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Links 10/3/2016: Qubes OS 3.1, Linux Kernel 4.4.5

Posted in News Roundup at 8:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • The Elastic Stack makes searching easy, fast and open source

    The Elastic stack is the search engine you’ve been using without knowing it. Powering some popular and big names – Facebook and Netflix, Atlassian, SEEK and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to name just five – Elastic provides an open source and freely available operating system-agnostic search engine. It retrieves data at high-speed, freeing a business from the arduous task of managing mass volumes of data to actually working with meaningful, insightful information. It opens the possibilities of exploring and finding trends, something which can only happen when your basic reporting requirements are so well met that they are no longer a pressing issue.

  • 9 open source alternatives to Picasa

    Sadly, this isn’t the first time we’ve had to recommend alternatives to a discontinued Google product; three years ago, we helped you find open source alternatives to Google Reader for your RSS reading needs.

    While there’s no word yet on whether Google will release the code for Picasa under an open source license now that it has been discontinued, fortunately for you, there are many open source alternatives already out there to help you with your photo organizing and editing needs.

  • Open Source Initiative says standards aren’t open unless they protect security researchers and interoperability

    The OSI’s new document, Principles of DRM Nonaggression for Open Standards, deals with standards bodies that are dealing with DRM, as the World Wide Web Consortium has been doing, rather controversially. The problem is that DRM is protected by laws like the DMCA, that prohibit breaking DRM even for legitimate reasons — like making interoperable products or doing basic security research. This is the opposite of how open standards are supposed to work: an open standard should be implementable by anyone, and there should be no barriers to improving it by pointing out security problems with it.

  • Standards Are Only Open If They Protect Security and Interoperability

    The Open Source Initiative, a nonprofit that certifies open source licenses, has adopted an important principle about standards, DRM, and openness, and just in time, too.

    The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which makes the core standards that the Internet runs on, is in the midst of a long, contentious effort to add “DRM” (Digital Rights Management1) to HTML5, the next version of the Web. Laws like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (which has analogs all over the world) give companies the power to make legal threats against people engaged in important, legitimate activities. Because the DMCA regulates breaking DRM, even for legal reasons, companies use it to threaten and silence security researchers who embarrass them by pointing out their mistakes, and to shut down competitors who improve their products by adding legitimate features, add-ons, parts, or service options. The Web relies on the distributed efforts of independent security researchers, and its historic strength has been the ability of companies and individuals to innovate without permission, even when they were disrupting an existing business.

  • Docker Claims Performance Advantage Over Kubernetes

    Docker had its Swarm orchestration product tested against Kubernetes and claims the results show a 5X advantage in speed to initiation.

  • Is Open Source Eating the World?

    The phrase, “Software is eating the world,” first showed up in 2011. In 2015, open source took its rightful seat at the table.

    “If the theory pervades deeper – and software does eat the world – then surely open source software will swallow it, right?” Forbes hesitantly prodded in early 2015. Later in the year they more confidently thrusted with a piece titled It’s Actually Open Source Software That’s Eating the World.

    This isn’t a movement spearheaded by a single voice. Wired joined with articles like, Open Source Software Went Nuclear This Year. Replete with quotes like: “This is not just a turning point, but a tipping point,” says Brandon Keepers, the head of open source at GitHub

  • ‘Black magic’ mystery of open computing being dispelled for consumers
  • The evolution of open source and the data center

    Society today runs on information, and the tech world is no small part of this data revolution. However, it’s easy to forget that these programs and online services people use every day all run on black boxes, blinking away in a room somewhere. This is the data center, the core of computing technology in the modern world. While data centers have traditionally run on software and hardware from monolithic vendors, new technologies from the open-source community are creeping in under the door.

  • Events

    • Ultimate unconference survival guide

      If there is one area in which open source has never suffered it is a lack of events. From your big professional conferences right down to your friendly, local meetups, there is just something so delightfully fun about getting together in person to share ideas, learn from each other, and have fun.

      One of the most popular types of event are unconferences, and there are more and more of them cropping up all over the world.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 45.0 Lands in All Supported Ubuntu OSes Without GTK3 Integration

        As reported yesterday, Mozilla pushed the Firefox 45.0 web browser to the stable channel for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.

        Firefox 45.0 is not a worthy update, but we still recommend users to upgrade as soon as possible if they want to receive the latest security patches, which keep their data and privacy safe from prying eyes or online scammers.

        In the last 24 hours, since our previous blog post with the direct download links for Firefox 45.0, we have noticed that several popular Linux kernel-based operating systems have updated their Firefox packages to the new version.

        Ubuntu is, of course, among them, and users of the Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf), Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) should know that they need to update their systems to Mozilla Firefox 45.0 as soon as possible.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Ubuntu Choice, Linux Movies, LibreOffice Documentation

      The big story today was the decision by Ubuntu developers to discontinue providing AMD proprietary graphic drivers. Olivier Hallot has been appointed to lead the new LibreOffice documentation project and Jun Auza has a round-up of Hollywood movies that use Linux in some way. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is heading for Qualcomm ARM server and Linux is back on PlayStations.

    • LibreOffice documentation, help and beyond

      Today, I’d like to talk about what is going on at the LibreOffice documentation project. My name is Olivier Hallot and I am a French national living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, since my infancy. Back in 2002, I got involved in the OOo project leading the software translation team for Brazilian Portuguese. My background includes being an executive in two of the major software companies before going on my own and joining the open source community.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Microsoft is removing Android, iOS, and Windows support from Visual Studio Application Insights [Ed: After embrace and extend… extinguish]

      Microsoft today announced that it will be cutting support for Android, iOS, Windows Store, and Windows Phone app in the Application Insights tool for its Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE). Application Insights, which offers analytics on performance and usage, will stop accepting new apps for those platforms on April 15, and on June 15, the feature will stop showing data for apps on those platforms.

    • How We Build Code at Netflix

      How does Netflix build code before it’s deployed to the cloud? While pieces of this story have been told in the past, we decided it was time we shared more details. In this post, we describe the tools and techniques used to go from source code to a deployed service serving movies and TV shows to more than 75 million global Netflix members.

    • R you ready? Open source stats come to Visual Studio [Ed: As expected, Microsoft is embracing, extending, extinguishing R to make it tied to proprietary software]

      To get cracking on the business of shipping code, devs need Visual Studio, RTVS, and Microsoft R Open. The division between the last two is necessary for licensing reasons: R is licensed under the GLPv2, while Redmond’s favourite open source license is the MIT license.

    • How to DCEPT your Attackers [Ed: Windows]

      Catching attackers in their tracks sounds harder than it actually could be. Last week MSSP Dell Secureworks launched what it called the “open source honeytoken tripwire” DCEPT, to prevent those attacks which do not use malware.

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing

    • ICFJ Knight Fellows share 12 open source tools for any newsroom

      During their fellowships, the ICFJ Knight Fellows help spur a culture of media innovation and experimentation. Through their work, fellows develop and build a variety of new tools and technologies that have helped revolutionize newsrooms across the globe.

      The tools range from HackDash, a platform that helps keep track of ideas and participants during hackathons and other collaborative projects, to Yo Quiero Saber, which helps voters compare their views with those of political candidates. In addition to the newsrooms from which they originated, the tools can help media organizations everywhere adapt to the latest technologies and better engage their readers.

    • Designers release open source manifesto heralding a 3D fashion revolution

      Dutch fashion designers Martijn van Strien​ and Vera du Pont​ have proposed a “third industrial revolution” and “democratisation of production” using 3D printing and other technology.

      Published in a limited edition of 20 copies and available to order online for free, the duo’s Open Source Fashion Manifesto shifts our gaze to what the designers deem the three most important issues facing fashion today – our dwindling planetary resources, the disposability of clothing and the questionable conditions under which that clothing is produced ­–­ only to propose a complete shake-up.

  • Programming

    • Eclipse Che Rethinks Open Source IDEs by Leveraging Containers, Cloud

      he Eclipse Foundation, which develops open source programming tools for developers, has rolled out what it says is a next-generation development platform that leverages the cloud, containers and a plug-in framework in the form of Eclipse Che.

    • SAP lures developers with Eclipse Che IDE

      SAP continues to demonstrate its commitment to open source with the announcement at EclipseCon that SAP Web IDE for SAP HANA is based on Eclipse Che. Eclipse Che is an open source developer workspace server and cloud IDE.

      This next edition complements the existing SAP Web IDE. It will allow developers familiar with the workspace to develop applications, database models and user interfaces on SAP HANA software, including the development of SAP Fiori apps. SAP along with Codenvy are two of the first companies to offer the new workspace to developers. For those developers and companies looking to develop their own environment the open source is available on Github.

    • SAP web IDE for HANA is based on Eclipse Che

      No but seriously, SAP has announced the availability of its SAP Web IDE for SAP HANA.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Sweden updates list of mandatory IT standards

      The ‘Open IT standards’ list includes only those standards that fit the open standard definition in the European Interoperability Framework (version 1.0). The Swedish National Procurement Services (Statens inköpscentral, NPS) asked the University of Skövde to check which IT standards meet the definition’s requirements.

    • Making Use Of Vulkan’s Validation Layers

      AMD’s Daniel Rakos has written a blog post for GPUOpen concerning Vulkan’s validation layers and making use of them for debugging and testing your code using this new high-performance graphics API.

      The plug-able validation layers is one of the big design differences compared to OpenGL. Rakos’ blog post on the matter covers different error types, preparing code for the validation support, and more.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Zika Virus R&D: No Vaccine Before 3 To 5 Years, Sample Sharing Needs Incentives

      International experts convened by the World Health Organization this week on the Zika virus said vaccine development is a priority for the future but the most pressing need is to get diagnostic and prevention tools. Over 60 groups are hard at work on experimental products, according to the WHO, while a system of incentives to share virus samples is being considered.

      At a 9 March press briefing, Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO assistant director-general, Health Systems and Innovation, said the meeting took place from 7-9 March, and provided the first global platform for scientists working on Zika virology and immunology, as well as clinicians, product developers, regulators, funders and policy experts, “to take stock of the R&D (Research and Development) pipeline.”

    • WHO Welcomes UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel, Offers Suggestions

      The World Health Organization has provided a list of suggestions to the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, highlighting WHO activities in this area and making suggestions on areas the WHO has not yet been able to complete. It also describes several new proposals by WHO, including a global “fair pricing forum,” a pooled health product R&D fund, and a global antibiotic research and development facility.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • encrypt all the things: blogs
    • Changes to password policies

      In reaction to the recent attacks on Linux Mint, many measures were taken to reduce the risk of future intrusions, but we also worked on the eventuality of being hacked again. In particular, additional measures were taken to detect issues faster, to reduce their impact and to recover from them more efficiently. Today, we’re implementing a final set of measures aimed at lowering the value of the information stored on our servers.

    • The rise of IoT hacking: New dangers, new solutions

      The explosive growth of the Internet of Things has created a host of new threats for the enterprise. Here’s how hackers are targeting your connected devices and what you can do about it.

    • Google Offers Tool to Help Evaluate Vendor Security

      The vendor security evaluation framework provides questions that organizations need to ask to accurately assess a third-party’s security and privacy readiness, Google said.

      Google has released a framework to open source that it implements internally to evaluate the security posture of the numerous vendors it uses for various services each year.

    • A new name and roadmap for the Let’s Encrypt client

      Yesterday, the Let’s Encrypt CA issued its millionth certificate. This is a perfect occasion for us to talk about some plans for the CA and client software through the rest of 2016.

      In April of this year, all of the clients for Let’s Encrypt will be renamed to be clearly distinct from the CA service offered by ISRG. The Let’s Encrypt python client has primarily been an EFF project, so we’ll start hosting it to make that clear.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • “Moderate Rebels” Use Yellow Phosphorus on Kurds in Aleppo

      Cameron’s “moderate rebels” – Saudi supplied Wahhabi jihadists – have this past 48 hours been bombing civilian areas of Aleppo with yellow phosphorus. The BBC, which went to such extraordinary lengths to fake reports of chemical attacks by Assad, has not reported these genuine chemical attacks at all. Probably because it is too difficult to explain not just why Cameron’s allies are using chemical weapons – and who gave them the chemical weapons – but also why these “friendly” jihadists are attacking Cameron’s other allies, the Kurds, all during a ceasefire.

      This video of Robert Stuart is a must see. Let me pin my colours to the mast and say that I am absolutely convinced that the BBC did deliberately and knowingly fake evidence of chemical attacks.


      It is clever propaganda because careful analysis of the text reveals a story very different to the overall picture being deliberately portrayed. Just after the women appear, the reporter slips in that the hardship is caused by hoarding by rebels – i.e. it is actually David Cameron’s moderate forces, not the government, who are causing suffering to the civilians. But you would have to be following very closely and analysing very carefully to pick up on that.

      The BBC really has become one of the more outrageous vehicles of government propaganda on the international scene.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • New FOIA Documents Confirm FBI Used Dirtboxes on Planes Without Any Policies or Legal Guidance

      EFF recently received records in response to our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Justice for information on how the US Marshals—and perhaps other agencies—have been flying small, fixed-wing Cessna planes equipped with “dirtboxes”: IMSI catchers that imitate cell towers and are able to capture the locational data of tens of thousands of cell phones during a single flight. The records we received confirm the agencies were using these invasive surveillance tools with little oversight or legal guidance.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Shocker: WaPo Investigates Itself for Anti-Sanders Bias, Finds There Was None

      Right off, the framing is inaccurate: The scope wasn’t “this week,” it was a 16-hour period after the Flint, Michigan, debate—and following a weekend in which Sanders won three of four state contests with Hillary Clinton. The do-or-die stakes for Sanders in Michigan couldn’t have been higher, and how one of the most influential newspapers in the United States covered his debate performance and his primary showing was important.


      At a moment when even the Koch brothers are coming out against overincarceration, a story that thumbnails it as “releasing lots of criminals” can indeed be considered a negative framing, if not more importantly one that shortchanges readers’ intelligence and understanding.

      Still, note that “negative” is not intended as the opposite of “factual.” When the George Bush Sr. campaign focused on Michael Dukakis’ prison furlough program—the so-called “Willie Horton” issue—its attacks were nominally fact-based. Yet many people saw them as an unfair exploitation of racial fears, and it was relevant to address them on those terms.

      Bigger picture: The reason the graphic and FAIR’s blog post went so viral is because people can intuitively look at a litany of stories over such a short period and see bias. Nature made us pattern-seeking mammals for a reason, and the Washington Post’s post-debate coverage post-debate displays an obvious pattern.

    • It should be over for Hillary: Party elites and MSNBC can’t prop her up after Bernie’s Michigan miracle

      You wouldn’t know it from watching TV last night or reading the national papers this morning but Bernie Sanders’ Michigan win ranks among the greatest upsets in presidential primary history.

      Should he win the nomination it will be go down as the biggest upset of any kind in American political history.

      If he wins the election it will change the fundamental direction of the nation and the world.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Five things about David Cameron and sovereignty

      Here are five things to remember when you hear the Prime Minister praise the “sovereignty of parliament”.

      First, ministers and officials are encouraged to use statutory instruments as much as possible, which do not get proper parliamentary scrutiny.

      Second, the government has sought to cut the “Short money” which funds the scrutiny work of opposition parties in parliament.

      Third, the government is seeking to push through the Investigatory Powers Bill through parliament at speed, just as it did with the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act.

      Fourth, when the House of Lords (sensibly) rejected cuts to certain benefits (which were later dropped), Cameron sought to limit the power of the Lords.

    • This Women’s History Month, Celebrate Title VII for Banning Sex Discrimination in the Workplace

      The last-minute addition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made a few giant leaps toward gender parity possible.

    • Univision Asked Hillary Clinton And Bernie Sanders If Donald Trump Is A Racist. Here’s What They Said.

      “And let us not forget that several years ago Trump was in the middle of the so-called Birther movement trying to delegitimize the President of the United States of America,” Sanders continued, to applause. “My dad was born in Poland and I know a little bit about the immigrant experience. Nobody has ever asked me for my birth certificate. Maybe it has something to do with the color of my skin.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • German court refuses amendments filed on appeal

      Patent attorneys in Europe have become accustomed in recent years to the EPO appeal boards refusing to consider on appeal claim amendments that could have been, but were not, filed in first instance proceedings.

      Katfriend Heiko Sendrowski tells us that this approach is now being adopted by the German courts also. Just so we have our acronyms straight, the tale involves nullity proceedings which were decided at first instance in the Federal Patents Court, or Bundespatentgericht (BPatG) and which were appealed to the Federal Court of Justice, or Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) which is in effect the Supreme Court other than in constitutional matters.

    • Gene Sequencing Giant Tries To Use Patents To Block Rising Star’s Pocket-Sized Unit From US

      Last year, Techdirt wrote about how one of the most significant breakthroughs in the field of genomics is already embroiled in a nasty patent battle. But it’s not just the fundamental techniques in this field that are being held back by selfish attempts to “own” key technologies.

    • Copyrights

      • Supreme Court Declines To Hear Batmobile Copyright Case

        We wrote last year about a copyright dispute between DC Comics and guy by the name of Mark Towle, who had been custom producing Batmobiles for Batman fans. Mike’s analysis in that post is wonderfully detailed and you should read it if you want a deep dive into the specifics of how the court ruled, but I will summarize it here for you as well. The 9th Circuit ruled that the Batmobile was deserving of the same copyright protections as other fictional characters, despite it being a depiction of an inanimate object, and it completely ignored the entire expression/idea dichotomy that is supposed to govern copyright law. That dichotomy can be explained as giving copyright protection to specific expressions of an idea without protecting the idea itself. For instance, the depiction of HAL the homicidal computer in 2001 A Space Odyssey may be covered under copyright, but the idea of a homicidal artificial intelligence is not.

      • Usenet Provider and BREIN Continue Battle Over Piracy Keyword Filter

        The legal dispute between Hollywood-backed anti-piracy group BREIN and Usenet provider News-Service.com will continue after a Dutch court delayed its decision over a requested piracy filter. The court wants both parties to answer detailed questions about the efficacy and costs associated with such a filtering mechanism.

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