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03.23.15

Links 23/3/2015: Linux 4.0 RC5, Kubuntu Celebrates Ten Years

Posted in News Roundup at 12:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is This Open-Source Siri Smarter Than Apple’s Version?

    While tech industry giants like Apple and Microsoft have popularized the personal digital assistant by enabling smartphone users to ask Siri or Cortana to set alarms or find answers to their questions, now other developers and smaller companies can implement their own version of such assistants with new open-source software called Sirius.

  • Telco sector OPNFV project champions open network services

    This group is a community-led industry-supported open source reference platform for Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV).

    TechTarget defines NFV as an initiative to virtualise the network services that are (or were previously) being carried out by proprietary, dedicated hardware — NFV is part of the wider industry shift towards network and application virtualisation.

  • An introduction to software defined networking

    Software defined networking (SDN) is becoming a major driver for a number of next generation technologies to power the communications systems and networks of tomorow. Many of these projects are being developed as open source collaborations between the companies creating and using networking solutions.

  • Events

    • FOSSAsia 2015, Singapore

      FOSSAsia is the largest open source conference in Asia. This year, it was hosted in Singapore and I had a chance to speak there about Project Atomic. Singapore is a beautiful place but unfortunately I had a bad throat as soon as I reached there. That killed most of the fun but nonetheless the conference was great. I met up with a lot of new and old faces. The conference was kick started by Hong Phuc and Mario. Day 1 had a lot of interesting talks by Harish, Lennart, Brian and a lot of other interesting people. Novena project had an interesting talk by Bunny who showed why failure of Moore’s Law is actually a good news for open hardware hackers. I heard about Novena during Flock and I must say that it has come long way since. Most of all I enjoyed the talk given by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan on open data. The efforts of his team to bring data to public is really commendable. I wish more politicians think the way he is thinking. The day concluded and there was a barbeque in the evening but I had to skip it due to bad health.

    • February, one hell of a month packed with knowledge!

      Wow, finally I have time to write about February. This one was a packed month! First we had FOSDEM, then DevConf.CZ and then finally SCALE 13x.

    • Leveraging the power of academia in your open source project

      When academia and open source collaborate, everybody wins. Open source projects get new contributors, professors get students with more knowledge and perspective about real-world software development, and—most importantly—students can get extra mentorship while gaining hands-on experience in their chosen fields.

  • Web Browsers

  • BSD

    • DragonFly 4.0.5 out

      I’ve tagged version 4.0.5 of DragonFly, and it’s available at your nearest mirror. This revision is mostly to incorporate the newest OpenSSL security bump.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Sébastien Jodogne, ReGlue are Free Software Award winners

      Free Software Foundation executive director John Sullivan announced the winners of the FSF’s annual Free Software Awards at a ceremony on Saturday, March 21st, held during the LibrePlanet 2015 conference at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Two awards were given: the Award for the Advancement of Free Software and the Award for Projects of Social Benefit.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Source Model In Computers Should Be Applied To Genomic Data, Paper Says

      Genomic data should be made publicly available for the promotion of science as a global public good, a new paper argues. Two researchers suggest that a model inspired by the open-source computer software movement should be developed for plant breeding, animal breeding, and biomedicine.

    • Getting started guide, making your first OpenStack commit, and more
    • Open Access/Content

      • How one professor saves students millions with his shared textbooks

        I learned about David Lippman from an article on TeamOpen and realized I needed to talk to him more about his work in open education and open source. David is a professor at Pierce College and has saved students a million dollars with his shared textbooks. He also built IMathAS, a free, open source math assessment and course platform.

    • Open Hardware

      • Sub $300 exiii handiii 3D Printed Open Source Bionic Hand is Controlled by a Smartphone

        As time goes by and technology improves, we are constantly seeing prices for previously groundbreaking technology fall to levels which allow for the adoption of this technology by the masses. 3D printing is one of these technologies, in that now, virtually anyone in the developed world can afford a desktop 3D printer. At the same time though, other technologies are following in this same path. For example smartphones, tablets and mini computers can now perform tasks that a machine 20 years ago, at 100 times the price, couldn’t even have come close to achieving.

  • Programming

    • 101 Open Source Tools for Developers

      These days, nearly every developer is familiar with the benefits of open source code and coding tools. Open source repositories like GitHub and SourceForge provide invaluable resources for those searching for assistance in creating their own applications.

      In addition, many of the most popular development tools are available under open source licenses. The last few years have seen an explosion of new tools, particularly in categories like mobile development and JavaScript frameworks. This month we’re updating our previous list of open source development tools and highlighting 101 of the very best open source bugtrackers, programming languages, version control systems, frameworks, IDEs, text editors and other tools.

    • The Demise of Open Source Hosting Providers Codehaus and Google Code

      At the turn of the millenium, a new breed of open-source hosting platforms was created to provide free hosting for open-source projects. The inaugral hosting service was SourceForge, created by VA Linux as a means to host open-source projects in 1999, to support their VA Linux product created in 1993. The repository provided a location for developers to host code (with CVS), have an issue tracking system, mailing lists and hosting for download purposes. By the end of 2001, over 30,000 projects were hosted on SourceForge. By 2006 the number of projects had grown to 100k, and adding Google Ads provided a means of income to support the hosting site. 2006 also saw Subversion being added to the platform.

Leftovers

  • The FTC’s internal memo on Google teaches companies a terrible lesson

    Many in Washington this week have been questioning whether the Federal Trade Commission made the right call when it rebuffed its own staff recommendation in 2013 to take Google to court over alleged anti-competitive practices. The debate was sparked by a Wall Street Journal story describing the FTC’s internal staff memo on Google, which the agency inadvertently sent to the publication.

  • Cash for access: Fake donor pays way to heart of big parties

    David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have been drawn into the cash for access debate after it emerged that all three met an undercover businessman posing as a potential donor.

  • Security

    • Stealing Data From Computers Using Heat

      The method would allow attackers to surreptitiously siphon passwords or security keys from a protected system and transmit the data to an internet-connected system that’s in close proximity and that the attackers control. They could also use the internet-connected system to send malicious commands to the air-gapped system using the same heat and sensor technique.

    • At Pwn2Own Hacker Competition, All Major Browsers Get Punk’d

      Slowly but surely, the Pwn2Own hacker contest has become an important fixture in the world of testing the security of software applications, operating systems and hardware devices. In fact, it’s now widely followed by major technology companies and technologists of all stripes.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Mexican Wikileaks Launched: Will Mexicoleaks Unearth Corruption?

      A consortium of Mexican media organizations have launched Méxicoleaks, an unedited online whistleblower tool similar to Wikileaks. The site uses the Tor browser to anonymize users and encryption to guarantee the safety of those that submit information, according to Processo, one of the organizations supporting the website.

    • Mexico’s version of WikiLeaks causes controversy before its first story

      There have been no classified diplomatic cables. No top-secret intelligence reports. No fugitive whistleblowers.

      And yet Mexico’s latest experiment in free speech, the new Web site MexicoLeaks, has already generated its own media mini-tempest.

    • Mexico Launches Own Wikileaks to Fight Corruption
    • Mexico’s own ‘WikiLeaks’ already making waves

      Mexico’s WikiLeaks-inspired whistleblower website is already making waves just days after its launch, even though it has yet to expose any government scandals.

      MexicoLeaks was announced by star journalist Carmen Aristegui last week when she told her audience that her MVS radio team was part of the initiative.

    • Spy cables: SA’s WikiLeaks moment

      South Africa is experiencing its own WikiLeaks moment as leaked classified documents from the State Security Agency and some foreign spy agencies are to be published by News24, Al Jazeera and the British Guardian, starting on Monday night.

    • Tweets of the Day: WikiLeaks vs WikiLeaksForum
    • ‘I’m Condemned to Death’ – WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange

      Julian Assange still remains holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London. The WikiLeaks founder told RTS the US government would never let him off the hook for publishing top secret US military documents leaked in 2010.

      [...]

      “Phones and hard drives worldwide are now under surveillance. This makes the world a very vulnerable place and poses a threat to everyone,” Assange said, adding that he will keep working to make sure people have access to censored data, because this information is essential in order to have a better understanding of the world we live in.

    • Whistleblowers Have a Human Right to a Public Interest Defense, And Hacktivists Do, Too

      Not a single one of those prosecuted has been allowed to argue that their actions served the public good. Chelsea Manning, the alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower, exposed human rights abuses worldwide and opened an unprecedented window into global politics. Her disclosures are to this day cited regularly by the media and courts. Thomas Drake exposed massive NSA waste, while John Kiriakou exposed waterboarding later admitted to be torture in the recent Senate CIA Torture Report. The story of Edward Snowden’s disclosures of widespread NSA surveillance recently won an Oscar.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Shell oil driling in Arctic set to get US government permission

      The US government is expected this week to give the go-ahead to a controversial plan by Shell to restart drilling for oil in the Arctic.

      The green light from Sally Jewell, the interior secretary, will spark protests from environmentalists who have campaigned against proposed exploration by the Anglo-Dutch group in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska.

    • Climate Change Advocate Bill Gates’ Foundation has Over $1 Billion Invested in Fossil Fuel Industry

      Bill and Melinda Gates are some of the most vocal advocates for reversing the effects of climate change, but The Guardian revealed yesterday that their foundation held at least $1.4 billion worth of investments in fossil fuel companies, according to the charity’s 2013 tax filings.

    • Can the Gates Foundation be convinced to dump fossil fuels?
    • Gates’ foundation has invested $1.4 billion in fossil fuel cos
    • Guardian Newspaper Targets Gates Foundation Over Oil Assets

      The London-based Guardian newspaper has taken aim at two leading charities—the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK’s Wellcome Trust—pressuring them to divest from fossil fuel-related assets.

    • Gates Fund Held $1.4 Billion in Fossil-Fuel Stock in 2013

      The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had at least $1.4 billion invested in large oil, gas, and coal companies in 2013, The Guardian writes, citing an analysis of the charity’s most recent available tax return. The $43 billion fund had stakes in 35 of the 200 firms with the biggest fossil-fuel reserves, according to the newspaper, which launched a petition drive Monday calling on the foundation to divest from the industry.

    • Florida and the Science Who Must Not Be Named

      The oceans are slowly overtaking Florida. Ancient reefs of mollusk and coral off the present-day coasts are dying. Annual extremes in hot and cold, wet and dry, are becoming more pronounced. Women and men of science have investigated, and a great majority agree upon a culprit. In the outside world, this culprit has a name, but within the borders of Florida, it does not. According to a Miami Herald investigation, the state Department of Environmental Protection has since 2010 had an unwritten policy prohibiting the use of some well-understood phrases for the meteorological phenomena slowly drowning America’s weirdest-shaped state. It’s … that thing where burning too much fossil fuel puts certain molecules into a certain atmosphere, disrupting a certain planetary ecosystem. You know what we’re talking about. We know you know. They know we know you know. But are we allowed to talk about … you know? No. Not in Florida. It must not be spoken of. Ever.

  • Censorship

    • Hate speech social media bans may not be the answer

      Parliamentary report on antisemitism calls for protection orders used to ban sex offenders from using the internet to be extended to hate crime. But these should be used to prevent serious harm, not as punishment for hate speech in general.

    • A Test of Free Speech and Bias, Served on a Plate From Texas

      The next great First Amendment battleground is just six inches high. It is a license plate bearing the Confederate flag.

      Nine states let drivers choose specialty license plates featuring the flag and honoring the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which says it seeks to celebrate Southern heritage. But Texas refused to allow the group’s plates, saying the flag was offensive.

  • Privacy

    • GCHQ and Mass Surveillance

      The consequences of GCHQ’s activities have the potential to harm society, the economy and our foreign standing. These have not been fully explored by Parliament. We hope that this report helps MPs to understand the range of GCHQ’s activities and the fact that they affect ordinary people not just those suspected of threatening national security.

    • The real impact of surveillance

      For many people surveillance makes them less safe.

    • New Zealand Spied on WTO Director Candidates

      New Zealand launched a covert surveillance operation targeting candidates vying to be director general of the World Trade Organization, a top-secret document reveals.

    • New Zealand used NSA’s XKeyscore to spy on trade candidates

      New Zealand’s spy agency GCSB used the US NSA’s XKeyscore mass surveillance tool to spy on candidates from around the world vying to lead the World Trade Organisation.

      GCSB used XKeyscore to set up searches for communications about candidates from Brazil, South Korea, Indonesia. Mexico, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya and Costa Rica, according to a document released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • How spy agency homed in on Groser’s rivals

      GCSB used United States’ XKeyscore surveillance system to intercept emails mentioning other candidates for WTO job and paid close attention to Indonesian contender.

    • GCSB spies monitored diplomats in line for World Trade Organisation job

      Exclusive – Secret document reveals Five Eyes software used for surveillance on candidates for WTO job.

    • Government accused of spying on WTO top job candidates

      The Green Party has slammed the Government’s claimed use of its spy agency to snoop on rival candidates for a top World Trade Organisation Job.

      Documents obtained by the US-based Intercept website purport to show the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) snooped on candidates for the WTO job for which Trade Minister Tim Groser was in the running.

      Groser ultimately missed out on the job to Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo.

    • Spy agencies used for personal gain, again – Greens

      Documents released today, by the Herald, show the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) was spying on Tim Groser’s rivals for the position of the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

    • GCSB: Groser’s Competition Scuttling Bureau

      Tim Groser’s personal use of the GCSB to try and get himself a job at the WTO is a highly dubious use of an agency that is meant to combat security threats, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.

    • Spy agencies used for personal gain, again

      New Zealand’s spy agencies are once again being used to further the personal ambitions of Cabinet Ministers, the Green Party said today.

    • How far does GCSB ‘trade team’ spying go?

      How far does GCSB ‘trade team’ spying go?

      “Revelations this morning that the GCSB was spying on Trade Minister Groser’s opponents for the top job at the world Trade Organization raise the question about other activities of the GCSB’s ‘trade team’.

    • GCSB spies monitored diplomats in line for World Trade Organisation job

      Our spies monitored email and internet traffic about international diplomats vying for the job of director-general of the World Trade Organisation – a job for which National Government Trade Minister Tim Groser was competing.

      The spying operation was active in 2013 and called the “WTO Project” by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), according to a top secret document obtained by the Herald and United States news site The Intercept.

    • GCSB snooped on Trade Minister’s rivals

      The Government Communications Security Bureau used the Five Eyes spying network to trawl through the communications of candidates from Brazil, South Korea, Kenya, Indonesia and others, according to documents obtained by journalists Glenn Greenwald and Nicky Hager.

    • Govt downplays WTO spying claims

      The government is playing down allegations New Zealand’s spy agency snooped on foreigners competing with Trade Minister Tim Groser for the top job at the World Trade Organisation.

    • NZ spied on WTO candidates – Hager

      Journalist Nicky Hager says New Zealand spied on candidates vying to lead the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in a bid to help the New Zealand contender Tim Groser.

    • Don’t want NSA to spy on your email? 5 things you can do

      Encryption programs such as Pretty Good Privacy, or PGP, can make your email appear indecipherable to anyone without the digital key to translate the gibberish. This can help prevent highly sensitive financial and business information from getting swept up by hackers, as well as a government dragnet. Yet only 2 percent of the people surveyed by Pew used PGP or other email encryption programs. Part of the problem: Encryption isn’t easy to use, as email recipients also need to use encryption or leave their regular inboxes to read messages.

  • Civil Rights

    • Athens marches against racism and fascism

      In Athens thousands joined the Greek leg of the international day of action against racism and fascism. Kevin Ovenden reports

    • Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Blasts Canada For Denying Asylum To Alleged Anonymous Hacker Matt Dehart

      DeHart fled to Canada in 2014 ahead of a criminal trial on child pornography charges. But such were only false accusations, he claimed, meant to be used as leverage to push a probe into espionage and national security focused on his alleged involvement with the Anonymous and WikiLeaks hacker groups. He had likewise been alleged as to have leaked a number of classified U.S. government documents. While in custody in the United States, the former American serviceman in the Air National Guard claimed he was subjected to torture. “The abuse of the law in DeHart’s case is obvious, shocking and wrong,” Assange said in a statement.

    • Georgia anti-NDAA Bill Receives First Subcommittee Hearing

      On Tuesday, a Georgia House Subcommittee held a hearing about a bill that would take a first step against NDAA indefinite detention in the state.

    • May defense bill vote seen in U.S. House, acquisition reform in works

      The U.S. House of Representatives is moving toward a vote in mid-May on the annual half-billion-dollar defense policy bill, U.S. Representative Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said on Monday.

      Thornberry also said he plans to introduce next week legislation to reform the U.S. defense acquisition process. There is no schedule yet for a vote on that bill in the House, he told a news briefing, saying he first wanted to open up the process for comments.

    • Lee Kuan Yew inspired hopeful autocrats near and far

      Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev suggested that Singapore was a model on how a country should run, making it clear that he intended to follow Lee’s and not the West’s advice.

    • After Singapore patriarch Lee Kuan Yew, challenges for the Lion City

      A famously unsentimental man, he would laugh off complaints that the Singapore he’d built was “sterile” or “boring” or “charmless.” After all, the Singapore it replaced – a colonial British port – was squalid and poor. Yes the old kampong and Chinese-style shop-houses had character, but the government’s utilitarian public housing, block after block, put apartment ownership within reach of almost every Singaporean family.

    • Singapore: Death of Lee Kuan Yew

      On the passing on Singapore’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Research Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

      “Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the family of Lee Kuan Yew and others who mourn his passing.”

      “Lee Kuan Yew more than anyone else built modern Singapore, and his legacy will be unrivalled economic progress and development. There is, however, a dark side to what he leaves behind – too often, basic freedoms and human rights were sacrificed to ensure economic growth. Restrictions on freedom of expression and the silencing of criticism is still part of the daily reality for Singaporeans.”

      “Lee Kuan Yew’s passing, just a few months short of Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence, happens just as the country enters a new era. We urge the next generation of leaders to ensure that this is marked by genuine respect for human rights.”

    • 5 Hallmarks of the New American Order

      A new kind of governance is being born right before our eyes. Stop pretending it’s not happening.

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