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11.10.15

Links 10/11/2015: International Space Station Uses GNU/Linux, TensorFlow Liberated

Posted in News Roundup at 10:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux security: circling the wagons

    People who belong to the free and open source software community have one trait in common: they are extremely sensitive to criticism of any kind of the software that belongs to this genre.

    Nothing else can account for the reaction that has been forthcoming after the Washington Post published an article on Linux a few days back, a fairly long and detailed account that in the main cast doubts on the security afforded by the kernel.

    The article is the fifth in a series looking at the security of the internet broadly, and the first article was published back in May. The five pieces are being sold as an e-book for US$2.99. Yet many FOSS people did not even bother to note this and assumed the worst.

    Leading the way was Jonathan Corbet, editor of a website called Linux Weekly News, that advertises itself as “a reader-supported news site dedicated to producing the best coverage from within the Linux and free software development communities”

  • Embracing the tech world’s open source shift

    From 2008 to 2013, I was heavily involved in the development and use of Koha, which was built on Debian, and whose development is still centered there. Once, just for kicks, I installed Debian and Koha on an ASUS EEEpc 900—half a gig of RAM, 4GB of NVRAM as a disk—just to see if I could. It didn’t run well, and only had room for about 20 bibliographic records, but it ran. Since 2013, I’ve worked for cPanel, and the jump from Debian to CentOS has occasionally tripped me. Still, I’ve got my feet in both worlds; my personal servers all run Debian, while CentOS rules at work. My personal laptop runs Lubuntu.

  • System Requirements: When Is ‘Enough’ Enough?

    The truth is, none of what I or Reglue does would be possible without the GNU/Linux desktop and software. In our case, hundreds of kids have a computer in the home whereas without Linux, we could not have given that computer to them.

  • Boy Howdy, This Got Stupid In A Hurry…

    And for those of you who have helped us toward making our goal, I cannot thank you enough. And yeah, I’ve had a couple of rows that were tough to hoe, but no worse than many of you have experienced. The Global Linux Community. We all struggle at times to do the things we love to do. Things we have to do.

  • Will ONOS Really Be Open Under the Linux Foundation?

    Some open-source developers have always been skeptical of the Open Network Operating System‘s ideas of open-source, which makes ONOS’s recent inclusion in The Linux Foundation particularly irksome to them.

    Namely, ONOS’s governance isn’t changing, which means one executive director and board member at ON.Lab, Guru Parulkar, still holds the final say for code decisions within ONOS.

  • Desktop

    • How Are Laptops Used On The International Space Station?

      The formatting of the laptop depends on its assigned purpose. On the US segment, commanding to the vehicle is done using laptops called PCS (Portable Computer System). They run on a linux operating system and are connected to the vehicle 1553 system as remote terminals. There are usually seven PCS laptops deployed throughout the vehicle.

      On the Russian Segment there are about seven equivalent laptops called, simply, “Russian Laptops”. They, too, are linux based, and are used to command the Russian elements. Both the PCS and Russian Laptop use their own graphical interfaces that depict the ISS and the crew click on the module they wish to interact with and the system, and then the specific piece of hardware.

    • Curiosity Rover Controlled by NASA with a Linux Computer

      The Curiosity rover has been on Mars since 2012, and it’s been responsible for a lot of the cool and interesting information we got from the Red Planet since then. As it turns out, it’s remotely controlled with a help of a Linux machine from Earth.

    • Encryption Methods in Linux

      Passwords are one of the most main security features used nowadays. It’s very important for you to have secure and un-guessable passwords. Most Linux distributions have passwd programs that won’t allow you to set easily guessable password plus there are many encryption software in the market that can do this. Make sure that your passwd program is always up to date and has such features. An in-depth details of encryption is beyond the scope of this article, so kindly keep reading.

  • Server

    • IBM LinuxONE Provides New Options for Linux Deployment

      In August 2015, IBM announced LinuxONE (www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/47474.wss), anchored by two new Linux mainframe servers that capitalize on best-of-class mainframe security and performance, and that bring these strengths to open-source-based technologies and the Open Source community. The move creates greater choice for Linux applications in enterprises where IT is under constant pressure to provide breakthrough systems in areas where the IBM z System mainframe excels, such as analytics and hybrid clouds.

    • LinuxOne: a game changer for South African IT market

      The mobile world requires agile infrastructure, one that has the requisite business intelligence for analysis, reporting and execution that drives immediate value to the firm, writes Maurice Blackwood, systems executive at IBM.

    • How the Internet Archive maintains an information super highway

      Our stack is Ubuntu Linux + PostgreSQL + NGINX + PHP5 (primarily) + Redis + Elasticsearch + jQuery + Less

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.4 DRM Pull Has Raspberry Pi Driver, AMDGPU Improvements

      David Airlie sent in the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem update today for the Linux 4.4 merge window.

    • Watch: A World Without Linux Would Mean a World Without Social Connections

      The third episode of the World Without Linux animated series, created by the talented Amelia Lorenz for The Linux Foundation, has been published online, and it is entitled “Can I Follow You?”

    • Linus Torvalds vs. the internet security pros

      Does Linux need better security? Sure.

      No one doubts that. At the Seoul Linux Kernel Summit, kernel security maintainer James Morris recently presented a long list of significant strategic security problems. These can and will be dealt with.

      I, for one, though, trust Linus’s gradual approach towards security fixes rather than radical changes that could potentially damage Linux’s performance and features. Perfect? No. Better than any other choices? Yes.

    • Linus Torvalds targeted by honeytraps, claims Eric S. Raymond

      Celebrity programmer Eric S. Raymond has aired a theory that feminist activists are trying to find a way to lay false sexual assault claims against male leaders of the open source community.

      Raymond is best known for his seminal tract The Cathedral and the Bazaar, and remains active in the world of open source, which he has championed since the late 1990s.

    • Linux Kernel 4.1.13 LTS Brings Many ARM, ARM64, GPU, and Wireless Improvements

      A few minutes ago, Greg Kroah-Hartman informed users about the immediate availability for download of new kernel maintenance releases, Linux kernel 4.1.13 LTS, Linux kernel 4.2.6, Linux kernel 3.14.57 LTS, and Linux kernel 3.10.93 LTS.

    • Watch: Linux Kernel Developer Work Spaces Unplugged Compilation

      For today’s “Watch” series of articles, we’ve prepared a very nice video compilation, courtesy of The Linux Foundation, containing several video tours of Linux kernel developer work spaces.

    • Linux Kernel 4.2.6 Officially Released, Has Dozens of Updated Drivers

      Immediately after announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.1.13 LTS, Greg Kroah-Hartman published details about the sixth maintenance version of the Linux 4.2 kernel series, and looking at the appended shortlog, it is a pretty important one.

    • World Without Linux: Can I Follow You?

      Hey, can I follow you? Out of context that sounds pretty creepy. But in a world with Linux and the Internet infrastructure it enables with services like Facebook, Twitter, Netflix and Amazon, we know exactly what that means. And, ironically or not, we’re usually more than happy to let people ‘follow’ us, as it allows connection like never before.

      The third episode in our World Without Linux video series attempts to illustrate what a world without our online social connection would be like. Of course Linux isn’t responsible for all the successes of Facebook and Twitter but it is certainly the underlying fuel for making these services scalable and responsive. Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, has even credited open source and the “hacker way” for helping build the platform that billions use to connect every single day.

    • Linux 4.2.6
    • Linux 4.1.13
    • Linux 3.14.57
    • Linux 3.10.93
    • Linux Foundation Scholarship Recipient Profile: Eva Tanaskoska

      The Linux Foundation regularly awards scholarships as part of its Linux Training Scholarship Program. In the five years that the Linux Foundation has hosted this program, it has awarded a total of 34 scholarships totalling more than $100,000 in free training to students and professionals who may not otherwise have access to these opportunities. In conjunction with this scholarship program, we are starting a series to tell you more about these scholarship recipients. We would like to share their stories in the hope that they will inspire others.

      This installment of our series features Eva Tanaskoska from Macedonia, who received a scholarship in the Women in Linux category. Eva has been working with and researching information security for a few years now. She is currently forming a CERT team at her university, where she mentors students on using Linux to perform penetration tests, forensic investigations, and incident response. We asked Eva to answer a few questions about her background and plans for the future.

    • HPLIP 3.15.9 Brings Support For Debian 8.2, Debian 7.9 And Linux Mint 17.2

      As you may know, HP Linux Imaging and Printing (HPLIP) is a tool for printing, scanning and faxing for the HP printers.

    • ALSA 1.1 Released For Linux Audio

      It’s been the better part of the year since the last ALSA update while out today is version 1.1 of the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture.

    • How To Install Kernel 4.3 on Ubuntu Systems
    • Kernel 4.2.6 Has Been Released. Install It On Your Ubuntu System Now!

      Compiling a Linux kernel is a little difficult and takes some time, but the Ubuntu (and derivative) users do not have to worry about that, because Canonical provides deb packages for these systems, via its kernel.ubuntu.com repository.

    • Kernel 4.1.13 Has Been Released
    • Linus Torvalds: Perfect Security in Open Source Linux OS Is Impossible

      Does Linus Torvalds fail to take security in the Linux kernel seriously, and is the world doomed because of it? That’s what the Washington Post suggests in a recent article about security in the open source OS.

    • Launching the Linux Foundation Open API Initiative to Help Drive the Web of APIs

      We’re proud to be supporting the launch of the new Linux Foundation collaborative effort for Web APIs: the Open API Initiative (see the announcement here). The initiative will take forward the great foundational work done under the Swagger banner by Tony Tam and others to create a new, more formal description format for Web APIs, provisionally called OADF – Open API Description Format.

    • Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV): How to Get Involved

      As with every other open source community, we have several channels for communication. These include weekly meetings, mailing lists and IRC channels for daily text-based discussions. The Meetings wiki page contains an up- to-date list of meetings, including agendas and all the information required for joining. We use GoToMeeting for voice and also the #opnfv-meeting or project IRC channels on Freenode for meeting minutes. You can join to the development activities, raise topics for discussion or ask questions on the opnfv-tech-discuss mailing list, which like all the other lists, is also archived.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • NVIDIA OpenGL: Windows 10 Pro vs. Ubuntu Linux Benchmarks

        Published yesterday was a test of Intel Skylake graphics on Ubuntu 15.10 vs. Windows 10 with a focus on the OpenGL performance. In today’s article is a similar cross-operating-system comparison but this time being featured are three NVIDIA graphics cards to see how the latest NVIDIA drivers are running.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Upcoming news in Plasma 5.5

        It’s been a while since Plasma 5.4 release and we are now approaching feature freeze for Plasma 5.5 so I would like to share with you what news you can expect in plasma-nm. This time we have major changes only in our connection editor although most of you wouldn’t probably even notice them. This is going to be a short list unfortunately given I have less time and less ideas, but at least something, right?

      • Interview with Bruno Fernandez

        I have been working in system administration on Linux systems for ten years and I have always provided opportunities to each available application, considering not only my sysadmin job, but also my creative side. So, after using Mypaint, I found out that Krita provided a world full of possibilities. I also found artists like David Revoy who exemplified the professional possibilities of the application.

      • Breeze, Oxygen and Framework

        I do Plasma and KDE related stuff since one year and this year was awesome as you can read in my blog posts. Today I want to talk about the future. For the near future I have to work on finalizing my tasks for the plasma 5.5 release. But what should I do next?

      • KDE Plasma 5.5 to Feature WPA/WPA2 Enterprise Validation, OpenVPN Improvements

        It’s been nearly three months since the KDE Plasma 5.4 desktop environment has been released, during which it received two maintenance builds, and a third one is about to be unveiled in the next 24 hours or so.

      • Amarok is slowly catching up

        I decided at a certain point to directly port the main components out of KDELibs4Support.

      • Muon in Need of a Maintainer

        Muon, the Apt package installer UI is in need of a maintainer. It has been split out from Discover and Updater which are application focused and to some extent work with multiple backends. Muon is package focused and covers the surprisingly important use case of technical users who care about libraries and package versions but don’t want to use a command line. It’ll probably move to unmaintained unless anyone wants to keep an eye on it so speak up now if you want to help out.

      • digiKam Recipes 4.9.5 Released

        A new release of digiKam Recipes is ready for your reading pleasure. This version features the Using Album Categories recipe and reworked material on using the tagging functionality in digiKam. As always, the new release includes updates, fixes and tweaks.

      • Kubuntu 14.04 LTS Gets KDE 4.14.3 Bugfix Release

        The KDE maintainers for Kubuntu 14.04.3 have upgraded the desktop environment to version 4.14.3 and users should now get the newest package.

      • Plasma-NM Changes Coming For KDE Plasma 5.5

        Plasma 5.5 is due out next month and with this update will come many new features.

        For a while now we’ve been talking about Plasma 5.5 when it comes to suitable Wayland support for early adopters and other new functionality. Published today was a blog post by KDE’s Jan Grulich with more details on some of the other Plasma 5.5 changes.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Finding Unity in GNOME Shell

        As many of my regular readers will know, I am a big Ubuntu fan. I spent nearly eight years working at Canonical and my love of Ubuntu has not ceased since I left.

        One of the fundamental components of Ubuntu is Unity. While Unity ruffled more than a few feathers when it first came out, it has since grown into a comprehensive desktop environment for Ubuntu. Unity is the cornerstone of Canonical’s convergence vision in which a single code base can power desktops, phones, tablets, and more.

        Right now, though, the Unity story is divided into two pieces. All the exciting new work is going into the next-generation Unity 8. This is where the convergence is happening. Unity 8 is by no means ready yet and is only suitable for tinkerers.

      • Orca 3.18.2 Open-Source Screen Reader Adds Better Support for Google Docs

        The GNOME developers are preparing to release the second and last maintenance version of the GNOME 3.18 desktop environment, which means that several core components and applications have received improvements and bugfixes.

      • GTK+ 3.18.3 Has Wayland and Nautilus Improvements, Fixes a Memory Leak

        The GNOME developers are working hard these days to release the second and last maintenance version for the stable GNOME 3.18 desktop environment, as they will continue to concentrate their efforts on the next major release, GNOME 3.20.

  • Distributions

    • Gorgeous Apricity OS to Get a KDE Edition Soon, November Beta ISO Out Now

      We’ve just been informed by the awesome folks behind the beautiful and modern Arch Linux-based Apricity OS GNU/Linux distribution about the immediate availability for download of the November Beta build, Apricity OS 11.2015.

    • Solus with GNOME Desktop and Wayland Looks Beautiful

      Solus developers revealed a couple of days ago that they plan to also support GNOME Shell, for the users who want this alternative desktop experience. Now, a series of very interesting screenshots have been published, and it looks like things are shaping up just nicely.

    • Chakra 2015.11-Fermi released

      We are delighted to announce that Chakra 2015.11-Fermi is out! As always, this release is a snapshot of our stable repositores and includes all the updates and changes that have happened in Chakra since the last release.

    • Chakra 2015.11 Screenshot Tour
    • Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.11 Officially Released with KDE Plasma 5, Linux Kernel 4.1 LTS

      On November 8, Neofytos Kolokotronis from the Chakra project had the great pleasure of informing us of the release and immediate availability for download of the Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.11 computer operating system.

    • Reviews

      • Kali Linux Review

        Good news! There’s new release of the Kali Linux which is a reincarnation of the BackTrack. If you work in forensic analysis, network security, and penetration testing, then it’s very important to keep your tools updated, so you will be protected from the latest known threats, as well as you will get the latest tools at your control.

      • Chalet OS: good idea, bad design

        Let me introduce you to Chalet OS. The web site of this operating system says that their main target audience is fresh Linux converts who come to the Linux world from other operating systems. Isn’t it the same audience that Zorin OS is aiming at? I was baffled and intrigued!

        The latest version of the Chalet OS distribution has the number 14.04.3, which gives us a proper clue that Chalet OS is actually another offspring in the Ubuntu family. This version was released in August 2015.

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 15.0 Distrolette Enters Beta, Based on Linux Kernel 4.1.10 LTS, GCC 5.2.0

        Softpedia has just been informed by Zbigniew Konojacki, the creator and lead developer of the 4MLinux project, an open-source initiative that aims to develop small GNU/Linux distributions for various purposes, that 4MLinux 15.0 entered development.

        4MLinux 15.0 Core Beta was released on November 8, 2015, and it will be the base for the rest of the 4MLinux 15.0 distributions, including 4MLinux and the distros that are part of the 4MRescueKit set, powered by a long-term supported kernel from the Linux 4.1 series.

    • Arch Family

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • Microsoft unwilling to comment on extension of SUSE deal

        Microsoft has refused to say openly whether it will be extending the patent-licensing deal that it signed with Novell back in 2006. At that time, SUSE Linux was a part of Novell.

        Novell has since been acquired by the Attachmate Group which, in turn, was bought by the British mainframe company Micro Focus.

        In July 2011, Microsoft announced that the agreement with SUSE would be extended until January 1, 2016.

        iTWire asked Microsoft about the SUSE agreement after Red Hat and Microsoft announced a deal a few days back on cloud installations, wherein Microsoft said it would be making Red Hat the preferred enterprise Linux distribution for installing on its Azure cloud offering.

      • 7 things you should know about openSUSE Leap

        Both Red Hat and Canonical have free enterprise distributions: CentOS and Ubuntu respectively. Until last week, SUSE didn’t have any such offering — at least not officially.

      • Linux Top 3: Fedora 23, OpenSUSE Leap 42.1 and OpenELEC 6.0

        For Fedora 23 the Red Hat sponsored community Linux distribution was only a week off its’ original schedule, which is a remarkable feat as Fedora often doesn’t stick closely to release schedules. Fedora 23 is also the first time in two years that Fedora has managed to release two distribution updates in a single year. In 2014, with confusion and mess surrounding Fedora.next and the Fedora 21 update, only one release debuted.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Preps Containerized Cloud Workloads In OpenShift

        Red Hat has continued to enhance its OpenShift cloud development platform for both containers and cloud-native applications. In doing so, it remains a candidate to supply both the tools and technologies for the next generation of OpenStack and other cloud apps.

      • Red Hat Inc (RHT) Files Form 4 Insider Selling : Michael Cunningham Sells 5,000 Shares

        Red Hat Inc (RHT): Michael Cunningham , EVP, General Counsel of Red Hat Inc sold 5,000 shares on Nov 6, 2015. The Insider selling transaction was disclosed on Nov 9, 2015 to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The shares were sold at $80.78 per share for a total value of $403,900.00.

      • systemd.conf 2015 is Over Now!

        Last week our first systemd.conf conference took place at betahaus, in Berlin, Germany. With almost 100 attendees, a dense schedule of 23 high-quality talks stuffed into a single track on just two days, a productive hackfest and numerous consumed Club-Mates I believe it was quite a success!

      • Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) Opening Report

        Red Hat, Inc. RHT, belonging to the Technology sector reported a price of 81.02 today, a change of -0.67%. Red Hat, Inc. predicts a earnings per share growth of over the next five years. Its return on equity is currently and its debt to equity is currently 0.53. Red Hat, Inc. stands at and its gross margin is 84.80%.

      • Red Hat Incorporated updated to: 1.44from analysts

        In its most recent quarter Red Hat Incorporated had actual sales of $504.148. Among the 11 analysts who were surveyed, the consensus expectation for quarterly sales had been 494.778.

      • Q&A: Red Hat’s Adam Clater Talks PaaS

        Adam Clater, chief cloud architect in the Office of the Chief Technologist of Red Hat’s Public Sector organization, recently answered some questions from FedTech managing editor David Stegon about the evolution of Platform as a Service (Paas).

      • All The Systemd 2015 Conference Slides/Videos Now Available

        Systemd.conf, the inaugural systemd conference for developers, has successfully concluded in Berlin.

        Last week I pointed out the live video streaming from the systemd conference. Now that the event is over, all of the videos and slides are available to consume on your schedule.

      • [Red Hat CEO:] What our families teach us about organizational life

        In October I appeared on the 100th episode of The Dave and Gunnar Show, an independent podcast about open source and open government issues hosted by two members of Red Hat’s public sector team. We spoke at length about The Open Organization (one of my all-time favorite topics!), and the interview gave me a chance to address an important question.

      • Red Hat Bridges Business Demands and IT Delivery with New Application Platform and Linux Container Offerings
      • Red Hat EVP Sells $403,900.00 in Stock (RHT)

        EVP Michael Cunningham sold 5,000 shares of Red Hat stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $80.78, for a total transaction of $403,900.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 46,500 shares in the company, valued at $3,756,270. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink.

      • Zacks Short Term Rating on Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
      • Fedora

        • Fedora 23 Linux Is Now Available for AArch64 and POWER Hardware Architectures

          As many of you might already know, Fedora Project announced the final release of the anticipated Fedora 23 Linux operating system for 64-bit and 32-bit computers earlier this week, on November 3, 2015.

          However, the good news for sysadmins who want to deploy the Server or Cloud editions of the Fedora 23 operating system on their company’s infrastructure is that the famous GNU/Linux distribution has also been released for AArch64 and POWER.

        • Korora 23 Is Now in Beta, Based on Fedora 23 Linux and Dubbed Coral

          The developers behind the Fedora-based Korora Linux distribution have had the great pleasure of announcing earlier today, November 8, the immediate availability for download and testing of Korora 23 Beta.

        • Fedora 24 release dates and schedule

          Last month, Fedora Program Manager Jan Kuřík announced the approval of the Fedora 24 schedule with a current release date of May 17, 2016. Fedora 24 Alpha is slated for release on March 1st, 2016, and the Beta has a release date of April 12th, 2016.

          These dates may change as development on Fedora 24 progresses, so always check the schedule for the most accurate version of the Fedora 24 schedule.

        • Fedora 23 Improves Security, Desktop and Cloud

          The Fedora Linux 23 was officially released on Nov. 3, providing the second major update for Red Hat’s community Linux distribution in 2015. The release of two Fedora distributions in the same year puts the project back on track, after only a single release in 2014, when the Fedora Project reorganized under the Fedora Next banner, with specific products for Workstation, Server and Cloud use cases. One of the big new features in Fedora 23 is a capability that can enable an organization to bring a cloud image back down into a server image, with the cloudtoserver tool. The basic premise behind the tool is that cloud images are often ephemeral and not long-lived, while servers are more cared for and applications run for long periods of time. The common analogy used is that of pets versus cattle, where servers are treated as well cared for pets, while cloud images are slaughtered and killed as needed. On the workstation side, Fedora 23 includes the new GNOME 3.18 open-source desktop. GNOME 3.18 offers enhanced features such as an improved calendar, software updating and file management capabilities. In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look at the highlights of the Fedora 23 Linux release.

        • First Look at the Official Fedora 23 Cinnamon Edition – Screenshot Tour

          Finally! The first-ever official Cinnamon edition of the acclaimed Fedora Linux computer operating system has been announced today, November 10, 2015.

        • A tip of the hat to Fedora 23

          The Fedora distribution is a Red Hat sponsored community project which regularly ships with some of the latest software the open source community has to offer. The most recent release of the distribution, Fedora 23, features GNOME 3.18, LibreOffice 5, version 4.2 of the Linux kernel and the ability to access Google Drive from the GNOME file manager. This release also features packages built with security hardening features like address space layout randomization (ASLR) which makes it more difficult to exploit vulnerabilities in software. In addition, Fedora has almost entirely migrated from Python 2 to Python 3 with all core utilities such as the Anaconda system installer now using Python 3. A full list of changes can be found in the Fedora 23 release notes.

          These days, the Fedora distribution is made available in several editions, including Workstation, Server and Cloud. I decided to download the project’s Workstation edition which is available as a 1.4GB ISO. The default desktop environment for the Workstation edition is GNOME Shell, but spins of Fedora are available with alternative desktop environments.

        • Fedora 23 and unsupported ARM/AArch64 devices

          Week ago Fedora 23 got released. Also for ARM and AArch64 architectures. But it does not mean that it supports all possible hardware.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Who was Hedy Lamarr and why was she important? Today’s Google Doodle explained

    The Doodle can be seen around the world in November 9, except for in the UK, Mexico and parts of the Middle East and Africa.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • [Old] WikiLeaks Reveals How the US Aggressively Pursued Regime Change in Syria, Igniting a Bloodbath

      On August 31, 2013, US president Barack Obama announced that he intended to launch a military attack on Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack in that country that the US blamed on the Syrian government. Obama assured the US public that this would be a limited action solely intended to punish the Assad government for using chemical weapons; the goal of US military action would not be to overthrow the Assad government, nor to change the balance of forces in Syria’s sectarian civil war.

    • NY Times Runs 2 Buried Paragraphs on Intercept Whistleblower’s Shocking Drone War Disclosures, and Thinks That’s Enough

      For that slice of the American public that still depends heavily on major daily newspapers as their main source of news, they might not even know that the on-line publication The Intercept has published a package of alarming drone-assassination articles based on secret military documents provided by an anonymous intelligence whistleblower.

      These “Drone Papers” show, among other disclosures, that the U.S. government has been lying about the number of civilian deaths caused by drone strikes in Afghanistan,Yemen and Somalia. For every targeted individual assassinated, another five or six non-targeted individuals are killed — giving the lie to the Obama administration’s long-standing claims of careful, precision killing of specific targets in order to avoid killing civilians.

      The Intercept, relying on a cache of slides provided to it by its whistleblower source, posted its package of eight articles on October 15, 2015. Among those picking up on the stories was the Huffington Post (which ran excerpts), and other outlets — including The Guardian, Newsweek, New York Magazine, NPR, the PBS NewsHour, CNN — which generally cited some of The Intercept’s main findings or speculated about a “second [Edward] Snowden” coming forth as a national security whistleblower.

    • U.S. airstrike on Afghanistan Doctors Without Borders hospital looks more and more like a ‘kill mission’

      In the full report from their investigation, they detail how staff members who attempted to flee the hospital were actually shot from the planes — lending credence to the observation that it appears the U.S. military was on a complete kill mission.

      No real answers have been given from our government as to why this hospital was attacked with such ferocity. What’s obvious is this — it was an enormous error. Nothing whatsoever can justify the carnage that our military caused in this attack.

    • Australian banker on the run for 35 years revealed as ‘CIA agent’ in US

      One of Australia’s most wanted fugitives, Michael Hand, the co-founder of the Sydney-based international merchant bank Nugan Hand, has been found alive and well and living in small-town America.

    • JFK’s Forgotten CIA Crisis

      Kennedy pressed Pakistan’s leader for help with a sensitive spy operation against China.

    • Is Humanitarian Aid The Perfect Trojan Horse For CIA?

      According to a report published by The Intercept, a highly classified Defense Department program which dates to 2004, had funded HISG, and it continued functioning until 2012. The program was concocted by Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, a senior Defense Department intelligence official, during the Bush administration. Boykin is considered to be a zealous Christian and has been previously criticized for his statements about Islam. He also developed the unorthodox deceptive method to use NGOs to collect Intelligence since they could get in to North Korea and go to places where access would be denied otherwise.

    • Checking In: The Secret CIA Hotel for Tibet’s Freedom Fighters

      It’s been 43 years since the CIA cut off support to the Tibetan guerillas that the agency trained and armed to fight a covert war against China. Yet, a monument to the CIA’s secret war in Tibet is still standing in Pokhara, Nepal.

    • Congresswoman Calls US Effort To Oust Assad “Illegal,” Accuses CIA Of Backing Terroists

      With each passing week, more and more people are beginning to ask the kinds of questions the Pentagon and CIA most assuredly do not want to answer and now, US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is out calling Washington’s effort to oust Assad both “counterproductive” and “illegal.” In the following priceless video clip, Gabbard accuses the CIA of arming the very same terrorists who The White House insists are “our sworn enemy” and all but tells the American public that the government is lying to them and may end up inadvertently starting “World War III.”

    • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: CIA Must Stop Illegal, Counterproductive War to Overthrow Assad

      Speaking with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, Tulsi explains why the US allying with Islamist extremists to overthrow Syrian President Assad is an illegal, counterproductive war that will cause even more human misery in the region and help ISIS and other Islamist extremists take over all of Syria. Instead of once again being distracted by trying to get rid of a secular dictator, Tulsi explains, the US must stay out of counterproductive wars and focus on defeating the Islamist extremists who have declared war on America.

    • There are a lot of CIA-vetted Syrian rebel groups taking it to Assad

      Among the range of munitions and supplies that the CIA has funneled to the various brigades of the Free Syrian Army and other moderate groups through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey are TOW anti-tank missiles.

    • Andrew Bacevich: Ongoing Wars in Iraq & Syria Continue Decades of Failed U.S. Militarism in Mideast

      The U.S. deployment of a team of special operations forces to Syria comes after the first U.S. combat casualty in Iraq in four years. Just last month, President Obama reversed course in Afghanistan, halting the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. troops fighting in the nation’s longest war. In an escalation of the air war in Syria, the United States has also announced plans to deploy more fighter planes, including 12 F-15s, to the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. On top of the wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, the U.S. continues to carry out drone strikes across the globe from Pakistan to Yemen to Somalia. “[Obama’s] policy has been one of mission creep,” says Andrew Bacevich, retired colonel, Vietnam War veteran, and international relations professor at Boston University. “The likelihood that the introduction of a handful of dozen of U.S. soldiers making any meaningful difference in the course of events is just about nil.”

    • Jeremy Corbyn Stayed Behind After Remembrance Sunday At The Cenotaph To Hang Out With Veterans

      Jeremy Corbyn stayed behind at the Cenotaph on Sunday long after the television cameras had gone to mingle with veterans.

    • Pakistan death penalty: Executions poised to hit grisly milestone – and it’s much worse than Saudi Arabia’s

      Pakistan has dramatically overtaken Saudi Arabia in the number of executions it is carrying out on an almost daily basis, as it emerged that the Asian country has killed 299 people in less than a year.

      Human rights group Reprieve told The Independent Pakistan is expected to pass the grisly milestone of 300 death penalties “by the end of this week” – taking its rate of executions to 0.93 per day.

      Last year, Saudi Arabia was behind only China and Iran in the number of its own citizens it was putting to the sword, and the number of its executions has soared under the new King Salman. It killed 102 convicted criminals in the first six months of 2015 alone.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Teen hackers strike again, leak info from 2,000 govt. employees

      The hackers who breached the CIA director’s personal emails are at it again, having published additional data containing names, phone numbers, and email addresses of more than 2,000 law enforcement officers, military officers, and government employees.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A Side-by-Side Look at Cities After 2ºC Versus 4ºC of Global Warming

      Waterlogged cities might seem like stuff of the post-apocalypse, but that post-apocalypse might come as soon as a single generation.

      Climate Central put together some sobering visuals of what cities would look like in the year 2100, if our carbon emissions keep climbing. But what’s different from the usual before and after photos is that this one assumes two different futures: one in which temperatures rise 4º C and one where it only rises 2º C.

    • Indonesia’s Fire Outbreaks Producing More Daily Emissions than Entire US Economy

      According to estimates released this week by Guido van der Werf on the Global Fire Emissions Database, there have been nearly 100,000 active fire detections in Indonesia so far in 2015, which since September have generated emissions each day exceeding the average daily emissions from all U.S. economic activity. Following several recent intense outbreaks of fires—in June 2013, March 2014 and November 2014—the country is now on track to experience more fires this year than it did during the 2006 fire season, one of its worst on record.

    • Volkswagen Says Whistle-Blower Pushed It to Admit Broader Cheating

      Volkswagen’s recent disclosure that it reported false fuel economy and carbon dioxide readings to European regulators was prompted by an internal whistle-blower, the company said on Sunday.

      Volkswagen admitted last Tuesday that it had underreported carbon dioxide emissions on 800,000 diesel- and gasoline-powered cars in Europe. That disclosure added to the automaker’s credibility problems, which began in September when it admitted that it had installed software on millions of its diesel cars in recent years to enable them to cheat on air pollution tests.

      In trying to determine who was responsible for the diesel cheating scandal, Volkswagen’s internal investigators have reportedly been hampered by an ingrained fear of delivering bad news to superiors. But in the case of the new disclosure, some employees have evidently been willing to come forward under the company’s new management.

    • Solar Fight in Florida Heats Up with Mysterious Donor

      The largest contribution so far to an anti-consumer measure to impede access to solar energy just came from a mysterious new donor.

      This new donation comes as the battle over whether consumers in Florida can install home solar is heating up, with rival state constitutional amendments both aiming for the ballot in 2016.

      On one side are consumer and environmental groups promoting home solar, and on the other—trying to block consumer access—are major utilities, groups linked to the Koch brothers and a new mysterious funder.

    • Indonesia’s carbon-spewing fires becoming world crisis

      The timing is accidental but impeccable. Just as governments are about to launch an unprecedented effort to curb global greenhouse-gas emissions, one of the biggest carbon-dioxide gushers ever known has erupted with record force. At times during the past several weeks, fires in Indonesia have released as much carbon as the entire U.S. economy, even as they destroyed millions of acres of tropical forest, a natural carbon sink. Neighboring countries, along with economic giants such as the U.S., China and Europe, have to join forces to turn off this tap.

    • This sector is enjoying a haze-related boost

      Air pollution from the forest fires in Indonesia may have cast a pall over the region, but one business sector has gotten a boost: travel out of Singapore.

      A solid chunk of Singapore’s residents looked to escape the worst of the air pollution, colloquially called the haze, in September and October. Travel search website Skyscanner said that searches for outbound travel from Singapore climbed gradually from September 4 – when the city-state’s air quality levels started approaching an unhealthy level – and by October 23 were more than 50 percent higher.

    • Persian Gulf temperatures may be at the edge of human tolerance in 30 years

      Humans can tolerate some extremes of hot and dry temperatures by sweating, which lowers our body temperature via evaporative cooling. However, this ability is greatly reduced when high temperatures are accompanied by high humidity. When people are exposed to a combination of higher temperatures and increased humidity, heat stroke can lead to untimely deaths.

      Existing climate models have shown that a global temperature increase to the threshold of human survivability would be reached in some regions of the globe at a point in the distant future. However, a new paper published by Jeremy Pal and Elfatih Eltahir in Nature Climate Change presents evidence that this deadly combination of heat and humidity increases could occur in the Persian Gulf much earlier than previously anticipated.

  • Finance

    • Ex-Olympian reveals she’s living in bug-infested trailer, broke and unemployed

      The former Olympic figure skater and physician made history when she became the first African-American athlete to win a Winter Games medal when she took home the bronze at the 1988 Olympics. She recently revealed she is now broke, unemployed and living in a bed bug-infested trailer.

    • Fury and fear in Ohio as IT jobs go to India

      The IT workers at Cengage Learning in the company’s Mason, Ohio offices learned of their fates game-show style. First, they were told to gather in a large conference room. There were vague remarks from an IT executive about a “transition.” Slides were shown that listed employee names, directing them to one of three rooms where they would be told specifically what was happening to them. Some employees were cold with worry.

      The biggest group, those getting pink slips, were told to remain in the large conference room. Workers directed to go through what we’ll call Door No. 2, were offered employment with IT offshore outsourcing firm Cognizant. That was the smallest group. And those sent through Door No. 3 remained employed in Cengage’s IT department. This happened in mid-October.

      [...]

      The employees were warned that speaking to the news media meant loss of severance. Despite their fears, they want their story told. They want people to know what’s happening to IT jobs in the heartland. They don’t want the offshoring of their livelihoods to pass in silence.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • Being a Whistleblower: Snowden Regrets Nothing

      Speaking to Swedish media, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has admitted that he feels “very comfortable” with the choices he made.

    • Edward Snowden reveals new information in recent interview

      Chances are that you have heard about Edward Snowden, the man who started to openly talk about controversial topics relating to US security and intelligence, including CIA torture, mass surveillance and the US’s fight against ISIS.

      To put things better into perspective, after blowing the whistle on these secrets, the US Government saw him as a traitor, which is why he decided to flee the country, and seek political asylum somewhere else. He has recently given an interview, and discussed more about the current security status of the US and other regions, while also stating that he is fully comfortable with the choices that he has made.

    • NIST Seeks Comments on New Project Aimed at Protecting Privacy Online

      The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), in partnership with the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace National Program Office, is seeking comments on a new project focused on protecting privacy and security when reusing credentials at multiple online service providers.

    • Library to Show Snowden Movie

      Lebanon Public Libraries officials are offering a privacy prize to anyone who attends their screening of the Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour at the Kilton Public Library on Tuesday evening.

      Information Technology Librarian Chuck McAndrew has downloaded an operating system called Tails, designed to help users browse the web more securely, onto flash drives free for the taking.

    • This snooper’s charter makes George Orwell look lacking in vision

      When the Home Office and intelligence agencies began promoting the idea that the new investigatory powers bill was a “climbdown”, I grew suspicious. If the powerful are forced to compromise they don’t crow about it or send out press releases – or, in the case of intelligence agencies, make off-the-record briefings outlining how they failed to get what they wanted. That could mean only one thing: they had got what they wanted.

    • Tech firms warn snooper’s charter could end strong encryption in Britain

      Major technology firms are concerned that the British government is attempting to ban strong encryption with the Investigatory Powers Bill, despite its assurances to the contrary.

      A number of companies, both large and small, have expressed their fears to the Guardian that one particular clause of the proposed legislation gives the government the power to force them to weaken their systems, in order to enable the bulk collection aspects of the bill.

      Section 189 of the bill, titled “Maintenance of technical capability”, allows the secretary of state to issue orders to companies “relating to the removal of electronic protection applied … to any communications or data”.

      The only limits on the power of the Secretary of State to do so are a requirement that they consult with an advisory board beforehand, and that any specific obligation must be “reasonable” and “practicable”. The technical capability notice can even be issued to people outside the UK, and require them to do, or not to do, things outside the UK.

      [...]

      As a result, the UK government could decide to issue a technical capability order requiring the communications firms to disable their end-to-end encryption, or replace it with a weaker form of encryption, which would leave the communications facilitator able to read messages sent using its service. The only defence the firms would have would be to argue such an order is not “reasonable”.

      The powers in section 189 mirror similar powers in Ripa, an earlier piece of legislation which governed investigatory powers. However, Ripa’s equivalent orders only affected traditional internet service providers. Since the orders come with a gag attached, it is impossible to know whether, or how often, they have been used.

    • Judge Again Says NSA Phone Records Program Is Unconstitutional; Orders NSA To Stop Collecting Phone Records Of Plaintiffs

      Back in December of 2013, DC district court judge Richard Leon shocked many by declaring the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to be unconstitutional. Just a few months ago, the DC circuit appeals court overturned that ruling and sent it back to the lower court, saying that the plaintiff, Larry Klayman, failed to prove he had standing to bring the lawsuit — mainly because Snowden only had revealed that the NSA was scooping up all Verizon Business Network phone records, and Klayman was a Verizon Wireless customer. That it had since been revealed that the NSA also got Verizon Wireless records was basically ignored.

    • NSA Ordered to Stop Collecting, Querying Plaintiffs’ Phone Records

      Affirming his previous ruling that the NSA’s telephone records collection program is unconstitutional, a federal judge ordered the NSA to cease collecting the telephone records of an individual and his business. The judge further ordered the NSA to segregate any records that have already been collected so that they are not reviewed when the NSA’s telephone records database is queried. The order comes 20 days before the NSA program is set to expire pursuant to the USA FREEDOM Act.

    • Weeks before NSA bulk phone spying ends, US judge (kinda) reins in program

      Today, we bring more judicial follies about the NSA phone spying program. US District Judge Richard Leon of the District of Columbia ruled Monday that a challenge to the program “will likely succeed in showing that the Program is indeed an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment.” But in that decision, the judge said the program, because of the legal posture of the lawsuit, could continue unabated—but with a caveat. The authorities have to stop scooping up the telephone metadata on J.J. Little, a Los Angeles trial lawyer, and his boutique firm of a handful of lawyers now at the center of the case that is as old as the Snowden disclosure.

    • Bill Adding A Warrant Requirement For Aerial Surveillance Introduced In The House

      Our nation’s federal law enforcement agencies may soon be gazing back wistfully at the Golden Age of Warrantless Surveillance and wondering where it all went so very wrong. (Hint: the “warrantless” part had a lot to do with it.)

      One place where the lack of warrants hasn’t raised much concern is aerial surveillance. While the FBI may send its “secret” planes out to fly spiders-on-ecstasy patterns over US cities, the courts have generally found that this sort of surveillance doesn’t violate anyone’s expectation of privacy. In fact, cops pretty much have to land a helicopter in someone’s backyard while “ground troops” point guns at the homeowner before the Fourth Amendment comes into play.

    • It’s No Secret That the Government Uses Zero Days for “Offense”

      Little by little, the government is opening up about its use of computer security vulnerabilities. Last month, the NSA disclosed that it has historically “released more than 91% of vulnerabilities discovered in products that have gone through our internal review process and that are made and used in the United States.” There should probably be an asterisk or four accompanying that statement. But more on that in a minute. First, it’s worth examining why the government is being even the slightest bit forthcoming about this issue.

      Since 2014, EFF has been suing under the Freedom of Information Act to get access to what the government calls the Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP). That’s the policy that lets the NSA, FBI and others decide whether to tell vendors and software developers about weaknesses in their products or whether to hold onto and “exploit” them.

    • Facebook to appeal Belgian court ban on tracking of people that aren’t logged in

      Facebook plans to appeal an order by a court in Belgium that banned it from tracking people who are not signed on to the social networking website.

      Facebook plans to appeal an order by a court in Belgium that banned it from tracking people who are not signed on to the social networking website.

      The dispute largely hinges around Facebook’s use of a special cookie called ‘datr’ that the company claims helps it distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate visits to its website.

      “We’ve used the datr security cookie for more than five years to keep Facebook secure for 1.5 billion people around the world,” a Facebook spokesman said Monday. “We will appeal this decision and are working to minimize any disruption to people’s access to Facebook in Belgium.”

  • Civil Rights

    • David Fisher: Just how bad were our spies?

      John Key has opened up the spy agencies to public scrutiny in a way which we have never seen in New Zealand.

      We know more now about what they do and even how they do it.

      We know how the two agencies are managed, in that the GCSB and NZSIS both have top-flight lawyers in charge.

      There will always be those who say we don’t know enough. For those people, we now have improved oversight of the agencies. This also happened under the Prime Minister’s watch as minister in charge of the agencies.

    • Aussie intelligence leaker walks in footsteps of ‘hero Assange’, cops jail sentence

      The judge who sentenced a former Defence employee to jail for leaking sensitive material online says he hopes the “clang of prison gates” will deter others considering committing similar offences.

      Supreme Court Justice Richard Refshauge sentenced Michael Scerba, 24, to three months behind bars today after he was found guilty of posting two pages of a Defence intelligence report to the infamous anonymous internet message board 4chan in October 2012.

      Despite the potential gravity of the breach, which was detected when a former member of the Defence Signals Directorate noticed the post, entitled “Julian Assange is my hero”, Justice Refshauge took into account Scerba’s early guilty plea and fragile emotional state due to a break-up at the time of the offence.

      Scerba was caught when police searched his Canberra home and found the disk he had burned the “Five Eyes only” document to snapped in his bin.

    • TSA Fails to Detect Weapons 95% of Time

      U.S. lawmakers and federal watchdogs took the occasion Tuesday to deride the Transportation Security Administration’s ability, or lack thereof, to adequately detect weapons and other contraband during the passenger screening process at the nation’s airports. And TSA didn’t just miss a few things. Nope, according to auditors from the Inspector General’s Office, posing as travelers, 95 percent of contraband, like weapons and explosives, got through during clandestine testings.

    • Official: FOIA worries dampen requests for formal legal opinions

      Concerns about legal opinions being made public under the Freedom of Information Act are leading various parts of the federal government to stop asking for written advice from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, a top Obama administration lawyer said Thursday.

      “I think that has served as a deterrent to some in terms of coming to the office to ask for a formal opinion,” said Central Intelligence Agency General Counsel Caroline Krass, who spent more than a decade at the Justice Department office that issues legal advice for the executive branch.

    • Doubts over inquiry into CIA flights

      The Police Scotland inquiry was initiated in summer 2013 after research that drew attention to the use of airports, including Inverness and Wick, as staging posts by the CIA. The investigation has still to be concluded.

    • The Rise of America’s Secret Government: The Deadly Legacy of Ex-CIA Director Allen Dulles

      In an interview with Democracy Now!, author David Talbot talks about his latest book, “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government,” a biography of the former director of the CIA during the 1950s. He tells Amy Goodman that the U.S.’ current policies surrounding intelligence and security could be traced back to Dulles’ reign. “He was a man who felt he was above the law,” says Talobot. “He felt that democracy was something that should not be left in the hands of the American people or its representatives. He was part of what the famous sociologist from the 1950s, C. Wright Mills, called the power elite. And he felt that he and his brother and those types of people should be running the country.”

    • Was the CIA involved in the murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena?

      The modest, salmon-colored building at 881 Lope de Vega street looks much like any other home in Guadalajara’s middle-class Jardines del Bosque neighborhood.

      But behind the whitewashed walls, electric fence and barred windows is the house where one of the most infamous crimes in Mexican history took place.

      Having just left the U.S. Consulate building on February 7, 1985, DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was on his way to meet his wife for lunch when he was apprehended by corrupt members of Mexico’s federal security agency.

    • Who Will Pay for American Torture Program?

      In a clear violation of the Geneva Convention, the US made systematic torture a staple in its fight against terrorism. This revelation has resulted in international condemnation and lamentation, but nobody has been held accountable for torturing terror suspects — many of whom were released later without any charges having been filed. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) hopes to change that.

    • The CIA’s Torture Experiment

      In both the Nazi and American examples, the experiments were carried out in the name of “national security.” A Nazi doctor whom I (Lifton) interviewed had at first opposed the harmful “research” but changed his mind and participated in typhus experiments with prisoners after being told by a Nazi medical bureaucrat that they were necessary for finding ways to prevent epidemics in German troops.

    • Man in gyrocopter flight to Capitol to plead guilty

      A Florida man who piloted his one-person aircraft through some of the nation’s most restricted airspace and landed on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in an act he has called civil disobedience has agreed to a plea deal.

      Douglas Hughes said Friday in a telephone interview that he has agreed to plead guilty to a felony, operating a gyrocopter without a license, a charge that carries a potential three years in prison.

    • Police Union Boss: Quentin Tarantino Needs To Patch Up Cop-Citizen Relationships, Not Us

      Even though Tarantino appears to be done talking about this (after recognizing he wasn’t dealing with a rational adversary), the Fraternal Order of Police isn’t. For whatever reason, The Hollywood Reporter has allowed the national president of the threat-uttering Fraternal Order of Police to post an op-ed against the director on its website.

      Chuck Canterbury calls Tarantino a “very strange man” who just doesn’t understand the complexities of modern-day law enforcement. (It’s only the amount of attention paid to police-involved-shootings that has changed, not the tactics, techniques or number of them.) He admits the boycott will probably have very little effect before going on to blame everything wrong with law enforcement on everyone else.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Sorry, There’s No Such Thing as ‘Unlimited’ Data

      When a tech company tells you something is unlimited, don’t believe ’em.

      Last week Microsoft nixed the unlimited storage option from its OneDrive service. Meanwhile, Comcast started billing users extra in some cities if they gobble more than 300GB of bandwidth per month. Last month Sprint followed the lead of most of its competitors and began throttling download speeds of its “unlimited” data plan for customers who exceed 23GB per month of data usage.

      The message is clear: if you want to download or store lots of data, you’re going to have to pay more for it. But why isn’t it possible to offer an unlimited service that’s actually, y’know, unlimited?

  • DRM/Multimedia

    • Do you prefer Ogg Vorbis or FLAC?

      Those of us who are concerned about software freedom should prefer completely free formats like Ogg Vorbis (lossy) and FLAC (lossless, compressed). We should particularly avoid file formats that include options for digital rights management (DRM). In theory, one might think that DRM is just a mechanism to prevent the unauthorized use (theft?) of someone’s intellectual property. However, certain vendors use DRM to force their customers to use their software, and sometimes hardware. Once again, Wikipedia has a nice detailed article about this whole format business.

    • Music check: Google versus Apple – Is that all? You can do better, Google!
    • Why I choose FLAC for audio

      In this article, I focus on music in digital formats. Moreover, because I am a Linux kind-of-guy, I’m going to take a Linux kind-of-perspective on this topic.

      Most people have heard of the MP3 format. It’s an example of two things: First, it is not an open format, as a number of organizations claim patents on it. And second, it is a “lossy” format. Lossy formats compress the original signal by throwing out some of the signal components. The original rationale for this compression was to make music files smaller and more easily distributed. In contrast, there are also “lossless” formats, which can be compressed (without throwing away the original signal) or not. Digital music presented on the Compact Disc (CD) is an example of a lossless format (assuming it’s an audio CD, not a data CD with MP3s saved on it).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Three Industries That Love The TPP: Hollywood, Big Pharma & Wall St.

      Tons of people seem (quite rightly) concerned about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. As we pointed out last week after the final text was finally, released, the agreement has a lot of really big problems. But if you want to understand just how bad the agreement is, perhaps you should just look at the industries that like it. Vox notes that Big Pharma and Hollywood love the agreement while The Intercept notes that Wall Street loves it.

      It should be noted that, actually, Big Pharma is apparently a bit disappointed that the TPP doesn’t go far enough in locking up exclusivity for biologics.

    • RIM founder: TPP is “the worst public policy decision in Canada’s history”

      Bob Coons writes, “Jim Balsillie, one of the founders of RIM, has made the headlines in Canada by stating that signing the TPP could be “the worst public policy decision in the country’s history.”

    • TPP is too flawed for a simple ‘yes’ vote

      Globalizationis a positive and powerful force for good, if it is embedded in the right kind of ethical and legal framework. Yet the current draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not worthy of a simple thumbs-up by the Congress. Without jettisoning the purported goals of TPP, the 12 signatories should slow down, take the pieces of this complex trade agreement in turn, and work harder for a set of international standards that will truly support global sustainable development.

      The TPP should be judged on whether it guarantees global economic well-being, not whether it gives advantages to the United States to the detriment of other countries. The ultimate goal of economic policy should be to raise the well-being of all parts of society, including the poor and middle class. Agreements that help the rich at the expense of the poor, capital at the expense of labor, or particular sectors at the expense of consumers, should be viewed with skepticism.

    • Trolling with my homies: Some Economics of Internet Trolls

      IP is full of trolls, but typically those associated with IP, not those online. The IPKat, however, is both a blog and part of the IP community, and therefore can take a wider look a trolls. So, for you delectation, some economics of internet trolls (a person who deliberately provokes, often in an abusive manner, for the sake of provoking):

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA: Online Privacy Hurts Anti-Piracy Enforcement

        The MPAA has submitted an overview of international “trade barriers” to the U.S. Government, which they see as harmful to the video and movie industries. Online privacy is listed as a serious problem, as it prevents copyright holders and local authorities from going after online pirates.

      • Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda: EU Preparing ‘Frontal Attack On The Hyperlink’

        Back in January of this year, we wrote about a remarkable report proposing a number of major changes to EU copyright law. Part of an extremely long-drawn out process that aims to update the current 2001 copyright directive, the document was written by the sole Pirate Party MEP in the European Parliament, Julia Reda. In the short time she’s been an MEP — she was only elected in 2014 — she’s emerged as the European Parliament’s leading expert on copyright, which means it’s always worth taking her warnings in this area very seriously. Earlier this year, Techdirt noted that Reda was worried about moves to restrict outdoor photography in the EU.

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    Links for the day



  21. Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot Have Just Ensured That EPO Will Get Even More Corrupt

    Revolving door-type tactics will become more widespread at the EPO now that the management (Battistelli and his cronies) hires for low cost rather than skills/quality and minimises staff retention; this is yet another reason to dread anything like the UPC, which prioritises litigation over examination



  22. Australia is Banning Software Patents and Shelston IP is Complaining as Usual

    The Australian Productivity Commission, which defies copyright and patent bullies, is finally having policies put in place that better serve the interests of Australians, but the legal 'industry' is unhappy (as expected)



  23. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Defended by Technology Giants, by Small Companies, by US Congress and by Judges, So Why Does USPTO Make It Less Accessible?

    In spite of the popularity of PTAB and the growing need/demand for it, the US patent system is apparently determined to help it discriminate against poor petitioners (who probably need PTAB the most)



  24. Declines in Patent Quality at the EPO and 'Independent' Judges Can No Longer Say a Thing

    The EPO's troubling race to the bottom (of patent quality) concerns the staff examiners and the judges, but they cannot speak about it without facing rather severe consequences



  25. The EPO is Now Corrupting Academia, Wasting Stakeholders' Money Lying to Stakeholders About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The Unified Patent Court/Unitary Patent (UPC) is a dying project and the EPO, seeing that it is going nowhere fast, has resorted to new tactics and these tactics cost a lot of money (at the expense of those who are being lied to)



  26. Links 15/11/2017: Fedora 27 Released, Linux Mint Has New Betas

    Links for the day



  27. Patents Roundup: Packet Intelligence, B.E. Technology, Violin, and Square

    The latest stories and warnings about software patents in the United States



  28. Decline of Skills Level of Staff Like Examiners and Impartiality (Independence) of Judges at the EPO Should Cause Concern, Alarm

    Access to justice is severely compromised at the EPO as staff is led to rely on deficient tools for determining novelty while judges are kept out of the way or ill-chosen for an agenda other than justice



  29. Links 14/11/2017: GNU/Linux at Samsung, Firefox 57 Quantum

    Links for the day



  30. Microsoft: Sheltering Oneself From Patent Litigation While Passing Patents for Trolls to Attack GNU/Linux

    Another closer look at Provenance Asset Holdings and what exactly it is (connection to AST, part of the cartel Microsoft subsidises to shield itself)


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