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12.31.15

Software Patents Used by Patent Trolls in the United States Are Squashed in Courts

Posted in America, Courtroom, Europe, Patents at 12:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

State of litigation

Summary: New evidence, based on two stories where large victims of patent trolls fought back (rather than cough out settlement money), show that software patents increasingly get tossed out by judges, even in trolls-friendly courts

WHEN a software patent that’s owned by a troll (the classic scenario) is reported on by the corporate media it’s rather easy to spot based on “LLC” in the title, or sometimes just the word “Texas”. The targets of litigation by these trolls needn’t be just US companies, especially if (or when) the UPC becomes a reality.

A German company (maybe the most famous German company, Mercedes-Benz) has become a victim of some US patent troll called “Vehicle Intelligence”. There is nothing about it in Wikipedia and their (his?) is just a handful of pages with all the hallmarks of a patent troll, where “products” are just “licensing” (i.e. patent tax). Reading , we find that “the inventor, Kevin Roe, is also the patent attorney” (again, classic troll). To quote the opening paragraph from Patently-O: “Vehicle Intelligence and Safety LLC is the owner of United States Patent Number 7,394,392 vehicle safety improvements. In particular, the patent claims systems and methods for testing vehicle operators and then taking control of the vehicle if the operator is deemed impaired. Senior Judge Hart of the Northern District of Illinois ruled on the pleadings (12(c)) that the asserted claims were invalid as being drawn to patent-ineligible subject matter under Section 101 of the Patent Act. On appeal, the Federal Circuit here affirms – holding that “the disputed claims cover only abstract ideas coupled with routine data-gathering steps and conventional computer activity.” An early potential strike against the patent that the inventor, Kevin Roe, is also the patent attorney who prosecuted the case and the litigator who filed the appellate briefs.”

“Are we seeing software patents on the retreat in the 全民彩票官网下载 of software patents? And if so, why on Earth is the EPO‘s management ushering in more of them?”Got that? “Section 101 of the Patent Act.” This is a relief as it contributes to the belief or the correct perception that software patents are on the run in the Unites States.

There is another bit of good news, akin to the above. Remember that Patent TrollTracker had worked for Cisco before he got himself and/or his employer sued by a troll for defamation or whatever? Well, Cisco, based on , has just beaten a patent troll that had struck in Texas, which attracted a lot of attention this month [1, 2, 3, 4], 5]. “In 2013,” wrote the trolls expert, “a two-judge majority on the panel found that Cisco should have been allowed to tell the jury they had a “good faith belief” that the patent was invalid. The jury instructions were thus improper, and the appeals judges kicked the case back down to the trial court in the Eastern District of Texas.”

Well, the $64,000,000 verdict has just been overturned.

Are we seeing software patents on the retreat in the 全民彩票官网下载 of software patents? And if so, why on Earth is the EPO‘s management ushering in more of them? Beggars belief!

Microsoft’s Latest Patent Aggression Comes Under Fire From the EFF, Former GNU/Linux 全民彩票官网登录 the Patent’s Target

Posted in Corel, Courtroom, EFF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘new’ Microsoft…

Satya Ballmer
Satya Ballmer: different face, same strategy/policy

Summary: Microsoft continues its vicious patent war on anything resembling competition (however small), even the competition against which Microsoft previously committed competition abuses/crimes (subject of court cases) in order to attain total monopoly

MICROSOFT, which is connected to many patent trolls (including Intellectual Ventures, the world’s biggest), is still busy suing companies. Microsoft has a long history of patent aggression, including patent litigation against Linux (not just threats thereof). As longtime readers of this site may know, this and only this was the raison d’être of this Web site.

“…since winning a case for infringement of design patents can lead to a damage analysis based on “lost profits,” which can theoretically lead to a patent owner getting all of a defendant’s profits.”
      –Joe Mullin
As we noted the other day, referring to the original from the EFF, Microsoft is now attacking a company that once dominated word processing. Microsoft allegedly engaged in competition crimes against this company, leading to decades of expensive litigation. This company also pioneered some important GNU/Linux efforts until Microsoft shut these down with a mysterious deal (which we wrote about on several occasions around 2007). Well, Microsoft is now trying to drive this company into bankruptcy, using patents.

What’s the name of this company? Corel. We have a whole category about Corel (with 51 articles, as well as leaked court documents). History is important here and it’s imperative that people properly study Corel to truly grasp how severe this situation really is.

Microsoft is now attacking Corel with what the EFF calls “Stupid Patent of the Month”. As noted by , “it’s serious ammo, since winning a case for infringement of design patents can lead to a damage analysis based on “lost profits,” which can theoretically lead to a patent owner getting all of a defendant’s profits.”

“Remember the company called Novell? Yes, that company that pretty much vanished half a decade ago and whose patent/special deal with Microsoft (SUSE) will expire tomorrow (there are no signs of renewal or continuation).”In other words, expect layoffs, liquidation, bankruptcy, etc. Legal fees aren’t low, either. Remember the company called Novell? Yes, that company that pretty much vanished half a decade ago and whose patent/special deal with Microsoft (SUSE) will expire tomorrow (there are no signs of renewal or continuation). Other than the name being similar, Novell and Corel have a lot in common because both competed against Microsoft until signing some infamous deals with Microsoft, leading to their demise, as well as the demise of their ongoing court cases against Microsoft (for competition abuses/crimes). When Novell imploded Microsoft grabbed its patents. Sweet deal for Microsoft. Novell is virtually gone (devoured by another company) and its patents are in CPTN, which is a ‘conglomerate’ pool of Linux and Android foes such as Oracle and Apple.

“Microsoft is now using patents primarily against Android, which the company is at war against (don’t believe the pretenses and the “loves Linux” baloney).”We quite liked how Glyn Moody framed the situation in his article .

As if Microsoft itself is not somewhat of a massive troll itself (we wrote a lot about this before). Just look what the company has been doing with patents this past decade. “The recent Techdirt article about Microsoft’s design patent on a slider,” Moody wrote, “understandably focused on the absurdity of companies being forced to hand over all of the profits that derive from a product if it is found to have infringed on someone else’s design patent even in just a tiny portion of that product. But there’s another angle worth mentioning here that picks up on something Techdirt has written about several times before: the rise and threat of patent thickets. Back in 2012, it was estimated that 250,000 active patents impacted smartphones. That makes it impossible to build devices without licensing large numbers of patents, and even then, it’s likely that claims of infringement will still be brought.”

Microsoft is now using patents primarily against Android, which the company is at war against (don’t believe the pretenses and the "loves Linux" baloney).

“The EPO’s lawyer全民彩票网址s who currently deal with my case were also recently seen working from the same side as Microsoft on the patent front, based on Reuters.”Here is . “The design patent,” says Softpedia, “numbered D554,140, basically states that Microsoft is the owner of the slider you can see in the photo attached to the article. This is the very same slider that the company uses in its Office productivity suite to allow users to zoom in or out of documents, but it has also been implemented in a wide variety of Microsoft and non-Microsoft products.”

But when patent examiners are pressured to issue patents in bulk and/or do a rushed job (as in the EPO for example, with Microsoft being on the high-priority list), no wonder such nonsense gets granted, leaving European courts to sort out the mess at a huge expense to the defendants. It is worth noting again that only articles of mine which mentioned Microsoft were even the target of threatening legal letters from the EPO’s lawyer全民彩票网址s, which gives room for speculation. The EPO’s lawyer全民彩票网址s who currently deal with my case were also recently seen working from the same side as Microsoft on the patent front, based on Reuters.

EPO Coverage to Increase in 2016, Including UPC Reality Checks

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A system optimised for the world's patents-wielding multinationals and their patent lawyer全民彩票网址s in Europe

UPC impact

Summary: Statement of our intention to increase focus on the European Patent Office (EPO) and its massive new PR campaign for the Unitary Patent Court (UPC)

, , , ]. Well, one among several of the boosters, Bastian Best, also sneakily promotes .

In any case, this post isn’t an explanatory article about the UPC, just a preview of things to some. Always remember who the UPC is for. The stakeholders are similar to those involved in pushing hard for the TPP. The UPC is essentially a Trojan horse ‘gift’ for Europe.

12.30.15

Links 30/12/2015: Death of Murdock, Microsoft Blocks Linux Game Port

Posted in News Roundup at 11:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • There are numerous computer operating systems (OS) other than the various versions of Windows and this includes well over 100 distributions of Linux-based systems.

  • Desktop

    • Windows 10 is a pretty good desktop operating system. Unfortunately, that OS is very far from perfect. The most glaring issue, of course, is the confusing privacy settings. Plus, let us not forget the arguably shady tactics Microsoft is employing to get users to upgrade to the operating system. While Windows 10 is more focused than its predecessor, there is still a lack of consistency, such as having a Settings Menu and separate Control Panel menu.

      Meanwhile, in the land of Linux, Ubuntu hit 15.10; an evolutionary upgrade, which is a joy to use. While not perfect, the totally free Unity desktop-based Ubuntu gives Windows 10 a run for its money. Does this mean I think Linux will soon rule the desktop? Absolutely not. Windows will still be dominant in number of installs for the foreseeable future. With that said, more does not always mean better. Here are 5 ways Ubuntu bests Windows 10.

    • A widely-cited blog post about the major Linux desktop problems has been updated for 2016.

      Over on the LinuxFonts.Narod.ru is the “major problems of the Linux desktop” and it’s been updated with all of the latest issues, etc, for 2016. The article was updated yesterday by Artem Tashkinov.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • The NVIDIA Linux driver this year continued to keep pace with the latest Linux kernel and X.Org Server releases, continued working towards restructuring on KMS support, improved its EGL support, and is nearly ready to support Wayland/Mir. NVIDIA internally has also been working to prepare their launch-day Vulkan driver for once the specification is out in 2016.

  • Applications

    • Three years in the making, we’ve added so many new features to Mixxx that we had to call it 2.0. As always, Mixxx 2.0 is available as a free upgrade for all existing Mixxx users.

    • The wait is finally over. After years of hard work, the Mixxx development team is pleased to present Mixxx 2.0!

    • There are a billion music players on the Linux platform and it’s getting difficult to find a really good one that can bring something new. Fortunately, Clementine comes to the rescue.

    • Today’s Webmin 1.780 release brings updates to its file manager, translation updates, support for SSL certificate requests from Let’s Encrypt, MySQL 5.7, automatic DNS records in partial reverse donations, and other bug-fixes and smaller feature work.

    • Shotwell is an image viewer and photo manager that’s implemented by default in a number of distros, including Ubuntu. It’s more versatile than people give it credit for, so we’ll try to see what some of the cool things you can do with it are.

    • Wireshark, the best network protocol analyzer that offers users the means to capture and interactively browse the traffic running on a computer network, is now at version 2.0.1.

    • After being in the making for three years, the developers of the Mixxx open source DJ software have had the great pleasure of announcing the release and immediate availability for download of Mixxx 2.0.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • So, while the Steam Machines did not (predictably) manage to get a really good start (I hope Valve learned a thing or two out of that situation), 2015 has been an excellent year for Linux Gaming. We have received numerous ports and a few first-citizen releases as well, and not just indie games this time around. Like all Top 10’s, this list is going to be somewhat subjective and maybe your own favourite game is not there, but here goes nonetheless.

      • I’m a big fan of FNA, as the quality of the ports made with Ethan Lee’s project are really quite awesome. Ethan announced recently that FNA has now had its first official release.

      • The Linux version of Carmageddon: Reincarnation promised during the Kickstarter has been completely MIA for some time, but they say they are still planning to do it.

        It’s a familiar thing by now, dates slipped for all versions, the Windows version didn’t turn out as well as one hoped and the Linux version is waiting for the Windows version to get sorted out. Originally, the Linux version was due around the end of 2013, that’s a rather large slip for Stainless Games.

      • Other Microsoft published games have made their way to Linux, so it’s not out of the question. It depends what sort of publishing deal they signed, still a damn shame though.

      • The reference was in regards to a Linux port of Ori and the Blind Forest, a single-player adventure game developed by Moon Studios and originally released earlier this year. Ori is powered by the Unity Engine, which would make a Linux port possible, but apparently the publishing deal with Microsoft Studios would prevent the game from being released outside of Microsoft platforms.

      • 2015 has been a great year for open source and Linux gaming. The number of Linux games continues to grow, and Steam Machines finally hit the market on November 10. So, with the end of the year closing in, I’d like to give you my picks for the top five open games. Which one is your favorite? And which games do you think should have made the list?

      • Valve has announced the they’ve updated the Steam Beta Client for all supported operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux, with even more improvements to their Steam Controller device.

      • Admittedly, free software games are few in number, and their development is slow. However, since they are not dependent on sales for their existence, they are more likely to stay available.

        By contrast, proprietary Linux games could cease to exist at any time. If you run them, enjoy them while they can, because, in another year or two, they may not around.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Continuing on with our other year-end looks, here are lists of the most popular GNOME and KDE desktop happenings of the year.

      First up, here’s a look at the ten most popular GNOME stories on Phoronix for 2015. GNOME made much progress this year on Wayland support, app sandboxing, UEFI firmware updating, and other features.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • I’ve just released frogr 1.0. I can’t believe it took me 6 years to move from the 0.x series to the 1.0 release, but here it is finally. For good or bad.

      • Before I started working in free and open source software, before I found out I had a heart condition and became passionate about software freedom, I was a corporate lawyer全民彩票网址 at a law firm. I worked on various financial transactions. There were ups and downs to this kind of work but throughout I was always extremely vocal about how happy I was that I didn’t do any litigation.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • UberStudent is a Linux distribution FOR EVERYONE, especially higher education and college-bound secondary students, people who teach them, and their 全民彩票官网登录s. Researchers, knowledge workers, and lifelong learners will equally benefit. It has been specifically designed for complete Linux beginners, while remaining equally satisfying to the most advanced Linux user.

      • Earlier today, December 30, 2015, Stephen Ewen was very happy and proud to announce the release and immediate availability for download of the UberStudent 4.3 computer operating system.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

        • it is with pleasure that I see that Mageia is increasingly used.

      • Arch Family

        • Today, December 30, the Manjaro Linux community was proud to announce the release and immediate availability for download of the Manjaro Linux BspWM Community Edition 15.12 computer operating system.

      • Red Hat Family

        • Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) is expected to continue profiting from the trend in which enterprises are abandoning proprietary software for open-source software. According to Oppenheimer analysts, there are multiple ways in which Red Hat stands to benefit from the trend. One of them is the fact that the company continues to invest in new solutions, thus expanding its addressable market and revenue opportunity.

        • Red Hat is a “top pick” for 2016 according to one Wall Street analyst

        • The main focus of the recently released Version 3.6 of the Feed Henry’s (which is now owned by Red Hat) cross platform Mobile Application Platform (MHP) is the integration of the Aerogear UnifiedPush Server into the platform which provides improved iOS, Android and Windows 全民彩票网址Phone push notification functionality.

        • Fedora

          • Fedora Security Lab is probably one of the most unknown Fedora Labs for the public. It is typically used for a very specific task. But what exactly is that task? This article aims to answer that question!

      • Debian Family

        • A big story getting a little attention today was the shocking news of Debian founder Ian Murdock’s desperation at the hands of law enforcement. Much of the story is unknown, but Murdock was on the verge of suicide Monday evening. In other news, Brian Fagioli reported that the System76 Oryx Pro is the gaming machine of your dreams and Matt Hartley thinks he knows where Ubuntu went wrong.

        • It is with great sadness that we inform you that Ian Murdock passed away on Monday night. This is a tragic loss for his family, for the Docker community, and the broader open source world; we all mourn his passing. To Ian’s children, family and loved ones, we offer our full support and deepest sympathies.

        • Docker today announced that Ian Murdock, a member of the startup’s technical staff and a former Sun and Salesforce employee known for founding the Debian Linux operating system, has passed away. He was 42.

          A cause of death was not provided in the blog post announcing the news. Docker declined to comment. The San Francisco Police Department did not immediately have information on Murdock’s cause of death.

          Murdock’s Twitter account posted several tweets (PDF) on Monday that suggested he had been involved in an incident involving police, and one tweet said that he would commit suicide that night. Some people speculated that his account had been hacked. It has since been deleted.

        • The cause of death is unclear at present, but Murdock tweeted the same day that he would commit suicide that night. His Twitter account had since been deleted.

        • On Monday via Twitter he was threatening suicide over alleged police abuse in California. His Twitter account has since been removed. Other information about his suicide or alleged police detention and abuse has yet to be made public.

        • With a heavy heart Debian mourns the passing of Ian Murdock, stalwart proponent of Free Open Source Software, Father, Son, and the ‘ian’ in Debian.

          Ian started the Debian project in August of 1993, releasing the first versions of Debian later that same year. Debian would go on to become the world’s Universal Operating System, running on everything from embedded devices to the space station.

        • Debian GNU/Linux founder Ian Murdock has died.

          Murdock, who lived in San Francisco, founded the open-source distro in 1993, and just recently started working for Docker in the city.

          “It is with great sadness that we inform you that Ian Murdock passed away on Monday night,” Docker CEO Ben Golub blogged a few moments ago on Wednesday.

        • APT 1.1.10 also switches the cache’s hash function to the DJB hash function and increases the default hash table sizes to the smallest prime larger than 15000, namely 15013. This reduces the average bucket size from 6.5 to 4.5. We might increase this further in the future.

        • Murdock, who died at the age of 42, is best known professionally as founder of the Debian project. Debian is one of the three most widely used Linux distros and one of the first ones ever created. He started the project in the early 90s, when he was a student at Purdue University.

        • It would also appear the Mr. Murdock’s Twitter account was closed today.

        • Ian Murdock, the 42-year-old programming phenom who developed the Debian Linux operating system back in the early days of open-source software, died Monday night.

          The news was disclosed in a blog post by his employer, Docker, the San Francisco company that sells services associated with a popular open-source software tool for businesses. Murdock joined Docker as a technical staff member in November, according to his LinkedIn profile. Docker founder and chief technology officer Solomon Hykes tweeted about Murdock’s death (below).

        • Although Ian and my paths crossed relatively infrequently, over the years we became friends. His tremendous work in Debian was an inspiration for my own work in Ubuntu. At times when I was unsure of what to do in my work, Ian would share his guidance and wisdom. He never asked for anything in return. He never judged. He always supported the growth of Open Source and Free Software. He was precisely the kind of person that makes the Open Source and Free Software world so beautiful.

        • Inquiries to the San Francisco Police Department by Ars went unanswered.

        • Murdock wrote that he had been assaulted by the police, had his clothes ripped off, and told, “We’re the police, we can do whatever the fuck we want.” He also wrote, “they beat the shit out of me twice, then charged me $25,000 to get out of jail for battery against THEM.”

          This implies he had been arrested and booked at an area court. He may also have actually been in jail. I have been unable to find a record of the arrest.

          Murdock also vented his anger at the police. “(1/2) The rest of my life will be devoted to fighting against police abuse.. I’m white, I made $1.4 million last year, (2/2) They are uneducated, bitter, and and only interested in power for its own sake. Contact me imurdock@全民彩票网址imurdock.com if you can help. -ian”

          After leaving the courtroom, presumably a magistrate court, Murdock tweeted that he had been followed 全民彩票官网下载 by the police and assaulted again.

          He continued, “I’m not committing suicide today. I’ll write this all up first, so the police brutality ENDEMIC in this so call free country全民彩票网址 will be known.” He added, “Maybe my suicide at this, you now, a successful business man, not a NIGGER, will finally bring some attention to this very serious issue.”

        • The OSI Board is very sad to note the death of Ian Murdock. As well as founding the Debian GNU/Linux distribution in 1993 (Debian obituary), Ian was a co-founder of the Open Source Initiative and was the original Board Secretary named in our Articles of Incorporation. A charismatic and visionary leader, Ian influenced many community and commercial projects and was a friend of many former and current OSI Directors and Members.

        • The news of Murdock’s apparent death was first made public in a blog post on the Docker website. However, at about 4:20 p.m. the page announcing the death became unavailable. We are not certain at this time whether that’s because the site has been overloaded with traffic or because the page has been taken down. As other pages on the site are working, we suspect the later.

        • Ian Murdock – the ‘ian’ in Debian – was found dead at his 全民彩票官网下载 in San Francisco on Monday. The cause is yet unknown.

        • He alleged that police had “sent him to the hospital” for knocking on his neighbour’s door, and that he had then been charged $25,000 bail for assaulting a police officer. He claimed they told him “we’re the police, we always win,” before following him back to his house and beating him again.

        • The cause of his death is not known.

        • Derivatives

          • Canonical/Ubuntu

            • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) is coming along, and it looks like the developers are preparing for the release of the first Alpha version.

            • Today we’re continuing our “Watch” series of articles with a quite interesting one that we have spotted earlier on the official Twitter account of the Ubuntu MATE project.

            • Flavours and Variants

              • Scientifically there is a reason Windows XP slows down over time and it is due to the file allocation table and the fragmentation of the hard drive.

                When you start with a freshly installed system all the files are at the start of the disk. As files are added and deleted they space out over the disk, leaving gaps.

                A recommended performance improvement for Windows XP is to defragment the hard drive.

                All of those Windows engineers couldn’t have been wrong for all those years could they?

                No they weren’t.

              • Linux Mint has long been one of the most popular desktop Linux distributions around. But companies like Dell and System76 don’t use it as the default distribution on their computers. Instead they opt for Ubuntu, and that had one redditor wondering why they don’t use Linux Mint.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Some of you might have received a Raspberry Pi for Christmas or know of a family member or friend who received one. While some of us know exactly what to do with the devices and what peripherals to buy, that does not hold true for a majority of non-technical people. This article, focused on the Raspberry Pi 2 B, will help serve as a guide to answer questions you or someone you know might have.

      • 全民彩票网址Phones

        • Android

          • It’s one of the biggest questions around here: “when is my phone getting Android 6.0 Marshmallow?”. We all want to have the latest and greatest Android software around, but we can often be guilty of not even knowing what these updates bring to the table.

          • We already delivered our Favorite Apps for 2015, and now it is time for the games. Oh yes, the games. How far we have come over the past few years, seeing the release of major titles for mobile devices that were once the pinnacle of console gaming. For example, the Grand Theft Auto series is available on Google Play for virtually any Android device with enough storage to hold them, and that series was the biggest thing to hit consoles ever. Now, they are merely apps on our phones. Pretty mind blowing, if you ask me.

          • According to the commit in the Android code base, Google has been working on the switch since February of 2015, but Google’s statement makes it official, and it looks like we’ll see the fruit of the company’s labors in the next major Android release.

          • It’s too early to agree with those who believe it’s a virtual settlement (except that damages for past infringement might still have to be determined in court). I do remember that Oracle’s lawyer全民彩票网址s released a statement ahead of the 2012 trial in which they basically said that Google had two options for using Java in Android–a proprietary license or using it on open source terms with the obligation to contribute back to the open source community–but, by simply using Java without either kind of license, Google had committed copyright infringement. That was more than three-and-a-half years ago. Why wouldn’t Google have taken this step long before, if such a seemingly simple solution to the legal problem as OpenJDK had existed all along?

          • In early 2016, Bluboo will be releasing two new products. The Chinese firm is currently working on a new affordable smartphone with triple-SIM support as well as a new sports-centric smartwatch.

          • So Sony drops out as it sold its Vaio business and the smartphone business has been struggling. New chart entrants Xiaomi and TCL from China全民彩票网址 are powered only by smartphone sales. Traditional PC giants, Dell and HP keep dropping down on the charts as they are not participating in the fastest growing side of the computer business, the smartphones. Lenovo held its ground in market share so of the top 3 its the only one able to keep pace with the computer industry growth rate and it obviously sells computers in all the sectors of the industry. Samsung and Apple gave up market share while holding their top rankings. The race in the midfield is very intense and close.

          • With apps and games out of the way, you may be curious what our favorite Android devices of the year are? No? That’s rude and we are going to tell you anyway because 2015 is coming to a close in a matter of hours it seems and we like to look back and reflect on these types of things.

            The phone of the year battle probably won’t shock you, since we recently released a list of the Android phones you should consider buying. The tablet, though, that may surprise you a bit once you jump below. We also tackled our wearable of choice for 2015, should you be in the market for some wrist candy.

          • In 2015, the smartphone or, more specifically, the Android smartphone market reached tipping point. What you can get for your money now compared to 12 months ago is pretty astounding. It started with the sub $300 Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 in March, and ended with the $100 BLU phone equipped with a full HD screen. With 2016 almost here, we’re right in the thick of a race to the bottom, and the price drops are being driven primarily by Chinese companies.

          • The year is drawing to a close, and it’s time to reflect on last 12 months and peer into our crystal ball to see what the next will bring. The short answer: lots. 2016 is going to be an exciting year for Android, and big things are coming. Here are 10 things to expect from Android in 2016.

    Free Software/Open Source

    • Mark Abrahams explains his innovative use of an open-source animal monitoring platform

    • In recent years, cloud computing has transformed the ways that people purchase software, but it hasn’t necessarily made it more affordable.

      If you’re looking for accounting software – and you’re pinching pennies – you may want to explore one of these open source replacements for expensive accounting software.

      Let the downloading begin!

      As always, if you know of additional open source accounting software that you think should be on our list, feel free to add them in the comments section below.

    • There are far too many “open-source wins” to list from 2015, and some of the exciting advancements have already been covered in our other year-end articles. This article are just some of the major items that come to mind. You’re more than welcome to share your own exciting open-source/Linux highlights of the year with us and the community by commenting on this article in our forums.

    • Do software application development leaders need a new year’s resolution?

      Do team leaders, software engineering managers and senior architectural planners need a new wake up call?

      [...]

      The story here is that yes, indeed, software is eating the world… but in a proprietary-only technical debt-ridden software world… that software sucks.

    • SaaS/Big Data

      • Web site and application development is becoming in reach for nearly everyone, thanks to easier and better tools. Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are increasingly either employing open source or are built entirely on it. And all of this adds up to an increasing need for web development toolsets focused on the open source community. The good news is that there are many open source tools to help you with your web project, and given the costs of web development environments and the like, they can save you a lot of money. Here are many good examples of tools and tutorials, with a few that we’ve covered before appended at the end, in case you missed them.

    • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

      • They did earn their power by making a powerful database but then abused it by charging far more than cost of production plus reasonable profit. Hence PostgreSQL and MySQL and others are thriving. I made the move to mariadb years ago.

    • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • Both Facebook and LinkedIn look back on 2015 as a seminal year for open-source technology at their respective companies.
        With 2015 at its end, Facebook took a look back at its year of using, developing and contributing to open-source software.

        In a blog post, Christine Abernathy, developer advocate for the Facebook open source team, said the open source program at Facebook has grown, not only in terms of new projects, but also in the size and strength of its community. Abernathy credits the growth to contributions from more than 3,400 developers who contributed to the company’s projects – the majority of whom were external.

    • BSD

      • It took two decades, but BSD — the operating system that dominated the Unix world during the 1980s and 1990s before being supplanted by the open source Linux kernel — is now ready for embedded computing. That’s according to the RetroBSD project, which has announced success running BSD on modern embedded hardware.

    • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

      • Our tech team keeps the FSF and the GNU Project running — and in order to fulfill their goals for 2016, they need your support.

      • The Gold linker tends to be significantly faster than ld at linking ELF files. In some cases like DragonFlyBSD, the Gold linker is used by default as the linker. However, Gold has some differences to GNU ld which is why it isn’t used everywhere right now — can’t be used for Linux kernel modules, the default libraries are different, etc.

    • Public 全民彩票网址/Government

      • With open-source software, the code would already be in the public domain, and agencies would instead be procuring value-added services to mold those open-source applications to their needs.

        This saves money for agencies because it eliminates the licensing fees that come with traditional software products as well as the nonrecurring engineering costs — the one-off costs to research and develop the software, or “reinvent the wheel” as Gary Shiffman, CEO of Arlington-based Giant Oak Inc., described it to me.

    • Openness/Sharing

      • At this year’s Blender Conference, the Blender Institute released its latest open movie project, Glass Half. You can watch the full three minutes of this short animation in all its glory right here.

      • Open Hardware

        • Tech giants Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Lattice, Microsemi and Oracle are among the first 15 members of a new RISC-V trade group. Next week the group is hosting a workshop for the processor core. One of the current tasks of the group is to draft the open source agreement which will form part of its membership. The RISC-V is developed under an open source license and members will be able to verify and use the RISC-V logo.

          [...]

          RISC-V processors can currently be used to run Linux and NetBSD.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Using telecom law offers fundamental advantages over competition law to remedy monopolised ICT market sectors and in eGovernment initiatives, says Felix Greve, a German lawyer全民彩票网址 specialised in IT-law. In November, Greve summarised his July 2015 PhD thesis in a webinar organised for the European Commission’s ‘Open Standards for ICT Procurement’ project.

    Leftovers

    • ‘Star Wars’ is a simple story, simply told, of good versus evil, light versus darkness, and freedom versus tyranny. In other words it is the story of America’s struggle to preserve democracy and civilization in a world beset by evil and ‘evildoers’.

    • Four years later, Liss-Riordan is spearheading class-action lawsuits against Uber, Lyft, and nine other apps that provide on-demand services, shaking the pillars of Silicon Valley’s much-hyped sharing economy. In particular, she is challenging how these companies classify their workers. If she can convince judges that these so-called micro-entrepreneurs are in fact employees and not independent contractors, she could do serious damage to a very successful business model—Uber alone was recently valued at $51 billion—which relies on cheap labor and a creative reading of labor laws. She has made some progress in her work for drivers. Just this month, after Uber tried several tactics to shrink the class, she won a key legal victory when a judge in San Francisco found that more than 100,000 drivers can join her class action.

    • Looks more like age 29 in the chart, but I got married at 32, so I’ll take it. Unfortunately, this is for people getting married now. For people who got married back when I got married, the older the better. Today, for some reason, it’s the older the better until age 32, and then the divorce risk curves back up. Why the change? After a bit of statistical argle bargle, Wolfinger admits he can’t really figure it out

    • Trade deal gives polluters power to sue governments who try to implement the Paris agreement

    • Health/Nutrition

      • At this point, it’s well documented that affluent, educated white communities are behind the surge in unvaccinated kids—and by extension the increase in vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles and whooping cough (pertussis). But there are few studies that dig into the detailed demographics of those unprotected younglings, leaving health experts at a loss for how to target strategies to combat anti-vaccination myths and fears in the specific groups that need it most.

      • This comes from the CDC’s final report on births for 2014, which is chock full of everything you might want to know about US birth and fertility rates. The increase in triplet births is most likely due to the rising use of fertility therapies, and the drop after 1998 is likely due to improvements in fertility therapies. The reason for the steady increase in twins is less clear, since it seems too large to be accounted for by fertility treatments.

    • Security

      • [Ed: This title could just say “Windows” as Vista 10 isn’t the first time Microsoft grabs keys]

        Microsoft has figured out what Google and Facebook already sussed: your eyeballs, and even more your personal data, are commercially valuable, and they’re determined to harvest and sell as much of that as they can.

        The tech blog Boing Boing points out other issues, starting with this: Windows 10 covertly sends your disk-encryption keys to Microsoft.

    • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

      • It is now openly discussed even in mainstream media the fact that Turkey has been intimately involved in fomenting and supporting the war on Syria, with its ultimate goal of the overthrow of the Syrian government and its replacement by a compliant proxy aligned with Turkish President Erdogan and the Muslim Brotherhood. That this is no longer a ‘conspiracy theory’ but a conspiracy fact not only vindicates my analysis over the last four years, but it also brings to the fore the nefarious role of a NATO member in stoking a brutal and bloody war for its own ends.

      • And bad governmental decisions are not confined to the Middle East. Violating the implicit (and maybe explicit) promise made to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to get him to approve the reuniting of Germany as the Cold War ended, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have expanding the hostile NATO alliance right to Russia’s borders. Recently Obama took in the small country全民彩票网址 Montenegro as a deliberate slap in Russia’s face. Yet, expanding the NATO alliance effectively followed the Versailles model after World War I – keeping your defeated adversary outside the community of European nations – which led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and World War II and went counter to the much more effective Congress of Vienna model, which brought post-Napoleonic France back into Europe, thus ensuring a century of relative peace in Europe. Because the United States and NATO walked all over a defeated Russia after the Cold War, they are now faced with a nationalist Russian leader in Vladimir Putin who is destabilizing Ukraine to keep it out of NATO, which George W. Bush promised would become an alliance member. Not taking any responsibility for this unfortunate chain of events, the United States is using Russia’s behavior to put more NATO forces in Eastern and Southern Europe. Where will the escalation cycle end?

      • Authorities are investigating a firebomb attack on a mosque in Tracy, California that took place on Sunday as a hate crime.

      • When I first began commenting on articles here at openDemocracy, I was motivated to answer a writer who contended that the State of Israel had intentionally opened the flood gates on one of its dams in order to flood some villages in Gaza.

        The article was simply one of many examples where Palestinian leadership misfeasance brought tribulations to Palestinians that were blamed on the Israelis. I have come to refer to such observers as “Israel Firsters”.

      • The Jewish extremists running amok in Israel have far more in common with the Islamic State than they realize. Both groups need to be confronted and destroyed.

      • A Russian ship left Iran on Monday carrying almost all of Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium, fulfilling a major step in the nuclear deal struck last summer and, for the first time in nearly a decade, apparently leaving Iran with too little fuel to manufacture a nuclear weapon.

      • None of this trillion dollars taken from us is spent to keep us safe, despite what politicians say. In fact, this great rip-off actually makes us less safe and more vulnerable to a terrorist attack thanks to resentment overseas at our interventions and to the blowback it produces.

      • Stratfor maintains that despite major anti-Daesh efforts in Iraq and Syria, the group will not be vanquished in 2016.

      • With the military, not the CIA, in charge, few know whether casualties include Iraqi and Syrian civilians.

      • [Ed: same]
      • Ask Americans to name the terror group they fear most, and they’ll probably says ISIS, even though it was al-Qaeda that killed more than 3,000 people on 9/11/2001. Compared to ISIS, al-Qaeda is seen as the “devil we know,” not the band of barbaric thugs who burn people alive, rape children, and destroy or pilfer historic artifacts for sale on the black market.

        The rivalry between the two terror groups has even prompted the unthinkable—that the U.S. and al-Qaeda would somehow work together to defeat ISIS. Last August General David Petraeus, former CIA director and commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, urged the Pentagon to consider empowering al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front in Syria to fight ISIS. Petraeus, like others, believe Nusra is “moderate” compared with the tactics of the Taliban or ISIS, and could be an asset. But aligning with the lesser of two evils of terrorism is a policy fraught with pitfalls.

      • Early in 2014, a truck understood to belong to the Turkish intelligence service (MIT) was stopped near the Syrian border. The gendarmerie and the intelligence officials in control of the convoy pulled guns on each other. This was the moment the two blocks vying to rule the state came face to face. The truck was searched. Beneath the camouflage composed of medicines boxes, weapons and ammunition were found. The truck was held for a while, but following the intervention of government officials a safe passage into Syria was granted.

        The government immediately discharged the prosecutor and gendarmerie who stopped the convoy and had them arrested. It was declared that the trucks contained humanitarian aid. This incident, which fuelled allegations that President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an’s government was intervening in the Syrian civil war, was rapidly covered up.

      • Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited a relatively safe zone in the recently recovered city of Ramadi, where he promised to move the fighting against the Islamic State to the northern city of Mosul. However, there are reports that he was evacuated due to rocket fire. Meanwhile, Anbar’s governor, Suhaib al-Rawi, said over a thousand militants were killed during the battle for Ramadi. The true tallies of the fighting may never be publicly known.

      • As we have seen over recent months, the phenomenon of fighters from different countries joining terrorist groups abroad highlights the need for of a global response to terrorism. Terrorism does not respect geographical borders and cannot be addressed within a single country全民彩票网址. Tunisia does not operate within a vacuum, and we cannot counter terrorism, meet the expectations of our youth, and continue our democratic transition without the support of the international community.

      • I have to say, it can certainly be quite frustrating to watch dispassionately how terrorism is discussed in the United States. After the fervor in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when terrorism was used either as a reason or excuse to enact all kinds of liberty-diffusing policies and to launch an insane surveillance state that we still haven’t recovered from, I had thought we were quietly entering an era of eye-rolling at the way some in government throw around the word “terrorism.” But, because the 全民彩票官网下载 of the brave is so easily whipped into a frenzy of fear, an admittedly horrible terrorist attack half a world away and a shooting spree in California that would have been shrugged off as “Hey, that’s just America” except that the perpetrators had scary sounding last names, has once again meant that our political debates and twenty-four hour news programs are focused on the threat of Islamic extremist terrorism and not all of the other zillions of ways that you might die in the next twenty-four hours.

        What all of this fear-mongering has done, which completely escapes my understanding, is create the impression that our enemy is generally devious and technologically intelligent on Bond-villain-esque levels. This is how you create a climate where a legitimate tool such as encryption is under attack as a threat. That’s what makes it so useful to point out when would-be terrorists prove themselves to be bumbling idiots practically begging to be caught.

      • Once again, encryption was not used to cover tracks in any way.

      • Like many political animals, I was glued to the latest Republican presidential debate.

        For the most part, there were no surprises: Donald Trump railed against Muslims, Chris Christie lamented that the NSA can’t intercept Americans’ phone calls and emails as easily as it used to, Ben Carson remained confused about foreign policy, and Carly Fiorina yelled loudly that nobody was paying any attention to her.

        That’s great entertainment. But one ongoing theme bothered me – a lot.

        It seemed to me that none of the Republicans running for president had even the vaguest understanding of what’s happening in Syria.

        I learned during my nearly 15 years of working on the Middle East at the CIA – and after earning my college degree in Middle Eastern Studies – that nothing in that region is easily accomplished. Almost no issues are black and white. Alliances shift constantly, and sometimes politics makes for strange bedfellows.

        [...]

        And those “moderate” rebels? Maybe a few are freedom-loving secularists. But many more are hardcore Islamists like the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front. They aren’t any more interested in democracy than Assad or the Islamic State itself.

        There is, however, a solution. And it doesn’t involve killing more people, stumbling into other countries’ civil wars, or “carpet bombing” the Middle East, as Ted Cruz proposed. It’s called diplomacy.

    • Transparency Reporting

      • U.S. intelligence agencies recently fought off a move by Congress to require the CIA and other spy services to disclose more details about high-ranking employees who have been promoted or fired, despite pledges to be more open and accountable.

        The disputed measure was designed to increase scrutiny of cases- in which senior officers ascend to high-level positions despite problems ranging from abusive treatment of subordinates to involvement in botched operations overseas.

      • Despite pledges of increased transparency, the US intelligence community successfully fought a Congressional measure that would require agencies to give more details about personnel who have been promoted or fired.

      • Since the release of the TPP text back in November, commentators have naturally tended to concentrate on the bigger, more obvious problems — things like the corporate sovereignty chapter, the extension of Big Pharma’s monopolies to scientific data, and copyright provisions — that Techdirt has been exploring for years. But there’s one area that has received relatively little attention, perhaps because for most people it’s an obscure topic that seems rather unimportant. It concerns the issue of trade secrets, which Techdirt wrote about in the context of TPP in October 2014. There, we concentrated on the risk that it would chill investigative reporting and corporate whistleblowing, but a new column in The Globe and Mail by Dan Breznitz, professor of Innovation Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, looks at the economic impact of TPP’s trade secrets measures.

      • The Cabinet Office was accused of suppressing ‘politically sensitive information’ last night after it failed to fully release official files for the first time in 50 years.

        It usually releases hundreds of documents about government decision-making through the National Archives, but this year there are just 14.

        Files on subjects ranging from the SAS shootings in Gibraltar to the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 should have been available to the public but are not.

        MPs pointed out last night that two senior ministers connected to the National Archives were government advisers during the period covered by the missing files.

      • Police unions are working tirelessly towards destroying any remaining shreds of respectability. Presumably, they once served a purpose roughly aligned with the public good. Now, they serve the singular purpose of ensuring our nation’s law enforcement agencies will always be forced to keep the abusive, incompetent officers on their payroll.

    • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

      • The United States is undergoing a massive energy transition that isn’t receiving enough attention, and it could render the Paris climate agreement meaningless. We’re swapping one climate-damaging fuel, coal, for another that is actually worse: fracked gas.

        It’s a stark contradiction for U.S. climate policy. The Obama administration used its executive power to push the agreement and its aspirational goal of keeping warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius. The agreement is a good thing. But for the U.S., a big part of reaching its intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) commitment is implementing the Clean Power Plan, the EPA’s framework for states to reduce their carbon emissions. It’s designed to facilitate a wholesale transition from coal to natural gas, much of which is a product of fracking.

      • At least 20 people have been killed by severe flooding in Missouri, where several towns along the Mississippi River have been forced to evacuate due to rising floodwaters that are predicted to break records in the next few days. Such catastrophic, widespread flooding hasn’t been seen in the region in over two decades.

      • From Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change, to the establishment of the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants, to a landmark international climate agreement, 2015 has been full of major landmarks in national and global efforts to address global warming. Yet you wouldn’t know it if you inhabited the parallel universe of the conservative media, where media figures went to ridiculous and outrageous lengths to dismiss or deny climate science, attack the pope, scientists, and anyone else concerned with climate change, and defend polluting fossil fuel companies. Here are the 15 most ridiculous things conservative media said about climate change in 2015.

      • The leaves came off the last trees — a crabapple, a willow and a hardy Norway maple — during the first week of December this year, surely the latest I can remember seeing leaves on trees since we moved to the Philadelphia area 18 years ago. But it’s not just that.

        A rhododendron bush beside the house has huge blooms ready to burst open, the white petal tips pushing out of their scaly looking egg-sized buds. And our garden is still boasting a surprisingly fast-growing crop of chard, sweet kale and perhaps most surprisingly, tall fava bean plants that, while they didn’t produce any beans this year, saute up to make a beautiful doumiao — one of my favorite Chinese vegetable dishes.

      • Why are there more land fires in Indonesia before an election? Why are oil palm plantations burned also? Why does everyone involved see the fires differently?

        And what do elephants have to do with any of it?

        The devastating land and forest fires in Indonesia begin long before someone lights a match: They start with a complex entanglement of politics, economics, power and practice.

      • Indonesia’s forest and land fires have reached a new level of global significance. New analysis published this week by Guido van der Werf, lead scientist with the Global Fire Emissions Database, indicates that since September greenhouse gas emissions from the fires exceeded the average daily emissions from all US economic activity. Extrapolating from van der Werf’s estimates, these emissions are likely to add about 3 percent to total global greenhouse gas emissions from human activities for the year. The emissions from fires so far in 2015 are more than three times higher than expected by Indonesia’s national planning agency.

        The fires in Indonesia are set to clear land for agriculture or as a weapon in conflict over land. Many of the fires are burning on carbon-rich peatlands and as a result spew extremely large amounts of toxic smog into the air and climate-altering gas into the atmosphere.

      • We have been lucky with the flooding where we live, at least so far. Kirkburton is in the east Pennines a few miles out of Huddersfield and the village was on the Environment Agency’s “risk of flooding” warning for twenty-four hours on the weekend of 26-27 December. Fortunately, while the rain may have been very heavy it didn’t persist here as long as it did up on the moors, but some of the Calder Valley towns like Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Sowerby Bridge were hit appallingly badly.

    • Finance

      • Ethan was sentenced to mere parole instead of prison. Ethan Couch, whose family is worth a reported $15 million, became the embodiment of our unfair treatment of the rich. He recently re-entered headlines after a jaunt through Mexico in violation of parole left him in federal custody. He may, in the end, face jail time.

        The public outrage at Ethan’s legal treatment has been understandably intense. Why should someone get off easy simply because they’re rich?

        However, much less public outrage has come from another insidious from of affluenza—the legalized tax evasion by the ultra wealthy. According to a blistering new report from The New York Times, “The very richest are able to quietly shape tax policy that will allow them to shield millions, if not billions, of their income.”

      • The hedge fund magnates Daniel S. Loeb, Louis Moore Bacon and Steven A. Cohen have much in common. They have managed billions of dollars in capital, earning vast fortunes. They have invested large sums in art — and millions more in political candidates.

        Moreover, each has exploited an esoteric tax loophole that saved them millions in taxes. The trick? Route the money to Bermuda and back.

      • Apple Inc will pay Italy’s tax office 318 million euros ($348 million) to settle a dispute over allegations it failed to pay taxes for six years, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

        The maker of i全民彩票网址Phones and iPads will also sign an accord next year on how to manage its tax liabilities from 2015 onward, the source said.

      • Recently, I wrote a blog – Who is responsible for the Eurozone crisis? The simple answer: It is not Germany! – where I contended that Germany was not to blame for the Eurozone crisis. I also wrote that while Germany was not responsible, single-handedly, for the creation of the dysfunctional monetary union, its politicians were surely complicit in making the crisis deeper and longer than it otherwise could have been given the circumstances.

      • But for Hillary Clinton, this tiny increase in payroll taxes is not only a reason to delay, but a reason to oppose the legislation altogether – something O’Leary has apparently discarded her own previous advocacy for.But for Hillary Clinton, this tiny increase in payroll taxes is not only a reason to delay, but a reason to oppose the legislation altogether – something O’Leary has apparently discarded her own previous advocacy for.

      • At the end of November, an Italian pensioner hanged himself after his entire €100,000 savings were confiscated in a bank “rescue” scheme. He left a suicide note blaming the bank, where he had been a customer for 50 years and had invested in bank-issued bonds. But he might better have blamed the EU and the G20’s Financial Stability Board, which have imposed an “Orderly Resolution” regime that keeps insolvent banks afloat by confiscating the savings of investors and depositors. Some 130,000 shareholders and junior bond holders suffered losses in the “rescue.”

      • Sure, income inequality has grown—but so what? The rich don’t get richer at the expense of the poor. Poor people’s income grew 48 percent over the past 35 years. Bernie Sanders says that “the middle class is disappearing!” But that’s mainly because many middle-class people moved into the upper class. Middle class incomes grew 40 percent over the past 30 years.

    • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

      • 2015 was an important year in education policy, with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the beginning of the 2016 election campaigns, and local fights for teachers and public 全民彩票官网登录s making national headlines. In an important year for students and teachers across the education spectrum, however, some media outlets used their platforms to push falsehoods. Here are five of the worst media failures on public education this year.

      • Earle I. Mack, a prominent real estate developer and Republican donor who was supporting Mr. Pataki, said the former governor had faced a difficult national environment for his “middle of the road” brand of politics. Mr. Mack, who spoke with Mr. Pataki ahead of his announcement, said Republicans faced a dire future if they did not tack toward the center, as Mr. Pataki had urged.

      • My colleague Russ Choma, who was apparently denied entry to a Donald Trump rally in chilly New Hampshire, nonetheless reports that Trump says he will soon begin spending millions of dollars on television ads in early primary states. Maybe so—or maybe it’s just Trump jabbering again.

      • This is an odd quirk in Trump’s personality. He seems to have an ironclad rule against ever attacking someone first. Even Vladimir Putin. Putin says nice things about Trump, so Trump has to say nice things back. Opposing candidates who don’t attack him are “great guys.” But if you attack first, then he has to fire off a nuclear retaliation. There’s an odd kind of chivalry at work here, and I suppose it also provides people with a motivation to leave him alone.

      • It’s hard to overstate Donald Trump’s impact on the 2016 race for the White House. The business tycoon symbolizes the shift from traditional presidential campaigns to the new uncampaign. Trump has had no need to pander for money, and he has been impervious to criticism—no matter how justified. He seems to only be strengthened by political gaffes that would doom other candidates. This year, he has dominated the news cycle repeatedly and ridden high in the polls. Chronicling all his wacky remarks, blunders, outrageous proposals, and, of course, crazy tweets of this past year would be nearly impossible. But we tried.

      • But the biggest news of the night came when Trump said he would vastly increase his spending on television commercials. To date, Trump appears to have spent only $217,000 on advertising—compared with $41 million spent by Bush and his allied super-PAC. But Trump told the crowd that’s about to change.

      • Two weeks ago, conservative billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his family purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada’s largest paper. On Tuesday, its editor-in-chief of five years, Mike Hengel, resigned.

        If you are a subscriber to the Review-Journal, you would have read a grand total of 79 words on Wednesday about Hengel’s departure. According to the story, which did not have a byline, the decision was “mutual” and “he did not believe he was forced out.”

      • Where do you see signs of hope? Is the Bernie Sanders campaign a sign of hope, even if he doesn’t win?

        Absolutely. A socialist was on the stage for a Democratic debate! There was a poll last month where they asked Democrats how they felt about socialism and capitalism, and 46 percent said they had a positive view of socialism, while 37 percent said they had a positive view of capitalism. Things are changing, and young people are making this change happen. My politics and Bernie’s line up almost exactly the same.

      • Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said Sunday that he believes he can boost his own standing in the race by swaying supporters of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump to back his campaign.

        Sanders told CBS’s Face the Nation that many of Trump’s supporters have legitimate fears stemming from income inequality that Sanders is best positioned to address.

        “What Trump has done with some success is taken that anger, taken those fears, which are legitimate, and converted them into anger against Mexicans, anger against Muslims,” Sanders said.

      • The uncommitted voter told the candidate that he had the strongest résumé of the three Democrats seeking the nomination, according to Beckman’s report. “I give you a lot of credit for coming out here,” Kenneth told O’Malley. “I’m glad you took the time.”

      • Under these conditions, so-called ‘explanatory journalism’ has come to play an increasingly important role. This is journalism that tells its audience how a particular incident, phenomenon or statement impacts them personally, and how it relates to their value systems and principles.

        In a pluralistic society, the commitment to a particular belief system is important for building audiences around specific media resources. Conservatives and liberals, supporters of free enterprise and socialists, supporters and opponents of migration, tend to group around the publication which best reflects their personal views.

    • Censorship

      • DISASTERS, BOTH natural and man-made, tear a hole in society. When that tear comes in a place such as China全民彩票网址, systemic failures often are exposed as well as lives lost and dreams crushed. The landslide that came roaring down on the Chinese city of Shenzhen on Dec. 20 underscores yet again the dangers of unbridled growth, lax safety inspections, corruption, unaccountable government and lack of rule of law.

      • A government official in southern China全民彩票网址 killed himself a week after a landslide from a huge pile of construction waste in his city left scores missing and presumed dead, police said Monday.

      • This year, in lieu of the traditional “Best Of” lists, we thought it would be fun to throw our editors into a draft together and have a conversation. This is the year that censorship was either a big deal or lost all meaning. We got an error code for governments blocking web pages, a presidential candidate suggested we “close up” the internet, we spent a lot of time wondering whether college campuses were limiting free speech, and we got into a gigantic debate over whether Reddit’s stricter policies constituted censorship. And of course we heard about whether all the things Gamergate and similar internet bottom-feeders hated last year — Twitter block lists, comment moderation, saying a game was sexist — were still turning the internet into a censorious wasteland. We brought together Adi Robertson and Russell Brandom to discuss whether anyone knows what censorship means now.

      • Today, as part of our continued efforts to combat abuse, we’re updating the Twitter Rules to clarify what we consider to be abusive behaviour and hateful conduct. The updated language emphasizes that Twitter will not tolerate behavior intended to harass, intimidate, or use fear to silence another user’s voice. As always, we embrace and encourage diverse opinions and beliefs –but we will continue to take action on accounts that cross the line into abuse.

      • Director Fan Popo says he won a lawsuit targeting censorship in China全民彩票网址, but the victory is only partial because he must continue his fight to screen a film.

      • ‘I also saw online comments saying that they don’t support gay rights but they are happy to see somebody sue SAPPRFT’

      • At issue is Fan’s 2012 documentary titled Mama Rainbow, which follows mothers of gay children throughout China全民彩票网址. Fan’s 30-minute-long documentary was previously available on many Chinese video streaming platforms, namely Youku, Tudou, and 56.com, receiving a huge amount of hits, comments, and reviews from people from all walks of life, both positive and negative, until it was removed in late 2014.

      • Poland’s parliament on Wednesday adopted a new media law that gives the conservative government more latitude to control state-run television and radio.

        The law on “national media” is the latest in a series of legislative efforts by the newly elected Law and Justice party (PiS) government to take control of a wide array of state institutions, something that’s creating a growing, but so far ineffective, domestic and international pushback.

      • Journalists, media organizations and freedom of expression advocates from El Salvador, Cuba, Argentina, Mexico and Ecuador were included on the long list of candidates for the Index on Censorship’s 2016 Freedom of Expression Awards announced on December 16.

    • Privacy

      • Last month I had the pleasure of attending the biennial Drug Policy Alliance shindig in Washington on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (www.leap.cc). We also held our annual LEAP board meeting ahead of the DPA, and it was great to have the chance to catch up again with my fellow directors.

      • Currently, all countries must meet the U.S. legal standard of probable cause before obtaining communications from U.S.-based companies. The proposal seems to lower this standard by mandating requests be “relevant and material” to the crime under investigation. While it’s our understanding that the proposed language is meant to approximate the U.S. probable cause standard without using the words “probable cause,” the elasticity of “relevance” (as seen in U.S. debates over the scope of Section 215) is a red flag.

      • President Barack Obama’s administration continued to spy after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, even after he announced two years ago he would curtail the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping program on friendly heads of state, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

      • American tech companies are worried that China全民彩票网址’s new anti-terrorism law will force them to open up their encryption for the country全民彩票网址’s notoriously repressive government.

        As the United States debates whether police should have guaranteed access to encrypted products like your i全民彩票网址Phone or Android device, Beijing’s new technology policies—part of a broader law that passed on Sunday to combat terrorism in the country全民彩票网址—are sure to spark renewed hand-wringing in Silicon Valley over whether and how U.S. firms should even operate in China全民彩票网址.

      • EFF, ACLU, and ACLU of Maryland filed an amicus brief today in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in the first case in the country全民彩票网址 (that we know of) where a judge has thrown out evidence obtained as a result of using a cell-site simulator without a warrant.

        In the case, Baltimore Police used a Hailstorm—a cell-site simulator from the same company that makes Stingrays—to locate Kerron Andrews, the defendant. The police not only failed to get a warrant to use the device, they also failed to disclose it to the judge in their application for a pen register order. And it appears they even failed to tell the State’s attorney prosecuting Mr. Andrews’ case.

        Luckily Mr. Andrews’ intrepid defense attorney suspected the police might have used a Stingray and sent a discovery request asking specifically if they had. The prosecution stalled for months on answering that request, but, on the eve of trial, one of the investigators responsible for Baltimore PD’s stingrays finally testified in court not only that he’d used the device to find Mr. Andrews, but that he’d specifically not disclosed it in any report filed about Andrews’ arrest. The judge concluded the police had intentionally withheld information from Mr. Andrews—a clear violation of his constitutional rights.

      • The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the NSA under President Obama targeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top aides for surveillance. In the process, the agency ended up eavesdropping on “the contents of some of their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups” about how to sabotage the Iran Deal. All sorts of people who spent many years cheering for and defending the NSA and its programs of mass surveillance are suddenly indignant now that they know the eavesdropping included them and their American and Israeli friends rather than just ordinary people.

      • Remember how Dianne Feinstein — a huge supporter of the intelligence community — absolutely freaked out about surveillance when it happened to her staffers (when the CIA snooped on their network)? It would almost be funny how the defenders of surveillance react when they’re being surveilled… if it weren’t so tragic.

      • The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday his committee will look into a report the U.S. spied on the Israeli prime minister and in the process swept up communications with Congress.

      • The increased social media use in the Gulf might signify some progress for its citizens, but the extent to which it empowers them is greatly outweighed by state surveillance through the same vehicle.

      • Technically, spying on Congress is off-limits. In reality, the NSA can grab anything involving conversations with foreign citizens, provided it feels the content of the communications contains “significant foreign intelligence.” Even so, the NSA is required to inform oversight committees when it has released unminimized, Congress-related communications to the executive branch. In this case, that information was never turned over to the oversight committees, and the executive branch deferred entirely to the NSA’s judgment on the withholding of this information.

      • The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that President Obama did not include Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in his list of world leaders that the US does not spy on, and that he ordered the continued monitoring of the discussions between Netanyahu and his senior aides.

      • This latest Wall Street Journal bombshell about the National Security Agency’s having spied on the back-channel shenanigans between putative ally Benjamin Netanyahu and the members of Congress regarding the state of the Iran nuclear talks has a little WTF somethin’-somethin’ for everyone. If you happen to be a staunch American Likudnik, you can ask WTF the NSA is doing spying on our plucky ally. If, like me, you don’t trust the NSA’s assurances as far as you can throw the billions of dollars we spend snooping around the world, you can ask WTF the NSA is doing spying on members of Congress. (Answer to outraged conservatives in this camp: exactly what all you people want it to do to Muslims.) If you have made a career out of being a public nut, you can go indiscriminately crazy. And if, like me, you’ve always wondered WTF members of Congress were doing helping a putative ally derail a major foreign-policy initiative of the United States, thanks to the NSA, you’ve now got a pretty good idea.

      • As members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), we have witnessed firsthand how oversight, coupled with transparency, can drive efforts to improve flawed surveillance programs.

        Section 215 of the Patriot Act, under which the National Security Agency (NSA) collected and searched the telephone metadata of millions of innocent Americans, serves as a prime example.

      • When Americans, including U.S. lawmakers and government officials, were referenced in foreign communications swept up by the NSA, their identities were required to be obscured through a process called “minimization.” The question of how the NSA handles lawmakers was raised in a Wall Street Journal piece about U.S. spying on Israel’s top leadership.

    • Civil Rights

      • Today, prosecutor Tim McGinty announced that he would not seek criminal charges against the officers involved in the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback. The decision came after a grand jury, which has been hearing evidence for three months, declined to issue an indictment. Rice’s family and others sharply criticized McGinty’s conduct throughout the grand jury process, arguing that he was manipulating the proceedings to the benefit of the officers.

      • We made great progress on key fronts in 2015. We fought to protect our privacy, demanded justice for torture victims, and stood up against pregnancy discrimination. We also won the right for same-sex couples to legally wed, fought for families seeking asylum—and much more. The strides we’ve made in the past year are all due to your support. Thanks to you, the ACLU’s impact throughout the country全民彩票网址—in courts, legislatures, and the media—resonates across issues and generates new momentum for change.

      • The seizure of political and economic power by corporations is unassailable. Who funds and manages our elections? Who writes our legislation and laws? Who determines our defense policies and vast military expenditures? Who is in charge of the Department of the Interior? The Department of 全民彩票官网下载land Security? Our intelligence agencies? The Department of Agriculture? The Food and Drug Administration? The Department of Labor? The Federal Reserve? The mass media? Our systems of entertainment? Our prisons and 全民彩票官网登录s? Who determines our trade and environmental policies? Who imposes austerity on the public while enabling the looting of the U.S. Treasury and the tax boycott by Wall Street? Who criminalizes dissent?

      • The ascendency of the pro-business conservative Mauricio Macri to Argentina’s Presidency on 10th December 2015 spells the end of 12 years of centre-Left Peronist governments.

      • One centuries’ old example of US government double standards when it comes to terrorism, is the infamous Klu Klux Klan. The Klan has terrorized and killed far more Americans than Islamic terrorists ever have; and despite being America’s oldest terrorist organization, the US government does not officially consider the KKK a terrorist organization, classifying it merely as a “hate group”.

      • Grand jury declines to indict white officer Timothy Loehmann and partner over shooting of 12-year-old, citing lack of evidence of criminal misconduct

      • Tamir Rice of Cleveland would be alive today had he been a white 12-year-old playing with a toy gun in just about any middle-class neighborhood in the country全民彩票网址 on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 2014.

        But Tamir, who was shot to death by a white police officer that day, had the misfortune of being black in a poor area of Cleveland, where the police have historically behaved as an occupying force that shoots first and asks questions later. To grow up black and male in such a place is to live a highly circumscribed life, hemmed in by forces that deny your humanity and conspire to kill you.

        Those forces hovered over the proceedings on Monday when a grand jury declined to indict Officer Timothy Loehmann in the killing and Timothy McGinty, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, explained why he had asked the grand jurors to not bring charges. Mr. McGinty described the events leading up to Tamir’s death as tragic series of errors and “miscommunications” that began when a 911 caller said a male who was “probably a juvenile” was waving a “probably fake” gun at people in a park.

      • After police officers shot and killed two Chicago residents — one admittedly accidentally — early Saturday morning, their friends and families are asking why officers “shoot first and ask questions later.”

      • As Soft Panorama notes, Seligman’s theory of Learned Helplessness was initially used to design a training program to help captured military personnel resist the effects of torture (3). LH went on to be used in the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay to assist the interrogation of convicts.

        According to an article by Shadow Proof about the CIA’s torture program originating in the same department as MKUltra, Seligman is believed to have met with Mitchell on three occasions, which, as Shadow Proof claims “strongly suggests” that the CIA torture program was initiated by the OTS and constituted “at least in part” of an experimental program (4).

      • A Kansas couple lost their lawsuit after a federal judge essentially ruled that drinking tea and gardening were probable cause for a drug search warrant — but they forced a change in state law that could prevent similar raids.

      • Conservatives love decrying liberals for “political correctness” and “oversensitivity,” a particularly poignant form of hypocrisy since liberals could never reach the levels of whininess and hyper-sensitivity to perceived insults that the right wing coughs up daily. Doubly so when it comes to anything that a celebrity says.

        Freaking out on celebrities allows conservatives to double down on their sense of victimhood — not only do they get to feign offense, they also get to wallow in how supposedly unfair it is that the giant liberal media conspiracy is oppressing them by allowing celebrities to say progressive things in public.

      • This is absolutely right, of course. The war by police on Black Americans is a continuation of the war on former black slaves in the post bellum South, when unfortunate young black men, Billie Holliday’s “Strange Fruit,” were strung up with utter impunity by whites in hoods and sheets. None of us who saw it can ever forget the face of Emmett Till in his coffin.

      • The comfort women are in their 90s now but it is not their increasing frailty that led to the “agreement’’ between Seoul and Tokyo. The timing concerned an event held in Beijing on Sept 3. China全民彩票网址’s “Victory over Fascism’’ military parade which marked the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII had one telling moment that made strategists in Washington sit up and take notice. The attendance of South Korean President Park Geun-Hye, the only major US ally to turn up, prodded Washington to lean on Japan and Seoul to get an agreement. The pivot, a mild word for what is a major US military redeployment, depends on the pillar of Japan and South Korea cooperating. The plight of the former sex slaves, which Japan euphemistically calls the ianfu, or comfort women, is the main thorn in the side of relations between Seoul and Tokyo.

      • Prosecutors announced Wednesday morning that Bill Cosby will face criminal charges for a sexual assault he allegedly committed in 2004 against a former Temple University employee. He is expected to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.

      • In 2015, U.S. states introduced upwards of 350 anti-abortion bills and passed 47 of them, according to a report from the Center for Reproductive Rights.* This is down somewhat from 2013, but an increase over the number of measures passed in 2014.

      • Although more than two years have passed since three black women—Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi—founded Black Lives Matter (BLM) in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the murder of Trayvon Martin, the U.S. justice system’s continued failures clearly illustrate why the movement is still as important and necessary as ever.

        Earlier this month, a Baltimore judge declared a mistrial in the case of William Porter, the first of six officers to be indicted in the death of Freddie Gray.

        Then, just five days later, on Dec. 21, a Texas grand jury decided not to indict anyone in the mysterious police-custody death of Sandra Bland.

      • The Black Lives Matter movement that swept the country全民彩票网址 in 2015 has—among other accomplishments—forced global media outlets to afford victims of police killings the most basic acknowledgement: a public record of their names and deaths.

        Such a grim tally was maintained this year by both the Guardian and the Washington Post, following the consistent failure of the U.S. government to keep adequate records.

        According to the Guardian, 1,126 people were killed by police so far in 2015, averaging more than three a day, with 27 percent of those slain facing mental health issues.

      • His comments came after a group of activists online started a #NoJusticeNoLeBron campaign, asking the NBA superstar and Cleveland native to sit out of Cleveland Cavaliers games until the Department of Justice “imprisons the murderers” of Rice.

      • The federal government’s Bureau of Justice Statistics has released new numbers detailing how America’s incarcerated population — already the world’s largest — grew even bigger in 2014.

        The bureau’s researchers report that the number of individuals incarcerated grew by 1,900 people over the course of last year — “reversing a 5-year decline since 2008.”

      • With the money made from college sports increasing every year, the way colleges treat their athletes has become controversial.

        That’s because college sports is a tremendously lucrative business for everyone but the athletes. The National College全民彩票官网登录 Athletic Association (NCAA) will receive $7.3 billion from ESPN for the right to broadcast the seven games of the College全民彩票官网登录 Football Playoffs (CFP) between 2014 and 2026, and $11 billion from CBS and Turner Sports to broadcast “March Madness” over the next 14 years.

      • So Chicago’s police are a disaster and has been since forever, honestly. Even before the latest outrages—the brutal police killing of Laquan McDonald (and the city’s attempt to suppress video footage of it) and the accidental killing of a 55-year-old grandmother by police responding to a call over the holidays—the city had been paying out millions of dollars in settlements over claims of misconduct by police.

        Some are calling for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s resignation. He is declining and has been promising reform. Today we are going to be seeing what his idea of reform looks like.

      • The visible signs of change here at the merciful close of France’s annus horribilis are subtle to the American eye. Travelers arriving by air from other European countries no longer encounter an automatic “hurry along” at the passport booth. More tricolors than usual are draped across apartment buildings. The rifle-gripping soldiers walking slowly through the shopping promenades look decidedly alert and grim.

      • More than a year after the shooting in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty declared, “The death of Tamir Rice was an absolute tragedy. It was horrible, unfortunate and regrettable. But it was not, by the law that binds us, a crime.”

      • In March 2013, Wayne Jones was stopped by a police officer in Martinsburg, West Virginia for walking in the street. He reportedly told the cop he had a knife and then tried to flee. Five police officers caught up with Jones, shooting him at least 22 times after yelling at him to “drop the fucking knife.” That October, a grand jury predictably declined to indict anyone in relation to the shooting.

      • When I was around 10 years old, my father confronted a young man who was said to be “crazy.” The young man was always too quick to want to fight. A foul in a game of 21 was an insult to his honor. A cross word was cause for a duel, and you never knew what that cross word might be. One day, the young man got into it with one of my older brother’s friends. The young man pulled a metal stake out of the ground (there was some work being done nearby) and began swinging it wildly in a threatening manner. My father, my mother, or my older brother—I don’t recall which—told the other boy to go inside of our house. My dad then came outside. I don’t really remember what my father said to the young man. Perhaps he said something like “Go 全民彩票官网下载,” or maybe something like, “Son, it’s over.” I don’t really recall. But what I do recall is that my dad did not shoot and kill the young man.

      • Come January 10, at least nine states and several territories will be in defiance of a decade-old law mandating various security features on the driver’s licenses they issue. That raises the specter of people traveling on domestic flights being turned away from airport gates for having non-compliant IDs.

      • Rahm Emanuel’s resignation could be an acknowledgement of the depths of the problem, but on its own it’s not a solution nor even a step toward one. There are blueprints for reform, and they don’t require a blue ribbon panel stocked with politicians and police. This summer activists from Black Lives Matter launched Campaign Zero—a list of reforms to police practices and policies that work toward eliminating excessive police violence and increasing accountability that have been adopted in some jurisdictions and could be adopted in others. And earlier this month, they launched Check the Police, a program to collect and analyze police contracts around the country全民彩票网址 in an effort to direct attention to how they perpetuate police violence.

      • A modest but important win for occupational liberty in Pennsylvania. Today its Commonwealth Court judges (that’s a step below the state’s Supreme Court) ruled unanimously that a state law that forbids people with any criminal past from getting jobs in nursing 全民彩票官网下载s and long-term care facilities is unconstitutional.

    • Internet/Net Neutrality

      • Mark Zuckerberg didn’t see this coming.

        When Facebook Inc.’s co-founder proposed bringing free Web services to India, his stated aim was to help connect millions of impoverished people to unlimited opportunity. Instead, critics have accused him of making a poorly disguised land grab in India’s burgeoning Internet sector. The growing backlash could threaten the very premise of Internet.org, his ambitious, two-year-old effort to connect the planet.

        Indian authorities are circumspect because the Facebook initiative provides access to only a limited set of websites — undermining the equal-access precepts of net neutrality. The telecommunications regulator is calling for initial comments by Jan 7, extending the deadline from today, on whether wireless carriers can charge differently for data usage across websites, applications and platforms. Losing this fight could imperil Facebook’s Free Basics, which allows customers to access the social network and select services such as Messenger and Microsoft’s Bing without a data plan.

      • As the TRAI decides the fate of Free Basics, Mark Zuckerberg is in India with ?100 crore, in pocket change, for advertising. Facebook’s Free Basics is a repackaged internet.org, or in other words, a system where Facebook decides what parts of the internet are important to users.

      • Low-income communities are being stranded as everyone else catches a ride on the information superhighway.

      • Nikhil Pahwa, an organizer with Save the Internet-India, raised the question earlier this week in the Times of India: “Why has Facebook chosen the current model for Free Basics, which gives users a selection of around a hundred sites (including a personal blog and a real estate company 全民彩票官网下载page), while rejecting the option of giving the poor free access to the open, plural and diverse web?”

    • DRM

      • We’ve talked a lot about the ethical and programming problems currently facing those designing self driving cars. Some are less complicated, such as how to program cars to bend the rules slightly and be more more human like. Others get more complex, including whether or not cars should be programmed to kill the occupant — if it means saving a 全民彩票官网登录 bus full of children (aka the trolley problem). And once automated cars are commonplace, can law enforcement have access to the car’s code to automatically pull a driver over? There’s an ocean of questions we’re not really ready to answer.

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • A top official at pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson dismissed questions on a recent earnings call about the drug price reform debate in Washington, saying that the company is “responsible” in its pricing.

        As part of the question and answer period during the company’s third quarter earnings call in October, one questioner asked Johnson & Johnson Chief Financial Officer Dominic Caruso where he sees the drug pricing reform debate in Washington going and if the company was planning a pledge, similar to one made by many firms in the 1990s, to not raise drug prices beyond the cost of inflation.

        “Despite significant media attention on drug pricing, there really isn’t a consensus on policy solutions that would lower prices without negatively lowering innovation,” he said.

      • No, I am not calling Gillette a troll, Paul. But they’re acting awfully trollish by going after the competition like this. As if we all can’t see what’s going on here, right?

        C’mon, Gillette. You’re better than that.

      • Qualcomm announced today that it has inked new patent licensing deals in China全民彩票网址 with smartphone manufacturers Beijing Tianyu Communication 全民彩票网址 and Haier Group. The San Diego-based chipmaker has made a series of similar agreements over the past two months as it recovers from an antitrust investigation by the Chinese government.

        Since the beginning of November, Qualcomm has also announced deals with QiKu, a joint venture between Qihoo 360 and Coolpad, Xiaomi, Huawei, TCL Communication Technology Holdings, and ZTE.

      • 全民彩票官网下载s

        • China全民彩票网址’s box office is expected to surpass the U.S. in 2017 to become the largest market in the world, while more Chinese movie enterprises will turn to global investments to learn and practice international industry methods, a report released by H. Brothers Research and the Institute for Cultural Industries at Beijing University on Monday predicted.

        • When it comes to passionate fan-bases, it’s kind of hard to match Star Trek fans. This is a group of fans that fuel much of the cosplaying and fan-creating that goes on to this day. CBS, owners of the Star Trek copyrights, has had something of a complicated relationship with these fans, flip-flopping between allowing this community to foster a wider appreciation of the franchise while occasionally clamping down on them. In the past, it has seemed clear that CBS’ chief criteria for deciding when to go legal on fan-made works boils down to two factors: is there money involved and just how professional is the fan-creation going to be?

In Memory of Ian Murdock, Our Daily Links to Increase Coverage of Police Brutality

Posted in Debian at 4:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Debian logo

Ian Murdock

Summary: Techrights mourns the loss of Ian Murdock and will devote the coming years to more coverage of abuse by police

NEWS has come out that Ian Murdock is dead. Assuming the most likely explanation for this, abuse by the police had a lot to do with it. Among the latest articles about it we have:

  • A big story getting a little attention today was the shocking news of Debian founder Ian Murdock’s desperation at the hands of law enforcement. Much of the story is unknown, but Murdock was on the verge of suicide Monday evening. In other news, Brian Fagioli reported that the System76 Oryx Pro is the gaming machine of your dreams and Matt Hartley thinks he knows where Ubuntu went wrong.

  • It is with great sadness that we inform you that Ian Murdock passed away on Monday night. This is a tragic loss for his family, for the Docker community, and the broader open source world; we all mourn his passing. To Ian’s children, family and loved ones, we offer our full support and deepest sympathies.

  • Docker today announced that Ian Murdock, a member of the startup’s technical staff and a former Sun and Salesforce employee known for founding the Debian Linux operating system, has passed away. He was 42.

    A cause of death was not provided in the blog post announcing the news. Docker declined to comment. The San Francisco Police Department did not immediately have information on Murdock’s cause of death.

    Murdock’s Twitter account posted several tweets (PDF) on Monday that suggested he had been involved in an incident involving police, and one tweet said that he would commit suicide that night. Some people speculated that his account had been hacked. It has since been deleted.

  • The cause of death is unclear at present, but Murdock tweeted the same day that he would commit suicide that night. His Twitter account had since been deleted.

  • On Monday via Twitter he was threatening suicide over alleged police abuse in California. His Twitter account has since been removed. Other information about his suicide or alleged police detention and abuse has yet to be made public.

  • With a heavy heart Debian mourns the passing of Ian Murdock, stalwart proponent of Free Open Source Software, Father, Son, and the ‘ian’ in Debian.

    Ian started the Debian project in August of 1993, releasing the first versions of Debian later that same year. Debian would go on to become the world’s Universal Operating System, running on everything from embedded devices to the space station.

  • Debian GNU/Linux founder Ian Murdock has died.

    Murdock, who lived in San Francisco, founded the open-source distro in 1993, and just recently started working for Docker in the city.

    “It is with great sadness that we inform you that Ian Murdock passed away on Monday night,” Docker CEO Ben Golub blogged a few moments ago on Wednesday.

Murdock did not stay alive “to fight against the police” (see below); but those of us who are alive can do so for him.

Ian Murdock's Twitter feed

12.29.15

Links 29/12/2015: SparkyLinux 4.2, Ian Murdock’s Rants

Posted in News Roundup at 7:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Shifting between different Operating Systems to manage work and college is a pain in the ass. Did you ever wish that you had an Operating System that runs on your browser, so that you didn’t need to plug in a USB and wait for it load? Then try OS.js- a javascript based minimal operating system. You can use it on any platform that supports a browser.

  • Desktop

    • How many times have you heard the famous “20XX is going to be the year of Linux desktop” sentence? What does it mean? When will it happen? Well, it already happened. You missed it.

      Okay, let’s break it down into simplest steps possible. First of all, what is a “Linux operating system”?

      Linux operating system is a combination of five layers:

      Linux kernel
      Some mid-level tools
      User interface
      Some mid-level tools
      Some apps

    • Surprisingly, over 170 distributions are still on the waiting list; and quite a handful of these are even dating back to as far as five years ago, interestingly enough, some of these distros have actually gained a reasonable traction. Which proves that a distro is not necessarily bad or unworthy if it doesn’t get or hasn’t gotten the approval of Distrowatch.

    • The big story today was the confirmation of hidden features in North Korea’s Red Star OS, based on Red Hat/Fedora. It was a top headline on most websites many with plays on the words Open Source and oppressive. In more local circles the release of the first stable Solus OS excited the community and the first reviewer asked where’s vi.

    • System76, a US company that builds computers, laptops, and servers, has just announced that some of their products now have a $50 discount, or more, and free shipping.

      System76 is one of the companies that ship their products only with Linux distributions, in this case, Ubuntu. They have a close relationship with Canonical, and they have made a name for themselves in the community with their really good products.

    • When you think of a gaming PC, two things probably come to mind — Microsoft Windows and desktop computers. In other words, gamers don’t typically target laptops for playing their favorite games, and even when some do, they will likely aim for Windows 7, 8, or 10. Thanks to Steam, however, Linux-based operating systems are a legitimate option for gaming.

      If you want a Linux-based gaming laptop, your choices are slim. Yes, you can buy a Windows laptop and replace the operating system with Ubuntu or another OS, but that isn’t the best experience. Ideally, you want a machine that was designed and sold with Linux in mind. Enter the Ubuntu-powered System76 Oryx Pro. This beast of a gaming laptop can be configured with some jaw-dropping specs. The one I have been testing features an Intel Skylake Core i7 processor, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, NVMe SSD and NVIDIA graphics, including G-SYNC. Are you salivating yet? Read on for more specs and my impressions.

    • During the last few months information about one of North Koreas operating systems was leaked. It is a Linux based OS that tries to simulate the look and feel of a Mac. Some of it’s features have already been discussed on various blog posts and news articles. We thought we would take a short look at the OS. This blog post contains some of the results.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Linux Foundation wants to extend this project past theory and into the realm practical corporate and developer solutions.

    • The Linux Foundation’s Training Scholarship Program has awarded 34 scholarships totaling more than $100,000 in free training to students and professionals during the past five years. In this series, we share the stories of recent scholarship recipients with the hope of inspiring others.

      For this installment of the series, we talked with RJ Murdok, who is 15 years old and received a Teens in Training scholarship. He is currently in high 全民彩票官网登录 in the United States and started studying Linux in 2012. RJ, who is legally blind, says he spends a lot of time contributing bug reports to Bugzilla when he’s not in 全民彩票官网登录. One day, he would like to convert industries and 全民彩票官网登录s over to Linux as well as teach a computer science class at a university.

    • Together with twenty other corporations, The Linux Foundation has announced a research effort to unify and further develop blockchain technology, the core of many of today’s cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin.

      At the start of 2014, in a New York Times article, Marc Andreessen, one of Silicon Valley’s top investors, listed Bitcoin and its underlying technology, its blockchain, as one the top three inventions of all time, after personal computers in 1975, and the Internet in 1993.

    • Eric sent in his BCM2835/BCM2836 changes for pulling into the ARM -Next code for Linux 4.5, but it’s coming rather late in the cycle, so it’s not immediately clear right now whether this code will be accepted. Eric Anholt has been working for Broadcom on the Raspberry Pi / VC4 driver while recently he took over role as the Raspberry Pi kernel maintainer too.

    • [Ed: Linux behind the scenes]
    • Graphics Stack

      • Back on Christmas was news of patches for implementing tessellation shader support for Intel Ivy Bridge and Haswell graphics hardware after support had already landed for Broadwell and newer within the Mesa driver. Support for those older generations is now present in Mesa.

        As of this afternoon, Kenneth Graunke’s work for implementing GL_ARB_tessellation_shader support for Ivy Bridge and Haswell is now within Mesa Git master. This makes tessellation support implemented for all hardware capable of doing so — Sandy Bridge and older are not.

      • In 2015 we saw Canonical continue to invest in Mir and see it mature greatly not only for Ubuntu 全民彩票网址Phone devices but on the desktop as well in prepping it for the Unity 8 converged experience hopefully for Ubuntu 16.10. Mir this year picked up libinput input support by default, rendering improvements, better performance, and many other features. Outside of Unity 8 though, I haven’t seen any other open-source desktop environments experimenting with Mir.

    • Benchmarks

      • If you happened to receive some new computer hardware this Christmas or are weighing a possible upgrade with Skylake PCs becoming more common and AMD Zen coming out next year, you might as well benchmark your system against our vast collection of other systems to see how the performance stacks up.

  • Applications

    • The development team behind the Audacious open source audio player software have announced the availability of the first maintenance release for the Audacious 3.7 series.

    • My goal is to put together an event based business process package that is configurable, knows where I and my technicians are, knows where the customers are, can nag us to do the things that really need to be done, can be set up by a smart business operator to gather data at the moment in time when it is easy and likely to be done.

    • Yesterday we have released CafeOBJ 1.5.5 with a long list of changes, and many more internal changes. Documentation pages have been updated with the latest reference manual (PDF, Html) as well as some new docs on CITP (in Japanese for now) and tutorials.

    • A new release of BH is now on CRAN. BH provides a large part of the Boost C++ libraries as a set of template headers for use by R, possibly with Rcpp as well as other packages.

    • Proprietary

      • As you may know, Vivaldi is a Chromium-based open-source internet browser, built by the Opera founder. It did not reach a stable version yet, but it is already usable.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • While we sadly haven’t seen many games powered by the Unigine Engine, they seem to be doing great in the professional space with providing immersive, real-time 3D experiences for several different industries — including VR environments. Unigine 2 shipped this year with a ton of improvements to their engine and they continue to lead on the realistic 3D front, but they’re working on even more features for 2016.

      • As you may know, Battle for Wesnoth is an open source turn-based strategy game, running on Linux. The player trains soldiers, to create an undefeatable army, in order to fight agains orcs, undead, bandits and win, in the Kingdom of Wesnoth.

      • We talk a lot about first sale rights and resale rights at Techdirt, but of particular frustration to me is the strange capitulation to companies that sell digital copies of software. This isn’t a strictly American problem, though here in the States there has been a near total abandonment of the consumer’s rights when it comes to electronically delivered entertainment, be it eBooks, music, movies or games. The “you’re licensing the game you paid for, not buying it” line is, on its face, ridiculous, amounting to a situation where Game “X” bought on a disc can be resold, but Game “X” bought and delivered on the internet cannot. Why a delivery method would alter the right to resale a bought product because a EULA says so is a concept that simply escapes me.

      • The latest Steam Winter Sale is still in effect, and it will last until January 4. Let’s take a look at what the Linux users have been buying these past few days.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • The developers of the lightweight and modern Enlightenment desktop environment announced on December 28, 2015, the immediate availability for download of the second point release in the Enlightenment 0.20 series.

      According to the release notes, which we’ve attached at the end of the article for reference, Enlightenment 0.20.2 is here to fix over 10 issues that were either discovered by the Enlightenment’s developers or reported by users since the previous maintenance release, Enlightenment 0.20.1.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Five years ago, the Free Software Foundation announced The Unarchiver as a free tool to extract RARv3 archives. In that blog post, you can notice how the FSF hoped that existing GUI extraction tools like Ark would integrate support for The Unarchiver. That’s because The Unarchiver‘s GUI is only available on Mac OS, while on Linux there are only the CLI frontends (which are lsar to list an archive and unar to unpack an archive).

      • I’m just using Dolphin for demonstration purposes, I’m not saying that Dolphin is crashy – Dolphin is awesome!

      • Hello. I’m Divit, a 15 year old KDE contributor. I was introduced to KDE through Google Code-in. For those of you who don’t know, Google Code-in is a contest introducing 13-17 year old pre-university students to open source software development. It is somehow similar to Google Summer of Code. This post is related to one of my Google code-in task and in this post, I’ll be telling about the KDE application- cantor and my experience with KDE so far in this competition.

      • Today, December 29, 2015, the developers of the Chakra GNU/Linux operating system have published the distribution’s plans for 2016, along with their best wishes to the community.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • WebKitGTK+ WSA-2015-0002 was made public today as a security advisory with more than 100 vulnerabilities being mentioned.

      • The developers of the WebKitGTK+ open source WebKit rendering engine used in the popular GNOME desktop environment reported that the software has been hit hard by over 130 security vulnerabilities, urging all users to update as soon as possible.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • An interesting new distro, but it’s newness is showing. However Solus might be worth watching as it matures.

      • I love how Manjaro developers have presented the KDE Plasma 5.5 desktop. It’s a beautiful looking, responsive, power efficient, and a stable desktop. I’m also okay with it using a bit of memory as well. But you know, I can’t wait for 50+ seconds for an operating system to boot (again, part of that has to be blamed upon systemd developers) and 12.6 seconds of shutdown times is also a bit high for my taste, it just ain’t my cup of tea. I like lean & fast operating systems. But hey, that’s just me. And these days, one doesn’t get to see blisteringly fast booting KDE distributions either (in my short experience).

        And, in my opinion, I’m still of the belief that GNOME developers are more insightful at seeing solutions from a technological point of view compared to the KDE developers, and I think this is the precise origin of this lag in performance of KDE, when the two desktop environments are compared.

        Take MySQL as an example. Some KDE programs use it as their database handler. But the problem is, in its very essence, MySQL is designed to handle large number of data and thus is not optimized to have a small footprint. The now outdated search index service of KDE 4 known as Nepomuk required MySQL as a dependency. Thankfully, the new one in Plasma 5 called Baloo, according to its official page has a database engine of its own which has a small footprint. So it’s apparent that after a while KDE saw the mistake and corrected it.

    • New Releases

      • On the heels of our first release of Solus, I want to take a moment to discuss with the community our plans for beyond 1.0 and up to 2.0.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Arch Family

      • The Manjaro developers have just issued the first update for Manjaro 15.12 (Capella), bringing a few important changes and improvements.

        The Manjaro developers have been quick to improve upon the recently released version 15.12 of the operating system, and it looks like they have been working right through Christmas. It’s only been a few days since the official launch of the OS, so it’s really nice to see that they want to provide proper support.

    • Red Hat Family

      • This year Ubuntu switched over to using systemd in place of Upstart, other distributions have also decided to take advantage of systemd, this project hosted its first conference, and the systemd feature-set continued to expand.

        Systemd in 2015 gained its own UEFI boot-loader, picked up more networking features, added fsck support, came up with its own su-like command, added more feature integration with Btrfs, and many other features came about while others were refined.

      • White’s overarching theme is “muted” tech spending in 2016, but a continuation of “secular trends,” including big data, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, mobile, open source software, and the rise of software in importance generally.

      • Fedora

        • We recently interviewed Kevin Fenzi on how he uses Fedora. This is part of a series on the Fedora Magazine where we profile Fedora users and how they use Fedora to get things done. If you are interested in being interviewed for a further installment of this series, you can contact全民彩票官网登录 on the feedback form.

        • Maybe you know about Sonic Pi, the system to learn programming playing with music. Now I want to give it a try in my system (Fedora 23) and my sysadmin-TOC syndrome obligues me first to package it into RPM. Now I have good and bad news. The good news are I have a testing release of Sonic Pi for Fedora 23. It includes a desktop file too. The bad news are… it doesn’t work yet. Sonic Pi uses jackd while a common Fedora Workstation uses pulseaudio and both try to manage the sound device by themselves.

        • With the releases this year of Fedora 22 and Fedora 23, Fedora stakeholders should be proud of themselves with the quality of Fedora releases/support continuing to go up while driving a lot of new innovation and success into Linux. About the only gripe I have with the latest Fedora releases is that they no longer ship with any fun codenames to talk about…

    • Debian Family

      • Debian developer and Ubuntu member Julian Andres Klode wrote an interesting blog post a couple of days ago, where he talks about an upcoming feature of the APT package manager.

      • On December 28, 2015, Debian developer John Paul Adrian Glaubitz had the great pleasure of announcing the immediate availability for download of the first network install ISO image for the SPARC64 hardware architecture.

      • The Twitter account of Ian Murdock, the founder of Debian, is now full of tweets reporting police abuse and a possible suicide attempt.

        Ian Murdock is one of the key figures in the Linux community, but the recent reports that have been posted on this Twitter account got people really worried. At this point, it’s not clear whether these posts are real or if something actually happened with Ian, but the outlook is not good.

      • LXQt is a Qt lightweight desktop – the Qt port of LXDE. Packages exist in Debian – albeit without a top level metapackage or task package to make installing it easier. So I wrote up a simple-ish vmdebootstrap call.

      • He has since declared that he won’t take that drastic step and over the course of many tweets, he has released some of the details which prompted these tweets. Apparently, he was attacked by the police for “knowing” on his neighbor’s door. We’re not sure exactly what he means by that, though it could be an auto-correct for “knocking.”

      • Derivatives

        • The developers of the Debian-based Parsix GNU/Linux computer operating system have announced the general availability of a new Linux kernel version for all of its supported OSes.

        • Just a few minutes ago, December 29, the developers of the Debian-based SparkyLinux operating system were more than proud to announce the release of the GameOver, Multimedia and Rescue editions for SparkyLinux 4.2.

        • Just a few minutes ago, December 29, the developers of the Debian-based SparkyLinux operating system were more than proud to announce the release of the GameOver, Multimedia and Rescue editions for SparkyLinux 4.2.

        • Along with the announcements for the SparkyLinux 4.2 GameOver and SparkyLinux 4.2 Rescue operating systems, the SparkyLinux devs had the great pleasure of introducing the first SparkyLinux Multimedia Edition.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu and other popular distributions offer their users a great user experience, great support and frequent updates. Recently there have been reports circulating that Ubuntu has a far greater user base than originally thought. When you combine these things together, it seems like Ubuntu (and distros based on it) are at the top of their game. On the surface I’d agree with this. However, there are some critical areas and missed opportunities that continue to be glossed over. In this article, I’ll share areas where I think Ubuntu and related distros went wrong.

          • As announced last year, starting January 2015 I’ve benefited from a “Flash Grant” kindly awarded to me by the Shuttleworth Foundation. This post reports publicly about how I’ve used the money to promote Free Software via my own activism, over the period January-December 2015.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • This is the BETA release for Linux Mint 17.3 “Rosa” Xfce Edition.

            • I am going to start this review with the new features in Linux Mint 17.3 so that those of you who are already well aware of Linux Mint and what it offers can skip the rest of the review.

              The second part of the review will look at it more in depth, highlighting the features and the applications provided with Linux Mint.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • LG is preparing to unveil the latest webOS 3.0 Smart TV at the CES 2016 event, promising to bring a host of advanced new features. These will allow consumers to quickly and easily find and switch between the company’s expanded content options.

    • This is a vast improvement over having the exposed Raspberry Pi Zero just laying on my desk, but it is still not the ideal configuration I have in mind.

      One more thing before I go. I also just picked up my first “genuine” Raspberry Pi Case for my Pi 2, and it really is very nice. Clean, secure and simple to assemble/install. The top pops off to make space for a HAT if necessary. Very nice.

    • Google Glass is not dead. A brand new model of Google’s face computer has popped up on the FCC website (first spotted by 9to5Google), complete with rather high-res images of the device.

      The pictures show a Google Glass unit with the FCCID “A4R--GG1″ that looks a lot like the existing Glass design. The biggest change seems to be that the device can now fold up, just like a regular pair of glasses, which will make it much easier to store when you aren’t wearing it. The Glass prism looks longer than the first version of the device, which presumably offers a larger picture.

      In general, the case looks smoother and rounder than the previous version of Google Glass. The “Glass” part also seems to be completely independent of the glasses that hold it on your face—the FCC never shows a wearable version with a second side.

    • In part one of this series, I described how community-backed embedded boards, 全民彩票官网下载 automation, and Internet of Things devices had supplanted mobile projects as the main focal points for open development. In this post, we look at some other areas where Linux and Android are either thriving (media players, TVs, drones, robots), struggling (games), or are well poised for future success (3D printers, augmented reality, wearables, and automotive).

    • 全民彩票网址Phones

      • Android

        • A Kickstarter project called Console OS has exploited open source software licenses in a really nasty — but totally legal — manner by redistributing Android-x86 code in a way that amounts to “stealing,” according to the lead developer of the latter project.

        • Telefonica one of the first Firefox OS partners ditches the operating system for an Android based customized operating system, Cyanogen OS. In an update to its Open Agenda with Firefox OS Telefonica blamed its departure on the inability of Mozilla to provide better user experience which lead to suspension of Firefox OS distribution.

        • Android users are clearly still in love with large-screened phablet devices. A report by an analytics company indicates that half of the Android phones bought for Christmas were phablets.

        • Google is replacing the Java application programming interfaces (APIs) in Android with OpenJDK, the open source version of Oracle’s Java Development Kit (JDK). The news first came by a “mysterious Android codebase commit” from last month submitted to Hacker News. Google confirmed to VentureBeat that Android N will rely solely on OpenJDK, rather Android’s own version of the Java APIs.

        • While not without its issues, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 excels in key areas where its competitors do not, including its premium build quality, exceptional battery life, and the availability of a fast and accurate fingerprint reader, all for an impressive sub-$200 price point.

        • Android is a flexible, mostly open source platform that has dominance in the smartphone world. We have competitors, sure; Apple’s i全民彩票网址Phone is the next largest competitor, then we have a number of niche offerings and in here we find Microsoft Windows 全民彩票网址Phone, BlackBerry 10, Symbian and Tizen OS. As it happens, these niche operating systems do still have millions of users, but in terms of scale they remain small players. Now; one of the fundamental reasons as to why Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems have worked so well is because of the availability of third party applications. There are millions available for both platform, but there are also differences – apparently, you’ll find the quality applications across in the Apple store and the Google Play Store has the inferior quality of applications. Depending on the device(s) you are using, there’s either relatively little difference in application quality but one golden rule is the larger the device, the relatively poorer the Android application experience is.

        • I’m starting to think that this mobile ecosystem that we play in every day has matured. I say that because I haven’t dramatically changed the way I use my phone from 2014 to 2015. I still use many of the same apps as I did last year (most can be found in this list), though some have improved greatly and a few have been replaced. I don’t know that that’s a bad thing, I think it just shows that it’s become harder and harder to standout with new apps or services. Or maybe people aren’t even attempting to make new products or services because the standard options are so good? Whatever the case may be, I do feel as though I’m more efficient than ever and am also able to accomplish more with the apps I continue to use on a regular basis. So that’s a good thing.

        • According to a new report by analytics firm, Flurry, more Android phablets were activated than any other sized Google-powered smartphones. In fact, if the companies app-tracking tools are accurate, half of all Android activations over the holidays were large-screened mobiles…

        • Suretap, a consortium formed by Rogers, Bell and Telus, have begun testing mobile payments on Montreal’s public transit network.

          “We want to make it simple for customers to get access to our installations and to our network and this is another way,” said STM chairman Philippe Schnobb.

          In the new year, a few hundred employees will test the new payment system, which will allow commuters to pay fares with their smartphone.

          Schnobb said there’s no timeline right now for mobile payments being available to STM riders.

        • Oppo isn’t a particularly well-known name in many Western markets, and that’s hardly surprising considering the Chinese company hasn’t been around for as long as the bigger players. What it is known for is offering ‘bang for your buck’, and its latest R7s model is no different.

          Priced at $399, it sits as a midway point in Oppo’s range – between the R7 and the R7 Plus – and goes up against similarly priced devices like the OnePlus 2, HTC One A9, and Nexus 5x, to name just a few.

        • These days you do not have to spend much to get a good smartphone. Using a Xiaomi Mi4c as my daily driver for the past couple of weeks has made it clear that you can get an impressive handset for just around $200. It is the sort of smartphone that makes you believe that you can have your cake and eat it too — its specs read like those of some flagships while its price is similar to that of more affordable mid-rangers.

        • I highly recommend using a password manager on your mobile device. You have to do as much as you can to keep sensitive data from prying eyes. If you must carry passwords with you, an app like Keeper is a must have.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 2015 was a year of many new open source projects hitting the scene with a splash. From enterprise solutions to 全民彩票官网下载 brewed open source concoctions, many of the projects released as open source software this year have made a huge impact on the world of computing in a very short amount of time. While flash stardom isn’t always the best predictor of longevity, we think these 10 projects just might have come onto the scene with enough momentum to continue their success in the new year.

  • The toolchain, or “flow” as the FPGA kids like to call it, consists of three parts: Project IceStorm, a low-level tool that can build the bitstreams that flip individual bits inside the FPGA, Arachne-pnr, a place-and-route tool that turns a symbolic netlist into the physical stuff that IceStorm needs, and Yosys which synthesizes Verilog code into the netlists needed by Arachne. [Clifford] developed both IceStorm and Yosys, so he knows what he’s talking about.

  • What is the role of programmers in software development? The question is never far away in free and open source software (FOSS). Last month, however, the issues surrounding the question were emphasized by Robert C. Martin’s attempt to write a programmer’s oath that states best practices and the resulting discussion.

  • No, not because second-tier developers wrote it. You probably have great developers. Instead, the real problem is that your developers are stuck building new code on top of old code. Over and over and over again.

    Ironically, this is a sign of success. But, it also creates problems.

    As professor Zeynep Tufekci describes it, “We are building skyscraper favelas in code—in earthquake zones.” While she’s referring to the security vulnerabilities inherent in such code development, the problem is actually broader.

  • Security professionals are increasingly acknowledging an uncomfortable truth: No network is secure from a sufficiently skilled and determined attacker. So while every effort should be made to prevent intruders getting on to the corporate network, it’s important that you can quickly spot an intrusion and minimize the damage that can result.

    Anton Chuvakin, a security expert at Gartner, points out that if hackers are made to work hard to find what they are after, intrusion prevention and detection systems have a far greater chance of spotting them before they can do too much damage.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Version 1.4 of the Mesosphere Datacenter Operating System (DCOS) is now generally available, featuring user interface updates, support for Marathon 0.13.0 and Chronos, and the Mesos 0.25.0 kernel.

    • One look around the airport waiting lounge or family living room will tell you everything you need to know about where the cloud is headed. Christmas carols drift on by thanks to Pandora, gifts come without having to stand in line at the mall, and those holiday snaps of the family will be stored on someone else’s server.

      In the next 12 months, software running on clouds will rule our world more than ever—but unfortunately not many of those clouds are powered by OpenStack.

      While we rightly raise a glass to celebrate the substantial gains OpenStack has achieved in 2015, it’s time to recognize the vast potential to gain new ground in 2016. So, let’s put those New Year’s resolutions to good use by rallying application developers to the cause. To win them over, we must make OpenStack a more inviting and immediately valuable solution to serve their needs.

    • Docker sparked the trend in software containers less than two years ago. And since its modest presentation at PyCon in 2013, the startup has vaulted to a value of nearly one billion dollars, drawn 2,500 attendees to DockerCon, and its namesake technology has become a marketable skill to have, entering Hacker News’ top 20 most frequently requested job skills.

    • Kylin. Meanwhile, the foundation has also just announced that Apache Kylin, an open source big data project born at eBay, has graduated to Top-Level status. Kylin is an open source Distributed Analytics Engine designed to provide an SQL interface and multi-dimensional analysis (OLAP) on Apache Hadoop, supporting extremely large datasets. It is widely used at eBay and at a few other organizations.

      “Apache Kylin’s incubation journey has demonstrated the value of Open Source governance at ASF and the power of building an open-source community and ecosystem around the project,” said Luke Han, Vice President of Apache Kylin. “Our community is engaging the world’s biggest local developer community in alignment with the Apache Way.”

    • Looking back at 2015, there have been many projects created by the Docker community that have advanced the developer experience. Although choosing among all the great contributions is hard, here are 10 “cool tools” that you should be using if you are looking for ways to expand your knowledge and use of Docker.

    • In April, Docker announced a $95 million series D round of funding. This is one of many events over the past year that has demonstrated how the industry has shifted towards the use of Linux containers (LXC) to deploy online services. Even giant cloud services companies, including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Redhat, IBM and VMware, are pushing towards containerization. With the market leaning in the direction of containers, let’s take a deeper look at what they are, their history and current developments.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • We install Linux on every one of our Reglue computers. Included in that installation is the entire suite of LibreOffice. Unfortunately, a number of Reglue Kids began complaining about 全民彩票官网下载work assignments being rejected. Most times they were scolded and told to re-submit the assignment in the proper format…you know, that well known proprietary one. Sometimes students were given a lower grade for not following the submission instructions.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • More than 3,400 developers have contributed to the long list of open source projects Facebook has launched, and the majority of them are not Facebook employees.

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD’s Francois Tigeot has done some more great work in allowing their open-source Intel graphics driver to be more featureful and comparable to the Linux i915 kernel DRM driver for which it is based.

      While DragonFly’s i915 DRM driver started out as woefully outdated compared to the upstream Linux kernel code, the work done by Tigeot and others is quite close to re-basing against the latest mainline code. With patches published recently, the DragonFlyBSD driver would now be comparable to what’s in the Linux 4.0 kernel.

  • Public 全民彩票网址/Government

    • To facilitate this, the team launched a new website — Micropurchase.18F.gov — as place to post new projects for registered users to peruse and bid on.

      “Our goal is to enable parts of our own agency and the rest of the federal government to use this platform to ask the developer community to create open source code for their project,” 18F said in an email to companies that expressed interest in the original micro-purchase pilot. “We anticipate posting auctions for micro-purchase tasks throughout 2016.”

    • The X-road update is financed in part by the European Regional Development Fund. Estonia’s secure document exchange system is developed as open source.

  • Licensing

    • In August of 2012, the Licensing & Compliance Lab kicked off a series of interviews with developers of free software. With 2015 in the rear-view mirror, we take a moment to look back on the series and highlight these great projects once again.

      In August of 2012, the Licensing & Compliance Lab kicked off a series of interviews with developers of free software. These interviews were a chance to highlight cool free software projects, especially those using copyleft licenses, and learn more about why they are dedicated to free software. What started as a single interview has grown into a regular feature of the Licensing & Compliance Lab blog. With 2015 in the rear-view mirror, we take a moment to look back on the series and highlight these great projects once again.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • RISC-V is on the march as an open source alternative to ARM and Mips. Fifteen sponsors, including a handful of high tech giants, are queuing up to be the first members of its new trade group which will host next week its third workshop for the processor core.

      RISC V is the latest evolution of the original RISC core developed more than 25 years ago by Berkeley’s David Patterson and Stanford’s John Hennessey. In August 2014, Patterson and colleagues launched an open source effort around the core as an enabler for a new class of processors and SoCs with small teams and volumes that can’t afford licensed cores or get the attention of their vendors.

    • While this post does not cover the details of stock analysis, it does propose a way to solve the hard problem of real-time data analysis at scale, using open source tools in a highly scalable and extensible reference architecture. The architecture below is focused on financial trading, but it also applies to real-time use cases across virtually every industry. More information on the architecture covered in this article is also available online via The Linux Foundation, Slideshare, YouTube, and Pivotal Open Source Hub, where the components in this architecture can be downloaded.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Scientists from Dublin and Belfast have looked deep into Ireland’s early history to discover a still-familiar pattern of migration: of stone age settlers with origins in the Fertile Crescent, and bronze age economic migrants who began a journey somewhere in eastern Europe.

      The evidence has lain for more than 5,000 years in the bones of a woman farmer unearthed from a tomb in Ballynahatty, near Belfast, and in the remains of three men who lived between 3,000 and 4,000 years ago and were buried on Rathlin Island in County Antrim.

      Scientists at Trinity College全民彩票官网登录 Dublin used a technique called whole-genome analysis to “read” not the unique characteristics of each individual, but a wider a history of ancestral migration and settlement in the DNA from all four bodies.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • “The aerial spraying of herbicides and germination inhibitors was conducted in the area along the border fence last week in order to enable optimal and continuous security operations,” an IDF Spokesperson told +972 on Sunday.

      Palestinian Agricultural Ministry officials told Ma’an news that farmers said Israeli planes had been spraying their agricultural lands adjacent to the border fence for several days straight. Spinach, pea, parsley and bean crops were reportedly destroyed around the al-Qarrara area in eastern Khan Younis and the Wadi al-Salqa area in central Gaza, according to the report.

      The military spokesperson did not respond to a follow-up question about the destruction of agricultural crops.

    • Dr. Jonathan Lundgren, an expert on the risk assessment of pesticides and genetically modified crops, worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research for more than a decade. But when his findings on the ill effects of systemic pesticides and RNAi (a biological process in which RNA molecules inhibit gene expression) on pollinators began to gain traction and visibility, the harassment and punishments did as well.

    • Scientist Jonathan Lundgren believes the USDA retaliated against him because of his research on neonicotinoid insecticides and potential effects on bees and butterflies.

      Neonicotinoids are among the most widely used pesticides. Some research shows they harm bees and butterflies, but the chemical industry disputes much of the research.

  • Security

    • Can we build trustworthy client systems on x86 hardware? What are the main challenges? What can we do about them, realistically? Is there anything we can?

    • [Ed: yes, flawed by design]

      One of the excellent features of new Windows devices is that disk encryption is built-in and turned on by default, protecting your data in case your device is lost or stolen. But what is less well-known is that, if you are like most users and login to Windows 10 using your Microsoft account, your computer automatically uploaded a copy of your recovery key – which can be used to unlock your encrypted disk – to Microsoft’s servers, probably without your knowledge and without an option to opt-out.

      During the “crypto wars” of the nineties, the National Security Agency developed an encryption backdoor technology – endorsed and promoted by the Clinton administration – called the Clipper chip, which they hoped telecom companies would use to sell backdoored crypto phones. Essentially, every phone with a Clipper chip would come with an encryption key, but the government would also get a copy of that key – this is known as key escrow – with the promise to only use it in response to a valid warrant. But due to public outcry and the availability of encryption tools like PGP, which the government didn’t control, the Clipper chip program ceased to be relevant by 1996. (Today, most phone calls still aren’t encrypted. You can use the free, open source, backdoorless Signal app to make encrypted calls.)

    • Some 12,000 hackers are challenging the power of Google, Facebook and Youtube to filter information and shape users’ view of the world. One of them demonstrated how to hack into VW’s cheating software.

    • Austin-based Chris Vickery – who earlier this month found records on 3.3 million Hello Kitty users splashed online – says the wide-open system contains the full names, dates of birth, 全民彩票官网下载 addresses, and phone numbers of voters, as well as their likely political affiliation and which elections they have voted in since 2000.

    • Smart TVs are opening a new window of attack for cybercriminals, as their security defenses often lag far behind those of smartphones and desktop computers.

      Smart TVs are opening a new window of attack for cybercriminals, as the security defenses of the devices often lag far behind those of smartphones and desktop computers.

      Running mobile operating systems such as Android, smart TVs present a soft target due to how to manufacturers are emphasizing convenience for users over security, a trade-off that could have severe consequences.

    • After I read many articles I got this infos about Nemesis Bootkit Malware:
      – suspected to originate from Russia;
      – infect PCs by loading before Windows starts
      – has ability to modify the legitimate volume boot record;
      – seam to be like another Windows rootkit named Alureon;
      – intercepts several system interrupts to pass boot process;
      – can steal payment data from anyone’s not just targeting financial institutions and retailers;
      – this malware hides between partitions and is also almost impossible to remove;

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • A Syrian opposition film-maker was gunned down in broad daylight in the Turkish city of Gazientep on Sunday, apparently by Isil supporters.

      Friends said that Naji Jerf, 38, was shot twice in the head after being approached by an unknown car outside of a local restaurant.

    • ncumbent National Security Advisor, had once said that the spark which Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose created within the Indian Army forced Britishers to quit India in 1947.

      In a video posted on Youtube, Doval has given a detailed explanation of the main reason as to why the mighty British Empire which, won the Second World War in 1945, decided to quit India in a hurry.

      On August 22, 1945, Tokyo Radio announced the ‘death’ of Netaji in an air crash in Formosa (now Taiwan) on August 18, 1945, en route to Japan.

      But the crash theory has been rejected by scores of Netaji’s followers and admirers and several claims of the revolutionary leader resurfacing continue to intrigue and divide Indians over the years.

    • The Obama administration is waging war all over the world – without congressional authorization

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Documents released by the NSA and FBI are often delivered in unsearchable PDFs, made from what look like 7th-generation copies created by a faulty mimeograph and forced through a malfunctioning scanner during an earthquake. This makes it much harder for researchers, journalists and activists to perform keyword searches of released documents, much less accurately track redaction inconsistencies or evolving legal arguments. This is deliberate.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A brutal sell-off in oil prices has forced Saudi Arabia’s government to post the largest budget deficit in its history, as the state’s revenues have crumbled.

      The country全民彩票网址’s deficit rose to 367bn riyals (£66bn), after government spending rose 13pc above officials’ plans in the wake of declining oil prices and a war with Yemen. A Saudi official said that the deficit was “considered an acceptable figure” under the circumstances.

      Stock markets reacted positively to the government’s spending plans, as investors had feared far worse news was to come, anticipating an overshoot well in excess of 13pc. The total deficit stood at 16pc of the economy’s size, while analysts had expected a gap of 20pc. The Tadawul All Share Index made a daily gain of 0.7pc.

    • The past four years of punishing drought have badly hurt California’s forests. Rain was scarce, the days were too hot, and this year’s wildfire season was the worst anyone has seen in years, burning up nearly 10 million acres across the West. For the first time, a team of researchers has measured the severity of the blow the drought dealt the trees, uncovering potential future destruction in the process. The resulting paper, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is a rich visual testament to just how much California needs its trees and how close the state is to losing 58 million of them.

    • Throughout the world, the name Fukushima has become synonymous with nuclear disaster and running for the hills. Yet, Fukushima may be one of the least understood disasters in modern times, as nobody knows how to fix neither the problem nor the true dimension of the damage. Thus, Fukushima is in uncharted territory, a total nuclear meltdown that dances to its own rhythm. Similar to an overly concerned parent, TEPCO merely monitors but makes big mistakes along the way.

  • Finance

    • When President Obama announced the 全民彩票官网下载 Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, on February 18, 2009, in Mesa, Arizona, he promised it would assist 3 to 4 million 全民彩票官网下载owners to modify their loans to avoid foreclosure. Almost seven years later, less than 1 million have received ongoing assistance; nearly 1 in 3 re-defaulted after receiving inadequate modifications; and 6 million families lost their 全民彩票官网下载s over the same time period.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Michael Moore’s new film, “Where to Invade Next,” is sure to generate Oscar buzz. It is already on the short list of 15 documentaries from which the final five nominations will be announced on Jan. 14. But rather than wonder whether Moore will score a second Oscar (his first was for “Bowling for Columbine” in 2002), the question to ask is whether this film can spark a political revolution just in time for the 2016 election.

      “Where to Invade Next” has a wide release set for Feb. 12, which is also Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and the week of the New Hampshire primary. Coincidence? Definitely not.

  • Censorship

    • Having witnessed the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) getting embroiled in one controversy after the other through the past few months, the government is now considering taking a re-look at the body so as to make it “controversy free”.

    • “School newspapers provide students with a powerful voice and a positive learning experience, and we are committed to providing journalism opportunities to our students,” CPS spokesman Michael Passman said. “Steinmetz High School will continue to offer journalism courses for the foreseeable future, and the Steinmetz Star will remain in operation as an online publication that will continue to serve as a valuable learning opportunity for students.”

    • But the Shenderovich case may provide the Putin regime with an object lesson because it is obvious that the Kremlin took this action because of Shenderovich’s criticism of Putin himself (openrussia.org/post/view/11565/) and because it is obvious that taking down the interview in one place won’t block the spread of the text.

    • A Chinese publisher has pulled a translation of Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore’s poems after it sparked controversy for racy content.

      The translation of works from one of India’s most famous poets was by Chinese novelist Feng Tang.

      His publisher said on Monday that it was removing the work from sale following the “huge debate” in China全民彩票网址’s literary and translation circles.

      Mr Feng has defended his translation, saying a previous version lacked style.

      Tagore, known as the Bard of Bengal and seen as a literary god in India, was the first non-European to win the Nobel prize for literature.

    • First of all, censoring ISIS in this way is simply not feasible. We can very well demand that mainstream newspapers and TV news stations limit their coverage of these issues, but that would leave the entire field of discussion to the unregulated areas of the internet, the “blogosphere” and social media. ISIS would still dominate in these areas, except now we will have removed from the discourse those outlets that would be most capable to hold the ISIS narrative to scrutiny.

    • Last week brought a positively Orwellian moment to the debate about Internet freedom.

      Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke at a state-organised internet conference in Wuzhen, in Zhejiang province, where he was once party secretary. Xi declared, “As in the real world, freedom and order are both necessary in cyberspace.” He said, “Freedom is what order is meant for, and order is the guarantee of freedom.”

      These slogans are more than just propaganda from the leader of a country全民彩票网址 with the world’s largest internet censorship operation. Behind them lurks a dangerous ambition.

    • China全民彩票网址’s President Xi Jinping invoked “cyber sovereignty” to describe his country全民彩票网址’s right to create its national cyber policy while giving the opening speech at the second World Internet Conference, held in Wuzhen, Zhejiang, on December 16.

      “We should respect the right of individual countries to independently choose their own path of cyber development, model of cyber regulation, and participate in international cyberspace governance on an equal footing,” said President Xi. “No country全民彩票网址 should pursue cyber hegemony, interfere in other countries’ internal affairs or engage in, connive at or support cyber activities that undermine other countries’ national security.”

    • 2015 has been an eventful year for freedom of speech. In January, #JeSuisCharlie was a global trend championing freedom of expression, lack of censorship, and the right to offend. Yet, as the year draws to a close, it seems the Facebook generation is becoming more and more suppressed.

      Once upon a time, universities were bastions of free speech, where world leaders would debate with fresh-faced 18-year-olds who were determined to save the planet. Once, just about anything could be discussed in the name of free speech. But, this year, there have been countless examples of speakers being banned, societies being stopped, and student media being censored, all in the name of “protecting students.”

    • The Committee to Protect Journalists says 2015 was one of the deadliest years on record for members of the press worldwide, with 69 journalists killed on-assignment. According to the CPJ, 2015 was the sixth year out of the last ten (and eighth since 1992) in which more than 60 journalists were killed in the line of duty—a figure that includes those targeted for their profession as well as those killed in combat, crossfire or while covering other assignments deemed dangerous.

    • It was cowardly, disrespectful, and it isolated Aaron again in death. He was The Boy, a tragic waste, not a murdered comrade or a martyr. Saying he was misguided served as an excuse for not being at his side.

    • With all of the news about the holidays, one story you might have missed yesterday is that China全民彩票网址 passed with little fanfare its new antiterrorism law that bears substantial resemblance to proposals currently under review in the US and UK that would require backdoors or other weakened measures to allow encrypted communications to be secretly monitored by governments.

      The Chinese law requires that “telecommunications and Internet service providers should provide technical interfaces and technical support and assistance in terms of decryption and other techniques to the public and national security agencies in the lawful conduct of terrorism prevention and investigation.” It is remarkably similar to the wording of a UK proposal that would require companies to offer the government “permanent interception capabilities … [including] the ability to remove any encryption” and similar to calls by US intelligence officials for the ability to decrypt civilian communication.

      On the surface such proposals seem highly desirable: the ability to monitor and disrupt terrorist and criminal communications in order to protect life and ensure national security. The problem, as I pointed out last week, is that there is no universal definition of “terrorism” or “national security threats.” In fact, one of the focal points of the Chinese online censorship apparatus is the removal of material relating to protests and mass organization, which the government views as a threat to the stability and well-being of the nation.

      [...]

      North Korea is one of the few countries to take this model of a safe and secure internet to its logical conclusion, creating its own walled-off private version of the internet where only a small number of approved websites are accessible. The government even created its own operating system called Red Star OS, designed for total government surveillance. Yesterday two German researchers offered the latest in-depth look at the functioning of this operating system custom built for the world of a surveillance state.

    • In 2006 – years before ISIS replaced Al Qaeda as the New and Unprecedentedly Evil Villain – Newt Gingrich gave a speech in New Hampshire in which, as he put it afterward, he “called for a serious debate about the First Amendment and how terrorists are abusing our rights–using them as they once used passenger jets–to threaten and kill Americans.”

    • China全民彩票网址’s biggest microblogging site, Weibo, is not unfamiliar to foreign head of states. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, UK prime minister David Cameron, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro—all have opened accounts on the site and have interacted with readers in Chinese. But China全民彩票网址’s own leaders are more reluctant to engage with online audiences.

      Chinese president Xi Jinping’s limited number of social media contributions include a selfie with Cameron and Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero during Xi’s state visit to the UK in October, while Chinese premier Li Keqiang indulged Modi in a joint selfie, said to be Li’s first, at Beijing’s Temple of Heaven in May. Neither of these were posted by the Chinese leaders on Weibo. Instead, they surfaced on Twitter—a social media platform blocked by China全民彩票网址’s elaborate censorship machine.

      But finally, on Dec. 25, during his visit to the headquarters of the People’s Liberation Army Daily—a mouthpiece newspaper of the Communist Party and the army—Xi crafted his first post on Weibo. It’s the first Weibo message from any of China全民彩票网址’s senior officials, as far as we can tell. Xi wrote the message personally, according to state media.

    • Every New Year Thailand’s top political journalists traditionally come up with satirical nicknames for the government and senior ministers. But this year they will forego the pleasure, having decided the junta is no laughing matter.

      The occasion is usually a rare moment of light relief for reporters covering the febrile world of Thai politics, in a country全民彩票网址 which has witnessed a string of military coups, violent street protests and toppled governments – and where defamation is a criminal offence.

    • Are easily-offended students and their allies within the university bureaucracy ushering in a new era of censorship on American college campuses? Even President Obama is worried that excessive political correctness is stifling legitimate debate at universities.

    • Ahmed Abu al-Hamza, “Software” as he was known by his friends, stood behind the camera on November 6 as a gunman explained how rebel forces took Tel Sukayk, a strategic hilltop north of Hama, from government forces. Suddenly the camera’s sound recorder picked up the faint thud of a mortar shell firing in the distance. A few seconds of confusion then turned to horror as the shell exploded right in front of the camera, killing Abu al-Hamza and the rebel fighter and injuring several others.

    • Censorship, though, is not an effective way of fixing a social problem.

    • The Mexican way of death is unique, issuing from a symbiosis of indigenous beliefs and practices with Catholic rituals. To celebrate the return of the souls of the dead every November, Mexicans set up altars laden with the departed’s favorite food and drink and sugar skulls emblazoned with that person’s name, while images of Christ, the Virgin Mary and saints flank a photo of the deceased. Marigolds festoon the altars and the graves where relatives gather to share a meal and news of the past year with the visiting spirits.

      [...]

      Journalists are not only pursued by organized crime in all its forms, but also by local, state and federal governments, police forces, the military, and even by people whose job it is to impart justice. Not only must the federal government guarantee the safety of journalists, it must also resolve pending cases and punish the criminals, even if they work in government. Otherwise, as time passes most of the cases become enveloped in a tangle of conflicting lines of investigation where the real one is lost or the victim is morphed into the guilty party. A journalist friend recently told me about how when dealing with a notorious political crime, officials often present a new line of inquiry every once in a while which leads the investigation further away from reality, until it reaches a point where nobody knows anything for sure, a kind of legal shell game with the truth.

    • Earlier in December, file-sharing site the Pirate Bay went down due to a problem regarding the registration of the thepiratebay.org domain — a seemingly innocuous hitch. But then, a week later, thepiratebay.com and several other of the site’s domain properties, including piratebrowser.com, piratebrowser.net, and piratebrowser.org — which link to the Pirate Bay’s TOR-based anti-censorship tool — also went down, suspended for similar violations of ICANN registration policy. And though thepiratebay.org was quickly restored after a transfer from EuroDNS to a new registrar, the other domains remain suspended.

    • “Why do I see beheadings and bestiality on YouTube, but the story of an aged Holocaust survivor must be removed? Is there an agenda going on? If so, what is it?” she asked. “This ministry is being targeted for some unexplainable reason. Is it because we tap in Michele Bachmann regularly? I do not hear of other ministries undergoing this kind of an exam and retribution.”

    • Earlier this month, six weeks after receiving a “Warning Letter” for hanging a Palestinian flag out his dormitory window, George Washington University (GWU) student Ramie Abounaja obtained a formal apology from university president Steven Knapp for the attack on his free speech rights. The apology came after an implied threat of legal action against the university.

    • Every year brings new examples of ruthless college administrators trampling the free expression rights of students and faculty, and 2015 was no different. Here are eight of the most notable campus censors I wrote about this year.

    • Multicultural student groups are calling for more inclusion at AU after a rash of anonymous social media posts and posters targeting minorities have appeared on and around campus.

      Yik Yak is a smartphone application that allows smartphone users to make posts anonymously and view posts made by those within close proximity to them. Racist posts on the platform prompted University forums last year and inspired an Undergraduate Senate discussion about race, the Eagle previously reported. In recent months, users have continued to write discriminatory comments in the the app around campus.

    • Beijing-based filmmaker Fan Popo, whose gay rights documentary was removed from Chinese video streaming websites, has claimed victory in a lawsuit over government censorship despite the courts ruling that regulators were not to blame.

      In its verdict released last week, Beijing’s No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court found censors had not ordered his documentary “Mama Rainbow” to be taken down from prominent streaming websites Youku, Tudou and 56.com.

    • Turkey welcomes private investors in the field of art and culture, but many artists feel oppressed by their government. Beyond censorship and commercial speculation, an alternative art scene offers some hope.

  • Privacy

    • For the first time, UK intelligence agency GCHQ has admitted that it does hack into computers and devices to install malware to spy on people both in the UK and abroad. The admission was made before the UK’s independent Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which is hearing complaints by human rights advocacy group Privacy International and seven internet service providers (ISPs) that GCHQ and the Foreign Office broke privacy laws to illegally hack into phones, computers and networks around the world.

    • A new anti-terror law in China全民彩票网址 gives the government the explicit power to demand technology firms decrypt electronic messages stored on their servers, sparking concern – and confusion – from foreign companies.

      The law as enacted, however, falls short of a draft bill which would have required computer companies to explicitly install “backdoors” on their devices, allowing the Chinese government privileged access to the users’ communications.

    • On today’s special episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker interviews National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney. Before the earth shaking revelations by figures such as Chelsey Manning and Edward Snowden, there were NSA agents turned critics such as Binney. We ask Binney what led to his decision to leave the NSA less than two months after 9/11, how he views recent changes to the bulk collection of citizens’ data, if terror attacks could have been thwarted, and why the spying apparatus in the U.S continues to grow.

    • ITU members have approved the first ITU standard on Big Data. The international standard details the requirements, capabilities and use cases of cloud-based Big Data as well a high-level ‘system context’ view and its relationships with other entities. The Big Data paradigm provides an effective, scalable solution to deal with growing volumes of data and uncover patterns or other information capable of making data manageable and profitable.

    • All the DHS wanted was a warrantless “peek” at the contents of a seized i全民彩票网址Phone. The phone, one of three seized from a person suspected of drug trafficking, was examined by the DHS, with the warrant arriving a month later. Now, all of the evidence obtained from the phone is being tossed out.

      In the order granting the suppression of evidence obtained from the phone, Judge Sterling Johnson points out that the government revised its story several times during oral testimony.

    • Theresa May, the UK 全民彩票官网下载 Secretary who seems like a comic book version of a government authoritarian, is leading the charge in the UK for its new Snooper’s Charter, officially called the “Investigatory Powers Bill,” that is filled with all kinds of nasty stuff for making it easier for the government to spy on everyone. Among the many problematic elements is the demand for basically everyone’s metadata. May dismissed the concerns about this by saying it’s nothing more than “an itemised phone bill.” Given that, Member of Parliament Keith Vaz noted to May that people might be interested to see May’s itemized phone bill.

    • President Obama vowed in 2013 to cut back on spying on U.S. allies. But in the interests of negotiating his Iran nuclear deal, according to the Wall Street Journal, he made an exception in the case of Israel and thereby also caught communications of U.S. Congress members in that dragnet.

  • Civil Rights

    • Good news (of sorts) on the asset forfeiture front: the same budget bill that delivered us into the hands of CISA also helped “rob” the nation’s highwaymen of $1.2 billion in equitable sharing funds.

    • In April 2012, a Kansas SWAT team raided the 全民彩票官网下载 of Robert and Addie Harte, their 7-year-old daughter and their 13-year-old son. The couple, both former CIA analysts, awoke to pounding at the door. When Robert Harte answered, SWAT agents flooded the 全民彩票官网下载. He was told to lie on the floor. When Addie Harte came out to see what was going on, she saw her husband on his stomach as SWAT cop stood over him with a gun. The family was then held at gunpoint for more than two hours while the police searched their 全民彩票官网下载. Though they claimed to be looking for evidence of a major marijuana growing operation, they later stated that they knew within about 20 minutes that they wouldn’t find any such operation. So they switched to search for evidence of “personal use.” They found no evidence of any criminal activity.

    • Italy’s president has shaved two years off the sentence of a former CIA base chief convicted in absentia in the 2003 extraordinary rendition abduction of an Egyptian terror suspect.

      With the decree, announced Wednesday night by the presidential palace, President Sergio Mattarella reduced to seven from nine years Robert Seldon Lady’s sentence. Mattarella also wiped out the three-year sentence handed down by a Milan court to another US defendant convicted in absentia, Betnie Medero.

    • Italy has partially pardoned the former CIA Milan station chief Robert Seldon Lady who was convicted for his role in the kidnapping of an Egyptian Muslim cleric under the U.S. “extraordinary rendition” programme.

      Another U.S. citizen found guilty in the case, Betnie Medero, was also granted a pardon by Italian President Sergio Mattarella, his office said in a statement.

    • The longest running director of the CIA (1952-1961), Dulles helped coordinate extremely bloody coups throughout the world. Not surprisingly, he comes off as a nasty piece of work. He and his brother John Foster Dulles both worked with the prestigious Wall Street firm Sullivan and Cromwell, which made a fortune representing cartels that were part of the Nazi war machine (John Foster Dulles went on to become Eisenhower’s Secretary of State). The Dulles brothers were quite cozy with Nazi higher ups in the ’30s and remained staunch apologists for Hitler well into the the ’40s.

    • The director of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security 全民彩票网址 (NISS) Mohamed Atta said his agency maintains “good ties” with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    • “I’m saying when you say a man has killed reporters, I’d like you to prove it”, Trump argued. But, in all fairness to Putin, you’re saying he killed people. In response, Trump said he appreciated “when people call you brilliant” and that “it’s always good, especially when the person heads up Russian Federation”.

      McCain’s comments come after Putin complimented Trump last week, and Trump responded it was an “honor” to receive the compliment. “Not a bad thing”, Trump said. The Committee to Protect Journalists reports Russian journalists experience intimidation and censorship.

      “I think I’ll win the Hispanic vote”, Trump told reporters after touring the bridge.

    • Sergei Guriev, Russia’s most prominent free market economist, left Moscow in 2013 for Paris, in fear of his liberty. He had publicly supported dissidents, criticized the administration’s policies, was an active and committed liberal, in politics as in economics. He produced, earlier this year, a 21st century equivalent of Niccolo Machiavelli’s “The Prince”: a blueprint of how the modern autocrat rules, and remains.

      Unlike the Florentine, though, Guriev isn’t recommending a course of action, he’s describing it; and he doesn’t believe it will be good for the state, but ruinous. If, in this and other writings and interviews, he’s right about the nature of Russia’s governance, his country全民彩票网址 is in for a bad crash. And when Russia in its present condition crashes, the world will shake.

    • The Public Opinion Foundation conducted a survey this month asking Russians two questions: “What was the main event of the year in Russia?” and “What was the main global event of the year?”

      Noteworthy is that fully 40 percent of the respondents had trouble answering either question. And the most brutal political murder in modern Russia — the assassination of my father — did not even figure in the responses. State-controlled television hardly mentions it, with the exception of the first few days after the killing, when commentators spoke of him in contemptuous tones.

    • In 2015, Fox News’ three primetime hosts engaged in a smear campaign against the Black Lives Matter movement, fearmongering about the alleged threat they pose to law and order and hyping racist canards aimed at discrediting the movement’s calls for justice.

      The Black Lives Matter movement — which emerged after the 2013 shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin — became a regular news fixture in 2015 following the high-profile deaths of several unarmed black civilians at the hands of police officers. The movement brought national attention to the issues of police brutality and racial disparities in criminal justice. One group associated with the movement introduced a set of concrete policy solutions, and the movement as a whole became a politically relevant force amid the 2016 presidential race.

    • “The kind of incidents that have ignited protests…represent less than 4 percent of fatal police shootings”: That sure sounds like an attempt to play down the number, doesn’t it? Particularly since the write-up never presents the raw number for fatal police shootings of unarmed African-Americans in 2015—which is 37—or the more comprehensive number of all unarmed civilians shot and killed: 90. Those numbers can be found on a graphic that accompanied the story in the paper’s print edition, and in an interactive feature online–but are nowhere to be found in the Post‘s own article on its project. (“Just 9 percent of shootings involved an unarmed victim,” a sidebar accompanying the graphic began—that word “just” indicating that we should read that as “not so many.”)

      And the Post‘s “meanwhile,” juxtaposed against “incidents that have ignited protests,” implies that the categories that follow would not inspire protest: those killed “wielding weapons,” who were “suicidal or mentally troubled,” or who “ran when officers told them to halt.”

    • Egypt’s censorship authority raided and searched on Tuesday afternoon Merit Publishing house in downtown Cairo without providing any reason, owner Mohamed Hashem wrote on his Facebook page.

      Staff member Mohamed Zein, 23, was arrested during the raid then released a few hours later.

    • Egyptian authorities have raided two pillars of the independent arts and culture scene in Cairo over the past 48 hours.

    • The last time we took notice of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), it was to inform you that the unpopular, expensive, and ineffectual outfit had decided it could force travelers on domestic airline flights to go through full-body scanners. Previously, TSA had allowed folks to submit instead to a full-body pat-down.

    • For the residents of Alaska, California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, Minnesota and Washington (along with American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands), this means their ID cards are perfectly legal within those states, but only as long as they stay in those states. (And, apparently, never need to enter a government building — like, say, to acquire a new, compliant ID card).

    • In one of the darkest chapters in medical ethics, the United States government ran an experiment from the 1930s to the 1970s in which it withheld treatment and medical information from rural African-American men suffering from syphilis. The public uproar generated by the Tuskegee Syphilis Study eventually resulted in regulations restricting government-supported research testing on humans. These regulations are called the “Common Rule,” and they are right now up for their first full update.

      The Common Rule, also known as the “Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects,” is supposed to affirmatively protect us from the abuses of the future. However, the proposed regulation is lousy with loopholes, including ones that could exempt tracking online behavior and experiments related to intelligence activities.

    • Today we filed a lawsuit challenging Dignity Health’s use of religious directives to deny basic reproductive health care to its patients. Filed on behalf of patient Rebecca Chamorro and Physicians for Reproductive Health, the suit argues that withholding pregnancy-related care for reasons other than medical considerations is illegal in California.

    • Months after the Herald-Tribune exposed the North Port Police Department for routinely commanding their K-9 dogs to attack people without provocation, the department has done nothing to address the problem. In fact, it defends its officers even in the most egregious cases, including the mutilation of unarmed juveniles.

    • In Part 2 of our look at the life and work of Haskell Wexler, we air clips from “Rebel Citizen,” a new documentary about his life, and speak to the film’s director, Pamela Yates. Wexler is perhaps best known for his 1969 film, “Medium Cool,” which captures the upheaval surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He won two Academy Awards for cinematography in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “Bound for Glory,” about folk singer Woody Guthrie. His documentaries tackled political issues including the Southern Freedom Riders of the 1960s, the U.S. government’s destabilization of Nicaragua, U.S. atrocities in Vietnam, and torture under the U.S.-backed junta in Brazil.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Local independent councillor in Cornwall Andrew Wallis reports that the High Court delivered a judgement today in favour of the council’s action to end its outsourcing relationship with BT early.

    • A few more households may be all a small town fiber network in Massachusetts needs to beat Google Fiber at its own game. The catch is that it’s a really small town, even by Google Fiber standards.

      Leverett, Massachusetts, 全民彩票官网下载 to some 1,876 residents as of the 2010 census, and on April 7 2015 opened up LeverettNet, the town’s local fiber provider, to much fanfare.

    • We’ve talked a lot about Comcast here at Techdirt, mostly because between the company’s broadband cash-grab caps, its great big middle finger to the concept of net neutrality, and its (haha) customer service, there’s just a never ending wealth of stories to write up and Mike only lets us out of the dungeon for porridge after we write enough posts. And, as we bring 2015 to a close, it’s kind of fun to remember that Comcast wanted to be an even bigger corporate thing with its intended merger with Time Warner Cable.

    • Maybe some data is old or controversial, but regularity is clear. Why IPv6 is better than IPv4 and influential to modern Internet? Go to the next chapter.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • For the first time ever, this month’s Stupid Patent of the Month is being awarded to a design patent. Microsoft recently sued Corel for, among other things, infringing its patent on a slider, D554,140, claiming that Corel 全民彩票官网下载 Office has infringed Microsoft’s design.

    • Trademarks

      • In our recent discussion about the delightfully vulgar filing by the Washington Redskins in an effort to point out the arbitrary application of morality by the government to trademark law, the point in the filing was driven 全民彩票官网下载 by just how many similarly vulgar and offensive terms the USPTO has been happy to sanctify with a valid trademark. Perhaps some of you out there thought that this was a uniquely American problem, something resulting from our overabundance of political correctness. It’s not. A case in Canada over the trademark application for “Lucky Bastard Vodka” shows this quite well. It also shows the inherent problem in trying to have a government institution apply morality to business in this way.

      • A Saskatoon company’s attempt to trademark its flagship vodka has turned into a four-year battle with the federal government over the definition of “bastard.”

        In 2011, LB Distillers applied to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) to register “Lucky Bastard vodka” as a trademark. About eight months later, the agency responsible for trademarks, patents and copyright replied.

        “The examiner came back and said it was immoral, scandalous and obscene, and that the general population of Canada would agree that it was an immoral name,” LB Distillers co-owner Cary Bowman said.

    • 全民彩票官网下载s

      • The phrase “Internet of Things” suggests connection. The problem is there’s nothing financially motivating about interconnectedness. Manufacturers of connected devices would prefer homogeneity, which leads to actions like Philips’ which recently pushed a firmware update that locked competitors’ bulbs out of its Hue “smart” lighting fixtures. Sure, it rolled back the update and (mostly) allowed owners to use bulbs they had already purchased, but it was also suggested in the same quasi-apology that the company would rather limit the options available to its purchasers in the future, funneling them through its “friends of Hue” program.

      • Here’s the stupidest thing on piracy you’re going to read today. Or this month. Maybe even this whole holiday season. Rudy Shur, of Square One Publishers, has a problem with piracy, which he thinks is actually a problem with Google.

      • I can see why 50 Cent and his lawyer全民彩票网址s might feel this lawsuit is a good idea: 50 Cent is in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings. On top of that, the rapper owes $7 million to the plaintiff in a sex tape lawsuit — one that also involves rival rap star, Rick Ross. (The woman in the sex tape is the mother of one of Ross’ children. 50 Cent can be heard taunting Ross in the recording.) 50 Cent is also engaged in a $75 million lawsuit against his former legal team, so there’s bills to be paid there as well.

        50 Cent’s lawsuit takes aim at the rap industry’s standard operating procedure: mixtapes. Rick Ross rapped over 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” in his latest mixtape, much as thousands of rappers have rapped over the beats of others on mixtapes since the early days of the genre. It’s an accepted — if quasi-illegal — practice. Everyone raps over everyone else’s beats on mixtapes, almost all of which are given away as promotional tools.

12.28.15

EPO a “European Institution Which Does Not Fall Under EU Law”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Petition regarding EPO

Summary: Highlighting a soon-to-end petition which bemoans the bizarre state of affairs at today’s EPO and its controversial impact on Europe

and using aggressively, based on this latest rant from the EFF (just published). To quote the EFF:

For the first time ever, this month’s Stupid Patent of the Month is being awarded to a design patent. Microsoft recently sued Corel for, among other things, infringing its patent on a slider, D554,140, claiming that Corel 全民彩票官网下载 Office has infringed Microsoft’s design.

[...]
Microsoft’s patent claims against Corel are unsurprising in light of how much money is potentially at stake. If Corel is found to infringe even one of Microsoft’s design patents through even the smallest part of Corel 全民彩票官网下载 Office, current Federal Circuit law entitles Microsoft to all of Corel’s profits for the entire product. Not the profits that can be attributed to the design. Not the value that the design adds to a product. All of the profit from Corel 全民彩票官网下载 Office.

We previously wrote about the EPO’s special relationship with Microsoft, whereupon the EPO sent several threatening letters to me (all of them about Microsoft and the EPO). What are they so desperate to hide? They never withdrew these threats.

Today’s Chaos Computer Club (CCC) Talk: EU Software and Business Method Patents: Call for Action

Posted in Europe, Patents, Videos at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Today’s talk about software patents in Europe and a petition calling for action to stop these (again)

AS EPO examiners probably know by now, despite software patents (“as such,” as per Brimelow) not being legal in Europe, the EPO does occasionally entertain patent applications that pertain to software, even if it euphemistically names them CII to nymshift and add smoke to the debate. This can devastate famous European companies.

A CCC talk which (the speaker has just sent it to us) and the (1.1GB file in a heavily-patented multimedia format, ironically enough).

“A CCC talk which was mentioned here over the weekend is now available for viewing online.”“Henrion and colleagues are on at 32C3 now,” a reader wrote to us earlier, so some people were evidently streaming it live. This reader of ours tracked down . “It seems risky,” the reader said, as more people now realise that the EPO is out of control and UPC needs to be shunned. “According to the petitioner,” says the European Parliament’s Web site, “the European Patent Office is an international European institution which does not fall under EU law. He proposes that the EU contacts the EPO in order to conclude an interinstitutional agreement which would enable Members of the European Parliament to address parliamentary questions to the EPO and improve the parliamentary supervision of the EPO. The petitioner also asks the European Commission to harmonise national substantive patent law so that patent law becomes part of the acquis communautaire and the major differences which currently exist between the national patent law systems are removed. The EPO cannot deal with these differences, but has become the de facto harmoniser of patent law owing to its position as the provider of patents. According to the petitioner, the current situation is lacking a legislator and the development of patent law is concentrated in the hands of the executive and the judiciary. This is contrary to the separation of powers. The lack of balance between the powers means that it is difficult to respond to the fact that patent law affects areas other than that of EU policy, such as industrial policy, European standardisation and research policy. Moreover, the petitioner believes that the lack of harmonisation of substantive patent law weakens the negotiating position of the EU in matters relating to patent law with respect to third parties (WIPO, SPLT, TRIPS+, etc.).”

Incidentally, earlier today we found more articles about India rejecting software patents (for now…)

, who call themselves “Intellectual Property Attorneys” (it’s not hard to guess whose side they’re on), was published earlier today, around the same time of an article with the title .

“The one side isn’t “patent supporters” but mostly large corporations.”“India has announced a hold on plans to clarify the software patent process within the country全民彩票网址,” wrote the reporter of the latter article, “a move that has both critics and supporters up in arms. In one camp, patent supporters argue that the investment in a new piece of software has to be protected both financially and by reputation against cheap imitators, while critics of software patents claim that software patents do nothing but lead to expensive litigation to fight infringement claims.”

The one side isn’t “patent supporters” but mostly large corporations. They’re not even Indian. They support not patents but software patents in India, which makes no sense for this economy that thrives in software and isn’t wealthy enough to withstand legal actions from aboard (mostly north America, obviously). That’s the kind of thing which UPC passage would enable, attracting all sorts of patent trolls and bring them to Europe with their software patents (that’s what trolls typically use for extortion purposes, where small companies are attractive targets that cannot afford legal battles and may quickly settle instead).

Learn from the mistakes of patent scope at the USPTO (whose official site is reportedly still not fully working today, based on IP Kat‘s comments, even 4 days after the outage).

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