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Links 16/6/2018: LiMux Story, Okta Openwashing and More

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  • Desktop

    • The LiMux desktop and the City of Munich
      There has been a lot of back and forth around the use of Free Software in public administration. One of the latest initiatives in this area was started by the Free Software Foundation Europe, FSFE. It focuses on the slogan: Public Money – Public Code. There are various usage scenarios for Free Software in public administration. The span ranges from the use of backend technology over user-facing software, e.g. LibreOffice, up to providing a whole free desktop for the administrative staff in a public service entity such as a city council. In this article we will focus on the latter.

      When the desktops in an administration are migrated to Linux, the administration becomes a distribution provider. An example for this is the LiMux desktop, that powers the administration of the city of Munich since 2012.

      LiMux is a distribution, maintained by the central IT department of the City of Munich. Technically, it builds upon Kubuntu. It provides specific patches, a modified user experience and an automatic distribution system, so all desktops in all departments of the city can be easily administered and offer a consistent user experience.

      Distributions in the Free Software ecosystem have different roles, one of them surely being the provider of the finishing touches, especially to important software for its own users. Obviously public administration has special demands. Workflows and documents for example have a totally different importance than for the average Kubuntu user.

      In Munich for example, architects in one department complained that Okular, the LiMux and KDE pdf reader, would freeze when they tried to open large construction plans. When the city investigated this issue further, they found out that actually Okular wouldn’t freeze, but loading these large maps would simply occupy Okular for quite a while, making the user think it crashed.
    • The 10 Most Beautiful Linux Icon Themes of 2018
      You might think it will take you forever to settle on the ideal icon theme for your Linux desktop because there are a thousand and one options to choose from. And although that might be the case, it doesn’t have to be.

      Below is a list of the 10 most beautiful icon themes you can set up on your Linux machine this year. You can install some of them together with the themes they come bundled as a large project (like in the case of Paper,) or install them to use with different GTK and/or Gnome shell themes completely.
    • Bloke sues Microsoft: Give me $600m – or my copy of Windows 7 back
      A fella in the United States is taking Microsoft to court to get Windows 7 put back on his PC.

      Frank Dickman, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking damages from both Microsoft and CEO Satya Nadella for what were termed "civil rights violations" that occurred when his Asus laptop was automatically updated from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

      He seeks either a new copy of Windows 7 or $600m.

      (Well, the lawsuit states "$6,000,000,000.00 (six hundred million dollars)" – so take your pick, $6bn or $600m.)

      According to the complaint – submitted to the US district court in Denver, Colorado – the trouble for Dickman began when his Asus 54L notebook, which had been shipped with Windows 7, updated to Windows 10 and "became non-functional immediately."

    • Samsung Unveils Chromebook Plus V2 Convertible with New Processor, Rear Camera
      Samsung has unveiled on Thursday the second generation of its Samsung Chromebook Plus 2-in-1 convertible laptop powered by Google's Chrome OS Linux-based operating system.

      Designed to help you be more productive on the go while remaining a thin, lightweight and stylish 2-in-1 convertible Chromebook, the Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 is here with a secondary, rear-facing 13MP f1.9 camera with autofocus, mounted on the keyboard deck. It comes with a new, more efficient CPU to prolong the battery life of the devices, as well as a built-in pen, which can be used for all sort of things from signing a document to writing a note or drawing a sketch and edit documents.

    • Purism's Future Plans for PureOS, Malicious Docker Images, Samsung's New Chromebook Plus 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop and More
      Samsung yesterday announced its new Chromebook Plus 2-in-1 convertible laptop, running the Linux-based ChromeOS. The Chromebook Plus "is equipped with a built-in pen and offers a light, thin and stylish design that delivers versatility, portability and a premium experience at a competitive price point". It will be available starting June 24 from Best Buy for $499.99.

    • Here’s a list of Chromebooks with Linux app support
      Linux apps on Chrome OS made their debut on the Pixelbook at Google I/O this year. Since then, support has come quietly to more Chromebooks, new and old. Here’s a list of all the Chromebooks that support the functionality.

  • Server

    • How Docker Is Helping to Save The World (Literally)
      There are many different things that individuals might consider to be a life threatening event and then there are extinction level events, for example an asteroid hitting Earth.

      While the idea of an asteroid hitting Earth and ending all life is the stuff of Hollywood movie like Armageddon, it's an actual, though remote, possibility that NASA is investigating, with the help of Docker containers.

      NASA is currently developing a mission known as DART - the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, which is a spacecraft that will deploy a kinetic impact technique to deflect an asteroid. Christopher Heistand, DART Flight Software Lead, at the The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) that is helping to build the DART ship, detailed how his group is using Docker.

    • Canonical Cuts Its Own Path To Put Linux In The Cloud
      Linux has gradually grown in importance along with the Internet and now the hyperscalers that define the next generation of experience on that global network. Most of the software running at the hyperscalers – with the exception of Microsoft, of course, is built upon Linux and other open source technologies. In turn, this means that Linux and open source have started to become more important in the enterprise arena, as trends such as cloud computing and large scale data analytics drove the need for similar technologies in the corporate datacenter.

      Adapting the collection of open source packages that comprise a typical Linux build and making it suitable for enterprise consumption has led to carefully curated distributions that emphasise reliability and stability, plus paid technical support services and maintenance updates. These are typified by Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), distributions that have a long product lifecycle of ten years and thirteen years, respectively.

    • Team USA Fans Set to Celebrate Expected Supercomputer Win

    • How Docker's CEO Is Growing the Container Pioneer for the Future
      Steve Singh has a very succinct vision for Docker. He wants to enable companies to modernize traditional applications with the Docker container platform. It's a vision that is already transforming into market success for Docker as the company has grown from what Singh said was single-digit million-dollar revenue in 2016 to being on track for triple-digit million-dollar revenue for 2018.

      Since becoming CEO of Docker in May 2017, Singh has helped transform the container pioneer itself. In October 2017, at his first DockerCon, Singh's company announced that it was embracing the once rival Kubernetes container orchestration system. At DockerCon 18, Docker announced new multicloud federation capabilities and developer improvements to the Docker Desktop.

    • imagine you no longer own your infrastructure
      Sounds crazy and nobody would ever do that, but just for a moment imagine you no longer own your infrastructure.

      Imagine you just run your container on something like GKE with Kubernetes.

      Imagine you build your software with something like Jenkins running in a container, using the GKE provided docker interface to build stuff in another container.


      But this time it's not your infrastructure and you can not modify the operating system context your docker container are running in.

      Sounds insane, right? Luckily we're just making up a crazy story and something like that would never happen in the real world, because we all insist on owning our infrastructure.

  • Kernel Space

    • RISC-V Changes Merged For Linux 4.18, Early Perf Subsystem Work
      Initial RISC-V architecture support was added to the Linux 4.15 kernel and in succeeding kernel releases have been mostly modest updates. With Linux 4.18 the RISC-V changes are on the small side still, but with a few notable additions for this open-source, royalty-free processor ISA.

    • Intel Icelake Bringing New MIPI DSI Controller, Linux Driver Patches Posted
      While Intel Icelake hardware is quite a ways out from making its debut, the open-source Intel Linux developers working on the hardware enablement for its "Gen 11" graphics continue working dilligently on this hardware enablement.

      Preparations for Intel Icelake support began with the Linux 4.17 kernel, have continued with the current 4.18 development cycle, and will continue for the next several cycles as all of the support gets squared away, just not for the graphics hardware.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa Rolls Out Support For ARB_sample_locations
        Mesa has been plumbed in to support the ARB_sample_locations OpenGL extension and is now exposed with the Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D driver.

        ARB_sample_locations was part of the "OpenGL 2015" update but hasn't made it into a released version of OpenGL, hence why it wasn't a priority for Mesa developers. But now it's been wired up within core Mesa and is currently flipped on for NVC0 in Mesa 18.2-devel.

      • Mesa's VirGL For OpenGL Within VMs Now Supports Tessellation Shaders
        It was just days ago that the VirGL driver stack -- which is used for supporting OpenGL hardware acceleration within guest VMs that is passed onto the host's driver -- picked up FP64 support while now its latest addition is ARB_tessellation_shader support.

        With the latest Mesa Git and the VirGL renderer library code is updated (as well as your host OpenGL driver supporting GL4), there is now support for tessellation shaders. The support has landed in Mesa 18.2 Git for this popular OpenGL 4.0 feature.

      • NVIDIA Contributes EGLStreams Improvements For GNOME's Mutter Wayland Support
        GNOME's Mutter Wayland compositor support is among the few Wayland implementations offering support for EGLStreams so it can play along with the approach used by the NVIDIA proprietary driver as an alternative to the GBM API used by the open-source graphics drivers. One of the NVIDIA engineers has just furthered along Mutter's EGLStreams support.

      • Mesa 18.1.2 Released With Several RADV & Intel Driver Fixes
        New Mesa release manager Dylan Baker has issued the second point release of the Mesa 18.1 series.

        Mesa 18.1 has many exciting features and continues to see new bi-weekly point releases until after Mesa 18.2 has been released around the middle of August and then sees its subsequent Mesa 18.2.1 point release before that kills off the 18.1 release stream.

  • Applications

    • PIMP My GIMP – Season 2 Episode 10

      GIMP 2.10 is a steady, incremental update to a very solid and mature baseline. GIMP works well, and it offers the familiar tools of the trade to its users. New features come in small chunks, and you don’t need to fight the program. It works with you. I am less keen on the dark-theme modernization, but that’s something you can easily change. Performance is good, you can use hardware acceleration, and you have the rich, colorful range of filters and plugins, although this – mind – depends on the specific version of the program. Different installation methods will lead to slightly different results, but this is an implementation-specific issue and not something inherent that we can blame on GIMP.

      There are still problems, regardless. For instance, the macro functionality is virtually non-existent. And some things remain stubbornly difficult, whereas I’d expect them to be simple, trivial and accessible. Like creating paths. Very frustrating. Why not just offer pre-formatted SVG shapes, like speech balloons or traffic signs or whatever? Why do I need so many steps to make trivial objects? This is definitely an area that GIMP can improve. At the moment, it’s mostly intended for advanced users, and some options truly require a twist of mind that most people just do not possess. It would be nice to see GIMP offer more newb-friendly methods of image manipulation.

      In general, if you’re looking for a free and powerful image manipulation program, with an intermediate level of learning curve difficulty, a wealth of options and extensible features, and a reasonable workflow, GIMP 2.10 is a good choice. You won’t become a pro overnight, but you just might make your photos a little prettier. Worth testing, especially since version 2.10 only makes the good better. Take care.

    • NetworkManager Finally Supports Wake On Wireless LAN (WoWLAN)
      NetworkManager has finally landed support for dealing with Wake On Wireless LAN (WoWLAN) as the WoL-like functionality for wireless adapters.

      WoWLAN support for NetworkManager has been worked on by Canonical developers and there have been patches floating around for more than one year while just two hours ago, the triumphant milestone was reached of merging the WoWLAN support to NetworkManager. Wake On WLAN allows for systems to be woken from standby power similar to Wake On LAN with Ethernet, but instead using wireless. This support though does require WoWLAN support by the kernel drivers.

    • 13 Best Free Linux Voice Over IP (VoIP) Software – Updated 2018
      Voice over IP (VoIP) software enables telephone-like voice conversations across IP based networks. A VoIP phone service is often cheaper than a traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) phone service and removes geographic restrictions to telephone numbers.

      SIP is the most popular VoIP protocol. This protocol enables two or more people to make phone calls to each other using the Internet to carry the call. SIP to SIP calls on a broadband internet connection are high quality, always free regardless of distance, and offer additional functionality such as free voicemail to email and phone numbers, caller ID, 3-way conference, speed dialing, call forwarding, simultaneous ring, call waiting, call return, caller ID block, and anonymous call rejection.

    • Calibre 3.26.1 EBook Manager Fix PDF files Conversions and Brings Faster loading of HTML files
      Calibre is a free and open source E-Book manager for cross platforms. The development team announced the new maintenance release Calibre 3.26.1. It brings several bugs fixes and some new features for managing book listing and book editor as well. Check the key features, the recent bug fixes and installation instructions down below.

      Calibre is one of the most advanced and well maintained e-book manager support many ebook file formats. Transferring e-books library from many of currently commercial e-Book readers with wired connection or wireless connection. It support fetching news feed and magazines from multiple major sources. Editing e-books with different file formats and many more Check Calibre features.

    • Proprietary

      • Google releases Mac, Linux app for converting VR180 into standardized editing format

        Meanwhile, “Prepare for Publishing” takes that edited footage and re-injects VR180 metadata so that it can be uploaded to YouTube and Google Photos for viewing in 2D or VR.

        The VR180 Creator tool can be downloaded directly from Google and supports macOS 10.9+ and 64-bit Linux.

      • Google releases VR180 Creator for Linux and Mac only -- sucks for you, Windows users!
        When you are a Linux desktop user, it can be very frustrating when popular programs are not available for your platform. The same can be said for macOS, but to a lesser extent -- at least it has access to things like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. Like it or not, Windows often gets premium programs as an exclusive. It's not hard to see why -- on the desktop, Microsoft's operating system reigns supreme from a marketshare perspective. Developers will simply follow the money, and who can blame them?

      • Google now has a Creator app for Mac & Linux that turns VR180 video into standard video
        The rollout of the VR180 format is well under way with the launch of the Mirage Camera in the US, and possibly soon in Australia, and Google is now working to make working with the video format easier for content creators by today launching Mac and Linux apps which can convert them into standard videos for distribution.

        The VR180 Creator app has been released for both Mac and Linux – sorry Windows fans – and is fairly bare bones, simply offering creators two options: ‘Convert for Publishing’ and ‘Prepare for Publishing’.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • In Defense Of Ubisoft: Crowdsourcing Game Content Creation Is Actually Fun And Non-Exploitive
        Crowdsourcing has obviously now been a thing for some time. Along internet timelines, in fact, crowdsourcing is now something close to a mature business practice and it's used for all manner of things, from the payment for goods created, to serving as a form of market research for new products and services, all the way up to and including getting fans involved in the creation and shaping of an end product. The video game industry was naturally an early adopter of this business model, given how well-suited the industry is to technological innovation. Here too we have seen a range of crowdsourcing efforts, from funding game creation through platforms like Kickstarter to empowering supporters to shape the development of the game.


        I'll end this with a thought experiment. Imagine for a moment if I had written this same post, except I did a find/replace for "Ubisoft" and replaced it with "Sole game creator." Does anyone really think the same level of outrage would exist? If not, then this isn't a moral question at all, but a monetary one. And if that's the case, it should go without saying that Ubisoft's reputation shouldn't prevent it from being able to try something good and cool with its fans.

      • You Can Now Play ‘TrackMania Nations Forever’ on Ubuntu
        A popular PC racing game has sped its way on to the Ubuntu Snap store — and I think you’re gonna dig it.

        It’s called ‘TrackMania Nations Forever’ (TMNF) and, for some of you, it will need zero introduction.

      • The Underhollow, a Battle Royale-like mode for Dota 2 is live and it's damn fun
        Dota 2 [Official Site, Steam], the free MOBA from Valve has been updated with The Underhollow, a Battle Royale-like mode that's exclusive for Battle Pass owners. It's so good, it should be in the game.

        This new mode pits eight teams of three, to be the last team standing in a fight for cheese. You can bring two friends or you can queue up to be matched up with strangers. Even while playing it with people I didn't know, it was an interesting experience.

      • Croteam are having a big sale to celebrate 25 years
        Croteam, developer of the Serious Sam series and The Talos Principle have stuck around for 25 years and so they're celebrating with a big sale.

      • Oxygen Not Included just got a major update & a new animated short
        Oxygen Not Included, the space colony sim from Klei has a new major update out with another lovely animated short to watch. This is the same update I wrote about before while it was in beta, it's just pushed out to everyone now.

      • Beyond Blue is an undersea exploration game from the developer of Never Alone
        While it's sad we don't have Subnautica, it seems we will be getting to explore the oceans with Beyond Blue [Official Site, Steam] due out next year.

        Beyond Blue, from the developer of Never Alone plans to release in "Early 2019" with Linux support. Check out the trailer below:

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • GSoC 2018 - First month status
        Hi all, I am Chinmoy and I am working on the GSoC project Verifying signatures of pdf files. This is my very first post and in this I intend to inform about the progress I have made since May 14.

        Now due to some unforeseen problems I had to deviate from my proposed timeline. Initially my plan was to implement all non-graphical components in the first half of coding period and in the later half implement the graphical components. But while coding RevisionManager (this would have enabled to view a signed version of document before an incremental update like Adobe Reader does) I ran into some issues while designing its API. So I postponed my work on RevisionManager and started working on the graphical components. So as a result I was able to add basic GUI support needed to verify signed PDF. The patches are listed in T8704.

      • How to Enable the Blur Effect in KDE Plasma 5.13
        The new blur effect in KDE Plasma 5.13 is wowing a lot of people, us included, but a few of you have been in touch to ask how you can enable or configure the blur on your own system.

        Plasma 5.13 should (as I understand it) come with the swish new gaussian blur effect enabled by default provided you use the Breeze theme. Provided you’re on a Linux distro that has the latest Plasma release (like KDE Neon) you should see it.

        If you don’t have it, or if you want to adjust the blur strength and opacity, read on. In this post, we’ll show you what you need to do to get it working.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Modicia: Ultimate Linux with a Twist
        Modicia O.S. Desktop Ultimate 18 LTS lives up to its name in terms of being an ultimate computing platform. It offers a very pleasing user experience that is ideal for office or home functions.

        It has the potential to be ranked among the best of the general-purpose Linux distros. I tend to favor Linux Mint's homespun Cinnamon desktop as my primary computing workhorse. I keep a few winners on my various computers for variety and different productivity options.

        Modicia has been my preferred OS the last few weeks after I stumbled upon its smile-creating capabilities. Its combination of panel types and other user-enhanced tricks soon may qualify it for the default boot choice on my primary computer.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Is Looking For Help Coming Up With The Artwork For 10.0 Buster
        If you are more the artistic type than a software developer, Debian is looking for your help. They are soliciting proposals for the artwork/theme for next year's Debian 10 "Buster" release.

      • Third GSoC Report
        Regarding the functionality of nacho i’ve added the possibility to delete an account. SSH keys are now validated on upload and it is possible to configure the key types that are allowed. I initially just checked if the key string consists of valid base64 encoded data, but that was not really a good solution so i decided to use sshpubkeys to check the validity of the keys. Nacho now also checks the profile image before storing it in the LDAP database- it is possible to configure the image size and list allowed image types, which is verified using python-magic. I also made a big change concerning the configuration: all the relevant configuration options are now moved to a seperate configuration file in json format, which is parsed when nacho is started. This makes it also a lot easier to have default values and to let users override them in their local config. I also updated the documentation and the debian package.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Mir 0.32 Is Inching Close To Release With Many Improvements
            Canonical's developers working on the Mir display server are putting the finishing touches on the Mir 0.32 release.

            Mir 0.32 is another big release as the developers remain focus on getting their Wayland support squared away. Additionally, Mir developers have been working on Logind support that is needed so Mir shells like the EGMDE example shell or Unity 8 can be easily accessed from the GDM3 log-in/display manager.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why open source is good for business, and people
    Open source is all about freedom. The freedom to share, to collaborate, and ultimately, to innovate. It’s a concept that goes back way before the internet, but sometimes seems at odds with our online world and its demanding business imperatives. In open source, no one person or company owns a project; instead, it’s influenced by everyone involved – that’s what gives it strength.

    As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child” -- and it takes a community to create a healthy open source project. Everyone in an open source ecosystem has the opportunity to shape and improve the software and help with its development. Some will make a large contribution, some a relatively small one. But they’ll all be involved and they’ll all benefit. Away from these project contributors, the project’s end users can then identify the features they need, and pass new code upstream for consideration. Everyone can make a difference.

    An open source project has the best chance of growing successfully if everyone around it gets involved. From code committers to users, documentation writers to software vendors, platform vendors to integrators -- all have a part to play.

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Gandiva
    Data-as-a-Service platform provider Dremio announced a new open-source initiative for Apache Arrow this week. The Gandiva Initiative for Apache Arrow aims to speed up and improve the performance of in-memory analytics using Apache Arrow.

    The project will leverage the open-source compiler LLVM, and apply any changes to programming languages and libraries starting with C++ and Java, with Python, Ruby, Go, Rust and JavaScript changes to follow. With LLVM, Dremio says it will be able to optimize Arrow’s libraries, and low-level operations for specific runtime environments as well as improve resource utilization and provide lower-costs operations.

    “Apache Arrow was created to provide an industry-standard, columnar, in-memory data representation,” said Jacques Nadeau, co-founder and CTO of Dremio, and PMC Chair of Apache Arrow. “Dozens of open source and commercial technologies have since embraced Arrow as their standard for high-performance analytics. The Gandiva Initiative introduces a cross-platform data processing engine for Arrow, representing a quantum leap forward for processing data. Users will experience speed and efficiency gains of up to 100x in the coming months.”

  • Dremio Launches the Open Source Gandiva Initiative for Apache Arrow
    Data-as-a-Service Platform company Dremio recently announced an open source initiative for columnar in-memory analytics underpinned by Apache Arrow. The Gandiva Initiative for Apache Arrow utilizes open source compiler LLVM Project to substantially enhance the speed as well as efficiency of performing in-memory analytics using Apache Arrow, thus making these enhancements widely available to several languages and popular libraries.

  • Working in open source: part 1

    Three years ago on this day I joined Collabora to work on free software full-time. It still feels a bit like yesterday, despite so much time passing since then. In this post, I’m going to reconstruct the events of that year.

    Back in 2015, I worked for Alcatel-Lucent, who had a branch in Bratislava. I can’t say I didn’t like my job — quite contrary, I found it quite exciting: I worked with mobile technologies such as 3G and LTE, I had really knowledgeable and smart colleagues, and it was the first ‘real’ job (not counting the small business my father and I ran) where using Linux for development was not only not frowned upon, but was a mandatory part of the standard workflow, and running it on your workstation was common too, even though not official.

  • 5 Free Open Source Testing Tools You Can Trust
    Free open source testing tools have never been more popular, necessary or front of mind. Recent news coverage of the open source Kayenta suite of canary testing tools launched by Google and Netflix not only demonstrates that industry has an increasing appetite for automated testing, but also that the need for such tools is far more widely accepted.

    There are a few major pitfalls for the unwary when choosing open source testing tools, perhaps the most important being to be clear about is the difference between ‘free’ tools and open source tools, a distinction that often gets muddied. Indeed, there are legions of ‘free’ tools that are not truly open source, which can be an unwelcome discovery – too late – if not checked carefully first.

  • These top 8 open source monitoring tools will help you keep an eye on your containers
    Containerized applications are all the rage in the world of software delivery today. From startups to traditionally run enterprises, regardless of industry, there is an increasing dependency on Docker containers. But a broader view shows the growing complexity and challenges with containers. One of these challenges is the methods of monitoring containers. Monitoring tools are vital for the maintenance of the IT infrastructure of a business. This is where open source comes in. Open source is both technology and business friendly. This feature has proven so beneficial that even highly innovative companies like Google have chosen open source over other options. Open source ensures that innovation is an ongoing process so that the company does not miss out on technological advances of the time. With the growing importance of containers, monitoring tools, and open source software certain tools have emerged as the cream of the crop that many DevOps teams worldwide rely on. Let’s discuss the top eight open source monitoring tools that are considered effective in the market today.

  • ‘Talon For Twitter’ Paid Twitter Client Goes Open Source
    Developer Luke Klinker is taking the second iteration of his paid Twitter client – Talon for Twitter – open source, giving fellow developers inspiration and a deeper look at how it was made. Specifically, Klinker wanted to share the knowledge he’s gained over the years regarding the implementation of various features and code. Not all of the code is going to be great, Klinker says, since he started building it out as a high-schooler. However, there will undoubtedly be some eloquent pieces of code for devs to draw from as well – especially given that the app has technically been around since 2014 and undergone regular updates.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Microsoft begins rolling out a simplified ribbon for Office [iophk: "This Microsoft's gratuitous loss of productivity for those who have failed to move to LibreOffice"]

      Changes will arrive on starting immediately, with Outlook Insiders who are blessed appropriately will take part in a limited rollout in July. No plans are in place for the rest of the Office ecosystem, but we'd place a small side-wager on it happening to coincide with Office 2019. In all cases, the old ribbon won't disappear, but it won't be default anymore.

    • Microsoft's Office UI update includes a simpler, cleaner ribbon

      Microsoft has given its infamous Office ribbon a much simpler, much less cluttered look as part of its interface redesign for and Office 365 applications. The tech giant has updated the element to only show the most basic options -- if you need any of the commands the redesign hides, though, you can always expand it to go back to its more familiar 3-line predecessor and make sure you can quickly accomplish your tasks.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Is Okta€®Ã¯Â¸Â Open Source?
      What’s more, unlike Okta, most open source solutions aren’t delivered as a cloud service. Instead, open source solutions are delivered as self-manageable software that you can host and customize yourself, altogether defeating the purpose of an IDaaS (Identity-as-a-Service) solution. The outsourcing of the installation, managing, and maintenance of an SSO solution, like Okta, simply doesn’t apply well to the nature of open source.

    • Facebook releases its load balancer as open-source code

    • Database shift: Start with open source but finish with AWS

    • Microsoft's New Operating System Based On Linux [Ed: Same GNU/Linux that Microsoft is blackmailing using software patents when it's not Microsoft's]
      Microsoft says that Linux kernel has been reworked with security innovations that were pioneers in Windows to create a highly secure environment. We are seeing something that many would never have imagined, Microsoft applying what they have learned from security working in Windows to a Linux kernel implementation.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Work (week #2)

      As I mentioned two weeks ago, I’ve transitioned into a new role at Intel. The team is very new and so a lot of my part right now is helping out in organizing the game plan.

      Last week I attended BSDCan 2018 as well as the FreeBSD dev summit. That trip in addition to feedback I got both here on my blog and twitter has helped me compile a decent list of things to do. Thank you all for the feedback so far. For the sake of soliciting possibly more feedback, here is the list. Do remember that I’m employed by Intel and that if you want to recommend something there should be at least some way to tie that back for being good for Intel’s product, and reputation.

    • Some Of The Early Ideas For Intel's New FreeBSD Improvement Effort
      Two weeks back we shared the news that one of Intel's open-source Linux graphics driver veterans decided to change roles and is now focused on improving FreeBSD for Intel hardware. Ben Widawsky is working on FreeBSD improvements that can at least relate to Intel and it turns out the company has a new team of developers on the task.

      Ben Widawsky has published a second blog post about his new role at Intel. it turns out that "the team is very new", so it's more than just him working on refreshing the Intel FreeBSD support. He has shared a list of some of the early feedback collected for what Intel-related areas could be better improved on this BSD operating system.


    • A GCC Compiler Port For TI's PRU Processor
      Patches exist for taking the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) to yet another processor.

      The Texas Instruments PRU is a programmable real-time unit made up of two 32-bit RISC cores for both general purpose computing and industrial applications. The PRU is clocked around 200MHz and has full access to the system's internal memory. The TI PRU is found on ARM boards like the Beagle Board series most notably.

    • GNUMail + Pantime 1.3.0
      A new release for GNUmail (Mail User Agent for GNUstep and MacOS) and Pantomime (portable MIME Framework): 1.3.0!

      Panomime APIs were update to have safer types: mostly count and sizes were transitioned to more Cocoa-like NSUinteger/NSInteger or size_t/ssize_t where appropriate. This required a major release as 1.3.0 for both Pantomime and GNUMail. In several functions returning -1 was replaced by NSNotFound.

    • OresmeKit initial release: plotting for GNUstep and Cocoa
      Started many years ago, it has finally come the moment for a first public release, since I put together even a first draft of documentation. Stay tuned for improvements and new graph types.

      Oresme is useful for plotting and graphing data both native on Cocoa/MacOS as on GNUstep.

      OresmeKit is a framework which provides NSView subclasses that can display data. It is useful to easily embed charts and graphs in your applications, e.g. monitoring apps, dashboards and such. OresmeKit supports both GNUstep and Cocoa/MacOS.

    • The questions you really want FSFE to answer

      As the last man standing as a fellowship representative in FSFE, I propose to give a report at the community meeting at RMLL.

      I'm keen to get feedback from the wider community as well, including former fellows, volunteers and anybody else who has come into contact with FSFE.

      It is important for me to understand the topics you want me to cover as so many things have happened in free software and in FSFE in recent times.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Source University: an ICO to revolutionise the world of education and recruitment
      The online education market is seriously big business. Forbes valued it at $165 billion in 2016 and predicted that it’d be worth as much as $240 billion by 2023. The recruitment industry is even bigger, bringing in $150 billion in 2016 in the USA alone.

      However, both sectors are also riddled with inefficiencies and are ripe for disruption by the correct technology, properly applied. The Open Source University believes that it can transform two industries in dire need of overhaul.

  • Programming/Development

    • BLUI: An easy way to create game UI

      As part of an indie game development studio, I've experienced the perks of using open source plugins on proprietary game engines. One open source plugin, BLUI by Aaron Shea, has been instrumental in our team's development process. It allows us to create user interface (UI) components using web-based programming like HTML/CSS and JavaScript. We chose to use this open source plugin, even though Unreal Engine (our engine of choice) has a built-in UI editor that achieves a similar purpose. We chose to use open source alternatives for three main reasons: their accessibility, their ease of implementation, and the active, supportive online communities that accompany open source programs.

      In Unreal Engine's earliest versions, the only means we had of creating UI in the game was either through the engine's native UI integration, by using Autodesk's Scaleform application, or via a few select subscription-based Unreal integrations spread throughout the Unreal community. In all those cases, the solutions were either incapable of providing a competitive UI solution for indie developers, too expensive for small teams, or exclusively for large-scale teams and AAA developers.

      After commercial products and Unreal's native integration failed us, we looked to the indie community for solutions. There we discovered BLUI. It not only integrates with Unreal Engine seamlessly but also maintains a robust and active community that frequently pushes updates and ensures the documentation is easily accessible for indie developers. BLUI gives developers the ability to import HTML files into the Unreal Engine and program them even further while inside the program. This allows UI created through web languages to integrate with the game's code, assets, and other elements with the full power of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other web languages. It also provides full support for the open source Chromium Embedded Framework.

    • Why (some) agile teams fail
      Teams are different because they are made up of different people with different situations. Certain practices can be easily shared across teams, but in my experience, trying to standardize processes doesn't actually work and adds unnecessary overhead on teams. To make matters worse, the introduction of certifications in the industry has over-emphasized the idea that implementation of agile is the only thing that matters, rather than the idea that teams experiment and learn together what works for them. This is the same danger we face with capturing metrics on teams and using them without understanding their intent and purpose.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Broad's CRISPR patent: The curious case of the missing declaration
      An eagle-eyed Katfriend yesterday alerted IPKat to a curious declaration published on the EP register for The Broad’s European CRISPR patent (EP2771468). Earlier this year, the opposition board revoked the patent for invalid priority (IPKat post here).

      The Declaration, which has now disappeared from the register, purports to be in the name of Thomas Kowalski, the US Patent Attorney who filed the PCT application from which the EP patent is derived (PCT/US 2013/074819). The declaration was posted to the EPO with an accompanying letter on headed note paper from a European patent attorney firm.

    • South Africa commits to substantive search and examination for pharma patents, amidst fears system could grind to a halt [Ed: evergreening means that in addition to patent monopolies they use tricks to indefinitely extend the monopoly]
      Pharmaceutical patent owners may have been concerned to read some of the key features of South Africa’s new IP policy. Recently adopted by the country’s cabinet, it seeks to clamp down on perceived “evergreening” by life sciences companies – raising the prospect of changes to patentability criteria – and suggests an increased role for compulsory licensing. However, the policy contains no concrete provisions to curtail or prohibit patents on incremental pharmaceutical innovations; and its only firm commitments – introducing substantive search and examinations as well as oppositions procedures – bring the country more closely in-line with international best practices.

    • After Two-Week Review, St. Luke’s in Houston Reopens Its Heart Transplant Program
      Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center said Friday it has reopened its storied heart transplant program, two weeks after suspending it to conduct an internal review of two recent deaths.

      In a written statement, the hospital said its review of the deaths “did not identify systemic issues related to the quality of the program” but that it had nonetheless reorganized its transplant surgery team, refined the criteria for which patients it would accept for heart transplants, and made other improvements to strengthen the program. It did not provide details.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Democratic National Committee lawsuit against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange: A major attack on press freedom

      In late April, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) filed a civil lawsuit in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York against the Russian government, Russian intelligence agents, Donald Trump election campaign officials and WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

      The 66-page complaint claims that Trump’s presidential campaign collaborated with Russian intelligence agents who stole information from DNC email servers in the summer of 2016 and arranged for WikiLeaks to publish the information in order to undermine Democrat Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and secure the election of a US president more amenable to the Kremlin.

      The lawsuit is largely based on circumstantial evidence and innuendos about Trump’s business ties with Russia. Salacious details about the 2013 Miss Universe pageant held in Moscow, Russian real estate deals and Florida mega-mansions sold to Russian oligarchs are offered to suggest that a criminal conspiracy must exist.

      However, the complaint provides no new evidence. The lawsuit merely recycles the unsubstantiated allegations of “Russian meddling” contained in a January 2017 report from the office of the US director of national intelligence.

    • Ecuador in talks to remove Julian Assange from London embassy

      Under conditions of a growing international campaign to demand freedom for Julian Assange, Ecuador’s foreign minister has indicated moves are underway to force the WikiLeaks editor out of Ecuador’s London embassy, where he was granted political asylum six years ago.

      Ecuador is negotiating an “exit” plan with authorities in Britain, Foreign Minister Jose Valencia said on Wednesday. Valencia told the Associated Press the plan would be “one that encourages an exit, that we do not want to be traumatic... we do not want it to be an exit that may cause dissonance with international law.”

      Valencia’s appointment as foreign minister on June 11 was praised by right-wing media outlets in Ecuador. While saying he wants to avoid anything “traumatic” and illegal under the international law of political asylum, he has moved quickly to meet their demands to resolve the Assange “problem.”

    • Indian workers and students demand freedom for Julian Assange
      Indian supporters of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) have won important backing from workers, youths and students for the World Socialist Web Site campaign in defence of Julian Assange.

      Indian Trotskyists will demonstrate to demand Assange’s freedom at the central bus terminal in Sriperumbudur, a global auto and electronics manufacturing hub just outside Chennai, the Tamil Nadu state capital, at 5 p.m., on June 19. On the same day, the Socialist Equality Party and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality in Sri Lanka will protest outside Colombo’s Fort Railway Station at 4 p.m.

      The corporate media and pseudo-left in India have not reported on the situation facing the WikiLeaks editor in recent years, especially since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-supremacist Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) came to power in 2014 and strengthened New Delhi’s relationship with Washington. As a result, many people are unaware of the dangers facing Assange, and have learnt about it only from the Indian Trotskyists.

      In Kolkata, the state capital of West Bengal, campaigners spoke with students at Jadavpur University.

    • SEP Australia national secretary demands Australian government act to free Julian Assange
      The Socialist Equality Party has organised a political demonstration in Sydney Town Hall Square at 1pm this Sunday June 17 in defence of WikiLeaks’ editor Julian Assange.


      The Australian government must immediately exercise the undeniable diplomatic power it has, and the undeniable legal discretion that it has, and intervene on behalf of Julian Assange, an Australian journalist and citizen.

    • From Pinochet To Assange: A Tale Of Two Extraditions
      The plethora of crimes committed during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile between 1973 and 1990 were exactly the type of abuse of power that Julian Assange would uniquely expose through Wikileaks. Both Assange and Pinochet have battled against extradition from the UK, with vastly different outcomes and contrasting positions taken by the UK government. Astoundingly, the UK supported Pinochet, a human-rights abuser, and persecuted Assange, a journalist who has exposed crimes of the powerful. Adding to this, the UK paid for the same barrister to defend Pinochet from extradition, and to later argue for Swedish authorities during their attempts to extradite Assange.

      The reality of the UK’s role in protecting a despot and prosecuting a journalist reveals the true face of a self-perpetuating, corrupt power structure which, based in part on the perception of freedom of the press, has falsely claimed moral authority on the world stage.

      The more attention we pay to the facts and history surrounding the UK’s part in the arbitrary detention of Assange and the protection of Pinochet from exposure, the more evident the corruption becomes.

      Julian Assange has never been publicly charged with a crime, much less convicted of one. Last year, Swedish authorities finally dropped their investigation, years after the UK successfully pressured Swedish authorities to string out the matter in 2013. Despite all of this, Julian Assange has remained arbitrarily confined by British authorities for almost six years, according to the findings of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD).

    • Whistleblowers defend democracy, say rights advocates

      Rhode Island Rights held a rally Wednesday outside the Federal Building near Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence to support whistleblowers facing jail time, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Terry Albury, who revealed government secrets to protect democracy from governmental overreach.

      Albury may be the least well known, so activist Randall Rose spoke about him in the video below.

      Terry Albury, a black Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent in Minneapolis, was required to carry out FBI directives that “profiled and intimidated minority communities in Minnesota and other locations.” Albury leaked FBI secret manuals to The Intercept, manuals that show how the FBI allows itself to discriminate, pressure people into becoming informants, and infiltrate groups. Albury was caught, had to plead guilty to unauthorized disclosure of national defense information, and is now awaiting sentencing of up to 10 years in jail.

    • Letter: Free Julian
      It has been almost 11 weeks since Wikileaks founder and editor Julian Assange had his communication and internet connection access rescinded by the Ecuadorian government. The powers that be have made it clear that there is nothing they find to be more dangerous and harmful to them than being exposed to us. They feel threatened by the very idea that we might become less subordinate and more informed.

      This is partially why what Assange and Wikileaks stand for and have done for us all is so important and so dangerous. Every person who values transparency, justice, truth and accountability should be calling for and demanding freedom and justice for Julian and exoneration from prosecution for publishing leaked documents.

    • The Liberal Agenda – free Julian Assange – Tue 19 June, Wellington
      Thousands of Wikileaks supporters worldwide will hold protests at U.K and U.S Embassies on June 19th, 2018 to demand that the Governments of Australia, United States and United Kingdom pardon Assange and free the publisher from any potential indictment or charges in the U.S.

    • Clinton tries to troll Comey, gets butt kicked by WikiLeaks
      Hillary Clinton’s latest attempt at what appears to be a joke about her infamous emails fell flat on its face after WikiLeaks responded with an awkward reminder of just how significant those emails were.

      Clinton, who still hasn’t accepted the many factors which contributed to her losing the presidential election to Donald Trump, thought it would be a good idea to take to Twitter. However, she succeeded only in reminding everyone that (a) she can’t let things go, (b) she can’t really do humor and (c) she put national security in danger by using a private email server during her time as secretary of state.

    • Assange’s Ecuadorian Cave

      For over two months Julian Assange had no internet access and no contact with anyone besides his lawyer. Fifteen days is prohibited by the UN as prolonged solitary confinement under the Mandela Rules.

      His situation now appears unchanged except that he was visited on Thursday by two officials from Australia’s High Commission. It has not yet been reported what was discussed, but if consistent with that government’s action to date this would be an exercise to wash their hands of him, much as Ecuador appears to be doing.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Easiest Way To Counterattack Russia — Go Electric
      I’ve actually had this draft started for weeks, and it rose to the top of the story list today by coincidence — seriously. The only thing I changed in the title was the word “hit” to the word “counterattack,” since the latter fit the day (the start of the 2018 World Cup in Russia), the former seemed too personally aggressive in general, and counterattack really is what we’re talking about here anyway.


      But that last bit gets to the crux of the matter. Russia is highly dependent on its oil & gas industry. Its economy is already quite weak and its people suffer under a low quality of life as a result, but it’ll get worse if Russia’s oil & gas business is harmed. And, more importantly for the Russian oligarchs running the show over there, it gets much worse for them if they can’t hoard another billion or 10 from oil & gas sales.

    • The Ocean Is Getting More Acidic—What That Actually Means
      Thanks to carbon emissions, the ocean is changing, and that is putting a whole host of marine organisms at risk. These scientists are on the front lines.

  • Finance

    • People Outraged After Amazon Found To Secretly Profit From "Unethical And Illegal" Chinese Sweatshops

      China Labor Watch revealed how dispatch workers made up more than 40 percent of the Hengyang Foxconn’s workforce, a significant rights violation of the legally mandated 10 percent ceiling. Chinese dispatch workers, kind of like America’s temporary workers, are given remarkably different working conditions between regular workers.

    • [Older] A Worrying Number of Amazon’s Warehouse Workers Are Reportedly Living Off Food Stamps

      The issue of Amazon workers relying on food stamps may be more widespread, as this news only represents the data that’s been furnished publicly so far. But in Kansas, Pennsylvania, Washington, Ohio, and Arizona, Amazon is among the top 20 beneficiaries of SNAP—and in Arizona things are particularly dire, with one out of every three Amazon employees needing food stamps to eat.

    • Microsoft tie-up with Walmart could emulate self-serve success of Amazon Go

      The Microsoft team, meanwhile, is said to include a former Amazon Go developer who is working on a way of using the shopping trolley as a camera mount for watching the products being picked up.

    • Exclusive: Microsoft takes aim at Amazon with push for checkout-free retail

      The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant is developing systems that track what shoppers add to their carts, the people say. Microsoft has shown sample technology to retailers from around the world and has had talks with Walmart Inc (WMT.N) about a potential collaboration, three of the people said.

    • Microsoft reportedly working on rival Amazon Go tech for cashier-free stores

    • Microsoft tech may help Walmart get rid of cashiers and checkout lines

    • What if the NSA Invented Bitcoin (BTC)?

    • The NSA helped to invent Bitcoin, founder of world’s second largest cryptocurrency Ethereum claims
      The founder the world’s second-biggest cryptocurrency has claimed US intelligence services may have played a role in the creation of Bitcoin.

      Vitalik Buterin, the Russian-born creator of Ethereum, suggested the National Security Agency (NSA) was involved in the development of the virtual currency.

      A person or group called Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper in 2008 which first set out the mechanics of Bitcoin.

      But although several people have been identified as the ‘real’ Satoshi, his identity has never been unequivocally proven.

    • Report: CIA Neither Confirms nor Denies Knowledge of True Identity of Satoshi Nakamoto

    • CIA ‘Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ They Know Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto

    • CIA Doesn’t Deny Having Files on Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto
      The identity of the person or group of persons that created Bitcoin remains one of the biggest mysteries in the cryptocurrency world. Nakamoto’s creation has gone on to become the number one digital currency in the industry. Many have tried to unearth the Nakamoto’s identity without any success.

      Over the years, researchers have suggested some candidates such as Nick Szabo and Ross Ulbricht as being Nakamoto. In 2015 and again in 2016, Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist claimed that he was Satoshi Nakamoto. He even declared that he had proof to that effect. However, many in the cryptocurrency community believe Wright’s claims to be false.

    • The CIA ‘Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny’ It Has Documents on Satoshi Nakamoto
      Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Ever since this pseudonymous person or group unleashed Bitcoin on the world in 2008, Nakamoto’s real identity has been one of the biggest mysteries in the cryptocurrency world. And based on a response to my recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, if the CIA knows anything, it’s not talking.

      People have claimed to have found Nakamoto on several occasions, without much success. The New York Times reported in 2013 that there was strong evidence that Nakamoto was actually Ross Ulbricht, the mastermind behind the Silk Road dark web marketplace. Perhaps the most infamous unmasking was in 2014, when Newsweek tracked down a man in California named Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto who was definitely not the guy who created Bitcoin. And who could forget the time that Craig Wright, current chief scientist of the blockchain company nChain, claimed to be Nakamoto, but didn’t produce satisfactory evidence to back up his claim.
    • Brexit crisis intensifies as “Remain” Tories reject bogus compromise on parliament having “meaningful vote”
      A supposed “ compromise ” amendment to the European Union Withdrawal Bill proposed by the Conservative government of Prime Minister Theresa May to head off a potential rebellion by around 15 pro-Remain Tory MPs unravelled yesterday.

      May is beholden to her hard-Brexit wing, led by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson , and Jacob-Rees Mogg. But even a small rebellion by Remain Tories would endanger her minority government reliant on the votes of 10 Democratic Unionist Party MPs. Therefore, the first day of voting on Tuesday concerning 15 amendments to the Withdrawal Bill by the House of Lords centred on the most potentially damaging—agreeing that parliament must have a “ meaningful vote ” on any Brexit deal concluded.
    • Actually, NYT, Hurting Growth Is the Whole Point of Raising Interest Rates

      The Federal Reserve Board raised interest rates on Wednesday. According to comments from Chair Jerome Powell and other Fed board members, they believe that the unemployment rate is approaching, if not below, levels where it could trigger inflation. The hike this week, along with prior hikes and projected future hikes, was done with the intention of keeping the unemployment rate from getting so low that inflation would start to spiral upward.

      This is not the same as “express[ing] confidence that raising borrowing costs now won’t hurt growth,” which is the view attributed to Fed officials in the New York Times‘ “Thursday Briefing” section (6/14/18). The point of raising interest rates is to slow growth, so they absolutely believe that higher interest rates will hurt growth. The point is that the Fed wants to slow growth, because it is worried that more rapid growth—and the resulting further decline in unemployment—will trigger inflation.
    • West Virginia Paid for a CEO to Go on a Trade Delegation to China. Turns Out, He Was Promoting His Company’s Interests, Too.

      Last November, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping looked on in Beijing as officials from the state of West Virginia and a Chinese energy company signed what was hailed as a landmark deal for the state.

      Under the deal, China Energy Investment Corporation would invest more than $80 billion over the next 20 years in West Virginia’s natural gas industry.

      West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and other state leaders have been banking on the China deal, predicting it would create tens of thousands of additional jobs in the state. It was also described as a victory for Trump, the largest in a series of Chinese investments in the U.S. that totaled $250 billion.

      But on Friday, Justice revealed that an ethical cloud has appeared over the China deal: At least one member of the state’s trade delegation — a gas industry executive — was also working to help his private company on the trip.

      Brian Abraham, the governor’s general counsel, said the state was “using someone who probably shouldn’t have been involved in the negotiations” as part of its trade delegation.
    • Bitfi Knox Wallet: Open Source Unhackable Monero Hardware Wallet
      An international payments technology firm is developing a system that will enable businesses and consumers to take part in the cryptocurrency economy. The company, known as Bitfi, announced the introduction of the Bitfi Knox Wallet, which is not only unhackable, but also an open source hardware wallet with a dashboard which has a wireless setup.

      The wallet also supports other cryptocurrencies like Monero, being a fully decentralized private crypto which beforehand did not have a hardware wallet solution. After setting up the wallet, the devise will have access to up-to-the-minute software information. This will be instrumental in eliminating corrupt software which may be used by phishing criminals.

    • US Imposes USD 50B In Tariffs On China For Forced IP/Tech Practices, Cybertheft
      There will be a hearing in July and a comment period on the new lines facing tariffs.

      Of particular concern is China’s “Made in China 2025” program, which the US says will further accentuate the already offending policies. “This is simply a dagger aimed at the hear of the US manufacturing sector,” he said.

      The official pointed to the solar industry where it says China’s unfair practices resulted in making the market uncompetitive for US companies. When China targets an industry they have a tendency to create over-capacity and excess supply, he said, making it difficult for US companies, which work on market-based returns, to get the returns on capital they need.

    • Trump Raises Taxes on Chinese Goods, Eyes Foreign Cars Next

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Democrats choose former CIA agent for congressional nomination

      Primary elections in five US states Tuesday chose the Democratic and Republican nominees for three US Senate seats, four governorships and 25 seats in the House of Representatives.

      The results confirmed the main political trends in the two corporate-controlled parties, with both parties moving further to the right. The Republican Party is embracing candidates who echo the fascistic demagogy of the Trump White House, particularly directed against immigrants. The Democratic Party continues to select candidates drawn to an extraordinary extent from the national security apparatus—ex-CIA, military intelligence and combat commanders, as well as civilian national security officials.
    • Inspector General Not Too Happy With James Comey's Handling Of The Clinton Email Investigation
      The damning report the President has been waiting for has arrived. The Inspector General's report covering everything from James Comey's handling of the Clinton email investigation (terribly with bonus insubordination) to a couple of FBI agents forming a two-person #Resistance (stupid and made the FBI look bad, but not illegal) runs almost 600 pages and won't make anyone looking to pin blame solely on one side of the partisan divide very happy.

      It's been claimed the report would finally show the FBI to be an agency filled with partisan hacks, further solidifying "Deep State" conspiracy theories that the government Trump runs is out to destroy Trump. It was somehow going to accomplish this despite many people feeling the FBI's late October dive back into the Clinton email investigation handed the election to Trump.

      Whatever the case -- and whatever side of the political divide you cheer for -- the only entity that comes out of this looking terrible is the FBI. That the FBI would engage in questionable behavior shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, but the anti-Trump "resistance" has taken Trump's attacks on the FBI as a reason to convert Comey, the FBI, and the DOJ into folk heroes of democracy.

      The summary of the report [PDF] runs 15 pages by itself and hands out enough damning bullet points to keep readers occupied for hours. Then there's the rest of the report, which provides the details and may take several days to fully parse.

      Here are some of the low lights from Inspector General Michael Horowitz, possibly the only person who should be touting "Deep State" theories since he's spent his IG career being dicked around by the DEA, DOJ, FBI, and DEA.
    • The Meaning of the Recent Lebanese Election (and How Hariri Suffered a Stinging Defeat)
      One can’t evaluate the results of last month’s Lebanese elections without understanding the real power of the legislative branch, namely that Lebanon’s bizarre sectarian system is a deformed version of a parliamentary democracy.

      The president ruled supreme prior to the 1989 Ta’if reforms, which ended the 15-year civil war and restructured the Lebanese political system. He was able to tailor the results of the Lebanese elections to his liking. This was done either through outright rigging (as Kamil Sham`un did in 1957 with U.S. help) or by gerrymandering.

      Furthermore, the Lebanese president (who has to be a Maronite Christian) had absolute power and would often push the parliament in the direction he wanted.

      But the Lebanese political system was thoroughly changed after 1989, and the powers of the president were greatly diminished, reflecting the changes in the balance of power between the various warring sects and factions in the war.

      New powers were given to the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet), although there is still an unending constitutional debate over whether the Ta’if reforms really shifted the powers of the president to the Council of Ministers or to the office of the prime minister (who has to be a Sunni Muslim). The speaker of parliament (who has to be a Shi`ite Muslim) was awarded an extension of his term from one year to four, although he remains largely without meaningful authority.
    • Facebook’s Screening for Political Ads Nabs News Sites Instead of Politicians
      One ad couldn’t have been more obviously political. Targeted to people aged 18 and older, it urged them to “vote YES” on June 5 on a ballot proposition to issue bonds for schools in a district near San Francisco. Yet it showed up in users’ news feeds without the “paid for by” disclaimer required for political ads under Facebook’s new policy designed to prevent a repeat of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Nor does it appear, as it should, in Facebook’s new archive of political ads.

      The other ad was from The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit news outlet, promoting one of its articles about financial aid for college students. Yet Facebook’s screening system flagged it as political. For the ad to run, The Hechinger Report would have to undergo the multi-step authorization and authentication process of submitting Social Security numbers and identification that Facebook now requires for anyone running “electoral ads” or “issue ads.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Twitter to Face Claims by ‘White Advocate’ Over Banned Accounts

      But he said Taylor properly supported his allegations that Twitter’s policy of suspending accounts, in the judge’s words, “at any time, for any reason or for no reason” may be unconscionable and that the company calling itself a platform devoted to free speech may be misleading and therefore fraudulent.

    • Amnesty urges Pakistan to end rights violations, media censorship
      Amnesty International said on Thursday that the Pakistani authorities must end the current “crackdown” on human rights defenders, activists, journalists and other members of the civil society and ensure that human rights are fully respected and protected in the lead up to the upcoming general elections.

      The statement read, “On 25 July 2018, in general elections held across the country, Pakistanis will elect their next civilian government. Amnesty International is alarmed by the ongoing wave of arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, attacks on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”
    • What It Was Like Living With Communist Censorship of Books and Media
      One of my few prized possessions left from Romania is a tattered copy of the May 1977 best seller, “Greyhound’s America,” by Romulus Rusan, published under the brutal communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. I’ve never met the author until recently, during a reception in Washington, D.C.

      In 1977 communist Romania, the child of a blue collar family who did not belong to the Communist Party had zero chance of meeting any esteemed authors simply because we were not allowed to move in such circles. We were lucky if the labor union allowed my parents to purchase subsidized tickets to a play or an opera showcasing the “advantages” of living under communism and the tragedy of being subjugated by the “evil capitalists.”
    • Group Blasts Trump Administration "Censorship" Of Scientific Studies
      In response to reports this week that the Department of Interior is requiring USGS scientists to submit their presentation titles for political review and that the Interior Department watchdog found no basis for canceling a study into the health effects of mountaintop removal mining, the Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Advocacy Director Jesse Prentice-Dunn...

    • Scientists at USGS face new scrutiny from interior secretary on research presentations

    • Amazon's censorship 'masquerading as commerce'?
      The sudden and unexplained disappearance from Kindle of a new book by Juanita Broaddrick, who claims Bill Clinton raped her in 1978, is raising anew questions about the online retail giant’s control of information.
    • Censorship Board revokes decision to ban film hours after announcing it
      Egypt’s Censorship Board went back on a prior decision to ban director Khaled Youssef’s latest film, Karma, on Tuesday.

      The Censorship Board had ruled on Monday to withdraw the film’s screening license, stating that it “violated the licensing terms granted,” without elaborating on the nature of these violations.
    • Tanzania Forces 'Unregistered Bloggers' To Disappear Themselves

    • Tanzania orders all unregistered bloggers to take down their sites
      Tanzania ordered all unregistered bloggers and online forums on Monday to suspend their websites immediately or face criminal prosecution, as critics accuse the government of tightening control of internet content.

      Several sites, including popular online discussion platform Jamiiforums, said on Monday they had temporarily shut down after the state-run Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) warned it would take legal action against all unlicensed websites.

      Regulations passed in March made it compulsory for bloggers and owners of other online forums such as YouTube channels to register with the government and pay up to $900 for a license. Per capita income in Tanzania is slightly below $900 a year.

    • Tomahawk HS valedictorian said censorship was the reason she didn't speak at graduation
      A Tomahawk high school valedictorian decided against speaking at commencement after school administrators required she not reference discrimination, school shootings and gender inequality.

      The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the 18-year-old student said administrators at Tomahawk High School wanted to censor some topics for fear of provoking disagreement, judgment and making others feel attacked.

      Her speech was later published in the Tomahawk Leader newspaper.

    • DOJ Lets Cops Know SESTA/FOSTA Is For Shutting Down Websites, Not Busting Sex Traffickers
      SESTA/FOSTA was pushed through with the fiction it would be used to target sex traffickers. This obviously was never its intent. It faced pushback from the DOJ and law enforcement agencies because pushing traffickers off mainstream sites would make it much more difficult to track them down. The law was really written for one reason: to take down Backpage and its owners, who had survived numerous similar attempts in the past. The DOJ managed to do this without SESTA, which was still waiting for presidential approval when the feds hits the site's principal executives with a 93-count indictment.

      The law is in force and all it's doing is hurting efforts to track down sex traffickers and harming sex workers whose protections were already minimal. Sex traffickers, however, don't appear to be bothered by the new law. But that's because the law wasn't written to target sex traffickers, as a top DOJ official made clear at a law enforcement conference on child exploitation. Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan's comments make it clear SESTA/FOSTA won't be used to dismantle criminal organizations and rescue victims of sex traffickers. It's there to give the government easy wins over websites while sex traffickers continue unmolested.

    • Leonard Pitts: Petaluma High learns that censorship doesn’t work
      Here’s an axiomatic truth:

      If you want to make sure people see or hear something, ban people from seeing or hearing something. That predates the internet, as any former teenager who ever hid under the covers listening to “Louie Louie” with the volume down can surely attest.

      We are talking about a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. If censorship didn’t work then on something as inconsequential as a pop song, you can imagine how ineffective it would be now on something as important as sexual assault.

      Somebody at Petaluma High in Petaluma, Calif. should have figured that out. Instead, the school apparently cut the microphone on its valedictorian, 17-year-old Lulabel Seitz, at her graduation ceremony earlier this month. Lulabel says officials had warned her not to mention being the victim of an alleged sexual assault on campus and what she claims was the school’s failure to take action when she reported it.

    • ‘Free the nipple’: Naked basketball game used to protest Instagram censorship (VIDEO, POLL)
      Instagram’s censorship of female nipples is being challenged by a gender fluid model who uploaded a video of them playing basketball topless to protest the restrictive rules, which have been branded sexist.

    • Censorship is a political tool in India but I'll keep fighting till the end, says Anurag Kashyap

    • Facebook execs to meet with GOP leaders over concerns about anti-conservative bias

      Facebook will be represented by a group of former GOP officials: Kevin Martin, who served as FCC chairman during the George W. Bush administration; Joel Kaplan, Bush’s former deputy chief of staff; Greg Maurer, who was an aide to former Speaker John Boehner; and former Republican digital strategist Katie Harbath.

    • Scoop: Facebook to meet GOP leaders to hash out censorship complaints
      Following complaints about censorship of conservatives, Facebook execs will meet today with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), RNC chair Ronna McDaniel and Trump reelection campaign manager Brad Parscale.

    • Pentagon Papers lawyer James Goodale on DNC lawsuit: “The Democrats are establishing possibly a precedent that diminishes First Amendment freedoms”
      James Goodale: The overview is that the leaker, you’re dealing with a leaker and a leakee, and the leaker in the DNC case is, say, the Russian government, which leaks to Wikileaks. Wikileaks is the leakee—they publish the leaked material. The way the law works out as a consequence of the Pentagon Papers case is that the leaker is thought in the United States to be subject to criminal penalties under the Espionage Act. The leakee has what is known as the New York Times defense, and has no criminal liability. EH: That refers to the case in which you were lead counsel? JG: That’s right, New York Times Co. v. US, which came out in 1971. What the DNC has done in its infinite wisdom is undermine the New York Times defense by saying that WikiLeaks, the leakee, has conspired with the person who is subject to the Espionage Act, namely, the leaker. So the bottom line is that the DNC, with that theory, made the leakee subject to Espionage Act criminal liability.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Do Amazon's Movement-Tracking Wristbands Violate Workers' Privacy Rights?
      The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently granted Amazon two patents directed to remote control of human hands. The Amazon patents are able to obtain and record users' location and the detailed movements of their hands. Therefore, highly private information such as when an employee takes a bathroom break or pauses to scratch may be obtained and recorded by the patented system. That, in turn has led to concerns that the patents could violate protected privacy rights of employees under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment applies to government actions, and would be implicated in a legal challenge to the Amazon patents, since patents are issued and enforced by the government. In addition, Amazon patents can run afoul of state statutes and common law privacy protections, which have adopted similar Fourth Amendment privacy standards.
    • NY Senate Passes Bill That Would Make It A Crime To Publish Photos Of The Elderly Without Their Consent
      The New York State Senate just keeps pitching unconstitutional law-balls over the plate, apparently assuming legislators' good intentions will overwhelm judges asked to determine just how much the new laws violate the First Amendment.

      The senate recently passed an anti-cyberbullying bill -- its fifth attempt to push this across the governor's desk. The law couldn't be bothered to cite which definition of "cyberbullying" it was using, but once the definition was uncovered, it became apparent the bill has zero chance of surviving a Constitutional challenge should it become law.

      Eugene Volokh's post on the bill passed along several examples of criminalized speech the bill would result in, including one with its finger directly on social media's pulse.

    • Common Career Change: Batman Comic Writer Tom King Admits to CIA Spying Past
      "Most of my colleagues, bless them, wore suits, looked very much like James Bond. I would always cross [borders] as the super nerd comic book writer. I'd go on an airplane, spill on myself, read comic books, I'd have graphic novels with me. I'd basically be me, and they'd be like ‘That guy could not ever be CIA. Let him in, please. No, he could do no damage to anything!'" King boasted.

    • Vintage US security posters range from bizarre to terrifying
      Formed by a secret presidential memo in 1952 amid growing Cold War tensions, the fledgling National Security Agency commissioned posters to remind its employees to keep mum about their top-secret work.

      Government Attic, a website that requests historical government documents under the Freedom of Information Act and then shares them online, first made the request for the vintage posters in 2016.

    • China mandates radio-tracking beacons in all cars

    • Facebook's chief of communications, policy to step down

      Facebook Inc said on Thursday that Elliot Schrage, who as head of communications and public policy has led the social network’s response to scandals about privacy and election meddling, would step down from the company after a decade.

    • Facebook Policy and Communications Chief to Step Down From Role

      Schrage said the job wasn’t just about promoting a positive image for the company.

    • Police face legal action over use of facial recognition cameras

      Two legal challenges have been launched against police forces in south Wales and London over their use of automated facial recognition (AFR) technology on the grounds the surveillance is unregulated and violates privacy.

      The claims are backed by the human rights organisations Liberty and Big Brother Watch following complaints about biometric checks at the Notting Hill carnival, on Remembrance Sunday, at demonstrations and in high streets.

    • If You’re A Facebook User, You’re Also a Research Subject

      Other academics got these gifts, too. One, who said she had $25,000 deposited in her research account recently without signing a single document, spoke to a reporter hoping maybe the journalist could help explain it. Another professor said one of his former students got an unsolicited monetary offer from Facebook, and he had to assure the recipient it wasn’t a scam. The professor surmised that Facebook uses the gifts as a low-cost way to build connections that could lead to closer collaboration later. He also thinks Facebook “happily lives in the ambiguity” of the unusual arrangement. If researchers truly understood that the funding has no strings, “people would feel less obligated to interact with them,” he said.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Due Process For All -- Not Special Treatment For Some Who Share Your Viewpoint

      I'm also very firmly against these Title IX kangaroo courts. For all. Not just when I happen to like and/or agree with the person who's been fed into the mill.

      I also think colleges and others are making a huge mistake -- a society-warping one -- going after adults for talking about sex or telling a joke. Sure, if somebody is doing it persistently, and somebody tells them to stop -- they don't want to hear it -- and there's no stopping; well, that's harassment.

    • How a Letter Defending Avital Ronell Sparked Confusion and Condemnation

      It also listed her many accomplishments in the fields of philosophy and literature and seemed to suggest that her stature in those fields and at the university should be considered in the investigation. Though the letter’s signatories said they didn’t have access to a "confidential dossier" from a Title IX investigation, they stated their "objection to any judgment against her."

    • AI Drone Learns to Detect Brawls
      Drones armed with computer vision software could enable new forms of automated skyborne surveillance to watch for violence below. One glimpse of that future comes from UK and Indian researchers who demonstrated a drone surveillance system that can automatically detect small groups of people fighting each other.


      The drone surveillance system developed by Singh and his colleagues remains far from ready for primetime. But their work demonstrates one possibility of combining deep learning’s pattern-recognition capabilities with relatively inexpensive commercial drones and the growing availability of cloud computing services. More details appear in a 3 June 2018 paper that was uploaded to the preprint server arXiv and will appear in the IEEE Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) Workshops 2018.

    • People in Jail Deserve Effective Drug Treatment Not Forced Withdrawal
      Under the ADA, opioid addiction is not a character flaw — it is a disability that requires treatment during incarceration.

      Nearly 30 years ago, when he was 18 years old, Sy Eubanks had surgery for a knee injury he got while competing on his high school’s wrestling team. His doctor prescribed him opioid painkillers, the dangers of which are now widely known. All Sy knew was that he liked the feelings his prescription gave him, and he wanted more.

      After graduation, Sy got a job as a logger. It was then he realized he couldn’t stop taking opioids. Whenever he did, he’d get so sick from withdrawal that he couldn’t work. To support his opioid addiction, Sy resorted to increasingly desperate measures: shoplifting, stealing, and pawning items to get money or drugs. By his mid-20s, Sy was using heroin, too.

      Opioids reduce pain, produce euphoria, and are highly addictive. They include prescription painkillers and street drugs heroin and illicit fentanyl. People who are unable to stop using them may have opioid use disorder (OUD), a chronic condition often accompanied by changes to brain chemistry.


      To someone with a life-threatening medical condition, treatment isn’t optional — it’s critical. MAT can be as life-saving to a person with OUD as insulin is to a person with diabetes. Withholding necessary medical treatment from one group of people — non-pregnant people with addictions — while giving the very same treatment to a different group of people — pregnant women — is discriminatory and dangerous.

      It’s also shortsighted.

      When people with OUD get the treatment they need, they are better able to take care of themselves and their families and to contribute to their communities. Whatcom County should be doing all it can to help people with opioid use disorder get access to MAT, instead of obstructing them.

    • Oregon Court System Shields Evaluation of Alleged Killer
      Oregon officials last year fought to keep the public away from records about a man accused of two murders following his early release from state mental treatment.

      They lost, and those public records raised troubling questions about the state’s handling of Anthony W. Montwheeler, who asserted he had been faking a mental illness for 20 years to avoid prison.

      Montwheeler, now 50, had told officials he was tired of living off the dole and in state institutions and wanted to be freed. When doctors said they could find no signs of mental illness, Montwheeler won his bid.

    • Howard Bryant on Black Athletes & Activism
      Surrounded by reporters eager to talk about the cancellation of the White House visit and new NFL policy on standing during the National Anthem, Malcolm Jenkins, safety for the Super Bowl–winning Philadelphia Eagles, chose not to speak, instead holding up signs with information on racism in the criminal justice system and community work players are doing. “Before the anthem even started, players were involved in these types of social justice issues,” Jenkins said afterward. “And so for us, it’s staying on topic, doing the work, supporting those who are doing the work and pushing forward.”

    • ‘Religion Cannot Be Used to Justify Discriminatory Conduct in the Marketplace’
      We will be talking about the Supreme Court’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission for a long time. Denver baker Jack Phillips was determined not legally liable for refusing to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. But we’re told that doesn’t mean discrimination against LGBTQ people is now legal, because in this case, the Court’s majority said, the behavior and statements from some members of Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission indicated “hostility” to Phillip’s religion—and that situation might not obtain in other cases. Is that reassuring?

    • Faulty Field Tests And Overblown Drug Raid Claims: The War On Drugs In Clay County, Florida
      Yet another Florida sheriff with a penchant for publicity is using his office (and manpower) to start some garbage viral War on Drugs. Hence, every bust made by his department -- utilizing armored vehicles and deputies that look like they shop at military surplus stores -- is splashed across the department's Facebook page. Fine, if that's what gets your blood flowing, but these scenes of busts, featuring the Sheriff front and center, contain claims that just aren't backed up by the actual paperwork. George Joseph of The Appeal has the details.
    • Dads Are Stepping Up Their Fight to Receive Fair Parental Leave

      I launched a legal battle, filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Although I was navigating uncertain terrain, previous victories won by civil rights advocates such as the ACLU demonstrated that justice for new fathers was attainable. Support for my case came flooding in from all over the country and around the world. That’s when I came to understand why my case was such a touchpoint: As long as workplaces push women to always be caregivers and men to stay at work, women will never have equal opportunities in the workplace.

      The forces that make it tougher for women at work also make it tougher for men to have equal opportunities at home. As Sheryl Sandberg says in my book about this, “All In,” women can’t “lean in” until men and women can be all in at home. (Ultimately, my employer changed its policy, making it much better.)

      After my case, more men started launching battles of their own. The Center for WorkLife Law saw a spike in calls from dads. Male caregivers now file 28 percent of discrimination cases that involve childcare. The EEOC announced a lawsuit against Estee Lauder, noting that equal benefits for equal work “applies to men as well as women.”

      My attorney Peter Romer-Friedman has taken on these issues in collaboration with the ACLU, which has pointed out that true family leave must be inclusive of fathers. "The Supreme Court has made clear that employers can't treat men and women differently when providing paid leave, other than giving birth mothers six to eight additional weeks of leave as disability-related recovery time,” he says. “Employers who ignore this rule can face huge liabilities. We stand ready to go to court so that fathers and mothers get the paid leave and equality they deserve."

    • Veteran CIA Interrogator Training ICE Officers
      Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has contracted a private security firm run by a former top CIA interrogator to train ICE officers in “intelligence collection” and “counterterrorism elicitation,” federal documents show. The documents indicate that the training is to help ICE officers collect information from “terrorist suspects.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Charter Spectrum Claims The Death Of Net Neutrality Will Magically Provide Better, Faster Broadband

      We've noted how ISPs are worried about losing the looming court case over net neutrality, as well as the dozens of states that are now imposing state-level net neutrality protections. As such, the hope is that they can push forth a loophole-filled net neutrality law in name only; one with so many loopholes as to effectively be useless, but which will pre-empt any tougher state or federal rules (including the restoration of the FCC's 2015 rules). It's a gambit that's not really working, in large part because these companies have obliterated any last vestiges of public trust they may have had with this latest lobbying assault.

    • Eero promises not to brick routers if you don’t pay a subscription

      Eero is responsible for introducing two major trends to Wi-Fi routers: mesh networking and subscriptions. But after Plume — another mesh router startup — said earlier this week that it’s going to start requiring a subscription just to buy a router and keep it fully functional, Eero has said it doesn’t plan to follow suit. “We’ve never had plans ever at Eero to do that,” Eero CEO Nick Weaver said on a phone call. “We’ve never had plans and certainly don’t have any future aspirations for requiring a subscription with the core product we sell.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • U.S. ITC says probing Toyota, others in patent infringement case
      Other companies to be investigated are Denso Ten America Ltd, a subsidiary of Denso Corp (6902.T); Renesas Electronics Corp (6723.T); and Japan Radio, a unit of Nisshinbo Holdings Inc (3105.T).

    • With FRAND high on India’s agenda, Anand links with competition firm in market-first JV
      As first reported on Indian legal site Bar & Bench, leading IP firm Anand & Anand has launched a special purpose vehicle (SPV) with a competition law boutique Gaggar & Associates to address hybrid cases. I recently had a chance to catch up with the former firm’s managing partner Pravin Anand, and he explained that the FRAND focus in India is only going to grow stronger. High end patent work in India, including on the litigation side, is dominated by boutique IP firms.

    • En Banc Denied: Walker Process Claims Stay out of the Federal Circuit
      When Xitronix sued KLA-Tencor, it raised only one cause of action – “a Walker Process monopolization claim under €§ 2 of the Sherman Act and €§€§ 4 and 6 of the Clayton Act based on the alleged fraudulent prosecution of a patent.” See Walker Process Equipment, Inc. v. Food Machinery & Chemical Corp., 382 U.S. 172 (1965). The basic allegation was that KLA fraudulently obtained its U.S. Patent No. 8,817,260 with claims identical-to or broader than claims of KLA’s previously invalidated U.S. Patent No. 7,362,441.


      In its 2013 decision in Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251 (2013), the Supreme Court ruled that a state-law attorney malpractice case did not trigger federal court patent jurisdiction. Newman distinguishes that case on several grounds: (1) that case involved a “long dead patent” and so the outcome would not change any other patent litigation cases; (2) Gunn involved a State interest in adjudging the state cause of action – while here there are only federal interests at stake. According to Judge Newman, the underlying dispute is about “the validity and enforceability of the patent” – questions that should be heard by the Federal Circuit.

    • What BT v Cartier means for rights holders
      The UK Supreme Court has ruled that brand owners must pay the costs of ISPs blocking sites that sell counterfeit goods. But how big are these costs and will the ruling apply to copyright injunctions?

    • Copyrights

      • UN Free Speech Expert: EU's Copyright Directive Would Be An Attack On Free Speech, Violate Human Rights

        We've been writing a lot about the EU's dreadful copyright directive, but that's because it's so important to a variety of issues on how the internet works, and because it's about to go up for a vote in the EU Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee next week. David Kaye, the UN's Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression has now chimed in with a very thorough report, highlighting how Article 13 of the Directive -- the part about mandatory copyright filters -- would be a disaster for free speech and would violate the UN's Declaration on Human Rights...
      • Anti-Piracy Lawyers Sentenced to Years in Prison For Defrauding Copyright Holders

        Three lawyers who specialized in anti-piracy litigation on behalf of the movie and TV industries have been convicted of defrauding them out of millions. The trio, from the Johan Schlüter law firm, were required to manage registration, collection and administration rights. But after siphoning off almost $16m, a Danish court has handed down sentences totaling more than 10 years.
      • Danish Anti-Piracy Lawyers Jailed For Real, Actual Stealing From Copyright Holders

        There's an old saying: once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, and three times is a trend. It seems now we are officially in the coincidence part of that mantra. You will recall that we recently discussed famed author Chuck Palahniuk's apology for blaming piracy for his stagnant finances when the real story was that a business partner at his literary agency was simply stealing money from him. We noted at the time that this business partner was the one feeding Palahniuk the false story that piracy was responsible for his dwindling money and that such a story was made believable in part because of the efforts of the copyright industry and its lawyers demonizing the internet and copyright infringement at every turn.

        Well, recent news reports detail the sentencing of three Danish lawyers to years in prison for defrauding their copyright holder clients, while supposedly working for them on anti-piracy efforts. The organization now known as Rights Alliance, previously Antipiratgruppen, had hired lawyers from the Johan Schluter law firm for representation in piracy cases. The firm worked on these efforts for Rights Alliance for years before an audit showed just how shady these beacons of justice for rightsholders actually were.

      • TVAddons: Telco Bailiffs Enter Operator’s Home Over Unpaid Attorney’s Fees

        Exactly a year after Canada's largest telecoms companies executed a warrant against TVAddons founder Adam Lackman, unwelcome visitors have again attended his home. After a court order to pay attorney's fees of CAD$50,000 went unsettled, bailiffs representing Bell, Rogers, and Videotron turned up at Lackman's home Wednesday in an effort to seize property.

      • YouTube Download Sites Throw in the Towel Under Legal Pressure

        Several video downloading and MP3 conversion tools have thrown in the towel this week, disabling all functionality following legal pressure. states that it received a cease and desist order, while and reference the lawsuit against YouTube-MP3 as the reason for their decision.

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