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08.19.12

Links 19/8/2012: SolusOS Eveline 1.2 Released, Unity Favours 3-D

Posted in News Roundup at 11:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Pandora: The Handheld Console for Linux Tweakers

    We here at S|A recently got a chance to interview Micheal Mrozek, one of the core members of a small company named OpenPandora, which produces the Pandora handheld gaming console. Long before Kickstarter and crowd sourced development funding became the flavor of the week, the OpenPandora team was designing and producing their own handheld gaming console based off of what their fellow forum members wanted. The idea behind the Pandora was to produce a handheld gaming console that met the needs of their highly active, but small, forum. It had to be a fully functional Linux PC, have an awesome D-pad, and be powerful enough to emulate the mass market console gaming systems that had proceeded it. It took a long time to get all of the pieces into place (read: four years of hardship and delays), but the Pandora has finally matured into the handheld console that its steadfast supporters have always hoped it would.

  • Advocating for a Linux advocate

    Ken Starks can drive me crazy sometimes.

    It’s been a while since I have spoken with him. After leaving Linux Today and working for the Linux Foundation, I found myself falling out of touch with various members of the Linux community, and unfortunately Ken was one of them.

  • Migrating to GNU/Linux

    While a perfectly planned set-piece migration appears to work for large organizations, smaller organizations may simply experience delay and greater costs doing the detailed work. The GNU/Linux desktop has evolved to the point where for a large proportion of users it can do the job with little fuss. Just backup data, install the OS and restore the data. If any problems arise they are likely to be small and manageable. With a good backup, one can always revert particular machines if a show-stopper arises. In ten years of migrating small organizations I never encountered a show-stopper that could not be simply worked around. Migrations of simple computer labs may take only an hour or two. A whole school may be about as complicated as that. Where I last worked, I walked around replacing PCs with GNU/Linux PCs. I could have installed over the network to avoid the walking but there was a matter of locked doors after hours… That’s not a show-stopper associated with the OS, just constraints on the institution.

  • MacPup LINUX – How do you like this Apple?

    During previous reviews of Puppy LINUX distributions such as Wary, Slacko and Lucid I have received comments asking “Have you tried MacPup?”. Well up until now no I haven’t.

    I downloaded the ISO for MacPup a few weeks ago but I’ve only just reached the point where I have had time to have an in depth look.

  • The Coming Civil War Over General Purpose Computers

    Last month, I gave a talk called “The Coming Civil War Over General Purpose Computing” at DEFCON, the Long Now, and Google. We’re going to have a transcript with the slides on Monday, but in the meantime, here’s a video of the Long Now version of the talk.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Download Linux Kernel 3.6 Release Candidate 2

      Linus Torvalds announced last evening, August 16th, that the second Release Candidate of the upcoming Linux 3.6 kernel is now available for download and testing.

      Linux kernel 3.6 Release Candidate 2 brings the usual bug fixes, updated drivers, and general improvements.

    • A Power Saving Schema For The Linux Kernel Scheduler

      An Intel engineer has proposed introducing a power saving schema for CFS, the Linux kernel’s default scheduler. Code hasn’t been presented yet, but there’s lots of discussion about this topic to improve the power efficiency of the Linux kernel scheduler.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • After 4.9 there will be 4.10

        After the release of the KDE Plasma Workspaces 4.9 I have read quite often in the Internet that users and also Media assume that the next release will be 5.0. This is not the case, the next release of the KDE Plasma Workspaces, Applications and Plattform will be 4.10 to be expected at the beginning of 2013 (release schedule has not yet been finalized by the release team).

        I do not know why people assume that there would be a 5.0 release but I guess it is related to the work on Qt 5 and KDE Frameworks 5. Also some people seem to assume that after 4.9 the 5.0 has to follow due to second number being single digit, but a simple look at e.g. GNOME would show that numbers can increase as long as one likes.

      • An alternate history of KDE

        In reality, the deal makes perfect sense, and Qt is now clear of its tenure with Nokia. So how did Qt and KDE do under Nokia’s influence?

        If Digia sounds familiar, it’s because the company was already heavily involved in the Qt community. In 2011, not long after Nokia announced its intention to place its fate in the hands of Windows-based smartphones, Nokia sold the commercial Qt support business to Digia. Selling over the trademarks, copyrights, and other assets to Digia just completes a transition that started back in March of 2011.

        At the time, Nokia’s Sebastian Nyström laid out the reason for that sale, indicating that the commercial licenses sales of Qt “are not core business activities for Nokia, so since the introduction of the LGPL license for Qt in 2009 we have been actively working to grow the number of companies providing Qt services.”

      • Muon Suite 1.4.0 Released

        This is a KDE application for simple and easy package management in Debian-KDE based distros, similar to Software Center available in Ubuntu.

      • Qt 5.0 Beta Not Here Due To Difficulties

        While the Qt 5.0 Beta was supposed to be out in July, it was changed to release the Qt 5 beta in early August. We’re now half-way through August and there’s no signs of an imminent beta. It’s now been said that “some things have been a bit more difficult lately” leading to a delay in Qt5.

      • Motomic enables Qt applications on Freescale Kinetis “K” Series MCUs
    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME: Seven Possible Recovery Strategies

        The conventional wisdom these days is that GNOME is faltering. GNOME 3 is unpopular, and users and distributions are abandoning it for alternatives such as Xfce or Mate.

        The project itself suffers from a lack of developers and a loss of morale, and faces new challenges as mobile devices become more common than traditional desktop environments.

        So what strategies are available for GNOME in the next few years?

        This ugly assessment of GNOME’s current condition is not just being made by outsiders. Recently, GNOME developer Benjamin Otte made the same critique in a widely discussed blog post entitled “Staring into the Abyss.”

        Many of the same subjects were even raised at GUADEC, GNOME’s annual conference. In particular, Xan Lopez and Juan Jose Sanchez gave a presentation called “A Bright Future for GNOME” that outlined the project’s challenges. Lopez and Sanchez’s presentation was supposed to be a call to arms, but, in the weeks since it was delivered, it has been used mainly as proof of just how the once mighty GNOME has fallen.

      • Jovovich reveals the new Gnome in its 15th birthday!

        It is true that Gnome scientists work secretly many meters under the ground in mysterious projects under the protection of evil and powerful Red Umbrella Corporation. They share no information about their future plans and communication is closed.

      • Gnome3 porting to FreeBSD
  • Distributions

    • ROSA Marathon Release Pack 1 brings tooltips to SimpleWelcome

      The first Release Pack of ROSA Marathon 2012 has been made available for public download. ROSA Marathon is the enterprise desktop edition of ROSA Linux, a Linux distribution derived from Mandriva Linux and developed by ROSA Laboratory, a Linux solutions provider based in Moscow, Russia.

      Desktop environments supported by ROSA Linux are the K Desktop Environment (KDE), GNOME 2, and LXDE. The main edition, which received this release pack, uses KDE. Aside from an updated Kernel (from kernel 3.0.28 to 3.0.38) the main highlight of this release pack is the addition of tooltips to SimpleWelcome, the distribution’s menu application.

    • Two Rolling Release Distributions

      I am using Arch Linux and PCLinuxOS for past many years with PCLinuxOS dating back to V.92 and Arch Linux since early 2010 . I also used Sabayon Linux , ALT Linux , Chakra , Fuduntu and Unity Linux for different periods of times in past but never settled down with any of these for a daily usage due to many different reasons ranging from instability to facing many problems at different levels.

    • Crunchbang 11 20120806 Review: Minimalistic but highly functional

      If you need a cutting edge Linux OS but you have a very very low resource computer, what would you do? You download Crunchbang and your computer will start performing blazing fast and amazingly stable. Now Crunchbang 11 Waldorf is in the testing stage, based on Debian Wheezy (it’s also testing till date). I guess once Wheezy is released as a stable distribution, we will have the Crunchbang stable as well.

    • BackTrack 5 R3 review

      BackTrack is a security-focused Linux distribution that is loaded with all the best Free Software penetration testing applications available. It is based on Ubuntu Desktop. The latest edition is code-named Revolution, and the newest update-release – BackTrack 5 R3, was released just a few days ago.

      It is distribution designed for penetration testers and other security professionals, or those who want to mess with all the best security and penetration testing applications the free software community has to offer.

    • Pardus ANKA?

      Apparently, the community of Pardus is working on Pardus ANKA, the fork of Pardus. They have a logo, too!

    • Macpup 529

      Macpup is a small,light OS. It runs in ram and is very fast. It is not a striped down,bare bones,basic core OS. Macpup is a full featured systemright out of the box with apps for office,graphics,multimedia,internetand much more.And it looks really cool.

    • New Releases

      • SolusOS Eveline 1.2 Released
      • SolusOS 1.2 Arrives, Updates Eveline

        SolusOS is a newish distribution that has been getting some real good reviews since its inception. A new update was released today to update the current 1.x “Eveline” stable release. I thought it was about time to take this

      • AV Linux 6.0 Has Been Officially Released
      • 6.0: The beginning of the end for AV Linux

        Following what he calls “a very turbulent development period”, AV Linux Project Leader Glen MacArthur has released version 6.0 of his custom Linux distribution geared towards audio and video production. AV Linux is a Debian-based distribution that uses the lightweight LXDE desktop environment and includes various multimedia creation programs out of the box. While the OS is specifically aimed at multimedia content creators, MacArthur says that the “state-of-the-art release” is still well-suited for most common daily computer tasks.

      • Calculate Linux 12.0.2 released
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Get to know Mageia better!

        Hmm, it is hard to address the target group of Mageia. A quick answer would be that targets to a lot of people. Yes, Mageia is one of the most popular distros around and is relatively a new one.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo-Fu: Building KDE branches

        5

        Being a happy Gentoo user myself for about half a year, I thought I would share some tips from my personal experiences on this great distro. It’s nothing you cannot already google for; these are just some ideas/motives to further dig into for yourselves. Mayhaps I will write another post or two about Gentoo. If I ever decide to overcome my laziness :) Take it easy with this post, it’s a bit lengthy, but to quote Blaise Pascal: “I haven’t had time to make it shorter yet“.

        Gentoo being a source-based distribution allows for some very cool stuff like building from an upstream git branch. You can find ebuilds for KDE branches 4.9 and master (as of 17.08.2012), which can vastly help you with bug triaging/fixing. Bug triaging is as easy as updating your system from this branch and trying to reproduce bugs (the procedure is fully automated thanks to Portage’s Moo Powers – “emerge –moo” – and the Gentoo Developers). Bug fixing is as easy as writing a patch and applying it using Portage’s excellent patching abilities. I actually *fixed* a bug like this recently (Bug #297209), being too lazy to manually pull and compile the source code. Sure, a manual setup is way more flexible, but doesn’t come without quite some hassles.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Open Source Is Becoming a Military Necessity

        In letting just anyone use your code, that has to include the bad guys. They’re bound to find a way to compromise it, the thinking goes.

      • Becoming Red Hat: Cloudera and Hortonworks’ Big-Data death match

        In the Big Data market, Hadoop is clearly the team to beat. What is less clear is which of the Hadoop vendors will claim the spoils of that victory.

        Because open source tends to be winner-take-all, we are almost certainly going to see a “Red Hat” of Hadoop, with the second place vendor left to clean up the crumbs.

        As ever with open source, this means the Hadoop market ultimately comes down to a race for community support because, as Redmonk analyst Stephen O’Grady argues, the biggest community wins.

      • Red Hat unveils new cloud framework

        Open-source platform developer Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) announced on Monday that its new OpenStack cloud framework is ready for enterprises looking to build private, public and hybrid Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) clouds.

        Red Hat is a major supporter and supplier of solutions based on OpenStack, the open-source framework for enterprise cloud platforms. This most recent distribution is designed to complement Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Red Hat CloudForms, Red Hat Storage and Red Hat OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), according to the company.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora + Cinnamon – What gives?

          Not that long ago, I gave Fedora Beefy Miracle another spin, this time, the KDE version, and it was a decent experience overall. Not as bland as the Xfce test, not as good as the last autumn KDE edition, somewhere in between. Decent, but still very much Fedora, blood and sweat and hi-tech all combined.

          Then, a reader pinged me and suggested a marvelous idea – what about testing Cinnamon? It’s a most beautiful product. And more importantly, it worked great on Linux Mint, where it’s the default desktop. It even worked splendidly in Ubuntu Pangolin. So why not see what happens when you mate Cinnamon to Fedora? Can this lovely desktop environment turn the tide against all the geekiness and boredom that happen to infuse Fedora?

    • Debian Family

      • Debian and I

        Debian is the most influential Linux distribution ever. Of the 305 active distributions listed on Distrowatch, 147 are derived from Debian, and 87 from Ubuntu, Debian’s most famous off-shoot. In other words, 77% of the distributions being used today wouldn’t exist without Debian. That makes Debian’s nineteenth anniversary on August 16 worth a moment’s reflection, not just technologically, but socially as well.

      • Happy Birthday Debian! And memories of an old-timer…

        For Debian’s birthday, Francesca Ciceri of the Debian Publicity team suggested that developers “blog about their first experiences with Debian”. I found this a good idea so I’m going to share my own early experience. It’s quite different from what happens nowadays…

      • Month of birthdays
      • Happy Birthday, Debian!
      • Happy Birthday Debian And Gnome

        Its birthday time for some of the major players in Linux world, Gnome and Debian. While Gnome was founded on 15th August 1997, and is fifteen years old, Debian has an older history, dating back to 16th August 1993. One of the oldest surviving distro, Debian turns 19 this year.

        Debian shares its history with some of the older distros like Slackware and Mandriva. One of the major changes Debian bought in the Linux world is binary .deb packages. Previously, Linux users had to compile each of the program they wished to install, but with Debian, it was gone. This gave rise to number of package repositories and number of user friendly derivatives, like Ubuntu which show how significant Debian’s development was.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu One offers 500 mb free storage for users
          • Unity 2D dropped from Ubuntu 12.10 “Quantal Quetzal”

            The 2D variant of Canonical’s Unity desktop user interface – introduced in Ubuntu 11.10 for systems without 3D/OpenGL hardware acceleration – will not be included in future versions of Ubuntu. The change was first discussed at the last Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS), but has only just been confirmed in a bug report that sees the removal of Unity 2D.

          • Say Hello To Unity’s Newest Feature: Previews
          • Previews, The Latest Awesome Feature Of Ubuntu 12.10
          • Unity: Dash Gets A Cool New Previews Feature [Video] – Ubuntu 12.10 Development

            A cool new feature has landed in the Unity Staging PPA, for Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal: previews in Dash.

            With the new “previews” feature, you’ll be able to right click applications or files in Dash to get a preview, along with some extra information which depends on the item you’ve right clicked.

          • Ubuntu’s Unity Has Room To Improve Performance

            Following yesterday’s news that Ubuntu 12.10 will drop the Unity 2D desktop, I carried out some quick tests comparing the latest state of the Unity desktop with Compiz against the lightweight Unity 2D desktop that’s now being removed. To not much surprise, the composited Unity desktop still has some performance shortcomings for OpenGL workloads compared to Unity 2D.

          • Canonical Comments On The Unity 2D Defenestration

            Jason Warner, the Ubuntu Desktop Manager at Canonical, acknowledges that dropping Unity 2D and going with Unity-Over-LLVMpipe may lead to some regressions and that some users will want to stick to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or switch to another desktop environment.

            Warner wrote a message on the Ubuntu development list on Friday entitled “Unity Going Forward” where he confirms yesterday’s information that Ubuntu 12.10 is dropping the Unity 2D desktop and focusing upon using Unity with LLVMpipe in cases where there is no sufficient GPU/driver for handling the composited desktop. “Unity 2D has been removed as a default option in favor of Unity 3D across the board. This is a work in progress, so bear with us as we sort out the details in the transition.”

          • After a while of using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS…

            You don’t often see post reviews / analysis of Linux distributions so I thought I would break the trend and share some of my thoughts after using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS for quite some time.

            So, the great thing which I have observed with all Ubuntu LTS releases starting with 8.04 LTS is how well they work (eg lack of bugs and good support). 12.04 LTS in no exception. It is what I expect from LTS releases and what Canonical Ltd aims to deliver, a stable and working product which you can rely on.

          • New Ubuntu One Incentive Gives Twice!

            Ubuntu one, Canonical’s long running cloud storage program just got a little better today. Users are now able to invite friends and family to the program and be rewarded. Unlike most referral based rewards, this one gives twice! It works quite simply.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • New Apache project will Drill big data in near real time

    Working with big data is a lot like dealing with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle: either you’re going to have a massive amount of data on hand or you’re going to be able to query that data in real time–never both.

    But now a new open source project has just been accepted as an Apache Software Foundation Incubation project that will let you do both: have your data and search it fast, too.

    Apache Drill is an ad-hoc query system based on Dremel, another big data system that, like Hadoop, was invented by Google engineers to not only manage large datasets but also perform interactive analysis in near real-time.

  • Cloud PBXes: Can Digium Asterisk Answer the Call?
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Ups Ante for Chrome Bug Hunters

        Google isn’t stopping with Chrome. The Chromium Vulnerability Rewards Program continues to cover vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash as well as other well-known software such as the Linux kernel, various open-source libraries and daemons, X windows, and so on.

    • Mozilla

      • Raspberry Pi now comes in Firefox OS flavour

        The little computer that can, the Raspberry Pi, has successfully run the imminent Firefox OS, thanks to the efforts of a Nokia employee named Oleg Romashin.

        Firefox OS, also and/or formerly known as Boot to Gecko (B2G), is the Mozilla foundation’s attempt at providing an HTML-5 powered OS that will free punters from the tyranny of apps tied to mobile operating systems. The foundation sees the project as not entirely dissimilar to Google’s Chrome OS efforts, but doesn’t feel it is in competition with the text ad giant as it intends Firefox OS as a phone-only play rather than a Microsoft-on-the-lap irritant.

      • Firefox Competitive Strategy Must Focus On Privacy

        We have previously spent some time here discussing Mozilla and what the problems that are plaguing Firefox today. For a long time during the past decade, Firefox was able to successfully challenge Internet Explorer by offering a much more nimble browsing experience that was more responsive to developing user needs such as a protection against security threats. That competitive advantage slowly unraveled once Google introduced Chrome and began to spend marketing dollars promoting it, something Mozilla has done very little of.

      • Mozilla Firefox Release Schedule

        With four different versions of the Firefox web browser available at any time, plus special builds that pop up every now and then and ESR versions, it is quite difficulty to keep up with the browser’s rapid release schedule. To make matters even more complicated, some versions like the aurora or nightly versions get updated fairly often. To bring order into chaos, release schedules usually only concentrate on version increases and not all the updates that get released.

  • SaaS

    • The Battle to Become “The Linux of the Cloud”

      In the business world, money has long been the dominant success benchmark. A hundred years ago being a millionaire was enough, today it’s about being a billionaire. In open source software however, things are a bit different. Success is often defined not only by how much money is made, but instead by a company or project’s level of community contribution, involvement and participation. The gold standard for this type of success has long been the Linux Operating system.

    • Openstack Matters To Almost Everyone

      Openstack, as the name suggests, is a stack of open application for building public and private cloud. The project started with joint effort of NASA and Rackspace in July 2010. The project gained support of 3386 people/developer/contributor and 186 enterprises within 2 years of its launch. Some of its corporate supporters include Canonical, RedHat, Intel, HP, Piston Cloud and Nebula. The project code is available under Apache Licence and is hosted on Github.

  • Databases

    • Fixing things the proper way

      Looking at the bug report (opened in 2010) one can see that the bug was marked in March 2012 as ‘solved’. What was not made clear was that the solution was to disable the query cache for all partitioned tables.

      Reading the bug report comments, I get the impression that the main reason for removing the feature was that the developers looking at the issue didn’t really understand how the query cache works in detail and it was just easier to remove the feature than fixing it. (The problem was well understood but not how to fix it).

    • Disappearing test cases or did another part of MySQL just become closed source?
    • PostgreSQL patches XML flaws

      A flaw in the built-in XML functionality of PostgreSQL (CVE-2012-3488) and another in its optional XSLT handling (CVE-2012-3489) have been patched, and the developers have released updated versions of the open source database with relevant fixes. The holes being patched are related to insecure use of the widely used libxml2 and libxslt open source libraries and the PostgreSQL developers advise anyone using those libraries to check their systems for similar problems.

    • Time to rely less on MySQL?

      KDE software tends to require mysql as the database engine (either a hard requirement like Amarok, or recommended backend like in Akonadi) so things like these genuinely worry me:

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Celebrating ODF… and a lot of other good things.

      Simon’s point is that because of ODF, Microsoft was forced to open up its MS Office platform to open standards. And he’s right, but as I’m reading his lines I again realize that, as an old Chinese wise man once wrote, “Do turn back from time to time while on your way, and contemplate the road you’ve already travelled”. I’ve given an interview recently where I was expressing my frustration at the limits in our work towards ODF’s massive adoption. Well, that’s the other way of looking at the glass, it seems, and it has been made possible by all the ODF ecosystem and their relentless efforts to encourage and advocate ODF and open standards. Because of them, because of us, Microsoft had to actually open up, and not in a trivial way. It takes an enormous effort to achieve just that, and I’m proud to have been part of this team all along.

  • CMS

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Lisping Spleen & Evil in Smalltalk, GNU Know?

      Formal computer languages are lots of fun conceptually, and often provide mind-bending visions of the various shapes, curves and dimensions of textual thought. But there aren’t many interesting words, sounds, colors. I don’t really have the discipline to study linguistics (ho, ho) formally, but I get off on etymology on one hand, and the Gertrude Steinian approach to words as both colors and sounds, and “objects,” sometimes willful and mindful, with texture, temperature and taste. Creatures. But also abstractions: object-oriented programming concepts devised when Turing was in baby booties; however, with the depth and variety of real words forged from real life.

    • FSF introduce “DRM Free” logo

      The Free Software Foundation’s “Defective By Design” campaign has introduced a new “DRM Free” label. The idea behind the label is to identify products that do not have DRM protection so that they are easier for consumers to find in stores, and give those products a competitive advantage.

    • New DRM-Free Label
  • Public Services/Government

  • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Dojo 1.8′s highlight – updated documentation
    • Intel Ivy Bridge: GCC 4.8 vs. LLVM/Clang 3.2 SVN

      Kicking off the Linux benchmarks this weekend are some early numbers from the GCC 4.8 and LLVM/Clang 3.2 development compilers when running on Intel’s latest-generation Core i7 “Ivy Bridge” processor. GCC 4.8 and LLVM/Clang 3.2 are still months away from being formally released, but this article provides a glimpse at how the open-source compiler battle is panning out.

    • Forget LinkedIn: Companies turn to GitHub to find tech talent
    • Ever Higher Levels of Abstraction – Building the Future With Chef

      If you have been in the industry for a decade or more, you probably have a pretty good idea of what being a Unix sysadmin is all about. Load the OS? Check. Configure local user accounts? Check. Install packages, compile some from scratch? Double check. Unix has not changed all that much, so it would be easy to assume that the job you were doing ten years ago would be the same job that you can do for the foreseeable future. But, that is the trap of dinosaurs my friend, the weather has already changed, and the days of dealing with bare metal are already moving fast behind us.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Finance

    • The Port of Goldman Sachs

      Goldman Sachs has multiple longstanding interests in the Port of Oakland’s finances and business operations. Goldman Sachs is a party to at least three major areas of Port business.

      First and foremost is Goldman’s role as an underwriter or dealer for the Port’s various debt offerings. No other financial company is as important as Goldman Sachs for the Port’s numerous and complex bond and commercial paper deals

    • Did the Bounds of Cyber War Just Expand to Banks and Neutral States?

      Last week the Russian security research group Kaspersky Labs announced they had found a new computer virus infecting thousands of computers in the Middle East. Called “Gauss,” after a filename found in its codebase, the malware can capture information about the infected computer, including Internet browsing histories, user login details, and system configuration details. The existence of Gauss suggests that countries may be using cyber warfare for more than just countering imminent threats, and that, with the rules of digital engagement so ambiguous, there’s little to restrain or guide cyberwar’s development.

      Kaspersky Labs was blunt: Gauss, it says, is likely a “nation-state sponsored banking Trojan” built by the same programmers behind Stuxnet and Flame, the recent, sophisticated digital pathogens often speculated as designed by the United States and Israel. However, unlike these viruses, which both targeted Iran, Gauss appears to have a very different target: the banking system of Lebanon.

      Gauss is the latest in a line of massive malware attacks, and much like its predecessors, it appears to be so complex and sophisticated that it’s assumed to have been built by a sovereign state. Gauss uses the same platform as Flame, a “cyber espionage” program that was found in a number of locations in Iran in early 2012 and was capable of comprehensive surveillance of infected computers. Flame itself bore a strong family resemblance to Stuxnet, a 2010 virus that targeted the Iranian nuclear research program.

      Like Flame, Gauss transmits detailed records of user activity back to its central command. Like Stuxnet, it carries a special encrypted “payload” that targets machines that carry specific system configurations. Stuxnet’s payload would identify and disable nuclear research systems, but the encryption for the Gauss payload has not yet been broken, and its purpose remains unknown.

      However, unlike Flame and Stuxnet, which targeted a rogue state’s government networks, Gauss goes after the commercial sector in a country that has normalized relations with the United States. Out of more than 2,500 identified instances of Gauss, nearly two-thirds of have been found in Lebanon. And, unlike the broad spying capacity of Flame, Gauss seems designed for the narrow purpose of capturing transaction data from financial institutions and digital payment providers; specifically, Lebanese banks Fransabank, Bank of Beirut, BLOM, Credit Libanais, Byblos Bank, and EBLF, as well as siphoning data from PayPal and Citibank.

      Why Lebanon? Why banks? Stealing financial transaction data is traditionally the province of, say, shadowy underground criminal gangs. Lebanon is a small country better known for its vibrant nightlife and perpetual domestic volatility. Neither its banking sector nor the state itself are obvious targets for the U.S. or Israeli ntelligence services, which, though they haven’t been connected to Gauss, are the only groups with both the know-how and, if they truly were behind Stuxnet and Flame, the track record.

    • Why Wall Street unfriended Facebook

      When General Motors Co. said three months ago that it was pulling its paid ads from Facebook because it didn’t believe advertising on the site was effective, the move cast a sharp shadow over the company’s initial public offering. Two days later, Facebook‘s stock began trading – and then it began sinking.

  • Civil Rights

  • Copyrights

    • Private justice: How Hollywood money put a Brit behind bars

      Anton Vickerman, 38-year old owner of the once popular link site surfthechannel.com (STC), was sentenced to four years in prison on Tuesday by a British judge. But the prosecutors sitting across the courtroom from him didn’t work for the Crown—they were lawyers for the movie studio trade group Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).

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    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  7. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  8. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  9. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  10. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  11. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  12. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  13. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  14. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  15. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  16. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  17. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  18. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  19. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  20. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  21. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  22. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  23. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  24. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  25. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day



  26. Microsoft's Disdain for Women Steals the Show at a Women's Event

    Steve Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, is still too tactless to lie to the audience, having been given --through subversive means -- a platform at a conference that should have shunned Microsoft, a famously misogynistic company



  27. SCOTUS May Soon Put an End to the 'Copyrights on APIs' Question While Proprietary Giants Continue to Harass Android/Linux in Every Way Conceivable

    Google takes its fight over API freedom to the Supreme Court in the Unites States and it also takes that longstanding patent harassment from the Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll (Rockstar) out of East Texas



  28. Patent Lawsuits Almost Halved After SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Software Patents

    The barrier for acceptance of software patent applications is raised in the United States and patent lawsuits, many of which involve software these days, are down very sharply, based on new figures from Lex Machina



  29. Links 13/10/2014: ChromeOS and EXT, Debian Resists Systemd Domination

    Links for the day



  30. Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony's Firefox OS Port

    Links for the day


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