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05.29.13

Links 29/5/2013: Humble Indie Bundle 8, Fedora 19 Previews

Posted in News Roundup at 3:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • A lesson from Tumblr: Who’s in control?

    It’s no surprise that many Tumblr users are less than pleased with Yahoo!’s recent acquisition of their favorite personal publishing platform. The news is a sobering reminder that creators who don’t control the tools of their trade are at the mercy of those who do.

  • Open source project management on the rise

    Frank Bergmann, founder of ]project-open[, talks with us about the open source project management solution and how the company strives for an open culture at the office. He says maintaining communication is essential, and it entails complete transparency and honesty.

  • Glyn Moody Trashes Latest BSA-Study

    After seeing MSCEs spend hours trying to update one of my computer labs I found I was able to convert most labs to the latest installation of Debian GNU/Linux in one hour and update all the software in a few minutes for routine updates and less than an hour for migration to a new release. The rest of my time was then freed for useful business, education. With that other OS, I was a slave giving very little economic benefit to my employer because that other OS was constantly giving us trouble.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Foxconn reportedly building a Firefox OS smartphone

        According to Focus Taiwan, Taiwan's Hon Hai, which trades as Foxconn, and Mozilla will be holding a press conference on Monday 3 June to announced a partnership around the Firefox OS mobile device operating system. The event will take place in Taipei in the run up to the Computex trade show and will, says the news site, be the nineteenth wireless telecomms company to form a partnership with Mozilla.

      • Is Mozilla Aiming Firefox OS at Tablets and Phones?

        While Mozilla has not officially taken the wraps off a specific device, The Register, CNET and other media outlets have followed up on reports regarding the Mozilla Foundation saying that it is working with Apple hardware specialist Foxconn on a tablet device that will run the new Firefox OS mobile platform. Until now, there had only been phones discussed for the operating system, which Mozilla is putting massive resources behind. Not only is the news of a tablet of interest, but Foxconn is a world-class hardware partner for Mozilla to have.

      • Mozilla teams up with Foxconn for Firefox 'fondleslab'

        Mozilla is working with Apple hardware-maker Foxconn to release a mobile device running Firefox OS, it told news outlets on Monday, and plans to unveil it at an event next week.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • What Will Follow OpenStack Havana?

      The current OpenStack open source cloud platform release is named Grizzly - due to the fact that OpenStack had a Summit in San Diego, which is in California, which has a Grizzly bear on its flag.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GnuCash 2.5.2 (Unstable) released

      The GnuCash development team proudly announces GnuCash 2.5.2, the third release in the 2.5.x series of the GnuCash Free Accounting Software which will eventually lead to the stable version 2.6.0. It runs on GNU/Linux, *BSD, Solaris and Mac OSX.

  • Project Releases

    • Xine Now Supports VA-API, GL 2.0 Output, EAC3

      A new version of xine-lib was released today, which is the library that powers the Xine multimedia playback engine. The xine-lib 1.2.3 release brings numerous features including VA-API hardware video decoding and support for OpenGL 2.0 output.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Civic coding strengthens open source skills

      I’ve been thinking a bit too much lately about GitHub and Drupal.org. More broadly, I’ve had my mind on open source + community. Sometimes this is called social coding.

    • Slow progress on govt open source policy

      More than six years after Cabinet approved a policy for free and open source software (FOSS) in government, little has been achieved.

      This was conceded by chairman of the State IT Agency’s (SITA’s) board, Jerry Vilakazi, at the Government Information Technology Officers (GITO) Council Summit yesterday.

    • Schools In Basel Are Using The Open Source Groupware Kolab

      Following their overall Free Software and Open Standards strategy, the public schools in the Swiss city of Basel are providing the Open Source Kolab Groupware Solution to their teachers, students and administrative staff. This enables them to coordinate their work and collaborate as efficiently as possible. The students are learning early to make use of modern information and communication technologies. Markus Bäumler head of the responsible ICT Media department in Basel says "We are delighted to have a Free Software solution that we can deploy for this purpose which reliably meets our professional requirements."

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google defends its use of proprietary tech in Hangouts

      oogle is feeling the heat over its decision to build its new Hangouts IM and audio/video chat product with proprietary technology that doesn't support server federation via the XMPP industry standard, but the company is defending its move.

      Specifically, Google maintains that XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) industry support is weak, which dilutes its purpose as a common protocol, and that its technology hasn't kept up with the times.

Leftovers

  • Bob Schieffer Is Tired of Booking Bad Guests on His Show

    It's more good than bad that a lot of mainstream reporters are speaking openly about the chilling effect of the Obama White House's investigations into leaks of classified material. But this willingness to talk about how the White House operates can lead some journalists to make some rather strange arguments.

  • Yearbook prank leads to high school student's arrest in Columbia, Mo.

    A Columbia high school student faces a possible felony charge after her arrest for changing a classmate's name in the school yearbook to a sexually suggestive term.

    The 17-year-old Hickman High School junior was arrested May 14 after she allegedly changed a student's last name from Mastain to "masturbate" in the 100th edition of the Hickman Cresset yearbook. She could be charged with first-degree property damage, a felony, and harassment.

  • Science

  • Security

    • DoS vulnerability in ModSecurity fixed - Update
    • PayPal vulnerable to cross-site scripting again

      17-year old German schoolboy Robert Kugler has posted information on a cross-site scripting vulnerability in payment processing service PayPal to the Full Disclosure mailing list. Kugler wanted to report the bug to PayPal as part of its official Bug Bounty Program, but the program only pays out to participants who are 18 or over. To vent his frustration, he has now gone public with the bug.

    • OpEDL: ‘Anonymous’ targets far-right English Defense League

      Individuals claiming to be part of international hacktivist group Anonymous have published phone numbers and addresses for supporters of the English Defence League (EDL) as part of what they said was the first phase of a campaign to destroy the far-right street protest movement.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Standing up to Golden Dawn in Greece

      The economic crisis in Greece has led to a rise in support for the far-right Golden Dawn and an increase in racist attacks. Jamal Osman talks to one man who is fighting back.

    • Toronto cops hospitalize hotel guest who recorded them arresting another guest

      A man staying at Toronto's Sheraton Centre Hotel used his Blackberry to video-record police who were arresting another guest. The police objected and several of them piled onto him, beating him savagely while screaming "Stop resisting! Stop resisting!" They broke two of his ribs. The whole thing was captured on the man's phone and on hotel CCTV. He's suing.

    • Did Senator McCain Violate NDAA by Hanging Out with Syrian Rebels?

      In case you missed it, Senator John McCain took the opportunity this Memorial Day to cross the Turkey-Syria border and hang out with Syrian rebels. These are the same rebels with ties to Al Qaeda. These are the same rebels cutting out and eating the hearts of dead soldiers. According to reports, Senator McCain wanted to go further into combat but was not allowed.

    • Stop NDAA in your State? Grassroots Activism Works

      Last week, the California Liberty Preservation Act, AB351, was passed unanimously by the Assembly Appropriations Committee and sent to the full State Assembly for a vote.

      The bill would play a big part in nullifying the “indefinite detention” provisions of both the NDAA and the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF).

    • Washington steps up hacking allegations against China

      On Monday the Washington Post published a classified list compiled by the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board of military systems and technologies allegedly compromised by Chinese hacking. Though the previously undisclosed report does not present any evidence for these claims, it is being used to escalate charges against China that it is hacking US secrets.

    • Guantanamo: the Legal Mess Behind the Ethical Mess

      LAW profs deem force-feeding “cruel, inhuman, and degrading”

    • Tyranny Got You Down?

      Our political strategy brings to mind the definition of insanity often attributed to Albert Einstein..

    • America's Greatest Challenge

      I’ve been reading a few articles on the “alternative” media which really have me thinking. One, by Chris Hedges entitled “Rise Up or Die” made me think about just how bad things really are nowadays here in the USA. The other article by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, “You are The Hope” was also a particularly dark piece.

      It’s not that I don’t agree with what the two have said…I do; still, I don’t think they quite accurately reflect the growing dis-connects between what many Americans and the mainstream media, along with the Powers That Be would have us believe.

    • Woolwich Attack: Overreacting To Extremism 'Could Bring Back Al Qaeda' Ex CIA Officer Warns

      One of the world's leading terrorism experts has branded the government's proposals to muzzle Islamist hate preachers and crack down on violent extremism in the wake of the Woolwich attack as "a waste of time".

      Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist and former CIA operations officer who worked with the Afghan mujahedin in the late 1980s, says that "a good [counter-extremism] policy should be based on an understanding on what’s happening on the ground.

      “The notion that there is any serious process called ‘radicalisation’, or indoctrination, is really a mistake. What you have is some young people acquiring some extreme ideas – but it’s a similar process to acquiring any type of ideas. It often begins with discussions with a friend.”

    • Drone Strikes Mostly Transferred from CIA to DoD

      As promised in his speech this week, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is largely assuming control of the embattled unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) combat operations in the Middle East. The program had been run over the past several years by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and was responsible for death strikes on four Americans, only one of which was an intended target for death.

    • CIA/MI6 helped spawn a Frankenstein’s monster

      In response to the hacking to death of Lee Rigby, a young off-duty British soldier killed on a London street in broad daylight, Britain’s Home Office plans measures to prevent the radicalization of Muslim youth which include censorship of jihadist Internet websites, a crackdown on extremist organizations and the cleansing of mosques and place of learning from preachers promoting “a poisonous narrative.” That’s all very well but unless the government acknowledges the root of the problem those steps will constitute a mere band-aid covering a suppurating sore.

    • Kern County Coroner Declares David Silva’s Death To Be ‘Accidental,’ Heart Disease-Related

      Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood held a press conference last Thursday to declare his department’s innocence in the death of David Silva. This claim is based on the coroner’s report prepared by the Kern County Coroner’s office, which reports to the Sheriff’s Office. David Silva’s death has been declared “accidental,” with the official cause of death listed as “cardiac hypertension.”

  • Cablegate

    • AGP slams Rahul Gandhi after WikiLeaks revelation

      Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Guwahati, AGP secretary Durga Das Boro said that the party was contemplating legal action against Rahul Gandhi for making such a comment on the Assam’s regional party, which formed the government in the state for three terms since 1986. Boro said that the WikiLeaks had recently revealed that “(Gandhi) had said that AGP leaders were insurgents and India allowed separatists to form the government in Assam and the United States should also allow Hamas.”

    • Julian Assange’s human rights are being violated by UK, says Ecuador
    • Ecuador accuses UK of ‘violating Assange’s human rights’

      Ecuador has accused the UK of violating Julian Assange’s human rights by refusing to allow the WikiLeaks founder to take shelter in South America, which granted him political asylum nearly a year ago.

    • Ecuador: Concern for Rights of WikiLeaks Founder
    • ‘Hactivist’ Faces 10 Years in Fed Prison for Stratfor Leaks

      Anonymous hacker Jeremy Hammond agrees to “non-cooperating plea agreement” as alternative to endless court battle and decades of prison time

    • LulzSec Hacker Jeremy Hammond Pleads Guilty To CFAA Charge; Faces 10 Years

      In yet another Computer Fraud and Abuse Act case, in which the DOJ piled on charge after charge after charge until the person they were pressuring accepted a plea bargain, Jeremy Hammond has officially accepted a plea deal for helping LulzSec/Anonymous hack Stratfor. He admits that he did it, and given that, it’s perfectly reasonable to suggest that some punishment is warranted, but it still seems troubling the amount of pressure that the DOJ used to get him to take a plea bargain.

    • Setting an example: Why we must defend Manning and Assange

      WikiLeaks released an enormous treasure-trove of classified US government documents in 2010. It included US military logs from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, over 250,000 diplomatic cables, and Collateral Murder, a video depicting the killing of 12 civilians by a US helicopter gunship in Iraq.

      The source of the leaks, US Private Bradley Manning, acted on his conscience. He believed that people have a right to see the information he had been privy to as an army intelligence analyst. He was prepared to risk his life and liberty to reveal that information.

    • Bradley Manning’s Trial begins 3 June. Call-out for solidarity everywhere
    • ‘We Steal Secrets’ Documentary Focuses on Personalities of Assange, Manning Over Significance of WikiLeaks

      Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney held a special screening for his new documentary, We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, in Washington, DC, on May 21. Gibney also participated in a question and answer session after the film that was moderated by POLITICO‘s Josh Gerstein.

      First, the title reinforces widespread perceptions created by the United States government that the WikiLeaks organization is out to “steal” secrets. Gibney has claimed that the title is “ironic.” Actually, the US government steals secrets. Former NSA director Michael Hayden says this in the film, but this aspect of US government operations takes up only a few seconds of the film. He does not explore how US government agencies are actually the ones engaged in stealing so the “irony” does not come through at all.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Solar-Powered Hospital in Haiti Yields Sustainable Savings

      But in Haiti’s Central Plateau, the flow of energy is intermittent at best. Consider that in Mirebalais, located 30 miles north of Port-au-Prince, the power goes out for an average of three hours each day. This poses an enormous challenge to running any hospital; surgeries are jeopardized, neonatal ventilators stall, the cold chain is interrupted, and countless everyday tasks get derailed. As Partners In Health co-founder Paul Farmer noted during a recent lecture at the Harvard School of Public Health, “It’s not great if you’re a surgeon and you have to think about getting the generator going.”

    • South Korea’s faked safety certificates: just another nuclear scandal
    • Solar Power Notches A Victory In Minnesota

      By 2020, 1.5 percent of the energy that public utilities in Minnesota generate will have to come from solar. It’s estimated that this new requirement, signed into law last week by Gov. Mark Dayton, will result in a 32-fold increase in solar capacity in the state, up to 450 megawatts.

  • Finance

    • The Real Numbers: Half of America in Poverty — and It’s Creeping Upward

      Since the recession, the disparities have continued to grow. An OECD report states that “inequality has increased by more over the past three years to the end of 2010 than in the previous twelve,” with the U.S. experiencing one of the widest gaps among OECD countries. The 30-year decline in wages has worsened since the recession, as low-wage jobs have replaced formerly secure middle-income positions.

    • Digital currency biz Liberty Reserve shut down, founder arrested

      Digital currency Liberty Reserve has been shut down after U.S. and Costa Rican authorities arrested founder Arthur Budovsky Belanchuk in Spain.

    • Stressed Ecosystems Leaving Humanity High and Dry

      On average, humanity has built one large dam every day for the last 130 years, which distorts the natural river flows to which ecosystems and aquatic life adapted over millennia. Two-thirds of major river deltas are sinking due to pumping out groundwater, oil and gas. Some deltas are falling at a rate four times faster than global sea level is rising.

  • Censorship

    • Facebook gives way to campaign against hate speech on its pages

      Company agrees to update policies in response to protest by more than 100 advocacy groups

    • Now PETA Wants to Sue People Who Leave Anonymous Comments

      PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is incensed over an article in the Huffington Post that details that organization’s unsettling practice of euthanizing animals in a Virginia facility that many have assumed is a no kill shelter.

      According to the New York Post, PETA wants to sue some of the people who have left comments on the article. The problem is that, following the practice of many on the Internet, many of the comments are under assumed names or are anonymous. PETA is attempting to discover the true identities of their critics so that it can sue them for defamation.

    • Judge Deems Facebook-Posting Rapper Cameron D’Ambrosio A ‘Threat,’ Denies Bail

      Cameron D’Ambrosio, the Massachusetts teen arrested and charged with “communicating terroristic threats” (or “bomb threats,” depending on who’s doing the reporting) via a Facebook post (in the form of rap lyrics — CammyDee has aspirations), has been denied bail by the state’s Superior Court.

    • In Denmark, Online Tracking of Citizens is an Unwieldy Failure
    • Danish Police Admit That Data Retention Hasn’t Helped At All

      There’s been a big push around the globe to ramp up data retention rules, which require various online services to keep all sorts of data on their users for a long time, just in case it’s possible that law enforcement officials might need that data at some later date. That this only adds to the pile of data, and often makes it more difficult to find useful data, is never discussed. That this likely puts more people’s private data at risk of being hacked or accidentally revealed is never discussed. Also, almost never discussed: whether or not such data retention laws actually help solve crimes.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Hundreds of workers ‘illegally’ dismissed in Alexandria

      Around 350 workers have been dismissed from their jobs at a factory in Alexandria on Sunday morning, without adequate justification, according to the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR).

      Mohamed Adel, a lawyer at ECESR said that between 350 and 400 workers at the Hi Tech Textile factory in Alexandria were relieved of their duties because they demanded higher wages. According to Adel, the owner of the factory laid off the Egyptian workers in favour of foreign workers because their wage demands are lower than the Egyptian workers.

    • Teacher facing discipline for reminding students of Constitutional rights

      An Illinois community is rallying around a teacher who is reportedly up against disciplinary action for informing his students of their rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment before the high-schoolers answered a survey regarding their personal behavior.

    • Amnesty International defends refugees in Kenya
    • How Prosecutors Fought to Keep Rosen’s Warrant Secret

      The Obama Administration fought to keep a search warrant for James Rosen’s private e-mail account secret, arguing to a federal judge that the government might need to monitor the account for a lengthy period of time.

      The new details are revealed in a court filing detailing a back and forth between the Justice Department and the federal judges who oversaw the request to search a Gmail account belonging to Rosen, a reporter for Fox News. A 2009 article Rosen had written about North Korea sparked an investigation; Ronald C. Machen, Jr., the U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a former State Department adviser who allegedly leaked classified information to Rosen, insisted that the reporter should not be notified of the search and seizure of his e-mails, even after a lengthy delay.

    • Two Judges Told DOJ It Had To Disclose Spying On Journalist; DOJ Found A Third Judge Instead
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Authoritarian Governments Still Trying To Seek More Control Over The Internet

      There was plenty of attention paid to the failed WCIT meeting last year, in which some countries effectively sought greater control over the internet, leading many countries to refuse to sign on. There has since been plenty of reasonable concern that the end result of this is a fragmented internet, with one internet for those who believe in internet freedom and openness… and one for those who don’t.

      And, of course, the whole ITU WCIT process was never going to be the end of such discussions. Eli Dourado, who has been following this stuff closely for a while, recently had a good report about how various authoritarian governments made a bit of a power play for more control over internet governance. The issue may seem bureaucratic and messy, but that’s also why it’s important to pay attention. Because mixed in with all that bureaucracy are some key decisions.

    • Jaron Lanier’s Ignorance Of History, Basic Economics And Efficiency Is Getting Ridiculous

      So… we’d already taken a stab at debunking Jaron Lanier’s “gobbledygook economics” a few weeks back when it started appearing, but since then there’s been more Lanier everywhere (obviously, in coordination with his book release), and each time it seems more ridiculous than the last. Each time, the focus is on the following economically ridiculous concepts: (1) there should be micropayments for anyone doing anything free online because someone benefits somewhere (2) modern efficiency via technology has destroyed the middle class. Both of these claims make no sense at all.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Fear Mongering Report Suggests ‘IP Theft From China’ One Of The Biggest Problems America Faces

      A bunch of folks have been sending in variations on a report that came out last week, grandly titled “The IP Commission Report” as if it were some sort of official body. In the subhead, we find out that it’s actually by the even more ridiculously named “The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property.” Who put together this “commission”? Well, it’s the National Bureau of Asian Research, which also is not an official government organization as you might think, but a private think tank that more or less was spun out of the University of Washington, and was originally the National Bureau of Asian and Soviet Research, put together at the behest of Senator Henry Jackson, who believed strongly that America should intervene around the globe to promote American interests, often at the expense of those where we were intervening. He supported interning Japanese Americans during WWII. He strongly supported the Vietnam War. He’s considered the spiritual father of today’s neoconservatives. As you may have guessed, the “National Bureau of Asian Research” is not exactly about figuring out the best way to understand and improve relationships between the US and Asia. It’s about how US interests can dominate Asia.

    • US-EU Trade Deal In Trouble Before It Even Starts?

      For the last few months, Techdirt has been following the surprisingly rapid embrace on both sides of the Atlantic of the proposed transatlantic free trade agreement, known variously as TAFTA or TTIP. Coming out of nowhere, the agreement is being talked about as if its success and benefits are more or less guaranteed.

    • WHO calls Middle Eastern virus, MERS, ‘threat to the entire world’ as death toll rises

      …they patented the virus…

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