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04.25.15

Links 25/4/2015: Debian LTS Plans, Turing Phone Runs Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 3:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Btrfs In Linux 4.1 Has Fixes For File-Systems Of 20 Terabytes & Up

      It’s nearing the end of the Linux 4.1 kernel and Chris Mason has now sent in his pull request of Btrfs file-system updates for this next kernel update.

      This pull request is coming in late in part due to him running a longer series of load tests than normal. For this cycle he changed around the free space cache writeout and wanted to ensure the code is properly conditioned. Changing the free space cache writeout should fix stalls on large file-systems. In particular, over at Facebook they were seeing 10+ second stalls during commits on file-systems with around twenty terabytes of space and greater. Should you happen to have a 20TB+ Btrfs file-system, Linux 4.1 will perform better.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • こんにちは日本! Krita Launches Japanese Site

        We are happy to announce that we have launched a Krita site in Japanese! Over the coming months, this website will be evolving to help the Japanese community stay current with all things Krita. Currently, almost everything online is in English, so it can be difficult for other countries to learn about and use Krita. With this Japanese site, we can provide specialized instructions and resources to help them get started. We are still finishing up translations, but are far enough along that we want to release it in the wild.

      • Turning the world upside down

        So what do I mean when saying that I’m running a kwin_wayland session? Does it mean that everything is already using Wayland? No, unfortunately not, rather the opposite: all running applications are still using X11, but we use a rootless Xwayland server. The only Wayland application in this setup is Xwayland and KWin itself.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Gentoo Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat broadens programming language support

        Potentially making work easier for system administrators, Red Hat has updated its development packages to support running multiple versions of the same programming language on its flagship enterprise operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

      • Why Red Hat is tackling BPM

        In today’s business environment, as enterprises seek to do more work with limited resources, orchestrating and planning daily business operations to optimize resources can be a big challenge.

        This environment is putting new pressure on developers and IT, according to a Forrester Consulting survey commissioned by Red Hat.

      • Storage VP: Red Hat Gluster, Ceph see faster start than Linux

        Red Hat vows to improve file and database-as-a-service features for its open source storage software while also planning to tackle hyper-convergence.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Security Team’s 90-day Challenge

          Earlier this month the Fedora Security Team started a 90-day challenge to close all critical and important CVEs in Fedora that came out in 2014 and before. These bugs include packages affected in both Fedora and EPEL repositories. Since we started the process we’ve made some good progress.

        • Red Hat launches beta of Linux distro Fedora 22

          RED HAT has announced the beta availability of Fedora 22, the newest iteration of its free Linux operating system that’s so hot off the press it hasn’t been christened with a codename yet.

          The OS, which runs on an incredibly short update cycle, forms the basis of Red Hat’s own products and forks into Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Tizen, the embedded system being used in Samsung smart products.

        • Instant Messaging in Fedora Workstation 2

          Last week I wrote about the suboptimal state of instant messaging in Fedora Workstation with some thoughts how it could be improved. I also asked Fedora users on Facebook and Google+ what IM clients they use. Especially in the case of Google+, I gathered votes from a number of people which is large enough to draw some conclusions.

    • Debian Family

      • The #newinjessie game: new forensic packages in Debian/jessie

        Debian/jessie AKA Debian 8.0 includes a bunch of packages for people interested in digital forensics.

      • What to expect on Jessie release day

        Release day is a nerve-wracking time for several teams. Happily we’ve done it a few times now*, so we have a rough idea of how the process should go.

      • Debian 7 Wheezy and Debian 8 Jessie Might Become LTS Releases

        Following on the success of the Squeeze LTS project, the Debian LTS team had the pleasure of announcing that they are preparing to support the Debian 7 (Wheezy) operating system with security patches for a longer period.

      • Join the LTS project to help shape Wheezy and Jessie LTS

        Almost a year after the birth of the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) project, Squeeze LTS can be considered a success. Thanks go to the many volunteers and sponsors! Debian 6 “Squeeze” has seen more than 200 security uploads since the start of its extended support period. The most widely used packages have been fixed in a timely fashion and many organizations can thus safely rely on the continued maintenance of Squeeze LTS.

      • Release Critical Bug report for Week 17
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Five Easy Steps to Greatly Improve Your Ubuntu 15.04 Experience

            Now that Ubuntu 15.04 has been officially released, we can advise new users regarding a few extra steps that they need to take in order to get the most out of their system.

          • Hidden Options in Ubuntu 15.04 Can Make It Much Better

            Ubuntu 15.04 is a complete operating system and can be used just as Canonical has intended, but some very interesting options and features are hidden inside the OS and the not usually accessible, unless you install a couple of applications.

          • Firefox 37.0.2 Arrives in Ubuntu 15.04

            Canonical has just announced a Firefox vulnerability has been corrected and that version 37.0.2 of the browser has been integrated into Ubuntu 15.04 and all the other supported Ubuntu versions.

          • Ubuntu Kylin 15.04 Continues the Process of Conquering China

            Ubuntu Kylin 15.04 (Vivid Vervet), the Chinese Linux distribution developed in collaboration with Canonical that’s based Ubuntu, has been released and is now ready for download.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 hands-on: One giant leap for developers and the cloud, but one small step for the desktop

            If you’re running Ubuntu on the cloud, there’s a lot to like here. In this release, the distribution boasts a new light-weight snappy Ubuntu Core version for devices, micro-servers, and containers. It also includes updated developer tools and the latest frameworks, languages, databases and packages. This cloud brand of Ubuntu also comes with superior Docker support, Canonical’s own new container-based hypervisor, LXD, and built-in support for the Chef DevOps program.

          • Scientists Use Ubuntu to Interpret Hubble Telescope Data

            A new documentary about the Hubble space telescope was just released on Nova, and a Reddit user pointed out that one of the scientists was using Linux to manage the date provided by the telescope.

          • BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition review

            The BQ Aquaris e4.5 Ubuntu Edition is not the debut Canonical must have envisaged for Ubuntu Phone, in the early days of the platform’s development.

            It’s a perfectly functional smartphone for the most part, and we like the concept of scopes, but the hardware is humdrum, performance is sluggish, and the software running on it is rough and ready, and full of holes.

            We’ll be tracking the progress of Ubuntu Phone with interest – it surely must get better than this – but this first device is one to write off to experience.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Mini-PC Intel Compute Stick Launches Only with Windows, Linux Users Need to Wait

      Intel Compute Stick, the mini-PC that runs a quad-core Intel processor and that fits inside a case the size of a USB flash drive, is now available for purchase, although just with Windows.

    • World’s smallest i.MX6 module has onboard WiFi, eMMC

      Variscite unveiled a 50 x 20mm “DART-MX6″ module that runs Linux or Android on the Freescale i.MX6, with up to 64GB eMMC flash and -40 to 85°C support.

      Variscite’s claim that the 50 x 20mm DART-MX6 is the world’s smallest computer-on-module based on Freescale’s i.MX6 system-on-chip appears to be a valid one. It beats the smallest ones we’ve seen to date: TechNexion’s 40 x 36mm PICO-IMX6, and Solid-Run’s 47 x 30mm microSOM i4. It’s also just a hair larger than Variscite’s own 52 x 17mm DART-4460, which is based on a dual-core TI OMAP4460 SoC, and Gumstix’s slightly larger 58 x 17mm Overo modules, which use TI Sitara AM37xx SoCs.

    • Open-source IoT kit runs OpenWRT, mimics Arduino Yun

      A “Domino.IO” Kickstarter project offers an Atheros AR9331 module running OpenWRT Linux, plus two tiny baseboards, one of which is Arduino Yun compatible.

      To stand out from the growing number of OpenWRT Linux-based computer-on-modules and tiny, com-LIKE single board computers running Qualcomm’s WiFi-ready Atheros AR9331 system-on-chip, startups are now offering entire modular kit families based on an AR9331. Last month, we saw an Onion OmegaKickstarter project, which has since been funded, based on an AR9331 COM with stackable expansion modules. Now a Hong Kong based startup called Domino.IO has gone on Kickstarter to sell its own kit that expands on a Domino Core COM with Domino Pi and Domino Qi expansion boards, as well as smaller I/O modules that enable further customization.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

      • Android

        • Android Candy: Intercoms

          Ever since my “tiny $20 tablet” project (see my Open-Source Classroom column in the March 2015 issue), I’ve been looking for more and more cool things to do with cheap Android devices. Although the few obvious ones like XBMC or Plex remotes work well, I’ve recently found that having Android devices around the house means I can gain back an old-school ability that went out of style in the late 1980s—namely, an intercom system.

        • There’s a wild prank hidden in Google Maps that insults Apple in the most childishly inappropriate way

          Rawalpindi is a vibrant Pakistani city known for its bazaars, ancient ruins, and array of religious shrines. But if you pay it a visit on Google Maps, you’re going to notice something very unusual on the outskirts of the city — the Android “droid” mascot urinating on the Apple logo.

        • There’s an Android bot peeing on an Apple logo on Google Maps

          Sick of all the Apple Watch news today? You’re in luck, because we have something completely different for you. An image of an Android mascot, also known as an Android bot or Bugdroid, peeing on an Apple logo has been discovered on Google Maps.

        • An Android robot is peeing on an Apple logo in Google Maps
        • An Android is urinating on the Apple logo in Google Maps (update)

          Google and Apple have always had their differences, but a new Easter egg inside Google Maps has just taken their rivalry to a whole new level. As spotted by Team Android, if you head to these coordinates with the regular Map view enabled, you’ll see Google’s iconic Android mascot taking a leak on the Apple logo. At the moment, it’s unclear who created this little piece of mischief and whether Google is taking action. But if this hidden message is any indication, it was snuck through by a member of the public using Google’s Map Maker service, rather than a Google employee. Regardless, it’s a crazy (and pretty hilarious) addition that’s sure to rile some of the employees in Cupertino. Shots fired!

        • Sony’s Android TV-powered 4K televisions are ridiculously thin

          Four models from Sony’s 2015 Android TV-powered 4K television range are now available for pre-order, with shipping to begin in May.

          The Japanese electronics giant unveiled its 4K TV lineup for 2015 at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, but kept pricing and release information to itself, only saying the new sets would be available sometime in the spring. Those details are finally here and the TVs themselves aren’t far off.

        • Android Wear v1.1 APK has Apple references in it, but when is iOS support coming?

          That Google is working on iOS support for Android Wear is nearly undeniable at this point, but even more evidence has surfaced in case you aren’t a believer. We peeked inside the latest Android Wear update APK to see what hidden bits were swarming about, and we came across some very interesting references.

        • 5 Things to Expect from the Nexus 5 Android 5.1.1 Release

          A few weeks ago, an Android 5.1.1 update mysteriously appeared alongside an update for Google’s Android SDK. Earlier this week, Google finally confirmed the Nexus Android 5.1.1 release with an update for its Nexus Player. With an Android 5.1.1 update now on the minds of Nexus users, particularly Nexus 5 users dealing with Android 5.0 Lollipop problems, we want to take a look at what we expect from the Nexus 5 Android 5.1 release from Google.

        • The Turing Phone Is Super Durable and Ultra Secure

          The device also sports a 13MP/8MP camera combo, 64GB / 128GB of internal storage and runs Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Jolla Tablet Ship Date Slips

        According to the Jolla Blog the ship date for the much anticipated Jolla Tablet has slipped: From June-ish to July-ish. (The original ship date was expected to be May).

        Jolla had one of the most successful Crowdfunded projects run by IndieGOGO. It ended up being over funded by 480%, exhibiting strong support for another tablet that isn’t IOS, isn’t Android, and isn’t Windows.

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • An Incredibly Insecure Voting Machine

      If asked for a password, the administrator password is “admin” (VITA provided that).

      Download the Microsoft Access database using Windows Explorer.
      Use a free tool to extract the hardwired key (“shoup”), which VITA also did for us.

      Use Microsoft Access to add, delete, or change any of the votes in the database.

      Upload the modified copy of the Microsoft Access database back to the voting machine.

    • Bug in Wi-Fi software could open Android, Linux and BSD to wireless attacks

      A flaw in a component used to authenticate client devices on Wi-Fi networks could potentially expose devices running on Android, Linux and BSD to hackers. The security problem resides in wpa_supplicant, a widely used open-source software implementation of the IEEE 802.11i specification for Wi-Fi clients.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • DoD’s New ‘Transparent’ Policy on Cybersecurity Is Still Opaque

      When the U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter laid out the Pentagon’s new cybersecurity strategy this week, few were expecting it to break news. And, indeed, his talk at Stanford’s Hoover Institution on Thursday offered no surprises. But the secretary did set up an expectation during his speech on which he ultimately failed to deliver.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Koch Funding of Universities Shrouded in Secrecy

      In a recent column entitled “The Campus Climate Crusade,” The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel spent over 800 words arguing the basic conceit of UnKochMyCampus, a campaign uniting students at universities around the country who are working to increase transparency on their campuses and fight attempts by corporate donors like Charles and David Koch from influencing their education.

  • Finance

    • Newly Leaked TTIP Draft Reveals Far-Reaching Assault on US/EU Democracy

      A freshly-leaked chapter from the highly secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, currently under negotiation between the United States and European Union, reveals that the so-called “free trade” deal poses an even greater threat to environmental and human rights protections—and democracy itself—than previously known, civil society organizations warn.

      The revelation comes on the heels of global protests against the mammoth deal over the weekend and coincides with the reconvening of negotiations between the parties on Monday in New York.

      The European Commission’s latest proposed chapter (pdf) on “regulatory cooperation” was first leaked to Friends of the Earth and dates to the month of March. It follows previous leaks of the chapter, and experts say the most recent iteration is even worse.

    • Slovakia earmarks EUR 12 million for central bankruptcy portal

      Slovakia’s Ministry of Finance signed a contract worth nearly EUR 12 million in March for the creation of a portal on bankruptcies, financial restructuring and debt reduction. By creating this portal, the Ministry aims to assist citizens, companies and legal professionals, by bringing together information that is already available in the systems of public administrations.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • It’s Not the 1 Percent Controlling Politics. It’s the 0.01 Percent.

      Even before presidential candidates started lining up billionaires to kick-start their campaigns, it was clear that the 2016 election could be the biggest big-money election yet. This chart from the political data shop Crowdpac illustrates where we may be headed: Between 1980 and 2012, the share of federal campaign contributions coming from the very, very biggest political spenders—the top 0.01 percent of donors—nearly tripled…

    • Kochs, Corps, and Monsanto Trade Group Have Bankrolled Group Attacking Dr. Oz

      A group of ten doctors has called for NBC’s Dr. Oz (Dr. Mehmet Oz) to be fired from Columbia University, where he is vice chairman of the surgery department.

      The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has long tracked the group that is connected to several of the signers attacking Dr. Oz, and CMD’s Executive Director Lisa Graves spoke with the Dr. Oz show about the background of that group and some of the signers. (CMD does not receive any funding from Dr. Oz or NBC.)

  • Privacy

    • Cybersecurity Official Believes Encryption Can Be Backdoored Safely; Can’t Think Of Single Expert Who Agrees With Him

      The government continues to looks for ways to route around Apple and Google’s phone encryption. The plans range from legislated backdoors to a mythical “golden key” to split-key escrow where the user holds one key and the government shares the other with device makers.

      None of these are solutions. And there’s no consensus that this is a problem in search of one. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies will still find ways to get what they want from these phones, but it may involve more legwork/paperwork and the development of new tools and exploits. Without a doubt, encryption will not leave law enforcement unable to pursue investigations. Cellphones are a relatively recent development in the lifespan of law enforcement and no crime prior to the rise of cellphone usage went uninvestigated because suspects weren’t walking around with the entirety of their lives in their pockets.

      But still the government continues to believe there’s some way to undermine this encryption in a way that won’t allow criminals to exploit it. This belief is based on nothing tangible. One can only imagine how many deafening silent beats passed between question and answer during White House cybersecurity policy coordinator Michael Daniel’s conversation with reporters following the recent RSA conference.

    • NSA had German spies target Euro allies

      German spies targeted politicians in friendly European nations and inside Germany for surveillance on behalf of the US National Security Agency (NSA), a media report revealed on Thursday.

  • Civil Rights

    • Cop Smash & Grab: Houston Police Caught on Video Kicking in Door to Business, Stealing Cash

      Two Houston Police officers were caught on camera kicking down the door of local business owner Marcquette Jones last Wednesday.

      Jones, the 36-year-old owner of The South Side Game Room, says this isn’t the first time the officers unlawfully entered his business. According to the business owner, the two cops paid him the first visit on January 20, claiming they were there to “check building code compliance.”

    • FBI tortured US citizen in foreign prison for months for refusing to become an informant, man claims

      An Eritrean-born American citizen has filed suit against the FBI, alleging the agency was responsible for having him detained and tortured for years in an Arab country for refusing to become an informant in his mosque in Portland, Oregon.

    • A Psychedelic History of the CIA

      What went entirely unmentioned by the American press was that 37 years ago Stanley Faulder had been the unwitting victim of medical experiments partially funded by the CIA. According to Faulder’s sister, Pat Nicholl, who lives in Jaspar, Alberta, “At 15 Stanley was arrested for stealing a watch and sent to a boys’ home for six months. At 17, another theft got him six months in jail. At 22 he was caught in a stolen car and sent to jail in New Westminster, B.C. for two years. There, he asked for psychiatric help and was put in an experimental drug program which involved doses of LSD”.

    • A Residence With Locking Doors And A Working Toilet Is All That’s Needed To Justify A No-Knock Warrant

      No-knock warrants have become the strategy of first choice for many police departments. Most of these target those suspected of drug possession or sales, rather than the truly dangerous situations they should be reserved for. The rise in no-knock warrants has resulted in an increased number of deadly altercations. Cops have been shot in self-defense by residents who thought their homes were being invaded by criminals. Innocent parties have been wounded or killed because the element of surprise police feel is so essential in preventing the destruction of evidence puts cops — often duded up in military gear — into a mindset that demands violent reaction to any perceived threat. In these situations, the noise and confusion turns everything into a possible threat, even the motions of frightened people who don’t have time to grasp the reality — and severity — of the situation.

    • Former CIA head’s no-jail sentence for leaking called “gross hypocrisy”

      Yesterday, former CIA Director David Petraeus was handed two years of probation and a $100,000 fine after agreeing to a plea deal that ends in no jail time for leaking classified information to Paula Broadwell, his biographer and lover.

      “I now look forward to moving on with the next phase of my life and continuing to serve our great nation as a private citizen,” Petraeus said outside the federal courthouse in Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday.

      Lower-level government leakers have not, however, been as likely to walk out of a courthouse applauding the US as Petraeus did. Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, called the Petraeus plea deal a “gross hypocrisy.”

      “At the same time as Petraeus got off virtually scot-free, the Justice Department has been bringing the hammer down upon other leakers who talk to journalists—sometimes for disclosing information much less sensitive than Petraeus did,” he said.

      The Petraeus sentencing came days after the Justice Department demanded (PDF) up to a 24-year-term for Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA agent who leaked information to a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer about a botched mission to sell nuclear plans to Iran in order to hinder its nuclear-weapons progress.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast Plans to Drop Time Warner Cable Deal

      Fourteen months after unveiling a $45.2 billion merger that would create a new Internet and cable giant, Comcast Corp. is planning to walk away from its proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc., people with knowledge of the matter said.

  • DRM

    • All about PlayReady 3.0, Microsoft’s secret plan to lock down 4K movies to your PC

      The name of the movie might as well be Digital Rights Management: The New Nightmare. It stars Microsoft, who is working with chip vendors Intel, AMD, Nvidia, and Qualcomm to protect Hollywood’s movies from piracy as they travel through your PC. The technology it’s promoting is called PlayReady 3.0.

      Microsoft is also dangling promises for consumers: Buy a Windows 10 system with PlayReady, Microsoft says, and you’ll be able to view Hollywood’s latest movies in all their 4K glory. Without Microsoft’s hardware DRM technology—pay attention, those of you with older PCs—you may only be able to view a lower-quality version of the film.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Canadian Recording Industry: Works Entering the Public Domain Are Not in the Public Interest

        On World Book and Copyright Day, it is worth noting how Graham Henderson, the President of Music Canada (formerly the Canadian Recording Industry Association) characterized the government’s decision to extend the term of copyright in sound recordings and performances:

        With each passing day, Canadian treasures like Universal Soldier by Buffy Sainte-Marie are lost to the public domain. This is not in the public interest. It does not benefit the creator or their investors and it will have an adverse impact on the Canadian economy.”

        This statement raises several issues. First, it should be noted that the song Universal Soldier by Buffy Sainte-Marie is not in the public domain nor will it be entering the public domain for decades. As the songwriter, Buffy Sainte-Marie still holds copyright in the song and will do so for her entire lifetime plus an additional 50 years (Howard Knopf further explains the issue of copyright term in songs in this post).

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