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05.27.14

Links 27/5/2014: Greenwald on GNU/Linux, Drupal Nets Massive VC

Posted in News Roundup at 2:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux for Lettuce

    During that time, Michaels’s computer-savvy son was messing around with alternative operating systems for his PC. Through him, Michaels learned about Linux and other software that was free to be used, altered, and shared by anyone. Linux came with a license that turned the concept of licensing on its head: Instead of restricting people from copying the product, it restricted people from restricting it or any of its offshoots. It marked the code indelibly as part of the commons.

  • China working on new Windows-like Linux OS after Windows 8 ban
  • Linux app lets you control fruit fly brains – with frikkin’ LASERS
  • Meet the Man Hired to Make Sure the Snowden Docs Aren’t Hacked

    When he got to Rio, Lee spent one entire day strengthening Greenwald’s computer, which at that point used Windows 8. Lee was worried spy agencies could break in, so he replaced the operating system with Linux, installed a firewall, disk encryption and miscellaneous software to make it more secure.

  • Techtalk: learning more about Linux

    Techtalk discussed the open source operating system Linux and where you can go to learn more about it.

    “The short answer is that as far as courses are concerned they are a little bit thin on the ground. There used to be a group called Ballarat Linux Users Group… there is also a group called Viclan which runs local area administration”.

    “Linux is a free open source operating system that is probably described as an alternative to Windows. It’s free, you can download it and it runs on most PC’s. Apple is excluded at this point in time but most PC’s that run Windows will run Linux”.

  • Desktop

    • Why Chromebooks Make More Sense Than Ever

      If you’ve been following the market share reports, you know that Chromebooks–portable computers running Google’s cloud-centric Chrome OS platform–are starting to succeed, especially in several niche markets such as the education market. Additionally, PCMag.com has a big story out on why Microsoft should be worried about Chromebooks, and Business Insider has argued that Chromebooks are the best hardware choices for many users. The fact is, some new incentives from Google as well as some newfound forms of compatibility with popular applications make Chromebooks more viable than they ever have been.

  • Server

    • The Companies That Support Linux: CoreOS

      As companies grow their data centers to accommodate more cloud services and applications, their resource management practices also grow increasingly complex. CoreOS is a new Linux distribution that uses containers to help manage these massive server deployments.

      On May 19, CoreOS joined the Linux Foundation as a corporate member, along with Rackspace Hosting and Cumulus Networks. All three companies are playing a crucial role in the data center transformation and see open source as the lynchpin for optimal scalability, efficiencies, security and data center savings.

    • Define your network in software with OpenDaylight

      For years, the traditional model in networking was for much of the work to be done in hardware. But with the rise of cloud computing and virtualization, and the need for networks to become more agile and flexible than ever, a trend is beginning to take hold to take networking in the same direction that computing has gone. We are seeing more and more that the networking functions traditionally done in the datacenter by dedicated, almost exclusively proprietary hardware and software combinations, are now being defined through software.

  • Kernel Space

    • Apple Thunderbolt Driver Might Be Added To Linux

      An open-source Thunderbolt driver for supporting Apple MacBooks might be added to the Linux 3.16 kernel.

      Going on for months has been a Linux driver to support Thunderbolt on Apple MacBook systems. A special driver is needed for supporting Thunderbolt on Apple hardware since Apple implemented Thunderbolt holt-plug support within their OS X driver rather than at the firmware level, which is where it’s implemented by other Thunderbolt devices.

    • WRITE YOUR FIRST LINUX KERNEL MODULE

      Probably the easiest way to start kernel programming is to write a module – a piece of code that can be dynamically loaded into the kernel and removed from it. There are limits to what modules can do – for example, they can’t add or remove fields to common data structures like process descriptors. But in all other ways they are full-fledged kernel-level code, and they can always be compiled into the kernel (thus removing all the restrictions) if needed. It is fully possible to develop and compile a module outside the Linux source tree (this is unsurprisingly called an out-of-tree build), which is very convenient if you just want to play a bit and do not wish to submit your changes for inclusion into the mainline kernel.

    • BFQ Scheduler Still Trying For The Mainline Linux Kernel

      BFQ is a proportional-share I/O scheduler that shares a lot of code with the CFQ scheduler. The Completely Fair Queuing (CFQ) scheduler has long been part of the mainline tree but BFQ hasn’t been pulled yet even after many revisions and comments. The next opportunity for BFQ to land would be with the Linux 3.16 kernel whose merge window will be opening in June. New features of BFQ with the latest work includes low latency for interactive applications, low latency for soft real-time applications, high throughput, strong fairness guarantees, etc.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Tablet Support Gets Figured Out For Libinput
      • Mesa Is At 1.4 Million Lines Of Code

        Mesa is up to 1.4 million lines of code and has already seen almost 2,500 Git commits so far this year.

        With Mesa 10.2 planned for release this week, this morning I ran GitStats on the Mesa Git code to look at the latest development trends for this open-source OpenGL library with the various mainline hardware drivers from Intel’s classic DRI driver to the Gallium3D architecture and its many drivers like Radeon, Nouveau, and Freedreno.

      • Mesa 10.2 Features Are Quite Exciting
      • Features You Will Not Find In Mesa 10.2

        Mesa 10.2 will be released very soon and while it does offer a lot of new features within its 1.4 million line code-base, it isn’t perfect and lacks some features still being sought after by open-source Linux fans.

      • NVIDIA vs. AMD 2D Performance Benchmarks

        Yesterday on Phoronix we had benchmarks of high-end NVIDIA and AMD GPUs when looking at the Linux OpenGL performance on the proprietary drivers. For those more concerned about the 2D performance of the modern GeForce and Radeon graphics cards, here’s some benchmarks for you.

      • AMD Catalyst 14.6 Beta Driver Coming Soon To Linux

        The first beta release of the Catalyst 14.6 proprietary Linux graphics driver will soon be available.

        The Catalyst 14.6 Linux driver will introduce official Ubuntu 14.04 LTS support, install improvements by having better defaults and prompting to auto-install the packages generated by the driver, and various bug-fixes are landing.

      • Catalyst 14.6 Beta Now Available For AMD Linux Gamers

        Since writing about the features of the Catalyst 14.6 Beta earlier today, the x86/x86_64 proprietary Linux driver has surfaced on a third-party web-site for those wishing to try out this latest AMD Linux graphics driver.

        As explained this morning, Catalyst 14.6 Beta for Linux comes with official Ubuntu 14.04 LTS support, driver installer improvements, and various bug-fixes as the primary changes.

    • Benchmarks

      • High-End NVIDIA GeForce vs. AMD Radeon Linux Gaming Comparison

        After last week carrying out separate NVIDIA Windows vs. Linux OpenGL benchmarks and similar AMD Radeon Windows 8.1 vs. Ubuntu 14.04 tests, today we are pitting the GeForce and Radeon graphics cards against each other on Ubuntu Linux with the very latest drivers to see how their performance compares now head-on. With this testing we have some Steam games plus are also monitoring the power consumption, performance-per-Watt, and GPU thermal metrics.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Enlightenment: EFL and Elementary 1.10 release plan

      We aim for a 12 weeks release cycle which is a little under three months. The schedule is divided into 4 distinct parts: a 4 weeks development period which allows for features and fixes to get commit followed by a 1 week stabilization period which allows only fixes to be committed into the master branch. We then repeat the 4 weeks development period followed by a 3 weeks stabilization period to complete our schedule.

    • Enlightenment EFL 1.10 Released
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Want AppStream metadata for your KDE project? Act now!

        Originally, my plan was to directly push metadata to most KDE projects. The problem is that there is no way to reach all maintainers and have them opt-out for getting metadata pushed to their repositories. There is also no technical policy for a KDE project, since “KDE” is really only about the community right now, and there are no technical criteria a project under the KDE umbrella has to fulfill (at least to my knowledge, in theory, even GTK+ projects are perfectly fine within KDE).

      • Monday Report: Wallpaper Edition

        So what are we looking for? Photo wallpapers, illustration wallpapers or graphical and abstract wallpapers are all accepted for submission, personally I would suggest to avoid text elements or logo’s entirely – the theme we’re going for is a hopeful futurism but this should be considered something to focus around, not a prerequisite.

      • Randa: Moving KDE Forward

        The Randa Meetings really bring KDE and its software forward. But as most of the participants are young people, students (and we try to bring new people to every KDE sprint), parents or just can’t afford the travel costs, we need some help.

      • Qt3D 2.0 Is A Rewrite Of Qt’s 3D Support

        Two years ago the Qt3D module was showing lost of promise for 3D support within the popular, cross-platform toolkit. However, just before the Qt 5.0 release, Nokia shutdown their Qt Brisbane office that among other Qt modules was responsible for the work on Qt3D. Nokia’s late actions with Qt prior to selling it off to Digia was a a big blow and led to Qt3D being demoted. Fortunately, Qt3D 2.0 is coming along as a maintained, rewritten version of the 3D support for Qt.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Review: KaOS 2014.04

      This distribution caught my eye from a DistroWatch review. That review concludes that it isn’t clear exactly what the goal of this distribution is. Looking at the website more, I can’t say that it’s any clearer to me either. All I can glean is that this distribution aims to please more experienced users with a rolling-release model, maintain a small base of packages so that those will be polished before use, and target newer computers by using KDE and only 64-bit releases. I’ll have to try this distribution out to see if there is any more information regarding the target audience of this distribution. I tried KaOS on a live USB made with MultiSystem. Follow the jump to see what it’s like.

    • How Handy HandyLinux Is?

      HandyLinux 1.5 is a nice looking system. It reacts quickly to your actions, snappy and fast. It is more or less easy on resources: only about 250 Mb of memory when idle, though you might expect even less from the Debian+Xfce combination.

      However, there are still some things for developers to look at. French roots are visible, menu can be extended for easier use, packages are missing or broken. That’s not something you would expect from a distribution that claims to be “Powered by Debian”.

    • Antergos 2014.05.26 Distro Powered by Numix Looks Stunning

      Antergos 2014.05.26, a distribution based on Arch Linux that used to go by the name of Cinnarch, has been released and is now available for download.

      The only RC for Antergos was launched only a few days ago and now the final version of this very interesting OS has arrived. Besides the normal updates and improvements that are to be expected from a new build, the developers have also integrated a unique theme developed by the Numix project, which really sets this OS apart.

    • BackTrack Successor Kali Linux 1.0.7 Arrives with Linux Kernel 3.14

      As usually, Kali Linux 1.0.7 features various new tools, updated applications, as well as numerous fixes in order to make Kali Linux a more stable and reliable Linux operating system. This includes a new version of the Linux kernel, among other things.

      There are numerous Linux distributions in the open source ecosystem, but there are very few built specifically for penetration testing and digital forensics. The former iteration of this distro, BackTrack, is one of the most downloaded OSes and it’s the go-to operating system when you need a professional solution.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro Xfce 0.8.10 RC1 Is Ready for Testing, Now Based on Xfce 4.11

        Manjaro has slowly become one of the best Arch-based distributions, and the Xfce flavor is powering on with the first Release Candidate in the new 0.8.10 series. This is not the first flavor that gets a release in this new branch, but it’s one of the most popular.

        Despite what users might think, most of the Manjaro flavors are actually developed by the community and not by a central team. In fact, the Manjaro ecosystem is so large that it would be very difficult for just one team to take care of all the versions. Xfce, on the other hand, is an official one, so it might seem a little bit more polished than the others.

    • Slackware Family

      • Porteus Kiosk Edition Is an Operating System Based on Slackware and Firefox

        Porteus 3.1 (Kiosk Edition) is based on Slackware 14.0 and relies on Linux kernel 3.12.20 and Firefox 24.0. It’s a 32-bit system, which is entirely locked down to prevent tampering with any of the components (including the browser).

        “This distribution release includes bug fixes, software updates and new features. At a mere 50 megabytes, the Porteus Kiosk Edition ISO includes just the libraries and utilities required to run Firefox in a secure environment, making this a perfect fit for kiosks and other web terminals.”

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • After Debian Jessie Gets Stable, Kwheezy Will Change Its Name To Kebian

        Kwheezy is a Debian 7 Wheezy fork that uses KDE as the default desktop environment. While the name is very intuitive, making reference to both KDE and Wheezy, there will be a problem when Debian Jessie will become the stable Debian version, because the name will not match any more.

      • wattOS R8 review – Debian greenie

        Lightweight Linux distributions are inherently energy saving. By definition you’re using a fewer resources to run your system, which in turn requires less power and electrical draw. Throw in some power-efficient hardware and idle power draw will be minimal. These lightweight systems – while naturally energy-conserving – don’t normally include any specific optimisations for power saving. This is where wattOS comes in.

        While also lightweight, wattOS strives to strike a balance between conservative code and usability. The net result is a little less wattage while idle and a longer-lasting laptop battery when disconnected. It’s the usability part that is very important to wattOS: something like Puppy Linux or Tiny Core may likely be less resource-intensive while idle, however you need to make some level of sacrifice regarding the desktop and available software to use these distros.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • LightDM 1.11.2 Released for Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn)

            LightDM is a display manager that’s mainly used in Ubuntu distributions, but users will find it in other Ubuntu-based distros as well. It’s not a visible part of the operating system and it’s not something that users interact with at any level.

            The LightDM development has been going at a steady pace and its devs have just released a new version that is designed for Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn). It doesn’t have too many changes, but there are a couple of interesting ones.

          • Cinnamon PPA will no longer be maintained for Ubuntu users

            Gwendal Le Bihan, maintainer of the Cinnamon PPA, has confirmed he will be discontinuing the popular desktop environment. At least the stable releases the community has become accustomed to that is. The development of the Cinnamon desktop environment will continue through development builds in a separate nightly PPA.

          • Ubuntu Users Will No Longer Have a Cinnamon PPA
          • Leadwerks partners with Ubuntu for Linux games development

            The firms said they will make the Leadwerks Game Engine software development framework available in the Ubuntu Software Center to provide users of the operating system with a powerful tool for rapid game development under Ubuntu Linux.

          • Leadwerks Game Engine Pushed Into The Ubuntu Store
          • Linux users rejoice, here’s Ubuntu on the Surface Pro 3

            The good news is that it seems like there are only a few small things in between a Linux user and a decent Surface Pro 3 experience, and with any luck by the time these devices hit shelves there will be people eager to help implement fixes for most, if not all of these issues.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • RhinoLINUX Lite Xfce Edition 7.0 Is Based on Xubuntu 13.10 and Linux Mint 16

              RhinoLINUX 7.0 has been dubbed “Saucy SUZIE” and the code name betrays the roots of the distribution. The developers have used more than just one base for their operating system, namely Xubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander) and Linux Mint 16 (Petra). This is rather unusual, especially if we take into consideration the fact that Ubuntu 13.10 is about to reach end of life in a couple of months.

            • Mint 17 the Best, Foe to Friend, and KaOS Review

              Topping our coverage tonight, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols declares Linux “Mint 17 the best Linux desktop to date.” Terrence O’Brien describes his journey with Linux as from foe to friend, sort of. And finally tonight, KDE tablet Vivaldi appears to be defunct and KaOS gets the once-over.

            • Ubuntu Studio 14.04 LTS Trusty Tahr : Video Review and Screenshot Tour

              Ubuntu Studio 14.04 LTS trusty tahr is the latest version official ubuntu-derived that based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. Ubuntu Studio is free and open source operating system based on ubuntu that dedicated for users and professionals who want an operating system that already includes several open source software for managing and editing multimedia files.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Imagination, partners form Prpl open source group for MIPS
  • When Apache Projects Die. Click.

    Open-source projects come and go all the time. In the Apache world though there is a prescribed process by which the ‘going’ happens that is somewhat unique in the world of open-source software development.

  • The true value of open source is people

    Open source is valuable. Very few people would argue that point. There is most definitely a sense of intrinsic worth. But where does this value exist? Is it in the code produced or in something else?

  • Coexisting in software-defined storage : Open source & best-of-breed can survive

    EMC is known for its storage appliances that relied on its hardware, but the company is quickly adapting to a software-defined industry. Paving the way for the future, EMC’s Advanced Software Division, led by Salvatore DeSimone is attempting to change the way people use and deploy IT. TheCUBE hosts John Furrier and Dave Vellante talked with DeSimone at EMC World 2014 about EMC’s vision for the future of software-led enterprise.

  • Events

    • Professors headed to open source summer camp

      Ellis, Chair and Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology at Western New England University in Springfield, MA, and Hislop, Associate Dean in the College of Computing and Informatics at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, are co-organizers of the Professors’ Open Source Summer Experience (POSSE), an annual conference that invites educators from across the country to learn how they can incorporate open source tools—and open source values—into their classrooms. It begins May 28 at Drexel University.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • TRY FIRA SANS, A FREE FONT FAMILY COMMISSIONED BY MOZILLA

        In 2013, the Mozilla Foundation commissioned Erik Spiekermann, a famous typographer, to work on a free, open source font family called Fira Sans (initially called Feura Sans).

        Recently, the typeface was updated to version 3.1, getting 12 different weights (bringing the weights number to 16), all accompanied by italic styles, a huge character map and extensive language supports. There’s also a monospaced variant: Fira Mono which includes 2 weights (regular and bold).

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • CMS

    • CMS Award Reflections: Hippo CMS Wins Best Open Source Solution of 2013
    • When digital marketing meets open source

      It’s a product that actually costs nothing, is up against entrenched competitors, and exists in a category that enterprises have in the past been wary of. All in all, marketing open source to marketers was probably never going to be an easy job.

      So you might forgive Tom Wentworth if he was a little wary of taking up the role of chief marketing officer at Acquia. But the CMO says that when he received a message from a recruiter asking if he was interested in the position, he jumped at the chance. “I couldn’t have dialled back the number faster when I saw him asking about Acquia,” Wentworth says.

    • Acquia, Focused on Drupal, Closes $50 Million Financing Round

      Here at OStatic, we’ve repeatedly covered Acquia, the small company that focuses on the popular Drupal content management system (CMS). OStatic runs on Drupal, which is known for its modularity and flexibility, and countless sites around the web depend on it. Now, Acquia has closed a $50 million financing round, bringing total investment in the company to $118.6 million. Led by new investor New Enterprise Associates (NEA), the round includes new investor Split Rock Partners as well as existing investors North Bridge Venture Partners, Sigma Partners, Investor Growth Capital, and Tenaya Capital. Ravi Viswanathan, general partner at NEA, will also join Acquia’s Board of Directors.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Swiss open source resource site now bilingual

      Switzerland’s ‘OSS directory’, an open source directory service offered and maintained by /ch/open, the Swiss Open Systems User Group, is now available in German and French. The register now lists 276 open source service providers, 374 open source solutions and 283 reference documents. The bilingual site was officially unveiled last Saturday in Geneva, during the Fetons Linux conference and trade fair.

    • Adullact to award open source development project
  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Public access to works supported by new alliance

        The founders of Authors Alliance are U.C. Berkeley Professors: Carla Hesse (Department of History and Dean of Social Sciences), Thomas Leonard (School of Journalism and University Librarian), Pamela Samuelson (Berkeley Law School and School of Information), and myself. I’m a professor at Berkeley Law who focuses on the law of both tangible property (land, cars, etc.) and intellectual property (copyrights, patents, etc.).

      • Is Elsevier going to take control of us and our data? The Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge thinks so and I’m terrified

        I am gutted that I missed the Q+A session with Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz the Vice-chancellor of Cambridge University. It doesn’t seem to have been advertised widely – only 17 people went – and it deserves to be repeated.

        [...]

        Elsevier has bought Mendeley – a social network for managing academic bibliography. Scientists put their current reading into Mendeley and use it to look up others. Mendeley is a social network which knows who you are, and who you are working with.

        Do you trust Mendeley? Do you trust Elsevier? Do you trust and large organisations without independent control (GCHQ, NSA, Google, Facebook)? If you do, stop reading and don’t worry.

        In Mendeley, Elsevier has a window onto nearly everything that a scientist is interested in. Every time your read a new paper Mendeley knows what you are interested in. Mendeley knows your working habits – what time are you spending on your research?

    • Open Hardware

      • Open source VR headset takes on Oculus

        The designs for the ANTVR headset itself and its nifty convertible game controller are proprietary technology. But the designs and firmware for the wireless receiver — which sits between the headset, the controller, and the gaming console — are open source. That opens up a range of possibilities, such as creating custom controllers or using the ANTVR controller to control other devices.

        For example, ANTVR co-founder Qin Zheng says you could write software for using ANTVR to control a Roomba vacuum cleaner robot, perhaps using the headset to watch the feed from the bot’s on-board camera. You could also make your own version of the receiver specifically designed to work with a game console or device not officially supported by ANTVR. “You can use the signal straight from the USB port,” Zheng says. “We will give the developer all the documentation and libraries.”

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Developer Calls For HTTP 2.0 To Be Thrown Out

      Open-source developer Poul-Henning Kamp is pushing for the HTTP Working Group to toss out their current work on the HTTP 2.0 standard and to start over.

    • PHK: HTTP 2.0 Should Be Scrapped

      Via the HTTP working group list comes a post from Poul-Henning Kamp proposing that HTTP 2.0 (as it exists now) never be released after the plan of adopting Google’s SPDY protocol with minor changes revealed flaws that SPDY/HTTP 2.0 will not address.

Leftovers

  • Pope Francis makes unofficial stop at Israeli terrorism memorial

    Detour, at request of Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, seen as attempt to appease hosts after stop at separation wall

  • Science

    • Space Hackers Prepare to Reboot 35-Year-Old Spacecraft

      Early next week, a team of volunteers will use the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico to see if they can make contact with a spacecraft that hasn’t fired its thrusters since 1987. If all goes well, the effort could bring the 35-year-old spacecraft, the International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3), back into position near the Earth, where it could once again study the effect of solar weather on Earth’s magnetosphere.

    • [Old] The Republican Street Fight Over Transparency in Government

      Several in the GOP want to stop a request for scientists to disclose financial conflicts in their research. What good reason could they possibly have?

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The fruit of Nato’s war in Libya are the coups and terror spreading across Africa
    • Freedom Cheaper than Iraq War

      A particularly mendacious lie by Danny Alexander puts the institutional start-up costs of Scottish Independence at £1.5 billion. That is a cool half billion pounds cheaper than Scotland’s share of the costs of the Iraq and Afghan wars, even on the Westminster government’s blatant under-estimate of the war costs.

    • Veteran tells how killing a young German soldier haunted him for life

      He said it was the saddest moment of his life—which haunted him every night of his life, even while he knew this young kid would have killed him just the same. But that doesn’t matter. If you’re a normal human being, killing another human being will leave a mark on you.

      Obviously, Robertson was affected by PTSD. Today we know a lot about post-traumatic stress disorder and veterans of modern wars get treated for these and other mental illnesses derived from their time in combat. But, back then, little was known. Most people assume that PTSD is a relatively modern sickness, but the truth is that every soldier since the beginning of time has been exposed to the same extremely stressing moments, accidents, death, and atrocities that would leave any healthy person scarred for life. All of them—unless they were psychopaths—have suffered PTSD in various degrees.

    • Ukraine and the US fiasco driving Russia into the arms of China

      Besides ripping Ukraine apart – and getting scores of Ukrainians killed – the US-supported coup in February has injected more uncertainty into Europe’s economy and pushed Russia and China back together.

    • President Karzai Refuses US Offer for a Meeting with President Obama at Bagram Military Airbase
    • The World’s Most Humble President Just Opened His House to 100 Syrian Refugee Children

      One hundred children orphaned by the Syrian civil war could find a home in Uruguayan President José “Pepe” Mujica’s summer retreat, “a mansion and riverfront estate surrounded by rolling pastures,” according to Yahoo News. That would be a welcome sight for any of the hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced by Syria’s political turmoil.

    • Secret laws are a threat to American democracy

      Last week, the Obama administration signaled that it would finally declassify a secret memo detailing its justification for using drones to kill U.S. citizens living abroad. The announcement came just hours before the Senate voted to confirmDavid Barron, the memo’s author, as President Barack Obama’s newest judicial appointee.

    • Robot warriors pose ethical dilemna

      According to a UN survey, civilians have been killed in 33 separate drone attacks around the world. In Pakistan, an estimated 2,200 to 3,300 people have been killed by drone attacks since 2004, 400 of whom were civilians. According to the latest figures from the Pakistani Ministry of Defense, 67 civilians have been killed in drone attacks in the country since 2008.

    • Why Risk Prison To Protest Drone Murders? An Activist Explains.

      Judging from my email box in recent years — which often differs on this question with such sources of knowledge as my television or the New York Times — the conscience of our country lies somewhere near Syracuse, New York.

    • Government blasé on Australian drone deaths

      While the last couple of weeks have been taken up with thinking about the Budget and its disproportionate impact on poorer Australians, another, more spectacular, area of government disregard for the lives and rights of its citizens has gone relatively unremarked.

    • Complicity of Australia and New Zealand in US Drone Assassinations
    • Obama’s Reprehensible Foreign Policy

      I was reading an editorial criticizing President Obama for not doing more in the international realm. Specifically, it suggested that he was too weak. He was supposedly not responding sufficiently to the alleged Russian threat to Ukraine, for instance. Another example is that some critics believe that the administration should have done more in response to the Arab Spring, in particular, offering more assistance. The editorial dribbled on.

    • America’s “War on Terror”: No U.S. Citizen Is Safe “Throughout the World”

      After the attack on Iraq a frequently heard comment from those with no interest in foreign affairs or much, from activists, journalists and political observers of all hues, was: “Soon no American or British citizen will be safe anywhere on earth, for decades to come. ”

    • Doubting Obama’s Resolve to Do Right

      As President Obama prepares to make another speech explaining his foreign policy, the question is whether he can climb out of the rut of his previous whiny apologies for continuing many of George W. Bush’s abuses, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern wrote last year.

    • Barack Obama to make new bid to define foreign policy
    • Fear and anti Muslim bigotry are big business in America

      There has long been a concerted effort to demonize Muslims in the American Homeland as a part of the never-ending big money maker that is the phony war on terror. Big media of course plays a critical role in the dark propaganda campaigns that ensure that millions of Americans will continue to see the menace of al Qaeda and worse lurking in the darkest corner of their closets and under their beds. The connection is never made that the military and security industrial complex need the ongoing Muslim bogeyman to keep those god blessed dollars rolling in and to keep the war machine running on high. The business of America anymore – particularly since September 11, 2001 – is death, as in selling arms, financing repression and peddling surveillance technology against dissidents to friendly tyrants. The wars that drive what is left of the economy must go on as they always will in our own version of Oceania.

    • UNICEF’s polio advisor says CIA revelations led to deaths of vaccine workers

      He’s now the principal polio advisor for the United Nations children’s organisation. He is in Australia this week and he joined me in The World Today studio, shortly after stepping off the plane.

    • The C.I.A.’s Deadly Ruse in Pakistan

      The use of a sham vaccination program in the government’s hunt for Osama bin Laden has produced a lethal backlash in Pakistan where dozens of public health workers have been murdered and fearful parents are shunning polio vaccine for their children.

    • Were the media right to not disclose CIA operative’s name?

      Politico is reporting Monday that the White House inadvertently identified the Central Intelligence Agency’s top official in Afghanistan on Sunday, sending his name among the list of officials briefing President Barack Obama on security conditions in Afghanistan during his surprise trip there.

      Obama stopped at the Bagram Air Base outside Kabul on his trip to show support for the troops during the US Memorial Day weekend.

    • Chris Hedges “The American Public Is Utterly Misinformed On What’s Happening In Ukraine”

      It’s not Russia that’s pushed Ukraine to the brink of war

    • U.S. Training Elite Antiterror Troops in Four African Nations
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • CNN’s Climate Change Coverage: Starring Ann Coulter

      For those not up to speed: Game show host Pat Sajak tweeted this: “I now believe global warming alarmists are unpatriotic racists knowingly misleading for their own ends. Good night.” It was all in jest, you see–though Sajak seems to be dismissive of climate change nonetheless.

      And CNN’s Pat-Sajak’s-opinion-of-climate-change guest? Well, far-right bombthrower Ann Coulter, of course.

    • Government sets logging sights on ‘precious jewel’ of B.C. forests

      Gambier Island sits in the heart of Howe Sound, a thickly forested, dark green hump of land surrounded by a blue ocean, just around the corner from the urban sprawl of Metro Vancouver.

    • Wanted: a breed of chicken that can survive crippling heatwaves

      US scientists fear climate change could have devastating effects on poultry farmers as temperatures reach scorching levels

    • China tries to make artificial lake, fails and creates desert instead

      Officials in Zhengzhou, China, wanted to build an artificial lake on the outskirts of the city but everything went wrong. The source of water they intended to use dried up and the hundreds of thousands of tons of sand destined for the artificial beach began to spread, covering an area the size of four football fields.

    • The Crazy Genius Behind Solar Roadways

      Here’s an idea crazy enough that it just might work: Pave the streets with solar-powered panels that have their own built-in heat and LED lights. That’s what Scott and Julie Brusaw hope to accomplish with their ongoing Solar Roadways project, which they just funded through a hugely popular crowdfunding campaign.

      The husband-and-wife team has spent the better part of the last decade developing solar-powered modular panels that could be installed in roadways and parking lots, and would be able to collect power from the sun. Those panels could also keep streets clear of snow and ice, while illuminating them with LEDs.

  • Finance

  • Politics/PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Nick Griffin concedes European parliament seat as BNP votes fall away

      Arriving at Manchester town hall on Sunday night, Griffin came under attack from protesters shouting “Nazi scum off our streets”. Some were rugby tackled by police after throwing placards at him reading “Nick Griffin Must Go”, with one attempting to land a punch on the BNP man.

      Speaking after his defeat, Griffin blamed Ukip for taking the BNP’s vote. Asked whether the people of the north-west had rejected his party’s racist and fascist policies, he said: “They’ve voted for Ukip’s racist policies instead.”

      He added: “Ukip want to keep out white Poles but let in huge numbers of Pakistanis and Africans.”

    • Euro Values

      Brian Taylor of BBC Scotland said last night he picked up at Holyrood that the other unionist parties were pleased that UKIP had won the former Lib Dem seat in Scotland and stopped the SNP getting a third. That was the most revealing moment of last night for me – it showed the vicious irresponsibility of the Better Together campaign, and exposed the lie that UKIP are outsiders.

      [...]

      The BBC’s promotion of UKIP again explodes the myth of UKIP as outsiders.

    • Elections In Middle Earth

      My take from the European election results is the UK has voted to remove many of its experienced politicians from Brussels and to leave the EPP and S&D to run the show. By promoting UKIP, we now have eleven fewer elected representatives working on our behalf to improve the UK’s position as new policy evolves, and even if they did suddenly decide to represent us — instead of voting in favour of things like the ivory trade and against flood prevention “to make a point” — they have no parliamentary colleagues they are willing to work with among the other nationalist parties to produce change.

      The same story in other countries means the intact set of experienced political operators is from Germany, and the dominant influence from the UK will come from Labour acting within the S&D party who came second in the election. The UK’s ability to influence has been dangerously harmed and the euro-sceptic influence has moved even further from the levers of control (the UK’s Conservatives had already quit EPP by forming a new minority party) leaving pro-europeans from EPP, ALDE, Greens and S&D in control.

    • European Elections: 9 Scariest Far-Right Parties Now In The European Parliament
    • European elections: six countries that went left, not right

      The People’s party was one of the few governing parties to win the largest portion of the vote. But it’s the large gains by leftwing parties that are exciting political commentators. Between them, the two dominant political parties (People’s party and Socialist party) lost five million votes compared with their 2009 performance. Meanwhile, the protest party Podemos (“We can”) took nearly 8% of the vote and five seats. Podemos was formed only four months ago, having grown out of the Spanish indignados who camped out in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square in 2011. Coalition group United Left also gained around 12 seats, further increasing the voice of the left in parliament. “It’s the hour of the people. This is only the beginning,” Podemos’s leader Pablo Iglesias, tweeted. “Clearly, we can.”

    • Federal Judge Who Halted Walker Dark Money Criminal Probe Attended Koch-Backed Judicial Junkets

      The federal judge who ordered a halt to Wisconsin’s “John Doe” criminal investigation into spending during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections has regularly attended all-expenses paid “judicial junkets” funded by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and other ideological and corporate interests.

      On May 6, federal District Court Judge Rudolph Randa blocked an ongoing John Doe criminal probe into allegedly illegal coordination between nonprofit groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth, which spent $9.1 million on electoral ads during Wisconsin’s recall elections, and the recall campaigns of Governor Scott Walker and state senators. John Doe investigations are similar to grand jury investigations, and Wisconsin Club for Growth — and its director, Eric O’Keefe, a longtime compatriot of the Koch brothers — asked the federal court to stop the probe, alleging it violated their “free speech” rights.

  • Censorship

    • Editor navigated Fiji’s media censorship

      Laisa Taga, a leading Fijian journalist and editor, has died in Suva, Fiji, aged 56.

      For more than 30 years, Laisa worked in a range of media and served as mentor for other female journalists. She was the first woman to edit a daily newspaper in Fiji, and most recently served as editor-in-chief of Islands Business International, publisher of the leading regional news and business magazine for the Pacific Islands.

      Originally from Votua village on the island of Vanua Levu, Laisa studied at Adi Cakobau School (ACS), the elite school for young Fijian women.

  • Privacy

    • Discussion with Richard Stallman about Surveillance, the Future of Internet, Life, the Universe and Everything

      Richard Stallman, inventor of the principles of Free/libre software and founder of the Free Software Foundation gave us the immense pleasure and honour of sitting down with us for an open discussion.

      Interviewed by Jérémie Zimmermann when he was still a full-time employee of La Quadrature du Net, Richard speaks in great length about surveillance and how to take back control of our communications, as well as about the future of the Internet and computing. Through the philosophy of Free/libre software he delivers his vision for better democratic processes and for a better society. He also brushes topics related to life, the Universe, and Everything ;)

    • US may block visas for Chinese hackers attending DefCon, Black Hat
    • Facebook Launches NSA-Style Auto-Eavesdropping Feature

      “I hope there are people who love the feature and post more,” says Facebook’s product manager excitedly about the new feature they just added. We suspect people will not… As The WSJ reports, starting Wednesday, the app has the ability to recognize music and television shows playing in the vicinity of users. Read that again… ‘in the vicinity of users’. In other words, Facebook is unveiling its own NSA-style eavesdropping feature (on you and all your friends). Don’t worry though… even if users decide not to share what they’re hearing or watching, Facebook will hold onto the data in anonymous form, keeping tabs on how many users watched particular shows. Sound familiar?

    • Hidden Cameras in Care Homes

      On Monday our acting director, Emma Carr, took part in a workshop organised by the Care Quality Commission on the topic of covert surveillance in care homes. The session was organised by Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the CQC, and she has shared her thoughts on the session which you can read here.

    • Austria Constant Partner of NSA: Journalist

      American journalist Glenn Greenwald has said in an interview with newspaper Der Standard on Monday that Austria “constantly” works together with the American National Security Agency (NSA).

      This came despite recent claims from Austrian Minister for Defence Gerald Klug that the two work together only “occasionally.”

    • Glenn Greenwald to publish list of U.S. citizens that NSA spied on

      Glenn Greenwald, one of the reporters who chronicled the document dump by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden via the U.K. press, now said he’s set to publish his most dramatic piece yet: The names of those in the United States targeted by the NSA.

      “One of the big questions when is comes to domestic spying is, ‘Who have been the NSA’s specific targets?’ Are they political critics and dissidents and activists? Are they genuinely people we’d regard as terrorists? What are the metrics and calculations that go into choosing those targets and what is done with the surveillance that is conducted? Those are the kinds of questions that I want to still answer,” Mr. Greenwald told The Sunday Times of London.

    • Greenwald’s Finale: Naming Victims of Surveillance

      The man who helped bring about the most significant leak in American intelligence history is to reveal names of US citizens targeted by their own government in what he promises will be the “biggest” revelation from nearly 2m classified files.

      Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who received the trove of documents from Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, told The Sunday Times that Snowden’s legacy would be “shaped in large part” by this “finishing piece” still to come.

    • Light Version of Oversight

      The USA Freedom Act passed by the House – advertised as ending bulk collection of Americans’ phone records under the Patriot Act – barely scratches the surface. Its main achievement: requiring the foreign intelligence court to vet N.S.A. selection terms used to sift through Americans’ phone, Internet and financial records. Sounds good, right? That’s because the N.S.A. talks about selection terms as being things like phone numbers or email addresses, suggesting that they are targeted at specific bad guys. But in negotiations, the administration insisted on leaving open the definition of selectors. As Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, explained, it is now “so vague that it could be used to collect all of the phone records in a particular area code, or all of the credit card records from a particular state.”

    • FreedomWorks working to stop the NSA

      A grassroots organization hopes its lawsuit related to the National Security Agency’s surveillance program will soon make its way to the Supreme Court.

      As a private citizen, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) in February joined with FreedomWorks, a conservative advocacy group, in filing a U.S. District Court lawsuit in the District of Columbia against President Obama and top intelligence officials over NSA surveillance.

    • NSA whistle blower says he is considering a move back home
    • Security Industry Fights Surveillance State with Words

      As posted originally on securitycurrent. Full disclosure per Forbes policy: All of the vendors mentioned in this post have been my clients for strategic advisory services during the last ten years.

      Cisco’s General Counsel Mark Chandler on May 13 reacted strongly to further news of NSA exploiting Cisco gear, sparked in part by the publication of Glenn Greenwald’s book on Snowden and the leaked documents.

    • The United States’ Global Surveillance Record

      In October 2012, President Obama signed Presidential Policy Directive 20, ordering America’s national security and intelligence officials to draw up a list of potential overseas targets for U.S. cyber-attacks. The directive also stated that what it called Offensive Cyber Effects Operations (OCEO) offered unique, unconventional capabilities to advance U.S. national objectives around the world, giving little or no warning to potential adversaries or targets.

    • Investigation confirms U.S. snooping activities against China: report

      A Chinese Internet information body on Monday said an investigation spanning several months has confirmed “the existence of snooping activities directed against China” as exposed by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

    • MEDIA WINDOW: Data pirates in the Caribbean

      THE U.S.NATIONAL Security Agency is secretly intercepting, recording, and archiving the audio of virtually every cell phone conversation on the island nation of the Bahamas says a TRANSCEND Media Service report.

    • NDP Wants Privacy, Security Experts To Probe Warrantless Data Gathering

      The federal New Democrats are calling for a group of independent experts to investigate warrantless data collection by the federal government.

      The Official Opposition says it also wants the group to recommend ways to ensure the privacy of Canadians is protected in the digital era.

    • U.S. conducts unscrupulous secret surveillance programs across world: report

      On March 29 this year, the German news magazine Der Spiegel, citing a secret document from Snowden, revealed that 122 world leaders were under NSA surveillance in 2009, and the agency maintained a secret database on world leaders which included 300 files on Merkel.

    • China report slams U.S. for ‘unscrupulous’ surveillance

      eijing accused the United States on Monday of “unscrupulous” cyber surveillance that included large-scale computer attacks against the Chinese government and Chinese companies.

      “America’s spying operations have gone far beyond the legal rationale of “anti-terrorism” and have exposed the ugly face of its pursuit of self-interest in complete disregard for moral integrity,” concluded a report prepared by the China Academy of Cyber Space.

    • Can I see what information the feds have on my travel?

      Lately I’ve been on something of a public records binge. I asked for records about my license plate reader data from local law enforcement agencies. I asked for complaint records from the Federal Trade Commission about a sketchy Bitcoin mining hardware maker. A few more requests are still pending.

    • Facebook Wants To Listen In On What You’re Doing

      Facebook is rolling out a new feature for its smartphone app that can turn on users’ microphones and listen to what’s happening around them to identify songs playing or television being watched. The pay-off for users in allowing Facebook to eavesdrop is that the social giant will be able to add a little tag to their status update that says they’re watching an episode of Games of Thrones as they sound off on their happiness (or despair) about the rise in background sex on TV these days.

    • John Faulkner voices spying fears after parliament CCTV captures meeting

      Senator seen in parliamentary footage being used to discipline government department employee

    • China Said to Push Banks to Remove IBM Servers for Security

      The Chinese government is pushing domestic banks to remove high-end servers made by International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and replace them with a local brand, according to people familiar with the matter, in an escalation of the dispute with the U.S. over spying claims.

  • Civil Rights

    • ‘Big money’ is backing Modi to end resistance, says Arundhati Roy
    • Fixing U.S. intervention capabilities in Cuba

      What people think seemingly has little effect on ending what Cubans say is the longest and cruelest economic blockade in human history. Polls show overall U.S. disapproval, Cuban-Americans included. The UN General Assembly has repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected the blockade. The prestigious Atlantic Council NGO recently disapproved. Former high-profile blockade defenders in Florida, notably gubernatorial candidate Charley Crist and Cuban-American sugar baron Alfonso Fajul, changed their thinking. U.S. food producers, Illinois corn producers most recently, have called for new regulatory arrangements allowing exports to expand.

    • Nazis Attack City Hall in Dortmund, Germany
    • FBI chief says anti-marijuana policy hinders the hiring of cyber experts

      FBI cyber recruits “want to smoke weed on the way to the interview,” Comey says.

    • Journalist Calls for Accountability in Police Killings

      When one thinks about law enforcement, it’s safe to assume that its purpose is to ensure the compliance of the law; its purpose is to serve the greater good of its people. If the law and government fail to give justice to its citizens, then what good is it? The government is meant to provide a set of rules for people to adhere to and when not obliged, there are consequences for that action. Under the government there are police who are there to oversee that the law is being followed. So why is it that when the police are killing innocent people, they are not being punished as equally as regular civilians? Is it that the badge or title plays a role in how severe the punishment is, or that the police even get punished at all? Is the badge a “get out of jail free card”?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Europe’s Pirate Parties are sinking, but they’ve already won

        The 2014 European elections haven’t been kind to the various Pirate Parties, which campaign for digital rights, free speech and decriminalisation of filesharing. In their native Sweden, the Pirates lost both their MEPs, dropping from a 7.1 percent vote share to just 2.2 percent. In Finland where high-profile activist Peter Sunde was campaigning, the party balloted just 0.7 percent. In Britain, the three Pirate Party candidates secured just 8,597 votes combined — just 0.5 percent

        [...]

        Despite the movement’s founder and loudest voice, Rick Falkvinge, claiming on his blog that the results are a “strong improvement”, it’s clear that this is a bit of a washout for the European Pirates. Their gains in Sweden in 2009 came in the wake of the the high-profile trial of the founders of the Pirate Bay, but it’s impossible to argue that 2013′s Snowden revelations and recent renewed interest in net neutrality wouldn’t push traditional Pirate issues towards the forefront of voters’ minds in this election.

        [...]

        Once the dust has settled, the only cornerstone Pirate policy remaining will be a decriminalisation of filesharing. That’s unlikely to happen for the time being — the rapid growth of legal streaming services is increasingly rendering filesharing irrelevant, and the entertainment industry’s arguments that it could kill their fledgling attempts to manage the digital transition seem to hold water with most politicians.

        [...]

        Pirate Parties may have had a terrible election but, in Europe at least, Pirate politics is here to stay.

      • Pirate Party Keeps a Seat At The European Parliament

        A few hours after all polling booths across Europe closed, it now becomes clear that the Pirate Party has kept a seat at the European Parliament. The results show that the Pirates won one seat in Germany. That’s also the only one, although the Czech Republic Pirates came awfully close.

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