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02.11.15

Links 11/2/2015: First Ubuntu Phone on Sale Today, Tizen 2.3 Source Code Released

Posted in News Roundup at 8:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Node v0.12.0 (Stable)

    We are excited to announce the availability of Node.js v0.12! It has been a long process, and we want to thank contributors and all of the community who waited patiently for this event. Node.js has such a vibrant and enthusiastic community, and we’re very lucky to have you all supporting us.

  • A Foundation for Node.js as a Community Struggles with Reconciliation

    In a bid to quell an uprising within the Node.js ranks, vendor sponsor Joyent has announced an independent foundation to provide an open governance structure for the project.

    Though big players including IBM, PayPal and Microsoft will be involved, CEO Scott Hammond said the foundation will help ensure all voices are heard.

  • Node.js is getting its own open-source, independent foundation

    Node.js, the popular server-side JavaScript framework, is getting its own open-source foundation and will no longer be governed by Joyent, the cloud-infrastructure provider plans to announce on Tuesday. It should take around two to three months before the foundation is formally established, and until then, Joyent will remain the corporate steward of the Node.js open-source project, according to Joyent.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Making the Case for Open Source Browsers

      In the past, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was the go-to Web browser for Internet users. But end-user confidence in Internet Explorer appears to be waning.

      Last summer, Google Chrome passed Internet Explorer in combined U.S. desktop and mobile Internet market share for the first time. Chrome now holds 31.8 percent of total market share compared to Internet Explorer’s 30.9 percent share. Furthermore, Chrome has been growing at a rate of 6 percent year over year from 2008, while Explorer has been decreasing at a rate of 6 percent during the same time frame.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox OS dongle redesign to add quad-core SoC, DRM

        The Firefox OS-based “Matchstick” media player has been delayed a half year to August, and will receive an overhaul to move to a quad-core SoC and add DRM.

      • Outspoken on Open

        One thing I am trying to convince folks though is that working in the open is not so hard that we ignore the principles of working in the open and avoid trying to build a good foundation of open processes. One thing I am finding when I have these discussions though is people do not always feel empowered to speak out about working in the open. Simply put teams and organizations will get in these status quos where they put off this hard work and nobody really comes around often to challenge the status quo because often the debates that pursue of working in the open are filled with disagreement.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • 3D Robotics unveils Tower, its open-source, customizable drone flight-control app

      Are you the kind of drone pilot that wants to do things with your aircraft no one’s thought of before? If so, then Tower, the new open-source flight control app from 3D Robotics, could well be for you.

    • 3D Robotics Opens Its Flight Control App For Drones To Developers

      3D Robotics, the largest U.S.-based drone manufacturer, today announced the launch of its open-source Tower flight control app for drone copters and planes on Android phones and tablets. The app gives users a few new ways to talk to their drones, but far more importantly, it offers developers a new way to build new features for drones into the app without having to reinvent the wheel by starting from scratch.

    • MAGEEC energy reduction – open start-ups column

      Modelling energy usage is not enough, so an energy measurement board (the ‘MAGEEC Wand’) has been created, which can be applied to a range of embedded architectures. MAGEEC was presented at GNU Tools Cauldron – the annual gathering of GNU tools developers (CC- licensed video and slides at gnu.org) – this July in Cambridge, on the Atmel AVR. Since this, further work has completed the “proof of concept” framework, which fits both GCC and LLVM compilers – a working system that currently awaits further optimisations.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Virtual Reality gains 13 more partners, gives away VR kits to universities

        Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR), the initiative from Razer and Sensics to connect multiple VR software and hardware partners together, had a good handful of partners at CES 2015, and 13 more have been announced today. The new partners include Jaunt — a maker of cinematic VR experiences that already has apps for Google Cardboard — plus a few game developers, audio and interface accessory companies.

      • Open Source Virtual Reality grows even bigger with a dozen new partners

        Open Source Virtual Reality, a Razer-spearheaded coalition that was introduced at CES 2015 in January, has announced 12 new partners.

        OSVR aims to build an open source VR platform that developers and hardware makers can use to create virtual reality devices and experiences across multiple operating systems

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • US Healthcare Is So Screwed I Fly to Britain for My Medication

      Every six months, like clockwork, I fly home to the UK for three days for one reason: to pick up my supply of prescription medication.

      I consider myself lucky—drugs are cheap there, where a national health service exists that I can partake of as a UK citizen. The very vast majority of Americans are not as fortunate. John Oliver, fellow Brit, comedian, and host of Last Week Tonight, said Sunday in a skit about Big Pharma that the cost of drug spending in the U.S. last year “works out to be about a thousand dollars per person.”

    • xKoch Cartel Blocking Medicaid Expansion, Denying Hundreds of Thousands Care

      Radical right-wingers in a series of red states are punishing hundreds of thousands of low-income people by blocking efforts by Republican governors to expand Medicaid—state-run health care—by modifying Obamacare to include Republican ideas.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • REPORT: Women Are Underrepresented In Cable News Segments On Foreign Affairs, National Security

      Enormous Gender Disparity Present Across All Three Outlets. Fox News featured women in roughly 25 percent of recorded segments, while MSNBC and CNN each featured female guests in just over 20 percent of segments discussing foreign affairs and national security.

    • The U.S. Media and the 13-Year-Old Yemeni Boy Burned to Death Last Month by a U.S. Drone

      On January 26, the New York Times claimed that “a CIA drone strike in Yemen. . . . killed three suspected Qaeda fighters on Monday.” How did they know the identity of the dead? As usual, it was in part because “American officials said.” There was not a whiff of skepticism about this claim despite the fact that “a senior American official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, declined to confirm the names of the victims” and “a C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment.”

      That NYT article did cite what it called “a member of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” (AQAP), who provided the names of the three victims, one of whom was “Mohammed Toiman al-Jahmi, a Yemeni teenager whose father and brother were previously killed in American drone strikes.” The article added that “the Qaeda member did not know Mr. Jahmi’s age but said he was a member of the terrorist group.”

      In fact, as the Guardian reported today, “Mr. Jahmi’s age” was 13 on the day the American drone ended his life. Just months earlier, the Yemeni teenager told that paper that “he lived in constant fear of the ‘death machines’ in the sky that had already killed his father and brother.” It was 2011 when “an unmanned combat drone killed his father and teenage brother as they were out herding the family’s camels.” In the strike two weeks ago, Mohammed was killed along with his brother-in-law and a third man.

    • We dream about drones, said 13-year-old Yemeni before his death in a CIA strike

      Mohammed Tuaiman becomes the third member of his family to be killed by what he called ‘death machines’ in the sky months after Guardian interview

    • Obama’s Christian Right Critics Agree with Islamic State

      At least part of the reason for this is that many American officials have continued in Bush’s tradition of defining the U.S. conflict with extremist Middle Eastern groups as a grand civilizational and religious battle, thus playing in to the same sharply polarizing narrative those groups seek to promote.

    • Ukraine: Artillery Fire, Not ‘Tactical Nuke’ Attack, Sets Off Large Donetsk Explosion

      On Sunday night, a series of YouTube videos appear to show a large explosion in Donetsk, Ukraine (several can be watched here). However, it wasn’t a “tactical nuclear weapon,” as some social media users claimed, but just a big blast–reportedly Ukrainian army artillery fire hitting an ammunition depot held by the rebel Donetsk People’s Republic.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The Importance of Whistleblowers

      …in-depth look at the vital role of whistleblowers in ensuring public safety and government accountability.

    • Julian Assange ‘sucking police resources’: UK cop

      British police are reviewing the operation to guard WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the UK’s most senior officer has said.

      Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe told LBC radio that the force is assessing its options due to the pressure the operation at the Ecuadorian embassy in London is putting on resources.

      “We won’t talk about tactics but we are reviewing what options we have. It is sucking our resources,” he said.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • 2015 Could Be The Year Canada Elects A Prime Minister Who Actually Cares About Climate

      Harper, who assumed office in 2006 and who has been a staunch supporter of Canada’s tar sands industry, has tried to silence activists who speak out against the industry. But he hasn’t stopped there: his administration has been accused of muzzling its scientists and meteorologists in an attempt to stop certain information on climate change or environmental issues from reaching the public. Under Harper, Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol — which the prime minister once referred to as a “socialist scheme” — in 2011 and cut about 500 jobs from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in 2013. The government also closed seven scientific libraries in 2014.

  • Finance

    • Billionaire’s Paper Hopes Well-Off Will Identify With Wealthy

      Given this lopsided distribution of income gains, it’s not irrational for people who make quite a bit more than the median income to identify with the middle class and applaud policies that are aimed at curbing the accumulation of wealth by the super-wealthy. But Edsall’s argument for the failure of middle-class populism depends on better-off voters who think of themselves as middle class not really being middle class–and knowing somehow that when politicians talk about the “middle-class,” they aren’t talking about them.

    • HSBC Swiss leaks: Spain’s Podemos party hires whistleblower Falciani to combat tax evasion and fraud
    • Global Capitalism’s Terrifying New Math

      McKinsey, one of the world’s preeminent business consultants, released a sobering new report this week detailing that, worldwide, total debt has risen by 40.1 percent — or $57 trillion — since the financial crisis of 2008. “Debt,” here, can mean many things: debt to other countries and international institutions, as in Greece and Italy, which were bailed out by the troika; it also means debt to financial institutions, or household and personal debt of the kind those of us paying off mortgages, medical debt or student loans here in the states know all too well. It all means bad news for the economy.

    • A game of Chicken

      On Wednesday, the European Central Bank announced that it would no longer accept Greek government debt as collateral for loans. This move, it turns out, was more symbolic than substantive. Still, the moment of truth is clearly approaching.

    • New Evidence That Half of the US Is Broke

      Half of our nation, by all reasonable estimates of human need, is in poverty. The jubilant headlines above speak for people whose view is distorted by growing financial wealth. The argument for a barely surviving half of America has been made before, but important new data is available to strengthen the case.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Brian Powell: New GOP Hearing Will Feature Notorious Right-Wing Media Misinformers

      An upcoming House Oversight Committee hearing features two conservative media darlings infamous for their anti-immigrant rhetoric and peddling misinformation about voter fraud and election law.

    • The New York Times’ Nuclear Uncertainty Principles

      I don’t know that there’s anyone who seriously argues that there’s any actual doubt that Israel has nuclear weapons; if there were any lingering questions, they were resolved by the revelations of Mordechai Vanunu, a whistleblower who exposed details of Israel’s nuclear warhead lab in 1986 and was imprisoned by Israel for 18 years as punishment. Later on in the piece, in fact, the Times notes that “the Arms Control Association, a research group in Washington, says Israel is believed to have 100 to 200 warheads.”But it’s still treated as claim to be attributed to a source rather than a verified fact.

    • Tell Us How You Really Feel About Fast Track Opponents, New York Times

      A hundred and fifty plus 72 is 222 congressmembers, or 51 percent of the House of Representatives. That’s a pretty big “fringe.”

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Is smart technology really a threat to our privacy?

      Fitness trackers and even Samsung televisions are becoming more advanced, and that data can inadvertently reveal sensitive things we never meant to make public

    • Addresses, SSNs, phone numbers released by former Gov. Jeb Bush in e-mail dump

      On Tuesday, former Florida governor Jeb Bush published Volume 1 of an e-book detailing all of his official correspondence while in gubernatorial office. Although the e-book is edited and e-mail addresses have been redacted, the Governor’s Office also published six Outlook files full of all of Bush’s unredacted correspondence—creating a trove of full names connected with personal e-mail addresses, home addresses, phone numbers and even social security numbers, as The Verge first reported.

      [....]

      The scope of the e-mails is vast and includes everything from automated messages to brief summaries of the state of Cuban refugees who arrived on Florida’s shores to oddly personal e-mails from constituents. Some e-mails include correspondence that had not been addressed to Bush originally but showed up when part of an e-mail was forwarded to him. Other e-mails include personal information about people who aren’t involved in the e-mail thread at all. “Did you get this? Eric’s wife is being induced tomorrow a.m. so we’ll be out of town for a while. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!” one cheerily reads.

    • After months of silence from feds on flying phone surveillance, EFF sues

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit Monday in order to learn more about the United States Marshals Service’s use of airborne cell-site simulators.

      The San Francisco-based advocacy group filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the USMS’ parent agency, shortly after the revelations came to light in November 2014. However, the DOJ has not produced any responsive documents and has long exceeded the 30-day deadline as defined under the FOIA law.

      In the suit, which was filed in federal court in Washington, DC, the EFF asks the court to compel the DOJ to immediately produce the documents. The DOJ did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.

    • No One Can Stop Craigslist, but Facebook Is Trying Again

      Mark Zuckerberg isn’t the only one in Silicon Valley with Craigslist envy. A decade ago, Google tried to meld classified ads with other crowdsourced content in a website called Google Base. The service never took off, and it now redirects to a site soliciting retailers to list on Google’s shopping search engine. Along with the big companies, countless startups have set out to make prettier, more functional versions of Craigslist, only to fail.

    • FBI really doesn’t want anyone to know about “stingray” use by local cops

      If you’ve ever filed a public records request with your local police department to learn more about how cell-site simulators are used in your community—chances are good that the FBI knows about it. And the FBI will attempt to “prevent disclosure” of such information.

      Not only can these devices, commonly known as “stingrays,” be used to determine a phone’s location, but they can also intercept calls and text messages. During the act of locating a phone, stingrays also sweep up information about nearby phones. Last fall, Ars reported on how a handful of cities across America are currently upgrading to new hardware that can target 4G LTE phones.

    • NSA Claims Iran Learned from Western Cyberattacks

      The U.S. Government often warns of increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks from adversaries, but it may have actually contributed to those capabilities in the case of Iran.

      A top secret National Security Agency document from April 2013 reveals that the U.S. intelligence community is worried that the West’s campaign of aggressive and sophisticated cyberattacks enabled Iran to improve its own capabilities by studying and then replicating those tactics.

      The NSA is specifically concerned that Iran’s cyberweapons will become increasingly potent and sophisticated by virtue of learning from the attacks that have been launched against that country. “Iran’s destructive cyber attack against Saudi Aramco in August 2012, during which data was destroyed on tens of thousands of computers, was the first such attack NSA has observed from this adversary,” the NSA document states. “Iran, having been a victim of a similar cyber attack against its own oil industry in April 2012, has demonstrated a clear ability to learn from the capabilities and actions of others.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Nude body scanner now present on Norwegian airport

      Aftenposten, one of the largest newspapers in Norway, today report that three of the nude body scanners now is put to use at Gardermoen, the main airport in Norway. This way the travelers can have their body photographed without cloths when visiting Norway. Of course this horrible news is presented with a positive spin, stating that “now travelers can move past the security check point faster and more efficiently”, but fail to mention that the machines in question take pictures of their nude bodies and store them internally in the computer, while only presenting sketch figure of the body to the public. The article is written in a way that leave the impression that the new machines do not take these nude pictures and only create the sketch figures. In reality the same nude pictures are still taken, but not presented to everyone. They are still available for the owners of the system and the people doing maintenance of the scanners, as long as they are taken and stored.

    • The Guardian Hires Chelsea Manning

      Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 after being convicted of leaking classified national security documents to WikiLeaks.

    • FBI monitored and critiqued African American writers for decades

      Newly declassified documents from the FBI reveal how the US federal agency under J Edgar Hoover monitored the activities of dozens of prominent African American writers for decades, devoting thousands of pages to detailing their activities and critiquing their work.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Peter Sunde: Pirate Bay Still Has The Right To Defend Itself

        Today it was revealed that a Swedish prosecutor is trying to force the .SE registry, via a court case, to ban ThePirateBay.se and PirateBay.se from being in use. He even wants to go so far as to claim the domains for the state in order to put up a ‘stop’ logo on them.

      • File-Sharing Icon RapidShare Shuts Down

        RapidShare, once the most popular file-hosting service in the Internet, has announced that it will shut down next month. The company doesn’t cite a reason for the surprising shutdown, but losing the majority of its users in recent years after the implementation of tough anti-piracy measures is likely to be connected.

        [...]

        RapidShare fought many legal battles with entertainment companies seeking to hold the company liable for the actions of its users, and to top it off the site was called out by the U.S. Government as a “notorious market.”

      • Megaupload Programmer Arrested in The U.S.

        Andrus Nomm, one of the seven Megaupload employees indicted by the United States, has been arrested. The U.S. authorities have yet to comment on the arrest of the programmer but Megaupload lawyer Ira Rothken believes that he may have cut a deal with the FBI.

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