Links 3/1/2022: A Last Linux RC and ScummVM 2.5.1

Posted in News Roundup at 9:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • 9to5Linux Weekly Roundup: January 2nd, 2022

      This is the first 9to5Linux Weekly Roundup edition in 2022 and it brings you news about the upcoming releases of Ubuntu Touch OTA-21 and Linux Lite 5.8 distributions, the end of life of CentOS Linux 8, a major postmarketOS release for ARM devices, and new major releases of the Avidemux video editor and Pinta paint program.

      On top of that, I take a look at Xfce’s app releases for December 2021 and Garuda Linux’s first release in 2022. You can enjoy these and much more in 9to5Linux’s Linux weekly roundup for January 2nd, 2022, below!

    • Linux Weekly Roundup #163

      I hope you are doing well and had a happy New Year celebration. I wish that it will be a wonderful year for you.

      We, as expected, had a peaceful week in the world of Linux release with Linux Lite 5.8 RC1, Neptune Linux 7.0, and Garuda Linux 220101.

    • Review: Jesse’s Top Picks Of 2021

      Generally speaking, when I review a distribution the experience exists in a sort of bubble for me. That is, I’m very interested in the operating system while it is in front of me. I’m intrigued by its features, I’m curious about its infrastructure, and I try to slide into the workflow of its desktop environment and tools. However, when my week with the distribution is over I tend to put it out of my mind. I don’t often dwell on a particular problem or special feature of the distribution once I’ve started trying something else, unless the distro presented a feature or concept that was especially useful for me.

      This year though I started making an effort to keep certain distributions in mind – bookmarking them in my brain, in a manner of speaking. Recently I’ve had more people ask me about which distributions are my favourites or which projects I’d be more likely to recommend for someone new. I’ve also felt like it would make it easier for me to evaluate some projects if I had a “high water mark” of quality against which I could compare new distributions.

      With this in mind, starting in the early days of 2021, I began making note of when a distribution impressed me. Sometimes a distribution would just not do anything wrong or annoy me. Other times a distribution offered a particularly nice feature or seemed unusually user friendly. As we march into 2022 I’d like to take a look back at some of the distributions which stood out this past year as especially pleasant or interesting to use and explain why. This list is more or less in chronological order (the order in which I used the distribution) rather than by alphabetical order or in order of quality.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Who’s Important – Quick Fixes

        Never looked at it like that, huh? Well you should. Proprietary and predatory software corporations are eating FLOSS’s lunch in the public sector because (among other things) they have accessibility all figured out, and are officially sanctioned to sell their software for very vulnerable people; people, able-bodied and not, who need us most: students, patients, doctors, nurses, teachers, inmates, civil servants; people who are easily exploited by proprietary software mega-corporations and need to be able to reclaim control over the technology they use asap.

        But we’re not listening. We are busy solving edge-cases, such as glitches in 8K monitors with different frame rates; or making Angry Pigeons, or whatever the f**k kids are playing these days, run 100 FPS faster. None of that is going to help them.

        Accessibility is.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • “Fast Kernel Headers” Tree -v1: Eliminate the Linux kernel’s “Dependency Hell”
        I'm pleased to announce the first public version of my new "Fast Kernel 
        Headers" project that I've been working on since late 2020, which is a 
        comprehensive rework of the Linux kernel's header hierarchy & header 
        dependencies, with the dual goals of:
         - speeding up the kernel build (both absolute and incremental build times)
         - decoupling subsystem type & API definitions from each other
        The fast-headers tree consists of over 25 sub-trees internally, spanning 
        over 2,200 commits, which can be found here:
           git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/mingo/tip.git master
        As most kernel developers know, there's around ~10,000 main .h headers in 
        the Linux kernel, in the include/ and arch/*/include/ hierarchies. Over the 
        last 30+ years they have grown into a complicated & painful set of 
        cross-dependencies we are affectionately calling 'Dependency Hell'.
      • The fast kernel headers tree

        Kernel developer Ingo Molnar has been quiet for a while; now we know why. He has just announced a massive set of patches (touching over half of the files in the kernel tree) reworking how header files are handled.

      • Massive ~2.3k Patch Series Would Improve Linux Build Times 50~80% & Fix “Dependency Hell” – Phoronix

        Longtime Linux kernel developer Ingo Molnar posted a massive set of patches today: 2,297 patches that have been in the works since late 2020 and completely rework the Linux kernel’s header file hierarchy. The goal of this “fast kernel headers” effort is to speed up kernel build times and also clean=up a lot of things in the proces to address the “dependency hell”.

        This massive set of patches touches most of the Linux kernel code-base as it reworks the header file handling for the kernel builds. But the end result is faster Linux kernel compilations both for clean builds and incremental builds.

        Molnar wrote in the patch cover letter, “As most kernel developers know, there’s around ~10,000 main .h headers in the Linux kernel, in the include/ and arch/*/include/ hierarchies. Over the last 30+ years they have grown into a complicated & painful set of cross-dependencies we are affectionately calling ‘Dependency Hell’.”

      • Linux 5.16-rc8
        So as expected, this is a tiny rc - there really hasn't been a lot
        going on during the holidays. Even now, not everybody is necessarily
        back, and we'll likely have another very quiet upcoming week and then
        I'll do the real 5.16 release and we'll hopefully be more or less back
        to normal (and thanks to the people who have already sent me pending
        pull request for 5.17 - it helps me to have them early, since I'll
        unfortunately have some travel during the upcoming merge window).
        The bulk here (and "bulk" is probably the wrong word to use, it's all
        pretty small) is gpu and networking drivers, and some core networking
        fixes. There's some other minor noise in here too (usb, i2c, input,
        auxdisplay, scsi, perf tooling), but it's all very small.
        Please, as you emerge from your holiday-induced food coma, do give it
        a quick test so that we can all be happy about the final release next
      • Kernel prepatch 5.16-rc8 [LWN.net]

        The eighth and final 5.16 kernel prepatch is out for testing. “Please, as you emerge from your holiday-induced food coma, do give it a quick test so that we can all be happy about the final release next weekend”.

      • Linux 5.16-rc8 Is A Tiny Holiday Release – Phoronix

        Linux 5.16-rc8 is out today as a tiny holiday test candidate. If it weren’t for the holidays, Linus Torvalds would have released the Linux 5.16 kernel today as stable but instead opted for an extra week of post-holiday testing.

        Not much has changed with Linux 5.16-rc8 given that it was brewed the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Linus also expects this forthcoming week to be light due to developers recovering from the holidays. Linux 5.16-rc8 brings just a few fixes to the GPU and networking drivers, among other random fixes thoguhout.

      • Hantro Media Driver Adds VP9 Acceleration With Linux 5.17 – Phoronix

        While the Linux 5.16 kernel release and in turn the Linux 5.17 merge window isn’t happening for another week, the media subsystem pull request for v5.17 has already been mailed out with its various feature changes for this next cycle.

        The Hantro media driver for the Hantro IP found in the VPU of Rockchip and NXP i.MX SoCs has added VP9 codec support as one of the exciting media changes for Linux 5.17.

        This Hantro media driver support for VP9 is known to work with the Rockchip VDEC and VeriSilicon Hantro G2. As part of this media activity, support for the Allwinner H6 is being introduced this cycle for the Hantro media driver and there that Allwinner SoC is exposing VP9 acceleration. This Hantro VP9 support has also resulted in new V4L2 core helper functions around the VP9 codec.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa 22.0 Intel OpenGL/Vulkan Drivers Enable Adaptive-Sync/VRR – Phoronix

          In the mainline Linux kernel for a year now has been the Intel variable rate refresh (VRR) support for Gen12 / Xe Graphics and then with the upcoming Linux 5.17 cycle that’s being enabled for Gen11 Ice Lake graphics too. With the Intel i915 DRM kernel driver support for VRR/Adaptive-Sync being mature, the Intel Mesa OpenGL and Vulkan driver components are finally enabling the support by default.

          For a year has been the Mesa merge request to go ahead and enable Adaptive-Sync for their “Iris” Gallium3D OpenGL and “ANV” Vulkan open-source drivers on Linux. The changes are trivial with just toggling the DRI_CONF_ADAPTIVE_SYNC option for Mesa’s integration around the DRM Variable Refresh Rate API…. That Mesa DRM VRR API integration was previously tackled by AMD developers working on their VRR/FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync support years ago. All of the vendor-specific magic happens within the kernel drivers around this feature for reducing tearing and stuttering within games.

        • RADV Now Uses Common Sync Framework For More Mesa Driver Code Sharing – Phoronix

          Mesa’s Radeon Vulkan driver “RADV” now is making use of the common synchronization framework started by Intel “ANV” Vulkan driver developers to allow for more code sharing between the drivers.

          A few months back Jason Ekstrand and other Intel developers began working on the common synchronization code for Mesa’s Vulkan drivers. Due to complexities of VK_KHR_timeline_semaphore in particular, it was decided to pursue a common solution to avoid extra per-driver complexities and would help in the bring-up of future drivers.

    • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Reset Kali Linux Password 2022 (The Easy Way) – DekiSoft

        As you already know Kali is an open-source, Debian-based Linux distribution that was previously known as BackTrack. It aims for advanced penetration testing and security auditing. If you have forgotten your root password and want to reset Kali Linux password this is the best tutorial. You can also decide to go back to default settings and see what the default “root” credentials are.

      • How to Install JDK 17 (Java 17 LTS) on Fedora 35 – LinuxCapable

        Java is a general-purpose, class-based, object-oriented multipurpose programming language that is popular due to the design of having lesser implementation dependencies, meaning that the compiled Java code can be run on all platforms that support Java without the need for recompilation. Java is also fast, secure, and reliable, therefore. It is widely used for developing Java applications in laptops, data centers, game consoles, scientific supercomputers, cell phones, etc.

        JDK 17 (JDK 17) has brought forward new language enhancements, updates to the libraries, support for new Apple computers, removals and deprecations of legacy features, and work to ensure Java code written today will continue working without change in future JDK versions.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install the latest Java 17 (JDK 17) on Fedora 35 Workstation or Server.

      • How to Install Nmap Network Scanner on Fedora 35 – LinuxCapable

        Nmap, also known as Network Mapper, is a free, open-source tool network administrators use to scan for vulnerabilities within their network and network discovery.

        Nmap allows finding devices running on their network and discovering open ports and services that, if not secure or hardened, can lead to potential hackers exploiting known vulnerabilities security risks.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install and basic use Nmap on Fedora 35 Workstation or Server.

      • How to Install ImageMagick on Fedora 35 – LinuxCapable

        ImageMagick is a free, open-source application installed as a binary distribution or source code. ImageMagick can convert, read, write and process raster images. ImageMagick is also available across all major platforms, including Android, BSD, Linux, Windows, Mac OSX, iOS, and many others.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install ImageMagick on Fedora 35 Workstation or Server using the DNF or Source installation method.

      • How To Install Grafana on Fedora 35 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Grafana on Fedora 35. For those of you who didn’t know, Grafana is multi-platform open-source analytics and interactive visualization web application. Grafana provides charts, graphs, and alerts for the web when connected to supported data sources.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Grafana open-source platform for visualization and monitoring on a Fedora 35.

      • How To Find All Installed Fonts In Linux

        There is a quick way to find all installed fonts in your Linux.

        In this article we will use the fc-list command to list all fonts and styles on your Linux system.

      • How To Find The List Of Installed Repositories in Linux

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to list the installed repositories in Linux.

        We can find the list of all enabled or even disabled repositories using the distribution’s default package manager or using a third-party tool inix.

      • Install PINTA 2.0 In Ubuntu / Linux Mint / Fedora | Tips On UNIX

        Pinta is a free and open-source program for image editing and drawing.

        Pinta’s goal is to provide users with a simple tool to draw and edit images, it is available for Windows, Linux, mac, and BSD.

      • How to Increase LVM Partition Size in Linux

        Hi Techies, one of the advantages of LVM partition is that it can be resized online without any downtime. Here resize means increasing and reducing lvm partition size. Though it is not recommended to reduce lvm partition as it may leads to data corruption.

        In this post, we will demonstrate how to extend or increase LVM partition’s size in linux using lvextend command. For the demonstration, we have ‘/dev/vg01-lv01’ partition of size 10 GB and mounted on /data folder.

      • How to Make sudo Remember the Password for Longer

        Here’s how to make sudo remember your password for longer so that you don’t have to keep typing it over and over.

        Probably you execute quite a lot of sudo commands, because you don’t want to sudo su and execute commands as root all the time.

        You noticed that if you execute one and then another one within few minutes, the 2nd time you don’t get the message like: [sudo] password for your_username. However, you do get it when there is more time between the execution of the two commands.

      • How to install OpenStack on Ubuntu 20.04 with MicroStack – NextGenTips

        Openstack is a free, open standard cloud computing platform. It is deployed as an infrastructure-as-service in both public and private clouds where virtual servers and other resources are made available to users.

        I love how Ubuntu puts it “Imagine a data centre with hundreds of physical machines, racked, powered and connected to each other. One tool turns this data centre into a cloud and enables on-demand resource provisioning through a self-service portal. That’s OpenStack “.

        MicroStack is a micro cloud platform based on OpenStack. It is designed for small scale data centre deployments. It eliminates the complexity behind OpenStack. MicroStack answers the need for edge computing, providing reliable and secure cloud platforms.

      • 2 Ways to Install Open VM Tools on Debian 11 Bullseye – Linux Shout

        Are you running Debian 11 Bullseye on VMware? Then here are the commands to install VMware Open VM Tools on Debian 11 Virtual Machine.

        After installing the Linux or Windows on Virtual Machine provided by Vmware Workstation, we need to set up VMware tools. It is because, by default, the Virtual machine will not be optimized to work with the host in parallel. This means VM will not adapt the screen resolution; copy-paste from host to guest, or vice versa including drag and drop of files will not be there. Although this might not be a valuable feature for users who are using command line Linux on Vmware VM but for GUI Desktop, these features are worth a lot.

      • A Linux Admin’s Getting Started Guide to Improving PHP Security

        Running PHP on a Linux web server is a prerequisite for the use of many popular applications such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. Linux administrators and web developers must approach PHP with caution, as new vulnerabilities in poorly written and implemented PHP code are abundant and dangerous.

      • How To Install InfluxDB on Debian 11 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install InfluxDB on Debian 11. For those of you who didn’t know, InfluxDB is a time-series platform with dashboards, queries, tasks, and agents all in one place. It is designed to handle high write and query loads. The InfluxDB Platform also includes APIs, tools, and an ecosystem that includes 10 client and server libraries, Telegraf plugins, visualization integrations with Grafana, Google Data Studio, and data sources integrations with Google Bigtable, BigQuery, and more.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the InfluxDB on a Debian 11 (Bullseye).

      • 2 Ways to Install Open VM Tools on Debian 11 Bullseye – Linux Shout

        Are you running Debian 11 Bullseye on VMware? Then here are the commands to install VMware Open VM Tools on Debian 11 Virtual Machine.

        After installing the Linux or Windows on Virtual Machine provided by Vmware Workstation, we need to set up VMware tools. It is because, by default, the Virtual machine will not be optimized to work with the host in parallel. This means VM will not adapt the screen resolution; copy-paste from host to guest, or vice versa including drag and drop of files will not be there. Although this might not be a valuable feature for users who are using command line Linux on Vmware VM but for GUI Desktop, these features are worth a lot.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • WineHQ – Wine Announcement – The Wine development release 7.0-rc4 is now available.
        The Wine development release 7.0-rc4 is now available.
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Bug fixes only, we are in code freeze.
        The source is available from the following locations:
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
      • Wine 7.0-rc4 Released With Another 38 Fixes – Phoronix

        It’s coming a few days late due to New Year’s, but Wine 7.0-rc4 is out as the latest weekly release candidate for this forthcoming yearly stable release. Wine 7.0 is the imminent feature update for this open-source software allowing Windows games/applications to run on Linux, macOS, and other platforms.

        Being in a code freeze since early December, Wine 7.0-rc4 is just delivering bug fixes. There are 38 known bug fixes in this week’s release.

    • Games

      • New year with Californium(*)

        Several months have passed since our monumental 2.5.0 release, and now the ScummVM Team is thrilled to announce the release of the bugfix release, 2.5.1 codenamed “Californium”*.

        The most notable changes are: we added scalers in OpenGL mode (those AdvMame, HQ etc things), fixed several bugs in The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes, made the sound for Sam & Max more accurate, improved graphics for some Macintosh SCUMM games, implemented more renderers for The Longest Journey, made many enhancements to Little Big Adventure and we fixed the dreaded bug on World of Xeen startup.

      • Is Ubuntu Finally Taking Linux Gaming Seriously? – OMG! Ubuntu!

        Can Ubuntu reclaim its gaming crown? Based on a new job opening added to its careers page, Canonical thinks so.

        Ubuntu’s chief sponsor is recruiting a “Linux Desktop Gaming Product Manager” whose job will be to ”…make Ubuntu the best Linux desktop for gaming”.

        “We work with partners in the silicon world to ensure the latest graphics drivers and tweaks are built-in for optimal frame rates and latency, as well as with partners in the gaming industry to ensure that mechanisms such as anti-cheat capabilities are available to ensure fairness and product availability,” the listing explains.

        When Steam for Linux debuted in 2012 Ubuntu was Valve’s recommended Linux distro for gamers wanting to thumb-flex with Tux (indeed, at that time Ubuntu was the recommended distro for pretty much else too).

      • Canonical Hiring For An Ubuntu Linux Desktop Gaming Product Manager – Phoronix

        Canonical is looking to capitalize on the renewed interest around Linux gaming and the raised prospects thanks to Valve’s Steam Play allowing a growing number of compelling Windows games becoming playable on Linux.

        Canonical is now hiring for a new role of a Desktop Gaming Product Manager for Ubuntu. Canonical wants to “make Ubuntu the best Linux desktop for gaming. We work with partners in the silicon world to ensure the latest graphics drivers and tweaks are built-in for optimal frame rates and latency, as well as with partners in the gaming industry to ensure that mechanisms such as anti-cheat capabilities are available to ensure fairness and product availability.”

        Canonical’s Desktop Gaming Product Manager will lead desktop graphics driver choices around Ubuntu, work on partnerships with GPU vendors and other IHVs/ISVs, convey the Ubuntu gaming story to users, and work on other engineering design and development tasks.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • T-Rex Slash, TV, and Matrix Effects Added to ’Burn My Windows’ Extension

          So here it is — but let me stress: these window effects are for fun. No-one is claiming that flame-quitting app windows is some sort of life hack. But if you’ve got a device that can handle the graphical excess, and they make you smile, why not, right? Have at them!

          The very latest update to the “Burn My Windows” GNONE extension adds a new window closing effect: “T-Rex Attack”. This does exactly what you imagine it does…

    • Distributions

      • Joshua Strobl Steps Down From The Solus Project – Phoronix

        Well known Solus Project core team member and Experience Lead Joshua Strobl has announced he is stepping down from the project but will be continuing his work on the Budgie desktop.

        Strobl announced on New Year’s Day that he is stepping down from this popular desktop-focused Linux distribution project. Since 2018 he has co-lead the distribution and became the main developer of the Budgie desktop environment but had been involved with Solus for nearly seven years.

      • Gentoo Family

        • I’m back with Gentoo | Hund

          I’m a Gentoo user who recently decided to try an alternative Linux (and binary based) operating system, something that would require no maintaining what so ever. I ended up choosing the most boring operating system that I could think of, which is Debian. And while it started out good, Debian would only last about two months on my computer.

          The first annoyance I had with Debian was with Pulseaudio. When I changed the volume—using shortcuts on my keyboard in incremental steps of 5%—the sound would glitch for a second or two for each step. It wasn’t a deal-breaker, but it was somewhat annoying. My second issue was far more annoying though; every time I woke up my computer, the Internet connection would be completely gone. The only way I was able to get it back, was to either reboot my router or my computer.

          I also had some minor annoyance, like how the boot process would completely hang without any message about why when it tried to mount a missing storage disk at boot. It took me a while before I figured out that it would continue to boot into some systemd rescue mode if I just waited for a few minutes. After that I was able to debug the issue and finally add the noauto argument to the disk in my filesystem table. While minor annoyances like this, aren’t any kind of deal-breaker for me, it can be a bit frustrating to deal with, when they stack up on top of each other.

          I eventually decided to try upgrading to Debian testing, to see if that would solve any of the issues for me. It didn’t. In fact, it made everything worse. My graphical stack was now completely kaput. I don’t know what happened and I couldn’t figure out how to solve it either. On top of that, I happened to stumble upon the article “the sad state of web browser support currently within Debian”. I then decided that Debian wasn’t worth it on the desktop for me, and I simply gave up. I wiped everything and installed Arch Linux. It wasn’t one of my top choices, but it was something that I was familiar with.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • CentOS 7 vs CentOS 8 – Which is a better choice for you? – DekiSoft

          The new release of CentOS is here and has brought in man changes many users have questioned about. I know many of you are considering an upgrade, but why? This CentOS 7 vs CentOS 8 comparison goes over points such as performance, updates and stability so you can choose the best.

          As Red Hat Enterprise Linus (RHEL) is the upstream for this, it follows the same lifestyle that this dictates. All this means that its version 6 has reached the end of life (EOL) by the end of 2020 and version 7 by the end of 2024. RHEL’s 20-year life cycle makes version 8, which was released back in 2019, the current release till the year 2029. That is a lot of years. However, the newer released will be called “Stream” and it seems like it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

        • Fedora “DIGLIM” Feature Proposal Drawing Mixed Reactions – Phoronix

          A proposal for Fedora 36 is to implement Digest Lists Integrity Module “DIGLIM” functionality as an optional feature for effectively providing remote attestation and/or secure boot at the application level.

          The DIGLIM feature proposal for Fedora is summed up as: “Digest Lists Integrity Module (DIGLIM) takes a different approach. It allows IMA to extend a PCR in a predictable way or to verify the authenticity of files by querying an in-kernel repository of authenticated reference values, built from information already available in existing packages (FILEDIGESTS section of the RPM header, with signature in the RSAHEADER section). Data source authentication does not require additional key management. With support for PGP keys in the kernel, the official Fedora PGP keys can be imported to the builtin keyring of the kernel and used to verify the PGP signature of the RPM headers…A modified kernel with the DIGLIM patches will expose to user space an interface to add/remove file digests from the kernel hash table. A user space parser, executed by the kernel during early boot, parses RPM headers found in /etc/diglim in the initial ram disk (included with a custom dracut script) and uploads them to the kernel. When a file is accessed, IMA calculates the file digest and queries it with DIGLIM. If the digest is found, measurement is skipped and appraisal is successful. If the digest is not found, a measurement of the file is performed and appraisal fails. When packages are installed or removed, the kernel hash table is kept synchronized with a new rpm plugin.”

      • Debian Family

        • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, December 2021

          In December I was assigned 20 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative. I worked 16 hours, and the remaining 4 hours cancelled out my over-work in November.

          I completed an update to the linux (4.9) package and issued DLA 2843-1.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Which Ubuntu Version Should You Use? (Ultimate Comparison 2022) – DekiSoft

          There are few which you might have heard about like Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, etc. These are not nicknames that users have given to their systems. Let us tell you the reason behind such different names.

          There are different versions which are categorized according to their certain purpose or the desktop environment they use.

          Now, when it comes to Linux, the user has the freedom to select your “desktop environment”. Now you might wonder what this is. It is a bundle of components which provide common GUI elements like icons, toolbars, wallpapers and other desktop widgets. Most of these have their own set of integrated apps as well as utilities so that the users get a uniform feel while using the Operating System.

          This actually changes the look as well as the feel of the OS that you use, and at times programs as well.

          Are you still confused? Well, let us you give you a rather loose analogy. This is like wearing clothes; if you dress like a hippie then you shall come across as like this. If you have similar hair, then there shall be a uniform feel of being one.

          Now, what is the advantage to use one desktop environment over the other? In the last analogue with clothes, if you wear jeans which are skinny, you may look smart but you cannot run fast. There are compromises, you see.

          Some of these focus on the use of graphics, but then for this, you need to have a better hardware configuration. On the other side, some of these run better with a system which have low configuration but might not look that good.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • This Week in Glean: Looking back at Glean in 2021

            A year ago I posted Glean in 2021 as a way to look into the future and set out a vision and plan for the project. Today I’m looking back at 2021, if we were able to follow up on my plans back then and look at all the other things we did for Glean.

            Let’s start easy: According to the index we wrote 21 This Week in Glean blog posts (including this one). Close enough to one every other week. Communicating about our work is important and TWiGs are one way to put our ideas and thoughts about the project out there.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • PostgreSQL: JDBC FDW 0.1.0 release

          We have just newly released Foreign Data Wrapper for databases with JDBC interface.

          This release can work with PostgreSQL 13 and 14.

          This FDW is implemented in C language with JDK library.

          The existing JDBC FDWs are not well maintained and their features are very limited, this jdbc_fdw is released in order to solve these problems.

        • PostgreSQL: Parquet S3 FDW 0.2.1 released

          We have just released version 0.2.1 of the Foreign Data Wrapper for Parquet file on Amazon S3.

          This release can work with PostgreSQL 13 and 14.

        • PostgreSQL: DynamoDB FDW 1.1.0 released

          have just released version 1.1.0 of the Foreign Data Wrapper for DynamoDB.

          This release can work with PostgreSQL 13 and 14.

        • PostgreSQL: GridDB FDW 2.1.1 released

          We have just released version 2.1.1 of the Foreign Data Wrapper for GridDB.

          This release can work with PostgreSQL 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14.

        • PostgreSQL: pg_query_rewrite 0.0.3 released

          pg_query_rewrite is a PostgreSQL extension that can modify SQL statements received by PostgreSQL before the backend executes them. This tries to be similar to the Rewriter Query Rewrite Plugin in MySQL.

        • PostgreSQL: SQLite fdw 2.1.1 released

          We have just released version 2.1.1 of the Foreign Data Wrapper for SQLite.

          This release can work with PostgreSQL 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Alive 2.0.5 available
            release notes:
              We welcome Bruno Haible to the THANKS file.
            README excerpt:
              GNU Alive is a keep-alive program for internet connections.
              It repeatedly pings a series of user-specified hosts, thereby
              encouraging (one hopes) the involved networks to not disappear.
            NEWS for 2.0.5 (2022-01-02):
              - ‘--help’ output says GNU Alive takes no arguments
                It also says details are in the manual.
              - missing xdgdirs(1) now silent
                Previously, when looking for the config directory, if xdgdirs(1)
                was not found, you would see the (harmless) error message:
                 /bin/sh: 1: xdgdirs: not found
                Now, it's searched for prior to invocation, so if it's missing,
                there is no error message.
              - bootstrap/maintenance tools
                as before:
                 GNU texinfo 6.8
                 GNU Automake 1.16.5
                 GNU Autoconf 2.71
                 GNU Guile 2.2.7
                 Guile-BAUX 20211208.0839.a5245e7
                 GNU gnulib 2021-12-10 21:54:54
            tarball and detached signature:
            source code:
          • GNU Rush Version 2.2 [Savannah]

            GNU rush version 2.2 is available for download.

          • Formal policy established, regarding Libreboot’s zero-blob policy

            Libreboot intentionally de-blobs coreboot, which is to say that in does not include binary blobs. It is a distribution of entirely Free Software and, as such, only supports a handful of machines from coreboot, which otherwise requires binary blobs on most systems. Libreboot’s version of coreboot is entirely free, on all supported mainboards.

            Libreboot is designed to comply with the Free Software Foundation’s Respects Your Freedom criteria and the GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines (GNU FSDG), ensuring that it is entirely Free Software.

          • Best wishes for all in 2022

            Dear zh-cn-translators:
            Thank you all for the help in 2021. Here comes the summary of www.gnu.org translation from GNU.
            Please take your time to read. We are doing almost as good as 2020.
            Dear GNU translators!
            This year, the total number of new translations was approximately
            like in 2020, but their mean size was almost twice as large.
            Nearly every third new translation was made in the Brazilian
            Portuguese team; the Albanian and (“Traditional”) Chinese teams
            made four times more translations than in 2020.
            General Statistics
            In October, we reached new maximum values of translations per file
            in important directories, 9.32 translations per file (0.4 more
            than in 2020) and 8.39 translations weighted with size of articles
            (0.15 more than in 2020).
            The percent of outdated translations was considerably higher
            than in 2020, mostly due to more commits this year.
            The table below shows the number and size of newly translated
            articles in important directories (as of 2021-12-31) and
            typical number of outdated GNUNified translations throughout
            the year.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Your browser lies: the web isn’t written in your native language

        Most webpages aren’t written in your native language; despite the entire web being available to you in your language. However, many web surfers don’t seem to realize that they’re reading machine-translated pages instead of the originals.

        Over the years, I’ve received hundreds of complaints in foreign languages about the poor quality of my writing in their respective languages. Except, I’ve never written a word in their language. I often can’t even identify the language without running it through a translation service!

        I also see this anecdotal evidence of this all over the web. There’s always that one person in a discussion forum, open-source project, article comments, and social media thread that comments in a different language to everyone else. It’s nothing but a small faux pas, but one that might not be the commenter’s fault.

  • Leftovers

    • Swiss Army Knife Of Power Tool Carts | Hackaday

      When you’re into woodworking in a serious way, you’re going to eventually want some power tools. With such efficiency of operation, things can go pear-shaped quickly, with wood dust getting absolutely everywhere. It’s not always practical (or desirable) to work outdoors, and many of us only have small workshops to do our making in. But woodworking tools eat space quickly. Centralized extraction is one solution, but all that fixed rigid ducting forces one to fix the tool locations, which isn’t always a good thing. Moveable tool carts are nothing new, we’ve seen many solutions over the years, but this build by [Peter Waldraff] is rather slick (video embedded below,) includes some really nice features in a very compact — and critically — moveable format.

    • Hardware

      • Teaching A DC Servo Motor To Act Like A Stepper | Hackaday

        [Frank Herrmann] had an interesting idea to turn a geared DC motor into a servo motor assembly, but with a stepper motor-like interface. By stacking some small PCBs behind the motor body, it was possible to squeeze a DRV8837 DC motor driver and a pair of hall effect sensors on the first PCB layer, with the magnetic encoder nestled tightly behind it. Pin headers at the edge of the PCB connect to a second PCB bearing the microcontroller, which is based on the cheap STM32L432. The second PCB also holds an associated LDO and debug LED. Together, this handful of parts provide all that is needed to read the encoder, control the motor rotation and listen on the ‘stepper motor driver’ interface pins hooked up to the motion controller upstream. The Arduino source for this can be found on the project GitHub.

        Whilst [Frank] mentions that this assembly has a weight and torque advantage over a NEMA 17 sized stepper motor, but we see no hard data on accuracy and repeatability which would be important for precise operations like 3D printing.

      • An OpenSCAD Library For All Your CNC Cutting Needs | Hackaday

        While there’s always the edge case, there’s a strong likelihood that if you’re using OpenSCAD, you’re probably working on a CAD model that you intend to 3D print at some point. Of course that’s not to say this is all you can do in OpenSCAD, but it’s arguably what it does best. If you wanted to make artistic models, or maybe render what your new kitchen will look like, there are other tools better suited to such tasks.

        But thanks to lasercut.scad, a library that [Brendan Sleight] has been working on for the last several years, we might have to reconsider our preconceived dimensional notions. Instead of designing parts for 3D printing, his library is all about creating parts intended for subtractive manufacturing. Originally (as the name implies) it was geared towards laser cutting, but the project has since evolved to support CNC routers, vinyl cutters, and pretty much anything else that can follow a DXF file.

      • An Astronomical Mechanical Clock, In More Ways Than One | Hackaday

        If the workings of a mechanical timepiece give you a thrill, prepare to be blown away by this over-the-top astronomical clock.

        The horological masterpiece, which was designed by [Mark Frank] as his “dream clock”, is a riot of brass, bronze, and steel — 1,200 pounds (544 kg) of it, in fact, at least in the raw materials pile. Work on the timepiece began in 2006, with a full-scale mockup executed in wood by Buchannan of Chelmsford, the Australian fabricator that [Mark] commissioned to make his design a reality. We have a hard time explaining the design, which has just about every horological trick incorporated into it.

        [Mark] describes the clock as “a four train, quarter striking movement with the fourth train driving the astronomical systems,” which sounds far simpler than the finished product is. It includes 52 “complications,” including a 400-year perpetual calendar, tide clock, solar and lunar eclipse prediction, a planisphere to show the constellations, and even a thermometer. And, as if those weren’t enough, the clock sports both a tellurion to keep track of the Sun-Earth-Moon system and a full orrery out to the orbit of Saturn, including all the major moons. The video below shows the only recently finished masterpiece in operation.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Spurred by Omicron, Europe Is Setting Coronavirus Infection Records Every Day

        Across Europe, records for new coronavirus infections are being set day after day, as the Omicron variant tears through populations with a swiftness outpacing anything witnessed over the past two years of the pandemic.

        Like the United States, which recorded a new high in daily cases on Tuesday, European nations are struggling against an onslaught of infections from a virus that shows no sign of going away. Driven, health officials suspect, by the Omicron variant, Britain, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy and Spain all set records for new daily case counts this week.


        “Delta and Omicron are now twin threats driving up cases to record numbers, leading to spikes in hospitalization and deaths,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the W.H.O.’s director general, said at a news conference in Geneva. “I am highly concerned that Omicron, being highly transmissible and spreading at the same time as Delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases.”

        In England and Northern Ireland on Wednesday, there were no P.C.R. test appointments available to book online, and around midday, many people reported that none were available to order online through the British government’s health services.

        Leyla Hannbeck, the chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, a British organization representing community pharmacies, said the uptick in cases and a recent shift on government guidelines around testing has led to a surge in demand for rapid lateral-flow tests.

        “We have people coming in every two to five minutes asking for lateral-flow testing,” she said. “And we don’t know when it’s going to arrive back in stock, and it’s completely out of our control.”

      • The doctor refused to treat my blood pressure, so I took matters into my own hands. Bonus: Insomnia, Depression, and COVID-19 – BaronHK’s Rants

        Coincidentally(?) it was after the second Coronavirus vaccine (Pfizer) and I don’t know if the two are related, but I’d never had it shoot that high before. On a bad day, I’d be in pre-hypertension and on most days it would be on the high end of normal. But in March I started having blood pressure running so high I could feel it in my eyeballs. When I checked, it was running at 147/99, and in about that range. Not good! But since you’re not going to have a stroke in the next five minutes, good luck getting any medical care in America.

        You can almost fill a book with things that doctors either don’t know or won’t tell you, so when I visited the doctor, I was told “No, we’re not putting you on meds and if you really want to get it down, go on a DASH diet and get rid of most of your dietary salt.”.

        So, obviously, I like to eat. Who doesn’t? But after three days using the American Heart Association’s slow cooker DASH diet, I could tell that there’s really no making up for salt in your cooking in a lot of places. You can reduce the salt, and honestly in many recipes you should seek out reduced sodium options such as reduced sodium chicken broth (the tetrapak, not the can!) or reduced sodium ketchup, or using coconut aminos instead of soy sauce (or if you can’t afford coconut aminos, at least use reduced sodium soy sauce), and obviously if the recipe calls for salt, you can use Morton Lite Salt (half potassium chloride and half sodium chloride) or just omit it entirely or use less if some other ingredients are really salty already.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Josh Bressers: Episode 304 – Will we ever fix all the vulnerabilities?

            Josh and Kurt talk about the question will we ever fix all the vulnerabilities? The question came from Reddit and is very reasonable, but it turns out this is REALLY hard to discuss. The answer is of course “no”, but why it is no is very complicated. Far more complicated than either of us thought it would be.

    • Monopolies

      • FOSS Patents: Did the Epic v. Apple judge invite litigation against both Apple and Epic Games over impulse purchasing, or did she suggest new legislation?

        With the first post of 2022, I’d like to follow up on one of last year’s most important court rulings: Epic Games v. Apple. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Epic’s opening brief on appeal is due later this month, and I strongly doubt that Epic can turn things around without a single-brand market definition. I’ll go into more detail on that part in the coming days, subject to whatever else will happen, such as a potential new round of Ericsson v. Apple patent infringement litigation.

        2021 was the year in which Apple turned out to be the (new) Evil Empire. Its abuse of market power was no secret in tech industry circles even five years ago, but for a long time Apple managed to play the media–until too much bad stuff came out, all the way up to Apple’s prioritization of lock-in over customer benefits, not least as a result of Epic v. Apple (though Epic underperformed in other respects). It’s not like consumers realize this to a degree that would impact Apple’s sales–also because the alternative would be Android, and it’s not like Google is that much better (though it is the lesser evil).

      • FOSS Patents: Opening brief due this month in Epic’s appeal of Apple’s antitrust win: not an insane long shot, but definitely an uphill battle after all that went wrong

        In a few weeks’ time, Epic Games will file its opening brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, trying to turn around a litigation in which Apple undoubtedly won the first round. I expect to focus very much on patent litigation in the coming weeks (there may already be some interesting filings targeting Apple tomorrow), but I would like to share some thoughts ahead of Epic’s brief, given the importance of that case to app developers like me.

        I’ve read the 185-page decision three times. The first time–right after it came down in September–I was thoroughly disappointed and suspected (but this view has changed!) the judge of simply hedging her bets for an appeal. By finding for Apple on almost all counts (especially on 100% of those that really mattered), while handing Epic a consolation prize under state competition law, she’s highly unlikely to be reversed across the board, as the appellate outcome will most likely be binary. Finding for Apple makes a reversal of the key parts much less likely than if she had sided with Epic, but even if it happened, it wouldn’t be as bad as if she had acquitted Apple 100%: she would just come across as having erred on the side of caution. Conversely, if the most important parts are affirmed and the appeals court determines that the state UCL part cannot fare better than the Sherman Act claims, it’s only a narrow (contrary to disinformation by some people) injunction that goes down the tubes.

        There was something she said early on–at the preliminary injunction stage–that suggested to me she was going to optimize the decision for the inevitable appeal. She wanted the parties to agree to a jury trial (which Apple was seeking on its counterclaims) rather than a bench trial, and she said that the appeals court doesn’t really afford much deference to factual findings by the lower courts. That was a clear allusion to FTC v. Qualcomm–and while Judge Lucy Koh decided in that case what she thought was right based on the evidence (by now she’s on the appeals court, which I’m very happy about), Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers (“YGR”) really would have preferred to let a jury decide, as appeals courts don’t overturn jury verdicts as easily as judicial findings.

      • European Commission publishes the evaluation results for the GI and TSG reform [Ed: Typical EC; it’s in the maximalists’ pockets, not the public interest]

        The evaluation is the penultimate step in the revision of the GI system in the EU. The idea to revise the GI rules was first expressed in the Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy in May 2020, and later included in the Commission’s Action Plan on Intellectual Property. According to the Action Plan, the revision aims at strengthening the protection system for agricultural products. In parallel, the European Commission is also considering whether to expand EU-wide GI protection to non-agricultural products [check a dedicated web-page with all the studies conducted by the Commission in this regard].

        As part of the preparatory analysis, the Commission undertook the evaluation of existing norms to see whether the EU’s GI policy had achieved its objectives. The evaluation covered the period from May 2008 (when the last evaluation was conducted) to the end of 2020. The analysis builds upon several sources of data, such as external economic studies and the public consultation recently conducted by the Commission (though the document acknowledges the low response rate of the public consultation).

        The EU GI system is evaluated on the basis of five criteria: relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, and EU-added value. Expectedly, the evaluation concludes that the EU GI system fulfils all these five criteria (though certain improvements are suggested).

      • Functional designs in EU law post-Doceram: harmonisation still missing

        Under art. 7 (1) of Directive 98/71/EC (and equivalent art. 8(1) of Regulation 6/2002), “a design right shall not subsist in features of appearance of a product which are solely dictated by its technical function.” Recital 14 of the Directive (often relied upon by the Court of Justice) further explains that technological innovation should not be hampered by granting design protection to features dictated solely by a technical function. The most problematic part of this principle is knowing which feature shall be considered as “solely dictated by a technical function”.

        Various EU Member States have had a similar provision in their national legislation well before Directive 98/71/EC was enacted. In that context, two approaches to the principle were developed: the “multiplicity of forms” theory and the “causality (or causative)” theory.

        Under the “multiplicity of forms” theory, if the technical function can be achieved through the use of another, alternative form, the choice of a particular feature of the design was not determined solely by its technical function. As explained by the Advocate General in C-395/16, the “range of [alternative] forms shows that in such a case the product’s designer was not constrained by the function, but was free to opt for any one of those forms when developing the design”.

      • Patents

        • Patent applications for air taxis up ‘significantly’ in Germany: trademark office [Ed: Same people don't even have a home, but patent maximalists pursue vastly less energy-efficient means of travel]

          The number of patents granted in Germany for inventions related to urban air mobility increased significantly in 2020, the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) said on Wednesday.

          Including filings with the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), 583 patents were published for air taxis in Germany, 29 percent more than in 2019, the DPMA said.

        • Kringle Pharma : Strengthens IP Portfolio with the Formulation Patent in Europe.

          Kringle Pharma, Inc. (Head office located in Ibaraki, Osaka; President & CEO, Kiichi Adachi; “KRINGLE”), a late clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, today announces that the European Patent Office has issued patent No. EP3192524, entitled “HGF PREPARATION SUITABLE FOR TREATMENT OF NERVOUS DESEASES”. This patent covers proprietary formulations of drug product containing recombinant human hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). A drug product based on the patented formulation has been used in the ongoing clinical studies including Phase 3 in acute spinal cord injury and Phase 2 in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Besides, Phase 1/2 study in vocal fold scar was successfully completed with the same investigational drug to be administered locally in the vocal cords (Hirano et al., J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2018; 12(4):1031-1038). Therefore, the patented drug formulation can be utilized not only for neuronal diseases but also other incurable diseases such as vocal fold scar, being the basis of expanding the target indications for HGF treatment. This patent was already granted in the U.S., Japan, Canada and Korea, further strengthening the Kringle’s intellectual property position globally.

        • Alpek Polyester, S.A. v. Polymetrix AG (Fed. Cir. 2021)

          While the Federal Circuit has patent law as its principal focus, as a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, questions come before the Court on more mundane, procedural matters (which, sometimes being dispositive, does not reduce their importance to the parties and occasionally the rest of us). One such case was decided on December 16th in Alpek Polyester, S.A. v. Polymetrix AG (complicated, as should be evident from the caption, by involving non-US. parties and having putatively infringing activities arising both here and abroad).

          The case arose over Polymetrix’s asserted infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,790,840, 7,868,125, and 7,192,545 owned by Alpek (a Mexican company) and exclusively licensed to co-Plaintiff DAK Americas LLC (a U.S. company), the patent claim being directed to methods for producing polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resins; because the matters on appeal were exclusively procedural there was no need in the opinion (or here) to delve into the scope of the claims any further. Defendant Polymetrix is a Swiss company in the business of supplying equipment and engineering services for constructing plants for making PET resin (while not making the resin itself, i.e., it provides the means but not the product and thus did not itself practice the claimed methods).


          Regarding Alpek’s second argument, the Federal Circuit did not see any genuine issue of material fact on the evidence, which the Court considered to be supported only with “a conclusory assertion by [Alpek's] expert.” According to the opinion, the “overwhelming majority of the evidence” supported a finding that AlphaPet was not the source of the data relied upon by Polymetrix with regard to the performance of the Polish plant (including agreement with the District Court that Alpek blundered when it asserted that this data “match[ed] up almost exactly,” the opinion stating that “If the AlphaPet test results were really the source of the data for Polymetrix’s report, we can discern no reason why the two sets of data would not match up exactly” (emphases in opinion).

          As for Alpek’s third argument, the Federal Circuit agreed with the District Court that the details of Swedish contract law, asserted to support Alpek’s contention that under that law Polymetrix was responsible for the activities in the Polish plant, were “inapposite.” “As a matter of American law,” according to the opinion, ‘the mere fact that Polymetrix owned the plant equipment is wholly insufficient for Alpek to meet its burden of proving that Polymetrix took active steps to induce IVP to infringe,” citing MGM Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., 545 U.S. 913, 935–36 (2005), in support for this principle.

          Finally, the Court rejected Alpek’s fourth argument, based in part on the breadth of the District Court’s discretion on discovery matters and enforcement of the Civil Procedure rules. The Federal Circuit saw none of the surprise or prejudice the Rule was intended to prevent, in view of the “more than 1,000 documents produced during discovery” bearing the witness’s name.

        • Patent case: Biogen International GmbH v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., USA

          A person of ordinary skill in the art could not determine the effective dose of the active ingredient in Tecfidera from the original patent specification.

          A West Virginia federal district court’s decision that certain claims of a Biogen patent directed to the multiple sclerosis treatment drug Tecfidera were invalid for lack of written description support was not clearly erroneous, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has held. The original specification did not give a person of ordinary skill in the art any reason to believe that the particular dosage of dimethyl fumarate claimed was effective. Circuit Judge O’Malley filed a dissenting opinion (Biogen International GmbH v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., November 30, 2021, Reyna, J.).

        • EXACT Therapeutics AS Announces Allowance of Patent Application in Europe for Acoustic Cluster Therapy (ACT®) [Ed: Are they aware of the demise of patent legitimacy at the EPO? Does this really merit a press release?]

          Christmas came early at EXACT Therapeutics AS (“EXACT-Tx”, or “the Company” Euronext Growth: EXTX) as the clinical-stage precision health company developing the proprietary ultrasound-mediated drug delivery platform Acoustic Cluster Therapy (ACT®) for use across multiple diseases, announces today that allowability has been found for its patent application in Europe (publication no. EP3049117) for its innovative Acoustic Cluster Therapy® technology.

        • Major German FRAND decision; BlackBerry patent sale latest; Avanci and Daimler agree licensing deal; most read stories of 2021; reviews of the year; plus much more [Ed: IAM claims “leap forward on the UPC”, but it is still illegal, unconstitutional, and basically stuck]

          New German legislation, a leap forward on the UPC and important SEP-related initiatives from the UK and the Commission were among the patent highlights of 2021 in Europe.

        • FOSS Patents: InterDigital’s German patent litigation campaign against OPPO: two cases filed in Munich, one in Mannheim

          This is a quick follow-up to Monday’s post on InterDigital v. OPPO:

          I have been able to obtain the basic information that InterDigital has filed two complaints with the Landgericht München I (Munich I Regional Court) and one with the Landgericht Mannheim (Mannheim Regional Court). It is, however, difficult to obtain further information right now. In principle, the courts are operational, but many judges and their staff are on vacation. Also, I have not been able to find out more about InterDigital’s filings in the UK and India yet.

          InterDigital won a landmark anti-anti-anti-antisuit injunction (“A4SI”) in Munich against Xiaomi earlier this year. Munich is now the #1 patent enforcement venue outside the United States, particularly when it comes to cases in which smartphones and connected vehicles are the accused products. The only potential risk factor is the appointment of a “dark horse” in the patent infringement context, Judge Lars Meinhardt, who will preside over the Munich appeals court’s patent-specialized senate.

          Mannheim continues to be very popular as well, as InterDigital’s new complaint there shows–and from time to time there are interesting developments in Dusseldorf, such as a recent decision relating to standard-essential patent pools in favor of a defendant-counterclaimant (Turkish electronics maker Vestel) that I have yet to obtain a copy of so I can analyze and comment on it.

        • Supreme Court and Judicial Conference Considering Judge Albright’s Problematic Patent Court [Ed: When patent courts become for-profit businesses favouring those who abuse them]

          The following comes from Chief Justice John Roberts’ end-of-year Report on the Federal Judiciary for 2021.

        • Forward Pharma granted Australian patent linked to multiple sclerosis therapy [Ed: And maybe bogus patents again [1, 2]
        • Most Cited Supreme Court Patent Cases Since 1952

          Lots of the new learning in patent law over the past decade has focused on patent eligibility. But, none of the eligibility cases (new or old) show up in my list of the most cited Supreme Court cases.

        • Update on Supreme Court Patent Cases: Fact Law Divide

          Olaf Sööt Design’s pending petition for certiorari centers on the age-old division between issues-of-fact and issues-of-law. The U.S. Constitution generally requires due process, and particularly protects litigants’ rights to a jury trial in common law cases. One quirk–the right to a trial by jury does not cover issues-of-law, and only extends to some issues-of-fact.

        • Demystifying the scope of amendments in patent claims – Indian jurisdiction | Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan Attorneys [Ed: India has very little to gain from patents]

          Amendments to a patent application form an essential element in demarcating the scope of inventions. In India, claim amendments are governed by Sections 57 to 59 of the Patents Act, 1970 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Act’).

          This article provides a comprehensive guide on the scope of claim amendments allowed in the Indian Patent regime. It focuses on the relevant aspects which must be kept in mind when applicants/patentees wish to file claim amendments. The article also highlights the trends at the Indian Patent Office (IPO) in examining the claim amendments.

        • PTAB Sets Motions and Times in CVC vs. Sigma Interference No. 106,132 [Ed: PTAB is trying to do the right thing, but persistent lobbying and provocation by "Big Business" prevents patent courts from doing their job smoothly]

          Following a telephone conference held on August 16th (a transcript of which can be found here) between the Board and representatives of Junior Party the University of California/Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively, “CVC”) and Senior Party Sigma-Aldrich, the Board issued its Order on September 20th authorizing motions and setting times under 37 C.F.R. §§ 104(c) and 121.

          As it had in its Order setting motions and times in related Interference No. 106,133 between Sigma-Aldrich and Junior Party the Broad Institute, Harvard University, and MIT, the Order begins with the Board’s rejection of any of these motions being “threshold” motions (as the parties had argued), stating that “[p]atentability over the prior art is not now, and never has been, a ‘threshold issue.’” Further, the Board stated that “a holding during the course of interference that a party’s claims are unpatentable over prior art does not necessarily deprive that party of standing on the central issue of an interference—priority,” citing 37 C.F.R. § 41.201, noting that a party in an interference having claims deemed unpatentable “may still have a basis to show the opponent is not entitled to a patent because the opponent was not the first to invent the interfering subject matter.” This raises the possibility that the outcome of an interference may be that neither party is entitled to a patent on claims falling within the scope of the Interference Count.

        • Quest Diagnostics Investments LLC v. Hirshfeld (Fed. Cir. 2021)

          Earlier today, the Federal Circuit affirmed the final determination by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board finding claims 1, 2, and 4-14 of U.S. Patent No. 8,409,862 unpatentable as either anticipated or obvious.

          The ’862 patent is directed to using mass spectrometry to detect low levels of testosterone in female humans. The ’862 patent explains that while testosterone levels are much lower in females as compared to males, testosterone can be purified prior to mass spectrometry, which can improve the limit of detection. Claims 8 and 9, which were relevant to the appeal, require the detection of testosterone at concentrations of less than 5 ng/dL or less than 1 ng/dL in the sample, respectively.


          With regard to the Board’s finding of obviousness with respect to claims 8 and 9, Quest argued that there was no motivation to modify Clarke to increase sensitivity, that there was no reasonable expectation of success in doing so, and that there was a documented failure of others. The Federal Circuit first found that substantial evidence supported the Board’s conclusion that there was a motivation to improve the sensitivity of methods measuring testosterone. Quest had specifically argued that 5 ng/dL and 1 ng/dL of testosterone are below the clinically relevant range of testosterone, but the Court was unpersuaded that this would have discouraged the development of more sensitive methods. The Court next found that substantial evidence supported the Board’s finding that a skilled artisan would have had a reasonable expectation of success of achieving a lower level of detection, noting that the Board had recognized a number of parameters, including increasing the sample volume, that a skilled artisan could have modified to reach 5 ng/dL or 1 ng/dL detection. Finally, the Court was unpersuaded by Quest’s argument that Kushnir et al., 52(1) CLIN. CHEM. 120–28 (2006), demonstrated a failure of others to reach detection levels of 5 ng/dL or 1 ng/dL without derivatizing testosterone. “Given the deferential standard of review, as well as the differences in Kushnir’s detection method relative to the claims at issue,” the Board “decline[d] to say that the Board erred in determining that Kushnir fails to establish nonobviousness.” The Federal Circuit therefore found that substantial evidence supported the facts underlying the Board’s conclusion that claims 8 and 9 would have been obvious in view of Clarke.

          Finding that substantial evidence supported both of the Board’s findings that were challenged by Quest, the Federal Circuit affirmed the Board’s finding that claims 1, 2, and 4–14 of the ’862 patent were unpatentable as either obvious or anticipated.

        • PTAB Sets Motions and Times in Broad vs. Sigma Interference No. 106,133

          Following a telephone conference held on August 16th (a transcript of which can be found here) between the Board and representatives of Junior Party the Broad Institute, Harvard University, and MIT (collectively, Broad) and Senior Party Sigma-Aldrich, the Board issued its Order on September 20th authorizing motions and setting times under 37 C.F.R. §§ 104(c) and 121.

          The Order begins with the Board’s rejection of any of these motions being “threshold” motions (as the parties had argued), stating that “[p]atentability over the prior art is not now, and never has been, a ‘threshold issue.’” Further, the Board stated that “a holding during the course of interference that a party’s claims are unpatentable over prior art does not necessarily deprive that party of standing on the central issue of an interference—priority,” citing 37 C.F.R. § 41.201, noting that a party in an interference having claims deemed unpatentable “may still have a basis to show the opponent is not entitled to a patent because the opponent was not the first to invent the interfering subject matter.” This raises the possibility that the outcome of an interference may be that neither party is entitled to a patent on claims falling within the scope of the Interference Count.

        • Intellectual property in a post-pandemic future part I – The world has become more IP-intensive [Ed: Way to say that more and more stuff is being monopolised with help from aggressive lawyers such as this firm’s]
        • FOSS Patents: Anti-judge-shopping initiative by Judicial Conference may spur internationalization of patent enforcement, further concentration of NPEs and litigation funders

          There undeniably is a problem to be solved when one United States District Judge–Judge Alan Albright–gets about 20% of all U.S. patent infringement complaints. With the greatest respect for his admittedly tremendous expertise in patent litigation and his ability to work both smart and hard, it’s mind-boggling when you consider that there are roundabout 700 U.S. district judgeships, and every district judge can hear patent cases (unlike in jurisdictions where patent complaints may be brought only before specialized divisions of particular courts).

          Apart from his reluctance to transfer cases out of his district (and his division, unless he gets to preside over them anyway), and some other positions that patentees love him for, he may actually be much more balanced than people think. For example, he has recently invalidated patents on Alice abstraction (§ 101) grounds in a Facebook case and some other case. There was a fracking case last year in which I acknowledged he had a point. I listened in to a VLSI v. Intel trial, at the end of which Intel was cleared of infringement last summer, and saw no indication of pro-patentee bias. Let’s put it this way: I keep watching developments in that district, but I try hard not to be intellectually dishonest when I voice criticism.

        • Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Corcept Therapeutics, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2021)

          There are some cases where the Federal Circuit makes its decision based on the eternal verities of patent law (insofar as there are any eternal verities in patent law). One such decision arose earlier this month when the Federal Circuit affirmed a determination of non-obviousness by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in an inter partes review proceeding, that opinion captioned Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. v. Corcept Therapeutics, Inc.

          The case arose incident to ANDA litigation between the parties involving Corcept’s Korlym product comprising the active pharmaceutical ingredient mifepristone for treating Cushing’s Syndrome. The drug had been recognized since the 1980′s as an antiprogestin compound, but its relevant effect in vivo turned out to be as a glucocorticoid reception antagonist, which suggested its use against Cushing’s (which was known to be caused by excessive levels of cortisol). Corcept obtained FDA approval for the drug contingent on its performance of a post-marketing study under the provisions of 21 U.S.C. § 355(o)(3), one of which was to conduct “[a] drug-drug interaction clinical trial to determine a quantitative estimate of the change in exposure of mifepristone following co-administration of ketoconazole (a strong CYP3A4 inhibitor).” The agency provided a description of the basis for this study, which included information such as ignorance in the art regarding the “degree of change” in exposure to mifepristone in the presence of drugs like ketoconazole and the potential safety risk that could arise. Important to the issues before the Court was Korlym’s approved label, which recommended a starting dose of 300 mg/day that could be increased in increments to 1200 mg/day, and a caveat that administration of the drug should be limited to 300 ng/day in the presence of strong CYP3A inhibitors.

        • UK: The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) [Ed: Globalisation of patent monopolies]

          The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international agreement under the Paris Convention to promote international cooperation in the field of patents. The PCT is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and has over 150 member states around the world. A PCT application is not an ‘international patent’ application as such, but it allows applicants to file a single patent application and seek protection in any of the member states. The PCT system does not grant patents of its own authority, however. After an initial search and examination procedure, the application is passed to the national offices of the member states in which protection is sought, where it is treated as a national application in that member state and fully examined, leading to potential grant.

          The PCT procedure can be split into two phases – the International Phase, and the National Phase. The International Phase begins with the filing of the PCT application and ends at the beginning of the National Phase when the application is passed to the national offices of each member state in which patent protection is required.

          The key milestones in the PCT application procedure are: Filing, International Search, International Publication, Supplementary International Search (optional), International Preliminary Examination (optional), and National Phase Entry.

        • Brexit Checklist for Technology & Communications Businesses

          Patents will to a great extent continue as before – patents covering the UK will continue to be granted both by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) and the European Patent Office (EPO). Applications for patents can be filed directly with the UKIPO or EPO, or can be made pursuant to an international patent application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty. Neither the UKIPO, nor the EPO, is an EU institution and their operation will be unaffected by Brexit.

        • Associate Spotlight With Dirk Kromm – Intellectual Property – Luxembourg [Ed: More spammy puff pieces disguised as "news"; this is what WWW became]
        • Beauty patents 2021: Smart devices, next-gen CBD actives and naturals [Ed: Patent monopolies won't leave anything alone]

          This year saw a raft of patent filings from industry heavyweights, including L’Oréal, Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive and Estée Lauder. Here, CosmeticsDesign-Europe rounds up our coverage of this year’s patent-worthy innovations.
          A deep dive into the international patent filings of the beauty and personal care world certainly provides a nod to what’s ahead, revealing research and development priorities and signalling categories and trends set to flourish.

          In this round-up piece, CosmeticsDesign-Europe looks back at our coverage on patents filed in 2021, and highlights some key areas industry is investing time and science in.

        • Software Patents

          • Webinar on Patentability of User Interfaces [Ed: Software patents being pushed in Europe by J A Kemp, which also promotes patents on life and nature]

            J A Kemp will be offering a webinar entitled “User Interfaces — What Can You Patent?” on January 25, 2022 from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm (GMT). Dominic Forsthye and Callum Docherty of J A Kemp will look at the EPO’s approach to excluded matter as applied to user interfaces, using examples from case law to try to make sense of what can and cannot be patented at the EPO, and will discuss practical tips for drafting and prosecuting UI applications at the EPO to increase chances of success. The webinar will address the following topics…

          • Computer-Implemented Simulations: Patentable in Europe? [Ed: They are not patentable, but corrupt EPO management lets people break the law for the sake of profit (at law’s expense)]

            Patents are granted at the European Patent Office (EPO) for inventions in all fields of technology, provided that they are new, involve an inventive step and are susceptible of industrial application, Art. 52(1) EPC.

            Patents are in particular not granted for claims that relate to mathematical methods, methods for performing mental acts or programs for computers (software) if claimed as such, Art. 52(2) and (3) EPC. However, many fields of commercial interest rely on computer simulations, i.e. on mathematical models imitating real-world processes being implemented via software code on computers. For example, in the automotive field, computer simulations may help to provide models for engines, powertrains or whole automobiles. In the field of e-commerce, simulation of clothing, glasses or even cosmetics on a user’s avatar (“virtual try-on”) has become subject to a considerable number of patent applications world-wide and in particular at the EPO.

      • Trademarks

        • How long is too long? The James Bond theme [Ed: This speaks of the Fifth Board of Appeal (BoA) of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Those Boards are rigged.]

          In light of the release of the latest movie in the series, Merpel wonders whether the James Bond theme is too long to be registered as a sound mark. This question was addressed in a decision issued early this year by the Fifth Board of Appeal (BoA) of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).


          Danjaq further referred to the third draft of the CP11 (released in June 2020) that observed that “as sounds are increasingly being used in trade as part of a branding strategy, consumers are also more likely to perceive them as indications of commercial origin”. [The quoted wording is included in the final version of the CP11].

          In addition, the applicant maintained that for the analysis of the consumer perception, the CP11 groups sound marks in the following categories: 1) sounds produced by or connected to the goods or services; 2) notes, combination of notes, tunes or melodies; and 3) sounds which are the audible equivalent of verbal elements. [The categories are also included in the final version of the CP11].

          The applicant argued that the sign at issue fell under the second category because it is “a sequence of notes and thus, a melody or tune … [.] It has no direct relation to the goods and thus, there is no reason which would make it difficult to perceive the sound mark as badge of commercial origin … [and in consequence, n]o higher threshold is justified in the context of Article 7(1)(b) EUTMR”.


          The BoA’s decision is in line with the CP11 Common Practice on the required degree of distinctiveness of sound marks, as the sign at issue (a melody) has a resonance and is capable of being perceived by the relevant public as an indication of commercial origin.

          The CP11 results from consultations and contributions from different stakeholders, including “the collaboration of the working group, composed of experts from national IP offices of the EU, the EUIPO and user associations”. It aims to serve as a reference document for Intellectual Property Offices and users alike, increasing the legal certainty by providing guidance on the examination of formal requirements and grounds for refusal of new types of trademarks (sound, motion, multimedia, and hologram marks) in light of the EU Trademark Reform that eliminated the requirement of the graphical representation.

        • Caffeine headache for Monster as General Court holds no genuine use on Class 30 goods

          On 3rd November 2010, Monster applied to register MONSTER as an EU trade mark for “Coffee based beverages and coffee based beverages containing milk in Class 30” and “Non-alcoholic beverages, namely energy drinks and energy drinks flavoured with coffee, all enhanced with vitamins, minerals, nutrients, amino acids and/or herbs in Class 32”.

          On 5th November 2010, Monster filed another application, to register MONSTER ENERGY as an EU trade mark for “Coffee based beverages and coffee based beverages containing milk in Class 30”. Both marks registered on 19th April 2011.

          On 25th April 2017, Frito-Lay applied to revoke both of Monster’s registrations on the ground that the marks had not been put to genuine use within a continuous period of five years. The applications for revocation concerned all the goods in Class 30 (‘the contested goods’). As such, Frito-Lay sought partial revocation of the MONSTER registration and full revocation of the MONSTER ENERGY registration.

          On 2nd and 23rd October 2019, the EU IPO’s Cancellation Division revoked the marks in respect of the contested goods, finding that use of the marks had only been proven in respect of energy drinks. Monster appealed, but on 5th October 2020, the BoA dismissed both appeals.

          The BoA held that: (1) it was necessary to distinguish between ‘coffee based beverages’ in Class 30 and ‘energy drinks’ in Class 32; (2) the ingredients of the ‘x-presso monster’ goods (which were the goods referred to in Monster’s evidence) had the same characteristics as ‘energy drinks’; (3) the real function or purpose of the ‘x-presso monster’ goods was to serve as ‘energy drinks’; and (4) the MONSTER ENERGY mark had not been used on the ‘x-presso monster’ goods.


          This case demonstrates that the Nice Agreement is not just an administrative tool, but that it can also play an important role in guiding the court’s assessment regarding non-use. Whilst Monster’s goods contained coffee, this was simply not enough to constitute genuine use of Class 30. Also interesting is the detail in which both the BoA and GC were prepared to scrutinise the properties of the relevant goods to circumvent Monster’s arguments.

          Lastly, this case re-emphasises the importance of using a trade mark as registered. To paraphrase the iconic television police detective, Columbo, “that is where Monster made its mistake.”

        • Brands changing TMs to aid vaccination can limit risk if careful [Ed: People are dying, and the lawyers worry about their trademarks and stuff...]

          Lawyers say German brands that have tweaked their slogans as part of a COVID vaccination drive are demonstrating the distinctiveness of their marks

        • Year in Review: Trademark Trends, Filings & Cases of 2021 – Part II

          The impacts of the pandemic have been far-reaching and trademarks have not been immune. Despite reporting an initial dip in filings early this year, the World Intellectual Property Organization revealed in November that that the COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped companies – including those in the fashion, sportswear, and luxury industries – from offering up new goods and services, and seeking out corresponding trademark registrations (and creating new trademark trends) along the way. Growth in the number of filings amid the pandemic “shows how enterprises across the globe have brought new products and services to the market,” WIPO Director General Daren Tang said last month, noting that “enterprises are finding opportunities to reach customers in new ways and open up new markets.”

        • TTABlog Test: Are Hockey Sticks Related to Sports Gloves Under Section 2(d)?

          The USPTO refused to register the mark KINETIXX for “hockey sticks, hockey stick shafts and hockey stick blades,” finding confusion likely with the mark shown below, registered for “Baseball gloves, batting gloves, bowling gloves, boxing gloves, fencing gloves, field hockey gloves, football gloves, archery gloves, golf gloves, goalkeepers gloves, weight lifting gloves, windsurfing gloves, workout gloves.” Applicant contended that the registrant ‘made a conscious decision to not list hockey gloves as part of its goods,” and furthermore that the cited mark is distinguishable because of the dominant red X. How do you think this came out? In re Kinetixx Golf, LLC, Serial No. 87671054 (December 15, 2021) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Peter W. Cataldo).


          Applicant argued that this case is similar to In re Covalinski, 113 USPQ2d 1166 (TTAB 2014) (holding confusion unlikely between REDNECK RACEGIRL and design of large, double-letter RR configuration and registered mark RACEGIRL, even when used on in part identical goods) and In re White Rock Distilleries Inc., 92 USPQ2d 1282 (TTAB 2009) (holding VOLTA for vodka infused with caffeine, and TERZA VOLTA and vine shoot design for wines, not likely to cause confusion).

        • Ford Files Trademarks For Escort And Other Classic Car Names In Europe And Australia

          Ford has shown an interest in the names of several of its classic cars as evidenced by a selection of recent trademark applications. The company appears to be thinking of using the names Capri, Cortina, Granada, Orion, and Escort once again.
          The names, inspired by classic Ford vehicles, have been filed with the trademark offices in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, as first reported by Ford Authority. All are for “land motor vehicles and parts and accessories therefor,” and all were filed for on December 23, 2021, with the European patent and trademark office.


          “There’s a lot of stuff coming from China which is very competitive, and the Koreans are already very competitive with beautiful designs and strong technology, so the question for manufacturers like Ford is ‘how do you position yourself?’,” said Murat Gueler, Ford’s European design chief, in September. “I think we have the unique asset of having nameplates from the past that we can tap into to emotionalize our product and to tell stories no other brand can tell.”

          Since the Mustang Mach-E did so well, the company may look to mine its familiar past to ease customers into its newfangled EVs. That said, the use of classic names appears not to be limited to electric vehicles at Ford.

        • EU enforcement of IPRs: the DG TAXUD and EUIPO’s joint report [Ed: EU and EUIPO propaganda in “report” clothing; meanwhile the EUIPO acts as a bribery hub]

          The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) recently released the first joint annual report on EU enforcement of intellectual property rights: results at the EU border and in the EU internal market 2020.


          ection 6 of the report includes information on overall detentions, meaning only detained and not released items. As such, it is emphasized that the data in this section is not simply the sum of the relevant data contained in sections 4 and 5. This is because “fake goods detained at the EU border but later released are not recorded in the IP Enforcement Portal and, therefore, do not appear in the overall results analysed in this section”.

          As such, section 6 was produced based on a subset of COPIS data uploaded into the IPEP (i.e., information on detentions at the EU border), as well as the data used in section 5 (i.e., detentions in the EU internal market reported in the IPEP).


          Overall, the report provides valuable insights into the enforcement of IPRs both at the EU border and in the EU internal market, which will be beneficial when developing countermeasures and implementing policies in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.

          The full report of the EU enforcement of intellectual property rights: results at the EU border and in the EU internal market 2020 (90 pages) is available here.

      • Copyrights

        • Charles Dickens as copyright content influencer: how the turkey became the holiday bird of choice – The IPKat

          A recent podcast of the BBC’s “In Our Times” program, well-timed for the holiday season, discussed the iconic novel by Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol.” The podcast reminded the extent to which this novel, with its focus on London, served as a major influencer in refashioning the Christmas celebration, as England was being transformed from a rural into an urban society.

          We will consider one aspect of Dickens-as-Christmas celebration influencer, namely, the rise of the turkey as the preferred center of the holiday feast. Before doing so, however, let us consider the circumstances surrounding the novel and its distribution.

          The book sold approximately 6,000 copies upon its initial publication in 1843. Such sales figures might have provided Dickens with well-appreciated income, as his economic fortunes had been in decline since his initial success in the 1830′s, and his family was expanding.

          However, the publishers, Chapman and Hall, had embellished the text not only with lush illustrations but with an ornate cover, in addition to including physical niceties, such as gilt edges and expensive binding, driving up the costs and materially cutting into the book’s profits (of which Dickens was entitled to a percentage). Subsequent print runs yielded only marginally additional income.


          Dicken’s most lasting concrete influence in refashioning the Christmas tradition. In his time, the goose was the preferred, indeed, main accessible bird to adorn the holiday table, here. The more expensive turkey was the purview of the elite, and the bird was not connected with Christmas. Then came Dickens.

        • Why NFT IP violations are rampant and what to do about them [Ed: A bunch of scams and fictional values assigned to nonsense; NFT usually alludes to copyright here, not "IP"]

          Counsel say infringements on NFT platforms often go undetected, and rights owners must resort to traditional enforcement in the absence of marketplace regulations

My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part IX — Hard Reckonings: The Nine Circles of E-Waste

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Hardware at 5:30 pm by Guest Editorial Team

By Dr. Andy Farnell

Series parts:

  1. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part I — 2021 in Review
  2. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part II — Impact of a ‘COVID Year’
  3. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part III — Lost and Found; Losing the Mobile Phone (Cellphone)
  4. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part IV — Science or Scientism?
  5. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part V — Change in Societal Norms and Attitudes
  6. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part VI — The Right Words
  7. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part VII — Staying the Course and Fake It Till You Make It?
  8. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part VIII — Who Teaches the Teachers?
  9. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Hard Reckonings: The Nine Circles of E-Waste

Penguins pair

Summary: Dr. Andy Farnell shares his knowledge of the great extent to which technology pollutes and ruins this planet, the only inhabitable planet, especially when overused (or used rather poorly, recklessly, lavishly, excessively, exceedingly, sparingly, selfishly for the sake of class vanity/voyeurism)

The problem of e-waste came into full focus for me in 2021. Prior to writing Digital Vegan I had not seen any connection between my fervour for technology and effects on the planet. I assumed that computer hardware I throw away creates a negligible environmental impact and that most of it is successfully recycled. In fact Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is a significant problem. Two neighbouring issues are the real costs of production of electronics and the energy costs of running them.

“I found it horribly disappointing to face these facts, as like most computer scientists I’ve basked in the narrative that “at least digital technology is helping save the planet”.”In this article I don’t want to go too much into the extraordinary statistics around the subject. Please follow the links and read the books. However, in short, digital life is “costing us the Earth”. It’s at a scale comparable with global transport, fossil fuel burning and forest erosion. It’s one of the “Big Factors”. Each year we throw away billions of gadgets creating hundreds of millions of tons of waste and the consequences are alarming.

I found it horribly disappointing to face these facts, as like most computer scientists I’ve basked in the narrative that “at least digital technology is helping save the planet”. Surely communications stops unnecessary travel? Surely the efficiencies enabled by digital management reduce carbon overall? We are the good guys right? In a crude mechanical world that runs on oil, are we not beings of electricity and light, spotless pioneers of the meta world? Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Digital is physical. Every byte is supported by an atom. Every digital action costs the Earth energy.” – Gerry McGovernWorld Wide Waste 2021

Pondering this made me realise, the intersection of capitalism and digital technology can only be described as nine circles of an inferno, each interlocks with and confounds the others.

Circle One: Demand.

In the outer ring we have the totally unnecessary demand created by advertising, social configuration and addiction. These are predominantly the topics I deal with in Digital Vegan. Peer pressure to have “up to date” devices creates “techno-vanity”. Over-complex and poor quality web and “app” technology ensures a bariatric bloat of obscenely inefficient software that in turn fuels demand for more powerful hardware. The relationship between the software and hardware sides of BigTech is a closed feeding loop. Carriers encourage phone subscribers to dump perfectly good handsets during Black Friday and Cyber Monday orgies of consumption. We simply buy way too much stuff and extract only a fraction of is value before disposing of it.

Circle Two: Materials

Some of my research this year has been directed toward understanding the origins of material components of digital tech. This is circle two. Rare-earth elements are, eponymously, in rather short supply. Their mining and supply is the cause of wars, displacements, massacres, corruption and shady geopolitical machinations. Some are dubbed “conflict minerals” and their supply is officially regulated, but as you would expect, given extraordinary demand, regulation is weak and corruption common. Politically, the road-map for their exhaustion is ugly beyond imagination, and probably includes new wars for mineral rights in Africa and Antarctica.

Circle Three: Manufacture

Beyond raw materials let’s consider the manufacturing cost of electronic goods. There are three substantial problems afoot. The first is pure energy costs. By the time something as tiny as an iPhone is made it’s consumed a quarter gigajoule of raw energy, in silicon wafer processing, aluminium smelting, copper extraction and so forth. In terms of CO2 produced, it’s about 25kg, but the process also requires ten thousand litres of processed cooling water! That’s an extraordinary hidden cost in a world where clean drinking water is in short supply for some people. That 25kg is only what is required to create the device, before any logistics of getting it to you.

“The notorious Foxconn factory is likely only the most visible face of what are essentially slave labour camps in India, China and elsewhere.”The second issue here is global markets. We neither produce nor dispose of electronics close to its use point. If it’s shipped from China and flows through the typical supply lines of BigBox warehouses such as Amazon or Walmart, it accrues a further 25kg of carbon dioxide emissions.

The third issue is labour relations. The notorious Foxconn factory is likely only the most visible face of what are essentially slave labour camps in India, China and elsewhere. Mostly female workers, many underage, eat rotting food, live, sleep and work in dangerous conditions, experience physical abuse and sexual molestation, and are on permanent suicide-watch. We all seem quite happy that this is the price of our cheap iThings.

Circle Four: Operation

A factor that shocked me is the overall operating costs of digital, in terms of the networks and data-centres, microwave links, air-conditioning, and so forth. Using a phone for one hour per day consumes 1250kg of carbon dioxide in a year, or the equivalent of flying from Paris to New York. That’s before we even think about the colossal storage facilities and cloud services of Google, Amazon, and Microsoft in the civilian sector, and the gargantuan data centres intelligence agencies like the NSA are building for “Total Information Awareness”. Even if you accepted the ideological basis of the surveillance state, a valid objection would stand on environmental grounds alone, as the “collect it all and keep forever” mentality is unsustainable even in the short term.

Circle Five: Maintenance

I also spent time looking at the life-cycle of computers. Can they be reused, repaired, upgraded, side-graded, re-homed or repurposed? What happens when we decommission them? Can they be broken apart to reuse modules? What happens to the scrap steel, aluminium, and the waste electronics containing thousands of valuable, toxic or otherwise dangerous compounds? The sensible thing is to keep them operating as long as possible. We should look after digital gadgets.

“One problem with maintenance is knowledge. Simple skills like changing a battery or soldering a broken connector are vanishing from the world. Concomitant with spreading ignorance is changing attitudes, as Western “consumers” consider it beneath them to turn a screwdriver.”I am a big fan, and occasional contributor to cheapskates guide, a remarkable web resource that champions reuse and care for digital electronics. The author also spends time researching, testing Linux and other operating systems on old hardware, and exploring more human-centred approaches to digital lifestyle.

One problem with maintenance is knowledge. Simple skills like changing a battery or soldering a broken connector are vanishing from the world. Concomitant with spreading ignorance is changing attitudes, as Western “consumers” consider it beneath them to turn a screwdriver.

Other reasons people baulk at maintaining older equipment include space. Bulky computers seem a luxury in the ever diminishing urban living-spaces. A good reason to scrap older gear is that it’s much less power-efficient, so replacing an old tower computer with a Raspberry Pi might save a lot of electricity overall. Digital rights sometimes conflict with environmental concerns, for example if hard-drives with plenty of remaining service life are shredded for data protection reasons.

Circle Six: Growth

Generally, all-factors-growth in technology continues at between 5 and 7 percent annually. Half of the world owns at least one active smartphone or network connected device. The average Chinese person has three. That means we still have potentially 3.5 billion more people who might want to get connected, and an exploding range of new services that tech companies want to offer, or foist-upon, the other half of the planet. People are cycling devices at approximately 18 month intervals, bringing the total annual energy cost – just of production – to around 2EJ per year of use, currently ten percent of all electricity production. That’s not even considering operation costs or mentioning the energy costs of proof-of-work cryptocurrencies. There are no reliable overall figures but it looks like we may be using 25% of all global energy on digital.

“There are no reliable overall figures but it looks like we may be using 25% of all global energy on digital.”Not only is the numerical quantity of devices growing, and the measured activity of those devices, but the footprint of each unit of use is also growing despite more power efficient CPUs. We simply squeeze more function in. Though these units of energy seem insignificant, they are very significant observed at scale.

For example; roughly, a 1990′s style simple HTTP web page of about 1kB consumed the energy of tossing a coin, or a bird taking flight. A modern web page makes thousands of connections and brings down tens of megabytes of data just to load a page of text. It consumes as much energy as a cup of coffee or an apple. Now multiply that by a conservatively estimated 10 billion per second.

This growth also impacts on device longevity. Sheer speed of development renders any gadget apparently worthless within months of being unboxed. These factors contribute to billions more discarded devices constituting hundreds of millions of tonnes of e-waste.

Circle Seven: Software Quality

Then there is the laughable quality of software running on our gadgets. Software is the only kind of engineering that gets measurably less efficient every year. Bloat, reckless software engineering and awful security reduce the value of devices. Many IoT devices are junk and will incur tremendous clean up and disposal costs because they were designed with bad software. Only recently have any government standards of basic quality, security and fitness for purpose touched the “Internet Of Things”. BIOS and firmware updates sometimes render devices broken, but so does the lack of updates in a world where everything else is changing. Much of this can be seen as a software quality issue.

Circle Eight: The Law

Assuming that we could overcome the practical and political obstacles to our digital bonfire of resources, we still live in a society that gives legal incentives for, indeed thoroughly rewards, conspicuous and unnecessary waste. First consider the perverse incentives of manufacturers to deliberately break, inhibit, corrupt and maliciously control hardware as designed obsolescence. We have also failed to defend “consumer law” regarding quality, ownership, contract and proper remedy against abusive vendors.

There are so many laws that favour the wasteful behaviour of tech-giants, like trade agreements, DMCA type provisions, regioning, copyrights, patents, trademarks and so on. These maximise corporate profits by crippling peoples’ ability to share, repair, reuse and recycle technology. They guarantee landfills must swell with more e-waste.

Circle 9: Disposal

My father-in-law is a Nobel prize winner who, along with a team of pioneering chemists contributed to what is now known as the Kyoto Protocol. We’ve had many interesting chats on subjects of his expertise, one of which is “forever chemicals” – the bio-accumulative, mutagenic, indestructible constituents of much electronic technology. Electronic goods contain lots of these, used as fire retardants and waterproofing agents.

Whether obsolete and insecure by design, incompetence or pure malice, we are ensuring that any phone, IoT device or “smart” TV has a business-class privilege boarding pass for the “recycling boat” to Africa, China or India.

“Whether obsolete and insecure by design, incompetence or pure malice, we are ensuring that any phone, IoT device or “smart” TV has a business-class privilege boarding pass for the “recycling boat” to Africa, China or India.”On arrival the shipping containers are emptied into illegal open “recycling” sites, beside a river or lake, where child labourers smash it up with hammers, burn and wash the fragments with acid in open pyres. Welcome to the inner circle of Hell. The slurry, when crystallised reclaims a small percentage of valuable metals, but also releases toxic heavy metals, lead, mercury, cadmium, and chromium that wash into the water or leach from poor temporary storage.

The children inhale a lethal mixture of particulate carcinogens, from both the crushing and burning steps. The life expectancy of these workers does not bear thinking about. In addition, vast quantities of dioxins, phalates, and bromo-fluorocarbons belch into the atmosphere where, after falling as contaminated rain into the oceans they will cause sterility, cancers and birth defects for potentially hundreds of years.

What to do?

From the chemistry of electronic products, their energy and water use, and their longevity, to effects of waste on the environment… this year I’ve read much more than makes me feel happy. It feels bad, because I am a way above average contributor to the problem (from where I write I can see at least seven operational computers right now). Here’s a factor where I definitely cannot criticise anyone else.

“It’s one small part of thinking as a Digital Vegan.”Maybe much of it is untrue. the statistics are dizzying. One cannot gain an empirical feel for what is happening on a global scale. There is so much to take in, from chip fabrication, VLSI composition, technologies for recycling and the political/legal problems of hardware monopoly, global skills, manufacturing politics, questionable provenance of raw materials and supply chains.

I don’t know what we can do to work towards Greener Gadgets and tackle World Wide Waste 2021. I suggest you do more research on the real costs of your convenience, such as this article by Katie Singer or this by Alba Ardura Gutiérrez, to pick a couple of recent ones at random. It’s one small part of thinking as a Digital Vegan.

Links 2/1/2022: Garuda Linux Release for 2022 and EasyOS 3.1.19

Posted in News Roundup at 12:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • 4 Hot Free and Open Source PHP Application Servers

        An application server is computer software which provides the business logic for an application program. It offers services such as management of large distributed systems, data services, load balancing, transaction support, and network security. The application server is one part of a three-tier application, consisting of a graphical interface server, an application (business logic) server, and a database / transaction server.

        There are good reasons to deploy an application server in a corporate environment. At a high level, an application server enables updates and upgrades to applications to be distributed to all users. System administrators also benefit from the fact that changes to application configuration can take place centrally, which greatly simplifies technical support and ultimately the end user experience. Application servers also simplify user management, avoiding the need to set up and maintain user-management systems for applications. This type of software also enhances scalability and resource usage, and exposes business components via different deployment wrappers.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to resolve “.venv/bin/activate” is not executable by this user

        The actual command to activate virtual environment is “source venv/bin/activate” or ” . venv/bin/activate“, but the user may get confused in the case of a hidden directory.

        I think it would be better if you see some of the examples to clear your concept.

      • How To Install Clonezilla on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Clonezilla on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Clonezilla is a suite of open source drive cloning, drive imaging, and system deployment utilities used to simplify the deployment and maintenance of a group of computers. With Clonezilla, not only you can perform a full backup of a device data blocks directly to another drive but also known disk cloning, but you can also backup entire disks or individual partitions remotely (using SSH, Samba, or NFS shares) or locally to images which can be all encrypted and stored in central backup storage.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Clonezilla OpenSource clone system (OCS) 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 Install MySQL 8.0 on Fedora 35 – LinuxCapable

        MySQL is a relational database management system based on SQL (Structured Query Language). It is one of the most widely used database software for several well-known applications. MySQL is used for data warehousing, e-commerce, and logging applications, but its more commonly used feature is a web database storage and management.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install MySQL 8.0 on Fedora 35 Workstation or Server.

      • How to Install MariaDB 10.7 on Fedora 35 – LinuxCapable

        MariaDB is one of the most popular open-source databases next to its originator MySQL. The original creators of MySQL developed MariaDB in response to fears that MySQL would suddenly become a paid service due to Oracle acquiring it in 2010. With its history of doing similar tactics, the developers behind MariaDB have promised to keep it open source and free from such fears as what has happened to MySQL.

        MariaDB has become just as popular as MySQL with developers, with advanced clustering with Galera Cluster 4, faster cache/indexes, storage engines, and features/extensions that you won’t find in MySQL.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install MariaDB 10.7 on Fedora 35 Workstation or Server.

      • Install Wildfly application server on Ubuntu 20.04 | 22.04 LTS – Linux Shout

        Tutorial to learn the commands to install WildFly (JBoss) latest version on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa or 22.04 Jammy Jelly Fish using its repository and terminal.

        WildFly is a free open-source application server written in Java that runs Java programs. The project emerged from the well-established Java application server but not active any – JBoss, a name used by Red Hat. So, WildFly is a successor of JBoss maintained by RedHat developers and the community.

        Like its predecessor, Wildfly specification and compilation of components, mainly for web services and communication, are not included in the Java SDK.

        The management concept of the application server is based on a generic, untyped management API. Regardless of which management interface is used, all changes are persisted and versioned. All management interfaces of the server are secured by default. These include a CLI, a web-based administration console, a native Java API, an HTTP/JSON-based REST API, and a JMX gateway.

      • How to Install Spotify on Fedora 35 – LinuxCapable

        Spotify is a digital music streaming service with both free and paid features. It is the world’s largest music streaming service provider, with over 381 million monthly active users, including 172 million paying subscribers, as of September 2021. Spotify can give you instant access to a vast online library of music and podcasts, which is very popular as you can listen to the content of your choice whenever you feel like it.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install the Spotify application on your Fedora 35 Workstation using three different methods.

      • How to LXDE Desktop Environment on Fedora 35 – LinuxCapable

        LXDE, or better known as Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment, is a free desktop environment that is known for being lightweight, fast, and energy-efficient which can replace the standard default GNOME Desktop on your Fedora 35 Workstation, which can be desired for users with low powered computers, laptops, and netbooks.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Unity Desktop Environment on your Fedora 35 Workstation.

    • Distributions

      • The 9 Best Obscure Linux Distros You Probably Didn’t Know About

        The open-source Linux kernel has spawned some excellent distros over time. Unfortunately, not all of these names have managed to turn heads around.

        Despite their limited outreach, each distro mentioned below continues to have its own merits, which makes them special in their own unique way. If you are an unconventional user looking for some not-so-common, obscure Linux distros, then read on for some options.

      • New Releases

        • Garuda Linux Kicks Off 2022 with New Cinnamon Edition, Btrfs Assistant Tool

          Garuda Linux still tries to bring Arch Linux to the masses, and the Garuda Linux 220101 release, dubbed “White-tailed Eagle”, is here to introduce a new community edition featuring the beloved and lightweight Cinnamon desktop environment maintained by the Linux Mint developers.

          Garuda Linux offered a Cinnamon edition some time ago, but it would appear that it was dropped due to the lack of a maintainer. Well, the good news is that the Cinnamon edition is back with a new maintainer, it uses the Cinnamon 5.0 desktop environment and provides users with a slick experience and a bunch of customization options.

        • EasyOS 3.1.19 released

          Another one! A gift for the New Year. The main thing to look for this time, relative to 3.1.17, is improved audio setup.

      • BSD

        • Getting XFCE Global Menu working on OpenBSD

          One thing I miss from Mac OS user interface is the Global Menu that sits on the topbar and changes as you switch applications. It saves a bit of space on the screen. And it’s always on the same place which makes it easy to be reached wherever the app is.

          After quite a lot of trial & errors, I could have the vala-panel-appmenu working on OpenBSD 7.0 using XFCE 4.16.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Pine64 launches PinePhone Keyboard case, back covers with LoRa radio, fingerprint scanner, wireless charging

        Pine64’s PinePhone Linux smartphone and its successor, the upcoming PinePhone Pro, are designed to be modular and extensible with a PinePhone Keyboard case prototype showcased here in April 2021 and aimed to transform the phone into what looks like a PDA.

        The design has now been refined, and Pine64 has just launched the PinePhone (Pro) keyboard case for $49.99, together with three back covers with either a LoRa module, a fingerprint scanner, or Qi wireless charging for $9.99 to $24.99 depending on the model. All are now available on Pine64 store.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • 800MIPS Amiga With Emu68 and PiStorm

          Unfortunately life took over in the last few months and I haven’t been able to keep up with the speed of changes of PiStorm to relay them to you in a weekly format. I have, however, been playing with Emu68 on PiStorm over Christmas. It is a project that has come a long way so I figured I should explain what it is and what is new in it.

          PiStorm is a combination of hardware and software. The stock software is based on the Musashi 68000 emulator with a bunch of enhancements to add RTG graphics, virtual SCSI support, etc… Then one day along came the Emu68 project which could replace Musashi on PiStorm.

        • Reverse-engineering a tiny 1980s chip that plays Christmas tunes

          For the holidays, I decapped a chip that plays three Christmas melodies. The UM66T melody chip from the 1980s was designed for applications such as greeting cards and toys. It looks like a transistor, but when connected to a battery and speaker it plays music. The die photo below shows the tiny silicon chip that I reverse engineer in this blog post.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Open Source Security Process Wishlist

        Open Source software (OSS) runs the [Internet] (obligatory xkcd). And it is wonderful. But every now and then, it breaks. And then it may set the [Internet] on fire. OSS is, in this way, both not at all and still really quite different from other software: it ought to be owned, managed, and operated in a responsible manner. And that aspect can often be improved.

        Without suggesting that OSS maintainers owe their users any more of their time and effort than they already provide — this level of support easily warrants a stately support contract — there are a few methods and practices that can help a software project better manage security incidents and vulnerabilities. The following is a short list of such processes.

        Most of this may seem obvious to people in the OSS world, in software engineering, or dealing with software security in more general terms. Some of this is tedious and definitely requires additional cycles, work, and effort. But all of this is, I believe, helpful to your users.

      • Matrix and its bridges

        Instead, the purpose of Matrix is the room-oriented data structure (as opposed to how IRC and XMPP have message-oriented data). You preserve a chat, sort of like on Mattermost or Gitter, as opposed to display a chat temporarily pieced together from messages. (This room structure is a bad fit for video/audio, which is why it shells out to XMPP for that.)

      • My Predictions For 2022

        So last night, while walking the dog, I was listening to the latest episode of Late Night Linux where they were talking about their 2021 predictions and made new predictions for 2022.

        I decided it would be fun to do something similar on this blog. So I’m going to make 3 predictions; they probably won’t come true, but hey, it’s a bit of fun, right?

        Ok, with my usual pre-waffle out of the way, let’s get on with it…

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

      • FSF

      • Programming/Development

        • HOWTO AoC

          Some tips about participating in Advent of Code.

          AoC is not a competition

          If you were to go with online opinion, AoC is all about getting the solutions as fast as possible. This is actually not true, apart from the top 100 scorers every day[1]. Many people post their full solution online on the AoC subreddit as soon as the top 100 slots have been filled. So if you want to get 50 stars, you pick a popular language (like Python), hang out in the solutions megathread, and run the first posted solution on your input to get the correct results.

          If your organization has a “competition” where the top scorers in their leaderboard get some reward, don’t participate. It’s too easy to suspect someone of “cheating” for it to be fun.

          Instead, focusing on using the event to expand your skills

        • Developer Network Effects

          AWS recently announced Re:Post, a Q&A site focused on AWS technologies. I think this is a great idea, and is doubling down on a key competency of AWS – there’s always someone else who has already done it on AWS. It fills a void left by an aging and stagnant StackOverflow (which was acquired earlier this year by an investment group).

          Q&A sites are one of the most useful developer resources because they aggregate network effects. Copying code from StackOverflow’s Q&A has is such a meme that the company came out with a Copy/Paste keyboard for April Fools with only three keys – Control, C, and V. In every meme, there is truth.

        • strlcat(3) > strncat(3)

          In my Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment class, I frequently observe common anti-patterns that appear all too easy for students to adopt. One of those is the unsafe use of strncat(3), which I’ll demonstrate here together with an explanation of why you should use strlcat(3) instead.

        • Stems as mock data structures in REXX

          An experimental “Tutorial as Code”

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Retrospective: Software Architecture

            The last post in the Winter Blog Backlog series will be about software architecture.

            Why write about this big, fuzzy topic? Because the design of Oil revolves around some controversial architectural decisions, like untyped byte streams as a solid foundation for a modern shell language, and for large distributed systems. A JSON file is a byte stream, and that’s a feature, not a bug!

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Airlines ask FCC to again delay C-band 5G rollout near airports beyond Jan. 5

        Airlines for America, which represents 11 US passenger and cargo airlines including Delta, United, FedEx, UPS, Southwest and American, called on the regulatory agency to delay approval for 5G rollout near dozens of the country’s busiest airports, such as Dallas-Fort Worth in Texas, John F. Kennedy in New York, Chicago O’Hare in Illinois and San Francisco International in California. AT&T and Verizon previously agreed to delay plans to offer the new 5G service, which uses what is known as C-band airwaves, to Jan. 5.

  • Leftovers

    • Letting Go: Wisdom From Our Grief
    • Education

      • Lessons from my PhD

        Most of what I learned during my PhD had nothing to do with my dissertation topic, grad school, or even computer science.

        These lessons are so ingrained into me now that I’m shocked when I find out that not everyone knows them! I think they can be applied to virtually any office job.

        I’ve written down a few of the lessons in hopes that my students find them useful: [...]

      • Losers Exist, Don’t Hire Them

        But then it was time for him to interview with me. I didn’t ask him very many questions about sales, advertising operations, invoicing, collections, or any of the handful of other tactical skills we wanted. I just grilled him on the bottom fourth of his resume — you know, the one about hobbies and college.

    • Hardware

      • NeoPixel Punk Console Drives WS2812s Using 555 Timers | Hackaday

        NeoPixels, a type of LED strip with individually addressable pixels, are a firm favorite among creators of intricate light effects. They are popular for their versatility and the ease with which you can daisy-chain them. Although the protocol to drive these little LEDs can be rather tricky to implement due to tight signal timing constraints.

        However, [Adrian Studer] proved that driving WS2812-based LED strips like the NeoPixel series doesn’t necessarily require hand-optimized assembly code. In fact, it doesn’t require any code at all. He built the NeoPixel Punk Console, a device that creates a light show without even using a microcontroller. Just a handful of 555 timers and some 74HC series logic work together to produce pulses with approximately correct timings.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Doctors Urge Medicare to Deny Coverage for Alzheimer’s Drug With Unproven Efficacy and Safety

        As Medicare officials grapple with whether to cover Aduhelm—an Alzheimer’s medication approved by federal regulators despite a lack of evidence that the exorbitantly priced and potentially dangerous drug helps patients—many doctors are urging them not to.

        “This doesn’t meet Medicare’s ‘reasonable and necessary’ criteria because the FDA themselves says there’s no direct evidence of improved cognition.”

      • Dialysis Patients Have Faced a Deadly Catch-22 During the Pandemic
      • As Ban on Most Surprise Medical Bills Takes Effect, Critics Denounce For-Profit Healthcare

        While welcoming a federal ban on most surprise medical bills that went into effect on Saturday, Medicare for All advocates made clear that the new law, which crucially excludes ground ambulances, is only necessary because the United States lacks the superior alternative taken for granted in every other wealthy nation: a single-payer healthcare system.

        “While this is good news for consumers, this is necessary because of our complex multi-payer for-profit healthcare system.”

      • Michigan’s poorer, minority neighborhoods become ‘sacrifice zones’ for increased pollution

        In Michigan, if a company asks to pollute more, regulators generally say yes. Only 11 permit requests statewide have been rejected by EGLE over the past seven years, according to agency records obtained by the Free Press through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. Over the same time period, more than 1,700 pollution permits were approved that are still active.

      • Big Cars Are Killing Americans

        Americans have traded sedans for crossovers and SUVs for full-size pickups with total abandon over the past decade. To the extent that we think at all critically about the sheer bulk of the vehicles we drive, we’re usually motivated by environmental concerns. One common notion—though auto-safety experts will say it’s not that simple—is that it’s safer to get around in what’s basically a tank. But those benefits, exaggerated as they may be, are only for people inside the vehicle. People outside—pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair users—are in more peril.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • SSH Keys are Passwords Too

        Luckily there is one, and it is not only more secure but also improves developer productivity. I’m talking about identity-based, short-lived certificates. In our survey, the innovative companies who had moved to certificates pointed out their enhanced security, great functionality (e.g. ability to easily deliver fine-grained role-based access controls), and how since they automatically expire, they reduce attack surface in time.

      • Proprietary

        • Delhi University uses digilocker to verify more than 1 lakh documents

          DigiLocker is a secure cloud based platform for storage, sharing and verification of documents and certificates. The documents stored in the DigiLocker system are deemed to be equivalent to original physical documents as per law.

          These documents can be validated in real-time using the DigiLocker Scanner, which is included with the DigiLocker Android App, or online using verification Application Programming Interface (API), a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Police Use of Artificial Intelligence: 2021 in Review

              And for many aspects of life, artificial intelligence is delivering on its promise. AI is, as we speak, looking for evidence of life on Mars. Scientists are using AI to try to develop more accurate and faster ways to predict the weather.

              But when it comes to policing, the actuality of the situation is much less optimistic.  Our HAL 9000 does not assert its own decisions on the world—instead, programs which claim to use AI for policing just reaffirm, justify, and legitimize the opinions and actions already being undertaken by police departments.

              AI presents two problems,  tech-washing, and a classic feedback loop. Tech-washing is the process by which proponents of the outcomes can defend those outcomes as unbiased because they were derived from “math.” And the feedback loop is how that math continues to perpetuate historically-rooted harmful outcomes. “The problem of using algorithms based on machine learning is that if these automated systems are fed with examples of biased justice, they will end up perpetuating these same biases,” as one philosopher of science notes.

            • Here’s why you probably don’t need to rely on a VPN anymore

              VPNs, or virtual private networks, continue to be used by millions of people as a way of masking their [Internet] activity by encrypting their location and web traffic.

              But on the modern [Internet], most people can safely ditch them, thanks to the widespread use of encryption that has made public [Internet] connections far less of a security threat, cybersecurity experts say.

            • A tracking device made by Apple is showing up in suspected crimes

              “I don’t think there’s any question that Apple’s AirTags are being used for stalking,” said Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy group based in San Francisco. She was among the people predicting just such an outcome months ago.

              Police in Colorado, Georgia, Michigan and Texas have reported the misuse of AirTags, including for domestic stalking and trying to steal cars. The sheriff’s office in Twin Falls, Idaho, warned residents this month that AirTags pose a danger, especially to potential victims of domestic violence. And one reported attempt at unwanted tracking described on TikTok has received more than 27 million views.

            • Capturing Digital Identity

              In 2022, the TSA will start supporting state IDs in your Apple Wallet. With your credit cards in your Apple Wallet as well, why do you need a physical wallet? (Although, surprisingly, only 6% of iPhone users use Apple Pay).

              Tech companies have been trying to take control of digital identity since the internet was invented, but few have succeeded. Google forces (strongly encourages) users to log into their Web browser. Apple IDs are mandatory. Facebook and Google have made login easier with their “Log in with” products.

            • Open Customer Data

              What would you do if you could get a list of every one of your competitor’s customers and their activity? That’s whats happening with cryptocurrency products today.

              Openness can be a customer acquisition strategy. The marginal cost of code is nearly zero, and making your source code available (open source) can sometimes be a good tradeoff. Many MicroSaaS developers have found that “building in public” and posting their analytics can be another source of potential customers. But what about making your actual customer data available to everyone?

            • Millions of Jeeps and Rams are about to get this lifesaving new safety feature

              “She asked why we couldn’t have an alert system that shows the kind of emergency vehicle, and the direction it’s coming from?”

              Stellantis moved fast, using existing connectivity hardware and working with Safety Cloud creator HAAS Alert, which works with more than 1,000 emergency responder fleets in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

              Chamarthi tested EVAS in her plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler last summer.

              “The system knows the location of the first responder, and it knows where our vehicle is,” she said. Alerts are geofenced. It only notifies drivers of nearby emergency vehicles and disregards those on the opposite-direction side of divided highways.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • „Thin blue line“: German police trainer warns against radicalisation

        Police sometimes see themselves as the last „blue line“ against chaos and crime. Various police stations also tweet about this self-image, which is popular among right-wing officers. Websites where police employees  also participate sell patches, mugs and shirts with the problematic symbolism.

      • Pentagon Spending on Military Contractors May Reach $407 Billion in 2022
      • Travel restrictions tighten in Tibet ahead of Beijing Winter Olympics

        Security has already been tightened in many places in Tibet, a resident of Lhasa told RFA this week.

        “In just a few days, greater security and restrictions have been put in place in Tibetan areas of Lhasa and in Shigatse, Chamdo, Draggo, Ngaba, and Rebkong,” RFA’s source said, referring to areas in the Tibet Autonomous Region and in western China’s Sichuan and Qinghai provinces.

      • Paris jihadist attacks trial put on hold after main suspect catches Covid

        The criminal trial will resume as scheduled on Jan. 4 but then be officially suspended until Jan. 13., the source said. French news agency AFP earlier reported on the planned suspension, citing an e-mail sent to the parties by the court’s president.

        Abdeslam, 31, is believed by prosecutors to be the only surviving member of the Islamic State cell that carried out the gun-and-bomb attacks on bars, restaurants, the Bataclan concert hall and the Stade de France stadium on Nov. 13, 2015.

      • Social Media Censors Ignore Islamist Hate Speech and Incitement to Murder

        Despite Facebook’s zeal at censoring so-called “hate speech” and “offensive content,” violent, radical, and murderous content from Muslim terror groups is allowed to appear on and make use of the social media giant’s platform. According to a recent report, Facebook has allowed “scores of groups” that were supportive of either Islamic State or the Taliban to operate freely.

        This matter is significantly worse when one looks at Facebook in Arabic and other languages commonly spoken by Muslims. In the last few years, I’ve seen endless Arabic-language content on Facebook and other social media giants that amounts to nothing less than terroristic incitement. Usually, these posts remain on the social media platforms for years—until, of course, I or others draw attention to them in English-language articles, at which point they are conveniently removed.

      • “Racist”, “Islamophobic”, “discriminatory”: the former president of the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) attacks the surveillance of Muslim places of worship

        At the same time, he denounces the government’s use of “state resources for purposes of surveillance, record keeping, intimidation and discriminatory treatment of Muslims”. A thread that did not leave some internet users cold. One of them asked him if he knew any “Christian or Jewish jihadists”. Another replied that there were no ” such bloody crimes in the name of Christianity and Judaism” in France.

      • Liverpool taxi bomber warned brother about doing ‘something bad’

        He entered Britain in May 2014 with a Jordanian passport, falsely claimed to be of Syrian heritage on asylum applications, and was a practicing Muslim despite converting to Christianity. Advertisement

        Taxi driver David Perry escaped from the blast, which was caused by a homemade bomb.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Stockholm University Student Writes Essay On ‘Racism’ Of Milk Against Coffee

        At the end of the course, all the participants were asked to write a paper of 10,000 characters. Haag said, “I took a rather bizarre subject, which is quite fun, and took another turn.” He wrote, “The question one may ask is whether it is really a reconciliation between milk and coffee that has occurred or whether adding milk to the coffee is a way to take away coffee’s unique properties and instead impose white properties on the black drink,” calling it ‘drink-based colonization’, stressing that milk ‘controls and domesticates’ coffee.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Opinion | 2021 Was a Year of Failed Political Leadership

        2021 was the year of political leadership, or more importantly, lack of it, and an invitation to reflect on the social consequences of leadership failures. I think for many of us, it was the year that felt like when time slows down while you are witnessing an accident happen—two seconds that feel like two minutes—or in this case, twelve months that feel like a decade of closings, openings, lockdowns, mandates, curfews, hoarding, and devastation.

      • Hogan, administration found using disappearing messaging app to communicate with staff

        Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and his administration were found to be using a messaging app that deletes messages after 24 hours, keeping his internal communications with staff members private and out of the state archives.

        Messages from the end-to-end encryption app Wickr obtained by The Washington Post show Hogan talking about a wide range of topics, including the state’s response to the pandemic, coordinating with staffers and complaining about media. Chat rooms used by Hogan were set to a timer called “Burn-on-Read” which deletes the messages after 24 hours, the Post reported, citing records.

      • Parson says he believes prosecutor will bring charges in Post-Dispatch case

        “These documents show there was no network intrusion,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch President and Publisher Ian Caso said this month. “As DESE initially acknowledged, the reporter should have been thanked for the responsible way he handled the matter and not chastised or investigated as a hacker.”

      • Foreign Policy’s Weirdest New Weapon: Memes

        Seeing as more and more people get their news in the form of simplified headlines and snippets of video on their phones while taking dropping a deuce, the meme format is the perfect method to drip feed a particular message. It’s visual and appeals to those who don’t have the time or attention span to read more than ten consecutive sentences without some sensory stimulation to distract them. Which reminds us, we really need to stick some more ads in this sucker before you get bored.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • America ends 2021 with censorship surge. Will 2022′s new year be better?

        As 2021 nears its close, a spasm of book banning has spread surprisingly quickly among state and local officials. Happily, if history is a guide, this accelerating spread of censorship will fail. But in the meantime, conservative elected officials have used this year to charge headlong backward into the 19th century.

      • Russia labels Pussy Riot member, others as ‘foreign agents’

        Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been seen as a popular figure of dissent after she took part in a 2012 protest inside Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. She spent nearly two years in prison.

        Tolokonnikova is also one of the founders of independent news outlet Mediazona. The organization was labeled a “foreign agent” in late September.

        Tolokonnikova said she would challenge Thursday’s decision in court, adding: “Russia will be free.”

      • Christian YouTuber Faces Continued Harassment As He Fights Against Persecution From Muslims

        Kace’s difficulty did not end in being arrested. He was tortured by local police, particularly an official named Napoleon Bonaparte, during his detention. Bonaparte, a co-prisoner on charges of corruption, forced Kace “to eat the excrement of himself,” claiming that forcing Kace to do such a disgusting and inhumane act was in the service of Allah and of Islam itself since it is allegedly a payback for the latter’s insults on the religion.

        The ICC highlighted that the local police wanted “to be fair” to Kace and arrested Ustad Yahya Waloni who have also delivered insulting lectures on Islam. However, unlike Kace, complaints on Waloni was not given much attention by the police until after Kace was already in prison. Waloni is said to be a Muslim preacher with a Christian background and similarly arrested on blasphemy charges.

        In addition to the difference in the treatment of their arrest, Waloni was also treated differently from Kace during detention. Waloni was immediately given medical treatment when he got sick, but no one paid attention to Kace after he was tortured severely.

      • Delhi HC refuses plea against book allegedly demeaning Islam

        The Delhi High Court has refrained from entertaining a lawsuit filed by a man against an online self-published book titled Muhammad, which allegedly makes derogatory statements against Islam, the Holy Quran and Prophet Mohammed. The court noted that the litigant failed to show an infringement of his personal legal right.

        Justice Sanjeev Narula was of the view that “in the absence of disclosure of infringement of any legal right, the plaintiff’s prayer seeking injunction and damages on account of being offended or aggrieved by the contents of a book – which allegedly is hurtful to his religious sentiments – would not give him any right to approach this court by way of the present suit”.

        Qamar Hasnain, in his plea, had sought to recall all copies of the book purportedly authored by Syed Waseem Rizvi and to destroy all copies sold or unsold. Mr. Hasnain, who claimed to be a religious scholar and a concerned follower of Islam, also sought a direction to remove all objectionable posts and comments related to the book from their respective social media platforms. He contended that the contents of the book were offensive, hateful and distressing to even a casual reader, let alone a follower of Islam or an admirer of Prophet Muhammad.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • The governor of Missouri still doesn’t know how websites work

        While a gross misunderstanding of how websites work by both a state agency and the governor of said state might be funny, Governor Parson’s behavior since the paper first published its story is anything but. According to public records obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Vandeven had initially planned to thank the paper for finding the vulnerability. Her tone only became accusatory after meeting with the governor’s office.

      • Vietnam journalist who tried to run for parliament jailed for 5 years

        A Vietnamese journalist arrested after nominating himself as an independent candidate in elections to the country’s National Assembly was sentenced to five years in jail Friday by a court in the capital Hanoi, his lawyer and his wife said.

        Le Trong Hung was arrested March 27 after declaring his candidacy for election in a challenge to political processes tightly controlled by the ruling Communist Party and charged with “creating, storing, disseminating information, materials, items and publications against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”

      • Calls grow for citizen journalist’s release, one year into her four-year jail term

        Zhang’s family members were last allowed to visit her last month, reporting that she weighed less than 40 kilograms with a height of 1.77 meters, and couldn’t walk or raise her head without assistance.

        “Zhang Zhan courageously risked her life reporting in Wuhan at a time when very little information was available on the mode of transmission and severity of Covid-19, and she should have been celebrated as a hero instead of being detained,” RSF East Asia Bureau chief Cédric Alviani said.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Your music library and MusicBrainz Picard

        MusicBrainz Picard and the MusicBrainz database are projects of the MetaBrainz Foundation. MetaBrainz Foundation has a philosophy of free, open access of data. It has been set up to build community maintained databases and make them available in the public domain or under Creative Commons licenses. Most contributions come from volunteers so users are encouraged either to donate or contribute to the data gathering process.

      • Ford Motor Co. beefs up tech strength with director known for global dominance

        “Deere has pioneered some of the first, if not the first, autonomous tractors,” he said. “They’re adept at bringing new technology into agriculture equipment that competes on a global basis. Deere dominates the segment. And companies like to have winners on the board. If you’re a global manufacturer that’s moving into high tech, like Ford, you want a board member who has that experience under their belt.”

      • Deere CEO John May brought onto Ford board of directors

        In announcing the appointment of May, Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford pointed to the Deere chief’s role in implementing major changes in technology. “May’s experience helping to transform Deere as a smart industrial company is relevant to Ford’s own ambitious transformation, and brings additional valuable insight to the Ford board.”

    • Monopolies

      • [Older] Europe’s highest court to revisit the allowability of combination SPCs

        How should Article 3(c) be applied to an SPC for a combo-product where the patent already supports an SPC for a mono-product?
        A Finnish court has referred an important question to the CJEU, the highest court in the EU, asking whether a second SPC for a combination of active ingredients can validly be granted when a first SPC for one of the active ingredients alone has already been granted on the same patent. As combination SPCs are highly valuable additional rights, which may expire many years after the mono SPCs, the answer to the referred question could have a considerable impact on the filing and enforcement strategy of patentees.

      • KOL369 | Soho Forum IP Debate Post-Mortem with Greg Morin

        Whereupon I do the rare original episode. In November I debated Richard Epstein in New York, at the Soho Forum, on intellectual property (patent and copyright).

      • Global Cannabis Applications Corp. Patent Now Worldwide [Ed: EPO monopolies for narcotics, formerly illegal and with jail sentence attached; the EPO has become truly greedy and uncaring about the law]

        TheNewswire – December 10, 2021 – Global Cannabis Applications Corp. (“GCAC” or the “Company”) (CSE:APP), (CNSX:APP.CN), (FSE:2FA), (OTC:FUAPF), a leading medical cannabis chain-of-custody compliance and data platform, obtained official Acknowledgement Receipt from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in filing US Utility Patent Applications.

        GCAC filed the “System of Processing and Tracking Cannabis Products and Associated Method Using Block Chain,” Serial Number 63/126,555, filed the original application on December 17, 2020. Due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Patent was officially published on December 2, 2021. A second application filed November 24, 2021, for “Tracking System for Cultivated Products and Associated Methods,” Serial Number 17/457,385 was acknowledged simultaneously.

        The applications include “World Assignment” applying to the European Patent Office (EPO), Japan Patent Office (JPO), Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and other intellectual property organizations participating with USPTO in bilateral or multilateral agreements.

      • Justices Urged To Undo Fed. Circ.’s Qualcomm Ruling

        A trio of intellectual property lobbying groups, software company Thales and Unified Patents LLC told the U.S. Supreme Court to undo a Federal Circuit ruling saying that Apple doesn’t have standing to appeal Patent Trial and Appeal Board rulings upholding two Qualcomm patents.

        Engine Advocacy, the App Association, and the Public Interest Patent Law Institute filed a joint amicus brief Friday, and Thales DIS AIS Deutschland GmbH and Unified Patents filed separate amicus briefs on Monday, all pushing for the Supreme Court to hear Apple’s appeal of the appellate court ruling. Upholding the Federal Circuit ruling could lead to fewer post-grant…

      • Patents

        • Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Pilot Program between Brazil and Portugal is signed [Ed: Who does this help if not the monopolistic litigation puppets and their law firms, at the expense of due process of proper patent examination?]

          The Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (BRPTO) informed on December 16, 2021 that a memorandum to institute a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot project between Brazil and Portugal was signed. This partnership in the PPH program is planned for a period of five years. Through this PPH program, Brazilians will be able to use the result of the examination of the patent application at the BRPTO to speed up the analysis in Portugal. In the same way, Portuguese will be able to use the result of the exam from the Portuguese Office to speed up the analysis at the BRPTO.

          Finally, since November 05, 2021 the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program of 2021 is closed for having reached the limit of 600 requests for participation. Currently, the PPH program has signed agreements with the following countries/regions: a) United States; b) European Patent Office, c) Japan, d) China, e) Austria, f) Sweden, g) United Kingdom, h) Denmark, i) South Korea and j) Singapore.

      • Copyrights

        • Winnie-the-Pooh and more works will enter the public domain tomorrow

          ENKINS: So Disney still has copyrights over its newer, for example, Winnie-the-Pooh movies. Now, they also have trademarks for the use, for example, of the words Winnie-the-Pooh as a brand. We’re not talking about sticking Disney’s Winnie-the-Pooh on a backpack or pajamas or a lunchbox. We’re talking about that piece of literary work, that gentle book by A. A. Milne from 1926. That’s in the public domain, and we can all revisit, reimagine, write our own version of it.

          MCCAMMON: And for the first time ever, as I understand it, sound recordings are entering the public domain as well. And we’re not just talking about music and lyrics, but specific recordings of songs. What are some of the titles we’ll now have access to?

          JENKINS: We are talking about every single sound recording from before 1923 – everything from the advent of sound recording technology all the way through to early jazz and blues. There are recordings of songs about women’s suffrage – for example, the song “She’s Good Enough To Be Your Baby’s Mother And She’s Good Enough To Vote With You.”

        • Winnie-the-Pooh and around 400,000 early sound recordings enter public domain

          A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, and other books, movies, and compositions from 1926 enter into the public domain today in the US. The works are now “free for all to copy, share, and build upon,” according to Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, which tracks which copyrighted materials will become public each year.

          This year, the usual list of books, movies, and compositions comes with a sizable bonus: a trove of around 400,000 early sound recordings. A recent law, the 2018 Music Modernization Act, standardized how early sound recordings are handled under federal copyright law. As part of that, it set today as the date that copyright protections would end for “recordings first published before 1923.”

        • ‘Winnie the Pooh,’ Hemingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises’ and 400,000 Sound Recordings Enter the Public Domain

          Additionally, for the first time thanks to the passage of the Music Modernization Act in 2018, over 400,000 sound recordings from the advent of sound recording technology through 1922 will also enter the public domain. This includes works by Mamie Smith, Al Jolson, Fanny Brice, Ethel Waters and hundreds more.

        • DMCA To The Rescue!

          I Confess To Right-Clicker-Mentality discusses another of the problems this indirect connection causes, namely that trying to create “ownership”, artificial scarcity, of an image represented by a Web URL is futile. Anyone can create their own copy from the URL. Miscreants are now exploiting en masse the inverse of this. Because art images on the Web are URLs, and thus easy to copy, anyone can make a copy of one and create an NFT for it. No “ownership” of the image needed. Liam Sharp suffered this way:

          Sadly I’m going to have to completely shut down my entire @DeviantArt gallery as people keep stealing my art and making NFTs. I can’t – and shouldn’t have to – report each one and make a case, which is consistently ignored. Sad and frustrating. […[

        • How Much Do Artists Make Per Stream? Here’s the Latest Breakdown — From Rapper T-Pain

          T-Pain (full name Faheem Rasheed Najm) spurred conversation among artists, music industry professionals, and fans with a recent Instagram post and tweet, which include a chart that purportedly shows the number of streams required to earn $1 on leading platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music.

        • Gaming Like It’s 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam

          Gaming Like It’s 1926: The Public Domain Game Jam

Index: Loss of Control Over Cars

Posted in DRM, Free/Libre Software, Hardware at 9:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The car drives you!

Summary: The series that we published at the end of 2021 seems very relevant now that Ford’s Board of Directors welcomes Deere CEO John May

We recently did a 5-part series about the loss of control over cars that we pay for. Here are the 5 parts all in one place:

We’re meanwhile seeing, in the past few days’ news, that DRM inside vehicles is a phenomenon that spreads further and more widely. From our upcoming batch of Daily Links:

“The direction that Ford may be heading can be as bad or worse than where John Deere is now,” an associate of ours notes. “The people forced to buy cars have no choice but to accept whatever is pushed on them by the dealers and the dealers promote what they are told to promote by the manufacturers. That’s how the world ended up with everyone commuting to work in what are legally and tonnage-wise actually medium sized trucks.”

Deere’s abuse of the concept of ‘ownership’ was noted early in the above series. One can safely predict or expect things to get worse, not better. See the video below.

Video download link

[Meme] Hiring and Retaining Patent Examiners on the Cheap

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

I won't examine patents for you

Summary: The EPO will rapidly lose its best patent examiners without being able to find a replacement for them

When You Replace 10,000 Euros Per Month Patent Examiners With 2,000 Euros Per Month Patent Examiners…

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 543d032cd85ded59197ef1a8f064fdf0

Summary: The patent quality crisis at the EPO is related to the recruitment crisis; the EPO rapidly loses a potent patent examination workforce, which it is unable to replace, quite likely by intention

In an “[a]rticle originally written and published by SUEPO Munich,” according to insiders, we’re clearly seeing a problem that should be widely understood. It is a problem we’ve long spoken about — namely inability to attract suitably-equipped patent examiners to study applications for a monopoly. Here is the publication, which is dated 2 years ago but is still very relevant (probably even more relevant now than back then):

su19026mp – 0.2.1/4.2.1/4.2.2

EPO salaries – hiring for excellence

Mr Campinos, supported by the Administrative Council, seems determined to lower salaries and other benefits at the EPO. This raises the questions: why are the salaries and benefits as they are and should they be lowered? This publication tries to give some answers.

Requirement for recruitment at the EPO
Article 5(1) of our Service Regulations sets out the requirements for recruitment at the EPO: “Recruitment shall be directed to securing for the EPO the services of employees of the highest ability, efficiency and integrity, recruited on the broadest possible geographical basis from among nationals of the Contracting States.”

I. Highest ability and efficiency – Language skill and technical knowledge
For all employees at the EPO “highest ability” includes language skills: internal and external communications can be in any of the three official languages. For many of us that means the knowledge of three foreign languages in addition to our mother tongue (and Dutch in The Hague). It is obvious that the “highest ability and efficiency” comes at a price.

II. Broadest geographical basis – recruitment from all member states
The requirement that staff be recruited “on the broadest geographical basis from among nationals of the Contracting States” also has an impact on the EPO salaries. This requirement is common to most, if not all international organizations (e.g., UN1) and early on led to the formulation of the so-called Noblemaire principle2. Application of this principle has been consistently supported by ILO-AT until nowadays3: “The Noblemaire principle [...] embodies two rules. One is that, to keep the international civil service as one, its employees shall get equal pay for work of equal value, whatever their nationality or the salaries earned in their own country. The other rule is that in recruiting staff from their full membership international organisations shall offer pay that will draw and keep citizens of countries where salaries are highest.4

III. Integrity
According to Article 14a(1) of the Service Regulations, an EPO employee is further meant to “carry out his duties with integrity and loyalty, and conduct himself solely with the interests of the Organisation in mind. He shall neither seek nor take instructions from any government, authority, organisation or person outside the Organisation.” A pay that is perceived as a fair reward for the high performance and a permanent post, i.e. the prospect of a future within the EPO, help maintain a high level of integrity.

1 The UN obey the Noblemaire principle, which is binding on any organization that belongs to the UN system (here).
2 From the name of the Chairman of a Committee of the League of Nations (1920).
3 Noblemaire principle at the ILOAT (here). The ILO-AT recently re-affirmed the principle in Judgment 4134 (consideration 11).
4 see Judgment 831 (consideration 1)

Patent examiners – a special case
Patent examiners are among the better paid civil servants in many countries5, at least in those countries that take patents seriously. Why should this be so? One is that whenever a new technical field emerges, the patent office finds itself in direct competition with industry for the relevant technical experts. In order to be successful in recruiting such experts, a patent office thus has to offer attractive working conditions.

Another reason for the relatively high level of pay of patent examiners lies in the nature of the job. Searching and examination require a very high level of technical training (engineering or university level). The work further has a strong legal component, in the EPO additionally requiring – as pointed out above – considerable language skills and for many the willingness to leave their home country. The EPO is therefore looking for the rare proverbial “eierlegende Wollmilchsau”.

Is the EPO already in breach of the Noblemaire principle?
Let us recall that the Noblemaire principle requires the EPO to set its salaries at a level “that will draw and keep citizens of countries where salaries are highest”. A glance at the latest recruitments listed on the EPO intranet shows that already today the EPO is struggling to attract new staff from across all its member states. The conclusion must be that the Office is breaching the Noblemaire principle and should adjust staff pay upwards, not downwards.

Cui bono?
There seems little doubt that jobs at the EPO have become much less attractive in recent years. Mr Battistelli reduced the recognition of previous experience, lowered the starting salaries, introduced 5-year contracts and strongly curbed career progression within the job. Flattening of the hierarchy in the patent administration and patent examination areas virtually eliminated the prospects of a managerial career in DG1. Mr Campinos now foresees further cuts.

ILO-AT has criticized organisations for reducing salaries purely in order save money, see e.g. Judgment 3921 (consideration 11): “While the necessity of saving money may be one valid factor to be considered in adjusting salaries provided the method adopted is objective, stable and foreseeable [...], the mere desire to save money at the staff’s expense is not by itself a valid reason for departing from an established standard of reference [...].”
So the Office needed a justification to attack salaries and paid for a controversial report which it then interpreted as negatively as the report allows, and added a two billion euro buffer on top.

EPO staff are dedicated and intelligent. They are perfectly able to recognize a true financial emergency and – if such an emergency occurred – would without doubt be ready to make sacrifices to get the EPO through the crisis. However, they see through the current fake crisis. Note that last year Mr Battistelli still claimed that he had made the EPO fit for the future. So let us suppose that as the years pass it transpires that it was never necessary to save 5.8 billion euro. What will the Office do with all the extra money? Perhaps find a mechanism to give a considerable portion of it to the member states, the member states that sit on the Administrative Council and are the ultimate decision makers in the European Patent Organisation?

What the delegates and Mr Campinos seem to forget is that its highly trained and (until recently) highly motivated staff are the only real asset that the Organisation has. So again: rather than cutting staff benefits, the Organisation should invest in staff in order to be fit for any future crisis. Not investing in staff risks killing the goose that lays their golden eggs6.

SUEPO Munich

5 USPTO Examiner brochure 2018 (here)
6 Governance of the EPO: https://www.suepo.org/public/ex104034cp.pdf

The video discusses the ramifications for Europe, which is simply being 'sold' piecewise to monopolies from other continents.

“What good is a patent office incentivised to just grant as many patents as possible irrespective of their quality and their compliance with the underlying laws?”Sadly, the EPO as a whole got compromised, and this goes well beyond the examination division. The Office nowadays controls the whole Organisation, which was supposed to oversee the Office. Even the courts are controlled by the Office.

As someone put it the other day, expressing concern about the independence of judges (BA): “It is a disgrace that the AC [Organisation] does not any longer controls the office and its president.”

Here’s the full comment:

It is farcical to see the president of the BA and the president of the EPO signing a MoU.
One should not forget that the former only has the powers delegated to him by the latter.
The chair of the BA has to approved by the president even if he appointed by the AC.
The day the BA can forward their budget request directly the AC we will be able to see a beginning of perception of independence. But it still remains that the conditions of reappointment have never been published.
Only a proper reform of the statute of the BA without any possibility of the president to interfere with the working of the BA will the BA be fully independent. In 2004 an opportunity was sadly missed.
As far as the return to Munich is concerned, the person responsible will never have to support the costs implied. The users and the staff are footing the bill.
But what can you do when immunity means impunity.
And the tail is wagging the dog.
It is a disgrace that the AC does not any longer controls the office and its president.
But the cooperation budget is in good hands.

What good is a patent office incentivised to just grant as many patents as possible irrespective of their quality and their compliance with the underlying laws?

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 01, 2022

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:57 am by Needs Sunlight

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‘Repair Louis’ on GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Videos at 12:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: The Fight/Right to Repair guy reads out the differences between “Linux” and what that actually is

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