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12.25.15

Links 25/12/2015: SolydXK Linux Christmas Release, Wine 1.9

Posted in News Roundup at 5:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 49 Open Source Office Tools

    The good thing about open source office tools: you can use them to save major cost in office productivity. As you’ll see on the list below, some of these free office tools replace highly expensive commercial software. In some cases, a business could equip itself for thousands of dollars less.

    In many ways, the following list of open source office tools shows just how far open source has progressed in the last several years. And, always, if you have recommendations to add to this list, use the Comments section below. Happy downloading!

  • 5 things you should know about the plan to open source artificial intelligence

    Arguably, the open source movement — the idea that a group of technologists freely contributing their own work and commenting on the work of others, can create a final product that is comparable with anything that a commercial enterprise might create — has been one of the great innovation catalysts of the technology industry.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla 2016 Outlook: Promising Despite Funding, Competitive Woes

        For Mozilla, 2015 has been a year of large challenges, with a shift in funding sources and increasing competitive pressures across the desktop and mobile markets. The biggest challenges for Mozilla, however, are likely yet to come in 2016.

      • Exclusive: Mozilla working on a tablet a stickTV, an intelligent keyboard and a router

        We mentioned earlier that Mozilla’s Firefox os isn’t dead. Mozilla has some great plans for firefox os. These internal documents obtained by Hypertext shows the future of Mozilla Firefox preparing detailed OS beyond smartphones and include Panasonic TVs & these documents detail the new plans of Mozilla.

      • Adding Community-Driven Wayland Support to Servo

        It’s been some time since the last Servo article on the OSG blog, but this has no relation to the speed at which the browser engine’s development has been progressing.

        In the last post, the Offscreen Rendering (OSR) integration status was explored, culminating in both some code snippets as well as videos of an embedded browser application. That post can be considered the foundation for the recently-tweeted screenshot of Servo running with Wayland support.

      • The next 12 months will change Firefox’s add-on landscape fundamentally

        A lot is going on at Mozilla, makers of the popular Firefox web browser. In the next 12 months, the organization plans to make fundamental changes to the Firefox web browser which affect core features of the browser including its add-on ecosystem.

      • Divergent News on FirefoxOS

        I said good-bye to my FirefoxOS phone because of Mozilla’s decision to stop the distribution of the devices.

      • Open letter to Mozilla: Bring back Persona

        It was on the news this mroing, Mozilla will stop developing FirefoxOS phones, and the top Hacker News comment really resonated with me. Sure, IoT is the future, and it would be great if we had more nifty stuff there (shameless IoT privacy plug), but these headlines make the bad taste that I’ve had in my mouth ever since Mozilla shuttered Persona stronger, and I can’t stay silent any more.

      • Temporary add-on loading coming to Firefox

        Andy McKay, Engineering Manager at Mozilla, announced yesterday on the official add-ons blog that Mozilla would implement temporary add-on loading in its Firefox web browser.

  • CMS

  • BSD

    • A BSD Wish List for 2016

      First things first: I know that the wide number of variants in the BSD family are primarily aimed at servers. That said, it’s clearly understandable that with the exception of PC-BSD and BSD variants like GhostBSD, desktop/laptop users are not the primary focus in the BSD constellation. I get that, and regardless I am still using it for about 80 percent of my overall computing needs, and still using it on a daily basis on my go-to daily laptop.

    • FreeBSD and Linux servers

      Linux server distributions get compared all the time. And in the end, the discussion typically ends up around CentOS (from RHEL) and Ubuntu (from Debian). Why is this? When Rackspace discusses Linux server options, many more distributions are mentioned: Gentoo, Arch, Fedora, etc. Let’s focus on Gentoo and Arch.

    • The Most Popular BSD Stories Of 2015

      While we primarily focus on Linux operating system news and releases, I do enjoy watching the *BSD space and covering their major events. This year has saw some great updates for DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, and friends. Here’s a look at the most popular BSD news on Phoronix for 2015.

    • Problems with Systemd and Why I like BSD Init by Randy Westlund

      For my part, I’m not a fan of systemd but I also don’t think it’s the end of the world. I watched a great interview with Lennart on the Linux Action Showabout why he implemented it, and he had some good reasons. To write a daemon for Linux, you need to maintain a different init script for each distro because they all put things in different places. And sysVinit isn’t the best with dependencies. Developing things for the Linux desktop is not as easy as it could be, due in large part to the fragmentation.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Intel PKU Instruction Support Lands In GCC

      Just a few days ago I was writing about LLVM working on PKU memory protection keys. It seems now GCC has support for Intel’s PKU instructions.

      PKU Memory Protection Keys are going to be a feature of future Intel CPUs as explained in the aforelinked article and with them come new PDPKRU and WRPKRU instructions. With this commit today to the mainline GNU Compiler Collection, it appears GCC has now support for these new PKU instructions.

    • What are the best plugins to increase productivity on Emacs

      Over a year ago now, I went looking for the best plugins to turn Vim into a full-fledged IDE. Interestingly, a lot of the comments on that post were about how Emacs already has most of these plugins built in, and was already a great IDE. Although I can only agree about Emacs’ incredible versatility, it is still not the ultimate editor when it comes out of the box. Thankfully, its vast plugin library is here to fix that. But among the plethora of options available to you, it is sometimes hard to know where to start. So for now, let me try to assemble a short list of the indispensable plugins to increase your productivity while using Emacs. Although I am heavily geared towards programming related productivity, most of these plugins would be useful to anyone for any usage.

    • The New GNU News Of 2015
  • Public Services/Government

    • Grenoble commits to free software

      Grenoble, France’s 16th largest city, is committed to the use of free software. This type of ICT solutions facilitaties the sharing of knowledge, empowers citizens and institutions and helps to cut costs, the city said in a statement. The city also sees free software as one of the tools to increase citizen participation.

    • Infrabel seeking support for range of open source solutions

      Infrabel, Belgium’s government-owned railway network management company, is requesting services and support for two enterprise Linux systems, Red Hat and Suse. Infrabel also seeks support many other open source solution, including network monitoring tools Logstash, Zabbix and Rsyslog, and Java applicatieserver Jboss (renamed WildFly).

    • Open source engine for Portugal’s online gazette

      Portugal’s online government gazette, Diário da República Eletrónico (DRE), runs on open source components, including enterprise content management system Liferay and Java application server Jboss (renamed WildFly). INCM, the country’s printing office and mint, is looking for IT services for these and other IT solutions. The two-year contract is estimated to be worth EUR 550,000.

    • Grenoble Set FREE
  • Programming

    • How GitHub is building a platform and supporting open source (podcast)

      We caught up with her recently to talk about how GitHub has evolved into a platform (and what it means to be a platform), how the company figures out which new features and products to build, and the role of open source software in stimulating innovation.

    • Perl 6 Is Ready For Release

      Perl 6 was unveiled back in October with plans to officially ship the Perl 6.0 for Christmas. Larry Wall and those involved in Perl 6 development have managed to deliver.

    • What’s new in Ruby 2.3?

      Ruby 2.3.0 will be released this Christmas, and the first preview release was made available a few weeks ago. I’ve been playing around with it and looking at what new features have been introduced.

    • Ruby 2.3 Released With New Language Features

      Ruby 2.3 features a frozen string literal pragma, a safe navigation operator, and more.

Leftovers

  • How to praise IT? Evangelize it

    For a lot of people within IT who’ve been at it for a while, it becomes very easy to continue doing your job and then at the end of a project move on to the next thing. Praise for success and hard work is a way to pause and assess what you’ve accomplished.

  • Science

    • Best of Opensource.com: Science

      This year has been another great one for open science. At Opensource.com we published several great stories about open science projects that are changing the way we research, collaborate, and solve problems.

  • Security

    • Thursday’s security updates
    • MMD-0047-2015 – SSHV: SSH bruter ELF botnet malware w/hidden process kernel module
    • Another “critical” “VPN” “vulnerability” and why Port Fail is bullshit

      The morning of November 26 brought me interesting news: guys from Perfect Privacy disclosed the Port Fail vulnerability, which can lead to an IP address leak for clients of VPN services with a “port forwarding” feature. I was indignant about their use of the word “vulnerability”. It’s not a vulnerability, just a routing feature: Traffic to VPN server always goes via ISP, outside of VPN tunnel. Pretty obvious thing, I thought, which should be known by any network administrator. Besides that, the note is technically correct, so nothing to worry about. But then the headlines came, and shit hit the fan.

    • Cracking Linux with the backspace key?

      The source of these reports is a mildly hype-ridden disclosure of a vulnerability in the GRUB2 bootloader by Hector Marco and Ismael Ripoll. It seems that hitting the backspace character at the GRUB2 username prompt enough times will trigger an integer underflow, allowing a bypass of GRUB2′s authentication stage. According to the authors, this vulnerability, exploitable for denial-of-service, information-disclosure, and code-execution attacks, “results in an incalculable number of affected devices.” It is indeed a serious vulnerability in some settings and it needs to be fixed. Unfortunately, some of the most severely affected systems may also be the hardest to patch. But language like the above leads reporters to write that any Linux system can be broken into using the backspace key, which stretches the truth somewhat.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Yemen: 1 More Reason to Re-evaluate Toxic US-Saudi Alliance

      After almost a year of civil war, the conflicting forces in Yemen sat down on Dec. 15 in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss the prospect of finding a political solution to the conflict that has been raging since March 2015. While this is a necessary step towards ending the violence that has killed thousands, crippled infrastructure had led to a critical humanitarian crisis, so the peace talks should include a mechanism for rebuilding this impoverished nation. Saudi Arabia, which is responsible for most of the destruction with its relentless bombings, should be forced to pay for the terrible damage it has wrought. So should the United States.

    • When Terrorism becomes Counter-terrorism: The State Sponsors of Terrorism are “Going After the Terrorists”

      And now in an unusual about turn, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has configured a coalition of 34 mainly Muslim countries “to go after the Islamic state”. In a bitter irony, the key protagonists of this counterterrorism initiative endorsed by the “international community” are Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Turkey, i.e. countries which have relentlessly supported “Islamic terrorism” from the very outset in close liaison with Washington. In the words of Hillary Clinton in her declassified Emails: “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

      Counter terrorism by the state sponsors of terrorism? A New Normal? The propaganda campaign appears to have reached an impasse.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • It’s time for the private sector to buy in to the COP21

      THE 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) concluded on December 12 with the European Union and 195 countries agreeing on limiting greenhouse gas emissions to a point where the global temperature rise is capped at less than 2° C. The agreement has a strong basis in the principles of shared responsibility and transparency as well as collective oversight in the form of periodic assessments. This has finally brought the world’s governments (including those of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) together and has steered them in a clear direction for making a positive impact in the arena of climate change. But as vital as this development has been, government action cannot fix the problem alone. The private sector is a key participant in this endeavour: it is bigger, more agile, and more influential than any government, or even group of governments, could ever be.

    • To slow climate change, you have to start here

      The phrase “climate change” often summons images of exhaust-spewing trucks and coal plants blackening the skies.

      [...]

      But even people who’ll never visit the region should fear Indonesia’s flaming jungles. When the forest fires rage hardest, they can spew out more emissions per day than the entire US economy, according to the pro-conservation World Resources Institute.

      The fires briefly turned Indonesia — a largely impoverished, Muslim-majority archipelago — into the world’s worst polluter. During particularly smoky spells in September in October, Indonesia daily churned out more greenhouse gases than even China or the US.

      When Indonesia’s fires are tamed, the country is usually pegged as the sixth-worst offender, behind China, the United States, the European Union countries (which are counted as one bloc), India and Russia.

  • Privacy

    • Marc Andreessen: ‘In 20 years, every physical item will have a chip implanted in it’

      The hype around the Internet of Things has been rising steadily over the past five years. In tech analyst Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report in 2015, the IoT is at the peak of “inflated expectations”, particularly for areas like the smart home, which involve controlling your lights, thermostat or TV using your mobile phone.

      But the era of sensors has only just dawned, according to renowned technology investor and internet pioneer Marc Andreessen. In 10 years, he predicts mobile phones themselves could disappear.

    • Australian government tells citizens to turn off two-factor authentication

      The Australian government has repeatedly called for citizens to turn off two-factor authentication (2FA) at its main digital government portal, myGov. The portal’s Twitter account has recently been updated several times with cute pictures encouraging holidaymakers to “turn off your myGov security codes” so that “you can spend more time doing the important things.”

      The portal is the place where Australian citizens can use and manage a number of governmental services, including health insurance, tax payments, and child support. In case of myGov, two-factor authentication is implemented by sending users text messages that contain one-time codes to complement their usual passwords.

    • NSA Helped British Spies Find Security Holes In Juniper Firewalls

      A TOP-SECRET document dated February 2011 reveals that British spy agency GCHQ, with the knowledge and apparent cooperation of the NSA, acquired the capability to covertly exploit security vulnerabilities in 13 different models of firewalls made by Juniper Networks, a leading provider of networking and Internet security gear.

      The six-page document, titled “Assessment of Intelligence Opportunity – Juniper,” raises questions about whether the intelligence agencies were responsible for or culpable in the creation of security holes disclosed by Juniper last week. While it does not establish a certain link between GCHQ, NSA, and the Juniper hacks, it does make clear that, like the unidentified parties behind those hacks, the agencies found ways to penetrate the “NetScreen” line of security products, which help companies create online firewalls and virtual private networks, or VPNs. It further indicates that, also like the hackers, GCHQ’s capabilities clustered around an operating system called “ScreenOS,” which powers only a subset of products sold by Juniper, including the NetScreen line. Juniper’s other products, which include high-volume Internet routers, run a different operating system called JUNOS.

    • User Data Portability and Privacy – Comment on Recent News

      Anyway, I am happy that KDE signed the User Data Manifesto 2.0 a few months ago. Why wait for official legislation when we can do the right thing right now?

    • Resuming GPG

      Quite possibly Moxie Marlinspike is right, but for non-casual communications this can still be useful.

    • State considered harmful – A proposal for a stateless laptop (new paper)

      Two months ago I have published a detailed survey of various security-related problems plaguing the Intel x86 platforms. While the picture painted in the paper was rather depressing, I also promised to release a 2nd paper discussing — what I believe to be — a reasonably simple and practical solution addressing most of the issues discussed in the 1st paper. Today I’m releasing this 2nd paper.

      I think it is the first technical paper I’ve written which is not backed by a working proof-of-concept. Incidentally, it might also be one of the most important ones I have authored or co-authored.

  • Civil Rights

    • Media Reform Committee Considers a Crackdown on Online Media Using Article 44

      A junta appointed media reform committee is considering a new measure to control online media that incites “social unrest.”

      Pol.Maj.Gen Pisit Pao-in, the former commander of the Technology Crime Suppression Division who now oversees the government’s ‘reform’ of online media, said on Dec. 24 that he would ask to use the power of Article 44 to crack down on online media, including content deemed to be affecting national security and/or defaming the monarchy.

      Article 44 of the interim constitution grants junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha a power to enact any laws or take action to protect “national interests” and “national security.”

      After the talk between the media reform committee and police today, Pisit said representatives from Google are scheduled to meet the committee for a discussion on Jan. 14 and again on Jan. 21. According to the officer, these meetings will be followed by further meetings with representatives from Facebook and the messaging app, LINE, at as yet unspecified dates.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Why No to Free Basics by Facebook!

      There are other successful models (this,this,this) for providing free Internet access to people, without giving a competitive advantage to Facebook. Free Basics is the worst of our options.

      Facebook doesn’t pay for Free Basics, telecom operators do. Where do they make money from? From users who pay. By encouraging people to choose Free Basics, Facebook reduces the propensity to bring down data costs for paid Internet access.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay co-founder builds device that costs the music industry $10,000,000 a day

        Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde has created a device that he believes is costing the music industry $10 million a day, reports TorrentFreak.

        The ‘Kopimashin’, seen in the video below makes 100 copies of the Gnarls Barkley song ‘Crazy’ and sends them all to /dev/null – a technical term meaning the files are deleted as soon as they are saved.

      • Pirate Bay Founder Builds The Ultimate Piracy Machine

        Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde served his prison sentence last year but still owes the entertainment industries millions in damages. Some might think that he’s learned his lesson, but with a newly built copying machine he’s generating millions of extra ‘damages,’ which might be worth a mention in the Guinness Book of Records.

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