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06.21.16

Links 21/6/2016: Fedora 24 and Point Linux MATE 3.2 Officially Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Elon Musk’s open source OpenAI: We’re working on a robot for your household chores

    OpenAI, the artificial-intelligence non-profit backed by Elon Musk, Amazon Web Services, and others to the tune of $1bn, is working on a physical robot that does household chores.

    The robot OpenAI is targeting would be as reliable, flexible, and intelligent as Rosie the maid from TV cartoon comedy The Jetsons.

    OpenAI leaders Musk, Sam Altman, Ilya Sutskever, and Greg Brockton explain in a blogpost that they don’t want to manufacture the robot itself, but “enable a physical robot … to perform basic housework”.

  • Is Open Source Right for You? Maybe, But Cost Should Be the Last Consideration

    Without a doubt, open source is making the software business better. But, if you’re considering going the open source route for software that’s critical to your company, keep in mind that “open” doesn’t mean “free.” It’s understandable that cost would be a major factor in the decision to go open source, as it’s free to license and allows you to spin up unlimited instances. However, there are a number of hidden expenses associated with using open source software that in many cases can drive up the price tag way past commercial software. The real differentiating factors in open source have less to do with cost than they do with your objectives, and the capabilities of your team.

  • Community-powered marketing succeeds where traditional marketing fails

    It’s time for us B2B marketers to stop being so transactional and impersonal—to stop believing that buyers’ purchase decisions are completely rational. Buyers, after all, are people, not cogs in a wheel spinning inside their companies.

    Traditional B2B marketing tactics are expensive and increasingly ineffective. You know them well: online banners, emails from random salespeople, sponsored golf outings, airport advertising, billboards, radio ads. Our customers are swimming in messages about why our product is better than the next guy’s. They’re messages designed to promote, persuade, and convince, and they speak to the part of us hungry for just one more tiny bit of data that might help with an important decision.

  • Understanding Ceph and Its Place in the Market

    I see a strong and promising future for Ceph. Sure, like any other data storage solution it doesn’t address all data storage needs, but it’s here, and it’s yet another contender in the software-defined storage arena.

  • twenty years of free software

    I’m forty years old. I’ve been developing free software for twenty years.

    A decade ago, I wrote a series of posts about my first ten years of free software, looking back over projects I’d developed. These retrospectives seem even more valuable in retrospect; there are things in the old posts that jog my memory, and other details I’ve forgotten by now.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Getting Automatic Crash Reporting

      Markus Mohrhard cross-posted today on the Document Foundation blog of a new feature coming in LibreOffice 5.2. Mohrhard said, “Starting with LibreOffice 5.2 the LibreOffice project will have an automated crash reporting tool with server side analysis.” In other news, GNOME’s Sébastien Wilmet today blogged this thoughts on Mint’s X-Apps, little applications commonly forked from GNOME apps and Sam Varghese reported on the exit of Jacob Appelbaum from Debian. Gizmodo listed five reasons to install Linux, and by Linux they mean Ubuntu, onto your laptop and Matt Hartley discussed why Ubuntu LTS is better than the latest and greatest.

    • Crash reporting for LibreOffice

      Starting with LibreOffice 5.2 the LibreOffice project will have an automated crash reporting tool with server side analysis of the reports. This has been active in the builds since 5.0.0.0.beta1 and was really working since beta 2.

  • Docker

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing/Legal

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Science and Tech museums’ documents to be ‘open by default’ by fall, CEO pledges

        In a government town like Ottawa, where information has traditionally been jealously guarded, what Alex Benay is proposing could trigger a bout of cognitive dissonance.

        According to Benay, president and CEO of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation, almost all documents generated by the corporation’s three national museums – Science and Technology, Aviation and Space, and Agriculture and Food – will soon be available to the public through an online portal.

        “Our hope is by the fall, roughly 90 per cent of our information is available to the public in real time,” Benay said in an interview Monday, hours after tweeting that museum documents will be “open by default” by autumn.

        Not everything will be made public: cabinet documents and material dealing with such things as personnel matters or corporate planning will remain confidential.

        But after that, pretty much anything goes, Benay said, including early drafts of historical assessments, exhibition plans and schedules for travelling exhibitions.

  • Programming/Development

    • Automating your Home with Home Assistant: Python’s Answer to the Internet of Things

      Paulus Schoutsen created Home Assistant in 2013 “as a simple script to turn on the lights when the sun was setting,” as he told attendees of his recent Embedded Linux Conference and OpenIoT Summit presentation, “Automating your Home with Home Assistant: Python’s Answer to the Internet of Things.”

    • How DevOps best practices improve team dynamics

      I’ve spent the past few months writing about the small, incremental behaviors that individuals can employ to be more successful. This month, I’d like to highlight team behaviors that I think are critical to having small successes at work. I spent time with one of the AtomicOpenShift (AOS) teams at Red Hat—the Cockpit project.

      Although I spend a significant amount of my time with the AOS teams, I rarely get the chance to work directly with Cockpit. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to sit with them for a while when we were all in Brno earlier this year. From an outsider’s perspective, the team has an ease of speaking with each other—both on technical topics and personal ones—that makes you take notice. In fact, you might have assumed they all work together in the same office. However, all five engineers and the designer on the team are spread out across Europe and the United States.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • IOC Upholds Olympic Ban on Russia’s Track and Field Athletes

      The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced today that it has upheld the ban imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Russia’s track and field athletes.

      Meeting in the Swiss city of Lausanne, the IOC said that the widespread doping allegations in Russia casts “very serious doubts on the presumption of innocence” on Russian athletes and every athlete from the country who wants to compete in the Olympics will have to undergo an individual doping evaluation from an independent lab before being allowed to compete.

      Although some Russian media and officials had pinned hopes on the IOC intervening in the ban, most indications were that the Olympic body would affirm the IAAF decision. On Saturday, the IOC released a statement that it “fully respected” the IAAF decision and said it accepted the IAAF’s right to determine athletes’ eligibility to compete.

    • Rx Pizza: 1 Free Meal Can Sway Doctor Prescribing

      As little as one free meal from a drug company can influence which medicines doctors prescribe for Medicare patients.

    • Feed Me, Pharma: More Evidence That Industry Meals Are Linked to Costlier Prescribing

      Evidence is mounting that doctors who receive as little as one meal from a drug company tend to prescribe more expensive, brand-name medications for common ailments than those who don’t.

      A study published online Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine found significant evidence that doctors who received meals tied to specific drugs prescribed a higher proportion of those products than their peers. And the more meals they received, the greater share of those drugs they tended to prescribe relative to other medications in the same category.

      The researchers did not determine if there was a cause-and-effect relationship between payments and prescribing, a far more difficult proposition, but their study adds to a growing pile of research documenting a link between the two.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • BadTunnel: Critical vulnerability affects every version of Microsoft’s OS since Windows 95

      A security researcher from Tencent, China’s largest internet service portal, has discovered a critical security flaw in Microsoft’s Windows operating system that affects every single version of Windows over the last two decades, from Windows 95 all the way to Windows 10.

    • Decentralized Security

      If you’re a fan of the cryptocurrency projects, you’ve heard of something called Ethereum. It’s similar to bitcoin, but is a seperate coin. It’s been in the news lately due to an attack on the currency. Nobody is sure how this story will end at this point, there are a few possible options, none are good. This got me thinking about the future of security, there are some parallels when you compare traditional currency to crypto currency as well as where we see security heading (stick with me here).

      The current way currency works is there is some central organization that is responsible for minting and controlling the currency, usually a country. There are banks, exchanges, loans, interest, physical money, and countless other ways the currency interacts with society. We will compare this to how IT security has mostly worked in the past. You had one large organization responsible for everything. If something went wrong, you could rely on the owner to take control and make things better. There are some instances where this isn’t true, but in general it holds.

      Now if we look at cryptocurrency, there isn’t really a single group or person in charge. That’s the whole point though. The idea is to have nobody in charge so the currency can be used with some level of anonymity. You don’t have to rely on some sort of central organization to give the currency legitimacy, the system itself has legitimacy built in.

    • New RAA ransomware written in JavaScript discovered

      A new variety of ransomware called RAA has been discovered that has the somewhat unusual attribution of being coded in JavaScript instead of one of the more standard programming languages making it more effective in certain situations.

    • Want To Be A Cool Security Guru?

      Well it will take some work, security is not like what they show on TV. You don’t need green on black text, special goggles or an unlimited enhance function. Instead, it requires sitting down and understanding the history of the field, what it means to be “secure” and what limitations or assumptions you can work under. This summer I have decided to start my journey on the vast field of cryptography and am doing an online course at Stanford University that provides an introduction to cryptography. It is appropriately named “Cryptography I” and is the first part of a two part course, the second part being offered later in the Fall. Both are taught by a really awesome professor Dan Boneh who I find explains the material very well. I decided I would like to make some posts about what I have learned in this course as I go through the material so that I can share my knowledge and get a chance to write it down somewhere for later reference.

    • WordPress 4.5.3 Maintenance and Security Release

      WordPress 4.5.3 is now available. This is a security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • US election: Arrested Briton ‘wanted to shoot Donald Trump’

      A Briton who tried to grab a police officer’s gun at a Donald Trump rally in Las Vegas said he wanted to shoot the US candidate, court papers say.

      Michael Steven Sandford, 20, did not enter a plea when he appeared before a judge in Nevada and was remanded in custody until a hearing on 5 July.

      He is charged with an act of violence “on restricted grounds”.

    • Medea Benjamin

      This week’s Project Censored features a recent speech by long-time peace organizer Medea Benjamin. She examines recent successes and setbacks for the antiwar movement, and discusses her current campaigns.

      Medea Benjamin is cofounder of the womens’ peace group Code Pink and the fair trade organization Global Exchange. She spoke at Sonoma State University on March 25, 2016, as part of the student-organized Social Justice Week.

    • What is Missing from the Memo 51 U.S. Diplomats Signed Urging Strikes Against Assad in Syria

      Despite over 400,000 dead and ongoing ground and air campaigns inside the country by the U.S., Russia and several others, 51 U.S. diplomats are publicly demanding the Obama administration launch strikes directly against Bashir Assad in Syria.

    • The Use of Error-Prone and Unfair Watchlists Is Not the Way to Regulate Guns in America

      Using the broken watchlist system to regulate gun ownership raises issues of fundamental fairness.

      In the wake of the attack on LGBTQ Americans in Orlando, gun control is again at the forefront of the national conversation. It is also the subject of proposed legislation in Congress. We at the ACLU, like many other Americans, are appalled by the Orlando tragedy. We have deep concerns, however, about legislative efforts to regulate the use of guns by relying on our nation’s error-prone and unfair watchlisting system.

    • If You Value Life, Wake Up!

      Do you remember how close we came to Armageddon in the early 1960s when Washington put nuclear missiles in Turkey on the Soviet Union’s border and the Soviets responded by putting nuclear missiles in Cuba? Fortunately, at that time we had an intelligent president instead of a cipher. President John F. Kennedy pulled us back from the brink and was assassinated by his own government for his service to humanity.

    • How a Shootout on a Guatemalan Highway Opened Window to Corruption

      In 2013, ProPublica reporter Sebastian Rotella got a tip on an assassination attempt against Enrique Degenhart Asturias, a 44-year-old Guatemala native who had been working as a consultant to the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City. Rotella, a veteran Latin America correspondent, knew such violence was common in that part of the world, but this event felt distinctive.

  • Finance

    • George Soros: EU exit risks ‘black Friday’

      The world’s most famous currency speculator has warned that a vote on Thursday for Britain to leave the EU would trigger a bigger and more damaging fall for sterling than the day he forced Britain out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism almost a quarter of a century ago.

      George Soros, writing in the Guardian, said a Brexit vote would spark a ‘black Friday’ for the UK, but the devaluation of sterling would bring none of the benefits to the economy that it enjoyed after it dropped out of the ERM on 16 September 1992 – Black Wednesday.

      He said that, as in 1992, there would be big financial gains for speculators who had bet on the UK leaving the EU but that such an outcome would leave “most voters considerably poorer”.

    • Microsoft UK’s tax bill challenged… by the Sunday Times [Ed: Microsoft Jack calls story about Microsoft tax evasion “weak story”]

      Microsoft’s name has generally been missing from the reporting of tax avoidance by America’s tech giants: the brunt of the attack has been borne by Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon, all of which have sophisticated tax reduction strategies. Now the Sunday Times has thrown Microsoft’s hat into the ring, in a half page (paywalled) story headlined “Taxman backs £100m Microsoft wheeze”.

    • Boris Johnson will make TV apology if Brexit triggers recession

      Boris Johnson has said he will apologise on national television if Britain were to plunge into recession after a vote to leave the EU.

      His promise came in response to a caller to radio station LBC, who asked the former mayor of London: “If we Brexit and we go into recession, would you have the political courage, to go on TV … and say sorry, I made it wrong and I apologise?”

    • ‘Together as a people we are strong’ – David Beckham to vote Remain in EU

      Former England and Real Madrid star David Beckham has said that he will be voting for Remain in the EU Referendum.

    • David Beckham Will Vote Remain ‘For Our Children’ In EU Referendum

      “I played my best years at my boyhood club, Manchester United. I grew up with a core group of young British players that included Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville Brothers. Added to that was an experienced group of older British players such as Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce and Paul Ince. Now that team might have gone on to win trophies but we were a better and more successful team because of a Danish goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel, the leadership of an Irishman Roy Keane and the skill of a Frenchman in Eric Cantona.”

      Beckham continued: “I was also privileged to play and live in Madrid, Milan and Paris with teammates from all around Europe and the world. Those great European cities and their passionate fans welcomed me and my family and gave us the opportunity to enjoy their unique and inspiring cultures and people.

    • The writings of Gove and Boris reveal a chilling double act

      If Brexit happens, the chances of them running the country will increase. Do their books contain any clues about what they might do?

    • Barnes Denies Gove Claim He Backs Brexit

      The former footballer tells Sky News his views have been “misinterpreted” after he said Brexit would be good for English players.

    • EU referendum: England’s John Barnes calls out Michael Gove for saying he supports Brexit
    • Oracle profits surge—at the expense of Java development and software support

      On June 16, Oracle Corporation released financial results for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016, and corporate executives trumpeted the company’s cloud services success. According to the latest report, Oracle’s cloud infrastructure, platform, and software services collectively brought in $859 million for the quarter ending May 31, compared to $576 million for the same period in 2015. Oracle brought in $2.853 billion in revenues for cloud and had an $8.9 billion (£6.07 billion) profit for the year.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • No, Sanders’ Secret Service Detail Isn’t Costing ‘Taxpayers’ $38,000 a Day

      How does Messing propose that the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security, given Sanders’ authorization to stop protecting him, turn the resulting savings into cash for the purposes of “donating to Orlando families”? She, of course, won’t be proposing any such process, because this talking point is based on shallow moralizing, not on an honest assessment of the costs of Sanders’ continuing his campaign. Even without the exploitation of the Orlando attack, it’s a talking point that doesn’t make any sense.

      [...]

      Does anyone think the Secret Service is going to fire the exact number of agents assigned to Sanders the day he drops out? Does anyone think the additional vehicles and equipment needed will quickly be pawned off and the money transferred over to Johnny Taxpayer? Does anyone repeating this talking point think that if the Sanders campaign had ended one week ago the US federal government would somehow be $166,000 richer?

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Seeing Opportunity, Congress Tries To Rush Through Its Plan To Legalize FBI Abuses Citing ‘Orlando!’

      Just a few weeks ago, we wrote about the FBI pushing strongly for an update to the law that covers National Security Letters (NSLs) to cover up the fact that the FBI has been using them to get electronic communications records. The current law on NSLs doesn’t cover that information, though the FBI insists that it’s just a “typo” in the law, and still frequently asks for them in its NSLs, because NSL recipients often don’t know the law themselves and will still turn over the info. Of course, it helps that the NSLs often come with gag orders. Reports going back a decade have shown that the FBI has a serious problem with abusing its NSL powers to get lots of information it’s not supposed to have. And rather than do something to stop such abuses, the FBI’s friends in Congress have, instead, been trying to legalize such abusive practices to allow the FBI to do even more.

      And, in the spirit of “leave no crisis unexploited,” Senator Mitch McConnell is pushing forward on the amendment put forth by Senators McCain and Cornyn to expand NSLs. And, cynically, they’re citing the Orlando shootings as the reason why, despite the fact that this amendment was being pushed for before the shootings even occurred and the fact that this would have done absolutely nothing to stop the shootings.

    • Snooper’s charter: GCHQ will be licensed ‘to hack a major town’

      The security services are to receive a licence for hacking into the phones and laptops of a “major town” under the snooper’s charter legislation, which reaches the House of Lords next week.

      The broad nature of the hacking powers to be handed to GCHQ are disclosed in an obscure case study in a background Home Office document setting out the operational case for their use.

      This shows that all the phones and laptops in a “major town” could be hacked into, as long as the town were overseas and the action were necessary for national security purposes. The example used in the case study is identifying the phones and laptops being used by a terrorist group planning an attack on Western tourists in a major town

    • EU biometric data collection welcomed by US

      According to the minutes of the most recent EU-US justice and home affairs ministerial meeting, held in Amsterdam on 1 and 2 June, the US: “commended the EU collection of biometric data which had facilitated the fight against terrorism and the work of US law enforcement.”

    • Tor looks to beat off FBI hacking with Selfrando project

      YOUR PRIVACY PAL the Tor Project is going the extra mile to protect users from the spying eyes of the FBI.

      Tor, as you might already know, is a solid privacy choice that the anti-privacy people would like to see eviscerated. The Russians want it, and so does the US, which has broken into Tor already, apparently legitimately, in the pursuit of the Silk Road marketplace.

      Tor does not rest, and a document entitled On the Effectiveness of Address-Space Randomisation (PDF) shows the firm’s efforts to limit the kind of exposure that it was set up to circumvent.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • NY Legislature Rushes Anti-Airbnb Legislation; Likely In Violation Of Federal Law

      A few weeks ago, we wrote about how legislators in various cities (mainly SF, Chicago and LA) were trying to push through anti-Airbnb legislation that would require homeowners doing short term rentals to register with the city — and which would hold the platform (Airbnb) liable if its users failed to do so. As we noted, that almost certainly violates Section 230 of the CDA, which bars any law that attempts to hold a platform liable for the actions of its users. At least in San Francisco, the Board of Supervisors ignored all of this with a city attorney claiming (incorrectly) that since it regulates “business activities of platforms,” it’s not regulating the content on those platforms. That’s an… interesting dodge on the Section 230 issues. It seems unlikely to hold up in court, but California’s been especially wacky on CDA 230 lately. The SF legislation has since passed, and it will be interesting to see if anyone (i.e., Airbnb) decides to challenge it in court.

    • NY Post Craps On NYC’s Plan To Offer Free Wi-Fi — Because The Homeless Might Watch Porn

      As you might have heard, New York City recently launched one of the biggest free Wi-Fi initiatives ever conceived. Under the program, some 7,500 Wi-Fi kiosks will provide gigabit Wi-Fi, free phone calls to anywhere in the country (via Vonage), as well as access to a device recharging station, 311, 911, 411 and city services (via an integrated Android tablet). The city is installing ten a day — most at old payphone locations — and hopes to have 500 of the kiosks in place by July. It’s a pretty impressive effort, and by most measures providing fast, free connectivity to the city’s five boroughs has been something to celebrate.

    • How An Engineer’s Little Mistake Nearly Broke The Entire Internet

      A recent internet outage has affected many services like WhatsApp, Facebook, Slack, Reddit, and CloudFlare. After this massive outage was reported across many countries, TeliaSonera sent a note to other network operators and informed them about the mishap.

    • Cable Industry: Our Shitty TV Apps Are Just As Good As Real Cable Box Competition, Right?

      The cable industry is aggressively fighting the FCC’s attempt to bring competition to the cable box market. So far that’s been via a two-pronged approach of buying a torrent of incredibly misleading editorials by people pretending to be objective observers (including Jesse Jackson), and throwing money at politicians who oppose the plan, but pretty clearly have no goddamned idea what they’re actually talking about.

      Under the FCC’s plan (pdf), cable providers would be required to provide their existing programming to third-party hardware vendors, creating competition and hopefully a flood of better, cheaper hardware without the need for expensive, and annoying CableCARDs. But with the average user paying $231 annually in set top box rental fees, the cable industry is pulling out all the stops to protect $21 billion in annual, captive revenues.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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