Some Patent Attorneys Dislike Techrights Not Because It’s Wrong But Because Software Patents Are Wrong (and Sometimes Illegal)

Posted in Europe, Patents, Site News at 5:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Actually it is the case, as SUEPO made very clear (based on internal data)

EPC rantsSummary: Odd rants which misuse common law and ignore alleged Fair Use (and misinterpretation of copyright law, for censorship purposes) would have people believe that we’re wrong; but it’s more likely that the person in question is jealous, insecure, or offended by our stance on patent scope, which is very much rooted in the law itself (and the views widely held by software developers globally)

OUR in-depth coverage of European Patent Office (EPO) affairs is over 5 years old. We had covered the EPO prior to that, but not as frequently. We nowadays have pretty deep insights, valuable contacts and a good understanding of the issues. We’re fine with attorneys/lawyers not liking us. Some of them accept what we’re arguing, whereas others find it “offensive”. We can’t please everyone, but we can at least keep honest. We’re sincere, sometimes brutally (for some).

“We don’t try to discourage dissent against us; we’re all for free speech. But free speech also means the right to defend oneself — something IP Kat urgently needs teaching itself about.”We don’t typically write this kind of post, but SUEPO currently links to a Kluwer article from Team UPC, where the majority of comments mention Techrights in one form or another. There’s one person there who always claims to sort of agree while at the same time, perpetually, always bashing us. We’ve noticed the same in IP Kat and another site. It’s usually the same person and it often boils down to our view/s on patent scope.

In short, arguing that the EPC is OK with software patents is intellectually dishonest; that’s simply untrue. And no, calling it "HEY HI" (AI) won’t change that; I’ve done “AI” since my early 20s, I know how that works. I wrote code to that effect.

The law is pretty clear about software patents. So are the courts. So is the European Parliament. But we suppose those who make a living from such patents are in denial about it (for the same reason Team UPC is in denial about the collapse of UPC/A).

We don’t try to discourage dissent against us; we’re all for free speech. But free speech also means the right to defend oneself — something IP Kat urgently needs teaching itself about. It’s also deleting comments critical of the EPO and its management. Not cool…

Earlier today we saw a post about PPH (akin to PACE and other programmes that speed things up; another such programme was mentioned here yesterday). Speed isn’t indicative of quality and it’s usually detrimental to accuracy, especially when multiple people need to assess a case/application. PPH generally works in favour of software patents in Europe — patents that are legal neither in Europe nor in Australia. They’re looking “to fast-track patent applications,” as Paul Whenman and Andrew Gregory have just put it. Their article is about sloppy patent examination designed to just help aggressive patent trolls and equip those looking for sanctions/embargoes (profit by harm and extortion), not innovation. Campinos and Battistelli don’t know what innovation is; they’re not scientists. In the words of Whenman and Gregory: [via Lexology]

IP Australia became an early participant in the PPH process. Following a successful pilot program with the USPTO, which commenced on 14 April 2008, Australia joined the Global PPH (GPPH). The GPPH initially covered Canada, US, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Russia. Subsequently, the New Zealand jurisdiction was added, along with a raft of other particpants.

Although the European Patent Office (EPO) is notably absent from the list of GPPH participants, fortuitously, IP Australia entered into a bilateral agreement with the EPO on 1 July 2016 in order to fast-track patent applications. This agreement provided for a trial period of three years. Given the global significance of the EPO, this was a very welcome and positive development.


On 1 July 2019 it was announced that the PPH trial between IP Australia and the EPO would continue for a further three years. Additionally, the original GPPH program with the other participant IP offices continues with no indication of curtailment.

This is indeed very good news as applicants will continue to be able to access and gain the benefits of the generous PPH programs operated by IP Australia.

Techrights has long expressed concerns about the EPO putting litigation first; it seems to have forgotten its core values and goals. If it exists to promote science and knowledge, it will give the benefit of the doubt to defendants/alleged infringers. Instead, today’s EPO gives many bogus patents to serial plaintiffs/claimants, who may in turn leverage these bogus patents to make bogus (invalid) claims of infringement. Patent trolls absolutely love that.

“On 1 July 2019 it was announced that the PPH trial between IP Australia and the EPO would continue for a further three years.”
      –Paul Whenman and Andrew Gregory
PPH is obviously biased or tilted in favour of plaintiffs, not defendants. Judging by who (or whose groups) today’s EPO management likes to associate with and hang out with (in the media it has liaised with Watchtroll), it’s crystal clear whose side they’re on. How many of today’s EPO managers even have a background in science? One is alleged to have faked his diploma, but that’s another matter. If a few people have an issue with our EPO coverage not because they disagree about the EPO but about patent scope, maybe it’s because they don’t do actual coding and can’t quite see things with developers’ scopes/optics.

Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Distro-libre and feature-schema

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux at 4:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A publication from the Free Media Alliance


Ski Training Professional

Summary: “Every time a distro does not suit a user’s purposes, and it is less work to adapt the distro on one’s own than to affect the distro in any other way, a distro is born.”

Hundreds of distros exist, many of them with very similar features. We know there is duplication of work, but everyone needs to understand why so many distros exist.

Every time a distro does not suit a user’s purposes, and it is less work to adapt the distro on one’s own than to affect the distro in any other way, a distro is born. Ego is a factor too, but rarely mentioned is the educational aspect.

“Every time a distro does not suit a user’s purposes, and it is less work to adapt the distro on one’s own than to affect the distro in any other way, a distro is born.”If more people created distros, then more people would have experience or interest in maintaining (contributing) to existing distros. The real trick is facilitating that.

Stallman has said that we don’t need more distros. “We” also don’t need more text editors, or “hello world” programs. Other people say we don’t need more programming languages.

Each of these arguments are subjective (who is “We?”) and can be refuted by pointing to a single need that no distro caters to. But in recent years, many more (once-reliable) distros are lacking than before. Are people really saying they don’t need to be fixed?

Because they are more likely to be repaired by forking. Control over distros and of software by monopolies is increasing, and if the Halloween documents mean anything then this is a problem the FSF and OSI once acknowledged (hosting the documents on their own servers, though OSI has removed them since) though now that it is a more critical and everyday problem, they are saying nothing about it.

“Stallman has said that we don’t need more distros.”If we need more freedom, then we need more distros. In fact Stallman said “We don’t need more distros” before the FSF gained Hyperbola, one of the very few (and arguably most dedicated) distros to work to remove the monopolistic tentacles of systemd, which GuixSD should also be suitable for, but Hyperbola should be a lot more friendly and mainstream.

We would say that Trisquel probably does not need more distros, but also that Trisquel probably needs a swift kick in the ass.

Incidentally, we have a script that automatically removes systemd from the Trisquel live ISO and spits out a fixed one, but it relies on upstart which is being abandoned by Ubuntu. So while Debian still has some people working to keep “not systemd” an option (if it were really optional, they would be done by now…) Trisquel and Ubuntu are most likely slated to have nothing in that regard. What a shame.

We honestly think that every user should make a machine-readable list of features they want in distros, and that this would be extremely valuable data.

On the drawing board is a feature-schema prototype, which in the friendliest machine-readable way possible outlines the desired and optional features of a distro such as distro-libre.

The key to this schema is indentation, a simulation of XML that requires zero syntax but must develop some kind of standard keywords. If everyone (we mean everyone) made a list of features they want included, this non-industry standard would be easier to develop.

“We honestly think that every user should make a machine-readable list of features they want in distros, and that this would be extremely valuable data.”Distro-libre is a growing script that can automatically remaster various live ISOs, ensuring that people can have bootable CDs and DVDs with a receipt (the script) of every possible change. It is written in fig, one of the lowest-syntax, most consistent and minimal (friendly) languages in use today. You could also do distro-libre in python, but then fig translates to python.

Unlike systemd, distro-libre is intended to be easily forkable. We hope that the future of remastering (and building) distros is the application, not the distribution. Instead of maintaining a distribution, what we would like is if you could download a program and either use it to customise a distro (with help from automation, not just by duplication of manual work) or even build one.

We expect mockery and ridicule, but instead of just talking about these things, the Free Media Alliance offers working prototypes. The prototypes increase in sophistication over time, and would increase further with more people forking them. We encourage collaboration between forks, rather than worrying about setting up a large organisation (but you are welcome to do that as well.)

As a remaster tool, the way distro-libre works is not entirely new, but it works like this:

Download ISO -> run automated remaster script -> New ISO

The remaster script can even download the ISO for you.

“Unlike systemd, distro-libre is intended to be easily forkable.”The automation serves two purposes — by default, the script IS / defines the “distro” itself. Instead of downloading “fig os,” you download a script that produces fig os. Instead of changing fig os, you change the script.

The automation that produces the default ISO can also assist you in making changes. This is very basic automation, and it can be made even friendlier by moving more distro-libre logic to our indented feature-schema. That way you can still change the code and use the custom “language” (or functions) within distro-libre, but most people will use the more abstract and user friendly schema to do many of the same tasks.

“But because these are remastering and build applications, there is no monopoly.”In every step of the process, we encourage the use of languages and tools that are modeled after successful educational languages like Logo and BASIC. We say “modeled after” because these aren’t 1:1 duplicates, with artifacts like line numbers or type sigils — Logo has evolved and remains very low on punctuation, people use it to code without realising they are coding. That’s the sort of computer language we want people to have at their fingertips.

But because these are remastering and build applications, there is no monopoly. If you want to fork a distro, change it entirely, you can just fork the application — written in a language that high-schoolers and perhaps junior high-schoolers can learn to use easily enough.

We need more distros because we need more distro maintainers. Obviously, the way distros are currently made lends itself to all kinds of political and organisational issues.

We do want distros to be more generic — installers that work across more than one distro (family) like Calamares and Refracta installer, remaster tools that work across more than one distro (family) such as Refracta tools, we even want build tools (applications) that help inexperienced users build their own distro as an educational experience (the FSF does not get education!) in the same way that using SBCs are an educational experience, and so on.

“We need more distros because we need more distro maintainers.”We need more distros — an entire new generation of distros — because the current distros are gas-guzzlers, both in terms of what they take to run and especially in terms of what they take to build. And it is terribly sad that the primary and original Free software organisation in the world lacks the imagination or ambition for such a scheme.

We do encourage Guix and Hyperbola OS to keep up the good work, because they are probably the most innovative distro builders that the FSF already recognises, but the old way of building distros limits freedom and limits opportunities for education (possibly even to fewer people than we need to keep them going, and that’s a very serious problem if it’s true — do we need more evidence than GnewSense folding? If done the way we suggest, you could carry on GnewSense yourself!) And (per the charter) our job is:

the free media alliance is happy to promote free software, but also welcomes thoughtful critiques of the fsfs methods and “extraneous requirements” (other than the 4 freedoms and gpl licenses)

…to create strategies for bolstering the FSF if possible, and salvaging the FSF otherwise.

We are not a monopoly, we are the seed of a Free software federation. And the gas-guzzling distros (mostly in terms of what it takes to maintain one, and the political costs and limited freedom that comes with those methods) can be phased out — voluntarily — with better ideas.

We are not suggesting (indeed we regularly criticise) top-down solutions like systemd, which consolidate power in the hands of even larger communities, and we are looking to make distros easier to fork, not harder.

“We do encourage Guix and Hyperbola OS to keep up the good work, because they are probably the most innovative distro builders that the FSF already recognises…”The reason is simple — when you take enough projects, packages, standards, even people — and you put a single corporation in charge of them, you are building a monopoly. Systemd is made from projects that were easier for smaller communities or fewer developers to maintain.

By consolidating those projects first under Red Hat, then into systemd itself, they were lumped together (yes, we’ve read the nonsense that claims to refute this, it is bunk — pure denial of something they seem most clearly aware of themselves) into something that takes a large corporation to maintain.

Don’t believe it? How long has it taken to “separate” back into smaller projects? If it were really modular, it wouldn’t take dozens of people to work systemd back into modules. How much more obvious can that point become?

“Systemd is made from projects that were easier for smaller communities or fewer developers to maintain. “This is also, in a less sinister way, how distros themselves are created. And unlike systemd, those were created of necessity — it was, once upon a time, far too much work for people to just make a “GNU/Linux Boot Disk” and throw on whatever programs people wanted.

Today that is increasingly possible, and the best direction for distros to go in. Alas, it is not like egos and monopolistic attitudes do not exist in the Free software community.

On the contrary — distros want to remain distinct and are often opaque. It is the opacity, not the distinctions that are the real problem.

Everyone is free to create their own Free software, we are not suggesting that everyone give that up and “do it our way.” All we are saying is — if freedom is the real goal, let’s put that freedom in the hands of the user, not just the distro maintainer. Let’s make distros that (like Free software) are as forkable as possible, so that no user feels they are “locked-in” to theirs.

“Let’s make distros that (like Free software) are as forkable as possible, so that no user feels they are “locked-in” to theirs.”Lock-in is a monopoly tactic, and has no place in Free software distributions. If it is created inadvertently and there is a practical way to reduce it, then reducing it is also a good thing.

All the same, distro-libre is a simple prototype for liberating even the distros that do not participate! It is not about putting control of all distros in the hands of a large monopolistic corporation — It is, like Free software itself, about putting control of all computing in the hands the user. The old distros don’t do that as well as they could, and it’s time for an overhaul (you do you, but consider these words) of the concept itself.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (Public Domain)

Links 21/8/2019: Dell’s XPS 13, Mesa 19.2 RC1, Librem Update

Posted in News Roundup at 2:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Elementary OS is the latest group to ditch Medium for their own blog

      Elementary OS – a Linux distribution (distro) built on top of the large, company-backed giant Ubuntu – is a mom-and-pop store by comparison.

      But it’s also one that’s managed to capture the attention of even some seasoned Linux users thanks to its focus on user interface (UI) and even user experience (UX) – something often lacking from the more spartan distros.

      With their focus on icon and UI themes sometimes suspiciously reminiscent of Apple’s interfaces – the Elementary OS team have also earned themselves something of a label of “hipsters” in the community.

      Hence, their decision some years ago to communicate news about the project by hosting their blog on another largely “hipster” online venue – Medium – was little surprise.

      What’s somewhat surprising is the about-face that the project is now making in leaving Medium for the sake of building their own blog hosted on GitHub Pages – using the static generator Jekyll.

    • Desktop

      • Introducing the XPS 13 developer edition, 9th generation

        Today we’d like to announce that the new XPS 13 developer edition (7390) will soon be available in the US, Canada and Europe. The new developer edition, based on Intel’s 10th Gen Core™ U series processors, is part of Dell’s new consumer PC portfolio that is being unveiled today.

        These systems represent the 9th generation of the XPS 13 developer edition and will come with the Killer™ AX1650 (2×2) built on Intel WiFi 6 Chipset. The new 7390 systems will co-exist alongside the current 9380 XPS 13 developer edition.

      • New Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Announced, Powered by Ubuntu

        If you’re in the market for a powerful Linux laptop you definitely want to check out the new 9th generation Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition, announced today.

        Intel’s 10th Generation Core U series sit at the heart of the refreshed notebook which, in its ‘developer edition’ guise, comes pre-loaded with Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS.

        The Dell XPS 13 developer edition (7390) will be made available to buy in the United States, Canada and throughout Europe during September.

        Dell plan to keep the previous Dell XPS 13 developer edition (9380), which it launched in January, on sale alongside the new ‘7390’ model.

      • Dell Unveils New XPS 13 Developer Edition Ubuntu Laptop with 10th Gen Intel CPUs
      • Dell XPS 7390 Developer Edition Announced – Intel Comet Lake With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
      • Dell’s Beautiful New Linux Laptop Features Ubuntu, 10th Gen Intel Processors And Super Fast WiFi

        Dell’s Project Sputnik — the group responsible for bringing one of the best laptops you can buy to Linux users — is on a roll. Today it’s announcing the 9th generation XPS 13 Developer Edition (which upgrades the system to Intel’s 10th generation Comet Lake CPUs), and the relaunch of the Project Sputnik website.

        The naming scheme is a bit confusing, however. Beginning with the initial launch in early September, both Windows and Linux users will want to search for the XPS 13 7390. The original system it’s based on, the XPS 13 9380, was released in January of this year. Both the Windows and Developer Edition versions of this XPS 13 launched with the 9380 model number, and both are now being upgraded to Intel’s 10th gen Comet Lake processors, and in turn both being renamed to the 7390. (This follows the XPS 13 9360, 9370, etc).

      • Dell’s New Ubuntu Hardware for Late 2019 | Jupiter Extras 4

        A quick update on the new XPS 13 details and Dell’s Linux hardware plan for 2019.

      • 5 Reasons to Use a VM for Development [Ed: Dice promoting the idea that developers should use Windows and keep GNU/Linux in a VM jail using Microsoft's proprietary tools]

        I started using virtual machines (VMs) on my development PC about six years ago; I was keen to learn Linux, having been a Windows developer since the mid-1990s. At first, I used an old Windows PC and installed a Linux distro on it; but I quickly found out that the distro took up a lot of space, and I needed a KVM switch to manage two different PCs. It was all a bit “fiddly,” which is why I began exploring the potential of VMs.

        Discovering VirtualBox was a godsend, and made things a lot more convenient. Despite all the flak Oracle gets over its databases, MySQL, and Java, Virtual Box remains an excellent and free open-source package.

    • Server

      • Open Policy Agent: Cloud-native security and compliance

        Every product or service has a unique way of handling policy and authorization: who-can-do-what and what-can-do-what. In the cloud-native world, authorization and policy are more complex than ever before. As the cloud-native ecosystem evolves, there’s a growing need for DevOps and DevSecOps teams to identify and address security and compliance issues earlier in development and deployment cycles. Businesses need to release software on the order of minutes (instead of months). For this to happen, those security and compliance policies—which in the past were written in PDFs or email—need to be checked and enforced by machines. That way, every few minutes when software goes out the door, it’s obeying all of the necessary policies.

        This problem was at the top of our minds when Teemu Koponen, Torin Sandall, and I founded the Open Policy Agent project (OPA) as a practical solution for the critical security and policy challenges of the cloud-native ecosystem. As the list of OPA’s successful integrations grows—thanks to active involvement by the open source community—the time is right to re-introduce OPA and offer a look at how it addresses business and policy pain points in varied contexts.

      • Eirini: Mapping Code into Containers

        There has been a lot of noise recently about the Project known as Eirini. I wanted to dig into what this project was in a little more detail.
        If you weren’t already aware, its goal is to allow Cloud Foundry to use any scheduler but it’s really for allowing the workloads to run directly inside Kubernetes without needing separately scheduled Diego cells to run on top of.
        There are many reason that this is a fantastic change, but the first and foremost is that having a scheduler run inside another scheduler is begging for headaches. It works, but there are odd edge cases that lead to split-brain decisions.
        NOTE: There is another project (Quarks) that is working on containerizing the control plane in a way that the entire platform is more portable and requiring significantly less overhead. (As in: you can run Kubernetes, the entire platform, and some work, all on your laptop)

      • IBM

        • Red Hat Integration delivers new Kubernetes Operators and expands data integration capabilities with latest release

          We are pleased to announce the Q3 release of Red Hat Integration, which brings us further in our alignment around Red Hat OpenShift as the platform of choice for developing and deploying cloud-native applications across hybrid cloud environments, as well as helping customers get their integrations up and running easier and faster.

          As modern IT continues its rapid evolution, it becomes important that the cloud-native solutions supporting this transformation keep pace, enabling IT organizations to truly benefit from this constant innovation. To help customers take full advantage of this, we’ve updated, tested and certified every single component in Red Hat Integration with the latest version of OpenShift: Red Hat OpenShift 4.

        • The Linux Foundation Announces New Open Hardware Technologies and Collaboration

          The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced that the OpenPOWER Foundation will become a project hosted at The Linux Foundation. The project includes IBM’s open POWER Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) and contributed Source Design Implementations required to support data-driven hardware for intensive workloads like Artificial Intelligence (AI).

          OpenPOWER is the open steward for the Power Architecture and has the support of 350 members, including IBM, Google, Inspur Power Systems, Yadro, Hitachi, Wistron, Mellanox, NVIDIA, and Red Hat.

          The governance model within the Linux Foundation gives software developers assurance of compatibility while developing AI and hybrid cloud native applications that take advantage of POWER’s rich feature set and open compute hardware and software ecosystems.

          As the demand rises for more and more compute-intensive workloads like AI and in-memory analytics, commodity systems vendors have struggled with the looming predictions of the end of Moore’s Law. Central processing units (CPUs) may no longer handle the rising demands alone, and data-centric systems are built to maximize the flow of data between CPUs and attached devices for specialized workloads. By hosting OpenPOWER at The Linux Foundation, a cross-project, cross-community collaboration, it will accelerate development of hardware and software to support data-centric systems, by making it available to a growing global audience.

          “The OpenPOWER community has been doing critical work to support the increasing demands of enterprises that are using big data for AI and machine learning workloads. The move to bring these efforts together with the worldwide ecosystem of open source developers across projects at The Linux Foundation will unleash a new level of innovation by giving developers everywhere more access to the tools and technologies that will define the next generation of POWER architecture,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation.

        • Raptor Computing Systems Planning To Launch New ATX POWER9 Board With OpenCAPI

          In addition to the news out of the OpenPOWER Summit in San Diego that the POWER ISA is going open-source and the OpenPOWER Foundation becoming part of the Linux Foundation, Raptor Computing Systems shared they plan to launch a new standard ATX motherboard next year that will feature OpenCAPI connectivity.

          Built off the successes of their Talos II high-end server motherboard and lower-cost Blackbird desktop motherboard designs, there is apparently a new motherboard design for POWER9 being worked on that could launch in early 2020.

        • Why you should be developing on Red Hat Enterprise Linux

          With a $0 Red Hat Developer membership, you get access to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) at no cost. We have downloads available for RHEL versions starting as far back as 7.2, and as current as RHEL 8.1 Beta. The subscription costs nothing, and there are no additional costs for any of the software or content we make available through the program.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Wayland Buddies | LINUX Unplugged 315

        We spend our weekend with Wayland, discover new apps to try, tricks to share, and dig into the state of the project.

        Plus System76′s new software release, and Fedora’s big decision.

    • Kernel Space

      • low-memory-monitor: new project announcement

        I’ll soon be flying to Greece for GUADEC but wanted to mention one of the things I worked on the past couple of weeks: the low-memory-monitor project is off the ground, though not production-ready.

        low-memory-monitor, as its name implies, monitors the amount of free physical memory on the system and will shoot off signals to interested user-space applications, usually session managers, or sandboxing helpers, when that memory runs low, making it possible for applications to shrink their memory footprints before it’s too late either to recover a usable system, or avoid taking a performance hit.

        It’s similar to Android’s lowmemorykiller daemon, Facebook’s oomd, Endless’ psi-monitor, amongst others

      • New Low-Memory-Monitor Project Can Help With Linux’s RAM/Responsiveness Problem

        Red Hat developer Bastien Nocera has announced Low-Memory-Monitor as a new project he’s been tackling to try to help with the Linux desktop use-cases when responsiveness issues due to low RAM / memory pressure problems. Low-Memory-Monitor paired with complementary solutions could help improve the Linux desktop’s handling on low-end systems and other desktops/laptops when simply running short on RAM.

        Low-Memory-Monitor has been in the works the past few weeks following all the public discussions over how Linux poorly deals with low-memory situations. The Low-Memory-Monitor daemon monitors the amount of free physical memory and will signal other user-space applications when such pressure occurs. This can alert session managers and other key programs to the situation so they can in turn either free some memory themselves, trigger applications to quit/pause, or other behavior of their choosing.

      • Introducing kdevops, modern devops framework for Linux kernel development

        Last Friday, Luis Chamberlain announced the release of kdevops as a Linux kernel development DevOps framework.

        Chamberlain wrote in his email, “the goal behind this project is to provide a modern devops framework for Linux kernel development. It is not a test suite, it is designed to use any test suites, and more importantly, it allows us to let us easily set up test environments in a jiffie. It supports different virtualization environments, and different cloud environments, and supports different Operating Systems.”

        kdevops is a sample framework which lets you easily get Linux devops environment going for whatever use case you have. The first use case can be to provide a devops environment for Linux kernel development testing, and hence the name – kdevops. Apart from this, it can let you easily fork and re-purpose for whatever kdevops needs you may have.

      • Linux Foundation and Intel

        • New Cross-Industry Effort to Advance Computational Trust and Security for Next-Generation Cloud and Edge Computing

          The Linux Foundation today announced the intent to form the Confidential Computing Consortium, a community dedicated to defining and accelerating the adoption of confidential computing. Companies committed to this work include Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent.

          Across industries computing is moving to span multiple environments, from on premises to public cloud to edge. As companies move these workloads to different environments, they need protection controls for sensitive IP and workload data and are increasingly seeking greater assurances and more transparency of these controls. Current approaches in cloud computing address data at rest and in transit but encrypting data in use is considered the third and possibly most challenging step to providing a fully encrypted lifecycle for sensitive data. Confidential computing will enable encrypted data to be processed in memory without exposing it to the rest of the system and reduce exposure for sensitive data and provide greater control and transparency for users.

        • The Linux Foundation, Intel & Co Form The Confidential Computing Consortium

          In kicking off the Open Source Summit that has returned to San Diego, the Linux Foundation has announced the formation of the Confidential Computing Consortium in collaboration with Intel and other companies.

          The initial batch of companies forming the Confidential Computing Consortium include Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom, and Tencent. This consortium will focus on providing greater transparency and control over user data, reduce exposure to sensitive data, and other protections by means of open-source tooling and hardware advancements around trusted execution environments.

        • Intel’s OpenGL Linux Driver Now Has OpenGL 4.6 Support For Mesa 19.2

          Two years after the OpenGL 4.6 specification was announced, Intel’s open-source OpenGL Linux driver is now officially advertising the support after today landing the remaining SPIR-V enablement work.

          For the better part of the past two years the Intel OpenGL Linux drivers were held up from having GL 4.6 due to the ARB_gl_spirv / ARB_spirv_extensions extensions for better interoperability with Vulkan. But today those extensions are now crossed off the list and OpenGL 4.6 is finally in Mesa core with Intel’s i965/Iris drivers being the first.

        • Intel Launches 10th Gen “Comet Lake” Laptop CPUs For Laptops & 2-in-1s

          Earlier this month Intel announced 11 Icelake CPUs for laptops and 2-in1s under their 10th Gen CPU line-up. Today the company announced the 10th Gen Comet Lake CPUs also for 2-in-1s and laptops.

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMD Publishes New RDNA Whitepaper

          AMD’s new RDNA whitepaper goes into detail explaining the efficiency and programming optimizations of this new design while retaining backwards compatibility with the GCN architecture. The 25-page read also covers True Audio Next, the Radeon Multimedia/Display Engines, caches, SIMD units, and other modern bits to these new Radeon graphics processors.

        • mesa 19.2.0-rc1
          The first release candidate for Mesa 19.2.0 is now available.
          The plan is to have one release candidate every Tuesday, until the
          anticipated final release on 10th September 2019.
          The expectation is that the 19.1 branch will remain alive with bi-weekly
          releases until the 19.2.1 release.
          In the path to 19.2.0 release, there is a tracker bug for the
          regressions found since 19.1:
          Here are the people which helped shape the current release.
        • Mesa 19.2-RC1 Released But Intel Still Looking To Add OpenGL 4.6 Support

          Yesterday we shared that Mesa 19.2′s release process would finally be getting underway with the first release candidate expected today following the code branching. Sure enough, that process began but now prominent Intel open-source graphics developer Jason Ekstrand is looking to get the OpenGL 4.6 support into this release.

          Mesa 19.2 release manager Emil Velikov branched the Mesa 19.2 code from master this evening followed by creating the first release candidate. Mesa 19.2-rc1 is now available and the plan is to issue new release candidates every week until the official release is ready to ship. Assuming they close their blocker bugs on time, the hope is to officially release Mesa 19.2.0 on 10 September.

    • Applications

      • 7 Great Linux Statistical Analysis Tools

        Science is the effort of seeking to comprehend how the physical world works. From observation and experimentation, science uses physical evidence of natural phenomena to compile data and analyze the collated information.

        In modern research it is essential for scientists to keep abreast of the latest statistical software. Just like the fast moving world of research, developments in statistical software and methods continue to abound. Making full use of the improvements in computer software helps to advance the pace of research.

        Science really prospers and advances when individuals share the results of their experiments with others in the scientific community. There is a certain logic that scientific software should therefore be released in a freely distributable environment.

        Linux is particularly strong in the field of open source statistical software. The purpose of this article is to identify software for performing statistical analysis. This type of software helps to summarize data in a shorter form, and helps scientists understand a concept or representation and make possible predictions based on this understanding.

      • Announcing notqmail

        Okay, that’s not entirely true. While qmail hasn’t been updated by its original author, a group of respected users created netqmail, a series of tiny updates that were informed, conservative, and careful. By their design, it was safe for everyone running qmail to follow netqmail, so everyone did. But larger changes in the world of email — authentication, encryption, and ever-shifting anti-spam techniques — remained as puzzles for each qmail administrator to solve in their own way. And netqmail hasn’t been updated since 2007.

      • Announcing notqmail

        The notqmail project has announced its existence and shipped an initial release. It’s a new fork of the venerable qmail mail transport system.

      • Blender 2.81 To Feature Intel Open Image Denoise & Eevee Renderer Improvements

        Blender 2.80 made its hugely anticipated debut just under one month ago while already Blender 2.81 is looking interesting and will hopefully be out in November.

      • Proprietary

        • Opera 63 initial release

          Today, we are releasing the first browser from the 63 line. Opera 63 comes with an improved private browsing mode.

        • Opera 63 Released with Improved Private Mode

          Opera web browser 63 was released a day ago with improved private browsing mode.

        • Vivaldi Web Browser 2.7 Released with Better Sound Control

          Vivaldi web browser 2.7 was released today. The new version features better sound controls, smoother navigation and overall improvements.

        • Vivaldi 2.7 : Bring more productivity to your day

          We’re happy to be back in the saddle after the summer break! We want Vivaldi to be the perfect tool for you to control and enjoy the digital aspect of your lives.

          And that’s why we are working on the things that count – the things that make you more productive and organised on the Web.

          The new update has little gems that will give you a better control of sound behavior in Vivaldi. In addition, you have new options to access user profiles quicker, an enhanced status bar as well as overall improvements and security related fixes.

        • Opera 63 Web Browser Released with Improved Private Browsing Mode and Bookmarks

          Opera Software announced the release and immediate availability of the Opera 63 cross-platform, Chromium-based web browser for all supported platforms, including Linux, Mac, and Windows.
          Based on the open-source Chromium 76.0.3809.100 project, the Opera 63 web browser comes with a much-improved private browsing mode (a.k.a. Incognito mode) that’s more user-friendly and privacy-aware, informing users about what data is removed or can be kept after exiting the private browsing mode.

          “We want to make sure you know what kind of data is cleared once you leave private mode. However, we would also like you to be aware that some data from private browsing (like new bookmarks you create) will still be visible in normal mode,” explains Joanna Czajka in the release notes.

        • Vivaldi 2.7 Hopes to Boost Your Productivity, Improves Stability and Reliability

          Vivaldi Technologies released today Vivaldi 2.7, a new version of the cross-platform, Chromium-based web browser that brings more productivity to your day and stability improvements.
          Two months in the work, the Vivaldi 2.7 web browser is now available based on Chromium 76.0.3809.110 and packed with a bunch of enhancements that promise to boost your productivity. These include a new right-click tab context menu option that lets you mute a website to prevent it from playing audio.

          Vivaldi 2.7 also makes it possible to access your user profiles a lot faster by creating a desktop shortcut to a specific User Profile, which will ensure you’re always in the right account. A new context menu item will be available for Windows users in the user profile menu under the “Add Person/Edit Person” button.

          “We want Vivaldi to be the perfect tool for you to control and enjoy the digital aspect of your lives,” said Jon von Tetzchner, Vivaldi Technologies CEO. “And that’s why we are working on the things that count – the things that make you more productive and organised on the Web.”

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • 2D game editor ct.js goes open source and it’s closing in on a new major release

        With an aim to make 2D game development learning fun, ct.js recently went open source to allow anyone to jump in and try it as well as help push it further.

        It’s going through a major revamp too, with the first few preview builds available. Since we’re covering it, of course this means the editor has Linux support too! As the name of the game engine might suggest, games in ct.js are written in JavaScript.

      • A look over Steam’s top releases from July, plus some usual quick thoughts on Linux support

        Valve continue their blog posts highlighting games doing well on the platform, with a look at their top releases on Steam during July now available. Just look with June and May, here’s my own little run-down on it.

        As usual, Valve are looking at revenue earned during the first two weeks following the release of a game.

      • Dark fantasy RPG Sin Slayers is getting ready to release soon with Linux support

        Sin Slayers, an RPG with roguelike elements set in a dark fantasy world is getting ready to release with Linux support on September 5th.

      • Dino survival game Path of Titans has been fully funded ready to support Linux

        Path of Titans from Alderon Games has managed to pass the crowdfunding test, with their dino survival game hitting well over their initial goal.

        They had a flexible goal, meaning all funds raised would be sent to them even if the final target wasn’t met. Not that it was needed, as they managed to raise $63,920 against the original $24,437 goal.

      • In SKUL, you’re a special skeleton that switches heads to gain powers

        SouthPAWGames recently released a demo of their upcoming action-platformer SKUL, it’s rather impressive with a pretty unusual cast of characters.

        You play as Skul, a skeleton guard with the power to switch heads with another and gain their power. From what the developer said, eventually you will regain some memories of your past life and eventually face your original death and find out the truth.

      • Rise of Industry is getting a futuristic expansion with 2130 releasing this year

        Dapper Penguin Studios recently announced Rise of Industry: 2130, a futuristic expansion to their sweet strategic tycoon game.

        2130 seems to be taking Rise of Industry in an interesting direction, as it follows players overpulluting the world, creating a nuclear winter killing almost all life on the planet. Since they’re not being constrained by history with the original set in 1930, they said for the expansion they’re going “crazy with technobabble and future-tech”.

      • Steam Play arrived on Linux one year ago, some thoughts

        Tomorrow marks a special occasion, as Steam Play celebrates its first birthday! A good time to reflect on how it’s impacted Linux gaming.

        Steam Play is a feature of the Steam client on Linux that enables you to play Windows games just like you would with any other Linux game. It’s a feature that was long requested by users, with multiple tickets being opened on Valve’s steam-for-linux bug tracker, like this one, all the way back in 2012.

        Announced officially on this day back in 2018, Valve shook the very core of Linux gaming and they’ve certainly made things interesting. What they came up in partnership with the team at CodeWeavers is called Proton—the name given to the software behind Steam Play. It takes Wine with some extra patches and bundles it together with other projects like DXVK. Proton is open source too, available to see on GitHub.

        Linux users have used Wine for many years to run all sorts of games and applications from Windows on Linux. An issue with Wine usage is that developers see you as another Windows user in their statistics. Steam Play does help to solve that issue, as your purchases do count and show up as a Linux sale on Steam.

      • The Iron Oath looks like a great turn-based tactical RPG coming to Linux next year

        After a successful crowdfunding campaign back in 2017, The Iron Oath is progressing well onto a release scheduled for next year.

        This is one covered here on GOL back in August of 2017 when the Kickstarter was running. We never did check back on how The Iron Oath did, so it’s pleasing to see Curious Panda Games slashed through the $45,000 goal ending with $94,524! Did you miss it?

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce 4.14 released! (Yeah, like a week ago ;))

        Why is the release manager late to the party with his blog post? The explanation is simple: We prioritized sticking to the schedule and getting our releases out to everyone as planned, as our codebase was ready. What was not (entirely) ready was some parts of the website, which were brought up-to-date over the course of last week.

        So I’m pleased to give you the official Xfce 4.14 tour, which nicely summarizes many of the nice user-facing changes that we pushed into the release (despite it being planned as feature-less, porting-only).

      • Xfce 4.16 Should Be Out Next Year But Without GTK4 Or Wayland

        With Xfce 4.14 having finally been released last week following a four year development cycle, prominent Xfce developer Simon Steinbeiß has begun talking about the now-started Xfce 4.16 development cycle.

        Simon acknowledges the need to improve their release model and get back on track to around six-month release cycles. But for the Xfce 4.16 release, he envisions it being about a year or so out to their next stable release.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Applications 19.08 Open-Source Software Suite Released, Here’s What’s New [Ed: Late coverage of the KDE release]

          More than two months in the works, the KDE Applications 19.08 software suite is here to elevate your KDE apps experience by implementing various enhancements and new features. Among these, we can mention the ability to launch the Dolphin file manager from anywhere via a new Meta + E keyboard shortcut, along with improvements to the information panel to automatically play media files or copy the text displayed in the panel.

          Furthermore, the KDE Applications 19.08 release improves various of KDE’s default applications, including the Gwenview image viewer, which now features a much-improved, faster, and more resource-efficient thumbnailer when loading JPEG and RAW images, better support for Canon and Sony cameras, as well as a new “Share” menu that lets you send images to various places and more informative EXIF metadata for RAW files.

        • Kdenlive 19.08 Released with Clip Speed, Project Bin Improvements

          Busy trying to salvage footage from a recent video shoot, I missed the arrival of Kdenlive 19.08, the first major release of this free video editor since its big code revamp earlier this year.

          And what a release it is!

          Kdenlive 19.08 builds on the terrific work featured in the various point releases that have been available since April.

          “This version comes with a big amount of fixes and nifty new features which will lay the groundwork for the 3 point editing system planned for this cycle,” they say in their release announcement.

          Now, 3-point editing isn’t my bag (if you’re a heavy keyboard user, you might want to look into it) so I’m gonna skip that side of things to highlight a couple of other welcome changes to the project bin.

        • LabPlot’s Welcome screen and Dataset feature in the finish line

          Hello Everyone! This year’s GSoC is coming to its end. Therefore I think that I should let you know what’s been done since my last blog post. I would also like to evaluate the progress I managed to make and the goals set up at the beginning of this project.

          As I told you in my last post, my main goal, in this last period, was to clean up, properly document, refactor, optimise the code and make it easier to read, so it would be fit to be brought to the master branch and to be used by the community.

          My next proposition was to search for bugs and fix them, in order to make the implemented features more or less flawless. I can happily state, that I succeeded in this.

        • Distributed Beta Testing Platforms

          Do they exist? Especially as free software? I don’t actually know, but I’ve never seen a free software project use something like what I’ve got in mind.

          That would be: a website where we could add any number of test scenarios.

          People who wanted to help would get an account, make a profile with their hardware and OS listed. And then a couple of weeks before we make a release, we’d release a beta, and the beta testers would login and get randomly one of the test scenarios to test and report on. We’d match the tests to OS and hardware, and for some tests, probably try to get the test executed by multiple testers.

          Frequent participation would lead to badges or something playful like that, they would be able to browse tests, add comments and interact — and we, as developers, we’d get feedback. So many tests executed, so many reported failure or regressions, and we’d be able to improve before the release.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GSoC 2019 Final submission

          Since my last blog post the main merge request of my GSoC project has landed and after that I followed up with subsequent bugfixes and also a couple of enhancements to the savestates manager.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Endeavour OS | Review from an openSUSE User

          Endeavour OS is the unofficial successor to Antegros, I’ve never used Antegros so I cannot make any comparisons between the two. It should also be noted that I think Arch Linux, in general is more work than it is worth so this won’t exactly be a shining review. Feel free to bail here if you don’t like the direction of my initial prejudice.

          I am reviewing Endeavour OS as a rather biased openSUSE Linux user that is firmly entrenched in all things openSUSE. I am going at this from the perspective that my computer is my companion, my coworker or assistant in getting my digital work done and some entertainment sprinkled in there as well.

          Bottom Line Up Front: If you want to run main-line Arch, Endeavour OS is absolutely the way to get going with it. They take the “Easy Plus One” approach to Arch by allowing you to install what I would consider a minimal but very usable base and learn to use “genuine Arch” with all the triumphs and pitfalls. If you want to go Arch, I can most certainly endorse this as the route to do so. However, even after playing here for two weeks, I find Arch to be more trouble than it is worth but a great educational experience.

      • New Releases

        • Debian Buster-based Netrunner 19.08 ‘Indigo’ KDE-focused Linux distro is the perfect Windows replacement

          GNOME is undeniably the best desktop environment, but understandably, not everyone likes it. Hey, that’s OK. Some folks like Pepsi despite Coke being, like, 1,000 times better. Such is life. Thankfully, with Linux, there are plenty of environments from which to choose, such as Xfce, Cinnamon, and KDE to name a few.

          If you are a fan of KDE, or interested in sampling it for the first time, Netrunner is a Linux-based operating system you have to try. Quite frankly, this distro offers the greatest implementation of KDE Plasma. But that’s not all — it is one of the best Linux distros overall. It is chock full of useful software and is extremely polished, making it a great choice for those switching from Windows, but also, it is a solid choice for Linux experts. Today, Netrunner 19.08 “Indigo” becomes available for download.

        • Netrunner 19.08 Linux Distro Released: Get A Beautiful Plasma Experience

          Blue Systems, a German IT company, is a major supporter and sponsor of KDE and Kubuntu. Over the years, the company has hired many developers for KDE development and contributed to the overall improvement of the Kubuntu operating system.

          In 2010, the company released Netrunner Linux distro, which was based on Kubuntu. Over the years, Netrunner has undergone many changes and it’s now available in two versions. While the fixed release version of Netrunner is based on Debian GNU/Linux, the rolling release version is based on Manjaro. Just recently, the developers released Netrunner 19.08 Indigo, which is based on Debian Buster 10. So, let’s discuss it in brief.


          As Netrunner aims to deliver an out-of-the-box experience to everyday computer users, you don’t need to install external codecs manually after the installation.

          Netrunner also features lots of useful and quality applications to make this experience even better. You get LibreOffice, GIMP, Krita, Inkscape, Kdenlive, GMusicbrowser, Yarock, Steam, etc., preinstalled. You can visit this link to get a complete list of applications and addons.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

        • Eclipse is Now a Module on Fedora 30

          From Fedora 30 onwards, Eclipse will be available as a module for Fedora Modularity.

          This shows that Eclipse 2019-06 is available to install with three different profiles from which to choose. Each profile will install the Eclipse IDE and a curated set of plug-ins for accomplishing specific tasks.

          java — This is the default profile and will install everything you need to start developing Java applications.
          c — This profile will install everything you need to start developing C/C++ applications.
          everything — This profile will install all the Eclipse plug-ins currently available in the module, including those that are a part of the above two profiles.

        • Fedora Update Weeks 31–32

          The branch point also meant that the Change Code Complete deadline was passed. As part of the Go SIG, I was one of the packagers behind the Adopt new Go Packaging Guidelines Change. As mentioned in the last post, this was mostly handled by @eclipseo and the tracker bug was marked complete for it just earlier. I am also behind the Automatic R runtime dependencies Change. As part of this Change, I initiated a mini-rebuild last week of all affected R packages. I will write about that in a separate post. That tracker bug is now Code Complete, though there are a couple FTBFS to fix up.

          With release monitoring working again, that meant a slew of new bug reports about new package versions being available. This happened just last Friday, so I haven’t had much chance to update everything. I did manage to go through almost all the R packages, except for a few with new dependencies. I also updated one or two Go and Python packages as well.

      • Debian Family

        • Joey Hess: releasing two haskell libraries in one day: libmodbus and git-lfs

          The first library is a libmodbus binding in haskell.

          There are a couple of other haskell modbus libraries, but none that support serial communication out of the box. I’ve been using a python library to talk to my solar charge controller, but it is not great at dealing with the slightly flakey interface. The libmodbus C library has features that make it more robust, and it also supports fast batched reads.

          So a haskell interface to it seemed worth starting while I was doing laundry, and then for some reason it seemed worth writing a whole bunch more FFIs that I may never use, so it covers libmodbus fairly extensively. 660 lines of code all told.

          Writing a good binding to a C library has art to it. I’ve seen ones that are so close you feel you’re writing C and not haskell. On the other hand, some are so far removed from the underlying library that its documentation does not carry over at all.

          I tried to strike a balance. Same function names so the extensive libmodbus documentation is easy to refer to while using it, but plenty of haskell data types so you won’t mix up the parity with the stop bits.

        • Misc Developer News (#49)
          The news are collected on https://wiki.debian.org/DeveloperNews
          Please contribute short news about your work/plans/subproject.
          In this issue:
           + Self-service buildd givebacks
           + Removal of the mips architecture
           + Superficial package testing
           + Debian Developers Reference now maintained as ReStructuredText
           + Scope of debian-mentors broadened to help with infrastructure questions
           + Hiding package tracker action items
          Self-service buildd givebacks
           Philipp Kern has created[1] an *experimental* service that allows Debian
           members to perform self-service retries of failed package builds (aka
           give-backs). This service aims to reduce the time it takes for give-back
           requests to be processed, which was done manually by the wanna-build
           admins until now. The service is authenticated using the Debian Single
           Signon[2] service. Debian members are still expected to act responsibly
           when looking at build failures; do your due diligence and try reproducing
           the issue on a porterbox first. Access to this service is logged and logs
           will be audited by the admins.
        • Debian Guts Support For Old MIPS CPUs

          Debian developers have decided to remove the 32-bit MIPS big-endian architecture. Debian will continue to maintain MIPSEL and MIPS64EL but the older 32-bit big-endian variant of MIPS will be no more. Debian developers decided to drop the older 32-bit BE support due to it being limited to 2GB of virtual address space and it being one of the remaining holdouts of big endian architectures for Debian. Not to mention, there hasn’t been much interest in the older MIPS 32-bit BE target in a while either.

        • Alpha: Self-service buildd givebacks

          Builds on Debian’s build farm sometimes fail transiently. Sometimes those failures are legitimate flakes, for instance when an in-progress build happens to exhaust its resources because of other builds on the same machine. Until now, you always needed to mail the buildd, wanna-build admins or the Release Team directly in order to get the builds re-queued.

          As an alpha trial I implemented self-service givebacks as a web script. As SSO for Debian developers is now a thing, it is trivial to add authentication in a way that a role account can use to act on your behalf. While at work this would all be an RPC service, I figured that a little CGI script would do the job just as well.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Runtu XFCE 18.04.3 Released, Which is Based on Ubuntu Bionic Beaver 18.04.3 LTS

          Hsh has announced the release of Runtu 18.04.3, it’s third maintenance update of Runtu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) LTS, which is based on the package release base of Bionic Beaver 18.04.3 LTS.

          It features full support of Russian localization and a set of pre-installed software, which make sure you to run the system smoothly.

          Also, backported few of the packages from Ubuntu 19.04 for better improvements.

          It’s backported Linux kernel version 5.0 and the graphics stack components, and the package database.

        • Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon Edition – Ships With Cinnamon 4.2 and Uses Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Package Base

          Linux Mint 19.2 has been released and announced by Linux Mint Project, now available to download which ship with the Cinnamon, Mate and Xfce editions both for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. It’s powered by the Linux 4.15 kernel and uses the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS package base, which will be supported for five years until 2023.

          Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon edition features latest version of Cinnamon desktop 4.2 with new features and updates. Although the amount of RAM consumed by Cinnamon largely depends on the video driver, Cinnamon uses significantly less RAM than before. The application menu is faster and it now identifies and distinguishes duplicates. If two applications have the same name, the menu will show more information about them. Scrollbars are now configurable and Nemo file manager support pin file and folder .

        • Jupyter looks to distro-agnostic packaging for the democratisation of installation

          When users of your application range from high school students to expert data scientists, it’s often wise to avoid any assumptions about their system configurations. The Jupyter Notebook is popular with a diverse user base, enabling the creation and sharing of documents containing live code, visualisations, and narrative text. The app uses processes (kernels) to run interactive code in different programming languages and send output back to the user. Filipe Fernandes has a key responsibility for Jupyter packaging and ease of installation. At the 2019 Snapcraft Summit in Montreal, he gave us his impressions of snaps as a tool to improve the experience for all concerned.

          “I’m a packager and a hacker, and I’m also a Jupyter user. I find Jupyter to be great as a teaching tool. Others use it for data cleaning and analysis, numerical simulation and modelling, or machine learning, for example. One of the strengths of Jupyter is that it is effectively language agnostic. I wanted Jupyter packaging to be similar, distro-agnostic, if you like.”

          Filipe had heard about snaps a while back, but only really discovered their potential after he received an invitation to the Snapcraft Summit and noticed that Microsoft Visual Studio Code had recently become available as a snap. The ease of use of snaps was a big factor for him. “I like things that just work. I often get hauled in to sort out installation problems for other users – including members of my own family! It’s great to be able to tell them just to use the snap version of an application. It’s like, I snap my fingers and the install problems disappear!”

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla takes action to protect users in Kazakhstan

            Today, Mozilla and Google took action to protect the online security and privacy of individuals in Kazakhstan. Together the companies deployed technical solutions within Firefox and Chrome to block the Kazakhstan government’s ability to intercept internet traffic within the country.

            The response comes after credible reports that internet service providers in Kazakhstan have required people in the country to download and install a government-issued certificate on all devices and in every browser in order to access the internet. This certificate is not trusted by either of the companies, and once installed, allowed the government to decrypt and read anything a user types or posts, including intercepting their account information and passwords. This targeted people visiting popular sites Facebook, Twitter and Google, among others.

            “People around the world trust Firefox to protect them as they navigate the internet, especially when it comes to keeping them safe from attacks like this that undermine their security. We don’t take actions like this lightly, but protecting our users and the integrity of the web is the reason Firefox exists.” — Marshall Erwin, Senior Director of Trust and Security, Mozilla

          • Protecting our Users in Kazakhstan

            In July, a Firefox user informed Mozilla of a security issue impacting Firefox users in Kazakhstan: They stated that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Kazakhstan had begun telling their customers that they must install a government-issued root certificate on their devices. What the ISPs didn’t tell their customers was that the certificate was being used to intercept network communications. Other users and researchers confirmed these claims, and listed 3 dozen popular social media and communications sites that were affected.

            The security and privacy of HTTPS encrypted communications in Firefox and other browsers relies on trusted Certificate Authorities (CAs) to issue website certificates only to someone that controls the domain name or website. For example, you and I can’t obtain a trusted certificate for www.facebook.com because Mozilla has strict policies for all CAs trusted by Firefox which only allow an authorized person to get a certificate for that domain. However, when a user in Kazakhstan installs the root certificate provided by their ISP, they are choosing to trust a CA that doesn’t have to follow any rules and can issue a certificate for any website to anyone. This enables the interception and decryption of network communications between Firefox and the website, sometimes referred to as a Monster-in-the-Middle (MITM) attack.

            We believe this act undermines the security of our users and the web, and it directly contradicts Principle 4 of the Mozilla Manifesto that states, “Individuals’ security and privacy on the internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.”

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Updates from the Document Liberation Project

          We mostly focus on LibreOffice on this blog, but The Document Foundation also oversees the Document Liberation Project (DLP), which develops software libraries to import and export many different file formats. If you have some old documents or spreadsheets from legacy office software, for instance, the DLP can help you to access that data – giving control back to you.

          Many well-known free and open source programs use DLP libraries, such as Inkscape, Scribus, Calligra and of course LibreOffice. A few days ago, there were some DLP updates, so here’s a quick summary:

        • UI Logger

          This project is to generate a new easier Domain-Specific_language for logging the user interactions to be able to convert it to a python script that used by python UI framework for testing.

          This project made with Textx which is a meta-language for building Domain-Specific Languages (DSLs) in Python. it helps you build your textual language in an easy way. You can invent your own language or build support for already existing textual language or file format.

      • Programming/Development

        • Datasets for Credit Risk Modeling

          This tutorial outlines several free publicly available datasets which can be used for credit risk modeling. In banking world, credit risk is a critical business vertical which makes sure that bank has sufficient capital to protect depositors from credit, market and operational risks. During the process, its role is to work for bank in compliance to central bank regulations.

        • Embedding PyQtGraph (or any other custom PyQt5 widgets) from Qt Designer

          Qt Designer is a great tool for designing PyQt5 GUIs, allowing you to use the entire range of Qt5 widgets and layouts to construct your apps. As your applications get more complex however you may find yourself creating custom widgets, or using PyQt5 libraries such as PyQtGraph, who’s widgets are not available within Designer.

          Helpfully, Qt Designer supports a mechanism for using placeholder widgets to represent your custom or external widgets in your design. This tutorial will walk you through the process of using placeholders to include a PyQtGraph plot in your app from within Qt Designer.

        • Refactoring to Multiple Exit Points

          Functions should have only a single entry point. We all agree on that. But some people also argue that functions should have a single exit that returns the value. More people don’t seem to care enough about how their functions are organized. I think that makes functions a lot more complicated than they have to be. So let’s talk about function organization and how multiple exit points can help.

        • Sony Continues Tuning AMD Jaguar Support Within The LLVM Clang Compiler

          Thanks to Sony using LLVM Clang as their default compiler toolchain for their PlayStation game console, they continue making improvements to the AMD Btver2/Jaguar code for optimized performance. The Jaguar APU is what’s in the current PlayStation 4 while we’ve already seen contributions from Sony to improve the Zen CPU support ahead of their next-generation console.

          Just this week was the newest contribution to the Jaguar/Btver2 target code within the LLVM compiler stack. This most recent addition is fixing the latency and throughput of CMPXCHG instructions. These improvements should yield better generated code around those instructions.

        • Open Source Developer Gain New Collaboration Opportunities on Open Hardware

          Live from Open Source Summit this week, we’re thrilled to share that the OpenPOWER Foundation is becoming a project hosted at The Linux Foundation. This includes a technical contribution of the POWER Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) and Source Design Implementations, including a softcore implementation of the POWER ISA.

          The OpenPOWER Foundation recognizes how increased collaboration across the open source ecosystem will advance open hardware technology and accelerate opportunity.

          Six years ago, IBM setup the OpenPOWER Foundation to widen the reach of their POWER technology. The goal from the start was to support Instruction Set Architecture and contributed Source Design Implementations required for data-driven HPC workloads like modelling and simulation, cloud services and also Artificial Intelligence (AI).

        • iOS and Android Localization Tool

          Localization is simply the process of translating your app into multiple languages.

          In situation like you need support multiple language, including API response messages and dynamic strings you need a list of localizable .strings file, and you need to localized it based on the Language you want ( e.g English, Chinese, Japanese ).

          Xcode has a built-in localizable file generator that generate your localizable .strings for each language you supported.

        • First Python Program

          Ok, really thrilled today.
          Patting myself on the back.

          I finally managed to write a program all on my ownsome. Kushal gave me a toy problem and I went around, scratched my head, did a lot of searching, a lot more headbanging, even more mistakes and then finally managed to write this.

          Am happy because this is how I imagined myself learning in the first place.
          Figuring out a problem someone has and then figuring out how to help them.

        • Reactive Spring Boot programming with Vert.x

          The latest bundle of Red Hat supported Spring Boot starters was recently released. In addition to supporting the popular Red Hat products for our Spring Boot customers, the Red Hat Spring Boot team was also busy creating new ones. The most recent technical preview added is a group of Eclipse Vert.x Spring Boot starters, which provide a Spring-native vocabulary for the popular JVM reactive toolkit.

          Let’s quickly go through the main concepts to get everybody on the same page before looking into an example.

          A reactive system as defined in the Reactive Manifesto is responsive, resilient, elastic, and message-driven. These properties guarantee easy replication, non-blocking communication with high system resources utilization and great fault tolerance. At the latest stage of software evolution, with cloud-first, low-latency, and highly data-intensive applications, reactive systems provide a great value for money.

          In our newest release, we have introduced a few Spring WebFlux extensions for Vert.x. With these extensions, you can build your application the way you’re used to—using WebFlux and Project Reactor—while network communications will be handled by the Vert.x servers and clients.

  • Leftovers

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security updates for Wednesday

        Security updates have been issued by Fedora (ghostscript, pango, and squirrelmail), openSUSE (libcryptopp, squid, tcpdump, and wireshark), SUSE (flatpak), and Ubuntu (giflib and NLTK).

      • Security flaws caused by compiler optimizations

        An optimizing compiler is one that tries to maximize some attribute(s) of an executable program at the expense of other attribute(s). Usually the goal is to improve performance or code size at the expense of compiler time and the possibility to debug the program at a later stage. Most modern compilers support some sort of optimization. Normally code optimized for performance is the usual preference. In cases where space is a constraint like embedded systems, developers also prefer code optimized for size.

        Code optimization is both an art as well as a science. Various compilers use different techniques for optimizing code.

      • To patch Windows or not: Do you want BlueKeep bug or broken Visual Basic apps?

        Microsoft says apps that use Visual Basic 6 (VB6), VBA, and VBScript “may stop responding with error” after its updates from this Tuesday have been installed.

        “After installing this update, applications that were made using Visual Basic 6 (VB6), macros using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), and scripts or apps using Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript) may stop responding and you may receive an ‘invalid procedure call error’,” Microsoft says.

        The issue affects all supported versions of Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and their corresponding server versions.

        “Microsoft is presently investigating this issue and will provide an update when available,” the company said.

        Microsoft didn’t offer an explanation for the problem but it did flag earlier this month that it will move ahead with sunsetting VBScript, by disabling it in IE11 by default via an update in this week’s patch.

        “The change to disable VBScript will take effect in the upcoming cumulative updates for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 on August 13, 2019,” Microsoft warned in a blog. The change brought these versions of Windows in line with Windows 10.

      • Latest Debian GNU/Linux Security Patch Addresses 14 Vulnerabilities, Update Now

        Available for the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” and Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system series, the new Linux kernel security update addresses a total of 14 vulnerabilities discovered by various security researchers. The Debian Project urges all users to update their installations as soon as possible.

        Among the security flaws patched, we can mention a race condition in the libsas subsystem that supports Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) devices, a potential double-free in the block subsystem, as well as two issues that could make it easier for attackers to exploit other vulnerabilities.

    • Environment

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Is Science Failing the World’s Primates?

          There are more than 500 known primate species, but it would be hard to tell that by looking at recent research. Want to know how chimpanzees are doing across Africa? We can tell you plenty about them. But understanding how nocturnal pottos are doing across the same region? That may be more difficult.

          Here’s why: A new study by primatologists Michelle Bezanson of Santa Clara University and Allison McNamara of University of Texas-Austin surveyed 29,000 recent journal articles and found a lack of diversity in the species studied, field sites chosen and research topics.

          And that’s troubling. Now is a critical time for primate conservation: Approximately 60 percent of primate species are endangered, half of them critically. And yet, as McNamara and Bezanson’s research of peer-reviewed studies published between 2011 to 2015 found, less than 20 percent of research was focused on conservation. Instead the studies focused on topics such as behavior and ecology, which address theoretical questions. And many papers did not acknowledge the contributions of local communities. Without basic research on the most severely threatened primate species, we lack the information and infrastructure needed to save them. And successful conservation efforts can only happen with the cooperation and investment of the local human communities who live alongside them.

    • Finance

      • Re-Imagining India’s ‘Silicon Valley’ in the Context of a $5 Trillion Economy

        Every now and then, the talk of Bangalore being ‘India’s Silicon Valley’ becomes topical and trendy. Governments, policy makers and intelligentsia see in this a proof of our pre-eminent position in the world’s tech happening spaces. In reality, barring their salubrious climates, they don’t resemble each other very much.

        The 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report has ranked the city at #18 as compared to Silicon Valley at #1, New York at #2, and London and Beijing sharing the #3 spot.

      • MP: Evidence no deal Brexit would be damaging ‘overwhelming’

        Jeremy Corbyn’s much ridiculed letter to opposition leaders, saying he would bring a vote of no confidence in the Government and then lead a government of national unity (GNU), merely served to remind us that more than half of Labour MPs have no confidence in their own leader.

        Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson came out of her corner fighting, highlighting just how ridiculous Corbyn’s idea was, and that any GNU should be led by a respected parliamentary grandee, suggesting Father of the House Ken Clarke, or Mother of the House Harriet Harman. Both are well respected.

        Ken Clarke pointed out that in trying to avoid a no deal Brexit, MPs who are against no deal are split several ways, some advocating a Norway-style deal, others looking at a Swiss-style deal, yet more at a customs union Turkish-style deal, whilst others want to go straight to the Canada-style free trade deal. Don’t forget many want a second referendum.

      • What’s Next for Brexit’s Foes?

        An anti-Brexit Government of National Unity falls at the first hurdle: its acronym.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Jo Swinson Goes A Funny Tinge

        My own position on Brexit is more nuanced than is currently fashionable (more below), but I am strongly against a no deal Brexit. Jo Swinson’s successful deflation of Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal for a caretaker administration purely to organise a general election, makes no deal much more probable.


        Swinson was one of the Lib Dems who was least uncomfortable in coalition with the Tories, and her attitude now is based entirely on the wishes of Chuka Umunna and other actual and potential Blairite defectors to the Lib Dems. Swinson is more interested in playing to the Blairite visceral hatred of Corbyn than she is in stopping no deal Brexit, and it is proof if any were needed that the arrival of Blairite and Tory defectors is moving the Lib Dems still further to the right. I see not a single hint of the party’s old radicalism or principle.

        The SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have shown maturity and common sense in welcoming Corbyn’s initiative, with due reservations and caveats. Had the Lib Dems done so too, it would have encouraged Tory rebels to join in an all-party initiatvie. Swinson’s refusal to work with Corbyn, on the grounds that Tory rebels would also refuse, was as she well knew a self-fulfilling prophecy. By making it about Corbyn, Swinson made it impossible for Tory MPs to go along when the Lib Dems had refused.

        Institutional and personal loyalties are very difficult things to shake off. The Tory Party has become a far right movement whose primary policies are motivated by nothing but racist hatred of immigrants. It is extremely hard for decent people like Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve to accept that this has happened and it is irreversible.

        If Westminster cannot stop hard Brexit and it goes ahead, it will be enabled by Swinson’s ambition, the hatreds of Blairites, and the failure of decent Tories to process psychologically what has happened to their party.

      • Corporate Media Filled With Nameless Voices Attacking Progressive Democrats

        The Democratic Party establishment wants you to know that they’re not afraid of primary challenges from the Justice Democrats—a progressive political action committee that runs progressive candidates who reject campaign funding from the ultra-rich and corporations. But when the establishment Democrats tell you they aren’t afraid, they often aren’t brave enough to let reporters quote them by name.

        These anonymous sources are rarely as insulting as the one quoted by Fox News’ Brooke Singman: “No one is afraid of those [Justice Democrat] nerds. They don’t have the ability to primary anyone.” But as FAIR contributor Adam Johnson and Justice Democrats communications director Waleed Shahid observed, other anonymous sources are not very different in content, because corporate media are generally granting anonymity to sources in the Democratic establishment looking to run opposition talking points against progressive lawmakers and organizations.

        For example, The Hill (7/11/19) carried an anonymous response to Saikat Chakrabarti, then Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, after he tweeted that centrists in the Blue Dog and New Democrat caucuses were “the new Southern Democrats” because they voted to fund Trump’s border concentration camps: “You can be someone who does not personally harbor ill will towards a race, but through your actions still enable a racist system,” Chakrabarti said.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • White House Suspends Another Reporter’s Press Pass, Once Again, Raising 1st Amendment Concerns

        As you’ll recall, last year, the White House tried to remove CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass over a silly made up controversy claiming that he had “assaulted” an intern in trying to hold onto the microphone while the intern had tried to pull it away. CNN sued and a court sided with them in blocking the White House’s action. Soon after, the White House released new rules, that we mentioned left them open to future 1st Amendment challenges.

        Well, here we are. On Friday, the White House removed Playboy reporter Brian Karem’s press pass, claiming it was about some sort of weird yelling match Karem had with ex-Trump official Sebastian Gorka at Trump’s silly social media troll summit back in July. Karem immediately said he’d sue over the removal and his attorney Ted Boutrous has sent a series of letters to White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham over the last few weeks. The opening of the first one lays everything out pretty nicely.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Apple’s New WebKit Policy Takes a Hard Line for User Privacy

        Ever since mid-2017, Apple has been tackling web tracking in a big way. Various iterations of its Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) technology have been introduced over the past few years in WebKit, the browser engine for Safari. ITP already protects users from tracking in various ways, but it left open a number of questions about the guidelines it uses to determine just who Apple considers a tracker, and what behavior is indicative of tracking.


        In addition to defining exactly what Apple means by the term “tracking,” the new policy also enumerates different forms of tracking, including the use of tracking cookies, fingerprinting, HSTS supercookies, and several other examples. The inclusion of HSTS as a tracking technology is significant. HSTS, or HTTP Strict Transport Security, is a web header that sites can use to indicate that they should only be accessed over the secure HTTPS transport layer in the future. Your browser will cache this response and ensure that future requests are not made over insecure HTTP. However, trackers can use this cache to piece together a supercookie that can identify your browser across multiple websites. Safari limits this by only respecting HSTS under certain conditions. For this reason, researchers have lately been suggesting the use of EFF’s own HTTPS Everywhere, which maintains a list of HTTPS-supporting sites, as an alternative to caching HSTS headers.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Huawei Busted Helping African Governments Spy On The Press, Political Opponents

        While the Trump administration’s war on Huawei may be largely fueled by evidence optional protectionism, that certainly doesn’t mean Huawei is an ethical company. Like any good telecom and networking giant, it can routinely be found helping governments engage in behavior that’s less than, say, moral. For example a damning report emerged this week in the Wall Street Journal (paywall, here’s a non-paywalled video report and a fairly decent alternative take) showcasing how Huawei technicians have helped African leaders intercept encrypted transmissions of their political opponents…


        That said, none of this is historically unique. Telecoms are, again, routinely grafted to governments, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies in problematic ways. Just ask AT&T, who is so tightly wired to the NSA, you can’t tell where the telco ends and the government begins. Similarly the US has a long history of partnering with companies to provide IT support and telecoms gear to a huge variety of dictators who then utilized that technology to help track and kill political opponents, dissidents, and even students. The press and public moral indignation at this kind of behavior tends to be… inconsistent and colored by patriotism.

        And while Huawei is clearly not ethical, you’d be hard pressed to find a telecom giant that is. The US blackballing of Huawei is still based on a lot of unproven allegations of wholesale spying on Americans at China’s behest, something that would drive (and has driven) US companies bat-shit crazy when the shoe is on the other foot. And while the US war on Huawei is partially based on some genuine security concerns, it’s also heavily driven by a protectionist bid by companies like Cisco that simply don’t want to have to compete with cheaper Chinese kit. The exact percentage breakdown of this equation has yet to be seen.

      • With Record Number Of Immigrants In ICE Detention, Class Action Lawsuit Outlines ‘Atrocious Conditions’

        Marco Montoya Amaya is 41 years old. He is currently detained at the Mesa Verde Immigration and Customs Enforcement Processing Center in California. He has “end-stage neurocysticercosis,” which is a brain parasite, and has not received any treatment.

        According to a class action lawsuit filed by multiple civil rights groups, Amaya entered the United States in 2012. He lived in Napa, California. He was first detained by ICE at Yuba County Jail and later transferred to Mesa Verde in March 2019. He suffers from worsening cognitive and psychiatric symptoms that are potentially irreversible and has also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder.

        Amaya was placed in solitary confinement for about a week in May 2019 for “accidentally eating an extra tray he was given by an officer. He did not understand the officer’s instructions—likely due to his cognitive impairment—that the tray was for other detained individuals who were fasting for Ramadan.”

        The lawsuit adds, “He did not receive an opportunity to appeal or challenge his segregation,” and he “was confused as to whether the segregation was disciplinary or instead for his health or protection, as he was housed in medical isolation.”

        Amaya is one of fifteen individuals detained at eight different detention facilities in six states. They represent a class of around 55,000 immigrants who allegedly are subject to inhumane and unlawful conditions. Many of these individuals have endured treatment that amounts to torture.

        The lawsuit challenges systemic problems that consistently result in denial of medical care, failure to provide mental health treatment, lack of accommodations for persons with disabilities, and solitary confinement.

      • Lawsuit Filed By Victims Of ICE’s Fake College Sting Revived By Appeals Court

        An elaborate scheme involving a fake college set up in New Jersey by ICE has, unsurprisingly, resulted in a lawsuit by some of the foreign students swept up in the sting operation. Apparently having given up on rooting out the worst of the worst non-citizens, ICE is contenting itself with arresting and charging foreigners for attempting to stay in the country legally by continuing their education.

        The fake university looked pretty real to applicants. It had a website, a Facebook page, and — most importantly — accreditation by a national accreditation service. The school’s website told students the fake school was certified by the DHS’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program to “educate international students.”

        It all looked legit. None of it was. ICE claims it was targeting people who defrauded students or universities by brokering illegitimate educational offerings meant to allow visitors to overstay their visas. That doesn’t explain why ICE accepted registration fees from interested students. Nor why it arrested a bunch of students trying to do something they were legally allowed to do.

        ICE ended up with about eight criminal suspects from the hundred-plus arrests resulting from the sting operation. Some of the others caught up in the sting had their visas cancelled, supposedly due to “fraudulent enrollment.” So, in the government’s eyes, the people ICE tricked into enrolling in its very real-looking fake college are every bit as criminal as the criminals the government is actually prosecuting.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • New Hampshire Supreme Court: Of Course It’s Not Defamatory To Call A Patent Troll A Patent Troll

          Earlier this year, we wrote about a legal fight in New Hampshire, where patent trolling firm ATL, had sued a bunch of critics for defamation for calling them a patent troll. As we noted in February, this was an incredibly weak argument, as it’s a statement of opinion. Thankfully, the New Hampshire Supreme Court got this one right and ruled that calling someone a patent troll is not defamatory.

          The ruling is a pretty straightforward, by-the-books ruling on a bogus defamation claim on an opinion statement. It cites all the usual cases — mainly Phantom Touring — to point out that “patent troll” is just an opinion that can’t be defamatory, because there’s no objective standard by which you would prove it true or false. People can (and do!) disagree over what constitutes a patent troll, and the court system is not there to settle that debate.

      • Trademarks

        • Intra-Family Trademark Violence: SR Sues JR For Using His Own Name In Law Firm Marketing

          With the chief hurdle for infringement in trademark law being potential public confusion as to the source of a good or service, we sometimes toss that standard around as a blanket sort of thing. And, in trademark law, it kind of is just that binary. But the combination of the protectionist view of trademark law taking hold in America and the unfortunate habit of many people attempting to trademark their own names in one fashion or another, I wonder if the law might need to be updated in some ways. For example, we’ve seen several instances of intra-family trademark spats that arise from a person or business looking to trademark or simply use their own names. Any system of trademark enforcement that results in broadly disallowing someone to use their own name in the marketplace feels like a clear step too far, if only from a common sense perspective.

          Yet it keeps happening. The latest iteration of this involves a lawyer, George Sink Sr., suing his own son, George Sink Jr., for using his own name for his law firm and marketing material. The court overseeing the matter just this week issued a restraining order barring George Jr. from using his own name to advertise his firm.

Links 21/8/2019: Open Source POWER, Alpine 3.10.2, Netrunner 19.08

Posted in News Roundup at 4:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Chrome OS 77 to bring Crostini (Linux beta) to Chromebook Pixel 2015, other older devices

      A few months ago, 9to5 Google reported on “kernelnext” in Chrome OS, with the expectation that it was a way to bring the Linux beta, also known as Project Crostini, to some older Chromebooks. Now, the results of that effort are appearing in early builds of Chrome OS 77, reports 9to5 Google: The Chromebook Pixel 2015 and eight other Chrome OS devices are getting Linux support, thanks to an updated kernel.

    • Desktop

      • Five reasons Chromebooks are better than Windows laptops

        Today, Windows users hold off for as long as possible before “updating” their PCs. Chrome OS users, on the other hand, have their systems updated every six weeks without a hitch. And, I might add, these updates take a minute or two instead of an hour or two.

        Chrome OS is also more secure than Windows. WIndows security violations pop up every blessed month. Sure, Chrome OS has had security holes, but I can’t think of one that’s been significantly exploited.

        Want a nightmare? Try migrating from an old Windows PC to a new one. Even if you’re jumping from Windows 10 to Windows 10, there are no easy ways to do it. If you have a Microsoft account, rather than a local account, you must manually move your local files from third-party programs such as Photoshop

        On Chrome OS, you log in to your new Chromebook and — ta-da! — you’re back in business. No fuss, no muss.

      • 6 Best Linux Distros for Laptops

        Whether buying a Linux pre-installed laptop or selecting a Linux distro for your existing laptop, there are many things to consider. Let’s take you through some of the best Linux distros that are optimized for Laptops in this 2019 edition of the article. Read on.

    • Server

      • Announcing Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU12

        Today we are releasing the SRU 12 for Oracle Solaris 11.4. It is available via ‘pkg update’ from the support repository or by downloading the SRU from My Oracle Support Doc ID 2433412.1.

      • Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU12 Released – Adds GCC 9.1 Compiler & Python 3.7

        While we haven’t heard anything yet about Oracle’s plans for Solaris post-11.4 whether that means Solaris 11.4 or the reportedly killed Solaris 12, Oracle today did release Solaris 11.4 Stable Release Update 12 as their newest installment for their supported Solaris operating system release.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat Satellite 6.6 Beta is now available with enhancements across reporting, automation, and supportability

          We are pleased to announce that Red Hat Satellite 6.6 is now available in beta to current Satellite customers.

          Red Hat Satellite is a scalable platform to manage patching, provisioning, and subscription management of your Red Hat infrastructure, regardless of where it is running. The Satellite 6.6 beta is focused on enhancements across reporting, automation, and supportability

          While Satellite 6.6 Beta supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 hosts, it is important to note that Satellite 6.6 must be installed on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 host. Support for running Satellite itself on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 host is scheduled for a later release.

        • Serverless on Kubernetes, diverse automation, and more industry trends

          As part of my role as a senior product marketing manager at an enterprise software company with an open source development model, I publish a regular update about open source community, market, and industry trends for product marketers, managers, and other influencers. Here are five of my and their favorite articles from that update.


          The impact: What struck me is the range of things that can be automated with Ansible. Windows? Check. Multicloud? Check. Security? Check. The real question after those three days are over will be: Is there anything in IT that can’t be automated with Ansible? Seriously, I’m asking, let me know.

        • Open source POWER ISA takes aim at Intel and Arm for accelerator-driven computing

          IBM announced the release of the POWER instruction set architecture (ISA) as an open standard at the OpenPOWER Summit in San Diego on Tuesday. This announcement comes six years after the formation of the OpenPOWER Foundation, which aimed to foster the creation of hardware from third-party vendors that integrates the POWER architecture in the datacenter.

          While the POWER ISA was itself licensable following the creation of the OpenPOWER Foundation in 2013, that came at a cost. Now, the POWER ISA is available royalty-free, inclusive of patent rights. IBM is releasing a soft core reference implementation of the POWER ISA, and reference designs for Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (OpenCAPI) and Open Memory Interface (OMI) architecture-agnostic compute accelerators.

        • IBM is moving OpenPower Foundation to The Linux Foundation

          IBM makes the Power Series chips, and as part of that has open sourced some of the underlying technologies to encourage wider use of these chips. The open source pieces have been part of the OpenPower Foundation. Today, the company announced it was moving the foundation under The Linux Foundation, and while it was at it, announced it was open sourcing several other important bits.

          Ken King, general manager for OpenPower at IBM, says that at this point in his organization’s evolution, they wanted to move it under the auspices of the Linux Foundation . “We are taking the OpenPower Foundation, and we are putting it as an entity or project underneath The Linux Foundation with the mindset that we are now bringing more of an open governance approach and open governance principles to the foundation,” King told TechCrunch.

          But IBM didn’t stop there. It also announced that it was open sourcing some of the technical underpinnings of the Power Series chip to make it easier for developers and engineers to build on top of the technology. Perhaps most importantly, the company is open sourcing the Power Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). These are “the definitions developers use for ensuring hardware and software work together on Power,” the company explained.

        • OpenPOWER Foundation | The Next Step in the OpenPOWER Foundation Journey

          Today marks one of the most important days in the life of the OpenPOWER Foundation. With IBM announcing new contributions to the open source community including the POWER Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) and key hardware reference designs at OpenPOWER Summit North America 2019, the future has never looked brighter for the POWER architecture.

          OpenPOWER Foundation Aligns with Linux Foundation

          The OpenPOWER Foundation will now join projects and organizations like OpenBMC, CHIPS Alliance, OpenHPC and so many others within the Linux Foundation. The Linux Foundation is the premier open source group, and we’re excited to be working more closely with them.

          Since our founding in 2013, IEEE-ISTO has been our home, and we owe so much to its team. It’s as a result of IEEE-ISTO’s support and guidance that we’ve been able to expand to more than 350 members and that we’re ready to take the next step in our evolution. On behalf of our membership, our board of directors and myself, we place on record our thanks to the IEEE-ISTO team.

          By moving the POWER ISA under an open model – guided by the OpenPOWER Foundation within the Linux Foundation – and making it available to the growing open technical commons, we’ll enable innovation in the open hardware and software space to grow at an accelerated pace. The possibilities for what organizations and individuals will be able to develop on POWER through its mature ISA and software ecosystem will be nearly limitless.

        • POWER ISA Contributed To Open-Source, OpenPOWER Joining The Linux Foundation

          The POWER ISA is being moved to an open model and with IBM contributing a POWER ISA license to the OpenPOWER Foundation, technically anyone can implement on top of it royalty-free and with patent rights. This comes following the success of the royalty-free RISC-V and even the MIPS processor ISA being open-sourced.

        • How Red Hat delivers $7B in customer savings

          This spring, Red Hat commissioned IDC to conduct a new study to analyze the contributions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux to the global business economy. While many of the findings were impressive, including immense opportunities for partners, we were especially excited to learn more about how our customers benefit from Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

          According to the study, the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform “touches” more than $10 trillion of business revenues worldwide each year and provides economic benefits of more than $1 trillion each year to customers. Nearly $7 billion of that number comes in the form of IT savings. Even more exciting? As hybrid cloud adoption grows, we expect customers to continue to benefit given the importance of a common, flexible and open operating system to IT deployments that span the many footprints of enterprise computing.

        • The road ahead for the Red Hat OpenStack Platform

          If you didn’t have a chance to attend our Road Ahead session at Red Hat Summit 2019 (or you did, but want a refresher) you’ll want to read on for a quick update. We’ll cover where Red Hat OpenStack Platform is today, where we’re planning to go tomorrow, and the longer-term plan for Red Hat OpenStack Platform support all the way to 2025.

          A strategic part of our portfolio

          Red Hat OpenStack Platform is a strategic part of Red Hat’s vision for open hybrid cloud. It’s the on-prem foundation that can help organizations bridge the gap between today’s existing workloads and emerging workloads. In fact, it just earned the 2019 CODiE award for “Best Software Defined Infrastructure.”

          One of those emerging workloads, and more on the rest in a moment, is Red Hat OpenShift.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • CodeWeavers Reflects On The Wild Year Since Valve Introduced Steam Play / Proton

        This week marks one year since Valve rolled out their Proton beta for Steam Play to allow Windows games to gracefully run on Linux via this Wine downstream catered for Steam Linux gaming. It’s been crazy since then with all of Valve’s continued work on open-source graphics drivers, adding the likes of FAudio and D9VK to Proton, continuing to fund DXVK development for faster Direct3D-over-Vulkan, and many other infrastructure improvements and more to allow more Windows games to run on Linux and to do so well and speedy.

      • Turn your Xbox console into a home PC with this guide

        If you’ve ever wondered if you can turn your Xbox into a PC, you came to the right place.

        Because the Xbox console has the same hardware specifications as some older computer desktops, you will be able to convert it to a fully functioning PC. Unfortunately, you will not be able to install Windows on your console, but you can use the Linux operating system.

        In this article you will find out what items you’re going to need in order to make this happen, and also the steps you need to follow to accomplish this.

      • Action-adventure roguelike UnderMine now available in Early Access

        UnderMine from developer Thorium is an action-adventure roguelike with a bit of RPG tossed in, it’s now in Early Access with Linux support. [...]

        Featuring some gameplay elements found in the likes of The Binding of Isaac, you proceed further down the UnderMine, going room to room digging for treasure and taking down enemies. There’s also some RPG style rogue-lite progression involved too, as you’re able to find powerful items and upgrades as you explore to prepare you for further runs.

      • Attack of the Clones with custom Proton builds for Steam Play

        I know how you all love to tinker, so how about tinkering away with some custom builds of Steam Play Proton on this fine Tuesday afternoon?

        There’s a feature in the Steam client on Linux that enables you to add in your own special builds of Steam Play and other compatibility tools like Boxtron for native DOSBox. A very useful feature, since the community can build on top of work done by Valve to make Linux gaming with Steam Play even better.

        One such custom build of Proton which recently released is Proton-i 4.13-3. This one is quite simple with a few little updates and fixes like moving Proton 4.11-2 patches on top of Wine 4.13, a fix for Unreal Engine 4 and a few other little changes. Likely a good one to try, if you just want to be that little bit more up to date.

      • Mixing Tower Defense with production chains, the free and open source game Mindustry has a big update

        Could this be your next time sink? Mindustry merges together Tower Defense style gameplay with production chains from the likes of Factorio.

        A few days ago, the developer released the final 4.0 build which is an absolutely massive update to Mindustry. It took 88 builds to get there and it was worth the wait. It’s an overhaul to all parts of the game including new gamemodes, customizable rules, a new editor, new graphics, new enemies, unit production, new progression, a campaign and more.

      • Wasteland 3 has an impressive new trailer for Gamescom

        inXile Entertainment have shown off more of their upcoming party-based RPG Wasteland 3 at Gamescom and it’s looking great.

      • Areia: Pathway to Dawn aims to be a relaxing meditative adventure game

        Areia: Pathway to Dawn from Gilp Studio was just recently announced with the developer promising it to be a “journey like no other”.

        It’s an adventure game, with a few puzzle elements to it and a wondrous style. The developer said it’s a game about emotions and spiritual growth, a tale of wonder as you explore a land inhabited by only one character. It’s supposed to be a calming experience, with Gilp Studio saying it’s “a unique addition to the range of meditative games”.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE’s Onboarding Sprint: Making it easier to setup a development environment

          Suse were generous enough to offer two spacious and fully equipped offices at their headquarters to host the KDE sprints. We owe a special thanks and a big KDE hug to the OpenSuse team and in particular Douglas DeMaio and Fabian Vogt for being incredible hosts.

        • Third month progress

          I am here presenting you with my final month GSoC project report. I will be providing the links to my work at the end of the section.

          Final month of the work period was much more hectic and tiring than the first couple of months. I had been busy more than I had anticipated. Nonetheless, I had to write code which I enjoyed writing : ) . In the first half of this work period, I was focused on completing the left-over QDBus communication from the phase 2, which I did successfully. But as when I thought my task was all over, I was faced with some regression in the code, which I utilised my rest half a month to fix it.


          As I had said above in the intro, I was faced with some real difficulty during the second half of the work period. As soon as I finished up QDBus thing, a regression was caused (Which I should have noticed before, my bad), helper was no longer started by the main application. I spent rest of the days brain-storming the issue but due to shortage of time, could not fix it. I plan to try fixing it in the next few days before GSoC ends(26th August), if I successfully do that, I will update the status here as well .

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Sajeer Ahamed: Review | GSoC 2019

          I’ve been working on GStreamer based project of Gnome Foundation. GStreamer is a pipeline-based multimedia framework that links together a wide variety of media processing systems to complete complex workflows. The framework is based on plugins that will provide various codec and other functionality. The plugins can be linked and arranged in a pipeline. And most of the plugins are written in C. Now the developers are in an attempt to convert them to Rust which is more robust and easily maintainable. My task is to be a part of this conversion and to help fix issues related to this.

    • Distributions

      • openSUSE Boards Gets A New Chairman

        Long-time openSUSE contributor Richard Brown is stepping down from his role as chairperson of openSUSE board, a position he had been holding for the last five years. He will be replaced by Gerald Pfeifer, SUSE’s CTO for EMEA. Gerald himself is a developer who has contributed to projects like like GCC and Wine.

        In a blog post, Brown said, “Some of the key factors that led me to make this step include the time required to do the job properly, and the length of time I’ve served. Five years is more than twice as long as any of my predecessors. The time required to do the role properly has increased and I now find it impossible to balance the demands of the role with the requirements of my primary role as a developer in SUSE, and with what I wish to achieve outside of work and community.”

      • New Releases

        • Alpine 3.10.2 released

          The Alpine Linux project is pleased to announce the immediate availability of version 3.10.2 of its Alpine Linux operating system.

        • Redcore Linux 1908 Released, Which Fixes Many of the Pending Bugs

          Redcore Linux developer has released the new version of Redcore Linux 1908 and code name is Mira.

          This release fixes most of the outstanding bugs and some more polishing. Also, added new features as well.

          Bunch of packages (1000+) got updated because this release is based on Gentoo’s testing branch, unlike previous releases which were based on a mix of Gentoo’s stable and testing branches.

          Starting from Redcore Linux 1908, the packages shold be up-to-date since it’s using Gentoo’s testing branch.

        • Netrunner 19.08 – Indigo released

          The Netrunner Team is happy to announce the immediate availability of Netrunner 19.08 Indigo – 64bit ISO.

          This time Netrunner 19.08 ships with a brand new Look and Feel called Indigo which features the identically named color as main attraction. The mixture of darker blue and lighter blue together with classic white like gray creates a pleasent to the eye look that matches the Breeze Icon theme without distracting your eyes. The new red colored cursor (RED-Theme) has a slight retro vibe to it and takes care of quickly finding the cursor on the screen and never really loose track of it. As always we provide a wonderfully drafted wallpaper which fits the overall design of the desktop.

        • Netrunner 19.08 Released For Delivering A Clean KDE Experience Atop Debian 10
      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Fedora Family

        • Is Fedora Linux a Good Distro? The 15 Best Reasons to Use Fedora Linux

          It goes without saying that Fedora Linux is one of the best Linux distributions and significantly distinct with its properties. There is no denying that it is an enticing version of Linux and there are enough reasons to be lured with the Fedora. It offers far ranges of features that have made it an undeniable choice for the users. There is a close and intimate collaboration between Fedora and “Redhat” what has given a new dimension of this Linux version. It is more comfortable to use, user-friendly and latest technology oriented; thus, there are many obvious reasons for loving in it.


          The various distribution of Linux system is recognized for easy-going properties, albeit Fedora is the easiest one in this context. Having an easier interface, users are capable of dealing with it very easily since the boot phase. When the boot is done, users will be guided with simple features to run it the way they desire.

      • Debian Family

        • Knoppix 8.6 Released

          Klaus Knopper has announced the release of the latest version of KNOPPIX Live GNU/Linux distribution.

          Version 8.6 of KNOPPIX is based on Debian/stable (buster), with some packages from Debian/testing and unstable (sid) for newer graphics drivers or desktop software packages. It uses Linux kernel 5.2.5 and Xorg 7.7 (core 1.20.4) for supporting current computer hardware.

        • Knoppix 8.6.0 Released, Which is Based on Debian “Buster”

          Knoppix team had announced the release of KNOPPIX 8.6, a new stable version which is based on Debian “buster”.

          It allow users to run directly from a CD / DVD (Live CD) or a USB flash drive (Live USB).

          Added few of the packages from Debian/testing and unstable (sid) for newer graphics drivers or desktop software packages.

          It uses Linux kernel 5.2.5 and Xorg 7.7 (core 1.20.4) for supporting current computer hardware.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Dualboot Ubuntu 19.04 and Debian 10 on a 32GB USB Stick

          Ubuntu 19.04, or Disco Dingo, and Debian 10, or Buster, are two latest versions in 2019 of two most popular GNU/Linux distros I already wrote about here and here. This tutorial explains dualboot installation procedures in simple way for Ubuntu Disco Dingo and Debian Buster computer operating systems onto a portable USB Flash Drive. There are 2 advantages of this kind of portable dualbooting; first, it’s safer for your data in internal HDD and second, you can bring both OSes with you everywhere you go. You will prepare the partitions first, then install Ubuntu, and then install Debian, and finally finish up the GRUB bootloader, and enjoy. Go ahead!

        • Elementary OS is the latest group to ditch Medium for their own blog

          Elementary OS – a Linux distribution (distro) built on top of the large, company-backed giant Ubuntu – is a mom-and-pop store by comparison.

          But it’s also one that’s managed to capture the attention of even some seasoned Linux users thanks to its focus on user interface (UI) and even user experience (UX) – something often lacking from the more spartan distros.

          With their focus on icon and UI themes sometimes suspiciously reminiscent of Apple’s interfaces – the Elementary OS team have also earned themselves something of a label of “hipsters” in the community.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Databases

        • Amazon DocumentDB Speeds Up With Slow Queries Logging

          Amazon continues to add extra supports to its non-relational database store DocumentDB with the addition of slow queries logging.

          Slow queries logging allows user to monitor their slowest queries in the cluster. This helps to improve overall performance of the cluster and the individual query.

          Once the user has enabled a set profiler for the query the system will monitor operations and if any queries run longer than the customer-defined threshold, set at 100ms by default, the system will log their execution time and send an alert to the CloudWatch Logs.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • [LibreOffice GSoC] Week 12 Report

          It was The last week of GSoC program. Raal was working on testing all the project and the generated files and I help him by solving some bugs or add anything.


        • GNU Scientific Library 2.6 released

          Version 2.6 of the GNU Scientific Library (GSL) is now available. GSL provides a large collection of routines for numerical computing in C.
          This release introduces major performance improvements to common linear algebra matrix factorizations, as well as numerous new features and bug fixes. The full NEWS file entry is appended below.
          The file details for this release are:
          The GSL project homepage is http://www.gnu.org/software/gsl/
          GSL is free software distributed under the GNU General Public License.
          Thanks to everyone who reported bugs and contributed improvements.
          Patrick Alken

      • Public Services/Government

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • 5 notable open source 3D printers

            Open source hardware and 3D printers go together like, well, open source hardware and 3D printers. Not only are 3D printers used to create all sorts of open source hardware—there are also a huge number of 3D printers that have been certified as open source by the Open Source Hardware Association. That fact means that they are freely available to improve and build upon.

            There are plenty of open source 3D printers out there, with more being certified on a regular basis. Here’s a look at some of the latest.

      • Programming/Development

        • Raspberry Pi gets MIT’s Scratch 3 programming language for Raspbian

          Ever since Scratch 3 was released this January, a team at the Raspberry Pi Foundation has been working with MIT to develop an offline, installable version for the Raspberry Pi.

          That offline version is now available, offering students and beginners an easy environment to begin coding with the language’s visual ‘code blocks’, as well as paint and sound-editing tools.

          Scratch 3 requires installing the latest version of Raspbian known as ‘Buster’, the latest version of Debian Linux that was released alongside the Raspberry Pi 4 in June.

          Due to the memory requirements of Scratch 3, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is recommending it is installed on a Raspberry Pi 4 with at least 2GB of RAM. The 2GB model costs $45.

        • GCC 10 Lands Support For -march=tigerlake & -march=cooperlake

          The GNU toolchain has already been preparing for Cooperlake CPUs as the successor to Cascadelake as well as supporting the new instruction set extensions, but finally today the support for -march=cooperlake was merged to GCC 10 for conveniently exposing the new CPU target in the GNU Compiler Collection. At the same time, -march=tigerlake was also added.

          The Cooperlake target is notable for adding BF16 / BFloat16 support compared to Cascadelake.

        • Automating Low Code App Deployment on Red Hat OpenShift with the Joget Operator

          This is a guest post by Julian Khoo, VP Product Development and Co-Founder at Joget Inc. Julian has almost 20 years of experience in the IT industry, specifically in enterprise software development. He has been involved in the development of various products and platforms in application development, workflow management, content management, collaboration and e-commerce.

        • Python Histogram Plotting: NumPy, Matplotlib, Pandas & Seaborn

          In this course, you’ll be equipped to make production-quality, presentation-ready Python histogram plots with a range of choices and features.

          If you have introductory to intermediate knowledge in Python and statistics, then you can use this article as a one-stop shop for building and plotting histograms in Python using libraries from its scientific stack, including NumPy, Matplotlib, Pandas, and Seaborn.

        • PyCon 2020 Conference Site is here!

          Our bold design includes the Roberto Clemente Bridge, also known as the Sixth Street Bridge, which spans the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Steelmark, was originally created for United States Steel Corporation to promote the attributes of steel: yellow lightens your work; orange brightens your leisure; and blue widens your world. The PPG Building, is a complex in downtown Pittsburgh, consisting of six buildings within three city blocks and five and a half acres. Named for its anchor tenant, PPG Industries, who initiated the project for its headquarters, the buildings are all of matching glass design consisting of 19,750 pieces of glass. Also included in the design are a fun snake, terminal window, and hardware related items.


          As with any sponsorship, the benefits go both ways. Organizations have many options for sponsorship packages, and they all benefit from exposure to an ever growing audience of Python programmers, from those just getting started to 20 year veterans and every walk of life in between. If you’re hiring, the Job Fair puts your organization within reach of a few thousand dedicated people who came to PyCon looking to sharpen their skills.

        • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #382 (Aug. 20, 2019)
        • Python Qt5 – the QTimer class.
      • Standards/Consortia

        • [Old] What is hi-res audio and how can you experience it right now?

          To store hi-res audio, you need a file type that can accommodate these higher bit depths and sampling frequencies. MP3 files can’t do that, which is why you’ll see hi-res music presented as one of AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, WAV, or DSD. Of these, FLAC tends to be the most widely used and 24-bit/96kHz is the most common quality level, though some FLAC files are available in 24-bit/192kHz too.

  • Leftovers

    • The Creators of the World’s Longest-Running Webcam Are Pulling the Plug

      Early webcams, including the 1991 Trojan Room coffee pot cam (the first webcam ever) and Netscape founding engineer Lou Montulli’s Amazing Fishcam, were the testing grounds for many elements of the internet as we know it today, including sending real-time images over the internet, and ecommerce. JenniCam, the first “lifecaster,” launched two years later, in 1996. These livestreams paved the way for modern streaming services that have become ubiquitous to life online.

      “Our webcam is a throwback to the early days of the Internet when anyone could do anything,” Schwartz told SFGate. He said that they’re unsure whether the university will step in to continue the project and save the FogCam, but they’re open to the idea of a new generation keeping it running.

      If FogCam does cease operations, it will pass the title of oldest operating webcam to Montulli’s Fishcam, which also started live-streaming in 1994.

    • Neil Young hates what the internet has done to music [iophk: Neil Young is right.]

      There’s an epic interview slash feature in the New York Times with music legend Neil Young. The notoriously particular audio purist explains why he believes the internet is killing music through poor quality streaming, and how it’s harming our brains.

    • Neil Young’s Lonely Quest to Save Music [iophk: came to similar conclusions myself last year]

      But Young hears something creepier and more insidious in the new music too. We are poisoning ourselves with degraded sound, he believes, the same way that Monsanto is poisoning our food with genetically engineered seeds. The development of our brains is led by our senses; take away too many of the necessary cues, and we are trapped inside a room with no doors or windows. Substituting smoothed-out algorithms for the contingent complexity of biological existence is bad for us, Young thinks. He doesn’t care much about being called a crank. “It’s an insult to the human mind and the human soul,” he once told Greg Kot of The Chicago Tribune. Or as Young put it to me, “I’m not content to be content.”

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘Monsanto Has Worked Very Hard to Discredit Me and My Work’ – CounterSpin interview with Carey Gillam on Monsanto’s attack on journalism

        Our next guest is wearing that particular badge of honor at the moment. Carey Gillam is a veteran reporter, covering food and agriculture for Reuters for many years, and is now research director at the group US Right to Know. One thing Gillam thinks we have a right to know about is the impacts of pesticides made by Monsanto, which she explores in her book Whitewash: The Story of a Weedkiller, Cancer and the Corruption of Science; it’s out now from Island Press.

        Who doesn’t want you to know what’s in that book, or take it seriously? Monsanto. And the agrochemical giant, now owned by Bayer, is willing to go to some lengths to try and prevent that. Carey Gillam joins us now by phone from Kansas. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Carey Gillam.


        But the book is really—I’ve tried to make it very reader-friendly. It’s almost an academic exercise. It’s based on a lot of documents and a lot of data, and tracks the history of the rise of this chemical to become so pervasive in our environment that it’s found in our own bodies, that it’s found in our food and our water, and it’s in the soil and it’s affecting the environment and reducing biodiversity. It really has become, as I’ve said, very pervasive.

        And so the book explores how that happened, how Monsanto manipulated and collaborated with regulators to affect public policy and reduce the regulatory restrictions that should have been placed on this chemical. And it involves a lot of farmers and real stories of real people. So, it did win the Rachel Carson Book Award, and I’m very proud of the book.

        Monsanto—as we know now through a recent release of internal Monsanto documents—Monsanto really does not like the book, and really has worked very hard to try to discredit the book, and to discredit me and my work.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security updates for Tuesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (flask), openSUSE (clementine, dkgpg, libTMCG, openexr, and zstd), Oracle (kernel, mysql:8.0, redis:5, and subversion:1.10), SUSE (nodejs6, python-Django, and rubygem-rails-html-sanitizer), and Ubuntu (cups, docker, docker-credential-helpers, kconfig, kde4libs, libreoffice, nova, and openldap).

      • Linux “Lockdown” Patches Hit Their 40th Revision

        The long-running Linux “Lockdown” patches were sent out again overnight for their 40th time but it remains to be seen if these security-oriented patches will be pulled in for the upcoming Linux 5.4 cycle.

        The Linux Lockdown functionality is for restricting access to the kernel and underlying hardware by blocking writes to /dev/mem, restricting PCI BAR and CPU MSR access, disabling system hibernation support, limiting Tracefs, and restricting or outright disabling other functionality that could alter the hardware state or running Linux kernel image.

        Linux Lockdown has been opt-in only and designed for use-cases like honoring UEFI SecureBoot for ensuring nothing nefarious could happen once booted into the operating system by bad actors. Most end-users won’t voluntarily want the lockdown mode due to all the restrictions in place, but could be a favor for enterprises and very security conscious users.

      • Backdoor Found in Webmin Utility [Ed: It is not a back door but a bug inserted by a malicious entity rather than the project developers themselves; this incident demonstrates or classically highlights the need for reproducible builds.]

        On August 17, the developer of the popular Webmin and Usermin Unix tools pushed out an update to fix a handful of security issues. Normally that wouldn’t generate an avalanche of interest, but in this case, one of those vulnerabilities was introduced intentionally by someone who was able to compromise the software build infrastructure used by the developers.

      • A New Dawn for Security Vulnerabilities in HPC

        In February 2018, Russian nuclear scientists at the Federal Nuclear Center were arrested for using their supercomputer resources to mine the crypto-currency, Bitcoin. Previously, high-performance computing (HPC) security breaches like this tended to be few and far between. However, recent trends are increasing the vulnerabilities and threats faced by HPC systems.

        Previously, compute clusters enjoyed a level of security through obscurity due to their idiosyncratic architectures in terms of both hardware, with different CPU architectures and networking, and software of often home-grown applications running on Unix-like operating systems. In addition, the reward for compromising a cluster wasn’t all that great. Although hacking into HPC data generated by atomic weapons research and pharmaceutical modelling does present a valuable outcome; meteorological institutes, astrophysics laboratories or other mathematical research is less so.

      • Exposed Sphinx Servers Are No Challenge for Hackers [Ed: That’s the same agency and the same troll site that initially promoted the lies and the FUD about VLC]

        A popular open-source text search server, Sphinx offers impressive performance for indexing and searching data in databases or just in files. It is cross-platform, available for Linux, Windows, macOS, Solaris, FreeBSD, and a few other operating systems.


        CERT-Bund posted the warning on Twitter today alerting network operators and providers about the risk of running Sphinx servers with a default configuration that are open on the web.

        The organization highlights that Sphinx lacks any authentication mechanisms. Exposing it on the web gives an attacker the possibility “to read, modify or delete any data stored in the Sphinx database.”

      • Ransomware Hits Texas Local Governments [iophk: Windows TCO]

        The attack was observed on the morning of August 16 and appears to have been launched by a single threat actor, the DIR announcement reads.

        The State Operations Center (SOC) was activated soon after the attack reports started to come in, and DIR says that all of the entities that were actually or potentially affected appear to have been identified and notified.

        A total of twenty-three entities have been confirmed as impacted so far, and the responders are working on bringing the affected systems back online.

      • Webmin Backdoored for Over a Year [Ed: It's only a back door if they intentionally put it there (which isn't the case); compromised is the correct term.]

        The security hole impacts Webmin 1.882 through 1.921, but most versions are not vulnerable in their default configuration as the affected feature is not enabled by default. Version 1.890 is affected in the default configuration. The issue has been addressed with the release of Webmin 1.930 and Usermin version 1.780.

      • The YubiKey 5Ci is the ‘first’ iOS-compatible security key

        Like other YubiKey options in the 5 series, the YubiKey 5Ci supports multiple authentication protocols, including IDO2/WebAuthn, FIDO U2F, OTP (one-time-password), PIV (Smart Card), and OpenPGP.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

      • Amazon fires: Record number burning in Brazil rainforest – space agency

        Inpe said it had detected more than 72,000 fires between January and August – the highest number since records began in 2013. It said it had observed more than 9,500 forest fires since Thursday, mostly in the Amazon region.

        In comparison, there were fewer than 40,000 in the whole of 2018, it said.

        The satellite images showed Brazil’s most northern state, Roraima, covered in dark smoke, while neighbouring Amazonas declared an emergency over the fires.

      • Afrobarometer: Climate change literacy still low in Africa

        Despite the fact that Africa bears the brunt when it comes to erratic global weather patterns, many people are still unfamiliar with the climate change phenomenon, a new survey reveals.

      • Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Private Jet Usage Is Being Criticized for Environmental Reasons

        Aviation accounts for more than 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the European Union. While figures comparing private and commercial flights are elusive, The Independent broke down how much more private jets emit per person when they fly. It can vary based on aircraft and flight path, but private jets could be creating 8 to 10 times the amount of carbon per passenger as commercial flights.

      • [old] Why Carbon Credits and Offsets Will Not Work

        Unfortunately, carbon credits (one credit equals a one metric ton reduction) and carbon offsets are the primary tools being used by national and international communities as a way to reduce emissions on an industrial scale. Credits can be exchanged between businesses or purchased and sold in the markets. The carbon credit/offset market is now well established. In 2006 about 5.5 billion dollars were purchased. Some experts expect this market to reach a trillion dollars within a decade. There are now at least five carbon exchanges operating global. The largest is the Chicago Climate Exchange. Why have these markets taken off? The simple answer is that there is huge amount of money to be made. However, these markets are simply the indulgence of societies which want to carry on with business as usual. The consequences of business as usual are ecological disaster.

      • [old] Carbon offsets are not our get-out-of-jail free card [iophk: besides, the trees are a separate carbon cycle]

        If we are serious about averting catastrophic planetary changes, we need to reduce emissions by 45 per cent by 2030. Trees planted today can’t grow fast enough to achieve this goal. And carbon offset projects will never be able to curb the emissions growth, while reducing overall emissions, if coal power stations continue to be built and petrol cars continue to be bought, and our growing global population continues to consume as it does today.

      • Outlaw Oceans: Exposing Slavery, Overfishing and Other Abuses on the High Seas

        Our oceans are a vast, lawless frontier. But this long-exploited, still mysterious realm is central to modern economic life.

        About 90 percent of international trade occurs by ship. Oceans provide fossil fuels and then absorb most of the carbon dioxide and heat produced by burning them. Billions of people in the poorest countries rely on the ocean for food and work.

        And some of the most brutal forms of economic exploitation take place on the water. Sea slavery and other flagrant human-rights violations are rampant. And industrial-scale overfishing, both legal and illegal, has undermined conservation efforts and pushed prized fish species toward extinction.

        This all happens out of view: The average American has little idea what went into putting fish on his or her plate, or where all that plastic packaging will end up. Even governments that try to police the worst abuses are often in the dark.

        Thankfully new light is being shined on the problem.

      • Energy

        • ‘Small’ nuclear war could bring global cooling

          If a nuclear war should ever break out, any survivors could have to cope not just with the immediate effects of blast and radioactivity, but with climate mayhem as well: global cooling with unknowable consequences.

          The wildfires in the Canadian province of British Columbia in the summer of 2017 were the worst the region had ever seen. They were so bad that the smoke from the sustained blaze rose 23 kms into the upper stratosphere and stayed there for eight months.

          And that has given US scientists the chance once again to model the consequences of a nuclear winter after thermonuclear war.

    • Finance

      • Brexit: Unity divides parties trying to stop no-deal – Ian Swanson

        Principles and beliefs could scupper moves towards an emergency government with Brexit looming, writes Ian Swanson

        Voters apparently like politicians working together across party lines. The noise of elected representatives point-scoring while a crisis rages regularly prompts complaints that everyone should be co-operating for the ­common good.

        The demand often ignores the fact that there are fundamental differences of principle and belief over the matter at issue, which mean the politicians could never come together and agree a joint approach.

        Talk of a possible temporary cross-party government as a way of stopping a no-deal Brexit makes no pretence of trying to include the extreme ­Brexiteers, but it does envisage ­bringing together a diverse band of MPs from Tory dissidents and Labour defectors to Corbyn diehards.

      • Bill Gates Adviser ‘Shocked’ Jeffrey Epstein Named Him in Will

        Jeffrey Epstein signed his last will and testament just two days before he killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell—naming as his backup executor a former adviser to Bill Gates who doesn’t even want the job.

        Epstein’s longtime lawyers, Darren K. Indyke and Richard D. Kahn, were named as primary executors of the estate and are slated to receive $250,000 of the $577 million fortune for their efforts.

        But the document shows the disgraced money-manager also selected an alternate executor in the event that Indyke and Kahn can’t carry out their duties: Boris Nikolic, an immunologist and biotech entrepreneur.

        Nikolic was reportedly “shocked” to learn that he was listed in the will—which dictates that all of Epstein’s personal property should go to the trustees of a mysterious entity called The 1953 Trust.

        “I was not consulted in these matters and I have no intent to fulfill these duties, whatsoever,” he said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • ‘Hong Kong mob’ — How mainland Chinese see the democracy movement

        “You can call it propaganda, you can call it an official media campaign, but there’s only one version of the story here,” Qian confirms. He explains that state media don’t report on the background to the protests or how they began; instead, they focus on the escalation in Hong Kong. The outbreak of violence is the main emphasis of the reports, which often use just a few images that show demonstrators who are prepared to use force.

      • Hong Kong’s last stand? A gallant battle in the face of unspeakable sacrifice and overwhelming odds

        Hong Kong people can foresee the worst-case scenario: one day the curtain will fall and we will be completely blanketed by the authoritarianism of the CCP. The great firewall will cut the [Internet] and people will no longer have access to the world, or the world to us. Anyone telling an inconvenient story will be taken into detention and lost within the system of no recourse.


        This may not be our final stand, but it could be our last. So let the record show, may it be written in history books, and for us to tell our children, that in 2019 Hong Kong people made a stand, fought a gallant battle for our own freedoms in the face of unspeakable sacrifice and overwhelming odds.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Gizmodo Media’s Clueless New Owners Tell Reporters They Can’t Use Encrypted Email Any More

        G/O Media is the latest incarnation of Gizmodo Media, after it was sold by Univision to private equity firm Great Hill Partners earlier this year. Univision, of course, acquired “Gizmodo Media” out of the remnants of Gawker Media, after that company was forced into bankruptcy by a bogus lawsuit and a bad court ruling. There had been plenty of indications that the reporters and editors at G/O Media were chaffing under their new bosses (despite Great Hill putting media exec Jim Spanfeller in charge) as they very quickly laid off some of their best reporters, including Kashmir Hill.

        Last month there were reports that the staff were “enraged at the new CEO’s ‘insane’ direction” and the details of all that flooded out — in classic Gawker fashion — on one of their own sites, Deadspin, which posted a truly incredible piece of journalism entitled This Is How Things Work Now At G/O Media. It’s a really damning report. And it’s long. It talked a lot about how the new bosses brought in a bunch of old friends (all white men) often replacing (or simply ignoring) women who were already in those jobs.

      • YouTube Sues Guy Who Tried To Extort People Through Bogus DMCA Takedowns

        We’ve talked in the past about how Section (f) of the DMCA Section 512 is more or less a dead letter. 512(f) is the part that is supposed to stop bogus DMCA takedowns, by saying that you can be liable for “misrepresentations” in takedowns. In practice, though, courts never seem to award anything for bogus takedowns, meaning that it’s a “free” way to censor anyone you’d like. Or worse. Earlier this year, we covered how some had taken the DMCA abuse process so far that they were using bogus YouTube DMCA takedowns as part of an extortion scheme. Literally, people would contact popular YouTubers (often those who made videos about Minecraft) and threaten to DMCA their videos if they didn’t receive payment.

        It appears that YouTube was actually paying attention, and it has now filed a 512(f) claim against at least one of the people doing this, a guy in Omaha, Nebraska named Christopher Brady — who probably is not having the best week. You can read the complaint here.


        Either way, it’s interesting to see YouTube trying to breathe some life back into 512(f). This case seems perfectly made for just such a thing. If this case can’t get a 512(f) win, then no case can. For what it’s worth, YouTube isn’t asking for monetary damages, but for Brady to cover their legal fees (which I’m sure are substantial), as well as an injunction barring Brady from submitting more bogus DMCA notices. It’s interesting to note that they’re not even looking to bar him from YouTube entirely — just from submitting bogus DMCA takedowns.

        While Brady may end up in deeper hot water over the swatting claims (should prosecutors suddenly take an interest in him over this), from a purely copyright standpoint, it would be nice to see 512(f) succeed in one case before we reach the heat death of the universe.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Palantir Renews U.S. Immigration Contract Despite Protests [iophk: TCO calculations /must/ include exit costs or else they are false]

        The contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement will continue through 2022, according to a redacted document made public this week. The value of the deal wasn’t disclosed. The agreement strengthens a longstanding relationship, wherein immigration officials use Palantir’s data management software to build profiles on people.

      • China Wants Philippines to Stop All Online Gaming

        The Philippine gaming regulator said on Monday that it won’t halt existing online casinos but will stop accepting applications for new licenses at least until the end of the year to review concerns about the burgeoning sector. Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday that Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered a stop on new licenses for online gambling operations. Existing licenses won’t be renewed upon expiry, said the report.

      • Cox Asks Court to Sanction Labels Over Destroyed Tracking Evidence

        Internet provider Cox Communications has asked a federal court in Virginia to preclude piracy tracking evidence from the liability lawsuit several music companies have filed. The case relies on evidence collected by MarkMonitor. However, according to Cox, the piracy tracking outfit destroyed crucial data that backs up these claims.

      • Apple Card vs Citi, Chase, and Capital One: Is Apple’s new credit card as good as it seems?

        For many iPhone users, an extra point or percent here and there probably won’t matter. The experience and convenience will have more appeal, and the titanium card will stand as the ultimate status symbol, even if savvier shoppers are getting bigger rewards checks. That’s likely what Apple is banking on. Still, by the numbers, most people can do better than the Apple Card.

      • You should opt out of the Apple Card’s arbitration clause — here’s how

        But you can opt out of this arbitration clause. The agreement that you sign for the Apple Card gives specific directions on how to do it. Basically, it says that you’ll have to contact the company within 90 days after you open the account, using Messages, calling 877-255-5923 toll-free, or writing to Lockbox 6112, P.O. Box 7247, Philadelphia, PA 19170-6112. It will want the following information.

      • Don’t Renew Section 215 Indefinitely

        The New York Times reported that the Trump administration wants Section 215, the legal authority that allows the National Security Agency to collect Americans’ telephone records, renewed indefinitely. That’s despite earlier reports the NSA had shuttered its Call Details Record (CDR) Program because it ran afoul of the law, violated the privacy of scores of Americans, and reportedly failed to produce useful intelligence. In a letter to Congress, outgoing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats argued for permanently reauthorizing the legal authority, which also allows the government to collect a vast array of “tangible things” in national security investigations, as well as other provisions of the Patriot Act that are set to expire in December.

        For years, the government relied on Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act to conduct a dragnet surveillance program that collected billions of phone records documenting who a person called and for how long they called them—more than enough information for analysts to infer very personal details about a person, including who they have relationships with, and the private nature of those relationships.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • British Council worker Aras Amiri loses appeal against 10-year sentence in Iran

        Ms Amiri said in her letter that she was arrested because she refused to cooperate with Iranian intelligence officials who wanted her to spy for them in Britain.

        “I directly rejected their offer for cooperation and told them that I can only work in my own field and nothing else,” she wrote.

        Iran often tries to pressure its expatriate citizens to cooperate with intelligence work.

      • Aras Amiri: British Council worker jailed in Iran for ‘spying’ loses appeal against 10-year prison sentence

        Her cousin, Dr Mohsen Omrani, 39, a Canada-based medical researcher, claimed Iran was using Ms Amiri as a “bargaining chip” in the latest escalation of tensions with the West.

      • The Attorney General Who Doesn’t Respect Or Comply With His Oversight Wants Citizens To Respect And Comply With Cops

        The “law and order” administration is flexing its muscles. New Attorney General William Barr has been particularly vocal since his appointment, going after device encryption and the supposedly-dangerous “disrespect” for police.

        Barr’s public statements — the latter of which was delivered to a very receptive audience composed of police union reps — have made it clear his DOJ is going to carry out Trump’s back-the-blue mandates. Law enforcement officers will receive the federal government’s seal of endless approval, as well as its benefit of a doubt when things go badly.

        Things go badly quite often. Cops are still killing more than 1,000 people (and nearly 10,000 dogs) every year, even as crime rates remain at historic lows. Barr’s message to America was: comply, shut up, stop complaining. If you do somehow still feel your rights have been violated, you’re welcome to lawyer up and attempt to sue your way past layers of immunity and multiple, ultra-flexible warrant exceptions.

        But while this administration talks a good game about respect for law and order, it certainly doesn’t show the respect it believes is owed to the nation’s law enforcement officers. Marcy Wheeler points out this hypocrisy to devastating effect in her post dissecting (and recasting) Barr’s pro-police, anti-everyone else rant.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • IPANDETEC Rates Panama’s ISPs in its First ¿Quién Defiende Tus Datos? Report

        It’s Panama’s turn to take a closer look at the practices of its most prominent Internet Service Providers, and how their policies support their users’ privacy. IPANDETEC, the leading digital rights NGO in Panama, has launched its first “Who Defends Your Data” (¿Quién Defiende Tus Datos?) report. The survey shines a light on the privacy practices of the main ISPs of the country: Claro (America Movil), Movistar (Telefonica), Digicel, and Más Móvil (A joint operation between Cable & Wireless Communications and the Panamanian State, who owns 49% of the shares).

        This year, while all companies surveyed received a low score, Movistar (Telefonica) led the pack in protecting their customers — with Digicel right behind.

        Movistar is the only company that published both a transparency report and law enforcement guidelines, but unfortunately, it did so only on its parent company’s site. Digicel is the only ISP to publish its privacy policy on its Panamanian website; Claro came close, but its policy was limited to the company’s website, not its wider privacy practices. Más Móvil and Movistar direct visitors to their parent company’s privacy policy.

        Movistar and Claro, through their parent companies, both assured their users that they require judicial authorization before authorities can access consumer data. Más Móvil and Digicel do not.

        Movistar and Claro were the only ISPs that proactively responded to IPANDETEC’s survey. Más Móvil and Digicel, on the other hand, did not respond when contacted. This is a missed opportunity. At their heart ¿Quién Defiende Tus Datos? reports are a chance for civil society groups and ISPs to understand each other’s work. The report will be published each year, and plans to capture ISPs’ progress as they improve.

    • Monopolies

      • Big Brands Are Using Amazon’s Anticounterfeiting Measures to Crush Small Businesses

        In the United States, thanks to a legal principle called the “First-Sale Doctrine,” individuals have the right to resell copyrighted goods even if the owner of that copyright objects. The exhaustion rule “is the reason we have public libraries and eBay. It’s the reason we can lend a novel to a friend and leave our record collections to loved ones in our wills” write Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz in their book The End of Ownership. “But the rules that permit these uses are not a given. They were established by the courts and Congress, and their survival depends on continued legal recognition.”

        For Card & Party and other retailers who have been banned from selling certain brands on Amazon, the retail giant’s authorization process could be seen as an infringement upon these fundamental property rights. [...]

      • Facebook Already Controls Our Information. Don’t Let It Control Our Commerce

        Through concerted action, national governments likely could block the creation of Libra—or at least alter its architecture in a substantial way—especially if they applied their anti-trust powers. But this wouldn’t get to the root of the threat, which is Facebook’s relentlessly expanding power over increasingly overlapping areas of our lives. And so the rise of Libra signals a larger problem that requires a larger solution. Simply put, Facebook must be broken up, in the style of North America’s Bell System in the early 1980s.

        Facebook isn’t just a big social media company that became an enormous social media company. It has mutated into a de facto empire unto itself. Moreover, it is controlled by a single human being, Mark Zuckerberg, who possesses 53% of voting rights within the company.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Court Rules That “Patent Troll” is Opinion, Not Defamation

          Free speech in the patent world saw a big win on Friday, when the New Hampshire Supreme Court held that calling someone a “patent troll” doesn’t constitute defamation. The court’s opinion [PDF] is good news for critics of abusive patent litigation, and anyone who values robust public debate around patent policy. The opinion represents a loss for Automated Transactions, LLC (ATL), a patent assertion entity that sued [PDF] more than a dozen people and trade groups claiming it was defamed.

          EFF worked together with the ACLU of New Hampshire to file an amicus brief [PDF] in this case, explaining that the lower court judge got this case right when he ruled against ATL. That decision gave wide latitude for public debate about important policy issues—even when the debate veers into harsh language. We’re glad the New Hampshire Supreme Court agreed.

          Last week’s ruling court notes that “patent troll” is a phrase used to describe “a class of patent owners who do not provide end products or services themselves, but who do demand royalties as a price for authorizing the work of others.” However, the justices note that “patent troll” has no clear settled definition. For instance, some observers of the patent world would exclude particular entities, like individual inventors or universities, from the moniker “patent troll.”

          Because of this, when ATL’s many critics call it a “patent troll,” they are expressing their subjective opinions. Differences of opinion about many things—including patent lawsuits—cannot and should not be settled with a defamation lawsuit.

          “We conclude that the challenged statement, that ATL is a well-known patent troll, is one of opinion rather than fact,” write the New Hampshire justices. “As the slideshow demonstrates, the statement is an assertion that, among other things, ATL is a patent troll because its patent-enforcement activity is ‘aggressive.’ This statement cannot be proven true or false because whether given behavior is ‘aggressive’ cannot be objectively verified.”

        • Enzo Life Sciences, Inc. v. Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          The opinion also notes that Enzo’s expert had explained that one of skill in the art “would need to actually make the compound and test it in a hybridization experiment” in order to be comfortable that an oligonucleotide or polynucleotide encompassed by the asserted claims would work as a probe.

          With respect to the ’405 patent, the opinion indicates that the asserted claims of that patent are broader than the asserted claims of the ʼ180 patent, explaining that “rather than covering only phosphate-labeled polynucleotides, they also cover labeling at other locations on a nucleotide.” The opinion concludes that “[b]ecause the specification does not enable the narrower scope of polynucleotides claimed in the ’180 patent, it also cannot enable the broader scope of polynucleotides claimed in the ʼ405 patent.” The Federal Circuit therefore affirmed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment that the asserted claims of the ’180 and ’405 patents are invalid for lack of enablement.

        • “Customization Module” is a Means-Plus-Function Element; Indefinite Without Disclosed Algorithm

          In a non-precedential decision, the Federal Circuit has affirmed the district court’s holding that Grecia’s asserted claims invalid as indefinite. The claims include a means-plus-function limitation, but an example of the underlying mechanism was not disclosed in the specification.

          In the years leading up to the Patent Act of 1952, several courts (including the U.S. Supreme Court) severely limited the ability of applicants to use functional claim limitations (rather than structural) in order to obtain broader patent protection. See, for example, Halliburton Co. v. Walker, 329 U.S. 1 (1946) (barring functional limitations at the point of novelty). Traditionally, patent attorneys had drafted these functional limits in “means-plus-function” language. In Halliburton, for instance, Walker’s invalidated claim required “means … for creating pressure waves of known frequency.”


          Invalidity affirmed.


          In a prior unpublished decision, the Federal Circuit McDonald’s escaped liability on a divided infringement claim. Grecia v. McDonald’s Corp., 724 Fed. Appx. 942 (Fed. Cir. 2018). The case against Samsung focused on Claim 21. Claims 1-8 and 11-20 had been cancelled by the PTAB. Mastercard International Inc. v. Grecia, IPR2017-00791 (PTAB 2017).

        • Tillis, Coons to Hold New Huddles on Patent Eligibility Proposal (1)

          The draft proposal could undo several U.S. Supreme Court decisions on what inventions deserve patent protection. The rulings have left the law poorly defined, and made it harder for companies to win patents and raise venture capital, attorneys and some trade groups say.

          Participants will be given 30 minutes to review the new draft, but must leave the document and any notes behind at the end of the meeting, according to an invitation obtained by Bloomberg Law.

          The participants will discuss revisions made after three patent eligibility hearings held in June by Tillis, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s intellectual property subcommittee, and Coons, the subcommittee’s ranking member, the email said. The pair last floated a proposal in May.

      • Trademarks

        • Four Rings to Rule Them All – German Federal Court of Justice Finds Trademark Infringement in Radiator Grille with Audi-Logo-Shaped Mounting Fixture

          If you picture an Audi, you likely imagine some type of car with four interlocking rings on the radiator grille [a symbol of the merger of the four automobile manufacturers Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer in 1932]. It is thus safe to assume that a radiator grille built for an Audi is expected to have a space where the four-ring shaped logo can be fitted. Spare part manufacturers who thought that, say, a four-ring shaped space is ideally suited to be fitted with a four-ring shaped logo, have just been told by the German Federal Court of Justice to try harder, as the shape of the mounting fixture can amount to trademark infringement (case I ZR 61/18).


          Whether the specific form of the mounting fixture is “necessary” to indicate the intended purpose of the radiator grille is a question of fact, which had already been decided by the lower court in the negative. The appellant could not dispute this finding, since questions of fact are in principle excluded from the review of the Federal Court of Justice. Once the finding was made that the form of the mounting fixture was not “necessary”, the case became very difficult to win for the spare part manufacturer.

          Another aspect of the case is, however, more surprising. The Court had no hesitation in finding that the general public would see the shape of the mounting fixture (also) as an indication of the origin of the radiator grille. But is this actually correct?

          The EU General Court has recently ruled that the relevant public purchases spare parts for goods in classes 7 and 12 with a level of attention that is higher than average, “even if spare parts are priced relatively modestly” (T-792/17 – MAN/EUIPO). Consumers and professionals shopping for automobile spare parts are very much aware of the fact that some spare parts are manufactured by the brand owner, whereas other (often cheaper) spare parts are manufactured by third parties. This information can be (and often is) conveyed through the description of the product that is accessible prior to the purchase.

      • Copyrights

        • DOJ/Copyright Office File An Amicus Brief In Support Of Led Zeppellin

          As announced by the Copyright Office’s General Counsel, the DOJ and the Copyright Office have now filed an amicus brief in the 9th Circuit in support of Led Zeppelin in its never ending legal dispute with the estate of Randy Wolfe (aka Randy California) over whether or not Led Zeppelin infringed on the copyright of the Spirit song “Taurus” with their classic “Stairway to Heaven.” We’ve discussed this case at length over the years. If you were to just listen to the recordings of Taurus and Stairway to Heaven, you can definitely hear some similarities. Yet, as we noted, you can hear the same similarities in J.S. Bach’s Bourree in E Minor, which I believe predates both of those other songs. This video also shows a bunch of other songs (most predating Taurus) that have the same basic melody.

        • [Guest post] Cheaper by the Dozen? Two further CJEU referrals on YouTube’s ‘active role’

          Readers of this blog know that in September 2018, the German Federal Court of Justice made a YouTube, C-682/18) asking, among other things, whether “the operator of an internet video platform on which videos containing content protected by copyright are made publicly accessible by users without the consent of the rightholders carry out an act of communication within the meaning of Article 3(1)” of the InfoSoc Directive, insofar as certain conditions are satisfied.


          YouTube argued that it operates a neutral platform and that infringements were made only by its users and it did not have knowledge of infringement. More interestingly, the platform also asserted that even when its conduct must be considered as an act of communication to the public, it would still be shielded from liability by the hosting provider privilege granted in Art. 14 of the E-Commerce-Dirctive.

        • Copyright law issues on U.S. Supreme Court’s next term agenda

          The dispute arose from the discovery of Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, which ran ashore at Beaufort, North Carolina in 1718. The shipwreck was discovered in November 1996 by Intersal, a private research and salvage company, which subsequently engaged Nautilus Productions to take pictures and videos of the ship. Nautilus filmed the shipwreck for nearly two decades. A well, it registered copyright for the resulting videos and still images.

          The State of North Carolina and its Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) copied and publicly displayed Nautilus’s works without authorisation, this by uploading and posting them online. The parties reached a settlement agreement. However, the state nevertheless resumed its infringing activity in both online and print formats, claiming that it is insulated from liability because of the so-called “Blackbeard’s Law”, which effectively converted Nautilus’s works into “public record” materials that can be freely used by the state, thereby depriving the copyright holder of any remedy.

          Nautilus sued the state in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina; in turn, the state sought to dismiss the copyright claim on the ground that the state sovereign immunity provisions of the 11th Amendment shield it from suit in federal court. The district court denied the state’s motion, holding that the CRCA abrogated the state’s sovereign immunity from suit.

          The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously reversed the district court’s ruling (here), concluding that “Nautilus’s copyright claims against the North Carolina officials in their individual capacities are precluded by qualified immunity […] [and] that legislative immunity shields the North Carolina officials in their individual capacities for their alleged involvement in the enactment of [“Blackbeard’s Law”]”.


          The much-awaited Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc. case has now been referred to the Solicitor General to file a brief in this case, expressing the views of the United States. The questions presented are: (1) whether copyright protection extends to a software interface; and (2) whether, as the jury found, the petitioner’s use of a software interface in the context of creating a new computer program constitutes fair use.

        • It’s On: Details Emerge Of Polish Government’s Formal Request For Top EU Court To Throw Out Upload Filters

          Earlier this year, Techdirt wrote about an intriguing tweet from the account of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland, which announced: “Tomorrow #Poland brings action against copyright directive to CJEU”. The hashtags for the tweet made clear what Poland was worried about: “#Article13 #Article17″. However, at that time, no details were forthcoming about this potentially important legal move. It was disappointing that nothing more has been heard about this unexpected development since then — until now. A notice on the Official Journal of the European Union includes the following: “Case C-401/19: Action brought on 24 May 2019 — Republic of Poland v European Parliament and Council of the European Union”.

        • FACT Confirms Premier League Anti-Piracy Action Against IPTV Suppliers

          The Federation Against Copyright Theft has confirmed that last month it helped to serve cease-and-desist notices to individuals at 16 premises in the UK connected to the supply of illegal sports streaming services. The action was taken in collaboration with the Premier League and law enforcement agencies.

Edward as a Nodder to Team UPC Kool-Aid

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 4:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Kool-AidSummary: Bristows LLP is at it again and it’s getting pathetic, not just dishonest as usual

THE DELUDED-but-dangerous bunch we call (collectively) “Team UPC” keeps pumping Kool-Aid, sometimes into the corporate media. It’s dangerous to their surroundings, not dangerous to themselves. They need to be rebutted, not ignored. They’re like anti-vaccine and anti-climate science advocates. Ignoring them is a risk as that might give the impression that no refutation exists.

Recently we published Prime Minister Boris Johnson Has Turned Into a Complete Joke the Cabinet Entrusted to Deal With UPC Limbo and also said (a little later): “There’s also no mention of Boris Johnson’s corruption and nepotism which can further harm the UPC.” This has been mentioned for about a month now, but the liars from Bristows LLP now pick some rather old news about Jo Johnson and spread lies about UPC prospects. “Mr Johnson’s reappointment bodes well for continued government support for the UK’s place in the UPC,” they said on Tuesday afternoon (this time it’s Edward Nodder’s turn, nodding to the ‘boss’).

“These people lobby by lying, by fabricating, by corrupting.”Johnson giving a job to another Johnson will harm the Ministry and also stain UKIPO‘s reputation. Before the constitutional complaint and many other barriers Johnson personally met a criminal, Benoît Battistelli, and then said some foolish things. Now Bristows quotes something which was said years ago: “It was during his tenure as IP Minister, in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum decision in June 2016, that the UK (to the surprise of many) declared its intention to continue participation in the UPC project.”

It’s not possible. António Campinos knows it. The rest of the European Patent Office (EPO) knows it. Bristows LLP does want to ‘know it’; it’s intoxicated and it’s ‘medicating’ itself with more of these Kool-Aid-type lies, which ought not spread to the media given Bristows LLP’s track record of endless errors and never-ending false predictions. These people lobby by lying, by fabricating, by corrupting.

Guest Post: António Campinos’ European Patent Office Redefines Modern Slavery in the Heart of Europe in 2019

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

One year ago: ‘Efficiency’ in Action: António Campinos is Sending Jobs Abroad, Then Gagging Critics

EUIPO outsourcing

Summary: The European Patent Office’s (EPO) President António Campinos — like his predecessor Battistelli — emulates Chinese labour practices

Always wanted a Knochenjob for a handful of peanuts in expensive Holland? The European Patent Office makes your dream come true!

€10/hour and not even a full time job, wow. Think of all the things (e.g. a decent health care, a pension, a decent flat, a car, holidays etc.) the successful candidate will never be able to get! Thanks to that very job, not only will his/her carbon footprint be drastically reduced but he/she will directly contribute to the wealth of an international organisation making hundreds of millions € profit every year!

“Thanks to that very job, not only will his/her carbon footprint be drastically reduced but he/she will directly contribute to the wealth of an international organisation making hundreds of millions € profit every year!”This appalling job vacancy illustrates the wonderful world of Elodie Bergot, the lady in charge of HR policies at EPO.

Besides the social aspects which do not have to be elaborated upon since everyone can understand how bad life may be with such kind of job, this vacancy calls for two questions: how loyal do you think a worker paid €10/hour on a part-time job can be? How secure can it be to have patent applications worth millions (if not billions) EUR all over the place together with poorly paid IT staff?

“How secure can it be to have patent applications worth millions (if not billions) EUR all over the place together with poorly paid IT staff?”What is António Campinos, an ex-EU top official from Brussels (ex-head of EUIPO in Alicante) doing since he arrived at EPO?

Does this illustrates Campinos’ social values, Campinos’ concrete contribution to economic and social growth in Europe at a time when 100 million people risk poverty or social exclusion?

To quote the EU’s site:

In 2017, 112.8 million people in the EU lived in households at risk of poverty or social exclusion; 22.4 % of the population.

16.9 % of the population in the EU were at risk of poverty after social transfers in 2017.

9.5 % of the population aged 0-59 years in the EU lived in households with very low work intensity in 2017.

In 2017, 6.6 % of the population in the EU were severely materially deprived.

Editor’s note: Put the numbers together; €10/hour and 20 hours per week is a gross income of €200/week, which can barely pay the utility bills, cover food expenses and secure decent accommodation. Meanwhile, Battistelli's crazy gambling has cost the EPO about €100,000,000 a year (if not more).

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