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10.01.15

Links 1/10/2015: LFS 7.8, Calculate Linux 15 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Type of Documentation Open Source Needs

    I used to write manuals, so no doubt I consider documentation more important than most users. But whatever the reason, I am increasingly convinced that if desktop Linux applications are ever going to receive the attention they deserve, they need not only to have documentation, but to have the right sort as well.

  • Transparency with Open Source

    In a recent survey I conducted of government departments’ use and understanding of FOSS, I found that most officers are aware of open source. However, I also found that officers have a limited appreciation of the principles of transparency that open source software is based on. They are aware that FOSS is a low-cost, basically free, alternative to proprietary software, but are unaware of the strong intangible benefits it provides, such as those of process transparency.

  • How open source found me

    So open source chose me. It was the right fit for science and discovery, and so it just happened. I can’t take credit for any of that. But it’s not the reason why I decided to work in open source.

  • Yahoo’s Open Source Omid Project Brings Scalable Transaction Processing To HBase

    For Yahoo, the main benefit of open sourcing a project like Omid is that many of the community’s improvements will directly help it improve its own service. That’s something that held true for Hadoop, and the company hopes to replicate this success with projects like Omid.

  • Teradata Accelerates Roadmap for Open Source Presto
  • Teradata’s open source connect
  • Facebook and Teradata on Apache Presto and the disruption of open source

    In the nearly two years since going open source, Presto has grown from an internal Facebook project into a platform that’s used by likes of Airbnb, Dropbox and Netflix to process data more rapidly.

  • Should research on vehicle software be hidden from the public?

    The US Department of Transportation (DOT) says security researchers tinkering with vehicle software shouldn’t be allowed to go public with their findings. The agency “is concerned that there may be circumstances in which security researchers may not fully appreciate the potential safety ramifications” if their findings are released in the wild.

  • DHS Funds Project For Open Source ‘Invisible Clouds’

    Cloud Security Alliance and Waverley Labs to build software-defined perimeter (SDP) to protect cloud and critical infrastructure from DDoS attacks.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Mirantis 7 Fuels OpenStack Kilo With Liberty

      Mirantis has emerged in recent years as one of the leading vendors and contributors to the open-source OpenStack cloud platform. Today Mirantis is releasing its OpenStack 7.0 distribution, which bundles its Fuel toolkit for cloud deployment and management alongside common OpenStack components.

    • Transwarp Technologies uses open source and non-proprietary Hadoop core

      Transwarp offers several proprietary products that are built upon a Hadoop core. What’s unique about this Hadoop core is that it is open source and non-proprietary. Transwarp Data Hub is the number one Hadoop distribution available in China; it’s specific to customer demands. This distribution makes it easy for the company’s customers to transition their legacy applications from old infrastructure to new infrastructure. This is done by a single engine layer on top of a Hadoop core.

    • One-click installs: Moving to simplicity with Hadoop

      EMC Cloud Solutions always seems to be on the horizon of producing easy solutions. In a smart partnership with BlueData, Inc., it has been able to combine its abilities to deliver customers one-click solutions to Hadoop.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Brno will host LibreOffice Conference 2016!

      So I can finally share publicly that Brno will host LibreOffice Conference 2016. After GUADEC 2013 and Akademy 2014, it’s the third major desktop conference that will take place in Brno. The venue will be the campus of Faculty of Information Technologies of Brno University of Technology which is one of the major computer science universities in the country with a lot of open source participation. That’s also where GUADEC 2013 and DevConf.cz 2015 took place.

    • LibreOffice Conference 2015
    • LibreOffice Online – LibreOffice Conference 2015
    • Apache OpenOffice: Not Dead Yet

      It’s taken a year, but Apache OpenOffice finally seems to be moving forward. However, whether the progress will be enough to make the project a success remains impossible to predict.

    • OpenOffice 4.1.2 Teased, LibO Conference Wrap-up

      Apache OpenOffice has been practically declared dead by many while others suggest folding back into LibreOffice. It’s true the last release was a year ago, but release manager Andrea Pescetti recently blogged OpenOffice 4.1.2 is right around the corner. The LibreOffice Conference wrapped up Monday and a couple of attendees blogged of their experiences. Elsewhere, Jesse Smith summarized the current state of Linux touch desktops and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols said there will never be a year of the Linux desktop.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSF, Conservancy publish principles for community-oriented GPL enforcement

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced publication of “The Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement,” co-authored with the Software Freedom Conservancy. The document lays out the principles that both organizations follow when they receive reports that a company is violating copyleft terms like the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL).

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Open data initiatives: create your own success

        Open data initiatives should actively create their own successes. Instead of publishing everything they can, Cities should investigate which data can actually be used to solve a problem, Albert Meijer, Professor of Public Innovation at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, said in an interview with the Dutch centre of expertise Open Overheid.

  • Programming

    • Dennis M.Ritchie – The father of the “C” programming language

      Dennis is a key developer of the UNIX operating system, and co-author of the book “The C Programming Language”. He worked along with Ken Thompson (A scientist who wrote the original UNIX). Later he developed a collaboration on the C programming language with Brian Kernighan and they were known together as K&R (Kernighan & Ritchie). Dennis Ritchie had an important contribution to UNIX which was that UNIX ported to different machines and platforms. His ideas still live on, at the center of modern operating systems design, in almost all new programming languages, and in every bit of open systems.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • The Global Innovation Index 2015

      The report, which looks like it was a lot of work (over 450 pages and 79 variables), is a comprehensive indexing exercise. The UK ranks second, having risen from tenth in 2011; Switzerland again is number one.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • MSNBC’s Chris Hayes And Al Gore Debunk Latest Defeatist Arguments Against Climate Action

      AL GORE: Of course, there are at least two big flaws in that argument. First of all, we can create jobs by taking on this challenge. And we can create jobs that cannot be outsourced, jobs like refurbishing buildings to make them energy efficient, installing solar panels on rooftops so individuals can have lower electricity bills. There are tens of millions of jobs in this, and it’s one of the few areas in our economy where the jobs are growing in number fairly rapidly. Eighty-eight percent growth in green jobs year over year over the past year. And secondly, since when did the United States abandon its traditional world leadership role? Especially at a time when just this past week the president of China says “Okay, we’re going to adopt a cap and trade program and we’re reducing our CO2 emissions and we want to create jobs in solar and wind and efficiency.” So the rest of the world still does look to the United States for leadership. This is the most serious global challenge we’ve ever faced. No other country can play the role that the U.S. can play.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Rifkind and Straw: Guilty as Hell but Broke No Rules

      It is evidence of what a sewer Westminster is, that the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner has ruled that Straw and Rifkind broke no rules. The BBC and Sky are full of smug reporters telling us the two are “vindicated”.

      They are not vindicated, they are disgusting.

      What is revealed is that it is absolutely the norm for Tory and Blairite MPs to be firmly in the pockets of corporations, looking after corporate interests and receiving huge slabs of cash. Straw and Rifkind were just behaving like greedy grasping unprincipled bastards within the rules. How is that a vindication?

    • How SPN “Think Tanks” Will Spin ALEC’s 2016 Agenda

      This week, a shadowy network of state-based, right-wing think tanks and advocacy groups will convene with Koch operatives and other big donors in Grand Rapids, Michigan to coordinate their 2016 agenda for all 50 states.

      The State Policy Network (SPN) is a network of state-branded groups, like the Civitas Institute in North Carolina and the Goldwater Institute in Arizona, which appear to be independent yet actually are operating from the same national playbook. SPN plays a key role in driving the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) agenda, particularly by providing academic-like cover for ALEC’s corporate-friendly policies.

    • Marginalizing the Momentum of the BDS Movement

      …New York Times virtually ignores the movement’s momentum.

    • Corbyn Kneeling Story A Media Invention

      If Jeremy Corbyn sticks to his guns, and just goes along and shows normal respect, I have no doubt at all the Queen will carry on completely unfazed. She is not stupid, is very well aware that a significant number of British people are republicans, and is not interested in making people uncomfortable. She will expect so long as she is monarch, Jeremy Corbyn to work as prescribed within the forms of government – just as I organised State Visits to the very best of my ability. But personal displays of obsequiousness are not of importance to the Queen; they are rather the obsession of the pathetically servile Guardian and other media.

  • Privacy

    • Update for VeraCrypt, new flaws in TrueCrypt

      Recently TrueCrypt has been in the news again, because of a couple of new critical security issues that were found for its Windows version. You can read more in these articles at Engadget, Threatpost and Extremetech. Windows computers with TrueCrypt installed can be taken over completely by a non-privileged user, and the computer does not even have to have mounted any TrueCrypt container.

  • Civil Rights

    • More Truth About British Torture

      We cannot undo the physical and mental damage of all the torture.

      [...]

      The reason Shaker has been detained longer than any other British resident is that he was tortured with MI6 personnel directly in the room, as opposed to waiting outside. If the British establishment were not totally corrupt, his return to the UK would finally make it impossible to avoid prosecutions over torture, up to and including Dearlove, Straw and Blair.

    • Dadri: Mob kills man, injures son over ‘rumours’ that they ate beef

      A 50-year-old man, Mohammad Akhlaq, was beaten to death and his 22-year-old son severely injured on Monday night in UP’s Dadri, allegedly by residents of Bisara village, after rumours spread in the area about the family storing and consuming beef, police said.

    • The revolutionary act of telling the truth

      George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

      These are dark times, in which the propaganda of deceit touches all our lives. It is as if political reality has been privatised and illusion legitimised. The information age is a media age. We have politics by media; censorship by media; war by media; retribution by media; diversion by media – a surreal assembly line of clichés and false assumptions.

      Wondrous technology has become both our friend and our enemy. Every time we turn on a computer or pick up a digital device – our secular rosary beads – we are subjected to control: to surveillance of our habits and routines, and to lies and manipulation.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Can the State automatically acquire ownership of your copyright? In South Africa this may become the case

        Have you ever come across a copyright law that provides that the State automatically acquires ownership of copyright in a certain work upon death of the relevant owner?

      • It could only happen in America: PETA litigates over macaque selfie

        Conferring legal personality to animals gives rise to a number of problematic issues. For example, should animals also have criminal responsibility? As regards ownership of property, there are obvious problems with how that ownership can be balanced with third party interests; how to decide which charity or other body would manage the animal’s ownership on its behalf and in what way? Perhaps these problems can be overcome if one considers how common interests can be represented before the Courts by unincorporated associations, how children’s property can be managed by trusts or how a concept of guardianship might be deployed.

The ‘Microsoft Loves Linux’ Baloney is Still Being Floated in the Media While Microsoft Attacks Linux With Patents, New Lawsuits Reported

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 6:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What the media wants us to believe it can make many actually believe, by sheer force of repetition

Bridgewater Hall

Summary: Despite Microsoft’s continued assault on Linux and on Android (using software patents, which it still discreetly lobbies for), some figures in the media are perpetually peddling the Microsoft-serving lie that ‘Microsoft loves Linux’

THE land of the insane would have us believe that free thinkers are the enemy and indoctrinated peons are model citizens. The corporate media would have us believe that Microsoft, which attacks Linux, actually “loves Linux” (because Microsoft’s CEO said so). We very much doubt that our existing readers believe the nonsense from Microsoft, but just in case, here is a refutation of some of the latest media propaganda. Microsoft is not the only one attacking Linux with software patents; its own patent trolls do too, so it’s not always so visible on the surface.

Let’s start with this new report about Intellectual Ventures. Remember who created and runs Intellectual Ventures.

“A shell company with a patent linked to Intellectual Ventures,” explains a trolls expert, “the world’s biggest patent-holding company, has quietly filed a new lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas against a vast range of computer peripheral makers and sellers.”

They are specifically trying to tax all USB hubs, which run BSD or Linux (usually Linux). Earlier this year we showed that Intellectual Ventures was also attacking Android, which uses Linux and parts of GNU. We wrote several articles about it. Again, remember who created and runs Intellectual Ventures. Remember who subsidises this.

“Remember who created and runs Intellectual Ventures.”Several months ago we reminded readers that there was no "new Microsoft" because despite the change of CEO the company was still extorting Linux using patents (it was Kyocera at the time, not the first under Nadella's lead).

“It turns out that Microsoft’s newly found love for Linux, under the leadership of Satya Nadella, is more than infatuation.”
      –Swapnil Bhartiya
Swapnil Bhartiya, who is of Indian descent, proudly shows two CEOs who are also of Indian descent, in an effort to paint Google and Microsoft as making peace (the misleading headline, maybe chosen by the IDG-appointed editor, says “Microsoft ends patent disputes with Google”). Swapnil is wrong though and he is not alone (LXer’s very top news item at this moment says “Google, Microsoft kiss and make up in patent fight truce”, linking to The Register). He seems to have been successfully brainwashed based on his recent articles, e.g. [1]. Microsoft is still suing Android (and by extension Google) using patents. Microsoft is doing this from many different fronts, its private patent trolls included. There is no peace here or even an end to the disputes. It’s just about the Motorola case (predating Google’s takeover of parts of Motorola). This whole Google-Microsoft news is about the Motorola case, but some try to frame it as something that it’s not (they hardly even mention Motorola). Microsoft is clearly still attacking Linux (including ChromeOS and Android) and patents are its weapon.

To quote the erroneous opening paragraph of Swapnil (not the editor’s): “It turns out that Microsoft’s newly found love for Linux, under the leadership of Satya Nadella, is more than infatuation.”

Complete nonsense. Swapnil must not have paid close enough attention to all the patent battles Microsoft waged and continues to wage, even under Nadella’s management and after the “Microsoft loves Linux” lie.

Microsoft still launches new patent assaults on Linux, via patent trolls. If that’s not enough, there are also direct attacks. As Microsoft’s Mouth, Mary Jo Foley, put it the other day, “Microsoft and peripheral and tablet maker I-O Data Device have renewed and extended their patent agreement to cover various I-O Data Linux and Android devices.”

These are Microsoft’s words, putting lipstick on a pig because we are dealing with racketeering here (see the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act).

Racketeering by Microsoft is described so gently by Microsoft social media accounts and this press release. Microsoft just loves Linux like the Mafia likes the people whom it extorts because they shell out money. Microsoft ‘loves’ Linux so much that it continues to extort it using patents, but some people are continuing to pretend there is a ‘new’ Microsoft that supposedly ‘loves’ Linux. It beggars belief.

Microsoft, a supporter and booster of patent trolls like MPEG-LA, has caused so much damage to GNU/Linux. Among the famous problems is the inability to play some media files, even in places where software patents are not valid at all. See this new article about an imminent reprieve:

MP3 Decoding Patent Is Expiring, Linux Distro Could Integrate It by Default

The MP3 decoding patent is one those things that seems pretty harmless and present in pretty much any device around us, but it’s actually something that generates tons of money per unit for Fraunhofer and Thompson. Linux distributions need to offer this feature and it means integrating a proprietary solution, although there is some hope now that the patent seems to have expired.

The problem here isn’t just Fraunhofer and Thompson but the cartels that encapsulate the patents — cartels that Apple and Microsoft support. According to some new reports, Microsoft wants tracking devices on people’s hands and then patents the terrible ‘idea’ (probably to be used to sue Android companies later, or demand money to settle out of court). Microsoft embraces “openness” and “choice” like superpowers (e.g. Red Army or US Army) embrace “freedom” and “democracy”. Microsoft calls it “embrace, extend, extinguish” and expects us to view Microsoft as an ally of convenience.

Cade Metz, a Microsoft and Bill Gates booster, seems to want people to forget that Microsoft is still attacking Linux using patents (see quote below in [4]). It was crossposted in other sites when a lot of sites, including Microsoft’s own sites, tried to paint Microsoft as ‘embracing’ Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. Even some Linux-centric writers fell for it ([2-3] below).

For those who wonder why we have been covering the EPO so heavily as of late, stay tuned. The corruption at the EPO nicely connects to Microsoft, as we shall show in the coming few days. The criminal gang known as Microsoft views itself as above the law, much like the EPO operates outside the rule of law and works closely with Microsoft behind the scenes. According to this tweet from last night, “Microsoft [...] will work together on UPC” and to quote the relevant bit from the article: “They will also lobby for specific rules on a unified patent system throughout Europe.”

Yes, Microsoft still lobbies for software patents in Europe and for US patent reign over Europe (corporations from outside Europe to ban/embargo products in Europe). It’s just that Microsoft is more discreet about it. The monopolist prefers to undemocratically write new laws, undetected by the public.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft launches its big data service running on Linux
  2. ​Microsoft deploys first major server application on Ubuntu Linux
  3. Microsoft Chooses Ubuntu for Their Linux-Based Azure HDInsight Offering

    After revealing Azure Cloud Switch, a Linux kernel-based operating system for developing software products for network devices, Microsoft just announced that they decided to choose Ubuntu for their first Linux-based Azure offering.

  4. Microsoft Built Its Own Linux Because Everyone Else Did

    For years, Microsoft actively worked to suppress Linux, a computer operating system whose underlying code is freely available to the world at large. It once threatened legal action against businesses that used the open source OS, insisting that Linux infringed on patents underpinning its flagship Windows operating system.

The Microsoft Botnet Goes Bonkers and ATMs Running Windows Spew Out Cash

Posted in GNU/Linux, Security, Vista 10, Vista 7, Windows at 5:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Mission-critical” and “Windows” are not possible to mention in the same sentence

Manchester Airport

Summary: The terrible security (by design) of Microsoft Windows is causing all sorts of very serious and collectively expensive issues

NOW that Rianne and I are back from vacation (Manchester Airport is shown above) we are amused to see even Dan Goodin, a selective basher of Free software, covering this latest blunder from Microsoft (affecting Vista 7). Sosumi dropped this pointer last night in the #techrights IRC channel and since then the word has been spreading rather quickly. Dan Goodin finally writes about the Microsoft Windows botnet (Windows Update, for a change) and Microsoft rushes to do ‘damage control’ by going after journalists. To quote Goodin:

“Microsoft said a highly suspicious Windows update that was delivered to customers around the world was the result of a test that wasn’t correctly implemented.

“We incorrectly published a test update and are in the process of removing it,” a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in an e-mail to Ars. The message included no other information.”

Yeah, whatever. It’s hard to refute something like that, but it may as well be a lie. It would be hard to prove what actually happened unless someone from the inside (like a whistleblower) got contacted. It’s all secretive and proprietary. Here is what the British media (Goodin’s former employer) wrote: “The Register poked Microsoft about the issue, and a spokesman told us: “We incorrectly published a test update and are in the process of removing it.”

“How that sort of thing happens, though, we’re not totally clear on. The bizarre update has certainly confused a load of Windows users, who hit the support forums in search of answers.

“Beginning with Windows 10, Microsoft has begun touting a new strategy of “Windows as a service,” where updates are continuous and automatic, and only enterprise customers are given the option of refusing them.”

When the Microsoft botnet (commandeered by the NSA and not just Microsoft, which grants the NSA access) goes awry we should all be reminded of the importance of software freedom. Windows Update, with automatic invocation in particular, is a truly terrible thing (even in Free software). Not only state-sanction spies but crackers too can exploit it, through back doors for example.

The monopolist knows that people are increasingly worried about all this remote control-like functionality. Microsoft Peter now comments [1] on mass surveillance (even on keystrokes) in Vista 10 after Microsoft admitted that mass surveillance is very much intentional, not a glitch. People inside Microsoft told me that it’s only getting worse (at development stages) and bound to get worse by the next release of Windows.

In other news, proprietary Windows and proprietary RAR now facilitate remote access by secret agencies (see this discussion). To quote Net Security: “A critical vulnerability has been found in the latest version of WinRAR, the popular file archiver and compressor utility for Windows, and can be exploited by remote attackers to compromise a machine on which the software is installed.”

The press hardly covered this. Instead it got obsessed with “XOR DDOS”. Weak passwords are to blame, not GNU/Linux, but all the headlines name “Linux”. There are finally some decent articles about it, not FUD from Microsoft boosters and insecurity firms (looking to sell their services).

Another bit of FUD came from The Inquirer last week (mentioned in our daily links). The Inquirer changed the headline after falsely accusing/blaming Linux, merely because the acronym XFS was mentioned (purely Windows in this case, not related to the Linux file system). Here are some articles about it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14]. In short, lots of ATMs are being exploited not because of Linux but because they don’t use Linux. This is because of Windows. What kind of company STILL uses Windows in ATMs and banking in general? This is a platform of botnets and back doors, it’s simply unfit for purpose. Guess who pays the price for clueless technologists who put Windows in banks (which can receive bailout from taxpayers)? Just imagine where we would be if airplanes ran Windows…

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft reaffirms privacy commitment, but Windows will keep collecting data

    The second category is personalization data, the things Windows—and especially Cortana—knows regarding what your handwriting looks like, what your voice sounds like, which sports teams you follow, and so on. Nothing is changing here. Microsoft says that users are in control, but our own testing suggests that the situation is murkier. Even when set to use the most private settings, there is unexpected communication between Windows 10 and Microsoft. We continue to advocate settings that are both clearer and stricter in their effect.

Black Duck Continues to Pile FUD on Free/Libre Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD at 4:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A FUD mill, just like many national newspapers

Daily Express building

Summary: Having spent nearly a decade promoting the fear of Free software licensing, Black Duck now does the same regarding Free software security

Black Duck, the company that virtually came from Microsoft (or a Microsoft veteran), is badmouthing security of Free/libre software again, obviously in order to sell its proprietary software but perhaps to also help proprietary software companies (like Microsoft).

“Black Duck is not part of the Free/Open Source software community but a parasite within it.”Black Duck’s CEO, according to CRN, “spoke on a panel at the MassTLC Security Conference this week, said open-source components are frequently and easily breached.

““If you want to know how to exploit open-source [projects], just go to YouTube and you’ll see how to do it. It’s that easy,” he said.”

Unlike proprietary software? Are there no YouTube videos about how to exploit or take advantage of holes in proprietary software? Nonsense. Over the years I came across quite a few, including nearly a dozen about Novell’s proprietary software (while researching Novell back in the days). The same can be said about the licensing FUD that comes out of Black Duck. Why won’t they ever speak of the BSA with its devastating effects that can sometimes bankrupt a business? Black Duck is not part of the Free/Open Source software community but a parasite within it.

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