Patent Professionals in Europe Have Devolved Into a Marketing Industry

Posted in Deception, Europe, Marketing, Patents at 2:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s just a big buzzwords salad

Nice salad

Summary: Lies, buzzwords and hype waves is all that the patent bubble in Europe boils down to these days; loads of bogus patents get granted only for European judges to smack these down (if one can afford the court battle)

European Patent Office (EPO) President António Campinos and others were in Austria today. They tell us that the EPO has budgetary woes (it's a lie); but at the same time they blow several millions of euros per hour on a stupid, wasteful ceremony that’s a slap across the face to patent neutrality.

“The EPO has offered bribes to both media and academia in recent years, trying to get both on its side (that also means not covering EPO corruption).”We promised ourselves that this year we wouldn’t give this ceremony any publicity (even negative) because it’s mostly a distraction from bigger issues. We can certainly note that it seems plausible that the EPO now pays Euronews for PR, meaning that this publisher is as corruptible as Les Echos (which this year/week too has produced puff pieces and eliminated all the negatives). The EPO has offered bribes to both media and academia in recent years, trying to get both on its side (that also means not covering EPO corruption). Some publications that covered this festival in the early afternoon literally copied and pasted the EPO’s press release and in the late afternoon the EPO’s site had a rather dull statement. Thankfully, none of the winners had software patents; finalists with such patents won nothing. Does that mean that the EPO will quit granting bogus patents? Of course not. Maybe it won’t glorify these, but it’s still granting them by the bucket-loads.

Looking instead at the situation of the staff, there’s no word from SUEPO. They just dump a few links every now and then, but since the strike ballot was postponed (we assume it’ll come sooner or later) not much has been said. On the patent quality front, it’s all buzzwords. It has become so incredibly childish and pathetic. Law firms and EPO management are acting like marketing firms, not like patent professionals. Let us explain using this week’s examples (from the news).

Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick’s Alyssa Telfer wrote about how to keep monopolies in positions of perpetual monopoly — using the fiction of “AYE PEE” (IP) leveraged by their corporate lawyers. Those who still refer to patents as “IP” merely perpetuate misleading propaganda. The words in the acronym are a misfit, both technically and legally.

“The challenge of obtaining patent protection for artificial intelligence (AI) inventions from IP offices across the globe dominated discussion,” said this new article. Having eliminated some writers, WIPR (World Intellectual Property Review) now participates in illegal agenda of promoting invalid, abstract software patents by calling them "HEY HI" (AI). WIPR, which no longer covers EPO scandals, has become an utter marketer; PR rather than news and lobby rather than a publication; it’s funded by the patent microcosm and composed by relatively clueless buzzword aficionados, picking headlines with both “AYE PEE” (a lie) and “HEY HI” (fiction). Here’s another new example, entitled “Is it time for IP monopoly to come to an end in AI datasets space?”

Databases (or datasets) created by algorithms are not “HEY HI” databases; they’re computer-generated data. And there’s no “AYE PEE” on these, there might be copyright applicable somewhere and one wonders who it’s assigned to (the machine?).

Francis Gurry, the ‘other Battistelli‘ (he almosy became WIPO’s chief and might retry in the future), also props up the “HEY HI” hype so as to allow illegal, invalid software patents. We covered this in past months. This new article/preview shows him talking mostly about ‘owning’ what gets generated by some algorithms and obviously they call it “HEY HI” (the headline is “Preview: WIPO director general predicts AI liability changes”).

The director general of WIPO says that questions of liability for artificial intelligence should be linked to IP ownership as technological developments begin to change established laws.

So they justify change to laws based on hype waves? Here’s that very same front group of the patent and copyright lawyers (MIP) promoting “HEY HI” (AI) hype, or “artificial intelligence”. “In-house counsel at Getty, Expedia and the BBC tell Managing IP about the opportunities and threats posed by artificial intelligence, and call for clarification over Brexit,” said the next article. The majority of their articles in recent days are about “HEY HI”. Talk about hype…

Meanwhile, another cabal of patent lawyers lobbies for patent monopolies on life and nature. In their own words:

Coverage of the morning sessions of CDR’s Life Sciences Litigation Symposium held this week, including highlights from keynote speaker Michael Prior of the UK government’s Intellectual Property Office.

While Britain’s exit from the European Union was not a topic the Intellectual Property Office’s (IPO) Michael Prior could discuss in an official capacity, he did say that unanswered questions around when and how that exit happens “has been the biggest challenge for the IPO” in a number of years.

Prior, who serves as deputy director of patents policy, focused his keynote address on three areas: policy, filing trends and working together.

For those who have not given any thought to it, those patents help few oligarchs claim to ‘own’ the whole world; what a sham…

Thankfully the European courts continue to reject patents on life, nature, and maths. There’s no sign that these courts will be overridden. Some more UPC spin has come from Bristows (it was mentioned briefly earlier today) and Team UPC is happy to cite that as ‘proof’ of ‘progress’. But when one looks for underlying substance it turns out there’s none. It’s all marketing.

Almost Six Months After Iancu Said He Would Make Software Patents Great Again Nothing Has Actually Changed

Posted in America, Patents at 1:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A hoax like the person who gave him the job (after he had worked for him)

Trump and Iancu

Summary: We’re just a fortnight away from the ludicrous plan of Iancu celebrating 6 months (without accomplishing anything)

AT THE beginning of January there was a now-infamous (and unsuccessful) attempt to bring back software patents. There’s plenty of 35 U.S.C. § 101 and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) news in our next daily links and it’s still good news because nothing has changed. They can’t quite bring these patents back; courts keep rejecting these; new rejections can be found in Federal Circuit cases and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs). The patent maximalists have just about given up. They hardly even write anymore.

“The patent maximalists have just about given up. They hardly even write anymore.”Watchtroll wrote as recently as yesterday (in headlines) that “After Alice: IP Stakeholders Comment on Alice’s Impact Five Years On” (they only quote parasites, as one can expect) and John Vandenberg is trying to revive that staged 'debate' from about a fortnight ago. Watchtroll must be rather upset that even Coons, with over a million dollars in bribes from law firms, could not overturn SCOTUS on Alice. These people are still incredibly sore and largely pessimistic because they cannot defeat or even water down 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice. They’ve even just published “Perspective: Weakening Alice Will Weaken the U.S. Patent System’s Second Engine of Innovation” and all sorts of other nonsense. No programmers ever write there; it’s a parade of law firms and trolls.

Michael Borella has just shown that the Trump-appointed Iancu and his judge-bashing flunkies (he used to work for his company!) are trying to come up with other names/misnomers for abstract patents (e.g. “Computer-Implemented Functional Claiming”) and “there is a growing likelihood that Congress will strengthen § 112 in an attempt to disambiguate § 101″. From Borella’s post: (promoted in this tweet of theirs)

On June 11, 2019, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office held a public presentation — a patent quality chat — regarding the interpretation of computer-implemented claims using functional language under 35 U.S.C. § 112. Mostly, this presentation was an overview of the USPTO’s January 7, 2019 Federal Register notice on the same topic. But, there is a growing likelihood that Congress will strengthen § 112 in an attempt to disambiguate § 101 (see the recent Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property testimony and the current draft bill). While most of the presentation was a reiteration of existing law and USPTO practice, taking another look at the current state of § 112 and where it may be going for computer-implemented inventions is a worthwhile effort.

The presentation begins with an acknowledgement that the Federal Circuit has raised issues with broad, functional claiming of software technologies without adequate support in the context of both § 112 and § 101. The USPTO’s position is that these problems can be addressed by properly applying § 112.

So basically they admit they cannot quite change § 101 and instead try to come up with a trick. But courts won't care. Moreover, judges can see exactly what Coons et al are attempting to achieve here and who funds them. This is more likely to further alienate courts, not sway their judgment. Deep inside the patent maximalists know it.

Links 20/6/2019: Kubernetes 1.15, Alpine 3.10.0 and Librem 5 June Software Update

Posted in News Roundup at 9:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Kubernetes 1.15: Extensibility and Continuous Improvement

      The theme of the new developments around CustomResourceDefinitions is data consistency and native behaviour. A user should not notice whether the interaction is with a CustomResource or with a Golang-native resource. With big steps we are working towards a GA release of CRDs and GA of admission webhooks in one of the next releases.

      In this direction, we have rethought our OpenAPI based validation schemas in CRDs and from 1.15 on we check each schema against a restriction called “structural schema”. This basically enforces non-polymorphic and complete typing of each field in a CustomResource. We are going to require structural schemas in the future, especially for all new features including those listed below, and list violations in a NonStructural condition. Non-structural schemas keep working for the time being in the v1beta1 API group. But any serious CRD application is urged to migrate to structural schemas in the foreseeable future.

      Details about what makes a schema structural will be published in a blog post on kubernetes.io later this week, and it is of course documented in the Kubernetes documentation.

    • Kubernetes 1.15 now available from Canonical

      Canonical announces full enterprise support for Kubernetes 1.15 using kubeadm deployments, its Charmed Kubernetes, and MicroK8s; the popular single-node deployment of Kubernetes.

      The MicroK8s community continues to grow and contribute enhancements, with Knative and RBAC support now available through the simple microk8s.enable command. Knative is a great way to experiment with serverless computing, and now you can experiment locally through MicroK8s. With MicroK8s 1.15 you can develop and deploy Kubernetes 1.15 on any Linux desktop, server or VM across 40 Linux distros. Mac and Windows are supported too, with Multipass.

      Existing Charmed Kubernetes users can upgrade smoothly to Kubernetes 1.15, regardless of the underlying hardware or machine virtualisation. Supported deployment targets include AWS, GCE, Azure, Oracle, VMware, OpenStack, LXD, and bare metal.

    • Kubernetes 1.15 Released

      The Kubernetes community has announced the release of Kubernetes 1.15, the second release of 2019. The release focuses on Continuous Improvement and Extensibility. Work on making Kubernetes installation, upgrade and configuration even more robust has been a major focus for this cycle for SIG Cluster Lifecycle. The release comes in time just before KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Shanghai, which will bring the larger cloud-native community together in China. Read more about what’s new in Kubernetes 1.15 here.

    • BPF for security—and chaos—in Kubernetes

      BPF is probably familiar to many LWN readers, though it’s likely not yet quite as well known in the Kubernetes community — but that could soon change. At KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2019 there were multiple sessions with BPF in the title where developers talked about how BPF can be used to help with Kubernetes security, monitoring, and even chaos engineering testing. We will look at two of those talks that were led by engineers closely aligned with the open-source Cilium project, which is all about bringing BPF to Kubernetes container environments. Thomas Graf, who contributes to BPF development in the Linux kernel, led a session on transparent chaos testing with Envoy, Cilium, and BPF, while his counterpart Dan Wendlandt, who is well known in the OpenStack community for helping to start the Neutron networking project, spoke about using the kernel’s BPF capabilities to add visibility and security in a Kubernetes-aware manner.

      The Cilium GitHub project page defines the technology as a way to provide network security that understands the APIs used between microservices by using BPF and eXpress Data Path (XDP). Cilium also makes use of BPF programs to extract data from running containers for visibility purposes.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Open Invention Network, the Linux-based patent non-aggression community, exceeds 3,000 licensees

      OIN’s mission is to enable Linux, its related software, and its programmers to develop and monetize without being hogtied by patent fights. In Linux’s early years, this was a constant threat. Now, thanks largely to the OIN’s efforts to get everyone to agree on the basic open-source principle — that’s it’s better and more profitable to share than to cling to proprietary property — open-source software has taken off in the marketplace.

      The OIN isn’t the first to take this concept and apply it to the Unix/Linux operating system family. After Novell bought Unix from AT&T, rather than keep fighting with Berkeley Software Design Inc. (BSDO) over possible Unix IP rights violations in BSD/OS, an early, commercial BSD Unix, Noorda famously declared that he’d rather compete in the marketplace than in court. This Unix case was settled in 1994.

      That was a one off. The OIN, which has grown by 50% in the last two years, has turned patent non-aggression into policy for thousands of companies. By agreeing to the OIN license, members gain access to patented inventions worth hundreds of millions of dollars while promoting a favorable environment for Linux and related open source software.

    • Digging into the new features in OpenZFS post-Linux migration

      ZFS on Linux 0.8 (ZoL) brought tons of new features and performance improvements when it was released on May 23. They came after Delphix announced that it was migrating its own product to Linux back in March 2018. We’ll go over some of the most exciting May features (like ZFS native encryption) here today.

      For the full list—including both new features and performance improvements not covered here—you can visit the ZoL 0.8.0 release on Github. (Note that ZoL 0.8.1 was released last week, but since ZFS on Linux follows semantic versioning, it’s a bugfix release only.)

      Unfortunately for Ubuntu fans, these new features won’t show up in Canonical’s repositories for quite some time—October 2019′s forthcoming interim release, Eoan Ermine, is still showing 0.7.12 in its repos. We can hope that Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (which has yet to be named) will incorporate the 0.8.x branch, but there’s no official word so far; if you’re running Ubuntu 18.04 (or later) and absolutely cannot wait, the widely-used Jonathon F PPA has 0.8.1 available. Debian has 0.8.0 in its experimental repo, Arch Linux has 0.8.1 in its zfs-dkms AUR package, and Gentoo has 0.8.1 in testing at sys-fs/zfs. Users of other Linux distributions can find instructions for building packages directly from master at https://zfsonlinux.org/.

    • Generalized events notification and security policies

      Interfaces for the reporting of events to user space from the kernel have been a recurring topic on the kernel mailing lists for almost as long as the kernel has existed; LWN covered one 15 years ago, for example. Numerous special-purpose event-reporting APIs exist, but there are none that are designed to be a single place to obtain any type of event. David Howells is the latest to attempt to change that situation with a new notification interface that, naturally, uses a ring buffer to transfer events to user space without the need to make system calls. The API itself (which hasn’t changed greatly since it was posted in 2018) is not hugely controversial, but the associated security model has inspired a few heated discussions.

    • Detecting and handling split locks

      The Intel architecture allows misaligned memory access in situations where other architectures (such as ARM or RISC-V) do not. One such situation is atomic operations on memory that is split across two cache lines. This feature is largely unknown, but its impact is even less so. It turns out that the performance and security impact can be significant, breaking realtime applications or allowing a rogue application to slow the system as a whole. Recently, Fenghua Yu has been working on detecting and fixing these issues in the split-lock patch set, which is currently on its eighth revision.


      With a split lock, the value needs to be kept coherent between different CPUs, which means assuring that the two cache lines change together. As this is an uncommon operation, the hardware design needs to take a special path; as a result, split locks may have important consequences as described in the cover letter of Yu’s patch set. Intel’s choice was to lock the whole memory bus to solve the coherency problem; the processor locks the bus for the duration of the operation, meaning that no other CPUs or devices can access it. The split lock blocks not only the CPU performing the access, but also all others in the system. Configuring the bus-locking protocol itself also adds significant overhead to the system as a whole.

      On the other hand, if the atomic operation operand fits into a single cache line, the processor will use a less expensive cache lock. This all means that developers may increase performance and avoid split locks by actions like simply correctly aligning their variables.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Tech Giants Join Linux Foundation’s Connected-Cities Efforts [Ed: Just surveillance capitalism inside Zemlin’s PAC. Reminder: the spokesperson of the “Linux” Foundation is the former spokesperson of James Clapper.]
      • Facebook and the Linux Foundation to create a new foundation for the osquery project

        Facebook and the Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced plans to create a new foundation for the osquery project, which will be dedicated to growing and sustaining a neutral osquery ecosystem.

        Engineers and developers from Dactiv, Facebook, Google, Kolide, Trail of Bits, Uptycs, and other companies who are using osquery have committed to supporting the project under the new Foundation.

        osquery is an open source tool developed by Facebook in 2014 that makes it easier to collect low level system information and detect potential security issues. It works by exposing an operating system as a high-performance relational database. This design makes it possible to easily and efficiently write SQL-based queries to detect and investigate anomalies.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Marcus Lundblad: Midsomer Maps

        Since it’s been kindof a tradition for me to do some blogging around midsomer, I thought we might as well keep with that tradition this year as well… And there’s been some nice news in latest beta release of Maps, 3.33.3.

  • Distributions

    • Clear Linux Gets Questions Over Steam Integration, Other Plans For This High-Perf Distro

      Auke Kok of Intel / Clear Linux carried out the distribution’s first ask-me-anything session today where he fielded questions ranging from Steam to under-served software projects.

      Auke is a long-time Intel Linux developer and also one of the prominent contributors to Clear Linux going back to its early days. Among the highlights from Wednesday’s “ask me anything” included:

      - When asked about Fedora’s flicker-free boot process, Auke pointed out that it’s made possible in part through work spearheaded at Intel around the frame-buffer/fastboot code worked on by their graphics team. While it’s great the shared work happening, from the Clear Linux perspective they are more focused on achieving lightning fast boot times over a slick boot process. But they may look into it in some aspect moving forward, but their priority is just to have a quick booting system.

    • New Releases

      • Alpine 3.10.0 released

        We are pleased to announce the release of Alpine Linux 3.10.0, the first in the v3.10 stable series.

      • Alpine Linux 3.10 Brings Support For Intel’s IWD, Better Arm Support

        Alpine Linux 3.10 is out today as the newest feature release for this lightweight, security-minded Linux distribution built atop Musl libc and Busybox while catering being quite popular in the container crowd.

        Alpine Linux 3.10 brings support for the Pine64LTS, serial and Ethernet support for Arm boards, Intel IWD as an alternative to WPA_Supplicant, Ceph support, and LightDM display manager support.

      • Alpine Linux 3.10.0 released

        Version 3.10.0 of the Alpine Linux distribution is out. It includes a switch to the iwd WiFi management daemon, support for the ceph filesystem, the lightdm display manager, and more.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • The openSUSE Leap 15.1 update experience

        My desktop is a HP Pavilion Power 580-146nd. This is a midsize PC with an AMD Ryzen 5 1400 CPU, an AMD Radeon RX 580 GPU, 16 GB of RAM, a 128 GB M.2 SSD and a 1 TB 7200rpm HDD.

        I used the same USB thumbstick. After selecting ‘Update’ from the boot menu, the whole screen went black. And then nothing happened. Since I have installed openSUSE many times before, I quickly realized that this must be a graphics issue. I used ‘nomodeset’ in the past to get around that issue. This causes the installer to go back to the most basic graphics settings but it also means I could finish the update.

        It used to be a lot easier to edit the boot options. However, this is now hidden. This post on Stack Exchange (2) gives a great explanation how to enable nomodeset, both as a one-time option and as a permanent option.

        For the permanent enablement of nomodeset I know an easier way: in YaST look for the module ‘Boot Loader’ and in the Kernel Parameters tab, you can edit the boot command. This was the route that I took to make nomodeset a permanent boot setting.

      • Getting further with Btrfs in YaST

        Since the YaST team rewrote the software stack for managing the storage devices, we have been adding and presenting new capabilities in that area regularly. That includes, among other features, the unpaired ability to format and partition all kind of devices and the possibility of creating and managing Bcache devices. Time has come to present another largely awaited feature that is just landing in openSUSE Tumbleweed: support for multi-device Btrfs file systems.

        As our usual readers surely know, Btrfs is a modern file system for Linux aimed at implementing advanced features that go beyond the scope and capabilities of traditional file systems. Such capabilities include subvolumes (separate internal file system roots), writable and read-only snapshots, efficient incremental backup and our today’s special: support for distributing a single file system over multiple block devices.

      • openSUSE’s YaST Now Supports Multi-Device Btrfs Setups

        For those wanting to install openSUSE Tumbleweed on a system where a single Btrfs file-system spans multiple block devices, that’s now easily possible with the latest YaST. This includes the abilities for just a simple file-system spanning multiple devices to data duplication to the various RAID levels natively supported by Btrfs.

    • Debian Family

      • Paying (some) Debian developers

        In an offshoot of the Debian discussion we looked at last week, the Debian project has been discussing the idea of paying developers to work on the distribution. There is some history behind the idea, going back to the controversial Dunc-Tank initiative in 2006, but some think attitudes toward funding developers may have changed—or that a new approach might be better accepted. While it is playing out with regard to Debian right now, it is a topic that other projects have struggled with along the way—and surely will again.

        The discussion on the debian-devel mailing list about possibly recommending dh for building packages that we covered headed into a bit of a tangent on “difficult packaging practices” that might be preventing new people from contributing. From there, Andreas Tille brought up the longstanding idea of creating some kind of Debian equivalent to the Ubuntu personal package archives (PPAs). Raphaël Hertzog suggested that it might be worth using some of the money in the Debian bank account to fund the development of such a feature.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu dropping i386 support

            Starting with the upcoming “Eoan Ermine” (a.k.a. 19.10) release, the Ubuntu distribution will not support 32-bit x86 systems.

          • Canonical won’t release the next version of Ubuntu in 32-bit

            CANONICAL HAS ANNOUNCED that it will drop 32-bit support for Ubuntu in a forthcoming release.

            Starting with the forthcoming Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine, apparently), Ubuntu builds will be available in 64-bit versions only, tapping another nail into the coffin of the ageing architecture.

            The move is an extension of last year’s rollout of the recently-patched Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Because that will be supported for five years, Ubuntu decided not to release a 32-bit edition, and prevented those on a previous 32-bit build from upgrading – a fresh install was required in 64-bit.

            Canonical is keen to point out that unless you have a creaky old lappy, it won’t really change anything – 32-bit apps won’t run in 64-bit Ubuntu directly, but many of the most popular apps that don’t have a native 64-bit version are either already Ubuntu Snaps, or can be easily turned into them.

            The company will release details of what users need to do to be ready for version 19.10 ahead of its release in October 2019. Once the beta is ready, there’ll be a lot more detail, in case anyone fancies updating early.

          • Ubuntu has decided to drop i386 (32-bit) architecture from Ubuntu 19.10 onwards

            Yesterday the Ubuntu engineering team announced their decision to discontinue i386 (32-bit) as an architecture, from Ubuntu 19.10 onwards. In a post to the Ubuntu Developer Mailing List, Canonical’s Steve Langasek explains that “i386 will not be included as an architecture for the 19.10 release, and we will shortly begin the process of disabling it for the eoan series across Ubuntu infrastructure.”

            Langasek also mentions that the specific distributions of builds, packages or distributes of the 32-bit software, libraries or tools will no longer work on the newer versions of Ubuntu. He also mentions that the Ubuntu team will be working on the 32-bit support, over the course of the 19.10 development cycle.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Event – GNU Hackers Meeting (Madrid, Spain)

      Twelve years after its first edition in Orense, the GNU Hackers Meeting (2019-09-04–06) will help in Spain again. This is an opportunity to meet, hack, and learn with other free software enthusiasts.

    • An application a year to an application a week on AWS

      At the recent SUSECON conference in Nashville, Ryan Niksch from AWS discussed how shifting the focus from writing code to deploying applications to production has become more critical as business agility tops the list of customer requirements. He then introduces the benefits of Cloud Foundry in general, and SUSE Cloud Application Platform specifically, including the AWS service broker; its benefits are that it is a containerized distribution of Cloud Foundry that can very quickly and easily be deployed to AWS using a Quick Start template.

    • THE Forum exclusively for GSI Partners!

      This year’s SUSE GSI Partner Forum will feature all these – you won’t want to miss it!

    • Real-Time Microconference Accepted into 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference

      We are pleased to announce that the Real-Time Microconference has been accepted into the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference! The PREEMPT_RT patch set (aka “The Real-Time Patch”) was created in 2004 in the effort to make Linux into a hard real-time designed operating system. Over the years much of the RT patch has made it into mainline Linux, which includes: mutexes, lockdep, high-resolution timers, Ftrace, RCU_PREEMPT, priority inheritance, threaded interrupts and much more. There’s just a little left to get RT fully into mainline, and the light at the end of the tunnel is finally in view. It is expected that the RT patch will be in mainline within a year, which changes the topics of discussion. Once it is in Linus’s tree, a whole new set of issues must be handled. The focus on this year’s Plumbers events will include:

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Open Source Is Critical To Linode: Christopher Aker, Founder & CEO

      Linode is celebrating its 16th anniversary. Linode actually predates Amazon Web Services. We sat down with the founder and CEO of Linode, Christopher Aker, to talk about the history of Linode and how it enabled developers to reap the benefits of cloud before AWS came to exist.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Renaming openSUSE

      At the 2019 openSUSE Conference, the openSUSE board discussed governance options at length. There will evidently be an official statement on its conclusions in the near future, but that has not been posted as of this writing. It would appear, though, that the board chose a foundation structure over the other options. A German registered association (e. V.) would have been easier to set up than a foundation, but an association has weaker restrictions so it could potentially shift its focus away from the openSUSE mission. Joining another umbrella group seemingly lacked appeal from the beginning, as did the option of doing nothing and leaving things as they are now.

      The stated purpose of the foundation is to make it easier for openSUSE to accept donations and manage its own finances — things that are hard for the project to do now. The foundation structure, in particular, allows the project to enshrine its core objectives (such as support for free software) into the DNA of the organization, making it hard to divert the foundation toward some other goal. A foundation also allows openSUSE to retain its current governing board and membership structure.

      In the absence of an official statement from the board, details on the decision and the reasoning behind it can be had by watching this YouTube video of a question-and-answer session with the board at the openSUSE Conference.

      One motivation for the change that wasn’t highlighted in the board session, but which was an undercurrent in the discussions leading up to it, is a desire for more independence from SUSE in general driven by concerns about what the company might do in the future. Such worries are not entirely irrational, even though by all accounts SUSE management is fully supportive of openSUSE now. A company’s attitude can change quickly even in the absence of external events like a change of ownership. If SUSE were to be sold yet again, the new owners could take a rather dimmer view of the openSUSE project.

  • BSD

    • OpenZFS in Ports | BSD Now 303

      The ZFS on FreeBSD project has renamed the userland and kernel ports from zol and zol-kmod to openzfs and openzfs-kmod
      The new versions from this week are IOCTL compatible with the command line tools in FreeBSD 12.0, so you can use the old userland with the new kernel module (although obviously not the new features)
      With the renaming it is easier to specify which kernel module you want to load in /boot/loader.conf: > zfs_load=”YES”
      or > openzfs_load=”YES”
      To load traditional or the newer version of ZFS


    • Double the movement: Inspire someone to explore free software

      Thank you for being part of our exceptionally generous community. Your interest in our mission is what got us where we are, in position to succeed if we keep at it. While it’s incredible to have hundreds of thousands of subscribers around the world, we need to connect with millions if we’re to realize a world free of proprietary software. This spring, we have set ourselves goals to reach 200 new members and 400 donations before July 15th, and to achieve them, we need your help. Please take this moment to publicly share your passion for free software. If each free software supporter inspires just one other, we can double our strength.

      We tasked free software designer Raghavendra Kamath with creating some inspiring visual images to help us spread our message further. You can find these banners and profile images, including their embed codes, here. Sharing these images online might inspire someone to explore free software, and may give reasons for you to educate your friends and family about why free software matters. Use the hashtag #ISupportFreeSoftware when you share the images online or on your social media.

  • Programming/Development

    • Librem 5 June Software Update

      Hi everyone! The Librem 5 team has been hard at work, and we want to update you all on our software progress.


      A couple of blog posts back, we mentioned that our hardware engineer gave a talk at KiCon—and it is available for watching now!

      Also, recently Tobias Bernard attended the Libre Graphics Meeting, where he had lots of conversation around the future photo viewing application for the Librem 5 phone.


      Several areas of the kernel have seen major improvements, and we are now very close to some important milestones. One such area is forward porting patches so that the images built for the devkit can switch from a 4.18 to a 5.2 kernel, and we’re almost there! You can find a recent image build with the 5.2 kernel here.

      With the new kernel, you will be able to long press the power button to turn on the devkit, and use suspend/resume. To help better detect SoC revisions, an RFC
      patch has been sent to improve this. Working towards improving the power management, we are testing cpufreq and preparing some cpuidle tests.

      A lot of effort has been put into debugging the sound on the 5.2 kernel. After many hours of work, we have discovered that ATF was blocking access to the aips regions—and upstream ATF has it fixed now!

    • Librem 5 Dev Kit Can At Least Run Quake II Now, Progress On Adopting Linux 5.2
    • Instana Releases Red Hat OpenShift Kubernetes Operator Built on Quarkus

      Red Hat OpenShift introduced Kubernetes (K8s) Operator support with version 3.11. Since that time, the number of Operators created by the OpenShift community has been steadily growing. Instana introduced our Red Hat OpenShift Kubernetes Operator at Red Hat Summit 2019, and will be demonstrating our K8s capabilities at KubeCon Barcelona this week.

    • Book Contest: Creating GUI Applications with wxPython
    • How to Use Python lambda Functions
    • Qt Creator 4.10 Beta released

      You can “pin” files so they stay open when closing all files. Check the context menu on the document dropdown and the Open Documents pane.

      The client for the Language Server Protocol is now better integrated into Locator, shows tooltip information from the server, and has more flexible server settings.

      We also moved the plugin out of the experimental state, so it is enabled by default.

    • Qt Creator 4.10 Beta Allows Pinning Files, Support For Boost Tests
    • Stack Write Traffic In Firefox Binaries

      I became interested in how much CPU memory write traffic corresponds to “stack writes”. For x86-64 this roughly corresponds to writes that use RSP or RBP as a base register (including implicitly via PUSH/CALL). I thought I had pretty good intuitions about x86 machine code, but the results surprised me.

    • Louis-Philippe Véronneau: membernator — validate membership cards

      I currently work part-time for student unions in Montreal and they often have large general assemblies (more than 2000 people). As you can likely figure out by yourself, running through paper lists to validate people’s identity is a real PITA and takes quite a long time.

      For example, even if you have 4 people checking names, if validating someone’s identity takes 5 seconds on average (that’s pretty fast), it takes around 40 minutes to go through 2000 people.

      Introducing membernator, a python program written using pygame that validates membership cards against a CSV database! The idea is to use barcode scanners to scan people’s school ID cards and see if they are in our digital lists. Hopefull, it will make our GA process easier for everyone.

    • Developer Toolset 8.1 and GCC 8.3 now available for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

      Red Hat Developer Toolset delivers GCC, GDB, and a set of complementary development tools for Red Hat Enterprise Linux via two release trains per year. We are pleased to share that Developer Toolset 8.1 with GCC 8.3 is now available and supported on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.

      The Red Hat Developer Toolset 8.1 release includes many enhancements and changes, but here are a few of the highlights…

    • Finished converting all the buildfiles to groovy and downgraded to gradle 4.4.1; week 3+ update

      During the third week I mainly spent my time converting all the buildfiles in the “dist” task graph to groovy from kotlin-dsl.

      I finished converting all the build files from kotlin-dsl to groovy. I then proceeded to build the entire project with only the subprojects required for the dist task so that we can avoid converting all the uneeded subproject buildfiles to groovy. Ran tests on the binary obtained from the newly onverted project and compared it to the test result on an original unconverted project. Since the new project only contains the needed subprojects this new project is unable to run all the needed tests. So inorder to overcome this we copy the binaries built by our new project and run the tests using the original unaltered projects. The compiler test task we need is “compilerTest”; this is the only aplicalbe test for out build binary from the “dist” task. I have run “distTest” for the unaltered project and uploaded it here; “distTest” task encompasses compilerTest task within it. Here is the log of the “compilerTest” run on the geenrated binaries.

    • Intel Developing “Data Parallel C++” As Part Of OneAPI Initiative

      Intel announced an interesting development in their oneAPI initiative: they are developing a new programming language/dialect.

      Intel originally began talking about oneAPI last December for optimizing code across CPUs / GPUs / FPGAs and as part of “no transistor left behind.” Early details sounded similar to HSA while with time more bits have become known while the big reveal isn’t expected until Q4’2019 when it will enter beta.

      We’ve known OpenCL will take a big role and their LLVM upstreaming effort around their SYCL compiler back-end. The SYCL single-source C++ programming standard from The Khronos Group we’ve expected Intel to use as their basis for oneAPI while now it seems they are going a bit beyond just targeting SYCL.

    • You can’t buy DevOps [Ed: Poor article about mere buzzwords]
    • This Week in Rust 291
    • ‘I code in my dreams too’, say developers in Jetbrains State of Developer Ecosystem 2019 Survey

      Last week, Jetbrains published its annual survey results known as The State of Developer Ecosystem 2019. More than 19,000 people participated in this developer ecosystem survey. But responses from only 7000 developers from 17 countries were included in the report. The survey had over 150 questions and key results from the survey are published, complete results along with the raw data will be shared later. Jetbrains prepared an infographics based on the survey answers they received. Let us take a look at their key takeaways:

    • Python and “dead” batteries

      Python is, famously, a “batteries included” language; it comes with a rich standard library right out of the box, which makes for a highly useful starting point for everyone. But that does have some downsides as well. The standard library modules are largely maintained by the CPython core developers, which adds to their duties; the modules themselves are subject to the CPython release schedule, which may be suboptimal. For those reasons and others, there have been thoughts about retiring some of the older modules; it is a topic that has come up several times over the last year or so.

      It probably had been discussed even earlier, but a session at the 2018 Python Language Summit (PLS) is the starting point this time around. At that time, Christian Heimes listed a few modules that he thought should be considered for removal; he said he was working on a PEP to that end. PEP 594 (“Removing dead batteries from the standard library”) surfaced in May with a much longer list of potentially dead batteries. There was also a session at this year’s PLS, where Amber Brown advocated moving toward a much smaller standard library, arguing that including modules in the standard library stifles their growth. Some at PLS seemed to be receptive to Brown’s ideas, at least to some extent, though Guido van Rossum was apparently not pleased with her presentation and “stormed from the room”.

    • When and How to Win With New Programming Languages
    • Understanding Data Ops and it’s impact on Application Quality


  • Health/Nutrition

    • As EPA Continues To Shield Fossil Fuel Industry, Report Warns Of Future Filled With Hazardous Waste

      In a follow-up report, Earthworks once again warns the Environmental Protection Agency is failing to protect the environment from hazardous waste from oil and gas drilling.

      “Still Wasting Away” builds on a report from 2015 that called attention to exemptions or loopholes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has permitted for around two decades. And, four years later, the “volume of waste is increasing per well and per unit of energy.”

      There are 1.3 million oil and gas facilities in the United States. An oil and gas “threat map” indicates about 12.6 million people live within a half mile of these facilities.

      The U.S. leads the world in producing toxic oil and gas waste, and from now until 2030, the country is expected to “unleash 60 percent of all new oil and gas production globally.” That is four times more than any other country.

      President Donald Trump’s administration has granted much more influence to fossil fuel industry interests to deregulate and expand loopholes throughout the U.S. in ways that exacerbate the public health and environmental hazards for communities.

      Yet, the regulatory capture the industry enjoys is not entirely a product of Trump. The EPA under President Barack Obama had an opportunity to end an exemption carved out of a regulation in 1988 but chose to maintain that loophole.

      According to Earthworks, before the “shale boom,” the EPA submitted a report to Congress that acknowledged that oil and gas waste contained a “wide variety of hazardous constituents.” However, under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the waste was granted an exemption from the regulation’s definition of “hazardous.”

    • Health Consequences of Overwork

      Working for long periods under extreme stressful work conditions can lead to sudden death. “Burn out” is now described as an occupational phenomenon, resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.

      This is a phenomenon that in its most extreme manifestation is described by the Japanese as karõshi, literally translated as “death from overwork,” or occupational sudden death, mainly from a heart attack and stroke due to stress. Karõshi has been more widely studied in Japan, where the first case of this phenomenon was reported in 1969.

      In 1987, as people’s concerns about karõshi increased, the Japanese Ministry of Labor began to publish statistics on the problem. According to government estimates, 200 people die from overwork annually because of the long hours spent at the workplace.

      Death by overwork lawsuits have been on the rise in Japan, prompted by the deceased’s relatives demanding compensation payments. In Japan, if karõshi is considered a cause of death, surviving family members may receive compensation from the government and up to $1 million from the responsible company in damages.

    • Is Health Care More Important Than Health Care Profits?

      Last year, Donald Trump said something stupid.

      OK, nothing astonishing about that—just another day (or hour) in DonaldWorld. But this stupid thing he said did astonish an entire nation, specifically Britain. Apparently, Trump had seen a televised report by his most trusted foreign policy adviser—Fox News—showing people over there protesting about their government-supported National Health Service. See, tweeted our presidential son of privilege, even the Brits are fed up with the idea of health care for all, rejecting a socialized system that, according to Trump, “is going broke and not working.”

      But—oops—the protestors were actually demonstrating in favor of their health service, demanding that the Tory government put “more staff, more beds, more funds” into the public program. Contrary to Trump’s ignorance and class bias against social programs, the British people love their tax-paid health care system, specifically because it does work. Everyone there is covered, getting quality care regardless of income levels. And they don’t have to fear that they’ll be denied service or bankrupted by a rip-off medical system run by and for private insurance giants, hospital monopolies, Big Pharma and other profiteers.

    • Medicare for All Would Save Money—And Lives

      One night a few years ago, my partner woke up delirious with fever, a bright rash, and joint pain so bad he couldn’t get out of bed without help. I was scared — mostly for his health, but also for our financial situation, which weighed heavily on me during our 4 a.m. ride to the emergency room.

      As a freelancer, his catastrophic health insurance plan had an outrageously high deductible, and every day he couldn’t work was a day he wouldn’t get paid. I’d lost my job — and my own health insurance — earlier that year, and was still piecing together a livelihood from gig to gig. I didn’t know what we’d do if something went seriously wrong.

      We left the hospital several hours later after an IV and a couple ibuprofens — and no diagnosis. Even after insurance kicked in, we were billed about $1,000 for the experience. My partner’s joints hurt for months afterwards, but the already hefty price tag scared him off following up.

      It turns out he’s far from the only one who looked at a bank statement before considering a trip to the doctor.

  • Security

    • Offensive Security unveils Kali Linux roadmap

      1. GitLab – Kali has moved the official Kali git repository to GitLab, making the creation of Kali packages open to the public rather than requiring users to open bug reports. It also allows Offensive Security to speed up package updates.

      2. Runtime testing – Kali has relied on manual testing and user provided bug reports to detect problems with Kali packages. The project recently deployed debci to allow for automated testing on a continuous basis with end goal of implementing runtime tests on all packages so the community can help speed the process.

      3. Default metapackages – To address Kali bloat, the project is refreshing its metapackages, including “kali-linux-full,” which controls what packages are installed by default.

      4. Default shell – Kali is adding default installation of ZSH and FISH to Kali, installations specifically optimized for pentesters rather than developers.

      5. NetHunter – updates for NetHunter, the only open source android penetration testing platform for Nexus devices.

    • The NSA Is Looking To Contribute To A New x86 Security Feature To Coreboot

      The US National Security Agency (NSA) has developers contributing to the Coreboot project.

      Eugene Myers of the NSA under the Information Assurance Research, NSA/CSS Research Directorate, has been leading some work on an STM/PE implementation for Coreboot.

    • Coreboot Adds Support For Apollolake-Powered UP-Squared SBC Maker Board

      Coreboot now supports the UP Squared, the new single board computer / maker board based on an Intel Apollo Lake SoC.

      Not to be confused with the $35 Atomic Pi Intel SBC that aims to compete directly with the Raspberry Pi, the UP Squared is a higher-tier ~$150 board with more connectivity and options. The UP Squared offers dual Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI / DP, eMMC, mini-PCIe x1, MIPI CSI, 40-pin header, two USB 3.0 ports, and other options. Both Microsoft Windows and an assortment of Linux distributions are supported.

    • All-In-One Malware ‘Plurox’ Can Hack Your PC In ‘Three Different Ways’ [Ed: When you mean to say Microsoft Windows (with its NSA back doors) but instead you say “PC” as if Microsoft has nothing to do with it]

      The SMB plugin mentioned previously is essentially a repackaged NSA exploit called EternalBlue that was publicly leaked in 2017.

      The plugin allows bad actors to scan local networks and spread the malware to vulnerable workstations via the SMB protocol (running the EternalBlue exploit).

      But that’s not all. UPnP is actually the sneakiest and most nasty plugin among all. It creates port forwarding rules on the local network of a compromised system and uses it to build backdoors into enterprise networks bypassing firewalls and other security measures in place.

    • Windows 10 gets a lot of little fixes – and Microsoft reminds us it’ll start to force updates [Ed: Forced NSA back doors. Gone are the days of controlling our PCs if they contain proprietary software because "for our security/safety" (of course!) remote software modifications will be imposed on us.]
    • Botnets shift from Windows towards Linux and IoT platforms [Ed: Publisher: how do we shift attention from NSA back doors in Microsoft Windows? Editor: something about Linux. Writer: hold ma' beer mate!]
    • Cryptominer Uses Cron To Reinfect Linux Host After Removal [Ed: Nothing to do with "Linux". This is about already-compromised machines becoming harder to clean. Their infection is due to foreign files.]
    • Microsoft Pushes Azure Users to Patch Linux Systems [Ed: Company that puts back doors in everything, even Azure itself, lectures “Linux” users, even about a package that has nothing to do with Linux (the media spreads lies about it)]
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump’s America and Egypt’s Dictatorship Deserve Each Other

      He was the first duly elected president in the Arab world and the first in Egyptian history. Now Mohammed Morsi is dead, collapsing on June 17 in his glass cage during his show trial in Cairo—a victim, it seems, of criminal negligence during a brutal six-year stint in prison. His death only highlights the distinct malevolence of a military junta that (illegally) overthrew Morsi in a coup. He languished in an Egyptian prison system that’s incarcerated thousands of others—critics of the regime, mostly—in a country that Amnesty International has described as an “open air prison.”

      As for President Trump, he could care less. Egypt’s police state, perhaps the most repressive in the country’s modern history, remains a bosom buddy of The Donald’s administration. And most Americans hardly notice. Foreign policy isn’t of great interest for most of the citizenry, despite the fact that it’s the one area in which a U.S. president seems to have nearly unlimited power and influence.

      Morsi’s ignominious demise demonstrates just how far the once-bright hopes for democracy in the Arab Spring have truly fallen. Hardly anyone even thinks about the prospects of democracy in the Mideast. So tight has Washington become with a variety of Arab authoritarians, strongmen and theocrats that veritable tyranny has been normalized in the region. If Americans don’t notice, I assure you that the people of the region absolutely do. Which, to put it bluntly, makes us less safe by empowering Islamist critics of Uncle Sam.

      Trump didn’t start the U.S. on the road to backing dictators; that’s been an American proclivity for decades now. But the president does seem to relish and flaunt his relationships with unsavory characters in that region with particular enthusiasm. General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi—the butcher of perhaps a thousand peaceful Morsi supporters back in 2013—is one of Trump’s favorites. Never short on hyperbole, The Donald described el-Sisi as a “great president.” They deserve each other, these two strongmen atop Egypt and the U.S. Trump’s America no longer even feigns interest in promoting human rights or democratic institutions in the Greater Middle East.

      How could it? Trump has rather dictatorial designs as well. When President Xi Jinping altered the two-term limit on Chinese presidents, Trump (suspiciously seriously) joked, “He’s now president for life, president for life. And he’s great. … And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”

    • Progressives Vow to Stop ‘Unconstitutional’ War as Trump Paves Way to Attack Iran Without Approval From Congress

      As Politico reported Tuesday, “senior Trump aides have made the case in public and private that the administration already has the legal authority to take military action against Iran” under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).

      “The Trump administration and its domestic political allies are laying the groundwork for a possible confrontation with Iran without the explicit consent of Congress,” according to Politico, “a public relations campaign that was already well underway before top officials accused the Islamic Republic of attacking a pair of oil tankers last week in the Gulf of Oman.”

      During a House Armed Services Committee hearing last week, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo invoked the 2001 AUMF as a possible legal justification for war with Iran in a closed-door briefing last month.

      “We were absolutely presented with a full formal presentation on how the 2001 AUMF might authorize war on Iran,” Slotkin said. “Secretary Pompeo said it with his own words.”

      Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the only member of Congress to vote against the 2001 AUMF, was part of a chorus of progressive lawmakers that raised alarm about the Trump administration’s efforts to bypass Congress to attack Iran.

      “Trump and Pompeo can’t go to war without congressional approval,” Lee tweeted on Tuesday.

    • ‘Back to His Military Parade Bullshit’: Trump’s July 4th Celebration to Feature Music, Soldier Demonstrations, and Flyovers

      President Donald Trump is slated to fulfill his dream of headlining a massive celebration of the U.S. military, with the Interior Department confirming Wednesday that the president plans to deliver a speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. following the annual National Independence Day Parade.

      Trump will lead “a celebration of America’s military with music, military demonstrations, and flyovers” at the National Mall on the evening of July 4, the department said in a statement. That “Salute to America” event will be preceded by the afternoon parade down Constitution Avenue, featuring “marching bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military units, giant balloons, equestrian, drill teams, and more.”

      The Interior Department’s statement came as The Washington Post reported Wednesday morning that “Trump plans to have U.S. military planes, including one of the jetliners used as Air Force One, fly over the Mall as part of his Fourth of July celebration next month.”

      While the president reportedly will not be aboard any of the planes for the stunt, sources told The Post that “the flyover reflects Trump’s long-standing interest in replicating the Bastille Day celebration he observed in France in 2017 and his desire to throw an extravagant patriotic celebration.”

    • The Trump Regime Wants Another Pointless War

      The Trump regime is attempting to gin up a war with Iran. First Trump reneged on Obama’s nuclear deal with the country for no reason, then he slapped them with more economic sanctions for no reason, and then, pushed by National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he moved massive military forces onto Iran’s doorstep to heighten tensions further. Now, after a series of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman — none of which were American—that the administration blames on Iran, Pompeo says the U.S. is “considering a full range of options,” including war. (Iran has categorically denied any involvement.)

      The American people appear largely uninterested in this idea. But unless some real mass pressure is mounted against it, there is a good chance Trump will launch the U.S. into another pointless, disastrous war.

      The New York Times’ Bret Stephens, for all his #NeverTrump pretensions, provides a good window into the absolute witlessness of the pro-war argument. He takes largely at face value the Trump administration’s accusations against Iran—”Trump might be a liar, but the U.S. military isn’t,” he writes—and blithely suggests Trump should announce an ultimatum demanding further attacks cease, then sink Iran’s navy if they don’t comply.

      Let me take these in turn. For one thing, any statement of any kind coming out of a Republican’s mouth should be viewed with extreme suspicion. Two years ago, the party passed a gigantic tax cut for the rich which they swore up and down would “pay for itself” with increased growth. To precisely no one’s surprise, this did not happen. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was just one flagrant example of many who got elected in 2016 while lying through their teeth about their party’s efforts to destroy ObamaCare and its protections for preexisting conditions. At time of writing, the Washington Post has counted 10,796 false or misleading claims from Trump himself since taking office. Abject up-is-down lying is basically the sine qua non of modern conservative politics.

    • Utah court sentences Russian video game developer for buying fighter jet manuals on eBay

      A U.S. state court has sentenced Oleg Tishchenko, a Russian video game developer, to one year and one day in prison. Tishchenko, who was found to have purchased manuals for F-16, F-35, and other fighter jets through online auctions, has already spent more than a year in American jails and will therefore be released for deportation to Russia on June 19.

    • After Damning UN Report, Human Rights and Press Freedom Advocates Demand Justice for Khashoggi

      U.N. special rapporteur Agnès Callamard wrote in her report, released Wednesday, that evidence reviewed suggests the murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year required “significant government coordination, resources, and finances,” and experts found it “inconceivable” that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) would not “at a minimum” be aware of such an operation.

      The report came after U.S. intelligence services determined late last year that MBS likely orchestrated the assassination of Khashoggi, a U.S. resident. Despite that conclusion, the Trump administration has maintained a cozy relationship with the kingdom’s leaders—and is even working to bypass Congress to sell the Saudis more weapons.

      “Callamard’s report shines further, much needed light on the brazen attempts by the Saudi government to cover up this atrocious crime, and to thwart efforts to investigate it,” Summer Lopez of PEN America said in a statement. “Saudi Arabia’s ongoing, flawed trial of alleged perpetrators ignores the clear evidence that Mohammad Bin Salman was behind the killing, and it cannot lead to true justice.”

      Lopez backed Callamard’s call for an independent investigation into MBS’s role in the killing but added that “it is also clear that the Trump administration is unlikely to take action against Saudi Arabia.” Instead, she called for congressional action, pointing out that the House Foreign Affairs Committee “has already stated, on a bipartisan basis, its commitment to ensuring some measure of accountability for the killing.”

    • Discuss: MH17 “suspects” named

      Dutch Prosecutors have finally ? five years later ? named the first suspects in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over the Donbass region of Ukraine in July 2014.

      To absolutely no one?s surprise, they are Russian.

      Well, three Russians and one Ukrainian.

      The announcement was made by Dutch prosecutors at a press conference this afternoon (Wed 19th). The names are Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy, Oleg Pulatov and Leonid Kharchenko. All four have been involved in fighting for the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine since the coup government launched their assault on the region in 2014.

      All four are also ? allegedly ? either ex-Russian soldiers or ex-intelligence operatives. But as we have seen with the Skripal case, and various other incidents in recent years, the mainstream media play pretty fast and loose with accusations of ?Russian spy?.

      Most telling, perhaps, is the fact that, though all four are Russian or associated with Russia, none are actually officially affiliated with the Russian government or Russian military. Considering the accusations that have been flying around since the incident occurred, this could be considered a cautious first official charge, or even a form of climbdown. A token charge, to refresh the anti-Russia sentiment and distract from other issues.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • “Climate Hypocrite” Justin Trudeau declares climate emergency only to build TMX pipeline

      Even for a suave media-savvy politician like Justin Trudeau, the blatant hypocrisy was staggering.

      On Monday night, the Canadian parliament passed a motion, which had been proposed by the Environment and Climate Change Minister, Catherine McKenna, rightly calling climate change a “real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity.”

      The motion then called on the Canadian government to commit to making emission reduction targets in line with the UN Paris commitments.

      They say 24 hours can be a long time in politics. But before the ink was even dry on the parliamentary motion calling for urgent climate action, yesterday Trudeau and his cabinet approved the highly controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline extension, known as TMX.

      In approving the tar sands pipeline, Trudeau said: “We need to create wealth today so we can invest in the future. We need resources to invest in Canadians so they can take advantage of the opportunities generated by a rapidly changing economy, here at home and around the world.”

    • Rapid Melting of Arctic Permafrost Shocks Scientists

      The Canadian Arctic is raising alarm bells for climate scientists. The permafrost there is thawing 70 years earlier than expected, a research team discovered, according to Reuters. It is the latest indication that the global climate crisis is ramping up faster than expected.

    • Scientists amazed as Canadian permafrost thaws 70 years early

      Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, an expedition has discovered, in the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared.

    • Palm Oil Importers Won’t Meet Zero Deforestation Goals by 2020, New Report Finds

      Palm Oil importers in Europe will not be able to meet their self-imposed goal of only selling palm oil that is certified deforestation-free, according to a new analysis produced by the Palm Oil Transparency Coalition, as Bloomberg reported.

      In fact, the companies that responded to the survey universally said they would not be able to be guarantee that they will be deforestation-free by 2020. While the campaign to show transparency in palm oil production has shown tremendous progress since it started in 2017, it has run into roadblocks when trying to trace production all the way back to the forests where the trees are harvested.

    • Palm Oil Importers Won’t Meet Zero Deforestation Goals by 2020

      European palm oil importers are unlikely to be able to ensure that the products they sell are “deforestation-free” by the self-imposed goal of 2020, according to analysis by the Palm Oil Transparency Coalition.

      While about 98% of the palm oil imported into Europe by the survey respondents can be traced to the mill it came from, thanks to efforts by producers, only about a third can be traced to the plantation it came from, the report said. That makes it hard to determine if third-party suppliers had destroyed forests to grow palm trees or if they used child or forced labor at some point in the supply chain.

      Few companies that participated in the study said that audits or reviews were taking place in their supply chains beyond those carried out by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, an industry group that includes producers and buyers and oversees the sustainability of the product. Only about 19% of global palm oil is certified sustainable by these standards.

      Another field for improvement is exploitation. While ethical supply chain plans are increasing, few companies have launched programs outside of small-scale pilots, the study found.

    • Chorus of Outrage as Trump Admin. Throws Climate, Public Health Under Bus by Killing Obama-Era Clean Power Plan

      Climate advocacy groups on Wednesday decried the Trump administration’s killing of the Clean Power Plan.

      “This is an immoral and an illegal attack on clean air, clean energy, and the health of the public, and it shows just how heartless the Trump administration is when it comes to appeasing its polluters allies,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.

      The rollback of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan—which, for the first time imposed reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants—was done to put in place the so-called Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) plan. A better name, say critics, would be the Dirty Power Plan.

      Environmental campaigners, including 350.org executive director May Boeve, panned a previous version of the Trump plan. Boeve called it “an all-out assault on our climate and communities” that “gives more power to fossil fuel polluters while leaving people to deal with the consequences of a worsening climate crisis.”

      Specifically, The Hill reported Wednesday, ACE “aims to give states more time and authority to decide how to implement the best new technology to ease net emissions from coal-fired plants.” It also gets rid of “a review process that mandates older power plants to mitigate their emissions levels,” the outlet added.

    • ‘We Need to Ban Fracking’: New Analysis of 1,500 Scientific Studies Details Threat to Health and Climate

      A comprehensive analysis of nearly 1,500 scientific studies, government reports, and media stories on the consequences of fracking released Wednesday found that the evidence overwhelmingly shows the drilling method poses a profound threat to public health and the climate.

      The sixth edition of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (the Compendium), published by Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York, found that “90.3 percent of all original research studies published from 2016-2018 on the health impacts of fracking found a positive association with harm or potential harm.”

    • EPA Defies Climate Warnings, Gives Coal Plants a Reprieve

      The Trump administration on Wednesday completed one of its biggest rollbacks of environmental rules, replacing a landmark Obama-era effort that sought to wean the nation’s electrical grid off coal-fired power plants and their climate-damaging pollution.

      Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, signed a replacement rule that gives states leeway in deciding whether to require efficiency upgrades at existing coal plants.

      Wheeler said coal-fired power plants remained essential to the power grid, something that opponents deny. “Americans want reliable energy that they can afford,” he said at a news conference. There’s no denying “the fact that fossil fuels will continue to be an important part of the mix,” he said.

  • Finance

    • At House Hearing, Poor People’s Campaign Demands End to ‘Systemic Policy Violence Against the Poor’

      The heads of the Poor People’s Campaign reiterated their call for a moral budget on Wednesday as they testified before a Congressional hearing and decried the “moral crisis” of poverty in the U.S.

      The goal of the testimony before the House Budget Committee, said Rev. Dr. William Barber, co-chair of the social justice organization, in a tweet, was “not to lobby Congress, but to reveal the faces behind the facts of poverty.”

      “It is time for Americans to find out the truth about poverty for all Americans,” said Barber. There are 140 million poor and low-wealth Americans, said Barber, adding that the extreme wealth gap in the country is a “direct result of policy decisions” that are “supported by well-funded myths.”

      “The truth is,” said Barber, “we must take a collective responsibility for the inequality, the unjust laws, and systems created.”

      He said there are “systemic realities that connect systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy, and the false moral narratives that suggest that somehow you can ignore poverty.”

      “We do not need more tax cuts for the rich,” added Barber. “We must end this systemic policy violence against poor and low-wealth people.”

    • The Time Has Come for a Global Minimum Wage

      The International Labour Organization (ILO) is celebrating its 100th anniversary this June. In the wake of a devastating world war, its mission was transformational: to realize social justice and the rights of workers everywhere.

      But now, 100 years later, exploitative working conditions remain the norm, more people than ever live in poverty, and the richest 1 percent are on track to own two-thirds of all global wealth in a decade. While no single policy could solve these problems entirely, one in particular would be a decisive step forward.

      At its centenary conference, the ILO should call for a global minimum wage.

    • Fed Leaves Its Key Rate Unchanged but Hints of Future Cuts

      The Federal Reserve left its key interest rate unchanged Wednesday but signaled that it’s prepared to start cutting rates if needed to protect the U.S. economy from trade conflicts and other threats.

      The Fed kept its benchmark rate — which influences many consumer and business loans — in a range of 2.25% to 2.5%, where it’s been since December.

      It issued a statement saying that because “uncertainties” have increased, it would “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion.” That language echoed a remark that Chairman Jerome Powell made two weeks ago that analysts interpreted as a signal that rate cuts were on the way.

    • Big Tech’s War for Your Wallet: Facebook Sparks Outrage After Announcing Plans for Digital Currency

      In a move that could reshape the world’s financial system, Facebook has unveiled plans to launch a new global digital currency called Libra. Facebook announced its plans on Tuesday after secretly working on the cryptocurrency for more than a year. It will launch Libra next year in partnership with other large companies including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Uber. Facebook said it wants to create “a simple global currency and infrastructure that empowers billions of people.” The plan has already come under fierce criticism from financial regulators and lawmakers. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown tweeted, “Facebook is already too big and too powerful, and it has used that power to exploit users’ data without protecting their privacy. We cannot allow Facebook to run a risky new cryptocurrency out of a Swiss bank account without oversight.” We speak with David Dayen, the executive editor of The American Prospect. He recently wrote a piece for The New Republic headlined “The Final Battle in Big Tech’s War to Dominate Your World.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Poll: Majority Worry About 2020 Foreign Meddling

      A majority of Americans are concerned that a foreign government might interfere in some way in the 2020 presidential election, whether by tampering with election results, stealing information or by influencing candidates or voter opinion, a new poll shows.

      The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds Democrats far more likely to express the highest level of concern, but Democrats and Republicans alike have at least some concerns about interference.

      Overall, half of Americans say they’re extremely or very concerned about foreign interference in the form of altered election results or voting systems, even though hackers bent on causing widespread havoc at polling places face challenges in doing so. An additional quarter is somewhat concerned.

    • ‘Once-in-a-Generation Candidate’ for Queens DA Tiffany Cabán Counts Sanders, Warren, AOC as Supporters

      The candidate for District Attorney in the New York City borough of Queens has picked up a number of endorsements in the past two months leading up to New York’s local elections on June 25, starting with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Congressional freshman sensation, on May 22.

      “Our criminal justice system needs to change,” Ocasio-Cortez told The New York Times in May. “New Yorkers deserve a seat at the table, and a champion who will fight to realign our priorities toward equal treatment under the law. If Tiffany Cabán wins, things are going to change.”

      Cabán continued racking up support Wednesday when she received public endorsements from the top two progressive candidates for the Democratic nomination for president, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Warren made her endorsement public by tweet, saying she was “proud” to support the public defender and calling for her network to throw their weight behind the Queens candidates.

      Half an hour later, Sanders’s endorsement was reported by NY1′s Gloria Pazmino.

    • We Are Destroying The One Thing That Could Save Us: Civic Intelligence

      Many religious fundamentalists agree: the world is coming to an end!

      Some (most?) think it will end in fire. The others think that ice will be the culprit.

      After contemplating the smoke-filled skies we’re expecting this summer, I’m with the flamers.

      Seriously folks, we’re screwed. Pandemics. Water wars. Children in cages. Junk culture. Biblical floods. Extinction.

      The dangerous, exploitive, and unpredictable world that we’ve created is headed for oblivion.

      Technology won’t save us. Nor clever mantras, MAGA hats, driverless vehicles, or moving to the off-world colonies. We won’t be rescued by the marines, billionaires, or digitally rendered superheroes. Not even the last lucky rabbit’s foot on earth can help.

      We are destroying our most vital resource.

    • Trump Wants a Third Term. Could the Unimaginable Happen Here?

      Donald Trump’s contempt for democracy and open sympathy for authoritarianism are visible in his recent comments about serving longer than he is legally allowed to. On June 16, 2019, he tweeted that his supporters might “demand that I stay longer” than two terms.

      In fact, Trump has variously suggested that he should get two extra years as a consolation prize for the Russia investigation, that he will serve up to five terms, and that he will indeed only serve two.

      Trump’s statements about presidential terms follow his usual approach to trying out anti-democratic ideas: Send up a trial balloon, rile his base up, make inconsistent statements, and then keep everyone guessing whether he’s serious or not. All the while, he achieves his primary aim: remaining the center of attention. After all, Trump is better at being a ringleader of chaos than getting policy passed. He exudes a cloud of constant uncertainty, which keeps both his opponents and allies constantly on edge. One never knows what he’ll say — or whom he’ll fire — next.

      Some have responded to Trump’s latest statements on term limits by speculating about his mental state or making comparisons to Hitler. A more interesting approach might be to role-play several scenarios in which Trump actually does try to unconstitutionally break the term limits. These scenarios, of course, are a game of speculation, but they are instructive: Given the unpredictability of the Trump presidency and its anti-democratic actions thus far, it’s important to consider what “staying longer” would truly entail.

      If Trump wins the 2020 election, he has four more years to maneuver before the 2024 primaries. This would be his window to prepare for a coup.

      Trump’s first option would be to legally change the 22nd Amendment, which limits presidents to two terms. But this seems unlikely; no serious attempts to overturn the amendment have gone very far. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump scoffs at this possibility, saying “the idea that there will be a massive push for overturning the 22nd Amendment so that Trump can remain in office seems at odds with his having both lost the popular vote in his only election to date and being approved of by only 40 percent of the country.”

    • Trump’s Re-election Campaign Launches on a Loud Fascist Note

      Just before 8:00 pm last night, I kissed my wife and daughter and told them I loved them, donned my mental armor, and flipped on the TV. I was looking for a network showing Donald Trump announcing the official beginning of his re-election campaign, and it turned out to be a surprising challenge.

      CNN dropped Trump’s Orlando show after about five minutes, MSNBC was apparently ignoring the whole thing, and C-SPAN was featuring the House of Representatives. I was left with the one station I knew wouldn’t let Trump or his devotees down: Fox News. There he was in a stadium filled with thousands of angry, screaming white people in red hats and bad shirts. The rage was palpable, and Trump stoked it like a blacksmith feeding his furnace.

      The speech itself, which you can read here or watch here, was not memorable to any great degree. Trump has clearly decided his 2016 formula — attack the press, attack Hillary Clinton and the emails, attack the Democrats — worked well enough the first time, so he’s sticking with the program.

      Trump’s droning, insipid wrath is, for me at this point anyway, akin to the tick-tocking of a metronome: If you’re surprised there’s a “tock” after the “tick,” you haven’t been paying attention. At one point, my concentration wavered down to the scroll at the bottom of the screen, which was explaining at length how an Alabama man fed methamphetamine to his pet squirrel so it would attack his enemies. It was all par for the Fox News course.

      The bleak genius of Trump’s shtick was definitely on display last night, however. This proven liar, this serial screwer of his own people, often manages to salt his rants with just enough hard truth to make his adherents feel like revolutionaries for standing by him even as he steals their future and poisons their well.

      Last night was no exception. “The people who tried to stop our movement are the same Washington insiders who spent their careers rigging the system, so your losses will be their gains, you know that,” Trump said. “These are the same career politicians who presided over decades of flat wages, the loss of our manufacturing jobs.”

    • Still Manufacturing Consent: An Interview With Noam Chomsky

      Alan MacLeod interviewed Noam Chomsky via Skype on March 13, 2018, for MacLeod’s new book Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. They discussed the origins of the classic work of media criticism (co-authored with Edward Herman) Manufacturing Consent, the role of that book’s “propaganda model” today, Google and Facebook, Donald Trump and Russia, fake news and Syria. This is a lightly edited transcript.

    • Vowing Not to ‘Demonize’ the Rich, Biden Tells Billionaires ‘Nothing Would Fundamentally Change’ If He Was Elected

      Don’t worry, billionaires: your standard of living won’t change under a Joe Biden administration.

      That’s the message the Democratic frontrunner delivered to donors Tuesday as he continued a fundraising trip in New York that saw him on Monday tell a room of wealthy Wall Streeters “you guys are great” and ask a Trump-loving supermarket magnate for support.

      In Biden’s comments Tuesday, the former vice president told a room of 100 of the New York financial elite, including bankers Robert Rubin and Roger Altman, both of whom worked in the Treasury Department under Democratic administrations, that he wasn’t their enemy. According to Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Epstein, Biden took pains to separate himself from the rest of the field in his comments.

      “Remember, I got in trouble with some of the people on my team, on the Democratic side, because I said, you know, what I’ve found is rich people are just as patriotic as poor people,” said Biden. “Not a joke. I mean, we may not want to demonize anybody who’s made money.”

      But, said Biden, their taxes might have to be raised a little to achieve some of his legislative goals—though he assured the members of the 1 percent in attendance at the Upper East Side Carlyle Hotel that under his plan, the increase wouldn’t even be noticeable.

      “The truth of the matter is, you all, you all know, you all know in your gut what has to be done,” said Biden. “We can disagree in the margins but the truth of the matter is it’s all within our wheelhouse and nobody has to be punished.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Congress Now Creating A Moral Panic Around Deepfakes In Order To Change CDA 230

      Everyone’s got it out for Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act these days. And pretty much any excuse will do. The latest is that last week, Rep. Adam Schiff held a hearing on “deep fakes” with a part of the focus being on why we should “amend” (read: rip to shreds) Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to “deal with” deep fakes.

    • Senator Hawley Proposes Law To Force Internet Companies To Beg The FTC For Permission To Host Content

      Senate newbie Josh Hawley has made it clear that he’s no fan of big internet companies and has joined with others in suggesting that Section 230 is somehow to blame for whatever it is he dislikes (it mainly seems to be he thinks the public likes them too much). So now he’s proposed a massively stupid and clearly unconstitutional bill, called the “Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act,” to wipe out CDA 230 protections for large internet platforms. The proposal is shockingly dumb and so obviously unconstitutional it boggles the mind that Hawley is actually a constitutional lawyer.

      The bill is pretty straightforward, both in how it operates, and in how misguided it is. If you’re a “big” internet platform — defined as having more than 30 million “active monthly users” in the US or more than 300 million such users globally (or having over $500 million in revenue) — then you automatically lose the protections of CDA 230. You can regain them by making a request to the FTC. In order to get them, you have to pay for an “audit” of your content moderation practices, and pro-actively “prove” via “clear and convincing evidence” that the practices are “politically neutral.” Once the you do that, the FTC would “vote” on whether or not you could get CDA 230 protections, and they would only be granted with a “supermajority vote,” which would mean at least four out of the five commissioners would have to vote for it. Since FTC Commissioners are always 3 to 2 in favor of the political party in the White House, that means any internet company that wants to get approval would need to get at least one commissioner of the non-Presidential party to vote for the immunity as well.

    • Man Who Claims To Be Bitcoin Inventor Is Suing Those Who Don’t Agree

      A year ago, during Deconomy 2018, a man who refers to himself as the inventor of bitcoin — Craig Wright — was openly accused of fraud and now that very comment led Wright to sue the person who accused him, and many more.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • An Army of Robot Surveillance Guards Is Coming

      We are surrounded by surveillance cameras that record us at every turn. But for the most part, while those cameras are watching us, no one is watching what those cameras observe or record because no one will pay for the armies of security guards that would be required for such a time-consuming and monotonous task.

      But imagine that all that video were being watched — that millions of security guards were monitoring them all 24/7. Imagine this army is made up of guards who don’t need to be paid, who never get bored, who never sleep, who never miss a detail, and who have total recall for everything they’ve seen. Such an army of watchers could scrutinize every person they see for signs of “suspicious” behavior. With unlimited time and attention, they could also record details about all of the people they see — their clothing, their expressions and emotions, their body language, the people they are with and how they relate to them, and their every activity and motion.

    • FBI Serves Incredibly Broad Warrant To 8chan, Demanding Info On All Users Who Responded To A Shooter’s Post

      Internet hellhole 8chan has been hit with a federal search warrant. The site, created to serve those who felt 4chan’s nearly-nonexistent moderation was too restrictive, has been front and center recently due to its hosting of manifestos by mass shooters who apparently frequented the site.

      In this case, an investigation into a shooting at a California mosque has led the FBI to the pages of 8chan. Postings at the site — along with some at Facebook — have linked the shooter to the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand. According to the affidavit [PDF], the FBI believes the California mosque shooter was “inspired and/or educated” by the New Zealand’s shooters manifesto and actions.

      The Poway shooter is already in custody, so the value of the information sought here is questionable. While the info may have some value in establishing the shooter’s state of mind, as well as his connection to other crimes, the warrant does bear some resemblance to a fishing expedition.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Appeals Court Reminds Deputies That Standing By While Rights Are Violated Is No Better Than Violating Them Yourself

      Sometimes it’s the things you don’t do that can hurt you. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has handed out a reminder to law enforcement officers that standing around while rights are violated can leave you just as liable as if you’d violated those rights yourself.

      The allegations behind the lawsuit and this rare denial of qualified immunity are horrifying. Being jailed is never pleasant, but the deputies involved in this case went out of their way to ensure this booking was particularly degrading. Keep in mind this was nothing more than an arrest for drunk driving.

    • How a Kaliningrad journalist was charged with extorting a top prosecutor and then suddenly let go

      On June 17, the Moscow District Court in St. Petersburg set Igor Rudnikov free. Rudnikov, the editor-in-chief of the Kaliningrad-based newspaper Novye Kolesa, had spent more than a year and a half in a pretrial detention center on accusations of extorting a $50,000 bribe from Investigative Committee General Viktor Ledenev. Rudnikov argues that the case against him was fabricated, but the court didn’t go so far as to recognize that claim. Instead, it reclassified the charges against Rudnikov from extortion to vigilantism and counted the time he had already spent in jail toward the fulfillment of his shortened sentence. We asked Novy Kaliningrad journalist Oleg Zurman to tell the story of the most widely discussed case in Kaliningrad today and explain why the court system ultimately let Igor Rudnikov go.


      Three and a half months after the two generals met on that yacht, Igor Rudnikov was arrested by a group of FSB agents. The Novye Kolesa editor-in-chief was then charged with extorting $50,000 from Investigative Committee General Viktor Ledenev. Rudnikov insisted that the case against him was fabricated. Human rights advocates recognized the journalist as a political prisoner and began demanding his release.

    • The Fragility of Democracy: Hong Kong, China and the Extradition Bill

      It has been a history of turns and the occasional betrayal, but Hong Kong’s experiment with democracy, incubated within the Special Administrative Region, was always going to be contingent on some level.

      Its colonial past is a poke, a reminder of British bullying, the corruptions of opium and a time when Qing China was torn and a compulsive signer of unequal treaties.

      The 99-year lease over the New Territories, along with some 235 islands arose from the second Convention of Peking, signed on June 9, 1898 by Li Hung-chang under the official gaze of British interests. It was never recognised either by the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek nor Mao Zedong’s victorious communists.

      In 1993, former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher revealed how China’s reformist Deng Xiaoping had been more than forthcoming about threats regarding Hong Kong in their September 1982 meeting in the Great Hall of the People.

      In The Downing Street Years, Thatcher recalls how an “obdurate” Deng “said that the Chinese could walk in and take Hong Kong back later today if they wanted to.”

      Thatcher’s retort was one of admission and promise: the British would not be able to stop them but “this would bring about Hong Kong’s collapse. The world would then see what followed a change from British to Chinese rule.”

      Deng, despite this threatening account from Thatcher, was happy to entertain an idea that would become the basis of arrangements after 1997, namely, the principle of one country, two systems.

      The official Chinese account of the meeting is naturally more tepid, with Deng merely suggesting that Beijing might “reconsider the timing and manner of the takeover” should the road leading to the takeover prove rocky.

    • Advocates Push for Structural Reforms at House Hearing on Reparations for Slavery and Racial Injustice

      Hundreds of people lined up outside a hearing room on Capitol Hill on Wednesday as a House Judiciary subcommittee held the first congressional hearing in more than a decade on reparations for slavery.

      The hearing took place on Juneteenth, the day commemorating the abolition of slavery in the United States, and came a day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed the idea of providing financial compensation or assistance to the descendants of the millions of black people who were enslaved by white people for 250 years.

    • Coates On Slavery: It Was 150 Years Ago and It Was Right Now

      A day of drama as writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and other advocates offered searing, eloquent testimony at a House hearing on proposed reparations to black Americans on Juneteenth, the day in 1865 that U.S. slavery finally ended when it was abolished in Texas. “We know that it’s not just white men that built this country,” declared Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a co-sponsor with Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee of H.R. 40. “In fact, we know that black Americans built it for free.” It’s the reality that U.S. capitalism was founded on the enslavement of black people – by emancipation, slaves comprised the largest single economic asset in America, and a Mississippi overseer confided “the whip was as important to making cotton grow as sunshine and rain” – that lies behind the reparations proposal, along with the enduring injustices visited upon black people simply trying to be equal citizens of this country. Government has a role to play in helping repair those longstanding wrongs, says Pressley, because, “We have yet to enjoy the full measure of freedom as black Americans.” As part of that unprecedented accounting, H.R. 40 also calls for a formal apology from the U.S. government “for the perpetration of gross human rights violations” against black Americans – violations that relentlessly continue. Just in recent days, see here, here, and here.

    • Celebrating Juneteenth With Bold New Ideas

      One day in late June, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas. They carried some historic news: Legal slavery had ended some two and a half years ago with President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. And so some of the last enslaved people left in America were freed.

      The day became known as “Juneteenth,” a holiday still celebrated today in black communities across the United States.

      Yet more than 150 years after slavery, black wealth still lags centuries behind white wealth. A report by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) found that it would take 228 years for black families to amass the amount of wealth white families already own today.

    • Amid Rise of Xenophobes Like Trump, UN Report Shows World’s Refugee Population Has Exploded to More Than 70 Million

      Aggressive anti-immigration policies and rhetoric from President Donald Trump and other right-wing world leaders has contributed greatly to the skyrocketing number of refugees around the world, the United Nation’s refugee agency said Wednesday.

      Marking a distressing record, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) revealed in its annual Global Trends report that the number of refugees worldwide is now the highest it’s ever been since the UN began keeping records, with more than 70 million people seeking refuge after being forced from their homes.

      At least one in 108 people around the world were displaced in 2018, including both those who had been refugees previously and those who were forced to leave their homes last year due to issues including war, violence, food shortages, and the effects of the climate crisis.

      Half of the world’s refugees are children, the UN found.

      The European Union director for Human Rights Watch, Lotte Leicht, called the findings “devastating.”

    • California Gov. Gavin Newsom Apologizes for Treatment of Native Americans: It Was “Genocide. No Other Way to Describe It”

      Recognizing that the admission was overdue, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday issued an apology for the “systemic slaughter of California Indians” and called it a “genocide” that must be acknowledged.

      Newsom, a Democrat, made the remarks to a gathering of tribal leaders at the future site of the California Indian Heritage Center in West Sacramento. The apology is codified in an executive order (pdf), which also calls for the creation of a Truth and Healing Council.

      A press statement from the governor’s office describes his actions as “the first time a state has taken dual action to correct the historical record and acknowledge wrongdoing through executive order mandate and a tribally-led, consultation-informed council.”

      The “only way to right a wrong is to acknowledge there was a wrong,” said Newsom. He pointed to examples of state-backed violence against native people, including the state’s first governor ordering a “a war of extermination,” as a “stain on our state.”

      “It’s called a genocide. That’s what it was—a genocide. No other way to describe it,” he said. “And that’s the way it needs to be described in the history books.”

    • “I Thought We Were Going to Be Executed”: Police Held Family at Gunpoint After 4-Year-Old Took Doll

      An African-American family is suing the city of Phoenix, Arizona, after police held them at gunpoint because their 4-year-old daughter had allegedly taken a doll from a Family Dollar store. In a video that has since gone viral, officers point guns and yell at the family, and one officer even threatens to shoot the 4-year-old girl’s father, Dravon Ames, in the face. The girl’s mother, Iesha Harper, is heard saying she is unable to hold her hands up because she is holding a child and that she is pregnant. Phoenix’s mayor and police chief have both apologized for what happened, and criticized how the police officers handled the situation. Activists in Phoenix say this is just the latest incident in a police department plagued by issues of police violence and killings. Last year, the city had 44 police shootings, nearly double that of the previous year, and led the nation in police shootings among cities of its size. We speak with Dravon Ames and Iesha Harper, as well as a family spokesperson, Rev. Jarrett Maupin. On Monday, the couple filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city.

    • It’s Bad Journalism to Take Cops at Their Word

      When mainstream news outlets fail to fact-check the police, they fail their readers and they fail our society.

      Time and time again, by uncritically presenting claims made by police as truths, mainstream news outlets condone and enable the scourges of police violence, racism and mass incarceration in our communities.

      This is true throughout the country, but a closer look at recent newspaper articles in Chicago, where I live and take part in anti-prison organizing, illustrates the dynamics of these journalistic failures.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Freilich & Ouellette: USPTO should require prophetic examples to be clearly labeled to avoid confusion

      Professor Janet Freilich (Fordham Law) has a fantastic forthcoming law review article, Prophetic Patents, which puts a spotlight on the common practice of submitting patent applications containing entirely hypothetical experimental results. These “prophetic examples” are permitted as long as the predicted results are not in the past tense. Using this tense rule, Freilich analyzed over two million U.S. patents in chemistry and biology, and she estimates that 17% of examples in these patents are prophetic. Prophetic examples may be familiar to patent drafters, but scientists and engineers who learn about them generally describe them as bizarre, and even some patent scholars are unfamiliar with the practice. Prophetic Patents was the one article by a lawyer selected for the 2018 NBER Summer Institute on Innovation, and the economist-heavy audience was fascinated by the concept—many were not even aware that researchers can obtain a patent without actually implementing an invention, much less that patents can contain hypothetical data.

      Freilich notes the potential benefits of allowing untested ideas to be patented in terms of encouraging earlier disclosure and helping firms acquire financing, though she finds that patents with prophetic examples are not broader (based on claim word count), filed earlier (based on AIA implementation), or more likely to be filed by small entities. I’m very sympathetic to the argument that the current legal standard may allow speculative ideas to be patented too early—I’ve argued in prior work that all the competing policy considerations raised by Pierson v. Post about the optimal timing of property rights suggest that many patents are currently awarded prematurely. This is a challenging empirical question, however, because we cannot observe the counterfactual innovation ecosystem operating under a different legal standard.

      But while pondering the hard question of the timing of patentability, patent scholars should not lose sight of the easy question: even if patenting untested inventions is socially desirable, there is no reason these patents need to be confusing. To me, Freilich’s most interesting empirical result is her study of how often prophetic patents are mis-cited in scientific publications. She looked at 100 randomly selected patents with only prophetic examples that were cited in a scientific article or book for a specific proposition, and she found that 99 were not cited in a way that made clear they were prophetic. Instead, they were cited with phrases such as “[d]ehydration reaction in gas phase has been carried out over solid acid catalysts” (emphasis added). And it is not surprising that scientist readers are misled: many prophetic examples do confusingly mimic actual experiments, with specific numerical results. In prior work, I have shown that contrary to the assertions of some patent scholars, a substantial number of scientists do look to the patent literature to learn new technical information. So it is concerning that a large number of patents are written in a way that can be confusing to readers unfamiliar with the tense rule.

    • Copyrights

      • Genius/Google Dispute Gets Even Dumber: Microsoft And Amazon Show Same ‘Coded’ Lyrics, But Genius Doesn’t Care

        On Tuesday we did a deep dive into the whole kerfuffle over Genius claiming that Google was “scraping” its lyrics and explained why the whole story was a huge nothingburger. There are lots of reasons to be worried about Google, but this was not one of them. Among the many, many points in the article, we noted that Google had properly licensed the lyrics, that LyricFind admitted that it was the one responsible, that most publishers don’t even know the lyrics they’re licensing in the first place, and that basically everyone just copies them from everyone else. And, now, just to put a fine point on how this entire story in the Wall Street Journal (which has published multiple anti-Google editorials over the past few years) was concocted just to attack Google over something it hadn’t done, a Wired article analyzing the situation notes that Microsoft’s Bing and Amazon Music also display the identical lyrics that appear to have the “coded” or “watermarked” apostrophes that Genius put in place…

      • Kim Kardashian Deep Fake Video Removed By Copyright Claim

        We’ve entered something of a moral panic, or at least an impressive uptick in public awareness, around the concept of deep fakes. These videos, edited and manipulated through technology, have managed everything from making the Speaker of the House appear drunk to putting caricature-like words in the mouth of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. On the topic of Facebook, it’s been somewhat interesting to watch various internet sites deviate on exactly how to approach these deep fakes once they are reported. Facebook kept up the Pelosi video and, to its credit, the Zuckerberg video, but added some text to alert viewers that it was faked. Other sites, such as YouTube, have chosen to take certain deep fake videos down.

        One of those, as occurred recently, was a deep fake of Kim Kardashian that altered an interview given to Vogue Magazine, such that she appears to be discussing a conspiratorial group called Spectre and giving her own fans a hard time. It’s all fairly parodic and not something that passes the most basic smell test. And, yet, as the discussion rages on as to how sites should respond and handle deep fakes, this particular video was taken down due to a copyright claim.

      • The New Copyright Directive: A tour d’horizon – Part II (of press publishers, upload filters and the real value gap)

        The justification for the new right, as stated in Recitals 54 and 55, goes something like this. The re-use of press publications is a core part of the business model of certain information society providers, like online news aggregators and media monitoring services. Publishers have difficulty in licensing their rights to these providers. As a result, they cannot recoup their investment, namely their organisational and financial contribution to producing press publications. This investment is essential to “ensure the sustainability of the publishing industry and thereby foster the availability of reliable information”. To protect their investment and to facilitate licensing and enforcement against information society providers, a new right is needed. But how does this right look?

Ignore the EPO’s Dumb Festival and Focus on the Abuses Against the Workforce and Its Quality of Work

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO’s “look over there!” moment — as usual timed to take place a week or so before the Administrative Council reconvenes

Look over there!

Summary: Don’t lose sight of the appalling behaviour of the management of the EPO; the last thing it wants is press coverage about its gross abuses and corruption — an aspect it spent literally millions of euros to bury (gaming the news cycle)

THE European Patent Office (EPO) is about to start that stupid (and wasteful) “Inventor” festival. Managers past and present use this ceremony of theirs for political purposes (politicians are, as usual, attending after being invited). We’re mostly interested in seeing whether António Campinos and judge Battistelli (yes, he was made a judge in this competition) choose to give an award to European software patents (there are several contenders of this kind, but we’ve focused on one). How low can patent quality (or validity) go while still receiving a special prize?

As usual, this festival is timed to almost coincide with the meeting of the Administrative Council — something which we never regarded as a coincidence. Will that stupid festival impress the bands of lawyers and bureaucrats, who conveniently look the other way when patent quality or validity etc. (as determined by actual courts with technical expert witnesses) are discussed?

“As usual, this festival is timed to almost coincide with the meeting of the Administrative Council — something which we never regarded as a coincidence.”Over the past couple of days we saw no news about the social injustices at the EPO; SUEPO has said nothing and it only posted a link to an article about work atmosphere (not EPO-specific). Remember that none of these issues have been addressed and resolved, let alone discussed. Nothing at all is improving on that front and the same goes for patent quality. Quality of the workplace and the work alike suffer profoundly.

This post takes stock of the latest writings that pertain to patent quality or scope.

Earlier this week Isobel Finnie and Joanna Rowley (Haseltine Lake LLP) wrote about patents covering life and nature even though humans did not invent these; this is thievery, enabled by patent offices which only care about granting more and more patents. Rowley and Finnie have provided some background and an explanation of where things stand:

This amendment came as a surprise to many in the field because it created a conflict between Rule 28(2) EPC and Article 53(b) EPC as interpreted by Broccoli/ Tomatoes II. Soon enough a case came before the Boards of Appeal (T 1063/18) in which a patent application had been refused by an Examining Division for the sole reason that the invention was deemed to be a plant product exclusively obtained by essentially biological processes. In brief, the invention related to a “cultivated blocky fruit type pepper plant” and the only method described in the application for obtaining the pepper plant was an essentially biological process, namely crossing two previously known peppers followed by selfing and conventional pedigree selection to create stable fixed inbred lines. The Board in T 1063/18 held that the Articles of the EPC as interpreted by the Enlarged Board of Appeal must prevail over the Rules (in accordance with Article 164(2) EPC) and hence, Rule 28(2) EPC must be considered void. The Board of Appeal considered the law on this issue to be clear and hence a referral to the Enlarged Board of Appeal was not justified.


The EU Biotech Directive and Article 53(b) EPC clearly state that essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals are not patentable, but are silent with regard to the patentability of plant and animal products exclusively obtained by means of such essentially biological processes. In 2015 the Enlarged Board of Appeal ruled that such products are patentable (G2/12 and G2/13, often referred to as “Broccoli/Tomatoes II”). This was seen as a positive step by agrochemical companies using the patents system and many commentators thought the issue was settled.

However, shortly afterwards in 2016 the European Commission issued a Notice (2016/C 411/03) stating that the EU Biotech Directive was intended to exclude products obtained by essentially biological processes from patentability, even though it didn’t explicitly say so. Although this Notice was not legally binding it added to the existing pressure on the EPO from certain member states and political groups. The Administrative Council of the EPO responded by adding Rule 28 part (2) EPC, which states “Under Article 53(b), European patents shall not be granted in respect of plants or animals exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process.”

This amendment came as a surprise to many in the field because it created a conflict between Rule 28(2) EPC and Article 53(b) EPC as interpreted by Broccoli/ Tomatoes II. Soon enough a case came before the Boards of Appeal (T 1063/18) in which a patent application had been refused by an Examining Division for the sole reason that the invention was deemed to be a plant product exclusively obtained by essentially biological processes. In brief, the invention related to a “cultivated blocky fruit type pepper plant” and the only method described in the application for obtaining the pepper plant was an essentially biological process, namely crossing two previously known peppers followed by selfing and conventional pedigree selection to create stable fixed inbred lines. The Board in T 1063/18 held that the Articles of the EPC as interpreted by the Enlarged Board of Appeal must prevail over the Rules (in accordance with Article 164(2) EPC) and hence, Rule 28(2) EPC must be considered void. The Board of Appeal considered the law on this issue to be clear and hence a referral to the Enlarged Board of Appeal was not justified.

The EPC doesn’t govern the Boards anymore; the Office does. The President of the Office does; he blatantly violates the EPC at every turn. This is one among several reasons the UPC will never become a reality. Speaking of the UPC, it looks like Bristows is writing its nonsense anonymously again (it is far too predictable a pseudonym, “Kluwer Patent blogger”). “Adapting the patent system to small companies means abolishing it,” Benjamin Henrion said about it. The blog post, which deletes dissenting views/comments (we covered this before), still lacks comments. Interesting. Also found via Henrion is this new post from Alan Johnson. The same people who insisted a decision would be made by the FCC (BVerfG) by last Christmas are at it again. It’s coming “real soon!!!” they promise us (as they have for years).

Pressing on, a Rowley and Finnie colleague, Andrew Sunderland (Haseltine Lake LLP), wrote about the EPO’s next opportunity to throw out all software patents (but the judges in these cases lack autonomy, by their very own admission, so we doubt this will happen). To quote:

The first question is attempting to establish whether a simulation, by itself, can ever provide a technical effect.

If the EBA deems that a simulation, when taken in isolation, can have a technical effect, then the next question becomes; how can an examiner at the EPO reliably and repeatably assess patentability in such cases. This second question is essentially asking for a test or checklist, based on which an examiner can make an assessment.

The third question is asking whether a simulation, if claimed as part of a design process, could be patentable. Presumably if the answer to the first question is yes, then the answer to this question would also be yes. But a design process may imply a product, and verifying a design implies limitations to the simulation that may have real-world implications.

While the referral is pending, applications, oppositions and appeals in which the decision depends entirely on the answer to the above questions may be stayed at the request of the parties or by the examining or opposition division on its own initiative.

The EBA’s answers should provide some useful guidance on how to improve an applicant’s chances of successfully protecting simulation-related inventions in Europe. Watch this space for our follow-up article as soon as a decision is issued.

Depending on the outcome of this case, it may be possible to throw out European Patents on algorithms, not only at the courts but also at the Office. We’ve meanwhile noticed McKee Voorhees & Sease PLC’s Gregory “Lars” Gunnerson “Comparing United States and European Patent Law for Software”. Both de facto reject patents on software (the courts do), but dishonest patent offices continue granting these fake patents anyway. They leave the mess for the expensive courts and lawyers to deal with. We know at whose expense…

Henrion has just caught up with the article about “HEY HI” (AI) and what top British judges have to say. “UK judge skpetical of patents for AI,” he said, “but not the reason that AI is mere computer programs and training data. As an ex-patent specialized judge now at the Highest Court, mmh…”

We’ve already seen his court throwing out European Patents on algorithms, even as recently as this year.

The EPO and “Programming Eligibility in the United States” are also covered here, in a new article that mentions, 35 U.S.C. § 101, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), SCOTUS, and the Federal Circuit.

Both places (the US and Europe) grant patents on software — patents that courts repeatedly reject. They just don’t seem to care what the law is or what the rules explicitly say. To quote:

The patent qualification prerequisite at the EPO, that the topic must have a specialized character, is first surveyed without reference to the earlier workmanship. Accordingly, any non-specialized element, i.e., an element from a field prohibited from patentability under 52(2) and (3) EPC, can’t be considered for the evaluation of creative advance, except if the non-specialized component connects with the specialized topic to take care of a specialized issue. The “best in class” ought to be translated as significance the “condition of innovation”, and one of standard expertise in the workmanship is the individual talented in the applicable field of innovation. Fields barred under 52(2) EPC are not viewed as a major aspect of the innovation for the appraisal of imaginative advance. These appraisals are exceedingly emotional and have been liable to significant patent operator and patent inspector ion.

Programming Eligibility in the United States

No place in the United States Patent Act (Title 35 of the United States Code) is programming or PC programs explicitly referenced. Rather, patent law identifying with programming and PC projects is resolved, in any event fundamentally, by choices of the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) and United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC).

Writing about “medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)” at Lexology, Accura Advokatpartnerselskab’s Morten Bruus, Christoffer Ege Andersen and Martin Dysterdich Jørgensen would have us believe anything EUIPO and EPO claim is true. Never mind who funded their so-called 'study'.

From their new article:

A joint EPO & EUIPO study measures the correlation between the IP activities of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the likelihood that they will experience a high growth period. The study finds that SMEs applying for patents, trademarks or designs have a greater probability of experiencing growth compared to SMEs that do not. In the process of reaching these conclusions further results are found of particular interest for innovators and IP portfolio managers as well as potential investors- and business partners.

That’s complete nonsense, but it’s designed to distract from the harsh reality; they actively harm SMEs. They help lawyers and their largest clients, who are typically not even European. Their priority isn’t Europe but large applicants, i.e. multinationals.

Microsoft Attempting to Destroy the Careers of Its Critics, Including Free Software Proponents

Posted in Microsoft at 12:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cult-like tactics. Or doxing to secure bug doors. Is this what “business intelligence” was all along for?

Microsoft bullying

Summary: Microsoft isn’t changing and has not changed; the tactics described above are still being used, even by its “Open Source” (or “Open at Microsoft”) people, who did this to me

IT IS a small world after all. Someone in the Fediverse pointed out to me this new tweet about Microsoft bullying, which reminded me of these cult-like tactics Microsoft used against myself and others. From the original thread (there are also many comments in there):

I think you must be talking about CVE-2010-0232, it wasn’t 90 days, it was more like 180. This was at a time when Microsoft refused to release kernel patches outside of service packs. I begged Microsoft at multiple in-person meetings at Redmond to reconsider and patch, they simply refused and said there were would be repercussions if I disobeyed.
After four months of negotiations, I told that I’m going to publish it whether a patch was available or not. This didn’t have the effect I had hoped, they started threatening me instead. They called me and told me my career would be destroyed. In one particularly memorable call they told me that their PR and legal department only had two settings, “off and destroy” and (in a rather menacing tone) that they would “air my dirty laundry in public”. I still don’t know what that means.

I was shaken, but told them I’m still going ahead. They responded by calling everyone they knew at my employer demanding I was terminated.

There was a trivial mitigation, just disabling a very rarely used feature (vdm support for 16 bit applications). I made detailed documentation explaining how to enable the mitigation for every supported platform, and even made tutorial videos for Administrators on how to apply and deploy group policy settings.

Here are the instructions I wrote:


And here’s a video I made showing how to apply the policy to a Windows Server 2003 machine like yours:

I sent these detailed instructions to all the usual places that advisories are published. I included a test case so you could verify if the bug affected you and verify the mitigation was correctly deployed. As you can imagine, Microsoft were furious.

I know it’s little comfort, but through some hard fought battles over the last decade we have reached the point that Microsoft can reluctantly patch critical kernel security bugs if given around three months notice. They still pull some dirty tricks to this day, you wouldn’t believe some of the stories I could tell you, but those are war stories for sharing over beers :)

It sounds like your attackers compromised you with an outdated wordpress installation, then gained privileges with this vulnerability. I’m not sure I agree the blame here lies solely with me, but regardless, I would recommend subscribing to the announce lists for the software you’re deploying. You could also monitor the major security lists for advisories related to the software you use. It’s high volume and varies in quality, but you can usually identify the advisories that apply to you easily.

We’ve documented many examples like it for over a decade (we’ve lost count!) and we have some wiki indexes for these. Incidentally, we’ve just added the “Librethreat Database”, contributed by an anonymous reader who is also a software developer working on GNU/Linux.

It’s very important to understand what Microsoft is up to; it’s not a friend, it’s just getting closer for the purpose of causing damage (from the inside). Earlier this month Dina Bass wrote a widely-syndicated (dozes of news sites) piece pretending that Microsoft was reaching peace and had already appeased its biggest critics. It’s a lie, but if the media keeps repeating this lie, then more and more people will believe it. To appease the Linux Foundation and OSI Microsoft just had to dump some money of them; that’s not about trust, it’s about corrupting people using money — not the same thing!

“Dina is on one,” Mitchel Lewis told us about this new tweet from Dina Bass. “She’s like their top 5 shill right now.”

“It’s very important to understand what Microsoft is up to; it’s not a friend, it’s just getting closer for the purpose of causing damage (from the inside).”Notice Mitchel Lewis responding to her Microsoft revisionism and white-washing. She has long worked as Microsoft’s de facto PR person, as we noted here before. She’s a “media insider”, just like Microsoft Peter. Several of our readers and active members theorised that Microsoft had long known about his pedophilia (he raped children) and used that to control him; we lack evidence to show/prove this, so we never entertained that angle. Some people urged us to explore that angle, but we never did. Someone told us a story to that effect involving a relative who had worked at Microsoft (and Microsoft used sexual means to manipulate him). Mr. Lewis said so himself and his claim is supported by what people told us over E-mail and IRC. This seems to be an unreported or grossly underreported issue that may or may not relate to manipulation of people through Code of Conduct, NDAs and so on. Mr. Lewis has meanwhile just published “Digital Oxy”, comparing Microsoft’s tactics to those of “legalised” drug dealing. It’s part of his ongoing series of articles exposing the true nature of the Microsoft monopoly — a subject he understands as a former insider:

Despite maintaining a portfolio of aging products that have never been as complex, buggy, vulnerable, or costly to manage as they are today, IT professionals around the world maintain that Microsoft products remain the best in their class. To their credit, Microsoft is the largest company in the world when measured by market cap, the prevalence of their products is undeniable, and Windows is still the de facto gaming platform, so it’s easy to see why so many are under this impression. But market cap, prevalence, and gaming are not the measures of all things and a different narrative immediately becomes apparent when relying on metrics that actually take consumer and business welfare into account to determine which is the best.

Case in point and despite their prevalence or market cap, one would have to scrape the proverbial barrel in order to find a metric that favors Microsoft mainstays relative to their competition when evaluating them based on metrics emphasizing on business welfare that prioritize quality, productivity, simplicity, security, supportability, etc. This is so much the case that, IBM, the inventor of PCs, noticed a reduction in ownership costs to 1/3 that of Windows PC users by migrating users to the Apple ecosystem; which is significant amount of disparity in an industry where even a 1% savings will make executives randy.


Although many interpret the present complex, buggy, vulnerable, and costly state of Microsoft solutions as the product of ignorance and apathy, these aren’t the actions of a firm ignorant to software engineering best practices. It actually requires a high-level understanding of software to engineer it for entrenchment, dependence, and lock-in, let alone build an extensive partner network to distribute it through and Microsoft’s market performance is a testament to this, not an exception.

No differently than Purdue Pharmaceutical being dependent on a network of profiteering drug dealers masquerading as doctors, it seems as if Microsoft is dependent on a conflicted network of maladapted experts entrenching their own products throughout industry just the same. When combining such a conflict of interest with products streamlined for entrenchment in a woefully under-regulated industry, Microsoft’s success, the prevalence of Windows, and their staying power throughout industry instantly becomes much more palpable and markedly less ethical.

We can warmheartedly recommend his other writings, which we sometimes cite.

Don’t believe that because Microsoft changed (yet again) its logo and CEO it means different tactics and intents. Bill Gates is still in charge of Nadella and can fire him at any time (through the Board). The same people are in charge and they’re still ruthless and manipulative. The software and services are technically shoddy, but we prefer focusing on ethics.

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts