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08.23.14

Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

Posted in News Roundup at 7:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • The whale that swallowed New Zealand’s election campaign

    A spectacular exposé alleging prime minister John Key and his National party colleagues were involved in dirty tricks campaigns has created the most significant political maelstrom in nearly six years in office and blown the government’s re-election strategy dramatically off course, writes Toby Manhire

  • Women significantly outnumber teenage boys in gamer demographics

    Adult female gamers have unseated boys under the age of 18 as the largest video game-playing demographic in the U.S., according to a recently published study from the Entertainment Software Association, a trade group focused the U.S. gaming industry.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • ASIO explains why Australians can fight for some terrorists and not others

      In the past week, the Abbott government has revealed a new package of anti-terrorism laws targeting Australian jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria that aroused the resentment of several Islamic community representatives. Recently, ASIO chief David Irvine decided to meet with a team of Arab-speaking journalists in Sydney in an attempt to communicate his message, which centred on the distinction between a War on Terror and a War on Islam.

    • Events in Ferguson show why we read the news: entertainment

      When the hysteria began following the revelations about NSA surveillance, I predicted that we’d have an enjoyable hissy fit — then nothing would change (details here). And 14 months later little has changed (perhaps nothing). Now the events in Ferguson MO have sparked a new cycle of outrage over the militarization of police. My prediction is that again little or nothing will change. Here we consider why public outrage has so little effect: news is just entertainment.

    • Indian Army seals cross-border tunnel that sneaks in terrorists

      After Modi ministry came to power, violations per day by Pakistan army has escalated. The reason being that cross border infiltration by terrorists has been stopped by Indian Army. The combined efforts of Indian Army acting on NSA’s advise based in IM, RAW and IB is making J&K becoming hot for jihadis. The tunnel was discovered two weeks back and since then Pakistan has not stopped attack on Indian Army outposts. The Pak Army has admitted that two civilians were dead and soldiers injured on their side.

    • Demand Swells for Straight Answers on the Downing of Malaysian Airlines’ MH17 in Ukraine

      A long list of prominent individuals has signed, a number of organizations will be promoting next week, and you can be one of the first to sign right now, a petition titled “Call For Independent Inquiry of the Airplane Crash in Ukraine and its Catastrophic Aftermath.”

    • ISIS a Jewish Plot? Propaganda and Islamic Jihad

      The combination of events – first, the anti-Semitism expressed by IS supporters and, then, the anti-Semitism by calling IS itself a Jewish plot – is more than simply dizzying. It is treacherous. And it can lead only to the creation of more widespread Jew hate, and thorough confusion among politicians, security agencies, and the police.

    • A pleasant surprise for Washington

      Germany’s announcement that it was ready to arm Iraqi Kurdish fighters against IS was neither expected nor demanded by the US. And yet it’s a welcome boost for the Obama administration – and also helps Berlin.

    • Did an Israeli Sniper Kill an Unarmed Man in Gaza?

      An Israeli activist has told Channel 4 News that he has gathered testimony from three Israeli soldiers who said they witnessed Shamaly’s killing. “They were completely convinced that what they did was wrong,” the Israeli activist, Eran Efrati, said. “They were guilty. The man in the green shirt was not any threat to their lives.”

    • Assassin’s Creed: Taking Out Individuals as a War Strategy

      Israel was the first country to incorporate targeted assassination into its law books, followed by America, which since the September 11, 2001, attacks has perfected the use of sophisticated drones to target terrorist leaders in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    • How many Palestinian civilians is a single militant worth?

      As of Thursday, 76.8 percent of the 2,090 fatalities documented by the Gazan human rights organization Mizan have been civilians.

    • Drone strike kills 6 Pakistani militants, including senior commander in Kunar

      At least six members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were killed following a drone strike in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan.

      Provincial police chief for Kunar province, Gen. Abdul Habib Syed Khel, confirmed that six Pakistani militants were killed following a drone strike by coalition forces.

    • Hamas executes 18 alleged spies for Israel

      Gaza gunmen executed 18 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel Friday, including seven who were lined up behind a mosque with bags over their heads and shot in front of hundreds of people.

      The killings came in response to Israel’s deadly airstrike against three top Hamas military commanders.The incident occurred after more than six weeks of heavy fighting between Israel and Hamas.

    • US debates more robust Syria intervention

      The Obama administration is debating a more robust intervention in Syria, including possible US airstrikes, in a significant escalation of its weeks-long military assault on the Islamic extremist group that has destabilised neighbouring Iraq and killed a US journalist, officials said on Friday.

    • Hamas executes ‘collaborators’
    • Hamas admits its men abducted Israeli teens, says its leaders didn’t know

      A Hamas official admitted Friday that militants from his group abducted three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June, but the official said the kidnappers did not tell their leaders about the action.

    • Gaza mortar fire kills child in southern Israel

      An Israeli child was killed by mortar fire from Gaza on Friday, the army said, bringing the number of civilians killed in Israel during the 46-day conflict with Hamas to four.

    • Israel says boy killed by Gaza mortar bomb
    • Jury acquits anti-drone protester

      A six-person jury acquitted anti-drone protester Russell Brown on July 31 in an East Syracuse, N.Y., court of all charges after he testified about how current U.S. murderous drone strikes are like the U.S. war crimes committed during the ­Vietnam War.

      Brown was on trial for an April 2013 protest at Hancock National Guard Airbase in Syracuse. He smeared himself with red dye to represent the death of drone victims and lay down in a roadway in front of the base. He was arrested and faced charges carrying a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

    • Egypt Army Bombs Weapons Facility Allegedly Linked To Hamas
    • Families of Victims of One Drone Strike in Yemen Paid more than an Entire Year’s Worth of Victims in Afghanistan

      In the twisted world of compensation for errant drone attacks, an attempt at making up for killing innocent civilians in one country has proven far more valuable than a year’s worth of slaughter in another nation.

    • Yemen: Victims of U.S. Drone Strike on Wedding Party Got $1 Million Payout

      The family members of 12 people killed and others injured in a U.S. drone strike on a wedding party in Yemen last year have received condolence payments totaling more than $1 million. Documents provided by the group Reprieve to The Washington Post show the payment ostensibly came from the Yemeni government, but the high amount suggests the U.S. government is providing reimbursement. The documents also show the identities of those killed. They include a 29-year-old man identified as an associate of a Yemeni group working against Islamist militancy.

    • OPINION: Violations of International Law Denigrate U.N.
    • Civilian Victims Of U.S. Drone Strike In Yemen Reportedly Receive Over $1 Million
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Rupert Murdoch, the man who put the ‘twit’ into Twitter

      It’s a time when PR outfits have to bat on through the dog days of summer with very little of any substance to rely on. So they pump out a welter of verbiage in the hope that equally desperate journalists will discern a gleaming nugget lurking in the dross, pick it up,and give it a polish. Indeed, it is so bad I actually came very close to writing a piece about a GPS service that tracks the whereabouts of cats on their nocturnal peregrinations. In the end though I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Dignity, you know, always dignity.

      That said, I couldn’t resist this one. The Foxy one himself, for it is he, Rupert Murdoch, an occasional user of Twitter after discovering social media in the halcyon years of his mid-dotage, has taken to the medium again to express the opinion that Google is worse than America’s NSA!

      Here’s the twit’s deathless Twitter in full, “NSA privacy invasion bad but nothing compared to Google”. Now that has to be enough to make the aforementioned tabby chortle it’s little furry bootees off.

  • Censorship

    • The Military Is Banning Soldiers from Reading Documents Everyone Else Can See

      The government isn’t just keeping track of what civilians are looking at online. They’re also concerned with the browsing habits of their own soldiers.

    • Islamic State joins Diaspora, let’s debunk some myths

      Diaspora, an open source, distributed social network, has come under fire recently for not being able to censor members of Islamic State in the same fashion that Facebook and Twitter have.

      Recent articles in the mainstream press explain how Diaspora doesn’t have a central body with the ability to remove users or their posts because of the distributed nature of the network, however these claims seem ill-considered as they aren’t correct.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Gabbard calls for demilitarizing police

      Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has called for demilitarizing of American police.

    • Green Party: Demilitarize the police, end racial disparities and bring justice to the criminal justice system

      Greens speak out in the wake of the police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., warn about the emergence of a police state

    • Godwin’s Law

      Keep the sentiment of Godwin’s Law in mind as you read, listen, write and speak here and elsewhere. Hyperbole exists, can be sneaky or unintended, and actually can ruin the importance of what you have to say. The legitimacy of your point could be threatened by such dire comparisons. If you don’t even bother trying to catch it, well then truly, you are worse than Hitler.

    • Militarization of our police threatens democracy

      The killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the heavy-handed police tactics that have followed point to a growing problem in this country: the threat of a police state that endangers not only public safety, but democracy itself.

      After the fatal shooting of the unarmed Brown by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, local law enforcement descended upon the city like an occupying force, complete with military weapons, tear gas, rubber bullets and armored personnel carriers.

    • Cop-Tech: The Inevitable Future of Policing

      By now, we’ve heard much about the militarization of police forces, but not so much about other advances in cop-tech that could be as consequential. With national attention lingering on the issue of police brutality — some 400 police killings take place per year, according to USA Today — questions around new policing technologies are pressing. Some of the new gadgets, like Taser’s officer cam, are meant to foster accountability. But others aim to keep pace with increasingly connected and tech-savvy criminals. The civil libertarians are fretting.

    • The Same Hashish They Give Out

      As the public release of the Senate’s report on a four-year investigation into the CIA’s torture program approaches, John Brennan, the agency’s director, is in an uncomfortable spotlight. The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is responsible for overseeing the CIA, has accused the agency of abusing its power. See Brave New Films’ short video below.

    • White House Touts Petition Site But Many Await Replies

      The White House could hardly contain itself earlier this month when President Barack Obama signed a bill allowing American consumers to unlock their cell phones. The bill was driven in part by the White House’s own petition website, “We The People,” and touted as an example of a new model of citizen advocacy influencing change in Washington.

    • Police officer suspended after branding Ferguson protesters ‘rabid dogs’

      St Louis police say it has suspended one of its officers expressed contempt for the protesters on his Facebook account

    • Elderly Hackney pastor has heart attack after ‘botched police raid’

      A police spokesman confirmed officers had obtained a warrant for the raid, but admitted no drugs were found or arrests made. She added: “We are aware an official complaint is being lodged. Under these circumstances it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • DeMaio Campaign Says Peters Waffles on Net Neutrality

      The Carl DeMaio campaign on Thursday accused Rep. Scott Peters of siding with the cable industry in efforts to undermine net neutrality.

      Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should treat all data on the Internet equally. Cable industry leaders argue that providers of data-intensive services such as movie delivery should be given preferential treatment if they pay more.

Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

Posted in FUD, Google, Microsoft at 5:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft

OVER THE years we have demonstrated that payments from Microsoft have a strong correlation to Android and/or Google FUD. Examples included Ben Edelman, Microsoft Florian, and Edward Naughton. Microsoft either pays people to publicly smear the biggest competition or rewards people for smearing Microsoft’s biggest competition. Sometimes the source of the smear is a Microsoft-connected company; we gave some examples of these over the years. These connections are a lot more transparent.

There were many cases where Xuxian Jiang, who had worked for Microsoft, slammed Android, making that his hobby/academic goal. Now we are seeing yet another guy from Microsoft (see his resume that he makes available in his Web site) making a career out of Android FUD. His name is Zhiyun Qian. He worked for Microsoft 4 years ago. Suffice to say, not every criticism of Android and not every Chinese/Taiwanese critic of Android is Microsoft-connected (consider the complaint of Chih-Wei Huang for example), but the point we are making is that when one criticises Android it is worth checking if there have been payments from Microsoft because it very often turns out to be the case.

Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenDocument at 4:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft’s attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)

Microsoft’s attempts to corrupt Chile seem to have brought nothing but blowback. Microsoft and its minion got shamed and the FOSS policy will soon get even stronger. Moreover, Microsoft is making Chile’s anti-lobbying laws stronger by basically trying to lobby and to write legislation by proxy. It shows that this wholly malicious strategy from Microsoft is finally not paying off, thanks in part to reporters who exposed what had happened. Well done, Chile!

We can safely assume that what Microsoft is doing in Chile right now it also tried to do in the UK e.g. pressuring the Cabinet Office regarding its pro-ODF policy. Microsoft, by all indications, is not a scapegoat; it’s not hated because of “jealousy” or because of its size. It is not hated for being incompetent or for being shoddy (which its software is). The company is corrupt. It’s a criminal enterprise with a long track record to show it. Thankfully, however, we keep seeing new stories that show us just how corrupt Microsoft really is. People who deny this are simply ignoring reality.

Today we have several updates from Chile and from Munich, Germany. Citing this article from Miguel Parada, Softpedia writes:

Fresh on the heels of the entire Munich and Linux debacle, another story involving Microsoft and free software has popped up across the world, in Chile. A prolific magazine from the South American country says that the powerful Microsoft lobby managed to turn around a law that would allow the authorities to use free software.

Towards the end it is also connected to what’s happening in Munich. To quote: “Microsoft has been in the news in the last few days because the German city of Munich that adopted Linux and dropped Windows system from its administration was considering, supposedly, returning to proprietary software.

“This new situation in Chile give us a sample of the kind of pull a company like Microsoft has and it shows us just how fragile laws really are. This is not the first time a company tries to bend the laws in a country to maximize the profits, but the advent of free software and the clear financial advantages that it offers are really making a dent.

“Five years ago, few people or governments would have considered adopting free software, but the quality of that software has risen dramatically and it has become a real competition for the likes of Microsoft.”

Richard Stallman is visiting Chile right now (coinciding with a Microsoft scandal over there). Here is a new article about Stallman’s reaction to what Microsoft is doing in Chile. He was there at the right time and he will hopefully raise issues like privacy, digital autonomy, and economic benefits of using FOSS (local engineers being in charge), and so on. Ernesto Manríquez told us that “MS lobby [is] in a 65 million dollar market, and how Vlado Mirosevic lost his innocence,” based on this new article in Spanish (we won’t provide automated translations as anyone is able to do so upon desire). Manríquez also told us that “Chilean Chamber of Deputies to harden anti-lobby law after Microsoft scandal,” based on this article in Spanish.

This is very relevant to the Microsoft propaganda against Munich for its successful migration to GNU/Linux. In the wake of revelations about NSA surveillance in Latin America and Germany (for espionage, not antiterrorism) this should matter a lot. Microsoft and the NSA are in bed together and this means that Chile would be worse than foolish to embrace anything at all from Microsoft (even some random application). This is why Munich did the right thing. It went to FOSS all the way. It’s not difficult for the NSA to crack.

Simon Sharwood has not yet caught up with the latest news from Chile, but he did cover (in English) what Microsoft had done there:

Microsoft successfully lobbied against a law that would have seen Chile’s government adopt open-source software, says Elmostrador, a newspaper in the South American nation.

The publication’s report tells the tale of Vlado Mirosevic, a left-leaning politician who is the leader of the Chilean Liberal Party and its only representative in the national parliament.

In April this year, Mirosevic proposed a bill that would have compelled Chile’s government agencies to at least consider open-source software. Buying proprietary software would still be possible, once an agency justified the decision.

Manríquez is meanwhile showing us articles like this one (in Spanish) about what he calls “The long arm of Microsoft lobby and political connections” (familiar issue).

Microsoft is not a company but more like a political movement or a secret society/sect that infiltrates governments. We have already given many examples of Microsoft’s use of connections in government for corruption, including massive tax evasion (worth billions of dollars). See examples from Europe, from the US, and from India. The relationships often work like bribery in terms of money rolling back to politicians’ pockets when they give public money to Microsoft through contracts. Sometimes Microsoft veterans move to politics (where they use their newly-acquired power to help Microsoft) — or conversely — politicians being promised a salary from Microsoft in the future. This is the “Revolving doors” type of bribery. Classic! We already saw how one Microsoft veteran facilitated Microsoft’s massive tax evasion in the United States after he had infiltrated government.

A follower from Argentina told us last night we would be interested in this new report about Microsoft admitting that it avoids $29 billion in US taxes (just US). If that’s not enough to show just how corrupt Microsoft is, what will be?

Going back to Munich, the Microsoft boosters who distorted the story didn’t actually stick to facts. Munich complains about misreporting. As Jim Lynch put it the other day:

I saw that story floating around many sites yesterday and decided to hold off commenting about it. There was just something about it that rubbed me the wrong way, and I’m glad I waited before including it in a roundup.

Frankly though, it doesn’t surprise me that some sites would jump the gun and use it as an opportunity to belittle or bash Linux. We’ve seen this kind of thing before where a tempest in a teacup gets blown all out of proportion and suddenly Linux is doomed or whatever.

Unfortunately, even after the current wave of stories about Munich fades away, we’ll see the same sort of journalistic shenanigans about Linux happen again at some point. It’s just too easy and too tempting for some sites to gain traffic and ad revenue by jumping on the anti-Linux bandwagon.

After systematic lying about Munich how many people out there are still misled by Microsoft MVPs and partners pretending to be journalists? This is a war on perceptions after all.

As Susan Linton put it, “Monday we reported that Munich was throwing in the Linux towel, but today we find that may not be exactly the case.”

This other report makes it clear that Microsoft OOXML — not FOSS or GNU/Linux — is the problem. To quote: “Hauf also confirms that council staff have, and do, complain about LiMux, but that the majority of issues stem from compatibility issues in OpenOffice, something a potential switch to LibreOffice could solve.”

This is a Microsoft issue, not a FOSS issue, and this is why the UK is now moving to ODF (OOXML not allowed) in the public sector. Remember what Microsoft did in Chile for OOXML.

Microsoft is a criminal company. Even after Ballmer’s departure nothing has changed. As Microsoft is inherently and deeply connected with governments (moles and former staff), don’t expect Microsoft executives to be sent to prison, not even when it’s caught bribing officials around the world (which happens).

OOXML is fraud

The End of Microsoft is Nigh

Posted in Microsoft at 3:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future

A lot of layoffs at Microsoft, including the latest massive round of layoffs, teach us that Microsoft is rapidly collapsing. Many products and divisions are being shut down. That’s just the reality of the ‘new’ Microsoft. Its Web browser is so bad that the company now integrates a competitor's product — Opera — into its products/OS. When it comes to the latest Windows, Vista 8, its small userbase is so contemptible that there is poor/insufficient testing leading to chronic issues (“Microsoft releases another broken patch that is causing blue screens of death,” says Ryan in our IRC channels) and the previous CEO jumps ship completely (except in stock ownership). I recently learned from an insider that there is a bit of panic even inside the company. Employees of Microsoft too are quickly realising that there is not much of a future and their managers are jumping ship. Anyone who pretends that Microsoft is invincible and will always be there to support its products must be thinking of bailout strategies.

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