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03.04.16

Links 4/3/2016: Linux 4.4.4, KDE Outreach Program

Posted in News Roundup at 7:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Accounting Software for Small Business

    You can choose from dozens of excellent open source accounting programs for everything from simple basic ledger bookkeeping to invoicing, inventory tracking, point of sale, payroll, taxes, and reporting and forecasting, and this roundup highlights five of the best.

    The main thing to remember about small business accounting software is that it’s not magic. It doesn’t turn you into an accountant any more than owning a hardware store turns you into a carpenter, electrician, or plumber. You still need to know the fundamental principles of accounting and bookkeeping.

  • Image processing at NASA with open source tools

    This past summer, I was an intern at the GVIS Lab at NASA Glenn, where I brought my passion for open source into the lab. My task was to improve our lab’s contributions to an open source fluid flow dynamics simulation developed by Dan Schroeder. The original simulation presents obstacles that users can draw in with their mouse to model computational fluid dynamics. My team contributed by adding image processing code that analyzes each frame of a live video feed to show how a physical object interacts with a fluid. But, there was more for us to do.

  • Borg, Omega, and Kubernetes

    Though widespread interest in software containers is a relatively recent phenomenon, at Google we have been managing Linux containers at scale for more than ten years and built three different container-management systems in that time. Each system was heavily influenced by its predecessors, even though they were developed for different reasons. This article describes the lessons we’ve learned from developing and operating them.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla unveils Firefox OS based IoT projects

        Mozilla announced four Firefox OS to Connected Devices projects, including a home automation system, an AI agent, a voice interface, and a “SensorWeb.”

        In December, when Mozilla announced a halt to development and sales of its open source, Linux-based Firefox OS mobile distribution, the company said it was already shifting the HTML5-focused open source Linux OS to Internet of Things projects. A month ago, Ari Jaaksi, Mozilla’s SVP of Connected Devices posted a blog entry noting progress on projects such as its Vaani voice interface. Jaaksi has now revealed more details on Vaani and three other projects, and invited open source developers to pitch in.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Hortonworks Launches New Stack Components, and Updates its Release Cycle

      On the heels of its introduction as a hot publlic company back in 2015, Hortonworks, which focuses on the open source Big Data platform Hadoop, has steadily expanded and adjusted the focus of its technology stack. Now it is serving up new adjustments. Hortonworks DataFlow (HDF), Hortonworks’ streaming data package, based on Apache NiFi, now includes Apache Storm and Apache Kafka.

      If you’re unfamiliar with Apache NiFi, it is built around Niagarafiles, which is software that the NSA created to aggregate sensor data on the right systems and generate analytics from the data. Onyara will give Hortonworks an important play as the Internet of Things shapes up.

  • Databases

    • Tune Up Your Databases!

      My last full-time job was manager of a university’s database department. Ironically, I know very, very little about databases themselves.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Google, Oracle setting up jurors to fail in API copyright retrial, judge says

      One of the tech sector’s biggest upcoming trials—Oracle v. Google—careened Tuesday away from the hot-button topic of copyrighting application programming interfaces (APIs) and instead focused on the presiding judge’s concern that the tech giants are setting up jurors to fail. US District Judge William Alsup believes it’s all so the loser could challenge the verdict of the second upcoming trial set for May.

      Judge Alsup said Tuesday that the tech giants jointly submitted a proposed questionnaire (PDF) for prospective panelists containing “so many vague questions” that “the loser on our eventual verdict will seek, if history is any guide, to impeach the verdict by investigating the jury to find some ‘lie’ or omission during voir dire.”

    • Oracle’s JET JavaScript toolkit flies the open source skies

      When it comes to JavaScript, Oracle is not the first name that comes to mind. But the company this week is staking a bigger claim in Web development with the open source release of Oracle JET (JavaScript Extension Toolkit) 2.0.0.

      “The aim of Oracle JET is to provide a stable basis for intermediate to advanced JavaScript developers to efficiently visualize data in the cloud,” said Geertjan Wielenga, principal product manager in the Oracle tools group, in a blog post. Oracle has used JET to develop its own cloud applications during the past three years.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 10.3: Third Beta Available

      That personal tidbit aside, another important part of March — especially this month — is that on the road to FreeBSD 11 sometime later this year, FreeBSD 10.3 is well along the way, with the third beta already available, according to a very detailed post by Marius Strobl on the FreeBSD Stable mailing list.

      To summarize, installations for FreeBSD 10.3 Beta3 are now available for amd64, i386, ia64, PowerPC, Sparc and a variety of ARM processors. Checksums, too numerous to list here, can be found in Strobl’s original post, linked in the paragraph above.

    • LLVM Clang’s OpenMP 4.x Support Continues Maturing

      With LLVM Clang 3.7 came full support for OpenMP 3.1 at long last but with OpenMP 4.5 being the latest spec, Intel and others involved with the Clang OpenMP initiative haven’t let up and continue working towards supporting the latest OpenMP 4.x interfaces.

    • OpenBSD 5.9 network improvements

      There are no doubt many eyes on OpenBSD’s continuing network SMP renovation.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Foundation of Guix Europe

      I have a pleasant announcement to make! On February 11, 2016, we have started a non-profit around the GNU Guix project, „Guix Europe“, and celebrated comme il faut with a bottle of champagne. Precisely, it is an „Association loi 1901“, named after the venerable French law first passed in 1901 (but many times amended since then).

    • GnuTLS 3.4.10

      Released GnuTLS 3.4.10 a bug fix release of the current stable branch.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • IDE For Python Programming

      Programmers need some tools to writing application and scripts with them, one of the most important tool for programming is a good IDE (integrated development environment). there are different IDEs that you can use such as Pycharm, Spyder, vim, Emacs, Eclipse and ETC.

Leftovers

  • Reports Coming in of Big IBM Layoffs Underway in the U.S.

    Last week, IBM reported to investors that its workforce at the end of 2015 was almost as big as its workforce at the end of 2014 (within less than 1 percent), in spite of a year in which 70,000 employees left the company, to be replaced with new hires and acquisitions.

    By the end of this week, the picture may look quite different. Today reports are coming in that big layoffs across the United States are underway, likely one-third of the U.S. workforce, according to one soon-to-be-laid-off IBMer. (At the end of 2015, IBM had approximately 378,000 employees worldwide; it no longer breaks out numbers for individual countries.) Such reports used to be gathered by the Endicott Alliance, a union organizing effort that closed its doors last year. Now they are being collected by an informal Facebook group, “WatchingIBM,” that was started by former members of that organization.

  • Science

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Thursday
    • State Department Backs Off Criminalizing Security Research Tools

      Some good news for security researchers: the US government’s adoption of the Wassenaar Arrangement will no longer treat the tools of security research like crates of machine guns. While exploits and penetration tools can be used by bad people for bad things, they’re also invaluable to security researchers who use these to make the computing world a safer place.

      Vague wording in the US government’s proposed adoption of the 2013 version of the Wassenaar Arrangement threatened to criminalize the development of security research tools and make any researcher traveling out of the country with a laptop full of exploits an exporter of forbidden weapons.

    • IRS Tool Designed To Protect Identity Theft Victims — Exposes Users To Identity Theft

      Last year, the personal records of 100,000 taxpayers wound up in the hands of criminals, thanks to a flimsy authentication process in the agency’s “Get Transcript” application. In short, the IRS used all-too-common static identifiers to verify taxpayer identity (information that could be found anywhere), allowing criminals to use the system to then obtain notably more sensitive taxpayer information and ultimately steal finances. At the time, the IRS breathlessly insisted it would be shoring up its security standards, though it failed to really detail how it would accomplish this.

    • 1Password sends your password across the loopback interface in clear text

      1Password sends your password in clear text across the loopback interface if you use the browser extensions.

    • Bruce Schneier: We’re sleepwalking towards digital disaster and are too dumb to stop

      Security guru Bruce Schneier has issued a stark warning to the RSA 2016 conference – get smart or face a whole world of trouble.

      The level of interconnectedness of the world’s technology is increasing daily, he said, and is becoming a world-sized web – which he acknowledged was a horrible term – made up of sensors, distributed computers, cloud systems, mobile, and autonomous data processing units. And no one is quite sure where it is all heading.

    • Latest attack against TLS shows the pitfalls of intentionally weakening encryption
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Iran Joins The Using Video Game Footage To Pump Up Your Own Military’s Reputation Arms Race

      I suppose this was inevitable. As video games become more refined as an artform and as those games evince more realistic graphics, animations, and all the rest, I suppose it had to be that some folks out there would try to pass game footage off as real footage depicting their own power. I just never really thought it would be established nations that otherwise purport to be players on the world stage doing this. Yet, as we have seen done by Egypt, North Korea, and even Russia in the past, so too do we now find that Iran is trying to brag about its own military capability using game footage.

    • Debunked: The ace Hezbollah sniper…is from a video game

      Iran’s state television has been running impressive footage claiming to show ace Hezbollah fighters picking off fighters from the Islamic State group (IS) one-by-one with clear, cold precision. But here’s the thing: this video looks just like a scene from a video game. And it is…

    • Brave Afghan Forces Kill Inside Hospital, for Freedom

      Apparently a new feature of the modern war of terror is the shameless, blameless, overt targeting of hospitals, doctors and bed-ridden patients, all without the means of even modest self-defense.

    • ‘The Sense That Everybody Thought They Had WMDs Is a Total Fantasy’

      The Iraq invasion is a good example of Faulkner’s line about the past not even being past. Claims about the lead-up to the calamitous 2003 attack, who believed what and when, and even claims about the war’s impact on the course of Iraq and US history resurface repeatedly in US political discourse, including in the 2016 presidential election.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • UK weather: Leeds Bradford Airport closes as snow hits parts of Britain

      Parts of Britain could see almost four inches of snow on Friday, with flights delayed and motorists warned of treacherous driving conditions, as March continues to feel more like winter than spring.

      Ploughs were used to clear the runway at Leeds Bradford Airport, in West Yorkshire, which was forced to close after northern England was hit with snow showers overnight.

      Met Office weather warnings are in place for Northern Ireland, north Wales, northern and western England as well as Scotland as a cold frontal system continues to make its way in from the Atlantic.

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin’s nightmare scenario has come to pass

      Over the last year and a half a number of prominent voices in the Bitcoin community have been warning that the system needed to make fundamental changes to its core software code to avoid being overwhelmed by the continued growth of Bitcoin transactions. There was strong disagreement within the community, however, about how to solve this problem, or if the problem would ever materialize.

    • Comcast Nabs Huge Oregon Tax Break Thanks To Loophole Intended For Google Fiber

      For a few years now, the city of Portland and the state of Oregon have been jumping through hoops to try and make Portland as attractive as possible for Google Fiber. That has involved rewriting city ordinances so that Google can place its utility cabinets along public rights of way, something previously banned in the city.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The New Mind Control

      The internet has spawned subtle forms of influence that can flip elections and manipulate everything we say, think and do.

    • Sandy Hook Puzzles

      Perhaps the most unusual feature of the Sandy Hook story is the large number of photographs that have been released in order to document the story. It is as if there is no event without the proof supplied by the photographs. This is unusual. When, for example, the FBI murdered approximately 100 men, women and children in the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, the reality of the victims did not have to be established with a large number of photos establishing that the victims were real people with real families. When workers “go postal” and shoot their coworkers, photos are not used to prove that those killed were real people with real families. When an airplane crashes, the event does not have to be verified with news coverage of grieving relatives.

    • Talking About Racism May Be Destructive to Cable Relationships–Unlike Domestic Violence Charges

      fter four years, MSNBC cancelled the talkshow of African-American writer and political scientist Melissa Harris-Perry. The cable news network had repeatedly pre-empted her weekend morning show, and in response to questions about her absence from MSNBC’s roster had scheduled Harris-Perry to appear in a weekend news-reading role.

      [...]

      So bringing up the status of people of color at the network is something that you can’t do at MSNBC without destroying your relationship there—despite the fact that, as CNN’s Dylan Byers (3/2/16) pointed out, MSNBC has cancelled or sidelined numerous non-white hosts in recent years, including Martin Bashir, Toure, Karen Finney, Al Sharpton, Joy Reid, Alex Wagner and José Díaz-Balart.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Breaking: Honduran Indigenous Leader Berta Cáceres Assassinated, Won Goldman Environmental Prize

      Honduran indigenous and environmental organizer Berta Cáceres has been assassinated in her home. She was one of the leading organizers for indigenous land rights in Honduras.

      In 1993 she co-founded the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). For years the group faced a series of threats and repression.

      According to Global Witness, Honduras has become the deadliest country in the world for environmentalists. Between 2010 and 2014, 101 environmental campaigners were killed in the country.

      In 2015 Berta Cáceres won the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s leading environmental award. In awarding the prize, the Goldman Prize committee said, “In a country with growing socioeconomic inequality and human rights violations, Berta Cáceres rallied the indigenous Lenca people of Honduras and waged a grassroots campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam.”

    • Race and the Crime of Felony Disenfranchisement

      Now that Super Tuesday is behind us and the field of presidential candidates is narrowing with the suspension of Dr. Ben Carson’s campaign, a potentially paradigm-shattering general election looms ever closer. “The stakes in this election have never been higher,” Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton said in her speech after she had been declared the victor over Sen. Bernie Sanders in seven of 11 Super Tuesday states. As Donald Trump, piling victory upon victory on top of insult upon insult, edges closer to clinching the Republican nomination, the GOP is in chaos, with some predicting a historic split in the party. The presidential race to date has been well-characterized by a line of closed captioning text from a recent Republican debate: “unintelligible yelling.” The circuslike atmosphere masks deeply troubling statements made by several candidates that fan the flames of racism, white supremacy and xenophobia. It also deflects attention from a critical, and worsening, deficit in our democracy: the attack on the right to vote, and in particular, the wholesale disenfranchisement of close to 5 million Americans, mostly people of color.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Canadian Cablecos Dodge Government Demand For Cheaper TV Bundles — By Hiding Them From Consumers

      This week, the Canadian government will begin forcing Canadian cable operators to provide cheaper, more flexible cable TV packages. Under the new CRTC rules, companies must provide a so-called “skinny bundle” of discounted TV channels starting March 1, and the option to buy channels a la carte starting December 1. But while the CRTC’s attempt to force innovation on the cable industry may be well-intentioned, it’s already clear that Canadian cable operators plan to do everything in their power to tap dance around the requirements.

    • AT&T Buying Missouri State Law Ensuring Broadband There Continues To Suck

      For years incumbent ISPs like AT&T have spent millions lobbying for laws in roughly twenty states prohibiting towns and cities from building or expanding broadband networks — even in cases of obvious market failure. The laws are pure protectionism, taking the right to make local infrastructure choices out of the hands of local communities — all to protect companies like AT&T from the faintest specter of competition. And while some states have been waking up to the fact that letting AT&T write protectionist state law hurts consumers and state businesses longer term, Missouri apparently isn’t one of those states.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • No strict liability for infringement in online advertising, says the CJEU

        Having your own advertising spread all around the internet is every company’s dream. A dream that might become less pleasant, though, if that advertising starts infringing another company’s trade mark and you can’t manage to take it down, whilst the trade mark owner is breathing down your neck. In a nutshell, this is the factual scenario of the decision that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued today in Daimler AG Együd Garage Gépjárműjavító és Értékesítő Kft (C-179/2015). The ruling addresses the notion of “trade mark use” in online advertising and explores possible remedies against trade mark infringements on the internet that may be very useful in the era of viral marketing.

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright History: The Strange Case Of A Book Authored By Mark Twain Via A Ouija Board

        Mark Twain can be the subject of fascinating discussion for any number of reasons, but around these parts we talk intellectual property. Some years back, Mike wrote about Twain’s support for copyright extensions, including when he even went so far as to advocate for infinite copyright. Well, it turns out that Twain’s concept of infinite copyright might have been particularly germane to his legacy, as EFF’s Parker Higgins takes us on a delightful stroll, over at Fusion, through the historical copyright case concerning the novel Twain might or might not have written…from beyond the grave.

        The year 1917 was apparently a time in some ways even stranger than our own, in which the public was wrapped up in its interest in the occult. It was during that time that an author by the name of Emily Grant Hutchings attempted to publish the latest work of Twain’s, entitled Jap Herron. Twain, the pen name of Samuel Clemens, had died in 1910, seven years earlier. So, how did Hutchings get Twain to write this book even as his body decomposed below ground? Why, through a Ouija board, of course!

      • OLG Munich: YouTube not liable for damages for hosting copyright infringing content

        In a decision of 28 January 2016, the Oberlandesgericht Munich, like the first instance court before it, held that YouTube is not liable for financial damages for hosting copyright infringing videos.

        Plaintiff was the German collecting Society GEMA, acting on behalf of composers. It sent YouTube a list of 1,000 videos with music viewable on YouTube.com that were uploaded without the consent of the copyright holders and demanded information on the revenue generated by the display of these videos in preparation of claiming damages. When YouTube refused to comply, GEMA sued before the Landgericht Munich, which dismissed the complaint.

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