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01.26.16

Links 26/1/2016: MPlayer 1.2.1, Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5

Posted in News Roundup at 5:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

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  • Desktop

    • Which is More Important: Distro, Desktop…or Something Else?

      A couple of weeks back when we ran our two part GNU/Linux distro poll, a couple of commenters made a single point that, at first glance, seemed valid.

      It’s not the distro that’s important to most users, they said, because most users don’t interact with the distro itself as they work and play on their Linux machines. Instead, the average user’s direct interaction with a computer is primarily through the desktop environment, whether that be KDE, GNOME, Unity or something they rolled on their own on a Friday night instead of having a boys’ or girls’ night out.

      In other words, they opined, it’s the desktop, and not the distro, which represents the operating system — or even the entire computer — to most users.

      That’s probably a truth without being the truth.

    • Saying Linux Is Fragmented Is Wrong, This Is Why

      One of the things that some people say about the Linux platform is that it’s fragmented, just like Android. The truth is that fragmentation doesn’t really apply to the Linux platform, and the fact that there are too many distros to count is actually a good thing.

      Android is a broken system that works. If we take a look at the Android slice right now, we’ll see that most people are still using KitKat 4.4, about 40%, and about 15% have just moved on to Lollipop 5.0. The rest up to 100% are split in even older versions of the operating system.

    • My Linux Story: The Big Switch

      It recently occurred to me that I’ve been running Linux on my computers for about thirteen years. I’ll be the first to admit, it doesn’t seem all that long ago. But as I reflected upon my switch over to Linux, I began to realize that there wasn’t a single event that pushed me over to the Linux desktop. In reality, it was a series of events and discoveries. This article will explain how my switch to Linux came to pass.

    • Artist using Linux – INTRODUCTION

      I am an artist (mainly musician) from Croatia. I learned to play the Trombone, and had a classical education at the Music school in Varaždin, after which I went on and studied Business & Economics in Zagreb. Music performance has always been my passion but I also enjoy song writing, music production, photography, photo editing, DJ-ing and the likes. I fell in love with the Linux philosophy of openness back in 2006. and being a sort of a rebel I thought “This is for me!”. I downloaded my first Linux distribution (Ubuntu 6.10) and burned it to a CD, booted the thing, and felt like a REAL HACKER. Back then there were a lot of hardware issues, you had to know your stuff to make things work, and I was a total noob, lost in the totally new world with endless possibilities – TOTAL FREEDOM. But as a professional musician I still needed to use commercial software to make it (so I thought). The Mac was my dream (all the cool artists use Mac), but it was way out my budget… Long story short, I was dual-booting with Windows up till 2011 on my Dell Inspiron, then went total Linux on my laptop and had a dedicated Windows machine for my music. Bought a Mac Mini in 2012, got disappointed, swapped it for a MacBook Pro in 2013, got totally disappointed, then gave it to my wife, installed Ubuntu on the MacBook Pro (BTW. today she is the happiest computer user in the world), and stuck with my Dell using only Linux and compensating with standalone HARDWARE options, like the ZOOM R8, analogue photography, and the recently bought Roland JD-Xi. But, things got complicated when I wanted to create a polished product I can sell without spending millions of dollars, so I need to use a computer that can take the workload, and I need to use software to make it cheap (I learned that the expensive way with analogue photography).

    • Ghosts in the Linux Machine

      Not me. I’m a Linux user.

      And then we took the huge one-two punch from Shellshock and Heartbleed. Wow. While I do not run servers of any flavor, the fact that a Linux server or code could be infected by either of these nasty brothers….

    • Student-run help desk introduces teens to Linux

      Every student at Penn Manor receives a laptop at the beginning of the school year, and I first learned about the help desk program when I visited the tech room because mine wasn’t charging properly. The small room was crowded with computer stations, and student helpers were huddled around a table working on a project.

  • Kernel Space

    • Last Minute Linux 4.5 Updates For Ceph, Thermal & MIPS

      While Linus Torvalds tends to get angry about last-minute pull requests by subsystem maintainers at the end of a kernel cycle’s merge window, he ended up honoring a few of them today for Linux 4.5

      Within the Ceph updates are AIO (Asynchronous I/O) support as well as a number of fixes regarding authentication key timeout/renewal code.

    • Linux 3.5 To Linux 4.5-rc1 Kernel Benchmarks

      Last week I carried out tests of the Linux 3.5 through Linux 4.4 kernels. Those benchmarks were fairly interesting in looking at the evolution of the Linux kernel performance over the past three and a half years. With Linux 4.5-rc1 now out, here are benchmarks with this latest kernel version that’s currently under development.

    • A Linux 4.5-rc1 Kernel With AMDGPU PowerPlay Enabled For Ubuntu Systems
    • Linux Kernel 4.1.16 LTS Released with Updated USB and Networking Drivers, More

      After announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.3.4, kernel maintainer and developer Greg Kroah-Hartman has proudly informed users about the immediate availability for download of Linux kernel 4.1.16 LTS.

      Looking at the diff from Linux kernel 4.1.15 LTS, we can notice that Linux kernel 4.1.16 LTS is almost identical in changes to Linux kernel 4.3.4, and according to the appended shortlog, it changes 51 files, with 390 insertions and 164 deletions. Therefore, it looks like it is even smaller than the previous maintenance release, which was announced in mid-December 2015.

    • Linux 4.5-rc1 Kernel Released
    • Linus Torvalds Releases Linux Kernel 4.5 RC1 with a Little Something for Anybody
    • Linux Foundation Responds to Accusations About Community Representation

      The Linux Foundation made some changes to by-laws, and that stirred things in the Linux community. The organization has issued a statement now addressing the concerns.

      The modifications made to the by-laws of The Linux Foundations were underlined by Matthew Garrett, in an article that also touched on possible motives for the changes. He pointed towards Karen Sandler, who is the Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy. We chose not to take that part of the Matthew’s article since they are conjecture and can’t be verified.

    • Linux Kernel 4.3.4 Is Out, Has Updated Drivers and Network Stack Improvements

      After the release of Linux kernel 3.2.76 LTS, the kernel developers have announced the immediate availability for download of the fourth maintenance release of Linux kernel 4.3.

    • Linux Foundation quietly scraps individual memberships

      “Much of the code in Linux is written by employees paid to do this work, but significant parts of both Linux and the huge range of software that it depends on are written by community members who now have no representation in the Linux Foundation. Ignoring them makes it look like the Linux Foundation is interested only in ‘promoting, protecting and standardising Linux and open source software’ if doing so benefits their corporate membership rather than the community as a whole. This isn’t a positive step,” says Garrett in his post.

      The Register has again contacted the Linux Foundation for comment and will update this story if we hear back from them.

    • The Linux Foundation’s Response To Leadership Controversy Is Plain Disappointment

      In response to the recent leadership controversy, the Linux Foundation has come up with an unsatisfactory response. Linux Foundation chief executive Jim Zemlin has written a blog post on the Foundation’s website and talked about irrelevant aspects of the issue.

      In our last article on this issue, fossBytes listed clear points telling why the latest change in community representation is a bad news for Linux and open source. Up until recently, the organization allowed the individual community members to elect two board members and ensure that the voice of Linux users is present at the board decisions — now this clause has been erased from the bylaws.

      Zemlin chose to ignore the concerns and started his response with an irrelevant line: “First, The Linux Foundation Board structure has not changed. The same individuals remain as directors, and the same ratio of corporate to community directors continues as well.”

      His reply ignores facts and lacks some gravity. How can the ratio remain same when Linux community is now not allowed to choose its directors?

      [...]

      I support every word Zemlin has to say against trolling and unacceptable online behavior of the community members. But, Zemlin chooses to drift from the central point of discussion — Is Karen still eligible to run for the board? What about the current situation of the community representation in the Linux Foundation board?

      Over the past years, Linux and other big names in the open source world have embraced the support of corporate executives. This recent step is another move away from the community of many individual bright programmers. I hope the Foundation makes room for common Linux users and restores their voting rights and faith.

    • Are Codes of Conduct dangerous to open source software development?

      Codes of Conduct have often been pushed to create “safer” environments, while opponents sometimes find such codes repressive and suffocating. But are Codes of Conduct a real danger to the development of open source software?

      One developer, fearing for the loss of his job, posted his anonymous response to what he thinks are dangerous Codes of Conduct.

    • Major Linux Kernel 4.5 Update Released For Testing

      The new kernel, version 4.5, includes major driver improvements, including better 3D graphics support for the Raspberry Pi

      Developer Linus Torvalds on Sunday released the first release candidate (RC) for the upcoming Linux 4.5 kernel, including expanded driver and architecture support as well as other updates.

    • Linux Kernel 3.14.59 LTS Is Out, Brings Btrfs, EXT4, and IPv6 Improvements

      After releasing the Linux 4.3.4 and Linux 4.1.16 LTS kernels, renowned kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman informs the world about the release of the fifty-ninth maintenance build of the long-term supported Linux 3.14 kernel series.

    • Was Linus Behind LF Membership Changes?

      Writer journalist Vox Day speculated the other day that Linus Torvalds himself may have been behind the Linux Foundation’s elimination of individual memberships from their organization. FOSS Force is back with another poll and quiz today and Eric Hameleers released an updated Slackware Live. Debian update 8.3 was announced Saturday and several reviews warrant a mention.

    • Stop whatever you’re doing and pay attention: Linux kernel 4.5rc1 is here

      ANY MINUTE now we should see the first release candidate for Linux kernel 4.5, and there’s a lot to look forward to.

      It seems like only a fortnight ago that we talked about the final release of Linux 4.4 (it was) but a lot has happened.

      Most notable is that the kernel is now ready for Kaby Lake, the next generation of Intel processors due later this year. This was expected to start in 4.4 but the method of the Linux release schedule meant it was dropped.

    • No SJWs allowed
    • An anonymous response to dangerous FOSS Codes of Conduct
    • Graphics Stack

      • Libinput 1.1.5 Released, Still Dealing With Multi-Touch Woes

        Peter Hutterer this weekend announced the release of libinput 1.1.5 as the newest version of this input handling library used by Wayland, X.Org Server (if using xf86-input-libinput), and Mir systems.

      • Core Compute Shader Support Under Review For Gallium3D

        Samuel Pitoiset sent out a set of 17 patches today that add the core of the compute shaders support to the Mesa state tracker as needed by Gallium3D drivers.

        This is almost one thousand lines of code for providing the core changes needed for handling OpenGL 4.3′s important ARB_compute_shader extension. There still are changes needed to Gallium3D drivers in getting the compute shader support going, but this is a major piece of the puzzle.

      • Intel Is Still Maintaining A Proprietary OpenCL Driver For Linux
      • Understanding Intel’s GEN Assembly For OpenCL Kernels
      • libinput and semi-mt touchpads

        libinput 1.1.5 has a change in how we deal with semi-mt touchpads, in particular: interpretation of touch points will cease and we will rely on the single touch position and the BTN_TOOL_* flags instead to detect multi-finger interaction. For most of you this will have little effect, even if you have a semi-mt touchpad. As a reminder: semi-mt touchpads are those that can detect the bounding box of two-finger interactions but cannot identify which finger is which. This provides some ambiguity, a pair of touch points at x1/y1 and x2/y2 could be a physical pair of touches at x1/y2 and x2/y1. More importantly, we found issues with semi-mt touchpads that go beyond the ambiguity and reduce the usability of the touchpoints.

    • Benchmarks

      • PV vs PVHVM on next XenServer

        That’s not really surprising: new hardware tends to include more and more instructions to assist virtualization. So in fact, the “cost” of virtualization (in terms of performances) is reduced.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Best Linux Desktop Environments for 2016

      Linux creates a friendly environment for choices and options. For example, there are many Linux-based distributions out there that use different desktop environments for you to choose from. I have picked some of the best desktop environments that you will see in the Linux world.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Interview with Cremuss

        I grew a bit tired of it during high school so I stopped for a time and it’s only after finishing high school that I wanted to start digging into CG software again. I was fully converted to open-source projects and GNU/Linux at this moment so in my mind I obviously had to give Blender a try. I learned it, loved it and fall in love with video game art while helping with the development of an open source video game/engine, SpringRTS.

      • Plasma tricks: custom title bars for apps and some consistency

        Plasma 5 comes with a very cool feature: KWin can set a different colour scheme for title bar of each app (basing on app identity or title of the window).

      • In the Mansion House

        Here is deepest Padania a 4 story mansion provides winter cover to KDE developers working to free your computers.

      • Goin’ to FOSDEM

        I’ve skipped a few years, but I’m looking forward to seeing some of the familiar KDE faces there, as well as finally meeting a couple of the KDE-FreeBSD folks. There’s a long list of familiar faces at the Legal Devroom. For once, I have a plan of talks that I want to see, even some that I can claim are work-work related (yay!). Whether I’ll be useful at the KDE booth, I don’t know: last time I was there there was Plasma-desktop to be demonstrated and me with still KDE4 on my laptop. I’m not a good poster child for the modern generation.

      • Seasons of KDE (2)

        As mentioned in my earlier post, the KIOSK framework changed a lot between KDE3 and Plasma. So using the old code and simply port it to kf5 was not an option. My Mentor suggested, I start implementing profile support, which is one of the key feature of KIOSK.

      • Next Kdenlive Cafés

        This is an opportunity for Kdenlive developers and users to exchange ideas, talk about how we want to see the Kdenlive project evolve and also discuss how you can help us on that way!

      • Plasma tricks: start a torrent from another device

        Are you browsing the web with your Android smart-phone/tablet and suddenly you see that your favourite distro just release the ISO you are waiting? Do you want to tap on “download” and start the torrent but… do you want to use your PC instead of the current device? OK here KDE Connect and KTorrent are your heroes. Let’s see how to setup all.

      • Wrapping up the Google Code-In
      • Kicking off 2016 — the first Krita Sprint

        This weekend, we had our place full of hackers again. The Calligra Text Layout Sprint coincided with the Krita 2016 Kick-Off Sprint. Over the course of the sprint, which started on Wednesday, we had two newcomers to KDE-related hacking sprints, and during the weekend, we had an unusual situation for free software: actual gender parity.

      • New Year Calligra Words Sprint

        When the streets are covered with snow and ice in many parts of Europe, it’s a good time to sit inside in front of our computers and to improve that software we are sharing here with each other.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Settings To Get a Major Design Overhaul

        The GNOME settings app is to get a major design overhaul, GNOME designers and developers have revealed.

        The new design proposals will see the utility switch from a grid layout with fixed window size to one using a sidebar list and resizeable window frame.

  • Distributions

    • This Week in Solus – Install #19

      Alongside our crunch and focus for 1.1, we’ve also been continuing our campaign of bug crushing. We’ve crushed 22 bugs over the last week, ranging from long sitting bugs that have been resolved since the Budgie rewrite to recent ones that are related to inclusion of git-based patches for new software in the repo.

    • Reviews

      • Hands-On: Kali Linux Light (Xfce) and Mini distributions

        In my previous post, I looked at the Full version of the new Kali Linux 2016.1 Rolling release. That version uses the Gnome 3 desktop and includes a large number of security, forensic, and penetration-testing utilities. In this post I am going to look at the Light version, which uses the Xfce desktop and includes only a few security utilities in the base installation, and the Mini version, which lets you choose your desktop, but includes no additional utilities in the base installation.

        It seems to me that there are two reasons for the Kali Light distribution. First, a lot of people don’t like using Gnome 3 — especially a lot of experienced Linux users — so this offers a popular alternative desktop. Second, by including very few additional security packages, it lets you build up the distribution with just the tools you want and need.

      • Linux Mint 17.3 “Xfce”

        Linux Mint Linux Mint is arguably one of the more popular distributions in the open source ecosystem. The project takes packages from the Ubuntu repositories and uses them, along with custom Mint utilities, to build a user friendly operating system. The Mint project has gained a reputation over the years for delivering a practical desktop operating system that offers users a familiar desktop environment with multimedia support.

      • Apricity OS 12.2015 review – Apre Trouble

        Linux, the final frontier. A fellow named Mehdi emailed me the name of this Linux distro for sampling, testing and review. Having already recommended a bunch of software in the past, with pretty good results, I thought this could be another enjoyable exercise.

        To make everything all the more mindboggling, Apricity OS tell us it is based on Arch Linux, which means goats and blood and the essence of virgin nerds. Archy Arch and the Funky Byte. But maybe the dreadful can be abstracted into a nice and friendly product. Anyhow, version 12.2015 Beta, underway!

      • Enter the Void! First impressions of Void Linux

        While Gentoo is a great way to spin your own flavour of Linux, after a year I’ve found that recompiling packages every time you do an update becomes a bit of a drag. With that in mind I decided to look around for an alternative distribution, and while nothing is 100% perfect I have to say I really am very happy with Void Linux. There are a number of “live” iso images which will happily boot from a USB stick, I only looked at two of the images Cinnamon and Xfce, while Cinnamon was all very pretty and all that, I couldn’t get the audio volume widget to show itself and besides I didn’t see any real advantage. I’ve long been a fan of Xfce basically because of what it doesn’t try to do, you don’t get the kitchen sink (thankfully) but what you do get works solidly.

        Now its entirely possible that I missed something obvious with the void_installer script but it has two distinct behaviours depending on what installation source you choose. If you choose to install from the internet what you get is a bare minimum of packages (command line only) and you’ll be left with a fair bit of configuration to do for yourself – this isn’t always a bad thing if for example you have some specific use maybe an embedded kiosk for example. For more usual desktop use, its better to choose the installation media itself as the source, this basically copies and configures the “live” image onto your machine. I did find that after an update I had to manually delete the old kernel, but once I did that and a few more of the usual chores one normally expects when installing a new system – (eventually after correctly using the installer!) I found myself in possession of a really nice system.

    • New Releases

      • Antivirus LiveCD 16.0-0.99 Promises to Clean Your PC of Viruses with ClamAV 0.99

        Today, 4MLinux developer Zbigniew Konojacki informs us about the release and immediate availability for download of Antivirus Live CD 16.0-0.99.

        If you don’t know what Antivirus Live CD is, we will take this opportunity to remind you that it is a small, free and easy-to-use Live ISO image built around the open-source Clam AntiVirus (ClamAV) antivirus software and designed for cleaning your PC of viruses, no matter if you’re using Linux, Mac or Windows.

        The new release, Antivirus Live CD 16.0-0.99, brings support for the recently announced ClamAV 0.99.0, which has all the latest virus definition updates and bugfixes for protecting your computer from malware. Besides that, Antivirus Live CD 16.0-0.99 is now based on the 4MLinux 16.0 operating system.

      • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 (Atticus) Gets Linux Kernel 4.1.16 in the Third Test Build

        The Parsix GNU/Linux developers have announced the release and immediate availability for download of the third TEST build for the upcoming Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” operating system.

        According to the release notes, Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 (Atticus) TEST3 is powered by the long-term supported Linux 4.1.16 kernel, which has been patched with BFS and TuxOnIce 3.3 and has been built around the latest stable and most advanced GNOME 3.18 desktop environment. It also comes with updates for many of the pre-installed apps and core components.

      • Solus 1.1 to Land Really Soon, Users Needed to Test AMD GPU Drivers

        The Solus operating system is now available in a stable form, and its developers are preparing to release the first point release.

        Since Solus is going to be supported for the next couple of years, the developers need to work on the problems that have been reported by the community. They have already promised that they will squash all the bugs in a little over a month, but they are also preparing for the first point release.

      • Zenwalk 8.0 Linux OS Enters Beta, Replaces Mozilla Firefox with Chromium

        The developers of the Slackware-based Zenwalk Linux operating system have announced the release and immediate availability for download and testing of the first Beta build of the upcoming Zenwalk 8.0 computer operating system.

      • Zenwalk 8.0 Linux Distribution Now In Beta
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • ROSA Desktop Fresh KDE R7 Linux OS Ships with KDE Plasma 5, Linux Kernel 4.1.15

        The developers of the ROSA Desktop Fresh operating system announced today, January 26, the release and immediate availability for download of the ROSA Desktop Fresh KDE R7 Linux operating system.

        Being based on the long-term supported ROSA 2014.1 platform, which will receive security fixes and patches until Autumn 2016, ROSA Desktop Fresh KDE R7 updates the default set of KDE4 applications with the addition of the Kamoso and Kup applications, and the removal of the KWallet utility. Support for H.265 encoded videos is now available for new installations, along with numerous other multimedia codecs.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Meet exGENT Linux, a Rolling Gentoo Live DVD Powered by Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS

        Softpedia has been informed today, January 25, 2016, by GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton about the immediate availability for download of a new build of his excellent exGENT Live DVD Linux operating system.

        As this is the first time we’re writing a news story about exGENT Linux, we would like to introduce you guys to it first. So, as its name might suggest, exGENT is a rolling-release Gentoo-based Live Linux distribution built around the lightweight Xfce desktop environment and based on the latest GNU/Linux technologies.

    • Arch Family

      • BlackArch Linux Expands Its Roster of Tools for Security Research

        If having more tools is better for security, then the latest release of the BlackArch Linux distribution will be warmly received by security researchers. Version 2016.01.10 of BlackArch Linux, which was released on Jan. 10, boasts more than 30 new security tools, bringing the total number of security tools to 1,330. BlackArch is a security-focused operating system that is based on the Arch Linux distribution. Arch Linux is what is known as a rolling release Linux distribution because it is constantly being updated. BlackArch builds on top of Arch and includes anti-forensic, automation, backdoor, crypto, honeypot, networking, scanner, spoofer and wireless security tools for security research. Among the new tools is a utility to conduct attacks against IBM Lotus Domino servers. The new Jooforce tool, meanwhile, enables security researchers to attack the open-source Joomla content management system. Another interesting addition is the credential mapper (credmap) tool that aims to show researchers when user and account credentials have been reused. In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look at some of the features in the BlackArch 2016.01.10 milestone release.

      • Manjaro Deepin 15.12
      • Arch just works, Ubuntu is customizable

        Ever actually treid to make a package for Ubuntu? Understanding .deb takes a good couple of days of documentation until you get it down, every idiot can make a Pacman package because it’s simpler, it “just works”. The AUR’s success is probably tied to that any idiot can make a Pacman package.

    • Slackware Family

      • SlackWare 14.1 on Pandora: Everything is Awesome!

        I hope that line is not trademarked by LEGO… anyway, the point is that Slackware 14.1 on the Pandora is a great distro. I had tested it in the past but I had not given it enough of my attention then, and I now realize my mistake. Don’t get me wrong: Super Zaxxon is great and all, but if you want to enhance the utility factor of your Pandora, Slackware is one of the best ways to do it, without losing much of SZ either.

      • Slackware Live Edition, updated

        During the past weeks I have been working on my “liveslak” scripts for the Slackware Live Edition. Check out my previous articles about Beta1 Beta2 and Beta3 releases for these scripts, they contain a lot of background about the reasons for creating yet another Slackware Live, as well as instructions on the use of the Live ISO images and their boot parameters.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Will 2016 Be Red Hat Inc.’s Best Year Yet?

        This year may not be spectacular, but the merciless march toward market-beating sales and cash flows will continue. Hint: The company doesn’t mind market weakness.

      • Google Integrating Cloud Platform With Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated

        The goal is to enable Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated managed container application platform customers to build and host their apps on Google’s Cloud Platform.

      • Red Hat Boosts Hybrid Clouds

        Red Hat, Inc., a provider of open source solutions, has begun shipping an update to its open source IT automation framework, designed to bring increased stability, new automation capabilities, and new integrations with a variety of services and providers. The solution, Ansible 2.0, is intended to better support public, private, and hybrid cloud deployments, as well as Microsoft Windows environments and network management.

      • Brokerages Set Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) PT at $89.73

        Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) has received a consensus rating of “Buy” from the thirty-four analysts that are currently covering the stock, ARN reports. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and twenty-five have assigned a buy rating to the company. The average 12 month price target among brokerages that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $89.73.

      • The CentOS CI Infrastructure: A Getting Started Guide

        The CentOS community is trying to build an ecosystem that fosters and encourages upstream communities to continuously perform integration testing of their code running on the the CentOS platform. The CentOS community has built out an infrastructure that (currently) contains 256 servers (“bare metal” servers”) that are pooled together to run tests that are orchestrated by a frontend Jenkins instance located at ci.centos.org.

      • Mackay Shields Acquires New Stake in Red Hat Inc (RHT)

        Mackay Shields acquired a new stake in Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The hedge fund acquired 18,481,000 shares of the open-source software company’s stock, valued at approximately $24,132,000.

      • Promising stocks in today’s market: Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
      • Red Hat, Inc. Analyst Rating Update

        As many as 16 brokerage firms have rated Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) at 1.5. Research Analysts at Zacks Investment Research have ranked the company at 3, suggesting the traders with a rating of hold for the short term. The stock garnered a place in the hold list of 3 stock Analysts. 2 analysts suggested buying the company. 11 analysts rated the company as a strong buy.

      • Brokerages Set Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) PT at $89.73

        Shares of Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) have been given a consensus rating of “Buy” by the thirty-four research firms that are covering the company, AnalystRatings.NET reports. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, six have given a hold recommendation and twenty-five have given a buy recommendation to the company. The average twelve-month target price among brokers that have covered the stock in the last year is $89.73.

      • Fedora

        • GPG: a Fedora primer

          GPG, or GnuPG, refers to the Gnu Privacy Guard utility. GPG is a freely available implementation of the OpenPGP standard that was released by Werner Koch in 1999. The security and privacy of data and individuals is an important topic in modern culture. The OpenPGP standard allows GPG and other applications to work together to secure and protect your data.

          This series will explain the basic fundamentals of GPG and take you step by step through using it. The OpenPGP standard includes the basic features of confidentiality, integrity, and non-repudiation. By supporting this standard, GPG provides all three features.

        • How is systemd doing on github?

          Blue and green lines are the total number of issues and the number of closed issues, number of the left y-axis. Red line is the difference, number on the right axis. The number of issues is growing linearly. Overall, we aren’t doing too bad, 85% of issues have been closed.

        • 6 months with Fedora Design
        • IBus-Anthy 1.5.8
        • IBus 1.5.12
        • Fedora23 – First Impressions

          When you read my blog posts you know that I switched not that long ago from Manjaro, an Arch-based distribution to Arch. And now I switched again – this time to [Fedora]. Even so I was really satisified with Arch. It worked, it was fast and the Arch User Repositories are awesome. I rarely had to google how to install a software. I just had to use a wrapper to search them. And when I googled the first hit was often the Arch Wiki. Right now the Arch Wiki is probably the best documentation for Linux-related software.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian GNU/Linux 8.3 “Jessie” Now Available for Download, Live DVDs Coming Soon

        We reported earlier on the official release of the third stable update in the Debian GNU/Linux 8 “Jessie” series of Linux kernel-based operating systems, Debian 8.3.

        At the moment of writing the respective article, there were no installation mediums or Live DVD ISO images available for download. This is because Debian GNU/Linux 8.3 is not a new version of the acclaimed operating system, but a collection of updates that can be easily applied by existing Debian GNU/Linux 8.2 “Jessie” users through the official channels.

      • Reproducible builds: week 39 in Stretch cycle

        The switch made in binutils/2.25-6 to use deterministic archives by default had the unfortunate effect of breaking a seldom used feature of make. Manoj Srivastava asked on debian-devel the best way to communicate the changes to Debian users. Lunar quickly came up with a patch that displays a warning when Make encounters “deterministic” archives. Manoj made it available in make/4.1-2 together with a NEWS file advertising the change.

      • QNAP TS-x09 installer available again

        Debian 8.3 came out today. As part of this update, Debian installer images for QNAP TS-109, TS-209 and TS-409 are available again. These devices are pretty old but there are still some users. We dropped installer support several years ago because the installer ramdisk was too large to fit in flash. Since then, users had to install Debian 6.0 (squeeze) and upgrade from there. When squeeze was removed from the Debian mirrors recently, I received mail from a number of users.

      • neovim-coming-to-debian

        Almost 9 months after I took ownership of the Neovim RFP, I finally tagged & uploaded Neovim to Debian. It still has to go through the NEW queue, but it will soon be in an experimental release near you.

      • Derivatives

        • HandyLinux 2.3 Is Based on Debian 8.3, Dedicated to the Memory of Ian Murdock

          The developers of the HandyLinux computer operating system have been proud to inform Softpedia earlier about the immediate availability for download of the HandyLinux 2.3 release.

          Being based on the well-known and powerful Debian GNU/Linux 8.3 (Jessie) operating system created by Ian Murdock, who sadly passed away on December 30, 2015, today’s HandyLinux 2.3 release is dedicated to his memory, and because of that, it has been dubbed by its developers “Ian.”

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu for TV Possibly Still in the Works

            Ubuntu for TV was briefly a thing for Canonical, but it never really took off, and it slowly faded away, but it seems that they haven’t given up on that idea, and we might still get it.

            Ubuntu for TV was a really different operating system that was initially showcased back in January 2012, at CES. It’ s been four years since then and Ubuntu for TV is no more. The previous Ubuntu community manager, Jono Bacon, said that the project didn’t actually die, it was just folded back into the main distro.

          • Bq’s Ubuntu tablet could showcase long-awaited desktop-mobile convergence

            The rumors are true: An Ubuntu-powered tablet blessed by Canonical is coming—from Spanish device maker Bq, which plans to unveil it at Mobile World Congress in February.

            Linux fans have waited a long time for the realization of Canonical’s long-promised vision of “convergence,” an OS that seamlessly transitions between mobile and desktop environments. Ubuntu blog OMGUbuntu first reported the tablet on January 14, but Canonical refused to comment. In a recent interview with Spanish website Xataka, however, Bq (which has partnered with Canonical on phones) confirmed the rumor.

          • What you missed in tech last week: Ubuntu’s big win, iOS battery bug, iPhone 6C leak
          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-10 for Ubuntu Phones Launches on March 3, 2016

            We have just been informed by Łukasz Zemczak of Canonical about a preliminary release schedule for the next OTA software updates for the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system.

            According to Mr. Zemczak, the Ubuntu Touch developers have decided that it will be appropriate to release a post OTA-9 hotfix update after all, OTA-9.5, which will be the next thing they prepare for. The OTA-9.5 update will enter final freeze on January 29, two days after the launch on OTA-9 on January 27, and will be released for all supported Ubuntu Phone devices on February 10, 2016.

          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 to Land This Week Without Delays, OTA-9.5 Hotfix Coming Soon

            The Ubuntu Touch team at Canonical announced earlier the release schedule for the upcoming OTA software updates for Ubuntu Phone devices, and we promised to give you guys more info on the whereabouts of the OTA-9 update.

          • Here’s What’s New in the Ubuntu Touch OTA-9 Update for Ubuntu Phones
          • Canonical “Secretly” Changed the Ubuntu Orange Color to Another Orange

            Canonical has made some changes to the famous orange color and has changed it, in secret, to a different kind of orange.

            The famous color that’s been used in Ubuntu for a long time serves two purposes. One is to make the operating system easily recognizable, and the other one is to drive people who don’t like orange crazy. Most of the community doesn’t really care about the color being used, and people either let it be or change it; the rest of the users are always asking Canonical to replace it.

          • Uniform Icons Are Unshaped But Looks Great on Ubuntu/Linux Mint Desktop

            There are many icon themes available for Linux and you already know that in one icon set all icons have same pattern, but this is not the case here. The guy (0rax0) who designed this icon theme could have tested every shape on the planet to get a unique and good looking icon set for Linux, and he followed totally unshaped pattern for his icon set but can’t we see these icons still looks awesome, I would say great contribution to eyecandy for the Linux. We all have tested many of the icon theme and none of them have icons for every application, there is always something missing, so don’t expect this set to be complete but good news is that it is in development mode by another guy (ZMA) who is now constantly working on it and adding icons to this icon set. If you encounter any issue or see any missing icon then you should ask ZMA to create and add that icon. You can use Unity Tweak Tool, Gnome-tweak-tool or Ubuntu-Tweak to change icons.

          • Open Source in the World of App Stores
          • Bq Confirm Ubuntu Tablet with Convergence is Coming
          • Ubuntu Scope Showdown Is Back, And The Prizes Are Better Than Ever

            The competition, which runs from today and closes February 29, 2016, gives participants just six weeks to create an all-new original Scope for the Ubuntu Phone and publish it to the store.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu-Based Black Lab Linux 7.0.3 Distro Arrives with Updated Kernel, More

              Black Lab Software, through Roberto J. Dohnert, has informed Softpedia earlier today, January 26, 2016, about the immediate availability for download and update of the Black Lab Linux 7.0.3 operating system.

              According to the developers, Black Lab Linux 7.0.3 is the third maintenance release in the Black Lab Linux 7.0 series of operating system, bringing the latest software updates, bugfixes, under-the-hood improvements, and security patches.

            • You Can Now Have a Single Live ISO Image with All the Linux Mint 17.3 Flavors

              Softpedia has been informed today, January 26, 2016, by the Linux AIO team about the immediate availability for download of an updated version of their Linux AIO Linux Mint project, which is now based on Linux Mint 17.3.

              Many of our readers know what the Linux AIO project does, and we bet that they were waiting impatiently for them to release a new Live ISO image that would consist of all the flavors of the recently released Linux Mint 17.3 (Rosa) operating system, including Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon, Linux Mint 17.3 MATE, Linux Mint 17.3 Xfce, and Linux Mint 17.3 KDE.

            • Deepin 15 – See What’s New
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Many People Ignore Open Source Software

    Since its advent, Open Source Software or OSS has grown significantly over the years. This is due in part to the advances made in its development. A few of these advances include: “user-friendliness”, functional capabilities, and their low cost. But despite these achievements, OSS has not achieved the type of pervasive adoption that we have envisaged. And this, in my opinion, is a result of a variety of reasons in different regions. In Liberia for example, I have come to learn of two cardinal reasons: lack of OSS knowledge and the unwillingness by some individuals to ignore common myth held against OSS.

    The lack of OSS knowledge in Liberia echoes one thing: Our unarticulated unwillingness to remove ourselves from that which we are comfortable with –proprietary software. Across the Liberian ICT spectrum, Open Source Software is a mundane topic. Yet, it is rare to see ICT professionals in Liberia proffer Open Source Software solutions, even though their ICT budgets face serious strangulations. One can inarguably surmise therefore, that the option for perfunctory proprietary solutions is sought only because it aligns with the skills of their choosers. But how does this benefit a struggling organization?

  • Why we made Mattermost an open source Slack-alternative

    We had several requests to blog about why we created Mattermost as an open-source alternative to Slack and proprietary communications software and we wanted to share our story:

  • 5 Open Source Predictive Analytics Tools

    Launching a predictive analytics initiative can be quite costly. Fortunately, companies can use open source predictive analytics tools to keep costs low while exploring the possibilities of predictive analytics. Building a kit of open source predictive analytics tools enables data scientists to take advantage of each tool’s strengths and add new tools when ready to widen the scope of prediction types.

  • Events

    • SCALE 14X Is One for the Record Books

      Whew. It had over 140 exhibitors, and over 185 sessions. It had just north of 3,600 people registered for the event. It had four days of peace, love and FOSS.

      That was SCALE 14X.

      But we’re getting ahead of Sunday’s story.

      After the cacophony of Saturday night’s Weakest Geek — Ruth Suehle won her third, with talk of a dynasty in the air for that particular game — and the fun and games of, well, Game Night, Sunday rolled into Pasadena on a more quiet, thoughtful note.

    • Lightning talk: Rewiring Generation Z

      Busting the myth that the generation after millennials are digital natives, that they are really good at computers. But they’re not. Charlie Reisinger tells us how closed software and hardware plays a role. And, how open source software and hardware is the answer.

    • Visit Brussels and learn about open source at FOSDEM 2016

      Every January, more than 5,000 free and open source enthusiasts from around the world flock to a humble university campus in Brussels, Belgium, for a weekend of talks, discussions, and open source projects. FOSDEM stands for Free and Open Source Developers’ European Meeting, and it’s one of the largest community-organized events in Europe.

    • DevConf.cz 2016 is coming

      DevConf.cz 2016 is just around the corner (starts on Feb 5th). If you’re going to attend the conference, the organizers have prepared useful information for you. Check devconf.cz and especially the transportation page.

    • Pasadena welcomes Linux Scale 14X and its tribe of developers

      Pasadena City Councilmember Andy Wilson proudly welcomed Linux 14X, the 14th Annual Southern California Linux Expo, to the Pasadena Convention Center Saturday morning.

      Wilson, who himself comes from the software industry, was thrilled to call himself a “geek” among the packed ballroom, filled with software developers and aficionados. He described his own excitement at having the growing event move from its former location near LAX to Pasadena. The event will draw more than 3500 Linux fans to the convention center over this weekend.

  • Web Browsers

    • Ex Firefox Boss Releases Open Source Ad-Blocking Web Browser In Brave Move.
    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 44.0 Primed For Release

        Firefox 44 continues allowing unsigned extensions thanks to a last minute change by Mozilla. Firefox 44 also has an option that can be enabled for moving WebGL off the main thread. Firefox 44 additionally presents Brotli compression algorithm support, support for VP9/WebM video support for systems lacking MP4/H.264, WebRTC improvements, Firefox For Android updates, H.264 system decoder support, the new Service Workers API, a WebSocket Debugging API, and other developer enhancements.

      • Mozilla Firefox 44.0 Is Now Available for Download for Linux, Mac and Windows

        Just a few minutes ago, January 26, 2016, Mozilla pushed the final Firefox 44.0 web browser to the FTP channels of the project, for anyone to download and install on their personal computers.

      • Add-on Signing Update

        In Firefox 43, we made it a default requirement for add-ons to be signed. This requirement can be disabled by toggling a preference that was originally scheduled to be removed in Firefox 44 for release and beta versions (this preference will continue to be available in the Nightly, Developer, and ESR Editions of Firefox for the foreseeable future).

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Google Wants Apache’s Attention to Evolve Cloud Dataflow Tool

      The Apache Software Foundation, which incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, has elevated a slew of big data and cloud computing projects to Top-Level status recently. With that designation, projects get more attention from the development community and other perks.

      Now, Google is making a big open source-focused move by offering its Dataflow technology to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) as an incubator project. Cloudera, Data Artisans GmbH, PayPal Holdings and Talend are all backing the move.

    • New Outreachy interns, NFV deployment growth, and more OpenStack news

      Interested in keeping track of what is happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for news in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.

    • Forrester Names Top Five Hadoop Distributions

      Analysts at Forrester Research have been tracking the upward trajectory of the open source Hadoop big data project for years, and have now pronounced that the platform is “mandatory” for companies in pursuit of advanced analytics that leverage their data stores.

    • NFV Deployment Growing Thanks to OpenStack

      While the open-source OpenStack cloud platform got its start as a platform for compute and storage, networking efforts are now leading the way forward. In particular, the adoption of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) by global carriers is now being accelerated in part by adoption of OpenStack.

  • Databases

    • Getting dirty with open source databases

      A decade ago, most enterprises building a database had only two or three choices: Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and – to a lesser extent – IBM DB2. Open source systems such as MySQL and PostgreSQL existed, but they were not on the radar of most commercial organisations.

      But as proprietary licensing has become more complex and costly, and businesses’ needs have changed, so open source systems have emerged to meet evolving demands.

    • 9 Million for Open Source Database

      MariaDB announced $9 million in venture funding to support its open-source relational database solutions. The company also named Michael Howard as its CEO and Michael “Monty” Widenius as chief technology officer.

  • CMS

    • 5 Best (and Easy) Open Source Website Builders

      A website is essential for every small business, even if it’s just a simple information page. Forget phone books or newspapers; prospective customers look websites. You can publish and maintain your own site, and these five open source website builders make it easy and affordable.

  • Education

    • Using Git in the classroom

      In my advanced programming classes I’ve discovered that middle school students are capable of far more complex operations than we often suspect. In many cases, they’re wholly capable of using industry-standard tools to produce remarkable work.

    • Indiana University Joins Open Source Initiative

      The Open Source Initiative® (OSI) announced today the Affiliate Membership of Indiana University (IU), a long time champion for the use of open source software as a means for greater efficiency in higher education. The partnership highlights the OSI’s recent efforts to extend support to higher education: helping colleges and universities across the globe realize the benefits of open source software, develpoment models and communities.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Key Charities That Advance Software Freedom Are Worthy of Your Urgent Support

      I’ve had the pleasure and the privilege, for the last 20 years, to be either a volunteer or employee of the two most important organizations for the advance of software freedom and users’ rights to copy, share, modify and redistribute software. In 1996, I began volunteering for the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and worked as its Executive Director from 2001–2005. I continued as a volunteer for the FSF since then, and now serve as a volunteer on FSF’s Board of Directors. I was also one of the first volunteers for Software Freedom Conservancy when we founded it in 2006, and I was the primary person doing the work of the organization as a volunteer from 2006–2010. I’ve enjoyed having a day job as a Conservancy employee since 2011.

    • Andreas Enge: Novena board set-up for the GNU Guix build farm, part 1
  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Dawn of Open Source Insulin

      Based on WHO (World Health Organization) reports on diabetes, in 2012, an estimated 1.5 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes and it is projected to be one of the leading causes of death in 2030. More than 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • ZeMarmot in 2015: research, script finalization and character design

    As a side note, we are also now in contact with a scientist, specialist on marmots (yes it does exist!). Not that ZeMarmot is any kind of scientifically-accurate film, but it is always nice to get some scientific background as a basis, even if it means later breaking the rules of nature (which is ok when done on purpose). We’ll tell more about this if the contact evolves into a real cooperation.

  • Microsoft Surface blamed for NFL football playoffs meltdown

    “They’re having some trouble with their Microsoft Surface tablets,” announced CBS reporter Evan Washburn. “That last defensive possession the Patriots’ coaches did not have access to those tablets to show pictures to their players. NFL officials have been working at it. Some of those tablets are back in use but not all of them. A lot of frustration that they didn’t have them on that last possession.”

  • Why the Sun 2 has the message “Love your country, but never trust its government”

    Alec figured that message was never supposed to be seen and suggested it was a kind of silent protest of someone in Sun against the US Government. I replied, saying I was pretty sure such a message anywhere in the Sun bootprom code must have originated by John Gilmore. So I asked John, and he did not disappoint. This is what I wrote me back…

  • So you think offline systems need no updates?

    So, yes, security issues are harmful. They must be taken serious, and a solid and well designed security concept should be applied. Multiple layers, different zones, role based access, update often, etc.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Virginia Tech expert helped expose Flint water crisis

      Four months after Flint switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River, Lee-Anne Walters’ family began to experience strange health issues.

      It started in August 2014 when Walters’ four children and her husband got rashes on their skin and started losing hair. Then, her 15-year-old son became so nauseated, dizzy and in pain that he couldn’t go to school for three weeks.

      The worst of it came when one of her toddler twin sons fell behind his brother in weight and developed a bright red rash with scaly patches on his body after bathing. He was diagnosed with lead poisoning.

    • Watch Bill Clinton Defend Bernie Sanders’ Health Care Plan (in 2009)

      Former president Bill Clinton joined his wife and daughter in assailing Bernie Sanders’ single-payer health care plan last week, saying that it would lead to “overcharging and inflation.”

      But in 2009, he defended the single-payer approach, in which the government pays for everyone’s health care. During an appearance on CNN, host Sanjay Gupta asked the former president whether single-payer was “politically unpalatable, or is it a bad idea?”

      “Well, I think it’s more politically unpalatable than it is a bad idea,” responded Clinton. “Because single-payer is not socialized medicine. Canada has a single-payer system, and a private health care system. Our single-payer systems are Medicare and Medicaid and Medicare is quite popular. The good thing about single-payer is the administrative costs are quite low. We probably waste $200 billion a year between the insurance administrative costs, the doctors’ and other health care providers’ administrative costs, and employers’ administrative costs in health care that we would not waste if we had any other country’s system.”

  • Security

    • LeChiffre Ransomware Hits Three Indian Banks, Causes Millions in Damages

      An unknown hacker has breached the computer systems of three banks and a pharmaceutical company and infected most of their computers with crypto-ransomware.

      The incident took place at the start of January, all companies were located in India, and the hacker(s) used the LeChiffre ransomware family to encrypt files on the infected computers.

    • LeChiffre, Ransomware Ran Manually

      It encrypts files and appends to their names an extension “.LeChiffre”.

    • when preloads go sideways

      One solution would be to install an alternative operating system, like OpenBSD. Sorry, I meant to say ARCH LINUX.

      I note that a fair bit of the above foolishness revolves around adding some amount of pollution to the OS’s cabal store. Maybe we can use an OS that comes with a store we trust? For example, there’s several ways a user can install OpenBSD and verify that cert.pem has only the 4943 lines it’s supposed to have. That only pushes the question back a step, however. What lines are supposed to be in this file?

      [...]

      The trials and tribulations of bundleware mirror those of the government. For as long as most traffic was unencrypted, it was easy to inject value. But as sites started moving to full time https, the well of value started to dry up, requiring workarounds to stay in the game. Governments are facing much the same challenge, hence the large number of proposals to build a socialized, universal AV software, so that all citizens can enjoy its benefits on both desktop and mobile. How else will TrendMicro keep us safe from Let’s Encrypt?

      When asked to comment, Hillary Clinton responded with a statement. “I clearly specified that the problem was to be solved by Silicon Valley’s best and brightest, not bumbling mediocrity.” Donald Trump promised to build a wall around malware and make the neckbeards pay for it. Carly Fiorina simply tweeted, “Go Iowa!”

    • Microsoft putting users at risk by forcing Windows 10 upgrade

      Microsoft is forcing Windows users to upgrade to Windows 10 by quietly slipping in code through its regular updates. This has been confirmed by multiple sources.

      But what of those Windows users who want to stick with a known devil — in this case, their own versions of Windows, be they 7, 8 or 8.1 — until a little more is known by the public at large about the strengths and weaknesses of Windows 10?

    • Playing with Letsencrypt

      While I’m not convinced that encrypting everything by default is necessarily a good idea, it is certainly true that encryption has its uses. Unfortunately, for the longest time getting an SSL certificate from a CA was quite a hassle — and then I’m not even mentioning the fact that it would cost money, too. In that light, the letsencrypt project is a useful alternative: rather than having to dabble with emails or webforms, letsencrypt does everything by way of a few scripts. Also, the letsencrypt CA is free to use, in contrast to many other certificate authorities.

    • Linux’s Latest Security Vulnerability: Hype vs. Reality

      In the latest bout of alarmist frenzy to sweep the security world, researchers disclosed a vulnerability in the Linux kernel’s open source code last week. It turns out to pose little real threat.

      The flaw, which has existed in Linux since 2012 but remained unknown, was reported by the Israeli security company Perception Point. It allows attackers to gain root access to computers running affected versions of the kernel. With root access, they can do anything they want to the system.

    • Important OpenSSL Update Announced for January 28

      A new OpenSSL release has been announced for January 28, and it’s going to cover a couple of problems, one of which it’s going to be very important.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • New Linux malware spotted [Ed: Stuff that the user must actually INSTALL]

      A new backdoor for Linux has been spotted by security researchers, one which can download malicious files to an infected system, log keystrokes and take screenshots.

    • Simple Yet Efficient Linux Backdoor Trojan Discovered

      Threats to Linux computers are now appearing on a regular basis, and what was once dubbed a “no-virus zone” has started being targeted by malware authors.

    • Exploiting a Linux Kernel Infoleak to bypass Linux kASLR
    • Thousands of gamers’ passwords easily cracked in 3 minutes
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • You Won’t Like It, But Here’s the Answer to ISIS

      You’d need to start with a persuasive review of what hasn’t worked over the past 14-plus years. American actions against terrorism — the Islamic State being just the latest flavor — have flopped on a remarkable scale, yet remain remarkably attractive to our present crew of candidates. (Bernie Sanders might be the only exception, though he supports forming yet another coalition to defeat ISIS.)

      Why are the failed options still so attractive? In part, because bombing and drones are believed by the majority of Americans to be surgical procedures that kill lots of bad guys, not too many innocents, and no Americans at all. As Washington regularly imagines it, once air power is in play, someone else’s boots will eventually hit the ground (after the U.S. military provides the necessary training and weapons). A handful of Special Forces troops, boots-sorta-on-the-ground, will also help turn the tide. By carrot or stick, Washington will collect and hold together some now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t “coalition” of “allies” to aid and abet the task at hand. And success will be ours, even though versions of this formula have fallen flat time and again in the Greater Middle East.

    • Winston Churchill: Britain’s “Greatest Briton” Left a Legacy of Global Conflict and Crimes Against Humanity

      Churchill’s legacy in Sub-Saharan Africa and Kenya in particular is also one of deep physical and physiological scars that endure to this day.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • City Of Chicago ‘Embraces’ Transparency By Releasing Shooting Video To Draw Attention Away From Attorney Misconduct

      The city of Chicago has decided it’s not going to wait for a judge to order it to release video footage depicting another unarmed person being shot by one of its police officers. It has released surveillance video showing Cedric Chatman being killed by Officer Kevin Fry. Fry claimed Chatman was carrying a gun. It turned out to be an iPhone box, allegedly taken from the victim of a carjacking.

    • Video of 2013 Police Shooting Is Released as Chicago Relents

      For the second time in recent months, Chicago officials released video of police officers chasing and fatally shooting an African-American teenager, bowing to public and legal pressure amid calls for greater scrutiny of officers’ use of deadly force.

      The latest set of videos — with views from at least four surveillance cameras — provides a distant, and somewhat incomplete, view of the brief moments on Jan. 7, 2013, after the police confronted Cedrick Chatman, a 17-year-old black youth, in a car at a busy South Side intersection.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • From Antarctica to Africa, penguins are facing extinction

      January 20 is Penguin Awareness Day. No need to wear a fish-shaped ribbon or dress in black and white, but sadly these dapper flightless birds are facing bigger problems than Benedict Cumberbatch not being able to pronounce their name correctly.

  • Finance

    • Clinton Calls for Small Donor Matching Funds on Citizens United Anniversary

      Hillary Clinton declared on the sixth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that as president she would “fight to create a robust small-donor matching system.”

      Clinton previously endorsed such a system for congressional and presidential candidates as part of her campaign’s platform. While Clinton hasn’t laid out any specifics, almost all House Democrats have co-sponsored the Government by the People Act, which would match political donations up to $150 at a six-to-one ratio with public money. For example, a donation of $100 to a candidate would be matched with $600, so the candidate would actually receive $700 total.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The BBC, Savile and investigations

      In a week when the BBC has been hit by yet more scandal as a result of suppressing an investigation into the notorious paedophile Jimmy Savile, we ask: does the BBC need an investigations unit?

    • Does British TV have a problem with independent documentary?

      he Unorthodocs season at Somerset House features acclaimed documentaries never seen on British TV. Are UK broadcasters denying audiences access to a golden age of independent film-making?

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Power Wars: How Obama justified, expanded Bush-era surveillance

      By going through various deliberative processes, including the secret interrogation of Abdulmutallab, the end result was the acceleration of the process to hunt down and kill Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Muslim cleric living in Yemen. It was al-Awlaki who helped guide the young Nigerian would-be terrorist. Al-Awlaki himself was killed in a drone strike in September 2011.

      This key event is one of the stark reminders that in some ways the Obama White House took policy decisions that even Bush did not.

      “Even Bush had not signed off on the deliberate killing of a United States citizen without a trial,” Savage writes. “And notwithstanding the extraordinary precedent this established for state power and individual rights, the Obama administration would fight for years to keep the basic facts and legal analysis about its action secret from the public.”

      Indeed, it wasn’t until 2014 that the legal rationale was finally published, after a federal appeals court ordered that it be released.

      Many groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, would argue that the extrajudicial killing is in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property…without due process of law.” However, the Obama administration argued that the killing of terror suspects like al-Awlaki is justified as they pose a “continuous and imminent” threat to the national security of the United States.

    • For an immediate end to the French state of emergency: call for a mass mobilisation!

      On the 5th February, the French National Assembly1 will consider the law on the constitutionalisation of the state of emergency. Prime Minister Manuel Valls has already announced that he wanted an extension to the state of emergency “until we can get rid of Daesh (fr)”, that is to say, for months or years. Together with numerous organisations, La Quadrature du Net calls for the rejection of trivialisation of the state of emergency and for a mass mobilisation against interference with civil liberties and with the rule of law, notably by demonstrating on 30 January and more specifically by calling MPs.

    • EFF wants the NSA to destroy the phone records it collected over 14 years of mass surveillance

      When the USA Freedom Act passed last June, it put an end to the country’s National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance program in which it collected millions of phone records of citizens’ calls over 14 years.

      But the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) believes that isn’t enough to protect people’s privacy, because those records still exist in various NSA databases. The non-profit is calling on a secret court to consider ways to delete this trove of data without destroying evidence that proves the NSA snooped on citizens.

    • EFF Letter to DOJ Counsel re FISC Order BR-15-99
    • So What About those Phone Records Now? EFF Writes to FISA Court

      Now that the mass collection of telephone records by the NSA under Section 215 of the Patriot Act has ended due to the passage of USA Freedom, the question has arisen: what should the NSA do with the big mass of records that it already has? The secret FISA Court recently asked the government what it thinks should happen, and EFF sent a letter to the FISA Court (by way of the Department of Justice, asking that it be conveyed to the Court) giving our perspective.

    • GCHQ crypto flaws, Dridex strikes and Ukraine malware attacks: The week in security
    • Latest Tech News: GCHQ-developed phone security ‘open to surveillance’
    • EFF to Court: Accessing Cell Phone Location Records Without A Warrant Violates the Constitution

      Citizens Rightfully Expect Privacy in Data That Reveals Their Whereabouts

      Chicago—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is urging a federal appeals court in Chicago to rule that police need a warrant to access cell phone location records that can reveal our everyday travels—when we leave home, where we go and whom we visit.

      In an amicus brief filed Friday in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, EFF, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and ACLU of Wisconsin said cell phone location information—data that show where our phones are at a given time and date—generates a comprehensive picture of a person’s movements. Because we carry our phones with us wherever we go, these data can reveal intensely personal information like when we see the doctor, attend a political meeting, or visit friends. Americans have the right to expect that this information remain private and beyond the reach of law enforcement officers unless they first obtain a search warrant.

    • Prosecutors Say Cops Don’t Need Warrants For Stingrays Because ‘Everyone Knows’ Cell Phones Generate Location Data

      Up in Baltimore, where law enforcement Stingray device use hit critical mass faster and more furiously than anywhere else in the country (to date…) with the exposure of 4,300 deployments in seven years, the government is still arguing there’s no reason to bring search warrants into this.

    • Algorithm Might Protect Non-Targets Caught In Surveillance, But Only If The Government Cares What Happens To Non-Targets

      Ashkat Rathi at Quartz points to an interesting algorithm developed by Michael Kearns of the University of Pennsylvania — one that might give the government something to consider when conducting surveillance. It gauges the possibility of non-targets inadvertently being exposed during investigations, providing intelligence/investigative agencies with warnings that perhaps other tactics should be deployed.

    • Documents Uncover NYPD’s Vast License Plate Reader Database

      The police department’s contract with Vigilant Solutions gives it the ability to track people across the country.

    • This TorFlow Map Shows How TOR’s Data Looks As It Flows All Around The World

      Using the publicly available data, data visualization software firm Uncharted has prepared TorFlow — a map for visualizing how TOR’s data looks as it flows all across the world. It shows TOR network’s node and data movements based on the IP addresses of relays bouncing around the connections of users to avoid spying.

    • When You Crack Open The Surveillance Door, The Food Police Will Want Your Metadata

      But those concerns are all about the practical utility of such a law, not the larger concerns over whether this kind of data collection ought to be happening to begin with. To see an example of why a free people shouldn’t allow the government to crack open this door, however, one needs only look again at the law in Australia. What was supposed to be collection chiefly to combat major criminal actions is now a collection that even the food police are trying to get in on. And, yes, I really do mean the food police.

    • Despite rhetoric, DoJ, NSA still seek backdoors

      The U.S. took its encryption argument international last week, with Attorney General Loretta Lynch telling the World Economic forum that it doesn’t want to put security backdoors into encrypted communications, it just wants to vendors and service providers to decrypt when ordered to by a court.

      That ignores that facts that vendors and providers can’t decrypt unless there is a backdoor of some sort, and that any backdoor undermines the security and therefore the value of encryption.

      It’s a case of the Department of Justice – via Lynch and FBI Director James Comey – trying to steer clear, at least technically, of demanding backdoors, but it’s all a semantic game. Earlier, Comey stopped using the term backdoor and asked for front-door access to decryption instead. Backdoor had become too much of a flashpoint, even though a front-door is exactly the same as a backdoor from a technology standpoint.

      So the department is changing the spoken terms of its demand even though it is still seeking backdoors. Now it just describes its needs, not how vendors and providers should fulfill them. They want these entities to come up with decrypted communications when they present a court order telling them to do so. It’s up to the vendors and providers to figure out how to do that.

    • Expert claims GCHQ-designed secure communications system ‘vulnerable to hacking’
    • NSA Director Rogers Talks About the Future of Encryption [Ed: People who break encryption pretend to be for it:]
    • NSA director: ‘Encryption is foundational to the future’
    • US faces technological ‘peer competitors’ in cyberspace, says USCYBERCOM
    • Released Documents Show NSA Actually Surprised To Find Itself Portrayed Negatively In Popular Culture

      The NSA may know lots of stuff about lots of people, but it’s still fairly clueless about how the world works. Documents obtained by Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski show the NSA was shocked to find it hadn’t been portrayed more favorably in a major motion picture.

  • Civil Rights

    • MI5 officer has evidence of torture?

      Well, this story is interesting me extremely, and for the obvious as well as the perhaps more arcanely legal reasons.

      Apparently a former senior MI5 officer is asking permission to give evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee in Parliament about the Security Service’s collusion in the US torture programme that was the pyroclastic flow from the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

      I have long speculated about how people with whom I used to work, socialise with, have dinner with in the 1990s might have evolved from idealistic young officers into people who could condone or even participate in the torture of other human beings once the war on terror was unleashed in the last decade.

      During the 1990s MI5 absolutely did not condone the use of torture – not only for ethical reasons, but also because an older generation was still knocking around and they had seen in the civil war in Northern Ireland quite how counter-productive such practices were. Internment, secret courts, stress positions, sleep deprivation – all these policies acted as a recruiting sergeant for the Provisional IRA.

    • ‘New form of criminality’: Sex attacks on NYE in 12 German states, says leaked police report

      Cologne-style sex attacks and thefts happened on New Year’s Eve in 12 other German states, according to a leaked federal police report cited by media. German investigators said the assaults represented a “new form of criminality.”

      Local broadcasters WDR and NDR, and the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, reported that the attacks were much more widespread than earlier thought, citing a confidential document prepared for the Interior Ministry by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA).

    • On this Invasion Day, I am angry. Australia has a long way to go

      I am an Aboriginal women, born in 1987 into a staunch family who were ready to teach me and my siblings the truth from birth. They had walked the walk and had earned their right to talk the talk, to educate.

      But before I had even left my mother’s womb, I was a statistic, another Aboriginal person to be counted on the census to add to the 3% or so of other Aboriginal people that made up our population in 1987 on a continent where only 199 years prior to my birth, we made up 100% of it. By 1900, it was estimated that the Aboriginal population had decreased by 87%.

      Many Australians today will tell you that what happened was not their fault, that they can’t change what their ancestors and other “colonisers” did. In order to truly understand, this country needs to accept a lot of truths that are otherwise conveniently ignored.

    • Judge Tosses Out Criminal Case In Canada Over Twitter Fight

      Last summer, we wrote about a troubling criminal case up in Canada, exploring whether or not a Twitter fight constituted criminal harassment. The details are long and complex and I tried to summarize them in the last post so if you want more details go there.

    • A Tale of Two Grandmothers

      Two months after the Ash Wednesday protest where Grady Flores was charged with violating the order, on May 23, 2013, President Barack Obama delivered a speech at the National Defense University defending his drone program: “Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured—the highest standard we can set.” Despite his pledges, the civilian death toll from U.S. drone strikes continues to climb.

    • We Accept Assembly-Line Justice for the Poor. But We Shouldn’t.

      When a person stands accused of a crime without a competent lawyer, there can be no justice.

    • DOJ’s New Restrictions On Surveilling Journalists Contain Exception For National Security Letters

      In 2013, it was revealed the DOJ had added First Amendment-trampling to its always-cavalier treatment of the Fourth Amendment by gathering journalists’ phone records. Under the guise of investigating leaks, the DOJ crossed over into totalitarian territory. Following the backlash, the DOJ “revised” its rules on surveilling the press.

      How much revision actually took place is still a secret. The Freedom of the Press Foundation sued the DOJ last year for its refusal to release its secret rules on surveilling journalists. The DOJ released some documents but they were redacted into near-complete opacity, prompting the Foundation’s FOIA litigation.

    • Presidential Crimes Then And Now

      Americans have become a small-minded divided people, ruled by petty hatreds, who are easily set against one another and against other peoples by their rulers.

    • Video of Denver inmate dying at hands of deputies raises calls for federal investigation

      Restraining practices have been called into question since Denver released a video showing the last moments a homeless man who died face-down while being restrained by five deputies. His family is now calling for a federal investigation into the incident.

      The release of the video, which runs for more than 45 minutes, comes after Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey said last week that he would not bring charges against the officers responsible for Michael Marshall’s death while in custody in a jail.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Senators Whine About FCC’s 25 Mbps Broadband Standard, Insist Nobody Needs That Much Bandwidth

      Just about a year ago, the FCC voted to raise the base definition of broadband from 4 Mbps downstream, 1 Mbps upstream — to 25 Mbps downstream, 3 Mbps upstream. This, of course, annoyed the nation’s mega providers, since the higher standard highlights the lack of competition and next-generation upgrades in countless markets. It especially annoyed the nation’s phone companies, given that the expensive, sub-6 Mbps DSL foisted upon millions of customers can no longer even technically be called broadband.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Big Pharma’s worst nightmare

      Jamie Love has spent years battling global drug companies, unshakable in his belief that even the world’s poorest people should have access to life-saving medicines. Is it time that our own government listened to him?

    • Copyrights

      • Transparent and Participatory Processes Are Vital to Creating Copyright Rules that Work for Everyone

        If copyright is to succeed in promoting the creation and dissemination of culture, then it needs to address the diverse needs of creators, fans, and critics. Copyright law achieves this in some jurisdictions through policies such as fair use, but more often than not it fails to address the concerns of anyone who isn’t a copyright holder. Much of the blame for why copyright grows increasingly out of touch with how people experience culture lies with a lack of transparency in, and industry capture of, copyright policymaking.

        Nowhere is this problem more apparent than in international trade agreements. For years, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and other copyright industry groups have taken advantage of trade venues to pass copyright rules that would not otherwise survive public scrutiny. Trade negotiations have historically been closed in order to allow negotiators to discuss import tariffs and other market barriers to the trade of goods without political interference. However, the scope of issues covered by these deals have broadened significantly over the years. They have come to include policies on copyright, data transfers, telecommunications, and more. Even as trade agreements now cover all kinds of digital regulations that can affect how lawmakers can set domestic policy, the negotiations have remained entirely closed off from the public.

      • Viral Video Creator Sues Over ‘Honey Badger Doesn’t Give a Shit’ Merchandise

        Remember that viral video from 2011 where a honey badger trots around, aggressively not caring about things? Well, the guy who made it—Christopher Gordon, who goes by the pseudonym “Randall”—is suing Papyrus and design company Drape Creative over some greeting cards that use the phrase HONEY BADGER DON’T GIVE A SHIT.

      • ‘Honey Badger’ Narrator Sues Greeting Card Company For Selling Products Featuring An Apathetic Honey Badger
      • Nigerian Copyright Reform Becomes Less Transparent As Comments Roll In

        The Nigerian government has continued to make progress toward new copyright legislation in recent weeks, but efforts appear to have become less transparent, as the results of a public comment period that ended weeks ago have not been made available and as of press time the draft copy of the bill was no longer available on the Copyright Commission website.

      • World’s Oldest Torrent Is Still Being Downloaded By Users After 12 Years
      • World’s Oldest Torrent Is Still Being Shared After 4,419 Days

        A fan-created ASCII version of the 1999 sci-fi classic The Matrix is the oldest known torrent that’s still active. Created more than 12 years ago, the file has outlived many blockbuster movies and is still downloaded a few times a week, even though the site from where it originated has disappeared.

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