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Links 18/11/2011: Android/Google Support at Motorola

Posted in News Roundup at 8:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • How misinformation can still hurt FLOSS

    There seems to be a bit of confusion out there about what open source means in terms of security: specifically, there’s a pervasive notion that because software is open source, it’s inherently insecure.


    Apparently these folks have completely forgotten about software like sendmail, Apache, MySQL, SSH, and oh, what’s that platform called… the one with the penguin… oh yeah: Linux. The applications and platforms are regarded in the industry has highly secure and generally free of malware in the wild.

    And yet, when Google Open Source Programs Manager Chris DiBona recently quoted an article that said that “critics have been pounding the table for years about open source being inherently insecure,” I decided to locate that article… I found myself running smack into what I believe is a serious error.

  • Open source biometrics technology for mobile devices, PCs and servers

    DigitalPersona has open sourced its new MINEX-certified FingerJetFX fingerprint feature extraction technology.

    FingerJetFX, Open Source Edition (OSE), is free, portable software that device manufacturers and application developers can use to convert bulky fingerprint images into small, mathematical representations called fingerprint “templates” for efficient storage or comparison.

  • FOSS over Miami

    Here’s a little Larry-the-Free-Software-Guy history for those of you who don’t already know it: I grew up in Miami and didn’t move to San Francisco until I was 29 (and that was the summer of 1987, so you can do the math). More specifically, I grew up in a strip of unincorporated Dade County sandwiched between North Miami and North Miami Beach. So you’ll understand why I have a tendency to pull for the Dolphins and the U on occasion, and I don’t think twice about driving 30 or so miles down Highway 1 into Monterey County to visit The Whole Enchilada because it has the only Key Lime Pie in this region close enough to be considered Miami-class. Listening to Jimmy Buffett puts me back among the palm trees, retroactively sweating in the 80 degree/90 percent humidity coziness for which South Florida is known worldwide.

  • Web Browsers


    • Nov. 21: Free Software’s Stallman

      Richard Stallman, the founder of the GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation, will present a visiting lecture from 7-9 p.m., Monday, Nov. 21, in Mitchell Hall at the University of Delaware.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Wintel is Fragmented

    UPDATE A part of the changes to make “8″ will be a consolidation of re-re-reboots into one reboot per month where possible. The trolls here who claim re-re-reboots are no problem for competent users are again proven wrong. Even M$ admits re-re-reboots are a problem that needs fixing. Of course re-re-reboots don’t bother those of us who use GNU/Linux because we get to choose when and if we reboot. I have enjoyed that capability for a decade and love it.

  • The OS Wars: We Have A Winner

    You would not have shown your face at, say, ApacheCon, with a MacBook.

  • Google’s Brin and wife plop half-million into Wikipedia’s hat

    The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit publisher of Wikipedia and its affiliate sites, has received a $500,000 grant from the Brin Wojcicki Foundation, a philanthropic organization set up by Google cofounder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki, cofounder of “personal genetic information” website 23andMe.

  • Security/BIOS

    • Attacks on secure boot

      This is interesting. It’s obviously lacking in details yet, but it does highlight one weakness of secure boot. The security for secure boot is all rooted in the firmware – there’s no external measurement to validate that everything functioned as expected. That means that if you can cause any trusted component to execute arbitrary code then you’ve won. So, what reads arbitrary user data? The most obvious components are any driver that binds to user-controlled hardware, any filesystem driver that reads user-provided filesystems and any signed bootloader that reads user-configured data. A USB drive could potentially trigger a bug in the USB stack and run arbitrary code. A malformed FAT filesystem could potentially trigger a bug in the FAT driver and run arbitrary code. A malformed bootloader configuration file or kernel could potentially trigger a bug in the bootloader and run arbitrary code. It may even be possible to find bugs in the PE-COFF binary loader. And once you have the ability to run arbitrary code, you can replace all the EFI entry points and convince the OS that everything is fine anyway.

    • UEFI Debugging Tools

      One of the many things I work on is UEFI support. It’s an interesting thing to work on, in part because there’s a lot of new development and it’s at a fairly low level, which is just the sort of thing I like.

      Often during UEFI development, we’ll see a bug and need to diagnose whether it’s a problem with the hardware, the firmware, the bootloader, the OS kernel, or even a userland program. One case of this is when console graphics don’t work right.

    • GPT disks in a BIOS world

      Starting with Fedora 16 we’re installing using GPT disklabels by default, even on BIOS-based systems. This is worth noting because most BIOSes have absolutely no idea what GPT is, which you’d think would create some problems. And, unsurprisingly, it does. Shock. But let’s have an overview.

  • Finance

    • State orders Goldman Sachs to repay investors for misleading sales tactics

      Florida’s securities regulators announced a settlement agreement with Goldman, Sach & Co. that has required the investment firm to back back an estimate $20 million in so-called “auction rate securities” because the company claimed they were liquid and secure when they were not.

    • Middle-class areas shrink as America divides into ‘two-tiered society’ of rich and poor

      The portion of American families living in middle-income neighborhoods has declined significantly since 1970, according to a new study, as rising income inequality left a growing share of families in neighborhoods that are mostly low-income or mostly affluent.

    • Our friends from Goldman Sachs…

      Serious and competent, they weigh up the pros and cons and study all of the documents before giving an opinion. They have a fondness for economics, but these luminaries who enter into the temple only after a long and meticulous recruitment process prefer to remain discreet.

      Collectively they form an entity that is part pressure group, part fraternal association for the collection of information, and part mutual aid network. They are the craftsmen, masters and grandmasters whose mission is “to spread the truth acquired in the lodge to the rest of the world.”

      According to its detractors, the European network of influence woven by American bank Goldman Sachs (GS) functions like a freemasonry. To diverse degrees, the new European Central Bank President, Mario Draghi, the newly designated Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Monti, and the freshly appointed Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos are totemic figures in this carefully constructed web.

  • Privacy

    • Wintel is Fragmented

      When I wrote about Google making it possible to opt-out of their Wi-Fi access point mapping program, I made a mistake. I thought Google was still using its StreetView cars to pick up Wi-Fi locations. Nope, Eitan Bencuya, a Google spokesperson, tells me that Google no longer uses StreetView cars to collect location information. So, how does Google collect Wi-Fi location data? They use you.

  • Civil Rights

    • Going Incognito

      The Internet can be a dangerous place. Once it was the scam artists and the damage they wrought that users had to watch. These days it seems it’s more governments trying to oppress citizens and so-called respectable companies looking to track and sell your movements that strike fear in the hearts of Penguistas. Perhaps it’s time to go Incognito.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • EU Adopts Resolution Against US Domain Seizures

      The European Parliament has adopted a resolution which criticizes domain name seizures of “infringing” websites by US authorities. According to the resolution these measures need to be countered as they endanger “the integrity of the global internet and freedom of communication.” With this stance the European Parliament joins an ever-growing list of opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act .

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