Links 4/11/2014: Trisquel 7.0 LTS, Fedora 21 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 4:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Sorry, Windows Fans, but Can You Run 100 Apps at Once and Still Use the PC?

    Linux distributions are always heralded as the most secure operating systems and Windows is usually left in the dust, but it’s good to know that it can also perform much better in other areas, like application and memory management.

  • Server

    • HarrisData Supports Linux with new ‘AppsInHD’ Platform

      IBM i ERP software developer HarrisData recently unveiled AppsInHD, a new platform that will serve as the foundation for the company’s future Web-based, loosely coupled, REST-enabled applications. The new “mashup” AppsInHD apps will run on IBM i as well as Linux.

    • November 2014 Issue of Linux Journal: System Administration

      Every time I write a Bash script or schedule a cron job, I worry about the day I’ll star in my very own IT version of a Folger’s commercial. Instead of “secretly replacing coffee with Folger’s Instant Crystals”, however, I worry I’ll be replaced by an automation framework and a few crafty FOR loops. If you’ve ever had nightmares like that, you’re in the right place. The truth is, the need for system administrators isn’t going down—it’s just that our job function is shifting a little. If you stay current, and resolve to be a lifelong learner, system administration is as incredible as it’s always been. (And far better than instant coffee! Yuck!) This month, we focus on system administration. It keeps us all relevant, all informed and most important, we should all learn a little something along the way.

    • CoreOS: A lean, mean virtualization machine

      CoreOS is a slimmed-down Linux distribution designed for easy creation of lots of OS instances. We like the concept.

      CoreOS uses Docker to deploy applications in virtual containers; it also features a management communications bus, and group instance management.

      Rackspace, Amazon Web Services (AWS), GoogleComputeEngine (GCE), and Brightbox are early cloud compute providers compatible with CoreOS and with specific deployment capacity for CoreOS. We tried Rackspace and AWS, and also some local “fleet” deployments.

    • Linux Distributors Are All Over the Cloud

      Two of the major Linux distributors, Red Hat Inc. and SUSE, appear to believe that becoming the dominant supplier of cloud services and technology will allow them to continue to battle mainframes, Windows and single-vendor Unix in both corporate and services provider datacenters. Both of these suppliers have made recent announcements based on cloud-related products and services. Let’s take a look at what they’re doing.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • bsdtalk246 – Playing with tor

      Looking forward to attending MeetBSD in California this weekend. Still working on finding a new /home for all my stuff, but thank you all who have offered suggestions and hosting.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD’s Windows Catalyst Driver Remains Largely Faster Than Linux Drivers

        With last week having delivered our latest Linux vs. Windows NVIDIA benchmarks where we found that the NVIDIA Linux driver can outperform the Windows 8.1 driver with OpenGL workloads, the tables have turned to looking at the AMD Windows vs. Linux performance using the latest code. In this Ubuntu 14.10 vs. Windows 8.1 comparison, the open-source Radeon driver on Linux is also being tested against the Catalyst drivers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • K3b 2.0.3 released

        I don’t have access to k3b.org so can’t update the news there, shows why the Manifesto is such an important thing.

      • K3b 2.0.3 Released After Over 3 Years

        K3b 2.0.3 has been released earlier today, bringing a number of bug fixes and improvements to this burning application. This is the first incremental release since 2011, after over three years in which everything was quiet regarding the development of K3b.

  • Distributions

    • 10 best Linux distros: which one is right for you?

      Choice and flexibility are the hallmarks of a Linux distribution, and by extension the Linux ecosystem. With the proprietary Windows and OS X, you’re stuck with the system as designed and can’t make changes no matter how unpleasant you may find the experience. Linux distributions are free of such limitations.

      Each distro has the Linux kernel at its core, but builds on top of that with its own selection of other components, depending on the target audience of the distro. Most Linux users switch between distros until they finally find the one that best suits their needs. However, for new and inexperienced users, the choice of hundreds of distros, with seemingly little to distinguish them, can seem challenging to say the least.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • openSUSE 13.2: green light to freedom!

        This is the first release after the change in the openSUSE development mode, with a much shorter stabilization phase thanks to the extensive testing done in a daily basis in the rolling distribution used now as a base for openSUSE stable releases. The perfect balance between innovation and stability with the great level of freedom of choice that openSUSE users are used to.

      • openSUSE 13.2 Officially Released, Uses Btrfs As Default

        After one year of development and a change in their development practices, openSUSE 13.2 was officially released this morning.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Linux at 20: Recalling ‘Halloween’ release that was no trick

        Twenty years ago [on Oct. 30, 1994], the world had their first glimpse of the operating system that would eventually evolve into Red Hat Enterprise Linux with Marc Ewing’s “Halloween” release of Red Hat Linux. In the mid-90s, Linux was not the juggernaut that it is today, instead the domain of hobbyists and hackers. Red Hat Linux “Halloween,” however, forever changed the game, showing not only the growing demand for Linux but also that you could actually make money in open source.

      • Fedora

        • Too Many Forks, the Right Distro, and Reason for Fedora

          Today in Linux news the community tackles the “too many forks” question. Jack Wallen has how to find the right distro for the job and Mayank Sharma updated his “10 best Linux distros” article. Danny Stieben has five reasons to look forward to Fedora 21 and Bryan Lunduke looks at ChromeOS in his latest desktop-a-week review.

        • 5 Brilliant Reasons To Look Forward To Fedora 21

          Fedora 21 is well on its way to being released in early December, and it brings with it a ton of goodies! Plus, since Fedora is known for being a cutting-edge distribution, there will be a lot of interesting software and technologies that you’ll get to use. Since Fedora moves so fast, it’s important to have these new releases.

        • Announcing the release of Fedora 21 Beta!
        • Fedora 21 beta released
        • Announcing the release of Fedora 21 Beta!
        • Fedora 21 Beta Makes It Out Following Delays

          Fedora 21 is now available in beta form following its latest delays. Fedora 21 is still hoped for in official form next month and continues to be shaping up to potentially the best Fedora release ever.

        • Fedora 21 rolls three versions of Linux into one OS

          Following hints earlier in the year, a beta of Red Hat Fedora Linux 21 has finally arrived in three incarnations: Cloud, Server, and Workstation. Fedora 21 also provides the first public glimpse of Project Atomic, Red Hat’s initiative to produce a Linux distribution optimized as a Docker container host.

          Users who have deployed Fedora in the past as a workstation environment can turn to the appropriately named Fedora 21 Workstation. In addition to updates of all previously included software, the new version features a technology preview of the Wayland display server, an improvement on the X.org display server currently used by Linux distributions. Workstation also includes the Dev Assistant tool to provide developers with a fast way to instantiate project environments.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Hackable drone controller runs Linux

      Gizmo for You has gone to Indiegogo to ask for $600 for a modular, Linux based “Open Source Remote Control” for UAVs and other remote-controlled craft.

    • Tiny $269 3D resin printer runs Linux on Raspberry Pi

      The $269 iBox Nano, billed as the “world’s smallest, cheapest 3D resin printer,” offers WiFi and 328 Micron resolution, and runs Linux on a Raspberry Pi.

      The Raspberry Pi has been used as a computer interface device for 3D printers, as well as a calibration add-on, but as far as we know the iBox Nano is the first 3D printer in which Linux is running the show internally. Last month, an engineering student named Owen Jeffreys showed a video of a Raspberry Pi-based 3D printer project, but the project has yet to be completed (see farther below). Meanwhile, the only other commercial 3D printers we know of that run Linux are the three MakerBot Replicator models announced earlier this year.

    • Phones

      • Mobile Linux Distros Keep on Morphing

        Legitimate questions have been raised as to whether Linux platforms designed for smartphones are as good as a tailored embedded Linux stack built from scratch. Yet, so far experiments outside the mobile realm have proven fairly successful. Over the last week, we saw how several of these platforms, including Firefox OS, Tizen, Ubuntu, and WebOS, are spreading out to new device types.

        First, Mozilla revealed a Firefox OS port to the Raspberry Pi that it hopes will rival Raspbian. Also last week, Samsung showed off a Tizen-based smart TV prototype, as well as a new camera. In addition, specs for the first Ubuntu Touch-enabled tablet were floated on the web, and earlier last month, LG hinted at an upcoming WebOS smartwatch.

      • Tizen

      • Android

        • Nexus 9 Review: A Powerful Tablet…for Android Die-Hards Only

          The Nexus 7 formula wasn’t broken, but Google went and fixed it anyway. The Nexus 7 tablet has been discontinued, and the Nexus 9 is the replacement.

        • Android market share may have hit its peak
        • 5 Android apps that are already redesigned for Android 5.0 Lollipop

          Android is about to complete its metamorphosis into an operating system with not just cohesive design, but stunning good looks. Android 5.0 Lollipop looks great, but that says nothing of the apps. It’s up to developers to get their apps updated using the new material design guidelines with bolder colors, layered UI elements, and floating action buttons. It’ll probably take a while for everyone to get on-board, but some developers have already done the work to create beautiful materialized apps. Here are five of the best.

        • Get Gmail 5.0 for Android right now

          Anticipating the Material makeover for one of Google’s most beloved apps? The wait is over, and here’s how to get a copy for your Android device.

        • Android Lollipop rolls out across smartphones, tablets

          Ready for the latest and greatest Android release? Android 5 “Lollipop” is rolling out over-the-air to select smartphones and tablets now.

          The new Android software, which features the new Material Design, is already on the recently released Nexus 6 and 9. It’s also now on its way to the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (both first and second generation), and Nexus 10. It will also be showing up on ” Google Play Edition” devices. These include the Moto G and HTC One M8.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Can Open Source Help Solve Unemployment?

    Put simply, getting involved in an open source project is a great way for anyone to show that they can contribute in a meaningful way, work well with others, and develop skills and experience that can be directly transferred to a work environment.

  • ‘Albania hospitals should switch to open source’

    The government of Albania should benefit from using free and open source for managing the country’s hospitals and health clinics, says Gjergj Sheldija. The ICT consultant is implementing Care2x, an open source Hospital Information System (HIS) for the Mother Teresa Hospital in Tirana.

  • Our connected future: an interview with NASA’s first CTO, Chris C. Kemp

    Chris C. Kemp is the Chief Strategy Officer of Nebula, Inc., a leading cloud computing and IaaS provider which helps enterprises deploy and manage OpenStack-based private clouds. Previously to founding Nebula, Chris served as NASA’s first CTO where he cofounded the OpenStack project.

  • Adobe launches its open source text editor Brackets out of beta, releases CSS extraction tool

    Today Adobe announced the 1.0 release of Brackets, the company’s open source text editor designed for developers who work with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

  • Google releases open source Nogotofail network traffic security testing tool

    Google today introduced a new tool for testing network traffic security called Nogotofail. The company has released it as an open source project available on GitHub, meaning anyone can use it, contribute new features, provide support for more platforms, and do anything else with the end goal of helping to improve the security of the Internet.

  • ON.Lab Intros Open Source SDN OS

    The Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab), a non-profit organization founded by SDN inventors and leaders from Stanford University and UC Berkeley, today introduced the open source SDN Open Network Operating System (ONOS).

  • ON.Lab aims to disrupt with SDN Open Source Network Operating System
  • PLUMgrid Incorporates Third Party Open Source SDN Functions for Ease of SDN/NFV Deployments

    PLUMgrid, a leading innovator of virtual network infrastructure for OpenStack clouds, has announced that it has incorporated third party open source SDN functions from partners or community-built open source software modules on its PLUMgrid Platform to provide a single service insertion architecture that simplifies and accelerates the adoption of virtual network services. PLUMgrid Platform helps enterprises and service providers to create and manage L2-L7 virtual network services.

  • How the connection mechanics work inside the Internet of Things

    TIBCO StreamBase now supports a wide range of open source connectors enabling customers to connect, understand and act upon the data processed from the Internet of Things.

  • Scality Announces the World’s First Open Source REST-based Interface for Block-based Applications
  • Events

    • Chillin’ With the Community at OLF

      We are not referred to as “The Linux Community” out of hand. Yes, we can be a loud community. We are often an argumentative community, coloring outside of the lines into larger reaches of the Internet. But we are a community nonetheless. We’re people like Alan Dacey, who stops what he’s doing to write a script to solve a vexing problem for Reglue. People like Clem Lefebvre, who’s devoted to creating a safe and fantastic Linux environment in which to work.

    • HP, Wind River and Others Join Paris OpenStack News Cycle

      As I covered yesterday, this week the OpenStack Summit is taking place in Paris, and there is already a lot of related news flowing out of the event. Internap, which provides Internet infrastructure services, has stated that it is expanding its OpenStack-powered AgileCLOUD public cloud footprint to Amsterdam, and Amysta has announced the release of its billing system for OpenStack, which is essentially a revenue management platform.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • PLUMgrid widens OpenStack support

      It has been a busy seven days for PLUMgrid. Last week it announced the availability of its Open Networking Suite (ONS) 2.0 for OpenStack. Today, as the OpenStack Summit opens in Paris, it has made three new announcements. The first two around the availability of ONS 2.0 on different OpenStack distributions and the third that it is adopting Docker containers to speed up the delivery of SDN and NFV components.

    • Akanda Debuts Open Source NFV Platform

      Akanda, a start-up incubated with DreamHost since 2012, launched out of stealth mode to deliver an open source Network Function Virtualization (NFV) platform for cloud service providers. The platform is already in use by 500+ tenants at Dreamhost and supporting 1,000s of VMs in its cloud compute service. DreamHost is now spinning-off the solution into Akanda, a start-up whose mission will be to accelerate open source NFV for cloud operators.

    • Midokura Brings MidoNet SDN for OpenStack to Open Source

      Until today, Midokura’s flagship MidoNet network virtualization Software Defined Network (SDN) platform was a closed piece of proprietary code. That is now changing, as Midokura announced today at the OpenStack Summit in Paris that it is open sourcing the core pieces of its MidoNet platform.

    • OpenStack and the Mysteries of the Universe

      OpenStack has emerged in the last four years to be one of the leading ways that enterprises can leverage their server capacity to build cloud infrastructure. OpenStack is also being used with great impact at CERN, quite literally helping to unlock the mysteries of the universe.

  • CMS

  • Business

    • SDN company goes open source

      Midokura giving its product away to fill OpenStack gap

    • An open source ERP system built to self-implement

      Why someone would start a new open source ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) project, is the question that people ask me again and again. If I had known what it takes, I might not have done it! But I did not know that in 2006 when I started to write my own ERP in Python and MySQL.


      Our biggest satisfaction will be when a whole bunch of small, local, innovative organizations across the world gets access to tools that will help them compete with large, global, and inefficient corporations—creating a level playing field that will leave our world a little bit more fair.

    • Barclays and CommBank explore open source collaboration pact

      Barclays Bank is to work with Commonwealth Bank of Australia on the development of open source tools for analysing large data sets in an effort to break free from the tyranny of vendor licensing fees.

  • BSD


    • Technological Neutrality and Free Software

      Technological neutrality is the principle that the state should not impose preferences for or against specific kinds of technology. For example, there should not be a rule that specifies whether state agencies should use solid state memory or magnetic disks, or whether they should use GNU/Linux or BSD. Rather, the agency should let bidders propose any acceptable technology as part of their solutions, and choose the best/cheapest offer by the usual rules.

      The principle of technological neutrality is valid, but it has limits. Some kinds of technology are harmful; they may pollute air or water, encourage antibiotic resistance, abuse their users, abuse the workers that make them, or cause massive unemployment. These should be taxed, regulated, discouraged, or even banned.

      The principle of technological neutrality applies only to purely technical decisions. It is not “ethical neutrality” or “social neutrality”; it does not apply to decisions about ethical and social issues—such as the choice between free software and proprietary software.

    • GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry: 25 new GNU releases!
    • Free software groups hopeful for new Commission

      Free software advocacy groups are hopeful that the incoming European Commission will advance the use and development of this type of software solution in public administration.

    • Videos from the GNU Tools Cauldron

      The GNU Tools Cauldron, a conference on the low-level toolchain (GCC, glibc, GDB, etc.) was held last July. There is now a full set of videos from the event available for your viewing pleasure.

  • Public Services/Government

    • DOD Considering Open Source EHR System

      Last month, PwC announced it intended to offer a bid for the Department of Defense (DOD) Healthcare Management Systems Modernization (DHMSM) EHR contract. The DOD is searching for a contractor to replace the existing Military Health System (MHS) which currently has more than 9.7 million active duty, retired, and dependent beneficiaries.

    • An open source tool to share data from Europe’s libraries and museums

      The treasures of Europe’s rich history are carefully documented and stored in our many libraries, archives and museums. However, although our history is intricately interconnected, our repositories don’t necessarily have the technology to effectively link and share their content. Museums and libraries often have their own data codification and representation methods which means that the information may not accessible to web search engines and to other institutions.

  • Licensing

  • Programming

    • Entering the Golden Age of Open Source

      The message is clear, there’s never been a better time to write code for a living. Programmers aren’t just coding applications anymore, they are coding networks, data centers, and continuous integration systems. Infrastructure that used to require an up-front investment of millions is available to start out on for free, with a logical, understandable API to access and consume their resources. And behind it all, open source software is powering the new generation.

    • Super-villains of C sought for WORLD CONQUEST plan

      If you think like a super-villain, laugh like an anti-hero, and can write code, it’s time to polish off the cackle, sharpen up the brain, get extra coffee, and start working on your entry to the Underhanded C contest.

      The 7th Underhanded C contest seeks, like its predecessors, code that is “readable, clear, innocent and straightforward as possible”, but with the twist that “it must fail to perform its apparent function”.

    • Improving JavaScript: Google throws AtScript into the mix

      Google’s Miško Hevery, co-inventor of the popular AngularJS framework, has announced a new project to improve JavaScript by adding type annotations and other features.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML5 Gets Promoted to a Standard

      The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has announced that it is promoting the HTML5 specification to Recommendation status, that highest level of approval, which effectively pushes HTML5 to the level of a web standard.

    • Departments lack common targets for implementing open-document standards

      The standard called the Open Document Format (ODF) was chosen by the government in July 2014 to standardise document formats across the public sector, with PDF and HTML also approved for viewing files.

      In September 2014, government departments were told to publish their implementation plans, which are expected to trickle through over the coming month.


  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Why The UK Desperately Needs 200,000 IT Security Specialists

      The UK’s lack of available talent with the right cyber security skills presents a very real danger to British businesses, according to a London-based cyber security specialist recruiter.

      Responding to recent reports by EY and the office of the Minister for Universities and Science, Cornucopia IT Resourcing, warned that the unless the deficit in the number of available cyber security professionals is addressed, British businesses will remain the target of cyber attacks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • CNN Host: Climate Change Is Undeniable, So Here’s a Denier

      He introduced it as “a story you will see nowhere else this morning.” That story is that one of the founders of the Weather Channel, retired TV weather forecaster John Coleman, thinks “climate change is a hoax.” And saying so got him invited on Fox News.


      The current CEO of the Weather Channel arrives next to affirm the channel’s statement that it disagrees with Coleman. And, since the discussion mostly skipped over challenging any of Coleman’s rhetoric, one could actually argue that there wasn’t much of a debate at all.

    • Traffic noise can threaten birds’ survival

      Young birds attempting to call for their parents over man-made noises are inadvertently attracting predators, research finds

  • Finance

    • A Debate on Open Source of Virtual Currency

      With the popularization of knowledge on the online virtual money, more and more virtual money are produced. Since the Bitcoin made the Web money in fashion and gained global attention, the virtual money after Bitcoin were called “Copycat Coins”. While these virtual money use different names merely to differentiate with Bitcoin, like the different names of currencies in the real world, such as the US dollar, the Euro, etc.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Pianist asks The Washington Post to remove a concert review under the E.U.’s ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling

      The pianist Dejan Lazic, like many artists and performers, is occasionally the subject of bad reviews. Also like other artists, he reads those reviews. And disagrees with them. And gripes over them, sometimes.

      But because Lazic lives in Europe, where in May the European Union ruled that individuals have a “right to be forgotten” online, he decided to take the griping one step further: On Oct. 30, he sent The Washington Post a request to remove a 2010 review by Post classical music critic Anne Midgette that – he claims — has marred the first page of his Google results for years.

  • Privacy

    • Open Rights Group response to GCHQ Director’s claim that tech companies are aiding terrorists

      Open Rights Group has responded to an FT comment piece by the Director of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, in which he calls for “greater co-operation from technology companies’, who are in his words, “the command and control networks of choice” for terrorists.

    • New GCHQ Boss Blames Tech Industry For ‘Facilitating Murder’ And Being Terrorists’ ‘Command-And-Control’ Center

      So, we weren’t too impressed with previous GCHQ (the UK equivalent of the NSA) boss, Sir Iain Lobban, who insisted that GCHQ didn’t do “mass surveillance” so long as you defined “mass” and “surveillance” the way he does (and not the way the English language does). This statement was made just days before it was revealed that the GCHQ (contrary to its own claims) gets access to NSA data without a warrant.

    • GCHQ: Going from Bad to Worse

      Some of the most disturbing revelations to emerge from Edward Snowden’s leaks are that the UK’s GCHQ is involved in spying on all the Internet traffic as it enters and leaves this country, and that it is jointly responsible for undermining basic cryptographic methods that keep communications private – and which make e-commerce possible. All of this without any kind of legal justification, just Jesuitical casuistry that largely turns on contorted interpretations of laws and stretched definitions of key concepts.

    • Reaction to comments made by the new head of GCHQ

      Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “It is wholly wrong to state that internet companies are failing to assist in investigations.

    • GCHQ Chief Criticises Tech Firms

      In an unusual step the new head of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, has written an article accusing technology companies of aiding terrorism and failing to help with investigations. The article is entirely vague in its criticisms of the tech companies, giving little detail of what information GCHQ is failing to receive from the tech companies.

    • Facebook Creates .Onion Site; Now Accessible Via Tor Network
    • Verizon Injecting Perma-Cookies to Track Mobile Customers, Bypassing Privacy Controls

      Verizon users might want to start looking for another provider. In an effort to better serve advertisers, Verizon Wireless has been silently modifying its users’ web traffic on its network to inject a cookie-like tracker. This tracker, included in an HTTP header called X-UIDH, is sent to every unencrypted website a Verizon customer visits from a mobile device. It allows third-party advertisers and websites to assemble a deep, permanent profile of visitors’ web browsing habits without their consent.

    • Facebook’s Ability To Influence The Election

      As the article notes, Facebook had experimented with “I’m Voting” or “I’m a Voter” buttons on its site to see if that would encourage friends to vote, but its civic engagement tactics have gone much further than that.

    • Will The CIA Treat Amazon’s Cloud The Same Way It Treated Drives It Shared With The Senate?

      The US intelligence community’s $600 million cloud computing deal with Amazon was finalized roughly a year ago, but recent revelations about the CIA’s behavior in shared virtual spaces is raising questions about the government’s move to virtual computing.

    • Amazon-CIA $600 Million Deal Facing Scrutiny: “What’s the CIA Doing on Amazon’s Cloud?”

      A billboard challenging Amazon to fully disclose the terms of its $600 million contract to provide cloud computing services for the Central Intelligence Agency has been unveiled at a busy intersection near Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.

    • In Klayman v. Obama, EFF Explains Why Metadata Matters and the Third-Party Doctrine Doesn’t

      How can the US government possibly claim that its collection of the phone records of millions of innocent Americans is legal? It relies mainly on two arguments: first, that no one can have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their metadata and second, that the outcome is controlled by the so-called “third party doctrine,” which says that no one has an expectation of privacy in information they convey to a third party (such as telephone numbers dialed). We expect the government to press both of these arguments on November 4, before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. We look forward to responding.

    • Feinstein floats privacy changes to cyber bill

      Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Tuesday said she is prepared to make changes to her cybersecurity bill to assuage privacy concerns.

    • Congress Wants To Push Dangerous Cybersecurity Bill After The Election, Says US Economy Depends On It

      Reports are coming out that Congress is looking to push forward with bad cybersecurity legislation after the election, but before the new Congress takes over in January. We’ve discussed the bill in question, CISA, before. The main idea behind it is to immunize companies from liability if they share certain information with the government. Supporters of the bill note that the information sharing is entirely voluntary, but by taking away the liability it also makes it a lot more likely that companies will choose to give information to the government, and it’s not yet clear why the government really needs that information. But the FUD levels are high, with Senator Saxby Chambliss actually suggesting the entire economy is at stake here…

    • Court Tells US Gov’t That ‘State Secrets’ Isn’t A Magic Wand They Can Wave To Make Embarrassing Cases Go Away

      Earlier this year, we wrote about the case of Gulet Mohamed, a US citizen who was put on the no fly list and ran into some issues in the Middle East because of that (and by “issues” we mean he was beaten by Kuwaiti officials for wanting to fly home to Virginia). The DOJ was making some nutty arguments, including claiming that the whole case should be thrown out because “state secrets.” This is the usual claim in these kinds of cases. Back in August we noted that the judge, Anthony Trenga, was skeptical of this argument, asking for the DOJ to provide a lot more info to back up its claims (in that post we also noted that the DOJ wanted to pretend that the leaked guidelines for how the no fly list works hadn’t been leaked).

      Now the judge has ruled officially and rejected the DOJ’s argument, saying that they can’t just claim “state secrets” and walk away.

    • Big Bad Data

      Like its successors, such as PRISM, Trailblazer was all about collecting everything it could from everywhere it could. “At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata”, Bill tells us, “are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.” At the very least, revelations by Bill and other sources (such as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning) make it clear that the Fourth Amendment no longer protects American citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. In the era of Big Data everywhere, it’s reasonable to grab all of it.

  • Civil Rights

    • Feds Gearing Up To Try, One More Time, To Force James Risen To Reveal His Source

      Last week, we noted that Attorney General Eric Holder was hinting that the DOJ was near “a resolution” with reporter James Risen — the NY Times reporter who the DOJ has been harassing and trying to force to give up sources. In a recent interview, Risen makes the rather compelling case, that this effort by the DOJ was never about actually solving any sort of crime (the DOJ knows who did the leak), but rather about totally discrediting and/or punishing Risen for some of his other investigative reports. If the DOJ can undermine the ability of Risen to protect sources, he loses many sources.

    • Sharia law or gay marriage critics would be branded ‘extremists’ under Tory plans, atheists and Christians warn

      Anyone who criticises Sharia law or gay marriage could be branded an “extremist” under sweeping new powers planned by the Conservatives to combat terrorism, an alliance of leading atheists and Christians fear.

      Theresa May, the Home Secretary, unveiled plans last month for so-called Extremism Disruption Orders, which would allow judges to ban people deemed extremists from broadcasting, protesting in certain places or even posting messages on Facebook or Twitter without permission.

    • Texas police officer caught on video: ‘Go ahead, call the cops. They can’t un-rape you.’

      In the video embedded below, two Austin, Texas police officers were accidentally recorded by a dashboard camera having what they thought was a private conversation.

      After a brief back-and-forth between the two men about a minor collision they handled earlier in the day and other matters, an attractive woman walks by.

      “Look at that girl over there,” one officer says.

    • Infringing Panties So Important To DHS, That It Intimidated Print Shop Owner Into Warrantless Search

      A few more details have emerged concerning the Dept. of Homeland Security’s daring daylight raid of a Kansas City lingerie shop. Our long, dark national nightmare ended just before Game 1 of the World Series when Peregrine Honig’s custom-made Royals-related underwear was seized by gun-toting DHS agents. The crime? Presumably trademark infringement (the government’s panty raiders specifically pointed out the joining of the letters K and C as problematic), although everyone involved (including the DHS super troopers) keeps referring to it as a “copyright” issue.

    • Police In Ferguson Set Up No-Fly Zone Solely To Keep Journalists Out, According To FAA Audio Recordings

      A few more details have come to light on the police state experiment conducted in Ferguson, MO over the past couple of months. Despite repeated denials that continued all the way up until October 31st, the real reason for the FAA’s no-fly zone over Ferguson has been revealed.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Cryptome Reveals How Microsoft Gives the FBI and the NSA Back Doors to Crack Encryption

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 3:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Cryptome has an article, comprised/composed of hard evidence, revealing ways in which Microsoft enables aggressive spies to break encryption

The FBI does not even pretend not to be pursuing back doors; quite the contrary! It demands them and now insists on legislation that would make them mandatory. The same goes for the NSA, Microsoft’s very special partner. Anyone who still thinks that back doors in encryption are within the realm of “conspiracy theory” must not have paid attention. We wrote about such issues more than half a decade ago. At this stage, judging by thousands of articles on the topic, these factual observations are very commonplace in the press, even in the corporate media.

“Anyone who still thinks that back doors in encryption are within the realm of “conspiracy theory” must not have paid attention.”“Microsoft backdoor bitlocker key escrow for the FBI & NSA,” writes to us David Sugar ‏from GNU Telephony. “From the OS that loves to spy on you,” he added.

Some months ago we showed that a former Microsoft engineer working on Windows BitLocker confirmed that the US government asks Microsoft for back doors and now we have more details on how this is done, courtesy of cryptology enthusiasts in Cryptome:

Microsoft OneDrive in NSA PRISM

A sends:

1) Bitlocker keys are uploaded to OneDrive by ‘device encryption’.

“Unlike a standard BitLocker implementation, device encryption is enabled automatically so that the device is always protected.

If the device is not domain-joined a Microsoft Account that has been granted administrative privileges on the device is required. When the administrator uses a Microsoft account to sign in, the clear key is removed, a recovery key is uploaded to online Microsoft account and TPM protector is created.”


2) Device encryption is supported by Bitlocker for all SKUs that support connected standby. This would include Windows phones.

“BitLocker provides support for device encryption on x86 and x64-based computers with a TPM that supports connected stand-by. Previously this form of encryption was only available on Windows RT devices.”


3) The tech media and feature articles recognise this.

“… because the recovery key is automatically stored in SkyDrive for you.”


4) Here’s how to recover your key from Sky/OneDrive.

“Your Microsoft account online. This option is only available on non-domain-joined PCs. To get your recovery key, go to …onedrive.com…”


5) SkyDrive (now named OneDrive) is onboarded to PRISM. (pg 26/27)



When Microsoft speaks about security it usually means “national security”, i.e. the ability of the state to break security of software. It’s about interception, not security. When Microsoft speaks about ‘secure boot’ it speaks about an antifeature in UEFI that enables the state to remotely brick computers, too.

The sad thing is that amid many BSD milestones as of recently (FreeBSD, OpenBSD, PC-BSD and others) there are those who fall for the false promise of UEFI, which does more harm than good to security. OpenBSD, which takes security very seriously, has already blasted UEFI 'secure boot' and blasted those who support it (including Red Hat), whereas FreeBSD got bamboozled into UEFI 'secure boot' and with it, the FreeBSD-derived PC-BSD gets bamboozled too:

Marking the twenty-first birthday of FreeBSD was the release of FreeBSD 10.1-RC4 and separately was the FreeBSD-derived PC-BSD 10.1 RC2 release.

FreeBSD 10.1-RC4 is expected to be the final RC build of FreeBSD 10.1 and brought fixes for ATA CF ERASE breakage and a race fix that could cause an EPT misconfiguration VM-exit.

More details on FreeBSD 10.1-RC4 can be found via its Sunday release announcement. The official release of FreeBSD 10.1 is now hopefully a few days out with its many new features and changes.

This is not a good idea at all. PC-BSD needs to follow the example set by OpenBSD, not FreeBSD (with its codebase). It sure starts looking like not only Microsoft but Red Hat too is bending over to its lucrative clients and contracts with the Deep State. Based on established observations from one decade ago, including more recent developments that Red Hat refuses to comment on, it seems possible that back doors in encryption (by default) is the de facto standard among large corporations. When they speak about “security” there must be fine prints and they’re omitted from the advertising. At risk of breaking the silence about systemd (because we don’t want to inflame ‘civil wars’), systemd replaces/obviates so much highly mature software that it certainly increases the likelihood of bug doors being introduced in RHEL/Red Hat (systemd‘s patron) and by extension/inheritance many other distributions of GNU/Linux.

Claiming That Free Software is Not Secure is Microsoft’s Last Resort

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Security at 2:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Summary: Following the familiar pattern of FOSS FUD, wherein we see Microsoft partners badmouthing FOSS over “security” (ignoring much worse problems in proprietary software), FOSS gets widely bashed in the British media

MICROSOFT has made many back doors available for the FBI and for the NSA. We have covered this for over half a decade and given concrete examples. Our next post will give yet another new example.

So, how does Microsoft have the audacity to tell us — usually by proxy — that Free software is not secure? Yes, Free software has some bugs (not many are critical), but Microsoft software is insecure by design. There are lots of back doors in Windows XP, for example, but the British NHS, which holds medical records (highly sensitive) of tens of millions of people (including my family), continues using it based on this new report:

Many UK NHS Trusts are at risk of missing the extended cut-off deadline for Windows XP support in April 2015, according to the results of several Freedom of Information requests by software firm Citrix.

Although the government acquired a support extension, the FOI request found that the trusts have been slow to make the transition, or are simply unsure when their transition would be complete.

Why on Earth are they not migrating to GNU/Linux yet? I have been part of British migrations to GNU/Linux, both in the private sector and government, and all I can say is that it always works. Not only does it save money but it also produces more secure and more stable systems.

“Entertaining more of that nonsense about FOSS being less secure than platforms with back doors or about Microsoft loving the competition that hurts it the most is probably a waste of time.”Trend Micro littering the British press at the moment with anti-FOSS messages that promote Microsoft, not mentioning back doors. We need not link to any examples because there are many of them this afternoon, but we have confronted Trend Micro UK and publications that gave it a platform today. So has the President of the OSI. Trend Micro has a FOSS-hostile track record, so it hasn’t been too surprising.

Speaking of poor journalism that’s actually PR in disguise, watch what IDG is doing right now. A new article by Eric Knorr of InfoWorld (editor), perhaps infatuated/in love with his sponsor (ads), repeats Microsoft's lie that it loves Linux

Entertaining more of that nonsense about FOSS being less secure than platforms with back doors or about Microsoft loving the competition that hurts it the most is probably a waste of time. The next post will show another back door that Microsoft deliberately put it its common carrier.

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