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02.21.14

Links 21/2/2014: Screenshot Galleries

Posted in News Roundup at 4:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Police and Army: Not Protecting and Not Serving Ordinary People

Posted in News Roundup at 10:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Domestic and foreign abuses of power; examples from recent weeks for police and from the past 24 hours for the army/secret agencies

Police

Panic

Foreign Policy

Death of Privacy: Lync in PRISM, Intel Dodges Questions on Back Doors, WhatsApp Joins PRISM, Censorship/Surveillance

Posted in News Roundup at 10:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News about mass surveillance and privacy, collected over the past 24 hours

Wintelligence

  • Microsoft Lync gathers data just like NSA vacuums up info in its domestic surveillance program (as we noted days ago)

    Microsoft’s Lync communications platform gathers enough readily analyzable data to let corporations spy on their employees like the NSA can on U.S. citizens, and it’s based on the same type of information – call details.

  • Writing The Snowden Files: ‘The paragraph began to self-delete’ (don’t use Windows)

    One day last summer – a short while after Edward Snowden revealed himself as the source behind the momentous leak of classified intelligence – the Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger got in touch. Would I write a book on Snowden’s story and that of the journalists working with him? The answer, of course, was yes. At this point Snowden was still in Hong Kong. He was in hiding. He had leaked documents that revealed the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its British equivalent GCHQ were surveilling much of the planet.

    [...]

    By September the book was going well – 30,000 words done. A Christmas deadline loomed. I was writing a chapter on the NSA’s close, and largely hidden, relationship with Silicon Valley. I wrote that Snowden’s revelations had damaged US tech companies and their bottom line. Something odd happened. The paragraph I had just written began to self-delete. The cursor moved rapidly from the left, gobbling text. I watched my words vanish. When I tried to close my OpenOffice file the keyboard began flashing and bleeping.

  • Intel chief dodges NSA questions in Reddit AMA

    One Redditer asked the Intel chief how the NSA revelations have impacted how Intel looks at hardware security, another asked for a response to questions of the security level of Intel processors. Krzanich issued no response to either question.

Lawsuits

PR

Paranoia

  • Why AT&T’s Surveillance Report Omits 80 Million NSA Targets

    AT&T this week released for the first time in the phone company’s 140-year history a rough accounting of how often the U.S. government secretly demands records on telephone customers. But to those who’ve been following the National Security Agency leaks, Ma Bell’s numbers come up short by more than 80 million spied-upon Americans.

    AT&T’s transparency report counts 301,816 total requests for information — spread between subpoenas, court orders and search warrants — in 2013. That includes between 2,000 and 4,000 under the category “national security demands,” which collectively gathered information on about 39,000 to 42,000 different accounts.

    There was a time when that number would have seemed high. Today, it’s suspiciously low, given the disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden about the NSA’s bulk metadata program. We now know that the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is ordering the major telecoms to provide the NSA a firehose of metadata covering every phone call that crosses their networks.

  • The NSA once banned Furbies as a threat to national security

    In 1999, after the Furby craze put tons of these talking toys beneath American Christmas trees, the NSA issued a memo banning them from its offices in Fort Meade. Because the commercials advertised Furbies as “learning” English over time, the folks in charge believed that Furbies contained an internal recording device, and they feared the toys would spill secrets in their cutesy voices. According to a 1999 BBC News article, anyone who came across a Furby on NSA premises was instructed to “contact their Staff Security Office for guidance.”

Politics

  • Rand Paul: The NSA is still violating our rights, despite what James Clapper says
  • NSA snooping must not disrupt global Internet governance model, warns EU politician

    Europe must ensure that fears of NSA-style government snooping do not disrupt its multi-stakeholder Internet governance model.

    That’s the verdict from this year’s FTTH Conference in Stockholm, as Sweden’s minister for information technology and energy, Anna-Karin Hatt, spoke candidly about the importance of securing a democratic future for the web.

    “We are all stakeholders in the development of the Internet, with legitimate interests and points-of-view that we want to – and need to – be able to pursue and protect,” she said.

    Hatt added: “The only logical way to continue developing the Internet is to protect and develop the multi-stakeholder model of decision-making we already have – a model that has been tried and proven to work.”

    “The revelations of the capacities and activities of the NSA is not a reason to abandon our multi-stakeholder model.”

  • Mikulski Denounces Bill That Would Deny NSA ‘Material Support’ in Maryland

    Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., isn’t pleased with a bill pending in her state’s legislature that would prohibit state and local support for the National Security Agency.

    The legislation was proposed Feb. 6 by eight Republicans in the 141-member Maryland House of Delegates and would deny the NSA “material support, participation or assistance in any form” from the state, its political subdivisions and companies with state contracts.

  • 15 Ways to Make Sense of Calls for NSA Reform

New PRISM Additions

Induced Censorship

Links 21/2/2014: Games

Posted in News Roundup at 7:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 21/2/2014: Applications

Posted in News Roundup at 7:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • It’s about the User: Applying Usability in Open-Source Software
  • Usability and Open Source
  • The quest for the perfect Twitter client on Linux

    After a few years of announcements, releases and online reviews, I am still out there looking for the right, if not the perfect, Twitter client on Linux. And believe me, this quest is frutstrating.

  • Dear Adobe: Make Software for Linux Too

    More than a month into his campaign, Linux server admin Gao Nagy has persuaded just 124 people to join him in petitioning Adobe to make Linux versions of its most popular products. However, Nagy hopes that a little media attention will kick-start his petition efforts and result in an outpouring of support. “It’s really hard to reach people,” he noted.

  • Should Adobe release software for Linux?
  • Birdie – A Lightweight and Beautiful Twitter Client

    If you’re looking for a Twitter desktop application for your Linux operating system, especially a lightweight and simple program you can just leave running with very little drain on system resources, Birdie may be for you.

  • Need a Good Bitcoin Client?

    Bitcoin is a decentralized peer-to-peer payment system and digital currency that is powered by its users with no central authority, central server or middlemen. Instead, managing transactions and issuing money are carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is controlled by all Bitcoin users around the world.

  • Phusion Releases Robust Docker Base Image

    Minimalism has it’s place, but there is such a thing as an installed system being too bare-bones. Many Docker images are built like they are full Linux installs, but don’t run like they are due to a lack of common daemons running inside the container. To address the issue, Phusion, the Rails company behind Passenger and Ruby Enterprise Edition, has released Baseimage. Baseimage is a Docker image that closer mimics a real Linux environment with proper init, syslog, SSH, and runit daemons.

Links 21/2/2014: Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 7:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ubuntu Makes Many Headlines Again, This Time Because of Real Phones

Posted in GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 7:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Canonical’s latest marketing effort brings awareness of Ubuntu, Linux and even GNU/Free software to a lot of people all around the world

WHILE we may not agree with Canonical on everything, the company does have a positive effect on GNU/Linux adoption and many distributions are derived from it. When Canonical tried to kickstart the “Edge” we defended Canonical and criticised negative coverage which called “Edge” vapourware (a self-fulfilling prophecy). Well, now we know, based on the words of Canonical’s founder [1], that Apple played a role in making it hard to get screens for the “Edge”. CNET/CBS did not cover it properly (it seems more like Apple marketing), but it’s a serious issue which is at least being put out there right now.

Canonical and Ubuntu have not been making headlines for a while (except when Canonical was left with not much choice but to abandon its project, Upstart [2-5], as well as some non-news about Ubuntu Touch [6-8], Ubuntu desktop [9,10], convergence of those two [11-13], and servers [14]), so we were delighted to see a press release [15] followed by aggressive marketing by Canonical staff like Jono Bacon [16-17] really flooding the news/Internet with articles that mention (GNU/)Linux and the role it has in phones. This is not only good for Ubuntu; it’s probably good for Free software as a whole. It wasn’t just covered in FOSS sites or even technology sites; even general news sites covered it [18-55], bringing the message to a lot of people all around the world, even in poorer nations like the Philippines [56,57].

Well done, Canonical.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Apple ‘snapped up’ sapphire displays, says Canonical founder

    “Apple just snapped up three year’s worth of the supply of sapphire screens from the company that we had engaged to make the screens for the Edge,” he said (at roughly the 30:45 mark linked to above). The report about the sapphire display comments first appeared at Gigaom.

  2. Ubuntu Will Switch To Systemd Abandoning Their Own init System Upstart
  3. Systemd dominates and Debian, Ubuntu, Git updates – Linux Snippets
  4. Linux init-system shocker: Mark Shuttleworth announces that Ubuntu will follow Debian and adopt systemd
  5. Canonical Drops Upstart for systemd in Ubuntu Linux
  6. Ubuntu Touch x86 emulator improves security, OpenGL
  7. Canonical Confirms Arrival Of VLC, Spinlet, Mapbox & Other Third Party Apps For Ubuntu Touch
  8. Canonical gets support from major app developers for Ubuntu Touch

    Canonical has announced that the company has got support from major app developers for Ubuntu Touch—the mobile version of the Ubuntu operating system.

  9. Ubuntu 14.04 brings back menus in application windows

    Ubuntu users, I tell you this: good things come to those who wait. For all of you cheerful Ubuntu users, come 14.04, you’ll be able to choose whether or not you wish your application menus to appear globally or locally. With Locally Integrated Menus (coined by Unity Desktop member JohnLea), that will become possible.

  10. Mesa 10.1 Should Make It Into Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

    Mesa 10.1 brings many new OpenGL features, new hardware support, and as with most Mesa updates is a very worthwhile upgrade for users of the open-source Linux graphics stack. There’s been many articles about Mesa 10.1 on Phoronix while there’s also the Mesa 10.1 feature overview. Mesa 10.1 itself is in a release candidate stage but should be officially released later this month on 28 February.

  11. No Mobile Support for Ubuntu store apps until version 14.04

    Running an app simultaneously on your PC, tablet and mobile is the apex of technology nirvana, right? If you are a user of Ubuntu and into the news, you must have heard that there is a thing called “Karma app” into the market, which has been marketed up by Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon this week showed off Karma Machine, a reddit client built by a third-party developer using the Ubuntu SDK. What Karma does is that it allows you to enjoy the apps both on your PC, tablet and mobile but, strangely enough, it does not support Ubuntu Center in it. You ask why? Because there won’t be any cross platform support until Ubuntu 14.4.

  12. Jono Bacon demos Ubuntu complete convergence with Karma Machine

    Canonical aims to unite the code base for all of their operating systems–for desktop, mobile, TV, and server–somewhere between the releases of Ubuntu 14.10 and Ubuntu 15.04. And the developers are pretty close to achieving this complete convergence.

  13. This is what Ubuntu convergence is all about – a single app running across different devices
  14. Joyent Partners with Canonical on Customized Ubuntu as a Cloud Service

    Joyent, well-known on the cloud computing scene and a growing player in Big Data analytics, announced a partnership with Canonical today to provide customers with optimized and supported Ubuntu server images in the Joyent Cloud. Effectively, users will be able to leverage a Canonical-customized Ubuntu in the cloud. The two companies also want to enable developers and enterprises to create mobile, big data and high-performance applications on Ubuntu and Joyent’s OS-Virtualized cloud platform.

  15. Canonical Announces First Partners to Ship Ubuntu Phones Around the Globe
  16. You’ll NEVER guess who’s building the first Ubuntu phones in 2014

    The first smartphones running Ubuntu will ship this year, Canonical now says – although the Linux vendor’s hardware partners are hardly the first companies you might guess.

  17. Today’s Ubuntu News

    I am sure that you have all seen the exciting news about the first partners to ship Ubuntu smart-phones.

  18. Two Ubuntu phones to hit market this year

    The wait is over, Ubuntu phones are coming. Canonical today announced that Meizu of China, and BQ of Spain, will start selling Ubuntu powered phones by the year end. While the company claims that these devices will be made available globally, it seems that the phones will be targeted at the local market of the two players as Ubuntu doesn’t hold enough weight to break the dominance of Android and iOS in stronger economies like EU and the US. Mozilla knows the reality and despite being much bigger than Canonical chose to focus on emerging markets for the same reason.

  19. Ubuntu Touch gets grip on its first phone makers
  20. Canonical, Partners Promise First Ubuntu Phones This Year
  21. Is there still room for Ubuntu smartphones on the market?
  22. Canonical announces first partners to ship Ubuntu phones around the globe
  23. Daily Roundup: Ubuntu’s first phones, Lumia Icon review and more!
  24. Ubuntu phones arriving in 2014 from Meizu and BQ Readers
  25. First Ubuntu smartphones to debut in 2014
  26. Canonical confirms partners for first Ubuntu phones
  27. Canonical announces manufacturers of Ubuntu phones
  28. Video: Did this Ubuntu superphone concept inspire the upcoming iPhone 6?
  29. Canonical names first Ubuntu Touch smartphone makers
  30. Ubuntu Phones from Meizu and bq Coming This Year
  31. Ubuntu Touch Finally Has Hardware Partners
  32. Ubuntu-based Smartphones Available In 2014
  33. Ubuntu desktop moving application menus back into application windows
  34. Linux Extends Its Mobile Empire With Ubuntu Phones

    Today, Canonical — the company that develops Ubuntu — announced partnerships with Spanish hardware designer bq and the Chinese mobile device company Meizu, saying that both would introduce phones over the next 10 months. The news is part of wider movement towards Linux phones across the world and particularly in Asia, where the open source OS can feed the enormous market for inexpensive devices.

  35. Meizu And BQ To Roll Out Ubuntu Smartphones
  36. Canonical announces BQ and Meizu as first Ubuntu phone partners
  37. Meizu, bq to sell Ubuntu phones in 2014, platform a ‘credible alternative’ to Android
  38. Two small manufacturers will release Ubuntu phones this year, Canonical says
  39. Canonical announces Ubuntu phones for release in 2014
  40. First Ubuntu phones coming this year from China’s Meizu and Spain’s Bq
  41. First Ubuntu phones to launch in 2014
  42. Canonical To Ship Ubuntu Smartphones From bq And Meizu Later This Year
  43. Ubuntu phones from Meizu and bq in 2014 Canonical promises
  44. Canonical announces first Ubuntu smartphone manufacturers
  45. First Ubuntu phones to launch in 2014
  46. Ubuntu smartphones coming later this year, Canonical reveals
  47. Ubuntu phones to ship this year from two manufacturers
  48. Meizu, bq to launch Ubuntu smartphones in 2014
  49. First Ubuntu phones on track for 2014 as handset makers jump on board
  50. Canonical details first Ubuntu smartphone partners, devices due to arrive later this year
  51. Meizu and BQ Readers will ship Ubuntu phones this year
  52. First Ubuntu Phone manufacturers announced
  53. Canonical announces first Ubuntu smartphone manufacturers
  54. Two Ubuntu phones with top apps in 2014
  55. Ubuntu phones arriving in 2014 from Meizu and BQ Readers

    Canonical is finally poised to enter the mobile market. After years of teases, promises and demos, the company has locked up the first two manufacturers of Ubuntu phones. Meizu and BQ Readers will be releasing handsets with the Linux-based OS installed on them sometime in 2014. Details about release date, price and specs are still to be determined, but we were told to expect more info at Mobile World Congress (which kicks off this weekend). The list of supporting carriers also remains a mystery, but at least we know that there will be consumer-ready Ubuntu phones on the market before the end of the year. Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical’s founder, is keeping things close to his chest, but he did say that two more manufacturers with “household names” should be coming on board in 2015.

  56. PHL among countries to get first crack at Ubuntu smartphones

    Filipinos may be among the first to get a first crack at using smartphones powered by the Linux-based Ubuntu operating system.

    Canonical said Smart Philippines will be among its first partners to ship Ubuntu smartphones manufactured by China-based Meizu.

  57. Smart joins telco global leaders supporting Ubuntu

Good Advocacy by the Linux Foundation Stresses the Jobs Effect, But Should Mention GNU Also

Posted in BSD, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 6:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Skills involving BSD, GNU, and other toolsets deserve coverage (at least by name) in the context of Free/Open Source software

THERE was recently a lot of coverage about jobs in Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and days or weeks later the Linux Foundation weighed in with its press release [1] about a study it had funded to frame this as a “Linux” boom. The Linux Foundation is run and managed by branding experts like Zemlin (they don't always do branding right) and marketing people, so this should not be shocking. The only problem is, they rewrite history to make it look as though only Linux counts (the big lie which gives the Linux Foundation power at the expense of camps like GNU/FSF). I am not an opponent of the Linux Foundation; I am a big fan of Linux, but I also care about accuracy and truth in reporting — something which the marketing community is unable, by definition, to care about.

Looking at the sort of headlines generated by the Linux Foundation’s latest marketing drive (e.g. 2-8]), it’s all about “Linux” but not about the rest of the stack (FOSS). The Linux Foundation is not the only entity which does this by the way. But what they call “Linux skills” often means command-line skills and basically familiarity with GNU utilities, not Linux (the kernel does not have many utilities of interest). Some tools, like OpenSSH, are from BSD. If we mislead the public by collectively referring to all those small programs as “Linux”, then we not only do a disservice to other projects but we also reinforce the philosophy of Linux, which does not stress or insist so much on freedom.

To give example of better actions from the Linux Foundation (as of late), it shared a story about a Pennsylvania high school adopting GNU/Linux and it generated some good headlines [9]. Its marketing staff issued a somewhat provocative, stereotypes-reinforcing (connoting Linux with scarce social/love life) Valentine’s post [10], not to mention today’s Facebook promotion [11] (people have openly complained about the Linux Foundation’s support for surveillance like Facebook for years). On the other hand, the Linux Foundation sets up new conferences that are named only after the kernel [12] (even when the conferences cover things beyond it [13]), which is another matter worth mentioning.

Ultimately, it would be fair to stress, not only the Linux Foundation calls/labels “Linux” a much broader system, exploiting a common misunderstanding/misconception. The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) too is doing that [14]. It often teaches GNU, but students are led to believe that it’s all “Linux”. We can do better than that.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. 2014 Linux Jobs Report: Demand for Linux Expertise Drives Hiring Priorities
  2. Hiring managers desperately hunt for Linux talent: Report

    With hiring managers beefing up their plans to bring aboard talent with Linux skills over the next six months, a bright future awaits those professionals who know Linux.

    Tech recruitment firm Dice and The Linux Foundation have released the 2014 edition of the Linux Jobs Report. The two found that the growing demand for Linux talent is “driving salaries for Linux above industry norms.”

  3. gNewSense Reviewed, Thanking Packagers, and Linux Jobs
  4. Linux skills helping professional move forward – 2014 Linux Jobs Report
  5. Keep Learning Linux—It’s The Future
  6. Linux professionals are in high demand in technology job market

    Today in Open Source: Download the free 2014 Linux Jobs Report.

  7. Demand for Linux Professionals is Growing
  8. Demand for Linux skills rises
  9. Pennsylvania high school adopts Linux, rolls out laptops to students

    Penn Manor High School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania will embrace the open source Linux platform, installing it on more than 1,700 laptops. Every student at Penn Manor HS received an Acer TravelMate laptop powered by the Ubuntu 13.10 OS – and the student body was encouraged to explore the OS and push its limits.

  10. What Does Your Linux Candy Heart Say?

    How does the penguin community celebrate February 14 every year? Is it with a box of chocolates? Maybe if it’s sitting next to our keyboards alongside multiple coffee mugs. What about little Necco Sweethearts? Those “luv you” messages seem a little too general to fully express the amorous thoughts of those with Linux already seeded deep in their hearts.

  11. Leaked: Linux’s Look Back Facebook Video

    After trying to conceal its Facebook posts from the world for nearly a decade, Linux’s Look Back Facebook video leaked today.

  12. Linux Foundation Announces Schedule for Annual Collaboration Summit
  13. Dive into the world of Linux and free software at SCALE 12x this weekend in Los Angeles
  14. Linux certifications closer to Kosovo

    The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organisation, announced that Master Affiliate for the Western Balkans Region LPI-Greece recently appointed CACTTUS as LPI Sub-Affiliate for Kosovo, a company which has a strong experience in the market of Kosovo in technology and trainings.

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