Links 16/2/2015: Netrunner 15, Bridge Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 3:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • CuBox-i review – an elegant mini PC which runs Android, Linux and OpenELEC

      The CuBox-i is certainly an interesting mini PC. It offers a lot of flexibility since its support for Android and Linux is excellent, and it excels at running Kodi.
      One of the most important commercial uses of a Single Board Computer (SBC) is as a prototyping and rapid development platform. Recently I reviewed the HummingBoard-i2eX, a SBC from SolidRun that is compatible with Android and Linux. Since the proof is in the pudding, SolidRun has used its own tech to create a truly miniature PC.

      At just 2 inches x 2 inches x 2 inches (50.8 mm x 50.8 mm x 50.8 mm) the CuBox is a marvel of engineering. On one side of the cube is a set of ports including the power socket, HDMI, Ethernet and two USB ports. While the rest of the cube is fairly bland except for various labels, logos and LEDs.

    • Are We There Yet?

      Inadvertently, this was a driver for adoption of GNU/Linux as one could install GNU/Linux and get better performance in the same amount of RAM, or one could keep an old PC snappy for years longer. GNU/Linux also increased use of RAM as did browsers… but the need to constantly double RAM every few years was gone for those first-adopters of GNU/Linux. Now it’s gone for everyone else. RIP Wintel.

  • Server

    • Lets review.. Docker (again)

      It’s been just over a year since my last review of Docker, heavily criticising it’s flawed architectural design and poor user experience. The project has since matured into 1.0 and gained some notoriety from Amazon, but has suffered growing user frustration, hype accusations and even breakout exploits leading to host contamination. However the introduction of private repos in Docker Hub, which eliminated the need to run your own registry for hosted deployments, coupled with webhooks and tight Github build integrations, looked to be a promising start.

  • Kernel Space

    • Redesigning the Linux video system from the ground up

      Being a good open source citizen—that’s where it starts. For Jon Cruz, navigating various technical opportunities over the years eventually led him there. Jon recently started working in the Open Source Group at Samsung where he works on the Wayland project as well as IoTivity, an infrastructure for the Internet of Things.

      Cruz’s open source journey began when he started contributing to the Inkscape community. His connections with Inkscape contributors eventually led him to his current role at Samsung. I think it’s important to note that this is a common story for many people who get involved with open source. The first step is to find the right project and start contributing—you never know what career opportunities could stem from that first step.

    • The Community Really Wants To See Linux 4.0

      Linus Torvalds has yet to reveal whether Linux 3.20 will be re-branded as Linux 4.0, but it seems the community at least really wants this version bump to happen.

      Last week on Linus Torvalds’ Google+ page he polled the community over Linux 3.20 vs. 4.0. Torvalds has yet to say what version he’s going with for this next kernel — it will probably be revealed next weekend when he’s closing the merge window and bumping for -rc1 — but it seems overwhelmingly that people want this Linux 3.20 to 4.0 jump.

    • Arnold’s T-800 Terminator Runs Linux Kernel 4.1, We’re All Doomed

      If the Terminator movies are to be believed, we are getting closer to the end of the world. It looks like the T-800 model is running Linux kernel 4.x and we already know that Linus Torvalds is thinking about releasing the 4.x branch soon.

    • Linus Torvalds: I don’t care if Terminator robots run on Linux

      Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel was under heavy fire after a leak by Edward Snowden which showed that Skynet, the US-based company which builds robots, was using the Linux kernel to power their machines. Skynet is one of the most secretive US companies which reportedly operates from a leased hanger in Area 51.

      However, Linus Torvalds denied any association or knowledge of Skynet Corporation. During a local Linux conference in Portland, Linus was addressing a small crowd when a reddit user asked if he had been approached by Skynet? Linus, with a faint smile on his face, said ‘no’ while nodding (in yes).

    • Graphics Stack

      • The DRM Graphics Changes Submitted For Linux 3.20

        The most recent pull request for the already very exciting Linux 3.20 / 4.0 kernel is the DRM graphics driver changes, which of course excite us a lot. This DRM pull request is another fairly heavy pull request with a number of end-user features for the popular open-source graphics drivers.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 3.19, 3.20/4.0 Doesn’t Do Much For Intel HD 5500 Performance

        Yesterday I ran some benchmarks from the new Core i3 Broadwell NUC to see how the latest Mesa Git affects the OpenGL performance for the Core i3 5010U chip with HD Graphics 5500. Today I’m complementing that testing to see if the latest Linux kernel Git makes any difference for this low-end, low-power Broadwell chip.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Sometimes they come back: Danbooru Client ported to KF5 and C++

        And so a port of Danbooru Client to C++ began. I took the opportunity also to learn some model/view programming (still baffling at times, but I’m getting ebtter) and then I even tried to implement a custom thumbnail view for posts (I managed more or less, with a lot of blood and tears).

        Then the KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt 5 arrived on the scene…

      • KDE Partition Managers 1.1.1 and 1.2.0

        I would like to announce two releases of KDE Partition Manager. Version 1.1.1 is a bugfix release. It was ported away from Solid to avoid the unfortunate udisks2 bug and uses libparted directly (partitionmanager was using libparted already anyway). That means packagers do not have to select -DENABLE_UDISKS2 cmake option anymore.

      • Kdenlive news for 4 months… many good things!

        First, let me come back to September: we didn’t talk about it here, and it’s a shame: we all must sincerely thank Akademy Jury for designating JB for Application Award! We all were really touched, he can be very proud of it and deserves it for so many years of hard work… and he did rise to the bait, as this raised back his motivation to come help us again! So double, triple, infinite thanks for that prize.

      • Kdenlive KDE Video Editor Is Still Progressing
      • [Krita] Interview with Chris Jones

        Most apps feel like they’re designed for someone else, and I have to try and adapt to their workflow. Krita feels more like it was built with me in mind, and whenever I feel something should behave differently, someone is usually already on the case before I even make mention of it. As far as 2D software goes, Krita fits my needs better than any of the alternatives.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.7.0 Prepares for Qt 5.5

        KDE Frameworks 5.7.0 has just been released by the KDE Community and the developers have pushed a large number of updates and various fixes. It’s a maintenance update, but it’s an important one.

      • Scalable UIs, Scaling the Content

        So far we talked about the technical aspects of scaling your application, the dpi, the number of pixels, its nature, the nature of image formats and the implications of all that on the creation of visual elements for your UI.

        But this is only a part of the problem, for although all this helps you to create answers to your scaling problems, it does not answer the problems that created the need for those answers: the fundamental part of the problem.

  • Distributions

    • Netrunner 15 – Prometheus (64bit)

      We are proud to announce the official release of Netrunner 15 – Prometheus (64bit).
      Netrunner 15 is revised from the ground up: As the first distribution, it officially ships the new KDE Plasma Desktop 5.2.

    • Netrunner 15 “Prometheus” Officially Released with KDE Plasma 5.2 – Screenshot Tour

      Clemens Toennies from the Netrunner project had the pleasure of announcing earlier today, February 16, the immediate availability for download of the Netrunner 15 computer operating system, dubbed Prometheus, based on the Kubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) distribution and built around the KDE Plasma 5.2 desktop environment.

    • Netrunner 15 ‘Prometheus’ is here — the best KDE-based Linux distro gets better
    • Bridge Linux KDE Is an Arch Linux Distribution with a Nice KDE Setup – Screenshot Tour

      A brand-new release of the Bridge Linux computer operating system arrived this past weekend, version 2015.02, which uses the latest ArchBang sources to provide a user-friendly Arch Linux distribution for those who want to easily install the acclaimed OS on their computers. The release is distributed in four editions, with the KDE, GNOME, Xfce, and LXDE desktop environments.

    • Black Lab Linux Introduces Its First MATE Edition – Screenshot Tour

      Roberto J. Dohnert, lead developer and project lead of Black Lab Linux, had the pleasure of announcing Softpedia earlier today, February 16, about the immediate availability for download of the Black Lab Linux MATE computer operating system, based on Ubuntu Linux and the MATE desktop environment.

    • Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 Released

      Today we are pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1. Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 is a distribution of Black Lab Linux that utilizes the Mate Desktop environment.

    • Reviews

      • MakuluLinux KDE 7.0 Officially Released, Not Yet Ready for 64-bit – Video

        The MakuluLinux KDE 7 distribution has been officially released this past weekend, bringing a rock solid, stable, secure, responsive, safe and gorgeous KDE graphical desktop environment based on the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Core operating system, which is supported with software updates and security patches until 2019.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Rawhide: Beloved and vital member of the Fedora family

          There are indeed people using Rawhide day to day. I myself have for the last few years, and I know there are a number of others (based on IRC conversations and posts to the test list). Regarding the KF5 issues, this is a somewhat unstable time for KF5, as they are just now landing things and integrating them and also gcc just updated to 5.0, causing them some issues. Perhaps some of this work could have been done in a copr or the like, but sometimes it’s really hard to anticipate what will happen when you finally build in the official Fedora buildsystem. I don’t think the common answer here should be “you should expect that in rawhide”, but instead “You should understand that at times various parts of rawhide may be under more work and help them work around those issues”. I’ve definitely run into situations in the last few years where something was broken and I couldn’t use it, but I reported bugs on them and people fixed them up. In the mean time it’s always good to have alternatives.

    • Debian Family

      • Removing Systemd from Debian (and still running a desktop)

        This is a work-in-progress report on getting a functional Debian GNU/Linux system that does not have systemd or any systemd libraries installed, yet (with some inconvenience) is still functional. The process is not without risk, may require (required, as of 5am on 14th Feb 2015) some recovery procedures, and will almost certainly require ongoing maintenance that may be unattractive for some users. The recovery procedures utilised are also documented.

      • Debian Project Reaches 83% Reproducible Builds for Source Packages

        Debian developers have just announced that 83.5% of all source packages in sid main can be rebuilt reproducibly, which is actually a huge percentage.

      • Derivatives

        • Tails 1.3 RC1 Out Now, Edward Snowden’s Favorite Incognito Live CD

          The first Release Candidate (RC) version of the forthcoming Tails 1.3 amnesic incognito live system has been officially released for testing, bringing three major new features and four minor improvements that are described for your reading pleasure in the next paragraphs.

        • CrunchBang Linux Revived As CrunchBang++

          Earlier this month we wrote how CrunchBang Linux was winding down with its lead developer halting development of this Debian-based distribution. However, there’s new developers now forming the CrunchBang++ project.

        • CrunchBang Linux Is Back from the Dead as CrunchBang++, Based on Debian Jessie

          Ten days ago, on February 6, 2015, we’ve reported that the CrunchBang Linux computer operating system is no more because its developer, Philip Newborough, decided to stop developing the distribution. As a result, a bunch of devoted CrunchBang Linux fans decided that it is not time for CrunchBang Linux to die just yet.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Meizu teases Ubuntu phone ahead of MWC event

            Ubuntu on mobile phones has been a long standing project for Canonical and quite an ambitious one. Much like Microsoft and its new One Windows ideology, Canonical hatched the scheme for a unified cross-device application ecosystem long ago, but progress has been rather slow.

            Meizu has been a vital part of the new OS development with various demo builds and rumor of Ubuntu-powered Meizu handset popping up ever since the MX 3 was the company’s flagship offer. Today the Chinese smartphone maker posted a rather interesting teaser on Facebook. The image hints at a new OS, which will join the ranks of Flyme and YunOS and probably be unveiled at this year’s MWC.

          • Meizu Is Teasing Ubuntu for Phones Ahead of MWC 2015 in Barcelona

            Meizu is now teasing the launch of an Ubuntu OS-powered phone at the Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, which falls right into the plans that have been revealed until now via various rumors.

          • First Ubuntu Phone BQ Aquaris Sold Out; But Will It Challenge iOS-Android Dominance?

            The world’s first Ubuntu phone, the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, finally went on sale last week and promptly sold out within day. The Ubuntu OS offers an alternative to iOS and Android but it has a long way to go before it can take on the two market leaders.

            Ubuntu’s phone itself is not that exciting; the most interesting thing about it is the software.

            The first Ubuntu phone runs on Ubuntu for smartphones, the mobile version of Canonical’s leading Linux desktop OS brand Ubuntu. As such, there were high hopes for Ubuntu OS, which Canonical has seemingly met. The Ubuntu OS reimagines the mobile OS with Scopes, which consists of different home pages to organize your apps.

          • Multiple PostgreSQL Vulnerabilities Corrected in All Supported Ubuntu OSes

            Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS operating systems have been updated in order to fix a number of PostgreSQL vulnerabilities discovered to affect them.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Sony SmartWatch 3 Review: The Best-Performing Android Smartwatch Yet

          Sony’s been trying the smartwatch thing for years, but the original SmartWatch and the SmartWatch 2 both…what’s the word I’m looking for here? Sucked? Yeah. But the SmartWatch 3 has solid performance and two nifty features you won’t find on any other Android Wear. It’s the first with built-in GPS and a screen you can read without backlighting.

        • What Every Company Can Learn From Xiaomi

          I’ve mentioned a couple of times the rising Chinese star Xiaomi, which could well become the leading manufacturer of Android-based smartphones worldwide if it manages to carry on as it has begun. In another sign of its global ambitions, it held a press conference in the US last week:

          Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra, vice president of international for the company, announced at a press event in San Francisco Thursday that it plans to launch its e-commerce website in the U.S. and other international markets soon to start selling accessories like its fitness band, power banks and other accessories.

        • Android 5.0 Lollipop Is More Stable Than iOS 8: Report

          Someone once said any edge is a good edge, even if it’s not a huge edge and that is what Android 5.0 Lollipop is enjoying right now given its stability edge over Apple’s iOS 8.

          A new Crittercism report reveals the Android mobile platform Android 5.0 Lollipop has a tiny slight edge when it comes to stability when compared to Apple’s iOS 8 mobile platform. That means mobile application crash and burns don’t happen as frequently on Android 5.0 Lollipop as they happen on Apple iOS 8.

        • LG’s new Android Wear smartwatch, the Watch Urbane, has an all-metal body

          In the long-term, Android Wear isn’t likely to be about just a small handful of watches. Fashion and individuality often go hand-in-hand, and now we’re starting to see some of the early Android Wear watch-makers reflect that, making different smartwatches for different styles. The latest? LG’s all-metal take on the G Watch R, the LG Watch Urbane.

        • Best new icon packs for Android (February 2015) #2

          In Android’s domain, customization is one of the main selling points. One of the easier ways to refresh your device’s UI and give it a new look is by changing your icon pack.

        • Samsung and Android 5.0: What does Lollipop bring to your Galaxy S5?

          At a glance there’s very little visually different on the Samsung Galaxy S5 homescreen. Delve a little deeper and cleaner design can be found. Notifications have a much cleaner look, which work well, while being able to control app notifications is a welcome extra.

          If you delve a little deeper there are stock Android treats to be founds on the Galaxy S5. The Easter egg for this version of Android has added another layer of fun with and Android style Flappy Bird game. Go to settings, select the version and tap until the Lollipop appears, you can tap this to change colours or hold to play the fun game.

          Making the jump from KitKat to Lollipop on Samsung doesn’t feel as bold a move moving from stock KitKat to Lollipop, where the changes across the design are much more pervasive.

        • Xposed Framework For Android Lollipop Now Available: What You Need To Know
        • Android 4.4 KitKat Update Now Available for Xolo Q1200

          Xolo has released the Android 4.4 KitKat update for the Xolo Q1200 smartphone. The update installation files as well as instructions are available on the Xolo website.

        • Lenovo A6000, A5000, P70, S90 and Others to Get Android 5.0 Lollipop Update Soon

          Lenovo has announced that its devices – A5000, A6000, P70-A, S90-A, VIBE X2 (Lenovo X2), VIBE Z2, and VIBE Z2 Pro (Lenovo K920) – that currently run on Android 4.4 KitKat will receive Android 5.0 Lollipop update in the second quarter of 2015.

        • G3 Android 5.0 Lollipop roll-out starts on another U.S. carrier

          Android 5.0 Lollipop started rolling out to the LG G3 on AT&T last week, and now it’s hitting another U.S. carrier. Sprint announced on Monday that customers should start seeing the latest version of Android hitting their devices over-the-air beginning now.

        • Android 5.0 Lollipop Update: Moto G 2013 Users Require To Update Motorola Updates Services To Upgrade

          Like other leading brands, Motorola is also trying its best to roll out the Android 5.0 Lollipop update to its numerous devices. According to Mobile Syrup, some of the Moto G 2013 users have received an official notification message from Motorola about the arrival of Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Free Software/Open Source

  • An Update On The Open Source Project ‘Xoreos’ Concerning Jade Empire

    Continuing with my quest to make the engines display areas (as I did with Neverwinter Nights 2), I turned to Jade Empire the last two weeks. There was just one tiny issue: xoreos didn’t yet support the model format. While I could make use of other’s people reverse-engineering work for the model formats of other engines (Neverwinter Nights (Torlack), Neverwinter Nights 2 (Tazpn) and Knights of the Old Republic (cchargin), apparently barely anybody bothered to look into Jade Empire. A person called Maian tried to figure out a few thing with just a hexeditor, and while that was a great start (and confirmed my suspicions that the format is similar to Knights of the Old Republic’s), it wasn’t enough for full support in xoreos.

  • Why I am a Member of the Open Source Initiative

    For the first time ever, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) is running a membership drive to recruit more individual members. The goal is to recruit 2,398 new members, with that number chosen in homage to the organization’s founding date on February 3, 1998. As an individual member of the OSI, you receive a number of benefits for joining:

  • Startup OpenLegacy Open Sources App Modernization Tool

    A company called OpenLegacy is beginning to gain momentum with a suite of free and open source tools for modernizing IBM i and z/OS applications. Besides giving away most of its technology (it charges for support in its professional edition), the company is also unique with its API-driven approach to giving older apps new life with Web, mobile, and cloud interfaces.
    OpenLegacy was founded in Israel about a year ago with the goal of helping organizations expose their IBM i and z/OS assets in new and useful ways. The company’s CEO and co-founder, Romi Stein, is a former IBMer and its COO, Hans Otharsson, worked previously at Software AG, and they were in New York City recently to drum up interest in the venture-based company and its unique business model.

  • Events

    • SCALE 13x: My Dance Card

      I bring this up because since SCALE 8x, my life is never my own during mid-February. Frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way — being part of SCALE every year, working with the rest of the SCALE team to make a great show, and leading a fantastic SCALE publicity team made up of Hannah Anderson, Dennis Rex, Sean McCabe, Sam Is, Michelle Klein-Hass, Jason Riker, and new this year, Mimi Cafiero.

    • Open Source Promotion Event at Toch Institute
    • Mozilla Angika Meetup @ Bhagalpur, Bihar – A Report

      I am overwhelmed with the success of the event and to see the love of the people for Angika and how they are excited to know that Angika is going to be present with one of the languages in which Firefox is present. UNESCO says that Angika is endangered but now I am convinced that Angika cannot be an endangered language. How a language – a real Lok-Bhasha – can be endangered?

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • A Prediction: 2020 the year of (PC-)BSD on the desktop

      I am going to make a prediction right now that FreeBSD is going to take off in a big way on or before 2020, perhaps even to the point where it threatens Linux Desktop share.

    • m0n0wall BSD Firewall Is Officially Dead

      m0n0wall was a BSD firewall operating system that’s been around for quite some time. It was recognized as one of the best, but there is a reason why we are now using past tense for it. The developer has stopped development and dropped the project.


  • Public Services/Government

    • Malta to start government software repository

      The government of Malta is to implement a repository and observatory of information systems to be used by the islands’ public administrations. The repository will make available open source solutions and share information on reusable tools and systems from across the EU.

    • Galicia publishes CeMIT classroom management system

      Amtega, Galicia’s agency for technological modernisation, has published the classroom management system XEA as open source. The software and its documentation can be downloaded for free from the repository of the Galician government (Xunta de Galicia).

  • Programming

    • A beginner’s guide to GitHub

      GitHub uses Git, which is a distributed revision control system designed and developed by Linus Torvalds for Linux kernel development back in 2005. Since then, it’s become the most widely adopted version control system for software development there is.


  • East Germany’s doping legacy lives on, 25 years later

    Twenty-five years ago, as a nation officially divided into East and West worked out a plan for how to become simply Germany, Ines Geipel decided to get her name out of the record books.

    Geipel – who under her maiden name, Ines Schmidt, had been a member of the formidable East German women’s track team when she helped set a German relay record in 1984 – had started wondering whether the little blue “vitamins” she’d taken as part of her official training regime didn’t taint any glory of being a champion.

    The pills, it turned out, were steroids, banned under international competition rules. Geipel asked that her name be removed from the German record books. An asterisk instead of her name now appears.

  • Hardware

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Drone Strikes and the Sanitization of Violence

      After a lull of some two months – a break punctuated by the toppling of Yemen’s government – the US drone campaign in Yemen has resumed.

      The pattern that has emerged is distressingly familiar.

      While the US government can claim the death of radical preacher Harith al-Nadari, the victims also include Mohammed Tuaiman, a 13-year-old boy whose father and brother were killed in a drone strike in 2011.

    • What Is Going on in the World?

      Could an international tribunal hold war criminals accountable?

    • Hailed as a Model for Successful Intervention, Libya Proves to be the Exact Opposite

      When Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003 by U.S. forces, Iraq War advocates boastfully celebrated the event as proof that they were right and used it to mock war opponents (Joe Lieberman and John Kerry, for instance, gleefully exploited the event to demand that Howard Dean admit his war opposition was wrong). When Muammar Gaddafi was forced by NATO bombing in August, 2011 to flee Tripoli, advocates of U.S. intervention played the same game (ThinkProgress gleefully exploited the occasion to try to shame those who objected to the illegality of Obama’s waging the war even after Congress voted against its authorization: as though Gadaffi’s fleeing could render legal Obama’s plainly illegal intervention).

    • AP Exclusive: High Civilian Death Toll in Gaza House Strikes

      The youngest to die was a 4-day-old girl, the oldest a 92-year-old man.

      They were among at least 844 Palestinians killed as a result of airstrikes on homes during Israel’s summer war with the Islamic militant group, Hamas.

    • War punishes Gaza

      In almost every way, the Gaza Strip is much worse off now than before last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas. Scenes of misery are one of the few things in abundance in the battered coastal enclave.

      Reconstruction of the tens of thousands homes damaged and destroyed in the hostilities has barely begun, almost six months after the cease-fire. At current rates, it will take decades to rebuild what was destroyed.

    • What ISIS Really Wants

      What is the Islamic State?

      Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Oscars Make History, So Hollywood’s War Stories Need To Be True

      I’m not referring to the Oscars that particular films might win, but our embrace of their narratives of history. If “American Sniper” gathers a fistful of statues, even more people will see a film that presents a skewed view of the Iraq war. If the “Imitation Game” gets lucky, a lot more people will watch a movie that erroneously portrays Alan Turing as a social idiot. If “Selma” catches some of the limelight, more people may believe that Lyndon Johnson wasn’t entirely supportive of Martin Luther King.

    • From Brian Williams to ‘American Sniper,’ the Iraq War Keeps on Killing the Truth

      Who remembers the last time watching the nightly news on network television was an important part of their evening routine?

      No one I know. So when Brian Williams fell into an abyss of amnesia over what he actually went through on a press junket covering the Iraq War in 2003, I just felt sorry for the NBC star because we all make mistakes, and as we get older, our memories aren’t what they used to be—along with every other part of our body. I’ve never taken Williams seriously or anyone from his generation of newscasters. But I do remember growing up with my parents being glued to the tube when the battle in my house was fought over whether we’d watch Walter Cronkite on CBS or Chet Huntley and David Brinkley on NBC—whoever was on ABC was never part of the evening equation.

      What an uncanny coincidence—as we used to say in the tabloids—that in one week the news shows are the big news in America, and it has nothing to do with what they’re reporting but which anchor is doing the job on the air.

      When Jon Stewart proclaimed on the same Daily Show where he announced his heart-rending pending departure from our nightly routines how happy he was that “finally, someone is held accountable for misleading America about Iraq,” we had to take notice because the irony factor was too large to ignore. He was describing how Williams had succumbed to “infotainment confusion syndrome” and that malady had messed up his memory.

    • Questions they ought to ask on the citizenship tests

      Folks should, for example, be aware of how things really work in government — as opposed to how they are ostensibly designed to work. They should also be familiar with some of those inconvenient tidbits from history that may not show us in our best light but nonetheless have had a drastic impact on the way we are today.

  • Censorship

    • Jordan hands senior Islamist 18 months for criticizing UAE

      Jordan’s state security court on Sunday sentenced a top official in the Muslim Brotherhood to 18 months in prison for criticizing the United Arab Emirates, an ally of the kingdom, his lawyer said.

    • The War Over Control Of The Net Is A War Over Information Advantage

      Throughout history, you can observe that many groups have fought over the information advantage – to know more about other people than those others know in return. Whoever has held the information advantage has usually risen to power.

      We know little of spycraft before ancient times, but we do know that covert messaging was common in the Roman Empire. One well-documented method was to shave a slave’s head, tattoo a message into the scalp, let the hair grow back, and send the slave on foot to the recipient, presumably carrying a decoy message.

  • Privacy

    • News outlet to release more secrets of US National Security Agency obtained from cybersecurity firm in Mexico

      A yet-to-be identified news outlet is preparing to release top secrets of the US National Security Agency (NSA), adding to the woes of the intelligence wing which is still suffering from the massive leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Report: NSA Bracing for Major New Leaks

      Though the NSA is characteristically not publicly discussing the matter publicly, reports citing private comments from the officials say that the agency is bracing for “major” new leaks.

    • NSA braced for new leaks

      The National Security Agency, still reeling from massive leaks caused by Edward Snowden, is preparing to be hit with another major loss of secrets, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

      The leaks are expected to be published in the near future by a news outlet that was not further identified by the officials familiar with details of the compromise, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

      The NSA is aware of the news outlet’s forthcoming disclosures and is taking steps to try and minimize any damage they will cause.

    • Feds Visit SpiderOak and Leave Empty-Handed

      Dropbox and similar cloud storage services routinely get inquiries, warrants, non-disclosure NSLs (National Security Letters), etc. which demand information about their users and the content of those user’s files. Because most of those services encrypt your data with THEIR key, (if at all). they can easily hand this data over. Many of these cloud services make an honest effort to protect their customers, but in the end they all too often must surrender the data and keep their mouth shut about it. Many of these services are publishing so-called “transparency reports” detailing (well after the fact) the nature and type of such government demands.

    • FBI redacts Public Records requests

      Documents first acquired and reported on by the Minnesota Star Tribune in December 2014 reveal that the FBI is working with State Bureaus of Investigation to “prevent disclosure” of how cell-site simulators are used to determine a phone’s 
location and intercept calls.

    • Big Brother Knows What You’ve Been Reading

      Every book you read on your Kindle (or Kindle app) and every word you highlight in those ebooks is recorded by Amazon and may be shared by the bookselling behemoth with the federal government.

    • How data privacy is turning into an Orwellian maze

      Earlier this month, the tribunal held that the British intelligence and security agency had been in breach of articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, referring to the right to private family life and to freedom of expression. But hard on the heels of the UK ruling came news that the US government is creating a dedicated agency to monitor cybersecurity threats, pooling and analyzing information across a spectrum of risks. The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC)’s mission will be to ‘connect the dots’ between various sources of intelligence.

  • Civil Rights

    • They Treat the Constitution Like a Worthless Piece of Paper

      President George W. Bush was fond of saying that “9/11 changed everything.” He used that one-liner often as a purported moral basis to justify the radical restructuring of federal law and the federal assault on personal liberties over which he presided. He cast aside his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution; he rejected his oath to enforce all federal laws faithfully; and he moved the government decidedly in the direction of secret laws, secret procedures and secret courts.


      Snowden revealed that Obama’s lawyers had persuaded these secret judges, without any opposition from lawyers representing the victims of this surveillance, that somehow Congress had authorized this and somehow it was constitutional and somehow it was not un-American to spy on all of us all the time. These judges actually did the unthinkable: They issued what are known as general warrants. General warrants were used against the colonists by the British and are expressly prohibited by the Fourth Amendment. They permit the bearer to search wherever he wishes and seize whatever he finds. That’s what the NSA does to all of us today.

    • Focus:Iraq War and Torture Violate the Values of Humanity (1-5)

      Yes, they were on top of the world and undoubtedly chilled to the bone with fear as well. And fear and impunity turned out to be an ugly combination indeed. Both the fear and the sense of license, of the freedom to act as they wished, drove them fiercely. Take Michael Hayden, then head of the NSA, later of the CIA. Of that moment, he recently said, “I actually started to do different things. And I didn’t need to ask ‘mother, may I’ from the Congress or the president or anyone else. It was within my charter, but in terms of the mature judgment about what’s reasonable and what’s not reasonable, the death of 3,000 countrymen kind of took me in a direction over here, perfectly within my authority, but a different place than the one in which I was located before the attacks took place.” In other words, on September 10, 2011, he was simply the director of the NSA. On September 11th, without ever leaving the NSA, he was the president, Congress, and the chief justice of the Supreme Court all rolled intone.

    • Their Barbarism and Ours

      It will come as no surprise to you that we’re top-notch when it comes to denouncing barbarism — as long as it’s theirs. So the responses here to the horrific burning to death of a Jordanian pilot by the Islamic State — the definition of an act of barbarism — were suitably indignant and horrified. Unfortunately, when it comes to our own barbarism, we turn out to be a tad weaker, whether you’re talking about torture, horrific abuses, the killing of prisoners and of innocents, or the deaths of children by drone (“collateral damage”) across the Greater Middle East.

    • How Can This Happen? Here Is How

      So: Ukraine’s troops are permitted to steal whatever they want from the residents in Donbass, the rebelling region. The particular victim here lives in an apartment, and so all that Ukraine’s troops can take from him are his belongings. He’s lucky they didn’t shoot him (if they didn’t).

    • “Oh My God, This is Way Off”: New Investigation Shows Texas is Likely Set to Kill An Innocent Man

      Kevin Gannon, a retired detective sergeant with the New York Police Department, spent just 10 minutes looking at official documents related to the case of Rodney Reed — slated for execution in Texas on March 5 — before concluding that something was very, very wrong.

      It was October 2014 and Gannon was working as part of a three-cop team featured on the A&E channel true-crime show Dead Again. The program follows the trio of veteran detectives as they reinvestigate old murder cases. The team approaches the cases cold, not knowing what original police investigators concluded — or who was arrested and prosecuted in the end. Sometimes, Gannon says, he and his colleagues end up agreeing with the official outcome. Sometimes, they do not.

    • George Washington, Slave Catcher

      AMID the car and mattress sales that serve as markers for Presidents’ Day, Black History Month reminds Americans to focus on our common history. In 1926, the African-American historian Carter G. Woodson introduced Negro History Week as a commemoration built around the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Now February serves as a point of collision between presidential celebration and marginalized black history.

      While Lincoln’s role in ending slavery is understood to have been more nuanced than his reputation as the great emancipator would suggest, it has taken longer for us to replace stories about cherry trees and false teeth with narratives about George Washington’s slaveholding.

    • Coup Plot in Venezuela Thwarted

      Coup plotters planned on assassinating the Venezuelan president and installing a de facto government.

      A coup plot against the Venezuelan government has been foiled, with both civilians and members of the military detained, President Nicolas Maduro revealed Thursday in a televised address.

      Those involved were being paid in U.S. dollars, and one of the suspects had been granted a visa to enter the United States should the plot fail, Maduro said.

    • Britain and Canada Involved in Foiled US Venezuelan Coup Plot

      Britain and Canada were co-conspirators in the latest plot to topple Venezuela’s government.

      TeleSUR provided detailed coverage of Washington’s war on Venezuelan democracy. Its dirty hands manipulate violence and instability worldwide.

      US funded and supported key opposition fascist figures Antonio Ledezma, Maria Corina Machado and Leopoldo Lopez released a joint February 11 communique a day before the foiled coup.

    • ‘Almost All’ Opposition Leaders Knew About Venezuelan Coup Plot

      Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro added that a U.S. Embassy advisor drafted the script that the coup plotters read in video they planned to air.

    • Venezuela Coup Thwarted

      Coup plotters planned on assassinating the Venezuelan president and installing a transitional government.

      A coup plot against the Venezuelan government has been foiled, with both civilians and members of the military detained, President Nicolas Maduro revealed Thursday in a televised address. Below, teleSUR English’s indepth coverage explains the details and context behind the plan.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Merkel’s moment of power and partnership with America is right now

      Yet, this trade deal faces the strongest opposition of any recent joint initiative. Fueled by remaining distrust vis-à-vis the United States, 1.2 million Germans signed a “stop TTIP” petition in just ten weeks. Given these realities, experts now recommend that the negotiations relaunched last week focus on getting an agreement more limited in scope–a work in progress–coupled with a strong education campaign to prevent a greater backlash against globalization. European and American leadership will face an uphill battle with public opinion, but a trimmed down deal coupled with public education efforts should create substantial progress on this deal in the next two years.

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