Links 4/12/2019: Tails 4.1, UCS 4.4-3 and Proxmox VE 6.1

Posted in News Roundup at 4:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Spice up your Linux desktop with Cinnamon

        When GNOME 3 was released, some GNOME users were not ready to give up GNOME 2. The Linux Mint project was so dissatisfied with GNOME 3 that it started its own desktop as an alternative, and thus the Cinnamon desktop was born.

        Cinnamon originally sought to “remix” GNOME 3 so that it looked and acted like the GNOME 2 so many users knew and loved, but eventually, it diverged enough to be a true fork. Today, Cinnamon uses GTK3 libraries and forked versions of key GNOME 3 applications to create a classic GNOME experience.

      • 10 Best Linux Icon Themes You Should Try

        Are you bored with the icon theme set currently installed on your Linux machine? Maybe you think that there aren’t that many nice icons you can try out and that’s why I’m here to change your view on that.

        Here are the top 10 icon themes you should try.

    • Server

      • Amazon Talks Up Big Performance Gains For Their 7nm Graviton2 CPUs

        If Amazon’s numbers are accurate, Graviton2 should deliver a big performance boost for Amazon’s ARM Linux cloud potential. Graviton2 processors are 7nm designs making use of Arm Neoverse cores. Amazon says they can deliver up to seven times the performance of current A1 instances, twice the FP performance, and support more memory channels as well as doubling the per-core cache.

      • AWS announces new ARM-based instances with Graviton2 processors

        AWS has been working with operating system vendors and independent software vendors to help them release software that runs on ARM. ARM-based EC2 instances support Amazon Linux 2, Ubuntu, Red Hat, SUSE, Fedora, Debian and FreeBSD. It also works with multiple container services (Docker, Amazon ECS, and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service).

      • Coming Soon – Graviton2-Powered General Purpose, Compute-Optimized, & Memory-Optimized EC2 Instances

        We launched the first generation (A1) of Arm-based, Graviton-powered EC2 instances at re:Invent 2018. Since that launch, thousands of our customers have used them to run many different types of scale-out workloads including containerized microservices, web servers, and data/log processing.

      • AWS EC2 6th Gen Arm Instances are 7x Faster thanks to Graviton 2 Arm Neoverse N1 Custom Processor

        Last year Amazon introduced their first 64-bit Arm-based ECS2 “A1” instances which were found to deliver up to 45% cost savings over x86 Instances for the right workloads.

      • AWS launches Braket, its quantum computing service

        With Braket, developers can get started on building quantum algorithms and basic applications and then test them in simulations on AWS, as well as the quantum hardware from its partners. That’s a smart move on AWS’s part, as it’s hedging its bets without incurring the cost of trying to build a quantum computer itself. And for its partners, AWS provides them with the kind of reach that would be hard to achieve otherwise. Developers and researchers, on the other hand, get access to all of these tools through a single interface, making it easier for them to figure out what works best for them.

      • IBM

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and CentOS 7 Receive Important Kernel Security Update

          Marked by Red Hat Product Security as having a security impact of “Important,” the new Linux kernel security update is here to patch two vulnerabilities, namely CVE-2019-14821, an out-of-bounds memory access issue via MMIO ring buffer discovered in Linux kernel’s KVM hypervisor, and CVE-2019-15239, a flaw that could allow a local attacker to trigger multiple use-after-free conditions, which may lead to a kernel crash or potentially in privilege escalation.

          Additionally, the kernel update also addresses several bugs, including missing SCSI VPD information for NVMe drives that breaks InfoScale, NULL pointer dereference at check_preempt_wakeup+0×109, panic in pick_next_task_rt, “Detected Tx Unit Hang” error with adapter reset, broken load balancing over VF LAG configuration, security issues on crypto vmx driver, XFS hangs on acquiring xfs_buf semaphore, single CPU VM hangs during open_posix_testsuite, and many others.

        • Peter Czanik: State of syslog-ng on RHEL 8 / CentOS 8

          Version 3.23.1 of syslog-ng is now available in EPEL 8. EPEL stands for Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux, a repository for RHEL (and CentOS) containing packages not available in RHEL. The packages in the repository are maintained by Fedora package maintainers, not Red Hat, but thanks to their high-quality standards, packages from this repository are often used even by companies, which otherwise do not allow 3rd party repositories.

          As you can see, EPEL 8 does not use the latest available syslog-ng version, but the one available at the time EPEL 8 was created. This means that EPEL 8 will likely contain syslog-ng 3.23.1 forever, that is, until EPEL 8 is EoL. There are rumors, however, that once a new RHEL minor version is available, you will be able to upgrade the syslog-ng package in EPEL.

          The syslog-ng package in EPEL 8 is missing a few features due to missing dependencies. These include all the Java-based destination drivers (HDFS, Elasticsearch, Kafka). Elasticsearch is now also supported by the HTTP destination of syslog-ng. There is a C-based Kafka destination driver in syslog-ng, but as librdkafka is too old in RHEL, it is also unavailable in EPEL.

        • Understanding Red Hat AMQ Streams components for OpenShift and Kubernetes: Part 1

          Red Hat AMQ Streams is an enterprise-grade Apache Kafka (event streaming) solution, which enables systems to exchange data at high throughput and low latency. AMQ Streams is available as part of the Red Hat AMQ offering in two different flavors: one on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform and another on the OpenShift Container Platform. In this three-part article series, we will cover AMQ Streams on the OpenShift Container Platform.

          To get the most out of these articles, it will help to be familiar with messaging concepts, Red Hat OpenShift, and Kubernetes.

        • Taking The PCI Express To Malleable Systems

          It took decades for server virtualization to go mainstream, making their way from hardware and software partitions on mainframes three decades ago down to proprietary and Unix systems two decades ago to X86 servers with VMware, XenServer, Microsoft, and Red Hat all doing their part. We are at the very front end of a different kind of server virtualization now, comprised of disaggregation and composability, and hopefully this time around it will not take three decades to mainstream it.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2019-12-03 | Linux Headlines

        Mozilla launches Firefox 71, the privacy-focused distribution Tails is looking to the future, and elementary OS 5.1 is out.

      • LHS Episode #314: Epic Pie

        Welcome to the 314th installment of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this short-topics episode, the hosts discuss Open Source and the government, YOTA in IARU Region 2, microwave transverters, Docker, the Linux 5.5 kernel, Y2038, JS8Call and much more. Thank you for listening and have an excellent week.

      • Full Circle Weekly News #156
      • ‘Tis the SSHession | LINUX Unplugged 330

        Give the gift of remote support with our neat SSH trick. Also, Cassidy from elementary OS joins us to discuss what’s great about their new release.

        Plus we’ll share some gadget gift ideas, and what we’re building for the holidays.

      • mintCast 323 – Ok, Beta

        In our Innards section, we talk more about Linux Mint and Clem’s comments.

      • Editing A Podcast With Audacity on Linux

        Besides making YouTube videos, I also do a podcast series called “TIC TEK TOE” which I edit myself on a Linux desktop.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.5 Provides Knob To Toggle ASPM Link States Individually – Better Power-Savings

        ASPM can be a big boost to help power-savings on Linux laptops and desktops as shown by a prominent kernel regression a number of years ago. However, a number of Linux drivers are forced to disable Active State Power Management (ASPM) due to quirky/buggy hardware where it ends up not being sane to enable that power-saving feature by default. But with the Linux 5.5 kernel is support for toggling ASPM link states via sysfs as an easy-to-perform manner for achieving better power-savings with friendly devices.

      • AMDGPU Fixes For Linux 5.5 Include AMDKFD For PowerPC, Fix For Old ATI R100/R200 GPUs

        Following last week’s big batch of DRM graphics driver updates for the Linux 5.5 merge window, AMD and the community engaging in Linux 5.5 testing have now sent in their first round of fixes for this next version of the Linux kernel.

      • Linux 5.5 Begins Plumbing Secure Boot Infrastructure For POWER9

        With the PowerPC changes for the Linux 5.5 kernel comes the initial infrastructure work on preparing to be able to handle a Secure Boot implementation for POWER9 hardware.

        With Linux 5.5 the initial groundwork is laid for supporting POWER9 Secure Boot but the actual IBM POWER9 firmware support for offering this functionality isn’t yet released. As such, moving to Linux 5.5 alone won’t impose any potential Secure Boot restrictions on existing users.

    • Applications

      • REAPER Digital Audio Workstation 6.0 Adds FX Plug-in Embedding, Improved HiDPI Support

        REAPER, a digital audio workstation and MIDI sequencer software for Windows, macOS and Linux, was updated to version 6.0 recently, getting support for embedding small versions of some plugins into the tracks and mixer panels, new auto-stretch timebase, improved support for Retina / HiDPI displays, and more.

        Initially released back in 2005, REAPER (Rapid Environment for Audio Production, Engineering, and Recording) is developed by Cockos, an American digital audio technology company founded by Justin Frankel of Winamp and Gnutella peer-to-peer network fame.

        The music production application had its first native experimental Linux release back in July 2018, and since then it has continued to improve, though it’s still considered experimental on Linux.

      • The 15 Best Document Management Systems for Linux System

        If you have just launched a startup or already own a company, then obviously you need to manage a huge workforce as well as a large collection of documents. The documents or files of a company where different people work collaboratively need to manage uniquely so that anyone can work on them, and users can have better version control. That is when a document management system comes in handy. If the software infrastructure of your organization is based on Linux, then you will need to look for a document management system for your Linux system.

      • Thunderbird Tray Icon Email Notifier Birdtray 1.7.0 Released

        Birdtray, a Thunderbird tray icon for Linux (Xorg) and Windows that shows the number of unread emails, has seen a new major release. For the Birdtray 1.7.0 release, the developers have added translation support, the ability to draw a border around the number of unread emails in the tray, a new Birdtray icon, and more.

        Birdtray is a Firetray (which has been discontinued) alternative that shows Thunderbird in the tray, with an unread email counter on top of the icon; the tray icon can be set to flash when new email are received. However, unlike Firetray, Birdtray is a standalone application, and not a Thunderbird extension. Other Birdtray features include support for multiple email accounts, it can hide and restore the Thunderbird window (so it closes to the tray), and is highly configurable.

      • Daniel Stenberg: Daily web traffic

        By late 2019, there’s an estimated amount of ten billion curl installations in the world. Of course this is a rough estimate and depends on how you count etc.

        There are several billion mobile phones and tablets and a large share of those have multiple installations of curl. Then there all the Windows 10 machines, web sites, all macs, hundreds of millions of cars, possibly a billion or so games, maybe half a billion TVs, games consoles and more.

      • GStreamer 1.16.2 stable bug fix release

        The GStreamer team is pleased to announce the second bug fix release in the stable 1.16 release series of your favourite cross-platform multimedia framework!

        This release only contains bugfixes and it should be safe to update from 1.16.x.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Feral Interactive are teasing movement on Life is Strange 2 for Linux

        After confirming Life is Strange 2 would get a Linux port back in October of 2018, Feral Interactive haven’t said too much about it until today.

      • A Tofu Tail might have the strangest protagonist I’ve seen in a puzzle game

        A person turned into a block a tofu? What ever will game developers think of next, bonus points for serious oddness here. A Tofu Tail is coming with Linux support next week.

      • In The Valley of Gods from the Firewatch devs ‘on hold’, working at Valve on other projects

        We’re in for a long wait to play In The Valley of Gods, as it seems ValveTime has caught up with the Campo Santo (Firewatch) team that joined Valve back in 2018.

        Around the time Half-Life: Alyx was being rumoured and then announced, it was noticed that the people who were working on In The Valley of Gods had their Twitter bios changed to remove any mention of it. We know why now though, as Polygon got a statement from Campo Santo co-founder Jake Rodkin where they note it’s now “on hold”.

      • Card-battling mechanics with roguelike exploration, Space Grunts 2 is nearing a full release

        As Orangepixel celebrate 15 years of developing games, their latest with Space Grunts 2 is getting ready to leave Early Access.

        They said that Space Grunts 2 is now pretty much feature complete, in regards to the content they had originally planned for it. However, they’re not finished. Orangepixel are still planning to add in some alternate areas and possibly some more cards with a full release expected in early January next year.

      • The open source Nintendo Switch Emulator ‘yuzu’ now has a Vulkan renderer

        The emulation scene never ceases to amaze me. The Nintendo Switch Emulator, yuzu, now had a Vulkan renderer to hopefully boost performance.

        Quite early-on for this emulator, with game compatibility not having progressed far yet but yuzu is a very active project being worked on to improve it all the time.

      • It’s already possible to play Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Linux with Steam Play

        I will admit I am truly surprised at how quickly people managed to find a way to run Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Linux with Steam Play.

        343 Industries included an option to turn off Easy Anti-Cheat, to allow people to play single-player and mess around with modding which was the first thing needed to get it working on Linux. While Easy Anti-Cheat supports Linux, it does not work with Proton/Wine.

      • Horizon Chase Turbo gets a free Rookie Series DLC for the younger or newer racer

        Horizon Chase Turbo, one of the absolute best retro-throwback racers to have have released in a long time just got a bit more accessible to play.

        Aquiris Game Studio have released a free Rookie Series DLC that’s perfect for younger players or anyone really struggling to get to grips with the racer. Really nice to see developers think about making their games more accessible like this. It even comes with a brand new Rookie vehicle, that’s a lot easier to handle.

      • D3D10/11 to Vulkan translation layer DXVK 1.4.6 released

        Want to test it? If you’re using Steam Play Proton, you can download the release bundle from GitHub and simply replace the existing .dll files found in somewhere like:

        path-to-your/SteamLibrary/steamapps/common/Proton 4.11/dist

        Inside there you will see “lib” and “lib64″, for 32bit and 64bit and both have a wine/dxvk folder inside where you can replace the files with new versions. Do so at your own risk but it’s usually harmless. If you mess anything up, to refresh it you can just re-install Proton from the Tools menu in Steam.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • How a Patent on Sorting Photos Got Used to Sue a Free Software Group

          Taking and sharing pictures with wireless devices has become a common practice. It’s hardly a recent development: the distinction between computers and cameras has shrunk, especially since 2007 when smartphone cameras became standard. Even though devices that can take and share photos wirelessly have become ubiquitous over a period spanning more than a decade, the Patent Office granted a patent on an “image-capturing device” in 2018.

          A patent on something so commonplace might be comical, but unfortunately, U.S. Patent No. 9,936,086 is already doing damage to software innovation. It’s creating litigation costs for real developers. The creator of this patent is Rothschild Patent Imaging LLC, or RPI, a company linked to a network of notorious patent trolls connected to inventor Leigh Rothschild. We’ve written about two of them before: Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations, and Rothschild Broadcast Distribution Systems. Now, RPI has used the ’086 patent to sue the Gnome Foundation, a non-profit that makes free software.

        • This Month in Mutter & GNOME Shell | November 2019

          GNOME Shell saw many improvements during November. The commit log was dominated by cleanups, but a few improvements and polishments also found their way into the code.

          The authentication dialog received a batch of bugfixes, many cleanups of deprecated objects and functions landed. The top panel’s application name is now correctly sized by hiding the spinner near it.

          GNOME Shell’s cache of icons and textures received a fix to invalidate properly when dealing with scaling changes. All-day events are properly displayed in the messaging menu now.

          Finally, the Alt-Tab switcher now doesn’t mistakenly show an overflow indicator when the list of windows fits the screen size.

        • GNOME Shell + Mutter Had A Busy November With Some Big Performance Optimizations

          The GNOME developers were particularly busy last month with various improvements to GNOME Shell and Mutter for increasing the usability of the desktop and optimizing its performance / power-savings.

        • GNOME programs go global

          GUADEC not only offers a place for people to enjoy different sessions and workshops, but it’s also a unique opportunity to bring together the GNOME Foundation staff, board members, and Advisory Board for making strategic decisions.

          While GUADEC has historically been in Europe, we are very excited that GUADEC 2020 will take place in Zacatecas, Mexico. This will provide an opportunity for people who have trouble traveling to Europe. By hosting the event on the North American continent, a whole new group of people will be able to join us to celebrate GNOME.

          Another interesting event we have is GNOME.Asia. GNOME.Asia 2019 took place in Gresik, Indonesia between 11 – 13 of October at the Universitas Muhammadiyah Gresik (UMG). This too was a rousing success. It was the biggest event organized by the GNOME community in Asia, with the first day dedicated to workshops and the second and third days for presentations.

          In 2019 we also worked with the KDE community on organizing LAS in Barcelona, Spain. LAS is designed to accelerate the growth of the Linux application ecosystem by bringing together everyone involved in creating a great Linux application user experience. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and the hard work of the organizing team, attendance was free for everyone.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • MX Linux MX-19 petito feo – The longest mile

          Well, well, well. MX linux MX-19 petito feo is a nice distro. It has a lot of great elements. But … it also has a lot of annoyances as well as problems that weren’t there in the previous edition. Overall, you get very decent connectivity and media out of the box, and the live session data save is a big plus. That said, Samba sharing ease is not there anymore, and the Firefox profile wasn’t ported. Customization was quite annoying, and there were actual application errors.

          I do like MX Linux, and it is improving in many aspects. It feels cleaner, more consistent, the MX Tools package is becoming more useful and powerful, and the application selection is respectable. But these are offset with problems that didn’t exist in the past, and they make me feel that the development team might have found themselves trapped, plateauing. I hope this is a one-time glitch. All in all, 7.75-8/10, definitely worth testing, but for now, I believe Continuum was better put together, by ever so slight margin. Let’s hope this ain’t the end of a long, beautiful run. To be continued.

      • New Releases

        • A Linux distro can now go ‘undercover’ and pretend to be Windows 10

          Kali is a popular security-focused Linux distro, and with its latest version, the OS has gained a surprising new feature – the ability to look like Windows 10.

          This comes courtesy of an ‘undercover’ mode, essentially a theme which turns the desktop into a mock version of Windows 10, complete with a taskbar, windows with a ‘file manager’, and so forth.

        • Latest Kali Linux features an Undercover Windows 10 theme

          The latest version of the Linux distribution Kali Linux features a new “Undercover” theme that turns the interface into one that resembles Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system.

          Kali Linux is a security-focused Linux distribution based on Debian that is used by security researchers and hackers alike. It features advanced penetration testing and security auditing tools and is maintained by Offensive Security, a security training company.

          The new Undercover theme that the developers integrated into Kali Linux makes the interface look like Windows 10. While it does not match Microsoft’s Windows 10 theme 100%, it may trick anyone who catches a glimpse of the desktop in thinking that Windows 10 is used on the device.

        • Meet “Hera” elementary OS 5.1, here are the new features

          Today, the elementary Team officially announced the release and availability of elementary OS 5.1, codenamed “Hera.” The much-anticipated release comes after over a year of development efforts by the team.

          It includes a host of new features and improvements along with brand new artwork and updated components. Let’s delve into the nuts and bolts of the elementary team’s latest offering.

        • Introducing elementary OS 5.1 Hera

          Last October, we announced elementary OS 5 Juno with wide-ranging updates to provide a more refined user experience, improve productivity for new and seasoned users alike, and take our developer platform to the next level. Today we’re pleased to announce elementary OS 5.1 Hera, the latest major update.

        • elementary OS 5.1 Hera Released. Here’s What’s New

          elementary announced the release of latest OS 5.1 – codenamed “Hera”. Read on to find out what’s in store.

          elementary OS is a “fast, open and privacy-respecting” Linux operating system developed by elementary, inc for non-technical and migrated users from MacOS/Windows. Based on Ubuntu and long term support releases, elementary is often cited as a nice looking operating system with handful set of curated apps developed specifically for you.

          Elementary – in a snapshot – comes with Pantheon desktop environment which is built upon GNOME, applications developed for different user purposes and easy to adopt for any users – be it new/migrated or advanced users.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Tumbleweed Snapshots Rate Top-Notch, Get Krita, QEMU, Mesa Updates

          Closing out the month, there were two snapshots with version upgrades and one snapshot (20191127) that produced some minor changes to a couple Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) packages.

          The first Tumbleweed snapshot for December arrived with the 20191202 snapshot. Updated were also made to ALSA with the update of the versions of alsa-plugins, alsa-utils and asla, which dropped 25 patches and fixed regressions for the UCM parser. GNOME had several package updates for gedit, evolution and more. The 3.34.2 version of gnome-software fixed a potential threading crash when using flatpak and had an upstream fix for fwupd. An updated version of ModemManager 1.12.0, which is a DBus-activated daemon that controls mobile broadband devices and connections, had a large amount of improvements and changes to include adding support for Mobile Station Based Assisted-GPS in addition to Mobile Station Assisted Assisted-GPS. Revision control tool mercurial 5.2 made some backwards compatibility changes and added some new feature extensions with its quarterly release. The update of perl 5.30.1 triggered an issue recorded on the snapshot reviewer because the newer version and patch that came in it is problematic for embedded Perl usage. Several other packages were updated in the snapshot to include qemu 4.1.93, re2 20191101, xen and xorg-x11-server. The one major version change in the snapshot was an update to terminal multiplexer tmux 3.0a; the major release that allows its users to easily switch between several programs in one terminal offers new features like added support for the SD (scroll down) escape sequence and for underscore colors.

        • Etherpad updated

          Please don’t be surprised, if you visit our Etherpad instance at https://etherpad.opensuse.org/ today: the new version also comes with a new theme. All the old pads are still there and should be available under their old URL.

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora Desktops – Memory Footprints

          There are over 40 desktops in Fedora. Each desktop has it’s own strengths and weaknesses. Usually picking a desktop is a very personal preference based on features, looks, and other qualities. Sometimes, what you pick for a desktop is limited by hardware constraints.

          This article is to help people compare Fedora desktops based on the desktop baseline memory. To narrow the scope, we are only looking at the desktops that have an official Fedora Live image.

      • Debian Family

        • Third Point Release for UCS 4.4

          As always, the errata updates of the past months have resulted in many small and large innovations, which we have collected and released with the release of UCS 4.4-3. I would like to give you an overview of the most important new features and an outlook on what we are currently working on. Important new features include better checking of required resources during installation, avoidance of Windows Explorer crashes with extended file system permissions, documentation of best practices in dealing with Windows printer drivers and printer settings, and improvements to the Samba 4 Connector.

        • Proxmox VE 6.1 released!

          We are very excited to announce the general availability of Proxmox VE 6.1.

          It is built on Debian Buster 10.2 and a specially modified Linux Kernel 5.3, QEMU 4.1.1, LXC 3.2, ZFS 0.8.2, Ceph (Nautilus), Corosync 3.0, and more of the current leading open-source virtualization technologies.

          This release brings new configuration options available in the GUI which make working with Proxmox VE even more comfortable and secure. Editing the cluster-wide bandwidth limit for traffic types such as migration, backup-restore, clone, etc. is possible via the GUI. If the optional package ifupdown2 of the Debian network interface manager is installed, it’s now possible to change the network configuration and reload it in the Proxmox web interface without a reboot. We have improvements to 2-factor authentication with TOTP and U2F.

          The HA stack has been improved and comes with a new ‘migrate’ shutdown policy, migrating running services to another node on shutdown.

          In the storage backend, all features offered by newer kernels with Ceph and KRBD are supported with version 6.1.

          We have some notable bug fixes, one of them being the QEMU monitor timeout issue or stability improvements for corosync. Countless other bugfixes and smaller improvements are listed in the release notes.

        • Tails 4.1 is out

          This release fixes many security vulnerabilities. You should upgrade as soon as possible.

        • Tails 4.1 Anonymous OS Released with Latest Tor Browser, Linux Kernel 5.3.9

          The Tails project released today Tails 4.1, a monthly update to their Debian-based amnesic incognito live system (also known as Anonymous OS) that brings all the latest software updates and various improvements.

          Coming five weeks after Tails OS 4.0, a major release based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series, Tails OS 4.1 is here with a new default OpenPGP key server, namely https://keys.openpgp.org/, which the project says is “more trustworthy than other OpenPGP public key servers.”

          According to the Tails developers, the new default OpenPGP key server doesn’t distribute third-party signatures, references OpenPGP public keys only after sending a confirmation email to the addresses listed in the key, and also blocks OpenPGP certificate flooding attacks.

        • Debian breaking Unison (again) [Ed: Norbert Preining talks about the real issues, even at risk to his speech inside Debian]

          Congratulations – Debian/sid now contains a unison binary that is incompatible with Debian/buster, the stable release. That means, everyone who relies on unison for file synchronization across servers (running buster) and development machines (running sid) is now busted. Trying to use the new binary from sid on buster also doesn’t work, due to GLIBC incompatibility.

        • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, November 2019

          I was assigned 24.5 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative and carried over 0.5 hours from October. I worked 21.25 hours this month, so will carry over 3.75 hours to December.

          I released Linux 3.16.76, rebased the Debian package onto that, and sent out a request for testing.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical Launches Ubuntu Pro for Amazon Web Services

          Ubuntu Pro is built exclusively for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and caters to the needs of (their ever growing) cloud and enterprise customers.

          A series of “Pro” images spanning several LTS versions, going as far back as Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, are being made available on AWS.

          The new images feature all of the optimisations found in Ubuntu’s standard Amazon Machine Images (AMI) plus a raft of additional benefits typically offered through Canonical’s commercial support offering, Ubuntu Advantage.

        • Canonical Announces “Ubuntu Pro” For AWS

          Looking to further capitalize upon the popularity of Ubuntu in the cloud, Canonical today announced Ubuntu Pro premium images for Amazon’s EC2 cloud.

          Ubuntu Pro images for Amazon Web Services covers Ubuntu LTS releases with extra functionality focused on enterprise deployments of Ubuntu in the cloud. The principal benefits of Ubuntu Pro include…

        • Canonical Announces Ubuntu Pro, Premium Images for Amazon Web Services

          Ubuntu Pro, as Canonical likes to call these new premium images for AWS, covers the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS releases and allows enterprises to purchase longer updates and security maintenance, critical compliance features, as well as broader security coverage with no contract required. The Ubuntu Pro images are supported on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).

          “The new Ubuntu Pro images will deliver a further optimised experience to our customers, providing additional security and performance to their Ubuntu instances,” said Deepak Singh, VP of Compute Services at AWS. “Available directly through AWS Marketplace, Ubuntu Pro can be purchased, deployed and launched on AWS in a seamless and effortless manner, removing the need for additional provisioning or procurement processes.”

        • Canonical announces Ubuntu Pro for Amazon Web Services

          Canonical today announced the availability of Ubuntu Pro images for Amazon Web Services (AWS). Available via AWS Marketplace, covering Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, 16.04 LTS and 18.04 LTS, these new premium images allow enterprises to purchase extended maintenance, broader security coverage, and critical compliance features by simply selecting and running an image on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) — with no contract required.

          The new Ubuntu Pro images include all the optimisations in the standard Ubuntu Amazon Machine Images (Amazon AMIs), which Canonical publishes across AWS Regions, plus key security and compliance subscriptions automatically enabled. Customers can purchase Ubuntu Pro directly through AWS for a streamlined procurement process, enabling quicker access to these commercial features offered by Canonical.

        • Canonical Patches Intel Microcode Regression on Ubuntu PCs with Skylake CPUs

          On November 12th, 2019, Canonical published important kernel security updates for all supported Ubuntu Linux releases to address two flaws (CVE-2019-11135 and CVE-2019-11139) discovered by various security researchers in Intel processors using Transactional Synchronization Extensions (TSX), as well as on certain Intel Xeon processors.

          While the first vulnerability could allow a local attacker to expose sensitive information, such as memory contents that were previously stored in microarchitectural buffers, the second issue could allow a local privileged attacker to cause a denial of service (system crash). The intel-microcode version that caused the regression was 3.20191112.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” Xfce – BETA Release

          Linux Mint 19.3 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2023. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” MATE – BETA Release

          Linux Mint 19.3 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2023. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” Cinnamon – BETA Release

          Linux Mint 19.3 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2023. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 Enters Beta With HiDPI Support Finally Nearing Completion, New Default Apps

          Linux Mint 19.3 continues to be based on the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS package set but with its various additions and customizations. Linux Mint 19.3 introduces its “System Reports” functionality for trying to identify missing software packages/drivers, the Language Settings area now allows configuring the user’s time format, and the HiDPI support is finally “almost complete”.. Nearly all of the default applications on Linux Mint 19.3 are HiDPI supportive with just a few items remaining.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” Beta Officially Released with New Apps, Updated Artwork

          The Linux Mint project released today the beta version of the upcoming Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” operating system for all official flavors, including Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce.

          In development since early September, the Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” operating system has entered public beta testing today ahead of its official launch later this month around the Christmas holidays.

          This release is based on Canonical’s latest Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system and ships with the Linux 5.0 kernel. Just like Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, it will be supported with software updates and security patches until 2023.

          “Linux Mint 19.3 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2023. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use,” reads today’s announcement.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” beta approved for release, download now

          FOSS Linux first reported back in October that Mint developers plan to release the Linux Mint 19.3 before Christmas.

          The announcement was made via their November 2019 newsletter. They added that the team is still optimistic about the official release before Christmas. They did also mentioned that the Linux Mint 19.3 Beta release will be made available for download on Tuesday, December 3, 2019.

        • Linux Mint 19.3 Beta XFCE Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Linux Mint 19.3 Beta XFCE. Enjoy!

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • Open Source Firmware Conference 2019 Videos Posted

          Taking place back in September at Google and Facebook facilities was the Open-Source Firmware Conference (OSFC 2019). For those not able to attend, video recordings of those talks are now freely available online.

          OSFC 2019 saw the introduction of System76 Coreboot-loaded laptops, AMD getting (back) involved with Coreboot, Oreboot as a Rust-based open-source Coreboot implementation, and Intel to more liberally license some of their firmware-related binaries, among other interesting topics discussed.

        • Richard Hughes: OSFC 2019 – Introducing the Linux Vendor Firmware Service

          A few months ago I gave a talk at OSFC.io titled Introducing the Linux Vendor Firmware Service.

        • GNOME.Asia Summit 2019

          Back from Gresik more than one month, here is my late report for GNOME.Asia Summit 2019.

          This year, GNOME.Asia Summit 2019 was held in Universitas Muhammadiyah Gresik. It’s my seventh GNOME.Asia Summit that I attend.

        • Laura Czajkowski: The Do’s and Don’ts of Booth Duty

          Allow enough time: We are all busy but we must allow enough time to do each event properly. For example, arrive the evening before rather than the morning of the conference. Things often go wrong; let’s give ourselves enough time to fix a delayed flight or lost bag of cables.

          Be punctual!Show up way before the attendees. Remember, you’re on duty as a representative of your organisation, so you should be on the show floor 30 mins before it opens for a final briefing and to find out where everything is.

          Demos: The demo Gods can be cruel. Check your display each morning to make sure it (still) works.

          Dress code: We live in the world of Insta we are professionals., Figure out if your organisation has a preferred way dress code for an event, e.g. if there is a specific t-shirt that needs to be worn for a launch. Trust me when I say this, wear comfortable shoes, I’d go as far as to say bring alternative shoes for different days. Standing is difficult, make it easier on your little twinkle toes!

          Be prepared: If you are in charge of a demo, make sure the laptop is set up and ready the day before, turning up to the event to get it setup or installed is not a good use of your time. Make sure the laptop is charged the night before. Bring your charger with you, not everyone has the same connector and an adaptor if you’re travelling in a different country to be on the safe side!

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Firefox 71.0 Released with Native MP3 Decoding

            Mozilla Firefox released the latest stable 71.0 a day ago. Here’s what’s new and how to install it in Ubuntu.


            You’ll be able to upgrade the pre-installed Firefox to the latest 71.0 release in Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 19.04, and Ubuntu 19.10, through the Software Updater in 2 or 3 days (check the building page).

          • Firefox 71 rolls out: Windows 10 picture-in-picture video plus wider VPN beta for $4.99

            Mozilla boasts that Enhanced Tracking Protection in Firefox has now blocked one trillion tracking requests since launching in July.

            Firefox users will now see notifications when the browser blocks web-based crypto-miners. Users also get a running tally of blocked trackers in the dashboard behind the shield icon.

          • Firefox 71

            Firefox 71 is available. New features include improvements to the Lockwise integrated password manager and native MP3 decoding.

          • Firefox 71 arrives with better Lockwise and tracker blocking, Picture-in-Picture on Windows

            Mozilla today launched Firefox 71 for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Firefox 71 includes Lockwise password manager improvements, Enhanced Tracking Protection tweaks, and Picture-in-Picture video on Windows. There isn’t too much else new, possibly because Mozilla is getting ready to speed up Firefox releases to a four-week cadence (from six to eight weeks) next year. The company did, however, share updates on its VPN efforts and Firefox Preview.

            Firefox 71 for desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. The Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play, and the iOS version is on Apple’s App Store. According to Mozilla, Firefox has about 250 million active users, making it a major platform for web developers to consider.

          • Firefox 72 Enters Development with Picture-in-Picture Support on Linux and macOS

            With the release of Firefox 71 to the stable channel, Mozilla already kicked off the development of the next major release of its open-source and cross-platform web browser, Firefox 72.
            Firefox 72 is now available for public beta testing, which means that we can have an early look at its features and improvements. One of these will certainly please Linux and macOS users as Picture-in-Picture (PiP) support is finally coming to their platforms.

            Picture-in-Picture support has just been added for Windows users in the Firefox 71 release announced earlier today, but with Firefox 72 it also comes to Linux and macOS users, allowing them to detach a video from its web page and watch it in a floating window while working in other tabs.

          • Mozilla Thunderbird 68.3.0 Released for Linux, Windows, and macOS

            Thunderbird continues to be one of the preferred email clients on the desktop, despite most platforms already coming with a native mail app. Windows 10, for example, now bundles a modern Mail app, while macOS integrates its very own email client developed by Apple.

            But despite these, Mozilla Thunderbird remains a leading email client, and the updates released by the parent company every now and then further polish the experience with it on all platforms.

          • Using WebAssembly from .NET with Wasmtime

            Wasmtime, the WebAssembly runtime from the Bytecode Alliance, recently added an early preview of an API for .NET Core, Microsoft’s free, open-source, and cross-platform application runtime. This API enables developers to programmatically load and execute WebAssembly code directly from their .NET programs.

      • FSF

        • Licensing / Legal

          • It All Began With Stallman

            The water we drink was once upon a time free. It was a free gift from nature. Gradually that changed. Even 20 years back people in my village could not believe that in cities they sell water. But now it’s a reality everywhere and soon enough water became a political issue. So lot of movements began to free water from private hands (back to the Commons). Wherever water gets privatised there are people in newly-formed organisations and parties that fight against it. Even though we don’t have a single global movement to free water, we do not say to those who are fighting against water privatisation that “you work is good. But water was free before you began your movement. That’s why others have got chance to fight against privatisation.”

            Is that what you say to people who put their lives at risk in the name of fighting against corporate greed? No sensible person would tell you that. You have to remember that a lot of people lost their lives fighting against water privatisation. We have to respect their effort.

      • Programming/Development

        • Dear anonymous internet user asking for help..

          First, I just consider it rude. You come at me hiding who you are but still expect me to do free work for you. Try doing that in real life. What were you thinking? Not introducing yourself AND using a fake identity?

          Second, I have found that this anonymity also means respondents feel free to simply walk away with no damage to their reputation. You report a complicated bug, I spend some time investigating, ask about details, and I get no response. Some weeks later a very similar question comes in from a fresh email address, likely the same person, still not wanting to do the work to get help.


          As a case in point consider @SwiftOnSecurity. We don’t know who they are, but their contribution is such that “Swift” is able to get a CEO phoned out of bed at 2AM in the morning with a single tweet. Be like Tay.

          “Our corporate policy does not allow us to disclose our use of open source software”

          While I have sympathy for the pain this will cause you individually, my open source policy does not allow me to offer free help to corporations who do not even have the decency to admit that they use my software.

        • The Rust Programming Language Blog: Launching the 2019 State of Rust Survey

          It’s that time again! Time for us to take a look at how the Rust project is doing, and what we should plan for the future. The Rust Community Team is pleased to announce our 2019 State of Rust Survey! Whether or not you use Rust today, we want to know your opinions. Your responses will help the project understand its strengths and weaknesses and establish development priorities for the future.

          Completing this survey should take about 10?15 minutes and is anonymous unless you choose to give us your contact information. We will be accepting submissions until December 16th, and we will write up our findings a month or so afterwards to blog.rust-lang.org

        • Qt 5.14.0 RC released

          Qt 5.14.0 RC is released today. As usual you can get it by using online installer (for new installations) or by using maintenance tool (existing online installation). And in addition there is also offline installers in qt account or download.qt.io for users who can’t use online ones. Delta to beta3 as an attachment.

          Target is to release Qt 5.14.0 12th December so please test RC now & report all new release blockers immediately. Also make sure those are visible in release blocker list (https://bugreports.qt.io/issues/?filter=21539). But remember that Qt 5.14.1 is also coming soon so we can fix most of findings there and fix only real blockers in ’5.14.0′.

        • Qt 5.14 On Track For Releasing Next Week With New Scenegraph Renderer, Better HiDPI

          While missing the original release target of the end of November, The Qt Company is buttoning up Qt 5.14 for debut next week. Today, however, marks the release candidate availability for those wanting to test out this forthcoming Qt5 release prior to more of the development efforts shifting to Qt 6.0.

        • Rust 2020

          Technically speaking, it’s past the deadline for #rust2020 posts, but I’m running late this year, and I’m going to post something anyway. In this post, I am focusing on what I see as the “largest scale” issues, and not on technical initiatives. If I have time, I will try to post a follow-up talking about some of the key technical initiatives that I think we should focus on as well.

        • Python

          • Get Python Package Download Statistics with Condastats

            Hundreds of millions of Python packages are downloaded using Conda every month. That’s why we are excited to announce the release of condastats, a conda statistics API with Python interface and Command Line interface. Now anyone can use this tool to conduct research on usage statistics for Conda packages. This project is inspired by pypistats, which is a Python client and CLI for retrieving PyPI package statistics.

          • Python, Boto3, and AWS S3: Demystified

            Amazon Web Services (AWS) has become a leader in cloud computing. One of its core components is S3, the object storage service offered by AWS. With its impressive availability and durability, it has become the standard way to store videos, images, and data. You can combine S3 with other services to build infinitely scalable applications.

            Boto3 is the name of the Python SDK for AWS. It allows you to directly create, update, and delete AWS resources from your Python scripts.

          • Python and AArch64

            Python runs everywhere, right? All those libraries are just one ‘pip install’ away. And we are used to it. Unless on AArch64.

            On AArch64 when you do pip install SOMETHING you may end with “no compiler installed” or “No lapack/blas resources found.” messages. All due to lack of wheel files generated for this architecture… And even if you have all dependencies installed then building takes more time than it takes to install existing wheel file.

          • Python 3.7.5 : The new Django version 3.0 .

            On December 2, 2019, comes with Django 3.0 Released.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #397 (Dec. 3, 2019)

            Guido van Rossum Withdraws From the Python Steering Council

            “Part of my reason is that in the end, SC duty feels more like a chore to me than fun, and one of the things I’m trying to accomplish in my life post Dropbox retirement is to have more fun. To me, fun includes programming in and contributing to Python, for example the PEG parser project.”

          • Excel vs Python: How to Do Common Data Analysis Tasks

            In this tutorial, we’ll compare Excel and Python by looking at how to perform basic analysis tasks across both platforms.

            Excel is the most commonly used data analysis software in the world. Why? It’s easy to get the hang of and fairly powerful once you master it. In contrast, Python’s reputation is that it’s more difficult to use, though what you can do with it is once you’ve learned it is almost unlimited.

          • Mailing lists for my Python IPC packages

            My package sysv_ipc celebrates its 11th birthday tomorrow, so I thought I would give it a mailing list as a gift. I didn’t want its sibling posix_ipc to get jealous, so I created one for that too.

          • Developer Tools & Frameworks for a Python Developer

            Due to the trend for data sciences and popularity on the use of Python to teach computer programming.

            Due to the growing amount of tools and framework used for Python from scripting to building AI there’s always a tool or framework to make Python development easy to get started.

            Below is my list of developer tools and frameworks that are useful for development using Python.

          • Friendly-traceback, Real Python, Pycon, and more

            After an interruption that lasted a few months, I’ve finally been able to return to programming, more specifically working mostly on Friendly-traceback. For those that do not know Friendly-traceback: it aims to replace the sometimes obscure traceback generated by Python with something easier to understand. Furthermore, Friendly-traceback is designed with support for languages other than English so that, in theory, beginners (who are the main target audience for Friendly-traceback) could benefit no matter what their native language is … provided someone would have done the translation into that language, of course.

            As of now, 75 different cases have been tested; you can find them in the documentation. [If you have suggestions for improvements, please do not hesitate to let me know.]

            Recently, a post by Real Python on SyntaxError has given me added impetus to work on Friendly-traceback. I’m happy to report that, other than the cases mentioned dealing with misspelled or missing keywords, all of the other examples mentioned in that post can be analyzed by Friendly-traceback with an appropriate explanation provided. Note that these are not hard-coded examples from that post, so that any similar cases should be correctly identified.

          • Python Bytes Episode #159: Brian’s PR is merged, the src will flow
          • Java vs. Python: Which should you choose?

            Let’s compare the two most popular and powerful programming languages in the world: Java and Python! Both languages have huge community support and libraries to perform almost any programming task, although selecting a programming language usually depends on the developer’s use case. After you compare and contrast, please make sure to answer our poll to share your opinion on which is best.

          • Automatically downloading nursery photos from ParentZone using Selenium

            My son goes to a nursery part-time, and the nursery uses a system called ParentZone from Connect Childcare to send information between us (his parents) and nursery. Primarily, this is used to send us updates on the boring details of the day (what he’s had to eat, nappy changes and so on), and to send ‘observations’ which include photographs of what he’s been doing at nursery.

          • Auto-generating API specifications as OpenAPI, WSDL and Sphinx

            Let’s consider the services below – they represent a subset of a hypothetical API of a telecommunication company. In this case, they are to do with pre-paid cards. Deploy them on your servers in a module called api.py.

            Note that their implementation is omitted, we only deal with their I/O, as it is expressed using SimpleIO.

            What we would like to have, and what we will achieve here, is a website with static HTML describing the services in terms of a formal API specification.

          • GUI Automation using Pyautogui, Python

            PYAUTOGUI is an automation module provided by Python for controlling keyboard and mouse functions via program. This module has almost all the functions which can be performed by keyboard and mouse. We can use these functions to automate mouse and keyboard actions.

          • Beautiful Soup: Build a Web Scraper With Python

            The incredible amount of data on the Internet is a rich resource for any field of research or personal interest. To effectively harvest that data, you’ll need to become skilled at web scraping. The Python libraries requests and Beautiful Soup are powerful tools for the job. If you like to learn with hands-on examples and you have a basic understanding of Python and HTML, then this tutorial is for you.

          • Tensorflow 2.0: Solving Classification and Regression Problems

            After much hype, Google finally released TensorFlow 2.0 which is the latest version of Google’s flagship deep learning platform. A lot of long-awaited features have been introduced in TensorFlow 2.0. This article very briefly covers how you can develop simple classification and regression models using TensorFlow 2.0.

          • Two New Typosquatting Libraries Found on PyPI

            Two new malicious packages were found on the Python Packaging Index (PyPI) that were designed to steal GPG and SSH keys according to ZDNet. The packages were named python3-dateutil and jeIlyfish where the first “L” is actually an I. These two libraries mimicked the dateutil and jellyfish packages respectively.

          • Framework Patterns

            A software framework is code that calls your (application) code. That’s how we distinguish a framework from a library. Libraries have aspects of frameworks so there is a gray area.

            My friend Christian Theune puts it like this: a framework is a text where you fill in the blanks. The framework defines the grammar, you bring some of the words. The words are the code you bring into it.

            If you as a developer use a framework, you need to tell it about your code. You need to tell the framework what to call, when. Let’s call this configuring the framework.

            There are many ways to configure a framework. Each approach has its own trade-offs. I will describe some of these framework configuration patterns here, with brief examples and mention of some of the trade-offs. Many frameworks use more than a single pattern. I don’t claim this list is exhaustive — there are more patterns.

            The patterns I describe are generally language agnostic, though some depend on specific language features. Some of these patterns make more sense in object oriented languages. Some are easier to accomplish in one language compared to another. Some languages have rich run-time introspection abilities, and that make certain patterns a lot easier to implement. A language with a powerful macro facility will make other patterns easier to implement.

            Where I give example code, I will use Python. I give some abstract code examples, and try to supply a few real-world examples as well. The examples show the framework from the perspective of the application developer.

          • Django 3 taps Python async to speed web apps

            Django 3.0, the newest version of the Python framework that allows fast creation of database-backed websites and web services, now supports Python async, one of the most powerful new features in Python to make websites and network services faster.

            Async allows Python programs, especially networking apps, to run more efficiently, but existing applications must be rewritten to use it. Django 3 will only work with Python 3.6 and later versions, the better to work with Python’s async programming features.

            A key way Django provides support for async is via ASGI, a protocol that serves as a standard interface between asynchronous Python applications and async-capable web servers. Previously, Django only supported WSGI, which only supported synchronous web applications. Django 3 will only allow async features to run in an app if it’s deployed as ASGI.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh/awk

          • tee is broken?

            Just found a highly surprising behavior in a core tool I’ve used for decades, so clearly I’m making a note here.


            Answer time! After a tee, a single writer parent feeds two reader children. If a child exits before reading all the data, then when the parent tries to feed that dead child, the parent will get a SIGPIPE. And apparently the default behavior of tee in GNU coreutils (and in the zsh multios redirection) is to give up and to stop feeding all the children at that point. So the second child (wc -l in the examples) ends up with incomplete input. No errors are thrown anywhere, and there’s no indication at all that any data was truncated. Lots of the data is just silently missing.

          • 4 ways to control the flow of your awk script

            There are many ways to control the flow of an awk script, including loops, switch statements and the break, continue, and next commands.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • CSS: An Art, a Science, a Nightmare (Overview of CSS Concepts)

          Some people think CSS is really hard and it’s too much of a hassle to learn. Some people think that since it’s not a programming language (or is it?), it’s so easy that you don’t even have to bother learning it. Ultimately, there’s a lot to CSS, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you learn a few key concepts, you should feel confident looking at or thinking of any design and turning it into reality.

          I’m going to go over some of the parts of CSS that are important on a daily basis, and give some of tips and tricks I’ve come to learn over the years.

  • Leftovers

    • “Parasite” Reaches Toward a Classless Future We Haven’t Fully Imagined

      Bong Joon-ho’s recently released film Parasite isn’t the classical, one-dimensional depiction of poverty where the wretched of the Earth wait to be saved by those of superior intellect and resources. Most of the characters in the film are poor, very smart and forced by circumstances to be incredibly resourceful.

    • Science

      • Innovation

        The previous article introduced the concept of product lifecycles. Examining the lifecycle model leads to the conclusion that the most profitable approach is to focus on the majority markets and largely ignore the innovators. In fact this is valid – within limits!

        Clayton Christensen addresses this in The Innovator’s Dilemma where he introduces two types of innovation: sustaining innovation, which is innovation directed at solving an existing problem, and disruptive innovation, which involves using new technology to initially create new markets and then to ultimately address mainstream markets.

        The concept can be summarized as sustaining innovation is a problem looking for a solution, while disruptive innovation is a solution looking for a problem. For sustaining innovation you understand the problem that needs to be solved and the challenge is to solve it. You understand the market, the customers and their needs, alternative solutions, and competitors. You can perform valid market research, make financial projections, and apply existing resources, processes, and skills.

        Christensen discovered that existing companies do very well with sustaining innovation. They can tackle extraordinarily complex and difficult technologies and apply them to meeting their customers needs. They can make large investments and overcome seemingly impossible challenges. As an old saying goes, understanding the problem is 80% of the solution.

        On the other hand, Christensen also discovered that successful companies do a poor job of dealing with disruptive technologies. They tend to either ignore a new technology until a competitor has established a strong position or they fail to successfully develop and market products built on the new technologies.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • News organizations are engaging more proactively in open-source journalism to rebuild trust in news media

              As news media skepticism grows worldwide and digital tools become increasingly robust and available, reporters and news organizations are engaging more proactively in open-source journalism — a practice in which reporters investigate and construct stories based on publicly available data, including via social media, per The New York Times.

              As digital resources and social media have given all people a public, open platform to communicate, user-generated content has become primary source material and created a trail for open-source journalists to investigate. And by performing investigative research in this way, reporters can more easily connect directly to visual evidence on the web, rather than refer to private sources.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • It’s Hipp to be square: What happened when SQLite creator met GitHub

              There are two notable points in Hipp’s report. For one, he feels that Git could be improved. He considers the Git Rebase command, which alters or removes the history of a commit, to be harmful. Since Git’s own documentation of Rebase is full of warnings about misuse, this is not surprising, though there are circumstances where it can be useful. Hipp is also keen to see a means of revising the comments on previous check-ins because of the importance of documentation.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (intel-ucode and libtiff), Debian (exiv2), Oracle (SDL), Red Hat (kernel, patch, and python-jinja2), and Ubuntu (graphicsmagick, linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-5.0, linux-gcp, linux-gke-5.0, linux-hwe, linux-kvm, linux-oem-osp1, linux-oracle, linux-oracle-5.0, linux-raspi2, linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-hwe, linux-gcp, linux-gke-4.15, linux-hwe, linux-kvm, linux-oem, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux, linux-aws, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-5.3, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, and sqlite3).

          • How to validate your security measures

            In parts one and two of this series, I walked you through hardening your system by identifying unneeded services, and then segmenting and firewalling. Now that you’re all locked down, let’s talk about how we might validate that all of that hard work is actually providing the desired results. In this final installment, we’ll talk about how to scan your network for open ports, and we’ll even touch on vulnerability scanning.

          • Mixcloud Breach Exposes 20 Million Accounts — Mixcloud Responds

            Hackers have managed to breach Mixcloud and expose over 20 million user data accounts. Mixcloud confirmed the breach over the Thanksgiving weekend.

          • Security attacks: 3 habits of the most resilient companies

            What is the difference between a firm that is resilient against cyber threats and one that is vulnerable? What strategies and technologies ensure that a company can continue its day-to-day operations even as it faces a growing list of cyber threats?

            When my team started compiling research to develop PwC’s latest Digital Trust and Insights report, we hoped to answer these questions. We expected to find differences between businesses that are resilient and those that are not, but we were surprised to see the stark differences in the actions and strategies taken by the two groups.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • EFF Releases Certbot 1.0 to Help More Websites Encrypt Their Traffic

              San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today released Certbot 1.0: a free, open source software tool to help websites encrypt their traffic and keep their sites secure.

              Certbot was first released in 2015, and since then it has helped more than two million website administrators enable HTTPS by automatically deploying Let’s Encrypt certificates. Let’s Encrypt is a free certificate authority that EFF helped launch in 2015, now run for the public’s benefit through the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG).

            • Cops Are Running Ring Camera Footage Through Their Own Facial Recognition Software Because Who’s Going To Stop Them

              Ring may be holding off on adding facial recognition tech to its already-problematic security cameras, but that’s not stopping any of its not-exactly-end-users from doing it for themselves.

            • Sen. Cantwell Leads With New Consumer Data Privacy Bill

              There is a lot to like about U.S. Sen. Cantwell’s new Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA). It is an important step towards the comprehensive consumer data privacy legislation that we need to protect us from corporations that place their profits ahead of our privacy.

              The bill, introduced on November 26, is co-sponsored by Sens. Schatz, Klobuchar, and Markey. It fleshes out the framework for comprehensive federal privacy legislation announced a week earlier by Sens. Cantwell, Feinstein, Brown, and Murray, who are, respectively, the ranking members of the Senate committees on Commerce, Judiciary, Banking, and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

            • FBI says it considers FaceApp and TikTok a ‘potential threat’

              Some of the biggest websites in the world are based in countries considered hostile to Western governments. As well as FaceApp, the crosshairs of the security community are also aimed squarely at Chinese social network TikTok, which has exploded in recent years leading to questions over whether there are any of those legendary back doors we love so much.

            • Google Co-Founders Step Down From Management Roles

              The co-founders of Google are stepping down as executives of its parent company, Alphabet, ending a remarkable two decades during which Larry Page and Sergey Brin shaped a startup born in a Silicon Valley garage into one of the largest, most powerful — and, increasingly, most feared — companies in the world.

            • Google Founders Give Up on Being the Warren Buffett of Tech

              Larry Page and Sergey Brin created the Alphabet Inc. holding company in 2015 to give themselves more time to invest in new tech businesses and handed responsibility for Google to Sundar Pichai. The model was inspired by Buffett’s approach of allocating capital to disparate businesses and letting independent CEOs decide how to run the operations.

            • Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin Stepping Down at Alphabet

              Page and Brin started their web search engine in 1998 from a research project at Stanford University, turning it into one of the largest and most-profitable businesses on earth. Page served as the first CEO before the board brought on Eric Schmidt to led the company from 2001 to 2011. Page returned as CEO after that and oversaw Google’s expansion into far-flung areas, including high-speed fiber internet service and longevity research, as well as expensive flops such as its push into social networking. Brin, meanwhile, oversaw the company’s skunkworks lab developing self-driving cars and the doomed Google Glass wearable tech.

            • Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin relinquish control of Alphabet to CEO Sundar Pichai

              “With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure. We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President. Going forward, Sundar will be the CEO of both Google and Alphabet,” Page and Brin wrote.

            • Larry Page and Sergey Brin Hand Over Alphabet’s Reins

              Page and Brin aren’t totally out of the picture. The two cofounders will remain employees of Alphabet and retain their seats on the board, where they together control 51.3 percent of the voting power, according to the most recent regulatory filings. In other words, they still effectively control the company, though they will no longer be running it day to day.

            • Google Founders Sergey Brin And Larry Page Step Down From Top Roles

              The restructuring at the top of Google comes as at time of increased turmoil for the Internet giant.

              Google, the company that was known for the motto “don’t be evil,” has been known for its open and freewheeling culture, with employees encouraged to speak out. But lately, management has been cracking down on dissent and criticism.

              Google fired four engineers last week for accessing internal information. But the workers said they lost their jobs over their labor-organizing efforts. They said they will file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.

              Last year, thousands of Google workers around the world walked out in protest of sexual harassment and bad behavior by executives.

            • Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin step down from parent firm

              The pair will leave their respective roles as Alphabet’s CEO and president but will remain on the company’s board.

              Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai will become Alphabet’s CEO too, a statement said.

            • Google Founders Resign From Alphabet Leadership, Sundar Pichai Becomes CEO

              Google CEO Sundar Pichai is adding another responsibility to his job: Pichai will also be the CEO of parent holding company Alphabet going forward, taking the helm from co-founder and longtime CEO Larry Page.

              Additionally, co-founder Sergey Brin will be resigning from his post as the president of Alphabet. Brin and Page jointly announced the leadership change in a blog post Tuesday afternoon, writing: [...]

            • Facebook Gives Workers a Chatbot to Appease That Prying Uncle

              The answers were put together by Facebook’s public relations department, parroting what company executives have publicly said.

              And the chatbot has a name: the “Liam Bot.” (The provenance of the name is unclear.)

              “Our employees regularly ask for information to use with friends and family on topics that have been in the news, especially around the holidays,” a Facebook spokeswoman said. “We put this into a chatbot, which we began testing this spring.”

            • SMS Replacement is Exposing Users to Text, Call Interception Thanks to Sloppy Telecos

              The Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard is essentially the replacement for SMS. The news shows how even as carriers move onto more modern protocols for communication, phone network security continues to be an exposed area with multiple avenues for attack in some implementations of RCS.

              “I’m surprised that large companies, like Vodafone, introduce a technology that exposes literally hundreds of millions of people, without asking them, without telling them,” Karsten Nohl from cybersecurity firm Security Research Labs (SRLabs) told Motherboard in a phone call.

            • What to Consider Before Trading Your Health Data for Cash

              Financial rewards and gift cards are tantalizing incentives, but you shouldn’t make the choice to trade away your health data without considering the potential issues first.

            • EU to Check How Facebook, Google Use Data: Spokeswoman

              “The Commission has sent out questionnaires as part of a preliminary investigation into Google’s and Facebook’s data practices,” a Commission spokeswoman told AFP.

              “These investigations concern the way data is gathered, processed, used and monetised including for advertising purposes,” she added.

              The Commission did not say who exactly the questionnaires were sent to. It is a step that could lead to a formal investigation.

            • China Implements Mandatory Facial Recognition Scans For New Cell Phone Users

              The government claims that the new requirement will prevent fraud for citizens, but critics see it as the furthering of invasive surveillance measures.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • America’s Potemkin War in Afghanistan
      • US Navy Places $22 Billion Cyber Monday Order for Nuclear Submarines, But Who Is Asking How We Gonna Pay For It?

        “$22 billion could fund a lot of kids learning,” said Albert Lee, a Democrat running for Congress in Oregon. “We need an education race; not a wasted arms race.”

      • Russian taxi service reforms free ride program for domestic violence victims after non-victimized men take advantage

        The taxi hailing service Citymobil was lauded among Russian activists for offering free rides in Moscow to the Nasiliu.net (No to Violence) women’s center. However, a Citymobil representative has now announced that the promotion code for the free taxis will only be made available to those who call Nasiliu.net asking for help escaping domestic violence.

      • We talked to the Russian lawmaker who’s leading the fight against domestic violence from inside the system

        On November 29, Russia’s Federation Council published the draft text of new legislation that would impose additional penalties on domestic violence. Lawmakers have introduced similar bills in the past, but not a single initiative has survived the parliament’s revisions process. Now, the current bill is also showing signs of failure: Women’s rights advocates who helped develop the legislation reported that the text omits several key components they supported. Throughout this process, the legislator leading the charge for more stringent protections against domestic violence has been Oksana Pushkina. Pushkina, who spent 30 years as a media celebrity at predominantly Kremlin-supportive outlets before entering politics in 2015, has been the singular voice for feminist causes in multiple State Duma debates. Meduza special correspondent Sasha Sulim spoke with her shortly before the draft text of the domestic violence bill was revealed. We translated several excerpts of their conversation.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • How to fight lies, tricks,and chaos

        I don’t want to blame people who fall for these tricks. A lot of the problems are exacerbated by companies, governments, and other factors that individuals can’t control. But the internet is full of grifters, tricksters, and outright liars who rely on people’s basic trust to amplify their message. It’s worth slowing down and carefully navigating their traps — to avoid spreading an alarming false rumor, getting angry at a group of people for something they didn’t do, or perpetuating an honest misunderstanding.

    • Environment

      • Greta Thunberg Has Sailed Back to Europe for Climate Talks

        From Stockholm, Sweden, we’re covering the 40th Anniversary of the Right Livelihood Awards, widely known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize.” This year’s recipients include 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who arrived Tuesday in Lisbon, Portugal, after traveling for three weeks across the Atlantic in the 48-foot catamaran La Vagabonde, refusing to fly because of the high carbon footprint of air travel. Thunberg was on her way to attend COP25 in Santiago, Chile, when the conference was abruptly relocated due to mass demonstrations against a proposed subway fare hike. She sounded a rallying cry to fellow youth climate activists as she made landfall in Lisbon, promising to ensure that young people have a seat at the table at the upcoming climate summit in Madrid. “We will continue to make sure within those walls, the voices of the people … especially from the global South — are being heard,” she says.

      • Dammed Good Questions About the Green New Deal

        Hydroelectric power from dams might be the thorniest issue that proponents of the Green New Deal (GND) have to grapple with. Providing more energy than solar and wind combined, dams could well become the key backup “renewable” if it otherwise proves impossible to get off of fossil fuels fast enough.

      • The Hottest Years

        This year has been one of the hottest on record, as the world comes to the end of a decade of “exceptional” heat, the World Meteorological Organisation has said.The past decade, from 2010 to 2019, has almost certainly been the warmest in records dating back to the 19th century, and the past five years from 2015 have also been the hottest on record, the UN body said.

      • After Hottest Decade Since Records Began, WMO Warns World May Face 5°C Rise by Century’s End

        The impacts of the climate crisis “are real and happening now and place huge pressures on communities and countries,” climate scientists said.

      • Massive Attack To Help Study Carbon Footprints of Concerts While on Tour

        Trip hop legends Massive Attack have announced that they will be taking climate scientists on tour with them to study the carbon footprints of music concerts.

      • ‘People Are Underestimating the Force of Angry Kids’: Greta Thunberg Returns to Europe for Climate Summit

        At COP 25, Thunberg said, “we will continue the fight there to make sure that within those walls the voices of the people are being heard.”

      • Energy

        • Meet the Big Polluters Sponsoring COP25

          This week, the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) will descend upon Madrid following an ad-hoc relocation from Santiago, Chile, after huge protests erupted against the government.

        • The Radioactive Legacy We Are Leaving Our Children

          After 70 years of building and operating nuclear power plants across the world, governments are bequeathing to future generations a radioactive legacy.

        • As Nation Transfixed by Impeachment, Trump Quietly Provides Offshore Drilling Industry ‘Sweetheart Giveaway’

          Former lobbyist turned Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, says critic, probably assumed gift “to his former oil and gas client would slip by unnoticed.”

        • “Green Amendment” Movement Demands Constitutional Right to Clean Environment

          By the end of the 1960s, according to former Pennsylvania state legislator Franklin Kury, Pennsylvania had already undergone decades of “brazen” environmental exploitation at the hands of the coal, steel and iron industries.

        • Oil is the New Data

          Another coworker, who had flown in the night before, warned us not to worry if we found ourselves in jail. Don’t panic if you find yourself in jail. Give me a call and we’ll bail you out. Maybe she was joking.

          The flight itself was uncanny. I was flying in from Frankfurt, but it felt a lot like a local American flight to somewhere in the Midwest. The plane was filled with middle-aged American businessmen equipped with black Lenovo laptops and baseball caps. The man next to me wore a cowboy-esque leather jacket over a blue-collared business shirt.

          After I landed in Atyrau’s single-gate airport, I located my driver, who was holding a card with my name on it. He swiftly led me into a seven-seater Mercedes van and drove me to my hotel, one of the only hotels in the city. Everyone from the flight also seemed to stay there. The drive was short. The city was overwhelmingly gray. Most of it was visibly poor. The hotel was an oasis of wealth.

          Across from the hotel was another one of these oases: a gated community with beige bungalows. This was presumably where the expats who worked for Chevron lived. There was a Burger King and a KFC within walking distance. Everyone spoke a bit of English.

          Security was taken extremely seriously. Each time we entered one of Chevron’s offices, our passports were checked, our bags were inspected, and our bodies were patted down. Video cameras were mounted on the ceilings of the hallways and conference rooms. We were instructed to travel only using Chevron’s fleet of taxis, which were wired up with cameras and mics.

          All of this — Atyrau’s extreme security measures and the steady flow of American businesspeople — comes from the fact that the city is home to Kazakhstan’s biggest and most important oil extraction project. In 1993, shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, the newly independent nation opened its borders to foreign investment. Kazakhstan’s state-owned energy company agreed to partner with Chevron in a joint venture to extract oil.

          The project was named Tengizchevroil, or TCO for short, and it was granted an exclusive forty-year right to the Tengiz oil field near Atyrau. Tengiz carries roughly 26 billion barrels of oil, making it one of the largest fields in the world. Chevron has poured money into the joint venture with the goal of using new technology to increase oil production at the site. And I, a Microsoft engineer, was sent there to help.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Indigenous Land Protectors Are Defending the Amazon and Paying With Their Lives

          This week we’re on the road in Stockholm, Sweden, where we’re covering the 40th Anniversary of the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize.” One of this year’s recipients of the award is Yanomami indigenous leader Davi Kopenawa and the organization he co-founded, Hutukara Yanomami Association. The Right Livelihood Foundation has praised them for “their courageous determination to protect the forests and biodiversity of the Amazon, and the lands and culture of its indigenous peoples.” The award comes as indigenous forest protectors and uncontacted tribes in Brazil are increasingly under attack. Last month an indigenous forest protector named Paulo Paulino Guajajara was shot dead in the Amazon by illegal loggers. It was the latest incident in a wave of violence targeting indigenous land protectors since the election of Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro last year. One month ago, human rights groups warned in an open letter that the Amazon’s last uncontacted indigenous people face “genocide,” amid raging fires and mounting incursions into their territories. Brazil’s Indigenous Missionary Council says the number of invasions of indigenous territories has doubled under Bolsonaro — with more than 150 such incidents since January. We speak with Fiona Watson, advocacy and research director for Survival International. The organization is a 1989 winner of the Right Livelihood Award for its work protecting the Amazon.

        • Scientists: Trophy Hunting ‘Not Irreplaceable’ for Conservation Funding
    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • WTO Shutdown: The Kids Are Alright
      • Study Says Russian Trolls Didn’t Have Much Influence On Election; But It’s More Complicated Than That

        Since the election, I’ve been pretty firmly in the camp that believes that those who rushed to blame social media and things like (well documented) Russian attempts to interfere in the election via social media, have been vastly blown out of proportion. It’s resulted in silly things like famous comedians suggesting that if Mark Zuckerberg allows Russians trolls to try to influence another election Zuck should go to jail. That’s just silly. Much of it, to me, seems to be people who expected one outcome in the 2020 election casting blame towards something they could latch onto. Did Russian trolls try to use social media to influence the election? Absolutely. Did the results of the 2016 Presidential election surprise the politically savvy? Absolutely. Does that single correlation mean anything? There’s been little evidence to suggest there is, even as many people assume their must be.

      • Middle America: The Danger for Democrats

        The debate among pundits in Washington, D.C., over which Democratic candidate should run against Donald Trump has come down to an argument over who is less appealing to Midwestern voters—the increasingly out-of-it, gaffe-prone Joe Biden, or scary socialists Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

      • Kamala Harris to End Her 2020 Presidential Campaign, Leaving Third Way Dems ‘Stunned and Disappointed’

        Harris leaves the race after failing to gain traction with voters.

      • ‘Standing With Bernie Because Bernie Stands With Us’: Iowa’s Largest Progressive Group Endorses Sanders

        “We’re committed to using this endorsement to lift up our people and planet first demands and take on the corporate power that wants to maintain the ‘business as usual’ status quo.”

      • ‘He’s Just…Erased’: PBS 2020 Segment Finds Time for Klobuchar, Sestak, and Bullock—But Completely Ignores Bernie Sanders

        It was like watching “manufacturing consent in action,’ said Current Affairs editor Nathan Robinson.

      • Bernie Sanders Has the Backing of Leftists Worldwide

        Leftist leaders from the United Kingdom to South America have a clear ally in the U.S. presidential election. In a crowded presidential primary, Bernie Sanders has distinguished himself from centrists like Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg and even fellow progressive Elizabeth Warren by calling the ouster of Bolivia’s former President Evo Morales a coup, praising Brazil’s former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and drawing parallels between his campaign and mass protests in Chile, Lebanon and Iraq.

      • A Very Sick Man

        Oh man. The Stable Genius just fell off the world stage at London’s NATO meeting. His wee brain frazzled, his pupils amphetamine-huge, he ranted, rambled, raved: Macron was “very, very nasty,” in Syria “I’ve taken the oil,” “the whole situation with nuclear has to be dealt with very strongly,” Adam Schiff is “a deranged human being,” one day Repubs will impeach a Dem….

      • Declaring ‘No One Is Above the Law,’ House Intelligence Committee Releases Trump Impeachment Report

        Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) tweeted in response to the report that “the House Judiciary Committee should accept the Intelligence Committee report and immediately start drawing up articles of impeachment.”

      • ‘I try not to exaggerate my own significance’ Ex-lawmaker and former pro-Kremlin youth activist Robert Schlegel explains why he left Russia to raise his kids in Germany

        In early December, journalists learned that once State Duma deputy and former “Nashi” pro-Kremlin youth group activist Robert Schlegel received German citizenship after moving his family to Munich, where he was working for the cyber-protection company “Acronis.” As a lawmaker, Schlegel voted for legislation that banned Americans from adopting Russian orphans, he introduced a bill to make it a felony for mass media outlets to publish fake news, and he co-authored Russia’s so-called “Google tax.” According to the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which first reported Schlegel’s new place of work, Acronis promptly fired him because of his past at Nashi. Schlegel responded in writing to a few questions from Meduza, saying that he’s currently in Bhutan (in South Asia).

      • Trump Ridiculed for Claiming Unnamed ‘Legal Scholars’ Praised Calls With Ukraine Leader as ‘Absolutely Perfect’

        “Amazing how these people never have names.”

      • Complicity With Imperialism Is Holding Back the Anti-Trump Resistance

        In their efforts to dump President Trump, many Democrats and other liberal critics of Trump have been recycling the same imperialist ideology that produced him.

      • Trump Foundation Gave Away No Money in the Year Before Its Shutdown

        New tax returns for the Donald J. Trump Foundation reveal the charitable organization raised no money and gave none away in the year leading up to President Donald Trump’s agreement to shut down the controversial charitable vehicle.

      • ‘Steaming Nonsense’: Republican Report Claiming Trump Did Nothing Wrong Panned for Ignoring Facts and Witness Testimony

        “Republicans are entirely unperturbed by Trump’s use of his office to solicit foreign interference in the next election on his behalf.”

      • The Left Is Finally Winning the War of Ideas

        Good ideas are like viruses. They grow and spread despite our best efforts to stop them. And yes, our bulbous, awkward species does indeed work very hard to catch and kill good ideas.

      • The New Republican Party
      • The Signature Wound of America’s Wars

        When an announcement of a “Moral Injury Symposium” turned up in my email, I was a bit startled to see that it came from the U.S. Special Operations Command. That was a surprise because many military professionals have strongly resisted the term “moral injury” and rejected the suggestion that soldiers fighting America’s wars could experience moral conflict or feel morally damaged by their service.

      • Trump Is Waging War on America’s Diplomats

        Last year, just before Halloween, Lewis Lukens, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in London, visited a pair of English universities where he spoke about the importance of international cooperation, beseeching students not to “swipe left” on the historic “special relationship” between the U.K. and America. The speeches were—according to a copy of the remarks that Lukens provided to GQ—fairly anodyne, reprising all the things Americans and Brits had learned from each other, all the ways we’ve helped each other over the years, disagreements notwithstanding. At the time, things between the two countries had been strained—in part because President Trump had attacked British leaders, including Prime Minister Theresa May and London Mayor Sadiq Khan—but Lukens, the second-most-senior American diplomat to the United Kingdom, had a request for the students who had gathered to see him: “Don’t write off the special relationship.”

        A week later, Lukens says, his boss, the U.S. ambassador Woody Johnson, an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune and a Trump political appointee, told him that he was done, firing Lukens from his post seven months ahead of when he was scheduled to leave for a new assignment. After nearly 30 years as a foreign service officer, his State Department career was over. The reason? Lukens says he had unwittingly committed a fatal error in his speech: He had mentioned former president Barack Obama.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Moscow’s Higher School of Economics shuts down student journal for critical article on academic who ran for office with government support

        The student funding committee at Moscow’s prestigious Higher School of Economics (HSE) has issued a decision stripping the Doxa student journal of its status as a student organization. Oleg Solodukhin, an advisor to the university’s rector who also leads the committee, broke the news to MBK Media.

      • UNC Gave Racists $2.5 Million To Settle A Lawsuit That Hadn’t Been Filed Yet, And The Racists Are Abusing The DMCA To Hide The Details

        Last Wednesday, right before Thanksgiving, some very odd news broke about the University of North Carolina giving the Sons of Confederate Veterans $2.5 million and a bullshit confederate statue that had been torn down by protesters in 2018. The Sons of Confederate Veterans have a history of promoting racist ideas and movements, with a special focus on promoting Confederate monuments and symbols — symbols of support for slavery from a bunch of literal traitors — as well as promoting historical revisionism about the US Civil War. Contrary to the belief of some, those monuments — including the one at UNC — were put up many years after the Civil War, and were frequently put in place as a show of racist attitudes and beliefs, not as a historical remembrance. There’s a reason so many places are choosing to take those down.

      • Want To See Pete Davidson Do Standup? There’s An NDA You Have To Sign First…

        I never stop being surprised at how often the topic of comedy and comedians makes it on our pages. Between strange concepts like comedians claiming copyright on stand-up jokes and a more violent war sometimes waged on the technology audience members carry around in their pockets, it really does feel like those in comedy should have, you know, a better sense of humor about all of this.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • CIA spying on Assange’s lawyers exposes criminal operation against WikiLeaks founder

        The revelations are further proof that the drive to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange constitutes an illegal frame-up, beginning with the false accusations of sexual assault that were concocted to serve as a pretext to detain Assange in the first place. The entire political and media establishment in the US and the UK, with support from Australia, Sweden and Ecuador, as well as “left” politicians like Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, has conspired to slander Assange as a monster, leaving him to rot in London’s Belmarsh Prison, where he has been subjected to what UN Rapporteur Nils Melzer calls “torture.”

      • WikiLeaks editor Kristinn Hrafnsson: “If Julian is taken to that Devil’s Island across the Atlantic, his life is lost”

        I can only speculate when it comes to the intrigues of politics here, but we all know that there is pressure from the US. We see the great pressure that is placed on the UK government to play the role of the lapdog of the US empire. I can imagine that similar things apply on this end.

        But this is totally unacceptable and the general public here must demand that it end, not just on the obvious humanitarian basis, but also because of the principles that are at stake here, which are gradually being recognised.

        People are seeing that this is not just an attack on the person of Julian Assange. It is an attack on journalism and the foundation of our democracies. There has to be a push on the government here to take action and do everything in its power to stop this nonsense.

      • Australian MPs plan to visit ailing Julian Assange in British jail

        Some federal parliamentarians plan to travel to Britain to visit jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who the organisation’s editor-in-chief, Kristinn Hrafnsson, says is in poor health and “losing weight rapidly”.

        Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, who co-chairs a group of parliamentarians working to bring Mr Assange home, said the MPs hoped to meet with Mr Assange, his legal team and British parliamentarians during the trip early next year.


        In a speech at the National Press Club on Tuesday, Mr Hrafnsson said Mr Assange was being targeted for releasing embarrassing information about US misconduct.

        “Julian has sacrificed everything so that whistleblowers can shine light on this kind of serious wrongdoing, so the public can understand truths about our world, and for the principles of press freedom,” Mr Hrafnsson said.

        The charges against Mr Assange in the US relate to WikiLeaks receiving and publishing thousands of classified cables on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      • US efforts to extradite Julian Assange akin to rendition, WikiLeaks editor says

        The planned extradition and prosecution of Julian Assange by the United States is a “new form of forced rendition” and a “dangerous precedent” for press freedom, according to the WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, Kristinn Hrafnsson.

        Ahead of a private briefing for Australian parliamentarians on Tuesday afternoon, Harfnsson, an Icelandic-based investigative journalist, told the National Press Club in Canberra the “forced rendition” of Assange was not occurring “with a sack over the head and an orange jumpsuit but with the enabling of the UK legal system and with the apparent support of the Australian government”.

        “I strongly believe that resolving this issue has important international implications,” Hrafnsson said. “Prolonging it creates an enabling environment for the deterioration of press freedom standards globally”.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • ‘They Want Us Afraid:’ Fired Google Workers Fight Back Against Tech Giant With NLRB Complaint

        “They count on the fear, the sadness, and the anger that we are all feeling to stop us all from exercising our rights. But what they didn’t count on is the strength, the resolve, and the solidarity of Googlers and our allies.”

      • Critics Decry ‘Publicity Stunt With Genuine Consequences’ as Trump Deploys ‘Surge’ of Park Rangers to Patrol Southern Border

        “Building a despicable wall through our spectacular borderlands isn’t enough for Trump.”

      • Desperate Asylum Seekers Running Through Traffic at Border Crossing

        For months, asylum seekers have been prohibited from filing their claims at U.S. border crossings under a much-criticized Trump administration policy. Now some are sprinting down vehicle lanes or renting cars to try to make it inside the U.S.

      • ICE Says Students Duped By Its Fake College Sting Should Have Known It Was A Sting

        Those assholes at ICE are still at it. For most of the past year, ICE’s fake college sting has resulted in a long string of arrests, but not very many prosecutions.

      • Brown University Committee Votes to Divest From Companies Complicit in Human Rights Abuses in Palestine

        The vote comes eight months after 69 percent of student voters supported a referendum to divest from companies profiting from military occupation.

      • California Sheriff’s Dept. Manages To Piss Off Local Prosecutor By Consistently Mishandling Evidence

        Hey, it’s only people’s freedom on the line. Why try harder?

      • How McKinsey Helped the Trump Administration Detain and Deport Immigrants

        Just days after he took office in 2017, President Donald Trump set out to make good on his campaign pledge to halt illegal immigration. In a pair of executive orders, he ordered “all legally available resources” to be shifted to border detention facilities and called for hiring 10,000 new immigration officers.

        The logistical challenges were daunting, but as luck would have it, Immigration and Customs Enforcement already had a partner on its payroll: McKinsey & Company, an international consulting firm brought on under the Obama administration to help engineer an “organizational transformation” in the ICE division charged with deporting migrants who are in the United States unlawfully.

      • Russian Activist Faces Unfounded Pornography Charges

        A Russian feminist and LGBT activist is under house arrest for allegedly distributing pornography. It’s yet another example of Russia using unfounded accusations and vague laws to intimidate certain activists.

      • Violence and the State

        The state rests its power on a monopoly of violence. Indeed, in the final analysis a state is nothing but a monopoly of violence. Even when a state does good things, like tax to provide healthcare, it ultimately depends on its ability to employ violence to enforce the collection of the tax. Arrest and imprisonment is, absolutely, violence. We may not recognise it as violence, but if you try to resist arrest and imprisonment you will quickly see that it is violence. Whether or not blows are struck or arms twisted to get someone there, or they go quietly under threat, confining somebody behind concrete and steel is violence.

      • After Trump reversed Obama’s restrictions on private federal prisons, states started banning them instead

        22 states do not use private prison contractors, and three more have just passed legislation banning them: Nevada, Illinois and California (Colorado and Minnesota have pending legislation on the matter).

        The finance sector has cut private prisons’ lines of credit, with Jpmorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Suntrust, Barclays and Bank of America cutting off customers like GEO Group.

        In response, private prisons have created a media relations group called Day 1 Alliance (D1A) whose focus is “spreading its message by engaging with the media…[to counter] the false, distorted rhetoric that activists and some politicians use against this industry and the facts on the ground.”

      • Amazon Workers to Protest Outside Jeff Bezos’ Penthouse on Cyber Monday

        Last week, Amazon warehouse workers demonstrated outside the massive Amazon fulfillment center on Staten Island’s Eastern Shore—known as JFK8—and presented their first public list of demands to management. In their petition, which was signed by more than 600 Staten Island Amazon employees, workers asked for increased break times from 15 to 30 minutes on 10-hour shifts, and free public transportation to and from work. Some workers commute up to three hours from as far away as the Bronx and Queens.

        Monday’s march at Bezos’ penthouse is being organized by many of the same labor organizations that helped to organize the protest at JFK8, and is meant to put more pressure on the company to improve its workers’ conditions.

    • Monopolies

      • DOJ Wimps Out On Wireless Sector eSIM Antitrust Investigation

        Last year, the DOJ announced it had launched an investigation into whether AT&T, Verizon and a telecommunications standards organization had conspired to make it harder for consumers to switch mobile carriers. At the heart of the controversy was eSIM, a technology that’s supposed to make it easier than ever to switch carriers without consumers needing to buy and install a new SIM card. With eSIM, user identification technology of a traditional SIM card is instead transferred to the device’s processor or modem itself. Ideally, that could let a consumer switch carriers within just a few seconds.

      • Viagogo’s $4 Billion StubHub Acquisition Faces Regulatory Challenge

        The FanFair Alliance has filed an official complaint with the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) relating to Viagogo’s $4 billion purchase of StubHub from eBay.

      • Green Party announces end to “throwaway economy” and create a “Repair Cafe” in every community

        The launch takes place at the Goodlife Centre, Southwark; a community focused studio and workshop space. The Party will announce two key policies: a “Right to Repair” and “Repair Cafes”.

      • Facebook at Risk of 30% Drop From U.S. Regulations, Citi Warns

        Citigroup transferred coverage of Facebook to analyst Jason Bazinet, who told clients that the company “likely” faces three long-term threats from the U.S. government: being forced to unwind the Instagram acquisition, having to offer a fully private service to paying customers and complying with potential new U.S. rules mirroring the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. These risks collectively could shave $55 to $60 from the share price, or about 30% of its current value, Bazinet warned.

      • Copyrights

        • Archivists Are Trying to Make Sure a ‘Pirate Bay of Science’ Never Goes Down

          Two seedbox companies (services that provide high-bandwidth remote servers for uploading and downloading data), Seedbox.io and UltraSeedbox, stepped in to support the project. A week later, LibGen is seeding 10 terabytes and 900,000 scientific books thanks to help from Seedbox.io and UltraSeedbox.

        • Safeguarding User Freedoms in Implementing Article 17 of the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive: Recommendations from European Academics

          On 17 May 2019 the new Directive (EU) 2019/790 on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market was officially published (DSM Directive). Article 17 (ex-Article 13) is one of its most controversial provisions. Article 17(10) tasks the Commission with organising stakeholder dialogues to ensure uniform application of the obligation of cooperation between online content-sharing service providers (OCSSPs) and rightholders, and to establish best practices with regard to appropriate industry standards of professional diligence.

          This document offers recommendations on user freedoms and safeguards included in Article 17 of the DSM Directive – namely in its paragraphs (7) and (9) – and should be read in the context of the stakeholder dialogue mentioned in paragraph (10).

        • Procedural implications of Google obtaining certiorari for its appeal of Oracle’s Java-Android copyright victory

          Assuming that Oracle defends its copyrightability win, the case will then hinge on “fair use.” Here, Oracle needs affirmance of a judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) that the Federal Circuit found Judge Alsup in San Francisco should have entered (but didn’t, as he did hardly anything throughout the years that didn’t disadvantage Oracle).

          Google’s “fair use” opportunity is that U.S. courts generally afford immense deference to jury verdicts. The standard for JMOL is very high. I still believe, as my longstanding readers know, that JMOL was perfectly warranted here. If the Supreme Court views it the same way, after affirming copyrightability, then the case will go back to the trial court for a determination of remedies. In that context, it may just be about damages. Oracle could seek an injunction, but Google has meanwhile changed its open-source licensing strategy for Android.

        • Russia Blocks Shutterstock Domain, Restricting Access to Legitimate Copyrighted Content

          Russia’s website blocking system, which is frequently used to prevent access to copyright-infringing content, is now blocking access to legitimate copyrighted images on Shutterstock. According to telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor, an image considered insulting to the state resulted in image.shutterstock.com and two IP addresses being blocked by the country’s ISPs.

        • Europol Seizes Over 30,000 Copyright Infringing Domains, But Which Ones?

          A coalition of international law enforcement agencies, including Europol, has announced its annual round of domain name seizures. Over 30,000 domain names were taken over this year, including some that were dedicated to online piracy. While these figures are impressive, no major pirate sites are missing in action.

        • What’s New in the Noosphere?

          But the global commons is also home to what’s called the noosphere—all the resources and artifacts created by human reason and scientific thought, such as music, art, language, and research.

        • Genius Sues Google and LyricFind for $50 Million Over Stolen Lyrics

          Lyrics website Genius is suing Google and its partner Lyricfind for $50 million, claiming that the companies are knowingly copying song lyrics from its site as well as employing anti-competitive practices.

        • K-Pop Star and Actor Cha In-ha Found Dead at 27

          K-pop star and actor Cha In-ha was found dead at the age of 27, making him the third K-pop star to die in the last few months.

Google Tightens Its Noose

Posted in Google at 5:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Two decades later

Do know evil? Bye, Google

Summary: Now it’s official! Google is just a bunch of shareholders looking to appease the Pentagon at all costs

Europeans Still Need to Save the European Patent Office From Those Who Attack Its Patent Quality

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 4:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s a collective responsibility for the betterment of society and the sciences. The public awareness (of these underlying issues) continues to grow, but solutions aren’t there yet.

Patent quality paper
Screening for Patent Quality: Examination, Fees, and the Courts

Summary: Patent quality is of utmost interest; without it, as we’re seeing at the EPO and have already seen at the USPTO for a number of years, legal disputes will arise where neither side wins (only the lawyers win) and small, impoverished inventors or businesses will be forced to settle outside the courts over baseless allegations, often made by parasitic patent trolls (possessing low-quality patents they don’t want scrutinised by courts)

BACK in 2006 when this site was born (I had already been writing about patents for a number of years before that) our focus was on software patents in the US and their impact on GNU/Linux. In 2007 we broadened our scope a bit; we looked at USPTO-granted patents that affected not only GNU/Linux and covered various other threats to GNU/Linux, for example OOXML (proprietary, pseudo ‘standards’). It was only in 2007 that we started talking about software patents in Europe, in light of the 2005 directive (predating this site) and whatever followed. Back then the UPC (not yet known as UPC) was a concept, not an actual thing. It became known (renamed) as “EU”/”Community” Patent and later came words like “unitary” and “unified” (who would ever oppose unity, union, unison and so on?). In 2008 we started focusing on what Brimelow had done, especially loopholes “as such”; seeing the great harms caused by software patents in the US, we were baffled by this policy. It wasn’t until Battistelli came to the helm that software patents were granted in droves. António Campinos may call them “AI” or “4IR” or whatever, but we know what these are. Even the US would not allow such patents (35 U.S.C. § 101 would prevent them going far down the legal pipeline).

“Even the US would not allow such patents (35 U.S.C. § 101 would prevent them going far down the legal pipeline).”The decline of patent quality in Europe isn’t a problem but a growing crisis. Some of the most ridiculous patents motivated us to start a European “stupid patent of the month” series — a series we didn’t keep going for very long (lack of time and resources are to blame). Fake patents are being granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) — maybe more so than by NPOs — and in Germany some of these patents are proving to be of use to nobody but lawyers. They also have negative impact on climate. Renewables Now covered what we had seen in 4 sites beforehand (including a press release) when it said (earlier this week, yesterday to be precise):

A court in Germany has handed a victory to Huawei Technologies Co Ltd in one patent infringement case brought by Israel-based photovoltaic (PV) inverter supplier SolarEdge Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:SEDG), while deferring the hearing for another case due to insufficient evidence.

The Chinese company informed last week that the Mannheim regional court had dismissed SolarEdge’s lawsuit against Huawei over infringement on the patent regarding optimiser and inverter architecture.

It had to actually go to court. That’s extremely expensive. Huawei Technologies can easily afford that, but maybe not SolarEdge Technologies. SolarEdge staff must have thought they had real “gold” in their hands, only to realise that they had been granted a fake European Patent (EP) or Invalid Patent (IP). Remember that all these patents on energy efficiency may mean fewer companies/products/people will be energy-efficient (without breaking the law or infringing patents, assuming these patents are legitimate in the first place). Yesterday we saw this article entitled “Chesco company takes patented attic energy efficiency product international” and it mentions the EPO. Shouldn’t there be some exemptions where public interest (e.g. climate crisis) conflicts with patents? Surely the lawyers want lots of patents in every area (here for example we have the patent maximalists celebrating PPH and EPO broadening scope/reach of impact), but at what cost? Or whose cost?

“Shouldn’t there be some exemptions where public interest (e.g. climate crisis) conflicts with patents?”The EPO is rapidly becoming INPI — an NPO that doesn’t bother with examination. SUEPO warned about this as long as 3 years ago. Now, with CQI, the EPO is getting closer to this. When all applications are presumed valid the majority of European Patents may prove to be presumed invalid. Francois Pochart, Lionel Martin and Thierry Lautier (August Debouzy, France) have just published this piece about “Implementation Of Opposition Proceedings Against A French Patent”. Promoted in Mondaq, the piece says that “[a]s it stands, those opposition proceedings [are] at the crossroads between the EPO opposition proceeding (reserved for EPO professional representatives)…”

Here’s how it works:

From a strategic point of view, the opposition will be an additional tool for third parties. We will therefore be able to consider the best choice to make against a French patent: (i) file an opposition before the French PTO, (ii) bring an action for a declaration of invalidity before the Paris First Instance Court or (iii) wait to be summoned for infringement before the Paris First Instance Court to file a counterclaim for a declaration of invalidity. In this respect, it may be noted that, as it stands, the action for invalidity would take precedence over the opposition (the opposition being suspended if an action for invalidity is pending, Article R. 613-44-7, 2°) and that it is not yet clearly provided that the alleged infringer may intervene in a pending opposition (Article R. 411-32 only refers to a “voluntary intervention” at the appeal stage, but without regulating it). It may also be noted that the parties would have the opportunity to jointly request the suspension of the opposition proceedings for a period of one year (more precisely, “for a period of four months renewable twice”, Article R. 613-44-7 paragraph 2), which could be used to negotiate – this is the cooling-off period that is already known in trademark matters.

It can already be noted that the proposed proceedings provide a strong incentive to oppose French patents through a straw man, preferably located abroad. Indeed, an opposition via a straw man, made possible by the absence of interest to act (Articles L. 613-23 and R. 613-44), allows the real opponent to avoid an authority of res judicata in the event of subsequent action for invalidity (Article R. 615-1 A). In addition, the fact that the straw man resides abroad also allows the real opponent to artificially extend several delays in the opposition proceeding by two months (Article R. 411-43).

With regard to the transitional provisions, while the entry into force of the provisions relating to the opposition proceedings is scheduled for 1st April 2020, the taking into account of inventive step during the examination proceedings should only take place on 22 May 2020 (i.e. one year after the promulgation of the PACTE law). This means that only patent applications filed on or after May 22, 2020 will benefit from an inventive step examination. Given the usual time limits for examination before the French PTO, the first French patents granted after an inventive step examination will therefore probably be granted from 2023 onwards. Consequently, French patents granted before 2023 – without examination of inventive step before the French PTO – could be the subject of an opposition including inventive step as a ground for opposition. For a patent whose written opinion attached to the preliminary search report (delegated by the French PTO to the EPO) mentions a lack of inventive step, it would then be “easy” to file an opposition on the basis of the preliminary search report alone. To avoid such a case, applicants ought to “regularize” the scope of their securities, either by amending the claims or filing a divisional application just before grant 5, or by filing a request for limitation shortly after grant (being specified that opposition proceedings would then prevail over limitation).

In other words, both potential opponents of French patents and patent holders – and especially the latter – must prepare now for the implementation of those opposition proceedings.

Well, the opposition proceedings are like a late safety net and one that cannot quite compensate for rushed or erroneous examination. Proper examination can take a lot of time and effort — hence the relative ‘slowness’ of the EPO before the Battistelli era. It’s better not to grant a patent at all than to grant one in error, but to those who profit from litigation — including totally baseless and frivolous lawsuits — any patent will do, even invalid patents (IPs).

Suffice to say, to EPO patent zealots (the management) and the litigation ‘industry’ the courts are an ‘obstacle’ because they throw out all those IPs, thereby reducing clients’ confidence in EPs and in litigation (foreseeing low chances of success).

“UPCA languished to its death.”So what have EPO zealots and litigation zealots been pursuing? An alternative legal system where judges can be appointed for lenience and presumption of EP validity.

Thankfully, as of this moment, all these efforts have failed rather badly. Seeing the low quality of patents and lack of legal oversight at the EPO (in Haar, not even Munich anymore), progress has been halted since 2017. UPCA languished to its death. Dr. Thorsten Bausch has just said that “the UPCA would have to be amended in order to allow the UK to still become (or stay) a member. Even Margot Fröhlinger, who can certainly not be accused of being overly UPCA-sceptic, conceded that much…”

Is she still around at all? Fröhlinger’s name shows up just about nowhere anymore. She lied to people all around the world for many years, speaking the two famous lies about the UK and even worse. Bausch has also compared UPC promises to Berlin Airport, as we did last week. Here’s what he said earlier (yesterday evening): [via]

Yet perhaps it is possible that a court “common to the Contracting Member States” may also be common to the Contracting Member States and the UK, at least if and when the UK accepts that it is “subject to the same obligations under Union law as any national court of the Contracting Member States” to the extent that patents are concerned. And in any case, there is no doubt that where there is a political will, there will be a way. A report by the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, which was commissioned by the JURI committee of the European Parliament also came to the conclusion that „it seems not per se legally impossible that the UK can stay within the UPCA, even when not an EU Member State“. Of course, there are some ifs and buts, but the big message of this opinion work is clear – nothing is impossible.

But would a UPC including judges from non-member states, domiciled in part outside the EU and established by an international treaty not again be “an international court which is outside the institutional and judicial framework of the European Union” which the CJEU rejected in its opinion C1/09? Well, let’s leave this question for another day and consider instead the (political) realities of the day.

It seems to me that all adamant supporters of the UK’s participation in the UPCA should now better be busy canvassing for their respective most promising local candidate of Labour, LibDem, SNP or the Green party to avoid the worst, and I have no doubt that many of them will. But if they are unable to convince the majority of their countrymen that Brexit is not such a great idea and the Conservatives win the general election in December, then the odds are indeed that the UK will leave the EU on 31.1.2020. Which means, at least in my view, that the UPCA would have to be amended in order to allow the UK to still become (or stay) a member. Even Margot Fröhlinger, who can certainly not be accused of being overly UPCA-sceptic, conceded that much, and the literal wording of Article 1 leaves no other option, as I think.


Thus, the UK intends to stay part of the UPCA during the “implementation” (transition) period, which ends on 31.12.2020 according to the currently agreed version of the UK Withdrawal Agreement. But what will happen thereafter? Beyond this is subject to negotiations does not sound to me like a very strong commitment. And who knows which surprises the UK-US negotiations about a much desired Free Trade Agreement will still bring us. In view thereof, would it really be sensible for Germany to ratify the UPCA in early 2020, provided that the Federal Constitutional Court dismisses the constitutional complaint? In this case, the Mr. Ramsay and the UPC Preparatory Committee would resume its preparations, judges, including judges from the UK, would be appointed etc. – and just about when the court is ready, the UK might (have to) exit the UPCA again, namely if the “negotiations” alluded to by the UK representative fail. And then we have the salad.

I consider that it is exactly such a nightmare scenario that has prompted the German Ministry of Justice to state that Germany will ratify the UPCA “in a responsible fashion”. Which can only mean that we first need clarity about the political will in regard to the UPC from both the EU side and the UK side post Brexit (if Brexit happens at all – hope dies last), before Germany will (or at least) should deposit its instrument of ratification. Any other procedure would be pretty hazardous.

Therefore, I would now be bold enough to dare bet that the new Berlin airport will open before the UPCA enters into force. Just to recap: The opening of the BER airport was originally foreseen for 2011, which date has meanwhile shifted to 31.10.2020. Conversely, the UPCA was signed on 19 February 2013, thus I would not be surprised if we were to see the UPC’s opening around 2022, perhaps even later. It might still open earlier than Stuttgart 21, though, if this is a consolation for any one. The opening of Stuttgart 21 was originally planned for 2019, which date first shifted to 2021 and now to 2025.

There are already some comments of interest, but Bausch’s articles tend to be no worse than the comments (unlike his colleagues at that blog). “Concerned observer” called it a “balanced article on the UPC.”

He or she is absolutely right on point when asserting that a lot of coverage on this topic has been what China, the Democratic Party and then Trump dubbed “fake news” (in that order; the concept is not new). This is why we’ve spent so much effort responding to Team UPC’s lies over the years. To quote the whole comment:

It is sad to say that the UPC is a topic upon which one hardly ever sees balanced reporting. Without wanting to be too cynical, I have noticed that an awful lot of the “unbalanced” (ie speculative and/or presumptuous) reporting derives from quarters that have a direct financial interest in the success of the UPC project. Whilst this is perhaps to be expected, I find it extremely disheartening that those outside of such quarters (including individuals and organisations that only really have an enthusiasm for the IDEA of a unitary patent and court) tend not to recognise the “unbalanced” reporting for what it is. For example, my experience is that wildly optimistic (and presumptuous) predictions regarding the timing and content of the BVerfG’s ruling on the constitutional complaint have largely been reported / accepted without even the slightest suggestion of a raised eyebrow.

Looking back on earlier UPC-related articles on this blog, it strikes me that the strategy adopted by UPC proponents has been remarkably similar to tactics adopted by many modern politicians: namely, keep going with arguments that suit your cause even in the face of developments and/or overwhelming evidence which mean that your arguments do not hold water. The main argument that I am thinking of here is the alleged ability of the UK to participate in the UPC post-Brexit… where is has long been evident to me that the proponents of the UPC simply have no answer to questions relating to compliance with EU law (and, in particular, Article 267 TFEU and the principle of sincere cooperation). Given the refusal to engage with such questions, despite the alarming implications of those questions for the viability of the UPC system, I can only conclude that the strategy adopted by UPC proponents aims not at winning hearts and minds but instead at establishing a fait accompli that they hope the CJEU will be reluctant to dismantle… irrespective of the threats posed by the UPC to the integrity of the EU legal order.

Perhaps I can inject a note of realism here.

Firstly, the BVerfG has not yet decided the four EPO-related cases that have a higher rank in the 2019 list of cases to be decided by the 2nd senate. All of those cases were listed for decision in 2017 and 2018 (and two were listed for decision in 2016). Given their relevance to the case relating to the UPC, it would make sense for the BVerfG to decide the EPO-related cases first. Since 2016, of the cases assigned to Dr Huber, only between one and three appearing on the preview for a particular year have been decided in that year. Assuming that the BVerfG will decide the cases in a logical order, and at its customary rate, it is reasonable to conclude that even the prediction of someone as well informed as Dr Huber should be taken with a pinch of salt (ie as perhaps more of an optimistic than a realistic prediction). Thus, a decision within the first quarter of 2020 cannot be guaranteed.

Secondly, if Mr Johnson secures a majority in Parliament, it is safe to say that he is very unlikely to request either a further extension to the Article 50 deadline OR an extension of the “implementation period”. In practical terms, this outcome would significantly increase the likelihood of a “no-deal” Brexit, either in February 2020 or January 2021.

Especially given the glacial pace of the BVerfG, as well as the current position of the German government, does anyone seriously believe that the UPC will be up-and-running BEFORE January 2021? Last I checked, not even Mr Ramsey was that optimistic (http://patentblog.kluweriplaw.com/2019/11/28/if-german-complaint-is-dismissed-unified-patent-court-could-be-operation-early-2021/).

Thus, upon a realistic assessment, the chances of the UPC ever opening for business are not as high as some might (still!) be trying to lead us to believe. However, as you note, it seems that only pedants such as you and I worry about the legality of retaining the UK in the UPC system post-Brexit. I can therefore make a prediction relating to the UPC in which I have almost 100% confidence … namely, unless and until the constitutional complaint is upheld, the majority of the patent profession in Europe will continue to hold an unrealistic view on the prospects for the UPC. I await with interest to establish whether this prediction proves to be accurate.

If one counts the very earliest proposal of a UPC-like system, it probably goes back to 2005, i.e. about 15 years ago. We’ve spotted mentions as old as 13 years ago, but we know prior ones exist (just need further digging/researching). The way things stand, the EPO continues granting loads of IPs instead of EPs and courts throw these out — a similar situation to what happened in the United States and continues to this date.

We Never Accepted and Will Never Accept Corporate Money

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Red Hat at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The new “campaign contributions”

Patrons of FSF

Summary: Corporate money is a unique problem because of its magnitude and the fact that it’s impersonal; shareholders can only ever accept its supposed justifications if they’re receiving something in return (of proportional worth to the payment/transaction)

THE FSF is a fine organisation in a lot of ways; there are limits to it — sure! — and we’ve named some of them earlier this year. Those who are upset at the FSF because it says nothing about systemd may not have paid attention to the potential impact of money (or the risk of losing that money). It is not a new problem. A decade ago it was openly discussed.

In 2017 (latest tax year published by ProPublica) “contributions” amounted to 94.3% of total revenue at the FSF (“FREE SOFTWARE FOUNDATION INC”). Membership dues were at $658,988, and “other contributions, gifts, grants, and similar amounts not included above” were at $635,709, i.e. about half of the whole. So that’s a lot of financial impact for the latter; the total revenue was at $1,373,574 that year and expenses at $1,233,394, so that latter component is very much essential (to avert very considerable downsizing). Here’s a snapshot of the summary:

FSF finances

We’re not trying to bash the FSF; we’re just pointing out that financial dependence on anything other than FSF staff (or members without vested interests or disproportionate contributions) may inevitably lead to self-censorship. Many people still remember the millions of dollars Microsoft paid the Linux Foundation, but how many people can recall similar payments to the BSDs? If they don’t speak out against Microsoft abuses (much/anymore), think about potential causes/motivations. Also remember Red Hat's stance on Stallman.

IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:19 am by Needs Sunlight



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