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08.20.14

Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

Posted in News Roundup at 3:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • About the use of linux for normal people

      I was trying to write this blog post for quite a long time, and it become so, so big that I’ll have to split it in three posts, It is like a ‘people of kde’ but different, the focus is not to show someone that works for KDE, but someone that tried to use KDE to work – being it a non-tech person. Since I spend most of my days helping people that is struggling with Free Software to pass the hate feeling, I feel that I have lots of things to say being that I’m activelly maintaining over 5 laptops from different friends that lives on different states.

      I also like to study humans, this very strange animal that has so many different ways of expressing himself that it’s so, so hard to get it right.

    • The OS LinuX Desktop

      Reader Oliver wanted to make his Linux Mint desktop look as much like a Mac as possible so others would find it easy to use. Given some of our previous Linux featured desktops, we know it wasn’t tough, but the end-result still looks great. Here’s how it’s all set up.

    • Dangling the Linux Carrot

      Sometimes the direct sell method isn’t the best way to close the deal. How do you think the whole “play hard to get” thing got traction throughout the years? That method is successful in any number of applications.

  • Server

    • Docker’s Improved Stability Fuels Continued Growth

      This is the summer of Docker’s ripening as it begins to mature into stable, enterprise-worthy software. The release of version 1.0 coincided with the first annual DockerCon, and finally moves Docker from an experimental state into a production-capable application. The pace of development is not slowing down after these successes, but rather appears to be ramping up as Docker adoption continues to grow and more companies get involved in the development process.

  • Kernel Space

    • Proposed: A Tainted Performance State For The Linux Kernel

      Similar to the kernel states of having a tainted kernel for using binary blob kernel modules or unsigned modules, a new tainting method has been proposed for warning the user about potentially adverse kernel performance.

    • Linux 3.17 Lands Memfd, A KDBUS Prerequisite

      Memfd is a mechanism similar to Android’s Ashmem that allows zero-copy message passing in KDBUS. Memfd effectively comes down to just a chunk of memory with a file descriptor attached that can be passed to mmap(). The memfd_create() function returns a raw shmem file and there’s optional support for sealing.

      Memfd is needed by KDBUS for message passing and now the code — after being public but out-of-tree for several months — is finally mainline. As a result, the KDBUS code has been updated to take advantage of the mainline Linux 3.17 state.

    • The Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board election
    • Linux Kernel Development Gets Two-Factor Authentication
    • Systemd 216 Piles On More Features, Aims For New User-Space VT

      Lennart Poettering announced the systemd 216 release on Tuesday and among its changes is a more complete systemd-resolved that has nearly complete caching DNS and LLMNR stub resolver, a new systemd terminal library, and a number of new commands.

      The systemd 216 release also has improvements to various systemd sub-commands, an nss-mymachines NSS module was added, a new networkctl client tool, KDBUS updates against Linux 3.17′s memfd, networkd improvements, a new systemd-terminal library for implementing full TTY stream parsing and rendering, a new systemd-journal-upload utility, an LZ4 compressor for journald, a new systemd-escape tool, a new systemd-firstboot component, and much more.

    • LinuxCon NA 2014 kicks off in Chicago, new Linux Certification Program announced
    • Linux Founder Linus Torvalds ‘Still Wants the Desktop’

      The Linux faithful gathered today at LinuxCon to hear core Linux developers, especially Linus Torvalds—and the audience wasn’t disappointed. In a keynote panel session, Torvalds spoke of his hopes and the challenges for Linux in 2014.

      Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman moderated the discussion and commented that Linux already runs everywhere. He asked Torvalds where he thinks Linux should go next.

    • Linux Foundation Debuts Linux Certification Effort

      The new certifications mark the first time the Linux Foundation has offered formal certification after years of success with training programs.

    • Linux Foundation to offer new certification for IT workers

      With an eye toward deepening the global Linux talent pool, the Linux Foundation today announced that it will offer two new certifications for engineers and administrators.

      The Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator, or LFCS, and the Linux Foundation Certified Engineer, or LFCE certificates will be granted to applicants who pass an automated online exam. The cost will be $300, although the foundation will hand out 1,000 free passes to attendees at LinuxCon, where the announcement was made.

    • Linux Growth Demands Bigger Talent Poo

      Today at LinuxCon and CloudOpen we’re making an announcement that signifies the natural next step in helping to build a qualified talent pool of Linux professionals worldwide:The Linux Foundation Certification Program.

    • GitHub, Seagate, Western Digital & Others Join The Linux Foundation

      With LinuxCon starting today in Chicago, the Linux Foundation has announced their latest sponsorship recruits for some major organizations that are now backing the foundation.

      Adapteva, GitHub, SanDisk, Seagate, and Western Digital are the latest organizations joining the Linux Foundation. Nearly all Phoronix readers should now GitHub along with storage companies Seagate and Western Digital. Adapteva is the start-up Parallella super-computing board.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD’s Catalyst Linux Driver Preparing For A World Without An X Server?

        AMD’s proprietary Catalyst Linux driver installer is interestingly being prepared for an environment without an X.Org Server.

        While there’s no announcement out of AMD indicating any future support directions for their Catalyst Linux driver, it seems their Catalyst driver will soon be equipped with an option for building the driver packages without X.Org Server support, a.k.a. no building of the fglrx DDX driver.

      • Mesa 10.2.6 Has Plenty Of OpenGL Driver Bug Fixes

        For those living on the Mesa 10.2 stable series rather than the experimental Mesa 10.3 code, there’s a new point release out today.

        Carl Worth of Intel released Mesa 10.2.6 as the latest bug-fix update. Mesa 10.2.6 has at least 28 bugs fixed, including many affecting core Mesa, some AMD RadeonSI fixes (affecting Hawall and Tahiti hardware), and various other fixes. Anuj Phogat contributed the most fixes at 15 followed by Marek Olšák at 4.

      • Open-Source Radeon Graphics Have Some Improvements On Linux 3.17

        Early benchmarking of the Linux 3.17 kernel have indicated faster performance for AMD’s open-source Linux graphics driver thanks to Radeon DRM improvements.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • LXQt 0.8 Is Being Released Soon

      Fans of LXQt, the merge of the Qt version of LXDE along with the Razor-qt desktop project, will soon see out a big update.

      LXQt 0.8.0 is being readied for release as the latest of this next-generation lightweight desktop environment. Heavy development continues on LXQt and recently the most important bugs have been addressed for the upcoming LXQt 0.8 milestone. Holding back the LXQt 0.8 release is finishing the language translations and figuring out what to do about their RandR utility.

    • A Linux Desktop Designed for You

      Desktop environments for Linux are not released ready-made. Behind each is a set of assumptions about what a desktop should be, and how users should interact with them. Increasingly, too, each environment has a history — some of which are many years old.

      As you shop around for a desktop, these assumptions are worth taking note of. Often, they can reveal tendencies that you might not discover without several days of probing and working with the desktop.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Prep for Akademy

        In preparation for Akademy I wanted to swap out the drive from my laptop — which is full of work-work things — and drop in a new one with stuff I actually want to have with me at Akademy, like git clones of various repositories.

      • LaKademy 2014 – KDE Latin America Summit

        Two years have passed since the reality of the first Latin American meeting of KDE contributors in 2012 in Porto Alegre, capital of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Now we are proud to announce that the second LaKademy will be held August 27th to 30th in São Paulo, Brazil, at one of the most important and prestigious universities in the world—the University of São Paulo.

      • KDE Applications and Development Platform 4.14

        Packages for the release of KDE SC 4.14 are available for Kubuntu 14.04LTS and our development release. You can get them from the Kubuntu Backports PPA. It includes an update of Plasma Desktop to 4.11.11.

      • GSOC 2014: Akonadi Commandline Client’s Current Status

        I recently finished adding documentation (man pages) to the project and also finished improving upon the add command and it’s test cases. And I beleive this completes all the tasks that I had planned for in my GSoC proposal.Features of AkonadiClient

      • what is “the desktop”: laptops now
      • Intermediate results of the icon tests: Oxygen

        The Oxygen icon set performs very well in general. Most icons are quickly and reliable identified with the corresponding term. As found in previous studies there is a minor setback for Add/New, Undo/Redo, and especially Copy/Paste which are mutually mistaken. Also the Search icon shows quite a high number of missing values. Perhaps the field glasses are not such a good metaphor.

      • The features I have implemented in my Google Summer Of Code project

        So I have coded three features for Calligra Sheets.

      • What’s new in porting script: clean-forward-declaration.sh?

        I wrote it for kde 4.0 but it was not perfect. I took time to fix it last week end.

        What does it do ? It allows to remove not necessary forward declaration. It’s very useful during kf5 migration because we change a lot of code. So sometime we keep some “class foo;” which will not create a compile error, but it will keep an unused code line.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME’s Window and Compositing Manager Mutter 3.14 Beta 1 Gets More Wayland Improvements

        Florian Müllner has announced that Mutter 3.14 Beta 1 has been released, featuring a number of changes and improvements.

      • GNOME 3.14 Beta Makes GLSL Optional, Supports Wayland Gesture/Touch Events

        For the upcoming GNOME 3.13.90 release are updates to GNOME Shell and Mutter that bring a few notable last-minute changes.

        The GNOME 3.13.90 Beta release is scheduled to happen today and as such the Mutter and GNOME Shell updates were checked in this week. With the Mutter 3.13.90 comes an enforcement that XSync() is only ever called once per-frame, the GLSL support is optional, gesture and touch events are now handled on Wayland, and there’s a variety of other fixes/changes. The Mutter 3.13.90 changes can be found via its release announcement.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Sets New 12-Month High at $61.97 (RHT)

        They now have a $70.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $57.00. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eighteen have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Red Hat has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $63.50.

      • Red Hat Introduces Open Virtual Appliance for Seamless OpenStack Evaluations

        Red Hat, Inc. RHT, -1.58% the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced Open Virtual Appliance for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, enabling organizations with VMware-based infrastructures to easily and rapidly deploy and evaluate Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform for proof of concept deployments. Designed to meet growing interest in Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform from users, Open Virtual Appliance for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform is designed to enable users to have a working deployment of OpenStack in mere minutes.

      • Scientific Linux 7.0 x86_64 BETA 3

        Fermilab’s intention is to continue the development and support…

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • The Connected Car, Part 3: No Shortcuts to Security

      The Linux Foundation wants an open source platform in the pole position. The nonprofit consortium already has a fully functional Linux distribution, called “Automotive Grade Linux,” or AGL. It is a customizable, open source automotive software stack with Linux at its core.

    • Home automation hub runs Linux, offers cloud services

      Cloud Media launched a Kickstarter campaign for a Linux-based “Stack Box” home automation hub with cloud services and Raspberry Pi expansion compatibility.

    • Is it time to automate your home with Linux?
    • Raspberry Pi Devices Spread in Schools, Help Teach Programming

      According to a new DigiTimes report, sales of credit-card sized Raspberry Pi devices, which run Linux, remain very strong. The Raspberry Pi Foundation says that 3.5 million units have sold worldwide, with demand from China and Taiwan staying strong. The devices are helping to teach children basic programming skills and are arriving in educational systems all around the world.

    • The Many Things You Can Build With A Raspberry Pi

      Ruth Suehle and Tom Callaway are presenting at LinuxCon 2014 Chicago tomorrow about many different Raspberry Pi hacks and other Linux capabilities of these low-cost, low-performance single board computers.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • OneNote for Android tablets added, with handwriting support

          Microsoft released OneNote for Android tablets today with handwriting input, bringing Android users closer to the OneNote experience the company envisioned for the Microsoft Surface.

        • These Are the Biggest Android Tablets That Money Can Buy

          How big do you like your tablet? If you’re designing a kid-friendly device that can be used as an easel, learning resource and game platform, the answer is probably: roughly Monopoly-board big.

          No, 10 or even 12 inches isn’t going to do it for you. You’re going to want a device with a 20- or 24-inch display, like nabi’s new Big Tab tablets, made by Fuhu. The Big Tabs are the biggest Android slates we’ve ever seen for sale (although there have been demos of significantly bigger models).

        • Five things Android smartphones have that are unlikely to come to the iPhone 6

          It is likely I will buy an iPhone 6, but there are many things I like about Android that I doubt we will see come to an Apple flagship smartphone any time soon.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla and Open Diversity Data

        I would encourage other Mozillians to support the push for opening this data by sharing this blog post on the Social Media as an indicator of supporting Open Diversity Data publishing by Mozilla or by retweeting this.

        I really think our Manifesto encourages us to support initiatives like this; specifically principle number two of our manifesto. If other companies (Kudos!) that are less transparent than Mozilla can do it then I think we have to do this.

        Finally, I would like to encourage Mozilla to consider creating a position of VP of Diversity and Inclusion to oversee our various diversity and inclusion efforts and to help plan and create a vision for future efforts at Mozilla. Sure we have already people who kind of do this but it is not their full-time role.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Tesora Launches Certification Program for OpenStack Cloud Storage

      As the OpenStack cloud storage ecosystem grows more and more diverse, how can enterprises ensure compatibility between their OpenStack distribution and their database of choice? Tesora hopes that providing a solution to that quandry can help win it customers through a new certification program.

    • Mesosphere Launches Clusters on Google Compute Engine

      Mesosphere is bringing its Mesos clusters to Google Compute Engine, enabling Google’s (GOOG) cloud users to launch Mesos clusters on the public cloud. This provides customers with the ability to abstract basic devops, simplifying the data center so it looks to developers more like a single piece of hardware.

    • Tesora Delivers Certification Program for OpenStack Cloud Storage

      As the OpenStack cloud computing arena grows, a whole ecosystem of tools and front-ends are growing in popularity as well. And, one of the most notable tools in the ecosystem is the database-as-a-service offering focused on building and managing relational databases, called Trove.

      Tesora recently announced that it has open sourced its Tesora Database Virtualization Engine, and now it is offering the Tesora OpenStack Trove Database Certification Program, which provides “assurance that the most widely used databases can be deployed with Trove into the most popular OpenStack environments via the Tesora DBaaS Platform.”

    • The Top Open Source Cloud Projects of 2014

      OpenStack is the most popular open source cloud project, followed by Docker and KVM, according to a survey of more than 550 respondents conducted by Linux.com and The New Stack and announced today at CloudOpen in Chicago.

    • Using Clocker and Apache Brooklyn to build a Docker cloud

      With the growing potential of Docker, it’s becoming clear that the future of at least some of the data center is going to be containerized. But there are still challenges in getting containerized applications deployed and managed across real and virtual hardware.

      To learn more about one of the available options for performing this management and deployment, yesterday I attended a Google Hangout which was part of the OpenStack Online Meetup series. This month’s topic was centered around providing information and a walk-through of a new open source project called Clocker. Much as the name might suggest, Clocker is a tool designed for spinning up a cloud out of Docker containers.

  • Databases

    • EnterpriseDB chucks devs free tools to craft NoSQL web apps with PostgreSQL

      Enterprise-class PostgreSQL database vendor EnterpriseDB has launched a free turnkey development environment designed to make it easier for coders to build web applications using PostgreSQL’s new NoSQL capabilities.

      The open source PostgreSQL project has been adding NoSQL-like features for the past couple of versions, most notably support for the JavaScript-friendly JSON data format and the JSONB binary storage format.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Desktop Obsessions, Steam Sacrifices, and LibreOffice Review

      We’ve been reading a lot about the desktop lately and we’re not stopping tonight. We have three stories tonight on the desktop. In other news, the kernel repositories beef-up security and Alienware says Steam Machine users will “sacrifice content for the sake of Linux.” The new Linux version of Opera is making progress and CNet has a review of LibreOffice 4.3. This and more in tonight’s Linux news.

    • Why do so many Linux users hate Oracle?

      Oracle has always had a rather touch and go relationship with the open source community, to say the least. The company has never been shy about doing whatever is necessary to earn a profit, even if it means alienating people in the open source community. A redditor asked why Oracle is hated by so many and got quite an earful of responses.

  • Healthcare

    • Black Hat 2014: Open Source Could Solve Medical Device Security

      On the topic of source code liability, Greer suggests that eventually software developers, including medical device development companies, will be responsible for the trouble their software causes (or fails to prevent). I think it’s fair to say that it is impossible to guarantee a totally secure system. You cannot prove a negative statement after all. Given enough time, most systems can be breached. So where does this potential liability end? What if my company has sloppy coding standards, no code reviews, or I use a third-party software library that has a vulnerability? Should hacking be considered foreseeable misuse?

    • Open health community management at Clinovo

      Olivier Roth, Community Manager at Clinovo, has grown an open source community around the open health platform ClinCapture, an open source Eletronic Data Capture (EDC) system.

      Opensource.com caught up with Olivier, who was tasked with not only marketing an open source product but building genuine and natural interest around it to help move it forward. In this interview, we explore the importance of a community to an open source project with tips for how to create and maintain one.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Does government finally grok open source?

      Yes, the government — one U.S. federal government employee told me that government IT tends to be “stove-piped,” with people “even working within the same building” not having much of a clue what their peers are doing, which is not exactly the open source way.

      That’s changing. One way to see this shift is in government policies. For the U.S. federal government, there is now a “default to open,” a dramatic reversal on long-standing practices of spending heavily with a core of proprietary technology vendors.

    • U.S. Digital Services and Playbook: “Default to Open”

      About this time last year, I laid out some trends I saw for the coming year in government take up of open source software. Looking back now, it appears those trends are not only here to stay, they are accelerating and are more important than ever.

      In particular, I wrote that “open source will continue to be the ‘go to’ approach for governments around the world” and that “increasingly, governments are wrestling with the ‘how tos’ of open source choices; not whether to use it.”

      Recent developments in the United States highlight these points.

      First, the White House (via OMB and the Federal CIO) has issued a Digital Services Playbook—described in some quarters as “something of a marvel for an official government policy: it’s elegantly designed, has clear navigation, and is responsive to any device you choose to view it upon.” It is well worth a read.

  • Licensing

    • Protecting Software Freedom – the Qt License Update

      The KDE Free Qt Foundation is a legal entity, set up by KDE e.V. and Trolltech, the company originally developing Qt. It aims to safeguard the availability of Qt as Free Software and already fulfilled an important role. Trolltech was bought by Nokia, who sold Qt later to Digia. The contracts stayed valid during all these transitions.

      The foundation has four voting board members (two from Digia, two from KDE e.V.) and two non-voting advisory board members (the Trolltech founders). In case of a tie, KDE e.V.’s board members have an extra vote.

      Through a contract with Digia, the KDE Free Qt Foundation receives rights to all Free Qt releases “for the KDE Windowing System” (currently defined as X11 – we plan to extend this to Wayland) and for Android. As long as Digia keeps the contract, the KDE Free Qt Foundation will never make use of these rights.

    • Qt Licence Update

      Today Qt announced some changes to their licence. The KDE Free Qt team have been working behind the scenes to make these happen and we should be very thankful for the work they put in. Qt code was LGPLv2.1 or GPLv3 (this also allows GPLv2). Existing modules will add LGPLv3 to that. This means I can get rid of the part of the KDE Licensing Policy which says “Note: code may not be copied from Qt into KDE Platform as Qt is LGPLv2.1 only which would prevent it being used under LGPL 3″.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • FarmBot: An Open Source 3D Farming Printer That Aims to Create Food For Everyone

        When most of us think of 3D printers, we typically imagine the desktop machines that are used for creating small plastic objects, or the larger scale industrial level machines used for prototyping, and in some cases the printing of production ready parts. Then there are the extremely large 3D printers that have been created for the printing of concrete structured buildings and other large objects. Perhaps the printers which have the most intriguing uses are those which can print food. These printers, which are still only in the early stages of development, allow those with minimal food preparation experience to print out meals using specially designed software. All of these 3D printers have the potential to bring resources to countries and people who typically don’t have access to traditional means of manufacturing. Yet, none of them ensure massive food production that could help feed the world’s hungry.

      • RISC creator is pushing open source chips for cloud computing and the internet of things

        Fed up with the limitations of current computer chips and their related intellectual property, a team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, is pushing an open source alternative. The RISC-V instruction set architecture was originally developed at the university to help teach computer architecture to students, but now its creators want to push it into the mainstream to help propel emerging markets such as cloud computing and the internet of things.

        One of the researchers leading the charge behind RISC-V is David Patterson, the project’s creator and also the creator of the original RISC instruction set in the 1980s. He views the issue as one centered around innovation. Popular chip architectures historically have been locked down behind strict licensing rules by companies such as Intel, ARM and IBM (although IBM has opened this up a bit for industry partners with its OpenPower foundation). Even for companies that can afford licenses, he argues, the instruction sets they receive can be complex and bloated, requiring a fair amount of effort to shape around the desired outcome.

  • Programming

    • Minecraft mod teaches kids to code by modding Minecraft

      Like many nine-year-olds, Stanley Strum spends a lot of time building things in Minecraft, the immersive game that lets your create your own mini-universe. The game has many tools. But Stanley is one of many players taking the game a step further by building entirely new features into the game. And, more than that, he’s also learning how to code.

Leftovers

  • Pay up: The free ride is over for corporate BYOD

    No, BYOD has not been dealt a death blow by a California Court of Appeals ruling that says employers must reimburse a reasonable part of employees’ cellphone bills when use of their personal phone is required to do their work. But it will kill the practice of using BYOD as an excuse to make some employees buy personal equipment and pay for personal cell plans to do their jobs.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

      Hypospadias, a birth defect where the urethral opening is abnormally placed, is becoming a more common case among Sweden’s new-born boys.

      Researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinksa Institute have published results from a 40-year study in which they collected data from all males born between 1973 and 2009.

      They found that before 1990, cases of hypospadias were recorded in 4.5 boys out of every thousand. After 1990, the figure increased to 8 per 1,000 boys.

      The study looked into factors that are known to cause the defect, such as low-birth weight, being born a twin, or parents who used in vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive, but researchers stated that the increase did not correlate with these factors.

    • Beware of the Robobee, Monsanto and DARPA

      The RoboBee is a mechanical bee in the design stage at the Microrobotics Lab, housed in a well-appointed building at Harvard University. The RoboBee project’s Intelligence Office declares that the robotic inventors are inspired by the bee. The RoboBee project’s website and press releases use the imagery of the golden bees that we remember from our love of the cuddly buzzy honey-maker.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Finance

    • The Bulgarian Banking Disaster

      Two months after it was taken into conservatorship by the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) after a catastrophic bank run, Bulgaria’s CorpBank is still closed.

  • Censorship

    • Cameron’s big stand will have little impact

      Yesterday, the Prime Minister David Cameron announced his latest effort to take a ‘big stand on protecting our children online’. In a three-month pilot, that starts in October, online music videos will be given an age classification by the British Board of Classification. This rating will be displayed when the music videos are uploaded to YouTube or the music video site Vevo. Cameron claims that such a rating system will bring music videos in line with offline media such as films.

    • City Of Peoria Claims No Rights Were Violated When Police And Mayor Shut Down Parody Twitter Account

      This very public display of stupidity may cost the City of Peoria, along with the many other defendants named in the lawsuit filed on behalf of the Twitter account owner (Jon Daniel) by the ACLU. Obviously, the First Amendment was all but forgotten in the mayor’s quest to make this account — one that was only seen by Mayor Jim Ardis and a handful of others — disappear.

    • Facebook To Ruin Our Good Time With ‘Satire’ Disclaimer; The Onion Responds With Satire

      Forget confusing, this is yet another inch down the slippery slope in the war on humor and me-getting-to-make-fun-of-people, and I won’t stand for it, damn it. People I haven’t seen since high school getting fooled by The Onion has been one of the great pleasures in my life and it’s just not right for Facebook to chip away at that fun just because it appears to have finally acknowledged that its users are, by and large, idiots.

  • Privacy

    • panicd: An approach for home routers to securely erase sensitive data

      On August 15rd 2014, our student Nicolas Benes gave a talk on “panicd: An approach for home routers to securely erase sensitive data” defending his almost finished Bachelor’s Thesis at GHM 2014 hosted at TUM. The goal of his work is to ensure that secrets (especially key material) stored on your hardware (especially in memory) remain secret even if an adversary attempts to take physical control over the device. You can now find the video below.

    • The Security of al Qaeda Encryption Software

      I don’t want to get into an argument about whether al Qaeda is altering its security in response to the Snowden documents. Its members would be idiots if they did not, but it’s also clear that they were designing their own cryptographic software long before Snowden. My guess is that the smart ones are using public tools like OTR and PGP and the paranoid dumb ones are using their own stuff, and that the split was the same both pre- and post-Snowden.

    • Binney: ‘The NSA’s main motives: power and money’

      Whistleblower William Binney recently made headlines when he told the German parliament that the NSA, his former employer, had become “totalitarian.” DW spoke to him about NSA overrreach and the agency’s power.

    • Money And Power: The Real Reason For The NSA Spying On Everyone

      More than four years ago, we wrote about all the buzz that you were hearing about “cyberwar” was little more than an attempt to drum up FUD to get the government to throw billions of dollars at private contractors. We noted that Booz Allen Hamilton (yes, the last employer of one Ed Snowden) had hired former NSA director and also Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell as its Vice Chairman. He was the leading voice out there screaming about the threat of “cyberwar” getting on TV and having lots of opinion pieces in big name publications — all of which mentioned his former government jobs, but almost none of which mentioned that his current employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, stood to make billions selling “solutions” to the government. And, indeed, Booz Allen has been raking in the cash on “cybersecurity.”

      This is worth keeping in mind as you read this fascinating interview with NSA whistleblower, Bill Binney, in which he lays this out plain and simple. The real reason for all this NSA surveillance is about money and power. “Stop terrorism” is secondary.

    • don’t encrypt all the things

      Making things easy means making them transparent. It means pushing the crypto away from the user. That’s how we end up with our lolcats and dogecoins all mixed up together. Maybe some things should be hard, to remind us that they are important.

    • No Photos: Parents Opt to Keep Babies off Facebook

      Behold the cascade of baby photos, the flood of funny kid anecdotes and the steady stream of school milestones on Facebook.

      It all makes Sonia Rao, a stay-at-home mother of a 1-year-old in Mountain View, California, “a little uncomfortable.”

      “I just have a vague discomfort having her photograph out there for anyone to look at,” says Rao. “When you meet a new person and go to their account, you can look them up, look at photos, videos, know that they are traveling.”

    • German Officials Mull the Ultimate in Document Security – Manual Typewriters

      Politicians from Germany have come up with a unique way of safeguarding documents that even the NSA would have trouble in breaching. Far from a cutting-edge online security measure, the idea has been floated of once again breaking out the typewriters for the scripting of the most sensitive documents of all.

    • GERMANY’S SPYING ON TURKEY MIGHT BE LINKED WITH KURDISH QUESTION

      Political tension between Turkey and Germany has been continuing since the German weekly Der Spiegel revealed that the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) has been spying on its NATO ally, Turkey, since 2009. Even though German Chancellor Angela Merkel is no stranger to spying since she discovered her cellphone had been tapped by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), she refused to comment on the work of BND when questioned about the surveillance of Turkish targets.

    • Yes, Berlin has its own spying scandals, but don’t expect Germany to forgive the NSA

      For politicians in Washington, the German uproar over allegations that the NSA had spied on Merkel and collected the data of millions of Germans was remarkable. The usually calm Chancellor Angela Merkel angrily rejected American explanations and forced the CIA station chief in Berlin to leave the country after further allegations were made public. German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble went even further, saying publicly that he wanted to cry over “such stupidity.”

    • Gaycken: ‘We’re being plundered’

      Deutsche Welle: One of the goals the German government has set in its “Digital Agenda” is increasing trust in the internet. Do you think complete digital safety can be achieved?

      Sandro Gaycken: At this point, definitely not. The internet is inherently unsafe. At its inception, we simply didn’t include a whole lot of factors that would have been needed to guarantee security. That list starts with computers but includes web mechanisms. Wanting to create security by spouting off a few nice words, and even wanting to become the safest nation in the world is illusionary. And so far, we haven’t heard any more than these phrases.

    • ​NSA, BND and MIT: Whose Big Brother is watching whom?

      When news broke last summer that a certain NSA contractor had “leaked” an inordinate amount of secret data to various media outlets, global public opinion suddenly realized that the world we live in today does resemble the Orwellian dystopia 1984.

      The National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden made material available to journalist Glenn Greenwald, and the British broadsheet The Guardian published its first Snowden-related article on 5-6 June 2013. Greenwald laconically wrote then that the “National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers,” revealing the tip of the surveillance iceberg that was made public by the contractor. Edward Snowden outed himself as the NSA leaker on 9 June 2013 “in a video interview with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras.”

    • GCHQ Is Mapping Open TCP Ports Across Whole Countries

      German journalists and academics have criticised Britain’s intelligence service GCHQ for scanning servers round the world, and maintaining a database of open ports which could be used in attacks.

      British intelligence agency GCHQ has been cataloguing open TCP ports across entire countries as part of a secret programme codenamed ‘Hacienda’, reports German publication Heise Online.

    • Spy office defends ‘extensive and multi-layered’ oversight

      The nation’s top spy office is publicly defending a controversial executive order that authorizes some types of foreign snooping.

      The Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI) civil liberties protection officer, Alexander Joel, wrote an op-ed in Politico Magazine on Monday arguing that the Reagan administration order is covered by “extensive and multi-layered” oversight and includes multiple protections for Americans and foreigners alike.

    • Why the Tor browser and your privacy are under threat

      Private companies and governments track everything you do online. While these intrusions on your freedom and privacy may seem benign, for many anonymity is a matter of life and death. People living under repressive regimes, political activists, spies, journalists and even the military all need to access the internet and remain truly anonymous and impossible to track.

      [...]

      It is odd then that the technology behind Tor was originally developed by the US Navy in an attempt to develop a secure way of routing traffic over the internet. In fact the US government is still the single biggest financial supporter of Tor and donated over $2.5 million to the project in the past two years. Despite that the NSA and its UK equivalent GCHQ have made several determined attempts to break open Tor’s encryption and unmask its users. An old bug in Tor’s browser software let spooks identify 24 users in a single weekend, according to The Washington Post while the NSA has also looked for patterns in entry and exit points on the Tor network to try and spot individual users. But despite best efforts Tor remains secure and there is no evidence that the NSA or any other agency is capable of unmasking Tor on a global scale.

    • Gov’t Says NSA Phone Spying Suit Should Be Tossed

      The U.S. government on Monday asked a Washington, D.C., federal judge to dismiss one of three lawsuits filed by a former U.S. Department of Justice antitrust attorney who is challenging the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s collection of phone and online data records.

    • Why A Philosopher Teaches Privacy

      Next week, the new term begins and I’ll be teaching an undergraduate philosophy course called, “Technology, Privacy, and the Law.” The first order of business will be to explain why thinking critically about privacy—determining what it is, deciding when it should be protected, and pinpointing how it ought to be safeguarded—means doing philosophy. Given the practical stakes of these issues, you might not realize that getting into them involves philosophical thinking. But if you’ve got a principled bone to pick with corporate, peer, or governmental surveillance, or if you’ve good reasons for being displeased with the activists who are taking stands against it, you’ve got your philosopher’s cap on.

    • EFF to Ethiopia: Illegal Wiretapping Is Illegal, Even for Governments

      Earlier this week, EFF told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that Ethiopia must be held accountable for its illegal wiretapping of an American citizen. Foreign governments simply do not have a get-out-of-court-free card when they commit serious felonies in America against Americans. This case is the centerpiece of our U.S. legal efforts to combat state sponsored malware.

    • A first step in reining in the NSA’s power

      A little more than a year after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the federal government was collecting and storing the telephone records of millions of Americans, Congress is poised to end the program and provide significant protection for a broad range of personal information sought by government investigators.

    • Editorial: Leahy bill a step toward rebalancing privacy, national security

      For all its limitations, Leahy’s USA Freedom Act testifies to the importance of informed public debate. Snowden’s disclosures brought into the open a dramatic expansion of government power. As a result, liberal Democrats in Congress joined libertarian Republicans in pushing back against an overweening national security establishment.

    • For German, Swiss Privacy Start-Ups, a Post-Snowden Boom

      US and Chinese tech companies are not the only ones profiting from the “Snowden effect.”

      Since news broke that former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed alleged U.S. government surveillance methods worldwide, secure messaging and so-called ‘NSA-proof’ products and companies have sprouted across Germany and Switzerland, two countries who take their privacy laws very seriously.

    • Facebook notes huge jump in secure email connections

      Facebook Inc., which sends billions of notification emails to users each day, said it has discovered a rapid rise in email programs using secure connections.

      Facebook said in a blog post that the number of third-party email providers who hold strict security certificates and deploy encryption of outbound notifications jumped from roughly 30 percent in March to 95 percent in mid-July.

    • Facebook reports enormous uptick in use of snoop-proof email
    • Close to All Facebook Notification Emails Encrypted
    • Meet John Tye: the kinder, gentler, and by-the-book whistleblower

      The way John Tye tells it, we’ve all been missing the forest for the trees.

      Over the course of two phone calls, the former State Department official told Ars that anyone who has been following the government surveillance discussion since the Snowden disclosures has been too concerned with things like metadata collection. Since last summer, journalists, politicians, and the public have been inundated with largely-unknown terminology, like “Section 215” and “Section 702.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Why Ferguson PD has no video of Michael Brown’s death

      There is no video of the death of Michael Brown; there are only two diametrically opposed stories.

      Police in Ferguson, Mo., say an officer killed Brown after the teenager tried to take the officer’s gun. Witnesses say Brown never assaulted the cop and was actually waving his hands in the air before being shot six times. More than a week after Brown’s death, still nobody knows exactly what happened, because no cameras were rolling. In 2014, with HD video neither costly nor scarce, is this acceptable?

    • How Body Cameras Affect Police Accountability
    • “He Wasn’t A Regular Guy”

      How is whether or not Brown was a “regular guy” relevant to the question of whether the police officer was justified in shooting him to death? We do not have one set of laws for “regular guys” and another for everyone else.

    • Intercept Issues Statement on Reporter Shot With Non-Lethal Bullet, Arrested in Ferguson

      He “was doing his job, presented a threat to no one, and clearly identified himself as a member of the press,” Glenn Greenwald’s news organization says

      A reporter for Glenn Greenwald’s news agency, the Intercept, is the latest to be targeted by police in Ferguson, Mo.

    • In Ferguson, echoes of Middle East?

      A summer of global turmoil has culminated in nightmarish scenes from Ferguson, Mo., a St. Louis suburb torn apart by protests after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager.

    • Fox Turns To New Black Panthers Fabulist To Argue “Eric Holder Cannot Be Trusted” To Investigate Michael Brown Shooting
    • CNN Attempts Actual Journalism–But Reverts to Embedded Reporting

      In a matter of minutes, members of the media, who had been objectively and effectively reporting on a protest greeted with a militarized crackdown worthy of a war-torn country, suddenly agreed to become embedded journalists–just like in a war-torn country. Embedded journalism, as FAIR has often written (e.g, Extra!, 9/03), is one of the worst practices of media if you want independent and accurate reporting.

      [...]

      Johnson didn’t think Ferguson police were getting positive enough coverage, so he asked Tapper and Lemon to join him the next day and report alongside him.

    • CNN’s Rosemary Church Asks “Why Not Perhaps Use Water Cannon” In Ferguson
    • Russia, Iran and Egypt Heckle US About Tactics in Ferguson
    • You Know Things are Bad When Egypt and Russia Are Chastising the U.S. Over Ferguson

      The ridiculous police response in Ferguson, Mo., has provoked plenty of reactions from other countries, some of whom seem to be reveling in the chance to troll the U.S. (while seemingly forgetting their own records on human rights).

    • Tear Gas Is A Banned Chemical Weapon, But US Lobbying Made It Okay For Domestic Use… And, Boy, Do We Use It

      If you’ve been watching what’s going on in Ferguson, Missouri, lately, you’re quite well aware that the police have been basically spraying tear gas almost everywhere they can. Suddenly, articles are springing up all over the internet about the use of tear gas — which, it turns out is technically banned for use in warfare as a chemical weapon. The history of how that came about, however, is a bit complicated, as this State Department notice on tear gas discusses. Basically, there was a dispute over whether or not tear gas violated the Geneva Conventions. Here’s a snippet:

    • Administration Proudly Announces That If Your ‘We The People’ Petition Aligns With Its Priorities, Something Might Actually Happen

      Let’s get this right out in the open. I don’t have any particular animosity towards this administration. I just don’t find it to be an improvement over the last one (which I found to be pretty much terrible from all angles). This wouldn’t be notable except for the fact that this administration definitely considers itself to be a vast improvement over the last one and has made several proclamations advancing that theory. (“Most transparent administration,” anyone?)

    • US ‘deeply disturbed’ after Afghans bar reporter from leaving country

      The United States is “deeply disturbed” that Afghanistan’s attorney general has blocked a New York Times reporter from leaving the country, the State Department said Tuesday.

      Times journalist Matthew Rosenberg said Tuesday that he was questioned after writing a story alleging that unnamed Afghan officials were plotting to seize power if the country’s electoral crisis continued.

    • EXCLUSIVE: Brooklyn man wins $125,000 settlement after claiming he was arrested for recording stop-and-frisk

      Dick George claimed that he was pulled from his car in Flatbush after cops realized he was recording them as they searched three youths and overheard him advising the youths to get cops’ badge numbers in June 2012.

    • The Revolutionary Document That Is The UK’s 184-Year-Old Idea Of ‘Policing By Consent’

      Jason Kottke of the always informative and entertaining kottke.org just posted a very interesting look at the genesis of UK law enforcement. In 1829, the UK government shifted policing from a paramilitary force comprised mainly of volunteers to an organized force comprised of citizens. But it made it very clear that UK police derived their power from the consent of the people, rather than from a government mandate.

    • NYPD Settles Case In Which It Arrested Guy For Recording Stop And Frisk, Pays $125,000

      In yet another case in which police illegal arrested someone for filming the police, the police have been forced to pay up. Unlike the big Simon Glik case, it appears that the NYPD (under new management!) decided to do its best to settle the case and get it off the books. They’re paying $125,000 to Dick George, who recorded police doing one of its infamous stop-and-frisks.

    • LAPD Officer Says Tragedies Could Be Prevented If Citizens Would Just Shut Up And Do What Cops Tell Them To

      In the continuing furor that is Ferguson, Missouri, someone is finally asking, “Won’t anyone think of the poor police officers?” Naturally, the person raising this question is a police officer — a 17-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department. And the question isn’t so much being raised as it is being thrown in the reader’s face.

    • Church denies buying victims’ legal rights

      The Catholic Church denies buying off sexual abuse victims for a modest sum to avoid being sued, but says it understands why people believe it did.

      Hundreds of victims of paedophile priests signed away their rights to sue the church for compensation payments under its Melbourne Response scheme for handling clergy sex abuse complaints.

    • We wouldn’t need whistleblowers’ bravery if Morrison did his job properly

      Without whistelblowers working in immigration centers, we would not know the devastating conditions that refugees, including children, suffer under

    • Somalia: After 19 Initial Arrests, Three Journalists Still Held and Reportedly Tortured

      Reporters Without Borders condemns the closures of Mogadishu-based Radio Shabelle and Sky FM and arrests of 19 journalists and employees on 15 August, and the continuing detention and reported torture of the directors of the two radio stations and their owner.

    • Government Repeatedly Threatening Reporter Who Exposed Blackwater With Arrest

      If you blinked at the end of June, you may have missed one of the best pieces of journalism in 2014. The New York Times headline accompanying the story was almost criminally bland, but the content itself was extraordinary: A top manager at Blackwater, the notorious defense contractor, openly threatened to kill a US State Department official in 2007 if he continued to investigate Blackwater’s corrupt dealings in Iraq. Worse, the US government sided with Blackwater and halted the investigation. Blackwater would later go on to infamously wreak havoc in Iraq.

    • Should Luxembourg offer asylum to Snowden & Assange?

      A Luxembourg computer hacking group has called on the Luxembourg government to offer asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      In an open letter, the Chaos Computer Club (C3L) said that such an invitation would be a “long overdue” political action.

      “Both (Assange and Snowden) have taken significant risks and consequences around the world to expose the intentions of power-hungry institutions and demonstrate their activities. Threats, lawsuits and denunciations were the responses of the States concerned; and only very little attention from those who could provide political and institutional changes.”

      The letter referred to C3L’s “Freedom Not Fear” initiative, on which a round table discussion was held with all Luxembourg political party representatives, excluding the ADR and PID.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • How to Save the Net: Don’t Give In to Big ISPs

      The Internet has already changed how we live and work, and we’re only just getting started. Who’d have thought even five years ago that people would be streaming Ultra HD 4K video over their home Internet connections?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Movie Boss Avoids Copyright Q&A to Avoid Piracy “Crazies”

        A public discussion forum centered on new copyright proposals will go ahead without Australia’s main Hollywood-affiliated studio. In an email just made public, Village Roadshow Co-CEO Graham Burke said his company would be boycotting the event due to it being dominated by “crazies” with a pro-piracy agenda.

      • Attackers Can ‘Steal’ Bandwidth From BitTorrent Seeders, Research Finds

        New research reveals that BitTorrent swarms can be slowed down significantly by malicious peers. Depending on the number of seeders and the clients they use, download times can be increased by 1000%. The attacks are possible through an exploit of the BitTorrent protocol for which the researchers present a fix.

      • Unsealed documents show Prenda parties’ twisted finances

        Prenda’s recent devastating defeat in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals was a result of Dan Booth’s / Jason Sweet’s titanic work and John Steele’s / Paul Hansmeier’s incurable hubris. Trolls’ hubris made them foolishly believe that they had more than a “between slim and zero” chance of prevailing on appeal despite the compelling evidence of not so laundry-fresh financials.

      • Unsealed Motions Shows How Team Prenda Sought To Hide Money

        Back in April, we wrote about a really enraged John Steele (famous for his likely leading role in the Prenda scam) angrily hitting back against a sealed motion for contempt against him, arguing that he was lying and hiding assets in his attempt to plead poverty, after a court ordered Team Prenda to file detailed financial statements. They did not do so.

      • Nintendo Goes Copyright On Woman Making Pokemon-Inspired Planters

        We all know that Nintendo wraps itself in copyright law like some kind of really boring security blanket. Every once in a while, the company will make some noise about being more open and accommodating to its biggest fans and the like, but that noise is usually followed up by a rash of takedowns and C&D letters. The most recent battlefront Nintendo has entered in the war against its own fans is the floral planter arena. One woman, admittedly inspired by her love of the Pokemon game series, shared her design for a 3D printed planter on a commerce website.

      • Licensing Boards Think Studying For A Test Is Copyright Infringement, Forbid Memorization Of Material

        Today’s copyright-induced stupidity is brought to you by… a whole host of regulatory institutions. An anonymous Techdirt reader sent in a pointer to this ridiculous warning that greets those accessing the National Association of Legal Assistants practice tests.

      • Who Needs SOPA? US Court Wipes Sites From The Internet For ‘Infringement’ Without Even Alerting Sites In Question

        TorrentFreak has the exceptionally troubling story of a federal district court in Oregon issuing an incredibly broad and questionable order, effectively wiping a bunch of websites out, without ever letting the websites in question know that they were being “tried” in court. The request came from ABS-CBN, a giant Filipino entertainment company arguing infringement, of course. But the argument against these sites is somewhat questionable already, made worse by the demand that the whole thing be done under seal (without alerting the site operators). Then Judge Anna Brown granted the temporary restraining order, basically deleting these sites from the internet, without even a sniff of an adversarial hearing.

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