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Links 18/9/2019: Fedora Linux 31 Beta, PCLinuxOS 2019.09 Update

  • GNU/Linux

    • The return of startx(1) for non-root users [with some caveats]

      Mark Kettenis (kettenis@) has recently committed changes which restore a certain amount of startx(1)/xinit(1) functionality for non-root users.

    • Desktop

      • Huawei Replaces Windows with Linux on New Laptops

        Huawei’s problems with the United States government have been well documented. US companies are forbidden from trading with the Chinese company once a 90 day reprieve is over. Thirty days into that reprieve, Huawei has announced its laptops will now run Linux as an operating system.

        Under the US trade ban, Huawei will not be able to access Google services and Microsoft’s Windows. The company has already embraced its own Harmony OS to replace Android.

        Luckily for Huawei, the company does not need to develop its own system for PC. That’s because there is an open and free OS readily available, Linux.

        In China, Huawei is already selling its MateBook 13, MateBook 14, and MateBook X Pro devices running the Linux platform. Deepin is being used as the distro, a Chinese fork of the Debian distribution.

    • Server

      • Demystifying Containers – Part III: Container Images

        This series of blog posts and corresponding talks aims to provide you with a pragmatic view on containers from a historic perspective. Together we will discover modern cloud architectures layer by layer, which means we will start at the Linux Kernel level and end up at writing our own secure cloud native applications.

        Simple examples paired with the historic background will guide you from the beginning with a minimal Linux environment up to crafting secure containers, which fit perfectly into todays’ and futures’ orchestration world. In the end it should be much easier to understand how features within the Linux kernel, container tools, runtimes, software defined networks and orchestration software like Kubernetes are designed and how they work under the hood.

      • IBM

        • Oracle Autonomous Linux is 'world's first' autonomous operating system

          ORACLE HAS SHOWN OFF Oracle Autonomous Linux, an autonomous operating system that requires no human supervision to run.

          The operating system was unveiled this week by Larry Ellison, Oracle co-founder and chief technology officer, at the firm's OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, and is - according to the company -the world's first autonomous operating system capable of tuning and patching itself while running.

          Ellison said the new operating system will help customers achieve extreme performance, high reliability and security.

        • Oracle Ups the Ante in Cloud with World's First Autonomous Operating System

          Keeping systems patched and secure is one of the biggest ongoing challenges faced by IT today. Tasks can be tedious and error prone, and extremely difficult to manage in large-scale cloud environments. With Oracle Autonomous Linux, customers can rely on autonomous capabilities to help ensure their systems are secure and highly available to help prevent cyberattacks.

          "Oracle Autonomous Linux builds on Oracle's proven history of delivering Linux with extreme performance, reliability, and security to run the most demanding enterprise applications," said Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president of operating systems and virtualization engineering, Oracle. "Today we are taking the next step in our autonomous strategy with Oracle Autonomous Linux, providing a rich set of capabilities to help our customers significantly improve reliability and protect their systems from cyberthreats."

        • "Autonomous Linux" Operating System in the Cloud Extends Oracle's Autonomous Strategy

          Marking what it describes as a milestone in its autonomous strategy, Oracle announced its Autonomous Linux, which, the company said, along with its new OS Management Service, provides an autonomous operating environment that eliminates complexity and human error to enable cost savings, security, and availability for customers.

          The Oracle Autonomous Linux is targeted at the IT challenge of keeping systems patched and secure, which can be tedious, error-prone, and difficult to manage in large-scale cloud environments. With Oracle Autonomous Linux, customers can rely on autonomous capabilities to help ensure their systems are secure and highly available to help prevent cyberattacks.

        • Oracle Autonomous Linux: World's first autonomous operating system announced

          Oracle has announced its free autonomous operating system — Oracle Autonomous Linux — which provisions itself, scales itself, tunes itself and patches itself while running.

          Autonomous Linux is based on Oracle Linux, which powers Oracle Cloud and Oracle Engineered Systems.

          Additionally, Oracle promises "literally instantaneous migration" to the new operating system. The OS is free for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure customers.

        • Oracle woos Red Hat users with Autonomous Linux

          Sending a shot across the bow to rival Red Hat, Oracle has introduced Oracle Autonomous Linux, an “autonomous operating system” in the Oracle Cloud that is designed to eliminate manual OS management and human error. Oracle Autonomous Linux is patched, updated, and tuned without human interaction.

          The Oracle Autonomous Linux service is paired with the new Oracle OS Management Service, which is a cloud infrastructure component providing control over systems running Autonomous Linux, Linux, or Windows. Binary compatibility is offered for IBM Red Hat Enterprise Linux, providing for application compatibility on Oracle Cloud infrastructure.

        • Maintenance Free Linux & Free Cloud: Wim Coekaerts Interview At Oracle OpenWorld

          At the Oracle OpenWorld event, we sat down with Wim Coekaerts - Senior Vice President, Software Development at Oracle - who has been leading Linux work at Oracle.

        • CentOS Linux 7.7 released and here is how to update it

          The CentOS Linux project has released an updated version of its stable Linux distribution CentOS Linux 7.7. You must upgrade to get corrections for security problem as this version made a few adjustments for the severe issue found in CentOS 7.6. CentOS is a Linux distro that is mainly maintained and updated through the work of many users who volunteer their time and effort. It is based upon RHEL 7.7 upstream source code.

        • CentOS Linux 7 (1908) released

          A new release of CentOS Linux 7 is available. This release is tagged as 1908 and derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.7 source code.

        • Announcing the new IBM LinuxONE III – Combined with SUSE for One of the Most Secure Platforms on the Planet

          Our guest blog writer is Kara Todd, Director of Linux at IBM with an exciting announcement from IBM – with SUSE Linux Enterprise playing an integral role! Announcing the new IBM LinuxONE III – the system you need for the most secure, flexible system to support your initiatives today, and you need that system to grow and evolve with you for tomorrow. The latest LinuxONE system was designed to support your mission-critical initiatives and allow you to be innovative as you design and scale your environment. LinuxONE III provides features for advanced data protection and privacy, enterprise resiliency and scalability, and cloud enablement and integration. These tools set the foundation to enable you to build with flexibility, deliver with confidence, and protect the future.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Talking to machines: Lisp and the origins of AI

        The Command Line Heroes podcast explores the invention of Lisp and the rise of thinking computers powered by open source software.

      • 09/17/2019 | Linux Headlines

        Richard Stallman resigns from the board of the Free Software Foundation and his position at MIT.

        Plus Microsoft's latest open source project, Oracle's new Linux distribution, and a release date for CentOS 8.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Kernel 5.3 released: Experimental support for AMD Navi GPU

        Now that the new Linux Kernel 5.3 has been released, it’s time to know what news has been integrated.

        The kernel is the heart of any operating system. GNU / Linux has kernel, Mac OS X too, Windows, Android and iOS too and so on. This layer is responsible for the interaction between software and hardware, allowing processes to communicate transparently with electronic devices.

      • Linux Foundation

        • First Digital-Only Bank in China Joins Linux Foundation

          The Linux Foundation today announced that WeBank is joining at the Gold level. It joins Alibaba, Dell, Facebook, Toyota, Uber and Verizon among other Linux Foundation members at this level.

        • First Digital-Only Bank in China Joins Linux Foundation

          WeBank is both the first privately-owned bank and the first digital-only bank in China. It was built with technology at its core and is committed to promoting innovative technologies. It recently led the transfer of the FATE (Federated AI Technology Enabler) to the Linux Foundation. FATE is a federated learning framework that fosters collaboration across companies and institutes to perform AI model training and inference in accordance with user privacy, data confidentiality and government regulations.

      • Graphics Stack

        • HIPCL Lets CUDA Run On OpenCL+SPIR-V

          Based off AMD's GPUOpen HIP as part of their ROCm stack, researchers at Tampere University in Finland have created HIPCL as leveraging HIP as well as POCL for routing CUDA codes to run on any hardware supporting OpenCL+SPIR-V.

          HIPCL provides a path of running CUDA on top of OpenCL, permitting the OpenCL driver also supports the SPIR-V intermediate representation. The OpenCL implementation also needs to support Shared Virtual Memory (SVM) so that actually rules out using NVIDIA's own driver for taking this route in place of their actual CUDA driver. HIPCL also relies upon a patched version of the LLVM Clang compiler.

        • Radeon RADV Vulkan Driver Tackling NGG Stream-Out

          One of the areas the RadeonSI OpenGL and RADV/AMDVLK Vulkan drivers have had a challenging time promptly support with AMD Navi GPUs has been the NGG (Next-Gen Geometry) functionality but it's slowly getting worked out.

          The NGG engine support has required various fixes to the graphics drivers, Navi 14 NGG support is borked, and various other Next-Gen Geometry support issues in the Navi driver code. At least on the software side the open-source developers have continued to improve the support and today the latest improvements arrived for the Mesa RADV Vulkan driver.

        • Radeon Navi 12/14 Open-Source Driver Support Now Being Marked As "Experimental"

          In an interesting change of course, the open-source driver support for AMD Radeon Navi 12 and Navi 14 GPUs is being flagged as experimental and hidden behind a feature flag.

          Back at the start of August AMD sent out their AMDGPU Linux kernel driver support for Navi 12 along with Navi 14. That Navi 12/14 support has since been queued up for introduction in the Linux 5.4 kernel along with the new Vega-based Arcturus GPU.

    • Benchmarks

      • A Look At The Speedy Clear Linux Boot Time Versus Ubuntu 19.10

        Given the interest last week in how Clear Linux dropped their kernel boot time from 3 seconds to 300 ms, here are some fresh boot time benchmarks of Clear Linux compared to Ubuntu 19.10 on both Intel and AMD hardware.

        The systemd-reported boot time was compared between the latest Clear Linux and Ubuntu 19.10 daily images. Ubuntu 19.10 was used for offering the bleeding-edge packages and being more in line to what is offered by the rolling-release Clear Linux. As well, Canonical has been working on some boot time improvements for Ubuntu 19.10.

      • 16-Core HoneyComb LX2K ARM Workstation Looks To Offer A Decent Performance Oomph

        When it comes to ARM-powered workstation boards there hasn't been a whole lot to get excited about with the likes of the Socionext 96Boards Developerbox being quite expensive and not yielding good performance or featureful boards compared to alternative Intel/AMD/POWER workstation/enthusiast boards. One of the more promising ARM workstation boards we have been following is the HoneyComb LX2K (formerly the "ClearFog" board) and it's looking like it could end up being a decent offering in this space.

        The HoneyComb LX2K / ClearFog is the 16-core mini-ITX workstation board we have been following since earlier this year. They have been aiming for this 16-core ARM workstation board for $500~750 USD and it looks like they will actually strike on the lower-end of that price-range.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 9.0 Released With New Result Viewer, Offline/Enterprise Benchmarking Enhancements

        Phoronix Test Suite 9.0 is now available as the latest quarterly feature release to our cross-platform, open-source automated benchmarking framework. With Phoronix Test Suite 9.0 comes a rewritten result viewer to offer more result viewing functionality previously only exposed locally via the command-line or through a Phoromatic Server (or when results are uploaded), new offline/enterprise usage improvements, various hardware/software detection enhancements on different platforms, and a variety of other additions.

    • Applications

      • Meld is an excellent file and folder comparison tool for Windows and Linux

        Ever had two sets of the same files and folders and couldn't decide which one to retain? It may take a long time to actually open each to verify the one that's recent or the one you need; while dates associated with the files may help, they won't all the time as they don't tell you anything about the actual content.

        This is where file comparison tools can be time-savers. Meld is an open source file comparison tool for Windows and Linux for exactly that purpose.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The new Steam Library Beta is officially out for you to try

        The day has finally arrived, Valve have now put out a Beta for the massive overhaul to the Steam Library so you can try it yourself. A huge amount has changed but likely some rough edges to be found since it's not quite finished. Promising though, a lot better in many ways than the old and stale interface that Steam has currently.

      • No hammer or nails needed for the Humble Builder Bundle now live

        The Humble Builder Bundle just went live with a couple of nice Linux games included, another chance to get a good deal.

      • Brutal local co-op platform brawler CHOP has released

        CHOP, a brutal local co-op platform brawler recently left Early Access on Steam. If you like fast-paced fighters with a great style and chaotic gameplay this is for you. There's multiple game modes, up to for players in the standard modes and there's bots as well if you don't have people over often.

        Speaking about the release, the developer told me they felt "many local multiplayer games fall into a major pitfall : they often lack impact and accuracy, they don't have this extra oomph that ensure players will really be into the game and hang their gamepad like their life depends on it." and that "CHOP stands out in this regard". I've actually quite enjoyed this one, the action in CHOP is really satisfying overall.

      • Mystery adventure game Jenny LeClue - Detectivu is releasing this week

        Developer Mografi has confirmed that their adventure game Jenny LeClue - Detectivu is officially releasing on September 19th. The game was funded on Kickstarter way back in 2014 thanks to the help of almost four thousand backers raising over one hundred thousand dollars.

      • Seafaring strategy game Nantucket just had a big patch and Masters of the Seven Seas DLC released

        Ahoy mateys! Are you ready top set sail? Anchors aweigh! Seafaring strategy game Nantucket is now full of even more content for you to play through.

        Picaresque Studio and Fish Eagle just released a big new patch adding in "100+" new events, events that can be triggered by entering a city, the Resuscitation command can now heal even if someone isn't dead during combat, the ability to rename crew to really make your play-through personal, minor quests give off better rewards and more. Quite a hefty free update!

      • MOTHERGUNSHIP, a bullet-hell FPS where you craft your guns works great on Linux with Steam Play

        Need a fun new FPS to try? MOTHERGUNSHIP is absolutely nuts and it appears to run very nicely on Linux thanks to Steam Play.

        There's a few reasons why I picked this one to test recently: the developers have moved onto other games so it's not too likely it will suddenly break, there's not a lot of new and modern first-person shooters on Linux that I haven't finished and it was in the recent Humble Monthly.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • OSGeoLive 13.0 Released, which Brings Some New Applications

          Astrid Emde has announced the new release of OSGeoLive 13.0 on Sep 12, 2019.

          This release has improved the Python experience a lot by adding an additional Python modules like Fiona, rasterio, cartopy, pandas, geopandas, mappyfile.

          Also, added the following new applications MapCache, GeoExt, t-rex, actinia.

          Many packages have been updated to the latest version.


          It is featuring a large collection of open-source geospatial software and free world maps.

          It provides bootable ISO-Images and Virtual Machines which allow users to try out fully-operational versions of popular Free Geospatial Software without the need to install a thing.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

        • PCLinuxOS 2019.09 updated installation media release

          The KDE versions both full and the minimalistic Darkstar contain kernel 5.2.15 plus a fully updated KDE Plasma desktop. Plasma desktop 5.16.5, Plasma Applications 19.08.1 and Plasma Frameworks 5.62.

          The Mate Desktop was refreshed with kernel 5.2.15 and the applications and libraries were updated to their most recent stable versions from the previous release.

          The Xfce Desktop was tweaked and now uses the Whisker menu by default. A login sound was added and the applications were updated along with some minor bug fixes.

          In addition all ISOs now include the Nvidia 430.50 driver and will be used instead of the nouveau driver if your video card supports it. Hardware detection scripts were updated to provide better support for video cards that can use the Nvidia 430.50 driver. Pulseaudio has been updated to the stable 13.0 release. The Simple Update Notifier was reworked and now works for keeping you notified of system updates and the ability to update from the applet using apt-get. Small improvements were made to the Live media boot scripts. Vbox test media is also included on the installation media. This program allows you to quickly test an ISO on the fly or usbstick with various options without having to create a permanent VM in Virtualbox. Requires a valid Virtualbox installation. Thanks to the people involved for their contributions to this program.

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora Linux 31 Beta is Here

          Fedora 31 is due later this year, but first, there needs to be some beta testing. And so, today, Fedora 31 Beta is made available for download. Unfortunately, details surrounding version 31 are a bit sparse. With that said, one big change involves Fedora users with ARM 64-based single board computers, such as a Raspberry Pi. Those folks will get access to an additional desktop spin -- the lightweight Xfce. Workstation users will be treated to GNOME 3.34, but not the final version that was released recently. Don't worry -- when Fedora leaves beta status, and is officially released, you can be sure the stable GNOME 3.34 will be included. Remember, Fedora is one of the best ways to experience a vanilla GNOME desktop environment.

      • Debian Family

        • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (July and August 2019)

          The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months:

          Keng-Yu Lin (kengyu) Judit Foglszinger (urbec)

          The following contributors were added as Debian Maintainers in the last two months:

          Hans van Kranenburg Scarlett Moore


      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical have listed what 32bit packages they will continue to support through Ubuntu 20.04

          After Canonical announced they would be ending 32bit support earlier this year and then adjusting their plans after the backlash, they've now posted what packages they will look to continue supporting.

          Canonical's Steve Langasek posted on their Discourse forum a list which they "have been able to determine there is user demand based on the feedback up to this point" and they will "carry forward to 20.04" and that includes other packages not directly in the list that they may depend on.

        • Community process for 32-bit compatibility

          Based on our commitment to continue to support i386 userspace in Ubuntu, we have assembled a list of packages for which we have been able to determine there is user demand based on the feedback up to this point. The packages listed below are the ones we are committing to carry forward to 20.04 on parity with amd64. (We will also, necessarily, carry forward the various other packages that those in this list depend on or build-depend on.)

          Are there other packages not on this list that you need for 32-bit compatibility? Please let us know!

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • FOSS – A boon for e-governance and educational institutions

        Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Community is By the Community, For the Community, of the Community, To the Community on No Profit No Loss Basis. Open Source Software, is and will always remain free. There is no license to pay to anybody.The central government mooted out a policy on adoption of open source software, which makes it mandatory for all software applications and services of the government be built using open source software, so that projects under Digital India “ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs”. “Government of India shall endeavour to adopt Open Source Software in all e-Governance systems implemented by various Government organizations, as a preferred option in comparison to Closed Source Software,” said the policy statement, put on the website of the Department of Electronics and Information Technology.The Open Source Software shall have the following characteristics:- A) The source code shall be available for the community / adopter / end user to study and modify the software and to redistribute copies of either the original or modified software. B) Source code shall be free from any royalty.

      • Election fraud: Is there an open source solution?

        Can open source technology help keep our elections honest? With its Trust The Vote Project, the Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Institute is working on making that a reality for elections in the United States and around the world.

        The project is developing an open, adaptable, flexible, full-featured, and innovative elections technology platform called ElectOS. It will support all aspects of elections administration and voting, including creating, marking, casting, and counting ballots and managing all back-office functions. The software is freely available under an Open Source Initiative (OSI)-recognized public license for adoption, adaptation, and deployment by anyone, including elections jurisdictions directly or, more commonly, commercial vendors or systems integrators.

      • The community-led renaissance of open source

        With few commercial participants, early free software and open source communities were, by definition, community-led. Software was designed and created organically by communities of users in response to their needs and inspiration. The results, to a degree nobody predicted, were often magical.

        First-generation open source businesses like Red Hat emerged to respond to these needs. They combined the best of both worlds: the flexibility and control of raw open source with the commercial support that enterprises depend on. These new open source businesses found their opportunity by adding the missing—but necessary—commercial services to community-led open source projects. These services would be costly for organizations to provide on their own and potentially even more costly to do without. One early leader of that era, Cygnus Solutions, even adopted the counter-intuitive tagline "Making free software affordable."

        But back then, it was always overwhelmingly clear: The commercial vendors were in service of the community, filling in around the edges to enable commercial applications. The community was the star, and the companies were the supporting cast.

      • Top 10 Technology Predictions for 2019 Revisited – Here’s my Personal Performance Appraisal

        Open source continues to play a key role in all these other dominant technology trends. That’s why 82% of large organizations are more receptive to open source than they were 5 years ago, and 83% of hiring managers are looking for open source talent as a priority.

        So, how did I do overall with my predictions?

        Based on my own appraisal, I scored a creditable 9/10, and I’m feeling pretty good about that. However, I guess I wasn’t taking a huge risk. By way of full disclosure, I track all of these trends as part of my role at SUSE, and as a leading technology partner, SUSE works very closely with all its customers.

      • Events

        • A recap of the Linux Plumbers Conference 2019

          This year’s Linux Plumbers Conference concluded on the 11th of September 2019. This invitation-only conference for Linux top kernel developers was held in Lisbon, Portugal this year. The conference brings developers working on the plumbing of Linux – kernel subsystems, core libraries, windowing systems, etc. to think about core design problems.

          Unlike most tech conferences that generally discuss the future of the Linux operating system, the Linux Plumbers Conference has a distinct motive behind it. In an interview with ZDNet, Linus Torvalds, the Linux creator said, “The maintainer summit is really different because it doesn’t even talk about technical issues. It’s all about the process of creating and maintaining the Linux kernel.” In short, the developers attending the conference know confidential and intimate details about some of the Linux kernel subsystems, and maybe this is why the conference has the word ‘Plumbers’ in it.

        • OpenForum Academy Workshop - Exploring Modern Dimensions of Openness

          The OpenForum Academy held its second 2019 workshop in Brussels this week. OpenForum Academy is a European-based independent think tank which explains the merits of openness in computing to policy makers, industry and communities across Europe. This workshop series aims at being a forum for practitioners, academics and policy makers to collaborate on various topics of openness and freedom. It is organized by OpenForum Europe, enabling it to bridge between the abstract academic world and policy discussions at the European Commissions. We set out to explore focus topics to answer current challenges to openness that the academy will develop insights and recommendations for. These topics will shape the work of OpenForum Academy for the near future.

          The workshop was opened by a series of input presentations. One of those was on “Addressing lock-in challenges through the use of open source software projects” by Björn Lundell, a fellow of the academy and professor at the University of Skövde in Sweden. He explained for example the need for open source solutions to read and write data formats of digital assets of long-term importance.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Shifting Firefox To A Four-Week Release Cycle

            Mozilla announced today they are tightening up the Firefox release cycle even more... Expect to see new Firefox releases monthly.

            Currently Firefox has a 6~8 week release cadence, not too different from Google Chrome. But Mozilla has now come up with an ambitious four-week release cycle.

            Mozilla is moving Firefox to a four-week release cycle to increase its agility and deliver new features faster. This four-week release cadence will begin in Q1'2020.

          • Firefox is Switching to a Monthly Release Cycle

            Getting a new version of Firefox every 4 weeks isn’t too dissimilar to the current Firefox release cycle, which see a new major release issued every 6 to 8 weeks.

            But by increasing the release rate Mozilla says it can “increase its agility” and bring users “new features more quickly”.

            “With four-week cycles, we can be more agile and ship features faster, while applying the same rigor and due diligence needed for a high-quality and stable release. Also, we put new features and implementation of new Web APIs into the hands of developers more quickly,” Mozilla say.

          • Mozilla first reveals, then conceals, paid support plan for Firefox

            In return for the fee, Mozilla said on the now-absent Firefox enterprise site - still visible through the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine - customers would be able to privately report bugs via a new web portal and receive fixes on a timeline dependent on the impact and urgency of the problem. Customers would also be able to file requests for help with Firefox's installation and deployment, management policies, functionality and customization.

          • Trabant Calculator - a Data Visualization of TreeHerder Jobs Durations

            Its goal is to give a better sense on how much computations are going on in Mozilla automation. Current TreeHerder UI surfaces job durations, but only per job. To get a sense on how much we stress our automation, we have to click on each individual job and do the sum manually. This tool is doing this sum for you. Well, it also tries to rank the jobs by their durations. I would like to open minds about the possible impact on the environment we may have here. For that, I am translating these durations into something fun that doesn’t necessarily make any sense.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


        • GNU community announces ‘Parallel GCC’ for parallelism in real-world compilers

          Yesterday, the team behind the GNU project announced Parallel GCC, a research project aiming to parallelize a real-world compiler. Parallel GCC can be used in machines with many cores where GNU cannot provide enough parallelism. A parallel GCC can be also used to design a parallel compiler from scratch.

        • FSF resignations

          I have been hesitant in renewing my membership to the Free Software Foundation for a while, but now I never want to deal with the FSF until Richard Stallman, president and founder of the free software movement, resigns. So, like many people and organizations, I have written this letter to cancel my membership. (Update: RMS resigned before I even had time to send this letter, but I publish here to share my part of this story.)

          I had the (mis)fortune of meeting rms in person a few times in my life. The first time was at an event we organized for his divine visit to Montreal in 2005. I couldn't attend the event myself, but I had the "privilege" of having dinner with rms later during the week. Richard completely shattered any illusion I had about him as a person. He was arrogant, full of himself, and totally uninterested in the multitude of young hackers he was meeting in his many travels, apart from, of course, arguing with them about proper wording and technicalities. Even though we brought him to the fanciest vegetarian restaurant in town, he got upset because the restaurant was trying to make "fake meat" meals. Somehow my hero, who wrote the GNU manifesto that inspired me to make free software a life goal, has spoiled a delicious meal by being such an ungrateful guest. I would learn later that Stallman has rock star level requirements, with "vegetarian meals served just so" being only one exception out of many. (I don't mind vegetarians of course: I've been a vegetarian for more than 20 years now, but I will never refuse vegetarian food given to me.)

        • MIT Professor Defends Epstein, Blames the Victim

          A very prominent computer scientist at MIT has defended Jeffrey Epstein and blamed one of this victims, claiming that she was “entirely willing” in emails that were leaked last week. He has also called in the pass for the legalization of pedophilia and child porn. Alumni are now calling for him to be fired.

        • Richard Stallman resigns as president of the Free Software Foundation

          On 16 September, one of our independent sister organisations, the US-based Free Software Foundation (FSF), announced the resignation of Richard M. Stallman as its president. While we recognise Stallman's role in founding the Free Software movement, we welcome the decision.

          The Free Software Foundation Europe's mission is to empower people from all backgrounds to control technology and thereby create a better society for everyone. We want to ensure that every human can understand how software works, use the software for any purpose without discrimination, share it with others, and adapt it to their own specific needs.

        • Richard Stallman Has Resigned As President Of The Free Software Foundation

          Stallman laid the foundations for what we know today as the Linux operating system. His early development work on a set of GNU tools such as Emacs, a GCC compiler and build automator (GNU make) were used by Linus Torvalds in the creation of the original Linux kernel.

        • Richard Stallman Resigns from Free Software Foundation

          The outspoken founder of Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GNU project, Richard Stallman, has resigned from his post as President of the FSF. Stallman came under fire for his comments in defense of the late Marvin Minsky, co-founder of MIT’s Artificial Intelligence lab, who was implicated in the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking scandal. Although Stallman did not defend Epstein, his comments regarding Minsky’s involvement were regarded as insensitive at best and came across as an inappropriate logical exercise in the face of growing concern over Minsky’s actions.

        • Richard Stallman leaves MIT after controversial remarks on rape

          Free software pioneer Richard Stallman has resigned from his posts at MIT and the Free Software Foundation after leaked emails showed him quibbling over the definition of rape in a conversation related to Jeffrey Epstein.

          The conversation that triggered Stallman's fall started when someone—names other than Stallman's are redacted in the leaked emails—posted about a planned protest at MIT. The email stated that famed MIT computer scientist Marvin Minsky "is accused of assaulting one of Epstein's victims."

          Stallman objected, saying that the blurb "does an injustice" to Minsky because even if it's true that the then-17-year-old had sex with Minsky, "the most plausible scenario is that she presented herself to him as entirely willing." (One witness to the alleged incident says that Minsky, who died in 2016, declined to have sex with her.)

        • Richard Stallman resigns from MIT and the Free Software Foundation

          Financier and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein killed himself last month while awaiting trial on new sex trafficking charges, amid speculation about his extensive contacts with America's scientific and political elites.

        • GPL Author Richard Stallman Resigns from Free Software Foundation

          Richard Stallman, free software movement activist and originator of the “copyleft” concept, has resigned from his position as director of the board and president of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), which he established in 1985. This resignation comes on the heels of his resignation from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) after remarks he made regarding a 17-year old victim of sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, characterizing her as seeming “entirely willing.”

        • Don't sacrifice the right ideas to win the right words

          The crucial distinction of the free software movement is less about “free software”, after all, and more about copyleft. But, because the FSF pushes copyleft and free software, and because many FSF advocates are pedantic and abrasive, many people check out before they’re told the distinction between free software and copyleft. This leads to the listener equivocating free software with copyleft software, which undermines the message and hurts both.1

          This lack of tact is why I find it difficult to accept the FSF as a representative of the movement I devote myself to. If your goal is to strengthen the resolve and unity of people who already agree with you by appealing to tribalism, then this approach is effective - but remember that it strengthens the opposing tribes, too. If your goal is to grow the movement and win the hearts and minds of the people, then you need to use more tact in your language. Turn that hacker knack for linguistic hacking towards this goal, of thinking over how your phrasing and language makes different listeners feel. The resulting literature will be much more effective.

      • Programming/Development

        • GitLab Adopted by KDE to Foster Open Source Contributions

          Today GitLab, the DevOps platform delivered as a single application, announced that KDE, an international technology community that creates free and open source software for desktop and portable computing, is adopting GitLab for use by its developers to further enhance infrastructure accessibility and encourage contributions.

          KDE is a free and open source software community dedicated to creating a user-friendly computing experience. It offers an advanced graphical desktop, a wide variety of applications for communication, work, education and entertainment, and a platform for easily building new applications. Adding access to GitLab will provide the KDE community with additional options for accessible infrastructure for contributors, code review integration with git, streamlined infrastructure and tooling, and an open communication channel with the upstream GitLab community.

        • Oracle releases JDK 13 with switch expressions and text blocks preview features, and more!

          Yesterday, Oracle announced the general availability of Java SE 13 (JDK 13) and that its binaries are expected to be available for download today. In addition to improved performance, stability, and security, this release comes with two preview features, switch expressions and text blocks. This announcement coincides with the commencement of Oracle’s co-located OpenWorld and Code One conferences happening from September 16-17 2019 at San Francisco.

          Oracle’s director of Java SE Product Management, Sharat Chander, wrote in the announcement, “Oracle offers Java 13 for enterprises and developers. JDK 13 will receive a minimum of two updates, per the Oracle CPU schedule, before being followed by Oracle JDK 14, which is due out in March 2020, with early access builds already available.”

          This release is licensed under the GNU General Public License v2 with the Classpath Exception (GPLv2+CPE). For those who are using Oracle JDK release as part of an Oracle product or service, it is available under a commercial license.

        • Eclipse Che, Kubernetes-native IDE, version 7 now available

          Today, the Eclipse Foundation announced the release of Eclipse Che 7, the Kubernetes-native IDE, enabling developer teams to code, build, test, and run cloud-native applications. We are excited by this announcement and the new capabilities that this version offers the community and developers building containerized applications.

        • Python Debugging With pdb

          Nowadays, we often take for granted the excellent debuggers built into our favorite IDEs. But how do you debug your Python code when you don’t have the luxury of using an IDE?

          pdb, short for Python DeBugger, is a module for interactive source code debugging. It’s built into the Python Standard Library, so it’s always accessible to you. Because it runs in the command line, it’s especially helpful when you’re developing on remote systems.

          In this course, you’ll learn how to perform the most common debugging tasks using pdb, including setting breakpoints, stepping through code, viewing stack traces, creating watch lists, and more.

        • Happy Birthday Practical Business Python!

          On September 17th, 2014, I published my first article which means that today is the 5th birthday of Practical Business Python. Thank you to all my readers and all those that have supported me through this process! It has been a great journey and I look forward to seeing what the future holds.

          This 5 year anniversary gives me the opportunity to reflect on the blog and what will be coming next. I figured I would use this milestone to walk through a few of the stats and costs associated with running this blog for the past 5 years. This post will not be technical but I am hopeful that my readers as well as current and aspiring bloggers going down this path will find it helpful. Finally, please use the comments to let me know what content you would like to see in the future.

        • 6 Excellent Free Books to Learn Julia

          Julia is a high-level, high-performance dynamic programming language for technical computing by Alan Edelman, Stefan Karpinski, Jeff Bezanson, and Viral Shah. Julia aims to create an unprecedented combination of ease-of-use, power, and efficiency in a single language.

          It’s a homoiconic functional language focused on technical computing. While having the full power of homoiconic macros, first-class functions, and low-level control, Julia is as easy to learn and use as Python.

          Although Julia is a new language, first appearing in 2012, its roots are in Lisp, so it comes with mature features like macros and support for other metaprogramming techniques like code generation. Julia’s expressive grammar lets you write easy-to-read and easier-to-debug code, and its speed gets you through more work in less time. It’s a great choice whether you’re designing a machine learning system, crunching statistical data, or writing system utilities.

          Distinctive aspects of Julia’s design include a type system with parametric polymorphism and types in a fully dynamic programming language and multiple dispatch as its core programming paradigm. It allows concurrent, parallel and distributed computing, and direct calling of C and Fortran libraries without glue code.

        • A slack hack
      • Standards/Consortia

        • Vulkan 1.1.123 Released With Two New Extensions

          Vulkan 1.1.123 is the latest weekly update to this high performance graphics API and it's formally introducing two more extensions.

          Besides the usual variety of documentation clarifications and corrections, there are two new Vulkan extensions with version 1.1.123.

  • Leftovers

    • History Repeats Itself: Twitter Launches Illegal SF Street Stencil Campaign Just As IBM DId Decades Ago

      Everything old is new again, and the population of tech workers seems to turn over especially fast in the San Francisco Bay Area. I guess I now qualify as an old timer, in that I remember quite clearly when IBM ran a big ad campaign in San Francisco and Chicago to profess its newfound love for Linux. The ad campaign involved stenciling three symbols side-by-side: a peace symbol, a heart, and Tux, the Linux penguin...

    • Why Trump Can’t Learn: An Educated Guess by a Veteran Teacher
    • Cokie Roberts, Longtime Political Journalist, Dies at 75

      Cokie Roberts, the daughter of politicians who grew up to cover the family business in Washington for ABC News and NPR over several decades, died Tuesday in Washington of complications from breast cancer. She was 75.

    • Cubanness and Cuban Identity: the Importance of Fernando Ortiz

      This past July 16, the work of Fernando Ortiz was declared a National Heritage. It was a moving moment, charged with a particular electric spirituality, one I shared with Barnet, Eusebio, Torres-Cuevas and others, and an act of justice regarding an essential component of the foundations of our culture and the nation itself.

    • Celebrating 50 Years of Venceremos Brigade solidarity with the Cuban Revolution

      This year was the 50th anniversary of the Venceremos Brigade delegations to Cuba, a special affair for Cuba and its Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP). We participants can agree with what one former brigadista wrote us, “I went in 1971 and it was one of the most moving experiences of my life. Cuba opened a whole new world to me where human dignity and respect are valued. I may not be on this brigade but I continue to support its mission to end the criminal US economic blockade and travel ban, return occupied Guantanamo Bay to the Cubans and normalize relations between both countries. Venceremos!”

    • USPTO Drops Its Demands For Applicants' Green Cards

      The US Patent and Trademark Office's side venture into immigration enforcement has come to an abrupt end. It recently instituted a US attorney requirement for foreigners filing trademark applications with the Office. This was apparently done to limit the flow of bogus trademark applications, a large number of which originated in China.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Some CBD vapes contain street drug instead of the real thing

        The vapor that Jenkins inhaled didn’t relax him. After two puffs, he ended up in a coma.

        That’s because what he was vaping didn’t have any CBD, the suddenly popular compound extracted from the cannabis plant that marketers say can treat a range of ailments without getting users high. Instead, the oil was spiked with a powerful street drug.

        Some operators are cashing in on the CBD craze by substituting cheap and illegal synthetic marijuana for natural CBD in vapes and edibles such as gummy bears, an Associated Press investigation has found.

      • Pharmaceutical antitrust law in Romania

        A structured guide to antitrust law in the pharmaceutical sector in Romania, including the legislative and regulatory framework, merger review, anticompetitive agreements and abuse of dominance.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security updates for Tuesday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (dino-im, python2.7, python3.4, and wpa), Fedora (kmplayer), openSUSE (podman and samba), Oracle (thunderbird), Red Hat (thunderbird), Slackware (expat), SUSE (curl), and Ubuntu (apache2).

      • This New Linux Malware Mines Crypto By Creating Malign Linux Modules

        As per the research, the new Linux malware mines crypto by creating malicious loadable kernel modules (LKM) to stay under the wraps. As the malware utilizes Linux kernel module rootkits, it becomes difficult to detect and patch it. This is because of its overwriting and modification of kernel parts capabilities.

      • A Critical Exim Vulnerability, Lilocked Ransomware on the Rise, but Linux Not to Blame

        In the context of these recent vulnerabilities and exploits, it is easy to label Linux and Open Source as “vulnerable” or “insecure”. However, doing so is unfair as well as incorrect. Unlike Windows and MacOS, Linux is a multi-user environment (a characteristic that the OS inherited from Unix) where users are granted specific privileges. This design prevents the compromise of one user account from impacting an entire system. In order to gain control over a Linux system, malware would have to gain root access to the system.

        Vulnerabilities exist in every system, and in terms of security vulnerabilities, Linux has a relatively clean record when compared to other popular operating systems. In the words of Linux creator Linus Torvalds, “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”. Because of the intense review that Linux is continuously undergoing from security experts in the Open Source community, vulnerabilities are quickly identified and fixed. Because of this, as well as the way in which Linux manages privileges, relatively few viruses and worms are written to attack Linux systems. In comparison, proprietary operating systems like Microsoft Windows are easy targets for malicious coders, making them frequent victims of malware and viruses. This year, a total of 700 vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows were disclosed, 189 of which were classified as critical.

        Exim, however, is a notoriously insecure mail server. In spite of this, it has a market share of over 57 percent, due to the fact that the MTA has been bundled with many Linux distros, including Debian and Red Hat. Thus, the frequent security bugs and exploits involving Exim affect a large number of Linux users, but are not a reflection of the inherent security of the Linux OS.

      • The Black Hat Hackers who Turned Over a New Leaf

        Ever since IBM’s John Patrick coined the term ‘Ethical Hacking’ in 1995, the profession has grown to become a much-needed aspect in security programs. The growing popularity of certification courses on ethical hacking and bug bounty programs illustrates the importance of ethical hackers for today’s businesses.

        But still, the term ‘Ethical Hacker’ conflicts with the image of hackers, which is portrayed as cybercriminals. Apart from data security personnel and government regulators, most people might not be familiar with ethical hacking. A look at the history of some notable ethical hackers possibly mitigates the negative connotations around it. Below are some of the famous ethical hackers around the world:

      • New Linux malware is evading detection to mine cryptocurrency

        Dubbed Skidmap by researchers; the Linux malware mines cryptocurrency and drops backdoor – All that without being detected.

        The perception cryptocurrencies have created today ranges from them being a “flat out scam” to an innovative piece of technology in the new age. While our understanding of the latter is clear, the former needs some light to be shed on, how did we get here?

        To answer this, we may look no further than the latest in the cryptocurrency world where another Linux malware named as Skidmap has been discovered by Trend Micro that illegally mines cryptocurrencies, a malicious technique known as cryptojacking.

      • New Linux mining malware uncovered

        Augusto Remillano II and Jakub Urbanec recently announced in a Trend Micro post that they have come across new Linux malware. The analysts reported in the security intelligence blog that the malware loads malicious kernel modules to hide its cryptocurrency mining operations.

        According to the analysts, a rootkit is being used by Skidmap to hide its cryptocurrency mining activities. It is a program that installs and executes code on a system without end-user consent or knowledge. This makes its malware components undetectable by the infected system’s monitoring tools. Apart from conducting a cryptojacking campaign, the malware reportedly provides attackers with “unfettered access” to the affected system.

      • New Linux malware mines crypto after installing backdoor with secret master password [Ed: Skips the part about it having to be installed in the first place (not the fault of Linux)]

        Cybersecurity researchers have identified a new strain of Linux malware that not only mines cryptocurrency illicitly, but provides the attackers with universal access to an infected system via a “secret master password.”

        TrendMicro’s latest blog also reveals that Skidmap attempts to mask its cryptocurrency mining by faking network traffic and CPU-related statistics.

      • Sneaky cryptocurrency-mining malware Skidmap hits Linux

        Security researchers at TrendMicro have discovered a rootkit-like strain of malware that is striking Linux users. Called Skidmap, the malware is a cryptocurrency miner, but there is much more to it than that.

        Skidmap is clever. Very clever. It goes out of its way to disguise itself, going as far as faking system statistics to hide the tell-tale high CPU usage that might give it away. More than this, the Monero-mining malware can also give attackers unlimited access to an infected system.

      • Linux malware masks illicit crypto mining with fake network traffic

        A new cryptocurrency mining malware targeting Linux systems has demonstrated how complex this type of malware has become. Known as Skidmap, the malware is not only harder to detect, it also gives the attackers unfiltered access to the affected system.

      • What to do after a data breach

        You saw the news alert. You got an email, either from Firefox Monitor or a company where you have an account. There’s been a security incident — a data breach. And your account has been compromised.

        Getting notified that you’ve been a victim of a data breach can be alarming. You have valid cause for concern, but there are a few steps you can take immediately to protect your account and limit the damage.

      • Capsule8 Protect Earns HIPAA Compliance Certification
      • Did Lilu Ransomware Really Infect Linux Servers

        Note that the domain name of this folder has been hidden from view making it impossible for us to verify if these files were actually on a Linux server. The article goes on to note that “Lilocked doesn't encrypt system files, but only a small subset of file extensions, such as HTML, JS, CSS, PHP, INI, and various image file formats. This means infected servers continue to run normally.”

        This limitation raises the obvious question of whether the core of the Linux server itself has been compromised or whether merely applications connected to the core have been hacked. There are many very insecure website building applications such as Wordpress and many insecure web mail applications such as Exim that have been repeatedly hacked over the years. Both Wordpress and Exim have suffered from dozens of major security problems that have nothing to do with the security of the Linux operating system which is at the core of all Linux servers. All of the file formats mentioned in the article are files used on Wordpress websites and files that can be transmitted via Exim email programs.


        So instead of 6000 websites on 6000 servers being infected, it looks more like 6000 files on less than 1000 websites were infected. And many of these websites could have been on the same server – meaning that perhaps only a couple dozen out of the worlds 10 million Linux servers had infected files – and none of the files were actually in the core of any Linux servers.


        Many of these articles were exact copies of the Zdnet article. Thus far, not a single so-called “security expert” has bothered either to look into the evidence provided much less challenge or disagree with this silly claim.

        Instead, make even more extreme claims, noting that there are millions of Linux servers running outdated, un-patched and insecure versions of Exim software. This is a fact. But given how many holes have been found in the Exim software, the problem is not with the Linux servers, it is with the Exim software. In my humble opinion, the design of Exim is not secure and the design of Postfix is more secure.

        The solution to this Exim problem is to demand that Cpanel support support Postfix and to ask Debian to also switch from Exim to Postfix (something Ubuntu has already done for very obvious reasons). This is the benefit of the diversity of free open source software. If one program has problems, there is quite often a more secure alternative that can be installed with just the click of a button. This is a problem that has been going on for years. But it can be fixed in a matter of minutes.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Inside the Syrian Peace Talks

        Eight years since its inception in 2011, the Syrian civil war rages on, a conflict that has taken on grand geopolitical dimensions and resulted in tens of thousands killed and a massive exodus of refugees. While other tensions and conflicts around the world have since grabbed the attention of major media outlets, the situation in Syria has not gotten any better. If anything, it has become even more complicated and violent.

      • Three Russian border agents injured in armed attack by North Korean poaching schooner

        The crew of a poaching vessel from North Korea has attacked a Russian border patrol ship in the Sea of Japan, the FSB reported to the wire service TASS. Three Russian servicemembers were injured as a result.

      • Recalling the Hundreds of Thousands of Civilian Victims of America’s Endless ‘War on Terror’

        Now that the flags are back waving from the tops of flagpoles across the country, and the maudlin paeans to the close to 3000 lives lost in the airplane attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, it’s time we gave a thought to the dead who were ignored.

      • Oiling for War: The Houthi Attack on Abqaiq

        The attack on the world’s largest oil processing facility at Abqaiq in Saudi Arabia southwest of Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran had a few predictable responses. Given that the facility has a daily output of some 5.7 million barrels, damaging it was bound to cause a spike in the price of oil.

      • Spectacles of the Demolition of the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh and the Revocation of the Autonomous Status of Kashmir

        While the conflation of religion and politics by the ruling party of a “democratic” and “secular” India gnaws at those of us who are invested in pluralism, those Indian-Americans who are closely aligned with the upsurge of Hindutva nationalism are gearing up to welcome Prime Minister Modi in Houston on September 22nd.€ € These transnational subjects, safely ensconced in the United States, are unaffected by the wreckage caused by Modi’s demonetization and other economic policies, so they have become uncritically loyal to the romanticized notion of the nation.

      • Trump Awaits Orders From Saudis; and Why the Houthis Could Have Done It

        Trump’s bizarre infatuation with strongmen and dictators was on full display in his response to Saturday’s drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities. As our foremost Gulf expert, Kristian Ulrichsen, noted,The way you phrase it sounds like you are waiting for the Saudis to tell you what to do.

      • The Ultra-Costly, Underwhelming F-35 Fighter: A Wasteful Weapon for America's Forever Wars

        How are you with numbers? I can deal with $1.5 million. I think I can even imagine $1.5 billion, a sum a thousand times greater. But how about a million times greater: $1.5 trillion? That happens to be the estimated€ cost€ of the Pentagon's program to build, deploy, and maintain the no-longer-so-new€ F-35 jet fighter€ over its lifetime.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Stockholm Syndrome – Julian Assange And The Limits Of Guardian Dissent

        None of this happened for any major UK or US newspaper, which made no mention of these events at all. Readers of Prensa Latina, Havana, were more fortunate with two articles before and after the event, as were readers of Asian News International in New Delhi. Coverage was also provided by Ireland's Irish Examiner (circulation 25,419) in Cork, which published a Press Association piece that was available to the innumerable other outlets that all chose to ignore it.

        Four months after he was dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy, Assange is still locked up in solitary confinement for 21 hours a day or more. He is still being denied the basic tools to prepare his case against a demand for extradition to the United States where he faces incarceration and torture. He is not allowed to call his US lawyers, is not allowed access to vital documents, or even a computer. He is confined to a single cell in the hospital wing, where he is isolated from other people.

    • Environment

      • The Environment Is in Trump’s Crosshairs. We Need to Fight Back.

        Over the past weeks, the administration, in league with Big Oil and other fossil fuel industries, has gone full-bore in its efforts to roll back half a century of environmental regulations. Pay attention, America. This isn’t scattershot; it is a concerted, well-planned effort to neutralize environmental regulations and investments built up over decades.

      • My Home Is Already Being Destroyed by Climate Change

        I have spent my entire life on a dying planet. We know that climate change not only puts the future of our earth in peril, but that it is frontline youth — those of us who live on islands, in rural areas, and along the coast — who will experience its most severe consequences. The infamous 2030 deadline to prevent catastrophic climate change may loom on the horizon, but these youth are already witnessing the extraordinary damage that the climate crisis has done to our homes. Saint Croix, United States Virgin Islands, a small but culturally rich island of 84-square miles and a mixing pot of cultures — my home — is being destroyed by the climate crisis. Alone, I can never do enough to save it.

      • Climate change could put insurance firms out of business

        Already, insurers are seeing disasters of unprecedented scale. Earlier this month Hurricane Dorian, one of the two largest storms ever known to have made landfall in the Atlantic, battered the Bahamas and then the Carolinas. In July Hurricane Barry brought the heaviest rainfall ever measured to Arkansas. The Indian Ocean basin has seen three huge cyclones so far this year, one of which caused Mozambique’s severest flooding since 2000. Last November California saw wildfires over the largest area ever recorded.

        Very costly disasters are becoming more frequent. [...]

      • Two die in Sumatra; haze eases in Singapore

        A four-month-old Indonesian baby and a 59-year-old man were reported to have died due to the choking haze enveloping South Sumatra province, Indonesian media reported, with five non-governmental organisations accusing the government of committing a serious breach of human rights for failing to control the fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

      • Fires in Indonesia Blanket Islands and Cities in Smog

        Over the past month, the annual slash-and-burn efforts to create agricultural land across Indonesia’s Sumatra and Borneo islands have led to nearly 1,000 wildfires that are generating thick clouds of smoke and haze now blanketing parts of Southeast Asia. Most of the blazes are illegal fires set to clear land for palm oil and pulpwood industries. Malaysia is pressuring neighboring Indonesia to address the wildfires and step up enforcement to prevent future illegal burns. Its air quality has officially reached “unhealthy” levels, and dozens of schools have been closed.

      • More People Are Falling Through the Arctic's Melting Ice Never to Be Seen Again

        The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. Arctic land ice, which comprises over 2 million square acres is diminishing rapidly due to the climate crisis, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

        Arctic permafrost is also disappearing at unprecedented rates, and the center reported that sea ice set a record low of 2.9 million square miles in July, a loss the size of South Carolina from the previous low record set in July 2012. Scientists forecast that Arctic sea ice could vanish in the summer by the 2040s.

        Patricia Cochran, an Inupiat Inuit and executive director of the Alaska Native Science Commission, says she is seeing the same phenomenon in Alaska. “Everyone knows someone who has fallen through the ice and never returned home,” she said.

      • Greta Thunberg wins Amnesty International award

        "I'm hoping that by giving the Amnesty Ambassador of Conscience Award to Fridays for Future and Greta we're making a small contribution to lifting up the struggle and giving it the prominence that it deserves… Children are behaving like adults, when many adult political and business leaders are behaving like children."

      • Demanding 'Fair Wages and Basic Dignity' for All Workers in Changing Economy, Climate Action Campaigners Back UAW Strike

        Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash's call to climate campaigners to support striking auto workers came after a number of labor groups backed the Global Climate Strike...

      • Why Greta Thunberg Inspires Me

        Some of my best moments this summer involved swimming across lakes. Despite how much I love the long-distance exercise, each swim was preceded by a ridiculous amount of time standing on the shore, working up the momentum to dive in. My mind knew the swims would be wonderful and refreshing, but every time my body somehow failed to translate that into action for almost as long

      • Climate Strikes to the Green New Deal: Arts Organizing to Protect the Planet

        We are a few days from the Global Climate Strike—the largest climate action ever (this is our time to step up—find your local action and ways to be involved here). We are also witnessing a rising long-term movement for a Green New Deal in the U.S., and similar solutionary initiatives around the world.€ 

      • Energy

    • Finance

      • Apple Attacks EU in Court Fight Over $14 Billion Tax Bill

        Apple Inc. told a European Union court it was unfairly painted as a tax dodger as it sought to topple a massive EU back-tax bill that’s the hallmark of antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s five-year crackdown on U.S. tech giants.

        The EU alleged that “Apple paid essentially no tax on earnings in Europe” and “sought headlines by quoting tiny numbers, but this public campaign ignores the taxes Apple pays all across the world,” Apple attorney Daniel Beard said at a hearing at the EU General Court in Luxembourg on Tuesday.

        The iPhone maker said it’s the world’s biggest taxpayer, urging EU judges to overturn a 2016 order by the European Commission to hand over a record 13 billion euros ($14.3 billion) in unpaid taxes to Ireland. Apple, which made a reputation on smashing industry conventions, “follows the rules” and the EU was wrong to claim that profits should have been taxed in Ireland instead of the U.S. where Apple products are developed, according to Beard.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Election 2020: Time to Stop Pretending and Start Over

        “Imagine what would be possible right now with ideas that are bold enough to meet the challenges of our time, but big enough, as well, that they could unify the American people [like the 9/11 attacks did],” said South Bend, Indian mayor Pete Buttigieg in his opening statement at the September 12 Democratic presidential nomination debate. “That’s what presidential leadership can do. That’s what the presidency is for.”

      • The Southern Strategy and Donald Trump

        Contemporary Republican politicians like to invoke the legacy of Ronald Reagan to bolster their policies. However, the type of White nationalism being espoused by Donald Trump and his supporters more accurately traces back to two less appealing Republican personalities: Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon, and to the backlash created by the Civil Rights Movement of the nineteen sixties.

      • Nations Unhappily Held Together

        Media commentary on today’s appeals before the Supreme Court misses entirely the main point – that the highest courts of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland may each have been legally correct in their differing judgements, because each was judging according to a different legal system. I shall here leave Northern Ireland aside through my personal ignorance of its legal system, for which I apologise.

      • Exit Polls Signal Setback for Israel's Netanyahu in Election

        In an apparent setback for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the longtime Israeli leader on Tuesday fell short of securing a parliamentary majority with his hard-line allies in national elections, initial exit polls showed, putting his political future in question.

      • Democrats press for action on election security

        “Congress has essentially until the end of October to pass legislation that can still make an impact in time for the general election in 2020, so we have to move, and the fact is that the window may have already closed to secure some of the 2020 primaries,” Wyden, who has sponsored multiple election security bills, told reporters during a press conference.

        Blumenthal added that he is “deeply alarmed” about the small amount of time remaining before the 2020 elections.

      • Warren Rolls Out Plan She Calls 'Most Sweeping Set of Anti-Corruption Reforms Since Watergate'

        The White House hopeful says her proposed reforms would put power "back where it belongs—in the hands of the people."

      • Profiles in Courage: the Tories Have It, the Republicans Don’t

        As a Senator, John F. Kennedy authored Pulitzer Prize-winning€ Profiles in Courage€ in 1957 to highlight the integrity by eight United States Senators who did what they felt was best for the nation not their party and they suffered accordingly.

      • Our Invisible Government

        There are two forms of government in the United States. There is the visible government—the White House, Congress, the courts, state legislatures and governorships—and the invisible government, or deep state, where anonymous technocrats, intelligence operatives, generals, bankers, corporations and lobbyists manage foreign and domestic policy regardless of which political party...

      • 'Saudi Arabia First': Trump Accused of Letting Saudis Dictate US Foreign Policy After Oil Facility Attack

        "Congress will not give you the authority to start another disastrous war in the Middle East just because the brutal Saudi dictatorship told you to," said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Hotel Owner Files Libel Suit Against Reviewer For Calling Nazis Nazis, Gets Support From Austrian Court

        Turns out the truth is no defense to accusations of libel… at least not in Austria. And not when someone's reputation needs to be protected from [rereads article] substantially true statements. The standard for defamation in Austria comes nowhere close to what we're used to in the United States. The bar is low for the plaintiff and a bunch of insanity for the defendant who said true things and still got dinged for it. (h/t Techdirt reader Rose Crowell)

      • A Professor’s Killing Sends a Chill Through a Campus in Pakistan

        One of his students, Khateeb Hussain, was detained by the police. In a video of his interrogation, Mr. Hussain said he killed Professor Hameed — a devout Muslim, according to his family — because he had insulted Islam. Six months later, no charges have been brought against Mr. Hussain, or against a preacher from Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, a hard-line Islamic group, who the police say incited him to kill.

        The murder has devastated Professor Hameed’s family and chilled his colleagues at Sadiq Egerton College. They see it as a horrifying new chapter in a campaign against liberal education, which small but influential extremist groups in Pakistan consider unacceptable. Many of the teachers are now wary of speaking freely to their students.

      • 3 steps to developing psychological safety

        Psychological safety is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. And it's critical for high-performing teams in open organizations.

        Part one of this series introduced the concept of psychological safety. In this companion article, I'll recount my personal journey toward understanding psychological safety—and explain the fundamental shifts in mindset, behavior, and communication that anyone hoping to create psychologically safe teams and environments will need to make.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • You'd Think The FBI Would Be More Sensitive To Protecting Encrypted Communications Now That We Know The Russians Cracked The FBI's Comms

        On Monday, Yahoo News had a bit of a new bombshell in revealing that the closures of various Russian compounds in the US, along with the expulsion of a bunch of Russian diplomats -- which many assumed had to do with alleged election interference -- may have actually been a lot more about the Russians breaching a key FBI encrypted communications system.

      • PrivacySafe Launches Pre-Orders for Secure Data Appliance

        PrivacySafe, a provider of cybersecurity hardware, software, and services, announces pre-orders for the PrivacySafe Vision data storage appliance. PrivacySafe Vision is pocket-sized, portable and, via the PrivacySync subscription service, can be synced to secure off-site data centers.


        Additionally, PrivacySafe products include malware protection that quarantines viruses and ransomware, a password vault, a payment processor for Bitcoin, and a wallet for the Monero cryptocurrency. Planned features include the Mozilla IoT WebThings Gateway, turning the device into a controller for other Internet-connected appliances, as well as GNU Health, a suite of healthcare software for hospitals and clinics.

      • Report: Ecuadorian Breach Reveals Sensitive Personal Data

        The data breach involves a large amount of sensitive personally identifiable information at the individual level. The majority of the affected individuals seem to be located in Ecuador.

        Although the exact details remain unclear, the leaked database appears to contain information obtained from outside sources.

        These sources may include Ecuadorian government registries, an automotive association called Aeade, and Biess, an Ecuadorian national bank.

      • Edward Snowden: Germany a 'primary example' of NSA surveillance cooperation

        In his new book Permanent Record, he describes working at "America's premier signals agency" as being "a dream job." He also writes of how he uncovered STELLARWIND, which he calls "the deepest secret of the NSA."

        The program was launched after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Snowden claims that, contrary to what the authorities say, it never ended. Instead, it became an instrument of mass surveillance and went "from using technology to defend America to using technology to control it by redefining its citizens."

      • Edward Snowden Responds After Trump DOJ Sues Whistleblower Over New Memoir the US Government 'Does Not Want You to Read'

        The Justice Department filed suit the day Snowden's memoir Permanent Record was published.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • How I learn to stop worrying and love the decentralized future

        Even if everybody is not realizing it consciously, our world is becoming incredibly more virtual, borderless and decentralized. Fighting the trend may only make the transition more violent. We may as well embrace it fully and ditch our old paradigms to prepare for a new kind of society.

        How we built the virtual world

        Virtual reality is always depicted by science fiction as something scary, something not so far away that allows us to spend our time connected to imaginary worlds instead of interacting with the reality. An artificial substitute to a good old-fashioned life, a drug, an addiction.

        Is it a dystopian prediction? Nowadays, white-collar workers spend most of their wake time interacting through a screen. Answering emails for work, chatting with colleagues on Slack, attending online meetings on Skype, looking at their friends Instagram during breaks and commutes, playing games and watching series in the evening.

    • Monopolies

      • Facebook’s ‘Supreme Court’ can overrule Zuckerberg, per new charter

        Although the board decisions will be made publicly available, the details of the public disclosure are still unclear. Facebook said it had not yet determined how to balance the privacy of users whose content complaints are heard by the board and the transparency of the board’s decisions.

      • Why it's time for urgent action against Facebook campaigning before the next election

        UK politics has become big business for Facebook in recent years. In the last twelve months alone, our leading political parties have spent just shy of €£1 million on advertising with the platform. Facebook has been the new frontier for reaching people in a targeted and accurate way now for a long time. But following the Cambridge Analytica crisis, you might have thought Facebook would have cleaned up its act and taken responsibility. It may have to some degree, but as we approach the Brexit D-day (October 31st) and a potential election, some 3 years later - there is still a long way to go for the data behemoth to support true transparency in political advertising.

        To delve a little deeper, Facebook's Ad Library - a transparency tool which shows the ads that Facebook Pages are running and have run - shows that Boris Johnson's social media management is a well oiled machine - and so it should be. His page is currently running hundreds of variations of the same advert, each with slightly different language, monitoring slightly different response rates, targeting slightly different demographics. This strategy is now adopted across most organised campaign groups and businesses. It ensures the advertiser gains an intensely accurate understanding of the language that gets the best reaction from different demographics, so this can be repeatedly refined - and used elsewhere in other advertisements. This may seem fair and transparent, but it isn't, and here's why.

      • Amazon Reportedly Changed Its Algorithm to Favor Most Profitable Products, Including Its Own

        Citing sources from Amazon’s A9 search team and the company’s lawyers, the WSJ report claims Amazon tweaked the search algorithm from showing the most relevant products to “featured” ones. The change was not publicized and was initially contested by Amazon’s internal lawyers, who said it could potentially cause trouble with antitrust regulators. It was also unpopular with the A9 team, as it was thought to put profitability over what’s best for customers. While the tweak wouldn’t necessarily boost only Amazon products, it would likely give a bump to the tech giant’s private-label brands as they are designed to be more profitable for Amazon.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Huawei makes a surprising announcement, or, the changing role of patents in the global economy

          In a companion piece, The Economist calls the offer "a peace offering that deserves consideration". Indeed, Huawei's strong position in the 5G area [the report cites a statistic that puts Huawei's 5G patent position second only to Samsung's, see below] is the subject of considerable controversy, which in America culminated in a total ban for U.S. companies to do business with Huawei. In The Netherlands, hundreds of people took part in a demonstration against the implementation of 5G last week, fuelled in part by fears over the opportunities for espionage it allegedly offers the Chinese government.

          The sale of the 5G patent portfolio – apparently accompanied by an extensive transfer of know-how – would leave the buyer "free to use it outside China and develop the technology as it sees fit". In the US, "the buyer would face no competition from Huawei" because the company does not operate there, while "in other countries the two would go head to head".


          For instance, four telecoms giants [Ericsson, Nokia, Philips & Qualcomm] jointly wrote a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce last March urging him to embrace antitrust policy that would interfere minimally with enforcement of SEP's. The letter stresses that these innovators rely on the right to exclude, offered by their patents, in a balanced FRAND-system to recoup their investments and re-invest their profits into in further R&D to create the next generation of standards. Indeed, the undersigned companies are familiar players in European patent litigation and their enforcement efforts have dominated large parts of the European debate concerning FRAND.

          It is therefore surprising that their competitor Huawei, which reportedly invested around USD 10 billion a year on research and development related to 5G base stations, has now decided to sell off its patent portfolio. True, Huawei is also a major manufacturer of mobile phones, whereas some of the other major patent holders in the telecoms industry are not [though they rarely restrict themselves to mere licensing of technology: Ericsson, for instance, is also a major provider of telecom hardware]. But just as in other cases, there are major investments behind Huawei's 5G patents, which makes it interesting that it is apparently choosing a radically different course for their exploitation.

        • Patent Bill Would 'Do More Harm Than Good,' Lawmakers Told

          It would be a bad idea to upend a decadeold U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared patent owners don't have an automatic right to an injunction once a court finds infringement, legal experts told a U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee.

          Three members of the Intellectual Property Subcommittee attended a hearing Wednesday to sound out experts on Sen. Chris Coons' bill, dubbed the STRONGER Patents Act, which aims to revamp the patent system by putting new restrictions on patent challenges.

          The bill seeks to do this by limiting who and how many times a patent can be challenged in inter partes and post-grant reviews...

        • Guest Post: Design Patents After Curver Luxembourg: Design FOR an Article of Manufacture.

          So what happens now? The USPTO requires a design patent applicant to identify an article in the verbal portion of the claim and (the same article) in the title. See 37 CFR €§ 1.153. But it also instructs examiners to “afford the applicant substantial latitude in the language of the title/claim” because, under 35 U.S.C. €§ 112, “the claim defines ‘the subject matter which the inventor or joint inventor regards as the invention.’” MPEP €§ 1503.01(I).

          The Federal Circuit’s decision in Curver creates incentives for applicants to seek broader titles in order to obtain broader scope. In theory, that incentive would be counter-balanced by the fact that a broader title would create a broader universe of €§ 102 prior art. But given how difficult it is for patent examiners and accused infringers to find relevant prior art (an issue I discuss here), that seems unlikely to be a significant deterrent to over-claiming.

          The risk of prosecution history estoppel might be a more significant practical deterrent. Curver initially claimed a “design for a furniture part.” When the examiner deemed that “too vague,” Curver amended the claim to refer to a “chair.” The Federal Circuit ruled that this amendment did limit the claim. Future applicants will have every incentive to push back on these types of rejections, putting pressure on the USPTO to enunciate clearer rules about how specific article identifications need to be.

          In that respect, the USPTO (and anyone who’s interested in this topic) may want to revisit the CCPA’s 1931 decision in In re Schnell. In that case, the applicant attempted to frame its claim very broadly and the CCPA rejected that attempt. In doing so, the CCPA engaged in a thoughtful and nuanced discussion about how different types of designs might lend themselves to different types of claiming and how those claims might affect a design patent’s scope. The approach taken in Schnell is not the only possible (or necessarily the best) approach, but it’s worth considering.

        • Patent Term Adjustment: When does the RCE End?

          Utility patents have a term of 20-years from the effective filing date of the patent application (not counting national-stage priority or provisional applications). Since patent rights are not complete until the patent issues, a long period of prosecution can eat-into the effective length of the patent term. However, Congress has provided for a generous Patent Term Adjustment (PTA) designed to add extra days to the patent term in order to compensate for lengthy prosecution periods.

          This appeal is focused on the PTA guarantee of “no more than 3-year application pendency” 35 U.S.C. €§ 154(b)(1)(B). If the application is pending for more than three years, then the patentee will receive day-for-day additional patent term. One major exception to the 3-year timeline is that it does not include RCE time: “not including — (i) any time consumed by continued examination of the application requested by the applicant under €§ 132(b).”


          On appeal here, the Federal Circuit sided with the PTO — holding that a “declaration of an interference is tantamount to a Notice of Allowance.” Here, the court found that “examination clearly did not end until the date the Notice of Allowance was mailed.”

        • Thryv v. Click-to-Call: Accuracy vs Efficiency; Merits vs Technicality

          The inter partes review (IPR) petition challenging Click-to-Call’s U.S. Patent 5,818,836 was filed by Ingenio who later became Dex Media and who is now known as Thryv. The PTAB instituted the petition and later found the claims unpatentable. On appeal, Federal Circuit sided with the patentee — holding (on rehearing) that the IPR should not have been instituted in the first place and thus vacating the final written decision. In particular, the court held that prior litigation on the patent triggered the 1-year time-bar of Section 315(b). The en banc majority also held that the “nonappealable” statutory language was not strong enough to bar appeals of situations like this – where Director’s decision to institute went outside of her statutory authority. In Cuozzo v. Lee (2015), the Supreme Court arguably authorized such review:


          The Gov’t explains its conclusion of no-appellate-authority as consistent with Cuozzo. In particular, Cuozzo explains that the no-appeal provision applies to questions “closely tied to the application and interpretation of statutes related to the Patent Office’s decision to initiate inter partes review.” The Gov’t key authority on this front is the dissent filed by Justice Alito in Cuozzo itself. Alito particularly argued that limitations in the Cuozzo majority opinion would leave the courts “powerless” to curb abuses by the PTO, including improper policing of the 315(b) time bar.

      • Trademarks

        • AB InBev Fails To Get 'Patagonia' Trademark Suit Dismissed

          Earlier this year, we discussed a trademark suit brought against Anheuser-Busch InBev by Patagonia, the famed outer-wear maker known best for its association with skiing and outdoor sports apparel. While we usually make a big deal about market separation when it comes to trademark enforcement, this case was notable for two reasons. First, the trade dress choices made by AB InBev for its "Patagonia" beer were quite similar to Patagonia's trademarks, not to mention that AB hosted popup locations at skiing and biking locations to sell its beer, exactly where Patagonia is so well known. Second, AB is a notorious trademark hound, gobbling up all kinds of marks and then wielding them like a cudgel against small entities. If anyone were going to be sensitive to the trademark rights of others, you would think it would be a company like AB. But not so much.

        • CJEU says that all practically significant and demonstrated uses must be taken into account in examining distinctiveness

          To what extent must the unusual use of a sign be considered by the competent authority in the examination of the distinctive character of such sign?

          This is the question the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) had to answer in case C-541/18.


          The CJEU reasoned that sign comprising a hashtag cannot a priori be considered as lacking distinctive character. In fact, the analysis of the distinctive character must be conducted by the competent authorities within the meaning of article 3 of Directive 2008/95, considering the goods and services, the relevant public, and all the relevant facts and circumstances in concreto.

          The CJEU, however, noted that the applicant for a trade mark is not required to indicate or even to know precisely, when applying for registration, the use he will make of the mark applied for, if registered.

        • ‘Never rest’: strategies for handling trademark fair use

          Panellists at the AIPPI World Congress in London discussed case studies and strategies for brand owners faced with claims of fair use as a defence


          A recent case in China involved Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda movie trademark and a Chinese company that had registered a mark using the Chinese translation of Kung Fu Panda and claimed fair use. The Supreme People’s Court outlined the decisive elements in deciding whether there is descriptive and fair use. These decisive elements include whether the use is in good faith, when the trademark was first used and whether the mark is used in a prominent way. Although the intention of a user plays a role, it is hard to define and often poses a challenge for brand owners.

      • Copyrights

        • When two worlds collide: museum copyright in the digital age

          During today's session, “The Art of IP: Museums and Architecture,” panellists offered perspectives on the protection of photos of artwork in the public domain under copyright law in the EU, the UK and the US. There remain differences in the originality requirements, right of panorama and resale right of artists, and the specifics of protection often clash with the public interest.

          Thomas Koch, presiding judge at Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, highlighted a German case in which a museum published photos of one of its collections that had an expired copyright. These pictures were subsequently loaded onto Wikipedia and the artist of the collection sued for copyright infringement. Under the Berne Convention and European Directive 2016/116, Article 1(1), copyright protection can be afforded for the life of the author plus 70 years after his death.

        • The Cofemel decision well beyond the ‘simple’ issue of designs and copyright

          The ruling is not surprising, considering earlier CJEU case law, most notably the decision in Flos, C-168/09. This was a reference from Italy asking about the compatibility with EU law of certain Italian provisions that the Court of First Instance of Milan had deemed potentially incompatible with the principle of cumulation envisaged under EU law. The Italian approach to copyright protection of designs has been traditionally rooted within the principle of scindibilità (separability). The CJEU held that EU law prohibits Member States from denying copyright protection to designs that meet the requirements for copyright protection – including designs other than registered ones (subject to Article 17 of the Design Directive) – and suggested that Member States cannot set any particular requirements as to how protection is to be secured.


          In its Cofemel judgment, the CJEU proceeded along the very lines set by these earlier rulings. It may be worth noting that the Judge Rapporteur was Mr Malenovský, ie the same judge who – besides acting as rapporteur in over 50% of the copyright referrals today, was also the rapporteur in Infopaq.

          The key question referred by the Portuguese Supreme Court was whether EU law (specifically: Article 2(a) of the InfoSoc Directive) prevents Member States from granting copyright protection to designs subject to requirements other than originality, eg, a high level of artistic value, as per the traditional Italian scindibilità and German Stufentheorie).


          First, the judgment suggests that only the objective criteria indicated therein need to be satisfied: hence, there is no (longer) room for any requirement of artistic value or intent, as is instead still the case in certain jurisdictions. So, if we take the UK, the category of works of artistic craftmanship needs to be seriously re-considered. Furthermore, approaches like the one adopted by the UK Supreme Court in Lucasfilm (the Stormtrooper Helmet case) in relation to artistic works appear even more questionable than what could have possibly been the case so far.

          Second, in line with earlier case law up till the Levola Hengelo ruling, Cofemel indicates that exhaustive lists of protectable subject matter (as is the case of, eg, the UK) are really incompatible with EU law. Protection only arises when there is a work in the sense clarified by the Court: no other requirements are needed. And, in line with the point above, copyright protection cannot arise at different conditions depending on the ‘category’ the object at issue belongs to.

        • Who owns copyright in Uganda’s National Anthem?

          In 1962, the Ugandan government advertised an open competition for the composition of the national anthem. Aside from indicating that the winning entry would be adopted as the national anthem and that Shs.2000 would be paid to the composer of the winning entry, no conditions (particularly, no copyright conditions) were indicated on the advertisement. Subsequently, the government selected Professor Kokoma’s composition and adopted it with some amendments. Professor Kokoma was paid Shs2,000 for winning the competition. Professor Kokoma subsequently sought compensation or payment in order to assign copyright in his composition to the Ugandan Government but was unsuccessful. He then instituted an action for copyright infringement, and claimed inter alia, royalties for use of copyright and damages for infringement at the lower court.

          The lower court held that Professor Kokoma was not entitled to the reliefs sought. However, the court awarded the sum of Shs. 50million ($13,000 approximately) to Professor Kokoma as a remedy it deemed “just and fitting in the circumstances” given the value of the composition and the time and effort Professor Kokoma expended in creating the composition. Dissatisfied with the court's finding that he did not own copyright and with the sum of awarded, Professor Kokoma’s wife, as representative of his estate appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment of the lower court and held that Professor Kokoma did not own copyright in the national anthem, rather the Ugandan Government owned copyright because it organised the contest and managed the process of submissions up to the selection and adoption of George Kokoma’s entry as the national anthem. According to the Court of Appeal, such activities meant that the composition was undertaken under the government’s direction or control.


          The Court of Appeal rightly identified that the resolution of the appeal hinged on the determination of the person who owned copyright in the composition. Further, given that section 8 of the Copyright Act deals with copyright involving the government, the court rightly relied on that section as a basis for its judgment. However, in holding that copyright vested in the Government because the composition was made under the direction and control of the government under section 8(2), the Court of Appeal did not consider the purport of section 8(3) of the Act.

        • The MoviePass Mess Has Finally Come To An End

          Moviepass is no more. The company's all you can eat movie ticket business model never worked as advertised, and a letter to subscribers informed them that the service would be shutting down over the weekend. Users are supposed to be getting refunds without having to ask for them.

        • Swiss Copyright Law: Downloading Stays Legal, No Site Blocking

          Switzerland's National Council has passed amendments aimed at modernizing the country's copyright law to make it more fit for the digital age. While services that host pirate sites or distribute content can expect a tougher ride moving forward, users will still be able to download pirate content for personal use. Furthermore, Swiss Internet service providers will not be required to prevent their customers accessing pirate sites.

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