06.26.15

Links 26/6/2015: Ardour 4.1, GNOME 3.17.3 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • BMW: ‘Our competitor is not Audi, Jaguar Land Rover or Mercedes but consumer electronics players’

    BMW is bringing software back in-house so it can deliver seamless digital experiences for its customers – something more valued than horsepower or engines in today’s market, its digital business models lead said.

  • Science

    • 10 Reasons Tape Backup Remains Important to the Enterprise

      Digital tape is about the hardest-to-kill storage IT there is, unless you count carving out data onto rocks, the way it was done hundreds of thousands of years ago. Tape technology celebrated its 63rd birthday on May 21; IBM first made available its IBM 726 Magnetic tape reader/recorder in 1952. Strangely, unlike later IBM tape drives, the original 726 could read tape backward and forward. Tape has managed to get better with age. When tape first went to market, the media itself weighed 935 pounds and held 2.3MB of data. In 2015, that much tape weighs closer to 12 pounds, and 2.3MB would comprise one large photo or a short pop song. Tape storage densities are broken regularly; IBM’s tape team recently demonstrated an areal recording density of 123 billion bits of uncompressed data per square inch on low-cost, particulate magnetic tape. The breakthrough represents the equivalent of a 220TB tape cartridge that could fit in the palm of your hand. Companies such as Iron Mountain, Spectra Logic, IBM and others maintain large installed bases of tape storage around the world. Here are some key facts about tape storage.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Charleston Massacre Media Coverage: Recognizing the Crime, Downplaying the Causes

      When a white male kills people in a mass shooting in the US, the corporate media follow an algorithm not unlike the Kübler-Ross model of the five stages of grief.

      First, media deny that the attack constitutes terrorism. In their view, acts of political violence carried out against civilians are indisputably terrorism when they are committed by a Muslim, but this is not necessarily the case when they are committed by a white person.

      This is the stage in which most media coverage of shootings by white Americans remains stuck. When Elliot Rodger massacred six people and injured 14 more in May 2014, he was not classified as a terrorist–even though he explicitly stated that his attack was motivated by an intense hatred of women, and that he sought to “punish” women, collectively, for “rejecting” him in the past.

      Yet because of mounting pressure and criticism from independent media, activists and social media, in the wake of mass shooting after mass shooting carried out disproportionately by white men, corporate media are no longer able to remain in a state of such denial.

    • That Most Terrorists Aren’t Muslim May ‘Come as a Surprise’–if You Get Your News From Corporate Media

      The “surprise” is that more people are killed by “white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims”: 48 vs. 26 since 9/11, according to a study by the New America Foundation. (More comprehensive studies cited in a recent New York Times op-ed–6/16/15–show an even greater gap, with 254 killed in far-right violence since 9/11, according to West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, compared to 50 killed in jihadist-related terrorism.)

      The Times suggests that “such numbers are new to the public”–but they won’t come as much of a surprise to those familiar with FAIR’s work. In articles like “More Terror, Less Coverage” (Extra!, 5/11) and “A Media Microscope on Islam-Linked Violence” (Extra!, 8/13), FAIR’s Steve Rendall has debunked the claim that terrorism is mostly or exclusively a Muslim phenomenon, pointing out that white, right-wing Christians are responsible for the bulk of political violence in the United States.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • With Its French NSA Leak, WikiLeaks Is Back

      Classified documents appear on WikiLeaks.org, revealing that the American government is spying on its allies. American officials rush to deal with a sudden diplomatic crisis while publicly refusing to comment on leaked materials. And WikiLeaks proclaims that it’s just getting started.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • What’s Killing the Babies of Vernal, Utah?

      Every night, Donna Young goes to bed with her pistol, a .45 Taurus Judge with laser attachment. Last fall, she says, someone stole onto her ranch to poison her livestock, or tried to; happily, her son found the d-CON wrapper and dumped all the feed from the troughs. Strangers phoned the house to wish her dead or run out of town on a rail. Local nurses and doctors went them one better, she says, warning pregnant women that Young’s incompetence had killed babies and would surely kill theirs too, if given the chance.

      [...]

      Then there’s pollution of the eight-wheeled sort: untold truck trips to service each fracking site. Per a recent report from Colorado, it takes 1,400 truck trips just to frack a well — and many hundreds more to haul the wastewater away and dump it into evaporation ponds. That’s a lot of diesel soot per cubic foot of gas, all in the name of a “cleaner-burning” fuel, which is how the industry is labeling natural gas.

  • Finance

    • Unregulated Capitalism Is Destroying the Planet

      We are in the middle of the first great mass extinction since the end of the age of the dinosaurs.

      That’s the conclusion of a shocking new study published Friday in a journal called Science Advances.

      The study, which was conducted by a group of scientists from some of the United States’ leading universities, found that over the past century-plus, vertebrate species have gone extinct at a rate almost 114 times faster than average.

      See more news and opinion from Thom Hartmann at Truthout here.

      That’s right – not one, not two, not 50, but 114 times faster than average!

      The study also found that as many 477 different vertebrate species have disappeared since 1900, a mind-boggling statistic because it usually takes between 800 to 10,000 years for that many species to disappear.

    • The Senate Passes Fast Track—But We Can Still Prevent the TPP Train Wreck

      The U.S. Senate has paved the way for the passage of Fast Track legislation, to give the White House and the U.S. Trade Representative almost unilateral power to negotiate and finalize secret anti-user trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Yesterday a “cloture” vote was held—this was a vote to end debate on Fast Track and break any possibility for a filibuster, and it passed by the minimum votes needed—60 to 37. Today, the Senate voted to pass the legislation itself. TPP proponents only needed 51 votes, a simple majority, to actually pass the bill, and they got it in a 60 to 38 vote. Following months and months of campaigning, Congress has ultimately caved to corporate demands to hand away its own constitutional mandate over trade, and the President is expected to the sign the bill into law as early as tonight or later this week.

    • Senate approves fast-track, sending trade bill to White House

      he Senate voted Wednesday to approve fast-track authority, securing a big second-term legislative win for President Obama after a months-long struggle.

      The 60-38 Senate vote capped weeks of fighting over the trade bill, which pitted Obama against most of his party — including Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

      Passage of the bill is also a big victory for GOP leaders in Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The Republican leaders worked closely with an administration they have more frequently opposed to nudge the trade bill over the goal line.

    • Network Rail upgrade delayed by government

      The government says it will delay or cut back a number of modernisation projects planned for Network Rail.

      Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin says rising costs and missed targets make the £38.5bn plan untenable.

      He blamed Network Rail, saying it should have foreseen the improvements would cost more and take longer.

      Labour said it had warned the government needed to change how the railways were run but had “dithered” over taking action.

      Network Rail said the plan, which was launched last year as the “largest modernisation of the railways since Victorian times”, was too ambitious.

      Network Rail controls 2,500 stations as well as tracks, tunnels and level crossings.

    • Why Catholic Americans are rejecting the Pope: They worship the free market now

      Pope Francis’ much-anticipated climate change encyclical, released last week, is every bit as strong as environmentalists and other proponents of dramatic action on climate change had hoped. The pontiff affirms the scientific consensus that climate change is largely the result of human activity, calls for “urgent action” to develop renewable energy alternatives, and slams global development paradigms that create an “ecological debt” between the Global South and the wealthier North.

      Many are predicting that the encyclical will be a game changer that will mobilize religious groups and galvanize lagging western nations, particularly the United States, to address climate change. And the encyclical will undoubtedly give the cause a huge moral push, especially at the upcoming international climate negotiations. But there are ominous warning signs already that a significant percentage of American Catholics — the very faith constituency that should be most receptive to the pope’s message — may turn a deaf ear to Francis. This means that not only are they unlikely to give up their SUVs, but also to support policies to address climate change or the candidates that back them.

    • Divide-and-Conquer Walker Thinks Equal Pay Is Divisive

      Scott Walker is taking heat for claiming that supporting equal pay for women “pit[s] one group of Americans versus another.”

      Here in Wisconsin, howls of laughter could be heard echoing through the marble walls of the state capitol: after all, this is a governor whose divisive approach has helped make his state one of the most bitterly polarized in the country.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Federal Documents Debunk Baltimore ‘Gang Threat’ Narrative

      This fact—that there are always young kids at Mondawmin (it’s a major transportation hub, and the only way thousands of kids can get home)—is erased entirely from the equation. The use of the term “juveniles” is meant to prejudice the reader and criminalize otherwise legal and peaceful assembly. From the beginning of the Baltimore Uprising, in other words, it’s been evident the Baltimore Police Department was far more interested in manipulating the press and hyping the threat than they were protecting First Amendment activity and people’s property.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Dropbox Is Struggling and Competitors Are Catching Up

      Dropbox made itself a household name by giving away cloud storage. The eight-year-old company, valued at $10 billion, had 300 million registered users a year ago; now it’s got 400 million. Its two-year-old effort to make money from business users has been less impressive. While Dropbox led the $904 million global market for business file-sharing last year with about a 24 percent share, No. 2 Box and No. 3 Microsoft each took about 21 percent and doubled their slice of the pie, growing almost twice as fast, according to researcher IDC.

    • The NSA, Windows & Antivirus

      Poor Microsoft. The beleaguered company just can’t catch a break. We’ve already told you about how Snowden’s revelations have forced the pride of Redmond to spend who knows how many millions opening two “transparency centers” to allow government IT experts to pore through source code to prove there’s no back doors baked into Windows or other Microsoft products. Trouble is, while its engineers have been busy plastering over all traces of old back doors, they’ve left a side door standing wide open, waiting to be exploited.

      [...]

      The spooks have been reverse engineering. They’ve been dismantling Karpersky’s software, searching for weaknesses. They’ve been mining sensitive data by monitoring the email chatter between Kaspersky client and server software. In other words, while IT security folks outside the U.S. have been keeping a wary eye on their Windows servers while trusting their antivirus to be a tool to help them secure the unsecurable…well, their antivirus software has been being a Trojan in the truly Homeric sense of the word.

      [...]

      In the meantime, Windows becomes less safe by the minute for corporations and governments hoping to keep private data private. I’m certain that Red Hat, SUSE, and even Ubuntu are taking advantage.

    • Norway needs more digital border surveillance, spy agency says
    • Commission proposal on new data protection rules to boost EU Digital Single Market supported by Justice Ministers

      On the 16 of June, Ministers in the Justice Council have sealed a general approach on the Commission proposal on the Data Protection Regulation. Modern, harmonised data protection rules will contribute to making Europe fit for the digital age and are a step forward to the EU Digital Single Market. Trilogue negotiations with the Parliament and the Council will start in June; the shared ambition is to reach a final agreement by the end of 2015.

    • French Surveillance Bill: LQDN Files an Amicus Brief to the Constitutional Court

      La Quadrature du Net, French Data Network and the FDN Federation are publishing an essay to accompany their legal action before the French Constitutional Court against the French Surveillance Bill. The three associations, opposed to the French Surveillance Bill since its introduction in the Council of Ministers on 19 March, continue their mobilisation against this unjust law, in spite of its adoption in the National Assembly1 and the Senate2. Citizens are invited to support this approach by sharing and commenting on this essay by Thursday 7am to bring their thoughts or suggestions for improvement before sending it to the Constitutional Council.

    • Secure Server Deployments in Hostile Territory

      Would you change what you said on the phone, if you knew someone malicious was listening? Whether or not you view the NSA as malicious, I imagine that after reading the NSA coverage on Linux Journal, some of you found yourselves modifying your behavior. The same thing happened to me when I started deploying servers into a public cloud (EC2 in my case).

      Although I always have tried to build secure environments, EC2 presents a number of additional challenges both to your fault-tolerance systems and your overall security. Deploying a server on EC2 is like dropping it out of a helicopter behind enemy lines without so much as an IP address.

      In this article, I discuss some of the techniques I use to secure servers when they are in hostile territory. Although some of these techniques are specific to EC2, most are adaptable to just about any environment.

  • Civil Rights

    • France proposes empty ISDS reforms

      The French proposal would grant for-profit arbitrators, working in a system that creates perverse incentives, vast discretionary powers. This creates a serious risk on expansionist interpretations. Foreign investors would be able to use this biased system to challenge governments. As it is practically impossible to withdraw from trade agreements, the EU would be locked in.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • BT aims to shut down traditional phone network to help it battle US tech giants

      BT is calling on the communications watchdog to let it scrap the traditional telephone network, as part of a campaign to loosen regulations that it says will help telecoms companies compete better with US internet companies such as Apple and Facebook.

      The telecoms giant is planning to move all domestic and business customers to internet-based voice calls within a decade, but under current Ofcom rules must continue to provide a traditional phone service.

    • Major internet providers slowing traffic speeds for thousands across US

      Study finds significant degradations of networks for five largest ISPs, including AT&T and Time Warner, representing 75% of all wireline households in US

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Cox Wants Rightscorp’s Piracy Tracking Source Code

        Cox Communications, one of the largest Internet providers in the United States, has asked the court to order anti-piracy firm Rightscorp to hand over its tracking source code. The ISP describes the company’s settlement scheme as extortion and hopes to punch a hole in its evidence gathering techniques.

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