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12.19.15

Links 19/12/2015: Manjaro Linux 15.12 RC 2, Jolla is Back

Posted in News Roundup at 1:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Openalpr – An Open Source Licence Plate Reader

    There is also an OpenALPR agent tat can run as a Linux daemon. In this mode it can monitor one or more MJPEG video streams and return JSON packaged data containing the licence number it found.

  • rsync.net: ZFS Replication to the cloud is finally here—and it’s fast

    In mid-August, the first commercially available ZFS cloud replication target became available at rsync.net. Who cares, right? As the service itself states, “If you’re not sure what this means, our product is Not For You.”

    Of course, this product is for someone—and to those would-be users, this really will matter. Fully appreciating the new rsync.net (spoiler alert: it’s pretty impressive!) means first having a grasp on basic data transfer technologies. And while ZFS replication techniques are burgeoning today, you must actually begin by examining the technology that ZFS is slowly supplanting.

  • Why OVH is betting on OpenZFS

    The annual OpenZFS Developer Summit took place on October 19-20 in San Francisco. Used in a relatively discrete manner by IT professionals until now, OpenZFS celebrates its 10 year anniversary as its adoption continues to grow. Witness how this open source technology has been used to store the twelve petabytes of dailies for the movie Gravity (1), or its integration into the latest release of Ubuntu as a native file system. This year, two representatives from the OVH storage team were sent to the Developer Summit to learn about new developments and to propose their contribution to the community, “Live migration with Zmotion”. Explanations and an overview are provided by François Lesage and Alexandre Lecuyer, OVH storage engineers.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • How Fast is Your Hadoop? Here’s How to Measure That

      Many organizations are also wrestling with how to quantify the performance they are actually getting from big data tools like Hadoop and Spark. On that front, there is good news. The Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) has announced two new additions to its growing arsenal of industry-standard benchmarks: TPC-DS 2.0 and TPCx-V. TPC-DS 2.0 is billed as “the first industry-standard benchmark for SQL-based Big Data systems, including Hadoop and Apache Spark-based systems, as well as relational database management systems (RDBMSs).” It could provide a standard for quantifying big data performance.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.0.4 for Slackware-current

      My christmas break has started! So there is finally time to finish some of the stuff that had been piling up. First thing to release is the new version of LibreOffice 5, because it is so fresh. Release 5.0.4 was announced yesterday on the Document Foundation blog. My virtual server I rent from HostUS gives me so much better speeds than my build server at home for RAM-hungry compilations like LibreOffice… I built my new packages in a third of the time it usually takes me. Plus, the server at home was free to work on Slackware Live Edition… more about that soon, in another post.

    • Collabora brings LibreOffice Online to ownCloud
    • Ministry of Defence Continues the process of migrating to LibreOffice [Ed: automated translation]

      Perugia, 17 December 2015 – the Defence Association and LibreItalia announce the conclusion of the first course for referees LibreOffice computer, run independently from the group of trainers within the organization of the defense (formed last November) and under the supervision of mentor volunteers Association LibreItalia.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • New Product in stock: PIC32-RetroBSD Open Source Hardware Board running Unix like RetroBSD OS

      RetroBSD is a port of 2.11BSD Unix intended for embedded systems with fixed memory mapping. The current target is Microchip PIC32 microcontroller with 128 kbytes of RAM and 512 kbytes of Flash. PIC32 processor has MIPS M4K architecture, executable data memory and flexible RAM partitioning between user and kernel modes. The project is open source and hosted at RetroBSD.org

    • Linux Predictions 2016, FreeNAS Logo Contest & More…

      FreeNAS Logo Contest: Okay, artists, get those colored pencils sharpened, those brushes cleaned and ready, because you have an assignment — that logo isn’t going to design itself. FreeNAS — “founded in 2005 on the guiding principle that network storage software should be available to the public at no cost and free of license restrictions” according to its site — has initiated a logo contest, urging the community to contribute artwork to become a part of FreeNAS history.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Free Software Foundation submits comments to U.S. Department of Education encouraging free licensing for all grant-funded materials

      The Department was seeking comments on proposed rules that would ensure that works created with competitive grant funds from the Department would be licensed to give the public and educational institutions the right to freely modify and distribute the works. The FSF’s comment lauded this goal, but suggested an important wording change in the regulation to ensure that “the license must grant public permission to ‘distribute modifications’ or equivalently ‘distribute adaptations.’” Earlier this month, the FSF also called on free software supporters to submit comments of their own, or add their signature to the FSF’s filing.

      “What the Department of Education is proposing is a great step for education and for computer user freedom. We submitted our comment, along with comments from our community, to ensure that the updated regulations create the greatest benefit: that all public grant-funded educational works carry the essential four freedoms,” said FSF’s executive director, John Sullivan.

    • GNU MediaGoblin: State of the Goblin: Stripe Open Source Retreat, and more!

      It’s been a few months since my last major update so I wanted to fill in what’s going on. As usual, a lot has been happening, and it’s been hard to cover it all as we go. There’s some particularly huge news in this update, including something about funding something oh hey this should help us get MediaGoblin 1.0 out the door, plus something about the standards work we’re doing, something something. So let’s dive in and resolve all those somethings, right?

    • Help put the Planet in LibrePlanet by sponsoring an attendee

      Each year, free software fans from across the world gather for the LibrePlanet conference. At this year’s LibrePlanet, our theme, “Fork the System”, will explore how free software creates the opportunity of a new path for its users, allows developers to fight the restrictions of a system dominated by proprietary software by creating free software replacements, and is the foundation of freedom, sharing, and change.

    • Bash logo

      I received a very generous offer to create a new logo and donate it for the project’s use. The benefactor is Justin Dorfman, and he has been very patient to wait for me to select from among a number of good alternatives (part of what made it so tough).

    • Server Software Matters

      Yesterday I had the pleasure of engaging in a conversation hosted by Bryan Lunduke on the topic of compromise in Free software. He has uploaded the audio and video recording of Richard Stallman, Stuart Langridge, Swapnil Bhartiya and myself tackling this topic.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The golden age of open source, predictions for 2016, and more news
    • Oakland biohackers beat funding goal for open source insulin protocol

      Wednesday evenings the hackers and biologists of Counter Culture Labs, a North Oakland “anarchist collective,” meet to work on a project aiming to create an open-source protocol for manufacturing a more accessible and affordable version of insulin, made by recombinant DNA, also known as genetic engineering.

      From day jobs at such powerhouse facilities as UC San Francisco, Amgen Inc., and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, they come to work on the project called Open Insulin. The project aims to accelerate development of a generic version of the lifesaving medicine while showing that citizen scientists and biohackers can contribute an alternative to methods now used by the for-profit pharmaceutical business model, says the group’s 35-year-old co-founder Anthony Di Franco of Berkeley.

Leftovers

  • Revealed: how Google enlisted members of US Congress it bankrolled to fight $6bn EU antitrust case [Ed: It is worth remembering that EU antitrust push is caused for the most part by hypocritical Microsoft lobbying with its satellites]

    Google enlisted members of the US congress, whose election campaigns it had funded, to pressure the European Union to drop a €6bn antitrust case which threatens to decimate the US tech firm’s business in Europe.

  • Security

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Revealed: Prince Charles has received confidential cabinet papers for decades

      Prince Charles has been receiving confidential cabinet papers for decades, giving him access to the inner workings of British government, according to a Whitehall manual released after a three-year freedom of information battle.

      The heir to the throne, who has previously been criticised for “meddling” in politics, is sent all cabinet memoranda, alongside the Queen and ministers in charge of departments, including secret proposals for new legislation and other discussion documents that have only been released to the public after 30 years.

  • Finance

    • TPP Ratification Process Grinding To A Halt As Canada Launches ‘Widespread Consultations’ On The Deal

      As we noted recently, the arrival of a new government in Canada has meant that the corporate sovereignty provisions in CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU, might be re-examined, even if they are unlikely to be dropped completely. The other major trade deal involving Canada, TPP, is much more complex, since there are 11 other nations to consider. Although that limits the Candian government’s scope for changing course, it appears that it is nonetheless taking a radically different approach compared to its predecessor.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Arun Kundnani on Islamophobia & the ‘War on Terror,’ Keane Bhatt on a Tale of Two Elections

      This week on CounterSpin: Alleged San Bernardino killers Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik did not pledge allegiance to ISIS on social media, the FBI now says, but no matter: The California killings have already added fuel to an upsurge of Islamophobia in US media and politics that in some ways is worse than that seen in the wake of September 11, 2001. One new element is the murky idea of “radicalization.” We’ll talk about that with Arun Kundnani, adjunct professor at NYU and author of, most recently, The Muslims Are Coming! Islamophobia, Extremism and the Domestic War on Terror.

    • NY Times Public Editor: Flawed Stories Should Be “Red Alert” For Paper

      According to The New York Times’ public editor, the paper’s repeated publication of front-page, anonymously sourced stories that required major editor’s notes damages the paper’s credibility and should be a “red alert” for its editors.

    • How to feed and raise a Wikipedia robo-editor

      Wikipedia is to put artificial intelligence to the enormous task of keeping the free, editable online encyclopaedia up-to-date, spam-free and legal.

      The Objective Revision Evaluation Service uses text-processing AI algorithms to scan recent edits for signs that they may be spam, an effort at trolling, part of a revert war (where edits are made and reversed endlessly), or otherwise dubious. But humans are excellent at making sense of the nuance of the written word – can a computer do the same?

      Natural language processing is a branch of AI, focusing not on creating smart computers but on intelligent comprehension of text. Its aim is to help computers understand human language, and communicate as humans do.

    • Prosecutors Set to Appeal Scott Walker “John Doe” Case to U.S. Supreme Court

      Despite the best efforts of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his allies on the state Supreme Court, the John Doe is not dead.

      On Friday, three county prosecutors filed a motion to intervene in the case, the first step towards appealing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

      In July, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a decision rewriting the state’s limits on money in politics and ending the “John Doe” investigation into Walker’s campaign coordinating with dark money groups. Yet some justices faced serious conflicts-of-interest in the case, since the same groups that coordinated with Walker’s campaign were among the majority’s biggest financial supporters, spending $10 million to elect the court’s majority.

      Under U.S. Supreme Court precedent, the justices likely should not have heard the case at all. The Special Prosecutor leading the probe, Francis Schmitz, asked two justices to recuse but they refused to do so.

  • Privacy

    • European Union lays down first cybersecurity rules

      The European Parliament has made headway into the development of cybersecurity rules its member states should follow. Under the first set of regulations it has laid down, critical service companies in all 28 member states will have to make sure they’re using a system robust enough to fend off cyberattacks. By “critical service companies,” we mean those that fall under any of these six categories: energy, transport, banking, financial market, health and water supply. Each member state will have to list businesses that can be identified as critical service companies under a category. Any company that makes the cut will have to be able to quickly report security breaches to authorities.

    • Tor Has a New Leader, Heads Toward its Next Frontier

      There continue to be many people around the globe who want to be able to use the web and messaging systems anonymously, despite the fact that some people want to end Internet anonymity altogether. Typically, the anonymous crowd turns to common tools that can keep their tracks private, and one of the most common tools of all is Tor, an open source tool used all around the world.

    • Juniper warns of spying code in firewalls

      Juniper, a major manufacturer of networking equipment, said on Thursday it found spying code planted in certain models of its firewalls, an alarming discovery that echoes of state-sponsored tampering.

      The affected products are those running ScreenOS, one of Juniper’s operating systems that runs on a range of appliances that act as firewalls and enable VPNs. ScreenOS versions 6.2.0r15 through 6.2.0r18 and 6.3.0r12 through 6.3.0r20 are vulnerable, according to an advisory.

    • Secret Code Found in Juniper’s Firewalls Shows Risk of Government Backdoors

      Encryption backdoors have been a hot topic in the last few years—and the controversial issue got even hotter after the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, when it dominated media headlines. It even came up during this week’s Republican presidential candidate debate. But despite all the attention focused on backdoors lately, no one noticed that someone had quietly installed backdoors three years ago in a core piece of networking equipment used to protect corporate and government systems around the world.

      On Thursday, tech giant Juniper Networks revealed in a startling announcement that it had found “unauthorized” code embedded in an operating system running on some of its firewalls.

      The code, which appears to have been in multiple versions of the company’s ScreenOS software going back to at least August 2012, would have allowed attackers to take complete control of Juniper NetScreen firewalls running the affected software. It also would allow attackers, if they had ample resources and skills, to separately decrypt encrypted traffic running through the Virtual Private Network, or VPN, on the firewalls.

    • Trying to prevent browser fingerprinting? The odds are against you

      With recent revelations about browser fingerprinting, the race is on to find ways and means that will help reduce your browser’s fingerprint, and with it, make it difficult for it (and you) to be tracked.

      After trying Panopticlick yesterday, a tool released by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to help users determine if their browser is safe against tracking and fingerprinting, I set out to find out how to make my browsers less unique to trackers.

      For the very paranoid, the results are not good.

    • Congress snuck a surveillance bill into the federal budget last night

      After more than a year of stalemate, Congress has used an unconventional procedural measure to bring a controversial cybersurveillance bill to the floor. Late last night, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced a 2,000-page omnibus budget bill, a last-minute compromise necessary to prevent a government shutdown. But while the bulk of the bill concerns taxes and spending, it contains a surprise 1,729 pages in: the full text of the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015, which passed the Senate in October.

    • Telegram gains 1 million users in a day following WhatsApp ban in Brazil

      WhatsApp has been blocked for 48 hours in Brazil following a court order by a judge in the country. It has been alleged that the messaging service has been providing “pirate” services, undermining the role of the country’s telecommunications companies, and should be regulated. The so-called blockade goes into effect at midnight tonight.

  • Civil Rights

    • Ten Triumphs of 2015

      We saw off a sneaky attempt to introduce Snoopers’ Charter into law. Four members of the House of Lords tried to insert the text of the Snoopers’ Charter into the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill, just when that Bill was at its final stages. With only a few days notice, ORG responded, galvanising supporters to call Lords and explain why this was unacceptable. The Lords saw sense and the amendments were dropped.

    • Fox Co-Host Suggests Killing Detainees To Close Gitmo
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