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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

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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.

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