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Links 13/6/2014: Docker Hype, Manjaro 0.8.10

Posted in News Roundup at 5:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice


  • Public Services/Government

    • Extremadura health care has switched to open source

      The desktop computer systems of government healthcare organisations in the Spanish region of Extremadura all rely on free and open source software solutions. Over the past year, close to 10,000 computer workstations in public health care organisations have migrated to a customised version of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution.

  • Licensing

    • Zimbra moves to OSI-approved licensing for Zimbra Collaboration Open Source Edition

      Unified collaboration software vendor Zimbra announced the release of a beta version of Zimbra Collaboration 8.5 to the open source community under the GNU Public License V2 license. Calling it a “commitment to community-powered open source innovation,” company officials say the move is part of an overall plan to distribute future versions of the Zimbra Collaboration Open Source Edition under Open Source Initiative-approved licenses.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Stop the EMA Backsliding on Open Clinical Data [Updated]

      Back in April, I noted that we had potentially a big win in the form of the opening up of drug safety data in the light of recent scandals that have seen big pharma companies hiding adverse effects of their products, often with fatal results. As I warned, we weren’t there yet, since the drug companies really don’t want their dirty washing for all to see, and they have been lobbying extremely hard to water down the provisions.

    • The FLOK Society Project: Making The Good Life Possible Through Good Knowledge

      One of the most striking and important developments in the world of technology over the last two decades or so has been the rise of an alternative mode of production that is open, collaborative and global. This began in the world of software, with Richard Stallman’s GNU project, but has now been extended to the realms of text, data, science and hardware, among others. The free sharing of information to form a kind of digital commons, which lies at the heart of these projects, has also been applied to business, albeit in the modified form of collaborative consumption — things like Airbnb. These different manifestations of fundamentally similar ideas have sprung up in a largely uncoordinated way, but an interesting question is whether they could be drawn together into a unified approach, applied to a whole country, say. That’s what Ecuador’s FLOK Society (original in Spanish) has been exploring. “FLOK” is derived from “free”, “libre” and “open knowledge”; here’s how David Bollier, an expert on the commons, describes the project:

      The FLOK Society bills its mission as “designing a world for the commons.” The research project will focus on many interrelated themes, including open education; open innovation and science; “arts and meaning-making activities”; open design commons; distributed manufacturing; and sustainable agriculture; and open machining. The research will also explore enabling legal and institutional frameworks to support open productive capacities; new sorts of open technical infrastructures and systems for privacy, security, data ownership and digital rights; and ways to mutualize the physical infrastructures of collective life and promote collaborative consumption.


  • Trojan horse: never mind schools, what about the parents?

    Bad things have been happening in some Birmingham schools: children have been taught things that are hard to reconcile with the broader culture and values of the country in which they live and which provides them with that education. That’s the consensus at Westminster, and Politicians will spend the day arguing about who is to blame, how this happened and how it can be stopped from happening again. Was it Michael Gove? Or Ofsted? Or Birmingham council? Or the governors? Or a whole political class that tacitly endorses a doctrine of multiculturalism, while turning a blind eye to its more troubling consequences? Everyone will have their preferred mixture of answers, so I don’t intend to offer you mine here. Instead, there’s one group that’s curiously absent from the conversation here: parents.

  • Best Reporters On The Supreme Court Forced To Grovel Before Competitors To Prove They’re Worthy Of A Press Pass

    Back in April, we wrote about the travesty of the very best reporters on everything Supreme Court related, SCOTUSblog, still not having a press pass to the Supreme Court. The issue is somewhat complicated, in part because of the seriously arcane credentialing process involved. Basically, the Supreme Court looks kindly on reporters who already are credentialed by the Senate. But the Senate credentialing process involves the “Standing Committee of Correspondents” who get to decide who else to let in. The committee, basically, are journalists who have already been let into the club deciding who else can join them. When you set up a guild that lets you exclude innovative and disruptive players, guess what happens?

  • App Store and iTunes Store Currently Down for Some Users

    Issues seem to have begun this morning, as several users noted an inability to download the Skype app following its release. Some users attempting to download the app received a message indicating the app was no longer available for download.

  • Science

    • No, A ‘Supercomputer’ Did NOT Pass The Turing Test For The First Time And Everyone Should Know Better

      So, this weekend’s news in the tech world was flooded with a “story” about how a “chatbot” passed the Turing Test for “the first time,” with lots of publications buying every point in the story and talking about what a big deal it was. Except, almost everything about the story is bogus and a bunch of gullible reporters ran with it, because that’s what they do. First, here’s the press release from the University of Reading,

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding And Rejecting Science

      This report, co-published by DPA and MAPS, illustrates a decades-long pattern of behavior that demonstrates the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) inability to exercise its responsibilities in a fair and impartial manner or to act in accord with the scientific evidence. The report’s case studies reveal a number of DEA practices that maintain the existing, scientifically unsupported drug scheduling system and obstruct research that might alter current drug schedules. In addition to marijuana, the report also examines the DEA’s speed in moving to ban MDMA, synthetic cannabinoids, and synthetic stimulants. In contrast to the DEA’s failure to act in a timely fashion when confronted with evidence for scheduling certain drugs less severely, the agency has shown repeatedly that it can move quickly when it wants to prohibit a substance. The report recommends that responsibility for determining drug classifications and other health determinations should be completely removed from the DEA and transferred to another agency, perhaps even a non-governmental entity such as the National Academy of Sciences. The report also recommends the DEA should be ordered to end the federal government’s unjustifiable monopoly on the supply of research-grade marijuana available for federally approved research. No other drug is available from only a single governmental source for research purposes.

    • Pesticide and GMO Companies Spend Big in Hawai’i

      Hawai’i has become “ground zero” in the controversy over genetically modified (GMO) crops and pesticides. With the seed crop industry (including conventional as well as GMO crops) reaping $146.3 million a year in sales resulting from its activities in Hawai’i, the out-of-state pesticide and GMO firms Syngenta, Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Dow Chemical, BASF, and Bayer CropScience have brought substantial sums of corporate cash into the state’s relatively small political arena.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Exclusive: How FBI Informant Sabu Helped Anonymous Hack Brazil

      In early 2012, members of the hacking collective Anonymous carried out a series of cyber attacks on government and corporate websites in Brazil. They did so under the direction of a hacker who, unbeknownst to them, was wearing another hat: helping the Federal Bureau of Investigation carry out one of its biggest cybercrime investigations to date.

    • How an FBI informant orchestrated the Stratfor hack

      Sitting inside a medium-security federal prison in Kentucky, Jeremy Hammond looks defiant and frustrated.

    • The Blair Legacy

      It is now extremely difficult for the media to pretend that everything is OK in Iraq, bar the odd car bomb. The AL-Maliki regime has been in the remarkable position of being both pro-Iranian and supported by the West with masses of military hardware – substantial quantities of which is now in the hands of ISIS. I don’t expect Al-Maliki to fall soon, but his area of control is decreasing by the hour. Whether the Al-Maliki regime has been any less vicious than that of Saddam Hussein is arguable. Certainly there has been a great deal less social freedom in Iraq.

    • Iraq Is a Place Where Americans Suffered

      Raddatz went on to talk about ab out how more than 200 Americans had “given their lives to secure this city,” and that Mosul “is just the latest city to spiral out of control after the US pulled out”–which might suggest that Iraqi cities were in fine shape when they were occupied by US troops.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • BP Rejected by Supreme Court on Gulf Payments Reprieve

      BP Plc (BP/) must pay potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in claims after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to halt disputed payments stemming from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

      In a one-sentence order issued today, the justices said they wouldn’t put a hold on lower court rulings that require the oil company to begin making the payments, part of a $9.2 billion accord.

    • A Federal Response to Navy SEAL’s ‘Threat Assessment’ of Keystone XL

      Last week we reported on a former Navy SEAL chief named David Cooper who was hired by the nonprofit group NextGen Climate to determine how vulnerable the controversial final leg of the Keystone pipeline network might be to terrorism. In a 14-page report, Cooper determined that it would be “easy to execute a catastrophic attack” on the fourth segment of the pipeline system, based on a mock attack he carried out on the completed Keystone I, or Gulf Coast Pipeline, which came online in January. He went on to describe multiple scenarios for spills ranging from 1.02 to 7.24 million gallons of diluted bitumen, the viscous, toxic, low quality oil derived from Alberta’s tar sands.

  • Finance

    • Higher Coffee Prices Kick in at the Supermarket

      The moment to hoard cheap coffee beans has passed. The price of coffee futures peaked in April, and those higher commodity costs are now trickling down to grocery stores. J.M. Smucker (SJM) on Tuesday announced that it has increased the price of its packaged coffee, including the country’s best-selling brand, Folgers, as well as packaged Dunkin’ Donuts beans, by an average 9 percent.

    • GoDaddy files for $100m IPO

      According to its filing with the SEC, the web-hosting company had revenues of more than $1.1bn in 2013

    • Joe Klein on the Itchy Grievances of Minority Groups

      Or consult the 2012 State of Working America report from the Economic Policy Institute, which features a number of distressing statistics on black unemployment (consistently about twice as high for blacks as for whites, though it would be hard to say that there are “plenty” of jobs for anyone, with overall unemployment at 6.9 percent) and racial disparities in median family income.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Eastenders Threat to Scots

      The Guardian has just published its eighth article in three days pushing Gordon Brown’s views on independence. This one warns Scots they would not be able to watch the BBC after independence.

    • Was John Doe Raid Led by Republicans?

      The description of alleged “raids” of private homes in Wisconsin’s John Doe criminal dark money investigation has captured the imagination of Republicans across the country as supposed evidence of the investigation’s political motivations.

  • Privacy

    • Court: Warrantless Cell Location Tracking Is Unconstitutional

      A federal appeals court has for the first time said law enforcement can’t snoop on phone location records without a warrant

    • RT Interview — the anniversary of Edward Snowden

      Here is an inter­view I did on 5th June, the anniversary of the start of Edward Snowden’s dis­clos­ures about the global sur­veil­lance infra­struc­ture that is being built.

    • The Government Can No Longer Track Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant

      The government and police regularly use location data pulled off of cell phone towers to put criminals at the scenes of crimes—often without a warrant. Well, an appeals court ruled today that the practice is unconstitutional, in one of the strongest judicial defenses of technology privacy rights we’ve seen in a while.

    • US pushing local cops to stay mum on surveillance

      US pushing local police departments to keep quiet on cell-phone surveillance technology

    • 12 Hidden Tricks Advertisers Use to Sell You Stuff

      Marc Andrews wrote Hidden Persuasion to highlight the various methods advertisers use to lure us in. Here the World Wildlife Fund uses anthropomorphism to establish an emotional connection with users. The lion is experiencing secondary emotions (shame, disbelief), which are thought to be distinctly human. This make us feel closer to the animal, thus more likely to donate.

    • James Clapper Admits What Everyone’s Been Saying For Months: Snowden Didn’t Take 1.7 Million Documents

      You know, you’d think that the “intelligence community” would be a bit more intelligent. As we’ve discussed many, many times, nearly all of the estimates of “harm” concerning Ed Snowden’s actions were based on the faulty assumption that he “took” (and revealed) every document he ever “touched” while at NSA — somewhere around 1.7 million (sometimes referred to as 1.5 million, but then upped to 1.7 million). Except that two of the reporters who got the documents, Glenn Greenwald and Ewan MacAskill, have both said from the very beginning that it was about 60,000.

    • The Top 5 Claims That Defenders of the NSA Have to Stop Making to Remain Credible
    • Facebook to add advertising to Instagram in Canada

      Facebook Inc.’s photo-sharing application Instagram will add advertising in Canada, the U.K. and Australia later this year.

    • Dropping Docs On Darknets: How People Got Caught

      Most of you have probably used Tor before, but I2P may be unfamiliar. Both are anonymization networks that allow people to obfuscate where their traffic is coming from, and also host services (web sites for example) without it being tied back to them. This talk will give an overview of both, but will focus on real world stories of how people were deanonymized. Example cases like Eldo Kim & the Harvard Bomb Threat, Hector Xavier Monsegur (Sabu)/Jeremy Hammond (sup_g) & LulzSec, Freedom Hosting & Eric Eoin Marques and finally Ross William Ulbricht/“Dread Pirate Roberts” of the SilkRoad, will be used to explain how people have been caught and how it could have been avoided.

    • Ars tests Internet surveillance—by spying on an NPR reporter

      On a bright April morning in Menlo Park, California, I became an Internet spy.

      This was easier than it sounds because I had a willing target. I had partnered with National Public Radio (NPR) tech correspondent Steve Henn for an experiment in Internet surveillance. For one week, while Henn researched a story, he allowed himself to be watched—acting as a stand-in, in effect, for everyone who uses Internet-connected devices. How much of our lives do we really reveal simply by going online?


      The experiment unfolded in two phases. In the first, we simply observed Henn’s normal Internet traffic. In the second, Henn, Porcello, and I stopped the broad surveillance of Henn and turned our tools on specific traffic created by leading Web applications and services. Here’s what we found.

  • Civil Rights

    • US bars British environmentalist on allegations it admits are unfounded

      The Telegraph has obtained documents that raise questions on US treatment of John Stewart, a key campaigner against Heathrow’s third runway, who the US said had threatened Barak Obama

    • UK Plans To Bring In Life Sentences For ‘Serious Cyberattacks’

      Much of this is the kind of activity carried out in the form of attacks sponsored by governments outside the UK — or, as in the case of the NSA, directly by those governments. Despite the recent grandstanding by the US when it filed criminal charges against members of the Chinese military whom it accuses of espionage, there is little hope of ever persuading the main players to hand over their citizens for trial, so the new UK law will be largely ineffectual against the most serious threats.

    • Boris Johnson to buy three water cannon for Metropolitan police

      London mayor justifies the speed of the £218,000 purchase by saying the machines are needed in case of disorder this summer

    • News from Caroline Pidgeon: “Mayor’s obsession with changing the culture of British policing beggars belief”
    • Taxi drivers to bring London to a standstill over Uber app

      Up to 12,000 black-cab drivers expected to block traffic in central London with cabbies in Europe staging similar protests


      The streets of half a dozen European capitals will be jammed by strikes on Wednesday, as licensed cabbies in Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Milan and Lisbon join their London colleagues in demonstrating against a technology that threatens their livelihood.

      Uber is one of a wave of new apps, which also include Hailo and Kabbee, that allows users to see the nearest registered cars and hail them from their smartphone. The services are particularly popular with private-hire drivers, who now have an advantage over licensed drivers.

    • My view on today’s taxi protests and what it means for the sharing economy
    • Israeli Abuse of Palestinian Children

      This is a heartrending documentary from Australia’s national broadcaster, ABC. The terrible fate of the Palestinians at the hands of a world which has accepted the ludicrous claim to a religious Israeli right to their land is incomprehensible in a rational world. The brutality of Israeli soldiers, motivated by views of racial and religious superiority, towards children is sickening.

    • Crossfire Clueless on Israeli Occupation

      There is just one problem with demanding an apology over this: The West Bank is currently under Israeli occupation. This was true whenever Clinton made her first visit. So the CNN host is demanding to know whether Clinton will apologize for saying something perfectly accurate.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Netflix refuses to comply with Verizon’s “cease and desist” demands

      Netflix will keep telling customers that ISPs are to blame for bad video.

    • Cable companies duped community groups into fighting net neutrality

      Last week, it transpired that the big cable companies were bankrolling fake consumer groups like Broadband for America and The American Consumer Institute. These “independent consumer advocacy groups” are, in truth, nothing of the sort, and instead represent the interests of its benefactors, in the fight against net neutrality. If that wasn’t bad enough, VICE is now reporting that several of the real community groups (oh, and an Ohio bed-and-breakfast) that were signed up as supporters of Broadband for America were either duped into joining, or were signed up to the cause without their consent or knowledge.

    • Comcast is turning your Xfinity router into a public Wi-Fi hotspot [Updated]

      Some time on Tuesday afternoon, about 50,000 Comcast Internet customers in Houston will become part of a massive public Wi-Fi hotspot network, a number that will swell to 150,000 by the end of June.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • RIAA Revenue Drops to Record Low

        The RIAA’s latest tax filings reveal that the anti-piracy group’s revenue has hit a record low as membership dues from record labels continue to decline. But despite the downward trend RIAA CEO Cary Sherman received nearly $500,000 in bonuses in addition to his million dollar salary.

      • Megaupload Cases Put on Hold, But Asset Freezing Still an Option

        A United States District Court Judge has just granted Kim Dotcom’s request to put the MPAA and RIAA civil actions against him on hold . The reprieve, which will last seven weeks, expressly allows the entertainment companies the freedom to freeze Dotcom’s assets anywhere in the world if that is deemed necessary.

      • Why the Mana-Internet alliance is a potential game breaker

        His real “crime” as far as the Hollywood moguls are concerned is for doing something he hasn’t yet been convicted of any crime for – establishing Megaupload Ltd. Wikipedia describes it as follows: “Megaupload was a file hosting and sharing online service in which users could share links to files for viewing or editing….. The company was successful. However, millions of people from across the globe used Megaupload to store and access copies of TV shows, feature films, songs, porn, and software. Eventually it had over 150 employees, US$175 million revenues, and 50 million daily visitors. At its peak Megaupload was estimated to be the 13th most popular site on the internet and responsible for 4% of all internet traffic.”

      • Another Fair Use Victory for Book Scanning in HathiTrust

        Fair use enjoyed a major victory in court today. In Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a decision that strongly underscores a fair use justification for a major book scanning program. For those counting along at home, today’s decision marks another in a serious streak of judicial findings of fair use for mass book digitization, including Authors Guild v. Google, Cambridge University Press v. Becker, and the district court opinion in the HathiTrust case itself.

      • Rise Up Against Govt Anti-Piracy Plans, ISP Urges

        An ISP that won a prolonged legal battle against a Hollywood-affiliated anti-piracy group has rejected plans to introduce three strikes and site blocking. Today, ISP iiNet is also urging citizens to pressure the government and fight back against the “foreign interests” attempting to dictate Australian policy.

      • “You could be liable for $150k in penalties—settle instead for $20 per song”

        Growing copyright cop Rightscorp hopes to be a profitable alternative to “six strikes.”

      • Google Joins New Coalition to Stop Ad Revenue to Pirate Sites

        An announcement later this week will confirm Google as a member of a new coalition to cut off “pirate” sites from their ad revenue. Following similar initiatives in the U.S. and UK, a Memorandum of Understanding between the online advertising industry and the music and movie industries in Italy will signal a creation of a central body to tackle the piracy issue.

      • MPAA: Consumer Right to Resell Online Videos Would Kill Innovation

        The MPAA is concerned that innovation in the film industry will be ruined if consumers get the right to resell movies and other media purchased online. Responding to discussions in a congressional hearing this week, the MPAA warns that this move would limit consumer choices and kill innovation.

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