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07.26.13

Links 26/7/2013: Mozilla/Firefox and Jolla Phones

Posted in News Roundup at 4:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • VARs, Pushing Chromebooks, May Be Key to Google’s Enterprise Aspirations

      Although many people don’t realize it, value added resellers, or VARs, played a huge role in the rise of personal computers during the late 1980s and 1990s. These trusted distributors and advisors were among the early champions of newfangled computers that sat on desktops, early local area networks (LANs), and servers from companies like Compaq and AST.

  • Kernel Space

    • Bloomberg TV: Most of Modern Society Running Linux

      Last week I had the pleasure to appear on Bloomberg West in an interview with Cory Johnson. It’s refreshing to see mainstream broadcast media embrace and understand the Linux story so well. Cory knew what he was talking about.

    • Female dev’s outburst against Torvalds was planned

      Sharp’s directing of this tweet to The Ada Initiative does not sit easily beside her claim in a later post to LKML that “I’m not some crazy feminist ranting about cooties on Google+.” If she did not want to canvass the support of women, why send the tweet to an organisation of this nature?

      Had Sharp wanted to raise this issue without making her gender a factor, she would not have sought the support of an organisation like The Ada Initiative at any time. She would have raised it on the mailing list. And she would not have made it a PR issue.

      A few days after the discussion on the mailing list, Sharp issued what can only be described a gloating tweet. “I’m on to something. 199 retweets. Google plus: +333, 122 reshares. 9 major tech articles. 180 blog comments. People care”. It could be argued that not everything that is popular is also correct, but apparently such arguments are not part of Sharp’s make-up.

  • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Liege creators porting the game to PS4, Vita, Wii U, Linux

        Development on Liege, John Rhee’s modern re-imagining of a classic 16-bit role-playing game, will expand to include PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Linux and Wii U, according to updates on the Kickstarter page.

        Liege is a cross-platform, party-based tactical role-playing game where players explore the lives of ordinary characters placed in extraordinary circumstances. It’s currently planned as a three-story arc, with the first game launching in 2014.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Help porting KWin to Frameworks 5

        With Akademy behind me and the situation about “what is master” in kde-workspace resolved I decided to switch my work away from Wayland towards getting KWin on top of Qt 5 and KDE Frameworks 5. After a few days of hacking the compilation of KWin is re-enabled in the frameworks-scratch branch of the kde-workspace git repository.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Peak+ Firefox OS smartphone goes on pre-sale

        Geeksphone has started taking pre-orders for its first commercial smartphone running Firefox OS. The Peak+ offers double the RAM and offers better battery and graphics performance than the original Peak developers phone, and it runs the latest Firefox OS 1.1 build.

        Spanish online phone seller and Telefonica partner Geeksphone began selling its Peak and Keon developer phones for Firefox OS in April, and quickly sold out. They remained that way until this week when Geeksphone set up a pre-sale promotional price of 149 Euros ($196) for an updated Peak model called the Peak+. Once these are gone, the Peak+ price will rise to an unstated higher price, and will be sold from its online store when the unlocked Peak+ begins shipping in larger numbers mid-September.

      • The Jolla phone picks up MeeGo’s torch

        Nokia’s MeeGo mobile operating system may be a thing of the past but it lives on in the new Jolla smartphone. Created by some of the folks behind the short-lived MeeGo, this handset, and Finnish startup with the same Jolla name, runs unique Sailfish software.

      • Android

        • Chromecast: Has Google stolen the living room from Apple and Microsoft?

          Yesterday Google released the new version of Android (still called Jelly Bean, but the version number moved to 4.3) – sticking to the twice a year upgrade cycle. Just like the last year it is Nexus 7 which introduced the 4.3 experience to the world. Nexus 7 is already one of the hottest selling gadgets around and the latest hardware makes it one of the best tablets in that form factor.

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenDaylight Grows Open Source SDN

    OpenDaylight operates under the auspices of the Linux Foundation, no stranger itself to running large scale collaborative projects. Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, told Enterprise Networking Planet that OpenDaylight is now accelerating at a rapid rate.

  • The open source job market is booming

    Apparently, the notion of free software has not killed off job opportunities in the software space. Open source software is in fact creating numerous job opportunities, if the multitude of companies hiring at this week’s OSCON (O’Reilly Open Source Convention) are any indication.

    A walk through the convention floor in Portland features numerous companies advertising their need for more people. “This conference in two words? ‘We’re hiring,’” said conference attendee Tim Bray, the XML co-inventor who now is a developer advocate at Google. “Everybody’s got a ‘we’re hiring’ booth.” Bray sees it as a symptom of an improved economy and open source becoming mainstream.

  • Boffin Rolls Out Its Latest List Of Open Source Security And Encryption Software

    The top picks of free security and encryption software are revealed today by software review website Boffin. The list was compiled after numerous software were tested for competency, quality and reliability.

  • Open-source project, Crypton, seeks to make encryption easier

    An open-source software project aims to give software developers a simple way to wrap encryption into their applications to thwart online surveillance efforts.

  • Open Source CFD International Conference: Preliminary List of Contributions Announced
  • Kumbaya, Tech Giants : Open Source Makes Friends of Rivals

    While the world of enterprise open source finds its foothold in this highly transitional era within the tech sector, consumer-facing tech giants exceeded many of Wall Street’s expectations for Q2. Both Apple and Facebook, currently facing scrutiny for not innovating quickly enough in the age of mobile, held their ground with an increase in iPhone sales and mobile ad revenue, respectively. Still, Wall Street is anxious for Apple and Facebook to step up their game. Here we explore the future business opportunities for Apple devices and Facebook services in the booming mobile sector.

  • Is Africa open to open source?

    George de Bono, GM General Manager for the Middle East Turkey and Africa (META) region at Red Hat, is one of a growing number of operators in this space excited about Africa’s adoption of open source and growing awareness of the benefits related to this technology.

    Red Hat is a US-based global provider of open source solutions and listed on America’s S&P 500 stock market Index.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • CMS

    • Open Source ImpressPages CMS 3.4 Released

      Open source CMS ImpressPages is up to version 3.4, and the latest release features a new file browser, the ability to build custom layouts, and the development team has committed to monthly updates from here.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSF launches fundraising program for Replicant, the fully free Android-based mobile OS

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today launched a fundraising initiative for Replicant (http://replicant.us), a fully free Android distribution and the first mobile operating system (OS) to run without relying on proprietary system code. Replicant’s small volunteer developer team is focused on improving their OS, while also expanding it to work on more devices. Donations will primarily be used to buy new devices for development and testing — a critical need — but will also help fund infrastructure and promotion for the project.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Government For Which People?

      That was said about Huawei when there was concern about data-leaks and backdoors, but it is currently being said about using M$’s stuff because M$ like many US corporations is in bed with NSA and spying on the world. Obviously, if you don’t want to make things easy for spies, you should not use that other OS.

      Instead use Free/Libre Open Source Software like Debian GNU/Linux. With accessible source-code, it’s harder for the NSA to snoop. This is on top of all the other benefits of FLOSS such as low cost, flexibility, rapidity of development and encouragement of small/local business development and employment. Governments globally should be pumping up their own economies, not USA.

    • Should the government use Microsoft products?

      In what appears to be open-season on the NSA and Tech Companies, Bloomberg has joined in with a report of their own, implicating that Microsoft provides US intelligence agencies with information about bugs in its popular software before it publicly releases a fix. In other words, Microsoft grants special access to the likes of the NSA to poke around in the nearly 1 Billion users of Microsoft software via newly discovered bugs—long before Microsoft report it to the public and eventually patch the bug.

      What this means in practice is that intelligence agencies like the NSA and CIA could potentially be granted near complete access and control to every single machine running Microsoft Windows, including your PC and mine, but also the PCs of nearly every government agency in Malaysia. Potentially, every now and then, the NSA and CIA could be snooping around the data of our local government officials thanks to good ol’ Microsoft, and no one would be none the wiser.

  • Licensing

  • Programming

    • The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: June 2013

      A week away from August, below are our programming language ranking numbers from June, which represent our Q3 snapshot. The attentive may have noticed that we never ran numbers for Q2; this is because little changed. Which is not to imply that a great deal changed between Q1 and Q3, please note, but rather than turn this into an annual exercise snapshots every six months should provide adequate insight into the relevant language developments occuring over a given time period.

    • GitHub CEO backs MIT open source license

      Tom Preston-Werner cites the MIT License for its brevity, compared to the wordy GNU General Public License, and the permissiveness of its terms

Leftovers

  • Why a Train Crash like Spain’s is Unlikely To Happen in the U.S.

    The train that derailed and crashed into a wall as it sped around a curve in northwest Spain Wednesday night is a harrowing reminder of what can go wrong at high speeds. At least 80 people died in the crash, and 178 were injured.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Kitten Nearly Dies On Vegan Diet, Gets Healed With Meat

      It turns out that a diet of potatoes, rice milk and pasta is bad for pussy. Veterinarians in Australia who cared for a violently ill vegan kitten are warning pet owners not to “force ideologies” on their pets, the Herald Sun reports.

  • Security

    • Hackers Reveal Nasty New Car Attacks–With Me Behind The Wheel (Video)

      Stomping on the brakes of a 3,500-pound Ford Escape that refuses to stop–or even slow down–produces a unique feeling of anxiety. In this case it also produces a deep groaning sound, like an angry water buffalo bellowing somewhere under the SUV’s chassis. The more I pound the pedal, the louder the groan gets–along with the delighted cackling of the two hackers sitting behind me in the backseat.

    • Famed Hacker Barnaby Jack Dies Days Before Black Hat Conference

      Jack, a famed white hat hacker, was scheduled to present at the Black Hat security conference next week, and present research on vulnerabilities in implantable medical devices. Conference organizers said Jack’s talk would not be replaced, and that the allotted hour on Thursday would be left vacant to commemorate his life and work.

    • Hacker Barnaby Jack dies in San Francisco aged 35

      The San Francisco medical examiner’s office said Jack, 35, died in the city on Thursday – but did not provide details on the circumstances surrounding his death.

      Jack had exposed a security flaw in insulin pumps that could be made to dispense a fatal dose by a hacker 300ft away, pushing some medical companies to review the security of these devices.

      He was also a popular and respected figure in the information security scene. Within that small scene, reverse engineers are especially close, said Matthieu Suiche, a friend of Jack’s and chief scientist at CloudVolumes Inc in an email. “We pretty much all know each other, or have lots of common friends,” Suiche said. “It’s almost like we all grew up together.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US And Russia Simultaneously Announce Intent To Arm Opposing Sides In Syria

      In an almost palpable irony, Russian and U.S. officials simultaneously announced their intent to move forward with controversial arms transfers to opposing sides in the Syrian civil war Monday.

    • Feel-free fee: TSA will grope you less for $85

      If full-body scanners and TSA pat-downs make you feel uncomfortable, you now have an alternate option – making the agency like you and paying a fee of $85.

      The Transportation Security Administration has launched an expansion to their program that allows members to bypass regular airport pre-flight security checkpoints. Those enrolled in the ‘trusted traveler’ program, called TSA PreCheck, don’t have to remove their shoes, jackets and belts during screening. Members can also keep their laptop computers and approved liquids in their bags.

    • Reality TV Show Catches Detective Lying Under Oath And On Police Reports

      Police officers are usually the heroes in the reality television show “Bait Car,” which follows undercover cops as they catch car thieves. But the show caught one Los Angeles sheriff’s detective lying on arrest reports and in court, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. A district attorney’s investigation found that lead detective Anthony Shapiro deliberately lied about reading suspects their Miranda rights before they made incriminating statements that could later be used against them in court.

    • The Rolling Stone Cover and the ‘New Ideological Threat’

      In the same segment, Fox’s Trace Gallagher said, “The question many are asking is why the magazine is making him look like a teen heartthrob instead of a terrorist and alleged killer?”

      That question raises another: How do you make someone look like “a terrorist and alleged killer”?

    • Role Reversal: How the US Became the USSR

      Today it is Washington that is enamored of tyranny.

      [...]

      The Obama Regime has destroyed press freedom. A lackey federal appeals court has ruled that NY Times reporter James Risen must testify in the trial of a CIA officer charged with providing Risen with information about CIA plots against Iran. The ruling of this fascist court destroys confidentiality and is intended to end all leaks of the government’s crimes to media.

      What Americans have learned in the 21st century is that the US government lies about everything and breaks every law. Without whistleblowers, Americans will remain in the dark as “their” government enserfs them, destroying every liberty, and impoverishes them with endless wars for Washington’s and Wall Street’s hegemony.

      Snowden harmed no one except the liars and traitors in the US government. Contrast Washington’s animosity against Snowden with the pardon that Bush gave to Dick Cheney aide, Libby, who took the fall for his boss for blowing the cover, a felony, on a covert CIA operative, the spouse of a former government official who exposed the Bush/Cheney/neocon lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

      Whatever serves the tiny clique that rules america is legal; whatever exposes the criminals is illegal.

      That’s all there is to it.

    • “Overwhelming” Evidence of Plot to Assassinate Venezuela’s Maduro

      Head of Venezuela’s National Assembly Diosdado Cabello has stated that he will make public “hard evidence of assassination attempts” targeting himself and President Nicolas Maduro “in due course”.

      “We know who they are, what they are, what they want, and we will find them,” Cabello told legislators during a special session of the assembly in Zulia state on Wednesday.

      The alleged plot was first revealed by Maduro during a street government in Monagas state the day before, when he said that “fascist” groups operating in Venezuela “have crazy plans”.

      “I have appointed Diosdado Cabello as political head of the PSUV to find the truth of how they have prepared for attacks against me for months,” Maduro said.

      Maduro stated that if he or Cabello were targeted for assassination, “the wrath of god and the people would be unstoppable” adding that the political opposition would be crippled.

    • Clashes, helicopters, tear gas as tens of thousands take to streets of Egypt
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Halliburton to plead guilty in 2010 Gulf oil spill, U.S. says

      Oilfield services giant Halliburton will plead guilty to destroying computer test results that had been sought as evidence in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

    • Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought

      As we’ve written before, the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.

  • Finance

    • For Vancouver, housing and income don’t add up

      In Manhattan, the super rich foreign class is driving a boom in luxury condo towers that is widening the gap. Places such as London, and Sydney are feeling the hard pinch of high real estate prices as well. But in those cities, considerable effort has been made to control rising prices and debt and deal with declining ownership.

    • Equitable Life savers ‘risk losing out on compensation’

      A report by MPs says 200,000 pension savers who lost money in the Equitable Life scandal may miss out because of lack of publicity for a compensation scheme.

    • Democracy Now!: Detroit a “Spectacular Failure”
    • Richard Wolff: Detroit a “Spectacular Failure” of System that Redistributes Pay from Bottom to Top | Democracy Now!

      Kicking off a series of speeches about the economy, President Obama told a crowd in Illinois on Wednesday that reversing growing inequality and rejuvenating the middle class “has to be Washington’s highest priority.” During his remarks, Obama failed to mention the bankruptcy filing by Detroit, where thousands of public workers are now fighting to protect their pensions and medical benefits as the city threatens massive cuts to overcome an estimated $18 billion in debt. Detroit’s bankruptcy “is an example of a failed economic system,” says economist Richard Wolff, professor emeritus of economics at University of Massachusetts. “There are so many other cities in Detroit’s situation, that if the courts decide that it is legal to take away the pension that has been promised to and paid for by these workers, you have [legalized] theft. It is class war, redistributing income from the bottom to the top.”

    • Detroit Bankruptcy – American Dream to American Nightmare Shows Redundancy of Capitalism

      The recently declared bankruptcy of Detroit City could serve as an epitome of the rise and fall of not just American capitalism, but the capitalist system generally as an historical mode of production. It is a mode of production that is no longer viable as a way of efficiently organizing and sustaining society in the 21st Century. In fact, the system has become the nemesis of American and other societies across the world.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Sleepwalking into censorship

      The essential detail is that they will assume you want filters enabled across a wide range of content, and unless you un-tick the option, network filters will be enabled. As we’ve said repeatedly, it’s not just about hardcore pornography.

    • UK’s Anti-Pornography Plan Is Scary, Pointless Grandstanding

      The U.K. Prime Minister today proposed a sweeping set of internet filtering–some would say censorship–laws. They will go nowhere.

    • Obama Promise To ‘Protect Whistleblowers’ Just Disappeared From Change.gov
    • Obama Promises Disappear from Web

      Change.gov, the website created by the Obama transition team in 2008, has effectively disappeared sometime over the last month.

      While front splash page for for Change.gov has linked to the main White House website for years, until recently, you could still continue on to see the materials and agenda laid out by the administration. This was a particularly helpful resource for those looking to compare Obama’s performance in office against his vision for reform, laid out in detail on Change.gov.

      According to the Internet Archive, the last time that content (beyond the splash page) was available was June 8th — last month.

    • Chinese firm Huawei controls net filter praised by PM

      The pornography filtering system praised by David Cameron is controlled by the controversial Chinese company Huawei, the BBC has learned.

      UK-based employees at the firm are able to decide which sites TalkTalk’s net filtering service blocks.

      Politicians in both the UK and US have raised concerns about alleged close ties between Huawei and the Chinese government.

    • UK Porn Filter Will Censor Other Content Too, ISPs Reveal

      This week prime minister David Cameron announced further details of his crusade to have adult material censored in the UK. It’s a controversial topic for a number of reasons, with even those unconcerned about losing access to porn wondering what will be censored next. Apparently the government have already thought that through. According to ISPs speaking with the Open Rights Group, the filter will target a range of other content too.

  • Privacy

    • Judge denies government’s bid to delay lawsuit to halt NSA metadata collection

      A federal judge has denied the government’s request to delay what could turn out to be a major landmark case (ACLU v. Clapper) on the legality of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass metadata collection program. In a complaint filed last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked a judge to declare Verizon’s ongoing metadata collection and sharing to the NSA unconstitutional.

    • PRISM: European business should be more concerned with local snoops than NSA

      European businesses should be more concerned about local intelligence agencies’ data-collection campaigns than the US NSA’s PRISM programme, according to ex-Navy Seal and Silent Circle chief executive Mike Janke.

    • NSA critics to decry intelligence ‘lies’ at congressional hearing

      Critics of the National Security Agency’s vast surveillance programs will be provided with a platform to speak out against the spy agency on Wednesday at a congressional hearing.

      Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Florida) told the Guardian on Friday that a bipartisan group of lawmakers have begun organizing a hearing to be held in the middle of next week in order to counter the “constant misleading information” being presented by the United States intelligence community.

    • Feds tell Web firms to turn over user account passwords

      The U.S. government has demanded that major Internet companies divulge users’ stored passwords, according to two industry sources familiar with these orders, which represent an escalation in surveillance techniques that has not previously been disclosed.

      If the government is able to determine a person’s password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user. Obtaining it also would aid in deciphering encrypted devices in situations where passwords are reused.

    • The NSA damages US tech biz overseas

      The revelations of Edward Snowden have severely damaged the reputation of US technology firms. And now we can start counting the cost in terms of lost euros.

    • Amendment to Curb NSA Snooping Power Fails to Pass US House

      The first legislative challenge to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) cyber-spying program has failed to pass the United States House of Representatives.

    • House vote on NSA amendment: privacy advocates hail near miss – live
    • Democratic establishment unmasked: prime defenders of NSA bulk spying

      NYT: “The Obama administration made common cause with the House Republican leadership”

    • Bad News For Reader Privacy: Google News Doesn’t Index HTTPS Sites

      In the ongoing effort to encrypt the entire web, news sites are an area of special importance. After all, the articles you choose to read can say a lot about you: how close you’re following a political race, for example, can indicate where you stand on sensitive issues, or give clues about personal connections to the people or organizations being covered.

    • USA to NSA leaker Snowden: If you come back, we won’t kill you

      The United States assured Russia today that it would not seek the death penalty for any current or future charges against NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

      In another positive, he also won’t be tortured.

      “The United States would not seek the death penalty for Mr. Snowden should he return to the United States,” attorney general Eric Holder wrote in a letter to Russian authorities. “The charges he faces do not carry that possibility, and the United States would not seek the death penalty even if Mr. Snowden were charged with additional, death penalty-eligible crimes.”

      In the letter, which the Wall Street Journal obtained a copy of, Holder is attempting to convince his Russian counterpart to not provide political asylum to Snowden. Helpfully interpreting Russian law for the Russians, Holder says Snowden’s grounds for requesting asylum “are entirely without merit.”

    • New Congressional Coalition Emerges Against NSA Surveillance

      Amash-Conyers amendment brings together Democrats and Republicans against government overreach

    • Tight NSA spy vote gives hope to program critics
    • America Is Split by the NSA, But Not Along the Usual Partisan Lines

      According to Pew, both parties are sharply divided over the data-mining revelations. But one thing is clear: Libertarian sentiment is growing in each.

    • Massive secret NSA facility much larger than you think

      The project suggests the NSA is planning to expand, not restrict, its data gathering operations.

  • Civil Rights

    • Brazil’s Army Moves To Protect Indigenous Awá Tribe By Halting Illegal Logging (PHOTOS)

      They’re known by some as Earth’s Most Threatened Tribe, but now Brazil’s indigenous Awá population is getting help from a powerful force — the national army.

    • Navalny, Ward, Assange, Snowden and the Attack on Free Speech

      Russia does not have a functioning criminal justice system at all, in the sense of a trial mechanism aimed at determining innocence or guilt. Exactly as in Uzbekistan, the conviction rate in criminal trials is over 99%. If the prosecutors, who are inextricably an arm of the executive government, want to send you to jail, there is absolutely no judicial system to protect you. The judges are purely there for show.

    • Gambia Restricts Press Freedoms to Prevent “Unpatriotic” Behavior

      In early July 2013, Gambia’s parliament made dramatic changes to the nation’s information law, which now states that anyone who uses the Internet to spread “false news” can be punished with 15 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines. The new law specifically targets individuals who use the Internet to make derogatory statements, incite dissatisfaction, or instigate violence against government or public officials.

      The government justifies this by saying it will ensure stability and prevent “unpatriotic behavior.” David Lewis reports that another rationale offered by Gambia’s information minister for the changes is to prevent people, at home and abroad, from engaging in “treacherous” campaigns against Gambians.

    • Blow on the PBS NewsHour

      Now, plans change all the time in broadcast news, for all sorts of reasons. But given that government whistleblowers are by definition people whom the government doesn’t want to tell their story–well, it would be good to hear what the reason was in this case.

    • George Zimmerman Trial Juror B29 Says He ‘Got Away With Murder’

      The only minority on the jury that found George Zimmerman not guilty for fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin sat for an exclusive interview with Robin Roberts for Friday’s “Good Morning America” and revealed very strong feelings about how the 29-year-old fared in his trial.

      “George Zimmerman got away with murder,” she said. “But you can’t get away from God. And at the end of the day, he’s going to have a lot of questions and answers he has to deal with. [But] the law couldn’t prove it.”

    • Activist groups attacked: Desperate attempt to end the fight against the NDAA

      Someone emailed the leaders of various activist groups such as PANDA, Oathkeepers, and We Are Change. An email containing PDF files was sent to Dan Johnson, founder of PANDA, and Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oathkeepers, under the guise of being sent from Luke Rudkowski, founder of We Are Change. Dan Johnson found the email tag suspicious as it was not an email client that is ever used by any of these men or their organizations.

      Johnson did not download or open the files, but sent them to PANDA’s internet security expert, Garrett. Garrett was able to determine that the PDFs contained child pornography, which would have created metadata that could be recovered later by forensics experts even if the original files had been deleted. PANDA, Oathkeepers, and We Are Change are taking this threat seriously, as should other activists and activist organizations.

    • Dearlove Doublethink

      In a sen­sa­tional art­icle in a UK news­pa­per last week­end, the former head of the UK’s for­eign intel­li­gence gath­er­ing agency, MI6, appears to have broken the code of omertà around the fraud­u­lent intel­li­gence case used as the pre­text for the Iraq war in 2003.

    • How We Are Impoverished, Gentrified and Silenced – and What to Do About It

      I have known my postman for more than 20 years. Conscientious and good-humored, he is the embodiment of public service at its best. The other day, I asked him, “Why are you standing in front of each door like a soldier on parade?”

      “New system,” he replied. “I am no longer required simply to post the letters through the door. I have to approach every door in a certain way and put the letters through in a certain way.”

Why People Should Never Rely on Microsoft for GNU/Linux and Java

Posted in GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft, Servers at 2:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Azure

Summary: The company which is attacking Linux/Android/Java in court is trying to lure GNU/Linux and Java proponents into its own yard, which is taxing Free software and letting the NSA spy on everyone

Last week we reiterated the warning about Azure surveillance, noting that everything on Azure can be directly accessed by Microsoft’s close partner, the unaccountable NSA (effectively no privacy policy there). Some Microsoft PR campaign seeks to attract Java developers to Azure (Azul), not warning them about the many risks.

“The SCO case helps remind us how Microsoft really feels about GNU/Linux.”Meanwhile, as other reporters reveal, Microsoft’s proxy Silver Lake is still trying to occupy Dell, with limited success. This is a big deal as it would deal a big blow to GNU/Linux servers from Dell.

Microsoft’s booster Kurt Mackie is currently openwashing Windows Server, trying to portray it as “supporting Linux” while a British Microsoft booster does the ‘pledge’ PR. All of these moves should be treated as nothing other than occupation.

As this ongoing case serves to remind us, Microsoft legal assault on GNU/Linux at IBM is not over. Here is the latest:

IBM has now filed its promised Motion and Memorandum for Partial Summary Judgment Based on the Novell Judgment [PDF] in SCO v. IBM.

I started to write IBM v. SCO, because that is what it really is now. For those who keep track, IBM had received an extension of time to file, until the 22nd, giving it an extra few days.

IBM points out that SCO doesn’t own the copyrights it sued over, the pre-1996 UNIX code, Novell does, so SCO is in no position to complain about copyright anything. SCO has already claimed that it’s talking about claims that now, after it lost the pre-1996 copyright claims, really have to do with post-1996 copyrights or contract issues. But you don’t get to rewrite your complaint any time you think it would be handy, and SCO’s complaint was all about pre-1996 code. Until now, the SCO attempt at a workaround.

The SCO case helps remind us how Microsoft really feels about GNU/Linux. When I spoke to the technical manager (director) of UKFast, a large UK host based near my house (and whose founder I have known for a decade), he told me that they were running GNU/Linux instances on top of Hyper-V and at the offices I saw GNU/Linux support staff being forced to work from Windows. This is utter incompetence and it’s a disservice to GNU/Linux.

“On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”

Bruce Perens

Marketing Free Software as ‘Similar to Microsoft’ is Always a Bad Idea

Posted in Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 1:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ooxml_demo_4.jpg

Summary: Marketing OOXML as part of the announcement of LibreOffice 4.1 and why it is a bad idea that Apache OpenOffice 4 won’t embrace

Microsoft represents exceptionally bad behaviour, including serious crimes, ‘cleansing’ (planned purge) of competitors and occasionally for producing shoddy products, too (resulting in users being sent to prison or entire enterprises destroyed). Nobody deserves to be compared to Microsoft. There should be a Godwin-like law for such comparisons.

Having our own strengths and adapting to future trends is the selling point of Free software, aside from freedom. But some seem to forget the abuse associated with OOXML (bribes, blackmail, etc.), which leads to marketing free/libre office suites as having just “OOXML improvements”. The Microsoft booster does it, but that doesn’t mean that we should too.

In the past few days there were two major releases of office suites and coverage was inclusive of the following (including original announcements) for Apache™ OpenOffice™ 4.0:

  • Apache OpenOffice 4 is here

    Apache OpenOffice 4.0 has been released. This is the first major milestone release since the Free and Open Source software Office suite was donated to the Apache Software Foundation by Oracle.

    It is also the first Apache OpenOffice version that includes code and features merged from IBM’s Symphony. So this is not just a cleanup of the old OpenOffice code that you used to use before LibreOffice was forked from it. It’s much more than that.

  • OpenOffice 4.0 released, introduces sidebar interface

    The new version of OpenOffice, has introduced a new sidebar, designed to take advantage of widescreen monitors. The side bar has been taken from IBM’s Lotus Symphony office Suite, which was a fork of OpenOffice.

  • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache™ OpenOffice™ 4.0
  • AOO 4.0 Release Notes

    Apache OpenOffice 4.0 is now available for download from our official download page. Building upon the great success of the OpenOffice 3.4 release, which has seen over 57 million downloads, this major update brings exciting new features, enhancements and bug fixes. OpenOffice 4.0 features an innovative new Sidebar user interface, additional language support for 22 languages (including 3 new languages), 500 bug fixes, improvements in Microsoft Office interoperability, enhancements to drawing/graphics, performance improvements, etc. You can read the details of these later in these Release Notes.

  • Apache Releases Open Source OpenOffice 4

    The Apache Software Foundation is out with a major new milestone release of the open source OpenOffice suite. The new OpenOffice 4 release marks a major new stage in the evolution of the open source project at Apache.

    “This is a big update, a release nearly a year in the making,” Rob Weir, Apache OpenOffice Project Management Committee, told Datamation. “The volume of changes in Apache OpenOffice, the more visible ones as well as the many improvements behind the scenes, justifies a major version increment.”

It has been disappointing to see LibreOffice in particular putting forth OOXML as a selling point, Even Swapnil Bhartiya uses the “interoperability” term — the word Microsoft likes to use to dodge talking about standards. He says: “Since Microsoft’s Office suite dominates the landscape, interoperability is key for LibreOffice. While Microsoft refuse to work with other file formats, LibreOffice supports as many file formats possible and in this version “numerous improvements have been made to Microsoft OOXML import and export filters, as well as to legacy Microsoft Office and RTF file filters. Most of these improvements derive from the fundamental activity of certified developers backing migration projects, based on a professional support agreement.”"

It is disheartening to see that several years down the line almost nobody even mentions OOXML crimes. Michael Larabel was among those who did not emphasise OOXML at all.

The bottom line is, market Free software based on freedom and technical strength, not something like similarity or adherence to Microsoft. People want to get away from Microsoft, they don’t want an identical substitute. Apache™ OpenOffice™ 4.0 (mostly IBM-driven) does not market OOXML, whereas LibreOffice (mostly SUSE-driven) does to a certain degree. So much for “libre”…

Crashing Microsoft’s Patent Extortion Campaign by Leaking Proprietary Code

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 1:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Samsung

Summary: The kernel debate that’s really worth having, not some storm in a teacup over feminism

The other day we wrote about the latest Samsung scandal [1, 2, 3] which looks like another GPL violation (not the first). Just like LG and smaller players such as TomTom, Samsung pays Microsoft for FAT patents. We need to stop this.

“Honestly,” says one person who took action, “I don’t understand how it’s even possible to patent any filesystem. It’s not a concept, it’s a variation of having a structured array of bytes on a block device.”

Here is who’s behind the code leak, which seems to reveal GPL violation and is therefore whistleblowing (protected by law):

A student and programmer using the name “rxrz” has posted a large chunk of a proprietary Microsoft file-system software to GitHub, claiming that she’s liberating it for the open source world. She says that the software was leaked from Samsung, and that it also contains some code from the Linux kernel. That, she argues, makes it de facto open source under the terms of the Gnu General Public License.

“All I’ve done is given the community of open source developers and linux/android users a way to finally share data between all major OS’s without any excessive impact on the performance,” she wrote on GitHub.

In an email interview, rxrz wouldn’t give her name, but said that she was a nineteen year old female student from the European Union.

She posted the code last month, but only gained widespread notice on Linux discussion forums this week.

This debate needs to go mainstream. Instead of debating a gender war on the Linux development lists (no, we won’t entertain this flamebait here) we should speak about GPL violations. It involves a female leaker showing code from a female developer at Samsung and it is about justice, not some self-inflicted offence over ‘rude’ words. Yes, Torvalds needs to tone down his language, but this has already mushroomed to become some distracting storm involving militant feminists (including an employee of a criminal company) and opportunistic misogynists, which just helps discredit Linux in the same way some tried to discredit GNU several years ago. Let’s talk about patents and technical issues, not some distracting gossip.

Boycott UEFI

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Patents at 1:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UEFI logo with monopoly

Summary: UEFI restricted boot continues to prevent people from exploring GNU/Linux and UEFI Forum has done nothing to stop this abuse

It is has been a while since we last wrote about UEFI. This does not mean that it is any less of a headache, it’s just that this vector of abuse has now met complacency and acceptance. Microsoft got its way. No matter how many insidious things Microsoft does, there will always be amnesia that leads to apathy some time down the road. A couple of months ago I spoke to UEFI Forum, advising them to do something about restricted boot as it was giving UEFI as a whole a bad name. I have not heard or seen any progress from them since then, so it’s safe to assume they quietly accept antitrust abuses (facilitated by UEFI).

Over at ZDNet, another rant about UEFI is posted by a community blogger (not staff), stating that a new release of GNU/Linux (which I quite like) just won’t run because of what Microsoft did:

Linux Mint 15 KDE hands-on: A stumble on UEFI Boot

[...]

I find this really baffling, because the main release installed on UEFI boot systems with no problems — and, in fact, it’s even more baffling now because, while the Xfce distribution also had serious UEFI boot problems, they were not at all the same as those the KDE versions has.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding something here, but it would seem to me that once the main distribution had UEFI boot working, all the other spins need to do is keep their fingers out of that bit. Obviously it’s not that simple.

Anyway, as I said, the symptom this time is different from the Mint Xfce distribution. This time the Live Media itself will UEFI boot just fine, but when I tried to install it, it died near the end, after informing me that the grub2-efi package failed to install, and the lack of grub could make the system unbootable (duh).

There was unfortunately no further information or details available, so I have no idea why it failed to install. Then, to add insult to injury, the installer itself crashed. Sigh.

I got around this problem by enabling Legacy Boot Support on both of my UEFI systems, and it then installed properly on both.

Kubuntu’s key developer also complained about UEFI earlier this year. This is why Debian (antecedent of both), for example, needs to step up the fight [1, 2].

UEFI is a patent trap and a monopoly trap that should be purged from computers. There are solid alternatives to UEFI, but companies like Intel and Microsoft don’t want the public to explore or have access to those.

For the time being it is easy to avoid UEFI and we should speak with our mouths and wallets by letting UEFI Forum know how we feel, then refuse to buy anything they’ve touched. The company behind UEFI is a criminal company anyway. It is a redundant company in the age of Android, ChromeOS, and GNU/Linux, which does not necessitate x86.

Boycott UEFI. They deserve no sympathy. They’re complicit in evil agenda.

Bill Gates et al. Turn Schools and Universities Into Private Corporations

Posted in Bill Gates at 12:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A college student union
A college student union, remnant of the age when unions of students and teachers had power and drove policies

Summary: The assault on public services, or the privatisation (confiscation) of taxpayers’ money, is still jeopardising the education sector in the US

THE war (and accompanying spying/surveillance) operations in the United States have been thoroughly privatised, with companies like Booz Allen and Blackwater stealing literally billions of taxpayers’ collective wages that are funnelled through black (secret) budgets. The CIA and the NSA are merely the government’s shadows that help hide the millionaires and the billionaires which this corrupt system manufactures through contracting. This is bad and a lot of US citizens already know this. But the same mentality now threatens young people, too. The Gates Foundation is the leading force in it, but it is not alone.

The lobbying from Gates’ minions at TFA [1, 2, 3] continues to advance, motivating rants like “Why My Students Do Not Need Teach for America” in which a teacher says “there has been such a flurry of stories and discussions in regards to Teach for America and its destructive role in education today. I suppose my letter to new recruits played an important part in calling into question this organization, striking a chord of truth. TFA has gone into full-time PR mode with a blur of speeches and blogs from the co-CEOs, puff pieces from TFA alums, and even a Q&A from TFA Chicago’s Executive Director. I am glad this dangerous organization is finally getting real scrutiny, and I have much more to add to the discussion at a later date, but today I want to speak from the heart.

“Whenever I think about the Teach for America debate, I think about the students I meet at the psychiatric hospital in Chicago where I teach. Most of my students have really significant needs, including mental health issues, behavioral disorders, cognitive disabilities, and most struggle greatly in school. Their lives are already so chaotic, many are in the foster care system, some are gang-involved, others have already been sucked into the juvenile justice system, and almost all are living in poverty. For some, their short stays on an inpatient unit are the most stable environments they have ever experienced.”

This is a proxy of Bill Gates. Remember that when reading this rant. Gates has also been interfering with Philadelphia [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] — something we covered here many times before. Watch how a crunch if being used too force change. To quote: “Many of the 4,000 laid-off Philadelphia school employees are living in limbo, waiting to see whether the district can scrape-together enough money to hire them back.”

This is part of what one calls the “war on public school teachers”, noting that: “Not only will working people become increasingly insecure, but to secure essential services, they will have to pay the new owners monopoly prices.

“The flashpoint of the war being waged by capital and its political allies against the public provision of services is education, especially that which serves poor and minority communities. Billionaires like Bill Gates (Microsoft) and the Walton family (Walmart) have established organizations and contributed enormous sums of money to do two things. First, they seek to revolutionize the way in which students are taught. Here they have achieved great victories, with two presidents enacting sweeping laws: No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. Both condition federal aid to schools upon what has been described as “teaching to the test.” Literature, art, music, and all critical education are to be sacrificed so that children do well on standardized examinations. Then, how schools and their teachers fare, including whether or not a school continues to exist, depends on students’ scores.

“Second, these plutocrat “reformers” want to alter radically the way in which schools are organized. The best way to describe their aim is to say that they want the schools to resemble assembly lines, with students as outputs and teachers as assembly-line-like mechanisms who do not think or instill in their students the capacity to conceptualize critically and become active participants in a democratic society. And this Taylorization of schooling has a military-like component, with pupils expected to react to commands with rote discipline and respond unthinkingly to rewards for appropriate behavior.”

This article can also be found here and it bears a different headline:

Public School Teachers: New Unions, New Alliances, New Politics

[...]

The promise of public sector unions has been debated for at least forty years. Perhaps some teachers have finally seen the light, and, in the face of unprecedented attacks on them and public schools, are beginning to create new unions, new alliances, a new politics in our towns and cities.

This article by Michael D. Yates coincides with protests in Chicago. One can also see this new protest video from Chicago students:

What we have here is the familiar strategy where one is defunding first (blame teachers and fire them), then offering privatisation as a solution (plutocrats to the rescue!). Noam Chomsky gave a talk earlier this month about corporate takeover of the university/education. The talk as a whole is good, but skip to minute 47 to get the gist of the point we are trying to make.

What we basically have here is Gates et al. marginalising education in favour of indoctrination, turning public into private and throwing to the bin anything which helps minorities (those that Gates pretends to support in his PR pieces). Here is the latest example:

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) is trying to shut down City College of San Francisco (CCSF) for failing to meet or “adequately address” “Recommendation Areas” established by the ACCJC. CCSF has high quality of education, high student satisfaction at 85.9%, and strong support from taxpayers, yet ACCJC still intends to remove the college’s accreditation.

There is a suppressed new article which also touches on this issue:

Students at Columbia’s Teachers College believe Fuhrman’s role with Pearson conflict with her ability to promote the school’s own traditional commitment to critical pedagogy. Members of Columbia’s faculty also oppose Fuhrman’s conflict of interest. A demand for Fuhrman’s divestment from Pearson is gaining momentum.

At Columbia, Fuhrman has mandated weeks of standardized, “fill-in-the-bubble” Scantron testing for students and required teacher trainees to undergo a Pearson-approved take-home test in order to be considered for certification. The test requires a $300 fee, paid by each teacher trainee to Pearson. At the same time, the school has reportedly awarded $315,000 bonuses executive administration staff, while cutting financial support for doctorate and master’s students.

“Pearson’s model, mandating that students spend weeks of class filling out hundreds of Scantron bubbles, doesn’t exactly jibe with Teachers College’s vision for educational empowerment,” George Josephs reports.

Pearson and Gates are closely connected [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Schools are becoming corporations controlled by plutocrats. Three is a lot of money to be pocketed, so it’s not surprising to see Gates storming this scene.

Patent Scope Recognised as Key Problem in the United States

Posted in Patents at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Digital Code of Life: How Bioinformatics is Revolutionizing Science, Medicine, and Business
Digital Code of Life: How Bioinformatics is Revolutionizing Science, Medicine, and
Business
(a book by Glyn Moody which covers patents on life)

Summary: Patents on life and on laws of nature (including mathematics) increasingly viewed as the problem worth tackling

Software patents are the root cause of many problems. Software developers should work on eliminating them as a whole. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), a lawyers’ branch of the corporations-dominated government, recently ruled on this issue which it had allegedly created a few decades ago (the genesis of software patents is said to be CAFC). Mr. Spolsky recently sought to address this issue one patent at a time, which is an inefficient approach. Cory Doctorow promoted this idea of killing “stupid software patents”, perhaps missing the point that all software patents are inherently stupid. There is another group whose goal seems to be reforming patents and it is actually a well-known as well-established one:

I’m late with this but Public Knowledge announced two weeks ago that it was starting a Patent Reform Project link here. Given that we are surrounded with an incredibly expensive and inefficient and now corrupt (with the presence of the patent trolls’ extortion) system, it is important for the informed and interested to weigh in.

Charles Duan wrote about it here. He said: “Our goal is collect stories from as broad a cross-section of the innovation economy as possible, from the top-level major technology providers to the individual smartphone users. This comprehensive understanding of the interests of all stakeholders will allow us to craft patent policy recommendations that benefit everyone and encourage innovation, building the creative and connected future we strive to achieve.”

The USPTO does not like to listen to critics. The founder of the Web is among them. He got involved in a case where patents on software jeopardised the Web (which is the source of information to innovators) and, as we covered yesterday, he succeeded, so let’s not assume the battle is lost for good. We should aim high and try to eliminate all software patents in one fell swoop; it’s not impossible.

Dr. Glyn Moody shows how in Canada there is a pushback against US patents:

Eli Lilly Raises Stakes: Says Canada Now Owes It $500 Million For Not Granting A Patent It Wanted

A few months ago we wrote about the extraordinary — and worrying — case of Eli Lilly suing Canada after the latter had refused to grant a pharma patent. Eli Lilly’s contention was that by failing to grant its patent (even if it didn’t meet the criteria for a patent in Canada), Canada had “expropriated” Eli Lilly’s property — and that it should be paid $100 million as “compensation”.

Patents have nothing to do with innovation these days, they’re being used for welfare payments to corporations (plutocrats) at the expense of ill or producing people. Canada did the right thing in this case and India has been doing much of the same, rejecting unethical patents. If patents on life can be knocked down, then so can software patents. We just need to work together on the right issues, not bogus issues.

Motorola Patent Thicket a Response to Patent Aggression by the Real Offenders That Want to Destroy Android/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, RAND at 12:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Thickets are all bad

Thicket

Summary: Putting in perspective Motorola’s SEPs, which the FTC has just ruled on in the United States

Standard-essential patents, better known as SEPs, are anticompetitive and we have criticised them all along (there are 75 posts in our RAND section). But sometimes they are being used for AstroTurfing by the likes of Florian Müller, who conveniently ignores the real source of the abuse. That would be his employer Microsoft that hires him to spout out nonsense and foist that onto journalists. Android, being the leading operating system of our time (at Microsoft’s expense), is under attack from Apple and Microsoft, which now work together (publicly even) to stop Android. They are using patents. A pro-Apple site says that some “newly published patent application from Apple describes a “power management for electronic devices” system, which detects the usage patterns of a mobile phone and estimates the required energy needed to run the phone between charges.”

We have already seen the Microsoft-occupied Nokia using such patents against Android in Europe, so there is a pattern here. Based on this article and another about Motorola, the fight against Android increasingly consolidates on patents as the means, coupled with antitrust complaints (via Microsoft proxies like Nokia). Groklaw says that:

The ban on injunctions on the Motorola FRAND patents has been lifted, although there remain certain restrictions. What does it mean? It means, to me, that there have been reverberations from the ITC decision recently to grant an injunction against Apple for reverse patent hold up, rejecting its defense that Samsung was violating its FRAND obligations by asking for too much to license. That told the world that injunctions are available to FRAND patent owners. Second, I think it means that the Microsoft/Apple/FOSSpatents campaign to make the world believe it should be impossible for FRAND patent owners to seek injunctions is failing. The tide is turning. Third, this is an order based on a settlement agreement, so it doesn’t apply necessarily to anyone else but Google’s Motorola patents. But it should have an impact on litigation currently in progress.

This was also covered by Andy Updegrove, who said that the FTC “issued the Final Order in its action against Google involving that company’s assertion of certain “standards essential patents” (SEPs). Google gained control of the patents in question through its earlier acquisition of Motorola Mobility and asserted them against various mobile device vendors. Those parties cried foul, claiming that the terms that Google had demanded were inconsistent with the obligations assumed to license the SEPS on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) terms to all implementers of the standards in question.

“It is essential to remember that Google picked up Motorola and picked some patents only after it had been repeatedly attacked by CPTN members like Oracle, Apple, Microsoft and their patent trolls.”“Google agreed to a settlement with the FTC this past January, following which the FTC released a draft settlement order for public comment. The Final Order just released includes a variety of adjustments and changes resulting from the 25 comments received during the public comment period. The 34 page Final Order can be found here and a seven page letter, sent to each commenter and explaining the changes made, is here.”

Updegrove added that “[b]ecause the FTC and European Commission regulators are urging standards setting organizations (SSOs) to take action to diminish the current wave of FRAND disputes, these final materials will be read with great interest by SSO members (and their lawyers). Along with the court decisions that continue to issue in FRAND cases, they will have a significant impact on the evolving discussion about what rules, if any, SSOs and their members will decide to enact in reaction to the requests of regulators, and to their own concerns regarding uncertainties in the marketplace. Despite the desire of the regulators to see action sooner rather than later, that process is likely to take years to fully mature.”

Complaints on a FRAND/blanket basis have merit when it comes to patent stacking by Android foes. It is essential to remember that Google picked up Motorola and picked some patents only after it had been repeatedly attacked by CPTN members like Oracle, Apple, Microsoft and their patent trolls. Don’t be misled by spin from Microsoft, Apple, and mouthpieces of theirs (like Müller).

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