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EPO Corruption: Battistelli Augments His ‘Loyals’ Circle With Frederic Angermann and Charm Offensive in Patent Lawyers’ Sites

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jesper Kongstad
Jesper Kongstad. Photo from the Nordic Patent Institute.

Summary: The extent of the EPO’s corruption is further revealed by new appointments that reek of conflict of interest and a revival of Benoît Battistelli’s fearless authoritarianism (protection offered by an extension of those ‘loyal’ to his reckless authority)

Battistelli has done a bit of a ‘media tour’ as of late, striving to improve his image and restore the reputation taken from him by his very own staff.

Battistelli, for reasons we have demonstrated in many past articles, is a bully and a tyrant. He turned the EPO into a private venture, totally detached from public interests, completely unaccountable (Battistelli ousted his opposition and those who oversee him, including external ones in the Enlarged Board of Appeal and perhaps the European Parliament), and filled with a baggage of serious corruption, including many criminal charges. To use a timely analogy, see this year’s exclusive report titled “The corruption of Britain: UK’s key institutions infiltrated by criminals”. As soon as the media becomes active again we will return to covering new documents and new stories about the EPO scandals. Today we shall look back at recent developments, preceding Christmas Day.

“The collusions galore has turned a seemingly self-regulating disparate collection of organisms (AC, BoA, EPO etc.) into a superorganism that devours or destroys opposition without any accountability.”The president of the FFII, which opposes software patents in Europe, wrote last week that “EPO staff representatives who attended heard “je m´en fou de vos opinions” and “encore un mot et vous etes virez”,” noting what he called “EPO corruption” because Battistelli “appointed Frederic Angermann, with whom Benoit [Battistelli] had already successfully worked together at INPI”.

This is already the subject of complaints in France, but be sure Battistelli will jump into the scene fuming with “damage control” in the face of many anonymous comments (probably his staff). Patents glamourisation site “Managing Intellectual Property has just published an article,” [puff piece] said IP Kat, “containing a series of questions and answers [softball opening lines], put by Managing Editor James Nurton to EPO President Benoit Battistelli and Chariman of the Administrative Council, Jesper Kongstad.”

Here is this puff piece from the patent lawyers’ site.

“Mr Jesper Kongstad reminds people that the EPO is financing itself for the patent fees,” wrote the FFII’s President, correctly calling it a lie (“wrong”) because much of the money is actually derived from European taxpayers. “Sorry Mr Jesper Kongstad,” he continues, “representatives of 38 gov of EPO AC are not democratically elected, not elected by people” (in fact, some are very much connected to those whom they are supposed to oversee or regulate).

As we have shown before, Jesper Kongstad is loyal to Battistelli and his cronies. He even provides coverup for them. Him speaking alongside Battistelli serves as somewhat of a clue here. That’s not how two independent bodies should present themselves to the press. They’re conjoined through mutual loyalty, or ‘protection’, to use Mafia-inspired terminology. The collusions galore has turned a seemingly self-regulating disparate collection of organisms (AC, BoA, EPO etc.) into a superorganism that devours or destroys opposition without any accountability. Even the European Parliament is too timid to handle this monster, which resembles the way that Congress and Senate in the United States now approach three-letter agencies, especially the CIA.

What goes on in the EPO is a very big deal because those who run the organisation do a huge disservice to all member nations. “Videos of the UPC rules of procedure being written by the patent industry are here,” writes the FFII’s President. We have been warning about the UPC for years.

Thankfully, judging by the will of the staff (the heart of the EPO), the EPO’s management continues its collapse as people at all levels protest. As Merpel from IP Kat put it the other day: “Over the past month, this weblog has hosted news and developments of reports of unrest among the workers at the European Patent Office (EPO). These have been some of the most commented-upon posts in this history of the blog. The unrest is not, as might have been supposed, only at the level of the Examiners and regular employees, but even within the exalted ranks of the Boards of Appeal and Enlarged Board. Since news does not develop in a neat and tidy manner, the IPKat has asked Merpel to review the recent events, to write a brief summary of the events themselves and to outline the issues now facing the EPO. Merpel emphasises the word “brief”; with hundreds of comments, it is not going to be possible to reflect them all in detail.”

A lot of this debate comes from and is shaped by EPO staff, not just stakeholders. In the coming weeks we shall say a lot more about what’s wrong with the EPO and why some of its managers (including the very top ones) should be in prison, not in an overpriced office in Munich (alluding not only to Željko Topić here). We welcome sources to come forth if there is more that they can anonymously share with us.

EPO Breaking News: The European Parliament Dismisses Complaint About EPO Abuses

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Petition 2848/2013 — a petition which deals with the EPO scandals we have been covering for months — is dismissed in a fashion that leaves the Parliament arguably complicit and at best toothless

“We just got news from Zagreb,” said one of our numerous sources inside and outside the EPO. The “Petitions Committee of the European Parliament has recently decided not to admit Petition 2848/2013,” said our source, enclosing the image below (click the image for a larger version).

“In a rather bizarre twist,” explained the source, “the Chair of the Petitions Committee (Swedish MEP Cecilia Wikström) suggests that the petitioner should contact the EPO Boards of Appeal.

“However, the EPO Boards of Appeal deal exclusively with patent-related appeal cases and have no competence to investigate managerial appointments at the EPO. That is the responsibility of the Administrative Council which has already ignored a number of requests to submit Topic’s appointment to an independent investigation.”

Moreover, complaints from the EPO have already come from the Enlarged Board of Appeal to the capacity possible, directed at the Administrative Council which is very much complicit in Battistelli’s reign of terror (more on that in future articles of ours). This basically means that the European Parliament is unwilling to intervene and stop a scenario of very gross abuse. What does that say about the European Parliament?

“This basically means that the European Parliament is unwilling to intervene and stop a scenario of very gross abuse.”“So it seems the European Parliament has decided to wash its hands of the affair,” said our source. “This means that although they are apparently content to entrust the administration of the EU Unitary Patent to the EPO, they are not prepared to exercise any oversight with respect to the governance of the EPO.”

Given some of the ‘free’ ‘trade’ affairs as of late, the European Parliament has given citizens of the EU many reasons for distrust and suspicion, “Work that one out if you can,” summed up our source.

The scandals are far from over as we still have a pile of documents to organise, analyse and present. The EPO is a laughing stock, but for those affected by it (including EPO workers) it is not funny.

Petition Nr. 2848-2013

Links 28/12/2014: OpenELEC 5.0, KaOS 2014.12

Posted in News Roundup at 5:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Funding

  • Openness/Sharing

    • GitHub’s Most Popular Project Is The New Open Source Pirate Bay

      After The Pirate Bay made its site available for anyone to host with “minimal web knowledge”, the project has become a hit on the popular developer site GitHub, and 372 copies of “The Open Bay” have been created.

      The Pirate Bay was recently raided by police in Sweden, knocking its services offline. Its answer? Make it possible for anyone to create their own Pirate Bay, complete with all of its old torrents, and the ability to carry on the tradition.

  • Programming


  • Douglas Carswell tells Ukip to stop blaming foreigners as youth poll shows Nigel Farage is even less popular than Nick Clegg

    Douglas Carswell, one of Ukip’s most senior figures, has called on the party to stop making “the mistake of blaming outsiders” for Britain’s problems and described disliking foreigners as “not merely offensive, but absurd”.

    The former Tory MP’s comments came as a damning new poll showed Ukip had failed to win the support of young voters ahead of the general election in May, who were found to be six times more likely to choose the Green Party.

    Mr Carswell, whose by-election victory over his former party in October made him one of Ukip’s most influential faces and one of their two members in the Commons, said it was “interdependence that put the Great into Great Britain”.

    His comments come after party leader Nigel Farage defended the language used by Ukip candidate Kerry Smith, who mocked gay party members as “p******s”, joked about shooting people from Chigwell in a “peasant hunt” and referred to someone as a “C****y bird”.

    Mr Farage also made headlines last month when he blamed his lateness to a paid-for party event on “immigrants” causing greater traffic on the M4.

  • AirAsia Flight From Indonesia To Singapore Loses Contact With Air Traffic ControlAirAsia Flight From Indonesia To Singapore Loses Contact With Air Traffic Control

    Flight QZ 8501 — an Airbus 320-200 — lost communication with Indonesia’s Surabaya Juanda International Airport at 7:24 Singapore time on Sunday morning, the airline said. The plane “was requesting deviation due to enroute weather before communication with the aircraft was lost,” AirAsia said in a statement.

    “The weather was not good — it was bad — at the estimated location the plane lost contact,” Indonesian Transport Ministry official Hadi Mustafa said.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Nestle CEO: Water Is Not A Human Right, Should Be Privatized

      Former Nestle CEO claims water is not a human right and should be privatized and controlled. He also states that GMOs have never caused illnesses despite hundreds of independent studies showing otherwise.

      So, is water a free and basic human right, or should all the water on the planet belong to major corporations?

      Should the poor who cannot afford to pay these said corporations suffer from starvation due to their lack of financial wealth?

  • Security

    • A Straightforward Chronology of the Sony Hacking Incident

      Security geeks reveal government disinformation

    • Experts Are Still Divided on Whether North Korea Is Behind Sony Attack

      The FBI announcement last week that it had uncovered evidence in the Sony hack pointing to North Korea appears to have settled the issue for a lot of people—in Washington, DC.

      “As a result of our investigation,” the FBI announced, “and in close collaboration with other U.S. government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions.”

    • Who Really Hacked Sony Is Like A High-Tech Movie Plot

      Everyone has a theory about who really hacked SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT website, according to ASSOCIATED PRESS.

    • Sony Emails, Seth Rogen Fuel Speculation of CIA Role Making The Interview

      Truth can definitely be stranger than fiction, especially if you believe what actor/director Seth Rogen recently said about the production behind his latest film, The Interview.

    • Sony’s ‘The Interview’ makes $1m on Christmas Day

      Sony Pictures’ controversial movie “The Interview” collected more than $1m in a limited Christmas Day release, and is expected to make several millions of dollars over the holiday weekend.

    • Chinese Viewers Mostly Give Thumbs Up for ‘The Interview’

      Although Beijing is Pyongyang’s only significant ally on the world stage, many ordinary Chinese have mixed feelings about their government’s relationship with North Korea, which has been called as close as “lips and teeth.” Some have come to see a reflection of their own condition in North Korea’s poverty, repressiveness and over-the-top propaganda. Online, some commentators have begun to refer to the North Korean leader as “Fatty Kim the 3rd.”

    • False Flagging the World towards War. The CIA Weaponizes Hollywood

      The campaign of aggression against North Korea, from the hacking of Sony and the crescendo of noise over the film, The Interview, bears all the markings of a CIA false flag operation.

      The hacking and alleged threats to moviegoers has been blamed entirely on North Korea, without a shred of credible evidence beyond unsubstantiated accusations by the FBI. Pyongyang’s responsibility has not been proven. But it has already been officially endorsed, and publicly embraced as fact.

      The idea of “America under attack by North Korea” is a lie.

      The actual individuals of the mysterious group responsible for the hacking remain conveniently unidentified. A multitude of possibilities—Sony insiders, hackers-for-hire, generic Internet vandalism—have not been explored in earnest. The more plausible involvement of US spying agencies—the CIA, the NSA, etc. , their overwhelming technological capability and their peerless hacking and surveillance powers—remains studiously ignored.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Afghanistan conflict: When Enduring Freedom is turned asunder

      In December of 2001, the mightiest military force the world has ever known launched ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ in Afghanistan. Today, the US and NATO military mission in that distant country officially comes to a close, but the foe remains unvanquished.


      To sum up, the US and NATO mission in Afghanistan can rightfully be called disastrous. The America that once was aghast at the idea of torturing people wholesale, is today subdued and numbed to the so-called “black sites” in Afghanistan and around the globe, where torture became the norm. Compared to NSA spying on US citizens, the cover-up or misdirection used to conceal these activities are outright war crimes for most people. Names like Parwan Detention Facility, the Salt Pit, and detainees like Khaled el-Masri and other tortured detainees echo a dark reality of this war on terror. For the leaders who have helped perpetuate these wars, though, cheap talk still resonates. Barack Obama just spoke to US troops on Christmas day about this war’s effects. He said:

    • 2 Drone Strikes in Pakistan Are Said to Kill 9 Militant Suspects

      At least nine people suspected of being militants, including four foreigners, were killed in two separate drone strikes in northwestern Pakistan on Friday, a Pakistani security official said.

    • Two U.S. drone strikes kill seven militants in Pakistan

      Two suspected U.S. drones fired missiles at militant hideouts in northwest Pakistan on Friday killing at least seven fighters, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

    • US drone strike kills 3 in Afghanistan’s Logar

      A US drone strike has killed at least three civilians in Afghanistan’s troubled southeastern province of Logar.

    • US Drones Kill Seven People in Pakistan

      At least seven alleged Taliban fighters died in two separate US drone attacks in the northern-western Pakistani province of North Waziristan, where the Army is carrying out an air and ground operation against the insurgency.

    • U.S. Air Force Intel Unit Helped Kill 1,200 People in a Year

      A secretive group of U.S. Air Force intelligence specialists flying aboard American spy planes helped U.S. military commandos kill more than a thousand enemy combatants in just a single year back in 2012.

    • Torture, Drones, and Hollywood: A Former CIA Operative Talks

      Robert Baer: Assassination doesn’t work, generally. I approached it from the premise that had we assassinated Hitler in 1933 we would have saved lives and destruction. Probably we would have, but in general assassination doesn’t turn out to be a way to avoid war. I take my own experience and other assassinations through history and get a lot into the drone program, which doesn’t work, as well. It’s clear to me, with the massacre at this Pakistani school [at Peshawar]; the CIA in a sense had a role in that, because the two predecessors of the man [Maulana Fazlullah, AKA “Mullah Radio”] who ordered that were both killed by drones. – See more at: http://www.progressive.org/news/2014/12/187945/torture-drones-and-hollywood-former-cia-operative-talks#sthash.jMxsX8Oy.dpuf

    • If the Senate issued a report on America’s drone program

      There were the new tidbits of information on the workings of the president’s “kill list” and the convening of “terror Tuesday” briefings to target specific individuals around the world. There were the insider discussions of ongoing decisions to target American citizens abroad for assassination by drone without due process of law and the revealing emails in which participants up to presidential advisers discussed how exactly to craft the exculpatory “legal” documents for those acts at the Department of Justice.

    • Marjorie Cohn on Drone Warfare: Illegal, Immoral and Ineffective

      Law professor, writer and social critic Marjorie Cohn explores human rights and US foreign policy, and the frequent contradiction between the two in her monthly Truthout column, “Human Rights and Global Wrongs.” She agreed to an interview with Leslie Thatcher recently about her new book, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.

    • The cyclical nature of the War on Terror

      Acts of ‘terror’ have been permeating through our televisions screens and newspapers in the West to the extent that we now seem to be surrounded by them. The ‘war on terror’ makes ‘us’ in the West feel safe, but what is almost never considered is how ‘our’ safety affects the lives of the ‘others’ we aim to destroy.

    • After Scrutiny, C.I.A. Mandate Is Untouched

      Over a lunch in Washington in 1976, James J. Angleton, for years the ruthless chief of counterintelligence at the C.I.A., likened the agency to a medieval city occupied by an invading army.

      “Only, we have been occupied by Congress,” he told a young congressional investigator. “With our files rifled, our officials humiliated, and our agents exposed.”

      The spymaster had cause for worry. He had endured a public grilling about his role in domestic spying operations by a select committee headed by Senator Frank Church, a Democrat from Idaho, that spent years looking into intelligence abuses. And the Central Intelligence Agency, used to doing what it wanted while keeping Congress mostly in the dark, was in the midst of convulsions that would fundamentally remake its mission.

    • Drone strikes: are they Obama’s enhanced interrogation techniques?

      The Obama administration insists that international humanitarian law (IHL) is the applicable law because it claims the US is involved in an armed conflict.

    • Drone strikes: Obama’s torture technique?

      On November 24, two weeks before the Senate Intelligence Committee released its “torture report,” Reprieve, a UK-based human rights NGO, published the results of its latest investigation into President Obama’s drone strike program. While Obama was preparing for the inevitable release of the Senate’s report which provided the most extensive insight yet into the CIA’s use of torture during the Bush administration, Reprieve provided insights of its own into the Obama administration’s equally disturbing targeted drone assassination program.

    • Comment: Are US military drone strikes legal?

      On November 24, two weeks before the Senate Intelligence Committee released its “torture report,” Reprieve, a UK-based human rights NGO, published the results of its latest investigation into President Obama’s drone strike program. While Obama was preparing for the inevitable release of the Senate’s report which provided the most extensive insight yet into the CIA’s use of torture during the Bush administration, Reprieve provided insights of its own into the Obama administration’s equally disturbing targeted drone assassination program.

    • How the CIA Sold Obama on Counterinsurgency by Drone Assassination

      The Washington Post, ABC News, and other news outlets stress the report’s findings that targeted assassinations had limited impacts on Taliban targets. While this leaked report does criticize the effectiveness of some High-Value Target (HVT) assassination operations, such characterizations mistake the CIA’s argument that not all counterinsurgency problems can be solved with targeted assassinations as an argument against such operations. Far from dismissing HVT operations, the report advocates them in select conditions.

      What the Post and others miss is the role this CIA report played in larger conversations about counterinsurgency strategies among members of the CIA, Pentagon, Congress, White House, and corporate military profiteers. In 2009, these conversations focused not only on the roles counterinsurgency should play in warzones, but whether this counterinsurgency should be based on soft power models (providing needed services, etc.) or hard power models (like Project Phoenix in Vietnam, or JSOC’s targeted assassination programs in Iraq). While this leaked document is only a single report, it provides a view into the types of intelligence analysis that informed President Obama’s rapid increased use of CIA HVT drone operations targeting individuals, including American citizens, in Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan.

      This 18-page CIA report reads like a Harvard International Relations dissertation proposal—an observation more about audience, than author–as it reviews data on past HVT programs, weighing the “positive and negative implications of targeted assassinations” in select insurgency campaigns around the world. High-Value Targeting refers to “focused operations against specific individuals or networks whose removal or marginalization should disproportionately degrade an insurgent group’s effectiveness. The criteria for designating high-value targets will vary according to factors such as the insurgent group’s capabilities, structure, and leadership dynamics and the government’s desired outcome.”

    • ‘Why are covert CIA agents operating in allied EU countries?’

      After a CIA memo explaining how to get through tighter EU border security checks was leaked to WikiLeaks, the question arose why are there covert agents in the countries the US is meant to share intelligence with, former MI5 agent Annie Machon told RT.

    • Judge: CIA recruit must testify in leak case

      While the source isn’t named, Risen’s 2006 book “State of War” discusses a Russian nuclear scientist the CIA used as an intermediary to pass nuclear blueprints containing intentional flaws to Iran for use in their nuclear program. Risen’s account of what the CIA effort code-named “Operation Merlin” suggests that the Russian became concerned the flaws were too obvious and flagged them to the Iranians.

    • Torture just one CIA abuse

      One case of many was the CIA’s involvement beginning in 1970 with the overthrow of the elected Chilean President Salvador Allende. They did this through instigating a coup that installed the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. His repression called the Caravan of Death resulted in the death of thousands and torturing tens of thousands. This account is a sordid story and approval went for it went all the way to the White House. Check out the details on Wikipedia. Unbelievable.

    • Dividing the CIA in Two

      When created in 1947, the CIA was meant to coordinate objective intelligence and thus avert some future Pearl Harbor attack, but its secondary role – engaging in covert operations – came to corrupt its independence, a problem that must now be addressed, says ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.

    • Let the C.I.A. Do What It Is Supposed to Do

      From its inception in 1947, the C.I.A. was designed with one overriding mission: preventing strategic surprise. Its controversial interrogation program is just the latest symptom of a larger disease, the tyranny of the current. Since 9/11, rather than assessing the threat landscape of the future, the C.I.A. has been mired in the terrorist threat of the here and now. Time and energy spent on targeted killings, black sites and interrogations with water boards and rectal hydration was time and energy that could have been spent better assessing and anticipating emerging challenges like the Arab Spring, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions, or ISIS’s gathering strength. White House officials and warfighters naturally worry most about today. The C.I.A.’s job is to also worry about tomorrow.

    • White House petition seeks release of all JFK files

      Prominent JFK assassination researcher and author Lamar Waldron has posted on the White House website a petition calling for the release of all classified government files on the JFK assassination and a pardon for former Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden.

    • Wikileaks: CIA’s Brennan on ‘witch hunt’ when Hastings was killed

      A 2010 email released by Wikileaks from a top-level CIA contractor asserts that CIA Director John Brennan, the subject of a story by deceased journalist Michael Hastings, was on a “witch hunt” against “investigative journalists” perceived as hostile.


      The story on Brennan was never published.
      Stratfor was once called “The Shadow CIA” by Barron’s. In 2012 WikiLeaks began publishing “The Global Intelligence Files,” over five million e-mails from the Texas-based company.

      The email has never been disavowed by Stratfor. When San Diego 6 reporter Kim Dvorak asked the CIA for comment on the email in the context of the Hastings’ death, in an August, 2013 report, a CIA spokesman responded:

      ““Without commenting on information disseminated by WikiLeaks, any suggestion that Director Brennan has ever attempted to infringe on constitutionally-protected press freedoms is offensive and baseless.” ”

      Michael Hasting was killed on June 18, 2013, when the new Mercedes C250 SUV he had just leased hit a tree after running numerous red lights at over 100 mph in Los Angeles. A surveillance video at a pizza shop captured a fiery, violent explosion, which is uncharacteristic of high-speed impacts. Generations of advances in safety design have made accidents exhibiting these characteristics unheard of.

    • Letters: CIA torture report is disturbing

      Those of us who lived through the atrocities of World War II, the Nuremberg trials of Axis leadership for crimes against the peace and humanity, and the growth of the U.S. national security state are aware of CIA’s principal role. It’s to do things that the government wants done with plausible deniability. Harry Truman’s creation of the CIA was the worst mistake of his presidency.

    • Head of Stratfor, ‘Private CIA’, Says Overthrow of Yanukovych Was ‘The Most Blatant Coup in History’

      In a December 19th interview in the Russian magazine Kommersant, George Friedman, who is the Founder and CEO of Stratfor, the ‘Shadow CIA’ firm, says of the overthrow of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych that occurred on February 22nd of 2014: “It really was the most blatant coup in history.” Perhaps he is saying this because of the videos that were uploaded to the Web which showed it to be so, but this statement by him contradicts the description that is asserted by the U.S. White House and the European Union, and the Western press, which description is that Yanukovych’s overthrow was instead just the result of the U.S. Government’s $5+ billion expense since 1991 to establish ‘democracy’ in Ukraine.

    • LETTER: Is U.S. run by war merchants, drone killers and CIA torturers?

      Wars against nations that haven’t harmed us in any way.

  • Finance

    • Tourists to UK ‘to spend record levels in 2015′

      Spending by tourists visiting the UK is expected to reach record levels next year, the government has said.

      Spending by overseas visitors will top £22bn for the first time, according to forecasts by tourism body VisitBritain.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Worst 2014 Smears From Right-Wing Websites

      Right-wing media websites continued to undermine their credibility in 2014 by peddling a number of false, ridiculous, and bigoted smears. Here are the top smears from conservative websites The Daily Caller, Breitbart.com, and The Washington Free Beacon.

  • Censorship

    • The Interview and free speech: let’s not get too smug

      Censorship battles are usually a good thing, especially when powerful voices and interests are ranged on opposing sides. They illuminate the social and political landscape in a country – our own, as well as those we routinely regard as less enlightened. But the triangular controversy over Sony Pictures’ low-budget comedy The Interview, North Korea and the White House has not made my Christmas.

    • 1961 | The C.I.A. Readies a Cuban Invasion, and The Times Blinks

      In an abundance of caution, Mr. Szulc’s article was shifted at the last moment from its position in the upper right corner as the lead story of the day. It was further demoted in importance when the revised layout for Page 1 specified a headline one column wide rather than four columns.

    • Iran expands ‘smart’ Internet censorship

      Iran is to expand what it calls “smart filtering” of the Internet, a policy of censoring undesirable content on websites without banning them completely, as it used to, the government said on Friday.

    • Tailored censorship? Iran unveils ‘smart’ web filters

      Iran is rolling out new “individual filters” that will let citizens receive access to different parts of the internet, depending on government clearance, and will allow censors to weed out specific website pages – not entire domains, as they currently do.

    • Google and Social Media Resisting Russian Censorship Orders

      Google, Facebook and Twitter are putting up resistance to orders received from the Russian government to block and remove information about the planned rally by the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny next month, which might result into a full scale showdown as Russia tried to censor online content.

    • China censors news on Sony hack

      Censorship is a part of daily life in China. News articles are erased from online search engines, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are banned, and CNN is routinely blacked out for Chinese viewers.

      Instagram was a huge hit in China — until the government banned it during the Hong Kong protests.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Don’t drink and do remember your bribes: The CIA guide to how to travel like James Bond

      Take it easy at the Christmas party if you plan to fly the next day. According to the CIA’s secret travel guide for spies, travellers with “shaking or trembling hands, rapid breathing for no apparent reason, cold sweats, pulsating carotid arteries, a flushed face, and avoidance of eye contact” will arouse suspicion.

    • CIA manuals advising spies how to maintain their cover while using false documents at airports released by Wikleaks
    • How CIA spies move freely through Europe on fake passports

      Secret CIA documents advising undercover American spies on how to move through Europe on fake passports have been published online, revealing growing concern that tighter EU rules could blow the cover of US intelligence agents.

      Two documents released by WikiLeaks show that CIA agents are currently able to freely enter and travel through the 26 countries of the Schengen Area with only a “minimal” risk that EU border guards will grow suspicious.

      There is little chance of being detected when first entering the Schengen Area because European border guards are focused on “illegal immigration and criminal activities, not counterintelligence”, the CIA documents concluded.

    • Calls For Holder To Investigate, Prosecute CIA Torture
    • Calls Grow to Prosecute Former US Officials for CIA Torture

      The ACLU presented a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Monday demanding an investigation into those responsible for the CIA’s torture tactics.

      Recent revelations about CIA torture under former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney between 2001-2009 have put the two figures under increased scrutiny.

    • Human rights groups call for special prosecutor to investigate CIA torture

      The ACLU and Human Rights Watch say the offences amount to ‘a vast criminal conspiracy’ and are ‘shocking and corrosive’ to US democracy and credibility

    • Human rights groups urge criminal investigation into CIA torture

      President Barack Obama should appoint a special prosecutor to determine if former Bush administration and CIA officials broke the law by having suspected terrorists abducted and tortured in secret prisons by waterboarding and other brutal interrogation methods, two leading human rights groups said Monday.

    • Operation Mind Control: Chilling CIA Experiments On US Citizens

      Bacteria to infect the enemy, poisons for assassinations, truth drugs for interrogations, germ warfare and brainwashing

    • Violence, torture and pestilence: 2014 was not a great year for U.S.

      For the United States, 2014 was a year of racial violence, rape, war, terrorism, drought and pestilence.

    • Polish MPs to investigate CIA payment for torture sites

      As a recent US Senate report showed, the CIA handed over up to USD 30 million to the secret services of an unnamed country that hosted the “black sites” where terrorist suspects captured in Afghanistan and Iraq were detained without warrant and subjected to “enhanced investigation techniques”, that is, torture, daily Rzeczpospolita reported. – See more at: http://www.thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/191518,Polish-MPs-to-investigate-CIA-payment-for-torture-sites#sthash.uaNfAO9A.dpuf

    • Polish Committee Investigates Allocation of Funds for CIA Secret Prisons

      Marek Biernacki, head of the Sejm Special Services Committee, stated that it is necessary to investigate where the money allocated for CIA “black sites” in Poland has gone.

    • Under pressure over CIA jail, Poland sends out mixed messages

      This month’s acknowledgment by Poland’s former president that he allowed the CIA to operate a secret interrogation centre throws the Polish government’s appeal against a European court ruling on the jail into disarray.

    • A new look at Zimbabwe-USA ‘tortuous’ relations via the CIA

      Zimbabwe is one among a number of African countries that assisted the United States of America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in its notorious rendition programme. This emerged from a recent report that the USA Senate made public recently. – See more at: http://nehandaradio.com/2014/12/28/new-look-zimbabwe-usa-tortuous-relations-via-cia/#sthash.H0yxACxL.dpuf

    • A Brief History of the CIA’s Unpunished Spying on the Senate

      This is the story of John Brennan’s CIA spying on Congress and getting away with it.

      Last March, Senator Dianne Feinstein accused the CIA of spying on the Senate intelligence committee as it labored to finalize its report on the torture of prisoners. “I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution,” she said. “I have asked for an apology and a recognition that this CIA search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate. I have received neither.”

    • U.S. Senate and CIA agree torture program was mismanaged

      The Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation program and the spy agency’s official response clash on almost every aspect of the long-secret operation, including the brutality and effectiveness of its methods and the agency’s secret dealings with the Bush White House, Congress and the media. Both reports largely agree on one major CIA failure: the agency’s mismanagement of the now-shuttered program.

    • The Senate’s CIA report may help to lead to a new politics of intelligence in Washington.

      The Senate’s recent report into the CIA’s interrogation methods has prompted new discussions on how the U.S. should be conducting intelligence gathering, and the level of Congress’ oversight. Glenn Hastedt writes that the report raises the prospect of a new era of intelligence politics characterized by a skeptical Congress that more tightly controls and challenges the intelligence community, as well as one of continued leaks. He also argues that concerns over short political time frames will continue to push the intelligence community to retroactively justify its actions.

    • Pressure grows on PM to hold judge-led inquiry into Britain’s role in CIA torture

      David Cameron was last night under intense pressure to deliver on his promise to hold a judge-led inquiry into British complicity in torture.

    • Public won’t let Washington sweep CIA torture under the rug – Russian diplomat

      The Obama administration won’t be able to throw the torture issue under the table, as the US Senate report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program has sparked a global public outcry, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s human rights ombudsman told RT.

      “It’s to be continued. If you wish, this report is to be continued against the will of those who would like to hush it down,” Konstantin Dolgov stressed.

      The Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture following 9/11 will be “discussed in the international forum, including, hopefully, in the UN Council of Human Rights and in some other international formats,” he added.

    • CIA torture report: Right also condemns torturers

      Two responses to the Senate report have stood out for me. The first was by Republican Senator John McCain. On the floor of the Senate, he described the use of torture as “shameful and unnecessary”.

      He continued: “The use of torture compromises that which most distinguishes us from our enemies; our belief that all people, even captured enemies, possess basic human rights.”

      The second response was that of the Conservative MP David Davis. Referring to “the barbarism of the secret CIA torture programme”, he went on to state that “our association with torture causes us to lose our moral strength and serves to galvanise those who oppose us”.

    • CIA Decides that the CIA Hacking into Members of Congress is not a Punishable Offense

      A panel appointed by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan to assess blame for the CIA’s intrusion into Senate Intelligence Committee computers has—no surprise—found that those who broke into the computers shouldn’t be punished.

      The handpicked committee, composed of three CIA officers; Robert F. Bauer, who served as White House counsel during President Barack Obama’s first term; and chairman Evan Bayh, a former Democratic senator from Indiana who served on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the three CIA technology officers and two lawyers who participated in the computer hacking should not be punished.

    • Human rights record in the United States of America alarming

      The United States Obama administration won’t be able to throw the torture issue under the table, as the US Senate report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program has sparked a global public outcry

      “It’s to be continued. If you wish, this report is to be continued against the will of those who would like to hush it down,” , the Russian Foreign Ministry’s human rights ombudsman Konstantin Dolgov told the media.

      The Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture following 9/11 will be “discussed in the international forum, including, hopefully, in the UN Council of Human Rights and in some other international formats,” he added.

    • Did the CIA Torture So Bush Could Invade Iraq? (Video)

      The Bush administration and the CIA tortured al-Qaida suspects because they wanted evidence that linked Saddam Hussein to 9/11 and could be used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Middle East expert Patrick Cockburn writes at The Independent.

    • Following Senate report, Johnston leaders tout reported CIA contractor as ‘good corporate citizen’

      Johnston County leaders say they have no reason and no authority to probe a Smithfield-based company long linked to the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation program.

      A Raleigh-based anti-torture group says a recently released Senate Intelligence Committee report names 17 detainees transported by Aero Contractors, a company that leases space at the Johnston County Airport and at the Global TransPark in Kinston. Based on flight logs and other data, the group, North Carolina Stop Torture Now, says Aero Contractors transported another 14 detainees not named in the report.

      Tony Braswell, chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners, said he doesn’t know much about what Aero Contractors does. He said he does know, however, that the company has always been a “good corporate citizen.”

      “That’s all we know, and we don’t know if they committed any crimes in Afghanistan or Pakistan,” Braswell said. “Our job is to deal with schools and provide clean drinking water and have a budget for the sheriff.”

      But Christina Cowger, coordinator of North Carolina Stop Torture Now, said the Senate report confirms that Aero Contractors was vital to the CIA’s capture and interrogation of terror suspects using techniques that some consider torture. Now, she said, it’s time for elected officials to ask more questions.

    • The CIA Didn’t Just Torture, It Experimented on Human Beings

      Human experimentation was a core feature of the CIA’s torture program. The experimental nature of the interrogation and detention techniques is clearly evident in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s executive summary of its investigative report, despite redactions (insisted upon by the CIA) to obfuscate the locations of these laboratories of cruel science and the identities of perpetrators.

    • How a false witness helped the CIA make a case for torture

      Buried amid details of “rectal rehydration” and waterboarding that dominated the headlines over last week’s Senate Intelligence Committee findings was an alarming detail: Both the committee’s summary report and its rebuttal by the CIA admit that a source whose claims were central to the July 2004 resumption of the torture program — and, almost certainly, to authorizing the Internet dragnet collecting massive amounts of Americans’ email metadata — fabricated claims about an election year plot.

    • Irony 101: Study Ethics with Legal Ace Who Sanctioned NSA Wiretapping, CIA Torture

      Waterboarding: Yes or no? It’s OK to selectively violate the Geneva Convention, right? Spying on Americans is illegal, but aren’t rules made to be broken?

      The world is a confusing place and it’s hard for young people to answer complicated questions like these on their own. Fortunately, students at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, have Professor Robert Deitz to help them navigate the contemporary moral morass. “All of us are familiar with basic ethical notions,” he writes in the syllabus for his Spring 2015 course, Ethical Challenges in Public Policy. “We learn from childhood the idea that some conduct is right and other conduct is not right.”

      How’d Deitz get so smart about ethics? He’s magna cum laude from Harvard (like President Obama) and then spent eights years as General Counsel at the National Security Agency, serving as the official Yes Man for General Michael Hayden, and after that three years as his Senior Councillor at the Central Intelligence Agency until 2009. At the former post Deitz rubber-stamped NSA surveillance. At the latter, he sought to derail an independent investigation by then-CIA Inspector General John Helgerson into the agency’s torture and rendition of terrorism suspects.

    • CIA Report Fallout: Alissa Starzak Could Lose Shot At Becoming US Army’s Top Lawyer

      Alissa Starzak will have to wait until after the holidays to find out if accusations she stole and leaked classified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents will scuttle her chances of becoming the U.S. Army’s top lawyer. And her chances could rely on whether Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will back her.

    • CIA torture report: Did US military create Isis through brutal interrogation techniques?

      The CIA torture report covers over 100 detainees but that’s so pale and insignificant compared with the actual number of detainees who experienced enhanced interrogation techniques, or EITs. That number would run into the thousands, during the period when EITs were deemed legal. Every interrogator was allowed to use them.

    • The Horrific Stories of CIA-sponsored Torture That Aren’t in the Senate Report.

      There’s still no official account of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other victims of torture that the CIA is responsible for.

    • Do We Need the C.I.A.?

      Would the security needs of the United States be better served if the C.I.A. were dismantled?

    • Jeremy Renner On The CIA Plot Behind ‘Kill The Messenger’ – The Contenders

      Star Jeremy Renner and producer Scott Stuber talk about Kill the Messenger, their film about Gary Webb, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter. Webb uncovered a CIA plot in the 1980s that funneled cocaine into the United States to finance arms purchases and other operations in Central America, then faced a campaign to undermine and deny his work.

    • SA man at centre of CIA sting

      An infamous South African, linked to some of the most shady scandals of this century, has emerged at the centre of a US transcontinental sting operation that netted an alleged drug cartel assassin.

      Paul Calder le Roux shopped former American Special Forces-trained sniper Joseph Hunter, who was arrested in Thailand in an operation spearheaded by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

    • CIA Torture Report: Will South Africa Own Up? – OpEd

      For South Africa to own up and come clean on its shameful role in assisting America’s immoral WOT is a matter we will continue to agitate for.

    • Human rights group calls for inquiry into Malaysia’s role in CIA torture

      Human rights group Suaram urged Putrajaya to set up an independent commission of inquiry to unravel the authorities’ involvement in the United States’s torture programmes, following a US Senate report in which Malaysia was implicated.

    • Effective oversight of the CIA depends on Congress

      In a recent piece here on The Monkey Cage, Michael Colaresi discussed the need for change in oversight of the CIA and by extension the entirety of the intelligence community. He suggests that in the wake of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture issued Dec. 9, “current and former CIA officials, as well as President Obama, seem bent on missing the relevant lessons to improve governance of national security. The CIA needs more, not less, oversight” (my emphasis).

    • The CIA’s Road to Infamy

      Beyond the drama created by the Report’s surviving multiple assassination attempts, what is there that should grab our attention? The CIA designed and conducted a program of systematic torture of those it suspected of being associated with terrorism. It did so at several of the notorious “black sites,” at Guantanamo and probably elsewhere in Iraq and Afghanistan. Torture was the official policy of the United States government as stipulated by President George W. Bush with the unanimous approval of his national security team – including Colin Powell. The torture program continued for years – carried out by the Army as well as the CIA. Several of those tortured were held on basis of no evidence whatsoever, something that did not shield them from abuse and imprisonment under brutal conditions.

    • CIA’s poisonous legacy starts with who we are

      Senator John McCain spoke the truth on the Senate floor this month, in response to the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture: “. . . this question isn’t about our enemies; it’s about us. It’s about who we were, who we are, and who we aspire to be.” Many voices insisted that the revelations contained in the report — savage, even murderous treatment of prisoners; illegal renditions; black sites — were not true to the American character. The CIA — having carried out torture; having lied about it at the time; and having lied about it this month in response to the report — was discussed as if it were “not who we are.” But is that true?

      American officials, and the American people, know very well what the CIA is, and what it does. It was McCain who, when CIA waterboarding of terror suspects first surfaced as an issue some years ago, recalled that, after World War II, Japanese waterboarding of POW’s — what McCain calls “mock execution” — was one of the war crimes for which Japanese prisoners were hanged. But on the Sunday talk shows after the Senate report’s release, various CIA defenders, including Dick Cheney, talked of such tactics with stoic pride. President Obama decried torture and swore never again, but simultaneously defended the honor of the CIA, and declined to prosecute its war criminals. It comes as no surprise then, that in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released last week, a majority of Americans found that “the harsh interrogation practices” laid out in the report were “acceptable under the circumstances.” Really?

    • Why The Government Needs to Release the CIA Torture Photos

      As details emerge from the CIA Torture Report, many Americans are finding themselves reeling. Yet we are still getting an incredibly sanitized version of the truth. This is because thousands of photos, taken at these CIA black sites, are being withheld by the government under the guise of ‘national security.’

      The photos are currently locked in a court case that has been going on for some time, but last Friday the government was forced to submit reasoning for every photo they wanted to remain classified. NY State Judge Alvin Hellerstein is expected to make a ruling shortly regarding their release, but the United States may still attempt to withhold them.

    • Has a Top CIA Official Been Exposed as the Leading Liar About Torture?

      Senior CIA officer Alfreda Frances Bikowsky has reportedly been described in several articles by large, credible sources as a linchpin figure in the CIA torture program. However, she was unidentified, but The Intercept has named her as being that instrumental figure in the CIA torture program.

      After being called a “key apologist,” “The Unidentified Queen of Torture,” noted as “the model for the lead character in ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’” and identified in having a central role in lying to Congress about the CIA’s torture methods, Bikowsky appears to be the main liar. Last week, according to The Intercept, “NBC News reported that one senior CIA officer in particular was responsible for many . . . false claims.”

      The report noted that Bikowsky, remaining unnamed, “also participated in ‘enhanced interrogations’ of self-professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed witnessed the waterboarding of terror suspect Abu Zubaydah and ordered the detention of a suspected terrorist who turned out to be unconnected to al Qaeda, according to the report.”

    • Penn prof. ‘horrified’ life’s research is connected to CIA torture techniques

      The CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques,” outlined in a controversial report released earlier this month from the Senate Intelligence Committee, was influenced by a Penn professor’s research.

      Psychology professor Martin E. P. Seligman famously conducted studies at Penn in the 1960s that revealed a “learned helplessness” in dogs subjected to repeated eletric shocks. Instead of adjusting their behavior upon receiving multiple shocks, the dogs remained in place, providing valuable insight into the workings of depressed or abused persons. Now, his research is being used for torture rather than healing according the the Senate report.

    • Former CIA Operative On Torture Report

      Glenn Carle retired from the CIA after 23 years of service. He participated in the interrogation of top-level members of al-Qaida and refused orders to engage in torture.

    • The Continuing Shame of the CIA’s Torture Program

      For a clue into how out-of-control, un-American, and just plain wrong our CIA’s torture program was, note the frantic and furious reactions by the CIA establishment to reports about its torturous cruelty.

      First were flat-out denials. George Tenet, CIA director during the most vigorous period of torturing al Qaeda suspects, almost blew a gasket in 2007, when a “60 Minutes” interviewer pressed him about the agency’s waterboarding of prisoners. “We don’t torture people.” Tenet practically hollered at the reporter – “Let me say that again to you, we don’t torture people. OK?”

    • CIA torture report: Why the silence from local human rights groups?

      Questions are being asked as to why local human rights groups and other non-governmental organisations that fight for people’s rights have remained silent over the US CIA Torture Report.

      PAS official mouthpiece, Harakahdaily said there seems to be very little outcry from rights groups everywhere, adding that protest notes have yet to be sent to the US embassy over its treatment of detainees purportedly involved in terrorism.

    • The CIA & NYPD: Perilous Insubordination In Our Democracy

      It is very simple. If the CIA is insubordinate to the president, whom the country elected, then it is insubordinate to all of us.

    • Before the EITs: James Mitchell’s Special Invite to FBI/APA Conference at Quantico on “Combatting Terrorism”

      The narrative is in place. James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen made millions of dollars having convinced the CIA to construct a torture program via reverse-engineering brutal methods of interrogation used in their previous employment in a military program meant to prepare U.S. military and intelligence personnel for torture by a foreign power or terrorist group.

    • Conditioning brain through fear, CIA program sought to render detainees helpless

      At times, waterboarding rendered al-Qaida terror suspect Abu Zubaydah hysterical. But later, a message to CIA headquarters described an interrogator merely lifting his eyebrow and snapping his fingers, and Zubaydah “slowly walked on his own to the water table” to lie down.

    • Non-religious Americans believe CIA “treatment of suspected terrorists” unacceptable, poll reveals

      The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life conducted polls in 2009. The surveys discovered that the religious Americans are more likely to believe that torture of suspected terrorists is justifiable.

      Five years after the survey was conducted, a new poll was done and it was discovered not much has changed.

      The new poll, conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News, found that more Christian Americans, compared to non-Christians, find that CIA “treatment of suspected terrorists” is acceptable.

    • The Mysterious Case of Prisoner 212

      Researchers and reporters had long counted the total number of prisoners who cycled through Guantanamo at 779, but the Senate intelligence committee’s report on CIA torture revealed that there was one more previously unknown detainee. Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, also known as prisoner 212, was held at a secret black site at Guantanamo Bay, according to the report, bringing the total number of detainees to 780.

      That al-Libi was held by the CIA is long established. After all, al-Libi’s name is notorious as the source of bad information used by the Bush administration to tie Saddam Hussein to Al-Qaeda to support the US invasion of Iraq — information he provided while being tortured in Egyptian custody, and later recanted.


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



  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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.


Links 26/12/2014: Devuan in the News, New PCLinuxOS

Posted in News Roundup at 7:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Sinofsky, The Creator Of That Other OS, Sees The Light

    He sees the end of the old ways and the arrival of newer software with less baggage on ARM and the cloud giving us all a fresh start. GNU/Linux gives a fresh start too. Yes, refreshing. Why can’t the trolls be as forthcoming?

  • Enterprise Advances Brought Linux Success in 2014

    For Linux, 2014 could easily be labeled the year enterprise really and truly embraced Linux. It could just as easily be labeled the year that nearly forgot Linux on the desktop. If you weren’t Docker, containers, OpenStack, or big data ─ chances are the spotlight didn’t brighten your day much. If, however, you (or your product) fell into one of those categories, that spotlight shined so brightly, it was almost blinding.

    Let’s glance back into our own wayback machine and see where Linux succeeded and where it did not. The conclusions should be fairly simple to draw and are incredibly significant to the state of Linux as a whole.

  • Christmas Quiz

    Forget the fancy graphics of Valve’s latest offering – the only computer game a Linux user needs this year is a good quiz on all things Linux-y. Here are eight rounds of fiendish questions on everything from the Kernel to hardware to see if you know your Tux from your Beastie.

  • ​Linux and open source 2014: It was the best of years, it was the worst of years

    There was great news and there was awful news in the world of Linux and open-source software during 2014.

  • Desktop

    • Welcome to the Pre-Post-PC Era

      Today’s float on the parade of the PC-is-dead prognostications comes from The Register, which says, “At the very moment that Linux desktops seem to be reaching new levels of sophistication, polish and ‘just works’ ease-of-use, the entire future of the desktop computer (by which I also mean laptop) feels in doubt.”

      The only thing that’s in doubt is whether that sentence is anywhere near remotely accurate. But let’s put that aside for a moment and assume we can see the future of how we deal with our digital lives.

    • Windows and Linux: The same, but different

      I use Windows 8.1 and Linux Mint 17.1 a lot nowadays, to do things like write, surf the web, check twitter and other web-based things.

      Sometimes I boot into Windows, sometimes Mint, but who cares which? I am just going to Chrome anyway. It’s all the same thing.

    • UNIX Industry Banks on Linux Strategies

      Struggling UNIX server makers are strengthening their Linux strategy in line with the open-source application environment. The move is aimed at maintaining remaining customers, since users are increasingly abandoning UNIX servers. However, it is receiving a lukewarm response from the market.

      According to industry sources on Dec. 22, server vendors such as IBM and HP are concentrating on the development of products so that the Linux operating system and related applications can be used as UNIX servers.

  • Kernel Space

    • Updating the Linux Kernel Without Restart Could Arrive Soon for Users

      A new development cycle has been started for the Linux kernel, 3.19, but it looks like the 3.20 branch is about to receive a very interesting patch that should really shake things up if it’s going to get accepted, that is.

    • The winning Linux kernel live patch: All of the above

      Life’s choices often amount to one of two options: Linux or Windows? Android or iOS? Kgraft or Kpatch?

      That last pair consists of the two major contenders for the technology Linux could use for live kernel patches. Now a winner is in, and it amounts to all of the above.

      According to a post on the official Linux kernel developer’s mailing list, a kernel patching system that works with both Kgraft and Kpatch and uses “core functionality abstracted out of [those] already existing implementations” has been proposed as an addition to the Linux 3.20 kernel.

    • Eudyptula Challenge: superfast Linux kernel booting

      One of the first tasks of this quite interesting challenge is to compile and boot your own kernel

    • Linux Kernel Developers Consider Live Kernel Patching Solution

      kPatch and kGraph may soon enable live kernel updates on all Linux distributions, making it possible to apply security and other patches on the open source operating system without rebooting.

    • OPNFV Plans Next Steps for Open Source NFV, SDN

      OPNFV, the open source software-defined networking and network-functions virtualization project, said development of both code and community will be its focus for 2015.

    • Does Linux suffer from bloat?

      Linux has long been known as an operating system that would run well even on older hardware. But has Linux become bloated in recent releases and how does it compare to Windows 8 in terms of system requirements?

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Linux Lite 2.2

        It’s been quite a while since I last looked at Linux Lite, the last version I reviewed being 1.0.6. Much has changed in Linux Lite since that release and now it’s reached version 2.2. If you aren’t familiar with it, you should know that Linux Lite is a distribution geared toward helping current Windows users transition to the Linux desktop.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2014.12 released

        PCLinuxOS has been updated to version 2014.12, and you can download it in a variety of flavors including the super-humongous 4.8 GB Full Monty version that comes with tons of additional software.

      • Santa Claus has Linux in his sack — PCLinuxOS 2014.12 is here
      • Happy Holidays from PCLinuxOS

        PCLinuxOS 2014.12 isos have been released for Full Monty, KDE, MATE and LXDE. Highlights include kernel 3.18.1, ffmpeg 2.5.1, mesa 10.4.0, SysVinit (no systemd) and all popular applications such as Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice and VLC have been updated to their latest versions. Please note if you have been keeping up with your PCLinuxOS software updates then there is NO NEED to install fresh from a 2014.12 iso. These ISOS are final releases based on legacy technology. Future releases will default to grub2 and support uefi and gpt partition formats.

      • Christmas rest for the braves

        We planned initially to release Mageia 5 beta 2 around the 16th of December. We still have some work left to complete to release a proper beta 2 that would drive us through to the final release.

        Releasing development ISOs is a good way to test all the functions of the installer with the largest possible scope of use cases and variety of hardware. We still have some issues left with EFI integration and some tricky bugs in the installer. So in order to allow some time to fix them and also to still enjoy the Christmas period with friends and family, it has been decided to delay beta 2 until the 6th of January 2015, the initial date of the RC, and then postpone the final release.

      • Mageia 5 Has Been Delayed
      • Mageia Beta Delayed, Christmas Quiz, and 7 Best Alternatives

        Today in Linux news the Mageia project announced another delay in version 5 Beta 2. The Linux Voice is running a Linux quiz for Christmas and Gary Newell offers up his list of the seven best alternative Linux distributions of the year. The Register says 2015 will be the year of Linux – on mobile. Three reviews need to be highlighted and, finally today, Matt Hartley says everyone should switch to Ubuntu MATE.

      • ROSA Fresh R5 is out

        The ROSA company is happy to finally present ROSA Desktop Fresh R5, the number 5 in the “R” lineup of the free ROSA distros with the KDE desktop as a main graphical environment.

      • Hands-on with PCLinuxOS: A terrific release

        I had been thinking that a new PCLinuxOS release was due any time now, based on their quarterly release schedule. Sure enough, it has now arrived, just in time for Christmas – PCLinuxOS 2014.12.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Stock: 3 Pros, 3 Cons

        Red Hat Inc (RHT) is ending the year with a flourish, as the stock has hit a 52-week high of $70. This puts the market cap at nearly $13 billion. In the past year, RHT stock has gained about 23%.

      • Fedora

        • Trying on Fedora 21

          I think it is arguable the Fedora project has done just that, created a small “core” base that products (such as Workstation, Server and Cloud) can be built on. And I applaud Mr Miller for working successfully toward his vision. Still, I am disappointed the result appears to be a smaller, less interesting Fedora. It is a more, to borrow Mr Miller’s term, “boring” foundation distribution, rather than a powerful desktop or server distribution. It is not a solution that brings more functionality to the table, something that would approach Mint’s level of “just works”, Ubuntu’s task oriented work flow or openSUSE’s level of integration. As a core platform we can use as a base to install Docker containers and run services, Fedora 21 can be considered a success. As a workstation operating system I would use to develop code or a desktop distribution I would install for friends & family, I do not think Fedora is a good match for those roles.

    • Debian Family

      • Devuan rebels hope to deliver Debian fork in 2015

        Devuan, the Debian spin-off that will not include systemd has posted its first progress report.

        The missive says things are going well, as the project now has a GitLab repository and has built the first devuan-baseconf package.

      • Linux Bloat, Linux Lite, and Devuan Update
      • Don’t panic and keep forking Debian™! :^) Once upon a time there was a Debian fork

        This is an update on the progress of the Devuan.org project, born out of the Debianfork.org declaration to defend our growing community from the systemd avalanche.

      • Is Devuan really a good idea?

        I was idly looking through the press releases and news stories when I came across this article which talks about the new Debian fork called Devuan.

        Devuan is a complete fork of the Debian system minus systemd.

        I know that there are lots of people who aren’t happy with the inclusion of systemd as part of the next release of Debian but to make such a radical decision to clone the entire thing and start your own project could be deemed overkill.

        I can understand a single developer or a handful of developers taking a Debian or Ubuntu base and then creating a new distribution with a specific purpose in mind. I actually think smaller distributions are a good thing because they come up with and implement ideas that might not reach the light of day in one of the base distributions.

        Many people are of the opinion however that it is better to pool resources and have just a few distributions where everybody works together to make those distributions as good as they can possibly be.

      • Devuan Is Still Moving Along As A Debian Fork Without Systemd

        The Devuan fork of Debian is progressing as Debian GNU/Linux without systemd present on the system.

      • Bonus: More from the deepest depths of Debian

        And not just Debian this time, since I have one or two here that elude me and are from the Arch corpus only. By and large the relevant theme here is a consistent lack of required hardware, although I’m throwing in an oddball application or two that I just can’t seem to get working, for more traditional reasons. Like extensive or esoteric setups. Or my own thick-headedness.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • NTP Vulnerabilities Closed in Supported Ubuntu OSes

            Canonical has announced that a number of NTP vulnerabilities have been corrected for Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS operating systems.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” Cinnamon Review: As always, Impressive!

              I am very happy with Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon. It looks great with very polished interface, hundreds of attractive wallpapers, easy customization options and awesome collection of themes. The distro offers really good performance and excellent battery life. If you are looking for a functional distro which offers attractive looks and impressive performance, I definitely feel you should try out Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 2014: A Banner Year for Open Source

    Open source was initially adopted for low cost and lack of vendor lock-in, but customers have found that it also results in better innovation and more flexibility. Now it is pervasive, and it is challenging proprietary incumbents across technology categories. It is not only mainstream, open source is truly leading innovation in areas like cloud, mobile, big data, the Internet of Things, and beyond.

    As we embark on a new year, I cannot help but reflect on the speed with which technology is changing. Rapidly delivering technology is about much more than just the technology – it is about people and culture. More than ever, this is why executives are looking at key technology companies – including Red Hat – as their partner instead of as a vendor.

  • IsoHunt releases roll-your-own Pirate Bay

    Torrent site ISOhunt has created a roll-your-own, open source, version of infamous file-sharing site The Pirate Bay.

    IsoHunt’s motive for the release seems to be a belief that big targets like The Pirate Bay will inevitably be picked off by law enforcement agencies. Lots of sites, however, present a tougher target. Open-sourcing what it’s calling “OpenBay” means there’ll be more targets for law enforcers to consider.

    “History of torrent sites such as Isohunt and The Pirate Bay gives us a lesson that would be a crime not to learn,” says the new OpenBay site. “The era of individual torrent sites is over.”

  • The Pirate Bay’s Site Goes Back Online (With a Giant, Waving Flag For Now)
  • There Are Gonna Be 9280928 Pirate Bays Because Anyone Can Make a New One
  • Pirate Bay Site Is Back Online, But Pirate Booty Is Hidden Behind Encryption
  • Facebook’s 2014 Open-Source Highlights
  • A real-time editing tool for Wikipedia

    Wikipedia is one of the most frequently visited websites in the world. The vast online encyclopedia, editable by anyone, has become the go-to source for general information on any subject. However, the “crowdsourcing” used by Wikipedia opens their doors to spin and whitewashing–edits that may be less than factual in nature. To help journalists, citizens, and activists track these edits, TWG (The Working Group) partnered with Metro News and the Center for Investigative Reporting to build WikiWash.

  • Open Source Meritocracy Is More Than a Joke

    In January 2014, Github removed the rug in its office’s waiting room in response to criticism of its slogan, “United Meritocracy of Github.” Since then, the criticism of the idea of meritocracy has spread in free software circles. “Meritocracy is a joke,” has become a slogan seen on T-shirts and constantly proclaimed, especially by feminists.

    Such commentary is true — so far as it goes, but it ignores the potential benefits of meritocracy as an ethos.

    Anyone who bothers to look can see that meritocracy is more of an ideal than a standard practice in free software. The idea that people should be valued for their contributions may seem to be a way to promote fairness, but the practice is frequently more complicated.

  • Unmanagement and unleadership

    Luis Ibanez is a senior software developer at Google. In this short talk he explains what he means by “unmanagement” and “unleadership” and how they can change the course of a project.

  • Using Your Open Source Work to Get a Job

    So you’ve worked on an open-source project, and you want to place that experience on your resume in order to move your career forward. Fantastic! In theory, there’s no reason an employer should shun your experience, just because you did the project from home on your own time. But how can you actually leverage that project work to obtain a full-time job?

  • Events

    • Help improve diverse accessibility for PDX’s Open Source Bridge conference

      Sumana writes, “Open Source Bridge is already a leader among tech conferences in diversity-friendliness — OSB featured a strong code of conduct, accessibility, well-labelled food for all needs, and cheap & free admissions before they became de rigeur, and in 2014 boasted a gender-balanced slate of speakers.”

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Symantec Brings Security Savvy as OpenStack Gold Member

      If you ask many enterprises considering doing an OpenStack deployment why they aren’t pulling the trigger, lots of them will cite security concerns as the primary obstruction. As I covered recently, IDG Enterprise came out with results from a new survey it did involving 1,672 IT decision-makers who report that they are very focused on cloud computing, including open cloud platforms such as OpenStack. The survey clearly showed that security and protection from disaster were among IT managers’ chief concerns in implementing cloud deployments.

    • Banks and other institutions leverage the Tor network as a security layer.

      Now that many enterprises are actually moving forward with OpenStack deployments, they are also wrestling with the complexities of putting applications and appropriate services on their cloud platforms. The last days of 2014 have brought news of some interesting choices becoming available for OpenStack deployments.

    • Mirantis, Tesora Partner on OpenStack Cloud Interoperability

      Tesora and Mirantis have partnered to certify the interoperability of their respective OpenStack open source cloud computing distributions and tools.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Foundation Newsletter, December 22, 2014

      In this issue, you’ll get a summary of all the FreeBSD development work we’ve supported; highlights of all the conferences that we sponsored and attended; plans for the FreeBSD Journal in 2015; another great testimonial from a commercial user; and our Q1-Q3 financial reports. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite part of our semi-annual newsletter, the insightful and always inspirational letter from our president and founder, Justin Gibbs.


  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Turing Church and Open Source Religion: Ben Goertzel Interviews Giulio Prisco

      In 2011 I — Ben Goertzel – interviewed physicist and futurist Giulio Prisco on his notion of Technological Transcendence. Since that time Giulio has been very active in developing these ideas further – and quite recently he has taken the initiative to start a “Turing Church” with an open-source spirit. So it seemed time to have another conversation with Giulio on his Turing Church concept and plans, and what it may mean for the future of humanity, transhumanism and spirituality.

    • RichRap Unveils The Open Source, 3D Printed Universal Pellet Extruder

      If you are like me, you can’t help but see dollar signs every time you run your 3D printer. “How much filament is this using?” “What if the printer screws up just as the project is nearing completion?” Those are thoughts that run through my head as I watch the spool of filament slowly unravel and my finances follow right behind.

    • Sifteo’s intelligent cubes go open-source after disappointing commercial run

      Sifteo, a system of intelligent gaming cubes launched with significant fanfare in 2011, has gone open-source.

    • Mars Express images and videos for everyone

      As of December 19, the European Space Agency (ESA) is now sharing all of its images and videos from the Mars Express mission under CC BY-SA. ESA is using the intergovernmental organization (IGO) port of CC BY-SA 3.0. ESA is one of several intergovernmental organizations to use the IGO port since we introduced it last year.

    • Open Data

      • The year in local open data

        It was another year full of encouraging news on the open data front in states and municipalities across the country. New open data policies were approved in municipalities of all sizes from coast to coast, existing open data programs matured and sparked new innovations, and there were numerous other open government wins as a result of advocacy efforts.

  • Programming


  • Science

  • Security

    • VeriSign Warns of DNS Security Risks

      The CSO of VeriSign discusses his concerns about domain collisions and the risks they entail.

    • 12 Million Home Routers Vulnerable to Takeover

      More than 12 million devices running an embedded webserver called RomPager are vulnerable to a simple attack that could give a hacker man-in-the-middle position on traffic going to and from home routers from just about every leading manufacturer.

    • Apple pushes first ever automated security update to Mac users

      Apple Inc has pushed out its first-ever automated security update to Macintosh computers to help defend against newly identified bugs that security researchers have warned could enable hackers to gain remote control of machines.

      The company pushed out the software on Monday to fix critical security vulnerabilities in a component of its OS X operating system called the network time protocol, or NTP, according to Apple spokesman Bill Evans.NTP is used for synchronizing clocks on computer systems.

    • Thunderbolt devices can infect MacBooks with persistent rootkits

      Attackers can infect MacBook computers with highly persistent boot rootkits by connecting malicious devices to them over the Thunderbolt interface.

      The attack, dubbed Thunderstrike, installs malicious code in a MacBook’s boot ROM (read-only memory), which is stored in a chip on the motherboard. It was devised by a security researcher named Trammell Hudson based on a two-year old vulnerability and will be demonstrated next week at the 31st Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg.

    • NTP The Latest Open Source Security Problem

      The problem was discovered by the Google Security Team which seems to be responsible recently for more than its fair share of vulnerabilities detected. Some of the vulnerabilities are in older versions of the NTP code and have been fixed. So as long as you have been keeping up-to-date there is nothing to worry about.

    • NTP Is The Latest Project Struck By Security Issues

      Now public via the ICS-CERT after the discoveries were made by the Google Security Team are multiple vulnerabilities with the widely-used NTP. These vulnerabilities could lead to arbitrary code execution with the same privileges as the NTP daemon. These vulnerabilities can be exploited remotely and the ICS-CERT characterizes them as requiring low skills to exploit.

    • Why the Sony hack is unlikely to be the work of North Korea.

      Everyone seems to be eager to pin the blame for the Sony hack on North Korea. However, I think it’s unlikely. Here’s why:1. The broken English looks deliberately bad and doesn’t exhibit any of the classic comprehension mistakes you actually expect to see in “Konglish”. i.e it reads to me like an English speaker pretending to be bad at writing English.

    • Sony Pictures hackers say they want ‘equality,’ worked with staff to break in

      The hackers who took down Sony Pictures’ computer systems yesterday say that they are working for “equality” and suggest that their attack was assisted or carried out by Sony employees. In an email responding to inquiries from The Verge, a person identifying as one of the hackers writes, “We Want equality [sic]. Sony doesn’t. It’s an upward battle.” The hackers’ goals remain unclear, but they used the attack yesterday to specifically call out Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, referring to him as a “criminal” in a tweet.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Delta employee charged with helping smuggle guns onto plane

      The FBI and New York police held a news conference to discuss the latest on an airline security breach involving a Delta employee facing federal charges.

      Police say more than 150 guns were illegally smuggled from Atlanta to New York on more than a dozen trips. Channel 2′s Rachel Stockman broke the news Monday that a former Delta employee at Hartsfield-Jackson is accused of using his clearance to help smuggle the guns.

    • Leaked CIA docs teach operatives how to infiltrate EU

      Wikileaks has released two classified documents instructing CIA operatives how best to circumvent global security systems in international airports, including those of the EU, while on undercover missions.

      The first of the documents, dated September 2011, advises undercover operatives how to act during a secondary airport screening. Secondary screenings pose a risk to an agent’s cover by focusing “significant scrutiny” on an operative via thorough searches and detailed questioning.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Flaw in open-source PDF viewer could put WikiLeaks users, others at risk

      An open-source component used to display PDF files on WikiLeaks.org and other websites contains vulnerabilities that could be exploited to launch cross-site scripting (XSS) and content spoofing attacks against visitors.

      The vulnerable component is called FlexPaper and is developed by a company called Devaldi, based in New Zealand. The company confirmed the issues, which were first reported Thursday on the WikiLeaks supporters forum, and released FlexPaper 2.3.0 to address them.

  • Finance

    • The Cost of US Wars Since 9/11: $1.6 Trillion

      The cost of US war-making in the 13 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks reached a whopping $1.6 trillion in 2014, according to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

    • Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street

      Sheeta Leung Hui-kwan, a spokeswoman for G4S Hong Kong, said an internal investigation was underway, but initial findings suggest a broken door sparked the incident.

      Armed police were quick to arrive at the scene, and closed off two lanes of the road.

      According to reports, witnesses to the accident were seen running onto Gloucester Road and grabbing HK$500 notes. One person allegedly filled their arms with wrapped bundles of cash, a witness told the SCMP.

    • Why Won’t Warren Quit Worrying and Learn to Love Wall Street?

      Illustrating that nothing rattles corporate media like progressive populism, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius (12/24/14) is the latest establishment journalist to launch a salvo against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and “her jihad against Wall Street.”

      Echoing the New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin (FAIR Blog, 11/26/14), Ignatius goes after Warren for opposing the nomination of Antonio Weiss to be the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for domestic finance. He makes the same extraneous points Sorkin did about Weiss (He’s a Democrat! He publishes the Paris Review!) and similarly misrepresents Warren’s primary reason for opposing him, which is, as she wrote in the Huffington Post (11/19/14), that “Weiss has spent most of his career working on international transactions,” so “neither his background nor his professional experience makes him qualified to oversee consumer protection and domestic regulatory functions at the Treasury.”

      Ignatius also criticizes Warren for including on her “enemies list” Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, despite the fact that they “had never worked as private bankers.” Summers may not have been a private banker, but he was a managing director of the hedge fund D.E. Shaw, which paid him $5.2 million; he also got $2.7 million in “speaking fees” from financial firms, including major banks like Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase (Salon, 4/4/09). But he wasn’t a private banker!

  • Censorship

    • Amy Adams: ‘Confused’ by ‘Today’ show treatment

      Amy Adams says she is still “really confused” about having her live interview on The Today Show dramatically pulled minutes before it was due to take place Monday morning.

      Adams told USA TODAY on Tuesday night that she was “surprised” that the segment was unceremoniously canceled after she expressed misgivings over discussing aspects of the Sony hacking scandal on live television.

  • Privacy

    • ‘Citizenfour’ Producers Sued Over Edward Snowden Leaks (Exclusive)

      Horace Edwards, who identifies himself as a retired naval officer and the former secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation, has filed a lawsuit in Kansas federal court that seeks a constructive trust over monies derived from the distribution of Citizenfour. Edwards, who says he has “Q” security clearance and was the chief executive of the ARCO Pipeline Company, seeks to hold Snowden, director Laura Poitras, The Weinstein Co., Participant Media and others responsible for “obligations owed to the American people” and “misuse purloined information disclosed to foreign enemies.”

      It’s an unusual lawsuit, one that the plaintiff likens to “a derivative action on behalf of the American Public,” and is primarily based upon Snowden’s agreement with the United States to keep confidentiality.

    • 8 Free Privacy Programs Worth Your Year-End Donations

      Free software isn’t free. Someone’s got to shell out for the expensive development, maintenance, bug fixes and updates for programs that so many of us who live online have come to see as almost natural resources. And increasingly, those taken-for-granted tools have become vital for the privacy and security of millions of people.

    • Tor Project Leaders Warn of Possibly Imminent Network Attack

      In the world of online anonymity, the Tor network is a silent king. Millions of users depend on Tor to keep their tracks untraceable online, and not just individual users. Banks and other institutions leverage the Tor network as a security layer. In the U.S. last year, when NSA snooping was in the news, usage of the Tor network doubled within a matter of days.

    • Facebook: Colonialism 2.0

      The Western media has attempted to portray Mark Zuckerberg’s ambitious plan to get every human being online as altruistic at first, but later revealed as simply what could be called “profitable empathy.” In reality however, the truth is much more sinister, with Facebook already revealed to be much more than a mere corporation run by Zuckerberg and his “ideas”

  • Civil Rights

    • Obama Should Prosecute the Torturers

      The New York Times has a blistering editorial calling on President Obama to prosecute those who committed torture…

    • Iraq: Yezidi women and girls face harrowing sexual violence

      Torture, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, suffered by women and girls from Iraq’s Yezidi minority who were abducted by the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS), highlights the savagery of IS rule, said Amnesty International in a new briefing today.

    • Oakland PD Body Cams Help Cut Police-Involved Shootings From 8 A Year To Zero In The Last 18 Months.

      A body camera system is nothing without solid policies backing them up. Anyone can instruct an officer to wear a camera, but only a department solidly behind the program will hold them accountable if they fail to do so. According to public records obtained by Ars Technica, the Oakland PD is making a genuine effort to ensure devices are on and recording.

    • EXCLUSIVE – Ryan Ferguson on his first year of freedom: Man wrongly jailed for TEN YEARS reveals how the girlfriend he met in prison is helping him cope with life outside and tells of the hell of solitary confinement

      A review of the trial later revealed that police coerced and coached key witnesses

    • 2015 – Looking Forward

      But still, mainstream politicians still don’t think that issues like civil liberties, mass surveillance, digital rights and freedom of speech will move people’s votes at a general election. That is why so many MPs simply ignored their constituents when it came to crackdowns like the DRIP vote. They count that once election will be run in exactly the same way as previous decades.

    • Secret Torture versus Open Source Intelligence

      The DNI, USDI, and CIA went over the cliff when they confused technology with thinking, secrets with intelligence, and spending money with progress. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the world of intelligence as decision-support, Big Data is noise. The best intelligence — precision intelligence — is from a human source with direct access, and that is not something we can do today despite millions of such sources being available. We have no penetrations of ISIS, the clandestine service refuses to deal with “overt” human experts, while the diplomats and attaches have no money for commercial sourcing and modest performance fees. In consequence we have no human assets of any import across the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, or the Americas at the same time that our analysts are children lacking in real-world experience — who in addition rarely speak the target language and have no grasp of the culture or history of the target population.

    • A Majority of Cop Killers Have Been White

      As officials continue to investigate Saturday’s tragic killing of two NYPD officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, details have surfaced about the suspect, 28 year old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who allegedly shot a woman in Baltimore before traveling to New York. Anti-police posts he appears to have published on social media sites prior to the killings have lead many to connect his crime to protests that occurred in previous weeks, and some commenters have cast blame on officials including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Attorney General Eric Holder, and President Obama, all of whom have condemned the violence.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality Takes a Wild Ride: 2014 in Review

      If you’ve been watching the issue of net neutrality this year, you know it’s been quite a ride. The year started with the D.C. Circuit overturning the majority of the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet rules, explaining that the FCC can’t impose “common carrier”-type rules on ISPs without actually classifying them as “common carriers.” Having chosen to classify them instead as “information services” back in 2004, the ruling meant the FCC had to go back to the drawing board. That led to a new proposal in May by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler that many believed would actively undermine the open Internet in the name of protecting it.

    • It’s Almost Christmas. Is Anyone Still on the Internet?

      Offices everywhere are emptying as people head home for a few days of light dining and constructive political conversations with relatives. But is the Internet as much of a ghost town as your workplace over the holiday season? Nope. Internet usage is likely to be higher than usual for the rest of the week, according to Sandvine, a firm that tracks Internet traffic. The only exception: a few hours on Christmas Eve, when people have no choice but to put away devices and talk to one another.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Secretly Settled With Hotfile for $4 Million, Not $80 Million

        Last December the MPAA announced one of its biggest victories to date. The Hollywood group won its case against file-hosting site Hotfile, who agreed to a $80 million settlement. However, this figure mostly served to impress and scare the public, as we can now reveal that Hotfile agreed to pay ‘only’ $4 million.

      • Raid on Kim Dotcom’s Mansion Was Legal, Supreme Court Rules

        A high-profile police raid carried out on Kim Dotcom’s New Zealand mansion has been declared legal by the country’s Supreme Court. The Court acknowledged that the search warrants used against Dotcom were ‘deficient’ in detail, but this did not result in a miscarriage of justice.

      • UK Cinema Calls Police on Kids With iPhones Over Piracy Concerns

        A group of 12-year-old girls had the police called on them after they decided to bring their iPhones and iPads to a showing of The Hunger Games at a local cinema. The police officers who rushed to the scene were unable to find any recorded footage, but by then the children were too distressed to watch the rest of the film.


Links 23/12/2014: Updates on GNU/Linux in China and N. Korea

Posted in News Roundup at 4:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • YEAR of the PENGUIN: A Linux mobile in 2015?

    It’s nearly impossible to sum up an entire year of developments in something as large and nebulous as the world of desktop Linux, especially in a year like this one which has seen some the best releases that projects like Mint, Fedora and openSUSE have put out to date.

    At the same time the distro that’s closest to being a household name, Ubuntu, has been nearly silent since 14.04 arrived in April.

    To paraphrase author Charles Dickens, the past year of Linux releases has been both the best of times and the worst of times.

    At the very moment that Linux desktops seem to be reaching new levels of sophistication, polish and “just works” ease-of-use, the entire future of the desktop computer (by which I also mean laptop) feels in doubt.

  • The Machine with Open Source Carbon OS is the Next Big Thing – if HP can deliver

    HP has recently been facing some serious difficulties and has opted to betting all its resources on the new PC called ‘The Machine’. Probably the most intriguing thing about the machine is that it will rewrite basic computing on a very fundamental level. While the topic has been covered extensively, I realized we haven’t actually touched it here and thought it was about time.

  • North Korea’s Red Star Linux goes for a Mac OS X look

    It seems that even the somewhat “traditional” North Korean tech aesthetics is getting an update. Thanks to a former lecturer at Pyongyang, we are getting a glimpse of what the officially sanctioned operating system of North Korea, Red Star Linux, now looks like, almost half a decade since the OS was first leaked outside the secretive regime. Apparently, like the rest of the tech world, the Linux-based OS has moved away from a Windows 7, nay Window XP even, look towards a more stylish OS X.

  • Chromebooks rising, SteamOS stalling, Linux’s civil war: The World Beyond Windows’ 10 biggest stories of the year

    If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Microsoft has nothing but good things to say about Linux. Windows 10 is abandoning many of the more jarring changes of Windows 8—while simultaneously copying features from Linux.

    Windows 10 includes virtual desktops, a centralized notification center, and a vision of apps that can run in windows when you’re using a proper PC, or full-screen when you’re using a mobile device. It’s a smattering of ideas from 15-year-old Linux desktops, GNOME Shell, and Ubuntu’s vision of convergence.

  • China plans to cull foreign tech in favour of local suppliers

    Regulators in China recently seeked anti-trust probes against Western companies such as Microsoft and Qualcomm Inc.

  • The 5 Best Linux Stories of 2014

    Two Thousand and Fourteen was an exciting, tumultuous and rather funky year for Linux.

    Great consumer news, forks, death threats, hardware delays and… something truly unthinkable just a few years ago. Truth be told I’m still trying to wrap my head around, what feels like, the zaniest year of Linux shenanigans I have ever seen.

    Here are the 5 stories that, I feel, best sum up what happened with Linux (and the related Open Source world) in 2014.

  • Measuring Lock-in

    There’s a reason for that lock-in. For decades, M$ was allowed to use strong anti-competitive practices all over the world. It takes a lot of time money and effort to undo that. e.g. Munich took 10 years to throw open the doors to the jail in which it found itself after decades of using M$’s products while folks like Largo, FL, who never took the bait are laughing all the way to the bank, year after year. Smaller organizations like the ones for which I worked could free themselves in weeks but it requires good knowledge of GNU/Linux which is often lacking. That too can be overcome. When the dust settles, folks who switch are better off and have lower costs of IT forever. It pays to switch.

  • China’s ‘home-made’ operating system isn’t home made at all, but maybe that’s OK

    Like most governments, China’s has long been concerned about the security vulnerabilities that may come with using software developed in other countries. The biggest problem: PC operating systems in government buildings are almost universally run on Windows. For years, China has been trying to create a domestic alternative. Yesterday, the latest alpha build of its decade-in-the-making Kylin operating system went up for download.

    According to Techweb, this latest version of Ubuntu Kylin – the version of Kylin that’s being designed for use by the public – still contains serious bugs, and important parts of the OS have not been translated into Chinese.

    In fact, whether Kylin is even a Chinese operating system at all is debatable, although the Chinese media continues to describe the project as “home-grown.”

  • Meet Red Star OS, the North Korean Linux distro that apes Apple’s OS X

    Red Star OS is a Linux distribution developed in North Korea. Not only is it North Korea’s official Linux distribution, it’s their country’s official operating system period.

    Microsoft’s Windows operating system is written and developed in the USA, so it’s no surprise North Korea doesn’t really trust it given the tense relations between the two countries. Until 2002, when Red Star OS began to be developed in the DPRK, the few available computers in North Korea generally ran Windows. (Interestingly enough, the North Korean hackers which seem to be behind the hack of Sony Pictures appear to have been using Windows PCs instead.)

  • Desktop

    • Open Source Online Game Gets Students Excited About Linux

      When Razvan Rughinis began teaching the introductory operating systems course at University Politehnica of Bucharest in Romania 10 years ago, he was challenged to get students interested in Linux and keep them interested for the entire three-month course.

      Many first-year computer science students have no experience with Linux, and they have no interest in learning it, said Rughinis a professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department. And those students who do know Linux are regarded as unusual and treated as social outcasts, he said.

      “They wouldn’t pay attention to the first experience to see what Linux has to offer; not just the desktop, but how the services work and the depth of the system,” he said. “It’s a steep learning curve for students coming from high school. Their first encounter was too difficult.”

    • Librem 15 Is a Beast of a Linux Laptop with a Gorgeous Finish

      Librem 15 aims to be the only laptop coming with completely free software and its makers are looking to get some funding through a crowdfunding campaign.
      You might think that if a laptop ships with any Linux distribution, then it would stand to reason that it would be loaded with free and open source software, but the truth is that it’s not that simple or even intuitive. For example, it’s true that the Linux kernel is an open source project and that it’s freely distributable, but there are some people in the community that say it’s not enough.

    • Teaching Linux in the Dark

      Did I tell him it was Linux? Did I give him the party line on freedom-as-in-beer-and-code? No. I didn’t tell him anything except I was going to fix his computer.

      When the install was done, I imported his IE bookmarks into Firefox and loaded his music and pictures into the appropriate directories. I did not set him up with multiple desktops, nor did I blingify his desktop. He wanted to play his online games with his friends, he wanted to check his bank account from time to time and he wanted to access his Yahoo email account. That’s all. Oh…and he wanted to play World of Goo. It’s his new and favorite obsession.

      It took me all of one and a half hours to get him fixed and out the door.

      In the years I’ve been doing this, it’s only been recently that I’ve learned an extremely important lesson. Not everyone needs to be saved from one entity and changed to another. Not everyone wants or needs to know the important philosophical truths about free open source software. Sometimes, people just want their computers to do what they tell them to do and in the shortest and most simple way possible. The end result was a happy friend and a neighborhood computer I will not have to fix for a long time.

    • Come On! The Year Of GNU/Linux On The Desktop Was Ages Ago. Now We’re Mopping Up.

      Chromebooks are killing iPads and Wintel PCs in USAian education. Even PhotoShop ships for them. Every major OEM of PCs is shipping ChromeOS which is Chrome browser embedded on GNU/Linux. There are moves to integrate the rampant Android/Linux, too, with ChromeOS. We’ve won, beyond our wildest dreams and rather quickly too. It was only 7 years ago that Android was a gleam in Google’s eyes but they sold a billion copies last year.

    • Linux bloated? Think again

      When I first started using Linux, back in the mid-late nineties, a typical Linux installation was roughly four to five CDs and wound up installing applications geared toward scientists, programmers, HAM radio operators, and more. The kernel was built for a small sub-section of hardware it actually had support for (which included a lot of hardware most people didn’t have). The typical resources needed to run Linux were quite small. The first machine I ran Linux on was a Pentium II 75 Mhz processor with 56 MB of RAM and an unsupported WinModem (which was eventually swapped out for a US Robotics 36.6 external modem).

  • Server

    • Why is everyone hating on operating systems?

      For all for all of the hype containers have received, they are still dependent on the underlying operating system to run. Containers are awesome, but they’re still new, and the technology is still growing. In this talk, Brian Proffitt talks about how changes in the IT sector still require a trusted operating system sitting underneath containers, hypervisors, and all virtualization solutions.

  • Kernel Space

    • Video: Yes, I’m Linux. Are You?

      This was released by the Linux Foundation yesterday and I thought I’d share.

    • Inline Data Support Comes To CephFS With Linux 3.19

      The Ceph file-system in Linux 3.19 will support inline data to offer performance improvements for some operations.

      Ceph, the distributed file-system that prides itself as having no single point of failure and being very scalable, is adding in new functionality for Linux 3.19. First up, CephFS for Linux 3.19 adds support for inline data. Inline data makes the file-system quicker for accessing small files and is a feature already supported by Btrfs, EXT4, and other file-systems. Inline data support for Ceph has been a long time coming and is outlined further on this Ceph Wiki page.

    • That Nasty Linux Kernel Lockup Bug Is Still Unresolved

      Nearly one month ago back during the Linux 3.18 release candidates there was a worrisome regression uncovered by kernel developers, but now with the Linux 3.19 merge window nearly over, that issue still has yet to be firmly addressed.

    • systemd Disables the Linux Magic SysRq Key
    • Graphics Stack

      • VC4 Gallium3D Adds DMA-BUF Support, Yields Working DRI3

        Beyond the VC4 Gallium3D work yesterday landing in Mesa that led to this Raspberry Pi graphics driver potentially running much faster, DMA-BUF support was also added.

      • NIR Has Been Revised As A New IR For Mesa

        The NIR Mesa IR was envisioned and originally developed by Connor Abbott, who was interning at Intel this summer after being a fresh graduate of high school and having already contributed to Lima and other Linux graphics projects.

      • VDPAU Updated To v0.9

        Before going on holiday break, Aaron Plattner at NVIDIA released version 0.9 of the VDPAU library (libvdpau) and of the VDPAU information utility (vdpauinfo).

      • Adreno A4xx Rendering With Freedreno Takes Shape

        The Freedreno Gallium3D driver’s support for the Adreno A4xx hardware is taking shape and beginning to work for GL rendering on this latest-generation Qualcomm graphics hardware.

      • Server-Side XCB Is Being Discussed For The X.Org Server

        Given the recent X.Org Server security vulnerabilities that were aplenty and many dated back 10 to 20 years or more, Jeremy Sharp is trying to get developers into finally materializing server-side XCB.

      • Intel 2.99.917 X.Org Driver Released, 3.0 Release Finally Near

        The Intel X.Org driver (xf86-video-intel 3.0) driver has been in pre-release form since September 2013 and now after having gone through many development revisions, xf86-video-intel 3.0 might be on final approach.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE’s Krita Loses Its Main Backer

        Since 2007 there has been KO GmbH as a support and software service company built around KOffice/Calligra in their belief that the software was “getting ready for the big time”, but seven years later the situation is not so good and KO GmbH is no longer handling Krita.

      • Interview with Marty Last

        I haven’t worked for FOSS projects yet, but what a great idea for a New Year’s resolution. I’ve worked as part of teams that generated open source tools and upstream patches for existing drivers/kernel, but nothing directly.

      • KDE e.V. is looking for its first Executive Director

        KDE e.V. has been successfully supporting the KDE community for over 17 years. For many of them we had the tremendous help of a business manager, several interns, an event manager and countless volunteers to be able to do this. In the coming years we want to be able to support the KDE community even better. In order to do this we need strong support from an Executive Director. The Board of Directors has decided to hire someone for this position in the coming months. We are looking for a passionate individual who understands our community and can drive our business interaction. Do you want to be a part of bringing great software to millions of users? Do you want to really make a difference for a Free Software non-profit? Then this is the job for you! If you would like to know more about the position please read the job ad.

      • Qt 5.4 on Red Hat Enterprise 5

        For my job, I need to take care of the support of old Linux distributions for our products, therefore I experimented in building Qt 5.x for Red Hat Enterprise 5 (or CentOS 5 or other clones).

        Whereas Red Hat Enterprise 6 works more or less out of the box, to build Qt (even without WebKit and Co.) on Red Hat Enterprise 5, more work is needed. Even the xcb library is not yet existent there.

      • Application Development with Qt Creator, Second Edition

        I got a copy of the Application Development with Qt Creator, 2nd ed. for review, so I decided to post the review here – KDE is still the greatest Qt community in the world, and we have more than a few students and teachers in it which might benefit from a book like this one.

      • 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.

      • Bludevil 2.1 released

        On 3rd December, I have released Bluedevil 2.0. It was a first stable release that supported Bluez 5 and it contained mainly crash fixes over 2.0-rc1. Unfortunately, there was also a big regression.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Builder Is Still Building Up To A New IDE For Developers

        Since this summer Christian Hergert has been hard at work on building “Builder”, a new integrated development environment designed for GNOME developers. The GNOME Builder isn’t expected to compete with Eclipse, Qt Creator, and the likes, but is focused solely around the GNOME development workflow and the needs of GNOME developers. Builder is focused on C, Vala, JavaScript, and Python language support. Builder also has plans for GObject Introspection integration, PerfKit integration, GDB support, Clang integration, etc. Hergert is so committed to builder that he had quit his day job at MongoDB to focus on Builder for one year.

  • Distributions

    • How To Install Puppy Linux Tahr On A USB Drive

      Puppy Linux is a lightweight Linux distribution designed to run from removable devices such as DVDs and USB drives.

      There are a number of Puppy Linux variants including Puppy Slacko, which utilises the Slackware repositories, and Puppy Tahr which utilises the Ubuntu repositories.

      Other versions of Puppy Linux include Simplicity and MacPUP.

      It is possible to use UNetbootin to create a bootable Puppy Linux USB drive but it isn’t the method that is recommended.

      Puppy Linux works great on older laptops, netbooks and computers without hard drives. It isn’t designed to be installed on a hard drive but you can run it that way if you want to.

    • The Curious Case of the Disappearing Distros

      Well the holidays are pretty much upon us at last here in the Linux blogosphere, and there’s nowhere left to hide. The next two weeks or so promise little more than a blur of forced social occasions and too-large meals, punctuated only — for the luckier ones among us — by occasional respite down at the Broken Windows Lounge.

      Perhaps that’s why Linux bloggers seized with such glee upon the good old-fashioned mystery that came up recently — delivered in the nick of time, as if on cue.

    • North Korea Linux now resembles Apple’s OS X for Macs
    • Reviews

    • Screenshots

    • Slackware Family

      • Ktown for Slackware – development history available in git

        For a long time I have been keeping copies of the full source directories for every KDE 4 release I have made for Slackware. That is amounting to a lot of megabytes, since I am also keeping the source tarballs, not just the scripts and patches. Traditionally, I have kept one KDE version publicly available for all recent Slackware releases, in my ‘ktown’ package repository at http://alien.slackbook.org/ktown/ . This repository is also available through rsync, not just http (using my primary mirror at rsync://taper.alienbase.nl/mirrors/alien-kde/).

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Phone delayed again to next year

            It seems that Samsung isn’t the only one experiencing delays in getting a new player in the mobile market out of the woodwork. Canonical, the commercial company behind the open source Linux-based Ubuntu OS has been quoted to have said that its much-hyped Ubuntu Phone won’t be announced until early 2015. And that’s just the announcement of the availability and not the availability itself, which can, of course, be delayed repeatedly, as Samsung’s dance with its own Tizen OS has proven.

          • Ubuntu Linux Phone from bq to Ship in February 2015
          • Canonical Brings Snappy Ubuntu Core OS to Amazon AWS
          • Canonical Releases Most Stable Ubuntu Touch RTM Version So Far – Screenshot Tour

            Canonical has just promoted a new Ubuntu Touch RTM version of its operating system and it’s moving even closer to the final build that should be ready in time for the February 2015 release.

          • Linux Top 3: Linux 3.19 rc1, Ubuntu 15.04 Alpha 1 and Tails 1.2.2
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Why You Should Switch to Ubuntu MATE Edition

              When I first came to Linux, I gravitated to KDE and then later on, early GNOME. Back then, these desktop environments were designed mostly to provide a usable X environment from which to use Linux compatible applications. Today, however, our need for a desktop environment is more varied. Some individuals prefer to have a desktop experience that is rich, full of nice effects and looks great. Others still, prefer a desktop experience that provides a simple, hassle free interface.

              My own desktop needs, reflecting on the ideas above, have also evolved. I went from wanting a fancy, slick GUI desktop over to leaning with a lighter weight desktop. XFCE started off as my go-to lightweight desktop preference, while keeping Gnome 3 around on another machine because it was fun to use.

              After a lot of recent thought and reflection, I have decided to commit full time to a “no frills” desktop environment. My desktop of choice: MATE on Ubuntu.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Quadcopter drone packs first all-Linux APM autopilot

      Erle Robotics launched a ROS-enabled, open source “Erie-brain” autopilot that runs APM directly on Linux. The device also powers an “Erle-copter” drone.

      Over the last year, Spanish firm Erle Robotics S.L. has been working with 3DRobotics to develop an open source BeaglePilot autopilot for drones that can run Linux on 3DR’s popular, Arduino-based APM (ArduPilot Mega) platform. The APM Linux port was developed by both companies, as well as several academic institutions. The BeagleBone-based “Erle-brain” autopilot is built into the $490-and-up Erle-copter quadcopter.

    • Phones

      • Jolla’s Sailfish OS Update 10 Is Now Available

        The tenth update to Jolla’s Sailfish mobile operating system is now available. This update is version and is codenamed Vaarainjärvi.

      • Tizen

        • Tizen Samsung Z1 full specifications leaked, India release followed by China and Korea

          We have been waiting for the Samsung Z1 launch event, and it looks like its finally happening at a secret Samsung Z1 launch event in India. Its exciting to see that we have final specifications of the Z1 which runs Tizen 2.3, 4.0 inch 800 x 480 PLS TFT display, 768MB RAM, 1.2GHz Dual-core processor, 3MP primary camera with a LED flash, VGA Front Facing Camera, 4GB internal storage, microSD card slot, with a 1,500 mAh battery.

      • Android

        • Forget Google’s robot cars, now it’s on to ANDROID cars

          Google is planning a big push into in-car infotainment systems with an upcoming version of Android, sources claim.

          “Android M” – the version to come after the current Android 5.0 “Lollipop” – will be available in a formulation designed specifically to run cars’ built-in screens, Reuters reports, citing anonymous insiders with knowledge of the plan.

          Google made its first advances toward the automotive world at its I/O developer conference earlier this year, when it unveiled its Android Auto software. The first Android Auto–compatible cars are expected to arrive early next year.

        • Google releases Android Lollipop 5.0.2 for the 2012 Nexus 7

          After rolling out the first fixes for Android Lollipop on Nexus phones and tablets, Google has tied up some loose ends with a separate update just for the 2012 Nexus 7.

        • Google Plans to Integrate Android Directly Into Vehicles

          The company is working on a new Android version that will power a car’s entertainment and navigation systems, connect it to the Internet, and integrate with the vehicle’s sensors, a Reuters report says.
          Sometime in the not-too-distant future, cars from many automakers could feature a version of Google’s Android operating system built directly into the vehicles.

        • The best Android apps of 2014

          Monument Valley, The Room Two, Clumsy Ninja and much, much more in our pick of games released this year through the Google Play store.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Databricks Delivers Online Courses Focused on Apache Spark

    Databricks, a company founded by the creators of the popular open-source Big Data processing engine Apache Spark, is a firm that you may not have heard much from in 2014, but you will throughout 2015. The company has healthy venture funding of $47 million, and Andreesen Horowitz is one of the investors, with Ben Horowitz on board.

  • Events

    • Google and Facebook feel the wrath of German open source advocate

      Open-Xchange CEO Rafael Laguna has hit out at the closed nature of services offered by Silicon Valley giants like Google and Facebook.

      Speaking in Paris earlier this month, Laguna said many of Silicon Valley’s largest companies, and others like them, need to open up their proprietary systems to comply with laws around the world and uphold many of the citizen’s rights that people have fought for over the last several hundred years.

    • Open Source: Both Bigger And Less Relevant Than You Imagine

      Such is the case with the Ponemon Institute’s survey of 1,400 technology professionals, which according to some outlets found big companies “cautious” and “slow” to embrace open source. Others, looking at the exact same data, found respondents “generally positive” to open source. (The survey was sponsored by Zimbra, which provide of open-source messaging and collaboration software.)

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla and KDDI Launch First Firefox OS Smartphone in Japan

        Mozilla, the mission-based organization dedicated to promoting openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web, is excited to announce that KDDI will release the first Firefox OS smartphone in Japan, just in time for the holidays.

        KDDI announced at a press conference in Tokyo today that the newest Firefox OS smartphone, Fx0, goes on sale in Japan on Dec. 25. Fx0 is the first high-spec Firefox OS smartphone with the latest Firefox OS update inside.

      • The transparent Fx0 will finally make you want a Firefox OS phone

        Announced at a KDDI press event in Tokyo today, the Fx0 is a striking 4.7-inch smartphone with a transparent shell and a home button decorated with the golden Firefox logo embracing the Earth. It runs the latest version of Mozilla’s web-centric mobile OS and was designed by noted Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka, whose previous collaboration with KDDI produced a phone worthy of making it into the Museum of Modern Art’s collection. With the Fx0, Yoshioka has worked around the familiar outlines of LG’s G3 design (LG is the silent partner producing the device) and adapted them to a smaller size while producing a delightful aesthetic in the process. Like a watch with a window showing its internal mechanism, this phone’s exposed electronics are a subtle reminder of its technical sophistication — plus, that Firefox home button is just plain cool.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • The OpenStack opportunity, the way forward, and more

      Interested in keeping track of what’s happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for what’s happening right now in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.

    • VMware Raises its Ante in the OpenStack Race, with Mirantis

      Marking the clearest evidence yet that OpenStack player Mirantis is working more closely with VMware on open cloud initiatives, the companies have published a Mirantis OpenStack reference architecture for VMware vCenter Server and VMware NSX. Now available for download, Mirantis OpenStack allows customers to deploy and control workloads that run on VMware vSphere in their VMware vCenter Server clusters within Mirantis OpenStack.

    • HP Sees NFV as a ‘Huge Opportunity’

      Saar Gillai, SVP and general manager of NFV at HP, discusses the opportunities and the challenges of cloud deployment.

      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.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Funding

    • What’s Jimmy Wales going to do with $500k from the UAE?

      Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales says he’ll “start a foundation” to process a large amount of money he has received from the United Arab Emirates’ regime.

      Christmas came early for Wales, and Tim Berners-Lee, earlier this month when they shared a $1m cash award from the Gulf state. The “Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award” is named after the veep of the UAE.

  • BSD

    • You should be running a pfSense firewall

      Those of us who work in the depths of high technology are not immune to the age-old adage of the shoemaker’s children having no shoes. We probably have the most technologically advanced homes of anyone we know, but we also tend to leave various items alone if they’re not causing problems. After all, that’s what we deal with at work. Who needs to saddle themselves with network upgrade projects at home when nothing’s broken?


    • Gnupg needs your support!

      Gnu Privacy Guard (GPG, the free/open version of PGP) relies on donations to pay developers to keep the project alive and viable; as one of its millions of users, I am grateful and indebted to the people who keep it alive and that’s why I’ve just donated to the project.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • EU flings €1m at open source security audit wheeze

      Might also think about encrypting stuff. Maybe. You know… next year, perhaps?

    • EU: EUR 1 million for security audit of open source

      The European Parliament is funding a security audit of the free and open source solutions used by the Parliament and the European Commission. Last Wednesday, the EP allocated EUR 1 million for the audit project, to be carried out by the EC Directorate General for Informatics (DIGIT). The project should also come up with best practices for code review and quality assessments of free software and open standards funded by the EU.

    • I raised €1 million to demonstrate security and freedom aren’t opposites

      When a politican talks about security technology, they’re usually coming for your civil rights. Suspicionless mass surveillance, secret internet blocklists, arduous security theatre at airports: Safety and freedom are presented as trade-offs — and many politicians are all too willing to sacrifice more and more the latter for the short-term sugar high of feeling like they’re Doing Something to Keep The World Safe.

  • Licensing

    • Top 5: Legal issues in open source in 2014

      The most-read articles this year on Opensource.com demonstrated a strong interest in the changing aspects of complicated issues. For example, the top two stories this year both relate to a complex series of cases involving a dispute between Versata and Aperiprise surrounding alleged violations of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

      In addition to cutting-edge legal issues, readers remain very interested in more practical questions such as which open source license they should use.

      And readers were also interested in the biggest software patent case from the Supreme Court in recent memory, Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank.

      But it’s not just developments in the court that had readers’ interest: the FTC’s patent-assertion study represents a potentially important step to combat the harmful effects of Patent Assertion Entities.

      Looking ahead to 2015, open source legal issues will likely remain in the news, with a possible new push to revive patent litigation reform in the United States under the new Congress.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open science leaps forward in 2014

      We have had quite a year of open science at Opensource.com in 2014! I couldn’t hope to cover every article we published over the year, but I will highlight some of my favorites. The tide is turning in science. More funding is going to open science projects, more publications are making their data available to everyone (especially other researchers), and all of this is hopefully beginning to impact hiring decisions.

    • Open Data

    • Open Hardware

      • An Open Hardware Random Number Generator Proposed

        In 2015 we might see an open hardware random number generator that would connect to the system via an SD card slot.

      • Best of open hardware in 2014

        Open hardware is the physical foundation of the open movement. It is through understanding, designing, manufacturing, commercializing, and adopting open hardware, that we built the basis for a healthy and self-reliant community of open. And the year of 2014 had plenty of activities in the open hardware front.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • National Defrost Your Turkey Day – don’t get food poisoning this Christmas

      As families across the country carry out the final preparations ahead of Christmas Day, many minds will be switching to turkey.

      No, not the country, but the main ingredient of tens of thousands of festive dinners that will be enjoyed on December 25.

      According to the Food Standards Agency, millions of people have been defrosting their turkey incorrectly and, due to that, have launched National Defrost Your Turkey Day.

      And that day is today, December 22.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The world is on the edge of a US-Russia nuke wipeout war: Chomsky

      Renowned commentator Noam Chomsky says that the US-Soviet war is taking the world on the brink of a Cold War that threatens to wipe out the world.

      The threat of a nuclear war is hanging over the world again, ominously, adds the scholar, to RT’s Sophie&Co. It looks like both the US and Russia seem to be on the track of another Cold War.

    • How long can Russia withstand the crisis?

      The Russian economy is overly dependent on crude oil exports, and this ongoing crisis proves that it is not easy for Russia to be an extra-large Saudi Arabia. Some people suggest that Russia should learn from Canada and Australia, which have managed to transform huge reserves of natural resources into fortunes. However, due to Russia’s large population of 140 million people, its modernity and strong currency cannot be solely supported by oil, gas and timber.

    • Droning On

      But of course, the “war on terror” is very much about boosting the standing of politicians who are “fighting terror” on behalf of their citizens, and about boosting the ever-inflating powers – and budgets – of the security services. SO counterproductive measures are, paradoxically, the most attractive to those whose aim is not to obtain peace, but rather to maintain the concentration of power and finance consequent upon an eternal state of phoney war.

    • USA Today Wants You to Think Killings of Police Are on the Rise

      “Ambush Recharges Debate,” declares the front page of USA Today (12/22/14), a headline over a story about the killing of New York police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. The “debate” being recharged is presumably linked to the national protests against police brutality–protests that are in no way connected to this brutal murder.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • These are the CIA’s tips for spies on how to avoid detection at airports

      Let’s get one thing clear: The two secret CIA documents published today by Wikileaks will not make you a clandestine officer.

      Both reports are aimed at teaching CIA agents traveling undercover to avoid unnecessary scrutiny at airports. The first, “Surviving Secondary,” dated September 2011, explains how not to be singled out for secondary screening by passport officers, and how to handle it if you are, while the second, “Schengen Overview,” from January 2012, summarizes the information systems used by the 26 European countries that have open borders with each other as part of the Schengen agreement.

    • WikiLeaks Releases CIA Manual Advising Undercover Agents on Travel & Avoiding ‘Secondary Screenings’

      It advises that “smart phones, iPods, and MP3 players, can pose a vulnerability to alias travel because of their requirement for subscriptions. If border control officials can establish a link between the device and the traveler’s true name,this could present a difficulty for someone traveling in alias,” which is a classic concern of those critical of the global security state.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • 6 Stories The Media Beat to Death in 2014 That Have Faded Into Obscurity

      In a digital world the media often struggles to maintain the attention of its audience. Between horrific mass killings, viral outbreaks, violent authority figures, terrorists, and tantalizing political melodrama, the focus of our media shifts constantly.

      The following six topics from 2014 were once a major focus of the fleeting attention of the media. Each of them at one point has received overwhelming media attention to become a fixture of American dialogue before fading into obscurity.

    • The propagandists have won: What Fox News and the pornography revolution have in common

      Truthiness has replaced truth. Now that we all have our own facts, we may rue the day we personalized the news

    • The Weird World of the Washington Post, Where Reagan Never Met Gorbachev

      As I’ve written before (FAIR Blog, 12/2/09), reading the Washington Post opinion pages can be like reading dispatches from a parallel universe. You get that sense of alternative history from Post deputy editorial editor Jackson Diehl’s latest piece (12/21/14), teeing off on Barack Obama’s statement that “we know from hard-earned experience that countries are more likely to enjoy lasting transformation if their people are not subjected to chaos.”

    • Some of the stinkiest reporting from the past year

      It’s that time of year again, when FAIR looks back at the year and recalls some of the stinkiest media moments. There were, of course, many contenders– but only a select few can make the list.

  • Privacy

    • US Congress OKs ‘unprecedented’ codification of warrantless surveillance

      Congress last week quietly passed a bill to reauthorize funding for intelligence agencies, over objections that it gives the government “virtually unlimited access to the communications of every American”, without warrant, and allows for indefinite storage of some intercepted material, including anything that’s “enciphered”.

    • [fear mongering] GCHQ warns serious criminals have been lost in wake of Edward Snowden leaks

      The spy agency has suffered “significant” damage in its ability to monitor and capture serious organised criminals following the exposes by the former CIA contractor.

    • [tor-talk] Warning: Do NOT use my mirrors/services until I have reviewed the situation
    • Tor exit nodes face unusual activity, is Tor being raided or under hack attack?

      Thomas White (@CthulhuSec) warned users to steer clear of his Tor servers after he lost control following what he’s called “unusual activity.” In a post on Tor mailing list Thomas said,”I have now lost control of all servers under the ISP and my account has been suspended.”

    • Why India can’t trust the CIA’s intelligence input?

      We have yet another story on the intelligence sharing regarding the 26/11 attack and it has almost become a habit for the Americans and the British to let out such information in bits and pieces year after year. The US has time and again said that intelligence was shared with India on the 26/11 attack and this fact has been repeatedly denied by India. For India the attacks were not specific enough to collate and act upon.

    • Agencies missed signals about David Headley’s involvement in 26/11 Mumbai attacks

      There were a series of “missed signals” about Pakistani-American David Headley’s involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks even though he had exchanged “highly suspicious” emails with his LeT and ISI handlers before and after the assault, an investigative report said.

    • Spy agencies reportedly had intel pointing to Mumbai attack

      Three spy agencies collected intelligence that could have thwarted the lethal terror attack in Mumbai in 2008 but failed to put the pieces together, according to a report published late Sunday evening by The New York Times and Propublica, an online news source.

    • In 2008 Mumbai Attacks, Piles of Spy Data, but an Uncompleted Puzzle

      Indian and British intelligence agencies monitored the online activities of a key plotter but couldn’t connect the dots.

    • FURY erupts on streets of Brussels over greedy USA’s data-slurping appetite

      Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Brussels on Friday to express anger about secret trade talks between the EU, US and others that they believe would damage the 28-member-state bloc’s data protection rights.

      More than 1,000 people marched in the centre of the EU quarter to protest about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). The latter has provoked outrage following a leak of the US position from April 2014 that was published on Wednesday by Netzpolitik.org and Associated Whistleblowing Press. It focuses on e-commerce, technology transfer, cross-border data flows and net neutrality.

    • NSA What? US Straining EU Ties With Blatant Spying

      The US is gearing up for a major power play among its ‘allies’ through the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA). Chief among its many controversies is what amounts to the US spying on its partners, all in the name of ‘anti-protectionist’ measures.

    • The real reasons why Facebook doesn’t have a dislike button

      The thing that perplexes me is why so many people still use Facebook these days. I can understand wanting to stay in touch with friends and family, but there are plenty of other ways to do that. Video chat, instant messaging, and email all work well and do not expose private information to Facebook’s algorithms and advertising systems. Yet some people behave as though Facebook is the only way to maintain contact over vast geographic distances and time zones.

  • Civil Rights

    • Guest Post: Torture Is Still on the Table

      The recent Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA interrogations is a parade of horribles. Detainees by the dozen arrested wrongfully and later released, including innocent nobodies and even men with mental disabilities. Poorly vetted interrogators with disciplinary problems and financial conflicts of interest. Relatives held as hostages to gain leverage over targets. Incredibly shoddy intelligence analysis.

    • The Unidentified Queen of Torture

      For the past eight months, there has been a furious battle raging behind closed doors at the White House, the C.I.A., and in Congress. The question has been whether the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence would be allowed to use pseudonyms as a means of identifying characters in the devastating report it released last week on the C.I.A.’s abusive interrogation and detention program. Ultimately, the committee was not allowed to, and now we know one reason why.

    • Meet Alfreda Bikowsky, the Senior Officer at the Center of the CIA’s Torture Scandals

      NBC News yesterday called her a “key apologist” for the CIA’s torture program. A follow-up New Yorker article dubbed her “The Unidentified Queen of Torture” and in part “the model for the lead character in ‘Zero Dark Thirty.’” Yet in both articles she was anonymous.

      The person described by both NBC and The New Yorker is senior CIA officer Alfreda Frances Bikowsky. Multiple news outlets have reported that as the result of a long string of significant errors and malfeasance, her competence and integrity are doubted — even by some within the agency.

      The Intercept is naming Bikowsky over CIA objections because of her key role in misleading Congress about the agency’s use of torture, and her active participation in the torture program (including playing a direct part in the torture of at least one innocent detainee). Moreover, Bikowsky has already been publicly identified by news organizations as the CIA officer responsible for many of these acts.

    • Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses

      Since the day President Obama took office, he has failed to bring to justice anyone responsible for the torture of terrorism suspects — an official government program conceived and carried out in the years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

      He did allow his Justice Department to investigate the C.I.A.’s destruction of videotapes of torture sessions and those who may have gone beyond the torture techniques authorized by President George W. Bush. But the investigation did not lead to any charges being filed, or even any accounting of why they were not filed.

    • Two double agents, a prison swap and the code from outer space: did this spy-v-spy duel save US-Cuban relations?

      From a maximum-security prison in Texas, former United States military analyst Ana Montes has been offering up bumper-sticker justifications for why she betrayed her country and spied on behalf of the Cuban government over the course of 17 years. “I believe that the morality of espionage is relative,” Montes wrote in a private letter to a friend last year. “The activity always betrays someone, and some observers will think that it is justified and others not, in every case.”

    • China mulls national security law to deal with terrorists

      Tabling the draft, Director of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee, Li Shishi, told lawmakers, “It was necessary to make a fundamental law on national security in accordance with the new contemporary environment.”

    • The New Sound of Crowd Control

      One popular device, the LRAD-100X, was used in Ferguson, and on two days last week, it was used to warn off demonstrators in New York City protesting the death of Eric Garner. According to its manufacturer, the LRAD offers police “near instantaneous escalation across the force protection spectrum” to “shape the behavior of potential threats.”

  • DRM

    • DRM glitch leaves new Max Payne 3 buyers temporarily in the lurch

      Rockstar’s Max Payne 3 is 70% off right now as part of the 2014 Steam Holiday Sale, but would-be neo-noir crime story aficionados were denied entry into the cynical world of the drug-dependent detective yesterday by a failure in the game’s third-party authentication and matchmaking system. Starting early on Friday, December 19, the Rockstar Social Club component of the game would respond only with “Error contacting activation server” when players tried to start up the game for the first time.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Girls left in tears after being dragged out of cinema by staff who called 999 after wrongly believing the 12-year-olds were filming The Hunger Games on their iPads

        A group of 12-year-old girls were left in tears after being hauled out of a cinema by police when staff falsely accused them of recording The Hunger Games on their mobiles and iPads.

        The seven children, who attend one of the country’s leading independent girls’ schools, were quizzed after staff dialled 999 and reported the allegation as an ‘emergency’.

      • Finland Abolishes Copyright Levies On Digital Devices

        Pressure for EU reform is now greater than ever. The UK earlier this year passed a law that legalized private copying by individuals without any requirement for additional compensation to artists. Two years ago Spain replaced levies with a government compensation fund similar to the one adopted in Finland this week.

        Although it’s true that progress has been made, it’s also worth noting that the usual copyright dinosaurs are fighting back, and that the final outcome is by no means clear. In the UK, the music industry has said that it may try to challenge the private copying exception in the courts. In Spain, legal action by collecting societies has resulted in two key questions about copyright levies being sent to the European Union Court of Justice, and its judgment on the case is likely to have important implications for such levies throughout the EU.


Links 22/12/2014: GNU/Linux at Sky News, Another Tizen Camera

Posted in News Roundup at 9:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • ASF publishes long-overdue Code Of Conduct

    We pride ourselves at The Apache Software Foundation on our principles of “community over code” and “don’t be a jerk”. But, alas, we’ve been slow to codify some of these things in public. Part of this, I’m sure, is that it’s easy to think we all just know how we’re supposed to treat people, and so you shouldn’t have to say, right?

  • Open-Source NFV Group Readying Software Releases for 2015

    In a recent post on the organization’s blog, Chris Price, chairman of the technical steering committee (TSC) for the Open Platform for NFV Project (OPNFV), said the panel is reviewing a broad array of project ideas to see what ones will be pursued by the committee. In addition, the wider OPNFV community will focus on establishing an integration and baseline platform while also creating several NFV-related projects that will find their way into the OPNFV’s second release of 2015.

  • Santa for sysadmins: I/O, shake it all about
  • OpenDaylight Developer Spotlight: Devin Avery

    OpenDaylight accepted seven student interns for the summer of 2014 to work in the community and receive hands-on development experience in SDN. Each intern worked closely with an active OpenDaylight developer as their mentor on a project that suited interest and community need.

  • Google Makes Cloud Dataflow SDK Open Source

    Cloud Dataflow, which it describes as “a platform to democratize large-scale data processing by enabling easier and more scalable access to data,” was just unveiled in June. It’s still an alpha release, but used internally in the company, Google says.

  • Google Open Sources “Cloud Dataflow” SDK, Built to Trump MapReduce

    All the way back in June, at Google I/O, Google pronounced that the venerable MapReduce data crunching scheme was “tired” and launched a service dubbed Cloud Dataflow that analyzes pipelines with “arbitrarily large datasets.” Dataflow was a much talked about star in a set of cloud services discussed at Google I/O and Google officials even confirmed that Dataflow had replaced MapReduce at Google. MapReduce, of course, is built for processing and generating large data sets with a parallel, distributed algorithm on clusters.

  • Events

    • GNOME Asia Summit 2015 to be hosted in Depok Indonesia

      The GNOME Asia Committee is pleased to announce that the upcoming GNOME.Asia Summit 2015 will be hosted in Depok Indonesia May 7-9 2015. It will be a great place to celebrate and explore the many new features and enhancements to GNOME 3.

    • GNOME.Asia Join Kaiyuanshe – Open Source Alliance in China

      We are thrilled to report that GNOME.Asia is a founding member of KAIYUANSHE(开源社) launched Oct 16, 2014. KAIYUANSHE roughly translated as “open source alliance,” is a group of enterprises, communities, and individuals in China supporting and promoting free and open source software (FOSS).

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 4.3.5

      The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 4.3.5, the fifth minor release of LibreOffice 4.3 “fresh” family, which is a stable release of the more advanced version of the software, targeted to individual and enterprise users. LibreOffice 4.3.5 contains over 70 bug fixes.

    • Public Interest, Software Freedom and Open Standards

      …importance of working with upstream projects and initiatives for a government like the UK Government.


      Public interest and software freedom are not always aligned, in the sense that software freedom grant rights to users of Free Software but does not imply users will get what they want; in this case however, these two notions could become very much aligned. The same holds true for Open Standards: if major chunks of the UK’s public sector’s pool of documents is migrated to ODF, there is something close to a liability – and an opportunity- for this Government to ensure the format continues to thrive and be improved.

  • CMS


  • Public Services/Government

    • EU to fund Free Software code review

      The European Parliament has approved funding for several projects related to Free Software and privacy. In the EU budget for 2015, which the European Parliament adopted on December 17, the Parliamentarians have allocated up to one million Euro for a project to audit Free Software programs in use at the Commission and the Parliament in order to identify and fix security vulnerabilities.

    • Advocacy group: ‘ICT procurement is broken’

      Public administrations in the EU are hindering competition by asking for specific brands and products when procuring software solutions, says OpenForum Europe, an organisation campaigning for an open, competitive ICT market. “No progress has been made in recent years. In fact the practice of referring to brand names in public procurement has become more widespread”, OFE says.

    • Top Clippings For December 18th

      EU software procurement breaches rules more than ever before – OFE PDF – Because they really do prefer to feed what they perceive as corporate power brokers rather than work to create European value with European money.

      EU allocates half million euros for testing open source – FSFE – It’s a rounding error on the budget, but at least it’s something. Let’s see who gets it.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The project that wants to bring an open source, print-at-home connected car to a road near you

      If cars are indeed set to become “smartphones on wheels”, able to connect to the internet and each other, there are a few things we need to settle first. What kind of operating system will they run on, for example, and will they use proprietary or open source applications? Will upgrades to the car’s underlying system happen as seamlessly as mobile OS updates do today, or will you have to call out a mechanic?

    • Halo 4 backend, SuperTuxKart, and more

      It looks like our Linux friend Tux enjoys racing karts! The SuperTuxKart team is wishing its gamers a Merry Christmas by releasing SuperTaxKart 0.8.2 beta. SuperTuxKart is a 3D kart racing game licensed under GPLV3 and available on many platforms, including Linux. This new beta release includes a new graphical engine, Antartica. You should really check out the release post and the screenshots of the improved graphics. Another new feature is online accounts in preparation of networked multiplayer gaming—which is still to come.

    • Sharing

      Why do we share? What makes it different from giving? And what does it have to do with strategy and impulse control? Mike talks to the scientist Nikolaus

    • They bonded over video games, now they’re building an open-source laser tag gun

      “We just wanted to play video games in real life,” said Ibrahim Pasha, the youthful CEO of Skirmos — an ambitious open-source laser tag gun started by a handful of former high school pals.

    • 8 open-source holiday gifts

      The holiday season is in full swing and you may still have a few people to check off your gift-giving list. If you’re at a loss for what to buy the open-source-focused engineer or maker in your life, take a gander at these 8 open-source gifts.

    • Open-Source Mixology: Cocktail Recipes by the Numbers
    • Open Data

      • Machine learning can help sift open source intelligence

        U.S. intelligence agencies and the military are increasingly leveraging analytics platforms based on machine learning to sift through data sources like social media. In the vernacular of the Pentagon, these efforts are generally referred to as open source intelligence initiatives.


  • Security

    • New 64-bit Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities Disclosed This Week
    • SSL Version Control

      In the meantime, you can use this extension to turn off SSLv3 in your copy of Firefox. When you install the add-on, it will set the minimum TLS version to TLS 1.0 (disabling SSLv3). If you want to change that setting later, like if you really need to access an SSLv3 site, just go to Tools / Add-ons and click the “Preferences” button next to the add-on. That will give you a drop-down menu to select the minimum TLS version you want to allow.

    • Don’t update NTP – stop using it

      Several severe vulnerabilities have been found in the time setting software NTP. The Network Time Protocol is not secure anyway due to the lack of a secure authentication mechanism. Better use tlsdate.

    • Linux ‘GRINCH’ vuln is AWFUL. Except, er, maybe it isn’t

      Alert Logic admits it has NOT seen any exploits that harness this vulnerability. Other security firms believe Alert Logic is overstating the risk, which Trend Micro characterises as “limited”.


      An independent researcher first posted about the vulnerability – which he called PackageKit Privilege Escalation – almost a month ago before Alert Logic picked up on the threat and publicised it.

    • Friday’s security advisories
    • Git thee behind me, Git crit security bug!

      “Linux clients are not affected if they run in a case-sensitive filesystem,” the service’s warning reads, but are nonetheless encouraged to upgrade. Windows and Mac OS users have no excuse not to upgrade, as “Git clients running on OS X (HFS+) or any version of Microsoft Windows (NTFS, FAT) are exploitable through this vulnerability.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • On Terrorism

      Some politicians seem to act as if “terrorism” means a terrible crime committed by someone who doesn’t fit the speaker’s own racial & religious profile. Just because something induces terror in some or many people, that doesn’t make it terrorism. That diminishes the concept as well as grouping routine crime – for which society has millennia of experience and solutions – into the same bucket as a more subtle and serious phenomenon that preys on the meshed society.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The World’s Biggest Car Company Wants to Get Rid of Gasoline

      The first thing you notice about the Mirai, Toyota’s new $62,000, four-door family sedan, is that it’s no Camry, an international symbol of bland conformity. First there are the in-your-face, angular grilles on the car’s front end. These deliver air to (and cool) a polymer fuel-cell stack under the hood. Then there’s the wavy, layered sides, meant to evoke a droplet of water. It looks like it was driven off the set of the Blade Runner sequel.

  • Finance

    • Gift-Giving Advice From the New York Times

      The Times might offer in its defense that this piece is labeled as one of Sullivan’s “Wealth Matters” columns, a feature specifically set up to give advice to the 1 percent (or the 0.01 percent) on how to “manage not only their money and fortune, but their overall well-being.” To which one can only note that it’s not a coincidence that the Times does not have a “Poverty Matters” column.

  • Censorship

    • BT, Sky, and Virgin “hijacking” browsers to push porn blocks

      BT, Sky, and Virgin Media are hijacking people’s web connections to force customers to make a decision about family-friendly web filters. The move comes as the December deadline imposed by prime minister David Cameron looms, with ISPs struggling to get customers to say yes or no to the controversial adult content blocks.


      The hijacking works by intercepting requests for unencrypted websites and rerouting a user to a different page. ISPs are using the technique to communicate with all undecided customers. Attempting to visit WIRED.co.uk, for example, could result in a user being redirected to a page asking them about web filtering. ISPs cannot intercept requests for encrypted websites in the same way.

      BT is blocking people’s browsers until they make a decision, making it impossible for customers to visit any websites once the in-browser notification has appeared. A spokesperson for the UK’s biggest ISP said: “If customers do not make a decision, they are unable to continue browsing. The message will remain until the customer makes a decision.”

  • Privacy

    • Judge: It’s OK for cops to create fake Instagram accounts

      A federal judge in New Jersey has signed off on the practice of law enforcement using a fake Instagram account in order to become “friends” with a suspect—thus obtaining photos and other information that a person posts to their account.

    • Possible upcoming attempts to disable the Tor network

      The Tor Project has learned that there may be an attempt to incapacitate our network in the next few days through the seizure of specialized servers in the network called directory authorities. (Directory authorities help Tor clients learn the list of relays that make up the Tor network.) We are taking steps now to ensure the safety of our users, and our system is already built to be redundant so that users maintain anonymity even if the network is attacked. Tor remains safe to use.

    • [tor-talk] Warning: Do NOT use my mirrors/services until I have reviewed the situation

      Many of you by now are probably aware than I run a large exit node
      cluster for the Tor network and run a collection of mirrors (also ones
      available over hidden services).

      Tonight there has been some unusual activity taking place and I have
      now lost control of all servers under the ISP and my account has been
      suspended. Having reviewed the last available information of the
      sensors, the chassis of the servers was opened and an unknown USB
      device was plugged in only 30-60 seconds before the connection was
      broken. From experience I know this trend of activity is similar to
      the protocol of sophisticated law enforcement who carry out a search
      and seizure of running servers.

      Until I have had the time and information available to review the
      situation, I am strongly recommending my mirrors are not used under
      any circumstances. If they come back online without a PGP signed
      message from myself to further explain the situation, exercise extreme
      caution and treat even any items delivered over TLS to be potentially

  • Civil Rights

    • CIA Travel Advice To Operatives

      Today, 21 December 2014, WikiLeaks releases two classified documents by a previously undisclosed CIA office detailing how to maintain cover while travelling through airports using false ID – including during operations to infiltrate the European Union and the Schengen passport control system. This is the second release within WikiLeaks’ CIA Series, which will continue in the new year.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Private Torrent Site Operators Face Criminal Trial

        In 2011, police in two countries coordinated to take down a private torrent site that had largely flown under the radar. This week, 3.5 years after the raid, two alleged operators of the site faced a criminal trial in Sweden. Having uploaded no content themselves, will they be held liable for the actions of their users?

IRC Proceedings: November 30th, 2014 – December 20th, 2014

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: November 30th – December 6th, 2014



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



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#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: December 7th – December 13th, 2014



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#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: December 14th – December 20th, 2014



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



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#techbytes log

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