09.19.14

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Links 19/9/2014: Another Red Hat Acquisition, Netflix Dumps Microsoft Silverlight and Brings DRM to WWW

Posted in News Roundup at 2:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source mobile innovation improves Atul’s competitiveness

    Understanding the importance of mobility, the IT team at Atul realized that access to ERP applications on mobile devices could greatly enhance business capabilities and insights. The team aspired to enable its sales team to punch in orders directly from their smartphones into the ERP. However, after prospecting various solutions available in the market – it was inferred that mobile integration was an expensive and complex proposition. The solution costs were in the range of Rs 40-50 lakh in addition to the database license costs which seemed to be prohibitive for Atul.

  • Facebook’s TODO Project brings serious momentum to open source
  • Simple Secure — open source security organization backed by Google and Dropbox

    Strong security is necessary nowadays. However, some solutions can be overwhelming to many users, so they are often not implemented or simply misunderstood. In other words, regardless of how strong a security implementation is, if users do not understand how it works or how to use it, it may be worthless.

  • Google, Dropbox: Open Source Needs to Be More Secure
  • Cloudflare launches open source keyless SSL

    Cloudflare today announced it has made available a keyless SSL solution that enables the content delivery network to provide data transfers that are both authenticated and encrypted, without requiring customers’ private digital keys.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Quietly Shutters its Labs, Delivers Firefox OS Phone in Bangladesh

        Mozilla is much in the news this week, partly for technology efforts that are moving forward, and partly for shuttering a long standing effort from the company. Partnered with Grameephone, an operator in Bangladesh, Mozilla rolled out Firefox OS-based phones for Bangladesh that are priced under $60 and are poised to put smartphones in the hands of some users who haven’t had phones before.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Rackspace Says It’s Not for Sale, Despite Obstacles

      Rackspace names a new CEO, as the OpenStack cloud founder chooses not to sell after evaluating its strategic options.

    • Workload deployment tools for OpenStack

      This is the second part in a series of three articles surveying automation projects within OpenStack, explaining what they do, how they do it, and where they stand in development readiness and field usage. Previously, in part one, I covered cloud deployment tools that enable you to install/update OpenStack cloud on bare metal. Next week, in the final article, I will cover automating “day 2 management”—tools to keep the cloud and workloads up and running.

  • Databases

    • Tesora Delivers OpenStack Database-as-a-Service for Enterprises

      As the OpenStack cloud computing arena grows, a whole ecosystem of tools is growing along with it. Tesora, the leading contributor to the OpenStack Trove open source project, is out this week with what it is billing as the first enterprise-ready, commercial implementation of OpenStack Trove database as a service (DBaaS). Tesora also recently announced that it has open sourced its Tesora Database Virtualization Engine, and now is also offering the Tesora OpenStack Trove Database Certification Program.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • King Ellison Abdicates As Oracle CEO

      Under Ellison, Oracle has already squandered all of their open source holdings. We don’t need MySQL anymore, we’ve got Maria. The Document Foundation with LibreOffice has made Open Office irrelevant — and it doesn’t even belong to Oracle anymore anyway. What’s left? Java? What a fine job they’ve done managing that mess. Oracle Linux? OMG, what’ll we do if they screw that up?

      Oracle couldn’t do any worse with Ellison gone than they’ve done with him.

    • Ellison Steps Down as Oracle CEO, but Management Team Stays

      The all-purpose IT vendor reported that its fiscal 2015 Q1 total revenues were up 3 percent; net income was unchanged at $2.2 billion over Q1 2014.
      Few people keep their jobs for life, except perhaps the pope, members of the U.S. Supreme Court, and those who own their own businesses and don’t wish to retire.

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Software Freedom Day serves online democracy

      The Christchurch Unix community has its annual technical show this weekend, as part of international Software Freedom Day celebrations. Personal Computer operating systems derived from Unix offer an alternative, to Microsoft desktop security issues and costs, and are maintained by a large international community. Main variants of Unix are GNU/Linux and Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) operating systems. BSD is the core of Apple Computer’s OS-X. Licensed free software installation discs, install help and tuition are made available to the public on Software Freedom Day.

    • RCS 5.9.3 available

      GNU RCS (Revision Control System) 5.9.3 is available.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Facebook’s TODO project, Coursera in Brazil, Drupal, and more
    • Open Data

      • Going behind the scenes at Data.gov

        Data.gov wants to be the fuel that helps power the organizations and people that will change the world.

        Data by itself is just the tinder for the spark of imagination and innovation. Without it many of the kinds of innovations we see like iTriage, Bright Scope, and Patients Like Me would not be possible. The Data.gov project is how the United States government, under the Obama administration, is striving to empower citizens to create the change they envision; not just by fixing a temporary problem, but by helping to let citizens solve the problem themselves.

Leftovers

  • Russia cries foul over Scottish independence vote

    Russia has said the conduct of the Scottish referendum “did not meet international standards”, with its observers complaining the count took place in rooms that were too big and that the procedure was badly flawed.

    In an apparent attempt to mirror persistent western criticism of Russia’s own elections, Igor Borisov – an accredited observer – said the poll failed to meet basic international norms.

  • Moving On For Social Justice

    I met numerous voters who had received letters from their employers – including Diageo, BP, RNS and many others – telling them to vote No or their job was in danger.

  • About Apple’s Dead Warrant Canary

    I find Apple’s dead warrant canary of particular interest given the revelation in the recent DOJ IG Report on National Security Letters that some “Internet companies” started refusing NSLs for certain kinds of content starting in 2009; that collection has moved to Section 215 authority, and it now constitutes a majority of the 200-some Section 215 orders a year.

  • Security

    • TrueCrypt Getting a New Life

      When the developers of TrueCrypt delivered the bombshell that they were abandoning their popular open source encryption program, it left many organizations in a hugely difficult position. Should they continue to use it, or heed the developers’ advice that it was no longer secure and switch to another encryption product?

      On the face of it, the decision should be an easy one: If the developers of something as security sensitive as an encryption program say that their program is no longer secure, surely it would be rash not to heed the warning.

    • Encryption goof fixed in TorrentLocker file-locking malware

      The developers of a type of malicious software that encrypts a computer’s files and demands a ransom have fixed an error security experts said allowed files to be recovered without paying.

      The malware, called TorrentLocker, popped up last month, targeting users in Australia, according to iSight Partners, a security consultancy. It now appears to be also geo-targeting victims in the U.K.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Ombudsman ‘appalled’ by ex-Customs lawyer’s OIA allegations

      A former Customs lawyer claim that he was told to bury bad news matches similar stories which have sparked a wide-ranging inquiry by Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem.

      She said she was “appalled” by Curtis Gregorash’s claim. “Having said that one of the reasons I am undertaking of selected agencies in respect of their OIA practices is that anecdotally a number of people have told me similar stories,” she said.

      She said a planned inquiry to be launched after the election could see the Ombudsman’s office using its Commission of Inquiry powers to compel evidence to be given under oath were there signs information was being hidden.

    • Banned Books Week

      On the next Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio, join co-hosts Mickey Huff and Peter Phillips as they celebrate Banned Books Week. This year, BBW focuses on Graphic Novels. Their first guest is Charles Brownstein, executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Charles will give a history of censorship and comic books and why this theme was chosen for BBW this year; Barbara Jones joins the program to give perspectives on BBW from the American Library Association where she is director of Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom; the second half of the show looks at a recent example of book banning in Delaware regarding The Miseducation of Cameron Post– the librarian of the Dover Pubic Library, Margery Cyr, joins the program to give overall details of the struggle over the book; Susan McAnelly, manager of Browesabout Books in Rehoboth Beach tells of her role and that of independent bookstores in fighting censorship; and recent high school graduate, Maddi Bacon, explains how she was active opposing the ban as a student at the Cape Henlopen High School. We round out the show with a quick update from former CIA analyst, transparency activist and civil libertarian Ray McGovern who will be speaking in the San Francisco Bay Area next week.

    • PROJECT CENSORED is a proud sponsor of Banned Books Week again this year!
  • Civil Rights

    • NYPD suspends “totally unprovoked” officer caught kicking street vendor

      Responding to public outcry after a video showing officers from the New York Police Department assaulting unarmed street vendors in Brooklyn recently was posted online, NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton announced on Wednesday that a cop seen in the video viciously kicking one merchant had been suspended and was under investigation by the department’s office of internal affairs.

    • L.A. schools police will return grenade launchers but keep rifles, armored vehicle

      Los Angeles Unified school police officials said Tuesday that the department will relinquish some of the military weaponry it acquired through a federal program that furnishes local law enforcement with surplus equipment. The move comes as education and civil rights groups have called on the U.S. Department of Defense to halt the practice for schools.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Jimmy Kimmel Joins John Oliver In Explaining Net Neutrality

      A few months ago, John Oliver did an amazing job making net neutrality into a mainstream issue, by reducing it to its core element: that it’s all about “preventing broadband provider fuckery.” That was a great segment that truly went viral. But, still, the TV folks have remained pretty quiet on the issue. However, it appears that another late night comedian has jumped into the game as well, with Jimmy Kimmel doing a segment last week trying to explain the fast lane/slow lane issue in rather graphic form:

    • ​Russia eyes counter to Washington’s internet kill-switch – report

      Facing a possible cut-off from the internet by the US, Russian security officials and IT giants are discussing the possibility to make the Russian sector of the net independent, according to insiders.

      The issue would be discussed at several closed-door events in the days to come, including a national Security Council session on Monday next week, reports Vedomosti newspaper citing a number of unnamed security and industry sources.

      The meeting of security officials, to be chaired by President Vladimir Putin, will to discuss the results of a July Communications Ministry exercise to test how robust the Russian internet infrastructure would be if it were subject to a massive cyber-attack. The answer to that is reportedly “Not robust enough.”

    • Verizon, enemy of Open Internet rules, says it loves the “open Internet”

      No company has gone to greater lengths than Verizon in trying to stop the government from enforcing network neutrality rules.

      Verizon is the company that sued to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order from 2010. Verizon won a federal appeals court ruling this year, overturning anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules and setting off a months-long scramble by the FCC to get enforceable rules into place.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • 7 Amazing Works of Pop Culture That Have Been Lost Forever
      • Only Surviving Recording Of The Very First Superbowl Is Because A Fan Recorded It, But You Can’t See It, Because Copyright

        We’ve written a few times in the past about how the entertainment industry’s woeful job of preserving and archiving old works has resulted in culture being lost — but also how unauthorized copies (the proverbial “damn dirty pirates”) have at least saved a few such treasures from complete destruction. There was, for example, the “lost” ending to one of the movie versions of Little Shop of Horrors that was saved thanks to someone uploading it to YouTube. Over in the UK, a lost episode of Dad’s Army was saved due to a private recording. However, Sherwin Siy points out that the very first Super Bowl — Super Bowl I, as they put it — was basically completely lost until a tape that a fan made showed up in someone’s attic in 2005. Except, that footage still hasn’t been made available, perhaps because of the NFL’s standard “we own everything” policy.

      • Report Brands Dotcom’s Mega a Piracy Haven

        A new report published by the Digital Citizens Alliance estimates that the most popular cyberlockers generate millions of dollars in revenue. The research claims that the sites in question are mostly used for copyright infringement. The list of “rogue” sites includes the Kim Dotcom-founded cloud hosting service Mega, albeit based on a false assumption.

      • Hollywood Workers Demand Peter Sunde’s Dignity & Freedom

        Led by director Lexi Alexander, a collection of Hollywood directors, producers, actors, writers and other workers have teamed up in support of Peter Sunde. As the jailed former Pirate Bay founder prepares for his father’s funeral, the insiders call for his uncuffing. “We oppose your imprisonment,” they say in their video.

      • Hollywood Insiders: Directors, Actors, Producers, Camera People And More Demand Peter Sunde Be Freed & Treated With Dignity

        While we’ve written plenty about Peter Sunde, the former spokesperson for The Pirate Bay, we didn’t cover his eventual jailing earlier this year. Given all the coverage of his trial and efforts post-trial to have the results revisited, the fact that he finally ended up going to jail didn’t seem like much of a story. However, the way in which he’s been treated in jail is simply inhumane. He’s been put in the equivalent of a maximum security prison and basic requests for more humane treatment have been rejected. The latest outrage was that Peter’s father recently passed away, and while prison officials have said they’ll make arrangements for him to attend the funeral, he’ll have to wear handcuffs. TorrentFreak says he’ll have to wear handcuffs while carrying his father’s coffin — but from Peter’s brother’s quote, it seems clear that the prison officials were actually saying he can’t even carry his father’s coffin. The handcuff remark was just their way of saying “fuck you.”

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