12.02.15

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Links 2/12/2015: Microsoft and Debian, Thunderbird’s Fate

Posted in News Roundup at 8:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Prioritizing volunteer contributions in free software development

    Wikimedia is an organization which has both volunteers and paid folks working together in software development, with many software projects and different stakeholders involved.

  • Varnish Software: Zipnish for microservices

    Twitter developed the open source software Zipkin in 2012 to address this issue, however it only supports Java architectures.

    So then, Varnish now launches Zipnish in response to demand for an architecture-agnostic open source tool.

  • Dogecoin Startup Goes Open Source as Creator Says ‘Peace Out’ to Crypto

    The creator or micropayments startup dogetipbot has announced he will open-source the payments tool, just over one year after raising $445,000 from investors including Blackbird Ventures.

  • IBM Expands Spark Support with SystemML

    IBM’s machine learning technology has been accepted as an open source project, adding momentum to the steady enterprise shift to open-source development. The development effort also extends IBM’s reach into the Apache Spark ecosystem.

    IBM (NYSE: IBM) said last week its SystemML originally developed for its BigInsights data analytics platform has been accepted as an Apache Incubator open source project. SystemML is a machine learning algorithm translator designed to help developers building machine-learning models used for predictive analytics across a range of industries.

  • Altair to Open Source PBS Professional HPC Technology in 2016

    “Altair’s open source contribution is valuable and will help advance the work of the OpenHPC Collaborative Project,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “By working together to build and extend new technologies for the world’s most complex computing systems, Altair and other members of OpenHPC can accelerate exascale computing.” The open licensing system is scheduled to be released to the open source community in mid-2016.

  • Best Practices for Open-source Projects

    GitHub’s Phil Haack hosted a panel on Channel 9 that focused on best practices for open source projects.

    The panel saw the participation of four maintainers of open source projects: Carlos Rojas, audience evangelism manager at Microsoft for Latin America; Brian Lagunas, maintainer of the PRISM framework, used to build loosely coupled, maintainable, and testable XAML applications; David Paquette, contributor to several open source projects; and Carlos dos Santos, maintainer of CodeCracker, an analyzer library for C# and VB.

  • IBM Fashions Open Source Platform for Machine Learning

    It’s funny how Hadoop continues to crop up as the prime example of an open source platform that finds an early niche as an experiment in enterprise IT shops then suddenly explodes into its own vibrant ecosystem. In fact, the same thing might be happening with Spark, at least as an engine for the types of workloads that Hadoop was not so skilled at tackling.

  • IBM, Google Open Source Machine Learning Technology for Big Data Analytics

    IBM followed Google’s lead in donating machine learning technology to the open source community, providing developers with more resources for their Big Data predictive analytics projects.

  • Gallery of open source project stickers
  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • End-of-Year Surveys Show Hadoop Growing, Still Complex, Though

      As the year draws to a close, several research reports and surveys are quantifying just how big an open source success story Hadoop has become. According to a new best practices survey from TDWI there is a big increase in how many enterprises plan to have Hadoop clusters in production. By Q1 of next year, 60% of survey respondents said they will be in production, up from 16% when the report was published earlier in 2015. We covered the complete results of the survey here.

  • CMS

  • BSD

    • New ELF Linker from the LLVM Project

      We have been working hard for a few months now to rewrite the ELF support in lld, the LLVM linker. We are happy to announce that it has reached a significant milestone: it is now able to bootstrap LLVM, Clang, and itself and pass all tests on x86-64 Linux and FreeBSD with the speed expected of an LLVM project.

    • LLVM Is Developing A New ELF Linker

      They wrote today, “We are happy to announce that it has reached a significant milestone: it is now able to bootstrap LLVM, Clang, and itself and pass all tests on x86-64 Linux and FreeBSD with the speed expected of an LLVM project.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Richard Stallman Is Not The Father Of Open Source

      Richard Stallman wants to make one thing completely clear: He is not the father. “I’m not the father of open source. If I’m the father of open source, it was conceived by artificial insemination without my knowledge or consent,” he proclaimed from the keynote stage last month at Fossetcon 2015. It wasn’t close to the strongest statement he made from that stage.

    • GNU UPC Hopes To Merge For GCC 6

      Developers on GUPC, the GNU UPC project for extending GCC to support the Unified Parallel C language dialect, are hoping they can get their code merged for GCC 6.

      It’s been a while since last talking about Unified Parallel C as the C programming language extension designed for HPC on parallel machines, but the developers have been hard at work on improving the code and keeping it in sync with GCC.

    • GIMP 2.9.2 Released, How About Features Trivia?

      In a surge of long overdue updates the GIMP team made the first public release in the 2.9.x series. It’s completely GEGL-based, has 16/32-bit per channel editing and new tools. It’s also surprisingly stable enough even for the faint of heart.

    • Supporting Software Freedom Conservancy
    • Software Freedom Conservancy supporter

      They provide a non-profit home, infrastructure, and advice for FLOSS projects. They take care that the will of the project members, choosing free software licenses, is respected by third parties. They care about “all the rest” so free software contributors can focus in improving the software itself. They have an agreement with the Debian community to protect the freedoms that Debian Developers provide to the Debian end users (and derivative distributions).

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source Gov.UK is ‘example of UK soft power’

      In introducing Manzoni, Nefkens described the UK as a world leader in the “digital transformation of government”, a model even for similar schemes in the USA and Australia. Furthermore, New Zealand has used Gov.uk source code – it’s based on open standards and is open source – to help build out own digital services.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • First Open Source Scientific Notebook Released On Kickstarter

      Modularity is what makes sciNote flexible and useful for every laboratory. Modules are either developed by the sciNote team or by the community. There is a number of open source scientific platforms out there which can be connected to sciNote so there will be an ever-growing selection of modules to choose from. Modules can be simple, such as reagent calculator or complex, such as bioinformatics modules. They can be connected with your existing, databases, laboratory instruments and software.

    • Open Data

      • Flanders to redouble focus on open data standards

        One of the first tasks for Flanders’ newly created Agency for Information (Agentschap Informatie Vlaanderen) will be to promote the use of open data standards by public administrations in the Belgian region. The agency is to align existing and future business processes involving open data and will advance the use of European linked open data standards. The agency’s long-term vision is to support the European Commission’s actions on spatial data infrastructure standards (INSPIRE) and on semantic interoperability for eGovernment systems – one of the actions of the EC’s ISA programme. (ISA is also responsible for the Joinup platform.)

    • Open Hardware

      • It May Soon Be Possible To Build A Do-It-Yourself 64-Bit ARM Laptop

        Olimex Ltd is hoping to make it possible to sell a Do-It-Yourself laptop powered by a 64-bit ARM SoC.

        Olimex has been working on the OLinuXino OSHW Linux laptop that’s an open-source ARM hardware design and would be powered by an Allwinner A64 64-bit SoC.

        They just received samples of their plastic body design for the laptop itself. While a pure plastic laptop is worrisome, they claim that “the plastic parts [are] very good!” They have also sourced the battery, LCD display, keyboard, and other components.

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US will deploy special force to boost fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

      The United States is deploying a specialized expeditionary targeting force to help Iraq put additional pressure on Islamic State and be positioned to conduct unilateral operations into Syria, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Tuesday.

    • Corbyn says only ‘small number’ of ‘diehard’ Labour MPs support airstrikes – Politics live
    • We need Chilcot’s lessons from Iraq now – before we bomb Syria

      MPs have instead been summoned to meetings to talk to “experts” – David Cameron’s reference to intelligence agencies that he is reluctant to identify after the disaster in Iraq. We are having to wait until next summer, more than 13 years after the invasion, to hear what Chilcot says about “lessons learned”, the main purpose of his inquiry.

    • The Desolation of Labour

      Labour is in a mad panic over Ken Livingstone’s fundamental departure from the neo-con narrative.

    • The Planned Parenthood Attack, And How Homegrown Terrorism Gets Downplayed By The Press

      So, in just the last three months we’ve seen a car set on fire, Molotov cocktails allegedly thrown at a house of worship, terroristic threats leveled against a family, liberal protesters gunned down by radicals, and a medical facility stormed by an anti-abortion/anti-government gunman who killed civilians and a policeman.

      What portrait do those events paint in your mind? And is that portrait of radical homegrown violence and terrorism the one you’ve seen conveyed in the press following the Colorado Springs terror attack?

      It’s not the one I’ve been seeing.

      Media Matters for years has documented how Fox News in particular has used a blinding double standard in terms of casting wide, cultural and religious aspersions when covering terror attacks involving Muslim attackers, versus how it deals with homegrown political violence from the right. (It was Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade who once confidently declared, “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.”)

    • BBC Broadcasting House ‘Bomb Scare’ Leaves Journalists Bemused Over False Evacuation Report

      Hundreds of BBC journalists were left bemused after a rival news outlets reported they were being evacuated from Broadcasting House.

      Staff at the broadcaster were less than impressed at claims – later debunked – that they had been escorted from the building over a suspicious vehicle parked nearby posing a possible bomb threat.

      ITV, the Independent, the Daily Express, City AM and others fell foul of the false claims, sparked by a tweet from one BBC journalist who claimed Broadcasting House had been evacuated.

    • The large proportion of Iraqis who believe the US is supporting Isis

      On the front lines of the battle against Isis, suspicion of the United States runs deep. Iraqi fighters say they have all seen the videos purportedly showing U.S. helicopters airdropping weapons to the militants, and many claim they have friends and relatives who have witnessed similar instances of collusion.

      Ordinary people also have seen the videos, heard the stories and reached the same conclusion — one that might seem absurd to Americans but is widely believed among Iraqis — that the United States is supporting Isis for a variety of pernicious reasons that have to do with asserting U.S. control over Iraq, the wider Middle East and, perhaps, its oil.

    • 70,000 is the new 45 minutes

      Precisely as I reported two days ago, Cameron really is in trouble over the Syria vote due to his patently ludicrous claim of the existence of 70,000 “moderate rebels”. Most MPs are pretty unpleasant people, but they do have a high opinion of their own importance. They will vote for anything they see as in their own self-interest, but not if it means kneeling and licking the floor when they are being treated with very obvious contempt, in public. Well, a great many of them will even do that if it advances their career, and the George Osborne tendency do it in private and pay for it. But not even pretending to take MPs seriously is a risky tactic, and that is what Cameron has done with his foolish ruse of just inventing 70,000 moderate fighters.

      Today the government rubbed MPs faces further in the dirt by saying they could not give a breakdown of who the 70,000 are, because it is a secret.

      Yes, honestly. The identity of our allies – even just in terms of what groups they belong to – is a secret.

    • The Old Etonian Sir Mark Lyall Grant

      Lyall Grant is now National Security Adviser and made responsible by Cameron for persuading Labour MPs to bomb Syria. A disagreement has arisen tonight over whether he admitted or not that a great many of the “70,000” are “extreme Islamists”.

    • Syria airstrikes: Has the West learned nothing after its 9/11 response?

      …a new intervention will play directly into the narrative used by ISIS to lure the Western recruits most likely to carry out attacks in Britain.

    • MSNBC’s Kornacki Found Muslims In NYC Were Assaulted After 9/11, But No News Reports Of Muslim Celebrations
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The Worst Right-Wing Media Reactions To The UN Climate Summit

      President Obama is in Paris at a United Nations summit, where nations hope to reach an international agreement on climate change. In response, conservative media figures have resorted to denial, dismissal, and mockery, while criticizing Obama as “simply stupid” and NASA scientists as “talentless low-lives.”

    • Indonesia forest fires: how the year’s worst environmental disaster unfolded – interactive

      As world leaders gather in Paris to discuss the global response to climate change, we assess the impact of the widespread forest fires in Indonesia. Set to clear land for paper and palm oil production, the fires have not only destroyed forest and peatland, but also severely affected public health and released massive amounts of carbon

  • Finance

    • How EU nations are being sued for billions by foreign companies in secret tribunals

      The most controversial aspect of the the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, which is currently being negotiated behind closed doors between the US and EU, is the plan to allow foreign companies to sue entire nations in special tribunals for the alleged expropriation of future profits through changes in laws or regulations. This is not an entirely new approach—these secret tribunals have been included in hundreds of other smaller-scale trade agreements over the years—but its inclusion here would have profound impacts on both the EU and US.

      Opponents of the idea see these secret tribunals as undermining a government’s sovereign ability to implement democratic decisions through new legislation. Those in favour of this investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism insist that it’s just a normal part of trade agreements, and nothing to worry about.

      The UK government’s public stance on ISDS is typical: “Since 1975 the UK has negotiated 94 Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) almost all of which include ISDS provisions,” one of its information leaflets says. And yet the government also claims: “No ISDS challenge has ever succeeded against the UK. Despite the large number of treaties in force with ISDS clauses, there have been only two ISDS challenges brought against us.”

  • Censorship

    • Our Response To The Latest Ridiculous Legal Threat Against Us: Milorad Trkulja Can Go Pound Sand

      As we’ve noted, we regularly get legal threats, some of which are more serious than others. Sometimes we ignore them entirely, and sometimes we feel the need to respond. Depending on the situation, sometimes we respond privately. Sometimes we respond publicly. The more ridiculous the threat, the more likely we are to respond publicly — and I think the latest holds up as one of the most ridiculous legal threats we’ve seen. It comes from Milorad Trkulja, who is also known as Michael Trkulja, and who lives in Australia. Trkulja made some news a few years back when he (somewhat surprisingly) successfully sued both Yahoo and Google for hundreds of thousands of dollars, because when people did image searches on a variety of phrases related to things like “Australian criminal underworld mafia” sometimes a picture of Trkulja would show up. Apparently, Trkulja was actually shot in the back a decade ago by an unknown gunman. And somehow, for whatever reasons, certain websites included pictures of him along with enough keywords that the search algorithms at both Google and Yahoo would return his photo in such searches. We wrote about his victory over Google back in November of 2012, pointing out how ridiculous it was that an Australian court said you could sue search engines because image search happens to pop up your image along with actual gangsters.

      [...]

      That’s enough of a response. There are tons of other possible responses, but in short: we’re not doing a damn thing in response to this ridiculous threat. You have no case whatsoever and complaining about this is ridiculous. It may be time to find a hobby or something, Mr. Trkulja, because poorly written and ridiculous legal threats to foreign entities aren’t doing you any good.

    • Prince Charles: 15-page contract reveals how the Prince of Wales tries to control the media

      Prince Charles is demanding “North Korean-style” pre-conditions in television interviews, including advance knowledge of precise questions, the right to oversee editing and even to block a broadcast if he does not approve of the final product.

  • Privacy

    • GCHQ accused of ‘persistent’ illegal hacking at security tribunal

      GCHQ carries out “persistent” illegal hacking of phones, computers and networks worldwide under broad “thematic” warrants that ignore privacy safeguards, a security tribunal has heard.

      Microphones and cameras on electronic devices can be remotely activated without owners’ knowledge, photographs and personal documents copied and locations discovered, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has been told.

      GCHQ, the government monitoring station in Cheltenham, has for the first time in a court case admitted that it carries out computer network exploitation (CNE) – commonly known as hacking – both in the UK and overseas.

    • The attack that broke the Dark Web—and how Tor plans to fix it

      Law enforcement has been complaining for years about the Web “going dark,” saying that encryption and privacy tools are frustrating their ability to track criminals online. But massive FBI operations over the last year that have busted ‘hidden sites’ used for the sale of drugs, hacking tools, and child pornography suggest the digital criminal world has gotten lighter, with law enforcement bragging that criminals can’t “hide in the shadows of the Dark Web anymore.” While mysterious about its tactics, law enforcement indicated that it had found a way to circumvent the tool on which these sites relied, a software called Tor. But criminals are not the only ones who rely on it.

    • IRS says it will get a warrant before using cell-site simulators

      The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is drafting a policy to restrict the use without a warrant of cell-site simulator technology to snoop on the location and other information from mobile phones.

      The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is drafting a policy to restrict the use without a warrant of cell-site simulator technology to snoop on the location and other information from mobile phones.

      The head of the IRS, John Koskinen, wrote in a letter that the agency was drafting a policy that would mirror an earlier Department of Justice rule, which requires a search warrant supported by probable cause before using the technology, except in exigent or exceptional circumstances.

    • Google accused of tracking school kids after it promised not to

      Google has been collecting information about schoolchildren’s browsing habits despite signing a pledge saying it was committed to their privacy, the EFF said Tuesday.

      Google has been collecting information about schoolchildren’s browsing habits despite signing a pledge saying it was committed to their privacy, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a complaint filed Tuesday.

    • Boston PD Finally Confirms It Has A Stingray Device In Its Possession

      The Boston Police Department has been fighting two FOIA requests — one from Mike Katz-Lacabe and one from Shawn Musgrave — for months. We covered Katz-Lacabe’s battle back in June. In that one, the BPD denied the release of documents related to Stingray devices on the questionable grounds that they were covered under the “investigative materials” exemption.

    • Bulk Collection Under Section 215 Has Ended… What’s Next?

      But the facts that have emerged thus far tell a different story. It appears that much of the planning took place IRL (that’s “in real life” for those of you who don’t have teenagers). The attackers, several of whom were on law enforcement’s radar, communicated openly over the Internet. If France ever has a 9/11 Commission-type inquiry, it could well conclude that the Paris attacks were a failure of the intelligence agencies rather than a failure of intelligence authorities.

  • Civil Rights

    • Sixty years on, U.S. heroes of Montgomery bus boycott celebrated

      While Rosa Parks became a symbol of the U.S. civil rights movement when she refused to give up her seat on a segregated Alabama bus, the 60th anniversary of her arrest is also highlighting lesser-known pioneers of the bus boycott she sparked.

      Parks made history by taking a stand alongside other desegregation pioneers like Claudette Colvin, a black teenager arrested nine months earlier in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger, said Fred Gray, a lawyer who represented both women.

      “If there had not been a Claudette Colvin, who did what she did, a lot of other events would not have occurred,” Gray said. “It was a matter of each one building upon each other, and the rest is history.”

      The Montgomery bus boycott, launched in protest of Parks’ arrest on Dec. 1, 1955, modelled the nonviolent protests that defined the era and brought to prominence a lead organizer, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

    • Rosa Parks: 60th anniversary of a historic day in Alabama – in pictures
    • Chicago police chief ousted amid tensions over black teen’s killing

      Chicago’s police chief was ousted on Tuesday following days of unrest over video footage showing the shooting of a black teenager and the filing of murder charges against a white police officer in the young man’s death.

      Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced during a news conference he had asked Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to resign. The mayor also said he was creating a new police accountability task force.

      The white officer, Jason Van Dyke, was charged a week ago with first-degree murder in the killing of Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times. The video of the killing was released on the same day.

    • Human Rights Watch demands U.S. criminal probe of CIA torture

      Human Rights Watch called on the Obama administration on Tuesday to investigate 21 former U.S. officials, including former President George W. Bush, for potential criminal misconduct for their roles in the CIA’s torture of terrorism suspects in detention.

    • US Officials Must Be Brought to Justice for CIA Torture Program – HRW

      Human Rights Watch concluded in a report that foreign governments must prosecute senior US officials involved in the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture program.

    • Where is the Outrage on David Cameron’s Scandal in the Gulf?

      The UAE, we now know, was busy planning its own operation against Muslim Brotherhood affiliates at home while urging David Cameron to do the same in Britain.

  • DRM

    • Adobe isn’t killing Flash, just changing the name of the tool that makes it

      Score one for the late Steve Jobs. Adobe is changing the name of Flash Professional CC, its web animation tool, to Animate CC. The goal is to accurately reflect the reality that web developers are using the tool to also create HTML5 content—“over a third of all the content” created with the app—according to Adobe.

      In a blog post announcing the change, Adobe credited Flash with “[pushing] the web forward.” But the company also conceded that HTML5, which is friendlier to laptop batteries and not the security nightmare Flash has become, has matured enough to “be the web platform of the future across all devices.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • UK Anti-Piracy ‘Education’ Campaign Launched, Quietly

        After a long wait the UK’s broad anti-piracy effort operated by ISPs and copyright holders has finally launched. The UK Government-funded program aims to warn and educate illegal file-sharers in the hope of decreasing piracy rates over time, but thus far the response has been rather underwhelming.

      • Broke Again, Dotcom Asks Hong Kong Court For Millions

        Lawyers for Kim Dotcom have asked a Hong Kong court for the release of millions in previously seized funds claiming that their client is broke once again. However, the prosecution claim that after opening new businesses, Dotcom banked “hundreds of millions” of dollars through Hong Kong.

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DecorWhat Else is New


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