Links 6/8/2014: Linux 3.17 Features, Ubuntu in India

Posted in News Roundup at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Spotted in the Wild, Perfect Linux, and Six Cool Distros

    Today in Linux news, Christine Halls strolls down memory lane to a time when real men still wrote their own drivers and backups were for sissies. Tecmint.com has six cool distributions for your older PC and a couple of favorites were spotted out in the world doing real work. One blogger writes of his year without Windows and there are several interesting gaming notes. We have all this and lots more on this Monday, August 04, 2014.

  • Ladislav Bodnar Reports On Some Web Stats

    His numbers for browsers are even more startling. Even those who use that other OS to visit these sites are using M$’s browser only a few percent, 9% on Wikipedia but only 2.7% on Distrowatch. The world of FLOSS and */Linux has come a long way and the popularity of Free Software amongst the technologically literate is spreading to the mainstream of ordinary users of IT. Two of the greatest lock-ins that M$ developed are fading rapidly.

  • The Connected Car, Part 1: The Future Starts Now – Will Linux Drive It?

    The Age of the Connected Car is dawning. The Linux Foundation is positioning an open source Linux OS to take the front seat in steering carmakers to adopting Automotive Grade Linux, or AGL, as the engine driving all in-car electronics.

    Today’s automobile has from 60 to 100 sensors to control everything from climate to airbags and dozens of vehicle components. Carmakers expect that number to double as cars get smarter. The so-called “smartcar” will use these sensors to do much more than give the driver a hands-free option for changing lanes, breaking and parking.

    Today’s new cars have options for Internet connectivity and can connect to applications for entertainment, vehicle service and maintenance. These connected cars can use apps on smartphones and tablets to provide driving services such as directions, traffic reports, motel and restaurant locators, and much more. They can do it independently of any hard-wired navigational or entertainment system the carmaker provides.

  • Desktop

    • The cloud might be the key to the triumph of desktop Linux

      There’s no denying the power and utility value of the cloud. We all use it and it’s certainly something that most Linux users can appreciate. However, I disagree with the basic premise of the article that Linux “Linux needs…a major win in the desktop arena.” Why? Linux is alive and well, and doing just fine without having tons of desktop market share.

      I’m not sure where this obsession with market share comes from, but I think it’s an altogether unhealthy thing. And it’s particularly bad when you consider that mobile devices have been chipping away steadily at desktop usage across all platforms. I’d much rather see Linux offer more mobile device options than trying to go on some quixotic quest to gain desktop market share when most users are moving away from the desktop anyway.

      The author uses Chromebooks as an example, and I can understand his affection for them. For what they do they are fine computing devices, and their popularity can’t be questioned at this point (as always see Amazon’s list of bestselling laptops to see just how popular they are right now). But we already have Chromebooks, so why do we need a Linux “cloudbook?”

    • Chrome OS Dev gets improved Gallery and Files app features

      Running on the latest Chrome OS Dev version? Google recently published a few new changes to the Gallery and Files apps.

  • Server

    • Docker Sells Its dotCloud Legacy to PaaS Vendor

      Docker sells its platform-as-a-service business to cloudControl to ensure that “dotCloud PaaS customers have a good home with an experienced PaaS provider.”

      The popular open-source Docker container virtualization technology was born inside a company originally known as dotCloud. Docker Inc. today announced that it is shedding its legacy and selling the dotCloud business to German platform-as-a-service vendor cloudControl. Financial terms of the deal are not being publicly disclosed.

    • What does Docker provide if not virtualization?

      Let me start by saying this is absolutely not a Docker bashing article. I actually love Docker, and I think it is an outstanding piece of software that will have great success. But I have to confess, I’m not sure that it deserves the virtualization moniker that so many in the industry are hanging on it.

    • Docker comes to openSUSE

      Docker is more popular in enterprise data centers and clouds now than ice-cream on a hot summer day in a day-care center. So, it comes as no surprise that openSUSE, SUSE’s community Linux distribution, has adopted Docker as well.

    • Dockerizing nginx
    • Cumulus Linux Network OS Brings Modern Data Center Networking to the Enterprise

      Cumulus® Linux® 2.2 brings greater flexibility, simplified operations and end-to-end resiliency along with a new hardware architecture and new ecosystem solutions

  • Kernel Space

    • A Haiku Poem Dedicated to Systemd
    • Linux Foundation Opens Submissions for 2014 Linux Training Scholarship Program
    • Linux Foundation offers training scholarships

      The Linux Foundation has opened submissions for its 2014 Linux Training Scholarship Program to fund classes in topics including embedded Linux and Yocto.

      The Linux Training Scholarship Program awards free tuition to Linux Foundation training courses for the most promising Linux developers, IT professionals, and students who lack the ability to attend. Last year, nearly 700 applications were received for the Linux Training Scholarship Program, says the not-for-profit Linux Foundation (LF). The average age of the submitter was said to be 25 years-old.

    • Linux Kernel Shuffling Zombie Juror aka 3.16 released

      Linus Torvalds has announced the release of Linux kernel 3.16 codenamed ‘Shuffling Zombie Juror’, which brings many notable improvements.

    • LinuxCon and CloudOpen to include Linux Quiz Show, 5K Fun Run and more

      The Linux Foundation has announced a host of onsite exciting activities to go along with information-packed keynotes, co-located events, conference sessions and more taking place at LinuxCon and CloudOpen North America August 20-22, 2014 at the Sheraton, Chicago.

    • The Companies that Support Linux: Daynix Consults on Cloud and Virtualization Technologies

      The modern data center is rapidly evolving, with the advent of cloud computing bringing new technologies, tools and best practices. As enterprises seek to understand and take advantage of emerging areas in virtualization and the cloud such as software-defined networking and storage, microservers and containers, many are seeking third-party consultants and services to ease the transition.

      Daynix is a software development and consulting company based in Israel that helps companies navigate this new world of cloud infrastructure and virtualization. Its services range from hypervisors and paravirtualized devices development to cloud infrastructure. The company also works closely with open source communities on cloud-related technologies, which are rooted in Linux.

    • Linux 3.16 final released; Linux 3.17 merge window timing ‘sucks’

      Following a rather quiet week and ‘nothing particularly exciting’ after release of Linux 3.16-rc7, Linus Torvalds has pushed out Linux 3.16 final.

    • Shuffling Zombie Juror – aka Linux kernel 3.16 – wants to eat … ARMs?

      You’ll be excited by 3.16 if you’re keen to run Linux on Samsung’s Exynos or other ARM SoCs. Those keen on ARM CPUs as data centre alternatives to x86 will be pleased to note work to help Xen virtual machines suspend and resume. There’s also a boot-from-firmware feature on ARM.

    • F2FS Gains New Features With Linux 3.17

      The Samsung supported Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) will sport some new functionality with the Linux 3.17 kernel release.

    • DMA-BUF Cross-Device Synchronization Hits Linux 3.17

      The work that was ongoing for months to provide DMA-BUF cross-device synchronization and fencing is finally landing with the Linux 3.17 kernel.

      The patches by Maarten Lankhorst for DMA-BUF cross-device synchronization were up to eighteen revisions and are now finally in a condition to be merged with Linux 3.17 via the driver core subsystem pull. DMA-BUF has now proper fence and poll support along with other new functionality that affects many different kernel drivers. For Phoronix readers, one of the benefits of DMA-BUF cross-device synchronization is to reduce tearing when sharing buffers between multiple GPU DRM drivers.

    • 14 Staging Drivers Get Nuked From Linux 3.17

      Over 200,000 lines of code is being removed from the Linux 3.17 kernel in the staging subsystem due to the removal of a bunch of old, unmaintained drivers.

      Greg Kroah-Hartman shared that with the staging driver patches for Linux 3.17, there’s over 39,000 new lines of code while over 254,000 lines have been removed. The big code delta comes from 14 different drivers being removed that were “obsolete and no one was willing to work on cleaning them up.”

    • AMD Radeon Graphics Get Many Changes For Linux 3.17

      The Radeon DRM driver changes have been published for queuing into drm-next before hitting the mainline Linux 3.17 kernel tree.

      Among the exciting work to be found for the AMD Radeon graphics kernel driver in Linux 3.17 include:

      - Good Hawaii support for the AMD Radeon R9 290 series. The R9 290/290X should now work with the open-source driver at long last, but besides Linux 3.17 you’ll need newer microcode files and also the latest Gallium3D code. Once 3.17-rc1 has been tagged, I’ll move ahead with my open-source Radeon Hawaii benchmarks on the R9 290.

      - Support for a new firmware format to make updates easier to manage.

    • Malevolent Developer Trolls Linux Kernel Development with Lots of Broken Patches
    • Input Drivers Get Renewed For Linux 3.17

      The HID (Human Interface Device) pull request was sent in this morning for the Linux 3.17 merge window.

      Jiri Kosina’s HID pull request for Linux 3.17 features the following prominent work:

      - The Sony HID driver features improved support for the SIXAXIS device support. The SIXAXIS gamepad line was part of the original Sony PlayStation 3.

    • Linux 3.17 Adds Support For Intel “Braswell” HD Audio
    • Graphics Stack

      • Radeon Gallium3D Is Running Increasingly Well Against AMD’s Catalyst Driver

        After last week running new Nouveau vs. NVIDIA proprietary Linux graphics benchmarks, here’s the results when putting AMD’s hardware on the test bench and running both their latest open and closed-source drivers. Up today are the results of using the latest Radeon Gallium3D graphics code and Linux kernel against the latest beta of the binary-only Catalyst driver.

        Similar to the NVIDIA GeForce tests of last week, on the open-source side was the Linux 3.16 kernel with Mesa 10.3-devel and other updated graphics user-space using the Oibaf PPA on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS x86_64. When benchmarking the proprietary Catalyst 14.6 Beta driver from mid-July, we had to pull back to the Linux 3.14 kernel for kernel compatibility with this binary blob release.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • The Linux desktop-a-week review: MATE

      One thing that MATE has in common with both Enlightenment and Awesome is the general peppiness. Everything in MATE is just plain snappy and light on resource usage. And you could say that memory/CPU usage isn’t a huge deal with modern hardware. But, in my testing on this i5 with 8 gigs of RAM, MATE is so much more responsive than GNOME Shell, KDE or Unity that it’s just plain silly.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt Creator 3.2 RC1 Is Out

        Qt Creator 3.2 rolls in new functionality while this release candidate delivers on the last of the fixes and tacking on some extra features. Among the extras found in Qt Creator 3.2 RC1 include more panes that are searchable, QBS plug-in now supports adding/removing files from projects, and the C++ code mode lhas received additional fixes.

      • Image Manipulation Software digiKam 4.2.0 Brings a Couple of New Features

        Famous digital photo management application for KDE and Linux digiKam 4.2.0, which includes an image editor for photo corrections and manipulation, is now available for download.

      • digiKam Software Collection 4.2.0 released…

        As usual, we have worked hard to close your reported issues since the previous stable release 4.1.0. A list of the issues closed in digiKam 4.2.0 is available through the KDE Bugtracking System.

      • A Wallpaper Plugin Demo For Plasma 5.

        As part of the core Plasma team I have spent a long time helping in the migration to make everything QtQuick2.0 based, making sure we get the most out of the OpenGL backing.

        This weekend I wanted to make some sort of demo which shows the power of this in the form of an interactive wallpaper.

      • luajit2 backend for Cantor

        I am happy to announce the new luajit2 backend for Cantor, that will be released with KDE 4.14. If you haven’t heard of Cantor yet, it is a KDE application that provides a notebook-like frontend for various programming languages, with a mathematical and scientific focus.

      • Go code completion plugin for Kate

        I’ve wrote a simple plugin for KTextEdit (Kate, KDevelop, and other programs that uses the KDE text editor component) that provides code completion for Go, by using gocode as backend.

      • Monday Report: Application Design

        Besides these application the VDG is also working with developers (or without) on an image viewer and a video player. Besides that we want to make slight improvements to key areas of Plasma 5 e.g. the system tray. As you can see there’s still much to do, but we’re pleased with the progress made so far.

      • [Krita] The votes are in!

        Every backer who pledged 25 euros or more had a chance to vote for their favorite feature — and the now the votes are in and have been tallied up! Here are the twelve features that Dmitry will be working on for Krita 2.9:

      • Coming up: excitement and work

        First, many of us will be taking off this week for Randa, Switzerland. Many sprints are taking place simultaneously, and the most important to me is that we’re writing another book. Book sprints are fun, and lots of work! As well as the team in Randa, a few people will be helping us write and edit from afar, and I’ll be posting a link soon so that you can help out as well.

      • Qt Creator 3.2 RC1 Is Now Ready for Download and Testing

        Qt Creator 3.2 RC1, a cross-platform IDE (integrated development environment) tailored to the needs of Qt developers and part of the Qt Project, is now available for download and testing.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Sonar GNOME 2014.1 Is a Linux OS Built for People with Impairments – Gallery

        Sonar GNOME 2014.1, a Linux distribution based on Manjaro and Arch Linux and developed specifically for people with various impairments, has been released and is now available for download.

      • MATE 1.8.1 Now Available in the openSUSE Repositories
      • Builder — a new IDE specifically for GNOME app developers

        One of the many interesting things covered in Jiří’s coverage of this years GUADEC was GNOME Builder — an IDE that will focus purely on GNOME applications, with a goal of making it “Dead Simple”. Jiří’s post about day 4 at GUADEC covers the content of Christian Hergert’s talk about Builder (including him announcing the brave step of quitting his day job to work on it). While there are other IDEs in Fedora (like Adjuta and Eclipse) that can be used for development on the GTK+GNOME stack, none of these are focused purely on development of this type.

  • Distributions

    • Screenshots

    • Arch Family

      • How to easily install AUR packages in Arch Linux

        Arch Linux is one of the best GNU/Linux based distributions out there which give ‘full’, and I mean total, control to its users. There is no company behind it which may have to make compromises with what its users want vs what it needs to be able to monetize from the product; Arch is purely community driven project.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Rating Lowered to Buy at Wells Fargo & Co. (RHT)

        A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on RHT. Analysts at RBC Capital raised their price target on shares of Red Hat from $64.00 to $70.00 in a research note on Friday. Separately, analysts at Susquehanna upgraded shares of Red Hat from a neutral rating to a positive rating in a research note on Friday. They now have a $70.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $57.00. Finally, analysts at TheStreet upgraded shares of Red Hat to a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 9th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eighteen have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $63.48.

      • How to think like open source pioneer Michael Tiemann

        Ancient Greece had its Great Explainers, one of whom was Plato. The open source community has its Great Explainers, one of whom is Michael Tiemann.

        Several thousand feet in the air, in a conference room on the 10th floor of Red Hat’s Raleigh, NC headquarters, Tiemann is prognosticating. The place affords the kind of scope he relishes: broad, sweeping, stretched to a horizon that (this morning, anyway) seems bright. As the company’s VP of Open Source Affairs explains what differentiates an open source software company from other firms in a crowded market, he exhibits the idiosyncrasy that has marked his writing for decades: the tendency to pepper his exposition of open source principles with pithy maxims from a diverse range of philosophers, politicians, political economists, and popular writers. It’s a habit borne, he says, of the necessity of finding something that resonates with the many skeptics he’s confronted over the years—because necessity, he quips (quoting Plato, of course), is the mother of all invention.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Linux Developers Eye Docker and More for Fedora Cloud

          Fedora.next, the major revamping of Fedora Linux, is shaping up to feature tight integration with container-based virtualization for the cloud, according to a recent discussion among developers of the open source operating system, which forms the basis for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

        • 64-bit ARM Is Looking Good For Fedora 21

          While Fedora 21 will be arriving later than anticipated, on the plus side is that the 64-bit ARM support is coming along well and the (indirect) delay gives developers extra time for polishing up this first Fedora Linux release with great AArch64 support.

        • Fedora 21 and ARM aarch64 status for alpha

          With the Fedora 21 Alpha freeze looming in the rear view mirror, although the object wasn’t as close as it would appear, I thought it was high time that I gave a brief overview of the state of ARM aarch64 in Fedora. Some might assume the silence means not a lot has been happening but this is extremely far from the truth!

        • Support for the 64Bit ARM architecture on Fedora 21 progressing nicely

          On the hardware side of things, Peter also recently blogged about some of the ARM hardware support that the newly released 3.16 Linux kernel will provide, including support for the NVIDIA Jetson TK1, Samsung EXYNOS, Qualcomm MSM 8×60, 8960 and 8974, APM X-GENE, and AMD Seattle. He also reports that the graphics driver support for ARM systems is also improving with nouveau, freedreno and etnaviv all possibly being supported on some specific ARM devices.

        • Final Term repo for Fedora updated

          We previously reported about Final Term, a new terminal emulator for Fedora that features many nifty features including context menus, reflow, smart command completion and 24-bit colour in the terminal. Final Term is not yet in the official Fedora repositories, as it is still under heavy development, and the UI is still slightly buggy. That said, the COPR repo that provides Fedora packages for Final Term was recently updated (and has been periodically since it was created) with the new development versions from upstream. So if you still want to try out this new terminal, jump over to the COPR page, and follow the instructions there.

        • Flock Day One: Gijs Hillenius Keynote

          After a rousing introduction by Fedora Project Leader (FPL) Matthew Miller, Flock kicked off with a keynote by journalist Gijs Hillenius. In the keynote, Hillenius discussed free and open source adoption in European public institutions.

          The title of the keynote, “Free and Open Source Software in Europe: Policies & Implementations” was slightly misleading – Hillenius only discussed public/governmental adoption of FOSS, and didn’t really discuss corporate adoption or use by individuals. This is not surprising, Hillenius focuses on use of open source for public administrations for the Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR). Still, he provided an interesting picture of adoption by public European institutions.

    • Debian Family

      • VolksPC Linux PC Capable Of Running Both Debian And Android Launches On Indiegogo (video)

        VolksPC has taken to Indiegogo this week to launch to launch a crowd funding campaign to help take its low cost solid state Linux PC into production.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Web app dev kit supports Android and Ubuntu

            Toshiba Electronics has introduced two starter kits for early development of web applications using the Toshiba TZ5000 Application Processor Lite (ApP Lite) series.

            The RBTZ5000-2MA-A1 and RBTZ5000-6MA-A1 starter kits provide drivers for internet applications using HTML5.

            Both kits provide drivers for video playback using Wireless LAN and HDMI output, with the RBTZ5000-2MA-A1 on Ubuntu Linux, and the RBTZ5000-6MA-A1 on an Android 4.4 platform.

          • Intel Graphics Installer for Linux Arrives with Latest Drivers and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Support

            The Intel Graphics Installer for Linux, a tool that allows users to easily install the latest graphics and video drivers for their Intel graphics hardware, is now at version 1.0.6 and is ready for download.

          • GNU C Library Exploits Closed in All Ubuntu Supported OSes

            The developers have identified some security issues with the GNU C Library and an update has been pushed into the repositories.

            “Stephane Chazelas discovered that the GNU C Library incorrectly handled locale environment variables. An attacker could use this issue to possibly bypass certain restrictions such as the ForceCommand restrictions in,” reads the security notice.

          • India opens up to operating system Ubuntu

            India is the fastest growing market for open source operating system Ubuntu, helped by tie-ups with top PC vendors and the increasing adoption of cloud-based applications in the country.

            The Linux-based operating system grew 50% year-over-year in India. Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, has partnered with Dell and HP to bundle the OS with certain models of their laptops offered in India.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • First impressions of Deepin 2014

              Deepin 2014 is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. The download image for the distribution is approximately 1.5 GB in size. Booting from the project’s live media brings up a menu we can navigate with either the keyboard or the mouse pointer. The menu asks us to select our preferred language from a list. Once our language has been selected the system boots to a desktop interface with a starry sky in the background. On the desktop we find an icon for launching the project’s system installer. At the bottom of the screen we find a quick-launch bar filled with icons for commonly accessed applications. There are also buttons for bringing up the distribution’s application menu and settings panel on this launch bar.

            • ExTiX 14.1.2 Shows Users What They Can Do with Ubuntu 14.04, a Fancy Dock, and a Custom Kernel

              ExTiX 14.1.2 64-bit, a distribution based on the recently launched operating system from Canonical, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, has been officially released.

              The developer rebased the distribution on the newer Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) a while ago and this new build is mostly about updates and fixes. Users are provided with a GNOME 3.10 desktop and GNOME Classic 3.10. For users who want a lighter system, Razor-qt 0.5.2 is also available in ExTiX Light.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Rugged DAQ system runs real-time Linux

      NI unveiled a rugged 4-slot “CompactDAQ” system for data acquisition and control (DAQ), with real-time Linux, an Atom E3825, and optional sensor modules.

      Usually, when you have a choice of Windows or Linux, the Windows version costs more. In the case of the National Instruments (NI) CompactDAQ cDAQ-9134 Controller, however, it’s the Linux version that costs $500 more, at $4,999. That’s because it’s a special real-time Linux variant called NI Linux Real-Time, also available on NI’s CompactRIO cRIO-9068 controller and sbRIO-9651 computer-on-module, both of which are based on the Xilinx Zynq-7020 system-on-chip. The cDAQ-9134 instead runs on a dual-core, 1.33GHz Intel Atom E3825 SoC.

    • RasPi magazine launches today – get your free downloads here

      Our brand new sister magazine RasPi is here! Issue #1 is out today, available to download through Apple’s App Store. It’s jam-packed full of amazing content and only costs 69p/99¢.

      Each month we’ll be walking you through a big Pi project, showing off some of the best work in the community, sharing your tweets, letters and emails, and of course giving you a whole bunch of tutorials to teach you how to get the most from your Raspberry Pi and make amazing things with it.

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Factory-fresh delivery: Get your OpenSUSE fix daily

          Until now, as with most new versions of software, new code for a new version of OpenSUSE had been bottled up for group testing at a beta or milestone stage.

          In the OpenSUSE world, this milestone stage had taken place in something called the “Factory”.

      • Android

        • CyanogenMod CM11 M9 released and ready to install

          August is here and just like clockwork CyanogenMod have released a new version of CM11. For those of you unaware CyanogenMod recently changed the way in which they list downloads. Until recently CM was always released as either stable, snapshot (mostly stable) or nightlies (experimental and buggy) versions. However CM11 over the last few months have used an ‘M’ release system which instead simply refers to ‘milestone’. The M releases are technically snapshots but are considerably more stable than nightlies and are considered to be suitable for main or daily usage.

        • Ugoos reveals Cortex-A5 Android 4.4 TV dongle

          Ugoos is prepping an Android 4.4 “S85″ media player dongle with a quad-core Amlogic S805 Cortex-A5 SoC clocked to 1.5GHz, and a quad-core Mali-450 GPU.

          Ugoos has spun a variety of Android media player boxes and dongles over the last few years, including a UT3 box, featuring Rockchip’s quad-core, Cortex-A17 RK3288 system-on-chip with a 16-core Mali-T760 GPU, now selling for $130. Before that was the Ugoos UT2, with the quad-core, Cortex-A9 RK3188 SoC clocked to 1.6GHz, with a Mali-400 GPU. Last year, the Chinese company introduced a dongle-style UM2 stick, running on the same RK3188 and Mali-400 GPU.

        • Android grabs record 85 percent smartphone share

          Google’s dominance of the smartphone market has reached new heights, with its Android operating system now accounting for a record 84.6 percent share of global smartphone shipments, according to research by Strategy Analytics.

          The growth in Android phones during the second quarter of this year came at the expense of BlackBerry, Apple iOS and Microsoft’s Windows Phone, the research firm said Wednesday.

        • CyanogenMod 11.0 M9 Released

          Another month, another release to mark the occasion – today we fire off the builds for CM11 M9. The M9 build incorporates changes from June 31st through its branch date on Sunday July 27th.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Securely back up personal files with Duplicati: Q&A with the open source client’s creators

    The authors of Duplicati, an open-source file backup client, discuss the impetus for the creation of their project, keeping data secure in the cloud, and backup integrity with incremental data storage.

  • Sonny Hashmi: GSA to Foster Open Source Tech Development

    The report noted that GSA is already using the Github open source community alongside the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, while the U.S. Geological Service is exploring the community to facilitate software development crowdsourcing.

  • Banned San Francisco Parking App Goes Open Source To Find A Solution To SF’s Parking Problem

    Sweetch, which lets users secure a parking space for a flat fee of $5 and sell one for $4, was one of several apps mentioned by name in the cease and desist letter from City Attorney Dennis Herrera to fellow parking app MonkeyParking, TechCrunch reports.

  • Carnegie Mellon creates open source tool to ‘extract’ 3D objects from 2D images

    Image being able to move an object in an image maintaining its perspective as if you are physically holding the object and moving it around? Let me give the example of a chair in a picture. How would you feel if you are able to turn it around or “even upside down in the photo, displaying sides of the chair that would have been hidden from the camera, yet appearing to be realistic”?

  • Zimbra CMO on being a great guardian of open source’s three C’s

    Zimbra’s Olivier Thierry talks about the three C’s that open source firms must support, the need to be market driven in tech, and how his firm’s solutions address security and data privacy issues.

  • Is open source the key to innovation?

    Collaboration is a core component of modern business, and over the years, collaborative efforts have resulted in some of the world’s most groundbreaking innovations, in the areas of technology, medicine and engineering. The opportunities are seemingly endless when people unite and work together, whether within a single organization or across many.

    But what if this collaborative ethos is extended to include practically every human being on earth? Are there any limitations on what can be accomplished?

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • AWS Names MapR a Big Data Competency Partner for Hadoop Distribution

      MapR’s Big Data platform, based on open source Apache Hadoop, gained the endorsement of Amazon Web Services (AWS), which has included the company’s software as the first Hadoop distribution in the new AWS Partner Network (APN) Competency Program.

    • ownCloud is enjoying startling community contribution

      ownCloud is one of the most important free software project considering our move to the ‘cloud’ is inevitable. Most of us use more than one computing devices (I have 8) and we want to be able to access some of our data from any device we want and thus the need of cloud based syncing and storing solutions. However, the moment you use 3rd party cloud services such as Dropbox, iCloud, Drive or OneDrive you lost control and ‘ownership’ of your data. At the same time you expose your otherwise private data to these companies and law-enforcement authorities.

    • ownCloud 7 pulls in users and open source developers

      Sure you could join everyone else and put your data on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud, or you could use the latest ownCloud 7 to run your own private cloud.

    • Community helps set the OpenStack Summit agenda
    • The fight for OpenStack’s Soul

      OpenStack recently celebrated its fourth birthday and it seems as we pass this milestone, it’s a healthy, vibrant and growing project. It has been embraced by players big and small including such industry luminaries as IBM, Microsoft, HP, Red Hat, SAP and many others. It’s all good for OpenStack.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.2.6 “Still” Released by The Document Foundation

      The developers from The Document Foundation have released a new stable build in the 4.2.x version of LibreOffice, just a few days after the main branch of the suite, 4.3, made its grand appearance.

      “The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 4.2.6 ‘Still,’ the seventh and last minor release of the most solid version of the software, ready for enterprise deployments and conservative users. LibreOffice 4.2.6 arrives just one week after the successful launch of LibreOffice 4.3 ‘Fresh,’ the most feature rich version of the office suite,” reads the official announcement.

    • Samba Patched, LibreOffice 4.2.6, and Best Browsers
    • Oracle Delivers Solaris 11.2 with OpenStack, Integrated SDN Features

      Just before summer began, Oracle unveiled the beta version of Solaris 11.2, which is only the second point release of Solaris since version 11 of the platform appeared in 2011. The really notable thing about the beta was that Oracle began positioning Solaris as “a modern cloud platform that melds efficient virtualization, application-driven software-defined networking (SDN) technology and a full OpenStack distribution.”

  • Education

    • Everyone’s your partner in open source

      When Opensource.com said they wanted to do a series of articles on how having an open source job has changed us, this story came to mind. Can you think of any other industry that would do this kind of thing for a “competing” company? I can’t! But then again BibLibre and ByWater aren’t competitors, we see ourselves as partners. Everyone who works on or with Koha is a member of the worldwide community and as such works together toward a common goal: making Koha awesome.

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD product distribution will move

      At the end of September, OpenBSD distribution will move to a new distributor. As a result the old stock (CDs, Tshirts and posters) will become unavailable.

    • OpenBSD and the Intel NUC

      Although the NUC is a tiny computer, it’s packed with power. The model I purchased has a 1.3GHz i5 with four cores. I added 16GB’s of RAM (the maximum) and a 250GB mSATA SSD. The NUC comes standard with gigabit Ethernet and four USB 3.0 ports. There is also a mini PCI Express slot for adding wifi, if wanted. Since the NUC was going to be living on my desk, I decided against the wifi for now. The NUC has integrated Intel graphics (Intel® HD Graphics 5000) which as an OpenBSD user is exactly what I wanted. It’s also capable of driving a high resolution display, and since I had recently acquired one of the beautiful Monoprice 27″ IPS 2560 x 1440 displays from Massdrop* it was a perfect fit.


    • GNU MDK 1.2.8 released
    • Replace your proprietary BIOS with Libreboot

      With the launch of the Libreboot project, users now have an easy-to-install, 100% free software replacement for proprietary BIOS/boot programs. This project is important; currently, many computer-makers notoriously deny free software developers the information they need to develop free replacements for the proprietary software they ship with their products. In some cases, manufacturers do not even share enough information for it to be possible to install a free operating system.

    • FisicaLab’s new icon

      I started the development of version 0.4.0 of FisicaLab. And what better to start with a new icon. I’m not a graphical designer, so I wanted keep this simple. To start I used one of the icons at module of dynamics of circular motion, the icon of final system. The three particles and the lines (I think these are called “kinetic lines” in comics, but I’m not sure) represent a system in movement. The “f” is not only for FisicaLab but also for “final state of the system”.

    • Planning to use Net::Gnats

      The original author of Net::Gnats has transferred maintainer status to me since it is planned that the next version of Gnatsweb will be leveraging this module.

  • Project Releases

    • BH release 1.54.0-3

      At the request of the maintainer of the recent added RcppMLPACK package, it adds the Boost.Heap library. Boost.Heap implements priority queues which extend beyond the corresponding (and somewhat simpler) class in the STL. Key features of the Boost.Heap priority queues are mutability, iterators, ability to merge, stable sort, and comparison.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The future of scientific discovery relies on open

      Ross Mounce is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bath studying the use of fossils in phylogeny and phyloinformatics, completing his PhD at the University of Bath last year. Ross was one of the first Panton Fellows and is an active member of the Open Knowledge Foundation, particularly the Open Science Working Group. He is an advocate for open science, and he is actively working on content mining academic publications to reuse scientific research in meta-analyses to gain higher level insights in evolutionary patterns.

    • DevStack Ceph, OpenStack Paris Summit voting, and more
    • Open Hardware

      • Open hardware resources from Opensource.com

        Pardon the noise. We’ve been banging around for a few months in our workshop, toiling away at our latest creation: What is open hardware?, a new resource page. And it’s finally finished!

  • Programming


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Army Will Lay Off 500 Majors This Month

      The Army will lay off about 500 majors as part of its ongoing downsizing effort, the service has announced.

      The military branch used involuntary separation boards to determine to determine where the number of soldiers exceeded future force requirements. The Army announced earlier this year it planned to select from a pool of 19,000 captains and majors to reduce the size of its force in the post-war era. The service laid off 1,100 captains earlier this summer.

    • Intolerable inconsistencies in Washington

      If the GOP position sounds contradictory, that’s because it’s less about the Constitution than cleavages within the party. There are real questions about Obama’s abuses of power — say, the spying on Americans by the National Security Agency or the use of drones to kill U.S. citizens overseas — but the opposition party has left those largely untouched. The planned lawsuit was a bone thrown to conservatives to quiet their impeachment talk. The legislation restricting Obama’s executive authority on immigration was a similar effort to buy off conservatives who had been encouraged to rebel by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas..

    • US Actions Strengthen Al-Qaeda In Yemen – NDC

      The decision by Western countries, especially the United States, to make Yemen their main military base lead to al-Qaeda getting stronger in the region, a representative of Yemen’s National Dialogue Committee (NDC) said in an interview with Rossiya Segodnya news agency.

    • Pakistan: US Drones Kill More Than 3,000 People in 10 Years

      From 2004 to July, 2014, between 2,340 and 3,790 people have been killed by U.S. RC (Remote-Controlled) aircrafts, stated a study from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism released here today.

      As of open sources, the institution estimated that more than a third of those killed were civilians and about 200 children, while at least 1,100,000 citizens have been seriously wounded.

  • Finance

    • Why The Proposed New York Bitcoin Regulations Are Absolute, Total Bullshit

      New York’s Department of Financial Services has presented draft regulations for bitcoin trade that are an absolute heap of bullshit, and that’s even before going into what the proposal actually says. The propsed regulations require a so-called “BitLicense” in order to trade in bitcoin with residents of New York and with everybody else in the world. The problem is, that’s an absolute joke from a legal standpoint, completely ignoring the very concept of a jurisdiction.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • Edward Snowden’s Russian asylum expires

      The temporary asylum of the US whistle-blower Edward Snowden, who has been hailed as a hero by a majority or ‘well-informed’, expired yesterday. Russia has not yet confirmed the extension of his asylum, as the country is preparing for a war with Ukrain.

    • Ron Paul pushes White House for clemency for Edward Snowden

      Former Rep. Ron Paul has taken his push for clemency for Edward Snowden to a new level, announcing he’s collected more than 37,000 signatures in the past five months — about a third of what he says he needs to get a White House response.

    • Ron Paul: Bring Edward Snowden Home
    • American spy agencies out of control

      With the recent news that Germany has expelled our CIA director in Berlin after the CIA paid two Germans to spy on two German government employees, we can see very clearly that our American intelligence agencies are out of control.

    • Relief among Israelis as troops pull out of Gaza – but no sense of victory
    • Gaza Strip Crisis: Boycotting Israel is a Stupendous Failure

      If you believe in getting a decent outcome, then you should adjust your methods of achieving it to those that are most likely to find success.

    • Amnesty International says Lichfield factory protest is ‘understandable’
    • Israel snooped on John Kerry’s phone calls during Middle East peace talks
    • Snowden Documents Show ‘Constant and Lavish’ US Support for Israel Facilitating Gaza Attacks
    • Report: Intelligence between US, Israel strong despite political tensions

      Leaked documents published by ‘The Intercept’ reveal continued cooperation between the NSA and Israeli intelligence agencies.

    • Germany’s Spy Agency Is Ready To Shake Off Its Second Tier Reputation

      “In the CIA people view liaison relationships as a pain in the ass but necessary,” says Valerie Plame, the CIA undercover agent whose identity was infamously disclosed by aides to President George W Bush soon after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. Liaison relationships are the CIA’s term for cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies, and, given that not even the world’s mightiest spy outfit can go anywhere it likes, the CIA maintains plenty of such liaisons.

    • Keeping Brennan as CIA Director = Triumph of Secret Government

      Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), head of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, says that John Brennan, the director of the CIA who has finally admitted that he lied when he angrily and repeatedly insisted that the agency did not spy on staff members of the Senate committee charged with oversight US intelligence agencies, “has a lot of work to do,” before she can forgive him for lying to and spying on her committee.

    • Abbott and Brandis to fight terrorism with mandatory metadata retention

      The Coalition government led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott today announced controversial legislation mandating data retention for telecommunications companies, to be put to the parliament before the end of the year, while simultaneously abandoning anti-discrimination changes.

    • In our opinion: An ability to conduct widespread surveillance doesn’t mean permission to do so

      A report by two organizations committed to the protection of civil liberties is raising new and valid concerns about how government surveillance programs have created an impediment to free speech and freedom of the press. The report gives additional weight to efforts in Congress to end the National Security Agency’s indiscriminate gathering of telephone records.

    • Caught Stealing Data in Europe, U.S. Now Seeks to Legalize the Theft

      Many examples of extraterritoriality grow out of America’s archipelago of military bases around the world, where Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA) allow service members exemption from local laws, even when they commit crimes against host country people. The U.S. also stations Customs and Border Patrol agents in other nations, denying boarding on U.S.-bound flights from Canada, for example, to Canadian citizens otherwise still standing in their own country. Imagine the outcry in America if the Chinese were to establish military bases in Florida exempt from U.S. law, or if the Russians choose which Americans could fly out of Kansas City Airport. Never mind drone strikes, bombings, deployment of Special Forces, invasions and CIA-sponsored coups.

      The snowballing NSA revelations have already severely damaged U.S. credibility and relationships around the world; nations remain shocked at the impunity with which America dug into their private lives. NSA spying has also cost American tech firms $180 billion in lost revenues, as “We’re not an American company” becomes a sales point.

    • How will US data companies suffer in the wake of the Snowden leaks?
    • What would happen if American tech giants turned off the lights?
    • UK spy agency GCHQ confronts cybersecurity skills shortage with certified degrees
    • GCHQ accrediting some university degrees

      GCHQ accrediting some university degreesThe NSA’s British counterpart, GCHQ, is now accrediting certain university degrees from some of the top colleges in the United Kingdom, including Oxford. The accreditations are provided with some online security degrees, and they are essentially the GCHQ’s stamp of approval which could help students find jobs at the government agency once they graduate.

    • Google Inc (GOOGL) Defended On Sharing Private Emails

      Judge Andrew Napolitano spoke on Fox Business about the role that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) played in the arrest of a Florida sex offender. He talked about the lengths that the world’s biggest Internet search engine can go to protect itself from indictment as a conspirator in unlawful activities.

    • Tor on Campus, Part I: It’s Been Done Before and Should Happen Again

      German newspapers recently reported that the NSA targets people who research privacy and anonymity tools online—for instance by searching for information about Tor and Tails—for deeper surveillance. But today, researching something online is the near equivalent to thinking out loud. By ramping up surveillance on people simply for reading about security, freedom of expression easily collapses into self-censorship; speech is chilled; people may become afraid to research and learn.

    • Tor on Campus, Part II: Icebreakers and Risk Mitigation Strategies
    • The push to protect student data

      In fact, lots of them are spending their summer breaks grappling with student data. What to gather. How to use it. And how to protect it.

    • Tough talks on snooping, immigration bill leaves John Kerry disappointed

      There was broad convergence of views and interests between the US and India when John Kerry, accompanied by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and other senior American officials, visited India last week, despite India’s decision not to ratify the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

      The TFA, which was agreed upon by all WTO member states in Bali last year, had to be ratified by all signatories by July 31 to come into force. The deal was designed to reduce trade barriers by lowering import tariffs and standardizing customs, and was expected to boost trade and add up to an estimated 1 trillion USD to the global economy.

      The new Indian government, led by Modi, made a U-turn, vetoing the trade deal over disagreements on New Delhi’s food subsidies. The failure to reach an accord overshadowed Kerry’s three-day hop-over to New Delhi for an annual Strategic Dialogue meeting between the two countries.

    • NSA leaker Thomas Drake says Oz security reforms are ‘scary’

      National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake says Australia’s looming national security reforms makes him ‘shudder’, labelling them ambiguous and a plot to stamp out legitimate public-interest whistleblowing.

    • Apple faces class action suit for tracking users without consent

      Apple’s been hit with a class action suit [PDF] in the US for using the location service function on its iPhones to track customers without notice to, or consent from, customers when it comes to their whereabouts being tracked, recorded, sent to Apple, and potentially provided to third parties.

      A Californian woman, Chen Ma, filed the suit on behalf of Apple’s 100-million-plus iPhone users in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

      She accuses the company of violating iPhone users’ privacy by not only being able to pinpoint their locations but also to “record the duration that users stay at any given geographical point and periodically transmit” the data to Apple’s database.

    • More join class action suit against Facebook
    • Over 11,000 claimants join class action against Facebook’s NSA collusion

      When twenty-six year old Austrain law student Max Schrems filed a lawsuit against Facebook claiming damages because it allowed the NSA to spy on him, as in the average user, he helped to open up a potential world of hurt for the company.

      Because, now, there are over 11,000 people joining the class action lawsuit against Facebook after the first weekend of the campaign “Europe vs Facebook.” People are joining from Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and the UK. The objective? €500 or the equivalent of £398 at current exchange rates.

      “We want to show to the US industry that they have to respect [European] fundamental rights if they want to do business in Europe,” Schrems said in an interview. “We love the technology, but we want to be able to use things without permanent worry for our privacy. Right now you have two options: live like in the stone age, or take action. We decided for the second.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Disgraceful Partisanship from Prince William

      In the dreadful nationalistic war between rival Imperial powers, the Belgian Empire was probably the most evil of all. To commend its resistance is ridiculous. Joseph Conrad’s great “Heart of Darkness” and “Congo Diary”, and the formal revelation by British Consul Roger Casement of the dreadful enslavement and abuse of the Congo population to provide vast profits to the Belgian crown, provide lasting testimony to the malignity of the Belgian Empire.

    • Scotland’s First State Visit

      The same consideration rules out other countries which have the Queen as Head of State. Otherwise New Zealand might have been a good choice. A similar size to Scotland, a thriving democracy and a population very heavily of Scottish descent.

    • Bill O’Reilly’s Attacks On Black Culture

      O’Reilly portrays himself as the moral and intellectual authority on how to solve the problems he says plague black communities and black culture, decrying “race hustlers” and prescribing harmful “solutions” to issues like the mass incarceration of black men.

    • Empty prisons could be put to good use

      After reading the recent story about a ‘correctional officer’ intimidating a network news reporter for accidentally filming an empty prison at Wilton, NY, I googled ‘empty prison’.

    • A Constitutional Scandal Worse Than Iran-Contra or Watergate

      The stark admission by the CIA’s inspector general that the agency had broken into a classified computer network used by its overseers at the Senate Intelligence Committee violates the core principle of separation of powers of governmental branches enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Along with the CIA’s illegal rendition, detention, and torture of suspected terrorists and the NSA’s secret monitoring of Americans’ phone traffic, it shows that U.S. spy agencies are in danger of going rogue and need to be severely disciplined. Such intelligence organizations are supposed to defend the republic and not undermine it.

    • EDITORIAL: Restraining the spies

      There are still plenty of loopholes in Mr. Leahy’s bill, and it’s not hard to see where they came from. “In developing this legislation,” says Mr. Leahy, “I have consulted closely with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the NSA, the FBI, and the Department of Justice — and every single word of this bill was vetted with those agencies.” That’s hardly reassuring.

    • It’s Now Possible to Eavesdrop on Your Conversation Using a Bag of Chips

      If you’ve managed to get over your own NSA-induced, Snowdenian fear of typing, here’s another important privacy question: Do you trust that bag of potato chips you’re holding? The word out of MIT is that you probably shouldn’t. Nearby potted plants should also be treated with suspicion. What makes these everyday items a threat to your (conversational) personal data? It’s just that MIT announced on Monday that its researchers, along Microsoft and Adobe, have developed an algorithm that can reconstruct sound simply by analyzing video of the vibrations of objects around you.

    • Court Says Black Secret Service Agents Can Sue Government as a Group

      Several African-American Secret Service agents who claim the agency denied them promotions because of their race can sue the government as a group, according to the latest court ruling in a 14-year-old lawsuit.

    • Pentagon Training Still Says Dissent Is A Threat ‘Indicator’

      A new version of a computer-based cyber-security training course from the Pentagon still classifies disillusionment with U.S. foreign policy as a “threat indicator” that a federal employee might be a spy.

      That training, available online and still being used as recently as last week, has been administered to millions of military and civilian employees throughout the federal government. Little seems to have changed since HuffPost reported on an earlier version of the same training course last year — even though a spokesman said then that the training was being “updated.”

    • Documents Show 100 Officers From 28 Law Enforcement Agencies Accessed A Photographer’s Records

      Here’s what exercising your First Amendment rights gets you in certain parts of the US. Photographer Jeff Gray has been filming cops and photographing public structures, as well as documenting the reactions of law enforcement to his activities.

    • Internal Affairs Departments, District Attorneys’ Offices Helping Keep Bad Cops From Being Held Accountable

      A certain percentage of police officers are “bad cops,” just like a certain percentage of the human race is composed of thuggish sociopaths. That’s an unfortunate fact of life. Whether the percentage of bad cops is greater than the percentage in non-law enforcement positions is still open for discussion, although there’s a lot about a cop’s job that would attract thuggish sociopaths: power, better weapons, nearly nonexistent accountability, etc.

    • Lawyer: Silk Road seizure may have been improper—if so, toss evidence

      Ross Ulbricht claimed he couldn’t have laundered money, as Bitcoin isn’t money.
      Alleged Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s defense attorney Joshua Dratel has asked the court to suppress nearly all of the evidence collected against his client. Should the motion be successful, it would likely put a substantial damper on the government’s efforts to prosecute Ulbricht.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Analysis: New motions show gaping holes in Supreme Court’s Aereo ruling

        In an emergency motion (PDF) filed Friday, TV-over-Internet startup Aereo submitted its most detailed legal arguments yet as to why it should be allowed to be a cable company. It also asked, based on those arguments, to resume operations until a final decision was reached.

      • Sky TV Bans ‘VPN’ Ads on Copyright Grounds

        A series of ads created by a New Zealand-based ISP has been rejected by Sky TV on copyright grounds. The ban on the ads, which contain references to a VPN-like service providing access to geo-blocked content such as Netflix, has been decried as “unjustified and petty” by ISP Slingshot.

Latest Attacks on Android From Apple/Microsoft and Their Network of Trolls/Partners

Posted in Apple at 10:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Net Applications (Apple- and Microsoft-funded) makes a misinformation comeback, Apple retreats from some Samsung litigation battles, and Microsoft dives deep into it

A couple of days ago we noticed that an editor had a headline changed from “Android users MORE ACTIVE than iOS fanbois for the first time” to something else. This report about numbers from “Net Marketshare” (part of Net Applications) coincides with contradictory reports like this from the Gates-friendly press (among others), titled “iOS Users Seven Times More Active Than Android Users, Suggests Net Applications”. These cite Net Applications, which is partly funded by Apple. There are some contradictions and reports about this are generally confusing. It’s not clear what they are measuring and based on past years, Net Applications is mostly a propaganda agent. This Apple-affiliated firm is saying something which makes Apple sounds more favourable than Android (common trick like citing buyer spendings, something about security — not absolute sales — and so on) because Android has the lion’s share of the market and it’s impossible to deny it’s unstoppable growth. Perhaps Apple paid Net Applications some more money to produce propaganda. Their pie charts are widely disgraced and recognised as inaccurate, misleading, and biased by design (improper data).

Anyway, Android is perpetually being smeared by both Apple and Microsoft. Apple had sued Samsung using patents and Samsung recently hit back at Apple using a case against software patents. Apple now retreats. “In a totally unexpected move,” writes SJVN, “Apple and Samsung, who’ve fought patent wars around the globe, agreed to drop all their cases outside of the US.”

Microsoft too had just sued Samsung. This was covered by the Microsoft-friendly press first (including BBC, as we noted the other day) and coverage has thus far been shallow. They just can’t call “racketeering” what clearly is racketeering. It oughtn’t be too shocking, except if one considers how close Microsoft and Samsung have been over the year (including UEFI restricted boot collaborations). “Apparently Secure Boot is blowing up on Windows too,” tells us Ryan in the IRC channels. “People upgrading their graphics card report their computer won’t boot up again until they disable secure boot, restart the system, install the signed drivers for the new card, and then they can turn secure boot back on.”

Maybe they should just stick to Free software, abandoning both Apple and Microsoft. The future is free/libre and no amount of misinformation can successfully deny it anymore.

Symantec Deserves a Ban in China for Not Reporting US Government Back Doors

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 10:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tick the box to ban

Symantec logo

Summary: Symantec, a Windows insecurity firm, is miserably trying to divert attention away from reports about distrust that led to a ban in China

According to many reports this week [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16], China does not trust some US- and Russia-based companies to take care of ‘security’ in China. It’s about time.

Reports focus on two firms, but another one is seemingly affected (Symantec). While Kaspersky (which we occasionally mention here) does not deny the claims, Symantec does strike back and “Says its Products are Still Allowed in China”. This is a cleverly-worded denial. Some products are definitely banned, but the “Security software developer Symantec Corporation denied its software has been banned in China.” Symantec merely says or emphasises that not everything is banned.

Just to be more specific: “It is important to note that this list is only for certain types of procurement and Symantec products are not banned by the Chinese government.”

Kaspersky is hyping up security threats at the moment and Symantec is trying hard to dodge the negative publicity because trust is fundamental to their sales. Symantec, which has strong Microsoft connections and disdain for FOSS, should not be trusted if China does not trust Microsoft (we already know how China feels about the ‘new’ Microsoft). To quote an IDG report:

Symantec and Kaspersky Lab have become the latest tech firms to be kicked off the Chinese Government’s approved list, according to an unconfirmed report in the country’s media.

The People’s Daily newspaper broke the news at the weekend in a report that claimed that local supplies including Qihoo 360, Venustech, CAJinchen, Beijing Jiangmin and Rising would from now on be the preferred software for antivirus duties.

The news seems to have surprised both firms, which have until now have been approved suppliers for desktop security.

Symantec has been overlooking government back doors such as the ones Microsoft puts in place and lets the US government know about. This is an older debate which made a comeback amid NSA leaks (other antivirus makers seemingly exempt government malware and such, e.g. Stuxnet). Here is Wall Street’s press coverage:

That’s a lesson that Microsoft and Symantec are learning right now. An antivirus company from Silicon Valley, Symantec competes in China against local favorites like Beijing-based Qihoo 360 Technology. According to reports by Bloomberg News and the Chinese media, China has instructed government departments to stop buying antivirus software by Symantec and its Moscow-based rival, Kaspersky Lab. Symantec software has backdoors that could allow outside access, according to an order from the Public Security Ministry. Not coincidentally, Qihoo’s New York-traded shares rose 2.7 percent yesterday, following reports of the move against Symantec and Kapersky.

Well, good for them. After being cracked by the NSA they need to secure their systems by better identifying possible moles (in the software sense).

Dan Goodin, who typically slams FOSS over security issues (less severe than in proprietary software), finally writes about Microsoft’s best known back doors that it tells the NSA about (Goodin does not mention the NSA connection):

There’s a trivial way for drive-by exploit developers to bypass the security sandbox in almost all versions of Internet Explorer, and Microsoft says it has no immediate plans to fix it, according to researchers from Hewlett-Packard.

The exploit technique, laid out in a blog post published Thursday, significantly lowers the bar for attacks that surreptitiously install malware on end-user computers. Sandboxes like those included in IE and Google Chrome effectively require attackers to devise two exploits, one that pierces the sandbox and the other that targets a flaw in some other part of the browser. Having a reliable way to clear the first hurdle drastically lessens the burden of developing sophisticated attacks.

What can Symantec do to stop this other than suggest abandoning Windows (its bread and butter)? Symantec must have known about back doors in the form of IE vulnerabilities, but did it properly protect China from it? No, Symantec makes money from the prevalence of Windows and the company’s management is deeply connected to Microsoft’s.

Microsoft Wants Us to Think That ODF is Bad for Britain

Posted in Microsoft, OpenDocument at 10:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft is not giving up as OpenDocument Format spreads between British citizens and government departments, obviating the need for Microsoft cash cows (Office on top of Windows)

TO a monopolist like Microsoft it seemed just fine to bribe people in order to keep its abusive monopoly in tact (see our OOXML abuses index). To others, such as British authorities, it finally appears clear that supporting monopolists is not a good service to British citizens, especially when this monopolist is foreign. When ODF was embraced by the UK Microsoft was very quick to complain and shortly thereafter we found out that OOXML is becoming less compatibility-centric than ever before. The plan is to get everyone — both governments and citizens — stuck with the monopolist, so it is clear that Microsoft has no legitimate case and it should be pushed away as soon as possible. Writing about a new article from the British press, Pogson wants to see some enthusiasm from the British public because Microsoft pretends that not using OOXML is bad for Britain.

So, the move by the government of UK is a win/win/win/win situation however you look at it, unless you are M$ or a “partner”. The rest of us should rejoice too because the whole world is watching and taxpayers everywhere will ultimately benefit as M$’s empire shrinks and Freedom reigns.

Indeed, and here is the original claim from Microsoft:

Blighty’s government brought a tear to Microsoft’s eye this week when it chose the Open Document Format for the default UK.gov file format. From this week forth, all electronic documents produced and used by Whitehall and other government agencies will have to be ODF, annoying Redmond since it backs its own Office Open XML or possibly a combo of the two.

Microsoft has attempted to paint this move as anticompetitive or bad for the British public, but just like the tobacco lobby, Microsoft is completely reversing the truth. How long before English offices realise they don’t actually need Office and Windows, then follow Munich’s footsteps?

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