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01.24.14

News Links: Intellectual Monopolies and Copyrights

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly at 10:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Press release: Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – Environment Chapter
  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Warnings From NAFTA

    With the New Year the corporate lobbyists and the Obama administration are stepping up their drive for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the new trade deal being negotiated in secret by the United States and eleven countries in the Pacific region. The key at the moment is Congressional approval of fast-track authority. This would give any agreement a straight up or down vote on an accelerated timetable.

  • Noam Chomsky: Obama Trade Deal A ‘Neoliberal Assault’ To Further Corporate ‘Domination’
  • Chomsky: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Lower Wages And Increase Insecurity

    Critics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement — a purported free trade deal between 11 countries, including the U.S., Canada and Japan, which has been in negotiations for some years — have noted that the deal has little to do with free trade. Rather, the TPP is about limiting regulation, helping corporate interests and imposes fiercer standards of intellectual property (to, again, largely benefit corporate interests).

  • Copyright Week: If We Want To Get Copyright Right, It’s Time To Go Back To Basics

    All week we’ve been posting stories for Copyright Week, discussing important elements of copyright law that are at risk of getting trampled or destroyed in the effort to reform copyright. These are issues that will be squashed almost entirely if we leave it to the lobbyists to hash out what a new copyright law looks like. Today is the final day of Copyright Week, which happens to coincide with the second anniversary of Internet Freedom Day — the day that the internet spoke up and said NO!! the last time a group of lobbyist sought to change copyright in dangerous ways, with SOPA/PIPA.

  • IP address does not prove online piracy, US judge says in landmark ruling
  • Let’s Send Books To Anakata!

    Anakata – Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, one of the founders of The Pirate Bay, and an early technical assistant of WikiLeaks – is still held in Danish solitary confinement without much intellectual stimulus at all. I thought we could send some books to him, and I’m starting with sending one of my own.

  • Dotcom’s ‘Internet Party’ Aims to Shake Up Politics

    Just four months after dropping the first hints, Kim Dotcom is now openly discussing his plans for New Zealand’s political arena. The entrepreneur has just confirmed the founding of the Internet Party, a new political group preparing to shake up the 2014 elections. With information on party co-workers now leaking out, this year should be another exciting one for the charismatic German.

  • Dotcom’s Baboom Launches With Good Times For Free

    Marking the second anniversary of the raid on his New Zealand home, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is today enjoying the release of his brand new album, the launch of a brand new music service, the one-year anniversary of Mega.co.nz, and the eve of his 40th birthday. There’s certainly a lot going on, but that’s how this born entertainer likes it.

  • Kim Dotcom: ‘I’m not a pirate, I’m an innovator’

    The larger-than-life tycoon behind Megaupload.com, in New Zealand facing US piracy charges, has made a dance album to distract himself from his woes. But how does he fit that in with playing Call of Duty all night?

  • The 20 Most Pirated Artists of The Year: A Drop in The Ocean?

    Despite the growing availability of legal music services, piracy is still seen as a major threat to the industry. Today we take a look at the most pirated artists on BitTorrent in 2013, with Bruno Mars, Rihanna and Daft Punk topping the chart. Interestingly, the number of pirated downloads are a drop in the ocean compared to the plays on other free services such as YouTube, which generate millions in revenue.

  • Court Orders Spanish ISP to Disconnect Music Pirate

    In a first-of-its-kind case, a Spanish court has ordered a local ISP to sever the Internet connection of a copyright infringer. The case, brought by Universal, Sony, Warner and EMI, involved the unauthorized sharing of thousands of music tracks on a P2P network. An earlier decision found that no copyright infringement had occurred but that has now been overturned on appeal.

  • UK Considers Throwing Persistent Internet Pirates in Jail

    During a debate on the UK’s Intellectual Property Bill, the Prime Minister’s Intellectual Property Adviser has again called for a tougher approach to online file-sharing. In addition to recommending “withdrawing Internet rights from lawbreakers”, Mike Weatherley MP significantly raised the bar by stating that the government must now consider “some sort of custodial sentence for persistent offenders.” Google also got a bashing – again.

  • Three Strikes Law Does Nothing to Curb Piracy, Research Finds

    Several countries including the US and France have implemented so-called “strikes” systems to warn and punish P2P file-sharers. The goal of these programs is to reduce piracy, but do they have any effect on people’s downloading habits? New findings published by U.S. and French researchers show that these anti-piracy measures don’t stop or even reduce piracy.

Ubuntu Links: Security, OpenJDK, Mobile, Desktop, and CLA

Posted in Ubuntu at 10:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Security

OpenJDK

Mobile

Desktop

CLA

  • Linus Torvalds Says All Contributor License Agreements Are Broken

    A controversy regarding Canonical’s CLA has been going on for a couple of days, and now even Linus Torvalds has entered the discussion, although in a more peaceful manner.

    CLA stands for Contributor License Agreement and it basically allows the distributor of your software (Canonical, Apache, and almost all the big distributors out there) to defend the application in case it needs defending, in a copyright issue for example.

  • Linus Torvalds: Any CLA is fundamentally broken

    Canonical is often criticized for its CLAs – Contributor License Agreements – by the larger Open Source community. Ironically Canonical is not the only company which requires CLAs, even communities like FSF or ASF require CLAs. Since Canonical is not a community, but a for-profit company, what makes their CLAs so bad considering that companies like Google don’t get the same criticism for their CLAs? What makes Canonical’s CLA so bad whereas when everyone else is also doing the same thing?

Why a Deletion of Pear OS From the Web (Including SourceForge) is Mysterious

Posted in GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 10:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A rising star among Ubuntu derivatives abruptly shuts down and some believe that Apple may have caused it

LAST month it was Linux Mint, a popular derivative of Canonical’s Ubuntu (there are many such flavours [1,2], including new ones [3]), which received “distro of the year” honours, not just the top position at DistroWatch. Judging by journalists’ affinity towards it [4], as well as various positive new reviews [5-8], we are living in a Mint world [9] and Mint may be the world’s most popular (depending on how it’s measured) GNU/Linux distribution [10]. I use it myself sometimes. No wonder Canonical starts making things harder for Mint, in a similar fashion to what Red Hat did to CentOS back in the days. Canonical can also be quite aggressive with trademarks, but nowhere as aggressive as Apple, which has a history of shutting down clones, critics, and even news sites that reveal Apple “secrets”.

Among the popular distributions of Ubuntu there is a Chinese derivative, there is Kubuntu (which I use a lot along with Debian), the rising star Bodhi [11,12] (looking to raise funds right now), and several other independent-from-Canonical ‘flavours’, some of which we no longer hear about. One that we have been hearing about increasingly is this “French Ubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution” called Pear Linux or Pear OS. People have been speculating that Apple’s legal team would harass it.

According to the reports that say Pear OS is gone [13-16] there is also speculation that Apple might have had something to do with it [17]. We previously wrote about Pear OS as it had been rising in popularity and becoming very similar to OS X (like Elementary). Jim Lynch, who thinks that Apple may have had something to do with it, says “[t]he developer mentions that it was bought by another company but doesn’t say who nor does he give specific reasons on why they purchased it.” Curious to say the least. Softpedia, which has a copy of the distro, says [18]: “It looks like Pear OS also disappeared from many of SourceForge’s mirrors.” It remains to be know if Apple had something to do with the acquiring party. If we never find out who the buyer is, then maybe, as Lynch insinuates, it was a shell.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Xubuntu 13.10 – Same again please bartender
  2. Ubuntu flavours release Trusty Tahr Alpha 1
  3. Ubuntu Mini Remix 13.10 Is A Tiny Ubuntu 13.10 Unofficial Respin

    Hello Linux Geeksters. As you may know, Ubuntu Mini Remix 13.10 provides a minimal version of Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander, enabling the users to install the preferred desktop environment and all the main packages that will get installed.

  4. The Remarkable Intel NUC

    My unit had Win 8.1 pre-installed on the SSD, but I could easily install various versions of Linux. I’m currently playing with the MINT distro. The NUC easily booted from any of the USB CD Drives I had laying around the house and quickly into Linux Mint. The machine immediately recognized all the weird USB devices I had hooked to a hub connected to the little box.

  5. Linux Mint 16: No Surprises, but Plenty of Solid Improvements

    Linux Mint 16, also known as “Petra,” is a very solid release that fixes a lot of annoying traits left behind in previous versions.

  6. Linux Mint 16 “Petra” Cinnamon, KDE and MATE review

    Linux Mint 16, code-named Petra, is the latest edition of the popular desktop edition that is based on Ubuntu Desktop.

    This edition is different from Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE), which is also from the Linux Mint project, but is based on Debian, not Ubuntu.

    The Linux Mint line of this distribution has support for the Cinnamon, KDE, MATE and Xfce desktop environments. The Cinnamon edition, which is the main edition, is typically released before the others, but as at the time of writing this review, installation images for all four desktop environments have been released.

    This article presents a review of the Cinnamon, KDE and MATE desktops, starting with aspects that are common to all three.

  7. A minty fresh start

    We’re into a new year, so isn’t it time you thought about a fresh new start? Mint 16 is out and it’s easily the best version of Mint to date, packing Cinnamon 2.0 as its desktop. To celebrate its launch we’ve got eight pages dedicated to how the Mint community pushed through these key features, bug fixes, taking Mint 14 from what it was, to today; making Mint 16 a truly awesome Linux desktop experience. We also look forward to Mint 17, which creator Clement “Clem” Lefebvre and the Mint community have huge
    plans for.

  8. Linux Mint 16 Xfce Desktop Review

    We have all the highlights of Linux Mint 16 Xfce, so you can see if this is the right distribution for you. Users will not find a long list of new features, but thankfully the desktop is more stable than ever. The Mint 16 Cinnamon desktop release will likely get all of the publicity, so I decided it was time to revisit Xfce.

  9. Minty Day in the Linuxsphere

    Jim Lynch’s post “Is Linux Mint the most popular distro?” was the first article to catch my wandering eye today as I perused the newsfeeds. He was actually prompted by an article by David Hayward originally published in Linux Format and posted at www.techradar.com. In it, Hayward asked “What makes Linux Mint so awesome?” Then he answers it – in detail. But check out the rest of Lynch’s post too as he discusses more on Mint’s popularity.

  10. Is Linux Mint the most popular desktop distro?

    Who knew when Linux Mint started out that it would give Ubuntu itself a run for its money? The article notes the negative reaction to Ubuntu’s Unity desktop, and the many dissatisfied Ubuntu users that switched to Linux Mint.

    Think I’m kidding about that? Take a look at the screenshot below from DistroWatch’s rankings. Linux Mint is listed in the number one spot, beating out Ubuntu itself. I know a number of people who abandoned Ubuntu immediately when Unity was released, and they haven’t looked back since switching to Linux Mint.

  11. Bodhi Linux could easily become a desktop distribution contender
  12. Bodhi Linux powered Chromebook Raffle

    Something you may not know about Bodhi Linux is that we are 100% funded by user donations. We do not plaster our home page or user forums with ad content like so many distros do. We are very thankful to all of the folks that donate to keep our package servers running. Towards the tail end of 2011 we raffled off a Dell Netbook to a random person who donated at least five dollars during a set period of time.

  13. Bodhi Linux could easily become a desktop distribution contender
  14. Bodhi Linux powered Chromebook Raffle

    Something you may not know about Bodhi Linux is that we are 100% funded by user donations. We do not plaster our home page or user forums with ad content like so many distros do. We are very thankful to all of the folks that donate to keep our package servers running. Towards the tail end of 2011 we raffled off a Dell Netbook to a random person who donated at least five dollars during a set period of time.

  15. Pear OS downloads removed
  16. Pear OS Is No Longer Available for Download

    We are extremely sorry to inform all users of the Pear OS Linux operating system that David Tavares, the creator of Pear OS, has announced a few minutes ago on Google+ that the Pear OS distribution will no longer be available for download.

  17. Pear Departure, Bodhi Fundraiser, and Mageia 4 RC
  18. Mysterious Disappearance Of PearOS

    A distro with GUI resembling MacOS and known for distribution of multimedia codecs has suspended downloads. That could violated GPL licensing unless the new owners appear promptly.“Its future is now in hands of a company who wants to remain anonymous for the moment. The concept has pleased them it and now wants to continue and improve the system for their own products. I can not give a name but it is a very large company well known …”

  19. Was Apple involved in the death of Pear OS?

    Was Apple involved in any way with the death of Pear OS? The conspiracy-minded among us probably think that might be a real possibility, particularly if Apple acted behind the scenes via a shell company. Apple has been known to do just that in years past when it wanted to negotiate for something without having its real identity known.

  20. Pear OS Is No Longer Available for Download

Finding Database Software Without Back Doors

Posted in Database, Oracle, Security at 9:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A survey of competition in the area of databases, with emphasis on Free software and on security

ORACLE, far more so than Red Hat, has been in bed with the NSA. Oracle’s very identity (its name) is that of a CIA project — a fact that many people either don’t know or are shocked to discover. Actually, a lot of VC funds for database projects comes from the VC arm of the CIA nowadays. There are decent alternatives to Oracle’s databases, such as PostgreSQL [1], NoSQL [2], various Open Source Database management systems [3], and also GPL-licensed contenders such as RethinkDB, which has just received a lot of funding [4]. Oracle, which grabbed the most popular GPL-licensed database (MySQL), is still facing strong competition [5] and these are just examples from the past month’s news, not going further back than that. Then there’s the market share of Microsoft in database. Microsoft is famously facilitating NSA snooping, so it seems safe to say that using any database from the top proprietary providers (Oracle and Microsoft) is foolish and irresponsible when security and privacy are important. Back doors are now a fact, they are not a speculation. The trust is done.

SkySQL and MariaDB now directly challenge MySQL [6], which Oracle has neglected for the most part since it took over Sun and broke it to bits [7,8]. Oracle’s record when it comes to running big projects is not exactly good anymore [9] (and suffice to say its build/clone of RHEL cannot be trusted), so it seems safe to claims that for security and privacy one should choose the primarily Europe-based — with offices in 10 European countries — SkySQL (or even PostgreSQL), not MySQL. One little cause for concern is that a board member of SkySQL “worked as a management consultant with Indevo AB, At Kearney Inc. and Booz Allen,” according to this page. Booz Allen is the infamous NSA contractor.

It’s interesting that only few people entertain the possibility that there may be NSA back doors in the databases themselves, and given the role that the CIA played (historically and at present) in databases development we should pay close attention to that.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. PostgreSQL 9.1 Advances Open Source Database Innovation
  2. How NoSQL will power the Internet of Things

    Open-source NoSQL databases such as Apache Cassandra are (and will be) key enablers of the Internet of Things.

    This is the view of Jonathan Ellis, CTO at DataStax, a company known for distributing a commercially supported version of the open source Apache Cassandra NoSQL Database Management System.

  3. Open Source Database Management Systems Gaining Traction
  4. RethinkDB grabs $8M to show its stuff against other NoSQL databases

    RethinkDB open-sourced the database under a GNU license in November 2012, and the community is 4,000 developers strong…

  5. Meet the Open Source Trio Primed to Topple Oracle

    Over the past few years, we’ve seen an explosion of new databases. Several companies are offering relational databases that directly challenge traditional offerings from Oracle — databases that designed to store information in neat rows and columns on a single machine. And thanks to research papers detailing software built by Google and Amazon, we also have a slew of open source NoSQL databases — databases designed to store massive amounts of information across tens of hundreds of machines.

  6. SkySQL goes after Oracle MySQL with enterprise release

    SkySQL, the MariaDB MySQL fork company, isn’t just for open-source database management system (DBMS) experts anymore. With the release of its MariaDB Enterprise product, SkySQL is going straight for Oracle’s MySQL enterprise customers.

  7. The mixed fate of Sun tech under Oracle
  8. James Gosling grades Oracle’s handling of Sun’s technology

    The Java founder assesses how well Oracle has managed the technologies it acquired in the four years since it bought Sun

  9. Oracle’s Oregon Website Failure

    For now, though, Oregon is stuck with a very expensive white elephant and most of its residents will not be able to take advantage of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act until 2015.

Kernel Roundup: Linux 3.14 Features Preview and Other News

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 8:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: New relating to Linux and graphics-related extensions

Kernel Space

Graphics Stack

  • Wayland reaches version 1.4 RC

    The first release candidate for Wayland 1.4 is out now. Designed by Kristian Høgsberg, Wayland is a protocol for a compositor to talk to its clients as well as a C library implementation of that protocol. It is intended as a simpler replacement for X, easier to develop and maintain. GNOME and KDE are expected to be ported to it. Part of the Wayland project is also the Weston reference implementation of a Wayland compositor.

  • NVIDIA Is Still Killing AMD Over Linux OpenGL Performance

    Back in November I published my review of the AMD Radeon R9 290 on Linux. This high-end AMD Radeon “Hawaii” graphics card ended up being a wreck on Linux: its performance was devastating. Radeon R9 290X owners have also reported their Linux performance with the Catalyst driver has been less than stellar. In new tests conducted last week with the latest AMD and NVIDIA binary graphics drivers, the high-end AMD GPUs still really aren’t proving much competition to NVIDIA’s Kepler graphics cards. Here’s a new 12 graphics card comparison on Ubuntu.

  • Khronos Releases SPIR 1.2 For OpenCL

    The SPIR 1.2 specification announced today provides non-source encoding and binary level portability for OpenCL 1.2 programs. Besides the new specification they’re putting otu today, the Khronos Group is also publishing code to a modified Clang 3.2 compiler that can generate SPIR from OpenCL C 1.2 programs, a SPIR module written as an LLVM pass, and a header file with all enumerated values of the SPIR 1.2 specification.

Amid NSA Scandals and Revelations Delhi Government and European Governments Are Moving to GNU/Linux and Free Software

Posted in Site News at 8:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A torrent of migrations and policy changes (facilitating imminent migrations) serve software freedom, not just in lip service but also in practice

TIMES are exciting for Free/libre software, especially if you work with the public sector (as my wife and I do). Governments are rapidly moving towards software that can be audited, partly motivated by scandals that revolve around pricing/lock-in, privacy, and digital autonomy (independence from developers abroad).

To give some recent examples of success stories and transformations, the Delhi government is about to switch to Free software following Stallman’s visit [1] and the German state of Schleswig-Holstein is following the footsteps [2] of Munich [3,4], which now uses GNU/Linux, not just Free software. Moving a little southwards, Regione Umbria (Italy) is moving to Free software [5], probably for financial reasons [6] and also a desire to conform to new policies [7-10]. Even here in the UK, which has traditionally been Microsoft-friedly, pro-FOSS policies are being made stronger [11-12] and it shows (hawks in Ireland get slammed for going the opposite way [13]).

Looking more broadly and generally, Red Hat recently wrote about “an open source policy that works in practice” [14] and Red Hat deserves credit for approaching politicians on these matters, making a real difference and inducing change. In European Parliament itself there are already changes under way [15] to address ill dependence on proprietary software that facilitates spying. After European parliamentarians found out that they had been spied on by the NSA, who can blame them? It’s espionage. No government should ever use proprietary software; it’s not just about transparency and savings (accountability to the public) but also national security. How can a nation depend on secret code from another country, or even secret code from a private company therein/within?

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Delhi government to switch to free software

    Delhi: Delhi government is set to opt for free software. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held initial discussions with free software guru Richard Stallman. The meeting was facilitated by Joseph C Mathew, former IT advisor to the Chief Minister of Kerala V S Achuthanandan, before he was shunted out falling foul of the powerful official faction of the CPI {M} in Kerala. The first phase will be introduced in the education sector. Significantly, this new initiative follows close on the heels of Kejriwal’s announcement that monopolies will not be allowed in the retail sector. Stallman said that he shared the philosophy of the Aam Aadmi Party.

  2. More and more open source in Schleswig-Holstein

    The German state of Schleswig-Holstein is gradually increasing its use of free and open source. “The use of this type of software solution has increased over the last years, mostly in the area of web and application servers”, a state spokesperson explains. ” We still rely on closed-source products as they are required for specific governmental applications.”

  3. Summing Up Munich’s Migration To GNU/Linux
  4. LiMux – the IT evolution – An open source success story like never before

    In a process spanning ten years the Munich city administration has migrated from a proprietary, vendor-locked IT structure to a free, open-source and flexible Linux-based solution. Although this could save the municipality millions of Euros, other reasons and benefits make the changeover even more attractive.

  5. Regione Umbria awarded for the migration to LibreOffice

    LibreUmbria, the migration project of Regione Umbria to LibreOffice, has been awarded a prize for innovation – for metholodology and process – as one of top 10 Italian government projects in 2012/2013.

  6. The Italian Diet Crisis
  7. Italy is latest to promote open source software in public procurements

    In December, the Italian government issued final rules implementing a change to procurement law that now requires all public administrations in the country to first consider re-used or free software before committing to proprietary licenses. Importantly, the new rules include an enforcement mechanism, which can, at least in theory, annul decisions that do not follow these procedures.

  8. Italy puts Free Software first in public sector
  9. Italy posts benchmark open vs closed software

    The Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale (AGID) on Wednesday posted the criteria and guidelines on how to compare open source and proprietary software. The document is to help public administrations to give priority to free and open source solutions, and to the re-use of software paid for by public administrations. As part of the preparation, AGID during the past year held several meetings with industry experts, including free software specialists.

  10. Italian govt agencies to consider Free Software before commercial software

    The Italian Digital Agency has recommended that its government’s agencies consider Free Software alternatives before purchasing licenses for commercial software.

    Recommendations like this tend to come from European governments, never from government agencies over here in our America, even though it will save a ton of money.

  11. Freedom In Software And Hardware At The UK Cabinet Office
  12. First steps on the Cabinet Office technology transformation journey

    Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has led the drive to change how technology is used across government, yet he has acknowledged that the IT used by staff in his own department is poor.

  13. Fine Gael calls for open source browser crackdown

    Irish politician Patrick O’Donovan of the Fine Gael party has called for a crackdown on open-source browsers, calling them a gateway to an ‘online black market’ filled with ‘illegal goods such as drugs, weapons and pornography’ – but may, perhaps, be merely confused as to his terminology.

  14. An open source policy that works in practice

    While many customers are aware of open source software and encourage its use, they are also wary of intellectual property contamination—which is alright and understandable. There are customers who do not want to be bothered regarding each and every tool used, while others are extremely concerned and put every open source tool or program through an approval process. The policy can be tuned as per each customer’s preference. For example, a set of commonly used tools may be listed and pre-approved in the Statement of Work or other agreement prior to the start of project.

  15. EP Green/EFA to use open source to secure email

    The Green/EFA Group in the European Parliament “is reaching out to the Free Software community”, in order to achieve trustworthy email encryption, the group announced this weekend. The political block objects to the mass surveillance by companies and governments, as disclosed the past year by Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the US’ National Security Agency. The group is starting a test, laptop computers running a tailored version of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution.

Debian Receives Prize from Valve But Becomes More Dependent on Red Hat

Posted in Debian, Red Hat, Security at 7:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Debian is leaning towards systemd, which is developed by Red Hat (an NSA partner)

DEBIAN has got somewhat of a trophy now that Valve uses Debian GNU/Linux by default. It receives gratis proprietary games in return [1,2,3].

Debian recently made a lot of headlines because of the init debate [4-12]; Debian, being a dominant distribution (competing only with RHEL/CentOS for the #1 spot), is seemingly leaning in Red Hat’s direction and it is winning support from those whom Fedora let down [13]. As Sam Varghese put it, this “means that the future direction of Linux development will be determined by Red Hat, the company that is behind systemd, and the biggest commercial entity in the Linux game.”

It might actually be more beneficial to have Debian as the flag bearer, not Red Hat, which is working with the NSA. Debian has reported its share of flaws recently [14,18], but the problem is that by inheriting more code from Red Hat it is becoming more dependent on a company which admits (to me personally) that it sends to Linux patches that the NSA writes (not just SELinux) because the NSA is a major customer. We already know that the NSA wanted back doors in Linux [1, 2, 3, 4], e.g. through weak random number generators. Given what happened in RSA, NIST, etc. we found it rather hard to blindly trust RHEL, especially the binary build (Red Hat staff has admitted to me that they don’t do a thorough audit of the build process). If Debian gets compromised, the same problem gets inherited by Ubuntu and its derivatives.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Valve Wants To Give You All Of Its Games On Steam (If You’re A Debian Linux Developer)
  2. Valve games for Debian Developers

    At $dayjob for Collabora, we’ve been working with Valve on SteamOS, which is based on Debian. Valve are keen to contribute back to the community, and I’m discussing a couple of ways that they may be able to do that [0].

  3. Valve Is Making All Their Games Free To Debian Developers

    Valve will be making all of their games — past, present, and future — available for free to Debian Linux developers.

  4. The Six Stages of systemd [linux.conf.au 2014]
  5. To Systemd Or Not To Systemd. That Is The Question
  6. Init wars: Shuttleworth’s copyright licensing hangs over debate

    As the debate on the default init system for the next Debian release winds down, one fact emerges: the copyright licensing model adopted by Canonical has been a decisive factor in the choice made by the technical committee.

  7. Which init system for Debian?

    The Debian project is no stranger to long, vehemently argued email threads, though, like the rest of us, Debian developers appear to be getting older and calmer as time goes by. If there were to be an intense thread now, one might think that the recent shift to XFCE as the default window system might be the cause. Indeed, there was some discussion of that topic, but that thread was easily buried by the hot-button issue that almost all distributions appear to need to debate at length: which init system to use. This is not the first time Debian has argued over init systems (see this 2011 article, for example), but, just maybe, it might be the last.

  8. Debian May Be Leaning Towards Systemd Over Upstart

    For months now the Debian Technical Committee has been tasked with deciding between systemd and Upstart for the future init system of the Linux distribution that also has a FreeBSD kernel port, etc. The debate has been long and ongoing. Among other opinions, Ian Jackson of the committee came out last month in favor of using Upstart while Russ Allberry came out in favor of systemd.

  9. A Major Music Company Now Backs Systemd In Debian
  10. Init wars: Debian tech panel may end up deadlocked

    The Debian technical committee may end up in a stalemate when it votes on which init system should be the default for the next release of its community GNU/Linux distribution.

  11. Red Hat must be rejoicing as Debian tilts towards systemd

    The Debian GNU/Linux Project’s technical committee appears to be split down the middle on the question of the default init system for the next release.

  12. Spotify uses Debian, endorses systemd instead of Upstart as default

    Debian is considering between Upstart and systemd – two competing daemons. While Upstart was developed solely by Canonical, systemd was developed by contributors from different distributions (edited, thanks to Jos Poortvliet).

  13. When life hands you lemons, go back to Debian

    To keep a short story short, the mantainer of the proprietary AMD Catalyst (aka fglrx) driver for the Fedora-focused RPM Fusion repository doesn’t want to do it anymore.

    And he made this decision not before the release of Fedora 20 with lots of notice — and not after with lots of notice BUT PRETTY MUCH DURING THE RELEASE with no notice.

  14. Debian: 2840-1: srtp: buffer overflow
  15. Debian: 2835-1: asterisk: buffer overflow
  16. Debian: 2832-1: memcached: Multiple vulnerabilities
  17. Debian: 2830-1: ruby-i18n: cross-site scripting
  18. Debian: 2828-1: drupal6: Multiple vulnerabilities

PC-BSD 10.0 is Coming Shortly

Posted in BSD at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: BSD on the desktop is about to hit an important milestone

According to the PC-BSD Web site [1], PC-BSD 10.0 is coming soon, following the rescue of OpenBSD ($100,000 in cash [2], based on other coverage [3,4]) and the release of FreeBSD 10.0, which is now receiving good coverage from decent sources [5,6,7].

PC-BSD is an important project because it makes desktops that are based on BSD (with KDE) easy to set up, use, and customise. The other BSDs mostly target server users.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. PC-BSD 10.0-RC5 Now Available

    This will likely be our LAST RC before issuing the 10.0-FINAL release in a week or so. Please report any outstanding issues to our bug database.

  2. WHEW! OpenBSD won’t CloseBSD (for now) after $100,000 cash windfall
  3. Bitcoin Baron Keeps a Secretive Open Source OS Alive

    Recently, Theo de Raadt and the other engineers who oversee the OpenBSD operating system were hit with a $20,000 bill for the electricity that feeds the computers on which they test this venerable piece of software. fter they revealed that the bill could bring the project down, Mircea Popescu, the Romanian who runs the online bitcoin exchange MPEx, stepped in to save them.

  4. OpenBSD Seeks Cash to Save Open Source Server OS

    How much are free, open source operating systems worth? The outcome of the financial crisis currently besetting OpenBSD, an open source OS that is particularly important in servers and embedded devices, could provide a clue, as the OpenBSD Foundation seeks $20,000 to pay overdue electricity bills.

  5. Open Source FreeBSD 10 Takes on Virtualization
  6. FreeBSD 10.0 Final Released
  7. FreeBSD 10.0 lands, targets VMs and laptops

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