01.30.14

This Week’s Big News in Great Britain Shows That Free Software is Doing Great

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 11:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Free/Open Source software (FOSS) triumph in the UK and 100 recent news items about FOSS

WE COMPLETELY lost track of the need to post Free/Open Source software news (especially in recent weeks), simply because there had been too much of it piling up and it takes a while to organise, categorise, etc.

Yesterday we posted an opinion about the latest great news and later we saw that it flooding news sites all over the world (not just in the UK). To give some examples, see [1-19]. It’s far from a complete list, but these are just some of the news sites (not blogs) which covered it. It’s high-impact news.

For those who are interested in other recent news about Free/Open Source software, see [20-119] which are more or less chronologically ordered, with more recent articles appearing first.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft Office out of office across the UK government?
  2. UK government threatens to dump Microsoft Office for Open Source Software
  3. UK Gov planning to abandon Microsoft Office
  4. UK government may draw down reliance on Microsoft Office
  5. UK government once again threatens to ditch Microsoft Office
  6. UK government could switch to open source software
  7. UK mulls ‘abandoning’ expensive software for open source
  8. Whitehall to close door on Microsoft’s ‘costly’ Office
  9. UK Government Considering Dropping Microsoft Office (Again)
  10. UK might dump Microsoft
  11. UK government looks to open source to cut costs
  12. UK government goes open source with £200m Microsoft Office contract threatened
  13. Government wants to drop Microsoft Office for open source alternatives
  14. Maude: Open Formats Could Free UK Government From Microsoft Office
  15. Plans UK government change Microsoft Office to open source
  16. UK government mulling open source alternatives to Microsoft Office
  17. No, the government isn’t dumping Office, but it does want to start seeing other people
  18. Government to trade Microsoft Office for open source
  19. Government considering swapping Microsoft Office for open source
  20. HP Proposes Open Storage Management

    HP is sticking to its storage management guns in the face of the Aperi open source consortium IBM launched last week.

    The Palo Alto, Calif., company has released Storage Essentials 5.0, the latest version of its storage resource management (SRM) software, as an alternative to Aperi, a group formed to work on a common storage software management platform.

  21. 5 tips: Leverage user-centered design in your open source project
  22. The state of digital freedom in 2014

    In 2013 we learned in detail how our digital freedoms were violated. That awareness holds promise for a brighter year ahead, and open source plays a crucial role

  23. How open-source software drives innovation

    The solitary genius, closeted in a lab or garage, creating the next big thing is largely a myth. Important innovation almost always builds upon what came before it. The automobile would not exist if the horse-drawn carriage had not been invented first. We would not be using laser pointers now if early humans had not fashioned torches in experiments with fire.

  24. What’s the best thing about being an open source community manager?
  25. More libraries switch to KOHA catalogue system
  26. 100 Open Source Apps To Replace Everyday Software

    What applications do you use every day? Your operating system and browser are almost definitely on the list. Maybe it also includes office productivity software, a music or video player, photo editor or certain games. Maybe you need accounting, security, POS and server software for your small business. Or maybe you have a larger business that needs ERP, CRM, ecommerce and content management tools.

  27. Think Like Linux, Act Like UPS, Smile Like Amazon: Toward Open Source Logistics

    What does one do when quality, quantity, and complexity collide? For that is the conundrum of large enterprises facing the vast resources available in the world of open source software (OSS). GitHub, the largest online code-hosting site, lists 10.2 million repositories, and Black Duck, the company for which I work, tracks 30 billion lines of open source code.

  28. How to evaluate the sustainability of an open source project
  29. Open Source Power for Small Business in 2014

    The biggest impact that open source software offers small business in 2014 takes place in the cloud. Open source software powers the cloud—where you can take advantage of both hosted software and services, and hosted IT infrastructure (e.g., servers). We’re already used to hosted services such as Web and mail hosting. They’re convenient and cheap, and they prevent headaches.

  30. Amazon’s ‘schizophrenic’ open source selfishness scares off potential talent, say insiders

    Amazon is one of the most technically influential companies operating today – but you wouldn’t know it, thanks to a dearth of published research papers and negligible code contributions to the open-source projects it relies on.

  31. Every company bring its own agenda to open source
  32. Enterprise-ready open source gains traction

    Companies are beginning to move away from the ‘closed’ or proprietary software model to an enterprise-ready open source model, where they acquire solutions that fulfil specific business needs, according to Linux Warehouse MD Jan-Jan van der Vyver.

  33. Open Source Storage Relaunches With New Platform

    OSS has reinvented itself with the Niazi 1.618 Middleware System, which allows organisations to shift to open source IT without losing their proprietary investments

  34. Unleashing the Best Open Source Social Networking Software
  35. Coding adventures and contributing to open source with CodeCombat

    When I founded my first startup in 2008, I was a programming newbie. A degree in economics from Oberlin College hadn’t prepared me for a career writing production-ready code. Despite my best efforts at slapping together crude HTML and CSS Django templates, my ability to contribute to our codebase was limited at best. So I started slowly teaching myself to code with online tutorials and lessons. After many disheartening starts and stops, I realized why I was having problems sticking with it: code lessons and videos felt like school to me, and I had no interest in returning to the classroom.

  36. NPM creator starts a company to offer npm-related products and services

    The creator of NPM has started a company called NPM, Inc. that he said will focus on offering products and services related to the popular package manager for Node.js.

  37. Opinion: What you dont see you dont care, but you should

    When software is open, its strengths and weaknesses are visible to everyone.

  38. Nginx Plus 2.0 Includes Improved Java Apps Support, Other Enhancements
  39. My Nerd Story: From Record Store Clerk, to Tech Journalist and Community Manager

    The developers I work with now aren’t so different from the bands I listened to back in my record store days. Linus Torvalds created and shared something catchy, which, with the help of countless other individuals, has grown into a philosophy with ripple effects well beyond the borders of Linux and open source technologies. If Linux is a song, a vast network of musicians, backup singers, producers, promoters, disc jockeys, graphic artists, record store clerks, and listeners help make it a hit.

  40. My Nerd Story: Learn By Doing

    I also started working on an open source web-based IRC client with some of my friends from IRC. I enjoyed doing that, but I wasn’t as passionate as I am now about open source software although I loved using it. It wasn’t until a few years later, in 2011, when I started being on freenode, an IRC network dedicated to open source, more actively and participating there that I got to really absolutely love open source and want to contribute more. I now contribute to both smaller projects, and bigger projects such as firefox, and to me it’s a lot of fun and I constantly learn new things!

  41. Filtered: free/open IMAP filter
  42. Cell security in Apache HBase
  43. S3mper Fi! Netflix open sources library to make Amazon S3 even more awesome
  44. Multi-protocol SoftEther VPN becomes open source

    In March 2013, a Japanese student by the name of Daiyuu Nobori set up VPN Gate, a free VPN service that he hoped would be used by Internet users who wish to avoid their country’s online content restrictions but don’t have the necessary funds to use a paid VPN service.

  45. The Canopy Initiative compels open source technologies to integrate
  46. Announcing Apache CloudStack 4.2.1

    The Apache CloudStack project is pleased to announce the 4.2.1 release of the CloudStack cloud orchestration platform. This is a minor release of the 4.2.0 branch which released on Oct 1, 2013. The 4.2.1 release contains more than 150 bug fixes. As a bug fix release, no new features are included in 4.2.1.

  47. 7 Great New Open Source Projects

    Linux and FOSS have a lot of energy going into great big projects: cloud, mainframe, supercomputing, and large-scale distributed computing. So bigtime projects like OpenShift, OpenStack, Hadoop, Xen, KVM, and enterprise offerings from Red Hat, SUSE, and Canonical are getting all the glory.

    But there is a lot happening at the other end of the spectrum, in small-scale specialized projects that anyone can play with for cheap. After wading through endless Ubuntu and Backtrack re-spins I found these 7 interesting, useful, and unique projects that were launched in 2013.

  48. Light Table is open source

    Today Light Table is taking a huge step forward – every bit of its code is now on Github and along side of that, we’re releasing Light Table 0.6.0, which includes all the infrastructure to write and use plugins. If you haven’t been following the 0.5.* releases, this latest update also brings a tremendous amount of stability, performance, and clean up to the party. All of this together means that Light Table is now the open source developer tool platform that we’ve been working towards. Go download it and if you’re new give our tutorial a shot!

  49. Twill on Apache: A New Weave

    Twill makes it easier to write programs that can take advantage of YARN. Twill uses a simple thread-based model that Java programmers will find familiar. YARN can be viewed as a compute fabric of a cluster, which means YARN applications like Twill will run on any Hadoop 2 cluster, including Cloudera’s CDH 4, explained Tom White, an engineer at Cloudera.

  50. 4 reasons companies say yes to open source
  51. Rygel 0.21.2 Media Server Adds More Samsung Hacks

    The developers of the Rygel open source UPnP media server software have announced a new development version, 0.21.2, which adds several new features and fixes many bugs.

  52. Top 5 open source project management tools in 2014
  53. 30 Cool Open Source Software I Discovered in 2013

    These are full-featured open source software products, free as in beer and speech that I started to use recently. Vivek Gite picks his best open source software of 2013.

  54. Open Computing Accelerated Sharply in 2013

    Open computing has been steadily growing in enterprise acceptance and, in 2013, that trend accelerated sharply. Many factors contributed to the upward trajectory of open computing in the last year. However, there were three notable developments that, in retrospect, were the critical game-changers.

    Here’s a look at the three key developments in open source in 2013…

  55. What we learned open sourcing a major part of Mailgun

    A few weeks ago, we open sourced Flanker, our MIME parsing and email validation library.

  56. Spotlighting the Top Open Source Crafting Tools
  57. Top open source developments
  58. 10 predictions for open source in 2014

    Jack Wallen lists 10 reasons why he believes 2014 will be a banner year for Linux and open source.

  59. A business built on open source: an interview with OSSCube
  60. What’s your New Year’s resolution? We share open source ideas for 2014.
  61. How to get involved with open source in 2014
  62. 10 disappointments for open source in 2013

    Jack Wallen highlights 10 of the most disappointing developments for open source in 2013.

  63. Open source scales from the individual to the enterprise
  64. Bad Boys Of Open Source And The Things They Say!
  65. ISO: Open-source tools to liberate data from PDFs

    In an effort to expand open-source PDF conversion options, the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 2006 to encourage greater government openness and transparency, is hosting what it calls the PDF Liberation Hackathon, dedicated to improving open-source tools for PDF extraction. The Hackathon will run from January 17-19, 2014 at Sunlight offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and around the world.

  66. Pivotal Enterprise PaaS Integrates Open Source for Future Cloud Applications
  67. The Ultimate Guide to Open Source Software

    For the fifth year in a row, Datamation is closing out the year with a big, big list of all the software we’ve featured on our monthly open source software guides. This year’s list is the longest ever with 1,180 projects in 143 different categories from Accessibility to Wine and Beer.

  68. Five community management tips for 2014
  69. The People Who Support Linux: Snowden Revelations Spur Engineer’s Open Source Donation
  70. Software May Be Eating The World, But Open Source Software Is Eating Itself

    Software may be eating the world, as Marc Andreessen posits, but open-source software seems to be eating itself. And at a far faster clip. While the software world has grown used to products and their vendors dominating for long stretches (think: Microsoft in operating systems and Oracle in databases), the new world of open source is moving at an accelerated, Darwinian pace, leaving no project to rest on its laurels.

  71. Open source is tipping into everyday operations
  72. The top 10 Linux videos of 2013, reviving dead open source projects, and more
  73. Open Source Storage Relaunches Under Founder’s Guidance
  74. Open source security software: Can it work?
  75. Viewpoint: 5 open source myths
  76. Want more software built for HANA? Cry us a River, SAP. Oh wait, you have
  77. SAP to open-source developers: Work for the HANA cause
  78. SAP Increases Focus On Developer Experience, Makes Key Open Source Contributions
  79. What’s keeping you from using open source software?

    Open source software (OSS), unlike proprietary software, is software that keeps the code open so IT professionals can alter, improve, and distribute it. Although it has been around since relatively early in the history of computers, in the past several years OSS has truly taken off, in what some might see as a surprising example of a successful communal collaboration.

  80. Out in the Open: How to Resurrect a Dead Open Source Project

    What is Forked? It’s a site that resurrects abandoned open source projects. And that’s a welcome thing.

  81. How to make the brave move from commercial to open source
  82. Open Source, Closed Doors? FOSS and the Racial Divide
  83. What open source gadget is at the top of your holiday wishlist?

    In November, we gave you the ultimate open source gift guide for the holidays just in time to start preparing and brainstorming for a great gift for the tech and open source enthusiasts in your life.

  84. Free & Open Source Software: the Libertarian View
  85. QEMU Open Source Virtualization Gains New Features
  86. Beautiful design can drive user adoption of open source software

    Nowadays we see beautiful design everywhere in our daily life. The digital world is no exception. Many of the websites we visit and the desktop and mobile apps that we use started to be so beautifully designed, that user perceptions on design started to change. As a result, everybody is becoming more design savvy. Users who didn’t care about contrast, button color or responsiveness in the past now critique companies whenever they make a user interface or experience update.

  87. FLOSS Survey 2013 Updates Widely Observed 2002 Version
  88. Making the Case for Open Source at Work

    Basing your new project on open source comes with a host of benefits, and a few risks. The risks are rarely, if ever, technical, but can often be political. When you choose to start a project based on open source tools, as opposed to proprietary solutions that come with a phone number to call when there is trouble, you are telling the company that you are competent enough to be the only support they need. Of course, with open source, you have the support of thousands behind you, but that can be difficult to convince senior management of. You will run into some road blocks, here’s how to avoid them and keep the project moving.

  89. Why Isn’t Open Source A Gateway For Coders Of Color?

    Software development is a huge and growing industry, and there are likely to be far more jobs in the future than there are folks to do them. But today, there’s a paucity of blacks and Latinos in software development positions.

  90. Why diversity is lacking among open source developers, Valve joins the Linux Foundation, and more
  91. Why Your Mobile Analytics Kit Wants To Be Open Source

    Open source is different things to different people: software licensing scheme, business model, development model or community model. However we choose to think about it, though, across the board clever people are using open source to disrupt or change how markets behave.

  92. Secure communications service Perzo will be open source

    INDUSTRY STALWART and Skype co-founder David Gurle has told The INQUIRER that his new venture Perzo will be released as open source software.

    Gurle explained that is the only way to prove his software product’s secure credentials.

  93. NTRU crypto software available to open-source community

    Security Innovation, a company that specializes in application and crypto security, has announced availability of its NTRU public key cryptography system for free use in the open-source software community.

  94. Galileo Position Fix with Open Source Software Receiver Achieved
  95. Up-and-Coming Open Source Projects for the Enterprise
  96. 5 factors to consider when selecting an open-source vendor
  97. Open source makes software a team game
  98. It Was Never About Innovation

    No, as I see it, open source led to more innovation and took over the data center because of the basic ground rules that were laid down from the beginning with the intent of creating an ecosystem that espoused the four freedoms as enumerated by Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation.

  99. Are Open Source Developers Too Demanding?

    One sometimes unrealistic expectation is that software should be free. All of it.

  100. 5 factors to consider when selecting an open-source vendor
  101. Free MKV Converter for Open Source Video Envelope Launched by Convert Audio Free
  102. Epic to open source code to OHSU

    Epic Systems Corp. will build two laboratory installations of its EpicCare electronic health record at Oregon Health & Science University for medical informatics education and research purposes. On the research side, the school will have access to Epic’s source code.

    This is Epic’s first partnership with an academic informatics program and possibly an important turning point for the company. While Epic does release its source code to commercial customers, it historically has conducted research and development almost exclusively on its sprawling campus in Verona, Wis., where all of its employees are based.

  103. Winamp lovers beg AOL to open source code

    Petition to save Winamp or its source code initiated by software developers.

  104. Winamp Rises From the Ashes, Will Live On Under Radionomy
  105. AOL Sells Winamp And Shoutcast For $5-10M To Radionomy, Takes 12% Stake In Belgian Digital Audio Startup
  106. MenuetOS inches towards 1.0

    MenuetOS – the open source, GUI-equipped operating system written entirely in assembly language – may be as little as a year away from hitting 1.0. And while 12 months may still seem like a long time, it’s taken some 13 years of work by the Menuet team to get to this point.

  107. Tech Memo: Open Sesame

    Open-source software can be an effective technology solution for the intrepid IT ­professional in search of a customizable product. This type of software, which allows users to modify its source code free of charge, can be used to manage websites, email, desktop productivity—you name it. And because it’s less structured than many proprietary or commercial software programs, open source provides IT professionals with a chance to play and experiment. “It’s very much an adventure,” says Moira Edwards, CAE, president, Ellipsis Partners.

  108. Open source makes software a team game

    Capital market institutions are stepping up their adoption of open-source software, as cost pressures force an increasingly collaborative approach to IT operations.

  109. The OW2 Open Source Software Community Announces OW2con’13 Best Project Awards
  110. Review: Puppet vs. Chef vs. Ansible vs. Salt
  111. Cascading Open Source Development Framework Adds Support for Hadoop 2.0

    As an alternative to the standard Java API the Cascading open source project has been steadily gaining momentum among developers of Big Data applications largely because Cascading makes it easier to isolate the data processing and data integration elements of an application.

  112. The Weather Company Turns to Open Source Big Data Analytics
  113. Open Sourcity is a place where great ideas inspire talented programmers

    How often have you thought of a way to improve a piece of software or hardware? How many times have you wondered why companies invest millions of dollars to produce a product that is obviously lacking from the moment it launches? Have you ever wished you were in a position, or had the skills, to change that?

    Chances are if you’ve typed ‘open source’ into your search engine then you’ve heard about SourceForge and OpenHatch. If you’re not familiar with these sites, I’d absolutely recommend checking them out. They present an amazing platform where you can get involved with a variety of high-quality, open source projects.

  114. 100 Open Source Replacements for Audio and Video Tools
  115. Hello OSI Community Members

    First, I must say how honored, humbled and excited I am to join the OSI community in our mission, to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source, and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community. While the OSI is recognized around the globe as the stewards of the Open Source Definition and the authority on open source licenses, it is the open source community—all of you—that truly drives development, promotes adoption and encourages participation. It is my sincere desire, and my highest priority, to meaningfully contribute to and promote your efforts in my new role as GM.

  116. How a hackathon can transform your community

    What started as an uphill battle in Burlington, Vermont on the National Day of Civic Hacking in June 2013, transversed into an understanding between local government, non-profits, the media, and the community four months later. What they came to understand was that we can grow stronger when we work together. When we partner. When we work on stuff that matters.

  117. Your opinion counts! Take the FLOSS 2013 survey

    This year, the Libresoft research group encourages anyone involved in a FLOSS project (not only developers) to participate in the survey. As open source and free software communities have changed and grown to to be more diverse—in project types as well as to include people of various skillsets and backgrounds—a survey to reflect today’s community must include all of these unique responsibilities and contributions to open source and free software projects.

  118. Gluster: Open Source Storage Project Expands Channel Presence
  119. In support of open source launchers

    After many years of using traditional desktop environments like Gnome 2 and KDE and XFCE, I recently spent a few months with Ubuntu 13.04. Overall, my experience with the Unity desktop was fairly positive after I tweaked and configured it to my liking. Since then, I’m using a different non-Ubuntu based distribution, so I’m currently using Mate 1.6. Probably the feature that I most miss from Unity is the launcher. Frankly, I’m surprised that the Unity launcher was so useful and intuitive for me, since I have never been particularly fond of keyboard navigation. Although I still don’t use the keyboard much for window management or within the applications, now that I’m back on Mate I find myself really missing the convenience of searching and launching both apps and files from one unified interface with just a few keywords. With the online results all disabled, Unity’s launcher learns from the user’s habits and quickly becomes uncannily accurate at suggesting relevant local files and applications based on a few letters of input. It really did significantly add to my productivity. The only problem is that the Unity desktop environment, apart from its launcher, is not what everyone wants in a desktop. Additionally, despite a few efforts to port it to other distributions with varying degrees of success, Unity continues to be an option almost exclusively for Ubuntu based systems. So, what other options are available for users who want a launcher like Unity’s, but in a different desktop environment and/or distribution? That’s what I set to find out.

Almost Nothing Changes With Passage of Hardware Businesses to Lenovo

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Hardware, IBM, Microsoft at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Shortly after Lenovo was confirmed to have taken IBM’s x86 server business it is also confirmed that Google’s hardware business is to be devoured by Lenovo

A LOT OF PEOPLE may not remember this, but Google explained that it bought part of Motorola because it could not afford to let Microsoft and Apple (which had reportedly put a bid in) get yet more Android-hostile patents after they got most of Novell’s and all of Nortel’s, among others’ (AOL’s and other smaller companies). Patent stacking is an abusive, obvious collusion against software freedom in this case.

Moreover, as we pointed out before (in our many posts about Motorola), Google automatically inherited a patent case that determines the future of Android. Microsoft later sued Google over patents, simply because Motorola was no longer independent (at least the mobility part).

For Google, using Motorola to produce actual phones was not necessarily a good idea; it would alienate OEMs/partners at OHA, notably Samsung (which started to explore other operating systems like Tizen as an insurance policy). By stopping to explore the hardware side of things, Google would appease some partners, and even some regulators (notably the Chinese regulators, who gave Google a hard time at the time). Rather than develop nothing using Motorola’s skills and facilities, Google should pass the development side to real producers. And Google did the right thing!

Google is now offloading much of Motorola and the substance goes to a giant hardware company [1,2,3]. As Muktware put it, “All’s not lost” because “Lenovo has risen from the ashes to become the biggest pc vendor for a few years running, and we hope that they continue the ingenious path that Motorola has embarked on while under Google’s care. In the mean time, we anxiously wait to see what other crazy ideas Dugan and her team will come up with.”

Lenovo also took another chunk of IBM earlier this month. This demonstrates the “China Rising” trend and there’s not much one can do to resist it (many phones these days are made in Taiwan, mainland China, Korea, and so on). In a way, the news about Motorola and Google means not much will change when it comes to patents and litigation. Google may need those patents to create a strong enough deterrence against the cartel which includes CPTN, Rockstar, Nokia (becoming part of Microsoft), etc.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Google Passes Motorola to Lenovo
  2. Google Keeps ‘Vast Majority’ Of Motorola Mobility Patents In Sale To Lenovo
  3. Google to sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for $3 billion: Confirmed

    In a strange twist, it has just been reported that Google is set to sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for a sum of 3 billion dollars. Google purchased Motorola in 2012 for a sum of 12.5 billion. From the surface, it seems like it’s a loss of 9.5 billion if the deal does go through, but there’s more to it. Lenovo has purchased patents and parts of IBM in the past, and have been linked with a bid for Blackberry among others as recently as last year. This news in particular comes as a major shock to us because Motorola was just turning things around with the Moto X, G and their wide variety of customizations.

NSA Watch: Climate as ‘Terrorism’, War on Journalism and Anonymity, Anger in Europe and Angry Birds

Posted in News Roundup at 7:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A roundup of yesterday’s and today’s news about the NSA

New Leaks

  • Snowden Docs: U.S. Spied on Negotiators At 2009 Climate Summit

    The document, with portions marked “top secret,” indicates that the NSA was monitoring the communications of other countries ahead of the conference, and intended to continue doing so throughout the meeting. Posted on an internal NSA website on Dec. 7, 2009, the first day of the Copenhagen summit, it states that “analysts here at NSA, as well as our Second Party partners, will continue to provide policymakers with unique, timely, and valuable insights into key countries’ preparations and goals for the conference, as well as the deliberations within countries on climate change policies and negotiation strategies.”

Illegal Collection of ‘Evidence’

  • Defendant challenges DOJ’s use of NSA surveillance

    A man charged with aiding a terrorist organization has asked a U.S. court to throw out information collected by the National Security Agency, saying the NSA’s surveillance of his Internet communications violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Prosecuting Anonymisers

  • Lavabit goes head-to-head with feds in contempt-of-court case

    In oral arguments heard on Tuesday, Lavabit and federal prosecutors each presented their cases in front of a three-judge panel at the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia. The case is an appeal of contempt-of-court charges against Lavabit, a now-defunct e-mail hosting service that once offered secure communication.

    In the summer of 2013, Lavabit was ordered to provide real-time e-mail monitoring of one of its users, widely believed to be Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor-turned-leaker. When Lavabit told the feds that the only way it could hand over communications was through an internal process that would deliver results 60 days after any communication was sent, the authorities returned with a search warrant for Lavabit’s SSL keys, which could decrypt the traffic of all of Lavabit’s users. Ladar Levison, the CEO of Lavabit, handed over the SSL keys but then shut down his 10-year-old business rather than expose all of Lavabit’s users.

War on Journalism

Europe

  • Russia Defers Aid to Ukraine, and Unrest Persists

    A former Ukrainian president warned on Wednesday that the country is now on “the brink of civil war,” and Russia added to the gloom by announcing the suspension of its financial aid package, which was all that had been keeping Ukraine solvent.

    [...]

    Protesters for weeks had suspected that the government was using location data from cellphones near the demonstration to pinpoint people for political profiling, and they received alarming confirmation when a court formally ordered a telephone company to hand over such data.

    Earlier this month, protesters at a clash with riot police officers received text messages on their phones saying they had been “registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

    Then, three cellphone companies — Kyivstar, MTS and Life — denied that they had provided the location data to the government or had sent the text messages. Kyivstar suggested that it was instead the work of a “pirate” cellphone tower set up in the area.

  • 28 January – Data Protection Day
  • Former CIA employee Edward Snowden to be invited to PACE

    Former employee of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Edward Snowden will be invited to the spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), APA’s Europe bureau reports.

  • Angela Merkel rebukes US and Britain over NSA surveillance

    Chancellor says Germany and US still ‘far apart’ on sweeping surveillance and spying activities revealed by Edward Snowden

  • Germany, US ‘far apart’ on NSA: Merkel

    Berlin and Washington are still “far apart” in their views on the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance of Germany but they remain close allies, Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament on Wednesday.

  • German government faces legal action over NSA spying

    The German government and the German Federal Intelligence Service are facing legal action because they allegedly aided the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) data collection program.

  • EU justice minister is as mad as Angry Birds over NSA snooping

    THE EUROPEAN UNION JUSTICE COMMISSIONER has spoken out on Data Protection Day about national security agency surveillance.

US Politics

  • Why Silicon Valley’s NSA deal helps them, but not you

    Ever since leaked NSA documents first started popping up this summer, the battle against NSA surveillance has proceeded on multiple fronts: legislators pushing for new laws, journalists pushing for new stories, and tech companies fighting to regain users’ trust. Yesterday, one of the major fronts closed down. Since July, tech companies had been putting pressure on the Department of Justice, fighting for the right to say more about their interactions with law enforcement. Yesterday they made peace, reaching a settlement and withdrawing a class action suit that had drawn in some of the most powerful companies in America. On this front at least, reformers have likely gotten all they’re going to get.

  • Senator pushes for an end to NSA phone records program

    Senator Patrick Leahy questioned how the Constitution allows the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of U.S. telephone records and repeated his calls for President Barack Obama’s administration to end the program during a hearing Wednesday.

    The Obama administration should heed the recent advice of the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) and end the phone records collection program, said Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.

  • More States Looking To Neutralize The NSA Through Local Legislation

    The NSA’s new data center in Utah has provided the flashpoint for legislation targeted at “nullifying” the agency by cutting off its access to public utilities and/or leveraging the powers granted to states to combat federal government overreach. An activist group known as The Tenth Amendment Center proposed a state law that would cut off the new data center’s much needed water supply, along with any other public utility or service, like sanitation and road repair, in hopes of (at minimum) forcing the NSA to reconsider its collection tactics, or failing that, to find a new home.

Angry Birds

BBC

  • NSA-GCHQ Snowden leaks: A glossary of the key terms

    When the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers published the first of Edward Snowden’s NSA-GCHQ leaks in June, it unleashed a stream of abbreviations, acronyms and jargon describing the cyberspies’ activities.

01.29.14

East Asia is Taking Over More Parts of the Computer Industry, Bringing GNU/Linux to the Top

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Samsung at 4:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The world’s biggest OEM is now supporting GNU/Linux, and the nation that it’s in does too

SOMETHING fantastic seems to be happening in the computing world. Android PCs are becoming a recognised trend [1], not one to be ridiculed, and the companies behind it are mostly OEMs from Asia. Given the low cost of some devices (especially those without x86), some people are now running proper GNU/Linux on Chromebooks [2,3] and a South Korean giant, an increasingly-Apple-like Samsung (world leader in smartphones and emerging power in other areas too), is replacing Nokia (Europe), Apple (USA), and to a lesser degree Microsoft (USA/NSA), taking Android to the top as the world’s most dominant operating system. This is great for Linux.

One blogger asks: “Could Samsung Focus Exclusively on Chromebooks?” [4]

It probably should. Dell, despite payments from Microsoft, continues to use Linux for networking [5,6] and continues to sell machines with GNU/Linux preinstalled. That says a lot because even Microsoft partners (with partial Microsoft ownership) cannot resist GNU/Linux. The “Decay Of Wintel” as Pogson called it [7] is very much real; evidence of it includes Intel layoffs and Microsoft losses.

North Korea is reportedly moving to GNU/Linux [8,9] — something which South Korea can hardly do because of Microsoft’s ActiveX (although the country is reportedly trying to move to Ubuntu). Assuming that a lot of the world’s technological leadership is moving to Asia (core parts of IBM head in this direction) the writings are very much on the wall. Samsung is even approaching total semiconductors autonomy/independence because it designs and makes its own chips now, and they improve over time.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Android PCs and other Windows-alternative desktops are for real

    For years, decades, you could put all of alternative desktops — Linux, Mac, whatever — together and Windows would still beat them by ten to one. That was then. This is now.

  2. SJVN Runs GNU/Linux on a Chromebook
  3. How to run Linux on a Chromebook

    Want to run Debian or Ubuntu on your Chromebook? With Crouton, you can do that.

  4. Could Samsung Focus Exclusively on Chromebooks?

    How focused has Samsung become on Chromebooks–portable computers that run Google’s cloud-centric Chrome OS? According to a report in DigiTimes, after cutting its targets for notebook computer sales, the company may have plans to “no longer launch conventional notebook models except Chromebooks in 2015, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.” While there is no official confirmation from Samsung, the move would represent a big shift for Samsung and one of the biggest votes of confidence yet for Chromebooks.

  5. Dell, Cumulus Partner on Open Source Networking OS
  6. Dell Embraces Cumulus Linux for Networking

    Dell is no stranger to Linux, having supported it on its server portfolio as well as its own networking gear. Now Dell is expanding its Linux networking effort by enabling its customers to choose Linux, specifically the Cumulus Linux distribution, as a networking operating system on a pair of Dell switches.

  7. More Decay Of Wintel Seen In 2014

    Further, Wintel cannot even compete on price/performance at the low end because M$ charges way too much for licensing and restricting the freedom of users to use the hardware they buy to fullest potential. That just won’t fly any longer. There are OEMs who want to compete selling small cheap computers of every kind and they will ship Android/Linux, Chrome OS/Linux and GNU/Linux in 2014. You can bet on that. Margins are too small in this segment to pay the Wintel tax.

  8. Even North Korea Loves Linux and Open Source

    Just how popular is enterprise open source software? Popular enough, it seems, to power web servers in locations as unlikely as North Korea. That’s where Red Hat (RHT) Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and derivatives of it, are running the few public web servers that exist in the country. Who knew?

  9. North Korea embraces Linux and Open Source

Google Heavily Taxed by Patent Troll (Not a Real Company) That Microsoft Gave Patents to

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Patents, Search at 4:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Litigation by proxy still a hot trend, where Microsoft is the supplier and parasites like Vringo are the executioners

WELL, we sure saw it coming. We have followed Vringo for years, especially after Microsoft/Nokia passed it some ammunition that hits Google where it hurts. Microsoft even paid Vringo.

We are by no means going to defend Google Search, which is horrible surveillance (so-called ‘replacements’ like Duck Duck Go are even worse in some ways), but the point worth making here is that Microsoft and its proxies continue to hassle Google. Here is Joe Mullin’s report [1] on the latest development. It’s a shame that Microsoft’s role is hardly emphasised. Our Wiki has a more complete chronology of it.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Court: Google infringed patents, must pay 1.36 percent of AdWords revenue

    Vringo is a tiny company that purchased some patents from Lycos, an old search engine, in 2011 and then used those patents to sue Google. In December 2012, Vringo won $30 million in a jury trial, but that was far less than the hundreds of millions it was seeking.

    Today, Vringo got the payout it was looking for: a 1.36 percent running royalty on US-based revenue from AdWords, Google’s flagship program. US District Judge Raymond Jackson had already ruled last week (PDF) that the AdWords program, which was tweaked by Google after the Vringo verdict, wasn’t “colorably different” from the old infringing program. He gave Google and Vringo one last session to hammer out a royalty rate, and when they couldn’t, he went ahead and set it (PDF)—at almost exactly the rate Vringo was seeking.

New Examples of Collaboration, Freedom, and Transparency at Work

Posted in News Roundup at 3:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News items from December and January, demonstrating the power of peer production and cooperation

Sharing/Transparency/Openness

  • Welcome DIY, Open source Lux camera Project

    Another 100% Open Source camera is coming up: we really think that Open Source photography is the next big thing in open source!

  • What I learned while editing Wikipedia

    After my initial stint with Wikipedia editing, I increasingly realized that the English version of Wikipedia lacked articles on Indian writers, famous personalities, cultural artefacts, and more. The problem is multi-layered and includes poor coverage of everything relating to non-western societies as well as to women within those societies. Once, I created article on Wikipedia about an Indian, female writer named Bama. She is from the lowest caste community called Dalits in India; and while the author is a celebrated writer of stories on the subject of double oppression (which is oppession of women by people of higher castes and oppression by men within their own communities), Wikipedia almost naturally had no record of her work. Sadly, within minutes of my creation of her article it was nominated for deletion. I then quickly added more references while simultaneously starting a discussion about why it should not be deleted. At that point, another Indian editor jumped in and helped with the explaination; the next day the deletion tag was removed.

  • Hacking Open the Data Center

    Just a few years ago, the words “open source” and “hardware” were never mentioned in the same sentence. Instead, the focus was on open source software running on top of closed, proprietary hardware solutions.

    Hardware suppliers were inwardly focused on creating proprietary, “converged” infrastructure to protect their existing businesses, instead of working with the community to develop new solutions.

  • What Google can really do with Nest, or really, Nest’s data
  • Spark: Look Ma, an open source thermostat
  • Open source smart thermostats rise to compete with Nest after Google acquisition
  • Building an open source Nest
  • Out in the Open: These Hackers Want to Give You Coding Superpowers

    Built alongside friend and colleague Robert Attorri, his creation is called Light Table, and he believes it can not only improve programming for seasoned engineers like himself, but put the power of coding into the hands of so many others. “We consider programming a modern-day superpower. You can create something out of nothing, cure cancer, build billion-dollar companies,” he says. “We’re looking at how we can give that super power to everyone else.”

  • Five ways to bring a more social, open development environment to your company
  • Four tech terms to forget in ’14

    1) “Open”: Early on, most commonly thought of as short form for “open source” (code all can use, tinker with and contribute to), “open” has opened up a Pandora’s Box of multiple and sometimes contradictory implied meanings: “open standard” (technical standards anyone can apply); “open access” (for participation in online activities); “open content” (digital content that can be reused, remixed and shared); and “open data” (publicly released data, generally governmental or research).

  • The Power of the Commons-based Crowdfunding: Goteo 2013 in Review

    Goteo is a crowdfunding platform for the commons. Founded in Spain in 2011 with an explicit mission to promote and support p2p values of openess, collaboration and sharing, Goteo’s innovation in crowdfunding has seen them go from strength to strength. Their 2013 year end report is an inspiring testament to the power of the crowd. We highly recommend reading the article and encourage you to consider Goteo for your next p2p and commons inspired projects.

  • Using OpenStreetMap to respond to disasters before they happen
  • Release early, release often in scientific research
  • How the network industry should view and understand “open”
  • Solving local problems through citizen participation

    The winners in the domestic challenge covered a broad range of issues Sunlight cares about, including public procurement, public sector innovation and the use of data to improve public administration. If last year’s challenge was any indication, this year’s European-focused competition will likely demonstrate that cities around the world are turning towards new technology and open data to improve the lives of city residents.

  • Steering science back to its roots of reproducibility (a TEDx talk)
  • The open source solution to the bee colony collapse problem

    Last year, a third of honeybee colonies in the United States quite literally vanished. Commercial honey operations, previously abuzz with many thousands of bees, fell suddenly silent, leaving scientists and beekeepers alike scratching their heads. The reasons remain mostly a mystery for what is called Colony Collapse Disorder—a disturbing development of the drying up of beehives throughout the industrialised world.

  • Honey Badger Hedge Fund: Hackers Predict Stock Market With Open Source Mojo

    Most of the Honey Badger platform is written in Python, an open source programming language popular with mathematicians and web programmers. And the team stores and processes its data with a combination of Hadoop — an open source clone of Google’s big data crunching system — and the tried and true open source database MySQL. The team pays Amazon and Microsoft Azure a few thousand dollars a month for cloud hosting — a bargain compared to what they would have had to pay upfront for supercomputers ten years ago.

  • The Open-Sorcerers

    Open-source magic is not about slapping magical secrets up on YouTube; there are more than enough eager teenagers and fun-ruiners willing to do that. Instead, it takes a lesson from the open-source technology activists who believe that better innovation comes through collaboration.

  • Open Source Civilization – A Moonshot Project

    The Open Source Ecology project is designed to develop plans and methods to build these fifty machines, and do it as one collaborative effort. In his TED Talk he confessed that after completing a PhD in Fusion Energy he felt useless. There was no practical knowledge to be used in the world to implement change.

  • Open-Source Schematic Lets Users Build A Functioning Paper Speaker [Pics]
  • Taking ‘A Total Disruption’ Open Source

    Sundance winning documentarian Ondi Timoner isn’t in the habit of doing things in half-measures. Her latest endeavor, the web series “A Total Disruption,” features some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley. The project is in a sense a quest to profile the entrepreneurial spirit of the age.

    As such, the project hasn’t been limited to the tech sector. Timoner has turned her lens on creative luminaries like Shepard Fairey and Amanda Palmer. Those two are headlining a benefit soirée for the next phase of “A Total Disruption,” that will also feature Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and YouTuber Jhameel, this Sunday in Los Angeles.

  • The open source solution to the bee colony collapse problem
  • The first supercapacitor-powered portable speakers are open source

    Sam Beck is the guy behind Blueshift, an open source sustainable eletronics business that is all about building cool stuff. Helium speakers are the company’s first product to market and will be the world’s the first supercapacitor-powered portable speakers. Not to mention the design files are open source.

  • Paperhouses Offers Open Source Blueprints of Contemporary Architecture
  • Neurodreamer: open source sleeping mask/mind machine
  • Souliss Open Source Home Automation Framework Now Supports Plug And Play
  • Paperhouses: Architecture in Open Source

    But what if architecture could make life better for the many. What if good-quality, life-bettering architecture were open-source and available to download off the internet? For free?

Open Data

  • What GitHub is doing for women developers, Tim O’Reilly speaks on open data, and more
  • Tim O’Reilly on open data: Cheap may be open enough
  • Open Data Empowers Us to Answer Questions that Matter
  • MIT Offers For-Profit Online Course on Big Data, with Certification

    EdX, the non-profit online learning organization with a huge roster of global institutions under the xConsortium participating, has been a leader in the free online education arena for several years. In June of last year, the organization released the code for its learning platform under an open source license. And, MIT has been leveraging the platform to deliver free online courses, as we covered here. Now, MIT has announced that it will start offering for-profit courses on edX, beginning with a course on Big Data. Because of the salaries that people with Big Data skills are commanding in the job market, the course could be a good opportunity for job seekers.

  • Credit for code: enough with the half-measures already

    Few things are more frustrating, or more likely to result in irreproducibility and error, than trying to reconstruct a computational analysis based on a prosaic description of an algorithm in a research article. Yet this is a very typical part of the working day in my field (bioinformatics) and I imagine, in many others.

  • Open data should be for justice

    Being unprepared for the conversation, our 45 minutes together wandered through introductions and eventually focused on a conversation about how public data could be used to advocate for employment opportunities for communities of color around municipal development sites. My perspective was that we could use public data to document the ways that these employment opportunities often are not given to members of the community adjacent to or containing the development site. While we didn’t get very far on this topic, many participating (myself included) seemed interested in exploring it further.

Elsevier Against Open Access

We last covered this a month and a half ago. Here’s later coverage:

  • Elsevier steps up its War On Access

    I thought Elsevier was already doing all it could to alienate the authors who freely donate their work to shore up the corporation’s obscene profits. The thousands of takedown notices sent to Academia.edu represent at best a grotesque PR mis-step, an idiot manoeuvre that I thought Elsevier would immediately regret and certainly avoid repeating.

  • Elsevier Ramps Up Its War On Access To Knowledge

    We just recently wrote about the terrible anti-science/anti-knowledge/anti-learning decision by publishing giant Elsevier to demand that Academia.edu take down copies of journal articles that were submitted directly by the authors, as Elsevier wished to lock all that knowledge (much of it taxpayer funded) in its ridiculously expensive journals. Mike Taylor now alerts us that Elsevier is actually going even further in its war on access to knowledge. Some might argue that Elsevier was okay in going after a “central repository” like Academia.edu, but at least it wasn’t going directly after academics who were posting pdfs of their own research on their own websites. While some more enlightened publishers explicitly allow this, many (including Elsevier) technically do not allow it, but have always looked the other way when authors post their own papers.

  • Elsevier’s David Tempest explains subscription-contract confidentiality clauses

    As we all know, University libraries have to pay expensive subscription fees to scholarly publishers such as Elsevier, Springer, Wiley and Informa, so that their researchers can read articles written by their colleagues and donated to those publishers. Controversially (and maybe illegally), when negotiating contracts with libraries, publishers often insist on confidentiality clauses — so that librarians are not allowed to disclose how much they are paying. The result is an opaque market with no downward pressure on prices, hence the current outrageously high prices, which are rising much more quickly than inflation even as publishers’ costs shrink due to the transition to electronic publishing.

  • How one publisher is stopping academics from sharing their research

    One of the world’s largest academic publishers has launched a wide-ranging takedown spree, demanding that several different universities take down their own scholars’ research.

Open Hardware

  • Got questions on open hardware? Just ask an engineer.

    One of my favorite quotes is “We are what we celebrate.” Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST Robotics, says this and it comes up on an almost daily basis one way or another in my work in open source hardware and education. One of the challenges of getting more young people into engineering and computer programming is that we’re collectively competing with the high profile status that becoming a famous, professional athlete or musician, or reality show star, promises. I don’t expect the mass media to change, because change happens from small groups of motivated people. And, this is where the maker, hacker, and open source software and hardware communities are making great progress.

  • RS adds mechanical design export to open-source PCB tool
  • Make sure your computer hardware is NSA-free with these transparent building plans.

    With growing concern about government agencies such as the NSA, open-source software has stepped into the spotlight as a way to ensure complete transparency. While this has so far only applied to software, there could soon be a way for you to take complete control of your hardware as well, all thanks to Project Novena.

  • 2014: The Year of Free Hardware

    Usually, I avoid making predictions. However, increasingly, I believe that the sleeper trend of 2014 will be free-licensed hardware — and that its availability could transform free and open source software (FOSS) as well as hardware manufacturing.

    As 2013 closes, the trend is already well-advanced. Ubuntu Edge’s crowdfunding might have failed, but Ubuntu Touch is supposed to have a still-unnamed vendor, while the first Firefox OS phone was released in July, and Jolla released its first phone based on Sailfish OS.

  • A review of the Printrbot 3D printer
  • 3D printing could herald the Age of Open Source Stuff

    3D printing is set to disrupt multiple industries thanks to its unique position at the intersection of three important trends in technology: the Internet of Things, our growing desire to personalize our things, and the coming revolution in the way things get delivered to us.

UK Government Seems to Be Serious About Moving to Free Software and OpenDocument Format This Time Around

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 3:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: British politicians finally decide that by throwing away Microsoft spyware (in favour of FOSS and ‘cloud’ spyware like Google Docs) savings can be passed to the British public

AS ONE who works with the British public sector, I have heard some truly disturbing stories about FOSS projects being derailed by outside intervention (Microsoft partners, lobbyists, etc.) and seen some for myself. This is not a gentlemen’s club; it’s a fierce, manipulative race for domination. Those who are enjoying overpriced contracts with the government would never let go.

Earlier today there was this report in the British press [1] about something that requires looking at the date stamp. The headline says “UK government plans switch from Microsoft Office to open source” and it seems like a blast from the past. On many occasions before the government said it would transition to FOSS and ODF (on which there were workshops), but it hardly ever happened. Is this time different from the previous times? Let’s wait and see. Microsoft sure is lobbying and probably setting up “task forces” or “response teams” (Microsoft’s terminology) with the sole goal is derailing this policy by all means necessary (ousting those involved has been a common strategy).

Meanwhile, suggests this piece of news from Belgium [2], the “Dutch city of Ede spends 92 percent less (!) than its peers on software licenses” and owing to FOSS use a “Dutch town lowers IT cost 24% vs peers” [3]. Fantastic, but it’s consistent with what Dutch researchers showed more than half a decade ago (Microsoft partners demonised them and criticised/ridiculed their reports). In other news from the same source [4,5], “Finnish schools using open source reap savings” (no surprise here either). Remember what BECTA did in the UK? As we’ve argued many times over the years, the UK is likely to be the last country in Europe to migrate to FOSS, but it would be pleasing to be proven wrong.
Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. UK government plans switch from Microsoft Office to open source

    Ministers are looking at saving tens of millions of pounds a year by abandoning expensive software produced by firms such as Microsoft.

    Some £200m has been spent by the public sector on the computer giant’s Office suite alone since 2010.

    But the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude believes a significant proportion of that outlay could be cut by switching to software which can produce open-source files in the “open document format” (ODF), such as OpenOffice and Google Docs.

  2. Dutch city of Ede spends 92 percent less (!) than its peers on software licenses

    The city of Ede, the Netherlands, currently has an annual total ICT budget of six million euros. According to the Dutch Berenschot benchmark for municipal ICT costs, that is 24 percent less than other municipalities of comparable size are spending. Drilling down shows that most of this reduction can be explained by Ede’s extremely low spend on software licenses: only 56 euros per full-time equivalent employee (FTE) instead of 731 euros. That’s a very impressive 92 percent less than average. Such a large reduction was achieved by moving from proprietary to open source software.

  3. OSS use Dutch town lowers IT cost 24% vs peers

    Public administrations that switch to free and open source software can expect a large reduction of their ICT costs, a study published on Joinup shows. The annual ICT costs for the Dutch municipality of Ede are now 24% lower than its peers. “Most of this reduction can be explained by Ede’s extremely low spend on software licenses: only 56 euros per full-time equivalent employee instead of 731 euros. Such a large reduction was achieved by moving from proprietary to open source software.”

  4. Finnish schools using open source reap savings

    Municipalities in Finland that have switched their schools to Linux and other open source solutions are saving millions of euro, says Jouni Lintu, CIO of Opinsys. “Typically, our centrally managed open source computers are at least 40 percent cheaper than the proprietary alternative. The total savings could be 10 million.”

  5. Finnish Schools Save Big With FLOSS

    I’ve seen it repeatedly. New systems cost half as much and migrating old systems costs a fraction of that. The saving in money is important but so is the saving in time. In a typical school the effort could drop from many hours per week to minutes.

British Government is Cracking Down on Climate Activism, Japan is Nuked, Germany Turns to Renewable Energy

Posted in Europe at 3:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Oppression against those who want a clean world and more news about energy and climate (which have a strong correlation between them)

THE LARGE BRITISH companies (or their CEO) must be glad to know that the police is on their side [1], including privatised, Bill Gates-funded police/thugs like G4S. There are more and more of their vans around here, increasing in presence over time (I went past one today) and decreasing in accountability (privatised police can get away with almost everything). 5 miles from where I live women are being arrested for protesting against fracking. Today I heard a lot of nasty details from one who is involved, too. Why is the British government so eager to help fracking companies that inject toxins into our water? Who’s the real villain here?

It could be worse though; look at what happens in Japan [2-4] (where reporting is suppressed and cruelty to life is “normal” [5]). With radical climatic changes [6,7] we should be better aware of the harms of combustion-based fuels [8], then move to alternative, greener forms of energy (new example from Germany [9]). Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Austria-born steroid-taking politician, is turning into a climate activist [10], so let’s hope that his endeavours are more successful than his political career. Given the spread of climate change denial, we really do need some “superheroes” if change is to occur. It’s depressing to see the criminalisation and infiltration into environmental groups, not just in the UK.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Emails reveal UK helped shale gas industry manage fracking opposition

    Government officials accused of cheerleading for fracking by sharing ‘lines to take’ and meeting for post-dinner drinks

  2. TV: “Many young people in Fukushima who are in high school have died suddenly”; Officials “ignore all the problems” — Former Mayor: People are always told “any disease they have is not caused by radiation” (VIDEO)
  3. Japan TV: It gets worse every minute at Fukushima plant, groundwater mixing with melted fuel — Gundersen: There’s no end in sight because the nuclear core is in contact with groundwater (VIDEO)

  4. Bloomberg: ‘Highly radioactive’ leak at Fukushima Unit 3 — NHK: Melted fuel coolant thought to be flowing from containment vessel for ‘unknown reason’ — 24 Million Bq/liter of strontium, other beta emitters (VIDEO)
  5. 200 Bottlenose Dolphins Held a Fourth Night in Cove; 11 More Dolphins Taken Captive Yesterday

    As we have witnessed the torture endured by 250+ dolphins in a cove in Taiji, Japan the past four days, as their families have been torn apart, and as our Cove Guardians continue to witness and show the world what is happening, we would like to share a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was a pioneer of human as well as animal rights, on the anniversary of his birthday:

  6. A Norwegian Bay Was So Cold That Thousands Of Fish Were Flash-Frozen
  7. The Great Lakes Go Dry: How One-Fifth Of The World’s Fresh Water Is Dwindling Away

    The frozen opalescent lake and thin, gray sky fade together into white light where the horizon should be. Tall, skeletal grasses shiver on the beach in a wind that makes any sliver of exposed skin burn. The Arni J. Richter, an icebreaking ferry, is about to pull away from Northport Pier for its second and final trip of the day to Washington Island. It’s loaded with food and fuel for the more than 700 hardy residents who call the remote island, just north of Door County peninsula in Wisconsin, home.

  8. It’s time to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry

    Earlier this month, the trustees of the city graveyard in Santa Monica, California (final resting place of actor Glenn Ford and tennis star May Sutton) announced they were selling their million dollars worth of stock in fossil fuel companies. As far as I know they were the first cemetery board to do so, but they join a gathering wave of universities, churches and synagogues, city governments and pension funds.

  9. Over Half of Germany’s Renewable Energy Owned By Citizens & Farmers, Not Utility Companies

    Germany’s promotion of renewable energy rightly gets singled out for its effectiveness, most often by me as an example of how to do things well versus the fits and starts method of promotion common in the US. Over at Wind-Works, Paul Gipe points out another interesting facet of the German renewable energy saga: 51% of all renewable energy in Germany is owned by individual citizens or farms, totaling $100 billion worth of private investment in clean energy.

  10. Arnold Schwarzenegger has a new role: Activist

    Arnold Schwarzenegger is tackling his newest role: Climate change activist.

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