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12.11.14

Links 11/12/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta, Firefox 35 Plans

Posted in News Roundup at 6:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • How Linux Works Is an OS Mechanic’s Mainstay
  • Linux Ruled 2014, Codenames, and Steam Linux Sales

    There were lots of interesting tidbits in today’s Linux feeds. Silviu Stahie wonders if Linux’s advancements in 2014 were enough to finally declare it the “year of Linux.” Elsewhere, Larry Cafiero laments Fedora’s decision to forgo codenames and Kevin Fenzi explains what happened to Fedora servers yesterday after release. Jack M. Germain reviews How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know and GOL explains how Steam computes Linux sales.

  • Joyent Offers Linux Branded Zones, Extends Docker Engine as Container Service

    Joyent, Inc., which has billed itself in several different ways over the years is now billing itself as “the container infrastructure company.” The company is actually making a lot of smart moves. In November I reported on how Joyent has announced that it is open sourcing its core technology. Joyent’s platform can compete with OpenStack and other cloud offerings, and facilitates efficienet use of container technologies like Docker.

  • About Linux Weekly News – 8th December 2014
  • Users Want Windows 10 Features That Are Already Available in Linux Systems

    Windows 10 brought some new features for its fans, but it’s still under development. Its users already have a list of features they would like implemented, but it’s funny to see how most of those features are already present in Linux installations.

  • Desktop

    • Was 2014 “The Year of Linux Desktop”?

      Linux has seen a lot of changes during 2014 and many users are saying that this was finally the year that really showed some real progress, but has it been enough to call it “the year of Linux desktop”?

    • Linux Mint 17.1 and the question of the “best” Linux desktop
    • Is Linux Mint 17.1 really the best desktop of 2014?

      Wow, that’s some high praise there for Linux Mint 17.1. I agree that the Linux Mint developers did a great job on it, but I’m not sure I’d call it the best available desktop today for the simple reason that no matter how good a distribution or desktop is, there are bound to be people out there who need something different. Linux Mint is a fine choice for many or even most desktop Linux users, but it’s not right for everybody.

      I’m not even sure there is a “best desktop” since the whole notion is so extremely subjective. I suppose you could say that there’s a “most popular” desktop if there is a huge majority of people using it that dwarfs all other desktops. But “best” implies that it is better than everything else and, as much as I like Linux Mint, I cannot say that it’s better than every other distribution or that Cinnamon or MATE beat out every other desktop environment.

      I suppose it’s the old “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” thing. If Linux Mint 17.1 meets all of your needs, and you can use Cinnamon or MATE then it may very well be the best desktop distribution for you. But there are far too many different Linux users to generalize and give it the crown of best desktop of 2014, particularly given all the other choices out there.

    • My Favorite Linux Applications and Desktops

      My main desktop remains KDE, although Cinammon, GNOME, Mate, and LXDE are also ready to run. However, my main environment remains KDE because of the work tools it provides, such as a multi-item clipboard, and the ability to group the applications I’m working with into a single tabbed window.

  • Server

    • Trusty Old Router

      In the past years, the device has been running OpenWRT, which is a really nice and very powerful little Linux distribution specifically for this kind of routers.

    • Parallels adopts Docker in next Cloud Server release

      Long, long before Docker made containers the cool server application virtualization tool, Parallels was making container technology work for enterprises with the commercial Virtiozzo and the open-source OpenVZ project. Now Parallels will be adding native support for Docker as well to the next version of its Parallels Cloud Server.

  • Kernel Space

    • OpenDaylight Member Spotlight: Intel

      Intel was a founding member of the OpenDaylight Project and recently increased its membership to Platinum, the highest tier. We had a conversation with Uri Elzur, Intel’s director of SDN architecture, to understand what drove the company’s decision and what we can expect to see from them in 2015 and beyond.

    • VirtIO & Xen Changes For Linux 3.19 Kernel

      The VirtIO changes for Linux 3.19 include infrastructure changes for providing VirtIO 1.0 support. There’s also bug-fixes and other improvements with the VirtIO code for Linux 3.19. The VirtIO changes for Linux 3.19 can be found via this pull request.

    • EXT4 In Linux 3.19 Brings Lots Of Bug Fixes

      Ted Ts’o has sent in the EXT4 file-system changes for the Linux 3.19 kernel merge window.

      EXT4 changes for Linux 3.19 include “lots of bug fixes”, including changes that should improve CPU utilization and potential soft lock-ups when under heavy memory pressure. There’s also a random assortment of other changes with just around 500 lines of EXT4 file-system code being touched by 26 changes for this merge window.

    • Linux Foundation IoT standardisation effort AllSeen Alliance grows to more than 100 companies

      For those wo are not following IoT news all the time: you may have lost the foundation of this interesting alliance project that aims at fostering interoperability of IoT.

      This project is led and started by Linux Foundation and this is a great guarantee of openness and real community driven innovation. We all look forward to see where AllSeen will lead!

    • Many Sound Updates Queued For Linux 3.19 Kernel

      Takashi Iwai classifies the sound updates for Linux 3.19 as a fairly large pull request. There’s ASoC improvements, new USB audio support improvements, a new OXFW Firewire audio driver for the FW970/971 chipset, support for new Intel x86 SoCs, and various other changes. The new Intel SoC support work is for some Cherry Trail and Braswell hardware.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Interview with Sylvia Ritter

        A friend mentioned Krita in 2010, claiming that it was the best open source alternative to Photoshop. Had to try it and never stopped working with it. On a sidenode I’ve never worked with commercial art software before, but I’m not eager to either.

      • GCompris Joins the KDE incubator and Launches a Fundraiser

        GCompris has joined the KDE incubator. GCompris is the high quality educational software suite comprising numerous activities for children aged 2 to 10, and well known by parents and teachers all over the world.

        GCompris was started in 2000 by Bruno Coudoin as a Free Software project. Originally written in GTK+, the project developers decided in early 2014 to make a radical change and rewrite it in Qt Quick. The main motivation is the ability of the Qt platform to address the desktop and the tablet market from a single code base.

      • digiKam: Season of KDE Update

        To put it briefly, the gradient of the image patch gives us the differences in pixels. We then decompose the covariance matrix to get eigen values whose values represent the strength of the image patch. Specifically, the larger the maximum eigen value, the richer the texture is, in the dominant direction.

        I came across an OpenCV function which handles all of this and returns the eigen values (and vectors).

  • Distributions

    • Create a live system ISO for your Ubuntu-based Linux machines using Systemback

      You have that Linux desktop or server precisely how you want it and are interested in either creating a spot-on backup or a live ISO that you can then install on other (similar) hardware. How do you do it? You could go through the process of learning a number of commands to take care of the process, or you could install and use a handy tool called Systemback.

    • Reviews

      • An Everyday Linux User Review Of Puppy Linux Tahr 6.0 CE

        Puppy Linux continues to be a tremendous distribution. The performance is incredible and the amount of quality applications that are provided in such a small download is breathtaking.

        The default applications won’t appeal to everyone and they are built for functionality over style but the Quickpet application makes it possible to install old favourites like LibreOffice and GIMP.

        It would be good if Puppy could get around booting on UEFI based machines but modern machines probably aren’t the target market at the moment.

        I would definitely recommend Puppy Linux for netbooks, older laptops and for computers that have no hard drives. It proves once and for all that you can teach an old dog (of a computer) new tricks.

    • New Releases

    • Gentoo Family

    • Arch Family

    • Slackware Family

      • New chromium and chromium-dev packages

        For the curious among you, I have additionally refreshed my chromium-dev packages. Chromium-dev is the development release of the browser (there’s also a “beta” channel but I don’t care about that too much). By play-testing the development release from time to time, I am prepared and do not get nasty surprises when the stable channel jumps to a higher major release (the jump from 38 to 39 was quite intrusive in terms of SlackBuild script).

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat secure, open source solutions
      • Red Hat secure, open source solutions overview

        For agencies and programs across government, open source solutions from Red Hat are delivering security as good as or better than proprietary solutions.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta Now Available

        In June, we announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, effectively raising the bar for enterprise IT infrastructure and pushing the operating system into the role of being a critical infrastructure platform for the enterprise. Featuring a broad spectrum of significant new features and enhancements, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 is designed to not only meet the demands of today’s modern datacenter but to tackle the next-generation IT requirements of tomorrow. From accelerating application delivery through containerization – to laying a stable foundation for the open hybrid cloud – Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 continues to redefine the enterprise operating system.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Now In Beta
      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Enters Public Beta

        RHEL 7.1 is now available in beta. Improved security is a key focus in the new beta of Red Hat’s flagship Linux platform.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.1 Beta available now!

        Fans of Linux-based operating systems have been experiencing a deluge of quality releases in the last quarter of 2014 — Ubuntu, Mint and Fedora to name a few. While I still think there are too many distros nowadays, the lesser-quality releases can be tuned-out as noise.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Infrastructure release day retrospective

          Here’s what happened: For the last few weeks we had been seeing sporadic slowdowns in the bodhi application, but had been unable to isolate what was causing them. This last week was the Fedora Infrastructure Mirrormanager 2 / Ansible FAD, and there we added some more debugging in, but still couldn’t see where the problem was. It wasn’t in bodhi itself, but somewhere in it’s integration with the authentication system and getting to that via proxy01 (our main datacenter proxy). Proxy01 seemed busier than usual, but it gets a lot of traffic anyhow. We bumped memory up on it to make sure it could better cope with release day.

        • ​Say hi to Linux’s future: Fedora 21 is here

          I’ve only started playing with Fedora so I don’t have a firm opinion about it yet. I will say that while the Desktop, with its default GNOME 3.15.2 interface, works well, I still don’t care for GNOME. Fortunately, Fedora comes with a wide variety of “spins,” so you can run with KDE, Xfce, LXDE, or, my own favorite of the official Fedora variations, MATE.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Hackable Roomba integrates Raspberry Pi

      iRobot’s hackable $200 “Create 2″ version of its Roomba robot for STEM education can be programmed with a laptop, or via an onboard Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

      iRobot’s Roomba was the first — and still one of the few — major successes in consumer robots. Unlike more advanced iRobot designs, such as the Linux-based Ava 500 telepresence robot, the modest, vacuuming Roomba runs on a simple Motorola HC12 microcontroller. Now, iRobot has released a $200, non-vacuuming hacker version of the Roomba 600 called the Create 2 designed for K12 and college-level STEM education.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why your organisation will thank you for going open source

    With all the information available on the internet and on websites like FutureGov, it’s no longer difficult to know the merits of open source and how other government agencies have been benefiting from it. The bigger challenge would be how to convince your finance department to believe in these merits enough that they would reallocate their budget to back it.

  • VMware is nuts for clusters (and containers)

    VMware has announced a batch of integrations with a number of technology entities as it strives to create a common platform for building and operating applications at scale.

  • TYPO3 Updates Open Source Web CMS Neos

    Open source web content management (WCM) provider TYPO3 released a new version of Neos that officials there say improves the user experience for digital marketers in a “smoother” and more “time-saving” way.

  • Five open source PaaS options you should know

    An open source Platform as a Service (PaaS) allows developers and users to contribute and share source code and extensions. The PaaS is either vendor-driven or standard-based.

    A vendor-driven open source PaaS locks the developers and users to a vendor. The developers have limited controls over transferring applications from a vendor-driven open source platform to another one.

    The standard-based open platform is vendor-agnostic and is more flexible; it aims to standardize the orchestration of automatic processes of life cycle management. Developers can transfer applications across the cloud.

  • UPDATE: XRDPConfigurator Is Now Open Source!

    I have just released XRDPConfigurator – a GUI application to configure your Xrdp server – as Open Source, under the Apache License version 2.0.

    I had originally intended for it to be a commercial product whereby a user would have to purchase a license in order to use it.

  • SOS Open Source is Now Open Source!

    We are glad to inform you that the European funded initiative PROSE eventually enhanced the SOS Open Source methodology, re-engineering the tools and making them available to the general public as open source. Now everyone can run an educated open source software procurement process by using SOS Open Source tools and methodology.

  • ARTIST Open Source Software Release

    If you belong to an open source community or are a passionate developer check out our ARTIST OS package to test it now! Our source code is available for modification or enhancement by anyone.

  • Intel and SwiftKey Update, Will Open Source, Stephen Hawking’s Speech Program
  • OPNFV Adds New Members to Open Source SDN/NFV Project

    The Linux Foundation has announced that four new industry partners—Array Networks, Midokura, Ooredoo and Sonus Networks—are backing OPNFV, the open source software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) platform.

  • Events

    • Open Hardware Summit 2014 – Rome #OSHW
    • Web Engines Hackfest 2014

      During the last days I attended the Web Engines Hackfest 2014 in A Coruña, which was kindly hosted by Igalia in their office. This gave me some time to work again on WebKit, and especially improve and clean up its GStreamer media backend, and even more important of course an opportunity to meet again all the great people working on it.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • What OpenStack women are saying about the community

      It’s a problem that the tech industry struggles with in general, and OpenStack is no different: How do we create an environment that is open, inviting, and friendly to women, and how do we get more women involved?

    • Landing In The Cloud – The Open Source Arena

      Open source by its very nature is more free-flowing and open to others, making it that much more affordable, especially when it’s free. Since open source software usually isn’t a product made by a large corporation or eager upstart, the cost to use it is usually quite low. That means a low barrier of entry for businesses to adopt it for their operations. The low monetary barrier makes it so small businesses with limited budgets that might have shied away from more expensive cloud solutions before can actually use the technology and embrace the benefits that come with it.

    • OpenStack Leverages Its Higher Profile To Lead Open Source Cloud Survey

      There’s a strange situation within the open source cloud sector. CloudStack, the initiative that is now supported from within Citrix has a far longer history, and more early customer success than OpenStack. However OpenStack, with its huge following by large vendors (including Rackspace, HP, IBM and Oracle ) has taken the lion’s share of attention.

    • Big Data Source Code: Getting Better All The Time
  • Databases

    • MongoDB gets its first native analytics tool

      Most companies realize they need to become more data driven in order to make better decisions and identify new opportunities. Many also recognize the need for new tools to analyze their data, much of it stored in operational systems.

      At the same time, for their operational systems, a growing number of companies have adopted NoSQL databases, the most popular of which is the document database MongoDB. Unfortunately, document databases are nobody’s first choice for analytics, so people end up using ETL to move data from MongoDB to an RDBMS or Hadoop for analysis. ETL processing adds latency, however — perhaps too much latency if you want your business to be “data driven.”

    • How do you solve a web-scale deployment problem with MariaDB?

      MariaDB Corporation (the artist formerly known as SkySQL) is polishing up its open source database products this month.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

    • Zimbra releases new report highlighting greater trust in open source among IT professionals than proprietary software

      The report findings confirm a changing perception of open source, to a platform for the development of quality software that enhances privacy and security. Findings from the survey, which was conducted in 18 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well as the United States, show that 66% of EMEA respondents agreed that commercial backing and code transparency reduces applications’ privacy risks, and 67% agree these improve application security.

    • 6 of the Best Open Source Holiday Gifts for SMBs

      ‘Tis the season to look beyond the usual humdrum small business gear and give your favorite small business owner something new and unusual. In this roundup we’ll look at a little flying and rolling camera drone, a mobile library and Webserver, a new-generation 3D printer, a clever customizable key organizer that you can print with the 3D printer, a cutting-edge programmable LED flashlight, and an Android smartwatch.

      Some of these picks should be useful for your small business, and they all make superior gifts for employees and customers. Forget the Christmas hams—give cool gadgets instead.

  • Funding

    • Hachicorp Raises $10M to Advance Open Source DevOps Vision

      HashiCorp today announced that it has secured a $10 million Series A round of funding. The company will use the money to continue to evolve its application development and deployment technology, including the development of a new commercial service known as Atlas.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Build and Share Your Own 3D Printer with Open-Sourced ‘Bolt’ by Edu3d.Org

      It’s often the case that we set out to inspire our kids, teach them, and encourage them to do things in the world, but when we give them the tools to work independently, they end up turning the tables and inspiring the older generations with new ideas that can be very surprising, and even startling with innovation and relevance. Kids’ brains are still new, much more open, and not yet quite so worried about what an academic or peer set will think of a ‘crazy new idea’ for something that just might work — or change the world altogether.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Hardware Companies Blend Altruism With Bottom Line

        It’s very easy for open source users around the world to collaboratively share data and files to modify software. Everyday examples include products like Mozilla Firefox and Chromium which allow users to modify, study, deconstruct and even distribute the programs in a collaborative way with no worry of patent or warranty infringement.

  • Programming

    • Go 1.4 is released

      Today we announce Go 1.4, the fifth major stable release of Go, arriving six months after our previous major release Go 1.3. It contains a small language change, support for more operating systems and processor architectures, and improvements to the tool chain and libraries. As always, Go 1.4 keeps the promise of compatibility, and almost everything will continue to compile and run without change when moved to 1.4. For the full details, see the Go 1.4 release notes.

    • Google’s Go 1.4 Officially Released
  • Standards/Consortia

    • Cabinet office Plugfest builds momentum for ODF

      On Monday and Tuesday, 8th-9th December, a group of technologists, SMEs, corporations, individuals, and representatives of Governments gathered in Bloomsbury, London over two days to collectively improve the implementation of Open Document Format (ODF).

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Linux Turla Malware Infection? Not Going to Happen.

      This code simply isn’t in any Linux repository.

      That means one must intentionally deviate and go outside of the keyring-protected repo of applications ‘into the wild’ to obtain this rogue software.

      By definition, a trojan, requires one to install the application and then explicitly run it to have its ‘payload’ execute.

    • Multiple X.Org Vulnerabilities Found, One Is from 1987

      One of the most important features of the open source development community is its ability to self-correct, even if it takes a very long time. A number of issues in X servers have been corrected recently, and some of them were actually very old. The record holder is a bug introduced back in 1987.

    • Security updates for Thursday
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Another Perspective on the US, China, and Containment

      Writing on the occasion of President Obama’s November 2014 trip to Beijing for the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, John V. Walsh asks whether China might contain the United States. Walsh inverts the conventional question—Can the U.S. contain China?—and observes that, as far as East Asia is concerned, “History tells us that the West with its missionaries and soldiers, Obama’s predecessors, bathed the region in suffering and bloodshed.” In that expanded context, Walsh considers whether China might “restrain the U.S. from doing more damage in East Asia” and elsewhere in the developing world. Due to its economic and military powers, Walsh writes, “China should be able to provide to the world alternatives to the diktats of the West.”

    • U.S. Troops Out, Private Contractors Stay in Afghanistan

      In May 2014, President Obama announced a plan to keep at least 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan until 2016. He neglected to inform the country about the massive army of private contractors that will also remain deployed in Afghanistan. A PowerPoint document obtained by Salon from Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), one of the country’s biggest military and intelligence contractors, spells out the contractor’s ongoing role in Afghanistan, which dates back to 2009. The document also shows the company’s $400 million contract with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, which is on a five-year plan.

    • Top Gun Violence Researchers Criticize Pew’s “Outlier” Gun Rights Survey Result

      Media outlets are heavily touting a poll from Pew Research Center supposedly showing “growing public support for gun rights,” but Pew’s polling question is flawed because it presents a false choice between regulating gun ownership and protecting gun rights. In response to the Pew poll, a prominent gun violence researcher said, “I could not think of a worse way to ask questions about public opinions about gun policies.”

      [...]

      According to experts, the question is flawed because respondents have to pick between support for gun regulation or gun rights, as if those premises were mutually exclusive.

    • US drone strikes kill 13 alleged militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan

      A suspected US drone strike on a Pakistani Taliban compound in North Waziristan tribal region killed at least four alleged militants on Sunday, officials said.

    • US drones kill 13 ‘militants’

      A suspected US drone strike on a Pakistani Taliban compound in North Waziristan tribal region killed at least four alleged militants on Sunday, reports The Guardian quoting officials.

      [...]

      The officials said Pakistani Taliban linked to commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur used the compound, but it wasn’t immediately known whether Bahadur was there at the time of the strike.

    • Scarborough: I Can’t Wait for the Report on Obama’s Drone Strikes

      Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough diverted a discussion about the CIA torture report with drones on Tuesday, took a day off, then reprised his act Thursday, simultaneously dismissing the Senate Intelligence Report on the CIA’s terror funplex enhanced interrogation techniques while salivating for the details of some future report on President Barack Obama’s drone program.

    • Torture “Architect” Mistaken in Claim Nobody’s Punished for Drone Murders

      A psychologist who played a key role in a U.S. torture program said on a video yesterday that torture was excusable because blowing up families with a drone is worse (and nobody’s punished for that). Well, of course the existence of something worse is no excuse for torture. And he’s wrong that no one is punished for drone murders. The protesters are. Latest example:

    • Drone operator made long-distance war from close to home
    • LETTER: People that are retired still contribute to society in Derbyshire

      I object to my taxes being used to buy bombs and drones to kill Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian children, and for adventures in Afghanistan and Libya and subsidising bankers who’ve robbed us but still get their bonuses, and life long silver spoons for royal offspring, but as a taxpaying pensioner I don’t get the chance to opt out.

    • Planet Politics: America’s Bloody Conscience

      America can be a brutal superpower, especially when — as rarely happens — it is attacked. Yet it likes to think of itself as a country with more lofty rules of combat and behavior than the run of imperia that have come before it.

    • America Trades Torture for Drones

      The release Tuesday of the executive summary of a report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which reviews the CIA’s detention and interrogation practices between 2001 and 2009, was for all its gruesome detail greeted in some official quarters as a kind of catharsis. “This,” said Secretary of State John Kerry in a statement, “marks a coda to a chapter in our history”—a chapter, he went on, that is now “more than five years behind us,” since President Obama ended the CIA’s detention program during his first week in office. Obama, for his part, acknowledged that “some of the actions that were taken were contrary to our values” but expressed hope that “today’s report can help us leave these techniques where they belong—in the past.”

    • Question use of lethal drones

      The age of innocence is long gone. We’re far beyond the nonthreatening play of remote-controlled model planes, or even Cold War spying. By beginning this conversation in the religious community, we hope to take a long and hard look at the use of lethal drones and then make policy recommendations to the U.S. government. We will seek to determine what the religious community can do about lethal drones at every level: congregations, regional bodies, ecumenical and interfaith bodies, and nationwide coalitions.

    • Editorial: U.S. must defend itself, but torture is not the way

      The Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report released Tuesday details the depths to which the Central Intelligence Agency reached in its efforts to coerce terror suspects to reveal secrets and potential plots against the United States in the wake of the 911 attacks.

      And Obama is correct: That’s not what America is.

      Indeed, the shocking report discloses what will certainly go down as a dark and hidden period in U.S. history. It gives the U.S. a black eye in the world community and our enemies ammunition for retaliation – not that they ever seem to need any reasons.

      Interrogation tactics such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation and tight confinement were authorized by the Justice Department in 2002. But, the report says, CIA tactics went beyond what was approved by former President George W. Bush. It says the CIA misled top U.S. officials and Congress about the full extent of its treatment of detainees and the effectiveness of the program. The CIA did not brief Bush with details until 2006, the report says.

      Some Republicans and current and former CIA directors say the tactics did help stop attacks here and abroad, capture terrorists and save American lives.

      But that raises the troubling question posed by the debate: Does success derived from immoral acts make those acts moral? The answer is no, which is why Americans should find them revolting. Which is why they are not who we are. Or at least not who we aspire to be.

    • For We Know Not What We Do

      While we’re on the subject of knowledge gaps, Micah Zenko of the Council of Foreign Relations notes that the CIA never measured the effectiveness of their covert programs. Take interrogation. A memorandum by the CIA dated June 27, 2013 — but only released today — responds to “the SSCI’s conclusion that the ‘CIA never conducted its own comprehensive analysis of the effectiveness of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques’”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Congress to Reinstate Taxpayer Subsidies for Reckless Derivatives Trading

      The New York Times called it “a textbook Washington play: use a must-pass bill, on the eve of the holidays, as a vehicle for changing unrelated policies.”

      The liberal Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, called it “the worst of government for the rich and powerful.”

      The conservative Senator from Lousiana, Dave Vitter, called it “a Christmas presents to the megabanks and Wall Street.”

      Firebrand Florida Representative Alan Grayson told the Huffington Post’s Zach Cater who broke the story, that it was “a good example of capitalism’s death wish.”

    • Democrats Revolt Against ‘Wall Street Giveaway’ In Deal To Prevent Government Shutdown

      Democrats on Wednesday raged against a government funding bill that would provide taxpayer subsidies to risky Wall Street derivatives trading.

      “The House of Representatives is about to show us the worst of government for the rich and powerful,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on the Senate floor. She urged her colleagues not to support a “deal negotiated behind closed doors that slips in a provision that would let derivatives traders on Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money and get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system.”

      News of the deal, first reported by HuffPost on Monday, has prompted a bitter bicameral feud. The dispute highlights a major divide among Democrats leading up to the 2016 elections over Wall Street’s role in the party platform.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Investigative Reporting = Working With Ad Partners to Monetize the Audience
    • As US media awake to a ‘nightmare’ Israel, NYT brings Blumenthal in from the cold

      We’re in the midst of a sea change in the American mainstream’s treatment of the conflict. US media are beginning to reflect the awareness that the two-state solution is over and that violence around Jerusalem and the West Bank is caused by occupation and fostered by rightwing intolerance inside Israeli political culture– the “nightmare” of greater Israel. There are countless examples of the shift. Last night on MSNBC Richard Engel said many people are angry at the US because of torture and drones, but also “because of Israel/Palestine, and Gaza.” When Israeli finance minister Naftali Bennett was confronted by Khaled Elgindy at the Brookings Institution last Saturday to explain why Palestinians are “the only group of humans in the world that do not have the right to self-determination,” the Beltway audience was evidently on Elgindy’s side. Leon (AIPAC) Wieseltier is gone from the New Republic. The New York Times is publishing Max Blumenthal. And the New Yorker‘s David Remnick is staying in East Jerusalem.

      [...]

      The Times gave Max Blumenthal a platform to explain that Israel has always been rightwing…

  • Censorship

    • IFC Center Rejects MPAA’s ‘R’ Rating On Snowden Documentary, Says It Should Be ‘Essential Viewing’

      Many people still have no idea that the MPAA “rating system” for movies is a totally voluntary system. Any official system like that would be unconstitutional as a violation of the First Amendment (which is why a legal attempt to rate video games got killed by the Supreme Court). It’s pretty rare for theaters to ignore MPAA ratings — though it does very rarely happen. Back in 2012, we noted that AMC theaters defied the MPAA by letting students see the documentary Bully, even though the MPAA wanted to rate it as “R” (which restricts anyone 17 and under from seeing the film without an adult).

    • GCHQ to help tackle ‘dark net’ child abuse images

      Intelligence experts and organised crime specialists will join forces to tackle child abuse images on the “dark net”, David Cameron has said.

    • Web Index: 4.3B People Offline Globally, 1.8B Face Internet Privacy Challenges

      Later today, Tim Berners-Lee will be making an appearance in London to talk about how well the world is doing at making the Internet accessible to everyone and a place safe from commercial and political interference, themes that have been strong for the inventor of the World Wide Web. Ahead of that, the World Wide Web Foundation — an organisation started by Berners-Lee — has released its Web Index annual report, a global pulse check on these issues over the past year.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • President George W Bush ‘knew everything’ about CIA interrogation

      Former US President George W Bush was “fully informed” about CIA interrogation techniques condemned in a Senate report, his vice-president says.

    • Cheney on torture report: ‘Full of crap’

      “The report’s full of crap, excuse me,” Cheney said in an interview with Fox News after calling the report a “terrible piece of work” and “deeply flawed.”

    • ABC Makes US the Victim in CIA Torture Report Story

      There’s an unfortunate impulse, when you or someone you’re close to does something wrong, to turn the situation around so that you can seem like the victim. That ugly human defense mechanism was on display on ABC’s nightly newscast for two days running as the network previewed the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s torture program.

    • Are Rush Limbaugh And Fox News Still Laughing About Torture?

      Last spring, Palin appeared before an NRA convention crowd and laughed about how liberals supposedly coddle America’s mortal adversaries. “Oh, but you can’t offend them, can’t make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen,” said Palin. “Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists,” The NRA audience roared with approval, but even some conservative commentators who saw the tape of Palin’s wisecrack took offense, upset that she had linked bodily torture with a Christian sacrament. (“It’s disgusting.”)

      [...]

      “If you look at what we are calling torture, you have to laugh,” Rush Limbaugh once announced, and claimed “if somebody can be water-tortured six times a day, then it isn’t torture.” At the time of the Abu Ghraib scandal, Limbaugh routinely mocked the claims of prisoner abuse, which were confirmed by horrific photographs: “Here we have these pictures of homoeroticism that look like standard good old American pornography, the Britney Spears or Madonna concerts or whatever.” Limbaugh dismissed the prison torture as a “fraternity prank,” suggesting “Maybe the people who executed this pulled off a brilliant maneuver. Nobody got hurt. Nobody got physically injured.”

    • Right-Wing Media Evokes Controversial Rolling Stone Story To Discredit Senate Torture Report
    • Creative writing teacher resigns after student writes about Jesus, pot

      The assignment was to take a fairy tale or legend and rewrite it in modern times. One student changed the biblical story about Jesus handing out bread and fish to the poor to Jesus handing out marijuana to the sick.

    • C.I.A. First Planned Jails Abiding by U.S. Standards

      Just six days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, President Bush signed a secret order that gave the Central Intelligence Agency the power to capture and imprison terrorists with Al Qaeda. But the order said nothing about where they should be held or how the agency should go about the business of questioning them.

      For the next few weeks, as the rubble at ground zero smoldered and the United States launched a military operation in Afghanistan, C.I.A. officials scrambled to fill in the blanks left by the president’s order. Initially, agency officials considered a path very different from the one they ultimately followed, according to the newly released Senate Intelligence Committee report on the C.I.A.’s harsh interrogation program.

    • Dick Cheney Says CIA Torture Report Is ‘Full Of Crap’ — Then Admits He Hasn’t Read It

      It’s no secret that those most closely responsible for the CIA’s torture program are pulling out all the stops to attack the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the program, trying out a variety of defenses from “it actually saved lives” to “it’s just a partisan hack job.” So it should come as no surprise that former Vice President Dick Cheney has been making the cable TV news appearances to help attack the report. After all, many have argued that the real person behind the torture program was Cheney and his staff — and to date, Cheney has insisted that everything that was done was perfectly reasonable and he’d do it again. Thus there’s no surprise when Cheney appears on Fox News (because, of course), to claim that the report is “a bunch of hooey” and “full of crap” and “deeply flawed” only to then admit ” I haven’t read the report.”

    • Architects of brutal methods had little experience

      When the CIA set out to design a program to elicit intelligence from captured terrorists, it turned to two former Air Force psychologists with no practical interrogation experience and no specialized knowledge of al-Qaida, according to a Senate investigation released this week.

    • Pay and Suffering: Psychologists Made $80M From CIA Interrogation Program

      The two psychologists contracted by the CIA to design the enhanced interrogation techniques used against al Qaeda suspects were paid more than $80 million, even though they were never themselves interrogators, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s “torture report,” released today — a report that one of the psychologists told ABC News was “bulls**t.”

    • The Architect

      The Senate Intelligence Committee has released a blistering, 500-page report on the CIA’s controversial detention and interrogation program, a document that committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said represents the most significant oversight effort in the history of the US Senate.

    • Mormon church appointee aided CIA on terror

      A Spokane psychologist who helped develop controversial interrogation methods, which some human rights groups say amount to torture, became the new spiritual leader of a Mormon congregation on the South Hill this week.

      Bruce Jessen was proposed by Spokane Stake President James Lee, or “called” in the terminology of the Mormon faith, to be the bishop of Spokane’s 6th Ward, approved by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hierarchy in Salt Lake City and presented to the congregation on Sunday. He was unanimously accepted by some 200 in attendance, Lee said.

    • CIA torture report: The doctors who were the unlikely architects of the CIA’s programme

      They are the most unlikely architects of the CIA’s programme of torture. Two psychologists who swore to heal not harm.

      Now it has been revealed that two doctors, identified by the pseudonyms Dr Grayson Swigert and Dr Hammond Dunbar, were paid $81 million by the CIA to help develop and implement a seven-year programme that included “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding, placing detainees in stress positions and sleep deprivation.

      Until now, little was known about the pair, who the New York Times has named as James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen.

      According to the declassifed documents, they created the programme in 2002 when the CIA took custody of Abu Zubaydah, a Saudi arrested in Pakistan and suspected of being an al-Qaeda lieutenant.

    • Meet the Psychologists Who Helped the CIA Torture

      So how did these two men come to play such an outsized role in developing and enacting the CIA’s torture program? Much of the story is captured in a 2009 Times article by Scott Shane. Shane writes that Mitchell, who after retirement “had started a training company called Knowledge Works” to supplement his income, realized that the post-9/11 military would provide business opportunities for those with his kind of experience and started networking with his contacts to seek them out.

    • The American Mengeles: Drs. Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell

      We like to think of evildoers as easily recognizable cartoon characters. We want them to be different from us to reassure ourselves they aren’t anything like us. But when you consider the man pictured here, and the truly bestial things he did, you have to accept the fact the face of evil is a lot like our own. If that makes you uncomfortable, don’t worry. It should bother you. If it didn’t, there would be something wrong with you.

      The man in the old photo is tidy, professional, and clearly in control. Even without a stethoscope slung around his neck, you know the man in the white coat is a cultured, educated, intellectual man of science.

      You may not recognize him, but you certainly know his name. He’s (in)famous for his experiments. In fact, he’s so extraordinary I think he deserves a medal. I don’t mean he should get one; he should get one named after him. I think Dr. Jessen and Dr. Mitchell deserve to be the first to get this medal.

    • Psychologist defends harsh CIA tactics he designed

      But Mitchell declined to detail his experience, other than to point out he spent 30 years with the Air Force and other government organizations.

    • Battle Rages Over Senate Report on CIA Interrogation Techniques

      One day after a Senate panel’s report on interrogation tactics employed by American spies, a furor erupted at home and abroad as top Central Intelligence Agency officials prepared a detailed public response.

      Democratic senators issued fresh denunciations from the chamber floor Wednesday, Poland’s former president said the CIA misled him, and Afghanistan’s new leader demanded accountability for any mistreatment of detainees there.

      Meanwhile, a group of former CIA officials and GOP senators on the panel fiercely defended the agency against what they called a one-sided report, saying the interrogation program was legal and effective.

    • Spokane psychologists helped craft CIA’s harsh interrogation tactics

      From their office in Spokane, two psychologists who once worked with an Air Force survival school there launched an extraordinary covert business that, after the 2001 terror attacks, offered one-stop shopping for a CIA wanting to use harsh interrogation tactics.

    • Senate Report Put Obama at Odds With Brennan, Longtime Security Adviser

      Tuesday’s release of the report criticizing the Central Intelligence Agency’s post-Sept. 11 detention and interrogation program puts an unusual public strain on the close relationship between the president and his CIA director.

    • The CIA chained him to the floor and froze him to death. But who was Gul Ruhman?

      It wasn’t that bad, we’ve been told, over and over again, for more than a decade. “We only waterboarded three people” goes the line American officials have been force-feeding the world for years.

      “We tortured some folks,” Barack Obama admitted recently, still downplaying war crimes committed in America’s name. But we now know those statements do not even begin to do justice to the horrific activities carried out by the CIA for years – atrocities that now have been exposed by the US Senate’s historic report on the CIA’s torture program, finally released on Tuesday after years of delay.

      There are stories in the CIA torture report of “rectal rehydration as a means of behavior control”, threats to murder and “threats to sexually abuse the mother of a detainee” – or cut a mother’s throat. There are details about detainees with broken bones forced to stand for days on end, detainees blindfolded, dragged down hallways while they were beaten. There were even torture sessions that ended in death. The list goes on and on, and on and on.

    • The 10 most harrowing excerpts from the CIA interrogation report
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Piracy is a crime – really!

        The Australian government has today confirmed that it will not tolerate online content piracy – site blocking and a graduated response scheme backed by legal action is soon to be legislated.

      • Develop anti-piracy scheme or we’ll do it for you

        The Government has issued an ultimatum to ISPs to work with content owners and distributors to develop a code that will enable digital pirates to be prosecuted.

        Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Attorney General George Brandis have written to ISPs, telcos, copyright owners and content distributors telling them to develop an anti-piracy code or have one forced upon them.

        The letter is published here. It tells all parties they have until 8 April 2015 to develop a code that will enable the enforcement of sanctions against people who infringe copyright by downloading content from illegal sources.

      • Google Pulls Out The Nuclear Option: Shuts Down Google News In Spain Over Ridiculous Copyright Law

        Back in October, we noted that Spain had passed a ridiculously bad Google News tax, in which it required any news aggregator to pay for snippets and actually went so far as to make it an “inalienable right” to be paid for snippets — meaning that no one could choose to let any aggregator post snippets for free. Publishers have to charge any aggregator. This is ridiculous and dangerous on many levels. As we noted, it would be deathly for digital commons projects or any sort of open access project, which thrive on making content reusable and encouraging the widespread sharing of such content.

Ubuntu Core Announcement is Not About Microsoft and Hosting Ubuntu on Azure is Worse Than Stupid

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Security, Servers, Ubuntu at 12:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The power of media spin makes the idea of hosting Free software under the control of an NSA PRISM and back doors partner seem alluring

IN the spirit of tackling FUD we thought it would be worthwhile to tackle spin regarding the news of Ubuntu Core (news that already appears in our daily links).

Microsoft boosters such as Microsoft Gavin try to frame it as Microsoft news, saying: “A smartphone-inspired version of Ubuntu Server for Docker minimalists has been revealed with initial backing from Microsoft.” The headline is even worse. It’s deceiving for the sake of drama.

The news is not about Microsoft. This is what is called bias by omission or selection — similar to this lousy piece from Lance Whitney, former staff of Microsoft media whose latest propaganda is now omitting an old disclosure saying that he is Microsoft’s ‘former’ staff and uses US-only spin to make Android look bad (the US is not the whole world and economic advantage favours overpriced phones).

Several readers have told us that the article “Canonical restructures Ubuntu in mobile mode; Microsoft is first partner” had been removed (we searched the site to verify this) before it was reinstated. How odd. No explanation was given and while it was gone we made a copy from the Google cache of the article, very shortly after it had been deleted, then created permanent archive of the removed version. We wrote publicly at around noon yesterday about how this article vanished after it had been posted (just shortly before we made copies from Google cache and also used archive.is). We later compared the version we had archived with what was reinstated and found no obvious differences in the text. Well, maybe the problem was purely technical, but the content of the article from Paul Gillin was curious, not just the angle. A reader of ours explained: “Below is the text of an article which just disappeared. It was online for only a few hours but contains some very incriminating statements. More might show up later, but for now this is all I have. It sure explains why the Ubuntu forums moderators/staff have been slamming RMS and censoring critique of Microsoft and His Billness – in any context.”

“The situation is bad,” explained our reader. “The previous article was not a mistake” because there is other coverage although it does not provide the Microsoft spin, including phrases such as those highlighted in Diaspora. The factual part is this:

Ubuntu Core is now available on Microsoft’s Azure cloud.

This, however, is not the main news. A lot of effort was put into injecting some pro-Microsoft angle. Here is where promotional spin got injected (apart from the headline):

“Ubuntu Core is the smallest, leanest Ubuntu ever, perfect for ultra-dense computing in cloud container farms,” the company said in a press release. In a twist that’s sure to prompt a double-take from many industry veterans, Canonical chose the Azure cloud from longtime Linux foe Microsoft as its first deployment platform. “Microsoft loves Linux,” said Bob Kelly, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, in a prepared statement.

“Microsoft has been a terrific steward of Ubuntu,” said Dustin Kirkland, product manager for Ubuntu Core, in an interview. “We have a very tight relationship.” The deal with Microsoft is exclusive for ”a couple of weeks,” after which Ubuntu Core is expected to be available on all public clouds that currently support the operating system.

So ‘“Microsoft loves Linux,” said Bob Kelly, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, in a prepared statement.’

This is part of the new lie which we wrote about in articles such as:

The problem with articles like the above is the pursuit for talking points to lull the victim into passivity, pretending that Microsoft is now like a “best friend” of GNU/Linux. All that Microsoft does with Ubuntu Core is put it under surveillance and back door control. That’s what Azure is about, as NSA leaks serve to demonstrate.

We could of course tackle some other propaganda if we had more time for writing (I am working full time myself). Consider this new UBM spin which pretends TrueCrypt is FOSS (it’s definitely not) and cites one bug (in OpenSSL) to pretend FOSS as a whole is less secure than proprietary software blobs. There is another ugly story making the rounds about a so-called attack on GNU/Linux machines (attributing it to a government, possibly Russia’s); all the stories we have found (over a dozen so far) neglect to say that the victim must install the rogue code himself or herself, it cannot really propagate except by the user’s stupidity or recklessness. Finally, there is another batch of stories about DCOS, which is backed by a Microsoft thug who boasted about “tilting into a death spiral” competitors of Microsoft and bankrolled Microsoft proxies. DCOS — like Azure — is attempting to control GNU/Linux guests at a higher level. IDG called it a “data center OS” that “allows single-source command for Linux servers”, potentially providing a back door. I have personally seen companies that manage hundreds of GNU/Linux servers from VSphere (proprietary from EMC, which is connected to RSA and hence NSA back doors) on top of Microsoft Windows (also back doors). Can EMC be trusted to not allow intrusion? Can Microsoft? These are rhetorical questions.

Anyone who is reckless enough to put a Ubuntu machine under Microsoft hosting sure has not been keeping up with news. Canonical too would be reckless to recommend such a thing, but perhaps it has short-term thinking, pursuing Microsoft dollars at the expense of customers’ security.

France Gets Involved in Battistelli’s Abuses in the EPO – Part XII (Updated)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Berlin views

Summary: The EPO scandal has officially spilled over to France, where a French Senator got involved and starts asking serious questions

ONE of our sources for the EPO stories handed to us this letter in French. If any of our French-speaking readers could kindly provide us with an English translation, that would greatly help raise awareness.

Our source says that our dozens of articles “may even be causing some ripples in the outside world. According to our information, the French Senator Jean-Yves Leconte wrote a letter to the French Ministry in charge of the INPI on 14 October.

“He doesn’t mention the Topić affair, but he refers to the INPI-cronyism in a lot of senior EPO appointments and he requests that the Minister exercise more control over France’s delegate to the AC (the current Director of the INPI and Battistelli’s successor in that position).”

Update: We now have a translation of the letter into English. It states:

Mr Minister,

I hereby confirm that I have read your letter dated September 15th 2014 relating to the social climate currently prevailing within the European Patent Office (EPO). I note as well that you support the idea of setting up a social audit within the Office and that you have notified this to our representative in the Administrative council.

Nevertheless, you certainly know that both the President Mr. Benoit Battistelli and our representative in the Administrative Council (AC), Mr. Yves Lapierre, come from the French National Institue of Industrial Property (INPI), and that one of the topics which make the atmosphere extremely tense at EPO is that former members of INPI are taking over the direction of this organism in a disproportionate manner.

For this reason, it seems legitimate that, regarding the mandate exercised by Mr Lapierre for the INPI, the former should effectively and regularly be framed by instructions issued by your services, notably in order to spare us situations where we would end up at odds with the management of his President, being noted that certain members of the AC insistently refer to his French citizenship.

Rolling of Heads Likely Imminent at EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

French revolution

Summary: The European patent system is shaking as management breaks the rules, staff is protesting against the management every week, and charges of corruption resurface

OUR sources inside the EPO are telling us that tensions run high inside the institution. Earlier this week we wrote about Battistelli's violation of the rules as highlighted by the Enlarged Board of Appeals (full text was later appended) and we also wrote about popular staff actions, which include marching in the streets. The technical staff at the EPO should carry on protesting and even going on strike in a public showing of unity and solidarity to colleagues. This is essential because sooner or later Battistelli will come to them, unless they dethrone him first. Battistelli borrowed his standards from corrupt regimes. He discredits the EPO as a whole.

“Heads Will Roll” is a phrase quite common in popular culture and songs. but “heads will roll” might as well be a phrase that relates to a French decapitation device, used extensively during the French Revolution (and remember that there is a French President at the EPO, much worse than his British predecessor).

One blog of the protesters at the EPO reveals an interesting Administrative Council letter. The conclusions are as follows:

Mr Battistelli as President has shown a profound lack of respect for staff and their rights, including fundamental rights such as the right of due process. This has led to a massive yet still escalating social conflict. Any worsening of the situation risks impacting the external image and good-functioning of the Office.

It would appear that the Administrative Council has not been fully informed by the President of the EPO either of the underlying reasons of the current social unrest or of the possible risks that several of the changes that have been implemented under his presidency will ultimately be considered illegal. The Staff Committee has tried to make the Administrative Council aware that there are serious problems: the Administrative Council must have noticed the demonstrations of staff in front of its meetings.

However, simply being badly informed about the changes taking place in the EPO and the risks they engender does not take away the responsibility of the delegations in the Administrative Council vis à vis staff at the EPO and vis à vis their national governments.

The Staff Committee strongly urges the Administrative Council to become better informed of the decisions which have been or are being taken in its name, in particular any decisions that affect the rights of staff, some of which already seem to be in disaccord with commonly accepted legal principles, if not European law. The potential consequences of doing nothing may be grave for the functioning, governance and overall reputation of the Organisation.

The Staff Committee also requests the Administrative Council to take its responsibility and arrange mediation between the President and EPO staff in order to avoid further escalation of the situation.

“In 2013,” quotes a source of ours from the EPO’s Web site [PDF]: “There were two mass appeals against Investigation Guidelines (Circular 341, 342). One mass appeal with 89 appellants, the second with 61.” Right now the Enlarged Board of Appeal privately complains about Battistelli, so he seems to have gotten himself surrounded not by an angry mob but by his own colleagues, both internal and external. Together they can oust both Battistelli and his cronies, whom he uses for ‘protection’ from colleagues who are not loyal to him.

Expect some major changes.

Battistelli cannot last long. A lot is going on and the public cannot always see it (Battistelli and others try to save face). It is going to explode sooner or later.

“A lot is going on and the public cannot always see it (Battistelli and others try to save face). It is going to explode sooner or later.”Our coverage about the complaint against Battistelli was simultaneously mentioned in some other blogs which say that “under Article 23 EPC, only the AC can remove a Board Member from office, on a proposal from the Enlarged Board. In this case, the President bypassed that safeguard and imposed a “house ban” using his general disciplinary powers over all staff members.”

As one blog of a lobbyist for hire put it: “From what I hear, one can see a printout of this webpage, on which the patent firm of Zimmermann & Partner (known for work on behalf of blue-chip clients in multiple fields of technology) expresses its support for the EPO staff, on many doors at the EPO’s different locations (Munich, The Hague, Vienna, Berlin). And I venture to guess that an English translation of an email sent by one of Germany’s leading patent litigators, Bardehle Pagenberg’s Dr. Tilman Mueller-Stoy (“Müller-Stoy” in German), whose work on behalf of Microsoft I’ve mentioned various times (and whose other clients include, inter alia, Amazon and a major automotive company) to German Federal Ministry of Justice official and EPO Advisory Council member Christoph Ernst will also rise to tremendous popularity in the corridors of the EPO (this post continues below the document)”

“I keep my fingers crossed,” he wrote, “that a tipping point has been reached now or will be reached over the next few days, and that even wider parts of the European IP community will stand up in support of fundamental rights, due process, patent quality, and judicial independence. But this is not just about a few individuals at the top of that organization. There are serious structural deficiencies that have led to the current situation, and they must be addressed as soon as possible.”

He then alluded to Željko Topić‘s corruption charges as well: “IPKat has published and commented on “a letter which is unprecedented in the 40 year history of the European Patent Organisation”: a reqest by the members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (the highest in-house judiciary body) of the EPO that the Administrative Council act against President Battistelli’s “clear challenge to the judicial independence of the Boards of Appeal.” The letter also mentions that the suspended judge’s “computer was confiscated by the [President's] investigation unit, which has given them access to possibly confidential information regarding the preparation and deliberation of cases by the member’s board, without proper, legally sound guarantees.” I’m speechless. There’s a banana republic-style enclave in the heart of Munich (notably with a vice president facing multiple corruption charges in his own country but having stayed in power nevertheless), and so far this banana republic has been condoned and supported by governments that constantly preach human rights and democracy to countries like China and Russia. But it’s not a banana republic at all levels (as the Enlarged Board’s letter shows, there’s plenty of principled people at work). Only at the very top. [/Update]”

Topić and Battistelli, as we have stated before (but elsewhere), will hopefully both be gone by Easter. It’s probably too close to Christmas now for them to be abruptly discharged from service or even for legal action to be launched against them (there are ground for such an action). We are hoping to see Topić and Battistelli both facing “house bans” quite soon and we are pretty certain that their time is running out. In the coming months we will share with readers more of their dirty laundry. We urge our readers from EPO to disseminate information (acquired internally) within the EPO in order to raise awareness. The only reason Topić and Battistelli get to keep their job (for now) is that they keep staff ignorant and ban staff which they deem a threat to their job.

Links 11/12/2014: systemd 218, Empire Total War

Posted in News Roundup at 12:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Review: 6 business-class Chromebooks test their mettle

      I’ve spent the last three weeks taking six business-oriented Chromebooks through their paces. I started out as a skeptical Windows-rules-them-all kind of guy: I’ve been using Windows since the early days, and I’ve rarely strayed from the ghosts of my Windows masters. By the end of my Chromebook experiment, however, my old biases were shaken.

  • Kernel Space

    • F2FS On Linux 3.19 To Support Faster Boot Times

      The Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) will see another round of improvements with the now in-development Linux 3.19 kernel.

      The F2FS file-system this time around features several bug-fixes and other changes. The noteworthy work for this kernel cycle is less than previous cycles but includes better memory and I/O control when under memory pressure, support for the dirsync mount option, and a fastboot mount option to yield reduced boot times.

    • AMDKFD — AMD HSA On Linux — Will Not Support 32-Bit Linux

      This really shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but AMD won’t support HSA on 32-bit Linux.

    • Hardkernel Launches $35 Development Board That Can Smash The RPi

      Hardkernel has announced the latest ODROID ARM development board. The ODROID-C1 is a $35 single-board computer that is similar in size to the Raspberry Pi but with much greater hardware specifications.

    • systemd 218 Released With More Additions

      The latest Linux excitement of today, which earlier seemed like an early Christmas, is the release of systemd 218.

    • Multi-Layer Support Coming To OverlayFS In Linux 3.19

      OverlayFS was finally merged in Linux 3.18 and now for the Linux 3.19 merge window it’s picking up another feature.

    • Linux 3.19 Kernel Adds Intel MPX Support For Skylake

      We’ve been talking about Intel MPX support in the kernel for one year and with the upcoming Linux 3.19 kernel that support is finally being realized.

    • Optimizations & Performance Improvements For DM In Linux 3.19

      Another one of the interesting early pull requests for the Linux 3.19 kernel is the Device Mapper changes.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • 6-Way Winter 2014 Linux Distribution Comparison

        With this week’s launch of Fedora 21, here’s a performance comparison of the new Fedora Linux release compared to the Arch-based Antergos rolling-release distribution, Debian GNU/Linux Jessie, openSUSE Tumbleweed, CentOS Linux 7, and Ubuntu 14.10.

        These six Linux distributions were all tested with the same hardware that came down to an MSI X99S SLI PLUS motherboard with Intel Xeon E5-2687W v3 ten-core processor plus Hyper Threading. The system also had 16GB of quad-channel DDR4 memory, 80GB Intel SSD, and Radeon HD 7850 graphics.

        All six Linux distributions were tested with their default installation settings and packages.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt 5.4 released

        I am happy to announce that Qt 5.4 has been released today and is available for download from qt.io. Together with Qt 5.4, we have also released Qt Creator 3.3 and an update to Qt for device creation on embedded Linux and embedded Android.

        But let’s start with Qt 5.4. One of the main focus areas of this Qt release has been around Web technologies and we have a lot of cool new things to offer there.

      • Qt 5.4 Officially Released
      • Meeting C++ and fantastic people

        I got back from Meeting C++ and I must say I loved every second of it. At first, it was a bit strange – I’m accustomed to KDE/Qt conferences where I know a lot of people. Here, it was not the case. It is a bit sad to see that barely anyone from the Qt community was there (apart from a few KDAB people), but that is a separate topic.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Linux Distros: What’s in a Name?

      Yesterday, the Fedora Project released Fedora 21, and with it the tech media got on its proverbial horse and started reports and reviews of the latest release. While it’s a good release and we won’t be reviewing it here — I already gave it a shakedown during the alpha and found it to be fantastic and completely worth the wait — there’s one thing that’s missing from Fedora 21 that I find rather disheartening.

    • New Releases

      • Alpine 3.1.0 released

        We are pleased to announce Alpine Linux 3.1.0, the first release in v3.1 stable series.

        This release is built with musl libc and is not compatible with v2.x and earlier, so special care needs to be taken when upgrading.

      • OpenELEC 5.0 RC2 Is Out, It’s an Awesome OS for Embedded Devices Already

        The embedded operating system built specifically to run the famous KODI (XBMC) media player solution, OpenELEC, has been upgraded to version 5.0 RC2 and a new image is now ready for testing and download.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Lamborghini Tauri 88: The $6,000 Android phone

        Times are tough for a lot of us but apparently not for everybody according to Android Authority. They reported today on a new Android phone called the Lamborghini Tauri 88 that will be made by…you guessed it…the same folks that make Lamborghini cars. And it will sell for a measly $6000!

    • Red Hat Family

      • Analysis of the CVE-2013-6435 Flaw in RPM

        The RPM Package Manager (RPM) is a powerful command-line driven package management system capable of installing, uninstalling, verifying, querying, and updating software packages. RPM was originally written in 1997 by Erik Troan and Marc Ewing. Since then RPM has been successfully used in all versions of Red Hat Linux and currently in Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

      • Breaking down the Red Hat QA process

        Quality assurance (QA) is a critical aspect of software development, and Red Hat shares its best practices for testing Linux, KVM and OpenShift.

      • Fedora

        • Upgrading to Fedora 21 Workstation from Fedora 20

          Fedora 21 was released yesterday, and if you are running Fedora 20 as a desktop, you will probably want to upgrade to the latest and greatest version of Fedora. Luckily, there is a tool called FedUp that is the most simple way to upgrade to Fedora 21 Workstation.

        • Cubietruck: QEMU, KVM and Fedora

          Rich Jones previoulsy wrote here on how he got KVM working on Cubietruck — it was Fedora-19 timeframe. It wasn’t quite straight forwad then: you had to build a custom Kernel, custom U-Boot (Universal-Boot), etc.

        • Fedora 21 released…and websites too!
        • A Big Fedora Server SIG Welcome

          At today’s Fedora Server SIG Meeting, the present Fedora Server Working Group members elected to fill the seat recently-vacated by David Strauss. As of today, Dan Mossor (danofsatx on IRC) becomes a full member of the Fedora Server Working Group.

        • 11 Things to Do After You Install Fedora 21

          Fedora 21 was announced yesterday and it turned out to be a great release. Fedora comes pre-installed with a lot of applications. Users can start working as soon as they boot into Fedora. However, like most operating systems Fedora also needs some work to prepare it to handle your workload.

        • Fedora 21 KDE Screenshot Tour
        • Fedora 21 LXDE Screenshot Tour
        • Fedora Infrastructure release day retrospective

          Then, release day: proxy02 (a server in england) started being unable to cope with load and we removed it from DNS. Then, proxy01 started having problems. Since most services were slow in any case, we updated our status page that it was release day and to expect slowdowns. Most services (aside bodhi) were actually up and fine, just slower than normal. Some folks took this to mean we were completely down, but this was not the case. Next release we probibly will make a special banner telling people it’s release day and to expect things to be slow, but up and all working.

        • Fedora 21 MATE Screenshot Tour
        • Fedora 21 Linux Distro Tuned for Desktop, Server, Cloud

          The open-source Fedora 21 Linux distribution, launched Dec. 9, provides the first new edition of Red Hat’s community Linux distribution since the release of Fedora 20 in December 2013. Much has happened in the Fedora Linux community in the past year, and the Fedora 21 release marks a departure for the project from the way releases were built over the past decade. Instead of a single monolithic release that can be tailored for multiple use cases, Fedora 21 offers three distinct products intended for specific deployments. A Fedora Workstation release, intended for use as a desktop, includes a new set of tools to help developers use Fedora to build applications.

        • Fedora 21 greatest hits: non-Server non-live installs, fedup product behaviour

          So here’s a couple of things I’ve seen popping up multiple times with the Fedora 21 release. I thought I’d note them down here for my readers, Planet Fedora, and also as a handy link target for answering them in future.

        • Fedora 21 has Been Released!

          Here is the good news for you. The most anticipated Fedora 21 final is now made available for download.

        • Congratulations to the Fedora community on F21.

          This release has been a long time coming. It has been about a year since F20 release, and the pause we took as a community to embark upon the first steps of Fedora.next. I know many people have been anxious for the pause to be over. Finally the day has come and gone, and the release seems to be hitting on all cylinders!

        • Want to give BPG / libbpg a try? Here’s a repo for you.

          By now, most people will have heard about libbpg. Or maybe rather about the new BPG (better portable graphics) image format that was created by Fabrice Bellard, creator of qemu and ffmpeg, to possibly hopefully replace JPEG (and maybe even PNG) image formats one day.

        • Fedora 21 is here — Linux fans get an early Christmas gift
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Core to bring Snappy and transactional updates to the Cloud

            Mark Shuttleworth has announced a beta release of Ubuntu Core, a version of Ubuntu server for the Cloud that does not use debs or apt-get for system and software management.

          • Ubuntu Core Targets Container Deployment
          • Ubuntu Wants To Run Containers, Too

            Snappy, a lean Linux Ubuntu optimized for container operation, promises stronger security for Linux containers.

          • Ubuntu Team Launches Snappy Ubuntu Core for Container, Cloud Deployments

            The team at Canonical is even going so far as to call Snappy the “biggest revolution in Ubuntu since we launched our mobile initiative.” You can try the snappy Ubuntu Core alpha today, first on the Microsoft Azure cloud. Linux users can also try the snappy Ubuntu Core locally with KVM.

          • Can your computer run Ubuntu Core?

            Ubuntu Core beta, a version of Ubuntu for Cloud deployment that comes with snappy a system and application management utility with support for transaction updates, was released just a few hours ago.

            Though it was made available for testing on Microsoft’s Azure Cloud platform, Mark Shuttleworth said in a blog post that you can download a KVM image of Ubuntu Core that “you can run on any Linux machine.”

          • This Modular Smartphone Wants to Offer Ubuntu, SailfishOS

            Google’s Project Ara may soon have some competition in the modular smartphone stakes, with a Finnish startup — co-founded by a former Nokia Android X employee — pitching in.

          • Future Modular Phone Might Be Powered by Ubuntu Touch

            Everyone is talking about Ubuntu Touch on Meizu phones and that will happen in the next few months, but other less conventional hardware makers might be interested in the Ubuntu experience. At least, this is what the newly formed company Vsenn says it wants.

          • Ubuntu says it will make cloud server updates as simple as phone updates

            Canonical yesterday unveiled a new version of Ubuntu that’s designed for the cloud, saying it ditches the traditional apt-get system in favor of “transactional updates” that mimic the simplicity of phone updates.

            Ubuntu Core, the new version, “is a minimal server image with the same libraries as today’s Ubuntu, but applications are provided through a simpler mechanism,” Canonical said. Applications are more secure because they’re isolated from each other within containers, the company explained. Ubuntu Core is in beta on Microsoft Azure and can be run locally on the KVM hypervisor. It’s optimized to run in conjunction with Docker, software that automates the deployment of applications within containers.

          • Canonical Announces Snappy Ubuntu Core, A Transactionally Updated Flavor For The Cloud
          • Ubuntu 15.04 Gets Linux Kernel 3.18

            Ubuntu 15.04 (Vidid Vervet) is now under development and this is a time when new features and components are added to the distribution. The same is true for the Linux kernel, which has been updated to version 3.18.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 To Soon Land The Linux 3.18 Kernel

            Now that the Linux 3.18 kernel has been officially released, the Ubuntu kernel team will soon be landing the update inside the Ubuntu 15.04 archive.

          • Ubuntu Developer Tools Center Gets Renamed To Ubuntu Make

            Ubuntu Developer Tools Center / Ubuntu Make is a way to easily setup common developer tools on an Ubuntu Linux desktop installation. Right now this utility is just designed about easing Android application development but Ubuntu developers have plans for allowing Ubuntu Make to provide the tooling for other languages and environments.

          • Snappy Ubuntu Core Announced
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Top 10 Semi-Autonomous Robots That Run Linux
    • Top 10 Semi-Autonomous Robots That Run Linux (With Slideshow)

      many Linux-based robots for under $1,000, except for a handful of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), but we’re definitely heading in that direction. Like last year’s robot slide show, this year’s top 10 list is not a definitive compendium or a shopping guide. However, it may help show how Linux is enabling new capabilities in terrestrial robots, as well UAVs and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), which are essentially robots that fly or swim. (Click on Gallery to see the robot slide show.)

    • Intel extends its Internet-of-Things ecosystem

      Intel introduced a new IoT “end-to-end reference model” that includes a Linux-ready edge management platform, security, services, and ecosystem partners.

      The new reference platform, called the “Intel IoT Platform,” helps fill in the gaps in Intel’s growing ecosystem of Internet of Things gateways, cloud-based services, and endpoint devices like the Linux-based Intel Galileo SBC and Intel Edison module.

    • ODROID-C1 is a $35 quad-core, single-board Android/Linux PC

      When the Raspberry Pi team launched a tiny, low power computer priced at just $35, it was pretty remarkable. But that was 2 years ago, and while the Raspberry Pi has seen a few updates in that time, it’s still powered by the same single-core 700 MHz Broadcomm BCM2835 ARM11 processor.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • GENIVI Lifecycle Subsystem – Webinar Session 2 @ 9AM PST

          The Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) is a collaborative open source project developing a common Linux-based software stack for the connected car. GENIVI Alliance is a non-profit industry alliance committed to driving the broad adoption of an In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) open-source development platform. If you are interested in these two organisations work then there is a webinar on the GENIVI Lifecycle Subsystem, taking place at 9am PST.

        • MinnowBoard MAX Unboxing and Booting of Tizen:Common

          MinnowBoard MAX is an excellent open source embedded hardware platform based on Intel Atom E38xx 64-Bit Bay Trail System on Chips (SoC), which is quite versatile to our Tizen developer community. Our friend Leon Anavi got a MinnowBoard MAX board during the recent Tizen Developer Summit in Shanghai earlier this year and the first thing he did was port Tizen over to it !!!!

        • Tizen OS For Smart Life, Carsten Heitzler, Samsung #Slush2014

          Carsten Heitzler, who is the Principal Engineer at Samsung was onstage at Slush 2014 presenting Tizen OS for Smart Life. Slush is one of the biggest startup events of the year with over 13,000 attendees. Carsten discusses what is an Operating System and how Tizen is similar to other Linux distributions that are typically designed for server or the desktop environment, but in the case of Tizen it is much much more, with having the flexibility of being able to be used in things like Smart watches, Smart Cameras, TVs, Mobile Phones, Cars, IoT and anything that you can or want to fit an Operating System into, we have Tizen.

        • No release for the Tizen Samsung Z1 today, but over $1.7m worth of SM-Z130H parts imported to India

          All eyes have been looking towards the east for Samsung to launch the first Tizen based Smartphone, the Samsung Z1 (SM-Z130H), but the Smartphone failed to materialise. We are disappointed and saddened that their is an Information vacuum that will now be filled with speculation. Insiders close to the situation still feel there should be a release soon, but can not stipulate when that exactly could be.

        • Application Big Neon Clock for Samsung Gear 2 and Gear Neo
      • Android

        • A first look at Google’s Android Studio 1.0: Climbing out of the Eclipse kitchen sink

          Google has released version 1.0 of Android Studio, now the official IDE for Android.

          The development tool has been in preview since its announcement at the Google I/O conference in May 2013, and in beta since June this year. There are a variety of Android development tools available, but until now the official bundle has been based on the open source Eclipse project.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source for sensitive email

    We often discuss the many benefits of open source software. The single most important factor, the one that all benefits emerge from, is open. This is actually at the heart of what the software is, a community-driven software package with full transparency into the code base. Governments care about open source because it provides three powerful benefits: monetary savings, improved quality, and better security and privacy. This last benefit is often less-than-obvious, but equally important.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla and Telenor Announce WebRTC Competency Center to Advance WebRTC and Help Standardization

        Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) is changing the way people communicate over the Web by enabling developers to more easily integrate real-time communications on websites, mobile Web apps or video conferencing systems. WebRTC makes complex real-time communications technology available to everyone, driving a wave of new communications services that significantly improves user choice.

      • Mozilla Developer Experimenting With Firefox UI In HTML

        Paul Rouget of Mozilla has gone public with his experimental, proof-of-concept work to rebuild the Firefox user-interface within HTML.

        Rouget is hoping to one day replace the Firefox UI currently written in XUL with an HTML implementation. However, first the HTML needs to be made faster and enriched for constructing the entire Firefox UI. This would also allow for the Firefox UI to be eventually rendered by their next-generation Servo Engine rather than Gecko.

      • Firefox 35 Beta Arrives with Conference Call Features for Hello

        Mozilla has just released the Beta branch of the upcoming Firefox 35.x and it looks that they don’t plan anything out of the ordinary for it, although there are some improvements and various other changes ready.

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD Laptop

      I have been meaning to give OpenBSD a try for a while now. What has been attracting me to this operating system was: the big emphasis on security while still being functional, the urge to try another unix-like operating system that is not Linux, and of course Puffy. Here I will be going through the steps I took towards learning about OpenBSD and getting it running on my laptop. I hope that you can take bits and pieces out of this post to help you with your learning experience when you decide it is your time to venture off into the BSD world.

  • Project Releases

    • QEMU 2.2 Released With Its Many Changes

      Today is certainly a very exciting day for nearly all Linux users as covered in the Phoronix articles today. The latest good news is for server and virtualization users with the release of the slightly delayed QEMU 2.2.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Europe Softens on GM Crops

      A new agreement in the European Union allows genetically engineered crops to be approved without member-state votes, likely allowing several GMO foods to enter the market.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Magical thinking on terrorism

      But who’s doing the sloppy thinking here? Where is the evidence that more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan has brought us any closer to political solutions that can be sustained beyond the departure of U.S. forces? After spending over $1 trillion and deploying over 100,000 troops, are we any safer now?

  • Finance

  • Censorship

    • Web founder: Europe’s ‘right to be forgotten’ rule is dangerous

      Tim Berners-Lee thinks scrubbing false information off the Web is fine, but the truth should be preserved for reasons of free speech and history. Also: the robots are already here.

    • Russia’s Creeping Descent Into Internet Censorship

      When staffers at GitHub first saw the email from a Russian agency claiming dominion over the internet last month, they didn’t take it seriously. GitHub operates an enormously popular site where computer programmers share and collaborate on code, and to the Silicon Valley startup, an email requesting the removal of a list of suicide techniques from the site just didn’t seem believable.

  • Privacy

    • Let’s Encrypt – and Fix HTTPS While We’re At It

      A few weeks ago I wrote about the need for encryption – and the growing attacks against it by surveillance agencies worried about its efficacity. But how exactly can we implement that?

      One way is to adopt it at a personal level. That means using things likes PGP with Thunderbird, say. There are also a range of new email services that are aiming to offer easy-to-use encrypted email – something that cannot, alas, be claimed for the PGP+Thunderbird combo.

    • GCHQ Follows NSA Into Paranoia — Just As Julian Assange Predicted

      One of the knock-on effects of Snowden’s leaks is that the NSA is terrified there might be more whistleblowers, and has taken extreme action in an attempt to reduce the risk of that happening by stripping 100,000 people of their security clearances.

    • GCHQ sponsors ways to catch disgruntled ‘insiders about to go rogue’

      GCHQ is sponsoring ways of identifying disgruntled employees and those who might go on to be a security threat through their use of language in things like office emails.

      The Signals Intelligence organisation based on the outskirts of Cheltenham is financing a PhD research post, to the tune of £22,000 a year, at Lancaster University.

    • Facebook’s ‘emotional experiment’ is most shared academic research

      A paper revealing Facebook’s secret experiments on users received more online attention than any other scientific paper published this year, a new study finds.

    • Facebook is making employees read Chinese propaganda to impress Beijing

      To say Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is on a China charm offensive would be a bit of an understatement. After speaking decent Mandarin during a thirty-minute Q&A in October and opening an office in Beijing (despite being blocked in China) in May, Zuckerberg is not only reading president Xi Jinping’s recently-released book, “The Governance of China,” he is reportedly buying it for Facebook employees.

    • Ho ho no! While you shop this season, beacons will spam you

      Marketers have found a new channel to abuse, but it doesn’t have to be this way

    • NSA Hacking of Cell Phone Networks

      For example, the US company Verint sells cell phone tracking systems to both corporations and governments worldwide. The company’s website says that it’s “a global leader in Actionable Intelligence solutions for customer engagement optimization, security intelligence, and fraud, risk and compliance,” with clients in “more than 10,000 organizations in over 180 countries.” The UK company Cobham sells a system that allows someone to send a “blind” call to a phone — one that doesn’t ring, and isn’t detectable. The blind call forces the phone to transmit on a certain frequency, allowing the sender to track that phone to within one meter. The company boasts government customers in Algeria, Brunei, Ghana, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United States. Defentek, a company mysteriously registered in Panama, sells a system that can “locate and track any phone number in the world…undetected and unknown by the network, carrier, or the target.” It’s not an idle boast; telecommunications researcher Tobias Engel demonstrated the same capability at a hacker conference in 2008. Criminals can purchase illicit products to let them do the same today.

    • No One Has Privacy Now, Thanks to Super Cookies

      Our private information is being catalogued and used by government and private industry, both with and without our knowledge. There was no consequence, fine or penalty, for example, following the revelation late in 2011 that Carrier IQ collected massive amounts of data from millions of cell users. Why? Probably because cell users allowed that information to be collected.

  • Civil Rights

    • Savaged By Rotting Sheep

      It is quite a feat by the Scotsman, on the day when CIA torture is the headline news of the entire world, that the Scotsman runs a story about me that leaves out the fact I was sacked as Ambassador for being the first whistleblower on CIA torture and extraordinary rendition. Particularly given that I pointed that out to them when they called me.

    • Ex-ambassador Craig Murray to be SNP candidate

      Craig Murray was withdrawn as UK ambassador to Uzbekistan after the Foreign Office lost patience with his criticism of human rights abuses.

      [...]

      He was withdrawn as the UK ambassador to Uzbekistan in 2004 after the Foreign Office became frustrated with his vociferous criticism of human rights abuses in the former Soviet country.

    • Jack Straw – The Guilty Man Lies

      …Jack Straw is lying about his personal complicity in torture.

    • Equal Time for Torturers?

      But then NBC aired a long interview–nearly as long as the report on the Senate’s findings–with former CIA (and NSA) director Michael Hayden, who even disputes that the tactics in the report were torture. Anchor Brian Williams told viewers that Hayden was “accused in today’s report of providing misleading information in the past.”

      That’s a mild characterization; in fact, as the Washington Post (12/9/14) showed, Hayden’s 2007 Senate testimony about CIA torture was revealed to be full of distortions and evasions–from the number of prisoners held by the CIA to his claims that “punches and kicks…have never been employed” and that the “most serious injury” was bruising.

    • The man who did the most to fight CIA torture is still in prison

      The Senate Intelligence Committee released its report on CIA torture today, and the news is as bad as it could be. Of the 119 prisoners detained by the CIA, more than one in five were wrongfully imprisoned, while CIA interrogators ran through a host of barbaric tactics including Russian roulette, shoving hummus up a detainee’s rectum, and simply leaving targets to freeze to death in an unheated cell. And while all of it was happening, many officials within the agency harbored real doubts about whether the program was working at all.

    • How the CIA tortured its detainees

      A detainee at Guantanamo Bay in 2009. A detainee at Guantanamo Bay in 2009. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

      The CIA, and the Senate intelligence committee, would rather avoid the word “torture,” preferring euphemisms like “enhanced interrogation techniques” and “rendition, detention and interrogation program”. Many of the techniques employed by the CIA after capturing high-value targets have been documented in CIA memos released by the Obama administration, and in numerous leaks, including a report written by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

    • CIA Program Tortured Dozens To Produce Nearly Nothing In The Way Of Useful Intelligence

      Perhaps the most disheartening aspect of the Torture Report [pdf link] is the fact that the CIA clearly knew the methods weren’t producing usable intelligence but continued to use them anyway, all the while hiding the extent of its abuses from the rest of the goverment.

    • 5 Telling Dick Cheney Appearances in the CIA Torture Report

      It may come as little surprise that former Vice President Dick Cheney’s name crops up 41 times in the Senate report on the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation.”

    • Broken Windows And Broken Lives

      Apparently we’ve decided that we won’t tolerate broken windows any more. But we haven’t found the fortitude to do something about broken people. To put it plainly: just as neighborhood thugs could once break windows with impunity, police officers can generally kill with impunity. They can shoot unarmed men and lie about it. They can roll up and execute a child with a toy as casually as one might in Grand Theft Auto. They can bumble around opening doors with their gun hand and kill bystanders, like a character in a dark farce, with little fear of serious consequences. They can choke you to death for getting a little mouthy about selling loose cigarettes. They can shoot you because they aren’t clear on who the bad guy is, and they can shoot you because they’re terrible shots, and they can shoot you because they saw something that might be a weapon in your hand — something that can be, frankly, any fucking thing at all, including nothing.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • The Broadband Industry Pretends To Be Worried About Your Soaring Bill In Attempt To Undermine Net Neutrality

      On the heels of Obama’s surprise support of Title II-based net neutrality rules last month, we noted that the broadband industry’s anti-Title II talking points (primarily that it will kill network investment and sector innovation) not only were just plain wrong, they were getting more than a little stale. That’s a problem for the industry given the increasingly bi-partisan support of real net neutrality rules and the groundswell of SOPA-esque activism in support of Title II. As such, the industry’s vast think tank apparatus quickly got to work on new talking points to combat net neutrality rules that actually might do something.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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