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12.27.14

Links 28/12/2014: Red Hat CEO Talks, Ruby 2.2.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 7:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Mac OS X Yosemite, From The Perspective Of A Linux User

    It’s been a while since Mac OS X 10.10 “Yosemite” has been released into the wild, so we have a pretty good idea of how it performs. Mac OS X is also sometimes used as the poster child for a clean and elegant interface (most of the time, anyways). As a Linux writer, it’s my duty to make comparisons not only amongst Linux distros, but also against the competition.

  • How About 2014?

    As for */Linux taking over the world, I think it’s inevitable. Android/Linux seems to be working on it’s third billion users perhaps by the end of 2015. At some point there will be saturation but the diversity is amazing. I saw a young lady with a Christmas gift of a CyanogenMod Android/Linux smartphone. CyanogenMod is a customization of Android/Linux which gives users more features and some independence from Google. She’s leaving a feature-phone behind as soon as she can switch “sim” cards. Within hours she’s learned to use a bunch of features including speech-to-text (It was nearly perfect)… Strangely, at about the same time her regular notebook PC (GNU/Linux) melted down (hard drive suspected). It will be interesting to see whether she even needs to replace it. This smartphone is just so powerful. Maybe I will get one and leave Beast to serving/storing stuff.

  • OMG! GNU/Linux @ Walmart.com, sort of…

    Remember the netbooks with GNU/Linux at Walmart, years ago?

  • Heartbeat of Canada

    Canadians tend to lag USAians in some trends (GNU/Linux) and sprint ahead of them in others (Medicare).

  • Desktop

    • Librem Linux Laptop Drops NVIDIA Graphics But Still Coming Up Short Of Goal

      One of the oddest things I found about the crowd-funded Librem 15 laptop when writing about it last month was that it wanted to be open-source down to the component firmware/microcode yet they opted to ship with a NVIDIA GPU. In an updated earlier this month, at least they came to their senses and dropped the discrete NVIDIA GPU. While I have no problems recommending NVIDIA graphics for Linux gamers and those wanting the best performance, that’s only when using the proprietary drivers, and certainly wouldn’t recommend it for a fully open-source system — NVIDIA on the desktop side doesn’t do much for the open-source drivers, let alone down to the firmware/microcode level. Instead the Librem folks have opted to upgrade the design to using an Intel Core i7 4770HQ processor that features more powerful Intel Iris Pro 5200 Graphics, which isn’t as powerful as a discrete NVIDIA GPU but at least is more open-source friendly.

    • How to set up your new Chromebook the right way

      Setting up a new Chromebook is much easier than setting up a PC. Chromebooks don’t require major updates or antivirus software. You start simply by signing in with your Google Account (or creating that account, if you don’t already have one).

      All that said, Chromebooks have some unique quirks—such as limited offline capabilities, and a wonky method for connecting a printer. Here’s everything you need to know to set up your new Chromebook up the right way—starting with the tools that let you replace the Windows software that just won’t work on a Googley laptop.

  • Kernel Space

    • Features Of The Linux 3.19 Kernel: Graphics & Disks Rule

      The merge window is closed and 3.19-rc1 was released on Saturday, marking the end of new mainline Linux kernel features for 2014. Here’s a rundown of the exciting new features of the Linux 3.19 kernel for what will become the first major kernel release of 2015.

    • OpenVZ: Past and Future

      Since Russia has 10 days of holidays in January, I really don’t expect anything to be released until late January or more likely in February. One major change in the upcoming RHEL7-based Virtuozzo Core release is the move from the internal chkpoint code to CRIU. Although there are a lot more details and specifics to come, overall I see this as a very possitive move.

    • Live Patching Support Planned For Linux 3.20/4.0 Kernel

      This year there’s been kGraft and Kpatch in development as new live kernel patching solutions to reduce downtime when applying maintenance/security updates to the kernel by avoiding system reboots, similar in nature to Ksplice. These solutions were devised independently by Red Hat and SUSE while more recently a unified infrastructure combining both kGraft and Kpatch was proposed. It looks like for Linux 3.20 is when that code will be merged.

    • Heterogeneous Memory Management Is Coming Along For The Linux Kernel

      Jerome Glisse remains hard at work on readying his Heterogeneous Memory Management (HMM) patch-set for eventual integration into the mainline Linux kernel. This HMM memory management will benefit HSA/OpenCL workloads on Linux.

    • Biggest Linux Kernel Features & Work Of 2014

      Richard Hughes is looking to develop an open-source USB ambient light sensor as an OpenHardware initiative.

    • That Peculiar Linux 3.18 Kernel Bug Might Be Closed Soon

      For the past month there’s been kernel developers investigating “a big unknown worry in a regression” that have left many key kernel developers — including Linus Torvalds — puzzled. It looks like that investigation is finally being close to being resolved.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • 2014 Year-End NVIDIA Linux Benchmark Comparison

        While on the AMD side there were just three official driver releases in 2014 (Catalyst 14.4, 14.9, and 14.12), on the NVIDIA side there were many more driver updates… NVIDIA continues to do a splendid job of maintaining multiple driver branches for their frequent and stable drivers, along with continuing to maintain multiple legacy driver branches for their older hardware that is still maintained for modern Linux kernel and X.Org Server releases along with important bug-fixes.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • My KWin short-cuts experiment

        Inspired by Aurélien Gâteau’s blogpost and the thread on KDE Forums, I decided to change my global KWin short-cuts as well to see how it fares.

      • QuickPlot: A collection of native QtQuick plotting items

        For a project at university I recently needed a plotting widget to display some data. Naturally, Qwt came to my mind. I’ve already been using it in a number of other projects and it works great.

        The one drawback, however: The project was intended to be run on the Raspberry Pi. Now the X-Server on the R-Pi doesn’t have any 3D acceleration yet, so the performance of Qwt was subpar.

      • 11 years developing Krita

        Back in 2003 Krita had never been released and the application was only able to do some very crude painting. I think the main reason that I started contributing to Krita back then was that I was much more comfortable with the single window UI and the fact that it used Qt/KDE and C++. In the early days I would never have imagined that I would be still with the project after 10+ years and how big the project is now. Even that the project exists today is a miracle and result of many developers putting in effort without ever knowing how it would develop. For the first few years we had almost no users and the users that we had were die-hard KDE users. At the time that wasn’t a bad thing as it allowed us to do some radical changes and experiments. Many features that were developed during this time still provide the base for the current Krita.

      • The Christmas break project – autocompletion of KDE projects for kdesrc-build
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Libra Is Great Light Gtk Theme for Ubuntu/Linux Mint

        Libra is one of the best theme derived from flattastic theme suite. This theme is light with combination of blue color and it has menu colored buttons (minimize, maximize, close). It features a modern and clean look, with fully integrated and tested support for many of the popular desktops Including: Unity, Gnome Shell, Cinnamon, Mate, Gnome Classic & Fallback. It has been designed to be compatible with most GTK2/3 desktops out of the box. Rave-X-Colors and Ursa icons used in following screenshots. You can use Unity Tweak Tool, Gnome-tweak-tool or Ubuntu-Tweak to change themes.

      • An Open-Source Hardware Ambient Light Sensor Is Brought Up

        GNOME developer Richard Hughes who is responsible for a lot of work on open-source software as well as being the engineer behind the open-source ColorHug color calibrating device is now looking at the possibility of making a USB ambient light sensor that’s open-source. A few days ago I wrote about Richard’s brainstorming over making a SD card based random number generator to provide fresh entropy to the system, but he’s received a lot of feedback with similar devices that have already been developed and are too Linux/open-source friendly.

  • Distributions

    • Webconverger 27 Is a Linux Kiosk OS with No End of Life

      Webconverger is a Linux distribution used for deployment in places like offices or Internet cafes, where only web applications are used. A new update has been released and the version number has advanced to 27.

    • Your Old Computer Can Live Again with Emmabuntüs 2

      Emmabuntüs 2 1.09, a distribution created for reconditioning old computers and relying on the robustness of Xubuntu 12.04.5 LTS, has been released and is now ready for download.

      The Emmabuntüs developers only use LTS editions of Xubuntu, and that means they actually have two distros out right now that are maintained and improved. We had Emmabuntüs 3 1.0 released a few weeks ago, but that one was using Xubuntu 14.04 LTS as the base. Now, the old branch based on Xubuntu 12.04, Emmabuntüs 2, has been improved as well and the devs have made quite a few changes.

    • Happy New Year 2015!!

      We would like to wish to all the Chakra community a happy and creative 2015!

    • New Releases

      • SparkyLinux 3.6 e19, JWM and Openbox Editions Now Ready for Download

        SparkyLinux 3.6, a lightweight, fast, and simple Linux distribution designed for both old and new computers featuring customized e19, JWM and Openbox desktops has been released and is now ready for download.

      • Black Lab Education Desktop 6.0 Beta 2 Shows Major Improvements

        Black Lab Education Desktop 6.0 Beta 2, a Linux distribution built for an education environment and based on the Black Lab Professional Desktop series, is now ready for testing and download.

      • 4MParted Is a New Distro Based on the Very Small 4MLinux OS and GParted

        4MParted is a new Linux distribution based on the 4MLinux 11.0 OS and GParted. It has a simple goal, to provide users with the tools they need to make adjustments to the partition of their PC without having to actually go into the operating system.

      • OpenELEC 5.0 RC3 Is a Bleeding Edge Distro Based on Kodi and Linux Kernel 3.17

        OpenELEC, a powerful embedded operating system built specifically to run the Kodi media player hub and to run on most available hardware, has been updated once more and the developers are getting closer to the final version.

      • KaOS ISO 2014.12

        KaOS is very proud to announce the availability of the December release of a new stable ISO. This ISO marks two major milestones for this distribution. Since it’s inception almost two years ago, a need to be ready for UEFI installs has always been a priority. That was tied though to getting a modern Qt based installer that could handle such UEFI installs. With this ISO, both are implemented.

      • Q4OS 0.5.23 released

        The Christmas release improves XDG standards compliance, brings more accurate GTK3 theme and fixes screen resolution detection weighty bug. Several internal improvements and bugfixes has been closed as usual.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CEO lauds open source’s progress

        For years, Red Hat executives fielded questions about its open source software from prospective customers: “Is open source safe? Is it secure? Is it reliable?”

        But such inquiries have faded as open source software has gained momentum, CEO Jim Whitehurst wrote in a recent blog posted on the website of the Raleigh-based company. Red Hat is the leading open source software company.

        “Today, it is almost impossible to name a major player in IT that has not embraced open source,” Whitehurst wrote. “Only a few short years ago, many would have argued we would never see that day.”

      • Red Hat Tech Exchange highlights: Architect, Implement, Enable

        As open source advances, education is key for IT professionals to understand how their organizations can best take advantage of the technologies that are driving everything from cloud and mobile to big data and the Internet of Things.

      • From Red Hat’s CEO: Reflecting on a ‘great year,’ looking to ’15

        It is confirmed: 2014 has been a great year for Red Hat. [On Dec. 18], we announced third quarter results of our fiscal year 2015 and, with that, celebrated our 51st consecutive quarter of revenue growth – more than 12 years of consecutive revenue growth. Thank you to the team of Red Hat customers, partners, open source contributors, and associates around the world, for helping us propel Red Hat to new heights. While 2014 has been a fantastic year for Red Hat, it has also been a banner year for open source.

      • Fedora

        • Linux Best & Worst, Live Patchin’, and Devuan Good

          It was a fairly slow news day today in Linuxville. Nevertheless, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols explains why 2014 “was the best of years, it was the worst of years.” Gary Newell asks if the Debian-fork Devuan is a good idea and Serdar Yegulalp looks at the competing live kernel patchers and Fedora 21 is reviewed again, twice.

        • ROSA Fresh R5, Year in Ubuntu, and Fedora to the Rescue

          Still a bit slow on the news front but yesterday, like a Christmas present, ROSA Fresh R5 was released. Simon Phipps offers his Open Source confessions and Phoronix.com reviews the year in Ubuntu. Also, William Moreno Reyes offers a few thoughts on his recent Fedora 21 Workstation install.

        • Punching Out the Week on Boxing Day

          Also nearing release is Korora 21, the Fedora remix from down under, which should be ready sometime early in the new year, according to lead developer Chris Smart… As for the speakers for the Southern California Linux Expo SCALE 13x, the SCALE Team has chosen most of the speakers and they are setting the schedule for the four-day event in February. Keynoters have yet to be named, and I have it on the highest authority that SCALE 13x could be unique regarding the keynotes and many of the speakers this year.

        • Fedora 21 review – Uh, not again

          Why did Fedora 21 have to be so buggy? Why? I wanted it to succeed, I wanted it to be cool and fun, just like the last release. There was so much potential, and then, something went wrong. Quite a few somethings, apparently. Installer partition selections, bootloader, login, codecs, printing, desktop effects. Damn. Fedora, where art thou?

          Anyhow, Fedora 21 KDE is just not as good as it should be. Not as good as its predecessor, not as good as its rival, and most importantly, not as good as Fedora. There must be a baseline to quality, and it must never be crossed, downwards. This time, I did not get what I wanted, and I’m sad, because I know that Fedora can do it. We’ve all seen it happen. So more time is needed in the special oven for naughty distros. Perhaps I rushed testing just days after the official release, but it is how it is. 6/10. Done.

        • Fedora 21 GNOME Review: If you can ignore the initial hiccups, fantastic operating system!

          I am definitely going to recommend Fedora 21 to users fed up with Unity/Ubuntu and contemplating a change. Novice users may wait for Korora release. The 6 month release cycle of Fedora will ensure that you always have the latest packages. Many reviewers suggest to avoid Fedora for production purposes. Possibly in 2015, I’ll try to use Fedora for a year or so for all production purposes to understand if it is true or not.

        • F2FS Might Get Enabled In Fedora

          On Sunday I wrote about how I found it surprising that Fedora didn’t enable F2FS support within its Linux kernel while it packaged the user-space F2FS tools and contains plenty of other experimental/early-adoption features. The discussion resulting from this article about F2FS for Fedora has been both good and bad.

        • Fedora Workstation [not English]
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • The magic behind Ubuntu

            Ubuntu, the latest LTS version 14.04 operating system (OS), is definitely worth trying. My statement is backed by the fact that Ubuntu won the operating system of the year award from W3tech not only once but three times consecutively, followed by admiration from major players in the market and an inclusion of major organisations such as Lenovo, Dell, HP, IBM, and Asus etcetera.

          • Notifications Without User Interaction on Ubuntu Are Annoying

            The Unity desktop environment has a simple and rather ineffective system notification mechanism and it looks like that’s not going to change, not even with the arrival of Unity 8.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Macbuntu strikes again, and we likes it!

              Remember Macbuntu? It’s a MAC OS X transformation pack for Ubuntu, which lets you tweak your Ubuntu desktop into looking like an Apple’s offering. I have tried it about four years ago, on Lucid, but haven’t played with the software since Unity replaced Gnome 2 as the desktop environment. I decided it was time for another attempt.

              If you read online, you will find multiple references to Macbuntu, so it can be a little confusing. There’s the SourceForge hosted project, and there’s the initiative by Noobslab, who have packaged together a handful of PPA and scripts to help you refashion your Unity desktop in a modular and easily reversible way. We checked.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Confessions of an open source purist

    I have also repeatedly evaluated GNU/Linux as a platform for my daily writing and administration. Each time, I’ve found it fairly easy to install (moreso every time I try) and easy to add applications. I’ve never had problems with malware, but at some point in the life of the system, a problem arises that at best causes an inconvenience (like the sleep mode failing) and at worst leaves the system impossible to boot.

  • Open Source’s 2014: MS ‘cancer’ embrace, NASDAQ listings, and a quiet dog

    Ho hum. Another year, another slew of open source announcements that prove the once-maligned development methodology is now so mainstream as to be tedious. Running most of the world’s most powerful supercomputers? Been there, done that. Giving retailers the ability to deliver highly customized paper coupons to consumers based on warehouse inventory nearby? So 2013!

    And yet in 2014 we had a few events in open source that managed to surprise us, and suggest an even brighter future.

  • Marvell Releases New Open-Source 802.11ac WiFi Driver

    On Christmas Eve, Marvell announced the release of a new open-source driver for one of its 802.11ac chips in cooperation with Linksys.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • What is your Mozilla Resolution?

        2014 was both a phenomenal year for Mozilla while a wild ride for us as we waded through what seemed like hit after hit from the tech press but we fared well.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • CIOs debate cloud, open source transformation

      Cloud computing is no longer an issue of “if” for enterprises anymore, clearly all businesses will adopt or are adopting cloud in some shape or form as the basis for transforming their IT infrastructures into more agile and flexible organizations.

      Whether from government, telecoms, retail or even the highly regulated financial sectors, companies across the board are jumping on the cloud bandwagon in efforts to create a new model for IT.

    • HP Sees NFV as a ‘Huge Opportunity’

      Hewlett-Packard is bullish on the future of the cloud and on network functions virtualization (NFV). Helping to lead HP’s NFV and cloud efforts is Senior Vice President Saar Gillai, who is also the general manager for NFV as well as the chief operating officer for HP Cloud.

  • Databases

  • Healthcare

    • Healthcare one of the most impacted industries by open source

      Healthcare is one of the most urgent socioeconomic issues of our time. This year, Opensource.com saw a variety of news and feature stories about applying the open source way and open source software (including tools) to alleviating the many problems faced by the healthcare industry. Here are this year’s best of the best from Opensource.com in open health.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • Kodi 14.0 Helix Unwinds

      Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone! We are proud to announce the release of Kodi 14.0, which comes with a new name, a new logo, and a wide variety of new features, but underneath the new coat of paint remains the same software we all love.

      A detailed changelog for Kodi 14 can be found under milestones on our code repository, should you be interested. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the features that come with Kodi 14.0.

    • Kodi 14.0 Released For The Holidays – Formerly Known As XBMC
    • Kodi 14.0 Is Out and Replaces the Old XBMC

      Kodi 14.0, the successor of the famous media hub XBMC, has been released. The developers have been working on this new version for some time and it’s finally here.\

    • Announcing Subsurface 4.3

      The Subsurface development team proudly announces release 4.3 of Subsurface, an open source divelog and dive planning program for Windows, Mac and Linux.

    • BusyBox 1.23.0 Unstable Release Arrives

      BusyBox 1.23.0 is the new release and it brings a wide variety of changes across the table. There’s far too many changes to note but among the BusyBox 1.23.0 updates are a lot of fixes for ash, find improvements, ntpd improvements, etc.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Campaign promotes open source in Finland’s towns

      Municipalities using open source are reaching out to other towns and cities, motivating them to switch to this type of software. The past four months, members of Finland’s Centre for Open Source Solutions (COSS) have been visiting towns around the country, talking about their use of free and open source.

      The so-called ‘Open Knowledge Roadshow 2014’ involves six municipalities, Turku, Mikkeli, Pori, Oulu, Tampere and Rovaniemi. Apart from reaching out to their colleagues, the towns of Mikkeli, Oulu and Rovaniemi also organised a workshop, reports COSS on its website.

    • Open source now part of Romania’s Digital Agenda

      All of Romania’s public administrations are to use open source and open standards software. The government is making this a (minute) part of the 2014-2020 Digital Agenda, made public in November. The approach will increase interoperability of ICT systems.

    • Cenatic to focus on open source reuse and certification

      sIn 2015, Cenatic, the open source software resource centre of the Spanish government, will campaign to get enterprises to implement, share and re-use open source solutions. The centre wants to help companies select the right free software solutions. It will also promote sharing and re-use, and reinforce the network of free software service providers.

  • Licensing

    • Varying Vagrant Vagrants Adopts Open Source MIT License

      One of the most important updates in VVV 1.2 is the addition of a license. The project has adopted the open source MIT license after a six-month long discussion with participation from more than 50 contributors on the project.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Security in open source, a Google surprise, and more
    • Eco-friendly open-source dental toolkit

      Goodwell toothbrushes, equipped with a medical grade aluminum handle have bristles made from Binchotan which is a biodegradable fiber that can repel negative ions, remove plaque and bad breath.

    • Enter the abyss with OpenROV, the $899 open source kit

      The OpenROV submersible is a low cost and open source kit designed for exploration and education. Originally launched on Kickstarter in 2012 it has now grown into a dedicated global community launching missions everywhere from Hawaii to the UK. The project raised $111,662 from 484 backers and has now reached version 2.7. Today the kit costs $899 with a fully assembled version coming in at $1,450 which you can purchase from the online store. Units weigh in at 2.6kg and normal battery life is expected to last between 2-3 hours depending on use.

    • Open Data

      • Open data portals should be API [First]

        Not long ago, I was speaking at the National Association of Government Web Professionals. At the same conference, Mark Headd was speaking. We were speaking on different open data topics. My discussion was about the difference between open government and open data and his talk was about API [First].

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Security

    • Git Vulnerability Exposed; Patch Now or Be Hacked Later

      A vulnerability in the widely used Git open-source development tool has been revealed, but there is a patch.

    • Old FOSS Friend & Foe Represents Sony in Hack

      Boies, along with three attorneys representing the States, brought Microsoft to it’s knees — or so it seemed at the time.

      On November 5, 1999, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson found that Windows dominance on the PC made the company a monopoly and that the company had taken illegal actions against Apple, Java, Netscape, Lotus Notes, RealNetworks, Linux, and others in order to maintain that monopoly. He ordered Microsoft broken in two, with one company producing Windows and another handling all other Microsoft software.

      As we all know, Judge Jackson’s solution was never implemented.

      Although an appeals court upheld the verdict against Redmond, the breakup of the company was overturned and sent back to the lower court for a review by a new judge. Two years later, in September, 2001, under the Bush Administration, the DOJ announced that it was no longer seeking the breakup of Microsoft, and in November reached a settlement which California, Connecticut, Iowa, Florida, Kansas, Minnesota, Utah, Virginia and Massachusetts opposed.

      The settlement basically required Microsoft to share its APIs and appoint a three person panel that would have complete access to Microsoft’s systems, records, and source code for five years. The settlement didn’t require Microsoft to change any code or stop the company from tying additional software with Windows. Additionally, the DOJ did not require Microsoft to change any of its code.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Security advisories for Christmas day
    • Rackspace Joins Ranks of the Holiday Hacked

      Are hackers and malware purveyors targeting cloud and network service providers over the holidays? With the news of the Sony hack fresh in everyone’s minds, unusual hacking reports are flowing in.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Seeing Behind the Corporate Spin

      There have been some rumblings from officials in Russia in recent days. I caught something like “the US needs to take another look at the real story behind the shooting down of Malaysian passenger jet over Ukraine last July.” The US-NATO were quick to blame Russia after the plane was shot down – the same kind of campaign we now see with North Korea over the Sony ‘comedy’ that I believe is truly aimed at creating more antipathy towards that nation. Today I stumbled upon this fascinating story about an eye witness who claims that it was a Ukrainian military jet that accidentally took down the Malaysian airliner.

    • The Empire is Crumbling, That is Why it Needs War

      The world is in turmoil. Like in the early 1940’s, something tremendous is gaining shape, something irreversible.

      Almost all of us who have been analyzing the Empire fighting against the propaganda and nihilism it spreads, and its venomous tentacles extending to every corner of the globe, know that ‘appeasing’ Western imperialism is clearly impossible, as it is impractical, and even immoral.

      Just as George W. Bush (clearly borrowing from fundamentalist Christian rhetoric), liked to say: “You are either with us or against us”. Countries are now evidently put on the spot: ‘they either accept the Western neo-colonialist doctrine’, or they get destroyed, one after another, as were Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.

      No logic can help, no negotiations, no international mediation from the United Nations. The willingness to compromise is mocked. Appeals for simple human compassion do not move the rulers of the Empire even an inch.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • China’s powerful economic presence begins to fade for Australian investors

      With the federal government fore­casting a $9 billion shortfall in ­revenue over the next two years as iron ore plunges to new five-year lows, the view of China from Australia is one of a ­country struggling to maintain the growth that turned it into a ­economic superpower.

      Shadow banking, ghost cities, ­slumping property prices, a ­manufacturing slowdown and debt defaults are just some of the ­headwinds that threaten the world’s second-largest economy.

  • Censorship

    • In Black Lives Matter Protest, Corporate Rights Trump Free Speech

      Minnesotans protesting police violence and institutional racism could face “staggering” fees and criminal charges for a protest at Mall of America, with the City of Bloomington announcing plans to force organizers to pay for the mall’s lost revenue during the exercise of their free speech rights, highlighting important questions about free speech in an era of privatized public spaces.

    • Does Facebook have an “unsafe” blacklist of sites that criticize it?

      My thanks to John B for giving me a heads up about this, I found his message to be quite fascinating. And if it’s found to be true that Facebook is blacklisting sites that criticize them, then I consider it a badge of honor to be on that list. There’s no way for me to know if Facebook actually is doing that, but I have wondered why I get so much more referral traffic from Twitter and Google+ than I do from Facebook. It seemed quite odd to me and I guess now I know why.

    • Atkinson defends right to offend

      Rowan Atkinson defended the right of comedians to poke fun at other people’s religion last night as he joined the campaign against Government plans to create a new offence of incitement to religious hatred.

      The star of the BBC’s Blackadder television series lined up with leading barristers, writers and politicians to oppose the proposed law.

    • Man gets apostasy death sentence in Mauritania

      Mauritanian court issues first death sentence against Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed for writing something blasphemous against prophet.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Revealed: Police using pre-charge bail to muzzle protesters

      Police are being accused of trying to muzzle protest movements as figures obtained by the Guardian reveal the widespread use of bail to ban hundreds of innocent people from attending lawful demonstrations.

      The data shows that around 85% of those barred from protesting when bailed have not been subsequently charged with any crime. Civil liberties and protest groups accused police of dealing out their own justice and called for a change in the law.

      The figures show that a least 732 people have been banned by police forces in England and Wales since 2008 but then never charged. They come as the government confirms it is considering overhauling the police bail rules.

    • American Democracy and Torture

      It’s no secret that former Vice President Dick Cheney has never been one of my favorites. And I will admit that when I saw him rise again on the Sunday morning shows and other television outlets around this torture report a few weeks back, my first reaction was “Why are they talking to him? Shouldn’t he be on trial for violating international law?” So, of course he should have been there. We live in a democracy! And, as he sits square in the middle of this whole controversy I had to admit I was curious as to his reaction.

      There he was in all his glory, in all his arrogance, defending torture, or rather enhanced interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding and rectal feeding — which he said he believed was done for medical reasons. Really? He defended it all. I couldn’t help but think that maybe it’s time Vice President Cheney move from defending his actions on Fox News and Meet the Press, and be asked to defend it in a court of law.

      Let’s face it, turning this kind of microscope on our own actions brings with it a lot of controversy, calls that we are endangering or damaging the CIA, or opening a can of worms that is best left closed. The dilemmas of a free society are many, and this is one of them. And the dilemmas of a free society are messy. But we should never walk away from them because of that.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Boycott the Marriott and other hotels that block Wi-Fi hotspots

      The media has been abuzz with stories recently about how the Marriott hotel has blocked Wi-Fi access in a desperate attempt to get its customers to pay the hotel for Internet access. Yes, the Marriott – a billion dollar corporation – has been attempting to gouge its customers by blocking private Wi-Fi connections, and now the company wants the FCC to give them its blessing. And to make the story even weirder,

    • Bharti Airtel to charge for using VoIP services

      Bharti Airtel Ltd, India’s largest telecommunications carrier by subscribers, will soon start charging users extra money for using services such as Skype as Indian operators look to boost their data network and revenues.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay’s Fredrik Neij Now “Wanted for Hacking”

        Former Pirate Bay operator Fredrik Neij is currently jailed in Sweden after being captured in Thailand last month. However, according to leaked emails, the MPAA believes that the Swede could also face hacking related charges – and it doesn’t stop there.

      • The Open Bay helps launch 372 ‘copies’ of The Pirate Bay in a week, becomes GitHub’s most popular project

        isoHunt, the group now best known for launching The Old Pirate Bay, has shared an update a week after debuting The Open Bay. The Pirate Bay, the most popular file sharing website on the planet, still isn’t back following police raids on its data center in Sweden, but its “cause” is very much alive.

        The Open Bay, which lets anyone with “minimal knowledge of how the Internet and websites work” deploy their own version of The Pirate Bay online, is becoming an open source engine of The Pirate Bay website, the group told VentureBeat in an email. “The fate of Open Bay is now in the hands of worldwide community.”

      • Being a Pirate is OK, But Being a Cheapskate Sucks

        There can be few Internet-savvy people around who haven’t, on occasion, downloaded an MP3 or two. Among those people’s parents, find a person who has never listened to a copied CD or cassette-taped LP and i’ll show you the bar where Bigfoot buys the Loch Ness Monster a beer on Friday nights.

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