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01.13.16

Links 13/1/2016: Desktop Declines, Apple Losing to Chromebook (Gentoo)

Posted in News Roundup at 8:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • How Linux won without winning [Ed: clueless anti-Linux article from IDG's Apple booster]

    You rarely see Linux when you boot your computer or turn on your smartphone, but the truth is Linux is everywhere

  • How Well Do You Know Your Linux History?
  • The most exciting Linux and open source Kickstarter projects of 2016 (so far)

    Kickstarter has brought us many successful Linux and open source products, including Mycroft AI, Pebble Time, and Ouya, among others. Some of these raised millions of dollars in funding.

    Who will be next?

    Keep an eye on this slideshow as it evolves over the course of the year. We’ll keep you updated on new projects and let you know who met their funding goals.

  • A Brief Guide to Alternatives to Windows: 2016 Edition

    Now the easiest and simplest route for people who are ready for a change is to buy the Google computer also known as a Chromebook. For folks that want a full Linux there is Crouton, which enables one to run ChromeOS and Linux at the same time.

  • Linux Quiz, Another Poll, and Win-ning

    Today in Linux news, FOSS Force is running a Linux history quiz – fun for the whole family. OpenSource.com is running a poll wondering which Linux distribution you use and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols outlines “what’s new and nifty in Linux 4.4.” Infoworld.com’s Galen Gruman said today that “Linux won without winning” and the community should celebrate. Jack Wallen said Ubuntu messed up when they dropped UbuntuOne while Ubuntu 16.04 is said to be the best Ubuntu in years.

  • Into The Unknown – Sunday, 2016-01-10

    You’d think “Unknown” would actually be known by someone somewhere with such popularity but I can’t find it. How is it more popular than Android/Linux in some places and StatCounter doesn’t know about it?

  • 22 Years of Linux Journal on One DVD – Now Available

    In easy-to-use HTML format, this fully searchable archive offers immediate access to the essential resource for the Linux enthusiast: Linux Journal. The archive contains all 260 issues of the magazine, from the premiere March 1994 issue through the most recent issue, December 2015. That’s 260 issues of Linux Journal, with well over 4,100 articles!

  • Desktop

    • Apple loses more ground to Google’s Chromebook in education market

      Apple is no longer the undisputed head of the K-12 class.

      For the first time, Chromebook sales surpassed 51% in the K-12 market nationwide in the third quarter, according to a recent report by market researcher Futuresource Consulting. The surge reflects a fundamental shift in how American schools are buying tech in bulk and assessing students online, placing an emphasis on low-cost, easy-to-manage machines.

    • Configuring Linux for music recording and production

      If you’re a programmer, you’ll find GNU/Linux systems quite powerful and robust. When it comes to areas like visual arts, video, business, or gaming, you’ll find some tools with promising potential, but lots of bugs, quirks, and challenges. You can accomplish whatever you need in most cases, but the setup and learning curve may not be as smooth as proprietary options on proprietary systems.

      In this article, based on my talk at SCaLE 14x this year, we’ll cover the basics of configuring your Linux system for music making, highlighting what works best and acknowledging the challenges with recommendations on how to find help.

    • Google Chrome Users Will Push Content to Chromecast Without Dedicated Extension
    • Should you install Linux on a gaming laptop?

      Linux is everywhere these days, and Linux gamers have never had more games to play than they do right now. But is Linux really well suited for a gaming laptop? One redditor asked about it on the Linux subreddit and got some interesting answers from his fellow Linux users.

  • Server

    • IBM targets flexible mainframes with open source golang on z Systems

      While IBM sees improved uptake for its mainframes, the HPC supercomputer market is also seeing interest with demand for new systems.

      The Go programming language is being brought onto IBM’s System z mainframes.

      In a post on GitHub, the popular code-sharing site, Big Blue made both its port available and its Linux on IBM z Systems project.

    • All Systems z are Go: IBM ports Google language to mainframes

      IBM has been spotted bringing the open-source Go programming language to its System z mainframes.

      Big Blue made its port available via a GitHub repository and its Linux on IBM z Systems project – which is working on bringing across various other packages, too.

      Developed by Google and released in 2009, Go is designed with an emphasis on concurrency among other features, and is used in Google’s own applications as well as technology from Linux container biz Docker and anti-DDoS outfit CloudFlare.

    • SGI to Build Supercomputer for Climate Research Center

      The “Cheyenne” system is based on SGI’s ICE XA, the latest example of the growing demand for more supercomputing power by weather researchers.

      Supercomputer maker SGI will build the next generation system for the work being done by the National Center for Atmospheric Research regarding climate change and a range of other atmospheric issues.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Next-Gen Media Controller Support Going Into Linux 4.5

      Landing with the Linux 4.5 kernel will be the next-generation media controller support. This “next-gen MC” work is the result of one year of development and enables media controller support at the DVB subsystem, improves the media controller to support other types of V4L devices like radio and TV devices and to extend the media controller functionality so it can be used by other subsystems (DVB / ALSA / IIO). A new ioctl is presented as part of this next-generation support for exposing it to user-space, but for the Linux 4.5 kernel that code is disabled until Linux 4.6 rolls around to ensure the ioctl is in good shape.

    • ​What’s new and nifty in Linux 4.4

      2015 saw a lot of controversy about how Linus Torvalds directs the Linux project. But, that didn’t stop him from delivering the latest update of the Linux kernel: Linux 4.4 on time.

    • KVM Changes Prepped For Linux 4.5

      Paolo Bonzini sent in the first pull request this morning for KVM (Kernel-Based Virtual Machine) changes for Linux 4.5.

    • Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS Officially Released, with 3D Support in Virtual GPU Driver
    • Linux 4.4 released
    • Linux Kernel 4.4 Long-Term Support officially released
    • What’s new in Linux 4.4

      Plus: Apple says it’s not creating software for users to switch to Android from iPhone, and Apple loses ground to Chromebooks in the education market

    • Linux 4.5 Input Updates Bring Changes Even For PS/2 Mice

      If you still are relying upon a PS/2 mouse, it really is time to think about upgrading to a USB mouse, but keep reading as there are some changes with Linux 4.5.

      The PS/2 mouse change is that its module has been reworked in order to “limit number of protocols we try on pass-through ports to speed up their detection time.” Not too exciting but it’s an improvement nevertheless if stuck using this technology dating back to the late 80′s.

    • Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS Is Unofficially Available for Ubuntu, Debian, and Linux Mint

      GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton informs us today about the availability of a custom Linux 4.4 kernel package for 64-bit Ubuntu, Debian GNU/Linux, and Linux Mint operating systems.

    • ACPI & Power Management Updates For Linux 4.5

      Intel’s Rafael Wysocki has sent in the refreshed ACPI and power management code that’s targeting the Linux 4.5 kernel merge window.

      Of interest with these updates is a debugfs interface for communicating with ACPICA’s new AML debugger so it can be accessed from a new user-space tool, more efficient handling of CPUfreq governors, many CPUfreq driver changes (including Intel’s P-state driver), and updates to the device properties framework.

    • LZ4 Compression Support Is Unlikely For Btrfs

      Patches have been posted several times now, but the Btrfs file-system is unlikely to offer support for LZ4 transparent file-system compression.

    • The Staging Update Is Modestly Sized For Linux 4.5

      Greg Kroah-Hartman sent in his pull requests today for the various kernel subsystems he maintains, including the kernel’s staging area.

      About this cycle’s staging pull, Greg KH wrote in the pull request, “Lots of cleanups and fixes here, not as many as some releases, but 800+ isn’t that bad.”

    • Will Blockchain Technology Transform Transactions?
    • The Dronecode Project Taps Open Source for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Platform

      When the next generation of unmanned “drone” aerial vehicles starts buzzing around above you, don’t be surprised if an open source platform is make it possible. Dronecode, a nonprofit organization developing a common, shared open source platform for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), has announced major milestones that include investments from 27 new member organizations and the formation of technical working groups to advance the Dronecode open source platform for UAVs.

    • ADLINK Releases Mac and Linux Drivers for USB DAQ Series
    • ADLINK Releases Mac and Linux Drivers for USB DAQ Series
    • Graphics Stack

      • A High Performance, OpenCL-Based VP9 Encoder

        Ittiam has announced an OpenCL-based VP9 encoder for high performance, power efficient HD video encoding.

        Targeting mobile and consumer hardware where there may not be dedicated VP9 hardware, Ittiam has developed an OpenCL-based encoder that will work with the likes of ARM Mali graphics hardware. Obviously doing this encoding on the GPU in software is more efficient and performant than a CPU-based software encoder. The Samsung S6 was demonstrated with this OpenCL-based encoder for efficient VP9 usage.

      • It Looks Like X.Org Might Be Safe For A Few More Years

        As a follow-up to last week’s X.Org Might Lose Its Domain Name, where it looked like the X.Org Foundation would lose their single-letter domain unless getting very lucky, they managed to get their domain renewed today. The X.Org Foundation has yet to issue a statement, but perhaps thanks to all the public pressure the past few days had a helping hand in getting the domain situation sorted out in a timely manner.

      • Partial Fermi Re-Clocking Being Talked About For Nouveau

        Karol Herbst, the independent open-source developer who has been focusing upon Nouveau re-clocking support in recent months, has made a new proposal and patch series concerning NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400/500 “Fermi” re-clocking on this open-source driver.

    • Benchmarks

      • A 10-Way Linux Distribution Battle To Kick Off 2016

        As our first multi-way Linux distribution comparison of 2016, I took ten different modern Linux distribution releases and benchmarked them on the same Intel Haswell system. Being benchmarked were various releases of Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Debian, Clear Linux, Fedora, Antergos, and CentOS.

      • 8-Way ARM Board Linux Benchmark Comparison From The Pi Zero & ODROID To Tegra

        The kind folks at LoverPi.com sent over many of the ARM boards seen in this comparison today. They provided the ODROID C1 Plus, Raspberry Pi 2, Orange Pi Plus, Orange Pi PC, and Banana Pi M2. They will also be allowing some other ARM board Linux tests on Phoronix in the future. Beyond those various ARM SBCs, for this performance comparison I also included a Raspberry Pi Zero, NVIDIA Jetson TK1, and NVIDIA Jetson TX1.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Applications 15.12.1 Lands with More Than 30 Bugfixes Across All Apps

        Just a few minutes ago, January 12, 2016, the KDE developers have had the great pleasure of announcing the release and general availability of the KDE Applications 15.12.1 software suite for the KDE Plasma 5.5 desktop environment.

      • Seasons of KDE

        Before I started working on my Seasons of KDE project, I already did some Junior Jobs. I reviewed Bugs and fixed a few of them. This helped me a lot to get a little deeper into KDE. Especially in getting to know all the tools, which are being used when developing KDE software.

      • KDE: Kubuntu: Status Update, Patreon and Donations notifications.
      • openDesktop.org changes

        Today I have very exiting news to share. Effectively January 1 2016, my company hive01 GmbH has been bought by Blue Systems GmbH. hive01 GmbH runs the network of opendesktop.org sites like KDE-Look.org, KDE-Apps.org, GNOME-Look.org, Qt-apps.org and all the other 30 websites

      • openDesktop.org. 15 years in review

        I launched KDE-Look.org, the first website in the openDesktop.org network nearly 15 years ago. This is a long time and I announced today that I sold the network to Blue Systems. So I think it is time for a look back at how everything started and where we are today.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME supports the work of Software Freedom Conservancy

        The GNOME community has dedicated the last 18 years to building great software for our users. We have created a library of work that is found not only in our desktop but also in various other important software and hardware. As a proud part of the GNU Project, GNOME licenses its software freely to ensure that the work will continue to be free for everyone to use and build on. To do this, we use the GPL (GNU General Public License) and the LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License).

      • Manjaro Gnome 15.12 released

        The Manjaro community is proud to present another update to the Gnome Edition installation media.

        This release keeps to the style of the 15.12 release being that it is highly vanilla, but of course is up-to-date at the time of build and includes the latest Manjaro back-end infrastructure. Note this means a very vanilla Gnome configuration, it doesn’t mean ‘minimal’, the full set of Gnome software and other apps are provided out-of-the-box.

      • GNOME Calendar Just Landed in Ubuntu 16.04 Daily Build

        A new package has just landed in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and it’s the promised GNOME Calendar.

        The development of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) is still far from being completed, and the Ubuntu Team has started to add some of the packages that have been promised. One of the apps that haven been announced for Ubuntu 16.04 is the GNOME Calendar, and it’s now implemented by default.

      • Manjaro Linux GNOME 15.12 Distribution Officially Released, Includes GNOME 3.18.2

        On January 12, the Manjaro community had the great pleasure of making an official announcement regarding the Manjaro Linux GNOME 15.12 computer operating system, which was made available for download a few days ago.

      • GNOME Control Center to Get a Completely New Design in Future GNOME Releases

        GNOME developer Allan Day wrote a full-length article on January 13, 2016, explaining the last work done by the GNOME Project for the new design of GNOME’s Settings application.

      • A settings design update

        Over recent months, a fair amount of work has been done on the design of GNOME’s settings. Quite a lot of this work is experimental, but I wanted to share the work in progress and explain some of the reasoning behind it.

        A major feature of the latest settings designs is a rethink of the GNOME Settings “shell” (that is, the overall framework of the settings application). We want to move from the current model, that uses an icon grid and fixed window size, to one that uses a list sidebar for navigation, and has a resizeable window.

      • GNOME Settings Is Getting Improved

        Allan Day has written a blog post today about some of the improvements that are being worked on for GNOME’s settings area.

      • GNOME Project Announces Its Support for Software Freedom Conservancy

        The GNOME Project, a non-profit organization that delivers the open-source GNOME desktop environment for GNU/Linux operating systems, announced on January 12, 2016, that they are supporting the work of Software Freedom Conservancy.

        GNOME has been building open-source and free software distributed under the LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License) and GPL (GNU General Public License) licenses for almost two decades, and they’re proud members of the GNU Project.

        But to ensure that their work will continue to be free for everyone to use or redistribute, they make an appeal for the community to follow the rules of the open-source licenses before attempting to “borrow” their code and make it proprietary.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Lite 2.8 Beta Arrives with Btrfs Support and New Linux Kernel

      Linux Lite, a distribution created with the purpose of showing users just how easy it is for non-technical folks to use a Linux distribution, has advanced to version 2.8 and is now ready for download and testing.

    • The Best Linux Distros of 2016

      2015 was a very important year for Linux, both in the enterprise as well as in the consumer space. As a Linux user since 2005, I can see that the operating system has come a long way in the past 10 years. And, 2016 is going to be even more exciting. In this article, I have picked some of the best distros that will shine in 2016.

    • 9 Linux distros to watch in 2016

      Last year, right about this time, I listed my top Linux distributions to watch during 2015. Not which ones would be the best. Nor which would be the worst. Simply which ones I believed would be the most interesting, the most fascinating, to watch over the course of the year. I’ve done so again this year. Because it sounded like fun and I wanted to. Enjoy.

    • Solus Devs Working to Fix Boot Problem, People Warned Not to Use Unstable Repo

      The Solus developers have started to implement some of the promised fixes, and they have warned users not to use the unstable repo.

    • Solus Operating System 1.0 Provides New Linux Desktop Experience

      In the Linux desktop world, there is now another viable option for a stable desktop environment, thanks to the Solus Project’s Budgie Linux desktop environment. After following a somewhat meandering path toward its final release, the Solus Project debuted version 1.0 of its Solus Operating System Linux distribution on Dec. 27, providing users with an alternative take to the more common GNOME- and KDE- based Linux distributions. The Solus Operating System’s most distinguishing feature is Budgie, which provides a unique graphical interface for the Linux desktop. A core part of Budgie is the Raven applet technology that provides a simplified notification center for desktop users. While Budgie is the flagship technology of the Solus Operating System, it also will work with other Linux distributions, including Fedora, Arch, Ubuntu, Debian and openSUSE, providing an alternative Linux desktop environment choice. Alongside the new desktop are common applications to many Linux distributions, including the Mozilla Firefox Web browser, the Rhythmbox music player, the VLC media player, the Transmission bittorret client and the HEX Internet Relay Chat client. In this slide show, eWEEK examines some of the key highlights of Solus Operating System 1.0.

    • Arch Family

    • Slackware Family

      • Slackware Linux 14.2 Beta 1 Brings Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS and Pulse Audio

        Slackware Linux, a complete 32-bit and 64-bit multitasking “UNIX-like” system that is currently based around the 4.4 Linux kernel series, has been upgraded to version 14.2 Beta 1 and is now ready for download.

        Slackware Linux is probably the oldest Linux distribution that’s still being maintained, and it managed to keep the same kind of development model for a very long time. There are no official repos and most of the changes, fixes, and new features are added by its creator, Patrick Volkerding.

      • Slackware 14.2 Beta Released, Now Uses PulseAudio

        First off, Slackware 14.2 has finally begun using PulseAudio. Years after other Linux distributions switched to PulseAudio, the day has come for Slackware since they upgraded to BlueZ 5. With BlueZ 5, the ALSA support has been dropped and now presents a hard dependency on PulseAudio. From there, the project basically had to make the switch.

      • Current (pre-release) ChangeLog for x86_64
    • Red Hat Family

      • Top Stocks of the day: Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
      • Red Hat’s Ansible 2.0 brings new power to devops

        Ansible, the Python-powered IT automation and configuration framework that recently became a Red Hat property, officially released its 2.0 version today. Its new features satisfy two needs that are sometimes deeply contradictory: Make the product more powerful and useful, but don’t break compatibility with the already large and growing culture of Ansible scripts and modules.

        The Ansible scripts known as Playbooks have long lacked a mechanism to group together tasks in logical units or elegantly perform error handling. Version 2.0 can do so thanks to blocks. Actions described within a block only take place if a given set of conditions are met.

      • Ansible 2.0 Has Arrived

        After a year of work, we are extremely proud to announce that Ansible 2.0 (“Over the Hills and Far Away”) has been released and is now generally available. This is by far one of the most ambitious Ansible releases to date, and it reflects an enormous amount of work by the community, which continues to amaze me. Approximately 300 users have contributed code to what has been known as “v2” for some time, and 500 users have contributed code to modules since the last major Ansible release.

      • Red Hat JBoss Fuse – Switchyard in OSGi

        So what exactly is SwitchYard? If you have ever played with JBoss Fuse Service Work, then you will probably know this already.

        SwitchYard is a structured framework for developing integration applications using the design principles and best practices of Service Oriented Architecture.

      • Why Red Hat heaps praise on naysayers

        Outspoken employees who complain about problems often get branded as malcontents. Even if they call attention to important failings in their organization, they tend to lose their stature with senior leaders.

      • Red Hat Inc (RHT) Receives “Buy” Rating from SunTrust

        SunTrust reissued their buy rating on shares of Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) in a research note published on Monday, MarketBeat reports. SunTrust currently has a $73.00 target price on the open-source software company’s stock.

      • BMO Capital Markets Begins Coverage on Red Hat Inc (RHT)

        BMO Capital Markets began coverage on shares of Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) in a research note published on Thursday, The Fly reports. The brokerage issued an outperform rating and a $97.00 price target on the open-source software company’s stock.

      • Why CIOs should change their minds (and their organizations) once a year

        Flexibility is paramount. That is our mantra and our discipline throughout the Red Hat IT organization. It has to be, because it allows us to change rapidly when needed. And with the pace of technology change, we run into that need quite often.

        At Red Hat, we’ve committed to changing our IT organization annually to ensure that our focus remains on the biggest business opportunities at the time. Each year, we review our priorities, centralize some functions, disperse some functions, add new organizations, remove organizations, and adjust elsewhere. And by setting that expectation with everyone on the team, they know that their responsibilities and the services they are accountable for may change over time.

      • Red Hat Ansible 2.0: a ‘playbook’ for agentless automation

        We know that Red Hat is a major player in the open source enterprise space (on many levels) and Ansible was (and still is) a company (now an internal Red Hat brand) that makes “agentless” orchestration and configuration management tools.

      • Insider Selling: Red Hat Inc (RHT) Director Sells 18,972 Shares of Stock
      • Red Hat Survey: Mobile Investments Are Paying Off

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced results from a recent mobile measurement survey, which revealed that 74 percent of respondents whose organizations use key performance indicators (KPIs) to some extent to measure mobile application success are achieving positive return on investment (ROI), demonstrating that prior investments in mobile have paid off. Red Hat’s mobile measurement survey revealed that 85 percent of organizations are using KPIs to measure mobile app success, while nine percent use other means and the remainder are not measuring mobile success at all.

      • The SLOTH attack and IKE/IPsec

        The SLOTH attack released today is a new transcript collision attack against some security protocols that use weak or broken hashes such as MD5 or SHA1. While it mostly focuses on the issues found in TLS, it also mentions weaknesses in the “Internet Key Exchange” (IKE) protocol used for IPsec VPNs. While the TLS findings are very interesting and have been assigned CVE-2015-7575, the described attacks against IKE/IPsec got close but did not result in any vulnerabilities. In the paper, the authors describe a Chosen Prefix collision attack against IKEv2 using RSA-MD5 and RSA-SHA1 to perform a Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attack and a Generic collision attack against IKEv1 HMAC-MD5.

        We looked at libreswan and openswan-2.6.32 compiled with NSS as that is what we ship in RHEL7 and RHEL6. Upstream openswan with its custom crypto code was not evaluated. While no vulnerability was found, there was some hardening that could be done to make this attack less dangerous that will be added in the next upstream version of libreswan.

      • Fedora

        • Project Fi and replacement phones: Android could learn from Fedora…

          I’ve had really good luck with smartphones (/me knocks on wood) over the years. I’ve dropped phones a number of times, but other than a few scuffs and scratches, no permanent damage. (My first-generation iPhone did have an unfortunate encounter with a softball years ago, but since then – smooth sailing.) This weekend, though, I biffed the Nexus 6 just wrong on the tile floor and the screen got the worst of it.

          This is one of the big downsides for Project Fi, in my opinion. With normal carriers, I can saunter into a physical store and have a replacement same-day. Or next morning if it happens to be 11 p.m. when the phone has its unfortunate incident. Project Fi? No such luck.

        • First Fedora 23 Updated Lives Available!

          Back on Dec 3rd, the latest iteration of Fedora, Fedora 23, came to being and now the first Updated Lives for 23 are available in torrent and raw iso download format from: (Includes GNOME,KDE,LXDE,MATE,CINNAMON,SOAS,XFCE)

          Fedora 23 Updated Lives

          Additional Spins available from:

          Fedora Spins

          All Versions also available via Official Torrent from:

          All Official Fedora Torrents

          If you are unfamiliar with upgrading between versions please take a read of either the Release Article over at:

          Fedora Magazine

        • Upgrading from the previous stable Fedora release

          One of the big topics we’re working on in Fedora QA right now is what we sometimes refer to as ‘N-1 upgrades’. The Fedora release process is expressly designed such that each release does not go EOL until a short time after the next-but-one release comes out (so Fedora 22 will not go EOL until a month after Fedora 24 comes out). This has a couple of benefits which are generally agreed to be valuable: you always have at least a couple of Fedora stable releases to choose from at any given time (so you have the previous one to fall back on if the current one turns out to be a complete lemon for your purposes), and – theoretically at least – if you maintain long-lived Fedora systems, you don’t have to upgrade to each new release if you don’t want to; you can always skip one.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Developers Preparing For PHP 7.0 In Stretch

        Debian’s PHP package maintainers are preparing for PHP 7.0 packages for Debian Stretch that will also contain some changes compared to how they packaged PHP5.

      • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (November and December 2015)

        The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months:

        Stein Magnus Jodal (jodal)
        Prach Pongpanich (prach)
        Markus Koschany (apo)
        Bernhard Schmidt (berni)
        Uwe Kleine-König (ukleinek)
        Timo Weingärtner (tiwe)
        Sebastian Andrzej Siewior (bigeasy)
        Mattia Rizzolo (mattia)
        Alexandre Viau (aviau)
        Lev Lamberov (dogsleg)
        Adam Borowski (kilobyte)
        Chris Boot (bootc)

      • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, December 2015

        A Debian LTS logoLike each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

      • 2016 Resolutions

        People these days often do think about what worked well in the last year that they are proud of, what didn’t work so well and what they plan to change the coming year. For me a fair amount of the resolutions were about my name. One of them was getting rid of my old name from the Debian—Project Participants page.

      • Debian Domination, Unstable Fedora, Simple Elementary
      • Derivatives

        • Call for testing: 2.0~rc1

          You can help Tails! The first release candidate for the upcoming version 2.0 is out. We are very excited and cannot wait to hear what you think about it :)

        • Tor-Based Tails 2.0 Anonymous Live CD Gets Closer to Release, RC1 Is Ready for Testing

          The development cycle of the upcoming Tails 2.0 amnesic incognito live system continues today, January 13, 2016, with the RC1 (Release Candidate 1) build, which is now available for download and testing.

          Tails 2.0 RC1 brings a great number of changes since the Beta build, among which we can mention support for the passphrase strength indicator in the GNOME Disk Utility (Disks) software, the Tor Browser 5.5 Alpha 6 anonymous web browser based on the Tor project, and the replacement of the Claws Mail app with the Icedove email client.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Weekly phpMyAdmin contributions

    The biggest task was focused on codebase cleanup. As Microsoft is ending support for old Internet Explorer version, we’ve decided to do same thing for next major release. This allowed us to remove some compatibility code and also upgrade jQuery to 2.x branch, which removes support for older browsers as well.

  • What are the best tools for open source web development?

    Apache: This is the most important web server without which no developer can do anything.

  • ownCloud Developers Are Planning on Making the Upgrades More Robust

    The ownCloud devs have announced earlier that they are planning on making the upgrades for their powerful and open-source ownCloud Server more robust.

  • Open source communities need mentors

    To me it seems a natural pairing because they are two things I am passionate about and things that I do and use every single day. So many of the principles of open source correlate with the positive outcomes most desired for children: collaboration, participation, and transparency (honesty, integrity, openness). For children who are interested in how things work, open source software can give them that behind-the-scenes peek. I love teaching children about open source because there are so many ways they can get their hands dirty and get involved in communities and meet people who share their particular interests. There are many projects that were developed with children in mind, like the great work done by Sugar Labs.

  • Opening your mind to open source

    As we embark on another new year it’s always worth casting our minds back over the previous twelve months. And what a bumpy 12 months they were for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (Meta) region.

    Declining oil prices, currency fluctuations, and political instability all played their role in fuelling the turbulence, with IDC taking the prevailing macroeconomic and political situation into account when we revised our forecast for META ICT spending in 2015 down from $270 billion to $250 billion.

  • A new year of opportunities and risks for the open web

    Looking forward to 2016, one thing we can be sure of is that there is much opportunity—and, at the same time, risk—for the open web. I believe efforts like Let’s Encrypt, which started and really heated up last year, will play a big role in making encryption everywhere more of a reality.

  • Events

    • Schedule of DevConf.cz 2016 is out!

      A couple of days ago, DevConf.cz 2016 schedule has been published. It’s bigger than ever before. This year, we have over 200 talks and workshops! There aren’t many bigger events devoted to open source in Europe. And I can finally enjoy it more because after 4 editions (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) I’m no longer the main organizer.

    • Google I/O 2016 event dates and location revealed

      Pichai tweeted out the news Tuesday, noting that the event will take place in the “neighborhood where it all started 10 ys ago: Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View.” Details about conference sessions, ticket sales, etc., have not been updated yet on the Google I/O website.

    • Jos Poortvliet: I’ll be at SCALE and FOSDEM, how about you?
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Shutting down persona.org in November 2016

        Hi Everyone,

        When the Mozilla Identity team transitioned Persona to community ownership, we committed resources to operational and security support throughout 2014 [1], and renewed that commitment for 2015 [2]. Due to low, declining usage, we are reallocating the project’s dedicated, ongoing resources and will shut down the persona.org services that we run.

        Persona.org and related domains will be taken offline on November 30th, 2016.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Apache Spark 1.6: Strong Typing, Faster Throughput

      The release of Spark 1.6 continues the evolution of the data analysis platform toward greater performance and usability, according to Reynold Xin, co-founder of Spark sponsoring company Databricks. He noted that the number of project contributors has topped 1,000, a 50 percent increase in the past year.

      He points to automatic memory management among the ways the new release makes life simpler for users.

      “Now, instead of users having to tune memory settings, it figures it out for you. Most users don’t understand tuning,” he said.

    • Citrix Exits Cloud Server Business

      The CloudPlatform technology is based on the Apache CloudStack open-source project that Citrix helped to start. Citrix contributed the CloudStack code to the Apache Software Foundation in April of 2012. The CloudStack technology itself came to Citrix by way of the acquisition of cloud.com in July 2011.

    • Apache Apex Joins a Slew of Free Tools for Next-Gen Big Data

      As I’ve noted in some recent posts, the Apache Software Foundation, which incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, squarely turned its focus to Big Data tools in 2015. There are also clear signs that it is continuing to do so as 2016 launches. One of the more interesting tools on this front is Kudu, which Cloudera has offered to the Apache Software Foundation for open source stewardship. Cloudera has a whole whitepaper on Kudu here, but its far from the only big data tool that is attracting TLC from Apache.

  • CMS

    • Drupal Hardens Its Security in Response to Criticism

      The open-source Drupal content-management system (CMS) is talking steps to help protect against multiple potential risks that have been publicly revealed. On Jan. 6, security research vendor IOactive first disclosed the issues, which are focused on the Drupal update process. The Drupal project’s security team is aware of the concerns and is fixing all the issues, though it is also downplaying the overall risk.

    • Kicking the Tires on a CMS Solution? Start Here.
  • LLVM

    • The Radeon Machine Scheduler Will Soon Come To AMDGPU LLVM

      Months after Axel Davy originally posted his patch-set for the SI machine scheduler to enhance the performance of AMD GCN GPUs on the open-source driver, it looks like the code will soon land in the AMDGPU LLVM back-end.

      Axel posted his work on this Southern Islands machine scheduler months ago for AMD’s LLVM GPU back-end. As tests showed back in August, this scheduler helps significantly boost the performance for certain workloads. One of the Phoronix readers that tested out this scheduler at the time exclaimed, “The si scheduler is such a huge performance boost! Not only it is faster, but now radeonsi is faster than Catalyst in *all* tests, sometimes by a wide margin!”

    • LLVM / Clang 3.9 Is Now Under Development

      LLVM Clang 3.8 has been branched from trunk, thus making LLVM Clang 3.9 the new version under development.

      LLVM developers were right on time for branching LLVM 3.8.0 and they are now preparing for the LLVM 3.8 release candidate. A LLVM 3.8 RC2 release is planned meanwhile for 27 January while the official release of LLVM 3.8.0 is expected around mid-February.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Stallman’s One Mistake

      We all owe [Richard Stallman] a large debt for his contributions to computing. With a career that began in MIT’s AI lab, [Stallman] was there for the creation of some of the most cutting edge technology of the time. He was there for some of the earliest Lisp machines, the birth of the Internet, and was a necessary contributor for Emacs, GCC, and was foundational in the creation of GPL, the license that made a toy OS from a Finnish CS student the most popular operating system on the planet. It’s not an exaggeration to say that without [Stallman], open source software wouldn’t exist.

    • The Future of the Free Software Foundation: Your Input Requested

      Addressing questions about the Free Software Foundation (FSF)’s future direction seems long overdue. For that reason, the FSF’s current online survey seems a step in the right direction.

      In many ways, the survey is a necessity. Although the FSF regularly tackles too many major issues to count, its entire operating budget for 2013 was $1,250,498, approximately five percent of the budget for the more corporate-oriented Linux Foundation during the same year. Under such budget restraints, some selection seems inevitable if the FSF is to avoid spreading itself too thin.

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: January 15th
  • Public Services/Government

    • France Parliament: source code should be made public

      The French Parliament wants to make it mandatory for the country’s public administrations to make public the source code of its custom-built software solutions. An amendment to France’s upcoming law for the Digital Republic was adopted by France’s lower house on Wednesday.

    • ‘France should give priority to free software’

      The French government should make the use of free software a priority in its Law for the Digital Republic (La République numérique), says April. The French free software advocacy group is asking Members of Parliament to reintroduce such a requirement into the draft law. The French government has ignored April’s proposal; the 3rd most-popular suggestion resulting from last year’s online public consultation.

  • Licensing

    • Qt open source licensing changed and product structure updated to strengthen community and extend adoption

      The Qt Company has announced changes to the open source licensing and product structure of the Qt cross-platform application development framework that will further strengthen the Qt community and make additional functionality available to software developers using the open source license. A new “start-up” license has also been announced that will help small businesses that want to utilize Qt in commercial desktop and mobile applications.

    • Qt Does Some Licensing Changes

      Qt will be introducing a “start-up license” to help small companies make use of the Qt tool-kit for commercial desktop and mobile applications. The Qt open-source licenses have also now been updated.

    • Qt is Guaranteed to Stay Free and Open – Legal Update

      The KDE Free Qt Foundation already played an important role when Nokia bought Trolltech, the original company behind Qt, and later sold Qt to Digia, which then founded The Qt Company. The contracts are carefully worded to stay valid in cases of acquisitions, mergers or bankruptcy. The history of the past 17 years has shown how well the legal set-up protects the freedom of Qt – and will continue to protect it in the future.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Carmakers Open IP Vaults To Boost Electric Car Demand

      Several carmakers are aggressively sharing intellectual property and patents in a collective bid to help the fledging vehicle type catch on in the marketplace as a mainstream alternative.

    • Open Data

      • UK Minister wants a more ‘data-driven government’

        The UK government wants to become more data-driven by using its own data and maintaining high-quality published data, Matthew Hancock, Minister of the Cabinet Office, said during the ODI (Open Data Initiative) Summit in November.

      • Open data in Austria: a strategy also shared with the private sector

        Companies, NGOs, industries, research centres, scientists and citizens in Austria can now publish their own data under an open license though a dedicated portal, Martin Kaltenböck, from Austrian-based Semantic Web Company, said during the ODI Summit 2015 last November.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • libxml++ 3.0 soon

      Kjell Ahlstedt has done some work on a new parallel-installable version of the libxml++ API, to fix some mostly-minor but annoying things that needed ABI breaks. You can see the code in libxml++’s git master.

    • Go language expands to IBM mainframes

      IBM hopes that Google’s language, already in use by Docker and Kubernates, will stretch the open source ecosystem for its mainframes

Leftovers

  • Alton Towers announces first VR rollercoaster

    UK theme park Alton Towers has announced a new rollercoaster passengers ride while wearing virtual reality headsets.

  • Google X, Alphabet’s Secret Research Division, Just Got A New Logo And A New Plan

    When Google founders decided to restructure the company under Alphabet’s umbrella, everyone’s eyes were set upon the future of Google X. This secretive division of Google works on turning the moonshot ideas into reality. In a related development, the company has now renamed Google X as X and revealed its new logo and a better future plan.

  • Dumb Criminal Agrees To Take SnapChat Selfie With Robbery Victim, Is Caught Quickly

    We used to do cover a certain type of story around here, where we informed our readers about some truly dumb criminals doing truly dumb things with technology. We stopped doing those posts more recently, in part because they were starting to feel stale and in part because we didn’t want to force our readers to confront the true levels of stupidity that exist on this planet. But, like a member of the Corleone family, they just keep pulling me back in.

    Victor Almanza-Martinez is just an armed robber looking for love in all the wrong places apparently, as he and two others decided to rob four people of their belongings in California, but took a break from the robbery to exchange SnapChat information and take a selfie with one of the female victims.

  • Man Arrested for Armed Robbery After Taking Snapchat Selfie with Victim
  • Science

    • Against School

      In this previously unpublished essay, Aaron Swartz sought an explanation for the persistent—and possible deliberate—failures in our school system.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Venezuela’s Food Revolution Has Fought Off Big Agribusiness and Promoted Agroecology

      Just days before the progressive National Assembly of Venezuela was dissolved, deputies passed a law which lays the foundation for a truly democratic food system. The country has not only banned genetically modified seeds, but set up democratic structures to ensure that seeds cannot be privatized and indigenous knowledge cannot be sold off to corporations. President Maduro signed the proposal into law before New Year, when a new anti-Maduro Assembly was sworn in.

    • The Barbarism of Rick Snyder: a Statement and Curse

      Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, aided by craven functionaries, cut public spending by replacing the clean Lake Huron water that had been the domestic water source for Flint, Michigan with the Dupont- and GM- poisoned water of the Flint River. Doubling down on the racist, class-oppressive carelessness of making the people of Flint consume this toxic waste, an act unimaginable for wealthier, whiter communities, Snyder allowed the water be treated with ferric chloride, a coagulating agent that would somehow magically make the meandering channel of old waste water that is the Flint River potable. Instead, it greatly accelerated the leaching of lead into the supply; hence, Snyder’s austerity-driven actions have resulted in exposing all of the children of Flint, not to mention the adults, to the dangers of massive lead poisoning.

    • My Right to Die

      Every story has a beginning. This one starts in late 2001, when my father-in-law fractured three of his ribs. Harry was a retired physician, and after a thorough workup that he insisted on, it turned out that his bone density was severely compromised for no immediately apparent reason. Further tests eventually revealed the cause: He had multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.

      Harry’s cancer was caught early, and it progressed slowly. By 2007, however, it had taken over his body. When my wife saw him in early 2008, she remarked that he looked like someone in a lot of pain but trying not to show it—despite the fact that he was taking oxycodone, a powerful opiate.

    • Hillary Clinton in 2008: “Since When Do Other Democrats Attack Each Other on Universal Healthcare?”

      Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been excoriating fast-rising rival Bernie Sanders for his proposal to adopt a single-payer universal health care plan. But in 2008, she decried the notion that a fellow Democrat would attack another for proposing universal coverage.

      While Clinton was campaigning against then-Senator Barack Obama, his campaign sent out a mailer criticizing her plan to mandate health insurance coverage. In response, Clinton called a press conference.

      “Since when do Democrats attack each other on universal healthcare?” Clinton asked. “I thought we were trying to achieve Harry Truman’s dream.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Moammar Gadhafi Warned U.K.’s Tony Blair That Ousting Him Would Open the Door to Jihadis

      Transcripts of two fraught telephone conversations between the U.K.’s Tony Blair and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 show Gadhafi warning that his removal from power would enable jihadi groups to seize control of Libya and use it as a staging ground to attack Europe.

      Blair, who was not Britain’s prime minister at the time, reportedly decided to act as an intermediary between Gadhafi and the West because of the contact the two men had while Blair was in office. Blair confirmed that both London and Washington, D.C.—presumably meaning Hillary Clinton, then-secretary of state and current Democratic presidential candidate—were aware of the calls.

    • Hellfire Missile Shipped to Cuba Targets U.S./Cuban Relations

      On Thursday, January 7, 2016, the date known in Latin culture as the one when the three Kings of the traditional Christian nativity story drop in on children, bearing gifts, the Wall Street Journal published the news that a very special gift had been dropped in Cuba: a made-in-the-USA air-to-ground Hellfire missile. Presumably, the offering would have delighted Cuba’s president, as he might finally having a look inside yet another one of the instruments that the U.S. had prepared for doing away with Cuba’s Castros.

      But what really lies beneath this extraordinary journalistic scoop brought to light by Devlin Barrett and Gordon Lubold more than 19 months after it actually took place?

      After closely reading the article and the comments it has engendered, including those from well-known politicians like John McCain, a number of questions surface that must be evaluated as part of any meaningful analysis.

    • America Has Grown Cowardly: ISIS is No Threat to Our Existence Whatsoever

      ISIL is no joke, but its potential for destruction pales in comparison to the danger once posed by the Soviet Union.

    • The Biggest Threat

      Why do we have over 7,000 nukes in our arsenal – enough to destroy the world several times over? Why are the contracts for “modernization” speeding through the procedural hoops faster than anyone can keep track of them?

    • Home Office, Saudi Arabia and the need for a ‘safe space’
    • Saudi Arabia and Israel: An Axis of Convenience

      Geopolitics makes strange bedfellows. Take Israel and Saudi Arabia for instance. The two Middle Eastern powers might be expected to have zero common ground. Israel is the arch-colonizer of Arabs and Muslims, while Saudi Arabia governs the motherland of the Arabs and the two capitals of Islam, Mecca and Medina. The two do not even have formal diplomatic relations.

      Yet since 2006, and especially since the 2011 Arab Spring, Israel and Saudi Arabia have been close de facto allies in what might be called the Crescent Wars: a sustained assault against the “Shia Crescent” (Iran, Syria, Yemen, Hezbollah, and to some extent Iraq) by a US-led coalition (including both Western and Sunni Muslim forces).

    • U.S. Media Condemns Iran’s “Aggression” in Intercepting U.S. Naval Ships — in Iranian Waters

      It goes without saying that every country has the right to patrol and defend its territorial waters and to intercept other nations’ military boats that enter without permission. Indeed, the White House itself last night was clear that, in its view, this was “not a hostile act by Iran” and that Iran had given assurances that the sailors would be promptly released. And this morning they were released, exactly as Iran promised they would be, after Iran said it determined the trespassing was accidental and the U.S. apologized and promised no future transgressions.

    • The reckless power behind the throne

      In the past year, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has abandoned the cautious fence-sitting that long characterised its diplomatic style in favour of an unprecedented, hawkish antagonism. That this transformation coincides with the meteoric rise of a previously little known prince – 30 year-old Mohammad bin Salman – is no accident; it seems that the prince is now the power behind the throne.

      Since the death of the first king of modern Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz, in 1953, the kingdom has been ruled by an increasingly elderly succession of six of his 45 sons; the last incumbent, Abdullah, died last January aged 90 and was replaced by the present king, Salman, who is 81 and rumoured to be suffering from dementia. The youthful, sabre-rattling Prince Mohammad, insiders say, is Salman’s favourite son by his third and favourite wife, Fahda.

      Salman has one remaining brother – 75 year-old Muqrin – who would normally have been next in line for the throne. Whether alone, or at the instigation of others, Salman removed Muqrin from the succession three months after he became king. Prince Mohammad now moved up the line of succession to become ‘deputy Crown Prince’, with only his 56 year-old cousin, Mohammad bin Nayef between him and the throne.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Reporter Sues Gitmo Over Audio Censorship at Military Trials

      In 2012, New Yorker reporter Mattathias Schwartz covered the tribunal of suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on two occasions at Guantánamo Bay detention camp. Schwartz was allowed to sit in a separate room behind three panes of soundproof glass and watch the tribunal in real time, but a 40-second delayed audio feed inside the room ensured that no classified information was inadvertently leaked.

      But Schwartz noticed a problem. What Schwartz saw from behind the glass didn’t jibe with what he heard over the audio. That’s why the reporter is now suing the Department of Defense and several other agencies to get some answers.

    • Judge Calls Out Prosecutors For Bogus Subpoena Gag Orders

      At long last, it appears some prosecutors will no longer be putting BS gag orders on their subpoenas. Eastern District of New York judge Raymond J. Dearie has expressed his displeasure with the language found on nearly all subpoenas issued by the Brooklyn, New York US Attorney’s Office.

      With the exception of National Security Letters, recipients of subpoenas are free to inform the targets of the documents as well as discuss them publicly. (The exception is financial institutions served in grand jury investigations related to fraud or drug trafficking.) But that doesn’t stop prosecutors and investigators from adding misleading statements to their subpoenas. They can only ask recipients not to disclose anything. They can’t demand it. That’s called “prior restraint” — something the government should be taking great care to avoid. But some still make it appear as though the recipient has no choice but to comply and shut up.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Looking back at the corporate circus inside COP21

      The “sponsors” board at the entrance to COP21/Adam Ramsay

      The world finally has a climate deal. But however triumphant our leaders and the mainstream media may be, let there be no doubt – the Paris climate agreement fails justice, it fails our future, and leaves so many behind.

      Rich countries have been excluded from liability for loss and damage in the poorest, most vulnerable and least responsible nations. Human rights have been removed from the text. The 1.5°C goal is only aspirational. A peak date for emissions is absent. The concept of “emissions neutrality” has been inserted, implying pollution can continue, but with dodgy offsetting, technofixes and geoengineering. Numerous other loopholes and injustices have been allowed through.

      With this in mind, lets take a look back at the environment in which this deal was hashed out.

    • Tomgram: Michael Klare, The Look of a Badly Oiled Planet

      When it comes to news about Saudi Arabia, the execution of an oppositional Shiite cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, has topped the headlines recently — and small wonder. Aging King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and his 30-year-old son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the new defense minister who has already involved his country in a classic quagmire war in Yemen, clearly intended that death as a regional provocation. The new Saudi leadership even refused to return the cleric’s body to his family for burial, but interred it with the many al-Qaeda terror suspects killed at the same time, some beheaded. After death, in other words, al-Nimr was left in uncomfortable company. Think of it as the ultimate beyond-the-grave insult. The provocative message embedded in the announcement of his execution was so obvious that, in Shia Iran, crowds supporting that country’s religious hardliners (with their own hideous execution policies) promptly torched the Saudi embassy in Tehran. In the following days, as the Saudis broke diplomatic relations with Iran, ended a failing truce in Yemen (promptly bombing a home for the blind and also hitting the Iranian embassy in Sana’a), and rallied Sunni neighboring states to similarly break ties or at least downgrade relations, the whole, roiling region hit the news as war fears rose.

    • Huge U.S. coal company declares bankruptcy

      One of the nation’s largest coal companies, Arch Coal, filed for bankruptcy Monday, making it the second company with large Western mines to seek Chapter 11 restructuring in recent months.

      The St. Louis-based company announced that it expects to continue to operate its mines and pay its 4,600 employees while it seeks a bankruptcy court’s approval for its debt restructuring. Arch said its lenders had agreed to reduce its debt by more than $4.5 billion, but that deal would have to be approved by the court.

      Responding to its employees’ and retirees’ fears, Arch said it does not anticipate major layoffs or disruptions to its pensions due to the bankruptcy. But it conceded that market conditions may impact staffing. The company operates two surface mines in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin as well as the underground West Elk mine in Somerset, Colorado. It has proposed opening a surface mine in southeastern Montana, the Otter Creek project. It also has mines in Appalachia and Illinois.

    • Anonymous Takes Down Nissan’s Website Against Illegal Whale Hunting In Japan

      With changing times, the international community has banned the whale hunting practice. However, it’s a common knowledge that Japanese people call whale meat their “nostalgia food” as it connects them to their culture and heritage. As a protest against Japan’s stance on whale hunting, Anonymous hacking collective has taken down Nissan’s website to put indirect pressure on the government.

  • Finance

    • The Chapo Secrets the Press Should Be Squealing About

      If Penn is sincere in his stated desire to end the war on drugs, ending the profits for American banks tied to illicit trafficking would need to be one of the first steps.

      But he doesn’t name those companies that are laundering Chapo’s money, which will continue to be laundering Sinaloa cartel money even as Guzmán gets removed from the network.

      Of course, Spiny and El Alto probably share Chapo’s desire to keep those names out of print, in part because they’re part of the power structure that the banks bolster, in part because banks sometimes narc on their customers to save their own hides.

    • The Secret of El Chapo’s Success: Diversification

      By some estimates, the just-nabbed billionaire drug kingpin Joaquín Guzmán Loera, a.k.a. El Chapo, supplies more than half of the cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana that comes into the United States. But not all of those drugs were created equal in his eyes. While pot undoubtedly helped El Chapo get his start, it’s no longer the key to his dominion.

    • How Years Of Welfare Politics Is Leaving Thousands To Freeze This Winter

      As winter sets in around the country, thousands of the nation’s poor are struggling to keep the heat on thanks to intentional underfunding of a key federal progam.

      Pennsylvania saw an 11 percent increase in applications for heating assistance but granted benefits to just 1 percent more households than last season. There are more than 24,000 households in the state going without normal utility service at the start of the coldest months, a 14-year high.

      And in Idaho, state officials expect to assist at least 2,000 fewer households than last year after a streamlined process and more generous per-household benefits drained the state’s allotment of funds. The state “still has crisis funding available for individuals who have a crisis situation” later in the year, program administrator Kristin Matthews said in an email. But in the meantime, the state is encouraging low-income households left out in the cold to seek help from charities.

    • Caputalism: will capitalism die?

      Reduced growth is, for various reasons, a systemic problem. To understand this we must examine a decisive factor in capitalism. What made it so successful and prosperous was investment credit. In other words, it needs debt. Firms take out credit, run up debt in order to invest, but these investments only pay back if there’s adequate growth; if not, there’s a wave of bankruptcy.

    • Hillary Clinton Whiffs on Reforming Wall Street’s Rating Agencies

      Hillary Clinton’s response to Bernie Sanders’s plan to aggressively break up the big banks responsible for the financial crisis is to suggest that he is naive.

      “My plan also goes beyond the biggest banks to include the whole financial sector,” Clinton wrote in a New York Times op-ed in December. “My plan is more comprehensive,” she said at the first Democratic debate in October — and for that reason, “frankly, it’s tougher.”

      But Clinton’s vision of financial reform neglects one part of the industry everyone agrees was an essential factor in the 2008 crisis: the credit rating agencies, which assess the worthiness of Wall Street securities for investors.

      Sanders’s plan, released last week, would no longer allow the companies that issue securities to pick which rating agency they use – a simple but outrageous practice that creates an enormous conflict of interest and helps facilitate fraud.

      The heart of Clinton’s pitch on Wall Street is that she recognizes all potential hazards. But there is not one word in her big reform plan about the rating agencies.

    • Govt confirms plans to sign TPP in Auckland

      The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said New Zealand had offered to host the signing in early February.

      It said arrangements were still being finalised as TPP partner countries completed their domestic procedures to sign it.

      Last week the Chilean government announced the signing would be taking place in New Zealand on about 4 February, but duty minister Simon Bridges said at that time arrangements had still to be confirmed.

      The 12 countries which are signing the agreement are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.

    • Obama Calls For TPP Approval On Eve Of ITC Hearing

      The three-day hearing starting today at the ITC starts the legislative process to adopt the TPP and the general feedback of most large business associations can be roughly summarized as “in favor with concerns.”

    • Chinese Official: Bets Against Yuan Are ‘Ridiculous and Impossible’

      Wagers that the yuan will slump 10% or more against the dollar are “ridiculous and impossible,” a senior Chinese economic official said Monday, warning that China had a sufficient tool kit to defeat attacks on its currency.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Miami Herald Exposes How The GOP Tried To Sell Two Different SOTU Responses
    • Bakery Owned By Anti-Immigrant Texas Politician Hired Undocumented Immigrants

      Thomas McNutt, who’s currently running to be a state representative in Texas, is relying on a stringently anti-immigrant platform. He’s criticized “politicians in Austin” for refusing “to address the problem of illegal immigration,” and his campaign website proclaims the country needs to “turn off the magnets that drive further illegal immigration.”

      However, McNutt hasn’t necessarily put those policies into practice at his company, Collin Street Bakery — a Corsicana, TX business that’s known for its fruitcakes. At least two undocumented immigrants say they were once employed by the Collin Street Bakery, with one going so far as to call McNutt a “hypocrite.”

    • Is Britain’s media biased against the left?

      It is difficult to be a pacifist and love terrorists, but then logic and accuracy are not required in media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn. While some political leaders can simply re–order their front bench to improve competence or coherence, for Corbyn the motive is said to be ‘revenge’. Some commentators, from the Guardian to the Telegraph saw the New Year reshuffle as effective in establishing his authority, but the BBC which shouldn’t be taking sides, dismissed it as, “a political pantomime”, which, “has again exposed his team’s lack of know–how in just getting things done”, with “days of concern and chaos” (BBC Radio 4 News, 6th January 2016). The concern has very largely been with the BBC and the right–wing media, but as Martin Kettle in the Guardian notes, Corbyn has actually stabilised his position, “His project… is about control of the Labour party and by that yardstick… this has been a good week” (6th January 2016).

    • Six Years Of Right-Wing Media Attacks On Obama’s State Of The Union Addresses

      Right-wing media personalities have incessantly attacked President Obama’s six previous State of the Union addresses — from calling the speeches “boring” to questioning his decision to invite a wounded veteran to the event — and have even frequently waged the attacks before the addresses even occurred. Ahead of Obama’s January 12 State of the Union address, Media Matters looks back at conservative media’s long history of attacking annual addresses.

    • Why the BBC needs Hoggart’s vision now

      We need a vision of public service broadcasting that extends intellectual and imaginative freedom, and is as relevant to today’s battles as the Pilkington Report was fifty years ago.

    • Fox News Has Given Donald Trump Nearly $30 Million In Free Airtime During The Presidential Campaign

      According to a previous Media Matters analysis, Trump far outpaced the other Republican presidential candidates in Fox News interview airtime in the second half of 2015. From May through December 15, Trump appeared on the network for nearly 23 hours — no other candidate had more than 10 hours on the network during that time period.

    • Bernie Has More Supporters Than Trump, Gets 4% of Coverage

      Everyone knows it. The RNC knows it. The MSM knows it. Everyone who can do basic math knows it.

      That’s not me saying it, either. That’s the finding from the RNC’s 2012 “autopsy report”. The GOP needs 40% of the Latino vote to win. Romney didn’t come close. The current GOP crop is doing worse. And then there is Trump. See this super long line? That is Trump’s unfavorability among Latinos: a record 51% . Yes, it was back in August but if anything, it has gotten worse.

    • Ayn Rand’s Perverted Worldview Will Destroy the GOP in the End

      Ryan, like many politicians on both sides of the aisle, is being cynical. True, it’s particularly disconcerting when someone exercises that kind of cynicism in response to a president crying for the dead—the dead schoolchildren, the dead churchgoers, the dead on the streets of Chicago—and all other varieties of gun-murdered citizens—but Ryan and the Republicans are hardly our only detached cynics. They are, however, our most open and brazen ones, particularly on the issue of modest gun-control measures of the sort that—it’s a cliché at this point to state—a vast majority of Americans and Republicans support.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Open letter to the world’s governments: protect encryption!

      La Quadrature du Net joins other organisations and individuals around the world by signing the open letter to governments in order to encourage them to promote encryption techniques for communications and IT systems. The original letter and its signatories can be found on the website “SecureTheInternet.org”.

    • How to Chat Anonymously Online

      Chatting anonymously on the Internet isn’t used solely for shadowy criminal hackers and government operatives. From journalists to congressmen, learning how to adjust the privacy of our digital communication is becoming an ever more important skill.

    • EFF To Court: Cisco Must Be Held Accountable For Aiding China’s Human Rights Abuses

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is urging a federal appeals court to reinstate a lawsuit seeking to hold Cisco Systems accountable for aiding in human rights abuses by building the Chinese government a system that Cisco officials knew was intended to identify—and facilitate the capture and torture of—members of the Falun Gong religious minority.

      In an amicus brief filed Monday with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, EFF and the groups ARTICLE 19 and Privacy International argue that the plaintiffs sufficiently alleged that Cisco understood that the “Golden Shield” system (also known as The Great Firewall) it custom-built for China was an essential component of the government’s program of persecution against the Falun Gong—persecution that included online spying and tracking, detention, and torture.

      In Doe v. Cisco Systems Inc., Falun Gong victims and their families sued Cisco under a law known as the Alien Tort Statute, which allows noncitizens to bring claims in U.S. federal court for violations of human rights laws. A federal judge dismissed the case, saying the plaintiffs didn’t offer enough support for their claim that Cisco knew the customized features of the Golden Shield enabling the identification and apprehension of Falun Gong practitioners specifically would ultimately lead to torture.

    • Pentagon Will Investigate NSA Crackdown on Would-Be Snowdens

      A Defense Department inspector general is initiating a review of a National Security Agency crackdown on computer users who have access to too much information.

    • What Sean Penn Teaches Us About How Not to Chat With a Fugitive

      INTERVIEWING THE MOST WANTED MAN in the hemisphere is not something any sane person undertakes lightly. Aside from weighing the risk to one’s personal safety, a journalist must also protect his or her source by taking careful precautions — some reporters have gone so far as to risk or actually receive jail time rather than break the confidence of their sources. As the Snowden revelations have brought ubiquitous mass surveillance into sharp relief, these considerations have become far more complex and personal fortitude isn’t always enough.

      On Saturday, Rolling Stone published a major scoop: Actor Sean Penn traveled to northwestern Mexico to speak with Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera — “El Chapo” — the notorious leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel. It was El Chapo’s first (and perhaps last) press interview as a free man. At the time of the visit, El Chapo was a fugitive in hiding, but the day before the article went live, Mexican marines, with support from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Marshals, captured him after “a fierce gun battle.”

    • Ex-spy chief: Ukrainian cyberattack a warning sign for US utilities

      Retired Gen. Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency and the CIA, says the US faces ‘darkening skies’ after malware linked power outages in Ukraine.

    • NSA is world’s best hacker thief, says former director
    • NY State Senator Proposes Ban On Sale Of Encrypted Smartphones

      It appears someone’s listening to local crackpot New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s demands that encryption be outlawed to make law enforcement easier. His “white paper” didn’t have the guts to make this demand, instead couching it in language stating he would be completely unopposed to a legislative ban on encryption, but that he wasn’t going to be the bad guy asking for it.

    • Maj. Gen. Westergren tapped to run NSA codebreaker unit

      Maj. Gen. Mark Westergren will be the next deputy chief of the National Security Agency’s Central Security Service, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.

    • Air Force general tapped to run NSA codebreaker unit
    • Former Director: NSA Are the Best Thieving Hackers in the World

      The former director of the NSA made no qualms while speaking about cyberespionage operations at a recent cybersecurity conference in Miami Beach. Hayden delivered the keynote address at the S4X16 conference, with the night’s topic of focus on hackers targeting critical infrastructure such as power plants and utilities like water and gas.

    • Social Media Companies Should Decline the Government’s Invitation to Join the National Security State

      The pressure on social media companies to limit or take down content in the name of national security has never been greater. Resolving any ambiguity about how much the Obama administration values the companies’ cooperation, the White House on Friday dispatched the highest echelon of its national security team — including the attorney general, the FBI director, the director of national intelligence, and the NSA director — to Silicon Valley for a meeting with technology executives chaired by the White House chief of staff himself. The agenda for the meeting tried to convey a locked-arms sense of camaraderie, asking, “How can we make it harder for terrorists to leveraging [sic] the internet to recruit, radicalize, and mobilize followers to violence?”

      Congress, too, has been turning up the heat. On December 16, the House passed the Combat Terrorist Use of Social Media Act, which would require the president to submit a report on “United States strategy to combat terrorists’ and terrorist organizations’ use of social media.” The Senate is considering a far more aggressive measure, which would require providers of Internet communications services to report to government authorities when they have “actual knowledge” of “apparent” terrorist activity (a requirement that, because of its vagueness and breadth, would likely harm user privacy and lead to over-reporting).

    • House Grills State Department Over Wassenaar Arrangement

      Congressional Representatives grilled the parties responsible for the U.S. implementation of controversial changes to the Wassenaar Arrangement in a joint hearing before subcommittees of the House Oversight and Homeland Security Committees today. Witnesses included officials from the Department of Commerce, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of State, as well as representatives of the tech industry, including Symantec, Microsoft, VMWare, and the Information Technology Industry Council.

    • Will James Clapper Be the First Known Victim of OmniCISA’s Regulatory Immunity?

      Viscerally, I’m laughing my ass off that Verizon (among others) has shared Clapper’s metadata without his authority. “Not wittingly,” they might say if he asks them about that. But I recognize that it’s actually not a good thing for someone in such a sensitive position to have his metadata exposed (I mean, to the extent that it wasn’t already exposed in the OPM hack).

    • Teen Who Hacked CIA Email Is Back to Prank US Spy Chief

      One of the “teenage hackers” who broke into the CIA director’s AOL email account last year hasn’t given up targeting government intelligence officials. His latest victim is the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Motherboard has learned.

      A group of hackers calling themselves “Crackas With Attitude” or CWA made headlines in October, hacking into CIA Director John Brennan’s email account and apparently getting access to several online tools and portals used by US law enforcement agencies.The hackers’ exploits prompted the FBI to issue an alert warning government officials of their attacks.

    • The FBI Is Using NSLs to Target “Facilities” Now

      The Freedom of the Press Foundation has been looking for more details about when the FBI can use NSLs to obtain records including the communication records of journalists, and they just obtained initial response to a FOIA on the subject. There is abundant reason to believe the government does this in leak cases, though as Trevor Timm noted in his piece on this, “a ‘broad reading’ of the media guidelines [was] allegedly hindering leak investigations” in the summer of 2015.

      As part of DOJ’s response to FPF’s FOIA, the provided a section of the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide for the FBI that covers NSLs generally. While I don’t think the FOIA response provides the date of the DIOG (it was declassified on November 6, 2015), it appears to post-date last June’s passage of USA Freedom Act, because it incorporates the language on disclosure from that bill (see the last section).

    • Illumio Taps Former NSA Guru as Strategy Chief

      Illumio, the hot cybersecurity startup that aims to protect corporate infrastructure in internal data centers and outside clouds, has hired Nathaniel Gleicher, former director for cybersecurity for the National Security Council.

    • The new way police are surveilling you: Calculating your threat ‘score’

      While officers raced to a recent 911 call about a man threatening his ex-girlfriend, a police operator in headquarters consulted software that scored the suspect’s potential for violence the way a bank might run a credit report.

      The program scoured billions of data points, including arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, deep Web searches and the man’s social- media postings. It calculated his threat level as the highest of three color-coded scores: a bright red warning.

      The man had a firearm conviction and gang associations, so out of caution police called a negotiator. The suspect surrendered, and police said the intelligence helped them make the right call — it turned out he had a gun.

    • CES 2016 takeaways: IoT could be the death of your security

      For the most part, the CES 2016 show was largely a yawner—maturation rather than innovation. Yes, there was a lot of interesting stuff outside of IT gear—and the IT gear could be as fun as a 200-node Raspberry Pi cluster running hadoop or wicked-fast IEEE 802.11ac wireless hubs that do endless if secure tricks.

      The damage, the damnation, the truculent total churl of the event was this: all of the new Interent of Thingies/IoT/KewlGear has no cohesive security strategy. It’s a mosh pit of certificates, easy-auth, Oh! Let’s Connect Our Gear Together! (add breathy sigh!) meaninglessness.

    • Cell-site data analysis nabs robber who used mobile phone during heists

      A woman charged in connection to a string of armed jewelry store heists was arrested after the authorities analyzed cell-site data of telephone calls made during the nine-month robbery spree across the US Southeast, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

      The bureau said in court documents that the 24-year-old suspect, Abigail Kemp, wore an earpiece and was talking into it during several of the robberies. Store employees were tied up and shoppers were held at gunpoint during the robberies. At one incident in Florida in August, in which the Georgia woman allegedly netted $400,000 in jewelry, the FBI said (PDF) that the suspect “was observed with a cellular telephone and wearing a cellular telephone earpiece during the robbery and was heard speaking to someone. At one point during the robbery, the earpiece fell out of the white female’s ear and she promptly put it back in.”

    • The hostile use of civilian drones in the UK, and what to do about it

      Remote Control, a project hosted by Oxford Research Group, has issued a report exploring the designs and capabilities of over 200 current and upcoming unmanned aerial, ground, and marine drones in order to understand the threats these platforms pose to potential targets. The report, entitled “Hostile drones: the hostile use of drones by non-state actors against British targets,” also outlines the strategies available to mitigate the threats.

      The report notes that: “There are particular concerns that drones will be used as simple, affordable and effective airborne Improvised Explosive Devices.” It says that “Governments are also concerned by the decentralisation and democratisation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities made possible by the widespread availability of drones,” but points out that activists working to hold governments and corporations to account regard them as powerful new tools for that reason.

    • Ex-NSA boss says FBI director is wrong on encryption
    • Ex-NSA boss says FBI’s plan for ending encryption is a terrible idea
    • Former Director Of NSA And CIA Says US Cybersecurity Policy MIA
    • Former Director says NSA is world’s best hacker thief
    • Latest Email Dump Shows Hillary Clinton Telling Aide To Send Classified Documents Over Unsecure Fax Line

      In the latest batch of Hillary Clinton emails — forced out of the State Department’s gnarled fists by an FOIA lawsuit and a recently-released Inspector General’s report showing the agency flat out sucks at responding to FOIA requests — there’s a conversational thread suggesting the presidential candidate considers her access to classified information more important than the security of that information.

    • We know this isn’t about PRISM, Matt Warman MP. But do you?

      The MP offered distracting and irrelevant counter-statements to former NSA man Bill Binney during an oral evidence session last week before the Parliamentary committee scrutinising the draft Investigatory Powers Bill.

      The Register understands that Binney may seek to resubmit his evidence after the committee’s poor hearing.

      Warman incorrectly stated that GCHQ’s upstream data acquisition program (which he misidentified as PRISM) wasn’t covered by the draft Investigatory Powers Bill, and that even if it was, he wrongly stated the program would be prevented by the draft legislation’s “request filters”.

    • [Old] NSA Whistleblower Tells UK Parliament: “Snooper’s Charter” Is Deadly
    • The State of the Union, Ignoring the Elephant in the Room

      But even after the Snowden revelations, mass surveillance by the National Security Agency remains largely unchecked. With a year remaining in its final term, the Obama administration has failed to implement the wide-ranging reforms necessary, as the President eight years ago promised in writing, “to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future.”

    • Et tu, Fortinet? Hard-coded password raises new backdoor eavesdropping fears

      Less than a month after Juniper Network officials disclosed an unauthorized backdoor in the company’s NetScreen line of firewalls, researchers have uncovered highly suspicious code in older software from Juniper competitor Fortinet.

      The suspicious code contains a challenge-and-response authentication routine for logging into servers with the secure shell (SSH) protocol. Researchers were able to unearth a hard-coded password of “FGTAbc11*xy+Qqz27″ (not including the quotation marks) after reviewing this exploit code posted online on Saturday. On Tuesday, a researcher posted this screenshot purporting to show someone using the exploit to gain remote access to a server running Fortinet’s FortiOS software.

    • Companies can monitor workers’ private online chats, European court rules

      Privacy concerns dismissed by European court of human rights after Romanian engineer fired for using Yahoo Messenger to communicate with fiancee

    • EFA gets behind global call for strong encryption

      Non-profit, digital freedom and rights group, Electronic Frontiers Australia, has joined experts and organisations in more than 35 countries in asking world leaders to support strong encryption and to reject any law, policy, or mandate that would undermine digital security.

      EFA Executive Officer Jon Lawrence said today that calls to undermine encryption in the name of ‘national security’ are “fundamentally misguided and dangerous”.

      According to Lawrence, encryption is a “necessary and critical tool enabling individual privacy, a free media, online commerce and the operations of organisations of all types, including of course government agencies”.

  • Civil Rights

    • Victory Against Islamophobia: NYPD Banned from Ethnic-Based Targeting

      In a major legal victory, New York City will appoint an independent civilian monitor to oversee the New York Police Department’s counterterrorism activities. The announcement comes after two lawsuits challenged the NYPD’s programs of spying on Muslims and religious centers. The suits argued the NYPD violated the U.S. and New York state constitutions by singling out and stigmatizing entire communities based on their religion. The settlement restores some of the NYPD’s outside oversight, which was eliminated after the September 11 attacks. We are joined by Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.

    • Bernie Sanders’ Plan to Fight Mass Incarceration Doesn’t Add Up

      There are a lot of good ideas there, but again, it’s unclear how it adds up to a 25 percent reduction in national incarceration numbers. Just 16 percent of federal inmates are in privately operated facilities, and the percentage of state prisoners in private facilities is less than half that. The mandatory minimums in question are for federal crimes only. And Sanders’ proposal to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level would by his own explanation leave states the option of continuing to ban it. The closest he comes to an explanation of how he’d bring the United States’ levels below that of China is by a seismic cultural shift at the state and local level to prioritize treatment for drug offenses and disincentivize “implicit quotas” for low-level crimes. But that a lot’s different than having a plan to get there.

    • Puerto Rico’s Sovereignty Is at Stake in Supreme Court Case

      On September 28, 2008, Luis Sánchez Valle and Jaime Gómez Vázquez were indicted separately in Puerto Rican courts on multiple weapons-related charges. While those cases progressed, both were indicted separately by federal grand juries on similar charges. Both pleaded guilty to the federal charges, which carried less severe penalties, and both successfully petitioned the Puerto Rican trial courts to dismiss the local charges on double-jeopardy grounds.

    • Democratorship in Argentina

      Second in this strategy, the gag on information, began with the accession of several high-ranking Clarín and La Nación managers to government posts. This move is to be completed with the annulment of the Broadcasting Act, which has been praised by the United Nations and the Organization of American States as a global example for freedom of expression and pluralism. In order to abolish it, Macri decreed the intervention of the Agency for the Control of the Audiovisual Communication Services and its equivalent for the Internet, thus violating the autonomy of these entities and virtually liquidating the effective implementation of the law. This is intended to ensure that market domination by both communication groups will not be threatened and also to ensure their access to the State, which is something that was previously denied them.

    • Police are Calculating Your ‘Threat Score’ to Decide How to Treat You

      I watched a documentary about North Korea which explained how the government there assigns a score to each citizen, based on how large a threat to the regime s/he is perceived to be. When I lived in Taiwan under a military government years ago, such a number was encoded into every national ID card. Those citizens every interaction with the government and police force was shadowed by those scores.

    • Armed
    • L.A. Police Chief Wants Officer Charged For Killing Unarmed Homeless Man

      Between 2000 and 2014, the LAPD shot an average of one person every week. Yet no officer has been charged for a fatal shooting in the last 15 years.

      If Police Chief Charlie Beck gets his way, that could change soon. Despite push-back from his colleagues, Beck has recommended that Officer Clifford Proctor be charged for shooting and killing an unarmed homeless man in Venice last year.

    • Putting Teens in Jail for Sexting Is Always Immoral

      One of the most bizarre teen sexting prosecutions in recent memory became even more awful last month when it was revealed that the detective in the case, David Abbott, had inappropriate contact with two boys, ages 11 and 13.

    • Welcome to Israel’s Version of Apartheid

      Depriving Palestinian citizens of law enforcement – except when repressing dissent – has left their communities weak and oppressed by crime and guns. For years Netanyahu has ignored pleas from Palestinian leaders for increased gun control – until now, when one of those weapons targeted Jews.

      Settlers have also been policed lightly, so long as their violence was directed at Palestinians, whether in the occupied territories or Israel. More than a decade of settler violence – labelled “price-tag” attacks – has gone largely uninvestigated.

      The truth is that most Israeli Jews have long supported two Israels: one for them and another for the Palestinian minority, with further, even more deprived ghettos for Palestinians under occupation.

    • The Oligarchy is Using Our Lizard Brain to Enable a Silent Coup

      And nothing short-circuits reason as well as fear. This tired tactic should be played out by now. Remember those bogus color-coded terrorist alerts back in the 2004 Bush campaign? Or the sudden increase in talk of terrorism in 2008? And the attempted reprise in 2012?

      Call it Willie Horton Redux.

      But once again, here in the home of the brave, Americans are cowering in their basements from trumped up threats about terrorism, while plutocrats and fat cats take advantage of their fear-addled state to slip their favorite errand boys – and girls – into the election. Of course, the corporate-owned press is aiding and abetting this silent coup.

    • Video Allegedly Shows Cop Shoot Man In The Back 3 Times as He Was Face Down in Handcuffs

      On January 8, 2015, 42-year-old James Dudley Barker was killed by Officer Matthew Taylor. Since then, Taylor managed to avoid charges because the body camera footage gave an incomplete depiction on the incident.

      However, exactly one year later, cell phone camera footage was released showing that Barker was face down with his hands behind his back when he was shot 3 times by officer Taylor.

    • VIDEO: Remember How Bernie Sanders Treated a Muslim Woman Who Stood Up at One of His Rallies?

      A few days after Donald Trump looked on and made faces as a peaceful Muslim woman was heckled out of one of his campaign rallies, it’s worth recalling how Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders responded to a Muslim student who questioned him about racism and Islamophobia at a rally at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., in late October.

      Before 1,700 of her peers, Remaz Abdelgader began, “As a Muslim student, as an American Muslim student who aspires to change this world—.” She then paused as the senator motioned her to the stage and hugged her. Returning to her question, she asked him to comment on the bigotry and racism heard and seen in the Republican presidential campaigns and the media.

    • Ferguson School District on Trial

      Ferguson, Missouri, has a long and ugly history of racial discrimination. Like many communities across the United States, a history of state-sanctioned housing discrimination has led Ferguson to be highly segregated by race. And the Ferguson-Florissant School District, in fact, was created in the 1970s as part of a federal order in the face of resistance to school desegregation during the 1970s. (Yes, this was two decades after Brown v. Board of Education.)

      But discrimination doesn’t disappear overnight. While 80 percent of students in the school district are Black, there were zero Black school board members as recently as 2014. Today just two out of seven board members are Black.

    • This is Trauma: Erica Garner & Ramsey Orta on Coping with the Aftermath of a Police Killing (Pt. 2)

      In our post-show conversation, Eric Garner’s daughter, Erica Garner, talks about the impact of her father’s death on her family. Eighteen months after Eric Garner’s death at the hands of New York City police, one officer is finally facing charges. But the charges are not criminal, and the officer was not directly involved in Garner’s death by chokehold. Instead, Sergeant Kizzy Adonis, who is African-American, faces internal charges of “failing to supervise.” The internal charges against Adonis come just over a year after a grand jury elected not to indict white officer Daniel Pantaleo for killing Garner in a chokehold.

    • Keys Case Spotlights Flaws of Computer Hacking Law

      Old laws can cause confusion and unduly harsh consequences, particularly when courts confront situations Congress did not anticipate. This is particularly true for the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030—the federal “anti­hacking” statute prompted in part by fear generated by the 1983 techno­thriller “WarGames.” The CFAA was enacted in 1986, and the government’s current prosecution of journalist Matthew Keys—who faces sentencing on Jan. 20 for three counts of violating the CFAA—illustrates the 30-­year­-old statute’s many problems.

      The CFAA makes it illegal to intentionally access a “protected computer”—which includes any computer connected to the Internet—”without authorization” or in excess of authorization. But the CFAA does not define “without authorization.” This has given overzealous prosecutors broad discretion to bring criminal charges against individuals for behavior that simply doesn’t rise to the culpability Congress had in mind when it passed this serious criminal law, such as doing something on a computer network that the owner doesn’t like. (There is currently a circuit split on whether violations of employer­imposed use restrictions can give rise to CFAA liability, with the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Second, Fourth and Ninth Circuits finding that they cannot, and the First, Fifth, Seventh and Eleventh finding that they can.)

    • El Chapo and the Fog of the Drug War

      THE FOOTAGE IS unquestionably dramatic: Members of Mexico’s most elite security forces clear a four-bedroom house in a predawn raid. Over the course of 15 chaotic minutes, the Mexican marines can be seen moving room to room through the smoky building. Gunfire thunders. The walls are pocked with bullet holes. The commandos toss grenades. A marine goes down. “They got me,” he screams. The marines detain an unidentified individual with flex cuffs and find two women hiding in a bathroom. Garbage and high-powered rifles litter the floor.

      The narrative that follows the gunfight is every bit as fast-paced. When the smoke cleared, four people were under arrest, with five more reported dead. Photos of their bloody bodies appeared online the next day. Two others escaped, however — one of them a stocky, bearded man named Ivan Gastelum, the alleged assassin-in-chief for the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s most powerful and sophisticated drug-trafficking organization. Gastelum, who goes by the nickname “El Cholo Ivan,” was accompanied in flight by his boss, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, the world’s most infamous drug trafficker and Mexico’s most wanted man.

      [...]

      And so ended Operation Black Swan. Of course, how much of that story is true remains to be seen. Initial accounts of high-stakes military raids, particularly those with profound political implications, are notoriously prone to inaccuracies and often take years to sort out, regardless of the country in question. The raid that killed Osama bin Laden is but one prominent example. In Mexico, where it is not uncommon for journalists covering drug-related violence to be killed on the job, or for the government to obfuscate facts, the truth can be especially difficult to pin down.

    • Virginia Supreme Court Says ‘No Thanks’ To Improving State’s Dismal Court System

      Criminal defendants face a tilted playing field all over the country. If it isn’t the frequent withholding of exculpatory material by prosecutors, it’s everything leading up to it — beginning with questionable interrogation methods and continuing with the admission of dubious physical evidence.

    • Va. decides not to change rules that withhold documents from defense

      The criminal justice system in Virginia appeared to be on the verge of radical change, at last. In a state where defendants are not entitled to the police reports in their case, the witness statements against them or even a witness list, a prominent committee issued a detailed report late last year proposing to carefully change all that, and more.

      “Where trial by ambush has been the norm,” committee chair and retired Loudoun Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Horne wrote, “there is now clarity and transparency.”

    • A brief history of governments hacking human rights organizations

      We always knew that governments and military forces spied on each other. But over the last five years or more, we’ve seen them spying on NGOs, journalists and human rights workers, too.

      The world first became aware of states hacking “civilian” targets in 2010, when Google revealed it had detected an intrusion by the Chinese government. Adobe Systems and Juniper Networks then confirmed they were attacked as part of the same campaign, and further investigation revealed that Yahoo and Symantec were also targeted. At the same time, the Chinese were using similar tactics against Tibetan NGOs, and their targeting of the Tibetan community continues to the present day.

    • Federal Law Now Says Kids Can Walk To School Alone

      Relax, parents. Now you can allow your kids to walk, ride a bike, or take a bus to school, without you or your children getting arrested. The recently-signed Every Student Succeeds Act contains a section (858) that protects the rights of kids to walk or go out alone. The act was sponsored by Utah senator Mike Lee, who is a supporter of the Free Range Kids movement, and provides some hope for parents who feel that their kids should be allowed some autonomy to get by own their own.

    • President Obama Defends Muslims

      During Tuesday night’s State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama spoke directly to recent political attacks on Muslims, imploring people to tone down the anti-Muslim rhetoric:

      “When politicians insult Muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizens, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid is called names, that doesn’t make us safer,” Obama said. “That’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country.”

    • The Unbelievably True Story Of How Craigslist Murdered Over 100 People

      Frankly, I’m surprised the number isn’t higher. Not because Craigslist is the best thing that happened to pimps and murders since the invention of the internet, but because it encompasses nearly every major and minor city in the United States.

      And, seriously: “Craigslist passed the 100-murder mark?” I realize “users of Craigslist passed the 100-murder mark” is a much clunkier sentence, but this sounds like it was written by a grandstanding sheriff, rather than a journalist.

      Not only is it accessible by a vast majority of the US population, but its reach goes far beyond the buying and selling of goods. It also handles personal ads, searches for roommates and dozens of other ways for two strangers to meet face-to-face.

    • A Kid is Dying in the Bronx.

      I know the cop’s name from those same articles, which included a lot more information about the cop than the kid. The cop is going to be OK, luckily will heal up from his wounds, and in fact was struck by rounds fired by another cop, not the kid. That pretty much ended the media’s interest in much of a follow up story. “Cop Shooter Who Missed” is weak copy compared to “Cop Killer,” and somebody reading would say, well, that’s that. Mouse click and what was the score of the game? Sports is easier, every game has a winner.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • John Legere Just Can’t Stop The Misleading Bullshit About BingeOn

      The big story of last week was T-Mobile CEO John Legere’s meltdown over people calling out the bullshit claims about BingeOn “optimizing” mobile video when the truth is that it was simply throttling all video traffic (partners and non partners alike). Things got even worse when Legere decided to attack EFF and suggest that it was being paid to discredit BingeOn. The simple fact remains, however, that T-Mobile is throttling video streams (and downloads).

      Legere briefly went quiet about all of this, but on Monday came out again with yet another statement in the form of an “Open Letter to Consumers about Binge On” which is at least a little more honest, but is still mostly misleading bullshit — the very thing T-Mobile has built its recent reputation on avoiding.

    • Clarifying The Bullshit From John Legere: What T-Mobile Is Really Doing And Why It Violates Net Neutrality

      Earlier today we wrote about the latest misleading claims from John Legere and T-Mobile about its BingeOn program. I’ve seen some confusion some of the discussions about this — some of it thanks to Legere’s misleading claims — so I wanted to go through exactly what T-Mobile appears to be doing and why it’s problematic. Also, with that, I wanted to highlight the key part of the FCC’s net neutrality rules regarding throttling, and the one single paragraph that T-Mobile appears to be banking on to protect it from getting slapped around.

      First, let’s be clear: T-Mobile wants to pretend that this is a “semantic” dispute about what it’s doing, but that’s bullshit. From the beginning the company has been flat out lying about its actions. That may get it in trouble in two ways — first for violating the bright-line “no throttling” rules and for violating the corresponding transparency rules as well.

    • AT&T Whines That FCC Report Highlights Broadband Coverage Gaps Company Helped Create

      The FCC’s recent broadband progress report (pdf) highlighted the telecom industry’s continued failure with not only getting any broadband to rural areas, but with getting next-generation speeds to existing broadband customers. The FCC has noted that 34 million Americans still lack access to fixed broadband at the FCC’s benchmark speed of 25 Mbps for downloads, 3 Mbps for uploads. The agency also notes that two-thirds of homes lack access to more than one provider capable of delivering these speeds. If you recall, the FCC bumped its definition of broadband to 25 Mbps from a measly 4 Mbps about a year ago.

    • IPv6 Usage Set to Grow in 2016

      Nearly five years ago, there was an official ceremony in Miami, Florida that marked the end of the free pool of IPv4 addresses. As of February 3, 2011, the Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA) no longer had any free blocks of IPv4 address space to give out to the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). Despite that ceremony, IPv4 has continued to dominate, though its’ successor IPv6 is making strides.

    • House Rushes To Gut FCC Authority To Prevent Inquiry Into Comcast Broadband Caps

      Historically, the FCC has steered well clear of regulating broadband prices. Hell, for most of the last fifteen years the FCC hasn’t even admitted that high prices due to limited competition are a problem, instead focusing on the politically sexier idea of ensuring uniform availability. The FCC certainly collects pricing data from broadband ISPs, but, at the industry’s behest, never shares that data with the public. As a result, we get things like our $300 million national broadband map, which will happily show you (largely hallucinated) speed and competitive options in your neighborhood, but won’t tell you how much they cost.

    • Comcast-Funded Think Tank: Broadband Usage Caps Make Netflix Streaming Better. You’re Welcome.

      As we’ve noted for some time, the broadband industry (and all the think tanks and politicians that work for it) have spent the last few years trying to vilify Netflix. That’s primarily due to the company’s support of net neutrality, but also its opposition to anti-innovative and anti-competitive broadband usage caps. These attacks usually start with the criticism that Netflix now dominates around 37% of peak downstream traffic (as if that’s a bad thing), followed by some bizarre and unfounded claim that Netflix should be forced to “pay its fair share” (read: give us a cut of revenues despite us having no legitimate claim to it).

    • President Obama’s State Of The Union: Praises Open Internet… Complains About Terrorists Using Open Internet

      Both points have an element of truth in them, but the whole thing seems pretty silly. If you have an open internet, then part of the point is that anyone can use it — even people you don’t like. Fighting ISIS and other terrorists is certainly important, but even mentioning the fact that they use the internet is silly. Some of them drive cars too. It’s not really all that relevant.

      Beyond that, there really wasn’t much related to stuff that we’re interested in around here. It talks about bringing back our innovative spirit (did it really go away?), but (unlike in past States of the Union) chooses not to mention patent reform (even though the President’s suggested reforms haven’t gone anywhere).

      It’s silly to expect too much from the State of the Union Address, which gets a lot more buzz than it’s worth, but as a first pass, the idea that the two mentions of the internet contradict each other more or less summed up one of the big problems with the way this administration has treated the internet. It tends to talk out of both sides of its mouth on these issues, and never really take a stand. There truly are a number of really great people working in the White House on tech policy, looking to maintain a free and open internet, but there are plenty of others who are trying to undermine it, and to give in to FUD about the “dangers” of an open internet. It’s a bit disappointing that the President never really came out with a strong leadership position on this and made it clear that we’re not going to undermine a free and open internet out of fear — but instead continues to give lip service to the free and open internet, while hinting at a willingness to toss it out the window.

    • Comcast Appears to Be Injecting Browser Pop-Ups to Upsell Crappy Modem Deals

      Comcast sneakily injecting pop-up ads into user’s browsers is one of the company’s older and shitter tactics. But using those unsolicited ads to push a modem you don’t need, paid for by a system that’s a hilarious ripoff? That’s just downright sleazy.

    • EDRi’s first input to EU regulators on net neutrality guidelines

      The Body of EU Telecoms Regulators known as “BEREC” has held its first round of discussions with stakeholders to exchange views on how BEREC should interpret the uncertainties created by the EU Regulation on net neutrality. These include questions surrounding traffic management measures and their transparency, Internet Access Services’ quality parameters, so-called “specialised services” and commercial practices like “zero-rating”.

    • Council Of Europe Guidelines For Network Neutrality To Protect Freedom Of Expression, Privacy

      The Council of Europe (CoE), the intergovernmental regional group that includes the European Union, today called on European governments protect the principle of network neutrality at the national level. The member countries adopted guidelines on protecting and promoting the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy related to network neutrality.

  • DRM

    • You Can’t Destroy the Village to Save It: W3C vs DRM, Round Two

      The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the nonprofit body that maintains the Web’s core standards, made a terrible mistake in 2013: they decided to add DRM—the digital locks that train your computer to say “I can’t let you do that, Dave”; rather than “Yes, boss”—to the Web’s standards.

      At the time, we fought the proposal on a principled basis: DRM has no place in the open Internet because of the many ways it shuts down legal, legitimate activities.

      We lost.

      [...]

      To understand why DRM is a bad technology for open standardization, you need to understand the laws that protect it.

      Around the world, laws like the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Canada’s C-11, New Zealand’s Bill 92A; and accords like the European EUCD, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, and the US-Australian and US-Korean Trade Agreements establish special legal protections for DRM. These governments (and many others) give legal backing to companies that try to lock you out of devices, software, and media that you own, and this interferes with activities like repairing your own electronics or your car, making backups or remixes of videos, auditing the security of medical devices, and many more legitimate and otherwise-lawful activities.

      It gets worse. In practice, it’s not hard to break DRM, so to slow the spread of information about how to remove the locks on the stuff you own, laws like the DMCA also has been used to punish disclosure of bugs and defects. This doesn’t mean that bad guys—enemy spies, cyber arms-dealers, voyeurs, identity thieves, and griefers—don’t discover and weaponize these bugs. It just means that you don’t get to learn about them until they are used in a high-profile attack, or until a brave security researcher risks a lawsuit to come forward.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Kenya Takes Steps To Enhance Intellectual Property Awareness [Ed: Kenya brainwashing African population, pushing Western mechanisms for exercising control over poor nations/people]
    • Trademarks

      • Louis Vuitton Loses Trademark Lawsuit Over Joke Bag; Judge Tells Company To Maybe Laugh A Little Rather Than Sue

        When I was very little, my father drove a 1972 Ford Pinto (yes, one of the exploding versions) that had a faded bumper sticker reading “My other car is a Porsche.” I remember this very clearly because I remember, at a very young age, asking my father to explain the “joke” and still not really getting it. Of course, that “my other car is a…” joke has been around for a long time. It may not be a good joke, but it’s a pretty well-known joke. Except, apparently, for the overly serious trademark lawyers at Louis Vuitton.

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Question: Does David Bowie Get The Copyright On Computer Generated Lyrics?

        There have been a number of copyright-related discussions spurred by the unfortunate passing of David Bowie, but here’s one more that might make for an interesting law school exam. Matthew Braga, over at Vice’s Motherboard, has a really wonderful story about how Bowie used a lyric writing word randomizer app called Verbasizer in writing his album Outside in the mid-1990s. He includes this clip from a documentary about it:

      • Hateful Eight Pirated Leak Harms Film All The Way To Box Office Records

        Mike just recently did a post on the horrible effects of piracy on Hollywood box office results from last year, which can be summarized as “holy shit, look at all the money!” That post took a macro look at the year Hollywood had at the box office, in which revenue and individual ticket sales were both up, despite the fact that piracy exists. Still, the post warned of one potential rebuttal some might make: yeah, but Star Wars.

      • Settlement Reached In Class Action Lawsuit Against Rightscorp For Robocalls

        In late 2014, we wrote about a class action lawsuit filed against copyright trolling operation Rightscorp, which argued two things: (1) that the company’s robocalling people’s mobile phones accusing them of copyright infringement violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), because you’re not allowed to robocall mobile numbers, and that (2) the use of questionable DMCA 512(h) subpoenas to discover accounts associated with IP addresses was “abuse of process.” Rightscorp and co-defendant Warner Bros. got that second claim tossed for violating California’s anti-SLAPP law.

      • Accused ‘Pirates’ Win Class-Action Settlement From Rightscorp and Warner Bros

        Piracy monetization firm Rightscorp and several copyright holders, including Hollywood studio Warner Bros, have agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit over intimidating robo-calls. The defendants will set aside $450,000 to cover the costs and more than 2,000 accused pirates are eligible for a $100 settlement each.

      • Don’t jail online pirates for ten years, UKIPO told

        The UK government’s proposal to introduce a ten-year sentence for online pirates has been overwhelmingly opposed.

        Responding to a consultation launched by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), 989 out of 1,032 respondents said they were against the idea of introducing a ten-year jail term for infringement.

        Last year WIPR’s sister publication TBO reported that the government had launched a consultation in which it sought feedback on its plan to increase the maximum sentence for “commercial-scale” online infringement from two to ten years.

      • Why Radio Stations Probably Couldn’t Just Play David Bowie Music As A Tribute: Copyright Law Is Messed Up

        That’s not just something that SoundExchange came up with on its own. It’s written directly into US Copyright law (at the bottom of the page). At some point, years ago, Congress (or, more likely, a recording industry lobbyist), wrote up rules that said online radio couldn’t play too many songs in a row by a single artists, because of the ridiculous fear that if they could, no one would buy music any more.

        Now, the rules do say that the performance complement “may only be violated if the service has received specific waivers from the owner of the sound recording copyright” — so it’s possible that the copyright holder on Bowie’s music could waive those rules, but it would have to be to a bunch of different radio stations, and it’s unlikely they’re going to do that.

      • How David Bowie Correctly Predicted The Future Of The Internet 16 Years Ago

        David Bowie was one of the most influential musicians of his era. The fiercely forward-looking songwriter died of cancer at the age of 69. As it turns out, apart from his work in music, he was a trailblazer in technology too. Here’s how this internet pioneer predicted the future and watch his famous BBC interview.

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