Links 7/11/2014: War Thunder on GNU/Linux, KaOS ISO 2014.11

Posted in News Roundup at 8:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • ON.Lab, backed by AT&T and NTT, offers open source SDN operating system

    The Open Networking Lab (ON.Lab), a non-profit open source software-defined network (SDN) tool development ecosystem out of Stanford University and UC Berkeley, has unveiled an SDN Open Network Operating System (ONOS). ON.Lab ONOS community founding members include AT&T and NTT Communications, who would appear to be in line to implement ONOS in their networks in the near future.

  • Joyent open-sources its core technology

    Not all the action is happening at the OpenStack Summit in Paris. In a bold move, cloud specialist Joyent has announced it’s open-sourcing its core technology. That includes software that competes directly with OpenStack and enables high-performance use of container technology like Docker. The newly open projects enable easy management of containers at scale.

  • Look out OpenDaylight, there’s a new open source SDN controller

    ON.Lab pitches ONOS, an open source SDN controller that offers more scalability than OpenDaylight. Competition could be good and bad.

  • Sensor Fusion Goes Open-Source

    Analog Devices, Freescale, PNI Sensor Corp., and the MEMS Industry Group formed the Accelerated Innovation Community, a group dedicated to providing open-source algorithms for sensors. AIC also plans to announce an I/O standard for sensors in collaboration with the MIPI Alliance.

    Engineers shouldn’t have “to reinvent the wheel on common algorithms every time they want to add or change functionality in their product,” said Karen Lightman, executive director of the MEMS Industry Group (MIG). “Access to an open-source library of introductory algorithms fundamentally changes the development paradigm.”

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s Firefox OS readies for Africa launch

        Phones running the operating system have been gradually hitting various markets across Europe since last year, and have since been released in Brazil, India, and Asian markets too. Now the Mozilla Foundation is looking to expand Firefox OS’ reach to Africa.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Using Open Source Solutions for Cloud-Ready Big Data Management

      Information interchange has reached all new levels. Now, much more than before, organizations are relying on large data sets to help them run, quantify and grow their business. Just a few years ago, we were already working with large databases. Over the last couple of years, those demands have evolved into giga, tera, and petabytes. This data no longer resides in just one location. With cloud computing, it is truly distributed.

    • OpenStack: Distribution or service?

      OpenStack cloud technology is getting very popular, but how should your business use it: By deploying an OpenStack distribution in your servers or data center, or by using it as a service from a service provider?

  • Databases

  • BSD

    • NetBSD Gets Multi-Core Support Working For ARM

      NetBSD developers have finally managed to enable SMP support for modern ARM SoCs.

    • The NetBSD Project: ARM multiprocessor support

      Those following the source-changes mailing list closely may have noticed several evbarm kernels getting “options MULTIPROCESSOR” in the last few days. This is due to those configurations now running properly in SMP mode, thanks to work mostly done by Matt Thomas and Nick Hudson.


    • GnuPG 2.1.0 Supports ECC, Other Improvements

      GnuPG 2.1 brings support for Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC), merging of secret keys is now supported, support for PGP-2 keys has been dropped for security reasons, create/signing key improvements, improvements to handling key server pools, a new format is used for locally storing public keys, card support has been updated, X.509 certificate creation has been improved, and there’s many other enhancements.

    • New GIMP Save/Export plug-in: Saver

      The split between Save and Export that GIMP introduced in version 2.8 has been a matter of much controversy. It’s been over two years now, and people are still complaining on the gimp-users list.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Highwire publishers to pilot eLife open-source tool

        The Journal of Biological Chemistry, The Plant Cell, Journal of Lipid Research, and mBio are among the journals introducing the Lens viewing experience to readers this fall. First introduced by eLife in 2013, Lens is aimed at making reading scientific articles on-screen easier by making it possible to explore figures, figure descriptions, references, and more – without losing your place in the article text.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open hardware sensor BITalino for cool projects

        Smaller than a credit card, BITalino is a low-cost hardware and open source software toolkit, aligned with the DIY (do-it-yourself) movement. It enables anyone to create quirky and serious projects alike for wearable health tracking devices. The base kit includes sensors to measure your muscles, heart, nervous system, motion, and ambient light—and it includes a microcontroller, Bluetooth, power management module, and all the accessories needed to start working.

  • Programming


  • Security

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Media advise Dems to move to the right once more

      With the Democrats suffering substantial losses in the 2014 midterm elections, it is likely that the advice from pundits and political journalists will be the same as it always is: Move to the right.

  • Censorship

    • Lena Dunham, Meet Barbara Streisand — Have You Met?

      Lena Dunham, who apparently is famous for a HBO show I haven’t watched, has a memoir out. I don’t approve of 28-year-olds having memoirs unless and until they have been shot for advocating for the downtrodden or something, but Ms. Dunham is hardly the first to commit this minor sin.

      This weekend Ms. Dunham became very upset because some people — mostly on conservative political websites — described her memoir as a confession to sexually abusing her little sister.

    • Lena Dunham Once Again Threatens Lawsuit Over An Interpretation Of Her Book That She Doesn’t Like

      We’ve only written about Lena Dunham once before, and it was in the context of her threatening a lawsuit against Gawker for daring to publish her book proposal and comment on it, mocking Dunham. At the time, as noted, I’d never even heard of Dunham. I’ve still never seen her show, but I have seen/heard her interviewed a few times, and I don’t quite understand why there’s so much hate directed at her some of the time. She seems to have an interesting perspective on life and has turned it into a very successful TV show. Good for her. Still, this is now the second time we’ve felt the need to write about Dunham and, once again, it’s about an apparent legal threat from her, based on her book. This time it’s not about the book proposal, but the book itself, now that it’s out.

    • Roca Labs Threatens Other Sites For Writing About Its Case, Files Another Questionable Document

      Apparently, though, Roca Labs just keeps threatening people for covering the case. We’ve heard from a few others who received similar threats to the one we received, and the latest is Tracy Coenen, a fraud investigator who writes the Fraud Files blog, where she covered the Roca lawsuit, the lawsuit against a former customer and the fake implied endorsement from Alfonso Ribeiro.

  • Privacy

    • Open Rights Group: RIPA not fit for purpose

      Further evidence that the Regulatory of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) is being used to violate the rights of UK citizens was exposed today. Documents released by human rights organisation, Reprieve show that GCHQ and MI5 staff were told they could target lawyers’ communications. This undermines legal privilege that ensures communications between lawyers and their clients are confidential.

    • GCHQ are plunging into the privacy debate.

      Writing in Tuesday’s Financial Times, the new director of GCHQ Robert Hannigan, called for “greater co-operation from technology companies” to stop terrorists and criminals groups using online services as their “command-and-control networks of choice”.

    • The courts should decide how much privacy we’re entitled to – not GCHQ

      In his first public statement since becoming Director of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan yesterday described the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Google and Apple as, ‘the command-and-control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals,’ and called on them to give ‘greater co-operation’ to the intelligence services. It is a surprising challenge to these companies, given how much GCHQ relies on them for our data.


      The problem is that GCHQ and the NSA don’t want personal security to get in the way of them looking at our data: they want banks of computers to check on everyone to make sure you don’t pose a threat to them. That is what bulk collection and analysis means, though they daren’t spell it out that way. Instead, they talk of “needles” being separated from “innocent hay”.

    • Facial Recognition: It’s Hide Your Face Time

      The day is rapidly approaching when every city in the U.S. will be like London is now, with surveillance cameras connected to a grid covering every cubic inch of the city, not dissimilar to what we see weekly on “Person of Interest”. Already, in London, computers connected to these cameras can detect “suspicious behavior”. Add facial recognition technology to that and it really will be like “Person of Interest”, especially in a nation that’s convinced that terrorists are hiding around every corner. The technology is sure to be abused, as law enforcement has never found a technology they didn’t overuse.

    • James Comey Again Demands Tech Companies Do As He Says And Grant The FBI Complete Access To Whatever It Wants

      And what has all this “demanding” and “doubling down” netted Comey? Nothing really. He still needs a compliant legislative body to oblige his fantasies of subservient tech companies opening wide for fat-fingered g-men.

    • FBI Director: Tech companies must unlock devices if requested by officials

      The director of the FBI on Monday doubled down on demands that Silicon Valley giants cooperate in the course of criminal investigations, saying that tech companies such as Apple and Google have to unlock cellphones, if authorities request it.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Verizon Now Pleads For Bogus Net Neutrality Rules Under 706 Promising It Won’t Sue This Time, Ignoring That Others Will Sue

      One of the points that we’ve made a few times concerning the whole net neutrality fight is that whatever rules are put in place, someone is going to sue. As we noted in that post, Verizon’s original filing on the net neutrality plan the FCC announced back in May (based on Section 706) suggested that Verizon would sue over those rules if they were put in place (in contrast to Comcast and AT&T who both said they’d be fine with rules under 706). Since then, it’s become clear that lots of other ISPs have made it clear to Verizon that it should shut up and sit tight, because its own lawsuit that kicked out the 2010 rules now seem likely to lead to much stricter laws.

      So it’s fairly amusing to see Verizon put out a blog post effectively now pleading for the May rules under 706 — rules that it didn’t initially support — now that it’s come out that the FCC is considering this new “hybrid plan.” Suddenly, according to Verizon, rules under 706 are unassailable and won’t lead to a lawsuit, while everything else will.

  • DRM

    • AT&T Still Proudly Makes Unlocking Phones Under Contract Annoying and Impossible

      One of the more interesting things unveiled at Apple’s most recent press event was the company’s AppleSIM, or universal SIM technology embedded in the iPad Air 2 that quickly allows users to switch carriers, presenting you with easy wireless broadband pricing for each carrier option. Of course, when Apple quietly announced this functionality, Verizon wasn’t listed as a supporter.

Links 6/11/2014: Ubuntu Tablet Confirmed, Compiz 0.9.12 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 12:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Avis Budget Shifts to Linux to Cut Software Costs in Half

    CIO Gerard Insall predicts major cost savings by shifting away from an IBM operating system. The move is part of a larger IT modernization program geared toward cutting costs and increasing agility at the car rental and sharing company.

  • About Linux Weekly News – 3rd November 2014

    A report in “The Inquirer” states that China has previously denounced Windows 8 as a spyware tool and would therefore be developing its own distribution called “NeoKylin”, based on Ubuntu.

  • Server

    • Google Cloud Platform Live: Introducing Container Engine, Cloud Networking and much more

      Our Partner Lounge at the SF event features Tableau, Red Hat, DataStax, MongoDB, SaltStack, Fastly and Bitnami. Bitnami announced its Launchpad for Google Cloud Platform featuring almost 100 cloud images, enabling our users to deploy common open source applications and development environments on our infrastructure in one-click. Fastly announced a new offering called Cloud Accelerator, a collaboration with Google Cloud Platform that improves content delivery and performance at the edge.

    • Google Sets Sights Squarely on Docker with New Container Engine

      A few months ago, I covered the news that Google had released Kubernetes under an open-source license, which is essentially a version of Borg, designed to harness computing power from data centers into a powerful virtual machine. It can make a difference for many cloud computing deployments, and optimizes usage of container technology. You can find the source code for Kubernetes on GitHub.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma-nm release

        I just want to inform you (those who are still running KDE 4) that we released a new version of your favorite network applet. This new release brings to you many bug fixes and should make your life easier. We really recommend to update to the new version as we, not intentionally, introduced some new issues in the previous version. Together with the new release of plasma-nm we also released our libnm-qt library which is also needed if you want to have fixes from plasma-nm properly working.

      • KDE Developer Aaron Seigo Joins Kolab Systems

        Aaron Seigo is a seasoned open source developer who leads the Plasma team at KDE. He also tried to bring a Linux-based tablet to the market through his Vivaldi project. He recently joined Kolab Systems, and we talked to him as well as Kolab CEO Georg Greve to understand what Kolab does and how Aaron, a KDE developer, will help the company.

      • KDE’s Plasma 5 Has Big Plans For 2015

        KDE’s Sebastian Kügler has written a lengthy blog post about some of the items that developers will hopefully accomplish in 2015 for Plasma 5.

      • KDE Telepathy Instant Messenger 0.9 for 14.10

        Our instant messaging application KDE Telepathy 0.9.0 has been released. Packages are avaialble for Kubuntu 14.10 and our development version Vivid.

      • NetworkManagerQt is out
      • Early announce: Qt4 removal in Jessie+1

        Qt4 has been deprecated since Qt5′s first release on December 19th 2012, that means almost two years ago!

      • Rocs KF5 Progress
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME at FSCONS14 in Gothenburg, Sweden

        I was glad to be invited to FSONCS 2014 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Remember that this is also the place for next year’s GUADEC! This year’s FSCONS was attended by around 150 people or so. I guess it was a bit less. That might not sound like a lot, but it’s a very cool event with many interesting people and talks.

      • Compiz 0.9.12 Released, Starts Porting GTK Window Decorator To GTK+ 3

        While Compiz 1.0 might never be reached given its diminishing usage these days and bleak outlook with Unity 8 being designed around Mir, Compiz 0.9.12 was released today with some minor new developments.

  • Distributions

    • 4MLinux Media Edition 10.1 Beta Features Flash Player Support Out of the Box

      4MLinux Media Edition, a special distribution with a wide set of multimedia tools and software, has advanced to version 10.1 and is now ready for download and testing.

    • Kano: The Can-Do Coding Kit for Kids of All Ages

      Kano is a computer and coding kit that is suitable for all ages. Well, to be truthful, Kano’s step-by-step instructions in the included booklets and its simplified Linux-based operating system target kids aged 6 to 14.

    • Kano Linux kit makes coding and hacking fun for kids
    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

      • CPLANE NETWORKS Announces Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform Certification for Dynamic Virtual Networks V1.1

        CPLANE NETWORKS, the leader in high-performance Software-Defined Networking (SDN), today announced that Dynamic Virtual Networks (DVN) V1.1 has achieved certification for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform. DVN transforms static physical networks into virtualized resource pools that can be allocated on demand, significantly reducing the time and cost to deploy cloud applications.

      • Red Hat and Wipro Extend Partnership, Collaborate to Advance Enterprise OpenStack Implementations, Deliver DevOps Solutions with OpenShift
      • Fedora

        • Fedora 21 beta finally arrives

          Previously, Fedora was first and foremost a desktop distribution that also contained server elements. If all went well, the new features introduced in Fedora would eventually appear in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). This go-around, there are three Fedora spins: one for the cloud, one for the server, and one for the workstation.

        • Upgrading a Yoga 2 Pro’s SSD

          For reasons I can’t recall I have my encrypted /home *not* on a logical volume so growing it into the free space on the new disk basically just involved booting from a live USB stick, unlocking the LUKS volume, using gdisk to delete the existing partition and creating a new, larger one starting at the same offset, e2fsck, and resize2fs. If you’re going to do this yourself, you should of course back up your data first.

        • Fedora Beta Council

          No, no, we won’t have Beta Council, we’re going to have final release from beginning (although implementation details has to be sorted out). It was just a coincidence – Fedora 21 Beta was released the same day as Council elections nomination period opened. Two announcements that had to go out yesterday.

        • Fedora 21 Workstation Preview – YouTube Video

          Sometimes you can talk a subject to death and it won’t matter. So, it helps greatly for people who have no Linux experience to get a visualization of what Fedora is all about.

        • Fedora 21 Beta Is Out and It Features GNOME 3.14

          The Fedora Project has released the first Beta for Fedora 21, taking this distribution a lot closer to the final version, which should land in a little over a month.

    • Debian Family

      • My Free Software Activities in October 2014

        With the Jessie freeze approaching, I took care of packaging some new upstream releases that I wanted to get in. I started with zim 0.62, I had skipped 0.61 due to some annoying regressions. Since I had two bugs to forward, I took the opportunity to reach out to the upstream author to see if he had some important fixes to get into Jessie. This resulted in me pushing another update with 3 commits cherry picked from the upstream VCS. I also sponsored a wheezy-backports of the new version.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Drops Ubuntu 14.10 Dedicated Images for Apple Hardware

            Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) has been available for a couple of weeks and the reception has been positive for the most part, but there is one small piece of interesting information that didn’t get revealed. It looks like the Ubuntu devs don’t need to build specific images for Apple hardware…

          • Ubuntu LXD: Not a Docker replacement, a Docker enhancement

            Sometimes it seems that Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company, can’t win for losing. Often accused of trying to force other open-source groups to follow their lead by keeping projects internal until they feel it’s ready to be shared with others, when Ubuntu announced its intention to build LXD, a hypervisor for containers, at the OpenStack Summit, the company was immediately accused of announcing vaporware (!); of shoving LXD down other programmers’ throats; and of trying to replace Docker.

          • Ubuntu Global And Chinese Stats

            Further, there have been millions of downloads of the new Kylin GNU/Linux based on Ubuntu so growth will likely accelerate.

          • Canonical Launches LXD Open Source Virtualization Container
          • Canonical pushes LXD, its new mysterious drug for Linux containers
          • Ubuntu’s Click Packages Might End the Linux Packaging Nightmare

            The new Click packages that are already used on the Ubunu Touch platform by Canonical are also coming to the desktop and they might be able to change the Linux packaging paradigm.

          • Canonical Confirms Involvement in Ubuntu Linux Tablet

            When news broke a few days ago about development of an Ubuntu Linux-based x86 tablet called the UT One, it seemed like Canonical was not part of the endeavor. But that’s wrong, according to information from the man behind the project, who contacted The VAR Guy this week with more details on the open source mobile device.

          • Ubuntu GNOME 14.10: Unifying the Linux desktop

            As you may know, Ubuntu 14.10 came out with about as much fanfare as growing grass. If you’re unsure why this happened, it’s simple — Ubuntu is in a state of holding because of Unity 8/Mir. Until that happens, Ubuntu version upgrades will be about bug fixes and not much more. It makes sense… why dump a bunch of time/effort into an interface that’s about to undergo a radical shit?

          • Flavours and Variants

            • elementary OS Freya Features a Beautiful Notification System

              The Linux distros have all kinds of system notification mechanisms. Some are better than others, but for the most part they function the way they should. On the other hand, some developers, like the ones from the elementary OS team, go a little bit further and they are able to provide a much better experience for the end users.

            • Linux Distros & the ‘Except When We Don’t’ Syndrome

              Each distro is, in fact, a separate Linux based operating system. Usually, a distro is designed to meet specific needs of a particular set of users. RHEL, SUSE and CentOS are designed primarily for use by businesses on servers. Mint, Ubuntu, Mageia and the like are designed for those who need productivity on the desktop and who would rather the operating system just take care of itself — probably the biggest set of users of desktop Linux. The class of distro that includes Slackware and Gentoo are for those who need to customize their systems to exactly fit their needs.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Top tips for making your Embedded Linux device secure

      The internet of things (IoT) offers endless possibilities for smart devices and their applications. So it’s no wonder that the IoT is as equally tempting to hackers, as it is to developers, keen to showcase their latest developments.

      A lack of security issues doesn’t mean you’re OK – you’re probably just not being targeted yet.

      This paper is designed to help anyone who is developing an internet-enabled Linux device for personal or business use. It highlights the main areas to consider and provides a practical checklist for developing applications for Embedded Linux.

    • eNcade Portable Raspberry Pi Gaming Console (video)

      Fancy building your very own portable Raspberry Pi gaming console? If you do then you might be interested in a new Kickstarter project called eNcade which has been created by Nicolas Wicker at Nzen Mods.

      The eNcade takes the form of a portable Raspberry Pi gaming tablet that has been designed to focus on retro gaming online with anyone anywhere. Check out the video after the jump to learn more about this unique Raspberry Pi project and how you can be one of the first to own an eNcade system.

    • Phones

      • Smartphone Operating System Market Share Visualization

        After Google’s Android started shipping in the last quarter of 2008 it took a good 2 years for the Linux kernel based OS to become market leader in the 1st quarter of 2011. Since then Android has seen the largest growth by far and reached a market share of 77.83% in the last quarter of 2013.

      • Android

        • Apple Pay fuels the growth of Google Wallet

          Apple Pay has gotten an amazing amount of press lately, and its drawn the attention of consumers to the benefits of NFC based payments. This has resulted in Google Wallet being used more than it had been previously. Ars Technica reports on the effects that Apple Pay may be having on Google Wallet.

        • Google Wallet use grows after Apple Pay launch

          NFC-based mobile payments have had a boost in recent months, possibly thanks to the launch of Apple Pay, which was announced in September. Now, a person with knowledge of the matter tells Ars that Google Wallet, which launched back in 2011 and saw tepid success in the ensuing three years, has had considerable growth in the last couple of months. According to our source, weekly transactions have increased by 50 percent, and in the recent couple of months, new users have nearly doubled compared to the previous month.

        • Google Maps gets down with the Material Design, Uber and OpenTable integration
        • Best Android Apps Created by Celebrities

          In today’s interconnected world many apps created by celebrities are usually looked down upon. And yes, many of them are really, really bad. However, some of them do stand out. Some of them are actually worth trying. So, in today’s article we’re listing some of the best applications created by celebrities:

        • This is Qualcomm’s world and we’re all just living in it

          Qualcomm is the mobile industry’s equivalent of a god: omnipotent and omnipresent, yet invisible to the naked eye. The company that was founded on the premise of building “Quality Communications” can now be found inside every major smartphone in the US. Even the fiercely independent Apple, which designs its own mobile processors, has no choice but to use Qualcomm’s LTE modems. The same is true of Samsung, whose Exynos chip is replaced by a Qualcomm Snapdragon for the US and other markets. But Qualcomm’s influence spreads much wider and deeper still.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Second Enterprise Open Source Revolution

    One of the key moments in the rise of GNU/Linux was when software companies producing their own variant of Unix realised that it made no sense for them all to work on something that was no longer providing any competitive advantage – it was simply part of the digital plumbing that had to be provided in some form. That meant they could usefully collaborate on a common platform, and differentiate themselves in other ways – higher up the software stack, or through services, for example.

  • Manchester’s start-up scene

    None of this would be possible without the benefits of Free and Open Source software. Start with the platform: Ruby-on-Rails is “a good way to get an MVP (minimum viable product) up fairly quickly, and start engaging with the customer,” Ian Moss told LU&D. Moss is founder of travel start-up 196 Destinations and, along with Capital Relations owner Coral Grainger, collates the long- running Manchester StartUpDigest newsletter.

  • Rackspace Simplifies Deployment of Open Source Applications
  • Open source offering for embedded parallel development

    Siemens is offering an open source implementation of the Multicore Association’s Multicore Task Management Application Program Interface (MTAPI) specification.

  • nogotofail: Google’s Open Source Network Traffic Security Testing Tool

    Lately, it seems that the only news we hear is what other multinational company has been hacked and how many records were accessed. We have always been security conscience, but it does appear that hackers and malware have been making us even more so lately. Unfortunately, this is neither something new, nor something that is likely to go away.

  • Open-source startups need to be first in order to succeed: Intel

    sBack in the 1990s, the technology world seemed alive with companies that had chosen to monetise an open-source project and get behind it. However, for Intel Capital vice president and managing director of services, open source, and machine to machine Lisa Lambert, the startup landscape today is quite barren, despite the number of open-source projects being higher than ever.

  • Wanna be Facebook? It just open-sourced some of its web server code. Now to find 1bn users…
  • Facebook Open-Sources Its C++ HTTP Framework/Server

    Facebook’s latest open-source code contribution to the public is Proxygen, a C++ HTTP framework with HTTP/SPDY server capabilities that it’s been using internally in place of Apache and Nginx servers.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Detecting Fraud in an OpenStack Cloud

      Securing the cloud isn’t just about protecting the network layer from external attacks; it’s also about being able to detect fraudulent activities running on the cloud. At the OpenStack Summit here, a group of researchers presented their findings on how to use the OpenStack Ceilometer project—used primarily for billing and metering of cloud usage—to detect fraud.

    • Telcos, travel, and Tapjoy as OpenStack Summit continues
  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice


      For our first magazine interview, we got some cheap flights and headed out to Kaufbeuren, an attractive Swabian city an hour’s train ride from Munich. This is where we met Florian Effenberger, Executive Director at The Document Foundation (he was chairman at the time of this interview), and Alexander Werner from the Foundation’s membership committee. This is the non-profit organisation at the heart of LibreOffice, the famous fork of OpenOffice.org now dominant in every Linux distribution. We were able to ask Florian about the split, about arguments over a new name and what wheat beer he’d recommend as a souvenir for our journey home.


    • Nominate your heroes for the Free Software Awards

      Sharing is one of free software’s key principles. People who contribute to the advancement of free software, and to society, are committed to sharing their ideas in order to create something we can all benefit from. Often, they don’t ask for anything in return. That’s why each year, the Free Software Foundation recognizes one deserving individual and one project with the Free Software Awards. Who do you think should receive the 17th annual awards?

    • [Announce] GnuPG 2.1.0 “modern” released

      GnuPG, also known as GPG, allows to encrypt and sign data…

    • OpenACC Front-Ends For C/C++ Are Moving Close For GCC 5

      Code Sourcery developers are seeking permission to land their OpenACC C/C++ front-end support inside the mainline GCC code-base.

      For the past year the developers at Code Sourcery / Mentor Graphics have been working on OpenACC 2.0 with GPU support for GCC. The GPU support is focused on NVIDIA hardware and includes a controversial NVIDIA “NVPTX” back-end for GCC that still requires NVIDIA’s closed-source Linux driver for handling this compute support. The NVPTX back-end is ready for mainline GCC and now so is the OpenACC 2.0 front-end support, or it appears.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • After criticizing it, Cisco joins Open Compute

      Cisco has joined the Open Compute Project, a Facebook-driven effort to develop open source servers and switches, 16 months after criticizing it. At that time, Cisco CEO John Chambers said OCP has “weaknesses” that Cisco can exploit.

    • After Sunflower Movement, Taiwan’s g0v Uses Open Source to Open the Government

      This past March, hundreds of protestors stormed Taiwan’s parliament, the Legislative Yuan, in opposition to a pending trade deal with China. Dubbed the Sunflower Movement protests, students occupied the legislature for 17 days to demand line-by-line review of what was perceived to be a cloaked attack on Taiwan’s independence from an ever-growing China. During the protests, organizers brought in food for the occupiers, mobilized 100,000 person strong rallies, and kept the public at-large informed. This impressive act of online and in-person organizing was co-lead by an online community called g0v.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open hardware sensor BITalino for cool projects

        Smaller than a credit card, BITalino is a low-cost hardware and open source software toolkit, aligned with the DIY (do-it-yourself) movement. It enables anyone to create quirky and serious projects alike for wearable health tracking devices. The base kit includes sensors to measure your muscles, heart, nervous system, motion, and ambient light—and it includes a microcontroller, Bluetooth, power management module, and all the accessories needed to start working.

  • Programming


  • 15 addictive video game picks from the Internet Archive’s new arcade

    Yes, it’s true – the Internet Archive, stalwart home of the Wayback Machine, now has a special section for the video games of yesteryear, in the Internet Arcade. There are 902 titles available, according to the site, running on a specialized Java emulator known as JSMAME. While not all of them are working quite right yet, there’s already an impressive selection available for you to play right in your browser window. Here are some of the highlights.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Into the Abyss: The Escalating Violence Against Pakistan’s Polio Workers

      The violence drew much of its initial strength from the revelation that the CIA had used a fake Hepatitis vaccination campaign in March and April 2011 in its hunt for Osama bin Laden. The operation was widely blamed among Pakistani public health workers for fueling the violence and decreasing trust in vaccinators. As Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, a vaccine specialist at Aga Khan University in Karachi, told the New York Times in July 2012: “There could hardly have been a more stupid venture, and there was bound to be a backlash, especially for polio.”

    • ‘Kill the Messenger:’ A Shocking Story with Media Backlash

      Although it has a timely theme and good performances from an estimable cast, much of the media would prefer that you ignore “Kill the Messenger.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Israel accused of war crimes during campaign in Gaza

      Amnesty International has accused Israel of committing war crimes during its campaign in Gaza.

      A report released by the group on Wednesday says Israel displayed “callous indifference” launching attacks on family homes in the densely populated coastal strip and in some cases its conduct amounted to war crimes. It adds that war crimes were also committed by Palestinian militants.

    • The Slow March Back to War in Iraq

      U.S. officials are still figuring out which moderate groups—among the insurgents who’ve been fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad—it wants to bring into the battle against Islamic State. Saudi Arabia has offered to host a training camp for as many as 5,000 Syrian fighters, but the Pentagon hasn’t worked out how to transport them. Turkey has also agreed to let the U.S. train rebels on its soil. Fielding a force of two or three Syrian brigades could take two years and cost $1 billion to $2 billion annually, according to Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA Persian Gulf analyst who is at the Brookings Institution.

    • The TAPI project or the future of Afghanistan

      As a result, Brzezinski appeared to have taken the 1977 CIA memo quite seriously and so transformed Afghanistan into a perpetual battlefield in order to safeguard America’s hold over the Persian Gulf (the main transport route for oil). The US concern for the free flow of oil led to its support for the Mujahedeen who became the Taliban. And so the West’s quest for hydrocarbon advantage condemned the country to a state of unending civil war.

    • Over 400 US Drone Airstrikes in Pakistan

      Since June 2004, the United States has conducted over 400 drone airstrikes in Pakistan, with 350 of them during the Obama administration, according to a Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) report released this October.

    • Hawks Triumph in Senate; Will Push More Aggressive US Policy

      The Republicans took control of the Senate in Tuesday’s elections, but much more important than which party took control is the nature of the incoming Senators from the new ruling party.

    • NATO Wants More Troops to Counter Nonexistent Russian Threat

      NATO is a US-led killing machine. Operating globally. Prioritizing war. Deploring peace.

    • Former ‘forever prisoner’ leaves for Kuwait
    • Former ‘forever prisoner’ leaves Guantanamo for Kuwait

      Fawzi al Odah, 37, was held for nearly 13 years at Guantanamo, starting off in the crude outdoor prison of barbed wire and chain-linked fences called Camp X-Ray. He was never charged with a crime.

    • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: The populist hardliner

      The son of a blacksmith, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was born on October 28, 1956, in Garmsar, near Tehran, and holds a PhD in traffic and transport from Tehran’s University of Science and Technology, where he was a lecturer. He was not well-known when he was appointed mayor of Tehran in 2003. During his tenure, he reduced social freedoms and curtailed many of the reforms introduced by more moderate figures who ran the city before him.

    • Why Libya?

      Cockburn further notes that, after lying to fabricate the pretext for aggression, the Western governments and media outlets have fallen mysteriously silent on Libya as the country has spiraled into oblivion. The West thus again all but insists we notice that humanitarian crises play no role in drawing their attention, and that they only trumpet – or invent – human rights violations to cover Western aggression, which is carried out, Cockburn notes, “always in the interests of the country intervening.”

      The West immediately lost its feigned concern over the “human rights” violations it exaggerated or simply made up regarding Libya because they were never of concern to begin with, and the West made things much worse: the illegal US-led attack instantly killed or led to the deaths of up to hundreds of thousands.

    • Modesto Vietnam veteran shares experience with ‘moral injury’

      Phil Schmitt spent two tours of duty in Vietnam loading 750-pound bombs into Air Force planes in bases at hellholes such as Da Nang and Phu Cat.

      Most of the planes came back to be reloaded. The bombs, of course, didn’t.

      “I loaded thousands and thousands of tons of bombs,” the 67-year-old Modesto resident said. “They went somewhere.”

      But it wasn’t until the brass reassigned him to debrief the pilots after their bombing runs that he saw the real effects.

      “Now I’m looking at films of the bombs exploding,” Schmitt said. “Villages being hit. Seeing bodies on the ground. Children. The quality of those films was very good.”

      Collateral damage, long before anyone coined the term. Like so many others, he kept what he saw to himself, returning stateside when his hitch ended in 1970.

      “Later, it comes into play,” Schmitt said. “I turned to both heavy drinking and burying myself in my work. I didn’t socialize. I was isolated. I didn’t have many friends. I didn’t relate well with people outside of the military.”

    • Republican Hawks Already Have a War Plan for ISIS, Ukraine, and Obama

      The Republican victory in the 2014 midterms is less than 24 hours old. But already, the hawkish wing of the GOP is planning an ambitious battle plan to revamp American foreign policy: everything from arming Ukraine’s military to reviewing the ISIS war to investigating the U.S. intelligence community’s role in warming relations with Iran.


      You could call it the neoconservatives’ revenge or the year of the hawks. But it has produced an interesting moment in Washington, where even the dovish side of the Republican Party now acknowledges the midterms were a win for their party’s American exceptionalists.

  • Finance

    • Leaked Documents Expose Global Companies’ Secret Tax Deals in Luxembourg

      Pepsi, IKEA, AIG, Coach, Deutsche Bank, Abbott Laboratories and nearly 340 other companies have secured secret deals from Luxembourg that allowed many of them to slash their global tax bills.

    • On the phenomenon of bullshit jobs – David Graeber

      In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century’s end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There’s every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.

    • “Blood in the Water”: The Privatization of California’s Water Spells Disaster

      Governor Brown spoke last week lobbying for Proposition 1 at Stanford University on October 23rd, at a conference organized by the Stanford Wood’s Institute, whose co-director is Stanford Hoover Institute member Barton Thompson. The Stanford Hoover Institute and Bechtel (the multi-billion dollar construction company), through the funding of studies taught at Stanford, appear to be promoting the DTP and its probable use as a source of water for fracking in the possible 15 Billion barrel Monterey Shale Formation spread across central and southern California.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Journalism and Reality

      One thing that I’ve learned from my four-plus decades in journalism is that many people only like reporting that reinforces what they already believe. Facts that go off in a different direction can make them angry – and they are usually not hesitant to express their anger.

      For instance, in the 1980s, when I was covering the Nicaraguan Contra rebels for the Associated Press, many readers of AP copy, including some of my editors, shared Ronald Reagan’s enthusiasm for these “freedom fighters” whom Reagan likened to America’s Founding Fathers.

    • Mr. Bezos comes to Washington

      Amazon’s CEO now owns the paper of record in the nation’s capital

  • Censorship

    • How to Defeat Internet Censorship

      Almost 20 percent of world population is effected by Internet Censorship. In countries like North Korea less than 5% of total population have internet access and even that is heavily monitored and restricted. Internet censorship isn’t limited to oppressive regimes. For example, it is common practice for educational institutions all over the world to implement filtering of content deemed objectionable.

    • Why Facebook Just Launched Its Own ‘Dark Web’ Site

      Tor, after all, doesn’t just let users hide their identities from the sites they visit, anonymously buying drugs on the Silk Road or uploading leaked documents to news sites through the leak platform SecureDrop. It’s also designed to circumvent censorship and surveillance that occurs much closer to the user’s own connection, such as in repressive regimes like Iran or China. And since Facebook uses SSL encryption, no surveillance system watching either Facebook’s connection or the user’s local traffic should be able to match up a user’s identity with their Facebook activity.

    • Linux Australia puts curbs on mailing lists

      Linux Australia, the umbrella group for Linux user groups in the country, has imposed a censorship regime on its mailing list, with regulations that run to nearly 1000 words to govern them.

      The stated aim of the new policy, which took effect on October 22, “is to foster open dialogue and discussion on relevant forums, while providing a safe space free from undesired behaviours such as personal attack and ‘flaming’,” according to a post by the LA secretary Kathy Reid.

      In sharp contrast to the avowed open nature of the group, the policy was never put up for discussion on the LA general mailing list. The policy was developed by the office-bearers and announced as being in effect.

  • Privacy

    • GCHQ’s Robert Hannigan says tech firms ‘in denial’ on extremism

      Web giants such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp have become “command-and-control networks… for terrorists and criminals”, GCHQ’s new head has said.

    • Voice of the masses: GCHQ is upset. Does this mean we’re winning back our privacy?

      Our question this fortnight is: If the head of GCHQ is upset, does this mean we’re winning back our privacy? Is this a genuine plea for us to give up our digital rights, or is it just crocodile tears from someone who can still trace every click we make and message we send?

    • Republican 2016 Contenders Have Taken Positions on NSA Reform. Where Does Hillary Clinton Stand?

      If Hillary Clinton has a position on the government’s domestic spying, she’s doing a good job of hiding it.

      More than a year after Edward Snowden’s leaks, the former secretary of State has yet to offer a meaningful assessment of the National Security Agency’s mass-surveillance programs. She’s had plenty of chances, but in interviews, speeches, and even her new book, Clinton has repeatedly ducked the issue with vagaries and clichés.

      The possible 2016 candidate rarely discusses NSA spying unprompted. And when she does, her remarks are often couched in opaque platitudes about the need to balance privacy and national security concerns.

    • Hillary Clinton Still Refuses To Make Her Views Clear On Surveillance, And That’s A Problem

      Earlier this year, we noted that absolutely-running-for-President-while-pretending-to-think-about-it Hillary Clinton gave a stupid and vague non-answer answer to her position on government surveillance. It was the perfect politician’s answer, refusing to really take a position that could be held against her at some point in the future. Except, on important issues, refusing to answer sometimes isn’t an answer, and this is a perfect case of that. The leading contenders for the Republican nomination appear to have all made statements one way or the other, while Hillary has done everything possible not to take a position on the matter.

    • Court Says By Agreeing To AOL’s Terms Of Service, You’ve ‘Consented’ To Search By Law Enforcement

      The ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer alerts us to a district court ruling in NY that effectively says that by merely agreeing to AOL’s terms of service, you’ve waived your 4th Amendment rights. The case is the United States v. Frank DiTomasso, where DiTomasso is accused of producing child porn — with most of the evidence used against him coming from AOL. DiTomasso argues that it was obtained via an unconstitutional search in violation of the 4th Amendment, but judge Shira Scheindlin rejects that, by basically saying that AOL’s terms of service make you effectively waive any 4th Amendment right you might have in any such information.

    • Internet of Things will transform life, but experts fear for privacy and personal data

      It will help you avoid traffic jams as you travel from work to that hot new spot you’ve been dying to try out, tell you on the way about the bar’s half-price coupons and let you check your home video monitors while knocking back a few to see if your cat is clawing the couch again.

      But it also might alert your insurer if your car is weaving when you head home and report your frequent drinking to your boss.

      “It” is the Internet of Things, which promises to transform daily life, making it easier to work, travel, shop and stay healthy. Thanks to billions of connected devices – from smart toothbrushes and thermostats to commercial drones and robotic companions for the elderly – it also will end up gathering vast amounts of data that could provide insights about our sexual habits, religious beliefs, political leanings and other highly personal aspects of our lives. That creates a potentially enormous threat to our privacy – even within the sanctuary of our homes.

    • Senate’s flip could ease path to NSA reform

      The looming Republican takeover of the Senate could boost the efforts of civil libertarians and tech companies hoping to rein the National Security Agency this year.

    • Time for some recanting – NZ First

      With confirmation that American spies are working in New Zealand, by a former head of the US National Security Agency last night, there is confirmation that they are based here, says New Zealand First.

      “This proves whistle-blower Edward Snowden right again,” says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. “Mr Snowden said, while he was in New Zealand, that there were NSA facilities here, and I confirmed that I knew the location of one base.

    • Inspector General’s Report Says Accusations NSA Listened In On Military Personnel’s Phone Calls ‘Baseless,’ Hints At Other Misconduct

      The ACLU’s FOIA lawsuit over documents related to the NSA’s activities under Executive Order 12333 has knocked a few more pages out the agency’s tightly-closed fist, most of which are related to its signals intelligence programs. Included in the released documents is an 89-page Inspector General’s report on the investigation of accusations made back in 2009 by David Murfee Faulk, who alleged that NSA linguists were listening in on the phone calls of military personnel, journalists and aid workers and sharing those containing “pillow talk” with other analysts.


      Well, we have that report but we can’t actually read most of it. There’s hardly anything left but the IG clearing the NSA of the specific misconduct alleged by two NSA linguists. The IG memo lists other non-compliance issues like the dissemination of raw US persons SIGINT, as well as violations of reporting procedures and retention guidelines, but the specifics of the IG’s findings remain hidden. I would imagine a legal challenge to the massive redactions in the Inspector General’s report will be forthcoming. There’s more self-interest than security apparent in the NSA’s very selective exposures, making this exculpatory information highly conspicuous in its inclusion.

    • NSA director: We share most of the [crap] bugs we find!

      The National Security Agency (NSA) is only holding back a teeny, tiny number of code secrets, with director Admiral Mike Rogers promising the world the spook collective shares ‘most’ of the vulnerabilities it finds.

      The agency head made the remarks on his second visit to Silicon Valley since his appointment in April this year.

      Admiral Rogers told students delegates that US President Barack Obama asked the agency that it should share more of its vulnerabilities with the public.

    • Former NSA Lawyer Says Reason Blackberry Failed Was ‘Too Much Encryption’ Warns Google/Apple Not To Make Same Mistake

      There are times that I wonder if former NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker is just trolling with his various comments, because they’re so frequently out of touch with reality, even though he’s clearly an intelligent guy. His latest is to join in with the misguided attacks on Apple and Google making mobile encryption the default on iOS and Android devices, with an especially bizarre argument: protecting the privacy of your users is bad for business. Oh really?

    • Former NSA Lawyer Says BlackBerry Declined Because Encryption Isn’t a Good Business Model

      On Tuesday at Web Summit in Dublin, former NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker said that expanded encryption efforts by tech companies like Apple and Google do more to harm U.S. intelligence than they do to defend against wrongful and excessive surveillance worldwide.

    • Former NSA attorney blames Blackberry’s demise on encryption

      ​The former top lawyer to the NSA told an audience in Ireland this week that mobile phone maker Blackberry can blame a major drop in sales during the last few years on its offering of a secure product that can’t be cracked.

    • Former NSA Lawyer Says BlackBerry Declined Because of Its Encryption
    • Former NSA’s chief lawyer: BlackBerry’s encryption efforts led to its demise
    • BlackBerry’s use of encryption led to its demise, former NSA lawyer claims
    • Former NSA Official Says Apple, Google More Hostile to Western Intelligence Than China or Russia
    • Quoted: Slamming encryption by Google, Apple… and BlackBerry?
    • There Are Emerging Bipartisan Coalitions on Prison and N.S.A. Reforms

      More interesting, though, is the possibility of emerging bipartisan coalitions on sentencing and prison reform and on reform of the National Security Agency. Both are issues that have support from liberal Democrats and libertarian Republicans. Neither is so hot-button that the radio talk show/blogger wind machine on the right would go ballistic at the prospect of bills being signed by the president. There are senators on both sides of the aisle — from Al Franken and Ron Wyden to Rand Paul and Mike Lee — who could work together on both these issues.

    • This Country Is Sending the U.S. a Strong Message About NSA Surveillance

      Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff doesn’t approve of the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance techniques. She’s making that much clear by overseeing the construction of a $185 million overseas fiber-optic cable which will stretch across the Atlantic Ocean from Fortaleza, Brazil to Lisbon, Portugal.

    • Federal appeals court hears arguments in NSA surveillance case
    • Appeals court steps into debate over NSA program
    • Facebook received 15,433 data requests from NSA, 80.15% requests entertained

      Facebook revealed some startling numbers for those who are in favor of Internet freedom, and privacy on the Internet. At least when the prying eyes are the government or government agencies. The company revealed that requests for user data of Facebook users increased by 25% and global requests to restrict content rose by 20%.

    • Government forced to release secret policies on surveillance of lawyers

      The Government has been forced to release secret policies which show that GCHQ and MI5 have for years advised staff that they may “target the communications of lawyers,” and use legally privileged material “just like any other item of intelligence.”

      The disclosure comes in response to a case brought in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) by the al Saadi and Belhadj families, who were subjected to rendition and torture in a joint CIA-MI6 operation. Both families – assisted by legal charity Reprieve and solicitors Leigh Day – have brought litigation about the kidnappings. The families allege that, by intercepting their privileged communications with Reprieve and Leigh Day, the Government has infringed their right to a fair trial.

      Legal privilege is a central principle of British law, which protects confidential communication between a lawyer and their client. If the Government is able to access such communications, it hands itself an unfair advantage in court.

    • Cindy Cohn, digital rights freedom fighter, named EFF executive director

      Cindy Cohn, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s legal director at the forefront of trying to dismantle the National Security Agency’s domestic spying apparatus long before Edward Snowden became a household name, has been named the digital rights group’s executive director.

      Cohn’s elevation, effective in April, is part of a major management overhaul to the San Francisco-based group whose budget has blossomed from $1 million annually in 1999 to about $9 million this year, the group announced Wednesday. Cohn, who has been litigating the constitutionality of the NSA’s electronic eavesdropping since 2006, succeeds Shari Steele, the EFF’s top executive the past 14 years.

    • Destroying online freedom in the name of counter-terrorism will make the world a more dangerous place

      It is not terrorists who threaten that future of the internet, but our intelligence and security services

    • GCHQ’s flawed premise that the internet is a tool of terror

      GCHQ infiltrates all the communications in and out of the British Isles by tapping transatlantic cables. We discovered last week it has warrantless access to NSA databases, which include the data of UK citizens. GCHQ has done all this in the face of clear parliamentary opposition and in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

    • Skype, WhatsApp and more found to be worryingly insecure

      Secure communication is something we all crave online, particularly after Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations increased public interest in privacy and security. With dozens of messaging tools to choose from, many claiming to be ultra-secure, it can be difficult to know which one to choose and which one to trust. Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has published its Secure Messaging Scorecard which rates a number of apps and services according to the level of security they offer.

    • Google and Mozilla told to limit browser’s ability to watch users

      Researchers warn that web sites and apps communicating via WebRTC may have broader access to computer microphones and cameras than users realise.

    • The canary in the data mine is dead

      You already know that gobs of data about you are strewn across the Internet. The scary part is when they put it all together

    • Oliver Stone Meets With Snowden in Russia to Discuss New Film

      US film director, screenwriter and producer Oliver Stone told RIA Novosti he had met with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in Russia to discuss a new film about the whistleblower.

      “I’ve met him [Snowden],” the film director said in an interview, when asked about the meeting to discuss Stone’s scenario for a new film about Snowden.

    • ‘Courage is contagious’: Artist campaigns for Snowden-Assange-Manning monument

      The legacies of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Chelsea Manning will be enshrined in bronze by a sculptor who is offering a fourth empty chair alongside the trio to anyone who has the courage to side with them, stand up and change things.

      At least, that’s the plan for Italian sculptor Davide Dormino, who is looking to build life-size bronze statues of the three individuals. In a new Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that just recently went live, Dormino and project creator Vaughan Smith are asking for 100,000 pounds, or roughly $159,000, to construct these “monuments to courage.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Direct Democracy Brings Economic Justice Wins, But Watch Out for ALEC

      Minimum wage and paid sick day measures have been gaining momentum in the past year — but keep an eye out for bills promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) designed to crush that momentum and limit local control.

    • Now In Charge Of Congress, GOP Plans To Give Up Its Own Constitutional Powers To The Obama Administration

      As you’ve probably heard, the Republicans decisively took control over Congress in the election on Tuesday, and are now strategizing on exactly what plan they’ll choose to try not to mess things up too badly by the time the 2016 elections come around.

    • Student Suspended for Slicing Apple During Healthy Snacks Presentation

      Da’von Shaw, a Bedford, Ohio high school student, brought apples and craisins to school for a “healthy eating” presentation he was giving to his speech class.

    • Florida Man, 90, Arrested for Feeding Homeless People; Faces Possible Jail Time

      Arnold Abbott handed out four plates of food to homeless people in a South Florida park. Then police stopped the 90-year-old from serving up another bite.

      “An officer said, ‘Drop that plate right now — like I had a weapon,’” Abbott said.

      Abbott and two pastors in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, were charged for feeding the homeless in public on Sunday, the city’s first crackdowns under a new ordinance banning public food sharing, CNN affiliate WPLG reported.

    • The CIA’s Favorite Senator Will Soon Be In Charge of CIA Oversight

      Tuesday’s Republican takeover of the Senate effectively ruined any chance of Congressional oversight of the CIA. Senator Mark Udall, who earned a score of 100 percent from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), lost his seat in Colorado. And Senator Richard Burr, with an ACLU score of 0 percent, is set to become Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), the group tasked with holding the CIA and the NSA accountable.

    • NSA critic Udall is sent packing as Republicans grab Senate
    • NSA Domestic Spying Opponents Undeterred By Mark Udall’s Loss

      Civil liberty advocates were upset on election night when Colorado Sen. Mark Udall lost to Republican Cory Gardner, but no one in the community was ready to announce changes to the NSA’s bulk-data collection program dead.

    • Mark Udall’s loss is a blow for privacy, but he can go out with a bang: ‘leak’ the CIA torture report

      The outgoing Senator and champion of civil liberties has one last chance to read the truth about American atrocities out loud, for the world to see – before it’s too late

    • The CIA And NSA Should Be Happy That Mark Udall Is Gone

      He wasn’t vocal about promoting his work on civil liberties and intelligence. But over time, astute national security wonks learned to watch him.

      His statements sometimes seemed abstract, but were often signposts pointing to something deeper. He wrote letters, he asked questions and he left hints on the public record signaling major intelligence community abuses. Many times, it was his clues that helped shake those stories loose.

    • Ex-CIA officer grabs House seat

      Former CIA officer Will Hurd on Tuesday became perhaps the first person to jump from the cybersecurity industry to Congress.

      An African-American Republican, Hurd edged out incumbent Pete Gallego (D) in Texas’ 23rd district, running mostly on his career as an undercover CIA operative, but also touting his current job as senior adviser at cybersecurity vendor FusionX.

    • Judge to probe Guantánamo’s no-Skype policy for ex-CIA prisoners

      A U.S. military medical board found he suffers Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression. Two doctors recommended the video calls with family to help him cope with it. One testified at court that he had been subjected to “physical, psychological and sexual torture.”

    • The Deep State and the Bias of Official History
    • The Truth Will Out: UK Involvement in Libyan Rendition and Torture

      Last Thursday, British judges ruled that victims of a joint MI6-CIA ‘rendition’ operation should have their day in court. When I reflect on that judgment, the first things I see in my mind’s eye are two rooms.

      One is white, stark, temporary, windowless. Fluorescent lights hang from its ceiling. The room is empty save for a woman, crying. She is chained to the wall and obviously pregnant. The woman in the white room comes from Morocco but has married a opponent of Col. Gaddafi, and for that reason is about to be plunged into terrors of which she knows nothing.

      CIA agents will come to take her from this room – their room. They will tape her to a stretcher and fly her to Libya. They will manhandle and degrade her to an extent that she will wonder, at one point, whether she has lost her child. She won’t, quite: but her baby, born shortly afterwards, will weigh just four pounds.

    • A mosque in Munich

      Everyone knows by now about U.S. backing for the mujahedeen in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union in the 1980s – Exhibit A for those shaking their heads at Washington’s foreign policy blunders in the Muslim world. Rather less widely known, at least until this book was written by former Wall Street Journal reporter Ian Johnson, was how that support had precedents at the start of the Cold War in post-World War II Europe, when U.S. and German intelligence jostled for influence over various Muslim groups as anti-communist instruments to undermine the USSR. With a cast including Nazis, the CIA, the German intelligence agency, the Muslim Brotherhood, and a host of flamboyant individual characters, the subject matter certainly makes for a spectacular title. But although Johnson’s deeply researched book often yields surprises, it is generally less sensational than its blurb might suggest. Nevertheless, it does provide lessons that remain valid about the perils of trying to co-opt hard-line Muslim groups to pursue broader Western policy goals.

    • Iran Quietly Fearful of Republican Takeover of Congress

      Iranian leaders are quietly expressing fear about the Republican takeover of Congress Tuesday night, with many conveying concerns that Tehran has lost a key bloc of U.S. Democrats who wanted to roll back economic sanctions and hand Iran a favorable nuclear deal, according to an internal CIA analysis and Farsi language reports.

      Fears about the Republican takeover of Congress have plagued Iranian leaders for weeks, according to the CIA analysis obtained by the Washington Free Beacon that outlines internal commotion in Iran over the shifting political tides in the United States.

    • Who’s In, Who’s Out: Republicans Take Over Top U.S. Foreign-Policy Committees

      Republicans have captured control of the U.S. Senate for the first time in eight years, picking up at least seven seats in the November 4 congressional elections.

      The shift means that Republicans will control the three top Senate committees dealing with U.S. foreign policy and national security: foreign relations, armed services, and intelligence.

    • Secretive court to consider Government spying on legal communications

      A court which usually sits in secret will tomorrow (6 November) consider whether the Government should be forced to release more information regarding its surveillance of legally privileged communications between lawyers and their clients.

    • A double standard on destroying evidence

      If you read the blog of Carlos Miller, you’re probably aware of dozens of incidents in which police officers have illegally confiscated citizen cellphones and deleted incriminating videos, which is not only an act of destroying evidence of possible wrongdoing but is also the unlawful destruction of someone else’s property. They rarely, if ever, face any legal consequences. (These are, of course, local infractions, not federal. But still.)


      Point is, when a federal law enforcement agency wants to charge you with something, it can probably find a way to do it. If you make it more difficult for it to do so by destroying evidence, intentionally or not, the agency will get you for that, too, or at least instead. Yet somehow when it comes to finding a way to charge federal officials and law enforcement officers who destroy evidence, those vague laws seem to get pretty specific, and broad laws seem to narrow. (Currently, Sarbanes-Oxley doesn’t apply to government agencies, though as noted, other laws do.)

    • Democracy in the hands of idiots. Part III

      Okay world, that ritualistic, vacuous exercise in futile optimism, known as an “election” in America, is over, and the idiots again have spoken.

      But how could they not? After all, the entire concept of “democracy” in America’s corrupt, two-party system is nothing more than a farcical illusion, and the extent of this corruption has only been magnified by the Koch brothers controlled majority on the United States Supreme Court, who, in recent rulings, gave billionaires and corporations unbridled power to buy politicians of their choice.

      In previous Pravda.Ru articles, I have argued that history is nothing more than a pendulum incessantly swinging back and forth between overreaction and regret, and the recent elections in America have vividly confirmed this thesis.

    • Election Night Wasn’t a GOP Victory, It Was a Democratic Rout

      As a constitutional scholar, he had promised to restore respect for the law to the presidency, and instead has made end runs around every law imaginable, refusing to prosecute the war criminals of the Bush/Cheney presidency, the CIA, and the military, refusing to prosecute the FBI for violating the Patriot Act, refusing to prosecute the bankers whose crimes brought the US and the global economy to a grinding halt and left the US crippled going on six years now.

    • Mom of slain Ferguson youth taking case to the UN Committee

      When an event such as the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri gets media attention, it gets that attention all over the world.

      People from London to Sydney are given a media’s perspective on what happens, and they are allowed to make their own judgments. But now the parents of Michael Brown have decided that the international media stage is not enough. They are taking their case to the United Nations.

      Michael Brown’s mother and father, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr., are using a website called FergusontoGeneva.org to raise funds to fly to Geneva and speak before the U.N.’s Committee Against Torture.

      African American writer Allen B. West asks why this kind of move is even necessary and wonders what the Brown family hopes to accomplish. It is a question that resonates with the families of police officers who have watched their loved ones get gunned down by street criminals, but with no response from the American people.

      The choice to speak before the U.N.’s Committee Against Torture is probably not a random decision. The United Nations has recently turned up the heat on President Obama to release the report on CIA torture, a document relating to the treatment of prisoners taken since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde: ‘In prison, you become brain-dead’

        The Västervik prison is as ugly as its surroundings are beautiful. Located a stone’s throw from the water in Gertrudsvik, a few hours drive south of Stockholm, its pale concrete walls rise high above the summer homes and wooden jetties dotting the coastline. Tall steel fences encircle the building, topped with heavy loops of razor-sharp barbed wire.

      • Germany’s Top Publisher Admits Its Web Traffic Plummeted Without Google; Wants Politicians To ‘Take Action’

        A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about the decision by German publishers to grant Google a “free license” to post snippets — a humiliating climbdown from their earlier position that Google should pay for the privilege of sending them traffic.

      • Australians’ Stored Metadata Could Be Used In Any Civil Case, Including Against Copyright Infringement

        It was bad enough when the Australian government announced that it was joining the growing club of countries that would be retaining huge swathes of its citizens’ metadata. But now people are beginning to realize that once that store of metadata exists it not only can, but probably will, be used for many other purposes that have nothing to do with the avowed aim of fighting terrorism.

      • Australian Federal Police: We Could Use Metadata To Prosecute Pirates

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      • Petition for Freeing “Standards” for Public Use

        Mr Carl Malamud, on behalf of Public.Resource.Org, along with 7 others including Mr Sam Pitroda, Dr Sushant Sinha, Prof Dhrubajyoti Sen, Prof T.I.Eldho, Mr Srinivas Kodali, Dr Vinton G. Cerf and myself, submitted the petition to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution petitioning for the free availability of Indian Standards to the public. Given that the Standards appear to be Edicts of the Government, and that tremendous public benefit that would accrue by such free availability of Standards, and along with the facts that BIS has already digitized all the Standards, and Public.Resource.Org has already put together the necessary online architecture and value-add to facilitate free distribution of these Standards, the petition asks that the ministry helps make these Standards available and accessible to the public, or in the alternative, to modify its current copyright policy so as to allow for this free availability and accessibility of these Standards.

      • Carl Malamud’s Public.Resource.Org Joins Effort To Make Pay-Walled Indian Standards Freely Available

        Techdirt has been covering for some time Carl Malamud’s project to open source the “operating system of society” by placing digital versions of US laws, codes and regulations on the site Public Resource. But of course, the logic of allowing the public to be able to read all the laws and regulations that govern them applies outside the US just as much. And so it’s perhaps no surprise that Malamud has joined with other campaigners (including Vint Cerf) in petitioning the Indian government to allow that country’s standards to be made freely available to the public in the same way.

      • EFF Fights for Common Sense, Again, in DMCA Rulemaking

        The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed six exemption requests with the U.S. Copyright Office today, part of the elaborate, every-three-year process to right the wrongs put in place by the Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). EFF’s requests received crucial assistance from the Organization for Transformative Works, the NYU Technology Law & Policy Clinic, attorney Marcia Hofmann, and former EFF intern Kendra Albert.

      • Latest EFF DMCA Exemption Requests Include The Right to Tinker With and Maintain Unsupported Video Games

        As we’ve noted more than a few times, we live in an era where the products you think you own can be disabled, crippled or held hostage on a whim. That’s been particularly apparent when it comes to video game consoles and software, with an increasing array of titles relying on server connectivity not only for multi-player content, but also for DRM authentication in order to play single player titles. The former was an issue earlier this year when Nintendo announced that the company would be killing online functionality for a wide variety of Wii and DS titles, some of which were only a year or two old. The latter was an issue with Blizzard’s Diablo 3, EA’s latest incarnation of SimCity, and a growing number of other games.

      • UK opens access to 91 million orphan works

        A new licensing scheme launched today could give wider access to at least 91 million culturally valuable creative works.

      • UK Launches Orphan Work Licensing Scheme, Misses Huge Opportunity To Make It Much Better

        Orphan works, that huge collection of older creations which are out of circulation and have no obvious owners, are more rightly called “hostage works,” since they remain uselessly locked away by rigid and outdated copyright laws. Even when the issue is recognized by society, lobbyists hold so much sway over the political process that legislation crafted to “solve” the orphan works problem is often worse than useless.

EPO and UPC in Europe Now the Hope of Patent Maximalists, China Too is Assimilating

Posted in Patents at 6:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Unitary Patent
Picture from FFII

Summary: A form of globalisation or unification among patent offices, courts and policies can serve to highlight the great role played by rich and powerful monopolists, including their rich lawyers who profit from protectionism

Patent monopolies, including monopolies on algorithms, are not going away quite so fast. There is resistance from very rich entities. These patents need to be squashed faster than they spread to more continents. There is a struggle between practitioners and lawyers, similar to the military industrial complex conflict with a peace-seeking public. The disparity between public will and moneyed interests (promoted to the public through corporate media) is not unique. The press likes to quote patent lawyers (almost exclusively) on patent-related matters, perpetuating a cycle of ignorance that we also view as overly prevalent in the copyright debate (propaganda terms/words like “intellectual property” and “pirates” don’t help).

“There is a struggle between practitioners and lawyers, similar to the military industrial complex conflict with a peace-seeking public.”Despite being corrupt, the EPO, which promotes software patents in Europe, has not come under scrutiny for years. There is some very blatant article from patent lawyers, titled “securing software patents through the EPO”, and it says: “In June 2014 the US Supreme Court provided its opinion in Alice Corporation v CLS Bank. This is the latest in a number of decisions from the higher US courts which confirm the considerable uncertainty which has existed in the United States in recent years as to the boundary between what is and is not patentable. The Supreme Court’s opinion follows a high-profile decision from the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in which the court sat en banc and reached what one of its judges referred to as “judicial deadlock”, such was the disagreement as to what should be patentable and how patentability under the US statute should be assessed.”

Further down it says: “Some European practitioners could be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu on reading the Supreme Court’s opinion. After a rocky few years in the late 1990s and the early part of the 21st century, the European Patent Office (EPO) has now adopted an approach which is intended to focus only on the technical features of a claim when assessing patentability. That is, the mere presence of a computer or a generic computer implementation cannot in itself save subject matter from exclusion from patentability. In order to be patentable, an invention must provide a technical solution to a technical problem defined with reference to the closest prior art, and features excluded from patentability cannot contribute to the technical solution which the invention provides. In practice, it seems that this is a slightly different route to arriving at the position advocated by the US Supreme Court in its latest opinion – the invention itself must lie outside the abstract (in the United States) and outside the specifically excluded subject matter (in Europe).”

As we showed before, while USPTO reluctantly but surely moves away from software patents Europe goes the opposite way.

Here is another pro-patents blog (of lawyers) uttering some sentiments about patents in Europe, stating that “Pro-patent bias is a serious risk at the Unified Patent Court” (that’s the headline). To quote a key part: “‘When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.’ At the EU Patent Package Congress in Brussels, organized on 17 October by the universities of Antwerp en Louvain attended by Kluwer IP Law, several speakers tackled the issue: is the creation of a specialized court for patent litigation necessarily positive?

“For companies and innovation the answer, in theory, is yes. That’s why the Unified Patent Court (UPC) was created in the first place. Patent litigation would be centralized, and lawsuits in a large number of countries would no longer be necessary. Life was going to be a lot easier.

“But specialization has its downsides too, critics in Brussels warned. The hammer metaphor has been used since the sixties of the last century to warn for overreliance on familiar tools or systems. In Brussels it was quoted by Rochelle Dreyfuss, a prominent IP and litigation expert from the US, to refer to the pro-patent bias that developed in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC).

“The CAFC was created in 1982 to handle all patent cases. The first 15 years of its decisions, only eight cases were reviewed, four of which were on procedural grounds. But over the last 15 years, the Supreme Court reviewed more than thirty cases, mostly placing stricter limits on substantial issues: patentability, validity and scope of patents, remedies.”

CAFC has been abducted by pro-patents lawyers, so we know how that goes. Finally, quoting another lawyers’ blog (IPKat), there are issues surrounding the UPC. Just published over at the IPKat was also this analysis about bad behaviour at the EPO:

For a considerable time, both the IPKat and Merpel have received a steady stream of emails seeking to bring to their attention certain allegations concerning a Vice-President of the European Patent Office. Until recently, the nature of these allegations has been rather difficult to verify, since the sources have been invariably pseudonymous, and any corroborating information available in Croatian only. The IPKat is a site for community discussion of intellectual property law, not an investigative journalism site, and Merpel does not have the resources to undertake independent investigations.

Recently however, Merpel has been alerted to some further developments that are both newsworthy and raise some interesting legal issues. In particular, she has been informed that a Petition has been filed with the European Parliament, asking the European Parliament to investigate the appointment of Mr. Željko Topić as the Vice-President of Directorate-General 4 of the European Patent Office back in March 2012. Mr Topić had previously been Director General of the State Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Croatia since 2004. In formation about the background to this, and a copy of the Petition itself, can be seen here (which is the same link as the first in this paragraph). The complaints about the suitability of Mr Topić for office relate to allegations about his previous position.

“It references one of the Techrights articles so it seem like the series is starting to have an effect,” added one of our readers.

André Rebentisch (FFII) writes in the comments: “It is possible to empower the European Parliament to bring its questions to the attention of the EPO presidency by an inter-institutional treaty.

“In any case it seems advisable to harmonise substantive patent law within the European Union to make it part of the Acquis. The EPO is not authorised by its treaties to become a legal harmoniser of national patent laws, a de-facto role it successfully pursued.”

China too seems to be going down the path of creating new courts for dealing with patents, which is bad news. It means that the patent maximalists are gaining influence in the big system. Here is one relevant report from China:

A special court for intellectual property rights (IPR) cases will open in Beijing early this month, said the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) here Monday.

Two similar courts in Shanghai and Guangzhou will open by the end of this year, said Wang Chuang, deputy head of the IPR division with the SPC.

It is funny to see China using the ‘IP’ term which is typically used to insult China.

All in all what we have here is a sort of coup d’état by patent lawyers and their clients. They need to be stopped.

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