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03.17.15

Links 17/2/2015: Fedora 22 Alpha in Focus, CentOS 7.1 Imminent

Posted in News Roundup at 5:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Asian Penguins middle school Linux club inspires community

    What are the Asian Penguins? That’s a simple question that has a complicated answer. Are they a student club? Yes. Are they a tech support group that takes care of some of our school’s computers? Partly, yes. Are they also a movement for change that challenges our students to improve people’s lives through the power of open source technology? Most definitely, yes. Simply put, the Asian Penguins are a Linux users group.

  • Another School Finds GNU/Linux Desktops Work For Them

    It quit working. It slowed down. It collected malware. It re-re-rebooted. Well, schools still find that with “7”.

  • Desktop

    • State of VoIP in Linux

      Like most people, I find myself using the same VoIP options everyone else is using. Thankfully, these days there are far more options available than what we might think. Today, I’ll look at these options and also explore up-and-coming alternatives as well.

    • Dell’s Linux PC sequel still “just works”—but it adds 4K screen and rough edges

      Almost two years ago, we closed out our review of Dell’s first Linux-powered Developer Edition laptop with some words of wisdom from my former uber-sysadmin mentor, a fellow named Rick, with whom I worked at Boeing for many, many years. Rick is now retired and living the life of an itinerant world-traveling SCUBA master, but he’s been hacking on Linux since around the time Linus first dropped the kernel on comp.os.minix. I lamented to Rick that I was having a hard time coming up with an angle or hook for the XPS 13 Developer Edition, because it all just worked—Dell got it right, and it was a great piece of kit. It was maybe even a bit boring.

  • Server

    • Docker Inc.’s Acquisitions Aim for Ease of Use and Portability

      Docker, Inc., the corporate sponsor of the popular container technology toolset, has been in the news recently for its acquisitions. Last month, Docker acquired startup SocketPlane, and said that SocketPlance could help add standard networking interfaces to Docker to make multi-container distributed apps easily portable. And Docker, Inc. has also acquired Canadian startup Kitematic and its eponymous, popular open source software tool. “The Docker experience is enhanced through Kitematic and its graphical user interface (GUI)-driven workflow that automatically installs Docker on a user’s Mac to build, ship and run Docker containers in just minutes,” says the announcement.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux ‘Code of Conduct’ is neither Code nor Conduct

      Much like the Linux kernel development process itself has evolved as a function of development, I suspect the code of conduct will be the same. That is to say it will be self-regulating without some kind of rigid system of policies.

      The simple truth is that the vast majority of Linux kernel development is done by those that work for companies. Since LKML is all in the open, and it’s clear to see who works for whom, I suspect that various corporate masters already have policies in place as well.

    • Linux Kernel Developer Work Spaces Video: Stephane Graber, LXC

      Stephane Graber is a software engineer at Canonical Ltd. where he is a project leader for LinuxContainers.org, including LXC. In this video he takes us on a tour of his home office in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and answers our questions about his work space.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux Performance Analysis: New Tools and Old Secrets

        At the last USENIX/LISA conference, I gave a talk on new Linux performance tools: my open source perf-tools collection. These use existing kernel frameworks, ftrace and perf_events, which are built in to most Linux kernel distributions by default, including the Linux cloud instances I analyze at Netflix.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Buzz Buzz!

        With the Sprint behind us and the Freeze coming up next month, the VDG has made it’s agenda for the coming weeks, and I figured I’d share some highlights I’m working on, and a couple I’m personally looking forward to.

      • Now accepting Google Summer of Code student applications

        Attention prospective Google Summer of Code students: the student applications window has begun.

      • Now accepting Google Summer of Code student applications

        If you haven’t contacted the relevant KDE subproject yet (including umbrella projects Kubuntu and Calamares) to submit your proposal for review, it is high time to do so. Take a look at our Google Summer of Code project ideas page, pick one or more of our exciting project ideas, dazzle us with your proposal and hack your way to ultimate glory this summer! A nice paycheck is also part of the deal.

      • Qt 5.5 Alpha Available

        Qt 5.5 is branched from dev and we now have the Alpha packages available. Main focus of Qt 5.5 is to polish and improve existing functionality, but as always there are also some new exciting features to talk about. With Qt 5.5, Canvas 3D is fully supported and a technology preview of long awaited Qt 3D is included. Qt 5.5 also introduces mapping support with a Qt Location technology preview. Qt 5.5 Alpha is the first step towards Qt 5.5 final release planned to be available in May.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Preview of GNOME usability results

        I have been mentoring Sanskriti Dawle as part of the GNOME Outreach Program for Women. Sanskriti has been working on a usability test of GNOME, an update from my own usability testing which I also shared at GUADEC 2014.

        I encourage you to watch Sanskriti’s blog for the final results, but I wanted to share a view into her excellent work. You might treat this as a preview of Sanskriti’s results.

      • GNOME’s Virtual Filesystem Updated for GNOME 3.16, Obsolete ObexFTP Code Removed

        The Release Candidate (RC) version of the forthcoming and anticipated GNOME 3.16 desktop environment will be released later this week, and its developers have already started uploading packages to the main FTP server for testing purposes before the final release gets out.

  • Distributions

    • Watch: MakuluLinux with the Unity Desktop

      Jacque Montague Raymer, the developer of the MakuluLinux computer operating system has published earlier today a new video on YouTube, this time showcasing an upcoming edition of its Linux distribution, MakuluLinux Unity.

    • Reviews

      • Strange Bedfellows and Linux Reviews

        Christine Hall at FOSS Force today wrote that Canonical’s deal with the devil may signal Ubuntu’s swan song topping today’s Linux news. Linux Tycoon Bryan Lunduke reviewed the Dell M3800 with Ubuntu and Jamie Watson tested six pre-release distributions. To top that off, we have four reviews and a Linux Mint Debian teaser.

      • KaOS 2015.02 Review: Delivers a Pure KDE Plasma 5.0 Desktop

        ‘KaOS’ supports 64-bit CPU architecture only, and when compared to the previous release, the ISO disc size is actually reduced by around 300MiB and now the total size is around 1.4GiB. Despite the obvious KDE Plasma & Qt 5.0 adaptation, ‘KaOS’ now uses a new installer called ‘Calamares’ which was initially added to ‘KaOS’ in last December.

      • First Impressions of Ubuntu MATE 14.10

        Ubuntu MATE is currently available in two versions. There is long term support release labelled 14.04 and a short term support release with newer software carrying the version number 14.10. I decided to try out version 14.10 for a week. The project provides release notes for the distribution. Essentially, it looks as through the project takes Ubuntu, strips away the Unity desktop and replaces it with MATE. Most applications, apart from those relating directly to configuring the MATE desktop, appear to be the same across both distributions. The version of Ubuntu MATE I downloaded is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds and the ISO file is 980MB in size.

      • Bodhi Linux 3.0.0 Review: Minimalist distro with superb performance

        Bodhi Linux provides options to download 32-bit, 64-bit, legacy and Chromebook version. I chose 64-bit ISO, about 612 MB in size. I created a live USB using Linux Mint Image Writer on a 4 GB USB drive. First I did a live boot on my laptop and then installed it to a 100 GB drive to understand Bodhi’s performance better.

    • New Releases

      • Evolve OS’ New Beta Brings Linux Kernel 3.19.1 and systemd 218 – Screenshot Tour

        The Evolve OS development team, through Ikey Doherty, had the pleasure of announcing earlier today the immediate availability for download and testing of a new Beta release for the upcoming Evolve OS Linux distributions. Evolve OS Beta 1.1 is now powered by Linux kernel 3.19.1 and systemd 218. In addition, this new Beta release of Evolve OS includes the GCC 4.9.2 and Clang/LLVM 3.5.0 compilers.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat 7.1 is here, CentOS 7.1 coming soon

        Serious businesses use Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and its near-twin brother CentOS for their servers. The question today for CIOs using or RHEL and CentOS is: When should they upgrade to RHEL 7.1 and/or CentOS 7.1?

        RHEL 7.1 is the first minor release of RHEL 7, which launched in June 2014. This new version adds improved development and deployment tools, enhanced interoperability and manageability, and additional security and performance features. This release, like all RHEL versions, will be supported for a 10-year life-cycle.

      • Red Hat Receives Consensus Recommendation of “Buy” from Analysts

        Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, December 18th. The company reported $0.42 EPS for the quarter, beating the analysts’ consensus estimate of $0.40 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $455.90 million for the quarter. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.42 earnings per share. On average, analysts predict that Red Hat will post $1.58 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

      • Overcoming Open Source Misconceptions

        As open source has grown in popularity over recent years (both for private and commercial use), also have the number of misconceptions about open source and its use, particularly in enterprise environments.

      • Red Hat just wants to help tech hipsters and old-school programmers get along

        Now Red Hat is looking to resolve that challenge with its new company vision. On Tuesday, the company announced a new initiative for the mobile enterprise, focusing heavily on helping developers from across both ways of thinking talk to and work with each other, with better tools for building slick mobile software that also meets the needs of the business.

      • Throw your (Red) Hat into the mobile-first economy ring

        Red Hat has announced its vision to help organisations succeed in the mobile-first economy.

      • Red Hat formulates a plan for enterprise mobile apps

        Red Hat understands that developing a mobile application is not the same as building one for the desktop, which is why the company has augmented its software stack with new technologies for mobile development.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 22 Alpha LXDE Screenshot Tour

          The LXDE Spin of the Fedora Linux distribution is the last in our screenshot tours for the Alpha release of the upcoming Fedora 22 computer operating system based on the Linux kernel and various other open-source technologies.

        • Fedora 22 Alpha Cloud Edition Is a Superb Choice for Running Linux in the Cloud

          Fedora 22 Alpha was officially unveiled on March 10 and until now we gave you detailed information about each of its Spins, including screenshot tours for the Workstation (GNOME), KDE, Xfce, LXDE, and MATE/Compiz editions. It is now time to talk a little about the Cloud Edition of the upcoming Fedora 22 Alpha.

        • Linux Top 3: Fedora 22, Robolinux 7.8.3 and Makulu 8.0

          After the long delay between Fedora 20 and Fedora 21, the hope is that Fedora 22 will restore the traditional release cadence. Last week the first alpha for Fedora 22 was release, starting the countdown toward general availability in May.

        • Fedora 22 Workstation’s new notifications

          Fedora 22 Workstation will include the new GNOME 3.16 release. This release has a new notification design that’s less intrusive and easier to use.

        • Fedora GNOME Keyboard Shortcuts

          To get the very best out of the GNOME desktop environment, within Fedora, you need to learn and remember the keyboard shortcuts required to navigate the system.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Betsy past QA, going for RC

              LMDE 2 “Betsy” just got approved for an RC release. So if you could go ahead and NOT find tons of bug in it that would be great :)

            • Blueberry: Linux Mint’s new bluetooth setup tool

              Linux Mint has always been at the forefront of making elegant tools for users. Now the Linux Mint developers have come up with a better bluetooth configuration utility called Blueberry. Blueberry will ship first in Linux Mint Debian 2 before being added to other versions of Linux Mint.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • MIPS Creator CI20 v Raspberry Pi 2

      Imagination Technologies is a British company that has recently entered full production of a board based on MIPS computer architecture. The single-board computer has been designed to allow developers to create applications for mobiles, gaming, Internet of Things, and wearables.

      The MIPS Creator CI20 is billed as a high-performance, fully featured Linux and Android development platform. The board includes an Ingenic JZ4780 SoC which is built around a dual-core MIPS32 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, and Imagination’s PowerVR SGX540 GPU. The Creator CI20 comes with a price tag of or £50, which is significantly more expensive than the Raspberry Pi 2. CI20 is an open platform with technical manuals, schematics and source code freely downloadable. You might be interested in my Raspberry Pi 2 review together with this article.

    • Freescale i.MX6 SoloX SoC gains embedded Linux support

      The Timesys LinuxLink tool suite now supports Freescale’s i.MX6 SoloX SoC, including support for Freescale’s MQX RTOS that runs on the SoC’s Cortex-M4 MCU.

      Timesys, which has long supported Freescale’s i.MX6 system-on-chip family with its LinuxLink embedded Linux development platform, has now added support for the new SoloX variant. Freescale’s i.MX6 SoloX combines a 1GHz Cortex-A9 core with a Cortex-M4 microcontroller unit (MCU) specializing in real-time processing. As Timesys explains it, the combination enables the SoC to “run a UI-rich OS while still benefitting from fast real-time responsiveness.”

    • Tiny SBC runs Android and Linux on Snapdragon 410

      Qualcomm’s Raspberry Pi-sized “DragonBoard 410c” SBC runs Android or Linux on the quad-core Cortex-A53 based Snapdragon 410, and offers WiFi, BT, and GPS.

      Qualcomm Inc. subsidiary Qualcomm Technologies has unveiled the second single board computer to comply with 96Boards Consumer Edition hardware specification from Linaro’s new 96Boards.org community project and standards organization. Qualcomm’s DragonBoard 410c follows 96Boards.org’s flagship, CircuitCo-built HiKey board. The HiKey, which similarly supports Android and Linux, was the world’s first 64-bit, ARMv8 hacker board. The DragonBoard 410c won’t ship until summer, so it’s unlikely to be the second. At 85 x 54mm, both SBCs are nearly identical in size to the 85 x 56mm Raspberry Pi.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Take a look at the Tizen User Interface and User Experience

          It’s now time for you to get better acquainted with the Tizen Samsung Z1 Smartphone, its User Interface (UI) and also the User Experience (UX). The Z1 benefits from running Tizen, which means it is a smooth fluid experience that can be customised to suit your specific needs.

      • Android

        • Apple Watch app development pales in comparison to Android Wear

          Android Wear consists of Android with the addition of wearable user interface (UI) extensions. It’s a complete operating system capable of autonomous app execution. The Apple Watch, on the other hand, acts more like a dumb terminal connected to an iPhone host. At this point, WatchKit apps seem to be designed for presenting and interacting with notifications.

        • A look at Android 5.1: speed, security, tweaks

          5.1 also makes many small interface changes, documented in the gallery above. Notification and volume controls have seen improvement, and the OS has been tweaked and polished all over.

          In addition, 5.1 brings built-in support for dual SIMs (previously something OEMs had to add) and HD Voice support.

          Android 5.1 is one of the smaller minor version Android updates, down there with versions 4.2 and 4.3. But it brings a few nice changes and thankfully seems to solve many of the Nexus 6 performance problems.

        • 5 Best Android Phones [March, 2015]

          Right now is a horrible time to buy a new Android phone though we realize that there are many people that simply can’t wait for the new crop of devices to arrive. With those people in mind, we take a look at what we think represent the five best Android phones money can buy during the month of March.

          Earlier this month, Samsung and HTC announced successors to the Galaxy S5 and One M9, two of the biggest smartphones from 2014. Those successors are the Samsung Galaxy S6 (and Galaxy S6 Edge) and HTC One M9. Both are set to arrive in the United States in the near future and both look like they will immediately become two of the hottest Android phones on the market. If you can wait, you should wait to weigh them against the current crop of phones.

Free Software/Open Source

  • An open source software updating tool

    Once a piece of software is installed on a user’s system, how do you keep it updated? While Linux users typically have a package management system to pull latest versions from a repository of their choice, users of other systems aren’t so lucky. We have developed an open source tool to assist in this process, based on an open source protocol from Google know as Omaha.

    Several years ago Google released an open source protocol called Omaha (otherwise known as Google Update) as a part of its Chromium project. The protocol is intended to make the updating process of complicated desktop software easier.

  • Customer Service and Open Source Software: A Budding Relationship

    In business today there is an emphasis on leveraging big data analytics in order to improve customer service. There is much to derive about consumer behavior and market trends that can all be found in the stacks of incoming data received by customer service industries such as contact centers, for example. So, how is open source software relevant to the customer service industry? As of late, many organizations are opting for open source solutions, rather than proprietary software, to augment customer service data analysis.

  • St. Paddy’s Day Special: 7 Irish open source developers

    The Republic of Ireland celebrates its national holiday St. Patrick’s Day this week, when the rivers flow green and the Guinness flows too. This small country has produced some world-reknowned open source and free software developers, and we’ve rounded up a few in honor of St. Paddy’s Day.

  • Why open source software makes sense in financial services

    Unfortunately few organizations have anticipated the influence of mobile and digital consumerization. Combined these two trends have forced many businesses, including banks and financial services companies, to rethink how they engage customers. The impact to IT is two-fold: (1) the CIO and IT are no longer the sole custodians of what systems and software, including mobile apps, the business can use; and (2) IT must is now mandated to roll-out applications faster-to-market to stay relevant to the Lines of Business. Another stark reality is that IT budgets aren’t growing proportionately to these developments. Hence, IT has to do more with what it has.

  • The Times digital team launches ‘quoteable’ image tool

    The Times and Sunday Times is following in the footsteps of Vox Media and NPR by releasing its own open-source image creation tool

  • Open source voice assistant ‘Sirius’ joins the likes of Google Now, Siri and Cortana

    A team of researchers from the University of Michigan are demonstrating the digital personal assistant in Turkey.

  • Sirius: Like Siri, but it’s open source and backed by Google
  • Open source Sirius virtual assistant gets Google funding
  • Facebook releases open source ORC reader for Presto

    Aiming to optimize performance of open source distributed SQL query engine Presto, Facebook has designed a new Optimized Row Columnar (ORC) file format reader that supports columnar reads, predicate pushdown and lazy reads.

  • Facebook Makes Open Source Networking a Reality
  • Events

    • Open Source and the Rise of as-a-Service Businesses

      If we can accept for the sake of argument that this is not a unique adjustment of Oracle’s, but a pattern replicating itself across a wide range of businesses and industries, there are many questions to be answered about what the impacts will be to the industry around it. Of all of these questions, however, none is perhaps as important as the one I have discussed with members of the Eclipse and Linux Foundations over the past few weeks: what does the shift towards as-a-service businesses mean for open source? Is it good or bad for open source software in general?

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Seamonkey review: Firefox’s lightweight hyper-functional cousin

        Seamonkey has an interesting history, in that it is both older and younger than Firefox. Older, because originally it was built from Mozilla Suite code (for those of you that don’t know, Mozilla Application Suite is the parent of Firefox, and was originally built from the code of Netscape Navigator which was open-sourced in 1998).

        Seamonkey is also younger than Firefox in that Seamonkey’s first version, 1.0, was not released until 2006, 2 years after Firefox 1.0. Quite a few people are not even aware of the existence of Seamonkey or the Mozilla Suite, thinking that Firefox was the successor to Netscape Navigator, created deliberately to enact their vendetta against Microsoft for their monopolistic practices that killed Netscape. But glorious fantasies aside, Mozilla Application Suite was the real successor.

      • Students create open source, cross-platform memory scanning tool

        The Masche project, started in mid-2014 as part of Mozilla’s Winter of Security (MWOS) program whose goal is to involve students in building security tools, has been executed by students Agustin Martinez Suñé, Marco Vanotti, Nahuel Lascano, Patricio Palladino, aided by Professor Alejandro Furfaro, and advised by Julien Vehent, one of the members of Mozilla’s Operations Security team.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.4.2 Release Candidate 1 Is Now Available for Download

      A new development version for the next maintenance release of the acclaimed LibreOffice 4.4 office suite has been announced today, bringing a wide range of enhancements and bugfixes that improve the overall stability of the software on all supported operating systems, including GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.

  • Education

    • Let’s build open source tensor libraries for data science

      Data scientists frequently find themselves dealing with high-dimensional feature spaces. As an example, text mining usually involves vocabularies comprised of 10,000+ different words. Many analytic problems involve linear algebra, particularly 2D matrix factorization techniques, for which several open source implementations are available. Anyone working on implementing machine learning algorithms ends up needing a good library for matrix analysis and operations.

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • The GNU Manifesto Turns Thirty

      Richard Stallman, who published his manifesto in March of 1985, has been known to say that, “with software, either the users control the program, or the program controls the users.”

  • Project Releases

    • ownCloud Client 1.8.0 Released

      Today, we’re happy to release the best ownCloud Desktop Client ever to our community and users! It is ownCloud Client 1.8.0 and it will push syncing with ownCloud to a new level of performance, stability and convenience.

  • Licensing

    • VMware, SFC trade barbs over GPL code infringement lawsuit

      A war of words has ensued since Linux kernel developer Christoph Hellwig and the Software Freedom Conservancy filed a lawsuit against VMware over GPLv2 compliance in the company’s ESXi line of enterprise hypervisor operating system products.

    • VMware denies violating Linux open source license

      Filings from the Free Software Conservancy (FSC) in Hamburg, Germany accused the company of failing to release the source code for the open source products that is included with ESXi, following a three-year dispute over the matter.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Apple ResearchKit: Is New Open-Source Software For Sales Or The Greater Good Of Health Care?

      For medical researchers, the tens of thousands of people who recently signed up to participate in studies on asthma, Parkinson’s disease, and other medical conditions by using Apple’s ResearchKit marked a watershed moment in research. Researchers hailed the possibilities brought by the new open-source software framework designed to aid medical studies, all from the screen of the iPhone, with vastly expanded participant pools, more rapid data collection, and better information overall.

    • Open Data

      • We need open data to become the new open source

        The open source movement is one of the most powerful forces pushing technology forward. It’s easy to forget that not long ago, startups had to raise tons of money from VCs to license Oracle or a web server. Today any tiny startup has access to the best tools in the world.

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Security in Three Ds: Detect, Decide and Deny

      Whenever a server is accessible via the Internet, it’s a safe bet that hackers will be trying to access it. Just look at the SSH logs for any server you use, and you’ll surely find lots of “authentication failure” lines, originating from IPs that have nothing to do with you or your business. Brute-force attempts (such as “dictionary attacks”) try different passwords over and over to try to get into your box, and there’s always a chance that they eventually will succeed. Thus, it’s a good idea to apply these “three Ds” for your security: detect intruder attempts, decide when they’ve gone “over the top” (past what would be acceptable for honest-to-goodness typing mistakes), and deny them access at least for a (longish!) while.

    • LibreSSL 2.1.5 Released
    • OpenSSL vulnerabilities coming on the 19th
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Jihadi John and MI5

      First up is the now-notorious press con­fer­ence hos­ted by the cam­paign­ing group, Cage, in which the Research Dir­ector, Asim Qure­shi , claimed that MI5 har­ass­ment of Emwazi was the reason for his rad­ic­al­isa­tion. Emwazi had com­plained to Cage and appar­ently the Met­ro­pol­itan Police that over the last six years MI5 had approached him and was pres­sur­ising him to work as an agent for them. Accord­ing to Cage, this har­ass­ment lead to Emwazi’s radicalisation.

    • Man with alleged links to Canada helped a dozen cross into Syria: reports

      A Syrian man arrested in Turkey last month for allegedly helping three British schoolgirls join Islamic State militants told police he was in touch with Canadian officials as far back as 2013 and had helped a dozen other people cross into Syria, according to Turkish media reports.

      Turkey’s Foreign Minister revealed last week that police had arrested the man, who he said had been working for another country’s foreign intelligence service. Mevluet Cavuolu would not name the country in question but said it’s part of the U.S.-led coalition battling Islamic State extremists and is not the United States nor a member in the European Union.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Facebook updates guidelines: To ban or not to ban?

      Facebook has updated its community guidelines to make what can and cannot be shared on the social network crystal clear.

    • Islamist Websites in Turkey Manage to Evade Strict Internet Censorship

      The websites of an atheist association, the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a Kurdish separatist organization are blocked to Turkish Internet users. But many sites that promote extreme Islamist messages — even some that are outright sympathetic to the Islamic State, the militant organization that has marauded through Iraq and Syria — escape Turkey’s censors.

      A hallmark of the decade-long leadership of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his Islamist Justice and Development Party, or A.K.P., has been a crackdown on freedom of expression. Yet what Turkey chooses to censor reflects the Islamist values of the government, critics say. With the rise of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, this dynamic has been set in sharp relief, highlighting the deep divide between Turkey and its Western allies in the fight against the militants.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Universal Music Hijacks YouTube Videos of Indie Artist

        Universal Music Group has hijacked several YouTube videos of Bjorn Lynne, an independent musician from Norway. The world’s largest music corporation is now running advertisements on videos of music tracks Lynne created, and is refusing to correct the mistake.

      • Internet Providers Win Court Case Over “Pirate Tax”

        Belgian Internet providers have won their court case against music group SABAM, which had demanded a 3.4 percent cut of all subscriber fees to compensate artists. The court ruled that ISPs are a mere conduit and can’t be taxed as a public broadcast medium.

Rikard Frgačić Explains Željko Topić’s Behaviour and the Lufthansa Case

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 2:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Rikard Frgačić submits his comments regarding the misdeeds of SIPO, the Croatian intellectual monopolies offices which was headed by Željko Topić

We very recently published a video segment (extracted from a programme of one Croatian TV network) about a man called Rikard Frgačić, whose case against EPO Vice-President Željko Topić we had previously covered in the following three posts:

  1. The Case of Rikard Frgacic Versus the Croatian SIPO: Allegation of Corruption in Relation to Trademark Reassignment Under Željko Topić’s Watch: Part XVI
  2. Just in: Fresh Call From Croatia to Arrest EPO Vice-President Željko Topić
  3. Željko Topić’s History in SIPO Leaves a Legacy of Alleged DZIV Vehicles (Bribes), Authorship Abuses, and Intimidation Against Reporters

Today we wish to expand and to explain what the case is about. We have been in contact with the plaintiff and interviewed him over the telephone. We also received additional documents that help explain his case. The following additional programme segment helps explain it primarily from the Lufthansa angle.


Mr. Frgačić kindly provided us with detailed information about his case and in particular, especially towards the end, the special role of Željko Topić. Below is his explanation, unaltered so as to preserve his narrative.


In accordance with the article entitled “The Case of Rikard Frgacic Versus the Croatian SIPO: Allegation of Corruption in Relation to Trademark Reassignment Under Željko Topić’s Watch”, posted on the Internet portal http://techrights.org on 15th February 2015, under the programme section “Europe/Patents”, and with an aim of providing objective and thorough information to the international public, I kindly ask you to publish my comment on the article as follows:

Air Plus vs. Lufthansa_photo

My legal dispute with the subsidiary of the big German corporation Lufthansa AG – Lufthansa Airplus Servicekarten G.m.b.H. is not benign at all. All the more so when one lives in a banana republic called Croatia, very similar by its judicial system and public administration system to some underdeveloped African countries in terms of the level of corruption.

One of the reasons why I mention this hides in the fact of the name of a person holding a master’s degree title – Mister Željko Topić involved with the former State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of the Republic of Croatia. As a citizen, I could accept the fact of being conned by an individual, but unfortunately, I cannot accept it being done by the state system. Nevertheless, given the involvement in corruption of the above-mentioned airline company registered in an EU Member State, since recently this case has also been tackled by the EU institutions based in Brussels, entrusted with its in-depth monitoring.

But, let us start from the very beginning. With reference to the facts written in your article, which are accurate: Lufthansa did offer me a value of the second-hand mountain bike to buy ownership over my internationally protected brand Air Plus. What is extremely important to highlight here is the fact that Lufthansa’s offer would not have been given had there not been any abuse of my trademark/brand. A proof of my international ownership over the Air Plus brand was issued by the OMPI/WIPO in Geneva.

Air Plus WIPO certifikat

Why do I mention this? On my return flight with a four-member family from a business and tourist trip in the USA, that is, from New York to Zagreb in 2007, at the JFK Airport Lufthansa gave us a flyer with an interesting offer to postpone our flight for a couple of hours and receive EUR 700.00 compensation per person. In other words, EUR 2,800.00 for the four of us to delay our flight to Europe for a couple of hours. Lufthansa’s offer was rejected, and the return flight from New York to Zagreb was partially made by another airline company. My guess is that due to malfunctioning IT booking system and ongoing overbooking, as well as due to a fear of potential claims, Lufthansa provides interesting compensation to the passengers stalking them at airport counters prior to their flights and offering them cash vouchers. In the attachment, you can find the proof of such farce taking place at the JFK Airport in New York, the original Lufthansa flyer.

Lufthansa,overbooking,N.York-small

[Click to enlarge]

Based on the above-mentioned, I think any further comment is superfluous.

Under such circumstances and failed negotiations between me and Lufthansa, which have been carried out by my attorney in Munich (the letter is a PDF) to date, in 2010 the court proceedings were initiated for indemnification at the Commercial Court in Zagreb under number P-710/2010.

Simultaneously, the German Stock Exchange, German Patent Office in Munich, the President of the Lufthansa Supervisory Board and Assembly were notified accordingly. The document enclosed (2 pages below), and which document was submitted to the German Patent Office in Munich, indicates a very high value of the dispute amounting to EUR 30 million.

DPUM_1

DPUM_2

Unfortunately, the Attorneys-at-Law who represented me initially in Zagreb represent me no longer as it turned out that at the same time they also represented Mister Željko Topić, former SIPO Director General, current EPO Vice-President in Munich. The proof (power of attorney of Željko Topić) of the above-mentioned allegations is also enclosed in the attachment. For the time being I have not brought any action for indemnification and criminal action against the Attorneys-at-Law who knowingly found themselves in the conflict of interest.

Power of attorney-Topic_Hraste

In the forthcoming period the instigation of court proceedings against Lufthansa in Germany is expected (due to the statute of limitation the deadline for the claim in Germany is May 2016), after completion of the case with the SIPO in Zagreb initiated based on fictitious charges of Lufthansa claiming that my Air Plus brand had not been in use, which, naturally, was not true. The charade at the SIPO of the Republic of Croatia was organised by Lufthansa Attorney in the Republic of Croatia and above-mentioned corrupt Željko Topić, former SIPO Director General who used a well-established scheme to settle the Lufthansa’s charges within a record time of a single day. Of course, in favour of Lufthansa. The criminal charges were pressed against both actors with the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia (DORH in Croatian), which were subsequently taken over by the Croatian Office for the Prevention of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK in Croatian) on account of severe qualifications of a criminal offence. On its own initiative, the SIPO, then headed by Željko Topić, without any legal grounds made a reassignment of my protected brand in the official registry and posted such reassignment on its official website, which is one of the reasons for criminal charges as it has nothing to do with violation of my personal rights, but violation of Croatian law and international law and violation of the principle of trust in credible records in a public registry. After my appeal and media coverage of the entire case, the SIPO quashed its first instance decision and pronounced Lufthansa’s charges as unfounded. However, six years after such event, which was settled for Lufthansa within a remarkable single day, I still have not received the final decision of Topić’s ex-SIPO with the accompanying documentation. My total legal costs of the dispute with Lufthansa exceed EUR 50.000.-. At the moment there are five attorneys representing me in the proceedings against Lufthansa. One in each of the respective cities: Munich, Ljubljana and Paris and two attorneys in Zagreb specialised in commercial law and intellectual property law. It should be highlighted here that the letter of Lufthansa’s representatives of 24th July 2009 addressed at my attorney in Munich evidently shows the outcome of the proceedings with the SIPO in Zagreb a couple of months in advance. This letter is crucial evidence which takes Mister Željko Topić, and Lufthansa’s representative in Croatia and all others involved in this case directly to prison with a request for precise answers regarding operation of the “high-level corrupt octopus” in practice.

The project under the Air Plus trademark was a big tourist vision as shown in the letter for the Airbus consortium in France way back in 1998 with the graphical design of the Air Plus brand on the Airbus plane model A-319, also below.

Letter_Airbus

airplus photo

Throughout the last couple of years I gave a number of interviews laying stress on the issue of intellectual property in the case with Lufthansa, but also more broadly speaking. In particular, I would like to single out two TV shows for the Croatian public broadcasting company (HRT), also shown above as video-clips with English subtitles.
According to some unofficial information there is a closed circle of indications that Lufthansa is a secret owner of the Croatian airline company Croatia Airlines, and thus my case crosses the borders of judiciary and becomes a political “burning issue” in the currently unresolved relations between Germany and Croatia. That was the basic reason why I addressed Chancellor of the Republic of Germany, Madam Angela Merkel (the letter is below).

Frau Merkel

By leaving the Croatian SIPO and coming to the EPO, whether by accident or not, Master of Science Željko Topić appointed Ms. Ljiljana Kuterovac, allegedly his longtime mistress, as the SIPO Director General in Zagreb. But he did not stop there as can be seen from a bizarre detail that very soon he also brought the foregoing lady that is his mistress to the EPO in Munich (information here) and turned this reputable international institution into a Balkan tavern equal to the one he had in a coffee bar “Valeatis” in Zagreb, close to his official office in the SIPO, and which is very precisely described and documented in a website article “A wrong man sitting at the EPO?”. To use the police investigation lingo, a very simple and logical question is raised here – Who made it all possible to him?

VV_pass

I would also like to emphasise that the corrupt network in this case surpasses Željko Topić and his current EPO position and assumes bigger proportions, including the WIPO in Geneva and leaning onto segments of the Croatian diplomacy. More specifically, after publication of the newspaper article “Vesna Vuković welcomes Topić in Geneva whom she ardently reported to DORH and USKOK” (see this) the foregoing lady fearing political retaliation apologised to “Master of Science” Željko Topić by phone from the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Geneva. This interesting telephone conversation on the Geneva – Munich line was intercepted by the Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA in Croatian) of the Republic of Croatia. Specifically, Ambassador Vuković (diplomatic passport is above) was not appointed to go to Geneva on behalf of the Republic of Croatia for diplomacy but as an extended hand of the former President of the Republic of Croatia – Ivo Josipović with the WIPO, since Geneva is an international bureau for the protection of author’s rights but also any other intellectual property rights (information here). It is no secret that the former President of the Republic of Croatia – Josipović is a covert owner that is the most influential person of the Croatian Composers’ Society (HDS/ZAMP in Croatian) with non-transparent parafiscal levies on account of which he probably lost the last presidential elections in the Republic of Croatia less than a month ago. Miss Vesna Vuković, together with corrupt Željko Topić, is a part of the systematically built “network” of former President of the Republic of Croatia, Ivo Josipović. Finally, former Minister of Science of the Republic of Croatia, Željko Jovanović, himself publicly admitted to a DW journalist the pressure of President of the Republic of Croatia Ivo Josipović in case of protection of Željko Topić against criminal prosecution, which was published in her article entitled “Croatian Patent for Author’s Rights” (see this).

According to the latest news from the Croatian independent media, the DORH system also constitutes a part of this sophisticated corrupt network, the head of which, the first man of that institution, Mladen Bajić, was recently removed from office. After Bajić’s deposition, the first attorney – Željka Pokupec of the County State Attorney’s Office (ŽDO in Croatian) based in the capital of the Republic of Croatia was removed from office and sacked. The Croatian public is anxious to see further clarification of matters in this state institution in the upcoming days. The role of the DORH in this fascinatingly built corrupt network at the high political level was regular collection of fees for Josipović’s HDS/ZAMP. In other words, the use of public resources of the Republic of Croatia for private purposes, as well as a potential cover-up of criminal offences of Željko Topić and obstruction of investigations by the very same persons at the top of the pyramid of the Republic of Croatia over former Chief State Attorney Mladen Bajić and his right hand Željka Pokupec, and over former President of the Republic of Croatia – Ivo Josipović. However, the way things are at the moment it seems that the former Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia – Ivo Sanader convicted on account of crimes of corruption as a high ranking politician will soon get some company in the most famous prison in Croatia. Publicly pronounced word is said to be stronger than a baton, but this history folk saying is yet to be verified in this specific case.

In Zagreb, 20th February 2015

Written by: Rikard Frgacic, M.Sc. Geo.


It should be in the interest of EPO staff to know this, irrespective of the relevance of this trademark case to the patent system.

Links 17/3/2015: Linux 4.0 RC4, Calligra and Krita 2.9.1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 2:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Effektif Open Sources BPM Software with an Emphasis on Developers
  • Open Source Software Fuels a Revolution in Data Science

    It’s hard to downplay the influence of open source software on the spectacular rise of data science. From my perspective as a technology consultant, open source isn’t just an interesting aspect of the data science revolution; it’s absolutely critical.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Apache Software Foundation Launches HBase Version 1.0 for Sifting Data

      The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is on a roll thus far in 2015, advancing many open source projects that are making a difference in the cloud and on the Big Data scene. Recently, we covered the advancement of Apache Drill to a top-level project. It is billed as “the world’s first schema-free SQL query engine that delivers real-time insights by removing the constraint of building and maintaining schemas before data can be analyzed.” We’ve also covered Apache Spark, an open source data analytics cluster computing framework originally developed in the AMPLab at UC Berkeley

      Now, also on the data front, the ASF has announced the availability of Apache HBase v1.0, a distributed, scalable, database for Apache Hadoop and HDFS.

    • Mirantis, Google Team Up on Kubernetes and OpenStack Integration

      Mirantis, focused on OpenStack, has announced a new initiative that integrates Kubernetes with OpenStack, letting developers deploy containers on OpenStack in what the company claims takes only minutes. The integration gives developers immediate access to Kubernetes clusters with Docker containers without needing to set up infrastructure. According to Mirantis, developers will be able to seamlessly move entire environments between OpenStack private clouds and public clouds that support Kubernetes, such as Google Cloud Platform.

    • The Different Facets of OpenStack HA

      Last October, I wrote about a particular aspect of providing HA for workloads running on OpenStack. The HA problem space for OpenStack is much more broad than what was addressed there. There has been a lot of work around HA for the OpenStack services themselves. The problems for OpenStack services seem to be pretty well understood. There are reference architectures with detailed instructions available from vendors and distributions that have been integrated into deployment tools. The upstream OpenStack project also has an HA guide that covers this topic.

    • Cloudformation and Eucalyptus

      Eucalyptus officially released support for AWS Cloudformation back in 4.0.0 but with the latest release of Eucalyptus i.e. 4.1.0 this support is now out of tech preview mode. What this means for the cloud users is that they can use Cloudformation just like they use it on AWS and get official support from Eucalyptus for it. Yes our support is not just paid support but we have a very extensive community to help you get started or solve your problems.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • OnlyOffice Another Free Office Suite for Linux (Complete Selfhost Office Solution – OwnCloud Compatible)

      Nowadays company employees are often dispersed across the globe and collaboration tools turn out to be of current importance in achieving shared goals. OnlyOffice is a platform for small and medium business that enables teams to manage projects, customer relations and documents in one place. Linux users can take advantage of open source version and start to collaborate on projects hosted safely on their own servers. ONLYOFFICE is a cloud business service that enables you to manage projects, customer relations and documents in one place.

  • BSD

    • Pruning and Polishing: Keeping OpenBSD Modern

      Owing to its historic roots as a derivative of the original Berkeley Systems Distribution (BSD), OpenBSD includes a great deal of old code. Many files bear copyright notices from the year 1980, and in some cases, even older. Although not explicitly stated as a project goal, keeping OpenBSD modern is an important part of satisfying other goals, such as portability and correctness.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • A plan for Multi-Byte Unicode Character Support in GNU coreutils

      coreutils is the project that implements about 100 of the most well known and used utilities on any GNU/Linux system. These utilities are used interactively, or extensively in other programs and scripts, and are integral to the standard Linux server distros used today. Originally these utilities were implemented only considering ASCII or sometimes implicitly other unibyte character sets, but many of the assumptions break down in the presence of multi-byte encodings. As time has gone on this has become more of an issue as this graph representing the rise of UTF-8 use on the web indicates.

    • Userops: Deployment for the People

      Why the name “userops”? As you may have guessed, this is a pun on the term “devops”; the idea is that we also care about configuration management and deployability, but we aim for a different audience. Devops, as the name implies, focuses on liberating developers in the world of deployment, particularly developers who have to deploy a large number of machines for $LARGE_CORPORATION at their job. Userops, on the other hand, aims at liberating users in the world of deployment. You shouldn’t have to be a developer to take advantage of network freedoms and run network-oriented free software. After all, the free software world generally agrees that it makes sense that users of desktop software should not have to be developers, and that “user freedom” takes priority over “developer freedom”… the freedom of $LARGE_CORPORATION, while not something we object to, is not really our primary concern. (Though of course, if we build solutions that are good enough for end-users, corporations will probably adopt them, and that is fine! It just isn’t our focus.)

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • German Greens ask Foreign Affairs to amend way

      The Greens in the German parliament want the Foreign Ministry to revert back to open source software solutions on its workstations. The ministry in 2010 abandoned its open source desktop strategy, pressured by staffers struggling with interoperability problems. The Greens are now asking the ministry to justify the proprietary licence costs it has made since then.

    • Feds look to developers to improve big data, open source projects

      The vision behind the open source and big data initiatives underway in the federal government is far more ambitious than just a series of technology projects, but aims to further transparency, citizen engagement and achieve a major shift in agency culture.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Apple’s Open-Source ‘ResearchKit’ And The Future Of Medical Research
    • Why aren’t governments as transparent as they could be?

      In the quarter century since its creation, the Web has been a printing press and broadcast studio for millions of people whose voices would otherwise have been heard by only a few close friends. It opened a whole new world of sharing, and today nearly three-quarters of all Americans say digital technologies have improved their ability to share their ideas and creations with others, according to a 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center.

    • Charting the OpenStack galaxy, under the hood at TryStack, and more
    • PSI Directive: transposition ends in July 2015

      The Commission has helped Member States to transpose the directive with the publication of a series of guidelines, he added. “Open access is now mainstream,” he said, adding that the Commission was engaged in a policy of openness within the Digital Single Market program.

    • Open Data

      • Open Data: national company register data now freely accessible

        Information about French companies, collected and centralised by InfoGreffe, will now be freely accessible. French Members of Parliament have voted in favour of article 19 of the draft Loi Macron (named after Emmanuel Macron, Minister of Economic Affairs, who supports the law). The article, which states that InfoGreffe information will now be available as Open Data, was approved in February.

    • Open Access/Content

      • How does your state use open educational resources?

        The price of textbooks continues to be a cost barrier for postsecondary students, even though some states are making notable efforts to bring those costs down. Open Educational Resources are an emerging policy option as states, postsecondary systems and institutions consider how to best develop libraries and collections of OERs

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • My IDE needs a makeover

      Gnome Terminal is good enough for my needs. I do have a problem of too many terminal windows… I have tried Terminator (a tiling single-window / multiple-tabs terminal). However during development the things I use shell for, should be part of the IDE directly: changing projects, opening/closing/navigating/creating files, invoking build, invoking debug, “refactoring” (sed). I think I do want to try out a pull-down terminal for temporal look-ups together with a tiling “main” terminal. Or ideally ditch it all together. Emacs does provide multiple terminals, but when I did that I ended up with “inception” -> launching an instance of emacs, inside the terminal, inside emacs…

    • Google’s Go language is off to a great start, but still has work ahead

      Go, a Google-developed open source language intended to focus on simplicity and efficiency, has been getting a lot of attention lately. Launched late in 2009, the statically typed language is perhaps best known for its use in the development of the red-hot Docker container platform. “Go was born out of frustration with existing languages and environments for systems programming,” a FAQ on Go reads.

    • Why Drat? A Guest Post by Steven Pav

      To get some idea of what I mean by this, suppose you are a happy consumer of R packages, but want access to, say, the latest, greatest releases of my distribution package, sadist.

    • Taking maintainership of dolt

      For those who don’t know, dolt is a wrapper and replacement for libtool on sane systems that don’t need it at all. It was created some years ago by Josh Triplett to overcome the slowness of libtool.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open ICT standards fundamental for small ICT firms

      Government use of open ICT standards are fundamental for smaller ICT companies and for innovation in society, concludes Professor Björn Lundell of the University of Skövde (Sweden), following a three-year research project. “Open standards promote a healthy, competitive market.”

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The biggest privatisation in NHS history: why we had to blow the whistle

      I’m not a journalist, but as of this morning I know what it feels like to be part of the biggest leak in NHS history.

      Published on openDemocracy, the memorandum of information for the £700m sell-off of Staffordshire cancer services is now available for the 800,000 directly affected and 3 million indirectly affected patients to read online.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • What we can learn from the day the US burned to death 100,000 women and children

      March 9, 2015 marked the seventieth anniversary of the American firebombing of Tokyo, World War II’s deadliest day.

      More people died that night from napalm bombs than in the atomic strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But few in the United States are aware that the attack even took place.

    • Venezuela Threatens U-S National Security?

      What’s behind the Obama Administration’s recent imposition of sanctions against Venezuelan officials, and its claim that Venezuela threatens U-S national security? Gloria La Riva and Roger Harris address this question.

    • How the FBI Created a Terrorist

      IN THE VIDEO, Sami Osmakac is tall and gaunt, with jutting cheekbones and a scraggly beard. He sits cross-legged on the maroon carpet of the hotel room, wearing white cotton socks and pants that rise up his legs to reveal his thin, pale ankles. An AK-47 leans against the closet door behind him. What appears to be a suicide vest is strapped to his body. In his right hand is a pistol.

      [...]

      Osmakac was the target of an elaborately orchestrated FBI sting that involved a paid informant, as well as FBI agents and support staff working on the setup for more than three months. The FBI provided all of the weapons seen in Osmakac’s martyrdom video. The bureau also gave Osmakac the car bomb he allegedly planned to detonate, and even money for a taxi so he could get to where the FBI needed him to go. Osmakac was a deeply disturbed young man, according to several of the psychiatrists and psychologists who examined him before trial. He became a “terrorist” only after the FBI provided the means, opportunity and final prodding necessary to make him one.

    • Tom Cotton Seems Confused About The Basic Geography Of Iran

      Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) stood by his decision Sunday to send a letter on a burgeoning nuclear deal directly to Iranian leaders. He insisted on Face the Nation that “Iran’s leaders need to hear the message loud and clear” that an Obama-brokered deal might not last past the end of his administration without congressional approval, despite a stern letter from the White House Sunday night urging senators to hold off on congressional intervention.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • State Department says most officials’ emails were not auto-archived until last month

      The State Department said Friday it was unable to automatically archive the emails of most of its senior officials until last month, which could mean potential problems for historical record-keeping amid criticism of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of a private email server while in office.

    • State Dept. Shuts Down Email After Cyber Attack

      The State Department shut down large parts of its unclassified email system today in a final attempt to rid it of malware believed to have been inserted by Russian hackers in what has become one of the most serious cyber intrusions in the department’s history, U.S. officials told ABC News.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Vanuatu Blames Global Warming as Cyclone Causes Nation’s Worst Climate Disaster in Recent Memory

      About half the population of the South Pacific Island state of Vanuatu has been left homeless by a devastating category 5 cyclone that flattened buildings and washed away roads and bridges. Aid agencies say Cyclone Pam killed at least eight people, with the death toll expected to rise as rescuers reach more far-flung areas. Vanuatu has a population of about 250,000 and is made up of more than 80 islands. Disaster relief officials and relief workers are still trying to establish contact with remote islands that bore the brunt of winds of more than 185 miles per hour. We are joined by Alex Mathieson, former Vanuatu country director for the aid group Oxfam.

    • WaPo Can Find Climate Denial Embarrassment Closer to Home

      Will isn’t the only prominent climate change denier given a prestigious soapbox by the Post.

    • UK’s first ‘poo bus’ goes into regular service

      Britain’s first “poo bus”, which runs on human and household waste, goes into regular service this month.

      Powered by biomethane gas, the Bio-Bus will use waste from more than 32,000 households along its 15-mile route.

    • Politics Is Poisoning NASA’s Ability to Do What It Needs to Do

      When Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was made head of the Senate committee in charge of NASA’s funding, I (and many others) were appalled. Cruz is a science denier, flatly claiming global warming isn’t happening.

      This is an issue, since many of NASA’s missions are directly focused on examining the amount, extent, and impact of that warming. And rightly so.

  • Finance

    • The Long Story Behind Gigaom’s Sudden Demise

      Gigaom’s investors are still hopeful that the company has value, and are continuing to shop it: The sales pitch is that the site itself still generates traffic and ad revenue, and the company’s events business could still draw attendees and sponsors. Some people affiliated with Gigaom believe that Time Inc., International Data Group and O’Reilly Media are all looking at the property. All three companies declined to comment.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • What Was Missing From Coverage of Netanyahu’s Speech

      Another striking omission from these articles, about a speech in which Netanyahu talked about Iran’s “aggression in the region and in the world,” were words like “Palestine,” “Palestinian,” “occupation” or “Gaza”; none of these came up in any of the five articles. USA Today headlined its piece “Netanyahu: Stop Iran’s ‘March of Conquest’”–as though it were Iran, not Israel, that has conquered, occupied and in some cases annexed its neighbors’ territory.

  • Privacy

    • FBI’s Plan to Expand Hacking Power Advances Despite Privacy Fears

      A judicial advisory panel Monday quietly approved a rule change that will broaden the FBI’s hacking authority despite fears raised by Google that the amended language represents a “monumental” constitutional concern.

      The Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules voted 11-1 to modify an arcane federal rule to allow judges more flexibility in how they approve search warrants for electronic data, according to a Justice Department spokesman.

    • Online privacy nihilism runs rampant in US, survey says

      A majority of Americans have not altered their online behavior in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations detailing widespread US government electronic surveillance activities, according to a Pew Research Center survey published Monday.

    • Private Companies Continue To Amass Millions Of License Plate Photos, Hold Onto The Data Forever

      Vigilant Solutions’ automatic license plate readers are everywhere, even places where you wouldn’t expect them. Like, mounted on private companies’ vehicles. This isn’t new. BetaBoston investigated the private ALPR growth industry early last year. Unfortunately, there’s been very little good news to report since then. In fact, there still isn’t.

    • Hertz Puts Video Cameras Inside Its Rental Cars, Has ‘No Current Plans’ To Use Them

      According to the Fusion article, Hertz doesn’t seem to be telling anyone about the camera, on the grounds that the company doesn’t plan to use it, and so there’s nothing for customers to know. But if and when it does announce its presence, there will be precisely the problem Techdirt mentioned last week: that people in front of it would naturally be worried they were being spied upon — even if assured to the contrary — and would start constraining their speech and behavior.

    • Hertz puts cameras in its rental cars, says it has no plans to use them

      This week I got an angry email from a friend who had just rented a car from Hertz: “Did you know Hertz is putting cameras in rental cars!? This is bullsh*t. I wonder if it says they can tape me in my Hertz contract.”

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Our Shiny New Net Neutrality Rules Won’t Be Worth Squat If The FCC Isn’t Willing To Act

      While the FCC’s new net neutrality rules are certainly a step in the right direction for consumers, it’s aggressively premature to uncork the champagne. There are still ISP lawsuits waiting in the wings, not to mention the fact that a 2016 party shift (and subsequent FCC leadership change) could very quickly dismantle ten years of grassroots activism in the blink of an eye. And then there are the rules themselves and the FCC’s dedication to them; as noted last week, it’s difficult to know just how useful the new Title II-based rules are going to be until we see precisely what the FCC defines as actionable behavior.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Members of the European Parliament must support the Reda Report on copyright reform!

        On 23 and 24 March 2015, you will examine the proposed amendements to the report of MEP Julia Reda on the reform of the directive on copyright. More than 500 amendements have been tabled, the large majority of which aim at emptying it from its substance. Julia Reda’s draft report responds to the aspirations expressed by a large number of citizens: they wish to access, to share and t more widely culture and knowledge in the digital environment. La Quadrature du Net calls the MEPs of the JURI commission to preserve the progress in this report and in particular those that strenghten the positive rights of individuals in culture.

      • URGENT! The Positive Reform Of Copyright Is Being Pirated In The European Parliament!

        Julia Reda, German Pirate Party MEP, has presented a report promoting a series of measures to harmonise some aspects of copyright.

      • Cultural industries unite against copyright reform

        France’s cultural industries have shown their determination to fight European copyright reform plans. A parallel movement among members of the European Parliament hopes to have the Electronic Commerce Directive re-examined as part of the reform package. EurActiv France reports.

      • Piracy Is Just Another Copyright Industry Scapegoat

        History repeats itself. Unlicensed home manufacturing of copies was never the cause of the copyright industry’s business problems; they created those all on their own. It’s not the first time they’ve appointed a scapegoat for their own failures to get public funding, either.

      • U.S. Net Neutrality Has a Massive Copyright Loophole

        After years of debating U.S. Internet subscribers now have Government regulated Net Neutrality. A huge step forward according to some, but the full order released a few days ago reveals some worrying caveats. While the rules prevent paid prioritization, they do very little to prevent BitTorrent blocking, the very issue that got the net neutrality debate started.

      • Peter Sunde: File Sharing is Politics, Propaganda and Control

        In the beginning of The Pirate Bay’s history the site was in Swedish. It was made by Swedes for their community. Other countries had their own file sharing sites but they got shut down.

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