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Links 31/1/2015: Open Lunchbox, Librem 15 at Around $400,000

Posted in News Roundup at 8:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • HGI Publishes New Open Source Tool for Smart Device Modelling
  • Breaking out of the ‘comfort zone’ with open source

    The PHP community here is really strong, and we have Rafael Dohms to thank for that. Getting in contact with those amazing folks inspired me to get out of my comfort zone, and that little world where I used to live before started to look too small for me.

  • Events

    • Get a paycheck in open source, be a social activist

      Ross currently serves as director of member services with the Linux Professional Institute. He has over 15 years of experience as Linux trainer and has authored several books on Linux and open source software.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice spruces up, adds new features in 4.4

      One of the major complaints levelled against free and open source software is that it looks bad. The user-interfaces for many applications are not geared towards being pleasing visually and this is not surprising as the software is merely meant to do a job.

    • Oracle Releases Node.js Tools

      Back at its OpenWorld event in 2014, Oracle announced it was working on a Node.js driver for its database products. The resulting code was released last week, as open source code with an Apache 2.0 license.

      The driver is now available from GitHub, and includes tools for working with JavaScript objects and arrays, and for translating between Oracle and JavaScript data types. It’s designed to handle transactions, and to work with Oracle’s built-in scaling tools. This includes the ability to quickly end transactions in the event of server failures – allowing Node.js applications to quickly failover to another database, without losing user data.

    • Pondering the Fate of Open Source & Software Licenses

      Having used OpenOffice for several years on the Panasonic Toughbooks I use in the field, I’ve avoided buying into traditional or subscription-based services. While enterprises may have a different view on licensing, cost most always figures into the decision-making process. So if they go the subscription route, they’ll have to then ask what strategies they can use to lower those costs. Will they be able to haggle on price?

      If the subscription model does become the norm, will OpenOffice and other open-source software thrive, dive, or stay the same in market share? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

  • CMS

    • Sydney developer brings open source e-commerce to WordPress

      Sydney-based WPCommerce has launched a hosted cloud e-commerce platform on the open source WordPress and WooCommerce platforms.

      WPCommerce automates the integration, localisation and deployment requirements to provide business owners with a fully hosted local solution that allows them to start selling online without manual setup or configuration.

    • Mark Morton: Why we chose an open source website

      Platforms like WordPress and Drupal, which are maintained by a community of users, can be a cost-effective and flexible option for charities, writes the digital media manager at Epilepsy Action

  • Project Releases

    • YAY! A New, Improved Inkscape!

      I like SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics). I use it a lot on this blog because I don’t need thumbnails and the viewer gets the size he wants.

    • Inkscape Version 0.91 is Released!

      The Inkscape community proudly announces the release of Inkscape 0.91.

    • Bugzilla 5.0 Is Coming Soon With New Features

      Bugzilla 5.0 is gearing up for a release in the next few weeks and with this big version bump will come a number of new features to this popular open-source bug tracking software.

      Bugzilla 5.0 RC2 was released this week in preparation for an official Bugzilla 5.0 release in “the next few weeks” for general availability.

    • Calamares 1.0 Distribution-Independent Installer Framework Released

      Calamares 1.0 is a completely modular design with three plug-in interfaces, C++ and Python API support, 25 different modules for extending the base framework, a self-contained branding component, an advanced partitioning tool, and various other features.

    • Sometimes you need to reinvent the wheel

      On behalf of the Calamares team and Blue Systems, I am proud to announce the immediate availability of Calamares 1.0.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Weekly Top 5: The big R, 30 on Twitter, and open source jobs
    • HabitRPG to-do list, OUYA gets support, Linux games, and more
    • Open Data

      • Open Addresses: Location, Location, Location

        As I mentioned last summer, it’s scandalous that the privatisation of the Royal Mail resulted not only in the public being short-changed by a billion quid or so, but also – arguably even worse – in the loss of one of the most precious UK datasets: postcodes. These are crucially important because geolocation data is central to providing services to mobile devices; giving a monopoly on this information to a company was irresponsible in the extreme.

    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware

      • The future of devices for health is not wearables

        Existing open hardware tools now make it easy for anyone to greatly contribute to this change. For example, the team at BITalino recently completed a series of anti-wearable biohacking projects that resulted in things like a bicycle handlebar fitted with a 3-axis accelerometer and an Electrocardiography (ECG) sensor. The ECG sensor leads are connected to conductive textile electrodes on the left and right grips of the handlebar. Whenever the rider holds the grips with each of his/her hands, the data is streamed via Bluetooth to a smartphone that shows the heart rate.

      • Open Source 3D Printing

        Mark Bonenfant and students from Calumet High School will present “Open Source 3D Printing” at the Calumet Public Library.

      • Spanish Tech Company BQ Releases Open Source Horus Software to Complement Their Ciclop 3D Scanner

        Spanish tech firm BQ manufactures smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and 3D printers, but it’s their entry into the 3D scanner market that’s turning heads. The company’s new Ciclop 3D scanner uses laser triangulation technology and a rotating turntable, and it’s billed as “the first DIY 3D scanner.”

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Security

    • Huge Security Flaw Leaks VPN Users’ Real IP-Addresses

      VPN users are facing a massive security flaw as websites can easily see their home IP-addresses through WebRTC. The vulnerability is limited to supporting browsers such as Firefox and Chrome, and appears to affect Windows users only. Luckily the security hole is relatively easy to fix.

    • D-Link routers subject to backdoor hacking, again

      D-LINK ROUTERS have been found to contain a software bug which could allow traffic hijacking and DNS rerouting.

      The bug is in ZynOS, designed by ZyXEL, which also features in products from TP-Link, ZTE and ZyXEL itself.

      However, it was the D-Link DSL2740R that was subject to a proof-of-concept hack this week by a Bulgarian white witch hacker collective called Ethical Hacking, mailed to Computerworld.

      The miscreant wouldn’t even need credentials to make the changes, just access to the remote set-up page or the local network.

    • Why Network Segmentation is Imperative on the Internet of Things

      I’m speaking on a frequent (and increasing) basis with customers about the opportunities and risks that they need to prepare for as they continue to support new business models related to mobility, cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT).

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Tomgram: Nick Turse, A Shadow War in 150 Countries

      From the point of view of the U.S. military and the national security state, the period from September 12, 2001, to late last night could be summed up in a single word: more. What Washington funded with your tax dollars was a bacchanalia of expansion intended, as is endlessly reiterated, to keep America “safe.” But here’s the odd thing: as the structure of what’s always called “security” is built out ever further into our world and our lives, that world only seems to become less secure. Odder yet, that “more” is rarely a focus of media coverage, though its reality is glaringly obvious. The details may get coverage but the larger reality — the thing being created in Washington — seems of remarkably little interest.

    • British army creates team of Facebook warriors

      The British army is creating a special force of Facebook warriors, skilled in psychological operations and use of social media to engage in unconventional warfare in the information age.

      The 77th Brigade, to be based in Hermitage, near Newbury, in Berkshire, will be about 1,500-strong and formed of units drawn from across the army. It will formally come into being in April.

    • New British Army unit ‘Brigade 77′ to use Facebook and Twitter in psychological warfare

      The British military is setting up a specialist force modelled on the Chindits, the commandos who gained renown through their daring missions behind enemy lines in Burma during the Second World War.

      They will specialise in “non-lethal” forms of psychological warfare, using social media including Facebook and Twitter to “fight in the information age”.

    • Spanish Peacekeeper Is the Latest Example of Israel Killing United Nations Personnel

      On January 28th a barrage of Israeli artillery fire struck near the South Lebanese village of Ghajar, killing United Nations peacekeeper Francisco Javier Soria. Soria, 36, was a Spanish citizen deployed with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, a peacekeeping mission tasked with maintaining the ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon in the occupied Golan Heights.

    • Under Suspicious Circumstances, FBI Places Brother of No-Fly Litigant on Most Wanted Terrorist List

      In late December 2010, 18-year-old Somali-American Gulet Mohamed was detained in Kuwait without charges and tortured, almost certainly at the behest of U.S. officials. Through a cellphone smuggled into the detention camp by another inmate, Gulet was able to call me and New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti and recount what happened; that morning, we both published articles reporting on the detention, and (with Gulet’s consent) I published the recording of the 50-minute call I had with him, showing him in extreme distress as he described his ordeal.

    • Don’t Blame Islam

      Al-Qaeda and ISIS are products of US and Saudi imperialism.

    • McCain rips protesters during Kissinger hearing, calls them ‘low-life scum’

      The protest broke out at the opening of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on national security and global challenges, where Kissinger and other prominent former secretaries of state were testifying. Standing inches behind the Nixon-era diplomat, the protesters shouted, “Arrest Henry Kissinger for war crimes.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A quarter of the world’s marine species in danger of extinction

      The world’s ocean species are up to nine times more likely to become extinct than previously thought, according to new research.

      The alarming study by the University of Sheffield, said to be the most thorough analysis of marine conservation data yet, comes as campaigners accused the Government of “watering down” plans to protect England’s marine life.

  • Finance

    • Spain rally: Podemos holds Madrid mass ‘March for Change’

      Tens of thousands of people have massed in central Madrid for a rally organised by radical Spanish leftists Podemos.

      The “March for Change” is one of the party’s first outdoor mass rallies, as it looks to build on the recent victory of its close allies Syriza in Greece.

      Podemos has surged into the lead in recent opinion polls, and says it will seek to write off part of Spain’s debt if it wins elections later this year.

    • Leftist Syriza Party Victory in Greece Strengthens Anti-Austerity Movement Across Europe

      Running on an uncompromising anti-austerity platform, Greece’s Syriza party, the Coalition of the Radical Left, won a decisive victory over the conservative New Democracy party in the economically battered nation’s Jan. 25 election. Syriza fell only two seats short of winning an absolute majority in Greece’s 300-seat Parliament, prompting party leader Alexis Tsipras to form an alliance with the small, center right Independent Greeks party to form a governing coalition.

  • Censorship

    • More Comcast customers write in, report name changes of “whore,” “dummy”

      As if Comcast’s recent account name change to “asshole” wasn’t bad enough, there are new reports of more rude names like “whore,” “dummy,” and “Fakoe Boz.”

      According to the travel website BoardingArea, which first broke the story this week of the earlier vulgar naming incident, more users have written in with their own reports of Comcast naming chicanery.

  • Privacy

    • Are you already violating the feds’ new anti-terror bill?

      And Harper introduced Bill C-51, a sweeping piece of legislation that covers everything from what you’re allowed to say and write to who can board a plane, what happens to your tax information and how long you can be detained without charge, he cited fatal attacks last fall in Ottawa and St. Jean Sur Richelieu.

    • Statement from the Privacy Commissioner of Canada following the tabling of Bill C-51
    • Facebook Tests Bluetooth ‘Beacons’ to Feed Users Local Content

      Facebook Thursday said it would begin testing a service to deliver information about shops and landmarks to users who are nearby, in part by using localized transmitters known as “beacons.”

    • Just four credit card clues can identify anyone

      Drop the disguise: your metadata still gives you away.

    • Warning – Microsofts Outlook app for iOS breaks your company security

      Microsoft has released their iOS for Outlook today. And it will break your companies security for mobile PIM access in multiple ways! No matter if you’re a Microsoft Exchange or IBM Notes Traveler customer.

    • Submission filed by ORG and Privacy International in DRIPA case

      ORG and Privacy International have filed a second submission in the judicial review proceedings against the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA). We argue that the legislation is contrary to EU law, in particular Article 15 of the E-Privacy Directive. The intervention draws the Court’s attention to (i) the substantial and carefully calibrated EU rules in the field of data retention, (ii) the seriousness of data retention as an interference with the relevant Charter of Fundamental Rights and European Convention on Human Rights rights and (iii) the inconsistency between the relevant provisions and the strict requirements of EU law.

    • Breach of trust

      Each year, recruiters from the National Security Agency (NSA), said to be the largest employer of mathematicians in the United States, visit a few dozen universities across the country in search of new talent. It used to be an easy sell. “One of the appealing aspects that they pitch is that you’ll be working on incredibly hard and interesting puzzles all day,” says one mathematician who requested anonymity. In the wake of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, he adds, “I felt that if there was any way I could use my mathematical ability to prevent such a thing from ever happening again, I was morally obligated to do it.” Several times over the past decade, he has set aside his university research to work for the agency.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TTIP and digital rights

      A major problem with the TTIP negotiations so far has been the disturbing lack of transparency. General summaries of what has been discussed in each round of negotiations are released, but the negotiating texts are not. Because the talks are shrouded in secrecy, proper scrutiny by the public, media, law-makers and civil society of what is being negotiated on our behalf is not possible. The negotiating texts should be made public. We cannot move ahead with a process where the first time the details of TTIP are made public is when the text is final and the opportunity for constructive input has passed. This is clearly an undemocratic and unacceptable way for trade negotiations to be carried out.

Links 30/1/2015: CERN Adopts 64-bit GNU/Linux, Inkscape 0.91 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 12:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • SCALE Prep Continues; Will Dell Get It Right?

      So whenever I’m told the key to Linux’s success is tied to big manufacturers offering distros on their hardware, my response is always, “You mean like Dell?”

    • Dell’s line of Linux laptops expands to include new MacBook Pro competitor

      Dell’s Precision M3800 mobile workstation launched recently, and rejoice Linux lovers! The powerful, flexible MacBook Pro competitor is also available with Ubuntu Linux thanks to Dell’s Project Sputnik endeavor.

      If you’d prefer a sleeker Linux laptop, you can still pick up an XPS 13 Ultrabook with Linux, and yes, the latest, super-sleek version of the XPS 13—which PCWorld hardware editor Gordon Mah Ung called a MacBook Air killer—will get a “developer edition” with Ubuntu preinstalled soon, according to Project Sputnik lead Barton George.

    • Linux-Powered Librem 15 Laptop Crowdfunding Campaign Is a Major Success

      Librem 15 is a new Linux-powered laptop that will ship with completely free applications, drivers, and kernel. The crowdfunding campaign for this laptop is almost over and it has been a resounding success.

  • Server

    • NI to help CERN adopt 64bit Linux

      European lab CERN is working to standardise 64bit Linux as the operating system for all if its control systems, according to test firm National Instruments (NI).

    • Supercomputing the 1000 MPH Car at HPC Wales

      In a bid to break the world land speed record of 1000 miles an hour, the UK’s largest distributed general supercomputing network is challenging schools in Wales with the ultimate science project.

    • Installing and using Git and GitHub on Ubuntu: A beginner’s guide

      GitHub is a treasure trove of some of the world’s best projects, built by the contributions of developers all across the globe. This simple, yet extremely powerful platform helps every individual interested in building or developing something big to contribute and get recognized in the open source community.

    • CoreOS Co-Founder Alex Polvi Talks Containers, Rocket vs. Docker, and More

      CoreOS has gained notoriety over the past few years as the creator of a new Linux distribution designed for massive, Google-scale server deployments. The company’s star has risen along with the popularity of Linux containers — a key component of CoreOS — and their open source components are being widely incorporated by companies on the bleeding edge of distributed computing.

    • Plex Media Server Review – The Ultimate Steaming Server

      Plex Media Server is a media center application that allows users to stream video and audio content to local and remote clients, such as mobile devices or smart TVs. We now take a closer look at this powerful server and client and see what’s the fuss all about.

  • Kernel Space

    • Online Linux designer certification gets easier

      According to the Linux Foundation, over the last year 300,000 students signed up for the free Introduction to Linux Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) created by The Linux Foundation and offered through the edX platform.

    • Linux Foundation’s AllSeen IoT Alliance Opens up IP Policy

      The Allseen Alliance, which is an Internet of Things (IoT) Linux Foundation Collaboration project, was launched in December of 2013. But it was missing one key element — a definitive patent policy. Now at long last in January 2015, the AllSeen Alliance has defined a patent policy for Intellectual Property (IP), which will come into effect in April.

    • Libinput 0.9 Adds Support For Hovering Fingers On Touchpads

      The libinput 0.9.0 release adds support for hovering fingers on touchpads, click methods are now configurable, and there’s support for the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Broadwell model with regard to the physical buttons above the touchpad area.

    • Graphics Stack

      • New Mesa Patch To Improve CPU-Bound Applications

        For those wondering what else Kristian Høgsberg is working on in his post-Wayland days, after tackling initial Skylake enablement in Mesa his latest achievement is a new Mesa performance patch.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Broadwell: GCC 4.9 vs. LLVM Clang 3.5 Compiler Benchmarks

        GCC 4.9.2 and LLVM Clang 3.5.0 were benchmarked using the packages provided on Fedora 21 x86_64. The same Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon was used for all of the benchmarks, the first Broadwell laptop/ultrabook at Phoronix and it features the Core i7 5600U that’s dual-core with Hyper Threading and tops out at 3.20GHz. Fedora 21 was running with the Linux 3.17.8 kernel while testing each of the provided compilers.

      • Ubuntu vs. Fedora Linux On Lenovo’s X1 Carbon With Core i7 Broadwell

        The latest distribution I tried on the X1 Carbon (and the OS I’ll ultimately use for running the X1 Carbon in a production capacity as my main system) is Fedora 21. Fedora 21 booted up on the X1 Carbon wonderfully without any issues aside from the trackpoint button clicks being wonky (though the button clicks in the corner of the trackpad works fine). Fedora 21 with Wayland also ran fine on this system with Intel HD Graphics 5500. Overall, it was a pleasant experience without any major problems.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • A small note on window decorations

        If you have updated to the recently released GNOME development version, you may have noticed that some window decorations look slightly different. Of course it is quite normal for the theme to evolve with the rest of GNOME, but in this case the visual changes are actually the result of some bigger changes under the hood which deserve some more explanation.

        It is well-known that GTK+ gained support for client-side decorations a while ago – after all, most GNOME applications were quick in adopting custom titlebars, which have become one of the most distinguished patterns of GNOME 3 applications. However it is less well-known that client-side decorations may also be used for windows with no custom decorations, namely when using GDK’s wayland backend.

  • Distributions

    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Receives “Positive” Rating in Gartner’s Vendor Rating Report
      • OpenShift by Red Hat Named InfoWorld Technology of the Year Award Winner

        Red Hat is among the only technology vendors to offer a full family of open PaaS solutions: OpenShift Origin, the open source PaaS project; OpenShift Online, a commercial public PaaS offering; and OpenShift Enterprise, an on-premise private PaaS product. OpenShift delivers to developers a cloud application platform with a choice of programming languages, frameworks and application lifecycle tools to build and run their applications. The platform provides built-in support for Node.js, Ruby, Python, PHP, Perl, and Java and the capability for developers to add their own languages. OpenShift also supports many popular frameworks, including Java EE, Spring, Play and Rails.

      • Fedora

        • Corebird 0.9 now in Fedora for testing

          Version 0.9 of Corebird is now in the updates-testing repo for Fedora 21 and Rawhide.

        • Inkscape 0.91 built and ready for testing in Fedora 21

          Earlier this week, the Inkscape upstream made the final tarballs available for the long-awaited new 0.91 version of Inkscape. This version has not been announced by upstream yet, but thanks to the awesome Fedora Inkscape package maintainer Limb, this version is now available for testing on Fedora 21. Please try it out, and give karma to the package in Bodhi.

    • Debian Family

      • Going selfhosting: Installing Debian Wheezy in my home server
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Survey Highlights Private Cloud Popularity

            A survey by Canonical of cloud and server trends among Ubuntu Linux users shows that public clouds are declining in popularity as a result of security and privacy concerns, while private cloud adoption is on the rise.

          • Ubuntu Users See Private, Hybrid Cloud Expansion

            Canonical, the company behind the open source cross-platform operating system Ubuntu, released its annual cloud and server survey this week that seeks to cast more light on the makeup of cloud infrastructure, how it is managed, and what is driving cloud adoption.

          • Ubuntu Server and Cloud Survey Highlights Private Clouds, OpenStack

            Canonical is out with findings from its sixth annual Ubuntu Server and Cloud Survey, which went out to respondents at the end of 2014. The survey aims to provide an overview of the enterprise cloud market, including emerging and changing trends, current challenges and technology preferences. It also tracks the adoption of OpenStack and Ubuntu as well as public cloud usage.

          • Seeing the cloud through Ubuntu-colored glasses

            In Canonical’s sixth annual Ubuntu Server and Cloud Survey, the company found — no surprise — that the enterprise is rapidly adopting the cloud. Further, the cloud is moving from “mostly development and testing to more production-grade workloads”.

            What kind of cloud? It’s still heavily weighted to private clouds, which has 35 percent of users. The most popular platform for private cloud is OpenStack, which is used by 53 percent of users. At the same time, hybrid clouds are on the rise, at 20 percent, up from 15 percent last year. Indeed, the survey found that hybrid clouds are now almost as popular as public cloud, which is at 23 percent.

          • Bill Gates Inadvertently Shows Off Ubuntu on His Facebook Page

            Bill Gates is much more involved in philanthropy than Microsoft these days and he’s done some great work regarding the eradications of certain diseases and to improve the quality of life in a number of third world countries. He’s also inadvertently promoted Ubuntu, which is a Linux system.

          • Camera App for Ubuntu Touch Gets Major Improvements – Gallery

            Ubuntu Touch is almost ready, but some of the core apps are still updated. The camera app recently received an upgrade and numerous features have been added.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • CAMdrive is an Open Source Time-lapse Photography Controller

      The system can be controlled using an Android app.

    • Rugged Type 6 COM runs Linux on 5th Gen Intel Core
    • Black Swift, the tiny wireless computer is on Kickstarter

      Another beautiful board is coming to kickstarter: it’s tiny and powerful. Black Swift runs on OpenWRT Linux, and it can be programmed in a bunch of languages, ranging from C/C++ to PHP, Python, Perl, and Bash scripting (there’s also a Node.js port).

    • Phones

      • Jolla Tablet running Linux-based Sailfish OS enters second round on Indiegogo with 64GB model

        Finnish startup Jolla is looking to crowdsource a new 64GB version of its tablet on Indiegogo, following the original campaign a few months ago.

        For those unfamiliar with this project, Jolla aims to bring a new platform to the market with its tablet, which runs a Linux-based operating system called Sailfish OS.

      • ​Jolla takes second bite at crowdfunding with a 64GB Sailfish OS tablet

        Finnish mobile startup Jolla has announced a fresh crowdfunding campaign, returning to Indiegogo to offer a new 64GB version of its Sailfish OS tablet.

        Jolla initially took to Indiegogo earlier this year, seeking funds to allow it to build its first tablet. The company went on to raise $300,000 over its original $1.5m target, enabling it to start manufacturing the 32GB slate and hitting its stretch goal of offering the device with microSD card support up to 128GB.

      • Android

        • OnePlus Will Reveal Details Of Its ‘Oxygen’ Android ROM On February 12

          OnePlus introduced its own version of Android for its One smartphone earlier this month in response to its standoff with Cyanogen, and now the company has revealed that it will unveil its own ROM which can be installed on third-party Android devices on February 12.

          Correction: OnePlus tells us that, in fact, it won’t launch the ROM on the 12th. This is a tease-of-a-tease, and instead we can expect to see “more information about the ROM” not an actual download for third-party Android devices.

        • Android is suddenly surrounded by enemies

          Cyanogen is one of these forks. It has just raised $70 million from a number of investors including Microsoft to continue producing its own version of Android that it can position as a direct competitor to Google’s.

        • Working New Android 5 Lollipop Features into Your Apps
        • Major Blackphone Security Flaw Discovered

          You might want to think twice before sending that sensitive text message over your supposedly secure Blackphone. A security flaw discovered by an Australian communication security expert could have allowed attackers to decrypt a Blackphone user’s messages, gather location information, and run additional code of the attacker’s choosing.

        • World’s most ‘NSA-proof’ phone vulnerable to simple SMS hack

          A smartphone marketed as the most anti-surveillance, NSA-proof personal device – the BlackPhone – has been found vulnerable to a simple SMS attack that allows the hacker to steal contacts, decrypt messages, and even take full control of the device.

        • Google’s Project Ara Open Source Smartphone to Debut in Puerto Rico This Year

          In Oct. 2013 when Google’s Motorola subsidiary announced Project Ara, for building an open source, modular smartphone, the consensus was that it would fail on both the technical and business levels. Today, however, the odds have tilted in the project’s favor.

          Google sold Motorola to Lenovo, but retained the Advanced Research and Projects (ATAP) R&D group that runs the project. ATAP recently showed off a second generation prototype of the Ara phone, and earlier this month, Google announced plans to launch a 2015 pilot program in Puerto Rico. Project Ara has also recently attracted some interesting technology partners, including battery maker SolidEnergy, audio experts Sennheiser, and health accessory designer Lapka.

Free Software/Open Source

  • How I landed a job in open source

    I have been working in the computer business for over 40 years, but the best years have been the last 17 or so working with Linux and open source software. I got into the computer business unintentionally and kind of sideways, but that is a whole other story. I’ll tell you about how I got into open source and Linux semi-intentionally and also kind of sideways.

  • Sphinx: An outstanding open source documentation platform

    Sphinx is a free, open source project written in Python and, not surprisingly, is really well suited for documenting Python projects. Now, before you harrumph “Meh, I code in which isn’t at all like Python!” be aware that Sphinx supports several other languages (C and C++ support is in development).

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL, the NoSQL Database

      One of the most interesting trends in the computer world during the past few years has been the rapid growth of NoSQL databases. The term may be accurate, in that NoSQL databases don’t use SQL in order to store and retrieve data, but that’s about where the commonalities end. NoSQL databases range from key-value stores to columnar databases to document databases to graph databases.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Major Release LibreOffice 4.4 Announced

      The Document Foundation today announced the latest and “most beautiful” LibreOffice ever. LibreOffice 4.4 is the ninth major release for the project and brings with it lots of design and functionality improvements. Redesigned toolbars, menus, status bars, rulers and new theme selector are among the goodies for users. Michael Meeks said today that this release not only improves the visible features but also the foundations underneath.

    • LibreOffice 4.4, the most beautiful LibreOffice ever

      The Document Foundation is pleased to announce LibreOffice 4.4, the ninth major release of the free office suite, with a significant number of design and user experience improvements.

    • LibreOffice 4.4 Is out! GREAT!!!

      You can find out what’s new, from the technical viewpoint, about this suite here . Let’s see…it comes with a nice sidebar…it has better OOXML support (I don’t care about that as I use ODF), and it even added textboxes. Well, texboxes are something I never needed and I actually find them annoying, but others may think they’re handy… Still, I am more interested in knowing if this new release could meet my needs.

    • LibreOffice under the hood: progress to 4.4.0

      Today we release LibreOffice 4.4.0, packed with a load of new features for people to enjoy – you can read and enjoy all the great news about the user visible features from so many great hackers, but there are, as always, many contributors whose work is primarily behind the scenes in places that are not so easy to see. That work is, of course, still vitally important to the project. It can be hard to extract those from the over eleven thousand commits since LibreOffice 4.3 was branched, so let me expand:

    • LibreOffice 4.4 released, How to Install/Upgrade In Ubuntu/Linux Mint

      LibreOffice and open source office suit released LibreOffice 4.4 that is said to have the most beautiful changes ever. LibreOffice is a must app that has lots of features that makes office work in Linux easier. Let’s see the new features and how we can Install/Upgrade to LibreOffice 4.4 in Ubuntu Vivid Vervet, Trusty Tahr etc. and Linux Mint Rebecca, Qiana etc.

    • LibreOffice 4.4 Is Out And It’s Beautiful
    • LibreOffice 4.4 is more than just a pretty face

      LibreOffice (aka LO) is among the best and the most used free (of cost) and open source office suites. The just-announced, brand new version 4.4 boasts some new features and a much needed design overhaul.

    • LibreOffice 4.4 Released With Major UI Revamp

      A new version of open-source office suite LibreOffice is now available for download and the hands behind it are calling it ‘the most beautiful’ release ever.

    • LibreOffice gets a streamlined makeover, native alternatives for major Microsoft fonts

      The Document foundation announced availability of the latest version of LibreOffice on Thursday, which it says is the most beautiful version of the open source productivity suite yet. LibreOffice 4.4 also fixes some compatibility issues with files that are saved in Microsoft’s OOXML formats.

    • LibreOffice 4.4 Released With Better OOXML Support, UI Improvements

      LibreOffice 4.4 is now available as the newest version of this leading open-source, cross-platform office suite.

    • Does VirtualBox VM Have Much A Future Left?

      It’s been a long time since last hearing of any major innovations or improvements to VirtualBox, the VM software managed by Oracle since their acquisition of Sun Microsystems. Is there any hope left for a revitalized VirtualBox?

  • BSD

    • HAMMER2 File-System Is Still Slowly Coming Together

      Back when DragonFlyBSD’s HAMMER2 file-system development began being publicized, it was believed it wasn’t going to be ready until at least 2013. Fast forward two years, HAMMER2 isn’t yet used by default on this BSD operating system and it’s still being actively developed.

    • PfSense 2.2 Open Source Firewall Receives Important Security Update

      PfSense is a free, open source customized distribution of FreeBSD that has been built to be used as a firewall and router. A new iteration has been released and the distro now sports the 2.2 version number.


  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • ESA implements open source based private cloud infrastructure

      The European Space Agency (ESA) has implemented a private cloud infrastructure to offer IT services to its user communities. The datacentre in Frascati, Italy, is already operational, while a second datacentre in Darmstadt, Germany, has just been completed.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Why Flash sucks

      You might have noticed that a new Apple product launched recently. I’m not going to name it here, because the presstitutes have already flooded the Web with coverage of it to the point where people are suffering from the-Apple-device-that-must-not-be-named fatigue.


      I decided recently to see what the modern Web was like without Flash, so I uninstalled it from one of my systems.

      The first thing I noticed was that the Flash ads were gone. I still saw ads on Web pages I visited, but without most of the irritating animation. (Some pages used animated GIFs, but there were a lot fewer of those.) This meant that I also missed out on some parts of Web sites that used Flash—things like interactive slide shows and games weren’t viewable in my browser.


  • Mitt Romney Won’t Run in 2016 Presidential Election
  • Spain plane crash death toll rises

    The death toll from the crash of a Greek F-16 at a Spanish military base rose to 11 after one of the French airmen who suffered serious burns died at a Madrid hospital.

    The death came as Spanish investigators were trying to determine what caused the jet to lose thrust as it took off and crash into five parked planes at the Los Llanos air base in south eastern Spain.

    The crash triggered a series of explosions and a fire that took about an hour to put out.

    Two pilots aboard the Greek F-16 were killed along with eight French air force members on the ground and the French airman who died on Tuesday.

    Eleven Italians and nine French were injured. Three French jets and two Italian jets were damaged.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Why “American Sniper” Chris Kyle’s defenders are so misguided

      That’s an important distinction because, as American Sniper continues t obreak box office records, many of its fans are having trouble separating the flesh-and-blood human being from his celluloid counterpart. This was perhaps best embodied by Kid Rock’s response to the public criticisms of the film made by Seth Rogen and Michael Moore on Twitter. “F*** you Michael Moore, you’re a piece of s*** and your uncle would be ashamed of you,” he wrote. “Seth Rogen, your uncle probably molested you. I hope both of you catch a fist to the face soon. God bless you, Chris Kyle. Thank you for your service.”

    • U.S. Suddenly Goes Quiet on Effort to Bolster Afghan Forces

      The United States has spent about $65 billion to build Afghanistan’s army and police forces, and until this month the American-led coalition regularly shared details on how the money was being put to use and on the Afghan forces’ progress.

      But as of this month, ask a question as seemingly straightforward as the number of Afghan soldiers and police officers in uniform, and the military coalition offers a singularly unrevealing answer: The information is now considered classified.

    • U.S. military cited for increasing classification of information on Afghan forces

      The top U.S. general in Afghanistan is increasingly classifying information about the Afghan military and police that had previously been released, an “unprecedented” decision that keeps it from the American public, according to a new watchdog report.

    • ‘Kill our pilot and we’ll execute ALL your prisoners’: Jordan ‘says it will hang its ISIS captives’ if airman hostage is dead

      Jordan has threatened to fast-track the execution of a would-be suicide bomber the Islamic State…

    • Lebanon to complain to UN over Israeli border shelling

      Two IDF soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded in the Wednesday attack, when Hezbollah launched an anti-tank missile at an IDF convoy traveling near the Israe-Lebanon border. The IDF responded to the attack with heavy artillery fire, which killed a Spanish UNIFIL peacekeeper.

    • Marwan leaves behind 300 bomb makers in Mindanao

      Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan” may be dead, but the government still has a huge task ahead: To locate the whereabouts of some 300 bomb makers he trained in Central Mindanao over the past two years.

    • News Analysis: Deadly clash in Mindanao could derail passage of Bangsamoro law

      The deadly clash in southern province of Maguindanao between government forces and Muslim rebels could derail the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

      A series of clashes occurred in the early hours yesterday in Mamasapano town between the Special Action Force of the Philippines National Police (PNP) and the alleged members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

    • What next for Yemen as death toll from confirmed US drone strikes hits 424, including 8 children

      A confirmed US drone strike that hit Yemen in the midst of one of the country’s worst ever crises this week means at least 424 people, including eight children, have now been killed in such missions since the start of operations in 2002, Bureau research shows.

      Monday’s attack south of Yemen’s capital Sanaa was ordered by the CIA and killed three people, one of whom was reported to be a child aged between 12 and 15.

    • Exclusive: U.S. armed drone program in Yemen facing intelligence gaps

      The United States is facing increasing difficulty acquiring intelligence needed to run its stealth drone program in Yemen, undermining a campaign against the most lethal branch of al Qaeda after Houthi rebels seized control of parts of the country’s security apparatus, U.S. officials say.

      Gaps in on-the-ground intelligence could slow America’s fight against a resurgent al Qaeda in Yemen and heighten the risk of errant strikes that kill the wrong people and stoke anti-U.S. sentiment, potentially making the militants even stronger in areas where al Qaeda is already growing.

    • Police Brutality, Colonial Violence and the War on Terror

      As the new year unfolds, the Western and Muslim worlds are now subject to the renewed hysteria over Salafist Islamists who have assassinated the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in their offices, and others have been killed, arrested and accused of impending operations in Belgium and Cueta (a Spanish colony on the Mediterranean coast, in Morocco). The wars in Syria and Iraq are said to have spread to new front lines in Europe (according to Jim Sciutto, of CNN), xenophobes rally in Dresden and Leipzig, and counter-terrorism ideologues claim new urgency and relevance. The public is being warned of the increasing need for vigilance, border control, and law and order across the West, as the freedom of speech and public safety is declared to be yet again under threat by heavily armed and professionally trained “religious fanatics”and “extremists”of radical Islam. As the Arab Rebellions continue to unravel a century of Western designs on the region, dangerous women, hidden by their notorious veils (hijab, niqab, chador, burqa, et al) are thought to mysteriously slip through dragnets and across borders to plot and finance further attacks! Gaza has been wrecked and Iraq remains a smoldering ruin, but the adolescent proclivity to insult the religious and engineer hyper-security for shopping must be our abiding preoccupations!

    • American role in the botched SAF operation

      That’s the name given to the operational plan to arrest or “neutralize” (meaning, kill) Malaysian Zulkifli bir Hir, alias Marwan – for whose capture, dead or alive, the US government had offered a $6-million reward, he being in its list of “most wanted terrorists.”

      The covert operation, carried out at dawn last Sunday in Mamasapano, Maguindanao by the US-trained PNP Special Action Force, reportedly succeeded in killing Marwan. But it tragically ended up with 44 SAF officers and men dead in firefights with forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

      Something went terribly wrong in the execution of the operation, although there was plenty of time to prepare, if the latest reported details prove to be true. Who botched it?

    • CIA and Mossad killed senior Hezbollah figure in car bombing

      The device was triggered remotely from Tel Aviv by agents with Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence service, who were in communication with the operatives on the ground in Damascus. “The way it was set up, the U.S. could object and call it off, but it could not execute,” said a former U.S. intelligence official.

    • Islamic State – Confused battle against terrorism won’t help

      For many in the Middle East collaboration with America is a betrayal. And their presence spawns more terrorists than the drones can kill.

    • Full text: Zeman’s speech at Holocaust event

      Czech president compares current crisis with Islamic State to lack of resistance to the remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936

    • Hostage in Sydney siege ‘killed by police bullet ricochet’

      One of the hostages held during a siege at an Australian cafe last month was killed by a ricochet of at least one police bullet that also injured three other hostages, an inquest into the deaths was told on Thursday.

      Jeremy Gormly, counsel assisting the New South Wales state coroner, said lawyer Katrina Dawson, 38, was hit by six fragments of a police bullet, or bullets, with one striking a major blood vessel.

    • Column: Fear in Our Times, and Overcoming It

      We resist the power of fear partly by acknowledging our own vulnerability and reaching out to victims. Instead of building more walls along the Rio Grande, we can use our resources to combat the poverty, injustice and violence that send desperate people away from their homes and across our borders. The money we spend to operate drones would be more likely to diminish fear if we used it instead to help care for the millions of people displaced and impoverished by hatred and violence in Syria and Iraq.

    • The US’ Dark Empire Has Secret Operations in Over 100 Countries
    • Confessions of a U.S. drone pilot

      Mr. Bryant worked on U.S. military bases in Nevada and New Mexico. From those bases, he remotely controlled drones that flew over the skies of Iraq and Afghanistan approximately 10,000 kilometers away. He worked over 10 hours every day and accumulated a total flight time of over 6,000 hours. Mr. Bryant also participated in about 4,300 missions ranging from surveying objective points or specified personnel, escorting U.S. convoys from above, and additionally assisting forces on the ground and conducting actual strikes. He mentions the number of targets he hit with a direct missile attack is 13 and that the total number of people killed in the missions that he participated in is 1,626.

    • U.S. drone strategy in trouble as Yemeni al Qaeda gathers support

      Schoolboy Mohammed Taeiman died this week on a remote Yemeni road, a casualty of a U.S. drone campaign against the local branch of al Qaeda that seems to be sliding into disarray.

      The sixth-grader’s death as he returned home with a family friend aroused the kind of anger that has long helped Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to recruit fighters.

    • 12-year-old Yemeni boy killed in U.S. drone strike

      A US drone strike targeting al-Qaeda fighters in Yemen on Monday killed a 12-year-old boy, whose father and 14-year-old brother were killed in a previous American aerial attack.

    • Drones, by the numbers

      As this Reuters graphic shows, according to data compiled by the New America Foundation, drone and cruise missiles have been a part of the global anti-militant campaign since 2002, with 396 total strikes taking place in Pakistan and 118 occurring in Yemen. The frequency of strikes increased in late 2008, and then rose substantially once President Obama took office, peaking in 2010, when they killed at least 609 in Pakistan. Since then the frequency has somewhat abated, and the majority of monthly strikes have shifted to targets in Yemen. Drones killed 411 Yemenis in 2012, the worst year for deaths in that country.

    • Yemeni Family Wiped Out In Two Separate Drone Attacks

      A U.S drone strike this week that killed two suspected Al Qaeda militants also led to the death of a sixth-grade boy whose brother and father were killed by drone strikes in 2011, according to Yemeni officials and a human rights group.

    • Intelligence Gaps Mount as US Continues Yemen Drone Strikes

      Since officials can’t tell the different between a 12-year-old student and “al-Qaeda,” that’s an understatement, and they are trying to blame this on the recent Houthi takeover in Sanaa.

    • The Demonized and the Lionized

      A young Chris is told by his father, “You got a gift. You gonna make a fine hunter some day.” Indeed. In 1999, Kyle joined the US Navy and became a Navy Seal, hunting Arabs, Muslim men, women, and children. He loved his work. And so many Americans love that he loved it. You know the story. A gun culture. Testosterone. Nationalism.

    • CIA Tried to Give Iraq Nuclear Plans, Just Like Iran

      If you’ve followed the trials of James Risen and Jeffrey Sterling, or read Risen’s book State of War, you are aware that the CIA gave Iran blueprints and a diagram and a parts list for the key component of a nuclear bomb.

      The CIA then proposed to do exactly the same for Iraq, using the same former Russian scientist to make the delivery. How do I know this? Well, Marcy Wheeler has kindly put all the evidence from the Sterling trial online, including this cable.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Justice Department Confirms WikiLeaks Investigation Continues as Google Claims It Fought Gag Orders

      The spokesperson for Eastern District of Virginia has confirmed that the United States Justice Department’s investigation into WikiLeaks continues. The confirmation came when asked to comment on search warrants that were served against Google for data associated with three of the media organization’s staff members. And, in an interview for The Washington Post, a lawyer for Google explained that the company had fought the gag orders, which prohibited them from informing WikiLeaks staff about the search warrants.

      Sarah Harrison, investigations editor, Kristin Hrafnsson, spokesperson and Joseph Farrell, section editor, each had search warrants served against them in March 2012.

    • Google Says It Fought Gag Orders Over WikiLeaks

      WikiLeaks is demanding answers after it was notified by Google that it handed over staff emails to the FBI almost three years after it was served with search and seizure warrants. But Google says it fought the gag orders throughout this time.

    • Court Views State Secrets Too Narrowly, Govt Says

      The scope of the state secrets privilege is again a matter of contention, as government attorneys in an ongoing lawsuit told a judge last week that he had construed the privilege too narrowly.

      Is the state secrets privilege applicable only to discrete items of evidence whose disclosure can be shown to harm the Nation? Or can the privilege be invoked more broadly based on the “context” in which litigation occurs? The proper parameters of the state secrets privilege have never been defined in statute, and so these questions recur.

      In a pending lawsuit concerning the constitutionality of the “no fly” list (Gulet Mohamed v. Eric Holder), the presiding judge has taken a distinctly skeptical view of the government’s use of the state secrets privilege.

    • Fury over BBC writer’s ‘kill Assange’ tweet

      The writer of the BBC’s new comedy inspired by Julian Assange once called for the police to publicly shoot the Wikileaks founder in the head.

      Supporters of Assange say tweets Thom Phipps posted about him were ‘shocking’ and ‘dangerous’ – and make him unfit to write about the issue.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Something Really, Really Terrible Is About to Happen to Our Coral

      Coral reefs cover just 0.1 percent of the ocean floor, but provide habitat to 25 percent of sea-dwelling fish species. That’s why coral scientist C. Mark Eakin, who coordinates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch program, is surprised that the warning he has been sounding since last year (PDF)—that the globe’s reefs appear to be on the verge of a mass-scale bleaching event—hasn’t drawn more media attention.

  • Finance

    • How Democrats killed Obama’s college savings plan

      Pelosi insisted that Obama drop the plan, scuttling what had been quickly labeled a disastrous policy that would hurt the middle class.

    • We Have No Money, So Central Banks Give More Money to Banks

      It’s unanimous! The European Central Bank confirms that the only possible solution to falling wages and depressed spending is to throw more money at the banks and inflate another stock-market bubble.

      The ECB thus joins the world’s other most important central banks in the hope that “quantitative easing” — a form of “trickle-down” economics — will somehow work despite having never achieved anything other than the inflation of asset bubbles, a benefit primarily to the one percent. Then again, perhaps that might explain it.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • House of Cards: A DC Real Estate Column

      In October of 2014, former Democratic Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle and his wife sold their seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom house on Foxhall Road for $3.25 million.

      It was not an unusually large haul for a member of Washington’s political elite, but it was a big step up from his financial circumstances in 2003. Daschle’s financial disclosure form—filed a year before he lost a race to John Thune, marking the first time in more than half a century that a Senate party leader failed to win reelection—showed his net worth to be between $400,000 and $1.2 million. It was a pitiful amount by congressional standards and led CNN to disparage him as a senator of “modest means.”

      After leaving office, however, Daschle immediately began making millions by advising corporations. During the two years prior to his failed nomination to head Health and Human Services he netted $5.2 million, mostly from healthcare, energy, private equity and telecommunications companies. That included big compensation for speaking appearances (he is, according to his speakers’ bureau profile, “a tireless fighter for the common man”) and for authoring such works as, Getting It Done: How Obama and Congress Finally Broke the Stalemate to Make Way for Health Care Reform, which was subsequently found to induce narcolepsy in laboratory rats.

    • How Roy Cohn Helped Rupert Murdoch

      In a photograph of the Jan. 18, 1983 meeting, Cohn is shown standing and leaning toward Reagan who is seated next to Murdoch. Following that meeting, Murdoch became involved in a privately funded propaganda project to help sell Reagan’s hard-line Central American policies, according to other documents. That PR operation was overseen by senior CIA propaganda specialist Walter Raymond Jr. and CIA Director William Casey, but the details of Murdoch’s role remain sketchy partly because some of the records are still classified more than three decades later.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Honoring NSA’s Binney and Amb. White

      In our age of careerism, it’s rare for high-ranking officials to sacrifice their powerful posts for principle, but that was what NSA’s William Binney and the late U.S. Ambassador Robert White did. Their sacrifices and integrity were honored by likeminded former government officials, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern describes.


      As a CIA analyst, MacMichael encountered similar attempts to conceal human rights crimes by U.S.-backed forces in Central America, an early example of the “politicized” intelligence pushed by Reagan’s CIA Director William Casey and his deputy, Robert Gates. MacMichael quit his senior CIA position and testified at The Hague to the truth about the Reagan administration’s secret war to overthrow Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government.

    • Why Alice has a problem if Bob can’t encrypt

      More open-source initatives are working towards an encrypted future than ever before. This is a good thing! This shows a stronger level of interest and activity anyone would have expected prior to June 2013.

    • IT vendors cry foul at new Chinese security rules requiring built-in backdoors

      Last year, the Chinese government started laying out new rules for technology products used by government agencies and banks, in part as a response to revelations about the National Security Agency’s exploitation of Chinese networks. Now, new rules for selling products to China’s financial sector have drawn a protest from North American and European technology vendors because of how intrusive they are—including demands for back-doors into hardware and complete source code.

    • Seven things we learned from Facebook’s latest financial results

      The financial reports also tell us how much each person on Facebook is worth to the company, which varies by country.

      A user in the US or Canada was worth $9 in the final quarter of 2014, but Europeans were only worth $3.45 and users in Asia-Pacific $1.27. Users in the rest of the world including Africa and Latin America – which is the big potential growth area – were only worth 94 cents.

      Of course, as advertising revenue grows, each person outside the US might be worth more, though users themselves are unlikely to benefit: the time has not yet come when they can cash out their work to Facebook.

    • European Commission Wants Collection And Retention Of Passenger Data For Everyone Flying In And Out Of Europe

      Another day, another shameless exploitation of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. We’ve just reported on an EU call for Internet companies to hand over their crypto keys; now the European Commission is trying to push through a requirement for wide-ranging information about everyone flying in and out of Europe to be collected and stored for years.

    • Drug Dealers Swapping Down To Old Cellphones To Stay One Step Ahead In The ‘Tech Arms Race’

      The FBI, along with seemingly every law enforcement agency in the country, wants a backdoor into every new, encrypted-by-default cellphone, arguing that without this, the “bad guys” will win the “tech arms race.” The DOJ cited this same “arms race” in its (losing) argument against a warrant requirement for cellphone searches. To hear law enforcement tell it, today’s criminals are racing far ahead of today’s under-equipped cops, who are stymied by their billions of federal drug-chasing dollars, automatic license plate readers, warrantless GPS tracking, building interior-scanning radar devices and cell tower spoofers.

    • Nobody Saw This Coming: Now China Too Wants Company Encryption Keys And Backdoors In Hardware And Software

      Although there is a clear protectionist element to many of these, as well as a desire to take a look at Western source code, the boldest demands — those for backdoors and encryption keys — are identical to what the US and EU are implicitly calling for. And so, once again, there is no way for the West to claim the moral high ground here, which inevitably undermines any protestations it might make about China’s decision to follow its example.

    • A Year After Reform Push, NSA Still Collects Bulk Domestic Data, Still Lacks Way to Assess Value

      The presidential advisory board on privacy that recommended a slew of domestic surveillance reforms in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations reported today that many of its suggestions have been agreed to “in principle” by the Obama administration, but in practice, very little has changed.

      Most notably, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board called attention to the obvious fact that one full year after it concluded that the government’s bulk collection of metadata on domestic telephone calls is illegal and unproductive, the program continues apace.

      “The Administration accepted our recommendation in principle. However, it has not ended the bulk telephone records program on its own, opting instead to seek legislation to create an alternative to the existing program,” the report notes.

    • Democratic congressman calls to put GOP. Sen. Marco Rubio under NSA surveillance

      One of the more controversial issues during the Obama administration has been the National Security Agency (NSA) and its handling of domestic spying. While many Republicans have been in an agreement with the president, other members of Congress from both parties aren’t too happy.

    • No, Mass Surveillance Won’t Stop Terrorist Attacks

      The recent terrorist attack on the office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo generated a now-familiar meme: Another terrorist attack means we need more surveillance.

    • Why Google made the NSA

      INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’

    • NSA Bears Ability to Compromise and Re-use Intermediate Malicious Programs

      By utilizing numerous servers NSA maintains worldwide, the agency keeps track of botnets comprising innumerable contaminated PCs. When required, it resorts to those botnets’ features for injecting more malware created at NSA into the already-hijacked PCs via certain methodology codenamed Quantumbot, published Der Spiegel a news magazine in Germany.

      A confidential document, which Edward Snowden an erstwhile contractor of NSA exposed as also which Der Spiegel published, has a thorough description of stealthy software from NSA known as DEFIANTWARRIOR which’s utilized for compromising botnet PCs that are then utilized as “throw-away computer network attack (CAN) source points of non-attributable nature” and “all-encompassing vantage points for network analysis.”

    • Surveillance Board Pressures Obama on NSA

      A government-appointed group of privacy watchdogs is again calling on President Barack Obama to end the National Security Agency’s domestic phone data collection, in a reminder that it views the spying program as illegal and ineffective at stopping terrorism.

    • Review group says Obama can stop NSA phone surveillance ‘at any time’

      Review group says Obama can stop NSA phone surveillance ‘at any time’​A review group assembled by the White House to recommend changes concerning the United States’ intelligence gathering operations is calling out the Obama administration for not yet halting the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records.

    • Obama must finally end NSA phone record collection, says privacy board

      White House could take action ‘at any time’, says Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board chair as key Patriot Act measure is poised to expire

    • Regin malware and NSA’s QWERTY tool exposed as part of the same platform
    • Researchers link QWERTY keylogger code to NSA and Five Eye’s Regin espionage malware

      Kaspersky Lab researchers analyzed source code released via Snowden documents and found ‘solid proof’ that links the QWERTY keylogger plugin to the Regin cyber-attack platform used by the NSA for espionage.

    • EFF prevails in legal battle over government spying

      The case was filed back in 2011, demanding disclosure of information on secret interpretations, using the Freedom of Information Act as its basis in the argument.

    • States Move to Curb NSA Spying by Shutting Off Water & Power Supply

      With Congress unable to curtail the National Security Agency’s controversial surveillance programs, privacy-minded lawmakers in eight states are pushing bills they hope will either boot NSA facilities or ban the agency from setting up shop.

    • Washington Bills Would Ban “Material Support or Resources” to NSA
    • Mississippi Bill Would Ban “Material Support or Resources” to NSA
    • Oklahoma Bill Would Ban NSA Activity Called the “Biggest Threat Since the Civil War”
    • Mississippi Bill Would Help Stop How NSA Uses Some of its Data
    • NSA’s Water, Power Supply Under Threat in State Legislatures

      With federal reform elusive, state lawmakers and activists resume back-up plan to shut down mass surveillance.

    • Deutsche Telekom’s Answer For Germans Spooked by NSA Spooks

      Deutsche Telekom is stepping up data protection on its networks to soothe Germans spooked by international surveillance.

      Germany’s leading telecommunications group said this week it keeps domestic Internet traffic within the country and sources key equipment from at least two suppliers.

    • Michael Hayden’s Hollow Constitution

      Attentive viewers will also notice that at the beginning of the speech he treats the NSA’s dragnet surveillance on millions of innocent Americans as a response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks—whereas near the end of the speech, he characterizes such practices as a pragmatic, pre-9/11 response to technological trends. To me, the distinction hardly matters. As I see it, the Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and mass surveillance always qualifies. I’d argue that this makes my Constitution more resilient to terrorism than his.

    • Section 215 of the Patriot Act Expires in June. Is Congress Ready?

      You may have heard that the Patriot Act is set to expire soon. That’s not quite the case. The Patriot Act was a large bill, as were the reauthorizations that followed in 2005 and 2006. Not all of it sunsets. But three provisions do expire on June 1st: Section 215, the “Lone Wolf provision,” and the “roving wiretap” provision.

    • DOJ Scraps Fight Over Grab of Census Records

      The Justice Department has dropped its bid to keep secret a legal analysis of how the Patriot Act justifies law enforcement and intelligence access to census records, watchdog group EFF said Thursday.

    • nternet of things needs global privacy push, says UK regulator

      The U.K. telecommunications regulator Ofcom has called for international industry standards on privacy in the internet of things.

      On Tuesday the regulator published an outline of its approach to the developing internet of things, largely based on responses to a call for input that it made last year. It noted that “stakeholders” had identified data privacy and consumer literacy as their primary areas of concern.

    • Dropbox received 275 government requests for user data in the past six months

      With increasing concerns about government access to user data, tech companies try to appease us with reports on how frequently they’re asked to turn over information on users. Dropbox today released its own semiannual transparency report.

    • ‘A law meant for spies is being used against whistleblowers’

      Whistleblowers from the US and the EU recounted the problems they faced in trying to expose what they believed to be wrongdoing in the organisations they worked for, testifying this week at a hearing of PACE’s Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee.

      Jesselyn Radack, an attorney and former ethics adviser to the US Department of Justice who revealed ethics violations in the FBI’s interrogation of John Walker Lindh, known as the “American Taliban”, told parliamentarians via video-link of her experience of being prosecuted for revealing state secrets. “A law meant for spies is being used against whistleblowers. No distinction is made between selling secrets to our enemies and revealing public interest information.”

      She also communicated a statement to the hearing from former CIA agent John Kiriakou, who is currently in prison in the US after a conviction for revealing state secrets.

      Maria Bamieh, a British former prosecutor at EULEX, the EU’s Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, went public after she felt that her evidence of possible corruption in the mission was not being properly investigated internally. “I have no problem with abiding by secrecy laws for genuine national security reasons, but I have a problem when they are used to cover up crimes,” she told the hearing.

    • Canada’s spy agency tracks file-sharing websites worldwide – Snowden docs

      Millions of pictures, videos, and other files downloaded online globally are being watched by Canada’s electronic spy agency CSE, says the latest mass surveillance report based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

      Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE), an equivalent to the US National Security Agency (NSA), focuses on electronic surveillance. It can access data from over 100 global free upload sites, monitoring downloaded content in countries across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and North America, suggests a covert operation revealed by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept journalist Glen Greenwald.

    • What I learned watching the Lords try to sneak the snooper’s charter through the back door

      Fans of The Simpsons might recall an episode entitled Mr Spritz Goes to Washington. Krusty the Clown gets elected to Congress and the family receives an education in the activities required to get things done in the political capital. Against the ever-decent Lisa’s better judgement, they surreptitiously attach a change to air traffic control law to a bill giving US flags to orphans. The provisions get passed, thereby curing the Simpsons’ recent air traffic noise pollution problem created by Mayor Quimby.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Lies Hidden Inside the Torture Report

      “Waterboarding is torture. . . . And thus, illegal,” Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch said during her confirmation hearing Wednesday.

      Lynch is not the first AG nominee to definitively label waterboarding as such; Eric Holder made the same declaration during his 2009 appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee.


      In the days after the Senate torture report was released, John Yoo, the architect of the original Department of Justice memos, said that the report indicated some of the CIA officers involved went beyond the strict guidance they were given and engaged in acts that “were not approved by the Justice Department at the time.” However, as the dust has settled from the report’s release, a closer, detailed reading of the report makes clear that the program’s legality was undermined because of how the agency misled the Justice Department lawyers looking over their shoulders.

    • Cops Arrest Public Defender For Attempting To Do Her Job

      The public defender, Jami Tillotson, was charged with the one-size-fits-all-who-give-us-any-lip crime of “resisting arrest.” This charge doesn’t work the way people expect it would, much to their anger, dismay and surprise. One would think that the police would need to be arresting you for a different crime and, after encountering some resistance, add “resisting arrest” to the charges. But no, apparently “resisting arrest” simply means not doing what cops say to do, no matter the legality of the request.

    • French Police Question Boy, 8, After Remarks on Paris Attacks

      Police officials in the southern French city of Nice questioned an 8-year-old boy who is believed to have made comments in school defending the gunmen who killed 17 people in terrorist attacks in and near Paris this month, a senior regional police official confirmed on Thursday.

      The questioning of the boy, which occurred Wednesday, grabbed headlines across the country and spurred a debate on social media and elsewhere about whether France’s desire to combat terrorism was tipping over into hysteria. Since the attacks, France has moved to enforce tough new laws against the incitement of terrorism, fueling tensions between free speech and public order.

    • Police Union: You Can Have Safe Neighborhoods Or Be Free Of Flashbang-Burned Toddlers, But Not Both

      A Georgia state senator has announced a bill to limit the use of no-knock warrants. These warrants have gone from the exception to the rule over the past several years, as our nation’s drug warriors apparently labor under the assumption that drug dealers keep banker’s hours.

      Of course, no-knock raids have resulted in plenty of collateral damage — both to cops and civilians — as the element of surprise tends to be bullet-and-flashbang heavy. It’s the use of flashbang grenades that has prompted this new legislation, which unfortunately puts it into the category of “Laws Named After Victims,” most of which are written badly and hastily.

    • Former Top Spy Calls CIA Leak Verdict an ‘Injustice’

      But the government failed to produce any proof that Sterling talked with Risen about the Iran operation, Lang and other close observers of his trial have noted. Prosecutors could show only that Risen and Sterling, an African-American, talked and traded emails after an appeals court rejected a race discrimination suit by Sterling against the CIA in 2005.

    • If I were Prime Minister: I would make Britain a true champion of human rights

      I would champion human rights at home and abroad. The prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment, the right to free speech and peaceful protest, equality before the law, the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial – these are not alien to British values and constitutional traditions. They go to the heart of what it means to call Britain a free society.

      So I would strengthen, not scrap, the Human Rights Act and support, not withdraw from, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The Act has brought very real benefits to people living in Britain: preventing the separation of elderly couples, securing accommodation for survivors of domestic violence, and tackling discrimination against the homeless.

      The ECHR – which British lawyers helped create – has greatly advanced human rights across Europe: helping to end torture in custody, promoting equal treatment for women and for gays and lesbians, ending corporal punishment in schools and protecting press freedom. The suggestion that Britain should ignore rulings from the Court that it doesn’t like would gravely damage the institution and set a dreadful precedent for abusive governments elsewhere in Europe, for example in Russia and Turkey.

    • Document reveals that U.S. military knows force-feeding Gitmo detainees violates medical ethics

      VICE News FOIA’d the first disclosure by the US government that force-feeding war-on-terror detainees who are capable of making informed decisions about their own health is a violation of medical ethics and international law.

    • The Military Admitted Force-Feeding Gitmo Detainees Violates International Law and Medical Ethics

      A two-page document recently obtained by VICE News contains the first disclosure by the US military that force-feeding people who are capable of making informed decisions about their own health is a violation of medical ethics and international law.

    • Book Review: Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, Updated Edition, by William Blum

      In Killing Hope, William Blum aims to provide a comprehensive account of America’s covert and overt military actions in the world, all the way from China in the 1940s to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and – in this updated edition – beyond. Julia Muravska is disappointed by some shallow characterizations and concludes that academic readers may not be satisfied by Blum’s analysis.

    • CIA ‘used Diego Garcia to interrogate terror suspects’
    • CIA ‘used Diego Garcia to interrogate terror suspects’

      CIA terror suspects were interrogated on the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia, an official in the Bush administration claimed yesterday.

      Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to Colin Powell when he was US secretary of state , said that the island was used for “nefarious activities” after 9/11 when other sites were too full or insecure.

    • America’s terror suspects WERE interrogated on British territory: Pressure on PM as Bush aide tells of ‘nefarious activities’ on Diego Garcia
    • CIA ‘used British island to interrogate terror suspects for weeks at a time,’ says former White House aide

      The CIA used a remote British island to interrogate terror suspects for weeks at a time, it has been claimed.

      A former aide to the Bush administration claims Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean was used as a transit site and as a site for interrogations.

      The island – which is nearly 1,800km to the south of India, was used by the CIA to carry out “nefarious activities”, Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s ex-chief of staff, claimed.

    • CIA did use United Kingdom territory for secret terror interrogations, says top US official

      Terror suspects held by the CIA were interrogated on the British‑owned island of Diego Garcia despite the repeated denials of London and Washington that any such incidents took place, a senior American official said today.

    • CIA interrogated suspects on Diego Garcia, says Colin Powell aide

      The UK government is facing renewed pressure to make a full disclosure of its involvement in the CIA’s post-9/11 kidnap and torture programme after another leading Bush-era US official said suspects were held and interrogated on the British territory of Diego Garcia.

    • Exclusive: CIA Interrogations Took Place on British Territory of Diego Garcia, Senior Bush Administration Official Says

      Interrogations of US prisoners took place at a CIA black site on the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia, a senior Bush administration official has told VICE News.

      The island was used as a “transit location” for the US government’s “nefarious activities” post-9/11 when other places were too full, dangerous, insecure, or unavailable, according to Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff.

    • If you are an unmarried Pakistani, you cannot visit Sweden

      Apparently, even ‘tourism’ related purposes are not permitted. Obviously, none of this makes a part of their official press release; they wouldn’t want bad press attention for this racist policy, now would they? This brings me to the purpose of my blog today.

    • USA Today columnist calls for arrest and imprisonment of vaccine skeptics

      Now we finally come to the real agenda of the vaccine industry. After vaccines have been repeatedly documented by the Natural News Lab to contain neurotoxic chemicals such as mercury, formaldehyde and MSG; after vaccine shots have been repeatedly shown to kill people who take them; and after flu shots have been exhaustively shown to be based on no science whatsoever — with vaccine manufacturers openly admitting there are no clinical trials to show they even work — the rabid vaccine pushers are unveiling their end game: throw vaccine resistors in prison.

    • MI5 says rendition of Libyan opposition leaders strengthened al-Qaida

      A secret UK-Libyan rendition programme in which two Libyan opposition leaders were kidnapped and flown to Tripoli along with their families had the effect of strengthening al-Qaida, according to an assessment by the UK security service, MI5.

      Prior to their kidnap, Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi had ensured that their organisation, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), focused on the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi, the classified assessment says. Once handed over to the Gaddafi regime, their places at the head of the LIFG were taken by others who wanted to bring the group closer to al-Qaida.

    • Supreme Court pauses 3 Oklahoma executions

      The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered stays of three Oklahoma executions as it considers a case challenging the state’s current lethal injection regimen.

    • World leaders put aside differences to pay respects to Saudi’s King

      David Cameron’s government only a week ago raised its voice to slightly above its customary whisper to condemn Saudi Arabia’s public flogging of a liberal writer, Raif Badawi.

    • CIA torture report: An interactive timeline of who’s who in government

      The Bureau has constructed a timeline showing all the people in charge of US national defence and intelligence agencies during the years from 2002 to 2007, the period when the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme was operating.

      The interactive timeline also includes the changes in leadership and the people at the top of the CIA (formerly Central Intelligence), Defense Intelligence Agency, Secretary of State, National Counterterrorism Center, and the Senate intelligence committee.

    • Compensation claim against the CIA

      Kamil Shah is demanding compensation for the mistreatment he says he suffered at the Hands of the CIA whilst imprisoned in the military detention facility in Bagram, Afghanistan

    • Will the Obama administration finally bring the CIA’s torturers to justice?

      The woman who will probably be the nation’s top lawyer opened the door to prosecuting the men and women responsible for the CIA’s torture program on Wednesday. And whether the President who nominated her likes it or not, she should act on it as soon as she’s in office.

    • NLA president: CIA intervention worse

      Mr Pornpetch said that he was not surprised Mr Russel had met in Thailand with groups of people in a way that violated appropriate diplomatic practice because the US State Department often acted this way.

    • Spy named new director of National Clandestine Service once jumped to save Hamid Karzai before he became Afghanistan’s president

      The officer, a former Marine who is under cover and whose first name is Greg, was recently the head of the Special Activities Division, the CIA’s elite paramilitary force. He has twice been station chief in Afghanistan, where in December 2001 he jumped to shield Karzai when the U.S. military accidentally bombed the position of the man who would become Afghanistan’s president. He earned Karzai’s trust, and the Obama administration asked him to troubleshoot the fraught relationship with the Afghan leader in 2012, when he again served as station chief in Kabul.

    • CIA Taps Undercover ‘Spider’ as Its Top Spy

      The Central Intelligence Agency has selected a new top spy, tapping an undercover veteran who played a central role in developing personal relationships with Afghan leaders after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • One in five online scholarly articles affected by ‘reference rot’

      While the immediacy of publishing information on the Internet dramatically speeds the dissemination of scholarly knowledge, the transition from a paper-based to a web-based scholarly communication system has introduced challenges that Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists are seeking to address.

      “For more than 70 percent of papers that link to web pages, revisiting the originally referenced web content proved impossible,” said Herbert Van de Sompel, of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Research Library. “These results are alarming because vanishing references undermine the long-term integrity of the scholarly record.”

    • Copyright Law Is Eating Away At Our Cultural History: And It’s Time To Fix That

      This, of course, was only the latest in an ongoing effort by the Internet Archive, led by Jason Scott (who has been involved in all sorts of archival efforts of internet content and video games and made a documentary about text adventure games called Get Lamp). Andy Baio has a great post up discussing this work and how important it is that it’s being done by the Internet Archive, rather than a giant corporation. As he notes, while Google used to really focus on similar archival projects, in the recent past, it seems to have let that focus fade, which is quite disappointing.

      Of course, in discussing the possible reasons why Google’s archival efforts have stagnated, Baio tosses out a few suggested reasons, including the lack of profitability, but also, the potential legal liability. After all, Google is still fighting in court about the Google book scanning project, and the focus of that project seems much more about pushing people to buy books, rather than being able to do useful searches through that huge corpus of knowledge.

  • DRM

    • You Don’t Own What You Bought: Drone Maker Updates Firmware On All Drones To Stop Any Flights In DC

      You may have heard the news recently about how a drunk employee of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (can’t make this crap up) accidentally flew a DJI Phantom II drone onto White House property, leading to a general collective freakout over the security implications of these personal helicopters. In response to this, President Obama has called for more drone regulations — which may or may not make sense — but it needs to be remembered that the FAA has been refusing to actually release any rules for quite some time.


Apple- and Microsoft-Friendly Media Continues Attacking Android/Linux

Posted in Apple, Deception, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 6:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Je Suis Wintel

Owl speaks

Summary: Some of the latest examples where corporate media (funded and run by large corporations) distorts facts, selectively covers facts, and generally serves to protect the Apple-Microsoft duopolist world view

TECHRIGHTS is troubled to see a lot of anti-Android rhetoric in the press as of late. Putting aside the smearing of Lollipop (we have upgraded to it and it works well), there is a lot of rhetoric that comes from Android foes. Some of the rhetoric relies on Apple results which mostly embody business other than mobile devices (Apple operates in many areas) and other kinds of rhetoric rely on a gross distortion of statistics, along with misleading headlines.

HTC (Taiwan), Sony (Japan), Huawei, ZTE (China), LG, and Samsung (Korea) make Android phones that are popular among the people of the world, including big markets like China, but Apple, the sole US company in this market (Nokia is the sole big player — albeit shrinking — in Europe) only counts on the US market to give the illusion of might. Here is the latest example of the US-only FUD (counting only US sales). “In the U.S. market,” says one parts of the article, but the headline is misleading and does nothing to clarify the scope. There are many headlines just like that and after reading English-speaking media one might be left with the impression that Android is losing even though it’s gaining. It is always gaining; rapidly too.

Apple Insider, a pro-Apple propaganda site, published an article titled “Apple Inc’s thermonuclear assault on Samsung vaporizes Android…” (article later deleted on the face of it, or renamed)

Microsoft, in the mean time, is still trying to hijack Android and make a “Microsoft Android” as they have failed to do (despite trying) using Nokia as the hijacked proxy (Yahoo was also hijacked by Microsoft and Facebook was hijacked by investment). Ahonen, a Nokia guru, has just noted that “Microsoft-Nokia is such an irrelevant spec in the market now as they’ve fallen out of the Top 10 smartphone manufacturers, its not worth its own entry.”

Yes, look how much of a ‘success’ this has been. Nokia used to be hugely dominant in this market. Microsoft reduced it to a laughing stock and borderline patent troll. The News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal suggests that Microsoft might be trying to use CyanogenMod as the next anti-Android proxy, following rumours of a buyout last year. The partly Microsoft-owned Facebook already tried that and failed. So has Nokia. They could not hijack Android from Google. Thom Holwerda has a good article that explains why CyanogenMod cannot be trusted and the Wall Street Journal says that “Microsoft is investing in a hot startup that’s trying to weaken Google ’s hold over Android.

“People familiar with the matter say Microsoft is putting money into Cyanogen, which is building a version of the Android mobile-operating system outside of Google’s auspices.

“Microsoft would be a minority investor in a roughly $70 million round of equity financing that values Cyanogen in the high hundreds of millions, one of the people said. The person said the financing round could grow with other strategic investors that have expressed interest in Cyanogen because they’re also eager to diminish Google’s control over Android. The identity of the other potential investors couldn’t be learned.”

So Microsoft is still playing a dirty game while reportedly pushing Outlook and Office (i.e. Microsoft lock-in) into the platform, helped by a mindless media propaganda blitz [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13] where OOXML lock-in is disguised as “open” even though it’s purely proprietary and preys on the platform which Microsoft is actively suing using software patents.

Wintel media outlets hardly covered it when Android was getting LibreOffice but enthusiastically market OOXML/Exchange traps for it. Journalists are shamelessly distracting from much more important news like the new LibreOffice release (4.4) and Free software LibreOffice coming to Android while Google is making its game-changing move to embrace ODF. Therein lies the ‘magic’ of Microsoft PR agencies, which basically drive the media and bamboozle the world. Will Hill told us yesterday that:

SVJN’s conversation on G+ is a hoot. Bruce Byfield adds insult to injury by saying,

You know, of course, that some people will never believe Microsoft can change, even if it releases the source code for Windows and MS Office. To them, such actions would be proof of a clever plot.

Simon Phips, shamefully, perpetuates the lie with a backhanded compliment,

The work these parts of their company is doing seem genuine. My objection remains that they are still sociopathic in the legacy parts of their business. When they stop shaking down embedded Linux companies they deserve the name; until then, they are just aspiring to good marketing karma that they don’t deserve.

SVJN is also promoting the latest FUD, Ghost, which is mostly nonsense, and Windows 10.

The thing about Microsoft’s criminal behaviour (such as racketeering), it goes well beyond patent abuse. It also goes well beyond faking “Open Source”. We spent many years coverage examples to show this. Don’t believe for a second that Microsoft has changed. The news about CyanogenMod merely serves to reinforce our suspicion that Microsoft is still attempting an “embrace, extend and extinguish” (destroy/fragment) strategy against Android. Look what Microsoft puppets like Facebook and Nokia tried beforehand (without success) against Android.

Qualys Admits That Its Scare Campaign (So-called ‘GHOST’) Somewhat Baseless

Posted in FUD, Security at 6:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Giving names to bugs to make them sound scary

Scare campaign

Summary: Even the company that bombarded the media with its “GHOST” nonsense admits that this bug, which was fixed two years ago, does not pose much of a threat

TWO days ago we wrote about the self-promotional FUD campaign from Qualys, noting that it had been blown out of proportion, as intended all along by Qualys (which even gave it the name “GHOST” and paid for expensive press releases in corporate news). A Red Hat employee reveals that even Qualys itself realised that its pet PR/marketing charade, “GHOST”, is not much of a risk.

He said that “the people at Qualys that worked hard to hype GHOST into a doomsday bug had to admit that most software calling the gethostbyname function couldn’t be forced to exploit the bug. As they say themselves (from “the Qualys Security Advisory team”):

“Here is a list of potential targets that we investigated (they all call gethostbyname, one way or another), but to the best of our knowledge, the buffer overflow cannot be triggered in any of them:

apache, cups, dovecot, gnupg, isc-dhcp, lighttpd, mariadb/mysql, nfs-utils, nginx, nodejs, openldap, openssh, postfix, proftpd, pure-ftpd, rsyslog, samba, sendmail, sysklogd, syslog-ng, tcp_wrappers, vsftpd, xinetd.”

“To put things in perspective see this [discussion],” he added. It’s LWN refuting Dan Goodin, the anti-GNU/Linux ‘security’ rhetoric person from Condé Nast (we took note of his coverage the other day).

“But as always,” added the guy from Red Hat, “the truth isn’t that clickbaiting…

“It was a bug. It has been fixed. But it wasn’t that simple to exploit. Patches are available and as it seems no one got hurt.”

European Unitary Patent and Court System in Trouble

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 5:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EU flag

Summary: New resistance to the Unitary Patent amid allegations of misconduct in the European patent authorities

OUR recent coverage of EPO abuses plays a role in derailing the Unitary Patent and 'harminised' court system (bypassing national laws in many nations), which is basically an open door to a lot of software patents and patent trolls. Our sources occasionally remind us that they can feel the impact and see the effect of reporting on the subject. Over at IPCopy we learn about the Unitary Patent’s latest and also take note of Spain’s challenge, which we first covered several years ago, back in 2011 and in 2010. “The Advocate General,” explains IPCopy, “released his opinions on the two Spanish challenges to the unitary patent system in November last year and in December there was much discussion online about the independence of the Boards of Appeal at the EPO.

“Anyone curious about whether the developments at the EPO might be relevant to the Spanish challenges to the unitary patent are encouraged to head over to Dr Ingve Stjerna’s website (link below) and read his latest paper ” Unitary patent and court system – Advocate General’s Statements of Position: Superseded by reality”.”

We are glad to see nations standing up to the EPO, which has corruption at the top. It goes well beyond authorisation of software patenting, which includes FRAND in Europe. OSI President Simon Phipps, writing that “FRAND Is Always Discriminatory”, says that he “participated in a study asking about the fairness, reasonableness and non-discriminatory nature of FRAND licensing in the context of licensing of patents in standards. I was surprised to find people there asserting there was no conflict between FRAND licensing and open source software. Here’s a simple explanation why that’s wrong.”

“Why patent licensing as a precondition of implementation of a standard cannot be non-discriminatory, on any terms,” he wrote in Twitter about his article, which also made it into corporate media.

It sure looks like the insidious side of the EPO, mostly attributed to managers in suits at the top floors (not scientists such as patent examiners), is being exposed for all to see. There is still chance for European democracy to be saved and sovereign laws (intended to preserve some level of justice) to be taken into account, not foolishly (and arrogantly) overridden.

Text of Ruling/Decision Against Željko Topić (Regarding Audi as a Bribe)

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 5:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Judge Marijan Bertalanič
Judge Marijan Bertalanič, photo from vecernji.hr

Summary: The legal loss of Željko Topić laid bear for the public to see even outside Croatia

THE DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY we learned that Željko Topić had lost his case in his home country, Croatia (where he is facing many criminal charges). Surely he hopes that nobody outside Croatia will find out, let alone have access to the text in a language like French, German, or English. But thanks to our sources we now have precisely that. It’s a ruling from Judge Bertalanič (pictured above).

Here is the relevant (original) document [PDF], which is a summary judgement (in Croatian). As promised a couple of days ago we now have this recent judgment of the Municipal Criminal Court of Zagreb relating to the defamation complaint which Mr. Topić filed against Ms. Vesna Stilin (classic gag attempt in our humble assessment because that would be a classic manoeuvre where one sues the messenger to intimidate and create an illusion of equality).

“The full judgement,” says our source, “including a detailed statement of the grounds is expected to become available in February.

“The summary judgment basically states that the accused (i.e. Ms. Stilin) has been “acquitted of the charges” ["OSLOBADJA SE OPTUZBE" in Croatian]. It then goes on to list the charges under items 1. and 2.

“The charges were based on the contents of two letters sent in 2010 by Ms. Stilin to the then Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor (with copies to various Ministries).

“The paragraphs in italics are passages from the letters which were alleged to be defamatory.

“Of particular interest is the accusation that Mr. Topić literally “purchased” his second term of office in 2008 by providing an Audi to the Minister at an estimated cost of 500.000 HRK (ca. EUR 66.000).”

Here is the relevant part:

“Topić Željko kupio je svoj drugi mandat ravnatelja DZIV-a, plativši cca 500.000,00 kuna MZOŠ u razdoblju od preko 2 godine (od svibnja 2007., kada je potpisan navedeni Ugovor, do srpnja 2009., kada je Primorac otišao iz Ministarstva), što spominjem, uz ostalo i u Ustavnoj tužbi br.: U-III 5023/08 koja je još u rješavanju, gdje osporavam Topićevo imenovanje za ravnatelja… …..Naime, podnijela sam kandidaturu za ravnateljicu Zavoda nakon što je isti krajem 2007. potajno… ukinuo moj sector …”

“The court found that the assertions which Ms. Stilin made about Mr. Topić were not defamatory,” said our source for this. “The summary judgment concludes by stating that the plaintiff (i.e. Mr. Topić) is to bear all costs.

“It would be interesting to know whether EPO funds are going to be used for this purpose.”

This last remark alludes to the fact that when Topić travels to Croatia to face justice he labels it business trips or something along those lines. The last thing he wants is informed colleagues who know where he is coming from. Sooner or later we might see this man in prison, not just outside the top floors of the EPO. Battistelli has got quite a liability in his hands.

Media Coverage of Demonstration Against Jesper Kongstad of the Administrative Council (EPO)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO demonstration
Photo credit: “Finans”

Summary: Last week’s EPO demonstration has been covered by Danish media, raising awareness of the “banana republic” state of the EPO

Yesterday we wrote about Jesper Kongstad’s protection of Benoît Battistelli, recalling one of the earliest type of abuses which we covered here last year. The Techrights article about EPO protest in front of the Danish Consulate in Munich has had an effect (widely cited on the Internet).

“In case you are interested,” wrote a source to us, “a good photograph of the protest march to the Danish Consulate in Munich was published by the Danish newspaper “Finans”.

“The article is in Danish and is “subscription-only” but the photo is openly accessible.”

We are still hoping to receive a scan/full Danish text/English version/human translation of the article. It would be good to have it for our record too, so if any of our Danish-speaking readers can help us, that would be beyond helpful.


Links 29/1/2015: Android Shipments in 2014 Exceed 1,000,000,000, LibreOffice 4.4 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 9:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • The 5 best open source email clients for Linux

      Windows users have Outlook; Mac users have Mail. What options are there for Linux users? As it turns out, Linux land is rich with email clients. I have chosen five of the best, fully open source email clients (with two exceptions) for Linux users.

  • Kernel Space

    • As simple As That

      The challenge of the Internet of Everything is that it needs to be just that – an Internet of everything, a global ecosystem of billions of interoperable products, applications and services all speaking the same language, all working together regardless of manufacturer, industry or platform. AllJoyn is the open source software project built by the AllSeen Alliance’s thriving technical community of over 110 companies that is delivering on this challenge, creating simple and open technology that connects everything and enables the Internet of Everything.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

    • New Releases

      • GParted Live Now Supports Microsoft’s New Filesystem, ReFS

        GParted Live is a small bootable GNU/Linux distribution that has a lot of features and that can be used in operations like creating, reorganizing, and deleting disk partitions on a variety of filesystems. A new stable update has been made available and the operating system is now at version 0.21.0.

      • Papyros Is a Linux OS That Follows Google’s Material Design and It Looks Stunning

        Papyros is a new Linux distribution in the making that will use the Material Design style from Google. There is nothing to test so far, but the progress made by the developers is impressive and it’s very likely that this will become one of the most interesting distros available.

      • BackBox Linux 4.1 released!

        The BackBox Team is pleased to announce the updated release of BackBox Linux, the version 4.1!

        This release includes features such as Linux Kernel 3.13, EFI mode, Anonymous mode, LVM + Disk encryption installer, privacy additions and armhf Debian packages.

    • Red Hat Family

      • CoreOS Releases Building Block For Distributed Systems

        Hyperscale Linux operating system specialist CoreOS said it is releasing its latest open source component for sharing and managing configuration data and other functions used in distributed systems.

        San Francisco-based CoreOS announced its first stable release of etcd, or “etc distributed,” an open-source distributed key value store that provides the backbone of CoreOS clusters and the etcd clients that run on each machine in a cluster. “Our goal with etcd has been to make building and using distributed systems easier,” CoreOS CTO Brandon Philips said Wednesday (January 28) in announcing the release.

      • Fedora

        • DNF Plugins Extend The Functionality Of Fedora’s Yum Successor

          With the upcoming Fedora 22 release due out in May, DNF is positioned to replace Yum as the default package manager.

          While there’s been many DNF articles on Phoronix in past months, one of the aspects not covered much to this point is the dnf-plugins-extra package that’s in its very early stages. Version 0.0.3 of dnf-plugins-extras was released today as a collection of DNF plugins done by the community.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • 7 reasons why I prefer elementary OS Freya over Ubuntu 14.10 “Utopic Unicorn”

            When we laid out our featured article on things you need to do after installing Ubuntu 14.10, we shared a few little issues we have had with the latest Ubuntu release. Well things got worse, and I decided to try something else for a change. I’ve been using elementary OS Freya as my daily driver since then. And I have to say, I’m mighty impressed so far. And the fact that Freya is still very much in beta makes the whole affair all the more interesting. A list of reasons why I prefer elementary OS Freya over Ubuntu 14.10 at the moment.

          • Don’t Use Ubuntu, Use Mint – or elementary

            Tech Drive-in today listed seven reasons he prefers elementary OS over Ubuntu. Despite all that, Michael Larabel today reported on the improved performance of Ubuntu 15.04 on newer machines.

          • OpenJDK 7 Vulnerabilities Closed in Ubuntu 14.04 and Ubuntu 14.10

            Canonical published details about a new OpenJDK 7 version has been pushed to the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 14.10 repositories. This update fixes a number of problems and various vulnerabilities.

          • Ubuntu Touch Apps Can Now Be Launched In A New Windowed Mode

            A new Ubuntu smartphone OS feature has been created by developer Michael Zanetti, who has created a way to run Ubuntu Touch apps in windows rather than full screen, allowing them to be dragged , shrunk, maximised, or minimised, just like they were desktop applications but on your smartphone.

          • Ubuntu Users See Private, Hybrid Cloud Expansion

            Canonical, the company behind the open source cross-platform operating system Ubuntu, released its annual cloud and server survey this week that seeks to cast more light on the makeup of cloud infrastructure, how it is managed, and what is driving cloud adoption.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 Now Based on Linux Kernel 3.18.4, Devs Are Tracking the 3.19 Branch
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Introducing BodhiBuilder

              If you follow me on GitHub then you likely noticed I have added a few projects in the last few days. One of these projects has been on my TODO list for awhile – cleaning up the old remastersys script I have always used to create the Bodhi Linux ISO images for the last few years. Today I am pleased to announce you can find my fork of remastersys dubbed “BodhiBuider” on GitHub here.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tough multi-display controller runs Linux on i.MX6

      MEN Micro unveiled the “CC10S,” a Linux-ready i.MX6 based multi-display controller board for touchscreens deployed in harsh, -40 to 85° C environments.

      Imagine a humongous earth-moving rig prepping an oil shale site in North Dakota in the middle of January. You’re going to want a touchscreen with that, and it better be tough. The MEN Micro CC10S single board computer is designed for controlling 7- to 15-inch LCD touchscreens that must deal with the rough, tough stuff on a daily basis.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Airdroid – Transfer files between Android Phones/Tablets and Linux (Any Distribution)

          We often need to transfer large amount data in the form of mp3 Songs, Video Songs, Movies and most importantly, large Games between android phones/tablets and Linux machine. Transferring via USB cable takes time, so let’s do it with ‘Airdroid’ easily and quickly.

        • Android shipments in 2014 exceed 1 billion for first time

          For the first time ever, worldwide shipments of smartphones packing Android exceeded 1 billion units in 2014, a significant gain from the 780.8 million units that shipped around the world in 2013, researcher Strategy Analytics announced Thursday. Android dwarfed its second-place competitor, Apple’s iOS, which mustered 192.7 million worldwide shipments in 2014.

        • 1B Android phones shipped in 2014, but they don’t all help Google

          When Android first arrived in 2007, it was (and still is) a key part of the OHA, or Open-Handset Alliance. OHA partners — which include Samsung, LG, Dell, HTC, Huawei and ZTE, to name a few — all loosely work together to help improve Android, while competing against one another by using Android on their respective hardware products. Android is the commonality between all of the OHA partners. And then there’s Google.

        • Android beats iOS for app downloads, but revenues are still a different story

          There are plenty of caveats to this line of reasoning, though. First, Google Play is not the only Android app store – Amazon and Samsung run their own stores, while in countries like China there are dozens of stores offering Android apps.

        • HTC One M8 Android 5.0 Lollipop Update: What U.S. Owners Can Expect

          When Google announced Android 5.0 Lollipop back in October many smartphone owners like those with the HTC One or HTC One M8 instantly started waiting for details regarding the Android 5.0 Lollipop update. It has arrived for a few devices already, including the HTC One and HTC One M8 Google Play Edition handsets, but below we’ll go over what regular HTC One owners need to know about the Android 5.0 update.

        • Samsung Galaxy S4 Updated To The Android Lollipop 5.0 OS

          The Android Lollipop 5.0 update is finally available for the Samsung S4. The operating system is also available for the Samsung Galaxy S5, Note 4, Note 3, and Note Edge. Samsung Galaxy and Note users will be happy to hear that the long waited update is coming in the near future. But should Galaxy S4 users take advantage of the Android Lollipop update?

        • Don’t wait for Android 5.0, this app makes your phone look like Lollipop for free

          Android 5.0 Lollipop is a huge upgrade for Google’s mobile operating system. The only problem with it, of course, is that it’s only available for a handful of devices. Most Android smartphone users still have plenty more waiting to do before Lollipop is finally available for their handset, but now there’s a terrific app that will make your older version of Android look just like Lollipop — and it’s free!

        • Is this Apple’s secret weapon that could force Android users to buy an iPhone?

          There are many reasons why Android users switch to iPhone, and vice-versa, but Apple may have a secret (or not-so-secret) weapon that could pressure some Android fans to considering a move to the other side. No, it’s not Apple Pay, an exclusive iPhone 6 feature that’s heavily marketed by various banks in the U.S., further helping Apple market its 2014 iPhones. It’s actually a stock iOS app that has been hiding in plain sight for years.

        • Android 5.0.2 Lollipop Problems Frustrating Nexus Users

          Google rolled out its Android 5.0.2 Lollipop update to fix Nexus Lollipop problems. And while it did fix some of the bigger issues, Android 5.0.2 Lollipop problems continue to frustrate Nexus users.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • From Opera to… Vivaldi!

      Yes, the name is familiar. Vivaldi was that KDE tablet that never saw the light of day, but now Vivaldi is the name of a beautiful browser that runs on Linux.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Hortonworks Spreads its Open Source Wings to Bring Governance to Hadoop

      We all know Hortonworks is committed to open source, insisting that it’s the way to innovate on Hadoop and deliver the best enterprise-grade technology to the marketplace. And though its main competitor, Cloudera (or at least a member of its management team) may have taunted that Hortonworks’ business model is “undependable,” Wall Street certainly didn’t agree — its shares soared 65 percent above the opening price on Dec. 12, 2014, its first day of trading as a public company.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.4 Released as the Most Beautiful LibreOffice Ever

      The Document Foundation has just announced that a new major update has been released for LibreOffice and it brings important UI improvements, enough for them to call this the most beautiful version ever.

    • The best open-source office suite, LibreOffice 4.4, gets new release

      Who says you can’t have fast, good and cheap? The Document Foundation’s latest release of the most popular open-source office suite, LibreOffice 4.4 is quite fast on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows; it works well on all three desktop operating systems, and it won’t cost you a penny.

    • LibreOffice 4.4 Released With Major UI Revamp

      A new version of open-source office suite LibreOffice is now available for download and the hands behind it are calling it ‘the most beautiful’ release ever.

      Jan Holesovsky, leader of the LibreOffice design team, says “LibreOffice 4.4 has got a lot of UX and design love, and in my opinion is the most beautiful ever.”

      The productivity suite, which was spun out of the slow moving OpenOffice project back in 2010, has certainly upped its game in the design department over the past few years, with each release of the 4.x series adding finesse.


    • GNU Guix 0.8.1 released

      We are pleased to announce the next alpha release of GNU Guix, version 0.8.1.

      The release comes both with a source tarball, which allows you to install it on top of a running GNU/Linux system, and a USB installation image to install the standalone Guix System Distribution.

    • Libreboot X200 laptop now FSF-certified to respect your freedom

      This is the second Libreboot laptop from Gluglug (a project of Minifree, Ltd.) to achieve RYF certification, the first being the Libreboot X60 in December 2013. The Libreboot X200 offers many improvements over the Libreboot X60, including a faster CPU, faster graphics, 64-bit GNU/Linux support (on all models), support for more RAM, higher screen resolution, and more. The Libreboot X200 can be purchased from Gluglug at http://shop.gluglug.org.uk/product/libreboot-x200/.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Your Open Source 3D Printed Designs Could Save the 3D Printing Community Millions

        In an article published in Modern Economy by Dr. Joshua Pearce, of Michigan Technological University, titled “Quantifying the Value of Open Source Hardware Development” one of the challenges of Open Source Hardware has been addressed: Creating a real world value for community developed creations. Three methods for quantifying the value of free and open source hardware designs were used, including “1) downloaded substitution valuation; 2) avoided reproduction valuation and 3) market savings valuation along with additional benefits related to market expansion, scientific innovation acceleration, educational enhancement and medical care improvement.”

  • Programming

    • LLVM Adds Options To Do Fuzz Testing

      LLVM/Clang developers have begun work on adding fuzz testing capabilities, the providing semi-random test data in an automated manner to test functions for potentially unchecked scenarios using malformed data, etc. Fuzzing helps developers avoid potential crashes, security issues, and uncovering other possible pitfalls.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • YouTube flushes Flash for future flicks

      Adobe would need to have buried its head under many metres of sand, and strapped many layers of black tape about its head, not to see this coming. So there can’t be too much gnashing of teeth and wailing down San Jose way, not least because the masses who use YouTube probably don’t care how their video is delivered*.

    • YouTube ditches Adobe Flash for HTML5 on most browsers

      GOOGLE’S YOUTUBE video portal has made the switch to HTML5 as a default renderer, marking yet another milestone in the downfall of the Adobe Flash format.

      Historically, Adobe Flash has been the renderer of choice despite its buggy limitations because it offered a number of tangible benefits over early HTML5 implementations.

    • 10 capabilities we want to see in HTML6

      The buzzword “HTML5” came and went a few years ago, but the standard itself wasn’t made final until the end of 2014. In the five-plus years it took the “second coming of this Web stuff” to be fully realized and ratified, we got deep into the changes, examined how early adopters pushed HTML5 to its limits, and surfaced more than a few hard truths about the limitations of the spec.


  • Looks like those IBM layoffs have started

    Reports of big layoffs to come this week at IBM were correct, at least with regard to timing. Starting Wednesday, the message board at Alliance@IBM, a site manned by former IBM employees, was full of posts from people saying (anonymously) that they had been laid off. More accurately, most said they had been “RA’d,” which is IBM parlance for Resource Action, but which means — you got it — laid off.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Have we reached ‘peak food’? Shortages loom as global production rates slow

      The world has entered an era of “peak food” production with an array of staples from corn and rice to wheat and chicken slowing in growth – with potentially disastrous consequences for feeding the planet.

    • NHS – Calling for a minor change in Policy..

      There are arguments made all the time as to why privatisation is beneficial. The more cynical, and those led entirely by a fundamental belief in free market solutions for everything, simply see the potential economic gains as being too great to pass up. After all, in the US, health care spending makes up a significant portion of GDP, one that has been rising providing profit and opportunity for companies and investors. The impact on patients? Well, that’s collateral damage – you should be working harder, or better insured.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • The FTC Calls for Lockdown Security on the Internet of Things

      The Internet of Things (IoT) was big news at January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and many large tech companies had related announcements. Apple wan’t demonstrating, but partners had the first set of devices that are HomeKit certified, which is Apple’s protocol for allowing smart home devices to work with the iOS platform. And, Google announced 15 new partners in “Work With Nest,” its developer program for adding third-party devices to Nest devices and networks. Meanwhile, The Linux Foundation oversees one of the biggest Internet of Things initiatives: The AllSeen Aliance, which is rapidly gaining members.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US Drone Strike in Yemen Killed 12-Year-Old Student

      Officials Had Previously Identified Him as ‘Al-Qaeda Militant’

    • CIA operations to aid Syrian rebels go bad

      CIA operations to aid moderate fighters battling Syria’s Bashar Al Assad regime has gone badly as rebel forces keep shifting loyalties, says a Wall Street Journal reports.

    • Covert CIA Mission to Arm Syrian Rebels Goes Awry

      It didn’t take long for rebel commanders in Syria who lined up to join a Central Intelligence Agency weapons and training program to start scratching their heads.

    • Exclusive: Obama Cuts Off Syrian Rebels’ Cash

      In the past several months, many of the Syrian rebel groups previously favored by the CIA have had their money and supplies cut off or substantially reduced, even as President Obama touted the strategic importance of American support for the rebels in his State of the Union address.

      The once-favored fighters are operating under a pall of confusion. In some cases, they were not even informed that money would stop flowing. In others, aid was reduced due to poor battlefield performance, compounding already miserable morale on the ground.

    • Should The U.S. Military Be Educators?

      Military academies have always been funded by taxpayer dollars & revered for their traditional and all-American ways. But one Naval Academy professor says the money is wasted and the standards for entrance are low. Is the end of West Point in sight?

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Open Letter in Defence of WikiLeaks Journalists

      We, the undersigned journalists and human rights defenders cannot remain silent while our colleagues and profession are under attack.

      We deplore the actions taken the US Government against WikiLeaks journalists Sarah Harrison, Joseph Farrell and Kristin Hfaffnsson. We believe they represent political persecution of journalists and journalism.

      Free societies everywhere are best served by journalism and publishing that holds governments and corporations to account and guarantees citizens’ right to know. Such work is not espionage or terrorism; it is journalism.

  • Finance

    • Germans Are in Shock As New Greek Leader Starts With A Bang

      One senior German official described Tsipras as part of a brash new generation of European leaders, including Italy’s Renzi, who weren’t afraid to stand up to Merkel and challenge the assumptions that have shaped policy in the eurozone and Ukraine crises in recent years. – See more at: http://portside.org/2015-01-29/germans-are-shock-new-greek-leader-starts-bang#sthash.U8rGKwEr.dpuf

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • The Tsarnaev trial and the rest of us
    • Seth Rogen and Michael Moore banned from steakhouse over American Sniper
    • Here’s what moviegoers in Baghdad think of ‘American Sniper’

      The film, set during the US-led occupation of Iraq and released on Christmas Day, hit nerves in the United States immediately. Some critics and commentators lauded it as patriotic and unflinching; others dismissed it as reductionist and racist.

      Many people also objected to the film’s portrayal of Kyle — a man who described Iraqis as “savages” in his memoir — as a hero.

    • 7 heinous lies “American Sniper” is telling America

      One way to get audiences to unambiguously support Kyle’s actions in the film is to believe he’s there to avenge the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The movie cuts from Kyle watching footage of the attacks to him serving in Iraq, implying there is some link between the two.

    • Killing Ragheads for Jesus

      “American Sniper” lionizes the most despicable aspects of U.S. society—the gun culture, the blind adoration of the military, the belief that we have an innate right as a “Christian” nation to exterminate the “lesser breeds” of the earth, a grotesque hypermasculinity that banishes compassion and pity, a denial of inconvenient facts and historical truth, and a belittling of critical thinking and artistic expression. Many Americans, especially white Americans trapped in a stagnant economy and a dysfunctional political system, yearn for the supposed moral renewal and rigid, militarized control the movie venerates. These passions, if realized, will extinguish what is left of our now-anemic open society.

    • S.F. public defender detained outside court; office outraged

      A San Francisco deputy public defender was handcuffed and arrested at the Hall of Justice after she objected to city police officers questioning her client outside a courtroom, an incident that her office called outrageous and police officials defended as appropriate.

      The Tuesday afternoon arrest of attorney Jami Tillotson as she denied police officers’ attempts to take photos of her client without explanation raised questions about police intimidation and harassment, Public Defender Jeff Adachi said at a Wednesday news conference.

      But police said the five officers, led by a plainclothes sergeant, were investigating a burglary case in which Tillotson’s client and his co-defendant were considered persons of interest. Tillotson was cited for misdemeanor resisting or delaying arrest because she obstructed a police investigation, officials said.

    • Sterling Conviction a Victory for Government’s Right to Hide
    • This is how a police state protects “secrets”: Jeffrey Sterling, the CIA and up to 80 years on circumstantial evidence

      The participants in the economy of shared tips and intelligence in Washington D.C., breathed a collective sigh of relief when, on January 12, the government announced it would not force James Risen to testify in the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling. “Press freedom was safe! Our trade in leaks is safe!” observers seemed to conclude, and they returned to their squalid celebration of an oppressive Saudi monarch.

      That celebration about information sharing is likely premature. Because, along the way to the conviction of Sterling this week on all nine counts – including seven counts under the Espionage Act — something far more banal yet every bit as dear to D.C.’s economy of secrets may have been criminalized: unclassified tips.

    • Eric Holder plugs his legacy on leak cases

      A federal jury’s decision Monday to convict a former CIA officer for leaking top-secret information to a New York Times reporter was a big win for prosecutors — and for Attorney General Eric Holder’s new approach to handling sensitive cases involving journalists.


      The attorney general’s action was consistent with a series of moves over the past year and a half in which he sought to demonstrate greater sensitivity to the concerns of journalists. The recalibration was prodded not by Risen’s predicament or a sudden bout of introspection, but by a political firestorm that broke out in 2013 over prosecutors’ aggressive investigations of leaks to the Associated Press and Fox News.


      Holder’s decision to drop demands for Risen’s testimony about his sources could help dampen concern about the treatment of journalists, but it won’t extinguish complaints that the unprecedented flurry of nine leak-related prosecutions during the Obama administration has chilled whistleblowers from taking their concerns to the media. In fact, Sterling’s conviction on every count sent to the jury — and the prospect of a lengthy prison term for the ex-CIA officer — might embolden prosecutors intent on stamping out leaks.

    • VIDEO: CIA Whistle Blower Found Guilty Proves That Using “Proper Channels” Doesn’t Work

      Monday’s guilty verdict for former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling is another example of whistleblowers attempting to go through proper channels to expose wrongdoing, and then being “flagged as troublemakers” and facing severe retaliation from the government, according to transparency advocate Norman Solomon.

    • CIA Officer’s Conviction to Discourage More Intelligence Leaks

      The conviction of CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling for leaking classified information about a covert plan to derail Iran’s nuclear program to a journalist, sends a message that intelligence leaks will not go unpunished while reducing the risk of encouraging more leaks, former CIA official Paul Pillar told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    • CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling found guilty on all counts

      Sterling was charged under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified information about a mission meant to slow Iran’s nuclear program to New York Times reporter James Risen, who then wrote about the CIA’s Iranian plot in his 2006 book, “State of War.” The plan’s goal was to learn more about the country’s controversial nuclear program and impair its progress, and the schematics were reportedly funneled to the Iranians via a Russian scientist with the codename “Merlin.”

    • The mass media have suddenly discovered Jeffrey Sterling

      The mass media have suddenly discovered Jeffrey Sterling — after his conviction Monday afternoon as a CIA whistleblower.

    • ACLU asks judge to block attempt to repossess copies of CIA torture report

      The American Civil Liberties Union is turning to federal court to stop the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee from repossessing the secret copies of a landmark inquiry into CIA torture.

    • ACLU: Don’t Let Senate Block Full CIA ‘Torture Report’ Release

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a motion in federal court on Tuesday night in an effort to block the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee from retrieving all the copies of the committee’s full, unredacted report on the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation program.”

    • Meet the CIA’s secret protector: Why Sen. Richard Burr is its favorite “overseer”

      One of the newest pieces of conventional wisdom among the political commentariat is the idea that under the influence of the Tea Party and the libertarians, the Republicans are no longer the national security hawks they once were. They are going back to their old isolationist ways, the thinking goes, because Rand Paul is running for president and he doesn’t support military adventurism overseas (except when he does) and the right wing of the GOP is uninterested in national security.

    • Editor of major newspaper says he planted stories for CIA

      Becoming the first credentialed, well-known media insider to step forward and state publicly that he was secretly a “propagandist,” an editor of a major German daily has said that he personally planted stories for the CIA.

    • CIA: A spy agency gone rogue?

      American author and journalist Charles Glass joined Shainin with anecdotal references where he first talked about the origins of the CIA and the failures from its very conception. He said that from its very formation in 1947, the agency had agents in the field “torturing people or bribing foreign officials”. He talked about CIA’s role in overthrowing an elected parliamentary government in Syria in 1949, on behalf of an Arabian oil company “to have a dictator who would then allow an oil line to go through Syria.” The country never really had a democracy again, the effects of which can be seen today.

    • US Incarceration System Facilitates Breakdown of Society

      What we’re doing isn’t working, justice-wise, order-wise, sanity-wise. The state of Illinois is bankrupt and yet its jails are full to bursting, at a cost, per occupant, equal to or greater than the cost of luxury suites at its ritziest hotels. And 90 percent of the teenagers who enter the system come back within three years of their release. This is no surprise: The system is a spiral of entrapment, especially for young men of color.

    • US Spy Agency CIA Heading For A Shake Up: Top Spy To Step Down

      The Central Intelligence Agency–the spy agency of United States of America, is reportedly heading for a shake up. In the run up to that, the chief of secret intelligence operations will shortly step down. The office of the secret intelligence wing has announced that “the director soon plans to retire after a long and distinguished career at CIA.”

    • Spy panel shakeup will add focus on cyber, CIA

      The House Intelligence Committee is shaking up its structure to put a new focus on cybersecurity and the CIA, among other areas.

    • LoBiondo named chairman of House CIA subcommittee
    • LoBiondo named chairman of the House Subcommittee on Central Intelligence Agency

      LoBiondo takes the chairmanship at a time when the CIA has come under scrutiny. A report released in December by the Senate Intelligence Committee found the agency’s interrogation techniques to be more brutal and used more extensively than the agency had portrayed.

    • Former CIA spies come in from the cold as Hollywood players

      The place in Brooklyn looks like a CIA safehouse. Red brick office building with peeling metal awning. No sign. Inside, writers are plotting out popular cold war espionage show The Americans – one of an assortment of Hollywood spy or national security dramas being driven by ex-spies.

      The show’s creator and co-head writer Joe Weisberg is a former CIA officer who never fathomed he would one day sit in an office with Soviet propaganda posters and a cut-out figure of President Ronald Reagan, concocting television fiction.

    • Feinstein Slams CIA Report as Error-Riddled

      In the waning months of her tenure as head of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, California Democrat Dianne Feinstein transformed into a tireless critic of the CIA’s torture program and the measures the agency is accused of taking to avoid scrutiny.

    • Feinstein Disputes CIA Report on Spying on Senate

      Her office provided a list of 15 items where Feinstein takes issue with the Accountability Board review. Some of them relate to an apparent dispute over the scope of the investigation. Among them, Feinstein says the claim that the CIA and investigators did not have a “common understanding” about access is simply false.

      “This is a serious matter and has been acknowledged by the CIA inspector general and the CIA Accountability Board. Regardless of the extent of the violation or intent of those involved, someone should be held accountable,” Feinstein said.

    • Feinstein offers 15 point rebuttal to report on CIA
    • Egypt’s War on Atheism
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • Drone maker DJI will disable its units over Washington, DC, after White House crash

      Following the crash of one of its Phantom drones at the White House on Monday and a response from President Obama that more regulation of drones was needed, Chinese drone maker DJI will reportedly be disabling its units from flying over the DC area. According to the FAA, it was already against federal regulations to fly in that region, not to mention the fact that the pilot told the Secret Service he was drinking.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Canadian Government Spies on Millions of File-Sharers

        New revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed that Canada’s main electronic surveillance agency spied on millions of file-sharing downloads from some of the world’s most popular sites. More than 100 sites including Dotcom’s Megaupload were routinely monitored in a search for extremists.

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