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12.30.14

Links 30/12/2014: Linux 3.19 RC2 Released While Torvalds Turns 45

Posted in News Roundup at 11:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • ‘One frickin’ user interface for Linux’

    It’s almost 2015 now, and it turns out he was right. That “1FUI” is called whatever Android has, and it has made Linux the dominant player in the next big computer revolution. Linux does great in servers, embedded stuff, supercomputing, and utterly owns mobile computing (Apple people, the world is bigger than the US, UK, and Australia).

    Linux didn’t need a ‘year of desktop Linux’ after all.

  • Desktop

    • Install Linux on used laptop

      Now that Windows XP has been officially discontinued there are a huge number of Windows XP laptops for sale on eBay. Many of these run really well with a light Linux distro, such as Linux Mint XFCE.

      At my public library job, I installed Linux Mint 16 XFCE on someone’s Windows XP laptop and was amazed at how much faster the laptop ran. So, my curiosity got the best of me, and I searched eBay to find that particular laptop model: a Dell Latitude C640, manufactured in 2002. Someone was selling such a laptop on eBay for $20. The description of the laptop was that it was in perfect working condition, so I bid $20.

  • Server

    • Five Great Applications For Systems Admins

      Being a systems administrator is a difficult, often thankless job. You’re one of the people responsible for keeping the entire IT infrastructure of your business up and running. What that means is that whenever something doesn’t work the way it should, all eyes immediately turn in your direction.

      You can hardly be blamed for looking to make your life a bit easier. I’d actually recommend that you do so, truth be told. The less time you spend slogging through all the basics of administration, the more time you can devote to improving your server.

      To that end, I’ve compiled a list of a few of the best sysadmin apps on the web; tools that any Linux administrator worth their salt should consider using.

    • 5 Key Enterprise Computing Trends in 2014

      It’s often striking at the end of any given year to reflect upon how much things changed over the preceding 12 months, and 2014 is no exception. After all, open source software reached a “tipping point” this year, as Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin recently noted, achieving new prominence in software development and driving what Zemlin calls an “innovation renaissance.”

    • Cloud Computing Will Continue to Have Legs in 2015

      All you have to do get a guage on how hot open cloud computing is is check the job listings. Opportunities abound for those with OpenStack skills, for example.

      But there are strong signs that some of the big growth in cloud computing may lie ahead, and Amazon, the 800-pound gorilla in the cloud, may face much stiffer competition.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.19-rc2 Is A Tiny Release
    • Linux 3.19-rc2

      This -rc is tiny, for all the obvious reasons.

      I don’t expect that to last, but we’ll probably have another week of
      relative calm until things really start normalizing.

      Aboit 80% drivers (drm being the bulk of it by far), with a few small
      fixes around arm64, auditing and some random small oneliners
      elsewhere.

      Linus

    • OpenVZ & Parallels Cloud Server To Merge Into Open-Source Virtuozzo Core
    • Parallels to merge OpenVZ and Cloud Server
    • Happy Birthday Linus, Looking Back, and Korora Tidbits

      Softpedia.com today remembered the birthday of our founding father Linus Torvalds. In other news some Korora tidbits popped up in the feeds and Matthias Clasen is hinting that Red Hat 7.2 may feature the latest GNOME 3.14. Phoronix.com highlights their top stories for the year in Fedora and Debian and Sean Michael Kerner looks back at the top kernel news of the year.

    • Linus Torvalds Turns 45, Happy Birthday!

      Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel and the current maintainer of the most advanced versions released, has just turned 45 and we wish him “Happy Birthday.”

    • Linux in 2014: Six New Kernels, Thousands of New Features
    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org & Wayland Can Both Co-Exist & Continue Marching Forward

        While many view Wayland as the future of the Linux desktop, the X.Org Server shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon as beyond needing it for legacy X11 applications, there’s still much innovation happening within the conventional xorg-server as shown by the progress it’s made in 2014.

      • Intel Haswell HD Graphics End Of 2013 vs. 2014 Benchmarks

        Following on from yesterday’s Phoronix testing that provided an extensive look at AMD’s incredible open-source driver advancements over 2014 by benchmarking the open-source graphics stack from the end of 2013 compared to the end of this year, out now is similar treatment for Intel HD Graphics with their open-source Linux driver for Haswell hardware.

      • Mesa 10.3 & 10.4 Point Releases For The New Year

        Emil Velikov has announced new point releases in the Mesa 10.3 and Mesa 10.4 series in getting ready new open-source graphics drivers for 2015.

      • Linux Gains Support For Really High Frame Rates With The PS3 Eye Camera

        A new patch has been proposed today for the Linux kernel that would allow the PlayStation 3 Eye camera to capture at much higher frame-rates.

        The PlayStation Eye camera for the PS3 is similar to a web camera but can also be used for computer vision and gesture recognition tasks. The PlayStation Eye has been supported by the Linux kernel since the late Linux 2.6 days but with a future update (Linux 3.20 or later given that the 3.19 merge window is closed) will support higher modes.

    • Benchmarks

      • USB Flash Drive File-System Tests On Fedora

        For those wondering what Linux file-system is most performant on a USB 3.0 flash drive, here are some benchmarks using Fedora 21.

      • Intel Ivy Bridge Linux OpenGL Benchmarks Over Two Years

        Alongside the recent year-end tests of the Intel HD Graphics 4600 Haswell desktop OpenGL benchmarks were also some separate HD Graphics 4000 results from a Core i7 Ivy Bridge laptop. The ASUS Zenbook used for benchmarking had a Core i7 3517U processor with HD Graphics 4000, 4GB of RAM, and dual 128GB SSDs.

        For this testing the same Zenbook with the same settings was tested across Ubuntu 12.10, Ubuntu 13.10, and Ubuntu 14.10 with upgrades to the Linux 3.18 kernel and Mesa 10.5-devel to mark the end 2014 experience. Across the Ubuntu upgrades were new versions of the Linux kernel, Mesa, and xf86-video-intel DDX to affect the OpenGL and 2D performance along with other factors like switching of default CPU governors and 2D acceleration architectures.

      • Radeon Gallium3D Moved Closer To Performance Parity With AMD’s Catalyst In 2014
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Major Release

        Since then, we had a lot of things to be proud of: we made nice friends around the world, we strengthened local KDE communities in Brazil, we’ve been representing KDE for seven years in a row in major FLOSS Brazilian conferences. There were countless talks, short courses, hunting for new contributors, the first Akademy-BR and two LaKademies. That makes me happy but I’m, above all, a programmer. I’ve been missing the commits I haven’t done, the features I haven’t implemented and the bugs I haven’t fixed. I joined KDE already chased by that voice: “you have a Ph.D. to complete …” and it’s quite easy to let your passions dominate the priorities of your tasks

      • Processed in digiKam Call for Submissions

        Sharing is caring, right? So if you use digiKam for processing photos, why not share your photo editing techniques and tips with other users and showcase your best photos? I invite you to participate in the new Processed in digiKam feature on this very blog.

      • January Bug of the Month

        The KDE Gardening Team selected the January “Bug of the Month”. Before announcing it, let me write more about this initiative.

      • Knetwalk running on KF5 :)

        With this screen shot i think my work of porting knetwalk is complete. I would like other kde members to test knetwalk’s framework branch and report if they are experiencing any issue installing it on kf5. I will try and fix that error on my part.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Mutter Now Uses GTK+ For Drawing All Window Decorations

        Fixed this morning in Mutter Git for GNOME 3.16 development is Bug #741917 for having the GNOME3 window manager letting GTK+ draw window decorations. The bug by Florian Müllner explained, “With CSD [client side decorations] support in GTK+, we are now maintaining two very different (but supposedly matching) themes for the same elements. Just ditch our own theme format (which everyone hates anyway) and use GTK+ for server-side decorations as well. This has been lying around locally for a couple of months now and in a public branch for quite some time, so I consider this fairly well tested by now (mostly using the default theme).” Florian just wasn’t complaining about the issue but came with patches in hand.

  • Distributions

    • OpenELEC 5.0: Linux-based OS focused on Kodi 14 media center

      There are plenty of ways to turn a PC into a media center, but one popular (and powerful) option is to install Kodi, the application formerly known as XBMC. Kodi presents a full-screen, remote control-friendly user interface for navigating music, videos, photos, and other content. It also supports plug-ins that let you stream content from the internet or use your computer as a DVR to record live TV.

    • Reviews

      • Review: CentOS 7.0 GNOME

        I tried CentOS 7.0 GNOME on a live USB made with UnetBootin. Follow the jump to see what it’s like. (As will become clear soon enough, there are no pictures in this review, and for the same reason, this review will be relatively shorter. Suffice it to say for now that the distribution basically looks identical to Scientific Linux 7.0 GNOME from screenshots.)

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Linux Antique

        Let me introduce you to Linux Antique, aka Red Hat 5.2 KDE.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 to Finally Land in Present Times with GNOME 3.14

        Everyone knows that Red Hat Enterprise Linux is not exactly the trend setter when it comes to adopting the latest packages. The operating system has always operated under the assumption that old means stable, but that is not true anymore. It’s possible that RHEL 7.2 will switch to the latest GNOME 3.14 version.

      • Exclusive CEO Interview: How Red Hat Inc. Crushed Expectations in Q3, and What’s Next

        Open source software veteran Red Hat (NYSE: RHT ) reported third-quarter results recently and the company crushed analyst expectations on both the top and bottom lines. Shares jumped as much as 14% higher the day after the release, and have only climbed higher in the few days since.

      • Red Hat March 2016 Options Begin Trading

        Investors in Red Hat Inc (Symbol: RHT) saw new options become available today, for the March 2016 expiration. One of the key data points that goes into the price an option buyer is willing to pay, is the time value, so with 445 days until expiration the newly available contracts represent a potential opportunity for sellers of puts or calls to achieve a higher premium than would be available for the contracts with a closer expiration. At Stock Options Channel , our YieldBoost formula has looked up and down the RHT options chain for the new March 2016 contracts and identified the following call contract of particular interest.

      • Red Hat Receives New Coverage from Analysts at Piper Jaffray (RHT)
      • Fedora

        • 18 Things to Do After Installing Fedora 21 Workstation

          If you’re a Fedora fan, I’m sure that you know that Fedora 21 has been released a few days ago, Fedora 21 came with many new changes which you can view in our last article about it. Also you may view the installation guide for Fedora 21 that we published few days ago.

        • Korora 19 “Bruce” Reaches End Of Life

          Since we use Fedora as the base for our distribution and thus follow the Fedora Project’s life cycle, it means that Korora 19/19.1 reaches it’s End Of Life status soon just like Fedora 19. We advise our users to upgrade to K20 before January 6th 2015 or, if it is released by then, K21. After this date systems that still run K19, won’t receive any security updates anymore and are considered to be vulnerable.

        • Korora 21 development progress

          As always we are working hard on the next Korora Project release to present our users an overall polished and smooth desktop experience.

        • Fedora 21 Gaming Benchmarks: X.Org vs. XWayland To End 2014

          As some extra benchmarks over the holidays, here’s some fresh numbers when running some OpenGL gaming tests on GNOME running natively on X.Org vs. GNOME on Wayland and the games running through XWayland.

          As my most recent benchmarks were from (X)Wayland on Fedora 21 from its pre-release form in September, before ending out the year I figured it’s time to run some new reference tests with all available Fedora 21 updates. Fedora 21 was tested with the GNOME on its X.Org Server and GNOME on Wayland sessions available via the F21 GDM log-in screen. The tests in question were running through XWayland to look at the overhead for this approach of running legacy X11 games/applications on Wayland.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source and Linux in 2014
  • Best open education tools and tales in 2014

    A great Bengali polymath and noble prize winner in literature (Rabindranath Tagore) once said: “Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time”. With changing times, the systems and customs that govern our society should also change. Human beings are intrinsically curious. To quote Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher, “Curiosity is the lust of the mind”. However, there also seems to be another aspect of our human nature that sees systems and customs in a preordained manner. This aspect stifles disruptive innovation, restricts growth in a vertical direction, and fortifies the stubborn staying power of our fixations with these systems and customs.

  • FOSS’ Shining Moments of 2014

    “This year we had a very dark highlight with the Systemd situation,” said Google+ blogger Gonzalo Velasco C. “Wounds are still bleeding in some communities; forks were made; tons of antacids were consumed. Time will heal those, but for now, the bitter taste remains.” That said, “distros like Slackware, Gentoo and PCLinuxOS stayed put on their convictions not to use it, and that is very good.”

  • Improving on bug reports

    There’s nothing like the comments to justify an article. After I wrote about the average user’s difficulty with filing bugs, the responses came rapidly. Many agreed with me, or were willing to consider my comments plausible, but two with long histories of involvement with free software seemed only intermittently aware that any problem existed, and were more interested in faulting me for not suggesting more solutions.

  • The Open Bay – an open source Pirate Bay has emerged through Github

    The Pirate Bay previously made its website open for hosting by anyone with “minimal web knowledge”. After it was closed recently time and time again thanks to various lawsuits, GitHub has seen 372 copies of “The Open Bay” created, seeing The Pirate Bay hit the open source market.

  • Open Source Players Make IoT, Big Data Predictions for 2015

    Executives from Red Hat, the Linux Foundation, MapR and Splice Machine offer predictions for open source, big data, the Internet of Things, containerization and networking in 2015.

  • What will 2015 bring for the open source cloud?

    Regardless of what we see in 2015, the open source cloud will continue to grow, change, and adapt. What is your top prediction for this year?

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • MozJPEG Is Evolving Well For Better Optimized JPEGs

        While Fabrice Bellard’s work on the BPG Image Format has been getting a lot of attention in recent weeks for being an image format trying to replace JPEGs with offering higher compression ratio and other features over JPEGs, its design around the encoding of HEVC/H.265 makes its blocked by patents. For at least the interim, Mozilla is committed to making JPEGs better for the web.

      • MozJPEG 3.0

        Mozilla has done a study of image formats and concluded that WebP and JPEG XR are not a big-enough improvement over well-optimized JPEG. In the study only HEVC (H.265) was significantly better, but it’s a patent-encumbered format, so it can’t be used freely (shhhh!)

        It seems that Mozilla has a short-term and a long-term plan for image compression. They’re sponsoring development of the Daala codec, which is technically very interesting, but not production-ready yet.

  • CMS

  • Education

    • Get a college minor in open source

      In this lightning talk presentation, Remy tells us about the first academic minor in open source software at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) that has both a technical and non-technical track. The courses in this minor all use open source software in some way, shape, or form. Additionally, student engagement on campus includes social coding through hackathons and meetups.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Nana project + github

      There has been little activity on GNU Nana for the last few years so I’ve decided to leave this as a frozen archive. A slowly updating version is available on https://github.com/pjmaker/nana which deals with issues such as 64 bit CPU’s and autoconf.

    • User Liberation: Watch and share our new video

      Most people interact with free software every day, but many of those people don’t know what free software is or why they should go out of their way to use it. We want to fix that (and we think you do too), so we commissioned a short video that makes free software easy for everyone to understand:

    • The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews Aaron Wolf of Snowdrift.coop

      This is the latest installment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab’s series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their works.

      In this edition, we conducted an email-based interview with Aaron Wolf, co-founder of Snowdrift.coop, a web platform coordinating patronage specifically for freely-licensed works. Aaron Wolf is a music teacher by trade who got involved in the free software movement in 2012 building on his earlier interest in free culture and cooperative economics.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Best open source in government: policies, new tools, and case studies

      As I reflect on another year of open source in government stories, I took a look back at the articles we published on Opensource.com this year to see if there were any noticeable commonalities. I found that most articles on the government channel fell into one of three categories: government policies, new tools available, and case studies.

      This is consistent with the trend I highlighted last year (We have policies. Now what?). As Mark Bohannon is fond of saying, “Governments are wrestling with the ‘how tos’ of open source choices; not ‘whether’ to use it.” Government policies are become more refined and sophisticated in regards to open technologies, and increasingly, governments are choosing to “default to open.” However, governments still need help implementing those policies, and citizens are stepping up by creating new, open source tools and open formats to help governments get the job done.

      Rather than do a traditional Top 10 list this year, I wanted to highlight a few standouts from each of these categories from 2014 that I think are worth reading if you missed them the first time. Or might even be worth a second read if it’s been a while.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • This Md. startup is taking off thanks to the global open-source hardware movement

        It’s for an analog-to-digital converter circuit: in English, a board for “computers that can take dozens of signals from the world and figure out what to do with them,” explained Umar Farooq, the cofounder of Scarab Hardware.

      • Bridging gongkai and free/open source
      • From Gongkai to Open Source

        Compared to the firmware, the hardware reverse engineering task was fairly straightforward. The documents we could scavenge gave us a notion of the ball-out for the chip, and the naming scheme for the pins was sufficiently descriptive that I could apply common sense and experience to guess the correct method for connecting the chip. For areas that were ambiguous, we had some stripped down phones I could buzz out with a multimeter or stare at under a microscope to determine connectivity; and in the worst case I could also probe a live phone with an oscilloscope just to make sure my understanding was correct.

Leftovers

  • AirAsia plane with 159 aboard overshoots Philippine runway

    An AirAsia Zest plane carrying 159 people overshot the runway and got stuck in a muddy field Tuesday at an international airport in the central Philippines after landing from Manila in windy weather, officials said. There were no reports of injuries.

  • EU judges oppose accession of EU to ECHR

    Accession of the EU to the ECHR has been a very slow-burn process, with the Commission starting things off in 1979 (sic). The breakthrough, or so it appeared at the time, was the entry into force of Article 6 of the Lisbon Treaty of European Union, in December 2009. This (Art.6(2)) makes it a treaty obligation that the EU

  • Virgin Atlantic pilot lands 447 passengers safely in Gatwick drama

    A Virgin Atlantic plane carrying 447 passengers was forced to make an emergency landing at Gatwick after landing gear problems hit a US-bound flight.

    Hundreds of holidaymakers applauded in relief after their pilot returned the Boeing 747 to base safely following an unconventional journey that included dumping fuel at sea and flying low over the Gatwick control tower twice so that air traffic controllers could scrutinise the main undercarriage with binoculars.

  • Video shows Virgin Atlantic plane’s faulty landing gear as it touches down
  • Virgin Atlantic VS43: Watch terrifying footage from inside plane as it makes emergency landing at Gatwick
  • The Myth of the Last Man

    …it is time to revisit one of the most potent myths of the British Empire

  • The best countries for work-life balance

    According to a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that ranked its 34 member countries on work-life balance, the United States comes in 29th in the category, which the report attributes to long work hours and a lack of social activities.

  • Science

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • 6 Ways New Media Are Getting It Right On Climate Change — And 1 That’s Very Wrong

      While some mainstream media outlets are starting to get the message about the threat of climate change, they are still far behind emerging media when it comes to climate coverage.

      Throughout 2014, new TV and web-based news sources have been continuing the trend of providing excellent climate coverage. Media Matters has identified six positive trends in how new media are covering climate change — and one trend that may be cause for alarm.

    • Pope to push for action on climate change

      Over the weekend, The Guardian reported that Pope Francis will issue an encyclical urging Catholics to push for action on climate change. The push will coincide with the efforts to follow up on the Lima agreement in the hope that they will lead to binding agreements for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Finance

    • Empire of the pig

      China’s insatiable appetite for pork is a symbol of the country’s rise. It is also a danger to the world

    • Leading European truckmakers operated cartel for 14 years: FT

      Top European truckmakers operated a cartel for 14 years to delay the progress of emissions-reducing technology, the Financial Times reported, citing leaked documents in a European Commission investigation.

      The newspaper said that one of the documents states that DAF Trucks, Daimler, Iveco, Scania, Volvo and MAN “agreed the timing and price increase levels for the introduction of new emission technologies” to comply with Euro 3 rules on nitrogen oxide and other emissions in 2000. (on.ft.com/1vanmz5)

      A spokeswoman for the European Commission, which announced last month it had sent charges to truckmakers it accused of a long-running and serious price-fixing cartel, said it would not comment on the leaked document. Known as a statement of objections, it lists the accusations against the firms.

      Daimler, Volvo and Iveco parent CNH Industrial all confirmed receipt last month of the statements of objections, together with Volkswagen-controlled Scania and MAN.

  • Censorship

    • MIT indefinitely removes online physics lectures and courses by Walter Lewin

      MIT’s action comes in response to a complaint it received in October from a woman, who is an online MITx learner, claiming online sexual harassment by Lewin. She provided information about Lewin’s interactions with her, which began when she was a learner in one of his MITx courses, as well as information about interactions between Lewin and other women online learners.

    • Gmail blocked in China

      Google Inc’s Gmail was blocked in China after months of disruptions to the world’s biggest email service, with an anti-censorship advocate suggesting the Great Firewall was to blame.

      Large numbers of Gmail web addresses were cut off in China on Friday, said GreatFire.org, a China-based freedom of speech advocacy group. Users said the service was still down on Monday.

      “I think the government is just trying to further eliminate Google’s presence in China and even weaken its market overseas,” said a member of GreatFire.org, who uses a pseudonym.

      “Imagine if Gmail users might not get through to Chinese clients. Many people outside China might be forced to switch away from Gmail.”

      Google’s own Transparency Report, which shows real-time traffic to Google services, displayed a sharp drop-off in traffic to Gmail from China on Friday.

    • Gmail Access Blocked in China

      Gmail users in China are reportedly having trouble accessing Google’s free email service in the region.

      The shutdown was first reported by GreatFire.org, an organization that monitors online censorship in China. The site today re-tweeted a message from a Beijing-based writer who said in a translated message that Gmail was “fully blocked.”

    • Reports Arrive Showing Gmail and Service Provision Blocking in China

      For a growing array of users, Google’s Internet and cloud services are the backbone of how they stay connected, productive and informed. From Gmail to the Google Cloud Platform, Google has established Internet and cloud service standards around the world — but in China, not so much.

    • Cuba’s ‘offline internet’: no access, no power, no problem

      Cubans have found a unique albeit semi-legal way around their country’s practically nonexistent internet access – external hard drives passed from person to person

  • Privacy

    • Facebook’s Illuminating Algorithmic Cruelty

      My own year has had much that I value, but little of it has been shared with Facebook so my own edition is largely valueless. It also thankfully omits the things that make me cry, like the memory of my mother’s passing this spring or the six months of triage following it. If you’ve chosen to share with Facebook, this is a wake-up call that you have also given them the implicit permission to make you relive memories on command.

      Frankly it’s no worse than the other things you’ve given them permission to do with the intimacies you’ve shared. They are just as free with advertisers and social data miners; you just don’t have that rubbed in your face. If you dislike “Year In Review” you probably will hate the things they do with your data without telling you (even if they have secured your permission in advance through their Terms of Service).

    • Inadvertent Algorithmic Cruelty

      A picture of my daughter, who is dead. Who died this year.

      Yes, my year looked like that. True enough. My year looked like the now-absent face of my little girl. It was still unkind to remind me so forcefully.

      And I know, of course, that this is not a deliberate assault. This inadvertent algorithmic cruelty is the result of code that works in the overwhelming majority of cases, reminding people of the awesomeness of their years, showing them selfies at a party or whale spouts from sailing boats or the marina outside their vacation house.

      But for those of us who lived through the death of loved ones, or spent extended time in the hospital, or were hit by divorce or losing a job or any one of a hundred crises, we might not want another look at this past year.

      To show me Rebecca’s face and say “Here’s what your year looked like!” is jarring. It feels wrong, and coming from an actual person, it would be wrong. Coming from code, it’s just unfortunate. These are hard, hard problems. It isn’t easy to programmatically figure out if a picture has a ton of Likes because it’s hilarious, astounding, or heartbreaking.

    • Facebook’s ‘Year in Review’ app swings from merely annoying to tragic

      Unless you’re making an active decision to disconnect this holiday season, you’ve probably seen a flood of Facebook “Year In Review” posts — a sort of digital card highlighting the biggest moments of 2014, algorithmically customized for each user.

      The posts are slickly designed, even if their visual uniformity can make scrolling through a newsfeed of the digital holiday letters a bit grating. However, in some cases the summaries can go beyond irritating and become downright cruel.

      The default tagline for the posts is “It’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.” But not everyone actually had a great year. For some users, the prompts to view their own digital year in review may dig up painful memories.

    • Prying Eyes: Inside the NSA’s War on Internet Security

      US and British intelligence agencies undertake every effort imaginable to crack all types of encrypted Internet communication. The cloud, it seems, is full of holes. The good news: New Snowden documents show that some forms of encryption still cause problems for the NSA.

    • NSA Documents: Attacks on VPN, SSL, TLS, SSH, Tor
    • Dotcom: Encrypted MegaChat is “Coming Soon”

      As 2014 draws to an end, encryption and privacy remain high on the agendas of many netizens. Cloud hosting service Mega has been building its reputation in this niche and is now preparing to deliver a new privacy tool. According to Kim Dotcom the company he founded will soon wave “bye bye” to Skype with the debut of MegaChat.

    • Revealed: supposedly uncrackable encryption tools still not safe

      An online article supposedly reveals the encryption tools that spies can’t hack, but the list doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

      An article over at Fairfax Media entitled ‘Revealed: the encryption tools spies can and can’t hack’ starts off with a lot of stuff about Edward Snowden, his revelations, COMINT, Five eyes and more.

      It references Australia’s Federal Attorney-General naming Edward Snowden as ‘an American traitor’.

    • Jacob Appelbaum: Reconstructing narratives – transparency in the service of justice [31c3]
    • LEAKED: Secret Negotiations to Let Big Brother Go Global

      Much has been written, at least in the alternative media, about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), two multilateral trade treaties being negotiated between the representatives of dozens of national governments and armies of corporate lawyers and lobbyists (on which you can read more here, here and here). However, much less is known about the decidedly more secretive Trade in Services Act (TiSA), which involves more countries than either of the other two.

      At least until now, that is. Thanks to a leaked document jointly published by the Associated Whistleblowing Press and Filtrala, the potential ramifications of the treaty being hashed out behind hermetically sealed doors in Geneva are finally seeping out into the public arena.

      If signed, the treaty would affect all services ranging from electronic transactions and data flow, to veterinary and architecture services. It would almost certainly open the floodgates to the final wave of privatization of public services, including the provision of healthcare, education and water. Meanwhile, already privatized companies would be prevented from a re-transfer to the public sector by a so-called barring “ratchet clause” – even if the privatization failed.

    • Inside the NSA’s War on Internet Security

      NSA documents indicate they can get into SSH, along with IPSec and PPTP, but that PGP/GnuPG and OTR, as well as TrueCrypt are secure.

    • Glenn Greenwald: Why privacy matters [TED video]

      In some ways it may be fair to say that 2014 was the year when issues of survaillance and privacy became a huge part of our public discourse. And so I thought that re-posting this fantastic TED video by Glenn Greenwald on Why Privacy Matters is rather appropriate.

    • Open Source Privacy Tools NSA Can’t Crack: OTR, PGP, RedPhone, Tor And Tails

      In a recent talk at the Chaos Communication Congress, Jacob Appelbaum, who is a core member of the Tor Project and is now working with Der Spiegel and Laura Poitras to analyze the Snowden documents, unveiled some documents showing which tools NSA couldn’t crack.

  • Civil Rights

    • Thrown in the cells for beeping at a police car! Driver handcuffed and DNA-tested… then faces six-month legal ordeal

      The 34-year-old train driver, who has never been in trouble with the police in his life, was accused of abusive and threatening behaviour and charged with a public order offence.

      [...]

      Each time, Mr Samara said, he beeped his horn instinctively. ‘For a train driver, especially because we have no brake, using the horn if there is danger is just a natural thing to do,’ he said.

      On the last occasion the van stopped and a policewoman got out and challenged him.

      ‘I didn’t shout or swear or wind my window down, but I did tell her the manner of her driving had caused me to slam on the brakes,’ Mr Samara said.

      He said the policewoman told him she was out looking for a missing child. She was upset about his attitude and told him: ‘When you have a problem don’t come to us as we won’t want to know.’

      Mr Samara told her he was going to make a complaint about her.

      Then her male colleague joined her, ordered him out of his car and handcuffed him. Mr Samara was arrested and taken to the police station where he was left in the cells for two hours and eventually charged.

      He appeared at a preliminary court hearing but prosecutors dropped the case last month after CCTV obtained from the police station contradicted the officer’s evidence that he was threatening and abusive.

    • Victim: Indecent proposition from New London chief was ‘chilling’

      Speaking publicly for the first time, Janelle Westfall said state laws failed her after New London’s former police chief made her a proposition: If she posed nude for him, the underage alcohol charges against her would be dropped. Because of Westfall’s complaint, David Seastrand will never be allowed to serve as a police officer again. She also received a $70,000 settlement from the town. But, she adds, “It just bothers me that it happened, and that they couldn’t prosecute (Seastrand). It bothers me that it could happen again to someone else.”

    • The Sneakiest Way Prosecutors Get a Guilty Verdict: PowerPoint

      At least 10 times in the last two years, US courts have reversed a criminal conviction because prosecutors violated the rules of fair argument with PowerPoint. In even more cases, an appellate court has taken note of such misconduct while upholding the conviction anyway or while reversing on other grounds (as in the case of Sergey Fedoruk). Legal watchdogs have long asserted that prosecutors have plenty of ways to quietly put their thumb on the scales of justice —such as concealing exculpatory evidence, eliminating jury-pool members based on race, and so on. Now they can add another category: prosecution by PowerPoint. “It’s the classic ‘A picture is worth a thousand words,’” said Eric Broman, a Seattle attorney who focuses on criminal appeals. “Until the courts say where the boundaries are, prosecutors will continue to test the boundaries.”

    • Freedom of Info at 10: Tony Blair’s WORST NIGHTMARE

      Although the Freedom of Information Act was passed in 2000, it didn’t come into force until 1 January 2005, meaning we’ve had just about 10 years of FoI – as the Information Commissioner’s Office was keen to point out in a minor PR blizzard.

      That load of celebratory snippets* included such worthy-but-dull moments as the first ICO decision notice. Issued in February 2005, it ordered Westminster Council to cough up information about pavements.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Flash! Amazon Acts like For-Profit Company!

      Apparently, Amazon just might be pursuing a way to maximize its own profits rather than those of indie authors. What a shock!

      Meanwhile, Kindle Unlimited authors are reacting by chopping books up into smaller pieces so that they get more fees for the same amount of work (a bit unseemly and obvious, to my taste), or by pulling their books from the program entirely (a rational response, but what will Amazon do next? After all, it has complete authority over what it chooses to pay authors, regardless of the program involved).

      It’s ironic that the scales should now be falling from the eyes of Amazon fans so soon after the Hatchette dispute led them to vilify traditionally published authors for their gullibility in siding with their publishers, and their business model, instead of abandoning them for Amazon. Now, it seems, that career path does not seem so certain.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • UK cinema calls police on preteens with iPads during Mockingjay screening

        Both The Daily Mail and The Argus are carrying the story of seven 12-year-old Brighton, UK girls who were questioned by police after staff at a Cineworld multiplex reportedly saw that some of the girls had iPads and smartphones. Concerned that the girls might be engaging in copyright infringement by recording parts of the movie, the staff called 999 (the UK emergency services number, equivalent to 911 in the US) and requested police to help deal with the situation, which the Mail says the staff characterized as an “emergency.”

      • isoHunt Founder: Piracy is A Convenience and Access Problem.

        For isoHunt Founder Gary Fung, 2014 was the first full year without him taking a central place in the BitTorrent landscape. But even though his site was crushed by the MPAA, Hollywood is still facing the same piracy problems. Today Fung shares his views on piracy and the future of media distribution.

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