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Links 31/7/2013: Manning Verdict, Apple Loses Smartphone Satisfaction Poll to Android

Posted in News Roundup at 4:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Poor countries saving money by using Linux

    Today in Open Source: Poor countries and Linux. Plus: Linux and supercomputers, and unfaithful distrohoppers

  • Free Linux Magazines

    Welcome to post number 99 on Everyday Linux User. I would like to thank everybody who has read and contributed to the blog since its inception in 2012.

    Now the headline is a real “Bazinga” of a headline. Everybody wants something for free so I know you are all waiting for the catch.

  • Even Cats Want to Learn more about Linux!

    A couple of days ago, my mother saw the Linux Magazine in a store and kindly bought an issue for me. I took the magazine home and got ready to read it, but this is what happens when someone faster sees your Linux Magazine:

  • What’s Your Favorite FOSS or Linux Blog?

    In other words, we’re not talking about the big websites that cover GNU/Linux and the FOSS world. We’re excluding popular Linux aggregators such as LXer, Linux Today or Tux Machines. Also excluded are the big all-things-to-all-people tech news sites, like ZDNet and CNET, that do as good a job covering FOSS and Linux as they do covering all other tech sectors. We’re also not talking about the great Linux information sites such as Linux Magazine, Phoronix, LWN and too many more to mention. Sites maintained by GNU/Linux distros are, too, not part of this discussion.

  • High Prices For IT

    There are few reasons consumers “need” that other OS. They are not heavy users of applications other than browsers and media-players which abound in FLOSS and GNU/Linux.

  • Desktop

    • The State of the Linux Desktop

      Nobody has noticed until now, but sometime in the first months of 2013, the Linux desktop slipped into a new era.

    • The Linux Setup – Sebastian Feiler, Student

      I am Sebastian (@Gerion80 on Twitter, +Sebastian Feiler on Google Plus), a legal trainee and Ph.D student from Cologne, Germany. After finishing my legal studies at University of Cologne, I am now in the last stage of my legal traineeship (“Rechtsreferendariat”). In Germany, in order to become a lawyer, judge or legal practitioner, you have to take two state exams, the first one at the end of your university education, the second one after completing a two-year traineeship. In addition, I am working on my Ph.D disseration in private international law.

    • A year of Linux desktop at Westcliff High School

      Around a year ago, a school in the southeast of England, Westcliff High School for Girls Academy (WHSG), began switching its student-facing computers to Linux, with KDE providing the desktop software. The school’s Network Manager, Malcolm Moore, contacted us at the time. Now, a year on, he got in touch again to let us know how he and the students find life in a world without Windows.

    • Linux Is Still A Lemon On The 2013 MacBook Air
  • Server

    • Linux reigns supreme in the supercomputing realm
    • IBM’s New Linux Box Combines the Best of Watson + Open Source

      IBM just pulled the curtains back on the PowerLinux 7R4, an open system that sports a scaled-down version of Watson’s brain.

      The 7R4 is a four socket, 32 core server designed for analytics, cognitive computing, web-scale applications and other CPU-intensive workloads that typically run in Linux environments. The system is available with IBM’s AIX and i operating systems, as well as Red Hat and SUSE.

    • Linux reigns supreme in the supercomputing realm
    • IBM Gets Aggressive On Linux Server Sales

      With demand waning for Unix server upgrades, IBM on Tuesday stepped up its effort to capture Linux workloads by introducing the aggressively priced PowerLinux 7R4.

      The 7R4 is based on the IBM Power 750 server, an all-purpose, four-socket, 32-core machine build for Unix, IBM System i, or Linux workloads. As with the previously available PowerLinux 7R1 and 7R2 (one- and two-socket servers), the 7R4 is licensed exclusively for use with Linux, and it’s aggressively priced to go after Intel x86-based competitors.

    • Linux’s flexibility, native hardware integration as a mainframe OS
    • IBM Brings More POWER to Linux

      IBM’s Power 750 server is getting a new Linux flavor. The PowerLinux 7R4 is a 4-socket, 32-core system that serves as the Linux version of the Power 750.

      The Power 750 servers are notable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that they are the system IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence system is built on. While Watson runs on Linux, IBM’s 7R4 is something a little bit different.

    • IBM Boosts Power to Linux Servers for Big Data, Cloud

      “When we want to do something new, Linux on Power is one of our go-to platforms. The performance, security and cost efficiencies inherent in Power Systems make it a superior foundation for the growing number of Linux-based applications available today,” said GHY International’s Nigel Fortlage.

    • IBM releases new PowerLinux server

      IBM continues to bet on Linux and open-source databases with its new PowerLinux 7R4 server.

    • Creating a $99 parallel computing machine is just as hard as it sounds

      Ten months ago, the chipmaker Adapteva unveiled a bold quest—to create a Raspberry Pi-sized computer that can perform the same types of tasks typically reserved for supercomputers. And… they wanted to sell it for only $99. A successful Kickstarter project raised nearly $900,000 for the so-called “Parallella,” and the company got to work with a goal of shipping the first devices by February 2013 and the rest by May 2013.

    • BeagleBone Black becomes a handheld classic gaming console

      Over at TI, the 2013 Intern Design Challenge is underway, an opportunity for the interns of TI to flex their engineering muscle for a few prizes and a chance to have their designs turned into actual products. We’re thinking [Max] might just pull this one out with his BeagleBone Gaming Cape, an add-on to the BeagleBone Black that turns this ARM-powered Linux board into a retro gaming system.

    • Intel’s first ‘open-source PC’ on sale for $199

      Intel has shipped its first “open-source PC,” a bare-bones computer aimed at software developers building x86 applications and hobbyists looking to construct their own computer.

    • IBM Boosts Power to Linux Servers for Big Data, Cloud

      “When we want to do something new, Linux on Power is one of our go-to platforms. The performance, security and cost efficiencies inherent in Power Systems make it a superior foundation for the growing number of Linux-based applications available today,” said GHY International’s Nigel Fortlage.

  • Kernel Space

    • Quick hit: IDS releases Linux driver for Raspberry Pi

      IDS Imaging Development has released a special Linux driver for the Raspberry Pi embedded board in order to enable vision system integrators to take full advantage of ARM in visualization and initial feasibility analyses.

    • Linus Torvalds Is a Little Upset About Linux Kernel 3.11 RC3, Everything’s Back to Normal

      Linus Torvalds has announced the immediate availability of the third Release Candidate in the 3.11 branch of the kernel.

    • Linux Foundation sees broadening role for developers
    • New Kernel Vulnerabilities Affect Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
    • Reiser4 File-System Updated For Linux 3.10 Kernel

      The out-of-tree Reiser4 file-system has been updated so it can be used with the stable Linux 3.10 kernel series.

      While it doesn’t look like Reiser4 will ever be merged into the mainline Linux kernel, work on the file-system continues by the remaining developers. The most recent Reiser4 file-system patch was uploaded this month to its SourceForge page.

    • Linux 3.11-rc3 Kernel Brings In Many More Patches

      The third release candidate is out for the Linux 3.11 kernel and it incorporates many more patches — too many more than Linus Torvalds would prefer at this time.

      While Torvalds has been calling for more regression fixes ahead of Linux 3.11-rc2, now he’s saying he wants less patches — and for those to be strictly regression fixes.

    • KTAP Tracing Expands On The Linux Kernel

      The KTAP scripting dynamic tracing tool for Linux has seen its second major release.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Updates Its Linux Graphics Driver Installer

        Intel has updated their “Linux Graphics Driver Installer” for making it easier to upgrade the Linux graphics stack on supported distributions.

        Intel Open-Source Technology Center developers introduced the Intel Linux Graphics Driver Installer earlier in the year as a way of upgrading the Linux graphics driver for those not comfortable with pulling code from Git, building it out, etc.

      • NVIDIA Buys PGI Compiler Company To Help OpenACC

        The Portland Group company has been around for more than two decades to focus on high-performance compilers for the Fortran, C, and C++ programming languages. While not too much is heard about PGI’s compilers within enthusiast circles, they have a lot of respect for their HPC compilers and in recent years their GPGPU initiatives. The Portland Group collaborated with NVIDIA over the CUDA Fortran implementation and they have also been involved with OpenACC for GPU programming and OpenCL on ARM.

      • NVIDIA’s Linux Driver On Ubuntu Is Very Competitive With Windows 8

        In recent days on Phoronix I have published benchmarks showing Windows 8 beating Ubuntu Linux for Intel Haswell performance and the Radeon Gallium3D driver losing to AMD Catalyst Legacy on Windows. As some good news for NVIDIA Linux users, the performance on Ubuntu Linux can beat out Microsoft Windows 8 on modern GPUs. However, the strong Linux performance can only be found if using the closed-source NVIDIA driver and not the open-source Nouveau alternative.

      • The Waylanders are coming

        This GUADEC there will be a couple of sessions on Friday afternoon from 2pm about Wayland. I’ll be giving a presentation with a brief introduction to what Wayland is, what new features we’ve worked on in the last cycle as well as what’s planned for the next one. As this is GUADEC i’ll of course be covering how we’re doing with getting Wayland integrated into GNOME. There will also be a Wayland panel discussion where you can ask your tricky questions of myself, Owen Taylor, Robert Bragg and Kristian Høgsberg – to get things started i’ve got some already prepared!

      • The problem with using the packaged proprietary AMD Catalyst video driver in Linux (that being when it isn’t updated in a timely manner)

        While using the AMD-supplied, closed-source Catalyst (ex-fglrx) video driver on my Fedora 19 system has allowed my HP Pavilion g6-2210us laptop to run Linux with working 3D acceleration, without occasional tearing of the image and — most importantly — WITH working suspend-resume, I’ve run into the age-old problem of using the RPM-packaged version of the driver as supplied by RPM Fusion:

      • Freedreno DRM/Gallium3D Shines Well For ARM

        The reverse-engineered Freedreno driver for open-source Qualcomm Adreno graphics support is quickly taking shape as the leading ARM Linux graphics driver for the (non-Android) Linux desktop.

        Rob Clark of Red Hat (formerly with Texas Instruments) has been working on Freedreno the past year and he’s made a ton of progress for doing most things single-handedly and as a hobbyist project. His Freedreno Gallium3D driver is the first mainline ARM Mesa/Gallium3D driver and that’s running well and in good shape for Mesa 9.2.

      • Mesa 9.2 Is At 1.3 Million Lines Of Code

        With Mesa 9.2 due to be released next month and it having a lot of new features, I figured it’s time to dive into some Git development statistics to see how the code-base is for Mesa 9.2.

      • Radeon DPM Support Should Now Be In Good Shape

        The dynamic power management support for the open-source AMD Radeon graphics driver on Linux should now be in good shape.

      • Nouveau Driver Gets Multi-Screen Reverse Optimus

        The latest release of the open-source NVIDIA X.Org driver is now xf86-video-nouveau 1.0.9. Features of this new update include multi-screen reverse Optimus support and NVIDIA “NVF0″ EXA and X-Video hardware acceleration.

      • Marek Olšák Joins AMD’s Open-Source Team

        Marek Olšák, the very well known independent contributor to Mesa/Gallium3D and particularly for the open-source Radeon graphics drivers, is now employed by AMD.

      • Radeon DPM Is Fantastic For Power Use, Thermal Performance

        One of the most exciting features of the upcoming Linux 3.11 kernel is the open-source Radeon driver’s support for dynamic power management (DPM). We have already done preliminary benchmarks and found that Radeon DPM can boost the GPU’s performance in cases where the boot clock speeds are slower than their rated frequencies (as in the case of AMD APUs and modern high-end GPUs). For other GPUs, Radeon DPM can lead to lower power consumption and better operating temperatures. Here’s looking at the Linux Radeon DPM performance with the Linux 3.11 Git kernel.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarking The SLP Vectorizer On LLVM Clang 3.4

        Following word this weekend that Apple and Google engineers agree on SLP vectorization by default for the LLVM/Clang compiler, I carried out some fresh SLP Vectorizer benchmarks this weekend from the LLVM Clang 3.4 SVN development code.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Task Manager Gets a Lot of Attention for 4.11

        KDE SC 4.11 is due for final release in little over two weeks with several interesting and exciting new features. However, according to Eike Hein, the task manager has received its share of work lately too. Hein says lots of bugs have been squashed and the codebase has been cleaned up, but the end-user may not notice it.

        Hein said one of the reasons for rewriting the task manager was so it could keep up with the rest of KDE as it moves towards “the QML era” or Plasma 2. That’s when he said that visual and operational changes were “kept to a minimum,” instead focusing on “a regression-free port, but a leaner and meaner codebase along with QML’s designed-in flexibility.”

      • KDE’s Task Manager Is Much Improved In KDE 4.11

        The task manager for the KDE Plasma desktop is much-improved in the upcoming KDE 4.11 release with some parts of it being rewritten from scratch to address longstanding issues while other improvements are making it ready for QML.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • on why removing features makes people unhappy

        i have been active in the gnome project for a long time. over the years, i have seen and heard a lot of criticism and praise, but there is one thing i never quite understood. people were always complaining if a feature was removed. sometimes, that specific feature was replaced by something better, sometimes the feature had been evolved and sometimes that feature was dropped.

      • Thirteen Years of GUADEC
      • GNOME Settings Daemon 3.8.4 Is Now Available for Download

        The GNOME Projects announced a few days ago that the fourth maintenance release of the GNOME Settings Daemon 3.8 package for the GNOME desktop environment is now available for download.

      • Interview with Gavin Ferris, GNOME Privacy Campaign Donor

        NOME recently raised $20,000 to fund security and privacy enhancements to our software. We are extremely excited by this, and want to thank everyone who contributed.

        One person who we are especially grateful to is Gavin Ferris, who was a particularly generous contributor to the fund raising campaign. We recently spoke to Gavin about his reasons for donating to GNOME.

      • GUADEC, Wayland, Transmageddon and more

        So GUADEC is kicking off on Thursday here in Brno. The upcoming event is creating quite a bit of excitement here in the office as many members of the Red Hat team here in Brno has been helping out with the organization of the conference this year, being in the hometown of our biggest engineering office in the world. A series of last minute meetings, calls and arriving banners and packages help create a good buzz ahead of the opening of the conference. We have managed to get a bigger contingent of the Red Hat Desktop team this year than usual, including some members of our X.org/Wayland team, our Spice team and our LibreOffice team, so it will be a great opportunity for our global team to meet face to face in addition to meeting the other members of the community.

      • Introducing Mechane, GUADEC
      • G-Videos new design won’t be ready for 3.10 ..but

        A week ago Bastien Nocera (maintainer of G-Videos) informed Gnome Community that he might won’t have the refresh UI of Videos ready for 3.10.

      • GNOME & Intel Developers Plan The Wayland Future

        The GNOME annual developer conference, GUADEC, is beginning this week in the Czech Republic. At this GNOME-focused open-source event, the developers will be joined by Intel Wayland developers as they plot their eventual departure from the X.Org Server.

  • Distributions

    • Pentesting, digital forensics, and hacking distributions

      If you are interested in penetration testing (pentesting), digital forensics, and in playing with software applications that hackers use on a daily basis, there are several Linux distributions that make those applications readily available.

      These are niche or specialty distributions that have been packaged with all the Free Software applications that the best in the business use, and that anybody with a computer can download and install.

      There are just a handful of these distributions and all have had at least one article about them published on this website. In alphabetical order, they are:

    • Linux: does it work for workers who work in the workplace?
    • Microlinux Enterprise Desktop revisited

      The Microlinux Enterprise Desktop is a full-blown production desktop based on the latest stable Slackware Linux release and Xfce. It is currently used by various small town halls, public libraries and schools in South France.

      MLED is not some derivative distribution. It consists of a collection of roughly 150 custom packages installed on top of an unaltered Slackware base system (except for a handful of multimedia apps rebuilt against the full Monty of audio and video codecs). It focuses on the Xfce desktop environment, with many enhancements.

    • Network Attached Storage (NAS) distributions

      With so many (partly free) Cloud storage services to choose from, people seem to have forgotten that storing data locally is the best way to deal with the privacy and security issues that come with the Cloud storage services. And that behind those Cloud storage offerings are computers running operating systems and services that most users can set up on their local machines.

      So if you would like to setup up a local storage server, using a network attached storage (NAS) distribution is the way to do it. And anybody can set up a NAS server using one of these distributions in about 5 minutes. When properly setup, you can give yourself a local “cloud” server for use in your internal network. The distributions that you may use to do just that are given in this article.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

      • AV Linux 6.0.1 Screenshot Gallery

        Possibly the perfect audio editing suite based on Linux, especially for one that’s ready out of the box so to speak. The real time kernel option is a great feature for sound engineers, reducing down on audio latency, and there’s a lot of driver and hardware control for everyone else.

      • Salix 14.0.1 KDE
      • Puppy 5.7
    • Gentoo Family

      • Moving Gentoo docs to the wiki

        Slowly but surely Gentoo documentation guides are being moved to the Gentoo Wiki. Thanks to the translation support provided by the infrastructure, all “reasons” not to go forward with this have been resolved. At first, I’m focusing on documentation with open bugs that have not been picked up (usually due to (human) resource limits), but other documents will follow.

    • Arch Family

      • Arch Linux: Letting You Build Your Linux System From Scratch

        For Linux power users, it’s highly desirable to be able to completely customize your system. Sometimes, that can be best achieved from the start — by piecing together the components that you’d like to include on your system. This way, as there are usually multiple programs that achieve the same result in different manners, you can pick those applications which you’re most fond of. Having to piece together can also let you take a deeper look at the system for maximum control. Most common desktop distributions don’t make this high level of customization very possible (as it’s not ideal and more difficult), but Arch Linux isn’t like most distributions.

      • My Initial Thoughts/Experiences with ArchLinux

        Hello again everyone! By this point, I have successfully installed ArchLinux, as well as KDE, and various other everyday applications necessary for my desktop.

        Aside from the issues with the bootloader I experienced, the installation was relatively straight forward. Since I have never used ArchLinux before, I decided to follow the Beginner’s Guide in order to make sure I wasn’t screwing anything up. The really nice thing about this guide is that it only gives you the information that you need to get up and running. From here, you can add any packages you want, and do any necessary customization.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux gets cozy with MongoDB

        Easing the path for organizations to launch big data-styled services, Red Hat has coupled the 10gen MongoDB data store to its new identity management package for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution.

        “The beauty of Identity Management is that it has a central infrastructure that companies can use to manage identities across many different types of applications,” said Kelly Stirman, 10gen director of product marketing. With MongoDB linked to Identity Management, those shops already using RHEL will find it much easier to set up and run applications that run on MongoDB data.

      • 10gen and Red Hat Deliver Integrated Security Solution for MongoDB
      • New Red Hat OpenStack Admin course

        Get certified in OpenStack for Red Hat with a new course, get 10% off this and any other course with the special Summer Offer

      • Fedora

        • Deploy Fedora over a network

          Installing Linux on a single box is easy, but try extending that to a room, or even building, full of computers and you’ll face a massive headache. To save you from running back and forth between all those computers, we’ll show you how to set up an automated network install.

        • Korora Linux: More Than Just Another Fedora Clone

          I was much more impressed with Korora’s KDE desktop version than the GNOME version. The KDE menu provided ready access to all of the features and software. Plus, the KDE desktop has a panel bar at the bottom of the screen. For example, the Software Manager, Apper, was readily available on the Favorites panel in the KDE menu. The Software manager app was not so easy to find in the GNOME version.

        • Deploy Fedora over a network

          Installing Linux on a single box is easy, but try extending that to a room, or even building, full of computers and you’ll face a massive headache. To save you from running back and forth between all those computers, we’ll show you how to set up an automated network install.

          This project has two main stages. Firstly, a working boot server must be established. Secondly, a Kickstart file must be created in order to satisfy the installer and ensure that it does not require any interaction from the administrator.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Rugged ARM Linux touchpanel targets military apps

      IEE announced a Linux-based thin-client touchpanel computer for harsh military environments. The highly rugged touchpanel computer is equipped with a 1GHz ARM processor and a 10.4-inch, 1024 x 768-pixel resistive touchscreen with backlighting and high contrast, and is usable over an extended temperature range of -46 to 70°C.

    • Networking SBCs run Linux on multicore i.MX6 SoCs

      Gateworks Corp. announced a family of six Linux-ready single board computers for network processing running Freescale’s ARM Cortex-A9-based i.MX6 processors. The Ventana SBCs range from a dual-core 800MHz model with one mini-PCIe slot, to a quad-core 1GHz board with HD video and six mini-PCIe slots, and can be expanded modularly using a choice of four stackable mini-PCIe, PCI, and Gig-Ethernet (copper and fiber) boards.

    • MediaTek mints Big.Little quad-core SoC, octa-core coming

      MediaTek announced a quad-core system-on-chip with dual ARM Cortex-A15 and dual Cortex-A7 cores that is said to be the first Big.Little SoC to operate all four cores simultaneously. The tablet-focused MT8135 is further equipped with a new PowerVR Series6 G6200 GPU from Imagination Technologies, and will be followed by an eight-core “True Octa-Core” Big.Little SoC with similar heterogeneous multi-processing capabilities.

    • AMD shrinks G-Series SoC TDP to 6 Watts

      AMD announced the most power-efficient model yet in its new line of Linux-ready AMD Embedded G-Series system-on-chips. The dual-core, 1GHz GX-210JA SoC offers a low 6W TDP and 3W “expected average power,” making it well suited for a wide range of fanless embedded devices.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Samsung Galaxy S3 tops iPhone in smartphone satisfaction poll

          Two of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones scored higher grades than the three current iPhone models in a survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

        • Microsoft Office comes to Android, I won’t be installing it

          I never missed any Microsoft products on my Mac, GNU/Linux or Android devices – especially the Microsoft Office as there is LibreOffice for desktop and many office suites for Android. Since I covered at length how Microsoft gamed the system and got its OOXML approved as an ISO standard by ‘buying’ votes, I stay away from Microsoft formats and products. Microsoft’s own implementation of OOXML is a huge interoperable mess.

        • Android 4.3 Update Brings TRIM to All Nexus Devices

          One of the common complaints late in the life of the original Nexus 7 was slow storage I/O performance, leading to an inconsistent user experience. After a fresh flash, the Nexus 7 was speedy and performant, but after months of installing applications and using the tablet, things began slowing down. This was a friction point that many hoped would be fixed in the new Nexus 7 (2013) model, which it was. There’s even more to the story though, it turns out Google has fixed that storage I/O aging problem on all Nexus devices with the Android 4.3 update.

        • Is Google preparing to dump Android?

          Google Preparing to Dump Android?
          Apple Insider has a fascinating article that explores the possibility of Google dumping Android for Chrome OS. You might at first think this is a crazy notion, given the popularity of Android phones in particular. However, it’s not as far fetched an idea as it might seem initially.

        • Free iOS 7-like Control Center app for Android
    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • NSA F**k Off: Coming Soon Open Source Encryption for People Like Me

    Encryption is not fun and easy. I fooled around a bit the Pretty Good Privacy and found it frustrating and complicated to use. Fortunately, Edward Snowden’s revelations of just how intrusive the national security surveillance state is has now provoked efforts to create user friendly encryption.

  • Escape From Evil CIA Agents as Edward Snowden in This New Android Game
  • High prices? Just stop using the software

    Why is it suddenly news that US technology companies have been ripping off customers in Australia (and, indeed, most of the rest of the world) by charging them exorbitant prices?

    Could it be because some politicians have suddenly thought it would be a good idea to form a panel and act like heroes by questioning the big tech companies in public? Just to demonstrate that they are on the side of the public – an act that would certainly not be detrimental to their fortunes with elections around the corner?

    Anyone who is half-savvy knows that this kind of over-charging is an old game. The local dealers are no angels either. Back in 1999, I recall buying a CD-ROM drive from Harvey Norman for $110 for a wealthy client of mine. A few weeks later, after being introduced to the wonderful world of computer swap meets by a friend who was more down-to-earth, I bought a similar drive for $60.

  • 10 innovations that can save money for small businesses

    1: Linux and open source

    Linux and open source have not only matured into a business-ready platform, they have pushed innovation forward on a number of fronts. From the server all the way up to the desktop, Linux and open source have helped force the competition to reevaluate how the user and business interact with hardware and customers. The Linux desktop has proved that more can be done with a user interface than the worn-out Start button/task bar metaphor. And with the power of the Linux server, businesses can work with tools like customer resource management, human resource management, and other platforms they might not otherwise have access to. Along with this innovation comes considerable cost savings.

  • Gigablast Now an Open Source Search Engine
  • Open Source PDF Software List Can Now Be Accessed At SoftwareReviewBoffin.Com
  • Open source Java projects: Vert.x
  • Audi Turns to NETWAYS & Icinga for Open Source Monitoring

    Leading carmaker AUDI AG has chosen the open source specialists, NETWAYS GmbH to help migrate their monitoring systems to Icinga.

  • World’s #1 Open Source ERP xTuple Launches Cloud 2.0 Business Management Software as a Service
  • Open Source xTuple Selected for Virginia Leaders in Export Trade Program
  • Celebrating 3 Years of Open Source Cloud Development

    Today we are happy to celebrate three years of open collaboration and development of the OpenStack Foundation and cloud computing platform. The goal of the OpenStack Foundation is to serve developers, users, and the entire ecosystem by providing a set of shared resources to grow the footprint of public and private OpenStack clouds, enable technology vendors targeting the platform and assist developers in producing the best cloud software in the industry. The OpenStack Foundation has followed the principles of open design, open development, open community, and open source to bring to life a ubiquitous cloud platform that allows anyone to run on it, build on it, or submit improvements.

  • Open source is the dominant warfighting doctrine of the 21st century

    Open source software offers the promise of a revolutionary transformation in defense, intelligence, law enforcement, and government technology at a cost and pace that satisfies the competing requirements of shrinking resources and constantly accelerating global operations. While this technological transformation is emphasized by engineers and developers within industry and the acquisition community, it is often perceived as tangential to those with an operational focus.

  • Software-Defined Data Centers Could Change the IT Landscape

    The idea of virtual data centers has been around since IBM first virtualized the mainframe nearly 50 years ago, but a few companies today may be close to achieving the same feat across the entire distributed data center.

    IBM’s pioneering work in mainframe virtualization was an inspiration for VMware’s launch many years later. And just as IBM virtualized what was then the entire computing environment – the mainframe – so today companies like VMware, Citrix and Red Hat are trying to do the same thing across the entire data center infrastructure of servers, storage and networks.

  • Totem 3.9.5 Allows Streaming of Vimeo Videos

    The fifth development version of the upcoming Totem 3.10, now known as Videos (or Movie Player in Ubuntu), multimedia player for the GNOME desktop environment is now available for download and testing, as posted on the main GNOME FTP server earlier today, July 29.

  • Open source taxi app designed to improve booking experience

    Booking a cab is getting easier for passengers thanks to the advent of apps that let you book your cab straight from your smartphone. But implementing those apps and booking systems isn’t always the easiest—or most affordable—option for taxi companies.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Video Hardware Acceleration For WebKitGTK+

      Video hardware acceleration is being worked on for WebKitGTK+ with composited video support.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 23 Beta 10 Released for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X

        The tenth beta release in the new Firefox 23.x branch has been made available for download by Mozilla for all available platforms.

      • Mozilla Continues to Build the Web as a Platform for Security
      • Mozilla’s New Leadership Focuses on Firefox OS As Gary Kovacs Moves On

        In a huge announcement from Mozilla in April, the nonprofit entity behind the Firefox browser and other open source tools detailed significant changes to its executive management, including the fact that CEO Gary Kovacs would step down after running the company for more than three years. The shakeup came amidst other executive changes designed to help Mozilla align strategically around its new Firefox OS mobile platform.

      • OSCON + Mozilla = Awesome
      • Mozilla and BlackBerry Collaborate on Security Tools

        In the constant dance between software bug squashers and bugs themselves, “peach fuzzing” has become an interesting trend. Peach is an open source platform that helps organizations perform large scale automated testing of code and software. It lets developers and security researchers yield security and bug-related insights, including insights on mutations of existing code.

      • Mozilla Continues to Build the Web as a Platform for Security

        Mozilla continues to build the Web as a platform for security which is a crucial part of our mission to move the Web forward as a platform for openness, innovation and opportunity for all. Today this platform for security is being advanced through Mozilla and BlackBerry collaborating on advanced automated security testing techniques known as fuzzing and Mozilla introducing Minion, an open source security testing platform intended to be used by developers and security professionals. These research efforts are some of the many ways Mozilla helps make the Web more secure and protect Firefox users.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Could OpenStack Benefit from the Power of One?

      Is the market becoming flooded with too many OpenStack distributions and services? Is there a risk of too much fragmentation with such a new and important open platform? That’s a question I considered in a recent post called “In Five Years, Expect Far Fewer OpenStack Service Providers.” Citrix officials and others have repeatedly made the point that there is much more press and hubbub surround OpenStack than there are deployments. And several big companies have been departing from their original plans with OpenStack. Could it be that there are too many cooks in the kitchen with this platform?

    • What IBM Joining the Cloud Foundry Project Means

      When the OpenStack project was launched in 2010, IBM was one of many vendors in the industry offered the opportunity to participate. And though OpenStack launched with a nearly unprecedented list of supporters, IBM was not among them. In spite of their lack of a public commitment to an existing open source cloud platform – they had their own service offering in SmartCloud – they declined to join the project.

    • Ask Your Hadoop Questions at Cloudera’s New Community Forums

      We’ve covered Hadoop on many occasions here at OStatic, and it has quickly become essential to many organizations interested in crunching Big Data and yielding insights from data that were inaccessible before. As Hadoop’s influence has grown, so has Cloudera’s. Cloudera provides support, services and training for Hadoop and helps organizations leverage custom analyses tailored to exactly the information and questions that they have.

      Now, Cloudera has launched new Community forums. An alternative to traditional mailing lists, the Cloudera community forums offer search functionality to help users ask and answer more questions, especially about Hadoop, while creating a name for themselves in the community. For Cloudera customers, questions will be escalated to support cases whenever a thread remains unsolved for two days.

  • Databases

    • Couchbase’s Bob Wiederhold: Riding High on Big Data With NoSQL

      “We think that the infrastructure technology of the future is going to be open source. So it is not a surprise that all of the leaders in the NoSQL space are all open source companies. There are some companies that have proprietary software in the NoSQL market, but they have not gotten very much traction in the market. We see open source playing a huge role as the industry continues to grow.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Breaking bad: Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux website takes a break

      It might be dubbed “unbreakable”, but Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux website is certainly stoppable.

      The online support network feeding the enterprise-grade distro with fixes and updates will be taken offline by the database giant on Friday. It will be down for three hours from 3pm Pacific time (11pm UK) on 2 August, the company said, citing “scheduled maintenance”.

  • CMS

  • BSD

    • Running PC-BSD/FreeBSD 9.1 On Intel’s Core i7 Haswell

      In the two months since the launch of Intel’s Haswell processors there’s been a lot of coverage on Phoronix for this latest-generation hardware under Linux, including some of Windows and OS X too, but no BSD testing yet. That has now changed with our first report of using PC-BSD / FreeBSD 9.1 on an Intel Core i7 4770K.


  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing

    • The Fantec decision: German court holds distributor responsible for FOSS compliance

      The GPLv2 continues to be the most widely used FOSS license, but has been rarely interpreted by courts. Most of these decisions have come from Germany as a result of the enforcement actions of Harold Welte. The recent Fantec decision in Germany is the latest such decision and provides guidance on the requirements for companies to manage their use of FOSS and the lack of ability to rely on statements from their suppliers.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Ford engineer 3d prints haptic gear shift using open-source electronics
    • Open Source Science Fair Puts Coding Wonders On Public Display

      A science fair for adults in Midtown exhibits the achievements of people who have created innovative, new projects using free, open-source computer code. NY1′s Technology reporter Adam Balkin filed the following report.

    • $150 Open-Source Attachment Turns the iPhone into a Thermal Imaging Camera

      Modder Andy Rawson needed an easy way to find air leaks in his 100-year-old house in order to improve its energy efficiency. Not wanting to spend thousands of dollars on a thermal imaging camera, he decided to go the DIY route. He built a box containing a 64-zone temperature sensor, and managed to connect the device to his iPhone via the dock. By overlaying the temperature data onto the iPhone’s camera display, the $150 attachment instantly turns the iPhone into a cheap thermal imaging camera.

    • $15,000 Could Buy You Your Own Open Source Airplane

      Aircraft technology usually seems so amazing that it has to be expensive, but the Maker Plane team is going to change all that. On the back of a crowdfunded open source initiative, they are designing a light sport aircraft that can fly two people. You should be able to buy it for $15,000. That’s just about the same price as 3,000 cronuts.

    • MakerPlane: the open source airplane project looking for crowdfunding love
    • Open-source, software-defined radio platform

      Nuand has employed Lime Microsystems’ programmable RF silicon for its bladeRF, which – the two companies say – takes open-source RF hardware into the mainstream

    • Battle against breast cancer goes open source

      After a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision guarded genetic data on breast cancer from Myriad Genetics, the nonprofit coalition Free the Data! launched a campaign to open troves of molecular information about widespread tumors with the help of big data software outfit, Syapse.

    • Open Access/Content

      • MIT report is a whitewash. My statement in Response

        Statement by Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, on MIT’s report, released today, on the University’s actions in the Aaron Swartz case:

        “MIT’s behavior throughout the case was reprehensible, and this report is quite frankly a whitewash.

        Here are the facts: This report claims that MIT was “neutral” — but MIT’s lawyers gave prosecutors total access to witnesses and evidence, while refusing access to Aaron’s lawyers to the exact same witnesses and evidence. That’s not neutral. The fact is that all MIT had to do was say publicly, “We don’t want this prosecution to go forward” – and Steve Heymann and Carmen Ortiz would have had no case. We have an institution to contrast MIT with – JSTOR, who came out immediately and publicly against the prosecution. Aaron would be alive today if MIT had acted as JSTOR did. MIT had a moral imperative to do so.

        And even now, MIT is still stonewalling. Wired reporter Kevin Poulsen FOIA’d the Secret Service’s files on Aaron’s case, and judge ordered them to be released. The only reason they haven’t been is because MIT has filed an objection. If MIT is at all serious about implementing any reforms to stop this kind of tragedy from happening again, it must stop objecting to the release of information about the case.”

      • The MIT Report on #aaronsw

        The report says that MIT never told the prosecutor that Aaron’s access was “unauthorized.” They indicated that his machine was not supposed to be plugged into the ethernet jack it was plugged into, but there is no law against abusing an ethernet jack. The law regulates authorized access to a network. The whole predicate to the government’s case was that Aaron’s access to the network was “unauthorized,” yet apparently in the many many months during which the government was prosecuting, they were too busy to determine whether indeed, access to the network was “authorized.”

      • Abelson Report to MIT on Aaron Swartz Released ~pj Updated

        But I believe we have have now sufficient facts to reach a solid conclusion as to what was the problem. And what still is, since the letter states with bravado that we will surely understand from the report that “MIT’s decisions were reasonable, appropriate and made in good faith.” No. I do not so conclude.


        I conclude that MIT needs a new president.

    • Open Hardware

      • MakerPlane’s open source aircraft funding campaign gets off to a slow start (video)

        There are some things in this world we’re not sure are improved by the 3D printing process, like firearms and food. Aircraft might also be on that list, but no amount of dubiousness will stand in the way of MakerPlane’s open source plane. The aviation company’s ambitious Indiegogo campaign went live last week (check out the video below), but its quest for funding looks like it’s going to be a major uphill climb. At the time of this writing, the campaign had yet to breach the $800 mark, a far cry from its $75,000 goal. While part of the reason for the slow funding can be chalked up to a certain level of skepticism when it comes to a plane made with 3D printed parts and open sourced avionics software, the lack of plane-related rewards might also be holding the company back from reaching its endgame.

      • Bringing the open-source spirit of innovation to hardware [VIDEO]

        Most of us are familiar with open-source software like Mozilla Firefox, the Linux operating system and its popular offspring, Android. To encourage innovation, open-source software developers copyright their work, but allow others to make changes and distribute it.

  • Programming

    • Padre Review – Perl Scripting Environment

      I am currently working on a personal programming project. Once completed, the eventual binaries will actually be launched by either running a Python or Perl script. Experimenting with some Perl stuff has given me the chance to review a nice Perl scripting IDE called Padre.

    • LLVM Clang 3.4 SVN Compiler Optimization Level Tests

      To complement the LLVM 3.4 SVN compiler benchmarks from yesterday that were looking at the impact of using the SLP Vectorizer that’s soon to be enabled by default for some optimization levels, here are some more LLVM Clang compiler development benchmarks. This time around are fresh benchmarks of the open-source C/C++ compiler when trying out the different compiler optimization levels, including -O0, -O1, -O2, -Os, -O3, and -Ofast.

    • LLVM Clang 3.4 SVN Compiler Optimization Level Tests

      To complement the LLVM 3.4 SVN compiler benchmarks from yesterday that were looking at the impact of using the SLP Vectorizer that’s soon to be enabled by default for some optimization levels, here are some more LLVM Clang compiler development benchmarks. This time around are fresh benchmarks of the open-source C/C++ compiler when trying out the different compiler optimization levels, including -O0, -O1, -O2, -Os, -O3, and -Ofast.

    • Radeon Gets Multi-Screen Reverse Optimus Support
    • Google Details PNaCl Native Client LLVM Bitcode

      Google has begun making public the details concerning their Portable Native Client (PNaCl) implementation.

      Portable Native Client comes down to compiling Google Native Client applications to a subset of LLVM bitcode that can then basically run anywhere that Native Client is supported.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • How TCP/IP eclipsed the Open Systems Interconnection standards to become the global protocol for computer networking

      If everything had gone according to plan, the Internet as we know it would never have sprung up. That plan, devised 35 years ago, instead would have created a comprehensive set of standards for computer networks called Open Systems Interconnection, or OSI. Its architects were a dedicated group of computer industry representatives in the United Kingdom, France, and the United States who envisioned a complete, open, and multi­layered system that would allow users all over the world to exchange data easily and thereby unleash new possibilities for collaboration and commerce.


  • The Original Meaning of “Corruption”

    Inspired by the work of Zephyr Teachout and Zach Brugman, and aided by the work of two research assistants, Dennis Courtney and Zach D’Amico, the lawyers at the Constitutional Accountability Center and I have submitted this amicus brief to the Supreme Court for the upcoming McCutcheon v. F.E.C..

  • The Old Reader to shut down – in 2 weeks

    Maintainers of The Old Reader have announced that the service will no longer be accepting new registrations, the service itself will be shutting down in two weeks and existing accounts migrated to a private site.

    The Old Reader, which got that name because it is a continuation of Google’s old RSS reader code, was started as a hobby of sorts by a very small group of friends. It was one of several online RSS Feed services that was promoted as an alternative to Google’s online RSS Feed service after Google announced that its service will be shutting down (it has since shut down).

  • Science

    • Alaska’s disappearing ice
    • Night of the Living Permafrost

      This might sound like a typical evening on Netflix but here’s the catch: The melting of the permafrost is not science fiction and it’s not gonna go away unless we provoke major changes… right fuckin’ now.

      As the New York Times reported in 2011: “Experts have long known that northern lands were a storehouse of frozen carbon, locked up in the form of leaves, roots and other organic matter trapped in icy soil — a mix that, when thawed, can produce methane and carbon dioxide, gases that trap heat and warm the planet. But they have been stunned in recent years to realize just how much organic debris is there.”

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • US Ports Ripe for Cyber Attacks, Report Says

      Cyber security measures and heightened awareness are lacking at selected US ports, and no facility is prepared for a cyber attack, a recent Brookings Institution study found.

      The study, The Critical Infrastructure Gap: US Port Facilities and Cyber Vulnerabilities, emphasized that “port facilities rely as much upon networked computer and control systems as they do upon stevedores to ensure the flow of maritime commerce that the economy, homeland and national security depend upon. Unfortunately, this technological dependence has not been accompanied by clear cybersecurity standards or authorities, leaving public, private and military facilities unprotected.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • This American Life Whitewashes U.S. Crimes in Central America, Wins Peabody Award

      Celebrating 2012’s best examples of broadcast journalism, the George Foster Peabody Awards attracted the likes of D.L. Hughley, Amy Poehler and Bryant Gumbel to the Waldorf-Astoria’s four-story grand ballroom in New York this past May. In a gaudy ceremony hosted by CBS star-anchor Scott Pelley, National Public Radio’s This American Life received the industry’s oldest and perhaps most prestigious accolade. The 16-member Peabody Board, consisting of “television critics, industry practitioners and experts in culture and the arts,” had selected a particular This American Life episode—“What Happened at Dos Erres”—as one of the winners of its 72nd annual awards on the basis of “only one criterion: excellence.”

      This American Life’s host Ira Glass had once conceived of the weekly show, which reaches 1.8 million listeners each episode, as an experiment to do “the most idealistic, wide-eyed things that can do…to provide a perspective on this country that you couldn’t get elsewhere.” As is typical for the program, Glass weaved personal narratives and anecdotes together with broader context in “What Happened at Dos Erres,” which focused on a 1982 massacre of 250 Guatemalan civilians at the hands of their government’s elite military commandos—the Kaibiles.

    • Multiple Detriot police officers suspected of armed robbery during traffic stops
    • Polish official accused of illicitly favoring Israel-made drones

      Deputy defense minister’s security clearance is revoked over his alleged preference and his close personal ties with the head of Rafael.

    • FBI says it doesn’t need warrant to use drones

      The FBI has told Congress it does not need to get a warrant to conduct surveillance with drones, in a letter laying out some of the top federal law enforcement agency’s policies for how it uses unmanned aerial vehicles.

      In a July 19 letter to Sen. Rand Paul, Stephen D. Kelly, assistant director for the FBI’s congressional liaison office, said the agency has used drones in 10 instances, including twice for “national security” cases and eight times for criminal cases. The FBI authorized the use of drones in three other criminal cases but didn’t deploy them.

    • Turning a page: Latin America and the US

      As geopolitical shifts grip Latin America, Empire examines what challenges may yet lie ahead.

    • Viral video: A teen was shot, tasered and killed by police in Toronto

      Another officer involved shooting went viral on YouTube Sunday. A member of the Toronto police department has been suspended with pay following the shooting of a teen. After nine shots and a tasering the boy died and the officer is now being investigated for charges of excessive force.

    • President Obama Sending Drones All Around the Globe

      The “next phase of drone warfare” will extend “far beyond traditional, declared combat zones,” the Washington Post reports.

      Africa, according to the report filed July 20, will see an enormous increase in the sorties of unmanned aerial vehicles remotely piloted by U.S. airmen. The commander of U.S. forces in Africa has purportedly requested a “15-fold increase in surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering on the continent.”

    • Group sues FBI for records after Michael Hastings’ mysterious death

      A journalist and a researcher have sued the Justice Department for access to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s records on the late journalist Michael Hastings.

      The lawsuit follows the FBI’s failure to respond to separate Freedom of Information Act requests for records on Hastings submitted by journalist Jason Leopold of al-Jazeera and Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Ryan Shapiro.

    • Suspected US drone kills 3 in Yemen

      A Yemeni military official says a suspected U.S. drone strike has killed three alleged al-Qaida militants in one of the group’s strongholds in the south of the country.

    • US Drone Kills 6 Suspected Militants in Yemen

      A Yemeni military official says a suspected U.S. drone strike has killed six alleged al-Qaida militants in the group’s southern strongholds.

    • US drone ‘kills 3 Qaida suspects’ in Yemen

      US drones strikes in Yemen nearly tripled in 2012 compared to 2011, from 18 to 53, according to the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think-tank.

    • US Drone Strikes Kill Eight in Southern Yemen

      Six ‘Suspects’ Killed in First Strike, Two Rescuers Killed in Second

    • JFK ‘shot by U.S. secret service’

      A TV documentary has sensationally claimed that US president John F Kennedy was accidentally killed by a secret service agent.

    • European Court to hear new CIA jail case against Poland

      The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has agreed to consider a second case against Poland over allegations it allowed the CIA to run a secret jail on its soil, intensifying pressure on Warsaw to reveal how closely it was involved in the U.S. “war on terror”.

    • European Court to Hear CIA ‘Black Site’ Cases
    • Diplomacy and Intelligence: Are U.S. Embassies Fronts for the CIA? (VIDEO)

      Diplomats are “overt intelligence collectors,” and the “end-product” of diplomatic reporting and clandestine intelligence-gathering “can be the same,” John Negroponte, former director of national intelligence and deputy secretary of state, says on this week’s episode of Conversations with Nicholas Kralev.

    • Another case of alleged CIA prisons in Poland to be opened?

      Polish officials continue to deny accusations that the CIA operated prisons on Polish soil and claim that they are conducting a full and fair investigation into the allegations. “Poland is obliged to reply to the complaint by the deadline of September 16 of this year. The case is currently being analyzed by the legal services of the ministry,” the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said after receiving documents of the second case from the ECHR.

    • ‘L.A. Times’ report: Spies battle bad bosses at CIA

      The story cites a CIA inspector general’s report that showed more than half of the agency’s analysts who were resigning or contemplating in 2009 it had cited bad bosses as the main reason.

    • Ex-CIA whistleblower claims US shielded higher-ups

      Sabrina De Sousa is one of a number of Americans who were convicted in absentia in Italy for being involved in the CIA kidnapping of the Muslim Egyptian cleric Abu Omar from the streets of Milan in 2003 and then bringing him to Egypt for interrogation.

      De Sousa claims that the agency inflated the threat posed by the preacher. After the incident was uncovered by Italian authorities, she claims that the U.S. allowed Italy to prosecute her and others in order to shield George W Bush and other high U.S. officials from their responsibility for approving the operation.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Austria to go 100 percent nuclear-free

      This month, Austria went ahead with its plans to ban imports of nuclear power to the country. Electricity is to be labeled to ensure that no power from nuclear reactors is purchased from abroad. The EU is not pleased about the move, which has gone practically unnoticed in reports in English.

    • Day 6 (Tues 30th) Of Community Fracking Blockade In Balcombe Sussex

      Fracking company Cuadrilla Resources are trying to start drilling in Balcombe, West Sussex and the community is trying to stop them. Over 250 people stopped 15 trucks bring on equipment on Day 1 (Thurs). On Day 2 more than 100 police were used to break the blockade and escort trucks onto the fracking site. On Day 3 the community continued to resist attempts to force trucks through the blockade but gave up early afternoon. On Day 4 Cudrilla did not attempt to bring any trucks onto the site. On Day 5 Cuadrilla continued to try to push trucks through the blockade and the community have continued to resist. Camp is still going strong and renewed efforts are being made to defend Balcombe. See Fracking In Balcombe: A Community Says No for background to issues involved. Scroll down for photos.

    • ‘BP, Total join Adriatic gas pipeline project’

      Oil groups BP and Total and two other energy firms have taken stakes in a consortium which will build a trans-Adriatic gas pipeline seen as key to help Europe reduce its dependence on Russia.

      The so-called Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) consortium announced Tuesday that BP of Britain, Total of France, Socar of Azerbaijan and Belgian gas network company Fluxys had each taken shares in the group.

    • Federal judge grants Chevron access to private internet data

      On June 25, 2013, a federal judge approved a subpoena, to be served by Chevron to Microsoft, granting Chevron private Internet data related to 30 email addresses, including those related to environmental nonprofits, activists, journalists and lawyers.

      This information forms part of a larger fishing expedition seeking information related to approximately 100 email addresses in an attempt to gather enough information to bring a lawsuit against those who won an $18 billion judgment against Chevron in Ecuador in February 2011 for dumping 18.5 gallons of highly toxic waste into the streams and rivers in the rainforests in the Oriente region of eastern Ecuador. Chevron’s suit claims that “this judgment is the product of fraud.”

    • Wind power one of cleanest energy sources over lifetime

      Greenhouse gases produced over the lifetime of a wind turbine – including for its manufacturing and installation – are less than that of fossil-fuel based energy sources and most other renewables, a new study from the US shows. Only ocean energy (wave and tidal) and hydropower have lower emissions than wind…

    • Paradise lost

      Shocking pictures show how a beautiful beach in Thailand turned black after a devastating oil spill

  • Finance

    • Cuban government announces acceleration of privatization and austerity measures

      Earlier this month, Marino Murillo, vice president of the Cuban Council of Ministers, announced that during the rest of this year and through the next the state would enact and carry through the next phase of its privatization and austerity measures, creating “the most profound transformations.”

      The measures, which were first announced in 2010 by Cuban President Raul Castro as part of a 300-point plan, represent the deepest changes to the Cuban economy since the taking of power by the Castro regime in 1959. Like austerity plans being carried out elsewhere in the world, the aim of these measures is to make the working class pay for the world capitalist crisis through mass layoffs, privatization, speed-ups, and the elimination of social welfare measures.

    • Scottish independence ‘yes’ camp given fillip by welfare analysis

      IFS says independent Scotland could discard ‘poorly designed’ Westminster reforms – but would face higher bill as result

    • Serco: the company that is running Britain

      From prisons to rail franchises and even London’s Boris bikes, Serco is a giant global corporation that has hoovered up outsourced government contracts. Now the NHS is firmly in its sights. But it stands accused of mismanagement, lying and even charging for non-existent work

    • One royal baby = 256,410 dead newborns

      The £1 million spent on making the newly born Royal’s living quarters fit for a prince could have saved 256,410 newborns from easily preventable deaths.

    • Competition now; But in the Future?

      Competition for cable-television providers looks safe at least for a time, as the result of two copyright suits link here. In one, Aereo TV captures from antennas and delivers regular programming via the internet for a monthly fee; this allows the subscriber to record the programs playing them back when he wants. In the other, the satellite Dish provider offered a service, Hopper, which allowed the customer to eliminate ads on home recorded programs. Neither service allows the broadcaster to charge for its programs since the courts ruled that they could not use copyright to enforce payment.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • New York Times: What’s in the ‘Center’?

      One of the most important tenets of corporate political journalism is the elevation of the “center” as the ideal. Partisanship, which implies disagreement and/or strongly held views, is often seen as one of the big problems in Washington. And the way this message is communicated is often by pundits and journalists advocating for the Democratic Party to “move to the center”–which is, of course, moving to the right.

    • Reza Aslan And How Fox News Islamophobia Comes From The Top

      Kaczynski asked “Is this the most embarrassing interview Fox News has ever done?” due to the host’s inability to accept that Aslan, who is Muslim, would have any legitimate interest in a scholarly work about Jesus.


      A Rolling Stone profile of Ailes quoted a source close to the Fox boss who claimed he “has a personal paranoia about people who are Muslim – which is consistent with the ideology of his network.”

      These beliefs have been reflected by a number of the network’s on-air personalities.

    • How Do You Get in the NYT? Just Ask–if You’re a Top General

      It’s not easy to get into the Newspaper of Record. But if you’re the commander of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan and you want to send a message that those troops need to stay in the country past 2014, apparently you just tell the New York Times that you’re ready to talk.

    • Fox Claims That Feeding Seniors In Need Is An Effort To Buy Their Vote

      Fox News continued its campaign to demonize programs that provide necessary food assistance to millions of Americans by attacking the AARP’s effort to enroll eligible seniors in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, baselessly claiming the program was an effort to buy their vote and change “what America really is” and dismissing the fact that many eligible seniors find it difficult to enroll in the food assistance program they need.

    • Hard-Hitting TV Ads Push to Overturn Citizens United

      For many years now, the Center for Media and Democracy has joined with Public Citizen, Common Cause, People for the American Way, Move to Amend, Free Speech for the People, and other good government and grassroots groups in an effort to build momentum to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision with an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

      Through countless collective and individual efforts, we are on a roll. In total, 16 states and roughly 500 communities have asked Congress to initiate the process of overturning Citizens United by amending our constitution. The Nation magazine dubbed it the “most successful and uncovered” political movement in America.

    • Former Indiana Superintendent, Lauded by ALEC and Education Privatizers, Cheats on School Grading Formula for Top Donor

      New documents show that former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett — who now heads Florida’s schools — overhauled Indiana’s much-heralded school grading system to guarantee that a charter run by a major campaign donor would receive top marks. These revelations shine a light on the big bucks behind the education privatization agenda, its continued failure to meet the need of students, and provides another instance of cheating to cover up poor educational outcomes.

  • Censorship

    • Censored

      Imagine that last week you’d read a blog post. It was post about porn blocking, and how there are other things we as a society should focus on if, say, we wanted to prevent child sexual abuse. It was a post about porn blocking from an abuse survivor.

      One of the many people you follow on Twitter or are friends with on Facebook posted the link, and you followed it. You read the post, maybe you thought the author had made a good point or two, then you closed the tab, and that was that. Then a couple of days later you found yourself discussing porn blocking with a colleague, or a friend, and you thought, “Damn, I should link them to that post. Wonder how I find it again.”

    • Telco Astroturfing Tries To Bring Down Reviews Of Susan Crawford’s Book

      Astroturfing — the process of a faux “grassroots” effort, often set up by cynical and soulless DC lobbyists pretending to create a “grassroots” campaign around some subject — is certainly nothing new. It’s been around for quite some time, and it’s rarely successful. Most people can sniff out an astroturfing campaign a mile away because it lacks all the hallmarks of authenticity. A separate nefarious practice is fake Amazon reviews — which have also been around for ages — amusingly revealed when Amazon once accidentally reassociated real names with reviewers’ names to show authors giving themselves great reviews. Over time, Amazon has tried to crack down on the practice, but it’s not easy.

      So what happens when you combine incompetent astroturfing and fake Amazon reviews? Check out the reviews on Susan Crawford’s book, Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age. Now, I should be clear: while I respect Crawford quite a bit, and often find her arguments compelling and interesting, I found Captive Audience to go a bit too far at points, and felt that the book lost a lot of its persuasive power in really overstating the case. We agree that the broadband market is not even remotely competitive, but we disagree on the solution to that. Still, I think the book is very much worth reading, and an important contribution to the discussion on broadband/telco policy.


      Basically, no matter how you slice it, there’s some sort of statistical anomaly going on here that makes it pretty clear that someone was pushing a ton of fake astroturfing reviews on Crawford’s book, and didn’t even care to take the time to hide it well. As I said, even if you don’t fully agree with the book, I’d hope we can all agree that this is a pretty disgusting move by whatever lobbyists/shills/think tanks dreamed up this astroturfing campaign just because they don’t like what the book says. Can’t fight on the merits, huh?

    • How the UK is Forcing Internet Censorship—Even of Esoteric Sites

      Specifically, UK internet service providers will be required to block sites that the government deems unacceptable—including porn, violent material, extremist sites, pro-anorexia and pro-suicide sites, alcohol and smoking, web forums, esoteric material and even software for circumventing the block. Individual users will be able to opt out of the filter, though it will be set “on” by default. – See more at: http://www.ultraculture.org/uk-forcing-internet-censorship-even-esoteric-sites/#sthash.qHIEqdkc.dpuf

    • A quick guide to Cameron’s default Internet filters

      …make an “unavoidable choice” on whether to switch on default filtering.

    • Twitter abuse debate moves on

      The Twitter abuse debate has moved on significantly, onto the question of what the police are doing, and what difference that can make.

    • Social media and the law
    • Government wants default blocking to hit small ISPs

      “Preselected” parental filters are now official policy, and should extend to small ISPs, according the the DCMS’s new strategy paper.

  • Snowden and Manning

    • Treason, penalty and Snowden: Will Holder get his wish?
    • Cloud adoption suffers in the wake of NSA snooping

      Due to PRISM, non-U.S. firms are avoiding Stateside cloud providers, but government access to cloud data can’t be stopped

    • Expert claims NSA has backdoors in Intel, AMD processors

      We’re not fans of conspiracy theories and we can never be. They don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny and as a geek site we have a soft spot for science, tech and logic. Well, at least science and tech, logic is overrated.

      Silicon Valley security expert Steve Blank now says there is a very good chance that AMD and Intel processors ship with a very nice feature for totalitarian regimes. They might have a backdoor that allows spooks to access and control computers. Furthermore security expert Jonathan Brossard recently told the Financial Review that CPU backdoors are attractive attack vectors.

    • Why reasonable people are concerned about the data NSA collects

      Voices of reason are rising now in the public discussions of Edward Snowden’s leaks about the email and phone records the U.S. government’s NSA (National Security Agency) collects. Forbes.com published an interesting view from a member of the information security community on July 30. This article is expanding on the points Forbes made.

    • OVERNIGHT TECH: Senate to review NSA spying

      Senators will have a chance to grill intelligence officials on Wednesday over the extent of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

      How critical senators are of the programs at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing could be a gauge of the Senate’s interest in reining in the surveillance.

    • How NSA leaks are changing minds among the public—and in Congress

      Most politicians who voted “for” the NSA last week say they want changes, too.

    • Here’s why ‘trust us’ isn’t working for the NSA any more
    • A Challenge to the NSA: Deny Snowden’s Most Radical Claims Under Oath

      Some officials say the whistleblower was lying. The journalist who brought his revelations to light wants them to say it under oath.

    • Lenovo probes alleged NSA, GCHQ and MI5 PC ban

      Chinese PC vendor said it is “looking closely” into claims its products have been banned from use within classifed networks.

    • Yes, The NSA Has Always Hated Encryption

      Of course, imagine an internet without the kind of encryption we have today. While it still doesn’t go nearly far enough it is one of the few things that really can significantly protect some aspects of privacy. Not only that, but it’s really been key to many of the things that we now take for granted online, including e-commerce and online money transactions. Of course, if the NSA had had its way, we might not have that today — or at least it wouldn’t be nearly as trustworthy, meaning there would be a lot less of it.

    • German MP injured during angry protests over NSA spying revelations

      German member of Parliament was slightly injured during weekend protests in Hamburg over Berlin’s alleged role in the NSA spying scandal, organizers said.

      Free Democratic Party Bundestag Member Burkhard Muller-Sonksen was being booed while speaking at a rally Saturday when a protester climbed onto the speaker truck, grabbed his microphone and shoved him to the floor, a spokeswoman for alliance that organized the protest told Die Welt.

      The Hamburg event was one of a series of protests in cities such as Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin and Karlsruhe that drew hundreds of angry residents who denounced reports Germany is a “key partner” with the U.S. National Security Agency in its PRISM digital anti-terrorism surveillance program.

    • Senator calls telephone surveillance violations ‘more troubling’ than NSA admits

      In an interview on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell” show, Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said there were “violations of court orders” by the NSA.

      The remarks by the Oregon Democrat come as U.S. intelligence officials are preparing to declassify and publicly release new documents about the so-called telephone metadata program, including two “white papers” that have been provided to Congress and a “primary order” by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing the collection, officials tell NBC News. Another document – a Justice Department legal memo submitted to the court – may also be released later this week.

    • US to declassify documents on NSA spying, secret FISA surveillance court
    • U.S. to declassify documents on NSA spy programs
    • Officials Promise Some NSA Surveillance Documents Will Be Declassifed

      US officials say that certain details of the NSA surveillance programs that have been unveiled by Edward Snowden will come to light “as early as next week” when some of the documents related to the program and FISA oversight will be declassified.

    • Effort to get NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s father to Moscow collapses

      The FBI tried to enlist the father of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden to fly to Moscow to try to persuade his son to return to the United States, but the effort collapsed when agents could not establish a way for the two to speak once he arrived, Snowden’s father said Tuesday.

    • Journalist who broke NSA story praises Holt during cyber town hall

      Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the story on the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs this summer, wants New Jerseyans to vote for Rush Holt, the veteran congressman and a big believer in protecting Americans’ civil liberties.

    • Republicans and Democrats agree: Fisa oversight of NSA spying doesn’t work

      ‘Secret law’ is anathema to our democratic traditions and the rule of law. We have introduced legislation to change this

    • NSA security award winner calls for hearings into agency’s conduct

      As part of the NSA’s ongoing mission to research the finer arts of computer security, it funds and promotes a lot of academic research. And on July 18 it announced the winner of its first Science of Security (SoS) competition after a distinguished academic panel had considered 44 entries covering the latest academic output on the topic.

      The winner was Google security engineer Dr. Joseph Bonneau for his paper, “The Science of Guessing: Analyzing an Anonymized Corpus of 70 Million Passwords”, which was hailed by Dr. Patricia Muoio, chief of the NSA research directorate’s trusted systems research group, as “an example of research that demonstrates a sound scientific approach to cybersecurity.”

    • Poll: Most in US favor new limits on surveillance

      Fifty-six percent of people in the United States say that federal courts should impose tougher restrictions on the government’s ability to collect phone and Internet data, according to a poll from the Pew Research Center.

      The poll, which was released on Friday, shows a dramatic swing in public opinion in recent years in favor of stronger civil liberty protections.

      The poll found that 43 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of Democrats believe that anti-terror policies have gone too far in restricting civil liberties. Only 25 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats held the same view in 2010.

      Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/314043-poll-most-americans-favor-new-limits-on-nsa#ixzz2abSKk8jU
      Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

    • Opponents of NSA surveillance aren’t giving up after House vote

      Privacy and digital rights groups have dug in for a longer fight against massive surveillance programs at the U.S. National Security Agency, even after the House of Representatives voted last week against an amendment to curtail the agency’s data collection.

      The House last Wednesday narrowly defeated an amendment to a defense spending bill that would have prohibited the NSA from the bulk collection of phone records from U.S. carriers and cut off funding for the phone records collection program as currently designed, but digital rights groups have said the close vote gives them hope of weakening support for the NSA programs in Congress.

    • NSA Commits ‘Troubling’ Surveillance Violations, Senators Say

      The National Security Agency’s massive collection of all Americans’ phone records breaks laws without making the country safer, two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee argued Tuesday night, saying the practices must be reformed.

    • NSA reportedly planning to declassify details on secret surveillance programs
    • Atlas Bugged II: Is There an NSA Mass Location Tracking Program?

      Way back in 2011—when “Snowden” was just a quiescent indie band from Atlanta—I wrote two posts here at the Cato blog trying to suss out what the “secret law” of the Patriot Act that Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and others were raising alarms about might involve: “Atlas Bugged” and “Stalking the Secret Patriot Act.” Based on what seemed like an enormous amount of circumstantial evidence—which I won’t try to summarize here—I speculated that the government was likely engaged in some kind of large scale program of location tracking, involving the use of the Patriot Act’s Section 215 to bulk collect cell phone location records for data mining purposes.

    • Activists storm office of Congressman who voted for NSA spying

      Six activists from the anti-surveillance group Restore the Fourth paid an unexpected visit to the office of a New York Congressman in protest of the vote which allowed the National Security Agency to continue collecting Americans’ phone records without a warrant.

      The action is intended to call out Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and the more than 200 other members of Congress that voted down an amendment last week aimed at curtailing the NSA’s collection of domestic calling records. The group said they wouldn’t leave until Meeks apologizes for his “no” vote and commits to fighting against surveillance programs which collect data on Americans without a warrant or suspicion of wrongdoing.

    • Statement by Julian Assange on Verdict in Bradley Manning Court-Martial
    • Manning not guilty of aiding the enemy, faces 130+ yrs in jail on other charges
    • Bradley Manning lynched by the US government

      The verdict for Manning was predetermined, and the show trial in a kangaroo court – a post-modern American remix of China in the 1960s during the Cultural Revolution – just signed, sealed and delivered it.

    • What the Verdict in Bradley Manning’s Trial Means for Whistleblowers

      A military judge issued the verdict today in the case of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier prosecuted for releasing US government information, which included evidence of torture, war crimes, abuse, corruption and other misconduct, to WikiLeaks.

    • Manning found not guilty of aiding the enemy, guilty of espionage
    • Manning Is Acquitted of ‘Aiding the Enemy’
    • Thoughts on Attending Bradley Manning’s Computer Crimes Trial

      As a non-lawyer who has been following the trial only intermittently, it can be a very confusing trial. It is full of lawyers making incomprehensible legal motions and questioning of witnesses—here, one has to interpret the subtext in the lines of questioning that initially appear bizarre, in order to understand how they relate to either side’s case.

      I work as a computer programmer, and one thing that started to become apparent to me is how Manning’s case is essentially a computer crimes case. I wasn’t really thinking of Manning’s whistleblower case in these terms before attending the trial, although in retrospect it’s clear.

    • Bradley Manning case shows that US government’s priorities are ‘upside down’

      ‘It’s hard not to draw the conclusion that Manning’s trial was about sending a message: the US government will come after you’ – Widney Brown

      Despite an acquittal on the most serious “aiding the enemy” charge against him, today’s verdict against the US Private Bradley Manning reveals the US government’s misplaced priorities on national security, said Amnesty International this evening.

    • Cops Can Track Cellphones Without Warrants, Appeals Court Rules

      A divided federal appeals court ruled today that the government does not need a probable-cause warrant to access mobile-phone subscribers’ cell-site information, a decision reversing lower court decisions that said the location data was protected by the Fourth Amendment.

      The 2-1 decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the third federal appeals court to decide the privacy issue. Adding to the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court might take up the topic, New Jersey’s high court two weeks ago ruled that warrants were required for the location data.

    • Majority of Americans think Snowden did the right thing
    • Bradley Manning: One Soldier Who Really Did “Defend Our Freedom”
    • What Makes Bradley Manning a Hero?
    • MI6 and MI5 ‘refuse to use Lenovo computers’ over claims Chinese company makes them vulnerable to hacking
    • Lenovo reportedly banned by MI6, CIA, and other spy agencies over fear of Chinese hacking (update)
    • The NSA Couldn’t Answer Our FOIA Request Because It Couldn’t Figure Out Our Address

      It’s possible we’ve been overly generous in our assessments of the intelligence gathering capabilities of the NSA. They would have responded to our FOIA request, you see, but they had the wrong address – and there was no way for them to get that address but to email us and ask for it.

    • Police to track Moscow metro passengers’ SIM cards

      The Moscow metro plans to install sensors that will trace passengers by tracking the SIM cards in their mobile phones. The measure is aimed at helping police retrieve stolen gadgets, but rights activists have sounded the privacy alarm over the initiative.

      Police operations chief of the Moscow metro, Andrey Mokhov, told Izvestia newspaper that the sensors will become part of the subway’s intelligent security system. According to Mokhov, the action radius of each reading device is five meters. For the system to be successful, he said the devices would have to be installed into every CCTV camera inside stations, lobbies, and metro cars.

    • Big data, metadata, and traffic analysis: What the NSA is really doing

      The NSA doesn’t have to intercept and read all your messages to know what you’re doing — and neither do many Internet businesses.

    • Bradley Manning Verdict

      Tune in at 1pm ET for the Democracy Now! special live broadcast of the Bradley Manning verdict. We will be interviewing journalists, activists, scholars and more.

      Today’s verdict follows just three days of deliberation in court martial of Army whistleblower Bradley Manning for the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history. Manning faces up to life in prison for the most serious of the more than 20 charges against him — aiding the enemy — after he leaked more than 700,000 documents to WikiLeaks in an attempt to spark a national debate about U.S. foreign policy. He has pleaded guilty to 10 of the charges which could carry up to 20 years in prison.

    • Bradley Manning found not guilty of aiding the enemy

      An Army judge on Tuesday acquitted Pfc. Bradley Manning of aiding the enemy by disclosing a trove of secret U.S. government documents, a striking rebuke to military prosecutors who argued that the largest leak in U.S. history had assisted al-Qaeda.

      The judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, found Manning guilty of most of the more than 20 crimes he was charged with, including several counts of violating the Espionage Act. She also acquitted him of one count of violating the Espionage Act that stemmed from his leak of a video that depicted a fatal U.S. military airstrike in Farah, Afghanistan.

    • Bradley Manning Found Not Guilty Of Aiding The Enemy But Convicted On Other Charges

      So, the details aren’t out yet, but the headline message is: Bradley Manning has been found “not guilty” of “aiding the enemy” but has been convicted on other charges, including violating the Espionage Act — which seems a bit crazy, because what he was doing wasn’t espionage in any sense of the word.

    • Obama Erases Campaign Promises from Election Website

      President Transparency, in the interest of protecting his Administration’s spotless record of least transparent ever, has decided to erase sections of his original campaign website so that inconvenient and broken promises (i.e., every single thing he said) can’t be so easily exposed. Although clearly no one goes to the campaign site for groundbreaking news, it had served as a useful platform to compare candidate Obama to the George W. Bush clone he has become as President. From Policy Mic:

    • Bradley Manning cleared of ‘aiding the enemy’ but guilty of most other charges

      Bradley Manning, the source of the massive WikiLeaks trove of secret disclosures, faces a possible maximum sentence of 136 years in military jail after he was convicted on Tuesday of most charges on which he stood trial.

    • Why NSA Surveillance Will Be More Damaging Than You Think

      This column over the weekend, by the British academic John Naughton in the Guardian, takes us one more step in assessing the damage to American interests in the broadest sense– commercial, strategic, ideological – from the panopticon approach to “security” brought to us by NSA-style monitoring programs.

    • Obama’s ‘Insider Threat Program’: A Parody of Liberal Faith in Bureaucrats

      The laughable plan: train millions of federal workers to psychologically profile all their coworkers

    • Obama’s Continuing War Against Leakers

      The Obama Administration has a comprehensive “insider threat” program to detect leakers from within government. This is pre-Snowden. Not surprisingly, the combination of profiling and “see something, say something” is unlikely to work.

    • The American Surveillance State Is Here. Can It Be Evaded?

      On any given day, the average American going about his daily business will be monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears.

      A byproduct of this new age in which we live, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior. As I point out in my new book, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, this doesn’t even begin to touch on the corporate trackers that monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere.

    • Privacy as the next green movement? Study says companies will compete on data practices
  • Civil Rights

    • Undercover Report: Apple Faces Fresh Criticism of Factories

      Tim Cook has tried to be a better person. Or at least, to look like one. Last year, Apple’s CEO personally flew to China to have a look around Foxconn, the company’s controversial supplier. Reports about migrant laborers’ deplorable working conditions and low pay, as well as a spate of suicides were damaging Apple’s image, so Cook promised improvements and also scouted around for new factories where the company’s iPads, iPhones and computers could be produced. One of Apple’s new partners is the Taiwanese electronics manufacturing company Pegatron, which operates several factories in China. But it recently transpired its workers are even worse off than those at Foxconn.

    • Cambodia’s textile workers hang by a thread under Chinese bosses

      Pak Kok Heng used to make sweaters for the Pine Great Factory in Phnom Penh. Now, he and his former colleagues spend their days standing outside the Ministry of Social Affairs in the Cambodian capital.

    • The Sinister Monsanto Group: ‘Agent Orange’ to Genetically Modified Corn
    • California hunger-striking prisoner dies in solitary confinement – activists

      A California prisoner has died in solitary confinement while reportedly participating in a hunger strike to protest inmates’ conditions, prison activists said on Monday. But state corrections officials say the death is being investigated as a suicide.

      Bill “Guero” Sell, 32, was found dead one week ago inside Corcoan State Prison’s Secure-Housing-Unit (SHU) – a solitary confinement cell. Activists say that Sell’s death was a result of his participation in the California hunger strike – a movement of approximately 1,000 inmates who are demonstrating against state prison conditions, including an increasing reliance on solitary confinement as a punishment.

    • Judge Refuses To Drop ‘Aiding The Enemy’ Charges Against Bradley Manning

      We noted recently that it has become official Obama administration policy that leaking governmental wrongdoing to the press is considered aiding the enemy. This is ridiculous on multiple levels, not the least of which is the suggestion that “the enemy” is the public, and that truthful information about government overreach and excess could somehow be counterproductive to the country’s interests. Of course, that issue hadn’t really been put to test in any sort of court until now, in the military trial of Bradley Manning. Tragically, the judge has announced that the “aiding the enemy” charge will not be dropped, despite the near total lack of evidence to support the idea that Manning knowingly released the documents to Wikileaks recognizing that it would “aid the enemy.” It is still possible he could be found “not guilty” of aiding the enemy, but dismissing the overall charge would have sent a more powerful message.

    • Romanian officials say communist prison commander caused deaths of 6 political prisoners

      A Romanian committee investigating crimes committed by the former communist government asked the general prosecutor on Tuesday to bring charges of aggravated murder against a prison commander for the deaths of six political prisoners.

    • The RPSCA will PNC you now

      Over the last few years we have highlighted various privacy concerns about a range of government databases, from the National DNA Database to the DVLA database. Our report in 2011 found how nearly 1,000 police officers had been disciplined for unlawful accessing information over a three year period. Violations of the Data Protection Act included running background checks on friends and potential partners and passing on sensitive information to criminal gangs and drug dealers.

      Today The Register has revealed that the RSPCA is able to access information from the PNC, despite not having any formal prosecution powers and not being a statutory-organisation. The information handed over is subsequently going unaudited by the Association of Chief Police Officers Criminal Records Office (ACRO) – run by the Association of Chief Police Officers – who also charge for the access. This is despite the PNC User Manual specifically stipulating that auditing is required for organisations that have had access to ‘sensitive information’. If auditing is not being carried out, it is impossible to know whether the RSPCA are using the sensitive data under necessity and proportionately and if they are deleting it when their investigation has concluded.

    • Harvard Law School Speech: “Why Journalists Fear the NDAA”

      Amber Lyon speaks at Harvard Law School on the threats the National Defense Authorization Act poses to journalism worldwide.

    • Federal Appeals court rejects indefinite detention challenge

      The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently rejected a challenge to the sections of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that could allow for indefinite military detention of those who are suspected of substantially supporting terrorism.

    • Student left in cell for 4 days without food or water to get $4.1M from U.S.

      The Justice Department will pay $4.1 million to a California college student left in a Drug Enforcement Administration holding cell for four days without food or water last year, the student’s attorney announced on Tuesday.

    • DEA to pay $4.1 million to student forgotten in holding cell for 5 days
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Why YouTube buffers: The secret deals that make—and break—online video

      “For at least the past year, I’ve suffered from ridiculously awful YouTube speeds,” Hutchinson tells me. “Ads load quickly—there’s never anything wrong with the ads!—but during peak times, HD videos have been almost universally unwatchable. I’ve found myself having to reduce the quality down to 480p and sometimes even down to 240p to watch things without buffering. More recently, videos would start to play and buffer without issue, then simply stop buffering at some point between a third and two-thirds in. When the playhead hit the end of the buffer—which might be at 1:30 of a six-minute video—the video would hang for several seconds, then simply end. The video’s total time would change from six minutes to 1:30 minutes and I’d be presented with the standard ‘related videos’ view that you see when a video is over.”

    • Now That It’s in the Broadband Game, Google Flip-Flops on Network Neutrality

      In a dramatic about-face on a key internet issue yesterday, Google told the FCC that the network neutrality rules Google once championed don’t give citizens the right to run servers on their home broadband connections, and that the Google Fiber network is perfectly within its rights to prohibit customers from attaching the legal devices of their choice to its network.

      At issue is Google Fiber’s Terms of Service, which contains a broad prohibition against customers attaching “servers” to its ultrafast 1 Gbps network in Kansas City.

      Google wants to ban the use of servers because it plans to offer a business class offering in the future. A potential customer, Douglas McClendon, filed a complaint against the policy in 2012 with the FCC, which eventually ordered Google to explain its reasoning by July 29.

    • On the emptiness in the concept of “neutrality”

      “Neutrality” is one of those empty words that somehow has achieved sacred and context-free acceptance — like “transparency,” but don’t get me started on that again. But there are obviously plenty of contexts in which to be “neutral” is simply to be wrong.

    • Join La Quadrature du OHM!

      La Quadrature du Net welcomes all hackers and activists to join its village1 at Observe, Hack, Make (OHM2013), the previsibly awesome Dutch hacker camp that will take place from the 31st of July to the 4th of August!


Microsoft Pretends to Be ‘Nice’ to GNU/Linux While Committing Antitrust Violations Against It

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft at 12:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Two wolves

Summary: Microsoft wants to befriend its prey, but antitrust complaints against Microsoft helps remind the prey of what it is

Microsoft has got unbelievable nerve trying to devour Java and GNU/Linux (see prior coverage in [1, 2]), which it files antitrust complaints against.

The real antitrust abuser is Microsoft, not Free software, where free means freedom. Here is an update about the UEFI antitrust complaint, which says progress is being made because “The European Commission is waiting for Microsoft’s comments on a complaint against secure boot in Windows 8 before it takes its next step, according to the lawyer who filed the complaint.

“The real antitrust abuser is Microsoft, not Free software, where free means freedom.”“José Maria Lancho, a Spanish lawyer who filed the plaint in March on behalf of 8,000 computer users who are part of Hispalinux, told iTWire that once the Commission heard back from Microsoft, the next step would be to review the company’s comments and then decide about the preliminary injunction request which he had lodged.”

As covered here before, there are additional reasons to worry about UEFI, patents included [1, 2], but the matter of fact is, there is an inherent incompatibility here with the concept of freedom, unless of course the user manages the keys on his/her computer hardware.

For Microsoft, UEFI is a victory on two levels; one is the fact that GNU and Linux become harder to explore and the other is that people become accustomed to having no freedom with devices they buy (Xbox One takes that further with the application layer and surveillance).

EDGI Dumping Giant Accuses Linux/Android (Free/Libre Software) of Dumping

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 12:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

Summary: The audacity of Microsoft, which files a bizarre complaint against the best-selling operating system, which is now Linux-based

Not too long ago, Microsoft used CPTN members like Oracle and proxies like Nokia to bolster another proxy, 'FairSearch', in an antitrust complaint against Android. The FSFE has written a response and noted who’s behind this odd proxy of Microsoft allies:

According to reports in specialist online media, the so-called “FairSearch” coalition – comprised of Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, and a number of online service providers – argues, in its latest submission to the European Commission, that the free-of-charge distribution of Android, a Free Software[1] mobile operating system developed by Google, constitutes predatory pricing. Suggesting that the distribution of Free Software free of charge is harmful to competition is both wrong in substance, and dangerous to competition and innovation.

Microsoft has been dumping to prevent freedom, so don’t expect European press to buy this hypocritical move. An FSFE lawyer and paralegal Pamela Jones have both responded as well. Jones writes: “They tell the Commission that they are writing to “explain how the distribution of Free Software, whether gratis or for a fee, promotes competition, rather than damaging it.” For example, it’s not true that Google compels Android-based phones to exclusively use its own app store, and by releasing the code for free, Google is actually enabling others to easily compete with Google…”

Microsoft, which uses EDGI, has got a lot of nerve doing this. It’s like when Microsoft had chastised Google over privacy before the NSA leaks that showed much more than just hypocrisy (Microsoft far worse than the accused).

The Calls to Fire Steve Ballmer

Posted in Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, Vista 8 at 12:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The man behind strategic flukes, including racketeering and oversupply, is asked to go (by shareholders and the press)

Ballmer has turned Microsoft into a company of patent terrorism and after the Surface oversupply fiasco [1, 2, 3] (and more financial damage) one news site calls for elimination of Ballmer:

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has revealed a sweeping corporate reorganization of the company which scraps its longtime business model of pitting each of its internal units against each other for competitive purposes, in favor of an all-for-one model which has everyone at Microsoft working toward the same larger goals. The mere fact that it’s taken Ballmer thirteen years to figure this out is enough to cast doubt on his ability to lead Microsoft in this century. But a look at the near total lack of successes under his tenure is enough to make the case for his outright ouster.

Other sites and some shareholders agree.

Ballmer has already admitted blame and took responsibility. To quote this second source: “Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has admitted that the company built too many Surface tablets, and it’s not selling as many Windows devices as it wants. During an internal town hall event earlier this week, Ballmer and COO Kevin Turner both addressed the recent $900 million hit for Surface RT and the sales pace of Windows across various devices.”

Ballmer needs to go. He is a fierce enemy of Free software and nobody really trusts him.

“We believe every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability.”

Steve Ballmer

Another Major Blow to Apple as ‘Pinch to Zoom’ Patent Dies, US Government Pays Attention to Patent Aggression by Giants

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Samsung at 12:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple’s bubble is bursting

A balloon

Summary: The defence of Android against Apple’s aggression is proving to be fruitful again, with invalidation of another patent and intent from or opportunity for the government to address spurious litigation

Two smartphones giants, Apple and Samsung, have reached another interesting point as an Apple patent got invalidated.

Samsung has just notified [PDF] the US District Court in Northern California that, according to another USPTO Final Office Action, Apple’s ’915 patent has been found invalid on reexamination. All 21 claims of the ’915 patent bit the dust, as you can see in Exhibit A [PDF], the USPTO documents The issue is prior art and obviousness. So, the jury in Apple v. Samsung got another thing wrong, I see. Apple didn’t invent gestures.

As a pro-Apple site put it, “The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has rejected claims by Apple that Samsung Electronics infringed on its “pinch-to-zoom” patent – one of the decisive claims in the ongoing litigations between the two tech giants. The patent, No. 7,844,915, was first filed back in November 2010 and described, “an environment with user interface software interacting with a software application”.”

Here is a pro-Linux site’s take on this decision from the USPTO, which continues to grant software patents. There is more to it though. As the Murdoch press put it the other day, this major case plays a role in national policy now. To quote: “Smartphone rivals Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. have dueled over patents in courts around the globe. Now they are sparring in front of the Obama administration, which faces a looming decision on whether to veto a trade body’s order blocking the U.S. sale of some Apple devices.”

Sanctions like embargo never benefit the buyers, so the government should consider the possibility that patents themselves — not just patent trolls — are a problem and some reform should address real systemic flaws, not symptoms of these serious flaws [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].

Apple recently got chastised for using a patent on rounded corners, which relates to desperate Microsoft/Apple moves that the ITC, USPTO, and US Customs don’t quite agree on (there are conflicts of interest). The same person who chastised Apple for it has this update about the Motorola settlement. Yes, Matt Levy, referring to the problem as “Bad Software Patents” (not the best way to put it), then says “Congressional support for patent reform continues to grow. On Monday, Rep. Issa and Rep. Chu introduced the Stopping the Offense Use of Patents (STOP Act). That bill prompted Matt Levy to release Patent Progress’s Guide to Patent Reform Legislation, which has summaries of the six pending bills: SHIELD Act (H.R. 845), Patent Quality Improvement Act (S. 866), Stopping the Offensive Use of Patents Act (STOP Act) (H.R. 2766), End Anonymous Patents Act (H.R. 2024), Patent Abuse Reduction Act (S. 1013), Patent Litigation and Innovation Act (H.R. 2639).”

According to his blog, the FTC study on patent trolls may kick off soon. To quote: “As we’ve noted, the FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez recently proposed doing a 6(b) study on the patent assertion entity business model. The proposed study has the potential to get us information about how patent trolls operate that would be nearly impossible to get without litigation.

“MLex is reporting (subscription required) that FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen indicated last week after a speech at the Chamber of Commerce that she believes that a 6(b) study to examine the patent troll industry would be “appropriate.” It takes three votes to initiate the study, though.”

The FTC should study CPTN and now just trolls. The problem is much broader than trolls. Apple, for example, is doing more damage to Android than all trolls combined and the same can be said about Oracle and Microsoft (other CPTN members, preying on Novell’s patents among others like Sun’s).


Links 29/7/2013: GNU/Linux Supercomputers Milestone, Precise Puppy 5.7

Posted in News Roundup at 6:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Join the team at JaiRo, high powered routers on Linux

    Sabai Technology is not your typical tech company. A networking solutions company created in 2010, Sabai is located on Main Street in Simpsonville, SC in an old cabinet shop. Founder and CEO William Haynes first started modifying routers as a missionary in Thailand, helping his fellow expats discover the power of open source routing solutions.

    After returning to the states and being laid off, William returned to what he does best: using his expertise to help people who just want a solution that works. The company launched with $500 and has grown organically ever since, bootstrapping all the way.

  • As Linux stalks windows, the poor countries will benefit

    What do the International Space Station, the Czech Post Office, the French Parliament and the Turkish Government have in common? All have switched from using a proprietary Operating System (OS) on their computers to an ‘open source’ or free OS; or putting it simply: They have switched from Windows to a free OS called Linux. And they are not alone. A growing number of businesses, educational and scientific institutions, schools and governments are doing likewise. Why are they doing it? And what has all this got to do with Pakistan?


    The US Army is the single largest user of ‘Red Hat’. Malaysia in 2010 switched 703 of its 724 government agencies to Linux.

  • Rikomagic goes Linux with Picuntu

    Mobile enthusiasts already know about Rikomagic’s MK802 III (Rockchip RK3066) and MK802 IV (RK3188) HDMI TV sticks, both of which run Google’s wildly popular Android Jelly Bean.

    However, the device maker is now going Linux with the MK802III LE and MK802IV LE quad-core, as the devices are slated to run Picuntu OS (Ubuntu).

  • A Second Helping of Pi

    In my last article I described how to set up a Raspberry Pi as a network attached storage (NAS) device and UPnP media server. By the time I was done with that project I was so impressed with the power and flexibility of the Pi that I decided to order another unit and set it up to replace my Linux Mint-based home entertainment system computer.

  • Server

    • 20 great years of Linux and supercomputers

      In the latest Top500 supercomputer rankings, 476 of the top 500 fastest supercomputers, 95.2 percent, in the world run Linux. Linux has ruled supercomputing for years. But, it wasn’t always that way.

      When the first Top500 supercomputer list was compiled in June 1993, Linux was just gathering steam. Indeed, in 1993, the first successful Linux distributions, Slackware and Debian were only just getting off the ground.

    • Why Linux is Super (Computing)

      This week the Linux Foundation is issuing a report on 20 years of the Top 500 Supercomputer list. It’s a list that Linux has dominated in recent years.

  • Kernel Space

    • Beggar Varghese

      Kudos to Sarah. Boo to geeky dinosaurs like Linus and Varghese who refuse to mature with the product, Linux, which is now in use by everyone on the planet. Polite society demands better behaviour. Linux has escaped from a crevice in geekdom. It’s mainstream and must adjust to greater visibility and side effects. It matter not only what developers say to each other but how they say it. It would cost them nothing to change and would make Linux more acceptable to more people and organizations, a good thing.

    • Linux 3.11 Kernel Power Use Still Being Investigated

      On Friday I reported that the Linux 3.11 kernel may lower power consumption for Intel systems. Since then, additional power consumption tests have revealed there are some changes within the Linux 3.11 but overall recent kernel releases are in better shape than the past.

    • Tux3 Still Dreaming Of Design Improvements

      The Tux3 Linux BTree-based file-system that isn’t yet mainline in the Linux kernel is continuing to focus on new features and capabilities.

      I’m in the process of preparing some Tux3 file-system benchmarks on Phoronix compared to Btrfs, EXT4, XFS, etc. In the process of benchmarking Tux3, I’ve also been looking to see what the latest activity has been for this out-of-tree project. The last time I wrote about Tux3 was last May when they claimed to be faster than Tmpfs and previous to that was a Tux3 status update from March.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel 2.21.13 Driver Fixes Performance Regressions

        The xf86-video-intel 2.21.13 driver was released on Sunday by Intel’s Chris Wilson. This latest Intel X.Org driver update has some performance regression fixes plus fixes the Intel X.Org driver to build on non-Linux systems.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Meet Nayobe Millis!

        Hi to all, today we have for you an interview with Nayobe Millis. She is a young girl from United States (she is only 16) who has collaborated with us in the webshop, giving us permissions to make merchandise with this cute artwork: Sheep’s Pan Flute. She is our younger artist! thanks to her and enjoy the interview :)

      • Akademy 2013 – Or how a Blog is born

        Akademy 2013 has recently ended and it was so awesome that I need to write a Blogpost about it. Not the only reason, but a good one none the less (The other being that Àlex Fiestas has bugged me about blogging about my work on kio-mtp or rather what I do upstream in LIBMTP to fix the really annoying issues). So now, with some delay due to getting my Blog on Planet KDE first, my impressions about the really amazing Akademy 2013 in Bilbao. Because: What better way to start a Blog, right?

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 23rd June 2013
      • GHNS in Artikulate

        I am currently working on implementing GHNS in Artikulate. So far the user in order to get the course data files had to manually clone git repository. This is not ideal and we would like to support downloading the courses within the application. Therefore I am trying to use GHNS (Get Hot New Stuff) library to accomplish this. Below there is a screenshot of the download window I have so far.

      • Switching the Plasma shells

        For Plasma 2, we are aiming to have one plasma to rule them all, but not in the way the others are doing it. We still believe that different form factors need different UIs (I refuse to use UX instead of UI, so sue me :) ). We just want the same application to be able to load the fitting interfaces for the desktop, netbook or tablets. And we want it to be able to dynamically switch between those.

      • GSoC – Week 6

        I’m Anmol, and this is the report for week 6 of my work on revamping Amarok’s scripting interface. This week has been mostly been about polishing existing functionality and documenting code.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Terminal 3.10 Beta 1 Enables Nautilus Extension by Default

        The GNOME developers announced a few minutes ago, July 28, the immediate availability for download and testing of the first Beta release of the upcoming GNOME Terminal 3.10 application for the GNOME desktop environment.

      • GNOME Alone – The Free Software Column

        The developers set about revising GNOME as an up-to-date desktop suitable for both mobile and static desktop devices – and were surprised by the sometimes hostile response their work received. Richard Hillesley reads the runes

  • Distributions

    • 4 Disturbing And Avoidable Linux Distros

      Now we all know that Apartheid was long before banished from earth. But unbelievably this system still exists in the Linux world, and even there is a very disturbing Linux distro on it- Apartheid Linux. Maybe one of the worst Linux distros ever, the Apartheid Linux simply is absurd and pointless. Certainly packed with offensive themes and wallpapers, this OS comes with a very odious banner, basically for the ignorant white racists set of people.

    • Unfaithfully Yours: The Linux Version

      Distro hoppers are few and far between in the Linux blogosphere today if bloggers’ tales are anything to go by, but in the past most have been around the proverbial block a few times. “I used to be,” admitted consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack. “I started with Slackware in the 90s but then moved to Red Hat and even tried SuSE before settling on Debian and staying there.”

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Running PMU-Tools On Modern Intel CPUs

        The open-source PMU-Tools package for Linux allows for a number of performance monitoring units / performance counters to be tapped on the latest Intel processors. PMU-Tools builds on top of the Linux kernel’s perf subsystem to offer a wealth of information to developers.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Price Target Cut to $39.00 by Analysts at JP Morgan Cazenove (RHT)

        Research analysts at JP Morgan Cazenove reduced their price target on shares of Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) from $43.00 to $39.00 in a report released on Monday, Stock Ratings Network reports. The firm currently has an “underweight” rating on the stock. JP Morgan Cazenove’s target price points to a potential downside of 20.34% from the company’s current price.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Zynq Processor Leads ARM/FPGA Embedded Linux Trend
    • $55 board runs ARM Linux on Freescale Vybrid SoC

      Phytec announced a pair of community-backed, industrial-focused single-board computers built around its PhyCore-Vybrid SOM computer-on-modules, which are based on Freescale’s Vybrid system-on-chips. The $55 Cosmic SBC integrates a Phytec COM equipped with a Vybrid SoC having a single 500MHz Cortex-A5 core, while Phytec’s $65 Cosmic+ SBC model provides the dual-core SoC version, which can run Linux on a Cortex-A5 core along with Freescale’s MQX RTOS on a Cortex-M4 core.

    • Raspberry Pi’s Eben Upton: Open Source Lessons from Wayland

      In less than two years the Raspberry Pi has sold more than 1 million units and become widely used and adored among DIY hackers and embedded professionals alike. It began in 2006 as a modest idea to provide a low-cost educational computer for students to tinker with. Now the $25 Linux-based single-board computer is the basis for all kinds of gadgets from near-space cameras, to open source spy boxes, to the PiGate, a full-scale Stargate replica.

    • Rikomagic UK Minix Linux ARM Mini PCs Soon Launching

      Rikomagic UK is gearing up to launch a new line of mini PCs in the form of the Minix Linux ARM Mini PCs that will take the form of the MK802 III LE (Linux Edition) and MK802 IV LE

    • Phones

      • Smartphone with Sailfish OS coming soon to India

        Sailfish operating system, which is based on Nokia’s abandoned Meego operating system and claims to have great multitasking capability, will soon be introduced in India. A spokesperson of Zopo Mobile, a Chinese player which recently entered India, said to The Mobile Indian, “The company is working on a Sailfish operating system based handset and will soon introduce it in the market.” The operating system is said to provide better multitasking than existing smartphones.

      • Ballnux

      • Android

        • Chromecast hacked: uses Google TV code, stripped of Android features

          Google described its new Chromecast HDMI web streaming device as running a slimmed down version of ChromeOS, but hackers have discovered it’s really Google TV without the Android features.

        • Google’s Chromecast Already Exploited

          Released this past week by Google alongside Android 4.3 and the new Nexus 7 tablet was the Chromecast, a $35 device to essentially relay web-pages and video content from your PC or mobile device to an HDMI TV. The Chromecast has now been exploited so a root shell is accessible.

        • Android 4.3 to hit Sony Xperia smartphones, tablet

          The new flavor of Android is due to reach a wide range of Xperia devices, even as Sony is still busy rolling out Android 4.2 to some members of its lineup.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Fidus Writer: Open Source Collaborative Editor For Non-Geek Academics

    While writing my Ph.D in anthropology I found out it’s almost impossible to get non-geeks to help me with editing my thesis because it was written in Latex. Lyx is almost there, but as it’s not web based, it’s difficult to use for online collaboration.

  • Open Source Webcam Software Lineup Published on SoftwareReviewBoffin.Com

    Boffin, trusted software review website published its latest selection of recommended free webcam software, for users looking for quality video experience.

  • Crypton open source project to thwart online surveillance

    Crypton’s “unique” approach comes from its ability to allow web application developers to exert and apply encryption controls in the browser itself i.e. before the application data is sent to perform storage or related processing at a remote server location where the wider spread of malware could potentially occur on unencrypted data.

  • Open source races to the top

    Not only is open source producing the most exciting new software, it’s creating a DMZ where big players can shape the future of enterprise tech

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla experiments with users sharing interests with websites

        SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Mozilla has floated the idea of using Firefox users’ web browsing history to deliver personalised content.

        Mozilla said it has been working on the idea of serving personalised recommendations to Firefox users for a year. The firm is floating the idea that by having the web browser go through the user’s web history, with the user sharing those interests with third party websites, then websites can serve content that’s of interest to the user.

      • Firefox: let us tell websites what you’re interested in

        Mozilla proposes that Firefox harvests users interests so that websites don’t have to suck up your web history

      • How Firefox OS Could Sneak Into the Smartphone Chicken Coop

        With the mobile industry now so heavily dominated by Android and iOS, is there possibly room for another contender? That remains to be seen, of course, but Firefox OS has several advantages to set it apart. Not only is it open source and made by freedom-defending Mozilla — maker of the Firefox browser — but it’s also built on a foundation of cross-platform HTML5.

      • Top Firefox Extensions for Normal People
  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Met Office steers clear of cloud computing due to cost and security concerns

      The UK’s national weather service, the Met Office, is embracing open-source software for major projects, including the prediction of so-called “space weather”. However, the organistion is steering clear of the cloud due to security and cost concerns.

      The Met Office’s portfolio technical lead James Tomkins told V3 that open-source software was becoming an increasingly important part of the organisation’s projects. “Open source has become an increasing opportunity for us,” he explained. “The government was looking for a way to try and reduce its bills and that’s something we really embraced over the last couple of years.”

    • Open Source Software-Defined Storage Platform Ceph Gains Ground

      Ceph, the open source, software-defined storage platform that is contending for its share of the rapidly evolving market for distributed storage systems for the cloud and Big Data, has chalked up a significant victory at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Inktank, the company behind Ceph, partnered with the university’s College of Education to deploy a private cloud powered by Ceph, OpenStack and Ubuntu Linux to support research activities.

  • Databases

    • EnterpriseDB: Feds Love Open Source Postgres Database

      The open source object-relational Postgres database platform (formally known as PostgreSQL) appears to be gaining ground in the government sector as the database wars rage on. That’s according to EnterpriseDB, which says its list of customers in the federal government is rapidly growing at the expense of Oracle (ORCL) database solutions.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • The selling of Open Educational Resources (OER)

      As a self-professed metadata geek, I’ve recently been participating in an online discussion about metadata and the Learning Registry. I have to say, it feels as if I’m on a merry-go-round that won’t stop, because for the past 10 years I’ve engaged in dozens if not hundreds of conversations about the use of OER (open education resources) metadata concerning these same issues: Do we need it? How should it be licensed? Who owns it?

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • MidnightBSD and Razor-qt – examining two projects in the ball pit of open source

      Variety is not only the spice of life, it is also one of the greatest strengths of the open source community. Having access to source code and being able to tweak it, build new things with it and even fork it and run off in a completely new direction are all powerful benefits. Sometimes being an open source reviewer is like diving into a ball pit where many of the balls are similar in colour or size, but there are always a few dozen that are shiny or have stripes and they playfully catch the eye. This week I would like to talk briefly about two projects which, while I might not plan to stick with them, did have the ability to catch my eye.


  • Project Releases

    • GDrive mounting released!

      So version libferris-1.5.18.tar.xz is hot off the make dist; including this much ado about mounting Google Drive support. The last additional feature I decided to add before rolling the tarball was support for viewing and adding to the sharing information of a file. It didn’t really do much for me being able to “cp” a file to google://drive without being able to unlock it for given people I know to have access to it. So now you can do that from the filesystem as well.

    • BoFs at Akademy
    • KDE Plasma Desktop 4.11′s new Task Manager

      One of the many things to look forward to in the impending KDE Plasma 4.11 release is a new version of the default Task Manager applet, which had its front-facing bits rewritten from scratch, along with additional support work and improvements in the underlying library.

    • Zotero on Nexus7 in Plasma Active

      Zotero, in a nutshell, is a pretty sophisticated literature management tool. It lets you, “… collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.” In this post I briefly present how I got Zotero running on the Nexus7 tablet in Plasma Active.

    • Awesome days during Akademy 2013
    • Oz Improves Linux, Windows Guest Installation

      Oz 0.11 has been released, which is an open-source program for carrying out automated installations of guest operating systems with only limited input from end-users.

  • Licensing

    • Defeat UK’s Great Firewall of Cameron with Immunicity

      As the UK government, courts and entertainment lobbyists turn the national network connection into a termite-riddled mess of blocked and censored sites to rival Iran’s “halal Internet,” Britons are questing about for a way to get access to the free,open Internet enjoyed by people in countries where censorship is not considered a legitimate response to political problems.

      Enter Immunicity, a Web-based censorship-circumvention tookit from the same people who created the Torrenticity anti-censorship system. From a normal Web-browser,

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Matrix Of Hell And Two Open-Source Projects For The Emerging Agnostic Cloud

      Docker, an app container service from the co-founder at DotCloud, and Salt, an open DevOps platform from the founder of SaltStack, were mentioned this past week at OSCON as two of the most exciting new open-source efforts.

    • Can the music industry learn from open-source culture?

      Musician Damon Krukowski has already made waves with one Pitchfork op-ed on streaming music royalties. He returned to the debate on Friday with a thoughtful new piece subtitled ‘How the music industry could learn from open-source culture, and why a decentralized network of musicians and fans should lead the way forward’.

      His theory is that artists and fans still “keep being left out of the equation” in deals between rightsholders and technology companies, and that the solution may be artists going their own way with music streams.

    • First Open Source Airplane Could Cost Just $15,000

      There’s an open source airplane being developed in Canada, and now its designers are looking to double down on the digital trends, turning to crowdsourced funding to finish the project. The goal of Maker Plane is to develop a small, two-seat airplane that qualifies as a light sport aircraft and is affordable, safe, and easy to fly. But unlike other home-built aircraft, where companies or individuals charge for their plans or kits, Maker Plane will give its design away for free.

    • The Matrix Of Hell And Two Open-Source Projects For The Emerging Agnostic Cloud

      Docker, an app container service from the co-founder at DotCloud, and Salt, an open DevOps platform from the founder of SaltStack, were mentioned this past week at OSCON as two of the most exciting new open-source efforts.

    • Open Data

      • Q&A: Tiffani Williams, computer scientist, on creating an open source tree of life

        The Open Tree of Life project culls years’ worth of segmented scientific research in an effort to create a current, open source version of our knowledge on thousands of plant and animal species. Tiffani Williams, a computer scientist at Texas A&M University who is working on the project, said the Open Tree of Life will eventually be a Wikipedia-like living document for scientists and the community to edit and use for research.

        I spoke recently with Williams about the segmented nature of the tree of life, the challenges of the project and how an open tree of life could impact science in schools. Below are excerpts from our interview.

      • Open source data a boon to malaria research
    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Apple, Google Agree On More SLP Vectorization

      After making more widespread use of the Loop Vectorizer, developers at Apple in Google are at least agreeing that LLVM’s SLP Vectorizer should be more widely-used as well.

      The LLVM SLP Vectorizer was covered earlier this year on Phoronix (and benchmarked) with its premiere in LLVM 3.3. The SLP Vectorizer is about “Superworld-Level Parallelism” and works towards vectorizing straight-line code over LLVM’s already present and proven Loop Vectorizer. The SLP Vectorizer can vectorize memory access, arithmetic operations, comparison operations, and other select operations.


  • BLM, Burning Man organizers confident they can handle larger crowd on Nevada desert

    The largest outdoor arts festival in North America is about to become bigger.

  • Twitter abuse: let’s debate what the police are doing

    Rape threats are vile. They are also illegal. Harassment is also an offence. The recent spate of such threats against Caroline Criado-Perez resulted in a change.org call for a Twitter ‘abuse’ button.

    Now that somebody has been arrested for threatening Caroline Criado-Perez, the debate should shift to where it should have started. How should the police react to complaints of online harassment and threats of violence?

    From a campaigning standpoint, focusing on Twitter seems to make sense. Twitter have a customer base and reputation they need to protect. Rape threats are unacceptable, and Twitter will be under immense pressure to take action. Inaction looks like protecting the bottom line. People will understand that campaigning can have an effect in raising the issue of online threats and abuse. Labour have joined in with Yvette Cooper accusing Twitter’s response of being ‘inadequate’.

  • Facebook Brag Leads To Arrest In Dog Burning Case

    St. Louis’ Mayor Slay Animal Cruelty Task Force has made a felony arrest in an animal cruelty case.

    A dog Stray Rescue later named “Brownie” was found July 10, in the 4300 block of Cote Brilliante. He was chained and severely burned after being lit on fire.

  • Science

    • How a satellite called Syncom changed the world

      Hughes engineer Harold Rosen’s team overcame technical and political hurdles to send the Syncom communications satellite into orbit 50 years ago.

    • The materials breakthrough that might lead to computers thousands of times faster

      As the technology for making silicon circuitry smaller, faster and less power-thirsty approaches the limits of physics, scientists have tried out many materials in the search for an alternative to silicon. New research by a team at the US Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory may have put some other promising candidates into the race.

  • Hardware

    • Intel targets microservers with 8-core Atom SoC

      Intel’s Atom low-power processors have found their way into all sorts of devices. Now the chip giant is mounting an assault on the server market with a new 8-core Atom SoC (System-on-a-Chip) part designed with bother performance and efficiency in mind.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Bad Seed: The Health Risks of Genetically Modified Corn

      With symptoms including headaches, nausea, rashes, and fatigue, Caitlin Shetterly visited doctor after doctor searching for a cure for what ailed her. What she found, after years of misery and bafflement, was as unlikely as it was utterly common.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Who is America at war with? Sorry, that’s classified
    • Who Are We at War With? That’s Classified

      The Pentagon has classified the list of groups that the USA believes itself to be at war with. They say that releasing a list of the groups that it considers to itself to be fighting could be used by those groups to boast about the fact that America takes them seriously, and thus drum up recruits.

    • EU’s response to NSA? Drones, spy satellites could fly over Europe

      The European Union is pondering an EU Commission proposal to acquire a fleet of surveillance drones, satellites, and planes as part of an “ambitious action” to boost the European defense industry. It follows revelations of the NSA’s spying programs.

      The European Commission has issued a 17-page report, proposing some concrete steps that would encourage pan-European defense cooperation.

    • New DHS Headquarters was a CIA MKUltra Test Facility
    • US Officials Attack Leaked Report on Civilians Drone Deaths

      US officials are claiming that an internal Pakistani assessment of civilian deaths from US drone strikes – obtained and published in full by the Bureau – is ‘far from authoritative.’

      The secret document was obtained by the Bureau from three independent sources. It provides details of more than 70 CIA drone strikes between 2006 and 2009, and was compiled by civilian officials throughout Pakistan’s tribal areas.

    • Halliburton pleads guilty to destroying gulf oil spill evidence

      The company was charged with one misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence in a New Orleans US District Court. It will be fined $200,000, and one of its subsidiaries will be put on three years probation, according to a statement issued by the company.

      The fine, amounting to less than one tenth of a percent of Halliburton’s $679 million profits in the second quarter of this year, is less than a slap on the wrist and constitutes a de facto government approval of Halliburton’s criminal activities. Last year, the company set aside $300 million to cover possible fines related to the case.

    • European Court to hear new CIA jail case against Poland

      The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has agreed to consider a second case brought against Poland by a man who alleges he was held illegally in a secret CIA jail on Polish territory.

    • Ex CIA Spy Had Residency in Panama

      Panamanian authorities have remained silent about the arrest and release of an ex agent of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Robert Seldon Lady, who had an ID and permanent residence in this country, an official said.

    • Missoula man was smokejumper at 17, worked for CIA at 20, died mysteriously in Thailand at 40

      She’d spent years in California recording interviews with the Hmong who Daniels had lived and fought alongside in the 1960s and ’70s, during the U.S. government’s secret war in Laos.

    • Pakistan condemns the US drone strike in Shawal Area

      The Government of Pakistan strongly condemns the US drone strike that took placein Shawal Areain North Waziristan on the night of 28 July 2013. These unilateral strikes are a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Pakistan has repeatedly emphasized the importance of bringing an immediate end to drone strikes.

    • Australia and drones: time for an honest and public debate

      Last month a US drone fired four Hellfire missiles into a building and car in Waziristan. The first media reports stated two to four people were killed. The next said seven people killed and two injured. Then the New York Times reported 16 people killed and five injured. Last count was at least 17 killed.

      On the weekend there were drone strikes in Pakistan’s Waziristan region; six were killed according to initial reports – these details will likely change in coming days. Facts are very slippery around this secretive program.

    • US approves drones for civilian use

      The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued certificates for two types of unmanned aircraft for civilian use. The move is expected to lead to the first approved commercial drone operation later this summer.

      The two unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are the Scan Eagle X200 and Aero Vironment’s PUMA. They both measure around 4 ½ feet long, weighing less than 55 pounds, and have a wing span of ten and nine feet respectively.

    • FBI letter to Rand Paul reveals drones used 10 times in US

      The Federal Bureau of Investigations has used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, at least ten times in the United States, a letter from the agency to Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul revealed on Thursday.

      “Since late 2006, the FBI has conducted surveillance using UAV’s in eight criminal cases and two nationals security cases,” the letter reads. A footnote at the end of the sentence noted that in three additional cases, drones were authorized, but “not actually used.”

    • The FBI has used drones for warrantless surveillance in the US in 10 different cases

      Then there’s the issue of the Fourth Amendment, which protects US citizens from unreasonable search and seizure, and which typically means that law enforcement has to get a warrant to conduct a search. Kelly, though, reveals in his letter to Paul that the FBI hasn’t actually obtained a warrant for any of its drone surveillance operations so far. “To date, there has been no need for the FBI to seek a warrant or judicial order in any of the few cases where UAVs have been used,” Kelly writes, saying in all of the cases, the people surveilled had no “reasonable expectation of privacy.”

    • FBI Has Used Drones On Americans To Save A Child… And The Rest Is Secret
    • Life as a US drone operator: ‘It’s like playing a video game for four years’

      “It is a lot like playing a video game,” a former Predator drone operator matter-of-factly admits to the artist Omer Fast. “But playing the same video game four years straight on the same level.” His bombs kill real people though and, he admits, often not the people he is aiming at.

    • Awlaki’s killing and the Constitution

      So the president, acting to protect the country, orders him killed. A CIA drone strike takes him out in Yemen.

    • EU to own drones as part of spy agency
    • A Shameful Day to Be a US Citizen

      It is bad enough that we Americans have to hang our heads in shame as our Attorney General pretends, against all evidence to the contrary, that there is still a fair legal system operating in the US, and that the US respects human rights and the rule of law.

      We should not have to also endure yet another kangaroo court trial, this time of Edward Snowden.

      Snowden should be granted asylum in Russia, or should be allowed to travel to one of the other countries of his choice that have had the courage to offer him asylum.

      If we’re going to have trials on the issue of spying in the US, let them be of Holder himself, and of President Obama.

    • Police In Toronto Are Public Enemy Number One

      Now, in Canada, a police officer, or anyone else for that matter, is allowed to use lethal force in self-defence or defence of others, but no one was threatened by this guy. Other officers, not the shooters, were walking around the bus without a weapon drawn. Obviously, there was no emergency requiring lethal force. They could have Tasered the guy without shooting him. Once he was shot at least once, he was even less of a threat. Why the overkill?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Lew says stubborn Congress risks repeating U.S. fiscal wounds

      U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Sunday warned Congress against manufacturing a crisis over federal spending in the months ahead, as looming deadlines set the stage for a repeat of the political deadlock which two years ago triggered worldwide financial market turmoil.

    • We’re Taxing the Rich… and So Can You

      They’ve been saying it for decades. “Taxes are bad,” they also claim. “Government doesn’t work. And public employees are greedy.”

      Consequently, common wisdom had it that “you can’t raise taxes.” Even people who should have known better believed this—while the public sector slid down the tubes.

      So how did Proposition 30 succeed? This measure, passed by voters last November, raises $6 billion a year for schools and services—in California, a supposedly “anti-tax” state. The money comes mostly through an income tax hike on rich people, along with a tiny sales tax increase of ¼ percent.

    • Carl Bildt falls foul of Twitter

      Carl Bildt, Sweden’s foreign minister has fallen foul of Twitter after sparking ridicule for a tweet saying that he was looking forward to an elite Davos dinner to discuss “global hunger”.

    • Florida congressman’s bill would do away with U.S. raisin reserve

      A Florida congressman has introduced a bill that would eliminate one of the U.S. government’s most unusual institutions: the Raisin Administrative Committee, keepers of the national raisin reserve.

    • Bank Robs House By Mistake, Refuses To Pay Up

      Imagine returning home from vacation and finding your home cleaned out. The thieves grabbed all the furniture, all the gadgets, all the kitchenware, and left you nothing. That’s what happened to an Ohio woman recently, and the police are refusing to help.

      That’s because the perpetrator was First National Bank. Except Katie Barnett was not behind on her payments; the bank just repossessed the wrong house.

    • Vinton County Woman Wants Possessions Back After Bank Tried To Repossess Wrong House
    • The United States of… Class War, Inequality, and Poverty

      New economic data obtained and analyzed by the Associated Press appears to show that when billionaire financier Warren Buffett says, “There’s class warfare, all right.. and we’re winning,” he knows what he’s talking about.

  • Censorship

    • Take action: Call out Cameron on online censorship

      David Cameron is asking Britain to sleepwalk into censorship. Everyone agrees that we should try to protect children from harmful content. But unprecedented filtering of legal content for everyone is not the answer.

    • Australia responds to UK porn filter

      Australia’s Internet Industry Association has responded to the UK government’s controversial porn filtering proposal, calling for restraint and considered debate.

    • Blocking Porn At The Google Or Search Engine Level Won’t Work

      David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, has a bright idea over how to deal with the menace of online porn. Just make the search engines not return a result for a list of banned words and phrases. As usual with a politician sparking the synapses this isn’t a very good idea, indeed it would be, as one writer puts it, applying a tourniquet to the First Amendment (not that the UK has one of those but you get the idea). For the problem is that language is pretty complex. It is indeed true that there are combinations of words that are used to describe certain sexual practices that we might not want the little children to see pictures of.

    • Microsoft Wants Google to Censor…. Microsoft.com

      In an attempt to make pirated content harder to find copyright holders ask Google to remove millions of search results every week. While these automated requests are usually legitimate, mistakes happen more often than one might expect. For example, in an embarrassing act of self-censorship Microsoft recently asked Google to censor links to its very own Microsoft.com.

    • Police use of ‘Ring of Steel’ is disproportionate and must be reviewed
    • UK Police’s ‘Ring Of Steel’ Spying On Every Car Entering And Leaving Town Ruled Disproportionate

      The UK is famous for its abundant CCTV cameras, but it’s also pretty keen on the equally intrusive Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras that can identify cars and hence their owners as they pass. Here, for example, is what’s been going on in the town of Royston, whose local police force has just had its knuckles rapped by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for the over-enthusiastic deployment of such ANPR systems there:

  • Privacy

    • Intelligence Officials Can’t Keep Story Straight: Snowden Both Did And Did Not Get Key NSA Secrets

      We’ve already talked about how NSA surveillance supporters are trying to claim both that Ed Snowden’s links were either “nothing new” or “false” and that they “harm America.” We had trouble understanding how both could be true — but supporters were making both statements. Now intelligence officials are doing their own sort of contradictory statements, as pointed out by Glenn Greenwald. First up, we’ve got intelligence officials claiming that Snowden didn’t get the really deep dark secrets of the NSA:

    • Rep. Mike Pompeo Says NSA’s Metadata Program Is A Result Of The Way ‘Government Is Supposed To Operate’

      Rep. Mike Pompeo who, along with Rep. Richard Nugent, whipped up the “red herring” amendment designed to draw support away from Rep. Justin Amash’s more direct NSA-defunding effort, took to the mic to do a bit of orating before his amendment sailed through on a 409-12 vote.

    • Rep. Rush Holt Bill To Repeal PATRIOT And FISA Amendments Acts Now Live, Ambitious
    • Why Does Rep. Mike Rogers Always Mock The Internet And Its Users?

      Rep. Mike Rogers, who has long been a strong supporter of stomping on your privacy in the name of supporting his friends (and family) who are a part of the intelligence-industrial complex, seems to have a real hatred for the internet and the people who express their opinion via the internet. No wonder he was the lead sponsor of CISPA and wanted the ability to undermine the privacy promises of internet companies. Back when the CISPA debate was happening, and there was widespread grassroots opposition, Rogers dismissed it all, claiming that it was just “14-year-olds in their basement clicking around on the internet.

    • The Bizarre Flip-Floppers: 13 Reps Who Voted To Stop Patriot Act Spying 2 Years Ago, But Voted To Continue It Yesterday

      We’ve already noted that there were quite a few oddities in the group of Representatives who voted against the Amash Amendment yesterday, effectively giving their stamp of approval of the NSA spying on every single American. But, the strangest of all were those who had spoken out against the very same program in the past. We noted a few who had spoken out years ago, but the Long Strange Journey blog noticed that there are 13 Representatives who voted against extending parts of the Patrtiot Act (including the provision that the Amash Amendment sought to clarify to stop mass data collection), but then voted against the amendment yesterday.

    • What Edward Snowden Has Given Us

      Less than a week later, Glenn Greenwald was asserting that Snowden’s worst fear had not been realized. That same claim was made somewhat more plausibly a few days ago by Philip Bump, writing in The Atlantic under the headline “Edward Snowden is Winning.” Even if you don’t agree with that optimistic assessment, the narrowness of the defeat of the Amash Amendment shows how far things have come in a few weeks.

    • It’s time to debate NSA program
    • Leaders Of The 9/11 Commission Say NSA Surveillance Has Gone Too Far

      One of the key talking points from defenders of the NSA surveillance program is that they had to implement it after the 9/11 Commission revealed “holes” in information gathering that resulted in 9/11. This is a misstatement of what that report actually indicated — in that it showed that more than enough data had actua

    • Nancy Pelosi Saved The NSA Surveillance Program; Now She Should Help Kill It

      As we pointed out yesterday, there was a bizarre group of Democratic congressional reps who apparently followed the lead of Nancy Pelosi in voting against the Amash Amendment to defund the NSA program to collect all of your phone data despite the fact that those same Representatives had voted against that very same program a couple years ago. We pointed out that it was clearly Pelosi’s lead that made the others follow — and it was likely that Pelosi was responding to great pressure from the White House. Now ForeignPolicy.com confirms that it was Pelosi’s actions that “saved” the NSA surveillance program, noting that her lobbying was much more effective than NSA boss Keith Alexander’s “private briefing” for Congress.

    • Why Won’t NSA Defenders Publish Their Phone Records?
    • Democratic Leadership Says NSA Data Collection Is Fine Because You ‘May Be In Communication With Terrorists’
    • Which Citizens Are Under More Surveillance, U.S. Or European?

      The disclosure of of previously secret NSA surveillance programs has been met by outrage in Europe. The European Parliament even threatened to delay trade talks with the United States.

    • Opinion: NSA must address privacy concerns

      The National Security Agency survived a legislative challenge in the House of Representatives last week. But senior NSA officials still face an uphill fight to convince the American public that its operations can enhance security without jeopardizing privacy.

      The Obama administration had to lobby aggressively to defeat a bipartisan House proposal to defund the NSA’s collection of Americans’ telephone call records. The narrow 217-205 vote shows how fragile public support has become for the agency’s surveillance programs.

    • NSA, GCHQ ban Lenovo PCs due to security concerns

      Lenovo, the biggest PC supplier in the world, has seen its PCs banned from the secret networks of the intelligence and defence services of the UK, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – otherwise known as the Five Eyes.

      Sources from intelligence and defence entities in the UK and Australia have confirmed the ban on PCs made by the Chinese company being used in “classified” networks, according to the Australian Financial Review (AFR).

    • Thousands take to streets in Germany to protest US surveillance of Internet

      Thousands of people are taking to the streets in Germany to protest against the alleged widespread surveillance of Internet users by U.S. intelligence services.

      Protesters, responding to calls by a loose network calling itself #stopwatchingus, braved searing summer temperatures Saturday to demonstrate in Hamburg, Munich, Berlin and up to 35 other German cities and towns.

    • Bribery: pro-NSA Congressional voters got twice the defense industry campaign contributions

      A detailed analysis on Maplight of the voting in last week’s vote on de-funding NSA dragnet spying found that the Congresscritters who voted in favor of more NSA spying received more than double the defense industry campaign contributions of their anti-NSA-voting rivals. They were the winners in the industry’s $13M donation bonanza leading up to the 2012 elections.

    • A New Wi-Fi-Enabled Tooth Sensor Rats You Out When You Smoke or Overeat

      Lying through your teeth just took on a whole new meaning. Cigarettes, drinking, eating too much or too little food—we all have our vices, and vices are hard to drop. When, say, New Years rolls around, it’s easy to make promises to cut them out with no intention of following through.

    • “Zero privacy violations” in NSA programs, Rogers says

      There are “zero privacy violations” in the National Security Agency’s collection of phone records, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said Sunday on “Face the Nation,” just days after the chamber narrowly rejected a measure that would have stripped the agency of its assumed authority under the Patriot Act to collect records in bulk.

    • Glenn Greenwald: Low-Level NSA Analysts Have ‘Powerful and Invasive’ Search Tool
    • Low-level NSA analysts can spy on Americans – Greenwald

      NSA spying programs give access to US citizens’ private data to low-level analysts with little court approval or supervision, says Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story on Washington’s PRISM surveillance system.

      “[PRISM] is an incredibly powerful and invasive tool,” Greenwald told ABC’s ‘This Week.’ The NSA programs are “exactly the type that Mr. Snowden described. NSA officials are going to be testifying before the Senate on Wednesday, and I defy them to deny that these programs work exactly as I’ve said.”

    • German anti-NSA protests attract small crowds
    • Google engineer blasts domestic spying after receiving NSA award

      Google engineer Joseph Bonneau is the first person to be awarded the NSA’s “Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper” award for his paper “The Science of Guessing,” which analyzed over 70 million user passwords in an effort to study why we’re all so horrible at making strong passwords. “Even seemingly distant language communities choose the
      same weak passwords,” he concludes.

    • Breakneck NSA growth fueled by insatiable demand for its product

      Twelve years later, the cranes and earthmovers around the National Security Agency are still at work, tearing up pavement and uprooting trees to make room for a larger workforce and more powerful computers. Already bigger than the Pentagon in square meters, the NSA’s footprint will grow by an additional 50 percent when construction is complete in a decade.

    • Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, and the war on whistleblowers

      Uncle Sam is waging all-out war on whistleblowers, while those managing the exposed systems walk away without a scratch

    • Manning trial judge: verdict coming 1 p.m. Tuesday
    • In Closing Argument, Government Casts Bradley Manning as ‘Anarchist,’ ‘Hacker’ & ‘Traitor’
    • Military Harasses Journalists At Bradley Manning Trial
    • NSA: permission to spy in Germany
    • What the Ashcroft “Hospital Showdown” on NSA spying was all about

      We’ve known for years that the STELLAR WIND surveillance program—a massive NSA effort authorized by President George W. Bush after 9/11—eventually led to a dramatic showdown at the bedside of then-attorney general John Ashcroft. The situation surrounding STELLAR WIND was on such shaky legal ground that top members of the government threatened to quit in protest, though the exact reasons for their unease have been difficult to pinpoint.

    • Senator Chambliss’ Confusing Defense of the NSA

      …says he’ll be shocked if Edward Snowden’s account of analyst access to emails and calls is correct.

    • Details Revealed On Old NSA Intelligence Database: ANCHORY

      You may remember that, back in June, we pointed out that if you plugged in a few of the “code names” for various NSA programs (as revealed by Ed Snowden’s leaks), you could find a few resumes of NSA employees, listing out other such code names. Jason Gulledge apparently saw that post, and used the list of code names that we posted to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on NSA documents concerning those programs. Amazingly, they actually sent back some info — though, just about the very first program, ANCHORY, and the info sent is from 1993 (and some from 2000),

  • Civil Rights

    • The Scariest Quote You’ll Read From the Trial Nobody Is Talking About

      There has been a lot of legal debate throughout the U.S. over the last few weeks. Maybe that has dulled Americans’ appetite for major trials.

      One case in particular that is now reaching its climax has seemingly flown under the radar: that of Bradley Manning. Though the case will likely be a watershed moment in terms of journalism, whistleblowing, and national security policy, the Manning trial has not seen the same media attention given to other proceedings this summer.

    • And the NSA Award Goes To…
    • Winner of NSA award disses NSA

      The winner of this year’s security award, sponsored by US spooks at the NSA, is a little embarrassed.

      Joseph Bonneau, of the Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge would normally have been over the moon at winning such a prestigious award. After all, his paper “The science of guessing” was chosen by top academics in the security world as the year’s best scientific cybersecurity paper.

      Writing in his blog, Bonneau said that he was honoured to have been recognised by the distinguished academic panel assembled by the NSA.

    • Glenn Greenwald: ‘I Defy’ the NSA to Deny Edward Snowden’s Most Radical Claims Under Oath

      The leaker’s claims about access to private data will be vindicated this week, says the journalist who helped report them.

    • Lawmakers Protecting NSA Surveillance Are Awash In Defense Contractor Cash

      Though it failed by a twelve-vote margin, Congressman Justin Amash’s (R-MI) amendment last week to curtail the NSA’s dragnet surveillance efforts reveals new fault lines in the debate over privacy. The roll call for the vote shows that 111 Democrats and ninety-four Republicans supporting the measure, which was co-sponsored by Amash’s Democratic colleague, John Conyers.

    • Major opinion shifts, in the US and Congress, on NSA surveillance and privacy

      Pew finds that, for the first time since 9/11, Americans are now more worried about civil liberties abuses than terrorism

    • Herald News: New alliances formed in NSA vote

      LAST WEEK, a remarkable thing happened in Congress. Democrats sided with Republicans in great numbers, both for and against a crucial bit of legislation in the House of Representatives that sought to scale back the National Security Agency’s program of secretly collecting millions of Americans’ phone records. The governmental policy came to be widely known only after former NSA systems analyst Eric Snowden went public with some of the agency’s surveillance practices.

    • New Zealand report reignites debate on NSA spying

      A disputed report that U.S. spy agencies and New Zealand’s military conspired to spy on a freelance journalist in Afghanistan has opened a new front in the debate over the surveillance programs revealed by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

    • 7 Big Things Every American Should Know About the 2014 NDAA Bill

      Perhaps the most important new development in NDAA 2014 is its establishment of what it terms the “Conflict Records Research Center,” presumably a Department of Defense authorized agency which examines what it deems “captured records.” There are questions raised here, though, the first of which is the definition of a “captured record.” 1061 (g) defines the captured records as files obtained “during combat” from entities “hostile” to the United States; the problem there lies in the definition not just of hostile, a vague adjective, but also of “during combat;” under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, or AUMF, passed in the early 2000s, the country technically proceeds in a state of contuining combat, which renders the distinction legally ambiguous. It will most likely, though, include the vast reams of information collected by the NSA and its sister agencies, including through programs like PRISM.

    • U.S. lawmakers want sanctions on any country taking in Snowden

      A U.S. Senate panel voted unanimously on Thursday to seek trade or other sanctions against Russia or any other country that offers asylum to former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, who has been holed up for weeks at a Moscow airport.

    • Delaware School Resource Officer Interrogated Third Grader, Fifth Grader Over Stolen $1

      The incident started when a Delaware State Police trooper, who was on assignment as a school resource officer in the Cape Henlopen School District, questioned the third-grader and a fifth-grader while investigating the theft of $1.

    • Zero Tolerance Policies Put Students In The Hands Of Bad Cops

      Over the past several years, there’s been a rise in the number of law enforcement officers taking up residence in public schools. This rise corresponds with the proliferation of zero-tolerance policies. Combined, these two factors have resulted in criminalization of acts that were once nothing more than violations of school policies, something usually handled by school administrators. As infractions have morphed into criminal acts, the severity of law enforcement “liaison” responses has also escalated.

    • State Capitols in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Florida Rumble with Citizen Protest
    • SOCA and the blue-chip private investigators

      Earlier in the year we published a report on the growing use of private investigators by local and public authorities, warning that they were being used without RIPA authorisation. Now the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) is facing serious calls for it to publish its list of companies and individuals who used corrupt private investigators to obtain personal information.

    • Revealed: The 95 FOIA Requests Flagged for Pentagon Approval

      A few weeks ago, the nonpartisan organization Cause of Action posted a story on its website about a secret Pentagon policy that calls for certain Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that may generate media attention to first be approved by the Pentagon.

      Naturally, I was eager to find out what FOIA requests analysts believed would be of interest to the Pentagon. So, I filed a FOIA for a copy of the list of those FOIAs.

    • Largest Fast Food Workers Strike Hits Seven Cities Across US

      Thousands of fast food workers went on strike in branches across seven U.S. cities on Monday in what could be the largest strike of its kind in U.S. history.

      The workers are protesting unlivable wages and are calling for a nationwide living wage of $15 dollars an hour.

      “A lot of the workers are living in poverty, you know, not being able to afford to put food on the table or take the train to work,” said Jonathan Westin, director of Fast Food Forward, who has been organizing fast-food workers in New York City.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TTIP’s “Science-based” Assault on Democracy Begins

      Some of the statements there are truly incredible – for example, the idea that animal welfare or consumer preferences have no place in a country’s trade policy, or that standards “stricter than their international counterparts” are somehow bad, and should be forbidden (isn’t that what we should be striving for – doing better than the average?) The latter also confirms what I’ve noted elsewhere: that the only way TTIP can “succeed” on its own terms is if all health and safety standards are levelled *downwards*, to the detriment of the public.


      Without realising it, the corporations are revealing their profound contempt for democracy, and for the right of citizens to choose the laws that govern them. Instead, the huge multi-nationals are asserting the primacy of profit – and of their right to over-rule local laws. I’ve warned about this previously, specifically in the case of Monsanto, but it’s still frightening to see the naked expression by companies of their desire to see law trumped by lucre.

    • To Counter Secret Negotiations Over TPP, Coalition Sets Up Open Alternative

      By this point, we’ve covered the absurd secrecy around trade agreements like the TPP many times over. TPP, TAFTA and other such trade agreements are being negotiated entirely in secret, with no chance for public feedback or discussion, but with plenty of access for special interests who are driving the key aspects of the negotiation. While various government officials — mainly the USTR in the US — have claimed that (1) negotiations are transparent because anyone can go talk to them and (2) that the actual text needs to be secret or no deal can get done, neither point is even remotely accurate. Transparency is not about listening, but sharing openly. They can listen all they want, but that’s not transparency when what’s actually being debated and agreed on is still secret. Furthermore, plenty of other agreements, such as those at WIPO, are negotiated much more publicly with drafts being released and debated in public. There is no reason that cannot be done with TPP or TAFTA.

    • Companies Request Special Permission From Feds To Register Intellectual Property In North Korea

      The folks over at NPR’s Planet Money recently did a fun podcast discussing requests by US companies for permission to route around the sanctions imposed by the US government on North Korea in order to do business with North Korea. This came about after Planet Money got back a bunch of documents from a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request revealing the letters that various companies sent to the Office of Foreign Assets Control, basically begging for exceptions to the sanctions. The podcast mostly focused on the “novelty” items — the guy who wanted to buy a single pair of North Korean jeans for his wife, the company that wanted to import North Korean beer, the stamp trading company that wants North Korean postage stamps because they’re so rare, etc. But at the end of the podcast, they mention that among the stuff they didn’t cover, were requests having to do with… intellectual property.

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom Battle Sees Kiwi Public Burn Through US$1.6m in Legal Costs
      • Piracy Collapses As Legal Alternatives Do Their Job

        Entertainment industry groups in Norway have spent years lobbying for tougher anti-piracy laws, finally getting their way earlier this month. But with fines and site blocking now on the agenda, an interesting trend has been developing. Quietly behind the scenes music piracy has collapsed to less than a fifth of the level it reached five years ago while movie and TV show downloading has been cut in half.

      • Fed Up Germans Are Trying To Crowdfund A GEMA Alternative That Isn’t Evil

        We’ve had many stories over the years about just how evil and awful the German music collection society GEMA can be. I’ve been to Germany a few times over the past few years, and have spoken to musicians who tell me horrifying stories about how you basically have to sign up with GEMA, and then GEMA controls what you can do with your music. For example, I met a band that wanted to license its music under a Creative Commons license, but GEMA doesn’t like to recognize such licenses. Another band showed me its “official” website, which it told GEMA about, and then its “real” website, which it told its fans about, where the band could actually put up their own music for free. GEMA is basically controlled by the legacy interests and only pays attention to a small group of very successful musicians. Everyone else is left out in the cold. There’s a reason why GEMA is the only major collection society that still hasn’t worked out a deal with YouTube.

      • Copyright, Control and Censorship

        This morning, the House Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet held its second in a series of hearings that form the beginning of a review of current copyright law. And while the first hearing was largely comprised of copyright critics, today’s hearing featured those who make their livings and who are innovating new technologies based on the copyright system.

      • Why Yes, Copyright Can Be Used To Censor, And ‘Fair Use Creep’ Is Also Called ‘Free Speech’

        So, as we’d been discussing, Congress recently had a hearing about copyright reform that was supposed to be about the “content creators’” view of copyright — but which actually mostly presented the views of the legacy industry which makes money off the backs of creators, rather than hearing from any creators themselves. The hearing was about as silly as you might expect, with Parker Higgins from EFF presenting a good run down of the problems, including the claims that it’s copyright that enables free speech, that copyright is good because it’s “about control” and that “fair use creep” is dangerous. Of course, if you want a funny, and nearly totally wrong counterpoint, you can read the overview from Tom Giovanetti, who runs a “think tank” that is a favorite of copyright maximalists. Let’s compare and contrast, and add some reality.

TechBytes Video: Richard Stallman on Privacy

Posted in TechBytes Video at 7:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Techbytes 2013

Direct download as Ogg (00:03:08, 10.5 MB)

Summary: Richard Stallman speaks to TechBytes about ECHELON, PRISM, and other issues that relate to privacy after the NSA leaks

Made entirely using Free/libre software, heavily compressed for performance on the Web at quality’s expense

The Crisis of Microsoft and the Coverup

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 6:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hiding from the truth


Summary: Recent news about the demise of Microsoft’s common carrier (Windows) and coverage that belittles this fundamental problem

Without the monopoly on platforms and document formats Microsoft will have to complete based on technical merit (which it doesn’t have). This is why Microsoft has bribed and engaged in other crimes to promote OOXML and ensure that almost nobody runs a desktop/laptop without Windows. A lot has changed since smartphones became as powerful as last decade’s desktops and tablets compensated for size differences. Nowadays Linux in the form of Android outsells Windows.

“Some people suspected that Steve Ballmer would get fired over the latest major dip, which was caused by vanity and oversupply.”Some people suspected that Steve Ballmer would get fired over the latest major dip, which was caused by vanity and oversupply. Microsoft just cannot enter the smartphones and tablets market. Windows is not good enough and people don’t want it. “Even the “Friends of Bill” on the board of directors,” said one article, “will have to consider making a change if Ballmer can’t get the Windows 8 mess straightened out by the end of this year. Without the automatic revenue from the Windows cash cow, Microsoft doesn’t continue being the kind of company that can go a decade without a new hit product. If Windows 8.1 doesn’t stop the bleeding, Ballmer loses his safety net. Don’t expect the Microsoft board to give him until Windows 9 before giving his CEO tenure the blue screen of death.”

As one blogger put it: “Six million unsold Surface RT tablets? Something went wrong there. Perhaps Microsoft was a little, uh, over-confident…”

Yes, well, and this arrogance is dragging down Nokia, too. Watch this disturbing-yet-poetic Nokia photo which shows Elop getting closer to Microsoft rather than taking some distance (as a mole, he cannot go away from Ballmer). “Microsoft Is The Cancer Killing Nokia,” says one headline in the financial press, so perhaps it’s not the GPL that’s the “cancer” Steve Ballmer wants us to believe it is. Over at the Washington Post, which is usually Microsoft-friendly, this one blogger says Microsoft is “doomed” and he adds that:

Microsoft stock lost about 10 percent of its value in the wake of a quarterly earnings report on Thursday that investors deemed sub-par. Yet revenue for the second quarter was up 10 percent, to $19.9 billion. And the company’s profits were more than $6 billion, compared to a small loss in the second quarter last year.


The problem is that no technology CEO wants to admit that his firm is no longer capable of succeeding on technology’s cutting edge. Selling Windows and Office may be profitable, but it’s not as glamorous as writing the software that powers smartphones and Web apps. So just as DEC continued producing innovative but doomed products like the Alpha and Altavista in the 1990s, Steve Ballmer is likely to continue pouring money into money-losing projects like Bing, the Zune, and Surface. That’s probably not good for Microsoft’s shareholders, but it could be great for consumers.

This is actually not the full story. Accounting tricks are hiding the real financial situation of this company. Here is another new take which says “Microsoft’s stock plunge in the wake of disappointing earnings could force a compromise with shareholders pushing for a change.”

“There are already layoffs, going for almost half a decade now, mostly silently.”Microsoft booster Preston Gralla helps cover up the problems and the fact that a lot of money is accumulated by Microsoft owing to corrupt government contracts, which essentially act like a conduit of subsidies for NSA spying on Microsoft dependants.

One investor of Microsoft is saying that Windows 8 a “flop” and says that a “decade of mismanagement has put Microsoft at risk of becoming a shrinking company.”

Risk of shrinking? There are already layoffs, going for almost half a decade now, mostly silently. It started after Vista, which Microsoft never recovered from, definitely not with Vista 8. Even “Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Admits He Made A Huge Mistake” and as AOL puts it: “Despite some good reviews, Microsoft had an extraordinarily difficult time getting the Surface off of shelves, and an overwhelming number of Surface RT tablets have been left unsold. If you break down the $900 million Microsoft lost on the Surface RT, it comes out to about 6 million unsold devices.”

“Microsoft wants to force people to use Windows because they won’t buy it.”Actually, how many of these reviews were bribed for or written by Microsoft boosters? That’s just how it usually goes. Chips B Malroy wrote in IRC: “I wonder what landfill all those unsold Kin’s went too?”

Microsoft has always failed in the hardware business and Frederic Lardinois says that “Microsoft had a pretty bad week. The software giant announced disastrous earnings, which prompted its stock to tank more than 11 percent the next day. One reason for the bad quarter was the $900 million charge it took against “Surface RT” inventory adjustments, but even without this writedown, its quarter still would have been pretty bad. If the earnings show one thing, it’s that outside of its business and enterprise offerings (which delivered relatively good results), Microsoft just doesn’t have any products right now that consumers want to buy.”

Microsoft wants to force people to use Windows because they won’t buy it. This strategy is assisted by UEFI, but with Android as de facto platform on many devices, we are going to see Windows sliding further and further into minority market share. Without Windows, Microsoft is doomed. Shareholders increasingly recognise this.

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