EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.06.15

A Thank-You to Techrights Supporters

Posted in Site News at 8:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A somewhat belated call for support and a thank-you to existing supporters

Christmas tree

Summary: How to support Techrights and why we plan to become more active in 2015

HALF a decade ago Techrights published a lot of articles, at most around 30 per day (requiring well over 100 hours of research and writing per week). We have published 27 articles in the past week in an effort to bring the site back to pace after a relatively slow 2014.

“The more tips we receive, the more resilient we can make the site in the face of DDOS attacks (we suffered several last year) and the more motivated we become to write articles here.”As always, we welcome contributions in the form of guest articles, links (either suggested links sent to us or promotion of our articles in so-called ‘social’ media) and for those who have money to spare in support of the site there is the tip jar. The more tips we receive, the more resilient we can make the site in the face of DDOS attacks (we suffered several last year) and the more motivated we become to write articles here. Enough tips also leave us less dependent on external employment and therefore increase the amount of time spent on this site. It is 2 AM where I am at the moment (Manchester) and I stayed up late in an effort to justify the tips left to us just before Christmas. I have been doing that since New Year’s Eve. My wife and I don’t live lavishly and our main passion in here; most of our time is spent writing in our sites, notably Techrights and Tux Machines.

There are many ways to support this site and those who appreciate what we do and have done for nearly a decade are strongly encouraged to ‘give back’, to to speak, even by just promoting the articles or recommending the site to peers/colleagues. Supporting Techrights also means supporting Tux Machines, which advances GNU/Linux and reaches a broad (and still expanding) audience.

Boycott Tuxera File Systems

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents at 8:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Don’t pay even a penny to Tuxera

Coins

Summary: Tuxera heralds Microsoft’s tax era in Android and Linux; thus it should be left to rot

AFTER Microsoft’s crude patent attack on users of FAT such as TomTom (some surrendered and paid Microsoft, but TomTom took it public and into the courtroom) an incognito company called “Tuxera” made a pact with Microsoft to help spread the patent trap. There is now this press release from Tuxera, once again targeting Linux and Android with proprietary file systems:

Tuxera Inc., the market leader in file systems, streaming and network storage technologies, today released Tuxera Flash File System for Linux and Android, which is optimized to run on flash storages such as eMMC and SD. Tuxera Flash File System is based on Tuxera’s widely deployed and robust file system technologies with special flash optimization and extended features.

We strongly urge everyone — including technology companies — to avoid Tuxera. The company now acts mostly as a Microsoft proxy, helping Microsoft to derive revenue from GNU/Linux and Android (Microsoft tries doing that in some other ways too right now). Microsoft does not own Linux and has contributed nothing to it, except perhaps litigation, muckraking, and extortion. Paying even a dime to Tuxera basically helps Microsoft crush its opposition.

Privately, going a year back, Techrights and its community of readers silently fought a battle (over E-mail) with Tuxera over GPL violations. The Conservancy got involved too. We never wrote an article about it, but our suspicion of Tuxera certainly grew at the time. Tuxera is not a Free software player but a parasite.

With Chromebooks Abound Windows is No Longer Competitive

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 8:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Only OEM inertia and brand awareness keep driving Windows ‘sales’ (rentals)

Modern laptop

Summary: The era of Windows monopoly is ending or has ended because Microsoft can no longer compete with the better-priced Linux-powered rivals

FOR A MERE 250 pounds we recently bought a laptop plus tablet bundle (both HP-made and of high build quality). The laptop runs GNU/Linux and the tablet uses Android (i.e. Linux-powered). No Windows required. Microsoft cannot compete with such pricing, it can only pretend to.

According to a media site that received money from Microsoft (not disclosed), HP’s attempts to make a Windows-based Chromebook competitor is terrible. This isn’t the first time this year that we see sources close to Microsoft speaking of the rise of Chromebook and the problem of the relatively bloated Windows. Vista 8 was terrible not just because of bloat. The article states: “Setting up a Chromebook and getting to work with the most up-to-date software takes about three minutes, maybe five if you’re slow. That’s not the case with the HP Stream 13, although it’s much improved over computers from just a few years ago.

“It took me about 10 minutes before I could use the Windows laptop since it was going though various setup processes. Ah, but the updates.”

And that’s just the beginning. The headline says that “the $229 HP Stream 13 isn’t a Chromebook killer” and it’s easy to see why. This is how Simon Phipps put it: “It’s a mistake to try to squeeze Windows into hardware designed for ChromeOS. You end up with a laptop that’s so under-powered it’s best for cloud-hosted applications (as the HP/Microsoft TV advertising in the UK implies). But you still have to maintain anti-malware software, apply updates, manage drivers, buy upgrades and so on.

“So you have sbought yourself the functionality of a Chromebook but with the upkeep of Windows. Why on earth would anyone think that was a good deal?”

GNU/Linux in its classic form (e.g. with GNOME or KDE desktop) may not be gaining in terms of installed base fast enough, but with operating systems like ChromeOS, Android, SteamOS, FirefoxOS, webOS, Tizen, Sailfish OS etc. Linux sure is taking over the digital world, not only in the back end (servers, routers, ‘dumb’ embedded devices, and supercomputers). CES 2015 shows plenty of evidence of that right now, even if the “L” word isn’t always mentioned/advertised.

Microsoft says it ‘loves’ Linux not because it really loves GNU/Linux but because GNU/Linux inevitably became a dominant, undefeatable force. Even Microsoft’s biggest customers use GNU/Linux. Microsoft loves Linux like Russians love Putin.

Investigation Unit a Complete Farce Inside the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Investigation Unit

Summary: A glimpse at the dissent against the current EPO management — dissent that’s directed at the very top executives and comes from EPO staff

EPO and the so-called ‘Administrative Council’ are not independent and they have basically eliminated oversight and now protect one another. Then there is the so-called investigation unit, which simply retaliates against anyone who does not toe the line of EPO management, as we saw several times last month. “There is a lot going on at the moment,” told us someone from the EPO. “We are almost waiting for the next collegue to be suspended and escorted from the premises. This is starting to become worrying not only for persons working at the EPO but also for everybody and every company depending on good EPO services. In particular the patenting of software is a disputed issue also amongst the examiners.

Another source sent us document which he or she found in the canteen at the beginning of the year. Our source had to scan it and we have it shown above. “The quality is not very good,” said the source, “but it illustrates the work sphere.” The EPO’s management has lost the loyalty and support of staff at all levels. Even the Enlarged Board of Appeal is complaining.

2014 Brought Good News Regarding Software Patents, Other Types of Patents Remain Untouched

Posted in America, Patents at 7:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: No US patent reform last year, but there are improvements nonetheless, especially in the area of patents on algorithms

THE USPTO has amended its examination guidelines following an important ruling from SCOTUS, which at the very least limited the scope of software patents. Change came not from politics (driven dominantly and excessively by corporate money, especially in the US) but from a courtroom and The Hill continues the corporate media’s obsession with patent trolls, who are not the same as software patents (despite some correlations).

“Heading into the year,” writes The Hill, “few issues seemed to be as well-supported as reforming the nation’s patent laws to prevent “trolls” from harassing companies with scores of lawsuits.

“A patent reform bill cruised through the House last December, and President Obama highlighted the issue in his State of the Union address as one of his 2014 priorities for Capitol Hill.

“Yet despite months of work from some of the Senate’s most senior lawmakers in both parties, the reform push was killed just before completion, at the request of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).”

The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t stop large aggressors like Microsoft and Apple from suing small companies using software patents. This approach is basically what large corporations are lobbying for. They have done it for years. This elusive pursuit of so-called ‘reforms’ that only affect small trolls isn’t the thing to root for. Scope itself is the issue (scope of patents, not scale of the litigant).

Incidentally, there is a decent new article about patents on genetics in the US. “Last month in Silicon Valley,” writes Technology Review, “biologists Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier showed up in black gowns to receive the $3 million Breakthrough Prize, a glitzy award put on by Internet billionaires including Mark Zuckerberg. They’d won for developing CRISPR-Cas9, a “powerful and general technology” for editing genomes that’s been hailed as a biotechnology breakthrough.” (further interpreted by Glyn Moody)

This is about patents. As Moody put it, “Whether obvious or not, it looks like the patent granted may complicate turning the undoubtedly important CRISPR technique into products. That, in its turn, will mean delays for life-changing and even life-saving therapies: for example, CRISPR could potentially allow the defective gene that causes serious problems for those with cystic fibrosis to be edited to produce normal proteins, thus eliminating those problems. ”

Speaking of patents on genes, IP Troll Tracker correctly stresses that Monsanto deserves to be hated for its (ab)use of patents for monopoly. The post is titled “People Hate Monsanto For Reasons Other Than Their Patent Litigation Policies?” One clear issue with this post is that it conveniently overlooks many other issues with Monsanto, including genocide in Vietnam (Agent Orange), the impact of toxins in pesticides, and the unknown impact of genetically-modified foods on one’s health (several studies show a correlation to cancer, among other detriments).

Patents are inherently a monopoly and if monopolies are allowed to enter the field of software, where many people code with simple tools like a keyboard, then we limit expression. Code can be like prose and patenting prose (not the same as copyright) would be disastrous.

Links 6/1/2015: Linux 3.19 RC3, Plasma 5.2 Beta Imminent

Posted in News Roundup at 6:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Users Are Going Crazy About Circle Icons, Might Become a Regular Thing

    Linux systems are evolving all the time and the users are always looking for ways to enhance their experience. Right now, the trend indicates that more and more desktops are being adorned with circle icons.

  • Developer Issues Bogus Takedowns Against Cup Of Linux YouTube Channel In Retaliation For Being Banned For Abusive Behavior

    The backstory: the Cup of Linux YouTube channel handles all things Linux, including coverage of distributions and how-to guides for new users. One Linux developer, Antoni Norman, is the main force behind the Pinguy OS Linux/Ubuntu hybrid. Over the years, he’s been a valuable contributor to the Linux community, including the one centered around Cup of Linux. Also, over the years, Shawn Patrick Ryan (“Spatry”) has covered Pinguy OS releases in a number of YouTube videos. So far, so good.

  • Desktop

    • Idea – A Novice Approach To Linux On The Laptop

      So if you have a slow XP computer. You can turn off the internet to Windows for safety and run your attachable Linux device on your laptop.

      Here you have a safe way to upgrade your laptop system and an easy way to run Linux on your laptop. Just attach a USB stick.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.2 Beta Is Being Tagged This Week

        The beta for the upcoming Plasma 5.2 desktop shell is being tagged on Thursday.

        Plasma 5.2 Beta is being tagged on Thursday so this is the last chance for merging any features or artwork ahead of this quarterly update to Plasma 5. As long as the tagging is done on Thursday, KDE Plasma 5.2 Beta (v5.195) should be officially released on 13 January. The plan is to then tag the official 5.2.0 release on 22 January and to officially release Plasma 5.2 on 27 January, per the Plasma 5 schedule.

      • A Guide for Krita Users

        One of our long-standing contributors, Timothée Giet, is working on some new training material as part of his work teaching Krita at Activ Design!

      • Plasma 5.2 Beta Coming

        The Plamsa 5.2 beta will be tagged on Thursday this week. If you have any pending features or changes that are going to affect artwork or strings that should be in the release please make sure they get merged ASAP.

      • [Krita] Cumulative Undo/Redo :More than one stroke at a time

        The last feature I did for Krita was to implement a Cumulative Undo/Redo feature. Since its been almost 3 months since my last contribution to Krita — I thought this was the one of the very first things I had to do from a rather clogged pipeline.

      • [Krita] Project Activity in Bug Reports

        Sven Langkamp recently mentiond that Krita had crept up to second place in the list of projects with most new bugs opened in bugzilla in a year. So I decided play around a litte, while Krita is building.

        Bugzilla has a nice little report that can show the top X projects with open bugs for certain periods. Krita never is in the default top 20, because other KDE projects always have more open bugs. But let’s take the top 100 of KDE projects with open bugs sort the data a bit and then make top 10 lists from the other columns.

    • GNOvktop/GTK

      • Linus Torvalds Says GNOME Terminal on Fedora 21 Is Using “Emo” Mode

        Linus Torvalds is not one to shy away from saying what he thinks and he apparently doesn’t have a too good opinion on what the terminal app looks like by default in the latest Fedora 21.

      • GNOME gets Foursquare integration

        If you were reading my GSoC 2014 reports, you surely remember that I was working on integrating GNOME Maps with social networks, so you can share the place you are in Facebook and Foursquare (and Twitter if you enable an option in Maps!). This surely is not going to be an everyday feature, but I learned a lot during its development (and during the whole GSoC).

  • Distributions

    • ZevenOS 6.0 “Goodbye Edition” Is the Last One for a Long Time

      ZevenOS, a Linux operating system with software optimized for slower computers and with elements of BeOS based on Xubuntu, has just reached version 6.0.

    • Hel-lo Makulu and Goodbye Zeven

      Today in Linux news, ZevenOS has decided to rest on Ubuntu’s laurels. Jamie Watson says Makulu 7 Xfce is the most beautiful distro he’s ever seen and Dedoimedo says Elementary 0.3 is “purrty.” The Korora project released version 21 Beta and Derrik Diener highlights the top five Arch derivatives. And finally today, we have a year-end Linux recap and another Linus quote is ruffling feathers.

    • Linux in 2015: Distros on Tap

      2014 was a unique year for Linux in that Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu all had Enterprise (or Long Term Support/LTS releases as Ubuntu refers to them) releases. There will be no major enterprise Linux platform milestones in 2015, but there will be plenty of updates for enterprise and community Linux.

    • Big Year for Enterprise Linux Distros Includes Major Updates

      Particularly strong for enterprise Linux, 2014 offered a rare confluence of release timing calendars. The three major enterprise Linux vendors delivered milestone updates in 2014. On April 17, Ubuntu 14.04, code-named Trusty Tahr, was released as a long-term support (LTS) version of Ubuntu. (Ubuntu issues new LTS releases every two years; each LTS has up to five years of support.) Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL) came out June 10, marking the first major RHEL update for Red Hat since 2010. Red Hat supports its enterprise releases for 10 years. On Oct. 27, SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 was released, marking the first major update to SUSE’s flagship enterprise Linux platform since 2009. Big enterprise Linux releases were not the only updates during the year, Red Hat’s Fedora community Linux distribution delivered Fedora 21 Dec. 9, providing server-, cloud- and workstation-focused editions. Ubuntu 14.10, code-named the Utopic Unicorn, which debuted Oct. 23, provides new big data capabilities. Also out in 2014, Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) 1.0 Linux distribution provides a new privacy-focused OS choice. In this slide show, eWEEK looks back at key Linux events of 2014.

    • The building blocks of a distribution with Linux from Scratch

      There is a very, very large number of Linux distributions. Each distribution is built using the same basic building blocks but the end results are always different. The choices made by the distribution developers turn the building blocks into finished structures designed to meet a variety of needs—desktop, server, or some other specialized usage.

    • NixOS and Stateless Deployment

      If I had my way, I would never deploy or administer a linux server that isn’t running NixOS.

      I’m not exactly a prolific sysadmin – in my time, I’ve set up and administered servers numbering in the low tens. And yet every single time, it’s awful.

    • Reviews

      • elementary OS 0.3 Freya beta review

        This happens to be one of them distros what mystifies me, good and bad. On one hand, it seems to be very popular, if you look at the Distrowatch rank listing, or consult my best distro of the year vote readers’ choice section, where a rather handsome portion of the audience chose elementary as their favorite spin. It’s only officially at version 0.2, the last stable release was unleashed unto the nerdy crowds some 16 months back, and the latest beta is still only at version 0.3, and taking its time.

        Neither the first nor the second dot oh something release managed to impress me. The desktop environment was pretty and cool, but the overall composition was quite buggy. And this brings me to the other hand of the argument. I kind of want to review it again, despite all of the above. Testing 0.3 Freya, beta. Here we go.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2014.12 MATE screenshot tour

        PCLinuxOS 2014.12 has been released, so it’s time for another screenshot tour. I toyed with the idea of doing a full review on Desktop Linux Reviews, but the next release of PCLinuxOS should have some major changes so I’m holding off until that is available to review. In the meantime, you can get a good look at PCLinuxOS 2014.12 MATE in the screenshots below.

    • Arch Family

      • Manjaro 0.8.11 Gets Its Fourth Update Pack and All the Latest Kernels

        Manjaro 0.8.11 was made available only a month ago and its makers have already released four upgrade packs. Even if this seems like they have a lot to fix, that’s not actually true. In fact, these packs bring some important upgrades for a number of important components, like the Linux kernel for example.

      • Top 5 Arch Linux Derivatives

        Arch Linux is very unique. Unlike most Linux distributions, it does not have an official live disc. When you boot it up, you’ll be greeted with a terminal. For some people this is fine. In fact, they prefer it. Arch gives you the freedom to sit down and make a Linux install yourself, one that you’ve made with your own two hands. It’s a good time, and that’s great, if you like that sort of thing.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat’s OpenStack Tech Leadership Discusses Cloud Direction

        Red Hat has multiple products within its Infrastructure division, including the CloudForms management solution and the OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service product. McLoughlin noted that OpenStack is a key part of a broader portfolio but still stands on its own as well.

        “You can build a cloud with the individual projects, but if you build a cloud with the entire portfolio, you get a whole lot more value out of it,” McLoughlin said.

        In terms of the continued development and expansion of OpenStack services, there are a number of new capabilities that are underway, including the Manila shared filed system service. Work is also ongoing for the Zaqar messaging service.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Google Cloud offers streamlined Ubuntu for Docker use
          • Ubuntu Touch Is 2014′s Most Important Linux Distro

            2014 has been a very interesting year with a ton of major releases, but one in particular really stands out, Ubuntu Touch. It’s not yet available in stores and it’s not “really” ready, but it’s the one that registered the most progress.

          • NVIDIA CEO Using Ubuntu for Presentations at CES 2015 – Video

            The CES 2015 conference is in full swing and most of the bigger companies have already made their announcements, including NVIDIA. Some of their presentations have been done using an Ubuntu system, as you can see in the video below.

          • Ubuntu Make 0.4 Released With Go Support, New Game Category

            Ubuntu Make, formerly known as Ubuntu Developer Tools Center, has been updated to version 0.4, bringing Go support as well as a new game category.

            For those not familiar with Ubuntu Make, this is a command line tool created by Canonical, which allows developers to install various development tools / IDEs. Initially, the tool targeted Android developers, making it easy to install Android Studio in Ubuntu. Later, Ubuntu Make also got support for Pycharm, Eclipse and intellij IDEA.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Pearl Linux 1.5 Is a Pear OS Clone and Now It Has a 64-bit Version

              Pearl Linux was released a couple of months ago as a natural successor of the much more famous Pear OS, which disappeared mysteriously. Now, the 64-bit edition has been released as well.

            • elementary OS 0.3 Freya beta review

              This happens to be one of them distros what mystifies me, good and bad. On one hand, it seems to be very popular, if you look at the Distrowatch rank listing, or consult my best distro of the year vote readers’ choice section, where a rather handsome portion of the audience chose elementary as their favorite spin. It’s only officially at version 0.2, the last stable release was unleashed unto the nerdy crowds some 16 months back, and the latest beta is still only at version 0.3, and taking its time.

              Neither the first nor the second dot oh something release managed to impress me. The desktop environment was pretty and cool, but the overall composition was quite buggy. And this brings me to the other hand of the argument. I kind of want to review it again, despite all of the above. Testing 0.3 Freya, beta. Here we go.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • A World of Possibilities for Open Source

    Ten years ago we started with the (immodest?) goal of bringing open source to enterprise software. Today, there are even greater opportunities for open source — not just in software, but as a fundamental force for positive change in the world.

  • Unlock the code, release the future

    Open Source is a key framework to enable the prolonged development and delivery of ARTIST tools to help companies transition to modern platforms, like the cloud. We support businesses on this journey from the start, in assessment and reducing risk, to implementation and reducing cost. ARTIST tools are developed following open standards and in many cases reusing existing open source components. Therefore, all project results are delivered under an open source license, with the exception of a few consultancy tools whose source code is not provided, but which are nonetheless free to use. Links to the source code, licensing information, supporting documentation and demonstration videos are included for each entry.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Why Google Chrome Switched To The Clang Compiler On Linux

        The two main reasons for switching over to Clang as the default Linux compiler for Chrome came down to many Chromium developers already were using Clang on Linux and they wanted to use modern C++ features in Chromium. Google found it easier on Linux systems to switch to Clang for tapping newer C++ features rather than upgrading GCC on their systems from GCC 4.6 to GCC 4.8~4.9.

    • Mozilla

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Citrix, Apache and Others Still Committed to CloudStack

      In case you were wondering about recent reports of the demise of CloudStack, the folks at Citrix are remaining adamant that the cloud computing platform is healthy and in use at lots of notable organizations. In fact, at the recent CloudStack Collaboration Conference in Budapest, Autodesk, China Telecom, Dell, Walt Disney, and Huawei were all reported among active users of the platform.

  • Databases

  • Funding

    • Blue Box Gets $4 Million in Private Cloud Funding, Mystery Investor

      Blue Box, which offers private cloud services based on OpenStack to big companies including Viacom has just announced a new round of $4 million in funding on top of the $10 million the company raised late last year. And, as Silicon Angle notes, some of the funding comes from an unnamed telco: “The latest $4 million leg saw an unnamed US telco come aboard as the second strategic investor in the startup, triggering speculation about which carrier would throw its weight behind an OpenStack hosting provider.”

    • Mystery telco leads $14M round for OpenStack hosting provider Blue Box

      Private cloud hosting provider Blue Box Inc. has completed its second financing round three months after securing the first infusion to bump its net funding past the $33 million mark. The latest $4 million leg saw an unnamed US telco come aboard as the second strategic investor in the startup, triggering speculation about which carrier would throw its weight behind an OpenStack hosting provider.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Quebec government writes 3 open source licences

      The government of the Canadian province of Quebec is finalising three open source licences to make it easier for provincial public administrations to share software solutions. The licences should be available in the coming weeks.

  • Licensing

    • An open source mantra: Avoid “no derivatives”

      Bill Fitzgerald runs FunnyMonkey to help educators and students improve accessibility to educational materials. He is an educator, open source developer, and entrepreneur, and I was able to speak with him recently about his work and why it matters. And most importantly, how open source methodology makes all the difference.

      Bill grew up in Connecticut and attended Boston College where he completed undergraduate studies before enrolling at the University of San Francisco where he earned a masters degree in writing. He then taught English and history at public and private schools. And he’s been both a school administrator and a technology director. What you can tell from talking to Bill is that he loves education.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

    • C++ Filesystem Technical Specification Approved

      ISO TS 18822 is based on the Boost file-system library for offering common functions to perform on file-systems. There’s various functions relating to the reading and manipulation of paths, files, and directories.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • GOP Congress’ First Priority: Yanking Health Insurance From 1.5 Million Americans

      One of the first things House Republicans plan to do after Congress reconvenes Tuesday is vote on a bill that would gut Obamacare—and could deprive up to 1.5 million Americans of their employer-sponsored health insurance. After the GOP-controlled House passes the bill, the newly Republican Senate is likely to pass the measure too. What’s more, President Barack Obama may be forced to sign this legislation if it is attached to a must-pass budget bill later this year.

  • Security

  • Finance

  • Privacy

    • Facebook splashes out on voice recognition company Wit.ai

      THE SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook has invested in another company, adding a voice recognition software outfit called Wit.ai to its roster.

      No financial details have been revealed, but there is a good chunk of gushing, glowing comment from Wit.ai.

      We learn that Wit.ai does a good thing, has a number of happy users, and expects to carry on doing what it is doing even when under the wing of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

    • The Tale of the Privacy Pink Panther

      Last Friday, on my way home from 31c3, a funny thing happened on my way through Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris: I was required by a security agent to not only power up, but also type in my password to unlock my laptop in order to board my flight.

      One tweet, and about 12 hours of no Wi-Fi later, I landed to find that a lot of people interested in privacy and security had questions about the details of my adventure, so here it is.

      First of all, HackerOne employees don’t ever have access to our customers’ vulnerability reports, therefore there are no exploits stored on my devices, so no customer data was at risk. For more about how we protect vulnerability data, see our own bounty and security page.

  • Civil Rights

    • How Low Income New Yorkers Are Benefiting From The NYPD’s Work Stoppage

      In response to growing tensions between the New York Police Department and the city, police unions encouraged officers last week to not make arrests “unless absolutely necessary,” resulting in a 66 percent drop from the same period last year. While the protests have drawn scrutiny for “squandering the department’s credibility” and leaving the city’s streets virtually unattended, they have also had the unintended effect of benefitting New York’s low income residents who are usually the target of the city’s tough-on-crime practices.

    • Who Should Investigate Police Abuse?

      To date, one serious proposal for reform has emerged. On December 8th, Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of New York, proposed that Governor Andrew Cuomo name him, Schneiderman, as an independent special prosecutor to investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute police officers in any situation where they cause the death of a civilian. As Schneiderman noted in his letter to the governor, the proposal seeks to address a real problem. When local district attorneys investigate local police officers, there is an inherent conflict of interest. In virtually all usual circumstances, police and prosecutors are partners, working together to build cases against defendants. This is especially true in a place like Staten Island, where the elected district attorney, Dan Donovan, both works closely with the police and answers to many of them as his constituents. As Schneinderman noted, on the rare occasions when prosecutors investigate the police, even when all parties act with the best of intentions, “the question is whether there is public confidence that justice has been served, especially in cases where homicide or other serious charges against the accused officer are not pursued or are dismissed prior to a jury trial.” Cases, in other words, like those of the officers who killed Brown and Garner. (Cuomo has hedged in response to Schneiderman’s idea, saying that he wants to weigh a full package of reforms.)

      [...]

      Schneiderman’s idea has considerable appeal; his judgment in the Eric Garner case would surely have had more credibility than the one rendered by Donovan. Still, special prosecutors are not necessarily good or bad. Like the locals they replace, they are only as good as the cases they bring, or refrain from bringing. That, ultimately, will rest on the good judgment of the individuals involved, and no one has yet figured out a way of putting the right person in place all the time.

    • Summing Up White Supremacist Ties as ‘Saying Nice Things About an Old Man’

      In December 1998, Lott denied any personal knowledge of the CCC, falsely claiming through a spokesperson that his links to the group amounted to a single speech made over a decade before he’d entered the Senate. In 1992, Sen. Lott praised the CCC as keynote speaker at its national convention; in 1997, he met with top CCC leaders in his Senate office; his column appeared throughout the 1990s in the group’s newsletter, which once published a cheerful photo of Lott and CCC members who were also his close relatives. Lott was also the guest of honor at a 1982 banquet hosted by a Mississippi chapter of the old white Citizens Councils (Extra!, 3-4/99).

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Internet Freedom Expected to Further Decline in 2015

      According to a study from Freedom House, the decline of internet freedom kicked into high-gear in 2014 and is expected to suffer further this year because of opinions derived from 65 nations who have access to the World Wide Web.

    • Republicans will push hard to derail net neutrality in Congress

      The Federal Communications Commission is planning to vote on new network neutrality rules in February, and one of the viable options on the table is re-classifying broadband internet as a type of public utility, like telephone companies. President Obama openly supports that plan, and congressional Republicans are signaling that they will do everything in their power to thwart the FCC if it goes this route, The Wall Street Journal reports.

    • More Than the Internet: Net Neutrality Vote Will Determine Whether Americans Are Citizens First or Consumers First

      The debate on the upcoming net neutrality vote should first address the overarching issue it creates: are we, as Americans, consumers first or citizens first? What are our true values and priorities?

      The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote on rules to regulate internet traffic in February. At stake is whether the internet (or, as George W Bush called it, “the internets”) should become a multi-tiered system in which the highest payers get preferential treatment, or whether all users should be treated equally.

      Preferential treatment for the highest bidders would mean priority lanes for faster transmissions and slower lanes for others.

      Yes, we can argue about whether equal access will spur more innovation or whether preferential access for the highest bidders will deliver more and better content, and thus spark innovations of its own.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • A Europe Of Treaties?

      If we want a Europe where treaties like ACTA and TPP are the democratic norm, scrap the European parliament. If we want all the change that happens to be done in whatever the post-tobacco equivalent of smoke-filled rooms is, scrap the European Parliament. And, for the benefit of the raving right in the UK, if you want the UK’s primary trading market to be controlled invisibly via undocumented and unaccountable negotiations between the political lackeys of plutocrats, vote for the UK to “leave” the EU.

    • Copyrights

      • Google Asked to Remove 345 Million “Pirate” Links in 2014

        Copyright holders asked Google to remove more than 345,000,000 allegedly infringing links from its search engine in 2014. The staggering number is an increase of 75% compared to the year before. While Google has taken some steps to downrank pirate sites, the rate at which takedown notices are sent continues to rise.

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts