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10.22.14

Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

Posted in News Roundup at 4:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Let’s Pay for Open Source with a Closed-Source Software Levy

    This column has often explored ways in which some of the key ideas underlying free software and open source are being applied in other fields. But that equivalence can flow in both directions: developments in fields outside the digital world may well have useful lessons for computing. A case in point is a fascinating post by James Love, Director of Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), a non-governmental organisation concerned with public health and other important issues.

    It is called “The value of an open source dividend”, and is a discussion of the problems the world of pharma faces because of the distorting effect of patents – problems it shares with the world of computing…

  • Free software hacker on open source telemetry project for OpenStack
  • Google Releases Open-Source Material Design Icon Pack

    Looking for a new set of icons? In an effort to spread the Material Design look, Google on Tuesday released a set of cool new icons that anyone can download for free. Need icons for your app, website, or just curious to see what they look like? You can head on over to Github and download the full package. There are 750 in total, and they’re protected under a CC-BY-SA Creative Commons license, which means you can use them for whatever you want.

  • Head of Open Source at Facebook opens up

    We have 200 active projects at Facebook, with 10 million lines of code. Many hundreds of engineers working on these, with over 100,000 followers and 20,000 forks.

  • Hey Apple, we’re gonna tailor Swift as open source – indie devs throw down gauntlet

    A group of independent developers have launched a project to develop a free, open source implementation of Apple’s Swift programming language.

    Dubbed Phoenix, the project is being developed under the auspices of Ind.ie, a group that claims to want to develop “consumer products that are beautiful, free, social, accessible, secure, and distributed” and that eschew business models based on “corporate surveillance.”

  • Phoenix Is Trying To Be An Open Version Of Apple’s Swift

    Apple unveiled the Swift programming language at this year’s WWDC event but sadly it’s still not clear whether Apple will “open up” the language to let it appear on non-Apple platforms. Swift is built atop LLVM and designed to be Apple’s successor to Objective-C in many regards while suppoorting C/Obj-C/Obj-C++ all within a single program. With non-Apple folks being interested in the language, it didn’t take long before an open-source project started up around it.

  • Four Simple Words to Remember on FOSS Forums

    The problem here is that this lack of civility, this absence of open-mindedness, and this departure from decent behavior scales in an enormous way in FOSS: from the new user warmed in the glow of their new-found FOSS enlightenment thinking their first distro is “the Holy Grail,” to some of those who got the ball rolling back in the day and are responsible for the world-altering digital movement in which we now find ourselves.

  • Events

    • The Share Economy is Dead, Long Live to the Share Economy!

      The so-called “shared economy” is just replacing the existing and often inefficient and/or ineffective intermediaries, with a new set of powerful intermediaries. While the companies backing all the share-central initiatives are somehow failing to see their true social potential, they introduced many people to the collaborative economy.

    • GStreamer 2014 Conference Videos Posted: Wayland, HTML5, 3D

      The GStreamer Conference 2014 took place last week in Düsseldorf alongside other Linux Foundation events. For those that missed out on being there in person, Ubicast has once again provided wonderful video recordings of each of the sessions.

  • Web Browsers

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • Configuring FreeBSD as a FreeIPA client

      A recent thread on the freeipa-users mailing list highlighted one user’s experience with setting up FreeBSD as a FreeIPA client, complete with SSSD and Sudo integration. GNU+Linux systems have ipa-client-install, but the lack of an equivalent on FreeBSD means that much of the configuration must be done manually. There is a lot of room for error, and this user encountered several “gotchas” and caveats.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Automatic Feedback Directed Optimizer Merged Into GCC

      AutoFDO is the Automatic Feedback Directed Optimizer. AutoFDO relies on the Linux kernel’s perf framework for profiling with performance counters. AutoFDO interprets the perf output and attempts to use the FDO infrastructure to produce better optimized code generation. AutoFDO according to its Google engineers is said to be noticeably faster than traditional FDO for GCC.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Norway closes its open source resource centre

      Amundsen says the centre and its board were not notified in advance of the funding cut. The plan had not been mentioned in meetings with the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization, he explains. “We’ve always told them to warn us in advance. So, their announcement came as a shock.”

      In its 2015 budget, the Norwegian government writes that its funding for Friprog had always been a start-up grant, and that the centre has had since 2007 to find alternative sources of income.

    • U.S. government releases open source gamification software

      The United States’ National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has made some of its internally-developed gamification software available for free on GitHub under the MIT free software license.

      Developers may find it useful as a tool for configuring a server to track “gamification” systems like points or badges against user accounts on apps or websites; at the very least, it offers interesting insight into how the NGA is using game design tenets in its training programs.

    • Munich’s return to proprietary desktop would cost millions

      The move to Linux and other open source solutions has helped the city save some 11 million euro over the past years, Reiter writes. He points to a 2012 report by the city’s IT department. Their cost comparison includes savings on proprietary licences for operating system and office productivity tools and on PC hardware.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Digital government, openness and open cloud — new cornerstones of democracy

      For us, an open cloud embraces a wide range of open source languages, databases and services. This is why we support thousands of open source technologies and open standards. Industry, open communities and government need to work together to develop the open source code and open standards needed to reach the goal of fluid interoperability.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open access platform to save the Odia Indian language

        In February 2014, the Government of India declared the South Asian language Odia as the 6th classical language of India which is one among 22 scheduled languages of India and has a literary heritage of more than 5,000 years. There are documents for more than 3,500 years, and the rest are undocumented oral histories. The native Odia speakers became hopeful of getting a lot of language related projects implemented to grow the lineage of this long literary heritage and see the language used and spoken globally, not just in literature but in computer and mobile games, interactive computer applications and in other digital media—and to reach the masses as a communicative language.

    • Open Hardware

      • Take Control With Open Source Hardware

        “Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design. The hardware’s source, the design from which it is made, is available in the preferred format for making modifications to it. Ideally, open source hardware uses readily-available components and materials, standard processes, open infrastructure, unrestricted content, and open-source design tools to maximize the ability of individuals to make and use hardware. Open source hardware gives people the freedom to control their technology while sharing knowledge and encouraging commerce through the open exchange of designs.”

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US-Backed Ukraine Army Used Cluster Bombs Against Its Own People: Reports

      The Ukraine Army, backed by both the U.S. and NATO throughout its military campaign against rebel factions in eastern regions of the country over recent months, appears to have fired cluster munitions on the city of Donetsk earlier this month, according to a Human Rights Watch investigation and independent reporting by the New York Times.

    • Bowen’s friend was George W. Bush, and the job was to investigate corruption and waste in Iraq

      Bowen’s friend was George W. Bush, and the job was to investigate corruption and waste in Iraq, where his buddy George had launched a misguided and very costly war, as well as an effort to reconstruct that country’s fractured economy. The watchdog soon learned that Air Force transport planes had been airlifting whole pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills from the U.S. to Baghdad – totaling some $14 billion!

    • Send Books Not Drones: Malala Yousafzai On Nobel Win, Continuing Fight For Girls’ Education

      While confident beyond her years in front of a crowd Yousafzai’s journey began a long way from the city of brotherly (and sisterly) love’s massive convention center. She was born in 1997 in Mingora, a district in northwest Pakistan. Her father ran a local school and held the locally radical belief that girls should be educated too. Even though Malala’s mother is illiterate her father consults her before making any decisions. This has helped the eldest of their three children and only daughter feel emboldened. Of course, it helps that Malala is smart. She thrives in school and has always been motivated by competition with her classmates.

      [...]

      A drone attack may kill two or three terrorists but it will not kill terrorism. If the drones continue terrorism will spread.

    • Drones and domination

      Words like ‘precision’, ‘necessity’, ‘cure’ and ‘excision’ dominated the semantics of the drone project. The drones were operated from several oceans away, everyone knew, but some trust could be put in the American superpower’s ability to know of threats and to eliminate them from the hapless and diseased soil of its ally.

      [...]

      The bureau’s project, Naming the Dead, collects available data on the people killed by drone attacks (to the extent it is made available). As per these statistics, they say that of 2,379 people killed, only 704 have been named, and only 295 of the total named have been reported to be members of some armed group. Only 84 (4pc) have actually been identified as members of Al Qaeda. Furthermore, nearly 30pc of those killed by drone attacks were not linked to any militant group at all.

    • On Killing Trayvons

      A movement is coalescing around reforming police procedures and taking away their military weapons.

    • My Father Was Killed By A Computer, Says 7 Year Old Afghan Child

      As Imal grew up, he kept asking his mother where his father was. His mother finally told Imal that his father had been killed by a drone when he was still a baby.

    • ‘Cleansing the stock’ and other ways governments talk about human beings

      Those who kill for a living employ similar terms. Israeli military commanders described the massacre of 2,100 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians (including 500 children), in Gaza this summer as “mowing the lawn”. It’s not original. Seeking to justify Barack Obama’s drone war in Pakistan (which has so far killed 2,300 people, only 4% of whom have since been named as members of al-Qaida), Obama’s counter-terrorism adviser Bruce Riedel explained that “you’ve got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back.” The director of the CIA, John Brennan, claimed that with “surgical precision” his drones “eliminate the cancerous tumour called an al-Qaida terrorist while limiting damage to the tissue around it”. Those who operate the drones describe their victims as bug splats.

    • U.S. Jewish lawyer to Hamas goes on anti-Israel Twitter tirade
    • Terror Suspects’ Lawyer Stanley Cohen Rants Before Prison Sentence
    • Better A Hundred Palestinians Killed Than One Israeli Soldier

      For years now, Israel has been appearing in world media mainly as a country that occupies the Palestinian lands. Press photos of Israelis almost always show heavily armed and armored soldiers confronting protesting Palestinians, often children. Few of these pictures have had an immediate dramatic impact, but the cumulative, incremental effect should not have been underestimated.

    • Women Against War quilts target US drones

      Four six-by-six quilts are on display for the next month throughout the Capital District as part of an exhibit to make the general public aware of military drones and their civilian casualties.

      The quilt squares represent dozens of drone casualties, said Maureen Aumand with Women Against War, which is sponsoring the local exhibition currently in the concourse of Empire State Plaza. There are 144 squares in the quilts.

    • Violence kills a child every five minutes, says UN

      One child dies every five minutes as a result of violence, but only a minority die in war zones, according to a report by the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF.

    • Being the ‘indispensable nation’ is killing American democracy

      President Barack Obama, scorned by his Republican critics as an “isolationist” who wants to “withdraw from the world,” is waging the longest war in U.S. history in Afghanistan, boasts of toppling the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya, launches airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State and picks targets for drones to attack in as many as eight countries, while dispatching planes to the Russian border in reaction to its machinations in Ukraine, and a fleet to the South China Sea as the conflict over control of islands and waters escalates between China and its neighbors.

      [...]

      But endless war undermines the Constitution.

    • British drone operators could be breaking international law, says former GCHQ chief

      British military and intelligence personnel working at US Air Force bases on the controversial drones programme could be at risk of breaking international law, according to a new report from the former director of GCHQ.

      Washington’s “remotely piloted aircraft” (RPA) programme has killed terrorists and civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, drawing the condemnation of human rights organisations.

    • We Can’t Properly Debate Drone Casualties Without Knowing The Names of Those Killed

      The most important question to ask of the Global War on Terror should be the most simple to answer. Instead, it is a perennial shadow cast over US counter-terror operations since 9/11.

      We still don’t know, and still must ask: Who exactly is the enemy?

      [...]

      The Bureau found that fewer than 4 percent of the people killed by drone fire in Pakistan have been identified by available records as named members of al Qaeda. This doesn’t mean, to be sure, that only 4 percent of drone deaths were named members of al Qaeda. Rather, of the killed individuals identified using a variety of sources, only 4 percent matched with already named al Qaeda members. The Bureau spent more than a year looking into 2,379 deaths, using multiple sources including “both Pakistani government records leaked to the Bureau, and hundreds of open source reports in English, Pashtun, and Urdu.”

    • Afghanistan Déjà Vu?

      If we are to learn anything from the attempt to remake Iraq and promote democracy through methods that emphasize brute force, more war is not the answer for Afghanistan. It is time to put US intellectual and material resources into developing another way.

    • America’s Policy: War Now, Justifications Later

      In the counterterrorism realm, “imminence” is the magic word these days. The government need only utter it to hand itself a virtual license to kill.

      Understanding how language can be marshaled for controversial and even bloody purposes requires the ear of a linguist and the mind of a contracts lawyer.

      But the time to go back to school is now—with “imminence” seemingly exploding everywhere.

      In the past few years, the term has been invoked again and again in reference to the thousands targeted by the United States drone program. And it pops up just about every time the U.S. plans another drone attack or military commitment.

    • Analysts criticize US-led airstrikes against Iraqi troops

      According to a security source in Baghdad, an Iraqi General among with eight soldiers were killed on Sunday after an army patrol from the Baghdad Operations Command was targeted in a US bombing in Duwayliba, west of the capital.

    • US Seeks to Avoid Civilian Casualties During Drone Strikes: White House

      New statistics were released on October 16 by the UK Bureau of Investigative Journalism, claiming that fewer than 4 percent of the victims of US drone strikes in Pakistan had been identified as members of Al Qaeda. A greater number of casualties were described as militants, but with little corroborating evidence.

    • Only 4% Of Drone Victims In Pakistan Named As al-Qaeda Members
    • Pakistan-US: Death From The Skies – Analysis

      The present series of drone attacks, which raised the death toll to 35 within a week, concentrated around areas where Pakistan is presently conducting the military Operation Zarb-e-Azb, launched on June 15, 2014, in the aftermath of the attack on Karachi Airport on June 8-9, 2014. At least 33 persons, including all ten attackers, were killed in the Karachi attack. Operation Zarb-e-Azb has, according to Pakistan Army sources, thus far killed more than 1,200 terrorists and 86 soldiers (no independent verification of fatalities of identities of those killed is available, as media access to the areas of conflict if severely limited).

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Panetta clashed with CIA over memoir

      Former CIA director Leon Panetta clashed with the agency over the contents of his recently published memoir and allowed his publisher to begin editing and making copies of the book before he had received final approval from the CIA, according to former U.S. officials and others familiar with the project.

  • Finance

  • Censorship

    • A New Way to Silence Mumia Abu-Jamal

      This is not the first time there has been an attempt to silence Abu-Jamal. In 1994, NPR abruptly cancelled plans to air commentaries by him it had commissioned to air on All Things Considered.

      And the fact that Democracy Now! is covering this story now brings to mind what happened in 1997, when the show was set to begin airing a series of Abu-Jamal commentaries. The radio station at Philadelphia’s Temple University, KRTI, abruptly canceled its contract with Pacifica and Democracy Now! (Extra!Update, 4/97) right before the pieces were to air.

      In both cases, there were questions raised about what kinds of pressure were brought to bear on the media outlets. The controversy over NPR led lawmakers like Sen. Bob Dole to muse about the need for “closer oversight.” In the case of KRTI, there were suggestions that state funding could be at risk.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • A ‘Worthless and Whiny’ Attack on a Genuine Journalistic Hero

      Since the release of the film Kill the Messenger, there has been renewed focus on Webb’s story, which documented how CIA-linked drug traffickers were supplying US drug dealers with cheap cocaine that helped fuel the crack epidemic in the 1980s. For the Post, this means it’s time to argue once again that Webb got the story wrong.

    • Hardly an ennobling choice

      There are many like Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan whom the West chose to ignore

    • Understanding And Defeating Resurgent Fascism

      Usually, fascism is described as a form of authoritarian nationalism in which a dictator has complete power and violently suppresses opposition and criticism while emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and racism. (If you want to read a 14 point characterization of fascism, see Professor Lawrence Britt’s ‘Fascism Anyone?‘

    • Movie ‘The Hacker Wars’ proves we are under U.S. government surveillance

      Weisman’s new documentary, “The Hacker Wars,” is frightening and a must-see. Why? Because the movie makes clear that we Americans should be screaming at our government for trampling our rights. Aside from spying on us, they are punishing those who exercise their right to free speech. The U.S. Constitution is becoming a bad joke. The U.S. government is arresting people left and right for telling the truth.

      NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake makes a powerful statement in the film, “The United States has unchained from the constitution, this is an alien form of government.”

    • The CIA’s Role In Australia’s Coup: RIP Gough Whitlam

      Though you would never know it from reading The New York Times obit of former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, who passed away yesterday at the age of 98, the CIA likely played a central role in the effective coup that removed Whitlam from office in 1975. In today’s post Snowden world, it wouldn’t shock anyone perhaps–but it’s important to remember that the spying, dishonesty, illegality and crimes perpetuated by the government’s intelligence agencies, usually at the behest of the White House, stretch back decades. Two key words are missing from the obit: Pine Gap.

    • Charging Snowden With…Murder? Really?

      So far the Justice Department has not charged Snowden with murder, or even hinted in that direction. Pursuing a murder count would raise the stakes significantly, both for the United States and, naturally, Snowden himself. It’s also totally unclear what basis, if any, Rogers may have for suggesting this. Who exactly is Snowden supposed to have killed, when, and where? If Rogers has any grounds—factual or legal—for this rather dramatic statement, he should make them clear.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • U.S. Control of ICANN Likely Ending

      Now, significant change is in the air. That contract expires in September, 2015. NTIA said in March that it may move ICANN to multinational stewardship. The details aren’t set yet, but needless to say, the matter is steeped in controversy. The group held a meeting, ICANN 51, last week in Los Angeles.

    • Bloomberg Host Calls Out Telecom CEO On Net Neutrality Stance

      Bloomberg TV co-host Cory Johnson called out the hypocrisy of activist telecommunications investor Jeff Pulver who misleadingly stoked fears that proponents of net neutrality advocate for regulations that would hamper telecommunications innovations in. Johnson pointed out that without an open internet, the CEO might have been unable to create his own business.

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