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Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony’s Firefox OS Port

Posted in News Roundup at 2:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Facebook Chef Cookbooks Tasty Enough to Open Source

    Facebook has open sourced some of its community cookbooks to allow a wider world of software application developers to consider using Facebook’s Chef framework.

    Facebook decided to release these findings after designing what it calls (in somewhat grandiose terms) “a new paradigm” that lets a software engineer make any change he/she needs, to any systems he/she owns, via simple data-driven APIs (while also scaling to Facebook’s huge infrastructure and minimizing the size of the team that would have to own the system).

  • Pica8, Big Switch Look to Drive SDN on Bare-Metal Switches

    Pica8 kicked off a busy week in the increasingly competitive software-defined networking space, making moves that officials say will help fuel the adoption of Linux-based OSes on bare-metal switches.


    ONIE has been accepted by the Open Compute Project, and enables businesses to run a range of operating systems—such as Pica8′s PicOS or Cumulus Networks’ operating system—on the same switch hardware. Vendors like Pica8 and Cumulus Networks are championing the use of standards-based operating systems running on low-cost bare-metal switches as an alternative in the software-defined network (SDN) space to more expensive and complex hardware from the likes of Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks.

  • Open Source 2.0 News: Users Behind The Driving Forces For Features Changes!

    Open Source 2.0 news has a lot in store for users that will surely light up their day!

    Tech News World reported that users play major roles in the upgrade of features, functionalities, rewrites and new releases. Open Source 2.0 news alleged that its developers are trying to edge out their competitors’ dominance in the market.

  • Behind The Bullying Epidemic
  • Ben Balter: Contractors Should Tap Open Source for IT Maturity

    GitHub‘s Ben Balter urges government contractors to adopt open source products and software development practices to build on operational and cost efficiencies and ensure that information technology systems use mature code and receive continuous maintenance support.

    Balter, who works to drive government awareness for GitHub, writes in a guest post published Thursday on FedScoop that contractors can gain operational benefits as well as attract potential customers by open-sourcing software.

  • Open-Source Projects Need More Than Good Code—They Need Marketing
  • How To Get Started In Open Source
  • Events

    • Open source interest at Pinterest

      As I looked around the 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing career fair (PDF) floor, I stopped by the Pinterest booth and learned that open source software plays a big role at the company. And even better, Pinterest now plays a big role in the world of open source software, too.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Wags Finger at Advertising Community

        It’s interesting to hear Mozilla taking this stance, because, after a series of kerfuffles with the Internet Advertising Bureau, the company is moving ahead with multiple initiatives that will put ads in front of Firefox browser users, including “directory tiles.”

        It was back in August of 2013 that The Internet Advertising Bureau started firing off screed after screed against Mozilla for its plans to block advertising cookies in the Firefox browser by default. The bureau even took out newspaper ads claiming that Mozilla’s claims that it had a right to help users protect their privacy was basically hogwash.

      • Sony Xperia SP Is Smaller But Faster Than Fellow Android Mid-Range Smartphone Xperia C; Now With a Firefox OS Port

        The specs and hardware of Sony Xperia SP reveal it is smaller but faster in performance than its fellow Android mid-range smartphone from the same label, Sony Xperia C. Both handsets have many similar features that they give their buyers a difficult time in choosing which smartphone to pick for their own.

        Xperia SP debuted to conquer the mid-range sphere with loads of technology from its bigger brother Xperia Z, but with a price tag friendly to the budget-conscious buyers. Shortly following Xperia SP with its own set of specs and features to bet, was Xperia C.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • What it takes to make a cloud deployment successful

      Mark Voelker is no stranger to the OpenStack community. As a technical leader at Cisco and a co-founder of the Triangle OpenStack Meetup, Mark gets to see OpenStack from a lot of different lenses.

      In this interview about his work at Cisco and his upcoming All Things Open talk, Mark shares his thoughts on where OpenStack is and where it’s heading as topics like Big Data and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) continue to emerge in the OpenStack roadmaps for many companies.

    • Third-party, open source AWS management tools offer unique benefits

      Amazon boasts a broad range of tools for managing an EC2 instance, but partners say third-party and open source tools expand on Amazon’s offerings.

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • Like The Other BSDs, DragonFlyBSD Lags Greatly Behind With Its GPU Support

      In this process they’ve found more success making DragonFlyBSD’s kernel more like Linux than trying to adapt the complex, quick-moving drivers to their code-base. “It makes more sense to change the DragonFly kernel to behave like Linux than trying to constantly keep up and change the drivers to use *BSD-specific APIs. In a way I’m porting DragonFly to the drm drivers and not the drivers to DragonFly.”


  • Project Releases

    • Redis cluster, no longer vaporware.

      Basically it is a roughly 4 years old project. This is about two thirds the whole history of the Redis project. Yet, it is only today, that I’m releasing a Release Candidate, the first one, of Redis 3.0.0, which is the first version with Cluster support.

    • RPushbullet 0.1.0 with a lot more awesome

      A new release 0.1.0 of the RPushbullet package (interfacing the neat Pushbullet service) landed on CRAN today.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Health/Nutrition

    • CNN Implicated in Cover-Up of CDC Vaccine Fraud

      In August 2014, CNN was accused of directly participating in the media blackout of the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) vaccine fraud.

    • Militarizing the Ebola Crisis

      Six months into West Africa’s Ebola crisis, the international community is finally heeding calls for substantial intervention in the region.

      On Sept. 16, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a multimillion-dollar U.S. response to the spreading contagion. The crisis, which began in March 2014, has killed over 2,600 people, an alarming figure that experts say will rise quickly if the disease is not contained.

      Mr. Obama’s announcement came on the heels of growing international impatience with what critics have called the U.S. government’s “infuriatingly” slow response to the outbreak.

      Assistance efforts have already stoked controversy, with a noticeable privilege of care being afforded to foreign healthcare workers over Africans.

    • Concerns Raised over Thomas Eric Duncan’s Treatment After He Succumbs to Ebola

      Duncan had come to the United States to marry his fiancée. He had contracted the disease in Liberia while helping a pregnant Ebola victim to the hospital. His family has voiced fears he was given inferior treatment because he is an African, not a U.S. national. Duncan, who had no health insurance, was initially sent home from a Dallas hospital, despite telling a nurse he had been to Liberia. New questions are also being raised about his treatment after he was diagnosed. Three other Ebola patients treated in the United States have received blood transfusions from survivors of the disease, but Duncan did not. There have been conflicting reports over whether one of the survivors, Dr. Kent Brantly, has a blood type that matched Duncan’s. Duncan’s fiancée, Louise Troh, was unable to see him before he died, as she was kept in isolation. In a statement, Troh said: “I trust a thorough examination will take place regarding all aspects of his care.”

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • A third-party Snapchat client has leaked tens of thousands of user photos

      Some Snapchat users are waking up to an unpleasant surprise this morning. A cache nearly 13GB of private Snapchats is now circulating through 4Chan, in a leak the users have dubbed The Snappening. Snapchat has faced security problems before, but this time the fault appears to be with a third-party app used to catalog snaps that would otherwise be deleted. While users assumed the snaps would only be visible to Snapchat HQ and the third-party app, a data breach left them circulating through the open web.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • ISIS and Western intelligence role in the Middle East
    • Report reveals Federal drones are already engaged in domestic surveillance

      The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has logged nearly 2,000 hours of drone flights over the continental U.S. on operations unrelated to immigration enforcement since 2011. This means the DHS is spying on Americans with drones, although they are not reporting precisely what they are doing or why.

    • John Pilger: The war criminals in our midst who should be in the dock with ISIS

      In transmitting President Richard Nixon’s orders for a “massive” bombing of Cambodia in 1969, Henry Kissinger said, “Anything that flies on everything that moves”. As Barack Obama ignites his seventh war against the Muslim world since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the orchestrated hysteria and lies make one almost nostalgic for Kissinger’s murderous honesty.S

    • 38 Years Ago Cubana Flight 455 Downed by CIA-Linked Terrorists

      38 years ago, on October 6, 1976, Cubana Airlines Flight 455 was downed by terrorists, only now known to be CIA operatives; experts further claim it was not the only case when CIA was sponsoring terrorists.

      “The US Government, being consistent with its stated commitment to fight terrorism, should act without double standards against those who, from US soil, have carried out terrorist acts against Cuba,” said Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Barbados Lisette Perez, as cited by the Barbados Advocate, during the ceremony of commemorating the victims at the Cubana Monument at Paynes Bay, Barbados.

    • Women face charges for anti-drone protest near NSA facility

      Three women who protested the United States’ use of drones are now facing federal charges – and $1,300 each in fines – after being accused of trying to enter the National Security Agency’s protected property in Maryland.

    • Better Isn’t Good Enough When it Comes to War

      Barack Obama could have been worse in terms of foreign policy. Now, worse is a silly word to use when you’re talking about life and death. It’s not going to comfort survivors to know that more people died in the last war or Hellfire missile strike than in this one that killed their loved ones.

    • Everyman Theatre to give Baltimore premiere of a play ‘ripped from the headlines’

      The play’s subject matter is not likely to become dated any time soon.

    • [satire] Nobel Prize Committee’s Devastating Letter to President Barack Obama
    • The Forever-War President: Obama’s ‘Transformational’ War Powers Legacy

      In May 2013, some 11 years into the War on Terror, President Obama took a break from reviewing target sets and kill lists to deliver a much-anticipated “drone speech” at the National Defense University in Washington DC. “We must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us,” Obama admonished; “we have to be mindful of James Madison’s warning that ‘No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.’”

    • From 2001 to today: The never-ending War on Terror
    • Obama commends peace prize winners
    • 5 years later, a majority of Americans agrees Obama doesn’t deserve that Nobel Prize

      Five years after a brand-new President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, a substantial majority of his fellow countrymen believe he still doesn’t deserve it and never did.

      The former state senator received the prestigious global prize in 2009 after having done little if anything to earn it.

      Since then, however, Democrat Obama has ordered two troop surges into Afghanistan, initiated an air war to successfully oust Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi, who was then executed by a mob. That country has since fallen into a lawless chaos of feuding militias and terrorist training grounds.

    • Yemen falling apart

      Yemen has been the target of the US drone programme like Pakistan and Somalia. And in revulsion at the drones, one of the slogans of the Houthis has been: “Death to America”. This strain could be seen across the Arab world and with ISIS breaking new ground and advancing in spite of US aerial bombing, the omens for the US and its allies do not seem promising.

    • Anti-drone protest: ‘Stop U.S. wars!’

      In continued resistance to escalating U.S. wars, 75 people marched and rallied at the gates of Hancock Air Force Base here on Oct. 5. The marchers came from across the region, including Buffalo, Rochester, Utica, Albany, Ithaca, Binghamton and Syracuse itself.

    • Challenging Drone Warfare in a U.S. Court

      On October 7, 2014, Kathy Kelly and Georgia Walker appeared before Judge Matt Whitworth in Jefferson City, MO, federal court on a charge of criminal trespass to a military facility. The charge was based on their participation, at Whiteman Air Force Base, in a June 1st 2014 rally protesting drone warfare. Kelly and Walker attempted to deliver a loaf of bread and a letter to the Base Commander, encouraging the commander to stop cooperating with any further usage of unmanned aerial vehicles, (drones) for surveillance and attacks.

    • Drones again

      The government has publicly disapproved of the drone programme while tacitly agreeing to it in private with the US.

    • National security state: A vast secretive empire

      Washington has developed a silent empire, a fourth branch of government alongside the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court: the national security state.

    • Henry Kissinger’s ‘World Order’: An Aggressive Reshaping of the Past

      Henry Kissinger projects the public image of a judicious elder statesman whose sweeping knowledge of history lets him rise above the petty concerns of today, in order to see what is truly in the national interest. Yet as Kissinger once said of Ronald Reagan, his knowledge of history is “tailored to support his firmly held preconceptions.” Instead of expanding his field of vision, Kissinger’s interpretation of the past becomes a set of blinders that prevent him from understanding either his country’s values or its interests. Most importantly, he cannot comprehend how fidelity to those values may advance the national interest.

    • Henry Kissinger ‘considered Cuba air strikes’ in 1976

      US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger drew up plans to “smash Cuba” with air strikes nearly 40 years ago, government papers obtained by researchers show.

    • Where Henry Kissinger’s Dark Wisdom Blinds Him

      In 1976, the Times reports, he was so “apoplectic” about Fidel Castro’s sending troops to support Communist insurgents in Angola that he wanted to, “as he said, ‘cobber the pipsqueak,” according to longtime Cuba expert Peter LeoGrande, who has co-authored a book with the relevant documents, newly declassified by the Ford Presidential Library.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • WikiLeaks crushes Google: the internet is its own value system

      Having reviewed both sides of the argument comprehensively, it has become very clear to me who is on the right side of history in the clash of ideas and ethics between Google and WikiLeaks that is the main subject addressed in Assange’s 2014 book When Google Met WikiLeaks (read my review of Assange’s book here). Without a doubt, the ethics and deeds of WikiLeaks offer a far superior value system: one that reflects the public interest best.

    • When Julian Assange went head to head with Google
    • Assange makes surveillance inquiry submission

      Julian Assange has entered Australia’s surveillance debate dismissing as “absurd” and “meaningless” government assurances that telecommunications interception is limited and subject to strict oversight.

  • Finance

    • Why ‘The Economy’ Isn’t Good News for Democrats

      The Washington Post is having some trouble figuring out why more Americans aren’t enthusiastic about the state of the economy, and why they’re not giving Barack Obama and Democratic politicians more credit for turning things around. But it’s not so hard to figure out.

    • Amazon Tax Probe: AMZN Now Facing EU Scrutiny in Luxembourg

      The EU believes that Luxembourg may have broken the law by giving Amazon special treatment. It may have been that the country offered the company lower tax rates. This isn’t illegal, but making corporate deals that aren’t available for all companies is, reports The New York Times.

  • Censorship

    • Conservatives inject ‘censorship’ into media battle: Tim Harper

      The Conservatives invoke charge of media censorship to justify a copyright law change to benefit political war rooms.

    • Capturing the News

      President Erdogan’s new style of media censorship is less brutal—and much more effective.

    • For Shame: Gannett Abuses DMCA to Take Down Political Speech

      Like clockwork, another news organization is abusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s hair-trigger take down process to stifle political commentary just when that commentary is most timely. This time it’s Gannett Co. Inc., a massive media conglomerate that owns, among many other publications, the Courier-Journal in Kentucky. The Courier-Journal’s editorial board interviewed a Democratic candidate for Senate, Alison Lundergan Grimes, and streamed the interview live. That stream included 40 uncomfortable seconds of the candidate trying desperately to avoid admitting she voted for President Obama (the president is none too popular in Kentucky). A critic posted the video clip online—and Gannett promptly took it down.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • White House Denies Report That Obama Plans to Close Guantanamo and Transfer Detainees to US
    • White House denies plans to unilaterally close Guantanamo Bay
    • Settlements or Neighborhoods? NPR Takes Netanyahu’s Side

      By law, they’re Israeli colonies, but NPR’s guest calls them ‘neighborhoods’

    • Suspects in Thai backpacker murders retract confessions, says official

      More doubts raised over forensics and statements of Burmese pair held for Hannah Witheridge and David Miller killings

    • Bill Maher Is Unusually Conservative on Islam

      As a vocal critic of religion, it comes as no surprise that Bill finds fault with Islam. Yet to many, Bill’s vociferous support of Sam Harris statement that “Islam is the mother lode of all bad ideas” is deeply troubling.

    • Karl Marlantes, author of What It Is Like to Go to War, speaks to the Weekly before his CSUMB visit.

      It was problematical even before I went. You had the feeling [President Lyndon] Johnson wasn’t telling the truth about the Gulf of Tonkin, but you couldn’t prove it. That the government was corrupt, but you couldn’t prove it. The North Vietnamese weren’t these kind people, like Jane Fonda said. You served the Constitution and if the president said go, that’s what you do. I could have gone to Sweden or Algeria. I just couldn’t have my friends over there doing the fighting.

    • The Malalas You Don’t See

      The Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban has rightly captured the world’s attention. But what about the invisible child victims of US drones?

    • “Brand Malala”: Western exploitation of a schoolgirl

      As Malala Yousafzai has told the media, that second when she was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan changed her life, (it is also changing the lives of others too), Malala has become a very marketable western commodity. My issue is not with Malala, I support and respect her wish of education for all, however (and it shames me to say this being British) I doubt she fully realizes the extent to which she is being exploited by her new “mentors” in the UK.

      There is an element of risk to all now living in Pakistan since the US led War on Terror brought internal conflict to the region but there is only special treatment for some of those affected. Why not fly out every child harmed by US drones to the west for the most up to date medical care, there are plenty for wellwishers to assist.

    • Again the Peace Prize Is Not for Peace

      The Nobel Peace Prize is required by Alfred Nobel’s will, which created it, to go to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

      The Nobel Committee insists on awarding the prize to either a leading maker of war or a person who has done some good work in an area other than peace.

      The 2014 prize has been awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay, which is not a person but two people, and they have not worked for fraternity between nations or the abolition or reduction of standing armies but for the rights of children. If the peace prize is to be a prize for random good works, then there is no reason not to give it to leading advocates for the rights of children. This is a big step up from giving it to leading makers of war. But then what of the prize for peace and the mission of ending war that Nobel included in his will in fulfillment of a promise to Bertha von Suttner?

      Malala Yousafzay became a celebrity in Western media because she was a victim of designated enemies of Western empire. Had she been a victim of the governments of Saudi Arabia or Israel or any other kingdom or dictatorship being used by Western governments, we would not have heard so much about her suffering and her noble work. Were she primarily an advocate for the children being traumatized by drone strikes in Yemen or Pakistan, she’d be virtually unknown to U.S. television audiences.

    • Somalia: Victories Over Al Shabab Are Not Bringing Peace

      Without meaning to, Western supporters of Somali security forces were even arming various militias in the country, Sheikh said. The government was paying its soldiers very little, and irregularly, too. So many of the soldiers trained by the European training mission, EUTM, defected straight to their respective clan’s militia – and some to al-Shabab – taking all their freshly acquired skills with them.

    • Drone attack kills four in Tirah Valley

      According to reports, the drone attacked hideouts of militants on the Cancharo Kandoa area of Afghanistan near Pakistan border.

    • The Activists Assad Hates Most Are Now Obama’s Problem

      For Western critics of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is the quintessential resource for documenting his regime’s mass atrocities. But as the United States undertakes direct military involvement in Syria, the monitoring group’s methodical casualty counts and network of local sources have become a double-edged sword for Barack Obama’s administration.

      No longer just a PR problem for the Assad regime and radical Syrian rebel groups, the monitoring organization has begun publishing allegations of civilian deaths at the hands of the U.S. military. And the observatory’s founder, Rami Abdul Rahman, says he’s not going to stop.

    • The Intercept’s Ryan Devereaux is No Gary Webb

      Trash is mostly what Ryan Devereaux serves up in his recent piece on investigative journalist Gary Webb.

    • Torture is wrong

      The CIA hires officers who might succeed in the midst of ambiguity — the murk of uncertainty, pressure, and the obligation to act now — but can also affirm the principles we are sworn to serve. For me — a former CIA officer who spent decades trying to reconcile the irreconcilable, who lived with the impossible task of getting it right every time when all choices were fraught with ill consequence — one truth stood out in its simple clarity: Torture is wrong. No hypothetical can gainsay that, and no circumstance can justify making an exception.

    • Check Out This FBI Memo Citing John Lennon’s “Revolutionary Activities”

      Today would have been John Lennon’s 74th(!) birthday had he not been gunned down on the sidewalk outside of The Dakota in December 1980. Before his death, his political activism and pacifism endeared him to millions, but certainly not to the United States government. Check out this May 1972 FBI memo re: “Security matter dash revolutionary activities” with notes from the deportation hearings the Nixon administration was throwing at him…

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