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04.20.17

Links 20/4/2017: Tor Browser 6.5.2, PacketFence 7.0, New Firefox and Chrome

Posted in News Roundup at 6:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Sia Blockchain Encrypted Cloud Storage Technology Now Integrates with Nextcloud

    Jos Poortvliet from Nextcloud informed us about the availability of a new external storage app developed by the Sia folks to provide Nextcloud users with blockchain-based cloud storage support.

    Sia is known as a blockchain-based, decentralized cloud storage technology, and starting with version 1.1.2, the platform appears to integrate with Nextcloud, providing users with an affordable, distributed, and last but not least encrypted external storage.

  • Introducing the Open Source Entrepreneur Network

    I’ve been an open source guy for many years now – since 1998. Over the years I’ve been a proud open source user, sometime developer, and overall advocate. Seeing the success of open source has been a real joy, but I’ve also been mystified by the myths that permeate the industry when it comes to business models and product development and where they intersect with open source software. Now that open source has “won” the focus now shifts to opimization. As in, how do you optimize your processes to fully participate in and get maximum benefits from all the things happening right now in open source ecosystems?

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla abandons experimental Aurora Firefox channel

        Mozilla is killing the channel it introduced for developers to test experimental new features in Firefox and keep pace with Chrome.

        The Aurora channel will stop receiving new code releases from 18 April, Mozilla has said.

        New code will revert to the established Firefox Nightly builds from where it will land in beta builds of Firefox Developer Edition.

      • 53.0 Firefox Release

        Today’s Firefox release makes Firefox faster and more stable with a separate process for graphics compositing (the Quantum Compositor). Compact themes and tabs save screen real estate, and the redesigned permissions notification improves usability. Learn more on the Mozilla Blog.

      • Mozilla Firefox 53.0 Released, Drops Old Linux CPU Support
      • Mozilla Firefox 53.0 Released, Drops Old Linux CPU Support

        Firefox 53.0 drops pre Pentium 4 and Opteron Linux support. Firefox 53.0 also has support for WebM videos with alpha channel, lightweight theme changes along with new light and dark lightweight/compact theme options shipping, the Reader Mode can now display a time estimate for reading a given web page, and more. Mozilla also decided to remove the Aurora channel from their release cycle. There are also other changes in Firefox 53.0, but mostly affecting macOS and Windows users (like a “Quantum Compositor” being used now by Firefox on Windows)

      • Mozilla Firefox 53.0 Web Browser Drops Linux Support for Older Processors

        The Firefox 53.0 web browser was made available for download earlier today, for all supported platforms, but and an official announcement was published by the Mozilla folks a few moments ago with details about the new features.

        As revealed already, most of the new changes implemented in Mozilla Firefox 53.0 are related to the Windows platform, including the improved graphics stability by using the Quantum Compositor in a separate process, which should reduce browser crashed with approximately 10 percent.

      • Firefox faster and more stable with the first big bytes of Project Quantum, simpler with compact themes and permissions redesign

        Today’s release of Firefox includes the first significant piece of Project Quantum, as well as various visible and the under-the-hood improvements.

      • Firefox 53.0 officially released, ends old processor support

        Mozilla have now officially announced Firefox 53.0 and it ends support for older processors on Linux. If you’re on a CPU older than a Pentium 4 or AMD Opteron it’s time to upgrade if you want to continue being supported.

      • Why Firefox? Because not everybody is a web designer, silly

        Write, as I have, about Firefox and you receive the usual slew of critics who demand to know why Firefox matters? Who cares if Firefox continues to exist? This is often accompanied by “Chrome is better! Chrome is all we need!”

        Clearly a lot of people do think Chrome is better. StatCounter, which offers reasonably reliable numbers on browser market share, puts Chrome at just over 50 per cent of all web browsers.

        That’s an impressive market share, one that leaves the remainder of the browser world as a fight among minor fiefdoms, with Mozilla holding about 14 per cent and Microsoft (combining Edge and IE) about the same. Safari and Opera are hardly worth mentioning on the desktop (though you should see Opera’s worldwide mobile stats, nothing to sneeze at there).

  • SaaS/Back End

    • IBM Brings Anaconda Open Data Science Platform to its Cognitive Systems

      IBM is working with Continuum Analytics to offer the latter’s Anaconda open data science platform as part of IBM’s Cognitive Systems. Anaconda will also integrate with IBM’s PowerAI software for machine learning and deep learning.

    • Hadoop: the rise of the modern data lake platform

      Hadoop, while it may be synonymous with big data, and while it may be free to access and work with, engineering teams globally will admit that behind every Hadoop undertaking is a major technical delivery project.

      Failures are so commonplace that even the experts don’t have great expectations of 2017: at the recent Gartner Data & Analytics Summit in Sydney, research director Nick Heudecker claimed that 70% of Hadoop deployments in 2017 will either fail to deliver their estimated cost savings or their predicted revenue.

    • The best minds in open source gather at OpenStack Summit Boston

      In my keynote address a year ago at the OpenStack Summit Austin, I offered the OpenStack community an ultimatum. First, I described how our world was exploding with connected devices (50 billion by 2020) and that 400 million new servers would be needed to process and store that data, which creates a massive challenge for those of us in the infrastructure business. How will we meet the needs of users at that scale?

    • What will OpenStack R be Named?

      That time again, when members of the OpenStack community vote on the release name for the upcoming series of milestones. The current release is called Ocata, the next release is code named Pike and is set to debut August 28.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Upcoming Features of LibreOffice 5.4

      As reported the other day, The Document Foundation announced that the first bug hunting session for the upcoming LibreOffice 5.4 office suite would take place on April 28, 2017, debugging the first Alpha build that’ll be released early next week.

      However, as promised, in this article we’ll take a look at the upcoming features of LibreOffice 5.4, at least those that have been already revealed. These include new “Edit Section” and “Footnotes and Endnotes” entry in the context menu of the Writer, which work if the cursor is in a section, as well as in a footnote or endnote. Check out the screenshot gallery below to see them in action.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

  • Programming/Development

    • Uncovering 32 Qt best practices at compile time with clazy

      In a previous blog post we introduced clazy, a clang plugin which makes the compiler understand Qt semantics, allowing you to get compile-time warnings about Qt best practices ranging from unneeded memory allocations to misuse of API, including fix-its for automatic refactoring.

    • Clang-Based Tool Makes It Easy To Show Inefficient Qt Coding Mistakes

      Back in 2015 we wrote about the “Clazy” static analyzer for Clang as a way to uncover various coding shortcomings for KDE/Qt programs. Since then, Clazy has become much more capable.

      KDE developer and KDAB employee Sérgio Martins has written a new blog post about 32 of the best practices that Clazy can now spot at compile-time to point out to developers. He confirmed in a message to Phoronix that most of the issues brought up by Clazy are in regards to performance-sensitive areas that could be improved by the developer analyzing their code with this tool.

    • Automatic MySQL schema management with Skeema

      I first started using MySQL at a college IT job in 2003, and over the years I eventually began tackling much larger-scale deployments at Tumblr and Facebook. I’ve spent most of the past decade working on social networks, where massive high-volume database technology is fundamental to the product. I love the technical challenges present in that type of environment, as well as the huge potential impact of database automation and tooling. In companies with giant databases and many engineers, a well-designed automation system can provide a truly enormous increase in productivity.

    • 5 lessons learned when developing my first web app

      I developed my first web app as part of my final project in college. Instead of developing a web app only for the purpose of completing my project, I chose to develop one that could solve a real-world problem. I decided to create Cyber Manager, an online cyber cafe management system for cyber cafe administrators, which has been downloaded nearly 3,000 times since I first uploaded it on SourceForge.net in 2011. In this article, I’ll walk through five lessons I learned during the process, which might help you during and after developing your own web app. I’ll end with a quick look at Cyber Manager and how it works.

    • Secure Web Apps with JavaEE and Apache Fortress

      ApacheCon is just a couple months away — coming up May 16-18 in Miami. We asked Shawn McKinney, Software Architect at Symas Corporation, to share some details about his talk at ApacheCon. His presentation — “The Anatomy of a Secure Web Application Using Java EE, Spring Security, and Apache Fortress” will focus on an end-to-end application security architecture for an Apache Wicket Web app running in Tomcat. McKinney explains more in this interview.

    • Regulate This! Time to subject algorithms to our laws

      Algorithms are almost as pervasive in our lives as cars and the internet. And just as these modes and mediums are considered vital to our economy and society, and are therefore regulated, we must ask whether it’s time to also regulate algorithms.

      Let’s accept that the rule of law is meant to provide solid ground upon which our society can function. Some laws stop us taking each other’s stuff (property, liberty, lives) while others help us swap our stuff in a way that’s fair to the parties involved (property, liberty, time).

Leftovers

  • G Suite vs Office 365 – What’s the best office suite for business? [iophk: "false dilemma; also notice the "Microsoft Look and Feel" promotion"]

    For businesses wanting an online suite that is most simple to use, Google is the ideal option. Its one-stop-shop approach is particularly attractive to businesses starting out and those looking for a clean and responsive productivity suite. Yet Office 365′s user interface is one that most will be familiar with, drawing on Microsoft’s extensive experience with productivity tools.

  • Apple Takes Heat For Software Lock That Prevents iPhone 7 Home Button Replacement By Third-Party Vendors

    We’ve been discussing for some time how John Deere, Apple, Sony and Microsoft are among a laundry list of companies fighting against so-called “right to repair” bills. The bills, currently being pushed in a handful of different states, make it easier for consumers to repair their own products and find replacement parts and tools. The bills are an organic consumer response to the attempts of many of these companies to monopolize repair, driven in large part by John Deere’s draconian lockdown on “unauthorized repairs” — forcing tractor owners to pirate tractor firmware and maintenance tools just to repair products they thought they owned.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Fresno shooting: three killed by gunman in suspected race attack

      Three white men have been shot and killed by a black gunman in Fresno, California, in a suspected race attack, police have said.

      The suspect, Kori Ali Muhammad, allegedly said “God is great” in Arabic before he was arrested, the police chief, Jerry Dyer, said at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

      However, Dyer said the shooting did not appear to be connected to terrorism.

      “He [Muhammad] did clarify that the reason he had made that statement was that in the event that anything did happen to him he was in fact pledging his allegiance to God for protection,” he said.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • What Julian Assange Is Really Doing

      Most people know the what about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks – that they publish secret information – but they don’t know the why. And that’s a great loss, because the reason behind all the leaks is both brilliant and illuminating.
      It Usually Starts with the Cypherpunks

      The first thing to understand is that WikiLeaks, like Bitcoin, came from the cypherpunks. In particular, WikiLeaks was spawned by a cypherpunk group that formed (spontaneously) in Melbourne, Australia.

      [...]

      I hope you can see how brilliant the WikiLeaks strategy really is. They’re not reacting after the events, as in exposing dirty laundry. They are acting in advance, disrupting their enemy’s ability to function in the future.

      And here’s where it gets even better: A network of this type invariably reacts to leaks by closing itself tighter against untrusted links. And so, by closing itself off from intrusion, the network becomes less and less able to engage with anything outside itself. And the less it engages with things outside itself, the less it can enact power outside itself.

    • Assange, Melenchon and the animals.

      Be aware that the CIA/Pompeo has desperately vowed to “end” Wikileaks “now”.

      I feel the French especially understand how important it is to seek the truth.

  • Finance

    • Amazon expands in Australia and plans huge warehouse

      # sweatshop

      The company announced the long-anticipated move on Thursday, and according to Business Insider reported is looking for warehouse space in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne to become its first 93,000 sq m Australian “fulfilment centre”.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Skype top comms tool among cyber criminals: study

      Despite its lack of end-to-end encryption, Microsoft’s Skype remains the top communications tool used by most English-speaking cyber criminals, and among the top five tools used by five other language groups, a study has found.

    • New ‘Perceptual’ Ad Blocking Tech Doesn’t Win The Ad Blocking War, But It May Put Advertisers On Their Heels… Permanently

      We’ve long documented how there’s a growing array of websites that seem intent on shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to “defeating” ad blocking. Quite often that includes punishing customers for a website’s own misdeeds, or using ham-fisted (and frankly often broken) systems that attempt to block the ad blockers. Of course, this tends to obfuscate why these users are using blockers in the first place, whether it’s to keep ads from eating their broadband usage allotments, or simply as an attempt to protect themselves from “ads” that are often indistinguishable from malware.

      The bottom line is that thanks to aggressive, poorly designed or downright hostile ads, many consumers quite justly now feel that ad blockers are an essential part of their privacy and security. Here at Techdirt, we long ago decided to let our visitors decide what their ad experience looks like, letting visitors disable ads entirely if that’s they’re preference (we just, of course, hope they’ll try to support us in other ways). Elsewhere though, websites are engaged in what feels like a futile game of Whac-a-Mole that seems increasingly obvious (to some) won’t be “winnable.”

      New developments on the ad block front seem to indicate this game of Whac-a-Mole may soon end up with the mole being — well — most decidedly whacked.

    • Finnish intelligence to get broader online surveillance powers
    • WhatsApp and Facebook might soon share your data with each other

      A new EU agreement could mean WhatsApp user data is shared with Facebook, despite user protest over privacy incursions. The new deal amends WhatsApp’s relationship to Facebook in what would be a radical new way forward for the messaging app, which has long celebrated its encrypted nature.

    • Pirate Bay Founder Launches Anonymous Domain Registration Service

      Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde has a new privacy-oriented startup. Today he launches the domain registration service Njalla, which offers site owners full anonymity, shielding them from the prying eyes of outsiders.

    • How to Delete Your Facebook Account Now

      However, for many, it’s simply a colossal waste of time.

      Regardless of why you want to cut ties with Facebook, here’s how to deactivate and delete your account now.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Melbourne man pleads guilty to marrying 14yo bride in wedding at Noble Park
    • How to beat your wife

      If you want people to respect your religion, then accept that there are problematic verses and reform them. Do not try to tell us that we are making a big deal. Let me reiterate, it’s not that these commands are not taken as being symbolic, it is that they exist.

    • State of Neglect: Breaking the Silence on Sexual Abuse in Pakistan

      There are not enough social workers and social activists who can go out and combat this issue or try to amend this biased judicial system. Those who try to voice their opinions and bring change are silenced.

    • Jakarta election: Ahok makes last appeal as polling booths open

      In the neighbourhoods of Jakarta, banners claiming that Muslims who vote for Ahok will be denied burial rites have been strung up at local mosques.

    • “Un-Islamic practices” detected once again at Malacca’s Pulau Besar

      He said without a permanent presence, khurafat practices would go on, despite enforcement officers periodically raiding the area, as the heretical groups would simply return to the island, as they have done in the past.

    • [Older] Preserving the Values of the West / The Decline and Fall of History [iophk: "warning for PDF"]

      Remarks by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a fellow of the Future of Democracy Project at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and founder of the AHA Foundation, and Niall Ferguson, senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a senior fellow of the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, upon accepting the 2016 Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education. The award was presented on October 28, 2016.

    • Praise Allah and Pass the Cudgel
    • MCA: Night-market ruling in Kelantan an ‘erosion of non-Muslim rights’

      He added that it is also ridiculous to solely target petty traders, adding that if the state government wanted all businesses to stop operations temporarily, then it must do the same for its banking system.

    • [Older] Fleeing Woman Returned to Saudi Arabia Against Her Will

      Human Rights Watch has documented how under Saudi Arabia’s male guardianship system, adult women must obtain permission from a male guardian to travel abroad, marry, or be released from prison, and may be required to provide guardian consent to work or get health care. These restrictions last from birth until death, as women are, in the view of the Saudi state, permanent legal minors.

    • Algeria parties ordered to show female faces on posters

      Parties in Bordj Bou Arreridj Province had been showing hijabs surrounding blank spaces alongside photos of male candidates.

    • Arizona Governor Signs Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Into Law, Raising Evidentiary Burden For Law Enforcement

      While it doesn’t go so far as to establish a conviction requirement, it does make it a little more difficult for law enforcement agencies to walk off with citizens’ possessions. Unfortunately, not much has been done to address the terrible recourse process, which dumps the burden of proof back on the citizen whose possessions have been taken.

      Navigating this particular legal thicket often requires a lawyer and there’s a good chance the best possible outcome will be a partial release of the property seized. Fortunately, going the lawsuit route will be a little less risky in the future: the new law also ensures legal fees will be awarded to winning parties who manage to litigate the return of seized property.

      Even if Governor Ducey had been opposed to the reform bill, he wouldn’t have been able to defend a veto in the same way Idaho Governor Butch Otter did when shooting down a popular reform effort there. There’s plenty of evidence the state’s asset forfeiture laws have been abused.

    • Court: No Immunity For Federal Agent Who Made Elderly Woman Stand In Urine-Soaked Pants For Two Hours While He Questioned Her

      The Ninth Circuit Appeals Court has affirmed a lower court’s stripping of a federal officer’s qualified immunity in a… moon rock sting case. This is a thing. Relatives and friends of NASA personnel have received what they believe are gifts from them — items containing moon rock pieces, or heat shield fragments, or whatever. The problem here is the government believes it owns anything related to its exploration missions.

      It’s not always illegal to be in possession of these items, but as Lowering the Bar’s Kevin Underhill explains, it’s almost always going to be treated as illegal by the federal government.

    • ‘Pakistanis themselves give a bad name to Pakistan and Islam,’ says Malala Yousafzai

      Referring to the recent mob-lynching of a university student for ‘blasphemy’, Pakistani Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai, in a strongly-worded video message, said no one but Pakistan is to blame for the poor image it has in the world.

      “We talk about Islamophobia and how people give a bad name to our country and our religion. No one is giving a bad name to our country or our religion. We are doing that all by ourselves. We are enough for that,” Yousafzai said in the video message.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast Belatedly ‘Introduces’ Faster Broadband To City It Sued To Keep From Doing The Same Thing Years Ago. It Didn’t Go Well

      Back in 2008, Comcast sued the city of Chattanooga shortly after the city-owned utility (Electric Power Board, or EPB) announced plans to deliver the kind of cheap, ultra-fast broadband Comcast long refused to. After being saddled with legal expenses, EPB ultimately won that lawsuit, and in 2010 began offering ultra-fast fiber broadband. But it wasn’t long before the community-owned broadband network ran into another obstacle: a Tennessee state protectionist law — quite literally written by AT&T and Comcast — that hamstrung the operation and prohibited it from expanding.

      Fast forward nearly a decade, and EPB now offers symmetrical gigabit connections for around $70 a month — at least to the parts of Chattanooga ISP lobbyists have allowed it to. A 2016 survey by Consumer Reports ranked EPB, outside of Google Fiber, as the only ISP with a truly positive consumer satisfaction rating among the 30 national ISPs ranked by the magazine. Chattanooga’s Mayor, meanwhile, has cited EPB as a major contributor to the city’s reinvention.

    • Why Is The Hotel Industry More Focused On Harming Airbnb Than Improving Their Own Product?

      It’s no secret that the hotel industry hates competition from Airbnb. Hell, politicians have even admitted to crafting anti-Airbnb policies to keep hotels from being disrupted. But, now, the NY Times has got its hands on a specific plan from the hotel industry to basically hamper Airbnb and burden it with legal and policy challenges (I should note, by way of some sort of disclosure, that I’m typing this while sitting at a desk at an Airbnb apartment in Washington DC — and, similarly, that it’s much nicer and significantly cheaper than comparable hotels, but I digress…).

    • [Older] Roku has hired a team of lobbyists as it gears up for a net neutrality fight

      That’s why Roku has hired a pair of Republican lobbyists through an outside government-affairs firm, according to a federal ethics reports filed this week, specifically to focus on net neutrality. It’s the first time the company has ever retained lobbyists in Washington, D.C.

  • DRM

    • Internet Archive: “DRM for the Web is a Bad Idea”

      Brewster Kahle, who invented the first two search engines and went on to found and run the Internet Archive has published an open letter describing the problems that the W3C’s move to standardize DRM for the web without protecting otherwise legal acts, like archiving, will hurt the open web.

    • DRM for the Web is a Bad Idea

      I asked our crawler folks what the impact of the EME proposal could be to us, and what they came back with seems well reasoned but strongly negative to our mission.

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