04.16.21

Links 16/4/2021: Mozilla Dumping FTP, Corporations Still Concern-Trolling FSF

Posted in News Roundup at 5:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Forging Industrial Grade, Scale Out Ceph Storage

        As tens of millions of Americans who have received their $1,400 Covid relief checks in recent weeks can attest, getting a little financial boost during stressful and difficult times can go a long way in helping to separate themselves from day-to-day survival and turn some of their attention to longer term plans. The same can be said for tech startups with ambitious ideas trying to gain traction in a rapidly evolving IT industry dominated by large, deep-pocketed, established players.

      • Announcing Istio 1.9.3

        This release fixes the security vulnerability described in our April 15th post.

      • Volume Health Monitoring Alpha Update

        The CSI Volume Health Monitoring feature, originally introduced in 1.19 has undergone a large update for the 1.21 release.

        Why add Volume Health Monitoring to Kubernetes?

        Without Volume Health Monitoring, Kubernetes has no knowledge of the state of the underlying volumes of a storage system after a PVC is provisioned and used by a Pod. Many things could happen to the underlying storage system after a volume is provisioned in Kubernetes. For example, the volume could be deleted by accident outside of Kubernetes, the disk that the volume resides on could fail, it could be out of capacity, the disk may be degraded which affects its performance, and so on. Even when the volume is mounted on a pod and used by an application, there could be problems later on such as read/write I/O errors, file system corruption, accidental unmounting of the volume outside of Kubernetes, etc. It is very hard to debug and detect root causes when something happened like this.

        Volume health monitoring can be very beneficial to Kubernetes users. It can communicate with the CSI driver to retrieve errors detected by the underlying storage system. PVC events can be reported up to the user to take action. For example, if the volume is out of capacity, they could request a volume expansion to get more space.

    • Kernel Space

      • Rust support in Linux may be possible by 5.14 release: Torvalds

        The first patches for Rust support in the Linux kernel have been posted and the man behind the kernel says the fact that these are being discussed is much more important than a long post by Google about the language.

        Linus Torvalds told iTWire in response to queries that Rust support was “not there yet”, adding that things were “getting to the point where maybe it might be mergeable for 5.14 or something like that”.

      • Google Is Working On A New And Possibly Better LRU Memory Management Framework For The Linux Kernel

        The linux kernel loves to fill all available RAM with caches of files and other items. This speeds things up because memory caches are much faster than Direct I/O. One obvious bi-effect is that all system RAM can be in use and, at the same time, be free as in available for applications who may need it.

        The Linux kernels Least Recently Used (LRU) framework decides what gets kept and what gets thrown out in case some system memory is needed by an applications. It covers the majority of a machines memory pages. Slab caches and a few other caches are exceptions. LRU pages are put in one of two linked lists with active or inactive pages. Pages taken from the end of the inactive list are freed unless it has the reference bit set. Pages are, in that case, moved to the beginning of the active page list and the reference bit is cleared. Dirty pages, as in pages that should be written to disk, are put in the writeback queue and later moved to the beginning of the inactive memory list. Memory pages that are unreferenced and clean get reused.

      • The 12 Most Interesting Changes Of Linux 5.12 – PS5, N64, Intel VRR, RDNA2 OverDrive

        If all goes well the Linux 5.12 stable kernel will be released this weekend. It’s been a fairly calm week so far in Linux 5.12 Git land but if things tick up Linus Torvalds may defer the stable release by one week to allow for an eighth and final release candidate. In any case, Linux 5.12 is packing a lot of exciting changes.

        After the Linux 5.12 merge window I wrote a Linux 5.12 feature overview. But for those that didn’t see it or recall it from two months ago, here is a look at the top twelve features/changes coming with Linux 5.12 for a quick recap

      • Graphics Stack

        • The State Of OpenCL To Vulkan Compute Layers On Linux In April 2021

          It is, in theory, possible to run OpenCL applications on Linux using any graphics driver capable of doing Vulkan Compute. We have examined the alternatives for doing so and found them to be technically interesting and practically useless. It may become possible to run Blender with OpenCL compute using Vulkan at some point in the far distant future. Don’t expect to be able to do that today or next month.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Between Loads

          I’m typing this up between loads and runs of various games I’m testing, since bug reports for games are somehow already a thing, and there’s a lot of them.

          The worst part about testing games is the unbelievably long load times (and startup videos) most of them have, not to mention those long, panning camera shots at the start of the game before gameplay begins and I can start crashing.

          But this isn’t a post about games.

          No, no, there’s plenty of time for such things.

          This is a combo post: part roundup because blogging has been sporadic the past couple weeks, and part feature.

    • Applications

      • Best Grammar and Spell Check Apps for Linux

        This article will cover a list of useful grammar and spelling correction tools available for Linux. These applications mainly provide support for English language with a few of them having options for other languages as well. Note that you can use integrated spell checkers in applications like LibreOffice, Chrome, FireFox, AbiWord etc. to get correct spellings for your text based content. This article, however, mainly focuses on standalone spell checker applications that give you much more freedom to parse and fix spellings in your content and work with multiple applications.

      • mmtc – minimal mpd terminal client

        Linux offers a huge array of open source music players. And many of them are high quality. We’ve reviewed the vast majority, and are endeavoring to explore every free music player in case there’s an undiscovered gem.

        MPD is a powerful server-side application for playing music. In a home environment, you can connect an MPD server to a Hi-Fi system, and control the server using a notebook or smartphone. You can, of course, play audio files on remote clients. MPD can be started system-wide or on a per-user basis.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Some things on ZFS (on Linux) per-dataset basic IO statistics

        Sufficiently recent versions of OpenZFS on Linux have not just performance statistics for overall pool IO (also), but some additional per-dataset IO statistics. Conveniently, these IO statistics are exposed through the Prometheus host agent, so if you’re using Prometheus (as we are), so you don’t have to write something to collect and manipulate them yourself. However, what these statistics actually mean is a little bit underexplained.

      • How To Install VSCodium on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS [Ed: But this is still helping Microsoft monopoly and should thus be discouraged]

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install VSCodium on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, VSCodium is an open-source, free clone of Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code. It’s a perfect app to set up if you love the look of VSCode, but wish it were open-source. It is available not only for Windows, Mac, and as well as for Linux.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the VSCodium on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How to Download Ubuntu via Torrent [Absolute Beginner’s Tip]

        Downloading Ubuntu is pretty straightforward. You go to its official website. Click on the desktop download section, select the appropriate Ubuntu version and hit the download button.

        Ubuntu is available as a single image of more than 2.5 GB in size. The direct download works well for people with high-speed internet connection.

        However, if you have a slow or inconsistent internet connection, you’ll have a difficult time downloading such a big file. The download may be interrupted several times in the process or may take several hours.

      • Play a fun math game with Linux commands [Ed: Those who GNU programs, but Linux commands. But Jim Hall, the author of this piece, is participating in the campaign of hate against the FSF.]

        Like many people, I’ve been exploring lots of new TV shows during the pandemic. I recently discovered a British game show called Countdown, where contestants play two types of games: a words game, where they try to make the longest word out of a jumble of letters, and a numbers game, where they calculate a target number from a random selection of numbers. Because I enjoy mathematics, I’ve found myself drawn to the numbers game.

        The numbers game can be a fun addition to your next family game night, so I wanted to share my own variation of it. You start with a collection of random numbers, divided into “small” numbers from 1 to 10 and “large” numbers that are 15, 20, 25, and so on until 100. You pick any combination of six numbers from both large and small numbers.

      • How To Install Java with Apt on Ubuntu 20.04

        Java is one of the most popular programming languages and the JVM (Java’s virtual machine) is the run-time environment to run Java applications. These two platforms are required for much popular software that includes Tomcat, Jetty, Cassandra, Glassfish, and Jenkins.

        In this article, you will learn how to install Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and the Java Developer Kit (JDK) using the default apt package manager on Ubuntu 20.04 and Ubuntu 18.04.

      • Sort “du” Command by Size- Output Largest to Smallest

        “du” stands for disk usage, and as the name implies, this command is very useful in getting disk-related information in Linux. This is a very flexible command that can be combined with different parameters to get the desired output.

        In today’s tutorial, we will be guiding you on the method of sorting the output of the “du” command in descending order, i.e., largest to smallest in Linux.

        Note: We have used a Linux Mint 20 machine to demonstrate this method. However, you can also perform the very same method on a Ubuntu 20.04 system or a Debian 10 system.

      • Grep with the Line Number in Output

        Global regular expression print is a versatile utility that searches plain text in the system with different regular expressions. We can perform many operations with the help of Grep; we can explore in files, display line number as output, and how to ignore blank spaces, and use Grep recursively. Grep with the line number displays the line number of relevant text present in the file. This function is accomplished with the help of –n. From the page of Grep, we can easily describe different commands.

      • How to Install Duplicity on Ubuntu?

        This article is about Duplicity, and how you can install it on your Ubuntu 20.04 machine. Duplicity is an open-source tool that helps people create backups of their data. It basically just encrypts the user’s data and stores it into a remote server. It’s a very convenient and smart way to back up data, as it does not only store the data but also any changes made to it in the long run. This attribute makes Duplicity very space-efficient.

      • How to Use Docker Registry?

        Today, we’ll discuss the Docker Registry and how to use it.

        [...]

        We’ll gloss over the detail in this section, but if you’re used to installing such software, you’ll do just fine with the instructions here. We’ll cover the default method to setting up Docker; via the official docker repository…

      • How to Check if a Filesystem is Mounted in Linux?

        We already know that many filesystems are used and supported by the Linux operating system, e.g., ext2, ext3, ext4, FAT16, FAT32, and a lot more. The file system is necessary for working in the Linux and Windows operating systems. If you want to know what type of filesystem your Linux OS supports this article is meant for you. This article will give you a step-by-step guide to know what kind of filesystem is mounted in a Linux operating system.
        To start working, you must have any Linux distribution installed on your system. Login from your Linux system and open the command terminal. Make sure you have the “util-linux” package installed on your system to start checking the mounted filesystem. For this purpose, try the below “apt” command followed by the keyword “install” in a shell. Instantly, the installation will be completed, and you can now check the mounted filesystem.

      • How to Create a New File in Vim?

        Vim is indeed a popular text editor widely used in the command-line interface of Linux operating systems. Since Linux makes heavy use of configuration documents, you’ll have o modify them regularly, and Vim has become an excellent tool for doing so. Vim seems to have a distinct operational technique, with two key modes. One of them is command mode, and the other one is a merge of all additional modes. In this discussion, we will discuss the process of creating a Vim file using the Vim text editor in the Linux System.

    • Games

      • Sid Meier: More than Just Civilization

        Let’s face it. The video games world is not getting any younger, and the most famous creators of yesterday are now well past 60. Sid Meier is no exception. I picked up his memoir and it was a good read. I am now pretty confident that we will see more publications in the same vein, as the age of pioneers reaches an end.

        For Linux gamers, Sid Meier’s current company, Firaxis, is a well known benefactor – one of the few friendly to our cause: Civilization 5, 6, and Beyond Earth have all been ported to Linux by Aspyr with the blessing of Firaxis. Even back in the Loki days, Civilization: Call To Power was one of the first games ported to Linux… while this was not a game by Sid Meier – just one from Activision who had secured the rights to the franchise. This is one of the things you will learn as you go through this memoir.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Budgie Desktop 11 Ditching GNOME in Favor of Qt

        Just a couple of days ago, the lead developer and CEO of Solar project “Local key Doherty” announced major changes in Budgie Desktop 11, with an account of some developments coming along. In that blog, he also made an announcement that took the users by surprise;

        [...]

        That’s right! Budgie is ditching GNOME to make the transition to Qt.

        Ikey remarked that this change would take effect upon the next major release of the software, which effectively discards the components of GNOME architecture.

        Initially, Budgie was designed to work with GNOME software programs, which eventually lead to its full integration into the GNOME software stack.

        This slow and unprecedented integration raised some problems for Solar Project. First, they had to scramble to update Budgie anytime GNOME released an upgrade because the outdated version would cause errors. This started ever since the first version 3.10 of Budgie was made public, and the problem persisted until GNOME 3.22.

        The problems would manifest as API/ABI inconsistencies, elements cluttering each other, clogged workflow, widgets, and template crashes. In some instances, GdkScreen APIs became completely dysfunctional.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Zorin OS 16 beta claims largest built-in app library ‘of any open source desktop ever’

          Zorin OS 16 Linux has moved into beta, promising improved performance and a more extensive application Store covering Flathub and Snap as well as old-style repositories.

          Zorin is a Linux distribution aimed at switchers from Windows or Mac, and endeavours to offer a polished user experience and a minimum of fuss. It is offered in both free and commercial versions, with the paid-for Ultimate Edition priced at £39 ($53), and free Core, Lite and Education editions.

          The Lite edition uses the XFCE minimalist desktop, while the others have a custom GNOME-based desktop GUI. The extras in the Ultimate edition are additional desktop layouts, one imitating macOS, additional bundled applications and games, and installation support. A note on “why does it cost” puts the emphasis on supporting the project rather than the value to the user.

        • Zorin OS 16 Beta Linux distro is here, with Microsoft Windows 10X mode coming soon

          A lot of people hate Windows 10, but I think it is actually quite good. With that said, I’d much rather use a Linux distribution such as Ubuntu or Fedora. With Linux, I feel more safe and secure. No operating system in infallible, but bad guys are more likely to write malware for Windows. Not to mention, Microsoft does “spy” on its users with extreme telemetry. Ultimately, with Linux, I feel like I own my computer. Conversely, with Windows, it can feel like Microsoft owns my PC.

          Understandably, switching from Windows to Linux can be a scary affair, but it doesn’t have to be. Some Linux distributions look a bit like Windows, so there is a degree of familiarity. Not to mention, with so much being done in the web browser nowadays, the underlying operating system becomes less important. In other words, just having Google Chrome available makes Linux a viable option for most home users these days.

        • OSMC: The new video stack for Vero 4K / 4K +

          We’d like to take the time to share a number of improvements that will arrive with our new video stack with Kodi v19 which will benefit Vero 4K and Vero 4K + users. Here are a few of the main improvements:

          3D MVC support

          Support for 3D MVC ISOs and MKV will be supported out of the box as standard. For performance reasons, we would recommend ripping 3D discs as MKVs at this time, as seeking can be delayed when playing ISOs. 3D subtitles are also well supported, with subtitle depth working as expected.

          Better HDR support

          The new stack supports full passthrough of HDR10 and HDR10+ metadata for supported receivers and displays. The HLG EOTF will also be triggered when playing HLG material on a compatible display.

          Furthermore, we have improved the way Vero 4K and 4K + converts from HDR10 to SDR (BT709). With the default setting users should see a slightly brighter render on SDR displays.

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD 13 released

          Version 13 includes userland configuration changes, application changes, newly replaced software, some deprecated applications and more.

          As part of the userland configuration changes, rc.subr(8) now honors ${name}_env in all rc(8) scripts and init(8), service(8), and cron(8) will now adopt user/class environment variables by default (excluding PATH).

          Also the bc(1) and dc(1) utilities were replaced with new versions which don’t depend on an external large number library, offer GNU bc extensions, are much faster and have fixed POSIX compliance issues of the programs they replace.

          Additional details on the new version are available here.

        • My Dog’s Garage Runs OpenBSD

          I was inspired by the April 2017 article in undeadly.org about getting OpenBSD running on a Raspberry Pi 3B+. My goal was to use a Raspberry Pi running OpenBSD to monitor the temperature in my garage from my home. My dog has his own little “apartment” inside the garage, so I want to keep an eye on the temperature. (I don’t rely on this device. He sleeps inside the house whenever he wants.)

          If anything seems wrongheaded, please chalk it up to a frothy mixture of enthusiasm, ignorance, stubbornness, and “just-because-I-wanted-to-do-it-this-way-ness.”

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • IBM COBOL for Linux on x86 1.1 brings COBOL capabilities to Linux

          As I understand it, there’s still a lot of COBOL code all over the industry, so it makes sense for IBM to make its COBOL technologies available to more people.

        • Red Hat and NEC Corporation Collaborate to Drive Kubernetes-based 5G Adoption

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced a collaboration with NEC Corporation to deliver 5G solutions built on Red Hat OpenShift, the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes platform. With NEC’s 5G core network solutions running on Red Hat OpenShift, organizations will be able to capitalize on 5G across a broad set of use cases including 5G core, 5G radio access networks (RANs), edge computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning and more, helping them create new revenue opportunities.

        • Red Hat Launches Red Hat Learning Subscription Premium

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the availability of Red Hat Learning Subscription Premium. This new offering, available in North America initially, provides access to self-paced learning experience and access to instructors via live, interactive, virtual classes. Courses cover topics from across Red Hat’s product portfolio and are designed to help individuals and teams keep pace with the evolving technology landscape. This offering will roll out globally in the future.

        • Coding: an opportunity for everyone

          While Covid has hit many industries hard, increasing unemployment numbers and job uncertainty, the demand for technical skills is greater than ever. According to FT analysis nearly 800,000 additional jobs were created in computer programming and related services.

          Red Hat launched new research, which found that one in 20 (5%) of more than 30,000 respondents across Europe have chosen to take up coding as a new skill since the pandemic. Two thirds of them (65%) said their motivation was to reskill for a new job or career.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The Apache News Round-up: week ending 16 April 2021

        It’s Friday already –the week has zipped by. Let’s take a look at what the Apache community has been up to:

        The Apache Software Foundation – the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Exploit for Second Unpatched Chromium Flaw Made Public Just After First Is Patched

            A researcher has made public an exploit and details for an unpatched vulnerability affecting Chrome, Edge and other web browsers that are based on the open source Chromium project. This is the second Chromium proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit released this week.

            The second exploit was publicly disclosed by a researcher who uses the online moniker Frust and who works for Chinese cybersecurity company Qihoo 360. Frust announced the availability of an exploit for a “zero-day” Chrome vulnerability on Twitter on Wednesday, and a few hours later published a blog post with a technical description of the vulnerability (in Chinese), which actually exists in the Chromium code.

        • Mozilla

          • New Alpha Release: Tor 0.4.6.2-alpha
          • Mozilla Addons Blog: Built-in FTP implementation to be removed in Firefox 90

            Last year, the Firefox platform development team announced plans to remove the built-in FTP implementation from the browser. FTP is a protocol for transferring files from one host to another.

            The implementation is currently disabled in the Firefox Nightly and Beta pre-release channels and will be disabled when Firefox 88 is released on April 19, 2021. The implementation will be removed in Firefox 90. After FTP is disabled in Firefox, the browser will delegate ftp:// links to external applications in the same manner as other protocol handlers.

      • FSF

        • Stop accusing people of what they didn’t do

          Do you get my analogy here? I hear stories about an autistic person named RMS that he has assaulted women, harassed them, or sexually abused them. When I go and read the stories, I see what Stallman did was to “upset” some people. Not harassment, not assault, but upset.

          Stallman shouted at some people or interrupted them while speaking. He hit on women or asked them out and insisted on that, which made them uncomfortable. If he was doing to me, I would be upset too, but I wouldn’t ever accuse him of assault or harassment. I wouldn’t expect FSF to fire its probably most valuable player that is known for his charity, effort for equality, justice, women’s rights, etc.

          Why people expect FSF to fire its probably best player in history? I don’t understand that.

        • SD Times news digest: Microsoft Team’s new bug bounty program, FSF’s board statement on governance, and Open Source Initiative’s election hacked and remediation [Ed: Almost nobody remember anymore (because of the OSI-led campaign of defamation) that OSI is so defunct it cannot even run its own elections]

          Following a hack that undermined the 2021 Board Election at OSI, the organization released a plan to restore trust among the community in its elections.

          An independent forensic expert will investigate the process and technology. An oversight committee composed of current board members and highly trusted long-term members will receive the forensic report and summarize their findings.

          After that, the board will decide on a course of action and publish the report after adding details about its own deliberations and the election will run again.

        • The Free Software Foundation’s Richard Stallman problem begins and ends with board tenure [Ed: Bezos worker Mac Asay the is latest to attack the FSF. Amazon is in the marketing/affiliated marketing propaganda machine of GAFAM. Remember that Mac Asay tried working for Microsoft and he's the one who brought in Microsoft to the OSI (which it now commandeers to attack the FSF). When monopolies of proprietary software say FSF has a governance problem what they mean to say is that they have a problem with the FSF not taking orders from monopolies and not choosing a composition that harms the FSF's mission.]
        • Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) – Everything You Need to Know

          One thing is sure; FOSS has taken significant strides over the way since the 80s. Apparently, FOSS has been around since the 1950s, when purchased hardware was run by free specialized bundled software.

          Until 1985, Richard Stallman founded the Free Software Foundation that was meant to support the Free Software Movement. FSF committed to Free Software, the one that users could use for free, modify, sturdy, and even share.

          According to Stallman, the main difference between open source and free software is the fact that “open source is ideally a development methodology, while free software is merely a social movement.”

          A year later, FOSS came into the limelight based on four freedoms. The four freedoms of free software were established solely as a result of the free software movement, and they denote what exactly constitutes free software.

          Here are the freedoms;

          Freedom 0 – this is the freedom that allows you to use the program for any purpose; you simply run it as you wish.

          Freedom 1 – it is the freedom to accessing the code. It means that you can study how the program works. Interestingly, you have the freedom to change it to do your computing just as you wish.

          Freedom 2 – this is the freedom to redistribute the copies to others to help them.

          Freedom 3 – it’s the freedom to distribute your copies of modified versions to others. That way, you give the entire community the chance to benefit from the changes you made. A precondition for this is accessing the source code.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • News: Finland implements API framework proposed by the European Commission

            The Ministry of Finance set up the project on opening up and using public data in Finland on 30 April 2020. It will put into effect the aims given in the Government Programme by promoting wider and more effective public data use through society. The project will last until the end of 2022 and aims to promote the coherent use of data and functions, primarily through APIs. At the moment, there are no common principles for API development in the public sector in Finland.

      • Programming/Development

        • Remi Collet: PHP version 7.4.18RC1 and 8.0.5RC1

          Release Candidate versions are available in testing repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests, and also as base packages.

          RPM of PHP version 8.0.5RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-php80-test repository for Fedora 32-34 and Enterprise Linux.

          RPM of PHP version 7.4.18RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 32-34 or remi-php74-test repository for Enterprise Linux.

        • Interpreted vs. compiled languages: What’s the difference?

          At a high level, the difference between a compiled and interpreted language is that an interpreted language is compiled into an intermediary form and not machine code. Compiled code can run faster, but, unlike interpreted code in Java, it is not platform agnostic.

          The code written in a compiled language is converted directly into machine code that is specific to the targeted runtime architecture. Interpreted code is compiled into an intermediary that runs on any architecture.

          But this clear distinction tends to fade when you examine the exact features and potential capabilities of any individual programming language.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: Announcing ‘Introductions to Emacs Speaks Statistics’

          A new website containing introductory videos and slide decks is now available for your perusal at ess-intro.github.io. It provides a series of introductions to the excellent Emacs Speaks Statistics (ESS) mode for the Emacs editor.

          This effort started following my little tips, tricks, tools and toys series of short videos and slide decks “for the command-line and R, broadly-speaking”. Which I had mentioned to friends curious about Emacs, and on the ess-help mailing list. And lo and behold, over the fall and winter sixteen of us came together in one GitHub org and are now proud to present the initial batch of videos about first steps, installing, using with spaceemacs, customizing, and org-mode with ESS. More may hopefully fellow, the group is open and you too can join: see the main repo and its wiki.

          This is in fact the initial announcement post, so it is flattering that we have already received over 350 views, four comments and twenty-one likes.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Proposal for Perl Foundation Memberships

            I believe this to be a wasted opportunity to increase engagement with stake holders in the Perl community, be they individuals, business or other organizations. And also to secure funding for vital Perl related activities arranged by the Perl Foundation.

  • Leftovers

    • Platform Wars Update: Epic Store Losing $330 Million Per Year To Acquire Customers

      It’s been a while since we’ve checked in on how the PC gaming platform war is going. If you’ll recall, the Spring of 2019 saw a new entrant into this ongoing battle, with Epic releasing the Epic Store. Epic’s plan appeared to be essentially a PR battle at first, drawing in the public by proclaiming that Steam’s revenue splits with developers and publishers were bad for the gaming industry and by drawing in publishers and developers with a better version of those splits for them. On top of that, Epic used those splits to gobble up a bunch of exclusive or timed exclusive releases of games, which ended up pissing off many in the gaming public and, of course, Steam. Then came Epic’s free game releases, where the platform worked out deals with publishers to offer up AAA game titles for literally no money as a method for getting gamers to adopt the platform.

    • Twitter permanently suspends Project Veritas’s James O’Keefe

      Twitter on Thursday suspended Project Veritas’s James O’Keefe’s account for violations of “manipulation and spam,” according to the social media platform.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Nobel Laureates, Ex-World Leaders Urge Biden to Back WTO Waiver for Vaccines

        Calling on U.S. President Joe Biden to prioritize human need over corporate greed, more than 170 Nobel laureates and former heads of state and government on Wednesday sent an open letter urging him to back a waiver of intellectual property rules so that developing nations can ramp up coronavirus vaccine production and pursue a people’s vaccine to help end a pandemic that has now claimed nearly three million lives.

      • 60% of US Voters Want Biden to Support Patent Waiver for Covid Vaccines: Poll

        “The world needs it. The people want it. The question is, will President Biden listen?”

        Instead of letting a few pharmaceutical giants retain exclusive and lucrative control over life-saving Covid-19 vaccines, 60% of U.S. voters want President Joe Biden to endorse a motion at the World Trade Organization to temporarily waive coronavirus-related patent protections, a move that health advocates say is a prerequisite to increasing the global supply of doses and equitably distributing them in order to reduce the impact and duration of the pandemic.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Aviation Sector Calls for Unified Cybersecurity Practices to Mitigate Growing Risks

          The latest report, Pathways to a Cyber Resilient Aviation Industry, developed in collaboration with Deloitte, outlines how the industry – from airlines to airports to manufacturing and the supply chain – can work with a common language and baseline of practices. The report focuses on mitigating the impact of future digital threats on multiple levels: [...]

        • Dell finally spins off VMware stake in $9.7B deal

          Dell Technologies said on Wednesday it would spin off its 81% stake in cloud computing software maker VMware to create two standalone public companies in a move that will help the PC maker reduce its pile of debt.

          VMware is currently Dell’s best-performing unit, as it has benefited from companies looking to cut costs and move to the cloud, a shift that has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

        • Ransomware Attack Creates Cheese Shortages in Netherlands [iophk: Windows TCO]

          In a local media report spotted by Bitdefender, Verhoeven said he suspected the attackers gained a foothold through a Microsoft Exchange server vulnerability. That would make Bakker Logistek just the latest victim in an onslaught of attacks against Microsoft Exchange servers following the disclosure of the ProxyLogon group of security bugs.

        • Facebook will not notify the 533 million users exposed in online database

          Last weekend, it was reported that a database of records from more than 533 million Facebook accounts — including phone numbers, email addresses, birthdays and other personal details — had been shared online. While the leak did not include sensitive information such as credit card or social security numbers, the data could still be exploited by bad actors.

          Facebook (FB) noted earlier this week that the data was scraped from public profiles on its platform in 2019 using its “contact importer” feature. The company says it quickly made adjustments to the feature to prevent such activity from happening again.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Google/Apple Criticized… For Seeking To Protect Privacy In UK Gov’t Covid Contact Tracing

              There are plenty of legitimate things to complain about regarding some of the big internet companies — but so many people these days view things through a weird prism in which every single action absolutely must be for evil intent, even when it’s actually for a good reason. Sometimes this leads to crazy reactions in which the companies are criticized for doing the exact opposite things, with both approaches being framed as nefarious.

            • EFF Partners with DuckDuckGo to Enhance Secure Browsing and Protect User Information on the Web [Ed: EFF is promoting fake ‘privacy’ by liaising with a Microsoft proxy]

              The  partnership represents the next step in the evolution of HTTPS Everywhere, a collaboration with The Tor Project and a key component of EFF’s effort to encrypt the web and make the Internet ecosystem safe for users and website owners.

              “DuckDuckGo Smarter Encryption has a list of millions of HTTPS-encrypted websites, generated by continually crawling the web instead of through crowdsourcing, which will give HTTPS Everywhere users more coverage for secure browsing,” said Alexis Hancock, EFF Director of Engineering and manager of HTTPS Everywhere and Certbot web encrypting projects. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with DuckDuckGo as we see HTTPS become the default protocol on the net and contemplate HTTPS Everywhere’s future.”

              “ EFFs pioneering work with the HTTPS Everywhere extension took privacy protection in a new and needed direction, seamlessly upgrading people to secure website connections,” said Gabriel Weinberg, DuckDuckGo founder and CEO. “ We’re delighted that EFF has now entrusted DuckDuckGo to power HTTPS Everywhere going forward, using our next generation Smarter Encryption dataset.”

            • HTTPS Everywhere Now Uses DuckDuckGo’s Smarter Encryption [Ed: EFF working for Microsoft proxies now. Since the founder of EFF died (one of 3) the EFF has been a total catastrophe, living of its past reputation.]
            • Private Internet Access Android App is ioXt-Certified

              As part of our efforts to increase the level of security and transparency in our apps and service, Private Internet Access partnered with the ioXt Alliance to test and certify our Android mobile VPN application.

            • Facebook urged to drop Instragram for kids plan

              The Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood claim the social network’s mooted plan to develop a platform for under-13s is dangerous for their wellbeing and privacy.

              In an open letter, the group of 99 public health advocates and organisations warn that the platform would likely be used by young children.

              It is believed that Instagram is already popular with under-13s, despite an age limit on the platform.

            • [Old] S. Africa’s plan to record all babies’ biometrics raises privacy fears

              Plans to photograph and fingerprint every baby born in South Africa for a digital register could lead to data leaks and identity theft without robust safeguards, rights experts said on Thursday.

              The Department of Home Affairs’ new draft policy aims to capture detailed biometrics – unique physical traits – of every child born in South Africa and link this data to parents’ identity numbers, which are printed on all ID documents.

              The government hopes the new registration system will prevent corrupt officials selling birth certificates to foreigners to illegally secure South African citizenship and protect children who otherwise risk going undocumented.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Biden Breaks Campaign Promise, Approves Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

        Every so often, we get a glimpse at who is actually running this joint.

      • Increasing Pentagon Budget as US Pulls Out of Afghanistan Makes Little Sense

        Congressmember Ro Khanna of California says hundreds of billions of dollars in annual defense spending could be better used on diplomacy, humanitarian aid, public health and other initiatives. He’s one of 50 House Democrats who signed a letter to President Joe Biden in March urging a “significantly reduced” Pentagon budget, which has grown to over $700 billion. “The Pentagon increases make no sense,” says Khanna. “If you’re ending the forever war in Afghanistan … then why are we increasing, at the same time, the defense budget?” Khanna also discusses the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed war in Yemen, a major U.S. arms deal with the United Arab Emirates and more.

      • Opinion | Armed Racism Keeps No One Safe

        A completely different form of public safety and order must emerge, transcending this armed authoritarianism with deeply racist roots.

        “Get out of the car! Get out of the car NOW!!”

      • Footage of Chicago Police Shooting 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo Fuels Outrage

        “If you’re shooting an unarmed child with his hands in the air, it is an assassination,” said an attorney for the boy’s family.

        Editor’s note: The video at the end of this article contains graphic and violent content.

      • Tax Resisters Divert Their Money From War to Human Welfare

        President Biden’s foreign policy to date is largely indistinguishable from Trump’s. His administration hasn’t reversed tortuous sanctions against Iran, the United States continues to bomb Somalia , and there ’ s no indication that the U.S. will shutter any of its 800 military bases around the world. In February, Biden authorized airstrikes in Syria, killing at least 22 people. His “ national security” team is as hawkish as they come. Biden broke with Trump ’ s policies when he announced that the U.S. would leave Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, continuing the military presence there four months later than the May 1 deadline Trump set with the Taliban.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Families Should Expect Child Tax Credit Payments Starting in July, IRS Says

        The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced this week that it would likely be able to start sending out checks to families that are eligible for a child tax credit that was included in an economic stimulus bill that passed earlier this year.

      • Billionaires’ Pandemic Profits Alone Could Pay for Most of Infrastructure Plan

        The wealth of U.S. billionaires has grown tremendously during the pandemic, and the increase in their wealth alone could pay for a majority of President Joe Biden’s new infrastructure and jobs plan, finds a new report by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

      • Support for Infrastructure Plan Goes Up When Corporate Tax Increase Is Mentioned

        New polling suggests that President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan is, for the most part, well received by the American people. But support for the plan appears to grow when voters are told that it would be paid for in part by raising taxes on corporations.

      • American Universities Are Buried Under a Mountain of Debt

        Joe Biden’s election gave some a glimmer of hope that the current $1.8 trillion mountain of student debt might finally be eliminated. Pressure from social movement groups, including the Movement for Black Lives and the Debt Collective, alongside progressive politicians such as Senator Bernie Sanders and Representatives Pramila Jayapal, Jamaal Bowman, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have made the once-utopian demand for full student debt cancellation into a distinct political possibility. Biden, however, has shown only lukewarm resolve. His call during the campaign for $10,000 of debt cancellation only meagerly addresses the magnitude of the problem, especially the disproportionate burden held by Black borrowers. What’s more, his administration’s persistent dismissal of calls for greater relief suggests a broader adherence to the neoliberal model of higher education, in which higher education is a private commodity—rather than a public good funded by the state. While student debt—the tip of higher ed’s austerity crisis—is a widely discussed problem, little awareness exists of the “other college debt crisis”: institutional debt.

        Between 2003 and 2016, institutional debt at public and community colleges more than doubled, rising from $73 billion to $151 billion. In that time, interest payments on this debt nearly doubled as well. These loans are not innocuous sources of financing for our institutions. Legally binding debt service obligations stipulate that repayments must be an institution’s first budgetary priority; debt covenants constitute powerful drivers of university austerity. Thus, when institutions encounter financial troubles (such as a global pandemic), they must respond first and foremost to their obligations to creditors before addressing the needs of the educational communities they serve. Over the past year, for example, colleges and universities have experienced dramatic cuts including program eliminations, faculty and staff layoffs and furloughs, and tuition hikes. Meanwhile, universities continue to pay their creditors millions in interest and fees.

      • Kyrsten Sinema Exploring Federal Minimum Wage of $11, Lower Than Her Own State’s

        Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) is teaming up with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) to form a bipartisan minimum-wage raise to counter the $15 federal minimum wage favored by progressives, the White House and the U.S. public . But the wage that Romney and Sinema are reportedly advocating for is lower than the minimum wage in Sinema’s own state.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • New York State Hands Billions Back to Wealthy Investors—and NYT Doesn’t See a Story

        New York State Assemb. Phil Steck had an idea. A great many Democrats have agreed that the state needs more revenue, not just to avoid budget cuts but to augment services and fund education. New Yorkers already fund the state through income taxes and sales taxes; the legalization of marijuana adds another “sin tax.” Shouldn’t the state, he said, also take a tiny slice out of stock trades?

      • Democrats in Congress Are Planning to Move Ahead on Expanding the Supreme Court

        Democratic lawmakers in Congress are expected to announce legislation that would add four more seats to the United States Supreme Court.

      • US Further Punishes Russia for Cyberattacks, Election Meddling

        The United States is taking action to punish Russia for what it describes as “harmful foreign activities,” including cyberattacks, election meddling and aggression in the Crimea region.

        Thirty-two entities and individuals linked to Moscow are being sanctioned for disinformation efforts and interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. 

        Ten personnel from Russia’s diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C., were expelled, including “representatives of Russian intelligence services,” according to the White House.

      • How America Betrayed Reality Winner

        A new documentary sheds light on the former NSA contractor who was locked up for leaking evidence that the Russians had interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

      • New documentary chronicles Reality Winner’s case, includes exclusive FBI interrogation audio

        As an independent filmmaker and investigative journalist, Sonia Kennebeck has always looked for interesting and compelling stories, so, when she heard about Reality Winner, she immediately started to pay attention.

        “Since national security whistleblowers are so incredibly rare because of the higher risk involved, we immediately paid attention,” Kennebeck said. “Even though we were in a production for another film, we immediately started discussing it, paid attention, did research.”

        For the past three years, Kennebeck has been working on a new documentary, “United States VS. Reality Winner”, which premiered Wednesday at South by Southwest Film Festival. The documentary chronicles Winner’s arrest for leaking a classified document to the online news publication, The Intercept, to her pleading guilty and being sentenced to 63 months in prison for violating the federal Espionage Act.

      • SXSW Online 2021: United States vs. Reality Winner Review

        United States vs. Reality Winner works as a standard documentary, featuring the usual interviews with prominent figures and focusing on Winner’s family as they fight for their daughter’s release. Despite unearthed FBI footage of her interrogation and arrest, the film fails to approach the important questions such as the who, how, and why of what happened. One can’t help but feel for Winner and her willingness to put her country above herself and to a lesser extent, Winner’s family and how they care about their daughter but in the end, there was simply an inability to connect with the film as a whole on a deeper emotional level.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Truth or Fake: Did the Queen and Prince Philip once bow to Ethiopia’s emperor?

        The France 24 Observers team contacted the Meredith consortium that now owns digital versions of Time magazine. They confirmed that the photo is from their collection, and that it does not feature the British monarch. At the time of this article’s publication, they were not able to confirm the identity of the two individuals bowing to the Ethiopian royals.

      • Historians concerned as China launches ‘distortion’ hotline

        A call by the Chinese government for citizens to report to a new hotline anyone who “misrepresents” the country’s history could place further restrictions on university teaching, especially online, professors have warned.

        The Cyberspace Administration of China announced that people should report anyone who “distorts” the history, politics or leadership of the Communist Party (CCP) or “defames national heroes”. “Some with ulterior motives…have been spreading historical nihilistic misrepresentations online, maliciously distorting, denigrating and negating the history of the party,” said the notice.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Can Hate Speech be Banned on Social Media?

        Let’s look at regulating free speech on social media from the perspectives of the courts and Congress. The first is concerned with legal precedents, the latter with the politics of passing legislation. But both are about determining who will exercise political power in defining what can of free speech is allowed on the internet.

        The Courts Perspective 

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Turkey frees journalist Altan after European rights court ruling

        A Turkish court on Wednesday released journalist and novelist Ahmet Altan after more than four years in prison on charges of involvement in a failed 2016 coup attempt that he had always denied.

        The Court of Cassation ruling came a day after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) demanded the 71-year-old’s freedom in a verdict that accused Turkey of violating his civil rights.

      • Reuters finally decides to charge you for its online news stories with a paywall

        Reuters.com draws 41 million unique visitors monthly, according to the company, but it has not charged for access like other news sites in its business-centric niche have done for some time. It will let users read five stories a month for free and plans to charge $34.99 a month for a subscription. That’s a bit pricier than a sub to The New York Times ($18.42 / month) but closer to similar news organizations of its type, including The Wall Street Journal ($38.99 / month), which put its paywall up in 1996, and Bloomberg.com ($34.99 / month), which added a paywall in 2018.

        Reuters said it generates half of its revenue from its largest client, the financial data firm Refinitiv, and also makes money from online advertising. The company says it has redesigned its website with a “professional audience” in mind and plans investment in segments like legal news and live streams of its events.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Private Prison Company On The Hook For Legal Fees After Suing Investment Group For Saying It Was Doing Stuff It Was Actually Doing

        Private prison company CoreCivic has just learned a civics lesson. [I'll show myself out.] Possibly a very expensive one.

      • Proctoring Tools and Dragnet Investigations Rob Students of Due Process

        The Boston Globe explains that the medical school administration’s attempts to detect supposed cheating have become a flashpoint on campus, exemplifying a worrying trend of schools prioritizing misleading data over the word of their students. The misguided dragnet investigation has cast a shadow over the career aspirations of over twenty medical students.

        Dartmouth medical school has cast suspicion on students by relying on access logs that are far from concrete evidence of cheating

        In March, Dartmouth’s Committee on Student Performance and Conduct (CSPC) accused several students of accessing restricted materials online during exams. These accusations were based on a flawed review of an entire year’s worth of the students’ log data from Canvas, the online learning platform that contains class lectures and information. This broad search was instigated by a single incident of confirmed misconduct, according to a contentious town hall  between administrators and students (we’ve re-uploaded this town hall, as it is now behind a Dartmouth login screen). These logs show traffic between students’ devices and specific files on Canvas, some of which contain class materials, such as lecture slides. At first glance, the logs showing that a student’s device connected to class files would appear incriminating: timestamps indicate the files were retrieved while students were taking exams. 

      • Bezos says Amazon workers aren’t treated like robots, unveils robotic plan to keep them working

        To address concerns about working conditions, Bezos said the company will develop new staffing schedules “that use sophisticated algorithms to rotate employees among jobs that use different muscle-tendon groups to decrease repetitive motion and help protect employees from MSD risks.” The technology will roll out throughout 2021, he said.

      • Chauvin decides not to testify at George Floyd murder trial

        The prosecution and defense in Chauvin’s trial rested on Thursday after the state called a final witness and Chauvin said he would exercise his constitutional right against self-incrimination.

        [...]

        A bystander video of the arrest went viral and sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States and around the world.

        Cahill gave the nine-woman, five-man jury a day off on Friday before closing arguments Monday.

      • Mother of Seven Wounded, Loses Family for Becoming Christian

        The Muslim relatives entered the church building with sticks and the Somali sword. Naibira said the pastor and some church elders tried to protect her but were overpowered, and the assailants forced her into a van and drove her to a nearby forest.

        “They started beating me with sticks, then my husband cut me with the Somali sword at the thigh and the back,” she said. “I regained consciousness only after several hours.”

        A passing herdsman found her lying in a pool of blood at about 3 p.m., and he and others took the still unconscious Naibira to a clinic in nearby Kityerera town.

      • Inspecting the NYPD “Puzzle Palace”

        When Deputy Chief Michael Osgood, then head of the New York Police Department’s Special Victims Division, got word that the city’s Inspector General wanted to review his records in 2017, he didn’t think twice about cooperating.

        For years, Osgood had been pleading with police leadership to get the staffing and resources necessary for his division to investigate sexual assaults. When its overworked and inexperienced officers interviewed survivors, they were forced to do so in the hot, cramped bullpens of dilapidated precincts, within earshot of other detectives and in view of the holding cells. Even the suspects could catch the eye of those being interviewed. Advocates pointed to these indignities as a reason people were reluctant to report sex crimes or became disengaged once investigations had begun.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Ian Jackson: Dreamwidth blocking many RSS readers and aggregators

        There is a serious problem with Dreamwidth, which is impeding access for many RSS reader tools.
        This started at around 0500 UTC on Wednesday morning, according to my own RSS reader cron job. A friend found #43443 in the DW ticket tracker, where a user of a minority web browser found they were blocked.

        Local tests demonstrated that Dreamwidth had applied blocking by the HTTP User-Agent header, and were rejecting all user-agents not specifically permitted. Today, this rule has been relaxed and unknown user-agents are permitted. But user-agents for general http client libraries are still blocked.

        I’m aware of three unresolved tickets about this: #43444 #43445 #43447

        We’re told there by a volunteer member of Dreamwidth’s support staff that this has been done deliberately for “blocking automated traffic”. I’m sure the volunteer is just relaying what they’ve been told by whoever is struggling to deal with what I suppose is probably a spam problem. But it’s still rather unsatisfactory.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Amazon Prime Passes 200 Million Subscribers

        Amazon now has more than 200 million subscribers to its Amazon Prime service, CEO Jeff Bezos wrote in his annual letter to shareholders Thursday.

        Amazon Prime Video programming is included in the larger Prime subscription, making it one of the most widely-available premium streaming services in the world. Prime passed 150 million subscribers in January 2020.

    • Monopolies

      • Epic Games and Apple submit exhibit lists to U.S. court in preparation of May antitrust trial

        Epic Games and Apple just submitted to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California their exhibit lists for next month’s App Store antitrust trial. There are two lists per party: an exhibit list (text documents, such as emails), and an audiovisual exhibit list.

        At the moment I don’t have any particular comment, but with so many people being interested in the case, I just wanted to publish those lists here.

      • Patents

        • Protecting Artificial Intelligence Inventions in the UK [Ed: It is unhelpful when they call everything "hey hi", conflating computer-generated stuff with patents on algorithms and all sorts of other issues with a plethora of legal abuses]

          The majority of respondents indicated that the difficulty in getting patents was a problem for the AI sector. The impact of the patent exclusions was a main concern, although the general view was that there was no need to change UK law. Many respondents did, however, feel that the UK IPO should change its practice on patent exclusion, particularly to bring it more in line with the EPO.

          A specific gripe related to the UK IPO’s practice of refusing search requests for AI inventions, in contrast to the more permissive approach adopted by the EPO. The importance of search results in assessing filing strategies for other countries was emphasised.

          In terms of infringement, there was agreement that legal persons (individual or legal entity) should be liable when AI infringes a patent, which is in keeping with current practice. However, the challenges in establishing infringement by AI was considered as problematic as when trying to do so with other technologies. The UK IPO intends to let the courts use their flexibility to make decisions based on the facts of the case and therefore does not intend to intervene in this area.

        • Servier Urges Top UK Court To Dismiss Drug Patent Fight

          A French pharmaceutical company told Britain’s highest court on Thursday that allowing the National Health Service’s lawsuit over the sale of a blood pressure drug to proceed requires the court to defy public policy.

          Servier is fighting a bid by the NHS to revive its damages claim. The health authority alleges that the pharma company breached competition law and caused it loss by deceiving the European Patents Office and the English courts into initially backing a patent for the drug Coversyl despite knowing the design was invalid.

        • Boards of Appeal reduces case backlog, despite pandemic challenges [Ed: JUVE has been reduced to EPO propaganda site, refusing to cover any of the BoA scandals and instead issuing puff pieces like this one]

          The European Patent Office Boards of Appeal has published its annual report 2020. It was a year which both helped and hindered the organisation’s ability to implement its five-year strategy.

          The Boards of Appeal, which is the first and final judicial instance before the EPO, is bound only by the European Patent Convention. As such, it acts – and is situated – almost independently of the EPO in Munich. Over the past year, the coronavirus pandemic has necessitated organisational and structural changes to its running, as well as to its long-term strategy.

          Despite the global pandemic, the Boards of Appeal has decreased its backlog of pending cases by 10.3%, from 9,234 technical appeals in 2019 to 8,280 in 2020. Technical appeals constitute the vast majority of Boards of Appeal cases, with the organisation thus using them as a yardstick for the development of work.

        • Supreme Court on Patent Law for April 2021

          Here is a rundown of what’s happening with US Supreme Court cases:

          Decided: The court recently decided Google LLC v. Oracle America, Inc., holding that Google’s use of Oracle’s Java API was a fair use and therefore not copyright infringement. The court made no determination as to whether the API was actually copyrightable in the first place. The case does not expressly decide any patent law issues, but does provide some guidance as to how courts should approach mixed questions of law and fact (such as claim construction) and the right to a jury trial. The jury trial issue was interesting. Although a number of juries were given fair use questions pre-1791, the court held that our current version of fair use claims its ancestry from the equity rather than common law. Thus, no right to a jury trial on the question of fair use under the Seventh Amendment. “In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved.”

          Argued: On March 1, 2021, the court heard oral arguments in US v. Arthrex regarding it is proper for the Secretary of Commerce to appoint the PTAB judges as inferior officers of the United States. Or, instead, are they principal officers of the United States that must be appointed by the US President and confirmed by the Senate (as we do with Article III judges). Nobody likes the Federal Circuit’s decision, and the question really is which way it should fall. (My guess is that these judges will be seen as inferior officers). I expect that part of the majority decision (whichever way it goes) will involve interpreting the role and involvement of the PTO Director in PTAB decisions. An inferior officer decision will interpret the statute as providing the PTO director with substantial authority; a principal officer decision will downplay the role of the PTO director. Decision should be released by Mid-June 2021.

          [...]

          Obviousness: Amarin Pharma, Inc., et al. v. Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., et al., No. 20-1119 (secondary indicia); Sandoz Inc., et al. v. Immunex Corporation, et al., No. 20-1110 (obviousness type double patenting).

        • Procedural Denials at the PTAB – Here to Stay? [Ed: Attempts to lower patent quality and help litigation fanatics by basically denying access to justice or scrutiny of fake patents]

          Recently, the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) has issued significantly more procedural denials of IPRs, including those based on the NHK Spring1 and Fintiv2 decisions. In response, petitioners have tried a variety of tactics to reduce the risk of a NHK Spring/Fintiv procedural denial. However, upcoming changes in USPTO leadership and policy may change this.

          Patent practitioners continue to strategize to overcome these procedural denials. Some patterns have emerged that provide potential guidance in this space. From these patterns, as detailed below, we are able to gain insight into PTAB’s methodology and tips on how to best structure IPRs to minimize the risks of a denial based on NHK Spring/Fintiv.

        • FTC Prevails in Reverse Payment Case

          The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) spent the better part of a decade attacking the practice of innovator drug companies settling ANDA litigation by providing payments to generic applicants challenging the validity of Orange Book-listed patents (see “The FTC’s Thinking Does Not Make It So Regarding Reverse Payment Agreements”; “Federal Trade Commission Issues Report on Reverse Settlement Agreements in FY2010″; “FTC Releases Another Report on Reverse Payment Settlement Agreements in ANDA Litigation”; “The FTC Is at It Again”). These agreements were termed “reverse payment” settlements because unlike in most patent suits, the defendant secured a payment from the patentee (as part of its campaign, the FTC termed these “pay-for-delay” agreements). The Commission persisted in its efforts despite most Federal Courts of Appeal deciding that, rather than being anticompetitive, the agreements frequently resulted in generic drugs coming to market much earlier than would be expected (see Valley Drug Co. v. Geneva Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 344 F.3d 1294 (11th Cir. 2003); Schering-Plough Corp. v. Federal Trade Commission, 402 F.3d 1056 (11th Cir. 2005); In re Tamoxifen Citrate Antitrust Litigation, 466 F.3d 187 (2d Cir. 2006); In re Ciprofloxacin Hydrochloride Antitrust Litigation, 544 F.3d 1323 (Fed. Cir. 2008); Arkansas Carpenters Health & Welfare Fund v. Bayer AG, 604 F.3d 98, 105 (2d Cir. 2010); and Federal Trade Commission v. Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (11th Cir. 2012)). One basis for the FTC’s persistence was the belief that branded drug companies settled because they were aware that their patents were invalid and thus improperly tried to extend their “monopoly”; of course this position supposed not only that innovator drug companies were willing to contravene the antitrust laws but perhaps more importantly that the Commission’s bureaucrats had a better understanding of the pharmaceutical industry than the executives making the decisions. Persistence being what it is, the FTC finally prevailed in finding a Circuit Court (the Third) to accept its arguments (see “The Federal Trade Commission Finally Wins One”), leading to the Supreme Court deciding the issue in FTC v. Actavis.

          [...]

          Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Impax delayed its launch until January 1, 2013, 30 months later than any “at risk” launch scenario without the agreement. Endo agreed not to bring its own branded generic to market in competition with Impax’s product until after the 180-day exclusivity period had passed (July 1, 2013). Endo also agreed to pay Impax a “credit” should its own Opana ER sales fall by 50% or more after the parties entered into the agreement and before Impax’s generic entered the market (as a result, inter alia, of Endo’s product hop). Endo also broadly licensed its relevant patents to Impax, and entered into an agreement to co-develop a Parkinson’s disease drug, funded in part by a $10 million payment to Impax with provisions for up to an additional $30 million depending on development of the new product. As a consequence of Endo’s product hop, Impax was entitled to and received $102 million in credits due to the shrinking market share of the original Opana ER formulation. The product hop formulation proved to have its own safety concerns, however, and Endo withdrew it from the market in 2017. The result is that “Impax’s generic is the only extended-release oxymorphone available to consumers today.”

          The FTC brought actions separately against Endo and Impax; Endo settled and Impax put up a fight. While the Administrative Law Judge found that the agreement’s procompetitive benefits outweighed any anticompetitive effects the Commission decided otherwise, leading to this appeal (in the form of a petition for the Court to overrule the Commission).

      • Copyrights

        • France Plans To Repeat Hadopi’s Costly Mistakes By Turning It Into An Even Bigger, Even More Wrong-headed Anti-Piracy Body Called Arcom

          Techdirt covered the story of France’s “three strikes” law, later known as Hadopi, from the body overseeing it, for over ten years. What became a long-running farce eventually cost French taxpayers €82 million, and generated just €87,000 in fines. A rational government might draw the obvious conclusion that trying to stamp out unauthorized downloads using the crude instrument of fines and threats was the wrong approach. Oddly, though, the French government has decided that Hadopi was such a stunning, and embarrassing failure, it wants to do it again, but on an even grander scale, as a story on Euractiv reports:

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2021/04/16/mozilla-dumping-ftp/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 7/5/2021: IPFire 2.25 Core Update 156 and Diffoscope 174 Released

    Links for the day



  2. The New Microsoft? No, the New IBM.

    Microsoft GitHub and IBM: a strategic alliance between a monopolistic duo



  3. The Audacity Takeover by Muse Group is No Cause for Celebration

    Audacity is now part of an entity called Muse Group and if it doesn’t take or suck freedom out of Audacity, it will certainly deny users rather basic concepts (or anticipation) of privacy



  4. King of Linux

    If the entire operating system is being called "Linux", then we fall for a publicity or misattribution stunt



  5. The Biggest Troll is the Linux Foundation, Still Looking to Provoke and Defame Free Software Communities in Order to Help a Monopolistic Takeover and to Shoehorn Tyrants Into Leadership Positions

    Contrary to what the so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation is trying to say, the most toxic element is itself; it’s maligning the real community while protecting abusive and racist corporations that profit from war and tribalism-motivated hatred



  6. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 06, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, May 06, 2021



  7. “The Lolita Express” and Prince Bill

    “The Lolita Express” scandals return to haunt pool old Bill, as it turns out his wife was upset and it's quite likely the reason for their divorce



  8. Links 7/5/2021: GNU/Linux Preinstalled, Plamo 7.3, LibreOffice 7.1.3

    Links for the day



  9. The Latest Reports About Bill Gates Serve to Confirm or at Least Reaffirm Many People's Suspicions

    So, just as many people suspected, Melinda Gates did not appreciate her husband sneaking behind her back to meet someone who had trafficked thousands of underage girls for sexual exploitation and there are high-profile calls right now for greater transparency, seeing the impact on the world’s biggest tax evasion vehicle



  10. Disregard Web Sites That Call Themselves 'News' and Instead Promote Proprietary Software for Companies Like Microsoft

    Publishers like IDG have long been paid-for marketing in ‘article’ clothing, sometimes with the veneer of ‘reporting’ (as if they have some inside knowledge or insight, e.g. speaking with or for the company they secretly coordinate with or market for); but sadly we’ve been seeing some so-called ‘Linux’ sites doing the same thing, in effect acting like de facto Microsoft marketers



  11. [Meme] Who Needs Examination Anyway When There's 'Hey Hi' (AI)?

    The patent production line could do away with 'pesky' and 'opinionated' examiners who actually wish to scrutinise alleged 'inventions'



  12. Europe's Second-Largest Institution Corrupting the Media and Buying Expensive Puff Pieces

    As annual reports reveal, the EPO wastes an extraordinary amount of money on reputation laundering campaigns and it pollutes the signal by paying publishers; we examine this issue using the new 'reports' shown in the video above



  13. Links 6/5/2021: Fedora’s Compiler Policy and Celemony Software GmbH Adopting Free Software

    Links for the day



  14. Free Software Proponents Don't Fall for Bullshit (Same is True for EPO Examiners)

    There are parallels between what happens in the Free Software Movement and the EPO, where well-meaning people — and usually hard-working scientists — are besieged by people who never really contributed anything to society



  15. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 05, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, May 05, 2021



  16. Lessons From Another Failed Coup Against the Free Software Movement

    The coup has very clearly failed and we should prepare for future attempts (they go in cycles); the monopolies really dislike software they cannot control fully (e.g. copyleft/GPL-licensed software)



  17. Links 5/5/2021: Mesa 21.1 Released and New Releases of Python

    Links for the day



  18. Links 5/5/2021: StarLabs, GNU Zile 2.6.2, Fedora i3 Spin

    Links for the day



  19. Phony 'Scandals' From Phony 'News' Site ZDNet

    Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols continues the coup against the FSF (trying to separate it from its founder, Richard Stallman), funded by IBM and Microsoft to engage in libel at a marketing company-owned ‘news’ site called ZDNet



  20. Links 5/5/2021: Windows Security Breaches and GNU Pokology Launched

    Links for the day



  21. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 04, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, May 04, 2021



  22. Links 4/5/2021: Taiwins 0.3, KDE Plasma 5.21.5 Released

    Links for the day



  23. EPO Already Wasting Money on Media Manipulation Campaigns for European Inventor Award

    An online-only European Inventor Award 'event' is being used as a pretext/excuse to flood European publishers with money they can rightly perceive as 'hush money'; everyone out there with no spine would likely buckle at the sight of EPO euros and just produce mindless puff pieces that serve to distract from EPO corruption



  24. The Timing of This Melinda Gates Tweet Was Always Curious...

    Remarking on her trip to Africa, where the Gates family lobbies for monopolies on seeds (for profit or course, notably through Monsanto/Bayer, which the Gates family heavily invests in), she posted pure fluff and old photos. And it’s hard to believe she had nothing better to do at the time (better than such nostalgia). As we noted last year: “The above tweet of a beach was posted [by Melinda Gates] on the date of the arrest/search of their employee, who was at their residence at the time.” He was arrested around the very same time this tweet was posted. As we wrote last year (based on detailed documents obtained from the police department): “This tweet was posted 2 hours and 40 minutes after the door was breached and incriminating evidence collected.” He was arrested later that morning at the mansion of Bill and Melinda Gates (the police records contain detailed timelines to confirm the chronology). Melinda’s first name was also in the CP 'stash'.



  25. Media Frenzy Around Gates Divorce Helps Distract From Bill's Crimes

    The distraction from many Gates scandals is cushioned by yet another personal fluff; we would rather see investigative journalism pursuing real answers about real scandals



  26. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, May 03, 2021



  27. EPO Disregards Animal Welfare

    An often overlooked issue surrounding the second-largest institution in Europe is its impact on millions if not billions of animals; there's ongoing research into that



  28. Links 3/5/2021: Sparky 5.15, Bill Gates Divorce, Netflix Fraud

    Links for the day



  29. Links 3/5/2021: New in OpenBSD 6.9 and Audacity Acquired By Muse Group

    Links for the day



  30. Adding, Seaming Together, Merging, or Concatenating Videos From the Command Line With FFMPEG (Scripting for Streamlining of Workflows)

    In order to enrich the looks of videos with almost no extra time/effort (all scripted, no GUIs should be needed) use ffmpeg with the concat operator; but there are several big gotchas, namely lack of sound and need for consistency across formats/codecs and even sampling rates


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

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

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

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

Recent Posts