle-class Pakistani family and found life in England hard. It was a huge culture shock. We settled in the north of England. I supported my husband with his business interests and eventually had my own business running a cookery school and a halal food company. I had six daughters and a son.

    • Hong Kong pro-democracy politicians banned by China as crisis grows

      Hong Kong is facing a severe political crisis after China barred two pro-independence politicians from the city’s legislature.

      In a highly controversial move, Beijing said Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus “Baggio” Leung would not be able to hold office, striking a blow to the burgeoning movement calling for greater autonomy from the mainland.

      The ruling, which amounts to Beijing’s most direct intervention in the territory’s legal system since the 1997 handover to Chinese rule, is expected to spark renewed street protests in the former British colony.

    • Sweden now allowing US Homeland Security officers at Stockholm airport, permanently and with access to own weapons

      In brief: Sweden is now allowing US Homeland Security to station officers at Stockholm airport on a permanent basis, and with access to their own weapons. The US “custom and security controls” in Swedish soil are supposed to stop suspected terrorists, which include “cyber-terrorists”, and other individuals suspected of criminal-behaviour – who appear on lists which may also include whistle-blowers and their publicists, who may be considered to have “stolen information”. The Department of Homeland Security declared in 2013 that “the unlawful disclosure of classified information by WikiLeaks in the summer of 2010 has rightfully renewed the Department’s focus on risk management.”

Celebrating Our 10th Birthday

Posted in Site News at 12:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Quick remarks on today’s (or yesterday’s) milestone, which happens only once in a decade

Some geeks’ media has already noticed that, as we pointed out several days ago, this site turns 10. I wasn’t planning much for it, but my wife surprised me with some stuff she bought yesterday and hid somewhere in the house. She then took some photos that she wanted me to publish.

Techrights cake

Techrights cake

We have a lot of EPO coverage on the way, so stay tuned. We’re quite badly backlogged as a matter of fact, we have piles of stuff we are eager to publish and will only eventually — somehow — get around to publishing. The anniversary was technically yesterday, but the site had technical issues due to rogue traffic (or DDOS), forcing me to stay indoors to manually stave it off.

EPO I.U. Cartoon Highlights the Way EPO Staff Feels About the Management Under Battistelli

Posted in Europe, Humour, Patents at 4:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO I.U. Cartoon

Summary: “The “spy cams in toilets” caricature is about 2½ years old,” we learned. “The same is true for the “STAFFSICHERHEITSMINISTERIUM” caricature.” (published here before) “Both are documents expressing the climate of fear which had been established in the Office,” explained the person who sent this to us

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