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10.30.17

Links 30/10/2017: Linux 4.14 RC7, Acumos, Free/Open Source Software as Philanthropy

Posted in News Roundup at 7:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Fresh bit o’ Linux to spruce up that ancient Windows Vista box? Why not, we say…

      The Linux OS is flexible. If one Linux distro is an unfriendly fit, you can replace it with another one that has a more appealing options list on the desktop environment or user interface front.

      Debian-based Q4OS, developed by a team of software designers in Germany, has a lightweight design that allows it to run on nearly any hardware config. I have run it on ageing computers from the early days of Windows Vista.

  • Server

    • IBM Wheels And Deals For Power Linux, But Where Is IBM i?

      The whole point of the convergence of the RS/6000 and the AS/400 families of systems – including pSeries and iSeries and System p and System i – was not only to get a common, converged hardware platform that made IBM’s life easier, but to also – or so we have always believed – give a consistent deal to customers using AIX or OS/400-i5/OS-IBM i.

      “A foolish consistency is,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “the hobgoblin of little minds.” While that may be true, a smart consistency is the Spider-Man of great minds. Or at least those that think alike. Like we all do out here in IBM i Land.

      IBM i customers need a deal, something to get them excited about modernizing their platforms and moving ahead.

    • These two vendors are most likely to bring Kubernetes containers to the enterprise

      Kubernetes won the container war, but the question of who will win Kubernetes is very much in play. As the two highest contributors to the project, Google and Red Hat could be serious contenders.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.14-rc7

      Back home, and back to the normal Sunday afternoon release schedule.

      And rc7 is also normal in size – in fact looking at statistics for the
      4.x rc7 releases, this is pretty much right smack the median size. It
      even looked smaller than usual right up until the network fixes merge
      today.

      Still, considering the issues we’ve had, I likely will do an rc8
      unless this upcoming week ends up being _so_ quiet that there’s no
      point. Which while unlikely would be lovely – if I end up doing an
      rc8, that will also push the latter half of the next merge window into
      the Thanksgiving week, which is going to be inconvenient since I’ll be
      traveling again. So I’d really be very happy if things now suddenly
      calm down to the point where an rc8 wouldn’t make sense.

    • Linux 4.14-rc7 Released: Final Likely In Two Weeks
    • Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator and Engineer: Lars Kronfält

      My first encounter with Linux was back in the late 1990s. I had an Amiga growing up, exchanging floppy disks to share things. Running services on Linux and connecting computers in a network made a deep impression. Realizing that it was free to use and community-driven got me even more interested. The openness and accessibility of information backed by great minds collaborating really had me hooked.

    • New project from The Linux Foundation hopes to make AI tools more accessible

      The Linux Foundation introduced a new project Monday called the Acumos Project, an effort backed by AT&T and India’s Tech Mahindra that will set up a common platform for artificial intelligence and machine learning development.

      “With the Acumos platform, we’re working to create an industry standard for making AI applications and models reusable and easily accessible to any developer,” The Linux Foundation wrote in a blog post announcing the effort. AT&T and Tech Mahindra, a large IT consulting company based in Mumbai, will provide code for the initial phase of the project. It’s expected to launch early next year.

    • AT&T Joins the Open-Source Artificial-Intelligence Arms Race

      These projects simplify the task, but it’s still a challenge to turn these frameworks into something useful. AT&T is hoping to change that with a new AI platform called Acumos, which it plans to reveal at a Dallas event Monday.

    • Linux Foundation to Host Acumos Project, Making it Easier to Build, Share and Deploy AI Apps
    • News of Note—Linux Foundation, Toyota, Ericsson
    • Linux Foundation introduces new artificial intelligence project, Acumos
    • AT&T and Tech Mahindra launch open source AI project
    • AT&T launching new open source AI platform
    • Collaborative Intelligence: AT&T and Others Building Open Source AI Marketplace for Businesses
    • AT&T introduces AI platform, makes it open source
    • Ledger systems today are siloed and disconnected. Hyperledger Quilt wants to solve that

      Hyperledger Quilt offers interoperability between ledger systems by implementing the Interledger Protocol (ILP), which is primarily a payments protocol and is designed to transfer value across systems – both distributed ledgers and non-distributed ledgers. It is a simple protocol that establishes a global namespace for accounts, as well as, a protocol for synchronized atomic swaps between different systems.

      Hyperledger Quilt aims to solve the tough problem of ledger systems today being siloed and disconnected. Sending value to someone on a different network or ledger is complex and often impractical. Where connections between ledgers do exist, they are manual, slow or expensive.

    • Linux Kernel 4.14 LTS Just Around the Corner as Linus Torvalds Outs Seventh RC

      The development of the Linux 4.14 kernel, the next LTS (Long Term Support) kernel series, is almost over now that the seventh, and probably the last Release Candidate (RC) milestone hit the streets.

      Linus Torvalds announced the release of Linux kernel 4.14 RC7 last evening as part of his normal Sunday announcements, giving us a heads up to what’s coming next to the development cycle of the next LTS Linux kernel branch. Long story short, he didn’t yet decide if to push the final Linux 4.14 build next week or an extra RC, which could delay the development of Linux kernel 4.15.

    • Don’t be a turkey: Help Linus Torvalds finish Linux 4.14 before it ruins Thanksgiving

      Linux kernel overlord Linus Torvalds wants to avoid an eighth release candidate for the new version of Linux, to avoid delays to the next version.

      The kernel community is currently hard at work on version 4.14, which got its seventh release candidate on Sunday. That release was only around for six days, after Torvalds struggled to get a decent internet connection the previous Sunday and rather than fighting it issued the release candidate six last Monday.

      Torvalds has now announced rc 7, saying that it is “pretty much right smack the median size”.

    • Linux 4.14-rc7 No Longer Clashes With AppArmor To Break Networking

      Earlier this month I warned about using Linux 4.14 with AppArmor can cause headaches, namely with the stock rules on distributions like Ubuntu and Debian you can find your networking support broken. That work has now been reverted after Linus Torvalds realized this issue as well.

      With this weekend’s Linux 4.14-rc7 kernel release, Linus Torvalds has reverted the AppArmor change that caused all these issues in the first place.

    • OpenRISC SMP Support Is Getting Into Shape

      While the OpenRISC architecture has been supported by the mainline Linux kernel, it hasn’t supported symmetric multi-processing (SMP) for multi-core designs, but that is in the process of being changed.

    • Appeals court keeps alive the never-ending Linux case, SCO v. IBM

      A federal appeals court has now partially ruled in favor of the SCO Group, breathing new life into a lawsuit and a company (now bankrupt and nearly dead) that has been suing IBM for nearly 15 years.

      Last year, US District Judge David Nuffer had ruled against SCO (whose original name was Santa Cruz Operation) in two summary judgment orders, and the court refused to allow SCO to amend its initial complaint against IBM.

      SCO soon appealed. On Monday, the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals found that SCO’s claims of misappropriation could go forward while also upholding Judge Nuffer’s other two orders.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDGPU vs. Radeon DRM With Linux 4.14 On GCN 1.0/SI GPUs

        It’s been a while since last testing the older GCN 1.0 “Southern Islands” graphics cards with the AMDGPU DRM driver rather than the default Radeon DRM driver. Here are some fresh comparison tests using some original GCN graphics cards with the two DRM drivers while pairing it with Mesa 17.4-dev, including Vulkan tests that are made possible by switching over to the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager driver.

        GCN 1.0 Sothern Islands and GCN 1.1 Sea Islands graphics cards continue to default to using the mature Radeon DRM driver rather than AMDGPU DRM, which is treated as experimental for GCN 1.0/1.1 while being the requirement for GCN 1.2 graphics processors and newer. Through Linux 4.15 at least, GCN 1.0/1.1 GPUs will still be using the Radeon DRM by default, but the AMDGPU support for these older generations of Radeon GPUs is becoming more mature with less regressions, no display headaches this time around, some UVD porting for GCN 1.0 on AMDGPU being a work-in-progress, and PowerPlay fixes having recently landed in the kernel.

      • AMD’s Open-Source Strategy Is Now Ten Years Old
      • mesa 17.2.4

        In Mesa Core we have included a change to prevent KOTOR from breaking when in combination with the ATI fragment shader extension. Additionally, NIR has also received a correction.

      • Mesa 17.2.4 Released While Mesa 17.3 Continues To Bake

        Mesa 17.2.4 is now available as the newest stable release of Mesa 3D while Mesa 17.3 is up to its second release candidate.

        Mesa 17.2.4 was released today with several Intel OpenGL/Vulkan fixes, memory leak fixes for the Mesa state tracker, a Vulkan windowing system integration memory leak fix for X11, and some other small fixes.

      • Etnaviv Gallium3D Reaches OpenGL 2.1

        It was just days ago that the Etnaviv Gallium3D driver made it to OpenGL 2.0 while now it’s reached the OpenGL 2.1 threshold.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Interview with Erica Wagner

        I’m Erica Wagner, a STEAM Nerd, Teenpreneur, Author, Instructor, YouTuber and self-taught 2D and 3D artist. I’ve been doing graphic design for two years, 3D sculpting, voxel art, and 3d modeling for one year, and digital drawing for a little over six months. I’m a homeschool student. My mom uses the majority of my projects as a part of school.

      • You Can Now Install KDE Plasma 5.11.2 Desktop and Latte Dock on Kubuntu 17.10

        We’ve just been informed by Kubuntu developer Rik Mills on the availability of the latest KDE Plasma 5.11.2 desktop environment in the Kubuntu Backports PPA for Kubuntu 17.10 users.

        Launched on October 19, 2017, the Kubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system arrived with the KDE Plasma 5.10.5 as default desktop environment, which was accompanied by the older KDE Applications 17.04.3 and KDE Frameworks 5.38.0 software stacks, but not users can update their systems to KDE Plasma 5.11.2 and KDE Frameworks 5.39.0.

      • Plasma 5.11.2 and other goodies now in Artful backports PPA

        The 2nd bugfix update (5.11.2) of the Plasma 5.11 series is now available for users of Kubuntu Artful Aardvark 17.10 to install via our backports PPA.

        Please note that 3 more bugfix releases are scheduled by KDE for Plasma 5.11, so while we feel these backports will be beneficial to enthusiastic adopters, users wanting to use a Plasma release with more stabilisation/bugfixes ‘baked in’ may find it advisable to stay with Plasma 5.10.5 as included in the original 17.10 Artful release.

        See the Plasma 5.11 release announcement and the release video below for more about the new features available.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Lite 3.6 Desktop Installation Guide with Screenshots

      We’ve already reviewed the Linux Lite 3.6 distro some time back and even concluded that it is an excellent distro for any beginner to start with linux and then stay on forever. With a lot of wow factors in that distro, Linux Lite has come up with a more enhanced version in Linux Lite 3.6. And with the 3.6 release, Linux Lite has introduced some major changes since the release of 3.4. Let’s look at all the changes and also a step by step installation guide to install Linux Lite 3.6 in your system.

    • Reviews

      • Review: The best Linux distros for Docker and containers

        Over the past six months I have reviewed five minimal Linux distributions that are optimized for running containers: Alpine Linux, CoreOS Container Linux, RancherOS, Red Hat Atomic Host, and VMware Photon OS. Generically known as “container operating systems,” these stripped down, purpose built Linux distributions are not the only way to run containers in production, but they provide a base that does not waste resources on anything besides container support.

        The state of the industry with container deployment systems is very much like the early days of Linux distributions. You have one key element, in this case the Docker container, that is surrounded by a number of competing ecosystem components. Just as the traditional Linux distros bundled different package managers, desktop environments, system utilities, services, and apps, most container distributions mix and match various components to create what they consider an optimum solution. Take for example distributed configuration and service discovery. There are several solutions for this such as Etcd, Consul, and ZooKeeper.

    • Slackware Family

      • [Slackware] Chromium is now compiled using clang

        In my previous blog post about Chromium 62, I described the issues I had while attempting to compile it on Slackware14.2. The gcc compiler suite on Slackware 14.2 is “too old” for Chromium because it lacks the required C++11 support. More to the point, the Google developers use clang instead of gcc for their own compilations and therefore gcc support is becoming stale. Response by Google developers when they encounter a gcc-related bug report is to ‘please switch to clang’.

    • Red Hat Family

      • HCL announces enterprise platform services powered by Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform

        HCL Technologies announced a collaboration with Red Hat to offer HCL Application Platform-as-a-Service to enterprise customers globally.

        At 12:35 hrs HCL Technologies was quoting at Rs 846.05, down Rs 11.65, or 1.36 percent.
        The share touched its 52-week high Rs 941.00 and 52-week low Rs 786.05 on 23 October, 2017 and 15 November, 2016, respectively.

      • Why I love technical debt
      • CentOS-Based NethServer 7.4 Linux Server Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

        Based on CentOS 7.4 (1708), the latest release of the open-source Linux server system based on Red Hat’s commercial RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) platform, NethServer 7.4 incorporates all the stream packages and technologies, but also introduces several new features and enhancements of its own.

        Designed to make the life of system administrators a lot easier, NethServer 7.4 improves the local Active Directory (AD) account provider to automatically apply updates to the Samba DC instance, which was bumped to version 4.6.8, and to add support for remote AD and LDAP (local too) locations.

      • Interviews: Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst Answers Your Questions

        For Slashdot’s 20th anniversary — and the 23rd anniversary of the first release of Red Hat Linux — here’s a special treat.

        Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst has responded to questions submitted by Slashdot readers.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Flatpak – St. Distro’s Package

          Flatpak works well. I am pleased with my short test, and I am convinced with the benefits and flexibility that this framework offers. It seems to be quite intuitive, and it did not spew errors. That said, the road to being a first-class product is still a long one. People don’t need the dirty detail. They want beautiful application stores and sod the nuts and bolts.

          I hope the distro-agnostic software takes off. It should help bring together the fragmented world of Linux, and make both maintenance and development easier, and give users the transparency that their peers on Windows enjoy. Technically, even if there’s fragmentation in the background, a clever GUI will disguise that, so we might stay with the old system, but the problem with that is, the distros suffers, and as a result, users suffer, too. The way forward is clear. The only question is, will it be one way or many? History has a way of repeating itself. To be continued. Flak away.

        • Fedora Classroom Session: Fedora QA 101
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 17.10 – on the GNOME again

            Ubuntu is one of the world’s most popular Linux distributions. The distribution is available in several flavours, the two most widely recognized being the Desktop and Server editions. The release of Ubuntu 17.10 introduces a number of important changes, the most visible ones mostly affecting the Desktop edition which I will focus on in this review. As 17.10 is an interim release rather than a long term support release, it will received security updates for just nine months.

            One technical change in version 17.10 is the phasing out of 32-bit builds of the Desktop edition, though the Server edition is still available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture. Another significant change is the Ubuntu distribution has swapped out its in-house Unity desktop and replaced it with a customized version of the GNOME Shell desktop. Unity is still available in Ubuntu’s software repositories if we wish to install it later.

            I opted to download the Desktop edition of Ubuntu 17.10. The ISO for this edition is 1.4GB in size and booting from this media brings up a graphical window where we are asked if we would like to try Ubuntu’s live desktop mode or launch the system installer. This screen also lets us select the system’s language with the default being English.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • ReactOS 0.4.7-RC1 Is The Latest As “Open-Source Windows”

    Less than two months after the ReactOS 0.4.6 release, ReactOS 0.4.7-RC1 is available for testing.

    This first release candidate for ReactOS 0.4.7 comes with many bug fixes but also some new features.

    ReactOS 0.4.7 is introducing quick launch support, hotplug / power / sound icons, made progress on their filter dirver, started work on a “storport” driver to enable plug-and-play for many drivers and AHCI driver support, re-enabled support for deleting to Recycle Bin, enabled the application compatibility framework, support for enabling a theme by command, an fsutil command was added, and many other updates — including syncing the user-mode DLLs against Wine Staging 2.16.

  • GMO Blockchain Open Source Software project enters next phase, focusing on payments

    GMO Internet Inc. (TYO:9449) continues to push further with the GMO Blockchain Open Source Software Project (GMO Blockchain OSS). Earlier today, the company announced that the project has entered its sixth phase, with the focus now being on payments.

  • Fon joins prpl Foundation to Accelerate Open-source Innovation for Digital Home and Carrier WiFi

    The prpl Foundation, an open-source, community-driven, not-for-profit consortium with a focus enabling the security and interoperability of embedded devices for the smart society of the future, announced that Fon has joined the Foundation.

    As the world’s leading WiFi software company, Fon joins prpl to accelerate the development of a common, open-source-based software framework which will enable deployment of new carrier services for the digital home and carrier WiFi hotspots.

    “With the formation of our Carrier Interest Group last year, we set out to strengthen the ties between telecommunications carriers, major chipset vendors and the open source community,” said Art Swift, president of the prpl Foundation.

  • Open Source Software Is Philanthropy

    It is increasingly important that any serious enterprise—whether startup, media brand, government agency, foundation, or nonprofit organization—have access to cutting edge, reliable, and useful digital tools that extend their reach and accelerate their success. While commercial software continues to play a role for many organizations, more and more institutions are tapping into the less constrained and often less expensive world of open source software for solutions. Open source is vital for the digital community, providing an accessible, predominantly free forum for building everything from websites to analytic data platforms. Open source also spurs creativity and resource sharing among groups that otherwise would rarely connect. It’s a form of collaboration that is becoming mission-critical for many nonprofits that lack the budgets to build robust digital products on their own. When properly supported, open source software can spark innovation, accelerate social good, and ultimately help change the world.

  • Feeding chickens and cows with free software

    Kazi Farms Group is the largest poultry company in Bangladesh. One of the basic problems that has to be solved by any poultry company is formulating nutritious poultry feed at the lowest possible cost.

    Until now, the global feed milling industry was dependent on expensive feed formulation software sold by multi-national vendors.

    However, thanks to creative use and development of free/open-source software, Kazi Farms Group has been able to make our feed operation independent of foreign software.

  • A Free Guide to Participating in Open Source Communities

    As companies in and out of the technology industry move to advance their open source programs, they are rapidly learning about the value of participating in open source communities. Organizations are using open source code to build their own commercial products and services, which drives home the strategic value of contributing back to projects.

    However, diving in and participating without an understanding of projects and their communities can lead to frustration and other unfortunate outcomes. Approaching open source contributions without a strategy can tarnish a company’s reputation in the open source community and incur legal risks.

    The Linux Foundation’s free online guide Participating in Open Source Communities can help organizations successfully navigate these open source waters. The detailed guide covers what it means to contribute to open source as an organization and what it means to be a good corporate citizen. It explains how open source projects are structured, how to contribute, why it’s important to devote internal developer resources to participation, as well as why it’s important to create a strategy for open source participation and management.

    One of the most important first steps is to rally leadership behind your community participation strategy. “Support from leadership and acknowledgement that open source is a business critical part of your strategy is so important,” said Nithya Ruff, Senior Director, Open Source Practice at Comcast. “You should really understand the company’s objectives and how to enable them in your open source strategy.”

  • TIBCO Project Mashling, ultralight event-driven microgateway

    Software integration, analytics and management company TIBCO is loving, embraces and heart-ing open source this month with its newly available Project Mashling.

  • What are the open source remote display protocol options?

    In fact, there are several open source remote display protocol options out there, including Spice and Chrome Remote Desktop. Each open source remote display protocol works a little differently and is compatible with particular OSes and endpoints. So, it’s important to understand the differences.

  • Events

    • Open Source India 2017 Breaks Past Records
    • Hacktoberfest and JavaScript

      But Lays, how JavaScript connects to Hacktoberfest? Last week, a friend of mine, Andre Garzia, made a HackDay meetup at Amora Labs office, where the event had the goal to develop add-ons for Mozilla Firefox. For me, is on this kind of meetups that I can get my hands dirty on JavaScript. And talking with my friends I discovered about Hacktoberfest.

    • OpenStack Charms in Sydney

      If you’re new to OpenStack deployment using Juju and the OpenStack Charms then the general project update on Tuesday at 3.20 pm would be a good introduction. The session is only 20 minutes long so won’t take up to much of your day – Ryan and I will be doing a short 101 and providing some detail on new features for Pike and plans for Queens!

    • DebConf18 Debian Conference to Take Place July 29 – August 5, 2018, in Taiwan

      The Debian community is already planning for the next year’s DebConf conference for Debian developers, contributors, and users, which will take place in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

      As expected, DebConf17, this year’s annual Debian Developers and Contributors Conference, was another success, so it’s normal for the Debian team responsible for organizing the DebConf event to start preparing for the next one.

      DebConf18 is months away, but you can start preparing today because the official dates have been published in the Debian Wiki, suggesting that the conference will take place from July 29 to August 5, 2018, and it will be preceded by DebCamp between July 21-27.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Pushes Chrome 63 Into Beta with Dynamic Module Imports, Device Memory API

        Google recently pushed the Chrome 63 web browser for beta testing for all supported platforms, giving us a heads up to what we should expect from this release when it hits stable next month.

        Google Chrome 63 now lives in the Beta channel pocket, and it can be installed on Chrome OS, Linux, Android, Mac, and Windows operating systems. It promises big changes for developers, including dynamic module imports, a new Device Memory API, permissions UI changes, as well as async generators and iterators.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Public Services/Government

    • Citizens wrestle source code from public agencies

      This week a US federal judge unsealed the source code for a software application used by New York City’s crime lab to help analyse DNA evidence from crime scenes. The Forensic Statistical Tool (FST) was developed by the office of the city’s Chief Medical Examiner. It is used to substantiate the statistical likelihood that someone’s DNA profile matches DNA from a sample that may be tiny or degraded, or represent more than one person.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open Source University Project to Launch Global Social Innovation Platform & ICO Round

        Last week, academia collaborated project Open Source University announced launched its global social innovation platform, which enables decentralized academic a professional development globally.

        [...]

        Once the ICO campaign is completed, the immediate next steps are for the team to proceed with on-boarding around 60+ million learners, enrolled in massive open online courses (MOOCs) through the integration of the distributed ledger with platforms such as “Coursera” and “EdX.” The presale starts on November 20th.

Leftovers

  • Why Finland wants the EU to abolish daylight saving time
  • Hardware

    • Meet John Draper, the hacker who inspired Apple’s founders

      Wozniak revisits the question: “Would Apple exist without John Draper?” he asks.

      “It’s hard to guess. Steve Jobs said—and I agree—that without the blue box there might never have been an Apple,” Wozniak says. “A lot of people have success and make money, but fewer achieve notoriety and fame like John has.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Rolling Back the Tide of Pesticide Poison, Corruption and Looming Mass Extinction

      An anthropogenic mass extinction is underway that will affect all life on the planet and humans will struggle to survive the phenomenon. So claims Dr Rosemary Mason in a paper (2015) in the Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry. Loss of biodiversity is the most urgent of the environmental problems because this type of diversity is critical to ecosystem services and human health. Mason argues that the modern chemical-intensive industrialised system of food and agriculture is the main culprit.

  • Security

    • Replace Your Exploit-Ridden Firmware with Linux

      With the WikiLeaks release of the vault7 material, the security of the UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) firmware used in most PCs and laptops is once again a concern. UEFI is a proprietary and closed-source operating system, with a codebase almost as large as the Linux kernel, that runs when the system is powered on and continues to run after it boots the OS (hence its designation as a “Ring -2 hypervisor”). It is a great place to hide exploits since it never stops running, and these exploits are undetectable by kernels and programs.

    • Your Windows Login Details Can Be Stolen By Hackers Without User Interaction

      From time to time, the security researchers continue to make us realize that Windows operating system is full of loopholes that can be exploited by hackers to steal our data. One such vulnerability was patched by Redmond in recent patch Tuesday.

    • NSA hacking tool EternalRomance found in BadRabbit

      Several research firms have named EternalRomance as the tool BadRabbit used to spread through an organisation once the ransomware was installed in a host computer. When the cyber-attack first sprang up on 24 October there were many reports claiming that EternalBlue, the tool made famous with the Petya/NotPetya attacks that took place earlier this year, was the culprit, but this was quickly disproven by researchers. However, EternalRomance does share at least one similarity with the other attack, each exploits the same Microsoft vulnerability.

    • Security updates for Monday
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Erdoğan vigorously defends Turkish al-Qaeda group that has cells in Germany

      The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has saved an al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkish jihadist group that has been infiltrating diaspora groups in Germany and France while punishing prosecutors and police investigators who had dealt a heavy blow to degrade this radical organization’s capabilities in the past.

      The group, called Tahşiyeciler in Turkish, is led by 66-year-old radical cleric Mehmet Doğan (aka Mullah Muhammed) who had been on the Turkish government payroll until his retirement from the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) in 1998. This al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkish group has been active in Turkey and among Turkish expat communities in Europe as part of a jihadist campaign to recruit militants, raise funds and plan suicide attacks. The cache of intercepted communications and the physical evidence uncovered during the search and seizure in suspects’ homes and offices clearly paint a picture of a dangerous, albeit small, group that follows slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s lead.

      Mustafa Kaplan, the 77-year-old chief aide to Mullah Muhammed, has been identified as a man who is responsible for the group’s operations in Europe and made trips to cities in France and Germany to organize cells. His speeches that were recorded in the German cities of Bonn, Ahlen, Dortmund and Anderten contain chilling accounts of what they plan to do. In one recording he claims that Turks are hostages and prisoners in Germany and says Germany would soon face the wrath of Muslims. He promises to Turks in Germany that the Germans would soon regret sending troops to Afghanistan since fighters would come to Germany to punish them for Berlin’s contribution to NATO’s campaign in Afghanistan.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Puerto Rico’s governor seeks to end deal with small Montana grid repair company

      Whitefish Energy’s $300 million deal to repair Puerto Rico’s grid was made public in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The deal quickly drew scrutiny after the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) did not seek mutual aid—that is, offers from other US utilities to come help out—shortly after the hurricane struck. The choice also caused concern as Whitefish had only been in operation since 2015 and it employed just two full-time employees at the time the hurricane struck (the company hires contractors to complete projects). Furthermore, Whitefish is based in the same town that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is from, and one of its financial backers, HBC Investments, has contributed thousands of dollars to Republican candidates, including Trump, according to the Associated Press.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • A Chance to Control Domestic Spying
    • Why Rely on the Fourth Amendment To Do the Work of the First?
    • European Parliament Agrees Text For Key ePrivacy Regulation; Online Advertising Industry Hates It

      Techdirt has mentioned a couple of times the EU’s important ePrivacy Regulation that is currently working its way through the legislative process. It’s designed to complement the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force next year, and which is likely to have far-reaching effects. Where the GDPR is concerned with personal data “at rest” — how it is stored and processed — the ePrivacy Regulation can be thought of as dealing with personal data in motion. That is, how it is gathered and flows across networks. Since that goes to the heart of how the Internet works, it will arguably have an even bigger impact than the GDPR on the online world — not just in the EU, but globally too.

    • The Wire

      In the US, there has been recent concern over ISPs turning over logs to the government. During the past few years, the idea of people snooping on our private data (by governments and others) really has made encryption more popular than ever before. One of the problems with encryption, however, is that it’s generally not user-friendly to add its protection to your conversations. Thankfully, messaging services are starting to take notice of the demand. For me, I need a messaging service that works across multiple platforms, encrypts automatically, supports group messaging and ideally can handle audio/video as well. Thankfully, I found an incredible open-source package that ticks all my boxes: Wire.

    • NSA hacking code lifted from a personal computer in U.S.: Kaspersky

      Moscow-based multinational cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab on October 25 said that it obtained suspected National Security Agency (NSA) hacking code from a personal computer in the U.S. During the review of file’s contents, a Kaspersky analyst discovered it contained the source code for a hacking tool later attributed to what it calls the Equation Group.

      Kaspersky said it assumed the 2014 source code episode was connected to the NSA’s loss of files. The antivirus software-maker spokeswoman Sarah Kitsos was quoted saying as “we deleted the archive because we don’t need the source code to improve our protection technologies and because of concerns regarding the handling of classified materials”.

    • Kaspersky Says Its Hand Was in the Cookie Jar, But …

      Kaspersky Lab has been bombarded with an unending stream of claims that its Russian roots equate to being part of the Russian national team when it comes to national security interests. We previously discussed the rationale behind the ban of Kaspersky Lab security products in any U.S. government device, and how the company is believed to be a part of the Russian effort to put a bullseye on the National Security Agency (NSA). The publicly available information asks us to trust the U.S. government’s claim that under all that smoke about Kaspersky, there is actually a fire. It turns out that it’s true—well, at least partially true.

    • The Battle Over The Government’s Massive Surveillance Powers Has Arrived

      A significant provision in a contentious surveillance law is set to expire at the end of the year, and a number of lawmakers are scrambling to either re-enact the legislation permanently or find its statutory replacement.

    • Congress is blowing its shot at real NSA reform

      At the end of 2017, one of the NSA’s most important legal powers is set to expire. Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act gives the director of national intelligence and attorney general the authority to target anyone outside the US for surveillance, but that authority has to be reauthorized by Congress every few years. With old congressional allies like Dianne Feinstein newly skeptical of the NSA — and President Trump openly feuding with the intelligence community — surveillance reformers are seeing their best chance in years to make real changes to the US surveillance apparatus.

    • BlackBerry CEO Promises To Try To Break Customers’ Encryption If The US Gov’t Asks Him To

      The DOJ’s reps — along with the new FBI boss — keep making noises about device encryption. They don’t like it. What they want is some hybrid unicorn called “responsible encryption,” which would keep bad guys out but let law enforcement in. The government has no idea how this is supposed to be accomplished, but it has decided to leave that up to the smart guys at tech companies. After all, tech companies are only in it for the money. The government, however, answers to a higher calling: public safety — a form of safety that apparently has room for an increase in criminal activity and nefarious hacking.

      There’s one cellphone company that’s been conspicuously absent from these discussions. A lot of that conspicuous absence has to do with its conspicuous absence from the cellphone marketplace. Pretty much relegated to governments and enterprise users, Blackberry has been offering encrypted messaging for years. But it’s been offering a different sort of encryption — one it can remove if needed.

    • Heathrow probe after ‘security files found on USB stick’
    • FBI Increases Its Anti-Encryption Rhetoric
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Anarchist Cookbook case: Student Joshua Walker cleared

      A student has been cleared of having a copy of terrorism [sic] manual The Anarchist Cookbook in a drawer under his bed.

    • Researcher Still Being Pursued By Russian Bank Over Last Year’s Mistaken Trump Connection Story

      The war on security researchers continues. But then, it’s never really shown any sign of abating, has it? Report after report comes in of security researchers being threatened with lawsuits or arrest simply for finding and reporting security breaches.

      The war on Jean Camp continues to this day, with the researcher on the receiving end of multiple legal threats from the American law firm representing Kremlin-linked Alfa Bank. Camp came under fire from the bank last year, after a story came and went mistakenly insinuating a Trump server was in engaged in lively conversation with Alfa Bank’s servers during the run-up to the presidential election.

      That was back in March. Law firm Kirkland & Ellis sent legal threats and communication retention demands to Camp. In addition to demanding she retain all communications possibly relevant to Alfa Bank’s vendetta, the firm also threatened to file CFAA charges.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC chair wants to impose a cap on broadband funding for poor families

      Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants to impose a budget cap on the Lifeline program that helps poor people buy broadband and phone service.

      Under previous Chairman Tom Wheeler, the 32-year-old Lifeline program was expanded to let poor people use a $9.25 monthly household subsidy to buy Internet service. Previously, the subsidy could only be used for phone service.

      But when Pai took over the chairmanship, he quickly got to work rolling back some of Wheeler’s Lifeline changes. Pai, a Republican, ramped up his attempts to place limits on Lifeline last week with a proposal that will likely be approved by the commission at its meeting on November 16.

    • Retail Giant Amazon Faces Pushback Over .Amazon Geographic Domain At ICANN Annual Meeting

      But the outgoing Chair of the GAC, Thomas Schneider, pointed out that assuming that trademark rights to a name automatically resulted in an exclusive right to a TLD was a fallacy. Amazon Associate Counsel for IP Dana Brown Northcott said after the clash with the governments that the company would continue to seek a compromise solution, but certainly had to consider all options.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Gag order silencing Comic-Con producers declared unconstitutional

        A federal appeals court is declaring a gag order that was imposed on the backers of a Comic-Con convention to be an unconstitutional infringement of speech. A San Diego federal judge had prohibited the organizers of Salt Lake Comic Con from taking to social media like Twitter, Facebook, and even the event’s website to discuss being sued for allegedly infringing the “Comic-Con” trademark.

        “Petitioners assert that the court-ordered prior restraints on their speech violate the First Amendment. We agree,” the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube MP3 Converters Block UK Traffic to Avoid Trouble

        Two of the most used YouTube to MP3 conversion sites have closed their doors to UK traffic. The surprise move follows shortly after another popular stream ripper, YouTube-MP3, closed its site as part of a settlement with major music industry groups. Is this the start of a ripple effect?

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