08.11.15

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Links 11/8/2015: Linux 4.2 RC 6, 4.1.5, 3.14.50, and 3.10.86

Posted in News Roundup at 8:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Pixar’s Universal Screen Description software is going open source

    Pixar Animation Studios has announced that its proprietary Universal Screen Description (USD) software will be going open source by Summer 2016, providing computer animation studios with an incredibly powerful tool to manage scenes in large scale projects.

  • Pixar’s Universal Scene Description Going Open Source
  • Facebook Releases Reference App for Marketing API
  • Facebook to Open Source Reference App For Marketing API
  • Pixar Announces Universal Scene Description to be Open-Sourced
  • Pixar to open-source its Universal Scene Description software
  • How To Improve Bus Factor In Your Open Source Project

    In my experience (I was an open source community manager for several years and am deeply embedded in the community of people who do open source outreach), getting people into the funnel for your project as first-time contributors is a reasonably well-solved problem, i.e., we know what works. Showing up at OpenHatch events, making sure the bugs in the bug tracker are well-specified, setting up a “good for first-timers” task tag and/or webpage and keeping it updated, personally inviting people who have reported bugs to help you solve them, etc. If you can invest several months of one-on-one or two-on-one mentorship time, participate in Google Summer of Code and/or Outreachy internship programs. If you want to start with something that’s quantitative and gamified, consider using Google Code-In as a scaffold to help you develop the rest of these practices.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 40 released, here’s what you’ll find

        It has been six weeks since the release of Firefox 39 and today Firefox 40 was pushed to the FTP servers and will roll out to users on August 11. Below is a compiled list of everything new you can expect to see in the release.

      • Mozilla Plugs Dangerous Firefox Zero-Day Hole

        Mozilla on Friday released security updates to fix a zero-day flaw in the Firefox browser. An exploit that searches for sensitive files and uploads them to a server — possibly somewhere in Ukraine — has surfaced in an ad on a Russian news site, Mozilla reported last week. The exploit impacts Windows and Linux users. Mac users could be hit by a modified version. The vulnerability stems from the interaction of Firefox’s PDF Viewer and the mechanism that enforces JavaScript context separation — the “same origin” policy, Mozilla said.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • Debunking Open-Source Database Myths

      Still, the IT industry harbors misconceptions about how open-source software works, its performance, its benefits and its ROI. eWEEK, with input from open-source PostgreSQL database specialist EnterpriseDB, helps debunk some of the most common open-source database myths, including those about its costs and capabilities.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • What It Took Porting LibreOffice To GTK3 & Wayland

      For the past several months Caolán McNamara has been leading the charge for adding GTK3 tool-kit support to LibreOffice. With the new LibreOffice 5.0 that initial GTK3 support is in place that also brings initial Wayland support for this open-source office suite.

  • Business

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • Kodi 15.1 Isengard – Release Candidate

      Once a ‘final’ version is released some new bugs and/or problems usually appear out of nowhere, and last release was no exception. Even though tens of thousands of users were already testing the 15.0 version before release, as soon as million started using it, some problems we either did not think of or which we did not notice popped up. To counter some of these new issues, we’re bringing you this maintenance release candidate called 15.1 RC1 which has some additional fixes on top of the 15.0 release.

    • Kodi 15.1 Release Candidate Is Now Available
  • Public Services/Government

    • Nantes: “Change management key to switch to free software”

      Change management is the key to successfully replacing proprietary software by free and open source alternatives, says Eric Ficheux, IT project manager working for the administration of Nantes. In 2013, France’s sixth largest city began switching to LibreOffice, replacing a proprietary suite of office productivity tools. “Any organisation considering a similar switch should brush up on change management.”

    • Of Course, LibreOffice Is Easy To Deploy And Use. It’s FLOSS. It’s An Office Suite.

      Yes. Replacing a non-Free office suite with LibreOffice makes sense. It’s FLOSS. You can run, examine, modify and distribute the software under the accompanying licence. There’s no need to budget for licensing. There’s no contract. There’s no dependency on someone out to get you. LibreOffice is a cooperative product of the world, not enslavement/lock-in/a burden indefinitely. It’s easy too. After all, LibreOffice is descended from StarOffice and OpenOffice.org designed from the beginning to be easy to use even for those familiar with M$’s product.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Projects Emphasize Open-Source Technology and Data for Agriculture

      Around the world, young people are turning to farming and the food sector as viable career options. However, the next generation of food system leaders often lacks access to the latest data and technologies that are vital to the success of farm businesses. Projects such as Open Ag Toolkit (OpenATK), a new platform for managing agricultural tasks, and FarmBot, an open-source community for small-scale precision farming, are working to democratize innovations in agriculture by improving data transfer and small-scale technologies through open-source models.

    • Amyris teams with Genome Compiler for open source testing program
    • Open Hardware

      • Watch those VOCs! Open Source Air Quality Monitor

        Capable of monitoring Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), basic particulate matter, carbon dioxide, temperature and humidity, it takes care of the basic metrics to measure the air quality of a room.

  • Programming

    • the future is here

      That’s right, boys and girls, a compiler with a bigger resident size than Firefox. Three times bigger.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • We need YOU to help close the IT gender gap

      According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only 26% of people employed in computer and mathematical occupations are women. While that figure may be staggering, I don’t believe the way to fix it is by simply hiring more women. A meritocracy requires that the most qualified candidates are selected for positions in every industry, regardless of gender. But we can level the IT industry’s playing field by educating young women and girls about potential career possibilities.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why TPP Threatens To Undermine One Of The Fundamental Principles Of Science

      Last week, we wrote that among the final obstacles to completing the TPP agreement was the issue of enhanced protection for drugs. More specifically, the fight is over an important new class of medicines called “biologics,” which are produced from living organisms, and tend to be more complex and expensive to devise. The Conversation has a good feature looking at this issue in more detail.

      [...]

      As that makes clear, data exclusivity is a kind of super-patent in that it can’t be challenged or revoked: if a drug company has run clinical trials to establish the safety of its new drug, it has an absolute and irrevocable monopoly on the use of that data — for five years in the case of Australia, Chile, Singapore and New Zealand. This is obviously an incredibly powerful form of monopoly, so perhaps it’s no surprise that US pharmaceutical companies want TPP to require signatories to grant an even longer period — 12 years of data exclusivity — for biologics.

      That’s useful for them, because even after drug patents have expired, and generic manufacturers can theoretically offer the same products without paying licensing fees, there remains the barrier of clinical testing. If the generic manufacturers can’t point to the original clinical trials as proof that the drug is safe, they will need to carry out their own, which will take time and cost money. In practice, they are more likely to wait until the period of data exclusivity is over, effectively extending the original manufacturer’s monopoly beyond that provided by patents alone.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Swedish plan to question Assange at Ecuador embassy in UK stalled

      Swedish prosecutors’ plan to question WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at Ecuador’s embassy in London has stalled as Ecuador has demanded Sweden give him asylum as a condition of the meeting, a Swedish official said on Friday.

      “You can’t give anyone asylum at another country’s embassy, that’s against international law,” Cecilia Riddselius at the Justice Department said. “If he wants asylum he has to come to Sweden.”

    • Call to share private sector partnerships on open governance

      The Private Sector Council was established in 2013 to engage businesses and entrepreneurs in promoting open governance, economic growth, and local innovations. The Council forms a group external to the OGP and coordinates private sector participation in OGP.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • NIC refuses to reveal identity of those who altered Jawaharlal Nehru Wikipedia page

      The National Informatics Centre, software solution provider of the government, has withheld information on who altered the Wikipedia page of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and posted scandalous information about him on the grounds it may have “security implications”.

    • Councils have lost or misused private data thousands of times, says watchdog

      Call for greater penalties as examples include child protection files left on train, worker using CCTV to watch a wedding and another digging into benefit claims

    • What Happens When a Failed Writer Becomes a Loyal Spy?

      He was fully aware of his statement’s implications.

      “I found myself wishing that my life would be constantly and completely monitored,” he continued. “It might seem odd that a self-professed libertarian would wish an Orwellian dystopia on himself, but here was my rationale: If people knew a few things about me, I might seem suspicious. But if people knew everything about me, they’d see they had nothing to fear. This is the attitude I have brought to SIGINT work since then.”

      When intelligence officials justify surveillance, they tend to use the stilted language of national security, and we typically hear only from senior officials who stick to their platitudes. It is rare for mid-level experts — the ones conducting the actual surveillance — to frankly explain what they do and why. And in this case, the candid confessions come from the NSA’s own surveillance philosopher. The columns answer a sociological curiosity: How does working at an intelligence agency turn a privacy hawk into a prophet of eavesdropping?

  • Civil Rights

    • Cops filmed behaving badly say pot shop’s camera illegally recorded raid

      Did you hear the one about the cops not wanting to use a store’s surveillance tape to help solve a crime?

      Who could blame these Santa Ana cops? Video shows them smashing surveillance cameras, badmouthing a woman in a wheelchair, and perhaps even munching on marijuana-infused products after they stormed a medical marijuana shop in Southern California, which was being investigated for allegedly operating unlawfully in the city.

      Three of the unidentified cops are demanding that a judge block the police department from using the tapes against them as the department investigates the officers’ conduct during the May raid. The cops at the center of the investigation say the Sky High Medical Marijuana Dispensary illegally recorded them because the officers believed they had disabled all the store’s cameras and therefore had an expectation of privacy “that their conversations were no longer being recorded,” according to the cops’ Aug. 5 lawsuit. (PDF) The suit says the tapes were also “edited” and cannot be relied upon.

    • Zachary Hammond death: Shooting of unarmed white teenager by police officer sparks debate over ‘lack of outrage’ in America

      The death of an unarmed white teenager who was shot by a white police officer in South Carolina has sparked a debate as to why the incident has not generated the same outrage as the deaths of other unarmed black Americans.

      Zachary Hammond, 19, was on a date with Tori Morton, 23, when he was shot twice in the back by a police officer last month.

    • Documents Reveal the Fearmongering Local Cops Use to Score Military Gear From the Pentagon

      Mother Jones obtained more than 450 police department requests for armored tactical vehicles from the Pentagon. Did your police force request one? Browse all of them here.

      One year ago this week, hundreds of camouflaged officers in Ferguson, Missouri bore down on residents protesting the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown.

    • U. alumnus removed from director position at American Psychological Association following US government torture scandal

      A University alumnus was removed from his position as ethics director of the American Psychological Association last month after an independent review alleged that he collaborated with the Department of Defense to enable torture.

    • Germany drops treason inquiry into Netzpolitik journalists

      German prosecutors have dropped a much-criticised treason investigation into two journalists who reported on secret plans to expand online surveillance in the country.

      Prosecutors notified Netzpolitik.org in July that its founder, Markus Beckedahl, and fellow journalist Andre Meister were under investigation, triggering widespread criticism from free-speech advocates. The website specialises in coverage of online privacy and digital culture.

    • U.S. ‘supermax’ prison: ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies’ is seen as ‘inhuman and degrading’

      U.S. prosecutors want Ali Charaf Damache in the worst way.

      An Irish resident originally from Algiers, Damache, 50, is accused of using online chat rooms to recruit American women into a would-be terrorist cell operating in this country and Europe.

      One man and two women, including Damache’s wife, have already been convicted in U.S. courts of providing material support to terrorists. And Damache was captured by Irish authorities in 2010 in Dublin on a separate charge of making a telephone death threat and held without bail.

    • Issue of where to move Guantanamo detainees threatens closure plan

      A renewed push by the White House to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been bogged down by an internal disagreement over its most controversial provision — where to house detainees who will be brought to the United States for trial or indefinite detention, according to U.S. officials.

    • Pentagon to release Gitmo closure plan after August recess

      The Defense Department expects to present a plan to close Guantanamo Bay to lawmakers after the August recess, a spokesman said on Monday.

    • Pentagon under fire for guidelines that liken war reporters to ‘belligerents’

      Defenders of press freedom have accused the Pentagon of endangering journalists with new legal guidelines that liken war correspondents to spies and say they can be treated as “unprivileged belligerents” in some circumstances.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • How You Buy Cellphones Is About to Change Forever

      This misconception owes to mobile carriers’ longstanding practice of offering discounts on phones for customers who agree to a two-year contract. For years, the deal was generally this: You go to a company like Verizon or AT&T, you sign some paperwork locking yourself into 24 months of wireless service, and Verizon or AT&T gives you a shiny new phone at a subsidized price—or even free, if you opt for less than the very best hardware.

    • Netscape changed the internet—and the world—when it went public 20 years ago

      Rosanne Siino finds it amusing when students interrupt one of her lectures at Stanford University to ask: “So, what is Netscape?”

      “Wow, how long has it been?” Siino, one of the first hires at Netscape, recalls telling a student. “Boy, you have no idea how much the world changed just before you were born.”

      It was 20 years ago today that Netscape went public, setting off what we now know as the first dot-com boom.

    • The ‘Netscape Moment,’ 20 years on

      We’re in the runup to the 20th anniversary of the “Netscape Moment” of 1995, the day when a California startup’s eye-popping market debut illuminated the World Wide Web for millions of people otherwise only vaguely familiar with its potential and promise.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Prince Warns Young Artists: Record Contracts Are ‘Slavery’

        “Jay Z spent $100 million of his own money to build his own service. We have to show support for artists who are trying to own things for themselves,” singer says of joining Tidal

        Two days after Prince announced that he would release his new album HitNRun exclusively to Tidal, the singer revealed the reason he is sidestepping a record label and offering the LP directly through Jay Z’s streaming service. “Record contracts are just like — I’m gonna say the word – slavery,” Prince said. “I would tell any young artist… don’t sign.”

      • MPAA Recruits Software Programmer to Combat Piracy

        In its ongoing war against online piracy, the MPAA is currently hoping to recruit a software developer. The Hollywood group is looking for savvy candidates who can help develop data gathering tools for enforcement purposes and to monitor, investigate and report on copyright infringement.

      • Pornhub Uploaders Targeted By Copyright Troll

        Several users of popular porn streaming site Pornhub have received settlement demands for thousands of dollars after uploading videos to the site without obtaining permission. How the users are being tracked down by the copyright troll involved remains somewhat of a mystery, but several theories persist.

      • Tolkien Lawyers Target “Hobbit House” With Copyright Threats

        Hollywood studio Warner Bros. and the Tolkien Estate are cracking down on a British couple building a “Hobbit house” campsite. The pair are being forced to change the project’s name and remove all Hobbit references from their Kickstarter campaign. According to Tolkien’s lawyers even words that rhyme with Hobbit are not permitted.

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