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Links 14/3/2016: Linux 4.5, KaOS 2016.03

Posted in News Roundup at 7:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 15 podcasts for FOSS fans

    I listen to a lot of podcasts. A lot. On my phone’s podcatcher, I am subscribed to around 60 podcasts… and I think that only eight of those have podfaded (died). Unsurprisingly, a fairly sizeable proportion of those remaining alive-and-well subscriptions are shows with a specific interest or relevance to open source software. As I seek to resurrect my own comatose podcast from the nebulous realm of podfadery, I thought it would be great for us as a community to share what we’re listening to.

  • The scripting language that drives 80 Days is now open-source

    Narrative game developer Inkle Studios is capping off the week prior to GDC by releasing its Ink scripting language as open-source software for fellow developers to use in their own projects.

    If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Inkle is the studio responsible for both the Sorcery! and 80 Days narrative-driven games, the latter of which won multiple honors (including an IGF 2015 Excellence in Narrative award) for the quality and scope of its writing.

  • Intense Regulation Forces TP-Link to Ban Open Source Router Firmware in the US

    Hardware vendor TP-Link says it will make changes to its routers so it would prevent US users from loading custom open source firmware on their devices, all in order to comply with current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Features Of Mozilla’s Firefox 46 Beta Include GTK3 On Linux

        For those sticking to Mozilla’s stable channel, following this week’s release of Firefox 45 was the public beta of Firefox 46.0.

        The Firefox 46.0 Beta marks HTTP sites with login forms as insecure, the JavaScript JIT compiler features greater security, GTK3 integration is again being tried by default for Firefox on Linux, WebRTC performance/stability fixes, HKDF support for the Web Crypto API, and other changes.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)


  • Public Services/Government

    • David Graham Provides Glimpse into FOSS in Canada’s Government

      Ordinarily, free and open source software receives little attention in the government of Canada. A rare exception occurred on Thursday, March 10 when David Graham, the Liberal Member of Parliament for Laurentides—Labelle (Québec) began asking questions before the Standing Committee On Government Operations and Estimates (Shared Services). The exchange was less than seven minutes long, but provided the sort of detailed information that is usually unavailable.

      If David Graham sounds familiar, you might know him better as cdlu (short for “confused debian linux user”). For years, cdlu was my colleague at Linux.com and Newsforge and well-known in Debian circles as well. Since then, he has been a presence in the back rooms of the Liberal Party until, in the federal election in October 2015, he was elected for the first time. He now describes himself (no doubt correctly) as “the only Member of Parliament to be in the Debian web of trust.”


  • My business card in LaTeX

    I’ve been meaning to get myself some business cards – they’re really helpful to give out when you meet new people – prospective collaborators and things. People rarely note down contact details – the business card works well as a handy reminder. I don’t know how common it is for people in academia to have them – I’ve seen a few around, and I’ve also seen folks that don’t have them. Anyway, I thought I’d give it a go in LaTeX to see how difficult it is. Turns out, not difficult at all. I found a post that got me started, and after a few hours of tinkering, I’ve come up with this:

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Dangers from Pesticides

      Industrialized Agriculture is addicted to chemistry in the form of pesticides. The addiction was marketed to the American People, along with other post World War Two miracles such as nylon stockings and the ball point pen. The pen and the nylons, of course, ultimately proved much less dangerous than the chemical fix for company profits.

      Between 1947 and 1949, pesticide companies invested nearly $4 billion into expanding their production facilities, and made huge profits. By 1952-53, there were some 10,000 separate new pesticide products registered with the USDA, in what was labeled by journalists and historians as “The Golden Age of Pesticides.”

    • France gathers Eastern allies to take on agricultural crisis

      The EU’s eastern member states could throw their weight behind France’s calls for a temporary suspension of the rules of the internal market to counteract the agricultural crisis. EurActiv France reports.

      Stéphane Le Foll’s efforts to convince the EU to intervene in the agricultural crisis that is gripping Europe have so far borne little fruit. But the French minister for agriculture has looked to the East for new hope.

  • Security

    • Hackers turn to angr for automated exploit discovery and patching

      A team of researchers are battling to trouser the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s US$2m prize to build a system that aims to best human offensive and defensive security personnel at exploitation discovery and patching.

      The Shellphish team, with hackers in the US, France, China, Brazil, and Senegal, is big in the capture-the-flag circuit and won the DEF CON competition in 2006.

      And so it jumped when DARPA in 2014 pinned the word “cyber” to the title of its then decade-old Grand Challenge competition and the quest to automate vulnerability discovery and remediation.

    • How to foil a bank heist

      Essentially, Windows security updates ensure that some zero-day vulnerabilities are fixed as the Microsoft programming team become aware of them and are able to fix them. As a result of Microsoft security updates for Windows XP being discontinued, there is no way for anyone running Windows XP to secure their computer.1

    • Containers are like sandwiches

      There are loads of containers available out there you can download that aren’t trusted sources. Don’t download random containers from random places. It’s no different than trying to buy a sandwich from a filthy shop that has to shoo the rats out of the kitchen with a broom.

    • Do you trust this package?

      But what guarantee is there that no MITM attacker compromised the tarballs when they were downloaded from upstream by a distro package maintainer? If you think distro package maintainers bother with silly things like GPG signature checking when downloading tarballs, then I regret to inform you that Santa is not real, and your old pet is not on vacation, it is dead.

    • Your next car will be hacked. Will autonomous vehicles be worth it?

      Self-driving cars could cut road deaths by 80%, but without better security they put us at risk of car hacking and even ransom demands, experts at SXSW say

    • Microsoft: We Store Disk Encryption Keys, But We’ve Never Given Them to Cops [Ed: just to spies. The following page includes several clear examples where Microsoft is caught giving crypto keys to spies. Microsoft is answering/addressing concerns not as they were raised. This is a non-denying denial.]

      Microsoft says it has never helped police investigators unlock its customers’ encrypted computers—despite the fact that the company often holds they key to get their data.

      If you store important stuff on your computer, it’s great to have the option to lock it up and encrypt your data so that no one can access it if you ever lose your laptop or it gets stolen. But what happens if, one day, you forget your own password to decrypt it? To give customers a way to get their data back in this situation, Microsoft has been automatically uploading a recovery key in the cloud for Windows computers since 2013.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Hillary Clinton Has Long History of Collaboration with GOP on Foreign Policy

      Several members of the Republican foreign policy elite recently announced they’ll refuse to vote for Donald Trump if he’s the Republican nominee – with some going so far as to say they’d rather vote for Hillary Clinton.

      And while you may be shocked to see ideology so easily trump party affiliation, you shouldn’t be. Take a look, for instance, at this New York Times article from 2014.

      Back then, much of the GOP establishment was filled with trepidation about a frontrunner in the 2016 Republican presidential campaign. Mark Salter, John McCain’s former chief of staff, said that if this particular candidate won the nomination, “Republican voters seriously concerned with national security would have no responsible recourse” other than to vote for Clinton.

    • Chemical Attacks Continue; 218 Killed in Iraq

      Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called on his followers to stage a massive, days-long sit-in next weekend outside the Green Zone in Baghdad, with the hope that the demonstration will force lawmakers to stop resisting reform.

      Turkey reported killing 67 Kurdish guerillas in airstrikes across northern Iraq. Turkey frequently, and without Baghdad’s permission, launches strikes on suspected Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K.) targets in Iraq.

    • Donald Trump: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

      It isn’t pacifism, that’s for sure. What Trump represents – in his crude, inconsistent way – is the traditional American antipathy for getting involved in overseas adventurism. And yet once we are involved, the American isolationist wants to win. Blinded by the illusion that a quick victory is possible, he forgets his objections to the interventionist regime-change panacea once his Jacksonian fury is provoked. Trump’s critique of our present policy – “Now we fight for no reason whatsoever. We don’t even know what we are doing” – could apply equally to his own inchoate vision.

    • Russian Prime Minister Says No Excuse for Terrorism After Ankara Bombing

      Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday extended condolences to the people of Turkey over a recent bombing in Ankara that claimed 34 lives, saying there was no excuse for terrorism.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Clinton’s Email Hypocrisy

      Hillary Clinton imposed a double-standard on emails as Secretary of State, one for her underlings and one for herself, and now she’s using double-talk to excuse her behavior, writes Bart Gruzalski.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • More hotspots found in Indonesia

      Jakarta, March 13: A satellite observation on Sunday detected more hotspots on Indonesia’s Sumatra and Borneo Islands.

      On Sunday morning, the satellite detected 151 hot spots across the nation, comprising mostly of islands, significantly rising from 59 hotspots found nine days ago, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman of the national disaster management agency.


      Last year, the Indonesian government launched the biggest ever battle against massive forest fires occurring across the country, involving thousands of soldiers and scores of aircraft with assistance from foreign countries.

    • Science can now link climate change with some extreme weather events

      Extreme weather events like floods, heat waves and droughts can devastate communities and populations worldwide. Recent scientific advances have enabled researchers to confidently say that the increased intensity and frequency of some, but not all, of these extreme weather events is influenced by human-induced climate change, according to an international National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine report released today (March 11).

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • What are the BBC guidelines on the EU referendum?

      The BBC’s 2016 EU Referendum Guidelines were devised following a public consultation and are intended to ensure impartiality of its broadcasts during what will be an unusually intense period of scrutiny. They will come into force at the official launch of the referendum campaign via parliamentary legislation, and this date has yet to be determined. However, it is plain for all to see that campaigning has already begun, necessitating careful thought by the BBC about how to cover developments in the ‘phony war’. Hence, the Referendum Guidelines are already operational in all but name.

    • The Koch-Fueled Plot to Destroy the VA

      If you’re a hardcore libertarian, which program would you be most eager to privatize? The VA, of course, which is America’s only genuine example of purely socialized medicine. In the past, the VA’s status as health care provider to military vets has protected it from attack, but that’s changed over the past few years. Why? Because of a carefully orchestrated smear campaign by a Koch-funded activist group called Concerned Veterans for America.

    • Bernie Sanders Sees Michigan Win as a Springboard to the Nomination

      Convinced that his surprising victory in Michigan represented a turning point, Senator Bernie Sanders and his advisers are maneuvering and spending aggressively to pull off a huge upset on Tuesday — a victory in the Ohio primary — by focusing on Hillary Clinton’s past support for trade deals that are deeply unpopular in the Midwest and other key states in his updated battle plans.

      Mr. Sanders seemed newly energized and tactical as he sat by a pool at his Miami hotel and predicted that Tuesday’s win was just the beginning of a phase of the campaign that he would dominate. Saying that coming primaries and caucuses looked unusually promising for him, he described plans to crisscross the country arguing that Mrs. Clinton championed policies that wrecked lives. He also said he would tell voters that he was the strongest candidate to put up against Donald J. Trump, the Republican front-runner.

  • Censorship

    • Anti-violent games senator Leland Yee sentenced to five years in prison

      Former California State Senator and gun control advocate Leland Yee (D), who tried to pass a bill banning the sale of violent games to children, has been sentenced to five years in prison for racketeering, weapons smuggling and other charges.

    • Cartoon: Heng on Media Censorship in China
    • Six facts about censorship in Cuba

      To mark the World Day against Cyber Censorship on 12 March, here are six things about free speech, the internet and online censorship in Cuba.

    • Malaysia detains Australian reporters who questioned PM

      An Australian reporter and camera operator have been briefly detained in Malaysia after attempting to question Prime Minister Najib Razak.

      Linton Besser and Louie Eroglu approached Mr Najib in Kuching on Saturday to ask him about corruption allegations, which he denies.

      The pair, filming for ABC’s Four Corners, were released without charge but cannot leave Malaysia.

      Australia’s foreign minister said it raised concerns about press freedom.

      Julie Bishop said Australia had raised the matter with the Malaysian authorities.

    • Full interview: Lars Hedegaard on the new wave of social media censorship — and why he’s on trial again

      Even before the 2005 publications of the so-called “Mohammed cartoons,” Danish historian Lars Hedegaard was sounding the alarm about creeping sharia and the Islamification of the West.

      Having survived an assassination attempt a few years ago, Hedegaard now lives in a high security home and can’t venture out without bodyguards.

      He explains why this arrangement actually makes him feel more free than he did before.

      Having been found not guilty of “hate speech” by the Supreme Court, Hedegaard is currently on trial for the “crime” of mentioning his would-be assassin’s name in public!

  • Privacy

    • NSA’s data to be shared with police

      Data collected by the National Security Administration on the private communications of U.S. citizens will now be shared with law enforcement agencies, writes Radley Balko in the Washington Post. So the information collected “for purposes of so-called ‘national security’ will be used by police to lock up ordinary Americans for routine crimes,” he writes, and the victims of this ‘unconstitutional indignity’ are more likely to be minorities, Muslims and dissident Americans – “the same people who are always targeted by law enforcement for extra ‘special attention.’”

    • DOJ Officials Hint Whatsapp Likely Next In Line For The Apple Treatment

      You’d think that access to prisoner wiretaps would somewhat negate the need to break encryption, but maybe these mouthy inmates spend more time chatting about encryption than the allegations against them. And while I understand law enforcement’s complaint that they used to be able to get all of this data with a warrant, they also used to have to run license plates by hand and perform stakeouts in person. So, it’s not as though advances in technology have delivered no concurrent benefits.

      Make no mistake about it: given the multitude of choices, the DOJ would rather have unfettered access to phones and all they contain. Whatsapp may have a billion or so users — all protected by end-to-end encryption — but if the FBI can crack open a phone, it can likely get to the content of the messages.

    • The Next Front in the New Crypto Wars: WhatsApp

      In Saturday’s edition of the New York Times, Matt Apuzzo reports that the Department of Justice is locked in a “prolonged standoff” with WhatsApp. The government is frustrated by its lack of real-time access to messages protected by the company’s end-to-end encryption. The story may represent a disturbing preview of the next front in the FBI’s war against encryption.

  • Civil Rights

    • Chaos From Trump Rallies Spills Out Onto The Streets

      Before Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took the stage in Cleveland on Saturday, a voice blared over the P.A. system: “If a protester starts demonstrating in the area around you, please, do not harm or touch the protester. This is a peaceful rally.”

      Little more than an hour later, 17-year-old Miles Wilson stood outside, visibly shaken. He had been kicked out of the rally for holding up a protest sign, but when he got outside, the shouts and slurs from the Trump supporters followed.

    • ‘F*ck You, You Whore!’: Watch Angry White People Go Berserk Outside Trump Rally in St. Louis

      Videos taken of Donald Trump supporters outside a rally in St. Louis, Missouri, show demonstrations of extreme anger, provocation and aggression as the GOP front runner tries to defend himself against criticism that his rallies are becoming dangerous.

    • The Donald Can Happen Here: Trumpenstein’s Neo-Weimar Creators

      What are we to make of the arch-authoritarian, white-nationalist Donald Trump phenomenon? We should not fool ourselves about its dangerous nature.

    • Muslim Americans Grapple With Implications of Donald Trump Victories

      In recent months, Trump has proposed shutting down mosques and banning non-citizen Muslims from the country, and he endorsed creating a national database of Muslims (even if he later claimed, dubiously, that he was merely open to the idea). Exit polls conducted in the aftermath of his primary victories show that huge numbers of voters actually support these discriminatory and likely unconstitutional proposals.

    • ‘This Violence Is Nothing’: Trump Supporters React To Atmosphere At Rallies

      Once again, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is at the top of the national news cycle. And this time, the topic is violence.

      Trump canceled his Chicago rally on Friday, apparently over safety concerns from a mass of protesters who had gathered outside and inside the venue. Clashes between demonstrators and Trump supporters reportedly turned violent, and at least one Chicago police officer was wounded. It’s unclear who was responsible for the injury.

    • VIDEO: Donald Trump Resembles Far-Right Fanatic Barry Goldwater in 1964 Race With LBJ

      Thanks to some quality Internet sleuthing by Quartz, a television ad for Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 presidential campaign resurfaced online this week and draws striking similarities to the GOP upheaval in the 2016 presidential race.

    • Donald Trump Jr. Cites White Nationalist To Push Anti-Sanders Conspiracy Theory

      The incident occurs shortly after Donald Trump garnered criticism for declining multiple opportunities to disavow an endorsement from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, saying he needed to do more research. He later said he did, in fact, disavow Duke.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

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