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03.24.15

Links 24/3/2015: WebKitGTK+ 2.8.0, Black Lab Linux 6.5

Posted in News Roundup at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Can your code survive crappy 2G? This open-source traffic controller will test it

    A two-year project inside Facebook has culminated in the release of software to test how well applications and servers work under degraded network conditions – all the way down to rickety 2G.

    The idea behind Augmented Traffic Control, open-sourced on GitHub, is to improve the delivery of material on under-performing networks.

  • Open Source Sirius Creates IPA Opportunities For Channel

    The creation of an open source computing system users control via voice command could generate new opportunities for service providers seeking to differentiate their offerings or develop new custom solutions.

  • New version of SecureDrop, open-source whistleblower submission system originally created by Aaron Swartz

    At Freedom of the Press Foundation, we’re excited to announce the release of a brand new version of SecureDrop, our open source whistleblower system which media organizations can use to communicate and receive documents from sources.

    Version 0.3 has been over a year in the making, and is the result of extensive feedback from both news organizations who already have SecureDrop—like the New Yorker and The Intercept—and from a security audit done by iSec Partners. In addition, we have a new website for SecureDrop, SecureDrop.org, which will serve as a hub for all the news organizations that have installed their own instances, and where you can find all the information you need to use it yourself.

  • Facebook open-sources Augmented Traffic Control, a Wi-Fi tool for simulating 2G, Edge, 3G, and LTE networks

    Facebook today open-sourced Augmented Traffic Control (ATC), a Wi-Fi tool for testing how mobile phones and their apps handle networks of varying strength, over on GitHub. ATC simulates 2G, Edge, 3G, and LTE networks, and allows engineers to switch quickly between various simulated network connections.

  • 4 reasons why people should stop associating open source with a lack of security

    Today, the open source model is much better understood, and organisations are considering it as vital to the future of digital business and government services. A recent survey found that more than 50% of respondents are moving into the open source space.

  • Events

    • [EuroBSDcon] Call for Papers

      EuroBSDcon is the European technical conference for users and developers of BSD-based systems. The conference will take place in Stockholm, Sweden. Tutorials will be held on Thursday and Friday in the main conference hotel, while the shorter talks and papers program is on Saturday and Sunday in the University of Stockholm.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • CMS

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • A Trip Down (Computer) Memory Lane

      The world of free software seems constantly fresh and exciting, so it always comes as a shock – to me, at least – to remember that it has been around for more than 30 years now. Richard Stallman announced the GNU project back in 1983, but this month, there’s another important anniversary: the publication of the GNU Manifesto.

    • Software freedom

      Richard Stallman, a 27-year-old programmer at the time with MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, wanted to modify the software that drove the new Xerox 9700 laser printer to get it to send out an electronic alert over the network every time the paper jammed so that somebody could walk over to it and fix the problem. When he was denied access to the source code, Stallman recalls, this set him thinking about how software should be shared freely so that users could modify it to suit their needs.

    • Stallman joins the Internet, talks net neutrality, patents and more

      According to Richard Stallman, godfather of the free software movement, Facebook is a “monstrous surveillance engine,” tech companies working for patent reform aren’t going nearly far enough, and parents must lobby their children’s schools to keep data private and provide free software alternatives.

      The free software guru touched on a host of topics in his keynote Saturday at the LibrePlanet conference, a Free Software Foundation gathering at the Scala Center at MIT. Excoriating a “plutocratic” corporate culture and warning of severe threats to freedom and privacy around the world, he nevertheless said his own positions on the technology issues of the day had evolved.

    • Extracting the abstract syntax tree from GCC [older, but without paywall now]

      Richard Stallman recently revived a nearly year-old thread in the emacs-devel mailing list, but the underlying issue has been around a lot longer than that. It took many years before the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) changed its runtime library exemption in a way that allowed for GCC plugins, largely because of fears that companies might distribute proprietary, closed-source plugins. But efforts to use the plugin API to add features to another GNU project mainstay, Emacs, seem to be running aground on that same fear—though there has never been any real evidence that there is much interest in circumventing the runtime library exception to provide proprietary backends to GCC.

    • GNU Nano 2.4.0 Brings Complete Undo System, Linter Support & More

      GNU Nano 2.4.0 was released this morning as the first stable update to this open-source CLI text editor in a number of years.

    • GNU Nano Editor 2.4 Comes with Full Undo Support [Install in Ubuntu/Mint]
    • LibrePlanet 2015: Day one roundup
    • LibrePlanet 2015: Highlights and what comes next
    • Reglue & Sébastien Jodogne Receive FSF Awards

      Ken Starks put another well deserved feather in his cap on Saturday when he accepted an award for Reglue from the Free Software Foundation (FSF) at the LibrePlanet conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Saturday. Reglue was announced as this year’s winner of the Project of Social Benefit Award by FSF executive director John Sullivan, who also announced that Sébastien Jodogne had won this year’s award for Advancement of Free Software. The event took place on the MIT campus.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Meet the White House’s new open source-happy IT director

      The White House has plucked 28-year-old David Recordon, engineering director at Facebook, as its first IT Director. A strong open source advocate with a decidedly non-button-down appearance, Recordon will be charged with modernizing the White House’s technology. Here’s a closer look at one of our newest public servants…

    • Federal open source software activities are growing

      Patricia M. Loui-Smicker of Hawaii was confirmed by the Senate, just the other day, as a director of the Export-Import bank. Not the kind of routine confirmation that makes the news. Gilberto de Jesus of Maryland withdrew his nomination to be chief counsel for advocacy at the Small Business Administration. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs reported favorably on a bill “to reduce the operation and maintenance costs associated with the Federal fleet by encouraging use of remanufactured parts.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Apple’s ResearchKit: Is Open Source Good for Your and Apple’s Health?

      Apple’s website defines it as “an open source software framework that makes it easy for researchers and developers to create apps that could revolutionize medical studies, potentially transforming medicine forever.”

    • OGP: 36 Action Plans submitted in 2014

      In total, 29 countries have submitted their second Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plans in 2014, according to the 2014 report of the Open Government Partnership. This number indicates “a strong desire to continue participating in OGP”, the report said. The report also mentions that seven countries submitted their first national Action Plan last year. In total, 36 countries “submitted new Action Plans containing over 900 commitments“.

    • ‘Open Humans Network’ seeks to open-source your body

      People eager to share personal information beyond what’s on their Facebook profile have another outlet: an online platform launching on Tuesday will let them give scientists information about their genomes, gut bacteria and other biological data.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Virtual Reality gets massive with Unity and Unreal Engine

        Plugins for both Unity 5 and Unreal Engine 4 have been released to the public for OSVR, the Open Source Virtual Reality program. This system was first initiated by the folks at Razer, appearing at CES 2015 with a brand new OSVR Dev Kit virtual reality headset. In the very short time between then and now, they’ve racked up quite a few heavy-hitting partners. This system also works with Vuzix technology and has racked up partners like Ubisoft, Seven Hill Games, Homido, and castAR.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • FDA Deems GM Apples, Potatoes Safe

      The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed genetically modified (GM), non-browning “Arctic” apples—approved last month by the Department of Agriculture—and bruise-resistant “Innate” potatoes “as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts,” according to The New York Times.

      Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the British Columbia-based firm that produces the GM apples, and J.R. Simplot of Idaho, which grows the GM potatoes, both consulted with the FDA to assess the safety and nutrition of their foods.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Washington’s War on Russia

      “In order to survive and preserve its leading role on the international stage, the US desperately needs to plunge Eurasia into chaos, (and) to cut economic ties between Europe and Asia-Pacific Region … Russia is the only (country) within this potential zone of instability that is capable of resistance. It is the only state that is ready to confront the Americans. Undermining Russia’s political will for resistance… is a vitally important task for America.”

    • Israel Supported Hamas to Divide Palestine’s Resistance – Assange

      Israel supported the Palestinian Islamic organization Hamas’s growth in order to drive a wedge in the Palestinian resistance movement, according to WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • California’s About to Run Out of Water. We Have to Act Now

      California is now heading into its fourth year of record-breaking drought, with no liquid relief in sight. High temperatures, little precipitation, and historically low snowpack have left the state with dwindling water reserves. The situation is so bad, as NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti wrote in an LA Times op-ed last week, that California has only a year of water left in its reservoirs.

  • Finance

    • The world’s next credit crunch could make 2008 look like a hiccup

      For the time being, the markets remain sanguine, expecting, for example, a gentle increase in the Bank of England’s main interest rate to just 1.5pc by the end of the decade. And, who knows, maybe the markets are right.

      But maybe it’s too quiet. Last week, Ray Dalio, the founder of the $165bn (£110bn) hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, wrote a widely-circulated note warning his clients that the US Federal Reserve risked setting off a 1937-style crash when it starts raising interest rates again.

    • From Right-to-Work to the Servant Economy

      Two Mondays ago, Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin and a fast-rising Republican star, signed a “right-to-work” bill into law in his state, calling it “one more tool that will help grow good-paying, family-supporting jobs here in the state of Wisconsin.”

      In fact, if experience from other right-to-work states is any indicator, it’s likely to do just the opposite. It may, indeed, attract more jobs, but most of them won’t pay enough to support a family.

      The decline of America’s middle class in the past four decades is attributable to many factors, one of them being the decline in union membership; right-to-work depresses union membership further. It will decrease dues payments that unions tend to spend on candidates who support unions, most of whom are not Republicans.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • BP Dumps ALEC; Tally at 102

      BP announced Monday that it was cutting ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, the controversial corporate bill mill. It is the third major fossil fuel company to sever ties with ALEC, after Occidental Petroleum in 2014. ExxonMobil remains on the ALEC private sector board.

      “We continually assess our engagements with policy and advocacy organizations and based on our most recent assessment, we have determined that we can effectively pursue policy matters of current interest to BP without renewing our membership in ALEC,” the spokesman told the National Review.

  • Privacy

    • Communication Security Establishment’s cyberwarfare toolbox revealed

      Top-secret documents obtained by the CBC show Canada’s electronic spy agency has developed a vast arsenal of cyberwarfare tools alongside its U.S. and British counterparts to hack into computers and phones in many parts of the world, including in friendly trade countries like Mexico and hotspots like the Middle East.

    • Amazon Still Won’t Talk About Government Requests For User Data

      In the wake of the Snowden leaks, more and more tech companies are providing their users with transparency reports that detail (to the extent they’re allowed) government requests for user data. Amazon — home to vast amounts of cloud storage — isn’t one of them.

    • CISA Security Bill: An F for Security But an A+ for Spying

      When the Senate Intelligence Committee passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act by a vote of 14 to 1, committee chairman Senator Richard Burr argued that it successfully balanced security and privacy. Fifteen new amendments to the bill, he said, were designed to protect internet users’ personal information while enabling new ways for companies and federal agencies to coordinate responses to cyberattacks. But critics within the security and privacy communities still have two fundamental problems with the legislation: First, they say, the proposed cybersecurity act won’t actually boost security. And second, the “information sharing” it describes sounds more than ever like a backchannel for surveillance.

    • John Key hits back at Nicky Hager over GCSB claims

      Prime Minister John Key believes the latest spying allegations were timed to coincide with his visit to South Korea.

      “Of course they were, it’s all part of a particular agenda by Nicky Hager and some others,” he told reporters in Seoul.

      “There’s no question there’s an anti-government, anti-American agenda.”

    • Former diplomat, minister shocked by WTO spy claims

      Spying by the GCSB on those competing against National Government minister Tim Groser for the World Trade Organisation’s top job has appalled a former foreign affairs and trade minister and astonished one of the country’s most experienced diplomats.

      An inquiry is likely into the actions of the GCSB after Labour leader Andrew Little said he would ask the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security to investigate today.

      The Herald and US news site the Intercept yesterday revealed a top secret GCSB document showing the electronic surveillance agency had been searching for email communications which mentioned Mr Groser, the Trade Minister, in association with names of candidates competing against him. The news broke as Prime Minister John Key and Mr Groser prepared to sign a Free Trade Agreement in South Korea, whose former trade minister was among the surveillance targets vying for the $700,000 WTO job.

    • BIOS Hacking

      The NSA has a term for vulnerabilities it think are exclusive to it: NOBUS, for “nobody but us.” Turns out that NOBUS is a flawed concept. As I keep saying: “Today’s top-secret programs become tomorrow’s PhD theses and the next day’s hacker tools.” By continuing to exploit these vulnerabilities rather than fixing them, the NSA is keeping us all vulnerable.

    • Facebook wants to save you a click by hosting other sites’ content

      As if Facebook couldn’t get any bigger, it’s looking like The Social Network wants to start natively hosting content from news organizations. As The New York Times’ sources tell it, Zuckerberg and Co. have been in talks with at least six media companies about publishing their content directly on the site — no link-clicking required. The initial round of publications apparently includes The New York Times, Buzzfeed, National Geographic and our sister publication The Huffington Post. The reason? Websites take too long to load, and Facebook says that on mobile, the average eight-second page-load is too much. Of course, the outfit has a vested interest in mobile, hence it stepping in.

  • Civil Rights

    • 5 signs America is devolving into a plutocracy

      One-percent elections. Congressional gridlock. An increasingly demobilized public. Our democracy is on life support

    • The DOJ Isn’t Interested In Protecting FBI Whistleblowers From Retaliation

      You don’t hear much about FBI whistleblowers. Many other agencies have had wrongdoing exposed by employees (and the government has often seen fit to slap the whistles out of their mouths with harsh prosecution), but the FBI isn’t one of them. Forty-three years ago, whistleblowers broke into the FBI and retrieved damning documents, but no one’s really broken out of the FBI to do the same. In fact, the FBI would rather not talk about whistleblowing at all.

    • Voter ID Will Take Effect in Wisconsin–Here’s What that Means

      The ruling is regarded as a victory for Governor Scott Walker, who championed the law in Wisconsin and has boasted about the state’s voting restrictions as he makes the case for a presidential run. Walker defended voter ID during the 2014 gubernatorial race, declaring that “it doesn’t matter” if there is only one incident of voter fraud in each election, even though as many as 300,000 Wisconsinites don’t have the forms of ID required under the law.

    • Journalism as Subversion

      The assault of global capitalism is not only an economic and political assault. It is a cultural and historical assault. Global capitalism seeks to erase our stories and our histories. Its systems of mass communication, which peddle a fake intimacy with manufactured celebrities and a false sense of belonging within a mercenary consumer culture, shut out our voices, hopes and dreams. Salacious gossip about the elites and entertainers, lurid tales of violence and inane trivia replace in national discourse the actual and the real. The goal is a vast historical amnesia.

      The traditions, rituals and struggles of the poor and workingmen and workingwomen are replaced with the vapid homogenization of mass culture. Life’s complexities are reduced to simplistic stereotypes. Common experiences center around what we have been fed by television and mass media. We become atomized and alienated. Solidarity and empathy are crushed. The cult of the self becomes paramount. And once the cult of the self is supreme we are captives to the corporate monolith.

      As the mass media, now uniformly in the hands of large corporations, turn news into the ridiculous chronicling of pseudo-events and pseudo-controversy we become ever more invisible as individuals. Any reporting of the truth—the truth about what the powerful are doing to us and how we are struggling to endure and retain our dignity and self-respect—would fracture and divide a global population that must be molded into compliant consumers and obedient corporate subjects. This has made journalism, real journalism, subversive. And it has made P. Sainath—who has spent more than two decades making his way from rural Indian village to rural Indian village to make sure the voices of the country’s poor are heard, recorded and honored—one of the most subversive journalists on the subcontinent. He doggedly documented the some 300,000 suicides of desperate Indian farmers—happening for the last 19 years at the rate of one every half hour—in his book “Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories From India’s Poorest Districts.” And in December, after leaving The Hindu newspaper, where he was the rural affairs editor, he created the People’s Archive of Rural India. He works for no pay. He relies on a small army of volunteers. He says his archive deals with “the everyday lives of everyday people.” And, because it is a platform for mixed media, encompassing print, still photographs, audio and film, as well as an online research library, it is a model for those who seek to tell the stories that global capitalism attempts to blot out.

    • Greece’s Golden Dawn: Fascists at the Gate

      When some 70 members of the neo-Nazi organization Golden Dawn go on trial sometime this spring, there will be more than street thugs and fascist ideologues in the docket, but a tangled web of influence that is likely to engulf Greece’s police, national security agency, wealthy oligarchs, and mainstream political parties. While Golden Dawn—with its holocaust denial, its swastikas, and Hitler salutes—makes it look like it inhabits the fringe, in fact the organization has roots deep in the heart of Greece’s political culture

    • ‘Nazi Hideout’ Found in Argentine Nature Reserve

      Investigators discovered German coins dating back to World War II in the deserted rubble.

      Ruined buildings in an Argentine nature reserve could have been built as a Nazi hideout, archeologists believe. Investigators found German coins dating back to World War II in the deserted rubble.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Digital Freedoms

      As of April 2014 figures from uSwitch showed, only 15% of Britain is using broadband of 30 Mbps or higher – the speed classified by the EU as “superfast”. Looking inward, compared with the rest of the UK, Wales has some of the slowest Internet speeds. Wales itself contains the slowest broadband speed street in the entire UK, Erw Fawr in Henryd, North Wales had an average download speed of 0.60 megabits per second. That is 30 times slower than the UK national average.

    • First Legal Challenges To FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules Filed

      As we noted a week and a half ago when the FCC released its full net neutrality rules, it seemed like the legal challenges wouldn’t start for a little while — because the rules had to formally be published in the Federal Register, which would then set off the countdown clock for filing a lawsuit against the rules. However, some believe that parts of the new rules fall under a different legal regime, and thus there is a 10 day limit from the date the rules were released to file an appeal. And thus, we have USTelecom, a trade association of broadband providers and Alamo Broadband, a small Texas-based ISP, who have both filed legal challenges over the FCC’s rules. Specifically, they’re both asking appeals courts to “review” the rules. Alamo is asking the Fifth Circuit court of appeals, while USTelecom is focusing on the DC Circuit (which is where the last challenge to FCC rules happened). The reasoning in both is fairly similar.

    • Ted Cruz’s New Presidential Campaignx Donation Website Shares Security Certificate With Nigerian-Prince.com

      A few hours after this was first noticed, the Cruz campaign appears to have removed nigerian-prince.com from its certificate, but it still raises some questions about just who he has hired to build his websites. I guess that’s what happens when even the technologists in your own party openly mock Ted Cruz’s ignorance when it comes to technology issues like net neutrality.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Celebrities race to beat trolls to internet domains

      Taylor Swift knew they were trouble. So too did Microsoft. And the pop phenomenon and the software giant both had the means and motive to do something about it.

      From 1 June there will be an unprecedented web free-for-all. In a bid to allow easier searches for doctors, businesses and places, a raft of new top-level domain (TLD) names – the last bit of a web address – will become available to buy, including “.healthcare” and “.deals”, but also “.porn”, “.sucks” and “.adult”.

    • Commissioner Malmström defends rigged ISDS in CETA

      Today EU commissioner Malmström gave a speech in the European Parliament trade committee on investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS). ISDS gives foreign investors the right to use arbitration against states, instead of using local courts.

      Malmström made clear that she does not want to change the trade agreement with Canada (CETA), which contains a highly controversial ISDS section. The CETA text was used for the ISDS consultation.

    • Copyrights

      • U.S. Court Extends Global Shutdown of DVD Ripping Software

        A federal court in New York has issued a paralyzing verdict against the Chinese-based DVD ripping company DVDFab. Ruling in favor of AACS, the licensing outfit founded by Warner Bros, Disney, Microsoft, Intel and others, the court has issued an updated injunction granting the seizure of several domain names belonging to the software vendor.

      • US judge orders seizure of foreign domains owned by Chinese company

        A federal judge in New York has ordered dozens of global domains owned by the Chinese company Fengtao Software to be seized, for its social media accounts to be blocked, and for payment processors to cut off their services to the company.

        As TorrentFreak reports, this is the result of legal action by the decryption licensing body AACS, founded by companies such as Microsoft and Walt Disney. Last year AACS won a preliminary injunction against Fengtao Software, which sells the popular DVD-ripping software DVDFab. Initially, Fengtao failed to respond to the court, which caused the injunction to be granted by default. Later, the Chinese company asked for the decision to be reviewed, arguing that the order was too broad because it affected the company globally, while the relevant copyright law applied by the judge was US-specific.

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