Proprietary Software on the Road to Nowhere

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft at 8:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Golden Gate
As always, corporations and nations try to project wealth, confidence, and stability. But reality ain’t quite so.

Summary: We’re meant to think that some American corporations are worth trillions of dollars (even corporations that operate at losses!) and many such corporations are in fact funded by taxpayers against taxpayers’ will (subsidies); we need to be patient as their business models lack long-term viability and they will eventually collapse (they try to sink freedom-respecting alternatives, but that’s an impossible task, corrosive to oneself)

THESE past few years we saw Microsoft and IBM falling into the realm of financial engineering (basically faking their performance in order to reward managers) and judging by what insiders say about IBM, it might be at the point of no return after more than a century. It’s unable to attract or even retain talent; Microsoft is like a “love child” of IBM and therein too there are layoffs (across many parts of the business).

A lot of technology giants are subsidised by their military/government and VCs. It is what some people deem an “open secret” or a “duh moment”. They always hope to turn things around one day; in the case of AWS, after quite a few years they finally managed to become profitable and in Twitter’s case it has been mostly losses. A lot of the advertising business is a bubble based on false advertising of the potential reach (Twitter, Facebook, Google etc.) and they even get caught faking “engagement” levels in order to attract advertisers, entice users, and so on.

A lot of social control media, YouTube included, is basically faking it or exaggerating numbers. In recent years and especially in recent months YouTube turned into something else — resembling something of the “infinite scrolling” addiction model — wherein suggestions are pushed not based on what one searches for or subscribes to. They just strive to entrap people in and decide for them what to watch next, irrespective of actual preferences. It’s the “social control” in social control media and we strongly encourage people to reject (i.e. not upload to) any of that social control media.

The sorrows of those technology giants aren’t visible; they’re being propped up by people looking to gain some other way (like those who “support journalism” but actually look to bias the publishers). In Google’s case, it’s willing to lose billions of dollars on silly pipe dreams (“Stadia”) and clown computing nonsense just because it helps establish/secure some geopolitical goals.

Golden Gate FogWe’ve often spoken about how political the EPO has become (UPC likewise), but it is the same in the private sector. Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos aren’t scientists; they’re political hacks. It therefore also implies that the question of software patents becomes a political question influenced by corporate lobbying, not science or scientists (practitioners who code rather than just sue).

“My personal belief is that we just need to endure the storm; all that perseverance will pay off in the long run.”A lot of large companies play a game of lottery; they pretend to be all big and powerful, even when they’re in fact deep in debt. We can drive them out of balance with stalling tactics; some of them already collapse. In IBM’s case, the attacks on the FSF may in fact be connected to the company’s imminent death (in many respects, the company is already dying).

Free software will need to endure all these destabilisation tactics, divide-and-rule strategies, and most importantly infiltration. People who haven’t a penny (or “kings of overdraft” — in their own words!) will carry on rocking the boat. They may try to sink lots of boats, but in the Free software movement we have lots of backups, including escape routes. We need to make more and more of them; decentralisation will help a lot.

My personal belief is that we just need to endure the storm; all that perseverance will pay off in the long run. For instance, Microsoft’s hostile takeover on millions of Free software projects has not paid off. Money is being lost, too. It was all along more about destruction and disruption.

At the moment lots of money is being pumped from the US government (China does the same by the way, for strategic geopolitical reasons) or its military to technical projects and multinational firms. That money won’t last forever; that inflow will run dry (a stimulus or bailout money to Microsoft, to the tune of $10,000,000,000, has fallen through; because there was no justification for it; nor was there any for the HoloLens grifting — a company whose entire staff had been laid off by Microsoft).

Carry on sharing code, delete GitHub, move away from “Red Hat” (IBM), reject social control media and let’s see where we get in the coming years as global power shifts (however gradually) to the east. Not because it needs to, just because it is inevitable. Attempts to ban/sanction entire companies (TikTok, Huawei etc.) — companies that increasingly adopt Free software as means of improving self-reliance — show that the so-called full-spectrum dominance cannot be assured by conventional means anymore.

“First they ignore [Huawei et al], then they laugh at [Huawei et al], then they fight [Huawei et al], then [Huawei et al] win.”


Links 11/7/2021: KPhotoAlbum 5.8.1 and Solus 4.3 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux Mint Has Three Flavors. Which Is Right For You?

        Are you new to Linux or thinking about switching to Linux? If so, then you probably know that Linux Mint is one of the best distros for new users. But Linux Mint has three main desktop editions: Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce. Not sure which desktop environment to choose?

    • Kernel Space

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install OpenSSL on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install OpenSSL on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, OpenSSL is an open-source toolkit for Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocols, as well as a cryptography library. OpenSSL is used by many programs like Apache Web server, PHP, and many others providing support for various cryptographic algorithms.

        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 the step-by-step installation of OpenSSL 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 Disable VIM Syntax Highlighting – Linux Hint

        The VIM editor provides a cool feature to highlight syntax based on whatever language you are programming in. This makes it easier to edit the code and visually understand the syntax of the code. However as a system admin or DevOps engineer you may find yourself editing many configuration files of various formats and on various remote machines and because of the systems you login to, the syntax highlighting makes the file unreadable in your session.

        Therefore in this post, we will show how to disable syntax highlighting in the .vimrc configuration file. This way all files that you open will have plain text, without any color schemes, and you can quickly get to work.

        I found myself frequently opening files and then disabling syntax highlighting dynamically, its more efficient to add the command to the .vimrc file on each machine you use.

      • Install PostgreSQL on Ubuntu: An Easy-to-Follow Guide

        In this article we’re going to cover how to install PostgreSQL on Ubuntu from the official Ubuntu repository or by adding the PostgreSQL repository and installing the same.

        PostgreSQL, also known as “Postgres”, is an advanced, enterprise class open source relational database management system (ORDBMS). It is developed by a worldwide team of volunteers and it is quite popular due to its stability and advanced features. PostgreSQL is not controlled by any corporation or other private entity and the source code is available free of charge.

        Most Linux distributions such as Debian, CentOS, openSUSE, and Ubuntu have PostgreSQL integrated with their package management. In this tutorial we are going to show you how to install and use the version available by default with your version of Ubuntu as well as how to install it by adding the PostgreSQL repository and installing the same.

      • How to record terminal session How to Record terminal sessions in ubuntu

        While working on ubuntu we have to use terminal at a great extent. When we have to deal with the system configuration in ubuntu we generally took the help of Ubuntu terminal. Ubuntu terminal is very useful while interacting with ubuntu system. sometimes we have to save our terminal sessions, so that we could see and understand all the activities during the process for future reference. In linux ‘script’ is the command to perform this action. With the help of script we can save our terminal logs in a file. So We can have a glance on our work after finishing it. ‘Scriptreplay’ is another command which would perform a full automatic replay of the terminal session. Here I will help you to learn , how to record the terminal session in ubuntu.

        Also we can use the ‘History’ command for this purpose but it doesn’t save the output. While using the script command we can view the output of a command in history from the Log file.

      • How to install Kali Linux How to install Kali Linux in virtual box – Unixcop

        We have heard about a lot of linux distributions in the industry. But each of the linux flavor has its own purpose and functionalities. To know more about it , let’s dive into its history. developed by mati ahroni and devon kearns, kali is the rewrite of backtrack. So Backtrack was the previous security testing distribution of kali which was based on knoppix. Kali got its name so because its basically a kernel auditing linux. In short its KA – kernel auditing Linux ‘KALI’. But We can use kali as a debian based linux distribution .we can use it for purposes such as digital forensics and penetration testing. So here I will show you ‘How to install Kali Linux on virtual Box’.

        I want to tell you that kali linux has a set of pre installed tools in addition. So we can use these tools for security testing purposes. In fact, here I can point out some of the tools which play a very important role in security testing purposes.

      • Install CMake on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS / 21.04 – Unixcop

        CMake is an open-source, cross-platform family of tools designed to build, test and package software. CMake is used to control the software compilation process using simple platform and compiler independent configuration files, and generate native makefiles and workspaces that can be used in the compiler environment of your choice. The suite of CMake tools were created by Kitware in response to the need for a powerful, cross-platform build environment for open-source projects such as ITK and VTK.

      • How to play Hearthstone on Linux

        Hearthstone is a free-to-play online digital card game developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. Hearthstone builds on existing lore from Warcraft and gives players a chance to battle each other using collectible cards.

      • Rootless container management with docker-compose and podman

        Everyone has an opinion for the best way to manage containers, and there are many contenders depending on how much complexity you can handle and how much automation you require. One of my favorite ways to manage containers is docker-compose.


        Now it’s time to use docker-compose with podman as a regular user and run a container as our regular user.

        We can use librespeed for this example, and the LinuxServer librespeed container is a great way to deploy it. It’s a self-hosted speed test application that works well with desktops and mobile devices.

    • Wine or Emulation

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KPhotoAlbum 5.8.1 released

          We’re happy to annouce a new release of KPhotoAlbum, the KDE photo management software! It’s version number is 5.8.1. The reason we skipped 5.8.0 is simply that i messed up the release, but the tag was already published – so I had to immediately tag another one ;-)

        • GSOC with KStars 02: Community Bonding and First Coding Period

          Of course the task I described in the last post looks and is quite monumental. That is why I laid some of the groundwork for my GSOC beforehand (in the actual German semester breaks). This work continued in the community bonding and first coding period and will therefore be described here.

          But first I want to thank my mentor Jasem Mutlaq for his support, his patience with me and his nerves of steel. My mood levels were somewhat similar to a huge-amplitude sine wave those last weeks.

          Now to the meat…

          I began by studying the existing deep sky object implementation in KStars to identify what structure the new catalogs should have and what the smallest irreducible core of functionality was I could replace to make integration easier. I discovered that the catalogs were a mix of SQL databases and text files, somehow loaded at startup and then appended to some linked list. There was some deduplication implemented but like most DSO code it was oddly catalog specific. Especially the Messier, IC and NGC catalogs were often mentioned in the code. Also the explicit distinction between stars and DSOs made writing general code complicated but I found a consistent set of data fields shared by all catalog objects which all admitted sane defaults. It wasn’t bad code or anything like that. Just the product of “organic groth” with many thing I wanted already present in some way but somewhat all over the place. I admit that I studied the code just enough to find out what exactly I had to replace and maybe I could have reused more of the existing code but I’ve picked this specific path in the multiverse, so let’s get on with it. Just a shout out to all who did previous work on the DSO code among whom are, just to name a few, Jason Harris, Rishab Arora, Thomas Kabelmann and Akarsh Simha.

        • digiKam: GSoC 2021 Week 4-5 | Anjani’s blog

          Last two weeks was the first time I started planning to build digiKam with Qt6. A major problem was that digiKam used Qt Webengine/Qt Webkit to have support of in-built browser for displaying online documents and webservice authorization steps.

          Qt Webengine/Qt Webkit modules, as of now, are not available in Qt 6.1.2 and will only be stable with release Qt 6.2, expected to arrive in September 2021. It is not trivial to isolate code that dependeds on this module. I thought about some solutions like building with alpha Qt 6.2 release. It failed. Me and my mentors had a long discussion about the solution and Gilles suggested that writing a dummy API for now is a good solution.

        • Update On My Gsoc Project

          I realize it has been a long time since the start of GSoC and I didn’t write any update blogs on the status of my project, I’m currently working on Okular to extend it to have better support for custom image stamps. Right now, Okular doesn’t fully support representing Stamp Annotations, resulting in not being able to render Stamps or not being able to save custom ones so that other viewers are able to render them.

          I’m currently working under the mentorship of Albert Astals Cid, whom I’d like to thank a lot for his continuous support and help. He has been really supportive and made the GSoC period a really fruitful journey so far.

        • GSoC 2021 KMyMoney – Week 3, 4 and 5

          Week 5 was more into replacing the WebPriceQuote usage in KMyMoney and figuring out what APIs are needed in libalkimia.

          I noticed that the online quotes that were in kmymoneyrc weren’t visible in the Online Quotes dialog. I figured out that and used the kmymoney profiles only. As also further pointed by Ralf, the onlinequoteseditor (in libalkimia) is intended to support multiple applications and therefore adds multiple profiles.
          As unit tests were already written in libalkmia I run all the tests to check if something were wrong. All the tests passed successfully.

          I started replacing WebPriceQuote implementation with that of Alkimia one by one. I managed to do so with the help of API documentation and previous KMyMoney 4.8 implementation. I found that some of the implementations were not present in libalkimia

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • A New Look for the Health app

          This required the creation of a new view (homepage) along with the creation of 2 widgets (circular progress bar and arrow) drawn with cairo.

          The rationale for this design is to show important data at the top. Users can get more details (graphs and activity history) by clicking the buttons below.

    • Distributions

      • Solus 4.3 Released with Linux Kernel 5.13, KDE Plasma 5.22, and GNOME 40.2

        Coming more than five months after Solus 4.2, the Solus 4.3 release is the third installment in the Solus 4 “Fortitude” series, introducing updated internals for better hardware support, as well as updated desktop environments and apps for an improved Solus desktop experience.

        Highlights of Solus 4.3 include the latest Linux 5.13 kernel series, the Mesa 21.1.3 graphics stack, BlueZ 5.60 Bluetooth stack, FFmpeg 4.4 and GStreamer 1.18.4 multimedia frameworks, dav1d 0.9.0 AV1 decoder, PulseAudio 14.2 sound system, LibreOffice 7.1.4 office suite, Mozilla Thunderbird 78.11 email client, and Mozilla Firefox 89.0.2 web browser.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 21.10 Impish Indri – New Features and Release Date

          Final release of 2021, Ubuntu 21.10 Impish Indri development is in progress. In this post, we sum up the new features known so far and planned release dates.

        • 6 ways to turn your smartphone into a computer

          Perhaps the best options for turning a smartphone into a computer are available to Samsung users. With the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+, Note 8 or later, you have the option of DeX. Launched from the notification bar, DeX is basically a desktop environment for Android.


          The main feature of Ubuntu Touch is the convergence system. Like Samsung DeX, it is a desktop environment, which is activated when the smartphone is connected to an external monitor.

          The operating system is preinstalled with many tools, including LibreOffice. Having a mobile phone that can be used as a laptop at all times is great for the productivity factor.

        • This South African billionaire surged up the UK’s rich list – and is now one of three locals inside the top 100

          Previous rich lists from the Sunday Times tracked the 1,000 richest people in the UK, which also included other South Africans like SA-born property mogul, Sir Donald Gordon; Ubuntu developer Mark Shuttleworth; pharmaceutical boss Tony Tabatznik; businessman Vivian Imerman; and investment banker Richard Gnodde.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Haiku activity report – June 2021

        Hello, it’s time for the June activity report! (yes, not much innovation in the tagline for these reports lately. I’m out of ideas, or maybe just lazy to find new ones).

        Before we dig into the report, two important announcements (in case you are not following the other news on the website, since both were already announced separately).

        The beta 3 release process is going well, and there are some “testing candidate” images available for testing. If you have some time to install one of these and see if everything is running fine on your hardware, that would be great!


        If you are a Haiku developer or contributor, you can contact Haiku inc for your funding requests, it can be for buying some specific hardware, or negociating a paid contract if that allows you to spend more time working on Haiku or related things. You can also join our Liberapay team to collect a part of the donations sent to the team, and make your Lierapay profile more visible to donators if they want to target you directly. You need an invitation to join the team, please contact one of the existing team members so they can invite you.

        With that being said, let’s look at what happened in Haiku sourcecode this month! Of course with the release announcement, everyone has been scrambling to get their changes in at the last minute, so it has been a bit more busy than usual (this is only my arbitrary and subjective perception of things, with no statistics to back it).

      • Haiku Marching Towards R1 Beta 3, RISC-V Bring-Up, Intel Display work

        The Haiku open-source operating system building off the inspiration and work of BeOS is continuing strong over the summer months.

        The Haiku OS project has published their June 2021 progress report with a lot of work being tackled as part of this “BeOS successor” that has been in the works for two decades.

      • Funding

        • China’s Alternative To GSoC Is Seeing Some Interesting Summer Open-Source Projects

          Back in May we wrote about China launching an alternative to Google Summer of Code and Outreachy. This global open-source program hosted by the Institute of Software Chinese Academy of Sciences is running “Summer 2021″ for encouraging university-aged students regardless of gender or nationality to get involved in open-source development.

          The Summer 2021 program pays out roughly $932 to $1865 USD per project depending upon complexity. Open-source community projects can participate as well to receive help if they are under an OSI-approved software license.

      • Programming/Development

        • Perl/Raku

          • gfldex: Contextual addition

            I took the absense of complaint as silent consent and set forth to implement HyperWhatever in associative subscripts. To do so I setup a little bit of tooling to lower cognitive load. When writing code I like to hit F1 in Vim and have it do the right thing depending on context. Since Vim is not self aware yet, we have to tell it what to do to help us. To specify context we can add a line to a source file to define a pseudo filetype.

        • Python

          • Yes Python Is My Favourite Programming Language

            Every so often someone asks me what my favourite programming language is and I know this will annoy some people but it’s Python, it’s such an easy language to work with, has such a powerful standard library has some amazing documentation that I don’t know why you wouldn’t like it.

  • Leftovers

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • U.K. Supreme Court rejects NHS claim of €220M financial loss in Servier patent lawsuit

          In the culmination of a 10-year case, the U.K. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Servier Laboratories in its defense against England’s National Health Service over a patent on cardio drug Coversyl.

          The lawsuit surrounded the French pharmaceutical company’s alleged attempt to block the sale of generic versions of Coversyl by defending a patent that the company knew was not valid. The NHS claimed that Servier caused the government financial loss by deceiving the European Patents Office and the courts and sought €220 million ($300 million) in damages.

          By a unanimous vote, the court ruled in favor of Servier.

          Coversyl’s patent expired in 2001 but the first generic didn’t enter the market until 2007. The NHS argued that it would have saved millions if it had been able to access generics in a timely fashion.

        • [Older] Patent Owner Tip #5 for Surviving An Instituted IPR: The Right Expert Can Save Your Patent [Ed: "Surviving" is a wrong, misleading, improper term. Challenging a monopolist doesn't mean monopolies fight for survival; it's a distortion of narratives.]

          The right expert can be the critical piece that saves the validity of your patent. Finding the right expert for a patent owner requires careful selection and due diligence. We previously detailed how your expert’s testimony can make or break your Patent Owner’s Response (“POR”). The following details what actions and considerations Patent Owners should take to locate and identify the best experts for testifying to the Board, which can be different considerations than those for other proceedings.

        • [Older] Speeding Examination of Related U.S. and Japanese Patent Applications [Ed: Speed should never be a priority; validity and quality matter a lot more]

          It is not uncommon for applicants to file related patent applications in the United States and in Japan. When the applications claim priority to a common patent application, or one of the applications claims priority to the other, the applications’ family relationship can be used advantageously to speed prosecution in one or both jurisdictions. Multiple programs exist to expedite prosecution at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO). Evaluating the available options for a particular pair of U.S. and Japanese patent applications can help identify the option that will best help those applications be substantively examined and issued quickly.

        • Amarin: Let’s Revisit The M&A Discussion

          A lower court ruling voiding Amarin’s patents was upheld by a court of appeals and the US Supreme Court declined to take up the matter.

        • And I will go to Texas: four firms speak out on moving to Austin [Ed: All this while practising firms that actually make something and offer jobs to locals flee the place after TC Heartland]

          The rise of the Western District of Texas and other factors have pushed lawyers to build their Austin offices, which they plan to mention in client pitches

Reigniting Excitement and Momentum in Free Software, Based on Accurate Hypotheses

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 3:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum a7af02d44f8762ea610e280930b33d01

Summary: Response to a new article entitled “Free Software’s Relevance in 2021″ and my own take on the situation, seeing that there are misconceptions and misunderstandings

THERE are many people out there who are directly and less directly involved in Free software development. There are far more people who are Free software users; many don’t even know that, partly because they don’t understand what that term even means. The media won’t tell them, either.

Someone else’s stance

In the video above it is merely a response to a new essay written by a programmer in Australia; it’s my first reading of it, I didn’t even know he was Australian until after I had recorded. It merits an explanation; why respond to something before even reading it? Well, I saw too many issues in it (too many to mentally keep track of) and decided to go through the text while recording.

First of all, the author seems to be mixing the issue of software freedom with totally different issues (albeit important ones). In some cases, issues are serious issues no matter how they’re implemented and under what licence. In the example of contract-tracing, which we wrote about many times last year, it’s a bad idea altogether, both for practical and ethical reasons. I think it’s important not to conflate that sort of issue with software freedom; the legitimate issue, I think, is the openwashing of contract-tracing ploys, e.g. by the Linux Foundation. For similar reasons, vaccination isn’t a software freedom issue.

The author then speaks about so-called ‘smart’ phones (which Stallman compares or equates to “Stalin’s Dream”). Again, this isn’t so much of a software freedom issue. These sorts of devices are inherently problematic because of data collection associated with their operation. Unlike cars, for example, they would not do very much without being connected to the network.

The remainder of the piece is, in my humble opinion, making loaded and likely unsubstantiated statements about copyleft and software that’s reciprocally-licensed. More examples would have helped, though I suspect he’s just not correctly defining the obstacles or describing the situation. Maybe as a hardcore developer he hasn’t been keeping close enough track of the more emergent threats.

I don’t want to make this article merely a cordial rant about someone else’s take, so instead I’ll have my own go at defining the problem and possible solutions.

My personal stance

First of all, let’s define the scope of the problem and describe what we deal with. When someone in the crowd heckled Richard Stallman by bringing up vegetarianism (basically trying to dare/shame Stallman for talking about software freedom but not about animals’ freedom) people reacted with bafflement. It happened a few years ago and I’m familiar with that tactic. One corporate troll, for instance, likes to change the subject to sex if we debate national security issues like back doors. The morality/ethics issues associated with undermining real security (betraying users on behalf of the state or monopolistic corporations) merits a subject change. It’s the only way to appear like “winning” a debate (changing the topic entirely).

Free software does not speak about privacy; instead it focuses on being able to exercise control and study code, irrespective of which pertinent aspects that affects (there’s a lot more to it than privacy). While it’s true that Free software can emancipate users from mass surveillance, there’s no guarantee that Free software won’t be (mis)used for that purpose, capitalising on Freedom Zero. In fact, some of the world’s biggest spies (governments and corporations) use GNU/Linux for their spying operations. So in general that’s an entirely different issue.

So we’re now left with licensing issues; how do we convince more companies, governments and people to release their code as Free software? Moreover, how do we convince billions of people to choose Free software over proprietary software? We generally want more code to be Free software and more people to use Free software.

From my understanding, GPL-licensed software is of high quality. There are many projects that demonstrate that (the video mentions KDE in passing), so quality is not likely to be the real problem. In terms of the size of the development force (number of people, committers, commits etc.), we’re no worse off than any proprietary software company, so it’s probably not our biggest concern. In fact, a lot of foundational software — including the kernel — is already Free software. Its quality is best bar none.

People I speak to (e.g. in IRC) say that GNU languishes because of neglect, but judging by frequency of GNU releases (pertinent projects) I find that assertion difficult to believe/support with evidence. As for the CLA, that seems to be something that IBM et al abhor because they want to ‘own’ everything. So I remain unconvinced that the true underlying issues are related to this. Moreover, the phony scandals and smear campaigns against Stallman (FSF personified) should be considered a corrupt media problem more than a legitimate PR problem. Media that takes bribes from IBM and Microsoft is inflaming and inciting the masses in an attempt to undermine the FSF.

In a nutshell, taking into account conversations I recently had with Leah Rowe (who prepares "Save GNU"), here are some of the things we need to do in order to advance Free software:

  1. Advocacy/outreach. A lot of people don’t know (or only think that they know) the issues at stake. If explained in a compelling and convincing enough fashion, we’ll get more people to join our cause. It spreads in a non-linear fashion (teach X people about the issue and each of them will tell Y people the same).
  2. Eliminate GitHub. Or tackle centralisation in general. Microsoft is a lot more sinister in that regard and we need to weaken their ‘land grab’ attempts. They know what they’re doing and it’s an attack on us.
  3. Reject media owned and controlled by proprietary software companies. Toxic publishers and tabloids like ZDNet need to rot away and ultimately shut down. They’re a force of occupation not only against our movement but also against truth itself.
  4. Teach more people how to code and hack. When we say “hack” we mean modify code. We need more people with the ability to fork software and actively participate (not through GitHub; see point 2).

With all that said, it’s likely that we’ve overlooked lots of other points. But the objective wasn’t to make an exhaustive list but to get the ball rolling. Join us in IRC to discuss further.


Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chess Championships in Nazi Germany
They want it so bad

Summary: “Litigation first” club plays German Chess; and in the process it disgraces Germany (complicit component in unlawful agenda)

Also known as Team UPC
Reality unable to see
Do what we say, merci!

The EPO on our side
Benoît Battistelli will abide
António Campinos taken for a ride
CIPA/Bristows de facto guide

Bypassing justice is imperative
ViCo fudge — fudgest the superlative
Hiring friends and a relative
Ask the AC, they say “affirmative!”

All software patents are “hey hi”
To Rule of Law we say goodbye
EPC and constitutions will die
Litigation first, oh my!

Techrights News to Muse

Posted in Europe, Patents, Site News at 10:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 8f313182c2f5fa2c79211841888848ca

Summary: Some explanation of the slower pace of publication (more noticeable lately) and some of the work done behind the scenes to enhance the impact/reach/accessibility of Techrights

THE past few days have been fruitful and productive despite of some issues with the keyboard and a major headache. Last week we got some good news from the EPO (Benoît Battistelli‘s legacy up in flames and António Campinos to face legal battles from the union).

On Friday Dr. Stjerna issued the following statement, taking note of political aspects and possible infiltration/entryism/corruption: “Today’s decision of the BVerfG does not come as a surprise. Already the first UPCA decision shows that its considerations are primarily politically dominated and that legal issues play at best a subordinate role. This is a necessary consequence of the close ties between the BVerfG judges and party politics. I had already pointed this out in 2018 in an article on the first UPCA constitutional complaint proceedings and raised the question how independent the examination by judges, who are appointed under political considerations, would be in this legislative project which was politically highly desired across party lines and passed with positive knowledge of all constitutional issues. With its decision, the BVerfG has once again made its contribution to the implementation of a legally questionable political agenda, and citizens’ trust in its function as “the guardian of the constitution” is likely to continue to dwindle.

“After the decision, also the main proceedings on the UPCA are now likely to be unsuccessful. The conclusion of the German UPCA ratification, which can now be expected shortly, will cause a binding effect under international law which cannot easily be removed. This also limits the possibilities of further legal action against the Agreement itself.”

We’ll come back to this at a later date. So far we’re still studying all the media coverage about it and we gradually add that to Daily Links. A lot of the ‘media’ (mostly litigation firms) got it wrong or interjected mere hopes as a “reality”… (i.e. the usual from Team UPC)

As noted in the video, we work on making gemini:// update from the wiki, documenting important issues such as Free software, European software patents and so on. In addition, we’ve completed a migration to our self-hosted IRC network, which is what we use instead of blog comments. The video explains why it’s a lot more constructive as a form of communication and coordination. We’re very happy with IRC and now that we also control the network we enjoy greater independence.

“This coming week should be vastly more productive in the publication sense.”I am still slow at typing, not because of the headache but because of the new keyboard I’m getting accustomed to. Shame on HP for producing such shoddy keyboards and then trying to censor critics.

This coming week should be vastly more productive in the publication sense. There are many important topics we’re eager to cover and delighted to study. As for UPC, it’s a decade-long ongoing saga; nothing that happened last week is unlike things we saw in the past (like the UK ratifying and later de-ratifying). Just remember to be more than sceptical (barrel of salt required) when reading publications in the pockets of the patent litigation industry. They’re selling or lobbying rather than informing. They also try to provoke critics and demonise them (as if they’re Russian stooges or overzealous nationalists).

Tonight we have an important football match to watch (only from home of course) and after that we’ll try to produce about a dozen blog posts per day. We’re less than 100 blog posts shy of a total of 31,000.

Techrights desk
The ‘battleroom’, July 2021 ‘edition’

Links 11/7/2021: EasyNAS 1.0, Lots of Patent Catch-up

Posted in News Roundup at 7:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • gnuWorldOrder_416

        A quick overview of **gettext** followed by all the tools in the **gettext- tools** package.

      • This Week in Linux 159: Audacity Fiasco, Linux Mint 20.2, IBM, Red Hat, Ubuntu, Proxmox | TuxDigital

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we’ve got a JAM PACKED episode for you with Distro News, App News, Gaming News, and even a bit of Drama. We’re going to check out the latest release of Linut Mint, Proxmox, and VzLinux plus we’ve got some Ubuntu news to talk about. We’re got some interest Tor and Tor Browser related news plus a cool script I found for running Windows apps in Proton. Then we’ve got some news about Jim Whitehurst stepping down as IBM President and the topic I know everyone is expecting me to cover which I will . . . is of course, Audacity. All that and so much more coming up right now on This Week in Linux. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

      • Gentoo Is No Harder Than Arch Linux??

        Recently I installed Gentoo live on stream for the first time ever and doing so made me realize a lot of what I thought about this distro was actually kind of wrong, but wrong in a good way. While it’s not the Linux distro for it seems like a good choice for certain kinds of people.

    • Kernel Space

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Laura Arjona Reina: Android backups with rsync

        A quick note to self to remind how I do backups of my Android device with rsync (and adb).

      • How To Play SuperTuxKart for 2 Players

        Ubuntu computer can be used to play with your kids! SuperTuxKart is one game among games available that is very fun and amusing to be played with 2 players on 1 computer. You can play side by side only with existing keyboard even without additional joy sticks. Vroom, vroom, let’s play!

      • How to update to Linux Mint 20.2 “Uma” | FOSS Linux

        f you are a Linux Mint enthusiast, then you probably know that the stable version of Linux Mint 20.2 “Uma” is officially out. However, regardless of the Linux Mint OS version you were using before, or you are still using, it is now possible to make an update or upgrade to Mint 20.2 “Uma.”

      • Linux Server Performance Monitoring with Netdata

        Netdata is an open-source real-time Linux server performance monitoring tool with a beautiful web front-end. It allows you to monitor CPU, RAM usage, disk I/O, network traffic, Postfix, among many others. Written in the C programming language, netdata is super fast and resource-efficient.

      • How To Install OBS Studio on Linux Mint 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install OBS Studio on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is free, open-source, cross-platform video recording and live streaming software. It contains features such as high performance for real-time video/audio capturing, various filters for video sources, an intuitive audio mixer with filters, a streamlined settings panel. OBS is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac.

        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 the step-by-step installation of OBS Studio on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

    • Games

      • Unopened ‘Legend of Zelda’ Game From 1987 Sells for $870,000

        An unopened copy of Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda that was made in 1987 has sold at auction for $870,000. Heritage Auctions in Dallas said the video game sold Friday.

        The auction house said it was a rare version that was created during a limited production run that took place during a few months in late 1987. The Legend of Zelda is a popular fantasy adventure game that was first released in 1986.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce: Supporting shared thumbnail repositories and video update

        Support for Shared thumbnail repositories: For 15 years the #SHARED part of the freedesktop.org thumbnail specification has been ignored by the vast majority of Linux file managers. At last, the time has come for Thunar to be one of the first, if not the first, file managers that support shared thumbnail repositories. ‘What are shared thumbnail repositories’ I hear you ask. Let me explain. Imagine that you have a large external hard drive that contains family photos (something that most, if not all of us have). Connecting it in a new PC or as a different user would normally lead to thumbnailing for all the files that are visible in your file manager. That process is both slow and wasting space. That is the problem that shared thumbnail repositories solve. Instead of creating and storing thumbnail in the default location of the PC filesystem, thumbnails are stored locally in the USB/HDD/CD. It is a niche but potentially extremely useful feature.

         I’ve linked a video that showcases the stuff that I’ve talked about in these blogposts, with the exception of shared thumbnail repositories. Even though the code is complete and it works as it should there has been a problem with Tumbler while refactoring. Specifically, it looks like Tumbler doesn’t use libxfce4util, where I placed some shared code to avoid duplication. Hopefully next time I’ll be able to show them to you.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Gear 21.08 releases branches created

          Make sure you commit anything you want to end up in the 21.08 releases to them

          We’re already past the dependency freeze.

          The Feature Freeze and Beta is this Thursday 15 of July.

          More interesting dates:
          July 29: 21.08 RC (21.07.90) Tagging and Release
          August 5: 21.08 Tagging
          August 12: 21.08 Release

        • FreeBSD KDE Frameworks dependencies

          Packaging software is a colossal waste of time. Take that however you will; I’ll write about some time-wasting I’ve undertaken this week to reduce time-wasting by others (mostly users of KDE Frameworks on FreeBSD) in future.

          Almost all KDE software uses CMake; in CMakeLists.txt in the source of each package / product the direct dependencies are known and expressed through find_package(). In the kdesrc-build configuration files and metadata there is dependency data, and yet each packaging system has to go out and re-discover and re-write the dependency information one more time (for good luck).

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • EasyNAS 1.0

          It’s finally here, the first version of EasyNAS, totally robust, based on OpenSUSE 15.3
          all the great it had before plus many others.
          It’s now easier to update, more stable, can be customize to fit everybody’s need, more performance, more NAS.

      • BSD

        • Fixing vulns in poudriere jails

          When a FreeBSD security alert comes out, or a package is marked as vulnerable, I try to get that fixed as soon as I can. Even if not using the feature. Sometimes a vuln can be leverages against something you are using. Patch it.

          When it comes to my poudriere jails, I don’t.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • CentOS Forms A Group To Flip On Old, Deprecated Or Out-Of-Tree Kernel Modules

          The CentOS Board of Directors has approved the formation of the CentOS Kmods special interest group for expanding the selection of kernel modules available to this distribution.

          As written about last month, the CentOS Kmods SIG was being sought for dealing with deprecated device support and enabling other out-of-tree kernel modules not otherwise enabled as part of kernel builds for CentOS or upstream Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This SIG was approved at this month’s board meeting.

          The approved CentOS Kmods SIG would focus on restoring support for deprecated devices where it just means build time changes or other kernel alterations compared to the CentOS Stream / RHEL kernel configuration, offering in-tree kernel modules not enabled for CentOS, and out-of-tree kernel modules too.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20.2 is now available

          The team behind the popular Linux distribution Linux Mint released Linux Mint 20.2 “Uma” this week. The new version of Linux Mint is available as a standalone download and as a direct upgrade for systems running Linux Mint 20 and 20.1.

          Linux Mint 20.2 comes in the three flavors Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce. The distribution is based on Ubuntu 20.04 and is powered by Linux kernel 5.4.

        • What’s new in Linux Mint 20.2 “Uma”

          Some great news for all Linux Mint lovers and enthusiasts out there. Linux Mint 20.2 “Uma” is officially out! This Linux Mint Cinnamon edition checks all the boxes for an ideal Linux distribution upgrade. On top of its up-to 2025 long-term support, this Linux Mint edition braces itself on updated software refinements on top of other new and improved features.

          Your Linux Mint desktop environment will never be the same again, as highlighted by the below screenshot. It promises comfort on top of seamless performance and flawless system functionality.

        • Download Linux Mint 20.2 today and tell Microsoft you don’t want Windows 11

          With Windows 11 on the horizon, many consumers will find themselves unable to upgrade due to the crazy system requirements the operating system has. And so, some of those people will look for alternatives, such as Linux distributions. While Ubuntu is a wise choice for those interested in switching to Linux, it isn’t the best choice. Actually, Windows-switchers should instead give Linux Mint (which is based on Ubuntu) a try.

          Wouldn’t you know it, today, the all-new Linux Mint 20.2 becomes available for download. Named “Uma,” it can be had with your choice of three great desktop environments — Cinnamon 5.0, MATE 1.24, and Xfce 4.16. Mint 20.2 is based on Ubuntu 20.04 and uses Linux kernel 5.4.

          New in the Cinnamon and MATE versions of Linux Mint 20.2 Beta is a bulk-renaming app called “Bulky.” This new tool is not included in the Xfce variant, as the functionality is already integrated into the Thunar file manager. All variants of Linux Mint 20.2 are based on Ubuntu 20.04 and use Linux kernel 5.4. Uma will even be supported until 2025. Best of all, the already-great Update Manager receives significant improvements.

        • Lubuntu 20.10 End of Life and Current Support Statuses

          Lubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) was released October 22, 2020 and will reach End of Life on Thursday, July 22, 2021. This means that after that date there will be no further security updates or bugfixes released. We highly recommend that you update to 21.04 as soon as possible if you are still running 20.10.

          After July 22nd, the only supported releases of Lubuntu will be 20.04 (until April 2023) and 21.04 (until January 2022). All other releases of Lubuntu will be considered unsupported, and will no longer receive any further updates from the Lubuntu team.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • The Baldcorder is James Lewis’ tricorder-like device for measuring light levels and temperature

          As part of element14’s Build Inside the Box Challenge, James Lewis (AKA Bald Engineer) decided to make his own DIY tricoder from Star Trek. In the series, a tricoder is a ubiquitous scanning tool that can perform various scans of the environment through its onboard sensors, as well as record and analyze them later — all in a handheld format. Lewis’ design incorporates a MKR Zero as the microcontroller, a phototransistor to detect light levels, and an analog temperature sensor to sense ambient temperatures.

          The enclosure itself was based on a tricorder toy and recreated in Fusion 360. It features a hinge mechanism for easy opening and closing, as well as handling the wiring harness that connects both halves of the device. Once it was 3D-printed, Lewis moved onto the electronics.

        • Power Your Raspberry Pi With These Low-Cost Battery Add-ons

          PiSugar Kitchen has released two new low-cost battery add-ons, the PiSugar S and PiSugar S Pro, that promise to power a Raspberry Pi for several hours on a charge.

        • Ethernet was slower only in one direction on one device

          A few months ago, when I was testing 10 Gigabit networking on the Raspberry Pi, I noticed something funny when I was doing iperf3 speed tests between devices connected through my MikroTik CRS305 10G switch.

        • 25 Gigabit Linux internet router PC build

          An alternative to many specialized devices, including routers, is to use a PC with an expansion card. An internet router’s job is to configure a network connection and forward network packets. So, in our case, we’ll build a PC and install some network expansion cards!

        • Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak: ‘It’s time to recognize the right to repair’

          Wozniak, who co-founded Apple 45 years ago with Steve Jobs, said that enabling others to retool their devices also has commercial value. He pointed to the success of the Apple II computer, which he said was “modifiable and extendable to the maximum” and the “only source” of profit for Apple during its first years.

          “It was not … successful on pure luck,” he added. “There were a lot of good things about that being so open that everyone could join the party.”

        • President Joe Biden’s latest executive order is a huge win for right to repair

          The order is a significant win for the right to repair advocates who have long championed a consumer’s choice to have their technology fixed either by third parties or on their own, rather than solely by the manufacturer. Right to repair argues that anyone should have access to the OEM parts, manuals, and software needed to perform those repairs. Major gadget makers have lobbied to prevent this kind of repair accessibility, but the right to repair movement has been picking up momentum in recent years.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Explore waterways with this open source nautical navigation tool

        If you’re traveling by boat down your local waterway or sailing around the world, you can bring great navigation software with you and maintain your commitment to open source software. OpenCPN is free and open source software developed by sailors. It serves as the primary navigation interface for vessels with full-time helm-visible navigational suites. The software is written in C and released under a GPLv2 license.

      • Stop paying for software! 7 free versions of popular programs everyone uses

        We found some robust programs that work just like popular software everyone else uses. So if you have what they call “a designer taste and a drugstore wallet,” you can just use one of these free alternatives. Best of all, these free versions of popular programs work just like the official software, so no one will be able to tell the difference!

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

        • Mozilla

          • TenFourFox FPR32 SPR2 available

            TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 32 Security Parity Release 2 “32.2″ is available for testing (downloads, hashes). There are no changes to the release notes and nothing particularly notable about the security patches in this release. Assuming no major problems, FPR32.2 will go live Monday evening Pacific time as usual.

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Free Software’s Relevance in 2021

            I think that free software is vitally important to public society, and that copyleft software is still a useful way to ensure its continued existence. But that software needs to be more powerful for users and more attractive for developers, otherwise it will never reach critical mass. Instead, it will be routed around.

      • Programming/Development

        • [LibreOffice Writer] Week #5 – GSoC Weekly Report – 100 Paper Cuts

          So, the last decision is: get rid of writer-images. Convert them into drawing objects ,but also implement the writer-images services/attributes to drawing-images. Since there are lots of things to do and we have only 5 week left after the first evaluations week, I prefer to work on this issue after GSoC with a huge free time. Also, I want to work on other bugs too, not only one.

        • An eventful week — Kalendar week 5 (GSoC 2021)

          Last week’s MR turned into this week’s MR, and it just kept growing and growing and growing. I know I’m a mentor’s nightmare and I’m sorry Carl, I know it was a lot of changes to review…

          The good news is that it was all worth it, because there have been lots of changes this week — small and big. Even better, you’ll finally be able to find the changes I went through in last week’s post on Kalendar’s master branch.

          Let’s dive into the new stuff!

          Editing the event editor

          If you’ve been following these posts, you will have seen the event editor: an overlay sheet that lets you edit the details about an event down to a tee. Well, that overlay sheet is no more. It made sense when we had a few fields to fill, but as the capabilities of the event editor started to grow, it pretty quickly started to feel pretty cramped.

          On the desktop, we now use the incredible power of windows to create a detached event editor window. So now you not only have plenty of space to punch in your next visit to your grandma’s, but you can also move it around and resize it. How revolutionary.

        • Gtk-rs Is Pretty Neat

          Fortunately, we can look at the Gtk4 bindings for help, I found layout_manager.rs to be a useful example – one gotcha to watch out for is vfuncs, especially signals, as they don’t necessarily have a default implementation

          Unfortunatly gtk-rs doesn’t have any magic for generating introspection data (yet?) so we follow rsvg’s example and manually build C-ABI wrappers along with a hand-written header to use with g-ir-scanner – handle.rs is a useful resource when doing this.

        • Python

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Hackathon organised by IIT Madras encourages citizens to find solutions using IoT Sensor Board | Technology

        Citizens across the country can now participate in solving India-specific problems of societal interest using IoT Sensor Board through a national hackathon called ‘SAMVEDAN 2021 – Sensing Solutions for Bharat’, a statement said on Saturday.

        Registrations for the competition commenced on July 1 and are open to all Indian nationals residing in India, it said.

        It is being organised jointly by IIT Madras Pravartak Technologies Foundation (IITM-PTF) and Sony India Software Centre, and is based on the Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation’s SPRESENSE Board, which participants can use for this challenge.

        IITM-PTF is a Technology Innovation Hub (TIH) for Sensor, Networking, Actuators, and Control Systems (SNACS) area supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS).


        “We are very pleased to be able to contribute to India’s problems and challenges by using Sony’s leading-edge technology, India’s excellent software engineering resources, and the ecosystem involving the public and private sectors.”

    • Education

      • Obsolete in the IT crossfire

        This is not an article about some tech but more me sharing feelings about my job, my passion and IT. I’ve met a Linux system at first in the early 2000 and I didn’t really understand what this was, I’ve learned it the hard way by wiping Windows on the family computer (which was quite an issue) and since that time I got a passion with computers. I made a lot of mistakes that made me progress and learn more, and the more I was learning, the more I saw the amount of knowledge I was missing.

        Anyway, I finally got a decent skill level if I could say, but I started early and so my skill is related to all of that early Linux ecosystem. Tools are evolving, Linux is morphing into something different a bit more every year, practices are evolving with the “Cloud”. I feel lost.

      • University computer accounts are often surprisingly complicated

        A general theme of all of this is that the research side of an academic department runs on a broad network of relationships with all sorts of people that are developed and cultivated over time. Generally one of the last things the department wants to do is reduce those relationships through things like denying computer accounts or removing them. When graduate students or postdocs go off into the world, when visitors go home, and so on, the department wants them all to feel still connected to the department as much as is reasonably possible.

    • Hardware

      • Nothing but bad experiences with Realtek Ethernet NICs

        I recently got a new Asus AMD B550-PLUS (on Amazon) mainboard. It has a built-in Realtek PCIe 2,5-gigabit (RTL8125B) network interface controllers (NIC.) As is often the case with Realtek NICs, it has been quite unreliable and is plagued with intermittent issues.

        The NIC will randomly stop working after a few hours. It’s working fine according to the network status indicator and the networking troubleshooter in Windows. However, no traffic is getting either in or out of the NIC. Eventually, programs waiting on networking eventually time out and begin displaying error messages.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours

          At 4:30 p.m. UTC, all within the same second, the compromised servers woke up and ran a command script that disabled a variety of security controls and sent malicious payloads to every system managed by those servers, according to an analysis conducted by Huntress Labs. While security firms are still sifting through the data, reverse engineering has revealed that the attack — from the first packets exploiting dozens of VSA servers, to the deployment of ransomware on the endpoints of hundreds to thousands of MSP customers — took less than two hours.

          The speed of automation gave managed service providers and their customers only a very narrow window in which to detect attacks and block them, says John Hammond, a senior threat researcher for Huntress Labs. Companies would have to run frequent monitoring and alerts to have caught the changes, he says.

          “Unfortunately, this form of hyperactive logging and detection is rare — managed service providers often don’t have the resources, let alone the personnel to frequently monitor massive components of their software and stack,” Hammond says. “With that said, the efficacy and potential for human-powered threat hunters is never something to be left out of the equation.”

          The quick turnaround of the attack underscores the compressed timeline for defenders to respond to automated attacks. The REvil group and its affiliates, who are thought responsible for the attack, scanned for Internet-connected VSA servers and, when found, sent the initial exploit, which chained three vulnerabilities.

        • Ransomware attack hits Swiss consumer outlet Comparis

          Swiss online consumer outlet Comparis has filed a criminal complaint over a ransomware attack on Wednesday that blocked some of its information technology systems, it said on Friday.

        • Microsoft Office Users Warned on New Malware-Protection Bypass

          Word and Excel documents are enlisted to disable Office macro warnings, so the Zloader banking malware can be downloaded onto systems without security tools flagging it.

        • Jack Cable, Stanford student and cyber whiz, aims to crowdsource ransomware details

          Few people, if any, seem to grasp the breadth and cost of the scourge, as there are no legal requirements for victims to disclose when they pay hackers to unlock their network. That, combined with the suspicious that most victims don’t, report their digital extortion payments, makes it harder for law enforcement and security firms to combat attacks, or even understand how to fight them.

          That’s the impetus behind a project that Stanford University student and security researcher Jack Cable launched on Thursday, dubbed “Ransomwhere,” a plan to track payments to bitcoin addresses associated with known ransomware gangs.

        • Hancitor tries XLL as initial malware file

          XLL files are Excel add-in files. They’re DLL files specifically designed to be run by Microsoft Excel. Think of an XLL file as an “Excel DLL.”

        • DoD ends $10 billion deal with Microsoft for new cloud contract

          The statement did not directly mention that the Pentagon faced extended legal challenges by Amazon to the original $1 million contract awarded to Microsoft. Amazon argued that the Microsoft award was tainted by politics, particularly then-President Donald Trump’s antagonism toward Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, who stepped down Monday as the company’s chief executive officer. Mr. Bezos owns The Washington Post, a newspaper often criticized by Mr. Trump.

          The Pentagon’s chief information officer, John Sherman, told reporters Tuesday that during the lengthy legal fight with Amazon, “the landscape has evolved” with new possibilities for large-scale cloud computing services. Thus it was decided, he said, to start over and seek multiple vendors.

        • With ransomware attacks multiplying, US moves to bolster defenses

          As the U.S. private sector scrambles to fend off a growing number of ransomware attacks, the federal government is stepping up its efforts as well. Last month, the Senate approved Chris Inglis, a former deputy director of the National Security Agency, as the nation’s first-ever national cyber director, tasked with coordinating the government’s cyber portfolio and digital defense strategy. A second key post, director of the primary domestic cybersecurity agency, is expected to be filled shortly.

          Officials are making clear they will seek not just to hold cybercriminals to account – but also companies whose inadequate cybersecurity measures have put them and their customers at risk.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Amazon shifts Lumberyard to open source 3D game engine supported by 20 companies

                Amazon is contributing its Lumberyard game engine to open source, and it will be known as the Open 3D Engine.

                The Linux Foundation will oversee the project and form the Open 3D Foundation to accelerate collaboration with game developers to enhance the triple-A game engine. This shift could bode well for future projects like an open metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, such as in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One.

                Prominent game developers such as Denis Dyack and his Apocalypse Studios are participating in the project, which has more than 20 founding members including Amazon Web Services, Adobe, Huawei, Niantic, and Red Hat. The open source engine will enable developers to build royalty-free 3D games and simulations, giving the game and application companies some leverage against the commercial game engines from Unity Technologies and Epic Games.

              • Tafi Partners with AWS, Linux Foundation and Others to Form Open-Source 3D Engine Project

                Tafi, the leading creator of custom 3D content for avatar and emoji systems, announced that it is joining the Open 3D Engine (O3DE) project as a founding member. The O3DE project is an open-source, full-featured, high-fidelity, real-time 3D engine for building games and simulations for every industry. Developers will be able to build their intellectual property on top of the open-source cross-platform engine, which will be openly governed and collaborative to the community as a whole.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Saturday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (gitlab, nodejs, openexr, php, php7, rabbitmq, ruby-addressable, and spice), Fedora (suricata), Gentoo (binutils, docker, runc, and tor), Mageia (avahi, botan2, connman, gstreamer1.0-plugins, htmldoc, jhead, libcroco, libebml, libosinfo, openexr, php, php-smarty, pjproject, and python), openSUSE (apache2, bind, bouncycastle, ceph, containerd, docker, runc, cryptctl, curl, dovecot23, firefox, graphviz, gstreamer-plugins-bad, java-1_8_0-openj9, java-1_8_0-openjdk, libass, libjpeg-turbo, libopenmpt, libqt5-qtwebengine, libu2f-host, libwebp, libX11, lua53, lz4, nginx, ovmf, postgresql10, postgresql12, python-urllib3, qemu, roundcubemail, solo, thunderbird, ucode-intel, wireshark, and xterm), and SUSE (permissions).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • WhatsApp won’t compel users to opt for new privacy policy till data protection bill comes into force

              Whatsapp told the Delhi High Court on Friday that till the data protection bill comes into force, it would not compel users to opt for its new privacy policy as it has been put on hold.

              Whatsapp also clarified before bench of Chief justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh that it would not limit the functionality for users who are not opting for new privacy policy in the meantime.

            • Biometric mass surveillance flourishes in Germany and the Netherlands

              The EDRi network has commissioned an independent report from the Edinburgh International Justice Initiative (EIJI) which brings together stark evidence of abusive facial recognition and other forms of biometric surveillance across the European Union (EU). The research shows that harmful biometric mass surveillance practices have become worryingly normalised by law enforcement, other public authorities and private companies in Germany and the Netherlands, with Poland starting to catch up.

              This new evidence comes hot on the heels of the EU’s two top privacy watchdogs, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and European Data Protection Board (EDPB), confirming that the EU must ban all automated recognition of human features in publicly accessible spaces, as EDRi has long argued.

            • It’s Time To Incorporate Biometrics Into Security Protocols

              Earlier security measures such as passwords or inputting personally identifiable information (PII) are no longer enough. Passwords can be guessed, and PII can be stolen or exposed. With robust anti-spoofing measures, biometrics offer greater security and convenience for consumers who don’t have to worry about remembering complicated passwords. One of the most critical anti-spoofing methods today is liveness detection, a computer vision technology that detects the presence of a living user rather than a photo, recording, masked person or manipulated media such as a voice or video deepfake.

            • Europe makes the case to ban biometric surveillance

              Your body is a data goldmine. From the way you look to how you think and feel, firms working in the burgeoning biometrics industry are developing new and alarming ways to track everything we do. And, in many cases, you may not even know you’re being tracked.

              But the biometrics business is on a collision course with Europe’s leading data protection experts. Both the European Data Protection Supervisor, which acts as the EU’s independent data body, and the European Data Protection Board, which helps countries implement GDPR consistently, have called for a total ban on using AI to automatically recognise people.

            • Do we need cameras in our classrooms? – The Nevada Independent
    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Differences Between Fascism and Trump(ism)

        Donald Trump will go down in history as the president responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Americans due to the criminal negligence in his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and for pushing the world closer to a precipice with his denialism of our climate crisis; yet, he may ultimately be best remembered for having decidedly transform American political culture with the theatricality of his proto-fascist politics.

      • Massachusetts standoff reveals growing extremist threat

        The incident began when a Massachussets State Trooper stopped to assist drivers of two vehicles refueling by the side of the road. Seeing that some of the men wore body armor and were armed with pistols and long guns, the officer asked them for identification, which they failed to provide. Several of the men fled into the nearby woods, but they eventually surrendered. The standoff lasted nine hours. To their credit, the officers resolved the situation peacefully.

      • California man charged with raiding Capitol, posing as press

        Matthew Thomas Purse, 45, was arrested in Irvine on Friday to face federal charges of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, the Orange County Register reported.

        Purse was photographed inside the Capitol wearing a tactical vest and black helmet marked with the word “press,” according to a criminal complaint unsealed Friday. There is no evidence that Purse has legitimate press credentials or is affiliated with any news organization, the FBI said in an arrest warrant affidavit accompanying the complaint.

      • US Military Document Admits That Risk Of Nuclear War Is Growing

        A newly-uncovered military document portends a horrifying future, warning that the risk of nuclear warfare is on the rise.

        The document, which was obtained and shared online by the Federation of American Scientists on Tuesday, is the latest edition of a manual meant to offer updates on the state of military activity around the world and guidance on how the United States military ought to proceed. Unfortunately, as The Warzone notes, there’s not a whole lot of good news this time around — the document highlights not only failed non-proliferation attempts but also active development of new nuclear weaponry around the world alongside increasingly tense situations that are primed for escalation.

      • Taliban say they control 85% of Afghanistan, humanitarian concerns mount

        Afghan government officials dismissed the assertion that the Taliban controlled most of the country as part of a propaganda campaign launched as foreign forces, including the United States, withdraw after almost 20 years of fighting.

      • Buhari home state Katsina to convert viewing centres to Islamic schools

        The Katsina House of Assembly initiated the process on Tuesday following a joint motion presented by a Jibia constituency member, Mustapha Yusuf-Jibia.

        At the plenary, presided over by the Speaker, Tasi’u Maigari, the lawmaker explained that the call became necessary because the schools were more important than the viewing centres.

      • Afghanistan unprepared for Taliban onslaught, US ‘irresponsible,’ key warlord says

        Ata Mohammad Noor, who is among those behind the latest attempt to halt the Taliban advances by creating more militias, told The Associated Press that the Afghan military is badly demoralized. He said Washington’s quick exit left the Afghan military logistically unprepared for the Taliban onslaught.

        In an interview at his opulent home in Mazar-e-Sharif, the main city of the north, he said that even he had not expected the Taliban’s rapid wins, particularly in nearby Badakhshan province in the country’s northeast corner.

        “It was surprising for me that in 24 hours, 19 districts of Badakhshan were surrendered without a fight,” said Noor.

      • Experts Fear Afghanistan Will Remain Fertile Ground for Terrorism

        Observers in the region warn that IS-Khorasan has also begun looking beyond Afghanistan itself and is attempting to gain footholds in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and parts of Tajikistan.

        One humanitarian official in Central Asia, who asked that their name be withheld due to fears they could be targeted, told VOA that the focus was on “more quality and less numbers.

        “They are building local infrastructure for the recruitment, logistics, economic support, economic infrastructure to support that,” the official said. “At the moment, they have a need to recruit more IT-savvy guys, rather than just a regular soldier who’s ready to become a suicide bomber.”

        Such concerns are being echoed by both U.S. and Central Asian officials.

      • Washington Silent On Latest Ransomware Attack, Kremlin Says

        Washington has reportedly not directly contacted Russia as of Monday following a sophisticated ransomware attack that affected hundreds of U.S. businesses on July 2nd. Security firm Huntress Labs reported to Reuters that they believe the attack is linked to a Russian affiliated ransomware gang known as REvil. The notorious hacking group was allegedly also responsible for the Memorial Day attack that extorted nearly 11 million dollars from the meat processing company JBS.

    • Environment

      • Places Are Increasingly Getting So Hot That People Just Die

        A horrifying new trend is emerging in the face of climate change: more areas are growing so hot and humid that people are simply dying.

        In fact, these heat and humidity conditions becoming far more common than experts previously assumed, according to research published in the journal Science Advances last May. In the study, scientists identified over 7,000 examples of these deadly “wet bulb conditions” in between 1979 and 2019 — and the data shows that they’ve been steadily increasing in frequency over the years.

      • Methamphetamine in waterways may be turning trout into addicts

        Brown trout can become addicted to the illegal drug methamphetamine when it accumulates in waterways, according to new research.

      • What it means if ‘ecocide’ becomes an international crime

        The word “ecocide” was first used on the international stage by Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme at the UN environment conference in Stockholm (1972), when he stated that “destruction brought about… by large scale use of bulldozers and pesticides is an outrage sometimes described as ecocide, which requires urgent international attention.”

        Nearly 50 years later, the world is at last beginning to pay that attention. Last month an expert panel of top international criminal and environmental lawyers, convened by the Stop Ecocide Foundation, proposed a legal definition of the term, suitable for adoption into the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a fifth crime alongside genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Responding to the explicit call of climate-vulnerable island nations Vanuatu and the Maldives, directly impacted by rising sea levels and heavy tropical storms, such a move would criminalize, “unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.”

      • Why Are We Fueling Our Own Extinction?

        It seems abundantly clear that something any man, woman or child with a reasonable understanding of the scientific method will agree on is that we need to stop burning fossil fuels if we are to avoid the breakdown of ecosystems and runaway global warming. If you aren’t convinced, maybe the CEO of the world’s second-largest publicly traded oil and gas producer, Royal Dutch Shell, can convince you. In 2020, Ben van Beurden said “The future of energy needs to evolve as something else, and we find a role for ourselves in it.” This is the same company that knew its product was causing the planet to warm, and yet for decades spent vast sums obfuscating the truth by funding myriad climate change denying think tanks and lobbying politicians across the globe. Ben van Beurden himself admitted his company’s guilt when he said, “Yeah, we knew. Everybody knew, and somehow we all ignored it.” It was only in 2019 that Shell finally opted to leave the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers lobbyist group, citing an incompatible position on climate change as their reason for exiting.

      • To Protect Themselves From Heat Waves, the Working Class Needs to Get Organized
      • Energy

        • How flooded coal mines could heat homes

          He’s not the only one excited by the energy potential of mine water. The UK Coal Authority, which is responsible for the country’s disused pits, has big plans for the coming decade. Its geologists believe one-quarter of British homes currently sit on a coalfield, stretching across Wales, central Scotland, northern England, and the Midlands. An estimated 2 billion cubic metres (2 trillion litres/4.4 bilion gallons) of warm water occupy the old mine shafts – equivalent to more than a quarter of the volume of Loch Ness in Scotland. Researchers suggest that this makes mine water one of the UK’s largest underused clean energy sources.

          “Mining shaped our urban landscape, creating the towns and cities that we live in today,” says Charlotte Adams, the Coal Authority’s principle manager for mine energy. “Nine out of 10 of our largest urban centres are above areas of former coal mining activity.

          “Mine water is one of our best options to help with the decarbonisation of heating. The resource is readily available all year round at a steady temperature, and there is an abundance to be accessed.”

      • Overpopulation

        • Earth Overshoot Day 2021

          In the past few decades, Earth Overshoot Day has moved steadily from the middle of October closer to the end of July, meaning not only that we are consistently consuming way more than the Earth generates per year but also that we are consuming more every year. Only in 2020, did Earth Overshoot Day get pushed to August 22nd due to a decrease in our annual ecological footprint from the first half of the COVID pandemic. However, in 2021, the calculations remain on par with the previous trend: Earth Overshoot Day will be on July 29, 2021.

        • The 4th of July is South Africa’s Earth Overshoot Day; Dr Jako Volschenk shares what that means and why it should matter to us all!

          Running at a deficit of -2.1[1], the country, along with the world population, is depleting the Earth’s resources faster than the planet’s ability to recover and sustain, and if we do not turn our deficit around, we need to accept that we will be the instigators of the first ever man-made mass extinction.

          South Africa’s Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) falls on 4 July 2021 this year – the date which marks the point in a given year when our demand for ecological resources and services has exceeded what the planet can regenerate in that year.

          It’s an urgent wake-up call for South Africans.

        • Earth Overshoot Day – Tue 29 July

          The materials are made available under Creative Commons licence to be freely used for non-profit purposes though please acknowledge the source with a link to the page.

        • To conserve water, Newsom asks California to reduce use by 15%

          California’s most important reservoirs are already at dangerously low levels and will likely reach historic lows later this year. Lake Oroville in Northern California is at 30% capacity, and state officials worry water levels could get so low they might have to shut down a hydroelectric plant later this year. Along the Russian River, officials fear Lake Mendocino could empty later this year.

    • Finance

      • Biden Ousts Trump Appointee Who Sought to Undermine Social Security
      • ‘A Great Day’: Biden Fires Trump’s Social Security Boss Who Refused to Resign

        President Biden on Friday fired Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, after Saul refused a request to resign.

        Saul’s deputy, David Black, who was also appointed by former president Donald Trump, resigned Friday upon request.

      • Ambulance Services Are Facing Financial and Staffing Crises Across Rural America
      • Stadium Workers Are Paying Higher Tax Rates Than Sports Team Owners
      • In the World’s Wealthiest Country, We Can Go Further Than Biden’s Build Back Better Plans

        For the past few months, a debate has been unfolding over what it will take to address the country’s infrastructure needs. Earlier this year, President Biden released the American Jobs Plan (AJP), an infrastructure blueprint that included transportation, bridges, water and sanitation, broadband, and buildings, including childcare facilities and public housing. It came alongside the American Families Plan (AFP), which included universal free pre-K, free community college, childcare, a national paid family medical leave program, and expansions of health care, nutrition programs and the child tax credit. These programs – totaling over $2 trillion – would be funded with higher taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals and some degree of deficit spending in the short-run to grow our economic resilience in the long-run. Together, they offered a broad definition of infrastructure that accounted for the physical infrastructure and the human and social infrastructure we need to rebuild and repair this country.

      • Italy approves deal to help builders with rising raw material costs

        The Italian Chamber of Deputies is expected to approve the government decree with the proposed changes next week. The legislation also has to be passed in Italy’s upper house, the Senate, before the end of the month.

      • Uber and Lyft are dying in Chicago. (Maybe nationwide as well.) The bubble is popping.

        Can you really blame former Uber and Lyft drivers for not wanting to go back to work?

        The most violent crime in Chicago since the 1970s in the wake of the Coronavirus, few businesses reopen, lots of empty offices.

        The city is on pace for well over 1,600 carjackings by the end of the year. According to police, the majority are now committed by children, because the people putting them up to it and sticking guns in their hands know the system goes softer on children and take full advantage of it. So, if you get jacked, it’ll likely be a 13 year old holding you at gunpoint and then driving your car to the chop shop.

        Gangs also use kids as de facto child soldiers. Chicago is a truly awful place to live.

        That aside, few people want to do these gig apps that barely cover $4 a gallon gas (Democrat taxes) and wear and tear on their car. Why bother?

        Last time I was in Chicago, I got on Uber and nearly had a stroke when it told me $60 from Ogilvie Transportation Center to the Lincoln Park Zoo. So I got on Lyft. Lyft told me it could be $12 if I wanted to wait 15 minutes.

        I waited 15 minutes, then 30, then 50 minutes, and canceled and got a refund. By that point, Uber was “down” to “only” $27. I tipped the driver and it took it north of $30 for a short ride.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • How Not to Cover Critical Race Theory

        After working the right up into a lather over Black Lives Matter (FAIR.org, 5/27/21), Fox News and its conservative media allies have turned white rage onto a more actionable target: critical race theory. Though the theory is a longstanding and specific academic lens for understanding systemic racism, the right has transformed it into a catchall for anything that encourages talking about and addressing racism.

      • Democratic Socialist Agenda Is Possible in Buffalo. It Depends on Labor Unions.
      • “An Ugly Truth”: How Facebook discovered Russian meddling

        The security team, it turns out, had first spotted Russian activity on the platform in March 2016. But Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg were just being told about it nine months later.

        The eight-page handout for the meeting — written by Alex Stamos, then Facebook’s chief security officer — “acknowledged that Facebook was sitting on a trove of information proving that a foreign government had tried to meddle in the U.S. election.”

      • You’re Being Manipulated

        America is in the grips of an epistemic crisis—an assault on reality, a rising inability to distinguish fact from fiction, an effort to shut down free inquiry—that poses an existential threat to liberal democracy. Which is why Jonathan Rauch’s new book, The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth, is so timely and so essential. It helps us understand this moment better than anything else I’ve read and offers insights into what can be done to strengthen what Rauch calls a “reality-based community.” Rauch’s “constitution of knowledge” is a structured system of institutions and rules that we depend on to settle disagreements and discover truth. As Rauch puts it, “Free speech is not enough; you have to get a lot of the settings right.”

      • Twitter is a mess in India. Here’s how it got there

        There are serious, legitimate concerns about Big Tech’s entry into India and elsewhere that these rules could theoretically address. American social networks have moved into other countries, eager to tap large new markets but seemingly with little concern for what effects their platforms could have on the people there and little expertise or infrastructure to deal with those effects. That can have massive consequences, as Facebook’s presence in Myanmar did, as well as smaller ones. Authorities in India facing an urgent issue with material on Twitter, for instance, might currently have to wait until people in California — 12 hours behind — are available.

      • Rupert Murdoch made the decision to call Arizona for Biden, new book says. Fox News denies the allegations.

        Wolff does not cite any sources for conversation between the Murdochs, but he has previously defended reporting on the book, saying that events involving Trump’s staff were confirmed by several sources.

      • First Christians sentenced to prison under new law in Iran

        The first Christians to be punished under a newly amended law in Iran aimed at halting the growth of Christianity and other religious groups were sentenced to five years in prison for spreading “propaganda” against Islam after they refused to renounce Christ, sources said.

      • Narayanganj factory fire: Leftists blame employers, govt agencies

        Left-wing political parties and trade unions on Saturday hold Hashem Foods Limited authorities and officials of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments, the Department of Labour and the Fire Service and Civil Defence department responsible for the deadly fire at the food factory on July 8.
        At separate protest rallies in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka on Saturday morning, Left Democratic Alliance, Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad and the Alliance of Nine Left Originations also pressed their demands for investigation into the incident and compensation for the victims.

      • The Danger Of Nigeria’s Autocracy And Its Apologists

        The problem of Nigeria is something that has defied all reasons and explanations and like Turkey in the early twentieth century that was called the “Sickman” of Europe, Nigeria is now the “Sickman” of Africa. Several eminent Nigerians have tried to define, explain or describe the problem but it does not seem to be cognizable to human mind and the more these several thinkers try to grasp it the more it becomes inexplicable and elusive.

        Sometime in 1980s, it was Chinua Achebe that tried to lay hand on it and after strenuous rumination; the eminent novelist shouted eureka that he has discovered the problem of Nigeria which he zeroed on ‘leadership’. And since then the learned and the unlearned, the rulers and the ruled, the knowledgeable and the ignorant alike have echoed Achebe that the problem of Nigeria is leadership.

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • Biggest Names On Aspen Institute’s Disinformation Commission Have A Checkered Past When It Comes To Accuracy, Freedom Of The Press

        Top figures on the Aspen Institute’s recently-formed Commission on Information Disorder have themselves previously spread inaccurate information and pushed misinformation, a Daily Caller News Foundation review has found.

        The group consists of top media figures, former government officials, tech executives, and academics who have jointly set out to pinpoint the causes of misinformation and disinformation and to propose solutions to combat their spread.

        Some of the most recognizable names on the commission include Prince Harry, who recently criticized the First Amendment, and frequently sues the media, Katie Couric, who has broadcast misleading content, as well as Kathryn Murdoch, who supports left-leaning causes.

        A leading conservative group, the American Principles Project, recently criticized Aspen for “engaging with known partisans” to tackle disinformation, according to a letter exclusively obtained by the DCNF.

        The majority of the commissioners are left-leaning and have expressed partisan views, the DCNF’s review found.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • ‘Try Calling Them’: Challenge Government’s Autocratic Incommunicados

        The First Amendment to our Constitution declares that Congress cannot abridge the right of the people “…to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Unfortunately, this vital tool of our democracy is easily circumvented by Congress simply not responding whatsoever to “petitions” by the citizenry. This government undermining of our constitutional right is producing invincibly incommunicado government officials.

      • When evangelical snowflakes censor the Bible: The English Standard Version goes PC

        In revisions from 2001 through 2016, Perry shows, the word “slave” first gains a footnote, then moves to the footnote and then disappears entirely — in some contexts, like Colossians 3:22, though not others — to be replaced by the word “bondservant,” which could be described as a politically correct euphemism. A similar strategy is used to handle antisemitic language as well, Perry shows.

      • Majority of Americans censor themselves with 59% saying it’s ‘out of control’: study

        The poll of 1,462 people found 18 percent said they censored themselves “all the time” while 48 percent said they did so “sometimes.”

        Fifty-nine percent of those asked deemed current levels of censorship in the United States to be “out of control” and “unacceptable,” according to market research firm Invisibly, which is backed by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund.

      • Comic Book Censorship Got Shaped By Faked Research

        To be fair, even Wertham didn’t approve of the CCA’s guidelines, arguing that he didn’t want comics banned but that he only thought certain comics shouldn’t be sold to minors. Either way, his work and whatever his motivations were caused others with their own motivations to regulate comics for years to come — proving that the whole good prevailing over evil thing is and will forever be subjective.

      • Eleven convicted for harassing French teenager Mila over anti-Islam videos

        Eleven of the 13 people who went on trial were handed suspended sentences.

      • Mila affair: Eleven sentenced over online abuse

        She has since received 100,000 hate messages, her lawyer says, and lives under 24-hour police protection.

        The young woman, known as Mila, has now turned 18 and was forced to withdraw from school over the abuse.

      • French court convicts 11 for harassing teen over anti-Islam videos

        One of them told her she deserved “to have your throat cut.”

        In its judgement on Wednesday, one of the defendants was acquitted for lack of proof, while another was released due to a procedural problem.

        The remaining 11 were handed suspended sentences, meaning they will not serve time in jail unless they are convicted for other offences.

      • 11 convicted over cyber threats to French teenager who criticised Islam

        Her lawyer, Richard Malka, said Mila has received some 100,000 threatening messages, including death threats, rape threats, misogynist messages and hateful messages about her sexual orientation.

        Mila left one high school, then another.

        She is now monitored daily by the police for her safety.

      • French Court Convicts 11 People of Harassing Teenager Over Anti-Islam Rant

        Thirteen defendants, ages 18 to 29, went on trial in Paris last month on charges of online harassment and, in some cases, issuing death threats. The court found 10 guilty of harassment and one of making death threats and sentenced them to suspended prison sentences of four to six months.

        A 12th defendant was found not guilty; the reason given was lack of proof that his message, which was more ambiguous than others, constituted a threat. The last defendant’s case was thrown out because of a procedural error.

        The teenager, Mila, 18, has endured insults, and threats of death and rape — more than 100,000 hateful messages, according to her lawyer — since January 2020, when she angrily responded to social media commenters who were insulting her and calling her an affront to Islam because of her sexual orientation.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Open Letter to Joe Biden by 95 Greek MPs: “Drop all charges against Julian Assange!”

        As part of the international mobilisation to apply pressure on the US government to end the persecution of Julian Assange, MeRA25 invited members of Greece’s Parliament to co-sign the letter below, addressed to President Biden.

        The letter reminds the US President that, as Obama’s Vice-President, he took the decision not to prosecute Julian. Indeed, the prosecution – and request to the UK authorities that he be extradited to the US – went ahead under President Trump.

      • Assange Case Again Points to Kafkaesque Criminalization of Journalism

        In its criminalization of Assange, The United States continues its nonobservance of precedent such as that set in New York Times Co. v. U.S., a landmark Supreme Court case that unprecedentedly affirmed protections for the press in cases where publishers release classified information in the public interest. And this nonobservance is in great part now evidenced to have been facilitated by lies that a convicted pedophile and scam artist, Thordarson, fed the American government. The similarities between the historical developments that precipitated New York Times Co. and what has happened with Assange and members of his circle are remarkable, and they add to any argument that the Founder of Wikileaks is a publisher entitled to First Amendment protections. Against the backdrop of such similarities and Thordarson’s conduct during his clandestine employment by the American government, it is again painfully evident that the U.S. will stoop to any depths of legal depravity to accomplish its corrupt goals.

      • UK High Court agrees to hear US appeal seeking Julian Assange’s extradition

        Assange, 50, has been in London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison since he was arrested in April 2019 for skipping bail seven years earlier during a separate legal battle.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • All of Us Should Be Working Four-Day Weeks

        In Iceland, the Reykjavik City Council, the trade union confederation BSRB, and the national government ran a series of trials of a four-day working week between 2015 and 2019 — the world’s largest experiment thus far in shortening working hours without slashing wages. In June 2021, researchers from UK think tank Autonomy and the Icelandic Association for Sustainability and Democracy released a report outlining their assessment of the trials. The result? An “overwhelming success” —measured by the well-being of workers as well as productivity levels.

      • Chinese youth revolt against overwork culture by ‘lying flat’

        “Lying flat” is a “resistance movement” to a “cycle of horror” from high-pressure Chinese schools to jobs with seemingly endless work hours, novelist Liao Zenghu wrote in Caixin, the country’s most prominent business magazine.

        “In today’s society, our every move is monitored and every action criticized,” Mr. Liao wrote. “Is there any more rebellious act than to simply ‘lie flat?’”

      • As Taliban advance, Afghan women hug their rights

        The survey challenges the notion that women in rural areas might accept the norms of the Taliban. “Almost every woman we spoke to, regardless of the political stance and level of conservatism that could be gleaned from the answers, expressed a longing for greater freedom of movement, education for their children (and sometimes themselves) and a greater role in their families and wider social circles,” according to AAN. Nationwide, more than half of Afghan girls now attend school.

        The sudden activism by Afghan women comes with some irony for America’s longest war. To help justify the war, many U.S. officials cited the “plight of Afghan women.” Now it is Afghan women who are actively rejecting their plight in case the Taliban takes power.

      • Texas Judge Says Muslim Woman Can’t Get Divorce According to U.S. Law, Has to Abide by Islamic Law

        This case isn’t over: Ayad is appealing at the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas. Every American can hope that court will rule in her favor and overturn this dangerous precedent. If Mariam Ayad has to submit to Sharia as a U.S. citizen in Texas, she will be submitting to a legal system that contradicts American laws in numerous particulars. Hitting home for Mariam Ayad’s divorce case is the fact that the Qur’an declares that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man: “Get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as you choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her.” (2:282)

      • Saudi Prince Investigated in France for Alleged Modern Slavery

        The alleged victims reportedly managed to flee a brutal schedule of 24 hours, seven days a week, earning just 300 euros per month, while the prince and his family were on a trip to Paris, where they took the alleged slaves.

      • France probes Saudi prince for modern-day slavery claims

        According to the source, the workers were hired in Saudi Arabia to serve the prince, his wife, and four children but they were “at their employer’s disposal day and night throughout the week” while some of them had to sleep on the floor.

        They managed to escape during a trip to France, the source noted.

      • UP cops book Bengaluru Muslim cleric for forcible conversion

        The cleric’s wife, a Lucknow resident, claimed that Ashraf had managed to get a woman of another faith to convert to Islam a few months ago and married her. “He thrashed me when I protested and refused to do his bidding,” said Kulsoom in her complaint lodged at Ghazipur police station on Wednesday.

      • The Sharpest Dissents From The Supreme Court Term

        Despite a U.S. Supreme Court term marked by the pandemic, a presidential election unlike any in modern history and a fortified conservative majority that sparked controversy, the justices seemed to be vibing pretty well — until the end of the session.

        Last fall, the court looked at least somewhat unified in its approach to GOP efforts to challenge COVID-related voting changes. A seven-member majority turned back the latest attempt to garrote the Affordable Care Act. And in a case involving religion on campus, the consensus-building Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. was the lone holdout.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • Reshuffling of antitrust cases against Google Play Store: Epic and class action plaintiffs will file amended complaints, 36 states filed new lawsuit [Ed: They should go after Microsoft too, but Microsoft gives them the directions/instructions]

        In November, Google brought a motion to dismiss antitrust lawsuits Epic Games and class action plaintiffs had brought in the Northern District of California over the Google Play Store. There has been some back and forth since, and the motion-to-dismiss hearing (originally scheduled for a few months earlier) was finally going to take place in two weeks from today. Not so anymore: Judge James Donato has vacated that hearing and some other procedural deadlines. That’s because Epic Games wasn’t going to take any chances–a dismissal of the complaint would have been a major setback for the Fortnite and Unreal Engine company–and, therefore, informed all other parties (defendant Google, and the other plaintiffs) of its intent to amend its complaint “based on documents uncovered in discovery to date.” The developer class-action plaintiffs then made the decision to do the same.

        On July 2, Epic and the class-action plaintiffs informed the court (CourtListener PDF) that they would file their amended complaints on July 21–literally on the eve of the motion-to-dismiss hearing. In order for this not to appear more defensive than necessary, they said they were “prepared to proceed with oral argument on July 22, 2021, on their operative complaint, as they believe their current allegations are sufficient to overcome the pending motion to dismiss.” However, a federal judge didn’t just fall of a turnip truck. This initiative undoubtedly does mean that there was some concern over Google’s motion to dismiss potentially succeeding.

      • Joe Biden, trustbuster

        The big picture: Biden is explicitly asking regulators to not only block new mergers, but also to consider unwinding prior mergers that were not challenged by past administrations.

        Impact on tech deals: The EO implements a “greater scrutiny of mergers, especially by dominant internet platforms, with particular attention to the acquisition of nascent competitors, serial mergers, the accumulation of data, competition by ‘free’ products, and the effect on user privacy.”

      • The FTC has reportedly opened an investigation into Amazon’s MGM acquisition

        The FTC is focused on “the larger implications of the deal for Amazon’s market power,” The Information reported based on information from two people who knew of the probe, and that “the FTC is wary of whether the deal will illegally boost Amazon’s ability to offer a wide array of goods and services, and is not just limited to content production and distribution.”

      • Patents

        • Breaking News: German Constitutional Court Clears Path for Ratification of European Unified Patent Court Agreement [Ed: UK not ratifying and cannot ratify, so the headline is misleading]
        • German Constitutional Court Provides a Green Light for the UPC to Proceed [Ed: Germany is not enough for UPC]

          In a decision issued earlier today, the German constitutional court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) rejected applications for injunctions to prevent Germany ratifying the Unified Patent Court agreement, clearing the way for the agreement and with it the Unitary Patent to come into force.

          The gestation of the Unified Patent Court has been a difficult one. In March 2020, the Bundesverfassungsgericht upheld a previous constitutional complaint that the manner in which the agreement had been approved by the German parliament was unconstitutional. The German parliament corrected that informality but ratification of the agreement has then been further delayed by a further round of constitutional complaints. It is this second round of complaints, this time concerning the manner in which judges would be appointed to the court, which have now been rejected by the Bundesverfassungsgericht finally permitting Germany to ratify the Unified Patent Court agreement which will enable the agreement to come into force.

        • Germany’s Top Court Sinks Challenge To Unified Patent Court [Ed: Other big barriers remain]

          The European Union has moved one step closer to creating a unified patent court after Germany’s Constitutional Court rejected injunctions seeking to block the country’s legislature from ratifying an agreement for an EU-wide patent system.

          The Constitutional Court ruled June 23 that the plaintiffs failed to show how a 2013 agreement to establish the UPC system violated their fundamental rights and impermissibly transferred sovereign powers to the EU, according to an English press release issued Friday. The system is designed to allow patent disputes to be adjudicated in a single case before one court.

        • Germany: Top court greenlights EU’s Unified Patent Court [Ed: Seems like this is connected to the ECB scandal]

          The Karlsruhe-based Constitutional Court (BVerfG) ruling instead allows a 2017 bill, resubmitted to the German parliament and approved last November, to be signed into law soon by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

          Rejecting the spoiler injunctions, the BVerfG said Germany’s Basic Law constitution specifically allowed the transfer of sovereign rights to the EU as long as “the dignity of the individual rooted in the democratic principle” was not violated.

        • Making The Most Of Your Patent Drawings

          Drawings are an essential element of any patent application for a device or design that requires a visual depiction of the functions and concepts involved. It is critical for all inventors to provide the best possible patent drawings so that examiners quickly understand the invention set forth in the application, thereby increasing the likelihood of a patent being granted.

          Although drawings may not be required to accompany a patent application submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), European Patent Office (EPO) or the Intellectual Property (IP) regulatory agencies in other jurisdictions, there are few situations in which it is feasible for a patentable creation to be sufficiently explained in writing alone. For this reason, it is best practice to provide illustrations or drawings when filing an application.

        • It is Time to Tell Your Eligibility Stories [Ed: The problem is that far too many patents are being granted (low-quality junk), not that too few are granted]

          At the behest of several leading Senators, the USPTO has begun a study on the “Current State of Patent Eligibility Jurisprudence.” To that end, the agency is seeking comments from the public that will be due by Early September. The agency would like input from various stakeholders, including inventors, owners, investors, licensees, users, and patent attorneys. The agency appears to be looking from key insight regarding the actual experience of parties involved — telling a story of the impact of patent eligibility doctrine.

          Acting Director Hirshfeld has made clear in some settings his predilection for broad subject matter eligibility, and the wording of the questions suggest that the Agency is looking for reasons to decry the current state of narrowed eligibility.

        • Dismissal on the Pleadings — for Indefiniteness

          Eligibility and indefiniteness are both judged primarily as questions of law, although both can occasionally depend upon some underlying factual finding. And, even when questions of fact are at issue, it is a judge (rather than a jury) that hears the evidence and determines the facts.

          In recent years, eligibility determinations have moved forward in the litigation context and become a true “threshold test.” See Bilski v. Kappos, 561 U.S. 593 (2010). Often, eligibility is the first substantive determination in patent litigation and it is typically decided either on a motion to dismiss (12(b)(6)) or motion on the pleadings (12(c)).

          With all the parallels, it is not surprising that some litigants are also suggesting that indefiniteness be decided at the pleadings stage.

        • Patent term extensions in Australia: when first isn’t really first

          In a surprising decision, the Federal Court has modified the law of patent term extensions in Australia, by clarifying that it’s only the patentee’s goods that are relevant to the proposed extension – not those of a competitor, even if the competitor’s goods came first and also contain a “pharmaceutical substance per se” that is disclosed and claimed in the patent.

          Justice Beach has reversed a decision of IP Australia, and with it, many years of Patent Office and industry practice, as well as Federal Court authority, on the operation of the patent term extensions (PTEs) regime in Australia, under Chapter 6 of the Patents Act 1990 (Cth). The Court held that an application for PTE can be based upon, and the resulting extension can be calculated by, the earliest inclusion on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) of the patentee’s goods. Until now, the orthodox approach (derived from the words of the statute), has been to identify the first goods included on the ARTG that contain or consist of any pharmaceutical substance per se disclosed and claimed in the patent, irrespective of the sponsor of those goods.

        • 6 Ways To Guide Applications Under New Patent Classification [Ed: Far too many patents, too low a quality, hard to keep abreast of]

          Law360 (June 28, 2021, 5:02 PM EDT) — After 100 years of classifying patents using the U.S. Patent Classification, or USPC, system, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office replaced that system in late 2020. The change to the Cooperative Patent Classification, or CPC, system gives patent practitioners greater opportunity to potentially direct patent applications to art units by careful drafting in conjunction with an understanding of how the CPC functions.

          Each year inventors and patent attorneys file thousands of new patent applications at the USPTO. Each application is reviewed multiple times by various USPTO units to verify compliance with rules and procedures.

        • [Older] 43% of Chinese Patent Firms Have Submitted ‘Irregular’ Patent Applications [Ed:' Quality of patents falling; aimless gold rush]
        • President Biden calls on DOJ and USPTO to revise standard-essential patent policies, disregarding Trump antitrust chief Delrahim’s call for “regulatory humility”

          Last month, a has-been desperately tried to preserve his legacy: Makan Delrahim, the Antitrust Assistant Attorney General (Antitrust AAG) under fromer president Trump, called for “regulatory humility” in the face of court rulings. He had seen the writing on the wall in the spring, when his former agency, the DOJ, downgraded his letter to the IEEE, and he had correctly interpreted a statement by a Biden Administration official that Mr. Delrahim’s decisions were going to be undone.

          By the way, Mr. Delrahim repeatedly and consistently talked about “the FRAND” at that Concurrences conference. That reminded me of George W. Bush’s aspirations to use “the Google” on “the internets.” I’ve been following the FRAND debate for well over a decade, but Mr. Delrahim is to my knowledge the only one ever to have said “the FRAND.” Maybe there’s one FRAND (and one Google) per internet…

          Mr. Delrahim is not “the FRAND”, nor a friend of FRAND. He’s basically “the anti-FRAND.”

        • In review: abuse of dominance in Switzerland

          This article examines the law and practice surrounding the competition authorities’ determination of abuse of dominance in Switzerland, with particular regard to recent developments.

        • [Older] China Releases Administrative Adjudication Measures for Major Patent Infringement Disputes Effective June 1, 2021

          On May 28, 2021, China’s National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) has released the Administrative Adjudication Measures for Major Patent Infringement Disputes (重大专利侵权纠纷行政裁决办法). Administrative adjudication provides an alternative to litigation that can be much faster and less expensive than civil litigation but doesn’t provide for damages. The Measures set a deadline of 3 months to complete the adjudication from the date of filing. The Measures go into force June 1, 2021.

        • G1/21: a look at video conferencing at the EPO [Ed: This 'article' is sponsored by the litigation industry; where is the actual media covering this very major blunder?]

          The crux is whether Article 116 EPC should be interpreted as guaranteeing the right to an ‘in-person’ oral proceeding, or whether video conferencing (ViCo) may be considered to fulfil the requirements for an oral proceeding.

          The EPO President has made public commitments to developing a ‘new normal’ through the use of ViCo and submitted comments to support this position. Key arguments in his submission included the fact that “…a ViCo…contains the essence of an oral proceedings, namely that the board and the parties/representatives can communicate with each other simultaneously”.

          50 amicus curiae briefs were filed: 32 briefs against mandatory ViCo, nine in favour, and nine neutral briefs.

        • Double Trouble: EPO Confirms Ambiguous Prohibition On Double Patenting [Ed: The Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office is rigged, however, but law firms continue to ignore this when it suits them]

          The Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (the “EPO”) issued a landmark decision1 on June 22, 2021. It confirms that, despite the European Patent Convention containing no specific provision prohibiting double patenting, the EPO is permitted to refuse a European patent application based on double patenting. The EPO will now need to develop an internal body of jurisprudence further defining the scope of double patenting, which practitioners will have to stay actively apprised of.


          This referral allowed the Enlarged Board of Appeal to tackle double patenting at the EPO head-on. The Board essentially decided that a broad prohibition on double patenting exists in the EPC under Article 1253, which sets out that “[i]n the absence of procedural provisions in [the EPC], the European Patent Office shall take into account the principles of procedural law generally recognised in the Contracting States”. In its decision, the Board also made clear that this implicit prohibition applies to applications regardless of their history or priority4, before declining to answer the third question.

          More specifically, after analyzing the works that led to the final text of the EPC, the Board concluded that most Contracting States prohibited double patenting in their national patent laws and had not intended to allow it in the EPC.

        • Prohibition On Double Patenting At The EPO Confirmed By Enlarged Board Of Appeal In Decision G4/19

          The Enlarged Board of Appeal has confirmed in decision G4/19 that there is a general prohibition on double patenting at the EPO. This means that a European patent application can be rejected if it claims the same subject-matter as a European patent which has been granted to the same applicant and does not form part of the state of the art. The prohibition applies irrespective of whether the application concerned

        • A decade on, IP boutique Ampersand realigns core practice [Ed: What on Earth is this from JUVE? Marketing spam disguised as “news” — i.e. more of the usual]
        • Flying the rainbow flag [Ed: Pinkwashing by the most corrupt institution in Europe. The gay community ought not allow itself to be hijacked and exploited as a prop of despotic and corruption-laden institutions, governments. Because that's what's happening to its symbols.]

          If you walked past the EPO headquarters (Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1) today, you may have noticed the iconic rainbow flag. For the second year in a row, the Office marks the Munich Christopher Street Day celebrations by flying the rainbow flag, a symbol of pride in and around Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) communities.

        • Software Patents

      • Trademarks

        • FTC loss boosts brand pacts but raises abuse fears: sources [Ed: When they worry about the brands instead of the spam]

          Some say the rejection of the FTC’s ruling against 1-800 Contacts avoids settlement uncertainty, but others say it emboldens bad behaviour from brands

        • TTABlog Test: Must “BARK” Be Disclaimed In “BIG BARK” For Tree Care Services?

          The USPTO refused to register the mark BIG BARK for tree care services, unless the applicant disclaimed the word BARK. Applicant Corporate Green contended that a disclaimer is not required because BIG BARK is a unitary mark. Was applicant barking up the wrong tree? How do you think this appeal came out? In re Corporate Green, LLC, Application Serial No. 87519612 (June 30, 2021) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Marc A. Bergsman).

        • Iconic Timberland Boots — Trade Dress Worthy? [Ed: Boots are boots. What do you want to monopolise? The colour? A patent on shape?]

          Timberland has been selling its iconic boots back in 1973 – almost 50 years ago. Actually, at the time the company name was Abington Shoes, but quickly changed its name to Timberland Boot because of the popularity. Timberland did not patent or register a copyright the design, and the market it rife with copycat boots.

      • Copyrights

        • Netflix Quietly a Huge Winner in Biden’s Order Targeting Big Business

          For years, Netflix has been poaching top executive talent from its rivals. So much so that big studios including Fox and Viacom have hauled the streamer into court for tortiously interfering with contracts. In response, Netflix has argued that these employment deals are void under a California law that frowns upon non-compete provisions. Netflix hasn’t been successful thus far thanks to the judicial conclusion that there’s nothing illegal about a fixed-term contract so long as the non-compete doesn’t extend beyond termination. That conclusion is on appeal.

          Now comes news that Biden is taking aim at non-competes. It remains to be seen if the FTC really is empowered to bar the types of contractual provisions that impede workers from switching jobs, but the development still amounts to wind behind Netflix’s sails. Plus, who knows? As Netflix continues to aggressively grow itself through recruitment, perhaps Netflix will have better luck with Biden-era federal agencies than it’s had with California courts.

        • Accused Pirate Asks Court to Freeze Assets of ‘Copyright Troll’ Malibu Media

          Malibu Media, the adult entertainment company that has demanded hefty settlements from thousands of pirates over the years, is sailing rough waters. The company has been suspended over tax troubles and now a wrongfully accused pirate has asked a Texas court to freeze Malibu’s assets, to secure potential attorneys’ fees.

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 10, 2021

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:59 am by Needs Sunlight

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