Cloud Trolls Are Clouding Their Software Patents in the “Cloud Computing” Buzzword

Posted in America, Courtroom at 6:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bird and cloud

Summary: Cloudflare and Cloudera are under attack from non-practicing entities (trolls) with software patents, exploiting the perception of novelty around the mythical “cloud”

TECHRIGHTS has published a number of articles about the (mis)use of buzzwords to patent things that are neither novel nor patent-eligible. Common examples are “AI”, “Cloud Computing”, and “IoT”. We don’t want to delve into the debate over why those terms as nonsensical as downright marketing; instead we’ll say that in most cases these allude to software inventions that are not patentable after Alice (or would not be enforceable in a court of law or even PTAB).

Kemp IT Law recently wrote: “This blog develops the themes of our February piece on cloud availability risks from software patent claims.”

Well, “Cloud Computing” (in general) does not exist. It’s a buzzword that mostly alludes to servers (the original uses of the term meant something else). The term is poisonous; it’s growingly used as a Trojan horse for fake novelty and software patents that wrongly assume or piggyback this sort of novelty (like running “on a server”, i.e. something physical). Here are some relevant posts on the subject:

Right now, Cloudflare is trying to defend itself from patent trolls. The latest article we saw about it was titled “Cloudflare trolls patent troll, offers $50k bounty for prior-art invalidation” and we wrote some articles about it [1, 2, 3]. Not a word since…

Another company, the FOSS-centric Cloudera, has come under attack from the University of Tennessee. So a publicly-funded institution resorts to attacking a company that’s based on FOSS? Who is likely to benefit from that? “The University of Tennessee has sued software company Cloudera for patent infringement over its use of data processing systems,” WIPR wrote.

Sadly, we expect to hear about more such cases and as long as they say something about “cloud” it may be wrongly assumed to be innovative.

The Microsoft Operandi: Linux-Centric Xiaomi Pays Post-Microsoft Entryism Nokia for Patents

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Xiaomi patent settlement

Summary: The passage around of patents still enables Microsoft to drive up the price of Free/libre operating systems, which are also under attack from European authorities owing to Microsoft’s heavy lobbying there

THE effective or de facto takeover by Microsoft has turned Nokia into little more than a patent troll (or feeder of patent trolls like MOSAID/Conversant), which often turns against companies that distribute Android/Linux, never companies that are Windows shops. This shouldn’t be so shocking; we’ve predicted this for years.

“…so Nokia does to Xiaomi what Microsoft did to it and we view that as a form of blackmail.”One year ago Microsoft basically settled with Xiaomi when Xiaomi agreed to buy (i.e. pay for) patents from Microsoft and now we see the same thing with Nokia, i.e. double-dipping. Much of the media (starting this morning) described this as a “patent deal”, a “collaboration” or “cross-licence”, but pay attention to the finer details. “Under the new business agreement, Xiaomi also acquired patent assets from Nokia,” it says. Just like with Microsoft; so Nokia does to Xiaomi what Microsoft did to it and we view that as a form of blackmail.

“A lot of the media conveniently neglects to mention Microsoft’s well-documented role in antitrust action against Android in Europe.”Did Nokia pressure Xiaomi for this? A payment was made, akin to a settlement, not a cross-licence. In other words, Xiaomi paid Nokia. Like it did with Microsoft…

We have since seen this development covered in lots more sites; it’s widely covered today in mainstream media and also patents-centric blogs/news sites.

“Nokia and Xiaomi ink patent and equipment deal, Xiaomi buys Nokia patents,” says this headline, emphasising the part about purchase of patents. Much of the rest was almost as shallow as press releases.

“Don’t underestimate the dirty patent tricks of Microsoft. The company still hates Linux and Android with a passion; it fights these hard using patents and using satellites which include Nokia and patent trolls it instructs Nokia to pass patents to.”As we noted here back in May, Apple and Nokia settled their dispute too and we guess it means that Apple agreed to pay Nokia (again).

Don’t lose sight of the fact that Nokia always goes after Microsoft competitors (same as Intellectual Ventures).

As for Apple, it is still going after Samsung, which was (at the time the lawsuits began) the dominant Android player/OEM. The latest on this was covered by Florian Müller the other day; he retweeted Matt Marcotte as saying: “Busy summer for Apple and Samsung then. The parties are now going to have to lobby the DoJ again. Groundhog day, sort of.” In his personal blog he wrote:

As the docket overview now indicates, the Supreme Court of the United States has decided to ask for the views of the Solicitor General of the United States on Samsung’s petition for writ of certiorari relating to the second California Apple v. Samsung case. To be precise, this CVSG (Call for Views of the Solicitor General) is a CVASG–currently there is an Acting Solicitor General, Jeffrey Wall.

This means the Supreme Court’s summer recess will be a busy period for the parties–and other stakeholders–as they will both be lobbying the Department of Justice.

Just last week, a Reuters story had the following headline: “RPT-U.S. Supreme Court and top patent court rarely see eye to eye” It is true that the relationship between the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit is, well, special. That Reuters article is about a rare case in which there was affirmance, but high-profile reversals, such as recently on patent exhaustion in the Lexmark case, are more common.

This is nice progress for Samsung. The likelihood of certiorari being granted has increased substantially.

If this case goes to SCOTUS, there will be a lot at stake for Android, which is reportedly (according to exclusive coverage from Reuters today) under antitrust attacks that Microsoft initiated against it, using all sorts of proxies several years ago. A lot of the media conveniently neglects to mention Microsoft’s well-documented role in antitrust action against Android in Europe. Revisionism by omission? We wrote dozens of articles on the subject over the years. Evidence is abundant. Groklaw covered this too.

Don’t underestimate the dirty patent tricks of Microsoft. The company still hates Linux and Android with a passion; it fights these hard using patents and using satellites which include Nokia and patent trolls it instructs Nokia to pass patents to.

The EPO’s Liar in Chief, Benoît Battistelli, is Googlebombing Again

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Googlebombing definition/example for the uninitiated: The European Patent Office is Googlebombing and Bamboozling the Public About Quality of European Patents

Also see: EPO is “Googlebombing” Croatia With Puff Pieces Rather Than Discussion/Coverage of Vice-President’s Dark Side

A Transparent Quality
Nice joke, Benoît! It’s always all about narcissistic Benoît, who nonchalantly bends the facts and threatens the media when it refutes his fantasies, exposes him and so on…

Summary: The latest distractions and lies from the European Patent Office (EPO), which is run by a charlatan to whom facts are an enemy, media is something to be paid for, and people are worthless “assets” to be exploited and then thrown away

THE so-called “swamp” at the EPO (to use Donald Trump’s odd term that has been adopted by the patent microcosm to demonise patent progressives) is gradually being drained, with McGinley, Minnoye, Kongstad, and Battistelli all out (or on their way out). “The Battistelli era will soon be over at the EPO,” an insider quoted IAM as saying yesterday.

There are reasons for optimism. There is progress to be celebrated.

As far as we can tell, the mainstream media covers almost none of this.

“The EPO’s management is attempting to ride the wave of the Tour de France.”We would like to draw attention to the latest utter nonsense.

The EPO’s management is attempting to ride the wave of the Tour de France. It’s posting all sorts of silly, corny tweets which we’d rather not send traffic to. Are they trying to turn it into Tour de Benoît?

This has actually led to several EPO puff pieces, based on Twitter and maybe a reach-out from the EPO's PR team. Here is one example of that:

With stage three of the Tour de France now completed and 298 separate riders having participated, the European Patent Office (EPO) has revealed the number of European patents related to bicycles.

Complete nonsense. Not news. Just ‘buzz’ or an opportunistic attempt to catch some traffic from Tour de France watchers. Also in the ‘news’ today was this ‘article’ from a law firm, more or less just parroting the EPO’s press release that we responded to several times last week. To quote:

In a recent communication, the European Patent Office (EPO) clarified that essentially biological processes for the production of plants and animals as well as plants and animals obtained by such processes are excluded from patentability.

Previously, the decisions G 2/12 and G 2/13 of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) of the EPO ruled that essentially biological processes for the production of plants and animals were excluded from patentability, while the plants and animals obtained by such processes were not excluded from patentability.

In other words, patent quality at the EPO was too bad. The EPO finally admitted this in public, as we said at the end of last year.

Looking at the EPO’s Web site today, black is sunlight and sunlight is darkness. Any reader with meager understanding of EPO matters will immediately see that it’s another lump of lies, both from the EPO’s ‘news’ section and Benoît Battistelli’s so-called ‘blog’ (warning: both links, only hours old, can be used for tracking).

“The Liar in Chief, Benoît Battistelli, is also googlebombing.”In a nutshell, the EPO keeps googlebombing the word “quality” to distract from the fact that Benoît Battistelli essentially killed patent quality. They are sparingly quoting nonsensical things from Benoît Battistelli. It’s utterly embarrassing. His face and words are plastered all over the Web site, so when he leaves next year they might have to do some very thorough site overhaul (the site has become like a shrine to him).

Now look at his ‘blog’. Holy ***! The Liar in Chief, Benoît Battistelli, is also googlebombing. He googlebombs both the word “quality” and the word “transparency” (having posted a “blog” titled “A Transparent Quality”) to distract from quality declines and secrecy. The EPO is full of corruption and nefarious acts, even deaths. The only EPO transparency comes from Techrights, which ironically enough the EPO blocks. The EPO has neither quality nor transparency. But hey, with over a million Euros a year it certainly ‘bribes’ enough journalists to repeat whatever narrative Battistelli commands.

Expect No Progress Whatsoever on the Unified Patent Court (UPC) During the Summer and Likely Too Little Even in Fall

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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

Dr. Glyn Moody

Summary: The Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is often referred to as Unitary Patent, is in a potentially fatal deadlock or limbo ahead of the summer vacation and no progress can be made probably until winter (if ever)

THE EPO is a mess. The UPC has a lot to do with this mess. By promoting the Unified Patent Court (UPC) at the expense of fundamental laws, constitutions, democracy and even the EPC, the EPO’s management has made a mockery of the very notion of justice (as in patent justice). Together with Team UPC they have attempted to stage a coup, but people fight back and resist this monster. We have reopened the petition against the UPC. And guess what? It’s working. The UPC is dying. Suffice to say, the EPO’s management and Team UPC will never admit it, but even some vested realists (and dare we say IAM) are losing their hopes.

“Together with Team UPC they have attempted to stage a coup, but people fight back and resist this monster.”The other day at IP Watch they said that a “Belgian appeals court judge laid out details on the Unified Patent Court of Europe.” There will be no such thing though. Why even push forth this mirage?

In reply to some nonsensical message about the UPC (we often disregard what Team UPC says or the UPC hopefuls simply want to believe), one person wrote, “your preferred approach would be to bring the UPP into force and then hope and pray that it can survive Brexit. To be frank, my view is that adopting such a “wing and a prayer” approach would be highly irresponsible. The interests of patent applicants and the public are best served by providing legal certainty. Pushing ahead at a point when it is impossible to determine whether known (fatal) problems can be resolved by a known (and very short) deadline will lead to nothing but legal uncertainty, to the detriment of all but the legal profession. And by the way, regardless of how much the UPCA will need to be amended in order to survive Brexit, certainty will only ever be provided if and when the CJEU “rubber-stamps” the novel mechanism by which the amended UPCA proposes to comply with EU law. Not much chance of that happening pre-Brexit, is there?”

“Luke Maunder and Liz Cohen from Bristows maintain the illusion of progress, ignoring all the barriers and focusing on small nations with barely any European Patents…”We said it a long time ago and we can say it again. The UPC is not coming to the UK. In fact, it might not be coming to Germany, either. That being the case, the UPC may never come to fruition. At all!

But don’t take our word for it. Just wait and watch. We have always been right in our predictions about the UPC, since the early days about a decade ago. Watch Team UPC suffocating or choking on its own Kool-Aid in its commercial blogs today [1, 2]; Luke Maunder and Liz Cohen from Bristows maintain the illusion of progress, ignoring all the barriers and focusing on small nations with barely any European Patents, citing the only two nations they ever mention in their blog these days! Hilarious!

Bristows, give it up. Shut down your “Bristows UPC” branch and do something productive rather than lie to the British public and to the German public.

Death Trap: The ‘New’ (Nouvel) Building of the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nouvel building

Summary: The disaster of a project (Nouvel), where huge losses are made and the EPO would get sued (if it were not for its notorious immunity), sees yet another tragedy, with more likely to come

THE EPO‘s management, along with docile Dutch media and gullible politicians, has spoken a lot about Nouvel, but what is the truth behind this project? It’s purely extravaganza that’s attempting to brush over Battistelli’s gross violations of Dutch law.

Nouvel is a project so grossly under-budgeted, with some of the budget reportedly being funneled into a secret project that mostly benefits Battistelli, namely his penthouse. The existing building is a fire hazard, but the next one (Nouvel), which already burned contractors, is also a fire hazard, based on insiders. There’s access to documents, but leaks may ‘burn’ sources, so to speak. We covered this before, e.g. in:

Earlier today we saw links to a couple of reports from Dutch media [1, 2]. In SUEPO’s site and elsewhere [1, 2], for example, English translations gave the gist of it.

EPO animatedThere is yet another Nouvel casualty (probably statistically meaningful for such a rushed project). When it comes to the EPO, people keep falling out of buildings. Sometimes it’s intentional. Sometimes it’s due to negligence and the company that the EPO paid for Nouvel was underfunded by the EPO; it wanted to sue, but the EPO enjoys immunity! Ain’t that amazing? Welcome to the Sultanate of Battistelli.

One article says that a worker was seriously injured by fall from the building (still under construction in the Rijswijk-based site). The person, according to the other report, made a “huge fall”, so chances of survival might not be too good (without serious disability afterwards). Not that EPO is unfamiliar with disabilities; as we shall show in the future, where the EPO doesn’t drive people to suicide it often drives them to life-long, chronic disabilities…

Suspicion That Antonio Campinos Will Apply for Benoît Battistelli’s Job to Succeed Him

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Campinos-Ernst duo as the ‘new’ EPO?

Antonio Campinos

Summary: The future of the EPO is beginning to look like it’s dominated by some of the people whose relationship with Battistelli was explored in depth before

YESTERDAY we expressed concerns about the fact that nobody had written about the upcoming departure of Battistelli, not even IAM. Hours later IAM did in fact write about it (shortly after we had noted its near-silence on the matter, except in Twitter).

Since then, some readers of ours and public comments have pointed this out. SUEPO later linked to this too. It’s something we assume many people have seen by now and it speaks for itself.

Over a year ago Techrights named two people as likely successors for Battistelli. It now looks like both, not just one, may be next up in line (as heads of the Organisation and the Office). Campinos, as we noted here before, is pretty close to Battistelli and IAM believes he may take over as President next summer. Many insiders suspect so as well. Here is what IAM wrote:

Campinos became the executive director of OHIM, as it was then known, back in 2010; and although he has spent the last seven years majoring on trademarks and designs, his time as head of the Portuguese IP office gave him plenty of experience of working in patents at an international level. During his tenure in Alicante, Campinos has successfully implemented a number of major changes, established the EUIPO as one of the world’s premier trademark issuing agencies and done it all while maintaining a good social dialogue with the office’s staff.

I have absolutely no inside knowledge on this, but to my eyes yesterday’s announcement looks like it could have been written with Campinos in mind; though whether he would actually be interested is another matter. If it is not to be him, another intriguing possibility is that someone from the private sector might be brought in. The US has generally tended to appoint either senior in-house or private practice patent lawyers to the USPTO Director’s role and it would be interesting to see what would happen should the EPO go the same way. But I would rate that a long-shot given that experience of running an international organisation is not something that many corporate IP heads, or law firm partners, possess – though people further up the business ladder do, of course. Whatever happens, we are likely to find out who gets the job well before Battistelli formally steps down. We’ll keep you posted …

One reason for concern may be Campinos and immunity, as we pointed out earlier this year.

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



  • 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)


    • 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


  • 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

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