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03.27.16

Links 27/3/2016: Mageia 6 and Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 on Their Way

Posted in News Roundup at 10:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Celebrating 17 Years of The Apache Software Foundation

    The Foundation’s commitment to fostering a collaborative approach to development has long served as a model for producing consistently high quality software and helping advance the future of open development. The ASF’s collaborative leadership, robust community, and meritocratic process serve as best practices widely embraced by organizations and individuals alike.

  • OpenToonz
  • OpenToonz Is The Open-Source Version of Toonz, The Software Used For Creating Futurama And Asterix
  • Web Browsers

    • NoScript Beginner’s Guide

      This NoScript Beginner’s Guide has been designed to provide new Firefox or NoScript users with information on how the browser add-on works. I have published a guide for regular users in 2014 which you may find useful as well.

      NoScript is a long standing security add-on for Firefox that is rated highly on Mozilla AMO and quite popular with more than 2.3 million users.

      It is often confused with ad-blockers, and while it does that to, it is much more than that and the ad-blocking is more of a side-effect of the extension’s functionality than something it has been designed for.

  • Databases

    • Playing with Dalmatiner DB

      Dalmatimer DB is an open source time series database built on top of riak-core and ZFS. It re-uses the logic from riak-core to handle the logic of where data is located but implements its very own database optimised for metrics

  • BSD

    • FreeNAS 9.10-RELEASE is available

      This is an interim release between the 9.3 series and 10 (which is still a few months away), using the same UI and middleware that everyone is used to from 9.3 but with new OS underpinnings, specifically FreeBSD 10.3-RC3.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • G’MIC 1.7.0 (Standalone Software And GIMP Plugin) Has Been Released

      As you may know, G’MIC (GREYC’s Magic Image Converter) is a editing tool, that can be used with GIMP or as a standalone application, being available for both Linux and Windows. G’MIC provides a window which enables the users to add more than 500 filters over photos and preview the result, in order to give the photos some other flavor.

    • PSPP 0.10.0 has been released

      I’m very pleased to announce the release of a new version of GNU PSPP. PSPP is a program for statistical analysis of sampled data. It is a free replacement for the proprietary program SPSS.

  • Licensing

    • Dr Stoll: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the GPL

      My Free Software journey starts with The Cuckoo’s Egg. Back in the early 90s a family friend suggested I might enjoy reading it. He was right; I was fascinated by the world of interconnected machines it introduced me to. That helped start my involvement in FidoNet, but it also got me interested in Unix. So when I saw a Linux book at the Queen’s University bookshop (sadly no longer with us) with a Slackware CD in the back I had to have it.

  • Programming

    • Don’t Pick a Programming Language Because It’s the ‘Most Profitable’

      An ultra-common and generally bullshit theme that can be found across the internet from Business Insider to coder forums to anywhere else that aspiring programmers and coders may lurk is that of the “most profitable” programming language. Where should “you,” as the stereotypical case of just-anyone wanting to get into code to make better and easier money, be best off spending your limited attention and financial resources? It is a bogus question that gets at sickly heart of programming hype—a phenomenon that rests mostly on the notion that a few weeks of online learning or a code bootcamp will make someone into a coveted resource.

    • There is no “my” in open source

      If you use Node, you’ve probably been following this week’s story between Azer Koçulu, Kik and npm.

      A brief rundown: Azer made an npm module called “kik”, which shares its name with a company. Kik asked him to rename the module, and Azer refused, so npm intervened and reassigned it to Kik.

    • The papa of Perl

      Perl 6 has been 15 years in the making, and is now due to be released at the end of this year. We speak to its creator to find out what’s going on.

      Larry Wall is a fascinating man. He’s the creator of Perl, a programming language that’s widely regarded as the glue holding the internet together, and mocked by some as being a “write-only” language due to its density and liberal use of non-alphanumeric characters. Larry also has a background in linguistics, and is well known for delivering entertaining “State of the Onion” presentations about the future of Perl.

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • DuPont’s Deadly Deception

      The major industrial enterprise E. I. du Pont de Nemours has been hiding studies on the deleterious effects the chemical C8 has on health for decades. C8 is a major surfactant component of Teflon, used in hundreds of different products including clothing, and furniture. C8 and other perfluorooctonoic acids (PFOA) are associated with a wide range of severe health problems from low levels of exposure like ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, as well as kidney cancer. DuPont continued producing C8 despite knowing its toxicity.

    • Monsanto’s Pesticide Linked to Kidney Disease That is Killing Thousands

      Monsanto’s use of a toxic pesticide, glyphosate, has been linked to rampant kidney disease in farmers and, according to a Vice News article, the death toll “has reached the tens of thousands.” Glyphosate, commonly known as RoundUp, is a weed killer that is made and used by Monsanto that “can become highly toxic to one’s kidneys when mixed with ‘hard water’” wrote Neha Shastry of Vice News.

  • Security

    • Stealthy malware targeting air-gapped PCs leaves no trace of infection [Ed: Windows]

      One of the major failures of the Stuxnet operation was its designer’s inability to maintain control of the computers that were infected by the self-replicating malware. What’s more, the Stuxnet code was also easily dissected by researchers, allowing them to eventually figure out it targeted industrial control systems. Gauss, another piece of malware spawned from at least some of the same developers as Stuxnet, didn’t make the same critical mistakes. Its mystery warhead was encrypted using a key derived from a single computer that has yet to be publicly identified.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US Stealthily Expands Its Military Presence Across Africa

      In recent years the US has quietly ramped up its military presence across the African continent, even though “officially” the US has only one permanent base, Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. Since the US opened that base, shortly after September 11, 2001, it has grown from 88 acres with 900 military personnel to around 500 acres with 5,000 military personnel. Camp Lemonnier is currently undergoing a $1.4 billion upgrade, expanding everything from aircraft maintenance hangars, ammunition shelters, and runway extensions to accommodation facilities.

    • Police Find And Detonate Explosive Device At Trump Supporter’s Home After He Threatened Muslims

      William Celli, a 55-year-old man from California, will spend 90 days in jail after being caught in possession of an explosive device and threatening to kill Muslims. Celli took a plea deal that places him on probation for a further three years and bans him from operating an active Facebook profile.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Fossil Fuel Light Pollution May Drown Out the Stars at Texas’ McDonald Observatory

      In Fort Davis, Texas, in the Davis Mountains, the McDonald Observatory, a “multi-million dollar facility” (Santoro), is being threatened, as light pollution from hydraulic fracturing and fossil fuels, has been increasing the sky’s brightness by up to 30%. The “Trans-Pecos Pipeline” project, if implemented early in 2016, is expected to contribute further to that trend. As a result, some of the darkest skies in the United States are being endangered. Furthermore, the projected pipeline project would negatively impact “one of the largest intact bioregions in the country,” according to Alyce Santoro’s report. It would also run through one of the few remaining areas in Texas that is unscathed by fossil fuel extraction and exploration.

    • Asia loses its appetite for coal

      Asia, the world’s biggest coal market by far, is showing signs of turning its back on what is the most polluting of fuels, shelving or cancelling a large number of coal-fired power plant construction projects.

      Four Asian countries – China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam – together account for about 75% of an estimated 2,457 coal-fired power stations at present planned or under construction around the world.

    • We’ve Barely Begun to Tap the Sun’s Mighty Power

      It seems like every few weeks there’s some new measurement of how successful solar power is in the United States. In early March, industry analysts found that solar is poised for its biggest year ever, with total installations growing 119 percent by the end of 2016. This week, federal government analysts reported that in 2015, solar ranked number three (behind wind and natural gas) in megawatts of new electricity-producing capacity brought online. That rank is even more impressive when you consider that each individual solar installation is fewer megawatts than a wind turbine, and far fewer than a natural gas plant; that means solar panels are popping up like crazy across the country.

    • Who can save Poland’s oldest forest from environmental disaster?

      Polish ecological organizations are up in arms over plans to reintroduce large-scale logging in the protected Bialowieza forest in the east of the country, in response to a massive spruce bark beetle infestation there.

    • Past emissions cause mounting climate havoc

      Climate change has reached the point where it may outstrip the quickening efforts to slow it by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, scientists say.

    • Investors Could Drag Exxon Kicking And Screaming Into A Low Carbon Economy

      First, the Securities and Exchange Commission ruled that the company has to allow shareholders to vote on a climate change resolution. Then, the Rockefeller Family Fund announced it would divest from fossil fuels — and took the opportunity to hit Exxon specifically for misleading investors about the risks of climate change.

  • Finance

    • High Court Asks Administration to Weigh in on Predatory Lending Case

      A SUPREME COURT order this week forces the Obama administration to make a decision: either save consumers tens of billions of dollars at the expense of debt collectors, car loan specialists, and student lenders, or defend those financial entities.

    • Banning boycotts: is history repeating itself?

      The UK government’s recent attempts to legislate against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions are reminiscent of Thatcher during South African Apartheid.

    • TPP Under Fire in the U.S. As Other Signatories Advance Towards Ratification

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is taking a beating in the ongoing U.S. presidential election cycle, leaving some observers to wonder if it can survive such a political backlash against trade agreements. But as the leading candidates seem to compete for who can bash U.S. trade policies the hardest, other countries have been pressing forward to ratify the TPP since the deal’s signature in February.

      In the U.S., chances are close to nil that the TPP could get ratified anytime soon. The White House is still seeking congressional support for the massive 12-country deal but the political environment could not be any more unfavorable. Presidential candidates are pointing to trade agreements as the root cause of economic inequality. For the Obama administration, things look grim in Congress as well. More and more lawmakers are coming out against the TPP, while others who had long championed the deal are now holding back their support over their stance that some of the provisions do not go far enough to protect certain industries. The soonest the TPP’s ratification vote may happen is during the “Lame Duck” period after November’s election.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Back to the Future: The Unanswered Questions from the Debates

      The nuances of foreign policy do not feature heavily in the ongoing presidential campaign. Every candidate intends to “destroy” the Islamic State; each has concerns about Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korea, and China; every one of them will defend Israel; and no one wants to talk much about anything else — except, in the case of the Republicans, who rattle their sabers against Iran.

      In that light, here’s a little trip down memory lane: in October 2012, I considered five critical foreign policy questions — they form the section headings below — that were not being discussed by then-candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Romney today is a sideshow act for the current Republican circus, and Obama has started packing up his tent at the White House and producing his own foreign policy obituary.

    • ‘A Broadcasting Operation Washes the Hand of the Owning Corporation’

      Journalist Ben Bagdikian died March 11 at age 96. He was a crucial influence on FAIR’s work, not only for his classic book The Media Monopoly, now called The New Media Monopoly and in its seventh printing, but also for the spirited journalism that preceded that work, including pushing the Pentagon Papers into print and going undercover as an inmate at a maximum security prison, and all the thoughtful, humanistic work that followed. He was a friend to us, and we’ll miss him.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Superdelegate Advantage

      Who are these Democrats, imbued with such power? Reason TV put together this instructional cartoon to help sort it all out.

    • Bernie Sanders Gets Big Boost With Landslide Wins in Washington, Alaska Caucuses

      Bernie Sanders won caucuses in Washington and Alaska by wide margins on Saturday to close the delegate lead against Hillary Clinton. Sanders captured 73 percent of the vote in Washington, which had 101 pledged delegates at stake, and 82 percent of the vote in Alaska, which had 16 pledged delegates.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • The Hubris of Investigators

      Policymakers who understand those themes will reject reported legislation that would mandate backdoors in your technology, or otherwise force tech companies to ensure the FBI’s access to everyone’s communications. Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, and Richard Burr, R-NC, have threatened to introduce a proposal along those lines, which would place millions of people at risk, overlook several key facts, and resign a need for long overdue—and increasingly vital—transparency into law enforcement excesses.

    • Glenn Greenwald: U.S. Government Wants Ability to Access the Communications of Everyone, Everywhere

      Web-exclusive interview with Glenn Greenwald on the debate over encryption and the Apple-FBI battle.

    • Tories and Lib Dem rivals in unofficial ‘coalition’ over GCHQ parking problem in Cheltenham

      RIVAL politicians are working in parallel to solve the ongoing parking issue in streets around GCHQ in Cheltenham.

      People who live in Hester’s Way and Fiddlers Green, and the councillors who represent them, are unhappy about employees and external contractors parking cars in residential roads causing disruption and congestion.

    • NSA’s domestic spying violates US Constition: Journalist

      “It’s high time that someone in the US Congress took some direct action against the NSA for their intrusion into Americans’ privacy and violation of their Second Amendment rights,” said Mike Harris, the financial editor at Veterans Today.

      “The NSA was never meant to be a domestic spy organization; the NSA was meant to gather foreign intelligence, not to spy on the American citizenry,” Harris told Press TV on Saturday.

      “This is in direct violation against the Second Amendment of free speech and the Fourth Amendment to be safe and secure in one’s housing,” he added.

      A couple of US lawmakers have called on the NSA to abandon its planned expansion of domestic spying.

  • Civil Rights

    • Saudi Arabia Cracks Down On ‘Peaceful Dissent,’ Sentences Journalist To Five Years In Prison

      Saudi Arabia sentenced a journalist to five years in prison over a series of tweets, in what human rights organizations are calling the latest crackdown on free expression by the oil-rich kingdom.

      In addition to spending five years in prison, Alaa Brinji was sentenced to an eight-year travel ban and a 50,000 Saudi Arabian riyals (about U.S. $13,300) fine. Brinji is a prominent Saudi journalist who was arrested in May 2014 and initially held in solitary confinement and without access to a lawyer. According to Amnesty International, Brinji’s crimes don’t fit the bill.

    • Does The United States Still Exist?

      Historically, a government that can, without due process, throw a citizen into a dungeon or summarily execute him is considered to be a tyranny, not a democracy. By any historical definition, the United States today is a tyranny.

    • Open Letter to the International Community about the political situation in Brazil

      We, professors and researchers from Brazilian universities, hereby address the International Academic Community to report serious breaches in the rule of law currently taking place in Brazil.

    • America’s Astounding Human Rights Hypocrisy in Cuba

      Our American president’s long-overdue visit to Cuba was a great thing for many reasons.

      But maybe our elected officials should cease their hypocritical yapping about the human rights situation in Cuba until they come clean about what’s happening here in the United States.

      To be sure, there is much to say about how this authoritarian regime has handled dissent. The details abound in the corporate media.

      But the idea of the United States lecturing Cuba or any other country on this planet about human rights comes down somewhere between embarrassing and nauseating.

    • Hey Albany, New Yorkers Deserve Paid Family Leave

      American workers have it hard. We put in more hours at work than any other workers in the industrialized world, and we are given — and take — fewer vacation days.

      At the same time, we’re also one of only three countries across the globe (the other two are Papua New Guinea and Suriname) that does not provide paid family leave. For American workers, being unable to leave work to care for a newborn baby or a seriously ill family member is an all too familiar scenario.

    • With Nuisance Laws, Has ‘Serve and Protect’ Turned Into ‘Silence and Evict’?

      When Nancy Markham called 911 multiple times between March and August 2014 because of her abusive ex-boyfriend, the single mother didn’t know that her calls for help would only lead to more fear and insecurity. Instead of serving and protecting her, the police department of Surprise, Arizona, tried to silence and get Markham evicted from her rental home — all because of an ill-conceived nuisance ordinance the city passed in 2010.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom Fights For “Mega Millions” in U.S. Appeals Court

        Megaupload’s legal team was back in court this week in an effort to reclaim an estimated $67 million in assets previously seized by the U.S. Government. Megaupload’s appellate counsel refuted the claim that Kim Dotcom and his former colleagues are fugitives, noting that the District Court ruling violates due process.

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