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10.08.13

Linux Devices and Embedded Linux a Most Powerful Force

Posted in GNU/Linux at 6:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Electric circuit

Summary: An overview of recent articles about Linux (and sometimes GNU) in the more miniature realm of computing

This month, October of 2013, the issue of Linux Journal is titled “Embedded” [1] and now that embedded devices or ARM chips get powerful enough to run “full linux” (desktop) [2] we should note that the so-called “year of Linux desktop” matters a lot less. Linux Gizmos, a site dedicated to Linux devices and embedded Linux, shows many new devices that run Linux [3-11], including cars [12,13]. Raspberry Pi is big in the headlines [14-18] and Linux Journal has a special article about it [19]. Without a doubt, Linux is the most dominant platform when it comes to devices and it often comes with GNU too (not always but often).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. October 2013 Issue of Linux Journal: Embedded
  2. “Most powerful” Arduino ever has ARM Cortex-A8 chip, runs “full Linux”

    3D printers, sensor networks, and advanced automation enabled by Arduino TRE.

  3. Rugged fanless box-PC suits wireless mobile apps

    MEN Mikro announced a rugged, Linux-ready box-PC for use on trains, buses, airplanes, and construction and agricultural vehicles. The BL50W comes with single- or dual-core AMD G-Series APUs, provides dual full-HD DisplayPort outputs, expands via SD, mSATA, and Mini PCIe slots, offers gig-E, WiFi, GPS, and cellular connectivity, and supports wide temperature fanless operation.

  4. Compact OTT set-top-box runs Linux

    Antik Technology announced a smaller, lower-powered sibling to its Juice Extreme 2 multicast/OTT IP set-top-box. The Juice Nano runs Linux on a 550MHz ST STiH207 processor, delivers video at up to 1080p at 60fps, provides HDMI, TOSLINK digital audio, and USB ports, and offers both Ethernet and WiFi connectivity.

  5. Set-top box SoCs move up to Cortex-A9, UltraHD, HEVC

    STMicroelectronics (ST), ViXS, and Sigma Designs have each announced new Linux-friendly system-on-chips for IPTV set-top boxes (STBs) incorporating dual Cortex-A9 cores. Some of ST’s STLinux-based “Cannes” and “Monaco” SoCs, as well as ViXS’s XCode 6400 SoC, support UltraHD video and streaming HEVC HD content, while Sigma’s SMP8734 supports Linux or Android on hybrid STBs and media players.

  6. SODIMM-style COM runs Linux on Freescale Vybrid SoC
  7. Linux-capable Arduino TRE debuts at Maker Faire Rome
  8. Embedded firms increase Linux kernel contributions

    A Linux Foundation report found that among the growing list of companies participating in Linux kernel development, embedded-oriented firms like Linaro, Samsung, and Texas Instruments, have increased their contributions at the fastest rate. Other findings include increases in the number of kernel developers, code changes, and changes per hour since the LF’s previous report in April 2012.

  9. Linux device offers web, video, audio conferencing

    RHUB Communications is shipping a videoconferencing and web collaboration appliance that runs embedded Linux on an AMD G-Series processor. The TurboMeeting 210 (TM210) appliance is equipped with multiparty web, video, and audio conferencing functionality, as well as remote support, remote access, and webinar applications.

  10. RCA Internet Music System runs Android

    RCA is previewing a $200 Android-based music system on its RCA Tablets website. The RCS13101E Internet Music System features built-in WiFi and a removable tablet-style display, and is billed as a modern alternative to the traditional modular stereo system, for use in bedrooms, dorm rooms, and family rooms.

  11. Home automation device runs Linux on BeagleBone

    Starting in early October, Ninja Blocks will ship another 1,000 units of its redesigned open source Linux based home automation device kit. The $199 Ninja Block Kit incorporates a BeagleBone SBC and an Arduino-compatible microcontroller, and offers remote access via smartphone apps and a cloud service for access to sensor inputs including motion detectors, contact closures, temperature and humidity sensors, and pushbuttons.

  12. Linux-based IVI platform adds multimedia tech

    Mentor Graphics is integrating Jungo Connectivity’s multimedia player middleware into its Linux-based in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) software platform. Mentor’s Automotive Technology Platform IVI stack meets Yocto Project 1.3 and GENIVI 3.0 IVI requirements, and Jungo’s MediaCore middleware provides UX and other support for multimedia management and playback, smartphone connectivity, and cloud-based applications.

  13. Android-based IVI system ships in 15 Renault cars
  14. Father Builds First Raspberry Pi-Powered Tooth Fairy Tooth Transport

    Developers have proved that the Raspberry Pi can be used for a lot of interesting projects, but very few had the kind of appeal of the Tooth Fairy project.

    Giving money for teeth has become quite a tradition, but a parent took it a little bit further and with the help of a Raspberry Pi, he managed to connect the Tooth Fairy to his house.

  15. New openSUSE images for Raspberry Pi

    Good news for Raspberry Pi users, there are brand new images of openSUSE for this revolutionary device.

  16. Turn your Raspberry Pi into a web server

    Raspberry Pi is one of the most popular devices around. Educators, enthusiats, students and even Googlers love it. Google has been involved with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to promote the device in the UK. Google gave a grant to the foundation via Google Giving to provide 15,000 Raspberry Pi Model Bs for schoolkids around the UK.

  17. Raspberry Pi’s Eben Upton Demos Wayland Support on the Pi
  18. Raspberry Pi Doorlock Uses USB Keys
  19. Temper Pi

    It was inevitable. Back when the Raspberry Pi was announced, I knew I eventually would use one to power a beer fridge. If you have been following my column through the years, you know that three years ago (see my Hack and / column titled “Temper Temper” in the August 2010 issue), I set up a temperature controller for my beer fermenting fridge with an X10 serial controller to control the power to the fridge and a heating pad, an inexpensive TEMPer USB thermometer to take the fridge temperature, and a simple Perl script.

Pardus Linux is Still Alive and Spreading Further in the Form of Pisi

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux at 5:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The desktop-oriented set of distributions which rose in popularity around 2008 and 2009 are still around and still spreading further

SEVERAL years ago we wrote a long post about Pardus, which had been gaining a lot of momentum in Turkey until Microsoft stepped in. According to DistroWatch, Pardus Linux is alive and well, but in prior years there were not many releases of it (compared to years prior to Microsoft’s intervention).

PardusBased on [1,2], Pisi 1.0, which is based on Pardus, is quickly approaching final release. The updates are in Spanish, but this blogger, who mostly covers Mandriva and Mageia [3,4] (Mageia 4 is coming [5]), has the translation. It is a blog which is mostly dedicated to Mandriva and derivatives like PCLinuxOS or Mageia [6]. Pardus too is related to Mandriva, which is now managed in Russia and has some branches like ROSA.

Pardus Linux represents a great force with true potential outside the ‘Western’ conglomerate of distros. It is important to shelter Pardus Linux because it aids a certain balance of power. The Turkish military is seeking to escape Windows and now that we know more about the NSA, it is very clear why.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Coming Soon: Pisi 1.0 RC!
  2. Pisi 1.0 goes RC!

    This entry (in Spanish) confirms that the RC of Pisi Linux 1.0 (Izmir) is here. Pisi RC comes as a 64 bit distro only.

  3. Sneak Peek: Mandriva Pulse2 1.6

    The Pulse Cluster is busy working on the next major version of Pulse2, the 1.6. Scheduled to be released this Fall, we are all excited about it. Why? Quite simply, this upcoming version is meant to bring Pulse2 to the next level. What this means -without disclosing too much- is that this release will focus among other features on two major components: a renewed interface and the ability to prepare and plan the migration of your desktops to Windows 7.

  4. Games! Steam in Mageia 3

    Although I’m not a gamer, I decided to check Steam on Mageia 3. I installed the Steam client and open an account when the distro was released, but the software would crash whenever I attempted to see the description of a game. As it was a beta client, I never thought about using it until today.

  5. Mageia 4 Alpha 3 is out!

    This alpha brings KDE 4.11.1, Gnome 3.10.0 and now Mate is found inside the repositories.

  6. Update Day

    I updated my PCLinuxOS and my Mageia laptop installs today. The process finished without any problem and everything is working as expected.

Debian GNU/Linux Popular in Education

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux at 5:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Debian

Summary: A roundup of news about Debian GNU/Linux, the biggest distribution in terms of number of developers and perhaps users too

A new introduction to Debian 7 (code-named “Wheezy”) [1], a distribution which offers plenty of choice when it comes to desktop environments [2], is aiming to capture new users. I am myself a Debian user and I have installed half a dozen desktop environments on it. Some of the latest Debian news [3,4] says that students are being recruited to work on Debian, which is also popular among students as users. Kwheezy (KDE and Wheezy) [5,6] and SolydX 201309 reviews [7,8] show that there is a thriving developers community around Debian (Ubuntu too is Debian-derived) and examples from education [9] including Skolelinux [10,11] and Knoppix [12] (its founder is now teaching at Kaiserslautern University of Applied Sciences) help demonstrate the academic side of the distribution, which is widely favoured among teachers and schools. It was the distribution of choice for Brazil’s schools.

When it comes to contributions to GNU/Linux, the only group which can compete with Fedora (Red Hat) is Debian. Ubuntu (Canonical) is mostly marketing.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Newbies Guide to Debian 7 – Part Three

    So here you are with your new Debian system. Now you might be wondering, “Which programs do I use?”

  2. Debian LXDE with LXLE Added Features

    LXDE is a desktop environment, which aims the low-performance hardware and old computers. However, you can use it on with modern computers and accessories too, making them flashing fast.

  3. Debian Project News – September 16th, 2013
  4. Debian Project News – September 30th, 2013

    The Google Summer of Code has now come to an end, and the 15 students working the whole summer on improving Debian have sent in their final reports. They’ve worked on various subjects such as ZFS on Linux integration, a rewrite of the package tracking system, improvements to Debian search, scan-building the Debian archive, a MIPS N32/N64 port, and a redesign of metapackage creation for Debian Blends. The full list of Debian GSoC students and their projects can be found on the Debian blog. The Debian project thanks the GSoC students for their amazing work and the Debian mentors who followed them during these four months.

  5. Kwheezy 1.2 Review

    I have always been a categorically against the KDE desktop experience. I’ve never understood it, and never really tried. Part of that might be because I started with GNOME, I don’t know. What I do know for certain is that I have always shied away from KDE desktops and therefore I have avoided many distributions. Something about Kwheezy however, has intrigue me enough to make me want to take a look. I have many presuppositions that will have to be overturned in order to be unbiased, but I am willing to give it a very good try. Whether you are a fan or foe of KDE, put some of your biases aside and join me for this review.

  6. Kwheezy 1.2

    Debian has not always had a good reputation when it comes to being welcoming to new Linux users. Kwheezy is a Debian-based distribution that aims to change that by making Debian easier to install, and by offering the slick KDE desktop environment. Kwheezy is a blend of Debian 7.1 (Wheezy) and KDE 4.8.4.

  7. SolydK 201309 Review: Rock-solid Debian spin offering KDE 4.11.1

    Linux Mint has some serious competition it seems! SolydXK is gradually growing on me and like me, on many other devoted Linux users. This distro right now comes in KDE and XFCE versions and is a spin off from the Linux Mint Debian. LM Debian as of now has two desktop environments, Cinnamon and Mate, and no longer supports XFCE or KDE. That is where SolydXK contributes; more specifically providing users a simple and ready to use spin of Debian with all the qualities of Linux Mint. It is targeted towards small and medium enterprises and non-government organizations in addition to the home users.

  8. SolydX 201309 Review: Simple, effective and efficient, as good as Linux Mint!

    All those users fretting over the demise of Mint Debian XFCE spin can now rejoice with SolydX. It aims to provide users a simple, stable and secured operating system and targeted to small businesses, non-profit organizations in addition to the home users. SolydX is based on Debian testing branch and hence, gets updated applications more quicker than Debian stable. I tested the earlier releases and was very happy with it. However, I didn’t get time to pen down a review. So, here I am finally with a review of one of my favorite distros, SolydX, more specifically the 201309 release of the same.

  9. Debian GNU/Linux Works In Education

    I was never happier than when I discovered that a working lab could be converted to GNU/Linux or updated in an hour simply by making machines boot PXE, installing Debian GNU/Linux as a LTSP server. If you need thick clients, it’s simple to install on one and re-image the rest in parallel with Clonezilla and multicasting. Clonezilla is being tested for inclusion in the Debian GNU/Linux distribution for the next release.

  10. Debian Edu / Skolelinux Wheezy — a complete Linux solution for your school

    Debian Edu is a complete operating system for schools. Through its various installation profiles you can install servers, workstations and laptops which will work together on the school network. With Debian Edu, the teachers themselves or their technical support can roll out a complete multi-user multi-machine study environment within hours or a few days. Debian Edu comes with hundreds of applications pre-installed, but you can always add more packages from Debian.

  11. Skolelinux 7.1 Beta 2 Available for Download, Last Development Version Before Release

    Skolelinux, a Linux distribution based on the Debian Edu project that provides an out-of-the box environment of a completely configured school network, is now at version 7.1 Beta 2.

  12. The Klaus Knopper Interview

    A couple of weeks ago I approached Klaus Knopper (Founder of Knoppix) via email asking whether he would be interesting in answering a few questions about the Knoppix project.

Mozilla and Firefox Are Becoming Linux-oriented, Need to Compete With Tizen, Jolla and Sailfish

Posted in GNU/Linux at 4:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FirefoxOS
Image from the Mozilla Foundation

Summary: Linux-powered mobile contenders that can challenge Android are still numerous and Firefox remains just one of many

MOZILLA and Firefox have good brand recognition, even if some people aren’t quite paying attention [1]. It’s possible that more people know Firefox, compared to GNU and Linux for instance. It makes Firefox easier to ‘sell’ to the public; it’s just like putting the “Google” brand on stuff. Firefox 25 is coming quite soon [2] and Mozilla is now focusing on mobile [3], where there is focus on Linux-based operating systems like Android and Mozilla’s own FirefoxOS. Firefox already integrates well with GNU/Linux [4], but at what stage will Mozilla focus mostly on GNU/Linux rather than the platform which makes it involuntarily spy on users (Windows [1, 2])?

Mozilla is holding some events [5,6] which can shed light on its future plans, but Mozilla still has some strong competition from Android and from Sailfish, which already enjoys Android compatibility, unlike FirefoxOS [7,8]. Either way, Linux gains massively [9] because all the aforementioned operating systems have Linux in them [10]. Android, which is Linux-powered, has gotten huge.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. No One Knows What the Firefox Logo is, and Last Night’s Jeopardy! Proved It

    Okay, let’s play a game: What’s the animal featured in the Firefox logo?

  2. New Firefox 25 Beta Launched on All Available Platforms

    Mozilla has just released the third Beta release in the Firefox 25.x branch, and it’s now available for download and testing, on all available platform.

  3. Mozilla working on a second-screen solution for Firefox

    Just like Google, Mozilla too wants a piece of the second screen market. The company is reportedly testing the new technology that would allow users to beam content from their mobile browser to the TV.

  4. Improve The Look of Firefox In GNOME With These 2 Add-Ons

    Ubuntu GNOME ships with Firefox as its default browser – and for good reason: it’s a robust, featured and dependable choice.

  5. Getting Ready for Summit 2013; Fun Already!

    In just a week Mozillians will gather for the Mozilla Summit 2013. I’ve been working with a number of the facilitators and the “track leads” and I have to say, it is really rewarding.

  6. The Firefox Flicks Global Film Competition Winners are In!

    After more than 400 entries, we are thrilled to announce the 2013 Firefox Flicks Competition Grand Prize, Regional, and People’s Choice Award Winners at the Toronto International Film Festival. The chosen films are a mix of early entry winners and awesome new arrivals that truly capture the essence of “get mobilized” in humorous, creative and meaningful ways. The films show how the power of the Web on mobile phones to discover, manage, enjoy and share content that can change people’s lives.

  7. Sailfish gains two-way Android compatibility

    Jolla announced that its Sailfish OS is now fully compatible with Android, letting the Linux-based mobile OS run Android apps, as well as operate on hardware configured for Android. Jolla also announced that a second batch of pre-orders for its Sailfish-based Jolla phones will open later this week, after having sold out its first shipment in August.

  8. Jolla Phone specs and android compatibilty officially annnouced

    Finland based Jolla Mobile has officially announced android app compatibility and technical specifications for their first smartphone.

  9. Linux gets a boost from mobile

    Although not originally designed for telephones or tablets, the Linux kernel is now getting more contributions than ever from mobile and portable device vendors, whose input is driving a heretofore unseen rate of development for the open source project.

  10. Samsung Tizen and LG Firefox OS phones coming soon?

    Following the appearance of leaked photos showing Tizen 3.0 running on Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 phone, new rumors say the upcoming Galaxy S 5 smartphone will be available in both Android and Tizen versions. Meanwhile, an LG D300g phone uncovered in the FCC database suggest the first LG Firefox OS phone is nearing release.

Latest Disruptions in Databases Favour Free/Libre Software

Posted in Database, Free/Libre Software, Oracle at 4:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The statue of liberty

Summary: Oracle/Microsoft domination in databases is eroding as new players that consider themselves to be “open-source” gain traction

Google is phasing out and moving out of MySQL [1,2], dealing a blow to Oracle [3] after Oracle sued Google (over Android). Oracle has had a lot to fear because of Free software. Oracle essentially shares Microsoft’s pain. PostgreSQL, in the mean time, has a new release [4] and MongoDB [5], one of the NoSQL databases [6,7], shows promise. These new trends in the databases market sure work in favour of Free/open source software because the main gainers here are — for the most part — at least partly Free software. Companies like Microsoft and Oracle are poised to lose and Red Hat et al. will gain.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Google quietly dumps Oracle MySQL for MariaDB

    Linux distributors have been moving from Oracle’s MySQL to its popular fork, MariaDB – and now Google is also moving to MariaDB.

  2. Google swaps out MySQL, moves to MariaDB

    ‘They’re moving it all,’ says MariaDB Foundation headman

  3. Oracle Losing Its MySQL Grip to MariaDB

    In 2010, when Oracle took control of Sun Microsystems, they became the minders of a host of open source projects that included OpenSolaris, Java, MySQL and OpenOffice. They’ve since quit developing OpenSolaris, although the project lives on as the forked OpenIndiana project; OpenOffice now belongs to Apache; Java, especially on the browser side, has been beset by a long list of security issues and MySQL has been forked by its creator into MariaDB.

  4. Open Source database PostgreSQL gets a new release

    MySQL, MariaDB and PostgreSQL are three major open source databases which dominate the market. According to Jelastic PostgreSQL is neck to neck with MySQL fork MariaDB and MongoDB.

  5. Create and save data with a MongoDB database

    Forget about joins and SQL and try NoSQL databases – specifically MongoDB, the leading example

  6. Couchbase Brings Open-Source NoSQL Database to the Mobile Form Factor

    NoSQL isn’t just for big servers anymore, as Couchbase Lite brings open-source database technology to the mobile form factor.
    Open-source NoSQL database vendor Couchbase is growing its portfolio from the server to mobile devices with its new Couchbase Lite initiative. Couchbase is also releasing a new server version as well, providing improved security and administration capabilities.

    Couchbase develops and sells an open-source NoSQL database that to date has been a server-deployed product. The Couchbase Lite effort changes that, providing developers with a native small footprint database that can run on either Apple iOS or Google Android mobile operating systems.

  7. Couchbase relaxes NoSQL derrière into mobile seats

    Database startup Couchbase has developed what it believes is the first NoSQL database for mobile devices, but why would anyone want such a thing?

In the World of Programming, GNU/Linux Blossomed and Microsoft Fell Behind

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Java

Summary: Signs that GNU, Linux, and Git are becoming the common carriers of code

A pundit at IDG has this new piece stating that “Microsoft .Net failed” [1], noting quite correctly that Microsoft never succeeded in making .NET commonplace, not even with help from de Icaza of Novell and Xamarin (which Microsoft indirectly funded and groomed). There are many programming languages out there [2] and many target Linux exclusively [3] because it has become somewhat of a universal platform. At Samsung, one of the wealthiest tech giants right now, Linux has become the de facto standard platform [4] and the other project of Linus Torvalds, namely Git, is becoming the de facto tool for development with version control (so much to the point of being the target of DDOS attacks [5]). It is worth remembering that many career opportunities these days are available for GNU/Linux professionals; Windows is the diminishing platform, so there is an excess of ‘skills’ there — one that necessitates that people retrain or relearn for a generation where Free software is the standard.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Why Microsoft .Net failed

    Microsoft tried, but it couldn’t win the hearts and minds of developers who weren’t already indoctrinated — and it alienated others along the way

  2. Programming Languages to Shake up the Mix?
  3. Resolving Nightmare Bugs With Reversible Linux App Debugger

    Undo and ARM partner on ARM DS-5 tool suite rapidly resolve nightmare bugs

  4. How Open Source Software Has Changed Samsung

    In recent years, Samsung has moved from being a mere consumer of open source software to actively participating in its development as a top-10 contributor to the Linux kernel. The company is still refining its open source approach and processes, however, as demonstrated by a recent GPL compliance issue with its (formerly) proprietary exFAT driver for Linux.

  5. GitHub wipes hand across bloodied face, stumbles from brutal DDoS beating

    Popular source-code warehouse GitHub was back online today after weathering a huge denial-of-service attack throughout the week.

Phantom ‘Threats’ and Real Threats

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

David Koch

Summary: Assessment of climate factors as a threat to human civilisation

Natural disasters are a major killer — far more major than “terrorism” or whatever we are typically told is our primary threat (deaths by car accidents and diseases by far outnumber all of those combined). Some natural disasters, like those caused by tectonic plates [1], are hard to avert except by improving response to them (e.g. better alarming, construction, and rescue teams). Others, to which humans contribute, can be avoided or at least their impact mitigated. We are ignoring warning signs [2,3] because our politicians (actually, corporations’ politicians) ignore those latter risks and new forms of natural disasters are now in the making, promising to poison our water supply [4,5] in exchange for energy when far better energy sources are known to be viable [6] even if they are a bit more expensive in the short term [7]. The problem is that a PR campaign, coordinated by major polluters, has contributed to a bogus, manufactured consensus among the population (including politicians) [8,9] and groups which seek to use cleaner energy sources are being demonised or even banned/marginalised [10].

The role of the corporate media is worth noting here. When GE-run TV channels promote nuclear energy (GE’s business) and right-wing TV channels actively deny climate change (because of their sponsors) we are clearly heading towards inescapable disaster. We are shown phantom enemies and told that we need to go to war while the far right gets propped up [11] to permit both the left and the right to move right-wards, pretending to be “moderate”. Right now in the West we may find that even the so-called ‘left’ is actively participating in marginalising the debate about climate change and unless the political system changes (along with the media), the biggest future killers (climate change contributes to famine) will take their toll. Hunger is even a problem in the UK right now [11].

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. NASA releases images of Pakistan’s ‘Earthquake Island
  2. We Are Terrifyingly Close to the Climate’s ‘Point of No Return’

    Should fossil fuel use continue on its current trajectory, the future for life on planet Earth is bleak.

  3. The world does need a red line – on climate change

    Activists agree we must fight the Keystone XL pipeline in the US, but also chip away at the political power of the fossil fuel industry

  4. Radioactive Wastewater From Fracking Found In Pennsylvania Stream

    The Smithsonian is reporting that scientists from Duke University have found high levels of radium, as well as chloride and bromide in

  5. Is Oil Industry Funding of a Fracking Study a Problem? Let’s Ask an Oil-Funded Expert

    The New York Times had a report yesterday (9/18/13) on a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on methane releases associated with natural gas fracking. The study, Times reporter Michael Wines writes, “bolsters the contention by advocates of fracking–and some environmental groups as well–that shale gas is cleaner and better than coal, at least until more renewable-energy sources are developed.”

  6. Adelaide’s Solar Buses Could Be the World’s Greenest Public Transports
  7. Road Map to the Next Repricing of Oil: September Issue of TerraJoule.us

    Each issue of TerraJoule.us contains: a Main Essay, a Model Portfolio, a Data Brief, and a link to a Downloadable Podcast. Gregor Macdonald, Editor.

  8. Climate deniers in their own universe

    When 259 authors from 39 countries examine hundreds of scientific papers and arrive at a consensus, perhaps it’s worth listening.

    But in Canada, at any rate, about 30 per cent of the population remains convinced that climate change isn’t happening – or, if it is, that it’s caused by natural events, sunspots or just about anything other than human activity, notably burning fossil fuels.

  9. Gaia and all that

    The process started when I heard on World Service radio a gentleman from the International Panel on Climate Change discussing their latest report. As you know, I tend to accept the established opinion on climate change, and rather take the view that if all our industrial activity were not affecting the atmosphere, that would be strange.

  10. Russia versus Greenpeace

    Russia is casting around for legal measures it can use against Greenpeace.

  11. Greek Golden Dawn party leader due in court

    Wednesday’s court appearance comes after three MPs from the far-right party are freed pending trial.

  12. First UK student-run foodbank opens in Manchester

    The first student-run foodbank in Britain is opening in Manchester.

    Manchester Central Foodbank, which is based at the University of Manchester Roman Catholic Chaplaincy, is an initiative from the students.

    It grew out of a mobile soup kitchen also operated by students, who found growing food poverty among people who had just become homeless.

Privacy and Security in the Age of Criminal Activity Perpetrated by the NSA, CIA, and FBI

Posted in GNU/Linux, Security, Windows at 2:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michael Hastings

Michael Hastings became an “Enemy of the State” when he criticised the CIA/Pentagon

Summary: The importance of one’s privacy and personal security when lawlessness prevails, especially in the realms of shady agencies that are unaccountable and state-protected

LAST night I watched “Enemy of the State” together with my wife because it deals with the NSA, even 15 years ago (a lot of it is still very relevant). A great deal of the film may be hogwash (unrealistic scenarios and impossibilities, like one satellite hovering over the same point), but surveillance and bugging is something that the producers got quite right. Based on some statements [1], the US government wants less transparency for the NSA (no surprise there), perhaps because transparency helps reveal the government’w complicity in violation of the law which it’s supposed to defend. Here in Europe, the European Parliament, which was bugged by the NSA, is now learning from former spies. European developers sure developed an interest in privacy [3] because it’s becoming an important selling point for GNU/Linux and Free software.

“he NSA spies even on US allies, which really says a lot about the value of privacy in the digital age. It’s all about control.”The FBI turns out to have engaged in criminal activities like spreading malware in order to carry out surveillance again [4] (we gave more examples even years ago) and following suspicions and reports that the FBI harassed a journalist’s family while he (Michael Hastings) was preparing a report about the CIA and shortly before he died in a fiery car crash (his car was controlled by a microchip) we now learn about the risks of cyber attacks on cars, with whole a consortium being formed to deal with this issue [5]. Meanwhile, details surface about the NSA’s cyber attacks programme [6,7] (the NSA is a cyber criminal, in essence doing exactly what criminals do) and a former NSA CIO ridicules the security of systems all over the place [8] while new flaws in Windows emerge [9] which continue to remain unpatched.

What we can learn from all this is simple. The US government — through the secret agencies it harbours — is actively engaging in criminal activities such as cyber attacks. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, but we should be prepared for the possibility of such attacks by making informed software choices (e.g. cars that are not driven by proprietary software, operating systems that are not proprietary, access restrictions and so forth).

40 years ago the CIA helped crush democracy in Chile, putting a tyrant in place and protecting his militant henchmen [10]. This is one example among many where not only the lives of individuals got compromised and even ended because of criminal activity from secret agencies; even the sovereignty of entire nations could be compromised. The NSA spies even on US allies, which really says a lot about the value of privacy in the digital age. It’s all about control. To achieve these spying capabilities, systems are being broken into, so it’s not about social engineering. The only route to security is inherently hardened systems. GNU/Linux is one notable option.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. U.S. gov’t argues tech companies should not be allowed to report data request figures

    The U.S. government doesn’t want Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and other major technology companies to disclose figures on how many requests it makes for user data.

  2. LIBE whistleblower hearing at the European Parliament

    This week I was invited to give a state­ment to the LIBE Com­mit­tee at the European Par­lia­ment about whis­tleblow­ing and the NSA mass sur­veil­lance scandal.

  3. Videos about the Freedombox project – for inspiration and learning
  4. FBI Admits It Controlled Tor Servers Behind Mass Malware Attack

    It wasn’t ever seriously in doubt, but the FBI yesterday acknowledged that it secretly took control of Freedom Hosting last July, days before the servers of the largest provider of ultra-anonymous hosting were found to be serving custom malware designed to identify visitors.

  5. Consortium plans to protect cars from cyber attacks

    As vehicles become increasingly dependent on embedded computers for functions such as engine timing, acceleration, braking, and in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), the risk of cyber attacks on cars is growing dramatically. With this in mind, Southwest Research Institute has formed the Automotive Consortium for Embedded Security (ACES), which will have an informal initial meeting on Oct. 23.

  6. How the NSA Thinks About Secrecy and Risk

    As I report in The Guardian today, the NSA has secret servers on the Internet that hack into other computers, codename FOXACID. These servers provide an excellent demonstration of how the NSA approaches risk management, and exposes flaws in how the agency thinks about the secrecy of its own programs.

  7. The NSA is Making Us All Less Safe

    Every casual Internet user, whether they know it or not, uses encryption daily. It’s the “s” in https and the little lock you see in your browser—signifying a secure connection—when you purchase something online, when you’re at your bank’s website or accessing your webmail, financial records, and medical records. Cryptography security is also essential in the computers in our cars, airplanes, houses and pockets.

  8. Former NSA CIO slams Fortune 100 companies’ security

    “It’s about looking at all the types of data you have got, assembling pictures and understanding what is happening and what has to stop.”

  9. Microsoft IE Zero-Day Flaw Exposure Widens

    There is still no official patch from Microsoft as weaponized exploits for Internet Explorer begin to appear, but there is a simple step that enterprise users can take to mitigate the risk.

  10. Chile shuts luxury jail for Pinochet henchmen

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