09.27.16

Links 27/9/2016: Lenovo Layoffs, OPNFV Third Software Release

Posted in News Roundup at 6:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • My Experiences Converting Users To GNU/Linux

      My wife, TLW, runs GNU/Linux with few problems. She uses a tablet, an Odroid-C2 ARMed thick client, and a big notebook all running Debian GNU/Linux or Ubuntu and her Android/Linux smartphone and her scanner and printer all deal with Beast, my GNU/Linux server. I have her file-system plugged in via NFS so she can do IT in bed, in front of the TV, on TV, or in her office and all her thousands of pictures, documents, scans etc. are all in the same place.

      She doesn’t even have much problem using Ubuntu or XFCE4 on Debian because she mostly uses the same applications all day long. It just works for her and memories of That Other Operating System are fading. She was locked to a single thick client with limited capabilities in those Dark Days. She had repeated crashes and malware. Today, her issues with IT are things like changing the name of a file on the FTP server or how to scan a light image or…, real problems, not problems M$ causes billions of people every day.

    • Shame on Microsoft for Leaving Surface Pro Customers in the Dark

      When Microsoft came out with its first batch of Surface tablets a few years ago, the company took a bath on them. It didn’t help that they were conceived around the unpopular Windows 8 and the now-defunct Windows RT and that the prospects for the OS were in question. After Microsoft wrote off $900 million on its money-losing Surface business, the deathwatch was on. But the Intel-based Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 showed a glimmer of hope, and Microsoft finally delivered a solid hit with the Surface Pro 3. After that water­shed release, the Surface division is now an important business that brings in more than $1 billion revenue per quarter. Yet Microsoft isn’t showing much appreciation toward the customers who helped put its Surface business on solid footing.

  • Server

    • DevOps: All Development, No Database

      Since the last time I touched working code in a production environment, it’s no exaggeration to say that no part of the development process remains untouched. Over the last decade plus, effectively every aspect of the application development process has been scrutinized, rethought and in many cases reinvented. From version control to build systems to configuration and deployment to monitoring, modern development’s toolchain is multi-part and sophisticated.

      As it must be. Processes that work for code released in cycles measured in months cannot be expected to handle workflows measured in days or minutes.

      For all that the process of developing software has evolved, however, the database remains curiously overlooked. Consider the example of Cloud Native. Describing a modern, typically legacy-free approach to building applications appropriate for cloud environments, the term Cloud Native has gone from informal descriptor to accepted industry shorthand in short order – to the extent that it has its own technical foundation.

      If we look at the membership of that foundation, the CNCF, it would appear that the roster includes no database vendors at the Platinum or Gold membership levels, at least if you assume Google’s involvement is around Kubernetes and not tools such as BigQuery. Of the 41 silver members, meanwhile, two can be considered database vendors: Crunchy and Treasure Data.

  • Lenovo

    • Microsoft, Lenovo Accused Of Blocking Linux On Signature Edition PCs

      Laptops today are increasingly powerful. Right now, if you get a new laptop, the probability is that it comes with the new Windows 10 operating system but there are some people that prefer to have a choice when it comes to OS selection. While some people are fine with Windows 10, there are those who might want to have a dual OS system running. A few people who bought Lenovo laptops like the Yoga 900, 910S, and 710S, found that Lenovo was blocking Linux.

    • What you missed in tech last week: HP’s ink ban, Lenovo vs Linux, Yahoo mega-hack

      LAST WEEK was a controversial one in the world of technology, and HP, Lenovo, Microsoft and Yahoo all faced a backlash from pissed off customers.

    • Motorola, Lenovo lay off over a thousand more people
    • New Lenovo layoffs at Moto, company has now lost over 95% of employees in four years

      Speaking to Droid-life, both sources inside the company and Motorola itself confirmed today that Lenovo has conducted a brutal round of layoffs at Moto. According to DL, over 50% of Motorola’s existing US staff have lost their jobs. A 20-year veteran of the company allegedly posted on Facebook that he had been laid off, so it looks like Lenovo is cutting deep at the device-maker.

      One source told them that over 700 employees would be asked to leave of the over 1200 Motorola currently employs. No doubt Lenovo hopes to cut costs by integrating much of Motorola’s software and hardware development into its own smartphone unit. Sensible or not, it’s still rather sad to watch the once-proud brand slowly be swallowed by The Great Lenovo Monster. The lack of critical or consumer hype around the company’s new Moto Z line hasn’t helped matters, and while the refreshed Moto G franchise was generally well-received, it’s the expensive phones that make the money, and I have a hard time believing the Z series is a runaway sales success.

    • Lenovo Courts Devs WIth Moto Z Source Code Release

      Lenovo, which owns Motorola, last week released the kernel source code for the Moto Z Droid smartphone on Github. The move follows the company’s posting of the Moto Z Droid Moto Mods Development Kit and Moto Mods on Github this summer. This is the first kernel source code made available for the Moto Z family of devices. Releasing the kernel source code seems to be another step in Lenovo’s attempt to get devs to build an iPhone-like ecosystem around the Moto Z family. The Z family is modular.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Linux Foundation Partners with Girls in Tech to Increase Diversity in Open Source

      One of the great strengths of open source is that it provides opportunities for everyone. Regardless of background, age, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation or religion, everyone can benefit from and contribute to some of the most important technologies ever developed.

      Yet we know that many groups remain underrepresented in the open source community, which is why The Linux Foundation engages in efforts such as providing diversity scholarships for our training and events and sponsoring organizations such as Women Who Code, Code.org, Blacks in Technology, All Star Code and more.

    • Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator: Muneeb Kalathil

      I started using Linux when I was in school. But at that point, I was limited to Installation and running a few commands. I really started learning and growing my interest in Linux while I was working on my degree in Computer Applications. My first distribution was Red Hat CentOS. I spent many hours learning Linux and enjoyed it.

    • Reiser4 Implements Mirror & Failover Support

      Edward Shishkin, one of the last remaining Reiser4 developers and the one who has been leading this out-of-tree file-system the past few years, has implemented logical volumes support with support for mirrors (in effect, RAID 0) and failover support at the file-system level.

      Shishkin quietly announced on Sunday, “Reiser4 will support logical (compound) volumes. For now we have implemented the simplest ones – mirrors. As a supplement to existing checksums it will provide a failover – an important feature, which will reduce number of cases when your volume needs to be repaired by fsck.”

    • security things in Linux v4.3

      When I gave my State of the Kernel Self-Protection Project presentation at the 2016 Linux Security Summit, I included some slides covering some quick bullet points on things I found of interest in recent Linux kernel releases. Since there wasn’t a lot of time to talk about them all, I figured I’d make some short blog posts here about the stuff I was paying attention to, along with links to more information. This certainly isn’t everything security-related or generally of interest, but they’re the things I thought needed to be pointed out. If there’s something security-related you think I should cover from v4.3, please mention it in the comments. I’m sure I haven’t caught everything. :)

      A note on timing and context: the momentum for starting the Kernel Self Protection Project got rolling well before it was officially announced on November 5th last year. To that end, I included stuff from v4.3 (which was developed in the months leading up to November) under the umbrella of the project, since the goals of KSPP aren’t unique to the project nor must the goals be met by people that are explicitly participating in it. Additionally, not everything I think worth mentioning here technically falls under the “kernel self-protection” ideal anyway — some things are just really interesting userspace-facing features.

    • Open Source NFV releases third platform, offers additional testing capabilities

      The OPNFV Project, an open source project set on driving the evolution of network functions virtualization (NFV) components, has made its OPNFV Colorado release available.

      As the third platform release, OPNFV Colorado includes feature enhancements across security, IPv6, Service Function Chaining (SFC), testing, VPN capabilities, and support for multiple hardware architectures.

      Specifically, OPNFV Colorado address three main areas: core feature upgrades, enhanced testing capabilities, and infrastructure and testing environment advancements.

    • Serro CEO to Participate on Prominent Keynote Industry Panel at the Linux Foundation’s Upcoming OpenDaylight Summit in Seattle
    • The Linux Foundation and edX Roll Out a Free OpenStack Cours

      The market for OpenStack training continues to surge, and training is now offered by vendors such as Mirantis and independent organizations such as The Linux Foundation. Overall training for OpenStack surged last year. According to the OpenStack Foundation, since the launch of the OpenStack marketplace in September 2013, training offerings grew from 17 unique courses in eight cities to 119 courses in 99 cities.

    • Linux Kernel 4.4.22 LTS Brings ARM and EXT4 Improvements, Updated Drivers

      Immediately after announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.7.5, renowned kernel developer and maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman informed the community about the availability of Linux kernel 4.4.22 LTS

    • ONOS Hummingbird SDN release touts core control function improvements

      ON.Lab’s ONOS Project noted its eighth SDN platform release expands southbound and northbound protocol, legacy device support

      The telecommunications market’s choice of software-defined networking platforms continues to blossom, with the Open Networking Laboratory’s Open Network Operating System Project releasing its latest SDN platform variant under the “Hummingbird” tag.

    • The Linux State Of AMD’s Zen x86 Memory Encryption

      With AMD’s forthcoming Zen processors is support for some new memory encryption technologies that are of particular benefit for virtualized environments.

      I wrote about Linux patches for AMD memory encryption earlier this year while since then more information has come to light. At last month’s Linux Security Summit, David Kaplan presented on these technologies coming with Zen; only today I had come across the slide deck for this presentation.

      The technologies come down to Secure Memory Encryption (SME) and Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV). SME provides memory encryption on a per-page-table basis using AMD’s ARM-based security co-processor. AMD SME + SEV are designed against both user-access attacks and physical access attacks with a particular focus on VM / hypervisor security.

    • Improving Fuzzing Tools for More Efficient Kernel Testing

      Fuzz testing (or fuzzing) is a software testing technique that involves passing invalid or random data to a program and observing the results, such as crashes or other failures. Bamvor Jian Zhang of Huawei, who will be speaking at LinuxCon Europe, realized that existing fuzz testing tools — such as trinity — can generate random or boundary values for syscall parameters and inject them into the kernel, but they don’t validate whether the results of those syscalls are correct.

    • OPNFV Heads Down Colorado Trail

      OPNFV today issued its third software release, ending the agonizing six-month period in which folks had to pronounce and spell Brahmaputra. (See OPNFV Issues Third Software Release.)

      This latest release continues the river theme but is sensibly named Colorado: It has other advantages as well, namely support for key features such as security, IPv6, service function chaining (SFC) testing, virtual private networks and more.

      In addition, Colorado is laying some key groundwork for what lies ahead as the industry comes to terms with the MANO (management and network orchestration) dilemma, says Heather Kirksey, Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. ‘s executive director.

    • OPNFV’s Third Release Includes Security Enhancements
    • ONOS, OPNFV Introduce Latest Open SDN, NFV Releases
    • OPNFV Issues Third Software Release
    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org’s GLAMOR 2D Performance Continues To Be Tuned

        While GLAMOR has already been around for a number of years as a means of providing generic X11 2D acceleration over OpenGL for the X.Org Server, it’s a seemingly never-ending process to optimize its code-paths for best performance. More improvements are en route for making GLAMOR 2D faster, which should especially be helpful for Raspberry Pi users making use of the VC4 driver stack on this very slow-speed hardware.

        Benefits to the GLAMOR code in the X.Org Server obviously have the potential to benefit all users of this acceleration mechanism for code going into the xorg-server code-base as opposed to an individual GL driver, but for Raspberry Pi users in particular there is some efforts ongoing by Broadcom’s Eric Anholt as well as Keith Packard’s never-ending tinkering with the X Server code. GLAMOR continues to be used by default for all AMD GCN GPUs, Nouveau for the latest generations of GPU too, VC4 2D is only supported with GLAMOR, and optionally by other DDX drivers too.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Core i7 6800K Benchmarks On Ubuntu + Linux 4.8

        While the Core i7 6800K has been available for a few months now, there hadn’t been any review on it since Intel hadn’t sent out any Broadwell-E samples for Linux testing this time around. However, I did end up finally buying a Core i7 6800K now that the Turbo Boost Max 3.0 support is finally coming together (at first, Intel PR said it wouldn’t even be supported on Linux) so that I can run some benchmarks there plus some other interesting items on the horizon for benchmarking. Here are some benchmarks of the i7-6800K from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with the Linux 4.8 kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Announcing the KDE Advisory Board

        With KDE having grown from a hobby project by a few volunteers 20 years ago to the large and central Free Software community it is now, our interactions with other organizations have become increasingly important for us. KDE software is available on several platforms, is shipped by numerous distributions large and small, and KDE has become the go-to Free Software community when it comes to Qt. In addition to those who cooperate with KDE on a technical level, organizations which fight for the same vision as ours are our natural allies as well.

        To put these alliances on a more formal level, the KDE e.V. hereby introduces the KDE e.V. Advisory Board as a means to offer a space for communication between organizations which are allied with KDE, from both the corporate and the non-profit worlds.

        One of the core goals of the Advisory Board is to provide KDE with insights into the needs of the various organizations that surround us. We are very aware that we need the ability to combine our efforts for greater impact and the only way we can do that is by adopting a more diverse view from outside of our organization on topics that are relevant to us. This will allow all of us to benefit from one another’s experience.

      • KDE Introduces An Advisory Board
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Behind the GNOME 3.22 Release Video

        This is less than usual. The time saving mostly stems from spending less time recording for the release video. At first thought you might think recording would be a breeze but it can be one of the most frustrating aspects of making the videos. Each cycle the GNOME community lands improvement a wide set of GNOME’s applications. So before each release I have to find some way to run a dozen of applications from master.

      • ContractPatch, Step 2: Understanding the power balance

        At the point you are presented with a job offer, your prospective employer really wants to hire you. Chances are, they’ve screened and interviewed a number of candidates and put a lot of work into the process. Your manager has thought deeply about who they want in the position and has probably imagined how it will all work out with you in the role. Both you and the hiring decision-maker(s) are probably very optimistic about what you’ll accomplish in the role and how well you’ll get along working together. At this point, no one wants to go back to the drawing board and start the process over again. You will be excited to start the new job but it’s worth taking a step back to appreciate the unusual position you are in with your new employer.

      • Epiphany Icon Refresh
  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0

        Uruk GNU/Linux appears to be a fairly young project with some lofty goals, but some rough edges and unusual characteristics. I applaud the developers’ attempts to provide a pure free software distribution, particularly their use of Gnash to provide a pretty good stand-in for Adobe’s Flash player. Gnash is not perfect, but it should work well enough for most people.

        On the other hand, Uruk does not appear to offer much above and beyond what Trisquel provides. Uruk uses Trisquel’s repositories and maintains the same free software only stance, but does not appear to provide a lot that Trisquel on its own does not already offer. Uruk does feature some add-ons from Linux Mint, like the update manager. However, this tends to work against the distribution as the update manager hides most security updates by default while Mint usually shows all updates, minus just the ones known to cause problems with stability.

        As I mentioned above, the package compatibility tools talked about on the Uruk website do not really deliver and are hampered by the missing alien package in the default installation. The build-from-source u-src tool may be handy in some limited cases, but it only works in very simple scenarios with specific archive types and build processes. Hopefully these package compatibility tools will be expanded for future releases.

        Right now I’m not sure Uruk provides much above what Trisquel 7.0 provided two years ago. The project is still young and may grow in time. This is a 1.0 release and I would hold off trying the distribution until it has time to build toward its goals.

    • New Releases

      • Black Lab Linux 8 Beta 3 Released

        The development team is pleased to announce the new Beta release of Black Lab Linux 8 – our latest OS offering to bring the best Linux desktop distribution currently on the market. This release moves the kernel and application set away from the prior LTS 14.04 base to the new 16.04 LTS base. Black Lab Linux 8 will showcase 3 desktop environments : MATE, LXDE and GNOME 3. Other improvements include:

        Full EFI support
        Kernel 4.4.0-38
        LibreOffice 5.2
        GNOME Video
        Rhythmbox
        Firefox 49
        Thunderbird
        GIMP
        Full multimedia codec support

      • Black Lab Linux 8 Beta 3 Is Out with Full EFI Support, Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

        Softpedia was informed today, September 26, 2016, by Black Lab Software’s CEO Robert J. Dohnert about the availability of the third Beta development snapshot of the upcoming Black Lab Linux 8 GNU/Linux operating system.

        Black Lab Linux 8 “Onyx” Beta 3 is here approximately three weeks after the second Beta pre-release and it comes with a major change. It is no longer based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), as the development team decided to switch base and move to the next Ubuntu LTS version, namely Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Beta2

        Leap 42.2 Beta2 is looking pretty good, except for the problems with Plasma 5 and the nouveau driver. That’s really an upstream issue (a “kde.org” issue). I hope that is fixed in time for the final release. Otherwise, I may have to give up on KDE for that box.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Exactly What Is OpenStack? Red Hat’s Rich Bowen Explains

        You’ve probably heard of OpenStack. It’s in the tech news a lot, and it’s an important open source project. But what exactly is it, and what is it for? Rich Bowen of Red Hat provided a high-level view of OpenStack as a software project, an open source foundation, and a community of organizations in his talk at LinuxCon North America.

        OpenStack is a software stack that went from small to industry darling at warp speed. It has three major components: The compute service runs the virtual machines (VMs), and it has a networking service and a storage service, plus a dashboard to run everything. OpenStack is only six years old, and was born as a solution devised by Rackspace and NASA to solve a specific problem.

      • Red Hat’s Results Underscore its Growing Focus on OpenStack

        Late last week, Red Hat reported earnings per share of 55 cents on revenue of $600 million, beating estimates of 54 cents and $590 million, respectively. One thing that went unsaid across much of the coverage is that the company is in the midst of a major shift in its strategy toward OpenStack-based cloud computing, and it looks like service revenues and positive momentum from that effort are starting to arrive.

        “Our growth was driven in part by expanding our footprint with customers as we closed a record number of deals over $1 million, up approximately 60 percent year-over-year,” Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said during his company’s earnings call. Seven of the top 30 deals had OpenStack in there, nine had RHEV,” Whitehurst said. “We had three OpenStack deals alone that were over $1 million. So I think we’re seeing really, really, really good traction there.”

      • Red Hat targets $5-b revenue in five years

        Open-source technology firm Red Hat Inc, which hit the $2-billion revenue milestone two quarters ago, is looking to achieve $2.4 billion in FY 2017 and $5 billion in the next five years.

        The company is betting on India, its second largest operation outside the US, as one of the key growth engines to help achieve its aspirational revenue goal of $5 billion by 2021.

        “India is a bright spot for Red Hat for three reasons,” Rajesh Rege, Managing Director, Red Hat India, told BusinessLine.

      • Red Hat Announces Ansible Tower App for Splunk, Enabling Intelligence and Automation Enhancements
      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 26 Linux OS to Ship with OpenSSL 1.1.0 by Default for Better Security

          Fedora Program Manager Jan Kurik informs the Fedora Linux community about a new system-wide change for the upcoming Fedora 26 operating system, namely the addition of the OpenSSL 1.1.0 libraries by default.

          It appears that current Fedora Linux releases ship with OpenSSL 1.0.2h, which has been patched with the latest security fixes, but the team decided it was time to upgrade the OpenSSL libraries (libssl and libcrypto) to a newer, more advanced branch. Therefore, Fedora 26 Linux will ship with OpenSSL 1.1.0 by default, which will have a massive impact on the overall stability and security of the OS.

          “Update the OpenSSL library to the 1.1.0 branch in Fedora to bring multiple big improvements, new cryptographic algorithms, and new API that allows for keeping ABI stability in future upgrades. We will also add compat openssl102 package so the applications and other dependencies which are not ported yet to the new API continue to work,” reads the proposal.

        • GLPI version 9.1

          GLPI (Free IT and asset management software) version 9.1 is available. RPM are available in remi repository for Fedora ≥ 22 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 5

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 “Nev” Is in the Works, to Ship with the GNOME 3.22 Desktop

          We told you the other day that the Parsix GNU/Linux development team informed the community that new security updates are available for the current stable Parsix GNU/Linux 8.10 “Erik” and Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” releases.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Unimpressed with Ubuntu 16.10? Yakkety Yak… don’t talk back

            Before I dive into what’s new in Ubuntu 16.10, called Yakkety Yak, let’s just get this sentence out of the way: Ubuntu 16.10 will not feature Unity 8 or the new Mir display server.

            I believe that’s the seventh time I’ve written that since Unity 8 was announced and here we are on the second beta for 16.10.

            Maybe that’s why they named it Unity 8. Whatever the case, Unity 8 is available for testing if you’d like to try it. So far I haven’t managed to get it working on any of the hardware I use, which goes a long way to explaining why it’s not part of Ubuntu proper yet.

          • Unimpressive Yakkety Yak, Plasma 5 Issues in Leap

            Today was a rough day in Linux distro news, Scott Gilbertson reviewed the Beta of upcoming Ubuntu 16.10 saying there’s not a whole lot to recommend in this update. Neil Rickert test drove openSUSE’s latest beta and had issues with his NVIDIA. Jesse Smith couldn’t tell what was added to Uruk over base Trisquel and Gary Newell didn’t see much point to portable Porteus since most stuff didn’t work.

          • Indicator Sound Switcher Makes Switching Audio Devices on Ubuntu a Snap
  • Devices/Embedded

    • SODIMM-style i.MX7 COM features dual GbE, WiFi/BT, eMMC

      Variscite’s Linux-driven “VAR-SOM-MX7” COM is shipping with an i.MX7 Dual SoC, WiFi and BLE, dual GbE, and optional eMMC and extended temp. support.

      Variscite’s VAR-SOM-MX7 follows many other Linux-ready computer-on-modules based on NXP’s i.MX7 SoC, which combines one or two power-stingy, 1GHz Cortex-A7 cores with a 200MHz Cortex-M4 MCU for real-time processing. While most of these offer a choice of a Solo or Dual model, and the NXP/Element14 WaRP7 offers only the Solo, the SODIMM-style VAR-SOM-MX7 taps the dual-core Dual. Unlike most of these modules, but like the WaRP7 and the CompuLab CL-SOM-iMX7, Variscite’s entry offers onboard WiFi and Bluetooth, in this case Bluetooth 4.1 with BLE.

    • BeagleBone Black Wireless SBC taps Octavo SiP, has open design

      BeagleBoard.org’s “BeagleBone Black Wireless” SBC uses Octavo’s OSD335x SiP module and replaces the standard BeagleBone Black’s Ethernet with 2.4GHz WiFi and BT 4.1 BLE.

      BeagleBone Black Wireless is the first SBC to incorporate the Octavo Systems OSD335x SiP (system-in-package) module, “which integrates BeagleBone functionality into one easy-to-use BGA package,” according to BeagleBoard.org. Announced on Sep. 26, the OSD3358 SiP integrates a TI Sitara AM3358 SoC along with a TI TPS65217C PMIC, TI TL5209 LDO (low-drop-out) regulator, up to 1GB of DDR3 RAM, and over 140 passives devices including resistors, capacitors, and inductors, within a single BGA package. The Linux-driven hacker SBC also adds TI WiLink 8 WL1835MOD wireless module with 2.2 MIMO.

    • NAS-targeted Skylake Mini-ITX loads up on SATA, GbE, PCIe
    • Epiq Solutions’ Sidekiq M.2

      Following on its resounding success with its Sidekiq MiniPCIe card, wireless communications systems specialist Epiq Solutions recently added the Sidekiq M.2 state-of-the-art, small form-factor, software-defined radio (SDR) card. Epiq Solutions explains that the Sidekiq product line provides a breakthrough small form-factor SDR transceiver solution ready for integration into systems that support either MiniPCIe or now the M.2 card form factors.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Samsung in talks with Russian government to distribute the Z3 to students

          Samsung had recently made another announcement in Russia by partnering with Gazprom to distribute its Tizen handsets to the company’s employees. The South korean technology giant are now looking at a new way to increase the Tizen adoption rate in Russia. The target market for the new plan is school students. Samsung are in talks with multiple government agencies to supply the Tizen Z3 smartphone to school students and this was hinted during the Internet of Things forum hosted by Moscow Tizen Association in Russia on the 22nd of September.

        • My Money Transfer App Enters BETA for Z1 and Z3
      • Android

        • 6 open source fitness apps for Android

          A key part of developing a good fitness routine is creating a solid workout plan and tracking your progress. Mobile apps can help by providing readily accessible programs specifically designed to support the user’s fitness goals. In a world of fitness wearable devices like FitBit, there are plenty of proprietary apps designed to work with those specific devices. These apps certainly provide a lot of detailed tracking information, but they are not open source, and as such, do not necessarily respect the user’s privacy and freedom to use their own data as they wish. The alternative is to use open source fitness apps.

          Below, I take a look at six open source fitness apps for Android. Most of them do not provide super detailed collection of health data, but they do provide a focused user experience, giving the user the tools to support their workouts or develop a plan and track their progress. All these apps are available from the F-Droid repository and are all licensed under the GPLv3, providing an experience that respects the user’s freedom.

        • Roku Express, Roku Premiere, and Roku Ultra announced, starting at $29.99

          Roku Inc, maker of the popular Roku line of home media players, has just refreshed their entire product lineup at once. The existing lineup of flagship Roku boxes (but not the Roku Streaming Stick) has been replaced by three new products (with upgraded models for each); the Roku Express, the Roku Premiere, and the Roku Ultra.

        • This is what the Chromecast Ultra will look like

          Google is ramping up for their major October 4th event. In addition to seeing the Pixel and the Pixel XL formally unveiled, we’re also expecting a new Chromebook and the Chromecast Ultra. Until today, we had no idea what to really expect from the new Chromecast device in terms of design, but now we’re finally getting a sneak peek.

        • Android + Chrome = Andromeda; merged OS reportedly coming to the Pixel 3

          It has been almost a year since The Wall Street Journal dropped a bomb of a scoop on the Android community, saying Chrome OS would be “folded into” Android. The resulting product would reportedly bring Android to laptops and desktops. According to the paper, the internal effort to merge these two OSes had been underway for “roughly two years” (now three years) with a release planned for 2017 and an “early version” to show things off in 2016. It seems like we’re still on that schedule, and now Android Police claims to have details on the new operating system—and its first launch device—coming Q3 2017.

        • 8 great Android features that iOS needs to steal

          Not that long ago, I used to feel sorry for Android users and their clunky, sluggish devices—the thought of giving up my iPhone never crossed my mind. Recently, though, I’ve been the one green-eyed with envy, as snazzy new Android features make my once-precious iOS handset feel old and tired by comparison.

          Below I’ve highlighted eight of the most notable Android features that iOS needs to steal (there are plenty more, mind you), from automatic power-saving mode and installing apps from the web to smarter keypad shortcuts and the ability to clear storage-hogging app caches with a single tap.

        • Google said to debut Android/Chrome OS hybrid on tablet, convertible notebook

          Google is planning hybrid devices that run both Android and Chrome OS, including one convertible laptop, and one Huawei Nexus-branded tablet, according to a new report from 9to5Google. The report backs up another from Android Police today that says a convertible notebook is on the way.

          The Andromeda project bakes Chrome OS features into Android, giving you the best of both worlds in one place, according to early reports. This would make a lot of sense for a thin, convertible laptop device like the so-called “Pixel 3” that Android Police reported this morning, which is set to be launched in Q3 2017, and which will potentially boast a 12.3-inch touchscreen display.

        • Google Andromeda hybrid Android/Chrome OS tested on Nexus 9
        • Google reportedly working on a laptop and tablet running an Android-Chrome OS hybrid

          Google is reportedly working on a new Pixel laptop that will run on the long-gestating new operating system that merges Android and Chrome OS. According to Android Police and 9to5Google, the device is known internally by the codename “Bison” or Pixel 3, and will run on what’s currently being called “Andromeda” when it sees release in Q3 2017. In addition, 9to5Google also reports that Huawei is working on a new Nexus tablet that will also run the new OS.

        • Xiaomi Mi Box Android TV appears in the wild with a $69 price tag

          A savvy buyer spotted the forthcoming Xiaomi Mi Android TV box for sale at a Wal-Mart recently, even though the company still lists the set-top box as “coming soon” on the promo page.

          Not only did this quick-thinking individual grab some pictures of the merchandise, he also uploaded an unboxing video to YouTube. Nicely done.

        • Sony Xperia Devices To Get Android 7.0 Nougat In October
        • Sony’s leaked Android Nougat update plans reveal no love for Xperia Z3
        • ColorTV launches its content recommendations on Apple TV, Android TV and more
        • Best Android Phones 5.7 inches And Over
        • Xiny Android trojan evolves to root phones and infect system processes
        • Declutter your phone for a cleaner, faster Android experience
        • Android Nougat Update Coming Soon To Motorola, Samsung & Sony: List Of Devices Include Galaxy S7, Moto Z , Xperia XZ

Free Software/Open Source

  • Adopt a pump.io server

    As most of you know, E14N is no longer my main job, and I’ve been putting my personal time, energy, and money into keeping the pump network up and running. I haven’t always done a good job, and some of the nodes have just fallen off the network. I’d like to ask people in the community to start taking over the maintenance and upkeep of these servers.

  • Prodromou: Adopt a pump.io server

    There are currently around 25 servers in the federated network initially started by Prodromou, which does not count other pump.io instances. He notes that one important exception is the identi.ca site, which is significantly larger than the rest, and which he would like to find a trusted non-profit organization to maintain.

  • What does it mean to change company culture?

    Tools are specific concrete things that a culture has decided is a way to improve a process. Buckminster Fuller has a great quote about tools and thinking: “If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.” In particular, DevOps tools can provide folks new ways to look at things—like delivering code into a production environment, for example. But there’s lots of examples where a new tool doesn’t influence the thinking of the people who use it, so things don’t change.

  • Why Open Beats Closed
  • Google Improves Image Recognition; Releases Project as Open Source Software

    Google says its algorithm can correctly caption a photograph with nearly 94 percent accuracy.

    The company says the improvements come in the third version of its system named Inception, with the score coming from a standardized auto-caption test named ImageNet. It reports the first version scored 89.6 percent, the second 91.8 percent and the new one 93.9 percent.

  • Contributing to Open Source Projects Not Just For the Experts

    XDA has long been a proponent of open source development, and we’ve seen it flourish over the years. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons our community has grown as fast as it has over these past 13 years, with Android’s core being the driving force. Many people desire to be part of open source and contribute but often don’t know how they can, whether because they think they lack the skills or they just don’t have the time.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Reader Mode is Finally Getting a Keyboard Shortcut

        Among the changes which arrived in the September release of Firefox 49 were an enhanced set of Reader Mode features, including spoken narration and line-width spacing options. All very welcome. But the improvements aren’t stopping there. Firefox 50, which is due next month, will add another sorely needed feature: a keyboard shortcut for Reader Mode. Y

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Introduction to OpenStack by Rich Bowen

      In this talk, Rich, the OpenStack Community Liaison at Red Hat, will walk you through what OpenStack is, as a project, as a Foundation, and as a community of organizations.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Public licenses and data: So what to do instead?

      Why you still need a (permissive) license

      Norms aren’t enough if the underlying legal system might allow an early contributor to later wield the law as a threat. That’s why the best practice in the data space is to use something like the Creative Commons public domain grant (CC-Zero) to set a clear, reliable, permissive baseline, and then use norms to add flexible requirements on top of that. This uses law to provide reliability and predictability, and then uses norms to address concerns about fairness, free-riding, and effectiveness. CC-Zero still isn’t perfect; most notably it has to try to be both a grant and a license to deal with different international rules around grants.

  • Programming/Development

    • Pairing LLVM JIT With PostgreSQL Can Speed Up Database Performance

      Using the LLVM JIT with PostgreSQL can vastly speed up the query execution performance and shows off much potential but it hasn’t been mainlined yet.

      Dmitry Melnik presented at this month’s LLVM Cauldron over speeding up the query execution performance of PostgreSQL by using LLVM. Particularly with complex queries, the CPU becomes the bottleneck for PostgreSQL rather than the disk. LLVM JIT is used for just-in-time compilation of queries.

    • LLVM Cauldron 2016 Videos, Slides Published

      The inaugural LLVM Cauldron conference happened earlier this month ahead of the GNU Tools Cauldron in Hebden Bridge, UK. All of the slides and videos from this latest LLVM conference are now available.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • iPhone 7 Owners Destroy Phones After DRILLING Their Own Headphone Jack

    Just one problem. It is a joke. Yet iPhone 7 owners, or those desperate for their beloved headphone jack, have been attempting to drill their own. And it isn’t ending well for any of them.

  • Traffic Is Fake, Audience Numbers Are Garbage, And Nobody Knows How Many People See Anything

    How many living, breathing human beings really read Techdirt? The truth — the most basic, rarely-spoken truth — is that we have no earthly idea. With very few exceptions, no media property big or small, new or old, online or off, can truly tell you how big its audience is. They may have never thought about it that way — after all, we all get as close as we can to what we think is a reasonably accurate estimation, though we have no way of confirming that — but all these numbers are actually good for (maybe) is relative comparisons. What does it really mean when someone says “a million people” saw something? Or ten or a hundred million? I don’t know, and neither do you. (Netflix might, but we’ll get to that later.)

    Where should we start? How about this: internet traffic is half-fake and everyone’s known it for years, but there’s no incentive to actually acknowledge it. The situation is technically improving: 2015 was hailed (quietly, among people who aren’t in charge of selling advertising) as a banner year because humans took back the majority with a stunning 51.5% share of online traffic, so hurray for that I guess. All the analytics suites, the ad networks and the tracking pixels can try as they might to filter the rest out, and there’s plenty of advice on the endless Sisyphean task of helping them do so, but considering at least half of all that bot traffic comes from bots that fall into the “malicious” or at least “unauthorized” category, and thus have every incentive to subvert the mostly-voluntary systems that are our first line of defence against bots… Well, good luck. We already know that Alexa rankings are garbage, but what does this say about even the internal numbers that sites use to sell ad space? Could they even be off by a factor of 10? I don’t know, and neither do you. Hell, we don’t even know how accurate the 51.5% figure is — it could be way off… in either direction.

  • Alton Towers fined £5 MILLION for Smiler crash which left 16 maimed and injured

    The accident on the £18million white-knuckle ride in June last year at Alton Towers, the UK’s biggest theme park, left 16 people injured.

    At Stafford Crown Court, Judge Michael Chambers QC said thousands of young people were exposed to harm on the ride.

    He said: “Many thousands of people who went on the ride since it opened in May 2013 have been exposed to harm.”

  • Alton Towers operator Merlin fined £5m over Smiler crash

    Alton Towers operator Merlin has been fined £5m for the crash on the Smiler rollercoaster.

    Sixteen people were injured in the June 2015 crash, including two teenage girls who needed leg amputations.

    In April, Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd admitted breaching the Health and Safety Act.

  • Science

    • Why data is the new coal

      Deep learning needs to become more efficient if it is going to move from using data to categorise images of cats to diagnosing rare illnesses

  • Health/Nutrition

    • VCAT rejects tobacco giant’s push to access schoolchildren smoking data

      A judge has crushed moves by a tobacco giant to access the confidential survey results of Australian schoolchildren, including information revealing their attitudes to cigarettes and alcohol.

      British American Tobacco used freedom-of-information laws to seek access to six Cancer Council Victoria files, arguing it was in the public interest to expose to scrutiny the raw material used to underpin its plain packaging position.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Who left all this fire everywhere?

      If you’re paying attention, you saw the news about Yahoo’s breach. Five hundred million accounts. That’s a whole lot of data if you think about it. But here’s the thing. If you’re a security person, are you surprised by this? If you are, you’ve not been paying attention.

    • IPFire 2.19 Linux Firewall OS Patched Against the Latest OpenSSL Vulnerabilities

      Only three days after announcing the release of IPFire 2.19 Core Update 104, Michael Tremer informs the community about the availability of a new update, Core Update 105, which brings important OpenSSL patches.

    • OpenSSL security advisory for September 26

      This OpenSSL security advisory is notable in that it’s the second one in four days; sites that updated after the first one may need to do so again.

    • Canonical Patches OpenSSL Regression in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, 14.04 LTS & 12.04 LTS

      After announcing a few days ago that a new, important OpenSSL update is available for all supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems, Canonical’s Marc Deslauriers now informs the community about another patch to address a regression.

      The new security advisory (USN-3087-2) talks about a regression that was accidentally introduced along with the previous OpenSSL update (as detailed on USN-3087-1), which addressed no less than eleven (11) security vulnerabilities discovered upstream by the OpenSSL team.

    • Patch AGAIN: OpenSSL security fixes now need their own security fixes
    • Bangladesh Bank exposed to hackers by cheap switches, no firewall: Police
    • This is the Israeli company that can hack any iPhone and Android smartphone

      If Cellebrite sounds familiar, that’s because the name of this Israeli company came up during Apple’s standoff with the FBI over breaking iPhone encryption. The agency managed to crack the San Bernardino iPhone with the help of an undisclosed company. Many people believe it was Cellebrite that came to the rescue. Meanwhile, the company revealed that it could hack just about any modern smartphone, but refused to say whether its expertise is used by the police forces of repressive regimes.

    • Reproducible Builds: week 74 in Stretch cycle
    • East-West Encryption: The Next Security Frontier?

      Microsegmentation, a method to create secure, virtual connections in software-defined data centers (SDDCs), has already emerged as one of the primary reasons to embrace network virtualization (NV). But some vendors believe that East-West encryption of traffic inside the data center could be the next stop in data-center security.

      For example, VMware says it is looking at encrypting East-West traffic inside the data center, adding another layer of security to the SDDC. Why is that important? Today, most firewalls operate on the perimeter of the data center – either guarding or encrypting data leaving the data center for the WAN. And some security products may encrypt data at rest inside the data center. But encrypting the traffic in motion between servers inside the data center – known in the business as the East-West traffic – is not something that’s typically done.

    • DHS Offers Its Unsolicited ‘Help’ In Securing The Internet Of Things [Ed: In the UK, GCHQ meddles in the Surveillance of Things in the name of 'security' while at the same time, with Tories' consent, cracking PCs]

      It’s generally agreed that the state of security for the Internet of Things runs from “abysmal” to “compromised during unboxing.” The government — despite no one asking it to — is offering to help out… somehow. DHS Assistant Secretary for Cyber Policy Robert Silvers spoke at the Internet of Things forum, offering up a pile of words that indicates Silvers is pretty cool with the “cyber” part of his title… but not all that strong on the “policy” part.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Duterte ‘admitted complicity’ in Davao killings – WikiLeaks

      President Rodrigo Duterte dared Senator Leila de Lima on Tuesday, September 20, to prove that he was behind extrajudicial killings in Davao City when he was the mayor there.

      A confidential cable dated May 8, 2009, which was published by WikiLeaks, said that Duterte once “admitted complicity” in vigilante killings in Davao City.

      The cable, written by then-US ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney, quoted statements from then Commission on Human Rights (CHR) regional director Alberto Sipaco Jr.

      Kenney wrote: “Commission on Human Rights regional director Alberto Sipaco (strictly protect) at a private meeting affirmed that Mayor Duterte knows about the killings and permits them. Recounting a conversation he once had with Duterte, who is his close friend and former fraternity brother, Sipaco said he pleaded with the Mayor to stop vigilante killings and support other methods to reduce crime, like rehabilitation programs for offenders.”

      “According to Sipaco, the Mayor responded, ‘I’m not done yet,’” Kenney said.

  • Finance

    • IBM, China UnionPay complete block chain pilot project on bank loyalty points

      IBM completed a pilot project with Chinese credit card company China UnionPay that will facilitate the sharing of loyalty bonus points among banks using block chain technology.

      Bonus points earned through purchases on bank cards have long been an effective tool to attract and encourage customers to use specific cards. But since bonus points cannot be freely exchanged among different banks, offering various rewards, many go unused.

      IBM’s collaboration with China UnionPay will enable consumers worldwide to exchange bonus points from their various banks in less than a minute to select rewards they want.

      Block chain, the underlying technology in digital currencies such as bitcoin, has become one of the hottest innovations in the financial services world. Technology companies and banks have been exploring the use of block chain in all facets of both the financial and non-financial industries.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why no third parties tonight? Because two parties control the process

      Tonight’s debates will take place without Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Neither met a threshold of hitting 15 percent in national polls and thus were not invited to participate.

      That threshold was set by the group that puts on the debates, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Since its inception, the CPD has been staffed by elites from the two major parties. They pick the moderators, choose the format, and set the terms for participation.

    • Vote Now: Who Won the First Clinton-Trump Debate?

      Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton met for their first presidential debate Monday, and we want to know who you think won.

      Take a moment to click the link below next to the candidate who you thought did the best at the debate at Hofstra University in New York.

    • Barroso had deeper ties to Goldman Sachs

      Jose Manuel Barroso had closer contact with Goldman Sachs during his tenure as European Commission chief than he has previously admitted, according to Portuguese media.

      Correspondence obtained by Portuguese daily Publico under a freedom of information request suggests that Barroso, who took a job with the US bank earlier this year, held unregistered meetings with Goldman’s top people.

      In one email dated 30 September 2013, Goldman boss Lloyd Blankfein thanked Barroso for their “productive discussions” and said the bank’s senior partners were delighted about their “extremely fruitful meetings”.

      Publico reported that Goldman executives were happy to suggest “on a confidential basis” changes to EU policies, which Barroso’s cabinet read “with great interest”.

    • Fear, Anxiety, and Depression in the Age of Trump

      Carol Wachs, a psychologist in private practice in Manhattan, recently started seeing an old patient again. The client had first sought treatment for anxiety following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Now she was worried about a new menace: Donald Trump and his zealous supporters. The patient, Wachs says, comes from a family of Holocaust survivors, and “it feels to her like all the stories she heard from her grandparents about how things feel normal and then all of the sudden, oh my God, here we are.”

    • No Trident, no private energy companies, and a universal basic income: Momentum activists mock up manifesto for Labour

      Momentum activists have created a mock general election manifesto with suggestions that all energy companies should be nationalised, the Trident nuclear deterrent be scrapped and a universal basic income to become policy.

      The grassroots organisation established shortly after Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader in 2015, held the session at its World Transformed festival – an event running alongside Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool.

    • What Is Jill Stein Doing During the Presidential Debate?

      Jill Stein may not be in the first presidential debate, but she’s not going to be quiet during the debates either — and neither are her supporters. They’re planning a civil disobedience rally at the debates, which they’ve warned may result in some arrests. They are also planning a live stream of their protests, along with a live stream of Jill Stein’s answering all the debate questions as they are asked, in real time.

      Here’s what you need to know.

      Stein and Ajamu Baraka are hosting a Hofstra Debate Protest and Civil Disobedience event today, starting at 2:30 p.m. and lasting through the presidential debate. You can learn more about it on the Facebook page here. Buses will leave New York City at 2:30 p.m. Eastern, one from Bryant Park in Manhattan and two from Brooklyn near Barclay’s Center. You should RSVP to make sure there’s a seat for you on the bus.

    • Jill Stein pushes to be included in debate
    • At the last presidential debate at Hofstra University, Jill Stein got handcuffed to a chair for 8 hours

      On Monday evening, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and real estate mogul Donald Trump will gather onstage at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, for the first presidential debate of the 2016 election.

      Notably absent from the debate stage will be Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein and Libertarian candidate former Gov. Gary Johnson—neither of whom were able to meet the 15 percent polling threshold set by Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Johnson will be spending the debate tweeting from Twitter’s corporate office in Manhattan. Stein will be livestreaming from a protest outside the debate venue.

      Both Stein and Johnson have lobbied hard to be included in the debates. However, the commission, which is a nonprofit organization created and controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties, have consistently rebuffed their efforts.

      For Stein, at least, this lobbying is nothing new. When she ran as the Green Party nominee four years ago, Stein staged a similar protest when President Barack Obama squared off against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on the very same stage at Hofstra University. Stein’s goal was to make a point about how the two major parties use their institutional advantages to shut out other voices.

    • 3rd-Party Candidate Jill Stein Escorted From Hofstra by Police Before Presidential Debate

      Stein’s campaign said she will not “risk arrest” this time, because there is an outstanding warrant for her arrest over her involvement in a recent protest against a controversial pipeline project in North Dakota. Still, her campaign spokeswoman Meleiza Figueroa said they will attempt to get the “spirited demonstration … as close to the gates as possible.”

      In 2012, Stein and her running mate were arrested outside Hofstra University when they tried entering the premises during a presidential debate between President Obama and then-Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

    • Debate Commission Enforces Exclusion By Having Jill Stein Escorted Off Hofstra

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was escorted off Hofstra University’s campus just hours before the first presidential debate of the general election. The escort was part of the Commission on Presidential Debates’ exclusion of her campaign from the debate.

      At a demonstration and press conference outside the university after she was removed, Stein returned and declared, “We have a right to know who we can vote for,” and condemned the debate that will air as a “spectacle” and a “disgrace.” She claimed it would “increase the appetite for the American voter for a true politics of integrity.”

      An “Occupy The Debates” march and action including supporters took off shortly after.

      Earlier in the afternoon, according to the Stein campaign, the presidential candidate was on her way to do an interview for MSNBC. Hofstra security and Nassau County police stopped her. Two police SUVs arrived. Officers asked MSNBC for their credentials, and in fact, the campaign said the network had credentials for Stein.

      Stein did an impromptu press conference as the situation unfolded. The police then escorted her off campus, and she was instructed “not to do any more press.”

      The presidential candidate was loaded into a van. It was stopped twice before the van made it off the university campus. At one point, the Nassau deputy police chief suggested Stein was “not public enemy number one.”

    • Clinton vs. Trump: Thousands of Police, Protesters Descend on Hofstra for Highly Anticipated Presidential Debate

      Thousands of police and protesters are descending on a Long Island college Monday for the first debate in what has been a raucous presidential race. A Super Bowl-sized audience will be watching at home.

      More than 100 million people may watch the 9 p.m. debate at Hofstra University, organizers say. If so, it’d be the largest debate viewership since the Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter debate drew 80 million viewers back in 1980.

    • Walt Whitman on Donald Trump, How Literature Bolsters Democracy, and Why a Robust Society Is a Feminist Society

      In 1855, Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819–March 26, 1892) made his debut as a poet and self-published Leaves of Grass. Amid the disheartening initial reception of pervasive indifference pierced by a few shrieks of criticism, the young poet received an extraordinary letter of praise and encouragement from his idol — Ralph Waldo Emerson, the era’s most powerful literary tastemaker. This gesture of tremendous generosity was a creative life-straw for the dispirited artist, who soon became one of the nation’s most celebrated writers and went on to be remembered as America’s greatest poet.

      [...]

      The role of government and those in power, he argues, is not to rule by authority alone — the mark of dictatorship rather than democracy — but “to train communities … beginning with individuals and ending there again, to rule themselves.” Above all, the task of democratic leadership is to bind “all nations, all men, of however various and distant lands, into a brotherhood, a family.” Many decades before women won the right to vote and long before Nikola Tesla’s feminist vision for humanity, Whitman argues that a robust democracy is one in which women are fully empowered and included in that “brotherhood” on equal terms…

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Snowden shows the human side of Edward Snowden

      The film also explores how Snowden’s personal life is affected by the secrecy of his job, which strained the relationship with his girlfriend Lindsay. He is portrayed as torn between his personal life and the passion he has for his work. Like everyone else, Snowden had his own life outside of his work — a fact that tends to be overlooked.

    • Former NSA Deputy Director pans Snowden film

      Former NSA Deputy Director Chris Inglis called Oliver Stone’s film Snowden “a hard thing to watch.”

    • Reevaluate strategies of digital surveillance

      Mass surveillance programs collecting the metadata of millions of Americans are ineffective counterterrorism measures. They are ineffective not only because of their inability to prevent the atrocities we have seen in the last three years; but also because of their exorbitant cost. The cost of these programs is not purely calculated in dollar signs. There are the diplomatic costs, as countries learn more about U.S. surveillance of their citizens. There are the social costs, as American citizens remain largely in the dark about what the government does with their personal information, without sufficient oversight from Congress or an accessible forum to challenge this intrusion. And, finally, there are the costs to our technical systems, which have become increasingly vulnerable to abuse from other states.

    • Whistleblower story a winner

      Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the cover off the US government’s electronic surveillance programs.

      The former CIA and NSA employee leaked thousands of highly classified documents to the press and in doing so divided a nation. Did the hacker put America at risk by revealing top secrets or did citizens have the right to know how closely they were being monitored?

    • How ‘Snowden’ the movie could help win a pardon for Snowden the man

      The days leading up to September 16 release of director Oliver Stone’s “Snowden” looked like one long movie trailer.

      The American Civil Liberties Union and other human-right groups on Wednesday announced a campaign to win a presidential pardon for Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contract employee who leaked hundreds of thousands of its highly classified documents to journalists. The next day, the House Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan letter to the president that advised him against any pardon and claimed Snowden “caused tremendous damage to national security.”

      The week before, Stone had invited me to a private screening of his movie in Washington. I once worked in an NSA facility, and I’ve written about the agency for decades, so I was surprised and pleased by how successful Stone was in creating an accurate picture of life in the NSA.

    • In solidarity with Snowden: Hong Kong refugees call for pardon of NSA whistleblower
    • Hong Kong refugees protest to call for Snowden pardon
    • ‘Pardon Snowden!’ Hong Kong refugees march on US consulate (PHOTOS)
    • Hong Kong refugees march to US embassy, demand pardon for Edward Snowden
    • Edward Snowden to talk via video chat at Ohio Wesleyan

      Snowden is living in asylum in Russia, seeking to be pardoned for his actions, and still unwilling to remain silent. He is the focus of a new movie, “Snowden,” directed by Oliver Stone, and he will speak via video conference at Ohio Wesleyan University.

    • Whether or not the US pardons Edward Snowden, he shouldn’t return

      Recent weeks have seen a resurgence of an ongoing controversial discussion over whether President Obama should pardon Edward Snowden before leaving office. Russia granted Snowden asylum in 2013, after he publicly revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had been surveilling the American population’s communications and Internet usage without their knowledge in the name of “homeland security.”

      Even the FBI director, James Comey, has advised everyone to “take responsibility for their own safety and security” and cover their webcam up with tape. Snowden still resides in Russia, and many believe that he should now be allowed to return home.

      The new feature film, Snowden, has reignited interest in this case, and the film is looking to gain further public support for a pardon. Meanwhile, Snowden himself has asked to come home to America, in hopes for a fair trial; however, the only solace promised to him was that he wouldn’t be tortured.

      Snowden may deserve a pardon, but whether he receives one or not, he’ll never realistically be able to return to America without putting himself at serious risk. After revealing what the government is capable of — from watching citizens through their personal webcams to eavesdropping through cell phones — I doubt Snowden would feel safe in his home country anyways.

    • Edward Snowden is hero, not traitor

      To some, he is a treasonous criminal who should be brought to justice, a real Benedict Arnold. To others, he is a national hero. To me, he is a model of what it means to be a true patriot.

      For those who don’t know, Snowden worked for the National Security Agency and leaked a massive amount of confidential documents in 2013, detailing extensive government surveillance programs.

      These leaked documents were handed directly to three journalists who worked for The Guardian and The Washington Post. These publications, as well as a few others, published a multitude of articles exposing the leaked files. They revealed a comprehensive surveillance program run by the United States government.

    • ‘Snowden’ makes a statement

      “Snowden” is able to convey some extremely strong messages about trust and corruption, and it is definitely easy to see why Snowden acted the way he did. Some call him a patriot and some call him a traitor, but it’s clear to see he did what he thought was right. And after watching this film, it’s difficult to disagree.

    • Snowden awarded by Germans for ‘courage and conscience’

      The German city of Kassel has awarded American whistle-blower Edward Snowden for the “courage and conscience” that he showed in spilling US secrets.

    • NSA Zero Day Tools Likely Left Behind By Careless Operative

      Three years of unpatched holes, one of them a zero day that affects a great deal of Cisco’s networking equipment. Not only was TAO’s operation security compromised, but so were any number of affected products offered by US tech companies.

      However, investigators are still looking into the possibility that the tools were left behind deliberately by a disgruntled TAO operative. This theory looks far better on the NSA than another theory also being examined: that multiple operatives screwed up in small ways, compounding each other’s mistakes and (eventually) leading to a publich showing of valuable surveillance tools.

      As for the official, on-the-record comment… no comment. The FBI and Director of National Intelligence declined to provide Reuters with a statement.

      The NSA has long refused to acknowledge the inherent dangers of hoarding exploits and deploying them with little to no oversight. It’s unclear whether this incident will change this behavior or make it a more-forthcoming partner in the Liability Equities Process. What is has proven is that the NSA makes mistakes like any other agency — whether the tools left behind accidentally or deliberately. It’s just that when the NSA screws up, it exposes its willingness to harm American tech companies to further its own intelligence needs.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Slovakia to increase broadband coverage

      The government of Slovakia aims to increase broadband network access in the county. Together with network operators, it is mapping which parts of the country do not yet have broadband access.

      According to announcements by Informatizacia – an eGovernment and ICT advisory organisation, part of the Ministry for Investment and Computerisation, a survey is being organised involving the country’s Internet service providers, to determine which parts of the country have network speeds of less than 30Mbps. The survey will be launched in the first week of October. Four to five weeks later, the final list of Slovakia’s network white spots will be made public.

    • Web animation using CSS and JavaScript

      Animation on the web started in 1987 with the invention of the animated GIF, or Graphic Interface Format. GIFs were used mostly for advertisements on websites, but had some problems with the pixelation. Then, in the 1990s Adobe introduced Flash, a tool for animating with audio. This created a revolution and was the best way to do animation on websites for a very long time. But Flash has some issues.

      Closed source: Users must purchase Flash from Adobe and cannot make modifications to the software.

      Security: Flash allows writing and running complex scripts on websites and scripts can be written that directly access the memory of a computer.

      Performance: Flash websites can take a long time to load.

      Resource hog: Flash uses a high amount of computing resources and can actually hang or crash your system if multiple applications or flash sites are opened at the same time.

      Plugin dependency: You need to have flash plugin installed in your browser. And every month or more, you need to update it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Chicago Cubs: With Success Comes Trademark Lawsuit Against Street Vendors

        As a lifelong Cubs fan with a resume that includes going to my first game at Wrigley when I was four months old and living in Wrigleyville for several years, I can at the very least claim some expertise on the culture around the team and the stadium. For those that have not been lucky enough to visit baseball’s Mecca, the walk about up to the park consists of bar-laden streets on either Addison or Clark, with the sidewalks spilling over with fans, bar-patrons, and street vendors. Those street vendors offer innumerable wares, including t-shirts, memorabillia, and food. It’s part of the experience.

        An experience suddenly under fire by the team and Major League Baseball, which have jointly filed a federal lawsuit against some forty street vendors for trademark and counterfeit violations.

    • Copyrights

      • Help Fix Copyright: Send a Rebellious Selfie to European Parliament (Really!)

        Earlier this month, the EU Commission released their proposal for a reformed copyright framework. In response, we are asking everyone reading this post to take a rebellious selfie and send that doctored snapshot to EU Parliament. Seem ridiculous? So is an outdated law that bans taking and sharing selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower at night in Paris, or in front of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen.

        Of course, no one is actually going to jail for subversive selfies. But the technical illegality of such a basic online act underscores the grave shortcomings in the EU’s latest proposal on copyright reform. As Mozilla’s Denelle Dixon-Thayer noted in her last post on the proposed reform, it “thoroughly misses the goal to deliver a modern reform that would unlock creativity and innovation.” It doesn’t, for instance, include needed exceptions for panorama, parody, or remixing, nor does it include a clause that would allow noncommercial transformations of works (like remixes, or mashups) or a flexible user clause like an open norm, or fair dealing.

      • The Weird Psychology Of People Fighting Those Who Resell Their Products

        Every so often, we hear a story about actions taken by someone who is just so upset about someone else doing something that it seems to border on obsessive. For example, when we hear about copyright holders who spend all their time sending DMCA takedowns — while whining about how they’re unable to produce new content and aren’t making any money from sending all those takedowns. The obvious response is: maybe stop sending all those takedowns and focus on something that’s actually productive, like creating new works and building a fan base willing to support you.

      • Toronto woman accuses theatre security guard of assault in anti-piracy take down

        When Jean Telfer went to a preview screening of a new movie Wednesday night, she didn’t expect that she’d come out with an injured shoulder and a bump on her head.

        Telfer and her friend Elaine Wong were at a Cineplex theatre at Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto for Sony Pictures Entertainment’s film The Magnificent 7. Sony had rented the theatre for the screening and hired a private security company.

        Halfway through the film, Telfer decided to leave because she found the movie to be too violent.

      • Movie Theater Security Guards Assault Women, Claim They Were Pirating Movie

        It’s well-known that the big studios and the MPAA like to indoctrinate movie theater employees into believing that there’s a horrible menace of people trying to pirate movies in the theaters, and that in some cases, they even hand out money to employees who “catch” pirates in the act. In general, all this really does is make it less enjoyable to go to the movies — and sometimes leads to elderly patrons being ejected from theaters because some kid is totally sure she’s pirating the film she’s watching.

        And the latest example is even more extreme, where private security forces apparently decided to assault a couple of Toronto women they falsely accused of pirating a showing of The Magnificent 7. One of the women, Jean Telfer, says she actually decided to leave the film early because she found it too violent. Apparently the idea that a pirate probably wouldn’t be leaving in the middle of a film didn’t occur to the geniuses Sony Pictures had specifically hired to “guard” the showing. So they tackled Telfer. Really.

      • To photocopy or not: Delhi High Courts grants universities carte blanche to photocopy for educational use

        The recent judgment of the Delhi High Court dismissing the lawsuit filed by publishers like Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Francis Taylor has been received with much joy and applause from virtually all quarters of Indian academia and students. In a 94 page judgment, delivered more than 600 days after it was first reserved, the Delhi High Court has held that Section 52(1)(i) of the Copyright Act, 1957 allows for students and teachers to photocopy books and other educational material without any limit.

        The target of the lawsuit was a particular form of photocopying wherein the faculty at the Delhi School of Economics (DSE) would prescribe a reading list, usually comprising chapters from different books and a photocopying shop contracted by the university would then compile course-packs consisting of these various chapters and sell them to students, for profit. The publishers were seeking to monetise this practice by charging either the university or photocopy shop, a royalty of 50 paise per copyrighted page that was copied – a fair bargain, given the photocopier too was getting 50 paise per page. This is a business model followed in most western universities because it is unreasonable to expect students to buy an entire book for a single chapter.

        The High Court obviously disagreed with the publishers and there appears to be nobody in Indian academia who disagrees with this decision. Rather we’ve been told that the decision restores a “balance” to copyright jurisprudence and that it will facilitate access to knowledge. Unfortunately nobody explains the economics of this balancing act.

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