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Links 8/9/2015: Peppermint 6, elementary OS 0.3.1

Posted in News Roundup at 5:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Viewer for Ubuntu Touch Making Great Progress

      Developers are preparing a LibreOffice viewer for the Ubuntu phones, and it looks like it’s coming along just nicely. It’s still early work, but its makers are already reporting great progress and really good performance.

    • Microsoft vs OpenOffice in Pesaro: first, let’s recap

      Pesaro is a town of about 100 thousands people on the northern adriatic coast of Italy. Its Public Administration has been facing lots of critics from Free/Open Source software supporters because, in the last five years, it changed twice the same, important part of its ICT infrastructure. Both those changes bring consequences and open issues, both for the critics and for Pesaro, that have had little or no coverage at all so far, especially outside Italy (1). Before talking about them, however, it is necessary to summarize what happened.

  • BSD


    • Porting Guix and GuixSD

      A few weeks ago, Manolis Ragkousis announced the completion of the GSoC project whose purpose was to port Guix to the Hurd. The system distribution, GuixSD, cannot run GNU/Hurd yet, but the package manager itself can both cross-compile from GNU/Linux to GNU/Hurd and build natively on GNU/Hurd. The work of Manolis is being gradually merged in the main branch.

      More recently, Mark H Weaver posted a series of patches porting GuixSD to MIPS (Lemote Yeeloong), making it the first GuixSD port to non-Intel-compatible hardware (the package manager itself has supported mips64el for two years already.) By removing several platform-specific assumptions, this work paves the way for future ports.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Munich now a major contributor to open source

      The city of Munich is a major contributor to free and open source projects, sending bugfixes to upstream developers, making available software solutions and sharing best practices and technical information. In August, Munich IT staff members shared the city’s accomplishments with the community of Debian developers, one of the main free software distributions.

    • Munich Does A Lot Of The Right Things But Still Drags Onwards

      Munich may have put out the fire but they still are far from optimal in IT. There’s no reason at all they have to support 20-year-old computers. Such things can be replaced rather readily in today’s market with savings in energy-consumption, size, space, noise, dust,… Why spend a lot on labour to maintain obsolete technology far past its “best before” date? It’s not as if they are just getting full value out of previous expenditures nor keeping junk out of the landfill. Ten years’ support does that very well. Twenty years is just silly. 20 years ago, I was using a ‘486, for pity’s sake.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Know Your Language: C Rules Everything Around Me (Part One)

      C is everywhere and in everything. C powers the Mars Curiosity rover, every computer operating system, every mobile OS, the Java Virtual Machine, Google Chrome, ATM machines, the computers in your car, the computers in your robot surgeon, the computers that designed the robot surgeon, the computers that designed those computers, and, eventually, C powers itself as its own implementation language.


  • How Apple is preparing for the end of the iPhone affair

    The launch of the iPhone 6s, fourth generation Apple TV and iPad Pro is impending…


    Apple knows it can’t rely on the annual iPhone hype-release cycle

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Here’s What I Saw in a California Town Without Running Water

      Glance at a lawn in East Porterville, California, and you’ll instantly know something about the people who live in the house attached to it.

      If a lawn is green, the home has running water. If it’s brown, or if the yard contains plastic water tanks or crates of bottled water, then the well has gone dry.

  • Security

    • Linux Foundation Security Checklist: Have It Your Way

      The Linux Foundation’s recently published security checklist may draw more attention to best practices for protecting Linux workstations, even if IT pros do not embrace all of its recommendations.

    • ICT faces critical shortage of IT security execs

      There’s a critical shortage of IT security experts in Australia to meet an otherwise welcome increase in the demand for ICT executives after months of employment uncertainty for the country’s tech executives.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Why Murdoch Pushes for War

      Given the disgraceful Sun front page and middle spread urging war on Syria, and the all-out propaganda on Sky News, it is important to understand why Murdoch is pushing so hard for war. I therefore reproduce my article from February 2013. It is important to note that the links are to industry publications: this is very genuine, hard information.

    • Secret RAF drone strike kills two Britons in Syria

      DAVID CAMERON revealed yesterday that the RAF carried out a secret drone strike in Syria which killed two British citizens fighting for Islamic State (Isis).

      The Prime Minister insisted the strike was “necessary and proportionate” to stop attacks being planned on Britain.

      But campaigners described it as a an “extrajudicial killing” that “violated” the will of Parliament.

  • Finance

    • ‘Why this long PayPal delay?’

      In the past I sold a few personal items on eBay that were paid for with PayPal. On those occasions I had immediate access to the money I received.

      However, in recent weeks I have sold some other items, also paid for with PayPal, but was able to access the money only after 21 days, even though PayPal deducted its fees immediately. Have things changed?

    • I Foreclose Houses For Banks: 5 Awful Realities

      About a decade ago, home prices exploded to bizarro levels, then millions of families got behind on their mortgage payments. A financial crisis spiraled out from there, almost destroying the world. Things have improved a bit since then, but it still sucks for lots of people. If you can’t make your payments, the bank squares the debt by seizing your home, and you’re left out in the cold. In the modern world, it’s one of the worst things that can happen to you that doesn’t involve a somber doctor asking you to please sit down.

      That’s where Evelyn comes in. As part of her real estate job, she works with banks to handle foreclosures, evictions, and lockouts. We asked her what it’s like watching this tragedy unfold again and again.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Harvard Professor Larry Lessig Says He’s Running for President

      After exceeding his $1 million crowd-funding goal, Harvard Law School professor Larry Lessig announced today on “This Week” that he is running for president.

      “I think I’m running to get people to acknowledge the elephant in the room,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “We have to recognize — we have a government that does not work. The stalemate, partisan platform of American politics in Washington right now doesn’t work.”

    • The Usual Warmongers

      To many of us who have been in conflict zones without a sanitised cordon around us, and actually seen the effects close-up (and that excludes almost all of the political class), it is astonishing that the neo-cons constantly seek to promote war, any war. They just cannot sit comfortably unless we are blowing somebody, somewhere, limb from limb.

      Little Aylan Kurdi and his family were fleeing Kobani, a town the US Air Force have been bombing relentlessly for weeks. Bombs are entirely agnostic over who they kill, and have not made life notably better for the population.

      Yet the news media are now insistently beating the drum for British bombing in Syria.

  • Censorship

    • Google DMCA Notice Record Smashed Again – But Why?

      Despite scaling dizzy heights in recent months, the record for DMCA notices being sent to Google’s search engine has been smashed again. In a single week Google just processed a mind-boggling 13.68 million URLs, or to put it another way, almost 23 copyright complaints every second. So what’s behind the massive surge?

    • Pirate Party Offers Uncensored DNS to Bypass Pirate Bay Blockade

      The Norwegian Pirate Party has made a big statement by launching a free DNS service which allows Internet users to bypass the local Pirate Bay blockade. The party advocates a free and open Internet for everyone and believes that the recent website blockades set a dangerous precedent.

    • Norwegian Pirate Party provides DNS server to bypass new Pirate Bay blockade

      Following a court-ordered block of The Pirate Bay and a number of other file-sharing websites in Norway, the Norwegian Pirate Party (Piratpartiet Norge) has now set up free, uncensored DNS servers that anyone can use to bypass the block. While the DNS servers are based in Norway, anyone can use them: if your ISP is blocking access to certain sites via DNS blackholing/blocking, using the Piratpartiet’s DNS servers should enable access.

  • Privacy

    • It’s Impossible to Torrent Anonymously, Lawyer Says

      With dozens of cases under his belt Oregon lawyer Carl Crowell can be considered an expert when it comes to suing BitTorrent pirates. However, a recent claim that pirates can’t be anonymous online conflicts with day-to-day reality.

  • Civil Rights

    • Sex abuse royal commission: Geelong Grammar paedophile teacher paid to retire to avoid scandal

      A former Geelong Grammar headmaster paid a teacher to retire early, in order to avoid a formal complaint about sexual abuse, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse has heard.

      The former headmaster, Nicholas Sampson, is now the principal of elite New South Wales school, Cranbrook School.

      Former teacher Jonathan Harvey was jailed in 2007 for 10 months, with another 22 months suspended, after pleading guilty to abusing a former student, known as BLF, between 1976 and 1978.

      In his testimony to the royal commission on Monday, Harvey claimed the elite school’s then-headmaster Nicholas Sampson suggested that he retire early, after hearing of his misconduct relating to a student.

    • Feds allege 4 men executed heist of $1 million worth of MacBook Airs

      Saljanin appears to have stopped at home in Yorktown Heights, New York, where he left the large, rented Penske truck in a parking lot overnight. When he came back the next day, he told police, the truck was gone. Of course, he told the authorities, he had no idea who could have done such a thing, nor did anyone else know that he was making the delivery.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • How Comcast is changing tactics in response to cord cutters

      Reddit user demian87 recently posted a letter from Comcast notifying him or her of a new Comcast internet access pricing plan being trialed in Fort Lauderdale, the Keys, and Miami, Florida. According to this letter, Comcast will set a limit beginning on October 1 of 300 GB per household per month. Customers who exceed this limit will have to pay $10 for every additional 50 GB needed after that, or sign up for an unlimited data plan for an additional $30 per month.

      Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas confirmed that the letter is authentic, along with the company’s new unlimited pricing plan. Douglas explained that “the company has trialed three other pricing plans since 2012 when Comcast had a static limit of 250 GB per month.”

      In a related development reported by the New York Times, Comcast will campaign to win over the quintessential cord-cutter class with new TV services designed to entice them into subscribing to its internet access service. Comcast will begin offering a $15-a-month TV service called Stream that includes broadcast networks and HBO for its internet customers. The new service will be available in Boston, Chicago, and Seattle later this year and across the company’s coverage areas in the United States in 2016.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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