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04.02.13

Links 3/4/2013: Valve GNU/Linux Distribution

Posted in News Roundup at 7:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Today’s Linux schisms are a blessing in disguise

    The Linux community is fracturing along a number of fault lines — and that’s a good thing

  • Turn Your Linux Ubuntu Into Windows 7
  • April 2013 Issue of Linux Journal: High Performance Computing

    When I was in college, there was a rich kid down the hall who had a computer with 16MB of RAM. Before you scoff, you need to think back to 1993. The standard amount of RAM in a new computer was 2MB, with 4MB being “high-end”. Anyway, this kid’s computer was amazingly fast because he could create a RAM disk big enough to contain Windows 3.1 completely, so the entire OS ran from RAM. It was the 1993 rich-kid version of an SSD.

  • The Linux Setup – Mark Anderson, Teacher

    On my main laptop, my trusty old Dell Inspiron B130, I run Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. On my old Acer Aspire One netbook, I just recently switched from Ubuntu to Peppermint Linux 3, which has injected much needed speed on that machine. It has become the tool I use for writing.

  • Mini Maker Faires attract penguins

    On Saturday, April 13, 2013, a free “mini maker faire” event will be taking place at the Cleveland Public Library, in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Modeled on the legendary Maker Faire of San Mateo, California, the mini maker faire will be a celebration of ingenuity and the do-it-yourself (DIY) spirit.

    I’ll be one of the workshop presenters at this event and I’m expecting a large number of penguins will be attending. Note: “Penguins” are an affectionate name for open source enthusiasts—so named in honor of the Linux mascot,

  • Garry’s Mod Creator Plays Cruel Joke on Linux Fans
  • Why Nokia and Linux failed, so far

    Before you judge me by the article title, please read carefully. I have a very important message, and it has everything to do with the commercial and public image success of Nokia, and Linux.

    [...]

    So we need apps.

  • Desktop

    • Why Torvalds loves the Chromebook Pixel: It’s all about the display
    • Resistance Isn’t Futile

      I’ve spent a lot of time in conversation with various people about the State of Desktop Linux. While I have my own ideas as to how we (could have) gained a larger market share on the Desktop, my firm belief is that, at this time…..

      Anything we do from now on will be too little, too late.

      That ship has sailed, it’s water under the bridge, however you wish to express it.

      Linux, as we know it, is not going to ever become a major player in the Desktop market.

      I’ve made peace with that. Since 2005, I’ve chewed my lip over how this can change, but the fact is, there are simply too many people not willing to do the things necessary to make it a reality. Whether you believe it or not, whether you like it or not…

  • Server

    • ‘Petaflop’ supercomputer is decommissioned

      A US supercomputer called Roadrunner has been switched off by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

      The machine was the first to operate at “petaflop pace” – the equivalent of 1,000 trillion calculations per second – when it launched in 2008.

  • Kernel Space

    • Jon Corbet Mulls Linux Kernel Changes

      Now that the Linux kernel 3.9 merge window is closed, it’s safe to say we know what features will be included in the next kernel release. What lies beyond is predictable, still, but will likely hold a surprise or two. That’s where the annual Linux kernel weather report comes in.

    • Linux 3.9-rc5

      I’m like the US postal office – “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” will keep me from doing weekly -rc releases. A little holiday like Easter? Bah, humbug. It might delay the release email a
      few hours because a man gotta stuff himself with odd seasonal desserts (and the Finnish Easter desserts are odder than most), but it won’t stop the inevitable progress towards a final 3.9 release.

    • Linux 3.9-rc5 Kernel Is Not Really Peculiar
    • Graphics Stack

      • Hawaii Desktop Is Now Usable On Wayland/Weston

        The lead developer behind the Hawaii Desktop Environment now believes that their Qt Quick 2 desktop is now in a usable state for Wayland and can run fine on the Weston compositor.

        While Hawaii is even less well known that Xfce or LXDE, it’s gained early attention for focusing upon Wayland support and there was also work on its own Wayland compositor known as Green Island. This Wayland support isn’t too hard since the desktop and its components are being written from scratch and is designed around Qt5 and Qt Quick 2, which already has upstream Wayland support.

      • Intel Mesa Driver Gets KDE KWin Optimizations

        A number of commits to the i965 driver in Mesa today benefit the performance of KDE’s KWin window manager for those using Intel Ivy Bridge graphics hardware.

        There were a number of commits pertaining to the i965 driver’s fragment shared pushed this afternoon (i965/fs). Most notably, this should help Ivy Bridge with KWin when using the scaling-related effects using the OpenGL 2.x renderer.

      • RDP Back-End Merged For Wayland’s Weston

        One month ago a FreeRDP-based remote compositor for Wayland’s Weston was proposed. Now having undergone six code revisions, the Weston Remote Desktop Protocol back-end has been merged.

      • VIA Secretly Has A Working Gallium3D Driver

        In years past we long heard about lofty goals out of VIA Technologies for being open-source friendly and ultimately come up with a Mesa Gallium3D driver. We haven’t heard anything officially out of VIA in a great number of months, but it turns out they do now have a Gallium3D driver for Chrome 9!

        In response to a Phoronix Forums thread about using VIA graphics under Linux on an old laptop, a Phoronix reader shared he had working VIA Linux graphics. The reported configuration was Lubuntu 12.10 with an ASRock PVR530 motherboard that boasts VX900 / Chrome 9 graphics.

      • The Wayland/Weston Fork Is Now “Banned”
    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.8 Debuts New Open Source Linux Desktop

        The GNOME 3.8 also benefits from the Every Detail Matters initiative from the GNOME Foundation. Back in 2011, GNOME developer Allan Day launched the Every Detail Matters effort with GNOME 3.4 to improve the overall quality of the GNOME desktop.

        With the GNOME 3.8 release, 60 ‘Every Detail Matters’ bugs were fixed.

      • Gnome 3.8 Core Utilities

        Gnome 3.8 has been released and apart from the various Gnome libraries, services and core parts that have been upgraded, we should take a look on the applications and utilities that are also part of Gnome.

        How did the tools that we will be using every day evolved? What new exciting features and improvements consist the base for a greater Gnome experience? Let’s find out!

      • Gnome 3.8 review: it’s almost there

        The much awaited evolutionary release of Gnome — 3.8 — arrived last week. After playing with it for a while I opine that Gnome 3.8 is much closer to what Gnome team was aiming for as the ‘next’ version of this desktop environment – the successor of the 2.x branch. It’s polished (as usual), fast, responsive and a bit more mature.

  • Distributions

    • Distrowatch Almost Got Me, April Fools’ Jokes

      Buuut, it is an awfully large database now. So, it sounded perfectly reasonable when I read Ladislav’s words, “This site’s database has swollen to a whopping 746 free operating systems and is growing every week! Clearly, this is unsustainable. As a result, we have decided to cut down on the number of distributions tracked in our database – from the current 746 to just 25.”

      He had me up until I read the “25!” Then I remembered it was April Fools’ Day. But even if I hadn’t caught on yet the next statement would surely have done it, “All superfluous distributions will be removed and no longer tracked – these include anything below number 25 in our page hit ranking statistics, such as Fuduntu, Kubuntu, Gentoo Linux, PC-BSD or Red Hat Enterprise Linux. These distributions are clearly not very popular, so why bother?”

    • Cookie Cutter Distros Don’t Cut It
    • Standards, Trends, And Shiny Things

      Now apply this to say, Ubuntu PPA’s. Would people be using Grive if not for trends ? Of course not :) Lets take OMG!Ubuntu for example, we could say it’s a trend-setter in the Ubuntu world. Over time a project gains enough following through the Internet’s equivalent of the real-world word of mouth. People flock to these projects and soon they become big enough to be part of everyday Linux life. Note the “Shiny Things” rule is also applicable here.

    • First looks at KANOTIX 2013 and GhostBSD 3.0
    • ZevenOS 3.0 Neptune “Brotkasten” KDE Review: Refreshingly different!

      ZevenOS, a German based distro, is quite a familiar name in the Linux world. Typically they bring out two classes of distro

      * A lightweight XFCE distro based on Ubuntu, with the look and feel of BeOS, which actually never captured my imagination
      * A heavier KDE based Neptune based on Debian testing

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Virtual Machine: Guest and Host

            If you’d like to run an Ubuntu virtual machineon your PC, you’ll need to weigh a series of considerations. To be sure, the use of virtualization is commonplace in the IT industry these days. Still, before you decide to run an Ubuntu virtual machine, you must consider whether you fully understand the benefits of setting one up in the first place.

            In this article, I’ll explore virtual machine hosts and guests on Ubuntu, why virtualization is a better bet than relying on WINE and how to ensure that you are selecting the best virtual machine solution for your Ubuntu desktop.

          • MapR brings Hadoop support to Ubuntu
          • Think You Saw Unity In Last Night’s Doctor Who?
          • Ubuntu 13.04 To Axe The Wubi Windows Installer

            One of the less popular ways to use Ubuntu Linux has been through the “Wubi” Windows-based installer that places Ubuntu within a Windows installation just as you would any other application. However, Canonical is planning to remove Wubi from Ubuntu 13.04.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Interview with Zorin OS creator, Artyom Zorin

              Artyom Zorin: My name is Artyom Zorin and I live in Dublin, Ireland. I’m the CEO of Zorin Group as well as being a student. My parents are ethnic Russians who moved from Ukraine to Ireland many years ago, which explains why my name doesn’t sound like a normal Irish one. I first came across Ubuntu back in 2008. Believe it or not, what actually attracted me most to Linux was the Compiz desktop effects software which I thought was “cool” when I first saw it on YouTube. At the beginning, I was a little bit anxious about making the leap, but after my brother Kyrill installed Ubuntu on our computer we started to see a lot more advantages to using Linux than simply the desktop effects. We also noticed that many people coming from a Windows environment found Ubuntu rather difficult to use as it was lacking a familiarity. Advanced Linux users argue that Ubuntu is simple to use and suffices for Linux beginners coming from Windows but we saw that what this user group really needed was a familiar graphical interface. This prompted us to develop a Linux distribution that resolves this issue to make the transition from Windows to Linux entirely seamless, a distribution now known as Zorin OS.

            • Ubuntu vs. Mint: Which Linux Distro Is Better for Beginners?

              Ubuntu vs. Mint: Which Linux Distro Is Better for Beginners?There’s nothing like digging into your first Linux distribution, whether you’re a tech-savvy user looking to branch out or whether you’re installing it on a friend’s computer. But which distribution is actually better for beginners? Here, we’ll delve into the differences between Ubuntu and Mint, the two most popular beginner distros, and perform a little experiment to see what new users prefer.

            • Bodhi Linux 2.3.0 Released – Download DVD ISO Images

              Bodhi team are happy to announce the immediate availability of Bodhi Linux 2.3.0, a minimalistic Linux operating system based on Ubuntu that uses by default Enlightenment Desktop (E17).

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Algar Telecom develops open source equipment identity system

    Brazil’s Algar Telecom has decided to develop its own open source Equipment Identity Register (EIR) platform. Speaking to local portal Teletime, the executive director of operations and technology at Algar Telecom, Luis Antonio Lima, said that this is the first EIR open source in the world and that anyone can improve it, modify it or use it in their own business. The source code of the platform can be accessed at: code.google.com/p/jeir.

  • Michigan Tech’s Open Source Optics

    Doing science can be an expensive affair, but a new project from Michigan Technological University is trying to make science more affordable and more accessible.

    In a recently published paper, professors and researchers at the university outlined their plans for creating an online, open-source library of 3D printable optics hardware. According to one of the paper’s authors, associate professor Joshua Pearce, “This library operates as a free, flexible, low-cost tool set for developing both research and teaching optics hardware.”

  • Open source software and start-ups

    Open source software has been instrumental in the growth of many tech companies in Silicon Valley and around the world. The free and open source software enable start-ups to create something innovative at a very low cost, then give it away for free to see how customers like it. In this fashion, they can be very responsive in addressing the feedback from the market and create truly innovative products and services. Google and Facebook are great examples of tech companies that build their empire on open source software.

  • Open source plug-in speeds mobile app development

    A plug-in intended to make it easier for mobile developers to test applications and deploy them to the cloud is available for download.

    The open source plug-in, called the Soasta CloudTest Plugin for Jenkins, links the Jenkins continuous integration system to the Soasta Touchtest platform for testing multi-touch, gesture-based applications on the CloudBees Java platform-as-a-service. Applications would be deployed on CloudBees.

  • Press Release: Avetti.com Launches Enterprise Open Source E-Commerce Software
  • 10 ways to start contributing to open source

    After understanding a project’s capabilities and roadmap, anyone is able to start directly hacking the source code and contributing useful extensions. Because open source is a distributed, participatory meritocracy, the upside benefit is high and the barrier to entry is low—you don’t have to move, be employed by a Valley startup, give up your day job, or wait to obtain a 4 years for a degree.

  • VLC Media Player

    Then I saw it: the URL being provided was not the true URL for the VLC project, http://www.videolan.org/vlc/ , but rather “vlcmediaplayer” dot org. Clearly this is a “scraper” — someone who copies someone else’s web content to a new web site, and then tries to drive traffic to that new web site, to generate ad revenue. I must grudgingly credit them with a good choice, since VLC Media Player works for Windows, Linux, Mac, and Android — plus lots more — and viewing media is something most users want to do.

  • Are you open source enough?

    Is your project open source enough? Are you? Are you doing enough for your communities? Accusations like these are getting thrown around more and more, often in the simple form, “X isn’t really open.” It’s a question we’ve even asked ourselves from time to time when we post stories on opensource.com—is this a real example of openness? But what is “open enough?” And does it really matter?

    There comes a point in any community’s growth where the collective consciousness starts to feel threatened by newcomers. You know it’s happened on a mailing list or web forum when you see posts that start, “I miss when this group used to be…” And if you search Google for the phrase “not really open source,” you get 1,800,000 results, suggesting that the broader open source community has officially reached that time.

  • Bringing Open Source Communities closer together
  • Apache Bloodhound Leads Open Source Trac Forward
  • Free and Open—and Their Opposites

    Merriam-Webster defines a tenet as “a principle, belief, or doctrine generally held to be true; especially one held in common by members of an organization, movement, or profession.” As it happens, Linux is claimed by two doctrines that are to some degree at odds: those of free software and open source. This contention began when Eric S. Raymond published “Goodbye, ‘free software’; hello, ‘open source’”, on February 8, 1998.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Project celebrates 15 years

        The Mozilla Project is celebrating 15 years of “a better web” this week. Fifteen years ago, Netscape Communications released the source code to its web browser and mail suite and created the Mozilla Project. Netscape had been under commercial pressure as Microsoft had begun bundling Internet Explorer for free and the company took the then quite radical step of open sourcing its core software, looking to build a community around that code. Over the next few years, development continued based on that original code and in 2002, Mozilla 1.0, the first major version, was released with various improvements. Mozilla 1.0 arrived into a world where Internet Explorer had a 90 per cent share of the browser market. It was also a world in which the newly released Mozilla 1.0 would make little impact.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • How Does Big Data Impact the Network?

      Big Data and the hype associated with it is pervasive across IT today. In its most basic definition, Big Data is typically connected to the open source Hadoop Big Data project, though others have a broader definition. No matter how you define Big Data, it’s all about large volumes of data that need to move around a network.

    • OpenStack security brief

      This video from Shmoocon 2013 is a break down of security concerns relating to OpenStack cloud software.

      OpenStack is an open source IaaS solution compatible with Amazon EC2 / S3 and Google’s GCE. The purpose of the talk is to introduce and demonstrate the working mechanics of cloud security mechanisms, or lack thereof.

    • OpenStack Grizzly Rounding Third

      The big OpenStack 2013.1 (aka Grizzly) open source cloud platform release is due out this week on 4/4.

    • Nebula’s OpenStack Hardware Offering Touts Plug-and-Play Simplicity
  • Databases

    • MySQL and the forks in the road

      At the beginning of 2008 Sun Microsystems purchased MySQL AB, and ever since then there have been divisions in the ecosystem. As with any software community or ecosystem, where there are divisions there are usually forks, both in the community and the software itself.

      Just over a year after the Sun acquisition came the announcement that Sun itself was to be bought out by Oracle. It was at this point that the cracks in the ecosystem really started to show. Many inside Sun stayed quiet – not by choice – while outside things were getting very vocal and heated.

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Kona’s Scott DeFusco: Open Source Advocate in a Closed Source Firm

        “When we looked at a number of different factors, open source became the obvious answer to this particular project,” said Kona vice president Scott DeFusco. “That’s not to say the proprietary platforms we were using on our other products were not good for those. For us, open source was the better choice for a couple of reasons. One is keeping the cost down so we could pass on a lot of value to our users in the free version. Also, we could maximize our values when we monetized.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry: 29 new GNU releases!
    • GnuCash 2.4.12 released

      The GnuCash development team proudly announces GnuCash 2.4.12, the ninth bug fix release in a series of stable of the GnuCash Free Accounting Software. With this release series, GnuCash can use an SQL database using SQLite3, MySQL or PostgreSQL. It runs on GNU/Linux, *BSD, Solaris, Microsoft Windows and Mac OSX.

    • How I earned a 286% return in less than 1 year investing in the Free Software Foundation

      At the FSF’s annual conference last year I pledged to donate 100BTC to the FSF, and did so on April 6. I bought about 121.95 bitcoins, for a price of about US$4.92/BTC (made easier thanks to Greg Maxwell’s vouching for me on #bitcoin-otc; thanks!) and haven’t given any thought to the remainder till today.

    • Guile 100 #4: tar files

      Challenge #4 in the Guile 100 Programs Project is quite simple. Write a script that will create a tar file from a list of files. It is the fourth and final challenge in this month’s theme, which is “/bin – reimplementing common Posix tools”.

      The Guile 100 Programs Project is an attempt to collaboratively generate a set of examples of how to use the GNU Guile implementation of Scheme.

    • The GNUstep Makefile Package version 2.6.4 is now available.
  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Source Robot Mixes A Mean Drink

      For many years now, some of the more creative work in the field of robotics has been driven by open source efforts. Open source robotics platforms have flourished, and they have mostly focused on humanoid robots of the type that Willow Garage and other organizations have specialized in.

    • Open Access/Content

      • US to release Aaron Swartz papers

        The US attorney’s office in Boston agreed on Friday to release documents in the Aaron Swartz case, but the officials are seeking to have some specific identities and materials withheld as the legal wrangling continues in the investigation into the federal prosecution of the Internet activist.

        In calling for redactions of names and materials, the office of US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz expressed concerns about the safety of individuals and organizations involved in the case.

      • #openaccess The current standard of “debate” is unacceptable; arrogant and ignorant

        I have my head down and am trying to write code – to liberate knowledge (and I haven’t forgotten #scholrev!) but occasionally have to break off and blog. Simply: the standard of debate (if it can be called such) in #openaccess is appalling. Either non-existent or fuelled by prejudice and ignorance. Since (a) many of the “debaters” and academics to whom we might look for clarity, fairness and guidance and (b) we are losing billions (sic) by not getting our act together.

    • Open Hardware

      • ZeroTurnaround Reveals an Open Source Hardware Line

        ZeroTurnaround today announced its plans to open source the company, starting with a new line of hardware products deemed “GRM2”. This marks a significant shift in business model for the Estonian software house, who has been developing JRebel, the popular development productivity tool, since 2007.

  • Programming

    • More Features Of C++14 Are Covered

      C++14 is the next update to the C++ programming language. While only considered a minor update over C++11, it will bring with it several new features.

    • LLVM/Clang 3.3 Planned For Release In June

      An Apple developer has shared plans to see LLVM 3.3 released in June of this year, following the month of May being dedicated to testing.

      Among the improvements to be found out of LLVM 3.3 include better Intel Haswell support (improved AVX2, etc), some noted performance improvements, Clang will have better C++11 support, the long-awaited AMD R600 GPU LLVM back-end, 64-bit ARM / AArch64 support, and many other features to be discussed in the coming weeks.

Leftovers

  • Facebook is still losing teens to mobile messaging apps
  • “Can I resell my MP3s?” redux—federal judge says no

    For years, many a music fan has wondered what we first posited back in 2008: “Can I resell my MP3s?”

    After all, as we’ve pointed out in the past, nearly all digital good sales are really licenses rather than sales as conventionally understood. The question here is, can such a license be bought and sold to other users?

  • Brackets Sprint 22 adds word wrap and community commits
  • Science

    • Astrophysicists: Black hole awakens to swallow planet-sized object

      Astrophysicists have witnessed the rare event of a black hole awakening from its slumber to snack on a planet-sized object in a galaxy 47 million light years away, the University of Geneva said Tuesday.

      The observation made using the European Space Agency’s INTEGRAL satellite project, revealed a black hole that had been slumbering for years chomping on a giant, low-mass object that had come too close.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • NHS at ‘huge risk’ from reforms, says healthcare chief

      New head of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says structural changes to NHS will prove major challenge

    • Consumers Allege Perdue’s “Humane” Poultry Labels Are “False and Deceptive”

      Have you ever wondered what labels like “humanely raised” and “cage free” mean when you’re looking at a package of meat or eggs at the supermarket? Do corporations actually live up to the claims on the labels?

      Well, a consumer class action lawsuit in New Jersey is trying to bring a little truth to labeling when it comes to the humane treatment of animals. The lawsuit alleges that Perdue Farms, Inc. has misled consumers by advertising its Harvestland brand of chickens as “humane.” The suit was filed by two consumer members of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) on behalf of a group of consumers. The case has been cleared to move forward by a federal court in New Jersey and will be heard later this year.

    • U.S. criticizes ‘unnecessary’ EU rules on genetically modified crops

      The United States on Monday criticized “unnecessary” European Union rules against genetically modified US crop imports as it prepares to enter free-trade talks with the EU.

      EU restrictions notably have resulted in delays in the approval of new GM traits “despite positive assessments by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA),” the US Trade Representative’s office said in a report on reducing trade sanitary barriers.

  • Security

    • IT Pro confession: How I helped in the BIGGEST DDoS OF ALL TIME

      I contributed to the massive DDoS attack against Spamhaus. What flowed through my network wasn’t huge – it averaged 500Kbit/sec – but it contributed. This occurred because I made a simple configuration error when setting up a DNS server; it’s fixed now, so let’s do an autopsy.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • U.S. Lawmakers: CIA Should Keep Armed UAVs

      Pro-military lawmakers and U.S. analysts want the White House to resist shifting the CIA’s armed unmanned aircraft program to the Pentagon, citing operational and legal reasons to keep the spy agency in the targeted-killing business.

    • CIA to Promote Head of “Black Site” Where Torture Occurred?

      According to media reports, the acting director of the CIA’s clandestine service has, for the last month, been an official who was “in the chain of command” in the CIA’s torture program in the years after 9/11. According to a book by Jose Rodriguez, the former head of the clandestine service, this unnamed official even headed one of the early CIA “black sites”—notorious secret prisons set up overseas to torture detainees. Media reports indicate that the unnamed career officer also reportedly signed off on the destruction of 92 videotapes documenting some of the most brutal mistreatment carried out under the CIA program.

    • Are US drones ethical?

      Whether drones should be used in the US is the wrong question. Americans should be asking: Is it ethical to use drones anywhere? Is it fair to search for security for ourselves at the expense of perpetual insecurity for others?

    • Drone policy hurts the U.S.’s image in Yemen

      The United States has played a significant role in Yemen’s transition, which ushered out former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, in exchange for immunity, and inaugurated a unity government and consensus president that are overseeing a national dialogue launched last month. The United States has pledged support for the dialogue, which will lead to a constitutional referendum and new elections.

    • ‘Drones’ changing hands

      The Obama administration seems poised to order that all kinetic attacks on al Qaeda or affiliated bad guys be conducted by elements of the United States military, knee-capping the Central Intelligence Agency’s paramilitary capability and effectively ending its drone program in Pakistan.

    • Strong American role still exists at Afghan-controlled prison

      Days after the Parwan detention center was ceremoniously transferred to Afghan control, its courtroom was full of American bailiffs, American advisers and American attorneys.

      The facility itself — renamed the Afghan National Detention Facility — is on one of the country’s most fortified American bases. When an Afghan defense attorney and prosecutor this week began arguing the case of Abdul Shakor, an alleged Taliban commander detained since 2009, all of the available evidence came from American forces.

    • The drone secrets we should see – Jameel Jaffer
    • US Aids Honduran Police Despite Death Squad Fears

      But The Associated Press has found that all police units are under the control of Director General Juan Carlos Bonilla, nicknamed the “Tiger,” who in 2002 was accused of three extrajudicial killings and links to 11 more deaths and disappearances. He was tried on one killing and acquitted. The rest of the cases were never fully investigated.

      Honduran law prohibits any police unit from operating outside the command of the director general, according to a top Honduran government security official, who would only speak on condition of anonymity. He said that is true in practice as well as on paper.

    • MI6 ‘arranged Cold War killing’ of Congo prime minister
    • Camp Nama: British personnel reveal horrors of secret US base in Baghdad

      Detainees captured by SAS and SBS squads subjected to human-rights abuses at detention centre, say British witnesses

  • Cablegate

    • CIA employee/agent access to WikiLeaks
    • Australian lawyer to run ‘serious’ Assange senate campaign
    • JULIAN ASSANGE’S SENATE BID
    • Assange appoints British monarchy opponent for Australian Senate bid

      Former Australian Republican Movement head and barrister Greg Barns said on Monday he would be campaign director for the WikiLeaks Party spearheading Assange’s rare absentee bid for a Senate seat in Australia’s September 14 election, which even if successful would not bring him any legal protection.

    • Icelandic MP and Wikileaks volunteer goes to the US – Might get arrested

      “If I don’t come back home I hope that there will not be silence about that here at home” said Ms. Birgitta Jonsdottir, MP and volunteer for Wikileaks. She is the co-founder of a new political party called The Pirate Party Iceland. The party will be running for parliament in the upcoming elections on April 27th.

      Birgitta Jonsdottir will travel to the US this week to celebrate that there are three years since the tape from Iraq was published by Wikileaks, where the US army attacked civilians.

      Birgitta has not gone to America for almost three years. During that time the Ministry of Justice in the US has ordered Twitter to hand over all data on Birgitta. Bradley Manning has also been arrested, he is kept at an American army prison.

    • New Laws Target Wikileaks

      As Julian Assange tilts at the Senate, new laws have been passed that will make it harder for organisations like Wikileaks to operate legally – and there are more to come, writes Matthew da Silva
      The Labor Government is tightening up Australian law in areas that will have a direct impact on organisations such as WikiLeaks. Only the Greens are challenging the new bills in parliament, and they are receiving scant media attention.

    • The WikiLeaks Grand Jury

      As Alexa O’Brien reported Tuesday, the US Department of Justice has provided the latest confirmation that the grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks remains currently ongoing. That means it has been actively investigating the whistleblower website now for at least about 26 months (the Guardian first reported back in January 2011 that a subpoena seeking data on WikiLeaks had “appear[ed] to confirm for the first time the existence of a secret grand jury” empanelled to investigate individuals associated with the organisation. Prior to that, in late November 2010, the White House confirmed that there was an “active, ongoing criminal investigation” into WikiLeaks. And in July 2010, the Department of Defence stated that it had requested that the FBI help with an investigation related to WikiLeaks disclosures and that it “go wherever it needs to go”).

    • Department of Justice spokesman for Eastern District of Virginia confirms grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks ‘ongoing’
    • Bradley Manning’s Nobel Peace Prize
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Out of control nightmare: tremors increasing at massive 13-acre Louisiana sinkhole

      The head of Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources named 13 scientists and other experts Friday to serve on a blue-ribbon commission tasked with determining the long-term stability of the area around northern Assumption Parish’s sinkhole. The 13-acre sinkhole and consequences of its emergence and continued growth, such as methane trapped under the Bayou Corne area, have forced the evacuation of 350 residents for more than seven months.

    • Low-wage nation: Seven of 10 most common jobs pay less than $30,000

      Part of the corporate-propelled race to the bottom is that we’re constantly told to expect less—if you’re a food prep worker making $18,720, at least you’re not making minimum wage, amiright? There’s this vast campaign to normalize low wages and set them up as the basic standard most of us should expect, the flip side of the increasing wealth of the top one percent.

  • Finance

    • Dow Chemical Loses $1 Billion in Deductions in Tax Case

      Dow Chemical Co. (DOW)’s claim to $1 billion in tax deductions was based on transactions with sham partnerships promoted by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and law firm King & Spalding LLP, a federal judge ruled, throwing out the company’s bid to recover the money.

      The Internal Revenue Service correctly rejected the tax benefits created by the complex partnerships from 1993 to 2003 because the transactions were designed to exploit perceived weaknesses in the tax code and not for legitimate business purposes, U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson said in a ruling filed yesterday in federal court in Baton Rouge, Louisiana,.

    • David Stockman’s American Economic Horror Story

      For all this moral indignation, however, he never gets around to explaining what exactly is wrong about “printing money.” It’s certainly possible for an economy to have too much money–that’s how you get inflation, generally. But doesn’t it stand to reason that if you can have too much money, you can have too little? And maybe you might have too little if your economy has just lost $10 trillion in wealth due to the collapse of a housing bubble? (Stockman complains about how the Fed “digitally printed new money at the astounding rate of $600 million per hour”–which would replace the wealth lost in the bubble’s collapse in a less-than-astonishing two years.)

    • Thousands Protest the UK Government’s Brutal Austerity

      Britain’s government has introduced sweeping changes to the country’s welfare, justice, health and tax systems, including a “bedroom tax” that will reduce housing subsidies that primarily benefit poor people. The levy ostensibly aims to “tackle overcrowding and encourage a more efficient use of social housing,” resulting in an estimated million “social housing” households losing 14-25 percent of their housing benefits.

    • Outrage In UK After Conservative Politician Says He Could Live On $11.50 A Day
    • Is Germany too powerful for Europe?

      Twenty years ago, Germany’s economy was stagnating. Today, as the eurozone crisis deepens, this giant is keeping Europe afloat. But what does it want in return? Stuart Jeffries talks to German sociologist Ulrich Beck, who believes that his country has become a political monster

    • Banks gone bad: Our evolved morality has failed us

      ROB a bank and you risk a long stretch in jail. Run a bank whose dubious behaviour leads to global economic collapse and you risk nothing of the sort, more likely a handsome pay-off.

    • Millionaires’ reign: UK’s rulers ‘out of touch’ with common folk

      Britain’s new political elite is an assortment of multi-millionaires who studied at exclusive universities. But down on the streets there is a growing sentiment that those running the country are detached from those they lead.

      The latest example of how a few careless words by a millionaire in power triggers anger from the people affected by his governmental decisions comes from Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. On Monday, he claimed in a live radio talk show that if he had to he could live on 53 pounds (US$80) a week.

    • Egyptians Brace for Austerity as Govt. Seeks IMF Loan

      Wednesday, representatives from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will arrive in Cairo to enter into new rounds of negotiations, regarding a proposed $4bn loan to the country.
      Egypt, which has continued to struggle with social and economic difficulties since the political unrest of 2011 that resulted in the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak, is seeking the IMF aid in the hopes of bolstering its rapidly deteriorating economy.
      Egypt’s current President Mohammed Morsi is reported to have initiated negotiations with IMF in November. However, he was forced to delay finalization of any potential initial deals until December, due to political divisions throughout the country over the extent of his executive powers. In a statement to reporters, cabinet spokesperson Alaa al-Hadidy ruled out the possibility of any emergency loans, in lieu of talks with the IMF, stating that despite its financial strains, Egypt would not experience a “crisis” in relation to the importing of essential goods.

    • Everyone’s Rich Again–Problem Solved!

      Friday’s USA Today front page (3/29/13) declared, “We’re Feeling Rich Again.” A subhead, pointing to a related sidebar article, recommends that we should “show this bull some love.” That doesn’t mean what you might think.

      But the right question to ask is who precisely “we” might be.

    • Worms, Pond Scum and Economists

      The effort to blame the awful plight of the young on Social Security and Medicare is picking up steam.

      In recent weeks, there were several pieces in The Washington Post and The New York Times that either implicitly or explicitly blamed older workers and retirees for the bad economic plight facing young people today. There is now a full-court press to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, ostensibly out of a desire to help young workers today and in the future.

      Just to be clear, there is no doubt that young workers face dismal economic prospects at the moment.

    • It’s a stunt! Iain Duncan Smith dismisses demands to live on £53 a week

      Iain Duncan Smith dismissed demands for him to try to make ends meet on £53 a week as a “complete stunt” and insisted he had experienced life “on the breadline” as ministers confronted their critics over wider-ranging cuts to benefits.

      The Work and Pensions Secretary was backed by the Chancellor George Osborne in arguing that welfare reforms were essential to helping recipients back into work and tackling Britain’s previously burgeoning benefits bill. They believe the majority of voters – particularly lower-paid workers – back the Coalition’s moves to trim welfare spending.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • At Banks, Board Pay Soars Amid Cutbacks

      Wall Street pay, while lucrative, isn’t what it used to be — unless you are a board member.

      Since the financial crisis, compensation for the directors of the nation’s biggest banks has continued to rise even as the banks themselves, facing difficult markets and regulatory pressures, are reining in bonuses and pay.

  • Censorship

    • Obama’s Crackdown on Whistleblowers

      In the annals of national security, the Obama administration will long be remembered for its unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers. Since 2009, it has employed the World War I–era Espionage Act a record six times to prosecute government officials suspected of leaking classified information. The latest example is John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer serving a thirty-month term in federal prison for publicly identifying an intelligence operative involved in torture. It’s a pattern: the whistleblowers are punished, sometimes severely, while the perpetrators of the crimes they expose remain free.

    • Saudi Arabia ‘threatens Skype ban’

      Encrypted messaging services such as Skype, Viber and WhatsApp could be blocked in Saudi Arabia, the telecommunications regulator there is reported to have warned.

    • The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy and Wikipedia

      A month ago, Mark Donfried from the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD) — an organization dedicated to promoting open dialogue — sent me this letter threatening me with legal action because of contributions I’ve made to Wikipedia. Yesterday, he sent me this followup threat.

      According to the letters, Donfried has threatened me with legal action because I participated in a discussion on Wikipedia that resulted in his organization’s article being deleted. It is not anything I wrote in any Wikipedia article that made Donfried so upset — although Donfried is also unhappy about at least one off-hand comment I made during the deletion discussion on a now-deleted Wikipedia process page. Donfried is unhappy that my actions, in small part, have resulted in his organization not having an article in Wikipedia. He is able to threaten me personally because — unlike many people — I edit Wikipedia using my real, full, name.

  • Privacy

    • Congress Planning To Debate CISPA Behind Closed Doors; No Public Scrutiny Allowed

      The truth is that this is yet another way to try to hide from the public on this issue. Congress doesn’t want an open discussion on the many problems with CISPA, so it does what it does best: try to hide things away and rush them through when (hopefully) not enough people are looking. It makes you wonder just what CISPA’s supporters are so worried about. Congress is supposed to work for the public, not hide things away from the public. This isn’t a situation where they’re discussing classified info or plans — but merely a bill focused on information sharing between the government and private companies. Any markup on CISPA needs to be public.

    • Bills Would Mandate Warrant for GPS Tracking, Cellphone Location Data

      Two bills introduced Thursday in the House and Senate would compel law enforcement agents to obtain a warrant before affixing a GPS tracker to a vehicle, using a cell site simulator to locate someone through their mobile device or obtaining geolocation data from third-party service providers.

    • Supreme Court: Police Dog Powers Do Not Include Warrantless Searches of a Person’s Home
    • US Government’s Failure To Protect Public Privacy Is Driving Business Overseas

      As we’ve covered over and over again, the US government has made it clear that it wants access to your data. With things like the FISA Amendments Act, ECPA and various other laws, law enforcement plays the FUD card repeatedly, insisting that it needs to be able to go in and see data to “protect” the public. There’s very little basis to make this claim. And, worse, by decimating online privacy, the US government may actively be driving business outside of the US to foreign countries that have stricter privacy laws that actually protect data from government snooping.

    • It’s time to update online privacy
    • Whistleblowing The NSA
    • Government Fights for Use of Spy Tool That Spoofs Cell Towers

      The government’s use of a secret spy tool was on trial on Thursday in a showdown between an accused identity thief and more than a dozen federal lawyers and law enforcement agents who were fighting to ensure that evidence obtained via a location-tracking tool would be admissible in court.

    • When a Secretive Stingray Cell Phone Tracking “Warrant” Isn’t a Warrant

      An Arizona federal court this afternoon will be the battleground over the government’s use of a “Stingray” surveillance device in a closely watched criminal case, United States v. Rigmaiden. And in an important development, new documents revealed after an ACLU of Northern California Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request should leave the government with some explaining to do.

    • Facial recognition and GPS tracking: TrapWire company conducting even more surveillance

      An internationally-spread Orwellian surveillance system uncovered by RT has been linked to a software company that collects the GPS coordinates of cell phone users in over 100 major cities.

    • The Dangers of Surveillance

      From the Fourth Amendment to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, our law and literature are full of warnings about state scrutiny of our lives. These warnings are commonplace, but they are rarely very specific. Other than the vague threat of an Orwellian dystopia, as a society we don’t really know why surveillance is bad, and why we should be wary of it. To the extent the answer has something to do with “privacy,” we lack an understanding of what “privacy” means in this context, and why it matters. Developments in government and corporate practices, however, have made this problem more urgent. Although we have laws that protect us against government surveillance, secret government programs cannot be challenged until they are discovered. And even when they are, courts frequently dismiss challenges to such programs for lack of standing, under the theory that mere surveillance creates no tangible harms, as the Supreme Court did recently in the case of Clapper v. Amnesty International. We need a better account of the dangers of surveillance.

    • DOJ Emails Show Feds Were Less Than “Explicit” With Judges On Cell Phone Tracking Tool

      A Justice Department document obtained by the ACLU of Northern California shows that federal investigators were routinely using a sophisticated cell phone tracking tool known as a “stingray,” but hiding that fact from federal magistrate judges when asking for permission to do so.

    • Attorney General Eric Holder: If the President Does It, It’s Legal
    • Kim Dotcom Illegal Surveillance And Response: Timeline

      The surveillance by the GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau) at the request of OFCANZ (Organised and Financial Crime Agency New Zealand – an agency hosted within the New Zealand Police) was publically revealed in September 2012 and admitted to be illegal as Dotcom, his colleague Bram van der Kolk and their families were New Zealand residents.

    • Mobile Phone Use Patterns: The New Fingerprint

      Mobile phone use may be a more accurate identifier of individuals than even their own fingerprints, according to research published on the web site of the scientific journal Nature.

    • Data Protection Regulation Debate: 1st part
    • Time for action on Google’s privacy policy

      In a statement issued today, it was announced six European data protection authorities are to launch coordinated and simultaneous enforcement actions relating to Google’s privacy policy.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Korean Lawmakers and Human Rights Experts Challenge Three Strikes Law

        In July 2009, South Korea became the first country to introduce a graduated response or “three strikes” law. The statute allows the Minister of Culture or the Korean Copyright Commission to tell ISPs and Korean online service providers to suspend the accounts of repeated infringers and block or delete infringing content online. There is no judicial process, no court of appeal, and no opportunity to challenge the accusers.

        The entertainment industry has repeatedly pointed to South Korea as a model for a controlled Internet that should be adopted everywhere else. In the wake of South Korea’s implementation, graduated response laws have been passed in France and the United Kingdom, and ISPs in the United States have voluntarily accepted a similar scheme.

      • Stop the Secret Copyright Agenda: Don’t Trade Away Our Digital Rights
      • South Korea Considers Dumping Draconian Copyright Law Forced On It By The US

        As Mike noted a couple of days ago, international trade agreements often have the effect of constraining the power of national legislatures. Indeed, that’s doubtless one of the reasons why they have become so popular in recent years: they allow backroom deals between politicians and lobbyists to set the agenda for law-making around the world, without the need for any of that pesky democratic oversight nonsense. In particular, the trade agreement between South Korea and the US is turning out to be a key limiting factor for both TPP and what US politicians might try to do about phone unlocking. This makes two recent moves to loosen South Korea’s harsh copyright laws potentially important far beyond that country’s borders.

      • Deep Dive: Prenda Law Is Dead

        Today the Prenda Law enterprise encountered an extinction-level event. Faced with a federal judge’s demand that they explain their litigation conduct, Prenda Law’s attorney principals — and one paralegal — invoked their right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. As a matter of individual prudence, that may have been the right decision. But for the nationwide Prenda Law enterprise, under whatever name or guise or glamour, it spelled doom.

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