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01.16.15

Links 16/1/2015: Chapeau 21, Tails 1.2.3

Posted in News Roundup at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Moving steam’s .local folder deletes all user files on Linux

    Failing to add a check for an empty variable has left some Steam users on Linux running a recursive delete of their entire filesystem with user privileges.

  • 6 Linux Apps to Watch For in 2015

    The Linux landscape is ever changing. Over the last few years, the flagship open source tool has found levels of acceptance thought unreachable for software running on a free platform. That momentum isn’t going to let up. In fact, 2015 promises to be a very bright year in Linux land ─ from enterprise Linux all the way down to the desktop. In fact, the Linux desktop should find 2015 to be a rather exciting time.

    Why? Applications. There are some outstanding projects on the horizon that could easily bring the Linux desktop into a realm of relevancy it has yet to enjoy.

    Let’s take a look at six such projects and see what they have to offer.

  • Linux Investments Looking Up for 2015

    Now that Linux has essentially gained parity with Windows across the enterprise, solution providers have a vested interest in where customers who will make use of the open-source platform in 2015 are headed. In a new survey of 115 customers, Red Hat finds that, in general, optimism concerning IT spending in 2015 is relatively high with investments in mobile computing and big data topping the priority list. Just over half those customers are planning new application deployments on Linux, but perhaps most interesting to the solution providers in the channel is the fact that 26 percent are planning on migrating application workloads from Windows to Linux and another 15 percent are planning to migrate from Unix to Linux. Most of the application workloads also appear headed for private or hybrid clouds rather than public clouds. Also of note to solution providers should be the fact that 33 percent either already have or plan to embrace containers as an alternative form of virtualization in 2015 for reasons, ranging from the ability to deploy applications faster to streamlining testing and development.

  • You’ll get sick of that iPad. And guess who’ll be waiting? Big daddy Linux…

    After such a banner year of Linux releases it might seem overly pessimistic to pause and ask this question: is there a future beyond this?

    The answer is, of course, “yes” – or rather it’s yes, but… The qualifying “but” can take many forms, depending on who you talk to and what their stake is in the game.

    Even if you take the most optimistic outlook for the future of the Linux desktop, to what end do all these distros continue turning out all these great releases year after year? Are we waiting for the day when there are no more laptops or desktops left?

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Disk expansion

      My current setup at home involves a HP Microserver. It has four drive bays carrying two SSDs (for home directories) and two Western Digital RE4 2TB drives for bulk data storage (photos, source tarballs and other things that don’t change often). Each pair of drives is mirrored. I chose the RE4 because I use RAID1 and they offer good performance and error recovery control which is useful in any RAID scenario.

    • VIDEO: Interview with ESET about Windigo & Advanced Linux Server-Side Threats

      iTWire interviews ESET Malware Researcher Olivier Bilodeau, on his way to be one of the speakers at the 2015 Linux.conf.au conference, presenting on advanced Linux server-side threats.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds on why he isn’t nice: “I don’t care about you”

      Following his keynote speech at the Linux.conf.au Conference in Auckland, New Zealand, Torvalds opened a Q&A session by fielding a question from Nebula One developer Matthew Garrett that accused Torvalds of having an abrasive tone in the Linux kernel mailing list. “Some people think I’m nice and are shocked when they find out different,” Torvalds said in response (quoted via multiple Twitter accounts of the event). “I’m not a nice person, and I don’t care about you. I care about the technology and the kernel—that’s what’s important to me.”

    • Linus Torvalds responds to Ars about diversity, niceness in open source

      On Thursday, Linux legend Linus Torvalds sent a lengthy statement to Ars Technica responding to statements he made in Auckland, New Zealand earlier that day about diversity and “niceness” in the open source sector.

      “What I wanted to say [at the keynote]—and clearly must have done very badly—is that one of the great things about open source is exactly the fact that different people are so different,” Torvalds wrote via e-mail. “I think people sometimes look at it as being just ‘programmers,’ which is not true. It’s about all the people who are more oriented toward commercial things, too. It’s about all those people who are interested in legal issues—and the social ones, too!”

    • Torvalds Only Cares about the Kernel
    • Linux Foundation Helps Launch IoTivity Collaboration Project

      If there is strength in numbers, there is a whole lot of strength in the open source movement for Internet of Things technology. On January 14, the IoTivity open source project announced a preview release of of its technology that is being developed as a Linux Foundation Collaboration Project.

      The Linux Foundation is also the home of the AllSeen Alliance IoT project that is based around Qualcomm’s open-source AllJoyn framework. It is unclear if there is any overlap between IoTivity and AllSeen’s inititiatives. The Linux Foundation did not respond to a request for a comment from Datamation on any potential overlap between the projects. That said, there has always been a lot of choice within the Linux and open source ecosystem and having multiple IoT options isn’t a surprise.

    • Learning systemd

      Systemd is coming to a linux distro near you.

      In fact, if you’re using RHEL 7+, CentOS 7+, Fedora 15+ or Arch, you’re already using systemd. You can always stick to a distribution that stays clear of systemd, but chances are you’ll eventually run into systemd — so we may as well learn to get along with it.

    • Linux Kernel 3.12.36 LTS Officially Released

      The latest version of the stable Linux kernel, 3.12.36, has been announced by Jiri Slaby and it has arrived with a fair number of changes and improvements.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • ‘Goodbye Photoshop’ and ‘Hello Krita’ at University Paris 8

        According to François, “we don’t want to let ourselves be pushed around and make choices that go against our beliefs. This freedom of choice is exactly the advantage that a public institution has over a private school.” All other animation schools in France, fellow members of RECA (the network of French schools of animation), are watching ATI avidly to see how this new methodology works out.

      • Professional Software for Digital Painting Krita Receives Numerous Fixes

        Krita, an application that is used to make digital painting files from scratch, has been updated to version 2.9 Beta 2 and it comes with a large number of improvements and various fixes.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • gnome-battery-bench

        gnome-battery-bench is basically usable as is. The main remaining thing to do with it is to spend some time designing and recording a couple of sequences that better reflect actual usage. The current tests I checked in are basically just placeholders.

      • GNOME 3.15.4 unstable tarballs due

        Tarballs are due on 2015-01-19 before 23:59 UTC for the GNOME 3.15.4…

      • GNOME Puts Out A Laptop Battery Testing Program

        The newest GNOME application is for testing your laptop’s battery power use under various scenarios.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Short Interest of Red Hat Inc Increases by 12.3%
      • Fedora

        • Chapeau 21 released!

          I am delighted to announce the release of Chapeau 21 “Obree”.

        • Fedora 21 review: Linux’s sprawliest distro finds a new focus

          Like most Linux distros, Fedora is a massive, sprawling project. Frankly, it’s sprawl-y to the point that it has felt unfocused and a bit lost at times. Just what is Fedora? The distro has served as a kind of showcase for GNOME 3 ever since GNOME 3 hit the beta stage. So Fedora in theory is meant to target everyday users, but at the same time the project pours tremendous energy into building developer tools like DevAssistant. Does that make Fedora a developer distro? A newbie-friendly GNOME showcase? A server distro? An obscure robotics distro?

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Elive Is a Debian and Enlightenment Distro Mix with Some Cool Features

          Elive, a Linux distribution based on Debian that uses Enlightenment as the default desktop environment, has been upgraded to version 2.5.2 Beta and is now available for download and testing.

        • Want to Stay Anonymous Online? Use the Tails 1.2.3 OS

          Tails, a live system that aims to preserve your privacy and that helps you use the Internet anonymously, is now at version 1.2.3 and is available for download and testing.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • `Caffeine` App Gets Its Indicator Back With New 2.8 Release

            Caffeine is a tool used to temporarily prevent the activation of the screensaver / lock screen / sleep mode when using full-screen windows. The application is useful when using video players that don’t do this automatically, when listening to music while not using the computer, etc.

          • Canonical Ports Unity Improvements from Ubuntu 14.10 to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

            It’s easy to think that Ubuntu developers are usually working only on the next version of the operating systems, but they also put a lot of effort into the distros they already released. For example, an important Unity update has been unveiled now for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

          • Firefox 35 Lands in Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

            Canonical has updated the Firefox packages for Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS operating systems. If you have this application already installed, you only need to update your system

          • Ubuntu Advances Juju Linux Magic Charms

            Juju first debuted in Ubuntu 11.10, the “Oneiric Ocelot,” back in October of 2011. The word “juju” is a word meaning magic in the African language from which the name Ubuntu itself was derived. Ubuntu Linux Server The promise of Juju is easier application and service deployment, which is enabled by way of a number of Juju components.

          • Proof Of Concept: LibreOffice’s Writer Tool Running On Ubuntu Touch

            While it already has many applications specially developed for it, Canonical’s Will Cooke has managed to make LibreOffice’s Writer tool (developed for X.org) run on Ubuntu Touch.

          • Ubuntu Touch’s Music App Is Yet Another Convergence-Ready Application

            For now, Ubuntu’s convergence concept has been previously demoed by Jono Bacon, Ubuntu’s former Community Manager, via the Weather App and the Karma Machine.

          • GParted Exploit Has Been Closed in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

            A single GParted vulnerability has been found and corrected in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin). The developers have issued a patch and the GParted app has been updated.

          • Ubuntu Devs Are Talking Whether to Let Software Update Delete Old Kernels

            One of the problems on Ubuntu platforms is that the Software Update tool doesn’t remove the old kernels after an upgrade, but the Ubuntu devs are now talking whether their tool should be used to perform this kind of cleaning.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Review: Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” Xfce

              Recently, the Xfce edition of Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” was released. It and the MATE edition are notable in featuring…Compiz! This really caught my eye, so I wanted to review it. There are several other changes too, so I figured that it would be worthwhile to review the Xfce edition rather than the MATE edition, given that I already tried the MATE edition of Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” not too long ago. Note that Ubuntu-based Linux Mint is sticking only to LTS releases, so a major release will roughly coincide (lagging by a month or so) with the Ubuntu LTS release, and then decimal point releases will be put out every 6 months or so and be given a new code name while still sticking with the last LTS release as its base. As far as this review goes, I tried this as usual as a live USB system made with UnetBootin. Follow the jump to see what it’s like.

            • Introducing the MintBox Mini

              We’re starting 2015 with exciting news. Linux Mint and CompuLab will be announcing a brand new unit called “MintBox Mini” in Q2 2015.

            • The Linux Mint Project Announces the MintBox Mini PC

              The Linux Mint project has announced the MintBox Mini, which is a mini PC that is basically small enough to almost fit into a pocket.

            • MintBox Mini coming in Q2 for $295

              CompuLab’s MintBox computers have always had a relatively small form factor, and have gotten very positive reviews from customers on Amazon. But now they are getting even smaller with the upcoming release of the MintBox Mini. The MintBox Mini is expected to debut sometime in the second quarter of 2015 and will sell for $295.

              [...]

              Tails is a Linux distribution geared toward helping you protect your privacy and anonymity while you use the Internet. The latest release is version 1.2.3 and you can download it now.

            • MintBox Mini gives Linux users a pocket-sized PC
            • The MintBox Mini is a silent, quad-core Linux Mint PC that fits in your pocket
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Open-source IoT software framework releases preview

      The OIC’s “IoTivity” project released a v0.9.0 preview of its open source IoT framework software, with ready-to-test builds for Arduino, Tizen, and Yocto.

      IoTivity is a project sponsored by the Open Internet Consortium (OIC), an industry association formed last July in order to develop open source standards and software for providing “interoperability and services” to potentially billions of Internet-of-Things devices.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Adobe Lightroom Comes to Android Phones

          Android: A while back, Adobe released a Lightroom companion app for iOS phones and tablets. Now, Android is catching up with a version of the app for phones. And it starts with a 30-day free trial.

        • Adobe’s Lightroom Mobile Comes To Android

          It’s no secret that Adobe hasn’t exactly done a stellar job at keeping parity between its collection of apps for iOS and Android. iOS users, for instance, enjoy Adobe Illustrator Line and Draw, Color CC, Premiere Clip, Brush CC, and many more that have yet to see the light of day on the Play Store.

        • HP reportedly set to release its Android and Windows tablets sometime this year

          Originally discovered by Notebook Italia, both tablets are powered by an Intel quad-core Bay Trail Atom Z3735F processor. Accompanying the processor package is 2GB of RAM, as well as 32GB of internal storage. Both the Pro Slate and Pro Tablet come with 10.1-inch displays, as well as 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC.

        • Where’s My Lollipop? When’s Your Phone Getting Android L?
        • ODG Wants To Put Android On Your Face For Less Than $1000 Later This Year

          In terms of specs, the tablet description isn’t far off. The consumer model is powered by a Snapdragon 805 system-on-a-chip, which frequently appears in flagship phones and tablets from Android OEMs. The current demo unit is running Android Kit Kat, though the final release will sport Lollipop.

        • OnePlus One Android 5.0 Lollipop Update Coming Next Month

          If you’re still waiting for your OnePlus One to make the official jump to Android 5.0 Lollipop we have some good news. The Cyanogen-powered phone is getting its own specialized version of Google’s latest mobile OS in February, according to Cyanogen founder Steve Kondik.

        • Android customization – how to use Android Device Manager to find your lost phone

          Last week on our Android customization series, we went a little crazy with device security, rigging things up using Tasker to take a photo of anyone accessing your device. We were sure to save the device’s current GPS coordinates as a part of the file name of the photo, making it as likely as possible you can recover a lost device.

        • Nexus 7 (2013) and Nexus 10 Android 5.0.2 factory images arrive

          Back in December, the Nexus 7 (2012) received a new factory image with the build number LRX22G, containing an update to Android 5.0.2. Now the Nexus 7 (2013) Wi-Fi and Nexus 10 are following suite, as factory images have just landed for both of these tablets.

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • How today’s young IT talent is different from previous generation

      For the past 10 years, I’ve had a front row seat to the transition of they way young adults approach IT work. As a professor teaching software architecture at the National Technology University, I’ve witnessed a lot of changes in students today.

      First, I need to point out that my class is an elective for students in the final year of their degree. They typically enroll in my “IT Project Architecture” class because they want to learn and they want to get a job after they graduate, which tends to eliminate any slackers from my class.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Hottest year on global record was Canada’s coolest in 18 years

      Last year broke another global heat record, becoming the hottest since 1880. But did it feel that way to you? Probably not, since it was Canada’s coolest in 18 years.

      NASA and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today that last year broke the global temperature record for the third time in a decade.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Only ‘No-Go Zones’ Are Found in Fox News’ Fantasyland

      Fox News pundit Steve Emerson drew international ridicule for claiming Birmingham, England, was a “no-go zone” for non-Muslims (FAIR Blog, 1/12/15). But he was far from alone on Fox in advancing this xenophobic fantasy of urban areas lost to Western civilization.

    • First Female S.F. Chronicle Editor-In-Chief Speaks Out On The Industry’s Glass Ceiling

      Audrey Cooper does not believe it should have taken a century and a half for the San Francisco Chronicle to name its first female editor-in-chief.

      And she should know. She’s that editor.

      Cooper, who was named to the top post at the Chronicle on Wednesday, said a glass ceiling still exists at news organizations and she’s personally had experiences where she felt she wasn’t treated equally because of her gender.

      “Obviously there is (a glass ceiling),” Cooper said. “I think all of the coverage of [New York Times editor Jill Abramson's 2014] departure laid bare a lot of things that other female editors felt but hadn’t really articulated. They’re much more subtle than people might think. Sexism in general is a lot more subtle than it used to be 20 years ago. Yes, I’ve had the experiences that I think that I was not treated the same as men based on my gender.”

  • Censorship

    • Pope Francis: Free expression doesn’t mean right to insult others’ faith

      Weighing in on last week’s terror in France and the debate over freedom of expression it stirred, Pope Francis said en route to the Philippines that killing “in the name of God” is wrong, but it is also wrong to “provoke” people by belittling their religion.

    • Charlie Hebdo’s Defiant Muhammad Cover Fuels Debate on Free Speech

      Immediately upon unveiling its new cover — a depiction of Muhammad — the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Tuesday reignited the debate pitting free speech against religious sensitivities that has embroiled Europe since 12 people were killed during an attack on its Paris offices by Muslim extremists a week ago.

      The cover shows the bearded prophet shedding a tear and holding up a sign saying, “I am Charlie,” the rallying cry that has become synonymous with support of the newspaper and free expression. Above the cartoon on a green background is the headline “All is forgiven.”

  • Privacy

    • Mass surveillance not effective for finding terrorists

      In response to the terrorist attacks in Paris, the UK government is redoubling its efforts to engage in mass surveillance.

      Prime minister David Cameron wants to reintroduce the so-called snoopers’ charter – properly, the Communications Data Bill – which would compel telecoms companies to keep records of all internet, email and cellphone activity. He also wants to ban encrypted communications services.

      Cameron seems to believe terrorist attacks can be prevented if only mass surveillance, by the UK’s intelligence-gathering centre GCHQ and the US National Security Agency, reaches the degree of perfection portrayed in his favourite TV dramas, where computers magically pinpoint the bad guys. Computers don’t work this way in real life and neither does mass surveillance.

      Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly, who murdered 17 people, were known to the French security services and considered a serious threat. France has blanket electronic surveillance. It didn’t avert what happened.

    • FBI has its fingers deep in NSA surveillance pie, declassified report shows

      The FBI had, and most likely still has, a much closer involvement with the NSA’s mass surveillance programs than previously thought – with access to raw foreign intelligence and data on Americans gleaned from the PRISM program.

      The 231-page report, from the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, was obtained – albeit in a heavily redacted form – after a Freedom of Information request by The New York Times, a request made possible using key details leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      The report finds that in 2008 – almost since the inception of the PRISM program, which allows the NSA access to citizens’ information stored by Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Yahoo! among others – the FBI had access to slurped private data.

    • BBC uses RIPA terrorism laws to catch TV licence fee dodgers in Northern Ireland

      It has invoked the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to catch viewers evading the £145 charge.

      The Act, which regulates the powers of public bodies to carry out surveillance and investigation, was introduced in 2000 to safeguard national security.

      But a series of extensions mean it can now be applied to investigate minor offences, including not paying the licence fee.

    • Activist pulls off clever Wi-Fi honeypot to protest surveillance state

      The chairman of the youth wing of the Swedish Pirate Party successfully fooled attendees at a major Swedish security and defense conference into connecting to an open Wi-Fi network that he controlled—as a way to protest mass digital surveillance.

    • Thousands of German spies at risk after double-agent stole list of identities

      Double agent working for US, identified only as Markus R, may have sold top-secret details of 3,500 German intelligence officers posted abroad, according to Bild newspaper

      [...]

      An employee of the BND, Germany’s equivalent of MI6, Markus R worked in the registry section of its overseas operations department, where he had access to top secret documents including the identities of operatives posted abroad.

    • The Inside Information That Could Have Stopped 9/11

      That the CIA did block him and Doug Miller, a fellow FBI agent assigned to the “Alec Station,” the cover name for CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit, from notifying bureau headquarters about the terrorists has been told before, most notably in a 2009 Nova documentary on PBS, “The Spy Factory.” Rossini and Miller related how they learned earlier from the CIA that one of the terrorists (and future hijacker), Khalid al-Mihdhar, had multi-entry visas on a Saudi passport to enter the United States. When Miller drafted a report for FBI headquarters, a CIA manager in the top-secret unit told him to hold off. Incredulous, Miller and Rossini had to back down. The station’s rules prohibited them from talking to anyone outside their top-secret group.

    • How terrorism breeds bad thinking

      As we try to process our rage and grief after attacks like the one on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Chris Hayes examines how we are susceptible to mistakes that can have devastating consequences.

    • End of the Google Glass? – Can I say I told you so?

      It’s academic, Google Glass is reported to now be on the way out. I remember in May 2014 I voiced my concerns about the product, the dislike of its camera pointing at you and also mentioned the fan boys/girls who defended the device with cries of “Glass Hater”. Seems I was right, because the views I aired appear to have been echoed by potential consumers (or the lack thereof).

    • Oscar Nominations 2015: Laura Poitras on the Uncertainties Surrounding ‘Citizenfour’

      Laura Poitras’s “Citizenfour,” about Edward J. Snowden’s leak of National Security Agency documents, has long been seen as the front-runner for the best documentary Oscar. It plays out like a thriller while touching on one of the rawest nerves of our time – government surveillance of private citizens.

      Of course getting the actual nomination is another thing altogether. What had been seen as “Citizenfour’s” biggest challenger, the Roger Ebert film “Life Itself,” failed to get a nod.

    • British Government Wants To Outlaw Secure Communication (To Keep You Safe)

      In the wake of recent terror attacks in Europe, British Prime Minister David Cameron has called for an end to secure communications technology.

      In other words, he wants to ensure that you will never again be able to use encryption technology to maintain privacy.

    • Secret US cybersecurity report: encryption vital to protect private data

      A secret US cybersecurity report warned that government and private computers were being left vulnerable to online attacks from Russia, China and criminal gangs because encryption technologies were not being implemented fast enough.

  • Civil Rights

    • Justice demands equal treatment: Opposing view

      The Obama administration has used the Espionage Act to wage an unprecedented war on national security whistle-blowers.

    • Wyden Statement on CIA Accountability Board Report on Agency’s Secret Search of U.S. Senate Files

      “Both the CIA Inspector General and the review board appointed by Director Brennan have now concluded that the CIA’s unauthorized search of Senate files was improper. It is incredible that no one at the CIA has been held accountable for this very clear violation of Constitutional principles. Director Brennan either needs to reprimand the individuals involved or take responsibility himself. So far he has done neither.

    • CIA Won’t Punish Employees Who Spied On Senate Intel Committee

      The Central Intelligence Agency will not discipline any of the five agency employees who accessed Senate Intelligence Committee computer systems last year during the Senate investigation of abusive interrogation tactics by the CIA.

      While the CIA’s decision was in line with a review that the agency commissioned, it contradicts the agency’s own internal watchdog, the CIA Office of the Inspector General, which had concluded that the employees accessed Senate computers “improperly” and didn’t respond with candor when questioned.

    • CIA officials cleared in Senate spying flap

      No Central Intelligence Agency personnel will be disciplined for intruding into computers being used by the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of a highly-sensitive investigation into the agency’s use of harsh interrogation techniques against terror suspects, the agency said Wednesday.

    • Reports detail White House role in CIA-Senate ‘spying’ flap

      Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan’s decision last year to quietly flag White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough to a developing showdown with the Senate drew repeated warnings at the time from a CIA lawyer who said such contact was unwise because it might undermine a criminal investigation or appear to do so, a report released Wednesday revealed.v

    • White House Knew CIA Snooped On Senate, Report Says

      Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan consulted the White House before directing agency personnel to sift through a walled-off computer drive being used by the Senate Intelligence Committee to construct its investigation of the agency’s torture program, according to a recently released report by the CIA’s Office of the Inspector General.

      The Inspector General’s report, which was completed in July but only released by the agency on Wednesday, reveals that Brennan spoke with White House chief of staff Denis McDonough before CIA employees were ordered to “use whatever means necessary” to determine how certain sensitive internal documents had wound up in Senate investigators’ hands. The conversation with McDonough came after Brennan first issued the directive, but before he reiterated it to a CIA attorney leading the probe.

    • Condoleezza Rice testifies in CIA leaks trial

      Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a highly unusual public appearance Thursday — taking the witness stand for the prosecution in a criminal case against a former CIA officer on trial for leaking details of a top-secret spy program.

      Rice, who once traveled the globe as America’s top diplomat, found herself describing another type of diplomacy to a federal court jury: the Bush administration’s effort in 2003 to kill a New York Times story that threatened to reveal a CIA effort to undermine Iran’s nuclear program by secretly providing Tehran with flawed plans for an atomic weapon.

    • Condoleezza Rice Testifying at Sterling CIA Whistleblower Trial on WMD Claims
    • John Brennan Exonerates Himself with Sham Investigation

      The outrageous whitewash issued yesterday by the CIA panel John Brennan hand-picked to lead the investigation into his agency’s spying on Senate staffers is being taken seriously by the elite Washington media, which is solemnly reporting that officials have been “cleared” of any “wrongdoing“.

    • The Revenge of the CIA: Scapegoating Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling

      This week, in a federal courtroom, I’ve heard a series of government witnesses testify behind a screen while expounding on a central precept of the national security state: The CIA can do no wrong.

    • U.S. Moves Five Yemenis From Guantánamo

      The United States transferred five more detainees — all of them Yemenis — from the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on Wednesday, the Defense Department announced. Their release intensified the dispute between the Obama administration and several Republican senators over President Obama’s recent flurry of transfers as he seeks to empty the American-run prison.

    • Freedom of the Press a Key Issue in Trial of Former CIA Officer Jeffrey Sterling

      In the aftermath of a series of brutal terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of 17, including eight journalists at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, police officers and hostages at a kosher food market, more than three million people marched in Paris in solidarity with the victims and in support of freedom of the press. Forty heads of state also joined the march, but as many critics pointed out, some of the nations they represented, such as Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Russia and Israel, have poor records when it comes to press freedom at home. The U.S., criticized by some for not sending a high-level representative to participate in the Paris march, also has a flawed record on freedom of the press.

    • Glenn Greenwald: With Calls to Spare Petraeus, Feinstein Plea Shows that Not All Leaks are Equal

      The FBI and federal prosecutors have recommended felony charges against former CIA director David Petraeus for allegedly providing classified information to a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair. Petraeus resigned in 2012 after admitting to cheating on his wife with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. The recommendation of charges stems from a probe into whether Petraeus gave Broadwell access to his CIA email account and other sensitive material. Attorney General Eric Holder was supposed to have decided by the end of last year on whether to indict. According to The New York Times, the delay has frustrated some federal officials “who have questioned whether Petraeus has received special treatment at a time Holder has led a crackdown” on government whistleblowers. On Sunday, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California urged the Department of Justice not to bring criminal charges against Petraeus, saying “the four-star general of our generation” and “very brilliant man” has “suffered enough.” We are joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, who calls Feinstein’s comments “one of the most disgusting you will ever hear. What she’s actually saying is that because David Petraeus is a really important person, that he should be immunized from consequences for his lawbreaking … Dianne Feinstein has called for the prosecution of all sorts of leakers, and yet she exempts David Petraeus.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • China expands Internet backbone to improve speeds, reliability

      Even as China cuts access to some foreign online services, it is laying more fiber optic cables to improve its connection to global Internet networks.

      China recently added seven new access points to the world’s Internet backbone, adding to the three points that connect through Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced on Monday.

    • Obama wants to help make your Internet faster and cheaper. This is his plan.

      Frustrated over the number of Internet providers that are available to you? If so, you’re like many who are limited to just a handful of broadband companies. But now President Obama wants to change that, arguing that choice and competition are lacking in the U.S. broadband market. On Wednesday, Obama will unveil a series of measures aimed at making high-speed Web connections cheaper and more widely available to millions of Americans. The announcement will focus chiefly on efforts by cities to build their own alternatives to major Internet providers such as Comcast, Verizon or AT&T — a public option for Internet access, you could say.

    • Get coding or you’ll bounce email from new dot-thing domains

      Expansion in DNS means you may struggle to handle email from Chinese or Arabic domains

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  1. Links 19/4/2018: Mesa 17.3.9 and 18.0.1, Trisquel 8.0 LTS Flidas, Elections for openSUSE Board

    Links for the day



  2. The Patent Microcosm, Patent Trolls and Their Pressure Groups Incite a USPTO Director Against the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Section 101/Alice

    As one might expect, the patent extremists continue their witch-hunt and constant manipulation of USPTO officials, whom they hope to compel to become patent extremists themselves (otherwise those officials are defamed, typically until they're fired or decide to resign)



  3. Microsoft's Lobbying for FRAND Pays Off as Microsoft-Connected Patent Troll Conversant (Formerly MOSAID) Goes After Android OEMs in Europe

    The FRAND (or SEP) lobby seems to have caused a lot of monopolistic patent lawsuits; this mostly affects Linux-powered platforms such as Android, Tizen and webOS and there are new legal actions from Microsoft-connected patent trolls



  4. To Understand Why People Say That Lawyers are Liars Look No Further Than Misleading Promotion of Software Patents

    Some of the latest misleading claims from the patent microcosm, which is only interested in lots and lots of patents (its bread and butter is monopolies after all) irrespective of their merit, quality, and desirability



  5. When News About the EPO is Dominated by Sponsored 'Reports' and Press Releases Because Publishers Are Afraid of (or Bribed by) the EPO

    The lack of curiosity and genuine journalism in Europe may mean that serious abuses (if not corruption) will go unreported



  6. The Boards of Appeal at the European Patent Organisation (EPO) Complain That They Are Understaffed, Not Just Lacking the Independence They Depend on

    The Boards of Appeal have released a report and once again they openly complain that they're unable to do their job properly, i.e. patent quality cannot be assured



  7. Links 18/4/2018: New Fedora 27 ISOs, Nextcloud Wins German Government Contract

    Links for the day



  8. Guest Post: Responding to Your Recent Posting “The European Patent Office Will Never Hold Its Destroyers Accountable”

    In France, where Battistelli does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, he can be held accountable like his "padrone" recently was



  9. The EPO in 2018: Partnering With Saudi Arabia and Cambodia (With Zero European Patents)

    The EPO's status in the world has declined to the point where former French colonies and countries with zero European Patents are hailed as "success stories" for Battistelli



  10. For Samsung and Apple the Biggest Threat Has Become Patent Trolls and Aggressors in China and the Eastern District of Texas, Not Each Other

    The latest stories about two of the world's largest phone OEMs, both of which find themselves subjected to a heavy barrage of patent lawsuits and even embargoes; Samsung has meanwhile obtained an antisuit injunction against Huawei



  11. The EPO Continues to Lie About Patent Quality Whilst Openly Promoting Software Patents, Even Outside Europe

    EPO patent quality continues to sink while EPO management lies about it and software patents are openly being promoted/advocatedEPO patent quality continues to sink while EPO management lies about it (the article above is new) and software patents are openly being promoted/advocated



  12. SCOTUS on WesternGeco v Ion Geophysical Almost Done; Will Oil States Decision Affirm the PTAB's Quality Assurance (IPRs) Soon?

    Ahead of WesternGeco and Oil States, following oral proceedings, it's expected that the highest court in the United States will deliver more blows to patent maximalism



  13. Links 17/4/2018: Linux 5.x Plans and Microsoft's 'Embrace'

    Links for the day



  14. The European Patent Office (EPO) Grants Patents in Error, Insiders Are Complaining That It's the Management's Fault

    The EPO has languished to the point where patents are granted in error, examiners aren't happy, and the resultant chaos benefits no-one but lawyers and patent trolls



  15. The European Patent Office Will Never Hold Its Destroyers Accountable

    With only one in seven EPO stakeholders believing that Battistelli's pick (António Campinos) will turn things around for the better, it certainly does not seem like people are happy and there's no real hope that Battistelli will ever be held accountable for his abuses after his immunity expires



  16. With Liars Like These...

    The European Patent Office continues to lie about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) amongst other things, still revealing its reluctance to say anything which is truthful or work to repair the damage caused by Benoît Battistelli



  17. Links 16/4/2018: Linux 4.17 RC 1, Mesa 18.0.1 RC, GNOME 3.28.1

    Links for the day



  18. IAM, Patently-O and Watchtroll (the Patent Trolls' Lobby) Try to Stop Patent Oppositions/Petitions (PTAB)

    In spite of fee hikes, introduced by Iancu's interim predecessor, petitions (IPRs) at the PTAB continue to grow in number and the patent maximalists are losing their minds over it



  19. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Ending Software Patents One Patent at a Time

    At an accelerating pace and with growing determination, PTAB (part of AIA) crushes patent trolls and software patents; the statistics and latest stories speak for themselves



  20. Academics and Think Tanks for Patent Maximalism

    Right-wing think tanks and impressionable academics continue to lobby for patent maximalism, rarely revealing the funding sources and motivations; in reality, however, such maximalism mainly helps large (already-wealthy) corporations, monopolists, and law firms



  21. Killing Patent Quality and Encouraging 'Covert' Software Patents Using the Buzzwords Du Jour

    The epidemic of buzzwords and/or hype waves that are being exploited to dodge or bypass patent scope/limitations, as seen in Europe and the US these days



  22. Crisis of Quality at the EPO Extends to Staff (Notably Examiners) and Management as Institutional Integrity is Severely Compromised

    A rather pessimistic but likely realistic outlook for the European Patent Office (EPO), which seems unable to attract the sort of staff it attracted for a number of decades



  23. The 'Blockchaining' of Software Patents (to Dodge the Rules/Guidelines) Now Coming to Europe

    A lot of software patents are being declared invalid (or not granted in the first place); having said that, using all sorts of hype waves (like calling databases “blockchains”) firms and individuals manage to still be granted software patents and sometimes patent trolls hoard these



  24. Links 14/4/2018: Wine 3.6, KDE Elisa 0.1

    Links for the day



  25. East Asia Should Have Adopted the Patent Strategy of South Asia, Notably India

    China seems to be so interested in patent maximalism that it has lost sight of the effect on foreign investment, e.g. US/European/Taiwanese/Japanese/Korean firms operating/manufacturing in mainland China



  26. Samsung is the 'New IBM', Sans the Trolling With Patents

    The 'relic' company, IBM, loses its patent leadership (as measured using some yardstick) to Samsung, a company which is relatively calm when it comes to patent activity (unless/only when sued, as happens a lot nowadays)



  27. David Barcelou May or May Not be a Patent Troll, But He is Certainly a SLAPPing Bully and Watchtroll is Fine With It

    Like a thin-skinned person/entity (which many in the patent microcosm are), David Barcelou and Automated Transactions (“ATL”) SLAPP their critics and surprisingly enough it's Watchtroll, who has been threatened by WIPO, coming to the bully's rescue (double standards)



  28. Links 12/4/2018: Stable New Kernels, Neptune 5.1

    Links for the day



  29. The USPTO Has a Nepotism and Lobbying Problem That Jeopardises the Rationality of US Patent Law

    The influence games of Washington are spilling over to the US patent office and poisoning/harming its ability to conduct professional operations without corporate influence (from either side, both corporations and law firms)



  30. Patent Trolls in the United States Show the Importance of Stopping Software Patents (Trolls' Favourite) Worldwide

    The abundance of entities that exist for no purpose other than to initiate lawsuits is a contagious threat to real innovation (or science and technology being practiced); a new jury verdict (record-breaking $500,000,000) is a reminder of this


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