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Links 19/7/2013: Slackware Turns 20, Nexus 7 2 Images Leaked

Posted in News Roundup at 4:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The H is closing down

    Although The H has produced many widely read stories, it has not been possible to effectively monetise that traffic to produce a working business model.

    Because of this, after four and a half years as The H and six years online, The H is, sadly, closing its doors. We thank all our readers for their deep interest and engagement. Work is taking place to create an archive to ensure that the content of the site will remain publicly accessible.

  • Desktop

    • Who’s Winning the PC OS War? Who Cares?!

      Henry Blodget in Business Insider: “In the late 1990s, a single technology company became so unfathomably rich and powerful — and so hellbent on dominating not just its own industry but a massive and rapidly growing new one — that the U.S. government dragged the company into court and threatened to break it up over anti-trust violations.


      Now, thanks to the rise of Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, Windows’ global share has been cut in half, to about 30%. More remarkably, Android is now a bigger platform than Windows.

  • Server

    • IBM’s Smart CSL Buy

      If you think provisioning, monitoring, managing and maintaining the virtualized resources on IBM mainframes can be complex, you’d be entirely correct. Yet simplifying those processes and increasing the productivity of mainframe sysadmins have been among CSL International’s primary goals since the company’s founding in 2004. Overall, CSL International should be a perfect fit for IBM.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • All About the Linux Kernel: Bcache

      The 3.10 Linux kernel release late last month brought a raft of new features worth celebrating for Linux developers and sysadmins alike. This release was especially satisfying, though, to kernel developer Kent Overstreet who saw years of hard work pay off with the inclusion of the Bcache patch set in 3.10.

      Bcache allows Linux machines to use flash-based SSDs (solid-state drives) as cache for other, slower and less expensive, hard disk drives. It can be used in servers, workstations, high-end storage arrays, or “anywhere you want IO to be faster, really,” Overstreet said.

    • AMD Talks Up HSA Architecture On Linux ARM

      Greg Stoner of AMD and representing the HSA Foundation talked last week at the Linaro Connect Europe 2013 event about the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) as it concerns ARM.

    • Linus Torvalds Calls For More Linux Kernel Patches

      Linus Torvalds is usually complaining about too many pull requests during the Linux kernel development cycle when past its merge window, but this time around he’s complaining about too few patches this week. He’s also proclaimed himself the Goldilocks of kernel development.

      This week there’s been much drama in the Linux kernel development world over Intel’s Sarah Sharp and others wanting Torvalds and others to be less “verbally abusive” on the Linux kernel mailing list when criticizing kernel patches and other work. There’s been a proposal to discuss the tone of the Linux kernel mailing list at the upcoming Linux Kernel Summit.

      With developers discussing their views on appropriate behaviour for the Linux kernel mailing list, it’s taken away from kernel development time and that’s making Linus less than happy.

    • Why This Hacker Stood Up Against ‘Verbal Abuse’ in Linux Land

      When Sarah Sharp was a 20-year-old university student in Portland, she took on an extra-credit project writing USB driver code for the Linux kernel. She was too young to stay past 10 p.m. in some of the brew pubs where the local Linux-heads met, but she hung in as long as she could, learned a lot about Linux, and embraced the community.

    • Childish names are becoming a real problem for Linux

      Linux creator Linus Torvalds is an interesting fellow. He is notorious for speaking his mind, demeaning developers and using profanity — behavior which is appreciated by some members of the Linux community. On July 14, the RC-1 of Linux Kernel 3.11 was announced. Continuing his quirky behavior, Mr. Torvalds has named it “Linux for Workgroups”.

    • Linus, Linux, Civility and Fighting in Hockey
    • How to Find Best and Fast DNS Servers to Optimize Internet Speed
    • Graphics Stack

      • Virgil: Experimental Virtual 3D Support For QEMU

        David Airlie publicly announced plans today for his new Virgil project, a virtual GPU capable of 3D acceleration for QEMU. Guest OpenGL (and potentially Direct3D) commands from the virtualized KVM/QEMU guest are passed onto the host for hardware acceleration.

      • OpenGL Frame Latency / Jitter Testing On Linux
      • XBMC Now Runs Well On Wayland
      • XBMC Now Runs Well On Wayland

        Sam Spilsbury, the Compiz developer and former Canonical employee, has made progress in being able to run the XBMC media application directly on Wayland.

      • Direct3D 9 Support Released For Linux Via Gallium3D, Running Games

        Linux desktop systems can now have working support for Microsoft’s Direct3D 9 API via a new Gallium3D state tracker. Unlike the earlier Direct3D 10/11 state tracker for Gallium3D on Linux, this new code actually can run D3D9 games and at better performance than what’s offered by Wine.

      • Nouveau VP2 H.264/MPEG2 Decoding Now In Gallium3D

        While Radeon DPM for Linux 3.11 is most of what Linux enthusiasts are talking about, the Nouveau changes in Linux 3.11 include support for H.264 and MPEG2 video decoding. The necessary user-space driver changes have now been made for supporting this accelerated video decode process from Nouveau Gallium3D.

      • R600 Radeon Gallium3D Gets More SB Back-End Work

        Vadim Girlin has merged another set of patches concerning his “SB” shader optimization back-end for the R600 Gallium3D driver, including some code that has the potential to affect the performance.

      • Radeon Power Management Gets More Fixes For 3.11

        Just days after the first release candidate of the Linux 3.11 kernel, additional user testing of the new Radeon dynamic power management support has revealed more bugs in the open-source driver. Fortunately, there’s already another pull request for Linux 3.11 to take care of some more Radeon “DPM” issues.

      • Mesa 9.2 Can Boost Intel Haswell Graphics 30~40% On Linux

        Yesterday I shared open-source Linux graphics benchmarks showing the Intel Ivy Bridge performance improving on Mesa 9.2 over the earlier releases of this important open-source Linux graphics driver component. However, for the latest-generation Intel “Haswell” graphics, Mesa 9.2 is an even more important upgrade. Here’s a look at the performance benefits in moving from Mesa 9.1 to the soon-to-be-released Mesa 9.2.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • ROSA Recruits Fresh GNOME Desktop

        ROSA has primarily been a customized KDE desktop distribution. But today the ROSA folks announced an officially supported GNOME 3 variation of their Fresh R1 release. And, ROSA somehow managed to make GNOME 3 consistent with the look of their ROSA desktop.

  • Distributions

    • Slackware Family

      • Slackware Turns 20

        Slackware Linux turned 20 years old yesterday and no one gave them a party. Even I, who commonly remembered the illustrious distribution’s birthdays in my now former column, had to be reminded by LWN. Well, that won’t do. Let’s look back at some history of Slack.

        As I look back over my history with Slack, I’m struck by how many distributions were once based on Slackware. Most are no longer maintained, but some names may still be familiar. GoblinX was a strange looking but quite stable and fun distribution. It’s biggest issue in adoption is their pay-to-play business model that often fails in Linuxville. Austrumi is a tiny distro from Latvia, a tiny Northern European country most Americans’ education didn’t include. It was fast and stable and looks to be abandoned. Ultima 4 was trying to provide an easy to use Slackware and Mutagenix was a really cool distro that has disappeared off the face of the Earth. But Slackware is still here. There are many more derivative epitaphs, but the oldest surviving Linux distribution is 20 years old and is still very actively and enthusiastically maintained.

      • Happy 20th Anniversary, Slackware!

        Slackware Linux, a complete 32-bit multitasking “UNIX-like” system that is currently based around the 3.2 Linux kernel series, has just reached the venerable age of 20.

      • Happy 20th Birthday, Slackware!!!
    • Red Hat Family

      • Cigna Named 2013 Red Hat Innovator of the Year

        Cigna , a global health service company that offers health, life, accident, dental, and disability insurance, and related health services, and Red Hat, Inc. (NYS: RHT) , the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Cigna has been named the 2013 Red Hat Innovator of the Year. Cigna was recognized during a ceremony at Red Hat Summit for its innovative use of Red Hat technologies to revitalize the company’s IT infrastructure and solidify the company’s position as a leader in the health care industry. Cigna also won an Innovation Award in the “Outstanding Open Source Architecture” category.

      • Down but not out on Red Hat’s sign

        OK, I hear you loud and clear. Disagreement with my view of Red Hat’s sign atop its downtown Raleigh building – “hideously out of place” – has been clear, but polite.

        I thank you for the polite part.

      • Red Hat: People like our “cereal box sign”

        Red Hat’s “cereal box sign,” the red billboard crowning the top of what is now known as Red Hat Tower, may be meeting controversy online, but officials at the open-source software company say they’re hearing nothing but compliments.

      • Red Hat building’s top has some seeing red

        Raleigh’s skyline got a bold new splash of color this month, and it has some people in downtown buzzing.

        Software company Red Hat unveiled a bright red sign atop its Wilmington Street high-rise building. However, the reviews range from great to downright ugly.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Tops Our Community Distro Poll

        The results have been tallied and Debian got the most votes in our Community Distro Poll. We would call them the “winner,” but this wasn’t about winners and losers. It was about trying to reach a consensus on what we mean by the term “community distro.” We asked, “Which GNU/Linux distros do you consider to be legitimate community distros?” Choices weren’t limited to one; voters could choose as many as they wanted and even add more through a text box supplied by choosing “Other.”

      • Derivatives

        • Movin’ on up

          As I’ve said in the past, the DistroWatch.com listing of page hit rankings is a good way to see if one’s distro’s page is being looked at. With folks looking at the pages, one would hope that downloads and actual use of the distro would follow. So while it may not give an accurate description of actual use of the distro, the page hit rankings do give folks an idea which distros are doing well and which may not be.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linaro enhances Linux support for ARM Big.Little

      Linaro has developed a new way for Linux and Android developers to implement ARM’s Big.Little multi-core load balancing architecture, in a manner that optimizes power/performance tradeoffs. In addition to the In-kernel Switcher (IKS) released in May, the new Global Task Scheduler (GTS) offers faster, more granular scheduling control, support for non-symmetrical core combos, and the ability to run all cores simultaneously.

    • Lernstift Linux Smart Pen Vibrates When You Spell Something Wrong

      If you’re particularly bad at spelling, then this pen can help you out. It’s the Lernstift smart pen, and it vibrates gently whenever its user makes a spelling error. It looks like a regular pen on the outside, but it packs some pretty unique and sophisticated tech on the inside. The Lernstift actually has an embedded Linux inside it’s tiny frame, which is equipped with a motion sensor, memory, and processor, along with a WiFi and vibrating module.

    • Meet Lernstift: the Linux-powered ink pen that can spell-check
    • Phones

      • Android

        • Nexus 2 7 Pricing Details Revealed

          All of the netizens, who are somewhat enlightened on the Android scene, have been holding their wallets under immense restraint for the next Nexus pricing to be announced. Now finally there might be concrete evidence suggesting a price point for the upcoming device.

        • Nexus 7 2 Images Leaked Ahead Of Official Reveal

          The Nexus 7 rumours have been floating around the internet for quite a long time. However, like all secrets that end up being leaked, this is the first time that definitive pictures of Nexus 7 have been revealed and leaked over the internet.

        • GlassUp: A Google Glass Competitor for Android Device Users

          If you thought Google Glass was going to march forward without any competition, think again. GlassUp, an Italian startup company, has already collected over $30,000 of seed money on campaign funding site Indiegogo for its GlassUp concept. According to project leaders, the GlassUp device will focus on Android phone users who want to view messages and notifications, in addition to other possible augmented reality information, on glasses via Bluetooth.

          GlassUp has already been shown at CeBIT, and is a receive-only Bluetooth accessory with a monochrome, 320 x 240-pixel augmented reality display. Project leaders note that they will still produce the project even if they don’t reach crowdsourced funding goals, as they have investors. They also note this: “We are in agreements with some of the most famous eyewear brands for the design, so the final ones will be trendier and more varied.”

        • Google’s Android 4.3 leaks ahead of launch

          We reported yesterday that Google is planning an event on the 24th of July where Sundar Pichai will possibly be unveiling the next Nexus 7 and Android 4.3, but today we’ve got word that Android 4.3 for the Nexus has already been leaked.

        • BitTorrent Sync now available for Android, Linux, Mac and Windows
        • Android’s HWComposer Being Toyed With On KMS

          At last week’s Linaro Connect Europe 2013 conference, there was a presentation regarding bringing Android’s HWComposer on Linux KMS.

        • Hacker gives Google Glass facial recognition using his own OS

          Google Glass has been in the hands of developers on Google’s Explorer programme for a while now, but some of those who have got their hands on the high-tech specs have been pushing the boundaries of what Google wants them to do.

          One hacker has successfully managed to get facial recognition technology to run on Glass, despite Google explicitly stating in its developer policy that this isn’t allowed. Stephen Balaban, founder of Lambda Labs in San Francisco, is challenging Google and hoping that others will do the same, actively encouraging people to use the hashtag #ihackglass on Twitter.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • HTC One Mini Officially Revealed

        After all the leaks, rumours and speculations, HTC has finally officially announced the HTC One Mini. HTC had teased the announcement of One Mini on twitter earlier, and now they have finally revealed the first look.

      • The Competition Between Tablets and Notebooks

        Part of the OS wars is definitely the competition between tablets and notebooks. In a recent bit of spam, a retailer sent me these choices:

        * “New! Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Now available! Starting at $199.99″

        * “Save $49 – Acer Gateway 15.6″ notebook for $379.99″

Free Software/Open Source

  • More than 100 free open source apps and games!

    Today in Open Source: Tons of free apps and games. Plus: Linux Mint 15 Xfce install guide, and Ubuntu versus Debian!

  • Boffin Thrills Its Readers With Its New List of Open Source Audio Converter Software

    Its top recommended free audio converter software revealed today by Boffin, after the site reviewers assessed numerous candidates.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Collusion: See who’s tracking you – in real-time

        At a time when your ISP is tracking your online activities, sites you visit are doing the same (even the one you do not visit are able to track you), Google is not to be left out in the game, and the NSA is tracking everybody else, it’s easy to be depressed.

      • Mozilla Comes under Attack – and of Age

        Back in March, I wrote about the odd little attack by the European arm of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) on Mozilla’s plans to put control of cookies firmly in the hands of users. Alas, the IAB seems not to have come to its senses since then, but has instead doubled down, and launched one of the most bizarre assaults on Mozilla and the open Web that I have ever read. I warmly recommend you to read it – I suspect you will find it as entertaining in its utter absurdity as I do.

        It’s entitled “Has Mozilla Lost Its Values?”, which is strange, because what follows is a rambling moan about precisely those values, and Mozilla for daring to adhere to them. As you might expect, Mozilla has not “lost its values”, it’s defending them here just as it has always defended them. Here’s the central argument of the IAB piece.

      • Mozilla’s Firefox Privacy Plans Draw More Objections from Ad Community

        It was only a few weeks ago when the news broke that Mozilla would join forces with Stanford’s Center for Internet Society to support a new Cookie Clearinghouse that will oversee easy-to-use “allow lists” and “block lists” to help Internet users protect their privacy. The privacy scheme could have become a default setup in the Firefox browser, and paved the way for usage in other browsers. As that news broke, it seemed likely that it might draw a caustic reaction from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), which has blasted Mozilla’s attempts to control online ads and cookies before.

      • Is Mozilla anti-business, led by ‘techno-libertarians’?

        The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) blasted Mozilla over its third party cookie blocking plans and said that the non-profit organization has an anti-business bent.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Healthcare

    • Immigrants Put Billions More into Medicare Than They Use

      Conservatives have argued that unchecked immigration contributes to the rising costs of health care because immigrants do not put the same amount of money into healthcare as citizens do. As Seth Freed Wessler of Colorlines reports, a recent study proves otherwise.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • Mesa Improves Support For OpenBSD

      While the popular kernel DRM drivers are still being ported to OpenBSD, support for the OpenBSD operating system within Mesa is being improved.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Students map their university campus with MapKnitter

      In the fall of 2010, I asked the biology class I teach at Western Carolina University for volunteers to help map the campus. Three years later, dozens of students have participated in learning how to use aerial photography and cartography techniques created by Public Lab.

    • UC Irvine’s new OpenChem project

      I recently spoke with Larry Cooperman, director of OpenCourseWare at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Larry also serves on the boards of the OpenCourseWare Consortium and the African Virtual University. I asked Larry about UC Irvine’s new OpenChem project.

    • Open Access/Content

      • MIT Moves to Intervene in Release of Aaron Swartz’s Secret Service File

        awyers representing MIT are filing a motion to intervene in my FOIA lawsuit over thousands of pages of Secret Service documents about the late activist and coder Aaron Swartz.

        I am the plaintiff in this lawsuit. In February, the Secret Service denied in full my request for any files it held on Swartz, citing a FOIA exemption that covers sensitive law enforcement records that are part of an ongoing proceeding. Other requestors reported receiving the same respons

      • MIT Trying To Block The Release Of Aaron Swartz’s Secret Service File

        We recently noted that Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly had ordered Homeland Security to release the Secret Service file on Aaron Swartz that had been requested by Wired reporter/editor Kevin Poulsen. However, MIT has now stepped into the case trying to block the release of the information. The judge has consented to putting a stay on the initial order until MIT can file its motion.

        MIT’s concern — as it was in a separate legal fight concerning releasing the evidence used against Aaron — is apparently that the released documents will reveal which MIT employees helped with the investigation, and that could lead to unwarranted harassment. However, as Poulsen notes, the documents that have already been released have been redacting those names, so it’s unlikely that these further releases would leave those same names unredacted.

      • Free Courses for a Big Problem

        Free online courses have run into a backlash of late. But a handful of community colleges may have found a way to dial up open-source content to help tackle one of higher education’s thorniest problems: remedial education.

    • Open Hardware

      • Arduino and the (tinker) light workshop

        Last month, Massimo Banzi, co-founder of the Arduino project, held a workshop at the Foundation Achille Castiglioni in Milan called: Arduino and the light.

  • Programming


  • The Slavoj Žižek v Noam Chomsky spat is worth a ringside seat

    Noam Chomsky, the professional contrarian, has accused Slavoj Žižek, the professional heretic, of posturing in the place of theory. This is an accusation often levelled at Žižek from within the Anglo-Saxon empirical tradition. Even those like Chomsky who are on the proto-anarchist left of this tradition like to maintain that their theories are empirically verifiable and rooted in reality.

  • Science

    • When Autonomous Cars Kill Somebody

      As drones, bipedal robots, and algorithm technologies continue to improve, the world of autonomous everything is looming. Perhaps looming isn’t the right word, but I feel compelled to set an ominous tone in order to provide an interesting conclusion. Beyond the iPad, synchronized quad-copters, and even 3D printers, one of the world’s most powerful forms of emerging technology is the ability to make more machines and devices autonomous.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Peru to Provide Free Solar Power to its 2 Million Poorest Citizens

      The country of Peru is looking to provide free electricity to over 2 million of its poorest citizens by harvesting energy from the sun. Energy and Mining Minister Jorge Merino said that the National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program will provide electricity to poor households through the installation of photovoltaic panels.

  • Finance

    • Detroit files for bankruptcy

      Detroit has become the largest city in US history to file for bankruptcy after accumulating spiralling long term debt estimated at $18.5 billion.

    • ‘Is there no limit to what this Government will privatise?’: UK’s blood supply sold to US private equity firm Bain Capital

      The Government was tonight accused of gambling with the UK’s blood supply by selling the state owned NHS plasma supplier to a US private equity firm.

      The Department of Health overlooked several healthcare or pharmaceutical firms and at least one blood plasma specialist before choosing to sell an 80 per cent stake in Plasma Resources UK to Bain Capital, the company co-founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in a £230m deal. The Government will retain a 20 per stake and a share of potential future profits.

    • Detroit’s Bankruptcy and America’s Future: Robots, Race, Globalization and the 1%

      The big question is whether Detroit’s bankruptcy and likely further decline is a fluke or whether it tells us something about the dystopia that the United States is becoming. It seems to me that the city’s problems are the difficulties of the country as a whole, especially the issues of deindustrialization, robotification, structural unemployment, the rise of the 1% in gated communities, and the racial divide. The mayor has called on families living in the largely depopulated west of the city to come in toward the center, so that they can be taken care of. It struck me as post-apocalyptic. Sometimes the abandoned neighborhoods accidentally catch fire, and 30 buildings will abruptly go up in smoke.

    • Plan to close international tax loopholes puts Apple, Google, Amazon, and others on notice

      Moscow plays host today to the G20 Finance Ministers’ meeting, the crowning jewel of which is the freshly unveiled Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. Released under the auspices of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), this document sets out 15 specific recommendations for national governments to implement in order to stem the widespread abuse of tax loopholes by multinational companies.

      At the center of the issue has been the asymmetry between tightly integrated global corporations and the fragmented, piecemeal responses from individual states. One of the best known and most derided examples of this is the practice of setting up shell companies in low-tax jurisdictions like Ireland, which are then used to account for profits from higher-tax nations — something that Google, Facebook, and Starbucks have all been accused of. The new Action Plan tackles this issue head-on, by urging that tax should be paid in the territory where goods or services are sold, not where the company is based. That would thwart Amazon’s practice of booking its Europe-wide profits in Luxembourg, forcing it to compete on the same terms as local retailers.

  • Censorship

    • Immigrants Excluded in News Coverage of Immigration Reform

      Though immigration figured prominently on the national political agenda in February 2013, an analysis by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) of news coverage during that month shows that immigrants themselves are not getting their say. The study examined all ABC, CBS and NBC news programs, the PBS NewsHour, CNN’s Situation Room, Fox News’ Special Report and MSNBC’s Hardball for all of February. It found 54 reports on immigration featuring 157 news sources during that time.

    • ORG asks court for web blocking documents

      Courts have not been forthcoming with access to website blocking orders, citing administrative reasons for refusing to treat them as public documents.

    • ‘High Tech, Low Life’ puts Chinese censorship in spotlight

The second documentary showed in the series was “High tech, low life.” The cameras followed two citizen journalists as they reported what they saw in China, where censorship is prevalent and penalties for those reporting on unfavorable topics can be strict.

    • Questions ISPs must answer about Internet filtering

      Internet Service Providers have agreed to roll out network level filtering to protect children online, following significant political pressure. We have sent them 20 questions on how their Internet filtering systems will work – questions policy makers have failed to ask.

    • Letter to ISPs concerning child protection Internet filtering

      The below letter was sent to TalkTalk, Virgin, BSkyB and BT. We’ve written a blog post about this, which has some more background.

    • ‘The Movie the Koch Brothers Don’t Want You to See’ Launches Kickstarter Campaign

      Tia Lessen and Carl Deal are far from giving up after public television pulled funding for their film “Citizen Koch:” the filmmakers have launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowdsource the funds necessary to release their documentary on money, power and democracy.

    • Yahoo Censors Tumblr Porn: New Policy Makes 10 Percent Of Tumblr Users Invisible

      When Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) purchased Tumblr in May for $1.1 billion in cash, many wondered what changes Yahoo would bring to the hip microblogging service. One of the top questions was what Yahoo would do with the massive amount of pornographic content hosted on Tumblr pages.

  • Privacy

    • Huawei’s Headaches Keep Growing

      The headaches for Huawei Technologies Co. keep growing, fresh after the U.K. government said that it would conduct a review of the Chinese company’s cybersecurity arrangements and a former U.S. intelligence official reportedly accused it of spying for Beijing.

    • Huawei: Ex-CIA Head’s Claims Of Spying for China ‘Unsubstantiated’

      Huawei Technologies Co. strongly denied a former U.S. intelligence official’s reported remarks that accused the telecommunications equipment supplier of spying for the Chinese government, saying that such “unsubstantiated” accusations are distractions from real cybersecurity issues.

    • White House stays silent on renewal of NSA data collection order

      Officials decline to comment on whether they will seek to renew order that permits bulk collection of Americans’ phone records

    • Sysadmins: Keep YOUR data away from NSA spooks

      I love this question simply because it means I’m making progress getting companies up to speed on their IT requirements. What set this encounter apart was the unexpected question that followed: “What about the sovereignty of our data?”

      I have researched data sovereignty issues for my clients since the NSA’s PRISM project first hit the news – and I think I’m about ready to answer this question. So let’s take a look at what I’ve learnt about data sovereignty.

    • Tech firms call for NSA data snooping disclosures

      Dozens of companies, non-profits and trade organisations including Apple, Google and Facebook have written to the US government asking for more disclosures on the government’s national security-related requests for user data.

    • NSA Puts Limits on Systems Staff in Wake of Snowden Leaks
    • Snowden’s NSA Disclosures a Service, ACLU Director Says

      Fugitive security contractor Edward Snowden“did this country a service” by igniting a debate about the reach of the U.S. government’s electronic surveillance programs, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union said today.

    • NSA and GCHQ siphoning huge quantities of data from undersea fiber optic cables

      The plot thickens as the NSA’s data collection net widens. NSA leaks reveal that governments are tapping into “the Internet’s backbone” to siphon off huge quantities of data. That is, government programs in the US and UK are able to gain access to tremendous amounts of data by accessing networks of undersea fiber optic cable, according to a report from The Atlantic.

    • The USA Prism Plus app makes sure the NSA is watching

      If you head over to the Play Store, you can download US Prism Plus and lend a helping hand! The app will take pictures from your mobile device, automatically, and send them to the NSA twitter account. That’s right, all you have to do is download the app and you’re on your way to being a helpful citizen.

    • Furious Europeans Want Snowden and NSA Head to Testify — Yeah Right

      The European Parliament (EP) is calling for the appearance and testimony of Edward Snowden and General Keith Alexander in the incipient investigation into National Security Agency (NSA) information-gathering programs that have affected Europeans. The NSA’s internet surveillance program, PRISM, is of particular interest. These two individuals, for very different reasons, will be very difficult to get a hold of. One is stranded without travel documents in a Russian airport and the other is America’s greatest spymaster. The EP will get its investigation, but it will not get its desired results and likely neither of these two testimonies.

    • The NSA May Be Watching Way More People Than You Think

      The National Security Agency appears to be tracking data from more people—way, way more people—than it had previously admitted, the Atlantic Wire reported. In congressional testimony yesterday, NSA deputy director Chris Inglis “casually” indicated that the agency looks “two to three hops” from terror suspects. That means the agency monitor not only the people terror suspects talk to on the phone, but also who those people talk to—and then who those people talk to.

    • CIA invests in geodata expert OpenGeo

      The world might be fed up with the idea of government surveillance, but that hasn’t quelled the intelligence community’s thirst for more data and better tools to analyze it. The latest example: On Thursday, geospatial data expert OpenGeo announced a investment from In-Q-Tel, an arm of the U.S. intelligence community, originally spun out of the CIA, that makes strategic investments in technologies that could benefit the community’s mission.

      Reading through In-Q-Tel’s list of investments is like reading a who’s who of data startups: 10gen, Cloudera, Narrative Science, Palantir and Platfora are among the companies into which it has put money. When it comes to technologies that can store lots of data or new types of data, or analyze or visualize data in novel ways, In-Q-Tel is interested.

    • When wiretaps won’t do, the CIA’s ‘black bag’ squads get data the old-fashioned way

      There’s been lots of talk about electronic surveillance and government-sponsored hacking lately, but Foreign Policy takes a fascinating look at how the Central Intelligence Agency’s digital “black bag” squads get access the old fashioned way — by breaking into peoples’ houses.

    • It was the CIA that helped jail Nelson Mandela

      Crocodile tears to mask US imperialism’s role as the enemy of African liberation

    • Could This Woman Keep the NSA from Tapping Your Phone Calls?

      A coalition of 19 organizations s formed to file a lawsuit Tuesday (PDF) against the National Security Administration, alleging that the government is supporting “an illegal and unconstitutional program of dragnet electronic surveillance.”

    • Germany’s Merkel urges patience on NSA answers
    • Members of Congress Say NSA Violated U.S. Law
    • Lawmakers: NSA phone records collection violated law

      The U.S. National Security Agency and Department of Justice exceeded their legal authority to conduct surveillance when collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. residents, several U.S. lawmakers said Wednesday.

    • Need to change definition of privacy in cyberworld: NSA
    • Dear Edward Snowden

      We thought you might be getting a little bored while you’re stuck in the airport, so we sent you some reading material. We don’t know if you like Linux, but given your technical background, we hope it’ll be of interest. It’s just a tiny indication of our gratitude.

    • Everything you need to know about PRISM

      Classified presentation slides detailing aspects of PRISM were leaked by a former NSA contractor. On June 6th, The Guardian and The Washington Post published reports based on the leaked slides, which state that the NSA has “direct access” to the servers of Google, Facebook, and others. In the days since the leak, the implicated companies have vehemently denied knowledge of and participation in PRISM, and have rejected allegations that the US government is able to directly tap into their users’ data.

      Both the companies and the government insist that data is only collected with court approval and for specific targets. As The Washington Post reported, PRISM is said to merely be a streamlined system — varying between companies — that allows them to expedite court-approved data collection requests. Because there are few technical details about how PRISM operates, and because of the fact that the FISA court operates in secret, critics are concerned about the extent of the program and whether it violates the constitutional rights of US citizens.

    • DHS warns employees not to read leaked NSA information

      The Department of Homeland Security has warned its employees that the government may penalize them for opening a Washington Post article containing a classified slide that shows how the National Security Agency eavesdrops on international communications.

    • Former President Jimmy Carter comes out in support of Edward Snowden

      The Obama administration tried to placate Europe’s anger over spying programs. Not as ex-President Jimmy Carter: The Democrat attacked the U.S. intelligence sharp. The disclosure by whistleblowers Snowden was “useful.”

      Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was in the wake of the NSA Scandals criticized the American political system. “America has no functioning democracy,” Carter said Tuesday at a meeting of the “Atlantic Bridge” in Atlanta.

    • ‘Snowden won’t disclose more docs, I have thousands’ – Greenwald

      Edward Snowden is unlikely to make new revelations since “he doesn’t want to end up in a cage like Bradley Manning”, said The Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, adding that he himself decides what to publish from the thousands of leaked documents.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Why the EU Commission’s True Intent is to Kill Net Neutrality

      Since last week, after citizen groups started criticizing the EU Commission over its leaked draft regulation threatening to kill Net neutrality, Commissioner Neelie Kroes and her staff have tried to defend their proposal on Twitter, arguing that these criticisms were “misleading European citizens”. Here is a summary of what was said, not said, and how it reveals that these criticisms are absolutely right.

The Chronicle of Higher Education Criticises Bill Gates’ Agenda of Controlling US Schools (Indoctrination for Profit), the Gates Propaganda Machine Responds Poorly

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception at 4:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

While the Seattle Times receives another major bribe from Bill Gates, to cover “educational reform in K-12 and higher education”

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Summary: The Gates Foundation’s lobbying for privatisation of a public service (taxpayers-funded service circulating half a trillion dollars per year) finally comes to the attention of the “big boys” among education publications

Some Web sites, a certain proportion of which is Gates-bribed, hail Gates’ involvement in the schools system like the agenda of privatisation is commendable and necessary. Bribes can really tilt coverage and seed deceiving ‘reporting’ (public relations). Are there any sites left which are not (yet) corrupted by the Gates propaganda machine? Well, it seems so.

The Chronicle of Higher Education, a highly-regarded site/newspaper, writes a polite set of articles about the Gates Foundation et al. Remember that some years ago we were mostly alone in criticising them and now it is becoming the norm because people are becoming better informed and Gates a controversial figure even when it comes to his pseudo ‘charity’ (set up after he committed serious crimes and then, consequently, spent a fortune on whitewashing/PR). The main question is, what took the “big boys” (prominent publications) so long to properly investigate and chastise Gates when it may already be too late to undo the damage? Well, according to one Gates-funded ‘news’ site, the Chronicle of Higher Education has been Gates-bribed itself, just like a lot of such sites. It’s hard to dodge the bribes and this messenger is no exception. The Chronicle of Higher Education “received two contracts totaling about $850,000 from the foundation to support work on two stand-alone websites, College Completion and College Reality Check,” according to Seattle Times (more on that later).

“The main question is, what took the “big boys” (prominent publications) so long to properly investigate and chastise Gates when it may already be too late to undo the damage?”While bringing patents to Africa (misreported in press releases) Gates is also bringing government-imposed monopolies like schooling into his own pocket. People in the field have had enough of that.

In a long, non-PR piece titled “The Gates Effect” there is clearly a lot of investigative journalism. To quote one of those approached for an insight, “I think foundations have an ability to set an agenda, to help clarify an agenda and rally momentum around an agenda.”

For whose interests? Those foundations are front groups of plutocrats, they are not civil rights groups like the EFF, EPIC, or the ACLU.

“It’s hard to dodge the bribes and this messenger is no exception.”Is the author accusing people in the area for not thanking Gates? Not really, but it’s a provocative summary which helps show how public opinion shifted in recent years. Gates’ profit is increasing, so people must not mistake him for a ‘giver’. Last year alone he made more money (gains) than all the education ‘giving’ (combined) by a factor of 1:15. In other words, all the money he ever ‘gave’ (lobbied) to ‘education’ is just a little fraction of what he made last year alone. Something here just doesn’t compute, does it? His investment in agenda and lobbying should not be described as “giving” or charity. It is an insult to those who do real charitable things, at great expense to themselves (not to enrich themselves or to make themselves famous).

Here is another article from this series. To quote the opening parts:

How Gates Shapes State Higher-Education Policy

Over the past several years, lawmakers in dozens of states have passed laws restricting remedial college courses and tying appropriations to graduation rates. The changes have been advanced by an unusual alliance of private foundations and state policy makers who are shaping higher-education strategies in profound ways.

Valerie Strauss, who is never too shy to criticise Gates, comments on it under the headline “Bill Gates expands influence — and money — into higher education”. To quote her analysis: “Then Gates, believing in the power of “data” to drive instruction and the notion that everything is measurable, plowed hundreds of million of dollars into experiments to develop controversial teacher assessment systems that link jobs and pay to test scores. He also put money into a project to videotape teachers to help them see how they do their job, spent at least $150 million to help the Common Core State Standards initiative, and provided $100 million to build a controversial student database.

“Of course people who agree with his reforms are delighted with his philanthropy. But plenty of others are very concerned that a private citizen can wield so much influence on public policy because he was talented and lucky enough to become impossibly rich.”

Here is more from her:

The Gates Foundation also sent me a piece about what it says are erroneous reports that Gates was pushing a $5 billion plan to videotape teachers in every classroom in the country as part of an effort for teachers to see how they perform.

Ki Mae Heussner says that “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has spent $472 million on higher education but, according to a report, it’s accumulating critics along with its influence.”

“That is what Gates bribes newspapers and blogs for, at the expense of about $300,000,000 per year (they call it “advocacy” rather than “bribing the media”).”High education what? Lobbying, which is not charity at all. Watch the Gates-funded (since years ago [1, 2]) Seattle Times (Katherine Long in this case) responding poorly to “A well-respected national newspaper that covers higher education” (can’t deny that). It says that the “package of stories… describes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as having an outsized influence on higher-education policy, one that narrowly focuses on programs that lead to short-term employability.”

Not really. It has nothing to do with employment. They are printing some Gates talking points, showing their loyalty to Sugar Daddy Gates. That is what Gates bribes newspapers and blogs for, at the expense of about $300,000,000 per year (they call it “advocacy” rather than “bribing the media”). It’s what we have come to know as the Gates propaganda machine, which is massive. More people need to challenge this malicious machinery that’s designed to deceive.

It seems clear that the Seattle Times, which in this case is being used as a platform to quote Gates’ apologists, recently received another massive bribe from Gates. It even admits this by writing: “The Seattle Times recently received a grant from Solutions Journalism Network to explore some of the vexing issues of educational reform in K-12 and higher education, and to write about potential solutions. The Gates Foundation is a major funder of Solutions Journalism Network, and provided much of the money for the grant.”

Thanks for at least admitting being bribed by proxy, with the goal of pumping out propaganda with a clear agenda echoing Gates’ business model. These bribes are always being characterised this way (even when The Guardian and the BBC receive these Gates bribes). Today’s media is enormously corrupted and one just needs to follow the money in order to know who it’s designed to serve.

The Foot in Stallman’s Face: Bill Gates Still Redefines Free Software

Posted in Bill Gates, FSF, FUD, GPL at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“There’s free software and then there’s open source… there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with.”

Bill Gates, April 2008

“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 ongoing war by Microsoft and its proxies against software freedom, which gives more value to the world’s industry than the FUD would have people believe

There is another reason to abandon the term “Open Source”, which left the term “Free software” more vulnerable to abuse by bad people, makers of proprietary software. Here is Bill Gates’ latest attempt to run over Free/libre software, characterising his trap as “free”. To quote a Romanian site:

Bill Gates had a very interesting opening keynote speech at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit 2013, explaining that he was grateful for the existence of free software, when asked about patents and their influence on technology.

“Thank God for commercial software. It actually funds salaries, gives people jobs. And thank God for free software, it lets people get things out there, you can play around, build on. The two work very well in an ecosystem,” stated Bill Gates during the Q&A.

This is nonsense, as anybody with a clue knows that commercial means not proprietary and Free/libre can be used commercially, paying wages to users and developers.

A lot of this kind of attacks on Free software usually goes back to Microsoft and its proxies. Right now we have Black Duck, a company created by a marketing guy from Microsoft, throwing around some numbers, looking for sites that will print them. Here is one:

Here is the press release. What nonsense. Trying to quantify code in terms of revenue is not the only silliness; it is the idea that money is being lost as a result of having no licence. Similar propaganda was previously used to describe FOSS as a jobs destroyer, as if people are writing software with such aims. Some tried to portray FOSS as a cause for losses in the industry, not a saver of money and elevator of productivity (which in turn makes room for more hirings per given budget). This is the type of propaganda we are up against and we keep seeing it brought up also in public talks.

Here is another new example of Black Duck being used to reinforce FUD — namely the idea that Free software is about cost, not freedom, and that it is chosen for price, not other qualities. Watch how the Black Duck-run Future of Open Source survey [1, 2, 3, 4] is being used to spread misconceptions. This new FOSS-hostile article (“The Hidden Cost of Free”) says: “Bottom line, open source may be “eating the software world,” but not all of it. For ISVs and other software development professionals, open source is a no-brainer. We use it in development and in our commercial products wherever and whenever it makes sense. It is free, after all, and the quality is second to none, as this year’s Future of Open Source survey reinforces.”

Black Duck reinforces all sorts of proprietary software talking points. Black Duck is, after all, a proprietary software company.

“This is the type of propaganda we are up against and we keep seeing it brought up also in public talks.”Speaking of FUD against FOSS, the latest Android security fear-mongering comes from a Microsoft partner created and managed by a Microsoft guy (who hopes to turn Android perceptions into Windows perceptions when it comes to security). To quote the company’s description: “He is also a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in Visual Developer Security, a frequent speaker, press resource, and is featured regularly in the Associated Press and global security media.”

“Bluebox was founded in mid-2012,” it says, and it was groomed by the Gartner Group (currently fully dedicated to Android FUD and monetisation attempts, akin to Black Duck).

The war on FOSS is very real and Microsoft partners are trying to remove the F from FOSS or altogether make it proprietary. A few days ago we showed how three Micrososft-controlled entities threw around (or under the bus) and blurred out the FOSS identity of Zimbra (here is more on that); we should also pay attention to the hallmark of effective FOSS FUD because it’s quite consistent. As explained a week ago by Eben Moglen at the EU Parliament, the GPL brought enormous value to the industry, more so than Apple and Microsoft combined. Unfortunately the video is only on YouTube, hence embedded below.

Will politicians ‘get’ it?

TechBytes Episode 84: Tracking by Facebook and Mobile Phones (Cellphones)

Posted in TechBytes at 3:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Richard Stallman in India

Direct download as Ogg (00:14:31, 8.2 MB)

Summary: Tracking in Facebook criticised; Malicious features in mobile phones (tracking and listening) are being discussed as well

THIS 84th episode speaks about phones’ exploitation for tracking and listening by authorities. For those who are not aware yet, as long as the main battery is inside a phone, or any battery at all is inside a phone (some have several batteries), then even when the phone is switched off it can be used to listen to the carrier and his/her environment. Craig Murray, a former British ambassador, says the MI5 uses this technique.

Android/Replicant are discussed, noting that they do not help resolve the above issue. One listener of TechBytes asked: “Maybe you could ask him [Stallman] about so called smartphones. Everybody knows he doesn’t use any… But can he think any condition he could think about using one. Fairphone? Phone with FirefoxOS? Prepaid SIM without registration?” Stallman said he was hypothetically thinking about getting an OpenMoko phone, but eventually decided that tracking would be unavoidable.

We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

As embedded (HTML5):

Keywords: gnu fsf richardstallman


Ogg Theora

Ask QuinStreet to Bring Back DesktopLinux and LinuxDevices

Posted in Site News at 3:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What the world needs is preservation, not de facto censorship


Summary: Please let QuinStreet understand why it should let DesktopLinux and LinuxDevices articles return to the World Wide Web

A company known as QuinStreet bought DesktopLinux and LinuxDevices almost exactly a year and a half ago, along with Ziff Davis Enterprise. As the announcement from QuinStreet put it, “QuinStreet will benefit from new and expanded relationships with some of the largest clients in the B2B technology vertical, as well as an impressive group of additional editorial professionals and expert writers.”

QuinStreet logoBut what about all the valuable news stories? Not too long ago DesktopLinux and LinuxDevices went dark. The domains were left to rot and the articles accumulated there for over a decade became inaccessible, essentially deleted from the Web. It has come to our attention, after some inquiries with relevant individuals, that people who contributed to DesktopLinux and LinuxDevices — including the founders — do wish for the content to return online of for the copyrights or the articles to be changed — explicitly or implicitly — such that all the articles can be brought back to the Web by those to whom DesktopLinux and LinuxDevices were important resources or a matter of personal contribution.

“Help us restore two of the journals of record of the GNU/Linux community.”DesktopLinux and LinuxDevices have published many thousands of high-quality articles detailing the history of GNU/Linux on desktops and in the device space, including the earlier days of Android. To let history be purged when QuinStreet has no financial incentive to do so is just counter-productive. Please write to CustomerService@QuinStreet.com to suggest that they relinquish the copyrights on articles or relicense so as to allow reposting of the articles online. This oughtn’t be complicated. This can be achieved by a single E-mail to the right people. If the company cannot provide a copy of the database (the ideal solution), then the articles can be pulled from the Web Archive and revived one by one (unless the process gets scripted). There are several people, including ourselves, who are eager to bring back exposure to articles that took many thousands of hours of work to produce. General enquiries and polite appeals can also be sent by mail to the following address:

950 Tower Lane, 6th Floor
Foster City, CA 94404
Tel: (650) 578.7700
Fax: (650) 350.1423

Help us restore two of the journals of record of the GNU/Linux community. Ask QuinStreet to collaborate on these efforts and assure the sustenance of its reputation this way. Right now the only barrier standing between the articles being online and those who want to put them online is lack of permission from QuinStreet. If QuinStreet does not want or need the articles, then why leave them offline in some dark space/room (or just on a backup tape)? Together we can promote dissemination of reliable historical information and also respect the work of many passionate people. Please let QuinStreet know how much DesktopLinux and LinuxDevices mean to you. Together we can accomplish this. Please be polite.

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