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08.25.15

Links 25/8/2015: Linux Kernel 4.2 Final RC, KDE Ships Plasma 5.4.0

Posted in News Roundup at 1:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • For open source legend Eric S. Raymond, user-centric design is long overdue

    It took a while for Eric S. Raymond, one of the founding fathers of the open source movement, to prioritize the end user. But now that he has, he wants you to know how easy it can be.

  • The Open Source Greatness of Linux

    Ubuntu grabbed a large portion of the headlines today with Canonical’s decision to abandon its paid software for desktops to concentrate on mobile devices. The Everyday Linux User reviewed Mageia 5 and Distrowatch.com has added “Release Model” to their database search options. Elsewhere, Danny Stieben said Linux is so great because it’s Open Source and Munich is consdiering switching back to Linux on some machines because folks said there were no text editors, Skype support, or office suites installed. All this and more in today’ Linux news round-up.

  • The open source movement needs folk songs

    So if you have a musical bent, try composing an open source folk song. It’s fine to be silly, too. Surprise us with what you make. Share your story and your song(s) right here on Opensource.com

  • Open source for products in four rules (and 10 slides)
  • Apache Twill: real abstraction is a decoupled algorithm

    To be clearer, this term decoupling arises time & time again in relation to the cloud computing model of service-based processing and storage power.

  • Great Open Source Collaborative Editing Tools

    In a nutshell, collaborative writing is writing done by more than one person. There are benefits and risks of collaborative working. Some of the benefits include a more integrated / co-ordinated approach, better use of existing resources, and a stronger, united voice. For me, the greatest advantage is one of the most transparent. That’s when I need to take colleagues’ views. Sending files back and forth between colleagues is inefficient, causes unnecessary delays and leaves people (i.e. me) unhappy with the whole notion of collaboration. With good collaborative software, I can share notes, data and files, and use comments to share thoughts in real-time or asynchronously. Working together on documents, images, video, presentations, and tasks is made less of a chore.

  • Parse open sources its SDKs

    Earlier this month, mobile backend-as-a-service provider Parse open sourced its iOS, OS X, and Android SDKs, and will be open sourcing additional SDKs in the future.

    Parse, which was acquired by Facebook in 2013, says that its SDKs are used by more than 800 million active app-device pairs per month. By open sourcing those SDKs, Parse believes it can help developers facing challenges similar to those it faced. Specifically, according to Parse, “We’ve had to figure out a way to make a public-facing API easy to understand and use, but continue shipping features fast without breaking any existing functionality. To solve this, we structured our public API as a facade for internal code and functionality that could be consistently changing.”

  • A word to the Wise…

    I have been recently reminded that while it may be hard enough to discuss the role and importance of communities for Free and Open Source Software, it is equally important to understand the complexities and the challenges that a Free and Open Source Software foundation has to meet.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s self-destruct course continues: major add-on compatibility changes announced

        Mozilla announced major upcoming changes to Firefox add-ons on the official Add-ons Blog today. These changes affect add-on developers and Firefox users alike, and will have a major effect on add-on compatibility and permissions.

      • Holes found in Pocket Firefox add-on

        Information security man Clint Ruoho has detailed server-side vulnerabilities in the popular Pocket add-on bundled with Firefox that may have allowed user reading lists to be populated with malicious links.

        The since-patched holes were disclosed July 25 and fixed August 17 after a series of botched patches, and gave attackers access to the process running as root on Amazon servers.

        Ruho says the bookmarking app functioned as an internal network proxy and subsequent poor design choices meant he could glean information on users including IP address data and the URLs customers saved for later reading. Adding redirects meant he gained access to the etc/passwd file.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.0 and Microsoft Office 2013 Full Comparison

      The latest LibreOffice 5.0 is out for some time and it looks like the feature parity with Microsoft Office 2013 is now a lot better. The official wiki from The Document Foundation that shows off the differences and similarities between the two office suites has been updated, and it paints a pretty accurate picture of the progress that’s being made.

    • LibreOffice-from-Collabora 4.4 introduces OOXML, PDF, and configuration management improvements

      Today’s release of LibreOffice-from-Collabora 4.4 combines Collabora’s latest compatibility, deployment management, and document integrity features with a host of improvements from the LibreOffice community. Redesigned toolbars, menus, rulers, and dialogues make these powerful additions more attractive and efficient to use.

  • Business

  • BSD

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source part of Poland’s animal tracking project

      Poland’s Agency for Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture (ARMA) wants to modernise its animal identification and tracking system. The new solution is required to use Zabbix, an open source solution for IT security monitoring.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Now anybody can create Ransomware using open source kit on GitHub

      Ransomware are a pain for PC and laptop owners because they encrypt PCs/Laptop in return for a ransom which if not paid may permanently lock away users important folders like your images, word and excel files etc. However upto now the malware for Ransomware was only available on Dark Web, but that will change now thanks to a Turkish security researcher, Utku Sen.

    • GitHub figures show huge rise in open source languages
    • Most popular programming languages shift at Github
    • PHP 7 drops first release candidate

      Faster PHP is approaching. PHP 7.0.0, which has been promoted as a much quicker upgrade to the server-side scripting language, has just gone into a release candidate stage, bringing its general availability even closer to fruition.

    • Infinity

      I’m writing a replacement for libthread_db. It’s called Infinity.

    • We’re still catching up to Perl

      That’s from a great little article by Chromatic about modern Perl in the latest issue of PragPub. The article goes in to discuss a number of other strengths of Perl, such as its strong community dedication to testing across numerous architectures, services for understanding package dependencies (that sound like they go beyond anything presently available for Ruby), and legendary standards of documentation.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Government seeks open standards feedback

      The government has launched a consultation on how best to proceed with several open standards proposals that will support inter-connected systems and more cost efficient digital transformation across Whitehall.

    • UK launches its next OGP Action Plan

      Open policy making, Open Data and international cooperation are three pillars that UK Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock wants to be included in the 2015 UK Action Plan, according to a speech given by the minister to mark the launch of a new Open Government Partnership (OGP) action plan (Transcript is accessible on the gov.uk website).

    • Flash is dying a death by 1,000 cuts, and that’s a good thing

      Adobe’s Flash, hated the world over for slowing down computers, containing more holes in security than swiss cheese and stubbornly being the video carrier of choice until recently, is dying.

      Video players are migrating to other systems, even if Microsoft’s Silverlight isn’t much better. HTML5-based video and animations are becoming mainstream, and uploaders and other more advanced web-based features can now be replaced with code that doesn’t rely on Flash.

    • Kill Flash? Be careful what you wish for

      Back when Steve Jobs launched the first salvo in the war against Adobe Flash, declaring in no uncertain terms that the iPhone would never support the ubiquitous Web media framework, the anti-Apple crowd was much amused. No one is laughing now — least of all the many IT vendors that have built their management interfaces in Flash, for whom the death of Flash poses huge challenges.

      At the time, Jobs seemed to be climbing out on a limb. But eventually, everyone came to see how painful it was to support Flash on mobile devices, and how much better HTML5 was at delivering the same basic functionality. Developers began skipping over Flash and going with alternative technologies so that they could support mobile and desktop clients with the same codebase.

Leftovers

  • Why developers have more power than you think

    Jeff Lawson is a walking, talking example of the rise of the developer.

    Today, he’s the CEO of API economy darling Twilio, a cloud platform that offers API-accessible telecom services to marquee customers like Home Depot and Uber. But 20 years ago, he was another computer science student who saw the power of the Internet and wanted to try his hand at building Web applications.

  • Hardware

    • My Network Go-Bag

      I often get teased for taking so much tech hardware with me on trips—right up until the Wi-Fi at the hotel, conference center or rented house fails. I’m currently on vacation with my family and some of our friends from Florida, and our rental home has a faulty Wi-Fi router. Thankfully, I have a bag full of goodies for just this occasion.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Linus Torvalds: Security is never going to be perfect

      One of the best kept secrets at this week’s LinuxCon was the presence of Linus Torvalds. I’ve never not seen Linus at any of the LinuxCons I’ve attended since 2009, whether in Europe or North America, but no matter who you asked, the answer was, “He’s not here.” This morning, though, a little bird sang that the surprise guest for the upcoming keynote was none other than Torvalds.

    • Linux Foundation to Launch New Security-Focused Badge Program for Open-Source Software

      During the LinuxCon and CloudOpen events that took place last week in Seattle, North America, Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative announced that they were developing a new free Badge Program and that they wanted to know the open source community’s opinion on the matter.

    • ​Securing the Internet: Let’s Encrypt to release first security certificates September 7

      Some days it seems like the Internet is about as secure as an over-filled diaper. There’s always crap leaking from seamy businesses, such as Ashley Madison; the Federal government, OPM and IRS; and even security companies like LastPass. One of the weakest security links is the connection between you and unsecured web sites. Now almost a year since it was proposed, Let’s Encrypt is almost ready to enable any Internet site to protect its visitors with free Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificates.

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • John McAfee: McAfee antivirus is one of the worst products on the planet
    • Highway to hack: why we’re just at the beginning of the auto-hacking era

      Imagine it’s 1995, and you’re about to put your company’s office on the Internet. Your security has been solid in the past—you’ve banned people from bringing floppies to work with games, you’ve installed virus scanners, and you run file server backups every night. So, you set up the Internet router and give everyone TCP/IP addresses. It’s not like you’re NASA or the Pentagon or something, so what could go wrong?

      That, in essence, is the security posture of many modern automobiles—a network of sensors and controllers that have been tuned to perform flawlessly under normal use, with little more than a firewall (or in some cases, not even that) protecting it from attack once connected to the big, bad Internet world. This month at three separate security conferences, five sets of researchers presented proof-of-concept attacks on vehicles from multiple manufacturers plus an add-on device that spies on drivers for insurance companies, taking advantage of always-on cellular connectivity and other wireless vehicle communications to defeat security measures, gain access to vehicles, and—in three cases—gain access to the car’s internal network in a way that could take remote control of the vehicle in frightening ways.

    • backdooring your javascript using minifier bugs

      In addition to unforgettable life experiences and personal growth, one thing I got out of DEF CON 23 was a copy of POC||GTFO 0×08 from Travis Goodspeed. The coolest article I’ve read so far in it is “Deniable Backdoors Using Compiler Bugs,” in which the authors abused a pre-existing bug in CLANG to create a backdoored version of sudo that allowed any user to gain root access. This is very sneaky, because nobody could prove that their patch to sudo was a backdoor by examining the source code; instead, the privilege escalation backdoor is inserted at compile-time by certain (buggy) versions of CLANG.

      That got me thinking about whether you could use the same backdoor technique on javascript. JS runs pretty much everywhere these days (browsers, servers, arduinos and robots, maybe even cars someday) but it’s an interpreted language, not compiled. However, it’s quite common to minify and optimize JS to reduce file size and improve performance. Perhaps that gives us enough room to insert a backdoor by abusing a JS minifier.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Two planes crash at Swiss airshow

      Two light planes have crashed at an airshow in Switzerland, killing one of the pilots.

      Swiss police said they were two of three C-42b aircraft from Germany, flying in formation. They crashed after they touched in mid-air on Sunday morning.

    • America as the Neo-British Empire

      For some writers, imperial freedom floats all boats (and not just the capitalists’). They thank hegemonic powers for liberalism itself, asserting that imperial naval (or air) power deployed overseas leaves domestic liberalism unharmed. By contrast, standing armies are said to threaten domestic liberty. Yet embracing imperial means, we might expect very thin liberalism indeed; with Machiavelli’s “republic for increase” walking the earth, we might at least speak frankly of “free trade imperialism.”

    • French train gunman ‘dumbfounded’ by terrorist tag

      French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Saturday there had been “several shots” before the Moroccan was subdued by the passengers, who included three Americans.

    • North, South Korea reach agreement to ease tensions

      North and South Korea reached agreement early on Tuesday to end a standoff involving an exchange of artillery fire that had pushed the divided peninsula into a state of heightened military tension.

      Under the accord reached after midnight on Tuesday morning after more than two days of talks, North Korea expressed regret over the recent wounding of South Korean soldiers in a landmine incident and Seoul agreed to halt anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts, both sides said.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Paul Haggis: ‘shame on’ press for not asking Tom Cruise about Scientology

      The Oscar-winning director of Crash, who left the church in 2009, has criticised journalists for failing to address the Mission: Impossible star’s beliefs

    • Wall Street rattles Washington

      The stock market closed a wild Monday with the Dow Jones industrial average down over 500 points, setting off fresh fears about the health of the global economy.

      The Wall Street drama quickly spread to the 2016 campaign trail and Washington, as flashbacks to the 2008 financial crisis drew responses from the political world.

      Renewed concern about the strength of China’s economy kicked off a brutal opening, as the Dow opened down more than 1,000 points in the first minutes of trading. While the index largely erased those gains later in the day, it still ended Monday down 588 points, adding to large losses suffered the two days prior.

    • Jeremy Corbyn: Personal attacks by Gordon Brown and Labour grandees are ‘pathetic’

      Labour leadership candidates quizzed on BBC 5 live, Andy Burnham accused of making sexist remark and Yvette Cooper attacks Jeremy Corbyn

  • Censorship

    • Twitter shuts down 30 sites dedicated to saving politicians’ deleted tweets

      Twitter has shut down a network of sites dedicated to archiving deleted tweets from politicians around the world. The sites — collectively known as Politwoops — were overseen by the Open State Foundation (OSF), which reported that Twitter suspended their API access on Friday, August 21st. Twitter reportedly told the OSF that its decision was the result of “thoughtful internal deliberation and close consideration of a number of factors,” and that the social media site didn’t distinguish between politicians and regular users.

    • Twitter cuts off Diplotwoops and Politwoops in all remaining 30 countries

      On Friday night, August 21, Open State Foundation was informed by Twitter that it suspended API access to Diplotwoops and all remaining Politwoops sites in 30 countries. After Twitter suspended API access for the US version of Politwoops for displaying deleted tweets of US lawmakers on May 15, Open State Foundation was still running Politwoops in 30 countries, including the European parliament.

    • Malaysia considers forcing news websites to register with gov’t, as political scandal unfolds

      Malaysia’s new Communications and Multimedia Minister has proposed amending the country’s Internet laws to force news websites to register with the government. Human rights groups have been quick to denounce the proposal as a threat to free speech.

    • Come on, how did the Air Force screw up ‘loose tweets sink fleets?’

      Hey, remember when this designer made a whole bunch of amazing internet-themed World War II propaganda parodies? Well, one of those just cropped up in the actual military, albeit not for the first time. In an online bulletin earlier this month, the US Air Forces Central Command repurposed the iconic “loose lips sink ships” slogan to warn service members about the potential dangers of social media. As you might have guessed from the photo above, it’s now “loose tweets destroy fleets.”

    • Russia threatens to ban Wikipedia
  • Privacy

    • Amazon.com will stop accepting Flash ads on September 1

      Amazon has decided to stop accepting Adobe Flash ads starting next month. The move, which goes into effect on September 1, affects not just the company’s website, but its whole advertising platform.

    • Police secretly track cellphones to solve routine crimes

      The crime itself was ordinary: Someone smashed the back window of a parked car one evening and ran off with a cellphone. What was unusual was how the police hunted the thief.

      Detectives did it by secretly using one of the government’s most powerful phone surveillance tools — capable of intercepting data from hundreds of people’s cellphones at a time — to track the phone, and with it their suspect, to the doorway of a public housing complex. They used it to search for a car thief, too. And a woman who made a string of harassing phone calls.

      In one case after another, USA TODAY found police in Baltimore and other cities used the phone tracker, commonly known as a stingray, to locate the perpetrators of routine street crimes and frequently concealed that fact from the suspects, their lawyers and even judges. In the process, they quietly transformed a form of surveillance billed as a tool to hunt terrorists and kidnappers into a staple of everyday policing.

    • Canadians are suing Ashley Madison because a lack of prophylactic protection

      A BRACE OF LAW FIRMS ARE BEHIND A class action lawsuit against Ashley Madison because it did not do enough to protect personal and private information.

      The class action case, from two Canadian law firms, argues that the hookup stations failed users by not protecting their information and for not deleting it after a fee had been paid to ensure its deletion. It seeks $578m.

      According to the New York Post the lawyers want some satisfaction for a cluster of punters who are currently wearing outraged expressions and regretting joining a site that does what it does in the way that it does it.

    • ‘Security Was An Afterthought,’ Hacked Ashley Madison Emails Show

      It’s already clear that, despite handling very sensitive data, Ashley Madison did not have the best security. Hackers managed to obtain everything from source code to customer data to internal documents, and the attackers behind the breach, who call themselves the Impact Team, made a mockery of the company’s defenses in an interview.

  • Civil Rights

    • Bernie Sanders: The Vox conversation
    • [Old] Russia begins blacklisting ‘undesirable’ organizations
    • The Crackdown On NGOs In Russia

      In early March, Russian prosecutors launched spot inspections of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) across the country. Hundreds of groups have already been targeted, from human rights NGOs to environmental groups to health-care associations. Formally, prosecutors are checking compliance with a new law forcing organizations that receive foreign funding and are deemed to engage in “political activity” to register as “foreign agents” — a derogatory term that critics say aims to stigmatize NGOs. Russian authorities say the legislation, which entered into force in November 2012, aims at increasing the transparency and accountability of NGOs. But the audits have drawn international condemnation and raised fears of an unprecedented crackdown on civil society. The number of NGOs subjected to such inspections is difficult to assess due to the absence of an official registry. Most are still waiting for the inspection findings. RFE/RL is closely monitoring developments and will regularly update this chart and map.

    • How Moscow came to embrace fringe anti-Western conspiracy theories

      Black’s interest in the air traffic controller is not insignificant: testimony by “Carlos the Spanish air traffic operator” is one of the earliest versions of the MH17 catastrophe touted by RT and other Kremlin-aligned media, which were immediately exposed as fake. There’s no evidence that WikiSpooks is Kremlin-funded or in any way aligned, but its motivation is explicitly expressed in their mission statement: any fact promoted by the “official narrative” via the “commercially-controlled media” is inherently false and must be disputed. Hence, to WikiSpooks and other similar websites, the position that Russia or Russia-backed rebels shot down MH17 is false simply because it is endorsed by the American government and must be confronted, even if it leads to a jumble of contradictory versions of the same event, based on spurious evidence.

    • Once, firms cherished their workers. Now they are seen as disposable

      …big companies offered paid holidays, guaranteed pensions related to your final salary, sickness benefit and recognised trade unions. Above all, they offered the chance of a career and personal progression…

    • Sai Gets FOIA Docs On The TSA

      Lisa Simeone posts at TSA News Blog on some of what’s been revealed through the docs released in the request by Sai, “an intrepid, indefatigable young man.” As Simeone writes, “He has been forced to tangle with the TSA more than once, when the agency’s workers have bullied, harassed, and illegally detained him.” Chasing illegal movie downloaders proves an unprofitable exercise

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Google joins Facebook in trying to prevent IAMAI from taking strong anti-Zero Rating stand

      Google joined hands with Facebook to try and prevent the Internet and Mobile Association of India, which represents some of the largest Internet companies in India, from taking a stand that counters Zero Rating. According to emails exchanged between IAMAI’s Government Relations committee members, of which MediaNama has copies, Vineeta Dixit, a member of Google’s Public Policy and and Government Relations team, strongly pushed for the removal of any mention of Zero Rating from the IAMAI’s submission, as a response to the Department of Telecom’s report on Net Neutrality. Please note that Google hasn’t responded to our queries, despite multiple reminders.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Two Danes face up to six years in jail for explaining how to use Popcorn Time

        Danish police have arrested two men alleged to be the operators of sites related to the open-source program Popcorn Time, which adds a user-friendly front-end to a BitTorrent client to make the whole process of finding, downloading, and viewing video torrents extremely simple. The two domains, Popcorntime.dk and Popcorn-time.dk, have now been shut down, but copies on the Wayback Machine show that both were merely information sites, and neither offered material that infringed on copyrights, nor any version of the Popcorn Time software itself. Both sites warned users about potential copyright infringement issues.

        The men are accused of “distributing knowledge and guides on how to obtain illegal content online,” as TorrentFreak reports, and have apparently pleaded guilty. Moreover, distributing information is considered such a serious violation of Danish copyright law that “they could face punishment under section 299b of the penal code—offenses which carry a maximum prison term of six years.” That seems an extraordinarily harsh and disproportionate upper limit for merely explaining how to use a program, just because copyright is involved in some way.

        A similar case has already been heard in the UK, where it was found that sites offering downloads of the Popcorn Time software contributed to the copyright infringement that results from its use. In April of this year, the English High Court ordered a number of sites to be blocked for this reason. However, in that case the sites enabled the program to be downloaded directly, whereas in Denmark, the accused simply offered basic information about how the software worked and could be used, together with links to other sites where the program could be obtained.

      • Former Megaupload User Asks Court to Return His Files

        Millions of users lost access to their personal files when Megaupload was raided, and after nearly four years their files are still stashed away in a Virginia warehouse. The company that owns the servers wants to get rid of them, so former Megaupload user Kyle Goodwin has once again asked the court if he can have his files back.

      • Chasing illegal movie downloaders proves an unprofitable exercise

        It has been a bad week for companies wanting to build businesses around make money from illegal movie downloaders. Last Friday saw an Australian judge refuse Voltage Pictures the rigth to send downloaders of Dallas Buyers Club a letter demanding an undisclosed payment. Justice Nye Perram decided that Voltage and its lawyers, were engaging in “speculative invoicing”, a practice that is a form of legal blackmail: “pay us a large enough sum so that we don’t take you to court where you will possibly face an even larger but unspecified fine”.

      • Will Australian Government Use Cost-Benefit Analysis To Kill Off Fair Use Proposal Once And For All?

        Discussions about copyright reform in Australia are now entering their fourth year, and the longer they go on, the worse the proposals become. That’s in part because there has been a change of government in the interim, and the present Attorney-General, George Brandis, has made it clear he’s firmly on the side of copyright companies, and indifferent to the Australian public’s concerns or needs in a digital world.

      • This Anti-Piracy Campaign Will Leave You Speechless

        Anti-piracy campaigns come in all shapes and sizes and usually aim to prod the public into action. To capture the imagination they are often provocative, but just how far is too far? A new campaign for Virgin Radio is currently testing those boundaries to an extent rarely – if ever – seen before.

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    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  27. [Meme] You Cannot Elect/Vote Corporations Out of Power (Eternal Vigilance is Required)

    Based on early polls, Biden will be president-elect in about a month and a half; but it’s important to remember that the election (if honoured by the current tenant of the White House) won’t be the end of corporate abuse of power in the same sense that driving Microsoft out of business won’t miraculously mean that Free software ‘won’ (we have a lot more to confront still)



  28. Debian Volunteers Disallowed and Forbidden From Talking About Politics (Unlike Debian's Aristocracy That Handles All the Money From Sponsors)

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  29. Political Compass for Free Software (and Those Who Attack Software Freedom)

    With RMS (the father of the movement) betrayed from multiple angles (OSI, Linux Foundation etc.) it’s probably important to depict what’s going on, quasi-politically speaking



  30. Richard Stallman Has Not Changed His Tune at All

    Richard Stallman's (RMS) principled views regarding software go back to the days of zeroes and ones; his position 35 years ago was almost indistinguishable from today's position


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