06.05.15

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Links 5/6/2015: Linux on ATMs, TISA Agreement Leak

Posted in News Roundup at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source? HP Enterprise will be all-in, post split, says CTO

    Speaking at the HP Discover conference in Las Vegas this week, CTO Martin Fink said open source will be central to how HP’s enterprise incarnation conducts its business.

    “We have taken this very, very seriously and we are all-in on the notion of open source,” Fink said, adding that even game-changing big bets like the Machine will be backed by open source software.

    [...]

    To prove it, on Wednesday HP announced Grommet, a new user interface framework that’s specifically tailored for enterprise applications and that HP has released under the Apache License.

  • How telecoms can escape vendor lock-in with open source NFV

    The problem: As mobile devices continue to proliferate, the Internet of Things keeps growing immensely, and more users and new data are pushed across telecom networks every day, network operators must invest in expanded facilities. The revenue from mobile applications is tied to number of devices/consumers not amount of data consumed. As time goes on, average revenue per user will remain flat or even decrease as data demand will increase significantly over time.

  • TISA Agreement Might Outlaw Governments From Mandating Open Source Software In Many Situations

    Now, this is nowhere near complete — it is “bracketed text” which is still being negotiated, and Colombia already opposes the text. Also, some may argue that the second bullet point, which says it only applies to “mass market” software and not “critical infrastructure” software solves some of these issues. Finally, some might argue that this is reasonable if looked at from the standpoint of a commercial provider of proprietary software, who doesn’t want to have to cough up its source code to a government just to win a grant.

    But, if that language stays, it seems likely that any government that ratifies the agreement could not then do something like mandate governments use open source office products. And that should be a choice those governments can make, if they feel that open source software is worth promoting and provides better security, reliability and/or cost effectiveness when compared to proprietary software. That seems tremendously problematic, unless you’re Microsoft.

  • Airbnb announces Aerosolve, an open-source machine learning software package

    The new tool, announced at Airbnb’s 2015 OpenAir developer conference in San Francisco, powers new pricing tips for hosts, which was also announced today. Written mostly in the Java and Scala programming languages, Aerosolve can also more intelligently rank and order things like images.

  • HP reveals Grommet open source app development framework

    Martin Fink, HP’s chief technology officer, revealed Grommet in a keynote speech at HP’s Discover conference in Las Vegas, explaining the framework will be available to everyone looking to create consistent user experiences in enterprise apps.

  • Stream processing, for dummies

    DataTorrent will be making it RTS core engine available under the Apache 2.0 open source license.

    The firm is a player in the real-time big data analytics market.

    It is also the creator of a unified ‘stream and batch processing’ platform.

  • Angry redditors rally to stop SourceForge’s mirror service

    SourceForge has been in the news a lot lately, and not for positive reasons. Angry redditors are rallying to encourage the mirror providers of SourceForge to stop supporting the site.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Apache OpenOffice versus LibreOffice

      Following yesterday’s LibreOffice report for 2014, comes another interesting report from Document Foundation members Barend Jonkers and Cor Nouws comparing the features of LibreOffice and OpenOffice. The 60-page report “focuses on areas as feasibility, smart use, quality and improvements, localization and more.” It makes clear that LibreOffice has undergone massive improvements as compared to OpenOffice.

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD Moves Ahead With Updating Their Radeon DRM Graphics Driver

      DragonFlyBSD and other BSD distributions porting the Linux DRM drivers are still several major releases behind the upstream kernel state, but at least they’re making progress for those wishing to use the open-source drivers as an alternative to the prominent BSD display driver: the NVIDIA BSD proprietary driver that’s of high quality and on par with the Windows and Linux NVIDIA drivers.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Octave 4.0.0 Released

      The Octave developers are pleased to announce a major new release of GNU Octave, version 4.0.0.

    • MediaGoblin 0.8.0: A Gallery of Fine Creatures

      We’re excited to announce that MediaGoblin 0.8.0, “A Gallery of Fine Creatures”, has been released! The biggest news is that the client to server API (making use of the future federation API) is much improved! That means that users no longer have to depend on a browser to access MediaGoblin.

    • Open Source History: What if GNU and Linux Had Cloned MS-DOS, Not Unix?

      First, let’s run through what actually happened. When Richard Stallman started the GNU project in 1984, he intended from the beginning to write a clone of the Unix operating system. He explicitly rejected the notion that GNU might instead aim to copy an operating system like MS-DOS. As he wrote in the February 1986 GNU newsletter, platforms like DOS, although “more widely used” than Unix, were “very weak systems, designed for tiny machines.”

    • MediaGoblin 0.8.0 Open Source Media Server Released with Initial Python 3 Support

      Deb Nicholson has had the great pleasure of announcing the immediate availability for download of a major new release of the open-source media server software MediaGoblin.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Ministry of Defence to build open source analytics platform

      The Ministry of Defence has launched a competition to build an ‘evolutionary’ new open source analytics platform to help it better understand its data.

    • France to boost uptake of free software in government

      France’s public administrations are encouraged to increase their use of free software, announces DISIC, the inter-ministerial Directorate for IT. Public administrations should become active participants in free software development communities, for example by allowing their software engineers to work on free software.

    • Defence body looks for messy data platform

      The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is dipping its toe into the waters of unstructured data with a competition for the development of prototypes for an open source analytics platform.

    • Embrace open source, says Ministry of Defence CIO

      The Ministry of Defence has launched a competition to build an ‘evolutionary’ new open source analytics platform to help it better understand its data, as CIO Mike Stone announced the MoD needs to drop its cautious approach and embrace open source.

  • Licensing

    • 5 Essential Duties of Legal Counsel in an Open Source Compliance Program

      Establishing an Open Source Review Board is one key way that companies can help ensure compliance with open source licenses, community norms and requirements (see the previous article, Why Companies That Use Open Source Need a Compliance Program, for more details.) In larger companies, a typical board is made of representatives from engineering, product teams and legal resources in addition to a Compliance Officer (sometimes called Director of Open Source).

      While FOSS compliance is more of an operational challenge related to execution and scaling than a legal challenge, legal counsel is an essential component of any review board and compliance program. Companies may choose to use internal legal counsel, or utilize external counsel on a fee basis. Regardless of how it’s achieved, there are five essential duties of an open source lawyer to ensure that a company observes all of the copyright notices and satisfies all the license obligations for the FOSS they use in their commercial products.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Beginning software delivery acceleration with DevOps

      Time and time again, we hear of companies achieving rapid acceleration with DevOps. Companies are touting success with the metric of deploys per day, sharing new baselines of 10, 50, or even 100 deploys a day. In more mature organizations, like LinkedIn, Netflix, Etsy, Facebook, and others, this number is a startling 1,000+ number. But, what does this even mean?

Leftovers

  • Security

    • MS Supports SSH, Keeping Up With the Kubuntus & More…

      Hmmm. Yeah, it’s smirk-inducing to see them finally want to join the rest of the world in the SSH department after all these years. But after reading Christine Hall’s article yesterday about our friends in Redmond and their “fox guarding the henhouse” security teams and their affinity for backdoors, you have to wonder, on a privacy level, if this is a good idea. I guess we’ll just have to see.

    • Thursday’s security alerts
    • Assume your GitHub account is hacked, users with weak crypto keys told

      The keys, which allow authorized users to log into public repository accounts belonging to the likes of Spotify, Yandex, and UK government developers, were generated using a buggy pseudo random number generator originally contained in the Debian distribution of Linux. During a 20-month span from 2006 to 2008, the pool of numbers available was so small that it made cracking the secret keys trivial. Almost seven years after Debian maintainers patched the bug and implored users to revoke old keys and regenerate new ones, London-based developer Ben Cartwright-Cox said he discovered the weakness still resided in a statistically significant number of keys used to gain secure shell (SSH) access to GitHub accounts.

    • Why Longer Passphrases are More Secure than Passwords [VIDEO]
    • This Hacked Kids’ Toy Opens Garage Doors in Seconds

      Nortek didn’t immediately respond to WIRED’s request for comment. Another major brand of garage door opener, Genie, didn’t respond to to a request for comment either, but says on its website that its devices use rolling codes. A spokesperson for Chamberlain, the owner of the Liftmaster brand and one of the biggest sellers of garage door openers, initially told WIRED the company hasn’t sold fixed code doors since 1992. But when Kamkar dug up a 2007 manual for a Liftmaster device that seemed to use fixed codes, Chamberlain marketing executive Corey Sorice added that the company has supported and serviced older garage door openers until much more recently. “To the extent there are still operators in the market begin serviced by replacement parts, part of the objective is to get to safer and more secure products,” he said in a phone interview. “We’d love to see people check the safety and security of their [devices] and move forward.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Jeremy Corbyn

      The media dismiss any argument outwith the bounds of their narrow, manufactured corporate consensus as marginal and irrelevant. For example, never mind the fact that a clear majority in the UK has for years supported renationalisation of the railways. The very fact of its popular support makes it imperative to the BBC and other corporate media that it must not be voiced. Jeremy is very likely to voice it. Watch as he is carefully marginalised, patronised and excluded.

  • Privacy

    • A Misleading Moment of Celebration for a New Surveillance Program

      The morning after final passage of the USA Freedom Act, while some foes of mass surveillance were celebrating, Thomas Drake sounded decidedly glum. The new law, he told me, is “a new spy program.” It restarts some of the worst aspects of the Patriot Act and further codifies systematic violations of Fourth Amendment rights.

      Later on Wednesday, here in Oslo as part of a “Stand Up For Truth” tour, Drake warned at a public forum that “national security” has become “the new state religion.” Meanwhile, his Twitter messages were calling the USA Freedom Act an “itty-bitty step” — and a “stop/restart kabuki shell game” that “starts w/ restarting bulk collection of phone records.”

      That downbeat appraisal of the USA Freedom Act should give pause to its celebrants. Drake is a former senior executive of the National Security Agency — and a whistleblower who endured prosecution and faced decades in prison for daring to speak truthfully about NSA activities. He ran afoul of vindictive authorities because he refused to go along with the NSA’s massive surveillance program after 9/11.

    • U.S. spy agency secretly expands warrantless Internet surveillance: report

      The U.S. government has secretly expanded the National Security Agency’s warrantless Internet surveillance to search for evidence of what it called “malicious cyberactivity,” The New York Times reported Thursday, citing classified documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

      U.S. Justice Department lawyers wrote two secret memos in mid-2012 granting its secret approval for the NSA to begin hunting on Internet cables for data allegedly linked to computer intrusions originating abroad, including traffic that flows to suspicious Internet addresses or contains malware, the report said.

    • FBI anti-terror official calls on tech firms to ‘prevent encryption above all else’

      The FBI has again waded into the debate around encryption, with the bureau’s assistant director of counterterrorism telling the US congress that tech companies should “prevent encryption above all else”.

    • FBI official: Companies should help us ‘prevent encryption above all else’

      The debate over encryption erupted on Capitol Hill again Wednesday, with an FBI official testifying that law enforcement’s challenge is working with tech companies “to build technological solutions to prevent encryption above all else.”

      At first glance the comment from Michael B. Steinbach, assistant director in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, might appear to go further than FBI Director James B. Comey. Encryption, a technology widely used to secure digital information by scrambling data so only authorized users can decode it, is “a good thing,” Comey has said, even if he wants the government to have the ability get around it.

    • Breaking news: “Pyrawebs” rejected for good [Espanol/English]

      This afternoon, the Paraguayan Senate voted against a bill that would have mandated internet service providers (ISPs) to store internet communications metadata for one year, thus rejecting the “Pyrawebs” initiative for good. The House of Representatives in Paraguay previously voted against the bill in March before sending it to the Senate for a final decision.

    • A Machine for Keeping Secrets?

      Like any modern zero-day sold on the black market, the Enigma compromise had value only if it remained secret. The stakes were higher, but the basic template of the game—secret compromise, secret exploitation, doom on discovery—continues to be one basic form of the computer security game to this day. The allies went to extraordinary lengths to conceal their compromise of the Enigma, including traps like Operation Mincemeat (planting false papers on a corpse masquerading as a drowned British military officer). The Snowden revelations and other work has revealed the degree to which this game continues, with many millions of taxpayer dollars being spent keeping illicit access to software compromises available to the NSA, GCHQ and all the rest. The first rule is not to reveal success in breaking your enemy’s security by careless action; the compromise efforts that Snowden revealed had, after all, been running for many years before the public became aware of them.

    • Chris Soghoian Q+A: The Next Chapter of Surveillance Reform

      I recently conducted a wide-ranging Q+A with the ACLU’s chief technologist, Chris Soghoian, on a range of topics, from the “fraudulent” nature of the recent debate over Section 215 of the Patriot Act to the dire need for more technological expertise among those tasked with overseeing the Intelligence Community in the 21st Century. Another part of our conversation was particularly relevant to those who worry that the end of bulk telephony metadata collection is the high-water mark for intelligence reform. Our topic: The lack of attention to the fact that much of the US’s massive surveillance infrastructure is used for top secret purposes only loosely related to national security. While US intelligence agencies portray themselves as using their dark talents against ne’er-do-wells, the reality is far different, argues Soghoian. He took particular issue with the NSA and its foreign partners like Britain’s GCHQ, doing things like snooping on the employees of technology businesses in order to exploit their products for espionage purposes.

    • Leaked trade deal stops countries from saying where your data goes

      There’s been a fair share of leaked trade deals raising hackles in recent memory, but the latest could have some big repercussions for your data privacy. WikiLeaks has slipped out details of the in-progress Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), and one of its clauses would prevent the US, European Union and 23 other nations from controlling both where your data is stored as well as whether or not it’s accessible from outside of the country. Germany, for example, couldn’t demand that Facebook and Google store residents’ account information on local servers.

    • Facebook Messenger now lets you send friends a map with your location
    • First Victory for Citizens against Surveillance: French Military Planning Act before Constitutional Court!

      The French Council of State published today its decision to refer of the Question Prioritaire de Constitutionalité (Prioritary Question of Constitutionality1) brought by the FDN Federation, French Data Network and La Quadrature du Net against the article 20 of the 2014-2019 Military Planning Act voted in 2013. This decision is fundamental in the fight against generalised surveillance and the access to connection data by French intelligence services. It takes an important place in the current debates on the French Intelligence Bill.

  • Civil Rights

    • OPM hack: as China blames US for huge cyberattack, new era of cyberwarfare and internet terrorism arrives

      One of the most damaging and intense attacks on the US government ever took place this year. And nobody, even those that had been hit, knew.

      The US government said last night that it had lost control of data held by the Office of Personal Management, which holds information about all of the staff employed by the US government. Nobody knows why, or who, stole it — but that is the reality of modern warfare.

    • Scott Walker: Men Can Sue if a Woman Gets an Abortion, but Women Can’t Sue for Pay Discrimination

      In 2012, Walker repealed Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which put teeth in the state’s anti- wage discrimination laws by allowing women to seek damages in state court. The law was opposed by business lobbies like the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, and by the state senator who drove the law’s repeal, now-Congressman Glenn Grothman, who said the gender wage gap can be explained because “money is more important for men.”

    • Ludicrous Feminism Against Salmond

      That the Tories and Unionist establishment would attempt to land a sexist smear on Alex Salmond for calling a woman a, err, woman, is unsurprising. That they are joined by a number of ludicrous feminists is unsurprising too.

  • DRM

    • Egregious Nonsense Regarding eBook Standards

      That’s the same strategy Microsoft employed when it knocked WordPerfect and Lotus out of their preferred positions thirty years ago, making it possible to seamlessly import documents created under those programs, but making sure that exporting them back again met with less than perfect results. For the last ten years, Microsoft has fought an ongoing battle against the OpenDocument Format (ODF) to try and keep it that way, something I’ve written hundreds of blog posts about here.

      Also like Microsoft, which dramatically reduced updating Office after it wiped out the competition (as it also did with Internet Explorer, after it wiped out Netscape, until it was once again challenged by Firefox), Amazon continues to provide an extremely mediocre presentation of actual books on devices. Only recently has it announced something as basic as new fonts, many years after the initial release of the Kindle. It has, however innovated vigorously and successfully on its family of Kindle devices, in order to win over as many customers as possible to its proprietary platform.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • My Daughter is a Netflix VPN Thief, Media Boss Confesses

        The new boss of Canadian telecoms giant Bell Media has confessed that her own daughter is a “thief”. Speaking at the Canadian Telecom Summit, Mary Ann Turcke says her 15-year-old was using a VPN to access Netflix’s superior U.S. service but she quickly put a stop to it. Netflix could’ve done so earlier, she added, but chose not to.

      • Pirate Bay Block Doesn’t Boost Sales, Research Shows

        New research from Carnegie Mellon University shows that the UK Pirate Bay blockade had no affect on legal consumption. Instead, visitors switched to alternative sites, Pirate Bay mirrors, or started using VPNs. However, the same research also reveals that blocking several major pirate sites at once does boost the use of paid legal services such as Netflix.

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