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07.02.14

Links 2/7/2014: GNU/Linux up in Steam, New GCHQ Lawuit

Posted in News Roundup at 5:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 things to consider when building an open source community

    At Kaltura, we took the open source road partly because of curiosity and passion, and partly because we entered a market where competition was already getting fierce and there was a clear lack of an open source and standards oriented solution.

  • Exclusive: Leaked ‘Inception’ Document Fleshes Out Open-Source NFV Plans

    Plans for an open-source NFV platform are moving forward, as leading carriers and vendors in the NFV movement were scheduled to hold an “inception meeting” Monday and Tuesday.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox and Gtk+ 3

        Folks from Collabora and Red Hat have been working on making Firefox on Gtk+ 3 a thing. See Emilio’s blog post for some recent update. But getting Firefox to build and run locally is unfortunately not the whole story.

        I’ve been working on getting Gtk+ 3 Firefox builds going on Mozilla build infrastructure, and I’m proud to announce today that those builds are now going through Mozilla continuous integration on a project branch: Elm, and receive the same automated testing as mozilla-central.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • 6 fresh guides for managing OpenStack

      Looking for a guide to walk you through the creation, care and upkeep of your open source cloud running OpenStack? We’ve collected some of our favorite tutorials and technical how-tos from the past month all here in one place. Be sure to visit the official documentation for OpenStack if you need further guidance.

    • BYO-LHC: Bring Your Own Large Hadron Collider

      Rackspace’s involvement with OpenStack and CERN at the Large Hadron Collider surfaced again late last month when the cloud hosting provider staged a London-based gathering to discuss what, when and where its cloud hosting intelligence is being deployed.

    • How a little open source project came to dominate big data
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • 3 open source tools to make your presentations pop

      Love them or hate them, presentations are a major part of life in both academia and business. Traditionally, creating a presentation meant using Microsoft’s PowerPoint, but Apple’s Keynote and LibreOffice/OpenOffice.org’s Impress are solid alternatives. The problem with all those applications (aside from the closed source nature of the first two) is that you need those applications installed in order to view the presentations you’ve created. You can try your luck opening the file in Google Drive or the like, but your success will vary.

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • ARM Jumps on Open-Source Sensors

        ARM Semiconductors announced last week it would jump into the open-source sensor hubs game by teaming with sensor algorithm company Sensor Platforms to produce an open-source software for sensor hub applications. Sensor Platform’s Open Sensor Platform (OSP) is designed to simplify the use of sensors in applications and hardware by providing a flexible framework for more sophisticated interpretation and analysis of sensor data.

      • Creating an Open-Source Multiband RC Transmitter
  • Programming

    • Big data influencer on how R is paving the way

      Revolution Analytics supports the R community and the ever-growing needs of commercial users. Recently named a top 10 influencer on the topic of Big Data, I asked David Smith, the Chief Community Officer at Revolution Analytics, to share with me what keeps this programming language ticking. Though R has been around since the 90s, released in 1995 as under GPLv2 by two statistics professors looking to develop a new language for statistical computing, a new breath of life has energized a rowdy team of innovators around R.

    • SparkR is an R package that enables the R programming language to run inside of the Spark framework in order to manipulate the data for analytics.

      SparkR is an R package that enables the R programming language to run inside of the Spark framework in order to manipulate the data for analytics.

    • Trying out Julia

      This is a fairly quick post, though I previously considered making it longer and more trollish. A handful of my friends have told me about Julia, the amazing programming language made for numerical computations and other scientific computing uses.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Serverless WebRTC, continued

      Around a year ago, in WebRTC without a signaling server, I presented an simple app that can start a chat session with another browser without involving a local file server (i.e. you just browse to file:///) and without involving a signaling server (instead of both going to the same web page to share “offers”, you share them manually, perhaps via IM).

Leftovers

  • Who Goes to an Azov Battalion Charity Concert? Here’s 10.

    The Azov Battalion was formed on May 5th, 4 days later they were involved in still one of the most shocking actions of this Ukraine crisis, the Mariupol massacre. They were the battalion sent out of the Mariupol police hq first, into the streets, shooting, killing unarmed civilians. Since then, involvement in further atrocities across the former east of Ukraine has had them labelled ‘men in black’ (their uniform is all black, unmarked), even a ‘death squad‘. Part of their funding reportedly comes from oligarch Igor Kolomoisky. How many of them are there? Some have reported 70, but the group itself are secretive about exact numbers, with speculation it could be in the hundreds. Their official Facebook page has over 8000 ‘likes’.

  • The Risk of a Ukraine Bloodbath

    Pressured by neocons and the mainstream U.S. media, the Obama administration is charting a dangerous course by seeking a military solution to Ukraine’s political crisis and possibly provoking Moscow to intervene to protect ethnic Russians, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern warns.

  • Asylum seekers in standoff with police at Berlin protest

    Kreuzberg, the heart of countercultural Berlin, is no stranger to protests. But a tense standoff between police and protesters over the past six days has set a new standard.

    Since last Wednesday, hundreds of police officers have been surrounding a former school building in which a group of mainly African asylum seekers are protesting against their treatment in Germany.

    On Monday morning, around 20 officers lined up behind barricades on the junction of Ohlauer and Reichenberger Strasse, some of them deep in conversation with locals who wanted to get trolleys full of food and medicine through to the protesters.

    The press are refused entry to the school building, allegedly because of a fire hazard.

    While some local politicians are trying to negotiate an agreement that would allow the asylum seekers to permanently remain in the building while their cases are being processed, Germany’s police union is advocating an evacuation of the building.

    In a call from the roof of the building, a 32-year-old Sudanese refugee who would only give his name as Adam said: “The police try to give the impression that we are criminals and crazy people, but we only want to fight for our rights.”

  • Mobile roaming charges halved as EU introduces new caps

    Call, text and data charges in more than 40 EU countries are slashed by European leaders

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Assault on Organics

      The New York Post loves a good villain, but you’d think it would be hard to cast a bad light on the group of people profiled in an April 19 story: moms who feed their kids organic food.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US Intimidated by Its Own Mercenaries

      Even the mightiest have their come-uppance when their internal logic spews out destructiveness returning on the self—“blowback” in a way perhaps not seen before. I refer to James Risen’s extraordinary article in the New York Times, “Before Shooting in Iraq, a Warning on Blackwater,” (June 30), in which the customary meaning of “blowback” refers to policies, e.g., the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, the “pivot” of military power to the Pacific intent on the encirclement, containment, isolation of China, produce unintended, or if intended, still unwelcome, consequences for the initiator of the policy or action.

    • Blackwater Iraqi chief threatened to kill US govt. inspector – newspaper
    • The Return of Ahmad Chalabi

      Back in 2004, US troops in Iraq raided Chalabi’s headquarters. The accusation: he had leaked classified US intelligence to the Iranians, letting them in on the secret that we had cracked Tehran’s interagency code. For years, Chalabi had been on the CIA payroll, but now it looked like he was in reality a double-agent acting on behalf of Iran. The real shocker, however, was that Chalabi had access to this kind of closely-guarded intelligence in the first place. The FBI wanted to know how the wily Iranian exile leader got his hands on the information.

    • Iraq invasion was a huge mistake: US Secretary of State

      US Secretary of State John Kerry has admitted that the US-led invasion of Iraq eleven years ago was a serious mistake.

    • U.S.-Jihadist Relations (Part 1): Creating the Mujahedin in Afghanistan

      To President Carter and Brzezinski, the end justified the means. The end goal was the collapse of the Soviet Union, and to achieve it, Islamist fundamentalists had to be used. Osama bin Laden and people like him were dispatched to Afghanistan to fight the “godless” communists. It was during this time that the Quran’s surah on jihad attracted attention.

    • So, You Think You Know Iraq? – OpEd

      Such is the absence of quality in the current debate on Iraq, that absent is the presence of British observers in the first elections, to nominate a Government for the Kurdish Autonomous Region, after the 1991 failed US/UK backed uprising to remove Saddam Hussain from power.

      The clear absence of such minor details, which any self respecting sociologist or politician would describe as vital, to the “cause and affect” of the current situation, has now resulted in a political narrative, which has excluded the internal and external Iraqi community.

    • Filing vague on Benghazi suspect’s role

      A legal filing prosecutors submitted in advance of a hearing set in federal court in Washington on Wednesday for Libyan militia leader Ahmed Abu Khatallah is vague about his role in the 2012 attack that killed four Americans at a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.

      Abu Khatallah was captured in Benghazi last month by U.S. military special forces and FBI personnel. He was brought across the Atlantic in a Navy ship before being helicoptered into Washington on Saturday morning for an arraignment in federal court on an indictment charging him with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists in connection with the assault on the U.S. compound two years ago.

    • Abu Khattala, suspect in Benghazi attacks, held without bond

      A suspected ringleader of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans was ordered held without bond during a Wednesday hearing in D.C. federal court.

    • Repeal the Bill Kristol Permanent Punditry Act!

      The only other possibility is that ABC is being forced to comply with a law that requires Bill Kristol appear on national television. If that’s not the excuse, then what is?

    • Crazed Bombers Support Bombs Shock

      Why “Establishment figures endorse status quo” is news beats me. The only news is that the estrangement of ordinary people from the moribund political establishment means nobody cares what these old troughers and sycophants think. In Scotland the referendum has given an impetus to a popular will to take back the power kidnaped by an unrepresentative political class. These old fogeys may need to have the power (with American permission) to kill billions of their human beings, in order to feel potent and important. But if they want to keep these appalling devices, they are going to have to look for somewhere new to keep them. The Pool of London?

    • Court Tells DOJ To Cough Up The Other Secret Memos That Justify Killing People By Drone

      Last week, we wrote about how the DOJ finally released (a heavily redacted) copy of its memo authorizing drone use for killing Americans (though, some have pointed out that the memo was written well after the US started trying to kill Americans with drones). More importantly, we noted that the memo actually pointed to another secret memo as part of the justification. It’s secret memo on top of secret memo, all the way down. The ACLU went back to court to see about getting its hands on that other memo, and the court has now ordered the DOJ to cough up any such memos related to killing people with drones. Specifically, the judge has ordered the DOJ to provide…

    • A Band-Aid Approach to Fixing the V.A.

      Despite promises from the Bush-43 administration that the Iraq War would pay for itself, the price tag keeps soaring with the predictable impact on V.A. hospitals struggling to care for wounded warriors. But the political solution has been to make a change at the top, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

    • Iraqi ‘Caliph’ on U.S. Kill List

      Currently, several hundred U.S. troops are providing security in Baghdad and assessing Iraq’s security needs, Dempsey said on NPR on June 28. The military is preparing “additional options” including the targeting of “high-value individuals,” he said.

    • McCain meets Syrian rebels, presses for military aid to fight ISIS

      Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) pressed for increasing aid to moderate rebel groups after meeting Syrian opposition leaders in Turkey Wednesday, warning that delays would “fuel the growing danger” to U.S. security.

      McCain said pro-Western Syrian forces were fighting a “two-front war” against both Syrian strongman Bashar Assad and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a Sunni militant group that has captured huge swaths of both countries.

    • US Court: Mexicans Can Sue Border Patrol Agent Who Killed Their Rock-Throwing Son

      The US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that the parents of Sergio Hernandez, a 15-year-old Mexican teenager who was shot and killed by Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mesa on June 7, 2010, could sue Mesa in U.S. civil court for alleged excessive use of force. This was a reversal of the initial judgment made in Mesa’s favor in the lower Western District Court in El Paso, TX.

    • Germany considers introducing armed drones
    • The era of American drone supremacy is fading – but the threat of drone multipolarity is real – and potentially endless

      However, though America has only deemed the UK fit to buy their UAVs, others, including Iran, whose drones patrol the same Iraqi skies as their US counterparts, have reverse engineered the unmanned aerial vehicle with relative ease.

    • Intel chairman: Drone strikes on Americans abroad ‘legitimate’

      Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said al Qaeda affiliated fighters targeting the U.S. should not be handled by the court system, regardless of whether they are American citizens.

    • America needs a rulebook

      Americans are troubled by the lack of accountability surrounding US use of targeted strikes far from traditional battlefields

    • Peace talks failure led to drone strikes: Report

      The London-based Bureau of Investigating Journalism quoting a source close to peace talks between the government and TTP said Islamabad had asked the US to stop drone strikes during the peace deal.

    • Win Mott: Deja Vu all over again for U.S. in Iraq

      7. We are still lost. The gates of hell are still wide open. You now understand what is happening. You are ahead of our leaders, of both parties, who in attempting to protect economic interests have lost any sense of foreign policy direction, or of the costs to America in blood and dollars. It is hard to believe that future U.S. leaders could make it worse, but it is possible.

    • Rachel Marsden: Is US being duped into funding jihadist startup?

      Unless the end goal is to foment Islamic terrorism from the Middle East to Southeast Asia, what exactly is this administration hoping to achieve? It’s getting its backside handed to it by the jihadist version of a startup, and Obama risks becoming its venture capitalist in chief.

    • US plans to increase airport security after new threat

      The US is reportedly planning to overhaul security at its airports and to demand its overseas partners do the same, after receiving intelligence that militant groups in the Middle East are preparing a new generation of non-metallic explosives that could be carried undetected on to commercial flights.

    • Rights activists protest ‘Human Rights Watch’

      Human rights activists marched from the New York Times offices to the Empire State Building — which houses Human Rights Watch — to protest both institutions as tools of the CIA, specifically in their role attacking the Bolivarian government of Venezuela.

    • Cuba Cooperated with US in Search for Missing Americans

      Starting 1998, the Cuban government provided the United States with intelligence to help it track down US citizens who had disappeared in the field during the Cold War, a former CIA agent revealed.

      Chip Beck, a retired CIA agent and former Department of State official, revealed that, between 1998 and 2001, he traveled to Cuba officially on five separate occasions to look for information on US citizens who had disappeared during missions in Indochina, Africa and Central America during the years of confrontation between the West and the communist bloc headed by the Soviet Union.

    • Cuba – down but not out

      The US still does not have formal diplomatic relations with Cuba and maintains an embargo that makes it illegal for US corporations to do business with Cuba.

    • EDITORIAL: Close loopholes, open documents

      Earlier this year, the CIA blocked the release of a decades-old internal report on the Bay of Pigs. It is hard to imagine why such information on a 1960s operation would not be public information now.

    • The death by drone memo: a throwback to U.S. terrorism in Nicaragua

      While the Contras claimed responsibility, to the Sandinistas such actions bore all the hallmarks of the CIA. Immediately, they lodged a formal complaint before the International Court of Justice.

      For its part, the State Department assured it had “no further information on the incident,” adding: “We have received a protest from the Soviet Union charging U.S. responsibility, and we reject that charge.”

      On April 8, unauthorized leaks revealed that the CIA (specifically, its so-called Unilaterally Controlled Latino Assets or UCLAs) had in fact been directly involved in laying these mines. As shown by a March 2, 1984 secret memorandum written by Oliver North, the agency had made prior arrangements asking the Contras to “take credit for the operation” to cover up its involvement.

    • Mercury News: Drones need better justification

      Thirteen months ago, during a speech at the National Defense University, President Barack Obama promised greater transparency and new guidelines for drone use as part of his counterterrorism strategy.

    • Thailand deports ex-resistance leader to Laos

      Thailand deported a former ethnic Hmong resistance leader whose group fought for the US in Laos in the 1960s, Thai officials and rights groups said Wednesday, raising concerns that he will face persecution in his homeland.

      Moua Toua Ter and fellow Hmong led a desperate existence on the run in the jungles of Laos for more than two decades. He had been sheltering in Thailand for eight years while seeking resettlement in a third country.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • How Business Media Covered “Risky Business” Climate Report

      Refusing to act on climate change will be bad for business, according to a major recent report assessing the alarming risks of unchecked global warming on the U.S. economy. But while some top business media outlets recognize global warming as a serious issue for their audience, others are still stuck in denial.

  • Finance

    • The AP’s Newest Business Reporter Is an Algorithm

      Journalistic earnings stories can feel robotic, even when written by a news organization as prestigious as the Associated Press. Acknowledging this fact, the AP has decided that it will just have robots produce stories on companies’ earning reports.

    • New Haven boy, 12, takes mission to end homelessness to Detroit’s streets

      The young boy smiles and looks into the eyes of the homeless man with bent shoulders and worn shoes.

      He carefully places a scoop of potato salad next to the grilled hot dog and beans on the man’s plate.

    • Editorial: Mentally ill, chronically homeless

      Even the most sequestered suburbanite visiting downtown Detroit can see that cuts in mental health services have pushed mentally ill people onto the street. During the day, more and more of them share the sidewalks with nicely dressed people who walk by them, often without a glance, on their way to the offices, lofts, condos, restaurants and clubs that signal Detroit’s downtown revival.

    • Neoliberalism’s Slippery Slope

      Freidman, as one of the founders of neoliberal thought, and theory, in the late 1940s, became synonymous with “monetarism” and eventually with “neoliberalism,” and as follows, significantly, very significantly, his theory spread all across the earth from the shores of Melbourne to Sri Lanka to Cape Town to Cape Horn to Tokyo; it’s a neoliberal world.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • 238 Years Later, Would Americans Still Choose Freedom Over Slavery?
    • Land of the free? Not so much. Americans’ sense of freedom drops, poll finds.

      This Independence Day, Americans will celebrate the nation’s core values, especially freedom. But according to a new international poll, Americans have become significantly “less satisfied with the freedom to choose what they want to do with their lives.”

      Seventy-nine percent of US residents are satisfied with their level of freedom, down from 91 percent in 2006, according to the Gallup survey, released Tuesday.

      That 12 point drop pushes the US from among the highest in the world in terms of perceived freedom to 36th place, outside the top quartile of the 120 countries sampled, trailing Paraguay, Rwanda, and the autonomous region of Nagarno-Karabakh.

    • The One-Sided Culture War Against Children

      Have a look at the unsigned editorials in left-of-center newspapers, or essays by columnists whose politics are mostly progressive. Listen to speeches by liberal public officials. On any of the controversial issues of our day, from tax policy to civil rights, you’ll find approximately what you’d expect.

    • Colleges are slowly taking away your First Amendment rights

      September 17 last year was a pretty bad day for the Constitution on our campuses. Robert Van Tuinen of Modesto Junior College in California was prevented from passing out copies of the Constitution outside of his college’s tiny “free speech zone.” Near Los Angeles, Citrus College student Vinny Sinapi-Riddle was threatened with removal from campus for the “offense” of collecting signatures for a petition against NSA domestic surveillance outside his college’s tiny free speech area.

    • Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush Totaled 672 Executive Orders. Obama has 182. Boehner’s Lawsuit is Frivolous.

      In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Ted Cruz accused the president of breaking the law by claiming, “Of all the troubling aspects of the Obama presidency, none is more dangerous than the president’s persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat.” Unfortunately for Sen. Cruz and like-minded citizens, there’s nothing unprecedented about Obama’s recent activities. According to C-Span’s Congressional Glossary, an executive order is defined as, “a presidential directive with the force of law. It does not need congressional approval.” While many conservatives have labeled Obama’s unilateral decisions as imperial, or the actions of a “monarch,” the truth is that U.S. history is filled with Republican presidents who have been far more willing to take matters into their own hands.

    • Why Congress and the CIA Are Feuding
    • CIA and Congress Clash Over Classified Report on Interrogation Program

      Partly as a result, relations between the CIA and Congress are more fraught than at any point in the past decade. The source of the tension is the Senate intelligence committee’s classified report on the CIA’s controversial post-9/11 interrogation program—and the agency’s response to it.

      [...]

      Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and chairman of the committee, was angry. The document was part of the committee’s investigation of the CIA interrogation program. Mr. Brennan’s investigation, she felt, was an affront to the Constitution’s separation of powers. She wanted an apology.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Nobody cares about the future of the Internet

      John Oliver told us that “If you want to do something evil, put it inside something that sounds incredibly boring,” and there’s no domain in which that is more true than the world of Internet governance.

    • Will a more powerful FCC ensure net neutrality? EFF thinks so!

      EFF has taken a U-turn from its stand on giving FCC too much power to regulate the internet services. Now EFF is recommending that FCC reclassify internet services as Title II services which will give the commission more power to regulate the industry.

    • The FCC and Net Neutrality: A Way Forward

      EFF has long been critical of the Federal Communications Commission’s efforts to regulate digital technologies and services. We’ve warned against FCC rules and strategies that threatened to (or actually did) give the agency too much power over innovation and user choice. And with good reason: the FCC has a sad history of being captured by the very industries it’s supposed to regulate. It also has a history of ignoring grassroots public opinion. In the early 2000s, for example, the commission essentially ignored the comments of hundreds of thousands of Americans who opposed media consolidation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Dotcom Encryption Keys Can’t Be Given to FBI, Court Rules

        In 2012, New Zealand police seized computer drives belonging to Kim Dotcom, copies of which were unlawfully given to the FBI. Dotcom wants access to the seized content but the drives are encrypted. A judge has now ruled that even if the Megaupload founder supplies the passwords, they cannot subsequently be forwarded to the FBI.

      • The Pirate Bay Now Blocked in Argentina

        Argentina has become the first country in Latin America to block The Pirate Bay on copyright grounds. A court order obtained by the country’s leading recording labels compels eleven ISPs to block 256 Pirate Bay IP addresses and 12 domains. According to early reports from the region, some ISPs have already implemented the ban.

      • The Troubling Truth of Why It’s Still So Hard to Share Files Directly

        It’s not always easy to spot the compromises in the technology we use, where we’ve allowed corporate interests to trump public ideals like privacy and press freedom. But sometimes new developments can cast those uneasy bargains into relief—and show that the public may not have even been at the table when they were made.

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