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06.13.13

Microsoft Talking Points Planted by Microsoft Staff in the Geek Press

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 4:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Planted stories revisited

“As discussed in our PR meeting this morning. David & I have spoken with Maureen O’Gara (based on go ahead from BrianV) and planted the story. She has agreed to not attribute the story to us….

“[...] Inform Maureen O’ Gara (Senior Editor Client Server News/LinuxGram) or John Markoff (NYT) of announcement on Aug 28, 2000. Owner dougmil (Approval received from BrianV to proceed)

“Contact Eric Raymond, Tim O’Reilly or Bruce Perrins to solicit support for this going against the objectives of the Open Source movement. Owner: dougmil [Doug Miller]. Note that I will not be doing this. Maureen O’Gara said she was going to call them so it looks better coming from her.”

(From Microsoft’s smoking guns)

Summary: Microsoft is playing with editorial staff of Slashdot, marketing itself as a FOSS company

We have recently given several examples [1, 2] where Microsoft’s proxy Outercurve interjected itself into geeks’ sites like Slashdot, very much by design. iophk says “Microsoft Outercurve is being peddled by /. again” (see Slashdot or direct link).

It was only very recently that we revealed Microsoft AstroTurfing in Reddit, so this is important. Slashdot should speak out about it because it’s subjected to the same problem [1, 2, 3, 4]. Someone very senior who had worked for Slashdot told me about this privately; he said they were infiltrated by AstroTurfers and asked me not to give away his name. Here is the PR being injected by Microsoft. Remember that Microsoft was exposed for also planting stories demonising its critics, such as Pamela Jones. I too got smeared by Microsoft staff, as a matter of routine (they got caught, then fled). Unlike Pamela Jones, I don’t have leaked documents to show if or how it was coordinated.

Here she is with the latest about the Microsoft-funded SCO case against Linux:

SCO has filed its reply to IBM’s response to SCO’s motion asking the judge to reconsider his refusal of SCO’s motion to reopen SCO v. IBM.

It will not surprise you that SCO doesn’t like IBM’s suggestions on how the case should go forward. IBM suggested a couple of rounds of a process, first tossing out whatever both sides agree are mooted claims, due to the Novell victory over SCO, then IBM would bring a summary judgment motion on the rest, and that would require briefing, IBM suggested, because there are new cases decided in the interim that are relevant.

The SCO case is over a decade old. Microsoft now distorts news sites, trying to give the impression that Microsoft is a FOSS authority.

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, BayStar, key investor in SCO approached by Microsoft

A Big Blow to Patents on Software and Genetics in the United States, But Hardly the End

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 4:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There are still patents on the progress bar…

A progress bar

Summary: Little progress made with policy moving in the right direction, but by no means the right and absolute solution to USPTO incompetence

THERE ARE interesting rulings out this week. A very vocal proponent of software patents asks about the Versata case [1, 2, 3], “Did the PTAB Just Kill Software Patents?” Well, yes. And it matters. “On Tuesday, June 11,” he writes, “the Patent Trial and Appeals Board issued a ruling in SAP America, Inc. v. Versata Development Group, Inc., which is the result of a Covered Business Method challenge to U.S. Patent No. 6,553,350 filed by SAP on September 16, 2012. The PTAB, per Administrative Patent Judge Michael Tierney, determined that “Versata’s ’350 claims 17, and 26-29 are unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 101.” Looking more closely at the ruling, however, makes it clear just how significant this ruling will be. The breadth of the 101 determination is shocking and virtually guarantees that 101 will be used by patent examiners to effectively prevent software patents from issuing altogether.”

“The ruling was limited, so it is too early to celebrate.”Here is a news report about it (AOL). This gets somewhat overshadowed by news about a SCOTUS ruling. An inaccurate report from Rupert Murdoch’s press says “The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that human genes isolated from the body can’t be patented, a victory for doctors and patients who argued that such patents interfere with scientific research and the practice of medicine.”

This is only part of the story, as we’ll explain in days to come. Kevin Granade told me “they affirmed that isolated, unmodified DNA is unpatentable, but ruled the *transcription* of the same as cDNA patentable [...] the reporting has it wrong, the ruling regards all unmodified DNA, not just human DNA. Effectively a key lying on the ground is unpatentable, but if you make an impression you can patent the mold. Very unfortunate.”

The Guardian botched it too. The ruling was limited, so it is too early to celebrate. It’s like celebrating patent trolls getting the attention of Brand Obama. There is no action yet from the White House (just words [1, 2, 3, 4]) and it would not be the resolution of the problems, either. As this new post put it, this is not enough. To quote just the opening:

Patents may have once seemed like a good idea. At least it seemed that way to the Venetians, who in 1474 declared the publication and protection of the “works and devices” of “men of great genius” would encourage others to apply their genius and ultimately benefit their society as a whole.

This noble idea may have had a place in the Italian Renaissance, but wind forward 539 years and we have a patent system infested with “patent trolls” and seemingly endless disputes between software and technology companies expending billions of dollars over ideas that involve neither genius nor benefit to society.

The problem is scope being expanded to things which did not exist when the patent system was conceived. It predates understanding of germs, let alone genetics. It also predates software, let alone computing machines (equivalent of pen and paper).

Microsoft Supports Apple in Fight Against Linux/Android, Pushing FRAND

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, RAND at 3:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Angry at FOSS

Angry young man

Summary: Microsoft publicly steps forward as part of Apple’s war on Linux/Android, making the anti-FOSS alliance more visible than before

The FRAND debate has been inadvertently dealing with whether software patents have backdoor-like legitimacy around the whole world. FRAND opposer Judge Posner [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] did the right thing, seeing perhaps how the Microsoft-Apple patents alliance uses FRAND against Google/Android. Now we see those two companies in cahoots more clearly than before: “Microsoft’s Amicus Brief in Support of Apple in Appeal of Posner Ruling – A Change in Tune on Injunctions”

Microsoft has now filed an amicus brief in support of Apple in the appeal of Judge Richard Posner’s ruling in which the judge tossed out both Apple and Motorola’s claims with prejudice, saying neither had proven damages and saying injunctive relief when there was no demonstrable harm would be against the public interest. Interestingly, Microsoft here argues in its brief that the judge didn’t rule out injunctive relief for FRAND patents.

Nice to see those duopolists so openly showing their collusion against a competitor. They are ousting their conspiracy (e.g. CPTN) to destroy Android. Will President Obama pay attention or will he only try to tackle small players?

Rape Jokes Are Not Going to Save Microsoft

Posted in Vista 8, Windows at 3:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rape is not a joke

Tizian

Summary: Microsoft’s attempts at being “cool” are not working out and the Vista series is falling to obscurity levels

Earlier this week, PRISM partner Microsoft introduced (more details about PRISM in [1, 2, 3, 4]) its DRM-laden spying box, the Xbox One, as an Internet hotspot of sorts. Accompanying the introduction, the obligatory sexism reared its ugly head again [1, 2, 3] and there was a joke about rape:

Perhaps more than any segment of the technology industry, gamer culture has had its fair share of sexism problems, so it’s not that surprising that a Microsoft presenter slipped an apparent rape reference into a Monday presentation at Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, the biggest video-game conference of the year. During a demo of Killer Instinct to drum up excitement for its new Xbox One, Microsoft brought out a man and a woman to battle it out on the big screen onstage in Los Angeles. In this scripted event the man, of course, kicks the woman’s ass at the fighting game. “I can’t even block correctly and you’re too fast,” she says, playing a video game like a girl. But even more problematic than those stereotypical gender roles was the part when her adversary said this: “Just let it happen. It will be over soon.” You know, like a rape…

XBox had some less tactful advertising, as we covered before (violence and sex are a recurring theme).

“…Microsoft has been caught with their pants down and maybe the entire concept of a video game console as whole.”
      –Ziomatrix
There are other issues though. “Let them eat last gen,” wrote Ziomatrix regarding “Microsoft’s response to questions concerning its always checking online DRM.

“Even if Sony’s revelation is now proven to be a Pyrrhic victory since each publisher can set their own standards of DRM for the PS4 and Sony’s record of doing an about face when it suites them still shows that Microsoft has been caught with their pants down and maybe the entire concept of a video game console as whole.”

Microsoft is really desperate to become a hardware company because the Windows monopoly is dying.

CNET says that Vista 8 is recognised as a failure by more and more analysts:

The era of growth in the traditional PC market may be coming to an end. Things are looking worse this year than previously forecast, according to Citi.

Vista 8 is a dead end, which is why many Microsoft chiefs are quitting the company (recently the CIO). A lot of Microsoft’s business heavily depends on the common carrier, Windows. Xbox never caught on as a common carrier and neither did Windows Mobile/Windows Phone.

Glenn Greenwald Should Copy Snowden’s Leak for Wikileaks to Publish in Full in Order to Counter Denials of Microsoft et al. (Updated)

Posted in Microsoft at 3:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Glenn Greenwald

Summary: There should be more to come from the whole PRISM/NSA-gate, but the ball is in the court of one activist/lawyer/blogger, Glenn Greenwald

Daily links are still flooded with stories about PRISM, which was also related to our regular scope of coverage [1, 2, 3]. PRISM is not exactly news to those who watched the NSA closely (as I did for several years). What’s new, for the most part, is concrete proof finally existing and being accessible to the public. Cablegate has been the bloodline of some valuable posts of ours, showing the importance of secret policy being made public. The Guardian did decent work, but it didn’t publish all the documents as the leaker had hoped based on some reports. This permits some companies to deny what they are doing. This means that people will carry on with their addiction to Web search and proprietary chat facilities from Microsoft and Google. It is already clear that Microsoft gives governments easy access to Skype (we wrote about it months ago, citing Microsoft's own admission) and the ‘guardian’ reminds us of that:

UK intelligence agencies made thousands of requests for information on private communications via Microsoft products last year, with demands for Skype call information outnumbering those made by US agencies.

In 2012, the UK made 1,268 requests to Skype for information such as the names of callers, their address, email account details and telephone numbers dialled. This was a quarter of all requests received by the Microsoft-owned internet call service from governments around the world. The requests could have come from British police and intelligence agencies, such as GCHQ.

As Satipera put it in identi.ca the other day, “Microsoft for security, like fencing with a baguette.” There is more to the numbers above, which is why Glenn Greenwald should pass the leaked documents to Wikileaks, making a copy of the whole lot of documents, thus permitting full publication of public policy (the ‘guardian’ won’t do it). Unless this happens, many companies will carry on evading/lying to restore public acceptance of a mass surveillance state where dissidents are the real target.

Update: The following article has just been published: NSA Leaks Suggest Microsoft May Have Misled Public Over Skype Eavesdropping

There were many striking details in the Washington Post’s scoop about PRISM and its capabilities, but one part in particular stood out to me. The Post, citing a top-secret NSA PowerPoint slide, wrote that the agency has a specific “User’s Guide for PRISM Skype Collection” that outlines how it can eavesdrop on Skype “when one end of the call is a conventional telephone and for any combination of ‘audio, video, chat, and file transfers’ when Skype users connect by computer alone.” (Emphasis added.)

This piece of information is significant for a number of reasons. Last year, speculation arose in the hacker community that Skype, which was purchased by Microsoft in 2011 and had been difficult to wiretap, had become compliant with law enforcement demands. I pressured Skype to disclose its eavesdropping capabilities, but the company refused to discuss the matter. After a range of advocacy groups published an open letter calling for more clarity on the issue, Microsoft eventually released a transparency report detailing information about law enforcement requests for user data. The report devoted an entire section to Skype and claimed that in 2012, it hadn’t handed any communications content over to authorities anywhere in the world. Microsoft also said in notes accompanying the transparency report that calls made between Skype-Skype users were encrypted peer-to-peer, implying that they did not pass through Microsoft’s central servers and could not be eavesdropped on—except maybe if the government deployed a spy Trojan on a targeted computer to bypass encryption.

But the NSA “PRISM Skype Collection” guide casts doubt on whether any Skype communications are beyond the NSA’s reach. That the NSA claims to be able to grab all Skype users’ communications also calls into question the credibility of Microsoft’s transparency report—particularly the claim that in 2012 it did not once hand over the content of any user communications. Moreover, according to a leaked NSA slide published by the Post, Skype first became part of the NSA’s PRISM program in February 2011—three months before Microsoft purchased the service from U.S. private equity firms Silver Lake and Andreessen Horowitz.

Links 13/6/2013: CyanogenMod Gets Incognito Mode

Posted in News Roundup at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Macs No More: After Edward Snowden, Time to Come to the Penguin

    The devil some of us have most sold our souls to isn’t Apple or Google or Amazon but Adobe. How can we be creative without our “Creative Suite”? If we’re actually creative, though, I bet we can. Besides, there are more-or-less functional people-powered alternatives to a lot of those programs, which are a bit less forgiving and a lot more customizable for the clever. It’s a better way to go in the long run anyway. Shiny new equipment tends to breed shiny fake art.

    Then there’s the steampunk thrill of the UNIX terminal at the heart of your new OS. The terminal means going back in time to a text-only screen — now with customizable colors in transparent windows! — and telling the computer what you want with magic spells on a command line. Slow tech is addictive. This article is being written in a terminal program that’s almost 40 years old, and thanks to a devoted community of hackers it works better than ever.

    That’s the open-source ethic: If it still works, build on it — don’t design for obsolescence. And when a new improvement comes along, everyone can benefit. When there’s an error, the community (eventually) corrects it.

    For example, ghost-of-Steve Jobs: It’s “think differently.”

  • Server

    • Tulsa’s Community Collaboration Model for Supercomputing

      Two weeks ago the Tandy Supercomputing Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma launched as the home to one of the country’s first shared, publicly available supercomputers.

      The project — born of a collaboration between The University of Tulsa, Oklahoma State University, The University of Oklahoma, Tulsa Community College, the city of Tulsa, business owners and nonprofit foundations — gives community members equal access to a $3.5 million, 100-node supercomputing system at a fraction of the cost to build their own.

    • BeyondTrust Extends Password Security to Linux, Unix

      Last week, security vendor BeyondTrust combined its “context-aware” approach to vulnerability assessment with user-privilege management on Windows. Today, it has taken another step in the same direction with new software that delivers similar features for systems reporting, analytics and password security on Linux and Unix servers. Read on for the details, and what the emphasis on context-awareness means for the channel.

    • Securing Your Linux Server
  • Kernel Space

    • IBM to bring Linux KVM virtualization to its Power server line

      Linux has its own built-in hypervisor, KVM, for x86 virtualization, and now IBM is porting it to its Power architecture.

    • Graphics Stack

      • CUDA 5.5 release candidate out for some

        Members of NVIDIA’s Registered Developer Programs can now start testing out the CUDA 5.5 release candidate. According to the announcement, the features in the next release of the platform and architecture for parallel programming include multi-process MPI debugging and profiling, step-by-step guided performance analysis and a static CUDA runtime library.

      • Updated Nouveau Graphics Driver Released

        It’s been a while since the last Nouveau DDX driver update, but xf86-video-nouveau 1.0.8 was released this morning. This updated Nouveau X.Org driver comes with nearly two dozen changes.

      • Reasons For Losing Motivation In Wayland

        While many are super excited about Wayland and the thought of X11 finally going away in the coming years, some who have been enthusiastic about Wayland/Weston are starting to lose interest. Here’s the reasons by one Wayland enthusiast for losing motivation in the project.

        Darxus, a Wayland enthusiast and Phoronix Forums moderator, shared on the mailing list what killed his motivation to play with Wayland. He was once very involved with the upstream Wayland community, but that’s not so much the case anymore. Here’s a synopsis of his reasons:

    • Benchmarks

      • 11-Way Linux, BSD Platform Comparison

        Building upon last month’s eight-way Linux vs. BSD operating system comparison, out today is an expanded 11-way OS showdown. The new OS test results available are for the Arch-based Manjaro Linux distribution, Debian GNU/Linux, and Debian GNU/kFreeBSD. The other competitors include PC-BSD, DragonFlyBSD, CentOS, Fedora, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Mageia, and openSUSE.

      • SNA Acceleration Works Great For Intel Core i7 Haswell

        To complement the Intel Haswell Linux OpenGL benchmarks that we have been publishing on Phoronix for the past week, up today are some Intel Linux 2D performance benchmarks of Haswell with the Intel Core i7 4770K CPU. The 2D performance is comparing Intel’s default UXA accelerated code-paths against the experimental SNA acceleration back-end.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia releases new Mageia 3 ISO images

        The Mageia project has released new ISO images for the Mageia 3 edition using the distribution’s classical installer. A configuration fault with the images meant that users who specified the use of online repositories inadvertently switched their distribution updates to receive development packages. The developers fixed this problem on the server infrastructure, but that caused problems for users actually wanting to use the development repositories.

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Launches Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.2

        Red Hat Brings Storage Live Migration and Third-Party Plug-in Framework to Enterprise Virtualization Offering

      • Red Hat Integrates OpenStack with Enterprise Linux [VIDEO]
      • Red Hat Launches Linux-Based OpenStack Platform, Targets VMware For Control Of The Data Center

        Red Hat launched an enterprise Linux-based OpenStack platform today that provides a way to build out cloud services from either inside the data center or from a services provider.

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux will integrate a vanilla version of OpenStack to create the new Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. It will mean that Red Hat applications can run in an IaaS platform and provide support for web and mobile oriented applications that are more cloud aware. It will serve as the main platform for Red Hat’s cloud strategy.

        The news is significant as it positions Red Hat as a clear leader for building out OpenStack clouds. The company is also using OpenStack to offer an alternative to the virtualized environments long dominated by VMware.

      • Video: 20 Years of Red Hat

        Red Hat Summit is going on in Boston this week. Here is promo video they released about Red Hat turning 20.

      • Red Hat emphasises cloud focus in JBoss EAP

        In the lead-up to this year’s Red Hat Summit, Red Hat has released version 6.1 of its JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP). Like its predecessor, the platform is based on version 7 of the Java application server JBoss; it supports the Java EE 6 platform as well as frameworks such as Spring and Struts. JBoss EAP also works with tools including the Google Web Toolkit (GWT), Maven, Eclipse Hudson and Red Hat-sponsored technologies such as Hibernate and Arquillian.

      • Red Hat’s OpenShift Online opens for paying customers

        Red Hat has announced the commercial launch of its public Platform-as-a-Service cloud, OpenShift Online. The new service has been in preview or beta since May 2011 and has been developed alongside an on-premises enterprise version, OpenShift Enterprise, released in November 2012, and drawn its technology from open source basis for the platform, OpenShift Origin, released in May 2012.

      • CentOS Makes Its Mark in the Cloud
      • Red Hat CEO: Open Source is Not Just About Cost

        Red Hat is a company that generates over $1 billion a year in revenues from open source software.

        It should come as no surprise then, that the CEO of Red Hat sees being open as the key to innovation. Speaking at the opening keynote for the Red Hat Summit, CEO Jim Whitehurst stressed that open isn’t just a marketing slogan, it’s the only way that modern IT companies can survive.

      • Red Hat, HP, Intel Partner on Big Data Storage

        Red Hat has teamed with CommVault, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Supermicro to develop reference architectures for data backup, content clouds, Big Data storage and other industry-specific storage solutions.

      • RHEL 7 Linux To Use GNOME 3 Classic Mode

        For those not out in Boston this week for the 2013 Red Hat Summit, new details on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.0 have emerged.

      • Red Hat confirms GNOME Classic Mode for RHEL 7

        The engineering director for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Denise Dumas, has said that the upcoming version of the company’s enterprise Linux distribution will use GNOME 3′s Classic Mode by default. Dumas was talking to TechTarget ahead of the 2013 Red Hat Summit that is currently ongoing in Boston. RHEL 7 is scheduled to be released in the second half of this year and Dumas says the decision to use Classic Mode instead of GNOME’s default interface, which she calls “modern mode”, was made to not inconvenience RHEL’s enterprise user base – “the last thing we want to do is disrupt our customers’ workflows.”

      • Run Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Free on the AWS Cloud

        While it was announced fairly quietly, the Amazon Web Services (AWS) blog recenlty confirmed that the AWS Free Usage Tier, which lets users run applications and operating systems in the cloud, now includes 750 hours of Red Hat Enterprise Linux usage.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Developers Get User Input on Systemd

        Systemd has been taking it on the chin lately because a lot of users just don’t like it. There are varying reasons and Debian developer Michael Stapelberg has identified several through a recent user systemd survey. Developers hope the data will help them minimize the difficulty when the transition from SysVinit to Systemd begins.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu holds its own

            My mother is the ultimate bargain hunter. Her cellular contract decisions are not based on device, data bundle or minutes, but rather on what she gets for free… an extra phone, perhaps a TV, maybe a gaming console. As long as it’s free, it doesn’t really matter if she already has five phones; you never know when a sixth will come in handy.

            A few weeks ago, she produced a netbook she had received with her most recent contract. “I don’t know how to use it,” she said, as she handed over the gadget. The reason she couldn’t figure it out was because her limited computing skills meant she was familiar with Microsoft, and only Microsoft. When I pointed out that the netbook ran on Ubuntu, I got a blank stare in return. “Okay, well, you can have it then.”

          • Canonical Working On Mir’s Performance, Mir On Mir

            This past week Canonical developers made a little more progress on their Mir Display Server stack and the next-generation Unity desktop interface.

          • Ubuntu Still Looks To Chromium Default Browser

            Ubuntu developers are still likely to be switching from Mozilla Firefox as the Linux distribution’s default web-browser to now using Google’s open-source Chromium platform.

            For weeks now developers have been talking of making the transition in Ubuntu 13.10 of going from Firefox to Chromium. Among the reasons this is being considered is that Chromium is being used on the Ubuntu mobile front, Chromium has become just as fast (or faster) than Firefox, and the features are also very competitive. Firefox will continued to be offered through the Ubuntu package archives, but it wouldn’t be installed by default.

          • Ubuntu’s Best Selling Apps for May 2013

            What hasn’t been revealed is a surprise. Stormcloud, a desktop-based weather app, remains the top-selling app on Ubuntu for the 5th consecutive month in a row, selling 78 copies between May 1st and May 31st.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • World’s smallest dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 module

      Variscite announced what it calls “the world’s tiniest Cortex-A9 system-on-module,” measuring 52 x 17mm. The Linux- and Android-compatible DART-4460 module is based on a 1.5GHz dual-core TI OMAP4460 SoC, is available with up to 1GB of DDR2 RAM and 8GB eMMC flash, and can run at 400MHz on only 44mA, says the company.

    • Compact webserver can host web apps on a Pi

      Real Time Logic announced an Linux-compatible embeddable webserver designed for supporting server-side web applications. Based on the Lua scripting language, Mako Server integrates technologies such as Apache, SQLite, and SMTP and HTTPS clients, and is said to be compact enough to host web services on a Raspberry Pi.

    • Raspberry Pi and Lego Mindstorms to be united by BrickPi

      Lego Mindstorms has been used to build robots since its introduction, but a small company by the name of Dexter Industries is now set to add a far more advanced brain to those robots, by installing a Raspberry Pi at the core, in a project called BrickPi. The project launched a Kickstarter campaign in May to raise just under $2000; with four days to go, the campaign has so far raised $96,000. Dexter Industries specialises in creating sensors and other enhancements for Lego Mindstorms equipment.

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

      • Android

        • CyanogenMod to get Incognito Mode

          The revelation NSA survillance has encouraged developers to safeguard people’s personal data. While companies like Canonical are working on pushing users towards sending more and more personal ‘meta’ data to their servers via features like Dash Search, CyanogenMod developers are working in opposite direction. They are working towards protecting user’s personal data.

        • CyanogenMod is working on privacy mode for apps

          CyanogenMod founder Steve “Cyanogen” Kondik has taken to Google+ to announce that the developers of the popular open source third-party firmware for Android phones are working to implement a privacy sandbox for applications. The planned feature will be unique to CyanogenMod and will enable users to isolate the private, personal data stored in their Android phone from applications on an app-by-app basis. Kondik has not given a date for when the feature will be included in CyanogenMod, but he is hopeful that it is “coming soon”.

        • SpiderOak Launches Open-Source HTML5 Android App
        • Open source HTML5 secure file sync for Android

          File sync specialist SpiderOak has bolstered the Google Play Android app market with an open source secure sync tool.

        • Halo by Paranoid Android video demo, open source project

          The Paranoid Android team has announced that its new HALO project will become open source, and this will bring an array of new features, we have included a demo video of Halo in motion on a smartphone.

        • Paranoid Android HALO goes open source
        • Apple iOS 7: Android copycat?

          Some people think Apple’s forthcoming iPhone and iPad operating system iOS 7 is awesome. Others think it’s awful. I think it’s a derivative copycat not only of Android but of almost every other major mobile operating system out there.

        • Seamless Photo Transfer and Backup with Android

          If you want to keep your photos safe when travelling, you don’t need to schlep a notebook or netbook around: an Android device can be used to pull photos from the camera’s storage card and back them up on an external hard disk or upload them to a cloud storage. The easiest solution is to use a USB On-The-Go (OTG) cable to connect an external storage device like a portable hard disk or a high-capacity USB stick and use them for storing backup copies of the photos. However, this approach requires an Android device which supports the USB OTG functionality, and not all smartphones and tables do that. This also means that you have to remember to pack yet another piece of hardware. An alternative solution is to set up a wireless backup system which enables you to seamlessly back up photos on a remote storage device or service using your Android device. Here is how this can be done.

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Shape Up! Google and Other Tech Firms React to Government Snoops

    How secure is your sensitive data online? That question has been making headlines lately with the NSA scandal, but big technology companies have long acknowledged that world government bodies make requests for data that many users would never expect to be disclosed. In fact, as we’ve reported, according to Google’s regularly issued transparency reports, in the last six months of 2012 Google received over 21,000 requests for data on over 33,000 users.

  • Security

    • Piecemeal patches from QNAP

      Shortly after the disclosure of several security holes in QNAP’s NAS and network video recording systems that enabled potential attackers to gain full control, the company has started to release updated versions of its software; however, the security updates are only being released bit by bit.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • NSA leaker Edward Snowden: U.S. targets China with hackers

      Edward Snowden, the self-confessed leaker of secret surveillance documents, claimed Wednesday that the United States has mounted massive hacking operations against hundreds of Chinese targets since 2009.

    • Beijing Reacts to Snowden Claims U.S. Hacked ‘Hundreds’ of Chinese Targets

      The China Daily, the Chinese government’s English-language mouthpiece, couldn’t have been handed a better story. On June 13, Edward Snowden, the former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency who exposed a vast American electronic surveillance program before fleeing to Hong Kong, told the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s leading English-language daily, that the U.S. has for years hacked into Chinese computer systems. After days of silence about the presence of a U.S. whistle-blower on Chinese soil — albeit in a territory governed separately from the rest of the country — the Chinese state media swung into action. “This is not the first time that U.S. government agencies’ wrongdoings have aroused widespread public concern,” opined the China Daily in an editorial. In a separate news article, the official state newspaper wrote that “analysts” believed the bombshells dropped in the Snowden affair are “certain to stain Washington’s overseas image and test developing Sino-U.S. ties.”

    • Pre-emptive Policing

      The rounding up, arresting and beating of groups of protestors before they had even begun to protest is so taken for granted in London now that I can find no reflection in the media of the outrage I feel. If an old duffer like me feels completely alienated from the authoritarian state in which I find I now live, how do younger, more radical people feel? There seems a terrible divide between the corporate-political elite surrounded by their massive Praetorian guard at Bilderberg, and everybody else. Society is not stable.

    • The Secret War

      INFILTRATION. SABOTAGE. MAYHEM. FOR YEARS FOUR-STAR GENERAL KEITH ALEXANDER HAS BEEN BUILDING A SECRET ARMY CAPABLE OF LAUNCHING DEVASTATING CYBERATTACKS. NOW IT’S READY TO UNLEASH HELL.

    • Turkish PM’s chilling warning: ‘these protests will be over in 24 hours’

      Turkey’s prime minister defied a growing wave of international criticism on Wednesday and issued a chilling warning to the protesters who have captured central Istanbul for a fortnight, declaring that the demonstrations against his rule would be over within 24 hours.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The fracking story comes closer to home

      On Monday, The New York Times wrote about an “unlikely resistance” building in “energy-friendly” Greeley, CO. “As [oil and gas] companies here and across the energy-rich West look for new places to drill,” reported the Times’s Jack Healy, “they are increasingly looking toward more densely populated areas, and bumping into environmentalists and homeowners.”

      Forty-five minutes northwest of Greeley, in Fort Collins, people once thought that oil and gas extraction and the questions it raises about environmental hazards were concerns for elsewhere, according to Fort Collins Coloradoan reporter Bobby Magill. While oil drilling has been going on in this part of the state for decades, in recent years oil rigs have started showing up near residential areas and, in February, an area well blew out, sending a gusher of oil and hydraulic fracturing chemicals into the sky near homes and families.

    • Farmers fail to feed UK after extreme weather hits wheat crop

      The wettest autumn since records began, followed by the coldest spring in 50 years, has devastated British wheat, forcing food manufacturers to import nearly 2.5m tonnes of the crop.

      “Normally we export around 2.5m tonnes of wheat but this year we expect to have to import 2.5m tonnes,” said Charlotte Garbutt, a senior analyst at the industry-financed Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. “The crop that came through the winter has struggled and is patchy and variable. The area of wheat grown this year has been much smaller.”

  • Finance

    • Wisconsin’s System Increasingly Rigged Against the Unemployed

      With the latest Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia index ranking Wisconsin 49th out of 50 in economic outlook, high unemployment in Wisconsin is a problem that is not likely to go away any time soon. But, instead of trying to fix the economy in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker’s Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is finding new ways to disqualify the unemployed from collecting benefits. This is unlikely to do anything but compound Wisconsin’s economic woes.

  • Censorship

    • Today was the first time I deleted a comment

      Moderating blog comments is a very sensitive task. It is not easy to strike a balance between chaos and censorship.

      [...]

      What I do not accept, though, is a comment which, to me, seems to be aimed solely at ticking me off. Starting a comment with “I think KDE applications in general looks like crap” is not setting the mood for constructive criticism. Continuing by listing things one does not like about KDE applications (but most of which are simply not part of the HIG yet) is not helping either. And then concluding your main point with “I think the user interface KDE brings up stinks. As such I don’t want people to follow whatever guides suggest to do applications that way.” will get your comment deleted by me.

      [...]

      So here is the rule: Criticize me all you want, but do it in a polite and constructive manner. And please actually look at things before criticizing them. This helps a lot in turning a troll post into constructive criticism.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Former Goldman Sachs Programmer Back To Court

      Sergey Aleynikov is set to go back to court. Aleynikov was previously a programmer for Goldman Sachs who was tried and convicted of theft of trade secrets in federal court – a conviction that was overturned on appeal. Now Aleynikov is facing charges under New York State law for the same actions that were ruled legal by the appeals court.

    • Protest treated as anti-social behaviour

      Powers given to the police to deal with anti-social behaviour are increasingly being used to gather information on participants in political protest.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom Releases New Raid Footage Captured By In-House CCTV

        Following the high-profile raid on his New Zealand mansion in 2012, Kim Dotcom released dramatic film of the event taken from police helicopters. Now the Megaupload founder is back with new footage captured by his own in-house CCTV system. Among other events, the new material shows police carrying machine guns fitted with silencers, arrests of staff and the towing of his cars. Dotcom’s sense of humor still shines through though, with an ending fit for a Hollywood blockbuster.

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