03.15.16

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 15/3/2016: RapidDisk 4.0, Google Summer of Code 2016 Applications

Posted in News Roundup at 11:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Healthy Open Source

    A walkthrough of the Node.js Foundation’s base contribution policy.

    A lot has changed since io.js and Node.js merged under the Node.js Foundation. The most impressive change, and probably the change that is most relevant to the rest of the community and to open source in general, is the growth in contributors and committers to the project.

  • Open source reveals the value of social norms

    Now, what does this have to do with open source?

    Well, open source projects function on both social and market norms. On one hand, we see corporate sponsors or contributors who are being paid to write code; on the other, we see several highly skilled, intelligent people contributing not for monetary gain, but because they value the community and the goodwill purpose of the project. These people identify with the altruistic ideal of giving back to others and the recognition that comes with it.

  • A template for creating open source contributor guidelines

    One of the most important resources that an open source project can provide to potential contributors is contributor guidelines. When eager new contributors rush over to your project to make their first open source contribution, they rely on your contributor guidelines to be their guiding hand. That means that contributor guidelines should be easy to read, thorough, and friendly.

  • Watch Open Networking Summit This Week via Free Live Video Stream

    ONS has become a recognized forum for major industry announcements and the introduction of open source networking projects. AT&T, Google and The Linux Foundation, among others have announced major networking projects and initiatives at ONS over just the last few years.

  • WhereHows: An Open Source Lineage and Annotation Tool for Data Collections

    Managing the changes made to any given dataset becomes a challenge as the scope of the organization grows, especially at the level of enterprise.

    WhereHows was recently released as open source by its developer, LinkedIn, which manages vast amounts of data (about 50,ooo datasets, 14,000 comments, and 35 million job execution records). The name is a compound of two important attributes of data: “WHERE is the data, and HOW is it produced/consumed.”

  • Chef drills dependency policing into DevOps

    Among the purists is Chef, a firm which in fact describes itself as a player in automation for DevOps.

  • Open source encrypted app is key to security for Facebook

    Moxie Marlinspike, a co-developer of the Signal encrypted mobile messages app, is seeing his security technology used by Facebook’s messaging service, WhatsApp.

    Encryption is a key technology for social media websites such as Facebook, and the technology developed by Moxie Marlinspike (the name is a pseudonym) and now marketed by his company Open Whisper Systems in the Signal app, is playing a big part in online community moves to improve security of user data.

  • Faced with FCC regulations on wireless-router capabilities, TP-Link blocks open-source updates | ExtremeTech
  • TP-Link nixes use of open source firmware on Wi-Fi routers to comply with new FCC regulations
  • Live in the US and are looking for a new router? Don’t buy TP-Link
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Initial Servo+Browser.html Release Planned For June

        Paul Rouget of Mozilla has shared plans for making an initial alpha release of their next-generation Servo Engine and Servo-based Browser.html web browser release for this summer.

        The first version of Servo and Browser.html is planned for release in June. Browser.html is Mozilla’s experimental web browser built atop Servo where the UI itself is built in HTML. While a Servo Alpha release was originally expected in 2015, it’s great to see a release now planned in a few months.

      • Mozilla A-Frame Powers New Amnesty International Virtual Reality Website #360Syria

        Amnesty International today announced a new #360Syria “virtual tour” website showing the devastation brought by Syrian government barrel bombing of the besieged city of Aleppo. The website demonstration, called “Fear of the Sky” (www.360Syria.com), is built using Mozilla A-Frame technology.

        Websites like #360Syria, that allow viewers to take a virtual tour of the devastated city of Aleppo, are a significant new use case for WebVR. Technology gives people a voice where otherwise there is none. It brings a new level of visibility and greater levels of empathy to real-life situations.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Google now accepting applications for open source Summer of Code 2016

      If you are a college student, you probably look forward to the summer as a relaxing time away from learning. Yeah, I get it — school can be very stressful, but sleeping late and vegetating won’t result in meaningful growth.

      Instead of wasting your summer, why not learn about open source? If that sounds boring, then maybe it isn’t for you. However, if you are excited by the possibility of working on an open source project like Fedora, KDE, LibreOffice or VLC, then you should sign up for Google’s Summer of Code 2016.

  • BSD

    • Sponsoring “PAM Mastery”

      While PAM has a potentially wider audience than FM:AZ, that interest isn’t as deep. I’m expecting nowhere near as many PAM sponsors. If you want to really stand out in a list of sponsors, this is your chance.

    • OpenBSD 5.9 Continues Being Readied With New Features

      OpenBSD 5.9 is gearing up for release at the start of May as the next feature release of this BSD operating system.

      Mike Belopuhov of OpenBSD presented at this weekend’s AsiaBSDCon in Tokyo about the state of OpenBSD 5.9. There are PDF slides available to those interested.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU want (another) free AI package release? Yes. But we should train this puppy

      The GNU free software project has launched version 0.0.1 of its Gneural Network package in response to the “outstanding and truly inspiring” results achieved of late in proprietary artificial intelligence.

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) describes Gneural Network as a GNU package for a programmable neural network, which as of 0.0.1 is “a very simple feed-forward network which can learn very simple tasks such as curve fitting” – although more advanced features will hopefully be delivered soon.

    • GNU Health security mailing list and team

      GNU Health is growing quite fast, and we take very seriously the security of the implementations around the world that trust us.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Data mining the Votes of Members of the Polish Parliament

        If we take into consideration all the votings, we will notice that the greatest differences exist between the government and the opposition. It turns out that there are two Members of Parliament on the side of the government (Jarosław Gowin and Jacek Żalek) who usually voted as MPs from PO (the colour on the diagram corresponds to the club that a given Member of Parliament belonged to during most votings), yet their profiles differ considerably from the profiles of the remaining MPs. Besides, that pair migrated from one party to another, what may explain their incompatibility with the stance of PO. As far as PiS is concerned, the least compliant voters were Górski Artur and Tomaszewski Jan (who finally transferred to PO at the end of the year).

    • Open Access/Content

      • Should All Research Papers Be Free?

        DRAWING comparisons to Edward Snowden, a graduate student from Kazakhstan named Alexandra Elbakyan is believed to be hiding out in Russia after illegally leaking millions of documents. While she didn’t reveal state secrets, she took a stand for the public’s right to know by providing free online access to just about every scientific paper ever published, on topics ranging from acoustics to zymology.

        Her protest against scholarly journals’ paywalls has earned her rock-star status among advocates for open access, and has shined a light on how scientific findings that could inform personal and public policy decisions on matters as consequential as health care, economics and the environment are often prohibitively expensive to read and impossible to aggregate and datamine.

        “Realistically only scientists at really big, well-funded universities in the developed world have full access to published research,” said Michael Eisen, a professor of genetics, genomics and development at the University of California, Berkeley, and a longtime champion of open access. “The current system slows science by slowing communication of work, slows it by limiting the number of people who can access information and quashes the ability to do the kind of data analysis” that is possible when articles aren’t “sitting on various siloed databases.”

    • Open Hardware

      • Open-source your face and 3D print your own pirate invisaligns

        Amos Dudley, a broke undergrad, casted a mold of his teeth using “cheap alginate powder, Permastone, and a 3d printed impression tray,” then 3D printed and vacuformed a series of alingment trays for a fraction of what it would have cost to get name-brand invisaligns.

        Obviously, this only works if you have ready access to “knowledge of orthodontic movement, a 3D scanner, a mold of the teeth, CAD software, a hi-res 3D printer, retainer material, and a vacuum forming machine.”

        But if you do, it doesn’t look all that challenging to roll your own alignment trays.

  • Programming

    • Radeon’s HIP 0.82 Compiler Released

      Released a few days back was the newest version of AMD/RTG’s HIP compiler as part of their Boltzmann initiative in porting CUDA code to run on Radeon hardware with their new software stack.

Leftovers

  • Fire destroys roof of historic Wythenshawe Hall in Manchester

    Fire has badly damaged a 16th Century hall in Manchester destroying the roof and causing extensive damage to an upper floor.

    The blaze started in the roof of Wythenshawe Hall at about 03:30 GMT, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) said.

    More than 50 firefighters tackled the “serious blaze” at the Tudor hall.

    Five fire engines are still at the scene as an investigation is under way into the cause.

    The timber-framed hall was built in 1540 and was home to the Tatton family for about 400 years.

  • Science

    • Ida-NO: Gem State Lawmakers Consider Bill to Allow Bible in Science Classes

      Senate Bill 1342, which will be heard this week by the House Education Committee, would authorize the use of the Bible “for reference purposes” in any class where “an understanding of the Bible may be useful or relevant.” Of course, our courts have repeatedly made clear that instruction in the Bible and creationism is neither useful nor relevant nor constitutional in science class. But that didn’t stop the bill’s drafters from explicitly listing astronomy, biology, and geology among the courses into which teachers may incorporate the Bible.

    • The government’s lobbying ban will have a chilling impact on scientists

      One of the many frightening aspects of life under Joseph Stalin was the central direction of science by the Communist party. This led to egregious scientific data, disregarded in the west, but celebrated in the Soviet Union. One of the best examples was the nonsensical doctrine known as Lysenkoism, which rejected concepts such as genes and natural selection in favour of “natural cooperation” and the belief that physical changes imposed on one generation of organisms would pass down to the next – for example that plucking the leaves from a plant would encourage leaflessness in its descendants. Scientists who questioned the official view, such the geneticist Nikolai Vavilov, were denounced, exiled and in many cases sentenced to death.

    • Happy Pi Day!
  • Health/Nutrition

    • US Senators Release Public Comments On Sovaldi Report

      Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and senior committee member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, today released comments from the health care and patient community in response to the policy questions raised in their report, “The Price of Sovaldi and Its Impact on the U.S. Health Care System,” released on December 1, 2015.

    • China’s Pharmaceutical Sector And The IP Puzzle

      While US funding for medical research declines, China steadily progresses as shown by a total $1,1 billion investment in new drug development between 2011 and 2015.Despite this growth, China remains, however, far behind countries (such as the US and in the EU) renowned as home to top drug industries simply because the majority of Chinese companies are not competitive with foreign big corporations. As a result, almost all Chinese firms are currently focused on the production of generic medicines (more than 95 percent of chemicals produced in the country are, in fact, generics).

    • Flint water e-mails written to stay secret

      The once quiet city of Flint, Michigan is facing a drinking water crisis that is drawing concern from around the nation. Here’s what you need to know about how the public health crisis has evolved.

  • Security

    • Monday’s security advisories
    • Building a Jenkins Security Realm

      Last week I spent a good while on writing a new security realm for KDE’s Jenkins setups. The result of my tireless java brewing is that the Jenkins installation of KDE neon now uses KDE’s Phabricator setup to authenticate users and manage permissions via OAuth.

    • The Great Linux Mint Heist: the Aftermath

      In a shocking move, cyber criminals recently hacked the Linux Mint Web server and used it to launch an attack against the popular distro’s user base.

    • These Are the Best System Rescue Tools After a Malware Attack

      System rescue tools provided by antivirus makers are often used to clean infected systems after the main antivirus software detects infections.

      Most antivirus makers bundle this functionality in their main products, but a few offer more specialized tools that also repair damaged files, attempting to restore the system to its earlier working point as much as possible.

      Only five of such tools are currently available on the market as free tools. They are AVG Rescue CD, Avira EU-Clean, Bitdefender Rescue CD, ESET SysRescue, and Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool.

    • Documents with malicious macros deliver fileless malware to financial-transaction systems

      Spammed Word documents with malicious macros have become a popular method of infecting computers over the past few months. Attackers are now taking it one step further by using such documents to deliver fileless malware that gets loaded directly in the computer’s memory.

      Security researchers from Palo Alto Networks analyzed a recent attack campaign that pushed spam emails with malicious Word documents to business email addresses from the U.S., Canada and Europe.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Murder of Chávez. The CIA and DEA Cover Their Tracks

      The journalist Eva Golinger (US – Venezuela) has repeatedly questioned the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. The website aporrea.org quotes her statement: «Everything that Washington was trying to achieve during the administration of Hugo Chávez is today being realized in his absence. The cancerous illness from which Chávez suffered was unusually aggressive and suspicious, and every day turns up more evidence that it is possible Chávez was murdered».

    • Kerry Sought Missile Strikes To Force Syria’s Assad To Step Down

      Jeffrey Goldberg’s newly published book-length article on Barack Obama and the Middle East includes a major revelation that brings US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Syrian diplomacy into sharper focus: it reports that Kerry has sought on several occasions without success over the past several months to get Obama’s approval for cruise missile strikes against the Syrian government.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • February smashes monthly world temperature records by ‘shocking’ amount as ‘climate emergency’ declared

      ‘In short, we are now hurtling at a frightening pace toward the globally agreed maximum of 2.0°C warming over pre-industrial levels’

    • The Planet Just Obliterated Another Heat Record

      February smashed a century of global temperature records by “stunning” margin, according to data released by NASA.

      The unprecedented leap led scientists, usually wary of highlighting a single month’s temperature, to label the new record a “shocker” and warn of a “climate emergency.”

    • If We Can’t Save Pandas, We Can’t Save Anything

      Bill McShea broke into an infectious belly laugh when I ask him the question I’ve been posing to biologists, conservationists, and zookeepers for months: What is it about the panda?

      “Look at it,” he said, gesturing to snapshots of him jovially clutching baby pandas to his chest, which were tacked in his office at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. “It’s cute as hell. You have to say, ‘Is that real? Does something really look like that?’”

      McShea, a rosy-cheeked, bespectacled research biologist, has spent the last two decades devoting part of his studies to pandas, including annual pilgrimages to China to study the species’s habitat and collaborate with local conservationists. If pressed, he’ll admit a deeper fascination with the lesser-known creatures that share the pandas’ habitat—the Asiatic black bear, the takin, the tufted deer—but McShea has no trouble identifying what it is about pandas that’s so appealing to everyone else. And you really only have to look at one photo, or video, or GIF of a panda to solve the mystery.

      With its round ears, fluffy fur, stub snout, tubby tummy, and those distinctive, big black polka dot eyes, it’s not hard to see why people around the world are enamoured. But there’s a growing group of dissenting voices who openly and actively hate pandas.

  • Finance

    • The Trouble With the TPP, Day 50: The Case Against Ratifying the Trans Pacific Partnership

      Nearly two-and-a-half months ago, I started a daily examination of the Trans Pacific Partnership focused on the intellectual property and digital policy issues raised by the agreement. My initial plan for the Trouble with the TPP series was to write for one month leading up to the planned signing in New Zealand on February 4th. However, the more I dug into the TPP, the more trouble I found. With this final post in the series, I wrap up the key IP and digital policy concerns with links to all the original posts.

      Canadians interested in the TPP now have an opportunity to have their voices heard. The Standing Committee on International Trade has been conducting hearings on the agreement for several weeks and has announced plans for cross-country consultations. Canadians can provide written submissions by April 30th. Alternatively, they can ask the committee to appear as a witness. Details on the committee opportunities can be found here. In addition, Canadians can send their comments directly to Global Affairs Canada, which is managing the government’s consultation. The email address is TPP-PTP.Consultations@international.gc.ca.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • TV heartthrob dubbed ’10 times tougher than Bear Grylls’ rejoins army as major in new elite force the 77 Brigade

      Unit uses psychology and social media to help ‘fight in the information age’

    • Alan Grayson: Why the Sanders Campaign Is Far from Over (VIDEO)

      Since hearing about Hillary and her superdelegate count, many Sanders supporters believed Bernie was automatically doomed. But actually, the superdelegates’ pledge to Clinton isn’t finalized, and each can still change his or her vote prior to the final vote following the last state primaries. Superdelegates generally vote in line with the popular vote when the time comes, but there is nothing requiring them to do so.

      [...]

      So how would that affect Americans?

      “I think the inequality would heighten, I think that would pretty much cinch it,” Grayson told the Young Turks, adding “if you have a billionaire for the leader of the country, then it really is an oligarchy. Game over.”

    • Occupy Activists Return to Zuccotti to Phone Bank for Sanders, Sparking Debate over Political Role

      Ahead of Tuesday’s key primaries, supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders gathered in Zuccotti Park in New York City to call voters in Illinois, Florida and Ohio. Many of the phone bankers were former Occupy Wall Street activists who returned to the site of the 2011 encampment because they saw parallels between Occupy and Sanders’ message. “We were really inspired by the incredible amount of grassroots momentum and energy that’s been inspired by the Sanders campaign and its critique of Wall Street, of money in politics and a rigged economy,” said Beka Economopoulos, a former Occupy activist who helped organize the phone bank. But other Occupy activists disagreed with what they saw as the co-opting of the movement; they staged a “mic check,” using Occupy’s signature call-and-response to say the movement should remain independent of political candidates.

    • Anonymous has declared ‘total war’ on Donald Trump, threatening to ‘dismantle his campaign’

      Hackers affiliated with the Anonymous hacktivist collective have vowed to relaunch cyber-operations against US presidential candidate Donald Trump from 1 April. They threaten to ‘dismantle his campaign’ by taking his election websites offline in a large-scale and orchestrated distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

    • OpTrump: Donald Trump faces ‘total war’ from Anonymous cyberattacks on April Fools’ Day

      Hackers affiliated with the Anonymous hacktivist collective have vowed to relaunch cyber-operations against US presidential candidate Donald Trump from 1 April. They threaten to ‘dismantle his campaign’ by taking his election websites offline in a large-scale and orchestrated distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

      In December 2015, Anonymous officially ‘declared war’ on Trump after a radical speech in which he said Muslims should be banned from entering the United States. The operation at the time resulted in a number of websites being targeted by hackers, but failed to have lasting impact.

    • Trumping Trump

      Despite this news media have given him a free ride saving $millions in advertising expenses and he’s leading in the GOP primaries despite ⅔ or voters voting for anyone but Trump. I hope he gets kicked out at the convention or he’ll just cause an order of magnitude more trouble before being defeated in the general election. In the unlikely event he becomes president, the world, not just USA is in for a Hell of a lot of trouble. So, it may actually be a good thing Anonymous is going after his networks.

    • The Rise of Trump Shows the Danger and Sham of Compelled Journalistic “Neutrality”

      As Donald Trump’s campaign predictably moves from toxic rhetoric targeting the most marginalized minorities to threats and use of violence, there is a growing sense that American institutions have been too lax about resisting it. Political scientist Brendan Nyhan on Sunday posted a widely cited Twitter essay voicing this concern, arguing that “Trump’s rise represents a failure in American parties, media, and civic institutions — and they’re continuing to fail right now.” He added, “Someone could capture a major party [nomination] who endorses violence [and] few seem alarmed.”

  • Censorship

    • Why the TPP does not prevent Malaysia from censoring Achmed the Dead Terrorist

      EFF is basically right: While accurate in some cases, the White House’s assertion is an overly optimistic characterization of TPP’s probable effects. For example, EFF argued that TPP would not prevent potential signatory Malaysia from suppressing, within its own territory, Internet-based political speech relating to alleged governmental misappropriation of hundreds of millions of dollars of development funds. I think that EFF’s analysis is correct.

    • North Korean Censorship Blinds Not Just the People, But Also Their Rulers

      It is possible to argue that North Korea has the world’s strictest media censorship system. North Korean media outlets are, essentially, a branch of the government propaganda bureaucracy. Their goal is not to inform, but to indoctrinate and control common people, to explain to them what they should think about the world. In a sense, North Korean media exists to distort the picture of the world in accordance with the ever-changing demands of the ruling elite.

      North Korean leaders believe that this system is necessary to keep people obedient and controllable, to prevent the rise of criticism about the government. This might be the case, indeed: Being unaware of the alternatives to their lifestyles, people are less likely to dream about a change.

    • Irish Censorship Board Bans First Book in 18 Years

      The Censorship of Publications Board of Ireland has banned The Raped Little Runaway by Jean Martin.

    • Norwegian Police Seize Domain Name For Linking To Sites Offering Popcorn Time

      Over the last couple of years, the increasing popularity of the open source streaming software Popcorn Time has turned into one of the film industry’s biggest nightmares. Not just because it’s free, but also because it provides an extremely easy-to-use service. The fact that it is open source — and therefore essentially impossible to eradicate — just makes things worse. As part of the film industry’s attack on Popcorn Time, a UK judge was persuaded a year ago to order a group of web sites to be blocked purely on the grounds that they were distributing the Popcorn Time software. That was the first step down a slippery slope, and it seems that the second step has now been taken in Norway.

    • Kiss off: James Bond and the Spectre of censorship

      The Spectre of censorship has visited Hollywood’s secret service agent in India, where 007’s kissing scenes have been cut by half. But there’s more than meets the eye. Dennis Hanlon and Shorna Pal explain.

      On 19 November 2015, the day before it was due to be released in Indian theatres, the Times of India announced that the Central Board of Film Censorship (CBFC) had ordered the kissing scenes in the latest James Bond film, Spectre, to be reduced by half.

    • Does Malcolm Turnbull Support Censorship?

      A very active and lively discussion has been taking place on the Prime Minister’s Facebook page regarding the No Jab, No Pay law. I made several posts in response to Dr Patrick Stokes – a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy who supports censorship when it comes to vaccination as evidenced by his article on The Conversation entitled: No, You’re Not Entitled to Your Opinion.

      Dr Stokes is an Australian academic who readily admits that he is not an authority on the this issue. Furthermore, he openly states that he does not WANT to know about the science of vaccination, instead claiming that everyone should defer to doctors and health authorities because they are the only ones capable of understanding the subject.

    • Six facts about censorship in Cuba

      Graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado Machado, known as “El Sexto”, found this out when he was locked up for most of 2015 for painting the names of Raúl and Fidel – the names of the Castro brothers who have been in power since 1959 – on the backs of two live pigs. He had planned to release the animals as part of an artistic performance but, before he could, he was accused of desacato (contempt) and thrown in prison for ten months. He was never formally charged or brought before a judge.

    • The tyranny of censorship: Ireland’s war on ‘evil’ books

      As if it isn’t bad enough that Ireland still has a Censorship of Publications Board, at the weekend we discovered that this archaic outfit is still active. Given that it’s been 18 years since these book-burners in chief forbade publication of a book in Ireland – 1998’s The Base Guide to London, a book about seedy London hangouts – you could be forgiven for thinking they’d done the decent thing of realising it’s the 21st century and calling it a day on their censoring antics. But no – on Saturday it was revealed that the CPB has banned The Raped Little Runaway, a weird novel by Jean Martin, which means it’s an offence to distribute the book anywhere in the Republic of Ireland.

    • Former Xinhua Reporter Takes a Swipe at Chinese Censorship
    • Why China’s clampdown on Ren Zhiqiang matters
    • China’s Censors Denounced in Online Attack
    • Swastikas Removed from High School’s Performance of ‘The Producers’ Because They’re Offensive
    • Springtime for censorship: School targets ‘The Producers’
    • No Swastikas for You!
    • New York Superintendent Bans Swastikas From High School Production of THE PRODUCERS
    • Editorial: Censorship, or judgment?
  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • America’s Gestapo: The FBI’s Reign of Terror

      As part of the government’s so-called ongoing war on terror, the nation’s de facto secret police force is now recruiting students and teachers to spy on each other and report anyone who appears to have the potential to be “anti-government” or “extremist.”

    • North Korea Has Doubled Its Hacking Attacks On South Korea

      If you’re thinking that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is busy drinking Cristal champagne and enjoying caviar, take a moment to notice South Korean spy agency’s report that tells that the number of cyberattacks on the South has doubled over the past month.

    • UN rights investigator urges prosecution of North Korean leader
    • North Korea probe calls for Kim Jong Un to be prosecuted for crimes against humanity
    • UN rights expert: North Korean leader should be prosecuted
    • Migrants scramble for way past EU’s closed Balkan door
    • Merkel Misery Deepens as Election Blows Deliver Refugee Rebuff

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been left politically damaged after her Christian Democrat (CDU) party suffered significant losses in regional elections, as the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party put on significant gains in regional elections.

    • On Disappearing People

      Yet again the US is simply disappearing people into secret prisons on foreign soil. Obama has in effect maintained the Bush doctrine that “enemy combatants” are neither alleged criminals nor soldiers. They do not get the rights of alleged criminals to decent treatment and a fair trial, nor do they get the Geneva Convention rights of soldiers captured during a war. They are non-persons who can simply be pitched into a black hole.

    • Politicizing Sports — Paul Craig Roberts

      One of the world’s best female tennis players, Maria Sharapova, has been suspended, because a medicine she has been taking legally under a doctor’s prescription for ten years was suddenly retroactively declared to be a prohibited substance that is a “metabolic modulator.”

      The medicine, known as mildronate and also as meldonium in its banned name, has been in medical use for thirty years. Its inventor declared that the prohibition of mildronate “is a crime” and will lead to deaths among athletes. He says that it has not been proven that the medicine enhances athlete performance, but it does protect their hearts from over-exertion.

    • The Lurking Menace of a Trump Rally

      It only took five minutes from the time he began. Donald Trump was in the middle of a riff about “Lyin’ Ted Cruz” when a protester stood up.

      “So early,” Trump said. “Get ’em out.”

      The Republican frontrunner made it through just four more sentences before the next one stood up. “Hello! Go home to mom.”

    • What Are Trump Fans Really ‘Afraid’ to Say?

      RHINESTONES twinkling around the perimeter of her shades, cornsilk curls undaunted by the Pensacola sun, Elizabeth Kemper, a supporter of Donald J. Trump, is all certainty. She is fed up. “You know, this country is so dang political correct,” she tells a CNN reporter. “I’m afraid to say what I really feel, you know?”

      On her shirt, a silhouette of Mr. Trump’s head nestles in the protective crook of the state of Florida, his face turned stalwartly eastward, away from Mexico, his Mordor.

      Ms. Kemper is blazing, passionate, incredulous. “I think this country better go back to some of those values. Some of the values my parents grew up with, my grandparents grew up with,” she says. “Whatever was wrong, they could point it out and tell you.”

    • Sikh Americans Fight for Civil Rights In Donald Trump’s America

      On the morning of December 26th, 2015, as Amrik Singh Bal was waiting near his home for a ride to work, two men in a pickup truck stopped nearby to yell racial slurs at him. Singh, a 68-year old Sikh American who worked at a nearby farm outside Fresno, California, attempted to cross the street to get away from his assailants. As he did so, the men struck Bal with their vehicle, knocking him to the ground before jumping out of the truck and assaulting him. By the time they were done, the elderly Bal was left bleeding in the street with a broken collarbone and cuts across his face. The attack was described by local police in Fresno as a hate crime.

      Unfortunately, assaults against Sikh Americans are nothing new. In the first month after the 9/11 attacks, the Sikh Coalition, an advocacy group, tallied more than 300 cases of violence and discrimination against Sikh Americans. Many additional incidents followed in subsequent years, the most high-profile being a 2012 terrorist attack in which a white supremacist shot and killed six congregants at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, wounding several others. Now, as U.S. politicians, led by Donald Trump, increasingly embrace xenophobia, and as fears of terrorism surge back, Sikh activists say their community is experiencing another spike in discrimination.

    • DEA’s Definition Of Evidence Control Apparently Doesn’t Include Recording Gross Weight Of Seized Substances

      The DEA seems very concerned about controlled substances. Internal control of these substances? Not so much. A recent Inspector General’s audit found multiple problems with the DEA’s handling of seized drugs, the most egregious of which appears to be this particular aspect.

      [...]

      The OIG recommends the DEA start doing the thing it should have been doing 100% of the time already. The DEA concurs and will presumably correct it at the speed of bureaucracy. The problem is that this is obviously a systemic issue that has gone unaddressed for years. This lax handling of evidence should call into question the amounts cited during prosecution, not to mention any statements in court regarding the integrity of the evidence it supplies.

    • CSPD officers face possible lawsuit for beating Alzheimer’s patient

      Just after 5 p.m. on July 29, 2015, two Colorado Springs cops raced with lights and sirens to a burglary in progress. They’d been told 72-year-old Albert Schmeiler, who has Alzheimer’s disease, could be “very violent.”

      But on their arrival, Officers David Isue and Nicholas Ryland found Schmeiler calmly standing in the driveway with his mother-in-law, Margo Alvarez, according to a police report.

    • Hillary Clinton tells man wrongly convicted of murder that she favours death penalty

      Hillary Clinton told a man who was wrongly convicted of murder and spent almost four decades on death row that she was still in favour of the death penalty.

      In the run-up to primaries in five states on 15 March, Ms Clinton said she was “struggling” with the concept of the death penalty but that it should still be applied for “horrific mass killings” under the federal, not the state, system.

      The Democrat was asked a question on the subject by exonerated man Ricky Jackson, who “came perilously close to [his] own execution.” Mr Jackson was convicted at 18 years old for killing a salesman in Cleveland, Ohio in 1975. The key witness was 12 years old at the time and later recanted in court, as reported by CNN.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • From Dingo To Net Neutrality Hero: FCC Boss On Why Everybody Had Him Wrong

      When FCC boss Tom Wheeler was first appointed to head the agency, few expected much. After all, here was yet another FCC revolving door regulator with a history of lobbying for both the cable and wireless industries — now tasked with heading an agency that oversees both. Yet the one-time “dingo” surprised everybody by fighting for tougher net neutrality rules, raising the standard definition of broadband, standing up for municipal broadband and improved broadband competition, and now fighting to unlock the cable industry’s stranglehold over the cable set top box.

    • The Cord Cutting The Pay TV Sector Keeps Saying Isn’t Happening — Keeps Happening

      Several cable operators managed to eek out some modest subscriber gains in the fourth quarter of last year, prompting some renewed claims by the industry that cord cutting was “on the ropes” or was otherwise an unfair hallucination of the media. After all, Comcast saw a net gain of 89,000 pay TV users during the fourth quarter. Time Warner Cable similarly saw its best year since 2006 with a net gain of 54,000 TV subscribers. Charter also saw a net gain in the fourth quarter of 29,000 video subscribers. For some of these companies, this was the best performance they’ve seen since 2006.

    • Quietly, symbolically, US control of the internet was just ended

      It’s early March in Marrakech, and a gleaming conurbation of hotels run in the kind of rare equilibrium of slick organisation and genuine friendliness that Tyler Brûlé might dream about.

      Inside, the people who run the internet’s naming and numbering systems have been meeting with some of the governments who would rather be doing the job themselves. Eventually they cut a deal, and then negotiators from countries mostly in the northern hemisphere staggered blinking into the sunlight and splayed like lizards around the azure swimming pools, almost too tired to drink. Almost.

  • DRM

    • Conspiracy Theories Over Steam Game Suddenly Crashing Wrong; Just More Broken Anti-Piracy Code

      And so another conspiracy theory falls, this times at the hands of faulty DRM. I’ll put this here so nobody has to in the comments: never blame malice when incompetence is just as likely. Or maybe just blame DRM always and for everything. You’re going to be right a decent amount of the time.

    • Demonstration for a Web without restrictions

      We’ll rally in front of the global office of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to oppose a disastrous proposal by Hollywood and proprietary tech companies: adding Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) to the HTML standard that undergirds the Web. We’ll hear experts and activists speak on the topic, and distribute flyers, right outside an ongoing W3C event.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • UK Supreme Court finds against Trunki in design case

      The UK IPO will provide updated guidance for design applicants after the Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision that PMS International’s Kiddee Case does not infringe Magmatic’s registered community design (RCD) for the Trunki suitcase

    • Federal Circuit: Canada Not Best Forum for Enforcing US Intellectual Property Rights

      Halo (a Hong Kong based company) sued Comptoir (a Canadian company) in N.D. Illinois Federal Court for infringing its intellectual property rights associated with its furniture designs. The IP rights here include design patents, copyrights (pending registration) and non-registered trademark rights.

    • Copyrights

      • BREIN Threatens Pirates With High ‘Fines’, Warns VPN Users

        Hollywood-funded anti-piracy group BREIN has announced that it will begin pursuing legal action against individual BitTorrent users who share copyright infringing content. These pirates can look forward to settlement demands of several thousands of euros and the group plans to punish VPN users even harder, if they are exposed.

      • Can’t Make This Up: Paramount Says Star Trek Fan Flick Violates Copyright On Klingon And ‘Uniform With Gold Stars’

        Let’s go back just a few months to remind you about two stories that seem fairly unrelated.

      • Harper Lee’s Estate’s First Order Of Business: Kill Off The Cheap Version Of To Kill A Mockingbird

        To Kill a Mockingbird is obviously one of the most well-known and widely read books in American literature. And, of course, there’s been some controversy of late around its author, Harper Lee, who passed away last month. Much of the controversy focused on the decision last year to publish Go Set a Watchman, which was initially described as something of a long lost “sequel” to TKAM, but which it was later admitted was actually an early draft of TKAM. Many argued that Lee didn’t actually intend for the book to be published, and that she may have been taken advantage of by those around her. Either way, the controversy is now growing, following Lee’s death, as what appears to be the first and second orders of business for Lee’s estate was to (1) have the details of her will sealed and (2) stop publishing the mass market paperback version of To Kill a Mockingbird, making sure that the only new versions of the book that will be available will be the noticeably more expensive trade paperbacks.

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DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Friday, September 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, September 17, 2021



  2. Links 17/9/2021: Ubuntu 18.04.6 LTS, Manjaro 21.1.3, “2021 is the Year of Linux on the Desktop”

    Links for the day



  3. Links 17/9/2021: WSL Considered Harmful

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  4. [Meme] Microsoft Loves Linux Bug/Back Doors

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  5. Lagrange Makes It Easier for Anybody to Use Gemini and Even Edit Pages (With GUI)

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  6. IBM is Imploding But It Uses Microsoft-Type Methods to Hide the Demise (Splits, Buybacks, and Rebranding Stunts)

    A combination of brain drain (exodus) and layoffs (a lack of budget combined with inability to retain talent or attract the necessary staff with sufficiently competitive salaries) dooms IBM; but the media won't be mentioning it, partly because a lot of it is still directly sponsored by IBM



  7. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, September 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, September 16, 2021



  8. [Meme] 70 Days of Non-Compliance

    António Campinos would rather fall on his sword than correct the errors or work to undo the damage caused by Team Battistelli, which is still at the EPO



  9. EPO “Board 28” Meeting: Imaginary Dialogue Between EPO President Campinos and the Chair of the Administrative Council, Josef Kratochvíl

    The EPO‘s chaotic state, which persists after Benoît Battistelli‘s departure, is a state of lawlessness and cover-up



  10. Links 16/9/2021: Linux Mint Has New Web Site, LibreOffice 7.2.1, KDE Plasma 5.23 Beta, and Sailfish OS Verla

    Links for the day



  11. If Git Can be Done Over the Command Line and E-mail, It Can Also be Done Over Gemini (Instead of Bloated Web Browsers)

    In order to keep Git lean and mean whilst at the same time enabling mouse (mousing and clicking) navigation we encourage people everywhere to explore gemini://



  12. Techrights Examines a Wide Array/Range of Gemini Clients/Browsers

    After spending many months examining an array of different types of software for Gemini (including but not limited to clients/browsers) we take stock of what exists, what's supported (it varies a bit), and which one might be suitable for use by geeks and non-geeks



  13. Links 16/9/2021: KStars 3.5.5 and Chafa 1.8

    Links for the day



  14. Trusting Microsoft With Security is a Clown Show

    A quick and spontaneous video about this morning's post regarding a major new revelation that reaffirms a longstanding trend; Microsoft conflates national security (back doors) with security



  15. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, September 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, September 15, 2021



  16. Microsoft Azure and Back/Bug Doors in GNU/Linux: Fool Me Once (Shame on You) / Fool Me Twice (Shame on Me)

    "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me," goes the old saying...



  17. Deleted Post: “LibreOffice is Becoming Dominated by a Bunch of Corporates, and Has no Place for the Enthusiastic Amateur.”

    Chris Sherlock, an insider of LibreOffice, cautions about the direction of this very important and widely used project



  18. Links 16/9/2021: Unifont 14.0.01, LibreOffice on ODF 1.3, Mozilla Pushing Ads (Sponsored 'Firefox Suggest'), and Microsoft Pushes Proprietary Direct3D via Mesa

    Links for the day



  19. Links 15/9/2021: Another Azure Catastrophe and Darktable 3.6.1

    Links for the day



  20. Open Invention Network (OIN) Recognises a Risk Posed to Cryptocurrencies (Danger From Software Patents), But OIN Still Proposes the Wrong Solutions

    Square is joining OIN, but it's another example of banking/financial institutions choosing to coexist with software patents instead of putting an end to them



  21. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, September 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, September 14, 2021



  22. (Super)Free Software As a Right – The Manifesto

    "Software text has long been recognized as “speech”, and is covered under the very same copyright laws as conventional printed matter."



  23. Links 15/9/2021: Java 17 / JDK 17 Released and ExpressVPN Sold

    Links for the day



  24. Latest Public Talk (Over BigBlueButton) by Richard Stallman is Now Online

    This video has been released; it starts with an old talk and then proceeds to a new discussion (14 minutes from the start)



  25. Richard Stallman Is Not Surrendering His Free Speech

    The homepage of Dr. Stallman looked like this on Saturday, 20 years since the September 11 attacks in the US, noting that “[t]oday we commemorate the September 11 attacks, which killed President Allende of Chile and installed Pinochet’s murderous military dictatorship. More than 3,000 dissidents were killed or “disappeared” by the Pinochet regime. The USA operated a destabilization campaign in Chile, and the September 11, 1973, attacks were part of that campaign.”



  26. Twitter -- Like Google's YouTube -- is 'Hiding' Tweets From People Who Follow You

    So-called 'entertainment' platforms disguised as 'social' aren't the future of media; they need to be rejected



  27. How to Track the Development or Construction of the Techrights Web Site and Gemini Capsule

    Following some busy publication schedule (heavy lifting for weeks) we're stopping a bit or slowing down for the purpose of site (or capsule) 'construction'; here's a status update



  28. Links 14/9/2021: Libinput 1.19, Kali Linux 2021.3, and ExTiX Deepin 21.9

    Links for the day



  29. [Meme] [Teaser] EPO Management, Always Right

    The only permissible and allowable/exercise-able “Right” at the EPO is “Shut up and work”; if you strike, the dictator du jour will authorise a drone strike



  30. Recent Focus on Git, Gemini, and Upcoming Series About EPO Abuses

    Some updates about this past weekend's (and Monday's) work, which improves transparency and resilience ahead of the next 'blockbusters'


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